Friday, November 22, 2013

Making A Difference


Do you ever have days at work where everything goes wrong and you wonder if what you're doing matters?  Or maybe that you feel like you have no idea what even your doing?  Yeah... today was one of those days for me until about 1:00.  I was getting ready for the end of the day and taking care of the things I needed to work on this weekend when one of my players stopped by (I should mention that I coach lacrosse in the spring).  She handed me a lollipop as a token of her appreciation for me and very quickly explained that it was because of a speaker she had seen recently... long story short, her message to me was that I deserved a lollipop because I was more than just a coach to her and I had made a difference in her life.  She thanked me for being there for her and I thanked her for making my day (while I held back tears).   

I promise you this post isn't to brag about how awesome I am (but lets be honest... I'm kind of a big deal), but it is a reminder to me and for you all how thanking someone for the impact they've had in your life can make a difference in their lives like they have in yours.  And I can't think of a more appropriate time to do this than during Thanksgiving.  My player reminded me of this important lesson.  So here's my PSA for the holidays:  Thank someone... anyone... who you appreciate in your life.  It doesn't have to be in person- a simple email, text, or note will do, but just do it.  I'll get off my soapbox now :)


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Morning Coffee and Thoreau


Oy!  I can't tell you how many times in the past month I've used the word "busy" to answer the question of, "How are you?"  For some reason the field of education always seems to be hectic in the fall and all it feels like all I've been doing lately is writing reports and running meetings.  Throw in some apartment hunting with the boy, and my schedule has been jam-packed.  The problem is, as much as I've also been feeling accomplished for getting so much done in so little time, I don't feel like I've been tending to myself as much as I would like.   Sometimes we all need a little reminder to stop and take time for ourselves in order to maintain sanity (and this has a tendency to be even harder as the holidays approach).  So, with this post I am recommitting myself to myself.  It's time to make time and not to be busy without a purpose.  Here are a few things I plan on implementing starting now in order to take care of me :

  • Meditate every day, even if it's for only 5 minutes.
  • Keep a gratitude journal every day.
  • Food prep for the week so I'm not wandering around the grocery store aimlessly and buying things I don't need (or saying fuck it and buying frozen meals/eating take out).
  • GO TO YOGA.  For the love of God I need some yoga in my life.  My body is so stiff and sore these days and I always feel better when I'm exercising.
  • Cut back on the coffee...unless it's a Starbucks treat on the weekends.
I'd say it's a good start for now.  How do you take care of yourself?  Leave your comments below!



Oooo! And here are some great Sunday Morning Coffee readings/videos I just had to share :)  Enjoy.

  • This high school senior kills his position on the Common Core in this video and I couldn't agree more.  We should all hope that our students turn out to be this eloquent, smart, and funny, and have the ability to question what they are told. 
  • While we're on the topic of the self, here's an article from MindBodyGreen Online that talks about ways to get happy now.
  • Special thanks to my friend Michaela over at Keep Calm & Mommy On for clueing me in to this awesome new Alice and Olivia mug from Starbucks. It is officially in my possession and I can't wait to show it off.
  • Speaking of mugs, I'm off to Anthroplogie next for these white and gold beauties.  We all know how I feel about this color combination.  Everything looks better in gold!






Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Decor Mood Board: Apartment Living


Something very exciting is happening for me in the near future!  I'm finally moving out of my house and moving in with my boyfriend.  We are currently searching for apartments/condos/etc. to rent, but have not yet landed on an exact location, as he has two more months left on his current lease.  In the meantime, I  have been obsessively pinning what I think I want my our new place to look like and I can't get over the gold phase I am currently in.  I love this living room from featured on Pinecone Camp's blog and it is serving as my inspiration for some of the items I would love to work into our new space... assuming that no one else decides to have an opinion regarding the decor (and if he does, he will kindly be told that he is wrong). 


  • I'm loving this guilded screen from Domino Magazine's new website, but it's close to $1,500.  I don't think it will be coming home to me any time soon.  If anyone finds a cheaper version, please let me know.
  • I'm a sucker for this adorable coat rack from Urban Outfitters.
  • How can you not love this side table also from  Plum & Bow Libby via Urban Outfitters.
  • One last thing from Urban I'm totally crushing on right now is this white deer trophy wall sculpture.  It says rustic and chic at the same time.
  • And finally, I'm all about the bar cart craze.  This brass cart from Target is budget friendly and so practical.
Expect more apartment living inspiration in the future, and hopefully some pictures of the finished product when we are done!   

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why I Stopped Weighing Myself

I don't have the exact numbers of hours I've spent on a scale...and I don't think I want to know. I do know, however,  that I've spent an equal number of hours letting what that number read when I stepped on, determine how I felt about myself for the rest of the day.  And I'm sure I don't have to tell you that this is no way to live a happy life filled with glitter and peace.

Where it all began:
As a child I was a peanut and never had any awareness of my own body- oh how I miss that time.  Then puberty hit and I started developing in areas that other girls hadn't yet.  I can remember getting made fun of, and even bullied (gasp!), for needing a bra in 6th grade.  Not fun.

It wasn't my fault, but every other girl was jealous and thought I was stuffing it for attention- I wish I had been.  

With my newfound curves also came some extra weight all over that I wasn't prepared for.  I can remember going on my first diet at that time.  I spent countless nights crying because I hadn't lost the weight I had wanted to and my body didn't look any different after going for one run (clearly I did not grasp the concept of this whole loosing weight thing).  Later, in high school, I ran winter track and played lacrosse, but still maintained an "athletic" build, and a negative body image.  I hadn't quite made the connection between exercise and diet yet.  When I went to college I was terrified that I would gain the "freshman 15," as I my weight was already creeping up at the heaviest I had ever been: 150 pounds.  Now, at 5'5", others might not consider that to be very heavy, but I remember I felt so unattractive.  

A month into my freshman year however, something unexpected happened... I started loosing weight fast.  I began eating very healthy (salads and stir-fry) and working out nearly six days a week (cardio and weight lifting) and lost roughly 30 pounds over the course of that year. I can remember coming home for Christmas break and my boyfriend at the time being shocked at how different I looked.  I can also remember how great it felt to have so many people complimented me on my new svelte physique.  I was happy, healthy, and skinny.  All I ever wanted.

I was able to maintain this new figure until shortly after I started graduate school, when my body suddenly decided to revolt.  Without warning, and without having changed much of the way I was eating, I was gaining weight and having a difficult time loosing any of it.   I kept food journals, ran countless hours, gave up sugar and alcohol, ate paleo, and juiced to no avail. I read every diet book I could get my hands on.   (I also finished grad school and started working full time at a high school nearly an hour away from where I live, forcing me to get up at 5 AM every day- which I'm sure wasn't helping). 

Nothing I tried was working.  

I even went to the doctor because my mom has a history of thyroid cancer, just to see if that was the culprit (I should also note that I was exhausted, my memory was cloudy, and I generally felt miserable during this time- I wasn't going to the doctor to be poked and prodded just because I felt fat).  Turns out my thyroid levels were normal, even though it was enlarged and I have several nodules on it- but that's a story for a different day.  So back to the drawing board.  

So, needless to say, the past few years have been plagued by thoughts of my appearance. Does this person think I'm fat?  Is my boyfriend still attracted to me?  Will I ever be that skinny again?  Am I not attractive if I weigh this much?  Did I loose any weight this week?   I can tell you that this is not a sustainable way to live.

I had my breaking point this June when I mistakenly saw my weight at the doctors for a checkup.  At that time I had been working out like crazy, lifting and doing cardio, and eating as healthy as possible. The scale however, did not reflect my weeks of hard work and dedication (but my arms looked pretty jacked)- I weighed 152 pounds.  No more, no less, than when I had started nearly two months earlier.  
I assure you a meltdown ensued shortly thereafter and thank God for my wonderful boyfriend who talked me off the ledge.  I cried a lot that day and generally felt sorry for myself.  It sucked.

After that I just decided to give it up.  No more weighing myself, no more stressing about what I had ate that day, no more worrying about whether or not I looked fat in an outfit.  I was done.   I spent my summer vacation relaxing and doing what I wanted to, and when thoughts about weight crept back into my mind, I tried my best to ignore them.   I didn't stop working out, but I stopped pushing myself so hard or feeling guilty about whether or not I missed a day.  I just lived my life without the primary focus being on what I weighed that day and something unexpected happened- I lost some damn weight (insert epiphany here).  

Now I don't have a number to confirm that I actually lost any weight, but I can tell you that I fit into clothes I haven't been able to in a while and had many people comment on how good I looked.  I felt great.   Right around that time too, I started reading all of these articles about how taking the stress and focus off your body and diet and putting your energy into things that enrich your life can actually help you slim down.  (See this article from Danielle Prestejohn, a health coach I consulted with at the height of my anxiety around my body- she's pretty awesome).  The shift has been life changing for me.

I would be lying to you if I said that I don't have moments where panic creeps in and feel my weight swinging it in the opposite direction I would like it to, but the difference is now I try not to let it ruin my day.  I'm cognizant now of the thought process that can take over my brain if I let it.  These days I eat when I'm hungry, work out when I want to, and try to relax as much as I can.  I know it's easier said than done, but I'm telling you- it's better then being a slave to my scale each morning.  

Here's a few key things I learned in this whole process:
  • Listen to you instincts (like really listen).  Do you want that cookie because you need sugar?  Or because you're stressed out?
  • EAT BREAKFAST- and more than just a granola bar.  I usually do an Svelte Organic Protein Shake (the cappuccino is my favorite), some coffee or tea, and a KIND bar.
  • Entire food groups should not be off limits, some bodies just need carbohydrates (and mine is one of them).
  • Drink lots of water
  • Do the exercise you want to do, not what you think you should do.
  • Meditate/relax/take care of yourself for at least 20 minutes per day.
  • Do something that you enjoy once a day- make every day special.
  • DON'T WEIGH YOURSELF
All of this seems to be working for me so far and I hope it continues.  If it doesn't, I at least know that I will never go back to weighing myself again.

Have any of you had a similar experience?  What has worked for you to take control of your mind and body regarding weight?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sunday Morning Coffee


I love Sunday mornings.  In an ideal world, Sundays are days where I would drink my coffee, read the paper, and do fun things like buy fresh flowers or go shopping.  In reality Sundays for me are days that involve prepping for the week ahead (e.g. outfit planning, food prepping, work related things, and watching football with the boy).  If I'm up early enough though, I prefer to spend my time checking blogs and catching up on any books I'm reading.  And sometimes I can even convince the boy that we need to go to Starbucks and not Dunkin' Donuts for coffee.  I see a PSL in my future today :)


This morning I've stumbled across the links below:

  • I cry easily, so you can only imagine what this proposal video did to me. Thank God I'm not wearing mascara right now... I only hope that I'm lucky enough to have a proposal like that.
  • Since I was already wiping the tears away from the video above, why not cry a little more at this brave girl's words.  So inspiring.
  • Check out Six Ways to Get Happy Now. I'm all about routine and structure, but #3 makes complete sense. Variety is the key to life right?
  • Check out my friend Michaela at Keep Calm & Mommy On.  She's rockin' the whole working momma thing and will be my go to when I have children a child.
  • Stay tuned later this week for outfit inspiration with this lovely J.Crew Factory Jewel-Color Oxford Shell.  I got so many compliments at work on Friday.
  • I'm also loving all these perfectly priced dainty rings.
  • Finally, I can't wait for Halloween! It's probably my favorite holiday and this themed post from A Beautiful Mess is just what I needed to really get in the haunting spirit.  Time to carve pumpkins and watch Hocus Pocus.



Monday, October 7, 2013

DIY Halloween Decor






After seeing this post on A Beautiful Mess, I immediately texted my good friend Michaela over at Keep Calm Mommy On.  Our minds instantly went to our favorite decor trend, gold, and presto! a gold skull was born.  I scored this ceramic skull at Michael's for only $12.99 and had a can of Krylon gold spray paint already on hand.  Literally, all I did was spray paint this bad boy and styled in my bedroom, office, blog headquarters.  I plan on keeping him around way past Halloween- most likely finding a permanent home as a bookend.  What do you all think? 

*Also, I totally apologize for the crappy quality of the finished photo- there's a storm a brewin' here in New England and the lighting was horrible.

BEFORE:

AFTER:


Monday Fashion Inspiration


I love to be inspired. From clothes, to decor, to food, to life in general, I always find myself searching for things that are pretty and that make me happy.  Enter in Pinterest.  At first I was put off by the whole "you have to wait to be invited before you can use our website" nonsense, but I sucked it up and waited for my invitation anyway (side note: I also felt the same way about Facebook when it first came out; that lasted all of one week before I jumped on the bandwagon, but that's a story for a different day). Fast forward about two years and I have over 4,000 pins.  Pinterest has really become my place to organize all my inspirations- sort of like a giant electronic vision board- and I'm totally addicted.  

The board that holds the most pins however, is most definitely my "Closet Inspirations" board.  I love finding outfit ideas and being challenged to think of other ways to style myself.  Unfortunately, I work at a high school and my outfits are never as cool as the ones I pin.  So today's post is dedicated to all the outfits I would wear in my imaginary life, where I am allowed to wear jeans every day.  Because lets be honest, denim makes every outfit better (that and leopard).  

Below you will find a few of the outfits I am obsessing over this week.


In this outfit you will find the "inked" in "inked in glitter."  I love everything about it; it's edgy and she looks like such a badass. And that clutch!!! Sign me up for anything that's studded. This is something I would wear out on a Saturday night.


I couldn't find the actual site that this pin originated, so if anyone has it please let me know.  

Two words: CHEETAH. JACKET. Yup, that's pretty much all I have to say about that.




Okay, so I might have a slight obsession with the Hello Fashion Blog.  She has great style and everything looks good on her.  This post is the reason I need a camo jacket in my life.



I've decided I could get away with wearing this on casual Friday.  It looks so put together but effortless and sunny at the same time.  Yellow sweater added to the shopping list...


If you like this small sampling of my fashion inclinations, check out my Closet Inspirations board on Pinterest :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Season Transition: Fall By J.Crew

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There's nothing like fall in New England and it's probably the reason why I wouldn't want to live anywhere else (that and the fact that I can make it to the beach in less than an hour).  It's the mecca of fall and all my favorite activities: apple picking, pumpkin carving, apple cider, pumpkin spice lattes, and Halloween (Salem, MA, anyone???).   I love where I'm from and all the history that comes with it.  Fall is also the best time for fashion; just cold enough to layer and accessorize, but not so cold that everything you're wearing is covered up by a giant coat (trust me, no one looks cute in a floor length puffer jacket no matter how skinny you are).  Unfortunately, however, we are still in that awkward transition from summer to fall where it's freezing in the morning and hot as hell in the afternoon.  Therefore our outfit choices must be versatile.  Above you'll find some my favorite picks for transitioning to fall from J.Crew and J.Crew Factory.  Little known fact about me:  I worked at J.Crew Factory for five years while still in college and in graduate school and completely fell in love with the clothes. I miss my associate discount, but now that I'm employed full time at a high school, I still enjoy the 15% student/teacher discount they offer.  Not a student or a teacher?  Sign up for J.Crew and J.Crew Factory emails and you'll know when they offer great sales - Factory will often do a 40-50% off the entire store and thats when I stock up on all my favorites.   Enjoy!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Don't Always Make Dinner...

But when I do, I make stir fry.  It's the quickest, easiest, and healthiest option that even the cooking challenged (like myself) can manage.  Here's the completed product:


Recipe Rundown:
  • 2 bags of frozen stir fry veggies (my go to is any Birdseye blend)
  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into strips
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Siracha sauce
Steps:
  • Stir-fry chicken until mostly cooked
  • Add in frozen veggies and cook until they are hot
  • In a separate ramekin mix brown sugar, soy sauce, and siracha until blended
  • Add sauce mixture and let simmer for 2-3 minutes until thickened
See?  Super easy.  This batch will typically last me about 4 meals throughout the week. Let me know what you think?

*This sauce is originally from this Dragon Noodle Recipe from what2cook.net (also an excellent meal that my awesome momma has made).





The Best Beauty Product I Own



I'd be lying to you if I said I loved my hair.  In all honesty, I envy those of you who have long, thick, gorgeous locks that just look fabulous without having to do anything to them.  I don't have that.  My hair tends to fine, wavy (when it feels like it), and grease-prone if I don't wash it everyday- and I'm sure many of you know that washing your hair everyday is the enemy of beautiful hair.  Well I thought my hair prayers were answered when I found out about dry shampoo. I was promised days upon days of fresh hair without having to do much on my end except some minor touch ups.  Imagine my dismay when I tried everything from the expensive $20 brand to the cheaper $5.  Nothing seemed to get rid of the grease and hold up throughout the day without some reapplication (and even then it didn't look that great).  I thought I was resigned to a life of washing my hair each and every morning (not that awesome when you're getting up at 5 am and don't feel like doing your hair).

Enter in Batiste Dry Shampoo.  This dry shampoo has completely changed my whole beauty routine and saved me precious minutes in the morning.  I happen to stumble upon this amazing product while shopping at Urban Outfitters one day and bought it in a last ditch effort to find something that worked with my hair (and I may or may not have also purchased it because it came in a leopard can, don't judge me).  Well friends, I haven't looked back.  This lovely $8 can of wonderful-ness has been the only product I've tried that has kept my hair fresh for days on end.  I recommend it to anyone I meet!  Batiste carries many different versions of their Dry Shampoo (think blonde, brunette, etc.), but I have not strayed from my "Sassy Daring Wild."  I buy in bulk now when I shop at Urban Outfitters.  So go forward my friends and snag this lovely product up- I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

You’re Dangerously Close to 30: Thoughts on My 20s and What I Wish I Knew Then




1.) EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT LOANS
Just because you can borrow it, doesn't mean you should.


When you’re in college and borrowing all that money, it’s hard to have a firm grasp on what exactly roughly 100k looks like in real life.  I worked in retail all through college and graduate school and never made much more than minimum wage, so it was hard for me to conceptualize what that amount of money really adds up to.  In retrospect, I wish I had applied for scholarships and been smarter about where I got my money from or how much more I borrowed for “books.”  I also would have reevaluated where I went to school, perhaps choosing a campus that was more budget-friendly. What have learned since that time though, is that educating yourself about financial security is always beneficial, no matter what age you are. Ask questions, and don't assume that everyone else has it all together (because chances are they're in debt too).
2.) DON'T GET LOCKED INTO A TIMELINE

You’re certainly not getting married by 28 or having your first baby by 30...at least I don’t think you are.

As I get closer and closer to this “deadline,” I feel less ready for that stage in my life.  Somehow, at 18, I imagined my life differently at this point…. I thought I would feel like more of an adult, and I’m not quite sure that’s true. Being unmarried and childless in your late 20s feels like some sort of limbo that you may not want to be in, but you should enjoy the hell out of it.  Oh, and try your best not to get sucked into the "all my friends are getting married and having babies" (it's hard, I know). More on this topic in a future post.

3.) TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS

That voice inside your head that you try to ignore isn't going anywhere so pay attention to it.

Pretty self explanatory, but chances are your initial assessment of someone or a situation is correct.   That guy you like, but is a super bad-ass? RUN. That job that just doesn’t feel right? Don’t take it. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between fear and instinct, but if you quiet your mind, and don’t over think the reasons why you feel the way you feel, you’ll know your truth.  And not to get all woo-woo on you, but it can’t hurt to ask the universe for some guidance or direction.  I’ve found that when you put something out there, more often than not, you get what you want need.

4.) YOU REALLY ARE SKINNY...NO SERIOUSLY

125 pounds is not fat... it just isn't.

I lost about 30 pounds in college… and still spent a significant amount of time believing I wasn’t skinny enough. Now having gained back the majority of that weight in my post-25-metabolism body, I see now how much time I wasted judging myself. This is still something I struggle with daily, and I’m sure in 10 years I’ll look back at my 27-year-old body longingly, but I find as I get older I become more comfortable in my own skin.

5.) FACEBOOK IS GOING TO BE HUGE

Don’t post that picture of you doing a keg stand.

Again, pretty self-explanatory, but when I was a freshman in college, Facebook had just come out.  No one knew what it was really, and I distinctly remember needing a college email address just to sign up.  So much has changed now since that time and there are a lot of things I wish I hadn’t said...or done. My recommendation to anyone is to be very cautious what you share on the interwebs, because it’s permanent, and there’s always someone listening or looking. No one needs to see your half-naked halloween costume, unless you enjoy your future employment encourages that sort of thing.