March Recap + Favorites

Can you believe today is the last day of March? I know the months seem to fly by faster and faster, but it really seems like the single-digit days were just yesterday and now it’s the 31st!

March is usually when things pick up in pace for me, as spring tries to spring and activities are on the uptick! So here’s a little recap of how my month went:

I started the month with a sleep study It was a bit strange, but I’ve been having a lot of sleep issues for the past few years and thought it was high time I asked my doctor about them. The sleep study was definitely interesting, so let me know if you’d like to hear more about that experience!

In general, I re-prioritized my health. I have been making my doctor’s appointments instead of putting them off, and even though I am missing time at work (that I make up by coming in early and staying late), it’s good to know that I’m getting care, especially because not everyone is currently insured and able to do so. I’ve seen several different doctors this month and will be seeing many more with the appointments I’ve made, and this is mostly to maintain good health and as follow-ups to past appointments. I do think it’s important for me to think of these visits as health maintenance, rather than think of visiting the doctor as something I only do when I think something is wrong. Prevention is key! I have also been exercising and I gave up fried foods for Lent, so it’s been a healthy month!

I visited San Francisco! I will be putting up recaps from my time there shortly (I swear!), but I made solo trips to museums during the day, caught up with friends for dinner, and was able to support my boyfriend after he gave his first big conference talk. I also got to see Christine (and meet her boyfriend!) while I was out there, my first time visiting her in SF since we became friends!

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Um, it snowed for the first time all winter in DC. We’ve had an unseasonably warm winter this year. Like actually warm many days, and no where near as brutally cold as it usually is. It’s been comfortable for us as humans but very worrying, especially given that the cherry blossoms seemed poised to peak weeks earlier than usual. Then it snowed and dipped below 30 for the first time in weeks and we were all very scared for the cherry blossoms. I only wish we got more snow, as the initial predictions for this Stella were much higher than anyone experienced. Oh well! It looks like that is all DC will be getting this winter and we’ll have to wait until the next one.

I met Danny Boyle at an early screening of T2 Trainspotting. He was such a sweet man, honestly, and I really have a renewed respect for him and his films after hearing his Q&A and being able to meet him. I haven’t seen all of his films yet, but you can bet that will change soon!

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I got to see the Instagram-famous cherry blossom + Super Mario pop-up bar! This was an awesome Instameet, so we were actually able to sample the cocktails free of charge an hour before the bar opened to the public. This bar is as cool as they say, and here’s my friend Andy‘s video to prove it!

Fun fact: I actually met Andy for the first time over 2 years ago and hadn’t seen him since until this Instameet! He’s an amazing photographer and vlogger and overall dude, definitely check him out on Instagram.

I was able to experience Yayoi Kusama’s Infinite Kusama exhibit and the Hirshhorn. The same week, I got to see another Instagram-famous DC happening and it was pretty spectacular. As stressful as it was to be rushed through the infinity rooms (20 seconds to try to take in… infinity?!), I really enjoyed this exhibit and really hope I can come back before the exhibit goes to the next city.

You know what, here’s another one of Andy’s videos because I just have not edited my videos or footage together yet!

Christine and Phil visited DC! The weekend after my SF trip was Christine’s birthday, and then the weekend after that, she and Phil actually came to my city and visited DC! It was so great to be reunited with Christine and to spend more time hanging out with Phil.

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Reunited and it feels so good!

I attended the second Women in Tech Summit DC in a row. Last year was the first year of the DC Women in Tech Summit and I was able to come back for another year, this time at the new(ish) Washington Post building! (The last time I was at WaPo, it was for a hackathon in the old building. The old building is now completely gone!) It was fun to see some great women in tech that I haven’t seen in a while and also to just be surrounded by so many awesome ladies and supportive men. It’s hard not to feel motivated and inspired after events like this.

I saw my first Wizards game! And they were playing the Nets, so it was my first time seeing Jeremy Lin (and his terrible hair), too! This was a work outing and it was a lot of fun, minus the part where I didn’t know where the free food + drinks were for a long time while watching the game alone (because everyone else was eating free food and drinking free drinks).

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The Wizards are currently the #3 team in the NBA Eastern Conference! The Nets are the lowest ranked team, so we beat them easily. Probably because of Jeremy Lin’s hair.

I watched the Hamburg Ballet’s production of The Little Mermaid at the Kennedy Center. The tickets were on sale so I had to snag one for myself, starting a pattern of me seeing ballets at the Kennedy Center solo. This one wasn’t quite my cup of tea (I wasn’t a fan of the choreography, as it was distracting…? and was so abstract that it was difficult to suss out the actual story) but I still really enjoyed seeing these incredible dancers. This production in particular had a lot of male dancers, and I was reminded at how stunningly athletic male ballet dancers are. (Two words: six-packs.) (Everywhere.) It’s fun to take myself to see a show every now and then, and the Kennedy Center remains one of my favorite venues to do so!

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I was also crazy close! Maybe too close, the dancers occasionally were out of my field of vision…

I am seeing results after working out for 2 months. I always heard that it takes 6-8 weeks to see any semblance of progress when it comes to exercise. About 2 months ago, I decided enough was enough, I need to stop struggling to lift things and open that heavy glass door to my office building. (Look, it’s really heavy and sometimes the wind catches it, which makes it harder to open and… I mean you get the picture, small arms, heavy door.) I got a ClassPass membership back in January, which I’ll be telling you guys all about really soon here on the blog, and have also been doing some very casual/haphazard strength-training and running at my office gym so that I can eventually accomplish those resolutions I set at the beginning of the year. This past week, after a day where I somehow squeezed 2 intense workouts into one day, I got home and could see tiny signs of progress! It was really exciting to not only look stronger but to feel a little bit stronger, too. (That being said, I still huff and puff up the stairs and I struggled with a heavy glass door this week, so I have a lot more progress still to make!)


To wrap things up, I wanted to share some things I’ve been loving this past month:

Jidenna’s album, The Chief: I have been waiting for Jidenna’s debut album for a long time, ever since I saw him open for Stromae. That was almost 2 years ago and I’m really enjoying the album. I highly recommend having a listen because it’s very likely you’ll find at least one song you like, given how flexible Jidenna is with the genres that he plays around with on this album. I watched his music video for “Bambi” when it was still just in the tens of thousands of views on Youtube and I’ve had the song stuck in my head ever since.

Jordan Peele’s Get Out: This movie is as good as the hype. I was too scared to see any of the press screenings, even with Annie telling me it was sooooo good and that I have to see it. STILL I was much too scared to see it, until she sent me this article where the author is a self-professed wimp but didn’t find the movie too scary. Ultimately, I went when Annie invited me and my boyfriend to see the movie with her and her boyfriend, because we don’t get to see the two of them that often and they were really close to where we live. I was SO NERVOUS to see it, but it really is a tour de force and you really should watch it. It’s masterfully done and, you know what, not really that scary! In the traditional horror movie way. (Maybe it’s scarier because… the horrors of the movie are not too far from reality.)

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The March Disneybound Challenge: I’ll be posting up my annual March Disneybound Challenge recap but this was a lot of fun! This year was different because Leslie actually posted a day-by-day challenge guide, so I was able to lean on that for inspiration rather than thinking of something from scratch every day. I did feel like it was harder to break that guide to go with outfits that I had that didn’t fall neatly into them, but overall, it was good to have some structure to the challenge. Also, I got to see some really incredible outfits on Instagram and this challenge reaffirms how much I love the Instagram Disney community every single year. These folks are amazing.

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A little preview of some of my #disneyboundchallenge posts on Instagram

How has your month been? Any highlights to share?
What are you looking forward to in April?

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Lent 2014

I feel I need to first mention that I’m not Catholic, nor am I a Christian.

However, I think that Lent, like New Year’s, is a great time to start new habits or break old ones while you have the support of friends who are also doing the same. I often find that the habits I form during Lent do persist after Easter has passed, which means that a) I had a pretty bad problem before Ash Wednesday and b) I have helped resolve that problem by a lot!

Some things I’ve given up in the past:

  • 2011: Facebook & Tumblr
  • 2012: Chips & McDonald’s (McDonald’s had gotten too convenient with their fries & sweet teas)
  • 2013: …?? Did I give anything up last year? I don’t think I did actually?

Huh, I don’t think I gave up anything last year. But the previous 2 years I remember being tricky. I missed event invites on Facebook. I ate chips with all my sandwiches and soups! (I have a real passion for chips.)

This year, although I’m a little late, with a little bit of encouragement from Christine & Karen, I am going to be mostly giving up television.

This is maybe going to be my toughest lenten period yet (even tougher than the sad days I had to say no to chips). I have been mildly addicted to TV ever since I was little. My daily routines were structured around my TV schedule. Wake up, watch Sesame StreetMagic School Bus, take a nap, watch Big Comfy Couch, watch Bill Nye, watch Saved By the Bell, etc. etc.

Like a mild version of him, minus the awesome cowboy garb.
(This reference isn’t lost on you guys, right??)

Today, this manifests as me having several shows that I watch each week. I only watch a couple of them when they actually air, which means I typically end up holed up in my room with my computer, watching things on Hulu, CBS, or streaming them from less reliable sources. I also occasionally binge watch shows. Recently, I just finished watching Secret Diary of a Call Girl and I am caught up on Hannibal now.

I have a problem.
I need to solve this problem.

So, I have decided I will allow myself three shows to watch, and I may watch TV socially. But no more holing myself in my room watching TV just to pass the time. (Why do I watch so much New Girl? I don’t like it very much!)

Right now, I’m trying to figure out what shows I will allow myself to watch and I will try to watch them when they air, to minimize temptations to click to the next show and watch TV for 3 hours on my computer. The list right now looks like this:

  1. Once Upon a Time is non-negotiable. It is a problem in and of itself, but I have been waiting for the mid-season premiere and Lent is not going to stop me from watching it.
  2. How I Met Your Mother is finally almost over and I want to see it through. I don’t love it as much as I used to, so we’ll see if this stays on the list.
  3. Hannibal is the newest show I’ve started watching, and I only started because I was too lazy to not watch the season premiere. (I was already sat in front of the TV and I didn’t feel like changing the channel. Do you see how problematic this addiction is?) We’ll see if I keep watching it or if I’ll pick something else.

Other contenders include: Big Bang Theory (next runner-up), Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Elementary, Modern Family, and Community (last runner-up). Also, it goes without saying that I can’t start any new shows.

<deep breath>
This will be a challenge, and it is meant to me.

In addition, I have been talking to some people about using Lent as an opportunity to add something of value and meaning to your life rather than trying to subtract something. My friend Jenn used the example of eating less beef or red meat. If you try to cut out red meat completely, you’ll likely eat a herd of cows on Easter Sunday. BUT, if you say you’re going to eat more turkey, it’s a bit easier to substitute a turkey burger for a beefy burger to reach that goal rather than turning down a beef burger with a pout on your face.

So! On that note, I am trying to snack healthier by just snacking on more fruits and veggies and making sure I eat fruits and veggies more often throughout the day. This goal will be harder to check up on, I think, but it will also be good for me.

This can’t be so bad if the creepy face is smiling. PLUS I have this plate in my house! Done and done.

(Also, I am aware that Sundays are essentially like “cheat days”, but I have pretty bad problems that require complete discipline. I won’t let myself have days to binge-watch TV. Or eat tons of chips.)

Do you typically give something up for Lent?
If so, what are you giving up this year?
If not, what are some habits you would like to increase/decrease in general?