Friday, January 27, 2012

Quotes of the Day: Mark Twain Edition

Hello, Mark Twain. I don't know much about you but I find you oddly fascinating.

“Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often”

“There are basically two types of people. People who accomplish things, and people who claim to have accomplished things. The first group is less crowded.”

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.”

“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

“Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.”

For Mark Twain's Guide to Living an Awesome Life: 7 Essential Tips, check out the!

Getting Dressed

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” --Mark Twain

To help cultivate my more professional wardrobe, tackle some trends that I have been hesitant to embrace, and also address my changing body (which I hope continues to change in a healthy, positive direction), I  have been buying a few pieces here and that that I believe I can wear well into the summer and also things that I can wear to interviews and the conference in March. Here are a few of the highlights:

I tried these boots on last Fall and fell in love with the fact that 1) they had great traction for the winter weather and 2) they fit my calves! They aren't exactly "feminine" in the traditional sense but I was desperately watching and waiting to see if they went on sale. Waiting...waiting...and once I had some money in my account I decided to just get them online. If you spent more than $50 at, you get free shipping. Okay, another pair of boots perhaps?

These were reviews as having a "vintage feel" and looked great with skirts so I decided to take the plunge. For both pairs, I was very, very apprehensive to not only spend the money but also if I would feel comfortable tackling the trend of boots with skirts and boots with skinny jeans. I always feel like I am playing dress up when I try to be chic; like if I had an older sister, I would be stealing these things out of her closet. Worst case scenario, I knew I could take them back. Bonus: I found a discount code online for $10 so really, two pairs of boots for $80 wasn't terribly shabby.

P.S. The black pants I am wearing are NOT leggings but instead skinny black jeans. What? Skinny jeans. They are oddly comfortable and I might be crazy and wear them with heels someday! I know, daredevil right here.

What do you think about embracing trends? Yay or nay?

Free Will Astrology: Nothing to Complain About

Aries Horoscope for week of January 26, 2012
Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
The coming week is likely to be abnormally free of worries and frustrations. I'm afraid that means you're not going to have as much right to complain as you usually do. Can you handle that? Or will you feel bereft when faced with the prospect of having so little to grumble about? Just in case, I've compiled a list of fake annoyances for you to draw on. 1. "My iPhone wont light my cigarette." 2. "The next tissue in my tissue box doesn't magically poke out when I take one." 3. "I want some ice cream, but I overstuffed myself at dinner." 4. "I saw a hipster wearing a shirt I donated to the Salvation Army and now I want it back." 5. "I ran out of bottled water and now I have to drink from the tap." 6. "My cat's Facebook profile gets more friend requests than me." 7. "I tried to spread cold butter on my toast and the bread ripped." 8. "I was really comfortable but I thought I could be really really comfortable so I adjusted and now I can't get back to my original level of comfort." 9. "When people tell me I should feel grateful for all I have instead of complaining all the time, I feel guilty."

Here's hoping! And my complaining in general is increasing...have to nip that in the bud!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Effects of Stress on the Mind & Body

At some point over the next few months I will have something ANYTHING else to talk about besides stress and graduate school. Until that happens, I wanted to tackle the topic of stress (or emotional) eating. Last semester, I maintained a very steady diet, exercised on a regular basis, and felt pretty relaxed. This semester, however, is jam packed with lists, projects, papers, several book reviews, scheduling, work, and balancing the delicate topic of finances. I have had SEVERAL weird things going on with me both mentally and physically because of the stress. Usually, I am a champ at this kind of thing but since I had no real idea that I was stressed until my body told me, I wasn't able to prepare; hence bad habits occurring more often than not.

I. Anxiety:
Noun: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.

II. Stress/Emotional Eating:
A coping mechanism for dealing with negative emotions. Instead of facing the causes of stress, anger, sadness or anxiety directly, you soothe or comfort yourself with food. (Source)

III. Insomnia:
Noun: Habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep.

Sounds like a healthy bunch of habits I have going, right? Well, what they NEED to be are:

I. Minimum seven hours of sleep. Minimum.
II. Organizing easy breakfasts, lunches, and dinner that I can "grab and go" for the long days at work and school. These should be vegetable, fruit, and protein heavy with a commitment to consuming fewer cards and less sodium and sugar.
III. Physical activity on a daily basis. This can be a walk during lunch, serious gym time, or yoga at home.  

The fact is that I am not valuing myself nor am I taking proper care of myself. I waste time online, eat food because I am stressed out or bored and absolutely not hungry, and I am always expecting the worst, especially at work. The other fact is that my new schedule has been in place for almost three weeks and it is time to say enough is enough. I am letting myself have this week to be PMS-ing and upset, and then get my sh*t together. Every month for the next three months I have significant things to look forward to so I really just need to get over the drama and get myself "straight." If I say it here, it must be true! (err...right?)

Articles about some of the issues above:
Stop Stress Eating-Food & Diet
Weight-loss help: Gain Control of Emotional Eating
Put a Stop to Your Anxiety with These 8 Simple Tips

Monday, January 23, 2012

Oy! And, it's the third week of the semester...

Dun, Dun, Duuuuuuuun.
I just ate my weight in rice krispy treats after going to the gym. Excellent plan? I think so...not.

I attempted to grow out my hair and hadn't cut it since October. Fixed that yesterday when I realized why I really need to either keep my hair short or get some serious extensions.

I just might be over the cold. I miss wearing skirts and being warm! We finally got a big snow fall last week and although I still think it is gorgeous, I can do without scrapping my car and praying that my car door opens.

In other news, I might be falling in love with my heater and a warm shower.

I head back to Portland in less than a month and everything feels like it is moving too fast. The trip isn't even close yet I feel like it has already gone by.

I have had to seriously work on my anxiety issues. I have one primary to-do list and the delight I feel in checking things off is a little TOO good.

I swear I have other cool things going on in my graduate student/single girl I made cinnamon muffins with apple honey butter filling and people loved them. See? Exciting!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Positivity Took a Break

FYI: I had a crappy, anxiety filled day. Blargh.

Woke up late.
Couldn't seem to get dressed. Tried on shirt after sweater after tank top and nothing worked.
Neighbor parked behind me so had to wake him up to move the car.
Pouring rain.
Late to work...late late.
Immediately given a student, papers, and project work on upon entering the office.
Cranky, cranky, cranky.

Decide that I desperately needed some fresh air and some coffee.
Solution? Run "errand" for work and get Starbucks. And marshmallow bar.

Feel better. Feel happy. Feeling the caffeine and sugar rush through my veins!

And....downhill from there. Anxiety. Meeting. Pressure. Hurry, hurry.
Cranky, cranky, cranky.

Time to work out some aggression.
Gym is packed, go run errands instead.
Listen to 30 Seconds to Mars at eardrum bursting volume.
Buy Rice Krispies, Peanut Butter Cheerios, and Doritos.
Eat Doritos on way to gym.

No parking and snowing outside. Decide to give up for the night.
Ate foot long veggie sandwich.
Watched a GOOD episode of Glee and Chopped.
Read magazine that came in the mail with the lovely Ms. Witherspoon on the cover.
Blissfully fall asleep in the fluffy goodness that is my bed.
Start another day.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Free Will Astrology: Evolution as a Spiritual Being

Aries Horoscope for week of January 12, 2012
Verticle Oracle card Aries (March 21-April 19)
The Sanskrit word tapasya is translated as "heat," but in the yogic tradition it means "essential energy." It refers to the practice of managing your life force so that it can be directed to the highest possible purposes, thereby furthering your evolution as a spiritual being. Do you have any techniques for accomplishing that -- either through yoga or any other techniques? This would be a good year to redouble your commitment to that work. In the coming months, the world will just keep increasing its output of trivial, energy-wasting temptations. You'll need to be pretty fierce if you want to continue the work of transforming yourself into the Aries you were born to be: focused, direct, energetic, and full of initiative.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

How About a Little Positivity?

The more I am online, tweeting (professional reasons to join, I swear!), updating Facebook statuses, and reading the news, I am overcome by how negative our world it. Let's put aside the fact that news is meant to be interesting and enticing so the more scary and horrible the story, the more people will read it; but also the incredible negativity about people online. People on blogs, journal communities and Facebook talk smack about other random people, celebrities or just people in general. It is like there is some sick satisfaction people get about putting others down. It is the epitome of grade school behavior.

In a world where you have to be online to "interact" (and boy do I use that term loosely) and stay current with what is going on, how do you avoid the negativity?

1) Only add or interact with people that choose to be positive or contribute positively to the world.
2) Understand that the internet is not a real reflection of people. Ever. It is heavily edited, photo shopped, and polished to make people feel however we want them to feel.
3) You can only control yourself and your actions.

I suppose it can become overwhelming sometimes.
We must remember that we build the world we live in and the more positivity we put out there, the more positivity we will get back in return.

In the meantime, things that make me smile...


Saturday, January 7, 2012

Reverb: Finishing December

27. What are 12 things your life doesn't need in 2012? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 12 things change your life?
In 2012, I don't need:
  1. Anyone from the past that can't contribute positively to my future. Gets easier with age.
  2. Not having a partner in crime (i.e. a mate, a buddy of the male persuasion). I plan to start socializing more and getting out there, especially once I move to my next location/career.
  3. Financial limitations. Sometimes my own fault, sometimes just a result of where I am right now with work/bills. I plan to budget a lot closer, build my savings up significantly, and realize that I don't "need" anything.
  4. Lack of confidence. Working out helps this immensely!
  5. Lack of physical activity. Seriously, get ass off couch! 
  6. Not taking care of myself. I have only come to realize lately that I need to buy the more expensive shampoo and nicer moisturizer because they make a difference. It is nice to see my skin improving and generally feeling better (see #4).
  7. Insomnia. It has become a problem the last few months and I need to figure out the best way to overcome it. 
  8. Sweet tooth. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I have been able to aim more towards crunchy snacks that are not necessarily unhealthy. 
  9. I need less of the internet. I am on it all the time with work but when I get home, I feel like I have to check Facebook, email, Google Reader, etc. I would love to be able to come home, watch a little television, make dinner, read, and go to bed. Nothing else. 
  10. Inside time. I am inside far too much and it bugs me. Enough said.

28. Inspiration: What are three things that have inspired you this year?
  1. All of those people that have struggled with their weight and did a complete turn around into an active, happy, and healthy person. 
  2. My friend, Amy. She is incredibly strong, smart, and always a girlie girl. I love that she is such an original who always stays true to herself.
  3. Glittery, sparkly things.

29. What was the theme of your life in 2011? Why? 
Inspiration.I am always inspired and excited by people and things around me. I am inspired by experiences that I am lucky enough to have. I am constantly inspired and motivated by life.

30. What do you want the theme to be for 2012? 
Main Entry:
hopeful [hohp-fuhl]
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: optimistic, expectant
Synonyms: anticipating, anticipative, assured, at ease, blithe, buoyant, calm, cheerful, comfortable, confident, content, eager, elated, emboldened, enthusiastic, expecting, faithful, forward-looking, high, hoping, inspirited, keeping the faith, lighthearted, looking forward to, reassured, rose-colored, rosy, sanguine, satisfied, serene, trustful, trusting, unflagging, upbeat

31. Donate blood. Save a life. 
Doing so next weekend! I always encourage everyone who can to donate blood. 

And that completes the Reverb project! I hope to have some more exciting posts coming up.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reverb: December & 2011, et al

23. Best moment of December
-In one of my classes, College Student Development, we were given the task of presenting our path of development and discovery through higher education. In this, we were to show everything, both good and bad, and include those that provided good company a long the way. It was such a personal project but I really committed to be honest and open about my experiences. I, along with many other friends, were surprised we made it this far! We have no idea how we managed to still be here, alive, and present and in freakin' grad school! The project really showed me how far I have come and how much I have to give to other students going through similar things or students who have yet to really discover themselves. 
-Girl's holiday get-together. It was my first little shindig at my apartment and it went very well. Oddly, we had a LOT of cheese items and then lots of candies for gingerbread houses. It was so much fun to just relax and hang out without having to worry about assignments or deadlines. 
-Visiting the Detroit Institute of the Arts with a dear friend, Avanti. She showed me Detroit, we made some art and saw some art, grabbed an amazing Greek dinner at Pegasus and grabbed treats from Astoria Bakery before the snow started to really pour. Such a wonderful night!

24. Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
-I can do anything I set my mind to. As corny as that sounds, it is so incredibly true. I just have to get out of my own way and forget my fears. 

25. What is one picture that best represents 2011 for you?

26. Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
I wonder what this year has in store for me! I am always up for anything and open to new experiences. 

Reverb: November

21. Best moment of November
 -Russell Brand! He provided a much needed break from life for both me and my friend. He was hilarious, charming, and kind of handsome! 

22. 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.

 This picture is only from last week but it has to be one of my favorites of the year. I am smiling, really happy, comfortable with who I am and just enjoying myself. This is at a drop-in art workshop at the Detroit Institute of Art (DIA). My friend, Avanti, is a Detroit native so she invited me to come out to these Friday night events that DIA has. The whole night was amazing, actually, but this picture shows some age but also some calm confidence.

Reverb: August, September, October

Smoothly making progress as we go...

15. Best moment(s) of August
-Accepted the position to co-teach a UNIV 101: Intro to the University course. Never thought in my life that I would be teaching undergraduates but I really enjoyed the experience and learned so much. 
-Got back into the swing of things at EMU and in my program. There were plenty of meetings and luncheons to attend which was great because I got to see all of my friends! 
-Started my internship at Keys to Degrees which was another great experience that I was able to learn from. 
-I got a big girl bed! Bought damn time.

16. 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 worked out at a great gym at UCF but wasn't fully committed as my resources to make my own food were limited. I did integrate exercise in my daily activities which really helped and I also was able to ween myself off sweets (except for a crazy summer Skittle addiction). Once I returned home, I was able to buckle down and really work on my eating habits. I dropped a good chunk of weight within the first few months just from monitoring my eating habits. As October ended and the holidays came, I joined Planet Fitness to help counteract the indulgences that I knew were coming. Since then, I have loved going to the gym and felt much more confident and present in my body. I no longer dread getting dressed in the morning and I enjoyed looking for clothes that show off my figure. It is still a strange feeling to have confidence and I have had many slip-ups over the past few weeks but I know that once I start working and school again, I will fall into a consistent schedule. 
-I also had a position where I spoke in front of hundreds of people on a daily basis. I never, ever thought I would get comfortable doing that but within a few weeks, I was able to feel more comfortable speaking on the microphone, helping keep the crowd together, and make students and parents feel confident of their choice for the future. It was so great to feel that kind of confidence growing in my. It was surreal.

17. Best moment of September
-While I don't remember anything astounding and amazing, I genuinely enjoyed getting back into my work and school and seeing the progress I have made in my program. I also believe that there were one or two nights at Tower Inn which were quite enjoyable! 

18. Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
-I laughed at this question because I had to "let go" of myself a bit this year! The beginning of the year left me down and in a bad place but I knew I need a drastic smack in the face. Hello, Florida. I promised myself that I would embrace everything during the summer and go completely outside of my comfort zone. Except for a unsuccessful challenge course expedition, I did just that. I explored and embraced and enjoyed myself immensely! And I came back to Michigan completely rejuvenated and positive. 
-I had someone in my life that has literally been like a habit, an addiction. Not sure why I still let them in but I always do...did. I realized that damn, I am so much better than that person and so much better than the person I used to be! I have confidence and so much ahead of me that it is pointless and pathetic for me to continue to care about someone that doesn't care for me and shows it pretty blatantly. I came to a point this year that I was just done. And, that's it! End of our story.

19. Best moment(s) of October
-Huge physical and personal goal of mine: Completed the Detroit Free Press Marathon 5K! It was my first real "race" and I did it by myself. It felt amazing. I can't wait to do many more this year. 
-Raised money for the Michigan Humane Society by walking in the Mega March for Animals. Thanks to some very generous people, I raised over $250. Bonus: I got to be around puppies for the entire walk and I may have turned into a 3 year old saying "Puppy!" every five seconds. 
-Connecting with one of my favorite people that I have met in Michigan. She isn't in the program anymore but we have dinner every few months to catch up. I wasn't able to make it to her wedding but I was there in spirit (and text).

20. Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2011? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2012?
-I have discovered a community in higher education that spans institutions and states. I have felt more integrated into the professional community as I make connections and am networking with other professionals and mentors. I have a been privy to many wonderful people who have given me advice, support, and guidance. In 2012, I will attending a conference and interviewing (well, I hope) for future positions so all that advice, support, and mentoring will be very handy! 
-Wherever I end up in the future, I plan to become very integrated in the institution and the community. I hope to make great connections both professionally and personally.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Reverb: Summing Up

Oh hey, 31 days of December Reverb project! Thought I would revisit you. You're welcome. Here are the highlights...

11. Best moment of June. 
-I got contacts, which was kind of fun. It felt "normal" to be able to see and do things without glasses on. 
-Explored Winter Park and Rollins College. Took an amazing boat ride through the canals.

12. Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?
-The friendships I made in Florida were very different from those that I currently have. The people I worked with were, for the most part, 18-21 years old and had a really great approach to life. My life during the age of 18-21 was not a positive or a typical experience. It was nice to be around people who had a lot of energy, were passionate about what they are doing, and so willing to love and be supportive of each other. It really is wonderful to get new perspectives! 

13. Best moment of July
-Indie trip to Miami Beach! That was pretty epic and I can't lie, a highlight of the trip was the amazing hotel bed! I got to explore a place I never thought I would have gone and really enjoy myself without too much worry of cost or schedule. 
-Tampa Bay Rays vs. Boston Red Sox game. Not the most exciting game BUT great company! 
-Helicopter ride. Lovely and I can't wait to do it again. 

14. Love. What does this word mean to you?
-Love isn't something or someone but instead an action. You can love out loud, love hard, love freely, and it makes you a better person.