Making 2014 Count | June Update

I can’t believe in just a few days 2014 will be more than halfway over. June is one of my favorite months and it sure didn’t let me down this go round. I started the month focused on my blog, on ideas, getting our Growing Love Series set up, and just enjoying each day. Then about halfway through the month I realized I needed to get going on my goals. When I look at my list for the year, this month was the first time I really felt like I could do it all. What started as a beautiful list of things that in an ideal world would all get done, I felt that if I could only stick to a fraction I’d be happy. Then getting our iMac happened last month, Photoshop was added this month, and other exciting successes all surrounding the idea of fostering growth in my life.

Have a gym membership all year
The other night, laying in bed with Landon, I asked what are a few things he thought we were taking for granted? One of the things I listed was the free 6 month membership to my gym that was won earlier this spring by my sweet cousin in law. This has been such a nice break from having to budget that in, and of having half of a year taken care of.

Become more athletic: lifting, running and yoga
I’ve set fitness goals each week as a way to stay accountable. Most weeks I shoot for four 60 minute days at the gym + 2 yoga classes a week. That would be my ideal week and when my soul is the happiest. I want to work on setting myself up for success with these weekly goals by starting things off earlier in the week with a Monday or Tuesday session. Normally I start with Wednesday, which doesn’t leave much room for error.

Other ways that I thought of when setting this goal was to think like an athlete in terms of nutrition and supplementation. So slow and steadily I’ve tried to read and learn more this year of what my body needs. I can now gladly shrug off all the radio nutrition advice, listen to your diet philosophies without getting confused, and have a game plan for moving forward. I ordered Cellucor Protein to switch things up this month as well as trying out BCAAs for the first time — for mornings when I lift fasted.

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The third thing I’ve focused on with this goal is to do my best to not join in on conversations complaining about my physique. I have felt such a feeling of lightness from finding personal solutions and being able to help others where possible. Feel free to join in, stop the body bashing and love what you’re working with more.

Read a Book a Month

This month I read + fell in love with The Opposite of Loneliness, essays and stories by Marina Keegan. Marina graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 2012 and died in a car crash five days later at age 22. The book starts with a beautifully + personality fill introduction from her professor Anne Fadiman. I couldn’t get over the clearly apparent and amazing relationship between professor and student, and I found myself wishing someone knew me the way she knew Marina. Included were lists of Personal Pitfalls Marina wanted to work on with her writing, (“Too much polysyndeton. Watch it!”) memories and notes for future writers.

“Many of my students sound forty years old. They are articulate but derivative, their own voices muffled by their desire to skip over their current age and experience which they fear trivial, and land on some version of polished adulthood without passing Go. Marina was twenty-one and sounded twenty-one: a brainy twenty-one, a twenty-one who knew her way around the English language, a twenty-one who understood that there were few better subjects than being young and uncertain and starry-eyed and frustrated and hopeful.”

What follows were essays in the most final version that they could find. Split up into fiction and nonfiction, I couldn’t get over her ability to write. If you find yourself with a few minutes in Barnes and Noble I’d suggest sitting down and reading any of the short stories, but “Why We Care About Whales” especially.

Prepare emotionally + physically to have another little one 
+ Give Up Diet Coke

Not to go on and on about The Opposite of Loneliness, but, just a bit more. In her essay, “Against the Grain” Marina shared her experience growing up with celiac disease and a mother who was vigilant about staying clear of the tiniest crumb as “failure to follow a gluten-free diet grossly increases one’s chance of developing thyroid cancer, diabetes, and other life-threatening diseases.”

Sometime during her Junior Year of college, while searching for types of vodka that were gluten-free she instead found a study on pregnancy and the gluten-free diet. She read how gluten, even the tiniest presence, can affect an unborn celiac’s child and its ability to absorb enough nutrients. She says she read the article twice and turned down her iTunes, struck with the absolute conviction that someday when pregnant she’d be insanely careful.

I was then hit with the realization that I can do better. Some things may be easier to say at 21 while searching for a type of drink you can grab on your way out with friends, but no part of me doubts her conviction and that it was exactly what she was going to do. So in that moment I realized I needed to step it up, being in a position of preparing for a second little one. I dumped out the C4 preworkout that felt so important to try at the time and committed to cut the caffeine once and for all.

Later that night, still a little disappointed that I can’t get it together, I realized part of the problem. We live in a soda obsessed world. Rarely can I go somewhere without seeing Diet Coke somewhere. I decided, as I was falling asleep, that I’d open a restaurant called “Just Water.” Where the food would be so good we wouldn’t need soda running through our veins to love the food.

Learn beginner Photoshop techniques and/or InDesign

This is one the goals I’m the most excited about. When I set this goal in January I wanted to have higher quality photos with a specific look to them, but had no idea when we’d come up with $2000 to purchase the software. Then, remembering that my mother in law, an interior designer, was loving using the entire suite of Adobe products for $50 a month, I started to investigate what my options were.

In doing so, I found something else that was the missing piece for my story with starting with Photoshop: Photoshop Actions. “An action is a shortcut in editing your images. Each action has a different look, and after you press “play,” it will apply the look to your image. Once you’ve run the action, you can still make tweaks to the edits and create your own look from there, or you can simply save and be done!”

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So for $10 a month I now have access to Photoshop + Lightroom, and stepped into Photoshop Actions from a Beautiful Mess [just one option out of many] with their Mini Collection. I love them! Their Mini Collection comes with a $10 coupon to apply to any of their other sets, which I plan to use on their Signature Collection next.

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I mentioned photos were my love language, yes? ;)

Publish 52 blogposts a year

This month was a great month for this site. I was able to do a lot of behind the scenes work, from taking an online class with Alt Summit about working with brands, to putting the advice to good use, to creating lists of ideas and suggestions and hanging them above our workspace. Here are a few posts that happened this month:

Not mentioned or pictured above, but should be mentioned for this month: a new routine of running with Landon in the evenings, almost finishing Alma in my second time through the Book of Mormon, frustrations with debt but optimism of eliminating it all by the year’s end,  moving forward with talk of climbing Mt. Shasta together, and starting to sketch in the afternoons.

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