My last post was in early December – where does the time go? My focus shifted to work, organizing my life, spending time with friends, and getting healthy. It would have been nice to document progress here, but I knew I needed to prioritize in order to meet my goals. A friend recently shared with me that it takes 66 days to make or change a habit – I’m testing this theory by building and changing my own healthy habits. I’m looking forward to fine-tuning my goals with my Passion Planner (expect a post about that process at some point), but this time I started small and re-focused myself over December, January, and February.
RWLED // DECEMBER 2014
Reading // Finished The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri. Didn’t live up to the hype, but I enjoyed it.
Watching // In addition to all the Christmas movies I binge-watched, Alex and I finished up HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. Nucky Thompson – played expertly by Steve Buscemi – is one of my favorite anti-hero characters of late (side note: I hated Gillian throughout the entire show, but she’s the character who has stuck with me the most). HBO just doesn’t disappoint, which is why I’m now working my way through all of their acclaimed series.
Listening // You aren’t truly celebrating Christmas until you add some N’SYNC and Elvis Presley to your playlist. A new favorite this past year was Merry Mixmas – I came across it by chance and it ended up being perfect for entertaining.
Eating // Eeesh, what wasn’t I eating. So many holiday celebrations, Christmas cookies, and birthday surprises (check out the goodness below, a special birthday lunch made especially for me by my BFF Ashley).
Doing // December 2014 was stellar! I traveled to visit my BFF’s grandmother, celebrated New Year’s with friends, had a terrible cold, got wonderful gifts, gave a few myself, and had the best birthday of my life. Let me explain.
I turned 30 on December 18 (on a Thursday this year) and the plan was to celebrate with a special dinner during our weekly Girls Night, Friday night would be a special Date Night, and Saturday was a small get-together with local friends. Sounds perfect, right? Well, my BFF Ashley – with help from Alex – planned the most amazing birthday surprise (see timeline below):
- Wednesday Night: Alex took me to a delicious dinner as an early birthday present. I thought it was just a bonus date night, and it was lovely.
- Thursday Afternoon: Ashley brought over a special-made lunch (did you see that picture?) – strawberry salad with candied almonds, feta, and homemade dressing, grilled garlic bread, and the best ever egg salad. Hands down, one of the best lunches ever.
- Thursday Night: As if Ashley hadn’t already done enough, she made the cheesiest lasagna with Caesar salad for my birthday Girls Night. We had such a fun night filled with great food, good convo, and lots of laughter.
- Friday Afternoon: I went to lunch with some coworkers. Ashley and Alex both had errands. so I did some work and took it easy at home.
- Friday Night: Alex told me we were going to get dinner somewhere, but first had to stop by Ashley’s because I had one more gift to open. I knew she was hosting two friends for dinner, so I walked in and heard them say hi. I went to take off my shoes, but Alex guided me into the living room… where I saw friends from all over the country ready to surprise me! I was so overwhelmed and overjoyed – I couldn’t believe they’d all made the effort during the busy holiday season and I couldn’t believe they were able to pull off such a huge surprise! We had so much fun catching up, playing games, and eating great food.
- Saturday Afternoon: Having friends in from out of town was such a treat – we spent the whole day together, laughing until I actually hurt. Then, it was time for the big party.
- Saturday Night: I took the blindfold off and saw my friends gathered around me in my favorite karaoke bar in downtown Baltimore. They had transformed the bar into the perfect princess karaoke birthday party – I was so excited that I missed a few new faces in the crowd, friends from California! After I’d hugged everyone, I had to step away and collect myself (I’m a crier). Walking back into the room, I was able to scan around and see almost all of the people I love most in the world in the same place. I can never thank them enough for making that moment happen for me – I have never felt more loved and I hope everyone gets to experience that feeling, too. My husband and BFF are the best! I just want to give a special thanks to Ashley – not only is she the best BFF ever, she also happens to be the most thoughtful, sweetest person I know.
RWLED // JANUARY 2015
Reading // My goal is to read at least one book every month in 2015. First up, Amy Poehler’s Yes Please. She is my hero. Have you heard about her project Smart Girls? She’s inspiring and empowering young women everywhere.
Watching // Like I said, I want to work my way through all of HBO’s great work. We started The Sopranos since it’s widely recognized as one of TV’s best series. I also saw The Ref for the first time, apparently the best Christmas movie according to every guy I know. And this – it still makes me laugh every time.
Listening // I put out a call for help when trying to update my music playlist for work – I assume everyone has a different playlist for working, cleaning, showering, getting ready, etc. like I do. Via that Facebook thread, I discovered a ton of new artists. On repeat: “Gooey” by Glass Animals and “Gold” by Chet Faker (video below, because it’s mesmerizing).
Eating // I remember more egg salad… I basically forced Ashley to make me another batch because my birthday lunch was so good. I also learned how to make the perfect poached egg – it’s best on some toast with avocado!
Doing // Puzzles! I finished two in January and have a couple more that I got as Christmas gifts that I’m looking forward to tackling. January was the month I started breaking my healthy habits into small, easy-to-achieve mini goals. That approach has worked well so far, I hope to keep it up and report on my progress.
RWLED // FEBRUARY 2015
Reading // A work trip gave me extra down time, allowing me to fit in two books this past month. I read Alice Sebold’s other novel, The Lovely Bones, a while back and thought her memoir, Lucky, was chilling. Ross Raisin’s debut, God’s Country – or Out Backward – was an interesting look at a troubled young man. I don’t know what drove me to pick such disturbing novels, I made sure my March pick is a lot less dark.
Watching // Most of my TV shows are back on schedule – Walking Dead, Grey’s Anatomy, Nashville… I’m back with familiar friends. We also started Better Call Saul and I’m already hooked. And in more embarrassing news, I’m re-watching old episodes of Gossip Girl.
Listening // I tried with that new Drake album… not my style. I’ve been more into Ed Sheeran’s cover skills and Lady Gaga’s killer performance artistry.
Eating // Protein shakes. Part of my struggle with food is that cooking has become a chore for me – and we all know that healthier food requires a bit more work on a more consistent basis. Drinking protein shakes for breakfast/lunch and cooking a healthy meal for dinner has been a consistent way for me to continue to make good choices.
Doing // Working. A lot. I recently got back from a trip to Scottsdale, AZ – it was super productive and felt great to spend some more time with my coworkers (I am so lucky to be on their team!).
I’m ramping up for an exciting March – tons of content I want to share, trips to take, and spring to celebrate. Feels good to be back!