Thursday, July 28, 2016

Thursday Thoughts Vol. 2

1. I don't lose things. I am just not a person who doesn't know where something went, where she put it, etc. Except when it comes to my clothing, apparently. The only things I've lost in the last hundred years are clothing items. A few years ago I lost a cropped cardigan thing (left it in the bathroom at a club in Atlantic City), last winter I lost my brand new running gloves I had only worn once, and this week I apparently lost a pair of underwear. I know this doesn't seem significant, but it is: it's the only bikini cut/bottom-covering pair of nude underwear I own, a.k.a. essential for when I'm wearing a sundress in a light color or pattern. This has severely disrupted my sartorial options as well as unwound me mentally speaking because WHO LOSES UNDERWEAR?!

2. This past weekend was a big relationship milestone: David met my mom and stepdad, and after we had lunch with them we went over to his mom's to have a bite (I swear, our relationship revolves around eating more than anything else) and I met her and her boyfriend. So the big and important parent meetings have come and gone and I think we both passed quite well. The sweetest part for me was noticing how he talks to me in front of my mom and his, and hearing him talk about "our normal" in a positive way. It made my heart flutter, for real.

3. I'm still job-hunting. This isn't a new thought, but it is what sits at the forefront of my mind 99% of the time. I've branched out in my search as far as I reasonably and realistically can, and I've bugged just about every friend and colleague I can think of for advice, networking, what have you. And I'm still just waiting. I have no idea when things are going to turn around, or if there's anything else I can be doing that I'm not. I'm doing everything I can, and I feel like I hear all the time about people doing less than half as much and getting jobs—or at least getting interviews, which I'm not either. I keep telling myself that the market is just saturated and there's someone as or better qualified than me who has better timing and that I can't take it personally. And that helps me emotionally, but not practically.

4. There's this one weekly task I have that I really don't like to do for one client. I put it off as long as I can, because that's pretty much my response to everything I dread (I'm literally procrastinating right now by typing this post) but—surprise, surprise—that doesn't make it go away or any less annoying when I have to do it. But I recently realized that if I do 5 minutes of prep-work at some point ahead of time, I can be done with the task in 20 minutes or less. So I'm trying to use that as a motivational tactic and setting myself a timer every time and seeing how long it actually takes me, to both "beat the clock" and also suck it up because basically who can't do a slightly annoying thing for 20 minutes? I ran a freakin' marathon last year in just shy of 5 hours. I can type for 15-20 minutes. Amirite?

5. This week in Blogging is the Best: Two friends I met through this blog were awesome this week. I chatted with my pal Kristen about how I really want to take a page out of her book of awesome and get on the morning workout train. With teaching 2 evening classes every week and being on girlfriend duty Tuesday nights, my runs need to take place either under the brutal afternoon sun...or in the morning, which I have successfully done twice in my life. Kristen sent me super motivating and encouraging texts Tuesday morning, and if I hadn't been an idiot with her phone on Do Not Disturb, they probably would have actually gotten me up out of bed for a run! ;) (Thanks a million for trying, though.) To make up for it, Tracy and I made an evening run pact for Tuesday, after she helpfully reminded me that not two months ago I PR'ed my half marathon, and I can do this running thing if I really want to. I so do.

6. I often write bits and pieces of yoga sequences in Notes on my phone before I have the time to sit and write out my class for the week in my handy dandy yoga notebook. It delights me down to my soul that my iPhone is finally learning words like "skandasana" (ninja pose) and "navasana" (boat pose) and no longer feels the need to correct my Sanskrit to "slander and" or some other such nonsense.

7. Do you guys listen to podcasts? I feel like blogland went through a big heyday with podcasts when everyone was catching the Serial (season 1 only) bug, but the talk has kind of petered out. I'm still a big podcast fan and listen to every episode of We Have Concerns. If you're looking for a way to kill your 20-minute drive to work or better background noise for your laundry-folding or dish-washing, give it a whirl.

8. Just before I boarded the bus home yesterday, wasting time by scrolling Facebook, I learned of the death of a college friend. We hadn't been in touch in probably 3-4 years, but he was one of my first friends my first semester. He was an amazing, energetic, hilarious kid when I knew him, and I was horrified to see a glimpse of what these last few years in his life must have been like since we've been out of touch. It's weird to mourn someone your life has already parted paths from, but I'm shocked and saddened by his death and I just want to tell someone about him. He didn't deserve this from life.

9. And so as not to end on a sad note, there is something I'm grinning about and looking forward to: Opening Ceremonies are a week from tomorrow! Get excited—if this video doesn't help you do it, I don't know what will.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thursday Thoughts Vol. 1

I feel like I place pressure on myself sometimes to NOT use this blog space in a dairy-esque way. Not because anyone ever told me not to, but because I told myself not to. Because I keep a journal anyway—why does the world need to hear it here? (And by the world, of course, I mean like all 40 of you.) But the truth is, some of my very favorite posts to read are the Thursday Thoughts posts by Steph, and today I was just inspired to borrow the torch from her. Some thoughts I've been thinking lately that don't warrant posts of their own, but that I want to say out loud anyway.

1. Reading Steph's post on this the other day got me even more riled up over something that just does not seem to stop happening. Parents, I get that you think you know better than everyone about everything, but if I have to hear one more of you say something along the lines of "Wait until you're a parent" or "Wait until you have kids," especially to me when you know I have a reproductive disorder, I'm going to lose it. We were talking about the news and recent terrorist attacks. I'm sure that because you have made your own replicas to put on the planet you look at the situation differently than I do, but that has actually zero relevance to the validity of MY views of these current events. Non-parents have thoughts and ideas and fears and beliefs, too.

2. But speaking of riled up. The plight of the childfree Millennial is hardly any. I just really want to share this story—and I am trying with all my might to be as sensitive as possible, but if I misstep, it's unintentional. So the other day, Tuesday, I was taking the bus into the city on that commuter girlfriend life. The woman sitting in front of me was black, and so was the male driver of our bus who we were both sitting within five feet of. (Relevant because that's how/why I heard the following exchange.) As we pulled into Port Authority, another PA employee—also a black man—hopped on board as our driver pulled us into the gate. The second guy got on somberly and told the driver that "They shot another cop." He explained that it was in Kansas and that he didn't know any other details. But he, the driver, and the woman in front of me exchanged a series of looks with each other in which I believe I recognized terror. I sat in shock. Firstly, humans, STOP KILLING OTHER HUMANS. Secondly, it quickly became clear that their natural thought progression led them to fear that they or their loved ones would be near-future targets for this insane racial tension that has resulted in so many senseless deaths in the last few years. As we filed off the bus, the second PA worker grabbed the woman in front of me and implored her in the most serious tone I've ever heard to "Be safe out there."

I stepped out of Port Authority and took notice of the National Guard and NYPD—who are always there, and who span and cross all racial lines—and felt a bit of fear myself. Because nowadays, sometimes that's just what happens when I step into a big city like New York or DC, or when I find myself in the middle of a large crowd in a public place. But while my fear is that I'll be caught up in a wrong place at the wrong time, there are people sitting right next to me who feel a very valid fear that they will be specifically targeted next. And as a human, that is horrifying to me. It has to stop. Please, humanity. It has to stop. Love isn't the answer, prayer isn't the answer. Action in the right direction is the answer. I'm just not sure what action we can all unite in is.

3. In cheerier news, the photos have started to come back from my cousin's beautiful wedding. This is hands-down my favorite I've seen so far.
Can't wait for the full reel!

4. My apartment super... oh, man. Listen, I, too, am an expressive soul. Sometimes I get excited and the volume of my voices raises too. But I have literally never heard you speak once where you weren't actually bellowing. Now I don't know if you have lots of friends on the other side of the phone that's attached to your face 24/7 (even when you're demo-ing the apartment next door, which I'm not totally sure is safe...), but if you could either close a window or take it down just a smidge, I and the rest of my neighbors would be quite grateful.

5. As part of my girlfriend rewards package, I've been granted access into the wonderful world of Hulu. YOU GUYS. I never felt the need to pay for it since I already have Netflix, HBOGO, and Amazon Prime—and part of the point of cutting cable in the first place was, ya know, to reduce my TV consumption. BUT. How did I not know how much I was missing here? I've already burned through all of Happy Endings, am finally reunited with the one reality TV indulgence I have, Teen Mom (1 and 2, yeah...), and am loving all this face time with my gal Mindy. If I don't come out of my apartment for the next week, send help and more food.

6. After a crazy couple weekends of traveling (Philly, then the shore, then DC) and day trips tying up full days, this weekend we're actually going to wake up Saturday morning and not need to hit the road to go someplace or another. Here's hoping the heat isn't too unbearable and my guy and I finally get a weekend day to traipse about the city before a suburban Sunday. As much as I love planning adventures and having exciting things in the calendar, it's going to be SO NICE to just take the day hour by hour, whim by whim. I can't wait.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

21 Done: Day Zero Project Check-In

I'm inclined to believe there's something about bloggers' personalities—or the piece of us that drives us to blog—that goes hand-in-hand with a goal-setting, list-making personality. That's the only way I can explain the fact that when I say "oh, that's on my 101 in 1001 list" to a blogger, she knows exactly what I'm talking about; whereas when I said it to my guy, the reaction I got was "????"

So yeah, I've got a 101 in 1001 list. It was born after three failed attempts to build one in the first place, after realizing that I had a yearly goal list, long-term goal list, and was still making my monthly goals lists. And not a whole lot was getting accomplished. But I've reached the quarter-way mark, having crossed 21 goals off my list of 101 things to accomplish in 1001 days. I've never shared the whole list on the blog, but inspired by Steph's recent post, I thought a check-in on what I've managed to accomplish so far was in order.

My 101 in 1001 started on June 12, 2015, and I merged my 2015 goal list with my long-term goal list and added enough relevant items to create a full list of 101 items. My end date for these goals is March 9, 2018, which happens to be 20 days before my 29th birthday. That gives me roughly a year and a half to get through the remaining 80 goals.

A good number of my 80 are in progress, so maybe I'll do a separate post about those. I just want to point that out so you guys don't think I've done NOTHING in the last year to better my health or finances or intelligence as those big fat 0s or tiny little 1 might suggest ;)

Physical (4/14)
Run a marathon: City of Oaks 11/1/15
Hold a handstand in class: I was always too afraid to try, but after a few weeks of YTT my confidence got me up! 1/12/16
Take aerial yoga class: This past weekend Tracy and I hung around in the silks together! 7/9/16
Take a spinning class: Hm, there's a theme here. Tracy took me to my first ever spin class, at Peloton this year 1/1/16 

Professional (7/10)
Get a new job: This was on my list from when I was at my old publishing company, and because the purpose of this goal was to GTFO of there, I consider it a pass even though I am still/back on the official job hunt. 7/2/15
Become a certified yoga teacher: Hi, have we met recently? 3/11/16
Teach my own yoga classes: I taught my first portion of a class (someone else's, hence the specific wording) while still a trainee, and was given my own class before graduating YTT this winter! Since then my weekly schedule has grown to include five regular classes I teach. 2/1/16
Teach outside of Younique: I love the studio I trained, practice, and primarily teach in, but I wanted to see if I could hack it elsewhere. I started subbing and then was given a permanent class at another local studio not long after getting my certification and insurance. 4/20/16 
Make something to sell: Though its purpose is certainly not to make me wealthy (good, because it won't), I made a book and I sell it occasionally for dollars. 6/14/16
Contribute to a publication with at least 100,000 followers/readers: I began contributing to Time Out New York this spring! You can read my stories about the Garden State here, here, here, and here, with more to come! Time Out New York's Facebook following is over 450k, and Time Out globally has a following of several million. Sweet. 6/20/16
Decide on [something I was debating about]: I decided no, and it's boring but also private. April 2016

Creative (2/9)
Publish a book: Okay, so one thing double-dipped. But it counts. 6/14/16
Attend a Montclair Film Fest screening: My town has an awesome annual film festival, and I wanted to make it a point to get to at least one showing this year. 5/4/16

Life/Personal (3/13)
Get YTT tattoo: I wanted something to symbolize, for me, the conclusion of my YTT experience. I went with my peace sign, which I got during a celebratory outing with my two YTT buddies. 3/19/16
Attend two+ group yoga events: After how much I loved last year's Solstice and Lole White events, I knew I had to make it a point to repeat. I plan to repeat Solstice in 2017 (and basically forever) too. Bryant Park 6/7/16; Solstice 6/20/16
Throw Michelle an amazing bridal shower: As my cousin's maid of honor, I was determined to making her bridal shower as perfect a day as possible. According to the bride and every guest in attendance, mission accomplished! 4/10/16

Clean & Organize (3/8)
Organize and delete from all email accounts: My personal and blog Gmail accounts used to be out of control. "Inbox zero" is not a thing that will ever exist in my world, but I have finally reached "Inbox 20 or less" and organized my archived and new emails in a way that cuts digital clutter and makes the most sense. 1/8/16
Get rid of 101 items: It's probably more like 200 at this point—and that's just from this list, not including the big purge I did to remove 200+ items before I started this count—but I like to toss stuff whenever I can so I've stopped keeping track. 6/22/16
Come up with 101 things!: I wasn't sure I would even come up with 101 items for this list, but fellow bloggers inspired me and I managed! 12/22/15

Health (0/3)

Financial (1/8)
Develop a passive income stream: Technically, again, this is a double (triple?) dip, but it qualifies. Passing this goal doesn't mean I'm done pursuing this goal, though. (Buy Things I Would Say!) 6/14/15

Travel/Adventure/Go (1/20)
See someone other than DMB in concert: I put this one down because DMB is my yearly tradition, but I wanted to make an effort to go back to my music-loving roots. I used to see shows all the time, but have totally fallen off that course in recent years, mostly due to not having interested co-attendees. Ingrid Michaelson (at Lole White) 9/2/15; End of an Era & Pop Will Eat Itself 9/27/15

Intellectual (0/7)

Read (0/9)

So that's where I'm at. I'm not sure if I'm on pace or not, if I'm ahead or behind, but I feel good about my list and what I'm getting done. I'm finding that the 101 in 1001 list helps me be more purposeful about making plans and mapping out my months and weeks ahead.
If you're on the 101 in 1001 plan too, where are you in your list?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

What I've Been Doing While I Haven't Been Here

And just like that, we were closer to 2017 than to 2015. I don't generally like to make statements about how quickly time is moving—that's what it does, right? It moves along, and we move along with it—but it does feel a little surprising that we're already so far along into the summer (especially since it took so long to reach us here in NJ, I think). 

I feel like sometimes time feels like it's moving so quickly because we don't take the time to reflect on all that's really been happening. Days and weeks do end up kind of blurring together when you don't pause to see them individually, ya know? But stepping back and looking at the past month, it's crazy to see how much has gone on...

What's New With You

In work news...
As I've written several times over the past few months, I'm very much over the freelance life. I've been looking for jobs off and on over the last year (and really, over the last two years, but I left my job one year and one week ago so these past 12 months have had a different flavor on them). I've felt lucky to have freelance opportunities to keep me afloat, but this is not the work life I'm after. So I'm doing everything I can to change that. Or at least, I thought I was.

Last week was hard. I had a breakdown, and then another. I absolutely hit my limit of shit and mistreatment I can take, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed to realize that I actually wasn't doing everything I could. I was setting moronic boundaries on my job search out of fear, and baseless fear at that. I kicked those walls down though and am now feeling 10,000 pounds lighter than before. There's still nothing worth reporting, but I have more faith in the process than ever. If you have a spare positive thought to send my way, I'd appreciate your good vibes.

In blog news...
Tracy and I decided to close down our Training for Tuesday linkup without any fanfare (and with barely a goodbye—sorry!) this month. I think it's clear that both of us have been kind of phoning it in lately. We seem to have enough trouble showing up here at all, let alone with prescribed content. I'm fighting the occasional urge to abandon all efforts here, and what keeps me hanging on is the knowledge of how much I would miss this platform if I closed it down. This season of my life will end, and I will be in a position again where I rely on to be my primary outlet of creativity. Thanks for bearing with me until I get back to that place.

In relationship news...
It's hard to believe but I've passed the two-months-official mark with the bald man. His name is David, by the way. I think that's okay to say now. We're hitting fun and interesting milestones and very soon we'll see the biggest one yet: our first trip together.

In travel news...
On a related note, I cannot wait to say "hello" once again to Washington, D.C.! I feel like I've spent a lot of time there in the past few years, the last trip just this past April, but there's so much to do and so many reasons to be there—I'm certainly not complaining. This next trip will include some meals with friends new and old, some tourist-y exploring I haven't done much of in nearly two decades, some yoga (because of course) and some miles with my favorite running buddy!

In Alyssa news...
In case you missed it, I wrote a book. It's the verbal expression of some of the most emotionally-charged moments of my young adult life. It's available for Kindle and e-reader apps here.

I did yoga in Times Square with a few thousand of my nearest and dearest (and one in particular) and then got pooped on by a pigeon, because life is all about balance.

Fourth of July weekend—aka Cousins Weekend, as it's known in my family—has come and gone and I can't believe it. It came immediately after Dave Matthews Weekend, and just like that, two of my favorite weekends of the year are a wrap. Here's hoping that the rest of 2016 is filled with many more fun and exciting ones with new adventures.

Early this year, I decided that my word or theme for 2016 was going to be "release." It was pretty recently that I realized I was actually doing nothing to adhere to that declaration. Aside from a few physical purges of clothing and those little things that add up around the household (how is it that every single time I find more to get rid of? I swear I am RUTHLESS with each purge!) I wasn't doing much to release mental and emotional baggage. I'd been holding onto relationships (both personal and professional), responsibilities, and duties that I have no real reason to hold onto, other than some misguided feeling of obligation or guilt. I'd also been tying myself to parameters that do nothing but box me in and prevent me from seeking good or better things. So now, halfway through the year, I'm really trying to recommit to that yearly intention. Here's hoping the second half of the year sees more release than the first.

And that about sums it up. What's new with you?
Linking up with Kristin and Gretchen.