Monthly Round-Up: Rose & Thorns – February 2023

February Rose & Thorns – A monthly recap of the highs and lows experienced each month.

Rose: Auntie Life

Everyone always says that babies change your life, but I thought these were just words of wisdom for the parents. In fact, these are rules for an entire family. A month into my new role as an aunt has me expanding the creative capabilities I didn’t know I had. I shared my newly found balloon arch decorating skills during my sister’s baby shower. This month I expanded my creative skills to infant photography. Babies and animals are notoriously difficult models to work with. However, this wasn’t the case with my niece. She’s a natural in front of the camera. 

My sister wanted a Valentines Day themed shoot. The creative direction, wardrobe, and props were the vision of my other sister. As a collective group, we made the dream come to life. Through wardrobe and set changes, I captured the best photos I’ve ever taken of my favorite person.

Valentines Day baby photo. Baby in bassinet with roses around them.

Thorn: The War on Smoking Escalates

Last month (January R&T), I shared my annoyance with my downstairs neighbor chain smoking on their patio. This month, I implemented a two-pronged attack: move my google home onto my patio to play music when I’m outside and contact the property’s landlord to inform them of this issue. My conversation with the landlord was productive. The tenant was reminded this was a smoke-free condo (even on the patio). All was going well for the first three weeks of the month. The smoking had stopped, and I was happily writing on my balcony in a smoke-free environment again. 

Things took an unexpected turn last week when I had a loud knock at my door. As I looked through the peephole to see who it was, my downstairs neighbor shuffled outside my door. I did not think we were about to get into a full-blown argument. I thought they were going to tell me I was being too loud. I was in the process of building a picture frame for an upcoming DIY blog post. It was probably a bit noisy on a Sunday afternoon. However, that is not what brought this person to my door. The hammering let them know I was home, and weeks of harboring anger had boiled over to this moment. 


The landlord assured me they did not tell their tenant who was complaining but that they have multiple friends who live in the area. As I opened the door, I was blindsided with questions, “Are you the one who complained about my smoking?” Against my better judgment, I told the truth and said yes. This threw them into a fury of yelling and screaming, “why didn’t I go to their landlord? If I didn’t like living so close to other people, I should have bought a house!” And my favorite comment was, “You are discriminating against me because I’m a smoker and you are a non-smoker.” 

It was like watching a toddler throw a tantrum. There was no reasoning with this person. My final remarks to their flurry of questions were, “I have the right to breathe clean air in my home, including my outdoor patio. It is against your lease to smoke in your condo and on your patio. Your discriminatory claims do not make sense; no laws protect smokers. We no longer have non-smoking restaurants and hotels; there are laws in place to keep people from breathing secondhand smoke.” 

All this is to say I won a battle, but the war is not over yet.


Rose: A Busy Calendar is a Happy Calendar

I took a personality test at work a few months ago as a team-building exercise. One of the discussion points that stuck with me was how people like to relax. I found myself in the extrovert group who relax by being busy. The question spurred the conversation: “After a long and exhausting week, a lively social event is just what you need.”  For some, this didn’t seem to resonate. As I looked over my February calendar, every day was booked with an appointment, dinner, or social event. Some days were double booked, and I loved it! 

While I have moments to slow down to become a vegetable on the couch, after a while, the stillness transforms into anxiety after a time. A full calendar gets me out of the house and leaves me feeling fulfilled. Before taking the personality test, I didn’t think other people functioned in any other way. It not only may me look at myself but how others move through the world too. I’m not sure if a personality test can become your personality, but I feel like I understand myself better and have a clearer understanding of what makes me happy. 

If you want to take the test, it can be found HERE. Share your personality type in the comments below. I’m a Consul – ESFJ-A. 


Thorn: Three Races With No Medal 

Running in Gasparilla this month was the last half marathon in the trifecta of racing held in the Tampa Bay area. Last year when I signed up for these races, I thought the challenge was in the order of the challenge name, the Burg to Beach to Bayshore Half Marathons. However, I was sad to find out after I crossed the finish line at Gasparilla, I was sad to find out that it was not the last race in the series but the first. 

I felt mixed emotions as I walked away from the volunteer who had to break the news to me. Why would the race organizers create a running challenge and the order of races not follow its namesake?!?? I also felt disappointed in myself for not checking the fine print for the exact dates and times of the participating races. 

Through this slight disappointment, I realized the medal wasn’t necessary. The real achievement was thinking about how far I’ve come in a year of running. This time last year, the furthest I had run was five miles. A half marathon felt like training for an actual marathon. I set small weekly goals, adding two minutes to each long run, and I found myself at the starting line of my first half marathon. The medal was the carrot to getting me to sign up for the races, but the journey to push myself into completing them and reaching my goals was the true reward. 

Women standing with the Tampa skyline behind her, holding a race medal.

February Favorites

Pink Target Dress As the temperatures heat up, I’ve been restocking easy light dresses for the upcoming summer season. Anything I can slip on and run out the door is my uniform once the temperature rises above 80°. This Sleeveless Rib Racer Dress has been on repeat all month. I can definitely see myself picking up another one in a different color soon.

Cakes BodySpeaking of summer dresses. I discovered Cakes Body this month. They have created a nipple cover that is much larger than the typical ones found in stores and is 100% silicone with no sticky residue. This was an answered prayer to my strappy-top dilemma. Regular nipple covers exaggerate the size of your nipple and are not seamless under tight-fitting tops. Cakes Body is undetectable under tops and dresses, leaving you free to wear any type of strappy and backless outfit this summer. For 10% off your order, use code: Allthingskarissa at checkout.

February Blog Post Recap

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