Category Archives: blogging

Life as I know it

The title may sound poetic but I promise you it’s not. Life has just been busy so I figure the best way to get everyone up to speed is to recap the last month and a half of my life in one full swoop.

Really exciting, I crossed two things off my 30 before 30 list:
1. Set up a retirement account. I feel very grown up having a financial advisor who does everything and anything I need him to. We’ve decided to be “aggressive” in the market and while he warned me I may not like him some months I warned him I would probably never even notice.
2. Be a vegetarian for 30 days. Surprisingly, going vegetarian was really easy. The only difficult aspect was having to plan my meals so far in advance and ensure there were vegetarian options available when I was on the road traveling for work. In fact, now that my 30 days are up I’ve actually decided to stick to the new diet. It’s now been six weeks, which is also the amount of time you need to build – or break – habits.

Going vegetarian has meant spending a lot of time in the kitchen trying out new recipes. I honestly can’t think of a meal I made and didn’t like these past six weeks but here are a few recipes I tried and absolutely loved:
1. Spring rolls – I didn’t follow this recipe at all but it was what I started with. I ended up using a basic cole slaw mix and instead of eating it raw with the rice paper, I sautéed the mixture in various seasonings. A very easy recipe albeit a bit time-consuming but they were oh so yummy!
2. Hummus spinach bake – I actually didn’t use a recipe for this. I happened to be using one of those input the ingredients you have into a computer generator and it lists different dishes you can make. Out of that came a plate of hummus and sautéed spinach topped with shredded cheese. I put it in the oven on 350 for about 15 minutes. It was nice and bubbly and paired well with the pita chips and carrots I already had on hand.
3. Zucchini pizza boats – They don’t make for great leftovers since zucchini contains so much extra water but they were fantastic straight out of the oven. Plus there are a ton of variations for toppings. Variety is nice!
4. Stuffed peppers – I love peppers and anything that goes in them. Quinoa is my new favorite super food and these are perfect for grilling out with friends. I have found that Mexican is the easiest vegetarian go-to dish for me.

I had a few other health related goals for the month. One goal was to complete all of my outstanding health exams and another was to beef up the exercise routine. A few things worth mentioning:
1. $500 later it turns out I am, in fact, still healthy. Go me!
2. I tried two new fitness classes: a hip hop dance class and Krav Maga. Not only can I booty bump with the best of em’ but I also found a socially acceptable way of releasing my inner rage. If Krav Maga didn’t cost $150/month I would definitely get a membership.

So you don’t think I’m two-dimensional talking about health and fitness, I did have a few fun things going on this past month and a half. At the top of my list:
1. A few friends and I spent a weekend in the Old Cabin at Blue Jay Farms, which we all know is my favorite Missouri get-away spot! Of course Miley dog joined us. I love make your stomach hurt bouts of laughing and I have plenty of those moments with my home girl Lizard. See below. We made an oriental themed dinner, played a new card game, swam, read, hiked to a waterfall, and picked blueberries. I love that place!


2. I hadn’t seen my Mom since Christmas so I’ve been missing some quality mother-daughter time. Over the 4th of July weekend my parents decided to come down and visit for about a week. We spent time boating at the lake, visiting family and friends, watching movies, snuggling, and dancing/drinking our butts off at the winery. It was a fabulous time and I’m missing them already!


3. Oh yeah, Dad finally sent me the pictures of our trip to El Salvador. I’ll aim to get those up at some point once I sift through the 2,000+ photos but here are a few teasers.



And of course I wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t a little bit of self-introspection thrown in the mix. A few self-revelations:
1. Attitude up! I wish I could coin this phrase but I actually learned it at a sexual harassment training I went to for work. I say it all the time now. It serves as a good reminder that we all have the power to change our dispositions. When you’re stressed, feeling overwhelmed, and just consumed or surrounded by negativity it helps to keep things in perspective and to remember that you have the power to keep a positive attitude and mind. It’s sort of like Gretchen Rubin’s think happy, be happy motto.
2. How to live a life of well-being. Martin Seligman proposed a scientific model of happiness and well-being called PERMA. Essentially it states that in order for one to live a flourishing life, there are five basic motivations behind any decision or action made: positive emotion, engagement, relationship building, meaning, and achievement. People do their best work and are happiest when these five elements are being met. I could dedicate an entire blog post to this particular concept as I’ve become enthralled with the scientific model so much that I’ve begun incorporating it into my work culture and everyday life. My poor colleagues have been subjected to team building exercises this past week but I actually think they enjoyed them. If anything I can tell it brought us all closer together (R and M – meaningful relationships). Anyways, I’ll save you the rambling – go check it out!

While this post certainly doesn’t capture everything that went on the past month and a half, I feel a little less overwhelmed jumping back into the blogging world. I keep waiting for my time to free up and devote to writing again but the truth is I just need to make it a priority again (more on that later).


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Filed under 30 before 30, blogging, cooking, family, goals, happiness, health, personal growth, self-introspection, vegetarianism, well-being

August goals

I got out of the habit of setting up monthly goals awhile back in part because I started to feel like my life was becoming a list of constant to-do items. I lost focus on the process of each new experience I embarked on and rather than relishing the journey, I only wanted to meet my mark. So while I still had overarching themes I wanted to accomplish each month, I didn’t outline specific goals I needed to accomplish each week to get me there. In recent weeks though, my attitude toward everything has been pretty lackadaisacal. For being an avid outdoors person, the 100+ degree weather and unbearable humidity has kept me inside limiting my activity to pressing the channel up button on the changer. I’m hungry for some energy and in need of an attitude adjustment so I’m back to setting some goals for August to get me in the groove again.

My overall goal for the month is to try something new. Whether it’s a zumba class, going on a date, or doing a craft project, I need to start doing something with my free time rather than sitting inside. The heat is no excuse. I’ve already got a few activities lined up and I’m hoping to do at least one new thing a week. Breaking my overall monthly goal down into more manageable pieces will keep me focused. Plus, it actually gives me something to look forward to each week which is energizing.

Additionally, I have a few other goals in mind for August which include…

Plan a traveling excursion. I love backpacking through Central America. I love the culture, the food, and the activities. I haven’t been on a backpacking trip since my two-week excursion through Belize and Guatemala in 2011 and I’m hardcore craving a little bit of adventure. Inspired by Liz’s sisters trip to London over Thanksgiving, I’ve decided to use some of my money leftover from my financial aid this semester to fund my next jet-setting experience. While I have an adventurous spirit, I’m also a pragmatist and a planner. I have a general idea of where I’d like to head but I’m hoping to iron out the details and book the ticket by the end of the month.

Blog three times a week. Due to my lackadaisacal attitude, I’ve been skimping on my blog posts the past couple weeks. I always feel accomplished and successful when I finish a blog post, even if the content is of no relative importance. I need to get back into the swing of things and since writing is a release for me, I think it will add to my overall happiness.

Set an allowance for social activities. In my quest to get a handle on my budget and spending habits, I’ve noticed I spend way too much on social activities, sometimes equaling over $150 a month for one person. Taking a suggestion from zero-based budgeting, I’ve decided to set up an allowance for myself. At the beginning of each month, I get $80 to fund social activities throughout the month which includes things like going out for dinner, drinks, movies, etc. While it’s a drastic cut from $150, I’m hoping it will inspire more quaint dinner parties at home where food costs are cut in half. Additionally, I think it’ll get me more involved in local activities, like community theatre and concerts in the park where ticket costs are more manageable. As a reward to myself, any extra money I have left over at the end of the month will go into my travel fund jar which I can use on my backpacking trip. Double bonus!

August will definitely be a busy month, especially since I start grad school mid-month but I’m excited to have some actionable goals in place. Plus, I’ll have more content for my blog which is always a good thing!

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Filed under blogging, goals, money, new adventures, travel

Fresh look

If you check this blog regularly, you can noticeably see the look and feel of my blog has changed. Not only did it counteract my writer’s bloc, I also found a new focus and theme for my writing. The original intent of this blog was to explore my life, set goals and find activities to make living my life a more enriching experience. And while those are still driving forces behind me blogging, I feel like my blog purpose has sort of taken it’s own form over the last couple of months. So although the web address will stay the same ( I didn’t want to be “strapped” to writing about just a few topics, mainly happiness. I wanted the flexibility to explore new interests, learn, and grow in my own way. I am no Gretchen Rubin (although I adore her).

I chose “Wandering and Wondering, discourse of a free spirit” as the blog title and I absolutely love it. Lacking creativity in every bone of my body, I feel like I owe Liz a huge kudos for the name change inspiration. She really helped me to put all the words I (and others) would use to describe me and mesh it together in a way that made it all work. I particularly love discourse of a free spirit because they seem like such opposites of each other. Discourse is so scholarly and free spirit just doesn’t fit with that. I thought it perfect for where I’m at in life right now. The yearn to travel, wander, and explore yet being grounded and starting the next chapter of my life in graduate school…always wondering what’s next. It’s so me.

Speaking of “so me”, I also added an old map of Guatemala to the blog title. This place will always hold a special place in my heart. It’s never ceased to be a source of constant inspiration to me. More than anthing, the map is a reminder of my previous life there and how passionate I was about the work I did. Since I’m seeking that same passion in all aspects of my life right now I wanted everyday to see something that reminded me not to settle for anything less. With that, I hope you like the new blog as much as me!


Filed under blogging, blogs, inspiration, purpose