Happy New Year, Readers!

To start the Re-Read Project, I’ve decided to re-read Lessons from Madame Chic by Jennifer Scott (pictured below). I got this as a holiday gift (First go was a library loan) and I remember loving it and intended to buy it. When I opened the gift, I was so excited! I adore this book and I am looking forward to revisiting the pages once again this month.

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As I look back on the last few years and I see a difference between 2015 and 2016 and therefore, how I am approaching 2017.

2015 was about exploration of so many new ideas. I discovered so much in 2015 and I became a human sponge, soaking up anything and everything I could get my hands on that I felt the least bit interesting or wanted to implement into my daily life. In 2016, I began to try to implement. And everything all at once. And each at the same level of dedication. Inevitably, the last quarter of 2016 my sponge-self could soak up no more. My sponge had reached capacity.

What ended up happening was I was so involved in these new, exciting ideas that I “fooled” myself into thinking they were Me. Lifestyle ideas, thoughts, and routines were adopted that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It was as if I had adopted multiple personalities based on these grand ideas of Who I Want To Be. The truth is, I didn’t really want to be any of them. At the risk of sounding like an emotional teenager a la Dawson’s Creek, I was looking for myself and my purpose in this world.

A few days before the clock struck midnight to welcome 2017, I hit a personal, mental bottom. No, I didn’t freak out, or cry, or anything dramatic. It was like something in my brain had realigned and snapped into place and the unfocused movie image playing on my internal movie screen snapped into focus.

Foolishly, I had been living this last year trying. And failing at trying. And the irony is, there was nothing to be successful for and therefore failure didn’t exist. But I still felt I was failing. And failing who? That is what I finally figured out. I was failing to please someone who does not exist in the physical world. I’m sure this makes no sense to you, but if it does, you get what I mean.

 

There are voices everywhere, screaming in our ears, telling us who and what to be in every aspect of our lives from how we dress to what we eat. In short, I was trying to please all those voices.

 

So today, I wring out my sponge and allow all the false voices spiral down the drain. 2017 is going to be about me, my rules, my way.

The biggest lesson learned in 2016 is simply: Know Thyself.

 

 

 

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We are in the final 2 weeks of 2016 and while many of us have our finger poised over the reset button for January 1st, I hit the reset button many, many times throughout the year. And today, I just hit it again. Well, last night.

Yesterday I posted about my personal winter guide  and how I manage to not crack apart and turn into sand during these dry, dark months. The outside is important, but even more important is the inside: our mind, our spirit, our organs and general functions of the body. We often forget that the outside is only as good as how the inside operates and that is what I am hitting the reset button.

My diet is the best it has ever been in my life, but something is off. This time of year I gravitate toward foods that are not the best, loaded in cheese – aka fat – and sugar because treats are abundant around Christmas.  While I have not “over done” anything in these areas, I feel a general sense of heaviness.  The rest button pressed today is a button to lighten up.

Reset my diet in a way that limits those oh-so-tasty, fattening and sugary foods that slows down digestion; get to bed earlier and work on getting a quality night’s rest; get back into my full workout routine (which has been sporadic at best); meditate daily and free my mind through writing.

 

I have slacked on the post a day plan I had when December started. I had the best intentions, but to post something for the sake of something does not a good blog make. Nor is it entertaining for anyone to read.

It is Sunday morning and when I was thinking about my lack of writing for a few days I decided why not just write a ramble post, no structure, just ideas and thoughts typed out.

The house is decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah.  My husband is Jewish so we celebrate both and with Hanukkah and Christmas eve on the same day is quite exciting! I have his gifts done and I cannot share those because he does read this from time-to-time. I have a few more goodies to grab which I may do today. I am also meeting up with my friend Lexi for brunch, then grocery shopping, then who knows!

Loads to do today and get done for the upcoming week.

Speaking of the upcoming week, I start my new position on the 16th. I’m nervous, excited, overwhelmed, over joyed, and anxious all at once. I’m not sure what to expect but I am expecting a very positive new chapter in my career. I wanted for so long to be out of a traditional customer service role and transition into something completely different and I got it. Not without it’s tears, lack of sleep, questioning myself moments, of course.  When I want something to change, I focus all of my mental energy on it and do everything I have to do to get it.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about where I belong in the expansive world of the web. There is so much content and I’ve been wondering how I fit in and what I have to offer. The truth is, this is not a full time job and I’m not sure it ever will be. Writing is something I’ve always done and always loved to do so my primary reason for posting is to write and share it. I want to share, inspire, and grow a community.  A community of people who work every day, take care of a home and family, and keep their happiness and hobbies as an equal priority.

Like all years, 2016 was the cliched roller coaster ride. I went through a few ups and downs, learned and grew up in many ways. As I approach the final decent and about to start 2017, I want to be sure I am being true to who I am, what I want to share, and what I want to do.

I welcome you to do the same.

I must admit, Christmas is not my favorite of holidays. There I said it.

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I am more of a Thanksgiving and Fourth of July kind of lady.  The biggest reason why is because there is so much comfort, joy, and excitement buzzing around and then come January 2nd – or whatever work/school day follows – the magic in the air fizzles and vanishes, never to return until next year. So many of us forget that comfort and joy should be with us all year! Why reserve it for 25 days out of the year? It got me thinking what brings me comfort and what brings me joy throughout the year.

 

Below are just 3 of my seasonal comforts throughout the year. What are yours?

 

WINTER COMFORTS

  • Homemade soups
  • Leggings and sweaters as lounge wear
  • Dinners and Gatherings with family & friends

SPRING COMFORTS

  • Opening the windows in the house for fresh, spring air
  • The end of daylight savings time – Spring forward!
  • The start of baseball season

SUMMER COMFORTS

  • Cookouts
  • Ceiling fans
  • The option for my hair to air dry

FALL COMFORTS

  • Backyard firepits
  • Root vegetables
  • The scents of cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin….

Eating a meal, alone, without a book, cell phone, or crochet needles is unnatural for so many of us in the 21st century.

 

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[image: etsy.com]

I am currently enrolled in an 8-week Mindfulness Meditation course and one of the first lessons was mindful eating. Now, I’m not one for eating in complete silence, counting the number of chews and feeling every textured nuance, but I do agree eating without doing something else is important. I’m no expert at this by any means. In fact, I started to really try this out this week during my lunch break. My lunch hour is my sanctuary hour. It is the hour I can close out the entire world and all the people in it and just be with me. So why rush through it? Why clutter our eyes and ears with junk when most of us put thought into what we put in our mouths?

I believe it is a fish-out-of-water feeling to eat and only eat at meal times because we are always plugged into the news cycle. And to do something alone is like being naked! This week I made a solid effort to sit at lunch and really eat. I did respond to a text message that popped up, but I did not scan blogs, scan the news, watch anything on Netflix.  Eating is a time to nourish our bodies and what we take in our eyes and ears at that time, I believe, is also being digested.

My experience this week has been great. Today, for example, I had soup and a salad. It took me 35 minutes to eat it. If I were watching something, I’m sure I would have finished the final bite at the 15 or 20 minute mark.

 

Elegant Place Setting with "Reserved" Sign --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Elegant Place Setting with “Reserved” Sign — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When we eat distracted we miss our meals and the gratitude of how lucky we are to know where our meals are coming from, the fresh food we have at our finger tips. We completely miss out on the mental rejuvenation we need in the middle of our workdays to help us tackle the second half of our days. We pittbulldoze past an entire free hour where we have no obligations to anyone but our stomachs.

Why let someone cyberspace rob you of those precious 60 minutes?

Do I always eat without watching TV or reading? No way. Sometimes that hour is when I can do those things uninterrupted. But lunch is the time where I can. And therefore, I should. We owe it to our minds and bodies to give them at least one mindful meal.