Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Promise for the New Year

I'm not a big fan of New Year's Resolutions. I hate going to the gym or Bikram after New Years, as it's always filled with people who are just trying to fulfill a resolution for a quick fix (for the most part - and I say this because come mid-February, and the gym is back to its normal, quieter self).

It seems like resolutions are never something that is kept - and if they are kept (hats off to you!), it's done more out of obligation versus feeling good about it (I've been SO guilty of groaning, "Ugh, I don't want to go to the damn gym, but I made that stupid resolution and don't want to be a quitter.").

This year though, rather than make a resolution, which I feel like is becoming one of those cliche things, I want to promise myself something.

I really need to love myself more, and I want to promise myself that I will try every day to love myself. 

I'm ridiculously hard on myself, as I'm sure a lot of us are. There are times that I joke that I'm my own worst enemy, when it's actually not funny - I truly am my own hardest critic, and there are times when I am downright nasty to myself. I call it being a perfectionist, when really, I'm just being a mean, brutal bitch - but towards myself, not towards anyone else, which is so damaging. This year I feel like I've let body image really take a hold on my life in a negative way, and that's something that I truly need to combat to be happy with myself inside and out.

I want to promise myself that I will be okay with myself even when I mess up and eat three cookies instead of going to the gym.

I want to stop staring at my reflection and pick on all the things that I don't like about myself, but instead find the things about me that I do like.

I want to be okay with the fact that I do need to work a little harder now to stay in shape.

I want to focus on the things I'm good at - teaching, being financially responsible, having a decent sense of humor - instead of thinking of all the things I'm awful at.

I want to wear a bikini this summer without feeling like I need to run 6 miles beforehand.

I want to go somewhere wearing minimal makeup and genuinely not caring about if anyone has anything to say.

I want to eat carbs and focus on how delicious they are, not about how much I'm going to have to work out afterwards.

I want to drink less during the week - more water, less booze.

I want to express how I'm feeling and not hold back - I struggle with feeling like my feelings/emotions are valid, and so I often hold back, which is emotionally damaging (and unhealthy/unfair - especially in my relationships).

I want to eat more fruits and vegetables (and make more green juice!), because I feel really freaking good whenever I eat more of these things.

I want to feel so good about myself that it radiates - not because I'm so arrogant that I don't see where I need to change, but because I'm okay with my strengths and weaknesses balancing out.


These are not going to be quick fixes - but I really want to focus on reshaping my view of myself for this new year - with more positivity that I truly believe will manifest into so many other areas of my life.

I truly hope that you all had a beautiful holiday, and that your New Year's Eve is equally wonderful and sparkly (I will be ignoring the "drink less during the week" thing for NYE, but will be very sparkly, so it evens out, right?). I also hope that you make realistic resolutions/goals to better yourselves, because you are all truly wonderful and beautiful people, inside and out!


Currently: Watching Bar Rescue, which I have been doing for HOURS. Ah! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes

Sometimes it's really hard to be at all excited about winter. I mean, it gets dark at 4 p.m. (I am DREADING December 21st -  the shortest day of the year and coincidentally the first official day of winter), it's freezing cold - so being outdoors for long is almost a punishment versus something enjoyable, and it really is hard to feel gorgeous when you're bundled up in layer after layer. 

However, there are some pretty awesome things about winter that no other season offers us. I was snowed in on the East Coast over the weekend, and got thinking about winter really isn't so bad. 

1. Tights
In the summer, I am all about bare legs - actually, I extend that to fall and spring too. However, there are SO many awesome tights that women can rock during the winter to contribute to our outfits - it's not just your grandma's stockings anymore. 

2. Baking
No matter what religion you are, or holiday you celebrate during this time, baking is an ideal winter activity. There are seriously hundreds of cookie recipes out there, they make fantastic (and inexpensive) holiday gifts - especially when stacked neatly in a Mason jar, and it warms your whole kitchen. Plus, you can save dough and eat that for a snack.

3. Hot yoga
Bikram during the cold is so warming - literally and figuratively. For me, it's hard to be motivated to go for a run in 20 degree (or colder) weather, but if I don't keep active, I hate myself (probably due to eating cookie dough). If hot yoga isn't your thing, even a yoga class, or popping in a yoga DVD at home is a great way to unwind from holiday stress or winter blues!

4. Scarves
Chunky, oversized, patterned - whatever. Adding a scarf is multifunctional since it makes you warm (yes!), but does it in a very fashionable way. You can also loop your scarves in a ton of different ways - I always think it's so interesting to see the different ways people tie their scarves.

5. Puppies in the snow.
Okay, this was not going to be on my list originally, but then I was on Pinterest, and now I am obsessed and "awww-ing" (by myself). 

6. Christmas lights. 
I love them. During the snow storm, when I was stuck at home, I only had my tree and other string of lights up, and practiced different settings on my dSLR. There's something gorgeous about lights.

7. DIYing. 
I am poor this year. Between a mortgage, electric bill, cable bill, and having an obscene amount of taxes taken out of my paycheck (including a "mentor fee" - wtf?), I am not going to be able to be as extravagant or generous as I always was (sorry, brother - no bartending school this year). 
Instead, I'm trying to find things that I can DIY -  I'm doing the "cookie mix in a Mason jar" gift for my aunts/uncles and extended family. Pinterest is really the best source for easy DIY gifts - because I am in no way crafty or talented with creating things.

8. Snowboarding.
Can I please be allowed to take off days just to snowboard? I feel like it's a valid reason to not go to work.

9. Reading.
There's something about winter that makes me want to go out less - yesterday I dove into One Hundred Years of Solitude. I was able to actually just focus on it, and ended up a fourth of it, just curled up on the couch (coffee in hand). 
Side note - if any of you have Goodreads - connect with me!

10. Christmas movies.
I can watch Home Alone any time of the year, but there's something about watching it during Christmastime that makes it all the more special. Also, my friends and I were trying to name and agree on our top 5 best Christmas movies ever - we were unable to come to a consensus.

Name this movie and you win a place in my heart forever. 

11. New Years Eve
God, I love dressing up for New Year's Eve. And gathering inspiration for what to wear. I could plan a NYE outfit all year long, and still not be entirely decided.

12. Chunky sweaters
I love sweaters too. So much - the bigger, the better (though I went to dinner with my dad wearing an oversized brown sweater, and he said, "Like Yoda you are looking." Apparently my dad doesn't get Free People).

13. Winter beer
Honestly, I was never a big winter beer fan (minus Harpoon's Winter Warmer - which mixed with their cider becomes "Apple Pie" - try it!), but a local bar offers winter beer flights. Game changer, guys. 
I got the flights once with Justin and Edwin, and Tonya and I have gone on two separate occasions for winter flights (and she usually HATES winter beer - though I do trade her my Sam Winter for the Sierra Celebration, which makes her a sucker in my book). 

Harpoon Winter Warmer, Trogg's Mad Elf Ale (which is 11%, ah!), Beach Haus Winter Rental, Sam Adams Winter, and Sierra Nevada Celebration (which is a BRILLIANT IPA). 

14. Every Chrismukkah episode of The OC. 
I rewatch these every year. No shame about this, no matter how much I get made fun of by all my friends. 

What are your favorite parts of  winter?

And in case I don't post before then,

... and a happy new year.

Love you all so much! xox

Currently listening to: A Fine Frenzy - Almost Lover (because I truly hate Christmas music).

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Grinch's Small Heart Grew Three Sizes That Day.

As winter is here (though to be a teacher for a second, it’s not technically here – December 21 is the official start of winter no matter what Facebook says) weather-wise, I’m starting to get into the holiday spirit.
There were so very Grinch-y moments for a while, as I scoffed at my neighbors who hung a slew of lights from their balconies the day of Thanksgiving (“Don’t they have food to be eating, instead of hanging this crap up?” I complained), didn’t want to get a tree (“What’s the point, it’ll just die anyway”), and had no desire to decorate my classrooms (“I’m terrible at decorating, sorry guys”).

C'est moi. I am beautiful.

Then the tides started to turn, and my little Grinch heart grew a few sizes.

It started with my work holiday party on December 6th (“It’s too early,” I had complained), which ended up being a phenomenal time. We always do a “white elephant” gift exchange, which is a riot.

Laughs during the White Elephant.

If you don’t know how to do a white elephant, it’s a very fun holiday party game – especially with coworkers. The rules are fairly simple:

1.       Everyone who wants to play brings a gift – the thing is, the gift should not be purchased. It should be something unused, or unbroken that you find from your house that someone else could use – so nothing really disgusting, but that frog cookie jar you got for Hanukkah two years ago and have in your closet? It’s perfect!

2.       Everyone gets a number 1- however many people are playing.

3.       Whoever is #1 gets to go up and pick any gift off the table. This gift is the White Elephant and cannot be opened until the very last round. Person 1 sits down with the White Elephant, and their turn is over.

4.       Person #2 (based off of the ticket) comes up. They have two options: they can either pick the unwrapped White Elephant and take their chances, or they can select a gift off the table to unwrap and hold onto. 

5. Person #3 and so on get to choose the White Elephant, any unwrapped gift that anyone else has picked, or an unwrapped gift to open and hold onto. 

6. Once everyone has gone, the White Elephant is opened and the game is over.

This year, I ended up with marmalade (oh joy), and Edwin got a Women's Health Pilates DVD. Other winners included 100 thread count, twin-sized holiday sheets, a bread maker, champagne, "My Life" by Bill Clinton, and so many others. 

Being around my coworkers in an out of work setting, and spending time talking about holiday plans definitely started putting me into more of a jolly spirit.

Guys, I'm telling you, as soon as I got to the tree lot, my bad and Grinchy mood melted away, and I became so overexcited to decorate, put up my cutie cute little tree, and bake an extreme amount of cookies.

Since then, I've been gradually holiday-ing my apartment, which includes taking off my fall wreath from my front door (to the happiness of my neighbors), and setting up my tree, which I am a little bit in love with.

So it's a start, but I am definitely getting more into the spirit (so much so that I'm planning on taking personal days this week and next to holiday shop!).

Each of the ornaments is something of meaning to me - there are ones from my childhood, and each year my mom buys me an ornament that has something to do with an accomplishment/passion for the year.

The garland is made from paper! My friend who I met when I was teaching in Uganda, Africa makes and sells garland, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. So cool and makes me reflect on my time in Africa.
My first ornament!

Decorations and holiday cheer around the house.

Decorating called for soup - something I've been doing a TON of lately. I'm loving making up recipes and throwing in any veggie I have on hand. Yum!

Perfect atmosphere for winter-y soup.

Anyone else experiencing holiday blues that have been turned around?
How do you prepare for the holidays/winter?

Currently listening to: Let Her Go - Passenger