Friday, December 12, 2014

#100HealthyDays

Since I'm on my "no refined sugar kick" and trying to develop more healthy habits, I've joined a Facebook group called #100HealthyDays to keep me honest.

It's been awesome.

It's December, so if you're like me, you're like...
Yeah. That's me this month at every holiday party, gathering, dinner... everything. As you know, I love food. And I'm not sad about that or trying to cut all foods from my life. But, I usually gain about five pounds from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day. That adds up over the years.

I wanted to make a conscious effort this month to be healthy and #100HealthyDays is keeping me on track. I'm posting more to the wall than I should, but I'm all in.

 The challenge isn't about losing weight or depriving myself of everything. It's about making one healthy choice each day-- being conscious. Not eating ALL THE FOOD on a buffet table. Eating cookies and then making sure I walk the dogs. Waking up and completing yoga for digestion before I go to holiday events:

It's been twelve days in a row of healthy behaviors. Only eighty-eight days to go. I dropped the #100HappyDays photo challenge on Instagram after seven days, so I'm winning this challenge right now! 

What do you do to keep yourself on track during this fluffy and sluggish time of year? 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Earworm Wednesday: Vaycay

Like an "I"m leaving town for somewhere to explore and eat and drink" vaycay. Not an "I'm leaving town to go see my family for the holidays" vaycay (even though I absolutely love seeing them).

It's a good thing I got my ticket to Bellingham, Washington last week. I'll be exploring and eating and drinking with my sister and one of my best buds soon enough. Going to Washington in February isn't going to be as warm as I'd like, but it's a place I've never been and there are mountains! I'm so pumped. Plus, we are flying in and out of Seattle-- we are putting aside a few hours to explore the city. I LOVE cities and I can't wait to get lost in Seattle. And Bellingham. One of my favorite podcasts, Here Be Monsters, is out of Bellingham.

I've been trying to stick to my Wednesday earworm posts for consistency-- I have been really busy over the last few weeks and I'm having a hard time finding something to write about. Ideas? Links to ideas? This is something Pinterest can't solve for me.

Today's song is one that picks me up and brings me back to Dakar. Now THAT is a city. I love it there.
Sigh. Get me out of town!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Earworm Wednesday: Christmas Time is Here

Oh yes. Time to listen to my favorite Christmas albums while I can. I'm not a huge Christmas person, but I love a few Christmas albums and songs-- mostly because of nostalgia. In honor of Earworm Wednesday, here is some of my favorite Christmas music:
Makes me think of my childhood. I love this. It always puts me in a good mood. 


The Nutcracker Suite-- especially this movie from 1986. It was my favorite holiday movie when I was younger. Plus, Maurice Sendak noted the costumes and sets. Anyone else love this movie?

Hellooooo, I came of age in the 90s. This is obviously one of my favorites. 

Some of this beautiful music gets totally trampled by songs like The Christmas Shoes. Bleh. What are some of your favorite holiday songs? Sorry if I just made fun The Christmas Shoes if that is your favorite. 

I'm having a great week. I've been feeling down lately, mostly due to the cloudy weather and the sun has been out for the last two days. It's beautiful. If winter in Michigan could be sunny and thirty-seven every day, I'd be a happy girl.

Have a wonderful rest of the week!

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

December Goals: Mo' Money, Mo' Hard Abs

November Goals-- How did it go? 
1. Sticking to my budget. I NEED to save money. So... no going out to eat this month even though it's my favorite thing in the world to do. Actually, I did budget $100 for going out to eat. 
Reflection: OHMYGOD this was so hard to do. I did it and it was terrible-- for my self-control. I'm still reeling. However, I learned a lot about myself. For example, I don't have to go out to eat three times a week. 

2. Getting a hold of my refined sugar cravings and consumption. I'm starting with candy first. I haven't had a piece of candy in five days. 

Reflection: I did it. In all honesty though, I ate a Hershey's bar. One. When I had PMS. So, I still think I won this one. 

3. Getting one to two days of weightlifting and core work in each week. I've got to get rid of this knee and back pain.

Reflection: I only did one day a week, mostly because I was so effing sore that I wanted to cry and I thought adding another day would hurt even more. 

4. Making sure I'm on a regular cardio routine. Now that my favorite time change has happened, it will be easier to get out of bed. I'm going to make sure I'm in the pool at least twice a week.

Reflection: I'm on it! I was sick for a week last month, so I missed a week, but I'm working on it! 


December Goals
1. Still sticking to my budget. I'm using a budget tracker and it was hard work last month, but I've got it. 
2. Still trying to get a hold of my refined sugar cravings and consumption. This month, I am conquering baked goods. It's a good month for conquering baked goods. 
3. Still getting one to two days of weightlifting and core work in each week. I just don't want to be sore anymore. I want to be STRONG! RARH! 
4. I'm starting a #100HealthyDays challenge. I would love to not put on any weight this month. I want to win the pounds pool at my gym. I'd also like to not feel like crap. This is mostly about me feeling lethargic, not trying to get my ten bucks back. One of my friends challenged me to a #100HealthyDays challenge-- doing something healthy every day for myself. I can do that. 
5. FINISH MY BOOK PROPOSAL. I have Friday off. It is happening on Friday. 

Wish me luck this month, my friends!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Earworm Wednesday: Mockingjay and Other Stuff

Last weekend, I went to see part one of Mockingjay and I absolutely loved it. I've been a huge fan of the Hunger Games series since it first came out because 1) Katniss is an awesome protagonist, SO MUCH BETTER than Bella Swan and 2) Suzanne Collins throws our materialist society back in our faces and is all like, "This is how it could be someday, people. Think about it." 
The Lorde song from the credits is awesome-- it starts slow and then the drop comes and BAM! It makes your adrenaline spike-- but not too much. It mostly made me think about spin class and how this song would be a great one for a hill climb. Sometimes I think about getting certified as a spin instructor if only for the chance to play DJ for an hour. 

I spent last Saturday in Chicago at one of my favorite annual events, the Teacher's for Social Justice Curriculum Fair. I wanted to know if the information I'm trying to put into a book proposal is worth anything to people who matter the most to me-- educators and people who work with youth. It is and knowing that people want it was all the validation I needed. I would love to say that I'm above validation, but I'm not. C'est la vie.
I'm ready to spend Thanksgiving with my family and to take a break from social media. I unfriended and unfollowed a lot of people on Facebook yesterday in the aftermath of the Ferguson decision. There is too much work to be done, too many deep-rooted issues in our society to address, too much healing that has to be done-- no use getting angry at acquaintances and having arguments over a status update. If you want to talk about how I feel, let's talk on the phone or over coffee. 

Now, on a less (emotionally) heavy note, I must continue baking and cooking for tomorrow's fat pants extravaganza, er, I mean, Thanksgiving. Last night I made a Pinterest recipe and it is AH-MAH-ZING:
Click here for the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes from 58 Day Dreams. This picture is from the original poster, but mine look like this!
I also made a cranberry and walnut coffee cake from my staple recipe book, Simply in Season (the cupcakes minus the whipped cream are in the picture too):

Here is the bottom of the coffee cake-- just sugar, cranberries, and walnuts:
There's something about a sugar coated cranberry. It's just so pretty. 
Today's cooking mission is this slow cooker apple sausage stuffing from Number 2 Pencil:
[via]
I'm a little wary of slow cooker stuffing because I'm worried it will be too dry tomorrow. Hopefully the grease from the sausage keeps it nice and moist, amiright? 

Have a great holiday. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Earworm Wednesday: Snow Days and Jenny Lewis

A great benefit I got to keep from my teaching days is that my office is on a college campus so I still have snow days!

Yesterday, I had to work from home, but the first snow day of the year still gave me that celebratory feeling. Plus, I had to figure out holiday games and crafts for the kids we work with which meant I got to be on Pinterest looking up fun holiday ideas to do with young people in grades 3-5. These are a few gems from my search:
[via]
We're making these wish list ornaments, but on the wish list kids will have to write things they wish for their community, family, and THEN themselves-- anything we can do to get a hold of the crazy consumerism of the season.  

We're also playing this reindeer antler relay game because I think it looks hilarious:
[via]
I might be getting into the Christmas spirit this year. Maybe we'll put the tree up. 

The soundtrack of my snow day was not Christmas music. It's too soon. My Spotify was rockin' Jenny Lewis' The Voyager. I've liked Jenny Lewis since I first heard her in Rilo Kiley and I absolutely love this album. Here is one of my favorite songs, although I would highly recommend listening to the whole thing from beginning to end:

Okay, here's one more, just because I can't help it:
Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Stitch Fix Numero Dos: I'm Addicted. And Fluffy.

Like last month, I'm still feeling a little fluffy, but I'm working on it. The Holiday Pounds Pool at my gym starts this week. It usually starts the week after Thanksgiving, which gives everyone "permission" to GORGE. Holiday weight gain is the WORST:
[via]
I applaud the person organizing the Pounds Pool this season. They are making sure we all stay honest and I can get down with that. This is how the Pounds Pool works:
1. You pay $10 cash and weigh-in the week before Thanksgiving.
2. Other people pay $10 and weigh-in. All of the money goes into a pool.
3. You weigh-in the week after New Year's. If you stayed the same weight or lost it you get your $10 back PLUS you split the cash of anyone who gained weight.

I love it. Two years ago, I lost my $10. Last year, I got it back plus $8. It wasn't much, but it was enough to make me excited for this year's pound pool. I'd be more than willing to do a $5 Pounds Pool on the side with any of you, if you're interested! It's the little things.

Onto my Stitch Fix! My second Stitch Fix has got me totally hooked on this service even though I've sent back almost everything. I just love getting packages and knowing there is somewhere out there in the world listening to me even though we're not talking-- I can tell that someone read my feedback from my first fix. I can also tell my stylist paid attention to my Pinterest. I've been pinning slouchy cardigans and almost everything is grey or black. 

Plus, sometimes I get too distracted when I'm shopping and end up spending/buying more than I should. Stich Fix is keeping me honest. Do I really love what's in the box? Because if I only sort of like it, I shouldn't be buying it. There are only five things to look at compared to RACKS. It's nice. 

My first pieces were these grey cords (butt shot!) from Kut From The Kloth and this black sweatshirt with lace on the back from Threads 4 Thought:
Cost: Pants- $68.00, top- $44.00
Likes: Pants- Material (so soft), length, cords; top- sweatshirt material, the lace
Dislikes: The pants were too loose on the thighs, but these are skinny pants I can wear. I'm looking into this brand on the good old' Internets. They will be perfect for this cold winter. Ugh, it's snowing right now. 
The black top had a weird and loose neck. I loved the lace on the back because it kicked a simple black shirt up a notch, but the neck turned me off. It looked like some of my shirts do after I hang out with my niece and nephew for the day and they pull me to them by the neck of my shirt. 
Status: Sent it back.

Side Note: When I saw the brand name "Threads for Thought" I thought, "Oh, that's cool. I wonder what's thoughtful about their clothing." Then I saw the tag: Made in China. I Googled the company because my brow was furrowed and I didn't understand how that could be thoughtful. This is what I saw:

I'm intrigued, but I want to know more, like what is an ethical wage in China? I will follow this company and look for other clothing companies that use the phrase "Ethical Manufacturing" to see what that's all about. 

Anywayyyy...

The third piece was this pretty lil' number from Skies are Blue:
Cost: $54.00
Likes: The lace, the pattern, the sleeves. This top is so pretty. I saw it in the box and thought, "Ooooo, so pretty! Just my style! I hope it fits my boobs!" Tops with no stretch that aren't specifically tailored for me don't usually fit the ladies. 
Dislikes: GUESS WHAT? It fit everywhere but...
...the boobs. The no-stretch fabric flattened my precious boobs down. One sigh or deep breath after running up the stairs and this top would probably split open on the back zipper. Yes, this top even had a back zipper, which is a detail that I always love. DAMN. I'm going to look for something similar for the holiday season-- this top screamed Christmas Eve to me. 
Status: Sent it back.

The fourth piece was this TERRIBLE grey shirt:
Cost: $48.00
Likes: NOTHING.
Dislikes: HELLLLLLO BOOBIES. Do your co-workers want boobs in yer face? If so, wear this top. Do you want to look completely unprofessional at work? If so, wear this top. Would you like to look like a sausage? Yes? Wear this top. Do you want a mom-lookin' neckline? Wear this top. I enlarged this picture so you could see 1) my commentary and 2) the way this top made my ladies look like one was GROSSLY bigger than the other. Not cool. 
Status: Sent it back. Obviously. 

The last piece was a simple cardigan that I absolutely loved from Pixley. Don't mind the HORRIBLE grey shirt underneath:
Cost: $54.00
Likes: Color, fit, sleeve length, feel of the material and my favorite part-- HIDDEN POCKETS!
Dislikes: Nothin'. I love this cardigan. I'm wearing it right now. 
Status: Kept!

Next month, I asked for a fancy top for New Year's along with some more classic pieces to build my wardrobe. If you want to try Stitch Fix, you definitely should! Just use my referral code, mkay?

Also, I want to talk about the Big Boob-ed Struggle with those of you who get what it's like.
The struggle is real. First World Problems: I can't wear bikini tops that are just cloth triangles and it's sad.
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