Wednesday, November 30, 2011


I was going through last year's Reverb project and realizing all the things and events that have happened in just one year! It is overwhelming to even think about everything but reflection is a super important process of realizing how far you have come and also looking towards the future.

In this particular post, I talked about all the things I wanted to accomplish this year. Let's see some progress, shall we?

  •  Travel. Travel more and often. The road trip this year only whet my appetite. Well, I went to Florida so I consider this pretty successful!
  • 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).  Gah. I have improved my flossing habits but still not terrific about it...
  •  Get two amazing internships. Absolutely done PLUS a teaching gig to boot.
  • Yoga five days per week. I slightly laughed at this one but I did purchase some awesome Groupon deals for yoga classes and purchased a great yoga mat that I have been using consistently the past few weeks. I'll get there.
  • Buy a proper bed.  Who would have know that I would actually do this?! I also made it extra cushy with a mattress pad, fleece blanket, and new duvet cover in deep purple.
  • Drink at least 4-5 glasses of water a day (super hard for me). Trying but also tracking on really helps.
  • 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. I haven't sought out making vegan meals but I don't eat a lot of meat in general. I hope to be a little more adventurous this next year.
  • Have a great 30th birthday. Did that! Had a great dinner with good friends and did a little adventuring around Ann Arbor for free things.
  • Take daily vitamins. I started taking calcium supplements since that was the main nutrient I was worried about and they taste freakin' delicious in gummy form.
  •  Develop a wardrobe where in I can reach in, grab two or three pieces, and have an outfit. What I didn't realize in the beginning was that I had a closet like that but my body was the problem. Now that I have been losing a little bit of weight, the closet is much more forgiving and easy to manipulate.
  • Quite picking at my face. Much, much better.
  • Read 6 non-school books. If I would have kept count, I probably killed this one. I read quite a few over the summer during my internship and finished two this semester. Booya.

I'll definitely make up some new goals for the year ahead and there will be a lot of changes and I can honestly say I have no idea where I will be at this time next year. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

What a Difference a Year Makes

Just for shits & giggles.

Last July 2010...

This July 2011...

Full body shots. Little harder to see the difference but it is there...
May 2010, Vancouver, WA
March 2011, Conference in Ann Arbor
June 2011, UCF, Florida
August 2011, EMU
October 2011, EMU
Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful: The Really Little Things

I had such a lovely Thanksgiving. I spent it on my own despite wonderful invitations elsewhere but that meant I could do things like I wanted. I ate a mini chocolate cream pie at 5pm then had dinner around 8:30pm. I think that is totally reasonable!

First wonderful surprise of the day: My cable provider is having a free preview weekend (er, I think) which allows me to see all the fancy channels! If I would have known this, I wouldn't have slept in and missed most of the "Buffy" marathon! I have now watched several wonderful episodes of my dearly, dearly missed "Sex and the City" and several great movies have been recorded. Yay!

Second wonderful surprise of the day: I decided to brave the ridiculous pre-Black Friday crowds at WalMart all in the name of getting the fourth season of "The Big Bang Theory" on sale for only $10. I searched the DVDs in the grocery area and the electronics and found nothing...I was bummed. I did a second go around and hidden on the bottom shelf I found the last copy of it! I was so excited even the lady next to me could tell I got what I wanted. I perused the store with a smile on my face and grabbed some little holiday things and then made my way to the long line for the registers. I was able to skip ahead of those with several televisions and when the checker rang me up apparently I wasn't paying attention and my DVD only rang up as $5! Seriously, $5! I couldn't believe it. I was so freakin' excited! It made the wait totally worth it.

Third less exciting surprise but still kind of cool: I think I am kicking my sweet tooth's ass! Even though I had the chocolate pie before dinner today, the amount of sweets I have been eating are pretty minimal. Now when I crave sweets, they are very specific things like hot chocolate or a sugar cookie. Thank goodness! It's those baby steps that result in great success.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


As Thanksgiving is happening this week, I thought I would follow suit and list 24 things I am incredibly thankful for.

24. Hugs.
23. Sitting at Barnes & Noble, drinking a big ol' cup of coffee, reading tabloid magazines
22. Pinterest. Is it weird that this is on my thankful list?
21. Frozen yogurt shops. I miss them dearly.
20. Going to the movies during the week and having the whole theater to yourself.
19. Turkey, cranberry, and cream cheese sandwiches. Seriously, delicious.
18. Thrift stores. I don't know how I would build my closet or develop my interior design scheme without them.
17. Pizza. It is the best food ever!
16. The perfect pair of jeans. Rare.
15. The colors green, purple, orange, teal, and midnight blue.
14. Coffee. Whether it be plain coffee or seasonal flavorings, it is wonderful.
13. Airplanes. They make traveling so chic, fun, and exciting. Yes, I love the airports, too!
12. Non-profit organizations.
11. Animal rescue organizations.
10. Google. It is how I know anything and everything.
9. Sunny skies.
8. Amazing resource that has kept me steady and healthy.
7. Planned Parenthood. When you don't have health insurance, they are always there.
6. The physical ability to be healthy if I decide to be.
5. Puppies & kittens.
4. The ability to receive an education, especially my master's degree. Thank you, government, for the student loans and thank you, EMU, for my graduate assistantship that helps me take out fewer loans.
3. My apartment which includes my bed, kitchen, couch, heater, shower, and tremendous closet space.
2. The ability to be independent.
1. Support from people along this long, windy, twisted journey I have taken.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Truths & Normality

I just have to say how nice it is to feel like a "normal" person today. After working my two jobs, I took a lovely nap and then went out with people in my program. It was so nice to have great conversation, have several drinks (apparently I have reverted back to a SUPER lightweight) and just enjoy their company. This is what I need to feel normal in addition to the satisfaction of what I do. I cannot wait to start the next stage of my life where I make connections with the people I work with, the school I work for, and the community that I live in.

April can't come fast enough.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Venting....One Moment Please....

These are the emails that people of this generation are turning out:

"It want let me register for XXX"

 "Hello Professor,
  My name is XXX and im in your english 120 class. Please excuse my absent because i have the stomach flu it last for 2 to 3 days and its contagious so i have no choice but to miss class"
(P.S. I don't teach English 120)

 "hello i am having trubble geting my classes set for i was wondering if you could email me step by step. thats so much."

On one hand, I feel cruel because these students are just beginning college and need to learn the ropes.
On the other hand, they can't put together proper emails or spell.
This is a  small example of the emails I get on a daily basis. 
I really just don't get it.
I'm thankful that I grew up in the '90s.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Good Deal.

I almost kind of love the fact that you can get your receipt emailed to you from Old Navy. I wanted to show y'all what a great deal I got the other day. I had a coupon AND strictly shopped the deals and clearance rack (as always).

             Old Navy - 6197
          3533 WASHTENAW AVE.
          ANN ARBOR, MI  48108
           TEL (734) 677-3269
11/05/2011                    1:22:09 PM

LS UV-Long sleeve vneck       3.50 T
  066740  0003         1 @ 12.50
  Item Markdown Amt.      -7.50
  W $5.00 LS UV
  Item Discount 30%       -1.50
  281 - 30% off your purchase

FRT WLT DRS-Stretch capris    6.64 T
  067695  1202          1 @ 9.49
  Item Discount 30%       -2.85
  281 - 30% off your purchase

SS RFFL HNLY-Ruffled henley   2.78 T
  067058  0003          1 @ 3.97
  Item Discount 30%       -1.19
  281 - 30% off your purchase

You Saved       13.04

Subtotal                       12.92
  T1 Taxable Amount        12.92  
  T1 (6.0000%) Tax          0.78  
Total Tax                       0.78
Total                          13.70
Total Tender                   13.70
Change Due                      0.00

Considering I shouldn't be buying clothes at all, I figured that a few extra layering items plus some cute black stretch capris that I can pair with heels or boots were worth it (I swear they are cuter than the ones below).
Now, I just need some boots!

Friday, November 11, 2011

No good, very bad day.

A minute to vent, please?

I have been incredibly exhausted the last few weeks and although this week I made the effort to get to bed earlier, I feel no different.


This morning I left the house at 7 am to get to my 8 am eye appointment. Great news is that I am all healed and my eyes look good but the bad news is that I can only wear my contacts for eight hours at a time. Neither of my previous optometrists told me this news and I know it isn't a big deal but when my days are 12-14 hours long, contacts don't seem so fun anymore.

After getting through paying the specialist ($$), I got home in plenty of time to take a short nap and get to a meeting that I have every Friday from 10-12pm. I parked in front of my place and soon decided I need a much, much longer nap. No big deal to miss meeting but while I was napping I got a very expensive ($$) parking ticket. My thought is that if I would have been a responsible adult and gone to my meeting, said ticket never would have happen. I am contesting it but still...

Get to work finally and forgot my lunch AND feel generally horrible. The plan is to workout tonight to counter act my mood and my indulgence in a delicious (and fatty) McD's breakfast sandwich from this morning.

Ugh. Crappy day.
Moving on...
November resolutions:
(can you believe it is the 11th?)

1. Workout at minimum three days per week alternating focus on upper body, lower body, core, and cardio.
2. Get to bed before 11pm Sunday through Thursday.
3. Attend two yoga classes (Groupon).
4. No more eating out with the exception of a beer celebration next Thursday.
5. Sell clothes that are too big.

Those are all very reasonable goals for myself and I have a huge growing list of things to get done on my Gmail, fridge, and planner. Yes, I have to-do lists's what I do.

Other things that I also do are make the best of a dwindling food supply (now I just sound pathetic, right?). I actually do pretty well on little and I just have to get creative. I have been loving oatmeal every morning for breakfast, frozen chili from two weeks ago for lunch, and goat cheese and crackers for dinner.

11/11/11. Make a wish! 
And Happy Veteran's Day to all the amazing service men & women and their families for everything they do!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

There is Always a Bright Side

Despite my rant earlier this week about the holidays, I am bound and determined to make it more about the spirit of the holiday than any sort of gifts or money. I am looking into volunteer work but also want to do some little things that make me feel the holiday spirit.

1) I will be walking/running some sort of Turkey Trot. This has yet to be determined if it is in Ann Arbor or Detroit but have to see if the race fee fits into the budget.

2) Gave blood last week. Next time to give: 12/31/2011. I am very appreciative of the fact that I give blood fairly easily (I'm a quick "pumper"...TWSS) and there is a donation center right down the street. I highly, highly encourage everyone who is able to donate to do so. It is something that is free, easy, quick, and can potentially save someone else's life. There are also donation events that are geared specifically towards soldiers/veterans and children.

3) My Christmas cards this year are a beautiful design from UNICEF. The cost of the cards are more than I normally spend but with a 30% discount at Barnes & Noble and donation to a good cause, I couldn't resist. While I was buying my cards, I also donated a book to the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital for only $3.99. It truly doesn't take much.

4) I was enjoying my ritual of going to B&N, ordering coffee, and reading magazines and I stumbled upon "Oprah" Magazine's list of low cost ways to donate to charities. I wrote my favorite/most budget-friendly down on a napkin: 
For as little as $7, you can give an animal immunizations, food, and personal items to help them feel more comfortable in their surroundings. 
For only 50 cents, you can donate one book to a child in Africa. Think of what $5 could do! 
This non profit was started by two teenagers to connect those stationed overseas to their families back home. You can donate used cell phones as well as money. $4 for one calling card to a soldier.
Create Now serves vulnerable kids ages 2-25 who have been abused, neglected, abandoned, orphaned, are left homeless, runaways, teen parents, substance abusers, victims of domestic violence, children of prisoners, gang members or incarcerated.They teach the kids how to express themselves in a positive way and your donation can help with supplies and events.
 For $3, you can supply a child with drumsticks to rock out with! The minimum donation is $10 which could give a lot of kids their chance to rock out and follow their dreams.
MSF is an international medical humanitarian organization working in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. Your donation can help with supplies needed to administer vaccines, medicine, and vitamins.

5) Volunteering locally. My internship site became a referral agency for a local organization called Warm the Child. They give $90 to low income households that will help in buying winter clothing and gear for children. A volunteer takes the family to Target and will help them get the appropriate jackets, pants, shoes, and accessories for children to help with cold winter months. They are looking for volunteers to take the families shopping and I might try and help with their organization.

As you gear up for the holiday season, please consider either donating some of your hard earned money, giving the gift of life with a blood donation, or even spending some time volunteering with a local non-profit. The joy you will feel will last year round.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Holiday Bum

Now that the holidays have officially kicked off, I am filled with happiness in the spirit but also some serious bummed-ness. This is absolutely my favorite time but also my least favorite time of the year.

Each year I have great expectations of how I would like the holidays to go. I love spending money on friends and family, buying them everything that I want to, and also donating to charities who really need it. Instead, what usually happens is that I squeeze out every last dollar and cent in my slim budget to buy/make things for friends. I can't help but buy/make some things every year even though they may not be what I want. I suppose I have an ideal vision of what I want my holidays to be like.

(More rambling ahead....)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Free Will Astrology: The Tipping Point

Aries Horoscope for week of November 3, 2011
Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
Here's Malcolm Gladwell, writing in The Tipping Point: "We need to prepare ourselves for the possibility that sometimes big changes follow from small events, and that sometimes these changes can happen quickly . . . Look at the world around you. It may seem an immovable, implacable place. It is not. With the slightest push -- in just the right place -- it can be tipped." You are now within shouting distance of your own personal tipping point, Aries. Follow your gut wisdom as you decide where to give a firm little push.

I invite you to keep a running list of all the ways life delights you and helps you and energizes you. Describe everyday miracles you take for granted . . . the uncanny powers you possess . . . the small joys that occur so routinely you forget how much they mean to you . . . the steady flow of benefits bestowed on you by people you know and don't know.