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This is not another city guide, not that I don't love them (LA here, Palm Springs, Hamptons, and Chicago) but rather a realization I had this past 4th of July weekend about what actually makes a fulfilling time spent, in your own city or someone else's. As an avid planner I actually had no plans, I repeat, NO PLANS... for a holiday weekend! I was invited to a total of two pool party/barbecues on the same day/time, however, had no idea if I was attending. I am not sure why I didn't plan anything, but I have a had a lot going on the past month and I think I just needed some breathing room and flexibility. Every holiday weekend tends to stress me out. As someone who wants to enjoy every moment, make the most of my weekends and let's be honest, snap some Instagram worthy photos, it can be very overwhelming to me to have high expectations for the very best time. So this year, I just didn't, and it was probably the best thing I have ever done for myself. Here's why:

1. I said YES to what I wanted and NO to what I didn't. 

This may seem very simple and in fact it is, once you learn how to. For me saying no has always been very challenging, because I have a major fear of missing out. With the invention of social media, it's nearly impossible to not feel like you should have been there, especially since you are seeing only five seconds worth of life with a filter. As much as I love social media, I realize that it can often make everything look a lot more fun then it is and captures a moment in time, rather then an entire experience. I am sure everyone has experienced this first hand, where the photos depict more enjoyment and memories then the actual night. What is really important is to stay true to what you want to do for yourself, not what you think or hope could happen or what your friends will think. 

2. I focused on friends, not events. 

As much as certain restaurant, activity, or party might appeal to me, I can't stress the importance of being with the people you love and enjoy. You can have all the flash, drinks and ambiance you want (aka Gatsby) but if you're not with people who fulfill and entertain you then it really doesn't matter too much. I have had so many instances in which I am all dressed up with tons of pretty people and feel so alone. It's a cliché but people make the party. And sometimes that's a pizza & champs party on your best friend's couch.

3. I changed my perspective on what's fun. 

Don't be afraid to spend time alone or get stuff done that doesn't involve other people, Instagram or money. One of my favorite things to do is stay home on Friday night, workout and eat dinner by myself. We all get overwhelmed after a long day or week at work and I think people forget that weekends are about recovery, not just fun. It's important like I mentioned earlier to say no when you need a break. Even though I did so many fun things this weekend, I really don't believe it would have been as wonderful without also running each day, starting a new book, sleeping in and watching Bravo. Balance is the best way to live, so when you can, attend what you want and save the rest for actual rest! 

4. I went with it. 

As I said, I made sure not to set any big plans for the 4th of July weekend. I didn't want to be too tired or anxious about being awake in time to get somewhere, which is so unlike me! I always dream up what "perfect" would look like when I plan and often it leaves me disappointed. So instead I slept in, went for a run and texted a few people causally about grabbing lunch. A few things I did plan, such as attending a going away party and shooting some fun new blog content. However, the one's I didn't were the best; relaxing at a co-workers pool, eating yummy barbecue food, grabbing dinner with friends, meeting new people, going to the beach and seeing fireworks at the Marina. It was an unexpected and relaxed weekend with some really good friends. It was easy because I didn't put any pressure on myself to have fun, but rather allowed myself to just really live in the moment. I realize this isn't always possible to repeat most weekends. We all have obligations and things planned ahead of time we either must attend or want to. But the point I am trying to make revolves more around enjoying the down time and the way new things happen in the moment rather then trying to make the moment.

5. Don't expect every weekend to be the best weekend. 

The one last takeaway from my "perfect" weekend is to remember it just like that. It came and went and was exactly what I needed. Thus, no need to replicate or set up expectations for every weekend to go as such. In fact, we can't call something best unless it stands on its own. I am a believer in appreciating things for what they are, the good, the bad, the tragic. I hope to have more great weekends in the future but once again will remember to just allow it to happen on its own. A friend of mine recently said, "trade expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly," and I think she was right. 

I appreciate you reading, 
so grateful, 
have a wonderful day, 

Xx, Monica

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