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Graphomania, My Obsession

“Graphomania inevitably takes on epidemic proportions when a society develops to the point of creating three basic conditions:

  1. An elevated level of general well-being, which allows people to devote themselves to useless activities;
  2. A high degree of social atomization and, as a consequence, a general isolation of individuals;
  3. The absence of dramatic social changes in the nation’s internal life. (From this point of view, it seems to me symptomatic that in France, where practically nothing happens, the percentage of writers is twenty-one times higher than in Israel).”

I love the idea of NaNoWriMo, and every year I imagine myself stealing away to my office nook in the early hours of each November morning, steaming cup of coffee in hand, and writing my 1667 words. Why? Because I have the impulse to write.

Of course, I have nothing to write about. No plot that calls to me, no character I need to get to know, no mystery to solve. I have never competed in or completed a NaNoWriMo.

What I do instead, to fulfill my need to write, is journal. I have an unhealthy number of journals, including this fine corner of the internet. I felt the urge to write a list today, so here’s my list of journals.

1. This blog: Who knows what this blog is for? I sure don’t. One day I might give it a real purpose, but for now, it’s just a public place to blurt out thoughts for, like, seven people to read and understand me just a little better. And maybe get some tips on a capsule wardrobe or a reading list or something.

2. My journal: I do have an honest-to-God, pen and paper, keep out, for my eyes only, Dear Diary (his name is Jeffrey) Journal. He knows my deepest darkest thoughts.

3. My gratitude journal: That’s right. I have a gratitude journal, and it is my jam. At the end of the day, I write 3 things I’m grateful for, and I go to sleep with a gatdamn smile on my face because my life isn’t all that bad, and I took the time to remember it.

4. My book journal: Back in the day, this blog kind of served as my book journal, but I’m very self-conscious of how I write my book reviews, so I’ve taken them offline. My book journal has a list of books I’ve read or Did Not Finish (DNF), brief snippets of my thoughts on books, my To Be Read (TBR) list.

5. My morning pages: This one’s new, and I’m loving it. In the morning, I literally pour a cup of coffee, go up to my office nook, and hand write three pages of whatever is on my mind. It clears the morning fog and helps set my intention for the day. It also helps me jot down any cool dreams I had that might make a good story.

Why am I sharing this? No reason. I just felt like writing.

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My Psuedo-Happiness Project

Wow. It’s been a while, yet again. Did you miss me? Okay, let’s jump right in, shall we. This post is brought to you by the letter V for Vulnerability.

Last night, as Eric and I tried to enjoy a walk to dinner in the gorgeous spring weather, I stewed over some imagined slights. Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you: you get mad at your significant other, you internalize it, you wait for the least opportune moment, then, as you’re walking to meet three other friends for dinner, your floodgates open, and you pour out everything you’ve pent up, and as you’re talking you realize your anger and discontent has nothing to do with your amazingly supportive person, but your own lack of focus and drive and goals.

Just me? Cool.

Some people live to work. They’re passionate about what they do, and they can’t wait to do it every day. Most people work to live. They get that Friday paycheck and they use it out in the world to create a meaningful (to them at least) existence on this planet.

I’ve had a hard time with the living part, lately. Not in a dark way, just in a “I don’t know what I want to do with my non-working hours” way. I’m taking a writing class right now, and I’m pretty certain I’m not that great at it. I want to take more photos, but I don’t know what I want to photograph. I want to cook more, but let’s be honest. I’m just plain lazy during the week.

I started reading Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project yesterday, and it got me thinking about the changes I want to make in my life to find my happiest happiness. Rubin started in January. I don’t think that’s necessary. I’m starting today. Here are my goals for the rest of the year. 8 months = 8 goals. I’ll assign them months once I think this through a little more (and maybe finish more than two chapters of the book).

  1. Clean – May
  2. Write
  3. Work out
  4. Diet (better eating, not fad)
  5. Meditate
  6. Yoga
  7. Save money
  8. Wake Up

I feel like mastering these habits will help make room in my life for the creative things I’m missing. These goals won’t give me purpose, but I’m hoping to find it while I work on them. I don’t know. Is that stupid? Maybe. But in the meantime, maybe my house will be a little cleaner, my body will be a little healthier, and I’ll have more time in my day.

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Hello, Friends.

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Dream Kitchen.
Reality Kitchen.

Did anyone notice that I tend to be really heavy into updating this blog in January and then again in, like, July?

I should probably mention that very quantifiable cycle to my therapist. #mentalhealthsymptoms

ANYHOO. The last substantive post I wrote had to do with our yard and all of my wonderful plans for it. Well, my friends. I’ve scrapped most of that. Eric has taken up brewing as his full time hobby, and honestly, a bunch of burly, bearded, beer-drinking bros don’t need a lot of pretty furniture and plants to set the mood for their hops and barley experimenting.

I want a deck though. Like, real, real bad. We’re getting quotes.

We’ve made a lot of changes to the house over the last few months in other ways, though. I think I’m going to have to pull out the camera and share a few snaps soon. I’m really proud of how it’s coming together.

For fun, here’s a list of some of the things we’re still working on. They might change. Who knows! There’s a lot of art to be hung though – is it sad that we’re 1.5 years in and haven’t really moved in yet?

Living Room

  • Paint the TV cabinet
  • Paint (yes, PAINT) the leather chair and ottomon
  • Restuff the seat cushions on the couch
  • Hang our gallery wall
  • Buy (or make) a new end table
  • Curtain behind the TV?

Dining Room

  • New light fixture
  • Build bench
  • Hang art

Kitchen (mmmmmmaybe)

  • Paint cabinets
  • Replace handles
  • Replace light fixture
  • Put in new backsplash

Bedroom

  • Hang art
  • Hang curtains
  • New rug

Eric’s Office

  • CLEAN
  • Rearrange furniture, put TV on dresser
  • Put down rug
  • Hang art

Back Room

  • Put up shelves for beer
  • Move kegerator
  • CLEAN
  • Fix shower in bathroom

Upstairs

  • Declutter
  • Hang art

Yard

  • Put in deck
  • Run electricty to shed
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Daydreaming About a Patio

Let’s be really honest here. Eric and I do not live in our “dream” home. When we started looking for a house last year, it was because we firmly believed we should stop giving someone else our money (rent) and start investing in ourselves (mortgage). Buying a house was a logical conclusion, but our budget was tight and the market was hot, so we bought a “starter” home we could grow into. And it has a lot of, um, quirks.

While our house is pretty large for two people, I do have a couple of complaints that rear up from time to time. The first is the size of our kitchen and it’s lack of counterspace and storage. Let’s save that topic for another day, shall we?

The second complaint, which is definitely exacerbated by gorgeous weather, is our lack of outdoor space. Don’t get me wrong, we bought a house with plenty of yard, but that’s about it. There’s no deck, no garden, no comfort to speak of. So while a new kitchen configuration will take a lot of time and dolla dolla bills, this month we’re setting our sights on making our backyard habitable.

For starters, here’s some photos of what we’re working with.

We have a driveway that goes straight through to the backyard bordered by some ugly dirt and patches of weeds. My first instinct is to create a sense of ambiance by putting in a container garden.

A container garden appeals to me for the following reasons:

  1. I’m not a landscaper, so I like the flexability of being able to move things around until I like what I see.
  2. Using various pieces of furniture like chairs, benches and tables, I can create texture and visual interest by playing with height.
  3. I can create a color story with the furniture and planters by painting them in a cohesive color scheme.

Of course, my first stop in finding the patio of my dreams needs was Pinterest. Here are a few of the inspirations I found.

We’re starting slowly. First, I’m building the above mentioned container garden, and we’re going to try to find a new outdoor rug. I’m also planning to repaint the Adirondack chairs and furniture we already have. In addition, I spent several hours this weekend at yard sales and flea markets and found a lot of good stuff to start my garden! I have a ton of planters, a headboard, some chairs, a basket, and old watering can – you get the idea. Here’s a few photos, but this isn’t everything.

We also made a quick run to Lowe’s and bought about 10 cans of spray paint. My goal for the week is to clean everything I picked up so that I can start painting next weekend. Our colors are blush and bashful teal, navy and gray, which I think will pop against the white exterior of our house.

So, that’s about it for now. I’m thinking of doing a post outlining plans for each room and space of our house, with a list of projects, like Young House Love used to do. There’s so much more to come for the backyard, and then we’re going to focus on the kitchen this fall.

Very exciting things ahead!

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Checking In

Welp, as usual, I made a plan and didn’t stick to it. Ha!

I wrote about a bunch of challenges I wanted to do for the year in this post, and while I may have stuck to the spirit – none of them really took off.

Let’s check in, shall we?

  1. Read 52 Books: Still in progress, though not looking good. I’ve read about 11 books this year, though I’m currently almost done with 3.
  2. 3 Month Shopping Diet: I think the last clothing I bought was for my rehearsal dinner and honeymoon, so this was an unintentional success. I’ve been buying a lot of unnecessary OTHER things though, like books and makeup. So, semi-successful, but not completely.
  3. 3 Month Capsule Wardrobe: I still want to do this. May start in August?
  4. Whole30 (Again): Eric and I are committed to a healthier lifestyle. We don’t want to do a full Whole30 month, but we are getting back to meal planning and cutting out most grains, dairy and added sugars. It’s been pretty difficult over the summer, what with ice cream, beer, and cheese burgers around every corner. I’m considering posting my plans to the blog and maybe a few recipes a week? I don’t know. We’ll see.
  5. 30 Days of Yoga: Nope. Haven’t even touched this one, though I definitely should.
  6. 30 Days of Meditation: Also nope.
  7. Training for the Peachtree Road Race: Another semi-success. Between my running schedule and workouts with Kate, I did complete the Peachtree, though it was tough and definitely not my best. I hate running in the summer, and basically stopped around the time we went to the beach in June. I’m signed up for the Triple Peach, which means I have a 10 miler in October and a half marathon on Thanksgiving day, so I better get back at it.

    All smiles. This is a “before” picture. Clearly.

Other recent successes? While I haven’t been writing here, I have been working on a few stories. I don’t know if they’ll ever become novels, but I’m proud of what I’m writing, even if one of them is a super cheesy vampire fantasy.

I’ve also been cooking a lot, and reading about cooking, and reading about spices and meat cuts and knife skills, and basically just learning to be a better home chef. It’s been a blast.

I’m on page 172 and I’m still just learning about types of fruit. #thorough

We’re also planning a few home projects over the next month or so. Both of our bathrooms need work due to the shoddy craftsmanship of the previous owners/renovators. We also desperately want to turn our backyard into a place we enjoy spending time. Right now, it’s just sort of…there. We’re throwing ideas together right now, and I hope we get to start making changes in the next few weekends.

So, that’s where life is right now. Eric and I are both super busy, but we’re enjoying it. I was in a funk for a few months, but I feel like I’m out of the fog. I’m feeling reinvigorated, and more creative. I don’t know what that means for this space, if anything, but my goal (hahahahahahaha) is to try to throw some more content up here about what changes we’re making, and what meals we’re planning, what books we’re reading, those sort of things. If I do the capsule wardrobe challenge in August, I’ll post about it here for sure (am I really doing it if no one knows about it??).

Until then, if you’re reading this – thanks! Uh – here’s a photo from our wedding day!

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Travel Capsule: Nashville Bachelorette

Nashville Bachelorette

 

One day, in the distant future (after the statutes of limitations have expired – ha!), I may do a post about my bachelorette weekend. For now, let’s talk about the clothes!
I packed a fairly light wardrobe for the three day weekend. The above is a general idea, not an exact replica of my packing list. I do not own $805 loafers, and if I did, I definitely would not wear them on a Saturday night, navigating drunken crowds, from honky-tonk to honky-tonk. I also would never wear a pussy bow. But I digress.
Here’s how I planned my outfits:
  • Friday; Travel; 4 hours in a car – Gray Bride T-Shirt, Black Skinny Jeans, Loafers, Jacket
  • Friday; Various and Sundry Nightlife Options – Black Graphic Tee, Black Skinny Jeans, Loafers
  • Saturday; Picnic at Arrington Vinyard – Buffalo Plaid Shirt, Blue Jeans, Riding Boots
  • Saturday; Dinner at Pinewood Social and Honky-Tonk Shenanigans – White Bride Shirt (not pictured, provided by MOH), Black Jeans, Jacket, Riding Boots
  • Sunday; Brunch at The Southern – Green Shirt, Either Pair of Jeans
A few additional things to note: Obviously I packed underwear and PJs. I also packed one workout outfit and a pair of sneakers which went unused for obvious reasons. And of course, a few of our plans changed, as is wont to happen. We stayed in on Friday night instead of painting the town, and I changed into leggings for the duration. I also wore my MOH’s cowgirl boots on Saturday night, instead of my own riding boots. Otherwise, I stuck pretty close to the spirit of my packing list. The only thing shown that I didn’t wear was the black graphic tee.
How did I plan my capsule?
  1. I look at the weather. This is the #1 thing you should do. Let it be known, however, that I ignored a lot of what I saw because I stubbornly wanted to believe it was spring.
  2. I make a list of all of the activities I’m planning to do, and I assign very generic uniforms/outfits I’d like to wear with them. This included t shirts with jeans, a top with a maxi skirt, a dress, etc.
  3. I assign specific clothes I own to the outfits. For example, I knew I wanted to wear jeans and a graphic tee on Friday night, so I picked my Eiffle Tower graphic and black jeans. I also thought I could wear a chambray top with my black maxi for the vineyard or one of my flowery maxi dresses.
  4. I take a realistic look at what I can pair together. I take into account colors, as well as the fabric. In this case, obviously anything would go with jeans. Every top I ended up choosing could go with every bottom and the shoes. I knew the weather would be too cold to wear sandals, and I hate the look of a maxi dress with closed toed shoes, so those options were scraped.
  5. I lay everything out on my bed to ensure I have both enough clothes and not too many.*
  6. I pack!

The next step is to take these basic principals and apply them to my every day for three months. I’m still in the clearing out my closet stage, but I’m hoping to make more progress on selecting pieces for my capsule wardrobe this weekend!

*My real clothes. iPhone photos are not as pretty as Polyvore.
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Coming Soon!

I know you’re all desperately concerned at the lack of posts. I had my bachelorette party this weekend, and I might still be recovering. Haha. I have a good Speed Read post coming at you soon, and I’m hoping to get started on this capsule planning. Plus a quick and dirty home project. So stick around this week!