Monday, January 31, 2011

how to turn a sad morning into a happy afternoon.

This morning I was having a really awful time feeling sorry for myself. I decided that I needed to work on my attitude and make the most out of the day, and so I decided to get some fresh air. I pulled off my work pants and sweater, and quickly changed into my running clothes. I took the steps downstairs, and started running for the river. I ran past cars and buildings and buisness men, and straight for the water. It felt so good to be outside that I kept running all the way to Belle Isle, a little island about 1.5 miles away from where I work.

I just kept running through all of the stress and all of the pain. For the first time in a long time, it didn't feel like I was working out. It felt like therapy. I ran over a suspended bridge and looked to both sides; I was surrounded by water. I could smell fresh mulch and hear the leaves rustling in the winter air. I could see birds flying above me and ran past walls colored in grafitti. I felt lighter than air. I ran all the way across that bridge until my toes landed in the sand and I sat there for a minute, just looking at how peaceful the river was. I looked up and down and left and right and every direction greeted me with something beautiful and refreshing. It was hard to force myself out of that trance, and run back to the office. But I promised myself that I will run outside at least once a week, giving myself a break from the usual gym routine.

The fresh air lightened my mood and made me really happy. I take for granted things that are just within reach of my office building, and it was nice to be reminded that a place so peaceful exists so close to my everyday routine. It's amazing how time in nature really made me feel good and gave me so much positive energy, which has helped today become pretty great.

Some other great things that happened today:

[01] My boss bought me some chips out of the vending machine after I mentioned that I was craving them :)

[02] Sean's car was making funny noises, so I picked him up this morning. Not very happy about his car, but it was nice having a few unexpected moments with him today!

[03] After my run, I had a warm chicken breast with a side salad - made with love by my mother in law last night.

[04] I have realized that I do have supportive friends who love me and appreciate me, and a husband that I can always lean on if I need to. I am a lucky girl and have no reason to spend my day sulking.

[05] I stepped on the scale today and lost 2 pounds over the weekend... whoop whoop!

How do you shake a bad mood?

a little post about why social networks suck..

I know I am in the minority when I say that social networking sites sometimes create more drama than they're worth. On second thought, maybe I'm in the majority. Either way, I usually debate back and forth on whether or not to delete my facebook account on a weekly basis. I kind of joked about how silly facebook can be on Friday, but it's heartbreaking to know that deep down, people who hide behind computer screens sometimes say things that they would never say to your face. And it's a lot easier to do when you don't see the emotional repercussions your words have caused. But words can hurt, even really eloquently written and intentionally planned ones, and you can't take back things you have said... especially if they're sitting in an inbox like a bomb waiting to explode, able to be read and re-read and then analyzed. It really sucks.

I'm not going into specifics, because the person isn't here to defend themselves and also because I would never use this blog to bash anyone individually. But I'm sure anyone who reads this can relate in some way. Sometimes I overthink things, and over feel them. But I cherish my girlfriends and apologize if I have ever made anyone feel as though they are not important to me. That my life would somehow be better if they were not in it. But when some one tells you over facebook that the relationship you've both shared for two decades has felt ''fake'' for some time now, and it hasn't felt that way for me.... well, it hurts. Even through the beautiful imagery and pretty words. I want to say that if this person had said these things to me, face to face, they would have seen my face and my emotions and maybe they wouldn't have been so harsh.

I just really feel that facebook is not the place to have a serious talk. It isn't the place to tell some one you've been hurting for a while, because you can't see the other persons reactions and therefore you keep hurling insults when you've already broken them down. And neither is text or gchat or any other place other than face to face for that matter. Because if I would have been told these things in person (and I highly doubt they would have been told to this degree), there would have been room for dialogue. Room for empathy and compassion and time to re-word and re-explain. In short, the conversation would be left with something salvageable. Especially when 20 years is involved.

Overall, it's just really sad. I think that we have become so obsessed with computers and technology that we forget about our core; we forget about where we came from. The source of everything is and always will be relationships with other people. You can't hug your computer, and it's certainly not going to love you back. When things are written down, they stick around and continue to cause pain. You can't take them back. So my advice to anyone out there, is to please please please respect your friends enough to tell them how you feel in person. It's true that people sometimes grow apart, but you'd be surprised how easily relationships -especially friendships- can be built upon and made stronger if you just meet your friend for coffee or brunch and talk to them human to human, rather than computer to computer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

a little chuckle for your friday morning.....

I wish I could take credit for this, however you can find the original source here.
I give you....

A template for every awful Facebook discussion you've ever witnessed:

How hilarious is this! Did you find yourself picturing friends who would fit the categories of these stereotypes? I sure as heck did!

I hope you have the best weekend ever!

[I know Denise will be!!!]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

helloooo out there

This week has flown by. I've been running around all week at work and also planning my surprise for these lovelies... how is it already Thursday?

This week...................

*Sean and I met with a realtor and talked about buying a house {more about that later!!}

*I listened to Copeland non-stop in my office, man I miss them :(

*I drooled over this adorable wedding video

*I also watched this crazy ass movie.... seriously, blew. my. mind. {Kirsten Dunst is in it, how could it not be amazing?}

I think I'm in a little bit of a winter funk. Meaning, all I want to do is sleep and watch trashy reality tv. My best friend is visiting from D.C. this weekend, and my god-sister is having a baby shower... so hopefully they can pull me out of it!

What do you do in the winter time to keep your energy level up?

Monday, January 24, 2011

New Inkkkkkkkkk!

This weekend I listened to my body and caught up on some extra sleep that it's obvious I needed. I say this because I left my friends house warming party at 10:30 and went straight to bed Friday night, only to wake up on Saturday at 11 o'clock. Similar things happened Saturday night... I'm such a party animal.

HOWEVER, I did manage to get some new ink over the weekend... and I love the way it turned out! If you're in the Richmond area, I highly recommend Josh. This is the second tattoo of mine that he's done, and he also did my husbands quarter sleeve.... he is amazinggg and definintly takes his time! fyi: he did my entire sleeve by hand, and I am so glad I gave him as much freedom to create as I did! I literally said, "draw the solar system on my arm"

This was the first tattoo that I've gotten so far that felt like a tattoo. Meaning... the other 7 didn't hurt and were never very sore. And I was able to go out to the bars afterwards. With this baby, I felt physically drained afterwards and my arm was so sore. But it was totally worth it... and now I am even more excited about my next piece than I already was!! {plus Josh gave me an amazing deal!}

please excuse the crappy photo quality...


Sean was determined to get me out of the house yesterday, since I had basically slept for the majority of Friday night and Saturday... and so we had a really great day shopping and watching No Strings Attached with the last of our movie gift cards. Ummmm, does anyone else find it utterly ridiculous that matinee ends at 3 o'clock and a movie ticket is almost $14 per person??!! I also spent $10 on a small coke and popcorn, needless to say I did not feel guilty about using my 'student i.d.'................from 3 years ago. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you should -- it is hilarious!!

What did you do this weekend?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Blah Blah Blah.

To be frank, today has been the very opposite of fun. But tomorrow is Friday {and pay day} and that thought is the only thing getting me through this 12.5 work day - yes. twelve and a half hours. of work. Somebody shoot me.

In hopes of lifting my spirits, and anyone elses out there who needs a little nudge, I wanted to share a few things online that have been keeping me awake at my desk this week.

[01.] Sean and I are trying to buy a home -yes an actual house!- this fall. Other than searching for cute little bungalow's like this beauty, I've been thinking a LOT about Urban Homesteading. I can't wait to have my own little backyard garden!

[02.] My friend Nicky just got back from India, and her stories are HILARIOUS! I literally laughed out loud after reading some of the things she's seen on her travels!

[03.] She & Him videos. Zooey always makes me smile!

[04.] My friend Gina works at a chocolate shop... Zoe's to be more specific. She brought a box for us to taste last weekend -- best. chocolate. ever. {my favorite is the pistachio. and the coffee. and the caramel apple. ugh... you get the idea...}

[05.]  Yes, my celebrity crush is Michael Moore. I may or may not ask him to marry/make love to me on a regular basis. Judge away, everyone else does.

On a lighter, more excited note................ I'm getting my quarter sleeve filled in this weekend! Expect before and after pics on Monday!! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

why it's important to have girlfriends...................

All of us together this weekend....
I've been through a lot with these amazing girls!

 ''B9'' - 4 of the original 6 roommates...
pretty lady on the left just got engaged!

There is something so energizing about surrounding yourself with intelligent, funny and beautiful {inside and out} women. I'm used to hanging out with mostly guys {not to mention living with one} and I often miss the estrogen! I love love love my husband, but every once in a while I just need a girls night. I'm sure you can relate.

I'm so very lucky to have these girls in my life. We've been through it all. And I am so thankful that we can come together, after not having seen some of them in almost a year, and things are exactly the same as when we left each other the last time. That's how you know you have good friends.

It was a weekend of deep belly laughs, secrets, inside jokes and all around ridiculousness! Just what I needed in order to get back to my center and focus on what lies ahead --

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Hero.

My dad just got back from Haiti and listening to him talk about his experiences made me look down deep inside my own soul, realizing that I have been craving and needing to reach out to the world and give something back. In my own way.

My dad is my hero, and this photo does a good job of explaining why all on it's own.

P.S. - I can't believe how quickly I got feedback from my 200th blog post! You will all be hearing from me shortly!

Monday, January 17, 2011

200th blog post & a special thank you to my readers!

It's a new year, and one of my goals is to let those around me know that I -without a doubt- care deeply about them. This is my 200th blog post, so I wanted to make it special by doing just that.

I was on facebook the other day and one of my friends had such a fantastic idea, and I couldn't help but share it with you!
[I have tweaked it just a little, but thanks for the inspiration Matt!!!]

So what is it you ask??

Well, I am very excited to say that the very first 7 comments will receive something handmade by yours truly inside their mailbox, just in time for Valentine's Day.

The only requirements are that you follow my blog, and leave a comment below. Oh, and please feel free to spread the love on your own blog, if it so tickles your fancy - but it's not a deal breaker! This is a fairly-no-strings-attached way for me to say I appreciate you!
[Because it's pretty obvious that those of you out there following my blog are some of the coolest people around! And I'd like to get to know you better!]

So... who wants a very special, guaranteed to sparkle, Valentine's Day surprise???
You know what to do!

Friday, January 14, 2011

what's your sign?

Unless you were hiding under a rock yesterday, you probably felt the emotional whirlwind that quickly swept over twitter and facebook - all started by this occurrence. I'm really into astrology, so I can empathize with those suffering an identity crisis after being faced with the reality that their sign was totally different than they had once thought. For example, I have always taken pride in being a Cancer because it's ruling planet is the moon -which I have a small obsession with- and it is a water sign, which is perfect because I am very much drawn to water and the ocean and river.

For my entire life, I have read about my sign and glorified the bits that described me while somehow reasoning away the bits that didn't do such a super job. For example, I do carry around a 'hard shell' when in all reality, I am extremely sensitive. I am a homebody, although I wouldn't say that I am an introvert. And statements such as 'Cancer's like to take care of and be taken care of' always gave me the creeps and made me feel like I was pre-destined to be somebodies Betty Homemaker. I'm also very independent and the furthest from clingy, but I always told myself this is because I have taught myself to overcome these negative traits. Right.

But then yesterday, things changed. I am suddenly a Gemini. And the more I read, the more I felt that I 'fit'. I am fidgety and always have to do something different and exciting. I bore easily. I love to gossip. I love to talk. I flirt on a regular basis. I like to think I'm quick witted. Furthermore, I change my mind a lot and back out of plans on a whim {oops...!}.

This is all so stupid, I kept telling myself. And I kept waiting to hear that this was all a joke, and some sort of social experiment to prove to the world that we often force ourselves to believe that we fall under one of these twelve {well... now thirteen} categories. Why do we do that? Why do we allow the way the stars were aligned on the day of our birth to determine our moods and feelings about those around us? That sounds so dumb when you say it out loud.

So, I took a personality test to see which of the signs I most fit... and I got Aries. Now I'm really confused, although it is humorous to note that all three of these signs can be seen as self-involved and short tempered. Awesome.

I have decided that no matter what position the stars were in at my birth, I have always been connected to water and nature and independence. I have always been wishy-washy and have always been comfortable in the spotlight. I talk very loud, sometimes over people {my voice seems to rise with my alcohol level}. But, I genuinely care about those around me and would give anything in the world that I could if it meant making a random strangers night. I would give my life for my friends happiness. And I cannot be grouped into certain personality traits based on my birthday, I am human and always changing. Today I feel like a Sagittarius, and tomorrow I'll possibly be a Virgo. I am unique. And so are you.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I turned in my application for grad school last week, for my Master's in Social Work {and a certificate in Gender Violence!}. I can't believe I'm actually excited about school, when I was counting down the days to graduation six years ago. I hope the excitement lasts, and I'm not getting myself into something that's overwhelming. But you wanna know why I think this is the right step for me? I want to advance my career. I'm burnt out of the Substance Abuse Case Manager role, and I'm ready to be a therapist. I'm ready for a pay increase. I'm ready to sign my e-mails Kara Hooker, MSW. You know what else I'm ready for? GIRLFRIENDS! LIBERAL GIRLFRIENDS!

Haha... I have a solid group of really great friends in Richmond as it is, however they are all boys and the only other liberal that I hang out with on a regular basis is my husband, Sean. It's lonely. And being the only girl 99.9% of the time is starting to lose it's excitement. I'm really excited to meet new people with similar views.................................................especially girls!!!

Sean said that if I get in, he'll buy me a bike for my b-day. Honestly.... I'll get the bike either way, but I like the idea of carrying my books to class in a little basket and being trendy. Remind me of this when it's cold and/or raining.

Can you see me riding to class on this beauty?

Speaking of amazing, liberal girlfriends... I do have some, and they're pretty rad! This weekend we're getting together for a mini-reunion and I can't wait to kiss each one of them directly on the lips and tell them over and over again how incomplete my life has become now that we are no longer living directly down the hall from one another. You may recognize one of these beauties...

Aren't they beautiful??!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Eat Pray Love.

"There is so much about my fate that I cannot control, but other things do fall under the jurisdiction. I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I can read and eat and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life-whether I will see them as curses or opportunities. I can choose my words and the tone of voice in which I speak to others. And most of all, I can choose my thoughts."

— Elizabeth Gilbert
{1, 2, 3}

I'm probably really late on this, but if you've been procrastinating like I have... rent Eat Pray Love. I felt really good about myself after watching it, like I can do anything. I think I'll start with returning to Ekoji for meditation.

Monday, January 10, 2011

strange dreams.

Last night I stayed up a little too late, and thus this morning is quite the struggle. I am famous for having some of the most detailed, strangest dreams ever... and last night was no different. I usually remember about 3 dreams per night, and they are always pretty out there. Maybe it was the midnight Taco Bell. Or maybe my incredible imagination! Either way, I dreamed that the Queen of England wanted to marry me and our relationship would be a public statement promoting same sex marriages. Nevermind that I am already married, and was married to Sean in my dream. I told him not to worry about it, as our student loans would be paid off and we would be rich, rich, rich!

What's the strangest dream you've ever had?

Friday, January 07, 2011

i'd rather be....

Does anyone else wish they were living in this polaroid?
I'd totally rather be here than in an office right now...

Hope you have a magical weekend!!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Processed Foods.

I really, really like challenging myself with diets, meaning lifestyle changes in the way I eat more so than fads. I'm not sure if it's the rules I appreciate, or pushing myself to my limits and reaching a set goal. The only problem... is they're hard to stick with forever. Unless of course you are surrounded by a few good friends or family members who have a similar diet. It definitely takes support.

The only exception for me has been vegetarianism. I was a vegetarian for about 7 years, and I recently started eating meat again because 1. It was really hard being the only vegetarian in my group of friends and immediate family, and 2. I was eating a lot of processed foods. It became really easy to cut meat products out of my lifestyle, because there were so many things to substitute it with.... mainly carbs and 'fake meat'. I was {and still am} very much into animal rights and doing everything I can for the planet, and this eating style fit into my own belief system pretty perfectly. Honestly, I do miss this lifestyle... but I enjoy sharing a meal with my husband when we go out, or eating the same thing for dinner. That's the only reason I eat meat.

Before I became a vegetarian, I was vegan for one and a half months. I was going to school in a small, rural town and it was impossible. I was just learning about the benefits of removing animal products from my diet, however I didn't have any kind of mentor or person to show me the way. I basically lived off of potatoes and salad {no cheese!!!} and I got bored very quickly. I love the idea of veganism, but it just wasn't for me.

Last year I tried again, but this time my focus was macrobiotics on top of vegetarianism. I like the idea of eating foods that are in season and naturally come from your area... but this diet was nearly impossible and didn't last very long at all. I wanted it to work, but I couldn't understand all of the rules and most of the things I could eat were a mystery to me. My first shopping experience was stressful, as I kept looking down at a list of foods that I had never seen or heard of before in my entire life. When I don't understand things, I get frustrated and cheat. So that's what I did.

I have always always always been careful about dairy products, and only buy organic brands from companies that refuse to give their cows hormones. I took a class in college that discussed this one year, and have been extra careful ever since. One thing that I would really like to improve upon, is buying meat products that are local and also fed a diet of grass rather than corn. If you haven't seen this documentary yet, you should go ahead and watch it immediately! It will change the way you think about food forever.

My latest plan is to limit the processed foods that I consume. Here is a really simple way to slowly cut these foods out of your diet. My husband has family living in Canada, and I remember spending a week there one summer a few years ago. They have a live-in chef {I know....loadedddd!} and she only cooks foods that are organic and un-processed. Even their shampoo was organic. I remember coming home and feeling so clean inside out. Both my husband and I talked about how we felt soo good. More energy, better mood, satisfied.

I think everyone can benefit from limiting processed foods from your diet, even if you aren't trying to lose weight. Here are some of the top reason's that I think {with a lot of hard work and effort} this lifestyle can stick:

[01] I will have to start making food from scratch, meaning I will have to learn to cook. The benefit of making things from scratch is that you know exactly what you're eating. Rule of thumb: If you can't pronounce an ingredient and it looks like a science experiment rather than food, it probably is.

[02] In order to make food from scratch, I'll need to start planning out weekly meals. Sean & I have been meaning to do this for a while now... as it's a great way to save money and not waste food.

[03] Slowly, my addictions to soda and fried foods will dissapear. My body will stop craving 'fake' foods and learn to appreciate real fruits and vegetables. I will feel satisfied when I finish a meal, rather than bloated and tired.

[04] This is a great excuse to get into the habit of only buying foods when they are in season. And staying away from frozen meats and veggies. This is also a great way to get into the habit of buying local meats and shopping organic.

[05] I love a good challenge, especially one that my husband and I can enjoy together.

I won't be starting this 'diet' until we need to go back to the grocery store. But my plan is to eat this way for 30 days {except for meals that we eat out or with family members, which is rare} and to document it here. Anyone wanna join me in eating healthier and starting this year off with a bang?!

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Fresh Ink.

Everyone sets goals for themselves, especially this time of the year. I've had the same goal for the past several months... and I haven't really gotten extremely serious about it. I want to lose 50 pounds by June 25, 2011 [my birthday]. I lost about 6 pounds prior to Thanksgiving... however, I love a good holiday meal and sadly....... I've gained it all back.

So, what keeps you motivated in the goals you set for yourself?

I have to have something tangible. And I've decided that the only way I'm going to bust my butt in the gym every day is if I have something to look forward to, other than my goal of course. Because let's be honest... June is so far away.

My motivation, you ask? Ink. I love tattoos so much - how they look and feel and the adrenaline I get when I walk into a tattoo shop. I've also recently re-united with my love affair for piercings. I currently have 7 tattoo's and a quarter sleeve mural of the solar system. Here is an easy break down of my rewards program from now until June 25th:

First 10 pounds lost - dermal anchors on my collar bone.

First 20 pounds lost - Ganesha tattoo on the back of my right arm. {I am in love with Hindu culture, and this is the God of success -- not just success for losing 20 pounds, but also for coming out a stronger person through all of the pain and trials I have faced in my life.

50 pounds lost - My very first chest piece!!!!!! I am very excited about this, and think that I know exactly what I want. I'm thinking about incorporating a Peacock, as they symbolize openness and acceptance. In Buddhist culture, it also symbolizes wisdom {I am part agnostic, part Buddhist}. I want a banner that reads 'eternal love' as well.... pretty big, and lots of bold colors!

If you haven't noticed. I am very impulsive. I love getting tattoo's and piercings and am a huge fan of living in the moment and getting artwork that shows off your personality and uniqueness. They're so expensive and I have a hard time justifying spending that much money on myself, so it really will be a reward!

Cheers to setting and meeting all of our goals in 2011!

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

the first post of a new year.

I have been at home for the past 10 days. Sleeping in until ten o'clock, sometimes eleven. Turning in my application to grad school. Staying up late watching movies. Going out to lunch with friends. Throwing parties. Piercing my nose [for the third time]. Ugh... I could really get used to that lifestyle! However, I'm back and feeling like quite the janitor this morning due to all of the messes that have been left for me to clean up during my vacation. Reality sure does hit hard when you've been living a fantasy for the past two weeks!

I hope you had the best holiday season ever, as mine was filled with new traditions, lots of food, and tons of laughter. My husbands birthday is New Year's Day, so it was fun spoiling him and taking long naps together in the afternoons. I could really get used to that. Wait, I think I said that already!

Our Tree....

Anyway... Sean and I spent Christmas Eve looking at pretty lights with his parents, and also Christmas morning. We then headed to my parents house that afternoon and spent the night. I was very thrilled to wake up at my parent's house the morning after Christmas to find a winter wonderland. Check it out, this is what our drive home looked like - I just love the way the trees look covered in snow...

We also spent [as previously mentioned] a lot of time napping... how cute are they?!?

Waking up this morning was brutal... but it does feel nice to be productive again and back in my regular routine. Oh, and the gym here at work is calling my name... looks like I'll be joining every one else after a long holiday of over eating!

Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? I made a few... but I think my biggest and best goal is to train for a half marathon in November (and do a few 10k's between now and then). I think that's more realistic and tangable than to tell myself I will work out more.... if anything else, it scares me into hitting the gym! :)
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