Sunday, April 15, 2018

Currently - April '18

I feel like I blinked and completely missed the beginning of April; how are we halfway through the month already? Too late to link-up with Anne and Jessica, but here it goes anyway:

showering - at work a few times last week in an effort to cut a few minutes off of my morning routine. I've been bike commuting more, so showering at work means one less outfit change, but the real difference is that I'm much less inclined to zone out in the hot water when I'm not at home.

cultivating - ideas for projects around the house and yard. Maybe someday I will actually get around to doing them.

expecting - it to be warmer outside. Why do I still expect this, seven years after moving to the east coast?

making - vegetarian meal plans for the month of April. Towards the end of March I felt like my eating habits were starting to slip and a dietary "challenge" similar to dry January was in order. I momentarily considered Whole30 (at least one person at work always seems to be on it) but decided to go with something less restrictive for my mental sanity/enjoyment.

buying - a few new spring items to refresh my wardrobe - bright coral flats and a yellow blouse. Last weekend I put away most of the sweaters and put together my "spring capsule." I really like having fewer options to ponder in the mornings, and switching items out seasonally does make old things feel fresh and new again.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Currently - March '18

Farewell February, and hello! March with your longer days and the official start of spring. It's nice to see you again. It's also nice to be linking up with Anne and Sarah for another Currently post.

Old Rag

planning - Upcoming travel, some for fun and more for work. We're hoping to go camping at the end of March, and I have two work trips coming up in April. With the weather getting nicer, I'm itching to plan all of the outdoor things too - bike rides, baseball games, picnics...

seeing - We saw Early Man last weekend, and have put together a list of the movies at the DC Environmental Film Festival we want to see in the coming weeks. The DCEFF has become an annual tradition, but choosing films from the impressive line-up doesn't get any easier!

making - A St. Patrick's Day lunch next weekend. After hosting an Olympics Opening Ceremony watch party with a Korean-inspired menu, I am all about the theme meals. It makes deciding what to serve easier (and for next week, Giant has done all the planning for me!)

pretending - To enjoy networking and business development. There have been a lot of changes at work in the last month, from a reorganization at the highest levels of the company to my favorite people leaving to pursue other opportunities. Both create a lot of opportunity for me to advance, and a big part of that is expanding my professional network and helping pursue new projects. Fake it 'til you make it, right?

wearing - It's definitely time to get some of my more spring-like clothes out of hiding, but March weather can be quite challenging to predict. Blooming plants and allergies don't necessarily equal warmth. There are still more thick socks and sweaters ahead than I care to admit (even as I'm wearing a down vest and wool slippers to type this).

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Currently - February '18

It's currently raining outside, making it a pretty good time to cozy up with a warm beverage and check some things off my to-do list indoors. One of those things is finishing up this post! Please stop by Anne in Residence to see what others are up to this month.

finishing - Dry January (or maybe not). I went out for drinks with some co-workers last Friday, and it was really nice to be out and about again. But, I overdid it and had a pretty rough time of it on Saturday. Either way, a month of not drinking was a good way to reset after the indulgences of the holidays.

subscribing - We subscribe to the Sunday edition of The Washington Post, as well as a pretty strict recycling policy that last week's goes in the bin as soon as the next one arrives. Most weeks, this means the only sections that get read are the magazine and the comics, but I really enjoy being able to linger over coffee with the paper on weekends.

wishlisting - The company I work for rewards employees who bike or walk to work with their choice of gift cards every six months. In the latest round, I picked Crate & Barrel in the hopes of finding some salad plates that match what we already have, and Zappos, because online shopping is better with free shipping and returns! Looking forward to having some "free" money to spend when cute shoe season arrives.

watching - The hours of daylight increase again. There was still light in the sky when I left work yesterday! Spring is coming!

hearting - The satisfaction of turning some of my recent pins into reality. I put together these hexagonal shelves last month, and made this delicious brownie pizza for the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Real Life Resolutions vol. 3

Enough is enough! January 2018 is more than 3/4 of the way through and I have yet to post my goals for the year.

Those of you who have been following along for a while will recognize many of these goals from last year's post. But please also notice the ones that have become habits at this point, clearing the way for some new ones!

Weekly - Continue meal planning and setting up my 5-minute journal every week.
  • Work on a blog post - The total number of 2BB posts last year was in the single digits. I can/want to do better!
  • Go to the gym - NEW! Wrapped up in this goal are smaller ones, like learning how to use the weight machines and balancing out the left (weaker) and right (dominant) sides of my body.

Monthly - Continue updating the wall calendar and monitoring the budget every month.
  • Try a new restaurant - There was no problem meeting this goal last year, but it's too fun not to include again!
  • Host a meal at our house - We hosted more meals in 2017 that we ever had before, but we can still do more to up our hosting game.
  • Do a project around the house - Nearly 18 months in this apartment, and the walls are still pretty bare. We also just picked up a small rug for the bedroom, and since neither of us can stop commenting about what an improvement it is over the cold, bare floor, this goal has a lot of potential to boost happiness throughout the year.
  • Volunteer - The observant reader will notice that this has moved from weekly to monthly to be more realistic.
  • Visit a museum - DC has a ton, and most of them are free! In fact, I could probably just visit the National Gallery of Art twelve times and still not see everything.

  • Read more than 27 books - Since 27 was the total for 2017.
  • Train for and complete a half marathon - Mostly this means stay healthy and avoid injuries through race day (and then maybe never running again; we'll see how it goes).
  • Apply for and pass the AICP Exam - How does one find the motivation to write essays, study and take a professional exam during her free time outside of work? First things first, setting my own deadlines for each of the steps in the application process well in advance of the June deadline.
  • Visit Japan! - Keizo and I are thinking big and starting to lay the groundwork for an epic Pacific Rim adventure. Please send good vibes our way to help us pull it off!

There are so many other things I want to do this year (make kombucha! buy a new bike! go camping! see concerts! repeat our favorite things from last year!) but making this list has helped me set up a good foundation and refocus my energies on the bigger goals I struggled to accomplish last year. I didn't choose a word for 2017, but this year's word is LOVE - showing more love for myself and those around me, and doing more things that I love with the people that I love, to create a life that I love.

Here's to 2018!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

2017 in a few words and pictures

  • We bundled up and went on a cold hike in Harper's Ferry, WV. Little did we know we'd be returning in the fall (by bicycle no less!)
  • I made a pussy hat and went to the Women's March. Seeing all of the the marchers who came in from out of town and the flood of photos from across the world on social media was really inspiring. 
  • Got to catch up with my best friend from 3rd grade while she was in town for a conference. We met up at the National Gallery of Art before getting dinner downtown. I can't believe we've known each other for ~25 years (and have been pen pals since college)!
  • Accepted two awards from the Charlottesville, VA Planning Commission for working on their street design guidelines. There was about five hours of driving involved for a two minute award ceremony, but hey, I don't win awards every day!
  • Keizo made some delicious slow cooker carnitas. The last line of the bio on the right is still true - we eat really well.

  • Started the month with a PR in the St. Pat's 10K.
  • Spent a week at home in Arizona for a friend's wedding. Went hiking among the wildflowers and enjoyed t-shirt weather while it was still very much winter on the east coast.
  • Checked out Artomatic, an enormous open art show housed in an empty office building.
  • Spent time outside with Keizo and the air couch.
  • Cooked traditional Japanese bento box lunches. Seriously, these things take the two of us about two hours to put together, so it's only a once or twice a year thing.

  • Technically it was the last weekend in April, but I went to California for my 10-year college reunion. The reunion itself was not that special, but spending a long weekend with one of my best friends was one of the highlights of 2017.
  • Literally hours after I got back from California, I flew to Key West for work. It's tough job, but someone has to do it.
  • Plantar fasciitis derailed my plans to run a half marathon in early June. Before getting injured, I had made it most of the way through the training plan, including a 10-mile run from Silver Spring, MD to the Mall in Downtown DC.
  • We hosted my parents and brother while they were in town for a cousin's wedding. We all cleaned up nicely and enjoyed celebrating on a rooftop in Arlington with fantastic views of the city skyline.
  • I made the first of several batches of pickles. We could barely keep up with all of the cucumbers and radishes we received from our CSA this year.
  • I went to Austin, TX for a contract kick-off meeting. This was just the first of four trips in 2017 for a big project I am co-leading at work.

  • Patriotic breakfast on the 4th. Taking only Tuesday off from work felt a little weird at first, but turned out awesome in the end; truly a bonus day to do just the fun stuff followed by a short 3-day work week.
  • We went to Open Farm day at Spiral Path Farm to see where our CSA veggies come from.
  • Keizo and I took our first camping trip, just the two of us over his birthday weekend. It rained, but we managed to stay pretty dry.
  • After the summer company picnic, 3:00 PM 'office planks' became a thing. We're still doing it a few times a week.
  • We watched the solar eclipse from the top of a parking garage near my office.
  • I saw 'The Hive' exhibit at the National Building Museum.

  • We spent Labor Day exploring Ft. McHenry, Fells Point, the Inner Harbor and Federal Hill neighborhoods of Baltimore.
  • I took a last ride on the Georgetown Branch Trail between Silver Spring and Bethesda before it closed abruptly for Purple Line construction.
  • Keizo treated me to a day doing nothing and delicious, homemade chocolate cake for my 32nd birthday.
  • I'm sure we did other things in October, but our first bike camping trip was certainly the most memorable. Four of us rode ~150 miles to Harper's Ferry, WV and back in a weekend. I was expecting to be sore and miserable afterwards, but finishing the last 15 miles from Great Falls, MD to the metro in cold rain was the worst part, hands down.

  • My third trip to Austin took place in early November; this time I stayed for a week with several co-workers and actually got to see things other than the airport, hotel and conference rooms. Apart from one salad at lunch, I don't think I ate a vegetable all week.
  • Not pictured: spending the week of Thanksgiving at my parents' in Arizona and meeting my brother's new girlfriend. 
  • I started the month strong (perhaps because I had a week to relax at home for Thanksgiving), making holiday treats to mail to faraway friends in time for Christmas. 
  • We enjoyed hosting my parents and brother for Christmas the second year in a row. Lucky for them, they left right before the polar vortex and two weeks of sub-freezing temperatures.
  • The tree in Downtown Silver Spring had a sustainability theme this year, covered with bikes and LED lights. I still think the year it was decorated with food and giant faux take-out boxes was my favorite.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Currently - January '18

Happy New Year! The end of 2017 was packed with work deadlines, social engagements and hosting family for the holidays, so it's been nice that the first week of 2018 has been a bit quieter, giving me time to reflect on the past year and work on my first blog post in three months. Linking up with Anne and others again to share what I am up to currently.

starting - Going to the gym. A new Planet Fitness opened a block from my office, offering a $99/year deal through the end of December, so I asked Keizo to meet me after work last week and we both signed up. We've been twice since then, and my goal is to go at least once a week, especially while the winter weather continues.

hoping - To travel more with Keizo this year. In 2017, Keizo dropped me off and picked me up at the airport several times for work trips, but he only made it inside twice, both for trips to Arizona to see my family. We're overdue for a trip to see his family in Japan, but I also hope we can do a few trips closer to home (like our fun long weekend in New Orleans two years ago).

scheduling - I signed up for a 10K the first weekend in March, so last week I copied Hal Higdon's training plan into my calendar. The running starts in earnest this week; hopefully the weather will cooperate enough (i.e. with temperatures above freezing) to allow me to train outside!

reading - On a recent trip to the library, I picked up Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple. I read Where'd You Go, Bernadette last year, and hope this one will be equally enjoyable.

playing - We spent New Year's Eve with friends who introduced us to two new games: Exploding Kittens and Codewords. I preferred the latter; it was easier to learn, and more fun with a large group of people. I didn't get the chance to be the spy master...maybe next time!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Currently - September '17

I find these intros are always the hardest part of these posts, maybe because by the time I get around to them, things are no longer "current," (at least as far as the link-up goes). But I didn't want to skip posting for a second month in a row, so read on for a peek at what life has been like of late.

celebrating - Keizo and I celebrated Labor Day with lots of walking in Baltimore. We checked out Fort McHenry, walked around Fell's Point and all the way around the Inner Harbor to Federal Hill (photo above). I'm also looking forward to celebrating my birthday next weekend...exactly how is still TBD.

watching - Our Sunday mornings are often spent catching up on Japan's Top League rugby matches, while The Office provides weeknight entertainment. Keizo is watching the whole series for the first time, and I'm picking up on things I missed the first time around.

welcoming - Nicer fall weather (while trying to ignore the fact that it's accompanied by noticeably shorter daylight hours).

preparing - For a busy fall at work, managing logistics for several different projects. One of them will wrap up with a public event on October 1, and another will calm down a bit in mid-October, just in time for the biggest project of all to pick up steam in late October/early November. Once the travel dates for this project are finalized, I can start planning a long overdue vacation!

photographing - Nothing out of the ordinary; the photos on my phone from the last month are the standard mix of streets for work, weekend fun, and a few kitchen creations.