Monday, November 21, 2011

The Mystery of the Disappearing Comment Link

So I've just noticed that, on certain computers, the Comment link at the bottom of my blog posts are missing.  It shows up on my own desktop, but not on my laptop or Nate's computer or my sister's computer.  And, of course, Intense Debate customer service is off until next week.

So, if you'd like to comment on any of the posts, just click on the post title until I can get this fixed.  You'll go to the posts' page and can comment at the bottom.

And if you have any idea what the heck is going on with Intense Debate's comment links, please let know.

The Mystery of the Disappearing Comment Link is on.

Girls Night and Rainstorms and Vampires, Oh My!

So this is the one where I talk about the new Breaking Dawn movie.  If you haven't seen it and don't want to know certain things (like when it ends), stop here.  If you haven't read the book (and to this person: really?) and don't want to know anything about it, stop here.  Otherwise, here we go!

My overall thought is that the movie was pretty much in keeping with the rest of them.  It was good and cheesy and awkward (painfully so sometimes) and over-the-top, which is exactly what it should be.  I'm not sure you could make movies out of these books without them being all those things.  But that doesn't mean that I didn't completely enjoy myself.  It was so much fun watching this movie with a bunch of my girlfriends (after walking through the pouring rain to get to the theater) and knowing we were all equally enthralled and mortified at the same time.  The laughing helped too.

A couple things:
  • Jacob's shirt is off within the first 5 seconds of this movie.  And enough can't be said about that.
  • With this franchise being as lucrative as it is, you really would think they could get better hair and makeup for the vamps.  I don't get why their wigs and contacts are so horrible!
  • Anna Kendrick and Billy Burke remain my favorites, even though between them they probably have about 5 lines.  But they were lines that were perfectly delivered.
  • The honeymoon is awkward.  I'm sorry, it is.
  • For people who have been dating for a number of years in real life, the lack of chemistry between Kristen Stewart and RPatz on-screen is sort of amazing.
  • Speaking of RPatz, his moment of shining glory comes near the end, when Edward yells at Bella.  I definitely felt sucked into the movie at that point.
  • There is more than one montage in this film.  I don't think there should be more than one montage in any film.  Ever.
  • Where the film really goes above and beyond succeeding is in making Bella look like she is on the verge of death for the last 45 minutes.
  • This was probably the most traumatic labor/birth scene I've ever seen.  I must have skimmed over this part of the book, but I'm going back to read it now to see if it's written to be so...tragic and disturbing.  Regardless, it was good and almost made me cry. 
  • Kristen Stewart does this hand and eye flutter thing that drives me nuts.  But she still looked beautiful in the movie, aside from when she looked like death.
  • Watching the movie has made me appreciate the soundtrack more, so it's going to be staying on rotation for a while after all.
  • The film ends after Bella's conversion, right when she opens her eyes as a vampire for the first time.  The conversion itself -- the use of technology to make her go from looking like and alien to looking like a beautiful vampire -- was great, and I can't wait to see Part 2, just because Vamp Bella was always my favorite version of her.
  • Stay to watch the credits for about a minute after the last scene.
Have you seen it yet?  What did you think? 

I'm currently working to figure out The Mystery of the Disappearing Comment Link.  Until then, if you'd like to comment on this post, just click on the post title.  It'll take you to the posts' individual page and you can comment at the bottom.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What I'm Listening To Lately

I'm one of those people who can listen to the same song, the same album over and over and over.  I can listen to something on repeat for hours, days, even weeks.  If it grabs me, I'm sold.  It's always been easy for me to get lost in music and lyrics, in the stories they tell, in the way they make me feel.  So I thought I'd share some of the music I've been listening to lately. 

Jack's Mannequin is one of my favorite bands, so it's no surprise that I've had their album on rotation since I saw them perform in San Francisco last week. If you've haven't listened to them lately, or you've never heard of them to begin with (it's surprising to me how many people fall into this category), I'd suggest checking them out.  You could also check out Something Corporate (the lead singer's other band), or the documentary, "Dear Jack" (have tissues handy).

If I could sound like any singer in this whole wide world, it would be Brooke Fraser.  I started listening to her when her first album was all I'd hear on the radio while studying in New Zealand (she's Kiwi), and then a few years ago I started looking for anything else I could find from her.  She's sung with Hillsong United (Christian rock group), and her last album "Albertine" is a-ma-zing.  While I like Albertine a little more than this current album, "Flags" still has some great music on it.  She's staying on rotation for a while.

Now, Amos Lee is pretty new for me, even though this is one of his older albums.  I've always liked the one or two songs of his that I found here and there, but I've never actually listened to an entire album until now.  I want to kick myself for that.  This album is perfect music for a quiet day at home, if you're puttering around the house and want something soothing and relaxing in the background.  This album has been on repeat lately since I find myself doing a lot of that very activity.  Puttering.  Puttering and Amos Lee go hand in hand.  Okay, and it has to be said: his voice is pretty sexy too.

Alright, this album was a given, right?  I feel like I have to give it a try.  And I have to say, I'm pretty disappointed.  It's just...okay.  Like, really.  There are a few songs on it that I like a lot: The Belle Brigade's "I Didn't Mean It" and Imperial Mammoth's "Requiem on Water".  Of course Aqualung.  There are songs by Endtapes, Angus & Julia Stone and Sleeping at Last that are good.  And then there's Bruno Mars.  Bruno.  Mars.  On the Breaking Dawn Soundtrack.  That's where it lost me.  Maybe I just want it to be the New Moon Soundtrack so badly (because that one was great) and it's just not.  It's just not.  So I'm gonna give it just one more shot before it's taken off rotation.

What are you listening to lately?

I'm currently working to figure out The Mystery of the Disappearing Comment Link.  Until then, if you'd like to comment on this post, just click on the post title.  It'll take you to the posts' individual page and you can comment at the bottom.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

About that Thankfulness Thing...

It's never been easy for me to practice gratitude.  I'm not sure if I'm a "glass half empty" sort of person, but even when I recognize that my glass may in fact be half full, I've never really been one to express my thankfulness about that.  It sort of just is.

That doesn't mean I don't say thank you regularly.  From check-out girl at the grocery store to friends who buy me concert tickets when they know I'm completely broke, I will definitely tell them how awesome I think they are.  But I feel like those are the really obvious times, the times its easy to understand that you should be grateful, that you should recognize that the universe is being kind and that this person is making your life that much better or easier.  That you should say thank you out loud for their help, their support, their generosity, and for just not being an asshole when that may actually have been simpler.

So for those times, I've got it.  Grateful.  Check.

But it's more about the everyday, the mundane things that happen, the small, quiet times that slide in between those chaotic moments in my life.  That's when it's so much more likely that I'll brush over them, not even seeing them for what they are.  I'm talking about the way my favorite jeans fit me, the way I feel so much more light-hearted after talking to a friend (even when we were just making small talk), the way my mom's voice makes a bad day more manageable instantaneously, the way losing myself in a good book (even when it's a cheesy romance novel) for the entire day is sometimes the best feeling ever, or the way texting my sisters makes me feel connected to them -- and my family, and myself -- when we're all so far apart, and the way Nate will wake up at 5:30am to go and watch me run a race in the cold and the wet.

These are the things I'm rarely openly grateful for, even when they're the things that make my life that much richer.  I don't know why this is or when I became things way.  I think it's the emotion, and the embarrassment emotion sometimes causes me.  Is that weird?  To shy away from emotion so much?  To feel awkward expressing love and gratitude?  To not even know I should be feeling love and gratitude?  Stratejoy has this great journaling program called Joy Juice, which sends you a journal prompt every few days that encourages self-reflection and growth.  At the end of each month, there will be a prompt which asks you to think about what you're grateful for about your day, your life, yourself.  This has traditionally been the prompt I've skipped because I either couldn't think of anything, didn't want to think of anything, or just didn't want to delve into the reasons why.

But I've come to see how important this is, and how it not only betters my life and gives me a much more positive outlook on things, but it also has the power to better the lives of those I express my gratitude to.  After all, wouldn't it make you feel better to know that you're appreciated, that something you did made someones day brighter?  Except that I'm not sure I'm ready yet to openly say all the time how thankful I am for every little thing.  Years of tempering those feelings is a hard habit to break.  So, baby steps, right?  I think it's enough that I'm starting to take note.  Then I'll go from there. 

I downloaded a daily journal app for my iPhone and have been using it to jot down just a line or two at the end of each day about what I'm grateful for.  So far, it's been a great addition.

 Do you practice gratitude regularly?

I'm currently working to figure out The Mystery of the Disappearing Comment Link.  Until then, if you'd like to comment on this post, just click on the post title.  It'll take you to the posts' individual page and you can comment at the bottom.

Monday, November 14, 2011

[Girl♥Health]: Mermaids and Miles

This past weekend, my good friend Marisa and I ran the Mermaid Series 5k in San Francisco.  And aside from the fact that I had to get up at a God-awful hour, be outside -- on the water -- in the freezing cold and, you know, run, it was actually a lot of fun.  As you know, I've had my doubts and nerves, and have been half dreading, half anxiously awaiting this return to running and racing.  This was the first race I've run since high school, and I'm sort of excited for the next one already!

 The route we ran through Crissy Field was gorgeous, with views of the Golden Gate bridge as we headed out, and views of the city just waking up as we headed to the finish line.  With this particular race, an all women's race which I thought was a good way to re-introduce myself to running, you had an option of running either a 5k, a 10k or, if you were a child, a "mini-Mermaid dash," so it was overall a great spread of people with lots of different age groups and abilities.  It made it that much more relaxed.

 I didn't end up running the entire thing -- I probably ran half of it total, with walking interspersed with running.  It came down to about a 15 minute mile for 3.1 miles altogether and I'm super okay with that for now.  This told me a few things: 1) I need to train better and try to get outside more, and 2) Yay for me for not hating myself when I didn't run it all!

So at this point, I'm in search of another race (haven't decided if it's gonna be a 5 or 10k yet) for February or March.  It's such great motivation to keep on running that I'm almost scared I'll start lazy-assing it if I don't have something coming up!  Taking suggestions!

I'm currently working to figure out The Mystery of the Disappearing Comment Link.  Until then, if you'd like to comment on this post, just click on the post title.  It'll take you to the posts' individual page and you can comment at the bottom.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

[Girl♥Health]: November is about Recommitting

It's about 10 days into the month so I'm a little late in coming up with a November Monthly Plan, but I still want to do one, especially after October turned out to be so...strange.

October definitely wasn't the most successful month in terms of pushing forward.  I felt like I played a lot of catch-up and eventually settled for maintaining rather than progressing.  But I'm okay with that, I think.  And I'm okay with taking November slow too.  I sort of want to reclaim this month, which hasn't been a very good month for me these passed few years, and make sure that I end up happy with what I'm able to give to my fitness goals.

November Action Plan

My main EXERCISE goal for the month is to continue to incorporate workouts into my life by doing something physical everyday.  This month, I want to try and have that physical activity be more than just walking the dog.  I want to sweat at least 3 times a week, for at least half an hour.  I also want to complete my 5k and be satisfied with trying my hardest, even if that means I didn't run the entire thing.  This will obviously require me to actually try my hardest.  And finally, I want to begin searching for another run/walk event to do either in February or March.

In terms of my FOOD goals this month, I want to really focus on getting back into the habit of eating better foods and eating more regularly.  I slacked off a little on this front last month and definitely need to recommit to it.  Continue eating humanely raised meat products, continue eating less meat altogether, and definitely watch my portion control.
Key Activities:
Wake up before 8:30am (weekdays)
Eat breakfast, lunch and small snacks throughout the day (daily)
Run (3 days a week)
Back strengthening exercises (daily)
Pilates or yoga at home (2 days a week)
Try a new recipe (once a week)
Read food labels -- don't buy what I can't pronounce and what's not naturally raised
Watch my portions -- half a plate of greens, 1/4 a plate of grains, 1/4 a plate of protien (every meal)
A day trip out of the Bay Area, anywhere I want to go.

View all my previous monthly plans here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

[Girl♥Health]: Daily Workout Stats

Type of Workout:  Walk around the neighborhood with Finn the Dog
Duration:  45 min
Description:  Took a slightly different route today, but still a flat walk done at a brisk pace.

I'm getting a little bored with the normal walking route Finn and I take around the neighborhood, so I'm starting to take some divergent paths, walking along streets I've never even driven on, seeing houses and people I've never seen before.  Each day we walk, we go a little farther.

I'm even starting to feel less guilty about substituting my normal runs for these casual meanderings.

And the walk today also gave me the opportunity to really appreciate the fall, an added benefit, even though it's pretty mild here in Northern California.

"Come on, mom!  What are you waiting for?"

What I'm Grateful For Today

Music and shows and singing at the top of my lungs with my eyes closed against the stage lights and friends and Jack's Mannequin.

And the fact that I now have new music to listen to (Scars on 45 opened and were so good).

Monday, November 7, 2011

[Girl♥Health]: Daily Workout Stats

Type of Workout:  Walk around the neighborhood with Finn the Dog and dancing around for 2 hours at the Jack's Mannequin show
Duration:  2.5 hrs
Description:  Again, a flat walk, but done at a brisk pace.  And then the dancing.  Ohhh, the dancing.

I think I've turned a corner in the way I talk to myself when it comes to exercise.  Maybe it's not a sharp corner -- more of a gentle one, really -- but I think it's important anyway.  What's been going on with me lately is that it's been hard to keep up the workout routine in the face of my back issues, a cold, and an Advocacy Training I've been helping the org I intern with plan for the better part of 6 months (said Training happened this past weekend and was inspiring).  I let my exhaustion, laziness, business, and lack of motivation get in the way.  And then I berate myself over it.

So I've been thinking about the way I talk to myself in my head.  I'm not crazy, we all do it (right?  right?!).  But when it comes to exercise and the fact that I haven't been running every day, the things I say to myself seem to run along the lines of "What's wrong with you?" and "You're a failure," and "You knew you weren't gonna be able to see this through."

I can be such a bitch sometimes.

But then I realized today that, though I wasn't running, I was doing something physical each day, mostly in the form of walking my dog.  But it's something, and that's really what my goal has been these past few months: to do something physical every day; to get in the groove of it all.  And so maybe I should be a little nicer to myself about it all, you know?  That's not to say that I'm going to stop running and pilates and do just the bare minimum.  But it does mean that I need to listen to my body and, if I'm just too tired to run the miles that day, it's okay that I just take my dog on a walk instead.

It's the little things, the little realizations, that are making the big differences for me today.
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