Bring it 2012!

Posted on December 29, 2011. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Where did 2011 go?! There are only a handful of hours left in the year and I don’t even remember if I made any resolutions that I have neglected – gah! I have decided that I am going to ‘pen’ (or blog) my 2012 resolutions to better help hold myself accountable, but before I can think about what I want to accomplish in the upcoming year let me take a moment to reflect on where I’ve been in 2011.

2011 year in review…
Overall 2011 seemed to treat me pretty well. I was able to finally get married to the absolute best man in the world, and it was a beautiful day. It was absolutely lovely and I could not have asked for more from that! The wedding is definitely falling into the wonderful category of things that 2011 gave me. I was able to attend a few management courses that really opened my eyes up to how young I am and how much I have the ability to achieve. It has definitely made me want to take the bull by the horns in 2012 and start doing things for me instead of everyone else. That is a powerful feeling.

2011 wasn’t all rainbows and happiness though. There was a lot of unnecessary drama and strife that did not need to be a part of my year. Having survived the year I can really reflect and say that wow, I have learned a lot! Life has a funny way of really pushing you to limits you didn’t realize you had. I am a strong woman, and every time something pushes me a bit further I realize just how much stronger I am – that is a powerful feeling people!

Having all of this, mostly, behind me I want to make sure that 2012 is one for the record books in a great way. I want to set out some initial resolutions and goals to help me stay on a good track this year. Here goes for my resolutions…

2012 Resolutions

Be a healthier me. I do my best to work out and eat healthy when I can, what I want to start doing is making this more of a priority. If you need an excuse to get out of working out, give me a call – I could easily rattle at least 20 excuses off of the top of my head. In 2012 I want to try to make working out part of my everyday, or most days, routine. Really focus in on getting some cardio, doing my pilates and trying new things. I love doing BodyPump (by Les Mills) but I want to expand, try some yoga at a yoga studio and work some dance into my weekly routine. I really believe that keeping your workouts fresh helps you stay engaged in them, and that is the path I want to set out on in 2012. As for eating, I am very good with portion size, so I just need to keep that up, but where I could use some work is planning my meals out in advance. I get into ruts where I feel busy and choose working out over cooking and then come home to chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. I really enjoy cooking, it is just so much fun to me (I even have a blog of my cooking adventures: http://creativecrops.wordpress.com) and I know that there are ways I can cook good, hearty meals in a small amount of time. I just need to reframe my thinking – the 1/2 hour I spend watching The New Girl is 1/2 hour I could spend whipping up a better meal than chicken nuggets…

Carve Out More Time for Myself. I have been told that I am a giving person, and that is such a wonderful compliment. I love giving – whether it be gifts, my time or money I enjoy helping where I can. Helping others too often sometimes leaves me stressed out and wishing I could be doing other things which builds up such resentment. I need to learn how to better carve out some quiet time for myself and activities I enjoy doing and I need to do them. I joined a book club so I want to make sure that I keep up with that in the New Year. It is something I like and it is a group of women that I do not normally socialize with so it is refreshing every month when we meet. I think being able to learn how to better say ‘No’ without guilt will allow me to improve myself overall. I think I could even squeeze in some cooking classes and dance classes to help with my resolution above, which is extra positive!

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff. A hobby of mine is worrying. I’m not sure how I fell into this rut, or why, maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child and live the farthest away from my folks but I’m here. I have started making great strides this year in not sweating the really small stuff. One huge victory – on my wedding day our limo ran out of gas, I took a deep breath and just laughed it off. I decided the Monday after the wedding I would be able to deal with that dilemma but on our big day it was definitely not the stress we needed, and that was definitely a HUGE improvement on my ‘normal’ behavior. This is something I want to keep working on. If there is nothing I can do to change it then I just need to stick it to the wall and walk away; just time to let it go. I think I can definitely accomplish this. The small changes I have made so far in just letting things go have made a good difference, and one that a few folks have complimented me on. It’s nice to have people note that you are able to let certain things go and have a good outlook. I am still always going to be a NJ girl so I’ll still always be the first to stick up for the underdog and myself and not let bigger things go, but the small things – just chalk them up to life and move on. I can do this!

Start Journaling. I have become very good at making books, I bind them and fix them up all beautiful and then I give them away. In keeping with doing things for myself, I’m going to make a book or two just for me, and it will be fab! I think journaling is a great way to let some stress of the day out and remember what is important. I plan to focus a bit on what went on during the day, and what made me smile that day. I think that years from now looking back on these journals will be a fun reminder of all the great things in my life and how far we have all come. I am most excited for this resolution.

2012 can definitely be a great year, and I think my resolutions will be attainable and realistic and will hopefully bring about long-term positive changes. I know I may not have as many resolutions as the common man but these are what I want to work on and focus on. They may seem a bit lofty but again I think that they are small changes that make a big difference and these are things that I have wanted to focus on, January 1,2012 is just a good excuse to start holding myself accountable for them. Good luck to everyone out there on their resolutions – just stick to them and you will be able to achieve them! So bring it 2012, because I’m ready to make some great changes!

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The Hitched Report: The Quick & Dirty of Planning and Surviving Our Wedding

Posted on August 24, 2011. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

I apologize for the lack of book and movie review in this post, but I thought it would be fun (for me at least) to do a quick review of our recent wedding!

Ya know what they say about June Brides? Yeah, I’m not sure either. Once people said that to me they usually didn’t finish the sentence. Here is what I know about this June bride –

    • I definitely waited a little too long to finish some projects
    •  My life would have been a lot less stressful if I was more on the ball. I was smart though in securing locations and vendors all about a year in advance – that was key.Not having to worry about someone falling through or not finding the perfect person to do a task was a really nice feeling
    • There is a difference between not caring and being indecisive
    • Stress can be motivating but it can be tiring
    • Regardless of how well you plan you cannot control people or the weather – adjust and make the best of it!

Let’s start with the weather. The day before the wedding – absolutely beautiful. It was sunny and pleasant, maybe a bit warm. The day of the wedding – rainy. Yep it stormed, but ya know what, we like weather, Greg is a meteorologist so it was the perfect way to celebrate such a special day! I walked over from my hotel to the church and even though it was rainy, we had a blast. It was just myself, my sister and my parents the ‘last walk’ of us all being our own family, that was memorable and touching and the perfect ‘last’ memory as a single woman with my family.

Do it yourself is money-saving but it is definitely time-sucking. We went the DIY route for centerpieces, invitations, programs, table tents, place cards and our wish tree (in lieu of a traditional guest book). The projects were fun and most people thought the paper-goods were purchased since they came out nice, but they did take a lot of time. One of the benefits to the DIY programs was that I didn’t have to decide on the wording until closer to the wedding since they weren’t being sent out for printing. That also meant that with about 2 – 3 weeks to go I was printing and making programs when stress was at an all-time high. I don’t think I would change making them, I’m very proud of how lovely everything turned out, but I would definitely reconsider my time-frame and force myself to be more prompt and less last-minute with these types of projects. DIY is very me, so I’m happy I was able to insert myself into those details, but having helpful bridesmaids and friends was definitely required – I owe you all to the end of time for your seemingly endless hours of help!

Working with Greg to make it OUR day was what really made it so great. There were things that we both bent on so that the other person could have their idea for that particular detail, and in the end that made me smile the most. The touches and things that he really wanted made me really happy, just knowing that he wanted to be involved in this wedding was awesome. I loved the cake he chose, yep you read that right, HE chose the cake. And seeing it for the first time at the reception was really fun!! I was also happy to be less traditional to show our personalities. Greg wore soccer cufflinks and I think that was so much fun because it is Greg. He is a soccer fanatic and those cufflinks were the perfect way to show off his other true love (second to me of course).

The bumps along the way, including our limo running out of gas and not knowing where the marriage certificate was about 10 minutes before the ceremony made the day memorable. You can plan as much as you like but once you put other people in control (which is key to surviving your wedding) your planning is out the window. Things don’t need to be perfect, everything does work out and what does a little haywire becomes a fabulous story the next day at brunch! To all those brides to be – during all of the stress and decisions you have lying ahead keep in mind the most important part of the day: Getting Married. Everything else will become secondary to the magical vows you exchange. Keep the reason why you are doing this forefront in your mind and remember to relax. You need to have fun during wedding planning, remember to take some weekends off (I may have taken too many off so don’t go that crazy!).

Our wedding sparkled because it really reflected us. It didn’t fit into traditional, it wasn’t my family’s idea of  what my wedding would be like, and frankly most likely wasn’t fully their taste either, but it fit exactly into the little box that Greg and I dreamed of when we started planning. Were there bumps along the path to June 11th? You better believe there were! Those bumps have made us stronger and more united. We are happy, we are young, we are in love and we are going to conquer the world together. Our wedding was a smash in our eyes, and I expect nothing less from us in all we set our minds to in the upcoming years. We offer our sincerest thanks to everyone who made the day special, memorable and wonderful – we love you all for your support and are beyond thrilled that you were there to celebrate with us!

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Breaking her fall – Stephen Goodwin

Posted on February 4, 2011. Filed under: Books | Tags: , , , , , |

What an excellent novel! I had been out of sync with novels for a few months now, found a few I liked but none that I loved and then this gem came along! This is a story about family, about love, about the relationship a father has to his children, about growing up and being a teenager and it is a story about how quickly life can change.

Tucker Jones is a father with a modest company who is definitely in the upper class of society. He lives and works among the wealthy in Washington DC and his ex-wife is among the even more wealthy in NYC. Tucker has primary custody of his children and this story starts with a jarring phone call. You are immediately swept up in the drama of the trouble his daughter, Kat, is in just across town. From this point, this night is the turning point and feature of the story, it was a pivot point for many of the characters. Tucker cannot take back his actions that night and it seems that he can’t fully explain them either.

It was a father’s instincts that created the scene that July evening in DC, and now it is more of a mess than anyone imagined. Tucker’s team of lawyers is on the case and is ready to do whatever they can, though they fear it is little, to get Tucker out of his trouble. Is Tucker’s character at stake? Much to his disbelief his reputation is definitely at stake, along with his company and now it seems his family is strained and divided in a way he never imagined. You are immediately thrown into the plot and the rest of the story unfolds around you, around that night. Tucker’s children look at him different and there are rumors flying all across town. The children he thought he was raising are suddenly older than he seems to realize. Did he overlook important details about his daughter’s life that could have prevented the outcome of that night? How will his daughter cope and move on with life after this? Could any parent be as ignorant as Tucker was, or did he choose just not to ask the right questions and assume that his children were teenagers in a new era? Is the relationship between Tucker and his children something that can be repaired or did he lose two of the most important people in his life? Anyone who has been a teenager or is raising them will relate to this book, even if you were never in this much trouble or hurt.

 Tucker spends this novel picking up the pieces, building a new model, and shaping relationships. It is a soul-searching book and is very human in many respects. You can easily relate to many of the characters and will want to strangle others at various stages of the book. Every character is undeniably human, which makes them feel more real than the characters in many novels. Tucker is clumsy at times then graceful, he makes poor decisions then highly intelligent ones – he is just like us in many respects.

Part of the draw for me was the familiar scenery – it takes place in DC where I live and was easy to recognize landmarks, habits and the way daily life runs down here. It is also gripping, I am not a parent and can’t even imagine being put in the situation Tucker is in, but I also don’t know how I would react. Is the situation he was thrown in one any parent would know how to rationally react in? Overall it is an excellent story full of pure human, emotion. I immediately went to the library in search of other novels by this author – I hope that they are all as gripping and wonderful as this one was.

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365 Days Later

Posted on May 19, 2009. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

It was one year ago that I walked across the stage, shook my Dean’s hand and took that empty folder that said “Congratulations”. What have I learned in this one year since leaving my quiet off-campus house on the banks of the old Raritan? I would say that I have learned and grown more in this one year than possibly in all 4 years of school combined. I don’t expect to learn this much between this year and next, so I would argue that the one year directly following graduation I learned the most life lessons than at any other point in time.

Within that year I had to take someone to court and represent myself. I’m not a law student and I don’t plan to go to law school. This was by far bigger and more important than any research paper I ever turned in in College. I was living in a different state than my home state and had only a few months to determine all the laws regarding my situation, find their statutes in law reference guides, visit government offices to get multiple signatures and certificates to support my case, and then prove it all before a judge. There were tears and sleepless nights along the way but I would have traded all of that work for a 20 page research paper I turned in senior year. This was the most important win of my research career up until that point.

I also found myself a job. I had to land an interview, and make it happen. I was in a new town with new friends and I made it work. It was great! Once I landed the job I had to be a responsible adult and find decent housing that I could afford. I also had to navigate commuting to and from a city I was unfamiliar with and find ways to have fun in my new zone. It was a lot but the beginning was great!

Now that I’ve lived here for just about a year I’ve grown up in my decorating taste. Forget my posters and beer mugs – I’ve moved on to real photos of my friends and I sober as well as pictures of my family. Also I’m learning that less is more. We spend college gathering stuff. Nothing of real importance just stuff, and I think the year after college is spent cleaning it out. I have multiple ice-cube trays yet my freezer has an ice-cube maker now…I have a shaved-ice machine, as well as an iced-tea brewer. This is stuff that newlywed couples and 1o year olds request how did I ever end up with it?! It’s amazing the things you accumulate. Of course there are some things that are dear to our hearts but overall college is a time of collecting memories and souvenirs. They’re fond memories and times I will never forget. Given the chance to go back and start again I would but only if I could turn my age back and the time back to then as well…to go back now as I am now just wouldn’t be as much fun. There are bigger and great fish for me to fry now, and it’s time for us all to concede to growing up and having new fun and new memories with great friends.

I want to salute the graduates who will be walking across the stage today – you’ve come a long way and have done a lot. Don’t get grease-trucks food on your gowns: mom would be upset at that! Prepare yourself for a market not ready for so many employees and an economy that wants to pick itself back up but just isn’t sure if now is the time. This is a great setting for entrepreneurs and innovation. Believe it or not, we all received a great education – take the lessons you reluctantly learned and make them work for you. More importantly, keep your mind open to the new lessons that are headed your way, whether you want these lessons or not they’re coming! Post-graduate life is great, your first semester not in school is scary but you adjust and you move on, you’re ready for the world and you can accomplish your dreams!

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Getting in the Season of Giving

Posted on December 31, 2008. Filed under: Everyday Me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Tis the season to not only be jolly but to give, a lot. In this season I find that I give more just because, I treat the homeless people to coffee or breakfast foods, and just overall am a more pleasant and cheerful person. I should give like this all year round, and maybe that will be a good resolution tonight but up to this point my giving hits a high note during the Christmas season. Looking back on the recently passed Christmas I have noted quite a few things I am thankful for and really saw how much I’m given as well.

Thanks first to my family. What a crew but they put a smile on my face. Being the tender, caring family that they are my bedroom was quickly transformed into a workout room following my moving out. So now when I go home I don’t get to sleep in my childhood bedroom but I get to sleep in a pull-out draw at the bottom of my sister’s loft bed. But it is fun – kind of like a sleepover every night, and then we start to nag at each other and the thrill is over but it works. I’m grateful that I have a family that lets me come home, and a family that makes me smile when I think about getting to go home. Home is a nice feeling its nice to be apart of one.

I’m thankful for having a job. In this tough economy there are plenty of people that would do a wide array of things for this position. It’s not the bets position in the world, and I’ve never thought of it as something to be envious of but after talking to friends who either don’t have jobs or who watch people get ‘let go’ on a daily basis I’m thankful that I have a place to come and work every day, and they treat me really nice too!

Friends! ‘I get by with a little help from my friends’….The Beatles did not lie. It’s nice to have a large group of people to fall back on. I have my good dear sister-friend from college that lives nearby which is awesome. We’re close and its a good easy relationship: can’t go wrong! She is like the nice warm fuzzy slippers that you never forget about just don’t use daily, but you always look for them and miss them when they’re not around, and if someone even tried to take them away there would be hell to pay! That’s her 🙂 I also have some great new work friends that are great to hang out with – I have my gym friend who not only keeps me motivated but in shape and healthy : my motivation would be squat without her! There are many friends for all different reasons and some for no reason other than just because, and sometimes those are the best.

Life’s lemons. So now we’ve all had life throw us some lemons, and while I wish I could say that I’ve made lemonade everytime it would be a big fat lie. I haven’t. I’m a whiner and most of the lemons I’ve been thrown have sucked. As the year progresses I’ve started to look back onto some other the bigger lemons and given a smile. Not one of those just sucked on a lemon tart smiles either! A real nice smile, and I can actually start to admit that I appreciate some of the things I’ve learned from those mistakes and lemons. I’m much wiser because of them, still wish I could’ve just learned those lessons second-hand.

Speaking of lemons, I’m thankful that I can go to the grocery store and any other store and order what I need and want. Wants and needs are very different and its a luxury that I can fulfill both of those categories for myself and my loved ones. We had a truly blessed Christmas filled with love and too many gifts (but who ever complains about the gifts?!)

I’m thankful for my special relationship with a special guy. He’s truly wonderful, no matter how many times he makes me grumble under my breath or roll my eyes up to high heaven I couldn’t imagine my life without him. He does more for me than I can ever thank or repay him for, truly a wonderful person to have in my life. You should all be jealous because he really is just that great.  Thank you for everything you give to me on a daily basis – you are my rock!

There are SO many things to be grateful for, and as I look back I try to think of the ways that someone could’ve been grateful for me in their life. Let the season of giving last all year long, and you will receive remarkable gifts throughout the years in small but meaningful ways. It’s something that I am going to do my best to strive for in the new year – bring it on 2009 : I have a lot to give back!

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