Monday, November 18, 2013

Autumn Cleaning

A couple weeks ago, my hubby, my dad, and I spent an entire Saturday cleaning out our guest bedroom and home office.  I so desperately wish I had taken before pictures, but for whatever unknown reason, I did not.  Prior to the cleaning, the guest bedroom had the furniture, but there were large boxes stacked on the floor filled with things I packed up 2 years ago when we moved it.  The room was very cluttered and unorganized.  The office, now that was a disaster.  You couldn't even open the door without hitting something, and if you did manage to push it open, you couldn't even see the wood floor.  Instead, all you could see was boxes, old rolled up rugs, a raclette, a fondue pot, old shoes, an old fax, and more.  We have had our dogs for over a year, and they had never seen the inside of the office.  Because of the clutter, we just kept the door closed and would say “we’ll get to it eventually.”

Well, “eventually” came.  We started in the office, and it was unbelievably overwhelming.  The best way to tackle this was to start in a corner and gradually move around the room, and that’s what we did.  We created four piles:  keep, giveaway, store and trash.  Several hours later, the ground was nearly 100% visible, and the office closet organized.  We kept all the books in the built-in bookshelf since they belonged to my grandfather and great grandfather.  We then ventured to the guest bedroom where I went through each box and all contents went into one of the four piles.  More than 8 hours later, both rooms were cleaned and organized.  
Our guest bedroom...I still need to organize the bookshelf a little (move the pillows/hats)

Our Home Office...the floor is now visible!!
It was so cathartic and liberating to clean those rooms.  I am always much happier and much more productive when things are tidy.  Plus, it’s easier to find things!  The next big project is redesigning the home office!  I’m working with one of my mom and dad’s friend who is an interior designer, and she and I have some wonderful things planned that will transform the room!  Stay tuned….

Friday, November 15, 2013

Pictures Are Memories Frozen in Time

Last weekend, I devoted much of my time to backing up my old computer.  Now, my old computer is a 10-year old Macbook Pro, and has been nearing its end for many years.  After Mom passed away in 2012, my techie big brother backed everything Mom ever had up (phone, laptop, video camera, camera, etc), and I began using Mom’s computer as my own.  My old computer then became my “backup” with my 30,000+ photos.  Well, Mom’s computer now is about 6 years old and is beginning to slow down and freeze constantly.  Needless to say, it was time to back everything up on both computers, in case their time comes to an end.  So I hopped on CNET, read reviews for 1TB and 2TB hard drives, and settled on the very compact WD Passport 2TB which I ordered on Amazon.  Two days later, I had my shiny new Passport.

I spent several hours both Saturday and Sunday moving those 30,000 pictures from my old computer to my new Passport.  This was no easy task, but it sure was fun!  I found pictures going back as far as when my parents were younger than I am (scanned of course since digital photography was non-existent then) to some of the more recent photos from college, grad school and post-MBA life that I had forgotten about.

Here are some of the gems I found:
My mom and dad at age 25 with my big brother age 4.
My 8th Grade Graduation.
Going to dinner at Club 33 in Disneyland for my 19th birthday.
My first time in the snow after a blizzard my freshman year of college in NYC.
My 21st birthday in Hawaii with my family and now hubby :)
Me at age 4 with my cousin at her college graduation.

There are MANY more where these came from.  It's so much fun finding old pictures and just immersing yourself in them.  They tell such wonderful stories.  This is why I love taking pictures and creating albums...these moments are so precious and are to be cherished.

Do you enjoy taking pictures?  What do you do with them (albums, prints, keep them on the comp)?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

2014: A Year of Adventure!

One of my friends wrote a blog entry about  how traveling should be not relaxing, but rather adventurous.  This post really resonated with me for many reasons.  First, my friend and I live very parallel lives…we got married at the same time, we adopted dogs at the same time (both chocolate labs no less), we lost our moms at the same time (both from cancer), and we have very similar timelines for our future plans.  So when I read this post, I felt as though I was reading something I had written (although she is without a doubt a much better writer than I am).  She opens this post with a profound line:
Ask me the definition of “vacation” 3 years ago, and my response: “beach and sleep.” Ask me now, and my response: “where adrenaline meets natural wonders.”
It’s true.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Hawaii, Costa Rica, Jamaica and would go there again in a heartbeat, and I DO want to someday go to the Maldives and Turks & Caicos, but right now, at this point in my life, I’m craving adventure.  I want to explore the world.

Another point my friend makes is something that I think nearly everyone in my generation and younger can relate to…being glued to technology and social media.  Even when I’m wearing a purse, my phone is in my hand ready to snap a picture or respond to a text message at any moment.  I am guilty of forgetting to live in the moment because I’m so glued to my phone.  The first thing I do in the morning when I wake up is check Facebook and Instagram.  The last thing I do before bed (after saying goodnight to my hubby), is to mindlessly scroll through Facebook and Instagram before my eyelids get heavy and I drift off.  So in the words of Lauren:
And so, take this real-world deprived person and place her on a beautiful beach in Maui, and what do you think happens? She leaves her phone behind in her hotel room while she lays on the beach and stares at the ocean? Of course not. She needs her phone, to you know, photograph the ocean, photograph her and her husband, and share these moments with her family and friends. The phone is clearly only present to capture her vacation real time, and help her take in her environment. The phone will not be accessed for email, or internet browsing. Right.
Traveling to an adventurous location where you’re snowmobiling through a white-out, or hiking at 2,000 ft elevation on an unmarked trail, or bathing in a glistening Blue Lagoon surrounded by glaciers…whatever the adventure might be, having your phone or camera glued to your hand may not be such a feasible option.  Of course the camera will make a quick appearance when the ground is stable or the white out clears in order to get one beautiful photo to capture that magical moment, but it won’t be as frequent as say lounging on the beach with a Mai Tai in one hand and your phone in the other.

There is another very personal point my friend makes, and that is feeling her Mom for the first time since she passed.  I will never forget the first time I felt Mom after she passed in a warm breeze as though she was hugging me telling me everything is going to be alright.  When I’m outdoors enveloped in nature, that’s when I feel her most.  And in those moments, I smile and laugh, and I am happy.

Sean and I have decided that next year will be our year of adventure.  We have endured a lot of hardship in the last 3 years, and we’re ready for 2014 to be the year of excitement and adventure.  We already have some exciting things planned, and we’re working on planning a couple more adventures!  Stay tuned….

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Releasing My Fears

Do you ever have one of those days when you feel discouraged and overwhelmed?  Today was one of those days for me.  Both work and personal things just seemed to add up and I felt so stressed and upset.  The stress of a project at work just amplified my feelings about what’s going on with me personally, making it a very difficult morning for me.  I spoke with my hubby and my cousin about this, and they both made me feel much better.  Things have a way of working out.  I've always been a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and I just can’t see that reason…yet.  I have to remain hopeful, and I know that reason will present itself when the time is right.  After speaking with my hubby and cousin, I went to my “Words” board on Pinterest to which I pin inspiration quotes or messages.  Here are some that resonate with me today.

I have to release my fears and remain positive and hopeful that things WILL work out :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Workout Wednesday!

I am going to try something new, and on Wednesdays write about my workouts; hence the title “Workout Wednesday”.  Let's give it a go!

Since marathon training ended in March, I've been working out with a group in a boot camp style format every Monday through Thursday.  It’s even more fun because it’s almost my whole family who does it!!  Mondays are either a HIIT (high intensity interval training) or body weight/TRX; Tuesdays are AMRAPs (as many rounds as possible of a circuit in a specified amount of time); Wednesdays are cardio; and Thursdays are Tabata Thursday (my favorite).  I had to take last month off for health reasons, but this week I’m back at it and it feels so good!  I love starting my day with a killer workout to get my blood flowing.

On top of my boot camp, I’m working out with my personal training twice a week.  This morning I worked out with her before boot camp, and she destroyed my arms (in a good way!).  We did biceps, triceps, and shoulders, and my muscles were screaming!!  She definitely pushes me beyond my limit!  She's awesome!  A great trainer and a great friend.  After she kicked my butt, boot camp was all about spin, trampoline, and more arms!  Spin was 30 minutes of hills and sprints, followed by 30 minutes of trampoline + triceps + shoulders.  Needless to say, my arms got double the workout this morning, and are already sore.  I'm sure tomorrow I won’t be able to move them, and I love it!

Did you work out today?  What did you do?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Boosting My Platelets Through Clean Eating!

Since I learned about my platelet disorder a couple weeks ago, I've been doing a lot of research and reading as much as I can on the topic.  One of the things I've been reading on is how to increase my platelet count.  A lot of what I’m reading relates to diet, and although nothing has been proven, it’s theoretically supposed to help.

Here are some of the foods that are theorized to increase platelet counts:
  • Leafy greens (spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, etc.)
  • Broccoli
  • Lean proteins (fish, chicken, turkey)
  • Cold pressed oil, specifically sesame oil
  • Omega-3s (fish, oils)
  • Warm temperature water (cold water slows down digestive tract which can impact the body’s ability to absorb nutrients)

Foods that inhibit platelet production include:
  • Processed foods
  • Refined sugars
  • Junk food
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Tonic water (quinine)

Remember back in June/July when I was very strict with my eating?  It’s basically going back to that.  Don’t get me wrong, I still eat very healthy, but I do indulge in wine or cocktails and every now and then I've eaten pizza or things I really shouldn't eat.  Well, that all will have to go out the window.  Until my next monthly blood draw on 11/25, I am going to test this theory out and see if it works.  I had my blood drawn last week and my platelets were at 81.  Let’s see if they improve on 11/25 with strict healthy and clean eating!