Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Being Positive

With the recent purchase of our first home, it's fair to say that the past month has been an especially good one for me. As someone who tries her best to live a positive, healthy life, I'm also the first to admit that attitude matters and that negativity really doesn’t get me anywhere. That said, there are definitely times when I will, without any added guilt, allow myself to feel sad, angry or just generally unhappy.

One of the many reasons I think people suffer in silence when feeling sad or depressed is because there’s a social stigma associated with being unhappy and admitting that we don’t all have the picture perfect lives we believe we’re supposed to. Instead of showing the world our true selves, we portray ideal versions of our careers, homes, relationships and more via social media, succumbing to the pressure to be happy and positive at all times, believing that if we aren’t able to do it all and have it all, we have hopelessly failed.  

(via Live It Up

Honestly, I do this, too, trying not to talk too much about the bad experiences and challenges, even though, really, the past few years have been a mixed bag for me, bringing both some of the best and hardest days of my life. And isn’t that the way life usually is, a series of ups and downs, good times and bad times?

In certain ways, my life today is better than I ever imagined it could be. In others, it isn’t. And that’s OK. I’ll keep finding the answers, being positive when I can, allowing myself to work through negative emotions when I need to, and knowing that in the end, it’s all a part of this crazy, wild adventure we share.

(via Anna Grrrl)

Do you ever feel pressured to be positive no matter what or to portray a "perfect" life? 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Best Birthday Present Ever (aka Our New Home)

What could possibly be more exciting than buying your first home? Not much, in my opinion, unless you happen to be doing it on or around your birthday!

When my husband and I moved into our current apartment last year, we hoped it would be our last one and that we would be able to purchase our first home by the time the lease expired this fall. To our surprise, things ended up moving even a bit more quickly than expected, with us finding a realtor in late August, launching a search and viewing about 20 homes before finding the one we loved – a three-level townhouse with a small yard and walkout basement. We made an offer that very evening, got a reasonable counteroffer, accepted it and went to settlement just a couple days after I celebrated 31 years.

Our first home!

 Celebrating with champagne. 
Having lived in apartments my entire life, owning a home is a huge step for me, one that’s scary and thrilling all at the same time. And while there are definitely a few things we want to have done before moving in later this month, plus some other changes we'd like to make over time, all in all, we know this will be a great first home for us. 

Are you currently house hunting or planning to start looking? We were lucky to work with an excellent realtor, so if you’re in the DC area and need a referral, just let me know. If you've previously been in our shoes as a first-time homeowner, do you have any helpful advice to share? 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Because Summer Isn’t Over Yet…

Summer may be winding down, but in my flip-flop-loving heart, its memories still live on. And I've made some really great ones this year.

Ever since Memorial Day heralded the start of the season, I've had the chance to visit the Cali coast, enjoy three glorious days at Disneyland, discover trampoline boot camp, watch dragon boat races on the Potomac, celebrate my four-year wedding anniversary, see the fireflies shine during my evening walks and get ready to embark on the scary, exciting house hunting adventure of my life. 

And while many people here on the East Coast say so long to summer as soon as Labor Day’s come and gone, I'll try to keep some of its spirit alive even as we now head into September. This is, after all, my favorite season, so why not? 

Have a great Labor Day weekend, everyone, and enjoy what's left of this amazing, magical time of year. Because it isn't over just yet.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Trampoline Boot Camp

Ever since my friend and I visited an indoor trampoline park last month in California, I’ve been obsessed with the idea of finding one here in my own little corner of the DC area. Luckily, I did just that last Saturday when my husband and I went to a one-hour, boot-camp style trampoline class that was fun, unique and incredibly challenging.

Since my friends and I grew up trampolining in one of their backyards, and I did just fine with the freestyle jumping last month, I figured I should have no trouble at all mastering the class, right? Wrong! Though I was able to keep up overall, it was also one of the toughest workouts of my life, and I definitely have work to do before I’ll be as fast and fit as some of the regulars who were there.

Still, out of all the workout programs and classes I’ve tried, this was by far my favorite, and I’m looking forward to sticking with it as much as I can. No, I didn’t take any pictures of myself all sweaty and red-faced, but if you want to get an idea of what the class is like, check out the video below.

As you watch, keep in mind that the intensity of each session can vary depending on the instructor, as can the types of exercises you do. Our instructor focused on cardio and strength intervals, plus obstacle course-style routines using the trampoline, weighted balls and resistance bands.

Sound like fun? Each class at our local Flight Trampoline Park costs $11, but they also offer a $16 two-class pass and a $70 10-class pass. And if you don’t have a Flight Park near you, there are other companies out there, too, like Sky Zone and Rebounderz.

Have you ever given trampoline fitness classes a try? Would you? I absolutely recommend it if you're looking for a different, fun and challenging workout! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Five Things Thursday: Best of the West

Hello out there! How was everyone’s July? Mine was awesome, mostly because of the couple weeks I spent chillaxing and catching up with family and friends in California. From Nor Cal to So Cal, Disneyland to Dana Point, and many places in between, there was rarely a dull moment. Although it’s impossible to pick out absolute favorites, here are five crazy cool memories from my time on the West Coast, best coast.

1. Hiking to Mammoth Rocks

Since Stephen’s family has a cute vacation house in coastal Nor Cal, we decided to kick off our trip by spending 4th of July weekend exploring the area. Along with watching the annual fireworks over the bay and going to a local pancake breakfast fundraiser, another highlight was hiking along the gorgeous coastline to Mammoth Rocks, which scientists believe the ancient creatures once rubbed up against, creating uniquely shaped smooth patches that exist to this day. 

2. Visiting DreamWorks Studios and the Iconic Hollywood Bowl

When one of your best friends works for DreamWorks (hi P!), visiting the studios is an absolute must. Even better? Going to the Hollywood Bowl to watch the DreamWorks 20th anniversary show hosted by Jack Black. That outing was in celebration of another best friend’s 30th birthday (hi B!).

3. Three Days of Disney

It’s no secret that I’m an absolute Disneyland fanatic, so when my mom suggested a three-day girls’ trip (Stephen had to head back to DC a bit sooner than me), I was totally down. Two nights at Disney’s Grand California Hotel helped us pack in nearly three full days of park hopping at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. We also had a special dinner at Downtown Disney’s Rainforest CafĂ©, where animatronic elephants and gorillas put on a spectacular show. Even though I may have tired out my mom and sister with my go, go, go adrenaline rush, overall, it was a really great time.  

4. Giraffe Gazing at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Of course, no trip to California would be complete without a visit to one of the state’s amazing zoos. The Santa Barbara Zoo, located on the Central Coast, is big enough to be fun, but not so big that you get lost walking around. My favorite animal? The giraffes, of course!

5. Trampolining at Sky Zone

Disney, the zoo and trampolining? Yes, I’m definitely a kid at heart. My friend and I had a blast visiting an indoor trampoline park and getting a great workout while catching up. Have you ever been to one of these places? I need to find one around here ASAP and ask whether they have an exercise class I can enroll in.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures from Sky Zone because my phone was stashed away inside a locker, so I'll leave you with a couple other final shots instead. 

What have been the highlights of your summer so far?