Positive Monday

Humans worldwide agree: Mondays are hard.

Let’s make them a little easier by taking a moment to think about all the things that make our lives wonderful. The word gratitude has been bouncing around the internet quite a bit lately. And for good reason, says science — practicing gratitude actually improves your health and well-being.

So on this Monday, I’m giving thanks for some things that help me chug through my week and tackle my (sometimes daunting) list of goals like a boss.

BKR Water Bottle

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I’m the type of person who can’t leave the house without her water bottle. I have a fairly extensive graveyard of old water bottles that just didn’t work out for me. But this one, I adore. It’s made out of glass so you don’t have to worry about any sketchy chemicals, and it comes with a cute silicone sleeve to protect it from breakage — I dropped mine once on a cement step and it didn’t even chip! Plus you can throw the whole thing right into the dish washer so it’s stupid easy to clean.

Fount

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I just discovered this amazing tool and I want to shout about it to all of you. Fount is a simple bookmark you add to your browser which, when clicked, shows you the name and style of any font on any webpage. I’m obsessed.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries

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I may have stayed inside all of last week and binge watched the entire 2 seasons of this show on Netflix….it’s too cold to go outside, okay!? Set in 1920’s Australia, it follows the adventures of the wonderfully feministy Miss Phryne Fisher, Lady Detective. Season 3 is set to come out sometime this year — I can’t wait!

This is my new favorite music video:

Happy Monday, y’all!

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Failed.

chess_hires

We need to talk about failure.

After just 3 weeks, I totally blew my goal to eat vegan once a week for a year. My first reaction when I realized my utter failure was to feel bad about myself for doing such a poor job at sticking with this seemingly easy goal.

I think you can all relate.

But then I started thinking — why did I fail?

Do I not want to move ahead with this goal because it’s hard? Or because it’s just not a goal that’s well-suited for me? Do I actually WANT to do this goal?

It’s not that a don’t like vegan food — I definitely do. And I ate some really great food during those first three weeks — that beet soup I told y’all about, this AMAZING vegan mac and cheese at a lovely little vegan friendly restaurant around the corner, I even made some delicious vegan marshmallows to satisfy my unrelenting sweet tooth.

I like vegan food and I think it’s good for me to eat vegan more often. Okay, so I do want to do this goal. Then what’s the problem?

I failed because I thought this goal would be easy and I didn’t plan ahead for how I would accomplish it.

This goal requires a lifestyle change and a lot more thought about what I’m putting into my body. This goal requires planning, a well thought out grocery list, the ability to say no to ordering pizza when cooking doesn’t sound like any fun. This goal requires vegan cookies, because, well, I know myself.

Yes it will require more work than my regular eating habits necessitate, but will it be worth it? I guess that’s what I’m trying to figure out.

Sometimes we make goals for ourselves that don’t actually work for us. Sometimes we make goals for ourselves that we give up on because they’re too hard. But it’s hard to know the difference until we really give them an honest try.

So I’m keeping this goal on the list. I’m going to put in the work it requires, and then if I decide that it isn’t working for me. I’m going to trash it. And I’m not going to think of that as a failure. More like a learning experience. This is a big experiment to figure out who we are, what we’re capable of, what we want out of life. Exploring goals we might fail at takes us one step closer to figuring ourselves out. We just have to make sure we’re putting in the work before we decide what is and what isn’t for us.

The 5,000 Question Survey

Digging

I’m digging up the past here. Remember back when Livejournal was the pinnacle of the internet and everyone was doing those “about me” surveys? Well, I found one and I’m totally doing it. Can we make these popular again?

This is for goal #88 “Complete the 5,000 question survey.” I discovered this goal surfing around Day Zero Project (where my list first began to take shape), and it immediately gave me flashbacks to my angsty Livejournal days. Obviously I had to add this goal to my list.

I suppose at the time I didn’t quite realize how insane 5,000 questions for a survey would be — I’ve only slogged through 200 questions thus far. Some of the questions are decidedly stupid, but I pulled out a handful of gems for your reading pleasure:

  1. What is the truest thing that you know?  The purpose of life is to be happy.
  1. What did you want to be when you grew up?  Archaeologist. 
  1. Which decade do you feel the most special connection to and why?  The 1920s, I’d totally be a flapper. So much going on politically and culturally.
  1. What is your favorite oldie/classic rock song?  More than a feeling – Boston
  1. Is there a movie that you love so much you could watch it everyday?  Stranger than Fiction
  1. What’s the best joke you ever heard?  What do you call a dinosaur with good taste?… A Dinosseur
  1. What is the first animal you would run to see if you went to the zoo?  Red panda
  1. What cartoon would you like to be a character in?  Adventure Time. 
  1. What insects are you afraid of?  Moths. 
  1. If you could print any phrase on a T-shirt, what would it say?  “I ate all the pizza and I drank all the beer.” -Charlie Day
  1. Of all animated movies, which is the best one you’ve ever seen?  James and the giant peach or Fantasia (the original)
  1. What is the happiest way you can start your day?  Sleep in. Wake up to coffee & donuts
  1. If someone wanted to understand you what book could they read that would help?  Pretty much anything written by Stefan Zweig

Oh yeah, and keeping up with the Livejournal theme…

Current mood: Hungry Mely

Current music: Here I Go Again – White Snake

Who else got their start with good old LJ? C’mon be honest.

See ya January, it’s been real!

I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ve been up to so much and not telling you guys about it. Forgive me! Here goes:

My new recipe to try in January was roasted beet soup with spinach and squash seed pesto. This recipe came from a cookbook I got for Christmas — The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier of the mouth-watering site Chocolate and Zucchini. This cookbook is lovely. It’s divided into sections by season, which I think is genius, and it’s entirely focused on using fresh, seasonal produce to its highest potential. Even better: all the recipes are vegetarian and many of them are vegan.

This soups take a little while to prepare almost entirely because of the time it takes to roast the beets. Once that’s out of the way though, it’s a snap, and the end product is equal parts delicious, healthy, and beautiful.

Look how pretty my dinner is! I want to decorate a house with these shades of magenta and green.

beet-soup

This pesto is a miracle. Delicious and amazingly easy to whip together in my trusty Magic Bullet. I want to make vats of it and put it on all the sandwiches and pasta I can find.

spinach-pesto

The only change I’d make next time is adjusting the amount of salt. The recipe called for a half teaspoon in the pesto and then another half teaspoon in the soup, but I think a half teaspoon total worked much better. I added the full half teaspoon to my pesto and then realizing how salty it ended up being, skipped adding any salt to the soup. Once I mixed them together the taste was just right. Next time I’ll just split the half teaspoon between the two dishes.

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January was also my month of doing yoga every single day. This “challenge” ended up being surprisingly easy. Now that I work from home full-time, I’ve technically gained an extra hour each day by avoiding the commute. Amazing, free time! So for the month of January I simply replaced my commute time with yoga time. Bonus: at the end of the challenge I was rewarded with (in addition to that whole healthy, zen, feeling-good business) champagne, fun brunch with my fellow yoga challengers (complete with beer-mosas – YUM), and this awesome crown:

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And lastly, January meant I had to get real with myself about one of the most daunting goals on my list. Read every unread book on my shelf in one year’s time. I spent some time cataloging my books to see just how much work this would be (they’re also alphabetized and organized by genre – go ahead, call me a nerd to my face).

Here’s what it comes down to: 182 books in one year (you can check out my full reading list here). That’s about one book every two days. Yes, I do have a minor book buying problem. Nevertheless, I’m plugging away at this goal, seeing how far I can get. I’m hitting this one hard by taking on all 1,079 pages of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace first thing. Let’s do this!