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July 1, 2015

Intents for July

Last month I shared about my experience with reading Living with Intent by Mallika Chopra and how many points of the book resonated with me.
For the longest time I, along with many of you, shared my monthly goals and then reported how I did with them. Although this isn't really changing, I still have monthly goals, and I'm still going to share them, the nature of my goals is changing. Here's what I mean: 
Expand my cooking skills.
If there's one thing about me that I'm not shy about it's my love for cooking. Last month I took a cooking class at Sur La Table and absolutely loved it! I've never won any awards or anything but I think I'm a pretty damn good home cook. I prefer to season and cook by taste than by recipe so anything structured in cooking is a challenge for me. Besides, all my hoarded recipes need some love.
Let go.
Although I have hoarding tendencies for certain things I typically find more joy in purging things than in keeping them. There's a certain joy you get from letting go of things to free up space in your home or life. I'm always looking to downsize but lately I've been feeling a stronger 'urge to purge' if you will. My Sagittarius nature really likes the idea of not being tied down by things.
Keep Track
For being such a big fan of lists, I'm notoriously flaky about keep track of certain things. I have an awesome budgeting program - I never keep up with it. I am trying to eat better so I'm on My Fitness Pal but after my afternoon snack I don't stay diligent. I'm going to make a conscious effort to keep track of my progress on things because otherwise how else do I know if I'm improving or not?
Other than the reading challenge, I'm currently reading Better Than Before by Gretchen Rubin, and one of the things I've realized about myself is that I'm a starter; full of good intentions.  Instead of self-sabotaging myself with a lengthy list I'm sticking with these 3 intents. They're also S.M.A.R.T. goals if you're into acronyms.
What are your intents for July?

June 29, 2015

Cooling Down in July

A few weeks ago I was reading Stephanie's post about how she is debating doing a spending freeze for an entire year. Although I know I couldn't do this {it's just not realistic for me} it did make me realize that I need to do a mini one. I went a little spend-crazy in May.

Starting Wednesday, there will be no spending aside from the rules laid out below. I definitely have some financial habits I'm not proud of so I think it's time to put my money where my mouth pocket is and reign in my bad habits. 

And as if this weren't a perfect enough idea to implement on my own, I got the bill for my first student loan payment... $390.38. Sweet mother of Jesus... So yeah, hermit life is looking pretty good right about now. 

Basically there's going to be a whole lotta nothing going on for July. I'm already not a big spender on coffees or shoes but eating out for lunch or a random 'oh, I want soup with the salad I brought' happens way too often. 

Care to offer any tips of encouragement?

June 26, 2015

June Happenings

Can we all just take a moment to realize that today is the last Friday of June. Seriously, where is this year going?! Summer just got here and I already feel as though it's passing me by. Perhaps because I've been a little lot busier than usual. Or maybe not. Either way, here's what went on this month.

A figurine broke on a coworkers desk that I was sitting at. I was in a rush to leave for the day so I was dumb and forgot to scribble a note apologizing. She called the next day and wasn't too friendly about it. I offered to replace the item. She told me no and then hung up on me.

The head cold I got a few weeks ago will not go away. The coughing has more or less subsided but the congestion is making me crazy. It's so infuriating.

My one credit card is out of control this month. Obviously by my own fault since I've been using it. I took it out of my wallet Wednesday night and put it in a Ziploc bag with water and froze it. 

Back on the 10th I was at Dave Matthews. It was a great night as always and I was introduced to the awesomeness that is Warren Haynes and a duet on Cortez the Killer. It was the longest, most magical 20 minutes of my musical life and I never wanted it to end.

That same weekend I went home to spend time with my Mom and Little Miss. This kid has my whole heart and is the only person on the planet who can make me do whatever she wants.

I'm headed off to see Dave and the boys again tomorrow night. They do three shows in NJ and I figured it was time to go to the "other" one. I'm going to try to meet up with Alyssa for some tailgate shenanigans.
Speaking of Alyssa, we went to Solstice in Times Square on Sunday. What an amazing experience. When I got home I was simultaneously exhausted and filled with energy. I was feeling incredibly honored, humbled, and blissed out. Who knew a 90 minute session of Bikram yoga in the heart of NYC could have such a calming effect. And that was the whole point. Finding stillness in the midst of madness. I can't wait for next year!
All photos by Alyssa

This past Monday I took my first cooking class at Sur La Table. I say first because I will absolutely be going again. The classes aren't cheap {$69-$85} but it's so worth the experience. I had a great time, made some awesome Vietnamese dishes, and had dinner, without the clean up. Given the cost it's probably something I'll do every other month or so, but I'm really looking forward to my next class.

Whatever July has in store, I'm ready for it!

June 25, 2015

Gift for Garden State Grads *Sponsored*

*This is a sponsored post.*

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June 24, 2015

Clarissa Didn't Explain it All

Being a girl is weird to me. It's also challenging at times. I'm a big fan of the walk in like you own the place attitude. It's comfortable to me. It makes sense. These things don't.

How do you beauties command all this pretty-fying sorcery? I'm over here all look at me I washed my face and put on lip gloss, and you're looking straight off the runway. Also? Where do you find the time and patience for this? Someone gift me with a personal makeup artist.

If you look in my closet it screams college. Sure that's where I spent a lot of my evenings, but it's not the way I want to look. I don't know how you all pull such gorgeous outfits together. I consider it a win when I'm even dressed. This extends to accessories too.

Believe it or not, this is something I've never really done. I'm a serial monogamist. And while I'm glad I never had to deal with dating horror stories I'm also kind of sad about that same lack of experience. I have no 'omg, this one guy!...' stories {except the one}and no funny nicknames for dating disasters. I wish someone had said Hey gurrrl, here's some life advice: date everyone, it will make for some super awesome blog posts later on. Or something to that effect.

Gold, Bows, and fuzzy things
What is it about this shit that makes chicks go ape shit and need all the things? Personally, I hate gold. I don't like the way it looks {cheap, unless it's white, in which case it looks like silver...}, I'm really not a fan of it being the new "it" color. As for bows, meh. Unless I'm wearing Little Miss' bows. In which case I may just start wearing them on the regular.

Female Socialization
"Girlfriends" are kind of a mystery to me. I mean I have a few {4 to be exact, one of whom is my Mom} but the entire thing kind of eludes me. I'm not saying I can't get along with women, because that's not true. I will, however, say that I don't feel as though I can relate to most women. Sometimes I think my X's and Y's got confused because I am much more male-brained than I am female brained. I've always been considered "one of the guys" and I'm perfectly fine with that. Girl things intimidate me. Bridal showers, baby showers, "girl's night".... it's not really my cup of tea.

With all these issues the only thought I'm having is...

June 22, 2015

The {preliminary} Summer Reading List

You’d think after 3 years I’d finally have the hang of this blogging thing but in typical fashion I’m behind on my posts. Also in typical fashion there are zero f**ks given because life comes first.

I’m a reader by nature and I love lists so naturally I was interested in joining in on the reading challenge. Here’s a look at my list:

A YA book (mandatory!) ~ Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen
Non US Author  (mandatory!) ~ Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
A book that was recommended by a blogger  (mandatory!) ~ The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton {I noticed this was on the list of several others, does that count as a recommendation?} OR Hyacinth Girls by Lauren Frankel {recommended by Dani}
A book that has been on your TBR list for a year or more ~ A Good Woman by Danielle Steel
A book with a kickass female character ~  Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold OR Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen {would you believe I've never read this?}
A book that is or will be a movie (or TV show) ~ Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman
A book written by a comedian or celebrity ~ Happy Accidents by Jane Lynch  OR Yes Please by Amy Poehler
A book with a one word title ~ Wild by Cheryl Strayed

A suspenseful book - a mystery, thriller, or a book about revenge ~ Undecided, but something by Stephen King.

A book about Summer, with summer in the title ~ Summerland by Elin Hilderbrand
She's one of my favorite authors. ALL of her books take place in the summer and on Nantucket Island {where she lives}. They're great beach reads.
Full disclosure? A lot of these books have been on my TBR list for quite some time. I get into the habit of reading quick, no-though-required ebooks because of their cost {usually free} and convenience. I'm hoping that this challenge {and this list} will get me back into the habit of reading "real" books more often. I'll be heading to the library tomorrow night to pick up Saint Anything.
Make sure you link up so I can stalk your reading list!

June 18, 2015

You Probably Don't Know...

As is typical for me, I'm late to the party. After 3 years you'd think I'd be somewhat organized with this whole blogging thing. Ha! I was reading another blogger's post earlier and decided I wanted to get in on the fun though, so here we go!
Helene in Between
1)  I don't like roses. I think they're pretty, but boring. Want to impress me? Get me tiger lilies, they're my favorite.
2)  I have a decent collection of high heels but my most frequently worn shoes are sneakers and flip flops. Heels require effort and meh...
3)  I've had pets my entire life. Although I have 3 cats and a fish right now, I can't wait to have dogs again. Someday...
4)  I hate working. That's not to say I think everything should be handed to me, but dammit, I have more interesting things to be doing - like reading, travelling, cooking, etc. How am I going to become the next Martha Stewart or Giada if I'm not home working on my culinary skills?
5)  I'm really not a fan of jewelry in general. Bracelets bug me because they get in the way while typing; rings never fit my chunky fingers; and necklaces or earrings are too much work to constantly change. The studs I'm wearing? They haven't been changed in over 6 months. Cleaned, yes. Changed, no.
6)  Broccoli is my favorite vegetable. I'll eat it any way but raw. {I'm not really a fan of raw veggies, unless there's ranch around} I have no problem in ordering double sides of broccoli with my steak and have actually ordered broccoli with a side of fries for dinner before.
7)  I rarely, if ever, worry about things. I've been this way since high school and close friends "don't know how I do it". My theory? Why spend time worrying about something I can't change? It makes for a lot less stress in life.
8)  I say 'dude' a lot. I'll address male and female friends this way without so much as a though. I refer to strangers this way and sometimes I say it to K, which he gets mad about. It's just how I talk and I make no apologies for it.
9) I am boring. I learned a long time ago that I'm the kind of girl who would rather stay home with a bottle of wine and a movie than go out somewhere. To me, going out involves putting in the effort of an outfit, shoe choices, venue choices, etc. I just don't have the energy to think about or deal with all of that. I'd rather watch Pretty Woman for the 47617492136 time than go to some bar with obnoxious people.
10)  I'm horrible at doing things that are good for me. You know, budgeting, eating clean, using sunscreen.... I'm the worst. I can stick with something for about a month and then I either get bored or I feel like I'm confining myself to something I don't want to do. In other words, adulting is not for me.
And there's some fun facts about me.

Hugs and Kisses from my Nutshell.

June 15, 2015

Sunday Sweats: Vol. 6

You'll have to excuse the fact that this weeks post is coming to you on a Monday. Friday afternoon I realized I never drafted the post, and then I was in NY with Little Miss so we all know nothing got done. #notsorry

Sunday 6/7: Yoga & Gym
This was a great exercise day. I went outside and did some sun salutations, which was glorious. And then headed to the gym for an hour workout. I didn't go heavy on the weights but I did on/off jog {more jogging} for 45 minutes.

Monday 6/8: Gym
Since I went to the gym Sunday I kept today pretty low key. I did some solid jogging (15 mins straight!) and did a brief upper body session. I've decided to incorporate more cardio because for me, that's what burns my fat. I had pretty much stopped all cardio in favor of lifting. Hint: doesn't work.

Tuesday 6/9: Walk
I was kind of lazy today. I only went for a short walk.

Wednesday 6/10: Gym
I had the day off for the DMB concert later that night but I didn't want to slack off so I woke up at my regular 5:45 and headed out to the gym. I did squats and deadlifts and then did some upper body work that was all supersets. #beastmodeon

Thursday 6/11: Rest
Today I did nothing but my average walking. I needed a day off but I'm happy to report that when I stepped on the scale for the Weight Watchers at Work meeting (it gives me points for our challenge) I was down 2 pounds. Cue the happy dance.

Friday 6/12:Rest
I'm a daily weigh-er so I stepped on the scale this morning hoping it hadn't gone up since yesterday afternoon at the meeting. I was happy to see that I went down just over half a pound!

Saturday 6/13: Walk & Little Miss
Every morning when I'm home I join my mom on her daily walk. This time I was pushing her since it was the first time she'd gone in days.

Sunday 6/14: Walk & Little Miss
Little Miss, Mom and I took a late-morning walk. She has a new found love for "walking in the road".

Weekly steps: 96,837

I also want to share the fact that my run game has been increasing. Some days I find that I've been jogging for 5+ minutes straight without issue. Those are the days I do walk/jog intervals for roughly 30 minutes. I've found my speed of ability is 5.0.