Being Conscious in the New Year

Today is a typical January 5th. It’s a few days after the New Year and I’m still wonderin’ what the heck am I going to work on for the new year!? But as much I love being a goal setter or no matter how much of a list maker I am, I’ve always hated the pressure I would put on myself to do this resolution or that resolution.

Cause let’s be honest. I’d get fed up too quickly and by February first, I had already burned out. Where is the growth in that? That’s why I don’t make New Year resolutions. I make Life Resolutions. At least for me, it’s too hard to be specific on what needs to happen for this new year to be good.

Last year I tried to keep it simple. Read more. Run more. That’s it! And ya know what? The more I made the conscious decision to pull out a book before bed rather than flip on the TV the more it became a habit. I tried to not let two or three days go by before I ran. And not just run. Run outside. Now that was the truly hard part. But again. It became a habit!

Which is why this year I decided to pick up a new habit. And if you thought I couldn’t get it any simpler than last year then you would be wrong, my friend. This year I plan to make more conscious decisions. Vague? Let me explain.

I get comfortable easily. I don’t like change, really. So much so that it can get me too comfortable. I don’t think too hard into the little decisions I make throughout the day. And I really mean the little ones. What I listen to. What I watch or read. What I eat. Who I talk to. When I pray. How I work.  I don’t want to go through life blindly and not realize until it’s too late how these “little” decisions have affected me.  Now I know it’s not a good habit to become too scrupulous, but I want to be able to think just a little more about what I put into my body (and my soul). Whether it be the music, the food, the entertainment… It’s time to become more thoughtful in all aspects of my life.

So although it’s not a huge change in my life, I know it could be the best habit I adopt into my life. Who knows, maybe I’ll learn to like change a little more! Yeah, not likley but worth a shot, I guess! On that note, glad to be with you this year once again.

Happy [belated] New Year!

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My 2014 In Review

This was quite a year. It was filled with a lot of firsts. We had vacations, guests come and visit, concerts, parties, and more. I’d say 2014 was one for the books. I’m grateful for being able to blog through most of it and sharing it with you. But I must say I’m looking forward to making 2015 even better! Here is a glance at the incredible year David and I have had! FotorCreated13 January: The year started with plenty of snow storms. At the time, we were at our old apartment and I believe there were  several days that we ended up snowed in. Although I’m not complaining because there is something very cozy (and a bit apocolyptic) about being snowed in! Other January adventures? David crashed his car :/ On that snow that I just stated that we “love”… FotorCreated February: Friends came and visited and we started to really feel at home in our new-ish home. It was a great feeling. We also picked up a new hobby of finding open houses on weekends and going to pretend we were in the market for a new home. There is never a dull moment with David. Plus our first Valentines Day together! David surprised me with dinner, chocolate, flowers, balloons, I’m talkin’ the works! Now the pressure is on for next year ;)FotorCreated2 March: In March my whole family went to see Flogging Molly, courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law for Christmas! We are Irish through and through so you can imagine we got very into this concert. Looking back at these pictures is making me miss my long hair!FotorCreated3 April: This year I had a big reunion with my household from college. #Stella. It was pure bliss seeing all my best friends and girls I haven’t seen since graduation. I wish I could have a reunion every year. We also spent Easter at the hospital this year to be with my aunt who had been diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer. As of now?!? She’s cancer free! God is good. FotorCreated4 May: My sister, mom and I ran in our first (official) 5k. And let me just say… it felt good. It was an Ovarian Cancer run for my aunt and I have to say it was much more emotional than I thought it’d be. Even injuring my foot was well worth it. I also got to start up on my very first garden this year on our little balcony. It was simple and small but it did the job. We had fresh basil for pesto and tomatos for sauces in no time. I may or may not have killed off some peppers by accident…FotorCreated5 June: What happens in June?!? We celebrate my birthday of course! And I was really gettin’ into this whole getting healthy thing. Weights became my game. Let’s just say it was a love/hate relationship.FotorCreated6 July:  This was definitly one of our busier months of the year! To celebrate David’s birthday and the 4th of July, we went up to Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes in Northern Michigan. Apparently climbing the dunes was a much bigger feat than we had expected. But we did it and were proud of it… Although that may be the only time we climb them… We ALSO made another annual trip up to Mackinac Island with the fam! This year was a weirder year for us and had a hint of the drama but it was still well worth the vacation time.FotorCreated7 August: My mom taught me how to make jam! Good ole’ fashion strawberry jam. AND I went to camp for the first time in my life! Well… I went as a counselor but who can complain when your horseback riding, swimming and crafting for a whole week in beautiful northern Michigan? Not this girl.FotorCreated8 September: Fall is here. And ya know what that means?!? Cider Mills. We went to a fair amount and sampled plenty of doughnuts and cider. Oh… and we made a big decision. To move or not to move when the lease is up. Well you probably already know. We started looking for a new place to call Home Pt. 2!FotorCreated9 October: This is almost always one of my favorite months. But for different reasons then when I was a kid. This year we celebrated our One Year Anniversary! Plus we made the BIG (and hectic) MOVE! We left our first home as a couple and headed into our current town home. I’d rather wait a while before we move again. Not exactly a fun experience. Oh, and I got promoted at work! And of course we did some Halloween-y type things…FotorCreated10 November: Another busy month for us! We visited friends, ran in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving, just started to get settled into our new home, AND I got my wisdom teeth out. This month I was thankful for General Anesthetics. FotorCreated11 December: This December was a little crazy, a little hectic, but a lot enjoyable. I even finished my 25th book of the year! Getting closer to my 50 books in a year goal! Also this month David and I went to see Wicked at the Detroit Opera House, we visited an NFL exhibit and got to see a REAL Lombardi trophy (see our reflection below, we just don’t take normal pictures), went to see a Houston Texans game in Indianaplois (the Texans lost though, still a sore subject with David;) and we spent some quality time together.  It has been the perfect way to end 2014.   FotorCreated12   There is a lot I will miss about 2014. But I really don’t like living in the past which is why I’m hoping 2015 will be it’s own kind of wonderful. I made goals this year and I crushed goals this year. I made meories and I captured memories. 2015 has a lot to live up to, although it’s at an unfair advantage because 2014 was a lot of David and my firsts. BUT all the more reason to make 2015 just as good, if not better than the last. Here we go! Happy New Year, friends! See you next year!

Surviving Storm Hercules

Well hody-doo-dee. Haven’ done a Quick Take with Jen in a whileeee so I think I’ll have a crack at it.

1. Being that it’s our first everything this year, I wanted the whole holiday season to be extra special. For New Years, we decided to just have it be the two of us and celebrate at home. We got a bottle of champagne, went to dinner and came home. Becuase we don’t have cable, David decided to stream the ball drop in NYC. It took forever for him to get it to work and we ALMOST missed it turning 12:00 because we were so focused on the streaming. Thankfully right at midnight we both realized and freaked out and did a little New Years Dance…okay I did…

2. These are the best candies in the world. My mom put them in mine and David’s joint couple stocking (yes my mom still gives us stockings, thankfully:) and I can’t stop eating them. They are really meant for hot chocolate stirring but they taste like a harder version of those after dinner butter mints that are so addicitve. But these alst longer. Glorious. And yes I brought the bag to work. Nice pick-me-up.20140103-174023.jpg

3. This weekend David and I will be tackling the Dumping Ground aka our second bedroom. It has become the place to drop random crap that we aren’t using at this time. But enough of that tom-foolery! Time to get spick and span for the New Year! But because it was David’s idea, between now and then I may need a little encouragement/ motivation come Saturday morning.

4. I just about love everything related to the Olympics and APPARENTLY my favorite gymnast, Nastia Liukin, will be involved with a bunch of other olympians in a Skating and Gymnast Spectaculr. Basically all the skaters do gymnastics and the gymnasts do figure skating. January 5. NBC. Be there. Or at least TEVO it for this non-cable owner…

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5. I’m going to miss seeing this everyday.

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6. WHERE oh where is a good but CHEAP place to get nice picture frames? It has come time to start printing off the wedding photos (and then some) but I’m lost as to where to start. I know Michaels has a framing place but aren’t they expensive? I don’t even really know… I’m looking for larger frames…

7. Winter Storm Hercules is here to stay. First… strange name… not sure how they come up with these (last years was Storm Nemo?likeIsaid…) anyways BECAUSE it’s a nice big winter storm, I’m gonna curl up about 90% of the weekend (10% will be cleaninng the bedroom grrr :/)with a book and some cocoa. Yes, that’s right. You’re typical pinterest-picture-perfect type of crap. And I’m gonna enjoy every cliche moment of it.

I hope you also have a cliche pinterest-picture-perfect type of weekend with all sorts or corny crap like that.

Ta ta for now, friends ;)

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Rest and Be Blessed

2013 has come and gone. And what a good one it was. A very well lived year with probably some of my most enjoyable memories. New Years is always a little bittersweet, just because everything is the last. The last Friday of 2013, the last beer of 2013, the last kiss of 2013, blah blah blah. I always get very nostalgic come Dec. 30 and start hoping and praying the next year will be good. Well Dec. 30, 2012’s prayers seemed to work well because 2013 was one for the books.

David moved to Michigan in January 2013.485295_10151504883407783_108706528_n

We started planning a wedding.

I got a new job.

David got a new job.

One of my best friends got married.946267_10200577514613208_616061081_n

I went to the Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior. (believe it or not it was the first time)11923_10151657283122783_663508129_n190534_10151657283232783_31742170_n

I traveled to Mackinac Island for another year and brought David for his first trip there.992827_10151809551877783_1682145598_n

My dear grandpa passed away (on the bitter side but knowing he’s in heaven is on the sweet side:)1377967_10152011979762783_1599068837_n

I had my bachlorette party.photo

I got married.1240051_10152114511672783_665022346_n

We travelled to Niagra Falls AND Boston AND Bermuda.photo 1photo 5

David and I moved into an apartment.1238950_10151946042137783_168494792_n

We had our first everything together. (Christmas tree, Thanksgiving, Advent wreath, fights, messed up dinners, well cooked dinners, etc).1526251_10152166917567783_2079935058_n

I’d say all in all that’s not too shabby. And as for 2014? I’ve never really been a fan of New Years Resolutions. Not because I think they are stupid, but just because I’m not too good at keeping them. So this year I have 3 goals in mind. But I’m not calling them New Years Resolutions because otehrwise I won’t make it past January.

My first is to be finacially savy this year. I’m not stupid with money by any means, but I know I could save a little more. I think it’ll help me be more disciplined in the future when kids come, and when life gets all around more hectic.

Secondly, I’d like to finish another round of Insanity. I cheated and started a few days before New Years but better early than not at all. After Insanity, I would LIKE to start lifting. I’m a litttttle nervous for that though because I currently hate lifting. But I know it’s one of the best ways to get in shape. So. wish me luck on that. Gonna take more discipline. Yikes.

Lastly I would like to read more. Specifically a lot of the religious books we have. David and I have a very large amount of books in our apartment, most of them still in boxes. It seems like such a waste to have them just sit there and gather dust. Plus on my bucket list I’ve always wanted to do 50 books in one year…but that would mean I’d have to read one every few days. Whether or not I check it off my list this year or not, I just hope to read more in general. Some of the ones on my mind? Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis; Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers; and finally finish St. Faustina’s Diary. Any others I should check out?

Either way, I hope you all keep your eyes on the prize for your resolutions this year and have a blessed 2014. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for this year :)

It’s the Most Wonderful Time…

of the year!!!!!

That song is my anthem come December 1…

Isn’t it funny how fast Christmas comes and goes? Despite what the rest of the world thinks, however, DON’T throw out the Christmas tree just yet. We’ve still got some holidays to go around (New Years, Epiphany,…MLK Jr. Day?)…

With it being my first married Christmas, it was spectacular getting to spend Christmas a little differently. I mean, it took some getting used to, but David and I made some traditions, learned that getting to Christmas Eve mass early just isn’t early enough, ate junk food, wrapped presents with duct tape (him not me), and lit the final candle on the advent wreath. To be honest, I never really took Advent that seriously before. I mean, I know the jist of it… but I couldn’t stop thinking about pregnant Mary this Advent. I’m just always wondering what her experience may have been.

Christmas Eve I had off from work so got to spend a good chunk of the day wrapping, cooking, baking, and watching some Christmas movies as I did it all. One of the best parts, however, was David watching White Christmas for the first time (WHATTTT?) and thankfully he loved it. Christmas Eve mass was always a tradition in my family growing up so we continued it with a big salmon feast prior to.

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photo 3^^ My nice, normal, awkward, somewhat-dysfunctional family :) (As you can see my parents are still learning how to take iPhone photos WITHOUT being blurry)

Christmas Day, we slept in, opened some presents then headed over to my mom and dad’s for brunch/gifts. And I must say I am very excited about the Flogging Molly tickets my sister and brother-in-law got for the whole family. We ended the day at my aunt and uncles. Christmas was a lot smaller this year. Just my parents, siblings sibling-in-law, us and my aunt and uncle. But it couldn’t have been more perfect. We laughed, ate, drank. (Weird to think Christmas Day last year was David proposing to me…reference instagram photo :)Holidays are so perfect in my opinion because throughout the year we all have different crap in our lives that seems to take precedence over the more importnant things, but yet, come Christmas (or Easter, Thanksgiving, even St. Patrick’s Day) none of the crap matters and we are all together just enjoying each other’s company. A nice way to spend a day.

And I don’t know about everyone else, but I LOVE New Years Eve. Did anyone realize it’s the LAST Friday of 2013? Whoa. What a great year! A lot has happened this year. I think 2013 may go down as one of my favorite years. If I had a list… but I don’t…

What is everyone doing for New Years this year? Any fun traditions? Brave enough to face NYC’s time square? Maybe one of these years I will…

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^^ Mom and Dad’s house is always a little too much fun. Especially after 2 cups of coffee…

12 Days of Gift Guides: For the Workaholic

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For-the-Workaholic

I wouldn’t consider myself a Workaholic but there is something about buying office supplies that makes me want to pay a bill or file something away. When a new year comes, I can’t wait to go and pick up a new planner or calendar. This is why I love this gift guide. The donkey adds a nice touch I thought too. Who said barn animals can’t be in the work place?!

Workaholic

1. Mini Three Ring Binder  //  2. Bicycle Clock  //  3. Personalized Stamp  //  4. Michael Kors Laptop Sleeve

5. 2014 Chalkboard Calendar  //  6. 2014 Parisian Weekly Planner  //  7. Donkey Memo Holder

8. My “Serious Notebook”  //  9. File Boxes  //  10. Desk Caddy