Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Life Lately, According to my iPhone.

For the last few weeks I've been busy battling bronchitis and mountains of fake hair, all while trying to get ready for my upcoming show on Monday. With my every night dedicated to getting eight different pieces completed, I've been forced to embrace my random free time during the day. An hour here to drive around aimlessly, three hours to read on the roof during a good-weather-day. It's been nice to have little breathers throughout the day.

My drives to the country to visit May have quickly become one of my favorite things to do ever. It's alone time that I get to savor, with the windows down, my music blaring, my hair blowing everywhere. Even when it's cold outside, I'll open the sunroof, pop a window open, and just drive. 

And of course, there's the random few hours where I get blessed with gorgeous weather and have to make the most of it. Just last Saturday we were gifted with a 60 degree day, and so I opened every single window in the house and then crawled onto my roof to read. That was just pure, simplistic magic for me. 

Even the days were it's snowed have been full of beauty, and the brief time that I get to play around in the fluffy snowflakes, or walk around fresh snow has been fantastic. Our last snow storm this week was seriously one of the prettiest of the season, and I couldn't get enough.  

And then I snuck in time to see American Idiot at the Palace Theatre during their Columbus tour. We had such a blast! I have yet to be in a more beautiful venue than the Palace Theatre. I spent almost an hour after the show taking a self-guided tour, creepily staring at every single inch of the interior. The show was great, and I loved every single singer involved in it (those ladies have pipes for days), but the venue... I want to live there. If you ever get the chance to see a show there, do it. Even if it's not a show you want to see, just go. It is sososo worth it (plus a portion of tickets go towards renovation costs).

I look forward to more little windows of free time, be it during play time with Tuesday, or having dinner with friends while I paint dresses for the show. I'm also really looking forward to posting images of all of the hair pieces, which I've been keeping secret for the sake of the shock factor. It's killing me to not share pictures! Until then, have a great week! 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Face Lift, Round II.

The wonderful and incredibly talented Joy Cobler of MoxieINK Design has created a new banner for the blog, and it is absolutely perfect! I love the fine detail and all of the small touches (like some my favorite book titles in the bindings), and I love what she's done with Tuesday. She really went above and beyond to make something personal for Positively Bri, and I am so honored to post it up for everyone to see. 

To top it all off, Joy had sent me this to go along with the new banner:
"I read your most recent blog post. What a beautiful thing -- adopting a horse. I am a horse girl and had several when I was in my teens. That horse chose you -- I have no doubt. Please take the amount that you were to pay me and put it towards caring for May. That makes you and I square -- and leaves me feeling warm and fuzzy this morning."
The amount of support I've received from everyone regarding May has left me touched on a daily basis. It's amazing to me that this little horse is already so loved by strangers through this blog, and through our stories, and that she has friends, too! It means the world to me that people care about her as much as I do, and even more when people reach out as Joy has to express their support. I am floored and honored at her gesture, and am currently singing from the rooftops in thanks.

So! If you're looking for any sort of graphic, you should definitely check out her Facebook site and contact her immediately. When you do, be sure to add a thank you note from me, Tuesday, and May! 

Adventures in May-therhood

Today was an exceptionally trying day for May and I. I hadn't been able to make it out to the farm for the entire week, so I planned on having the majority of today set aside to devote to her. Our normal routine has been for me to come out, chase her around her pasture, attach her halter and lead rope and then work on training her with them. Jessica, a volunteer (who I completely adore and couldn't do any of this without), usually helps me lead her to the indoor arena, where we also work on herd separation, grooming, bonding, and more lead training. It needs to be said now that I am not familiar with horses, especially foals, so the training is mostly comprised of whatever I think might be best for her to learn. Everything is sort of on the fly with her, as we're both beginners.

Anyway, as I made my way onto the pasture today with Jessica to continue our routine, May decided it was the day to be a perfect angel. She didn't move when I approached her, or while she was grazing. She let us put on her new blanket, and she let me groom her without any movement or motion, or resistance, or anything. She played it cool while I hugged on her, and snuggled her, and baby-talked her, never moving away, or putting up much of a fight. It was crazy. Like, I didn't know if she was sick, or if she was just happy to see us, or if she just really didn't care about whatever we were doing to her. So what I initially thought would take us two hours to do, took maybe 30 minutes, and before I knew it I was making my way out of the pasture to work on the farm for a while before coming back to get her.

We worked on fixing broken fences in the pastures and paddocks for a while before finally going back to grab May. I had a gut feeling that she was acting too good to be true, but she surprised me when she leisurely walked on lead from the back pasture to the barn, only needing to be nudged from Jessica here and there. It was when we got to the barn though that May started to act up, resisting us with heavy thrashing, pushing, and jumping, which was terrifying to watch. There was nothing that we could do to ease her down from her panic attack, and every foot forward was met with a retaliation. At one point we had four people trying to control her, and when it became clear that she was on the verge of hurting herself, we decided to take a time out. We stayed where she wanted to stay and gathered around her, petting her into a calm.

At that point, I realized that I was scared of her. I had no idea how to react to her movement or her attitude, I had no idea how to control her, and I had no idea how to move her in either direction, be it to the pasture or to the arena. I was so worried that she'd hurt herself, or one of us. The resulting feeling of total failure sunk in, and I started to doubt everything. I couldn't do this, I thought. I am not able to do this.

It was then that I looked over at May, who was panting frantically with wide, scared eyes, and I snapped back into reality. I could do this because I WANTED to do this. I WANTED to be a part of her experiences, good or bad, and I wanted to be the one who made her feel safe. Made her feel easy, and calm. This moment, this temper-tantrum (or any other temper tantrum) wasn't going to throw me off and scare me away. I could do this. I was willing.

I got up enough courage to try it again. With a little smooth talking we were able to slowly bring her into the arena. I decided to let her run around and get all of her many frustrations out. She yelled as loudly as she could and she threw her fantastically dusty fit. She ran at me and headbutted me (smacking both Jessica and I in the head), and then she yelled some more. I stayed with my commitment, and took her headbutts and her tantrums, and I waited them out. After a lengthy amount of time later, she slowly started to wind down enough to where I could put my arm around her for hugs, which calmed her down even more.

And then magic happened. Despite being dangerously upset with me twenty minutes beforehand, May decided she loved me again. She let me groom her without being held in place, and without moving an inch for almost half an hour. She nuzzled her head into my brush. She turned her head to lick my hand as I brushed her sides. She leaned her body into mine for support. She posed for the camera and accepted kisses on her nose like she was never mad at me for a second. It was just incredible.She followed on lead like a champ, and she got the point where she was walking me in circles instead of the other way around. As the sun shone in and the breeze swept through, I looked over again at May who was calm and content, and I felt whole.

There might be those moments where I feel lost and over my head in this, but those other moments, the ones where she is so totally mine, surpass everything else. They make the tough, scary moments and the glimpses of doubt go away. She is a living, breathing reminder that every second of work that goes into her will be worth it. She is so totally worth it.

If it weren't for all of the incredible, helpful people at the farm, I wouldn't have the confidence I have with May. They make such an effort to be as involved as I need them to be, and they help me on a level that I can never express enough thanks for. Without them, this journey wouldn't be as sweet or rewarding as it is right now.

Until next time.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happiness Is.

Have you ever woken up one morning to find that for absolutely no reason at all you were just bursting with undefinable happiness? The kind of happiness that surpasses the boundaries of being in a good mood and goes into the realm of borderline OCD elation? Because that's where I've found myself today, buzzing with electric joy and an excited heart, completely ready to take on an entire world of everything. 

Maybe it's the caffeine. Maybe it's the abundance of good, quality sleep from the night before. Or maybe it's a culmination of everything, from the my rested limbs, to the sunny sky, to the sweetheart that I woke up next to. Whatever it is, it's led me to thinking about my happiness list, and all of the things in life that make me furiously happy all of the time. It's so great to take a few minutes out of every day and think about those things, big or small, that might end up on the list, and it feels great to write them down, too. Without over-analyzing today's feast of grins, I'll leave you with a few new additions to my happiness list. What are things on yours?

Happiness Is...

- Opening the blinds around the house to exist in a few hours of quiet and beautiful natural light. 

- Taking Tuesday on a longer-than-necessary walk around the neighborhood, soaking in the different eclectic    porches and the various faces of cats at the window.

- A house filled with flowers.

- The smell of home.

- Texting friends and family at random with things like, "Thinking of you!", "Missing you!" or "I love you very much!".

- A kiss on the cheek. 

- A night with good friends, good food, and lots of laughs.

- And the moment in which you take it all in, breathe it all out, and realize with complete certainty that life is oh so good.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Today marks the very first day of spring, and while it's a tragic 30 degrees outside here in Ohio, we're all still very excited (it's here, it's here! It's finally here!). And even though it doesn't feel like spring at this exact second, we know -it's here- and we are oh so ready.

All of the excitement has made this week just seem more brilliant and colorful than normal. It's silly to think that a marked day on the calendar is enough to dismantle any lingering seasonal depression, but I swear, you can sense spring's arrival everywhere. Our collective daydreams of flowers, grass, and bathwater weather are enough to make an entire city feel like One Million Dollars, and Columbus is primed and ready to celebrate. Are you?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Adopting May.

March has been such an interesting month so far, and the roller coaster of every week has made it difficult to find the energy for posts on the blog. There are days where I don't even want to touch a computer, be present online, or know/share anything about what's going on in life on the web. I guess you can say that giving up Facebook was the catalyst, as it's bled into nearly everything I do on the internet. Do you ever get that way, too?

Since unplugging my attention from my phone and computer, I've been accomplishing a lot of little things that usually get overlooked. Like remodeling the apartment, gardening for spring, reading nearly a book every three days, and writing letters to loved ones. It's also pushed me to be outside more, away from the noise of people's posts and complaints, or general banter. I've begun paying attention to my surroundings again, and have been finding beautiful things tucked away everywhere that I stop to look. It's crazy what a little time away will do for your perspective!

At any rate, a week ago I decided that (with bronchitis) I would take some time to visit a new friend at a ranch in Grove City where her horse is boarded. As a lover of any animal on the planet, I jumped at the chance to spend a day petting, feeding, and meeting dozens upon dozens of horses and ponies. My friend Hannah took time introducing me to each horse, telling me their back-story and how they came to be on the ranch, which is primarily used as an Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) facility. They use their therapy horses to work directly with autistic children, children and adults with disabilities, and others who are disadvantaged. The entire program blew me away, and as I handled more horses and listened to what all they've been able to do for others, I decided that I'd submit an application for volunteering over the spring and summer months. It was decided then that I'd also make a donation to the program, and as I was discussing everything with Hannah, she took me on the very last part of the tour: The pasture of rescued foals.

(May, Rocket and Matilda last year, courtesy of Equine Partners)

Last year, Mandy, the manager of the farm, had learned of a newborn foal that needed to be rescued from a Nurse Mare Farm, where an infant foal was being put up for slaughter via a hammer to the head. The horse was less than 6 hours old when it was taken from it's mother and left alone. The horse had very little chance or time to survive, and Mandy knew she had to react quickly to save the horse from a tortured end. She raced to Kentucky to adopt the horse, and found that there were two other newborns that were also being set up for slaughter. She put her money together and managed to rescue three foals and an older horse, and took them back to Columbus to give them a new life.

(May and Rocket last year, courtesy of Equine Partners)

As we walked into the pasture of babies, and I was being told about their rescue and everything that had been done for them, one of the yearlings turned towards us and walked straight up to me. Her name was May.

May is (and will likely always be) the pride and joy of so many at the farm. Mandy had essentially hand raised May in a fight for her survival, feeding her herself, ensuring her health at all cost, and providing her with more love and compassion than can be explained. I think that anyone that meets May automatically feels the love that Mandy had given her, and all of that affection has turned into May's general character.

May spent the entire time that we were in her pasture following Hannah and I everywhere. She tugged on my coat and boots for attention, she put her head under my arm for hugs, and she nuzzled her face into my chest, back and side to make sure I knew that she was there. She rolled around in front of us, she licked my face, and posed for pictures with my iPhone. I'd never, ever seen or been around a horse that acted the way that she had, and being rather ignorant about horses, I didn't think it was a big deal. Apparently, I was wrong. Nearly every single person who has seen May and I together, or have heard the story of our encounter have all said the same thing; May had chosen me to be hers.

The Sunday that I met May was a day that completely changed my life. Once I'd left the farm I started thinking about her and the other foals, and all that the farm has done for them. Being a non-profit organization that runs on donations and volunteers, it's taken a financial toll to provide for four rescues. It was then that I realized that I could do more than just volunteer and donate money to the foundation. I could provide for May.

I contacted Hannah and Mandy for several days thereafter, obsessively offering to bring by anything that May might need for whatever reason, and assessed my finances in detail to make sure it was possible to do so. I hadn't even thought about adopting her outright until I sat down and talked to Mandy about what I wanted out of this, which was to be a provider who was present in her life regularly, for as long as I possibly could be. Out of all of my options, adopting her as my own fit with what I wanted long term for her. I filled out the paperwork, submitted them for approval, and started altering my life and daily routine to accommodate the time I'd need to bond with May.

(May last year, courtesy of Equine Partners)

It's a very fortunate circumstance when it comes to her overall adoption. I have no intention of removing her from her daily life at the farm, or to segway away from her becoming a registered therapy horse when she gets older. So, her life will only be changed by my incessant visitations, grooming, training, and any additional love that I can give her, and her care is at such a low cost that it doesn't affect my lifestyle at all. I won't have to worry about where to keep her, or if she'll be treated well, and I don't have to separate her from her surrogate family of horses and humans. All in all, it really is a win-win situation. 

I have accepted the fact that May will be in my life for the next 20-30 years, and that she is a lifetime commitment. The more and more I've thought about it, the more and more I get excited, and the more I feel content about my decision. From her 'terrible twos' phase, to her being trained to ride, to her as a very old lady- it feels like an incredible journey that I just don't want to miss. 

So, expect lots and lots of updates on our journey together, and all of the lessons I've learned in the process of being a first time horse owner. In all of my research of raising a yearling, I feel pretty confident that there will be a bevvy of things to share, both in my relationship with myself (hello, learning extreme patience!), and with my relationship with May overall. I look forward to sharing our continuing story, and about hearing stories of other's adoptions, too!

For more information on Equine Partners Unlimited, and to get involved in their program, please visit their website here, and like them on Facebook! For information on Nurse-Mare Farms, you can visit these informative sites here, and here.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Peaceful Life.

Lately, life has been full of quality time with loved ones. Be it going out to dinner with friends, making breakfast at home, or ordering in pizza and watching Girls for hours on end, it has been filled with some of the people that I care the most about. It's been great focusing on my relationships with others, and now that I spend almost zero time on social sites, it's seemed to have gotten easier for me to be fully present in the moment. It's crazy how much of a difference there is between hanging out with my friends now, versus how it was when my phone seemed to be pertinently glued to my hand.

As silly as I feel saying this, my life has been a lot more peaceful these days. My mental space has been mostly daydreaming of spring and summer, of flowers, and gardening, camping, and exploring. I've been reading some impacting, simplistic, and beautiful books (thanks again, John Green), and my home feels so complete with Sarah, my new roommate, living in it.

The entire house has had a miniature makeover now that there's a new person here, and it's taken this incredible atmosphere. It's such a blissful place to be in these days. I'm very much looking forward to my upcoming bedroom renovation, which will hopefully make my apartment even more relaxed. For now, I've taken to filling almost every room with vases of flowers to get us both in the mood for a change in scenery.

With that, I bid you all a great day! I hope that they are equally filled with quality time, snuggles from your favorite pups, and unbelievably delicious food. Have a great weekend!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Giving Up Facebook.

I am and have always been a social media fiend. And while I didn't get around to making a Facebook profile until 2009, I'd been on almost every other platform, online and plugged in 24/7. I had fallen into the trap of believing that the amount of friends I had and my overall online popularity was a sign of social success. Even when my usage of the site changed and I began focusing on promoting my modeling and art projects instead of my personal life, I was still tied to quanity over quality. Eventually, most of my interactions with people on Facebook became nothing more than a 'like', a three word comment, or a message here and there. I'd spend time watching the eruption of a heated argument between people I may or may not have known, and sometimes I'd get involved in it. I'd spend hours after hours grooming my profile to be perfect and impressive, and I'd spend just as much time stalking people that were no longer part of my life. Soon, it all started to seem like the place where I didn't really want to be. 

I'd always been incredibly impressed by people who just didn't have or never used their Facebook accounts, especially when they were attractive, confident women with acute social skills. To me, they were a phenomenon, the type of person I could never wrap my head around. How could they not care about the approval from their online peers? How could they not feel irrelevant and isolated without the constant posts from people all over the country? How did they do it?! 

I decided to make a pro/con list dedicated to how I felt about Facebook in general, and then how I felt about getting rid of Facebook entirely. After a great deal of thought and a little bit of research, I decided that it might be time to give Facebook a break. I temporarily shut everything down this morning, and I've yet to  explode, lose any of my friendships or any vital information from people I care about. Already I feel more at ease, and my head has been a little more quiet than it normally is. I feel good about my decision, and about setting aside the silly idea that Facebook (and the way that I present myself on Facebook) is what defines who I am to others. 

I hope that if you ever come to a point where any social medium is becoming toxic, unhealthy, or meaningless to you, that you are able to walk away from it with ease. I promise that even just taking a break is worth it.