I’m Back!

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So…remember that time I accidentally fell off the face of the earth for about five months? (Hint: it just happened.)

I’m really sorry about that.

And I know I’ve apologized for this type of thing before, so my words are now meaningless to you.

Again, I’m sorry.

Okay, but let’s be real…who am I actually apologizing to right now? The answer is nobody. Google Analytics is reporting that my site views have flatlined, and that precisely 1.38 people are visiting/reading this site on a regular basis. (I made that number up, but you get my drift.) I’m not upset by this news.

If nobody is reading, does that mean we can forget this five-month hiatus ever happened?

I think so.

Here’s the deal: the wonderful team at Blue Host just emailed me stating that they’ve auto-renewed the hosting services for this website for another year. True, I could probably call them up, complain about how I was irresponsible and unaware of the auto-renewal date, get a refund on my $89, and shut this whole operation down. That seems like a fairly logical step. After all, I haven’t posted anything in five months, and my one and only loyal reader is my sister in Charlotte. (Thank you Angela!)

But I’m stubborn, and I’d like to give this blogging thing another shot. Not because Blue Host charged my credit card (although that certainly lit a fire under my tush), but because I’d like to give it a real chance to succeed before I decide it’s a complete and utter failure.

How am I defining success at this point? Quite honestly, I have no idea. Once upon a time, it meant building an audience of thousands of regular readers to share interesting stories with. As it turns out, that’s really hard to do these days. Impossible? No. But with millions of other blogs in existence, it’s definitely an uphill battle.

(Also – there’s the tiny problem that I don’t feel like I have anything interesting to say yet.)

This forum – although vacuous at this point – is still public, and therefore brings a degree of accountability with it. Even if only 1.38 people are reading, I don’t want to publish complete and utter crap (there is plenty of that on the web already!). If nothing else, a blog provides a great outlet to practice writing, which is something I aspire to get better at.

There’s also the fact that I have all sorts of goals I want to accomplish, and I believe in the power of writing them down. The process of documenting them somehow makes them more real, and thus harder to ignore.

What exactly is the point of this rambling post?

  • I’m alive, and I’m back.
  • I haven’t stopped chasing my goals and dreaming big, despite radio silence on the blog.
  • I want to become a better writer, but don’t care to do all the leg work involved with building a successful blog at this point.

I hope to post on a (more) regular schedule here, but I’m sure it will ebb and flow with life at times. Right now though, it’s summer, and everything is flowing. 😊

How do you stay motivated with side projects? Do you force yourself to work on them consistently, or just when the spirit moves you?

What small step have you taken today to reach one of your goals?

P90X3 – Pilates!

My Month-Long Visit To Lazytown

So…after a few short months of blogging, I’m already one of those “Sorry-I’ve-been-so-MIA-lately” bloggers.

That’s annoying. Sorry about that.

But seriously – nobody wants to hear my lame apology. Let’s just move forward, okay?

As it turns out, blogging on a regular basis is hard work. This is not new information by any means – I’m sure every blogger on the planet has said the same thing – I’m just discovering it first hand right now. Luckily for me: a) my sister is the only person that noticed I was MIA, and b) my hiatus has given me the space to get excited about this all over again.

On my original goal list, I aimed to blog four times per week between September and December of 2015. I didn’t realize at the time how unrealistic ambitious that goal was for me. Sure, I could easily throw some crap up here a few times a week and call it good, but I’ve always believed in quality over quantity.

[Side note: By no means am I saying my posts are high quality here. But you should see my drafts folder  – it could be a lot worse.]

Looking ahead, I would like to post 1-3 times per week consistently throughout 2016. I am hopeful that number will increase over time, but for now, I need to be realistic about how blogging fits into my life.

Okay, now I sound all “Woe-is-me-I-don’t-have-time-to-blog” which is not the purpose of this post! The purpose is to hold myself accountable by revealing the cold, hard truth: I had time to blog this month, I just decided to be lazy instead.  

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You know those days when all you want to do is lay on the couch, binge-watch Netflix, and eat Cheetos? That was pretty much the entire month of December for me. I would like to blame my bad behavior on seasonal depression/winter blues, but that’s not a viable (lame) excuse since it was uncharacteristically warm until a couple days ago. (True story: I drove with my windows down on December 26th!)

The reality is, when I had free time, I chose to be lazy rather than productive about 90% of the time:

  • I watched too many episodes of Parenthood. (Season 6 is coming to Netflix on December 30th! God help me.)
  • I stayed up late on work nights for no good reason and derailed my plan to become a morning person.
  • I exercised half-heartedly and inconsistently.
  • I spent an embarrassing amount of time mindlessly surfing the internet.
  • I stopped listening to podcasts that inspire me to hustle.
  • I chose processed garbage over real food on numerous occasions.
  • I gave in to my excuses.
  • I didn’t stay inspired.

To be clear, I fight battles like this on an almost daily basis – I think most people do. But usually I can kick my tush into gear after a day or two and get back on track. This particular “funk” has lasted much longer than usual, and as I said earlier, I have failed to pinpoint the reason behind it.

Regardless, I’m over it. It’s time to leave Lazytown and get excited about chasing my goals again. I’ve got big plans for 2016!

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On a different note, I hate to paint December in such a negative light. All personal struggles aside, it was actually pretty awesome! Here are some highlights:

  • I took a major step forward in my career.
  • I went to my niece’s first birthday party.
  • I stayed within my budget and didn’t run up my credit card (a first for me during the holidays).
  • I went to Chicago and ate the most amazing Italian food.
  • I got an electric blanket from my husband and daughter.
  • I partied with my one-year-old nephew until after midnight, and he was all smiles the entire time.
  • I got to see one of my best friends from college (that lives 2000 miles away from me).
  • I spent quality time on my parents’ treadmill, which I absolutely love.
  • I caught up on my favorite reality TV shows.
  • Christmas and all its goodness: spending time with family, eating too much good food, decorating  the tree, wrapping presents, watching movies, and catching up on sleep.
  • I got to spend time with the best kids on the planet – my niece, nephews, and daughter.
My awesome nephew

My awesome nephew

And hey – there are still two days left! (Which may or may not be filled with lots of Parenthood…)

What awesome things happened to you this month?

How do you overcome the inevitable bouts of laziness and procrastination?

What small step did you take today to reach one of your goals?

I jumped back on the blogging train!

 

 

An Unconventional List Of Things I’m Thankful For

‘Tis the season for giving thanks and counting blessings!

I have many things to be thankful for these days – family, friends, health, job, etc. – and I certainly don’t take them for granted. But lists like that are a dime a dozen this time of year, and I’m just not feeling sentimental enough right now to throw one into the mix.

So, rather than put something out there that is well-written and meaningful, I’ve decided to compile an unconventional list of random things that I’m grateful for at the moment:

White noise

Attempting to fall asleep without it is futile – I just don’t do it. Beyond that, I use my white noise app with headphones when I’m trying to work at the computer and need to tune out the usual household distractions (TV, a complaining child/spouse, etc.).

Kitchen timers

Once something goes in the oven/crock pot/microwave/fridge, I don’t want to think about it anymore – I want the appliance to do its job while I merrily move onto the next recipe. This is especially important on Thanksgiving when I’m in the middle of 8 cooking projects at any given time.

Movember is almost over

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for the charitable aspect of it – but my husband has been complaining about his facial hair all month! He has whined said on multiple occasions that it’s itchy, feels gross, and just makes him cranky. I don’t want him to be cranky anymore.

Non-dairy food alternatives

My daughter is highly allergic to milk. If you have no experience with food allergies, let me tell you – they can seriously limit your food options around the holidays! I am so thankful to have non-dairy substitutes available to us. Because of them, she can enjoy all the best stuff (mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, etc.) without us worrying about a potential ER visit.

Mac and cheese

Because of said milk allergy, my husband and I only eat this 1-2 times per year (one being at Thanksgiving). Since consumption of mac and cheese is seriously lacking in our lives, when we do eat it, we don’t skimp on ingredients – heavy cream, an obscene amount of cheese, and about a pound of butter. I used this recipe this year, and it was so good I almost cried.

[Side note: Anyone else out there dealing with a dairy allergy? Here is non-dairy mac and cheese from Earth Balance…my daughter loves it!]

Hot sauce

I don’t think any explanation is necessary here…it just makes everything taste better! Hot sauce has truly improved my quality of life.

Online shopping

love to shop! But on Black Friday? NO. I much prefer browsing Amazon from the comfort of my couch to mingling with the crazies in search of a deal.

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Amazon reviews

I really appreciate the good, kind customers on Amazon that take time out of their busy lives to leave helpful reviews for all of us. Amazon shoppers are some of the savviest out there – they have never steered me in the wrong direction! Based on their advice, I bought my daughter this game for her birthday, and it’s a huge hit!

Parenthood (the TV series)

I rarely watch TV, so it’s been a long time since I’ve become invested in a series. Parenthood changed that. For a while I only watched it during my treadmill runs, but recently I’ve found myself engaging in more obsessive ‘Netflix’ behavior:

– staying up late into the night to watch “just one more episode”

               – refusing to make dinner because I can’t pry myself off the couch

– screaming at my spotty internet service when it buffers in the middle of an important scene

– comparing my real life to characters and/or scenarios in the show

It’s that good. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend you clear your schedule for a few days and start.

Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com

Confessions:

1) Sometimes I like to use a big word to make myself sound smart when I don’t actually know the definition.

2) I often make up legitimate-sounding words in my head and then drop them in every day conversation.

3) I could probably use the same three descriptive words over and over due to my own laziness.

These websites have saved me from sounding like a moron on multiple occasions. They are incredible resources.

Debt repayment calculators

My student loan debt is a real pain in the tush. Plugging my numbers into this calculator is helping me stay motivated to pay extra on my loans each month, even if the amount seems negligible.

Green juice

After a few days of overindulgence, nothing resets my body quite like a tall glass of green juice. I’ve been lazy with my juicing lately, but when I do it regularly, I feel so much better throughout the day!

Putting my daughter’s birthday money into her college fund

I’m sure most parents can agree with me here – about 92% of the toys our children receive as gifts will end up in some bottomless toy pit in about three week’s time. My family is very good about giving my daughter: a) “boring” stuff she needs, b) something she really wants that is more than just a passing fad, or c) money for her college fund. I’m lucky.

My daughter doesn’t realize it now, but being free of student loan debt will be the greatest gift anyone can give her. It makes me happy that the people closest to her are on board with this.

The Yoast SEO plugin

I really have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to SEO (search engine optimization) for this blog. This plugin helps me be proactive about it instead of choosing to do nothing. It’s color-coded and user-friendly, which I appreciate.

Having time away from the masses when I’m feeling less-than-presentable

I have no idea why, but right now, my face is breaking out like that of a pubescent teenage boy. It’s not pretty. I’m on medication and trying to get it under control, but in the mean time, it’s nice to have a few days to hibernate at home.

Not having snow on Thanksgiving

Winter usually lasts about 8 months out of the year here (I exaggerate only slightly), so I am very happy that we don’t have any snow on the ground yet. I’m not a fan of the cold, so this makes me optimistic about us having a “short” winter this year.

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What random/unconventional thing are you thankful for right now?

What small step have you taken today to reach one of your goals?

I did speed work on the treadmill!