Life

The Friday Five

Goodbye, winter. Hello, spring (even if it does feel like winter is still lingering in the shadows). After suffering with back pain for the last week, I sure am glad to have two days off and no plans. Here’s to spending the next 48 hours away from my computer, somewhat off social media, and most likely on the couch with a heating pad, binge-watching shows from the week. It sounds like an ideal weekend, if you ask me.

La Boulange

{Decisions…decisions}

Long Island Spring

{Hello, spring!}

Spring Starbucks Cups

{My latest obsession: the spring cups from Starbucks}

Fireplace

{A cozy dinner by the fire}

Chocolate Mousse Cake

{The most #instaworthy cake there ever was}

Monday Mantra: The Art of Tidying Up

Weekend Plans

Although I never read Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” my experience this past weekend was an eye-opener. You never realize how much stuff you have until you go through your home room-by-room and begin to declutter. That’s exactly what I started to do over the weekend, and boy, was it a chore. As if my back didn’t already hurt after a long work week, spending an entire Sunday “tidying up” surely did it no favors.

But I learned an important lesson in the process—I have a lot of (unnecessary) stuff. As I went through clothing I haven’t worn in years, old textbooks from college, and assorted possessions that I had long forgotten about, I thought of Kondo’s book—and how I need to read it so I can simplify my belongings.

While I don’t consider myself a pack-rat by any means, certain articles of clothing have hung around for longer than they should have because they reminded me of a certain time in my life. As I began to go through a dresser filled with things I haven’t worn in years, it made me realize that I could probably learn a thing or two from Kondo’s book.

I am happy to report that after a full day of straightening out, I have made progress in the organizational department. But now I’m left wondering where my weekend went?

*Photo via @letterfolk

Three Shows You Should Be Watching

Relaxing

Need to unwind after a long day at the office?

If you haven’t been watching any of these must-see television shows, now is the time to start. I’ve seriously curtailed my TV viewing habits over the years, so only programs deemed worthy are making this list. While I have been a loyal fan of some shows for years, others are new to my line-up this season…and so far, I can’t get enough.

Scandal: I started watching this one from the very beginning (and we are now in Season 6). As a long-time follower of Grey’s Anatomy, I have been a huge Shonda Rhimes fan for years (the producer of both shows, in case you don’t know). Add in that the show is set in Washington, DC—my home during college—and I was hooked. Each week I tune in to watch Olivia Pope’s character (Kerry Washington) be the ultimate #Girlboss, as she seamlessly navigates the scandalous world of DC politics—all while looking impeccable.

Imposters: This new scripted Bravo feature quickly grabbed my attention and hasn’t let go since. Although it requires a fair degree of artistic license on the viewer’s part, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you glued to your couch…and coming back week after week. The central theme revolves around a con artist named Maddie who marries her “marks” and steals all of their money. Unfortunately for Maddie, we are starting to see the tables turn as her last three marks have found one another and are determined to track her down based on the limited things they learned about her from their brief marriages. The plot is getting more sophisticated, so if you haven’t watched, now is a good time to catch up.

Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce: This is another Bravo scripted show, and while it has been on the air for a few seasons, it has recently piqued my interest with the addition of new characters. Abby McCarthy is a writer living in Los Angeles who is trying to balance various activities—navigating life as a divorced woman, single parenting, dating after divorce, and managing an unstable career. Abbie and her group of girlfriends give life to the term “girl squad.” This is a great show to curl up on the couch with a glass of wine and binge-watch!

*Image via PicLab Studio

Snow Day

Well, the snow day on Long Island turned out to be a bust for the most part. Our predicted 12-24 inches of snow that had been forecasted, was more like three inches of snow with another inch or two of sleet. But that doesn’t mean it was a great day by any means. The morning brought high winds while the evening offered some light snow showers before the storm continued up the coast. All in all, it was a good day to stay in and cozy up!

Snow Storm Prep

{Preparations for winter storm Stella}

Who What Wear at Target

{Browsing (and buying) the Who What Wear collection at Target—before the storm}

Yoga

{Some mat time}

View from My Office Window

{The snowy view from my office window}

The Calm After the Storm

{The calm after the storm}

Monday Mantra: Take a Digital Detox

Social Media

As someone who spends a lot of time on social media, I’ve started to recognize how important it is to come up for air every once in a while. It’s easy to get into a routine, as I have, of waking up, scrolling through Instagram, browsing your Twitter feed, and perusing Facebook…all before you have even gotten out of bed. What’s worse, is that I have found myself scrolling through Instagram every chance I get—whether that’s in the check-out line at the grocery store or into the wee hours of the night (when I should be sleeping). So what’s a girl to do when you love your social media feeds, but really need to take a timeout? Insert the digital detox.

I’ve read plenty of posts on doing a digital detox, reaping benefits from it, and limiting your social media usage at critical times of the day, like before bed. Since we are bracing for a major snow storm on the East Coast this Tuesday (foiling my plans of having my scan done in New York City this week), I figured this past weekend was a nice time to take a hiatus from social media.

In the past, the idea of being “offline” for a whole weekend would scare me. Just thinking about all the posts and pictures I would miss makes me scream #FOMO. But after blogging for more than three years, I have learned that it’s okay to take a step back. Sometimes you need time for yourself or a little breathing space to feel inspired to post again. And that’s okay.

While I did post on Instagram once during my digital detox, I spent much less time scrolling through content. Rather than feeling like I was missing out all weekend, I felt free. I wasn’t tethered to my iPhone or trying to find the perfect picture to post, but I was able to enjoy my weekend and capture each moment with my own eyes…instead of my iPhone.

Now that my weekend digital detox is over, I am looking forward to jumping back on all of my beloved platforms (especially Instagram!) with a renewed appreciation…and perhaps some self-imposed time limits.

Tell me, have you ever done a digital detox?

*Image via PicLab Studio

The Benefits of Yoga

Yoga

As most of you know, I took quite the hiatus from yoga. Despite repeated efforts to get back into the practice regularly, my busy schedule and constant soreness after my weekly kickboxing class left me with little energy for an additional workout.

But over the last couple of weeks, I have pushed myself to give yoga another go. While I might step onto my mat reluctantly after a long day of work, I always feel much better by the time the class concludes.

Here are a few ways yoga has helped me:

It gives me something to look forward to
Let’s face it. Mondays can be hard. But knowing that I am starting the week with an evening yoga class makes getting out of bed when my alarm goes off a little easier. Add to that dinner with a good friend before the class and company during, and I’m not sure my Monday could get better than that.

My muscles thank me
I am always sore after kickboxing—for days. But since I started going to yoga, I’ve noticed that the soreness dissipates faster than it used to.

I’m more flexible
Each week I can do or hold a pose longer. Yoga is a nice complement to my kickboxing class, too. I’ve found that my roundhouse kicks have improved significantly as a result of my increased flexibility.

My mental clarity is sharper
I often say that I have thyroid brain fog…and I do. Since having thyroid cancer, my memory is not as good as it once was. The good thing is that I never have to worry about repeating something I shouldn’t because nine times out of ten, I won’t remember it anyway. But it can be frustrating when I really need to concentrate and am unable to do so. Yoga has given me the ability to clear my mind and focus on a task, which has improved my memory overall.

I feel calmer
The best part about yoga is that I feel a sense of calm long after the class has ended. I love that the class is on a Monday and that I can stretch that feeling well into mid-week.

Instagram Moments

My wait for the weekend is almost over. In just a few hours now, I will be catching up on sleep, reading the new book I checked out from the library, and enjoying two whole days of relaxation.

The last few weeks have been stressful, as I’ve waited for test results and answers. It may seem like I am always waiting for results. That’s because I am. In the upcoming weeks I will be going for a radioactive iodine uptake scan to see what might be causing my antithyroglobulin levels to rise. Should you hear the Imagine Dragons song, “Radioactive” playing on the radio, please think of me!

In the meantime, cheers to the (much needed) weekend!

Adulting

{Story of my life//Image via @sweatpantsandcoffee}

Starbucks

{Exhibit: A}

Spring

{First sign of spring on Long Island}

Weekend Workout

{Gearing up for another weekend workout}

Flowers

{Bold blooms to brighten the work week}

A Tribute to Tim

Tim - Horse

{Tim & Me — March 2009}

Over the summer, I posted about my friend Tim. But he isn’t like most friends. He’s non-verbal, more than 1500 pounds, and will love you to death if you bring treats. Yes, Tim is a horse, and it is with great sadness that I must tell you of his passing. To read the full post about our bond, click here.

I was just finishing up kickboxing class on Saturday when I received a text message from Tim’s owner. The text read, “Tim is down and it looks like today is the day.” Tim had a wonderful life with his long-time owner, Loraine. Seriously, if I come back in another life, I’d like to be one of her horses.

Loraine owned Tim for most of his life. She purchased him when he was a youngster, around 5 years old, and he was in his late thirties at the time of his passing. He was a loyal companion, barn favorite, and easily identifiable with his big brown spots.

Tim - Horse

As I sat at my computer desk last night contemplating a topic for today’s post, I knew I had to honor Tim. He was a huge part of my life growing up and his photos still reside on my nightstand—long after my years as an equestrian.

I am so grateful that I had the privilege of knowing Tim. From riding him bareback on a warm summer day, to taking him down to the field for some grass, life always seemed a little brighter when he was in your presence.

The Friday Countdown

Anyone else feel like this was the longest short week ever? I do! I swear, I thought it was Friday about three times mid-week. Well, today it actually is Friday…so I’m in luck. I spent most of this week feeling like I had an emotional hangover, which I am happy to say may be subsiding. From beginning the week with a slight misunderstanding with a good friend to finishing up the week by getting orders for further testing from my surgeon’s office, the weekend is looking up.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Central Park

{Signs of spring in Central Park}

Boxing Gloves

{Back to boxing}

Tesla

{At a local mall: I’ll take a Tesla with my Tourneau}

Yoga

{Yoga in my new Abercrombie sweater}

Shrimp Caesar Salad

{A healthy lunch—Caesar salad with grilled shrimp}

Blogger Problems…Take Two

Blocked

I’ve been blocked! Yup, you read that right. Did you miss my comments and likes on Instagram over the long weekend? If you did, please accept my apologies. I was temporarily blocked.

Apparently, Instagram took issue with how many photos I was liking within the span of an hour (or a day). But what are bloggers to do when they have a lot of content to peruse and only small blocks of time in their day?

Fear not. After reporting the issue numerous times and even sending Instagram a note explaining that I am a blogger and not a spammer, it seems like my account has been restored. Phew!

My question to all you bloggers out there: Has this happened to you? And how do I prevent it from happening again? After this ordeal, I’m a little trigger-shy and have only been liking a few photos here and there—for fear of being blocked again. With working a full-time job, sometimes I will have 11 hours of content to go through by the end of my work day—which takes me a while and seems to be a cause for concern on Instagram’s part.

I will admit, it was nice not to be a slave to social media over the long weekend, and perhaps this experience taught me to take a step back and do without scrolling so assiduously. But I am happy to be reunited with my Instagram family after my mandatory hiatus. So if you have any tips to share with me on this subject, I welcome them.

And, Instagram, I apologize for being too like-happy for your taste. In the future, I promise to slow it down!