March 29, 2012

a new page.

It's been a while.

And that's because things have been crazy busy up in here. Lots and lots of majorly awesome changes coming soon! And when I say soon, I mean in just over 24 hours.

A few posts ago, I mentioned that I was feelin' a little blue. It's been tricky because although I think I know why I've been fighting this feeling (after much muddled examination), it's really nothing that can easily put into words. Or at least described in a way that sounds remotely comprehensible. When I was trying to explain to Will how I was feeling, I just wanted to interrupt myself and say, "No, that's stupid and whiny. Forget I mentioned it." I'll give you a hint:

Does anyone else have an enormously unfulfilling job? I've been at it for 13 months. I can't believe it's been over a year of my life. To most people, this sounds like a bunch of useless complaining because at least I have a job in this economy! So many college graduates are out of work and steeped in bills. And I have work and hardly any bills. It's really an incredible blessing. However, I don't think that should devalue my feelings about my current circumstances. I've been really trying to find joy in the small things and praise God for the income I'm receiving, 

but this is not what I was created for. 

this is not what fuels me,

what fills me, 

what uses my gifts, therefore bringing glory to God.

I don't want to settle for what brings in the money. I think I'd rather be broke.

I was already scheduled for my last day of work to be much later. My letter of resignation had been written and the date was on the calendar. At that rate, I'd have just enough time to pack up house and home and move down to Pennsylvania. But when the opportunity discretely arose for me to leave my job earlier...

Heck yeah I took it. 

To me (and with Will's prompting) this was a lesson about your life being what you make it. If you're not content, make a change. Be proactive. I saw my window and I did what needed to be done to save my sanity and get out. But it was only because of Will's encouragement and support. Even though he's a full-time student, he never pressured me to stay at the job that made me want to rip my hair out. His priority isn't rent, or groceries or car insurance - it's my happiness. One of the many reasons I adore him.

My last day of work is this Friday, and I couldn't be happier. I hope you never find me behind a desk again.

Making this decision has caused me to notice how different the perspective Will and I have on the world is from those around us though. It's been really interesting to hear people say, "What's up next?" or "Where will you work now?" Granted, I know we don't have nearly the financial stresses that most have, so maybe you will toss my philosophy on life away instantly - which is fine. But so many have asked, "So what's the plan?"

Hmm. Good question.

I will teach my class now and give it all of my attention. I will no longer be the instructor who haphazardly tosses a plan together in the hour leading up to class! I will be thorough and devoted - and be paid marginally for it.

I will study my butt off (if I remember how) and hopefully get my next ropes course certification.

I will connect with dear friends before we move.

I will read The Celebration of Discipline
and Life Together
and Into Thin Air
and Knowing God
and Psalms, John and Ephesians.

I will ride my lovely bike around our beautiful seaside town.

I will clean our house more.

I will play my guitar.

I will blog more.

I will exercise more to become in tip-top shape for leading wilderness expeditions this summer.

I will hopefully get a freelance writing job or two.

I will dream of future job endeavors and get creative juices flowing.

As of right now, I don't have a "plan" in place to be employed more than a 15 hours a week or so for the next five months. We will trust in God, do things we love, and it will be grand.

I'm free.

March 19, 2012

these days.

one thousand gifts by ann voskamp: convicting // in a sunburned country by bill bryson: hilarious.
the favorite // the addiction // the library rental... ehh.

the courage to do things that intimidate me, 
and the vulnerability to be honest about that.

Teaching this course as the head honcho is something I'm letting intimidate me more than it should. I'm definitely scared, but it'll be a good growing experience and a chance for me to challenge myself - time to practice what I'll be preaching to the students! First class is in an hour!

March 16, 2012

76 ways to get moving!

One(ish) hour until the weekend!

This week has been horrendously long and tedious (part of why I've been MIA) because I've been battling some sort of melancholy funk these days. If any of you are feeling low or fighting the it-needs-to-be-spring-right-this-instant blues, here are some great tips that I found in an article from!

Some of these are a little repetitive, but give them a glance to see if any are tailored toward your lifestyle or personality. I found some good ones and now I'm feeling inspired to brighten up my dismal days. I've highlighted some of my favorites :)

1. Set your goal. Whether your goal is to run for 10 minutes without stopping or do your first 5K, set it in stone. Once you make your end goal concrete, it will be that much easier to stay motivated and stick to it.
2. Buddy up. Friends make everything better. With a partner along for the ride, you will have someone to help pick you up for the lows and be with you for the highs. This will make the whole experience that much more rewarding.
3. Amp up your playlist. It's amazing what good music will do to help you pull through. Keep your ears happy and your legs will follow suit. Upbeat tunes can help pass the time, and you might not even realize how far you've run.
4. Write your goals out. Setting a goal is one thing, but seeing your written goal in front of you is another. Write out your goal and stick on the fridge or on your bathroom mirror as a daily reminder.
5. Log your training. Keep a journal. Write down what workout you did that day, what you ate and how you felt. Documenting your progress can help you improve and also show you how far you've come.
6. Buy a new workout outfit. When you look good, you feel good. Spice up your workout wardrobe. After spending money on the new gear, who wouldn't want to get out there and show it off?
7. Watch your favorite sporting events at the gym. Instead of sitting in front of your couch or at a bar to watch the big games, head to your gym and watch while you run on the treadmill. Watching top athletes in their element can offer extra inspiration.
8. Share your progress on Facebook. Keeping your Facebook friends informed of your progress will add to your accountability and motivation. You might even inspire some of your friends to get moving, too.
9. Buy a new pair of running shoes. Check out your local running store for a proper shoe fitting. The right shoes will make the running experience more enjoyable and keep you injury-free.
10. Sign up for a fitness class. If you're hesitant to get right on the road, start out with a fitness class. It will help to build your strength and get you more comfortable moving. As you get to know your instructor or the people in your class, you will start to look forward to your classes and will end up with a bigger support network.
11. Schedule it. Make your workouts part of your weekly schedule the same way you block off time for daily meetings, happy hours and dinner dates. When you schedule the time in your day, you can't use "no time" as an excuse.
12. Visualize your goal. The mental preparation behind accomplishing your goals is just as important as the physical preparation through training. See yourself crossing the finish line. Imagine your breathing with each foot strike, and build up the mental strength to know you can accomplish your goals.
13. Blog about your experience.  Why not share your journey on cyber space? You probably aren't alone. A blog can help you get in touch with other new runners and wannabe athletes. It can offer an extra forum for conversation or even just a therapeutic release about your day.
14. Watch an inspirational movie like Rocky. Movies that make you feel like anything is possible can encourage you to do the impossible in your own life.
15. Celebrate the wins. Every little success you encounter should be celebrated. Didn't think you could run for 10 minutes without stopping and suddenly you're up to 20 minute runs? Shout it from the roof tops. Throw a party. Give yourself the kudos you deserve.
16. Keep your makeup or your work shoes at the gym so you have to go. Often times getting to the gym is half the battle. If it's your only option for looking presentable at work, you'll have to do it.
17. Get a group. Working out alone means you can skip a workout because you're only disappointing yourself. When you're working out with a group, you're letting everyone else down, too. Which one is more likely to keep you on track?
18. Get a training plan. "Failing to plan is planning to fail," as the saying goes. A training plan does wonders for keeping your workouts on track by offering structure and guidance. Find a plan that works for you.
19. Get fueled. Do you expect your car to do its job on an empty tank? Don't expect to get anything done on an empty stomach. Energize your workouts with healthy eating habits.
20. Hydrate. Drinking plenty of fluids will prevent you from feeling blah. Proper hydration can be the difference between a good workout and a bad one.
21. Warm up. You'll accomplish more and stay injury-free when your body is loosened up and ready to head out the door.
22. Listen your body. The more aware you are of your body and how you feel, the more you'll improve it. It's the only body you'll have, so take care of it.
23. Rest up. Sleep is one of your greatest friends on the path to a healthy life. Recharge your batteries so you have the energy and motivation to get in shape.
24. Hire a personal trainer. By investing in a professional coach, you'll have someone who knows how to get you fit and will demand commitment out of you. Plus, the financial investment will make you more likely to follow through.
25. Buy a new app. There are hundreds of smartphone apps that track your training, provide inspiration, or help you achieve your goals. This way you'll always have data on-the-go and your progress right at your fingertips.
26. Take before and after pictures. Results are a real motivator. Once you compare a before and after picture to see proof of your transformation, you'll be more likely to stick to it until your reach your goal.
27. Reward yourself. After a good workout, treat yourself to a healthy treat such as frozen yogurt or pineapple and bell peppers on the grill. After a solid week of running or working out, indulge (moderately).
28. Borrow a dog. An average run is anything but when you've got a fun-loving pooch by your side. Plus, a lot of breeds can go much faster than you, which can push your pace and burn even more calories.
29. Help a charity. Can't seem to get motivated by your own goals? Sign up for a charity race and you'll feel committed to see the process through.
30. Sign up for a race. A race may be your end goal or it might help you reach your goal. Either way, a race sets a deadline and sometimes that's all you need to get motivated. No matter what your fitness level, there's a race out there for you. Start with a 5K.
31. Make peer pressure work for you. One of the best ways to boost your motivation is to have a friend work out with you. And what better to get your training jump-started then to have your buddy sign up for an upcoming race. If your friends keep inviting you to go for run, it's time to take them up on the offer.
32. Join a club. Find a club in your hometown that's geared toward your goal. Can't find a running club? Create your own!
33. Try a new sport. If running sounds scary, then try something different. From softball to soccer leagues, active opportunities are all around you. On these teams, tapping into competitive juices can be a great way to have fun and stay fit in the process.
34. Set up a friendly competition. Start a weight-loss competition at work or with your family. Sometimes the desire to beat your "opponents" can give you the motivation you need.
35. Buy a fitness DVD. Can't make it to the gym? Too self-conscious to work out in public? Buy a training DVD—there are ton of styles and personalities to choose from—to help you squeeze in a workout in the comfort of your own home.
36. Make a plan. Breaking your training plan down into small, manageable chunks can keep you on track and help you avoid feeling overwhelmed.
37. Get a coach. Coaches aren't just for triathletes and marathoners. They're a perfect way to set you up with a realistic training plan and help keep you focused on your goals.
38. Inspire yourself. Surround yourself with inspirational messages—quotes, pictures, music etc.—for positive reinforcement. Put a quote above your bed or behind your door so the first thing you see in the morning is a powerful message to get moving.
39. Start slow. Build your workout regimen up slowly. You'll reduce your risk of injury and avoid that sluggish feeling that saps your motivation.
40. Watch more TV. It might sound crazy, but sometimes watching shows such as the "Biggest Loser" or "Celebrity Fit Club" can make you want to get your workout juices flowing.
41. Set out your workout clothes the night before. By preparing the night before, you eliminate one more excuse when you get up in the morning. It's a simple, but powerful technique.
42. Hide your keys at the bottom of you gym bag. Things can get a little stressful in the morning. By putting those car keys at the bottom of your gym bag, you'll be reminded about your fitness goals and may be more likely to get moving.
43. Park farther away. How much time have you wasted looking around for a space close to the door? Avoid the stress—and burn a few calories—by parking off the beaten track.
44. Take the stairs. Just a few extra steps a day can really add up—and take off the pounds in the long run. So skip the elevator and use the stairs.
45. Stop smoking. Pick up a new healthy habit instead of hurting your body. When you crave a cigarette, go for a walk or jog instead. Keep your mind off of smoking by adding healthy activities to your life.
46. Keep a jump rope in your bag. If you have a jump rope in your bag, you will always have a workout on hand. When you have five minutes, just jump for a bit. Get your heart rate up and burn calories whether you're on your lunch break, at your kids' game or walking around your neighborhood.
47. Make a bet. Find a friend or co-worker who wants to lose weight. Make a deal that whoever loses the most weight will win a gift certificate to their favorite store. Or, you can donate $1 for every pound you lose to your favorite charity. This can keep you motivated to keep moving.
48. Make it a vacation. Sign up for a destination event. Why not sign up for a race in Hawaii? You'll have the motivation to train and after the race you can relax on the warm sandy beaches. Or, make a trip to Europe. One of the best ways to see a country is through a race. You get to run on local roads that tourists don't get to see.
49. Get dropped off somewhere. You will have to walk/run back home. You might dread the idea at first, but you're working out and burning calories. You might even discover parts of your neighborhood you never knew about.
50. Reward yourself with a nice meal out. Each time you accomplish a milestone toward your goal, reward yourself to a nice dinner. Be careful not to over indulge. But, when you dine out at an upscale restaurant, it's a special feeling. You deserve to treat yourself after all the hard work you put your body through.
51. Put your alarm on the opposite side of the room. When you get up, you will be forced to get out of bed and turn it off. You just tricked yourself to get out of bed without hitting snooze. Now go get ready for the gym and start your day off right.
52. Weigh yourself. Weigh yourself once a week to see how you're doing.  If your goal was to lose four pounds and you only lost one, you'll know you need to step it up the next week.  Keep track of your food intake and analyze what helped you get through your workouts. When you weigh yourself, make sure you use the same scale. Each scale is a bit off, so use the same machine to get an accurate number.
53. Throw on your favorite music and have a dance party. Dancing is a great full-body workout. You use your legs, core and arms. You won't feel like you're working out because you'll be having so much fun. Many local community centers and gyms offer dance classes, so check out their schedule and see what works for you. If you can't make it to a class, just dance around your home. Turn off the TV, get off the couch, and move.
54. Buy a video game that gets you moving. Many game consoles have fun, interactive games that help to get you in shape. You can dance, Zumba, yoga, kick box and more. The systems even keep track of your progress so you can see how your skills improve over time. You can break a serious sweat!
55. Play with kids. Go ahead and act like a kid with your children or try babysitting. You'll be running around all day. Kids have so much energy that you can channel it by playing tag, kickball or just run around on a jungle gym. You'll burn calories, teach your kids to be active, and tire them—and yourself—out.
56. Get outside and do some gardening. Gardening works out your arms, and you'll secretly be building muscle while enjoying the outdoors. Not only can it be a great workout, it can often be relaxing and beneficial to your mental health.
57. Go to a farmer's market. Once you start shopping locally, you'll begin thinking locally. This can motivate you to make healthy everyday decisions, and walking around the farmer's market can get you moving.
58. Try volunteer work that involves manual labor. Whether you team up with Habitat for Humanity or help kids at a summer camp, a volunteer activity that's outdoors will have you running around all day while giving back to the community at the same time.
59. Know your numbers. See you doctor and make sure you know your blood pressure, cholesterol and overall health statistics. This will be the base of your fitness foundation. You will also be able to see how much your health has improved from one check up to the next.
60. Keep track of how many steps you take in a day. Each day try to take more steps than the prior day. It's a great way to keep track of your steps and keep moving. It's neat to see that in one hour you burned 150 calories. It might push you to keep burning more calories. At the end of the day you can see your total number burned, and analyze what you can do differently the next day.
61. Go camping, hiking or backpacking. Nothing beats the great outdoors. Explore nature and hike. It's a low-impact activity that's fun. You can take your family with you and enjoy bonding time, too.
62. Find a new trail. Exploring new terrain keeps your runs interesting as you round every unfamiliar corner and enjoy the beauty of nature.
63. Hula hoop. Hula hooping is a great way to enjoy a fun and simple workout. Try making yourself hula while you watch TV or every time a commercial comes on.
64. Try pick-up basketball. Combining the social element of basketball with some good cardio and a healthy dose of competition makes it easy to get out there and play.
65. Join a league. Accountability is a fantastic motivator. When you're committed to a team, you're much less likely to skip an activity.
66. Sign up for a gym membership. It all starts with getting through those gym doors. Shop around for a gym with classes and programs that will keep you interested and coming back for more.
67. Buy free weights. Free weights are incredibly versatile and don't take up a lot of space. Keep them somewhere visible so you think about using them every time you pass by.
68. Play in the water. Whether you're in the pool, the lake or the ocean, the water resistance can give you a great cardiovascular exercise. It won't feel like working out as you float in the water.
69. Walk. You had to learn to crawl before you could walk. And you learn to walk before you can run. Walking is a good way to get outside and get moving. It's a great way to start the process where you recognize your body's movements and build up your endurance. Make it a habit and reap the benefits.
70. Have a friend buy your groceries and only buy healthy stuff. Do the same for them. This will help you avoid impulse purchases in the snack aisle.
71. Start reading food labels.  Being aware of what you're putting into your body will help you consider the smartest food options.
72. Start by stretching. Staying loose and limber ensures that you'll always be ready for some spontaneous exercise.
73. Buy a goal outfit. Have a pair of jeans/pants that you want to fit into by a certain date. Be realistic. You can always set a new goal outfit after you reach the first one.
74. Read a health/motivational book. Literature has a way of inspiring us to alter our lives in positive ways. Find a good read to get you moving.
75. Follow a blog. Watching others progress and share their success story can motivate you to take a page out of their blog.
76. Find a mentor.  You can always make excuses for disappointing yourself, but the fear of disappointing a dedicated mentor is enough to keep you on track to reach your goals.

I hope these have sparked some good ideas for a new routine!
Do any of these in particular jump out to you as your style?

Have a fabulously restful weekend, my friends - and get outside!

March 12, 2012

something that I lack, big time.

Happy Monday! And you know, for the first time ever, I might actually be excited that it's Monday because we're experiencing a record high in Boston today! 70 degrees and I'm the happiest of campers :) Will and I just ate lunch at the beach!

But being back inside at my desk reminds me of this dreaded topic. I can consider this a slight "confession" post, but honestly, I don't think I'm alone in this. As of late, I've been really challenged on a specific character trait that I am majorly lacking. Since we know it's not a stellar sense of humor or dazzling intelligence (jokes), I'll just spill it:

Ah, yes. There it is. I think I just heard a sea of grumbling as you resonated with this, and I can just sense my parents chuckling and saying, "ya think?!"

Growing up, my mom basically had to drag me out of bed by my ankles (as did my husband on this fine morning), and I was probably marked tardy by my homeroom teacher everyday but 10 my senior year of high school - you know, once missing the bus didn't matter because I had my own car and was fully responsible for my own late-ness.

These days, I don't really mind being late for things. I know that's bad according to most people, but I kind of have a "the show goes on without me just fine" kind of attitude. Like at church? The pastor doesn't stand up there saying, "Where's Cassie?! I can't even fathom beginning the message without her here!" Which is why I'm not bothered at all by slinking in the back 10-15 minutes late. Then the "tsk tsk" looks come from my friends, who know the drill.

And poor Will, oh gosh. The guy did just fine before I came along. It's like I pulled him down with me and trained him in my sluggish ways. It's a curse. Sorry, babe.

So with some things, my lack of discipline isn't a huge problem. Church goes on, friends are pretty chill and forgiving, and my office unfortunately operates on Cassie-time (opening at "8" but really opening at 8:20 when we all stroll in) which is really no good, because I need to be called to a higher standard in order to change!

But there are a few areas where it's really not okay and I am feeling convicted. My seeming lack of ability to wake up early is leaving me with less time for exercise and less time in the Bible.

Can I get an "amen"? Isn't this a common problem? I'm sure plenty of us feel guilt-ridden over our exercise habits (or lack thereof), and the fellow Jesus-followers are all familiar with that feeling of knowing that you're slacking on your side of things as the Lord just patiently waits for you.

My conviction has left me feeling insecure, incapable, and struggling to keep my head above water in thoughts of negativity concerning this lack of discipline. I made this chart for myself last weekend, but I haven't printed or hung it up yet, because I'm not quite ready to be held accountable to it - see? How lame am I?

This is to be sure that every day before work, I either get my butt moving or spend time with God. Also, I want to be sure that I'm not being a lazy dud during the week! Will and I are watching the whole series of LOST and the whole series of FRIENDS (shame! embarrassment! sloth!), so I need to let that not get the better of me. It's such a fun way to unwind together, but I also want to use the evenings as creative time.

Do you have any ideas or systems that work well for you? How do you maintain a life of relaxation, while also being healthy physically and spiritually? Any thoughts or ideas are welcome!

Stay tuned later this week when I share an inspiring and helpful article called 
"76 Ways to Get Moving!"
Sounds awesome, huh?

Enjoy the heat wave, New England!

March 9, 2012

sponsor spotlight: amira, from shades of gray.

Meet another one of my sponsor friends, Amira! 

I think that Amira's blog may be one of my top three faves that I've found out there, guys. No joke. She is seriously awesome. Not to be a brat, but I don't like to sponsor just anyone. I only really want to promote blogs that I honestly look forward to reading - and the first time I stumbled upon Amira's, I developed a large slight friend crush on her. She writes the thoughts that I ponder in this little brain of mine but might not have the guts to post on the blog. Example from today: 

"Dear Asparagus- I could eat you for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But why do you make my pee smell just like you? 
It's fascinating and gross at the same time."

See?? Come on. We've all thought that, but she puts it right out there. Hilarious. And I love her for it.
She's also studying to become a librarian, which I also think is the coolest.

Now that I've done some bragging on her wits and her brains, I'll let her introduce herself!

Hello beautiful readers of Life in Technicolor! I'm Amira and I blog over at Shades of Gray. I'm a southern California girl and have lived here my whole life. My husband and I live in a little beach town called Encinitas.
I'm currently in grad school for Library Science and hope to one day soon become a Children's Librarian. What started as a travel blog, turned into a wedding planning blog (when Brandon proposed during a trip to Belgium) and has now become a place for me to keep family and friends updated on the ins and outs of our lives.

There you have it! I can't recommend her blog highly enough, so I implore you to check it out!

You heard me. Now go, go, go!

Happy weekend :)

March 6, 2012

the big day!

Well, here we are folks! One of the most anticipated days of my year! Why am I such a birthday spaz? I really couldn't tell ya. I think the people in my life just always do an awesome job at making me feel really special. What's not to love, right?!

My co-workers already threw me an Australian-themed party - so clever ;) - which effectively used up two hours of our workday. I think I've mentioned before that my job, although as dull as it comes, is filled with co-workers who certainly know how to party. And I love them dearly for it.

My phone has been blowing up with texts and calls which is so so fun, and I've been getting mail today and have been told that more packages on the way! Seriously, such a blast. Will and I are also going out to dinner tonight, and then maybe watching some LOST later with a glass of wine for the birthday girl. Yep, that's how I roll. Party. Animal. You don't have to tell me.

Growing up, did anyone ever ask you what age you would freeze life at if you could? Well, I'm at the age now that I always said I would choose to live at forever. So we'll see if it's all it was cracked up to be!

J.Crew also decided to celebrate by putting a bunch of bathing suits on sale! Woo! Thanks, J.Crew! Too bad I can't afford any of these anyway, but hey, a girl can dream and they're pretty to look at. Take a peak!

1. floral 2. seersucker 3. seashells 4. adorable retro bottoms 5. paisley 6. ruffly top

These are getting me dreaming of warmer weather, which is waaaay far off on this windy 30 degree day. Can't come soon enough!

I hope you all have/had a wonderful March 6th! I know I will :)

March 2, 2012

why I can never be a "what I wore today" blogger.

This is something I've given great thought to, and I figured I'd let you in on my ponderings.

I really do enjoy fashion. Honest. 

I freakin' adore Kendi Everday and get ideas from her all the time.


She's very "pinnable" and I love the way she pairs so many unique pieces. And I really admire that she's made a living out of posting what she wears! That's so impressive. She rocks.

I also commonly drool over all things J.Crew. Their bright colors and unexpected combinations always keep me coming back for more. It's not uncommon for me to visit their website for inspiration before I get dressed in the morning. I'm currently styling my thrifted-but-nearly-identical pieces in this sort of manner...

See? I'm not inept! I can get the job done.

However, the truth of the matter is - if my job didn't dictate my fashion choices, 
here's what I would naturally gravitate toward...
{find sources on my pinterest board}
Frump. Central.

Not gonna lie, I think that second photo is of a guy but I don't even care. I would wear that every day.
Maybe "frumpy" is the wrong word. The connotation is all wrong. Some of my favorite words are "over-sized", "cozy", "comfy" and "loose". I think you get the gist.

This is why I need a work-from-home job - so I can sit on my couch in my wool socks, leggings and blankets. Or do work from Starbucks in loose jeans, baggy sweaters and a baseball cap.

At the heart of it, could I post photos of the J.Crew inspired outfits that I put together for work?
But could I do it in good conscience, knowing that it actually only takes about five minutes before I start feeling constricted, cold, and daydream of my more generously cut articles of clothing?

I just needed to be transparent about that fact.
I admire all of you dressy ladies, because I'm simply not cut out for it.
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