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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: Legacy  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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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?

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 MindsI’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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