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Long weekend! Thank you, Memorial Day. Err…and the soldiers. You know, the reason we have Memorial Day. Thank you, soldiers!

Activities I’m doing:

  • Watching movies and TV – I’ve fully embraced this as my relaxation hobby, and now that fellow-movie-aficionado boyfriend has moved home, we’ve been watching movies and shows pretty frequently. It’s been quite enjoyable – not to mention, I’m finally starting to get through some of the shows on my must-watch list.
  • Biking – Now that my bike, Shelby, is home and I have a biking partner, we can finally get out. We haven’t done much yet, but hopefully we’ll start picking it up soon. We did bike eight miles (round trip) down to a park a couple of weeks ago. It was great, but there should be a law that parks have to be built on hills so that when you leave, you’re going downhill all the way.

This is me. Only with less hills and more panting.

  • Going to the gym – Along with biking, boyfriend and I have been going to the gym more frequently. I used to have a decent gym routine set up, but it completely fell apart once I got crazy busy over the winter and I haven’t been able to get back into it yet. Now that boyfriend is coming with, I have incentive to get my butt over there and lift some weights.
  • Decluttering – We’re preparing to host a garage sale at my house, and since boyfriend and I are preparing to move in together soon, we’re looking at our stuff and seeing what we can get rid of. It’s a bit of a process to dig through all of our stuff, but we should get through it over the weekend.

What I’m watching:

  • Arrested Development – Boyfriend and I saw Bridesmaids last weekend (which was decent and worth a theater viewing), where we saw previews for two upcoming movies starring Jason Bateman. That led us to a brief discussion about Jason Bateman’s humorous qualities, which led us to decide that we should watch AD next since I’ve never seen it and boyfriend liked it. Long story short, we’re about to start streaming AD on Netflix.
  • Criminal Minds – Yep. I’m still watching it. Last available season, though.
  • Tron: Legacy – I was kind of curious about this movie when it came out, and boyfriend wanted to see it, so he got Tron in last week so that I could see it. We got Tron: LegacyΒ  in on Wednesday.

Onto this one.

  • Leverage – Turns out season 3 is on Netflix, so I can finally finish watching the later episodes that I missed (and thus, start watching season 4).

What I’m reading:

  • Influence: How women’s soaring economic power will transform our world for the better – This is an interesting topic to me, especially with the ever-prevalent wage gap between genders. Dychtwald talks a bit about how women have been able to prosper in developing countries with just a little sustenance, but she also talks about how women in first-world countries have learned to become highly successful from little as well. I haven’t been able to get into it yet because I suck at reading nonfiction, but it’s the one I’ve started.

On page 4.

  • Lessons from the Fat-O-Sphere – This is the one book from the library that I may not get around to before they’re due, but it’s probably the one I should get around to. It’s written by bloggers, which is fantastic, and discusses dieting, body image, and acceptance. Definitely apropos for me.
  • New Day Revolution – I actually wanted to read another book of this author’s, but this was the one my library had on hand. It looks like a fairly interesting book – it discusses how to make small changes in your daily routine that make a big difference. I’m looking forward to seeing if it’s any good.
  • The Succulent Book of Succulence – I’m pseudo reading this. To be fair, I’ve been pseudo reading this book for years. It’s not that it’s a bad book, I just always find myself doing something else. Like most nonfiction, I’m having difficulty staying caught up in the book. Hopefully I’ll pick it up again soon.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • My new job! – I cannot express how excited I am about my upcoming new job! I really admire this organization and their mission. I’m a little nervous about my role as Community Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator because it’ll be quite a bit challenging, but I’m very excited to see what I can do. I need to be challenged. It’s how I thrive.
  • Garage sale – As I mentioned above, my house is participating in our city’s community-wide garage sale next weekend. We had to drop $20 to participate, but considering that a regular garage sale ad in the local paper is $45 and we get TONS of traffic, it’s definitely worth it. We just have to work our booties off to get it prepared.
  • Getting my new computer – I’ve been hoping to get a new laptop for a while – I’ve had mine for a few years, so it’s got a slow processor and the fan was dying. We’ve solved the fan issue, but it was time, so I finally dropped $700 on a new computer. It’s a Lenovo IdeaPad Y560 and it sounds fabulous. That’s definitely the most money that I’ve spent on any purchase lately, but I think it’ll be worth it.

Hello, new lovely!

  • Shopping with my friend – One of my dear friends is moving to Washington, D.C. in the next few months for a job, so I’m trying to steal as much time with her as I can. She hasn’t been fully introduced to the Mall of America (she’s a native Texan), so we’re going to browse around there and nom on Noodles and Co.’s Wisconsin Mac ‘n Cheese. Yum.

What are your current happenings?

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Happy Saturday! I’m heading down to Winona to help my boyfriend move back home. Here are the other currents:

What I’m watching:

  • Criminal Minds – Just assume this is going to be on here for eternity. Actually, I’m finishing up the fourth season, so probably not.
  • Bones – Just assume this is going to be on here for eternity. Really. I’m only on the second season.
  • Alice – I don’t know how I stumbled across this – probably a Netflix suggestion – but my boyfriend had it in his queue also. It’s a Syfy mini-mini-series based on the much overdone, not very good book Alice in Wonderland. It’s very long as one movie since it was designed as a short series, but it’s quite good. It’s definitely got a darker twist on the original story, which I always love. I’m anxiously waiting for the American McGee’s Alice, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as Alice, to be made, though!

This looks pretty freaking awesome.

  • The King’s Speech – My parents started watching it when boyfriend and I were at my grandma’s on Easter, so we want to finish it. It does look pretty good.

Blogs I’m reading:

  • Embracing your inner cupcake – This lovely blogger, Heather, was my partner for this month’s Paper Doll Project. She’s got adorable style and I’ve really enjoyed reading her posts. She’s also given me some new ideas – always a good thing. Like this – I never thought someone curvy like me could pull off a maxi, but how glam does Heather look in this one? Incredibly glam.
  • Saturday Jane – Jessica seriously might be my more humorous other personality. She is hilarious. And her sense of humor is exactly like mine. And this post sounds exactly like a conversation with my boyfriend. It’s creepy. Get out of my head, woman! But she’s inspiring me to take note of my conversations with others, which will hopefully lead to some amusing posts.
  • A Reason to be Fabulous – This woman is downright adorable. Seriously. Go look and tell me she’s not adorable. She’s got a great sense of fashion and always has fun pictures. The best part? She looks more like me than other fashion bloggers, so I get a lot of great ideas for outfits from her. Like when she challenged herself to wear a white-button down shirt in five different ways one week. Love.
  • Coffee and a Cardigan – This is another awesome lady. Louise is such a doll and she’s got the greatest outfits! She wears a lot of dresses and skirts, which is realllly making me want to add to my collection. How adorable is this? I can definitely learn a thing or two from these ladies.

Check it out!

Thrift stores I’m loving:

  • Arc Value Village – I had never been to this thrift store up until last weekend and I really didn’t know what to expect. I don’t usually have luck with thrift stores, but I’d been wanting to take a day and go thrifting for a while, so I decided to be positive and see what came of it. I made out like a bandit. Arc was probably my favorite of all of the places we ended up during our thrift store adventure. They were organized fairly well (careless people always move things) and I found three cardigans there. Score!
  • Turnstyle Consignment – This consignment store is in my city, but I had never even heard of it until I looked up thrift stores in my area. It was a bit expensive (most consignment stores are) but I did find two shirts that I really liked. I was pretty disappointed with this store’s plus-size selection, though.
  • Chap Thrift Store – My mom told me about this thrift store a long time ago, but I had forgotten about it until I did my recent search. This is THE place to go for furniture, apparently. We got there late in the day and saw a ton of great looking furniture that had already been sold. Also, it’s run by a church and they give away day old bread (especially artisan breads) for free. We took home a ciabatta loaf and a honey sunflower loaf – both were delicious.
  • Unique – Unique reminds me of a great VeggieTales song called “StuffMart Rap.” Need a bookshelf? We got that! Need clothes? We got that too! Need mismatched silverware? They’re in stock! Their prices have gone up a bit recently, but they’re still a good go-to place if you have time to sift around.

Seriously, watch that clip. It's great.

Things I’m looking forward to:Β 

  • One last stay in Winona – As I mentioned, I’m down in Winona helping my boyfriend pack up and move his stuff back home. We decided to spend the night, mostly so we don’t rush ourselves. I’m grateful for this – because my boyfriend may hate it there, but Winona was my mini-vacation from life once a month. I really enjoyed spending time down there and I will miss having an excuse to get away.

Goodbye, Winona.

  • Getting my bike back – The good news about leaving Winona is that I’m finally bringing my bike home! I kept it in Winona because I didn’t use it much here, but I loved biking around town with boyfriend. Hopefully he and I will bike around here on at least a weekly basis. Shelby is coming home! Yes, I named my bike. Don’t act like it’s not awesome.
  • My Girls Night In Lia Sophia party – I’m having a jewelry, wine, and makeover party this Thursday and it should be a fun time! Not going to lie, I’m hoping the wine will invoke more jewelry purchases. I’m tricky like that.
  • Buying my WordPress domain – Yes, I’ve decided to do it. I’m going to buy my WordPress domain! Look for big changes to come in the next few months as a result.

What are you currently doing?

Remember, today is the last day to enter my giveaway for a nonfiction book of your choice from this blog post! And with that, here are my current happenings:

What I’m watching:

  • Criminal Minds – Yes, I am still watching Criminal Minds. It’s probably become my favorite crime show, although perhaps under Castle. I didn’t even realize I was already in season four until I saw the title on the last disc – only one and a half more seasons to go.
  • Firefly – A new awesome employee wellness activity at my work – catered lunch and an hour in front of Firefly monthly on Fridays! Talk about a perfect way to end the week. Granted, I was hoping we could watch a show that I hadn’t seen before, but I love this show, so I don’t mind.

"Space cowboy!" Wait, that's not the right show...

  • Bones – I finally have availability on my Netflix instant queue, and since I had started watching a few episodes of Bones a couple of months ago when my boyfriend was visiting, I decided I should keep going with it. I have yet to decide on whether or not I like it.
  • Angel – …is finished! The reason I can finally start watching other shows on my Netflix instant queue is that I finally finished the entire series of Angel. That means that I am done with both Buffy and Angel (the TV series, anyway – I’m working on getting the comic book for “season 8” of Buffy from the library) and can finally move on. Thanks for the good times, Joss.

Blogs I’m reading:

  • Already Pretty – I’ve mentioned Sally’s blog before, but her blog is my favorite of the fashion bloggers that I’ve seen. She doesn’t just write outfit posts, she answers readers’ questions, she discusses body image issues, and she seems like a genuine sweetheart. As for the fashion, the woman is an amazing dresser and not afraid to be bold. Plus she’s from my home state. You should definitely check out her blog!

With a heading like that, how could you not love her?

  • The Loft’s Writers Block – I stumbled across this blog thanks to a Twitter update and thought it was a really interesting concept. For those who don’t know, The Loft is a literary center in Minneapolis that’s dedicated to improving writers and nourishing creativity. Their blog features posts inspiration in order to help writers (or anybody) break through that haunting writers’ block. Even if you’re not a “writer” – but are maybe a blogger *hint hint* – their posts are definitely worth a look.
  • The New Professional – I don’t remember where I stumbled across Angeline’s blog, but it’s a fantastic mix of work and fashion blogging! Angeline has adorable outfit posts – that are all business casual, which is what I wear to work – and discusses other work-related ideas as well. She always has an inspiring outfit or great idea to share, so I’ve been enjoying checking out her blog regularly.
  • Miss Vinyl Ahoy – Not only does the darling Suze have some bold and awesome outfits, she also is in charge of the Paper Doll Project (which I really need to choose a piece and sign up for already!!). It’s a great way to connect with other bloggers and have fun. The idea is you pick an item in your closet and someone else (pre-chosen) designs an outfit around that piece for you. Should be fun!

Stressors:

Not a pleasant topic, I know, but there are definitely a few things that have unfortunately been top of mind lately.

  • I’ve been sick – I haven’t been sick in over aΒ  year, due to regular working out and vitamins or something, but my good luck finally split. I caught a cold from my boyfriend (who I do not blame) and it’s been downright nasty. I haven’t had a cold take me out in a loooong time, but this one has kept me from sleeping (one hour of sleep one night) and working (took a half day on Monday). All I can say is UGH.
  • The foster cat – I adore Ballerina, I really do. What makes matters worse is that she “chose” me as her person. And that would be great except she and I do not cohabit well at night. I’ve tried everything – kicking her out, wearing earplugs – but she meows outside my door so I have to let her back in to avoid waking my roommates and she’s been waking me up through the earplugs because she wants attention. She’s adorable, but once she wakes me up (at 5 a.m.), I can’t fall back asleep. No longer acceptable. I’m going to see if my roommate wants to adopt her like he initially wanted. Sad panda. 😦

She's sweet and adorable until it's 5 a.m.

  • Upcoming living situation – Chances are very good that I’ll be moving out of my house at the end of July and moving in somewhere with my boyfriend. Where? Oh, good question. We don’t know. There are many unmentionable issues that are holding us back, so we’re waiting for answers on those. Always waiting.
  • Money – Money is always an issue, and it’s actually been better than normal, but it’s still a frustration. You may recall that I put myself on a grocery budget this month in order to curb my spending and use up what I had in the house. Well, I did use up some stuff, but I definitely broke my budget. I also broke my overall budget, so needless to say, last month’s budgeting did not go so well. Stressor.

Things I’m looking forward to:

The above happenings may be stressing me out, but it helps to think about these upcoming happenings.

  • My boyfriend is moving home in two weeks! – After two long years of long-distance romancing, my boyfriend and I are finally going to be living in the same community again! As I mentioned above, we’re planning on moving in together, but we’re not sure that will be immediately or at the end of July. He seems to be allergic to something at my house (hopefully not bedbugs since we JUST sprayed again) and there are a lot of people there already. Regardless, I get boy time whenever! Definite excitement.

Yay!

  • Getting healthy – If this could happen RIGHT NOW, that would be great. Kthx.
  • Library reopening – Okay, I know this makes me a nerd, but the library in my town has been closed for remodeling since last September and I really miss it. The other libraries in my county are not convenient and I really got used to running to my library for a quick drop-off or pick-up. I even put the reopening in my calendar. I’m like that.
  • Shopping – I still haven’t gotten to go shopping (remember the aforementioned budget crisis?). I have a few stores that I want to go splurge at, but I’m waiting for an influx of money. I also still want to go thrifting! Hopefully soon…

What are your current happenings?

Good morning! Spending the day in Chanhassen at the MN Speech State competition – wish our kids luck! Here are this week’s currents:

What I’m reading:

  • Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Finally, I get to finish the Hunger Games series! I’ve had the books in my possession for a while, but I haven’t read them because I’ve had so many books out from the library and I felt like I needed to finish those first since they had a more quickly approaching due date. I definitely have to get this series, too.

So excited to read this!

  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson – I know this book has been on my list before, but as mentioned above, I haven’t been able to focus on reading books that weren’t from the library. I’m very interested to read this story as it was banned from some schools for its discussion of sexual assault – uh, hello, don’t you want your kids to be prepared? Apparently not.
  • Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti – Yes, I know this book keeps showing up on the list too, but I keep having to return it to the library before I can finish reading it. I’m waiting to get it back from the library so I can finally finish it. Still amazing!
  • Understanding by Design by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe – I’m actually not reading this for fun, I’m summarizing this to write an article for work with a colleague – however, it’s pretty interesting! It provides a new and logical guide to teaching and preparing curriculum. Any teachers reading this should definitely check it out. I’ll try to let you know when the article is available.

Places I’m shopping:

  • Victoria’s Secret – A week ago, I went into VS to find out the amounts on my secret rewards cards (I had three). I scored $100 off! Needless to say, I was ecstatic. I stocked up on another of my favorite bra and got myself a fantastic deal on my new favorite perfume. $110 for $10. Awesome.
  • Gordman’s – I’ve been to this store once, but I must not have been in the mood to shop because I don’t remember it and it’s definitely worth remembering! I went with my friend last week and picked up a cute headband, a kitty laser toy, and an adorable new purse for only $30. We browsed around for at least half an hour and I avoided buying a lot of stuff that I wanted. I entered into a store sweepstakes, so hopefully I’ll win a $100 shopping spree there.

Come onnn, shopping spree.

  • Target – Ah, the old standby. I’m just pleased because I managed to pick up all the treats for my speech kiddies for a very low price. Nothing beats that!
  • Ulta – I found a new shampoo that I love called Giovanni Tea Tree Treat. It’s perfect for my hair if I skipped a daily shower and smells great. It’s supposedly sold at Target, but I’ve never seen it, so I go to Ulta for my shampoo needs. Plus they always have great deals!

Happenings I’m attending:

  • Speech banquet – At the end of every speech season, the team celebrates at Brackett’s Crossing Country Club with a team dinner. Seniors stand up and say a few words, a few students give their speech, and coaches hand out awards to key students. It should be a great finale to a fantastic season!
  • West Suburban Teen Clinic (WSTC) board meeting – I take notes for WSTC at their monthly board meetings. This Wednesday is their April meeting. I always enjoy going and seeing their new space, so it should be good!
  • Dinner with the family – After cool g-ma died, my mom, aunt, and I set up a monthly dinner to ensure that we would spend time together. It hasn’t happened every month due to time constraints or illness, but it does happen at least every other month. My aunt was in the hospital this month (she’s okay now) so we couldn’t have our dinner on the 6th as planned, but we’re going to have it sometime around Easter. Perhaps Easter dinner?

I'm the one with the mustache.

  • Rachel’s party – It’s my colleague’s birthday tonight! I’m invited to a dinner to celebrate. I’ve never met any of her friends, but she’s awesome, so it should be just fine.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Thrifting – My friend and I still haven’t gotten around to thrift shopping – I work weekdays and she works weekends, so it’s hard to find a time when we’re both free for at least a few hours. Too bad thrift shopping requires so much time and patience.
  • May and the return of my normal food budget – As I mentioned in a Foodie Friday post, I have way too much food in my house. And yet, I still spend an enormous amount of money on food. This month, I set up a strict budget for my grocery spending – which I’ve increased slightly now twice. I completely forgot when I went to Winona that I had set up the budget and went a little crazy when shopping with the boy. Oops. But May brings the return of my less restricted budget!
  • Sprummer – Yes, you read that correctly. Sprummer is the very short period in Minnesota that falls between spring and summer. Ideal temperatures, sunny, not yet humid…perfect. I can’t wait to finally get to that short-lived season.

Tulips are perhaps the best thing about sprummer.

  • Hanging out with my lovely former work friend – Tomorrow night, I’m hanging out with an old friend of mine. I haven’t seen her in forever, so I’m super excited. She’s just a ball of joy to be around and we always have fun together, so I’m really looking forward to it!

What’s currently going on in your life?

In Winona with the boy! Here a list of my (our) currents:

What I’m watching:

  • Criminal Minds – I’m officially on season 3! In fact, I get disc 2 of season 3 tonight. I’m getting there. I have to admit, though, it’s weird without Gideon.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer – I reached a point in Angel where I was ready to switch back to Buffy to finish up the series. So far, it’s been okay…seems a little repetitive, to be honest, but I like the addition of Principal Wood’s character. I’ve been waiting for Faith and Caleb to show up, and apparently they show up in the same episode, which is the next on my list to watch.
  • The Fighter – I love Mark Wahlberg and I’ve been interested in seeing this movie since it got Oscar notice (when I heard about it). Either my boyfriend or myself usually rents a movie from Netflix so we can have a movie night, so this is the one I chose.
  • Hop – Part of the reason I’m down here this weekend as opposed to a different weekend is because my boyfriend and I had a quadruple date with his friends to see Hop yesterday. I got a great deal on movie tickets from LivingSocial, so it was only $9 for two tickets!

What I’m reading:

Some of these haven’t changed since I last updated on this, but I’m slowly working my way through them. I just finished Blink, which I would highly recommend!

  • Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti – As a feminist, I love feminist literature. I have an entire shelf on my bookcase devoted to feminist literature, including a book of Bitch essays, Our Bodies, Our Selves, and many Eve Ensler books. That being said, this is one of the best works I’ve ever read. It contains many essays that discuss female sexuality (gasp!) and how our society actually enforces a rape culture in many ways. It also talks about ways we can change that. I highly recommend reading this book, even if you don’t consider yourself a “feminist” (which, by the way, simply means that you believe in equality between sexes).

  • Buddha’s Brain: The practical neuroscience of happiness, love, and wisdom by Rick Hanson – I have heard nothing but glowing reviews for this book. My main goal in life is to be happy, so to work on that, I try to find new ideas about how to achieve happiness. I’m very interested to see what Hanson has to say on the subject.
  • Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins – Yes, I’m finally getting around to reading the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy. I’ve been so busy trying to get through the books I have checked out from the library that I haven’t been able to read the ones I’ve borrowed from my awesome head speech coach. Mockingjay (the third book) is also on the list.
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson –Speak is another book I’m borrowing from my head speech coach. I first heard about this book when I saw that it was banned from some schools for being “too explicit” in its rape description. Just from flipping through it, I don’t think it’s too explicit at all. I think young women (and men) need to know what rape is like in the hopes that we can avoid it in the future.

Events I’m attending:

  • West Suburban Teen Clinic’s volunteer appreciation night – I’ve volunteered with this amazing organization for almost a year and I’m very excited to attend the appreciation night with other volunteers! It’s being held at a bowling alley where I used to work (different location, though), so I’ll be familiar with the venue as well. Should be fun!

  • U of MN Career Networking Fair – I’ve been taking on more HR responsibilities at work, which includes attending career fairs on behalf of the company. In mid-April, I’m attending another career fair hosted by the University of Minnesota (I attended one in February). Hopefully it’ll be useful.
  • Speech sections – Although the regular season of speech has ended, we still have work to do to prepare for sections and state. 39 kids from our team (including two of my kids!) qualified for sections coming up this Thursday – I can’t wait to see who moves on to state.
  • Dinner with my mom and aunt – This isn’t really an event, per se, but it’s an important night for my family. Ever since my grandmother died in 2009, we’ve had (mostly) monthly dinners. This Wednesday is my grandmother’s birthday, so we’re having our monthly dinner that night. I haven’t decided how to honor that yet.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Spending time with my boyfriend this weekend – I LOVE going to visit my boyfriend. He doesn’t like where he lives, partly because we’re apart, but I love visiting. Obviously, I love getting to spend time with my boyfriend, but I think part of the reason is also because it’s a mini vacation for me. I sleep later and fall asleep easier, we veg out in front of movies, we bike around – it’s wonderful.
  • Getting back to the gym – I used to hate the gym. I still somewhat dread going to the gym. But I really miss the feeling of working out and feeling like I’m not entirely lazy. I put my account on a freeze for this month when I realized that I wasn’t going to have any spare time to go because of work and speech. My account starts back up in April and I can’t wait! In fact, I’m going to make my boyfriend take me to his gym this weekend so I can get started.
  • Biking around town – One of my very favorite things to do in Winona is bike around town. Winona has some great trails around man-made lakes, but my boyfriend and I also like to bike into the town and ride around. We’ve even biked a couple of miles down to the edge of town on the highway. Who knows what we’ll do this time (depends on the weather), but I can’t wait to get my bike back!

  • Thrift store shopping – My friend and I love shopping, but we’re both broke, so we’re going to take a day and go thrifting. I found a few shops up in Richfield that I want to try out – I’ll let you know how that goes!

What are some of your current happenings?

Read the rest of this entry »

I’ve decided to make this a bimonthly blog post – I want to keep up with this theme, but one week seemed too short for me to have anything new to say. The categories may change up a bit each time, but they’ll all be current happenings in my life. Without further ado, here are my currents at the moment:

What I’m watching:

Yeah, yeah, two repeats. I know. Bad blogger.

  • Criminal Minds – I’m going through the entire series (I’m only on season 2) on Netflix, so this will be on here for a while. Every time I have a disc in the mail, I get excited knowing that I’ll get to watch an intriguing dramatic crime show that night!
  • Angel – Again, I know this was on the list last time, but it’s a slow-going process. I’m still in season 4, but I’m hoping to be able to devote more time to relaxing with a good show now that speech is calming down.
  • The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – I’ve been meaning to watch this final movie for a while. They made these over in Sweden, so they’re in Swedish with English subtitles, but they’re not bad. Do they stack up to the quality of the book? No. Are there better than what USA could probably turn out? Yes. I don’t agree with some of the actors, but there is no doubt in my mind that Noomi Rapace is Lizbeth Salander. She is unbelievable. Totally makes the movies worth watching.

Tell me she's not Lizbeth. You can't. 'Cause she is.

  • Six Feet Under – My boyfriend has been telling me for months that this show is amazing and I have no reason to doubt him. I was planning to watch it before Criminal Minds, in fact, but he was visiting and we needed something to watch, so we ended up going with Criminal Minds instead since he had seen Six Feet Under – and once you start, you can’t stop.

Personal dilemmas I’m dealing with:

Also known as the downer section of this blog post.

  • Do I stay or do I go?– I’ll be honest, I was kind of relying on getting into grad school. I had plans to move to Santa Cruz in August with the boy and start a new life. Obviously, all that has changed. Now the question is, when do I move to California (it’s a when, not an if)? In the meantime, do I stay where I’m at? Do I move where the boy is while he finishes school, but give up what I know in the cities? Do I stay after my roommates’ leases are up in July? There are so many questions about this running through my head on repeat.

I belong here.

  • Am I as smart as I thought? – Throughout my entire life, I’ve prided myself on one consistent thing – my intelligence. I breezed through high school. I didn’t even have to work incredibly hard in college, all things considered. Suddenly, I’m not a top candidate for jobs, I didn’t get into grad school. I find myself being told over and over again that I’m not good enough, that I don’t stand out in the crowd. I spent a long time wondering what happened to the golden girl I was. Then I started wondering if maybe I’m not as amazing and intelligent as I thought I was. Definitely a hard pill to swallow.
  • How much stress is too much? – Those who know me know that I overbook myself. Not just occasionally – all of the time. I don’t realize that I’ve overbooking myself half of the time. I really want to be able to do everything, but I get unbelievably stressed when I’m in the middle of everything and I realize that I can’t do it all. I’m trying to learn how to find balance and calm in my life and perhaps fulfill that pesky New Years’ resolution about de-stressing.
  • How do I accomplish my dreams and goals? – …especially when I’m not even sure what those dreams and goals are. As I mentioned, I feel like my home is in California, but that’s not necessarily for life. I love parts of Minnesota and this, too, will always be a home for me. I don’t know what I want to do for a career – I would be good at and could see myself enjoy many things. I don’t know how to move forward. I want to create a dreamboard and see what I can do to help myself realize some of my dreams.

Blogs I’m loving:

Fashion blogs! My dear friend, Kate, has perused fashion blogs quite thoroughly, and although I’ve found some great posts on the ones she’s highlighted, I’m a plus-size girl and that fashion doesn’t always work for me. I did some research and found some fantastic plus-size fashion blogs! Here’s a mix:

  • Corazones Rojos – This woman looks damn good in fashionable bottoms. Colored tights, ripped or distressed pants, you name it, she can pull it off. I’m a pear-shape, so I don’t feel as comfortable in items that make my lower half stand out, but I just might try some colored tights thanks to her!
  • Young, Fat, and Fabulous – This woman has some fierce style choices! I wouldn’t choose to wear a lot of the stuff she wears, but she looks amazing in it. I also love her use of color, which I’m going to try to start incorporating more into my wardrobe.
  • Already Pretty – This woman – from my state! – makes AMAZING use of color. Seriously, she has such an adorable style. I want to steal her style, but I will settle for figuring out how to borrow it. I’m definitely going to keep an eye on her blog and pick up on some tips!

I am so in love with this outfit.

  • Blue Collar Catwalk – The woman has cute style AND knows how to do it on a budget. Definitely my kind of read! She’s also started a section called “Blue Collar Collective” where people submit their outfits that they’ve put together for under $100. As I start finally being able to add pieces to my wardrobe, I think I’m going to take part in that.

Things I’m looking forward to:

  • Sleeping in next Saturday – That’s right. After many weeks, I finally get to sleep in on a Saturday! Our regular speech season ends today with the Roseville tournament (sad panda). Sections and state competitions are still ahead, so we’re definitely not done working, but it’ll be a nice reprieve from the six-days-a-week, 13-hour days.
  • Zumba – Make fun of me if you want, but I got a Zumba DVD from the library and I really like it so far! For those of you who haven’t heard of this phenomena that’s recently exploded, it’s a Latin hip-hop dance exercise. I’ve only been able to do it once, so I’ve only learned the basics and put it together in a 20-minute workout, but I had a great time. I’d love to get a Zumba partner and check out some classes.
  • Closet shopping – Yes, you read that correctly. Inspired by my empty pocketbook and my fashion blogs, I’ve decided to put on some jams and completely refresh my closet! This Sunday, I’m going through it piece by piece and mixing new items (like today, actually – I’m wearing a short black cardigan that I never wear because I’ve been afraid it’ll show off my midriff instead of my chest – well, screw that!) I’ll take pictures and write up a post for Makeover Mayhem so you can see the progress (drama?) that occurs.
  • Spring – It’s been 50 degrees the past couple of days, which, combined with the sun in the sky later at night, makes me absolutely thrilled! I hate winter, so any signs that we’re finally leaving the pit of cold doom is exciting to me.

I can't wait!

What are some of your current happenings?

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