Saturday, January 31, 2015

No bathtub, no problem.

Lately, I have found myself getting a lot more stressed out than usual. It's hard for me sit in one place and just unwind. Instead, I try to fill my time outside of work by exercising, cleaning, organizing, etc., but it generally just leaves me feeling exhausted and even more stressed out. To help out with this, I've decided to carve out a little bit of time for myself to decompress. Every house and apartment I've ever lived in, until now, has always had a bathtub for me to fill up with warm water and chill in with some candles and music. Bath-time was a huge part of helping me unwind once in awhile. But now, I think I've found a way to achieve a similar effect in the shower.   

Every night within the last week before I go to bed, I light 2-3 candles, turn off the lights in the bathroom and take a long, hot shower. The dim glow of the candles makes for a very different experience while showering that's immediately relaxing and soothing, very close to those quiet bathtub nights. After, I pat myself dry, slather on some lotion all over and go straight to bed. Stressful and worrying thoughts still race in my head here and there as I fall asleep, but the new night-time shower ritual is helping me pass out much sooner. It's a small change, but it's been pretty impactful; I'll try to remember to keep up with it.

Update on Dry January: 31 days without a drop of alcohol! Amazing, but I think it's time to celebrate with a glass of red tonight. Whoo!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dry January

17 days since my last drink. I've decided to go "dry" this month as part of one of my New  Year's resolutions (to go dry every other month). When I was younger, I remember hearing adults on TV and movies exclaiming how they needed a drink and wondering what that was like. Now I know.

After weeks of non-stop binge drinking starting in October through the holidays, I decided that it was time to get my shit together. I definitely gained weight and I got a cold that I just couldn't get over. It was just gross. But, since cutting out the alcohol after the NYE countdown, I lost most of the weight and I feel a lot better all around. Also, I've been a lot more productive. I've cleaned out my basement, my closet, gotten more work done in the evening and I'm even sleeping more. It's been a very beneficial change.

I can't lie and say it's been easy. Crazy work weeks and biting cold weather just makes me want to go home and drink a gigantic glass of red wine. Or vodka. Even me and Max's Netflix nights don't feel the same without a drink or two. Or three. I'm considering having ONE gin and tonic tonight for Max's show at the Drunken Unicorn, but the idea of showing up sober as a bird at a tiny venue with loud music and standing nuts to butt with a bunch of hipsters seems unthinkable. Although, I really want to see if I can go for the gold and just stay on the wagon for the remainder of this month. I'm already halfway there and I'd like to think that I can do just about anything for a JUST a month... I guess it's time to dig in and see what I'm made of. We'll see how it goes!

Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 New York Trip

Late last year, I tagged along on a trip to New York with Thao. She had two interviews for Medical programs: one in the Hamptons and the other in Queens. We spent five days exploring the different boroughs and taking in all of the typical tourist attractions (but, we still haven't been to the Empire State building or seen the Statue of Liberty!). Throughout our trip, we took video clips here and there, intending to make a video of our travel when we got back home. I had to edit down nearly an hour's worth of short clips, learn how to seamlessly loop a song to lengthen it's running time (still not great), and fuss with resolution to enable uploading onto YouTube. I worked in inconsistents spurts throughout the holidays, so all in all, it took me nearly a month to get the video done. Here's the final product. Enjoy!

I know the quality of the video leaves much to be desired, but overall, I'm satisfied with how it turned out. Honestly, I was getting so sick and tired with editing it, I was happy to just be done with the whole thing. But still, I should probably invest in a good camera at some point.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A case for the audiobook

One day at the gym a few weeks ago, instead of listening to my Spotify while on the treadmill, I decided to finally start Serial (it had been recommended by a few friends and people all over facebook). I was instantly hooked. Not only was I hooked on the story detailing the investigation of a 15-year-old murder case, I was hooked on listening to people talk while I exercised and drove.

After finishing the series, I downloaded the Stitcher app onto my phone and began to listen to many more different podcasts. Some were more enjoyable than others, but I missed the continuous narrative that Serial had provided. Then, while listening to an episode Freakonomics (Brief episodes, very informative and entertaining, I highly recommend it), I heard an ad for Audible and decided to give it a try. When you first sign up, you are credited two audiobooks for free-99. I decided to get Gone Girl. Again, I was hooked. I finished the "book" in a matter of days. I am now starting The Goldfinch

I can't go back to running to music or doing my daily commute to Lake City while listening to the radio or my Pandora. I find that I become much more focused while listening along and my mind tends to wander a lot less than compared to when I listen to music, so ultimately, I'm much more relaxed and I tend to enjoy my time alone at the gym and in my car a lot more. But I have to ask, is this cheating? 

Obviously my mind is not as stimulated as it would be if I were reading an actual book, but it's not quite as mindless as watching TV. I feel as though I am getting just as much out of the novel while listening as if I would reading, but I may be biased; I've always enjoyed being read to. I once made Max read chapters from the Game of Thrones series to me. Although he indulged me, I could tell that he found it somewhat bizarre. I'm not quite sure why, but something about having someone read a story aloud to me is very soothing (maybe it has something to do with my slight Peter Pan complex). 

I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't give my listening to audiobooks any merit, but why not? It's not like I'm listening to Dostoevsky or Dickens; I know to save the "real" novels for actual reading. I'm just not certain that the reading vs listening effects of mystery and thriller novels really make a difference. For example, I know I should buy tickets to see a show like Cirque du Soleil and see it in person, but, I'm not sure that I need to buy movie tickets for The Purge: Anarchy when I can watch it at home via Chromecast with Chinese subtitles (True story: Thao and I have done this). 

Until I figure out just how I feel about this whole thing, I'm probably going to keep enjoying listening to my guilty-pleasure novels while run or drive and call it day.

Monday, January 5, 2015

First Monday of the year and some New Year's Resolutions

Firstly, I would like to say, Happy New Year! This year, we spent NYE at Max's apartment and invited a few close friends to ring in the new year and party the night away. We had finger foods, tons of champagne and vodka shots, danced to endless amounts of early-2000s to 2014 rap music (we blasted a "No Hands" at midnight--a Jonesbrah favorite) and played a round of some rowdy Heads Up!. It was a good night.Too bad the same can't be said for the first Monday of the year.

Today, I woke up extra early to get to Magistrate Court and spent a little over six hours there for dispossessory hearings. It was not fun. I was pretty stressed, but mostly I was hungry. To help pass the time between hearings, I compiled a list of New Year's resolutions for 2015. They are as follows:

1. Make every other month a "sober" month (starting January)
2. Eat out less, cook more. Every week, learn a new dish no matter how simple or complicated.
3. Reach a minimum of 7k steps on my FitBit at least six out of the seven days of the week.
4. Sleep earlier, wake up earlier.
5. Stop skipping breakfast or lunch.
6. Save money for Hawaii in April and Maine in May
7. Lose 20lbs by the end of the year
8. Buy a brand-new couch
9. Embrace the JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out)
10. Watch less TV
11. Get a new job
12. Post something on this damned blog at least once a week
13. Read a new book every month

So, the first Monday of the year was kind of a doozie, but it's over now. I got to end the day eating homemade pho for dinner while hanging out with my adorable nephew to cap the night off.

Now that I think about it, this is the first time in my 28 years of living that I have ever written out my New Year's resolutions. The idea is to write it out to make it more "real" (I've heard about this technique somewhere, probably Seventeen Magazine or some shit), helping me to stay on track. I'm actually excited to see how I'll do with keeping up with this list at the end of the year (assuming I'll remember to check back). Until then, here's to a clean slate and hoping 2015 doesn't punch me in the face the way 2014 did. Whoo!

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Not too long ago, I saw an interview with Rashida Jones where she stated that in her teens, she wanted to be around people she thought were cool, in her twenties, she wanted to be around people she thought were smart and in her thirties, it’s been about wanting to around people with heart. Even though I just turned 28, I’m beginning to see how the part about wanting to be around people with “heart” is so true, at least for me, anyway. But, I do think I am lacking in kindness and empathy myself. Growing up in a household where “tough love” and “stoicism” were signs of strength, I find it difficult to express myself emotionally at times. I mostly feel that I’m too concerned with being “smart” or “clever” when I really should just work on my empathy and being a little more earnest.

For the past few months, I have been feeling pretty down on myself about being lost about my career choices, but I haven't been acting in any sort of way that would make it apparent to most people. The people who know me best, however, can see I'm somewhat affected. My mother has been pretty much at a loss on how to treat me during this time, so she mostly avoids me. My friends and sister have tried to be helpful by giving me advice and direction. With these polarizing responses, I constantly felt unsure about how to be normal/OK again.

A week following my 28th birthday, my dad took Thao, his girlfriend and I out to dinner to celebrate. During dinner, he asked me how I was doing. I have a strained relationship with my dad, so under normal circumstances, I would have just lied and said “fine” and tried my best to steer the conversation away from anything personal and talk about how the Falcons are doing instead. This time, for some reason, I decided to be honest and replied, “Not that well.” He patted my back and told me it was OK. It was simple enough response, but the sincerity and kindness in his voice and gesture was so overwhelming, I found myself unable to speak. I just nodded and tried to smile. 

It takes so much more to try to be “clever,” but the effect is short-lived. Kindness, on the other hand, can be a simple act and it will leave such a lasting impression. In that moment, after years of feeling one way about my dad, I suddenly felt differently. I will always admire and respect people like my mom for being hard workers with keen minds, but now, I also admire my dad and others like him, for their heart. I can’t say the brief exchange has fixed everything, but I feel a lot better than before.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Video killed the photograph star

A little over a year ago, I decided to start making videos of various trips and activities to put on YouTube to be enjoyed myself, friends and family. I found that this was a lot better than taking a crap-ton of pictures. I was known as the paparazzi friend because I was THAT girl that flooded your wall with photos after every birthday, wedding, holiday, etc. I used to take so many photos and spend all night editing them, uploading them onto facebook and tagging everyone. Now, it takes DAYS (I'm trying to get better at this!) for me to edit my video before I upload it onto YouTube for everyone to see. This is more difficult process for me because I'm so new at this, but the end product is far more enjoyable. 

I think it's more entertaining to watch of a particular event or activity with some music added to it than to mindlessly click through 100+ pictures. I mean, everyone is really just looking for themselves, right? Anyway, here's my first ever video. It's my trip to New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2013. It's rough, but I hope you like it.

More are on my youtube channel here.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Tired of saying 'I'm tired'

Ah, I'm so bummed that I let a whole month go without writing a lil' sum' sum' on here. I've been pretty busy with work, trying to crush my FitBit and just being a social butterfly every weekend. All of it always leaves me pretty tired by the end of the day...

BUT, no more! No more saying how tired I am, that is. I once read on (Love this blog) that telling people how tired you are, true or not, is really annoying. EVERYONE gets tired and no one wants to hear about how tired you are, specifically. After reading this bit of advice, I started to notice just how much I'm always saying "I'm soo tired" to my friends and family, which is all of the damn time. Kind of a buzzkill, really.

I've been trying my best to replace "I'm tired" with other things to talk about and I can honestly say, it really makes for more sparkling conversation. When I want to start talking about how tired I am, I instead ask the person I'm talking to questions about their day, what was the last movie they saw, etc. Or, I'll talk about all the things I'll do once I leave work or get home to relax. It's a small change, but way better than sounding exasperated and exclaiming to everyone how "tired" I am. Speaking of which, I can't wait to get home to make a smoothie, listen to the rainstorm for a while and then catch up on some Walking Dead. ;)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Big 1-0.

(Left: 2004, working as stagehands for the Clayton Co. production of "Wizard of Oz." Right: 2014, getting amped up for Jimmy Fallon at the Cobb Energy Centre)

Today is me and Max's ten year anniversary! The day we got together feels like a million years ago and just yesterday at the same time. It's really insane how time really does just fly by.

Here's a list of some fun things regarding the early days of our ten-year courtship:
  1. We used to talk to each other on landlines! His mom would occasionally pick up on another line in the middle of our conversations to ask Max a quick question about dinner. This was hilarious to me, but it infuriated him to no end.
  2. Max had just turned 16 and gotten his driver's license and I was just two months shy of my 18th birthday. We were babies, essentially.
  3. Max was working at the Barnes and Nobles on Mt. Zion Rd. He had originally applied for the job because he heard somewhere once that I liked going in there to just read and sniff the books. 
  4. We both wore bootcut-style jeans. *Shudders.*
  5. I remember us being super excited for the premiere of "Batman Begins" the following summer. I mean, just WHO is this Christian Bale character that's about to play our favorite comic book hero of all time?!
  6. We did not go on a date with just the two of us until about six months after we became "official" on Valentine's Day, 2005. My mom was really strict and insisted that either my sister or our friend, Sean, be around us at all times.
  7. Neither of us had a facebook account when we first got together.
  8. But, we did both have LiveJournal accounts!
  9. Max drove a giant, blue minivan that smelled terrible because his mom once left a gallon of milk in it and the container exploded under the hot, Georgia sun. Also, as a stroke of bad luck, the passenger side window (where I sat) would not roll down.
  10. Taco Bell was our JAM; we'd go after school, after movie dates at AMC 24, after tennis games at Atlanta Beach, etc. Now, we just drive by each location with mixed feelings of nausea and nostalgia. 
Cheers to ten more years laughing until I can't breathe, competing celebrity impressions and accents, and straight up good lovin'. Here's to the next ten!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Theory of Everything

With the release of The Theory of Everything trailer and the sudden burst of popularity of the ice-bucket challenge to raise awareness for ALS, I've been thinking a lot about what may happen to me when I grow older. Both sets of grandparents on my mom and dad's side died relatively young; no one lived to see past the age of 65. I feel fairly confident I will live to be much older. I lead a pretty healthy lifestyle; I go to the gym and run regularly and avoid eating at Cook-Out more than once every four months. So, I often think that when it is my time to go, it'll either be because of a freak automobile accident or from some horrible, debilitating autoimmune disease, much like ALS. I'm not really certain why I think about things like this often. It's probably because something went wrong with me too long ago for me to remember.

The other day, while fidgeting around, reluctantly snuggling on the couch with Max (I am also uncertain about why I don't like to snuggle, cuddle, etc.), I asked him if he's seen the Stephen Hawking movie trailer yet. Because I am a fucked-up person, I began to taunt him about how I may one day have ALS. He gets sad when I talk about getting sick or dying. He gets even more upset when I joke about it. Rightfully so, because all in all, it's a really depressing and morbid subject. I asked him if he would stay with me if I had ALS. To emphasize the gravity of having to stay with a person afflicted with such an illness (but mostly because I am a fucked-up person), I screwed up my face and slumped over, à la Stephen Hawking.

Max responded that he would stay with me. He said that he wouldn't care about my condition and would pretend that I didn't have anything wrong with me at all. He said he'd talk to me daily, despite my inability to respond. He said every morning, he'll say, "Hey Juju," and stroke my hair gently, as if I was baby bird. Normally, I'd laugh and call him a complete corn-ball. Instead, I just cried. As fucked up as I am, I knew that he meant everything he said. After, I stopped fidgeting around on the couch long enough to let him hold me.