right now everyday distractions.

I’ve been such a bad blogger so I thought I’d just recap what’s been filling my downtime lately. Some comforting old favorite hobbies, books and shows have been resurrected this last year.

READING. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Book 5). It seemed like a good idea to re-read the HP series and it’s still amazing. ❤

WATCHING. Buffy the Vampire Slayer; entire season. For the third time. I re-started the series when Hannah was tiny and I was up all night with her. It got me through. And Being Human (US Version); another legit good vampire-werewolf-ghost show on Netflix. My expectations were low, but it’s actually really great.

 

buffyDOING. Scrapbooking Hannah’s first year. I am LOVING Project Life! I never thought I would catch up so quickly with an entire year, but the pocket-style scrapbooks have made it doable, and they look great.

project life

And journaling. I haven’t kept in journal in years but I’m back to making some effort to write once a week or so. I get up early to do it and enjoy my coffee and just write about whatever is on my mind at the moment.

DRINKING. My coffee black, like a grownup.

WEARING. Fall or spring-like ensembles during this freakishly warm Utah winter. Flowy, layery styles and a limited wardrobe of what fits me since I haven’t lost much of the pregnancy weight. LUSH lipstick in STRONG.

LEARNING. About Ayurvedic healing. I need to post on some of this because it’s really fascinating. This is my favorite blog on the subject.

PLANNING.

  • A more scheduled daily routine. For my sanity and Hannah’s. This work-from-home mom stuff is no joke! I feel like I’m spinning my wheels constantly. On the agenda is a dedicated day at the office each week, and some scheduled fitness/sanity each week.
  • My spring garden (I ordered my seeds from Seed Saver’s Exchange today!)
  • Our basement finishing project (JB’s doing all the work – I just get to make the fun decisions). More about this later.

What is everyone else into these days?

priorities & pie charts. {& unplugging the television}

This week I start my very last class in my MBA program. By mid-May I will be school-free. That doesn’t just mean less time in class and studying and writing papers. It also means enjoying things more because the should-be-studying guilt won’t be there. Or planning things I really want to do because I won’t be worried if my next class will be too time-consuming to add another commitment to my plate. I am SO ready to move on to the next phase in my life. It got me thinking about how I currently structure my time, and how that could potentially change.

Which of course means pie charts. Naturally.

I thought about all the things I currently do with my time in a week, and estimated the hours spent. I even added some things to the list that, while I do them, it doesn’t really factor into my weekly average significantly. Of course, everything’s a guess, but I imagine it’s pretty close to this.

Current State

Anything of note? First, with sleep and work taking up over half of life, everything else is crammed into the other 43%. And that’s with not getting enough sleep. While I do appreciate my employment status and a dual income, my job is just a job to me, and that’s a bit depressing to think about.

Taking care of the household cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, meal planning, yard work, etc. takes up a lot of time. I feel like it’s about the second priority in my life – making sure the house is clean is second only to work (because I have to be there) and comes before school (because I can’t focus on studying in a house that needs cleaned). So it’s really no wonder social time is rather low on the scale of importance, including time with the hubby. Although we have been hitting the gym together lately in a sort of multitasking scheme of mine to spend more time together, really it’s only the drive to and from that we spend any time talking. And TV/movie time is usually husband-adjacent.. but that’s all it really is.

Probably my biggest revelation was my estimated 16 hours a week spent on entertainment-related screen time (blush). That doesn’t account for my office job (in front of a computer), homework time (in front of a computer), and gym cardio time (in front of a bank of ~20 televisions). I’m far too wired in. It is so easy to fall into mindless leisure time, then wonder why I never feel truly recharged. I wonder if I could talk husband into unplugging with me…

This exercise actually made something very clear. It’s no wonder that my life often feels out of balance. I spend 65% of my waking hours doing things I dislike, and the remaining time is comprised of things I feel really neutral about (like watching tv)!

In fact, if I made a list of the things I think about while I’m supposed to be working, studying, sleeping, cleaning, etc, it’s more like this:

  • Opening my own shop. Maybe online first?
  • Planning a garden.
  • Traveling.
  • Books I want to read.
  • How can I be a better Earth citizen? Help people? Help animals?
  • Friends I never see anymore.
  • Immersing myself in ____ (insert random creative hobby here; currently I’ve been wanting to try stained glass).
  • Saving money.
  • Throwing parties.

That in mind, I decided to do the same thing but allowing more time for things that make me happier, move me towards my actual life goals. Here is my near-future ideal state (because my distant-future ideal state is TBD):

Ideal State

Sure. My ideal state still includes work and laundry because those things are necessary. But I would love to eventually work fewer hours while I devoted more time to planning for my future possible business (more later). More of my work hours would actually point me in the right direction. This could take some real negotiating to make happen, but my place of employment is more flexible that it’s ever been, in part because budgets are tighter (and fewer hours are easier to negotiate than more money).

With school wrapped up, working fewer hours, and devoting less time to mindless time wasters like watching TV and reading blogs (ha!) I could theoretically get more sleep, do more creative things, spend more time with my husband and be more social in general. I also have worked in more fitness variety, some volunteer work, and time to read/write, which, I currently only really do in theory but not practice (sad).

Of course it’s simple, and embarrassing that it took a pie chart to realize why I am stressed out. I started to think about balance. Remember Freshman Psych? Hello, again. Which facets of life balance are missing in my life, and why doesn’t watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer seasons 1-7 really fit in any of them?

balance-wheel

There are things I feel are actually missing from my life.. appreciating nature, helping people, and putting the ideas in my head into something concrete. Creating. Spending more time on meaningful relationships (rather than avoiding all people because I’m so burned out from dealing with the few who suck the life out of me). Reminding myself that it’s ok to work towards making the things on my happy list mesh with the things on my to do list. Figuring it all out is something worth working towards and constantly improving on.

More to come..

fitspiration

I’m extremely visually inspired, so I made myself a little fitspiration pin board to hang in my closet. My countdown to goal weight, little positive messages, and pictures of stuff I want to buy when I make it to my goal {or maybe before..}

As a bonus, hubby gets to check out VS models without having to sneak it. Ha.

This was just a cheapo art canvas I stapled some fabric to a long time ago. It was hanging in our old house in the basement and I just dug it out from a closet for this purpose. Push pins go right in and keep everything up securely. I could even hang some jewelry if I wanted to.

This will probably change a lot as I find things to pin. It certainly isn’t close to done now. But it’s a nice little reminder to get myself down to the workout room and put in my time.

Not to say I don’t love me some virtual pinboard, too! I have a board of things I collect online that also inspire me.

This one’s my favorite. So blunt, simple and empowering:

It’s my new mantra.

happy heart day

Hubby’s out of down for V-day {sad face} but have some fun things happening regardless!

♥ My {early} gift was an iPhone! My first smart phone – seriously I had no idea what I was missing!  ♥ A little retail therapy – happy Valentines Day to meeee from myself!- bought some new MAC stuff and a cute new dress to wear to the office today {see below}. This dress to be exact if you want one, haha.  ♥ Tonight, low key night getting ready for my presentation in class tomorrow night (gulp) and finishing up some homework, but I might spoil myself with a fancy latte 😉 ♥ Girls chick-flick//craft night happening this weekend with my sisters-in-law.  ♥ Made some cute beaded bracelets for my boss who loves this holiday.

  

♥ ♥ ♥ Thinking about my hard-working hubby today!

I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day! What are your plans? Sending out lots of love to everyone today!!

Paisley

So, we were in Vegas for a long weekend. The trip was DRAMZZ. I have stories. Some of them I will share. haha. Later. Hubby survived his 30th {happy birthday, babe!} and despite the fact that eleventy crazy things happened, we had tons of fun and we have some seriously hilarious memories. Vegas remains a place I can’t wait to leave. I’m glad it’s weird but I’m more glad I’m rarely there.

Soon I’ll be ready to talk about it. 😛

But now there are squirmier, happier, cuddlier, puppier things going on.

This is Paisley.

We just brought her home tonight and we are already smitten. So is her big sis, Sadie, although at first she was just confused.

They are already playing. And it is so adorable. (:

I’m already sleep-deprived so it’s going to be a long week! Welcome to the family, lil’ missy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy happy Thanksgiving, friends! I hope you all have great things in store for your day and many things to be thankful for. I know I certainly do. My fantastic family (with a new sister-in-law and a new niece this Thanksgiving!! Yipee!); some fabulous and inspiring and crazy friends; my beautiful, toasty warm home; my sweet and handsome hubby; my job; my health; yoga; and many, many more things.

Image

This is also my first Thanksgiving as a vegetarian! My lentil walnut loaf (courtesy of Oh She Glows) is ready to go, as is the mushroom gravy. We are going to two separate dinners (both families local so every holiday is crazy!) and will be well-fed, happy and content in my choice to shun the turkey! Dare I say I am more excited about this Thanksgiving than any other? Because it’s true! Rather than feeling like I am missing out, I feel like, at the tables at which I am sitting, I am the only one NOT missing out. So in addition to the million other things, I’m thankful for my enlightenment!

In the book Eating Animals (which I reviewed here), Foer has a beautiful statement about Thanksgiving. Because it can just seem so damn American to eat turkey at Thanksgiving, it must be right, right? He says:

“Thanksgiving is the meal we aspire for other meals to resemble. Of course most of us can’t (and wouldn’t want to) cook all day every day, and of course such food would be fatal if consumed with regularity…But it’s nice to imagine all meals being so deliberate. Of the thousand-or-so meals we eat every year, Thanksgiving dinner is the one that we try most earnestly to get right. 

…And more than any other food, the Thanksgiving turkey embodies the paradoxes of eating animals: what we do to living turkeys is just about as bad as anything humans have ever done to any animal in the history of the world. Yet what we do with their dead bodies can feel so powerfully good and right. The Thanksgiving turkey is the flesh of competing instincts- of remembering and forgetting.”

I would be lying if I told you I don’t feel a little drunk over how powerful it feels to understand my part in the world in a more meaningful way, especially during a holiday dedicated to being grateful. It is downright magical. 🙂

My lentil loaf admittedly isn’t much to look at (but be honest, is meatloaf??), but it smells heavenly (not sarcasm!) and I can’t wait to dig in! No one admits it, but I will.. I am also very, very thankful for food!

Image

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Love to you all!

harder.better.faster.stronger.

I signed up for my first ever half marathon yesterday!

Just ten days ago when I wrote this post I was mulling over the idea, not wanting to commit and sure I would talk myself out of it. But I decided to go for it – I need things to work toward. And for me, this is a big deal! I have always been the slow kid. I can kick some booty on the elliptical machine or yoga mat, but even looking at a treadmill gives me a sideache and shin splints, I’m serious. NOT a runner, so I thought.

But I’ve been working up to it in the last month and I kind of sort of don’t hate it. I kind of like breathing the chilly air all bundled up and hitting the pavement. And I especially like that there are no rules – that every day is completely different. That on a Monday I can be tired after 3 minutes and Tuesday I can break my own record – I’m so new that it’s unpredictable what kind of day I will have and I’m so new that I’m frequently still surprising myself that I CAN do it. Even though I’m not running great distance yet I feel like it’s ok to say “I’m a runner” and just that in itself motivates me to go go go (so far!).

I’ve got six months to train, and I’ll be using this guide to get me there starting in December. November plan stays the same as my last post with maybe a few more runs and less cross-training. This is just what I need to avoid total hermit mode all winter – here we go!!!!!!!!

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” -Mark Twain

warrior weekend

I was awesome at this weekend.

No seriously. I ran in the cold. Twice. And I hate running. And I hate cold. It’s all about the gear, maaaaan♥

And I played with fire. Thanks Amber for the soldering//pipe sweating lesson. I totally feel empowered. Workin’ on a trellis (more to do).

I hacked off my bangs.

I made a kick-ass Pumpkin Spice SOY latte at home.

There was also Stats homework, scary movie-watching,  and guacamole on everything. No Halloween bash, which was becomming a tradition, but I wasn’t feelin’ it this year. Halloween on a Monday means: Marilyn Manson playlist (headphones), pulling out a random costume fro years past (dragonfly?), and potluck. That’ll do, Halloween is still fun when it’s low-key.

What’d ya’ll do with your weekend?

happy day (:

Proud sister moment: My little brother, Kevin, got hitched yesterday!

Becky’s been a part of the family for a long time, but now it’s super-official and I couldn’t be happier for them!

Since the wedding was family-only, Jonathan and I hosted a little party for them afterward so their friends could come wish them well.

Congrats to Kevin and Becky! So excited for the addition to the family!

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?