Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014.

I had a whole New Year's post envisioned in my head, I really did. It was where I would outline the goals I have for the year, and where I want my life to head, but then I really stopped and thought about it, and I'm so happy where I am right now. For the first time in forever, I look at my life and I'm thrilled with where I am, and where I'm going. Obviously there are always areas where you can grow and improve, and I'll probably post about my goals at a later time, but right now, I want to just embrace the fact that I am so incredibly fortunate with how I'm wrapping up this year. 

This year has been one of pretty continuous growth, good and bad, easy and difficult. 

2014 brought me...

Travel.
I went to Paris and the French countryside where I learned that I can manage on my own and get by even with a language barrier, as well as make connections with people I meet. 

I went to Philly on the first trip with Anthony, where I learned how much fun it can be to do touristy things, go new places, but revisit some of the old, eat everything and walk everywhere, and reconnect with old friends. 

I went to the Catskills, where I learned that when you love someone, you can spend five days with them and never get tired of it, and then miss them when you're not together anymore (and I also learned how much I am now obsessed with House of Cards). 

A better relationship with my family.
Ever since moving out, we laugh together more, share more together - one of the most meaningful conversations I had in 2014 was when I had my mom over for dinner and we ended up sitting and talking about all of these things we had never brought up for years and years. I left that conversation feeling so close to my mom for the first time in a long time, where we were completely honest with one another. The more I grow, the more I appreciate everything my parents did so that my brother and I could live an extremely privileged and fortunate life, and the more I grow to like them as people, not just as parents. 

Love you, mom and dad (and glad you don't read my blog to yell at me for these pictures).

New friends.
I met some incredible people this year, who I now consider to be very good friends. 
This was even more meaningful for me as I did cut ties with some people I was once very close to, in the spirit of continuous growth and not allowing myself to have negative influences who bring me down in my life any longer. As I've said in previous posts, I truly believe that by removing the negative people from my life, I opened up my life for positive influences who are actually happy to see me grow and do well in life. 

Growing comfortable in my own skin.
As I've never really hidden, I have suffered from body image issues for a very, very long time. While I'm ridiculously hard on myself, I'm working on giving myself a break, examining the good parts of my body, and working out more so that I can enjoy without the guilt. To help the process, I hung mantras of self love and acceptance in my bathroom cabinet (and on the mirror for when I have an event or function and feel shitty about myself) just so that I'm constantly reading words of positive affirmation. While I'm not entirely there yet, that's definitely a 2015 goal - to continue to love myself, despite weight gain and the fact that squats make my thighs bigger. Let's all take the 2015 pledge to cut ourselves some slack and embrace who we are (and do what we can to feel fabulous about ourselves more regularly - I'll always be a cheerleader for hot yoga!). 

Ink.
I finally decided on tattoos - I knew I wanted something in memory of Poppy, but for the longest, I couldn't decide what I wanted. I finally had the artist copy over an exact drawing of a heart that Poppy would draw on every single card he ever wrote any of us. I also got a lotus flower to signify the need for constant growth through all circumstances.

A new career.
I left teaching mid December to start my new position as a corporate trainer for a very well known financial institution. It's a huge, huge jump and was really bittersweet, as it required me to leave some fantastic coworkers who I grew ridiculously close to, but already, I'm learning new things, have had countless lunches and happy hours with my new coworkers, and am making significant strides in an up and coming position with endless growth potential.

Love.
This year taught me that things happen so unexpectedly, and in ways that sometimes you still may never be able to wrap your head around. I still want to pinch myself sometimes, because I have never felt luckier or happier than I have since Anthony and I started dating. It's funny, because once I reflected and really thought about what I wanted/needed in my next relationship, and fell in love with myself/identified areas that I could improve and grow from, it seemed like this introduction to a relationship materialized. I now have someone who shares the same values as me, who encourages me and is so supportive that I don't even have words for it, who is open with how they're feeling and is dedicated to work on whatever needs to be worked on, who is good looking and motivated and smart (I legitimately could keep going.. and am grateful that right now he doesn't read my blog to see what I mush I can be). 
I have become one of those mushy people who is so blissfully happy in their relationship that I legitimately have nothing to say when friends complain about their relationships - and not from disillusion, but from genuine comfort and stability in what we have. 

A new, more positive mindset.
One of the biggest things that I did for myself this year was to work on changing my mentality. I had been in this very negative spiral the year prior, and for whatever reason, it clicked this year that in order to move forward and grow into who I really wanted to be, I needed to change my own mindset and gear myself towards more positivity and less bitching and moaning. It's still a complete work in progress, because there are days when I am a miserable human being and am also miserable to be around - but most days, I can take a look at the good, try to see the silver lining, or truly embrace the fact that everything - literally everything in life - can be a learning experience if you look at it that way. 
This shift in mentality hasn't always been easy - in fact at first it was super hard, and there are still areas - like body image - that I struggle with and am learning, but I wouldn't change how I feel now on the majority of days for anything in the world. 

To close out this year, and a year where I was better at blogging (but want to do even better come 2015!), I want to leave you with some inspiration for a very positive start to the new year (just don't forget, you can make changes ANY day, month, hour, whatever that you choose - don't limit it to one day and get hung up if you slide back!). 


While I don't put a lot of weight on the "new year" meaning it has to be my best ever, I'm looking forward to more love, laughs, vacations, problem solving, time with friends and family, brunch, wine, and new experiences. 

How will you be spending New Year's Eve? 
I'll be spending mine dressed up (in all black, as per usual) with people I have a ton of laughs and good times with, eating too much, drinking champagne, and laughing until 2015 (I know I'm not a mind reader, but based on past experiences, I think this is a safe bet). 

Happy New Year, beautiful friends! xox

Currently listening to: As many EDM end of year podcasts as I can get my hands on (aka that have Soundcloud accounts). I've made my way through 3 of them before I left for lunch today, so onto the next ones! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Eve Catch Up

Sorry for being MIA as of late - the switch last week to a new job in an entirely new career (from teaching to finance) is really stressful, mainly because I am a perfectionist and expected to come into aforementioned new career already being an expert... which hasn't exactly happened, so it's been quite the adjustment.

Before I get too far behind though, December has brought a ton of awesome, friends filled holiday activities and events that have definitely gotten me into the most Christmas-y of moods, so really, since it's Christmas Eve, this post is in absolutely perfect timing! ;) Plus, I figure since I haven't posted in forever, it's totally okay that I'm putting 95 kagillion pictures up on this one. 

Tree Shopping
We had planned to chop down a tree with Anthony's sister and her husband, but the weekend we had planned to go was rainy and awful. Instead, Anthony and I headed to a local farm where we found the perfect tree within ten minutes, and spent the rest of the night setting it up, stringing lights (I directed), and then turning off all other lights to enjoy wine by the tree. 
 

Obviously since this is a good picture, it's Anthony's and not mine ;) 

Ugliest Sweater Party and Crafting
Anthony and I decided that hunting around Goodwill or buying one was not going to happen, so instead, we ordered ugly colored Hanes sweatshirts, spent an afternoon (seriously) in Michael's Arts and Crafts, and then spent an evening watching Jingle All the Way (thanks HBO GO!) and created what might be the ugliest sweaters ever made. 

The next night, we headed to the city to Jon and Jess's ugly sweater party, where we all drank too much and basked in the absolute ugliness of everyone's outfits. 
Everyone was very into my balls.


Someone told us, "That picture is good, but would be even better with the mystery finger." Okay.

Drinking to make the sweaters look better (or something like that). 


We also had a very, very interesting drunk Uber ride home with another couple, which in my opinion is the only way to Uber (unless you're alone, and then maybe not so much). 

Gingerbread house making competition.
Take six former athletes and throw us all together and you will wind up with a way to make anything into a competition. Houses and supplies were bought, and it was game on. The stakes were high as couple vs. couple vs. couple were pitted against each other, with the prize being that the two losing couples had to buy dinner for the winning couple. Pictures were posted on social media (Instagram and Facebook) and votes were calculated (mostly by Ant and I, who I guess really win the competitive award). It also helped because Anthony and I won!! 


Jon and Jess's house.

Nicole and Rob's log cabin, complete with Sour Patch kids having sex on the front lawn. 

THE A TEAM'S WINNING HOUSE.
Don't even know. 

Seriously, we are way too competitive for our own good. 



How have you gotten into the holiday spirit this year? 

Tonight I'll be spending Christmas Eve relaxing with Ant for our first Christmas Eve/Christmas together. There are plans for lots of relaxing, potentially driving to look at Christmas lights, and lots of red wine. 

Happy Holidays to everyone! You're all the absolute best and have made my year so special. xox

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Winter is Coming.

Winter/seasonal depression is definitely a legitimate thing. It's dark at 4 p.m. (I'm looking at you, December 21, you miserable bitch), it's cold so you have no desire to go outside, and so there's really nothing to do but stay inside, watch Netflix, and eat carbs (please tell me I am not alone in this), all of which just makes me feel worse about myself afterwards. 

This winter, I want to focus in on the good things and make the most out of what is the most miserable time of year and change it into being the actual most wonderful time of the year (sooo cheesy, someone cut me off, I know).

TV Binges.
I just started watching House of Cards with Anthony and I am obsessed. I plan for many nights in obsessing over how perfect Kevin Spacey is. After that Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad are on my queue (I know, I know, how did I get through life without watching either?). Regardless, winter is perfect for this! 

Hot yoga.
It's 12 degrees outside, but if you're a hot yoga junkie like me, this means nothing because you'll be sweating it all out in a 100+ degree studio, detoxifying, working off all of those holiday carbs, and being blissfully (or disgustingly in my case) hot.

Soup/chili.
All winter long. Experiment, use a Crock Pot, and have fun!

Cuddling.
Yes. I don't care if you're cuddling with your dog, your significant other, your best friend, or your glass of wine. Cuddle up as much as possible.

Red wine.
Granted, I drink it all year long, but I think it's extra perfect during cold months.

Hot chocolate.
So good. Make it on a pot, on the stove instead of a microwave... add whiskey if desired and you're feeling extra adventurous. I also stir mine with a candy cane because I LOVE SUGAR and I do what I want.

Down comforters.
And down inserts for the top of a mattress. Seriously perfection (though you will want to cocoon and never leave your bed, ever).

Holiday movies.
There are the classics, like Home Alone, Elf, Love Actually that just feel better to watch this time of year. There are also horrifically made, ridiculously cheesy Lifetime and Hallmark Christmas movies for if you ever are feeling like you made bad choices in life, you can remind yourself that you never starred in Grumpy Cat's Christmas.

Christmas music.
Especially if Michael Buble is singing it. Oh, HELLO.


Lounge/yoga pants.
Okay, so I don't own a pair of traditional sweatpants - you know, the big and unflattering ones that basic bitches used to wear with Ugg boots circa 2003 that make your ass look like a concave basketball no matter how many squats you do... however luxe lounge pants or Lulu Wunder Under? Yes PLEASE, I will be wearing these all winter long.
Plus, no guy will ever protest about you wearing these.. even with Uggs.

Reading.
There is no better time to read than in the winter. Snuggle up (combining a few lovely things in one!), grab your hot chocolate, and catch up on your ever growing Goodreads to-read list.

Holiday themed activities.
Ugly sweater parties (check, have one on deck), gingerbread house making competitions (we're doing a couple vs. couple vs. couple contest... six college athletes who are against each other. It will be a bloodbath), cookie parties, whatever. Enjoy and take part fully!

Snow.
It's so damn pretty. Just enjoy it as it falls, without stressing about shoveling, etc. Seriously, it's gorgeous.

Baking.
There is nothing better than baking on a cold day - for me, it's very cathartic and a really good way to just unwind and focus on something relatively menial, but where you have to pay attention. Plus, you get a delish final product that you can share with friends/family/coworkers (or yourself, because I mean, you worked hard).

Sweaters.
I love sweaters, the more oversized, the better. Pair them with your lounge pants for a day on the couch and you'll be comfortable without being a total scrub (look good, feel good, amirite?).

Fireplaces.
They don't have the same effect in the summer, I promise you that. They're pretty and romantic and warm, so really, it's just perfection. Anthony and I went away to a B and B (post coming soon!) and our room had a fireplace, which was maybe the greatest thing ever (until we boiled... but it still LOOKED pretty!).
One of the rooms (not ours) from Hotel Mountain Brook, where we stayed!

Staycations.
Staying in or local, trying new things, relaxing... it's perfect in the winter time. In the summer, there's pressure to be outside taking advantage of the weather, whereas in the winter, you can be a slug and it's pretty acceptable.

Game night.
Get your friends, get a shitload of games, bake cookies, and play games all night. Bonus points if you make holiday drinks to go along with it.

Decorations.
Christmas/holiday decorations are beautiful.. like, absolutely gorgeous. Last year, my brother and I got Starbucks and then just drove around and looked at all the lights in our area (our neighbors tend to go pretty big - competition is all too familiar, even when unspoken).

Sequins.
NYE means sequins and sparkle - the more, the better. Embrace your inner diva and go big.

Pretty gift wrapping.
Now is the time of year to get creative with your wrapping! Last year I put sprigs of pine branches on everything and wrapped it all with Kraft paper (this year will probably be very similar because I was obsessed with how it looked.

Red cups from Starbucks.
The true mark of the holiday season.

What are some of your favorite things about winter?