Friday, October 31, 2014

What's the Hype About Halloween?

Is it just me or does Halloween get more hype than it should? Sure, it is fun to dress up in a costume and get lots of candy. But is it worth the spot as the second biggest holiday in the country??

I think that for many people, Halloween is an excuse to put on a fun costume and pretend to be somebody else for the night. As a matter of fact, I overheard a father the other day telling his son that he should get excited about Halloween because “It’s the only day of the year you get to be not you.”
This got me thinking…while it can be fun for a few hours on Halloween night, I don’t see why we would want to be anything other than ourselves. Putting on a costume should not make you turn into some other person. You are who you are, and you should be proud of that.

The coolest part is that there is only one you, and YOU get to be it! So I say embrace who you are to the fullest. Don’t try to hide who you are, or waste your days wishing that you could be someone else. You will be you for the rest of your life, so you might as well make the best of it! Be confident, be happy, and refrain from comparing yourself to others, because you will never be them (and they will never be you!). You were specially made as a unique individual with a purpose that only YOU were meant to carry out. How awesome is that?!

So have fun this Halloween; dress up and eat candy, but don’t forget who you are. What is your favorite thing about yourself? Something that makes you, YOU? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

It's the Little Things

Is it just me or do you ever seem to go through your days sometimes without anything really remarkable happening? Nothing truly huge has changed in your life, nothing worth writing home about has happened during your week, and you just live day to day in a kind of ordinary manner.

While it can sometimes be a good thing that nothing crazy is going on in your life, it is so important to remember that your life is anything but ordinary. You don’t need something “remarkable” to happen every day in order to be happy and grateful with the life that you have.

Sometime last year, I downloaded this app on my phone called Gratitude 365. The app is nothing special, really—it's basically a calendar where, each day, you can write down some things that you were grateful for that day. You can add a picture to make it look pretty, but that is basically the gist of the app. Now, I went through a period of a couple months where I didn’t touch the app at all. But recently, I began trying to use it every day, and I have been getting so much out of it.

The purpose of the app is not to brag about all of the amazing things that happen to you each day. For me, it has become a way to realize and appreciate all the little things that make my days special. I will give you a few examples of the types of things that I write down in my app:
  • I got a cup of coffee from Dunkin Donuts today and it was delicious.
  • I put in a request to have some of the lights fixed in my classroom, and this morning when I walked into the room, it was noticeably brighter in there!
  • I started reading a new book that I absolutely love.
 As you can see, none of those things are out of the ordinary. But without those little reminders that my life is good each day, I have a feeling that I could be quite miserable. As a former teacher of mine used to say constantly, "It's the little things."
So, I challenge you to at least think about three good things in your day, every day, and see how much of a difference it makes in your life. I think you might find that you are quicker to smile, quicker to laugh, and quicker to appreciate the little things.

What are some of the "little things" in your life that you are grateful for each day?

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It's Much More Than That - Happiness

Is it just me or do you ever look up a word in the dictionary only to find that the definition is not exactly how you would describe the word? Oftentimes, the "official" definition of a word differs from how we interpret the word's meaning and its relevance to our lives. It is for this reason that I decided to start another "series" on my blog titled "It's Much More Than That - *insert choice word here*".  Every Wednesday, I will choose one word and define it as I have come to understand it.

Today's word is happiness. According to the dictionary, 'happiness' is defined as "the state of being happy." This led me to look up the definition of 'happy' which reads, "feeling pleasure and enjoyment because of your life, situation, etc."

How do you take a word like 'happiness' and restrict it to just one universal definition?? To me, happiness is so much more than just a word; it is a feeling, an experience like no other. Many times, people think of happiness as something to be achieved. "If I only had this new car, I would be happy..."; "When I get this promotion at work, then I will be happy..."; and the list goes on. But I don't think that happiness is something that we need to set as a goal for ourselves, or something that we need to continually strive for. 

I want so much more out of life than to simply experience happiness every now and then. I want to be happyHappiness doesn't have to be (and shouldn't be) an "if...then..." type of thing. Happiness should just be. I shouldn't have to work for it, and I certainly shouldn't have to depend on other things or people to keep my happiness going. 

To me, happiness is singing in the car at the top of my lungs to my favorite song. Happiness is getting lost in a good book while sipping on a nice hot cup of coffee. Happiness is hanging around the house with my family knowing that I am loved. Happiness is thinking about my life and reflecting on all of the blessings that I have.
What does happiness mean to you?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

You Will Never HAVE the Time!

Is it just me or do you ever feel like you don't have time for anything? Life keeps getting busier and busier and then one day you realize that you simply have no time to do anything that you want to do?
I'm going to let you in on a little secret...You will never HAVE the time. 

Life is not going to magically stop being busy. Responsibilities will always be there. There will never be enough hours in the day, and you will always have an unfinished 'To Do' list waiting to be tended to. But does that mean that you should just give up all of the things that you love because you "have no time" for them? Absolutely not.

As hard as it may sometimes be, there comes a point when you have to MAKE time for the people, things, activities, that you love. If that means waking up extra early to squeeze in your favorite gym class, then so be it. If it means setting a reminder on your phone to text a loved one every single day, then make it happen. If it means occasionally rearranging your schedule, or scheduling things back to back with little to no breathing room, or even sacrificing something you really love for something or someone else that you also really love, then do that. 

I can guarantee you that it will be hard, but I can also guarantee you that it will be worth it. So stop waiting until you "have the time," because odds are you never will. If something means a lot to you, you will make the time for it. And you will be so glad that you did.  

What are some things you love that are worth making time for?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say

Is it just me or do you ever feel hesitant to tell someone how you really feel about something? Maybe something has been bothering you for a while, but you haven't worked up the nerve to actually say something to the person for fear of....what, exactly?

I would consider myself a fairly non-confrontational person. I don't like to make conflict if there doesn't have to be conflict, and I don't like to say things that I know will make another person angry. But recently, I have learned that there comes a time when you just have to say what you feel. 

Sometimes, it is important for the other person to hear that you ARE upset, and that you MEAN what you are trying to get across. Sometimes, the other person doesn't even know that there is anything wrong in the first place, and the only way for them to know that you are upset is for you to tell them! 
Now, this does not mean that you have a right to lash out at someone and tell them your feelings in anger. Nor does it mean that you should always state your feelings in the heat of the moment. That often leads to some harsh words, maybe a few tears, and certainly a lot of regret. But if you give yourself some time to step back from the situation, gather your thoughts, and respond a bit later when you have a clear head, the outcome is almost sure to be better. 

In this time of "cooling off," you should think about exactly why you are upset. Do not use this opportunity to make a list of all the things that the other person has done wrong in the past. Really think about what is bothering you in this present moment. Also, try coming up with a way that you can tell the other person what is wrong without sounding mean and hurtful. (P.S. this is usually easier if you have someone you can run your "speech" by first). 

So the next time you find yourself in a situation that needs fixing, try taking a few moments to collect your thoughts before you speak. You have a right to say what you mean, but just make sure that you really mean what you say. If you don't, you might regret it later on.

Do you have any other advice for how to deal with speaking your mind? I would love to hear it!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Quote of the Week - Be Kind Always

Is it just me or do you ever come across people that seem just plain rude for no reason? It is almost a natural reaction to act rude right back to them, because after all, they did it first, right? WRONG.

This week's quote is a good one to keep in your pocket at all times, because I have a feeling you'll need to think back on it often:

"Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. 
Be kind. Always."

I have learned that many times, people who seem rude, or who give me an attitude right off the bat really have something else going on that has nothing to do with me. Maybe they are going through a rocky divorce, or they have to spend all night awake in the hospital with their sick child. Maybe they just got in a fight with their best friend, or a loved one recently passed away. Maybe they are simply having a really awful day. Does this give them a right to take it out on me, on us? No, but it certainly helps put things into perspective. 

Life is not always easy, and it's certainly not always fun. But what a better place this world would be if we could all be kind to one another always. It is all too easy to get wrapped up in our own little world, thinking only of ourselves. But if we take just a second to think of what another person might possibly be going through before shooting back a sassy answer, we could really learn something valuable.

So the next time you have the urge to lash out at someone or give them attitude right back, try and remember that, odds are, they are going through something in their life that is really difficult. Cut them some slack. And share this quote with others, because you never know when you might need someone to be kind to you when you are not able to be so kind yourself.

Have a good quote? Feel free to share it in the comments!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Best Birthday Ever

Is it just me or are birthdays something to get excited over?! We each only get one birthday a year, so we might as well try and make it as awesome as possible, right?? Since my birthday is in less than TWO HOURS (I'm currently writing this at 10:30 on Friday night) I thought I would do a little reflecting on one of my favorite birthday memories thus far.

It happened last year (almost) to the day. My 21st birthday. And not for the reasons that most other people like to celebrate their 21st birthday. This birthday was extra special for me for other reasons. 

For a few years leading up to my 21st birthday, my birthdays had not really been so great. I was going through a really tough time in my life, and my birthday celebrations were often pushed to the back burner. But things turned around come the year of my 21st birthday, and I had one of the greatest birthdays that I've ever had.
In all honesty, I didn't even really do that much on that day! I basically just hung around the house with my family and boyfriend during the day, which I certainly didn't mind. At night, I went out to a hibachi place for dinner, and my mom had surprised me by inviting some of my close friends without me knowing! After dinner, we all came back to my house for dessert and gifts. 

Ask me about the details, and I probably couldn't tell you more than a few. But ask me how happy I felt, and I could go on all day. The love that I felt from my family and friends made my heart swell with so much joy I could cry! It was the best birthday I can remember not because I went out to an extravagant bar or got amazing gifts (which, by the way, I did :P). It was the best birthday I can remember because of the people that I got to share it with. Even writing this now, I feel so beyond blessed and happy thinking back on that night. 

You don't have to do something totally crazy on your birthday. Just try to share it with the people you love and care about, and it'll be sure to be a good one.

What is your favorite birthday memory?

Friday, October 24, 2014

5 Things I'd Tell My Younger Self

Is it just me or do you ever think back and wish that you could give your younger self some advice? Seeing as my 22nd birthday is coming up, (tomorrow--woo hoo!!!) I have been thinking a lot about all that I am continually learning each day as I get older. If it were possible to go back in time, there are many things that I would love to tell my younger self.
1. Enjoy being young while you can. I know that everyone says this, but as you get older you realize how true it is! Life goes so fast, and we spend much of our younger years wishing we were older. If I could go back, I would enjoy every second of my youth, because growing up is not always fun, and you are only young once! 

2. You can do much more than you think you can. This is much easier said than done, but knowing what I know now, I see how I ended up getting through some rough times that I never would have thought I could handle. And at first, I couldn't handle them. But over the months and years, I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was, and I want you to know that you are too.

3. It truly does not matter what other people think of you. Oh, how I wish I knew this one! When I was younger, I spent way too much time worrying about what other people thought of me, or what they would think of me if I did/said the "wrong" (AKA un-cool) thing. As I get older, I am learning more and more how it is so much more important to be happy with yourself than to waste your time depending on others for your happiness. Be confident in who you are, and live that out.

4. Most things are not worth stressing over. I WISH I KNEW THIS! I would have saved myself sooo much stress, worry, and time! Sure, there are things that really are important and deserve your time and (possibly a little bit of) stress. But for the most part, there is so much that is really not worth the anxiety or tears. If I could go back, I'd tell myself to think about what I'm stressing over, and then think about if it will matter in 5 years. Or even in 2 years. Odds are, it won't matter then, so it shouldn't be the cause of so much grief now.

5. It is ok if you don't know what you want to do for the rest of your life. This is something that I hear a lot of people currently in high school (and even in college) talking about. Nowadays, there is so much pressure to "find your passion" in high school and pursue it in college. But the reality is that, while this may be the case for some, it is not the case for many. Making a decision about the rest of your life while you are in high school is a huge deal, and I think that it's important for people to know that it's ok if you don't know what your passion is right now! So many people in college haven't even figured out their passion yet! So don't listen to those who push you to "find your calling" right away, or who give you a hard time if you don't have it all figured out yet. Trust me, you'll have plenty of time for that later.

Do you have any advice you would love to tell your younger self? I'd love to hear it!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Dangers of Wallowing in Self-Pity

Is it just me or do we sometimes like to feel sorry for ourselves? We are having a bad day or going through a rough time, and so we throw ourselves a Pity Party of one.

I have gone through some really tough times in my life, and I know how much easier it seems to just wallow in sadness and sorrow, feeling bad for myself but not really doing anything about it. But as my mom had told me during a particularly rough patch, “It’s okay to feel sorry for yourself for a little while, but you can’t stay there.”
And, like always, she was right. It is certainly okay to mope about for a bit, pitying yourself and your situation, but you can’t stay there. It is okay to cry your eyes out while listening to sad music in your room, thinking “why me?!, but you can’t stay there. And it is okay to not feel like seeing or talking to anyone for a while, but again, you can’t stay there.  

Wallowing in self-pity is a very dangerous game that no one should ever attempt to play. It’s okay for a little while, but if you stay there in that sad, dark, lonely place for too long, it is very hard to get out.

So what can you do to avoid this dangerous game?

For starters, you can allow yourself a little bit of time to wallow if you need to. Like I said, it’s okay, and sometimes even helps you feel better, but only let yourself stay there for a limited amount of time. When you’re done, do something to take your mind off of your situation. Whether it be watching a funny movie, going out with friends, or eating a big bowl of ice cream, get out and do something fun!

Lastly, make sure that you have someone to talk to when you’re feeling particularly down. For me, my mom is my go-to person for everything. She always hears me out and gives me great, honest advice (and best of all, a nice tight hug when I need one). Whoever it is, just make sure that you have someone you trust to help pull you up out of the self-pity ditch when you’re struggling. We all have hard times, but we can’t let ourselves stay down for too long, and a good friend will always be there to help pick you back up.

What do you like to do to avoid getting stuck on the self-pity train?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Pet Peeves

Is it just me or do some things really get on your nerves?  I'm talking about pet peeves--we all have them, and I thought it would be kind of fun to share some of mine!
(Disclaimer: These are not meant to make anyone feel bad or anything!!! These are simply some things that annoy me personally, and they should be taken lightly! If anything, take them with a grain of salt and some humor!)

1. When people spell my name wrong. Yes, I understand that my name is a little bit complicated. ToniAnn. All one word, no spaces. Capital A in the middle. No "e" at the end. Make the mistake once, but please don't make it again!

2. When people call me "Toni".  Ooooh this one makes my blood boil! It's "Ton" (pronounced 'tone') if you know me, "ToniAnn" if you don't. "Toni" just never seemed to suit me, and I hate when anyone calls me that!

3. Condensation. Ew, Ew, EW! I have no idea why, but condensation on anything makes me feel queasy. I hate touching cold drinks like water bottles or iced coffee cups with little condensation droplets on them in particular.

4. When teachers erase everything on the board and leave one tiny mark behind. I feel like this HAS to annoy someone else besides me! It makes my skin crawl--it takes everything in me not to jump up and erase the mark myself! 

5. Incorrect grammar. This just plain gets on my nerves. I feel bad about it, I really do, but I just can't stand when people do not use correct grammar--even in texts! (I know, I'm a little crazy).  

Am I the only one affected by these things? What are some of your pet peeves? 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

We Don't Live in a "What if" World

Is it just me or do you ever find yourself wondering "what if..."? What if I don't get into my dream school? What if he doesn't like me? What if no one reads my blogs???
But what if they do?

When people ask this "what if" question, they usually only consider it from the negative perspective.  They also ask it as if the hypothetical answer is going to change anything. Don't get me wrong, I still ask this question from time to time, but I am learning that it isn't even worth asking. 

When I was younger, I used to question everything. I would be in the car with my mom talking about school or boys or something and I would pop the question: "Well what if this happens?!" And my mom's answer was always the same: "We don't live in a 'what if' world."  

I am realizing more and more how true that statement is. Why worry about things that might not even happen? What is the point of thinking of a hundred different possible outcomes, when the odds are that none of those things are going to be how things play out anyway? All you gain from that is a head full of questions and an upset stomach.

Next time you find yourself wondering "what if...", stop yourself, trust that everything happens for a reason, and let whatever happens, happen. I promise that you will save yourself a lot of time and anguish. And the next time you hear someone else ask the question, feel free to tell them what my mom told me. Because I'd take the world we live in over a 'what if' world any day.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fill Your Days With LIFE!

Is it just me or do you ever wish that life would slow down sometimes? Between work, school, sports practices, music lessons, football games, etc., it sometimes feels like we have no time to actually enjoy life. 

I don't know about you, but I long for those days where I have absolutely nothing to do so I can just relax and enjoy life as I know it. And there is nothing wrong with having those days. But if that is what we live for, we are doing it wrong.

Life is not what happens outside of work, school, sports...Life is in the work, school, sports, etc. Those things that consume your days are all a part of life, and I think they should be treated as such. We shouldn't "just get through" our days--we should try and fill our days with as much LIFE as possible! 

Instead of living for the weekend, try living for each day as it passes, and enjoying it along the way! 
How will you enjoy life today?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Quote of the Week - Let it Go

Is it just me or do some quotes really speak to you? I am a huge lover of quotes, and so I decided that I am going to start a "series" on my blog called 'Quote of the Week'. Every Sunday, I will be posting a quote that I really love, and talking a little bit about it.

Today's quote is all about letting it go. 

"Don't let yesterday use up too much of today."
                                                                                            -Will Rogers

You hear people say it all the time. "Let it's done now..." etc. But how true is this?! Let's say you had a really terrible day. And I mean really terrible. Everything went wrong and you were in a horrible mood because of it. Does that mean that the next day should be ruined too? Absolutely not.

Don't carry the baggage from yesterday with you into today (or tomorrow, or the next day, for that matter!). Let the past stay in the past, accept that whatever happened, happened, and move on. 

What are some of your favorite quotes?

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Empties Are In! - Products I've Used Up

Is it just me or is there a certain satisfaction unlike any other that comes with finishing products? As strange as it may sound, I love collecting my used, empty products, (my "beauty trash", if you will) and going through all of them with my sister at the end of each month. 
There is something kind of fun about taking inventory of what you have used up before you throw it away. My sister and I like to share the things we have used up, and we usually give a brief "review" of the product (basically just saying whether or not we liked it). This also helps me remember which products I loved and want to repurchase. 

I finished up quite a few products this month (yes, I do feel very proud) and I thought I would share them with you!
Soy Candle, "Sugar Blossom"; Soy Candle, "Vintage Linen"; Caress Body Wash, "White Peach & Silky Orange Blossom"; Bath & Body Works (B&BW) Body Lotion, "Amber Blush"; B&BW Hand Sanitizer, "Honolulu Sun";Stila "Stay All Day Liquid Liner"; Aussie "Sprunch" Hairspray; Colgate Total Mouthwash; Colgate Optic White Mouthwash
Of the products in the above picture, I have some definite items that I will be repurchasing, and some that I will definitely not repurchase. Out of the two candles, I really loved the "Vintage Linen" scent. It smells like clean laundry, and always made my room smell so fresh. The Stila "Stay All Day" eyeliner is amazing, and is a great option if you are looking for a good liquid liner to create a perfect wing. The Aussie hairspray has been a favorite of mine for years, as it holds very well (and smells good too!). 

I will not be repurchasing the Colgate Optic White mouthwash. I'm not sure if maybe I just got a dud, but I was really not a fan of this mouthwash. It tasted sour and really burned my mouth every time I used it! Has anyone else experienced something similar with this product?
Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser; Maybelline Great Lash "Lots of Lashes" Mascara; First Aid Beauty "Facial Radiance Pads"; St. Ives "Fresh Skin Apricot Scrub"; Bodycology "Exfoliating Sugar Scrub"; Neutrogena "Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover"; Urban Decay "Eyeshadow Primer Potion"; It's a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product 
Of these products, I will definitely be repurchasing both the Cetaphil face wash and the First Aid Beauty "Facial Radiance Pads". As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have very sensitive skin, and I feel that these products work really well for me. Speaking of products that work well for me, the Neutrogena makeup remover really takes off all of my eye makeup easily without leaving a super greasy feeling behind. The It's A 10 hair product is excellent as well. I had the sample size, and I think I want to go out and purchase the full size! It probably comes as no surprise that I absolutely love the Urban Decay primer potion. This product really helped keep my eye makeup looking great all day, and I definitely need another tube! While I did enjoy both of the body scrubs, my favorite scrubs remain those from the Tree Hut line.  

What products have you used up lately?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Ipsy Glam Bag - October 2014

Is it just me or do you love getting packages in the mail? Every time I come home to a package waiting on my doorstep, I feel like a kid on Christmas!

Over the summer, I decided to sign up for the Ipsy monthly glam bags, and so far I have gotten two. It is so exciting to receive a bag filled with goodies every month-I don't think I will ever get tired of it! 
Since my October Glam Bag just arrived, I thought I would show you what I got! I haven't tried everything yet, (I just got the bag in the mail yesterday) but I will let you know how I like the things that I have tried so far. 
Figs & Rouge Rose Berry hand cream 
Just like the name, this hand cream smells of rose and berry. The scent is a bit strong, but if you like rose, that should be no problem. The consistency is a little strange-kind of watery once you start rubbing it in. However, it does dissolve pretty quickly and leaves your hands feeling soft. A good one to throw in your purse.
├ępice Purifying Exfoliant
This exfoliant is more on the gentle side, which I really like since my skin is quite sensitive. The exfoliating grains are very small and do not irritate my face, but the product still helps to remove dead skin!
Model Co VolumEyes Mascara
I have not tried this yet, but let me know if you'd like to hear my thoughts about it in a future blog post!
Nicole by O.P.I.,"Feeling Very Cherry"
Such. A. Gorgeous. Color. This color is perfect for fall! Reminds me of Essie "Wicked" polish, which I love.
Starlooks lipgloss in 
A simple, nude lipgloss. A bit sheer on the lips, but feels smooth and gives off a nice shine.

What product are you most interested in from this glam bag? Let me know, and I will do a more in depth review!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Working Out is Hard to Do-Tips to Get You Motivated

Is it just me or is the hardest part about working out actually going to work out? I always find that once I am at the gym I am totally fine, but the physical act of going to the gym is a constant struggle.

I prefer to go to the gym first thing in the morning so I can get it over with and start my day on a positive note. However, getting myself up and out of bed never gets easier. Even once I do get out of bed, I find myself taking my sweet time, looking for any excuse not to go to the gym. Why do I do this? Why is it so hard to just get up and go?! I really wish I knew the answer. But the reality is that it is hard, so I've come up with some tips to get you moving and out the door. 
1. Get yourself into a routine. If you get anything out of this blog post, let it be this point. Creating and sticking to a routine is crucial if you want to work out consistently. I have certain mornings each week that I know I can go to the gym. That being said, I have created for myself a little routine for those mornings that I follow each and every week. My routine goes a little something like this: get up, get ready for the gym, eat a little something, go to the gym for an hour, come home and shower, get ready for the day, etc. I do these same things in this same order every day. Routines can be hard to keep at first, but stick to them, and they will turn into habits! 

2. Set your alarm way earlier than you actually have to be up. I try to do this on a regular basis anyway, but if I want to make it to a 9:30 am gym class and I know I have to leave by 9:15, I will set my alarm for 8:00 or 8:15, even though I know it only takes me about 5-10 minutes to get ready. This gives me some time to lay around in bed on my phone (come on now, we are all guilty of this!) and take my time getting ready.  

3. Lay out your clothes and shoes the night before. This is HUGE. Part of my procrastination in the morning is picking out something to wear. Now, I in no way get glammed up for the gym--in all honesty I usually look like quite the disheveled mess. I like to lay out my gym clothes and sneakers at night so that when I wake up in the morning, everything is all ready for me. I don't have to think about what to wear; I just put the clothes on and go! I also find that once I actually have my clothes on, I feel much more motivated to work out. 

4. Plan to take a class. When it comes to working out, I tend to work harder and get more out of it when I take a class with a really good instructor. Over the past few weeks, I have tried some different classes at my gym and found some that I really enjoy. Knowing that I will be going to work out in a structured environment for an hour really helps get me motivated (and more willing) to go to the gym.

5. Work out with a friend. This one may not be for everyone, but if you and a friend belong to the same gym, try to work out a schedule where the two of you can go together. This not only makes working out more fun, but it also holds you accountable. I actually prefer working out by myself, but I do have some ladies that I see every week in some of the classes I like to take, and something about just knowing that they are there helps get me to the class. 

Do you have anything you like to do to get you up and motivated to work out?

Monday, October 13, 2014

5 Things Puzzles Have Taught Me About Life

Is it just me or are puzzles some of the greatest inventions ever? I am a total puzzle fanatic, and would be perfectly content to just sit in the house all day working on a puzzle. In doing all of these puzzles over the years, I have actually begun to learn little life lessons that I think are worth sharing.

So what have puzzles taught me about life? Bear with me here as I try to make the connection between these things you do in your spare time to your every day life.

1. Patience, Patience, Patience.  Sometimes puzzles, like life, can be really hard, but if you give up, you will never finish! No matter how hard it gets, keep at it. I promise that you will get there eventually.
2. Get a New Perspective. There have been many times when I am working on a puzzle from one angle, getting nowhere, but then I simply move over to the other side of the table and BAM! I am getting pieces left and right. Life can be tricky, and sometimes you feel like you are stuck in a rut. Next time you find yourself in that situation, grab yourself a new perspective and see what happens.
3. Stay Focused On Your Goal. Puzzles typically come with a picture on the box of what the final product will look like. Unfortunately, life does not come with such a “picture” of the end result. However, think about what you want out of certain situations in life, and strive to get there every day. Focus on your final goal and don’t stop until you reach it.
4. Every Little Bit Counts. When you are doing a puzzle, every single piece is important. While it may not seem like it at the time, each small little piece that you add is getting you closer to completing the puzzle. The same goes for life. Sometimes it seems like your baby steps are getting you nowhere, but trust me, those baby steps add up, and someday you will realize that you are finally where you want to be.
5. Don’t Give Up. This one is kind of self-explanatory, so I will be brief and to the point. Don’t give up whatsoever. Don’t give up on the puzzle, and don’t give up on whatever you are going through in life. Things will all fall into place (literally and figuratively) as long as you persevere.

Am I the only one who finds life lessons in the strangest things? Do you have any lessons to add to my list? 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Wedding Fun

Is it just me or do you love weddings? It makes me so happy to see two people profess their love for one another and begin their lives as one. I also don't mind the reception afterwards, which is always filled with good food, loud music, and dancing!

Last night, I went to my boyfriend's cousin's wedding. We had a blast, and I wanted to share it with you all!

The attire for the wedding was more formal than some of the others I have been to recently, and I really enjoyed getting the chance to dress up and act fancier than I actually am. My boyfriend also wore a full suit (something I had never seen before in 3 1/2 years of dating!!) which I definitely didn't mind!
There was a photo booth with silly props and signs at the reception, so obviously we had to take some pictures!
It was a great night, and I am very glad to have been a part of such a special night! What do you love most about weddings?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

4 Tips to Get You Out of the "Bad Day Slump"

Is it just me or do you ever have "one of those days"? You know the kind I'm talking about, where things aren't going particularly wrong, but they also aren't going particularly right? The kind of day that just seems "off" right from the start. Sound familiar?
I recently had one of those days, and it wasn't fun. As I drove home from work that day, I got to thinking about what I could do to try and get myself out of the "bad day slump," and I began to compile a little list.  

So, what can you do to try and cheer yourself up on these bad days?  Here are some ideas that I came up with:

1) Blast some of your favorite, upbeat music and sing/dance along. There's something about listening to some loud, fun music that forces you to let go a little.  

2) Get together or talk with a close friend. Sometimes you just need to vent, and a good friend is going to listen as you get everything off of your chest--no matter how silly you might think you sound. 

3) Have some quiet time alone. While spending time with a friend can definitely help pull you out of a bad mood, sometimes you just need to spend some time by yourself and really relax. Do things that make you happy, like listening to some music or zoning out for an episode or two of a show on Netflix (side note: my current obsession = One Tree Hill). Just remember not to stay there for too long. Allowing yourself a little quiet time to unwind is one thing; letting yourself wallow in self-pity is another. The latter should be avoided at all costs.

4) Get out and have some fun! Whether it be taking your dog for a walk around the neighborhood, going to grab some froyo with friends, or seeing a movie, make sure you go out and do a little something to take your mind off of your bad day.

What things do you like to do to help get you out of that "bad day slump"?    

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pick A Color, Any Color

Is it just me or do you ever feel like getting a little crazy with your nail polish?  I have SO MANY nail polishes and sometimes I just get the urge to wear all of them at the same time.  

Obviously this is not realistic, but the other day, I decided to do something I don't normally do. I painted each of my nails a different color. Now, I know this is nothing revolutionary (I mean, what 10 year old doesn't try this at least a few times), but it's not so common among us twenty-something year olds. But why shouldn't it be? Sure, it may look a little bit crazy but so what? It's fun and colorful and it makes me feel like a kid again.   

I could have chosen my nail colors completely at random from my giant bucket of polishes, but I decided to pick out ten more fall-type colors and choose at random from those.  

I think my nails turned out pretty cool, and choosing from a set selection of colors I knew would kind of work together helped make the look not so...out there. 

Essie "Bahama Mama", Essie "No
More Film", Sephora by OPI "Leaf
Him", Revlon "Midnight",
Essie "Mochacino"
OPI "Purple with a Purpose",
Essie "The Lace is On",
Revlon "Stormy Night", Forever 21,
Covergirl "Seared Bronze"


Do you like this look?  Let me know what other crazy nail looks you are into lately!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Why October is Really the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

Is it just me or is October one of the absolute best months of the year?  I mean, come on! Here in New York, at least, there is no denying that there is just something wonderfully special about October. 

Now, I know what you're thinking: "October = the true beginning of pumpkin EVERYTHING and that's why it's the best."  Well, I know I might get some serious hate for saying this *braces herself* but in all honesty, I hate (OK, hate is a bit strong), I really dislike pumpkin things.  Don't get me wrong, I am all for pumpkin picking and hay rides and carving out the big beauty that you picked out at the pumpkin farm.  All I'm saying is that I am so not a fan of pumpkin candles, lattes, muffins, name it, there's probably some pumpkin-related version of it. 

So then why do I love October so much? Well for starters, the weather is that perfect mix of not too hot but not quite chilly enough to need a serious coat.  In addition, the actual air feels different in October.  It's more crisp, more clean. 

It may seem obvious, but just look at all of the gorgeous leaves changing color in October! It's unlike anything else, and constantly takes my breath away.  This weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to go on a little bike ride around my neighborhood (side note, October = amazing bike riding weather) and I was so content to soak in the sunshine, the fresh air, and the beautiful scenery.  

For some reason, October makes me feel as though life has a "fresh start" in a way that none of the other seasons do. There is just something about those clear skies, freshly fallen leaves, and cozy new wardrobe that I embrace with open arms as the beginning of fall sets in.

So often, the world tries to rush us through life, marking the changing seasons by the next big holiday. I challenge you this fall to stop and enjoy this amazing time of the year. To welcome the change of season, and use it as an excuse to begin anew. You just might be happily surprised with what you discover about yourself and about the world.

Let me know what you love about October, and what new things you are learning about this most wonderful time of the year!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

To Do, or Not To Do?

Is it just me or does everything seem impossible until it's done? As a "to-do" list enthusiast (and I mean a true enthusiast--I am all about those To-Do lists), I know what it feels like to face that giant mountain made of things that need to get done.  I also know what it feels like to be on the other side of that mountain marveling at how I got over it.

So how does that happen?  How does one go from being completely overwhelmed to completely carefree with just a few (ok, maybe a little more than a few) "crossing-off" scribbles of the pen?  Now, I am no expert, but over the years, I have developed a sort of "system," if you will, for how to deal with those massive lists of things to do.  

First: I used to write my "To-Do" lists daily--and there is nothing wrong with that--but semi-recently, I began writing weekly lists that I would start on Sunday nights and add to during the week as needed.  I found that I was actually less overwhelmed this way.  When I wrote daily lists, I would feel disappointed in myself if I didn't get to everything on the list that day. Weekly lists still allow me to see what I need to do, but take some of the pressure off to complete everything in one day.

Second: Do one thing at a time. This seems pretty self-explanatory, but so often, we try and get done as much as we can in a short time by trying to do multiple things at once. This usually results in getting less done and not doing things as well as we could.  Try focusing on one task at a time until it's completed, and see how that works out.

Lastly: Don't be afraid to put seemingly "silly" things on your lists. I will be the first to admit that sometimes I put things like "shower" or "pick outfit" on my list for the sheer fact that it feels good to cross it off once it's done! This helps me feel a bit accomplished and actually motivates me to keep crossing things off! 

Let me know if you try any of these ideas, and also if you have any tips of your own worth sharing!!