Friday, November 23, 2012


I'm baaaaack!!!

Yep, I'm a pretty horrible blogger.  I've so wanted to get into the habit of blogging at least weekly - I love following the blogs that I do, and feel like the ladies I follow have such an amazing record of their lives!  Hopefully, I'll get better.  But if not, I'm not going to sweat it!

After a great Thanksgiving holiday with my family yesterday and a week off of work, I've had a lot of time to reflect on the things that have happened this year.  While this year has certainly had it's challenges - I certainly have a LOT to be thankful for. In no particular order, here's my list of thirteen things I'm thankful for (I love alliteration!)...

1. My sweet and generous husband: Honestly, I am so lucky to have such a wonderful man in my life!

2. My health: As I get older (almost 32 - ew!), I've learned that health CANNOT be taken for granted and I am truly thankful for a healthy body and mind.

3. Cheese: yum!

4. Our 'new' place: Okay, it's not new, but we rearranged the furniture and I can't tell you how much I love our place now.  Small changes DO make a difference.

5. My family: They rock!

6. My friends: I've been so lucky to find friends who are supportive, caring, fun, and genuine.  Love all you ladies!

7. My firsties: Man, do they tire me out everyday, but their smiling faces make it all worth it!

8. Chicago: It's such a great city, and we are lucky to live here.  (This is a reminder to start taking better advantage of it!)

9. Pizza: Many hungry and lazy nights have been saved by some D'Ags or Lou's.  Chicago pizza is the bomb.  (Yes, I just said the bomb, and No, I don't think it's 1999 - ha!)

10. Barre Bee Fit: It might seem silly to be thankful for a fitness studio, but I have to credit BBF with getting me into a real fitness routine.  I'm challenged at every class and I have BBF to thank for feeling so great!  Not to mention, I feel more confident with my body now at 31 then I ever have - that pretty much rocks.  (Thanks Nikki for introducing me!)

11. Wine: It's actually surprising that it took me to number 11 to think of wine - ha!  There is nothing better than sipping a glass of cabernet or chardonnay after a long day.  Light some candles and add in a meal homemade by the hubs and that's pretty much the perfect night.  (Yes, my life is boring and No, it doesn't bother me at all!)

12. Healthy Food: Without going into a rant here, I feel blessed and thankful that we have access to good quality food.  Many families around the country can't easily get organic and local produce in their area.  Here's to hoping that changes, and changes soon!

13. Knowledge: This may sound like a funny one, but I have learned SO much in my life, and I continue to learn new things that have a strong impact my life every single day.  Thanks to all those who are willing share what they know with the world AND for the good old world wide web.

So there it is!  13 things I'm thankful for in 30 seconds or less!  Alright, forget the last part, but hopefully this didn't get too long.  Let's hope I'll be back soon. ;)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

All the small things

While this isn't exactly what I had in mind when I started this post, it's always fun to find a way to bring a little early 2000's pop punk into the mix!  btw - the video is hilarious - gotta love all the references to cheesy 90's music. :)

What brought to this post, though, was not a Blink 182 song (as funny as the video may be), but was a recent appreciation for the small accomplishments in my life.  By small, I mean the fact that I still worked out after I showed up at the gym today, ready to take a class, only to discover that the room was completely jam packed and there was no way I could get in on the "cardio sculpt" action.  It may not sound like much, but that little setback would have normally sent me home in the past (sad, sad, I know, and a little embarrassing to admit).  Rather than let it nix my plans for sweatin' it up today, I decided to jump on the treadmill for a run with some interval training. It took some convincing on my end ("Self, you're already here at the gym.  Don't give up just because you can't take the class.  Plus, you'll be really embarrassed if you walk out the door right now!"), but WOO HOO, I did it!  I did 3.5 miles and then took some time to do a little stretching afterwards.

Getting my stretch on

On my way home, I thought about how good it felt to face a small challenge and not let it stand in my way.  In the short drive back to my neighborhood, I reflected on the many small things that I've been able to accomplish in the last couple of weeks, and it felt good!  Taking this time to reflect on the positives in my life is something I have certainly struggled with in the past, but I've taken a more proactive approach to it lately.  Sometimes this Type A personality of mine gets in the way of slowing down and appreciating things in life, but I've learned that if I make a concerted effort to stop and reflect, I can always find those little victories and small accomplishments.


Now I'm heading off to get ready for a fabulous girls weekend with some great friends!  While I'm not sure I'll be able to convince myself to step away to hit up the gym this weekend, with these amazing ladies, there will certainly be plenty of small things to appreciate!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


I've always been an "aspiring" practitioner of yoga.  Sounds weird, maybe, but there's something about really practicing yoga that is so inspiring.  It could be the way yoga allows you to connect with your body or maybe the incredible ways your limbs can be manipulated into the stunning poses or even the sense of calm achieved with a consistent yoga practice.  I'm hoping my aspiration for becoming a yogi has something to do with one of those ideas because, well, there is a good chance it could actually be a lululemon addiction gone wrong. :)

Seriously, though, an "aspiring yogi" had described me for quite awhile, and I was ready to get rid of the word "aspiring" when it came to describing my yoga practice.  After many years of hitting up a yoga class here and there without any sort of consistent practice, I really wanted yoga to become a significant part of my life.  I knew that it would benefit me in so many ways - physically, emotionally, AND mentally.

After making the commitment to myself to give it a real try this time, I stopped to reflect on my past yoga experiences.  Why hadn't I stuck with it before?  I soon realized that the location of the class was the number one reason why I didn't make yoga a priority in my life.  I had only taken yoga classes at the gym, where beefy muscle guys and pumped up marathoners were getting their workout on just on the other side of the window.  Definitely not a zen environment.  I mean, would you be able to focus on your breath and confidently bust out into warrior 2 with people rocking out to LMFAO and dropping 50 pound weights in the other room??  For me the answer was a definite "N-O!"  So, off I went on a search for yoga studios.

After spending hours on the computer researching yoga studios and reading through dozens and dozens of yelp reviews five minutes looking up the closest yoga studio, I found one that was only a few blocks from my place (LOVE this aspect of city life!).  I looked at the schedule and was thrilled to find that they offer classes at 4:30 or 4:45 on three days during the week (class time was always my second excuse for not going to yoga).  I decided to try it out a couple of weeks ago, and I'm proud to say that I've now gone 4 times.  And I didn't even go with a buddy!  woo hoo!

So, where am I now that I'm beginning to establish a real yoga practice?  I feel incredible.  Each and every time I go, I am reminded of why I wanted to be there in the first place.  Yoga allows me to do so many things that I struggle to do on my own.

While I'm at yoga, I am calm.  If you know me, "calm" is probably never an adjective you've used to describe me!  While I would love to call myself calm, I just know that it's not an inherent quality of mine.  I strive to achieve a sense of calm in my life every day, but I understand it's something I have to work for, and that's okay.  Now that I've found one way to get there, it feels great!

Yoga allows me to love my body.  It's no secret that many women have a love-hate relationship with their own bodies, and I am definitely one of those women.  While I try not to put myself down, I sometimes find that I'm telling the hubs that "I look sooo fat."  Ewww, just writing that makes me cringe.  I know this kind of negative self-talk is no good for me (thanks Caitlin! :)), and yoga allows me to appreciate my body.  While taking the time to breathe through a particularly difficult pose, I often think about how thankful I am that my body can achieve such great things.  I told anyone who would listen how proud I was to be able to do a back bend (wheel pose) at yoga last week!

My anxiety!  Remember the anxiety I wrote about last week (hard to forget when it's the post right below this :))?  Although it's only been a short time since I've started going to yoga, I can certainly say that I am noticing a difference in my anxiety.  While I absolutely still have my moments, I realized the effect yoga was having on my anxiety when I started feeling anxious the other day.  As I felt it coming on, I thought to myself, "I wish I had been able to go to yoga today."  Wow - total light bulb moment for me.  I am hopeful that yoga will be a key ingredient to managing my anxiety in the future.

Finally, yoga allows me to have a meaningful escape.  Life can get so crazy and hectic at times, and I struggle to take meaningful time away from my responsibilities.  What does that mean?  To me, this means that I can get away from responsibilities and stressors in my life while still doing something that has a purpose.  In the past, I'd often find myself "escaping" by sitting on the couch watching TV while goofing off online (see, I told you I wasn't calm - I can't even watch TV without doing something else!).  With yoga, I feel good about the time I'm taking for myself to relax.  I don't think I've ever gotten up off the couch after an episode of Top Chef and thought to myself, "Wow, I feel great after that episode!"  Yoga, to me, is a meaningful way to escape.

After getting to yoga over the last couple of weeks, I really do feel great.  I know that I'm still learning about the discipline and I've only gone a few times, but I feel so good that I'm know I will keep it up (and if not, I'll come back and read this!).  I'm looking forward to seeing where my yoga journey will take me, and I'm thrilled that I can begin to say that I am a real practitioner of yoga.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

It's moments like these

After struggling with anxiety for the past few years, finding peace and comfort in my everyday life has sometimes been a challenge.  I've often felt like I'm on a search for that one thing that will make each day a little more joyful.  It seems silly, maybe, that someone like me would struggle with being happy.  I live in an amazing city. I have a loving and supportive family.  I have a husband who is my best friend and biggest cheerleader.  I have great friends.  I have the career I've always wanted.  With all of these blessings in my life, it even amazes me that I feel down more often than I'd like to admit.

After setting my goal for 2012, though, I felt energized and optimistic for the new year - and for good reason!  With everything listed above and more, I knew that it was simply up to me to make things happen.  Luckily, I saw how easy it could be earlier this week.

After dreading the Monday, back-to-school wake-up call (I had a looooong 2 1/2 week break, including a fabulous trip to Hawaii!) and surviving that first day back without any real hiccups, I woke up feeling ready to turn my goal into reality on Tuesday morning.  I had a plan for the day and was excited!  I had a great day with the kids, went to the gym with my amazing sis-in-law, and came home to get dinner going.  While this sounds like a typical day for many people, my attitude is what made all the difference.  Rather than hoping to "get through" the day, I decided I was going to make the most of it.  What a simple concept :) and IT WORKED!

While my day was awesome and I had definitely started to see the value in having a positive attitude, this was not the big revelation for me.  My "aha" moment came later that night when the hus and I had a full on, uncontrollable, belly laugh session, complete with sore abs the next day!  We seriously laughed for a solid 10 minutes with no chance of getting a complete sentence out!  It was    so.     much.     fun.    and I honestly can't remember the last time I laughed that hard.  Just as we were finally catching our breath and able to get a few words out, the hus said to me, I don't think I've seen you laugh like that in....I don't know....2 years?!


What??! you're thinking.  You haven't had a good belly laugh in TWO YEARS?!  That can't be true.

Sadly, it is.  And the funny thing is - I was thinking the exact same thing right before he said it, and I couldn't believe it myself.  It's NO WONDER I've been struggling with anxiety and overall happiness for quite awhile.  How can anyone possibly be happy if they haven't really laughed in two whole years??

In that moment, I knew that I needed to find a way to laugh more and have fun.  Why was I taking my life so seriously?  With all of the blessings I have, there is simply nothing to be too serious about!  In order to achieve my goal of doing what makes me happy and being the best I can be, I definitely need to find the things that make me laugh and make sure they are a part of my life as much as possible.  

Anyone out there have any good jokes??? 

Seriously, though, it was SO EASY to get there with the right mindset.  It's NOT a matter of finding "that one thing that will make each day a little more joyful" but rather finding the joy in the things I already have.

Laughter really is the best medicine, and it's moments like these that prove it.

Friday, January 6, 2012

It's been awhile... in, over a year! haha - guess I wasn't ready to really start blogging, yet. :)

With the start of the new year (is it really 2012?!), I've been re-evaluating many of the aspects of my life.  2011 had many amazing ups (getting married to the best husband ever, taking fabulous trips to Italy and Hawaii!) and a few downs (struggled with anxiety and generally feeling overwhelmed).  I'm ready to take what I learned in 2011 and make 2012 even better.


So, how do I plan to do that?  Well, let's start by ditching completely unrealistic to-do lists (a la the first post on this blog) and begin by setting a really simple goal for myself:

Do what makes me happy and be the best I can be, EVERYDAY!

I love that this goal doesn't set narrow parameters for me and allows me the freedom to make some mistakes every now and then. :)  Of course I want to accomplish the goals that I set for myself back on my 30th birthday, but those things aren't going to happen over night - and maybe not even over a year.  

So let's start with today...I'm going to make strides toward my goal by...

wait for it!

I bet you can't contain your excitement!

I'm going to be happy and be the best I can be by...

...getting this house in order!  Ok, I know, I know - not a very exciting start.  But, after an awesome trip to Hawaii (pics to soon follow) and being away for 8 days, we returned and quickly created a house full of disarray.  Is picking up the house the most amazing thing to be doing on this Friday afternoon?  Absolutely, no chance!  I do, however, know that I am a much happier person to be around when I am surrounded by a neatly organized environment.  So, picking up the house satisfies both requirements of my goal - the end result will make me happy, and I'm being the best wife I can be!

Being happy doesn't come without a little hard work :)

Can't wait for the 2012 journey ahead...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Let's try this again

I've not been very good about posting lately, and there's really only one reason.  My to-do list is making me crazy and super stressed!  Initially, I felt really good about all of my goals, but after I took the time to think about the expectations I created for myself, I became completely overwhelmed.  What was I thinking?!

I needed to take a step back to think about what was really important.  Instead of trying to do everything all of the time, I need to prioritize and spend my energy on the most important things.  So here's the revised list.

  1. My health
  2. The fiance
  3. Family
  4. Good Friends
  5. Career Goals
Everything else is just a bonus.  Looking at my list through a new lens has helped me to focus.

Plus, it is definitely helping with the "be less stressed" goal!  If I feel good about these aspects of my life, the other little things will more easily fall into place - and if they don't, no big deal!

I got started today with a little qt with #2 and #4...

Being silly with the fiance

Who doesn't love a good snowball fight?

A mini photo sesh with the cutest family ever!

It didn't take much to realize that THIS is what life's really all about.  Do I want to work on my goals?  Sure.  And I will.  But this is where real happiness comes from.



Monday, November 29, 2010

A bump in the road

I was so motivated and excited to get moving on my "yikes, I'm 30!" goals, when BAM!

100.4 degree fever.  After having a horrible flu less than a month ago (beginning on Halloween, actually) I could not believe that I was sick AGAIN!

It was the strangest bug, too!  Without getting into too many details, I woke up early (around 7am on a Sunday!) with excruciating pain in my face and jaw - which led me to believe I had a sinus infection.  Somehow I managed to get back to sleep, only to be woken up a few hours later by the fever and icky body aches which totally confused my self-diagnosis.  Whatever it was, it was a huge bump in the road to getting started on my goals.

Not surprisingly, my Sunday consisted of lying in bed while twisting, turning, moaning, and groaning - and none of these activities are on The List.

After a painful Sunday and a day off of work to recuperate, I am finally feeling about 80% better.  Time to get back to The List....tomorrow. :)


PS - I actually did get started on one to-do today!  I emailed my former professor about doing some reading tutoring again in the spring.  Take that icky virus! :)