Speaks to Me

I’ve mentioned before that I am a big fan of Pinterest. Every time I visit the site, I always find a few interesting pins. I pin things related to a lot of different subjects, but one of my favorites are quotes. There are so many great quotes out there, from the Bible, noted thinkers, authors and regular people. Sometimes, when I’m feeling drained or down about something, I will scroll through my board, and I can honestly say that it helps lift my mood. Here are a few of my favorites.

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I love this one. I was taught to always say hello to people you encounter and smile, and it can be jarring when someone doesn’t return the gesture, but I’d much rather be the friendly person than the rude one. One day I’ll have to share how being this way helped me land my current job.

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Amen. Some of us struggle with knowing all of the good things we deserve. Luckily there is someone watching out that certainly does.

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I think we’ve all been guilty of this, waiting for one or two things to change, lose weight, move to a new place, meet the right guy, and then things will be better. But, looking at it that way makes you miss out on the beauty of right now, of every day.

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Powerful perspective, and is true for people of all sorts of situations and status.

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An important reminder that we are in charge of our own happiness, or misery, and we have a choice in the type of life we live. This goes along with another quote whose essence is to be the star of your own life. Own it.

Are there any quotes that speak to you or give you perspective?

Work It

It may have taken me about 11 years of trying different things, but I have finally found a workout routine that I can stick with, and in the process, checked off number five on my 30 Before 30 list. If I had to describe what I do, I would say that I just live a generally active lifestyle, because I do a little bit of everything. I’m not a Bar Method devotee or a runner, I just try to mix it up and do what I can when I can.

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I have a gym membership, where I usually do cardio and weights and the occasional class. I have a coworker who is a former NFL strength coach, so I meet him at Red Rocks 2-3 times per week for intense stair/sprint/bodyweight training. On the weekends, my mom and I walk when we catch-up, usually one or both days. The days we walk, I will also go to a class or do cardio, but since we’re socializing, it doesn’t feel as painful as two-a-days usually do. Lastly, I love finding Groupon deals for fun workouts that last a month or so to supplement what I already do. I just finished a Pilates equipment deal and last week I bought a deal for Orange Theory at the recommendation of another co-worker, which I’m going to start the first week of July.

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Here is what the last week looked like for me, which is pretty typical:

Tuesday: 1.5 hour brisk walk in my neighborhood

Wednesday: Gym- 40 minutes of cardio, 20 minutes of weights

Thursday: Red Rocks with Coach

Friday: OFF

Saturday: Gym- Pilates sculpt class, 1.5 hour brisk walk in my parents’ neighborhood

Sunday: Red Rocks with Coach, 1.25 hour brisk walk in Washington Park

Monday: 1.5 hour brisk walk in my neighborhood, 20 minutes of swimming

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Pretty views at Red Rocks help when you’re about to collapse

There is a lot of variety there, which I know would drive some people crazy, but I like always having something different to do and needing to have a schedule to keep me straight on what I’m supposed to be doing. The best part about my routine is that it’s very sustainable. I could see myself keeping this routine for years, and if I get burned out on one thing, I’m not back at square one, I just have to find something to replace one activity.

It really is all about making being fit a lifestyle, and not just something you do before a big trip (which is what I always used to do). It took me months to get into this groove, which began in November when I joined my gym, and has been tweaked in the months since. I will continue to post follow-ups about things that change, but overall, I will continue to just be active.

City Living

Ever since I was little, I have always dreamed of living in a big city. According to my parents, I actually had this dream before most people even think about what they want their life to look like, back in early elementary school.

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Both my parents grew up near big cities, my dad in a Chicago suburb, and my mom in a tiny town 2 hours away from New York City. My dad’s favorite childhood memories involved taking the train to downtown Chicago to go to museums, see a baseball game or just walk around. For my mom, every big event in her life coincided with a trip to ‘The City,’ as she and her siblings call it. They would drive into Manhattan to shop for prom dresses, see shows, visit friends and try great restaurants.

Since I’ve had the opportunity to visit both cities with them numerous times, and see the cities through their eyes, both places have become quite special to me, which led to me eventually wanting to live in one. I had always planned to attend college and then live in NYC after graduation.

As I got older, I’ve still loved visiting various cities. Spending a few days walking, instead of driving, turning corners and finding new areas to explore and soaking in the general hustle and bustle.

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Recently, however, I’ve gotten a bit of a reality check.

I’ve realized just how much I like decompressing in my car after a stressful workday, and couldn’t imagine having to cram on a subway or walk blocks and blocks in heels in the cold. I’ve noticed how much I like the space of living in Colorado, and, though I now live in a neighborhood, my old apartment had a field out the window with nothing for miles. Not to mention the indoor space I have for a fraction of what even being comfortable would cost me in NYC.

There are certain things that I suppose I will miss out on, but as more and more of my friends are leaving or planning to leave the cities they moved to in the last few years, I’m realizing that high-rise, carless living must be as exhausting as I imagine.

All of these realizations have only upped my respect and admiration for those who do have what it takes to happily make one of these cities home, but it’s safe to say that I will get my fill of city life by visiting, frequently.

26

My 26th year was my most pivotal yet. And not in the way that people say that each year was more than the last, but in the way that it was the most pivotal ever, by a long shot.

My relationships have vastly changed since last August. I went from being in a very serious 7 year relationship to being single. It’s been an adventure, but I’ve learned more about myself that I thought possible. And I’ve never felt stronger than when I made that decision to choose my happiness, not what was easiest. Unfortunately, a distance has come between my two best friends and myself, which is something I’ve struggled with the last few months. We’re at different places in our lives, with different priorities, but it’s still been very difficult. Thankfully, at the same time, I’ve rekindled old friendships and started new ones  with some awesome ladies who are constantly reminding me not to sell myself short in any type of relationship, and share a lot of the same values as me.

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I spent a lot of time focusing on those closest to me, my family, and made trips all across the country to spend time with them, and was fortunate to have many visitors as well. I’ll never be able to understand how I was blessed with so many amazing people to call my fam.

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I also learned a great deal about making tough decisions and dealing with the consequences. Saying goodbye to Lily was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I picked her up at 8 weeks, took her out to the bathroom in the middle of the night (multiple times per night), got Pepto BIsmal pink all over myself, her and the kitchen floor when she was sick, took her to the vet and loved her with all my heart. All of these were parts of puppy ownership that I struggled through, at times by myself. I still miss her every day, but am proud of how I’ve not dwelled on the unfairness of it all.

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I’ve learned something about my own level of self respect, and what I will and won’t take from another person. Knowing when to say enough is enough is important and something that will help me in many situations in the years to come.

For my future, I also made some big decisions. I bought an awesome house that will be a great spot for entertaining and living the next few years of my life. I also committed to working 3 nights at my second job, ensuring that I can live the lifestyle I want to live, despite my public school salary. And I’ve embraced the belief that experiences are more important than possessions and made an effort to focus my time on seeing and doing as much as possible.

Armed with this year’s experiences and lessons, I see myself being even stronger and more secure as I turn 27. And I’m excited to celebrate today how much I’ve grown up.

Fairness

This is a topic I could write about endlessly. After all, life is unfair. But today in my work inbox I had a very pertinent email from Seth Godin, a marketing expert who always shares interesting tidbits about life and career. This especially spoke to me today, and I thought I would share.

On teaching people a lesson

You’re actually not teaching them a lesson, because the people who most need to learn a lesson haven’t, and won’t. What you’re actually doing is diverting yourself from your path as well as ruining your day in a quixotic quest for fairness, fairness you’re unlikely to find.

Sure, you can shut someone down, excoriate them, sue them or refuse to let them win, but odds are they’re just going to go try their game on someone else.

When you fire a customer and politely ask them to move on, you are withdrawing yourself from their trollish dance. When, instead, you focus on the good student, the worthwhile investor, the delighted vendor, you improve things for both of you. The sooner you get back to work (your work), the sooner you can move toward your best outcome, which is achieving what you set out to achieve in the first place.

The real tragedy of the person who dumps on you is that you pay twice. The second time is when you get bent out of shape trying to get even.

To subscribe to Seth’s blog, which I highly recommend, go here.

The Boston Marathon Tragedy

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We keep having these tragedies. These awful, terrible occurrences that stop everyone in their tracks, scare us and make us reconsider everything.

This one hit especially close to home for me. Not just because someone I was very close to was there, and not just because I would have been there myself, like right there, were it not for recent occurrences, but because of the unique circumstances surrounding this event. Unlike the September 11th attacks, which were terrifying because they occurred on a normal day when people were in their routine of going to work and school and it was so unexpected; this tragedy was especially sad because of the extraordinary circumstances.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in Boston for six Boston Marathon’s and Patriot’s Days. And it is always a wonderful and special day there. Throughout the city, residents and visitors take their children to the baseball game, to local museums and walk along the water enjoying the holiday that is unique to their state. On Boylston St., spectators line the sidewalks to watch their loved ones or strangers cross the finish line, and the entire city just feels good and happy. It’s an event that represents, in my opinion, some of the best human qualities: determination, training, dedication and going after a goal that for many of us would be nearly impossible. Just being around this energy makes you feel motivated and excited about life’s possibilities, or at least it always did for me. The atmosphere at the finish line is truly intoxicating. So, to hear that such a catastrophic event happened there, when people are tracking their runners on their phone, checking each passing face to see if it’s the person they are there for, and mentally planning how to best celebrate the accomplishment, is so heartbreaking.

Of course, I speak from the perspective of a spectator, which is what I was for the years I was there. I can only imagine how violated and unsure a Boston Marathon veteran who has participated in the marathon and been a part of the exuberance I’ve witnessed feels.

I hope that all of those of us who were so struck by this event and who still have it at the forefront of our thoughts days later, can use it as a wakeup call to live every day with purpose and importance and to cherish every moment.

Runners

2012 finishers

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Crowd in 2011

Finish Line

2011 finish line

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Church in 2009

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With my friend Kelsey, who went to school in Boston, in 2010

You can see my posts about my trips to Boston here and here. (I can’t believe I didn’t blog more about my visits.)

Keeping Quiet

Are you a political person? I am.

I grew up in a very politically active and current event minded family, and was so interested in all of it that I even made it my major in college and worked in politics after graduation. And then circa 2009, I got sick of it. Between the campaigns I worked for, and the completely stereotypical stuff that went on behind the scenes, to some of the precarious circumstances I found myself in via social media, I was completely burned out and really stepped back. I still had strong views and opinions of course, but I stopped reading political blogs and checking the politics section of news websites and tried to disconnect as much as possible.

Recently, however, I broke my ban and got more involved on Twitter, reading polls and news and even considered volunteering on the weekends. And then it happened again.

See, I love to debate. I know what I stand for and why, and have always enjoyed talking politics with other people, mostly with friends who have differing views but like to respectfully discuss things. But, with the anonymity of social media entering the discourse, things have changed. Sometimes I’ve made trouble for myself by tweeting someone who says something ridiculous, and of course that’s going to brew trouble. But more often, I will comment on something I agree with, posted by someone who shares my views, and then I will be attacked by someone who is trolling and literally just seeking an argument. During the 2008 election, one person on Facebook, whose name I will never forget, told me that she hoped I died, that I was a dumb b**** who deserved a slow, slow death and that she was going to find me when she came to LA, all because I posted in a like minded forum that I agreed with what one candidate was saying about an issue.

And it recently happened again, but not on quite the same scale, because of some some tweets I posted on Twitter. Just because someone disagreed with me, I was called ignorant, told I needed to learn how to process information and even unkindly warned that I could be raped because I’m “pretty.” I got a sick feeling in my stomach, knowing that this was largely my own fault. Civil political discourse doesn’t exist anymore, at least not in the media– real or social. And avoiding it is just what makes the most sense.

Maybe I’ll do what Elle does and only discuss issues (almost) everyone can agree on

So, here I am giving the political talk embargo another try. On Twitter, I unfollowed almost every person who focuses on politics, and am going to make an effort to just stay out of things. I also sent a tweet to this girl asking for a truce and semi-apologizing, and she responded that insults are her specialty and basically told me to take a hike. Oh well, at least I tried the high road. It’s truly a shame we’ve reached a point where it’s easier to keep our mouths shut and become uninformed just to avoid being called uninformed, or worse.

** I realize that all sides have individuals who partake in this sort of behavior, and my intention isn’t to generalize that everyone is this way, though unfortunately there are a lot who are.

Busy Bee

Have you seen this article from the New York Times? It was published over a week ago, but has recently caught on with my family and friends. When I first started reading it, I got really offended and thought I was the exact type of person the author is chastising. If you read this blog frequently, you know that I love a fresh to-do list full of projects and tasks to complete. But after reading the article more closely, I see that I’m not at all the type of person the author is referring to.

Rather than discussing people who enjoy having tasks and feel productive when they complete them, he calls out those people who relish being super busy for the sake of being super busy, the people who love to tell other people how busy they are in order to look important. I think we all know this type of person, in college they always had an excuse of why they couldn’t enjoy a fun night out, and as working professionals they have client dinners and weekend travel and are always turning down plans.

It seems the author and I agree on a lot of things. The reason I love my to-do lists and completing them is because it gives me license to do absolutely nothing later and not feel guilty. His idea of the perfect workday, working for 4-5 hours, exercising and then relaxing either with friends or alone, sounds pretty great to me.

I know that with our culture thriving on being busy, and instilling this in children at younger and younger ages, the trend is only going to become more commonplace. But hopefully people will have keep perspective on the things that matter, and only be busy when they need to be, not for the sake of being busy.

What’s your take on our busy bee culture?

(Sidenote: love the template below!)

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5 Days

Things have been pretty crazy around here. After interviewing twice the week before Memorial Day, the Tuesday following the holiday I was offered a full-time job! I have been job searching for a while, and I’m so glad to not just have a “real” job, but to have gotten this particular position. I started this past Monday, and am really enjoying it!

Of course, that means I had very limited time to accomplish a lot of things I thought I would get to during my “underemployment,” such as organizing our closet and clearing the guest room of clutter. As we  know, however, I am a big list person, and I love having a time frame on things. So, I made a list of everything I wanted to do in the 5 days I had before starting.

Some things were easy, like hanging out with Lily, while others were quite difficult and time consuming. As a person who hates getting rid of things, I tried to really go through everything as I organized, and set aside for Goodwill things I no longer like or need. Consequently, this had led to me making progress toward checking some things off another list, my 30 Before 30 list.

After going through my closet, my dresser drawers and the guest closet, I found 22 things to give away. It’s a start!