February 19, 2018

Things I Believe In

I am flat out ripping a page out of Steph's blog and making it my own. Or not my own, but you know what I mean. A few weeks ago she posted about the things she does and does not believe in and today I'm following suit. 

Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

... travelling as often as possible

... being alone sometimes

... quietly observing

... actions speaking louder than words

... family not being defined by blood

... the 21st Amendment

... having hobbies that take you out of your comfort zone

... talking to strangers

... giving for the sake of giving

... the healing properties of the ocean

... silence

... the power of positivity

... manifestation (good and bad)

... a higher power (call it the Universe, Spirit, God, Source, etc... there are forces higher than we)

... kindness

... doing things that feel good

... purging

... global warming

... having a voice and making it heard

... journaling

... karma

... days off

How about you? What do you believe in? 

February 14, 2018

Books Lately

I saw a reminder tweet from Steph yesterday about the book link up and figured I'd join in. After all, I've actually been reading!

I saw a reminder tweet from Steph yesterday about the book link up and figured I'd join in since I've been reading!

It's been so nice to actually get lost in a book again. I burned out bad at the end of 2016 and only read 14 books in all of 2017. That's a record low for me. I wanted to read, the desire was there, but it always felt like a chore and that's the last thing reading should be. It was sad for me and I was hoping this year would be a fresh start and I would be able to greet my old friend. 

So far, it's going well. 

Last Stop in Brooklyn | Lawrence H. levy

I was on Blogging For Books a few weeks ago and happened to see that Lawrence H. levy had a new Mary Handley book out. Of course I requested it and finished it immediately. I absolutely love this series and am now anxiously awaiting the fourth installment of the series. 

Last Stop in Brooklyn by Lawrence H. Levy

The Girl in the Italian Bakery | Kenneth Tingle

I dove deep into the Kindle archives for this one. I've had this on my digital shelf since.... maybe 2014? I finally decided to read it if not more so so that I could finally stop scrolling past it and feeling guilty. Also, there's that whole Committing to Less thing I have going on.... anyway. 

The book starts out a little slow in my opinion, but it is not devoid of action. Kenny and his brothers are constantly getting into mischief. As I continued reading part of me was disappointed in Kenny because I could see the potential in him. He just needed to get out of his own way. On the other hand, I found myself in his corner so to say, and was hoping life would give him a break. Overall, I enjoyed reading this. The book held my attention and I felt invested in Kenny and his life enough to need to finish the book. 

The Girl in the Italian Bakery

Not Perfect | Elizabeth LaBan

This was my January Amazon Firsts selection. I gave it three stars on Goodreads but I suppose it deserves 2 to 2.5. The book wasn't bad... the main character was just infuriating. It read quickly and effortlessly, a nice escape during my morning and evening commutes but it was a book I could have just as easily walked away from. There were parts where I was annoyed with Tabitha and her lack of... fortitude, but overall, I found her character to be likable and even though she got on my nerves occasionally, I could understand her motives and reasons for doing things. 

Not Perfect: A Novel

Currently reading: 

The Year of Less | Cait Flanders

How about you - what are you reading lately?

Life According to Steph

February 05, 2018


A few weeks ago a Refinery 29 article caught my eye. It was talking about 29 Movies That Haven't Aged So Well  and it finally set me off about some things I've been thinking lately. 

Photo by Reddangelo

The article starts off condemning Disney classics like Fantasia, Dumbo, and Lady and the Tramp.  Granted, I am a Disney lover, so initially I was all seriously?? Disney?? but then I read the snippets. Dumbo "makes us cringe" because:
After hearing abut Dumbo's supposed ability, a group of skeptical crows sing the song "When I See An Elephant Fly." Here's the thing: The main Crow is named Jim — Jim Crow. Jim and his friends are clearly modeled off of racial stereotypes of Black people from the 1940s.

The critique on Lady and the Tramp
During "The Siamese Cat Song," the aptly-named Si and Am slink around their owner's house causing trouble. Siamese cats hail from Thailand — which had once been called Siam — so Disney animators gave the cats distinctly Asian accents. Another Siamese cat makes an appearance in The Aristocats. He plays a piano with chopsticks while singing a song with the lyrics, "Shanghai, Hong Kong, Egg Fu Young / Fortune Cookie always wrong."
The article goes on to list 31 other movies including Pretty Woman, White Chicks, Shallow Hal, Get Hard, Sixteen Candles, and Back to the Future.

Let me start by saying that the stereotypes discussed for each movie are not okay and I don't agree with them in the sense that they should be tolerated. However...

Let me say loud and clear that I am beyond tired of hearing the condemnation of shows/movies from the 90s or earlier because of their gay/trans/race/gender stereotypes. Obviously I don't agree about the discrimination of these groups but why are we {collectively, society, millennials, or what have you} judging shows and movies from 10+ years ago on TODAY's issues or general societal norms???

I can't even pretend to make sense of this. I raised the argument with friends at work and my one coworker agreed saying 
I am re-watching ER on Hulu and the way they portrayed AIDS and HIV is truly eye opening.  Back when these shows / movies were filmed, it was during a time when no one knew much or being openly gay was new.  No need to condemn the old shows / movies, but it is just simply interesting to see the difference.  
And that's exactly what it is - perspective. Societal views have somewhat progressed {fortunately} and you can't judge the past through the eyes of the present. It will never make sense.

I guess what's bothering me about the whole thing is that we are becoming an increasingly {over}sensitive country. That's not to say that these issues shouldn't be fought for - because they SHOULD - but what I can't seem to wrap my mind around is how we are judging the past through the eyes of the present. It feels very ethnocentric to me and it bothers me.

I'm curious to know your thoughts on this. 

February 01, 2018

January Committments

Last month I talked a lot about my goals for this year and roughly laid out how I intend to tackle them. I kept it vague because I'm trying something new where I only fully discuss them once completed. Since February is now here, it's time to recap where I committed. 

Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

I'm really proud of myself here. I fully embraced my 2018 word and got back in the saddle. I had rejoined WW back in December and I made a point to go to weigh-in every week, as well as staying for the meeting. I finally found a leader that I enjoy again. Aside from this, I made and kept all my personal training appoints for the month AND even got my butt back on the mat and recommitted to my yoga practice. I didn't realize how much I'd been missing this. 

This is something I've been slowly getting back to. I had missed writing but constantly felt at war with wanting to share and wanting to be more private. I'm still working out the boundaries but so far it's going well. 

52 Weeks of Lists
After being on my wish list for months, I was gifted this journal for my birthday. Some weeks I spend more time than others but I'm really enjoying the time I set aside to reflect on the question and the list that it creates for me. 

This is still, and will be, an ongoing task for the year but I made big leaps in getting one of my credit cards paid off. It went from being almost $1500 to less than $1000 since December. That's a big chunk repaid and I'm really excited to watch it keep going down.

Quality Downtime
For this, I focused on just doing things that felt good. I enjoy watching cooking or educational shows. Then again, sometimes I like watching River Monsters or the Action Bronson show. The point is, I'm doing something that feels relaxing to me and that I enjoy rather than filling my downtime with things I feel I should be doing - like journaling, reading, or meditating. don't get me wrong, I do enjoy doing those things, but when I feel an obligation it becomes a chore.

What did you take care of in January?

January 29, 2018

Planner Peace and How I Found It

In the planning world we often comment about trying to find "planner peace". Essentially it's when you have a planner that works perfectly for you; it's set up and decorated just the way you want, and everything is flowing nicely. Truth is, a lot of us don't find it and flit from one planning style to another. This was me. Today I'm sharing how I finally found "planner peace" and what it looks like for me.

After using both coil and ring bound planners I finally conceded and purchased an A6 Travelers Notebook. I could see the potential for greatness but knew the size wasn't right. Enter the B6. Bigger than the A6 but smaller than an A5, it was perfect. 

As a true planner girl I don't have just one. Both are from Chic Sparrow and I absolutely love them. On the left is a Pemberley Honey, on the right is an Outlander Time Traveler. It's a deep navy and it's beautiful!

There are certain things I like to have in any type of planner, the most important being space. I need to be able to write what I want without having to abbreviate everything and cramp it together. I used to use horizontal inserts in my rings but have since found that I really enjoy vertical planning.

I used to have a monthly and a weekly notebook in my setup but have realized that I use that view on my phone and not so much in pen-to-paper. Currently my set up includes weekly, lists, finances, gratitude, and fitness. I apologize for the color of the photos, the lighting at work is garbage.

  • I use my weekly to keep track of anything taking place during a given week. 
  • The lists notebook is for any plans, goals, to-do lists, etc. I need or want to make. 
  • The finances notebook is to keep track of the credit cards I'm working to pay off and gives me a hands on look at what I'm paying and to where. I like having this at my finger tips, especially as I'm paying down my debts but once I finish this notebook {year end} I won't replace it. 
  • I'm a huge proponent of gratitude so I use this book as a place to jot down quick reminders of things I was/am grateful for, no matter how small they may be.  
  • I use the fitness journal to keep track of my activity, water intake, and fitness goals. I like to see my progress but it's either all or nothing - I track it all or I don't touch it for days. This is a waste for me so once this is finished, I won't replace it. 

Combined, these notebooks give me everything I need to feel and stay organized. The thing I enjoy most about the TN style is that you can easily swap out or add notebooks as you choose. As I mentioned, I will most likely remove the finance and fitness notebooks as I finish them. it's possible that in the future I may move away from paper planning altogether since I'm mastered my digital calendar, but for now, this is how things look and I'm pleased with it.

January 25, 2018

I Can't Go on Without You

I was reading some blogs a while back and I was inspired to write abut the things I can't live without. Since it's been a  while since I've done a post where I've recommended some of my favorite things, I'm knocking out two birds. 

Here are three things {plus one} I can't go without:

At $42 a pop I kind of roll my own eyes at this. Thing is, it goes on like silk, matches my complexion perfectly, and it looks like I'm not wearing anything at all. As far as I'm concerned, $46 for flawless looking makeup is worth it! Not to mention, a bottle lasts me several months since I don't wear makeup every day. I've had this one since... the beginning of October and should be running out sometime in February.

2| LaCroix Sparkling Water
I started drinking these earlier this year and I'm not kidding when I say it's all I drink now. I've had almost all the flavors, Pampelmousse and Lime being my faves, and I don't see myself stopping any time soon. 

3| Apple synchronicity 
I used to hop back and forth between Apple and Samsung and the last time I went ti iPhone I swore that was the last time. Then, this summer, I got the Apple Watch and I loved it. All the goodness of my FitBit but I can take/make calls and messages. Then I bought myself a MacBook for my birthday and my world blew wide open. I knew it was an option but being able to text from the laptop is L I F E! 

I was gifted one of these for my birthday and I absolutely love it. Sure, I can get up and turn my lights on/off but the point is, I don't have to. For me, this is wonderful. The lamp in my living room is scheduled to turn on shortly before I get home from work. It's also scheduled to turn off at a time I should most likely be in bed. It's a nice visual reminder.

January 17, 2018

Year in Preview

Recently I posted about committing to 2018 and not over-goaling myself. After reading Alyssa's post, In Defense of Resolutions, I took some inspired action and got to work on deciding how I wanted the next 12 months to look. 

Photo by Danka & Peter on Unsplash

I want to have a very focused and committed year. I'm going to let my Type A tendencies take the lead here because the only way these items will be accomplished is if I stay diligent and committed. 

To quote Alyssa {emphasis added}, because she put it so perfectly,
You know what goals are. They're things you will achieve or accomplish; they're changes that will occur. They are things you will do or will not do. They are measurable. Goals are things that tell you what you'll need to work toward on a frequent basis. Goals often have benchmarks along the way or other indicators that help you measure progress. Goals generally don't happen overnight, but rather as the culmination of dedicated, focused work. Goals are things you have to actually give a shit about, because you will have to convince yourself that you should work toward them on days when you don't give a shit about anything. Resolutions historically sound like things you want to do more/less of. Here's how I see resolutions: Actions I want to choose. Not quite measurable, but that's OK. Not everything has to check a box. It's a habit, a routine, something I want to change.

I'm not going to get overly specific with my plans for 2018 as I know what they are and what steps I need to take to reach them. Instead, here is the umbrella topic of my top three goals.

  • Improve financial fitness
  • Improve health
  • Quality downtime
For me, improving financial fitness involves paying off a particular credit card {and half of another if  doable}, improving my credit score, lowering my D/I ratio, building/maintaining my savings, and being more conscientious about how I spend my money. 

Improving my health is something that I feel should always be on a goal/resolution list. I happened to see a commercial the other day that caught my ear. I think it was a retirement commercial {I could be totally wrong} and it was talking about how we are given one life. One set of lungs, one set of teeth, etc. If you want things to make it to 60..75...85... then they need to be cared for. That means continuing to schedule and attend personal training sessions and eating mindfully.  

Downtime is something I think I excel at. I'm great about taking vacations, enjoying my weekends {both doing something and nothing}, and taking "just because" days off. What I mean by quality downtime is that I want to blog more, read more, journal more, travel more.... be more. This also entails getting rid of things that no long serve me - things that have started to feel like an obligation instead of something that brings me joy or happiness. 

I'm really excited about these goals as they are not only goals but priorities and lifestyle changes. And seeing as how for the past year I have been complaint free, I'm more than happy to keep it going!