Thursday, November 20, 2014

When size doesn't matter.. to me.

When I was younger, this is what I pictured for my wedding:

people
Big wedding, big ring expectations:
tiffany

And while we are at it, this is what I expected my house to be like:

source
with a closet like this, duh:

source
and my car:

source
As you can see... quite a materialistic young thing I was. As I got a wee bit older I realised that all of these things are completely unattainable as they cost a shit ton of money, and I prefer food, paying the bills and travelling to being broke.

The point of this post, you ask? My engagement ring.

I have seen some people look at me in pity when they see my ring. "Don't worry" they say, "you can get a bigger and better one when you all make more money." And to that I say, you're a virgin who can't drive.

source
KC and I are different than most couples. We had a deadline, a 'you'll get deported if you don't get married' deadline. So we started talking about marriage as that deadline approached, and while it's not for everyone, and I know some people look down on me and find it hilarious that I picked out my own ring, I say eff you to them as well, because pick out my own ring I did. I went to the store, found the cheapest, prettiest one and asked them to hold it. I told KC about it and went on my merry way.

It wasn't the Serendipity/Disney fairy tale ending I had dreamed about, but I was older and I knew what was important. What's important to me is that this guy and I spend the rest of our lives together. Simple. The difference is our story wasn't an ending, it was just the beginning (aw corny vomit).


I don't care what other people spend their money on - I really don't. Do what you want. What I do care about is when people think they have a say in how my husband and I spend our money. Yes my ring is small. My wedding was small. It was bigger than we would have done if it was just us paying for it, and it was awesome, but to some I missed out because we didn't do this or that. Some people looked down on us for Honeymooning in Vegas, instead of say, Europe. Some people look down on us because we have a small house, where the only people walking into our closets are the cats. Sure, we don't have brand new cars. Sure, I don't have designer clothes, and I'll probably never have a kitchenaid. Well, I do have a kitchenaid, but it's not as fancy.

But my point is.. You'd be surprised how many people think they can have an opinion, that they can comment on how we got engaged or the size of my ring.. You'd be surprised how many people think it's their business. And I hate to admit it, but sometimes they get to me. I feel like I got gypped, I feel like I am not doing enough, that I'm trying to compete against people I'm not even in the same league with. It gets me down, and that's not cool. It's especially hard when you are a blogger, I think, because it seems everyone in blogland is doing better, and you want to show off your life to make your blog more entertaining, and let's face it - we want people to look at our lives and be slightly jealous. Not change your life to copy it jealous, but to be like 'oh I wish I had that, wish I could do that, wish my house looked like that'. It's natural, but comparing is no fun.

source
Recently, I did some yearly recap posts and that was probably the most eyeopening thing I have done on this blog. Finally, I realised how much we have done. How much we have accomplished because we didn't waste hard earned money on things like rings, houses and cars. I traveled to America and back to Sydney 6 times in 2 years, with a trip to London thrown in as well. I went to football games and music festivals. I was able to move across the world and some people never leave their hometown. And when my mum came to the country I was living in, I was able to meet up with her in another state. To have the ability to do that - it's just priceless to me.


I am able to sign up for races, celebrate holidays and special occasions with loved ones. I am able to squeeze in weekend trips away with friends and my husband. I am able to shower my friends babies with gifts and kisses, because I'm not working 3 jobs to pay for simply living (like I was in Sydney). I can waste money on pretty books. I was able to pay a silly amount of money just to spend 5 minutes with 2 of my favourite actors (and it was so worth it). I have been to Derby twice and Oaks once. I have been to 22 of the US states, plus DC. Heck, I was able to go back to Australia, so my husband could see where I'm from. 90% of people I meet say they want to go to Australia, and they might never get the chance.


That's not even half of the stuff we have done. Isn't that amazing? Would we have done these things if we had paid double for my engagement ring, or if we had a higher mortgage? If we had 2 car payments instead of 1? Who knows. If you had paid less for your house, ring or car would you have a different life? Everyone is different, every lifestyle is different, every bank account and every marriage. What you want is different from what I want. And that is ok. Each to their own, different strokes for different folks and all that jazz. Everybody wants something different.

Looking back on my life so far, it makes me smile, it makes me happy. Looking down at my ring makes me happy. That's what I want. That's all I've ever wanted. To be happy. I'm not saying the size of the ring is in direct correlation to my happiness (though there's this), but people butting in and telling me that it is and I would be happier if I had a bigger this or that.. well that doesn't make me happy. Not having to work all the time, like I used to, makes me happy. Looking forward to an amazing (albeit short) trip to NYC where I get to meet my blogging bestie makes me happy. Spending a whole day reading, or perusing a used bookstore makes me happy. Not being sick makes me happy. Buying used furniture to save a buck and make it ours makes me happy. Having 3 cats makes me happy.


Sure, sometimes I wish my house was a bit bigger so I could turn a formal dining room into a library. I wouldn't mind a shinier car, and a bigger closet. I wish I could drop everything and travel the world. I want a new couch, and to turn our current 'junk room' into a pretty office. But you know what? I freaking love my life. What a great life we have! I wouldn't change a thing.

Small engagement ring and all.

Does your life make you happy? Do you have people judging decisions you've made?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New Glasses à la Hipster

Firstly I just wanna give y'all a big ol internet hug and thank you for your sweet words on Monday's post. I know I'm not the only one who lets things like jeans not fitting get me down, and its so stupid to be so hard on myself so I just wanted to say thank you very much, you are awesome and that is all.

Moving on.

I have worn glasses for over 6 years now, mainly for reading and when I'm on the computer for long periods of time. Trouble is, my eyes are almost perfect except when I'm reading or on the computer, so it's really hard for me to get glasses that actually help when I read but don't hinder my normal vision.

I bought my original pair based purely on looks and they are quite annoying - because they are so small, the frame makes it hard to see anything that's not right in front of me. Kind of like how you can't see everything in a car when you're reversing or whatever - because the car is in the way. Does that make sense? Anyway. So if I am wearing glasses and someone in front of me talks to me, I have to move the glasses in order to see properly.


It gets super annoying during the day, every time I look away from the computer or I get up to get some water or anything, I have to move my glasses or take them off.

And because the computer is further away than a book, my glasses don't help as much as they should. I don't know how to explain to an eye doctor that although I can see perfectly, the words get blurry after a short time. I'm not sure if I am making any sense.

So I started searching for some new glasses. I was a bit embarrassed but I kinda wanted the bigger ones - you know, the ones that scream hipster? They just seemed so smart, the frame was above my eyes so it wouldn't hinder my vision - kind of like sunglasses, you wouldn't wear thin silly sunglasses would you? Anywho, I stumbled across Firmoo after seeing them on Camp Patton & Frikken Duckie. They also make sunglasses, but because I was in the market for some actual glasses, that's what I decided to get. But then I forgot about them, as you do.

The other day I was going through my junk folder and saw an email from Firmoo - um, what are the odds? They wanted to send me a pair. Don't mind if I do, thank you very much. You can even get free glasses - just need to pay for the lenses and shipping.


The glasses arrived quick smart with a cute little map themed case that just happens to have Australia on it (!!). I was super excited and tried them on immediately. Unfortunately, they are perfect for reading but not perfect for all day at work where the computer is an arms length away, so I am still searching.


I'm certain the reason they aren't perfect is because I used my old prescription details, and that was from many moons ago, so I need to get a new prescription to match my new old lady eyes. I can't go back to my original eye doctor because he's, well, in Sydney. I don't particularly like going to new doctors but I don't think I have much of a choice. My head starts hurting after squinting to read blurry words all day.

So.. be honest.. do I look like a hipster? Or like I'm trying too hard?

WHAT how did that copy of P&P get in this post?
I was given prescription glasses in exchange for a review on my blog - all opinions are my own as is the serious question about whether I look like a hipster or not.

Do you wear glasses? How do I get my eyes checked in this country? Help.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Kristen The (Non) Runner

I remember my first run. Basically, my aussie best friend asked me to play in her netball team and surprised me with a run to warm up before the game. I almost puked and she was shocked I hadn't said anything before running 5k. I went to the gym regularly but I ate like crap and was not a runner. But I was too embarrassed to tell her, so I just tried to keep up.

A couple of days after that, I jumped on the treadmill to try this running thing again. I could barely last a minute, I had no idea how fast or slow I was supposed to go, what I was supposed to do with the incline and I held on to the treadmill for dear life. I must have looked a real sight.

I started running outside after that - not paying attention to how far, just the time, and running the same route every day which I soon discovered was 5k. At first I had to walk most of it, and then slowly but surely I was running the whole thing. Then one day I decided to keep going, and I did another lap. Again, it took me awhile, but I kept trying and before I knew it I was doing 10k without stopping.

I had done the City2Surf before, but only walking. That year I was determined to run the whole thing - but it was harder than it looked! We have our own 'heartbreak hill' and I only managed to run about 10k, but I was still so proud of myself.


Then I signed up for my first half marathon. I had to walk bits and pieces but I did it - me! I ran 21 kms, which seemed so crazy daunting and scary 2 years prior. But I did it. I cried when I crossed the finish line - if you ever have the opportunity you should do a race that ends in the heart of Sydney. Nothing like it.


A couple months later I did the City2Surf  again - this time I ran the whole thing. So proud.



After that I ran regularly, 4-5 times a week, even when I visited and moved to KY. I did my second half marathon in 2012 and cut more than 30 minutes off my race time.


2013 was a stressful and busy year and I still ran, but I was nowhere near as consistent. One month I would run 20 times, another I would run once. The horrible winter really didn't help.

Finally in early 2014 I decided to sign up for the same half marathon I'd done in 2012. I thought it would motivate me. Unfortunately it didn't, and I ran 2 minutes slower than my first half marathon - I was so disappointed and disgusted with myself.


As the weather got better, I ran more. I was so slow compared to my old running self, and it discouraged me. It's so hard to go back and reach all the same goals, it doesn't feel as great the second time around.

I ran my 4th half marathon. It wasn't great, but at least I did better than #1 and #3.


Anyway, this trip down memory lane has a point, besides showcasing my love for a certain jacket. After all these races, I still don't call myself a runner. Never have. When people say 'oh you're a runner?' I say 'well, I run sometimes - but no, not really.' Like it's some club I can't get into, a hurdle I can't jump. Sure I run. But not consistently, and I have never taken it seriously. When I'm really into it, I love it. When I'm lazy, I'm lucky to go for a walk. So I don't call myself a runner. I feel that calling myself a runner somehow cheapens real runners, like Alyssa or Tracy. Or I'm adding salt to the wound for people who have an injury that prevents them running, like KC. How can I call myself a runner when I don't do it regularly, and he would give almost anything to run? I can't call myself a runner because I've gotten worse, I've gotten slower. Aren't you supposed to get better at things, not worse? I'm better at talking about running than actually running.

But that first run? That started this all? The date was November 17th 2009. I have been doing this for 5 years. Shouldn't I be better by now? I know you shouldn't compare, but other people have been running less than a year and are better than me. Or rather, they are better than they were when they first started - I have hardly improved, I've gone backwards.

I cleaned out my closet yesterday. It was fun. I'm a bit emotional with clothes sometimes, ruthless with others. I saw a pair of jeans from 2012, around the time of my best half marathon - I don't wear them anymore because I wore them when I worked in a restaurant and they smell like oil. I decided to try them on for shits and giggles. Well the joke was on me because I kid you not, I could not get them over my butt. Hilarious, right? I couldn't believe it. I know I've gained weight but this was embarrassing. I'm not saying I couldn't do them up, I'm saying they wouldn't even go past my butt.


Now that it's getting cold again, I'm struggling to keep motivated. But the 'jeans incident of 2014 that we shall never talk about again' gave me the kick up the butt (pun intended) I needed.

My problem is not only my motivation to run, but also the pressure I put on myself. When I started running I did so 'naked'. I didn't use apps, I had a watch on but I didn't monitor it the way most runners do. I like listening to audiobooks because if I listen to music I catch myself thinking 'one more song should be 3 miles'. I wait for the nike app lady to tell me how fast I'm going, and then I criticize myself. I listened to an app for a 10 miler in 2012 that turned out to be incorrect and I was so upset because I missed my opportunity to PR that I didn't run for 3 weeks (which happened to be the 3 weeks before the half marathon). Perhaps if I didn't get so mad at myself, and ran those 3 weeks I might have actually done a sub 2 hour half. Maybe.

I look back on my past races, specifically 2012, and I am so disappointed by how far I am away from that, how much weight I have gained, how much slower I am. I give myself goals and deadlines and I never meet them because I am too hard on myself. I have to understand that I am not going to get back to 2012 shape overnight. But I'm certainly not gonna get there by crying over a pair of jeans, eating ice cream with my ass on the couch.


So as of today, I am calling myself a runner. Zero pressure. No goals, no requirements, no 'must run this many miles each week'. I'm not gonna get mad at myself if I miss a run, or if I run slower than I 'should' be. At least, not yet. First I just need to get back into the routine, running needs to become like brushing my teeth again. It needs to be something I don't think about, something I enjoy. Once it is, I'll start thinking about specific goals and training plans.

I have done the triple crown (5k, 10k, 10 miler) for the last 3 years, and I am considering signing up again. KC doesn't really want me to, they are expensive and such a pain in the butt to get to, but as every runner knows, a PR doesn't count unless it's a race. The first race is 109 days away and the half marathon is 158 days away.

I can do this. I know I can. But it's not about can, it's about actually doing it. I have to do this. And I need you all to hold me accountable. Because if I don't get better, I am stripping myself of the runner title again. Ok that might be a bit dramatic. But I can't let a pair of jeans show me up like that. I can't let 2012 be my best. I've asked for help before and I am armed with the tips that you all shared (thank you). Here's to not going backwards anymore.


Do you have any health or fitness goals you're working on right now? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Hey hey it's Friday Favourites

Thank Zeus it's the end of this week. It wasn't even that bad, but how can you not be excited for 2 days off? You can't. It's not right. For a lot of my working life, I worked weekends. So now that I don't, I give them the respect they deserve.


It's been a hot minute since I linked up with Amanda so be prepared for all the favourites - I was saving them up.

Favourite Book

The best book I've read lately is easily The Girl You Left Behind. Read it and weep.


Favourite Purchase 

Ok, this won't matter to you unless you're a Jane Austen fan, but if you are... you need this. I love to collect copies of my favourite books (I have more than 20 P&P...) and this book contains a bazillion different covers of Austen's work. It’s fascinating and fun to see the different book cover art through the years since Austen was first published. It includes international editions, first editions, movie-tie-in editions, mass market paperback editions, graphic novels, e-book versions, editions aimed at children and teenagers.. seriously. It's amazing. Alongside the gorgeous graphics, the author provides some hilarious commentary about each cover making me giggle and want to be her friend. 

amazon
Favourite Look

I would never wear this (or most of Taylor's outfits) but hot damn I wish I could. She looks amazing.




Favourite trailer

I think this movie looks super cute / lame / awesome. Anyone want to see it with me, because I know KC won't.


Favourite Lipstick

I'm no beauty blogger but I'm learning, and even though red is fun, it's not for everyday (for me). I stumbled across Milani Nude Creme on pinterest and I am obsessed. It's nude without looking like you're wearing concealer on your lips, and it's creamy and kinda pink and I just LOVE it. And it's less than $6 so, yeah.



Favourite CD

Like the rest of the world, I'm jamming to Taylor Swift's 1989. I can't decide which is my favourite song, I loved 'This Love' immediately, but 'Blank Space' is so fun and I dig 'I Know Places' as well. Ok, 'Style' too. Ok, all of it. The highlight of our Saturday night was when Shake it Off came on, and we danced like we were in the video #noshame.


Although when I first heard 'Wildest Dreams' and she says 'no-one has to know what we do, his hands are in my hair, his clothes are in my room' I was like:


Favourite Workout

I took a bit of unnecessary time off from working out after my half marathon, but I finally - finally! - got back into the gym this week and it feels SO good. I haven't done weights consistently in a long, long time. I'm taking it easy and just doing lower body / upper body once per week and then I'll step up my game when I feel like I'm not gonna kill myself. I still want to do something other than running, and Amanda shared this video in her home workouts and I finally got around to doing it yesterday. Ow. That is all.


Favourite Recipe

I love making fried rice at home. I've made cauliflower rice before which was good, but way too much work for a weeknight meal. So I made a mish mash of that one and this recipe for dinner the other night. I meant to cook some chicken but forgot, so we had a side of fish afterwards. It would be great with chicken or shrimp. As you can see, my cats think anything in the kitchen is for them.



Oh and of course, a couple of funnies for funsies.





Got any crazy plans for the weekend? AND OHMYGAWD DID YOU HEAR ABOUT GILMORE GIRLS?!