December 28, 2016

Dunzo

I quit.

Ok, that's a little dramatic. Here's the thing - this was THE most stressful move I have ever had. My packing was on point but everything after that was a major pain in the ass.

First of all, December started off pretty mild. The week I'm set to start moving it decided to drop into the low 20s. The actual day I was going to move the bulk of my stuff - random snow storm. Mind you, this didn't deter me. It just kept me to one trip instead of multiples. Every night after I got home I loaded my car to the brim and took as much stuff over as possible. Moving in 20 degree weather, in the dark is. not. fun. 

From there on it was just a hassle. Not one person offered to help me in any capacity {for the record, to my IRL blog friends - this is NOT geared towards you in any way}. The only exception was my friend S and her husband who helped me paint the living room one night. So grateful for that because I never would have finished it on my own.

The bedroom still needed painting and there were still about 3 car loads worth of stuff to move. 

Then I needed to figure out how I was going to move the big stuff - bed, couch, dressers... This was probably the most stressful part. I was initially going to hire someone from a Craigslist ad. Quick, cheap labor, right? Then I second guessed it and decided to try Thumbtack to see if I could find a reputable company... just in case anything happened. Some of the quotes were pricey {$105/hr with a minimum of 3 hours and 1 hour of travel} so I decided to say F it and go with the Craigslist people. Then they told me they're cash only {of course they are} and I didn't feel good about that so I went back to Thumbtack and secured a company 24 hours before I wanted to move.

I was given a "9-11" window the day they were set to come and then at 10:24 get a text saying they were running late due to a truck issue and would be there at 11-12 at the latest. They showed up at 11:45. I'm sure you can imagine my rage.

Rant over. In any event, I'm fully moved in now. I was worried my dressers wouldn't fit and the movers carried them in like a breeze. Ironically, it was my couch that was a tight fit. A couple inches bigger and it wouldn't have made it.

At the current rate I'm going I anticipate living out of boxes for the next 6 months because at this point, I have no interest in putting anything away. Energy level: zero




Although, at some point I expect my Type A tendencies to take over and to be up until the wee hours one Friday night getting it all done. Balance? 








December 27, 2016

Favorite Reads of 2016

For me, 2016 was a good year for books. I read a lot, although I was shy of reaching my goal. If we're not friends on Goodreads, look me up! I love to see what everyone is reading or what they thought about books I also read. 

Earlier this month Goodreads gave me a fun little synopsis of the books I'd read. 


I love that Alyssa's book made the list. And The Alchemist? By far one of my favorites. Speaking of favorites, here's a look at the books I enjoyed most this year.



Leaving Time | Jodi Piccoult

I still love this book. It had everything I love in a good story. There was suspense, mystery, love, sadness, elephants, a little spirituality.... this was a perfect starter Picoult book for me.










The Alchemist | Paulo Coelho

Anyone who has read or listened to this knows how great it is. I listened to it driving home from Mom's one weekend and although it resonated with me, I want a paper version so I can annotate and highlight - it was that good.









Bossypants | Tina Fey

This book was a favorite because it was real... and funny. Unlike Yes, Please this book actually had me laughing and agreeing with the author from start to finish. I'm a bit picky on comedienne books because I feel like a lot of the humor and relatability gets lost in the delivery (i.e book) but Tina's sense of humor shines through.








June | Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

I fell for this book as soon as I started reading it. I received it from Blogging for Books and the cover and synopsis alone were enough to pull me in. I'm so glad I picked it because it was a perfect read.









Furiously Happy | Jenny Lawson

Jenny's books slayed. I preferred this to Let's Pretend This Never Happened but both were enjoyable. The Bloggess isn't a daily or even weekly read of mine but her books.... hysterical, relatable gold.









Deliver Her | Patricia Perry Donovan

I chose this from Amazon firsts (or whatever its called) and absolutely loved it. The book was a sort of coming of age for both mother and daughter tied together by the sense of family and so much they thought they knew. It truly moved me and I look forward to reading more from this author.









The Things We Wish Were True | Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

This was another Amazon choice and I really enjoyed it. The book was mildly predictable but that doesn't stop me from enjoying something. I liked the sense of community and shared secrets that everyone had a part in, whether they knew it or not.












December 21, 2016

Winter is Coming

Back in June there was this link up that I missed where we all laid out our seasonal goals. Of course I wasn't going to let a little lateness deter me so I posted mine eventually. Monthly goals are too easily forgotten. I make them and almost immediately forget what they were. It's a viscous cycle. But seasonal goals, quarterly if you will, those I can get behind.

For summer/fall, I kept it light and simple:

+ Purchase a fire proof safe - I held off on buying one of these all season long as I was hoping to get a good deal around Black Friday.... and I did! 

+ Pay off NJ tax lien - This isn't done just yet but I plan to do it before year end. 

+ Hit the beach at least 5x - I exceeded this with flying colors. I was down June 9th, July 9th, July 16th, and the entire last week of July. WIN.

+ Lose 5 pounds - better luck next time?


As much as I love summer, I do truly enjoy winter. There's something about the blanket of snow that just makes me happy. And if we're getting a blizzard? Even better. Personally, I've always been a fan of shoveling snow so the inches don't make one bit of difference to me. Here's what I'll be tackling this season:





+ Winterize Javi.  I haven't had a car in almost 2 years so I plan to do everything I can to make his first winter a good one. That means Ice-X {check}, a good ice scraper, and checking my emergency kit.

+ Get back into a fitness routine -  Are you even surprised to see this on here? Given my new health problem this is more pressing than ever. The motivation isn't there at all so it's time to call on my discipline {also hibernating} to make the changes I want to see. 




+ Pay off 2 credit cards and 1 loan. Now that I'm in a better financial position I want to start throwing money at my credit cards and loans. I always knock out the smaller ones first to build momentum. Plus, it's nice to be able to cross something off the list. 

+ Go out more. I'm leaving this one vague so it can be open to whatever comes my way. Whether that means learning to ice skate, going for a winter stroll, doing some winter-themed activity, or just hitting the pub with friends, I want to be more open to living life outside of my living room. 

Again, I'm keeping it simple. I see no reason to add self-imposed stress. Any plans you have for the winter season?

December 16, 2016

Fixed Up

Every once in a while, I'd say roughly 6 times a year, I receive a Stitch Fix box. I don't remember when or how I first stumbled upon this clothing service but I've been a semi-regular ever since. The stylist I had was amazing. Everything she picked was perfect. I think she left the company because now I have a new stylist. She's doing okay, but I think she's still learning my style. Here's a look at what she sent for November.


Edyson Hampton Corduroy Skinny Jeans

I tried these on last because I knew I'd love them, and I was hoping they'd fit. Fortunately, they did, and I love them and they now live in my closet. This picture is terrible but here's what they look like.



Brixon Ivy Mange Mixed Media Crochet Back Knit Top

The front of this was awesome, and it fit perfectly. The back however... hated it. I'm not a fan of mixed media like this when it comes to clothing. I just thought it looked "old".



Renee C Sirius Split Back Top

I really love the plaid of this one. It's cut a bit shorter than I prefer my shirts though so although I may regret it, it went back.



Pixley Martina Slub Knit Open Cardigan

I really liked this cardigan. It fit nice and I liked the built-in pockets. The price ($48) just wasn't worth it. I know I can find something similar for half the cost. It's hard to see since it's all black but you get the idea.



Collective Concepts Elison Lace Back Detail Halter Blouse

I'll be honest, I hated this top. For one, I'd have to lose an entire cup size for it to fit me properly, and two, I never wear stuff like this.





I'd say my stylist did a decent job. I wanted 3 out of the 5 pieces, but because I know how I like my clothes to feel, I only kept the jeans. As I've been wanting a nice pair of cords for a while, I consider this a win!

December 14, 2016

Trading Spaces: Part 1

Most people don't like the moving process. They don't want to put their lives into boxes, load them into a truck, move them to an empty space, and then take everything out and set it up. However, there's this weird thing that tends to happen when you've moved around a lot... you get good at it. You enjoy it.
And that's exactly where I find myself. Back in 2014 I posted about my moving process and how I make it super easy and stress free. I'm telling you, it's the only way to do it. This time around it's been even easier because I plan to replace things and really coordinate my space so that it's 100% me.

I've wanted a gray bedroom for years. Now I'm finally making it happen. Here's a look at a little idea of what I'm going for.

I really want to make this space a sort of sanctuary. The light gray walls will be calming and are neutral enough that when I want to change up the accent colors, it will flow nicely. I'm going with purple accents to start because I think royal purple and lavender look gorgeous against gray. That is the exact bed frame I have so I think that will play into the look I'm going for. I really like the vintage letter lights and will pick up a metal one from Hobby Lobby. It may not make it into the bedroom, {maybe the office?} but I want one.


Bed

As for the living room, I'm envisioning something more homey, cozy, and masculine. I'm a very no frills kind of girl and since I know I'm going more feminine in the bedroom I want this space to balance it out and be welcoming to company.

I plan to keep the walls a warm, neutral color. I really like the color below as it kind of reminds me of buttercream. It will also lead into the kitchen nicely. I have a chocolate brown couch {similar in color to the one here} and a wood and glass coffee table. I may replace this for something with storage but I haven't found the right piece yet. Ideally, the TV will be wall mounted with a media table below. Due to the amount of rooms branching off the living room, it appears smaller than it actually is so I want to create the opposite effect. I plan to do a gallery wall above the couch using fun quotes and images that can easily be swapped out as my taste, mood, or the seasons change. The living room is hard wood so a complimentary rug will get put down to add to the look.


LR


As for the rest of the house, the bathroom is a dark pink. I'm not a fan but I plan to pair it with navy to make the best of it. The kitchen is fairly large and is a light yellow (I think) with yellow tile with dark brown trim. Eventually I plan to paint the kitchen yellow and refresh the cabinets.

The office isn't even close to being ready, and the other room will be transformed into a walk in closet. The enclosed porch will be used for seasonal storage and will also be the cats' room.

As for the rest of the details, and reveals, they'll come in due time. For now, tonight I get my keys!!









December 08, 2016

Catching Up

Lately I feel as though the only writing I do in this space is to play catch up. My winter laziness has set in hardcore and I have no desire to do anything once I get home from work. You guys, winter is rough. 

After several back and forth messages with AlyssaJenn, and Dani it became very clear to me that I'm in a funk. And not just a blogging one. Things that used to make me happy - the gym, yoga, meditating, planning... it's all feels like a chore at this point. 

And the irony of it all is that life is going amazingly well right now. I have a job I truly enjoy. I will be moving into a new apartment in a few weeks that makes me super excited and happy. I'm dating a guy I really like who makes me smile. I've visited friends I haven't seen in years and had amazing weekends with them. Life. Is. Good. 

Alyssa's post this week about a simpler 2016 really got me thinking. And the only logical conclusion I kept coming to is I'm burnt out. The constant vibrating from social media notifications. The non-stop stream of info. The never-ending to-do lists.... I it's time to scale it back. 

Here's what I've been up to lately: 

Deleting| I deleted the Facebook app from my phone on Tuesday. I only opened it once through the browser after that. I also deleted a bunch of apps from my phone. Games I never play, games I keep for my niece, shopping apps that I never use (looking at you Cartwheel). I tossed all but 5 magazines that I've been hoarding. I intended to read/skim them all, except I never do and they just sit there. Fashion advice from August is pretty useless. I also tossed numerous bottles of nail polish. I only get gel manicures and there's no reason for me to keep them.

Donating| Since I'm in the midst of packing my stuff I've been trying to purge here as it always makes me feel good. Making physical space also creates mental and emotional space. 

Listening| I've actually been listening to a lot of country lately. Actually, I've been listening to a lot of everything. Anything feel good, mellow, and just good vibe. And then I had a Slipknot day. it's all about balance. 

Watching| Sons of Anarchy. I used to watch this when it was on but quit mid-series. A friend gt me back in and I've been watching like an addict every day.

Reading| I think I burned myself out reading. I have no desire to pick up or even listen to a book right now. Perhaps it's all the Netflix binging... I'll start reading eventually. 

Seeing| A guy. And I like it.

Concerned| I scheduled an appointment with a nutritionist for January. At the beginning of November my doctor informed me that my A1c levels were higher than normal. For us lay people, it means my blood sugar was higher than it should be... to the point where I'm considered pre-diabetic. I'm only 3 points over but with a history of diabetes on my mother's side, being slightly overweight, and my insatiable love for carbs, it's not something I'm willing to sleep on. 

December 06, 2016

The 411: November

October was such an awesome month that part of me felt that November wouldn't be able to keep pace. Turns out, I was wrong.



I kicked off the beginning of the month with an amazing new job and I'm still loving it a month later (always a good sign!).

I also went on a date. O_o  If you know me IRL, then you know this is a HUGE deal. It was simple and casual which I'm all for. We went for sushi (a first for me) and surprisingly, I enjoyed it. It's not something I'll crave, but I didn't die. {Writer's note: I had sushi 4 days after this, still a fan}


The next weekend I went home for a friend's surprise 40th birthday party. He was less surprised than we all hoped for but I got to spend the day with my BFF and that's always a nice thing.

After that it was a smooth week (hooray!) and then I went with my planner bestie the the NYC Planner Meet. I talked about this after it happened, but let's relive it anyway! Also, if you're a planner in the NYC area, get in this group!






The following weekend I headed back home to stuff my face and do some {official} holiday shopping. 


Last Monday was my birthday and even though I don't really "celebrate" in any way, it was still a good day. I met up with friends for a little post-work drinking. 


And just like that,