I’m Back!

July 2, 2014

 

Hello, dear reader.  After a long, long, long hiatus, my blog is back.

I can’t believe it’s been almost 3 years since I have posted.  I have thought about blogging again several times in the past year or so.  Why am I back now?  Well, I simply need a creative release.

A lot has changed since 2011.  First of all, I got married in 2012.  A lot of changes have come through that experience.  For starters, I decided that I love cooking.  Once I had someone to cook for other than myself, I realized that I love finding and trying new recipes.  I still hate grocery shopping, though.

I also kind of enjoy cleaning, now that I live with my husband instead of roommates.  Our little apartment is ours, and I enjoy cleaning and organizing it.  Who knew?

My blog is back and I hope to share some of my new favorite things with you!

 


A Confession: I Didn’t Meet My Goal

September 1, 2011

Woman Running Barefoot (IMG_1153)

Confession time.

So, hey, remember when I said I was training for a 5K?  Great news: I totally ran one!  

Okay, so actually, here’s what really happened.  I did the entire training program and then promptly started to slack off on running.  Instead of running my usual 3 times per week, I was running once or twice a month, if that.  I anticipated that I might have a problem sticking with the treadmill and that’s exactly what happened.  By the time spring arrived, I wasn’t even in shape to run the 5K.  I had the fear.  Something in me said that I couldn’t make it the whole way.  I just didn’t want to come in last place.

I am getting motivated to run again.  I decided to start the Couchto5K program over again.  Even though I already did it, my lack of discipline is really evident in how I was feeling while running.  I just completed Week 1 and I think I am back on track.  I already can tell I’m faster than I was my first time going through the program.

I’m going to use this blog to keep me accountable about running.  I’m already feeling so much better.  With just a week under my belt, I am feeling more energetic, sleeping better, and just feeling awesome out on the road.  My plan is to finish the program and actually run a 5K this fall and to get so used to running for the next few nice months, I will have enough of a habit to stay motivated to use the treadmill this winter.

What motivates you to keep going?  


A New Leaf

August 30, 2011

leaf 1 Photo Credit: the biology teacher

I’m back!

I had a brief adventure with Tumblr but I realized I’m not trendy enough.  I wanted to come back to my happy little corner of WordPress.

My life has been a little crazy.  In short, I recently got engaged, which is sort of amazing.  To be honest, I really never thought I would get married.  I have been fiercely independent since childhood and I just never expected to be in this place.

And yet here I am.

And now the new leaf that I have been turning over for oh, about a year, has suddenly become more of a reality.  I have been teaching myself to cook (slow process), decorate (also slow), do household projects myself (learning curve) — you get the picture.  Back to that fiercely independent thing.  My mother was (and is) and amazing mom.  And yet, she was never a cook and her house was always in disarray.  A comfortable chaos, if you will.

As similar as I am to my mother, I have different desires.  I want to learn how to cook and entertain friends in my home.  I want to learn frugal ways to manage my household.  This is just for me.  My fiance, Andrew, could really care less.  He knows my culinary skills are lacking (not because he has tasted my food, but because I am too afraid to cook for him) and yet he still wants to marry me.  Isn’t that nice?

So here we are.  This blog will serve as a part of my learning process.  I’m glad to have you here with me for the adventure.


My “Inconvenient” Morning

December 15, 2010

Alarm Clock 1Photo by: AlanCleaver_2000

I live in a major metropolitan city and occasionally there are occurrences in which public transportation becomes extremely delayed.  Today was just one of those days.  I receive email alerts every morning about the Metro and this morning, my phone was going crazy with alerts about all the days before I even got out of bed.  I made the executive decision to work from home until the madness subsided and go in once the Metro was cleared. 

I had time to do all sorts of things: tidy up, do a few dishes, cook my breakfast (a delicious egg, cheese, and tomato sandwich on wheat toast), and make sure I didn’t forget anything before work.  Simply having what turned out to be an extra half hour or so made a world of a difference. 

I am not at all a morning person.  I just function much better in the evening, so I am usually in bed until the very last second in the morning.  I’m usually rushing around like crazy and forgetting everything.  I rarely start out my day in a peaceful way.  It made me wonder what it would be like if I always had this extra time in the morning.  I would feel so much more prepared and less frantic. 

I’m going to attempt to go to bed a half hour earlier so I can wake up a half hour earlier and start my day right.  Do you have any tips on your motivation for starting the day early?  I need all the help I can’t get!


My Weekend without a Car

December 13, 2010

inner city neighborhood squarePhoto By  radworld

I am fortunate enough to live in a nice walkable neighborhood in very close walking distance to the grocery store, drug store, post office, my friendly neighborhood Starbucks, a good sushi spot, etc.  In the summers I am a big fan of walking to do my errands.  However, it’s getting colder around here.  In this winter weather, I would much prefer to hop in my car and drive, even though the grocery store is literally a tenth of a mile from my house.  (Really, I just checked on Google maps.  Oh, I’m so embarrassed).  Anyway, I’m not driving my car for a few days (long story involving titles and registrations, not interesting).  This mild inconvenience afforded me the opportunity to walk places, even though it was chilly and sometimes a little rainy.  I grabbed my cute tote bag and put on my cozy winter hat.  I shopped for groceries, picked some things up at the drugstore, and treated myself to a bagel with veggie cream cheese over at the local bakery.

It was glorious and relaxing.  Not only did I get some fresh air but I didn’t waste gas driving across the street and finding parking.  There is a simplicity about not having to get in a car and sit at a traffic light and navigate a busy parking lot.  Not driving my car simplifies my weekend.  I have always known this during warm summer months, but I think I’ll continue this habit throughout the winter.


My Favorite Christmas Gift Idea

December 9, 2010

I Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In
Photo By Hryck.

I am all for homemade Christmas gifts.  Well, the idea of them. But if I’m really honest with myself, I’m probably not going to be making anyone decorative soaps for Christmas.  I like this idea because it requires creativity but not necessarily craftiness.

My best friends and I have had this Christmas tradition for the past four years.  We have a group of 8 or 9 people and it gets expensive buying something for everyone.  So we started doing a CD exchange.

The first time we did this, we created a “Soundtrack to Our Lives.”  Since then, we have been creating a soundtrack for our year.  We pick 17 or 18 songs that meant something that year.  Then we create liner notes:  we list the song and the artist and then we write something about why we chose the song and what it meant to us (some of us also include a line from the song that we really like). Some songs are picked for funny reasons, others are really sentimental.  A few of my friends really go crazy with CD artwork — it’s a great way to show creativity.  Then you copy enough CDs for everyone and have a party to do the exchange.  You end up with 8 or 9 new soundtracks!  It’s great to start the year with new music.

This project has turned in to such a great way to keep up with my friends.  I have been close to my best friend group from my hometown since junior high and high school.  But since graduation, we have been spread out all over the country: Chicago, St. Louis, New York City, Washington DC.  The CDs have become one way we stay in each other’s lives.

My 2010 song list is in the final stages, but I will share it after this year’s Best Friend Christmas Party and CD Exchange.

What creative gift traditions do you have for the holidays?


Enjoying Christmas: Beyond the Commercialism

December 7, 2010

vintage doily and glitter star ornament

I admit it, sometimes it’s hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit.  I know it’s terrible to say it and I feel like a Scrooge, but it’s true.  I get really annoyed with Christmas decorations out in stores long before Thanksgiving is over.  I can’t listen to cheesy Christmas music (Santa Baby, anyone?) non-stop for weeks.  I just can’t do it.  Mostly, I don’t like the idea that in order to enjoy Christmas, you need tons of STUFF. 

When I start to get these Grinch-like feelings, I have to shift my focus.  My faith makes Christmas a very significant holiday for me.  I love what Christmas means.  You know, the real meaning.  I love going to church on Christmas Eve and thinking about the birth of Jesus.  I love spending time with my family in front of a cozy fire, and eating loads of food in sweatpants and watching football.  I love playing board games and yelling and being loud with my crazy family.  I love the annual Christmas party my best friends and I have.  Memories, not money. 

Just thinking about these things make me so excited.  A quick switch of perspective is all it takes.  Just because the world has commercialized Christmas, it doesn’t mean it has to be that way in my life.  I’m enjoying the little things this year and I couldn’t be happier.

What do you do to keep from getting caught up in the commercial chaos of the holidays?


Goals for the Winter

November 24, 2010

 Winter Trees with Moon
 Photo By Michael Hodge

I’m not usually the biggest fan of winter, I’ll be honest.  I hate cold weather and I hate snow.  I know that as a native of the Midwest, I should be completely comfortable in the cold, but I’m just not.  I have failed my roots.  However, this year I am feeling some anticipation about the winter and I don’t know why.  There is something that excites me about getting some things done.  The other three seasons are full of distractions.  But I feel like I can focus in the winter.  I have several things I want to accomplish in the coming season.

– paint with my new-ish watercolor set
— learn some new songs to add to my guitar repertoire
— clean out my closet (simplify, simplify, simplify)
— continue running (even though I hate treadmills and the weather won’t permit running outside)
— find some delicious and easy lunches to bring to work so I don’t have to eat more Lean Cuisines
— do a No Spend Month (probably in February, as it’s the shortest month — ha)
— learn to cook (recipes with more than five ingredients)

This is going to be an interesting endeavor.  Here’s hoping that by publicly announcing these goals I can keep myself accountable!  I’m going to give it my best shot!

Do you have any goals for the coming season? 


The Art of Slowing: Not Just on Vacation

November 18, 2010

Lately I have been practicing slowing.

Let me explain.  You may have noticed my absence from this blog for a couple of weeks.  It was an accident, to be honest.  I planned on doing a blog entry before my Caribbean vacation.  But before I left, things were just so crazy and busy, both in my personal and work life.  I cried out, “I need a vacation!” countless times that week.

Well, I got my wish.  Blessedly, the time had finally come for my vacation.  7 days on a Caribbean cruise with 35 friends.  Seriously.  No email, no phone — completely cut off from everything.  It was GLORIOUS!  And just what I needed.  I read books, I painted, I ate, I explored, I relaxed, I marveled, I enjoyed life.

I came to realize that my life is so full of activities.  I’m always rushing from one thing to the next.  I rush to work. I rush around at work. I rush home from work so I can rush to another event.  Then maybe I rush from that event to a different one.  And then I rush home and try to turn my brain off with mindless television so I can fall asleep and continue the cycle the next day.  Last week, I didn’t carry a cell phone.  I didn’t wear a watch.  Of course, this isn’t exactly practical for everyday life.  But still, I recognize how much my life is ruled by a clock.

So what is this “slowing” business, you may be wondering?  John Ortberg talks about it in a chapter of his fantastic book about spiritual disciplines The Life You’ve Always Wanted.  (Go read it right now if you haven’t already.)  Ortberg talks about hurry sickness.  We are haunted by the fear that there are not enough hours in the day to do all we need to do.  We are stressed any time we have to wait.  So maybe I don’t need to say yes to every activity.  I want more time to do things in my life that I actually enjoy and to invest time in the people I love.  Perhaps I don’t need to check my cell phone and email constantly.  Maybe I can just enjoy the briskness in the air of the changing seasons, a good book, and a pumpkin spice latte.  Simple things.

I believe I was made to glorify God.  How can I glorify the Lord if I am not enjoying life?  The Lord put me on this earth with the beauty of creation and the opportunity to know others.  I wanted to take advantage of all I am given.  Not just on vacation.

What do you do to practice “slowing”?


I Have a Voice: The Beauty of Voting

November 2, 2010

VOTE

I just love to vote. I have been fascinated by the political process ever since those Schoolhouse Rock days.

I remember the first time I voted in an election.  In 1992, I was in the third grade. All the classes in our grade were able to cast a vote for our mock election. I eagerly read all I could about Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush (and even Ross Perot).  Filling in my ballot was a thrilling experience.

I cherished mock elections for the next few years.  2002 was the first year I could vote, although I was in college out-of-state so my first few voting opportunities were done by absentee ballot, which doesn’t exactly provide the same excitement.  The first opportunity I had to vote in person was the Presidential Elections of 2008.  It was so exciting to me.  Some people think that voting doesn’t matter.  “My candidate always wins.”  Or “My vote doesn’t really count.”  Or “Mid-term elections don’t count.”  To me, it’s all about the process of voting.  I think about many countries whose citizens have no voice in their government at all.  Or if they are able to even cast a vote, many times those elections are riddled with controversy and corruption.  Until not really that long ago, women and people of color were not even able to cast a vote.  Even though I have but one small vote, I will cast it with excitement and joy for the political process.  I am part of something larger than myself.  Even if my candidate doesn’t win, I have let my voice be heard.  Everyone can have a voice.   This is a beautiful thing to me.  Despite all it’s faults, this makes me proud of America.

So today I proudly wear my “I voted” sticker. 

I hope you will do your civic duty too.  http://www.rockthevote.com/


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