Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The more things change the more they stay the same

Here I am, the last day of 2014.  At the rate I was headed it would have been two years before I blogged again.  Except that I don't want to keep that habit.

A multitude of wonderful things have happened in 2014 and I have to rely on just my brain to keep it all. Lord knows I'm forgetful!  I can't let that happen for another year.  

So here I am, yet again trying to put together my 4 simple goals for this upcoming year, in the middle of a housing limbo as I have to move in three months (See that I mean about things staying the same?)  This time I'm sure that we're renting for at least another year.  We keep trying to save money but every time we do, we wind up having to spend a couple of grand on some sort of emergency.  Hopefully that gets better this year. 

Proposed Goal #1 for 2015 - Become Stronger

     I mean that in every sense of the term.  I want to become physically stronger.  I want to be mentally stronger.  I want to be emotionally stronger.  To that end I have a couple of plans (5x5's, weekly bootcamp, subtle changes in diet) that I'm going to implement for the physical aspects of this goal.  I'm going to continue to increase my jiu jitsu training as this helps both my body and my mind.  I'm going to set some time to meditate.  I'm going to communicate my feelings.   I'm going to try to squeeze in some more yoga.  

Proposed Goal #2 for 2015 - Write more

     I feel that this ties in closely with my first goal.  I want to write more here, not just to help with documenting memories, but challenge my mind to find the words to properly convey ideas and emotions.  I want to write in a jiu jistu journal, so that I can keep better track of my progression, as well as to help me address what I need more work on.  

Proposed Goal #3  for 2015 - Continue to challenge myself

     2014 was a year that I filled with personal challenges.  I wanted to do new things to start of the decade of my 30's so I signed up for a Spartan Sprint.  In order to get my body ready for the physical demands of the race I looked into Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I discovered that the art not just prepared me physically, but also mentally to face the challenge.  Although a broken and displaced finger caused me to delay my Spartan, I did take it on and finish the race with only 4 sets of 30 penalty burpees.  I also had to face my fear of competition.  I hate (still do) the idea of having to compete with someone for something, however my husband entered me in a BJJ tournament and I actually won gold!  I spoke to my boss to express that not only did I feel ready, but I wanted to take on additional responsibilities.  
     So with all of that being said, 2015 I would like to challenge myself to complete a Spartan Trifecta, and have already signed up for my next sprint.  I would like to challenge myself into learning enough so that I feel that I deserve the four stripes on my white belt.  I'm going to challenge myself to trust my instincts.  I'm going to challenge myself to sign up for a BJJ tournament on my own.  I'm going to continue to learn new aspects of the business that I work in and push towards being efficient, effective, and confident enough to renegotiate my salary.

Proposed Goal #4 for 2015 - Make more quality time

     I had a similar goal back in 2013 and I think it's a good goal to always work towards fine tuning.  We started having a bi-weekly family game night this year.  I would like to continue this growing tradition.  With work and gym etc, I tend to spend any extra time doing chores, trying to sleep as much as possible, and sitting in front of a television.  Although I want to dedicate some weekly time to blogging and writing, I also want to make more time doing things with the people that are special to me.  Taking my daughters to museums, family date days, brewery visits with friends, game nights, family cooking etc.  Although idle time is important, making quality time needs to also be a priority for me.  

Also, not a goal but something that I would like to do is take more pictures.  When my daughter was born I took over a hundred pictures of her.  Slowly but surely as time went on, it has significantly dwindled.  This year I may have 30 pictures and most of them are selfies.  I feel like this is a shame.  Granted Monday - Friday I don't really get to spend time with my children, (one of the reasons quality time needs to be one of my goals), I would like to have pictures to frame, or to reference.  So many great things can be captured in photos.  So maybe a weekly photo round up.  Our mornings, our weekends, something that made us happy, something beautiful, something that made us think or discuss, something we've made.  

So that's part of my plan for this upcoming year.  I can't wait to get started.  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

So I suck huh?

I have done a terrible job of updating this blog regularly.  It's just been tough to do.  I haven't even kept up with my pie a week challenge.  So much for that.  2013 has just been a crazy rollercoaster ride thus far.  My enthusiasm and motivation has just been non-existent.  The plus side is that I have spent a lot of quality cuddle time with my little one.  So thankfully it hasn't been a total loss.

I'll be moving in the next 15 days, and with some luck I will also be getting a new job within that time.  Not a better paying job, but something that will hopefully be worth the pay cut.  We'll see what happens.  This year hasn't been kind so I don't want to get my hopes up.

Anyway, the move will have me with a bigger better oven than the 1960's model  I have now so maybe more baking.  I bought some cookbooks too so there will hopefully be lots of kitchen fun happening.  I'm just hoping to drag myself out of this weird doom and gloom depression with these upcoming changes.  I know there's plenty of things that I could and should be excited about, but that's just not happening yet.

Here's to waiting, and to hoping.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blogging After

I had intended on posting a new blog every day or two in order to keep things flowing well.  I have even succeeded in my pie a week challenge thus far.  However, I had a few setbacks since the year started that have kept me preoccupied.  Family health issues, personal logistics stuff, and some loss.

The loss isn't as terrible as it sounds.  I had to re-home my gorgeous  perfect, pug son.  It's been in the works for a while now, but that doesn't make things any easier for myself or my daughter.  So instead of spending my free time blogging, I spent it playing and cuddling with my handsome boy so that I could have lots of wonderful memories.  Now that he's gone, I should be back on the blogging ball as I'll need a distraction once my daughter goes to bed.  In the meantime, I can't help but think about how much I miss my Hamilton <3

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pie A Week Challenge Week 1

One of my goals for this year is to bake one pie a week.  I have been having a very tumultuous beginning to this year so I was really looking forward to some baking time.  I wound up squeezing it in last night.  I decided to start the year with this recipe from Whole Living.  I couldn't find any fresh or frozen cranberries in my neighborhood so I wound up having to double the amount of dried cranberries.  Here is my finished product:
I'm not a great photographer but I tried
Overall this wasn't a difficult recipe which is a plus for a the first one of the year.  I like the mix of flavors.  However I do feel that it was a bit too tart.  If I ever make this pie again I would go for a more mellow apple to even out the tartness.  As it is I need to eat this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to try to balance the flavor.  I think I'll keep this recipe for the future.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Try, Buy, or Pass - Head & Shoulders Damage Rescue

For the last few months a coworker of mine was constantly trying new products and talking about them at work and on Facebook. At the time, I didn't think too much of it other than sometimes I'd take her advice and try something that she was mentioning out. Eventually she let on that she had joined a site called influenster and that it was a good place to go and read reviews on different products. She sent me the invitation to join and told me that from time to time they mail out products for you to try. Since I'm on the computer all day for work as it is, and since I rarely buy anything without reading online reviews first, I figured I'd give it a shot. I was lucky enough to be selected for the Head & Shoulders Voxbox. I was sent a bottle of their Damage Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner to try. It's advertisement states that you can get stronger hair in just 4 washes. I wash my hair about once a week and so finally I am 4 washes in and can give an honest review.
First off the smell of this product is just amazing. It smells slightly flowery without overpowering to the point where a guy can't use it. Overall the smell that comes off is "clean". The shampoo gives just the right amount of later. The conditioner also smells divine. It has just the right thickness to it's consistency so that you actually believe that it moisturizes you hair. It actually really delivers on that point. My hair is soft and shiny without having any of the greasy weight that sometimes happens with conditioners. I have never had any dandruff problems so I cannot review that part of this product.

 Overall, I cannot say that my hair feels any stronger. I still seem to suffer the same amount of breakage when combing. As much as I like the smell of the product and the way shine that it brings to my hair, the one negative aspect is that with every wash it fades the red out of my hair significantly. Since I know red is a hard color to upkeep I tend to use sulfate free products and this is definitely not one. My final verdict is: Try. I don't think that I will be repurchasing this product in the future. I think I'll stick with my previous sulfate free products as they provided similar softness and shine but without the significant fade in my color. For those that won't have an issue with dyed hair, or for those that have dandruff problems I would recommend that you give this a shot and see for yourself.
My air dried hair after four washes

Puerto Rico and my wedding

Last February after living together for 6 years, and being engaged for most of them, Gil made the case for why we should finally get married.  I had been putting it off in order to accomplish a few personal goals first, and because in the grand scheme of things a marriage didn't seem like that important a thing.  He made it very clear that it was very important to him, and even brought up the fact that we could marry in Puerto Rico so that my dad could attend.

As a young girl I had always imagined getting married on a beach or in a garden.  Generally somewhere that I didn't need to wear shoes.  The thought of not only having a wedding, and "officially" starting a future together exactly the way I pictured it was too great to ignore.  So the wedding planning began.  Honestly at first it was a total mess and I almost gave up.  Accommodations, invitations, colors, bridesmaids, centerpieces  and so on was just too much.  Thankfully my Dad came to the rescue and got me a wedding planner.  Thank the universe for wedding planners.

I just gave her an estimated party size, told her that I loved Lillies and roses, that I was sticking with the color Ivory because it matches everything, and that I wanted to do the ceremony beachside.  I just wanted a classic, clean, and simple affair.  Oh and that the cake must be strawberry shortcake.  After that she took care of everything else.

The interesting thing about taking such an important step was that it really showed us who our real friends and family were.  We set the date and invitations were out by March with an RSVP by June.  The ceremony itself was to take place in November.  We took into consideration that some people would not be able to take the time off, or incur the expense for a destination wedding.  I worked out a deal to rent a six bedroom villa on the beach for a week with the option of the one next door so that the weeks accommodations would be about $330 a person which I thought was an amazing deal.  In the end, the most unexpected people made every attempt to attend, and others whom we thought would be the first on board didn't even respond to say they couldn't make it.

The week spent with the ocean as our backyard, with no work or responsibilities, on a beautiful island, with the most amazing friends and family was the best week of my life.  I was able to swim in the sea the morning of my wedding and that is an indescribable feeling.  Come 5pm I squeezed myself into my wedding dress, which due to my love of food left no room for sitting, and laid in the back of the car on the way to the hotel.  I had my beautiful, shoeless, sunset wedding on the beach and just as we were saying our vows it started to rain.  My daughter was my flower girl, and I kept things simple and had no bridesmaids.

The reception had some fantastic food and sangria's   The only hitch of the night was that our DJ was terrible.  Like the worst DJ in the entire world.  Thankfully my 30 guests were all awesome people and we still had a great time.  When the festivities were over we all rode back to our villa and to my surprise  the inn further down the coast was releasing paper lanterns.  It was the perfect ending to the perfect day, I wouldn't trade that day for anything.

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

This year has not been particularly bad to me.  I completed a year of marriage, as well as a year of being a dog owner.  I went on my first real road trip.  My daughter got older and smarter.  I saw the Pacific Ocean.  I discovered some kick ass blogs.

I mean overall, who can complain about that?!

And so for the first time in a long while I can look back on a year and actually feel happy and nostalgic.  I am definitely looking forward to some of the things that will be happening in 2013, as well as dreading a few other things.  I will be moving.  I'm not yet sure if it will be to another rental apartment, or to a place of my own.  A little more time will tell.  I will be traveling overseas again, and if I'm really lucky maybe I'll catch some aurora action.  And these things will all be happening in the first quarter of the year.

But at this same time however, I may be giving up my wonderful handsome pug Hamilton.  That's going to tear my heart up.  My brother will also be getting deployed to Afghanistan for the first time.  That isn't going to be easy on anyone in my family.  So yes, new year, new experiences, new emotional challenges.

With challenges in mind however, I decided that for the first time in my adult life I'm going to try setting a sort of resolution set.  As I love reading A Beautiful Mess (those girls have changed my life!) I was inspired to set 4 simple goals for the year.

1 A pie a week challenge -  I love baking things.  Baking is actually quite a stress reliever for me.  The things I bake may not always look beautiful, but the are delicious 99% of the time.  I decided that I'm going to try to bake at least 1 pie a week.  Sweet, savory, both, the world is my oyster.  I'll pick a few recipes each week, and Gil and I will agree together on which to try.  My munchkin is mostly crust crazy so she could care less what's in them.

2 Move more each day  - I sit in an office most days.  Literally staring at a screen.  This is really not much of a way to live.  I don't intend to lose weight, or go on any real diets this year.  I just want to make it a goal to get at least 30 minutes of some sort of exercise a minimum of 5 days a week.  Maybe the treadmill, maybe a workout video, a dance class, a pole class, just a regular walk, a park outing with the little one.

3 Expand and explore my professional life -  I haven't been satisfied with my current job in a long while.  I wanted to become a Registered Nurse, but since I have the munchkin and Gil doesn't have a set work schedule I can't do this in the foreseeable future.  Thus I plan on taking some time this year to explore my career options.  I want to find something that I can be passionate about.  Depending on the circumstance I don't mind making a lateral move financially, or even taking a bit of a pay cut.  I just need to explore what I find stimulating and rewarding and take things from there.

4 Make quality bonding time - I love hanging out with my daughter and she generally finds most things I do interesting.  She wants to help me cook, but I don't let her for fear of cuts and burns.  She wants to help me sew but again, similar fear of harm.  I want to take her to cool places, but she tends to get herself grounded often.  Lately for stealing electronics, and lying.  So generally weekends are spent either loafing around the house, running errands like grocery shopping, laundry, or me scolding her about needing to read more.  This year I want to spend some quality bonding time with her.  Especially since she'll also have a hard time if/when we re-home our dog.  Maybe I'll get her a mini sewing machine, or I'll let her mix and measure ingredients in the kitchen.  Maybe I'll find a craft project that we can work on together.  This year, I want to make a lot of memories with my honeycake.

So that's that.  Those are my 4 goals for this upcoming year.  Unofficially I'll also work on blogging consistently   This can also help me keep track of and monitor the success of these goals.  Happy New Year Everyone!!