Tuesday, May 12, 2015

KonMari method

I read Marie Kondo's book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up last week. It was a short read, 126 pages total, and I finished it in two train commutes. The book is a New York Times #1 best seller, and Marie's consulting business has a three month waiting list in Japan.

The basic principle is discard first, and only after you've completely decluttered, do you organize things. Instead of going room by room as suggested by many organizing experts, Marie sets out categories and has you tackle them one at a time.

The KonMari method is more about changing your relationship to 'Stuff' first rather than figuring out the optimal storage for things. Before you even begin, you're asked to visualize your destination and explore the reasons behind it.

For me, I need a tidy house so I can have a CLEAN house. Right now my cleaning typically consists of a frantic 2-4 hour sprint before people come over (see: this Thursday evening...) I've never much cared for cleaning, but I dislike it even more because there's too much stuff in the way. I neglect vacuuming because my clothes are on the floor. I neglect dusting because there's too much Stuff on the tables. And so on. I've flirted with the idea and desire to have a cleaning service, but the funds never seem to work out and the poor woman would have the same problem I do anyways.

I have a bunch of Stuff. I think because I didn't have quite as much Stuff when I was younger, so having Stuff now was a sign of my successes. Most of the Stuff didn't make me happy for a long period of time though. The first category in the KonMari method is clothes - this is getting tackled on Sunday. I counted the hangers in my closet a while ago and came up with 276. But - this is just tops and dresses. And not even all my tops. There are sweaters on shelves. There are t-shirts in a drawer. And so on. Plus, I think there were even a few things in the wash. I couldn't even begin to tell you a fraction of the things in the closet off the top of my head. I hate putting laundry away.

I need a tidy house so my Stuff stops stressing me out. Not just the cleaning, but the finding. I can't count the number of times I've rummaged through a drawer looking for something, or misplaced a book or a piece of paper, or ran between the upstairs and downstairs looking for a particular pair of yoga pants that I swore I had just washed. I have multiple jars of salsa open in the fridge and who knows how many odd things tossed my pantry - my snacks are all out on the counter because things go into the pantry and don't come out. Sometimes I think I'm being frugal or responsible by saving half a lemon for next time I need it, only to buy two more while the poor half lemon disintegrates in the back of the fridge. Two moves ago, I managed to recycle about a thousand pages of class notes from grad school, only to agonize about tossing the empty binders because what about when I needed another empty binder? Ultimately I couldn't bring myself to pack, move, and unpack an entire box of empty binders. That was in 2011, and thinking about it now I'm pretty sure I haven't found a need to buy a new binder yet.

I've tried cleaning schedules, but they never seem to work - likely because of the Stuff. I've organized my bathroom counters, but they're still messy and dirty. I clean the fridge and pantry, but it doesn't last. So I'm hoping over the next several months (she says it can take up to 6 depending on how much time you have) I'll finally work past this repetitive cycle.

So. Sunday. Clothes. I've enlisted a friend, I've scheduled the donation pickup for Monday morning for all the Stuff I'm getting rid of. I'll pull everything out of the closet, out of the drawers, and then one by one though over 300 items (maybe closer to 400?) to ask myself if this item really makes me happy. If it does, it goes in the keep pile. If not, I'm supposed to thank it for everything it's done for me and send it on its way.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review 2014

My blogging has gotten less and less and less, haha. But I gotta keep this going if nothing else!

1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before? Acro yoga, took public transportation to work.

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Didn't really stick to any of last years, but that's okay - goals changed :-) We will be paying off our heat pump and Matt's car next year for sure! I think I'm finally ready to tackle the 10,000 kettle bell swing challenge, starting January 5th! I'm also starting to think about my 500 hour certification, but I'm not sure yet if that will start to happen in 2015 or 2016.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Katherine, Kelly, Christina, and Tori!

4. Did anyone close to you die? Roxie...sniff.

5. What countries did you visit? Bahamas and Canada. Both repeats for me, but we'll get new ones next year!

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014? A cleaning service

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? July 21st - fired up the hot tub!! (On what would have been dad's birthday, no less)

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Sticking up for reasonable salary expectations, and joining the examine.com team 

9. What was your biggest failure? Not sending Christmas cards for the second year in a row. The ones from 2013 are still sitting on my desk; I was going to send them this year until I realized that we had printed "Wishing you the happiest of holiday seasons and wonderful things for 2014!" on them. Sigh.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Dental surgery, wrists again, eye infection on vacation, slicing my knuckle open on a plane (still hurts when I make a fist), tendonitis in my foot after my second half marathon, and some sort of cough that's been going on for the last three weeks and counting.

11. What was the best thing you bought? THE HOT TUB, FINALLY

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? The staff at Banfield, who gave us a cast of Roxie's paw print and sent us a lovely heartfelt card a week or two later.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Certain aspects of my prior work environment.

14. Where did most of your money go? Still the house, although by extension this year that included the hot tub purchase, concrete contractors, town/county permits and an electrician. Also taxes, woo 28% bracket and self employment payments.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Turning on the hot tub finally!! And climbing volcanoes in Hawaii!! And Acro in Philly!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2014? "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk the Moon

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier!
ii. thinner or fatter? I guess thinner, since this is the first year I can remember when I won't really have a "lose weight" goal for January. I did a 'preemptive strike in Oct/Nov and did a pretty decent job maintaining through the holidays even though I couldn't workout.
iii. richer or poorer? richer!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? making time for yoga classes - I'm working on it!

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? procrastinating

20. How will you be spending Christmas? At home with Matt and mom, eating steak and drinking homemade eggnog

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Matt's family called us a few days before NYE like they usually do, since we've failed at like our last six attempts to pick a date to get together.

22. Did you discover any great new websites in 2014? I just joined Graze and my first box was yummy!

23. How many weddings? Second year in a row with no weddings? That'll change next year.

24. What was your favorite TV program? I watch sooo much less TV now between the hot tub and my evening classes, but I'll go with House of Cards

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Fuck you, Tom Coburn.

26. What was the best book you read? Probably another one of the Game of Thrones books; I don't really feel like I read that much this year :-/

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Hozier, The 1975

28. What did you want and get? A job where I'm seen as competent and paid what I'm worth

30. What was your favorite film of this year? Gone Girl

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 33 - I taught a yoga class on my actual birthday. The weekend after, we went to ENO Wine Bar in Georgetown with Matt and Lawrie and Darius, then to Baked and Wired for cupcakes, and then back to our place to hang out with the Thomases and Nusbaums! I treated myself to a couple hours at a spa the next day.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Not having to clean my bathrooms.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014? I started using StitchFix this year!

34. What kept you sane? changing jobs in the spring before I went completely crazy

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Matt and I are going to marry Jennifer Lawrence.

36. What political issue stirred you the most? VA funding/programs

37. Who did you miss? Kind of Carly and Eric, I feel like I didn't see them as much this year as I would have liked!

38. Who were the best new people you met? Chad and Chris!! Although I think technically I 'knew' both of them last year but we didn't start acro-ing and hanging out until this year :-)

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014: Don't be afraid to ask for what you need.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "Peak to peak and shore to shore, this is all love was ever for, is to see how far we've come...The only point of clocks and maps, the only point of looking back, is to see how far we've come." - Dawes

(A DECADE of roundups! Previous Years' Roundups)

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Race Calendar

February 22nd - Las Vegas Color Run (it coincidentally happened to be the same weekend we were all going for our fitness group meet-up!) Untimed 5K.

June 28th - Leesburg Run for Independence 8K. Race is at 7am, and then I have to teach a Run & Stretch class at 8:30...

August 17th - Leesburg 20K. I had run the 5K on my birthday 2 years ago :-)

September 28th - Reston 10K. Going to see if I can beat my time from 2012.

October 12th - Hokie Half Marathon. I put myself in the 2:10:00 corral, I think?

November 9th - Fairfax Veterans Day 5K.



Thursday, December 26, 2013

Year in Review 2013

1. What did you do in 2013 that you'd never done before? Got paid to teach a yoga class. Lots of them, actually!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I did win a fitness award (3rd place), got my body fat down to 17.1% temporarily (hovering around 17.5% lately) and fit into a size 4. And our mutual fund account is reopened, woot woot. Want to actually stick with a lifting program next year and increase my LBM, hold a handstand, and hopefully get a yoga for athletes teaching certification.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? A bunch of ladies from my online fitness group, but that's the only ones I can think of.

4. Did anyone close to you die? No one is coming to mind.

5. What countries did you visit? Bahamas, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia. Working our way through Central America, and also our first country in South America!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? still HOT TUB. 2014 is going to be the Year of the Hot Tub. I have decreed it so.

7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 26th - moving day! Hopefully the last one for a very long time.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting my RYT-200 certification, and an award at work.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not keeping good track of our spending in the first half of the year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Two colds, laparoscopic abdominal surgery, wrist injury, and a gum infection leading to a tooth extraction. Making up for previous uneventful years I suppose.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My gym! Weightlifting and cardio just one flight of stairs away.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My awesome doctor who did my surgery.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Government bureaucrats with nothing better to do

14. Where did most of your money go? Mortgage (one year down, 14 or less to go!) and our Panama Canal Cruise trip

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Moving into our new house and finishing it up (decorations, furniture, etc) exactly the way we wanted it. And my 10-year reunion!!

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke. Don't judge me.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? happier!
ii. thinner or fatter? thinner!
iii. richer or poorer? richer!

18. What do you wish you'd done more of? Meditating

19. What do you wish you'd done less of? Wondering when I was going to go back to work/if I would get paid.

20. How will you be spending Christmas? First Christmas in the new house! Mom and Daniel came up to see us.

21. How will you be spending New Year's Eve? Originally planned to teach a NYE yoga class, but no one signed up for it so it's back to the same old same old with Matt's fam.

22. Did you discover any great new websites in 2013? Did I discover STFU Parents this year? Also, I guess I "discovered" Feedly, after Google Reader was killed off.

23. How many weddings? No weddings! I was going to say 'I think this is the first time that's happened in a while' but I've only been answering weddings for the past three years so I'm really not sure. Darn you, former stupid question 23.

24. What was your favorite TV program? Breaking Bad. Yes I know I'm behind the times.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year? Everyone that voted against re-opening the government.

26. What was the best book you read? Game of Thrones. I wish I had taken more than just the first book on vacation.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery? Imagine Dragons, Good Old War, A Great Big World

28. What did you want and get? A backyard, a working fireplace, and a grey cashmere hoodie.

30. What was your favorite film of this year? So far, The Great Gatsby. But we are going to go see The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle in two days.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? 32 years old; I don't actually remember what we did ON my actual birthday? We must have gone out to eat somewhere. But we went to a cocktail pairing dinner with the Greens at Ruth's Chris later that week which was awesome!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Less government bureaucracy locally and in DC.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Same fashion, smaller clothes. Slowly replacing pretty much everything I own.

34. What kept you sane? Yoga class and the studio community

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Skylar Astin, Anna Kendrick

36. What political issue stirred you the most? The government shutdown

37. Who did you miss? Jeremy and Christa - no more dinner game nights with them :-(

38. Who were the best new people you met? Yoga Brad and New Chuck

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013: I am not defined by other people's expectations.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year: "What do you say to taking chances? What do you say to jumping off the edge? Never knowing if there's solid ground below, or a hand to hold, or hell to pay...what do you say?" - Celine Dion (or Glee, since that's the only version I know)

(One more year until double digits - Previous Years' Roundup)

Year in Review Roundup

In preparation for this year's post, as well as future years - I've done this so many times that hyperlinking to individual posts every year is annoying, so now I'll just be able to update this post with additional links and then link to this post. Efficiency!

2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Wine Dinner # 10

Wine Dinner # 10: A Chef's Table onboard Legend of the Seas, December 1

Champagne toast to start
Course 1: confit of salmon with poached lobster, paired with sauvignon blanc
Course 2: celeriac cream, duck consomme, duck brioche sandwich paired with pinot noir
Course 3: seared scallops paired with chardonnay
Course 4: slow roasted veal tenderloin paired with cabernet sauvignon
Course 5: caramelized pear and nougat parfait paired with moscato

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Wine Dinner #9

Wine Dinner # 9: A Chef's Kitchen (Williamsburg, VA), October 5

Course 1: Champagne toast and Hors d'oeuvres
Course 2: Cauliflower and corn chowder with cheddar and bacon
Course 3: Portobello and bok choy salad
Course 4: Jumbo sea scallop sautee
Course 5: Venison loin with green beans and butternut squash puree
Course 6: Caramel pecan sticky buns with orange custard sauce

(3 wine pairings currently unknown; will update)

Friday, August 02, 2013

Not-a-Wine Dinner (#8?)

Cocktail Dinner, August 23nd, 2013

Course 1: Ahi tuna stack paired with a french quarter 75
Course 2: Melon Salad paired with a grapefruit basil martini
Course 3: Scallops Rockefeller paired with a blackberry sidecar
Course 4: filet mignon and crab cake with sweet potato casserole paired with apricot sour
Course 5: coconut pineapple bread pudding paired with mount gay iced coffee

It's August!

Florida/ATX/Bahamas THIS MONTH! Also my 32nd birthday. And a throwback 90s concert at Wolftrap. And a tooth extraction, booooooo.