To Sparkle Punch...

That is the question

High Five for Friday: May 26

JessComment

Let's see what put the sparkle into this week:

  • The Iris Patrol struck again, spotting three new color variations, hooray!
Um, this one was in our backyard, and I had no idea until Pops alerted me to it. I only live here.Β 

Um, this one was in our backyard, and I had no idea until Pops alerted me to it. I only live here. 

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  • I'm so totally psyched that Rashad and Emma won Dancing with the Stars!! I always like it when someone with no dance experience wins AND when an unlikely pro wins. (Especially Emma because I ❀️  her. And Sasha too.) So, dream scenario! πŸ‘Œ 
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  • On the Dr. Dolittle front: We occasionally see a chipmunk darting adorably around our back stoop, so imagine my surprise (and utter delight!) to find THREE CHIPMUNKS there on Wednesday!! So unbelievably cute! 
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CHIPMUNK KISSES 😩😍😘 #yourewelcome #canteven

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I also got to see my gal Calico Pinky! Unfortunately, we were reunited at prime dog-walking time in our hood, and whenever she would see a dog, she would slink away and then come back to me once said dog was gone. SHE'S CLEARLY A GENIUS. #ProudNon-CatParent Otherwise, she just loafed on the sidewalk with me for awhile, which is dream scenario number two!

#loafonfleek

#loafonfleek

  • Ok, so I feel like a huge(-er than usual?) nerd for now owning Grey's-related clothing (which arrived this week!), but I just love those characters so much and can always count on Grey's to be calming background noise. So a cozy sweatshirt felt like the clothing representation of a comforting show, you know? And a rainy Thursday was the perfect day to wear it! 
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  • Lastly, it's apparently time for me to circle back to watching some Supernatural (as happens periodically)... And with that comes Supernatural cons (which I mostly prefer, as I have no interest in the supernatural!). Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles are so wacky and hilarious when rambling about everything under the sun.... and busting out their fave dance moves nbd. 

I feel like these faces pretty much sum up every con video.

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Hope you have a great holiday weekend! xo

High Five for Friday: May 19

JessComment

Let's see what put the sparkle into this week of summer weather!

  • On Monday, I came home to a lovely surprise package from Timmi! And it included TRIFORCE SOCKS. How amazing. Just looking at them makes the Zelda overworld theme pop into my head!
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  • Coincidentally, I had been feeling pretty meh on Monday and had had a great text-versation with Timmi, who urged me to do more of what makes me happy in my free time. So on Tuesday morning, when I happened to stop for coffee in a neighborhood full of gorgeous flowers, I took full advantage! A warm sunny (post-therapy) morning, caffeine, and flowers?! Who could ask for anything more?! I was practically skipping! I got into work later than I'd wanted to, but I tried to remind myself that it was worth it to do something that put some sparkle into my day. (Also, I don't have set hours, so it's not like anyone cared what time I showed up at the office!)
This is totally what you picture when you think of Philly, right?Β 

This is totally what you picture when you think of Philly, right?Β 

The iris patrol strikes again!Β 

The iris patrol strikes again

So many pretty pansies!Β 

So many pretty pansies!Β 

  • Energized after prancing through the flowers, I finally decided to go to the Hall and Oates show in Philly next weekend. (I had been wrestling with this decision for at least a month. Crowds! Driving! PARKING! Oh my!) But I'm definitely going now! And I even found a friend to go with me!! And she is equally excited that the show is in the afternoon because we are two grandmas in a pod (or a retirement home)!

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  • You know how sometimes there's just one dumb show or movie that you really want to watch, but it's somehow not on On Demand, Netflix, OR Amazon Instant Video? And then it miraculously happens to come on TV exactly when you want to watch it? Oh right, that never happens... except that it totally DID happen last Saturday with She's Out of My League, and I was WAY too excited about it, haha!
The "Branson Bound!" shirts will never not crack me up.Β 

The "Branson Bound!" shirts will never not crack me up. 

  • Finally, "Guac and Grey's" has become a Thursday night tradition in our house, so it definitely had to continue for last night's finale! 
Guac, frenzied Mer, and Alex's 15 second cameo--what's not to love?Β 

Guac, frenzied Mer, and Alex's 15 second cameo--what's not to love? 

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo

High Five for Friday: May 12

JessComment

What a wing-ding wippie this week has been! Let's see what brought the sparkle:

  • One of my oldest friends (since first grade at least!) turned 30 last Saturday, so a bunch of us got together at our grade school's annual carnival to celebrate! While it was weird to be back (and to see people DRINKING in the gym and to buy a funnel cake from our former principal), it was great to see everyone!
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  • I just happened to catch Beth Behrs promoting her new self-help/cookbook The Total ME-Tox on Kelly and Ryan last week and was shocked when she, stunning Hollywood starlet, started talking about her once very unhealthy and childlike diet. I too have the diet of a five year old, so I was intrigued. People like Pops (a known health nut) are always urging me to eat better, but I just can't seem to do it. It sort of feels like they're so far ahead of me on a path that I can't possibly get on from where I am. So the fact that Beth was once where I am now gave me hope, like, maybe a healthier, more adult diet is attainable, even for me. She also mentioned that changing her diet helped her anxiety, which I could definitely use! I had been looking for a lighthearted read anyway, so I promptly bought her book (thank you, leftover gift card from Christmas!), and I'm really enjoying her chill, funny, self-deprecating approach to healthy living--it's very encouraging and low-pressure.
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  • In fact, I made the pesto from the cookbook last weekend, and it's SO GOOD. I've eaten it with veggies, pasta, chips, pretzels... can't get enough. Any time I make something involving the food processor that doesn't turn out disgusting (like most of my attempts at smoothies, wahhh), I feel so fancy and accomplished!

 

  • The one office I sometimes go to for therapy has a lovely garden, and it seems like something new and beautiful is in bloom every time I go there. Like this bunch of irises! (I had actually wanted to go flower creeping in my 'hood last weekend, specifically for irises, but didn't because the weather wasn't great... so I was doubly excited that the therapy garden came through for me!)
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  • And an obvious highlight of my week was a reunion with my fuzzy bffl! I just love her so much, and she isn't even my cat! πŸ˜©πŸ˜‚πŸ˜© (So imagine how much I would smother a cat of my very own!)

PINKY PETS (and purrs) πŸ˜©πŸ˜­πŸ˜©πŸ’– #catsthatarentmine #meltingmyicyheart #bffl

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Hope you have a great weekend! (Especially if you're recovering from last night's insane pre-finale Grey's, like I am!) xo

High Five for Friday: May 5

JessComment

A prelude to the sparkle: Yesterday morning, I got walloped with anxiety at work. Not because of anything actually happening at work, but because the thought of having to be there for eight hours practically had me hyperventilating. (This has happened to me, periodically, at every job I've ever had, unfortunately.) I managed to journal about it, and then, before I knew it, an hour had passed. And then, soon enough, I had survived the day. In the words of Walt Disney and Meet the Robinsons: Keep moving forward. The anxiety will pass, just don't give up. (This is a lesson I relearn on a daily basis!)

Now, let's see what put the sparkle into my week!

  • As I mentioned in my Goals post, I went ICE SKATING last Friday night! By my damn self! Truly a momentous occasion! πŸŽ‰ For some reason, when I was at work on Friday, I felt like going ice skating, and because my therapist is urging me to pay attention to the things that give me energy, I didn't just push that impulse away as I normally would. I already knew of a few rinks near work, thanks to Pops' hockey coaching days, and one was having public skating on Friday night, so I went! And I was the oldest person there by about 15 years! (I was basically a chaperone like Miss Cuthbert in A League of Their Own--minus being called "a gorgeous stack of pancakes.") But I persevered and actually did pretty well! I didn't fall once, and the things I learned in my childhood ice skating lessons came right back to me! 
One bad-ass girl was skating backwards like a champ and playing on her phone, whereas I had to come to a complete stop near the boards to take this picture. πŸ˜‚

One bad-ass girl was skating backwards like a champ and playing on her phone, whereas I had to come to a complete stop near the boards to take this picture. πŸ˜‚

  • This cranky gal graced us with her presence once again! 
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And on Wednesday, I followed up actual therapy with some cat therapy courtesy of Calico Pinky! She sat with me sunbathing for awhile, and I was obviously in heaven!! 

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  • We also had a new and exotic visitor to our backyard this week: 
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A TOAD. My response to Pops when he sent this picture was just "WUT" about five times. We live in a very suburban area, so HOW IS A TOAD IN OUR BACKYARD?!? Sadly, I never got to see him, as he had moved on by the time I got home from work, but what a weird development! 

 

  • After reading Fran's rave review of it, I added Urban Decay's Subversion eyelash primer to my Beauty Insider sale order from Sephora last week. I was half doing it just to get free shipping, convinced that it would do nothing for me and I would return it, but damn if my eyelashes don't look crazy long and full!!
Ok, firstly excuse this face: 😐  But seriously. That's a layer of Subversion + freaking Cover Girl mascara. And no eyelash curling because that whole idea scares me. Like WHOA. 

Ok, firstly excuse this face: 😐  But seriously. That's a layer of Subversion + freaking Cover Girl mascara. And no eyelash curling because that whole idea scares me. Like WHOA. 

  • And finally, instead of a Weird-Ass Song of the Week, here's a Weird-Ass Dance of the Week! Actually, David and Lindsay's "sci-fi salsa" is probably my favorite dance of this DWTS season so far! 

Also, this may be my new favorite song! So catchy! 

Well, that's a wrap! Hope you have a great weekend! xo

May 2017 goals

JessComment
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So fun fact: I think my depression came back a bit in April.  πŸ‘Ž  But my recent therapy sessions have been really deeply helpful in addressing the negative self-talk that just crushes me and makes me want to hide from life--stuff that would make anyone depressed!

So with that in mind, here's what's on the white board for May: 

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1. Use my energy as a guide: I want to act more in response to my energy levels than my fears and feelings of obligation this month. When nearly everything is a "should," you're basically always forcing yourself to do things, and that isn't very fun. So I'm trying to change my perspective. Instead of forcing myself to be productive (which makes me want to rebel and be totally UNproductive), I'm going to try to notice what gives me energy and take cues from that. I've tried it a little bit already, and re-orienting myself from "Ugh I have to do this thing" to "I am choosing to do this thing" has been really helpful in alleviating anxious feelings of trapped-ness. And I don't have to plan five steps ahead if I know that I can just tune into my energy level at any time and see which available option I feel most excited about. 

2. Revamp budgeting: Another fun fact: I made a real budgeting boo-boo last month. I'm still not entirely sure how it happened, because I even double-checked my account and confirmed that I had available spending money before buying approx one million things online, but in the end, I did not have as much fun money as I thought I did. Eek. In addition to that budgeting blunder, I tend to go through a deprivation-binge kind of spending cycle each month. I don't have much disposable income at the beginning of the month, so I don't really spend any money for fun, and then I go overboard in the second half of the month. So I want to see if I can find a different approach to spending that helps me to avoid that tendency.

3. AM routine: I've started implementing a few small mindful gestures into my morning, and I want to keep it up. Just a few gentle stretches, setting an intention, and drawing one of Doreen Virtue's online cards. I am not a morning person, and this has been helping to keep me from being Major Buzzkill all day, and it's also a small enough change that I haven't immediately rebelled against it.

4. Yoga: Keep going to classes. 

5. Shoulder exercises: My posture is pretty terrible, especially re: my shoulders, and I tend to have a lot of shoulder and neck pain. Well, now that I've been doing yoga again, I can see just how frozen my shoulders are. Like, when we're instructed to stretch out long on the mat, I can't even do goal post arms. Yikes. So I want to try to loosen up my shoulders some this month!

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And how did my April goals go?

1. Be curious about how things like sleep, diet, caffeine, exercise, water intake, etc. make me feel: Hmm... Honestly, I kind of forgot this was a goal! I mostly noticed how transitioning off of one medication made me feel exhausted. And I occasionally noticed that my questionable carb-centric eating habits made me feel sluggish or gross. 

2. Keep going to yoga: CHECK! The morning hatha class continues to be my favorite, despite forcing me to get up at 6 AM. 😩

3. Try chanting as a way to practice my breathing: Nope. Any sort of designated breathing practice makes me reallllly not want to do it.

4. Pay attention to when I order stuff from Amazon: Check! As I said before, I tend to have less disposable income at the beginning of the month, and sure enough, I didn't order anything from Amazon until 4/15. I didn't think I went too crazy with my Amazon buys, but apparently, I spent over $100 on there last month (mostly due to one bigger-ticket item, but still). Hmm. It's also interesting that I largely avoided Amazon until I had money to spend. And that that first Amazon purchase on 4/15 was totally fueled by anxiety and wanting to shop it away.

5. Go out on the weekend: LOL I forgot this was a goal! Well, I went out to a scary shopping center! AND last Friday, I went ice skating! By myself! At night! At a place I hadn't been to in ages! Totally a HUGE accomplishment! (And really fun too!) This goal also ties in with my Word of the Year "Out of Hiding." (I did go out during the workday to Nordstrom Rack and to get a massage, but there was still a lot of hiding in April.)

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!

High Five for Friday: April 28

JessComment

Happy Friday! We made it! Here's what put the sparkle into my week: 

  • If you had any doubts about my childhood BSC obsession after last week's H54F post, behold: 
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Ok, ok, I did initially get one wrong because they repeated Kristy before cycling to Mallory. UGH MALLORY, STILL RUINING EVERYTHING.  

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  • Spring is hurrr! Hooray! My neighbor totally busted me taking this picture of his gorgeous tree whoops. #worthit 
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  • I may get into this more in a future post, but I have not been feeling great emotionally lately. Just really anxious and generally unhappy. Bleh. So on Tuesday, after a great therapy session in the morning, I booked myself a massage! It gave me a delicious break from the workday and was just what I needed. And then I pulled the following cards while sipping on tea post-massage: 
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I'm always blown away when I pick cards like these, as they always seem to be perfectly-suited to whatever is going on for me that day. 

 

  • In other self-care news, I went back to restorative yoga on Thursday night! I just felt like I needed alllll the calming influences this week. ❀️

 

  • And finally, in this week's installment of Weird-Ass Song of the Week, the song that I've had on repeat in my car: Joe Cocker's version of "With a Little Help from My Friends." I hadn't listened to it in ages, but Pops was on a Joe kick last weekend ("Delta Lady" greeted me when I came downstairs on Saturday morning--welcome to our house), and then he started trying to figure out "With a Little Help from My Friends" on guitar. (Sidenote: how did I not know that Jimmy Page plays guitar on that?! I feel like a total fraud of a Zeppelin fan!) It's so so good... and not just because I loved The Wonder Years as a kid!

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

April 2017 Budget

JessComment

Well, April has been shop-a-palooza! Not only did I buy the things listed below, but I also went nuts this past weekend and bought approx one million things online. (None of those things have arrived yet, so they'll be included in next month's budget post.) But I can honestly say that I love the things that I got, and if you're going to spend money, it should ideally be on things you really like and think you'll get a lot of use out of, right? I've already worn or used all of the items below, most multiple times!

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  1. Alternative Dolman 3/4 Length Sleeve Tee (Nordstrom Rack): $48 on sale for $13
  2. Me Too Zinnia Bootie (Marshalls): on sale for $32
  3. Pixi Glow Tonic (Target): $15
  4. Sweet Romeo Open Stitch Sweater (Nordstrom Rack): $58 on sale for $9
  5. Born Helen Boots (Nordstrom Rack): $240 on sale for $36

Not pictured:

  1. Slouchy tee (Marshalls): $13

TOTAL: $118

All of the tops are all comfy and cute... and they're actually all shades of blue, now that I think of it! (I just couldn't find thumbnails for them in blue.) I had seen and liked the Sweet Romeo sweater before, so once it was $9, I couldn't resist! It's warm and cozy, long enough to wear with leggings, and has somewhat overly-long sleeves, so I can pull them over my hands (which is ideal when you're cold all.the.time).

The tall Born boots were probably my most responsible purchase of the month, as they will replace my totally beat pair of tall black boots... while also being massively on sale! And the booties, GAH. Serious heart-eyes over them still. I always thought perforated heeled booties looked so cute but had yet to find a pair that worked for me. Well, these are IT. Sooo cute, reasonable heel-height, and pretty darn comfy. When I found them at Marshalls, their original tag was missing, so I had no idea how far marked down $32 was. So I was PSYCHED to find them retailing for $99 on Zappos! I was a total boot shopping genius this month, if I say so myself! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

And then that cult fave Pixi Glow Tonic. It's something that I'd picked up and put back a bunch of times at Target, and I'm so glad I finally bought it this month because I LOVE IT! My skin is pretty sensitive, so I introduced the Glow Tonic slowly (using it maybe two times the first week), but I didn't have any issues with it. Now, I use it every day. I broke out a bit at first, which seems to be a normal side-effect when you introduce glycolic acid, but continuing to use the Glow Tonic has helped the zits to heal really quickly. (Gycolic acid is also supposed to be clutch in healing acne.) It's only been a few weeks, so I'm curious to see how the Glow Tonic changes my skin moving forward. In a similar vein, I've also been using and loving this drugstore product for the past few months, and it's been helping to heal random zits and fade acne scars. I can't believe costs less than $8!

What did you buy this month?

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers!

High Five for Friday: April 21

JessComment

Let's see what brought the sparkle this week!

  • On Saturday, I actually went out by myself, HOORAY! And I went to a nearby shopping center that I usually avoid because the parking lot configuration and general crowdedness freak me out! (This was my first time driving there ever!) AND I put back a few shirts I considered buying! So this was a major accomplishment on many levels, haha. These booties were probably not the most responsible choice (didn't I just get boots??), but I just totally fell in love with them. 
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  • Pops and I celebrated Easter with a friend of his who plays the drums, which meant that Pops brought his guitar so that they could jam... and I got in on it too with my first-ever turn on the drums! And I LOVED IT!! I basically just played ~a~ drum and ~a~ cymbal but still! I felt so bad-ass! 

 

  • My friend Deena sent me this tweet, which pretty much sums up my life in grad school:
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Well, except for one little change: 

🎢Say hello to your friends, Babysitters' Club!🎢

🎢Say hello to your friends, Babysitters' Club!🎢

  • Guess what turned up on our doorstep this week!!!! 
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The Cinnamon saga continues! She is just the biggest pile of fluff ever. Apparently, I'm willing to overlook allegations of involvement in Birdgate if you show up on my doorstep looking cute. Too bad she wants nothing to do with me!

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  • And let's end this post with some pretty flowers that Pops got me for Easter! 😍
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Hope you have a great weekend! xo

How I journal

JessComment
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Because I mentioned in my Rebirthday post that journaling has been hugely helpful in my recovery from suicidal thoughts, I thought I would expand on my journaling process a little. But it's not a "process" at all--it's surprisingly unstructured for a type-A person like myself! Here's how it goes (in case you want to take notes 😜):

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1. Have an intriguing or emotionally-charged thought.

2. Write it down.

3. See what happens.

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Seriously. I just write when I think of/realize something interesting or insightful (especially something that could possibly be explored more in therapy). And I just write for however long it takes to spit out that thought. And a lot of the time, magic happens--I get another, sometimes completely out-of-left-field thought or insight, which is pretty darn cool and often more interesting than the original thought I'd had! Or if I'm writing because I'm freaking out about something, in time, I'm usually able to start taking off the anxiety goggles to see the situation as it really is. 

I don't journal every day, and I never aim to write either a certain number of pages or for a set period of time. I also usually journal on the fly (while sitting on the couch, while on the train, etc.), which keeps it from becoming just another pressurized thing on my to-do list.

I've gone through a few journals since 2013... 😬 

I've gone through a few journals since 2013... 😬 

I have a hard time sitting still, and certainly sitting still with my emotions, but the act of journaling seems to make the "sitting still" less still and therefore more tolerable, you know? But full disclosure--journaling was a tough habit for me to get into. My first journal, which was just a marble notebook given to me by one of the nurses when I was inpatient, was more like a diary of what was going on each day in the hospital than how I felt about things. 

Where it all began. This quote from My Darling, My Hamburger really jumped out at me as I was working on my MA thesis (which I had just finished a few months before inpatient).

Where it all began. This quote from My Darling, My Hamburger really jumped out at me as I was working on my MA thesis (which I had just finished a few months before inpatient).

But once I started exploring deeper, "scarier" thoughts in writing, I started to understand myself and the seemingly incongruous things I did and felt more. Some things finally started making sense. The writing also helped to "tame" some of the scariness of the thoughts, as writing forced my brain to slow down and actually consider the truth of a situation or thought, rather than just believing it without question. And, on a purely practical level, the act of writing helped me to actually remember said thoughts to bring them up in therapy! 

So yeah, that's it! A super chill habit that's really paid off for me. ❀️

High Five for Friday: April 14

JessComment

Friday sure snuck up on me, which I guess is the sign of a good week? Here's what brought the sparkle:

  • We had a cat stakeout on Sunday morning when Pops spotted a cat suspiciously returning to the scene of the injured-bird crime... none other than THAT DASTARDLY CINNAMON! Pops had seen her outside our back door but lost track of her upon alerting me, so like any good detective duo, we split up. While I had the overhead view covered from my bedroom window, Pops opened the kitchen door, which sent Cinnamon out of hiding. This sight led to me shrieking and Cinnamon fleeing. I'm a fine undercover cop.
I then went out into the backyard and found a camouflaged Cinnamon next door. YOU WIN THIS ROUND.

I then went out into the backyard and found a camouflaged Cinnamon next door. YOU WIN THIS ROUND.

  • On Monday, I had a different kind of animal encounter--with an adorable, waddly groundhog! I was legit standing in the parking lot at work, squeaking, "You're sooo cuteeee!!!!" the whole time. (Don't worry, I edited that commentary out of the video.) 

❀️The return of Groundhog Atsume❀️ #HiFriend 😍

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  • On Tuesday, I went a "mixed-level" yoga class, which is waaay out of my comfort zone! (I usually try to stick with "beginner" or "gentle" classes, given my complete lack of physical strength.) So I was already a bit nervous when I got to the studio, and I then I found out that the class would include "partner poses." YIKES. My intention for the class was literally "Don't panic cry"! But I did manage to stick to that intention LOL! Aside from the partner pose, it was actually a pretty fun, rejuvenating class!  

 

  • After three years, I'm finally bringing myself to watch season 9 of How I Met Your Mother. (I saw a few episodes and the finale in real time and then promptly boycotted that season.) I'm still not thrilled with it (ugh, stupid wedding format), but as a huge Karate Kid fan when I was younger, I LOVED this moment (which I sadly can't find on YouTube):
I hated Johnny Lawrence SO MUCH and totally would have booed/thrown popcorn at him.

I hated Johnny Lawrence SO MUCH and totally would have booed/thrown popcorn at him.

  • Finally, in this installment of "Weird Ass Song of the Week," we have the soundtrack to the delightful SNES game Earthbound, in which you save the world from alien take-over (natch) with your pals while wielding a baseball bat and using a teddy bear as a shield. Totally normal. I'm not sure what possessed me to start listening to it again, but the music is as cute and catchy as it was in 1995! It actually helped me to get through a ton of work this week! Who knew?

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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High Five for Friday: April 7

JessComment

Holy April, Batman! Let's see what put the sparkle into this week:

  • Most of last weekend was consumed with cleaning out our basement, the theme of which was "What IS this??" (And in the case of some family photos "WHO is this??" Oops.) Per my request, Pops had to open every box or bag first, lest any bugs or Bradlees bags jump out. 😱😱 The only reason this is a highlight is because it felt really good to get rid of old crap we don't need anymore!

 

  • MAN OH MAN it's been a cat bonanza this week! On Sunday, I found Whitey, who I've only seen once before, and also this ragamuffin, who our elderly neighbor refers to (with great disdain) as "that CINNAMON cat!!" So when Pops and I spotted her, we are both like *gasp* "Cinnamon!!" THAT DASTARDLY CINNAMON. 
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  • And then on Monday, I found CALICO PINKY sitting on our steps!!! I literally greeted her with open arms! But she only gave me a few bumps because she was apparently late to a very important meeting with Greyie here: 
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πŸ’–πŸ˜­πŸ’–πŸ˜­Β 

πŸ’–πŸ˜­πŸ’–πŸ˜­Β 

  • I rarely feel compelled to go out during the workday, but for some reason, I was actually excited by the thought of going to the Nordstrom Rack near work this week and trying to find some boots on sale. I'd say I had a successful trip! 
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I got $240 Born boots for $35, and two tops for $9 and $13! Now I might finally be able to get rid of my six-year-old boots that are literally falling apart! 

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  • Lastly, in this week's installment of "Weird-Ass Song of the Week"... The Eagles are one of those bands that I always forget I like. So while this week's song is definitely not as weird-ass as, say, Oingo-Boingo, it's weird for me to think to listen to the Eagles. And this particular song is a weirder choice from their repertoire than, say, "Hotel California." (Timothy B. Schmit on vocals whaaaat?) BUT IT'S JUST SO GOOD AHHHH.

Here's to a great weekend! xoxo

April 2017 goals

JessComment
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Let's see what's on the white board for April!

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1. Be curious about how things like sleep, diet, caffeine, exercise, water intake, etc. make me feel. Because trying to change any of those things tends to make me react like a freshly awoken piranha plant in Mario 64, I'm just going to try to pay attention to them and see what I can learn this month.

2. So that I keep going to yoga, even though my first-month trial period is now over (wahh!).

3. I've had a hard time sticking with a breathing practice, but the vibrations of chanting have a similarly calming effect while also giving my mind something to focus on. (And my usual word of choice is "om.")

4. Similar to goal #1, I just want to pay more attention to when I order stuff from Amazon, and what I order, and why. Having free two-day shipping makes it too easy to order anything under the sun, and I just want to be mindful of that this month--rather than trying to stop using Amazon altogether, which might drive me to spend even more money on there!

5. Oh, the weekend. The thought of leaving the house on the weekend often strikes me as laughable, as in "Why on earth would I do that?!" which I think really means "Why on earth would I tempt fate by going out when I don't HAVE to?" Especially since I have no problem going out on the weekend if Pops is with me (and driving). Hmm. Going out by myself for a non-obligation won't feel normal unless I do it more and see that the world doesn't end, right? (Bleh.)

Whew! Ok, so how did March's goals go?

1. Do taxes: CHECK, THANK GOD. Getting my taxes done was such a pain in the ass, so I'm really glad they're over with! 

2. Go to yoga: CHECK! I went to six classes in March and want to continue with the early AM hatha class! 

3. Morning Pages: A big nope. I did it a few times, but sitting quietly and forcing myself to write three pages really stressed me out. I had no problem doing my regular journaling, though, so I suspect the structure of Morning Pages is what kept me from doing it more.

4. Write two non-link-up blog posts: Half-check. I got up my Rebirthday post, in addition to the usual link-up posts.

5. Do it now: CHECK! I did think of this phrase often and then go "UGH" and actually do whatever it was that I was about to blow off, which I guess is a good thing?

 

As for my phrase of the year ("out of hiding"), it was a rough month, as you might have gathered from April goal #5! I did manage to go to the mall near work (at night! gasp!), and I did start going to 7 AM yoga, but other than that, I did a lot of hiding. We'll see how it goes in April.

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!

High Five for Friday: March 31

JessComment

Well, this week just flew by! Let's see what put the sparkle into it:

  • On Saturday morning, I went to a yoga workshop at the studio I've been going to lately, and I had a great time! The teachers there are SO nice. And I surprised myself with how chatty and friendly I was able to be (since anxiety usually gets my tongue!). 
The yoga studio also has a cafe, and the smoothies are pretty bangin'.

The yoga studio also has a cafe, and the smoothies are pretty bangin'.

  • I haven't watched General Hospital in ages, but because I adored Liz and Lucky (but only Jonathan Jackson... why do I still have strong feelings about this?!) when I was younger, every so often, I'll start cycling through old clips of them. Who needs Netflix when you have 20 year old soap opera clips and a new Smart TV?!
My 12-year-old self was totally in love with Lucky. 😍

My 12-year-old self was totally in love with Lucky. 😍

So many of these ridiculous stories/characters came right back to me (and also to Pops, who accurately remembered Jason as "that guy who always wears a black t-shirt" lol). BUT... as much as I love LnL2, once I started going down the rabbit hole of Liz scenes post-Lucky's alleged death (as you do), I could actually see the appeal of Liason (Liz + Jason). Gasp! My 13-year-old self would slap me right in the face for saying that. 

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  • On Saturday night, I saw the fam (and Paulina, yay!), and my mom gave me an Easter gift. As soon as I peeked into the bag and saw this face, I squealed!! I love Pusheen naturally because, cats, and I guess my mom remembered that I had a Pusheen Christmas ornament because when she overheard someone mention Pusheen while looking at the plushies at the store, she sprang into action, haha!
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  • Paulina stayed over on Saturday night, and we ended up listening to Russian folk music with Pops because that's normal.

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  • Lastly, Facebook Memories reminded me that my first ever trip to Chicago with Timmi (to visit the law school she eventually went to) was this past week FIVE YEARS AGO. WAHHH. I decided to accompany her on a whim and had such a fantastic time. From seeing a matinee of Goon with six dudes while Timmi went to a school event, to getting lost in Water Tower Place, to pouncing on the Bean... truly the makings of a wonderful trip!
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Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo

March 2017 Budget

JessComment

Once again, I wanted to buy everything in sight this month! So although March's total is higher than some recent months, I'm shocked it's not worse!

(Because some of these online purchases included tax and/or shipping, I included that in the totals below.)

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  1. Vera Bradley All-in-One Crossbody in Bohemian Blooms (eBay): $31
  2. LipSense Lip Color in First Love: $27
  3. Amethyst heart necklace: $15
  4. LuLaRoe leggings: $29

TOTAL: $102

It's been a few months, so it's time for me to get a new wallet, right? πŸ˜‚  With my old wallet, I realized that I would like it more if it had crossbody and wristlet straps AND space for my iPhone, and thus began to wonder if such a wallet exists. OF COURSE IT DOES--leave it to Vera Bradley! However, the All-in-One Crossbody retails for $54 (at least!), which is too much for even an insane wallet buyer like me. But on eBay for $27 (and in a purply floral pattern)?! SOLD. I've been loving how convenient it is when I don't want to lug around a full-on purse.

I seriously wear the LipSense I got last fall all.the.time (because I love that I only have to apply the color once to get it to last all day--I'm all about lazy girl make-up!), so I finally pulled the trigger on another color... which is of course another nude because I am super boring! But First Love seems a bit darker and more matte than the shimmery Bombshell, and if I wear them together, a coat of First Love can really take down the frosty shimmer in Bombshell. If you're interested in trying out LipSense, I get mine from the lovely Becky at ByBMG!

I fell in love with the unique beauty of this amethyst as soon as I saw it at the yoga studio last week. Bonus that it makes for a nice, wearable worry stone!

And I pounced on the black and grey LuLaRoe leggings so that I would actually have a pair in a toned-down-ish color/pattern! (Certainly the opposite of the hot pink heart-covered ones I got last month!)

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers!

High Five for Friday: March 24

JessComment

The past week has been super wacky, and in finding the sparkle in that, this post became like Confessions meets High Five for Friday:

  • The "Weird-Ass Song of the Week" this week has been "Frankenstein" by Edgar Winter. Which is actually a GREAT song, but kind of weird to be playing on your phone sans headphones at work when your co-worker suddenly strolls into the office. And naturally, in trying to turn it off, I fumbled with my phone as if I'd never held one before in my life.
This guy is more coordinated than I was.

This guy is more coordinated than I was.

  • While getting ready for work on Tuesday, I heard a MEOWING CAT outside my window! It seriously sounded like a siren in our backyard, but somehow, Pops never heard it (it would stop on cue every time I called him, grrr). Of course, I rushed out into the yard to look for my new best friend, but no luck. Pops was basically like, "Uh huh, an imaginary cat, suuuure." πŸ˜­
  • Later that day, Pops took over as Dr. Doolittle when he found a visibly injured bird on our back porch. The local wildlife refuge told him to put the bird in a shoebox and bring it in. Easy enough, right? Welp, it turns out that being on death's door did not impact the bird's ability to fly--which meant that Pops had to chase him through three yards in order to catch him. Just a normal day... that ended with Pops meeting several goats at the animal refuge.
  • Pops got his car inspected last week, which prompted me to go, "Hmm, I wonder when those stickers on my windshield expire..." YEAH, about that... 😱😱😱  I knew my registration was up in April, but it never dawned on me that my inspection and registration stickers could expire at different times. #FirstTimeCarOwnerProbs #rube I made this discovery on Monday, but the first appointment I could get for an inspection was on Wednesday morning, so I fretted about driving to work on Tuesday (ignorance truly was bliss!). Pops was like "Pssht, what's another day at this point?" so I did drive in on Tuesday... and this is NO JOKE the first song I heard when I turned on the radio: 

And on my way home, a bunch of police cars were camped out with a tow truck right where I get off the highway! EEP. THE JIG IS UP! But thank the lord, I did not get stopped, and now, I have legit stickers once again WHEW. 

  • On Wednesday, I had a doctor's appointment in Center City, but apparently, Ellen (like, THE Ellen) was also in Center City (via satellite) taping some segment. All that hoopla was close enough to my doctor's office that our v serious conversation was periodically punctuated by wild cheering nbd.
"So how's your anxiety?" "YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!"

"So how's your anxiety?" "YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!"

  • My drives to and from Philly are generally like an obstacle course and make me feel like I'm living in Paperboy-land. In the past, I've even had a girl carrying a gigantic teddy bear walk out in front of me. And on Wednesday, just when I'd finally gotten around a car blocking my lane, there were two guys carrying dry wall across the street. Because, of course.

I just realized that's six things. OH WELL! Has anyone else had wacky week? Here's to a wonderful weekend! xo

Real talk on Rebirthday #4 + things that have helped me to stay alive

JessComment

Four years ago this week, I checked myself into the hospital for suicidal thoughts and started to make major changes in my life. At the time, I just wanted to be able to feel more than "meh" and "totally freaked out or depressed" in my everyday life.

I'm not there yet. And honestly, it's frustrating. The past year has been tougher than I'd like to admit, largely because I can see ways to improve my life and mood, but I haven't been able to get myself to do them.

Like, I know that I'm still comfortably numb on routine and pessimism a lot of the time. I know that I settle and succumb to anxiety more than I would like. (I am definitely an introvert, but I've gone full hermit this past year, even for me!) I know that I eat horribly and don't get enough exercise or sleep, and that those shortcomings hurt my mood and overall health.

I know these things, and yet I don't change them--which doesn't really make me feel good about myself, you know?

But then March 20 rolls around and reminds me that I have been in a much much darker place than I am now and have come out of it. That I am capable of changing my life for the better. I may not be in love with my life at the moment, but hey, I'm still alive! So as much as I get annoyed with myself and wish that I could just FREAKING DO THINGS without battling anxiety all the time FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, at least the fight is between fear and growth these days, and not life and death. That is huge.

While my struggle with anxiety and PTSD wages on, here are a few things that have added stability to my life over the past four years and helped me to move away from suicide:

Admitting that I had a "problem"

This is the first step, right? No one else knew that I was feeling suicidal until I accidentally told two friends the day before going inpatient. Owning such an "ugly" truth and admitting it to other people felt awful in the moment but has been very freeing in the long-term. Before, I felt like I constantly had to hide my true feelings because they would freak other people out. But allowing myself to be a "burden" to a few trusted people and admit how bad I was feeling lifted a burden from me. Those friends didn't run, and one even took me to the hospital. In addition to saving my life, admitting my feelings helped me to then open up to other people and see that I don't have to hide my true wacky neurotic self from the world. :)

Journaling

This has probably been the number one game-changer in my life. I used to hate journaling, even just the idea of journaling. Any time I did try to sit down and write about my feelings, I would just end up writing about boys I thought were cute, HA! But post-inpatient, I started journaling regularly and found that it actually worked for me. I don't force myself to journal in any way (so no schedule or set number of pages per day)--I just write when I have an insight that I want to explore more, or when I want to calm myself down if my emotions are spiraling. Writing really helps me to slow down my thoughts and take off the anxiety goggles so that I can see a stressful situation as it really is.

Weekly therapy

I had never been in therapy (aside from the college counseling center) until after inpatient, and having a trained professional to talk to and unpack my feelings with every week has been incredibly helpful. Therapy has helped me to be less scared of my emotions, to begin to discover my authentic self (who dat?), and to understand myself better--especially why I do and feel things that never really made any sense to me before.

Discovering my path to healing

Once I started exploring my suicidal thoughts, all the stuff that was under them--the stuff I was trying to push down or run from--started coming to the surface. UGH. But honestly, it helped. The first time I read about the symptoms of Complex PTSD (at a therapist's suggestion), it was a big aha moment, like, "Hey, I'm not a freak! There's something real going on here, and a 'something' can be helped and treated! A 'something' can get better!" πŸŽ‰ It was an uplifting experience, like, oh my God, there's a way out after all! And I'm on that path now, thanks to therapy (of course), and also EMDR, inner child work, and bodywork. It's a bumpy road at times, but things are definitely better than they were before.

Final note: It feels important to mention that I am on medication, but I didn't highlight it above because a.) I was on medication pre-inpatient too and b.) I don't feel like it has been the biggest source of change in my life/mindset. 

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There is certainly still work ahead of me, but that idea operates on the premise that I will be alive to do it, which is a very good thing indeed. Happy Rebirthday, self. πŸ’–πŸŽ‚

And for anyone reading this, your rebirthday could be today, or tomorrow, or any day you decide that enough is enough with something making you miserable. Progress is always possible; I am living proof of that. ❀️

High Five for Friday: March 17

JessComment

Let's see what put the sparkle into this arctic, snowy week:

 

  • Sunday was my good friend Kristin's bday, so Calico Pinky got a snazzy new wardrobe for the occasion! 
Everybody's getting new glasses in 2017!

Everybody's getting new glasses in 2017!

  • Apparently, this is what I was doing eight (EIGHT?!) years ago: going to a bazillion Flyers games with my bffl our senior year of college! TAKE ME BACK 😭😭 (Thanks a lot, Facebook Memories!) 
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  • Considering my undying love of George O'Malley, I FLIPPED OUT over this IG post (naturally):
Poor 007 :(

Poor 007 :(

Related: A sign you've rewatched Grey's too many times is when you hear "Owner of a Lonely Heart" on the radio and then go, "OOH, this is the title of a season 2 Grey's episode--maybe episode 11 or 12--and the picture with it on Netflix is Izzie looking sad!" 

SEND HELP. (For both me and Izzie.)Β 

SEND HELP. (For both me and Izzie.)Β 

  • I haven't even seen many things (anything?) that Busy Philipps is in, so I think I just follow her on Instagram because I love that she's Michelle Williams' date to every awards show, but that notwithstanding, I love her Instagram stories! I love her talking-to-a-friend delivery ("YOU GUYS..."), and her willingness to admit to the world that she picked her face after being super anxious over getting an MRI. #mypeople ❀️

 

  • Finally, here's the weird-ass '80s song that I've been listening to all week for no apparent reason:

Here's hoping for a great weekend (with some warmer weather maybe?)! xo

High Five for Friday: March 10

JessComment

Happy Friday! We made it! :) Here's what put the sparkle into this week:

  • Let's start with some fun mail!! Including this cute Vera Bradley wallet/wristlet/crossbody that didn't get here in time for my February Budget post, a new Leuchtturm because apparently, I could only commit 60 (days) to my Commit 30 planner (the day grid is just too small, and I need more layout flexibility), and LipSense in "First Love" (I seriously wear my other LipSense color almost every day)!
On every day, we wear pink. πŸ’–

On every day, we wear pink. πŸ’–

  • On Saturday, I resolved to collect my January "prize" for getting to work consistently before 11--"watch two hours of TV guilt-free"--by tuning into the weekly Will & Grace marathon on WE TV! I'd had no interest in Will & Grace during its original run, but I've been leaving it on in the background every Saturday, and it never fails to make me laugh out loud. Sitting and just watching a show was quite challenging, but I did it!
Will &Β Grace got muted when Pops came home, but at least it's equally hilarious without sound, as someone is always bursting into song and dance and causing someone else to look like this.Β 

Will & Grace got muted when Pops came home, but at least it's equally hilarious without sound, as someone is always bursting into song and dance and causing someone else to look like this. 

  • Speaking of Saturday, I've been loving Fran's Healthyish series that she posts every Saturday! I'm generally intrigued by fitness but terrified to actually go to the gym or attempt fitness classes because I'm just so physically weak. (Remember how I hurt my foot last summer? Yeah, that likely happened because my hips and legs are too weak to support proper posture/walking mechanics. DANG.) I had a great email chat with a fitness-goddess friend over the weekend that helped me to clarify what exactly I would want to get out of a fitness class (strengthening and better posture... and endorphins!) and made me feel better about starting where I'm at!

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  • Then, a few days later, I was checking out classes at the new yoga studio and read the description for a 7 AM yoga class I'd previously pooh-poohed because HELLO 7 AM, and hey--it was all about posture and strengthening! So I went! And there was only other one student, so it wasn't wildly intimidating! I definitely struggled with things like down-dog and plank (surprise), but the teacher was super encouraging, and I actually enjoyed myself! Yay!
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  • And lastly, this gem that spoke to my introvert soul:
PREACH. πŸ™Œ

PREACH. πŸ™Œ

Hope you have a great weekend, loves! xoxo

High Five for Friday: March 3

JessComment

Let's see what super random things put the sparkle into this week:

  • Back when I first started driving, I would only listen to the songs on my phone because skipping between radio stations felt too distracting. (Mind you, turning on the heat and AC also felt too distracting.) But I've progressed and am now sick of the same old songs on my phone, so I've been listening to the radio more while driving. Last Friday, one particularly good block of music on the classic rock station (three Billy Joel songs, then "La Grange," "Lights," and "Rock You Like a Hurricane") got me almost all the way to work. 😎  It was a great start to a warm, sunny Friday!

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  • Emboldened by my trip to the yoga studio last week, I decided to venture out to the Ulta near work for an overdue eyebrow wax. Driving to new places still really stresses me out, but I'm always very proud of myself (and relieved!) once I get there! 

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  • How about that insanity at the Oscars, huh? I'd sat through the whole show with Pops (😴), and those last five minutes finally made it worth my while! My friend sent me this gem afterwards:
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  • Does anyone else get excited about finding a good pen? This isn't even a fancy pen--just a black ink ballpoint by a random brand that happened to be on sale at CVS. But it's inky and bold and writes really smoothly, which isπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰. 
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  • Let's bookend this post with a little more classic rock! I've never been that into Pink Floyd (like, I only learned who Pink and Floyd were last summer whoops), but I've always liked "Comfortably Numb" and rediscovered it last week when the classic rock station was playing The Wall. Those solos! That orchestral arrangement! Those creepy-ass vocals! What's not to love? πŸ˜‚

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Hope you have a great weekend! xo

March 2017 goals

JessComment
Best purchase ever? High-five, 2014 Jess!

Best purchase ever? High-five, 2014 Jess!

It's that time again! Let's see what's on the white board for March:

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1. Unexciting and self-explanatory. 

2. When I went to yoga last week, I decided to sign up for a one-month trial at the studio. Because signing up and paying for last Thursday's class in advance was the only thing that finally got me through the door, haha!

3. I stumbled onto Lavendaire's YouTube channel last week, and she reminded me about Morning Pages, something I've tried before, enjoyed, and abandoned. I want to give it another shot this month, although I'm not exactly sure how often I'll be able to do it, as I discovered in February that the key to getting to work earlier is apparently getting out the door shortly after I wake up. The longer I hang around the house, the less I want to leave it. So, yeah. πŸ€”

4. The only blog posts I got up in February were for link-ups, which isn't bad or anything, but I do have other posts I'd like to write. Hopefully, this goal will motivate me to do it!

5. I'm really good at blowing things off til later. And, of course, when "later" rolls around, I don't want to do it any more than I did earlier. So I might as well get it over with now. BLEH.

 

How did February's goals go?

1. Get to work by 10:50: Ehhh no. Not consistently. Although I did manage to get to work in the hour of 9 a few times, which was HUGE. Interestingly, trying to move the time back slowly seemed to stress me out more than making a huge change and leaving for work significantly earlier. Who knew.

2. Continue with YNAB: Check! I still need to fine-tune some things, but I was able to stick with it for another month and even put some money aside while planning ahead for things in March!

3. Move more: Ehh not so much, although I did finally get out to said yoga class before month's end! Hopefully, the trial month at the yoga studio will help to move more in March!

4. Print tax docs: Check!

5. Pick up glasses: Check!

 

As for my Phrase of the Year ("out of hiding"), I ventured out to a few new places by myself (such as the new yoga studio, the Ulta near work, and the Sheetz), and I drove a semi-familiar, multi-highway route for an hour+ at night! πŸŽ‰ It's the little things!

 

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!