Golden Globes 2013 Best Dressed

I watched the Golden Globes awards last night – I love to see the fashions, even though I am starting to think the GG’s sort of undermine the Oscars because all the same people win in both ceremonies.

Here are my best-dressed from last night:

Kate Hudson, as always

Katie Hudson, credit:people.com

Katie Hudson, credit:people.com

Jennifer Garner: her and Ben Affleck are SO CUTE

Jennifer Garner, people.com

Jennifer Garner, people.com

Jennifer Lawrence and Jessica Alba: although I’m not sure why Jessica Alba was even there…she’s always there

Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Alba, people.com

Jennifer Lawrence, Jessica Alba, people.com

Amanda Seyfried and Michelle Dockery

Amanda Seyfried, Michelle Dockery, people.com

Amanda Seyfried, Michelle Dockery, people.com

Taylor Swift: Yay! She is finally rocking some grown up style lately and she looks gorgeous.

Taylor Swift; people.com

Taylor Swift; people.com

Eddie Redmayne: I just love him, don’t know why.

Okay, I just love Eddie Redmayne

Okay, I just love Eddie Redmayne

Amanda Seyfried, again, because she’s so cute

Amanda Seyfried in Givenchy

Amanda Seyfried in Givenchy

I really want to see Les Mis, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook before the Oscars!

Have you seen any of the Oscar best picture contenders? Any recommendations?

Spiritual Resolutions on the Epiphany

I decided what my non-traditional (I say that because it’s not health or self-improvement related, not directly…although it definitely is indirectly) resolution is this year: TO GO TO CHURCH EVERY SUNDAY UNLESS I AM OUT OF TOWN.

I went last Sunday, January 6th, on the Epiphany and it was wonderful. I went by myself since B was out of town but this weekend we are going together (I was shocked when he said he was excited to go with me – see, he’s an agnostic at best. 😉 ). I am just trying to be really faith-centered this year. It feels so good to have a resolution that I am excited about and that is totally attainable. I am excited for church this Sunday, it brings me such strength.

Cool things:

  • I finished “Fall of Giants” AND Catherine Cookson’s “The Glass Virgin” and now I am reading her book “The Black Velvet Gown”. ON track with my reading goal! I am also trying to watch way less TV (and succeeding).
  • Except I am going to watch Downton Abbey today!
  • What do you think of the Duchess of Cambridge’s official portrait? I think the artist is great but he didn’t do her justice at all!
  • I decided that by two years from this summer, I am going to be in France again! So by 2015.
  • I’ve been studying my French every day again. BRINGS ME JOY!
  • I have so many motivators to get healthy for and I am DETERMINED.

Have a great weekend everyone! We are doing more house hunting, going to the gym, and going clothes shopping (a rare occurrence and one that I am very excited for)! I love GUESS!

15026435

Good Luck

I read 33 books in 2012. Please note for the sake of my pride that this includes 8 books that were over 1000 pages.

Goal for 2013 is to read 40.

Right now I’m reading:

fall_of_giants_us_2010It’s amazing! Love Ken Follett’s books.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I made Hoppin’ John last night for New Year’s good luck. If you don’t know, Hoppin’ John is a dish made with black-eyed peas that is traditionally eaten in the South for good luck in the new year. I based mine off of two recipes: one from Woman’s Day magazine and one by Emeril Lagasse from foodnetwork.com. Hoppin’ John is made with black eyed peas, ham hock, collard greens, onions, etc. and served over rice. Instead of the ham hock, I served it with sausage. I wanted to add sautéed spinach, but I forgot. I did use sautéed celery, and totally eliminated the onion and garlic because those are the two foods I hate the most! To the black-eyed peas, I added salt, pepper, and cayenne. Once we served it up, we added Tabasco sauce. I had never made black-eyed peas before. Actually, I only tried them for the first time a few weeks ago in a frozen Amy’s meal. They are delicious and also very nutritious. One cup of black-eyed peas contains 20% of your daily value of iron, 11 g of protein, and 5 g of fiber.

Some other good luck New Year’s foods:

  • In many parts of Asia, people eat long noodles New Year’s. They are supposed to symbolize a long life.
  • In South America, they eat pork on New Year’s Day. Pigs are thought to be industrious, and this symbolizes ambition and prosperity.
  • In Italy, they eat lentils. Their coin-like appearance symbolizes wealth and prosperity.
  • A lot of areas eat sea food, which symbolizes abundance.

I am going to make it a tradition to make a good luck food every year on New Year’s Day.

I’m drinking my green smoothie right now! 1/4 avocado, 1/4-1/2 of a green apple,  2 cups spinach, filtered water, squeeze of lemon. My goal is to drink one at least 5/7 days a week. If I miss one of those days, I have to eat at least 2 cups of spinach in salad form or in other dishes.

What are you reading right now?

Do you have a New Year’s food tradition? *My parents always make seafood on New Year’s Eve.* And my dad made pork green chile yesterday.

2012 to 2013

Five years ago on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day (sorry I can’t remember the exact time-it was the famous NYE toilet-breaking party —> don’t ask!), B and I officially got together. ❤ And I will always remember 2012 as the year we got married. We had a wonderful, wonderful wedding, and I am blessed to have a man that absolutely adores me.

In many ways, this has been a rough year for me, especially the second half of it. I’ve dealt with even more health issues and a descent into a major depression. But, I am extremely proud that this fall and winter I have taken back control of my mental and physical health. At the beginning of 2012, I had a loose goal in my mind that I wanted to accomplish that this year. It took me until the end of the year, but I got started on the journey. Although I am far from being really there yet, I am moving forward more and more, taking my life back. I am determined and absolutely motivated to achieve LIFE again in 2013.

While I am glad this year is coming to a close because I love New Year’s for the fresh beginning it brings, and I’m excited for 2013, here are the blessings from 2012: we got married, B got promoted (TWICE!), and I began the journey of taking back my life.

In 2013, I am looking forward to:

  • buying a house!
  • Taking a class starting in March to begin my journey to have my own career
  • moving more and more towards being healthy and ALIVE again
  • becoming social again – making friends and starting a new volunteer job at the animal shelter
  • loving myself and doing ME
  • our trip to Montana in July for my cousin’s wedding
  • continuing to grow my relationship with God

{I’m really scared to buy a house, it’s probably one of the biggest leaps for me of anything I’ve ever done. But it’s one of those things that I just have to leap into. It’s not just the money, it’s also that it’s overwhelming to me to move again, even just across town, when I’ve just gotten used to the bus stops over here and how to get around in my little area. I have moved every single year into a different place since I turned 18. But it will be so worth it if/when we find the right place. House buying right now is a different experience than I imagined having for buying my first home. I say this because we will most likely have to move again in a couple of years. I always envisioned buying a house that I would get to settle down in. I was even willing to wait until we got back to Colorado someday to have that. But I am having to remold my expectations. We put an offer in for a house yesterday. It’s the house I’ve liked most of everything we’ve seen. Besides the scary part of physically moving, I would LOVE to own this house. It’s still near a bus stop and there is a community pool. I COULD WALK TO A POOL! It’s the perfect size and layout. And it has a great little yard. Also, it’s in our price range and actually in a safe neighborhood! I love it. Some things are scary, but you have to think of the greater potential for happiness once you get over the fear—> my motto right now. I would totally not mind to stay in this townhouse either. It has been my lifelong dream to own a house, but I know it will happen someday. B is the one who really wants to buy one now.}

One thing I’m going to have to do in the new year, is find a way to live my own life while being in a relationship. I have to have faith that my husband will always love me and only me. I can’t let marriage hold me back. Being married, I have the potential for even greater happiness. If I would just let myself fulfill my own dreams, I could have love and my own life too. The fact is, I’m already married, and I just have to believe—> KNOW —> I can have both things. I deserve that. I can spend my life being afraid, or I can live my own life and KNOW that everything will be wonderful. I have to simplify things: life is about good experiences, loving people, and giving back. That’s what I want. I want to be a person of integrity.

See a theme here? FAITH.

drop every fear

Here’s to an amazing 2013, in which I find myself again, embrace myself and believe in my right to enjoy and own my own life, get healthy again, and surrender in ways that will lead me back to living. It’s going to be hard, but I’m never going to stop fighting or seeking God for strength. I’m going to, finally, find faith in the possibility.

I repeat: some things are scary, but you have to think of the greater potential for happiness that will be there once you get over the fear.

Enjoying the sun

I wish you all a wonderful New Year!

Closing Words for 2012…and Opening into 2013

These are amazing last lines from some wonderful books. To me, they created a great image that I envision going forth into the New Year.

Wuthering Heights
by Emily Brontë
“I lingered round them, under that benign sky; watched the moths fluttering among the heath, and hare-bells; listened to the soft wind breathing through the grass; and wondered how any one could ever imagine unquiet slumbers for the sleepers in that quiet earth.”

Gone with the Wind

“After all, tomorrow is another day.”

Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Watership Down

“He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.”

Watership Down, Richard Adams {one of my favorite books as a kid}

P.S. I Love You

“In the meantime, she would just live.”

P.S. I Love You, Cecelia Ahern

 

Missing Colorado and What’s Next

I had a great Christmas trip to Colorado. I nearly felt like my old self again. I had a few jitters but overall the trip went wonderfully. Now I am back in Colorado and feeling lonely and homesick, although I’m doing better today than yesterday.

I’m always in a conundrum (one of my favorite words) because I want to show you guys more pictures but I want my blog to remain anonymous too.

We flew into Denver on Saturday the 22nd. On Sunday we went to the Van Gogh exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. I feel like my anemia is getting a little better and I had more energy there. I really enjoyed the exhibit even though I got a little exhausted towards the end from walking around so much. They had a lot of his earlier works that I had never seen and you were able to really see the evolution of his painting style. I love art museums. Except for when they have exhibitions, the Denver Art Museum isn’t my favorite, but this exhibit was awesome.

On Christmas Eve we had a seafood boil, perhaps a new tradition we are starting! It was delicious! My dad bought crab, shrimp, mussels, sausage, corn, and potatoes. The crab legs were the best. I hadn’t had those for years. We got a plastic tablecloth and bibs and just ate all over the table. B and I stayed with my parents, obviously, and my two sisters were there every day during our stay. My grandma was also in town and staying with my parents. For the seafood boil, my uncle and his family also came over (from my dad’s side). Since I was little, we have always spent Christmas Eve with my dad’s family and Christmas day with my mom’s family. That’s always how I imagined doing it with my own family, but B’s parents live in Washington state and mine live in Colorado, so we have to split the holidays. If I had it my way we would always spend Thanksgiving with his family and Christmas with mine! That’s what we did the last two years. But of course that wouldn’t be fair. One of the unfortunate compromises of marriage. Next year we will most likely spend Christmas with his family. It will be my first Christmas not with my family in my whole life. Maybe I can convince his family to come to Denver for Christmas! They don’t have any extended family in Washington anyways, it’s just them. That would be fun. Our families really like each other. We want to buy a house next year, so I also look forward to potentially hosting Thanksgiving here. Well, I would also be really nervous about that because I’ve never cooked my own turkey before! We’ll see.

All of the time spent with family made me realize how much I want to live near them and at least be more social here in California. I always thought of myself as someone who likes to be alone, but I realized in the past few months that that’s not really the case as much as I thought. I am definitely an introvert, but that means that I de-stress by being alone, and just need more alone time than an extrovert, but not that I don’t like people. Everyone needs social time and companionship, and I am not getting enough of that in my life. I get some social anxiety, but every time I am around people, I feel so good! I always wonder later what I was anxious about.

Last night, I joined several groups on meetupcom. I joined two women’s groups for women in their 20s and 30s in my area, and one dog-related group. I really plan to go to some of the events to make some friends. They have coffee dates, movie nights, dinners, etc. Oh, and I also joined a book club! I’m really excited about that one. I’m just so isolated and really need to meet people, which is hard to do when you’re not in school anymore and you don’t have a job. I also have a friend that my husband works with that I want to invite to do more things. Our social life together has gone down quite a bit because my husband got promoted, which is great!, but now all of our old friends work for him so he isn’t really allowed to hang out with them because it’s not appropriate. But that doesn’t mean I can’t hang out with them! So I want to invite this girl he works with to go to a movie or something just me and her. I sound so pathetic right now, but this is something I really need to work on. I am also in therapy group right now that is only women and I have made one friend there that I want to try to hang out with.

Tonight we are going to meet up with B’s best friend in San Marino because he’s in town so I am excited for that. I also get to bring my dog to play with his dog. They just love each other so that will be fun! I did miss my dog while I was in Colorado. He had to stay here at the boarding kennel. I found out they only let him out two times a day, so I am going to try to find a different one for the next time I travel because that made me angry. I want him to be well taken care of.

Ralphie

Upcoming plans:

  • I am all signed up to take a microbiology class in March to fulfill a prerequisite I need to enter a Master’s program in nursing. I’m really excited about it. I finally decided that it was worth spending money on myself to pursue this dream. I’m still scared I will fail. But I would rather try than regret never trying. That type of regret is the worst.
  • B will be traveling a lot for work in January and February. I don’t want to be left here all by myself, so I am trying to plan some things. I want to go to Colorado again this spring so I am going to plan a trip in either February or March. Also my dad and my sister are going to San Diego to do some work on the house there in late January or February so I am planning to go down and stay with them during that time. I really had fun with my sisters over this recent trip. The one I have been estranged with for two years… we are slowly starting to talk more and more.
  • B and I are planning a trip to Santa Barbara sometime in the next couple of months. I can’t wait. I have been wanting to go visit the central coast for a long time.
  • I am going to begin volunteering at the local animal shelter in February. Still need to get my anxiety and agoraphobia under control, but I am determined to so I can do all of these things.

The best Christmas gifts I got? I got a pug shirt, pug calendar, and pug socks! I also got Rachael Ray’s new cookbook called “My Year in Meals”. It’s a really beautiful book and I can’t wait to try new recipes from it.

rachel-ray

How important is social time to you? How have you made new friends as an adult?

January Book Club

I have decided to pick a book of the month. I’m wondering if anyone would be interested in joining my monthly “book club”?
January’s pick is going to be “The Handmaid’s Tale” by Margaret Atwood.

atwood1

I am a big fan of Margaret Atwood’s book “Oryx and Crake”, and I have been wanting to read “The Handmaid’s Tale” for a long time. The book is about a dystopian world where fertility is in a huge decline and the few women that are still fertile are simultaneously very valued and treated as slaves. I think this is a very fascinating premise. I will post a book discussion towards the end of the month. Expect my already existent views on the morality of having children to pop up, just a warning. I think it will be interesting to hear what everyone thinks about this book. Let me know if you are interested in reading along!

The Real Definition of Health

I had more energy today. I mopped the floors, picked everything up, cleaned two of our bathrooms, and totally cleaned our master bedroom, which was just an absolute mess, including vacuuming! It feels great! I hope I didn’t tire myself out too much. I also made shrimp fried rice for dinner. Something I really want to work on is keeping our house cleaner. It feels so nice.

I had an awesome green smoothie for breakfast. I use a Magic Bullet to make it (actually, I use the generic version of a Magic Bullet). Here’s my recipe:

  • ¼ of an avocado OR ½ a frozen banana
  • 1/2 an apple (Granny Smith)
  • 1.5-2 cups of spinach (as much as I can fit in there)
  • 2/3 cup of filtered water (or more depending on the consistency you want it, I like mine a little more liquid)

That’s it! Then I just blend until it’s all smooth. Like I said, I like mine more watery. I decided today that I like it a lot better with the frozen banana. I guess I got a little sick of avocado, but doing it that way gives it great texture and adds the healthy fat! I usually have 1-2 pieces of peanut butter toast with it. It’s a great way for me to pack in more fruits and vegetables since I know I wouldn’t eat all those individually every day.

green

I’ve been thinking a lot about how our society has a very skewed definition of health. Like we’ve forgotten the basic definition of it. Every “health” magazine you read can’t talk about the nutritional benefits of strawberries without somewhere mentioning in the small article how they also make you lose weight (or something like that, I know you can think of 1 million examples). It’s really starting to bother me. I’m not really talking about the “thin is in” thing. I’m just saying I wish when you said “I want to get healthy” or that a certain food is healthy, our minds didn’t jump to how that somehow equates to weight loss, but instead to what nutrients can be gained by eating certain foods. I keep saying that I am committed to eating healthier, and people look at me like I’m crazy because I am not overweight. It’s not about weight! You can be curvy and eat great and feel great. You can be on the leaner side and eat great and feel great. The opposite is true for both body types. You can be at a normal weight and eat terribly… and start to feel negative effects on your health because of it too!

I have just found that getting excited about the nutrients in food makes healthy eating fun. Instead of thinking, “Oh I shouldn’t/can’t eat that” about some sugary treat, I think about how much iron or magnesium or antioxidants a certain food is going to have in it and how awesome that is going to feel in my body. When I really think about it, I just don’t get why the words “healthy eating” make us automatically think about weight. How often when someone says they want to eat healthier do they really mean they want to lose weight? TOO often. Or at least that’s what we assume.

When I say I want to eat healthier, I really mean just that, pure and simple, I want to eat healthier. I want to focus on nutrients and fill my body with delicious, clean, nutrient-rich fuel.

I want my appetite back so I don’t have to try so hard to maintain my weight. Because I don’t want to lose weight. I just want to be healthy. Our society’s fixation with this makes it seem so wrong to gain weight even when you need to. Even when I’m not trying to avoid gaining weight (ie. not worrying about gaining weight), it just feels so weird to be okay with it, like that’s wrong, even though it’s not me telling myself it’s wrong. It’s just a foreign concept since it seems like everyone else is trying so hard to lose weight, or trying not to gain weight, or whatever. If you lose weight because of anxiety (hello, me), depression, the flu, diabetes, cancer, whatever, it seems like it’s rewarded even though you lost it because you are SICK or hurting. I know people that have gotten compliments on weight loss after they had pneumonia for two weeks. I think we should all just focus on our health. Let’s all remember what health really means, and how truly valuable it is.

Health is being able to DO things. Health is feeling vibrant, present and alive. Health is smiling and walking and swimming. Health is fully participating in life.

How do you define health?

Hiya

It is colder and rainy here so I’ve been snuggling up with my baby.

Pug Baby

Pug Baby

I am addicted to “Breaking Bad” (no pun intended)! Such a good show. I started it last week and I am already halfway through season three!

Still just really not feeling good. A little better but struggling. We are going to Colorado for Christmas so nervous about the trip in lieu of having to be in the hospital at Thanksgiving. I hope it goes okay. I am fighting so hard for my health. I will be taking more steps with that after the trip. I JUST WANT MY LIFE BACK!

Hope everyone is having a good week!