Setting (and kicking) Goals

This past week I read a great book by Gretchen Rubin called The Happiness Project. It’s a fun little read about how focusing on small changes in your daily life can bring you more fulfillment.

The book allowed me to indulge in a little self-examination, and I rediscovered that I am quite a happy person. In fact, when the Pixar movie Inside Out was first released, my colleagues at the time came to the quick conclusion that in my brain, Joy would be the one calling the shots. This was humbling and lovely to hear – that not only am I a joyful person on the inside, but it radiates to those around me.

While I would love to dedicate myself to my own Happiness Project, with my due date only 11 days away it looms a little too large for me. Instead I thought up a list of some great goals I’d like to set for myself in both the long and short term.

There will be others, but I think these are a great start for me going forward. As I mentioned in my last post, one of the things I’m most looking forward to postpartum is the opportunity to reclaim my default setting as a highly goal-oriented woman.

In no particular order, here are some of my focuses for the near and distant future.

  •  Continue flossing daily – This may sound like a small thing, but I’ve been flossing everyday since my last dental appointment in January. I’ve NEVER been able to maintain this habit for more than a week or so, and it feels great to have finally mastered it. Here’s hoping I can keep it up!
  • Exercise six days per week – I understand the importance of a rest day, so six days a week seems more manageable than seven. I accept that postpartum this will be very gentle to start, but eventually I can’t wait to get back into running and Pilates, and I’m even obsessed by the idea of taking up climbing.
  • Keep a food log/cut down the sweets to once a day – Pregnancy has amped up my sweet tooth to a whole new level. I’d rather indulge in something small once a day than keep up the bottomless pit type sugar habit I’ve got going now. I’m not pressuring myself to achieve this goal too quickly, but I know keeping a food log will help.
  • Teach Pilates regularly – Even if it’s just filling in at a studio once a month, I want to get to a point where I’m teaching often, not just sporadically like I am now.
  • Donate blood – I’ll have to wait the standard 9 months after giving birth, but this is my favorite charitable activity. I am a blood type that is in high demand and I would like to become a regular donor, rather than waiting for them to call me when there is a shortage.
  • Run a 10km, half-marathon and marathon again – These fall in the longterm category for sure. I used to love racing before I was knocked back with injury in early 2015. I’m going to take it incredibly slow after giving birth, but in the next couple of years I want to become a regular racer again. Half-marathon is my favorite distance, but I’d like to challenge myself to do another full (though hopefully on a course that’s less hilly this time).
  • Monthly purge of clutter – This won’t be hard as I absolutely LOVE purging our house of clutter. Making it a monthly activity will give me a great buzz and keep our home feeling tranquil.
  • Read for pleasure everyday – I do this anyway for the most part, but with a baby on the way I know it will be a challenge to prioritize “me time.”
  • Take on a sports trainer role for a local sports club – As a physiotherapy student it’s crucial I start getting some real world experience. I’m not putting a deadline on this, especially as I adjust to motherhood, but I want to keep it front of mind as a goal to achieve sometime in the next year.
  • Meditate weekly – I have tried and failed many times to adopt meditation as a regular practice. I do like it and recognize the benefits, but it is hard for me to commit. By making it a weekly rather than daily activity, I hope it’ll be an easier habit to keep.
  • Listen to music everyday – I tried and failed to listen to an album a day for a month last year. It was a great goal, and I would like to continue devoting time to entire albums rather than just songs or playlists, but a good start is just making music a part of my daily routine, whether as an activity on its own, or while cooking or working out. It makes me so happy and in our current world, which is so saturated in stimulation, something as simple as listening to music can get lost in all of our other distractions. When I was a teenager I had music playing in my room at all times. I miss that!

General immeasurable goals I’d like to keep in mind include – maintaining a positive attitude, avoiding complaining, gossip and nagging, keeping up with friends and family, making time for creativity such as writing and knitting and minimizing the time I spend on social media. I want to focus on being present in my own life.

I’m sure there are more goals I’ll be adding to this list, but for now I’m excited to have something concrete and in writing to keep me accountable moving forward.

If you’ve got some goals you’re working on I’d love to hear about them!

Silence Broken

Hello blogosphere!

After a very, very, VERY long hiatus, I’ve decided to come back to 13 Hours Later and re-vamp it a bit for the next stage of my life.

Since my last post in May of 2013, (yikes, 4 years ago!) quite a bit has happened to me. Here are some of the major highlights and updates:

August 2013 – I ran my first marathon with my mom by my side.

First Marathon
City to Surf Marathon 2013

May 2014 – I changed careers from journalism (thanks to redundancy) to travel, where I have remained until I began my maternity leave this week.

August 2014 – My youngest sister Nora came to live with us for 4 months and many MANY fun times were had. We still talk all the time about how much we miss having her around.

October 2014 – I got married to the love of my life and the man who brought me to his homeland of Australia.

Matt and Emma's Wedding
October 2014 Wedding

November 2016 – Nora and I went to New Zealand’s south island for a week long vacation through an Aussie youth travel company called Topdeck. We had unforgettable adventures, met cool people, and even got to bungy jump for what I can only assume will be just the first time.

New Zealand Trip
New Zealand 2014 with Nora

February 2015 – Our mini-honeymoon in Phuket

Thailand 2015
Phi Phi Island 2015

May 2015 – Matt and I bought our first house.

September 2015 – I went on a work trip to Mauritius. The fact that it counted as “work” still baffles me, it was an amazing trip!

 

February 2016 – I went back to school (I am studying Physiotherapy – the Aussie equivalent to Physical Therapy).

March 2016 – I celebrated my 30th birthday with an awesome murder mystery party with my closest friends. It was easily the most fun I’ve had at my own birthday since I was a child.

April 2016 – My family lost my beloved maternal Grandmother, a major influence and primary cheerleader in my life.

Grandma and Me
Grandma and me at my high school graduation

July 2016 – Dad and I went on a trip to Alberta, Canada where we mostly hiked and ate amazing meals. With motherhood approaching I’m so glad we took the opportunity to do something like that while we still could.

IMG_3811
Dad in Banff

September 2016 – Found out I was pregnant with my first child.

36 weeks
36+ weeks (taken in April 2017)

October 2016 – I completed my STOTT Pilates certification and am now qualified to teach matwork. (Will hopefully add Barre and Reformer Instruction to my repertoire in the coming year once bub is born.)

Matwork Course
Now qualified to teach Pilates

With my son’s birth now only 2 or so weeks away (you never know for sure), I’ve been contemplating how to best capture his life in a lasting and meaningful way that both he and I can look back on in the years to come. Originally I’d considered keeping a journal, but being one of many slaves to the Marie Kondo revolution, I am loathe to add physical clutter to my life at this point in time.

I’ve also been obsessed by goal-setting since around the start of my second trimester. I can’t wait for everything I’ll be able to theoretically do again when I “get my body back.” While my expectations are glaringly unrealistic, I can’t help but crave accountability as reclaim my cherished athleticism.

So the new plan is to use this blog as part “adventures in motherhood,” part “finding myself postpartum.” I am prepared to expect the unexpected, and I can’t wait to lay out my plans over the next few days. Stay tuned!

Day 7: Week one, fini!

Well week one of 30 in 30 is already over!  I can’t believe this only started last Friday.  Last night after work, Matt and I headed to the mall to look for sturdier umbrellas.  All the mid-year sales are happening right now, so walking through Myer and David Jones was pretty painful.  I suppose the silver-lining (if you can see it) is that I have no money anyway!

I’m not in love with my new brolly, but it’ll get the job done.  Yesterday a tornado swept through our neighborhood, and it poured off and on all day and night.  I’m glad to have something more than a dinky umbrella to protect me over the weekend.  I couldn’t post last night because I was skyping with my sister, but here’s what I wore Thursday:

Hat: Love Culture

Sweater: Witchery

Boots: Urban Outfitters

 

 

Two days in a row for my H&M black jeans.  When I found these I knew exactly what I was looking for.  I ended up buying the super-slims because they’re the only skinny jeans that aren’t too long for me.

This outfit ended up being a lot cuter than I thought.  I mostly love it because it’s warm.  The skinny jeans add the element that raises the ensemble from just warm to fashionably warm.  I also am loving my new hat.  I got to wear it for the first time Thursday.  Matt loved it too!

These fabulous cowboy-ish boots almost didn’t survive my second year in France.  I actually bought the navy keds from other posts to try to save these guys from any more snow and rain damage.  Luckily Anne-Sophie, my French savior, revived them for me with some heavy-duty polish.  They used to be a slightly different color, but I don’t mind.  I love wearing them with my black jeans; they flow so nicely together.

I’m really happy with how things are going so far in 30 in 30.  I know it’s going to start getting really difficult, but for now it’s still fun!  Due to timing, there will hopefully be another post this evening.  I’ve got fun one-on-one plans with a certain redhead I’ve been missin’.  Happy Friday everyone!

Four’s lucky

As it is a WA public holiday, Maria and I started our morning by taking advantage of a special 8am boxing class.  Normally on weekdays they are at 6am.  We don’t have the usual Monday soccer training tonight, so the extra session seemed like the perfect alternative.  When we arrived, the owner asked us to pick a number between 1 and 10.  I picked lucky 8 and won free gold boxing gloves!

After boxing I came home, and Matt and I skyped with my family for a while.  It was the first time all six of us were “together” this year.  Hard to believe!  It was amazing to talk and laugh with them; I can’t wait until our trip to Minnesota at the end of the year.

Now down to sartorial business: Today Matt and I took quite a long run/walk, making for a very late lunch.  I had to quickly shower and rush to dry my hair and pick an outfit before he starved.  Here is what I came up with under pressure:

Top: Transit

Capri Pants: Seed Femme

Shoes: Nine West

Bag: Longchamp

Despite being overcast, the weather was absolutely beautiful today.  I love when you walk out the front door and it’s warmer outside than in.  It’s only a shame I didn’t get to wear my outfit longer, mostly it served as the ensemble for today’s afternoon cat nap.

The photo doesn’t do it justice, but I’m wearing a white and gold sparkly headband from Love Culture.  I actually haven’t worn it before as I just bought it recently.  It felt a bit like a tiara when I first put it on, but I really love it.  That plus the Target leaf earrings really glam up the soft capris and plain white t.  Since I only had a few minutes to dry my hair, I opted for the messy side bun.

Below are the cute navy flats I bought from Nine West back when I was in college.  I remember having a desperate need for them at the time, and my good friend and roommate Kat pushing me to buy them.  This is one of those moments when need outweighed expense.  Lucky for me they’ve been a staple in my wardrobe ever since.  The only problem is they get a bit sticky in extreme Australian heat.  Perfect with tights though!

The pants here are too big for me now, so I’ve got my belt on tight to keep them up.  I bought them when I first got to Australia and had put on a few pounds.  Thankfully not a big enough difference to discard them entirely because they are adorable and so comfortable.  Softer than khakis and hitting at that perfect spot slightly above the ankle, I would say I’m in love.  The bracelet is fairly new; I bought it to go with other teal bangles I’d purchased for a Bollywood party.  The Longchamp bag comes from France and is my favorite everyday item.  It’s so durable and timelessly fashionable without trying too hard.  I hate bags with hundreds of buckles and bangles.  Function over flair for me, for sure!

Tonight Matt and I are hanging in to watch movies, and we’re making spinach and ricotta gnocchi for dinner.  We’ve never attempted it before, so I’m nervous, but excited.  Even if they don’t turn out perfect I’m sure I’ll love them.  Things always taste better to me when I know the work I put in to make them.  Sadly tomorrow it’s back to the grind.  Hopefully I’ll still be able to put together a few fierce and fabulous outfits for you!

x3

Day three of the 30 in 30 challenge! I’m still going strong, no temptations to shop at all.  One of the great things about this project is that I can save some money along the way.  No shopping should really help me out in controlling spending.  There are huge sales happening at the moment, so normally I would be out dropping more than I can afford on things I may not need.  According to Kendi, the founder of 30 in 30, this experience is a good way to separate what you want and what you need.  I can see holes in my wardrobe already…

Sundays are all about soccer and singing.  My team had an early game today, which was amazing.  Gotta love when a game finishes before the warmest part of the day.  Normally we’re dying under the harsh aussie sun.  After the 9-1 flogging (go us!), I came home for a quick shower before singing rehearsal.  My sister Nora skyped me through the choosing of my day 3 outfit.  Sorry for the blurry photo, the lighting in our house is terrible!

Cardi: Urban Outfitters

Tank: Cotton On

Scarf: Forever New

Necklace: Love Culture

Boots: I <3 Billy

This E necklace is the one I wear everyday.  I only take it off when I have to for sport.  Often my fun cool necklaces never get a glance.  The E goes with everything!  It’s important to have cute simple pieces like these in your daily wardrobe.  The E is practically a part of my personality now.  I get comments on it all the time!

These I call my “witchy boots.”  Nora decided I would wear these over the keds today.  They do add some much-needed pomp and circumstance to the mix.  While my cardi is amazing and goes with absolutely everything, I’ve worn it so often that it definite has the look of something very much loved.  Tonight Matt made steaks, so we’re about ready to pull up in front of the TV and spend the night hanging.  Masterchef is on, so I’m ready to put up my feet and get some cooking tips.  Goodnight all, see you tomorrow!

Day 2

When my alarm sounded at 7am I groaned as I rolled over to keep it from waking Matt.  For once I could have kept sleeping.  Normally I’m up well before my alarm and ready to start my day before sunrise.

Maria and I missed boxing on Tuesday, so we were both really keen to have a good session this morning.  I also bought a bulk pass before their “4 months for the price of 3” offer expired.  It’s always hard to hand over a wad of hard-earned cash, but in the long run it’ll save me between $250-350 depending on how dedicated I am, thus paying for itself.  So cheers to prepaid boxing until October!

Today’s main event was afternoon tea with Matt’s brothers, parents and grandparents.  This called for a dressy-but-not-too-dressy ensemble and some quiet accessories.

Before Matt and I had yummy Thai curry leftovers for lunch, I whipped up some white chocolate macadamia muffins to bring to tea. Honestly I don’t know what I was thinking, after birthday cake people were pretty stuffed!

Picking today’s outfit was fun because there was an event to dress for.  I know there will be plenty of days this month when I’ll lack motivation.  I especially love the weekends because I can actually dry and style my hair rather than having to quickly tie it back on my way out the door.

Shirt: Witchery

Jeans: Levis

Watch: Elite

Boots: Myer

Bag: Vintage

 

 

I am totally in love with these boots.  Every time I wear them I love them more and more.  I bought them over a month ago and they are everything I wanted this season.

My watch was a ballsy purchase.  You never know if a chunky white watch will go with everything, but it’s turned out to be a very current, stylish piece.  I like it so much better than the one I lost at the casino (it fell off).

For me the bag is the most exciting part of today’s outfit: A vintage little guy I found buried in a local Perth boutique.  When I bought it I felt like I’d finally found that great timeless little satchel that goes beautifully with my relaxed daytime style.  My friend Tahlia was with me when I bought it, and she was totally gutted not to have found it first.

These final two photos highlight the lovely necklace I included to add that bit of color the outfit needed.  Today was sunny in Perth, so no need for scarves or coats.  The necklace was the perfect replacement for a pretty scarf.  I cannot remember where or when I bought this, but it reminds me that I have outgrown my aversion to gold jewelry.  I still prefer silver and white hues, but I have slowly incorporated a few yellow trinkets into my jewelry box.  I also wanted to include these photos because this is the most I’ve ever looked like my sister, Eleanor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tonight I’ve thrown on my pjs to cook dinner and watch a little footy, but I’ll slip this great outfit back on when I head to Claire’s for a much-anticipated Buffy marathon (judge if you will, but it’s an amazing show).  Tomorrow I have soccer in the morning, but singing rehearsal will be a great opportunity to show off outfit number 3! Just have to figure out what that will be…

…And Back Again

How embarrassing to let almost two months go by without an update.  I’m not a very reliable blogger.  To say these past several weeks have been busy would be a gross understatement.  I cannot remember any other period of my life in which I felt like I had less time to myself.  I have been constantly on the move, and this time it’s only somewhat my own fault (though Matt might argue otherwise).

A month ago today we spent the first night in our new rental.  We moved not far from where we were before, into a cute old duplex in a quiet neighborhood.  Settling in’s been quite the process, and we’re still only about halfway there.  We still need a few essential pieces of furniture, and the odd appliance.  It’s crazy the things one can easily live without when given the chance (i.e.  I’ve learned how little I need or want a microwave).

My mom was also in town for a few days recently, so that was a frantic week of trying to squeeze in way too much.  It was wonderful having her here though.  She was very complimentary of Perth, to everyone’s surprise but mine.

Summer approaches here on western shores and we’ve already seen some very scary temperatures.  With the change in season, my outdoor soccer season ended.  I missed the steady training and workouts immediately and decided to join the gym.  It’s ridiculously expensive here like it is everywhere, and I (probably unwisely) joined a very nice facility.  I’ve also been running with my pal Teri to keep up fitness.  We’re pondering a marathon, but lack the time to devote ourselves to a set training program together.  I luckily still have basketball and indoor soccer helping me stay social while staying fit.

When I first got to Australia, I was coming off a very dormant phase of my life.  I was spending too much time indoors, I was very isolated in my little French hamlet, and I was of course missing Matt terribly.  The first couple months of my being here was much the same.  I didn’t get a job right away, and I spent far too much time on my butt.  Matt and I were also eating out regularly.

People fault me sometimes for how crazy I’ve allowed my life to get.  I have such a hard time saying no to new commitments.  I’m fully embracing my overactive lifestyle.  In this transition, I’ve lost at least 15 lbs, (probably closer to 20).  My girlfriends are always asking how I’ve done it, and honestly until they first asked the questions several months ago, I hadn’t even noticed the change.  Now it’s pretty obvious since all of my clothes are loose.  I have to say being this fit just motivates me to maintain it.  It’s a gift that I’ve been able to shed those extra pounds, and I certainly don’t want to waste it.

It feels a bit narcissistic to point out these recent changes, especially when I haven’t even been dieting.  I have slowly morphed back into the person I imagine myself to be, rather than the lazier version of myself I’d become.  In my head I have always been an athlete.  The guys at work joke that I do every sport, but I find that a lot of Perth locals are quite active.  In this gorgeous environment I don’t know how you could avoid getting swept up in it.