January Things

Sunday, January 31, 2016

If the first month of the year is any indication to how the other 11 will go, 2016 is going to be a good year. I've been feeling quite inspired and creative lately – subscribing to various bloggers' newsletters, creating Twitter lists dedicated to bloggers and writers. Yoga has made its way back into my regular schedule again, I've been trying to keep my apartment more tidy and organized, and I hope to start customizing my site more (how have I been blogging for seven months already?).

Yesterday might have been the best day of the month. My morning was spent on the couch with a cup of coffee and a book (House Rules by Jodi Picoult). Around noon, the temperature outside had made its way to 44º, which, when you live in the Chicago area, is considered a warm day in January. My boyfriend and I took a half-hour walk to get brunch at a local crepe place that ended up exceeding all of my expectations. We wandered around the downtown area and spur-the-moment decided to pop in the movie theatre and see Dirty Grandpa (just to see how bad it is, and it was pretty bad). After walking back to my apartment and watching an episode of You, Me, and the Apocalypse (pretty decent so far), we met up with a few friends and went rock climbing.

Some things I've been enjoying this month:

– These decluttering tips. One of the most interesting is creating a "30-day list," in which you add items that you want to buy (aside from the must-haves, like groceries and toiletries) to a list, along with the date you added it. After 30 days, if you still want it, you can get it.

– Buzzfeed's eye-opening video about how depression isn't always obvious was not what I expected – in a good way.

– Aubrey Plaza is one of my favorite people to watch interviews of, and I recently came across a clip of her on Off Camera with Sam Jones where she talks about how she doesn't like telling the same story over and over on talk shows, pretending it's her first time, so she'll do what she can to make the conversation more real (even if it "backfires for [her] and just makes [her] seem insane"). It's refreshing to see celebrities as real people, and I admire the fact that she wants to have more genuine conversations, instead of the robotic promotions.

– "She Divorced Me Because I Left Dishes By The Sink." A really, really good read that touches on the mindsets of men versus women and how messages are conveyed or received differently, especially in relationships.

– I am disappointed that I went so long without Emma Gannon in my life. All of her writing is great, and I especially liked her piece on why we don't have to hate Mondays like the world wants us to. If we live our lives just waiting for Friday, that's 57 percent of our days that are automatically BAD. (The percentage is even higher if you factor in the pre-Monday dread that starts to set in on Sunday nights.) Her post "Getting Shit Done" is also a good read.

The Everygirl is another blog that I've come across recently (and am happy I did). I've always thought of myself as a perfectionist, and I also always saw this as a good thing. But, as it is pointed out in "5 Reasons to Ditch Perfectionism," being a perfectionist isn't just about wanting things to be the best they can be; it's a trait that's usually driven by anxiety and worry, and it needs to go.

– Brené Brown's thoughts on empathy paired with this animation is golden. "Rarely, if ever, does an empathic response begin with 'at least.'"

– An update on my couch potato life: I have officially finished Gilmore Girls. All of it. Many tears were shed. The ending isn't exactly what I wanted, but I'm happy with it. I also finished Jessica Jones, which I really liked. I've heard from a few people that they watched a few episodes but struggled to get into it. The first half does move slower than the second, but if you can get yourself to episode nine, you're set. That's the best episode, in my opinion, and it's where the storyline starts to pick up.

– I'm counting the days (18!!) until the Broad City season three premiere.

As for my goal to read 12 books this year, as part of my overall resolution to read more, I got off to a great start, reading two books in the first two weeks. (I then slowed down a bit, but am currently in the midst of my third).

Lincoln is an "Internet security officer" whose main responsibility involves reading employees' emails. Through this, he gets getting caught up in the lives of Beth and Jennifer, best friends whose email exchanges alone are enough to make me declare them #friendshipgoals. They are awesome, so it's no wonder that Lincoln finds himself falling for the witty and hilarious Beth.

I enjoyed this book a lot – read it in two days. Even though it's a cheesy rom-com-type book, the unique storyline gives it a nice twist, so it didn't feel overly cliché. I actually found myself smiling or laughing out loud as I was reading at times.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Taking the train to and from London every day has made Rachel very familiar with her surroundings – the train stops, the houses they pass, and even some of the residents of those homes. Same train, same schedule, same view, day in and day out... until one day, when Rachel sees something surprising that changes everything. She goes to the police with her discovery, leaving her more involved in people's lives than she ever thought possible.

Unfortunately, a big part of this book was spoiled for me when I was only about halfway through, so it's hard for me to judge how surprising or shocking it was. Still, I enjoyed it and finished it within a week. If you like mystery/thriller books, this one is worth checking out. (And if you do, or have read it already, let me know if you found it surprising or predictable!)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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  1. Just wanted to say that I like these monthly recaps!

    By the way, I'm currently reading The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women and there is a section in it that also deals with perfectionism: "Perfectionism is not a quest for the best. It is a pursuit of the worst in ourselves." This really struck me, and seeing the same message again in the Everygirl article helped reinforce this concept - which is good, because chilling out a little is something I definitely need to work on!

    Oh, and I loved the Brene Brown animation too. Currently listening to Rising Strong on Audible :)

    1. I really like that quote! I've never seen perfectionism as a bad thing, but those are both very good points. How are you liking the book? Do you recommend it?

      Thank you for your comment! Glad you like them! :)

  2. I'm not sure which of those two books you meant, but I recommend both of them! :)