Thursday, October 30, 2014

Rest of the Year Goals

Stephanie inspired me with her Not-A-New-Year Resolutions, and I wanted to make some of my own because I am a fellow list loving, goal making, planning planner who loves lists, goals and planning.

See, I am the kinda gal that makes new years resolutions every year. I pretty much break them every year as well, but I just can't stop making them. I know they are silly, I know you should work on goals all the time, not just one day a year - much like you should show love to your lover on other days besides Valentines Day, but hey who gives, right. I love New Years Resolutions.

Problem is, I make such lofty goals and I never meet them because I ask too much of myself. So this year, I am going to make some goals for November & December in preparation for the BIG goals I have planned for 2015 (yeah I already have my goals planned, what of it?).


1. Lose weight / work on my fitness.

I am so sick of this being on my list of goals, but as long as the lazy keeps hanging with the pigging out, this goal stays put. I don't even want to lose weight that much, I just want to stop fighting with my jeans and get back into my normal pants - I'm currently in my 'fat' pants, my 'skinny' pants are a distant memory. Health and fitness are more important to me than losing weight, so I don't care if the scale moves as long as my clothes start fitting better.

2. No more gluten.

I am allergic to this shit. And I keep eating it. It makes me sick, it makes me break out and it is going to give me bowel cancer if I keep going. STOP IT KRISTEN. It's especially hard to stay away from gluten when I travel, so I am hoping to actually obey my body and eat zero gluten so I can eat all the gluten in NYC. Priorities, folks.

3. Pay off 1 credit card.

4. Buy all my Christmas presents by the end of November.

I have my list, I'm checking it twice. I'm using swagbucks as much as I can, but I don't have enough bucks to cover Christmas completely, as I only really started using it recently. I have enough for a good sized chunk though. The reason I want to get all of my shopping done in November is because a) Black Friday sales b) I have to send presents overseas and I can't use Prime for that c) Christmas shopping stresses me out and makes me buy things for myself, and the closer it gets to Christmas the more stressed out I get. Finish shopping early = less stress = less personal shopping.

5. Limit the shopping for myself.

I didn't buy any clothes or anything in September, I did okay in October but in November and December I want to make sure I am only buying things I will wear a lot, only good additions to my wardrobe. No more wanting things just because they look cute on pinterest or someone else. I need to make smarter decisions and this will help prepare me for the massive shopping challenge I have planned for myself in 2015.

6. Purge & Sell, Purge & Sell.

After the mini shopping ban I went through, I started thinking way more about my clothes and wardrobe and what I want them to be. I have so many items I never wear, so many things that don't fit and so many things that just aren't me. I have started listing them on eBay but I want to get rid of it all by the end of the year. If I don't sell, it goes to Goodwill.

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I have other little goals as well, like keep going with the no soda, and meet my goal of 100 books this year, but these 6 are the big ones that I need to do to give myself the butt kicking I need to make 2015 even better than 2014.

Do you make New Years Resolutions, or are you a set a goal whenever I feel like it kinda gal?
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wuthering Heights Review

Am I the last person in the world to read Wuthering Heights? Probably. When I saw that Kay & Kari were reading it for their book club this month, I knew I wanted to tag along. I thought, hey, I read Austen, this will be easy as pie.

Before reading the book, I vaguely knew it was a love story, with two selfish, greedy main characters and a depressing ending (or so I thought). Funnily enough, two of my favourite 'love' quotes are from this book, I knew them by heart I had just never read the book before.

“If all else perished, and he remained, I should still continue to be; and if all else remained, and he were annihilated, the universe would turn to a mighty stranger.” 

“He's more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.” 

Even if you haven't read the book, chances are you've heard those quotes before.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Remember when I thought this would be easy, because I'd read a couple of Austens?


The first couple of chapters are deliberately confusing. One of the most important aspects of the novel is its manner of narration, nothing is ever related simply from the perspective of a single participant. Instead, the story is told through entries in Lockwood’s diary, but Lockwood does not participate in the events he records. The vast majority of the novel represents Lockwood’s written recollections of what he has learned from the testaments of others, whether he is transcribing what he recalls of Catherine’s diary entry or recording his conversations with Nelly Dean. Because of the distance that this imposes between the reader and the story itself, it is extremely important to remember that nothing in the book is written from the perspective of an unbiased narrator, and it is often necessary to read between the lines in order to understand events. 


After the first couple of chapters the book gets much easier to read, I can't stress that enough. I started this book like 17 times, zero exaggeration and I struggled to get past the first 2 pages. I didn't think I would be able to continue. Once I pushed through, it started to make more sense and was an easier, enjoyable, interesting read. Phew. That's not to say it was completely easy or light, there were certainly parts I didn't understand (anything Joseph said basically) and it took me every bit of a month to read. 

It is not a pretty fairy tale love story; rather, it is swirling tale of quite unlikeable people caught up in obsessive love that turns to dark madness. It is cruel, violent, dark and brooding, and many people find it truly unpleasant. And yet it possesses a magnificence of language and design, a sense of enormous pity and great loss that sets it apart from nearly every other novel written.


I actually kind of loved that there wasn't a happy ending, if suddenly everything had worked out hunky dory and the bad things actually didn't happen it was just Nelly being silly, I would have felt cheated. You can learn from the mistakes of the past, which is the message we got from the union of Cathy and Hareton at the end of the novel. I admire Emily Brontë for not guaranteeing a certain happy ending.

One of my favourite things about Wuthering Heights were the ghosts. They constitute a key image throughout the novel. It is crucial to note that what comes back in the first dream is not a dead person but a name, and that what brings the name back is the act of reading it. The message that this sends to the reader is that by reading we are keeping things alive; which is why I love to read! Catherine and Heathcliff were alive whilst I read the book, fictitious or not. Emily Brontë is alive because I am reading her book. Jane Austen is alive because I read her books. I love it. I get to live (in my head) how they did. I get to be someone else, live a different life, live all these different lives and 'meet' all these different people. That's why I love to read.

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Honestly, there is not much I can say about Wuthering Heights that hasn't already been said. Do I think you should read it? Yes. It's a brilliant book. If you don't want to read it, don't. Simple. But it is so unbelievably worth it, such a good book, one of the best. Classics are classics for a reason.

Have you read Wuthering Heights? Did you love it?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Training for Tuesday (and Halloween Party)

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great weekend (and Monday). If you follow me on insta you may have noticed that KC and I had a Halloween party on Saturday night. I thought I'd share a couple of photos, and then we'll get to training talk.


It was a fabulous night, if I do say so myself. I didn't feel so fabulous on Sunday, but it was worth it.

Ok, onto the reason we're here today. Last time I talked about my goal for my 4th half marathon, which was to just finish run the whole race, and to not do any worse than I have done before (that's no fun).

To recap, here are my previous half marathon times:

2011: 2:37:15
2012: 2:04:48
2014: 2:39:15


And for half marathon #4? 2:33:21. Definitely nothing to write home about, but nothing to sneeze at either. I knew I wouldn't break my dream goal because I was not prepared, and that's my own fault. Just makes me serious about training for the next half. Which will most likely be the KY Derby mini in April 2015. I didn't use an app or anything, I just wanted to run and not have a voice telling me I was going too slow or whatever - I know I'm in the minority, but sometimes I just want to run, nothing else. I listened to an audio book (3 guesses which one...) and it was perfect for me.


the medal is super cool
But anyway - I ran almost the whole thing. The hills sucked, and I was 'running' so slowly that I was exerting so much energy but moving slower than a snail. So I power walked up the harder hills, and ran the rest. My knees did not play up AT ALL which was awesome, one ankle got kinda mad whilst running but was okay afterwards. My hips were so unbelievably sore, I could barely walk. I was seriously worried about the party that night, how could I host if I couldn't walk? I got a milkshake on the way home and did less than 20 minutes of yoga. I have never done yoga after a long run before and OHMYLAWD I could have run another 13 miles right then and there. All the pain disappeared, I'm not exaggerating at all. Then I danced all night and had no issues, and today I'm a little tight but absolutely nothing like I have been before. Thank Zeus for pigeon pose.

I was able to see Rebecca as I crossed the finish line which was SO AWESOME. I felt like a superstar, normally they hand the medals to you but we pretended I was all fancy and she put it on for me. I basically fell into her arms in the pretense of giving her a hug, and she held me up until I could stand on my own... just kidding. I thought I was about to die, so we didn't get a photo and I tried to walk back to her afterwards but was told I couldn't. Boo! I also tried to meet up with Katie, but we couldn't find each other. No fair! It was nice to know they were there either way. 

Anyway. So the point of my training for tuesday post today is to share my new goals.

Running

In April 2015 I want to break 2 hours. I know I can do it because I was so close in 2012, so I need to get back in similar running shape, so my goals right now are to run 3-5 times a week. That's it.

Strength

I haven't done proper strength training in so long, I have really missed it. I have done little videos here and there, but haven't done a full on workout at the gym so I'm excited to get back into that.

Yoga

I don't do enough yoga, I want to get to where I am doing it 4-5 times a week. I'm not very good, but the only way to get better is to keep doing it, right? I think I am going to do the first Erin Motz challenge again before moving on to the new challenge.

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I need to work out a schedule for myself, like running on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday and yoga Mon-Fri or something like that. Some kind of schedule with all the workouts. I like routine. It's kinda nice to know that I can just workout for the fun of working out right now, with no race in the near future. I know this sounds kinda silly, but knowing I have running friends (even if they are all on the internet) makes it so much more fun and exciting, and it really helped me with this race - if I didn't have Alyssa or Tracy telling me I could do it and hosting this link up, I probably would have given up training altogether, but I didn't, so thanks ladies!

One thing I really struggle with is continuing to run or workout during the winter. Normally what happens is it gets too cold for me so I take a small break in early November which suddenly turns into February. Anyone got any tips or tricks to stay motivated during winter?


Friday, October 24, 2014

House Tour; Kitchen + Laundry Before & During

Ah the kitchen. The room that I spend a lot of time in, and the room that I have the fanciest, pinterestiest dreams for. Unfortunately, pinterest kitchens are hard to come by where we live and in our budget. We saw a lot of bad ones. So when we found our house, I was very happy - it's a huge kitchen with plenty of room for a big table and maybe an island one day, even if that island is from ikea.

Here's what it looked like when we first saw it:

And here's what it looks like today:


I am not sure if you can tell, the left wall (if you are facing the window) is striped, but it almost looks like sticky tape, I am not a fan though KC is. I would love to paint it, but I have no idea what colour.




My very small collection of cookbooks. I love cookbooks and actually have a few at home that mum has been sending me, and I want to do something cute with them, I'd love a shelf in the kitchen or a cute basket on top of the fridge.


The cabinets are pretty horrible. The previous sellers obviously painted them but from what I can tell, they didn't remove them or do a very good job. It's hard to see, they look better in photos but in real life you can tell - not good at all. Definitely need to redo these, hopefully next summer.



I love these cute little canisters I picked up in Australia in June, at a Salvos (like Goodwill).


And here is our laundry / pantry right off the kitchen:


Warning, it's not pretty. I need Kathy to come over and help me organise my shit.



The laundry / pantry has a lot of potential and we do use it to house a lot of stuff but I just know there has to be a better way. I'm thinking the shelves are too far apart, or maybe I just need to be better at organising and be more pinteresty.

What colour would you paint the kitchen? What else can I do to make this space more fabulous?
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

House Tour; Spare Rooms + Hall Bath Before & During

I'm a little embarrassed to show these rooms. But I'm going to anyway. We haven't painted any of these rooms, they just photographed differently.

Here's what the 'guest' room looked like when we first saw it.


 And this is what it looks like now. We did have friends stay with us back in May, and I swear I took a photo with the bed that we borrowed from my mother in law, but I guess not. This is where I do my workouts & yoga, and obviously we hope to buy a bed one day but there always seems to be something more important to buy. We don't have a lot of people stay over, anyway. The idea is that we are going to buy ourselves a new, adult, big people size Queen bed, and put the full bed in the 'guest room'. It's a really good size room, too bad about the puke coloured walls.




This is what the 'office' looked like when we first saw it.

And this is what it looked like from when we moved in (December) till about August.


Ok, slight exaggeration. That photo was taken when we were re-doing the floors, hence the tv and whatnot. However, even after that this was our 'junk' room for so long, filled with crap we never should have even packed. This is why you should declutter when you move, not just throw everything in boxes because you are really over packing. We eventually cleaned it out and got rid of the dresser turned tv stand we hadn't used since the apartment. And here's what it looks like now:



Yeah we have a faux 'window seat' for the kitties. They love it.


This is our old bookcase, and it holds most of KC's other books that aren't special enough for the living room.


This is our old kitchen table and it's where I do all my million crafts, you know.


Here's what the hall bath looked like when we first saw it:


And here's what it looks like now; very basic but works for now.



I can definitely see that these rooms will get the least attention in the months / years to come. I have big plans, but there is always something else, like travel, or bills to pay.

But clearly I need some help, so hit me with your recommendations!
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Winter Book Challenge; Preliminary List!

YAY MORE BOOKS. Check it out

I kinda failed the last challenge. I picked some books just because they fit the categories and then I didn't want to read them - I actually found a few good books that way, so I am still glad I read them, but this time I'm going to make better decisions so I can win this shiz. I have been reading like a fool lately so I think I'll do better on this one - it's easier to stay in and read when it's cold (which is anything under 80 for me...).

The challenge is from November 1st to February 28th. Plenty of time to read 13 books- it's 120 days so a little over a book every 9 days. You don't have to finish the challenge (I didn't last time) it's still a great way to find books and book lovers. Doooo eeet.



5 points: Freebie! Read any book that fits the general rules.

Hmmm. I imagine I will find something. Wink wink.

10 points: Read a book written by an author who has published at least 10 books.

I'm reading the Stephanie Plum series and I'm not even halfway through it. Janet Evanovich has probably published 50 or so books, so one of those will cover this one. I am also passed the ones I have read before, so they aren't re-reads after #10.

10 points: Read a book of short stories

This one really stumped me but then I thought of A Pemberley Medley, which I haven't read yet. Does that count? It's 5 short stories so I think it counts. 210 pages.

10 points: Read a book with a food in the title.

I actually got a copy of All's Fair in Love & Cupcakes via Netgalley, so there you go. 320 pages.

15 points: Read the first book in a series that is new to you). 

I have had a few people recommend the Selection Series to me, and it was already on my list... I'm totally going to read the whole series though, unless I hate the first book. 336 pages.

15 points: Read a book that was originally written in a language that is not your native language. 

I had no idea Inkheart was originally published in German, and I watched the movie a couple years ago and remember bits and pieces, so I'm excited to read the book. 548 pages (excuse me?!)

15 points: Read a book written by a local author.

Do you know how many awesome books there are from KY authors? Not a lot, let me tell you. I wanted to make my 'local' Australia but was told I couldn't, boohickey. I found The Queen of Kentucky (375 pages) which sounded mildly interesting.

20 points: Read a "bookish book" (see original post for explanation). 

The Thirteenth Tale (one of the examples) was already on my to read list and it has such great reviews, I can't wait to read it. 406 pages.

20 points: Read a book with a direction in the title.

OMG NORTH AND SOUTH. It's a bit soon for a re-read though, so I will read Northanger Abbey (251 pages) and if that doesn't count, I'lll read Margaret of the North (363 pages). 

25 points: Read a book from a genre you don't usually read. 

Honestly, there is a reason I stay away from the genres I don't really read. I love this suggestion, but thinking about a book in a genre I don't usually read makes me go harrummph. I wish I had saved Gone Girl now, no matter, I'll read Sharp Objects because it has pretty good reviews and I did like Flynn's writing.

25 points: Read a book with a song lyric in the title. 

The Girl You Left Behind (one of the examples) was already on my list, so yay! The song is Girl You Left Behind by Pixie Lott.

30 points: Read two books with a different meal in each title.

This one was so bloody hard. I had zero books on my to read list with breakfast, lunch or dinner in the titles - there are 500 books on that list! What the shit! Finally I found Breakfast at Darcy's (funnily enough, nothing to do with P&P and 427 pages) and Lunch in Paris (314 pages).


If you are going to do the challenge, here are my suggestions:

Make your 'to read' list work for you. A lot of my books are ones I already had on my list - last time, I just found any book that sounded good and I dragged my feet towards the end because I wasn't feeling it. Obviously that's not always possible, it helps if you use goodreads to keep track of the books you want to read.

Don't rush + have fun. As soon as I started thinking I had to read the books and had to finish them quick smart, the last thing I wanted to do was read. Who cares if you don't finish the challenge? The important thing is that you're reading... and we all know there is no enjoyment like reading!




So? You with me?
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

House Tour; Master Bedroom + Bath Before & During

Ah the master bedroom. For some reason, this is the hardest room for me. I know what I want, but it's hard to find things in my price range and taste, so I just leave it all as is and sulk in a corner. Sigh.

Here's what it looked like when we first saw it:

Very pretty, and oh how I wanted that dresser. Beautiful. But anyway. KC wasn't a huge fan of the purple, and wanted to paint. We painted it the very first night we moved in, which was not the smartest idea because we were tired and it was the first bad snow of the winter and it took KC like 5 hours to get home. Also, not smart was the fact that I let KC pick the colour. What was I thinking?

Here's what it looks like now:



The Disney print was a gift for our wedding.



Ok, I know it's not that bad (or is it?). It's just so blue like nursery blue. And the dressers aren't horrible, but they are KC's from when he was a kid. So, I'm allowed to want my own stuff, 'our' stuff. But like everything, there always seems to be something just a little more important to buy first.

And this is what the master bath looked like when we first saw it:


And here's what it looks like now:


This thing was the first item KC and I bought together for our apartment, and it's from Goodwill holla.



It's very small and outdated, and so gold, but it works for us and I am hoping we can update it a little soon. Baby steps, right?

The master bedroom needs a complete overhaul, in my opinion. Everything. Bed, bedding, walls, furniture, art and whatnot. So I will not be offended if you want to throw all the suggestions at me.
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