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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

That time when 5:00 snuck up on me

I swear to you it was a matter of minutes ago that I arrived at work, packed my lunch away in the freezer, munched on dry cheerios while checking my email. Only—that was 9 hours ago. And today, I’m not sure where those 9 hours went.

I went to a seminar with some co-workers for the first half of the day. While I spent most of the morning shifting side to side to relieve the pain from sitting so long, it was interesting stuff and went by fairly quickly. Before I knew it, I was back at my desk catching up on a morning’s worth of work that I now had to get done in an afternoon (on top of an afternoon’s worth of work—‘cause that’s how it works, right?).

With a couple meetings and a red hot project that had to get out the door by 4:00 on the dot, my time was quickly eaten up to the very last second.

Sean called to inform me that my best friend was home sick from work today. I already knew that—she texted me this morning—but how did he know, I wondered. It was on Facebook, he said.

And then it hit me—I hadn’t been on Facebook ALL DAY. Trust me, I assure you I’m not one to spend endless hours of the work day on Facebook. But I can admit to dropping in from time-to-time to see what’s going on (a few minutes here and there is all, I promise).

So it made me realize that I may love Facebook a little more than I should. Who really cares if I’m paying attention to the latest status updates or photos or survey results? I think it’s time to chill out. My 1-day sabbatical was surprisingly bearable, and pleasant.

But then again, the seminar I was at this morning did talk about the importance of being on social media. So I kind of have to, right? (Although, I think he was talking more to us as marketers and less as individual Facebook stalkers). Excuses, excuses!

Am I the only one who’s become a little too dependent on Facebook (or other favorite time-killing websites like, ahem, Pinterest maybe)?

Friday, January 27, 2012

Fabulous finds

My birthday is coming up in a few weeks and I’m starting to get the question. You know, the “what do you want for your birthday?” question.

I sometimes dread this, mostly because I don’t like the idea of saying, “hey, buy me something!”

I know it’s not really like that. I’m grateful that they’re even thinking of me on my birthday! But no matter how many times I tell them not to get me anything, they’re going to do it anyway. So I started trying to think of some ideas.

While on the lookout, I’ve found some really fun things and most of them have a very common theme – wedding stuff! It seems silly, but since it’s on my brain so much lately I guess it’s only natural to think along those lines. And let me tell you, there is so much creative stuff out there (thank you, Pinterest and Etsy, for being my guiding light). These may not be the best birthday ideas, but they’re definitely on my list of things to check out in the next few months.

So I thought I’d share some of them (don’t worry, you have to be planning a wedding to appreciate some of these things)!

Custom bridal hanger
{Via this Etsy shop}
Sean thinks this is stupid, since no one will even really see it on the wedding day. Hey, I love it for the photo opp alone! I don’t blame him; when you really think about it, it’s kind of silly to pay $20 for a single hanger. But it’s really cute!

Frame mat with song lyrics
I stumbled across this pin on Pinterest several weeks ago and have been in love with the idea ever since.  I will most definitely have to get one with our first dance song lyrics to use with a wedding photo, especially since our first dance song is an extra special one that Sean picked. Turns out, there are quite a few people on Etsy who make these. I’m sure it wouldn’t be terribly hard to make your own, but I’m not the most crafty person in the world. I like the idea of it looking a little more handwritten, like the Pinterest one (a product of this Etsy shop), and trust me when I tell you I do not have the handwriting to do that myself. This could be a great gift for anyone – first dance song lyrics, a baby’s lullaby, a favorite poem. So cute!

Return address stamp

{Via this Etsy shop}

I don’t send a whole lot of mail, but I L-O-V-E- the idea of these custom address stamps. The idea of using it for wedding invites alone would make it a worthwhile investment, in my opinion. I’m a bit overwhelmed by all of the options. I love this one, this one, and this one—oh and this one! I’ve got to find a balance of something “fancy” enough for wedding invites but “casual” enough for everyday use. And, if I order one of these before the wedding, I’m not sure what to have the stamp say . Just our first names or initials? Just Sean’s last name (for optimal use after the wedding and enough ambiguity to use before the wedding, too)? Tricky tricky!

Family sign
{Via this Etsy shop}
Sure enough, this is another popular item on Etsy with lots of style options. You can find some of my favorites here, here, and here. Sean’s cousin has a very similar sign in their house that I’ve always admired. When I asked her where they got it, I wasn’t surprised to hear her say, “Etsy!”

Whew – and those are just a few of the things I’ve been loving lately! Maybe next week I'll share some ideas a little less "wedding" focused.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Do you Zumba?


{Via}
A couple weeks ago I tried Zumba for the first time.

For some strange reason, I have an unreasonable apprehension for the group fitness classes at my gym. It’s mostly a fear of making a fool out of myself and having my ass handed to me (but that’s the point, right?). So I tend to avoid them.

But when my friend Meggan mentioned she was going to Zumba with another friend, I thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to give it a try. At least I could be among friends if I vomited, passed out, or injured myself (or worse, others).

Much to my surprise, I did none of the above. I successfully made a fool out of myself I’m sure, but the lights were dim and I was in the back, so hopefully I’m the only one who noticed.  And on top of it all, I had fun! We even went again last week, and brought my mom this time.

Don’t get me wrong. If Zumba was a graded activity I’d be lucky to be pulling a D average. Lucky for me, effort is far more important than skill.

Much to my dismay, I was not born to be a dancer. I have very little absolutely no rhythm. My feet tend to move more in a spastic pattern than a choreographed one. But the best part of Zumba is that no one cares—and you still get a great workout just for trying.

I’ll definitely be going back again, and hopefully I’ll begin to master the moves just a little more. What’s better, I finally found the courage to step outside my comfort zone. I’m feeling up to trying more classes, which will hopefully kick my butt and help me take my workouts to the next level. Two benefits in one—bonus!

Tell me, have you tried Zumba before? Do you have suggestions for workout routines or classes I should try? I’d love to give Yoga another shot, too. I haven’t done it since I was at least 40 pounds heavier, and I think I might enjoy it even more now.

Monday, January 23, 2012

House cleaning weekend

For most people, an evening of deep cleaning the house would rarely trump a dinner and movie date. But in our house on Saturday, it did. And I have to say, I was pretty pleased about it.

We had planned to grab a bite to eat and see a movie, but as the afternoon faded, we were losing our motivation. I could tell Sean wasn’t terribly excited about seeing a movie, so I assured him it was fine if he’d rather stay in.

And that’s when he proposed the idea of giving the house a thorough, deep clean. (A guy who’d rather clean than go out on a cold winter’s night? I told you he’s a keeper!)

I love a good nighttime cleaning session (nothing better than waking up to a clean house). And I had so much to do Sunday that it would be tough to fit the cleaning in, too. So I agreed. And what a great decision it was.

We emptied drawers. We scrubbed the cupboards. We moved furniture. We swept under the bed (a chore I seriously need to do more often, gross). We even cleaned out the drain under the bathroom sink (Ok, so that was ALL Sean – and the guy deserves an award for that nasty job).

By 10:00 the house was sparkling, a surprisingly pleasant mixture of ammonia and pine-scented candle wafting from room to room. And we were spent. Even the dog—who did nothing more than watch us empty drawers from the comfort of his new favorite sleeping spot, the laundry basket—slept like a rock.

And just as I anticipated, we woke up just as pleased with our efforts as the night before. Plus, it allowed me plenty of time for my Sunday activities. I finished laundry, did the grocery shopping, went shopping with Sean's mom to find her (gorgeous!) dress for the wedding (followed by pedicures), baked banana bread, and went out to dinner. Whew!

We’ve vowed to try and keep the house in such fine form this time. If you must know, I’m not always the tidiest person in the world. I love a clean house but don’t always practice what I preach. So this time we’re both going to make an extra effort. I really could get used to the sense of calm that comes along with orderly surroundings.

And I’m happy to report that it’s Monday morning and we haven’t failed at our resolution yet. This is major progress for us, people!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Getting things done!

For some reason, the start of a new year brought a wave of motivation to my life. Let me re-phrase that. It brought a wave of wedding-planning motivation to my life. Lord knows I could use some motivation in other areas of my life these days.

Anyway.

Maybe it’s because 2012 means that the wedding is this year, or that 5 months sounds more imminent than 6. I’m not sure, but what whatever it was, it worked!   

I flew into action and found myself checking more and more off of my to-do list. Meet with the caterer to wrap up our contract? Complete. Ties for the boys? Got just what we were looking for, affrodably, too. Rehearsal confirmed? Done. Dream veil? Found it. Florist? Booked, with bonus points for it including everything needed for centerpieces, too. Double check. 

With only a handful of “big” items left on the list (and more than a handful of smaller ones), I’m starting to get a bit excited—but anxious, too.  

See, I love to-do lists. I make one almost every day. It keeps me focused and on track with everything I need to get done in a timely fashion, at work especially.

But I have a problem with outstanding items. Drives. Me. Crazy. I hate the feeling of something looming over my head like a rain cloud. It might be because I don’t have everything I need to finish it, or it’s just too far in the future to actually work on now. Sometimes I think it can be that I don’t have enough to do right now, causing me to focus on what’s coming up instead.  Regardless of the cause, I can’t stop thinking about it.

It’s not so much that I’m feeling stressed about it (surprisingly, it all feels really under control). It’s more about being excited and wishing time would go a little faster. I’m not usually a proponent of wishing time away—life is too short as it is—but I’m breaking the rules a little bit in this case. I don’t think living in a cold weather state during winter helps the situation in any way, because it only makes the longing for spring even more intense.

But in the meantime, I’m sure I’ll find plenty to do. (If nothing else, Pinterest will keep me occupied for hours on end, that's for sure.) Perhaps I’m forgetting something. Won’t that be fun? A last-minute project at the eleventh hour. I can see it now.

But really, June will be here before we know it. More specifically, June 24 will be here and it mean it's all over. And I'm sure I’ll look back and curse myself for putting down in writing that I ever wished time would move faster. So go ahead, tell me I'm crazy and to settle down.

Live in the moment. I’m trying here, I promise!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Reappearing

Oh hi there, 2012. Only 18 days in and I’m finally showing my face.

I’ve been absent around these parts for no good reason. Maybe it’s because I’ve been busy, but I’m not sure I have anything to prove that to be true. Maybe it’s because I’ve been feeling the winter slump, even though the weather has actually been unseasonably warm this month (until today, brrrr!). Or maybe it’s because my life can sometimes feel like a series of boring, routine days that deliver very little inspiration and blog-worthy material.

Except, that I sometimes love the boring, the routine.

{Via}
I wake up at almost the same time almost every morning, give or take a few taps of the trusty ol’ snooze button. I follow a predictable routine—heading to the gym, getting ready, reading a book on the bus commute to work. I spend the day doing the same job I’ve done for 4+ years (yet each day still manages to bring new opportunities and challenges). And then I board the bus and travel home, surrounded by the familiar faces of seemingly average middle-class professionals, all headed to the same small-town neighborhood in the middle of an urban metropolis.

Like the morning, nighttime has its own predetermined schedule, centered mostly around our very early bedtime (no later than 8:30, if we can help it).The few hours of downtime I have seem to fly by with dinner, dishes, preparation for the next day, and some quality time in front of the TV. Somewhere in between it all we find time for the little things, like working on the latest wedding to-do or laughing at countless funny videos on YouTube.

And then it’s all over. We’re quietly resting it bed, the hum of the fan lulling us to sleep. And we do it again the next day.

Yet somehow, despite the routine of it all, I can’t help but enjoy it. I feel blessed for every minute of it. (And I should probably pay extra close attention, since I imagine our lives will only get busier and more chaotic as time goes on.)

So forgive me for being absent, for failing to find time in the midst of monotony for other things that I love—like writing here. I guess I just needed a few weeks to clear my head. But now, as the therapeutic thrill of writing for fun comes rushing back to me, I’m even more excited to be back!