Monday Musings | Resolutions

I hadn’t planned on making any resolutions this year. I have everything I could want and need in life. That’s true. I’m not saying it to brag. I honestly feel like this is the first time in my life I haven’t felt like I was waiting for something to happen or that something is missing from my life. It’s a fantastic feeling. I am lucky and grateful and #blessed to feel this way. So resolutions seemed unnecessary this year. I just wanted to sit back and enjoy things.

So that’s what I’m going to do. Instead of focusing on things I want this year, I’m going to focus on the things I have and work on making them better. My theme for the year is “less is more”. Less time worrying and more time enjoying. Less time complaining and more time appreciating. Less frivolous spending and more money for experiences. Etc, etc. Usually at the New Year I feel as though it’s an opportunity to become a whole different person. This year I’ll be skinnier. Or, this year I’ll be more organized. This year I just want to become more like myself. I plan on keeping the things that make me happy and spending more time focusing on those things. I’m going to let go of things that don’t work for me. I want to simplify. I just want to live in that delightful middle area where you don’t feel as though you’re a complete waste of oxygen and you also don’t feel like you’re living someone else’s life. I want to live in that sweet spot where everything is just right and can only get better.

I have had this feeling lately that really big, wonderful things are headed my way this year. When they get here I want to be ready and waiting with open arms. I feel like if I lay the right foundation now, every little positive thing I do, every time I choose to be happy and optimistic instead of depressed is one step closer to building the best year ever. Like begets like, positivity begets positivity. This I have absolutely found to be true. So I’m heading into 2015 feeling good and seeking happiness. I hope you all try to do the same and that it brings you everything you could hope for.

Happiest of New Year’s to you and yours!

Tagged , , , ,

Monday Musings | Another Year Over

As is typical before the New Year, I find myself reminiscing on the one that is coming to an end. 2014 was a weird, tumultuous, long year. It was a year of big changes, and leaps of faith, and mistakes, and some of the best times ever. It was a year of growth, that’s for sure.

The beginning of the year was rough. I was unhappy with my life, frustrated that it wasn’t moving forward, and unsure of what to do to change things. Then I got a new job. I left my comfortable, mostly safe, yet painfully boring, job at a company I had worked at since college. I was excited! This was going to be great! It was an opportunity I never thought I would have! And it was all of those things for a little while. Then the shine wore off and the truth presented itself and while I am super grateful I took the leap and I do truly believe doing so has set me on a path to somewhere I’m supposed to be, I’m still struggling with that part of my life.

It’s really been the last three or four months of 2014 that have been some of the most spectacular months of my life so far.

I’ve made some new, truly wonderful, amazing, weird-in-the-best-possible-way friends. It has been such a pleasure getting to spend time with these ladies on a regular basis and talk to them constantly. I had no idea I needed a tribe so badly until I found mine.

And the biggest most bestest thing to happen in all of 2014 (probably my whole life to this point) is N and I buying a house. Good golly I still can’t get over it. It’s been a challenge, and so damn expensive, but worth every moment of stress, extra penny spent, and pile of dishes washed. Plus I get to do it all with my best friend and love of my life which makes it even better. Even if he does leave his smelly snowboard boots right by the front door so that odor is the first thing I smell upon arriving home. He’s still the best.

Mostly at the end of 2014 I am feeling incredibly and overwhelmingly grateful and thankful for all the wonderful people in my life. The outpouring of generosity we have seen, and love and encouragement from family and friends, has been truly wonderful. Not a day goes by where I am not grateful for this life I get to lead and all the people who help to support me living it. And yes, this includes everyone who listens to me whine and assures me I’m not as crazy as I feel.

So for 2015 I’m hoping to continue on this positive path. I’m opening my sails and heading off to wherever the year may take me. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

Tagged , , , , , ,

We Bought A House!

IMG_6506

We bought a house! Finally! After what felt like a million years of searching we found one we liked and our offer was accepted. A month and half of completely agonizing and mentally draining paperwork later, we had the keys. We’ve been here about a month now and we’re still slowly getting settled in, but we couldn’t be happier. The house is perfect for us. Photos after the break!

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

NaNoWriMo 2014

Fall is upon us which means there is just a little over a month until NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is a rather difficult to type acronym for National Novel Writing Month, which occurs in November each year.

I was contemplating whether or not I planned on doing it this year when a nearly fully-formed idea dropped into my lap. So, apparently I’m doing it this year. And dagnabbit, I’m gonna finish a novel. I have so many books I’ve started writing and never finished, it’s getting ridiculous. Even if it’s the worst book ever and it is never viewed by anyone’s eyes but my own, I”m going to do it. This is the year (I realize I say this every year).

I’ve started outlining and writing up character sketches, because once I get an idea I can’t wait to get it onto paper (or the computer screen I suppose). I’m waiting to do the actual writing in November, because to start earlier than that would be cheating.

I actually still go back to the draft I started last year every once in awhile, and someday I will finish that one, but I’m starting fresh this year. So this is just my proclamation that I am doing this, I’m psyched about it, and it’s gonna be awesome.

 

Tagged ,

On Falling Off the Wagon & Hopping on a New One

This summer has been a doozy for me. A lot of change happening, some of it exciting, some of it terrifying, some of it huge mistakes, but all of it at least a little bit stressful. Really, this whole past year has been a roller coaster ride. I’m struggling my way through it, and I know the ride will have to end eventually, but some aspects of my life are taking hits along the way.

Namely, my eating habits.

My eating habits are a roller coaster all their own. I’ve run the gamut from no carb, to low carb, to tracking calories, to cleanses and juices. I always end up back on the “to hell with it” plan, which happens when it all just becomes too much to keep track of and I just want pizza and beer, dammit. Needless to say, it’s a frustrating cycle.

0e4233ba44b2a17f4530316526e2cfa212a767dc5c3083cb84b98db9bea5b0f2

With how overwhelming this summer has been for me, my eating has really taken a hit, especially in the last month. My workouts are still on point, and I’m still trying to make healthy choices when I can, but I know I could do better.

When life slows down a touch (hopefully in the next few weeks), I’ve decided to try my hand at my next “diet” endeavor, flexible dieting. You may have also heard this called #iifym or “if it fits your macros”. IIFYM in extremely general terms is finding a balance of protein, carbs, and fats that helps your body perform at its optimal level. Your personal macros depend on many different factors. You can calculate your own or have someone who knows about these things calculate them for you. I did some Googling and calculated mine using a combo of http://www.iifym.com and Krissy Mae Cagney. Once you have your macros, you can eat whatever you want as long as it – wait for it – fits your macros. Cookies? Yup. Cake? Yup. Ice cream? Heck yes.

aac27053bfc1a041c534a63cb3670471257ed5f2d258522c19daa8c2ec5ae605

Of course, it’s all in moderation. You couldn’t actually eat at KFC on the reg and hit your macros. I’m not certified in any kind of way to get into details about any of this, so I won’t, but all I did was Google and do a bunch of reading so if you’re interested I suggest starting there.

While the concept seems simple and the fact that nothing is really restricted is a huge draw, it still has downsides. Specifically, you have to track everything you eat and it definitely involves a certain level of planning. I do find I am at my best when I make a meal plan and prep everything. However, I don’t  always get around to doing that and the past year of my life hasn’t been great for having the capabilities to control cooking and groceries. Once that all changes (soon I hope!) I really want to get back on board.

Anyone out there tried IIFYM? It seems super popular right now and I don’t want to be left out. It also kind of seems like a no-brainer and one of the healthier, more balanced fitness trends I’ve ever gotten on the band wagon for.

 

Tagged , , , ,

The Magic Hour

The temperature has been steadily becoming more crisp in New England for the past few weeks and as much as it pains me and fills me with deep guilt to say this – I ain’t mad.

Summer is my favorite. I love the heat. I love the beach. I love wearing as little clothing as possible.

But man, there’s just something about fall, isn’t there?

The humidity goes away, the air is crisp and fresh, the leaves start to turn colors. Suddenly, all I can think about is cozy sweaters, and pumpkin, and pie, and cooking everything in the Crock Pot.

Fall has always felt more like the start of a new year to me than January. Spring and Summer are all about getting out there, having fun, going on trips, forsaking all kinds of responsibility. Then Fall comes along, and I pretty much say “Welp, it’s almost. Better get my shit together.” So I do all the fun, cozy, nesting sort of things – I bake, I buy “Autumn Walk” scented candles, I wear sweats that are five sizes too big, I take long bubble baths – but I also tend to get a serious urge to re-organize my whole life in the Fall. Probably a leftover side effect from my school days, but this time of year just makes me want to sort everything into neatly labeled boxes and purge all the crap I don’t need or want anymore. It’s refreshing.

This summer in particular was uber busy and stressful and all over the place for me (more on that in a few weeks), so I am seriously looking forward to life winding down this Fall. I have lots to look forward to, and I have a good feeling that everything is going to fall nicely into place and I’ll finally be able to breathe a bit easier.

Tagged , ,

Harry Potter Forever

Harry Potter is having a bit of a resurgence in my life right now. Actually, he seems to be having a bit of a resurgence in general. Myself and two of my friends all decided within the last few months, completely independently, to re-read the entire series. Truth: I’ve done this several times since reading the first book when I was 11.

They never get old to me. They’re as enjoyable on the 10th read as they were on the 2nd (but let’s face it, NOTHING compares to the first read through of any book, let alone a series as universally beloved as Harry Potter). I watch the movies regularly as well. ABC Family makes it easy because they have Harry Potter marathons pretty much every weekend (and they air deleted scenes, you guys!). I have a Pottermore account, which goes largely unused until recently, when J.K. Rowling posted new material about where our favorite Hogwarts alums are now in the form of a Rita Skeeter article that was supposed to be focusing on the Quidditch World Cup, which took place this year (spoiler alert, Bulgaria won, with Krum out of retirement as seeker!).

I’m sure there are lots of articles and blog posts ruminating on why Harry Potter has such staying power, why the series is loved by children and adults alike, so I won’t go into that here. But I will talk a bit about why I think Harry Potter still means so much to me.

I grew up with Harry and the gang. The first book came out when I was 11, the same age Harry was in the first book. I remember very clearly sitting in my living room and my dad handing me this book he said he had read about in the newspaper. At this point I was old enough to think that whatever my dad thought might be “cool” probably wasn’t at all and I was also not yet old enough to think anyone could find anything of interest in a newspaper.

I didn’t want to read it. I started reading it anyway. And I was immediately hooked. What 11-year-old doesn’t dream that perhaps they are really a prince or princess or maybe they were switched at birth their rich, famous parents could show up any minute to whisk them away into a life of luxury? (Still waiting on that, actually.) Point being, the idea that poor Harry had a half-giant show up and tell him “Hey, you’re a wizard and you can do magic and you’re going to come with me and live in this magical world and have an owl for a pet” was extremely appealing. HOW COOL.

I then spent the next ten years of my life beholden to the publishing schedule of these books. I waited YEARS between some of the last ones. I went to midnight book releases. Then, they started making them into movies. This wonderful, magical, imaginative world that I was so enamored with was being brought to life. I stood in line for midnight showings (but I did not dress up. I had to draw the line somewhere). And don’t even get me started on Harry Potter World in Florida. (I DID wear Gryffindor colors for that visit…)

And then, when I turned 21, it all ended. Coincidentally, I suppose you could say the books ended when my childhood did. (When you can go to a bar and legally order a [butter]beer that basically means you’re an adult, right?) It was the weirdest feeling. Like someone died. NO more Harry? But…what? That’s probably when I decided to re-read the books for the first time.

They’re always there for me. The books are kind of like a security blanket for me. Nothing to read? It’s ok, all seven books are on my Kindle and I can read them whenever I want, complete with my favorite lines highlighted. I also have all eight movies on DVD, in case it’s a rainy weekend and for some weird reason they’re not on ABC Family. I have the Harry Potter theme music on my phone, as both a ringtone and the actual song, just in case I need a touch of magic during my morning commute.

I have all these things, and I enjoy them, because they take me back to when I was 11 and finding Harry for the first time. Nothing can compare to the original time you read a book, but every time I start the Sorcerer’s Stone (“Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much”) it takes me back a little bit.

When life is rough or in some kind of flux, I turn to Harry. Because he doesn’t change. He always makes it out okay in the end. And whatever is going wrong in my life at the time prroobbably isn’t as bad as an evil wizard constantly trying to kill you. Perspective.

They stand the test of time. There’s nothing in these books that dates them. No pop culture references to make it obvious when they were written. The stories themselves never seem trite or immature, even reading them as an adult. They were enjoyed by people of all ages when they were originally published, and I don’t see that changing.

I can’t wait to read them to my children someday and share the magic with them. I can only imagine that the next best thing to being able to read them for the first time again is getting to see a child experience them for the first time. Lord help me if my kids don’t like Harry Potter. I”m sending them back.

I don’t know how J.K. Rowling managed to create this amazing global phenomenon. I mean, she jotted down the original idea on a napkin, and it somehow grew into what it is. Still, nearly 20 years later, Harry Potter is A Thing. Rowling is still giving us some original material via Pottermore. They’ve just expanded The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal. It truly is magical.

So obviously, J.K. Rowling is a witch.

Tagged , ,

April Books

I did way better with my book count in April. This is mainly in part to a horrendously boring work project and my discovery of audiobooks. The two went together like peanut butter and jelly and I managed to finish THREE books while working on the project. So I guess the horrible, brainless project was balanced out by getting to enjoy three books while I did it.

I’d never listened to an audiobook before. I thought I wouldn’t be able to focus. Now I’m obsessed. I listen in the car. I listen before bed, like someone is reading me a bedtime story. It’s amazing.

Anyway, here are the books for April!

The Here and Now – Ann Brashares

I didn’t love this one. The premise was intriguing and I loved the Traveling Pants series when I was younger, but I felt meh about this. The love story part of the book was really just horrible if I’m being honest.

Timebound – Rysa Walker

This one wasn’t too bad. It was about time travel, which for some reason always sucks me in. It had a lot of historical elements which could get a bit snoozy. Lots of heavy blocks of text. The romance aspect felt like it was tossed in at the last minute and added nothing to the story, so that was problematic once again.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I had an interesting reaction to this one. I enjoyed reading the book, but when I went on Goodreads and read the reviews I found myself agreeing with many of the complaints people had. It ended up changing how I felt about the story. In any case, it was an enjoyable read if you don’t think too deeply about it.

Looking for Alaska – John Green

John Green is my man. While this was no Fault in Our Stars, it was good.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

This started out so strong! A mysterious bookstore, how intriguing! This was also my second foray (more on the first later) into audiobooks and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this. But as the story went on, it just kind of started to suck. So that was super disappointing. Womp womp.

The Book Thief – Marcus Zusak

Amazing. Everything you’ve heard is true. Don’t bother with the movie.

Coraline – Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman, oh how I love thee. This was an audiobook which was delightfully read by Gaiman himself, thus making the entire experience that much more magical.

And finally, though this doesn’t count towards my total for this endeavor,  The Devil in the White City (Abandoned).This was my first audiobook attempt and holy crap. More like The Mayor of Boring City. As my mom would say this just “wasn’t my cup of tea”. I ditched it about 1/4 of the way through.

Total: 20

I’ll be back next month with my books from May! (I’m already getting a slow start, ugh.) Also, are you on Goodreads? If you are, add me as a friend! I love seeing what others are reading, and occasionally I’ll write slightly better reviews than the ones I write here.

Tagged , , ,

Fictitious Dishes

slide_345724_3621008_free

slide_345724_3621012_free

I love food. This is no secret. I enjoy cooking it, I enjoy eating it, and I even enjoy looking at it. I also enjoy books and reading, as we also know. Perhaps that’s why I find Dinah Fried’s new book particularly captivating.

She created and then photographed meals from various books, and the result is fascinating. She set the meals up as they would have looked to the characters in the books (the top photo here is from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and the bottom photo is from To Kill a Mockingbird). Holden Caulfield’s cheese sandwich and malted are presented on a diner counter.

Fried feels that the act of reading fiction is a sensory experience. For this book, she focused on one sensory element from fiction – food – and created visuals to match.

“Each photograph does not represent a meal exactly as it was explained by the author, rather aims to capture the essence of each novel, evoking the setting and atmosphere of the narrative. Whether or not you’ve read the books, these images should provide a little taste of what they’re like.” (Huffington Post)

Kind of cool, right? The Huffington Post link has a slideshow with more meals pictured, and you can also peek inside the book on Amazon. Worth a look!

Tagged , , ,

90 Days

I have what I like to call Veruca Salt Syndrome. You know, the girl from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory* who doesn’t care how, she wants it now? Yeah, that’s me. I have a hard time understanding why when I decide I want something I can’t have it right away (i.e. house hunting). I enjoy instant gratification. I want those shoes, I buy those shoes. Very little effort is involved. So when i come up against something I want but can’t have right away, I immediately become frustrated, angry, and sink into a deep pit of despair.

It’s not a good habit. I’m working on it, honest.

It’s a habit that has also made me lazier than I am. And I’m pretty lazy to begin with. When I identify something I want but can’t have right away, or may have to put in a lot of work into getting, or just plain don’t know how to get, I get overwhelmed* and just give up all together. I’ll just stay in this crappy place, thanks, because I’m too lazy to figure out how to fix it. Or if it’s going to take longer than I thought or be more effort than I originally planned, I just end up quitting. I find myself in an endless cycle of try try try! and then give up spectacularly. It’s ding dang exhausting. For myself and for everyone I complain to.

So instead of complaining all the time, and feeling frustrated all the time, I’ve decided to do something about it.

It really all started when, as usual, I find summer approaching and I feel like a pale, jiggly, blob from a winter of staying indoors and eating ginger snaps obsessively (sooo goood). As standard for me, I immediately jumped into a 24 day cleanse, clean eating, continuing to work out at my beloved barre studio, and then burning myself out and immediately dive bombing into a plate of nachos with a side of beer. Thus getting nowhere in my battle against the bulge that is my muffin top. “Why isn’t this working?” I’d moan. “I was sooo good for like, three-ish days this week!” I’m not that stupid. I get that consistency is my problem. I know that one bad meal or a few rest days won’t make me fat and out of shape, but it’s never one bad meal or a few rest days. It’s multiple bad meals and multiple rest days.

So it was time to face the facts. What I’ve been doing isn’t working. It’s time for something new. So instead of making a grand plan for changing my body and my life as fast as possible, I’m taking a new, slower approach. I’m setting relatively small goals for myself and they working on achieving them. Slowly, one step at a time. I am trying to focus on the long game rather than an immediate payoff. It’s more of a mental shift more than anything, and I’m hopeful that it will bring a sense of clarity and peace to my life that I find myself lacking more often than not. It started as a quest to get into shape, but I can already feel it morphing into so much more.

I’ve arbitrarily set a 90 day time period for me to get this endeavor off the ground. That brings me to the end of June, essentially the start of summer, because I want to start my favorite season off in a happy and healthy place. Mentally and physically.

My goal for the month of April is consistency.

Consistently make good choices when it comes to eating, consistently work out, consistently wash my face and floss before bed (I know, I’m gross, but I never consistently do those things), consistently make the choice to feel positive and happy instead of letting negative thoughts get me down. I know we’re only 10 days in, but I’m already feeling good about this. It’s not about being perfect, just about making the best decisions I can every time I have the opportunity. Small steps that will hopefully lead to big rewards.

Also, just because that got a bit too serious for my liking, I plan on teaching myself to juggle this month. Just because I need a talent and I just recently read somewhere that literally anyone can learn to juggle. So there’s that.

 

 

*The original, not the creepy one with Johnny Depp. Sorry Johnny, I love you, but no.

*”I know you can be overwhelmed and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be whelmed?” “I think you can in Europe.” Name that movie!

 

Tagged , , , ,
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 61 other followers