Friday, October 9, 2015

Do This, Instead.

Have you ever picked up a health magazine or clicked on an article that promises to help you get your ideal body by making changes that you won't even notice? One of those "Do this, instead!" articles? You know the ones.

When you're craving chips and queso, eat kale chips and salsa, instead! 

When you want to go to happy hour with friends, meet up at the gym, instead! 

I've seen some pretty good recommendations, but most of the ones I see are like the examples above. Yes, it would be better for me to eat kale chips and salsa. In fact, I like kale chips! However, if I'm craving chips and queso, I am most definitely going to notice if I eat kale instead. In fact, I'm probably going to eat an entire bag of kale and then still eat the queso that I am still craving, because the kale just didn't do it for me.

I saw something like this in a magazine today, and it made me think about actual lifestyle changes that I would say "do this, instead" about.

So here's my list of things to do instead for a much happier life.

I promise there's not a single kale chip to be found.

Be kind, instead. When unkindness is the easiest option, choose kindness. Be kind to others instead of being rude. React kindly when a situation is calling out the meanness in you.

Be positive, instead. When negativity is taking over your thoughts, choose to be positive. When you're itching to critique the things around you, look for the good and voice that, instead.

Speak gratitude, instead. When complaints slip out of your mouth without you even realizing, strive to speak thankfulness. Instead of talking about what you're lacking, or what your day is lacking, say the good things about life out loud.

Compliment someone, instead. When you want to roll your eyes at how long it's taking the cashier to ring up your four items, compliment their smile. Instead of telling a co-worker how they screwed up the printer, compliment them on their presentation.

Be generous, instead. When someone asks if they can cut in front of you in line because they're running late, let them. Pay for someone's coffee. Clean up for someone. Something I've learned lately--being generous doesn't have to be expensive.

Bite your tongue, instead. When you want to lash out at someone, choose silence. When gossip and stories about someone are bubbling on the tip of your tongue, bite your tongue and manage your regrets in the long run.

Forgive immediately, instead. When someone cuts you off in traffic, brush it off. When a coworker takes credit for something you did, deal with it immediately and then forgive them instead of letting it fester. When your husband forgets to stop by the grocery store, accept his apology and move on.

Focus on the happy, instead. When there's so much to be unhappy about, remember that there is so much to be happy about. When you have seventy-four problems, focus on the one thing that went right today. Find reasons to be happy every single day.

Small changes make a big difference. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

26 Weeks: Things I Want to Remember.

Just a fun little story for you: I took this picture at work to send to Chris, and somehow (Thanks, Apple TV), it got broadcast on the office flat screens during a staff meeting. Casual. 

Twenty. Six. Freaking. Weeks. How? When? How? Why? HOW? <- This is pretty much what plays on a loop in my brain currently. Let's just say I am very thankful for moments spent with pumpkin scented candles and cups of fall tea. Because if you think you're an anxious person, just try throwing being pregnant in there. It's a party, that's for sure. 
  • At my doctor's appointment, it took her a bit to find the baby's heartbeat because he was kicking the heartbeat monitor. He did not want his heartbeat listened to, thank you very much. She asked if he gets his feistiness from me, and I told her it may be a possibility. 
  • The doctor gave me a list of things I have to do this month...things like take a prenatal class, pick out a carseat, find a pediatrician...all things that seem very end stage to me. It made me start to panic, and I immediately got in my car and told the baby he needs to stay put, please and thank you.
  • At the same appointment, I got a teddy bear with the recording of his heartbeat inside. I swoon. 
  • I went to Trader Joe's (because of the baby, duh) to stock up on pumpkin goodness, and I said something about blaming all my purchases on being pregnant to the cashier. He replied that he would have never known I was pregnant had I not said anything. Then, I stepped away from the counter to get my groceries, and he said, "WHOA, okay, yeah, I can definitely tell." Thank you, kind stranger. Thank you.
26 weeks down, 14(ish) weeks to go. I know these 14 weeks are going to be gone before I know it, and I'm savoring every single day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

just write: street by street.

street by street poem

sometimes you long to go back
to the place from which you came,
but once you finally make it there,
you find it isn't quite the same.

and no matter how you try to fit
into old homes with your old friends,
the times of fitting in those places
have clearly come to end.

so street by street you drive the town
until you become much more aware,
it's not the place you miss so much
as who you were when you were there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Why I'm Refusing to Compare Myself to Other Women.

Why I'm refusing to compare myself to other women

We've already established that I know nothing about having a baby. However, with the giant wave of advice that comes with getting pregnant, I've recently learned a few things. Allow me to share them with you.

You are supposed to eat right. Depending on who is telling you this, the meaning of "right" varies greatly. I'm still confused on if it means only meat and veggies, no meat at all, fat-free things, full-fat things..but either way, bottom line, you're supposed to eat right. But, you also get to eat whatever you want for 9 months!

You should take it easy. Relaxing is good for the baby! So is taking what you normally do down a couple of notches. But, you should also exercise so much that you only gain the literal weight of the baby. 

You need to basically plan their entire life before they even get here. You need to pick a preschool, and an elementary school, and probably go ahead and register them for middle school, too. Don't forget to start a college fund! But, you should not stress AT ALL. It's bad for the baby. 

You should save all of your money. Baby's are expensive and they are going to need every spare penny you have. But, you should also buy a $2,000 stroller and a temperpedic crib and take lavish "baby moon" vacations. 

And don't even get me started on vaccination advice. 

So yeah, I've learned a lot.

And by that, I mean I've learned nothing at all.

Except that it is absolutely pointless to compare myself to other people. Moms, soon to be moms, and non-moms...they all have good advice and bad advice, opinions that matter and those that don't. It's just human nature. But holding myself up next to every single person's standards, it would just eat away all of my peace.

I'm going to do my best, that I know for sure. I'm going to gain more than 8 pounds, but I'm going to love him fiercely. I'm going to eat my fair share of pumpkin cake, but I'll eat a salad every now and then, just for him. I'm going to save enough to buy him the things he needs, but I'm also going to buy a PSL and chick-fil-a every now and then.

I'm going to do the best job I can do, and part of that is refusing to compare myself to other people. And for now, I think that is enough.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Fall Traditions You Should Try This Year.

Candy Party. 

My mom and I host a make-your-own-candy every October and it always goes down as one of the best nights of my year. If you've never done anything like this, it's definitely the tradition you should add to your fall.

What it is: A DIY party approach to all the Halloween candy that you no longer get showered with as an adult.

How to do it: Look up recipes for your favorite candy. We always make reese's cups, gummy worms, almond joys, and tons more. Yes, you can actually homemake these things. 

Pre-buy all the ingredients, print out all the recipes, and invite your friends over for a night of candy-making. Start the night off with soup and cider, and then hit the kitchen! It's so messy, but so much fun. Chances are, only about half of the candy will actually be edible, but you'll have an incredibly fun time making it.

Once everything is made, pack everyone their own trick-or-treat candy bucket to take home!

Tip: Last year, we pre-measured all the ingredients and put them at separate "stations" with the recipes--this cut down on time and mess by a lot! Also, don't forget any extra pans, spoons, plastic wrap, etc. that you'll need!

Visit a Pumpkin Patch. 

What it is: You, visiting a pumpkin patch. You're welcome.

How to do it: Look up a pumpkin patch near you, plan a day to go, and make the most of it. Some of them will have hot cider and donuts, and you should definitely participate in that.

Spend entirely too long looking at every single pumpkin to pick out the best one and take way too many picture. Then swing by Target on your way home and pick up a pumpkin carving kit, and have the best night ever. Put on a fall movie or some autumn music, drink apple cider, and carve your masterpieces.

Tip: Check the weather first. Try to go on a day when it's cooler, but if you live somewhere warm like I do, then make sure it won't be raining. Because 1) That's gross, and 2) They usually shut down when it rains.

Fall Date.

What it is: A date night full of your favorite things to celebrate fall!

How to do it: Pick a night that works, and plan your date before...don't just wing it! We always go eat somewhere fun, go pick out pumpkins, and carve our pumpkins while we drink apple cider. It's simple, but it's one of my favorite nights of the year, because it's us celebrating fall together, and I love that.

Tip: Don't put too much pressure on this one. If all you can afford is having a picnic in the park, then do that and make it the best freaking picnic you've ever had.

Personal Thanksgiving. 

This is one of my favorite days of the entire year. Chris and I started doing this two years ago, on our first married Thanksgiving, and I think we'll do it forever. It's so important to make time to celebrate important things together, and a family holiday like Thanksgiving can sometimes be over before you even got a chance to be together, just the two of you.

What it is: Celebrating Thanksgiving with your significant other, just the two of you.

How to do it: You can really do this one however you want, but the way we celebrate is my favorite. The day before Thanksgiving, we go to Whole Foods (yes, it is chaotic and we are crazy, but that's the fun of it!) and pick out things to cook that we normally wouldn't buy--because, you know, we don't tend to usually spend $50 on cooking dinner for just the two of us, even though that's insanely easy to do at Whole Foods.

We go home and cook our dinner together, which is so much fun. And then we just spend the night eating and drinking fancy things and talking about what we're thankful for together. It's so special.

Tip: We go to Whole Foods because they have a lot of almost all-the-way-made things, so the actual cooking we have to do is minimum. If you don't do this, still make it different than a normal dinner, but don't pick out extremely complicated recipes you've never tried. You want the focus to be on each other, not on how frustrated you are in the kitchen.

I just love fall! What fall traditions do you have? 

Friday, October 2, 2015

Spending Your October: A To-Do List for Adventuring Through the Month.

Happy October! It's one of the best months of the year, and it's definitely one of my favorite months to spend. We get thirty-one days of October magic, so make sure you spend them well! Here are some ideas to get you started. 

1. Go to a pumpkin patch! The best location for cute pictures, ever.

2. Carve pumpkins. Quick story: One time, we were carving pumpkins outside (in the dark), and Chris was throwing pumpkin slime at me. Some of it hit my face, but I was really focused on what I was doing, so I left it there for a second while I finished what I was carving. But then it started sliding down my neck. Except it wasn't sliding, it was crawling. And making noise. Because it wasn't pumpkin slime, it was a frog. 

A frog landed on my face and I just left it there because I thought it was pumpkin. 

Moving on. 

3. Make hot apple cider. Put this on the stove (or in the crockpot!) in the morning, and your house will smell amazing all day.

4. Look up fairs around you! It's the time of the year where fairs and festivals pop up all over!

5. Read a thriller. Last October I read Gone Girl...stay tuned for this year's choice. 

7. Watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!

8. Have a make-your-own-candy party!

9. Make caramel apples! Pro tip: After you make them and cover them in whatever your heart desires, use an apple cutter to cut them into slices that you can actually eat, as opposed to getting 90% caramel on your face and 10% actually in your mouth.

10. Go thrifting for oversized sweaters and baggy sweatshirts.

11. Each time you feel thankful for something, say so out loud. Work on voicing your gratitude instead of your complaints.

12. Check out Bath & Body Works' fall line. Smell like a pumpkin, or an apple. Up to you!

13. Watch the Friday Night Lights Pilot. I was shocked by how many of you told me you'd never seen this show!

14. Go on a fall date. With your boyfriend or your husband or your best friend or your sibling...just have a night of your favorite fall things!

15. Go to Target, grab a pumpkin spice latte, and browse the halloween costume section. Once you've had your laughs at the adult costumes (the best), then move on to the pet section. 

16. Get the Sephora Play! Box. It blows Birchbox out of the water, let me tell you!

17. Make an effort to love out loud. I think that so often, I just assume that the people I love know I love them. This month, make an effort to say so more, both with words and actions.

18. Pop some popcorn and celebrate the return of fall television! Scandal! Blacklist! Welcome back!

19. Make a list of some fall traditions you want to start! You know I will have some suggestions for this.

20. Bake something with apples.

21. Decorate your house for fall. 

22. If you have a dog, buy them a pumpkin. Gatsby got his own tiny pumpkin last year and I really don't know who it brought more joy to: Me or him. 

23. Drive somewhere the leaves are turning colors. Just enjoy how pretty everything is in October!

24. Have a picnic. October is prime picnic season.

25. Spend a morning outside, reading a good book.

26. Have a bon-fire. Bonus points for s'mores!

27. Go stargazing. Grab a blanket and go lay in the grass or on a roof and just watch the stars. 

28. Go for a walk. Pour yourself a hot drink and just go for a walk without the intention of really getting anywhere, but just to enjoy it.

29. Surprise your co-workers or roommates with Halloween candy.

30. Dress your pet up for Halloween. You know you want to.

31. Celebrate Halloween however you want to!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

25 Weeks: Things I Want to Remember + HAPPY OCTOBER!

October is here! One of the most magical months of all! I love every second of October and its boots and sweaters and pumpkins and happiness. It's just the best. 

Also, I'm 25 weeks pregnant today. I won't even say BUT HOW?! Because I have come to terms that I am living in some sort of twilight zone-ish alternative universe in which everything to do with the baby is moving at warp speed. 

I'm fine, really. 
  • This is my second favorite month, next month is my third favorite month, and December is my favorite month. Every year, the span between this day and December 25th is so full of magic. Every year, it flies by. The only difference is that this year, I've got a baby due about two weeks after Christmas. So the thought of the next three months flying by is insane. And maybe a little bit terrifying. 
  • I always wake up on October 1st and feel absolutely giddy about what the next three months hold. This year is no different...there's the candy party, fall date, baby shower, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, CHRISTMAS's the best. But today, I woke up thinking how next October first, I'll be feeling the same way, except that I'll have a tiny little love in the picture to do it all with. The thought of that fills me with so many emotions, I can't even begin to explain it. How crazy and unexpected life is. How beautiful. 
  • I now wake up when he says so, because I can't sleep through his moving around. I imagine he's stretching and waking up, saying, "Yo, mom, where's that pumpkin spice coffee at? Let's get on that."
  • My mom and I registered for the little guy this week!! So surreal and so FUN. My mom is my best friend, so it was so much fun to do that with her. And it was fun because at least half of the things we saw, we were both like: "What is this? Do we need this? Probably. Right? Why are there so many things? Whatever, it's going on the list." Of course, we went into the process armed with venti Pumpkin Spice was needed. 

25 weeks down, 15(ish) to go. 15 has never seemed like such a tiny number. 

Happy October, guys! I hope you have the most magical day today. I'll be over here eating anything pumpkin that I can get my hands on and praying for weather cool enough to break out my boots. 

How are you celebrating October being here?