Monday, January 21, 2013

Roping Other People into Your Resolutions

I have long believed in the power of peer pressure, or peer shame, or whatever you want to call it. I want to focus on this because it's that New Year's resolution-y time of year, and I figure I might help someone (anyone) with their goals for 2013.

Exhibit A: I spent a year post-high school graduation in Germany as an exchange student. I told EVERYONE. Once the decision was made but before I stepped on the plane, I had about six months to spread the word as far and as wide as possible, and I did exactly that.

"Wow, Germany? For a whole year? Rad, dude."

Yes, I was excited, but I was also terrified. I wasn't telling everyone simply because I wanted to brag, or to have something to talk about (believe you me, I can always find something to talk about!)--I was telling them because it meant I couldn't chicken out halfway through and come crawling back home. I told everyone I knew, and even some people I didn't, just so I wouldn't be able to give up before my year was up. I knew I couldn't bear having to answer the question, "But I thought you were going to be gone for a year?"

It worked! I was in Germany for eleven and a half months. Phew. It was a long haul and a lot of hard work, but I know it paid off in the end. Case in point: I still dream in German once in a while (last night, for instance). Plus, I met my boyfriend in a German class once I finally got to college, and we've been together for going on two years now.

He drinks to forget.

When it comes to Weight Watchers, we recommend doing the same thing with your weight-loss journey. You might not necessarily need to tell everyone you know, but keeping your friends and family in the loop with you will usually pay off in the end. If they know you're trying to eat more healthfully, they're less likely to push for that extra dessert or margarita. The downside is, sometimes people think this means that they need to look out for you, which to them means incessantly asking, "Can you eat that? Should you be eating that? You shouldn't have that; you're on a diet."

There ARE some diets that function like that, but the great thing about Weight Watchers (shameless promotion) is that you can have anything you want! You can still have margaritas and that extra dessert and some chips with your sandwich. Have your cake and eat it too--as long as you track it. As long as you budget for it. We're really big on planning ahead for special occasions, and giving you some leeway to enjoy yourself. Anyone can eat chicken and broccoli for a month and lose 20 pounds, but what happens the instant you stop eating just chicken and broccoli?

Donuts start talking to you, that's what.
Eat them to silence their tiny helpless voices.

Anyway, all of this brings me to my point about New Year's resolutions. This year, I resolved to run 12 miles each week. It took me a while to come to this number; at first, I was thinking 15 mi/week, but soon decided that would just be frustrating and time-consuming to me, so I set a more achievable goal. Once I'd decided upon 12 miles, I announced it to Facebook. And I've continued to announce it to Facebook, and to my friends, and to all my members in my WW meetings. And yes, I've had people ask me, "How many miles have you gone this week?" It keeps me accountable to someone besides myself, and if I ever slack off, it'll be just like if I'd come home from Germany at the half-way point. Embarrassing, cowardly...even somewhat shameful. Best not to let that happen. This last week, I was lazy, which left me with nine miles I had to run on Friday and Saturday. I did it, though! All because I knew someone OTHER than me was going to be wondering how I'd done.

If you're not comfortable with telling the whole world, just pick one person, or a couple. You don't have to announce it on Facebook; you can just as easily message a few friends (or text, or whatever)--just so someone else holds you accountable. It's easy to make excuses to yourself. It's a lot harder to make them to other people.

One last tip: find someone to help you with your resolution. Currently, I meet my friend Jesse at 6 a.m. every Monday and Thursday. Those days, I'm guaranteed to get a run in, because omg, my friend is WAITING for me, I can't be that total flake who doesn't show up even though someone is WAITING out in the COLD and the DARK for ME! (It was 5 degrees when I got up at 5 this morning, "feels like -2.")

"I can't believe you abandoned me. Oh, wait, I actually froze
to death waiting for you. This is just a really terrible Monday."

In conclusion, this quote always keeps me motivated: "Someone busier than you is running right now." (Not sure of the original source. If you know, tell me and I'll attribute it.)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

It [still looks] a lot like Christmas!

I had a Christmas decor post all ready. Unfortunately, I lost track of time. Fortunately, I was inspired by Aunt Peaches to go ahead and post my decorations anyway, for those of us who want to hold onto Christmas year-round. So here you go!

You've all seen my snowflake ballerinas, but here they are again, for reference. (Along with our cute little tree.)

One of the very first things I put up for Christmas actually came about as the result of working on a different craft. My freshman year of college, a group of friends and I drove down to New Orleans to experience Mardi Gras. The parts of it that I remember were awesomeeeee! (Granted, that's not TOO much, but.)

My main souvenir from that intoxicating (ah heh heh. See what I did there?) weekend was a milk crate (which I found on the street after a parade), entirely filled with beads. FILLED with beads. I've had vague designs for those beads ever since, but never got around to doing much with them...until I started the tedious process of hot-gluing them to a stool to use as a very glitzy nightstand.

I'll do a post on that later, but for now, suffice to say that I realized during this project that I seemed to have a LOT of beads in several colors: namely, red, green, and gold. What ever could I use red, green, and gold beads for, in DECEMBER? Oh, wait.

It's not a LOT, but it's something!
Very super easy. I just looped each string of beads together, then clambered all over various surfaces with a mouthful of little picture nails and my adorable pink hammer. I may never take them down. Bonus: I had EXACTLY enough strands to make it all the way around the living room.

"Our house wine is Jägermeister"

Now, I adore Playmobil. They have absolutely the cutest, most fun toys in existence, and I'd think my friends would agree with me, based on the use that my Playmobil Nativity got this winter.
Why yes, Joseph is putting lambs in the soup kettle over  the fire.

And yes, this goat is being used as a lantern-stand.

And apparently all the animals want to see Baby
Jeebus, and the kitten is about to suck his breath out.
(None of us are particularly religious, sooooo. If you're offended...take some time to realize that these are plastic toys.)

 I also have a bunch of little Christmas tchotchkes I've gotten over the years from Kinder Überraschungseier (or Ü-Eier for short, or just Kinder Eggs), which, in case you don't know, are hollow chocolate eggs with a little toy inside. Sometimes you have to put the toys together yourself; sometimes, as in this case, they come pre-assembled. That's also a Lego Santa sitting on my thermostat.

Next up is a project I worked on with my mom that became Christmas presents for all my girlfriends. We'd seen a picture on Better Homes & Gardens of some flowers underneath upside-down wine glasses, used as a centerpiece, and when we found cool hobnail glasses at the Salvation Army, an idea was born.

For my friends, we created little Christmassy vignettes, using mini ornaments, poinsettias, Christmas buttons in the shapes of gingerbread men and snowmen, and various other fun little things (I'll put up pictures, along with a tutorial, some other time), but I just used some shredded leftover wrapping paper and ribbon, plus added some more Kinder Egg toys to sit on the top of the overturned glasses.

I also decorated our guest bath, because I'm classy like that. More Playmobil, please!

A little angel in a pony-propelled sleigh, a daddy pulling his daughter on a sled, and Santa. Hecks yes. And I thrifted the Santa tin several years ago and have just been waiting for the moment where it'd finally come into its own.
And these are Santa socks, into which I stapled ribbon so I could hang them on the towel bar. Because OMG do you SEE how cute they are?!!?

And my easiest, most wonderful, most transcendent Christmas/anytime decoration ever was a hand-me-down from Spencer's mom. It WAS a tree topper, but since one of my trees has a pre-wired topper and the other has an awesome vintage thrifted topper, I found a different use for it:

HAHHAHAHAHAHA oh my gosh, I seriously can't get over how much I love this guy. It's just silly and fun and wild and wonderful, and it will DEFINITELY be living in that lamp year-round.

So those are all the little accents, besides some more Playmobil (Santa's sleigh, and a light-up tree, and a bunch of presents). Yes, I have two trees, but one of them's just your basic fabulous mini fiber-optic rainbow tree (which sometimes works) and the other is a borrowed little four-foot tree sitting on a stool, which you saw in the very first picture in those post, and they're nothing special. There will be even more Christmas posts from me, though, so keep your eyes peeled if you miss the holiday season already!