Friday, January 27

Netflix Lately

As much as I try to fight it, winter is a time for being lazy and retreating into the deepest corners of the couch. We have been watching a lot of Netflix lately. There have been a few things I've really enjoyed, and a few things that are just worth mentioning, so I thought I'd share them with you. Make some chocolate chip cookies, grab a tasty beverage, and settle in for an evening (or four).

Blue Jay - Grab a box of tissues and your coziest blanket before starting this one- it's a tearjerker. Shot entirely in black and white, it follows two high school sweethearts who run into each other later in life, and their story slowly unfolds. This movie is the definition of heartbreaking. Real life: I ugly-cried, and had to pause the movie because my nose was so stuffy that I couldn't breathe. I felt physically sad for two days after watching this. So worth it though.

Blind Date - A french film about an uncanny relationship between neighbors. Super cute. We got some good laughs. The subtitles aren't terrible, so that's a plus.

Hard Candy - Ellen Page plays a sixteen year old girl determined to take down a pedophile. This got way more intense than Shawn and I expected. This definitely isn't a movie with a happy ending. (Pun intended...)

Penelope - A modern fairy tale; Christina Ricci plays an aristocratic girl cursed with a pig's nose, looking for true love to break the curse. We needed something-light hearted after watching Hard Candy, and this definitely fit the bill.

The Beaver - Mel Gibson, Jodie Foster, Jennifer Lawrence, Anton Yelchin (the kid from Charlie Bartlett), and a beaver hand puppet. That pretty much sums it up. All in all, not a terrible movie- it actually starts a pretty solid dialogue about depression.

Nightcrawler - Jake Gyllenhaal plays a f*cking weirdo in this one. He's really freaking good at that.

Minimalism - A documentary about (you guessed it) minimalism. Definitely worth a watch though, if that's a concept you've been thinking about or actively working towards.

Black Mirror - This series is a bunch of stand-alone episodes that act as commentary about how we interact with modern-day technology and where that might lead us. Brilliant. And scary (in the holy-shit-that's-not-terribly-far-off sense). I've been recommending this to everyone lately.

A Series of Unfortunate Events - We've only actually watched the first episode of this so far. But I love Neil Patrick Harris, and I wish Patrick Warburton would narrate everything, all the time. I'm not actually familiar with the books, but I really like the way this is filmed.

Other shows I've been catching up on: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and New Girl - SO GOOD.

What have you been watching lately?

Wednesday, January 25

Intentions for 2017

I've been thinking all month long about what I want my intentions to be for this year, with the intention (haha - get it?) of sharing them here with all of you. But the deeper we get into January, the more I've been stressing out about getting this posted before the end of month (because doesn't everyone make their intentions at the beginning of the month, and if I wait til the end of the month, I may as well wait til the end of the year... and then none of these other posts I have planned for this year will ever pan out and I'll never get half of the shit on my to-do list crossed off and I'll be a failure at living any sort of a productive life and AGHHHH!) I have to remind myself to calm the f*ck down and just sit down and write sometimes. There is a serious disconnect between my brain and my fingers most of the time. The problem is that the times when I have the most brilliant revelations and thoughts, are always when I am not in a place to write any of it down. So by the time I get there, everything is already lost in translation. Does that makes sense? Do other bloggers/writers/crazy people have this problem? I don't know. Anyways, enough rambling; let's get to the bulk of the post here: my intentions for 2017.

I struggled with whether or not to make actual concrete goals this year like I have in the past or whether to live this year with certain concepts in mind like I did last year. Then I came to the realization that I can do both! I can pick an intention, and apply it to my goals. They may sound like the same thing, but I don't believe that they are. Intentions seem to leave room for freedom whereas goals tend to be more concrete and determined. I think each have their place in our lives. What my yoga practice has taught me though is that living life with intentions and constantly working towards those intentions leads to a powerful and more fulfilling existence. And that we may very well be working on certain intentions forever - it's part of the practice, it's part of life!

My intention last year was mindfulness, and I really only dipped my toes in. This year, I'm hoping to apply it to more areas of my life. I'm actually working on a Mindfulness Series for the blog! It's something I thought up after having a few ideas for posts that were all mindfulness-based and it occurred to me that I have the opportunity to turn it into a series. So keep your eyes peeled for that. I'm hoping to do one post a month, or so. We'll see how it all pans out.

As far as more concrete goals go, I do have a few this year. They're pretty loose, yet attainable. I'm generally pretty terrible with these sorts of things, so I'm giving myself space to breathe. They're also very much related to being more mindful. Most of these are actually going to be broken down further in the mindfulness series, so if I'm a little vague here, don't worry - we'll delve further into these later on!

+ Unplug
As much as I try and mostly succeed at not being sucked in by my phone and the tv, the computer is a whole different story. I can easily sit in front of the screen, browsing and reading, and next thing I know a few hours have gone by and I haven't done anything to really nourish myself. Then there are those days when I realize I haven't touched the computer even once all day, my phone is no where to be found, and the tv has yet to have been turned on that day... I love those days! I want more of those days. I'd like to spend more time reading books, coloring pages, sketching things, writing with a physical pen... really doing things that feed the soul. Ideally, I'd love to unplug completely for one day a week. Realistically, I'd love to do it at least one day a month. Hopefully I can land somewhere between the two.

+ Teach yoga
I'll be a certified yoga teacher by this time next month! I should be able to teach at least one class a week at the studio where I've been doing my training, but I'd also like to explore other options and really see where it takes me. I'm actually planning on sending out some feelers over the weekend; I have a few places in mind. Teaching will hopefully help me implement a more regular home practice in my life too, since I'll need to work on sequences for classes. I've already noticed a difference in my everyday life, in the sense that I view every conversation and occurrence as a possible theme for classes. Bring it on!

+ Meditate
I never meditated until last year when it was introduced to me during yoga teacher training. It's a really great thing to be doing, and I don't do it nearly enough. I was on a roll for a while, meditating every morning, and really starting to see the benefits of it spreading into the rest of my day. Then I switched jobs and subsequently started waking up at 3am for work, and my meditation was the first thing to go out the window. So the meditation doesn't happen as often as I would like because I really do like meditating first thing in the morning. I need to form a new routine and stick to it.

+ Save money
I used to be pretty good with my money, but it seems that over the years my concept of spending and saving responsibly has gotten a little loose. (I think it goes hand in hand with "well, I'm making more money now, so it's fine, I can buy this.") I'd really like to tighten my finances back up this year! I've been talking to other people about methods they use for saving, and I've got lots of good ideas about it now. I need to sit down and come up with a realistic budget. This is a huge thing for me. Like, real adulting right here!

+ Shop less
This was also a goal last year, but I made it way too concrete and failed miserably. Well, I failed at limiting myself, but I succeeded at being more thoughtful about my shopping habits. In fact, in doing so, I actually changed my shopping habits! So this year, I'd like to continue... not by limiting myself to a specific amount, but by continuing to browse less and purchase more intentionally. (This also goes hand in hand with saving money...) Something I'd also really like to focus on this year is buying more ethically and sustainably.

+ Post more often
Last year I ended up posting the least amount I've posted since 2012. I'm not setting myself up for anything specific here... I feel like every year I say "I'm going to post more recipes!" and every year I come up short. I'm not really concerned with what the content will be specifically, I just know I'd like to post more content in general. I'm hoping that doing a Mindfulness Series will inspire me to bring more insightful content to the blog, even outside of the series. And yes, I would like to post more recipes, especially since I've been cooking so much more! Ideally I'd love to be posting 2-3 times a week, but honestly, that's probably still a stretch for me. But if I can do it, while still keeping the content organic and not rushed, I'd like to!

+ Have more dance parties
I threw this one in for fun. And I'm not talking actual parties here... I want more of that feel good, move like no-one's watching, ridiculously exaggerated kinda dancing we all do on our own time. I think we all need more solo dance parties! (That's my campaign, and I'm sticking to it.) More dance parties a la Hugh Grant in Love Actually. I mean seriously, who doesn't feel good after a quick dance session? Also, I don't know about you, but I'm more likely to clean the apartment when there's dance music playing. Just sayin'.

Did you set intentions/goals this year? Got any pointers for how to stay on point?

* Intention cards are from here.

Friday, January 20

Fun Finds Friday #136

  • This looks delicious! Wish I had more sour cream on hand right now...
  • A cute and minimalistic cat dress!
  • Soap that's too pretty to use.
  • Flats made from recycled materials!


Happy Friday!!!!

Monday, January 16

The Zen Room

We've been living in this apartment since June 2016, and though we've had it decorated and looking decent for the majority of that time, only one of the rooms actually feels finished... or at least close enough. The living room is next in line, once I get off my ass and sew some cushion covers for the couch... but I digress. Let me finally give you a quick photo tour of the Zen Room!

We live in a rowhome - one long rectangle with a hallway that connects all the rooms and runs adjacent to another apartment which is laid out in the exact same way. Thankfully, we rarely hear our next door neighbors, and the darkly lit window-less woes of a city rowhouse are not upon us - we actually have an end unit on the corner of a semi-busy street and the sunlight is amazing. It's actually part of the reason we chose this unit! *

This is the first room you walk into; aka the front room, but we like to call it the zen room because that's our intention for the space. When we moved, I was at the beginning of my yoga teacher training and looking forward to finally having a space to practice at home. So we decided this would be the yoga/relaxation/plant space. When I want to practice, I just move the rugs out of the way. (I actually recently had three friends over for an hour-long yoga session - it was awesome!) We had our record player in here for months, but recently moved it to the living room because this room stays really cold and we weren't using it. Most of our plants are in here as well, but we may move them because the cold hasn't been good for them either. That sunlight totally makes it worth being cold though! And behind those curtains is the door to our balcony, another fun feature of this place.

One of the things I also really like about this room is that most of the things in here were found on my travels, or were gifts from family and friends. I think it just adds to the positive energy of the space. I also love the rugs! This is our first apartment with hardwood floors, and we were ecstatic to be able to get some rugs! If you'd like to know where anything specific is from, ask away! I'll try to remember, or help you find something similar.


* A quick little background about this apartment building - when Shawn and I first moved to the area 4.5 years ago, every time we would walk past this building we would say, "One day, we're going to live in there!", but we always thought it was way beyond our financial means. Then, about two years ago, I became friends with someone who actually lived in the building. I got to see the inside of her unit and fell even more in love with the place. Lucky for us, when we were looking for a new place to move into, she reached out to her landlords and found out that there were two available units - and they were in our price range! (Actually, they were way less expensive to rent than we expected! Which makes us sad because we could have totally moved in here 4.5 years ago...) Annnnd now we live in our dream apartment! It's an old building and could definitely use a little revamping in parts, but the energy here is great and it fits all of our needs. The cats love it too because it's SO much more space than our last place. Oh, and we didn't paint anything. The last tenants had some great colors already so we told the landlord not to bother repainting. It's so nice being in an apartment that isn't all white!

Friday, January 13

Fun Finds Friday #135

  • National Geographic photographers talk about gratitude.
  • Illustrations that show what goes on inside an introvert's head.
  • What happens to restaurants after Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives?
  • This may be the cutest thing ever! Well, it's close to the top of the list.
  • I wanted to test out this method earlier this week when temperatures were at 10°F, but I spaced on it.
  • Do you think you'd learn anything from a month of mirror selfies?

Happy Friday!!!!

Thursday, January 12

Couch Cats

Happy 2017! I spent the first two weeks of the new year reflecting on (to quote from one of my favorite books...) life, the universe, and everything. I have all sorts of fun posts buzzing around in my brain for over the next few weeks, but sometimes it's nice to take a step back and just be. So, while I take time to accurately put my thoughts to paper (er, screen), I thought it'd be nice to share a few cat photos in the meantime.

I bought an iPhone 7 at the end of last year, and holy shit - the camera is amazing! I thought the camera on my LG was great, and hesitated to upgrade, but I'm so glad I did. My favorite feature? The portrait setting. It's like having an SLR right at my fingertips. So of course, I've been taking photos of the cats any chance I get! You'd think from looking at these that they were all taken on the same day, but the reality is that these guys just really love our couch, and that's where they spend 80% of their time, so that's the backdrop for all of these.

Now you're probably thinking, why hasn't she shared photos of the new apartment yet? It's been six months! Well, the truth is, the living room has been ready to show off for a while... but our couch was free and is in not-so-great shape aesthetically, so I bought some fabric to reupholster it... in October. Yeah, did I mention I'm a big time procrastinator? Once I get some new cushions on there, I'll be happy to show it off (along with the rest of the room)! But in the meantime, you can just look at Lloyd and Sylvester ;)

(That last one makes me smile like a big goofball - I love when I catch them cuddling!)

Also, I've had a few people ask about how Lloyd is faring, and I realized I hadn't given an update in a while. He is doing great! Seriously great. He hasn't had any problems with his mouth or teeth since the surgery (knock on wood), and the way he chomps down on food, both wet and dry, you'd never know he only has seven teeth! The little dude is in a great mood all the time; still rockin' the silly poses, and wanting cuddles more than ever. I've said it before, and I will say it again, thank you all SO MUCH for helping us out last year. I don't know if Lloyd realizes how many fans he has in the world, but we are certainly beyond grateful for all the love that surrounds him.a
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