Taking care of yourself

In yoga we follow the Namas and the Niyamas, things you should avoid and things you should observe, respectively. The first of the namas is “Ahimsa” meaning “non-harming” and it was the topic of discussion in my first class of 2016.

I walked into the practice with a sore elbow from an accident I had. The bruise was nasty and my elbow as still pretty sore, but I had planned on going to the class for a week and there was just no way I wasn’t getting into a handstand in my first class of 2016. A few painful downward facing dogs and handstands later, my elbow is now in worse shape then it was a few days ago (shocker).

This charming growing bruise and my instructor’s advice to be nicer to yourself, has brought me to the epiphany that is my new years resolution. It’s not to learn spanish, lose weight or learn the guitar (although sign me up for all of those, please). I really need to take better care of myself. When I’m sick I avoid the doctor, I’ve been working too much this past year and losing sight of the creative things I used to enjoy so much and time to spend with people I like. My resolution is simply to be kinder to myself. Spend my time doing the things that actually make me happy, with the people that make my life brighter and to listen to my body when it’s trying to tell me to slow down.

For this week that meant skipping yoga, making dinner for my boyfriend, a Fast Company subscription, much  needed wine and cheese dates for girl talk, leaving work at 7 PM and this blog post. Cheers to a kinder 2016.

Advertisements

Oh careers. you pestering thing, you.

When I graduated college I was never really sure what I wanted to do with my career. I knew I wanted to work hard, be creative, and love what I did everyday. I knew I wanted to be independent and have great clothes. I knew I wanted to have a dog to run with and a car that would work. But beside that, I was clueless. I don’t think I knew what options were out there for a Marketing major. And the truth is, 3 years later (omg how has it been three years?), I’m still figuring it out.

I find it frustrating, though. I like the idea of having a life plan. Something to think on and know where I wanted to go and then figuring out the steps to get there. I want that so badly. But I don’t.

Over a month ago I made a big career jump and left my agency job for in-house marketing. I worked at a tight knit agency that felt like home and was surrounded by people that felt like family. I left for a big corporate job with longer hours, a pay bump, more responsibility and the ability to work more on the things that I’ve so far enjoyed. I’m still deciding if it was a good choice.

Man, it’s hard. It’s hard navigating your career. It’s so hard to know if the steps you are making are the right ones to get somewhere where you’ll be happy. I feel like it’s easy if you’re someone who is just looking for a job to pay the bills and for vacations. You look at each new job opportunity at face value. Do you like the responsibilities, company and coworkers? Then you’re golden. But for those of us tortured by the importance of our career to our happiness, even what seems like a great job might not be the right step on our career paths. There’s fears of being pigeon holed, being stifled, missing out and whatever else keeps us up at night tossing and turning over career decisions.

All we want is to be making the right career steps to get us to a place that we want to be – even if we don’t know what that is yet.  I don’t have the answer for this yet. But all I can do is follow my gut, listen to my mentors and maybe try not putting so much pressure on my career (easier said that done). Change can be good (although I tend to try to avoid it). I’m happy with a lot of things about my new job and I miss a lot of things about my old job. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed this all works out in the end?

Aquathon

A couple of years ago I did a half marathon and it was like..ya know..meh. I dreaded the training for it (“No sorry, I can’t do ANYTHING tonight.. I have to run 10 miles tomorrow..”) and then when the actual day arrived it took forever to finish and after I did, I spent the day laying on the couch unable to, well, move (shoutout to the parents for the care taking and brunch!). It was definitely one of those checklist items. I did it, so now I can move on.

But I liked the atmosphere. I liked pushing myself and racing against other people and trying to do my absolute best. When I started dating my boyfriend a year ish ago, he was just starting to get into sprint triathlons. This seemed mildly appealing due to the change of pace (not just running) and how quickly it was over. But, the bike investments and other gear kept me away. (how people train for biking while living in a city is beyond me, I’m far too afraid of cars).

This year he got into aquathons (swimming + running) due to our shared dislike of cycling (i.e. we weren’t very good, we like to be good at things). After months of talking me into it, I finally signed up and ran my first race. It was a 500m swim followed by a 5K. I signed up a week before, and swam and ran a few times before the big day (super prepared, clearly).

I ran with Five55 Series in Grapevine, TX. They have a really neat group of friendly faces that compete in these monthly races. A lot of people know each other from doing them and I look forward to joining the clan. It’s sponsored partly by FirstWave, a gym located in Southlake, TX dedicated to triathletes.

The race went surprisingly really well. They are still working on final stats (technical errors), but I believe I got 7th overall in the swim (men + women) and 2nd in women for just the swim portion. Hopefully the run times and final stats will be up sometime! I’m pretty addicted already. It was a rush to sprint at the end and try to catch the guy in front of me and so satisfying to take a cold sip of beer after all the hard work.

I can’t make the September race.. but you betchya I’ll be back for October. The added bonus of it NOT being 105 degrees outside is too sweet to pass up. Please enjoy my pre-race awkward thumbs up below. How else are you supposed to pose in the most unflattering of attire (one piece swimsuit)?

Processed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

 

I cooked! Lemon Zucchini Pasta

When I cook, it’s an event. It’s planned. The recipe is chosen a week in advance, the ingredients ready to be chopped days before it’s time. I ask the boyfriend to block of an evening, dedicated to my future masterpiece.

Last week I finally dug into a cookbook I received for my birthday, Food; Vegetarian Home Cooking by Mary McCartney. So far, I love this cookbook. Although I’m not a vegetarian, there are still some great, tasty ideas. Plus, there are pictures for each recipe which I’m a HUGE fan of.

Processed with VSCOcam with p5 preset

I decided to go with the lemon zucchini pasta recipe, but also had the boyfriend pick up some lemon-y chicken from Whole Foods (pre-marinated because that’s how us lazy kids roll).

Here is what you need:

  • Pasta
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 medium zucchini, thinkly sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese (plus extra for more deliciousness)
  • 4 ounces of feta cheese, crumbled
  • zest of 1/2 lemon
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

I wish I had some special instructions for you or things that I did differently that improved the recipe. But, alas. I’m not there yet in my cooking. I follow instructions to the T. One thing I couldn’t figure out though was how to finely chop garlic? Instead we ended up with pieces of garlic in the final product.

  1. Open wine bottle
  2. Pour wine glass
  3. Cook the spaghetti according to your pasta box’s instructions (obviously)
  4. Once the pasta is done, set it aside and drizzle some olive oil in there so it doesn’t get all sticky
  5. Using the same pan, combine the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and zucchini and sauté for 4-5 minutes
  6. Pour second glass of wine
  7. Add in the garlic and herbs, mix well and sauté for a couple more minutes
  8. Add in the cooked pasta and yea through, mix in the cheese and lemon zest.
  9. Season with some salt and black pepper
  10. Add more cheese. I love cheese.
  11. Share wine bottle and food with friends

Below are some pics of my cooking process, in case it helps! I forgot to get a picture of the final product though, shame. My boyfriend and I loved this dish! It wasn’t creamy or heavy, so you leave the meal nice and full but with room for dessert. Enjoy 🙂

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset  Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

 

 

 

Coffee Shops on the To Do List

I think I speak for both Sarah and I when I say that we are pretty picky when it comes to where we go to get our coffee house fix. It takes a lot to impress us. Atmosphere, patio, views, employees, chair comfiness, pastry selections (gluten free, please for Sarah..sufficient sweetness for me) and of course that coffee taste are all equally important.

Ascension Coffee
Ascension Coffee

My favorite coffee shop in Dallas is Ascension in the Design District. It’s my go to. The coffee is so delicious, and for me it was one of the first boutique coffee shops I knew about in D-town (having come from the land of Starbucks corners). Their perfectly sized small coffees are everything I need to turn a bad day into a great one.

But, I have a wandering eye. There are two new(ish) specialty shops in Dallas that if I don’t try in the next month I might die.

Houndstooth
Houndstooth

Houndstooth opened up about a week ago by Knox/Henderson. Originally from Austin, this shop has found its way North and I couldn’t be more thrilled! One thing I love is that they host frequent public coffee cuppings at their Austin N. Lamar location. This gives you the opportunity to try new coffees and learn more about their flavor, something I actually really enjoyed while working at Starbucks. At first you’re just like ‘ummm yeah this one tastes like coffee too…” but when you start trying several coffees and pairing them with foods, you start to notice the different flavors in each cup. So, Houndstooth. I’m hoping to see you tomorrow morning.

Davis St Espresso
Davis St Espresso

The second place I’m hoping to pay a visit to is Davis St Espresso in Oak Cliff. They just recently celebrated their 1 year anniversary, so I’m super late hoping on this train. Davis St. also hosts cuppings – a quality I think defines a dedicated coffee shop…just saying. Unfortunately this one is a little out of the way and difficult to get to and it’s closed on Sundays. But I’m determined! I’ll see them very soon.

A little book review or two

A few weeks ago I attended a Social Media Club of Dallas meeting in which a local content marketing expert Jerod Morris encouraged the audience to get out there and watch TV marathons, blog, and read. Generate ideas, get the creative juices flowing and be inspired. I took this to heart and made significant efforts to read more, this includes the design blogs I love so much, fashion bloggers to idolize, advertising and marketing articles and trying to keep up with day to day news and events (oh, I also treat myself to many a TV marathon on Netflix..for ya know, research purposes…). As a result, an amazing thing happened!

For us book nerds, there are few things greater than finding a story that you simply can’t put down. The kind that you read at traffic stops and make you consider canceling on happy hour for an even happier hour at home in bed turning the pages. They keep you up late and are quite time consuming, but you love them.

Well, I was fortunate enough to have two of those back to back. IT’S A MIRACLE.

karrlitd

The first was Lit, a memoir by Mary Karr. The story line follows her starting as a post high school grad drifter to her struggles with alcoholism to her marriage to her first child and how she got (and continues to get) through all of it. The story line itself was great and took an unexpected turn into her struggles with faith (unexpected because I didn’t read what the book was about before I read it) and how it eventually pulls her out of a darkness. Mary Karr wields words like nobody’s business. A poet at heart, her sentences grab you. They are so powerful, so beautiful. My mom had recommended the book to me, and I would often call her and read a line and just be so taken back by its power. Okay, so that’s Lit. Read it.

crown_121412_gonegirl_banner

The next is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. A book recommended to me by a friend. She was so determined to get me to read it, she immediately mailed me her copy straight from NYC once she finished. Like Lit, I didn’t read what the book was about before I started. OH MY GOD. Sooo good!! There’s very little I can say about the book without giving anything away. But let’s just say the twists and turns are incredible and that this was definitely one I read at stoplights. It’s basically about a wife that goes missing and her husband is left to face the police and the public… that’s about all I can say. That was a super vague review, but just know that you’ll love it.

Now I am on to Looking for Alaska by John Green (yes, author of The Fault in Our Stars). A brief summary:

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words–and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois Rabelais called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny, screwed-up, and dead sexy, Alaska will pull Miles into her labyrinth and catapult him into the Great Perhaps.

I started it just the other day and am loving it so far! What to read next though…

Feeling squared away

I had been listening to Kidd Kraddick in the morning since I was in 3rd grade and never fathomed the possibility of other radio stations fulfilling my need for idle morning chatter.

But then (by force, not by choice, ahem boyfriend), I was subjected to The Morning Musers on The Ticket. Although it’s a sports radio station and my knowledge and care for sports is minimal unless I’m the one playing, I’m completely obsessed with these three guys. Even when they are talking about football player’s names that go in one ear and out the other, their radio demeanor makes me love them and keeps me coming back morning after morning. (Don’t worry, I still get my daily dose of celeb gossip from the Kidd Nation app and podcast. Score one for technology!)

One day in particular, Craig did a segment on things you do that make you feel squared away and I couldn’t agree more with basically everything he said (although I can’t remember what he said specifically…and can’t find it online. You’ll have to take my word for it). Ever since, I’ve been thinking about what (as a 20-something girl) makes me feel put together. Like, if I do even one of these I feel I am succeeding in life overall. Here it goes:

  • Fresh mani/pedi
  • New or cleaned make up
  • Clean car (interior AND exterior)
  • Drinking a green juice
  • Meal planning
  • Good hair day
  • Creating a to do list
  • Hair cut
  • Waking up to a clean room and bathroom and kitchen (okay, a clean apartment)
  • Working out on on a weekend before noon (okay…maybe just getting out of bed before noon, let’s aim low)
  • Watering my plants (my green thumb is lacking)
  • Making appointments (and then keeping them)

That’s my list. What’d I miss?!

Oh,and by the way. I, picking at my nail polish as we speak, currently have none of these things going on. But there’s a green juice in my fridge, I like to think that counts for something.

Tat it up

Over a year ago I came to the thoughtful conclusion that I wanted to get a tattoo.

I tend to be really indecisive about small decisions (never ask me what I want for dinner, ever) but then cannon ball into big decisions (move to Arizona after I graduate without visiting for a company I wasn’t big fan of? Heck yeah sign me up!). The thing about tattoos though is it’s a permanent big decision, so I took plenty of time to stew on it.

Tattooecard

The first thing I figured out was what I wanted to get. I knew I wanted to get a line from my favorite poem “who know’s if the moon’s a balloon” by E.E. Cummings. I’ve been writing “always it’s Spring)” on all surfaces since I first read the poem in college (I tried to go through a poetry phrase, ya know, like all smart people do…) The poem stuck out to me. I almost have it memorized. It paints such a beautiful picture. And it is pure optimism. It speaks to a utopia. That’s so perfect that even the “flowers pick themselves”.

tumblr_mhdyrz1A6L1rnvzfwo1_500

But, in yoga we learn that things aren’t perfect. Life has its ups and downs and twists and curves that we don’t see coming (whether that’s in life, or moving from one pose into a handstand that you didn’t think possible). Things can be beautiful one instant and terrifying in the next. In class we learn to take both in stride. To take the bad with the good and the good with the bad and appreciate all of it. Love all of it.

Not to say that is an easy task. It’s not. My car was towed a few weeks ago and I was a wreck. It put me in a bad mood for two solid days. Although you should let yourself feel the anger and the sadness and all the other bad emotions, you shouldn’t let it steal joy from your life. Which I did.. for two solid days.

All of this to say that I wanted to get “always it’s Spring)” on me as a reminder of this beautiful life and that it’s not always spring. Sometimes it’s winter and it’s freezing outside and your car is under three inches of ice. But that to put a smile on your face through all of it and to remain content, will lead to more love and a happier life. I also wanted it soon. To get it at a time when things are great, like now, to serve as a reminder for when they’re not.

On A Piece of Toast (a favorite blog of mine and Sarah’s), Molly got her tattoo when she was on vacation with a group of girlfriends having the time of her life. I loved that. It wasn’t just any other day, it was also a remembrance of a great time. I wanted to do the same!

(Plus, I’m 25. I wanted to be a little rebellious since I skipped that phase in high school. I love that a tattoo is something that I’ll have when I’m 65, even if I hate E.E. Cummings by then and am so over yoga, I hope it’ll remind me to live a little, laugh a little, and rebel a little)

This past weekend my friend from college Molly was in town and she and my soul sista Catherine stayed with me for the weekend. We had a absolute blast! We crammed so much into those two days, I was exhausted come sunday evening. So when we were paddle boarding on Saturday morning and two other friends mentioned they had gotten tattoos the night before, I was sold. This was THE weekend (planned spontaneity is kind of my thing).

Death and Glory Tattoo
Look how cool, calm and collected I am. This was clearly taken before the pain started!

We headed to Death and Glory on Lower Greenville in Dallas, sat in pain for about 10 minutes while watching BMX, got bandaged up and then obviously went to HG Supply rooftop for a celebratory beer or two. It was a shockingly easy process and with my two bff cheerleaders with me, the whole thing was a breeze.

That's my "I'm so excited, but sooo nervous and also that hurt really bad" face
That’s my “I’m so excited, but also nervous and also that hurt really bad” face

Sooooo I did it. I got my tattoo! I’m so very very excited to have it and also to not to be sitting in that chair with all that pain anymore! If you don’t like it, don’t tell me… 😉 there isn’t much I can do about it now…

This was taken the next morning. Please ignore my unpainted finger nails and lack of filter.
This was taken the next morning. Please ignore my unpainted finger nails and lack of filter.

Curing the “should” and “wants to want”

I went to a nice public school in a nice suburb and then went to a Big 12 school and got a job after college. I’m grateful for every bit of it, every opportunity presented to me and every part of it that lead to where I am now.

But…as of late I find myself getting confused by what I actually one versus what it feels like I should want as a result of my familiar, cookie cutter surroundings. I’ve noticed that I’ve made decisions in the past that were not something that I wanted. But instead what I wanted to want (my best example of this is when I’m taking those silly little Buzzfeed quizzes. I often find myself not always choosing the things that actually best describe Me, but instead what I wish I was perceived as).

I want to want to drop everything, move to Europe and be an artist’s muse. I want to want to go to a third world country and volunteer. I want to want to sit inside and write poetry all day. I want to want to tend a garden. I want to want to love cooking. I want to want to run another half marathon. I should be a clean freak. I should have it all together and be perfectly polished each day. (because don’t we all want it to look exactly like it does through the lens of a fashion/lifestyle blogger instagram account?) I should want to live in New York City. I should eat clean and work out 24/7.

But, well..I don’t. I love working and being in a routine and being close to friends and family that I’m familiar with. Although I have been thinking I feel a need to start giving back more, I don’t have the urge to drop everything and volunteer away from the people and life I love. I don’t really like writing poetry or sitting all day. I like to clean, but I’m simply messy. When I get dressed I am my own little tornado and I leave coffee mugs all over my room. I can think of a million things I’d rather do than sit in a garden pulling weeds. I get no satisfaction from cooking. Crossing the finish line of my first (and last) half marathon was great, but I literally hated the training for it and my knees have yet to forgive me. I love nature, I love driving, I love feeling safe, I love a slower life, I love having a dog…none of those things fit into the NYC fast paced lifestyle.

I’m not sure where these should’s and wants to want come from, although it’s easy to blame my addiction to Instagram and other forms of media. Perhaps it’s even a confidence issue. Either way, as of late I’ve been checking in with myself. Making sure that the decisions I make aren’t influenced by outside expectations and perceptions. Ensuring that I’m not doing something just because I want others to see me doing it, but instead checking in that whatever I am doing is bringing me true happiness.

As a result, I don’t cook. I make meals for the week as simple and healthy as humanly possible. I have a few small potted plants – the act of watering them soothes me in a way and I like watching them blossom (except for the two flowers I killed, but I digress). I work out a lot. Not because I want to get fit (okay, that’s a lie. I want abs.), but also because I love to sweat and push myself – it feels good. I also try to eat healthy because I like it. I don’t like writing poetry, but I like to read it and books and I had forgotten how much I truly enjoyed blogging. I quit reading one book because I kept falling asleep every few pages (but Colbert had told me to read it so I was forcing myself to get through it) and instead opted for a memoir by Mary Karr who I am now head over heels for her magnificent ability to wield words.

Sometimes it’s a trial by error process in which I need to try a few things on until I can see what fits best. And I think that’s okay.

Simply put, I want to make sure that the activities, people, things and decisions that I spend my time or resources on are the things that are bringing me the most happiness and not just encouraging an image I want to uphold, are a result of comparing myself to others and are not attempts at making myself a person that I’m simply not nor actually wish to be.

You’re so punny

I loooove to laugh. And it’s pretty easy to make me do so. Give me a good (or bad) pun or a corny joke and I’ll be laughing in tears in under 30 seconds. I take ROFL to the next level. In fact, there is video of me trying my very best to read a dumb joke and not being able get through it. I mean they’re just so clever. You can also follow @omgthatspunny for daily doses of chuckles.

Enjoy and TGIF! These next few weekends will  be busy busy, so this weekend I’m looking forward to a weekend of relaxation and SLEEP. Lots and lots of sleep (I hope).

FT-DadJokes1 FT-Animal4 FT-Animal3 FT-Animal2 FT-Animal1 FT-DadJokes2

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THIS TO SOMEONE!
I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO DO THIS TO SOMEONE!

Allieology