Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sleeping Bear Dunes

Today was a beautiful day in northern Michigan. I spent most of the day with my friend Samantha, who is back in town from Atlanta. We started by getting ice cream at Moomers in Traverse City, which is always delicious. Then we headed out to the Sleeping Bear Dunes. I haven't been out to the dunes all summer and the ride was definitely worth it (even better in the Mustang with the top down.)

View from the top (well sort of the top)

I have no idea why the bottom half of this picture is so blurry. Something funky is happening for sure.

I have a habit of taking pictures of shadows now.

We took the scenic route around to the different lookout points. Seriously the weather was perfect and riding through the woods with the top down could not have made for a better day.

Just look how blue that water is.

Fail number 2 with the still blurry picture.

After our adventure around the dunes, we stopped at Good Harbor's tasting room. Wine distracts even the greatest of adventurers :) We also saw an awesome turtle waiting for us outside.

He was big and moving at what seemed to be top turtle speed.

The day's fun concluded with a dinner at Sam's grandma's and a cold ride home in the dark. Overall, today was a perfect way to spend the day in northern Michigan. I hope everyone else is having a wonderful Labor Day weekend!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

So You Think You Can Dance Playlist

As a person who grew up with dance and had dance as such a big part of her life, I have always enjoyed watching So You Think You Can Dance. The show started back in 2005, right as I was heading into high school. SYTYCD gave me so much hope and inspiration as a young dancer. Now 10 seasons later the show still mesmerizes me; it's the one thing that never ceases to make me miss dancing and performing. Over the years SYTYCD has provided some amazing dancers, choreographers, and pieces that I will never get sick of.

Back in 2011 I made a post about my Top 10 Favorite Dances from SYTYCD, and now I want to share a playlist of songs from the show. I actually made this list back in the day in my iTunes and have slowly been adding to it each season. Hope you enjoy! (Links for each song provided)

  1. Collide (Acoustic version) by Howie Day
  2. Wonderful by Annie Lenox
  3. At This Moment by Michael Buble
  4. The Garden by Mirah
  5. Time by Billy Porter
  6. Eyes On Fire by Blue Foundation
  7. 2 Steps Away by Patti LaBelle
  8. Paris Is Burning by St. Vincent
  9. The Dance by Charlotte Martin
  10. No Air by Jordin Sparks
  11. I Will Remember You by Ryan Cabrera
  12. Fix You by Coldplay
  13. Never Say Never by The Fray
  14. On Your Own by Green River Ordinance
  15. This Woman's Work by Maxwell
  16. Mad by Ne-Yo
  17. How It Ends by DeVotchka
  18. Dancing by Elisa
  19. Imagine by David Archuleta
  20. This Bitter Earth And On The Nature Of Daylight by Dinah Washington and Max Richter
  21. Gravity by Sara Bareilles
  22. Beyond Words by Tenth Avenue North
  23. Already Gone by Kelly Clarkson
  24. Sundrenched World by Joshua Radin
  25. Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by Eurythmics
  26. True Affection by The Blow
  27. Turn To Stone by Ingrid Michaelson
  28. Hometown Glory by Adele
  29. At Last by Etta James
  30. Clarity by Zedd (ft. Foxes)
This list definitely turned out to be a long one, but it's hard to pick from so many over all the seasons. This is even a condensed version compared to what is in my iTunes. With this season coming to an end I'm getting excited to see who will be the winner. A few of my top picks have already been knocked off but there's so many talented people this year (I literally say this every season). I could never pick a favorite.

Do you guys watch SYTYCD? What's your favorite routine or song from the show over the seasons? Who do you think will win this year?


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A to Z Book Survey

The survey originally comes from The Perpetual Page-Turner and I discovered it thanks to The Daily Simple. I liked the idea of this survey so much I had to try it out myself.

It's currently thunder storming outside so I made myself some coffee and have been curled up with my book for the better part of this morning. It hasn't stormed this hard in a while (at least not during the day when I'm conscious) and the house is literally shaking every time the thunder cracks.

Author you've read the most from:
I believe it's J. K. Rowling.

Best Sequel Ever:
I can't even think of any sequels I've read. I really loved Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets though. Does that count since it's the second book?

Currently Reading:
Angels & Demons. I'm usually reading 4 or 5 different books at once, but I'm trying to finish off my last August TBR before adding anything else.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
Coffee. Tea is close second.

E-reader or Physical Book:
Physical book. I know a lot of people argue that E-readers are so much nicer for travel and less clutter, which I agree are both good points, but I love the feel of a book. I like holding an actual book, seeing books on my bookshelf, and being able to smell books.

Fictional character you probably would have actually dated in high school:
Ron Weasley. He's funny, ginger, and has an English accent.

Glad you gave this book a chance:
The Odyssey. I read this for a Classics Literature class in college and was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the story. I want to re-read this again because I feel like I missed a lot while trying to finish it quickly for class.

Hidden Gem Book:
A Rose for Melinda by Lurlene McDaniel. I bought this book back in junior high (maybe elementary school) on a trip downstate for my annual doctors appointment. I remember choosing the book because it had pointe shoes on the cover and I thought the style of the book was interesting (written in a series of emails/letters/journal entries). I spent the whole car ride home reading and silently crying in the backseat. This one is definitely a tear jerker.

Important moment in your reading life:
Deciding to finish the Harry Potter series. The books renewed my love of reading.

Just Finished:
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. It was good, but not as amazing as I was expecting. I liked his actual lecture a lot better.

Kinds of books you won't read:
Probably western novels. I've never really been interested in that genre.

Longest Book You've Read:
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (870 pages)

Major book hangover because of:
I hate finishing books. I think the last book that I really had a hard time being done with was Looking for Alaska. I finished the book back in June and still miss being with those characters.

Number of bookcases you own:
I don't own an actual bookcase. I have my books scattered around my room on six different shelves.

One book you have read multiple times:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe/any book from the Chronicles of Narnia series. Because this was one of my Mom's all-time favorite series, these were the books my brother and I were raised on. I have many fond memories of my Mom reading the series to me as a child. I've also read the series/parts of the series multiple times on my own.

Preferred Place to Read:
My bed. I like to be comfortable.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you've read:
“I think that if I ever have kids, and they are upset, I won't tell them that people are starving in China or anything like that because it wouldn't change the fact that they were upset. And even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn't really change the fact that you have what you have.” From Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Basically anything from this book.

Reading Regret:
Not reading more for my own enjoyment in high school/waiting so long to finish the Harry Potter series. I was so busy with dance in grade school that I didn't have much time to read for pleasure on top of what was assigned for class.

I started Harry Potter when it first came out (I was in elementary school) and read the first 4 books before putting the series on hold. It wasn't until I was in college and the 6th movie was coming out that I decided to read the entire series.

Series you started and need to finish:
Ender's Game. I read the first book earlier this summer and need to read the next one before I forget everything that happened.

Three of your all-time favorite books:
The Catcher In The Rye, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and Perks of Being A Wallflower. I think I have a thing for sad and depressing books lol.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
John Green. Love, love, love everything John Green writes. I had a really hard time picking between Perks and Looking for Alaska for the above favorites.

Very excited for this release more than all the others:
The only book I can think of right now is Allegiant, the next book in Veronica Roth's Divergent series, but I still have yet to read Insurgent.

Worst Bookish Habit:
Reading so many books at once. I get very ADD about my books and can never seem to focus all my energy into finishing one at a time.

X Marks the Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:
I used my "books I own" shelf on goodreads for this one since, like I said before, my books are scattered all around my room. The 27th book on my shelf is The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks. It's still on my to-read list.

Your Latest Book Purchase:
The last book I bought was The Ocean At the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.

ZZZ-Snatcher Book (Last book that kept you up way late):
Angels & Demons. I stayed up until 3:30 am the other night reading because I couldn't put this book down.

Well, there you have it. Hope you enjoyed reading through my answers. I encourage all other book lovers to take the survey too!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Links to Love

- 25 Ways to Live Life Like Karen Walker
Now I miss Will and Grace. Maybe I'll go back and watch the entire series over again.

- What if Disney Princesses Had Instagrams?
The comments on each picture made everything better.

- 17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand
All of them.

- These beautiful photos of people waiting to get married at City Hall in New York City.
I have always loved the idea of getting married at City Hall and some of these women's dresses are absolutely stunning.

Seriously this dress/skirt and top or whatever it is looks gorgeous. Plus I love all her accessories.

Can't wait to watch more videos from these guys around the world. So cool!

I absolutely love Louise's videos and blog posts. She's always so positive and bright. She's such an inspiration for the power of positive thinking. 

Truth. So much truth. Plus number 3 made me laugh for a good 10 minutes.

- Can't wait to try this cauliflower crust

- And lastly this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Lattes with Real Pumpkin because I'm super excited for fall now.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

My Off To College Advice

It's the second half of August which means some people will be heading off to college for the first time or heading back there. There's plenty of advice to be given for those entering into their first year; I'm sure most of what I can offer on the matter will be similar to what other people have to say. After graduating last spring I can say I had little regret for my time in college, but there were a few things I wish I had done differently.

1. If you decide to stay at home and go to a community college for the first few years, don't be ashamed of that decision. I did my first two years at Northwestern Michigan College, living in my parents house, taking a light load of classes, and getting my first job. I was debt free for those first few years and it gave me time to really figure out what I wanted to do next. Yes, it sucked having to be home when all my friends were away and having independent adventures, but I met one of my best friends during that first year here. I also think I was better prepared to live away from home when I was 20 rather than 18. I'm not saying it's a smarter choice to wait and transfer to a university after a few years, but that's just what worked out better for me and it's certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

2. Get to know your professors. Seriously, this is the one thing I completely regret not doing. I only went to office hours a few times over the years and hardly ever asked questions or spoke up in class. If you're shy like me, you don't have to make yourself known in front of the entire class, go up to the professor afterwards and introduce yourself. They will really appreciate your enthusiasm and when you do have a problem it will be easier to approach them. Plus in the long run you might be able to use them as a reference for grad school or internships.

3. a) It doesn't hurt to think ahead. I'm not saying you need a five year plan. It can be really hard and overwhelming trying to make decisions at this point in your life that will affect so much of your future. Often we get stuck just trying to pass one semester without thinking of the next one. If you can, talk to an advisor and set up what classes to take and when over the next few years. Don't just follow up with your advisor when you're forced to. I got stuck needing five credits my last semester because I didn't ask the right questions. I could have taken more classes during the summer and graduated a little earlier had I been more aware. 

3. b) Just remember, you have options. I know plenty of people who switched their majors multiple times while in school, and some people that are going back to school for something different now. It may seem like once you pick a path you're stuck on it, but you can always find your way to a different destination.

4. Make friends. Make friends with people in your dorm, make friends with people in your classes, make friends with your friends' friends. Hopefully you'll stay close with a few friends from high school, but don't expect to stay tight with everyone you already know, especially if they're going off to a different school. Making friends isn't only important for social reasons but academic as well. Get to know at least one person in each of your classes. A few of my professors forced us on the first day to exchange contact information with at least one other person in class, this way if you ever missed a lecture you had someone to ask for notes. One thing that I always failed to do was follow up with that person before desperately asking for their notes. You know how hard it is to remember exactly who you exchanged information with after only interacting with them for a few minutes the first day. Seriously I awkwardly walked down a row of chairs one day sort of nervously staring at people wondering who I had emailed because I couldn't remember what they looked like... it was embarrassing.

5. Try to get along with your roommate. I was lucky enough to get a single person dorm room my first year at Western. I lived in the transfer dorm (which was a great way to make friends), and everyone there had their own room for the same cost as a double. My second and third year I lived in a four person apartment with three other girls. The apartment complex paired me up with people, so I didn't know any of the girls ahead of time. The first year and a half I was living there, I became friends with two of my roommates. We hung out, had study parties, and went out together. There was plenty of drama and awkward moments, but we managed. When new girls moved in I tried to be friends with them, but gave up and spent most of my time in my room or at my friends' apartments. You don't need to be friends with your roommates, but it helps if you can be friendly. If you have a problem with their dishes or the amount of noise they make in the morning it's best to confront them. If you don't like confrontation your best option is to let your negative feelings about the person and their habits go. There's no point in being angry with someone if you aren't going to say anything about it.

6. Go to class, when necessary. I wasn't always great at attending classes. I went most of the time, but if I woke up late, or too late for the bus, I just wouldn't go (granted this never happen on exam/major test days). Unfortunately, certain professors will have attendance policies, make sure you know them well (see bonus advice below!) The more classes you skip the harder it will be to return to class, and the deeper you'll be digging yourself into a hole. Go to the classes when your grade depends on it; this includes times when you'll be taught information that is important for you passing the class (which really is most of the time.)

7. Go to the Student Rec Center. Western has a really nice Student Recreation Center that was free for students. Even after I moved off campus and had a gym at my apartment complex, I still occasionally went to the Rec Center to workout. Working out not only helps you ward off the dreaded Freshman fifteen, but it can also give you a much needed energy boost and help you stay focused and stress free. Studies also show that people who exercise regularly fall asleep faster, which can come in handy. Despite the annoying meat heads and girls who show up wearing a full face of makeup, the Rec Center can also be a great place to stay motivated to workout. Maybe I'm weird but I liked the atmosphere of the gym, plus there was always hot guys around.

Also don't be embarrassed to go, if you actually make time to go to the gym you're already a winner. Just avoid doing the above when you're busy trying to impress someone.

8. Buy used books, or rent your books. Self explanatory. It will save you money and you don't need a fancy new textbook anyways. You'll be spending enough on college, save where you can.

9. Have fun, but not too much fun. Remember that you're paying to go to college, and if you yourself are not paying, someone out there is. Do not waste your time and resources taking classes if you aren't going to commit yourself to learning. College isn't for everyone. If you'd rather spend every night partying, don't pay $400 a credit for a class you've committed to failing. Search for that balance between having fun and getting your work done.
10. Say yes to things. Really this is the greatest life advice I could give anyone. I know from experience that I've never regretted a night of going out, a football game, or even just meeting a friend for a study party. As much as I like to be alone, the best memories I have from college are times I spent out with friends. If you're feeling apprehensive about doing something always ask yourself, "will I regret not doing this?" Then even if the answer is maybe/maybe not, get your butt up and go anyway. Even bad memories turn into stories you can laugh at later on in life. Just say yes.

*Bonus advice: READ THE SYLLABUS! I know they're the most boring pieces of paper you'll ever be continually forced to read through during every first day of class, but they are also super important. Most of them will contain information you already know, but things like the attendance policy, exam rules, and extra credit information can vary. I got myself into major trouble in one of my art classes at Western because I would often leave early. I'd leave when I was frustrated, or when I felt like I had nothing more to work on for the day (and I was not the only person who left early). My professor handed me a slip two weeks before class was over saying my grade was being greatly affected by my absences. At first I was mad he waited so long to bring it up, then I realized it was right in the syllabus all along; it was completely my fault. I waited until I was calmed down enough that I wouldn't start crying in front of him (seriously, don't do that, it's not very professional) and then I explained that I had been unaware of the policy, apologized for my behavior, and asked if there was anything I could do to make up my grade. Luckily he told me he had only marked my most recent absences and that I wasn't in any danger of failing. After that incident, I always double checked the syllabus and never left another art class early.

**I am not, and will never claim to be, an expert on anything in life. This post and all other ones on here are of my own opinion and based off personal experience. Hope you enjoy!


Friday, August 23, 2013

Don't Let Other People Put Waves In Your Pond

I went to yoga today and was quite surprised when I was the only person in the studio until five minutes before class started. Usually there's at least three people in the studio before I even get there. The woman I talked to said the class was typically full so I have no idea where everyone was today, but we only ended up with three people (including me).

I'm not exactly the most confident when it comes to yoga classes, especially because I swear half the time I get so focused I miss cues (or I simply can't hear them). When I realized there would only be two other people in the studio with me I was really nervous. Luckily the instructor for the Rock Your Asana class, Liz, is great at reinforcing positive energy and making everyone feel comfortable in class. I usually end up laughing and smiling more in that class than anything else... except for sweating of course.

There's usually some type of lesson or phrase that Liz will talk about at the beginning of class, continually mention throughout the exercise. Now, like I mentioned before, I'm usually so zoned in on my body and reminding myself to breathe that I miss things sometimes. Today's lesson (I believe) was something about a bunch of trees and a lake, and not letting little things upset or annoy you. This was exactly what I've been trying to do lately, in fact Sandy and I talked about it on Tuesday night after taking Cardio Trio.

In the last few months I've let everything effect me. I've wasted so much energy being angry and annoyed about little things people have done. I was letting other people make waves in my pond.

There will be the occasional ripple, but it's much easier to let the small things go. Decide what problems are worth your time and energy and which ones aren't actual problems. My high school AP Psychology teacher once told us to, "Put it in a bubble and blow it away." That has been the best advice when it comes to stressful or irritating situations.

Anyway, after yoga I felt amazing. I knew I had worked hard during class and even my teacher told me "great job" when she passed me after class. I'm pretty sure I smiled the whole way home.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Grow Up With Me

"Grow up with me
Let’s run in fields and through the dark together.
Fall off swings, and burn special things, and both play outside in bad weather.

Let’s eat badly.
Let’s watch adults drink wine and laugh at their idiocy.
Let’s sit in the back of the car,
Making eye-contact with strangers driving past making them uncomfortable.

Not caring.

Not swearing. 
Don’t fuck.

Let’s both reclaim our superpowers;
The ones we will have and lose with our milk teeth.
The ability not to fear social awkwardness,
To panic when locked in the cellar;

Still sure there’s something down there.
And while picking through pillows each feather,
Let’s both stay away from the edge of the bed, forcing us closer together.

Let’s sit in public with ice-cream all over both our faces;
Sticking our tongues out at passers by.
Let’s cry.

Let’s swim.
Let’s everything.

Let’s not find it funny lest someone falls over.
Classical music is boring.
Poetry baffles us both.
There is nothing that’s said is what’s meant.
Plays are long tiresome, sullen 
and filled with hours that could have be spent rolling down hills
And grazing our knees on cement.

Let’s hear stories and both lose our innocence.
Learn about parents and forgiveness,

Death and morality,
Kindness and art,
Thus losing both of our innocent hearts,
But at least we won’t do it apart.

Grow up with me”

by Keaton Henson

I encourage everyone to check out Keaton Henson and his amazing musical talents. I haven't been able to stop listening to this poem all month.



Always try to treat others with kindness, even if they do not do the same.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Material Girl

I've been a material girl ever since I was little (cue Madonna song). As a child I used to beg my parents for every accessory every made to add to my collection of American Girl dolls. I always wanted more Barbies, more clothes, more sparkly items from the Disney store. From a young age I perceived a large value in owning things. Whether I owned the same toys as my friends, clothes with the popular tags on them, or something better than anyone else, I was always wanted more.

Material things will never satisfy you. Our society has ingrained us to be competitive consumers. People want to maintain a certain status by owning "the best" labels, myself included. A few years ago my computer broke and I finally bought a Macbook. Do I think Apple products are overpriced? Yes, you pay more for the label (like I said it's all about status), but I also think their products are higher quality. Don't get me wrong, my Macbook ownership hasn't been smooth sailing. I've had problems with my charger and my battery, but I'm convinced it's just some unlucky technological curse. No one else I've talked to has ever had those types of problems. Plus despite all of these mishaps, this laptop has still served me better than my old Gateway by far.

Due to the way we've built society, products aren't made the same way they used to be. Companies are now making products that intentionally break down or eventually become "unfashionable" so consumers are forced to buy a new one, this is called planned obsolescence. Think DVD's vs. VHS tapes, or the iPhone 4 vs. the iPhone 5. People always want the next best thing, or eventually they're forced into getting it.

All the generations of iPhones. They look much more similar than I was expecting.

I'm not going to argue that we need to change the way product manufacturing and consumer consumption take place. Those are big broad topics and there's no simple solution to changing the way the world works. I do however want to change the way I act as a consumer. Recently I've been struggling with my desire for material things, my need to save money for loan payments and traveling, and my lack of income. I was browsing the interwebs for Fall clothes the other day and saw a sale at American Eagle. Immediately I thought, "Oh I can buy some new jeans, possibly a dress." Then right afterwards I looked in my closet to realize I already had five perfectly respectable pairs of jeans. There's no way I actually need five pairs of jeans, let alone to purchase another pair with my limited savings.

I'm sick of spending money on clothes or products and feeling guilty about it later on. If clothes are what you take pleasure in most, by all means spend your money accordingly. I'm not writing this in order to shun fashionable people or regular consumers, these are just habits I would like to change in my life. From now on I want to limit my spending to things I will get the most use out of. I also want to be a smart shopper when it comes to quality over quantity. Too many of my jeans have gotten holes in the crotch or the threads have come loose on the edges of my shirts. Why pay $100 for two pairs of jeans that are going to last me a little over a year (maybe), when I could buy one pair of jeans for the same price that will last much longer. This will lead to less clutter as well.

Another habit I want to work on is how much I value owning things. The truth seems to be that no person ever felt fulfilled by owning the most, or the best, that life could offer. In other words, human value does not come from material things. Experience, conversation, friendship, love, that's what gives life value. From now on I will try to share my belongings. I will let my mom use my coffee mugs without complaint. I will try not to get upset over stains, tears, or dents. I will try my best to understand that it's all just stuff that can be replaced. I don't expect to never buy another cheap shirt or spend money when I probably shouldn't, but I'll try my best to remember this post and think twice before buying something I think I "need."

What are your thoughts on consumerism and the value we perceive in material things? Are you a material person? Are their any habits you'd like to change when it comes to the topic?


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Post Workout Cider Tasting

I had the pleasure of catch up with my amazing fake sister/chummy, Sandy, tonight for a cardio dance class at Yen. Sandy has been busy running around wedding planning, putting family first, and rocking at her job so much that I haven't been able to see her for weeks. I've been begging her to take a class with me and was super excited she had time in her schedule (even though I completely understand when she is being busy).

Since I still have quite a few classes to use up, I feel like I've been going to Yen a ton lately (even though I really haven't been). Tonight we took a Cardio Trio class which was new for both of us. Going in I was confident knowing that my dance background would be helpful and I could manage even though I was pretty sore from last nights class. The real shock was my sudden total lack of coordination, I guess those 16 years of dance weren't so helpful after all. I think I need to take next week's class just to redeem myself. Despite all the slip ups on my part the class was still fun; Sandy and I both loved it.

After class we jumped over to Northern Naturals, a Cider and Wine company, just right down the street from Yen. We sat at one of the tables outside, which was perfect since it had cooled off a bit from earlier. Sandy even convinced two groups of passersby to stop in as well... they were easily persuaded. I'd definitely recommend the restaurant/tasting room for anyone in TC; the food and drinks are all natural and locally sourced, plus the atmosphere is super friendly. Sandy and I both got the Veggie flatbreads (yum artichokes) and a cider flight. Nothing like an impromptu after workout dinner and cider tasting.

Overall it was a fun night and I can't wait until next time!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Pretty Sure I Broke My Muscles

I took the yoga sculpt class tonight at Yen for the first time. It's taught by the same person who teaches the Rock Your Asana class I usually take so I knew it would be challenging, but good god. Walking home was a mess; my muscles would not stop shaking. I got my water bottle out at one point to take a drink and my arm felt weak just trying to hold the bottle. My legs felt like jello and I felt like I could hardly stand up, let alone walk. When I got home my dad asked how I was and I said, "hurting." I also told him I didn't understand why my legs were this bad because I didn't remember doing that much for class. Later in the shower I realized the class must have traumatized me than I thought because I finally remembered we did a bunch of ballet squats and crunches while squeezing a ball between our legs. Yup that would definitely be the reason my legs hurt.

Despite the all over pain I feel slowly subsiding, I thrive on the feeling of post workout soreness. Being sore is a reward, letting you know you worked hard and that you didn't waste your time. I certainly didn't do all the crunches or all the arm movements (seriously I have the weakest arms), but I know from this feeling that I still pushed myself. I also love working out at Yen for the post workout piece of Dove chocolate. They have a bowl of chocolate by the door and I never forget to grab one.

Do you like being sore? What's the hardest workout you've done in the past month?


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Today's Gratitudes

On occasion I like to take time out of my day to remind myself what I feel grateful for in my life. Back when I went to NMC (the local college), I took a yoga class. One of our assignments for the class was to keep a journal of 3 things were were grateful for every day. I should get back into the daily habit.

  • Firstly, I'm grateful for my family. The one really awesome thing about moving back into my parents house is that I get to spend more time with them. My dad was away with a few friends this weekend and my brother left on Saturday for a trip, so my mom and I had some nice girl time yesterday.
  • The sunny weather we've been having. It's warmed up again this past week and the sun has been shining almost every day. I'm definitely one of those people that feeds off the sun for energy. As much as I'd love to live in England, I don't know if I could deal with that much rain/little sunshine.
  • English Youtubers. I've been watching a ridiculous amount of UK Youtubers lately and I'm not even ashamed of it. I love their accents and their little groups of friends... and now I'm starting to feel a little creepy about it. Tanya, Jim, Zoe, Louise, Louis, Alfie and Marcus (I'm probably forgetting people). 
  • Yoga. So I've been sticking with my minimum of one yoga class per week in August. I still have quite a few classes left to use up before the month is done so I'm slightly worried about that. I've been so grateful for Rock Your Asana's ability to kick my ass lately though. I never realize how out of shape I'm in until I take that class. I secretly not so secretly love being sore after a workout. Plus yoga is the ultimate stress relief.
There's lots more I am thankful for but we'll leave this list here for now.

What are you thankful for today? Do you keep a daily/weekly/whatever gratitude journal?


Saturday, August 17, 2013

Words of Advice: Choose the Right Thought

In life always lean towards positivity. Being optimistic and thinking positive thoughts will eventually lead to good things, even if you have to be let down from time to time.

I always let myself get really stressed about everything. My imagination is the biggest cause of my anxiety and I tend to have poor coping mechanisms when I'm stressed (aka I avoid everything). I could definitely take a lesson from William James and try harder to choose better thoughts.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Word Problems

So I was rereading my post from yesterday and realized that none of it was good/made sense. Most of the time when I'm trying to use words to express myself, whether it's talking or writing, I make a mess of things. I intended to write some sort of short and sweet post yesterday, but it just kept going on and on. Nothing even came together and it sounded more like a string of semi-related thoughts than a coherent post. Even this now isn't turning out as well as I'd hoped.

I have always had a love/hate relationship with writing. I love writing in a journal, but I hate the tediousness of research papers. I love writing creative essays, but I hate trying to come up with my own ideas for them. I love being able to express myself, but words never seem to come out quite right. Even when I'm talking my brain and my mouth can never keep up with one another and half the time I end up making a fool out of myself. Seriously, I'll get half way through a sentence and then suddenly realize that's not the way I wanted to phrase what I was saying. I'm constantly tongue tied, mumbling and bumbling my way through conversations. You would think after 20 years or so of talking and using the English language I would have figured it out by now.

Oh well, all I can do is keep writing and talking and using my words. Hopefully one of these days practice will make perfect.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

You'll Know When You Find It

My major issue with life right now is a general lack of motivation. The theory that I have developed for this lack of motivation is the absence of love from my life. Now I don't necessarily mean love in the sense of a significant other or the love received from friends and family. Love that comes from others can certainly be rewarding, and I welcome love into my life whenever it wants to enter, but I'm talking about the type of love Steve Jobs describes in the quote above. Love that comes from the actions that you make and the way you spend your time. I don't want to ever feel like I wasted my time doing something I didn't love doing. I have never been one to settle. If I don't feel that something is right, I simply don't pursue it. At this point in my life the problem is that I don't know what I want, or what I love. If I won't settle for less in other aspects of my life there's certainly no reason to settle for anything less in my professional life. 

There are plenty of ways I enjoy spending my time, most of them involving small amounts of interactions with others. I love work that I can do quietly alone, although I love being able to vibe off of other people too. I also love being able to get in the zone and consume myself with projects. I can easily become obsessed with things, feeling like I must know anything and everything on the subject. Part of what has me stuck at this point in my life is my need to know every part of what lies ahead, all the possible outcomes, and for things to be absolutely perfect. If I can't see the bottom of the lake, I don't jump in. I realize how much this greatly inhibits my life and I'm working on changing my ways. I'm definitely not a Gryffindor because I'm clearly lacking in the bravery department.

To help me find a job that lets me do what I love, I thought my first step would be to identify the ways I enjoy spending my time. I find lists to be the best way of organizing my thoughts. By laying everything out in front of me, I am forced to confront all that I know to be true. If I can see what I love doing before me, then I can imagine where to go from there.

Things I Enjoy Doing
  • doodling
  • painting
  • writing
  • dancing
  • making people feel good
  • workingout
  • shopping
  • reading
  • helping people work through problems
  • organizing
  • making playlists
  • taking photographs
  • watching movies

Who knows if this list will even be much help in the process. I wish there was something I could do involving everything on the above list. Some sort of paying job where I could write and paint and dance and read and help others all at once. A job like that would certainly be some kind of miracle.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, love makes up everything good in life. Love is the deepest, most common motivating factor. Whatever kind of love keeps you going, acknowledge it and be grateful for that love. And if you're also having a hard time finding a job that you love, keep looking, that's certanly all I can do. 
Hopefully one day I'll find what I'm looking for and I'll just know.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A Speech Worth Sharing

I've been a long time fan of Ashton Kutcher... mostly because he's so good looking, but this speech he gave at the Teen Choice Award showed off a different side of him. He gave some great advice, not just for teens, for everyone.

"The sexiest thing in the entire world is being really smart, and being thoughtful, and being generous." It's so, so, so true.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Failed Attempts

I'm pretty sure I just unintentionally drew something resembling Ron Swanson (if he had a beard too) when I attempted Charlie Hunnam earlier.... don't even know how that happened. 

Or maybe it looks nothing like him either.

I just keep looking at the drawing then at the picture I was trying to copy and cracking up at how poorly this turned out. Not all attempts at art are going to be successful. The only way you'll ever get better is by making more art. It may be cliche, but that's really the best advice for any artist/person.

Seriously, it's an awesome speech. Go watch it. Do it. Now. I get so happy every time I watch it.


Literary Escapes

Currently splitting my literary time between Angels and Demons, The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and The Last Lecture. All good things. Each of the stories are unique in their own way. I also recently finished The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, which was my first book written by Neil Gaiman. I will definitely be reading more of his books now. I've never been so inspired to make art from a book before reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane. I think that's my challenge this next week, create something based off the story.

*I couldn't find a source for this drawing I found on tumblr. To whoever made the picture, it's absolutely wonderful and I hope you don't mind that I borrowed it.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Favorites

The beginning of the week brought a great post from The Clothes Horse about receiving attention vs. seeking attention.

And some practical ways to de-stress via Girl Meets Life.

Here's some health benefits of drinking tea. I love tea.

This pretty awesome Workout/Drinking game for "Breaking Bad." I can't wait to catch up now (I'm still back in season 4).

A trailer for Vlogumentary from Corey Vidal and Shay Carl about vlogging and how Youtube has changed a bunch of people's lives. It definitely made me cry.

Check out these 23 Awesomely Weird College Classes To Enroll In Immediately. I wish they had offered Elvish, Xtreme Lit, The Meaning of Life, Introductions to Wine, Kitchen Chemistry, and Underwater Basket Weaving at Western. They sound pretty amazing.

This music video from Chameleon Circuit for Teenage Rebel is super creative and THEY FILMED ON THE TARDIS!

Lastly learn how The O.C. ruined my life. This was way too accurate, I agreed whole heartedly with everything on the list. Plus I want to watch The O.C. now.


Morning With My Mom

My mom took the day off today, so we grabbed some muffins and coffee from downtown and headed to the water. There's a wonderful little spot with chairs in Clinch Park where we sat and read for a while.

I was a little surprised at how hot it got in the sun, but it was a wonderful morning. Plus I love being able to spend time with my mom. 

Hope everyone else is having a great start on this Friday morning!


Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Summer TV Show Line Up

So much of my time is spent (definitely not wasted) watching TV shows these days. I'm embracing my life as the cliche unemployed college grad. I finally watched Elementary earlier this summer and was obsessed for quite a while. I can't wait until next Fall when all those shows are new again.

Also Lucy Liu has the best wardrobe on the show, seriously, I want all the things.

After Elementary I moved on to Suits which I haven't seen since the first season (I have no idea why I ever stopped watching). Ah just everything about this show. I just love all the characters on this show, even Louis and especially Donna. 

Basically if you've never seen the show it's about a bunch of lawyers fighting each other and drinking scotch in beautiful suits. Also in general, most people on the show are pretty badass.

Suits was followed by Skins Season 7, which I just don't have the words for yet. (There were lots of tears)

Lastly, I am currently watching Orange Is The New Black which came out near the beginning of July on Netflix and is based off of a true story. Basically the show is about a woman who is sent to prison for a decade old crime and all the women she meets there. I'm completely obsessed with this show right now. I have 3 episodes left of this season and I haven't been able to stop watching since I started it earlier this week. So much drama and so many amazingly good back stories.

Also can we take a moment to note that the super gross and annoying guard Pornstache (played by Pablo Schreiber)...
is actually incredibly good looking in real life. 

It's kind of amazing how much difference a mustache can make.

And I appreciate this picture....

Do you guys like watching TV shows? What has been your favorite show you've watched this summer? Anything I have to check out next?


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Recent Purchases

Over the past week or two I've bought a few new items from places around town. Yesterday, I was able to get together with my friend Gabby, who is in town for a family reunion, for some girl time and shopping adventures.

 Let's start off with yesterday mornings trip to the local health foods grocery store, Oryanas. Among other things, I picked up some Granola So Good! in the cookie dough flavor. The granola is made locally and as the package says is gluten free, vegan, and oh so delicious. It tastes great on it's own or on top of yogurt (which is what I am currently enjoying).

In the afternoon Gabby picked me up and we went on our merry way to Target. Target is kind of the greatest place to spend time. It's so easy to get lost in those beauty aisles. I picked up some Yes to Cucumber Facial Cleansing Wipes and a small can of L'Oreal's Elnett Satin Hairspray. I haven't tried either of these products before so I figured I would pick up the travel sized packages of each before really committing to the product. I also tried on this dress that fit perfectly except the belt was like 3 sizes too small. I could barely get the thing buckled and nothing made sense about it. It looked fine on the rack... maybe someone switched the belt out? or Target has no idea how to proportion their belt sizes to their dress sizes? Who knows.

Next we stopped downtown TC for coffee at Cuppa Joe and some continued shopping. I picked this awesome Star Wars moleskin journal up from Brilliant Books. The nerd in me could not resist buying this, it's just so lovely.

Plus Brilliant Books has the greatest bags. Eat. Sleep. Read. That's basically my life at the moment.

This next purchase happened last week. My mom got me a few coupon/giftcard things to Venus (a local makeup store) around my birthday, and I decided it was time to use them up. I was in desperate need of some more bareMinerals Mineral Veil, so that was first thing on my list. The other two items I bought were a bottle of Philosophy 3-in-1 shampoo, shower gel, and bubble bath in Mimosa and bareMinerals Stroke of Light eye concealer and highlight. I love going into Venus (or in any shop downtown) because everyone is always so helpful and friendly there.

I can't wait to try all of the new products. Let me know if you have used any of the products on the list and what you think of them. I'm off to yoga later with Gabby and then probably some family time.