Category: Random Thoughts
|January 22, 2015||Filled under Random Thoughts|
Last night I started a blog post for today and then got distracted with a million other things. Like completely re-designing my blog. And in all my tinkering, I mixed things up and my basically empty post went live.
Good thing it was just a few pictures, right?
Yeah, so it was amateur night on the blog. These things happen.
In other news, I feel like the universe is having a good time with me right now. Like at the start of most years, I set goals and started brainstorming. In fact I did a lot of planning for this year with all kinds of hopes and dreams. I decided this would be the year I went back to blogging and built up my YouTube channel. I was going to save all the money and do all the crafts and all kinds of things.
Notably absent from my goals for the year was anything having to do with weight loss, dieting – what have you. It’s not that I don’t want to lose weight but that interest has fallen under some other priorities that feel a lot heavier (gah) than the extra pounds I’m carrying. So I didn’t set any “I’m going lose __ pounds in 2015″ plans. But we all know what they say about the best laid plans, right?
Right after I jumped into working on my goals for the year I got picked for not one but TWO major projects at work. I usually keep my professional life (appropriately) separate from this blog so one project I won’t discuss, but gosh wouldn’t you know that the other project is ALL ABOUT healthy living, fitness, weight loss and encouraging other people to do those things?
Message received, universe.
Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean I’m just going to hurl myself back into weight loss blogging. I’m not even going to change my plans and say that losing weight is now my goal. But I’ll have to figure out what my plans are, exactly, because it’ll be pretty hard for me to encourage other people to do things I’m not doing myself.
So this is me, going back to revise all those goals for the year. It’s time to make space for some things I didn’t expect to be doing in 2015. Which is pretty much how life always works, isn’t it?
Maybe it’s time to get used to that.
|December 10, 2014||Filled under Random Thoughts|
I know, you’re probably wondering why I would bother coming out of a blog break if all I’m going to do is talk about something as boring as a day planner. Believe it or not, someone requested this post! Maybe it’s because I’ve mentioned my planner obsession a few too many times and made people curious. But hopefully your inner voyeur will get a kick out of this little peek into my life.
I’ve always loved having a planner and there’s something about writing it all down that appeals to me. I use my paper planner in conjunction with my phone and Outlook calendars which builds redundancy and reinforces those crucial reminders.
Right now I use the Erin Condren Life Planner because I’m a total bandwagon-jumper-onner. I saw a bunch of friends and other bloggers using them and decided I wanted one for myself. It’s a weekly planner that you can customize with your name/monogram and, if you don’t like their designs, your own photos. Yes, those are my pictures all over the front!
Here’s what the inside looks like. There’s a monthly view, complete with notes section and inspirational quote.
And the weekly pages look like this:
As it’s currently December and I was just able to show you blank pages from March and April, that should show you exactly how well this planner in its original form worked for me. Once I got past the shimmery “my pictures are on my planner and I have the same one as everyone else” stage I realized that the way this planner breaks out the week just doesn’t work for me. I also noticed that after carrying it around the edges started to look kind of gross and that it doesn’t look super professional sitting on your desk. Maybe that’s just because I have photos of my dogs on the entire back…whatever.
But I wasn’t interested in buying a new planner partway through the year because this one was not cheap. Enter the magic of washi tape and free time. I can’t even remember now how I came across this strange collection of people who personalize the heck out of their planners this way but believe me when I say they are FAR more invested and dedicated to the art of planner hacking than I am.
My monthly view is pretty standard. I track the major events for the month and use washi tape to indicate events that span multiple days:
Then I break down the weekly pages into smaller segments. My daily activities don’t break neatly into “morning, day, and night” so I use each segment for a different topic:
It took a while to figure out how to configure the segments so they would work best for me but now I have it down. Here’s a sample of how I use the smaller sections:
If you can read through my scribbles you’ll see that’s daily reminders, that day’s cleaning task(s), exercise plans (I’ve changed this to menu planning now), financial task(s) or reminders, work notes, and then my blog post topic or task(s) for the day.
All of that said, I’m sure plenty of you are out there thinking “ain’t no one got time” and you’re right. I use this system for two reasons – I didn’t want to spend money on something I already had and 2 – tearing off washi tape doesn’t actually take up that much of my time. I sit down once a month and split up the whole month at one time, usually while I watch TV so it’s already “unproductive” time. Filling in the sections once they’re already there isn’t any more time consuming than normal.
Obviously the way you use a planner is pretty personal so I can’t sit here and say this is the best and everyone should be doing it, but it was a fun workaround for me. My 2015 planner (still bubble wrapped from when I received it months ago…) will hopefully meet my needs without all the tape but I might find myself making excuses to use it anyway.
|December 8, 2014||Filled under Random Thoughts|
This wine and cheese was dedicated to the fact that I have (spoiler alert) unpacked my last box from this year’s move. My new home actually looks like home now instead of the recycling pile and that’s pretty glorious.
So what does one do when she’s settled in? I decided to tuck myself into bed with the aforementioned glass of wine and blow the dust off my blog. How about a quick rundown on what I’ve been up to while I was away?
1) My friends threw me a pretty fabulous 30th Birthday party. I mean, really.
2) I was strong-armed into participating in Thanksgiving yet again this year. My thoughts on Thanksgiving are already well documented and I’ve been trying all year to prepare my mother for the fact I have no interest in celebrating it again (ever) but as you can see…I need some more practice saying no. Good food, priceless company – I shouldn’t complain.
3) Then the packing began. See, back in September my roommate got engaged (I’ve done this to almost every one of my recent past roommates) which meant I was either going to live with the happy couple or strike out alone. And so it came to pass…
4) What gets packed obviously has to get unpacked. This year my Christmas decorating bug hit hard. Possibly because I started pinning things in July. Irregardless, I dove into the Christmas decorations before 80% of my house was unpacked. That’s where I found this little stowaway. I have NO idea where he came from, and my former roommate swears it’s not hers, but he stays because he’s adorable.
As I was packing/unpacking my poor little guys were pretty overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that Mocha, who normally runs from the camera, let me take this picture. Have you ever seen anything more adorable/pathetic?
6) Since my new home has a bathtub I have cultivated a love of baths. Specifically glittery bubble baths taken while watching TV. I used to just get bored and overheated in a bath but now that I can bring my phone and/or iPad with me I can sit for hours. Preferably with a drink. It’s my favorite way to unwind and it’s possible I have taken one almost every night this week.
After one week of feeling like I’d never find a place for everything, I can say that I’m unpacked. I still have a lot of settling in to do but at least the boxes are empty and out of the house. This feels like nothing short of a miracle given it was an incredibly stressful week at work with lots of long hours.
|September 2, 2014||Filled under Random Thoughts|
It’s been a minute or two since I last had enough time to put together an actual blog post (gasp). Not that my weekly posts are fake but…they’re a one-sided portrayal of my life. Not that this blog will ever be an accurate depiction of my daily life but you know what I mean.
So exactly what have I been up to during my unplanned blog vacation? Oh just a little of everything. We can start with this weekend when my roommate dyed my hair and it came out beautiful. The color is gorgeous and perfect for the start of fall. I also cut 2 inches off my hair (yes, I did it myself) but you’d never notice.
If you were concerned that maybe my dogs are not cute anymore, you would be wrong. This is Mocha waiting outside Erika’s door for Jackson to come out and play for 5 seconds before they went back to ignoring each other. In a strange plot twist, Mocha’s gotten camera shy as of late and runs away when you try to take pictures of him. I was surprised he didn’t bolt when I took this one.
This weekend wasn’t all hair dye and puppy dogs though. I did quite a few projects and unfortunately didn’t manage to properly finish a single one.
I had concord grapes in this week’s CSA basket and thought they’d be perfect for jam. Having done berry jams successfully before I figured I would pick out a recipe for the grapes and all would be well. I picked one from a book on canning because I have trust issues when it comes to preserving. But it wasn’t meant to be – I cooked it too long and when I left it in the jars to cool the whole thing turned to rock. Sigh.
Maybe I should have taken a hint and put my crafts aside for the day but I wanted to make a fall wreath for our door so I got out the burlap I got last year when all the fall decor went on sale and…2 rolls were not quite enough. How annoying is that?
But I shamelessly hung the unfinished wreath on the door anyway because I knew if I packed it away I wouldn’t ever finish it. #RealTalk
And so I’m crossing my fingers that Monday isn’t a sneak peek at what the rest of this month will look like. At any rate I figured it was only fair to show you that not every project comes out perfect the first time through. Pretty sure there’s a life lesson in that if you feel like digging it out. In any case, Happy September!
|August 5, 2014||Filled under Random Thoughts|
It’s been a while since we last saw our hero – thought you all might want to know he’s being awesome as always. In this picture he’s gotten a hunk of Milkbone that’s way too big for him and refusing to give it up so we can break it into smaller pieces for him. Sigh.
And because I can’t get enough of it, here’s a video of him I took a while ago trying to get at the scraps in the trash can:
I know I should have turned my phone but you never know how long something like this will go on. Apparently with Latte it will last quite a while. Never accuse him of being unmotivated!
|July 14, 2014||Filled under Random Thoughts|
That would be Mocha, so proud of the great spot he found to curl up. My calves were hanging off the bed so it was not particularly comfortable but he was not deterred.
Sunday was a pretty lazy day for me since I spent a good amount of Saturday sightseeing with my cousins who were in town. We started at Arlington Cemetery where I haven’t been since I was much younger. I hadn’t yet seen the Women’s Memorial and was surprised when we walked in and saw that my mom’s movie was playing!
Mom told us stories about her experience in Vietnam (and coming home after – can you believe people spit on them in airports? Sad but true) and we looked at all the other memorabilia.
From there we hiked up to the JFK grave site and along the way learned that if you want to go anywhere in the cemetery it’s going to be uphill. It probably seemed much worse than it really is because of the heat and somewhat limited shade. I suspect it would be a really nice place to visit in the fall when you’re not trying to move fast to get out of the sun and don’t mind taking your time so the hills feel more gentle.
We rushed to make it over to the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers so we could be there in time for the changing of the guard. It’s one of the most prestigious honors to be selected to participate in this ritual and I really admire the dedication these guards have.
Between the heat, the white marble, and the humidity we were all dripping sweat just standing there to watch. I can’t imagine what it’s like when you’re in full dress uniform making such precise movements in front of a crowd. And they’re out there for an hour straight!
I don’t remember visiting Mount Vernon before so I really loved getting to walk around the grounds and see everything. They don’t let you take pictures inside the house but I loved George Washington’s wall colors. It was nice and shady for most of the walking so that was really great, especially for the hilly parts. Mount Vernon would be a pretty fall trip because there are so many trees and I bet they’re gorgeous. It would even be a nice winter trip – especially if they put out Christmas decorations!
I discovered Saturday morning as I was getting dressed that I don’t own shorts. I clearly don’t lead the kind of life that involves wearing shorts so it’s never come up before but I ended up wearing my black and white pencil skirt. Did I look overdressed? There were actually plenty of others out sightseeing in skirts and dresses so I didn’t stand out.
Unfortunately despite my obsessive sunscreen applications I think I ended up slightly tan after getting all that sun. Fingers crossed that if I’m diligent about avoiding sun for a few weeks I’ll go back to my nice translucent color.
Sunday I made a quick trip to Ulta with Mom but spent most of the day lazing around, doing my laundry and catching up on some TV shows (Extreme Weight Loss, anyone?). Now that I’ve had one outdoor adventure this summer I think I’m good for the year!
|June 16, 2014||Filled under Random Thoughts|
Listen, I’m not going to pretend I think Monday is ever a good idea but lately I’ve realized it’s best to just get it over and done with. Putting it off until Tuesday just postpones the agony, right?
While we’re on the topic of agony, I noticed “how to hold your pee for 24 hours” has popped up in the search strings people used to find my blog. I’ve never wanted to do this or tried, so I cannot help that poor soul but if I were going to I might recommend something along these lines:
In this case, Jackson is the one holding and Mocha is the one asking me to stop the crazy. He asks me that a lot. Sometimes I comply.
This weekend I did not comply, however, because I’m visiting my father while Mom’s out of town which means we have 4 dogs in one house. You might think that’s not any different from having 3 dogs in one apartment but it is. My two dogs are even-tempered with little bouts of energy and personality quirks. As small dogs go, they’re not the yappy sort unless encouraged by other dogs. Jackson is the same way so the three of them together tend to be reasonably laid back and well-behaved (which is why Erika and I lose our minds when they act up because it’s so unusual).
My parents’ dogs are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Sorcha, the one you never hear about because she spends 98% of her life sleeping, is an extra special unique little snowflake. She’s 908 years old at this point and set in her yappy sort ways. I like to use terms like “neurotic headcase” and “batshit insane” to describe her which sends my mother into an incensed rage. I see you, Mom. Sorcha also has a heart murmur and emphysema (not really, but she does cough) and, having spent all her life turning her nose up at food, has recently realized she missed out on her prime eating years and wants to eat not just her special canned dog food but all the dry food she can choke down so if you’re done eating those French fries can you just pass them her way? Thanks. She’s also spent 80% of her life hating me and now thinks we’re bffs so I’m pretty sure dementia has set in.
And then there’s Phog, who, when Mocha decided he’d rather be a toy poodle than a miniature, seized all of Mocha’s leftover growing energy and ran with it. If I had to guess I’d say there are 16 pounds of Phog for every pound of Mocha. Some of that is fluff and charisma, not actual body weight, so factor that somehow – I don’t know, math is not my strong suit. At any rate, Phog also decided he wasn’t going to grow up so he bounces instead of walking which sounds adorable until you witness 160 pounds of full grown poodle bouncing off the walls. That is until visitors come over or it thunders outside and he has to hide under the table because omg teh danger is real. It’s a good thing, really, because how else would he remember where he’s hidden all his bully sticks?
Add my two dogs to that mix and they fall apart. Latte, who is calmly in control at our apartment, is clearly out of his depth at my parents house and spends the whole time trying to eat his feelings about that. When he’s not face down in a food bowl he’s trying to keep Mocha and Phog from even thinking about having any fun at all, really. Latte hates fun. Which means he spends a lot of time eating because Mocha and Phog spend a lot of time playing.
Mocha, who normally plays next to Jackson instead of with him because he’s just oh-so-delicate and shy, goes headlong into all out full contact play mode with Phog. He brings all his fury to everything he does from defending my lap against any other dogs who might think they can have my attention, to eating dinner (Latte can share his bowl, Phog may not), to kissing Sorcha even though she complains the whole time, to yes, actually playing with Phog. It’s hilarious. Until they decide you need to be involved and start jumping on your lap and/or hitting you with toys to get your attention so you’ll throw them. Or when you’re trying to watch a very poignant story about Erik Compton and his heart transplants (what? It was Father’s Day and there aren’t many things that say Dad like watching the US Open) and all you can hear is the sound of poodles growling. For the uninitiated, try to imagine a monkey and a pig having a conversation and you have the sounds of my life right now.
So that’s what the beginning of my week looks like. Hope yours is as joyful if not a little quieter.