SBC: Thankful Thursday

so i’m returning to the SBC (September Blog Challenge) posts and hitting today’s Thankful Thursday. i always enjoy posts that revolve around counting my blessings, as sitting down to purposefully and intentionally reflect upon the good in my everyday life is a habit i should probably engage in daily. it’s amazing how much that can boost your mood and alter your perspective.

today, i’m thankful for:

  • friends who not only read and support my blog, but who also contribute to it by finding images they knowi’d like and sending them to me “for your blog”! like these, courtesy of one of my dearest friends:

    adding her feet to my sidewalk wisdom collection:sidewalk
    and sending me this, because she and i both have the same gypsy soul thing going on.photosuper sweet and much appreciated. it’s a wonderful thing, to have such thoughtful friends and feel so very loved by those who know you best. 🙂

  • for a job in which i get to interact with a wide variety of people on a daily basis, and constantly meet new faces to add to my collection of friends.
  • for Indian Summer/early fall days. September has been lovely in NYC thus far, andi simply adore the crisp, golden loveliness of Autumn in NY.photo
  • for becoming an “aunt” sometime today — my bestest friend in the entire world is currently in labor!
  • for a desk with a clear view of the Statue of Liberty. sometimes i take for granted that i look at this amazing landmark all day, every day.
  • for the quirky & humorous things that make a business’s storefront window memorable & photo-worthy:
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  • and most of all, for promises like this:
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Tell me something for which you’re thankful today!

4 books {that changed my life}

4 books?? i can only choose 4? the literature major/passionate writer/wordnerd of a bookworm in me aches to list about 100 books you need to read tomorrow, so this is quite the little challenge to choose 4 faves.

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1. the Bible. guide for life, book of ultimate love and sacrifice and hope, the one constant i can read and re-read and seek out time and time again. stranded on a deserted island, this would be one thing i’d bring, without question.along with a boy who also loved the Bible, and running shoes, and sunscreen,and bathing suits…

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2. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.
i read this in high school and remember thinking my entire world was different now that i knew Scarlett and fell in love with Rhett the way we so wish she would have: unselfishly, unconditionally, utterly perfectly. i remember laying in the living room crying so hard while reading this book that my mom came in and suggested i take a break. it consumed me, this story. i was there, living her life, wearing her ball gowns and batting my eyes and making men fall hopelessly in love with me during a time of utter tragedy in our country’s history. only i would have kept him — of this i’m certain.

you should be kissed ofteni really need to read this again.

3. White Oleander by Janet Fitch. no book has ever haunted me the way this unthinkably raw debut novel has. no prose has ever taken on the wings of pure poetry and nosedived itself beneath my skin until it sears through my veins and dances behind my eyes at night. no words have ever danced alive on the page for me with such aching, heart-wrenching glory; no other story has ever stabbed me just-so in the heart. because of both her beautiful, poignant writing style and the way she crafts her characters, this book will forever remain iconic in my eyes. it’s bittersweet and tragic; it’s wondrous and lovely; it’s hopeful, despite all suggestions of the world as such a lonely, arbitrary place. it’s incredible.

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4. The Great Gatsby by the incredible F. Scott Fitzgerald. i feel hopelessly enamored with this story in 10th grade English class when my eyes were first opened to the wonder that is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s storytelling. i adore his portrayal of the outlandish Jazz Age/Roaring 20s in New York City. he wrote that his desire in crafting this novel was to write  “something new—something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned,” and i’d say he absolutely achieved that goal. it’s not a love story, but its very pulse aches with an unrequited love; it is a period piece, a story of decadence and the elusive construction — or deconstruction — of the American Dream; a tale of recklessness and debauchery and loneliness, smack dab in the midst of revelry. it’s a  commentary on chasing the wind, and it’s beautiful in its sheer ability to deliver characters who say things like:

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because people like us, well — we read that, and the word embed themselves into our being because we know, as we think of that person’s face, that we wish that, too.

i can write my own commentaries on the books i love all the day long, so i’ll stop before this becomes a novella.

Your turn! Share your fave books with me.

The Friday 5 (on Saturday!)

(well, it shouuuullld have been my Friday post…’cept i realize i never finished this last night, so now it’s spilled over into Saturday. whoops. 🙂 better late than never, right?)

i decided i’m changing up my “Fun Facts Friday” posts to “The Friday 5.” they generally end up being 5 random things about my life anyway, so i’m liking this better.

1. i’m on a (forced) running rest. i haven’t run since Sunday — that’s entirely out of character and 100% attributed to the sickness. running + hacking cough does not = a good time. while i greatly dislike not running, i’ve managed to get some decent workouts in this week, sick and all:

Monday:  winter walk around and across Grafton Lake
Tuesday: rest. we had a blizzard and i nearly died just walking down the icy sidewalks.
Wednesday: 50 minutes full-body elliptical, 20 minutes incline walking on a treadmill, 30 minutes circuit intervals (kettlebells, wall/ball jumps, box jumps, burpees, back rows, planks)
Thursday: boot camp circuit training (kicked my butt- super sore today)
Friday: another rest day, as my body is killing me from yesterday and i was up all night coughing.

so it was a lighter workout week for me this week for sure, and while i definitely miss the running, it would have been a bad move to push myself. it’s probably good for me to get comfortable with periods of rest, as i tend to freak out a bit if i can’t work out every day, and that obsessive mentality might not be the healthiest. certainly motivating, but possibly a bit on the edge of crazy. 🙂

2. i am such a dog person. we have always been a dog-keeping family. there was Spanky, my first black lab when i was 2-3 years old (guess who named her), and Rusty the mutt who ran away incessantly, and Oreo the English Springer who really needed to live in the country, and Missy the sweet Shih Tzu who was such a foundation part of our family that we had to get two to replace her, the adorable Moka and Kayla (who you’ve seen pop up around here before):

mokaylaand Ryan has this amazing, bumbling, energetic, love-the-heck out of you Bernese Quinn/Quinners/Quinny, who i affectionately refer to as “my niece” and he equally-affectionately calls “the cow.”

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from our snow romp last weekend.

i love everything about Quinners — except that i can’t go within 10 feet of her without her peeing everywhere. she’s frenetically obsessed with me and just can’t control herself, no matter how many times a day she sees me, so petting her is an issue. thank God i don’t have that effect on boys.

all this to say, i desperately wish i had the space and time to have a dog in NYC, because i am crushing on this breed sooooo harddddd:

berniea Bernedoodle: Bernese-Poodle mix. i cannot. can you? that face. must.own.one.day.

3. reading. The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. i’m a big Fitzgerald fan and love how he writes and brings his characters to life. this is the third of his books i’ve read (Gatsby and Tender is the Night), and to me, it surfaces the themes of the intricacies of love and intimacy, the institution of marriage, and the all-imposing question of, “Exactly what does one do with oneself?”ahhh, there it is. the ever-imposing philosophical question of life.

it’s set in NYC in the 1920s, the wondrous Jazz Age, detailing the life of the uber-chic do-nothing-with-themselves socialite crowd, and seems to me to be a bit of a mockery of the idleness of such a life. i’m enjoying it, both his writing and the frivolity of his characters, which he fleshes out with such great complexity it makes me insanely envious. i so enjoy reading truly magnificent writers, whose prose springs off the page and makes you question everything you ever thought you knew about good writing. i’m such a fan, Fitz.

desire4. faith.

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5. favorite thing for the weekend: dancing. can’t get enough. i have two salsa events on tap for tonight: one from 5-9pm, the Capital Region Salsa Social, and the second from 9-?? potentially 8-9 hours of dancing…bliss.

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happy Saturday, lovies!

What’s on tap for your weekend?

Never too old to celebrate.

Welp that pretty much sums up my philosophy on holidays. Or on life, really. When in doubt, have a party. I think I learned that from my mom…

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…or maybe F. Scott Fitzgerald. Either way, I like it.

Hence, I’ve always been a big fan of dressing up for Halloween —  whether it was as a Care Bear in the kindergarten parking lot parade (please tell me other people’s schools did this??), or as Double Dare or a Harlem Globetrotter or a Shark Attack victim in college and post-college. I like to think I’ve had some pretty sweet costumes in the past, and I’m hoping tonight’s get-up doesn’t disappoint. (Pics to come tomorrow, IF it comes together!) I’ve personally always had more fun dressing up with a friend or a group — it’s easier to think of fun costumes, and it never hurts to have that buffer of someone else looking equally ridiculous alongside you.

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So my take on Halloween is: if you want to dress up, and you have somewhere fun to go, DO IT! You’re never too old to don some funny/cute/creative costumes and be as silly and “youthful” as your little heart desires.

As in: if you wanna be a pretty girl with animal ears, well — nobody should be allowed to hate on that. Just try to make sure they know what you are.

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Is it wrong that Mean Girls is absolutely my favorite Halloween movie ever? I guess you could probably omit the word “Halloween” from that sentence and it’d still hold. But seriously — they nailed the cultural context of this holiday. Like whoa.

I found a sweet and low-cal, low-fat dessert to try out for the party I’m hitting: Pumpkin Fluff Dip!

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Here’s to hoping this is a success as well.

So have fun tonight, and be safe, and try to balance out the tricks with the treats!

Questions:
Anyone doing anything fun tonight?
Favorite Halloween costume you’ve ever worn? Or something you’re hoping to be next year?

What I Love Wednesday (9/25/13)

Ahhhh so the main thing I’m lovin’ right now is having two free seconds to write a blog post! Holy goodness am I slammed lately…work, school, running, LIFE. I’m just trying to focus on all the good things and take it day by day…

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and breathe.

1.  So, as much as my legs are killing me all.the.time lately, I am trying to focus on the positives as I push through the pain. Today, I was loving the lovely Autumn morning and the seashell sky rising before me:

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This certainly encouraged me to keep running (and also to take the day off of work and spend it outside…but that part unfortunately didn’t happen). One out of two ain’t bad.

2. Sometimes, it just takes a “Hey — saw this and instantly thought of you” from someone you love to make your day.

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My cousin/one of my BFFs and fave people sent me this last week, and it still makes me happy everytime I look at my phone — because I obviously had to set it as my background.

I have always been, and always will be, a unicorn girl. Fave animal. The fluffier the better. When I first saw Despicable Me, I found an instant kindred spirit in Agnes. I totally get her.

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3. I so dig a good farmer’s market. I wandered around Union Square’s market on Saturday morning after my short pre-race warm-up run, and I realized that I like it that much more in the fall. The flowers, the pumpkins, the bright hues everywhere…definitely best time of year to hit this hotspot.

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4.  F. Scott Fitzgerald’s writing never ceases to amaze me…and you can always find something to suit your mood, or the seasons, or any flight of fancy that might arise.

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I watched the new film version of The Great Gatsby again this past week, and one thing I love so much about that movie is the way they interweave lines from the novel throughout the film with such an ease, such an effortless elegance that you fall in love with the writer as you’re simultaneously falling in love with the world he’s created…and you want to fall in love, boundlessly, recklessly, over and over again.

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He writes like a magician does magic, pulling words like blossoming flowers out of thin air and exploding them in brilliant colors before our unbelieving eyes. It’s pure poetry, his prose — and it hits me at the core, rendering me speechless and forcing me to turn internally and do some sort of girlish soul-searching, the way good literature should.

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I adored the new movie on opening night, and I adored it again this week. I thought it upheld the beauty of the novel extremely well, as well as a movie can.

And I definitely have to get this:

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5. Today, I realized just how small this great big world can be, and in an incredible way. One of my sweet girlfriends from home, whom I’ve known for years, texted me to tell me she met one of my darling girlfriends from here in NYC, whom I met and instantly bonded with just over a year ago — they both moved to California and are living down the street from each other!! How do things like this even happen?? I was entirely blown away and reminded of how blessed I am to have the sweetest friends in the world, and so thrilled that these two met one another…and that I now have two wonderful people to visit in one (hopefully soon!) trip. 🙂

Hope you’re having a lovely week, friends. ❤