Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy new year friends!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Positive Attitudes

A few days ago, I got into a little scuffle with my brother regarding my general attitude.  It was sparked by his comment that I was on the whole, rather negative.  Initially I wasn't sure why it struck me so offensively but now that some time has passed, I realize it's because I really do tend to approach many things very apprehensively and I put a lot of pressure on myself.  It can be a good thing and a bad thing. I do very well by holding myself to a high standard of performance and doing everything I can to achieve it.  However, the price paid is a lifestyle of undulating levels of stress, that wreaks havoc not only on my psyche but also those around me.

I certainly don't want to be such a tornado of stress that those around me, especially those I care about most, are negatively impacted, and that is certainly something I want to work on.  I believe there can be a balance between stress derived from desired-goals and a positive attitude.  There's no benefit to be a spitball of stress that no one wants to be around.  As with most pursuits of balance, there is no easy formula.  It's always going to be a work in progress, but as of now, I need to start that work.

After considering ways I can improve upon this, I came up with the following that I can start with:

  1. Multi-task less.  When I'm studying, I'm just studying, and when I'm having a meal with my family, that's all I'm doing too.  Giving 100 % attention to each task will not only permit me to be more effective at each respective task but it will also prevent the anxiety/stress of the studying/work from permeating into my family's life. 
  2. When I'm stressed, go for a walk or do some yoga.  I don't know about you, but I often feel like my chest is going to explode with anxiety and/or stress.  Sometimes I let it out by venting (which isn't entirely a bad thing), but it's usually not venting to a therapist or willing recipient.  I'm just disowning my stress and putting it on someone else, and I'd like to be able to release the stress and replace it with positivity without hurting anyone else.  Walking and/or yoga and/or deep breathing may do the trick.
  3. Complement myself for my hard work.   With high goals and self-expectations, I'm often find myself disappointed and don't give myself a break.   I believe there's a time for self-criticism in order self-improve but self-complementation is just as important.  I can't expect someone else to be my biggest cheer leader. It's gotta come from me first.  
Does anyone else struggle with this? Any suggestions?

Saturday, December 29, 2012

After one week of working out

After my exam last Friday, January 21st, I decided to hit the gym for 7 days straight.  None of those gym sessions were very long: on average, ~1 hour each.  Still, I was exhausted after every one, which was a sign that I was sorely (literally!) out of shape.  I tried to clean up my diet a little too, staying around 1500-1600 calories per day.  

Yesterday (day 7) was the first time I felt like I could go a little longer on the elliptical, so I also began my 0 to 5K running plan (which I got through a free iPhone app).  I re-tried the khakis that were too tight for comfort last weekend and noticed that they were a little less unbearable (still, a long way to go!).   And this morning, I decided to give a weigh-in a try.  Oh boy... all I can say is, it's a good thing I didn't do a weigh-in last week.   After 7 days of a lifestyle makeover I was at:

134.6!  Hey, at least I'm <135? I guess that's the positive way of looking at it.  The other way would be, holy cow.  Did I really hover over 135 for for the last bit of my semester?  How did I put on nearly 10 pounds this semester?  I guess I totally underestimated the consequences of my junk-eating and frequent-overstuffing.  The number doesn't make me very happy but I'm motivated to see something in the lower 130s next Saturday.  It'll require my continued efforts at the gym, increased water intake and continued dedication to cleaner eating.  My academic credence is that Nothing worth achieving is ever easy, and the same applies to my weight!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just 5 days away from 2013

With just 5 days left of this year, I've got resolutions on the brain.  Actually I've been thinking about them since before Christmas, and I've concluded that I'm going to set 6 month goals.  An entire year's worth of goals is a bit daunting and never (ever!) accomplishable.  So here's my list of goals (a list that is still a work in progress) to be accomplished by July 2013:

  1. Lose the extra weight (~20 lbs)
  2. Get into a Masters program
  3. MIT diploma
  4. Build up this blog
  5. Run a half marathon in under 1:51
  6. Save $7K 
  7. Pay off all credit cards
  8. Book deal with MIT Press
  9. Find my own apartment
  10. Super MCAT score
As you can see, there is a lot I want to get done in six months, but it's not impossible.  
#3 & #7 are in the works.  
#1 & #5 will take steady, unflagging dedication to healthier eating and increased fitness
#2 will be launched after my exam on January 4th
#4 has been started but will required significant networking and consulting to build
#6 will require penny pinching! Not the most fun project but will definitely be worth it
#8 & 10 will be launched after all my Masters applications are sent out
#9 will be accomplished after getting into a masters Program

What are your goals?

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twas a Truly Lovely Christmas

As planned, we went out to walk around Boston  Common.  It was a chilly day but still lovely out with the faint layer of snow blanketting the city.  After 40 or so minutes of freezing outdoors, we headed to "The Bar" at Taj Hotel, and enjoyed some coffee with cake.
Shortly there after, we returned home to whip up Christmas Dinner: Aged Sirloin, Chanterelle Risotto, fresh bread rolls, Sautéed Brocollini, Sautéed Asparagus and Microgreen Salad with Truffle Dressing.   Everything was delicious!!!  

 What a wonderful christmas evening!  

Back to work tomorrow though :/

Merry Christmas!!

Our family opened presents from beneath the tree last night. 

This morning, we had french toast and/or eggs with coffee (of course!)

Outside the window was a bird eating berries off our window sill arrangements. 

Now we're off for a leisurely family outing in the city :)

Merry Christmast Everybody!

Monday, December 24, 2012

10 Easy Ways to Save

I don't know about you, but after a string of birthday and Christmas shopping, my bank account is suffering.  If you're also a student like me or simply trying to save, here are a few tips I've learned along the way:

1. Skip the coffees and meals out.  Pack your lunches, snacks and beverages.  You'll be surprised by how much you can save.  No shame in not spending!
2. Clean out your closet.  Donate the things you no longer wear, and figure out new ways to wear the things that you still like.  It's like shopping from your own closet, and you will definitely save a pretty penny.
3. Do your own grooming (besides hair cuts).  Nails, facials, spa treatments, waxing.  Do it at home.  Trust me- this is a huge wallet saver and you will probably getting a cleaner experience. You want a relaxing activity? Try a bubble bath or a walk outdoors. It's free!
4. Use only useful Coupons or Groupons! List the things you need before looking for coupons and discounted vouchers like groupons.  Sometimes those "deals" can be so attractive that we just swept up into the advertised sales and buy things we don't need!
5. Put away your savings as soon as you get your paycheck.  So if you get paid $1000 per paycheck cycle and you want to save 40%, stow away that $400 into a separate account before paying your bills or going shopping.  Just pretend you're only making the leftover $600!
6. Car pool.  Gas is about $4/gallon these days.  Even if you can't carpool every day to work and/or school, try to car pool for gym trips or grocery hauls.  Not only is it more fun to go with a buddy but it saves you a few bucks!
7. Always have a budget.  The fiscally responsible thing to do is always pay your bills on time in full and only spend what you have, but the reality is - most of us can't live that way.  We have mortgages, rents, health care bills, school loans, etc., and whatever it may be, we have to pay in installments.  That's OK.  Just have a plan (ideally to pay off your debt(s) in a reasonable amount of time) and keep to your budget.
8. Set aside "play money."  We all need it.  Whether it's an expensive meal out with girlfriends, or a dress you've had your eye on, you need to give yourself a little wiggle room.  We're not robots, and we need a little fun money.  As long as you have a little wiggle room, you're a lot less likely to go crazy off budget.  It's kind of like a diet.  If you allow yourself a little indulgence regularly, you're less likely to binge after 5 days of strict dieting.
9. Reassess your monthlies.  Examine your health, car& home insurance plans, gym membership rates, mortgage rates, credit card rates, heating/AC bills, etc.  Not only should you compare your plans to other options, but you should also figure out how you can improve your bills.  Can you lower the temperature setting in your house?  Can you do without the expensive gym membership you never use?
10. Focus on what you have, not on what you don't.  Just like with your closet, if you look at everything you have, you're always going to want more.  Use everything you have fully, and then try to get only the things you absolutely need. Like I said before, there is no shame in not spending. There is only shame in overspending!

Can't Commit But I can Celebrate!

Wow.. Can't believe I finished finals week successfully!

It was a tremendously stressful time, but I did it and hot d@mn, I am proud!

I have another test on January 4th so I'm starting to prepare for that today but I took Saturday and Sunday off after my final on Friday.  I deserved it!

I got my butt back into the gym, cut out the regular chocolate intake, and slept 8 hours each night.  Holy crap, I am sore but good sore.  My brother, who's in town for his winter break, is helping motivate me to get into the gym each morning

In other news, I very much related to Andrea's Can't Commit entry.  I too, have trouble committing to things like weight loss, exercise, group activities although I can always commit to school things.  It can often be very disappointing to set up goals like workouts-of-the-week, that usually doesn't pan out, but the reality is, I only have a finite amount of energy that I can dedicate to discipline, commitment and dedication, and most of that goes to school.  Whatever I have left over is committed to family and maintaing my sanity in the midst of mountains of work.  This semester, I was working 30 hours a week while taking 6 classes, so I let myself off the hook.  I let myself indulge in food and not worry about working out.  It wasn't the healthiest thing to do physically but I wasn't going to beat myself up over an impossible task.

Now-- I have one exam to study for, applications and work, I still can't commit fully to the fitness and diet regimen I would ideally commit to, but I'll do a little better by working out and eliminating a little junk from the diet, and try to be a little more conscientious about what I put in my mouth.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.
3 Exams. Done.

Still to Go:
1 Exam to Go!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.
2 Exams. Done.

Still to Go:
2 Exams.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.
1 Exam. Done. 

Still to Go:
3 Exams.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December Popsugar Box!

Yay for December Popsugar Box:

Love these!

Tea Sampler by Tea Forte
I love Tea Forte! Especially their chamomile and earl grey:)

Tintarella di Luna soap by Jaboneria Marianella Soap

This smells like an Italian perfumeria in soap form
Minimergency Kit by Pinch Provisions
This is so handy and petite.  Love it!

Peppermint Poles by Bogdon's
These are so yummy and only 17 calories per a stick!

Microfiber Cleaning Cloth by Goswype
Works perfectly on my glasses and has the advantage of eliminating up to 98% of germs and bacteria!

Next 7 days

1 Paper.  Done.
1 Test. Done.
1 Presentation.  Done.

Still to Go:
4 Exams.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

2 More Giveaways

I'm giving 2 more things away.  They are also brand new- never opened or used!

Nail Polish Applique by Incoco in the color "Sinderella" 

Blusher by Kryolan for Glossybox in the color "Glossy Rosewood"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Bear with me

I know I haven't posted in a while but just bear with me for the next few weeks.  I have 2 term papers due, 4 exams, 1 presentation, 2 projects and 2 quizzes all within the next 2 weeks.  Oh yea.. and WORK.  We are so slammed at work right now.. just great timing of course.   I'll take plenty of breaks and comment on y'all's lovely blogs, but I may be a little absent from my own for a bit.