Category Archives: give more love

April: home

“Of all the elements of a happy life, home is the most important.” – Gretchen Rubin

Always a sucker for a good quote, this is perhaps the best insight I received from reading Gretchen Rubin’s book Happier at Home. I’ve realized an important element to loving your home is recognizing how much happiness already exists there and then adding elements  of comfort, love, and appreciation to the space. Given that Spring has finally decided to grace us with its presence (lets hope it’s here to stay!), I wanted to devote this month to nurturing my surroundings.

As you know, each month I set out actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for April and how they relate to each over-arching desire.

Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.

  • Read a new book. Every month I choose a new book to read. This month it’s No Place Like Home: A Memoir of 39 Apartments by Brooke Berman. I chose this particular book because I feel a kind of kinship with the author. The book chronicles her journey to feeling settled without actually being settled (one of my biggest fears in life) and her realization that home is about the space you create, not just your address. Considering my bedroom revitalization project, I found this particular reading quest fitting for my month of home.
  • Purge, reorganize, finish projects. It seems Spring is finally here to stay and with it my urge to purge, reorganize, and nest is at an all time high. I have a few unfinished projects around the house I’d like to tackle. In particular, I’d like to tackle the storage areas in the house (closets, the basement, cabinets, and the like). I have yet to touch these areas because they just seem so daunting. But I love to throw things away so I should enjoy the process if I can get my butt in gear. On top of those few areas in the house, I also plan on finishing up the bedroom transformation project and the few craft/decor projects still on my plate. I love my little bungalow home and all that goes with making it feel “homey”.

Give more love.

  • Give back to the community. As most of you know, I am a volunteer coach for Girls on the Run – a program I am extremely passionate about. I’ll be sub coaching a few practices this month at various elementary schools teaching lessons in healthy eating habits and building self-confidence. I’ve gotten to sub coach a few times and it’s certainly rewarding to see the energy and excitement in the young girls but I also want to reach out to other parts of my community. I have a few ideas up my sleeve for the month (Earth Day will be here soon and so will the festival) and I am so looking forward to the opportunities. Giving love often makes me feel more loved in return.
  • A squeeze in the morning, a squeeze at night. Self-admittedly I need to practice more patience with Miley. Particularly when my schedule is hectic, I don’t take enough time to give her a pat or kiss on the head. I’m quickly out the door and she usually sits there staring at me with those “Why are you leaving me? I’m going to chew something up!” eyes. Even worse, I hardly give my cat the attention I used to since getting Miley two years ago. So, I resolved to give more love to my animals this month. Not just in practicing patience (oh, you want to smell the flowers for the 15th time in a row on our walk!? Okay…) but in making sure I give them a few undivided moments of attention. For this reason, I resolved to squeeze, kiss, and smother both the Milers and Nanners in the morning and before bed.

Live a balanced life.

  • Use the dining room table. The only time I ever use my dining room table is when I’m hosting a potluck dinner or family gathering of some sort. I love communal gatherings because it promotes conversation and together-ness, but since I live alone you can usually find me eating my meals on the kitchen floor or in the living room. While I may not have a roommate to share in the festivities with, I am making it a goal this month to have only home-cooked meals (no eating out, at least on my dime) and eating those meals at the table.  I’ve gotten out of this particular habit and I want to re-instill that practice in my everyday regimen.
  • Use a quiet day. This is the one goal I did not complete last month not because I didn’t have time, but because I forgot (oops!). Similar to my technology-free day, I’m looking forward to the solitude and quality reading/journaling time I’ll get.

April seems rather basic after looking at my goals for the month but I’m feeling simplistic at this juncture. Considering I’m still carrying on previous monthly goals like the one sentence journal, meatless Mondays, potluck dinners, and flossing I think I’m all set!

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Filed under books, give more love, goals, home, organization, quotes

March highlights

If you haven’t been able to gather from my absence in the virtual world, life has been a bit hectic in the Wallace household. I feel like this entire month passed by with the snap of a finger and yet surprisingly for having felt completely exhausted almost the entire month, I still managed to accomplish the majority of my goals.  Here are some of the highlights of my month of well-being:

  • I loved reading Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs. Not only did the book make me laugh out loud on more than one occasion, but it reminded me that being healthy isn’t just how you look on the outside, but how your body functions on the inside. It also served to remind me that health is holistic. While exercising and eating right (when I’m not in cookie monster mode) is a big part of my life, I also need to give equal attention to my mental and emotional health. If anything, I got a few ideas from the book on what to include in my own health regimens and I’m excited to start incorporating them into future monthly goals.
  • The inspirational bedroom transformation is not complete but is certainly coming along. Not only did the room get a complete paint re-do, but I’ve been working on some decor projects as well. I bought a bright, cheery, and super fun rug that adds a healthy dose of spunk to the room. I also started a craft project that turns wooden block letters into yarn art (sounds weird, but looks way cool). I will admit I have yet to finish this particular project particularly because my loathe of crafting gets in the way of me actually finishing it, but considering some of my goals for April I figure I can carry this process over into next month. I’m also teaming up with a painter friend of mine who does phenomenal, original work for a reasonable price. The room needs a little bit of art in it and she’s my go-to girl so this particular item will be another thing I carry into next month as well. I keep having to remind myself that evolving is about relishing in the process and not always marking things off my to-do list. But while I like this rule of thumb for my year of self-improvement, I sometimes think I use it as justification for procrastination (more on that later).
  • Between all the hustle and bustle, I still managed to carve out a lot of friend time this month. In particular, I hosted a couple of girls nights, a St. Patrick’s Day themed game night dinner party. and a few Skype dinner dates with my friends who aren’t close by. I have to say the friend love (and booze) was definitely overflowing this month for which I am extremely grateful.
  • Also super exciting in the name of friend love – since I started writing more hand-written notes to my friends and family, I’ve been getting letters in return. This month alone, I’ve received four letters and I LOVE getting mail.
  • Meatless Mondays have been my new favorite health regimen and something I’m going to continue to do. It usually means I end up going meatless for most of the week (no wonder there are health benefits) but I love that it makes me get outside my comfort zone and experiment in the kitchen a bit. Plus, it adds content for the blog and I can’t complain about that, especially considering my lack of other substantial content lately.

So there you have it – another month bites the dust! I almost feel like I could continue well-being part deux into April, but now that Spring is finally in the air I’m getting into nesting mode, which means I need to take advantage of the organizing and purging mood I’m in. Stay tuned for April goals!

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Filed under books, crafting, DIY, give more love, goals, happiness, health, meatless mondays, well-being

February highlights

To be honest, I accomplished about a third of the goals I set in February but surprisingly I feel like I went through more personal growth than I did in January. It’s been a tough month for me but there were definitely some great highs. Like last month though, I don’t want to bore you with the details. So, here are some of the highlights of my month of singlehood:

  • When I began looking at my schedule for the month of February, I knew I’d need some time to recharge so I ended up booking a trip to visit a friend of mine in Saint Petersburg, Florida for an extra long weekend. While I didn’t get a chance to write about the trip, it was a relaxing and invigorating time. Some of the highlights were spending the day at a farmer’s market and listening to local bands, exploring, playing giant jenga at the bar, skinny dipping, doing a little life planning (I talked TJ into moving to Belize in May!), and making new friends. Perhaps my favorite part of traveling is always the people I end up meeting – I even got a pen pal out of the trip!
  • One of the ways I wanted to challenge myself this month was to praise singlehood rather than reject it. So, I decided to make a list of all the things I love about being single. While I put this particular goal off for the end of the month (mainly because I thought it would be hard) it actually turned out to be relatively easy. I found I rather love being single and that the idea of being alone doesn’t really scare me. If anything, I’ve learned I’m more comfortable in my own skin than I thought and I find that kind of confidence sexy.
  • My effort to reach out, forgive, purge, and let go brought more heartbreak than I bargained for this month but overall I felt like I made a lot of progress in moving forward with my life. I will admit I was not 100% successful in this venture (old habits die-hard). What was particularly hard for me to accept at a time where I was trying SO hard to overcome one of my weaknesses was realizing there are instances where it’s okay to put up some walls for a bit and focus on yourself. If anything, this particular venture brought more self-awareness and personal growth than anything else and I am grateful for that.

It seems as if February has flown by and while I wish I would have had more time, I’m kind of looking forward to a new month. As you know, a new month means new goals. Stay tuned!

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February: singlehood

A new month means a new theme and this month it’s about celebrating singlehood. With it, singlehood brings freedom and independence and I plan on embracing both over the next coming weeks. We all know February brings ample opportunity for single ladies (and men) to get down about not having that special someone in their life but I don’t plan on being one of them. Rather, my focus for the month is to have a passionate love affair with myself. I firmly believe you can’t begin loving someone else until you take the time to heal and love yourself first. And that’s exactly what I intend on doing this month.

As you know, each month I set out actionable goals relative to my three intentions for the New Year. Below are the specific goals I’ve outlined for February and how they relate to each over-arching desire.

Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.

  • Read a new book. This month I am choosing to read a classic, The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I chose this particular book mainly because it’s outside of my preferred genre of reading. I also chose it because when I was reading book reviews I came across one in particular that called the book, “…the quintessential story about the love of being in love,” and I was hooked.
  • Transform my bedroom into an inspirational haven. All of my home improvement projects or home purchases usually go to the areas of the house where guests congregate like the living room, dining room, kitchen, and guest room. I hardly ever splurge on the one area that’s used solely by me: my bedroom. Taking a page from Liz’s month of self-love I want to put my creative energy into creating a space that reflects the things I love, desire, and want in life – I want my room to be a source of inspiration to me so I’m definitely looking forward to getting started on this project.

Give more love.

  • Write Valentine’s Day cards. Who says Valentine’s Day is reserved for romantic escapades? I fully intend on celebrating and sharing the mad love I have for my close friends and family. I also intend to spoil myself because I love me too. Which leads me to my next point.
  • Take a wellness day. Looking at my schedule for February, I already know I’m going to be susceptible to feelings of burn out which usually leads to me waking up on the wrong side of the bed at some point. I’m pretty good at recognizing the need to take some time to recharge when I’m stressed and I know I’ll need it this month. I have a trip planned to visit my good friend TJ at the end of the month so it’ll be a perfect opportunity to relax and recharge my positive attitude. I have no specific plans set other than to see where the wind takes me. And a gift certificate for a massage and pedicure.
  • Praise singlehood. In the grand scheme of life, singlehood is short-lived. I am self-admittedly not an expert on relationships and have little experience in the serious relationship department as compared to others but I do remember thinking things like, “I wish I had the bed to myself!” or, “STOP SNORING!” among others. For the single ladies (and single men too) I think it’s easy to get sucked into a negative mindset in February. I mean love is literally being shoved down your throat around every corner and it goes on for 14 straight days. Sometimes, February just serves as a constant reminder that you don’t have what appears like everyone else is basking in the glory of. But you know what? Singlehood is pretty awesome too so in light of my positive attitude, I plan on writing a list of all the reasons I love being single.
  • Go on one date a week. I am a busy hermit, there’s no way of getting around it. I was recently telling a colleague of mine a story and he stopped me mid-sentence and said in a I-feel-sorry-for-you tone, “You need to get out and date, Lindsay.” Although I’m pretty sure he was joking, I took it kind of hard (obviously so since I’m still talking about it three months later). So, it’s time to take matters into my own hands since I’m not finding anyone in my current social circles. At the last potluck dinner I hosted I asked my friends to set me up on blind dates with anyone they thought I might be remotely interested in – or even not interested in (I need to fill a quota here people, haha). I’ve got one lined up so far and another in the works. I’m actually kind of looking forward to them. Heck, maybe I’ll even give speed dating a try!

Live a balanced life.

  • Reach out, forgive, purge, and let go. I am queen of harboring resentment towards people who intentionally hurt me, especially when they show no remorse or offer an apology. Forgiveness has never been my strong suit but I also realize that harboring those kinds of feelings just prolong stress and negativity in my life. Ultimately those kinds of feelings take a toll on my body and promote unhappiness. We don’t have control over the way people treat us, but we do have control over how we process the hurt and move on. I can’t say that I will actually reach out to those who have hurt me recently and in the past, but I do plan on going through old mementos and purging memories I haven’t been able to let go of. I want a clean slate and my intention in doing this project for the month is that it will reduce some stress and unhappiness I feel at times thereby promoting my overall health, especially in mind and spirit.
  • When at home, wear my glasses. Another aspect of my health that I ignore are my eyes. I have horrible vision; without contacts or glasses, I can’t even see what I’m typing on the screen in front of me. My issue is I hate wearing glasses and as a result I take my contacts out maybe two or three times a month and only while I’m showering. My eyes never get a break and I often times suffer from dry, itchy eyes because of my lack of proper eye care. SO, I am going to attempt to wear my glasses more and make the effort when at home that the contacts go in the solution and the glasses go on the face.

Here’s to a happy, fulfilling February and of course to all my fellow single ladies out there. Put your hands up!

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Filed under books, give more love, goals, health, intentions, love, self, singlehood

Friend family dinner party

This weekend I hosted the first potluck dinner of the year. Since I wanted to make a simple and palette friendly menu for a few of my friends who are picky eaters (ahem, Andrew) I went for an Italian-themed meal. You would think I’d be tired of eating pasta after a week of eating left over chicken tetrazzini, but nope – I love me some carbs! And because I’m one of those people who tell other people what to bring to the potluck dinner (I’m thankful my friends understand my somewhat anal and controlling tendencies, haha!) I crafted the following menu which turned out super yummy: a bruschetta appetizer, an Italian ribbon zucchini salad, lasagna, garlic bread, and tiramisu. Since Monica had asked to make the main dish, I ended up making the bruschetta. I can’t recall ever having actually eaten bruschetta before so I was excited to try something new in the kitchen. Turns out it’s  simple to make and is actually pretty healthy for you too.

I used a combination of recipes for the bruschetta but essentially diced up a bunch of Roma tomatoes into small bits and pieces then added in sautéed onion, garlic, salt, and pepper. For a flavor booster I added in a few tablespoons of olive oil, basil leaves, fresh lemon juice, and lemon zest then put it in the refrigerator for an hour to cool down. For the bread, I picked up a whole wheat baguette already sliced at the grocery store, brushed each piece with some olive oil, and put it all in the broiler till it was nice and toasty. Add a heaping spoonful of bruschetta on top of the baguette slice and you’re set, although you keep coming back for more because it’s hard to eat just one. A super yummy snack and it’s healthy for you. Really, what more could you ask for?!

Bruschetta

After dinner we pulled out the games. We made our way through Would You Rather?, Taboo, and Scattegories (I hate that game mainly because I am not good at it – at all). My favorite part of the night was when we ditched the rules of the Would You Rather? game and started performing only Do-It Challenge cards. Basically, you’re given an outlandish action to perform for 90 seconds like make out with a window, drink from a bowl like a cat, or let people draw a mustache on your face which you keep for the rest of the night (kudos to Liz for being a sport on that one!). It sparked a lot of laughter and giggling, which I love. Here’s my lovely group of friends that ventured out for the night, which also serves as my photo for week 2 of the 52 week photo challenge (from left to right: Andrew, Me, Liz, Monica, David).

Group

Oh, and Liz’s ‘stache for the night. I giggled so much over this photo – she looks very pensive.

Lizstache

All-in-all, I’d call our Italian themed potluck dinner and game night a success. I always love bringing all of my friends together and having them in the same room with me. I never want this friend family of mine to leave my side; they really do add so much joy to my life!

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Filed under cooking, friends, give more love, happiness

Cause for celebration

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying to get an in with Heart of Missouri Girls on the Run and my futile efforts have finally paid off! Last year, I wrote about the organization and their cause which prompted me to train for my first 5k. After months of banter back and forth with one of the coordinators and a somewhat lengthy application process, I finally received an email welcoming me not only as a volunteer coach but as their designated data analyst and (fingers crossed!) a potential board member. Sitting in my home office chair this morning in front of the computer, my giddiness and 7-year-old inner child took over and I let out a big, “eeeeeeeee!!!” whilst jumping up and down. Miley understood; she gave me a high-five in equal excitement.

I absolutely LOVE this organization for all the good work they do to promote radical self-love, confidence, and self-awareness among young girls in my community and I am just so excited to now be a more integral part of the experience. Plus, it fits in with my intention to give more love this year which I had hoped to do, in part, by giving back to my community. My schedule is sure to be hectic over the next semester as I’ll now be juggling a full and part-time job, as well as a part-time graduate school load and volunteer duties. As I told Liz, if you start hearing me complaining about how busy I am just gently remind me I signed myself up for all of this.

And since this month is about celebrating my friends, I also wanted to highlight some of the great things happening in a few of their lives as well.

  • Liz: got a new book in the mail yesterday that will serve as a guide to becoming a certified life coach. Something she is definitely meant to do in this life. I am so excited for her as she sets out on a new journey but I’m also happy to be one of her practice clients as I feel like she’s been life-coaching me for the past year and a half.
  • Monica: is one of the final candidates out of 30 for a new job that fits her to the tee. She has great inter-personal skills and a stunning personality; fingers crossed that she gets the job as she is in her fifth and final interview this week. Sending you good vibes, lady!
  • David: for having to put up with all of Liz and I’s crazy pursuits of happiness, its finally rubbed off. On New Years Eve, he resolved to pick a one-word mantra for each month of 2013. For January, it’s nurture. I’ll get an update on Saturday at the italian themed potluck dinner I’m hosting but I’m especially looking forward to hearing what all he’s focusing on this month and his progress so far.
  • Andrew and Bob: both work long hours as volunteer firefighters and EMTs (oh, and part-time students). They finally took a much-needed vacation to the mountains for some skiing. They’ll be in attendance at the potluck as well so I can’t wait to hear about their crazy antics and all the trouble they got into over the past two weeks.
  • Mom: although she’s family, she also falls in the best friend category. I’m also super proud of her as she just ended her first week on Weight Watchers and lost 2 pounds!!! How awesome. Keep up the great work, Momma!

I am in an especially happy mood today; love and appreciation for my friends and for the life I’ve built is just pouring out of me. It’s definitely a cause for celebration!

 

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Filed under community, friends, give more love, happiness, volunteering

2013 new year intentions

When I started drafting my intentions for 2013, I could easily pinpoint three specific desires I had for the New Year to go along with my one-word mantra: evolve. While three intentions seem small for a 12-month time period, I’ve given a lot of thought and attention to developing goals and action plans in accomplishing each of those desires. To really evolve, I  want to make sure I’m not overloading my plate by trying to experience everything all at once. Choosing three intentions narrows my focus allowing for more inner exploration and enables me to put forth more effort into just a few things rather than minimal effort into a lot of things. So without further a-do, here they are!

1. Find joy and fulfillment in creativity.

  • Plan of action: First on my list is to read one new book a month. While it doesn’t seem like a lot I wanted to make sure that I set a realistic goal since I’ll also have to juggle readings for class. I’m even going to spice it up by reading a book from a new genre each month. Whether it be romance, classic literature, a biography, history novel, or an adaptation of a book from another country I really want to expand my tastes and find joy in the new. My second plan of action is to continue crafting. While I’m not a crafty person, I still want to nurture the artist in me (however small that may be). Plus, what I’ve come to love about crafting is that you lose track of time in the process and your mind goes completely blank. In the coming months, I’m sure I’ll need that break from every day life to keep the sanity. Additionally, I plan to revamp my room into an inspirational haven where I can read, write, or meditate and find joy/fulfillment in the process.

2. Give more love.

  • Plan of action: For me, a large part of what makes me feel fulfilled is having deep relationships with my family and friends. I sometimes struggle in this area though because I take extreme pleasure in my alone time. For that reason, I am not nearly as social as I ought to be. That being said, one of the things I desire is to give more love to those I care about and focus on strengthening current relationships and forging new ones. To start it off, I joined Gretchen Rubin’s 21 day relationship challenge which gives you practical tips on how to spice up the relationships in your life and appreciate them more fully. I also plan to take the time each month to pen pal with my friend Tessa, who I met while living in Guatemala. What I like most about pen paling is that it gets you back to basic communication. Hand-written notes seem more personal and heartfelt than a quick email to say hi so I’m really looking forward to this experience. Other ways I plan on giving more love this year is to host a potluck dinner, movie night, or game night at least once a month to celebrate my friendships and to give back to my community by doing volunteer work.

3. Live a balanced life by nurturing my mind, body, and spirit.

  • Plan of action: Above anything, living a balanced life is my number one desire for 2013. It’s also been the theme of many of my posts on here over the past six months. To live a balanced life I think it’s essential to nurture and give equal attention to my mind, body, and spirit. To nurture my mind, I plan on keeping my one-sentence journal that I started last month. It’s been easy to come up with and challenges me to focus on the good that happened to me on any given day rather than the bad. It keeps everything relative and I like that. Overall, I think I’ve been successful in nurturing my body over the past year so my plan is to continue loving my body and eating healthy. Specifically, I plan to walk at least 30 minutes every day, regardless of the weather. I think it’s important to just continue moving. I also found a sweet portion plate at the health foods store that I want to start using for meals in combination with a weekly health challenge Liz blogged about last year. Nurturing my spirit poses more of a challenge as I’m not much of a church-goer, but as the woods are my spiritual safe haven I plan to spend more time in them. My lofty goal is to attend a meditation retreat or temple retreat for a few days while traveling through Central America in May, or in another location if an opportunity presents itself.

So there you have it, my three intentions for the New Year. Each month I’ll tackle a particular theme in my life I want to focus on. Each monthly theme will have concrete, actionable goals relative to my three intentions so that I’m constantly focused on each aspect and not sacrificing one desire for another.

What about you? Have you set any resolutions or intentions for the New Year? What are they?

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