Thursday, December 7, 2017

Live and Let Live

Although I've been MIA from blogland for quite some time, I have been very present in my real life. I've been purging and replacing; saving and storing, and it feels great! Here's what I've been up to.



+ At the end of October I made the leap and bought a new couch. The delivery guys couldn't get it in the house. This ended up being a blessing in disguise because when I went to pick a "back up" I ended up loving it much more and it was delivered mid-November. It's heavenly. I bought the rug the following weekend and now I'm completely in love with my living room.



+ I went to my first Friendsgiving and it was so much. The dishes everyone brought were so, so good and there were so many laughs shared. I can't wait to do it again next year.



+ Mid-month Alyssa and I met up for happy hour and much needed conversation. it was the best day of the week.

+ That same weekend I got my hair cut and treated myself to a free movie {yay!} and redeemed my birthday coupon for free popcorn {double yay!} and went to see Murder on the Orient Express. I'll admit I had never read the story so I found the movie to be very enjoyable since I had no idea whodunit.



+ I took the day before Thanksgiving off {something I've never done} in order to travel stress free. Let me tell you how amazing this was! There was NO traffic and I made it home in less than 2.5 hours. I then had the afternoon to meet up with friends and then picked my niece up from school and took her to lunch. It was a great day. 

+ For my birthday I threw myself a birthday happy hour and invited some of my favorite people. The evening ended with me staying out until 1 AM and then calling out of work the next day because who wants to work on their birthday!? The actual day of was magical. 






All in all, November was a pretty nice month. It passed quickly, much like the rest of the year has, but it was certainly enjoyable!










Friday, December 1, 2017

Living Your Best Life

Good Morning from Chicago!!!

I feel like I'm in hardcore blogger mode right now - Starbucks to my right, MacBook on my lap, sitting in an airpot waiting on my flight. I don't think it gets any more official than this. 

As I make my way back into semi-regular blogging I was reading a week or so ago and was turned on to Alexandra's collaboration for living your best life. It was too late in the month to participate but fortunately for me, the challenge has been such a success that they extended into December.



As you may have heard, 2017 has been my Year of Less. I have to say it's been pretty productive and it's absolutely made me feel better and lighter in all aspects. I may be on a plane at the moment {more on that next week} but I'm so excited to dive in and continue living my best life.

In case you've never heard of it, this is what it's all about in Shea's words:

Here's a look at the December prompts.




Each Monday we share our ideas for how we'll complete the coming week's prompts.

I got a jump on the first few days since I knew I was going to be out of town {I'll fill you in later}

December 1 - make hot chocolate: I plan to complete this one my the end of the day today. I had a 5 AM flight and am feeling a bit under the weather so I made a hot toddy on the plane {win!} but I love me some hot chocolate so I know it's coming.


December 2 - shop your closet for holiday outfits: I have a holiday party tonight with the Punishers LEMC so I actually shopped my closet Wednesday and Thursday and put this together. It's nothing too fancy, but I'm happy with it, and I'll be comfortable all night! Black jeans by Levis; shell by Loft; Blazer and necklace from I don't remember; shoes by Steve Madden




December 3 - start a new holiday tradition: My mom and I have pretty much already started this. I can't even out into words how much we scaled Christmas down this year. We agreed that we would buy 1 present for each person (there are 4 of us) and do stockings, and that's it.

December 4 - take a holiday stress off your plate: I'm still on the fence about this one because it's something I've never done buuutt.... I may not put up my Christmas tree this year. It feels very Grinchy but at the same time, it's going to require rearranging the living room, and I'm just not in the mood to haul out all the decor, put it up, and then pack it all away again. We'll see but I think I'm going to just do the other stuff {snow globe, wreath, pillow} this year to keep it easy. 



That's how I tend to kick off December living my best life!  Tell me, are you participating in the challenge? And if not, how can/are you living your life this holiday season?


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thoughts on Things

I feel like so much and nothing is going on at the same time. Outwardly, I suppose it's a lot of nothing. Internally and behind the scenes, a lot is taking place. As such, I have some thoughts rolling around my head and figured I needed to use my digital penceive to get them out.



+ This year my family is not exchanging Christmas gifts. Part of me is all are you kidding me!? but another part is saying ok. this is good.  The thing is, my niece is 5 and has ZERO interest in Christmas. It strikes me as incredibly odd but she just doesn't care. She'd rather play in the paper than open gifts. And when you talk to her it's a lot of 'remember when we...' which is honestly the way it should  be. She remembers the things we do and the places I take her and has no care for materialistic items.

+ While watching the news yesterday morning several JCPenney commercials aired. being one of my favorite stores I was half listening to see if they had any good deals for this weekend. Then the announcement came that their doors were opening at 2 pm on Thanksgiving day. I have never been more disappointed in a company. I want to write a letter but I can't even formulate what to say other than shame on you and this disrespectful behavior. 

+ The House approved the proposed tax bill... and I actually read the news on it. It's incomprehensible to me how certain individuals constantly complain about the increasing national debt, yet this very policy they've proposed, and approved, is set to raise the debt by 1.4 trillion dollars over 10 years. And one of the proposed changes - reducing corporate tax from 35% to 20% - will cost 1.5 trillion dollars over that same time period. 

+ I am sooo full of gratitude lately. I stepped out of my bedroom this past weekend and almost started crying over how much I love the way my living room, and entire apartment, have come together. This is now my favorite room in the house. 

+ I've mentioned it here and there about getting my finances in order but I have officially reached a point where the current "story of my finances" is no longer serving me. It hasn't been for a while, but I have finally taken steps to change it. And it feels amazing.  

+ I've always thought that making friends as an adult is difficult. And although I suppose it still can have its challenges, what I have noticed is that the people I would call "friend" today, are people I genuinely want in my life, not because I feel like I'm obligated to keep communication open. Quality over quantity. 

+ Earlier in the season I volunteered to participate in my company's work with NY Cares and buy holiday gifts for 3 kids and a senior. You guys, I can't tell you how full my heart was reading these letters to Santa and being able to buy these kids, and senior, everything they asked for. If I receive nothing else this year, that feeling, of selflessly giving to someone else, and knowing that it will make them happy, was more than enough.

+ I am so excited for the first snow. Like, really truly, super excited this year. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I have someone to do snow things with? I don't know. Either way, I'm praying for snow days.


Those are just a few of the thoughts and things on my mind lately.

How about you?

What have you been mulling over?







Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Dear Santa...

It's hard to believe we're halfway through November and yet here we are. 

Since my birthday and the holidays are coming up in a few short weeks I figured it was only fitting that I share this years wishlist. I have to say, it’s pretty sparse, even for my list making self. 

For several years now I’ve only ever asked for things I wanted or needed but didn’t want to purchase myself. That hasn’t changed but the new thing I’ve noticed is simply that I want less stuff overall.

Here’s a look at my “Charlie Brown” birthday/holiday wish list.


Untitled #56


1| KitchenAid -Speed Hand Blender: I've decided my kitchen needs one of these so I can whip up soup easily, or so I can de-chunk my favorite salsas {I hate chunky salsa!} 

2| Bed in a Bag: This doesn't need to be exact as I'm just as happy with a new set of microfiber sheets.  

3| Looney Tunes Golden Collection: This has been on my wish list for several months, if not a couple years. I grew up watching this show so it's 100% a nostalgia gift, but I want it nonetheless for those snowy days when i'm not leaving the couch.

4| Mia 2 Skin Clearing System: I've had my eye on this for some time but the price tag, and my general bad habits when it comes to makeup removal, have prevented me from making the leap. I've gotten much better about my routine and I think I'm finally ready for a big girl toy!

5| Ziploc vacuum storage bags: I don't necessarily need these but they would certainly free up half my linen shelf space and that would make me pretty happy. Not to mention I could use them for seasonal clothes and get rid of my storage bins! 

If this wishlist doesn't scream adulting - I don't know what does!


What's on your  holiday wishlist; is there something I should add?




Friday, November 10, 2017

Lately...

I'm surprised I remember how to even find this space. I got a message from an IRL friend basically scolding me for not having posted since the end of September. I didn't realize it had been that long. Confession: I also didn't mind.

Since I haven't showed my face around here for several weeks I figured it was best to just play catch up. Here's what I've been up to.



Watching: 50 movies in 67 days. In other words, I was the first person to finish Jenn's Fall Film Challenge. I have to say, it feels awesome! I finished binging on Stranger Things and now I'm trying to finish some other shows I've been procrastinating on. I've also started watching the news again in the morning. 

Reading: I'm working on getting through The Night of the Moths by Ricardo Bruni. It was my November Kindle First pick. It's short, but moving quickly, and I like it. 

Eating: I'm trying to do a modified low/no carb thing again. Mainly because it makes me feel better when I eat less carbs. This time was more difficult so I amended it to just being conscious of my bread/pasta intake (aiming for once per day if at all). 

Playing: Jeopardy! I don't care if it makes me sound like a 65 year old, Jeopardy is the shit and I'm actually pretty good at it. 

Buying: I'm trying not to buy anything right now since Black Friday is coming. Buut... my new couch gets delivered tomorrow and I am beyond excited!

Going: My coworker is hosting a Friendsgiving tomorrow night so I'm heading into the city for that. I have no idea what to bring so if you have any suggestions, I'm open to them!

Creating: My planning bug took a bit of a backseat lately but I've been trying to use up my stock and I've drastically cut back on what and how much I buy. Truth be told, I'm tired of dumping money into stickers. I have bigger creative goals I want to accomplish.

Purging: Last month I did a complete sweep of my social media accounts. I deleted more than 46 "friends" and unfollowed or deleted several groups from Facebook. I deleted more than 50 accounts from Twitter and more than 158 from Instagram. I went through my closet, tried things on, and was brutally honest. Am I keeping this because I love it or because "it will fit when I lose weight"? I also went through books, and other things.

Wearing: This is going to sound ridiculous, but I've rediscovered Levi's jeans and I'm in love. If they're on sale, I'm buying them.

That's a glimpse of what I've been up to in the past few weeks. How about you? What's going on?



Friday, September 29, 2017

Fall Film Challenge - An Update

As you may or may not know every fall Jenn hosts the Fall Film Challenge. The first year I participated I was one of the first to finish {in yo face!} and I'm hoping to repeat it this year and  get through the bonus round. 

To keep you all up to speed, here's a recap of what I watched this month. Go here for a refresh on my 2017 list.



one. Starring anthony hopkins. Red 2 
This has been on my TBW list since it was being previewed in theaters {basically, a long time}. I actually had no idea Anthony Hopkins was in this so it was an easy choice for the challenge. 

two. Listed on nathan bransford's best hundred movies challenge. The Shawshank Redemption 
I feel like this movies was my "Eleanor" {please tell me someone other than Stephanie gets this reference?!}. It's always on TV. Everyone says it's a must-see classic. I'm over here all next! I've just never had any interest in seeing this movie. Even the librarian said it's great and I really should watch it. Well.... it's been seen. And it was good. 

three. About charity: As Good as it Gets 
I really liked this movies. The cast all worked well together. Jack Nicholson plays the perfect crotchety neighbor and Cuba Gooding Jr. is hilarious as a street savvy art dealer. 

four. Starring robert downey, jr. Avengers: Age of Ultron
As I've seen the rest of the Avengers/Marvel franchise. expected to like this and I did. Now to wait 2527 years for the next follow up to be released. 

five. About envy: Envy 
I found this movie to be more annoying than anything. Sure, there were parts that were amusing, but overall, I certainly wasn't impressed. 

six. About faith. Hail,Caesar! 
I feel like I'm in the minority here but I did not like this movie. I was bored the entire time, didn't find it funny and was more or less counting down until the credits rolled. 

seven. About greed. Deepwater Horizon 
I don't know what I can say about this movie. It was sad. My eyes ran. I was pissed off at BP, I was pissed off at the greed that US companies have; the procedures, protocols, AND LIVES that they turn a blind eye to for the sake of making a profit. The movie was well done I thought,

eight. About hope. Passengers 
I enjoyed this one. It wasn't what I was expecting at all but I liked it.

nine. Starring jeremy irons. Assassin’s Creed 
The entire time I watched this all I did was think about how much I loved and miss playing the video game. I can't wait for the follow-up movies to come out. Plus, Jeremy Irons has an amazing voice and I would listen to him read a grocery list for Home Depot. 

ten. About justice. Deadpool 
I'm not sure why I avoided watching this while it was in theaters because it was pretty amusing. The jokes and puns were clearly on purpose but the movie was entertaining and held my attention.

eleven. Starring kevin bacon. Wild Things 
Initially this movie made me mad but as I kept watching I realized it was a ridiculously twisted web of deceit and lies. Once it became clear what was going on I actually was annoyed for having watched it. The ending irritated me and I felt like I had wasted 108 minutes of my life. 

twelve. About lust. Vicky Cristina Barcelona 
I thought this was going to be incredibly boring but I found that I liked it. Any movie with Javier Barden is a plus in my book. 

thirteen. Starring ian mckellen. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
Finally watched this and although I very much prefer the original animated version, this was well done. The costumes and sets were amazing and I can appreciate the work that went into the movie. Josh gad is so underappreciated. He plays the most perfect LeFou ever. 

fourteen. Set in a castle. The Other Boleyn Girl 
I said it in the Facebook group for the challenge, and I'll say it again, if the king looked like Eric Bana in this movie I'd happily be his mistress. This movie was surprisingly good and now I'm curious to watch Elizabeth simply for the "follow up" story. 

fifteen. About fortitude. switch to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 
I really wanted to see The Glass Castle but by the time my schedule permitted it was being pulled and was only showing in the middle of the weekday afternoon. I switched to Mr. Smith since I'd never seen it {requirement} and it sounded ok. You guys, I'm in love with this movie. I was so enthralled. moved. Proud. It amazes me the way history repeats itself. The way things, that we've resigned to being outdated, are still very much relevant. This movie made me wish so much that someone like Mr. Smith would go to Washington and speak the truth; adhere to honor, integrity, and morals. That someone would maintain the fortitude to stand up FOR the people, as they are elected and appointed to do. 

sixteen. About pride. Pride& Glory 
I personally found this to be an excellent cop movie. The corrupt cop thing has been sooo many times but this one was really enjoyable. I definitely recommend it. 

seventeen. Starring alan rickman. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves 
I found this movie to be incredibly boring. I have only said a handful of times these following words: I hate this movie. Alan Rickman's character was engaging since he plays an amazing "bad guy" but otherwise the movie was slow and incredibly uninteresting.

eighteen. Released last year and reviewed on slothsandmovies.com. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them 
In my personal opinion, this book has absolutely nothing to do with Harry Potter. There is ONE mention of Dumbledore and Hogwarts and it's very off hand. As for this movie, I like it enough. It held my attention and there were parts I found funny. 

 nineteen. About temperance. The Karate Kid (2010)
I'm just going to say it... this one got me a little teary-eyed. The scene where he runs to the Kung Fu school and watches them all practicing in the square moved me. Like, wow. So graceful. So in sync. 

twenty. About prudence. Sense and Sensibility (1995)
I've long suspected Jane Austen and I are not to be friends but we may have a respectful understanding now. I was surprised but I was interested in this movie from the very beginning. It was long. Longer than I care for {unless it's GWTW} but it was worth it. 

twenty-one. Starring val kilmer. Batman Forever 
Another movie I was pleasantly surprised by. I expected it to be boring and quite outdated given when it came out, but I really enjoyed it. Not to mention Val Kilmer was pretty adorable in his heyday.

twenty-two. About wrath. Gone Girl 
I'm  on the fence about this movie. After watching it I wish I had read the book 1st rather than putting it off, and although the movie was good, and I did not know what to expect since I didn't read the book, I did not like the ending. 

twenty-three. Set in an exotic locale. The Jungle Book (2016)
As a Disney junkie I'm kind of being blasphemous in saying this, but The Jungle Book is one of my least favorite Disney movies. The scenes were well done and even the animated animals looked relatively life-like but as with Beauty & the Beast, I still prefer the animated version. 

twenty-four. About gluttony. Marie Antoinette 
This movie was enough to keep me entertained but it wasn't action packed at all. And yes, I realize it's not an action movie but I feel like the entire movies absolutely nothing of substance happened. 

twenty-five. Set in space. The Martian 
I was impressed with this and wish I had read the book. Matt Damn is a great actor and really nails it in this one. 



And in case you haven't noticed...

I'M FINISHED!

I can't even tell you how excited I am to be done. All I was thinking was the sooner I finish, the sooner I can take a break before the bonus round starts!

How about you? Are you participating?  What's your list look like now that we're a month in? 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Honesty Feels Like...

Hello.

Is this thing on?

I know. It's only been 342857 days since I've shown up here to actually post something. And I know we all talk about blogger funks and summer schedules, because it IS a very real thing. But if I'm being honest, I have had absolutely no desire to show up in this space, or lately, in life. I have been feeling disinterested in a lot of things lately. I haven't wanted to plan, or read, or go out, or work out... all of which are taking a toll.

It's funny to me that while drafting this I put it on pause. I decided to start catching up with all of you only to read that both Kristen and Lindsay posted about being off and in a funk as well. It was nice to know that I wasn't alone in my feelings.



I am a strong believe in goals and plans. Even if I don't always follow them, it helps me to have an outline of sorts. Here is what I'm doing to to stop feeling stuck:

/continue working out - go harder: I started going back to the gym regularly a few weeks ago. I got twice a week during my lunch break, one of which is a personal training session. I also try to go on Saturdays but haven't been successful yet. I need to commit to this. I also need to increase my intensity.

/start cooking at home again: If there's one thing I enjoy, it's cooking. Mixing ingredients, blending flavors. It really does make me happy. Another perk, it will save money in the long run. I fully intend to make use of both of my crock-pots this season.

/read more - actually finish a book: I am notorious for starting, yet not finishing books. I love reading. Every time I think about this all I can say is wtf is wrong with you?!  finish the g-d book! I'm 6 books away from completing my Goodreads challenge and if I finish the books I'm currently reading, I'll be halfway there

/stop being all or nothing: I am very much an all-or-nothing kind of person. To the point where perfection {which I never though of myself as} leads to procrastination {this I've known}. I have always been relaxed and go-with-the-flow and although that hasn't changed, my Type A tendencies are becoming stronger as I'm getting older and I'm not quite sure how to deal with them.

/be more informed: It's no secret that I dislike the news. On a general level, it bores me to tears. I don't have any interest in things that are going on, literally, on the other side of the world. And yes, I realize how ignorant this is. And yes, it does bother me. To the point where I am making a point to read at least 3 news articles a day. And not from Buzzfeed or Refinery 29. I downloaded BBC News and selected several categories that I felt I would have an interest in.

/focus on finances: This has been a point of stress for me for longer than I can remember. I make a decent salary. My expenses aren't unmanageable. There's no reason for me not to have a built up savings account and the ability to travel at will . What's preventing this from happening? My impulsive shopping and eating out. I'm bored with having lingering CC debt. Time to wrap it up and get rid of it.


Like Kristen said in her post, I don't want to say that I'm unhappy, because overall, I'm not. I have a good life. But I know that happiness must come from within so this is my game plan. These are the areas in my life I feel less than and this is how I intend to build myself back up.


What do you do to get back on track with yourself?