Shot of Joy 14

Prettiest tart at the market and the perfect thing after a rushed lap session. (Or so I am telling myself today.)
– strawberries showing up at the market – the slowly warming weather – spending Saturday swimming laps then perusing the market at PSU – the lap pool at PSU Rec Center – learning to swim correctly – prescription goggles – actually seeing in the pool –
Loving my new gym bag. All packed and ready for the am. Now hopefully the Rec Center pool won't have an unexpected closure.
– starting up my yoga practice again – working out before work, even when that means getting up before 6am – mostly having a flexible schedule to allow me to do things like attend a yoga class – lemongrass tea –
Stamps for invitations? ??
– my new essential oil diffuser – filling my place with calming and relaxing essential oil mixes – not making a bunch of weekend plans to recharge – my car, it’s perfect for our needs – not having a bunch of stress from wedding planning – feeling better overall, even with a recent anxiety episode – the sun that’s outside right now –

A Year of Reflection

Stairway to Bliss

I’ve been reflecting on the past year lately. Partly because it’s the time of year for reflection and resolution making and partly due to concrete plans being made in the next few months. Vahid and I were talking of all the things we’ve accomplished this year and all the trips and adventures we went on and I must say, I had a pretty fantastic year.

Obligatory vacation selfie!

I moved to Portland in January 2010, coming up on five years since I left my childhood home and learned to survive on my own. Since moving here I’ve had some pretty bad years, some years of struggling trying to juggle the demands of bills, work, a relationship, and school. Struggling during times of unemployment. Just struggling how to meet the demands of my newly acquired adult life. Vahid and I struggled as a couple, learning how to be there for each other without simply existing for each other. We don’t have the perfect relationship but after five and a half years together we have really learned that we can truly work through anything so long we take the time to do the work and have really honest and open communication, which can sometimes be quite hard but it’s always worth the effort in the end.

This year has been full of travels. We didn’t quite make it to Europe or Asia but we did manage to find ourselves on quite a few adventures. We started the year off on the coast, visiting Astoria and an always favorite, Pacific City. It was my first time seeing Astoria and also staying in a bed-and-breakfast place.

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We also drove to California for my birthday, seeing the redwoods and the California coast. We stopped along the way in a small town I spent a good deal of my childhood and saw how much things had changed but hadn’t at the same time. We hiked to a hidden beach and I might have complained a bit more than I should but the view was worth it as it always tends to be.

Fall colors in Full effect! So beautiful.

Vahid and I actually go on awesome road trips. In the fall we went to Seattle and Vancouver BC. Vancouver is one of my favorite cities and though we did so much in the few days we were there I feel we barely scratched the surface. It’s one of the cities I would gladly move to if Vahid and I ever decide to leave Portland.

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I didn’t only travel this year. Vahid and I both found new jobs that we enjoy. I read some awesome books and got more into comics this year as well. I have a solid collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics, The Dark Tower comics, and just finished Birds of Prey and can’t wait for more in that story line. I also have Captain Marvel but haven’t had the time to read it just yet.

I’ve also spent this year learning for the first time since I left school. I’ve worked on changing my habits and started to qi gong and meditation. I’m actively learning the ins and outs of starting my own business and who knows where that knowledge will take me in the next few months.

Afternoon at one of my favorite places.

I’ve also been learning a lot about herbs and essential oils and how to utilize natural products into my skincare and makeup routines. I’ve switched most of my makeup to natural options and make half of my skincare at home. This has helped my skin in drastic ways. If only I could garden in my apartment and create a medicinal herb garden. If only my apartment got sun on the porch.

This was the year I got to play hostess as well. Both of my really good friends made the trip to visit me and my family made their annual trip as well. It was so fun to show my friends little bits of Portland I love and share some really delicious food. It was also just really good to spend time with people I love that I just don’t get to see very often.

By no means did I accomplish everything I wanted to this year. I am always working on my health and fitness and this year I really looked at my health and am currently working on fixing some major issues. I always would love to travel more and write more. I am still working on my project and I hope I will be in a position to share that with you all sooner rather than later.

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Looking back on this year has really highlighted that my life is good. I have a great partner, wonderful family and friends, and I am truly lucky that I get to do so many things I love with very little sacrifice.

I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for me. If it’s anything like the past year I can’t wait!

How was your year? What things did you learn? Where did you go? What made you happy this past year and what are you looking forward too?

In Which I Eat All the Food

My friend Gaby flew up for a long weekend a week ago. It was pretty hot for Portland with temps in the high 90s. I felt bad for not having an air conditioner but we made do with the fans.

I was planning out our visit a little more meticulously than I usually do when my friends come by because I was trying to stick with my way of eating without inconveniencing my friend. That’s when I realized that most of the things I want to do with my friends involve food.

We spent the first day hiking and ended it with amazing BBQ at one of our all time favorite spots. Then Gaby and I went for brunch the next morning. Brunch is one of my favorite things in life.

Adventuring among the waterfalls.

We went to movies and I showed her the Lan Su Chinese Garden and we had tea and caught up on all the things. It’s been two years since the last time I saw her. Side note, if you have a chance to watch Coherence you should definitely do it. It was an amazing story and I found very little in the way of glaring pot holes.

Little boat

I fell off my food wagon because there was so much I wanted to show Gaby and it’s not fun to take someone to a place you love and go, “I’ll just watch you eat like a creeper.” It was terrible. I opted for child sizes of foods like ice-cream and looked for the best options I could get at the restaurants we went to.

Halfway through the visit I was telling Vahid that I felt bad because I made a commitment to change my eating habits and now I’m just going out all the time. He gave me some advice that was pretty good. My friend was in town, when was the next time I’d get to see her? Maybe my wedding, maybe sooner. He said it’s not the worst thing in the world to enjoy good food with good company.

Live music in one of my favorite cafés. It was the best thing to eat to.

We also had some awesome meals at home as well. Vahid made his famous steaks and we had some burgers and those sweet potato fries I love so much.

I also got to bust out my old Super Nintendo and remember just how bad I was at Super Mario.

It was a great weekend and getting to see one of my good friends was just what I needed. It was fun times filled with great food, awesome conversation, and videos of her cat. What else could I have hoped for?

Life is Happiness

My life is pretty great all around. I graduated college. I’m employed. I have a wonderful fiancé who spoils me on a regular basis. I live in a beautiful city and enjoy it regularly. I have great friends close and far that I see when I can. The point is my life is pretty great and even envious to some people.

I don’t feel ungrateful for my life but I have been unhappy for a while. The problem wasn’t external. Sure my job isn’t wonderful and I don’t live in my dream house, but that’s not really a reason to be unhappy. My unhappiness stemmed from within. At the core I was unhappy with myself and honestly no amount of change would make me happy.

Part of my issue was this blog. I found myself coming here to only rehash the same old unhappiness. I stepped back from this place and even considered getting rid of it altogether but at the end of the day I just left it. I figured if I didn’t know what to do with it in six months I’d cancel the whole thing and be done with it.

Somehow I’m still here. You’ll notice that my old entries are gone. I’ve saved them but if I’m really going to change myself I need to move on from all the negativity and ugliness that is in those entries. I need to electronically get rid of the clutter.

Maybe it’s the Spring weather finally showing it’s lovely face or maybe it’s all the wonderful new things I’m starting to learn but I am ready to start a new, with a whole new focus in my life.

I’m focusing on self-love, gratitude, and realizing the happiness in my life. I’m also finally taking my health seriously for the first time.

I only have one of these lives as far as I know I need to start enjoying it now before it’s mostly gone.