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August 2, 2015

Sunday Sweats Vol. 11

Oh this week. While leaps and bounds better than last week, it still took forever and I was basically a bump on a log.

Sunday 7/26: playtime
On Sunday K and I hung out with friends. I played with a 1 year old all day and then we had a girls v. guys Nerf fight followed by a water fight. Epic fun.

Monday 7/27: walks
I went out for a quick 10 minute walk before work; walked a bit during lunch; and then went for a 35 minute walk after dinner. 

Tuesday 7/28: walk 
I went out for a walk Tuesday morning and then again during lunch. K and I had tickets to the Mets game Tuesday night so he met me at Citi Field. We had a good time.

Wednesday 7/29: walk
I got caught up meditating and journaling in the morning so I only went out for a lap around the block. I went out again during lunch. I walked down to 47th to have the brows done, and then walked back and stopped for an ice cream cone. Oh Mr. Frostee, you complete me.

Thursday 7/30: walks
I went for a walk around the block before work. During my lunch break I had to walk down to Bryant Park to drop my phone off at Sprint. I then walked back to work. Annnd I made the trip back down after to pick up my phone.

Friday 7/31: r & r
Friday night I came home, made dinner and just loafed. 

Saturday 8/1: walks
Saturday I got up bright and early, did some chores, walked to get a mani/pedi, walked home {hummed the entire way... what?!}, and then went grocery shopping. You guys, the day was perfect. Then after dinner and a movie at home I went out for a 15m walk.

July 31, 2015


Although we have a couple of months left before it’s time, tomorrow starts the beginning of the end. Tomorrow is August. Where in the world is Carmen San Diego did this summer go?! I still feel like Memorial Day just happened. As much as I love summer, I’m looking forward to the cooler temps {hello sweatshirt weather!} and the smell of the fall air.

I feel like I didn't get much accomplished this summer in the way of trips or outings, but I do have several things planned for the upcoming months from a trip to the Bloomsburg Fair to my annual Halloween party, as well as a trip back to the Warwick Winery.

In any event, it's Friday, it's payday {finally}, and I'm so not in the mood to be at work. In an effort to make my tedious days go by faster, and because Serial was one of the best things I've ever heard, I listen to a lot of podcasts. Today, I'm sharing my favorites.

Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert
You may have heard of her? She wrote Eat Pray Love {a fave}. In this podcast, which is new {only 3 episodes so far} she talks about how to grow your creativity and go after your dreams. I haven't really picked up any "a-ha moments" but I enjoy listening. Cheryl Strayed guest spoke in episode 2.

Happier with Gretchen Rubin
I started listening to this per Alyssa's recommendation since I really enjoyed her book on habits. She does this show with her sister, Elizabeth Craft. Each episode they give a "try at home" top to help make life a little easier, while also discussing how they do/ don't do this habit and the results.

Last year I listened to Serial and was blown away at how someone was convicted of a crime, in my opinion, they did not commit. There were/are so many unanswered questions about what happened. There's also nothing but circumstantial evidence, again, in my opinion. I just started in this morning. I'll check in with my thoughts on this in another post.

The Morning Show with Traci + Kayla
Unless you're into spirituality, meditation, positive energy, and the like, you may not like this one. Personally, I listen every day and absolutely love it! Traci + Kayla are a mother/daughter team who offer up inspiration and a "modern girl's guide to spirituality". They're like the Gilmore Girls of the spiritual world. I can't get enough.

So those are the 4 podcasts I'm currently obsessed with. I'm open to listening to podcasts all the live long day so if there's anything you'd recommend, let me know!

July 29, 2015

Lately: Minimalist Edition

At the beginning of the month I decided to do the 30 Day Minimalism Challenge. At first I just thought minimalism meant getting rid of 99% of your stuff and living in a practically empty space. It can mean that, if that’s what you want. But really, minimalism is about being mindful. It’s about figuring out what’s most important to you and weeding out all the rest. As soon as I read through the challenge I realized a lot of the tasks were things I was already doing. Some days served as a reminder to keep going, others, required some effort.

Since the month is almost over I wanted to check in on how it's been going.
I chose not to do the tasks in order. Mainly because I didn't want to, but I also felt that I would do each task as I needed to.
One of the very first tasks I completed, probably the first, was to identify 3-6 main priorities. I'm pretty on the ball with my priorities but it was a good chance to write them down and be present with them. I also, unknowingly, completed the unfollow and unfriend task. Fourth of July weekend seemed like a good time to start removing accounts, "friends", and businesses that I wasn't interacting with at all. People I went to HS with but haven't spoke to in years? Delete. Businesses that I like but never shop at? Delete. Talk about cleansing.
Almost immediately {the same day really} I started cleaning up my digital life. I went through my external hard drive, opened folders and documents and deleted anything I no longer needed. Old resumes, cover letters, term papers - it all went. This was something that needed to be done because my C drive was nearing capacity. How?! But it was and so programs, docs, and photos met their demise. I even went through all of my recipes and tossed more than half.

Thanks to the streamline your reading list task I scaled back my TBR list by 30 books. I didn't get rid of anything I genuinely wanted to read, but all those free kindle downloads that 99% of the time are trashy romance novels? Deleted.

Given that I was on a spending freeze this month, it wasn't difficult to not buy anything for 24 hours. I also had no trouble with going bare faced as I typically don't have time don't care enough to bother putting on makeup in the morning. I was more than content with no TV all day, read instead because really, TV is such a brain drain. Did I really just say that? Hello 90s. I have a select few shows but more often, I'm happier with the TV off.
I talked about letting go of a goal in its own post and so many of you agreed that if the goal was no longer serving its purpose, it was time to let it go. I deleted not only the list, but the account as well and I haven't missed it since.
Some of the tasks I was putting off, were to turn off notifications, no e-mail or social media until lunch and stay offline for one day. The latter was doable, it just required planning, a weekend, and some willpower. Thankfully, Little Miss and a good book is all the distraction I need.

I think my favorite days were unfollow & unfriend; declutter your digital life; downsize your beauty collection; evaluate your commitments; and let go of a goal. More than anything, it's been a learning experience. I'm going to continue with the minimalist life and see where it takes me. We say it about makeup all the time, but it's true for life as well

July 27, 2015

That Time I Got Kicked Off the Beach AND Out of a Bar

I don't understand how Monday comes so quickly. This 5:2 work week really isn't working for me. Why can't we adopt a 4:3 rule? Honestly, I think the masses would be much happier with one more day. Speaking of happy...

Last week was such an emotional drain for me. Thank you to all of you who offered support, commiseration, and suggestions regarding facing facts. I'm not sure where I'm headed next, and no I didn't quit my job...yet.

I don't typically do weekend recaps but this time I think a mini one is warranted. On Saturday the Blogger's Beach Day took place and Alyssa, Jenn, Dani and I all got together to spend some time in the sun and sand down the shore. Jenn is amazing! You guys, she drove up from Delaware. I heart her for that alone.

I'm sure someone else will recap Saturday's events more eloquently that I can, but let's just say that apparently we're a bunch of rowdy bitches who laugh in the face of authority and get kicked off beaches for following orders.

When you go down the shore, you always bring a cooler of some sort. It's just law. So that happened. When you go to Tiki Bar, you stand in a conveyor line to have your ID checked, scanned, and then your bag checked. Any "illegal" items, you know, like a bag of PopCorners, or a water bottle,  are quickly confiscated. However, when you bring a 6-pack of beer {illegal}, 3 water bottles {illegal}, and a sheathed steak knife that's okay!

We all get a drink at the bar and then post up on the beach. Jenn got there first and picked a great spot. We set up, drinks are drank, laughs are had, conversation flows.

Fast forward to an empty beer can sitting by my beach bag. In full disclosure, I, or I should say we, because none of us actually thought about it, left it uncovered. All of a sudden Captain Douchebag {and his sidekick Tyler} comes over with his overly authoritative loudness and tells us "how it's gonna be". We had 2 options:

a) We search your stuff, take anything you have, cut off your bracelets, you're cut off for the day, and you can enjoy yourselves;


b) you can pack up now and leave.

We went with option a because we had just bought our third round so really, whatever dude. Maybe an hour later the nicer of the duo returns to tell us that "typically we give people 30 seconds to get their stuff and leave" but they were being nice by allowing us to finish the round that had arrived during confiscation but "you ladies need to leave". Excuse me??? I promise you that we all had something to say about this. Mainly, that's not what we were told.

The fun part about this second interaction was that Dani was up in the bar to use the restroom. The rest of us decided we'd finish our drink when we finished it because F that. We paid to get in, yes we broke a rule, but we had already bought several rounds and were planning on buying more, plus food. Not to mention not one of us was rowdy, loud, or disrespectful to others.

Maybe 15 minutes later, #2 of the dynamic duo returns with some other superior who tells us we need to leave right now. We explained that our friend had gone to use the bathroom and we were waiting for her to get back. Nope. She was basically being detained from returning to the beach to collect her things. So in true asshole form I took my time folding up my beach blanket and packing up my stuff. When you're being personally escorted off a beach and out of a bar, you take your damn time.

If you caught me breaking a rule, you-1; me-0. I get it. You're doing your job. Here's the thing: be fucking nice about it! You don't need to be a douchebag and talk to us like we're trash just because we broke a rule. We complied with your request the first time you made it. Then you reneg on the options because someone "upstairs" {seriously, Tyler said this} won't like that we're still here. Oh, I'm sorry. Did you just realize you lost money by taking the bracelet so now you need to kick us out? 

Fun fact: Tyler took this picture... pre-kick out
Takeaways of the day:

a) like mother like daughter;
b) we're rowdy bitches;
c) there's a first time for everything; and
d) if you want to get kicked off a beach and out of a bar sometimes, you know where to fine me.

July 26, 2015

Sunday Sweats Vol. 10

What a week! I feel like I put in a real effort this week. The number on the scale has been moving in the direction I want and I'm not about to sabotage that...yet. Talk to me in the middle of January when all I want is mac n' cheese and I'll be singing a different tune. But for now, let's go with it!

Sunday 7/19
I was home for the morning so I hung out with Little Miss and got the last of my 3-year old "training session" in. She's exhausting but it's beyond worth it. 

Monday 7/20: Rest
I have no idea what I did on Monday. Probably nothing. But I did walk 8,626 steps. 

Tuesday 7/21: Walk
every morning I get up, feed the cats, and typically sit down and work on blog drafts or check my e-mail. Today I went to sat down, chastised myself and took my but out for a mile walk. Much better way to start my day!

Wednesday 7/22: Walk
I made sure to repeat my morning walk again on Wednesday. It's not the gym but it's something. 

Thursday 7/23: Walk + yoga
I went for a quick 25 minute walk this morning. Did some walking during lunch and then finally got my butt to Bryant Park for one of the free yoga classes.

And I was still in pose when I took this - BOOM!

I clearly haven't spent much time on my mat lately because on Friday my entire body felt used.

Friday 7/24: Walk
On Friday I gave myself a pass for my morning walk. And I didn't beat myself up for not being "perfect".

Saturday 7/25: BEACH!
I had to be up early so there wasn't any time for activity. Alyssa, Dani, Jenn and I all spent the day at Point Pleasant. I think drinking and laughing count as exercise because that's what I did.There was some swimming though and a decent amount of walking.

Overall, I think it was a decent week. 

July 23, 2015

Smile Brilliantly

Teeth Whitening Reviews I received a free teeth whitening kit from Smile Brilliant! in exchange for writing a review, however, all opinions expressed are strictly my own

If you've been around this blog a time or two you've probably heard me mention how going to the dentist is one of my favorite things. Crazy right? The way I see it, my teeth will never be as clean as they are when I walk out of that office.... until I go back in 6 months. 

Granted cleanings are routine and they make a huge difference but sometimes you need something extra. And if you're anywhere past the age of 16, having white teeth is probably important to you. After years of drinking coffee, tea, soda, and dark liquors, my teeth are no longer pearly white. 

Some time ago I was contacted by Smile Brilliant and I jumped at the chance to work with them.
"Smile Brilliant provides lab direct, custom-fitted teeth whitening trays and whitening gel from the comforts of home. There is no need to visit a dentist and spend $600+ on the same professional teeth whitening service."
This opportunity came at the perfect time for me as I've been debating making an appointment with my dentist for a whitening session. The Smile Brilliant process is super easy, and costs less overall than an office visit.

Smile Brilliant recommends brushing and flossing thoroughly before taking your impressions as clean teeth will provide the best impressions. After cleansing I mixed the pastes necessary to form the impressions. I added the putty to the trays and spread it out evenly. This should be done as soon as possible so that the putty is still soft.

Here's where things can get tricky. Instead of biting down into the putty you press the tray into your teeth. Putty will overflow in the front and back, and that's okay. You're going to spread that over your gums. You then need to leave the tray in place until the putty is firm. Approximately 2:30 minutes or more.

After the putty has hardened check to make sure that your impression is clear. If you made a mistake, don't worry. Simply remove the putty and start over. If your impressions are good, leave them in the tray. Then you're going to repeat the process to take impressions of your bottom teeth.
It took roughly a week for my trays to arrive after I mailed them back. I was able to keep track  because Smile Brilliant sends an e-mail upon receipt of your molds, and when they ship your trays.

The whitening instructions were incredibly easy to follow. They're a perfect fit and you don't really notice them. I put mine in before I start cleaning the house. When I'm finished with all my chores, I take them out.

I used the product for about a month, whitening in 30-60 minute sessions every few days, before taking my "after" pictures.

Beyond the actual whitening I think Smile Brilliant is a great company. Carmen, the representative I worked with, was incredibly polite and answered any and all of my questions to my liking. She let me know that the product would remove the stains from my teeth but that everyone's results will vary based on the natural coloration of their teeth. Some people have naturally whiter teeth than others.
Carmen also informed me that Smile Brilliant offers a 30-day satisfaction warranty. Just return the trays and syringes and your money will be refunded. There is also a 2 year tray replacement warranty in the event your trays break.

In case you prefer quick visuals:

If you're looking to whiten your teeth without the expense of going to a dentist, I would highly recommend Smile Brilliant because all you have to lose are the stains.

*I received this product for free in exchange for a review of the same. All opinions are my own.*

July 22, 2015

Facing Facts

I've never talked about this openly on the blog. Not because it's embarrassing, but more because I couldn't put it into words. On Monday, the final crack occurred.
What I have talked about is how it took me 12 years to obtain my Bachelor's degree. This was always a sore spot for me. I would commend myself for refusing to give up {still do} but I would beat myself up for making stupid life choices that resulted in it taking so long. I only allowed myself forgiveness after I graduated.
Here's the big secret though - I hate what I do.
I'm not happy sitting behind a desk all day. I'm not happy being inside all day. I'm not happy in the legal field. Sure, certain aspects of this field are interesting, and I enjoyed my classes most of the time, but the practical, everyday part of it - zero interest. I've tried paying attention to legal social media, reading the articles, registering for conferences. It's all fake.
On Monday I was reprimanded for something ridiculous {If you're nosy, (I am!) just ask}. On Tuesday I was told that I didn't answer the phone "peppy enough".  But Monday was the tipping point. I don't want to feel like a prisoner anymore. Especially not when I'm doing something I have no interest in.
But I'm also stuck. Stuck because the position I currently hold, allows me to be comfortable. Don't get me wrong, I'm not rolling in benjamins planning my next island vacay {maybe I am...} but it does allow me to pay my bills and my ridiculous student loans all without the stress of wondering which bill is getting paid first and which to put on hold, etc. I have the luxury of knowing that I can pay every bill I have, and have a little bit left over for myself. I can't even tell you how great of a feeling that is. Especially for someone who lived paycheck to paycheck all throughout the past decade. I'm still paycheck to paycheck, but at least now it's not stressful.
Of course I only have one thing on my mind...
The thing is, I don't know what I should be doing. And that is terrifying. I know law isn't for me. I know the traditional "corporate dream" isn't for me... but that's about it. I have some interests but if I'm being brutally honest, I really don't want to get into anything that is going to require me to go back to school. I'm mentally burnt out from the past 6 years and I just can't take that on.
But if I'm being real, and I am, I know that something better is out there for me. I know it because I deserve it. I deserve to be happy in my employment, whatever it may be. I deserve to live the life I want. And even more than that, I feel it. So even though my limiting beliefs are making me feel nervous and scared, I'm grateful, excited, and open. Because I know...

July 21, 2015

Summer Book Challenge: Check In

Until I saw both Kay and Kristen's posts I was under the impression that this was set for August 4th. I feel like I missed a memo somewhere. In any event, I've read several of the categories on the list.

I changed my mind about which books to read half a dozen times. I even started some and quit because I just couldn't get into them, but I'll save that for another day.

As for the rest of Summer Book Challenge, I think I'm doing pretty damn well. The challenge ends September 21st and I've read the majority of my books. I strayed - far - from my preliminary list.

A YA book {mandatory}: That Summer / Sarah Dessen

Synopsis: For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She's nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley's reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.

Thoughts: I stumbled on That Summer by Sarah Dessen while at the library one night. After reading Saint Anything I knew this author was a new favorite. This was a quick read {208pgs for the hardcover edition} but it was a decent story.

A book with a kickass female character: The Lovely Bones / Alice Sebold
Synopsis: The spirit of fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon describes her murder, her surprise at her new home in heaven, and her witness to her family's grief, efforts to find the killer, and attempts to come to terms with what has happened.

Thoughts: I'm glad I gave myself 2 choices for the female lead category because this was more to my liking and I read through it quickly. I liked the way the story was written and although it's a tragic story, some things {like why she can't "move on"} made sense in an earthly sense.

A book that is or will be a movie/TV show: Orange is the New Black / Piper Kerman

Synopsis: With a career, a boyfriend, and a loving family, Piper Kerman barely resembles the reckless young woman who delivered a suitcase of drug money ten years ago. But that past has caught up with her. Convicted and sentenced to fifteen months at the infamous federal correctional facility in Danbury, Connecticut, the well-heeled Smith College alumna is now inmate #11187-424—one of the millions of women who disappear "down the rabbit hole" of the American penal system.

Thoughts: I had zero interest in watching this show but after learning that it was originally a book {aren't they always?} I decided to listen to OITNB through Hoopla {a free audiobook program, fyi}. I'll admit that following the book I started watching the show on Netflix. Let me just say, the book is MUCH better, as they usually are. But for entertainment purposes, I get why the show is unfolding the way it is.

A book with a one word title: Joyland / Stephen King

Synopsis: College student Devin Jones took the summer job at Joyland hoping to forget the girl who broke his heart. But he wound up facing something far more terrible: the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and dark truths about life—and what comes after—that would change his world forever. 
Thoughts:This was my first Stephen King. I didn't want to pick one of the crazy large ones for obvious reasons and opted for this instead. I read it in a single day. As far s enjoyment, I think that says volumes because I don't remember the last book I read in less than 24 hours. Even though this book isn't "scary", there were moment I found myself looking over my shoulder. He truly is a great storyteller.

A book about summer or with summer in the title: Summerland / Elin Hilderbrand

Synopsis: It's June 15th, the night of Nantucket High School graduation. Four juniors are driving home from a party when something goes horribly wrong and there is a crash. The driver of the car, Penny Alistair, is killed, and her twin brother, Hobby Alistair, is left in a coma. Penny's boyfriend, Jake Randolph, and Penny's friend Demeter Castle are unhurt--but suffer tremendous emotional damage.

Thoughts: Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors so I knew she was going to take the summer category. All her books are set on Nantucket, in the summer. She's pretty much the queen of the beach read. I really liked this book as well and finished it quickly. Her books all read easy and I like that she tells this story from different POVs.

If you want to read other reviews, or to see what's in my queue, you can find me on Goodreads!