New Year, New Perspective on New Year’s Resolutions

Close friends, mom, select coworkers, and strangers-to-me who found this blog whilst Googling the lyrics to “I Got 99 Problems,” Happy New Year!

New Year, new blog design. That’s just how it is.

I’ve always hated New Year’s Eve, and for the second year in a row my plans to spend the holiday in New York City fell through. I did, however, ring in the new year with Chinese food, friends, and champagne, so I won’t complain too much.

I usually try to ignore the New Year as much as possible and view the numerical year shift as a continuation of time, rather than a new section of it. There’s just so much pressure to “start fresh,” — a phrase which implies we should improve every aspect of our lives, or even make them Pinterest-worthy. Because, you know, I have the time and ability to make myself look like this:

I'll never look like her

Or cook this:

roasted chicken ramen howsweeteats

Or live in this:

pretty bedroom

Except I’m not fictional. So, no, none of the photos above will ever represent my life. Well, maybe the Roasted Chicken Ramen. I can pretty much do anything I set my mind to if it involves noodles.

I’ve always been goal-driven, so I’m normally all over New Year’s resolution lists. Maybe I’ve been beaten down too much or have grown far too realistic in my old age (I’m a quarter of a century old!), but this year I had as much desire to make resolutions than I did to go back to work after a two-week break. I put enough pressure on myself as it is, and I’m in no place to set my self up for failure in any way. Instead, I reflected on my past year.

It wasn’t a good year for me. I honestly don’t have much in my life to complain about, but I definitely took a beating in 2014, both physically and mentally. Who gets sick three times in two months? This girl apparently.

But, but, BUT. You know what is incredibly awesome? I have no regrets from last year. None. Does that even happen to people? Although I found myself in some pretty disparaging situations, I cannot think of one decision I regret making. Everything I did was an effort to make sure things worked out for me, even if they didn’t. I had some success, and I had even more failure, but in the end I don’t regret my experiences. I choose to focus on that.

Sure, I know what I want to do this year. I want to further my career. I want to cook more. I want to start a book club where we get drunk at our meetings. I want to take just one Barre class because I know I’ll kill it. I want to eat more fruit and ingest more calcium and watch more movies and read more and spend more time with my family and be less picky about guys and travel somewhere and oh my god I just want so many things. But I’m going to do what I’m going to do, and a list won’t change that. I’m going to eat “too many” waffle fries and forego formal exercise for extended periods of time and binge-watch Sex and the City for the 10th time instead of read and make Trader Joe’s frozen meals instead of cook something from scratch and shoot down guys because their arms are too skinny. And I’m not going to keep myself from enjoying any of it just because it’s not on a list I wrote myself.

So, if you’re starting 2015 by beating yourself up about improving every aspect of your life, well, that’s fine if that’s your mode of motivation, self-improvement and attaining happiness. However, take a moment to think about if that’s really helping you thrive, or if it’s simply stressing you out.  Instead of only thinking of all the ways we suck and making lists of what we can do improve said sucky aspects of our lives, I suggest also reflecting on the previous year, focusing on its positive aspects and in which ways we “won.” If you feel worse afterwards, well, I’m sorry — my bad. But it could help lift your mood after you realize that the holidays are another 11 months away again.  Though you may not want to relive your past year as we head into a new one, it could help you out in the long-run. Hopefully, though, your reflections provide you with a heaping amount of awesome things you said, did, or accomplished last year. The list will most likely be longer than you think. After all, a lot can happen in a year.

OBC 19: What Books You’re Reading

belle reading

I used to be a much more avid reader — I would spend my summer vacations reading all day. Sadly, when I graduated college, I was so overwhelmed by my 40-hour work weeks that I stopped reading for a while. I’ve since picked back up and started (unintentionally) this new thing where I read multiple books at once. I think they’re all slow to start, so I’m sure once I get into one I’ll stick with it until the end. So, yea, right now I’m reading an embarrassing amount of books to which I can’t seem to commit (though I’m sure that’s just me and they’re actually really good):

Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Dreams of Joy by Lisa See (She’s one of my favorite authors and writes about women in ancient to current China)

The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy (My absolute favorite author, and author of my favorite book, South of Broad)

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (another one of my favorite authors)

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (it’s doubling as research for my novel)

I think I’m going to try to finish The Prince of Tides first — my mom loved the book so much she almost named me Savannah, after one of the characters. After that will be Gone Girl, because I never read the book and refuse to see the movie until I do, and Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl because Lena Dunham. And my boss actually recommended Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I feel I need to read, not because she’s my boss, but because I liked the sound of the plot and let’s be real, I like the title.

I could talk about books forever, but I’ll stop myself now out of courtesy to my readers.

IN THE COMMENTS: So…read any good books lately?

OBC 18: Top Places I Want to Travel

Everyone says that your twenties is the time to do most of your traveling. I fail. I went to Paris when I was seventeen for a ballet summer program (and ate ALL THE BAGUETTES), but since then, I have not left the country. Or the Northeast. Wait, is that right? OMG. I suck. Here’s a list of places I want to visit when I get my act together.

1. Santorini, Greece

Santorini

2. The Sea of Stars, the Maldives

sea of stars

3. Anywhere in California (I’ve never been!)

napa valley

Napa would be my first stop.

4. Rome, Venice, Verona, Tuscany. Just take me around Italy.

Rome fountain

5. Sydney, Australia

nemo harbor

Charleston, South Carolina

Wyndham-Vacation-Rentals_-Charleston-SC

Savannah, Georgia

savannah, ga

Paris, France….again. I never got to see the Eiffel Tower at night

Paris at night

This article “27 Surreal Places to Visit Before You Die” is pretty cool too.

IN THE COMMENTS: To where would you like to travel?

OBC 17: OOTD

Here’s what I wish: that I were at least in the middle of the petite sizes range so that petite clothes would fit me the way they’re supposed to fit. I’m technically in the petite height range (5’4 and under — and I’m very much in the “under” section), but I’m proportionate. People tend to think I’m obnoxious when I mention my measurements, but they seems to forget that I’m really short, so a 24-inch waist on me isn’t actually that small. I wind up having to get a lot of clothes altered, which gets expensive. I have an especially smaller waist, so finding pants that fit me properly, even in the petites section, is super challenging. Like this:

LOFT pants

Isn’t that nice? Her pants aren’t falling off her waist. I mean, it’s nice that they make shorter pants for shorter women, but I really wish they’d acknowledge the women who are thinner in the torso area as well as short, and make pants that are more narrow. And I won’t lie: sometimes even petite pants are too long, but I can usually find pants at LOFT that fit me length-wise.

And then there are dresses. Ugh, dresses. I really like sheath dresses, but those damn things are always too wide. Again, why leave out the girls with small waists? Why? See this dress:

LOFT Sweater dress

Now that’s a nice sweater dress. Doesn’t it look great on her? It wouldn’t on me. It would be way too long and loose on my torso. And have you any idea how difficult it is to alter a sweater dress? Ok, so I’ve never tried, but with my moderate sewing knowledge, I know it ain’t easy.

Not that I have a grudge against all clothing stores. H&M, Urban Outfitters, and LOFT usually accommodate me. But I still wish certain stores would create one size below 00 and XXS, for us way shorter ladies who simply want to avoid looking like a thug at work.

thug pants

And that, in short, is why I don’t share OOTDs on work days. I’m not quite there yet.

And OH! This makes me happy. Thanks, Natalie!

OBC 16: Thankful Thursday

Yes, I’m way behind on this challenge, and no, it’s not Thursday.

But I’m still thankful for:

– Long phone calls with my mom

– Selfies that my dad emails me

– A great pizza/sandwich shop basically right below my apartment

– Pumpkin cider

– MY HEAT IS FINALLY ON

– Bosses who randomly tell you you’re doing a really good job in the middle of a phone call

– My friends. Just, my friends

– Fall weather is kind of sort of starting to get here

– The Halloween costume my friend helped me pull together at the last minute

– The irony of my not being able to find my Waldo costume from last year.

– No rain this week🙂

–  The fact that, despite the dozens of times I’ve dropped my phone, my phone case is still in tact

– Walking through Beacon Hill at night

– The free Starbucks drink I have on my app! (It’s the little things)

– Hot showers. They might be one of my favorite parts of life.

– The fact that I can somehow still do a double pirouette.

– Slow Mondays that allow me to catch up on blogging at work

OBC 15: Link Love

heart votives

“My sister’s awesome dating tip”

White Bean Tortellini Soup with Broiled Havarti Toasts

Autumn Lasagna with Creamy, Butternut Squash and Roasted Garlic Sauce, Seasoned Ground Turkey, Sage, Spinach and Mozzarella Cheese

Ell’s Kitchen (My best friend from my ballet life recently created this lovely blog in NYC)

There’s A New “Marcel The Shell” Video And It’s Freaking Adorable

33 Weird Thoughts Every Woman Starts Having In Her Mid 20s

Things Disney Princesses Do That’d Be Awkward If You Did Them

25 Famous Women on Childlessness

OBC 14: what’s on your playlist?

This is a bad representation of my musical interests, which include a lot of indie/alternative bands and hard-core rap. It would also be way more exciting if I hadn’t been too tired to find new music all week, hence the plethora of dance mixes on here.

“Leaving You” – Audien ft. Michael S.

“Extraordinary” – Clean Bandit

“Midnight” (Kygo Remix) – Coldplay

“Revolution” (Danny Diggz Remix) – Diplo

“Hideaway” – Kieza

“Ready for Love” – Felix Cartal ft.  Chloe Angelides

“Silvi”a – Miike Snow

“Baby Came Home” – The Neighbourhood

“Female Robbery” – The Neighbourhood

“Flawless” – The Neighbourhood

“Honest” – The Neighbourhood

W.D.Y.W.F.M – The Neighbourhood

“In Time” (Singularity Remix) – Peace Treaty

“Sunset” – The xx

“Outside” – Calvin Harris ft. Ellie Goulding