20. Meditate once a week, for 10 minutes, for at least 6 months.

Happy Monday, friends! I am coming off of a relaxing weekend that I very much needed. My sister, Mal, and I had an adventure day Saturday, which included me hardcore geeking out at the Field of Dreams. I saw some great theatre at Davenport North yesterday, and now, I’m snuggled under a blanket with the windows open and a pumpkin iced coffee at my side. Happy sigh.

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Before I jump into my list, I have a quick story to share. When I was a junior in college, I took a directing class. I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually direct, but I figured it would be good experience. In a nutshell, it was one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced and pushed me in so many ways. I’m a more organized person because of that class and my amazing professor, Cory, who I respect more than I can put into words. (She’s the best. Seriously. The woman is a genius.) Anyway, one distinct memory I have from that class was an assignment for our final project, which was directing a one act play. We were supposed to break our script into “beats,” which is basically any time the mood or tone of the script shifts. I remember working hastily away on my script, late into the night. At some point, I talked to my friend, Seth, who is another amazing human being, and one of the most talented people I know, and he asked how my beats were going. Then he asked how many I had. Now, I don’t remember the exact numbers, because this WAS 8 years ago, but I remember I was well over 100…and I wasn’t done. Seth had about 20 total, I think. In that moment, I was pretty sure I was going to die from being way too thorough. And Seth thought so too. I remember thinking then, and many other times throughout the rest of the semester, that I wasn’t cut out to be a director. I could choreograph. I could act. I could stage manage. With direction, I could build things…although maybe not well. But directing? Not my cup of tea…

…Which is funny, because this afternoon, I will be attending my first rehearsal ever as a DIRECTOR. I am directing a production of “Charlotte’s Web” for Davenport North, and although I am so nervous, I am even more excited. I’ve secretly been wanting to do this for years, and now I finally am. Wish me luck- here’s hoping I don’t get caught up in the beats. 🙂

So…I’m officially on a roll with my list! In 7 days, I’ve crossed two things off! Yay! Thursday marked the 6 month mark of my meditation experience and here’s what I have to share:

  1. I have never been a “good” sleeper. I can’t lay down and be asleep within a matter of minutes…usually more like an hour or two. But when I meditate, and really focus on what I’m doing, I’m asleep in less than 30 minutes. Every time.
  2. I am an overthinker in every sense of the word, which is probably why I’m not a good sleeper. 🙂 When I meditate, I can tune my brain in to what I’m doing and shut everything else out. This is a skill that I KNOW I’ll use for the rest of my life.
  3. I look forward to meditating. I like having that few minutes, just for me. I like making that separation between the rest of my day, and bedtime. I will definitely continue to meditate, as long as it works for me.
  4. Meditating has also made me more honest. With the app that I use, I am forced to focus on how I’m feeling and what it’s doing to the rest of my body. It also makes me think about what is causing those emotions, and how I can handle them.
  5. The app that I use, “Breathe,” tracks all of your meditations by date and how you were feeling mentally and physically on those days. It has been really neat to watch my progress and see that I’ve become much more positive over the last few months. Stepping away from dance, while a difficult decision, has shown a steady increase in my physical wellness. I believe it has also helped my mental well-being too! I’ve been working on a more positive mindset in 2015, and it’s been so great to have a record of that progress, to help keep me motivated.

To be honest, when I saw this item on my list, I was a little skeptical. Meditation seemed a little “weird” to me, and I wasn’t sure that it was something I needed. But, it really was. I feel stronger, physically, mentally, and emotionally, since I started. I’m more in tune with myself, and my thoughts and feelings. If you’ve ever thought about meditating, I can’t say enough good things about it! Give it a try! You never know; it may help you in ways you never thought you needed.

Well, I’m off to enjoy this nice weather! I hope you can too.

Until next time,



8. Figure out your 30 minute jump start routine- The 4th and final installment!

Guess what?! I am the proud new owner of a bouncing baby…furnace. Yup, that’s right. My furnace went out. (Insert a collective homeowner groan here.) I knew this was probably going to happen when I bought my house. The furnace was 16 years old at that point. Last year, I narrowly escaped replacement. When I turned it on for the first time in the fall, it started up…and then clunked. Literally. I went downstairs and shook the door a little bit (which is clearly, the solution to all problems) and it started up. That was lucky. But also, it worked, so when the same thing happened last weekend, I shook that door for a good 20 minutes. I took the door off. I put it back on. Nothing. So, one very chilly weekend, a $75 service call, and a furnace estimate meeting with an adorable old man named Woody later, I got my new furnace. I feel like I need to name it or something. It’s all shiny and new…and expensive. Seriously, send your name suggestions my way.

So, for those of you keeping track, today was the final day of my “30 minute jump start routine” challenge-curly hair day. It was a good day for it too. I had an enrollment interview with Big Brothers/Big Sisters (I’m hoping to volunteer in their school-based program) so I wanted to look nice. And clearly, I needed all the help I could get…


I forgot to take a picture before my time started…so multi-tasking it was!

Now…I didn’t make my time…but I was really close!


Now, I hate to point fingers, but…there was a spider in my shower. Of course, I didn’t notice it until after I’d started the water, and my bathtub drains really slowly so I was dodging the dead, floaty spider during my entire shower. (Let that sink in…it’s always a comedy show around here.) So, I’m sure that added a little time. But, even though I was over my time, I’m still proud of my effort. And I looked cute too!


I learned a lot from this experience. (That Ria. She always knows!) One, if I don’t let anything distract me, I can get ready REALLY fast! Now, if only I moved that fast on work days… Two, I really don’t love selfies…see?


Three, it doesn’t take a whole lot to make me feel good about my appearance! I’ve gotten my routine down to a T, and I’ve got options. I love that. 🙂

Well, I can officially cross this off my list! Yay! I’ll be crossing another off my list next Monday…well, technically, on Thursday. Thursday marks 6 months of meditation! Woo! I’m excited to fill you in on how it’s going, and how it’s changed things for me. Look out for that post next week!

Until next time,


8. Figure out your jump start routine 3- The Prisoner of Azkaban!

Ok, ok…Sirius Black isn’t actually a part of this post, and neither is time travel. (Although I wish it was…you’ll understand why in a minute.) I just can’t resist throwing Harry Potter into pretty much anything and everything. Especially on a day like today. I am having one of those mornings that makes me want to cringe and go back to bed…but will probably make everyone else laugh. Typical. Let me preface this by saying: it was a weird weekend. I stayed home from work Friday morning with a bad headache, but sucked it up and went in for the afternoon. Turns out, my headache was (I suspect) a sinus infection so I spent all day Saturday and Sunday on the couch. This weekend was also the start of official fall weather, which would have been fantastic, except that my furnace wouldn’t start. Yes, it’s October, but having a house fluctuating between a balmy 58-60 degrees when you’re already not feeling well= not fun. Also, I’m hyper-emotional when I’m sick, so throw that into the mix, and it was a teary, cold, headache-y weekend.

My plan for today was going to be pretty simple- throw lunch in the crockpot, go through my jumpstart routine, head to a meeting downtown, and then come home to wait for the repairman to fix my furnace. Easy. But let’s face it: this is ME we’re talking about, here’s how it went down.

My alarm went off at 8:25. I responded to a quick text from one of my staff members, checked my email, and got up. I figured I could have everything in the crockpot by 9, hop in the shower, do my thing, and still have time to swing by Starbucks before my 10:00 meeting. Right? Wrong. I threw the beef into my crockpot for the stew I was making, and got the bag of carrots out of the fridge, only to discover that most of them had turned a nasty white color, like dead, flaky skin. Ew. “No problem,” I thought, and quickly sifted through the bag of carrots to save all the good ones. I threw them in the crockpot, and turned my attention to the onions and carrots. Now, I pride myself on the fact that onions rarely make me cry. They just don’t. But today was the perfect stew storm, so with water streaming out of my eyes and my vision clouded, I chopped up the onions and started in on the potatoes. As I finished peeling each potato, I rinsed the peels into the garbage disposal, and ran it. No problem…until, of course, the last potato. That’s when my garbage disposal decided to jam and send all the potato peels and water back up into my sink. I looked at the clock…8:55. I needed to mix up the sauce for the stew, but I figured I could quickly take apart the piping under my sink, clear out the clog, and have it all back together with plenty of time to spare. After all, this was not my first time taking apart all the pipes under my sink..I’ve got skills. 🙂 So, I did just that. Sauce in the crockpot, cleared out under the sink, put a bucket under the pipes, and started to unscrew the piping. Only, the screws wouldn’t budge. Apparently, I’m too strong for my own good and really, seriously tightened the bolts last time. Oops. I worked at that for a few minutes, and finally got both ends loosened. I removed the plastic pipe and…seriously underestimated the amount of crap stuck inside. Potato peels and murky water went into the bucket, the bottom of the cabinet, all over my lap, and onto the floor. I went into Sonic the Hedgehog mode, and began clearing out the rest of the pipe, wiping up the water, and picking potato chunks out of my sweatpants. I cleaned everything up in record time, but it was 9:20 and I still needed to reattach the pipe, shower, and get myself downtown, which is easily a 15 minute drive. I pulled out my phone and texted my friend, Caroline, that I would be missing the meeting, and then turned my attention to the pipe. It took 10 minutes to reattach it. TEN. Everytime I would think I had the bolts lined up, one would go in, and the other wouldn’t. I’ll spare you the details…TEN MINUTES. At this point, it was 9:30 and I had a crazy thought: maybe I can shower and get to the meeting after all. Umm, what?! If you all remember last week, it took me 29 minutes to get ready…and I wasn’t covered in smelly potato peels. But, I decided to give it a shot.


This picture was from the night before…but roughly, what I looked like prior to the start of my routine.


Under the sink fun…ugh

Now, I was moving at crazy speeds, and probably not thinking rationally, so I didn’t set my timer. But, it was 9:31 when I started upstairs. I picked out some clothes, ran to the bathroom, brushed my teeth as I undressed and got out towels, and then took the fastest shower of my life. I dried off, went through every step of the routine, dried my hair, did my makeup, and even had time to run a straightener through the top layer of my hair. I unplugged it, put on my TOMS, put on my coat, and was out the door by…9:51. I really have no idea how I did it…


The official end time, as I was literally walking out the door


I snapped a quick picture of myself, just to prove that I didn’t make all this up

I will admit that I added some lip color and fluffed my hair a bit on the way to my meeting, but I made it there by 10:05. Phew! I was really impressed with myself, and celebrated with a coffee and spinach and bacon souffle, post meeting.


Much calmer, post meeting!

I’ve got one more week of the challenge, and next week will be the tough one…curling my hair! Eep! Wish me luck on that one…I’ll probably need it. I hope you all have a wonderful week! Even though mine was off to a crazy start, I think it will only go up from here.

Until next time,