Posts tagged ‘Life’s a stage’

2017, May 12

Six Reasons to Smile – Spring

No, you are not seeing double. I totally just back-dated this blog post because I missed hitting “publish” when I was supposed to. Good thing I read Bloggoneit’s Blog, and her ‘6 reasons’ posts reminded me!

I think that we all need more positivity in our lives. Which is why, near the end of each month last year, I posted a collage of six pictures here on my blog as part of a year-long “Six Reasons to Smile” series. I liked it so much I’ll continue the practice into 2017, except as a seasonal summary. Here’s hoping I remember to publish them on time for the rest of the year!

Spring was really nice this year. As soon as it was warm enough outside we started taking road trips to cities and villages near our city, and for my birthday we traveled to Bucharest, the capital of Romania. Chia pudding quickly became a favorite after trying out new recipes. I marveled in the quietness of the countryside, and the beauty of flowers, of nature all around me. It was a hectic kind of season, but I think we managed to feed our souls, too.

Here are the reasons I smiled this Spring:

Did you smile a lot this Spring? This month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2017, March 24

For the longest time, I avoided the gym

Yes. For the longest time I avoided going to the gym. Come to think of it I avoided gym classes as much as possible back in school as well, even before getting a medical slip excusing me from the class for the last two years of high school.
By now, the medical issues sort of cleared up, or at least, I know how to handle stuff.

Image from Cheri Cope’s blog post, Run with Your Heart

Last Summer, I decided that I wanted to run, and maybe even exercise more. Okay, truth is, I started running to lose a little bit of weight and fit into the dress a friend let me borrow to wear to a wedding last Fall.
However, after I started running during the second half of the Summer, luckily I liked it so much that I wanted to keep going. (Here are some great tips for someone just starting out with running.)
I even signed up and ran two cross events so far, one last Fall and one this month. And, I am signed up for two other cross events this Spring, and am interested in a third in the Summer also if the admission fee won’t be too steep!

For those who choose to go, my firm offers the benefit of a gym membership to the gym close by the office. I wouldn’t want to go there though… I’d hate having to wake up early to go before work, or during my lunch break, or after work. Honestly, I don’t want to use the shower there, which I would definitely need to in either of these scenarios. So even though it’s free, I don’t go there.

I signed up for the gym close to our flat when the weather was too cold for me to run outside. I couldn’t risk getting a cold every time I wanted to run. I found a good deal at the gym – it’s 30% off if I go in between 7am-3pm!
So my very optimistic plan throughout the Winter was:
– going to the gym on Mondays and Fridays before 3pm since I work from home anyway,
– maybe a gym running-session on Saturday depending on my schedule,
– and ice skating on Wednesdays after work as soon as the ice rink opened. I am proud to say that I managed to stick to the schedule pretty well!

That said, please note that you don’t have to have a gym membership if you can’t afford it, don’t have time to find one near you, don’t want to go alone, etc. I honestly only signed up, because I wanted to continue running, and didn’t have a treadmill at home.
There are many YouTube channels out there with great workouts, which you can follow at home. Two of my favorites are FitnessBlender and XHIT Daily. I used these resources for home workouts when I couldn’t get to the gym.

Here are just a few pointers I can give someone who is starting out with regular exercising:

  • Check with your doctor in case you have any sort of physical restrictions so they can advise if it is safe to work out.
  • Eat well (and healthy), at least one meal, before heading to the gym.
  • Based on the previous point, do give the meal some time before actually walking out the door.
  • Keep hydrated. Take a water bottle with you and sip sip sip while you work out.
  • Talk with the trainers there. Tell them about any physical restrictions you might have. Ask which machine does what and how/in what order to use them. Ask for suggestions as they can provide you with a lot of helpful advice depending on what your goal is.
  • If a certain workout or machine doesn’t work for you, do something else. (For example, I get dizzy/motion sick if I try doing abs workouts on a balance ball.)
  • Do what feels good. If you have the elliptical set for 20 minutes for example, but you’re feeling too tired after 10 minutes, adjust the time or hit the “cool down” button and move onto the following exercise.
  • Take your time. No need to rush through the exercise routines. Allow at least a minute or two between sets, to rest.
  • If you feel faint or dizzy, stop immediately what ever exercise you are doing.
  • Don’t over do it with cardio, as cardio alone will not help much. Do some cardio to get warmed up, but then some kind of strength training, and finish with some more cardio if you want.
  • You don’t need to go to the gym every single day. It is a good idea to let your muscles rest between gym sessions.
  • Try to walk more (to/from work, when you go shopping, walk up the stairs instead of using the elevator, take on walking the dog three times a day or more, etc.) and take regular breaks to stretch and move around a minute or two during your everyday life, especially if you work at a desk all day.
  • If you like such things, go cycling, hiking, ice skating, dancing or include other forms of exercise into your free time.

Workout clothes and shoes can be colorful, and fun to shop for. Apparently the people who invented exercise clothes actually knew what they were doing. After buying a pair of warm tights to ice skate in (which are basically running tights, so I used them for that, too), I am never looking back!
However, I simply had spare comfy clothes I used before now.
I didn’t want to be that person who said she’s going to exercise, buys a ton of specific clothes for it, uses them three times total, then never looks at them again because she didn’t stick with exercising!

I’d suggest buying what you need as you go – more budget-friendly, and kind of like a reward system for sticking with it. Sneaky, right?

Hope you found my post helpful if you’re just starting to exercise more, or if you’ve been doing it for a longer period, please leave me a few tips you can think of, in the comment section below :) I’m always open to suggestions!

2017, March 3

I once dreamed of…

I once dreamed of a big white wedding.

read more »

2017, February 10

A couple of thoughts

Years ago, I mentioned five things that I will not write about on my blog, and I don’t intend to change that any time soon.
Today however, I will ever-so-lightly touch on the subject of politics by expressing a few opinions prompted by the protests taking over the main squares of major Romanian cities, which are categorized as the largest demonstrations nationwide since the fall of communism in 1989.

Smartphones light up the night sky. Image copyright

Smartphones light up the night sky.
Image copyright Dan Mihai Balanescu

This is my favorite moment from the protest. In case you don’t read/haven’t seen it when reading world news stories, this is when on Sunday, people used their smartphone torches to illuminate the night sky. So beautiful!
Now on to my opinions.
The protests are legitimate, I believe, but so many of the people out there have not actually read the law in question or know much about why they’re out there protesting.
We live in the Facebook era when anyone can make a public event and invite people, who invite more people, who invite more people. We live in a time in history when it’s trendy to show up, and even trendier to check in at protest locations on one’s social media profiles. I really believe that is one of the main reasons for the amount of protesters.
In a slightly different form, this law was under consideration in 2013/2014. There were very few people out in the streets protesting back then. Where were all these 250000 protesters from Bucharest then? Let alone the half a million from all over the country?
There was someone on TV the other weekend talking about the children’s demonstration. He said, and I agree, that if the parents explained to the kids why they were there, it was a very good, live lesson in civic engagement, about democracy and wanting to make a difference. If said parents were cautious, I believe that it was a good idea.
However, for the past ten days, so many parents went, and took their kids under 15 with them to the evening protests. Sure, it is their personal choice to stay out there with them until midnight, yet I can not see it as being a wise and safe one.
And kinda lastly, I like the fact that the protesters are not causing any incidents and leave the squares clean.
But I have to wonder why is it that our news channels here make such a big deal out of it? What is fundamentally wrong if this is news worthy? How are Romanians overall perceived in the world, if this is portrayed as such a big surprise?
And why are people not behaving the same way when they gather for a concert, for a football game (several games have been played without supporters in the pews as the threat of incidents was too high, or several games have been stopped because supporters were throwing stuff onto the field), or any other public event, or even when simply living and walking the streets?
The clean and incident-free protests, to me, prove that it could be the same way 90% of the time instead of only now during the protests.
PS: this little blog of mine turned 8 yesterday. What better way to celebrate, than do exactly what I set out to when I first started it, and express my opinion? ;)
2016, December 30

Six reasons to smile in December

This month, I couldn’t help but notice a trend: Winter weather has definitely settled in to stay in this little corner of the world, ever since mid-October actually when the weather changed drastically, and many of the things which made me smile every day are off of my Cozy List for Sweater Weather. And then there was Christmas, too, and being off from work, getting the chance to finally rest for a bit sure made it easier to smile.

I wonder if I should continue posting these six reasons to smile blog posts next year as well? They were fun to write up and share the pics, yet I’m not sure if I want to continue…

Here are the reasons I smiled in December:

six-reasons-december

Did you smile a lot this month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

2016, December 23

Christmas: Then vs Now

Recently I read an article, where it said “As you grow older, you begin to experience the “Christmas spirit” in a different way. Instead of counting down the days until Christmas starting Dec. 1, you are caught off guard when someone says that Christmas is only a week away. Your older self doesn’t necessarily become the Grinch, but the excitement that takes over your every thought slowly dims.”
How true! I wanted to come up with my own blog post on the subject. So, keep on reading.

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~

What was the holiday season like way back when I was a kid?
~ What is the holiday season now that I am pushing 30?

~~

Starting with Advent, we would listen to Christmas carols all day, every day, and sing along.
~ Now, I mostly forget to play carols or Christmas-themed songs, because I don’t listen to music much anymore.

The night before Christmas I would stay up late because I was too excited to go to sleep.
~ Now, I stay up late because at 10PM there are still a million things I need to get done.

On the 24th, I would wake up very early and all excited. The excitement level would only go up as the evening approached. (The custom is to receive presents on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas Day here in Romania.)
~ Now, I try to snooze the alarm clock five times before getting out of bed to skip breakfast and finish everything that didn’t get done the night before. The stress level only goes up as the evening approaches.

On Christmas Eve, my mom, grandparents and I used to go to church, and I was always in the Christmas play the kids at church would act out in front of more than 300 people.
~ Now, I don’t go to church anymore. (My mom and I go listen to my former high school’s choir concert, but that’s a a week or two before the holidays.)

During the play, one of my grandparents or my uncle would go to my mom’s house to decorate our Christmas tree and place presents under the tree – because I would’ve noticed if my mom wasn’t in the front row singing along carols with us kids. My grandparents decorated their tree and placed the presents under it before they left. My uncle did the same at my great-grandmother’s house.
~ Now, I decorate our apartment, my mom’s and my grandparent’s houses and their Christmas trees. Aside from helping with cooking and baking, and my own cooking and baking. I kinda like the being-surprised-by-a-Christmas-tree-materializing-out-of-nowhere idea better, but that most likely won’t happen ever again.

After the play, on our way out, all of the children at church would receive a small present.
~ Now, I am the one assembling presents for children (both my boyfriend’s and my firm take presents to ShoeBox Romania). An extra present for myself comes from Secret Santa at work.

First we’d go to my mom’s to find that Santa brought us a Christmas tree and presents. Then to my great-grandmother’s, and then to my grandparent’s for the same.
~ My boyfriend goes to his brother’s and they go over to his grandma’s. At home, I skip lunch to finish everything that didn’t get done the night before or in the morning. Then we go over to my mom’s and grandparent’s.

My Christmas wishlist would be a mile long. Yet everything was still a surprise when some of the items off my wishlist made it into the presents, because we couldn’t afford much.
~ Now, my wishlist is still long, but three quarters of it I ignore, and what I really need/want I buy for myself instead of flat-out asking for them. Presents aren’t surprises much anymore, because usually mom asks me if it’s OK to buy me “x”, and I correct her that “y” would be better as I haven’t used up the current “x” yet. Or, she’d call me three times in a row while my phone’s on silent, then immediately text saying “call me urgently!!!” to ask what color PJs I’d like, because she knows I needed to sew mine twice in one month.

We’d have dinner at my grandparent’s.
~ We have dinner at mom’s.

At the end of the night, my mom and I would go back to mom’s house. During school holidays I stayed with her, not with my grandparents as was my living situation during school time.
~ Now, my boyfriend and I go home to our cat to spoil the little fluffball rotten some more while watching a Christmas movie and maybe having a cup of hot chocolate.

On Christmas Day we would all go to church and have lunch at my mom’s place.
~ On Christmas Day, I try as much as I can to get out of the church part, but given I can’t, we all go to church together and have lunch at mom’s place.

~~~

I still like the holidays, and I do get excited. However, I do find this season stressful now, and sometimes I really wish I was a kid again and just enjoy it rather than be the one to do the work…
What do you think? What are your holiday preparations and holidays like? Do you find it more or less stressful now than twenty years ago?

Luckily, twinkle lights and hot chocolate help keep my spirits up!

Here’s wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas!!!

2016, November 25

Six reasons to smile in November

I took part in Positively Present’s 2016 Gratitude Photo Challenge this month. You may recall I took part in the November 2011 one, carried my camera with me for the month of November and it inspired my very own, year-long photo challenge.

Go check out my Instagram or Facebook feed to see all the photos I posted this month. There are still a few days to go, but even so far it is a lot of fun, and it was hard to choose six that I love most. So, one of them is a collage of four as a small bonus.

I am so thankful for being able to take pictures and enjoy my surroundings. I need to be more present in the moment.

Here are the reasons I smiled in November:

six-reasons-november

Did you smile a lot this month? What were your reasons? In case you’ve also captured them on camera, I’d love to see!

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