Wedding Planning Wednesdays: A New, Calm, Less Stress Approach

Over the past few weeks, I have calmed down a bit on the feeling that I am not on task with wedding planning. This is partly due to a recent revelation that we might be able to hold the wedding weekend at one location that is experienced in hosting weddings, rather than trying to coordinate multiple venues.

Last week we were contacted by the location where we got engaged. I told myself I would check into it, even though I figured it would be way too expensive.

After speaking with the catering sales manager at L’auberge, I was starting to feel much more content about the idea of working with one single location that has already crafted wedding packages, and that we know will do an over-the-top amazing job with every detail they touch based on our experience with our engagement weekend (oh, and did I mention they have free yoga?).

Planning Progress Status Update

Here are the items from my to-do list last Wedding Planning Wednesday and my progress so far: continue…

Meditation Mondays: Week 1 Recap of the 21-Day Meditation Experience

I started the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience one day late, on August 12th. I also missed yesterday, so I am currently two meditations behind. Fortunately, the meditations are available for five days after their original release date to catch up on missed days or go back and review the material.

The purpose of this meditation experience is to expand and deepen our own experience of happiness so that we can share a joyful energy with the world. Each day, a meditation lasting approximately 20 minutes is emailed to participants. Oprah kicks off each session by providing an introduction to the day’s meditation, and then Deepak provides his own short introduction and moves into a guided meditation.

I have enjoyed every meditation so far. Each day is focused on recognizing that we have what it takes within ourselves to be happy, and we have had it all along. Our happiness does not depend on external factors as our culture would have us believe, such as achievements, praise, or pleasing others. Both Oprah and Deepak are working to help us realize that happiness is our true nature. continue…

Why Exercise is Essential, Found Time, & a Blogust Status Update

Over the past few days, I have revisited creative ways to find the time to go for walks and get in reading on even the busiest of days. I was inspired by Robin Sharma’s video on You Tube the other day in a moment of desperation for a glimmer of hope and insight into how I might get on top of my life.

Why Making Time to Exercise Matters

He mentioned the power of exercise. These days I am not big into exercise that requires excessive amounts of exertion and sweating, but I do enjoy light yoga and moderately paced walking. The idea of getting up even earlier popped into my mind, and I have been doing it ever since. continue…

I Am Not Getting a Sabbatical Anytime Soon, & I Have to Accept That

“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” – Japanese Proverb

I remember when I was younger thinking that older people who took sabbaticals were really boring. Ha! What I wouldn’t give for a sabbatical!

I have dreamed of taking a sabbatical for years now. I’m not even really sure what the official sabbatical duration is, but I am guessing it’s at least a few months. I actually took my own mini-sabbatical this past January.

I loved it. I loved every second of it. I took a nice long walk almost every day, I woke up early just because I was excited to have the whole day to do whatever I wanted, and I did yoga and meditated almost everyday. During the day I got to spend time reading and writing, and had the time to take care of the house and get things done. And felt relaxed!

Yesterday, I fell slightly ill and ended up sleeping for pretty much the whole day. Mostly feeling depressed about all of my nagging tasks and wondering how I would ever get them all done. Hence the first Blogust fail.

Why I Want a Sabbatical

I want to feel like I have time to write my book, make my blog a success, take walks, do yoga, meditate, and take care of all of my personal tasks (including planning a wedding). Not to mention crocheting. I love to crochet! When does a working girl have time to crochet? I would like to know? There are winter hats to be made, people! continue…

Weekly Meal Planning Progress & Cauliflower Taco Shells

Last week my healthy weekly meal plan came crashing down on Wednesday evening. Overcome by work-related tasks, I succumbed to the ease of ordering quesadilla explosion salads at Chili’s after a long afternoon of task-mastering at the Starbucks conveniently located in the same plaza as Chili’s.

After that, I lost my low-carb cooking momentum, and proceeded to order in pizza on Thursday, Chinese on Friday, and calzones on Saturday. Ugh.

What Didn’t Work

I recognize that I had a choice. I was the one who chose to order in when I could have chosen to make the zucchini lasagna, shrimp cauliflower stir fry, or almond flour pizza. However, I believe that the short term consequences to my physical health aside, I made the right choice for my mental sanity. So that’s something. continue…

A Slice of Zen in the Kitchen

An organized, zenified spice collection has been a dream of ours for quite a while. Now that we are in our new house, we are grateful to have the space to organize them in drawers with the labels on top of the jars for easy access.

This project has been a long time in the making. I ordered the labels last year, but after I ordered a few jars in another style, I came to realize that they were out of stock and that I wouldn’t be able to complete the project with the original jars. Then our move happened, and labeling spice jars took a backseat to many other tasks.

The new jars came in last week, but I feared that I would procrastinate on the project for months. This morning, I didn’t think I would make the time today to label spice jars, but knowing that I had to organize a small area of the home for today’s Blogust post got me motivated.

I am only about halfway done with this project. In the time it took to watch a few episodes of House Hunters on Hulu and three 80’s movies on Netflix, I labeled about half of the spice jars. I would consider that a productive Saturday night!

This is only the beginning of the zenification of our kitchen. I have yet to finish the spice jar labels, and similar labeling for other stock kitchen items including oils, vinegars, dry baking ingredients, coffee, and nuts. I will go into more details in an upcoming post of where we got the labels on Etsy and where we ordered the jars from on Amazon in case anyone is interested.

Today’s post is pretty short since it is getting late on Saturday night, but I will be back with another post tomorrow! Happy Blogust!

Fiction Fridays: What I’m Writing & What I’m Reading About Writing

“Novel writing isn’t always about finding the right ideas. It’s about finding the time and the energy.” – 90 Days to Your Novel by Sarah Domet

My first Fiction Friday of Blogust has arrived and I haven’t written a single word of fiction. Since August first, that is. My current work in progress is up to 6,459 words. So that’s something.

I have dreamed of, and many times attempted, writing young adult fiction for several years now. I even got up to 17,000 words once a few years ago. I mostly feel like I don’t know what I’m doing, but then visions of Stephanie Meyer and J.K. Rowling writing frantically drive me to wonder: what if? continue…

A Glass of Wine in the Bathtub and a Mid-week Pick-Me-Up

“All I want to do right now is have a glass of wine in the bathtub, pay a cleaning service to clean the kitchen, then order pizza and eat cookies all night.” – me, about ten minutes ago

The middle of the week is my Monday. I know this. I have observed it about myself in the past, yet somehow I am still blindsided by the overwhelming feeling that I will never get caught up that often hits me on Wednesdays and Thursdays. So far, I have eaten four cookies over the past two days. Um, and several handfuls of M & M’s. Not my shining moments of self-control. And I still want to order pizza. The cleaning service is a bit ridiculous, I will admit. But the glass of wine in the bathtub might win.

Taking 100% Responsibility

I am pretty sure the times I feel overwhelmed I am not taking 100% responsibility. I learned about taking 100% responsibility from chapter one of Jack Canfield’s book How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Jack Canfield says to take 100% responsibility for everything in our lives. Whether or not we think we are responsible for everything in our lives is irrelevant. Take responsibility for it anyway. Taking responsibility for everything that happens in our lives means we are coming from a place of being empowered rather than the place of playing the victim.

Oh and have I played the victim! In the moment, it feels easier to try to blame everyone and everything outside of myself for my present moment misery. Too many things on my to-do list? Not enough time to get it all done? Why not repeat over and over in my mind how everyone but me is responsible for it, rather than just doing it? continue…

Wedding Planning Wednesdays: Where to Start?

It’s after 8 p.m. on my first Wedding Planning Wednesday, and after a long day of attempting to get things done from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., still not a single step forward on wedding planning has been made. Unless listening to my “Wedding – Pre-ceremony” playlist on Spotify counts? At least it is a relaxing list (think Relaxing Instrumental Jazz Ensamble).

Do I even want to have a wedding?

This question keeps entering my mind as it goes in circles about where to start. Yes, I definitely want to get married. But the months of planning? Not sure I am up for the challenge.

The biggest advice I seem to be getting from people is either to to get a wedding planner or to elope. The ones who recommend the planner are deadly serious, while the ones recommending eloping are (mostly…i think) joking. We aren’t interested in eloping, so hire a wedding planner it is!

My answer is yes. I do want to have a wedding…but I want someone else to make all the decisions! continue…

10 Quotes That Will Inspire You to Follow Your Dreams

When I set out to lose weight over five years ago, one of my strategies to keep me mentally on track throughout the day and prevent afternoon vending machine binges was to write out a different quote for each day of the week on a piece of paper that I kept with me at all times. Anytime I felt the urge to get up for a vending machine break at my job, especially around 2 p.m., I read my quote and most of the time it was enough to keep me from going off track that day.

I decided to use a different quote each day because I didn’t want to become immune to the inspirational effects of reading the same quote over and over everyday. Also, there are so many inspiring quotes out there, who can choose just one? I rotated through about seven to ten quotes that made me want to lose weight more than I wanted to eat a chocolate bar for a period of about two months.

Collecting & Storing Quotes

I collect quotes from random places. I first experienced the joy of quotes in high school, when my best friend started writing down quotes. Ever since then, I have dreamed of creating an organized collection of quotes that have inspired me to refer back to. Currently I have a notebook in Evernote that isn’t very organized, but is my go-to place for storing quotes.

There are so many times I come across an inspiring quote on a TV show, TV commercial, movie, or even a billboard. I try to get them down in the moment, otherwise it is hard to go back to the middle of a movie to capture the inspiring words. I also try to write down quote originals from people in my personal life when someone says something particularly inspiring or memorable.

The Power of Quotes

The right quote can have the power to, at a moment’s notice, pull you back on the track of the more disciplined version of yourself you envisioned on Sunday night when you were planning out your future.  You know, the thin, glowing, happy version of yourself. Her. continue…

Meditation Mondays: Overview of the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience

When I got the email in my inbox for the Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience, Expanding Your Happiness, I considered ignoring it. My first thought was that it would be something I would have to pay to participate in, and that I already have my own meditation regimen going on.

I am so glad I decided to click the link and learn more about the program! First of all, the 21-Day Meditation Experience is free. They have put on similar events in the past, which I have probably seen ads for or heard about, but never paid too much attention to. I listened to the introduction to learn more about it, and discovered that it would fit in perfectly with my current meditation routine.

Inspired by Oprah & Deepak Chopra

I started reading books by Deepak Chopra in 2006 when I discovered that the public library had a pretty substantial self-help book collection. This also led me to my love of Wayne Dyer’s books. I found Dr. Chopra’s books to be intriguing, but sometimes way too heavy and I would get lost trying to follow his ideas.

My favorite books by Deepak Chopra are The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga: A Practical Guide to Healing Body, Mind, and Spirit. I read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success first, which led me to The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga. Both books are short and to the point, and could probably be read in a day each. If you are looking for a quick inspirational guide to life, the first one is it!

I LOVE Oprah. She inspires me, and millions of other people. If Oprah and Deepak are providing a free meditation experience, I am not sure how much better you can get than that! continue…

How to Use Evernote to Plan Weekly Meals & A Healthier Bread Recipe

It’s Sunday. The day of planning meals for the rest of the week. I know some people do Meal Planning Mondays. I have tried that in the past, but by Monday night the last thing I want to do is spend hours cooking. So Sundays it is.

Using Evernote to Plan Meals

A few weeks ago I got back into working on a menu plan in Evernote that works for me. This has been a work in progress for over a year. My goal is to have meals thought out a season (three months) at a time. Right now, I am working on getting down one week at a time.

We are always experimenting with making everyday meals that we like into their healthier (which usually means lower carb) versions. Cauliflower is the low carb secret weapon. I love mashed cauliflower, and last week made a shrimp cauliflower fried rice that was really good. Couldn’t even taste the cauliflower.

My goal is to have about 10 healthy recipes that we like and are relatively easy to make to rotate throughout a month. While I am still figuring out what those recipes are, I have decided to think and plan smaller until I have a better grip on what I am doing.

My fiancé, Michael, and I have a shared Evernote notebook called “Culinary – Food” that contains tons of recipes and a note entitled “Menu”. Click here for a sample of the menu I have created in Evernote for the current week. Below I describe in more detail my rationale for organizing my weekly menu this way by column.

continue…

Blogust Schedule at a Glance

Since I have committed myself to 30 more consecutive days of posting, I figured today would be a good time to plan out my posts for the month. I have been wanting to do this ever since I started blogging but never got a grip on the organization of my thoughts more than a few days in advance.

Themed Days

I have always liked the idea of posting based on specific themes on certain days of the week. This is how I came up with the idea for Meditation Mondays. Here is the general idea for my posting schedule during Blogust: continue…

Be Unwilling to Disappoint Yourself

For as long as I can remember, at least since I made the decision of what I would major in in college, I have been desperate not to disappoint other people. To my own detriment. I do my best to do what I am supposed to do to make sure I am meeting the needs and expectations of the people around me.

I have expectations for myself as well, but unfortunately they are largely trumped by those of other people. I want to be considered responsible, yet fun. Even if that means staying up too late and then getting out of bed the next morning so as not to disappoint anyone at my job by being late. Forget about disappointing myself by not making time to meditate. Well, at least put it secondary to what I perceive others expect.

Living from a Place of Fear

I would estimate that the majority of the time I am living from fear. I fear being late for work, saying the wrong thing, making a mistake, disappointing someone, being criticized, and mostly, not following my dreams. I fear, constantly, that I will never get the courage to write my book or make my blog a success, while simultaneously fearing that I am not doing enough to deliver on what other people expect of me.

It’s exhausting, and I know I am not the only one who feels this way. Which is why I share. The fear has improved, otherwise I wouldn’t even be sharing my thoughts today. We all have fears, but living from them day after day is not the recipe for a healthy life.

In my extreme unwillingness to disappoint other people, I have, unfortunately, become comfortable with disappointing myself. If I feel that someone else or some task needs to be tended to, then I likely take care of that need and skip my writing for the day.

Time is tricky. I can say I don’t have time to write, but I would have to carefully remind myself that if I believe everyone has the ability to make time to exercise, then I must also have the ability to make time to write. It isn’t lack of time that prevents me from moving forward (although I often cite that as the defining reason), but fear and a willingness to disappoint myself. continue…

A Mini-Sabbatical

Today is officially day 1 of my 30 day mini-sabbatical. Although I wasn’t planning on posting anything until Monday, I figured I would outline my plans for my time since it is so heavily on my mind and I am so excited about it.

First of all, I have to say that this is truly a dream come true for me. I can’t even count the number of times I have wished that I could get a month off to focus on myself and my direction in life. I know I am so lucky to get this chance, and I do not take it lightly. continue…

Reflections on Blooktober

There are still four days left on October, but I figured I would go ahead and get put my thoughts on Blooktober out there, since today is the due date of the book proposal contest that I was entered into.

I slowly started to accept over the past week that I was not going to be a contest participant, even though I wrote at least two posts about my determination to do so. I guess I could be slightly embarrassed since I said I would but now I am not, but more than anything I just feel relieved. continue…

Blooktober Kickoff

“The beginning is always today.” – Mary Shelley

Fall is in the air! This year, for me, this means Blooktober during October, and then NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) in November. More about NaNoWriMo later.

What is Blooktober?

I participated in Blogust this year, posting everyday during the month of August. I will admit that I did take some liberties in what is technically considered posting everyday, as I ended up missing days and having to go back and post later during the month of August. In the end, I completed all 31 posts within the month.

In September, I lost my writing and posting momentum that the challenge of participating in Blogust fueled. I am glad that I gave myself some in-between time, but I also feel that I am ready for another challenge. I wasn’t sure if I would participate in Blogtober (posting everyday during October), but I now know that I must. Sometimes, there just comes a point where you realize it is now or never. I am sensing that this is one of those times for me. continue…

Reflections on Blogust

Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing. No matter how many mistakes you make, or how slow you progress, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.  – posted at 60 Empowering Quotes to Help You Get Things Done

Today is August 31. I am so proud to say that I made it through Blogust! I honestly have no idea what I am doing, but I have started and that is an accomplishment in itself.

For the past year, I have tried to get inspired, motivated, and disciplined enough to post to this blog everyday and get it going, but I just could find the magic formula to get myself to do it. I am so glad that I got the idea to do Blogust, because at least for the month of August, that did the trick!

I absolutely love writing, and have been writing for myself, to myself, for the past several years, but was too afraid to share my ideas. I know that I have A LOT to learn about blogging and writing in general, but I have to remind myself that just doing something puts me so far ahead of the version of myself that just did nothing. continue…

Procrastinators Annonymous

Right now I have a notebook in my Evernote called “Post Drafts” with 120 notes. This is where I have been keeping ideas for blog posts for over a year. As I am writing this, I am up to 121 notes.

I set out to participate in Blogust around the beginning of this month, with the goal of posting to this blog each day throughout the month of August. I have missed about 5 or 6 days, although I posted a quote as a placeholder for each day that I missed and will be going back and posting to those days before the end of August.

A Procrastinator’s Confessions

Why oh why do we procrastinate? Maybe I shouldn’t say “we” because I am sure not everyone procrastinates, and even those of us who do procrastinate are probably really good at getting certain things done quickly. That is, certain things we either actually enjoy doing or have figured out how to do with confidence. Despite all the good advice and information I have read about getting things done and not procrastinating, I still manage to do it. continue…

Planning Projects – Part 1

Now that I have my to-do lists (which I now call my reminders lists) under control, I feel like I can really get into getting my life organized the way I have always wanted to. I have read so many books about getting organized and improving productivity, and while I liked many of the ideas they described, I never felt “with it” enough to even begin to follow their advice.

Getting organized takes a lot of time, not to mention the difficult decisions the process forces. When I was buried by a mountain of tasks, it seemed totally impossible to make progress on getting organized. How could I dedicate 4 hours to organizing some files on my computer when I had a good, oh, say, infinite amount of hours of tasks nagging at me? continue…

Do Not Judge Yourself, But Forgive and Move On

“I give myself the kindness and forgiveness I would show others.” – Alan Cohen

Perfection does not exist, although the perfectionist within some of us will beg to differ. It is okay to strive to be the best we can be, but it is equally as important to remain unattached, firmly, from the outcome.

When setting out to make a change, it is critical to our success to understand and accept that we will not be perfect. We certainly can reach our goals, but it is highly unlikely that our journey towards positive changes will be flawless. I think a common giving-up point for a lot of people is when we make mistakes and don’t follow through with the plan we were so enthusiastic about 3 days ago. continue…