This quote is super applicable to my life this week. Drew and I had a fantastic weekend in Cape Cod, MA celebrating the wedding of our two friends, Kat and Sam, and exploring. It was amazing and I did not want it to end! I sat down in my office today and made a list of my impending deadlines and realized they are closing in! AH! I have SO much to do these final two weeks of October..it is time to stop procrastinating and making excuses and get to work!
“A year from now you will wish you had started today”- Karen Lamb
This is going to be another short week for Drew and I as we prepare to head off to Boston later this week to celebrate the wedding of our friends Kat and Sam. During weeks like this it is sometimes hard to keep motivated and it is really easy to say that something will get done but then let it fall through the cracks or push it off for another week. We have to remember that there is no time like the present! If you want something, go for it. If you have something that needs to get done, do it. It frees up more time and opportunities as you move forward and allows you to feel a sense of pride in all you have accomplished at the end of each day. Here’s to a productive week full of realized dreams, wishes, and opportunities!
On My Radar
It is a beautiful day here in Charlotte, NC and the perfect way to begin fall break. I plan to work for much of the break (NSF, Ford Fellowship, and research grant applications do not allow for much rest), but I am looking forward to the potential of going to the pumpkin patch or apple picking with friends! On my radar this week is…
I think I might be arriving a little late to this party, but the waterlogue app looks amazing and it certainly seems like it is worth the $3. Unfortunately, I have a Windows phone and it does not appear to be compatible with my OS. Frustrating. A little research suggests that there might be some apps for Windows Phones but I will have to look into them to see how they compare. I will report back.
This radio station rocks. Based out of Towson University in Towson, MD, I have never been disappointed while listening. The selection of songs is totally unique and eclectic and I have discovered many new artists through this station (I first heard the Fleet Foxes played on this station about a year before they got really popular). Note: It is worth checking out Weasel’s Wild Weekend on Saturday’s from 12PM-3PM. He DJ’d at DC’s iconic HFS for ages and his show usually combines totally unique song selections with interesting stories and history of the artists/time period. Drew and I like listening to this as we go about our day on Saturday.
THREE//Jessica Simpson’s Home
As Drew and I have been casually perusing the real estate marker in Charlotte, we have seen some really beautiful homes and some really not so beautiful homes. This link to Jessica Simpson’s home is something else and is really lovely. It is not exactly as I would like my own home to be, but the outside is gorgeous and I like some of the architectural details in the inner home. If you like it as well you are in luck–it is for sale and can be yours for a mere $8,000,000!
FOUR// Postcards for Ants
I love art and have always been fascinated by people who make “tiny things”. Lorraine Loots has started a project where she paints “postcards for ants” each day. The precision and detail is amazing (how does her hand stay so still?!) and the idea is intriguing. You can even reserve a day if you so desire.
FIVE// Dropbox Tricks
As a grad student, dropbox is essential to my survival. I have mainly used it to store articles, documents, and music but the If This Then That (IFTTT) feature is intriguing and I might try to see how I can use it to back up and save pictures.
Fall is my favorite time of the year and it is here! The perfect time of the year to have some version of pumpkin or apple in every meal. This post contains a recipe for apple cider and apple chips and looks absolutely delicious. I am definitely going to be testing this out.
SEVEN// The Perfect Gallery Wall
I have seen so many blogs featuring beautifully arranged gallery walls and have wondered how they are arranged so well. I always figured it was just a result of an artistic eye. This post shares secrets, tricks, and a step-by-stepish process so that everyone can have a killer gallery wall in their home.
What has been on your radar this week? Anything cute, interesting, funny, or beautiful?
I Have Returned!
It has been about two months since I last posted and so much has happened. Here is a quick update….
PhD Year 2
I started the second year of my doctoral program in Clinical Health Psychology and it has been a whirlwind. I finally feel like I am settling in and getting into the groove of the program and I ave been continually excited as I determine and refine the areas of research that really speak to me (more about this later in a separate post). That being said, trying to turn all of these ideas into a working thesis/second year project with approval from my adviser has been a challenge. I started clinical work this year and have my first client, which I am absolutely loving. I am also TAing for a Research Methods course, working specifically with a blind student to help her learn to use, navigate and manage SPSS, while managing the SONA Student Research Pool. All the while I have been trying to explore additional research topics that are interesting to me, complete my coursework, and keep up with readings. In a nutshell, I am extremely busy, tired, but really excited and passionate about the work I am doing.
I became a certified yoga teacher
I need to do a separate post on this as well. I spent the month of June living in Asheville, NC and immersing myself in a month-long yoga teacher training. We were in class every day from 8am-5pm, took or observed yoga classes from 5pm-8pm and completed homework/writing assignments in our “free” time. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I began teaching weekly classes specifically for graduate students at the school and have seen a yoga community begin to emerge. The classes started at around 10 students and through the weeks have increased to a consistent 15-30 people. The feedback I have received has been incredibly positive and I have been enjoying tying what I am learning through my research and studies into each class (i.e., providing education on the empirical benefits of mindfulness, information related to positive psychology theory, etc.). It has become one of the highlights of my week and I am so happy to have the opportunity to share yoga with the graduate community at my school. I have a feeling that some of my future research will involve yoga interventions as well…
I found the perfect planner
Seriously, if you are in school or love to plan, you know how hard it can be to find that one special planner that works for you. Well, I found it and I am in love. A special post dedicated to this subject will follow.
The search for a home has begun
Drew and I have started casually looking into purchasing a home. We figure we will be in the Charlotte area for at least four more years (if not longer) and this might be a good opportunity to begin building equity. We have yet to find the right home for us, but have had lots of fun scouring the web each weekend for potential places.
I have committed to a better me
This seems to be an ongoing theme but it is a good one. I am meditating regularly, making time for yoga/exercise most days of the week, I have committed to spending as close to an entire day with Drew (sans-work) each week as I can, and I have committed to pursuing work/research that is personally meaningful and satisfying to me. I am trying to cook meals as often as I can and Drew and I have committed to eating healthy, trying to include more whole,organic and locally sourced foods into our diet. I plan to begin putting recipes up here when I come across ones that I love (to start, I have killer Thai peanut sauce and delicious Golden Milk recipes I can’t wait to share). I am trying to commit to cleaning more often and being less messy, but I think that is going to have to come at a later time….
So much going on, so much happening! I am excited to be back and look forward to sharing updates with you all.
on four years of marriage
Four years ago, today, I married my best friend. Our wedding was one of the best days of my life. It was magical, beautiful, everything I had ever dreamed of and so much more. It was perfect. It was the last day of July near Washington, DC – an area known for hot and sweltering summers and the weather was a beautiful 72 degrees. Surrounded by our families, friends, and so much love one of the things I remember most was the feeling of love and happiness that surrounded us. The day was truly a celebration of our love and everyone there was so so so happy to share in our celebration.
The day before I went with my bridesmaids to Spaworld (an amazing Korean bath house) where we spent the day rotating between saunas, relaxing in the bath house, getting our nails done, drinking bubble tea, and reconnecting. They came from all over the East Coast and each represented had walked with me through the thick and thin throughout different times of my life- the past, present, and future. Having been so fortunate to know each of them and drawing so much inspiration from them, being surrounded and supported by such a circle of strong, beautiful, intelligent, funny, passionate, kind, and loving women on such a special occasion was truly an honor.
Our rehearsal dinner was lovely. Again, surrounded by our closest friends and family it was full of laughter and happiness. I don’t think I will ever forget the late night video Caleb made of Hans while he told the story of “his special friend who lived around the corner”. Heather and I were laughing so hard we cried.
On our wedding day, I woke up early excited for what was to come. There was no rush at all–everything was relaxed and stress free and I remember being so excited to finally be about to marry the love of my life. The day went by SO quickly and, before I knew it I was at the church and my beautiful mother was wishing me nothing but happiness and telling me that she loved me and I was holding my father’s arm as he prepared to walk me down the aisle. If I remember correctly, we did a little hop-skip at the beginning.
It was magical. I looked up, saw Drew at the end of the aisle, heard the Pachebel Canon ring through the Church (the same music my mother and father had at their wedding). It was like when we first met. I only had eyes for him and the rest of the room faded. It was like we were connected by an energetic string pulling us toward one another. It was love. It was perfect. We had a beautiful ceremony, where some of our dearest family members provided the readings for us (thank you Valerie, Aunt Susie, Caleb, and Uncle Steve) and at the end of the ceremony, following the words “You may now kiss the bride” I was swooped into what I think was the greatest first kiss of all time….whew! I was a little surprised because Drew is not one for PDA – at all. We had not talked about it or rehearsed or anything like that so I had no idea what it would be like. Following those words, Drew just about grabbed me and pulled me to him and gave me one of the sweetest, longest kisses that I think that church has ever seen. The whole church was whooping, cheering, and clapping and I do not think there was a dry eye in the house.
The rest of the day was wonderful. Tons of pictures. Tons of laughter. Every speech given was intimate, heartfelt, and perfect. My brother stepped in and provided some of the best wedding music of all time – a foreshadowing of his musical talent and the awesome career that was to come for him. We had a Grateful Dead moment at the end of the evening where my family and Drew’s family held hands and danced in a huge circle to my favorite song, Scarlet Begonias. We were truly one huge family and still are to this day. It was just one big day of love and I am so SO grateful to everyone who was there, who helped, who sent us support and who have supported us throughout the years. THANK YOU.
And here, four years later, we are still going strong. I feel like we are better, even, in many ways. We have grown so much over these four years – both individually and as a couple. Through new jobs, new beginnings, a new home in a new state, we have come into our own as a couple and as a family. It has not always been easy and I am so grateful to Drew for sticking by my side in those moments where I was certainly not at my best. He has been my rock and has been more patient, loving, supportive, and forgiving than I ever thought a human being was capable of being. I am truly lucky to have him as a part of my life and I am honored to be able to call myself his wife. Through the good and the bad we have learned to lean on each other, to communicate effectively, to listen to what is said and what is unsaid, to give each other space when we need it, to respect that space, and to cherish each moment we have with one another. He is truly my best friend and I look forward to seeing him each day. He makes my life better and makes each day brighter. These four years of marriage (and 9 years of partnership) have been amazing and I am so excited to continue on, living each beautiful day with the love of my life.
May we all be able to experience some of this love, sense of connection, and magic- even if just a small taste of it- each day of our lives.
let there be curls
As a person with
frizzy curly hair, I have been on the search for the Holy Grail of hair care for as long as I can remember. I am talking about that magical combination of products that gives me that luscious, bouncy, rich hair worthy of a Pantene ProV commercial without having to spend hours blow drying, diffusing, etc. I would try something out, it would work for about a day (or a hair stylist would make it look amazing at a salon but I would be incapable of replicating their work). In sum, after 10 years of ups and downs, I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact that that my hair was just going to be frizzy and that it would need to be worn up in a bun most of the time. I was OK with that and when not working in a professional setting, attending conferences, etc. that was totally fine. However, secretly my heart longed to be able to wear my curls proudly….
Enter Aveda. I love love love Aveda and we are lucky to have an Aveda hair school here in Charlotte. I was initially drawn there because you can get a hair cut and style for $10 (yes, you read that correctly, $10). Even better, for a mere $10 extra they have the option of adding on a botanical hair treatment that not only smells divine but makes my hair moisturized and soft for at least a month. A whopping $20 for a whole hair experience. The stylists even provide a complimentary massage as part of your styling and sometime I luck out and get a free make-up application. You can’t beat it!
Needless to say, as I began to attend Aveda I was drawn to their Be Curly line. I have tried all the products in the line, and my absolute favorite is this one. It gives my curls definition without making them feel like they are sticky or crunchy. Unfortunately, the shampoo/conditioners etc smelled nice, but they just did not provide those epic bouncy curls I was hoping for.
Enter Rahua. I stumbled across this line through a web search. Made from the Rahua (ra-wa) oil found in the Amazon rainforest, this line had rave reviews all over the internet. People swore it was like nothing else they had ever tried. People swore it was the Holy Grail I had been searching for. I was skeptical but thought I was give it a go…and WOW. By George, I think they may be right! I have been using this for about two weeks now in the heart of the hot, humid, southern, Charlotte summer and my hair is loving it! I started with this so I could sample the shampoo/conditioner offerings and they both are working amazing. The smell is a little odd at first, but it was grown on me quickly and I have come to appreciate how earthy it is. I also love that the products are 100% natural and vegan.
After I wash (only about 2x-3x per week for us with curls) and condition (every day to every other day), I follow by scrunching the Aveda cream into my hair. You only need about a dime sized amount and you scrunch it through your hair, focusing on the ends. The key is to not brush/rake your fingers through your hair, as this just creates frizz. Brush/rake your hair in the shower with conditioner instead.
The final step. This finishing cream is magic. Rahua again. I put just a dab on my hands (less than a dime size) and rub it on the ends of my hair, scrunching slightly. I swear it makes my hair so soft, silky, and rather resistant to frizz.
I am not sponsored by either Aveda or Rahua…just wanted to share what is working in hopes that it might work for you too. Wear your curls proud!
This semester has been crazy. It has been go-go-go from the very beginning with hardly a minute to rest (physically or mentally). I have two weeks left and I have hit a wall. I have so much to do–3 papers, 4 tests, a report, a presentation, etc. No matter how much I want to give up and just sleep I just have to remind myself I have only two weeks left and then my first semester of grad school will be over! Time has really flown and much celebration will be in order. Until then though…I just have to remember to breathe and power through. Wish me luck!
Delicious Anti-inflammatory Immune Boosting Tonic
It is no secret that most diets contain artificial colors, chemicals, preservatives, pesticides, etc. etc. etc. In addition to just sounding terrible, over the course of time all of this combines with environmental toxins to put serious strain on our bodies and immune systems.
Many people subscribe by juicing or cleanses to increase energy and help the body to break down and remove these toxins by flooding the body with raw vitamins and nutrients. I have done juice cleanses many times and love them. An equally beneficial (and maybe slightly less vogue) way to help heal the body is through tonics. The medicinal usees of herbal tonics have been recorded for centuries. For years, I have enjoyed brewing my own tonics and healing tinctures and would like to begin a series where I share recipes.
We will begin with my favorite “awakening blend”. As a long-lover of coffee I swear that this completely has replaced my need for caffeine in the morning and after drinking, I feel more awake and refreshed than I ever did on coffee.
To start, combine a lemon and both aloe juice and alkaline water to form a clean, hydrating, and ionized base. If you do not have alkaline water try to use filtered water- the addition of lemon to water has natural alkalizing properties.
Next, add some root of turmeric (or approximately 3/4 tsp turmeric powder). Turmeric is a super root that helps to fight and reduce inflammation and infection and treat digestive problems.
Add a few vanilla beans or pure vanilla extract. In addition to giving the whole drink a smooth consistency, vanilla bean helps to regulate metabolism and aid in the process of enzyme synthesis and nervous system functioning.
Add approximately 1-2 tbs of cayenne pepper. Capsicum (cayenne pepper) is a super herb which is used to ease digestive problems, stimulate blood flow, ease pain, and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. It is also incredibly effective in giving you enough of a kick to wake you up in the morning in lieu of caffeine and keep you going throughout the day.
Finally, I included coconut sugar/nectar in this picture as well. Should you choose to sweeten your tonic to aid consumption and allow for a pleasant sipping experience, I recommend either this, agave, or Stevia. Try not to use any more than about 1 tsp to ensure low fructose content.
I like to juice the lemon, turmeric root, aloe, and vanilla bean in a juicer and then add the water and remaining spices to the mix. It is absolutely delicious and you can add bits of water throughout the day to make it last. I swear by it each morning and have found myself to feel much more refreshed, clean, and balanced if I start my day off with this mixture.
Full Moon in Cancer
We are strongly influenced by the rhythms and energy of the earth. The following is from the lovely and luminous Shakti Sunfire.
Full Moon in Cancer Asks : Slow down. Balance. Receive. Where falls the next soft step?
The Cancer Full Moon on January 15-16 speaks to the power of your emotions. Feelings are your indicators. Feelings show you that you are on the right path. Feelings demonstrate what is true for you. You create music, art and writing from the passion of your feelings. Cancer rules feelings. Cancer is about your soul power. You are being asked to pull up your personal power. Allowing your feelings to guide you because your feelings are your truth. Being balanced in your male and female energy will empower you.”
Go for a walk in nature – in the woods, out on the beach, in your neighborhood park – and begin to soften your focus to see peripherally as well as in front of you. Be aware of all that you can take in. The quality of the light, a small bird or animal, a sense of harmony. Feel into the practice. Notice. Breathe. Absorb. Balance.
Happy 2014! The internet has been filled with new resolutions over the past week and I have been enjoying perusing what others are vowing to do this year. This posting was one of my favorites. If I can embody or accomplish even a quarter of what is listed, it will be an amazing year. One of my goals this year is to take more pictures. I stumbled across this blog this past year and loved everything about it, especially the idea sharing a photos of each child, each week for the entire year. We have no children yet (though Mila would argue otherwise) so this project will be slightly modified. Here is my start with a few from Christmas sprinkled in because they make me smile. Week 1/52. Photos of our week, each week, for a year.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.
1. The tastiest cookies. 2. My love and my brother. 3. Christmas cheer. 4. Our Christmas Eve tradition. 5. A feast of epic proportions. 6. They say what one does the first day of the new year sets the tone for what is to come. Yoga was followed by an awesome meal of Indian delight and disc golf at this beautiful park. This is going to be an excellent year. 7. These = Heaven. 8. On January 3 we went to our first AHL game. Officially Checkers fans. 9. Day four- first visit to the Carolina Raptor Center, a mere 8 miles from our home. 10. The best decision of 2012 brought so much joy to us in 2013. Pets add so much love and happiness to a household and I am so grateful for our sweet Mila.