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    Health, How To, Life

    Meditation Tips- For People Who Suck at Meditating

    I’d always read and known the benefits of mindful meditation, but always thought I needed to immediately find enlightenment by clearing my head and achieving nothingness.  Let me tell you, my brain is incapable of being clear of anything.  I even attended a sound and sight group meditation where we laid back with pillows and blankets.  Lights that resembled a running river were projected onto the ceiling while the practitioner played his gongs and singing bowls.  The entire time all I could do was get mad that I wasn’t correctly meditating.  In fact, I got so mad that I had the urge to attack the healer as he walked by.  At the very end of the session the last gong was quickly silenced and all vibrations from the instruments were gone from the room.  I actually caught my breath and was immediately calm.  All anger gone.

    That day I learned an important lesson.  While others began to share their experience I started to get a little angry again that I didn’t experience anything close to what they had- reliving old memories or feeling far and away without a care.  I didn’t share my anger because I felt I had failed.  The healer ended up sharing the experience of someone from another session that exactly matched my own.  He explained that sometimes the subconscious is incapable of giving up power and that the only cure is more meditation.  So the solution to sucking at meditation is attempting to suck a little less every day, but in case that isn’t helpful enough I have a few more tips that I’ve accumulated over time.

    Start small and continue consistently

    You don’t need a fancy set up or to lock yourself away for hours.  Start with two minutes everyday in the morning.  Everyday.  As you become more comfortable add a few minutes every week until you reach a comfortable place.

    Don’t focus on completely clearing your mind

    You’ll probably never be able to enter the zenned out void you see people go in to on TV and in movies.  In fact, embrace your thoughts.  What is your mind focusing on?  Try and take each thought one at a time.

    Breathe

    If you don’t necessarily want to focus on your thoughts, focus on your breathing.  Take deep breathes in and out and count them.  If you lose count, start over.

    Focus on yourself and your surroundings

    What are the noises around you?  What are the smells and the lighting?  Try focusing on one point in front of you while taking your deep breathes.  What about yourself?  Start from the top of your head and work your way down.  Get to know yourself.

    Set the mood

    Once you become more comfortable sitting in silence a few minutes each morning experiment with your practice.  Add candles or incense, sit in only natural light, find the perfect meditation playlist.

    I’m still close from perfect myself, but I sit down everyday with a cup of green tea at my meditation table.  My mind is definitely not empty of all thoughts and worry, but this time to myself helps me face whatever is bothering me with more confidence.  Once you can master your morning meditation you can use your new super power wherever and whenever your made need it.

    Do you meditate or have any tips you’d like to share?

    Books, Life

    Catching up on Reading Goals

    I started out strong in 2017 with my reading.  I had a goal of 50 and thought I was bound to reach it by the summer.  As it usually happens, I hit a wall halfway through a mediocre book I had been so excited to start.  I tried to switch it up and try others, but then not finishing a book I had started began to bother me.  Now, three months later I’m beginning to think I should get over it and get reading.  Here are some things I’m doing to get back on track with my goal:

    One.  Book subscription boxes.

    I’m already addicted to my OwlCrate Box and I’m thinking of joining Book of the Month Club too.  Getting a themed box is a fun way to get invested in books you wouldn’t normally pick for yourself.

    Two. Following Bookstagram Accounts

    Instagram is my favorite social media platform.  I really enjoy seeing other people’s adventures, even if it’s their daily routines.  The Bookstagram community is amazing and the talent they have for flatlays is unmatched in my opinion.  Some of my favorites are: Crime by the Book, Bibliotrix.Lestrange, accio_library, dropandgivemenerdy

    Three. Podcasts

    I love love love Podcasts.  They get me through my workday and there are so many out there you never know what you’ll become addicted to listening to.  My favorite book Podcast of the moment is All the Books! from Bookriot.  They are a weekly Podcast that cover books being released that week.  Liberty and Rebecca are so much fun to listen to and I’m jealous that this is their jobs!

    Four. Online Book Clubs

    There are plenty of online/celebrity book clubs to join.  I love Emma Watson’s monthly Q&A’s as part of Our Shared Shelf and Reese Witherspoon has a separate Instagram account of her fabulous book recommendations.  Don’t forget about Pinterest where you can find other people’s recommendations and links to awesome things like The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge.

    Five. Audiobooks and Ebooks

    Sometimes my podcast selection is scarce or I’m not in the mood for any of my Spotify playlists.  Audiobooks are great when doing easy work projects, cleaning, or long drives.  I’m currently listening to The Eye of the World (read the physical book four years ago) as part of Frostbeard Studio’s monthly read along.

    How are your reading goals coming along?  Any recommendations?

    Salem, Support Local, Travel

    Snapshots of Vacation

    No time slips by quite as fast as your vacation week.  Here I am on Sunday, my last day off, catching up on blog posts.  No books were read, no kayaking trips were taken, and there was a little less relaxation time than I had planned on.  I fully acknowledge some people don’t get any vacation or time off, but this is my little nook of the world to mildly complain, so I will.

    Having the week after the fourth of July off as my “summer” vacation was an odd experience for this former indoor kid.  Despite the near ninety degree weather, with what felt like 110% humidity, I always associate the Fourth of July with the end of summer.  So, it didn’t really feel like a summer vacation until an unexpected trip to the beach.

    The only concrete plans I made were with a teacher friend, Laura.  I love Laura because she is a friend who will follow through with plans.  I, myself, am guilty of saying, “Let’s do *this*,” or “Let’s go *here*!” without taking the next steps to make anything happen.  However, Laura is not like that and I am so glad for it!

    Apparently, I talk about how much I love Salem so much (*eye roll* I know I do) that Laura wanted to take a trip and visit with me.  I’m always so confident in how amazing something is until someone else is going to experience it.  I spent the month leading up to the trip constantly revising our itinerary and checking the weather until I thought we reached perfection.  I wanted her to love this little coastal village as much as I do.

    Despite a packed schedule and the occasional rain, it was a relaxing two days in the Witch City.  We took the trolley sightseeing (first thing you need to do here) and grabbed a healthy lunch from Life Alive. Next, we visited the Witch Museum — I’ve been there several times so I take for granted how cool it is, but as a first-timer, Laura really enjoyed the experience. After that, we wandered the garden at the Ropes Mansion before checking into the lovely historic hotel, The Hawthorne.  Dinner was right on the water at Finz, followed by gigantic ice creams cones from Maria’s Sweet Somethings in downtown under the fairy lights.

    The next day started with early with pumpkin spice lattes while walking Derby Wharf and visiting the light house.  Undeterred by the heat, we took the twenty minute walk to the Salem Willows and explored the beach and boardwalk.  Normally at the beach I burst into flames, but since I started tanning for my psoriasis (absolutely working wonders, btw) I actually got a little color and no itchy skin!  Side note, by tan I mean I’ve gone from “porcelain” to “nude.”  Progress is progress.

    We walked back into town to visit my favorite spot, The House of Seven Gables and Nathaniel Hawthorne Homestead.  Right across the street from Seven Gables is the country’s oldest candy shop, Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie that we had to taste-test (Oprah buys all her turtles here) before lunch at Rockafella’s.  The trip ended the best way possible, with shopping and tea at Jolie’s Tea shop.  On the way home, bad weather took us off track, but as a result we ended up going through some adorable New England towns that I need to go back and visit.  Concord, I’m looking at you.

    What have I done with the rest of my vacation?  Aside from waiting for Game of Thrones and spending time with PK, I couldn’t really tell you… and I’m okay with that.  I’m not excited for work, but I always incorporate a little extra self care to my schedule following vacation.  Here’s to trying to get more sleep and read more books!

    What have you done with your vacation?  Anything fun planned?

    P.S. You can also see my trip to Salem last Summer,  Salem in the Fall, and Salem in the Spring.  Guess I need to drop by in the Winter!

    Connecticut, Weekly Motivation

    Weekly Motivation-Winter is Here

    Here we are on the final day of my summer vacation and it’s a day I’ve been dreaming of.  Not because I’m excited to go to work, but because tonight, Game of Thrones returns!  Winter is finally here!  Here are some other things motivating me this week…

    One.  Tickets for the second annual Small State, Great Beer are available for pre-sale

    Two. The AMAZING movie The Big Sick came out in wide release finally! (97% on Rotten Tomatoes)

    Three. Andy Samberg’s follow-up to last year’s hilarious Seven Days in Hell came out- Tour de Pharmacy

    Four. Vicariously living through Carly’s adventures on Nantucket

    Five. Let’s all take some time for self care this week. Your brain may eat itself when sleep deprived 

    Who else is excited for GoT tonight?!

    Mystic, Support Local, Travel, Weekend

    Mystic Knotwork 05.29.2017

    There is a magical little New England town I talk about all the time on this blog.  A town where colonial New England meets the modern day seamlessly.  Preppy clothing stores, homemade fudge shops, and reusable bag boutiques live alongside each other in renovated historic buildings.  Here you can grab a fresh coffee and explore a local bookshop or antique sellers.  There is a music store that consists solely of records.  As you cross the historic drawbridge in downtown with your fresh-churned ice cream and gaze upon ships docked in the colonial era seaport museum you realize there is nowhere on earth you’d rather be.  Well, at least that’s how I feel every time I’m in Mystic.

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    Life, Travel, Weekend

    Chicago 05.06.17

    When asked how he wanted to celebrate the big 3-0 and his upcoming graduation from his MBA program PK made a simple request.  He just wanted to watch the Yankees play.  As it turned out, the Yankees would be on the road playing the World Series champion Cubs.  Luckily, for PK, I have some amazing family in Chicago.

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    Connecticut, Weekend, Weekly Motivation

    Weekly Motivation 5.28.2017

    Oh, hello.  The month of May has been pretty good to me and I hope you’ve been enjoying the gorgeous weather as much as I have.  I’ve spent time falling back in love with yoga and taking quiet walks in nature.  Social media has barely been on my mind and it was a nice break, but… there is so much happening that I’m back and ready to share!

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    Connecticut, Day Trip, Support Local, Woodbury

    Woodbury, CT 4.29.17

    The worst thing that can happen at the beginning of your vacation is discovering a store like, Soulbury.  My family knows me well enough that when they learn about fun, new shops they need to tell me right away.  This was one I couldn’t bear to sit on too long once my aunt sent me their Facebook page, especially with gorgeous warm weather last week.  My loyal adventure buddy, Coors was ready at a moments notice and we were on our way to Woodbury, Connecticut.

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    Day Trip, Salem, Travel, Weekend

    Salem 4.30.17

    I have been absolutely exhausted since Easter.  All I could do was envision my week long vacation and how I would do absolutely nothing but nap.  Aside from our Chicago trip at the end of my time off I tried to keep my schedule wide open.  Somehow, everyday began to fill with spontaneous day trips to some of my favorite places and I can’t really complain about that.  Vacation didn’t have as many naps as I was counting on, but I am feeling totally renewed and ready for warm weather and to plan more trips.

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    Beer, Connecticut, Weekend

    Kinsmen Brewing

    Kinsmen Brewing in Milldale (part of Southington) finally opened over the weekend in a gorgeous old, brick building near where I grew up.  Obviously, I had to stop in to see the progress and to taste test.  The brewery is located along the Rails to Trails, one of my favorite walking paths, that I’ve posted about earlier.  Obviously, I am a strong proponent for beer after physical activity, so their location is perfect.  The walking path right outside their doors leads you into downtown Plantsville and Southington’s evolving restaurant row.

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    Connecticut, museum, Weekend

    Hill-Stead Museum’s Rooms in Bloom

    This past weekend friend, Coors, and I visited the Hill-Stead Museum for their Rooms in Bloom event.  The entire property was decorated with floral arrangements from local designers while you walked through on a self-guided  tour.  In each room there were volunteers ready to discuss the Pope family, the original owners, and their amazing art collection.  This was my first time visiting and I instantly fell in love with the house and surrounding landscape.

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    Connecticut, Travel, Weekend

    Spring Menu at Fresh Salt in Old Saybrook

    This weekend, the Saybrook Point Inn invited me to attend a dinner at their restaurant, Fresh Salt, showcasing their new Spring menu.  Not only did PK and I get to experience their amazing food, we were also graciously offered a room for the night.  Coming out of this long winter a weekend getaway on the Connecticut coast line in gorgeous Old Saybrook was just what we needed.  When we arrived and got settled, our room was so cozy and had such picturesque views of the marina that it was hard to tear ourselves away.

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    Uncategorized

    Weekly Motivation

    The first weekend of Spring has been a quiet one.  PK and I visited family and like always missed a turn or two, no GPS can accurately navigate New Jersey.  Two margaritas and a beer later, I’m still in bed.  Next weekend, however, that’s a different story.  There is so much going on that I actually don’t know where I’ll end up!

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    Weekly Motivation

    Weekly Motivation

    I guess this is more midweek motivation at this point, but I’m going to need it.  As usual, I’m in full hibernation mode for this time of year.  My daily uniform is flannel pajamas and fuzzy socks while wrapped in a blanket with a space heater pointed directly at me.  I’m so thankful I now work from home and don’t have to face the cold.  That being said I do eventually have to be in office and tomorrow is one of those days.  I am literally heartbroken at the idea of getting up early to shower and put on makeup.

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    Connecticut, Design

    Let’s Get Cozy

    Here in New England we’ve all but entered into complete hibernation mode.  It’s the time of year between New Years and spring when we retreat to our bedrooms and nap away the short, cold days and prep for the ever unpredictable Nor’easters.  Personally, I love this time of year.  I love cuddling up in blankets with a cup of tea and good book with a record on.  It’s safe to say that SAD (seasonal affective disorder) has never been a worry for me, but I can understand how my summer-loving friends get antsy to see the sun again.  I’ve always struggled to find a way to convey my feelings about the restorative winter season, but the Dutch have taken care of that for me.

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    Connecticut, Life, Thoughts

    2017 Resolution-y Things

    After ringing in the new year, instead of jumping on the “New Year, new me” train I took the first two weeks of 2017 “off.”  I relaxed, I read, I took little day trips.  Most importantly, I thought about what I wanted to accomplish this year.  Yes, 2016 was a drag for the most part, but a lot of amazing things happened too.  I could stay complacent with everything, but I’m ready for more.   So, instead of a resolution list I grabbed a beer and started to brainstorm my 2017 goals.  These goals aren’t a check sheet, they’re things that will constantly be developing and growing the more I work at them.  So what exactly am I talking about?

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    Connecticut, Life, Weekend

    Surviving the Holidays

    Yesterday I was in the shower and experienced a minor existential crisis.  I could not for the life of me remember if I was 26 or 27.  I can’t even tell you what got me started down this dark path of indecision, but when I got out I realted my dilemma to my mother.  She assured me I was 27, allowing me to move on with my night.  This moment, however, sums up my holidays perfectly.

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    Connecticut, Mystic, Weekend

    Christmas in Mystic

    Almost every month I’ve found myself in Mystic recently and I’m not complaining.  The holiday season makes this little town that much more magical.  Coors and I met up for a stroll through the village for some last minute gifts then grabbed dinner at our favorite restaurant, The Daniel Packer Inne.  I can’t believe that we are only a few days away from Christmas.  I’m not anywhere near finished with shopping and I have a whole lot of baking and travel ahead of me in the next few days.  While I love the holidays it always feels like a rush and that I never get to enjoy all the fun things going on.  Getting a chance to stroll through the village and hang out with a good friend was a nice break.

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    Connecticut, Wedding, Weekend

    The Weekend Rewind: Engagement Pictures

    I’ll be honest, we’ve still made zero progress with wedding planning.  Whenever we’re asked any questions PK and I will answer, “Oh, ya know, it’s gonna be in 2018.”  We keep saying 2018 as if it isn’t looming closer everyday.  All we’ve really discussed and agreed upon at this time is the wedding will be somewhere in Connecticut and it will involve beer.  That’s enough for now in my opinion.

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