Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Recapping the Weekend...Even Though it's Tuesday!

This past weekend began with me feeling like a genius.  My motivation to work out was completely gone when I got home from work.  Enter: Life Hack!  I convinced myself to go running by, one, dragging Heather with me, and two, pouring glasses of wine to breathe for us as we run.  Is that genius or what?!  That night I solidified my elderly status by inviting friends over to indulge in leftovers and a Broad City marathon.  I would describe Board City as Girls meets Workaholics, if you happen to be interested!


Saturday morning, painters came to repaint our guest bathroom, so we relegated ourselves to the back of the house.  When I say back of the house, I really mean bedroom because our house is pretty small.  That was a lovely excuse to lay in bed for way too long, reading blogs, drinking coffee and snuggling with Mozey.



I finally dragged by butt out of bed for the last of our meditation workshops.  This Saturday's was my favorite class yet; it was a culmination of all we had learned and was instruction-heavy.  Also, it was not well attended, which is a plus in my book: Less people means the teacher talks more.  I hate to say it, but I am really not one for group discussions, I feel like the lesson eventually gets diluted.  After the class, I was talking to the instructor and she was encouraging me to join the Thursday evening meditations but I told her I wasn't into the group discussion afterward.  She looked at me and said:  "That's a shame, you may learn something that could be helpful to you."  Well....I'm a jerk.  Point taken.

Post meditation we randomly hit an awesome sale at Diamond Brand!  Heather was picking up a birthday gift next door and we wandered inside.  I got a cute Kavu bag, an old school Woolrich sweater and a few more gems.  



Since we had waited so long to eat, we were both starving and made our way downtown to Heiwa for sushi.  And then, as I always do, I wanted some ice cream and ended up with a ridiculous hot pink hat from the gas station.  Keeping it classy over here.  Blue and green have always been my colors. I've never been a pink girl. But lately I have been drawn towards reds and pinks.  It's very strange, but I'm not fighting it.



Sunday we drove to Lake Lure and had lunch with some family and let Mozey pretend she is a country dog that gets to run freely on acres of land.  I know she loves doing that, but the temporal quality of it makes it a bit sad.  One day she will have fenced-in yard to play in!  Sunday night we grabbed dinner and drinks with friends and stayed up too late.

Lack of sleep wasn't the best way to start the week, but it ended on a happy note.  Tonight we are mourning the melted snow and eating crock-pot chili with gross, yet addictive, vegan cheese.

Here's to a great week to come!



Saturday, February 21, 2015

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

As a new homeowner, I've incurred lots of fun new costs.  Deck stain and grout and driveway maintenance are all on my list of exciting things I spend money on.  Now that I have a few more bills than I did as a renter, an idea that really resonates with me is the concept of "voting with your dollar".  We work hard for our cash, and I believe it's worth considering who and what you are supporting when you spent that money.  I know this is idealistic and not always attainable, as it's often even more expensive to support quality retailers.

But, when you can frequent businesses that treat their employees well, you are helping to support a sustainable lifestyle.  A local organization in Asheville called Just Economics recently released its Living Wage Certified Employers list for 2015.  Here is how they define Living Wage:

A “living wage” is the minimum amount that a worker must earn to afford his or her basic necessities, without public or private assistance. In short, a living wage is the real, just, minimum wage.



That means that the wages their employees earn are enough to actually live in the city in which they work.  So, if this is something that is meaningful to you I would recommend seeing if your city has a list of the local businesses that are Living Wage Certified.  Often businesses will advertize themselves this way because it is a big deal.  Some of my favorite spots that are living wage in Asheville: Asheville Yoga Center, Burial Beer, Desoto Lounge, Mamacitas, Patton Avenue Pet Co, The Wedge, and White Duck to name a few!

Another way to look at businesses is their practices.  As a bit of a product junkie, I've been researching more "natural" and safe makeup.  I was pretty pumped to find out that one of my favorite brands Tarte, is free of parabens and phthalates and they don't practice animal testing!  (Read more here.)  I mentioned this to Heather not long ago, and she gave me a gift certificate for Valentine's Day! That one is a stellar gift giver, let me tell ya.  Here's what I added to my non-toxic beauty stash!




If you're local and interested, check out the list of living wage certified spots, and if your favorite one isn't on there, maybe you should let them know about it! And, if you have other ways you like to support quality businesses, please let me know!



Monday, February 16, 2015

Love Love

It is very far out of my comfort zone to be publicly affectionate with the person I love on the internet.  But this Valentine's Day, Hallmark did its job well, and I was feeling gushy.  So, I posted a lovey post about my girl and the response was really surprising.  

This job of "coming out" is an endless one.  It's a daily conversation, not a one-time deal.  I know social media isn't the most personal connection, but it was kind of cool to see how many people from my recent and distant past gave a little internet "hooty hoo".  Of course, my mother was the first person to comment to say how much she loves Heather (I really have the best family in the world).  

I definitely get internet-excited (that's a thing, right?) about others' happinesses and want them to feel my genuine support.  To be on the receiving end of that was a cool moment.  People really do love love.  
How can you not?  

(This is a terrible photo, but it's our first together back in April 2013)


Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday, February 13th


This week has absolutely flown by.  Here's what's been going on for the last 168 hours:  

ONE

I celebrated last weekend by finally getting some home projects done.  This photo was taken at 7:45am:  It's miraculous what you can accomplish when you get up at 6:30 on a Saturday.  That little green desk now has some pretty shelves and storage action going on...photos to come!



TWO

Fourteen months later, the third bedroom has officially become the yoga room! This was the second project this weekend: hanging shelves and finally putting the crap away that has lingered in the room throughout its many short-lived incarnations.


THREE

Currently, it's windy and 21 degrees outside, but Sunday it was sunny and 60!  We celebrated by walking up to Desoto Lounge for a yummy brunch outside with some friends.  Luna the Boston was so excited, she had to eat some cantalope to cope.


FOUR

Shovels and Rope played at the Orange Peel on Tuesday night!  These two put on such an amazing show every time, I really can't recommend them enough if you have the chance to see them live.  They played for two hours straight, yelling and foot stompin' and dripping sweat all over the stage.  You better believe I was glued to my front row spot, dancing and singing along!  All of their albums are stellar, but I was really happy to hear them play songs from their newest album Swimmin' Time.

































FIVE

Since Shovels and Rope are so freakin' amazing, it's basically a guarantee that their opener will be pretty dang good.  And, Caroline Rose did not disappoint.  This girl is young but has the voice of an old soul.  Her lyrics are intelligent too, give her a listen. 

Linking up with these lovely ladies today:



Have a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Meditation Tips

As I mentioned in my New Years Resolution post, I am taking a meditation workshop.  Halfway in, I have a few tips I've learned that have been helpful to me thus far.  The practice I have been learning is called mindfulness meditation.  While I am not Buddhist, I do like the Buddhist perspective and the simple, straight forward way they look at life:  To be human is to suffer, here is how to reduce suffering.  What's not to like about that?  

My current knowledge of this practice is rudimentary at best, but the jist is basically: notice your thoughts, notice your body, notice your feelings.  When you are mindful of what's going on, you then know it's not in your control but you are in control of how you react to things.  I see quotes like this constantly on Instagram and Pinterest:
  


When you look at it that way, this practice is a more intentional and mindful version of what are always telling ourselves. 

So if you have praticed mediation before and found it difficult (hands up), here are a few nuggets I will share that have helped me.  Or, if you have never practiced meditation, these are a few good starting points:

1. Just sit and be quiet.

Every other meditation I have been taught always stresses pushing all thoughts away.  Just sitting in silence is much more laid back.  If one thought keeps popping up, don't freak out: My mind is spinning, I suck at this!  Nope, just sit there and chill the eff out.  Our minds move quickly as we are products of our culture and environment and it takes effort to change that.

2. Breath isn't the only place to center your focus.

For me, breath focus can cause anxiety.  Focusing on my hands, though, is very calming.  Performing a body scan, staring at the back of my eyelids and counting up and down from 1-10 is also nice.  There are plenty of tools you can use to maintain focus.

3. Don't let frustration get the best of you

I am an antsy, fidgety person.  Always have been, according to my parents.  The act of settling in and calming down often brings forth all the tiny annoyances in your brain or body.  But that's okay.  In this workshop, we are learning to just notice those feelings and not get attached them.  I think that's a pretty powerful revelation.

4. Have a support system in place

Now, I didn't really learn this in the workshop, but because I am taking it with friends I've been held accountable.  I have a sounding board when things are tough and people to share my joy with when things are great.  Having someone who understands your goals and can help you work through them is invaluable!


I still consider myself a beginner, but I will be back with an update eventually.  Happy meditating!


Monday, February 9, 2015

Beauty Hacks

Don't like makeup, stop reading now?  Otherwise, proceed with caution.  

My new work environment is much more casual than my past jobs.  Hence I give myself about 15 minutes each day to get from pajamas to out the door.  To some that is probably not much time.  If that's you, I'm a bit envious.  My vaired wardrobe and makeup tastes can drastically change the amount of time I choose to spend getting ready.  Back when I worked at a gallery, I had plenty of time in the morning to do complicated makeup and I loved it.  That is no longer the case.  
So, here are a few things I do to get my bum out the door on time:

When I have minimal time I do: under eye concealer, brows and mascara.  That is it.  With practice, a quick swipe of colored brow gel or pencil takes about 60 seconds.  Do it, it's worth it.  Promise.

I can't believe I am actually typing this but:  Use the leftover makeup that's already on your brushes.  When I am in a hurry, I don't take the time to find the product I want, I just use what's leftover from last time.

Dry shampoo isn't always my favorite.  Baby powder gives texture to my clean, slippery hair and absorbs oil in dirty hair.  Also, for all you blondes out there, it makes you look blond-er.  Just sayin!  

I do love dry shampoo for a fast bun.   Here's how I do it:  Spray that junk all over with reckless abandon, scrape hair upward, grab with a fabric hair band and loop it around a few times.  Stretch out the bun so it looks lived in, pin wayward parts back to your head.  Loosen the hair at your crown and nape of the neck and pull out a few pieces around your face.  (I prefer messy to ballerina.)  If you're interested, this lady does the best hair tutorials.

Organization helps speed things up, too.  I keep all my most used products in a basket in my top drawer.  Next to that is a little makup bag of hair ties and bobby pins and a cup with some makeup brushes.  Knowing where everything is reduces search time when time is tight!

Das it!  If you have some tips, let me know!

Friday, February 6, 2015

Lately...

Feeling voyeuristic? Perfecto, here's a look into my last week or so:

ONE
We've been a two dog house for the past week!  Pookie's owner died a couple of years ago and her interim caretakers could no longer keep her, so we volunteered to foster/babysit while finding her a permanent home.  If all goes as planned, she should be joining her new family soon.  A part of me is sad that Pookie is leaving, but I am grateful for the rare chance to temporarily test out having two dogs.  (It's true what they say about one dog training another.)  Pook is such a sweet, smiley thing, she will be missed.  Especially by her smaller, more spazzy, counterpart.




TWO
I  can't stop making and eating these delicious tacos.  Lentil walnut "meat" may sound like some kind of disgusting hippie grub, but please believe it's got everything you want out of a true-blue taco.  These little gems have earned unicorn status in my book:  they are decadently delcious but are 90% veggies.  And so easy and fast to make.

THREE
Speaking of easy and fast, both times I made those tacos this past week I did so while working out.  These have become a regular part of my routine.  Saying "routine" makes me feel like I am 60 and doing aerobics, which I essentially achieved while jumping around my living room, pausing to check the oven and stir a pot on the stove. Totally worth it.


FOUR
Although I find it impossible to return their books on time, I am back on the library train.  As my mother likes to say, late fees are our "donations".  See, I am a philanthropist.  I just read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn and have heard from many that Gone Girl needs to be on my list as well.  Noted!  Currently I am devouring "I'm Having So Much Fun Here Without You" by Courtney Maum.  This one I snagged soley based on the clever title.  Now that I am half way through, I am on a search for more by this author.  So far, so awesome! 



FOUR
Current snack obsessions are two that I blame my job for!  We are located so close to Trader Joes, it's not even funny.  Their Kettle Corn and Inner Bean crisps are dee-lish.


Linking up with these ladies:


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Internet Treats

This is my resolution to stop inundating my unsuspecting, innocent victims with emails containing my favorite internet finds.  It's time to wrap it all up into one post:

1. This artcile blew my mind. What do you mean I don't need a phone OR data?!?  

2. Back to number one, friends don't let friends waste data.

3. You know that quote we all love?  Well here's where it actually came from.



4.  In college, I studied in Picasso's home town for 5 months and became mildly obsessed.  Picasso was slightly misogynistic and like or not, we are, myself absolutely included, fascinated by drama.  Here's an execerpt from the article
"By the time of his death in 1973, Picasso had...left behind a tangled brood of four children and eight grandchild, as well as wives and muses.."

5. Hands down my favorite Instagram feed ever. 

That's what has been entertaining me on the intar-webs as of late.  I sure hope some of that was worth the effort to click-through...whew!




Monday, February 2, 2015

Homey Feelings

It's pretty crazy how small changes can affect your outlook so greatly.  Heather sent me a text recently about loving "our new home."  We moved there in December 2013; not so new anymore, eh?  But, it sure feels that way.

In the fall of last year, we got this close to putting our house on the market.  A third of our belongings went into the basement and we cleaned the house to the point where it looked like a vacation rental for the listing photos that were taken.  A landscaper was scheduled
to make our yard more attractive for showings and I conned the garden center at Lowe's into selling me $100 worth of potted plants for $20 (I think the girl was drunk, but hey, it worked).  Our house was no longer the landscape for our future.  We stopped imagining summers on that porch, started dreaming of a new house, maybe one with a different view.  Buying house, our first ever, was such a big commitment and to have that sense of security removed was unsettling.

But then, we called it all to a halt right before Thanksgiving.  A game-time decision was made and, for the time being, we are staying put.  Suddenly, we are investing our time back into the house.  Our little bungalow is about 1,200 square feet, so we have to think creatively about space.  It's harder to decorate and arrange furniture in a smaller space as each square foot counts for more!  Lately, we have really tried to better pose our space to be more functional for us.  It drives me nuts that bungalows have no entry area: you walk right in the front door into the living space.  So, we are figuring that out.  Our third bedroom has always been a mixed-use room; housing a desk as well as all the yoga and meditation accouterments.  

This weekend we moved all the bedroom furniture around and we now have a little workspace in our room.  I am sitting there writing right now!  I really like the idea of having a purposeful space to write, pay bills and keep everything organized.  Now, the yoga room will eventually become a much-need retreat. 

See, small changes y'all!