Wednesday, December 31, 2014

My Only New Year's Resolution


Well everyone, it’s that time of year again.  It’s 10:12pm on December 31, 2014 and we’ll soon be bidding this year ado and opening a fresh pack of 365 days.  I’m kinda hesitant about 2015 as I don’t really care for odd numbers and it’s the dreaded year in which I will celebrate (or mourn) my 30th birthday.  I was excited for 2014, but it turned out to be fairly mediocre.  It brought me plenty of amazing moments, but it wasn’t the lucky, fantastic, breakout year that I had mentally built it up to be and I did not fulfill many of the resolutions I’d set.

This year, instead of making a dozen promises to myself and growing evermore frustrated as I fail to deliver on them, I am only making one.  My sole resolution for 2015 is to start fresh.  I will leave the past in the past.  I will let go of my mistakes and only bring with me the lessons I’ve learned from them.  I will not allow myself to be limited by fears birthed by previous events.  I will embrace the newness of the New Year and let the bygones of 2014 be bygones.

This is hard to do.  The past is an important thing and it is something to be valued.  It should be used however, as a learning tool not a crutch, not a roadblock nor an excuse to install a safety net.  I know there will be numerous occasions on which I will want to go back to what used to be or not move forward due to fear that history will repeat itself, but with a little determination, I hope to break free from all that and start anew.  This is my only goal.

So with that, I’d like to wish you the best of luck and the happiest New Year!  Here’s to all your New Year’s resolutions whether they be many or few!!

<3 n

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Feel-Good Films

Let me start this post by admitting that I am not a movie person. I don't really watch a lot of movies (mostly because I don't sit still long enough) and I am no expert when it comes to determining what makes an amazing film.  That said, please don't judge the following picks for my favorite feel-good flicks.  These are only a few and are only the ones I could think of off the top of my head.  Here they are...

The Holiday
Because who doesn’t want to fantasize about leaving their complicated life behind and finding love in a far off place?  I’m not usually a romantic movie kinda girl, but this one always makes me smile.  Perhaps it's the modern take on the age-old tale of finding love where you least expect it or the thoughtful elements embedded in the film.  Either way, I was sold the first time I saw it.  It's the cinematic equivalent to an easy-read - you pick it up, can't put it down and you've reached the end before you know it.  I especially love the little side story of Arthur and all his industry-bred insights.  Also, I find Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz to be a great combination even though they spend most of the movie's duration 5,000+ miles apart.

Clueless
As soon as I was old enough to watch it, Clueless was one of my favorite films.  And, as soon as I was old enough to understand it, it earned a top spot on my list of most-watched movies.  Having the firm fountain of Jane Austen's Emma, Clueless built a solid, successful house of cards, twigs and glass.  Its cast became iconic and its characters legendary.  They were both lovable and enviable.  I remember wanting every outfit Cher owned along with her high-tech closet, her perfect hair and her white Jeep Wrangler.  Secretly, I still want that car!  What's that?  Grow up and put this cult classic behind me?  As if!

This is 40
While most people wouldn’t classify this as a feel-good film, I think it is.  It may feel a little overly dramatic, but I find it refreshingly, crudely human.  Life is not perfect.  In fact, life is sometimes more downs than ups, more wrongs than rights and more soul-crushing moments than joyous ones.  And often, as is the case in this move, we create or fuel these sorrow-ridden situations.  We find more faults than we do silver linings and we forget to laugh in the face of sheer ridiculousness.  That’s the comical thing about it all.  I usually watch this movie when I’m feeling a little overwhelmed with the day-to-day.  I laugh at the chaos, I cringe at the awkwardness and I love every honest minute of it.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
If I could travel back in time and write one thing, it may very well be this book-turned-movie.  I love everything about this film - its depth, its wit, its tug-of-war between a sense of propriety and pure silliness.  As far as acting goes, Amy Adams has the beautiful ability to be calculating without sacrificing her doe-eyed innocence.  She makes you fall in love with a woman who practices shameless infidelity and self-promotion and places her ambitions before her emotional well-being.  Frances McDormand is as silent and powerful as the wind, creating important, substantial movement in each scene even when she doesn’t utter a word.

Julie & Julia
I love this movie because it's just plain good, but also because I can relate to its content - the passion for writing, the silly marital spats and the  beauty of things coming together just when you start to lose faith.  The movie blends the stories of Julie Powell and Julia Child like two carefully chosen complementary flavors.  Again, Amy Adams does an amazing job at bringing life and believability to her role and then there are Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci who are two of my favorites due to the brilliant flexibility they display as actors.  I watch this when I'm in need of a little inspiration and it never disappoints.

That's all for tonight and that's almost all for 2014!  Can you believe tomorrow is New Year's Eve??  Neither can I.  Happy nearly 2015 and sweet dreams!

<3 n

Monday, December 29, 2014

I'm a Fit Girl for 2015!!

While in a Vans store this Friday with Ella, her dad Danny and his fiance (yay!) Denyse, I had an epiphany.  I was going to be a skater chick in 2015.  My wardrobe would transform into “Skater Chick Chic”.  I’d wear Vans shoes and t-shirts and jeans and put my hair in ponytails or soft beachy waves everyday.  That is what they dress like, right?

Fast forward to today and I’ve had yet another epiphany - a more logical one this time around.  I am going to be a fit girl.  No, I’m not going to wear a sports bra and lycra everywhere I go.  I am going to think, eat and act fit and yea, probably don a sports bra and lycra once per day.

I’ve grown extremely tired of feeling unfit, unhealthy and tired all the time.  My feeble attempts in the past to be healthier have been futile.  I need to man up (or woman up??) and just be healthy.  Not get healthy.  Not try for healthy.  Just be healthy.  I need to act healthy and think healthy and, in a sense, fake it til I make it.  If I simply pretend and believe that I am a fit girl, I think I’ll be much further along than when I’ve just settled on trying to be a healthier version of myself.

I also want our family to be healthy and change its eating habits as well.  We can all do with a little more healthy in our lives.  I’ve done meal planning and prepping in the past and have come to the conclusion that a combination of both would suit us well.  I will (I almost wrote “I want to”) be planning our meals each week, but also prep some things (i.e. cook chicken the night before for tomorrow’s lunches, chop fruits and veggies in advance for snacks, make flavored water ahead of time).  I think this will work well for us.

Another thing I’d like to implement is a family walk.  Every Sunday, I’d like us ALL to walk, including my parents, J’s parents, J’s brothers, etc (whoever’s interested on any given Sunday).  This way, we’re bonding, getting fit and enjoying nature all at the same time (bye bye cellphones!).  I’d like this to be early, preferably around 9am and afterward I’d do our grocery shopping and prepare for the week.

Speaking of groceries, I am currently (I’m writing this on Sunday but posting on Monday) creating a grocery list based on two cookbooks I’ve just purchased - The Oh She Glows Cookbook and Salad Samurai.  I got the ebook version from the Apple Bookstore.  Thumbs up for instant gratification in moderation!  I am really eager to dive into these as I’ve grown really bored of the recipes I put together and I am in desperate need of some motivation.  I’m also considering, pending J’s approval, ordering a bi-weekly organic food delivery from goodlifeorganics.org.  Not only would it save some time at the store, we’d be exposed to new fruits and veggies we haven’t tried and we’d be eating locally grown produce.

In my quest to be fit, I will also be deploying some non-food-related items to help along the way.  First, I will be using my planner to plan meals and exercise routines.  I really need to stick to this as organization and planning truly keep me going.  Next, I’ll be dusting off and climbing aboard my elliptical that I purchased months ago and have since neglected.  I did only 10 minutes on it today (Sunday) because the babies were outside with me and even with J’s supervision they were constantly coming over to see what I was doing.  Hendrix got scraped by the elliptical wheel which of course did not deter his curiosity.  My knees hurt a little (I fell down the stairs on Tuesday) in the beginning but after a couple minutes everything was going smoothly.  Finally, I’ll be purchasing a FitBit pretty soon.  I bought J the FitBit Charge for Christmas and he loves it so far.  While it could be viewed as just another gadget, I think it will really come in handy if only to remind us to get active and get more sleep which we both need to do.

So, here begins my fitness journey.  Wish me luck!  I will be looking for fitness, fitness journey and healthy-eating blogs to add to my reading list, so if you write one such blog, please leave me a link down below!  As always, happy Monday!  I wish you tons of motivation that fills you with energy and sees you through the rest of the week successfully.

<3 n

Sunday, December 28, 2014

What I Got for Christmas From J: 2014

This Christmas, J truly outdid himself - and myself for that matter - in the gift-giving department.  All I can say is I am one lucky girl and I am forever thankful for everything he gives to and does for me and our family.  This year, J presented me with an especially amazing and sentimental gift with an equally awesome proposition.  Read on to find out more...

Like almost everything J gave me this year, he found this on my Pinterest wish list board.  I've only used it a couple times, but so far I'm very pleased with the way it makes my skin feel.

I actually wanted the Naked 3 palette, but this is quite possibly even better as it has a few great shadows plus mascara, eyeliner, lip gloss, bronzer, blush and a highlighter.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wants to begin experimenting with makeup (it has everything you need!) or anyone looking to create a makeup look that is simple, beautiful and natural.

To add to my BaubleBar collection, J got me this amazing statement necklace.

The details on this are just amazing.

Surprise!  J told me he was only able to get me one necklace and then I unwrapped this one.

I can't decide which one I love more!

J also got me the Clarisonic Mia 2!

I'm really excited to try this out as I've watched and read a lot of good things about it.

Ever since we saw Frozen, I've told J that he is Kristoff from the movie as he is both handsome and a little strange. ;)

At the end of the night, after all the gifts had been given, J had two more things for me - this amazing ring and the question, "Will you marry me?"

I'm pretty indecisive when it comes to almost everything (what to wear, what to buy, what to eat), but this was a no-brainer.  I, of course, said "yes"!  Ella asked for my ring size a month ago, so I was pretty sure this was coming soon.  Plus, we've already got a number of years under our belt and we share a small troop of children, so this was only the natural next step.  Still, I was surprised and overjoyed and I can't think of any better gift from J than the opportunity to call him my fiancĂ©.

Well, that's all for this post!  I hope you enjoyed this.  Happy Holidays once again!

<3 n

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Our Christmas Day 2014!!


Happy day after the day after Christmas day from all of us to you!  So I had promised daily blogging in December and unfortunately I have not delivered.  I did not blog Christmas Day (at J’s request) or yesterday (I was really really tired).  If anyone’s reading, I hope you’re not too disappointed.  I’m back though and I’ve brought our Christmas Day photos with me!  We had a great day filled with lots of presents, food and a few visitors.  The kids had an amazing time opening their gifts and we had lots of fun watching as they did.  There was a big surprise at the end of the night which you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram, but I will talk more about that in tomorrow’s post.  For now, here are our photos.  Be warned, there are A LOT.

Santa was here!

Let's get started...

These blocks kept all three of them occupied.

Good morning, Sadie!

Hendrix inspects his next present

Gift debris...

Our little builder

And an even smaller version

And our big girl builder :)

Sadie got help from Daddy...

and Hendrix did too!

Time to put the blocks away and get dressed for the day

This is Christmas in LA!

They're ready to open some more...

Ella's big gift from Dad and Denyse is...

an iPhone 5C!!

Ellie Bellie

Hunting for more...

What's this one, Hendrix?

Opening his gift from Uncle and Auntie

Now he can be super even when he sleeps!

Getting help from Grandma :)

To Hendrix, Love Grandma

What to play with first? Hmm...

Sadie Lady

From Nana to Sadie

Opening gifts with help from her Uncle :)

Sadie found Nemo!

To Sadie, Love Nana and Grandpa

Beautiful dress for Sadie from Uncle and Auntie

Ella's favorite game - now in plushie form!

More presents for the little ones... Thanks everyone!

Even if we don't eat many, I love seeing candy canes around the house during Christmas.

Posole on the left and collard greens on the right

Ella found another one :)

Big sis, little sis reading time

Sadie and Daddy

Most of my gifts to J had a fitness theme like this one above.

From J to me! See what was inside during tomorrow's post.

My "like father, like son" gift to J and Hendrix

Sadie and Nana :)

Tomorrow I will be posting my Christmas gifts from J as I did exactly one year ago today.  I always enjoy haul and “what I got for…” type posts and vids so I thought doing a similar post would be fun.  I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday weekend and preparing for an amazing New Year!!  Happy Saturday!

<3 n