August 09, 2015

Five years.

This week I drifted through memories of my wedding, considering what I'd go back and say to myself about my husband and our relationship if I had the chance.

Together we navigated job changes and health challenges, disappointment and excitement, grief and joy. We teetered on the brink of calling it quits and soldiered ahead, wary but confident enough in ourselves, both as individuals and a pair, to keep going. We basked in our good fortune to have found each other, our unique compatibility reflected in our bizarre-but-shared sense of humour and the easy way we're naturally on the same page about all the "big stuff." In five years, we changed and adapted. We're no longer the same people we married. 

If I could go back, I'd tell myself to relax. You'll both figure it out. Pay attention to the moment instead of racing onto the next goal/moment/plan. Spend more time focusing on what you two have and naturally are, rather than how you think it should look. After all, you found a good one. 

August 05, 2015

"Georgia"



My husband surprised me with birthd-iversary tickets to last Saturday's Taylor Swift concert. I proudly shook it off and sat in awe of her genius with the best of them. (And by "best of them," I am completely referring to the enormous crowd of eight to twelve-year-old girls and their moms losing their shizz to preteen Oprah.) She's brilliant, really.

Only one musical moment still lingers in my mind. This song. It's on repeat, and I'm scouring his tour schedule in hopes of seeing him in a smaller venue. Swoon.

July 27, 2015

"My beanie baby collection got me nowhere..."




It really did get me nowhere. They're all in my crawlspace. (Thanks, Grandma.)

July 26, 2015

Enlightened

Timing is everything.

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I watched the Enlightened pilot when it first aired, but it never stuck. Over and over I kept trying to get past the first episode, eager to find out why it continued to bubble up on must-see lists after it was done. Until yesterday, when it finally stuck.

Starting a now-cancelled show comes with benefits like watching it whenever you want and not having to wait for a new season. (Shaking my fist at you, Veep and Silicon Valley!) But, like everything, there's a downside. A pretty big one.

If you love it, you'll have to live with what you've got. It's over. There are no more episodes. Unless it makes a miraculous comeback which, these days, seems more and more likely with all the reboots and revivals happening. (I mean, Coach?) But ultimately it's over. Gone.

Eight episodes into the only eighteen episodes of Enlightened that exist and I'm hooked. Watching post-treatment Amy Jellicoe try to live a better, healthier life after suffering an on-the-job meltdown is both aggravating and encouraging. She's normal. Imperfect. Making progress and slipping backward. I get it. I'm living it.

Moving forward, sliding back. Feeling like you're getting ahead and then realizing you've been knocked back a couple pegs. It's normal, right? This week, I ended up in a scenario that I later described to my husband as "being kicked square in the balls but managing to stand up straight right away." (Classy, I know.) Getting knocked down and scrambling to get back up, dusted off and ready to go again.

As I watch Amy continually bounce back and forth trying to resolve problems in ways that (mostly) fit with her new enlightened self, I'm encouraged. Growth doesn't come from moving forward. It shows up when you find yourself behind where you think you should be. And when you're picking yourself back up. And when you're choosing where to put your next step.  Always messy. Some times more than others. Always with a choice.

I have terrible timing. But occasionally it's not half bad.

May 22, 2015

Mad Men

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Even though a week has passed, I can't shake the Mad Men finale. Over and over, I mull over what I saw and felt, and each time I come to the same conclusion: It's one of the most intricate television series I've ever seen.

Slow-moving dramas – the well-crafted ones with skilled actors, strong writing and weighty themes you can chew on long after an episode finishes – are my favourite. Especially when the show leaves you mulling over your stance and your beliefs, offering an opportunity to walk away a little wiser than before. 

Mad Men drew me in with the promise of a lush landscape of attractive ad men (and women) and kept me around when I noticed a deeper study of human psychology. (This article sums it up well.) I enjoy its brief glimpses into major socio-cultural shifts throughout the fifties and sixties. Observing each female character's unique (occasionally frustrating) journey – in both personal and professional spheres – is one of my favorite elements of the show.

Regrettably, I binge-watched the first four seasons to get up to speed in time for the fifth. Now that it's done, I'm entertaining the idea of going back to the beginning and working through it slowly. It'll complement lazy summer evenings spent cooling off in the basement well. 

Give it a shot if you're ready to settle in and study away, or if want to see what all the fuss is about. 
Whatever your reason, commit to a couple episodes – even a season or two – before deciding whether to move on or start something else.

April 13, 2015

Anything-but-lazy girl's guide to relaxing well: Spring edition

Anything-but-lazy girl's guide to relaxing well: Spring edition

Now that the sun's out, relaxing looks a little different in my world. On weekdays, I spend a good chunk of my day sitting at a desk in front of a computer. Throwing on my sweats and sneakers and getting outside (or on my treadmill) to stretch my legs is exactly what I want once my commute is done.

My necessities for a leisurely stroll or a vigorous hustle around the block?

1. A sweat-wicking top, like this one, leaves me feeling (moderately) dry. 
2. Layers. I'm a big fan of Old Navy's jersey hoodies. (Similar one)
3. A good face/body scrub cleans out the gunk well after a good sweat. 
4. Sweatpants, obviously. (I'm trying to find ones that don't make me look like a complete slob when I'm out in public.)
6. Shoes: Slip-ons for strolling and runners for busting your balls.
7. Motivation. (Like the promise of a couple episodes of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt when you're finished.)

#femalesarestrongashell


February 25, 2015

Love, Rosie


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Have you heard about Love, Rosie? I saw the trailer in a Buzzfeed list but didn't hear anything about it until it showed up on iTunes a couple weeks later.

I was thisclose to starting it all over again when it finished. It was great. A good will-they-won't-they love story about Alex (Sam Clafin) and Rosie (Lily Collins). The movie begins during their last year of high school and follows their friendship (and other relationships) over a twelve-year span. 

Between dreamy accents and to-die-for dimples, I let myself get caught up in it all and not think too hard about it. (Best way to watch it, by the way.) Covering more than a decade means it tries to pack a lot into a short time but the chemistry (and dimples) make it worth the rental fee. Best watched in sweatpants, with a big bowl of popcorn and a makeup-less face. And maybe a couple girlfriends too. 

February 24, 2015

Setting limits

My life shifted for the better since In Praise of Limits landed in my inbox a few weeks ago.

I let it sit in my inbox for a bit. It lingered in my head a lot longer. Then I decided to see what it'd be like to set some limits for myself, especially with things I love.

It's easy for me to go overboard. I swing between extremes of deprivation and excess. Neither works well for me. Imposing limits on myself feels like a more moderate approach, so far. Especially when it comes to these three things.

TV
I regularly curl up on the couch to watch a couple episodes when I get home from work. Too often I start watching something and lose track of time until it's time for bed. I haven't entirely figured out how to tuck it in without letting it take over my evening. Watching two or three episodes or making sure I putter around the house before sitting down is shaping up to be my best bet.

Junk food
I've tried going without candy, chocolate and chips for weeks. I have ignored my limits and let myself eat whatever I want, whenever I want. Neither worked well. After buying a couple chocolate bars, some chips and a bag of licorice in one fell swoop, I decided to keep it as my month's quota of junk food. Once it's gone, it's gone. No going out to buy anything else until the next month begins. (Aside from the brand new bag of Mini Eggs Hubs brought home, it's great!)

Shopping
Cleaning out my closet and giving away four garbage bags of clothes I either didn't love or didn't wear was... eye-opening? At least in regards to how I spend my money. It's easier to make decisions with less and it feels great to have extra cash in my wallet. I'm trying to steer clear of malls until necessary and wrote a list of everything I'd like to buy (running shoes, protein powder, books) and am slowly whittling away at it once I have the cash and find a good deal.

None of this is set it stone but, right now, it feels good to set limits. There's freedom in limits, oddly enough. I feel more balanced and together than I have in a while.

February 11, 2015

Cleaning closets and culling inboxes



I've been plagued by a false sense of obligation to the emails and empty shoeboxes taking my up life.

Getting rid of stuff puts me at ease. It always has. In elementary school I used to wake up on Saturday mornings and drag everything out of my closet. Every nook and cranny was emptied, wiped and vacuumed before I sorted and reorganized every shoebox and bin and found it a new place.  I still love doing it. Overhauling the physical stuff gives my mental stuff a little extra space too.

Before Christmas I felt overwhelmed by my stuff. Between juggling responsibilities and other unblogged challenges, it became too much. I couldn't shake the feelings of obligation – to everything! My full inbox. Cluttered closets. My mind was full, heart heavy. I was focused on maintaining my status quo instead of doing what I could to make it better. When I finally hit my limit I did what I always do: I cleaned.

On a quiet evening I pulled everything out of our spare room closet and sorted through it, reorganizing what I want to keep and creating piles of everything being thrown out or donated. Stacks of magazines and empty shoeboxes spilled out of the space so I ripped out pages of recipes and exercises, and recycled the old musty boxes. In an afternoon I went through everything in my closet and filled four garbage bags' worth of stuff I don't love or don't fit and gave them to a local thrift shop.

My inboxes and feeds felt cluttered too. More and more, I grew tired of following accounts that looked the same and left me with a lingering sense of obligation to fit a specific aesthetic and sartorial mold. Unfollowing a few left more room for my creative juices to simmer and bubble and pay attention to what I like instead of what I feel I should like. Dozens of unread email subscriptions have been trimmed. Rather than continually deleting the same emails over and over, I unsubscribed.

Purge. Purge. Purge. With every garbage bag I dragged to the trash or carted off to a charity and every time I hit "unfollow," I felt clearer. Lighter. Better.

I can handle more with less. Cultivating a simpler life is my goal. Less stuff, fewer obligations and a lot more of what I love.

February 03, 2015





Exciting news. (Fingers crossed.)

January 28, 2015

Learning well.

At the instructor's prompting I folded my left leg in and tucked it over my right. My feet wriggled into a comfortable position under my thighs as I silently thanked myself for bringing a thicker mat. Last week's yoga mat was too thin and I ended up with pins and needles in my butt.

Straightening my back and closing my eyes, I brought my hands to my knees and let my breath relax. My stomach rounded, pushing the waistband of my leggings out and drawing it back in over and again at a slow rhythmic pace.

"I want you to set your intention for this practice..."

My mind kicked into high gear. Yes! Intention! I can do this. It immediately launched into a rapid fire list of everything I wanted yoga to accomplish for me. Loose hamstrings! Open hips! Yoga arms! Zen! 

A quiet voice piped up from behind the clamour and whispered. You're here to learn. Not to be an expert. Not to accomplish everything. Just to learn.

As I moved into the first pose, the mental noise mellowed to a din and I focused on rolling my elbows in and moving my feet out. Paying attention to how far I can go without going too far. Learning to hold back and achieve a better outcome instead of pushing through pain to accomplish everything.

Because it's not about being an expert or getting it perfect. It's about learning.

January 27, 2015

January 07, 2015

Running wild and starting fresh


I'm a sucker for fresh starts. Any opportunity that can be turned into a chance for one, I'll take it and run with it. And by running with it, I mean you'll find me waving it wildly over my head and careening in a haphazard near-sprint while getting red in the face.

I get really, really into them.

All of the optimistic hope and sheer potential in fresh starts get me excited. I love grappling with and reflecting on the past, sifting through it to see what's coming with me and what's staying behind.  I love looking forward. This is the fun part. The part where you really can't see anything but your imagination can run wild with all the possibilities.

This year it all feels a little different.

There are a few things I'd like to accomplish. A couple others are better filed away as traits I'd like to foster and fashion. Like continuing to be okay with leaving my cellphone at home or in another room. Or focusing all of my attention on whatever I'm doing in that moment rather than letting my mind careen wildly. I'm practicing worrying a little less and going with the flow a little more. Embracing what I love and acknowledging it without shame. Adding more of the good stuff in with the exception of it squeezing the less-than-stellar stuff out.

It's less of a list and more of a lifestyle. One with a little extra room in the sides.