Monday, March 28, 2016

Safe space

In a month this blog will be 2 years old. There have been good days and bad days. Days I wanted to close this blog down and never look back. Days I was super proud of what I've accomplished here. Days when I lost readers. Days when I gained readers. Days when my content wasn't clicking. Days when I nailed it withoit even trying.

This blog isn't just a place to write things down. It's a place for life. It goes through stuff. Sometimes it's popular and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's pretty and sometimes it's not. Sometimes it's quiet and sometimes it's loud.

My blog is an extension of me, yet has it'sown personality all at the same time. Just as I have grown and evolved, so has the blog. Over the next month I plan to re-structure this space. My interests have changed, therefore I want to reflect that here with my writing. Passion is what keeps the writing interesting.

Expect to see some small changes and shifts in topics as the weeks go by. I have a few ideas I'd love to impliment to make this space inviting and keep you coming back. I want this to turn into a place where we can have a discussion where everyone feels safe to comment without judgement.

I look forward to sharing these ideas and this space with you.

Have a wonderful Monday.



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Friday, March 25, 2016

Feel Good Friday: Volume 3


It's been a good week ya'll. I was tired and my body needed rest but I still managed to make it a good week in othe ways. I know my body is tired because I am pushing it more than I have in a long time. Both physically and mentally. However, these are both in positive ways. Working on getting stronger in all aspects of my life.

So let me share with you some of these positive feel good things.

Last weekend R and I spent 16 hours in NYC. It was much less time than expected but our train got delayed and life happens. There was nothing we could do about it. Instead of being negative about it we embraced it. We met up with my cousin and her fiance and enjoyed the time we had.

On Tueaday I was RAKed (Random Acts of Kindness) a book on my Amazon wish list from a lovely lady in a reading group I belong to. The group is currently buzzing with these acts, so I of course returned the favor.

Wednesday I was able to spend time with a friend who I haven't seen since before the holidays. We enjoyed an evening of chicken wing dip, wine, and story telling. Don't judge, it was glorious. She also gave me the best Christmas gift ever; the Olivia Pope wine glasses from Scandal. AKA The Camille Collection red wine glasses from Crate and Barell. So much love for these.

Thursday was the last class in my first session of the yoga series I'm in. I am so excited for this and am looking forward to the next session. I was a little sad that my stomach was upset for most of the session but none the less it was a good class.

All I have to say is TGIF today. So tired!

Have a good one :)




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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

The secret to happiness

Don't mind the random rambles this week. I have a lot to get out. What better place to share but with a few if my closest friends on the internet. #sorry not sorry.

Anywho, I think I've figured out the way to happiness. Yep I did it. Want to know what that secret is?

Let it go.

Yep it's true. Those books and therapists aren't kidding you when they tell you to do this. What they don't explain to you is that you need to be ready on your own terms to do it. You need to find your own journey to pursue.

I know I have mentioned this a lot lately, but since I started up a yoga practice again, I've been able to work through some of my issues in a way that soothes me and calms my mind.

I've started doing little things to help me stay balanced and on track. My temper has gradually cooled down and I don't feel set off as easily.

I'm compiling a list of what is working for me and hoping to share it with all of you soon. I hope you will find it helpful.

What do you do to keep yourself balanced? Have you been able to let it go?



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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

All the feels

You know those nights where you're so tired yet you can't sleep? Well I'm having on of those, except with writing. I have so much on my mind and don't know where to begin.  A fully loaded mind can be a dangerous mind as they say.

We all have our motivations or things that spark a good post. For me, I tend to get my best writing done when I'm angry. My real emotions seep up and I put passion into anything I am doing. My house also looks amazing after I've been angry. I clean like a mad woman to calm myself down.

Today I woke up in a fairly decent mood and quickly went south with a short conversation. I got angry; but a different kind of angry. It was the anger that has been held for a long time. Something I have been wanting to say. The passion in me flared.

Letting go of some of the prolonged anger really can turn a mood around. It can make the weight on your shoulders release. It can remind you that that fully loaded gun, we call our over thinking mind won't go off unexpectedly.

It may not always make everyone else around you feel the same, but at the end of the day, we must remember, we matter first.

Chew on that.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

Fri-Yay!

Happy Friday! I just dragged my butt up out of bed early and headed to the gym. I call that a win already for a Friday? Now can I go home?

Fat chance. Anywho this is just a quick "hello, how ya doing" kind of post. I don't have much to report today other than I am still sticking to my new workout plan and eating better. That alone is a huge accomplishment for me. The pants are starting to feel loose. High five to myself!

Also I just started a new book; A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. I am OBSESSED! It was a little slow moving at the beginning for my tastes but now that I kept at it, I'm very pleased. This is book 1 in a trilogy so I am really excited to read the other two books. Have you read it?

Lastly I am headed to NYC this weekend with R and meeting up with my cousin and her fiance. Should be a nice quick weekend getaway. The weather is going to be a little chillier than I had hoped but as of now Saturday is supposed to be 45 and sunny. I'll take it. It could totally be 0 and snowing.

Well that's about it for me. I hope you all have a great weekend! 

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

When you procrastinate in wedding planning + Flash giveaway winner!


So wedding.. yeah.. let's talk about that today (Oh and the winner of my flash giveaway..). It's been awhile and as much as I want to say I have it all done and I just forgot to post, that would be a lie. I have seriously slacked over the past few months, and I wish I didn't. I have seriously kicked some butt in the past week at getting myself into a better place with planning, but I wish I didn't slack as much as I did.. See exhibit A:

On Saturday R and I met with our venue coordinator. We were there to set our menu, pick out the beverages (We are getting married at a winery so this is kind of important), and talk logistics. John, our coordinator and chef started asking us questions like:

"Who is your photographer?" Uhhhhhh

"Do you have a DJ?" Does my iPod count?

"Have you decided on a cake?" Well we have some appointments set up...

"What about flowers? Will you have them on the tables?" Oh shit flowers?! Forgot about those..

Welp John, let me just respond with, we are totally unprepared for this meeting, so uh yeah sorry?

Thankfully John was very understanding and told us we have nothing to worry about. Everything will work out. Right?

So, let's look at the things I have gotten done:

Wedding dress - Check!
Venue - Check!
Bridesmaid dresses - Check!
Photographer - Check! (This one JUST happened)
Save the dates - Check! (They even got mailed!)

So as far as the cake goes, we have 2 appointments set, so I am not very worried about that. Our new photographer has some calls in to a few DJs that he is familiar with so hopefully that works out. I am still very unsure on what I really want with flowers, but none the less I should probably make a few calls.

There is still plenty to do, but I feel a little better having all those bugger items crossed off my list. I have learned my lesson along the way in not procrastinating any further in this process or something may not work out in my favor.

Do you have any advice to keep the ball rolling for this wedding planning stuff? I'd love to know in the comments below!

________________________________________________________________________________

So yeah I did a quick flash giveaway.. Not as much response as I would have hoped but none the less..  I asked you which of my tax return wish list items I bought with my money.

There were only a couple of entries and MOST of you guessed right. I bought myself a new laptop! It was on like a super sale so I still saved a ton of money, which makes me happy. I am going to put the rest of my money towards my wedding. Yay to all of you for participating!

The winner is: Nicole M! Hopefully this $20 of your choice can go towards your new laptop as well!


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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Snaps: Flash Giveaway!


Yay! We made it back to Daylight Savings Time! Did everyone survive losing that 1 hour of sleep last night? I promise, even though it is rough today, it is worth it to come home from work and still have a few hours of light everyday. Anywho, today I wanted to give you a quick weekly update.

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do with my life currently. We all have those dreams. Some are more long term and some pop up at specific times in your life. For me the signs keep pointing to yes lately with one of my dreams.

On Tuesday I got my tax refund money so I decided to write a list of useful things to spend your return on. You might be surprised of things out there that you can spend your money on that won't feel like an impulse buy. I even surprised myself a little.

I have been keeping with my goal of working out 6 days a week. I went to the gym Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I went to my yoga class on Thursday. Saturday I walked 5 miles at the outdoor outlets, and today I am headed out for a hike. It makes me feel so much better about myself when I keep active.

On Thursday in my yoga class I had a revelation. We were learning about the Humble Warrior and how it reminds us about humility. I have been having a tough time with my feelings lately. This pose reminded me that I need to take a step back in tough situations in order to protect myself and clear my head. The class was amazing. I felt so full of life and energetic.

On Saturday R and I met with our wedding coordinator and chef at our venue. We set our menu and went over some logistics. And of course there was some wine. Okay maybe a lot of wine. Perks of getting married at a winery. I feel really good about all of our decisions. Our wedding is going to be a great time for all who attend.

We headed from the winery to the outlets where I really enjoy shopping end of season sales at amazing discounts. I left with 4 new sweaters and a pair of sneakers for under $60. Can't beat that at all.

Now let me get back to my list of things to spend your refund on. I sent out a tweet on Friday about a possible giveaway coming.. this is going to be a flash giveaway of sorts.. I ended up fulfilling one of these ideas on Wednesday. I purchased something for me...

Flash Giveaway Rules

I listed 10 useful items to spend your tax refund on on Wednesday. To enter the flash giveaway you need to tell me in the comments which item you believe I bought for myself. I also would love to know which of those items you would use your tax money on as well. Winner must have shared what they would choose to spend their refund on as well.


I will enter all correct guesses into a drawing. I will pick one person at random. 

I will pick a winner for this giveaway on Tuesday evening and post the winner on Wednesday's blog post. Because this is a flash giveaway that is being entered in the comments you must be "present" to win. This means I will only post the winners name in the blog post. I will not be sending out an e-mail.  You must e-mail me within 48 hours of me announcing the winner. 

The winner will get a $20 gift card of your choice!

Good luck to all that enter!

Happy Sunday!



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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

10 things to spend your taxes on


It's that time of year again. You know the time where you either owe the IRS or you get back a nice refund? I know very little people who meet somewhere in the middle. I am one of those people who doesn't see the point in breaking even and God forbid I have to pay, so I always receive a refund.

Now with that being said, I normally am a saver. I put the money in the bank for a rainy day. With my past experiences in life and crazy stuff always coming up out of nowhere, this has always been very helpful. I have emergency money. Something a lot of people can't say they have.

Now taking that one step further, this also means I have never used the money to take that big vacation I see so many people take or buy that new 90 inch flat screen tv that always seems to make its way onto Facebook in that obligatory, "Look what we just bought" photo.

This year I think it's going to be a tad bit different. Not that I am going to go out and buy a 90 inch tv or take that large vacation, but this year has significance. This will be my last year of filing taxes as a single individual. I am going to get married in September, so next year will be a whole new ball game. Now with that being said, I have compiled a list of the top 10 things I would buy with my tax money if I ever let the fear of spending it go away... (These are individual ideas, I would not purchase all of this with my return, as I do not receive a large enough return to purchase all 10 items.. wah)

1. A new laptop. My current laptop is considered a dinosaur at this point. Not as old as one would think, but it has definitely slowed down over the years and doing normal day to do things can be a hassle.

2. A spring wardrobe. I feel like I never buy myself new clothes. Not because I don't like to buy new things, but I have the hardest time finding things I life in a price range I can afford. I like to leave a store with multiple items for under a certain amount of money. Using tax money might help me get over that a little bit.

3,  A year membership to a fancy gym in my neighborhood. This is a place I cannot afford to pay a monthly fee for currently, but if I could pay for the year up front this would be golden. I mean there is a pool guys..

4. A new bed. Now yes this would be shared with R, but it is something we have been talking about. My last new bed was a hand me down from someone else, and the bed we currently sleep in is over a decade old. It is time for a new bed.

5. Speaking of beds, I have always wanted a really nice sound machine for sleeping. I have a hard time sleeping most nights and R's snoring does not help. Having a nice soothing sound machine would do the trick, or so I hope..

6. A book shopping spree. Let's face it, books are expensive, but nothing pleases me more than browsing a book store. I could leave with more than I need and spend a fortune, but going in there knowing I can spend some money would be so blissful.

7. I would get my car detailed. It's been winter here in the north and my poor black car is pretty white from salt. My car already has a rust issue from its previous owner, so getting it cleaned inside and out professionally would be a great help.

8. Take a class. I am always up for learning something new. Now that Spring is in the air and I actually want to leave my house, taking a weekly class would be fun.

9. Put it towards something for the wedding. As much as I find this option lower on my list, I do know it would be helpful to use some of the money for an expense related to the wedding.

10. Maybe I will just put it back in the bank and hold on to it.. probably not the best idea but it still has crossed my mind just in case.

What do you plan to do with your tax money? Are you a saver like me or does the money burn a hole in your pocket as soon as you get it?



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Monday, March 7, 2016

When the signs point to yes


If you told me 5 years ago that I would sign up for a yoga series by myself and enjoy it, I probably would of laughed in your face. Number one, yoga is boring. Number two, who likes to do things alone? Well I completely overgrew that brat stage. In January 2015 I signed up for my first series of yoga classes. I did it for me and only me. It made sense that I had to sign up alone.

I finished the classes and felt a lot better about so much in my life. I felt lighter and my body didn't ache as much. It was glorious. But as life goes on, I made myself "busy", or so I told myself and yoga just became something I did once to help relieve stress. I took a few classes here and there with friends, but never really "practiced". I would look at my mat and sigh. I should be using it, but again I had no time.

Last fall I was at my wits end with stress. My job felt like it was killing me slowly and everything around me felt negative. I saw an ad for a 6 week beginners yoga class and felt like it was a sign. I wasn't a beginner per say, but I needed to go back to the basics. I needed some structure and this course looked like the place for me.

After signing up for the class an amazing job opportunity came my way. It was the opportunity I had been dreaming about it. I started my new job in November and started the first of 6 classes of yoga that Saturday. I felt like it was a sign.

I felt at home here. The space was warm and inviting and the instructor was amazing. I was sad when the class ended, but knew this time I could not let my practice become stagnant again.

I signed up for another course in January. An 8 week course of a 3 part series. 24 weeks in total when I complete them all. I just finished my 5th week and I am starting to see this as a passion of mine. Something I can see myself doing long term. Teaching.

Now the question in my heart is, do I pursue this?


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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday Snap: Life update



I feel like I slept my weekend away. For the last 2 weeks I am slowly getting over some virus/bug that has been going around work. It kind of feels like the flu on speed. It moves very quick from one symptom to the next but it hits you hard. I have had some massive joint aches followed by a fever and nausea, and then some congestion and headache. I believe I am on the mend but I am just super tired today.

Let me do a quick recap of the last 2 weeks in blog posts and such because I feel like stuff was posted and things happened but I didn't have enough energy to talk about any of it....

On Monday, February 22nd I posted about some of my ambitions. I am sure this was put up before this flu thing hit me. I have felt like all my dreams and ambitions have gone out the door since feeling sick. Darn bug!

Thursday, February 25th I crawled myself to the computer to post about this AMAZING giveaway I am apart of that is still going on for another 4 days.. Bloggers this one is for you and it is a good one! If you haven't entered you are missing out!

On Friday I dragged my butt out of bed early and went to the gym with my friend. I thought maybe getting myself moving a bit would help me feel better.. It kind of did but no miracles yet.

On Saturday I had Panera Bread for the first time in years and it was super yummy. Not even 20 minutes after eating we were in PetSmart shopping for Grace and I had the most awkward burning feeling in my chest. Like hardcore pain. I couldn't handle the uneasiness of how it felt so I ended up in urgent care hooked up to an EKG machine. Turns out my heart is fine, but because I have been popping so much ibuprofen due to the aches from this bug, I have irritated my esophagus (or food pipe as the doctor kept calling it..).

I had to change my diet for a few days to a blander assortment to give my esophagus some time to heal. This meant no coffee.. wah! On Sunday my parents visited and met Grace for the first time. They fell in love as I knew they would.

Monday the 29th came around (Figures.. we get another Monday for leap year.. lol) and I still wasn't feeling up to par but I still dragged myself to the gym. 

By Wednesday I FINALLY got a post up. Because I am 6 months away from my wedding I felt it was time to get a fitness plan in action. I posted my plan, hoping it would motivate me. And oldy but a goody.

I met my goal to do some form of exercise all week and Friday I even got up my March goals.

I  have learned so much about being patient with my body over the past few weeks. I reminded myself that sometimes I need to let it rest and put all of the stuff aside that isn't urgent. I don't like to neglect this blog and I feel like I did for a big, but I also worked on me and that feels good.

I hope you all had a great couple of weeks and a nice weekend. I am hoping to make it out to a local museum today that is hosting a free family day. I have never been so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I will feel good enough to go.

See ya tomorrow!


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Friday, March 4, 2016

Marching into March with some new goals

Oh hey March, where'd you come from so quickly? Well since you're here and all I might as well set some goals. But first, let's see how I did with my February goals....

  • Plan more: Well I didn't do as well as I had hoped, but February didn't have so many plan-able things. It was busy, but day by day busy, not event by event busy..
  • Make time for my relationship: I did work on this. We didn't exactly get out much for date nights but we did get some important stuff sorted out. That counts right?
  • Post 12 or more blog posts: I actually accomplished this one without even trying. 12 exactly. Woot!
  • Be the best cat mom I can be: This one is easy. Grace is pretty easy to please and although she is getting more and more comfortable and getting into more things, she is still pretty great to have around. Expect an update on Grace soon!
  • Read 3 books: Fail. I read 1 book. I don't call this a complete fail though. I am putting this in my goals to encourage myself to read more. Last time this year I didn't read anything so I call that a somewhat win.
  • Find things to be grateful for daily: This is something I am doing and winning at. I enjoy writing about all of the things I am grateful for. I am keeping multiple journals now. More on that soon in an upcoming blog post!
  • Maybe, just maybe get back into wedding  planning: I actually started working my butt off on wedding planning. I am about 6 months away and have slacked off BIG time! I'm hoping to get my act together and get it all done pronto. 
So not to bad in February. I don't see it as a big fail. Just learning experiences. Now onto March:

  • Keep my fitness routine. I did so good this week. I followed my new routine and I feel so great because of it.  Now that I got myself through 1 week I want to challenge myself to keep it up. Wish me luck!
  • Keep reading: I am not going to put a number because then it isn't fun anymore. I need to keep my mind exercised and I will do that 1 book at a time. 
  • Host a party/get together: I love having people over. I always have ideas and then I don't do them. I just had a coloring and wine party last Friday and it was great. Reminded me that I can host successful events and enjoy them all at the same time. 
  • Revamp the blog: I want to update a few things. Refresh it up a little. I have a few ideas but don't want to promise to much yet. It's in the works and I'm hoping it happens in March. 
  • Wedding planning: I want to continue to move forward in my planning. It won't plan itself right? 
So there you have it. My once again simple and realistic goals. What's your March looking like?
 
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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A workout routine from the past

workout routine

A few years ago I had a pretty solid workout schedule in place.  It worked for me and I was in shape. I felt good and was happy. Just like anything else though, curiosity got the best of me and I had to try something new. When that something else didn't work I'd move on to the next thing.

Here I am today out of shape and annoyed at myself. I wonder to myself why I ever stopped doing what worked for me. I have to remind myself that what works for one person, won't always work for the next person.

This week I have implemented my old plan with some new things. The new things are yoga sequences that are helping me with some of my tight spots I've encountered. I'm going to see if this routine still works for me. I am 2 days in and I'm already starting to feel better.

I wanted to share with you what I am doing in hopes that maybe my little routine may help one of you.

Monday: Gym- 1 Hour (10 minute increments alternating between cardio and weights/machines)

Tuesday: Home exercise. Stretches and heart rate raisers like mountain climbers and jumping jacks for 30 minutes.

Wednesday: Gym- 1 Hour (10 minute increments alternating between cardio and weights/machines)

Thursday: 1.5 Hour Yoga class (A series I've committed 8 weeks to)

Friday: Gym- 1 Hour (10 minute increments alternating between cardio and weights/machines)

Saturday: Various activities. They could include hiking, walking, house cleaning, and new activities I've wanted to try.

Sunday: Rest day.

What does your workout schedule look like?


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