Wednesday, October 29, 2014

October(ish) Favorites, 2014.

Fall is my favorite time of year (I know - I say this all the freaking time, so you get it by now.. but it's like when a teacher keeps telling you that you "might see this information on a test".. I want to just drill in HOW much I love the damn fall), as much for the changing leaves, cooler temperatures, fun holidays on deck and fall activities, but also because  it seems like fall just stacks my social calendar with amazing things.

I realized at my giant blogger blate this weekend that I am a highly lazy blogger - I do these massive recap posts because I just can't seem to stay ahead on things... sooo be prepared for a shitload of pictures and descriptions where all I do is try to recap so I don't forget anything (which, according to the post below, is not as easy as it may seem.. thanks, vodka).

Prydz concert.
To recap: 
Forgot to eat dinner.
Went to see Prydz.
Drank vodka to pregame before concert.
Realized Madison Square Garden sells hard alcohol, not just beer.
Listened to music.
Drank more vodka.
Realized they sell doubles.
Remember about half of Prydz's set.
Got safely back to Hoboken.

...In case you have 3 hours to spare:

Lazy fall weekend mornings.
Typically involve some type of breakfast foods - one morning, it involved pancakes. I made the batter (from scratch, which is important to note for my self esteem), and then showed how horrific of a pancake flipper I am.

Just call me Wolfgang Puck (mine is on the left).

Then a certain someone got fancy, so I asked for an elephant... which actually wasn't too awful.

NYC Blogger Brunch. 
This past Saturday, I headed to a NoHo brunch spot for a NYCish blogger meetup, with the gorgeous ladies from The Sequin Notebook, A Little Glitter, The Kari Diaries, and Your Beauty Fix
We prosecco'd (it's a verb, okay? I'm a teacher, I promise accuracy), ate delish pizza, threw shade at the bitchy waitress, and talked about our lives and blogs for HOURS (and were it not for aforementioned bitchy waitress, we could have easily stayed longer)
B and M from The Sequin Notebook hosted an incredible event for us, with the most thoughtful and creative gifts. Can't wait for the next one, girls! (And I'm totally stealing the group pictures from everyone else - dropped the ball on taking my own pictures, but hello -we're bloggers, so I knew it would all be captured).

Amazing swag bags from The Sequin Notebook ladies, embossed with our blog logos and filled with mini champagne bottles (glittered up!) and cookies. SO thoughtful.

Pretty blogger friends.

Pumpkin/apple picking.
Anthony and I headed up to Chester, NJ where we spent the morning exploring the town, which consists of little antique shops, bakeries, and cafes (it's adorable!). We woke up relatively early and were able to stop at a cafe for pastries and coffee, taking advantage of the gorgeous (albeit a little chilly) fall morning, that was made for a North Face and outdoor seating.

From there, we walked Main Street, exploring different antique shops (and stopping at a bakery that was on Cupcake Wars where we bought basically everything, including a chocolate covered Oreo Reese's.. which is a thing).

 From there, we headed to an orchard in Chester (down a pretty, tree lined road) where we met up with friends of Anthony's to have a pumpkin/apple picking double date. The orchard was almost picked clean, but we were directed to some trees with apples, and then headed to get our beautiful pumpkins. I'm VERY intense when it comes to getting the perfect pumpkin (or Christmas tree), but it worked out and I couldn't be happier with what I ended up with.

This candid will probably be my new blog header soon.

Or with a wagon.  

We also bought apple cider, apple cider doughnuts, and God knows what else because both guys were going toe to toe picking things up to purchase. It was the perfect fall day, and the perfect way to unwind and end the weekend (before a very intense pumpkin carving competition between Anthony and I - more to come on that later in a future post!).

Did you do apple or pumpkin picking this year? 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Giving It Up.

When I sit and reflect on my life (I sound like I'm actually 95 years old reminiscing on the good old days) and the changes that I've made or the lessons I've learned, one of the things that sticks out to me so much is just how an attitude adjustment really makes such a huge impact on the day to day. There have been so many times that I have been such a miserable bitch to be around, and honestly, I'm fortunate that I have people who stuck by me and helped me even when I was the ultimate negative Nancy to be around. 

Toni Morrison said it best in Song of Solomon when she expressed that, "If you wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down." 

That's not to say that you won't have days that just suck - it's life, and those kind of days are inevitable, but I've realized that the more that you focus on the minutia and bullshit, the worse your days become. There is also literally scientific proof that the more positive you are, and the more you train yourself to distance yourself from negative thought patterns, the longer you'll live, the less you'll get sick, and the better you'll be able to cope with stress when it comes. 

Over the summer, I started meditating and listening to various positive affirmations to just try to reset myself and try to view the world differently. I'm a much more positive person than I used to be, but I'm also all about self improvement, and there were times that I got extremely caught up in pettiness or bitchiness, and I wanted to detach myself from that.

During the course of this quiet time with myself where I was just focused on my body and the words that were being said, certain things just kept being brought to my attention. There were situations, ideas, or people that I brought into my life that were just dragging me down, and the more that I focused on myself and bettering who I was, the more glaringly obvious certain things that I needed to change or remove from my life became. 

So to keep myself accountable, and to continue on this journey of positivity and self reflection/growth, the following are some of the things that I need to give up/not concern myself with as much in order to grow. 

Body image issues.
I've struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. I am my own absolute worst critic and can easily find a billion things to pick on myself for, which is absolutely messed up because if you're not in your own corner, you can't expect anyone else to be there either. I struggled with eating disorders for a very long time, and even now I struggle with falling back into that very unhealthy mindset and place when I notice any changes in my body (after Poppy died, I was at my lowest, which is embarrassingly shown below so that I can be reminded to NEVER get back to that, ever).

Probably one of the scariest pictures I've ever seen of myself. 

I keep comparing myself to how I was when I was 15-18 (playing varsity soccer, having a faster metabolism, and just being more energetic), and that's not a healthy standard. I'm never going to be the size I was when I was playing a varsity sport - and it was an unhealthy place for me to be in. 
I think that for women in general, it's hard for us to love our bodies sometimes - there will be days that you might feel gross, weekends when you eat shit the entire time, but that doesn't define you. 
Work out, do what you can, and learn to love and embrace who you are - approaching things from a healthy way and enjoying life is so much more fulfilling than being stressed about eating a few slices of pizza.

You are not your weight. And weight is not an accurate depiction of who you are as a person.
Give it up and love yourself.

Unhealthy friendships.
This is one of the hardest things for me. This summer, during the initial phases of my quest for positivity, during my meditations, one of the things that was continuously repeated via Pandora was, "Let go of any negative influence over my life, whether it be an object or a relationship." Certain friendships I was fostering started to rub me the wrong way - as I journaled my feelings, I noticed that about a few people, I kept writing, "Ugh, constantly talks about themselves and is ALWAYS negative in how they view things," or on a different day, "Feel like this friendship is just sucking me dry." I started distancing myself, and the craziest thing is that once I created that distance, all of these people who are positive influences in my life started reappearing, people who push me and motivate me, and won't let me get down on myself (too often).

It sucks because there are times that you realize that your perception on what a good friend is was completely off. I had people in my life who were just dragging me down and allowing me to feel awful about myself, or were perpetuating that to build themselves up, so as hard as the distancing myself was, I feel good all around now.
I believe friends should kick you in the ass when you need it, but overall, they should be your number one fans.

Negative self-talk.
I read an article somewhere that said that if we spoke to others the way that we speak to ourselves, we'd have no friends, ever. It's so accurate and yet we excuse it when we verbally beat the shit out of ourselves. I've really noticed that there are times when a friend is being negative about themselves, and I'm the first to say, "Hey, don't do that to yourself, you have characteristic xyz, so on and so forth," and I start listing all their positive qualities (because my friends really are so kick ass). Then two minutes later, I'll look in the mirror, and be like "Shit, you have sooo much you could improve upon."
Be gentle with yourself - think about every single obstacle that you've been through and how you've overcome it. You're legitimately a badass, and should love yourself the same (if not MORE)  than you love all the people in your life! (Plus, guys - they love you, so clearly there is so much beauty in you).

Negative thoughts.
I know this post is very namaste, bitches, but your thoughts influence so much. Think about it - if you wake up in the morning and start thinking about all the overwhelming amount of stuff you have to do, start worrying about deadlines, or a problem from the previous day, you've now allowed negative to be your first focus. Chances are, you're going to have a shitty day, and it's all because of YOU.
Work on a whole has been really shitty, and a lot of it stemmed from my own negativty. Every morning, I was waking up and would seriously say, "Ugh, this day just started and I can't wait for it to be over.. the kids don't want to learn, they don't respect me, I'm not doing a good job, I'm going to get a "1" on my observations (the lowest score, out of 4)..." Before I knew it, I was this black storm cloud who was going into work every day ready to bite someone's head off. I'd come home from work exhausted, because spoiler alert - when you expect to see the worst, that's all you're going to see.
Once I became aware of this, I decided to try a new approach and think of all the good, little things about each day. Even things like, "I get to avoid the crowd at Starbucks because I go in so early!" or "One kid wrote an amazing essay, so they'll pass the test quickly." And then those little things that I almost had to pull for started being huge things. I realized that the kids had my back when I did have my observation (where I had to pull something out of my ass because half my class was at a college fair and I was planning to assign busy work - they all rolled with my impromptu short story), I have kids who come to me for book recommendations... so it's those things that are going to keep me going, and I honestly don't hate going into work (most) days now.
Find something that you're constantly negative about, and see how you can switch your own energy towards it - take control of your emotions and I promise, you'll feel so much less stress, and just more power overall.

This goes in accordance with some of the others, but comparison truly is the thief of joy. I think in so many ways, social media enhances our lives (hello, I get to know some awesome bloggers!), but it can also make comparing such an unhealthy and unnoticed obsession. Seeing so many beautiful people with seemingly beautiful lives can be hard to take, and can definitely increase insecurities to a max. Instagram will always be a double edged sword with me, because I love it, but seeing all the influx of thin, beautiful, stylish, fit women can make me feel like I need to keep up to standards that in many cases are unattainable.
In the end, it's repetitive, but it just comes down to trust, to loving yourself, and supporting yourself. Don't become transfixed on the person on Instagram or Facebook with bigger boobs, better pictures, and a better social  life. It's all relative, and it's all a depiction of what we want to portray.

I saw a post on Facebook that said, "Hell is going to be us sitting in a room with all our close friends, and a constant stream of every single selfie we've ever taken and deleted." (Of course, I gasped in horror, but it totally fits, because how many selfies do we all take before posting the "perfect" one that looks the best? Follow where I'm going). Again, love yourself. You are who you are, and you're beautiful - I promise.

Those are just a few things that I definitely need to continuously work on - it's not an overnight process, but remember - cut yourself a break!

Because you're awesome.

What are some of the negative areas of your life that you work on/need to keep working on fixing?

Currently listening to: Spaceman (Original Mix) - Hardwell 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Mantras and Beliefs.

Audrey Hepburn's famous quote on what she believes in is all over Pinterest, and for good reason. It's simple in its message, but resonates because it allows people to agree, "Oh yeah, me too!" or "Good point!" Through a few simple phrases, Hepburn proselytized this sense of identifying our own worldview and things that we can stand behind.

Sometimes sitting and actually reflecting on things that you believe, can become mantras for your life - which can then shape your attitude and worldview in such a positive and enlightened way.

So, I may not be as poetic as Audrey, but these are my beliefs that shape my daily life


I believe that you should should let the people who you love know that you love them. 
Seriously - you absolutely never know how fast something can happen, and the worst thing to feel in this world is regret at things that you've never said.

I believe that you should find some type of exercise that fits for you, and put your heart into really learning about it, no matter what your budget is.

I believe that if you want to order a damn salad, order the damn salad. If you want to order a damn burger, order the damn burger. Who cares? 

I believe that you should laugh, loudly, as often as possible.

I believe in eating fruits and vegetables every single day, and putting down the artificial sugar for natural sugar (your body and mind will thank you!).

I believe in taking notes while you read - maybe of words you don't know that you should look up, or quotes that inspire you, etc. Write all over your books, highlight them, whatever. When you reread them, it can give you insight into yourself and a place in life you were at.

I believe in proofreading. 

I believe that beauty has absolutely no size or physical characteristic, and every single person should hold their head up high and never conform to societal expectations that are never possible.

I believe in knowing your own limits - whether it's the amount of weight you can lift, how long you should hold that yoga pose, and realizing that you will probably never make a cup of coffee at home that's as good as you'll get for $5 in a coffee shop. 

I believe in listening to what people have to say - even if they have different views than you, it's polite to hear what someone says.

I believe that you should never start a sentence with, "No judgment, but..." or "No offense, but..." Say what you say and own it if you're being an asshole.

I believe that those we lose in life are always with us, and that should inspire us to keep striving forward.

I believe in avoiding Facebook when upset or angry.

I believe that if anyone I'm with is an asshole to a server, cashier, custodian, human being,  that it will be the last time I go out with them. 

I believe in holding my head up high and believing in myself, even if people don't like me (that's life and it will happen).

I believe in taking some time away from the damn phone, iPad, everything and being truly present - whether with yourself or with those you're spending time with. 

I believe in meditating. No matter what your religious beliefs, spending time in silence just focusing can bring so much to light.

I believe in the power of having a few nights alone every month (including one weekend night!), with ice cream and Netflix (and red wine) to keep you company.

I believe in being rational, and fighting anxiety and insecurity with fact (aka, get out of your head any way you can, even if it means literally writing down all the facts and then reading them back - there is no room for anxiety when you have reality).

I believe in not owning a scale.

I believe in finding ways to make yourself happy, whether it's getting yourself that venti PSL, leaving yourself love notes around your house, or having an inspiration board on Pinterest filled with encouraging words/mantras.

What mantras/words/things do you live and believe in?

Happy Friday, loves! I hope you have amazing things lined up for the first weekend of October.

I'll be... going to dinner at a place I've been DYING to go to for over a year (they only seat 20 people per NIGHT and it took 3 weeks for a reservation! But they make all their own pasta from scratch, so I am STOKED), well then be having drinks and seeing Gone Girl on Saturday (goes without saying, right? I think I'll need drinks to handle GG), and then will be running and enjoying a lazy Sunday :)