100 Happy Days Challenge: Days 1-10

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Since I am participating in the 100 Happy Days Challenge on Instagram, I thought I’d share with you how the first 10 days went!

Overall, this was a great time of the year to start this challenge. The weather is getting nicer, and I have a little more time each day to spend tinkering with Instagram. I’m getting the hang of it, and I’m getting a lot better at editing/posting photos more often, which will help me once I get the time to blog about all of it!

I’d say in terms of how “happy” the past 10 days were, I’d say they were 50/50. The first week was a very long one, with lots of stuff to do work-wise, and not a lot of time to do much else – but I made sure to work in some time to relax, which I haven’t done enough lately. So far, this has been a great awakening for me to just how unhappy I am throughout most of my day. It is forcing me to come to terms with just how negative I can be, especially on days when I’m worn out from not sleeping enough, or not getting time to relax throughout my day. Even something as simple as sneaking home for lunch in the afternoon seems to help me on particularly stressful days, and it’s something I hope to keep doing for the next 90 days!

Days 1-4

Day 1: Got off to a great start by taking a long run…jog…okay mostly a brisk walk. It was so nice outside that day, I couldn’t say no!

Day 2: Spent most of that day doing laundry. I had a few new (and very bright) pieces that I had to hand wash because otherwise, all of my clothes would now be pink! So glad I caught that one early!

Day 3: Spent a lovely Sunday morning catching up on blogs, which I haven’t had much time for lately.

Day 4: This was the first Monday in a long time where I can honestly say I had a good day. The spring flowers on my skirt may have helped with that a little.

Days 5-8

Day 5: Decided to have a little fun on Instagram for April Fool’s Day. I don’t have a cat at all…and I was glad to see a couple people fell for it!

Day 6: This was a particularly long, tough day at work, so the happiest I was all day was right at the end, when I could crawl into bed and sleep the day away. It was well needed.

Day 7: I woke up early, which meant I had time to make myself a proper cup of coffee and read a few blogs before work. This was another great day, and made even better because it got off to such a nice start!

Day 8: Fridays are my “work from home” days, so I got to treat myself to a nice turkey sandwich, some Kona truffles from Trader Joe’s, and a bottle of root beer. It was a nice way to take an afternoon break from grading papers and cleaning the house.

Days 9-10

Day 9: Woke up Saturday morning to find out that my nephews’ soccer games had been canceled, so instead we hung out with them all afternoon, and we went over to their house in the evening so I could make a giant batch of chili and cornbread for dinner. Everyone loved it, and we didn’t go home with leftovers – a sign of a truly good dinner!

Day 10: I spent most of Sunday catching up on grading (and didn’t even get close to done). Since so much of my work can be done on the computer, I also spend Sunday afternoon giving myself a nice manicure for the week!

Hope you enjoyed catching up with me on my first 10 days! I’m technically on day 16 right now, so I’ll be back soon to catch you up with days 11-20.

Or…if you want, you can always follow me on Instagram so you can stay caught up with what I’m up to lately! I don’t think I’ll be picking back up with blogging much until school is out in May (other than these updates), so follow my Instagram feed to stay in touch!

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Last Week in Photos

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Just thought I’d catch you up on some random stuff I did last week between grading papers and sleeping (because not much else is going on around here lately)!

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Last week, I struggled to find quiet time to myself, but forced myself to find a bit while catching up on some magazines that had been sitting on my nightstand for a while. I find that whenever I buy a magazine, I read it about a month later. Terrible, I know…but free time has been so hard to come by!

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I’ve also made a point to treat myself a little bit during the week, which helps when I get stressed out. It’s hard to remember to take breaks while working from home, so sometimes a nice hot cup of tea, a few Kona Truffles from Trader Joe’s (seriously, those things are dangerously good), and some dried cranberries are a good excuse to unwind for a few minutes. I often spend my “breaks” catching up on YouTube channels I watch a lot (like the SacconeJoly channel). Can’t wait for Anna to have baby #2!

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I woke up to some freezing cold temperatures on Wednesday. The photo above is from me sitting in my car, waiting on the defroster to heat things up. We’re at that strange part of spring that should have happened a month ago, where the mornings are in the 30s, but by the afternoon it’s 65. Dressing for this kind of weather is tricky. I survive pretty much solely on layers and light sweaters.

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I started off my 100 Happy Days Challenge on Friday by taking a very long walk in my favorite nearby town. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to do that, and it was a great way to end last week. The weather was perfect, the sun was shining, and when I was done, I was in such a good mood I took the dorkiest picture to date:

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Hey, I was happy…but not happy enough to take a selfie (no one wants to see me all red-faced and sweaty).

I hope everyone has a great start to their week!

If you are taking part in the challenge, leave me a comment with your Instagram username, and I’ll make sure to follow you! You can follow me too, and see what I’m up to this week in my mission to find a bit of happiness every day:

Instagram

Finding Happy

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Lately, I don’t feel like I’m living up to the mantra I set for myself this year. This needs to change.

I don’t know if it’s the horrible weather, stress at work, stress at home, or a combination of all three, but lately I’ve been craving comfort. My diet is terrible (partly thanks to Girl Scout cookies), and I spent this morning cursing the fact that most of my pants suddenly shrank (I swear it’s not me…well…okay, it’s me). While I’m sleeping about the same as always, it’s never enough anymore. I haven’t been working out at all the past month or so, and even though I want to get back into the routine again, every time I come home I just want to curl up in bed and ignore everything and everyone. I’m not one to let things get me down for too long…but a month is too long.

So, in an attempt to keep myself accountable for stepping outside my comfort zone, I’m going to join the droves of people who are currently part of the 100 Happy Days Challenge. This is something I want to do for two reasons:

1. I’ve been putting off joining Instagram for a long time. It’s an app I never really had much interest in using, but I know that it’s something I could try to use to make my blogging easier and more efficient. Call me old fashioned (or just old), but I have a hard time jumping on new things – it took me forever to accept Twitter into my life. I also see all of the amazing things other people do on Instagram, and now see that it’s a great platform for sharing with the blogging community. So I need to suck it up and get on board with it.

2. If I’m being honest, I’ve been unhappy a good majority of the past year or two. There are a lot of things contributing to that – some I’ve shared before, some I haven’t. I think that this could be a good exercise in trying to find the happiness wherever I can each day, even if it’s something small. I spend so much time getting caught up in the big things in my life that suck that I forget to enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and a warm cup of tea. It might also motivate me to get back into old hobbies, good habits, and better life choices that I’ve been avoiding lately.

So, starting today, I will be posting one photo on Instagram every day for the next 100 days of something that makes me happy, with the hashtag #100happydays. Once each week, I’ll share my photos on the blog too, for those of you who don’t follow my Instagram account (though you should…you know, if you have one).

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If you’re participating in the challenge too, let me know what your Instagram username is and I’ll follow you so we can support each other!

Seeking Inspiration

imageThis past weekend was, in a nutshell, a very long one.

I spent the weekend doing some spring shopping, antique mall hunting with D., visiting family, and working in between all that. It’s Sunday night, and I’m blogging to give myself a break from grading papers. I’m doing my best to stay awake, alert, and positive without diving into any more Thin Mints. The only thing keeping me out of them is the fact that they’re downstairs. :-)

This week, I’m hoping to spend some more time focusing on inspiration – what inspires me, what gets me excited, and what motivates me. It has been a very busy month so far, and things aren’t slowing down for another month or two – and I’m left feeling a bit drained lately. I’m not just tired…I feel like I’m stuck in a rut with my wardrobe, my job, my life, and my blog.

I also want to share with you some of the things I purchased over the past couple weeks to help get me (and hopefully you too) inspired for spring…even if the weather still isn’t feeling too spring-like yet. I found some great items that I think will be in heavy rotation once the weather warms up a bit!

Oh, and I’m considering giving Instagram a shot over the next few months, if only so I can try the 100 Happy Days challenge (click on the link if you want to learn more). I think it would be good for me to try something that will remind me to stay positive and focused. I feel like this might be the perfect thing to get me in a better mindset, and would help keep me inspired during a somewhat uninspiring time.

Let me know if you’re doing the challenge, and I’ll update you all if I decide to finally cave in and join Instagram!

Hope you all had a great weekend, and that your Monday is short and sweet!

Old Hauls: Target and Ulta

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IMG_4038One of the many, many things I didn’t do during my month “off” from blogging was post about this beauty shopping extravaganza. I even took photos of everything I bought, but once I got that done I completely forgot about it.

Not to be a bad blogger, I’m going to not only show you what I came home with, but since I waited almost a month to tell you about it, I’m also going to tell you how all the products worked out for me. See? A haul AND a beauty product review in one! My laziness might have some advantages after all…

Anyway, we begin with my trip to Ulta:IMG_4006Neutrogena Fast Absorbing Hand Cream:
I used to have a large version of the Bliss hand lotion next to my bed, but it ran out. Since I use it every night, I thought I’d try a cheaper brand that was recommended to me by one of my coworkers. So far, it works great. It’s great for nights when I want to put on my hand lotion and still be able to read a book/magazine/my iPhone. Highly recommend this one for people with chronically dry hands, since burning through a $20 bottle in little over a month can add up fast!

Ulta Premium Round Cotton Pads:
I buy these pretty much every time I go to Ulta. They’re great for many things, and they don’t fall apart on me while I’m using toner (a big pet peeve of mine when it comes to cheapo cotton balls).

Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer in Born With It:
If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you probably already know I’m in love with this brand of lacquer because it dries so fast. This was no exception, and it’s a great pinkish-nude shade for spring. My only problem with it was that it didn’t go on evenly, and even after 3 coats it was still a bit uneven. But, I’ve had that problem with a lot of nude polishes before, so I might try my OPI Ridge Filler base coat next time.

Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream:
I know, I just got done saying I wasn’t going to splurge on expensive hand lotion, but I did need a small one for my purse, so I got a travel-size. I don’t burn through hand lotion as quickly when I’m on the go, so I think the $8 I spent on this little guy will still go a long way. It took me well over a year to get through the last bottle I had, so I think it’s worth it.

Mario Badescu Acne Facial Cleanser:
This is a new product I’m trying, since I keep finding the Cetaphil cleanser to be a bit too drying in the winter. After one month of using this one, I have to say I’m a Mario Badescu convert! It’s a gentle cleanser that does a pretty good job of removing makeup (with the help of a washcloth), and doesn’t irritate my skin, especially on dry, cold nights! I even had a pretty nasty breakout last week, and this seems to be keeping things as calm as they can be, which is another plus!

Much like most people, when I go to Target, I’m usually on the hunt for one or two things – and come home with a small army of stuff I didn’t really need, per se. I don’t know exactly how they do it, but they get me every time!IMG_4002Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo in Color Me Happy:
Like many women my age, I was a total sucker for Herbal Essences shampoo in high school – especially the pink one. It was the first shampoo I remembered using as a teenager that not only did the job of keeping my oily hair in check, but its smell is something that transports me back to those late 90s days. When I found out they were making a dry shampoo with a similar scent, I was instantly curious. I’d say it works as well as any other dry shampoo, but the appeal for me is that it’s the best smelling I’ve found so far. So if you’re into flowery dry shampoos, this is worth a shot. If you’re all about a cheap one that works, regardless of the smell, I’d still stick with Batiste.

Essie Nail Lacquer in Plumberry:
I’ve never been much of a fan of Essie’s polishes in the past – they’re typically too thin of a formula for me, and even after 3 coats, they seem to still be uneven. In spite of that, I thought I’d give them a chance since I found this perfect magenta shade for spring. I’m wearing it right now, actually. I’ve found that sticking to the darker colors work best for Essie, and this one is actually pretty thick compared to some of the others I’ve tried.

Organix Argan Oil of Morocco Dry Body Oil:
Okay, so this is something I bought purely because I loved the smell of it. I also thought it might help with the super dry skin I’ve been dealing with lately. Unfortunately, after using this once, I broke out on my legs (which is not normal for me at all). I might give this product another shot in the summer when my skin isn’t as sensitive, but for now it’s being shelved. So if you have sensitive skin, I’d avoid this stuff. If you don’t, then it might be worth checking out.

Burt’s Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream:
I have a terrible habit of biting my cuticles, and I hear this stuff helps keep them looking nice. That, and it tastes horrible, which is a great deterrent for me from biting at my cuticles. So far, it works pretty well. It’s very greasy, so it’s really only for nighttime, but I do like how it keeps my nails and hands feeling smooth in the morning!

Almay Clear Complexion Concealer in Light/Ivory:
I’ve been using this stuff since college, I think. It works, so I keep buying it. Not much else to say about that. :-)

I’ve also been on a magazine kick lately. It’s probably because I don’t have a lot of free time, so reading a book is about impossible right now. I need short and sweet, so I’ve been reading these in my free time (note: I finished reading these shortly after I bought them…but I have a few sitting at home I need to dive into soon!)IMG_4016There you go – another successful shopping trip! If you want any more information on the products above, leave me a comment and I’ll be glad to help you out!

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