Ever-Changing Reflection

Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
~ Kahlil Gibran

Friday, January 28, 2011

#reverb10 - You Need the Next Step

Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It's about making ideas happen. What's your next step?

This is such a broad question, so I'm going to take it and break it down into a couple of different pieces.

First up: I hope you don't mind but I am leaving the Reflection of the Day as is for a bit. I fell in love with this quote because it has such current, in-this-moment meaning for me. This is my first step, and I struggle with it in such a huge way: being vulnerable. I am realizing this doesn't mean be helpless or dependent or needy; it means opening yourself up to others, to experiences, to your life. It means being authentic and true to yourself. It means being a good communicator and a good person.

I used to be so good at being vulnerable, at sharing my feelings, at admitting my faults, at reflecting out loud with those closest to me. Somewhere, somewhen, somehow, I stopped. I closed up like a clam shell. I don't know why. 

So my next step in improving my closest personal relationships is to be vulnerable. To open myself up, to share something intimate, to express those feelings I fear.

Next is my health goals, and this is so simple. My next step is to take the next step. Literally... take a step. Walk, run, dance, move, do jumping jacks while making my morning coffee (I really did this yesterday). I want to be more active, to incorporate it into my lifestyle.

Finally, professionally, I am facing a huge turning point. We are wrapping up our fiscal year and beginning to plan for "next" year. I had a meeting with my manager yesterday to discuss my plan for next year -- for my area and responsibilities. I got so excited! I took on some big projects this year, but I think next year is going to be even better. We are still building the plan... heck, I haven't even really started the plan yet, so the next step is to pull together this year's results and use them to recommend next year's objectives. Wish me luck!

Now tell me, what's your next step?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fashion + Shoes

I'll be the first to admit I'm not overly into fashion. Jeans are my wardrobe staple, and they are not designer unless you consider Gap and American Eagle designer. Sure, I like to look nice, and I'll subtly pick up on a trend here and there to keep things fresh and interesting, but I'm not fashion-forward.

That's why I'm so grateful for the... BonBon Rose Girls

Megan and Kristin keep me up to date on what's going on in the fashion world -- even if I'm not immediately hopping on the bandwagon (I'm just buying my first pair of straight-leg jeans since 1990 now, and only so I can tuck them into my new pair of riding style boots, also a recent purchase).

Yesterday, they introduced me to KM2 Shoes. Not only are these shoes gorgeous, but the sales support a wonderful cause: the end of human trafficking.
Aren't these heels delicious???? (photo credit: KM2)

These shoes are fashion-forward and gorgeous, and according to Kristin, they are comfortable as well! Oh, and did I mention that the Bon Bon Rose Girls are hosting a giveaway for a pair?!? Minor detail, but fashion is in the details, so you should definitely head over there to enter. You only have until February 1 to enter!

I have my eyes on a pair of the Stella...
 (Photo credit: KM2)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

#reverb10 - Alive

Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn't mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

One word: drowning. I was probably overreacting, but I really thought I was going to drown. I had watched way too many of those "lost at sea" Discovery Channel specials.

This is what I saw. This is all I saw. I was snorkeling in Caribbean waters off Grand Cayman. Without a life vest. Stupid. I was getting tired. My legs felt like jelly; my arms were so heavy. My chest was heavy. I couldn't see our guide, my best friend or her husband, or Jed. I had lost them. I looked above water, and while I could see our boat, it seemed so far away, and no one on it saw me.

I started to panic, thinking I wasn't going to be able to make it back. I felt my eyes tearing up in my goggles thinking of how no one knew where I was to help me. I tried to take a deep breath to calm down and enjoy the snorkeling while making my way slowly back to the boat. Have you ever taken a deep breath through a snorkel? Yeah, it doesn't work so well. I became very aware of my human-ness, of my position in this circle of live.

Every sense was on high alert: the smell of the plastic mask, the bright blue of the water and the fish swimming in front of me, the sound of the waves lapping around me (oh, I forgot to mention the waves), the taste of salt water and the feel of slightly cool ocean water surrounding me. My mind was in my lungs, it seemed.

For the record, I made it back through a combination of floating and kicking my feet. Everyone made it back. This prompt wasn't meant to be scary, but this experience immediately came to mind when I read it.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

#reverb10 - 11 Things Lighter

Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn't need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? 

This year I am all about being a better me. Not just a better person, friend, daughter, girlfriend, sister, employee, but a kinder, happier, improved Jen. Living my best life, as Oprah says. I hope by eliminating these 11 things, I can achieve this goal.

  1. Selfishness: It is kind of ironic that in focusing so much on becoming a better me, I'm getting rid of selfishness, but that's a paradox I am just going to have to figure out. I truly believe that I can be happier and more fulfilled by focusing on others' needs and wants instead of only thinking of myself.
  2. Laziness: No more just coming home from work and sitting on the couch all night. I don't care if I go to Zumba class, run, walk Morris or go out to meet a friend, I will eliminate hours upon hours of sitting on the couch.
  3. Mindless spending: I've struggled with money for as long as I can remember. We don't have a great relationship -- those green pieces of paper and me (or that pink rose covered piece of plastic as the case usually is). I created a budget this month, and I am tracking my spending in major categories. Already, I have become more aware of money as it leaves my bank account, and I make sure wherever it's going is worth the cost.
  4. Control: Ok, I know what you're thinking; I cannot completely eliminate control. I need to have control over certain things, of course. Those things, however, need to be things I can control. No more trying to exert control over situations that are beyond me.
  5. Negative thoughts: This is a tough one for me. I have had that negative soundtrack for as long as I can remember... it is so ingrained that I actually fooled myself into thinking I had become a positive person. I still think of the worst possible conclusion. I hope to eliminate that this year.
  6. Awkwardness: There is absolutely no reason I need to feel awkward. Period.
  7. Judgement: This one goes along with control and negative thoughts above. They are an evil threesome -- one I don't want to be involved with anymore. I pass judgement on people. I admit it. Sometimes it's fair, sometimes it isn't, but the important thing for me to remember is it is not my job.
  8. Doubt: I have questioned everything over the past year. All my choices, thoughts, feelings, actions. I am going to be confident in myself, trust my gut. There will be no second-guessing, no questions after the fact. What is done, is done. It's in the past, and I intend to leave it there.
  9. Insecurity: If I can get rid of all the things on this list, I should be able to feel very secure with myself. 
  10. Binge eating: I know I don't have an eating disorder, but sometimes I just go on these binges because I'm craving something. I realize afterwards that it was completely unsatisfying and unnecessary. I want to eat a healthy three meals a day, snack on fruit and nuts, and occasionally treat myself with something I really love. 
  11. Waiting: I wait to do SO MUCH. Tomorrow will be better, I tell myself. Oh, I can't do that until next week. Eh, I can do that in a couple hours. What's wrong with right now? I don't want to wait to live.
I made this list off the cuff, and I'm a bit surprised at what ended up on it, but I still think it's a great list. All these things stand in my way. I can't wait to get rid of them and feel lighter.

I won't make you list 11 things, but what's one thing you can do without this year?

Monday, January 24, 2011

#reverb10 - The Decision That Surprised Me

Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

Look at me, catching up on #reverb10. I hope you'll be patient while I continue these posts and find them interesting. It is important for me to fully flesh out 2010.

I don't remember making many "big-ticket" decisions last year, but one decision I'm glad I made and was surprised how it turned out was going along with my friends' shore excursion selections for our October cruise. At first I was pretty adamant that I didn't want to pay to be dropped off at a beach resort for the day in Cozumel, but it was actually a really fun day, and I don't feel it was a waste of money after all.

My BFF's and I at the beach bar in Cozumel

The resort had a pool, nice beach with lounge chairs and umbrellas, and bright blue Caribbean water. Although, I didn't go in the water since my friend stepped on a sea urchin. No thanks. We were able to jet ski and parasail right off the beach (for a fee, of course). Our waiter was so friendly, and kept my pina coladas coming all day (unlimited drinks were included). We also had a delicious Mexican buffet lunch.

I'm a little disappointed I didn't get to see more of Cozumel, but we had a fun day, and I worked on my tan and read a lot of my book, so it was certainly not a waste. I would consider doing another beach day on an island that didn't have too much else to see.

Have you ever made a decision to concede that turned out surprisingly well?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Holy cow! Where have I been?

  • It has been over a week since I have posted, and before that, I can't remember how long. Clearly one of my resolutions for 2011 was not to blog more. LOL

    I have been thinking a lot about blogging and specifically my blog... while reading all of your blogs -- which you are so good at keeping fun and updated. What do I want my blog to be this year? What is Nifer Musings and how do I want to use it? 

    I realized I really do have a lot going through my head and a lot happening in my life, and this space is where I can hash it out, share it and, most importantly, store it for myself. I want this place to be somewhere I can visit as well as create -- a place where I can look back and remember what I did six months or two years ago.

    So, I'm going to try. I'm going to try to take more pictures and write about what's going on with me. Plus, I'll still post recipes and TV commentary and articles I find interesting. Oh yeah, and I still want to finish #reverb10. :)

    What has been up with you, peeps? It's been forever. Here's a little bit of what I've been up to...
    • The holidays were great. This was the first holiday Jed and I spent together, so we were busy shuttling between both of our families (we haven't quite gotten this down to routine/tradition yet). New Year's Eve was pretty quiet. We had Jed's college friends and their spouses over to our house for Chinese, movies, games and watching the ball drop. Everyone wore their PJ's and just chilled... with bubbly and beer of course!
    • Work is actually going pretty well. Q4 (we have an April 1 fiscal year) should be eventful, stressful and fun! I'm looking forward to the next couple of months.
    • I decided that I won't be running this winter with all the snow and cold weather we've been getting, so I got a monthly unlimited pass to the studio my best friend goes to for Zumba classes. Zumba seven days a week people! It's been great. I hope to continue in February and March then go back to Couch to 5K.
    • I also want to try out a new Yoga studio near my house for some Gentle Flow Yoga.
    • I'm on week four of reading David Copperfield. I started out strong, but now I'm slowing down. I need to pick it up again and read daily!
    • Last weekend, I went ice skating for the first time in probably eight years, and it was so much fun! I'm not a pro by any means, but my friend and I held hands and stuck together and had a great conversation too!
    • Also last weekend, I went up to Mount Sunapee in NH with my aunt and sister to ski! It was our first time up there, and it was great! The conditions were perfect. It was a bright, sunny day, and it wasn't even too cold! I will definitely be going back there.
    • I am very sad about my beloved Patriots. That's really all I have to say. I don't want to talk about it anymore.
    • Yesterday was my baby sister's birthday. She's 24! Jed and I headed to my parents' house for dinner and cake. We even got to bring Morris, which sis loved, and he was such a silly pup.
    • I can't believe it's Friday. I've been losing track of the date lately. On tap for this weekend is lots of Zumba (hopefully), maybe seeing Black Swan (can't wait, have heard such mystifying things about it!), going to a party tomorrow night for a friend's 30th birthday, and some skiing on Sunday.
    • It's snowing today. Again. But I'm not going to complain. I'm extremely fortunate that I can stay home and work when there's bad weather; I know not everyone is so lucky, so I hope those of you who have to commute in the snow are staying safe.
    • I'm going to have quite a few days off coming up. I have something like three weeks of vacation I have to use up before March 31, or I lose it. I just planned out 13 days off yesterday -- some of them for my upcoming long ski weekend at Mount Washington, NH. So excited! I have loved going up there for the past three years, and it has become such a nice tradition.
    I think that's about all with me. Let me know what has been going on with all of you! What's on tap  for the weekend?

    P.S. Sorry this post is wacky with format... had some Blogger issues!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowy, lazy Wednesday

I'm being totally lazy today and joining in 2011's first edition of...

{one} have you ever been on tv?
No, but my apartment senior year of college was on "Chronicle" -- a Boston news story show. I stayed off camera because I had just come back from dance class and was a sweaty mess.

{two} what was the best movie you saw last year?
"Eat Pray Love" I knew I would love it, and I was so glad I did. Although, I still like the book better.

{three} do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
In. I'm pretty OCD about sheets.

{four} do you cut coupons?
Yes... when I get around to it.

{five} do you ever count your steps when you walk?
Occasionally... usually when I'm stressed or upset about something.

{six} what sauce do you dip your chicken nuggets in?
Honey mustard -- I'm with Leigh on this one.

{seven} do you have any magazine subscriptions?
Nope. I subscribed to "O" for a year or two a few years back, but really I just hoard them, so now I read everything online.

{eight} when was the last time you wrote a letter on paper?
High school? Yeah, that sounds about right... circa 1999.

{nine} what’s your favorite fruit pie?

{ten} black olives or green olives?
Black in dishes, green by themselves.

Ok, that does it for today. I'm linking up with Leigh, if you want to join in the fun. Tomorrow I hope to be back with a #reverb10 post.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's time to shop!

Happy new year to all of you! I have been putting off posting for reasons unknown to me, but I'm trying to work my way back -- because writing is always part of my New Year's goals.

I still have to finish out #reverb10, but I have a special post for you today that I'm very excited about. I have a discount code for 10% off at Overstock.com! Merry belated Christmas! Now you can finally cross off your own Christmas list, and that is just what I'm thinking of doing... ok, none of this was on my Christmas list, but these items are on my future to-buy list.

I got these lovely boots for Christmas from my Mom, and I heart them.
The only problem is I'm a girl who always wore her pants OVER her boots, but I love the emblem on the top of these ones, and I want to show it off! So, despite my best attempts to avoid them, I'm going to have to purchase some skinny jeans -- just.to.wear.with.these.boots. Maybe some leggings too.

Overstock to the rescue! These jeans are only $15.99!

There are a few things I'm thinking of switching up around the house too. The number one thing is replacing the area rug in our living room. I remember picking it out maybe five years ago for Jed's first apartment, then it moved to his second apartment and then to our house. So, it's old... and ivory... so it shows dirt. And I don't own a steam cleaner. I'm thinking something in a darker color might be better, like this fun rug, which would match our current decor.

We have tan couches right now, but Jed isn't crazy about them, and I think they are starting to look a little worn down. I would love to have a sectional in the living room, especially one with a chaise lounge attached. I found this couch on Overstock, and I think it's pretty much what I'm looking for; I love that it comes with an ottoman too.
Doesn't it look so comfy???? I can imagine myself napping and reading in that chaise now, and we wouldn't lose any seating from our sofa and loveseat combo now. Now if only I could get my living room to look that nice and put together!

Let's move on to the bedroom. I've been struggling to find the proper bedding for our beach-themed room. I have a color-block comforter now that's nearing the end of it's lifespan, and we have a lightweight sand-colored quilt for the summer. I would love to replace the comforter with something like this.
It's pretty, but it's not overtly beach-themed. Overstock actually has an awesome selection of bedding if you're looking for something different.

Finally, my friends have won the battle and convinced me to try camping, but we need a "home" within to camp. I couldn't believe it when I found this two-person Coleman tent on Overstock for $39.99! With shipping, that's still less than $50.
Now that you've put up with my shopping, here is the discount code: 121745. If you're interested in buying some electronics, you can use 202234 for free shipping on those items. I have to admit I have never purchased anything from Overstock, but I had a coworker who swore by them. When she has her son, she ordered a lot of his furniture and baby items from them. They have cheap shipping that covers EVERYTHING, and you really can't beat their prices!

Happy shopping, and let me know what you get!

All the ideas and opinions expressed are my own. No monetary compensation was received for doing this post, however, I was provided with a discount code.

{Images: Piperlime (first image) and Overstock (remaining images)}