Wednesday, January 25, 2017

All The Things Happening In My Head

* I'm having a creative slump.  Sort of across the board in my life.  I'm really not sure how to fix this problem, but I do know that the more I focus on it, the worse it gets.  Do you ever get this way?  Either in your professional or personal life?  How do you shake it off?  If the weather was better, going for a long walk or hike or sweating it out in the garden might help, but it's cold and wet right now.  If only there was a jar of creative inspiration on a shelf somewhere...




* I'm trying to decide if I should cut my hair or let it linger this length a bit longer.  I love Michelle Obama's haircut above her shoulders and cut blunt across.  But I'm not sure I'd ever get my hair to look like that as mine is baby fine, very straight and has no body to it.  My big fear with long hair is looking like a sister wife. These are the things that concern me late at night when everyone else is easily falling into slumber.  Promise me you'll kindly tell me if it looks like I am headed for a ranch or commune!

* I do not want this to turn into a political blog.  I actually have a political blog that I never told anyone about.  I barely used it and kept it private because back when preppy blogging was still a thing, it was clear that going against the grain was not welcome.  So I quietly had it just for myself.  But that's neither here nor there.  All I am trying to say is that I do not want this to become a political rant at all times. That said...all but eliminating the EPA, the Dakota Pipeline, my health care on the chopping block, alternative facts, and putting rosaries, with which I do not pray, all over my ovaries, has me beside myself.  We're only a few days in and things are worse than I ever imagined.  My heart hurts.  

* In less dramatic news, I'm still doing yoga daily.  Every single day in December and so far every single day in January, I've found my way to my mat.  Lately I've noticed some real improvement in my flexibility and upper body strength.  I'm doing more and holding longer planks, which feels like a pretty big victory for a girl who can barely open sauce jars and has never once done a pull up {I still probably can't do one}.  My goal is just one month at a time, so I have not and will not set a goal for the year.  I'm dealing with January and then I will deal with February.  Small bites.  But...I wonder...can a girl who doesn't like exercise really see her way to exercising regularly for a full year?  I might make my goal something other than yoga for February so any suggestions are welcome.  

* January and February are my least favorite months because I am so ready to focus on my garden but it's too early to even plant seeds at this point.  I can't wait to play in the dirt and sunshine again!  I've drawn up at least four drafts of this year's garden layout but have yet to settle on the final plan {which will change anyway so who knows why I pretend this plan has any staying power...}. 

* One of my goals every year is to feel body confident in a bathing suit.  To clarify, my goal isn't actually to have some rockin' bikini body.  I want to feel confident in the body I already have, regardless of what it looks like.  Last year I bought one of those swim shirts.  Are they called rash guards?  That's a terrible name!  Anyway, I bought one and used it and loved it.  I felt so much more comfortable.  I found a bit of confidence that I'd not felt in ages.  But I just looked at a photo of myself and holy heck...it is not flattering.  I feel like the way it hangs off my chest {and we all know I am mighty blessed in the chest...even though it rarely feels like a blessing} makes me look bigger than I actually am.  So now I am back to working on my body confidence issues so I can wear a real bathing suit top and not something called a rash guard.  Being an adult is just exhausting sometimes!  So much to work on!




* I posted a really easy tutorial on how to make roasted chicken or turkey bone broth here.  It's a bit different in that I roast the bones and cook down some of the veg first to give it richer flavor.  Do you make broth or stock and freeze it?  It's one of my favorite things to do in the kitchen because you get a lot of such little effort.

And that's what's brewing in my head at the moment.  How are you?  How are your goals going now that we are a few weeks into the year?  How's your week so far?  

XOKK


Monday, January 23, 2017

Happy National Pie Day: Cherry Blueberry Pie

Happy National Pie Day, sweet friends!  This is my third favorite fake holiday {National Dog Day is first, and Pi Day is second because you get pie plus it's nerdy...so it eeks out Pie Day...just in case you wanted the details on how I rank fake holidays....you're welcome}. 




I made a cherry blueberry pie on a whim.  No recipe but I mean, fruit pies are usually a safe bet.  Look how pretty it is...how can that be anything other than delicious?!  I also made two baby pies in canning jar rings to give to my upstairs neighbors. 




I should have given this more time and used a ruler.  Martha Stewart probably uses a ruler.  Or instructs her people to use rulers.  I however just zipped though a few straight-ish lines with a pizza cutter and called it a day.  




I wish you could smell my tiny home right now!  No matter what's happening in the world...my kitchen has a pie in it...so everything is going to be just fine!

XOKK


Sunday, January 22, 2017

I Came, I Saw, I Marched. And I Can't Wait To Do It Again.

I can't believe I almost missed this moment.  I can't believe my luck in being able to participate in the Women's March in Albany, NY.  I can't believe how powerful it is has been to see image after image on Instagram of sisters around the globe marching in unity for equality.

I had offers to participate with friends in DC and NYC.  And I declined them all.  I was worried because I'm an introvert with anxiety and don't do well in crowds.  Ah...my mind is just always my worst enemy!  

Then I started feeling sorry for myself and regretted my decision.  So I made plans to get breakfast with a friend on Saturday morning, thinking that would distract me.  But I was so frustrated with myself for not finding a way to work out my anxiety issues so I could participate.

Saturday was going along just fine until mid day when I was checking Instagram every five minutes to see all the amazing images.  And at 2:30 PM I noticed a post about the march in Albany.  The march was starting at 4 PM.  I just got out of the shower, so I had sopping wet hair.  

I didn't even realize there was a march locally!  I'm blaming Facebook for this one.  As in, because I am still avoiding Facebook at all costs, I am missing the kind of information that would normally come to my attention.  

I did what any sane person who was upset that she didn't go down to the big marches would do.  I blow dried my mop top, poured out all my Sharpies, cut apart some foam core board, made a two sided poster, laced up my pink sneakers, and drove over to the march. 

On a normal day, I would have made it with time to spare.  However, as there were more than 7000 people who showed up yesterday, traffic was at a complete standstill.  Add in the lack of parking in Albany and me not exactly knowing the ins and outs of all the side streets...and I was cutting it close.

But again...I found my sanity.  In a half hour of My Shot from Hamilton on repeat.  It seemed extra fitting being in Albany!  I ended up finding a great parking spot a few blocks away and met the march just as they were getting to the rally.




Oh, did I mention I went alone?  I didn't have time to text anyone and didn't think I knew anyone going.  {I later found out I had a bunch of friends who went and even though I never saw them, it warmed my heart to know we were all there together!}




It was an amazing crowd.  I had no idea what to expect but I never imagined that our little area would have such a big turn out.  While there were certainly more women than men, there were lots of men there.  And lots of families with children of all ages.  It was beautiful!  Just the most amazing and diverse group of humans all there to support each other.  




So I made two signs {or one sign with two sides}.  Thrown together in a few minutes before running out the door.  The first side should have read: Love, not hate, makes America great.  But about an hour after being at the march, I spotted my typo.  And you know that drove me up the wall!

My second sign though, was a huge hit.  Folks kept asking to take photos of it, which tickled me to no end.  Not bad for last minute!  {Update: See Occupy Democrats Facebook page for a photo of my head and pink glove holding this sign!}




I am so grateful that I went and participate and lived in the moment.  That doesn't come easy to me.  Being carefree is not my natural state and I am all too aware of how much it holds me back in life.  Yesterday though, I lived in the moment.  I was there for the start of a movement with a sea of strangers, chanting and singing.  I held my sign and smiled at people.  I felt empowered and inspired and at times, very emotional.  

I waited 38 years and 11 months to participate in my first march.  I promised myself that I will not wait even a year to participate in the next one.  Everyone should know how amazing it feels to stand shoulder to shoulder in a sea of strangers turned sisters who all passionately believe in equal human rights!

Did you march yesterday, either in person or in spirit {because that counts too!}?  I hope your experience was as positive and inspiring as mine and that you went home with big buckets of warm fuzzies!

XOKK

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Day Of Kindness, Two Doses Of Yoga, And Gardening Answers

Well friends, it's done.  The day came and happened and we all survived.  High fives all around!

Was it a super strange day for everyone else or just me?  My morning was normal-ish because I kept to my routine but I avoided all new sources at all costs.  Which right away is weird for me.  I am constantly plugged in and reading bits throughout my day, normally.  I just knew that was nothing but toxic energy for me though so I did a good job keeping myself filtered.  But I mean, just because I avoided TV and newspapers and such, doesn't mean I was magically unaware or okay.  

Thank goodness for good friends who were in the same heartbroken boat and were just a text away all day.

One of the things that made me so sad though was seeing people post that the day was historic.  I mean, I guess if you mean because we have a new person in the job, sure.  But to me, it's only historic because we are literally moving backwards in history.  I'm not composed enough to go into that, though.  So, good news for you!




In the afternoon, I went on my kindness adventure.  And while I am rather generously using the word adventure here, it was successful.  I'm sort of laughing at myself because when I did it years ago, I planned that day out for six months.  Which is a lot of time to think of every last detail and create giant expectations.  So when the day, which also happened to be my 35th birthday {aka My Dark Day} was a failure, I took that pretty hard.  My plans and expectations for yesterday, as a result, were low.  I think that worked in my favor.

I donated a back seat full of clothes and shoes, which felt great.  If I had been more organized, I'm sure I could come up with more.  Maybe I'll make that happen next week.  I own like 30000 towels but I use only two {one bath towel, one hand towel...and then I have a few more in the kitchen} on a daily basis.  I used to keep the old ones with the dog in mind.  But I don't have a dog now.  And I don't need a tiny home overrun by just in case towels.  

In true KK fashion though, not everything went according to my already low expectations and plans.  I went to donate the coats, etc only to find out I was 15 mins too late for when they accept donations.  I ended up at Salvation Army out of convenience.  Which is...fine.  




Also, I intended to go through Starbucks and pay for the car behind me.  I drove to Starbucks and guess what was missing?  Other people in the drive thru.  I waited a bit but no one came so I decided plan B was to do this at Dunkin {the D list Starbucks in my opinion...there she goes with all her big, controversial opinions again} because it's on my way back from Salvation Army, where I was headed next.  Same thing happened at Dunkin and by then I was sort of over it all and just gave up on the coffee line Random Act of Kindness game.




I did a few other things but the two that I actually enjoyed the most were mailing some love letters to some humans who mean a whole heck of a lot to me and randomly placing some of my strawberry painted stones in dirt near trees throughout the day {I have more and will continue to do this because it is just the kind of weird but sweet stuff that makes me smile}.  I went to bed wondering if anyone noticed my randomly placed strawberries.  I sure hope so!




So that was my day.  

My night was less successful.  I got more info, although still not a ton, but it was enough to make me cry and feel all the uneasy feels.  And more than that, I felt a deep fear.

Instead of baking brownies and eating half the pan though, I did a second yoga video at 10PM.  That is so not like me.  I mean, that's honestly the craziest part of the day.  But I felt calmer.  

So the bad news is, we might lose all our rights and homes and healthcare by the end of the month.  The good news is, I'm going to be fit as all get out.  And even if I still maintain my chub, I'm going to be calmer.  I'm just always on the quest for a silver lining, my friends!

Are you or did you march today?  I regret not going down to NYC or DC to be a part of it.  I am just glued to my phone waiting for updates from friends around the country.  What a beautiful way to participate in the process!

Next week I'm going to start talking about gardening more.  I get questions on Instagram fairly often about gardening and am happy to answer there, but if there's something you want me to explain in more detail here, just let me know.  I'm not at all an expert but if I can answer your questions, I'm happy to! 

Happy Women's March Day to all who are part of the movement, in person and in your heart!

XOKK

Friday, January 20, 2017

A Dark Day Turns Into A Day Of Kindness

It's here.  The day so many of us have been dreading.  I'm still in a fog about a lot of it to be honest.  That person, who represents so much hate is going to be our President and a world leader.




It's not about partisan politics at this point.  I mean, I've never voted for a Republican for President, but I've never feared lives and freedoms the way I do today.  This is dark and different.

12 years ago I was at Bush's second Inauguration.  It was so insanely cold standing outside for everything, but it was also really amazing to take in that experience.  My favorite part, but also the coldest part, was the parade.  I remember just dying at the end from sitting on a mental bleacher {we had great seats though- thanks Jules!}, unmoving, outside, for hours.  My friend and I parted ways as we left and I popped into a Caribou Coffee {are they even still around?  We don't have them up here.} to use their rest room and get a drink.  And as I picked up my drink, I saw a chair open up and I sat down.  And because I had been outside for hours and my feet were completely numb from being so cold {it would be years before I gave in and bought Uggs}, I just sat there and slowly sipped my coffee and people watched in that crowded coffee shop for over an hour.  I don't know why that sticks out as a memory for me, but I honestly really enjoyed it.  Once the feeling in my feet came back, I made my way home to my Sadie on the Hill.  It was just a really cool experience all around.  Literally.

Again, I didn't vote for him.  But we don't win everything in life.  I never feared the man, though.  I never looked at his words and thought, people will die because of your reign of terror.  I didn't politically agree with him on much, but I constantly said and truly believed that he, like every other President in my lifetime, cared so deeply about our country.

The fears we have today are real and valid and multiplying daily.  I hope you know that you are not alone in those fears.  




I have really fun plans for this day though, as I am not giving in to either a full on wallow session or a celebration of a hate agenda.  No time for that today!  

Today is my personal DAY OF KINDNESS.

Now, I have some actual things I need to do in the morning, so this is like a half day of kindness I guess.  But I mean, it's a Friday on a week that sort of got off kilter so I'm working with what I have.  And that's the afternoon.

I'm not doing anything groundbreaking but I am going to donate a bunch of coats {and other warm clothes} to a local shelter.  I love coats and have so many of them.  But I don't need all of them.  So it's time to share.  Winter will be here for at least three more months so it's time to warm someone else up.

I have a list of Random Acts of Kindness lined up too.  Though they're planned out so for me, they are not at all random.  But hopefully for someone else they will be.  {My list is simple though because a few years ago I did this for my birthday and it was sort of a disaster.}




I'm sending some love mail to a few friends.  I used to write letters all the time.  But it's so rare these days.  Today though, I'm sending my words old school snail mail to my loves=!

And of course, I have yoga on the agenda.  I am not always kind to myself.  In fact, I'm probably least kind to myself if I am being really honest here.  So my goal is to be kind in thoughts as well as kind to my body.  

Today's a dark day.  But I am determined to put just a little light and love into the world, too.  



Thursday, January 19, 2017

How To Grow Celery For Free

There's something so satisfying about finding a second life for something destined for the trash or compost bin!  This gardening idea is easy enough for kids to do and requires no sill!  You can regrow more celery from the root end that you normally throw away!




When you buy your celery, simply cut off the root end.  Set it aside.




Take a small jar that will support the end.  Stick the celery end inside the jar.  Fill about half way up with water.  




Set it in a sunny window and remember to keep replacing the water as needed {likely every few days}. Eventually, small celery sprouts {I've had up to three at a time} will pop out of the top and roots will grow from the bottom.  Divide the plants if more than one appear and plant in the soil after the last spring frost date.




That's it!  Truly trash to treasure.  

Happy gardening!

XOKK

Monday, January 16, 2017

Albany Food And Wine Festival

Last minute, District and I decided to go to the Albany Food and Wine Festival on Friday.  I had no idea what to expect but was so impressed with the amazing display of locally available food and beverages.  All of the best of the Capital Region were available for tasting and you know I just couldn't say no to that!

Oh hello my loves!  Just all of the very best Cider Belly Donuts in a tower.  A thing of beauty!  The maple are out of this world!




Hudson Whiskey has quickly found a place in my heart.  Not only because it tastes amazing, but the company also sources locally grown corn and uses green energy.  I'm. A. Fan. 




I don't have a photo of the treats from Druthers but they were delicious and their chef was hands down the nicest person at the event.  Kind and gregarious and happy to explain everything.  







Everything we tried was so beautiful!  I also got a kick out of the doll sized utensils we were using.  Because no matter how old I get, little things will forever amuse me.




Same recipe they began using in 1870.  








It was fun to watch this French chef make a simple but delicious frog legs dish. And even more fun to taste!




I never really got on the rose train with the rest of the world but this was really delicious!




And finally, a little snap of me and District, happy as can be getting to taste a bit of everything on a Friday evening.  Thanks for bringing me as your date, sweet friend!  Such a great event!




How was your weekend?  Did you do anything fun and different?  

XOKK

Friday, January 13, 2017

Stay Tuned For Tales Of Whiskey And Lamb Chops

I planned to put up a cute blog post as well as a video on how to make hair ties.  The kind that don't crimp your hair.  They're so cute and easy to make.

But then District called and convinced me {it wasn't a hard sell} to go with her to the Albany Food and Wine Festival this afternoon.  

So off we went to drink bubbly and bourbon and eat delicious savory treats.

And I promise to put up a full review.  This weekend.

We had a great time though!  

Cheers to an unexpected and fun ending to this week, District!

XOKK

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Adulting Is Hard

Sometimes I feel like I'm just pretending to be an adult.  Walking through the steps and stages because it's what I'm supposed to do.

But in my heart, I'm still a 22 year old college kid.  

When my opinions were big, but responsibilities were small.  When anything seemed possible.  When conversations with friends were a given each day.  When we could analyze every detail of a date over a late brunch and shopping.  When life was light and carefree.  When calories never counted.

Adulting is hard.  

Everything in life has long term consequences.  And while that's not always bad, in fact, sometimes it's great, it's still a lot to digest that a decision today will stick around in some form for ages to come.

Like, for example, hypothetically, the donuts I ate yesterday.  Again...hypothetically...of course.




But let's say I did eat a donut or two yesterday.  And then let's say I also took the easy road with a workout because I used a headache and sadness as an excuse.  And then let's say I felt like crap, physically, at night and slept poorly as a result.  And perhaps we should also assume I felt like crap, emotionally, after eating two mediocre at best snacks that only fulfilled me for about five minutes, thus making my already sad day even harder.

I'm not saying don't eat donuts.  I'm not even admitting that I ate donuts.  I'm just saying, adulting is hard.  And complicated.  And lasting.  Even when we're talking about donuts.

Today I'm going to make a smoothie...

XOKK

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

What's The Timeline On Grief?

Eight months ago today, also on a Wednesday, we said goodbye.  And I still can't type this without sobbing.

I knew your death would shatter me.  I knew it so deeply that I lived in fear of losing you for years.  And I did everything I possibly could to keep you happy and healthy and comfortable every single day.




But I guess I'm not as strong as other people who experience the loss of a loved one.  Or I haven't yet figured out how to tap into whatever it is that prevents the waves of overwhelming sadness and tears.

I thought by now I would be writing a blog post about how one can move on from loss.

That's not where I am though.

I haven't moved on.  I'm still here, looking for you in the den.  Any time there is a change in the weather, my immediate first thought is about your evening walk and how we will manage it together.

Often I feel lost and diminished with my inability to just be normal again without you.  

Why can't I just go more than four days {my current record} without shedding a tear?  What's the timeline on this grief business?  Does anyone know?  Because as hard as I am trying, the progress is so slow and my heart just needs a little break in the game.

I miss you, my baby bunny.  Every single day.

All my heart, 
XO Momma


Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Lights Off, Candles On

How is it only Tuesday?  This week is already sort of doing me in.  Goodness!

I mean, let's get real, I'm just having a few days and nothing is really wrong.  Minor frustrations and general life doesn't always go my way stuff.  No worries, my issues are small at the moment.




But sometimes when you're low on sleep and did something to your neck {during those few precious sleeping hours} and you're just cranky pants, you have to turn down the lights and light a few candles and pull up a yoga video and get that cuckoo back in the clock.

Today is one of those days.  But I'm putting it on here because it's real.  A real moment in a real life and a really cranky blonde girl is really just trying to make this year better than last year by being really honest with herself.  

I also really want a brownie.  That's neither here nor there, but perhaps you can relate anyway.

Here's hoping the world gets back on it's axis tomorrow...

XOKK

Monday, January 9, 2017

Vegan Broccoli Vegetable Soup

Hats off to Hamilton for inspiring my version of the soup she made this past weekend!  She told me about it and then I couldn't stop thinking about it and then I went rogue and this is what I came up with.




Y'all...it's so delicious!  You would never know it's vegan or gluten free or dairy free or incredibly healthy.  It tastes so decadent!  

I posted the detailed recipe here, so be sure to click and save this one.  You'll thank me later!  It is amazing with a thick purée plus the mushrooms and white beans.  Oh my...now I want another bowl!

But because that video is so quick {under three minutes}, I said I would post the full ingredient list over here too.  Sometimes it's just easier to see things in writing.  Also, this would be so easy to substitute any other varieties of veggies or beans.  Use your favorites!

Vegan Broccoli Vegetable Soup

Ingredients:
SOUP BASE
* 2 bags of broccoli/cauliflower mix, frozen
* 1 bag of sweet peas, frozen
* 2 medium onions, rough chopped
* 1 tsp minced onion
* stems from two boxes of mushrooms {mushroom caps used below}
* 6-7+ cups water
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 can cannellini {or other white} beans, drained
* 2 tbls oil

MUSHROOMS
* 2 boxes mushroom caps, cut in half or quarters
* 1 tbls oil
* 1 tbls soy sauce
* pinch of salt
* pinch of black pepper




I don't want to double up so do go check out the easy recipe how-to over here.  And let me know if you make it or add your own special touch.

Happy soup season, my friends!

XOKK

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Sadie Sunday: Always On My Yoga Mat

Dear Sadie,

Sometimes when I'm laying on my back on my yoga mat, for a fraction of a second, I can feel you in the room.  I can see you in the corner of my eye, walking up to see what I'm doing.  I can feel your little nose give my closed eyes a kiss.

And it's the very best fraction of a second, my baby bunny.

I use the same yoga mat that you chewed when you were little.  I desperately need an upgrade to a thicker mat.  And perhaps I'll buy one this year, finally.  But I'll never get rid of or stop using this trusty old mat that I consider ours.  Together.  Because we both tried to figure out the world in downward dog on this purple thing.




I hope no matter where I go in this world, I always get to feel you doing yoga with me for the very best fraction of a second in any day!

I miss you, little baby.  But I suspect you already know that...

XO Momma

Saturday, January 7, 2017

A Few Things From The First Week Of 2017

We did it, friends.  We all made it to the end of the very first week of 2017!  It wasn't the worst, it wasn't the best, but I'll take it.  Onward and upward!

In gardening news, this is the status of my squash stash.  I've eaten a bunch, including this giant beauty from Christmas.  I've also donated a large amount.  I felt like I was making a dent but this photo says otherwise.  It's a good thing I love squash!




My week was pretty positive, even with feeling poorly every day.  One afternoon I had a hot minute to take a little detour and snapped this pretty glimpse of the sun setting.  Just a reminder that the sun comes up and goes down every single day.  




Something else that has happened daily this year is yoga.  I've felt like crud but have managed to give it my all and I'm so stinking proud!  Nameslay my yoga goals this month!  I've got this.  




My heart still feels so sad and so shocked over the shooting yesterday.  It's. All. Just. Too. Much.  But action speaks louder than words.  Time to get involved more instead of standing around in puddles of tears.  Keep moving forward.




Honestly, feeling blah has made this week sort of a slow one.  But that's okay.  There no shame in slowing things down in life.  I mean, I took in a sunset.  You can't do that when you're moving fast.  

How was your first week of the new year?  Anything thrilling or exciting going on?  

Here's to great things and more slow sunsets for all of us this year!  On to week two...

XOKK

Friday, January 6, 2017

Florida Shooting Heartbreak And A Green Puffer Vest

My heart sank when I saw the news of the shooting at the Fort Lauderdale, Florida airport.  That's my hometown.  The place where I've flown in and out of more than anywhere else.  It felt so incredibly close to home.




America does not need to be in the business of building a racist monument {aka the wall} and it does not need to be up in my vagina.  But we do need to give citizens full access to health care and put more checks and balances in place for gun access and ownership.

Priorities are so bloody twisted right now!  

And this little crocodile is fired up!  But instead of ranting, I made a quick little video reminding {mostly myself} to focus on the good that comes in every day.  That's my wish for all of us!  

To shake myself out of feeling so sad and stunned, I decided I should take an hour to do two quick holiday returns.  I just needed to run into the two stores {unfortunately, at two separate malls} to make the returns so it was a good quick escape plan for a bit.

I tried to buy this green vest from Lands End in November, but they were sold out.  And remained sold out for all of December.  But as I was searching high and low for a human to help me, look what I found!  On top of finding it, it was on sale.  




Okay, while this does end well, I will just note that it's a big pet peeve of mine that Lands End won't let you do an exchange.  They make you do the return first and completely.  And if you want a gift card, they will only send it back to the person who made the purchase.  This sucks when you get a gift.  I mean, I have always been able to get the gift card in the end, but it's kind of a crazy policy and forces one into an uncomfortable conversation with a loved one who gifted you something you decided to return.  This is the third year in a row I have had this experience.  




That said, because I made an online return, the cashier said I earned an additional 10% off my in store purchase.  Sweet!  I'll never turn down a discount.  I think I paid about $22 in the end for this cute green vest, which is so similar to the Lilly Pulitzer vest that I never snagged.  

What a strange and emotional Friday though.  

Also, I'm still kind of sick.  I'm like hovering at 70% and it's now just annoying.  What are your tips and tricks to getting over a cold?  I need any help I can find right now!!

XOKK

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Christmas Haul From The Waist Down

I just have to show off two of my favorite gifts from Santa Claus this year: distressed boyfriend jeans and grey old man sneakers.  Also known as two of the most comfortable items I've ever worn!




Oh you thought this was going to be a big, fancy Christmas haul where I showed off all my extravagant items?  Sorry to disappoint.  

Times have changed and so has my style {to a degree}.

I used to iron my jeans.  The Butler Besties can speak to this fact as they about lost their minds the first time they saw me on the floor of our dorm room, ironing my jeans for the day.  

But that's just not my lifestyle these days.

I live in the North Pole.  Or Upstate NY.  Same same.  Even at my most casual, I'm still more dressed up than most of the folks I run into around here.  Which used to drive me nuts.  But I think over the years I've come to understand that this is just a really casual and relaxed part of the country.  I've acclimated a bit, too.  

Hence the sneakers.  

I love them though.  They're just this side of old man walking shoes but I think they're so cute with casual jeans or shorts.  The grey color is awesome as it goes with everything and won't show dirt.  {I'm a gardener so I have a lot of dirt in my life!}

Boyfriend jeans have been on trend for a few years now and I am honestly kind of late to that party.  Holy smokes, y'all!  If you don't have a pair, go get your self some this weekend!  

This distressed pair comes from the very exclusive land of Old Navy.  And while I will probably love a dark wash, skinny jean for all of time, these losey goosey boyfriend jeans are my new happy place {in terms of pants, that is}. I think they look great with a tighter cable knit sweater, button down with a popped collar and pearls {of course!}, or a big, soft flannel shirt.  So....basically everything I own!

What's your favorite clothing item lately?  Are you a fan of the boyfriend jean trend?  

XOKK

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Adventures In Dating: Married With Threesomes

Dating in your thirties isn't for the faint of heart.  Nothing about it is carefree or relaxed.  It's a business transaction.  You exchange pleasantries and bullet point biographies while trying to get to the other party's bottom line over coffee or drinks, just as you would in a boardroom or club house.  I'm only half kidding when I say that these skills should be listed on my resume.  Because...same.

But even the most skilled dater can find themselves in a surprising situation now and then.  

Like the time that I had two dates on the same day, at the same Starbucks, several hours apart.  Date number two that day was this one with Goth.  Let's all take a deep breath as we shake our collective heads and remember that hour of awkward.  




But this story is about date number one that day.  

It was a warm, sunny, spring day.  I was at such a low point on the heels of break up and dealing with a dying dog.  I thought I was being efficient by setting up two dates on the same day, as I had a few others that same week.  I was trying to streamline the process.

Here's how it went...

This date and I had talked a bit beforehand, but not a ton.  They seemed okay but I wasn't super sold on the dating profile.  When asked if we could meet, I agreed because in my zillion years on the dating scene, my biggest piece of advice is to meet right away.  So we were meeting for a lunch coffee.  Which is a perfect way to keep it brief.

My date seemed nice right off the bat but something felt uneasy on my end.  I couldn't put my finger on it though.  My date got my iced tea and we picked a cute table outside to enjoy the unseasonably warm air.  Immediately upon sitting down, my date tells me they haven't felt well and are having tummy troubles.  {There is just no non awkward way to bring up stomach issues into a conversation with a stranger.}  I of course felt sympathetic and offered to reschedule but date said that since we were already there, we should just go for it.  And go for it, we did.  

In the first five minutes after that, I heard all about how much my date enjoys threesomes and had them all the time with their ex, who isn't entirely an ex as they are still married, but live in separate states and have been living this way for like four years and are now besties and plan to remain as such for the foreseeable future because of taxes.  They still see each other now and then, but it's all good.  And do I like threesomes?

So...how would you reply to all of that?  Because I did a lot of Um...well and Oh...wow and then stumbled all over myself.  

I am probably coming off as being judgmental here but it's not entirely true.  What consenting adults do in their free time is their own business.  

My shock was first that none of this was disclosed on Married's dating profile.  I have seen so many dating profiles of people married and in open relationships or married and looking to cheat.  It's pretty common and I appreciate it because I can swipe left if that's not my jam {it's not...that's actually a big one for me}.  I've also started talking to dating prospects who then let me know, hey I'm married and we're in an open relationship so that I can say best of luck to you and go on my merry way.  I was shocked to get all the way to the first in person date with Married before I found this all out.  

My second wave of shock was that this is what my life had come to.  How have I managed to get to age 38 and am still trending water in this damn, dwindling dating pool?  I had just left a relationship with a lying, cheating, alcoholic and five minutes in, my date tells me they are married and not monogamous.  

I played it as cool as I could manage and just politely told Married that those weren't my cup of tea.  We talked about work a bit and I offered some advice.  And then I cut it short.  There was just no need to let this drag out any longer.  When Married reached out that evening, I never replied.  And the world kept spinning. 

I've got to make 2017 better.  Because while it's all incredibly funny now {this story plus the Goth story that happened a few hours later are real favorites with my friends...and who can blame them...this $hit is pretty darn funny}, I'm ready for my love life to be a bit less hysterical at a cocktail party. Like...enough...really and truly....I'm ready for fewer dating horror stories, please!

XOKK

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Yoga Goals For The New Year

About a year and a half ago, I decided to give yoga another try.  While it wasn't love at first attempt, I did very quickly feel the mental health benefits from getting on my mat regularly.  So I pressed on.  Begrudgingly, much of the time for the first several months.

Last year our relationship, mine with yoga, was on again off again.  I would be in it to win it for three or four weeks and then too busy or too tired for one or two months.  The cycle continued all year.  Until November, when I stopped sleeping.  And one night before the election when I was wide awake at an insane hour and just so agitated that I couldn't manage to calm down, I rolled out my mat and turned on a YouTube video.  

It helped.

So I kept with it and logged a lot of hours on my mat in November.  I can't remember exactly but I want to say I averaged four or more days each week.  




I decided to give myself a little challenge in December and go for daily yoga.  And while not every day was a big practice, I did in fact do something daily for all 31 days of December.  I did it!

This year I am not making a yearly goal.  Instead, I am sticking to what worked last year and making a monthly goal.  To start the year off strong, I am aiming for another full 31 days of yoga in January.  

I feel like I can do it.  I mean, I've been sick for the first few days of the month so far and have still managed to get myself {and a box of tissues} on my mat each day.  I've fought the urge to skip the day and have pushed myself to do more and go further.  

Intentions are a big part of practicing yoga so I've set a big one for this month.  I hope to get to a point that I crave yoga {or any exercise} daily.  Not just enjoy the feeling after I push myself to get on the mat.  I want to crave actually getting on my mat to begin with.  

I'm not there yet, which sort of concerns me because I did a whole heck of a lot of yoga last year.  And credit it for keeping my cuckoo in the clock a lot of days.  But I still don't thirst for experience.  

So that's the goal this month.  And perhaps it will have to be my goal for many more months...only time will tell.  I'll definitely keep y'all posted on this little journey because this is the year yoga and I get a lot more intimate with each other!

What are your goals for January?  Are they fitness related or something completely different?  Do you have any tips or tricks for getting to a place of craving exercise instead of doing it because you know you will feel better after it's over?

XOKK

Monday, January 2, 2017

2017 New Year's Resolution. My Yearly Motto Is...

I finally figured out that resolutions only set myself up for failure the first week.  They are just too much pressure.  Remember...I struggle with how to get from A to Z when it comes to big goals.  Last year though, I adopted a motto for the year: Year Of Yes.  I repeated it to myself, hash-tagged it on Instagram, and tried to remember it as the days and weeks ticked on.




This year's resolution/motto is in the same vein but slightly different.  I did a quick little video {click HERE} earlier on the subject.  Hold me to it, friends.  And tell me your motto or power word or resolution so we can cheer each other on in 2017!

Big hugs for the year ahead!
XOKK

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year

Cheers to a gentle and prosperous new year, my friends!  No matter what 2016 brought into your life, be it good or bad or a bit of both, I'm wishing all of us the very best and a much improved 2017!

How did you spend your New Year's Eve?  Were you out at a fabulous and fancy party?  Or at a fabulous and low key party?  Or did you stay in and get take-out?  

I had plans with a friend that got derailed on her end but as it turns out, would have eventually been derailed on my end too.  I was sick.  Just as I was the previous NYE {though I actually went out and had a fabulous night last year anyway...and then paid for it in an extra week of sickness to start my 2016}.  So this year, I never left my home.  Actually, I never even left my pajamas.  I did shower mid day, but changed into fresh pajamas.  And because my fabulous PBS station must have known I would be poorly, they had a Downton Abbey marathon playing all weekend.

Honestly, it wasn't a terrible way to ring out the old year and in the new one.  Just me, the Crawley family, NyQuil, and Gatorade.  Good times.  

My New Year's Day was spent much of the same.  And I'm fine with that.  I had some fun text convos with all my friends and just indulged in TV and blankets.

So I set out my December to do yoga everyday.  And while I am counting it as an accomplishment, I will admit that a few days were barely a true workout.  The reason I am counting it though is because I did something when I normally would have done nothing.  I keep the momentum.  For me, that is a HUGE accomplishment.  And most days, I did a really good workout.  Which is also more than a normal month for me.  Overall, it was a really positive experience.  And one I aim to repeat in January.

Even though I felt like crap today, January first, I got on my mat!  I did it.  Not my best, as I had to stop and blow my nose every few minutes.  But I got there.  And I felt so much better afterwords .




The only other thing I checked off my Jan first list was filling out my very first entry in my new diary.  I bought one for me and one for District over a month ago and have been itching to get started.  It's such a great concept: every day there is a single question prompt.  That's it- just one single question.  You fill in your answer and then you're done for the day.  The clever part is that it's a three year diary.  So you fill in the same question each same day of the year.  January first is just one question, January second is a different question, January third, and so forth.  So in three years time I will be able to see how I answered the same question differently {or the same} over the years.  

I had a giggle earlier though when I posted this photo to Instagram because it wasn't until after I posted it that I even noticed it is for a couple to do.  I filled it out, using both spaces for myself, and never noticed.  Oh well...more space for me...I'm cool with that.

I hope you're weekend has been relaxing and wonderful, whatever that entailed.  And I hope your January 01, 2017 included checking a few things off your list!

XOKK

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