Tag Archives: relationships

the quinceanera

13 Oct

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This past weekend was my little sister, Briana’s, quinceañera and it was a pretty fun way to spend a Saturday. Not only was it pure joy to see her so damn happy but the experience made me realize what exactly has happened in the eleven months since we first met- she really has become family to me.

For those of you who don’t know what a quinceañera is, I am here to fill you in, considering I am an expert and all now. A quinceañera, also called fiesta de quince años, fiesta de quinceañera, quince años or simply quince, (take your pick!) is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America. This birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood.

Briana’s big day has been a topic of conversation between us for months now. I don’t think there was one detail we didn’t cover. We talked about her desired color scheme (gold in case you were wondering), possible song options for her first dance with her father, her grand entrance ideas, the cake, her bouquet (red roses with sparkly studs glued into the center of each one), her gown (think Belle from Beauty And The Beast), her change of outfit ideas (because even Briana knows you can’t dance all night in a big dress and heels), her jewelry inspirations (a crown, naturally). She even had a pinterest page for all her ideas. I quickly learned that planning a quinceañera is a lot like a planning a wedding. Well, minus having to compromise because a quinceañera is a singular vision and let me tell you, my little sister has got a very clear vision of what she wants, which happens to be one of the many traits I love about her.

On the big day Brian and I got dressed up and set out to the church for the ceremony, which would be followed by a party at a hall nearby.

The ceremony lasted an hour or so. Much of that time was filled with various church leaders talking about the importance of this day in her life. My favorite moment of the ceremony was definitely when the doors opened and she walked in with the biggest smile on her face and killing it in her big gold dress. She really did look like Belle from Beauty and The Beast and I couldn’t help but think….NAILED IT!!

The party to follow started off a bit awkwardly for Brian and me. First off, we only knew four out of the three hundred people. Second, the MC (dressed in a truly fabulous bull fighter type ensemble) for the evening only spoke Spanish and I never knew what he was saying. Brian pulled out his high school Spanish and translated a bit for me but mostly I remained in the dark as to what was going on.

But then the sweetest thing happened. Briana brought all her friends over to meet us, proudly introducing me as her big sister each time. My heart pretty much melted all over the floor. She even made a point to sit with Brian and me when dinner was served. But nothing topped the moment she and her family (mother, father, brother and “real” sister) took the stage to thank everyone for coming, as well as each say something special to Briana. After all four of them spoke the crowd cheered. It was then the MC said something (in Spanish of course leaving me to wonder if maybe it was time to get up and dance?) but then I saw that he was making a beeline for me. For those of you who don’t know me well I am not one to speak in front of an audience of three hundred unless I am prepared. So my first thought was…OH F*#k! I glanced over at Brian for backup but he was in the process of scooting his chair far far far away from me…he’s not known to relish speaking in public without being prepared either (Thanks, babe! HA) Luckily it took awhile for the MC to reach me and I was able to have a second thought (that was far less self involved) before he arrived with the microphone…out of all these people her family wants me to speak, how very touching. Pull it together Kate.

I’m still not sure what I said, in my “I hate public speaking haze” but I do know that I finished with “I love you and I’m so grateful you are my little sister” and I meant every single word.

Such an honor to be in her life.

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project 30- chelsea

25 Sep

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Chelsea, 31 of Fresh Steps

What would your 30 something self tell your 20 something self if you could?

Don’t look sideways. Comparing yourself to others is a total waste of time and energy. Life is long and everyone will have highs and lows. Carve your own path and don’t be afraid to make a few mistakes along the way – those mistakes are a good thing and will shape who you become. Spend time with your girlfriends now – relationships and families will happen and suddenly you won’t have as much time for each other. Open a savings account.

What do you wish you took more seriously in your 20’s?

I wish I took MYSELF more seriously. I was so focused on what I thought others wanted me to do, I forgot to ask what I wanted.

Health and fitness. I had a horrible insomnia problem for most of my 20s which I assumed was genetic. I learned later it was easily fixable with a change in eating and fitness habits.

What do you wish you took less seriously in your 20’s?

What other people thought of me. It truly did not (and does not) matter.

Romantic relationships. Every memory I have of being heartbroken is now a big, giant #whatwasithinking.

Favorite memory from your 20’s?

Spending a year travelling solo in Australia produced enough memories for a lifetime, but if I have to pick one – it is a memory where I suffered more than I ever have – the one that sticks in my mind was finishing my first ultramarathon at 28. Finding ultrarunning in my late 20s completely transformed my life. Physically I shed pounds, but the most important changes were mental. I let go of uncertainty, doubt, worry (and insomnia)! I gained confidence, strength, and the ability to work my way through anything. You don’t know perseverance until you’ve forced yourself to run 100 miles. Ultrarunning boosted all aspects of my life: my career, my personal relationships, my mental well-being. It became my catalyst to understanding the importance of goals.

In your early 20’s where did you think you would be (work, live etc) by 30?

I thought I would be living in New York hosting a music show on MTV. I was going to marry a John F. Kennedy Jr look-alike so I could get a green card to work in America. And a loft on the upper east side so I could run in Central Park every morning. I cringe when I think of the time I spent daydreaming (time I should have spent planning, running, working…anything).

And where were you by 30? What did your life look like?

Turning 30 was a huge sigh of relief for me. I was completely lost in my mid-20s. By my late 20s I wrote down what I wanted, and what I valued. I realized Vancouver was the place for me – a big enough city with easy access to both the ocean and (the most essential piece) mountains to run in. Once I knew my goal I aggressively chased it. I arrived in Vancouver a week before my 30th birthday and felt like I was finally living my best life (thanks for that phrase, Oprah).

Life is taking shape in Vancouver and I feel comfortable in my skin. I live with my boyfriend Dom and his son and we have access to the best mountain trails in the world. I’ve found a peer group of smart, intelligent women that I’m proud to call friends. After struggling in a job I didn’t like for a year, I have an awesome Senior position working on digital and social strategy with Canada’s national broadcaster (shout out to CBC fans). Most surprising of all, I have completed 7 ultramarathons, 2 of them being 100 miles long. I could barely finish a road marathon a few years ago. It’s remarkable what you can jam into your late 20s when the number 30 is looming.

Were you ever worried that it wouldn’t all fall into place?

Yes, all I did was worry! That was the problem – worrying didn’t get my anywhere. Once I wrote down achievable goals & gave myself deadlines, the worry went away. I know I’m intelligent and I I work hard. There will be bumps along the way but I feel prepared to take them on – and enjoy the ride along the way.

What is the greatest gift about being a woman in your 30’s?

Confidence. Independence. The ability to detect (and not take) bullshit.

When you look out onto the horizon. What do you hope your life looks like at 40?

I hope I maintain physical and mental health. Running is not something everyone can do forever, but I hope I can take care of my legs and body enough so I can continue well into (and past) my 40s. I want to chase career and financial goals. I plan to check some more countries off my travel list and experience running trails around the world with my boyfriend. I hope we see his son continue to grow up happy and healthy. I hope to share what I’ve learned with those younger than me – I had some very helpful people give me a hand up after college and I look forward to paying it forward. I hope I get the opportunity to run the Hardrock Hundred in Colorado. And I hope no one will be able to tell when I cave and get botox.

What’s a quote/ saying you try to live your life by?

Only make moves when you’re heart’s in it. And live by the phrase “sky’s the limit.” — Notorious B.I.G.

One thing we know for sure is that change is certain. Progress is not. Progress depends on the choices we make today for tomorrow. — Hilary Clinton

Few places in this world are more dangerous than home. Fear not, therefore, to try the mountain passes. They will kill care, save you from deadly apathy, set you free, and call forth every faculty into vigorous, enthusiastic action. — John Muir

connect with Chelsea : twitter / instagram @chelssees / blog