Thursday, December 30, 2010

Reverbing, Etc.

So I get DAILY updates about Reverbing and they are filling up my inbox! I hate a full inbox. Apparently I am a rare person that keeps my emails to under 10 and all the other ones are either quickly dealt with or put into appropriate files. I just feel like the more emails in there, the more stress I have! Crazy, I know.

A lot of the reverbs are repetitive so I thought I would pick out five of the most interesting ones that I have gotten and yet replied to and well.......reply to them. Hopefully some of this is slightly interesting. Add to my previous "resolutions" for the new year: Blog consistently and interestingly.

December 17th prompt: Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
The best thing I learned about myself this year especially is how fiercely independent I am. I have come to rely on myself and if I can do it by myself then by god I will! I have moved heavy boxes of furniture up the stairs, I have driven myself 3/4 of the way across country, and I have managed to constantly pull myself up over and over (and over) again. Moving forward, I have to ask for help when I need it but that isn't going to be easy.

December 20th prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn't because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) I avoided dealing with an old relationship until the last minute, I was scared to open up and express my feelings and opinions, and I was delayed dealing with some things because other things took "priority." As I, again, move forward, I have to put myself and my health first.

December 24th prompt: Everything's OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?
Hahaha. I have to laugh because I repeat myself a lot over the past year as the biggest thing I did was moving myself to Michigan. It was a big deal but not just because the journey itself but EVERYTHING leading up to it and how I decided to make this change because the alternatives weren't looking too good. When I arrived in my apartment and unloaded my car and looked around, I was literally speechless. My first thoughts were "now what?"

December 25th prompt: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
In Idaho at Shoshone Falls early in the am.  Not the biggest smile but definitely one of the best moments of the year. It was $2 to get into the park and the scenery was breathtaking. I even did my hair that morning and had a cute outfit on!

December 30th prompt: Gift. This month, gifts and gift-giving can seem inescapable. What's the most memorable gift, tangible or emotional, you received this year?
 I am not one for big, crazy gifts, especially things that cost a lot. I am much more of a sentimental person and appreciate a card with a few lines much more than any material gifts. I have received a tremendous amount of support this year from many people. The people that I worked with gave me continuous support as they saw me go through many of my ups and downs and my family is always there to help where they can. When I arrived in Michigan, I received some great cards from people telling me that they were proud of me and that I could do all this crazy stuff! It felt like a hug from thousands of miles away.

New Year Foods

Did you know there are traditionally certain foods you can eat that will increase your luck and happiness for the new year? Yeah, it is amazing what a little Googling can do! Here are a few I found....(It's long but interesting!)

Pork
The custom of eating pork on New Year's is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity. (I have no problem with this one since I was incredibly overzealous with my ham buying for Christmas and now am eating it in every dish of the day!)

Legumes
Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it's customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Will do.

In the footsteps of many bloggers out there, including this great posting from The Healthy Everthingtarian, I decided I need to actually write down what I would like to accomplish in 2011. Not resolutions but things that I definitely want to finish by the end of 2011...oy, that seems like it is right around the corner!

  • Travel. Travel more and often. The road trip this year only whet my appetite. 
  • Floss at least five times a week (I have a severe fear of the dentist and I am always scared that someday I will be flossing and my teeth will start popping out. Yes, dreams have also included this terrifying idea). 
  •  Get two amazing internships.
  • Yoga five days per week. 
  • Buy a proper bed.  
  • Drink at least 4-5 glasses of water a day (super hard for me).
    • Make at least three vegan meals. I got a great cookbook from a mysterious shopper this Christmas that looks to be full of great recipes. 
    •  Have a great 30th birthday.
    • Take daily vitamins.
    •  Develop a wardrobe where in I can reach in, grab two or three pieces, and have an outfit. 
    • Quite picking at my face. 
    • Read 6 non-school books.
    I fear that my list might be too much BUT all of these are completely feasible and measurable (within reason).

    Building Inspiration

    T-minus 4 days until the new year! I have been collecting links that help with new year resolutions and better living so I thought I would pass some on.


    12 Excellent Tips For an Amazing and Productive New Year
    -Set the right goals, get your finances in order, manage time, shop smarter, use Wikipedia like a pro, have fun

    10 Speed Bumps on the Road to a Better Life
    -Being apathetic, being ordinary, not having a passion for something, being selfish, not bettering yourself

    7 Important Questions to Ask Yourself Before the Year Ends
    -On a scale from 1-10, how satisfied are you with 2010? Why did you score it that way? What are your biggest accomplishments? What new habits do you want to cultivate?

    Lots to think about as we enter into 2011! Can you believe it, 2011? Where are the flying cars?? :)

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    Reverb December 14, 15 and 16

    I love this Reverb activity I just haven't had the time or focus to do any of them! I still want to reflect on this year as it has been pretty unpredictable, challenging, amazing, and terrifying. I was thinking to myself where I was last year and the year before at this time and they were all so different. Two years ago I was in New York City in some diner waiting to see "Marley and Me" on Christmas day and then enjoying Irish coffee and a little dive bar in Queens. Last year I was with my tiny family watching movies and eating dinner. This year on Christmas eve, I spent time with a friend's family who I absolutely adore. Reflection took place even though I wasn't trying! Here is some more of that:

    December 14 prompt: Appreciate. What's the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
    I appreciate all of the opportunities for growth this year. If I didn't learn anything from these instances or experiences then I wouldn't be truly understanding what I was given or being grateful for what I have. I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am and always reflect on the journey that brought me here.








    December 15 prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.
    The entire road trip journey from start to end, sunsets and sunrises, the girls from nConnect and their friendship, the amazing food I ate--from carts and restaurants--and who I ate it with, acceptance letters to graduate school, getting a job, speaking to high school students, creating and presenting a three day workshop at Work Source, getting my own apartment again, getting my car FINALLY paid off, hugs, puppy sitting at a beautiful condo in downtown Portland, farmer's markets, holding a newborn baby, seeing an old friend after far too long, meeting old friends who I had yet to meet, the feeling of independence and freedom. 
      
    December 16 prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
    Again I bring up my nConnect girls. They have such varied backgrounds but they made friendship seem simple and concrete. I appreciated their support but it never seemed like an inconvenience or bother for them to ask what is going on and support me. It made a big impact on how I view friendships (relationships of all kinds, actually) and seeing what I want and need in a friendship.

    Free Will Astrology

    Aries Horoscope for week of December 23, 2010
     
    Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
    "There's always one moment in childhood when the door opens and lets the future in," wrote novelist Graham Greene. I'll add to that: There are at least three moments in adulthood when a new door opens and invites the rest of the future in. Judging by the astrological omens, I'm guessing that one such breakthrough lies ahead for you in 2011. What can you do to expedite and encourage fate's summons? Here's one possibility: Surrender to the naked truth of what you love. 

     Can't wait to find out what that means.

    Thursday, December 23, 2010

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Could I really?

    Quick anecdote:

    All week long I have been eating pasta. We had pasta leftovers at work and I made pasta all weekend for dinner. Literally, pasta for two meals each day since, hmm, Saturday I think? I told my co-worker I'll just eat pasta til Christmas and then be all good til February! She says "You better not, you're going to turn into a pasta bowl!"

    Hehehehe. It is hilarious :)

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    Grand Plan is Crap

    I had plans to come home, eat a huge bowl of spaghetti and meatballs, watch Ugly Betty, and update The Blog. Life had other plans that made me cranky and tense and stressed. It's break! I shouldn't be stressed out.

    So know that as long as I can fix my internet tomorrow, there shall be pictures! I received an amazing hand-knit cowl from a friend today, and watched one of my favorite Christmas time movies so I shall focus on the good for right now and forget the rest.

    Until tomorrow.

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Quite the Week

    I have a sink full of dishes from my sugar cookie bonanza and a pile of magazines sitting near the door to my living room that I shove under said door in case a little mouse wants to come eat me.

    Goods of the week:

    • Finished the term! 
    • My final went okay and I am just hoping to squeak into the B category in one class. 
    • One of my teachers wrote a comment on my final paper that was so sweet it almost made me cry. After class, she took a bunch of us out for the most delicious pizza. She also invited me to her house for Christmas in case I wanted to go somewhere. 
    • Had free food pretty much all week but none of it was considered healthy by any means. I did enjoy THE best donuts I have ever had and they were totally worth the calories. 
    • Socialized with my program people and really enjoyed myself. We had great conversation and are feeling more like a cohort every day. Dare I say, I actually look forward to seeing them in class in a few weeks!
    • Snow! We'll keep it in the "good" side since it is still pretty just a little scary to walk or drive in. 
    • Presents on my doorstep after a very bad day yesterday. I have the new Tim Gunn book now and some great cookbooks to take a peek at. 
    Bads of the week:
    • Mouse in the house the morning that I needed to open up the office. My mom had a mouse problem in the winters at her apartment which completely terrified me. I have been assured it is just a visitor from the abandoned house next door and landlord will do something about it. Still a little scared. 
    • My co-workers and I received devastating news yesterday morning. Our assistant director, Chuck Fulford, passed away the night before. He had been sick for about a week but was even in the office the day before and was quickly sent home since he didn't look completely recovered yet. He had been at Eastern Michigan University for 30 years and was set to retire in May. It was a huge, huge shock and counselors were brought in to help with the grieving. As I am the newest member of the group, I didn't know quite how to react. I gave consoling hugs where I could but was also incredibly saddened by the loss of such an amazing person. He had the best laugh, always loved puns, and wore suspenders every day. I was numb most of the day as was the staff, but we had students to see and had our holiday party already planned. Some advisors cancelled appointments but I needed to stay busy and did just that. Our holiday "party" was solemn but we tried to enjoy ourselves as Chuck would have wanted. There was an overflow of food, desserts, presents, and hugs. He will be truly, truly missed. 

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Reverbs.....December 12 & 13

    December 12 prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
    I felt great when I was working out at 5 am every morning. I would get up, get dressed, go to the gym, and do various cardio and strength training exercises five days a week and then go to work. I noticed a great difference in my confidence and energy levels but it only last for about 3.5 months. Work obligations messed up my schedule and since it takes a while for me to acclimate to a particular situation (ie. the gym) I didn't like going after work or on weekends. I gradually stopped going over about a two month period and the money I was saving was also a reason to stop going. It was great to see what my body was capable of though and I plan to enroll at a gym around here in the spring.


    December 13 prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?
    It is absolutely about making things happen. Right now, I am working on taking better care of myself which is my number one priority. Today is an example of how I don't take care of myself but I am trying at least. Professionally, I am looking at internship and development opportunities that can contribute to my grad school experience. It is all about the resume and experience when I am hurled back into the work world so I better make the most of this now.

    Speaking of....back to work!
    (P.S. Sorry for the lack of photos...I have a little bit of that "chicken with my head cut off" syndrome going on.) 

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    What Happened?

    This is a question my mother posed:
    "You always used to get your homework done as soon as you got home from school, you were so good about that, what happened? Is the whole school thing starting to get to ya?"

    I absolutely laughed when I read this. Yes, in high school I came home and got my homework done while watching television. In high school I also didn't have the internet or a car or money to distract me! She doesn't quite get what school entails except for what I tell her. So yes, 12 years ago I was a rock start with the homework! Today, not so much a fan. I enjoy my adult time by coming home, making dinner, and watching a movie. 

    Reverb, December 11, 11 Things

    See, I am making progress! I really love this challenge so hopefully after tomorrow night I will be able to keep up consistently.

    Dec. 11 prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 
     This is actually one of my favorite prompts thus far and I was inspired by Mindy over at just a one girl revolution and may or may not have copied a few of her answers too!

    1.  late nights and early mornings. I am infamous for being a night owl and an early bird but those do not work well together. I end up staying up late to get things done or because I just don't want to go to bed yet (my inner 3 year old rears its ugly head) and then I get up early for work. Need to pick a nice, decent, respectable bedtime that will not drive me to an early grave.
    2. any reminders or negative feelings from the past. I am an emotional packrat. There, I said it. I carry things with me far too often even if they have been resolved. I seriously need to just leave things where they are and move forward.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    Gah! Horrible Blogger

    I have been completely ignoring my Reverbs (they are piling up in my Inbox) and have all these grand plans for interesting posts but with final assignments, internship interview, and getting Christmas stuff organized, I am a little tuckered out. Oh, also the major procrastination that I am actively taking part in....that doesn't help!

    So to catch up with a few of my Reverbs....here are some annotated versions:

    Dec. 8th prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you'll find they're what make you beautiful. 

    I think I can connect to people no matter what the background or culture. When I am working with students, I am able to make them feel at ease. I have a very strong heart but also get hurt really easy which I suppose all wraps up to be vulnerability but also that I love and care fully.

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    Must See: Barbara Walters Specials

    10 Most Fascinating People of 2010


    I always, always watch these specials in December. I love knowing who Barbara thinks is the most fascinating and 90% of the time, I agree. This one I have to say I agree with 100%. This has been quite the year of ridiculousness (Jersey Shore), political nonsense (Sarah Palin) and heartbreak of one of America's favorite stars (Sandra Bullock). I don't know as much about General David Petraeus and LeBron James although I understand their impact on history both politically and socially. I do not have the "Bieber Fever" but I think it amazing that a talented kid like Justin can have videos on YouTube one day and be a world wide sensation the next. He is a legitimate success and has the talent to back it up. Mark Zuckerberg, seriously, this guy will live in infamy. 1 out of 14 people in the WORLD are on Facebook. That makes the world seem so much smaller and it sounds like that is exactly the way he wants it. Sorry, I don't have much to say about Jennifer Lopez except she is still gorgeous. Oh, and Kate Middleton is one strong woman who has amazing fashion sense. My favorite on the whole list? Betty White. She has been in this business forever and never backs down. I love that she is getting recognition from this generation and maintaining her sense of humor and passion for life.


    Oprah, the Next Chapter


    I don't watch Oprah regularly because there is just something about them that makes me a little nutty. I do however find her absolutely inspiring and fascinating. I think the work she does and what she gives back to the world is extraordinary. Her interview made me cry and laugh and wish I could do as much as she does.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    Quotes of the Day: Anaïs Nin Version

    Oh, you don't know who Anaïs Nin is? Me neither. Well, at least I didn't until I saw this great post on The Positivity Blog about some of her greatest sayings and quotes. I like her gumption!


    From TPB: Back in the 20th century there lived a writer in France and the US who had one of my favorite names of all time. Anaïs Nin was a writer of journals that spanned over many decades and presented her view of her personal life and relationships. She was also one of the most critically celebrated writers of erotica.




    Quotes:
    “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

    "And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

    "How wrong it is for a woman to expect man to build the world she wants, rather than set out to create it herself."

    “I postpone death by living, by suffering, by error, by risking, by giving, by losing.”


    “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

    Friday, December 10, 2010

    Human Carbohydrate Disposal

    That is my official title today. My other one? Exhausted Graduate Assistant.

    All of the food I have eaten today has been free and available at my office AND in some sort of carb form. At least the orange juice adds a "fruit" in there somewhere! I am going to have to eat brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes tonight for a well-rounded day.

    Part of being a graduate assistant is knowing nothing until it actually happens. There are forms and procedures to follow yet we don't know when to use them or what to do until the situation presents itself. This leaves a GA very much susceptible to feeling stupid and slightly lost. I am glad I am not on my own over here though...this is a common story from all the GAs I know.

    Another part of being a graduate assistant AND in my program are the awesome people you meet. I went out to the Tap Room last night with some classmates, my professor, and the professor of another class. It was great to be able to socialize and know people outside of the classroom. There are some fun events happening next week too and future plans for making one of our student groups functional and interesting.

    With my lack of sleep and nutrition, I am draaaaaaging today. Five o'clock cannot come fast enough!

    Oh.....and SNOW!! Glorious snow actually fell, accumulated, and stuck around today. We might end up getting a few inches over the weekend too which is exciting and a little scary since I have some no-can-wait errands.

    Sorry no pictures right now but I have big plans for many, many picture posts!

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Taking My Own Advice

    So you remember that post about clothes and making yourself feel confident and successful? I should really, really take my own advice.

    Because of my low funds this term I have been shopping a lot at the thrift stores. Usually, excellent idea but I have come into the habit of grabbing pants that are just not flattering. When I expertly hold them up and assess if they are indeed the right pants for me I am failing! I have pants that are too high-waisted, too short, too long, and too roomy in the crotch/butt area. These are all major problems!

    I get dressed and feel the difference between when I wear those clothes and when I wear the whole three (3!) pairs of pants that fit me perfectly. Hell, I am glad to at least have those! On the days I need extra confidence (like today) I wear these pants but on the other days I just pray to look decent. I end up feeling all schlubby and mismatched for the whole day which really, really affects my overall mood.

    After assessing my next term's finances, I am making a firm commitment to buy some amazing, butt-tastic pants/trousers even if they are slightly above my normal price range. If I can find 2-3 perfect pairs of pants then a pair of flat boots I will be so very completely set. Dressing for the winter here is so different than in Portland. It is legitimately cold cold with wind chill and painful hypothermia looming if you don't dress appropriately.

    Maybe they should factor in proper clothing and accessories into the financial aid??

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    Just in case you were wondering....

    ....I think I like homemade cookies better than store-bought. I have two boxes of amazing cookies from Trader Joe's but just had a dough ball that I put in the freezer last week after not wanting to cook the two cookies left of cookie dough. Dough ball was far superior to either cookie.

    Just some....oh....this is bad.....food for thought.

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Reverb 10, December 7, Community

    Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

    I have discovered community within blogging. I am in no means as active as 90% of the people I "follow" or read but they have been so uplifting, inspiring, and hilarious. I love that I get to see other peoples' lives and adapt some of their techniques to my own. I get ideas on how to decorate and how to make my apartment a home. I get ideas on how I could (if I choose to move thy ass swiftly off the couch) get into shape quickly and safely. 





    The other community that I have become a part of is the higher education community and Eastern Michigan. For some reason, I really like being here. People look at me like I am crazy for moving all the way across the country to Ypsilanti of all places from the magical land of Oregon. The opportunities were too good to pass up and I haven't regretted moving here since. I have met some great friends and have a lot of potential for professional development PLUS this is all getting me closer to my future and career. 


    For the future, I would love to be more involved in the activities in Ann Arbor and on my campus. 

    Monday, December 6, 2010

    Reverb 10, December 6, Make

    Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?


    I literally just made spinach and artichoke stuffed manicotti which turned out pretty good! I used frozen spinach and artichoke hearts from Trader Joe's, a big ol' can of chopped tomatoes with olive oil and herbs, manicotti shells, ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese, and some spices. It was very simple and I even added some breadcrumbs on top just to be different. How dare I ever follow a recipe! I am also needing to have the time and energy to bake cookies as gifts for the office crew and family. [insert beautiful picture of manicotti on a dinner dish with large glass of wine in the background]


    Of the arts & crafts variety, I am wanting to make gifts for people and need to work on my Christmas cards. I keep thinking "Oh, I'll get it done over break" but that doesn't start til the 23rd and that would definitely be far, far too late. I have one more week of school and then I can do the things that really get me excited and let me be creative. Oh, I am so very, very excited!

    Sunday, December 5, 2010

    Pet Peeve: Acting Like a 3-Year Old

    Do you ever get that sensation that your inner 3-year old is coming out? You feel the whiny sensation and the need to run and hide from anything resembling any you DON'T want to do? And all you want to do is watch cartoons and eat junk food?

    Maybe it's just me.

    Sometimes in life, I get to the point where I get a little grouchy, almost visibly showing my inner grump, and just want to curl up in my blanket and enjoy a candy cane. Or a warm cup of hot chocolate. Or a glass of wine.

    My womanly issues combined with three large projects this week is causing my 3-year old to get just a little out of hand.

    P.S. Yes, this is a completely useless post. :)

    Reverb 10, December 5, Let Go

    Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
    That is quite the question, er, prompt. I let go of a lot this year but none of it was terribly difficult. I let go of a lot of my insecurities and regrets. I learned a lot about people this year which caused me to let go of ideals and desires in friendship. I am not sure if "let go" is even the right phrase but there was a lot of letting go of my own issues so that I could move forward. I can think of so many people that are bogged down in their own circumstances that they can't see past it. I knew that in order to move on, I needed to let go of everything and push past any discomfort or timidness. 


    Revision: I completely forgot that I got rid of 70% of my belongings! The amazing people at Salvation Army made many a trip to my house to pick up my stuff. I have four medium sized boxes being stored at my mom house and the rest came with me to Michigan in my little Honda Civic. This realization comes after watching Clean House on Netflix for the past.....well....longer than I should have.

    Blogroll Watch: End of the Year

    I read a lot of blogs. I add a bunch and then if I don't get excited to read them, I unsubscribe and find more. I have found out how to live healthier, how to set fitness goals, and about new foods to try. There are blogs that inspire me and ones that make me feel like I am not the only weird one out there. As we come to the end of 2010, many bloggers are reflecting on the past year and looking ahead towards the future. Goals are inevitable: the new year means a new start for many of us and goal setting is one way to take action.

    I have been saving so many blog posts in my reader that it is driving me crazy! So I thought I would add some links to great blogs and posts that have made me think and smile this past week:

    Life of a Doctor's Wife put up her 30 (mostly) non-material wants. For that first list, I couldn't agree more on at least 7 of those things!

    The Healthy Everythingtarian talks about life lessons she has learned through traveling. She has learned how important it is to simply take in the moment, have fun, and find your passion. She also has an excellent post about being 25 and single and what that means. Yes I am older but all the same rules apply.

    I follow some other blogs that are more like guides to life than anything else. Sometimes the posts are funny, sometimes insightful, sometimes technical. These stood out to me last week:

    wikiHow: How to Get a Little Healthier While Staying Just as Lazy

    Positivity Blog: How to Cut the Irrelevant Stuff Out of Your Life-3 Helpful Questions

    Dumb Little Man Tips for Life: Are You An Emotional Packrat?, Will You Regret This When You're 80?

    Saturday, December 4, 2010

    Reverb 10, December 3 & 4

    (I skipped December 2nd because I didn't feel it was very important for me)

    December 3
    Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

    It was when I was driving from Oregon into Idaho during early August. It was perfectly sunny but I could still see the road, listening to Eminem so that I would stay awake, and taking in all the sights of everything that was new to me. It was the rolling hills to the river to the dams to the state line. Everything was just overwhelming because I couldn't believe I was actually leaving my home state and the amount of beauty that I saw. That was just the very beginning too! It was embedded in my memory because of the emotion that poured out of me every time I realized what I was doing and where I was going. 


    December 4

    Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

    My sense of wonder came from making new friends, exploring Portland even more and appreciating some of the small things that come from living in a city, and deciding to go against my comfort zone. I believe that fate decided to give me the choices in grad schools that I had so that I wouldn't go with any safe choice, stay near home, and ultimately be miserable. I sought out opportunities, experiences, and people whom have enriched my life more than I can say. 
     

    Thursday, December 2, 2010

    Song Lyrics of the Day

    “The world’s a show
    And yeah, you look much better,
    Look much better when you glow

    If you want to be somebody else,
    If you’re tired of fighting battles with yourself
    If you want to be somebody else
    Change your mind…”

    -Sister Hazel

    (taken from PriorFatGirl)

    Wednesday, December 1, 2010

    Reverb 10, December 1, One Word


    Reverb 10 is an annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what's happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead. With Reverb 10, we'll do both. (Thanks Cara for the idea!)
    Buddha with Key | Gwen Bell
    December 1 One Word.
    Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
    (Author: Gwen Bell)
    Unexpected.
    Many, many things were unexpected this year. The applying to graduate school (technically 2009) left all future choices up to each school that I applied to. Of my options, I unexpectedly chose a school that was 3,000 miles away, where I had never been before, and where I knew no one. I unexpectedly took another Americorps position for six months that gave me amazing, supportive friends and confidence that I didn't know I had. The easiest and cheapest option of moving was unexpectedly driving cross country. I used to be scared to drive from Portland to Seattle but now an 8-hour drive doesn't even seem that bad. I was unexpectedly not scared to drive alone. I met friends I had known for years and saw things I never thought I would see. I unexpectedly have grown to love my school, my apartment, my colleagues and where my life is headed.  I am unexpectedly not homesick in the least and do not miss my old life. Nothing seems expected anymore and I am taking every opportunity to fully enjoy it. 

    2011? One word? Adventure. 

    Outed!

    I was having lunch with a few of my fellow GAs before a professional development meeting today and one of them knows that I am closing in on the big 3-0. I was outed today! He says something and then literally the four other people at the table were like "Um, how old are you?" so I say "I'm 29, 30 in April" and they all begin the lovely explanation of "I thought you were 23" "I totally thought you were like 21 or 22." The looks on their faces were pretty priceless although I have come to expect it now.

    It was pretty funny. Then it got into a conversation about surrogates and heterosexual viewpoints and well....that isn't out of the norm for our group.

    I think it bugs me on some level with just the amount of respect people give you depending on your age. I bring it  up a lot on here because people either say it is a bonus because when I am 50 I will only look 40 but then they don't quite understand how it affects me professionally or personally now. There are people in my class that act 22 (and are 22) and wow, I would never want to be thought of as immature or naive. I tend to be kind of quiet, especially in new situations, and am an observer by nature. I watch everything and take it in; body language, eye rolls, tone of voice, social norms, everything. I only like to say something when I need to or feel like I have something important to say. There are people in my class now that absolutely just want to hear themselves speak and it is physically painful to the rest of us. This one person in particular is nice and very experience and involved in student affairs but they are also very lucky someone hasn't put duct tape over their mouth yet!

    On another grad school related note: I hate APA format.

    Tuesday, November 30, 2010

    Not Sunny but Good

    • I like bullet-points. I like pictures even more but you get what you get when I am blogging from work.
    • I have set up my winter term work schedule which is pretty fantastic. 
    • I can't wait for snow. I am pretty sure this is because of my complete naivety of impending snowdom. 
    • My nails are finally prettified and I feel much more put together now.
    • Tomorrow I am going to get a frosty from Wendy's for lunch. I am meeting with some friends and it is what soothes the soul. 
    • Still missing proper footage on the shoe front. I just can't seem to win! I bought two pairs of shoes last week and I only kind of like 1 of them. The other one is a little tight. I am going to soon be one of those people wearing the Ugg-like boots. They are so damn comfortable!
    • I rearranged my living room so that it feels more homey. I think things will be pulled together when I get some kitchen chairs/stools and perhaps a rug or two.
    • Christmas decorations might happen soon too!
    • And.....I am getting a microwave tomorrow from a good friend. She is letting me borrow it until I can get one later on next year. 
    I am just a little ball of excitement today for some crazy reason.
    • And I have an interview for an internship! 

    Monday, November 29, 2010

    Sugar Calls

    I have been doing wonderfully cutting down my sugar intake lately. For Thanksgiving, I made mini chocolate and pumpkin pudding pies that were small portions but just enough to satisfy the sweet tooth. The other saving graces have been one serving of the cinnamon sugar almonds from Trader Joe's and Sugar-Free Oregon Chai Tea mix. Tonight I wanted to make something.....but I couldn't figure out what. I knew it was going to be cookie-like but I didn't want to do anything I had done before. Enter in: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

    A bunch of the bloggers I follow went to the FoodBuzz Festival last month and fell in love with Annie the Baker's Dough Balls and many of them tried desperately to copy her. Mama Pea over at Peas and Thank You did an excellent job at getting the recipe right the first time! Well, I wouldn't know if she was right or wrong but they truly taste AMAZING and if you make her version, you can eat the cookie dough as is since it is vegan!

    Again......go.....make: Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Balls

    Milk or soy milk or vodka is highly recommended to accompany said balls. I laughed at that because I'm 12.

    Design Inspiration

    The house I stayed at for the past week and a half had some of my favorite style of furniture. I am very into danish furniture design, simplicity, and vintage touches. While using the Olioboard to dream about what my future house might look like, I noticed that I really can't pick out things from a catalog or just any old store. I do much better scouring vintage or consignment stores, picking up things that I like and making a plan.

    Here are some of my favorite things from the house.....
     





    The lady of the house was very happy to have someone appreciate her design efforts! Really, the house was pretty much exactly what I would like for myself someday; not very big but spacious, excellent kitchen, great outdoor space, and a garage.

    Back to the Grind

    School and work start back up tomorrow and I can safely say the stress has returned. I have actual appointments now for my job which is really nice since I can finally be in my own office. I have three weeks left of school and this coming weekend looks to be the mother of all work weekends. I foresee major time at coffee shops and the library as to get everything properly done and turned in. I cannot tell you how excited I am to be thisclose to finishing my first term here.

    I left yesterday morning from the dog sitting home and came straight back to my house. I had been planning to rearrange the living room and organize my closet so I can be happy with my wardrobe. I came home, finished up the iced coffee and glazed doughnut from Dunkin' Donuts and promptly took a nap. Go me!

    I really miss the dogs and the house. Isn't that strange? I miss having their cute little faces around and have a very solid routine.
     

     

    It was nice to feel like I got a lot done even though it was just the routine of everything. Here I have no routine. My routine kicks in on Tuesdays, Wednesday evenings, Thursdays, and Fridays. I enjoyed getting up early to feed the dogs and let them outside then watching the news all morning while eating breakfast and then working on things. Of course, I enjoyed the big kitchen and television as well!

    More cute puppy pictures.....
     

     

    Friday, November 26, 2010

    Too Much Brain Activity

    Is there a point where you actually just think too much about the most ridiculous things? I have heavily contemplated every little move this week. From whether to drive to a friend's place for Thanksgiving, when to go grocery shopping, how to phrase emails, budgeting, obsessively pouring over Black Friday ads online, and even to what to eat each day. Annoying, right? I feel like I am trying to consider too many things all at once and then I just get overwhelmed and decide to either research it to death or forget about it all together. Annoying, yes.
    www.nataliedee.com
    Technically, I did lots of future research to remind myself the good decisions I have made for myself. I looked at apartments in various cities that I am thinking about moving to after grad school, looked at ideal jobs that I would absolutely love to start my career in, and lots of looking at clothes. Not many of you know but I chose my undergraduate institution, Oregon State University, because it offered two of my potential future career paths: Fashion Design or Elementary Education. I thought about doing both and then I got overwhelmed and unmotivated and went with the path of least resistance. I absolutely love fashion though and have seen some opportunities to incorporate all of my passions which is really exciting.

    Celebrity Quotes of 2010

    This ridiculous post was on another community but thought some of them were just too funny and some are freakin' brilliant!

    "When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host Saturday Night Live, I didn't know what Facebook was. And now that I do know what it is, I have to say it sounds like a huge waste of time." 

    - 88-year-old It girl Betty White, giving a shout-out to the social network during her SNL monologue 

    "That girl is like crack cocaine to me...Sexually it was crazy. That's all I'll say. It was like napalm, sexual napalm." 

    - John Mayer, over sharing on his former girlfriend, to Playboy 

    "When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, 'Bitch, you're Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.'" 

    - Lady Gaga, to Rolling Stone 

    "Generally for me, slimness comes with a little bit of upset or stress. I'd rather be fat and happy, to be honest." 
    - Charlotte Church, singer, offers some diet advice

    "I am a femme fatale, my dear." 
    - Carla Bruni, French first lady, shrugs off any suggestion of image problem

    "Your face tells a story - and it shouldn't be a story about your drive to the doctor's office." 
    - Julia Roberts says no to Botox.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010

    25 Days of The Little Things

    It is Thanksgiving! I have completed my 25 days and found much more than 25 little things to be thankful for. It is all about the little things, right?

    A few more for the road....

    • Turkey, cranberry and cream cheese sandwiches.
    • Pre-made mini graham cracker crusts.
    • All-day TV marathons that continue throughout the weekend.
    • Foggy day.
    • Organizations like ASPCA that help animals.
    • Living simply and enjoying it. 
    • Google page today.
    I wonder if there will be a Christmas challenge? I know it won't be 25 days of cookies or presents, that is for sure. Maybe each week will be a different cookie/treat that I can take to my office. If my Black Friday excursion (weather-permitting) is successful tomorrow, I will have proper tools for making said treats! Thankfulness is year round so I hope we all continue to think about how lucky we are even when we don't have much. 

    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    25 Days of The Little Things

    • Puppies passed out on the floor, side by side.
    • I think snow is coming! I just wish it wasn't coming tomorrow. 
    • Successful turkey dinner completed!
    • Mini cream pies for dessert.
    • Water.
    Hope you all have a terrific Thanksgiving tomorrow!

    Tuesday, November 23, 2010

    Internet Window Shopping: Mod Cloth

    I have tons of research to do. I have at least a week to get that going though so....I have been internet window shopping! I have this Amazon wishlist that I constantly add things to in case I get money, I have been playing on Olioboard to "decorate" my imaginary house, and I have been looking at pretty, pretty clothes. I watched "The Devil Wears Prada" last night and it furthered my need for some fashion (that and watching What Not to Wear and Say Yes to the Dress).

    Pretty clothes that I am in love with from ModCloth:








    One day I will have a job that allows me to afford beautiful clothes like these AND I will be able to wear them to work! (they also have an amazing one-of-a-kind vintage section)

    And, shall we add some accessories?
           

                   
    Remember, everything is from Mod Cloth. If you have some time and extra money, look around and get excited to get dressed in the morning and look all pretty.

    Monday, November 22, 2010

    Doggy Sitting

    I took a job for the Thanksgiving holiday to doggy sit four dogs at a house about an hour away from my place. It is near Big Wolf Lake (I can see it from the backyard) and kind of out in the middle of nowhere. The closest "big" town is Jackson which I drove through today. It is gorgeous! Kind of old school but they also have all the shopping there yet are lacking a Chase Bank. Grrr. That is an area of frustration for me. Moving on.

    The dogs are pretty adorable even when they jump up on me with muddy paws or beg for more attention. One of the dogs caught and ATE a tiny mouse outside. I just about hurled. Ew. I wasn't sure what I was more grossed out by: eating the mouse, the tiny mouse suffering, the sight of the mouse in the dog's mouth, or just the entire situation. Besides that, things have been mighty lovely and low-key so far.

    On my excursion today, I went to grab some Thanksgiving essentials just in case I end up staying in that day. Don't tell anyone though since apparently it is very, very inappropriate for me to be on my own for Thanksgiving.  I am okay with it but I was invited to a pretty awesome place if I can make it over there. Storms, low temperatures and potential snow make me mighty nervous. That will be a see-what-happens kind of situation.

    The house is exactly what I would like to have. Nothing fancy, amazing furniture, and a great layout. Will take pictures later on since I need future points of reference for how I want to decorate my place.

    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    25 Days of The Little Things

    • Thankful I saved all of my nConnect materials that I developed for job seekers. I am currently using two of the handouts to develop a cover letter and redo my resume. 
    • Thankful for a potential opportunity that could really add value to my graduate school experience and my resume.
    • Music cable channels and sleeping puppies.
    • Excited by cute yet purposeful purchases from the $1 bins at Michaels. 
    • Yoga Pants. Pretty sure that the whole world is grateful for these though. 

    Food Bucket List

    I have grand plans to try and cook or bake certain next year. I would love to try all 30 things (magical number) but more likely, I will get to at least 15. These are things that I am so interested in creating but have decided that it is either too hard or I don't have the skills. Bull-ongia.

    My Must-Make List:
    1. Chicken Makhani
    2. Macroons (flavors to be determined)  (June 2013--finally!)
    3. Tamales (and possibly some horchata to go along with it)
    4. Stuffed Pork Loin
    5. Pie (crust and filling; flavor to be determined)
    6. Cinnamon Rolls (Yes! I made the Pioneer Woman's recipe and they were amazing! 12/31/10)
    7. Souffle (sweet or savory, not sure which yet)
    8. Manicotti (Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Manicotti 12/6/2010)
    9. Chicken Soup
    10. Stuffed Cupcake from Bake in a Cake (made crappy red velvet mini cupcakes from a mix and decided to put them into a known amazing chocolate cupcake recipe so they wouldn't go to waste. Each cupcake has the velvet center and cream cheese frosting on top with Valentine themed sprinkles and m&ms. Sugar overload would be an understatement. Let's ignore the fact that I also ate the frosting with a spoon. 2/13/2011)
    11. Baked Macaroni & Cheese Used the recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. Delicious and pretty healthy! (1/1/2012)
    12. Fresh Pasta
    13. Meatballs (yes! made turkey pesto meatballs with a bit of shredded zucchini in it, 12/15/12)
    14. Crab Cakes with Spicy Garlic Aioli
    15. Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (4/10/11, cheated a little on the cake but made the frosting from scratch!)
    16. Doughnuts  Made baked chocolate doughnuts with vanilla glaze and sprinkles. Nothing terribly fancy but they came out more like round brownies with holes than anything else. Next to try: apple cider doughnuts with cinnamon and sugar.
    17. Breaded Chicken Tenders (3/26/11 and it makes me want to be a vegetarian....I don't do raw meat well :)
    18. Muddy Buddies
    19. Chili (3/10/11 it was so delicious! I used a bunch of different recipes and also added in some quinoa which made it a much more thick chili.)
    20. A completely vegan meal (likely a recipe from Oh She Glows or Eat, Live, Run)
    21. Eggs Benedict (Hollandaise sauce and all; possibly with crab cakes ala Veritable Quandary in Portland)
    22. Homemade Pop Tarts
    23. Cheese Fondue
    24. Marshmallows (or this recipe)
    25. Veggie Spring Rolls with Peanut Sauce
    26. Phad Thai or Pad See Ew (4/10/11, used a mix of three different recipes and added some delicious tofu as my protein, turned out well!)
    27. Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing (inspired by i am baker) (Made for Christmas)
    28. Egg Rolls
    29. Homemade Peanut Butter Cups (made homemade pumpkin cups which are just about the same thing--calling this one good! 11/30/12)
    30. Pulled Pork Tacos 
    This took me days to actually think about! Some are ridiculously easy I just haven't gotten around to them. I don't particularly like cooking with large hunks of beef but I am very comfortable with pork products. The raw meal is something that just intrigues me to the point where I can't not do it. I'm happy that there seems to be an equal amount of savory and sweet. I have a notorious sweet tooth that I am trying to tame so at least some of these will allow me to make meals, have leftovers and get more comfortable in the kitchen. I linked several of the recipes from Eat, Live, Run because she makes things seem really easy and rarely ever uses fancy gadgets. My fancy gadgets are all in Oregon which is of little help here in Michigan.