back with a mac//catching up//random thoughts

Well, friends, I am back. After making a valiant but fruitless effort to replace the hard drive in my old Dell laptop, then considering the option to get another cheap PC to hold me over until I get what I really wanted, I just went for it and got myself a MacBook Pro. It’s taking some getting used to, but I know I’ll just love it! If anyone’s got tips for me, please send em’. I’m learning the WordPress photo uploader is a total no-worky with Safari (Apple’s browser) and I’m resorting back to Firefox. Sheesh! First World Problems, eh?

I missed a Practically Free Friday post and I know how sad you all are about it (hehe) so I’ll be back with two next week. I’ve actually been doing lots of fun projects since I’m on a break between classes (start back up August 13).

I can’t believe it’s August already. I know, I said the same thing about July. July 1 I started a kinda new job (my Government contract is in the hands of a new company). I’ve been busy getting a handle on my new and ever-growing list of work-tasks. I am just NOT good at handling work-stress. I overeat, under-sleep, don’t hit the gym, and drink too much wine. Subsequently I have felt like utter crap for weeks (duh) and the fit of my jeans tells me it’s time for damage control in the form of good ol’ healthy eating, yoga and gym time.

Which reminds me (hijacking my own post – awesome!) – if I started a blog of the healthy eating, fitnessy and natural hippy-dippy home remedy variety would you read it?

Welp, here’s what else I’ve been up to {Instagram is the laziest best way to document life, amIright?)

Finally! A long overdue date night this weekend!

@ City Creek in SLC. Just liked this shot.

My friend Matt is moving to the UK and he bestowed his paint stash on me – Whoop! Here’s my now quadrupled, co-mingled collection. Um, can I take a week off of work? I think I need a paintcation.

My sister-in-law planted my beet seeds {I ran out of room}. Look how pretty they are!! I am having lots of fun making weird garden-inspired meals. Today we are having these beet burgers from Post Punk Kitchen. I made them yesterday, doubled the recipe, and had 8 burgers to freeze. They look and smell delicious!

How cute are these dolls (@ Target!)? I want one!! But I got it for my niece instead.

Happy Sunday!

5 year bloggiversary.

I started blogging exactly 5 years ago today. This was my first ever post {I still kinda crush on Anderson Cooper – is that weird?}.

So I thought I would look back over the blogs for some of my highlights {in my very humble opinion ;)}.

Favorite Posts:

Favorite Projects:

Favorite Challenges:

^ Also 5 years old ^..this pic. Whoa. Such kids!♥

2012 resolutions//to do list

Happy New Year, everyone!

Wishing you all the very best for this upcoming year. We ended our year right with a fun party, bubbly drinks, and lots of laughing.

I recapped 2011 and all the resolutions I made for it yesterday. I am so excited to work on my 2012 goals!

And here they are:

  1. Finish the half-marathon & the Dirty Dash
  2. Fit in fitness 4 days a week {I already do this – just a goal to keep it up!}
  3. Get my goal weight and stay there {I have been doing Weight Watchers and I am getting there!}
  4. Take 4 classes for my MBA
  5. Pay down $6,000 on my student loans
  6. Save $ for a trip to NYC for my 30th birthday {June 2013}
  7. Write 2 blog posts every week
  8. Live super frugally! Scrimp on the unnecessary to pay off student loan debt and save for trip. Some ideas:
  • Limit “extras” to $100/month. Includes clothes, shoes, books, alcohol, coffee runs, household items like décor, kitchen stuff, gym stuff including passes
  • Make my own dishsoap, laundry detergent, cleaning supplies, etc.
  • Start a garden
  • Eat $1 dinners twice a week (pasta+sauce, veggie+rice, grilled cheese sandwiches, baked potatoes, pancakes…)
  • Make menus every week
  • Be a better couponer
  • Come up with a free or VERY cheap date once a month
  • Buy or make Christmas gifts months ahead
  • Reuse//revamp
  • More DIY//craftiness!
  • Blog about this monthly!

9. Lastly, some house projects that are our highest priority in 2012*:

  • Build a shed
  • Put in a vegetable garden and an herb garden
  • Paint interior doors and trim
  • SUPER organize the garage
  • Re-caulk shower, and get new or fix up old shower door {maybe frost it?} in master bathroom
  • Hang curtains in the office and spare bedroom and figure out something for the bay windows in the kitchen
  • Get outdoor lighting
  • Replace kitchen faucet
  • Make the laundry room also a functional mud room

*PS: It might seem like a lot to take on with all those penny-pinching plans, but it’s how we roll. If there’s one thing we do well in our household, it’s save on the little things so we can pay cash for the things we really want to do. The last two months of 2011 I fell out of the mindset and went rather crazy on the spending {compared to my norm} and it’s time to get back on track!

What are your resolutions and plans for 2012?

some thoughts on weight loss/maintenance and motivation

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar

Today I hit my Saturday Weight Watchers meeting planning to just weigh and go, but saw the quote above on the board. I am a sucker for motivational talk, goal-making, and inspiration gathering. It made me think for a moment about my week. It was a successful one, health-wise. I got 6 workouts in, lost a couple pounds, tried some great new vegan recipes, and took some time for myself because my husband was out of town. I was motivated by my week’s freedom, to take advantage of my time better. It was lovely! Not to say I wanted my husband to never come back- ha! But I certainly needed some re-focus time.

Next week’s going to be particularly busy. My little brother is getting married Friday! I am throwing a party for them at my house Friday evening, which I am absolutely looking forward to, but that also means the week will be super-busy with cleaning, party prep, shopping, food assembly and cooking, etc! Work’s gonna be super-insane, too, and husband and I are going to a concert Tuesday night! Phew!

It’s weeks like the upcoming one that I find myself making excuses for not staying on track. So I decided to make myself a little list of things that motivate me (short and long term) for weeks like this, when I need a little push to make the smart choices {fully aware some of these are so ridiculous, but whatever works!}:

  • That next goal. I’m almost to my 5% weight loss goal! This week should get me there if I only stay with it. GREAT motivation.
  • That little “carrot.” For all my planning ahead, squeezing in gym time, foregoing the cocktails, munching on actual carrots – a girl deserves some reward carrots! This week my eyes will be on a super-awesome prize… cashing in my manicure gift certificate next weekend!
  • A new season. Time to embrace healthy soups, skinny jeans, running outdoors, hiking… there are healthy things about every season, even the ones that encourage you to wear MORE layers.
  • That one picture. You know the one. It’s either that one you want to burn forever or that one you want to use as your FB profile pic because you’re kind of under the delusion that’s still the real you? Whichever motivates you! For me it’s a picture I self-took in the mirror in 2008 of a t-shirt reconstruction project. I had dieted and ran my ass off to get to a (small for me but healthy/realistic) 115lbs. Keeping it off is the hardest part but I sometimes just need a reminder I got there once and I can get there again. THEN it will be time for the before picture magneted to the fridge.
  • That one walking cautionary tale. This sounds horrible, but sometimes the best motivation in the world for me is seeing someone who’s a what-not-to-do billboard. I have one in my office. Don’t want to be requiring surgeries and multiple meds in 15 years? Don’t do what this person does. Do the opposite. This stuff matters over the long haul and it’s easy to “forget” when it’s inconvenient.
  • Blogs. I check my faves often but really I should make time to do so every single day for the motivation factor.
  • Those silly mini-goals. I try to give myself a couple little healthy mini-goals and just incorporate them into my to-do list each week. I am pretty diligent about my to-do lists, and seeing those each day makes me take them seriously and work them in. These aren’t lifestyle changers – more like, try a new recipe, or stretch ever day, or walk at lunch 3 days. No matter what this tends to get me at least one or two wins for my week!
  • Planning ahead. It’s easy to be motivated to do things that take less effort. Duh. So that’s where planning ahead comes in, which is something I struggle with at times. Since I know my week will be busy, tomorrow I will spend some time cooking for the week ahead, planning meals, pre-chopping, etc. No excuses!
  • Blog about it. This is for me here because it works when I reiterate what I know and hold myself accountable. It’s powerful stuff! I am seriously considering starting my own food/fitness blog (would anyone read?) for my own motivational purposes!

How about you guys? How do you get/stay motivated? What’s on your to-do list to make you healthier and happier?

my year in blogging // 2011 plans

Just the day after I decided to give my blog a little makeover for the new year, I received an email from WordPress with my 2010 blog stats. It says:

In 2010, you wrote 142 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 182 posts.

Your busiest day of the year was July 2nd with 470 views. The most popular post that day was 2010 ultimate wardrobe challenge.

I find it hard to believe any of my posts received 470 views, but I guess that much like me, most blog readers are mainly lurkers, who are not much for commenting. A look at my site stats was shocking, too:

I’d never paid attention to this function of WordPress {even though I do love to crunch numbers}. It’s pretty crazy my humble little blog gets almost 1,000 hits a month on average. Wow!

Anyway, enough bragging about how I am apparently famous among dozens of Internet surfers. I wanted to give a quick rundown on the blog changes for the new year!

  • First, a new header. Hooray! I’ve been meaning to do this for a while. I really like it – what do you all think?
  • Second, I started the 365 photo project on January 1, in which I will be taking a photo every day for a year, and posting in a Flickr set. I linked to the 365 set in my sidebar →. Simply click the photo to take you to the set. I hope you refer back often, and add me on Flickr if you have your own account. I’m not a photographer, and I don’t have a fancy camera, but I do love to document and snap things that are interesting to me.
  • Third, you can subscribe to this blog via email, also in the sidebar →. You will get an email each time I post something!
  • Fourth, I set up a tab at the top of the page to my list of 30 things I’m going to do before I turn 30. I needed this in a convenient format for me to refer to and update keep up the momentum to complete my list! I hope if nothing else it inspires you to list the things you really want to do and actually make them happen!

This blog is nothing special – there are millions of them out there that are better. But for me, this is such a fun hobby, and I’m rather surprised by it’s impact on my life. It’s given me accountability to finish with things I say I want to do and keeps me making progress on things to finish strong and share along the way. It also helps me finish a project so I can post about it, rather than give up or be content with 90% completion! I absolutely need and love that. Finally, looking back over the year was pretty crazy – I used this blog to remind me what I’d accomplished {project-wise} and when you document your life {and of course I only document a small part of it}, it really adds up!

← I’m awesome on the Internet.

Back in May I blogged about blogging; how I write a blog that I don’t advertise in any way. I rarely tell anyone about it, and many of you replied you are the same way. I don’t have any delusions of grandeur for my little piece of internet real estate, but I just think it’s interesting how much effort I put into something I never tell people about. And I guess that’s because I just do this for myself, because I like to say things and cheer myself on and collect things that interest me and share parts of my life, but I only want to share with people who want to listen. And I guess I have more listeners than I thought.

Bloggers, do you promote your blog, or do you keep it to family and friends only? Readers of this blog, what is about it that brings you back?

p.s.

I know I keep changing my blog layout back and forth. I keep coming back to this one cuz of the big ol’ picture size. The rest seem so wimpy. So, sorry about the bipolarness, I’ll keep this one around for a while. 😛