Friday, December 16, 2011

One Good Habit to Bring into 2012

If anyone reading this blog remembers me from my inception through the first part of college (which means pretty much everyone who reads my blog) then you remember a skinny-mini girl who played soccer every chance she got and ran twice as often. For most of my life I was a tanned young thing who practically lived outside. The only time I wasn't on a soccer field, track, or in a park was when I was injured and when I was injured all I wanted to do was run, frankly I was a little fanatical.

Then came the latter half of college (read: drinking a little more than the first two years, eating lots of pizza, Ramen and Chinese take-out) and working in an office (read: 1.25 hour commute, sitting at a desk snacking, not getting home until it was dark). I was tired and unmotivated, and despite friends at work, a pleasant working environment and all of that something was missing. Those 4 years or so made me to become a shadow of my once active self. I felt depressed, out of sorts, I became paler, I got a little rounder and I just wasn't the me I wanted to be.

Fast-forward to February of 2010. I finally decided I needed to change this downward trend. I officially quit my office job in favor for the unknown. I had started living with my boyfriend. I decided to stop caring about what other people thought I should do and start doing what seemed right. Yes it was and is scary not having a job. But now I get to write whenever and whatever I feel like. In any case, my main point is, things were starting to look up.

That spring, I joined a women's-only fitness bootcamp, which met at 5:30 am every weekday. Bootcamp was tough, I had to do things like run half of a mile with a 5 pound bag of sand, roll a tractor tire across a field, lift cement blocks, and many other crazy feats I would sometimes rather forget. I got whipped into shape, made some friends and continued on my upward trend. On a particularly cold, wet morning, I went for a run. It was pouring, the sun was not yet up, it was just me and the road. Most people will at this point think I am crazy. Who the hell gets out of a perfectly good bed to run in the rain at 6:00 a.m.? Me. And when I realized this, a sudden a well of emotion overcame me- I was myself again. Running on the road, in the rain, that was me, who I had been, who I wanted to be, who I was again.
This year I ran two half-marathons and a 10k with my sister. For 2012 I'm planning on running at least three half-marathons, the Broad Street Run, and three 10k's.

So, to get back to the title of this post- the good habit I plan on bringing into 2012 is my commitment to fitness, and, more specifically, running. Not only is running a good habit, but it's also something I am passionate about. With running there is always a sense of satisfaction, of accomplishment, of relief. Tied to that accomplishment is the knowledge that you can always improve and the drive push yourself.

What good habit(s) will you bring into 2012? Do your good habits define you? Do you need to re-focus on who you want to be and what you want out of life?

P.S. I MUST share this:
(((first two pics from Pure Insanity, last pic from Tumbler, but I lost the link, sorry!)))

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One word for 2012: Breathe

So, yesterday I told you how 2011 made me think of the word BLUR; and so I am hoping I can keep the word BREATHE in mind during 2012. We go through our daily lives breathing without being conscious of it. At the doctor’s office we take a deep breath in and exhale out on command, in a yoga or cardio class we become conscious of our breath, and when instructed to focus on it we are often thankful for the reminder. When we work out, work, are in stressful situations or are excited we often forget to breathe. I know I do. I think very few of us appreciate that centering feeling one gets from deliberately and carefully tracking our breath. Frankly, I hope remembering to breathe will help me calm down when I am stressed or angry and appreciate life when something beautiful or poignant is happening. Life is brief, and the only way to truly appreciate it is by letting go of all of our petty worries and paying more attention to enjoying and getting the most out of life. Too often I get upset over snide remarks my friends make to me or to others. Sometimes I spend time worrying about what someone might think of me, or how something I do might look to people around me. In the end, what does it matter? True friends accept you for who you are, and time spent worrying is much better spent living. So, before getting angry or hurt or upset, I'm going to take a breath, let it go, and let all of my worries go with it. Instead of worrying about the future or the past I will spend my time in the present, where it matters most with the people who matter most. I'm going to appreciate what I have been given and give to those who are in need. Every day let's just take a moment (whether it be scheduled or just in the middle of a stressful situation) to breathe.

((image found here))

Monday, December 5, 2011

One word for 2011: Blur

Once again the calendar reads December and so a New Year is almost upon us. I am therefore once again drawn to reflect on what has happened these past few months, in an attempt to squeeze the most out of the new days ahead of us all.

One word which would best describe the year of 2011 for me is Blur. As in, everything has been a blur.

More than any other year in my life, 2011 made me realize just how quickly the little moments in life seem to pass us by. I don't mean to sound defeatist or glum, it is just that everything from vacations to car rides to the growth of my second cousins seem to be going at warp speed. When did everything start moving so fast? How are the days, weeks, months and years progressing at such a fast rate?

Let me start at the beginning. When I was just three or four my father would drive my sister and I forty-five minutes to my grandmother's house to be baby-sat while he taught at a nearby school. Forty-five minutes was an excruciating eternity. And endless car-ride. I found it impossible to sit still or stay quiet, despite it being the wee hours of the morning. When would we be there? What's that water? Are we there yet? What is fog? How far away is Grandma's? What's that building? etc. etc. I would exhaust my father with questions until I was told to rest and be silent, at which point I would sit and watch the blur of landscape rush past my window. Over the river, through the woods and small towns. . .

As a child, and even a teenager my family would tell me life can go by in an instant. They would attempt to explain how quickly time goes by once one comes to adulthood, but I never really understood what they were talking about until this year. Now, forty-five minutes seems like thirty. Sometimes fifteen. An easy commute, it is a blip in my day. As it's doubtful I'm more patient now than I was over two decades ago; I think the blame goes to an over-active schedule. Everything is a game of hurry-up an wait. Every day is a rush from this meeting to that one, this appointment and the next, squeezing in dinner with friends, scheduling time with my family and his, and all as various and elusive to-do lists get longer and longer.

When do we ever sit down and reflect? Almost never, if you are like me.

Since I'm starting to ramble I will leave you with this: When I was thirteen I was visiting with my great-grandmother (Nana) and asked how she was doing. She became wistful and told me, "Life is like leaves on a tree." At different times this means different things to me, but it has always made me think.

What one word would describe 2011 for you? What does my Nana's quote mean to you?

((images courtesy of Douglas Kielmeye Blurred Christmas Lights, Elated, and PhotoShopStar, respectively))

Friday, May 27, 2011

My favorite Memory

My favorite memory of my mother is rather simple, and is in fact my first memory.

I was only maybe 3, and my mother is sitting across from me, smiling at me as she paints my nails. It is a warm summer day, and we are sitting in front of an open window in my room. My tiny hand is being held ever-so delicately by my mother's. I remember trying to be dainty and lady-like while my mother completes this very grown-up task, but I am so excited I can barely contain myself. I felt so happy to be getting so much attention from my mother, I felt special, loved, and I remember I just couldn't stop smiling. As I studied her and my manicure I felt deeply connected and in awe of her. I felt so much happiness and love in that moment, and I think this is why it has stayed with me for so long.

I don't remember the color I picked, (but I want to say it is red, because red is my favorite color), or the conversation we had (although I would like to imagine my mother was impressed with whatever 3-year-old me had to say), but I do remember my mother's warmth and love, and that is all that matters.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

What a Wonderful World

Hey y'all. Well, this week has sort of been a roller-coaster of emotions for me. You see, tomorrow is the ten-year anniversary of my mother's death. While it is still incredibly hard for me to come to terms with my mother's death, and the emptiness I feel in the place she once inhabited, I have learned to communicate with my mother's memory.

I see and feel my mother in so many ways. My mother's joy is in the lilacs beside my house- her favorite flower. My mother's tenderness is in the wind that whips my hair on a warm spring day. My mother's laughter, full of life, still echoes in my ears when I watch movies we both enjoyed. She is everywhere and in everything that I do.

Tomorrow is going to be hard, just like all of the tomorrows since she passed-- but by now I've learned there are good days ahead as well. Remembering my mother in these ways helps me deeply. Instead of thinking about my loss, about everything my mother was not there for, and will never be apart of, I focus on the beautiful pieces of time we did have together.

Therefore, I would like to implore you: Respect the time you are given, Appreciate your friends and family, Make every Moment Count, and See the Beauty in everything.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Guest Post

Hi there y'all, I know I haven't been as consistent as I would like with posting recently, but I wanted to let everyone know I guest posted for one of my good friends, Doug-Smug.

Doug runs a Website devoted to wine- terminology, tastings, and tips. Please check it out:

Friday, May 6, 2011


(((This piece is UNTITLED by 14-year-old photograher, AMANDA PHAM. See more of her work on FLICKR .)))

Did you read that? This beautiful photograph, (one of many, by the way) was created by a 14-year-old girl! Someone who has lived about half as long as I have, and who is as busy with school as we all are with jobs. I am blown away by Ms. Pham's creativity and belief in herself (then again who wouldn't believe in themselves if their pictures turned out like this).

I am beyond impressed that Amanda has found a passion for photography so young and has actually taken this hobby to a whole new level- she available for creative shoots. It really is inspiring to see someone so young following their heart and doing what they love to the fullest degree.

What an amazing Young Woman!

P.S. Check Out Amanda's Professional Website here.

P.P.S. I might see if she is interested in an interview!
"Discovery" is about to become a new weekly entry. Every Friday I will introduce you to an interesting person, place, or thing which I think it worth hearing about! If you have ideas or suggestions, please feel free to let me know!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Do what you Love-and how to know your Love is True

“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” ~Jack Dixon

The past year has been more than a little different for me. After working for over three years at a high-stress, long-hour, well-paying job with a one hour commute, my boyfriend offered me the opportunity of a lifetime: quit my day job and begin writing. Oh, and I get to be down in Florida over the winter months instead of being in frigid Pennsylvania. No more commute. No more travel. No more stress. Now, this was a harder decision for me than some of you might think, I am not accustomed to giving up a perfectly good job without a solid amount of money waiting for me on the other side. . . But, in the end, my heart reminded my mind that while this was not the safest thing in the world, I was being afforded an opportunity unlike any other I had ever had- to do what I love.

I will be the first to admit that my first taste of freedom led me astray, most days I opted for the beach rather than putting my pen to paper. In the Summer of last year I started churning out short stories and began working on a novel, but as rejections piled up I became a bit depressed. Come winter, I was feeling a bit down in the dumps, until a friend introduced me to reverb, which inspired me to take a look at my life and my creative process- I was recharged, but still unsure of what I wanted to do.

Basically, my mind stopped listening to my heart-- Writing wasn't paying any bills. Sometimes writing felt so difficult, I often felt uninspired, but mostly, writing wasn't paying my way. I wanted to pay my way. Maybe I should go back to school? That was more spending money and less making money, though. Plus, it might interfere with what writing I was already doing. Maybe I should make some money? How? What else do I like to do? What is flexible and fun?

I settled on getting certified to be a personal trainer, convincing myself personal training would be flexible enough that I could still write. I spent this entire winter studying and studying and not writing AT ALL.

Finally, one day, I packed a lunch, my camera, and my black Moleskine notebook and went for a long walk on the beach. Something was wrong, I felt sick, or off, maybe it was a profound sadness. . . Whatever it was I had felt the need to sequester myself, to walk until I was alone on the beach with myself and my thoughts. I walked for an hour, until I came to the edge of a bird sanctuary only birders and the token inquisitive tourist visit. I cried for what seemed like no reason at all as I ate the small sandwich I had packed myself. The ocean was a beautiful grey-blue, with hints of green when the sun was released from the clouds. But it's beauty was not what touched me. It was the realization that I had not written. I realized that in these past few month I had had no outlet, no confidant. Writing has always been a form of healing and growth for me, but I had stupidly pushed it aside.

I began to page through my notebook, reading old entries, noting ideas for short stories, and gazing at rough sketches with new found respect for myself. I had been given this gift of time, a chance to work at my craft and make myself a better writer, a better story teller, a better person- and instead I made excuses and stopped believing in myself. Instead I embarked on a new, less personal, safe career. But was safer better?

As I walked back home, I knew I had been squandering this gift of time. Writing is what excites me. I have been writing poems and making up stories since I was in elementary school. It was engrained in my soul. While it took me a little over a year to learn to believe in myself, and to focus on my heart, I would never give up that lesson learned.

Whilst in search for inspiration for today's blog, an email from Reverb10 was thankfully plunked in my inbox! In it I found a wonderful new resource for wisdom. Through the blog, you can read inspirational stories regarding a range of topics, including finding happiness, and dealing with change. There are also a multitude of inspirational quotes. If the website seems a little too time-consuming for your busy day, follow tiny buddha on twitter.

Thank you, as always, #Reverb10 / 11!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My take on life

How true it is. Everyone sets out with certain goals and experiences in mind when embarking on this journey which is life. We have a clear idea of where we are going and how we are getting there. Yet,as the above quote reflects, I feel it is more than safe to say that despite our insistence on the pursuit of a certain end we tend to meet other paths, other possibilities, and become side tracked, often coming to an entirely different destination than perhaps we ever imagined.

I feel as though most people have embraced minor alterations in their life plans, but then again so many of us get sidetracked with "what-if's". I myself have fallen into a pattern of second-guessing decisions made 5 or more years ago. My what-ifs range from things I wish I said when others were rude to me, to where I went to college and what I majored in. So much is right in my life, so why worry over things I cannot change? Reflection is necessary, but obsession over the past is never healthy, so how does one strike a balance?

I like to remind myself of the above quote, it helps me recognize myself as a lost discoverer, a traveler along a broken road with a destination in mind but a open mind and a flexible timetable to get myself where I want to go. What really matters is that I learn from my mistakes, enjoy myself and accept what comes, whatever it may be.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

I'm moving out

Well, technically the boy and I moved into our new home a little over 6 months ago, we just sold our old house. That being said, there was still a lot of old furniture and knick-knacks to get rid of, plus a lot of spring cleaning to do at both the old and new house which needed to be done before the sale. Throw on top of that the fact that his family's mountain house is selling this weekend, and you have a good idea of what the last few days have been for me!

If any of you have moved, you know one of the main problems with moving out of a home is deciding what to keep and what to sell or donate or throw away.

Some of these decisions are easy (i.e. Throw out the old beer which sat out all 4th of July of 2009 and has since been been sitting in the far reaches of the refrigerator).

While others are a bit harder. . .
(Should I keep the chipped Double old fashioned my grandmother gave me, or chuck it? )

(Do I try to make the boy sell all of the photographs, paintings, and other golf memorabilia which lined his walls, or let him keep it in hopes he will keep it contained to a man-cave?)

Slowly these decisions were fretted about, and finally made, and I at last I was feeling really good about everything. . . Then, as scores of people scoured over items the boy and I had deemed unnecessary at our moving sale, I began to feel pangs of remorse. That lamp was his mother's! (Nevermind that it befits the older couple living in a farmhouse who bought it rather than our modern hillside escape) The sculpture of the lighthouse was given to me by my grandmother! (It was also purchased at a moving sale, and it in fact had a chip in it, plus my grandmother was more unloading the piece than giving it as a gift; the older gentleman purchasing it was creating a man-cave of the nautical sort so the lighthouse sculpture would be perfect for his room). As pieces began to be gobbled up by appreciative passers by faster and faster, I suddenly came to terms with it all:

Letting go is part of moving on. These items were not the sum of the people who had given them to us. Their memories were not housed in these imperfect vessels, these were merely projections, half-thruths, artifacts with only a shadow of meaning. Cherished possessions were still in safe keeping, safely packed away in our hearts and moving boxes.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Rainy Days

I feel as though it has been gray more days than not, and the gloom is starting to take it's toll.

The only place I really want to be in the fog and rain is beside the beautiful ocean.

On a gloomy day the Atlantic makes me feel as though all there is is time, and beauty.

Friday, April 22, 2011

We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

What does Earth Day mean to you?
To me, it serves as a reminder to maintain a healthy, sustainable lifestyle which will positively impact myself, my loved ones, my community, and the land we live off of.

What are you doing to Participate in Earth Day?
I went on a hike on my property to remind myself of the beauty and grace that surrounds me every day. All of the pictures featured on my blog today are taken from around our home. Today, The Boy and I also planted a special blend of wildflowers which should help the bee population in our community (to find more information on the Honey Bee Crisis, read here:

This year my honey and I also decided to begin eating 70% vegetarian (and we always eat 100-90% organic)- it has made us feel healthier and more energized plus our eating habits positively impact our environment (read about this and other benefits here.) I'm not saying everyone should go vegetarian (although I do think everyone should go organic), but I think everyone should be more aware of their food choices and how those choices impact you and your environment.

We also decided to join a CSA- Community Support Agriculture. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of "shares" to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a "membership" or a "subscription") and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season. This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer.

On a smaller scale, The Boy and I always use reusable grocery bags (keep them in your car!), we never buy bottled water (BPA-free water bottles cut down on pollution and are money-savers in the long run) and we use recycled paper products in our home.

Are you at a loss of finding something to do this Earth Day?
Check out the official Earth Day website. This year, Earth Day's theme is "A Billion Acts of Green,"a people-powered campaign to generate a billion acts of environmental service and advocacy before Rio +20. Check out the Billion Acts of Green Facebook app on Are you motivated yet?! Get out and do something for Earth Day! Go plant a Tree! Find an Event in your Area or give to a local or global conservation fund!

What do you do on an everyday basis to help heal the Earth? Do you bike to work? Do you volunteer somewhere awesome?
Let me know!

Final thought:
When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~John Muir

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I have been a terrible Person

It is true. I have.


Well, because I have been more than shirking my duties here- having not written in quite a few months.

What went wrong?
I decided to attempt to become a Jill of all Trades and began studying to become a Personal Trainer. I pretty much dropped writing and threw myself into reading manuals, researching, and learning all there is to know about personal training. During that time I absolutely could have continued writing here, and I sully intended to do just that. . . Somehow I never got around to it, despite all of my ideas. In any case. . . In May I will be taking an exam to be certified in personal training, and from there I will hopefully be taking on a personal training gig, which should help pay the bills while I work on my one true love- writing.

So the moral of the story is- I stink, I should have kept up with this blog, but this is never going to happen again! In fact, I have a lot of great ideas for posts which I will be churning out in the next few weeks, so please keep checking back.