Uncategorized

Weekend Watchlist

weekend

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week from around the internet.

1.) My brother started a podcast! (caution, explicit language)

2.) I am excited to start gearing up for baseball season. Go Nats!

3.) How people learn to become resilient.

4.) Hypnotic ice stacking on Lake Superior.

5.) Everyone in America is more broke than you think.

6.) Are you a leading white female? If so, prepare for backlash.

7.) The US senate confirmed the first female Native American judge!

8.) How the suicide disease changed this young woman’s life forever.

9.) Flower arranging tips to feel like a pro

10.) A Ballerina’s Tale: The Misty Copeland Documentary.

Happy weekend!

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Weekend Watchlist

 

friday

Happy Friday! This week started strong and quickly faded as I battled one of the worst stomach bugs I have had in years. I am much better than I was Tuesday, but am still feeling super weak. Drew has now caught the bug and I feel terrible for sharing the illness with him.

This week, I was forced to take a full 2 days off to rest (which I completely needed and was grateful for), but am now super behind in my work. I already decided to remove myself from one manuscript I was planning to collaborate on this semester, and am considering removing myself from a second. It is really hard to say “no” to projects, especially when swimming in the “publish or peril” world of academia, but I am taking this week as a sign that I need to slow down, focus on what I already have going on, and devote my energies to my own projects and ideas.

All that being said, I did a really great job of slowing down today (ha!) and spent over 12 hours working trying to catch up on what I missed this week. Of course, we all know that “working” is code for savoring manic bursts of intense productivity tempered with pleasant and leisurely web-surfing, kitty snuggling, music listening, song singing, and husband nursing 😉 Therefore, I give you a slightly delayed, but ever enjoyable, list of what caught my eye this week today.

 

  1. Macarons! My newest obsession 🙂 I scored an amazing deal at Michaels last week and was able to purchase this Macaron Making Kit for only $3.20!  I love this video tutorial for Valentine’s themed macarons. If you browse the site, you can find many other cute recipes as well 🙂 Bon apetite!
  2. MAN BRAIDS. I shared this video on my facebook page today and had to share it here as well. Because when all the other people seem to be all about man buns, I am over here like, but what about the man braids?! Also, is it just me or is that the same guy from the Herbal Essences commercials of yesteryear?
  3. HARRY POTTER. As I was typing “Harry”, I accidentally typed “Happy” three times. A very appropriate Freudian slip because I was over-the-moon happy to learn that the J.K. Rowling, the magical mage herself, is releasing an 8th book in the HP series this summer! July 31 is our anniversary, perfect timing for a perfect gift! I also think this confirms that I will unavailable the first week of August due to a highly anticipated “trip” back to Hogwarts 🙂
  4. Tiny, Terrified, Sloth. Behold, my spirit animal. This is one of the cutest things I think I have seen and reminded me of this amazing video.
  5.  Wanderlust is Coming to Charlotte…and I can’t wait!
  6. Trauma and the Brain. Trauma is my main line of research and I appreciated this quick and relatively easy to understand piece on the long-standing impact that traumatic exposure can have on the brain. Much of what I do with trauma clients is work to help them reconstruct their narrative and I like this article as I think it can help others to understand why trauma feels so jarring and overwhelming, and can give us an appreciation for the limits of our mind. The brain isn’t perfect and the reconstructed narrative doesn’t have to be either–as long as it is in line with your values and how you wish to live your life moving forward, that is better than perfect. That said: if you or someone you know is struggling in the aftermath of a traumatic event, the nationwide crisisline and hotline directory can be referenced for additional resources state-by-state:  http://www.aaets.org/crisishotline.htm

 

 

 

 

Motivation

Creativity

creative

How often do you think of yourself as pursuing a creative profession?

I have to admit that in a Psychology graduate program, that was a hard leap to make at first. “Creative professional” were not the first words that came to mind.

“Scientist”? Yes.

“Helping professional”? Definitely.

Part Full-time Nerd”? I wear that label with pride.

“Creative professional”? This one is a little more of a stretch.

As I would guess many of us do, I tend to group the “creative professions” into those which center around the fine arts (i.e., painting, sculpting, illustrating, etc), writing, musicians, singers, etc. Psychologists, especially Clinical Health Psychologists, don’t easily fit into that category. Sure, you can make an argument that doing research is a creative endeavor and and I would whole-heartedly agree. You could even argue that that working with clients requires a creative mentality. One size does not fit all (though I am sure some would argue to the contrary). But still, categorizing myself as a creative professional is not a ready association. Or at least it wasn’t until recently, when I read “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.

You might know her from her memoir “Eat, Pray, Love” (or maybe you saw the movie). In her new book, she forays into the world of creativity with the mission to help us all embrace our inner-creative and get to making.

According to Gilbert, if you are alive, you are a creative person. You and I and everyone you know are descended from tens of thousands of years of makers and creatives. Decorators, tinkerers, storytellers, dancers, explorers, fiddlers, drummers, builders, growers, problem-solvers, and embellishers—these are our common ancestors.

Being creative doesn’t have to be about writing stories, or painting pictures, or playing instruments (though it certainly can include these things). Creativity is also, just as importantly, about styling your hair and choosing your outfit. It’s about the throw pillows you choose for your home and the selfies you take. It’s about singing at the stoplight, its about helping your kids learn how to count using gummy bears and pennies, and its about finding research ideas that ignite warm and fuzzy feelings of curiosity inside of you. Because all of those things are creations. The act of making, in whatever small way, opens you to the potential of living a creative life without the fear of failure, no matter what your idea of failure is. It puts you in touch with the inner (and often hidden) artist within you.

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them. The courage to go on that hunt in the first place—that’s what separates a mundane existence from a more enchanted one.” – Elizabeth Gilbert

While I began to consider myself as “creative” and apply this to my graduate identity, I experienced a mixture of excitement and fear. On the one hand, I was so excited to embrace that I am in a creative profession. To me, creativity is what sets the great scientists apart from the rest. It is where the truly innovative studies and research designs come from. It is where the ideas (both big and small) come from that keep the field moving forward. It is what allows interventions to be modified, even if just ever so slightly, such that the treatment can resonate with each client we work with, no matter what their background is. It is the force that inspires future generations to pursue a satisfying and exhilarating career.

On the other hand, while I was excited, there also existed a sense of both fear and apprehension as I attempted to own this label. Yes, I wanted to be creative but I struggle with fear on both sides of the creative gulf: I fear the results of the hard work itself will not meet my own expectations, and I fear that my hard work will not be received in a way that meets my own expectations. That fear gets in the way of my ability to create without (self)judgment. It is a viscous and downward spiral- I get a creative and potentially unique/quirky/innovative idea, I get excited, the fear creeps in, I start to doubt my creative motivations, I doubt the quality of my idea and my capability to implement the idea, I consider giving up on the idea, and I begin consider resigning myself to riding the wave of status qua moving forward. It just seems easier. It just seems safer. If you are an academic, graduate student, (nay, if you are a human being) my guess would be that you can relate to this cycle in some way.

I think the key to breaking out of this cycle is curiosity. Finding those things that we  genuinely want to know more about. This can be an idea, or this is can be a sense of curiosity to see what we can make. What we are capable of. Regardless, the key to breaking out of this cycle of fear is finding those ideas or things that ignite a warm, rosy glow if interest deep within you. Finding those things that you just cant get out of your head, that you absolutely need to know more about, or that you absolutely need to try/experience.

It is about living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than fear. It is about knowing that there isn’t anything at stake in the act of creating besides satisfying curiosity.

If you simply create (or make, if that’s a more comfortable word for you) because you do, because you want to see what you can make, then you have no expectations and failure is no longer an option. Fear, to paraphrase Gilbert, will still come along for the ride, but it doesn’t get to drive.

In my brief tenure as a psychologist, it is the “creatives” that have inspired me to continue on. Their passion, curiosity, and desire to just explore things that they are interested in for the sake of interest, with no expectation to publish or get a grant or change lives, etc, is what made me want to be a scientist and what continues to motivate me.

When I started grad school I committed myself to curiosity. I was going to pursue the things I was interested in. This has led to about a million ideas. Many of them have fizzled but a few have stuck. I have been lucky to have a few which I cannot get out of my head. They keep me up at night. I dream about them. I think about them all day. And they are accompanied by that warm rosy feeling. It took me about a year to get over my fear of sharing them with my advisor, but once I did it completely changed my experience. I no longer think my ideas are something to be ashamed of. Rather, they are an extension of myself and a chance to get to know existence more intimately. Sharing all my random thoughts with him has, at times, made him want to pull his hair out. But it has prompted some really interesting conversations and has helped shape our relationship such that it is more collegial. More importantly, by sharing my ideas I have come to be proud of them, of my curiosity, and of my creativity.

I have found that curiosity is like a muscle, it you work it, it gets stronger.

Allowing the ideas to flow generates more ideas. I email about 10% of my ideas to my advisor and share maybe 10% with others in brain-storming sessions. The rest? I write some of them down to return to at some later point. Others don’t stick and I just let them flow through me. With each idea, whether it is a keeper or not, I take a moment to thank my mind and the universe for a brief glimpse at creative introspection. I thank them for making my life a little richer and more colorful in that moment, for helping me feel a little more connected. With that sense of gratitude, I can let the ideas go and have freedom to either pursue what I am working on already or be on the lookout for the next one. Sometimes the ideas come back. Oftentimes they don’t. Either way, it is OK.

I have found that by redefining creativity as the process of simply making and by redefining my end goal as simply an opportunity to pursue an interesting idea, I have come to love my work. Sure, grad school is stressful. But I really do believe I have the most amazing career out there. I get to be curious and creative every single day.  I have stumbled into a career that is intellectually satisfying AND fun. I really do feel lucky and credit a change in perspective as the key to making the whole experience manageable. If you are looking for some creative inspiration, I recommend Liz Gilbert’s book. If you have already read it, I would love to know what you thought about it and if you have been able to apply any of the concepts to your own life.

Uncategorized

Weekend Watchlist

snowday

 

Happy Friday! I woke today to a beautiful 1 inch or so of and, accordingly, the city of Charlotte is officially shut down. Coming from Washington, DC this never fails to make me laugh (especially since they and so much of the Northeast is in the midst of a blizzard–stay warm and safe everyone!), but Charlotte does not really have snow plows or salt, so it is actually much safer to stay home. I have no complaints and have enjoyed a wonderfully cozy morning working from home with Drew (who also was told to stay home today from his corporate job). That being said, it is lunch break time so I thought I would post some things that I came across this week which caught my attention.

 

1// Things That Only People Who Hate Talking on the Phone Will Understand

This post speaks to my soul! If you know me at all, you know I am terrible at talking on the phone, returning phone calls, listening to messages, aka basically any activity that involves picking up my phone and using it. I am notorious for being unreachable and, while this is something I am actively working to improve on this year, it is a daily struggle. This pretty much sums up my feelings toward the phone. 🙂

 

2// The Presidents of the United States: When They Were Young and Hunky

The comments beneath each picture make this. I laughed out loud so many times. So. Many. Times. I mean, just look at #6, #14, #38, & #42! I would love to know which captions are your favorites. Also, is it just me, or does a young James Polk seem vaguely reminiscent of a present day Tom Hiddleston??

 

3// Man Posing in Traditional Boudoir Poses

WARNING! CONTENT IN THIS POST MAY MAKE YOU SLIGHTLY UNCOMFORTABLE…however, you are almost guaranteed to laugh. This was the first post I opened this morning. It set the tone for a perfectly silly day. I still giggle like a little girl each time I open it!

 

4// How to Ask for a Raise

On a more serious note, I found this article on how to effectively ask for raise quite useful!

 

5// Sesame Street Moves to HBO

“Is Sesame Street the most important children’s television show of all time? Why else would there be such a vibrant, charged conversation around the biggest move the series has made in ages? I think it’s like asking, ‘Is George Washington the best president of all time?’” said Rich. “It defined children’s television. It basically created the field.”

I never really watched Sesame Street growing up (Mr. Rogers was more my thing) and was surprised to learn it has been on the air for over 46 seasons–close to half a century! This is a really interesting article about the upcoming move to HBO and what it might mean for the show. On a related note, this article claims that Elmo ruined Sesame Street…do you agree?

Motivation

Monday Motivation- MLK

mlk1.JPG

 

The summer before I returned to graduate school, I had the great privilege of teaching at a leadership camp. I spent the week with a group of 15 middle school students traveling around Washington, DC, Virginia, and West Virginia helping them learn about leadership, our political system, and freedom. It was an amazing week filled with memorable experiences; however, my most memorable moment came at the end of the week. The topics of the day were the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King, Jr. The lessons that day were particularly poignant as the DOMA ruling had just taken place that morning. I was instructed not to discuss it with my students (I think the camp was afraid of political and religious leanings), but I couldn’t help myself. How can you be in DC, discussing civil rights and freedom with children, on the exact morning of DOMA and not discuss it? So, I defied authority and went for it.

We had a rich conversation about equality and freedom without any sort of religious or political leaning. I was so proud of my students. We discussed the freedom which America offers its citizens and were able to reflect on just how far we have come in 50 years (and just how far we still have to go). At the end of it all, I took my group to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. We stood on the spot where MLK gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech (pictured above). Each of my students were given a copy of the speech. They were instructed to look out at the mall and picture it filled with people. Not an inch of standing space available. They pictured themselves back in a time when basic rights were unavailable to certain subsets of individuals based on how they looked or what they believed in. They imagined what it would be like if they were one of those people. Someone who has the same thoughts, feelings, emotions, hopes, dreams, desires, etc. as everyone else, but who was denied the expression of these basic human tendencies as a result of misunderstanding and prejudice. Then, they took turns reading stanzas of the speech out loud, reflecting all the while on the power of the human spirit. On how far we have come as a nation. They reflected on the power of dreaming, on their own unique dreams, and on the urgent need for dreams to persist throughout ones life. On the necessity for dreams to be put into action and on the corresponding courage required. Finally, they reflected on the need to work together and rely on one another to actualize their dreams and affect lasting change in our world. It was powerful and there was not a dry eye in sight at the end of the exercise.

I left camp that week feeling utterly exhausted following a week of late nights and early mornings. I also left entirely inspired and excited for our future. I still carry this excitement with me. It is easy to look out at the world, with all of its sorrow, hatred, violence, and suffering, and become discouraged. It is at times like this when the message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. becomes increasingly important. We all have a dream. Dreams for how we can improve our own lives and the lives of those around us. There is no right or wrong dream, as long as you are dreaming. I encourage you to reflect on your own, unique dreams today and on steps you might take towards actualizing them. What can you bring to the day that moves you closer to where you want to be? What can you bring to the day that helps move others closer to where you want the world to be? I assure you that if we approached each day with this mentality, our world would be a much more peaceful place.

In the spirit of MLK, I will leave you with a video clip of his iconic speech. I hope you have an amazing week and may you never stop dreaming!

Uncategorized

Weekend Watchlist

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a great week. It seems that winter has finally arrived in Charlotte! One of the things I love about living here is while that we still get to experience each of the four seasons here, the extremes are nowhere near as intense as they were in DC. We were spoiled with 70 degree days through the end of December; however, it seems that now winter has arrived. I am crossing my fingers for snow!

I returned to work at Wake Forest this week. I always find it tricky to readjust following the holidays, and this week was no exception. I have been sick this week and, subsequently had extra time to surf the internet. Here follows several things which were on my radar.

fridayaloha

1//  Motivational Quote

I came across the following quote which I plan to return to many times this year in order to motivate me. It is well said and very applicable to so many of us. Mallorie is a fellow clinical psych PhD student (!) and deserves a shout out for the inspiration. Here is what she has to say:

“Recently, I was reminded that everything I do is for me. I’m not sure if others will feel comfortable applying this to their own lives, but in mine, I am the driving force. The research, the clinical work, the writing and reading and teaching, has all been my choice. And for me, remembering that this is all my choice, and for my benefit (and no one else), has been freeing. Not because it means I can stop (because I can’t, really), but because it reminds me that I like this stuff, and I want to do it. And if I don’t, I’m the only one that I’ll be disappointing. Everything has felt incredibly forced for me, over the past few months. Remembering why I do it has been really, really useful.”

 

2// Making a Murderer

It seems like everyone we know was talking about this show. Similar to the podcast, Serial, which I have enjoyed listening to on my way to work, it is captivating. This blog post tells some fun facts about the show…but be careful because there are some spoilers down the page!

 

3// When Breath Becomes Air

Advance warning–this is a very heavy topic. This book is the final memoir of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgery chief resident at Stanford who died of lung cancer at the age of 38. As one of the most anticipated releases of 2016, it has received rave reviews. If the writing is anything like Paul’s previous essays (see How Long Have I Got Left and Before I Go for more), the book will be fantastic. I have pre-ordered it and cannot wait to delve into it next week. I anticipate much laughter and tears.

 

4// Flying Squid Tutorial

On a much lighter note, this tutorial guides you through how to make flying squid out of felt! My family and I had a blast playing with a similar toy (small flying rubber chickens) over the holidays and I was excited to see that we can also make our own 🙂

 

5// Squam by the Sea 2016

My amazing mother alerted me to this. The Squam community is comprised of amazing and creative individuals who gather several times each year to immersing themselves in yoga, art, good food, and connection. Most of the retreats are held at a beautiful location by  Squam Lake in New Hampshire. I have wanted to attend a gathering since 2012, when I discovered the community, but have never been able to make it….but now they are bringing the community to North Carolina for an extended weekend in Nags Head! My mother and I are trying to see if we can make it as a post-graduation (masters degree) celebreation. I really hope we can swing it!

 

6// Emma Watson’s Bookclub

I love Emma Watson. She is intelligent, outspoken, a wonderful actress, and seems both refined and genuine. She recently announced that she is starting a Goodreads bookclub for fans and feminists alike! First up is Gloria Steinem’s My Life on the Road. You can find the link to the bookclub here.

 

What is on your radar this week?

 

 

 

100 in 1001, Uncategorized

101 in 1001

100 things

Inspired by Mackenzie Horan’s original idea I have decided to give the 101 in 1001 challenge a go for myself. Here is how it works:

I am keeping a list of 101 things I would like to accomplish in the next 1001 days. 1001 days (2.75 years) is thought to be a happy medium between writing a to-do list and keeping a bucket list. It is a way to dream big and make regular progress toward meeting longer term goals. I will do my best to update my progress monthly, and hope you enjoy following along. Here goes!

STARTS JANUARY 1, 2016
ENDS SEPTEMBER 28, 2018
{1 COMPLETE, 100 TO GO!}

1) Come up with 101 things

2) Put $27.50 in savings for every goal accomplished (1/101)

Financial

3) Pay off all credit cards (0/5)

4) Do not shop/make personal purchases for 1 month

5) Complete the 52-week money challenge (0/52)

Health/Wellness

6) Do not drink alcohol for the year 2016

7) Do not eat sugar for one month

8) Exercise at least 3 times/week for two months

9) Meditate daily for one month

10) Attend weekly meditation meetups for 1 month

11) Get that heart in shape aka reach healthy BMI

12) Drink at least 64 ounces of water/day

13) Run a 5k

14) Go to bed by 10 PM every night for a week

15) Wake up at 6am every morning for a week

16) Try stand-up paddle boarding or paddle board yoga

17) Finish BBG round 1

18) Hike five different mountains (3/5) (Crowders Mountain, 01.2016; Mt. Lemmon, 08.2016; Clingmans Dome, 06.2016)

19) Take a self defense class

20) Take a barre class

21) Take a dance class (other than ballet)

Blog

22) Design and create business cards for my blog/artwork

23) Write at least 1 blog post/ month

24) Publish three “how-to” posts (0/3)

25) Publish a guide to Charlotte, NC

26) Publish a guide to Washington, DC

27) Publish a guide to Lewes, DE

28) Start a series on the blog (in the works!)

School

29) Complete and defend master’s thesis (11.2016)

30) Publish resolution and PTG research paper

31) Publish self-compassion and PTG research paper

32) Publish LGCM paper with Anne Marie and Sara

33) Publish religiousness and inflammation paper

34) Attend the Mind and Life Summer Research Institute (06.2016)

35) Complete and defend research comps

36) Complete and defend clinical comps (06.2016)

37) Propose dissertation

38) Apply for internship

39) Complete coursework

Family

40) Call family once/week for at least 2 months

41) Visit family at least once outside of the holiday season (10.2016)

42) Send unexpected care packages to siblings

43) Go on a trip with my entire family

44) Send flowers to my grandmother, mother, and mother-in-law one day, out of the blue

Social/Friends

45) Respond to text messages and voice mails my friends leave

46) Call good friends at least 1 time per season (4x per year)

47) Host ornament/cookie exchange holiday party (12.2016)

48) Host craft party

49) Send birthday cards

Charlotte, NC

50) Spend a day at the Mint Art Museum Uptown

51) Spend a day at the Bechler Museum of Modern Art

52) Check out the Body Exhibit at Discovery Place (03.2016)

53) Discover ten new restaurants (5/10) Cowfish, 06.2016; Futo Buta, 07.2016; Copper, 08.2016; Boiling Pot, 11.2016; Fern Flavors from the Earth, 01.2017

54) Spend a day with Drew at the Whitewater Center

55) Go to the farmers market at least 5 times in one summer

56) Attend an off-Broadway performance in Charlotte

57) Attend three plays at the Actors Theater (2/3) Toxic Avenger 11.2016; Great American Trailer Park Christmas, 12.2016

58) Go to a Panthers game (NFL)

59) Go to a Knights game (baseball)

Travel

60) Visit Claire in Providence, RI

61) Travel to a new state Two new states- CO and AZ, 08.2016

62) Visit Caleb

63) Visit five new cities (3/5) Denver, CO, 08.2016;  Tucson, AZ, 08.2016; Williamsburg, VA, 10.2016

64) Take a trip to Los Angeles to see Christina

65) Go on a roadtrip

Philanthropy

66) Buy a meal for a stranger

67) Pay it forward to an unsuspecting recipient

68) Donate to a Kickstarter/Go Fund Me campaign I believe in

69) Find a charity to donate monthly

70) Leave a 100% tip for excellent service

71) Buy a table of strangers dinner anonymously

72) Pay a strangers Lay-Away balance

Creative

73) Create a photobook from 2015, 2016, 2017

74) Send homemade/hand-designed Christmas cards

75) Host a small gallery show displaying my paintings

76) Re-vamp Etsy site with paper and chalkboard goods

77) Participate in a local craft show/holiday popup market

Around the House/ Organization

78) Throw away/donate at least 20 things

79) Keep my room clean/clutter free for one month

80) Clean my car and keep it tidy for one month

81) Spiff up the living room and our bedroom

82) Organize Gmail and unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists

Personal & Just for Fun

83) Spend at least 45 min with Drew each evening eating dinner

84) Spend at least one day with Drew/week (no work/no electronics)

85) Read at least 100 non-school books (0/100)

86) Celebrate 6 year anniversary with Drew doing something fabulous

87) Watch twenty documentaries (0/20)

88) Invest in a DSLR-camera

89) Go through one calendar month without biting/picking nails

90) Watch Seasons 1-9 of Dr. Who from the recent release (0/9)

91) Attend a classical music concert

92) Read five classic novels (0/5)

93) Write in my “One Line a Day book” every night for at least three months

94) Pick apples at an apple orchard

95) Carve a pumpkin (and roast the seeds)

96) Buy a house

97) Have a picnic

98) Learn to drive a manual car

99) Learn to play five songs on my Ukulele (0/5)

100) Go one month without checking social media or phone upon waking

101)  Go one week without complaining

Personal

Happy New Year!

Happy 2016! I hope you all had a happy and safe holiday and New Year. Drew and I had a wonderful time visiting family and friends in both Virginia and North Carolina over the holidays. Our New Year’s was pretty low-key, and we enjoyed dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant, a game of Carcassone, and a movie at home before watching the ball drop. I spent New Years Day finishing up my fellowship application for the PEO Scholar Award (*fingers crossed*), and then we feasted on our traditional New Years meal of lobster and roasted veggies before seeing Star Wars (which was absolutely amazing). I have really enjoyed a much needed break and am spending today finishing up errands and preparing to head back to work tomorrow.

As we have eased into 2016, I have spent a good deal of time thinking over this past year. It was a doozy and can best be described as a roller coaster ride. The fall/early winter has been particularly hard for our families and we are all looking forward to a fresh start. That being said, despite the hard times, this really has been a great year. I have been blessed with amazing friends and family who have been with us every step of the way on our roller coaster of a year. Drew and I took amazing trips all over the country together, creating a ton of fun memories. I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work in a field/profession that I love and have grown immensely from the interactions with my colleagues, clients, and patients.

Tomorrow, I will be posting my goals for the New Year, but today I thought it would be fun to review the highlights from each month. As I prepared this, I reminded that despite the challenges we have faced, the good has outweighed the bad. Drew and I made a commitment to each other at the beginning of grad school to spend quality time together each day, and take a least a FULL day off each week from work/electronics to enjoy each others company (we are best friends, after all). We really tried to honor this commitment in 2015, and had some amazing adventures as a result!

January//

januarycrowdersmountain
Spent the first day of 2015 hiking Crowders Mountain

januarycarolinapanthers

Cheered on the Carolina Panthers at the NFL Playoffs

February//

february

february1
Celebrated the Super Bowl (of chili) with good friends

 

March//

davidsedarischarlotte
Attended a reading by favorite author, David Sedaris, at the Belk Theatre

marchasheville
Had a fabulous ladies weekend gallivanting around Asheville, NC with my sister in-law Claire and some of her best ladies


 

April//

aprilpilotmountain
Went zip-lining and hiked Pilot Mountain

aprilfiestasanantonio
Frolicked around with San Antonio’s finest during Fiesta under the guise of while presenting my research at the Society for Behavioral Medicine meeting

 

May//

mayuniversal
Successfully completed my 2nd year of grad school and took a trip to Universal Studios to celebrate

mayuniversal1
Traveled to Diagon Alley to embrace my inner Hufflepuff nature along side two of my best friends

 

June//

junemiami
Turned 29 and  Drew wisked me away on an amazing birthday weekend trip to Florida (this photo is from atop a lighthouse in Miami)

juneeverglades
Hiked through alligator holes in the Everglades with Drew (he hiked barefoot and his foot made friends with a little leech…he is very crazy brave!)

juneeverglades1
Went on an airboat tour of the Everglades (this trip was amazing)

junewynwood
Took in the sights at the Wynwood Walls in Miami, FL

 

July//

julygratefuldeadchicago
Spontaneously decided to drive to Chicago, IL to see the last three shows of the Grateful Dead

julygratefuldead
Joined millions of Deadheads and took over Chicago on Fourth of July weekend

julyanniversary
Celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary!

August//

augustniagrafalls
Took in the majesty of Niagara Falls and the sights/tastes of Toronto, CAN under the guise of while presenting research at the American Psychological Association Annual Convention

 

September//

septemberlockn1
Headed to Arrington, VA to boogie down at the Lockn’ music festival with my dad!

October//

drwho
My friend, Anne Marie, introduced me to the glory that is Dr. Who. Spent the rest of the month catching up on episodes and trying to figure out how to build a tardis 😉

 

November//

novemberveteransday
Supported the APA Division 19 (military psychology) by organizing a holiday card drive for local veterans. UNCC students signed over 150 cards which were delivered to local area veterans over the holiday season!

December//

decemberlisserace
Watched my sister, Analisse, blaze up the track at VA Tech at her winter invitational meet

decemberroomescape
Had a blast escaping from prison with my family in Washington, DC

decemberchristmas
Embraced our inner Elf-spirit on Christmas. Had an amazing time celebrating with both my family and Drew’s!

I hope your 2015 was amazing as well! What were your highlights? If you blogged about it, please leave a comment with a link to your blog 🙂 Happy 2016!

Uncategorized

Weekend Watchlist

naughty list

I hope you all had an amazing week! Mine was quite good. I worked through the think of “finals season”, finishing up two term papers and two large presentations and was officially published for the first time (YAY!). I still have an online final and a large paper due on Wednesday, but it feels good to begin looking back at all of the work I have put in with satisfaction. This semester was particularly stressful from a personal standpoint and had drastic ups and downs. It feels so so nice to be nearing the end of this chapter. I have learned much with regards to school and myself, and have grown in many ways; however, this semester is one chapter which I am pleased to move on from. I am beginning to prep for a party I am hosting tomorrow and our holiday visit home to see our families next week and am growing excited!

Here what caught my eye this week:

1// Pretty Holiday Gift Tags

Ona Befort is a wonderfully generous artist and frequently shares free printables of her amazing work. These gift tags are adorable and sure to make any wrapped gift extra special.

 

2// Extra Large Prize Ribbons

Oh Happy Day is a pretty famous blog among the DIYers and crafty folk. I love these prize ribbons. What a neat way to celebrate an accomplishment. My grad program used to create small posters for each student when they completed their milestones (i.e., thesis proposal/defense, dissertation proposal/defense, etc) but has fallen away from the practice. I am thinking that making a special XL prize ribbon to commemorate these occasions could be a nice way to bring the tradition back!

 

3// Jeff Goldbloom Gives Some Pointers on Receiving Gifts

This video is great. My cousin, Millie, shared it with me when she came to visit a few weeks ago. I love Jeff Goldbloom. I love this video. It makes me laugh every time.

 

4// NPR Best Books 2015

If you know me, it is no surprise that reading is probably my favorite hobby. I am always down for a great book, especially to bide the time while I wait for the final installment in the Passage trilogy. I was driving home this week and heard a bit about the NPR book concierge matrix. It is amazing. You can search by favorite genre or interest, combine genres and interests (i.e., SciFi/Fantasy with Eye-Opening with Seriously Great Writing) to find titles that are perfect for you. I picked up and finished Uprooted by Naomi Novic per their recommendation yesterday. It was a super fast read (I obsessively read it cover to cover in an evening) and reminded me vaguely of Beauty and the Beast (with lots of magic thrown in and set in Russia). I hope she writes a squeal!

 

5// Serial Returns

I have heard so much hype around this podcast. I have not checked it out myself, but have received at least 10 different recommendations to check it out. Since my drive to the hospital 2x/week is over an hour each way, I am always looking for good audio-books or podcasts. I am looking forward to checking this out soon!

 

What have you been into this week?

 

 

Gift Guides

Holiday Favorites

Capture

 

Prepping for my upcoming ornament/cookie exchange party this weekend is proving to  be an effective method for getting me into the holiday spirit. Not to mention I found some really lovely classical guitar Christmas tunes that I cannot stop listening to. Today, I am sharing a select few of my holiday favorites. Enjoy!

Illume cedar candle. This candle is AMAZING. I found it years ago at an Anthropologie and have bought one for nearly everyone I know at some point or another. It literally smells like Christmas and the scent lasts for years. This is an extra-large size with over 40 hours of burn time. Happiness in this candle.

Samsung nx300 Mirrorless Camera. This looks amazing and I have heard great things about it. It’s small and compact and is touted to take incredible photos. Added bonus– you can switch out the lenses! I love this because my phone does not take the best photos. This is lightweight, small, and as close as you can get to a DSLR without having to lug around a bulky piece of equipment.

Le Labo Perfume. This perfume line has a cult following, and rightly so as it is pretty much the most amazing perfume in the world. It is a little pricey, but worth every penny. I love scents of all kinds and this perfume is pretty much perfection. This one is also a favorite and makes me feel like I am dancing around a campfire in the middle of a deep green forest. *swoon*

Gray Rock Soap. The mother of one of my co-workers started this company upon retirement. This is seriously amazing soap. It is 100% organic and sustainable. All materials are grown on the family ranch or sourced from the free-roaming animals (i.e., goat milk and honey). They even use essential oils pressed from plants grown on-site. It smells amazing, makes skin super soft and clean, and has a super low carbon footprint. I love!

Fitbit Flex. I am so  curious to know how many miles I walk each time I am on practicum (I literally think my office is .5 miles from the hospital wing that I do clinical work in, and I walk back and forth at least 2 times each time I am there. Not to mention the dozens of floors of stairs I climb. I am digging the flex because it is small enough to still wear with my beloved Kate Spade Gramercy watch.

Membership to the Actor’s Theater of Charlotte. See previous post for more info. I cannot recommend this one enough!

Manduka Yoga Mats. In my experience, once you commit to upgrading to a quality and lasting mat you either become a Jade lover or a Manduka lover. I was lucky enough to receive my first Manduka (a PRO nonetheless), from my awesome sister-in-law several years ago at Christmas. It is like the Cadillac of yoga mats. It has just a little extra length and width  than the typical mat, a little more cushioning than my first Gaiam, and comes with a life-long guarantee. Manduka has since released a PROlite mat (just a little less thick and about half the cost) and the eKO mat which is made of all recycled materials and is super grippy. You cannot go wrong with any of these options!

Glossier Skin Care. I recently discovered the Skin Perfecting Tint and am in love. It feels like nothing, looks super natural, and does not clog my acne prone skin. I was sent samples of their moisturizer and masks with my initial purchase and loved them as well. I don’t think you can go wrong with any of their line. And I love their philosophy of skincare as makeup. Because that is how it should be. You can use the link for 20% off you order.

Anything Anthropoligie or Papaya Art. I feel like this doesn’t need much explaining. Anthro is pretty much a feast for all senses and much like the happy little space inside my imagination came to life in a store. I worked at Free People back in the day and have been into the brand ever sense. I am really into anything that Anahata Katkin does and could spend a very long time looking at the beautiful images on her site and blog. Her style has been incredible inspirational in the evolution as a painter and mixed media artist. She also inspired my recent obsession with making greeting cards 🙂

 

What items are on your favorites list this year?