Mare Bear.

As I was driving to work today I heard a song by The Violent Femmes on my iPod. For some reason I just couldn't stop smiling. Upon thinking about it I realized that this song, well this band, reminds me of a friend of mine- Mary. Mary is a girl I knew all growing up from my neighborhood. We kept in touch even once our lives stopped intersecting- her family moved to a city 30 minutes away from my high school home, then she went to college in San Fransisco; then New York; and now lives in Chicago. While we hardly see each other, maybe once a year, Mary holds a very special place in my heart. I would NEVER ever allow myself to lose contact with someone so special to me.

Mary was the kid who, growing up, was exactly who she wanted to be. I never felt like Mary tried to be someone else. Even in middle school and high school when everyone wanted SO badly to be "cool," Mary never put effort into that sort of thing and (as any adult knows that whole cool thing works) as a result it just came naturally to her. The irony of it all is that Mary is GORGEOUS- so you'd think she wanted to flaunt that. But she never threw it in anyone's face. I always thought she looked like Katie Holmes but with straighter teeth and bright blue eyes. She was also an athlete- even getting a scholarship for water polo to a school in upstate New York.

But what I love most about Mary is the person I feel like I was when we hung out. Every single memory of us growing up makes me laugh out loud. And that is her gift: she allows you to be exactly who you are and actually enjoy it. I think that so often, we focus on who we want to be in life. Don't get me wrong, this is very important to develop and move forward in our personal lives and goals. But I think that focusing so much on our futures often forces us to ignore our present. We forget to enjoy our lives AS THEY ARE and ourselves as we exist at each moment. Which, when you think about it, is kind of a bummer considering that who we are now is (hopefully) somebody we once strived to become. Especially in our twenties... when we are finishing college and starting careers and maybe marriages and families, it becomes so easy to sit and dwell on our "plans." We budget much of our time between working towards a future career and investing ourselves for that future relationship with Mr. (or Mrs.) Wonderful. I think we forget to enjoy our current surroundings. We forget to notice how lovely it is NOT to be the head of your work industry- less stress, more downtime. We forget to savor the fumblings of a newer relationship... getting to know someone, figuring out for the first time that your boyfriend is incapable of leaving the toilet seat down and how funny that really IS.

My point is that there will never be another rightthismoment, and it's important to enjoy it while it lasts. Mary taught me that. She taught me how to be okay with the person I am right now, all geeky, awkward, and best of all unique. We could sing No Doubt's I'm Just A Girl while we walk around through the neighborhood, and who gave a crap? Not us. She was the first person I knew to shop at The Lab (back then we called it The Anti-Mall)... she was cool before cool WAS cool. And it was all a result of knowing exactly who she was and embracing it. There is nothing more attractive in a friend or a significant other than knowing yourself. It's funny how all growing up I would read these articles in Teen Magazine saying that "the thing guys find most attractive is self-confidence." I never really understood that (whilst sitting there in my training bra and thinking that if only I had boobs the guys would like me!)... but now that I'm older it all makes sense. It couldn't be more true. The people that I know whom I find myself gravitating towards the most are those who know who they are and just live their lives as that person. They aren't sitting at a party staring jealously at the other girls and their clothes or designer purses. They are never the guy who wears designer jeans or a bunch of gel in their hair. They've always been the people who considered themselves the "uncool" ones, and by default were suddenly THE cool ones.

My point? Be you. And be you now, not you in 2 years. Enjoy it and let your freak flag fly. You may just discover that the parts of you that you think people wouldn't understand are the parts people identify with the most.

And speaking of freak flag (haha) here are my pictures from Colorado

The walk up to Red Rock Amphitheater

Mr. Tom Petty himself!!

Breakfast at Snooze (officially my favorite place on Earth). Home-baked English muffin topped with prosciutto, topped with brie cheese, topped with a poached egg, topped with hollandaise sauce, topped with arugula, topped with balsamic syrup. I may or may not be drooling just describing it...

Charity and Blaine's friend's band: Synthetic Elements.

Charity and I :)

Another of Charity and I. Charity was a trooper to go out even though she had a hair mishap the day before.

Walking around in Denver

Making fun of the dolls behind us.

This was the amazing sidewalk chalk fair we went to on my last day. This was one of the most amazing ones there- even though they were all pretty stunning. I LOVE this kind of thing!

Please excuse the lack of pics with my other sister Jill! We also did other stuff but somehow a camera never came out on those ones which is a bummer because she's so cute and pregnant! We saw Sex and The City 2 together, went shopping and got some yummy food from my new favorite sandwich place, Which Wich. If you ever see one of those GO INSIDE. It's bomb!