sleeping and smiling. my life, in a nutshell: 2012

10 02 2012

i can’t believe i let this lapse! oy ve. last we chatted, it was june. and what’s changed? oh, a lot and a little and nothing at all. still the same ol’ silly jamesly. still in love with life and having a blast.

i’ve read some really great books lately, among them being The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. i didn’t know what this book would do for my quote-unquote *happiness* but it seemed an interesting premise… this woman devoted a year to resolutions that would increase her happiness, even though she considered herself a fairly happy individual already… like myself. but, there’s always room for self-improvement, yes?

after reading this book, there two major areas i wanted to work on, and i have: get enough rest, and smile at people more. they’ve both been life-changing SIMPLE acts that i hope choose to stick around in my lovely little life.

i’ve gotten used to sleeping, on average, 6 hours a night for as long as i can remember. it was bound to catch up with me at some point, and i believe in the past year it did. i decided, starting in january, that i would attempt to actually get 8 hours of sleep a night (since studies say 8 is most beneficial, even if you want to stay in bed for 12… tempting…) and see what it could do for me. it’s actually been almost 5 weeks now that i’ve gotten close to this beloved magical 8 hours a night, and let me tell you it has changed my life. i am not a morning person at all, and extra sleep hasn’t changed that – but it has changed the way i view mornings. i am much more awake when i get to work at 7am and can actually withstand small talk and conversation before noon. i only need my one cup of coffee in the morning. i rarely feel exhausted anymore – i thought that was normal, i guess – and i actually know i have a “bedtime” and pay attention to it. amazing! it’s been nice so far because i haven’t had much going on in the evenings since the holidays (my hibernation months, winter), but i can see it getting to a problem when concert season ramps up, and when summer comes along. ah well – f0r now, it’s working wonders 🙂

the smiling thing happened because of the simple truth that, in order to be happy, you should make others happy. when others are happy, you are happy. seems so simple when put that way, yes? i used to look down when i passed people in the hall because most people don’t respond to friendly hellos, even if this is the south, and let’s face it, i don’t hand out my friendly hellos like candy. but *what if* i did… right? i don’t know if it was this book or just the seed of thought in my head, but because i love people so much (i really really do), i laugh a lot on the inside. i decided to push that energy outside of me and smile at everyone i pass. very outside of my comfort zone, but since i started it, it’s become addictive. i’m now that girl that smiles and gives a friendly hello even if you don’t know her. but i also see how people react. some people react like i used to – looking down and smiling shyly. some people do what i’m doing right back at me – and it inspires me. and some people look on in amazement, like – is she talking to me? and that’s what makes me happy. these little smiles, possibly making a difference in people’s lives. i like to think so, anyway. i’ve spent my whole life trying to make other people happy, one because it’s in my nature, and two because i really enjoy it. so why stop?

happy friday, anyone who reads this. have a fabulous weekend. i need to write more often 🙂

peace
-j.





empire state of mind. as usual.

29 06 2011

on a tshirt i saw in urban outfitters

new york city, you fabulous place. it was lovely to spend a long weekend with you again. i do so hate leaving your beautiful face to come back home to silly atlanta.

me and madre and nadia had such a fabulous time in NYC. we arrived on thursday morning and spent five lovely days exploring, revisiting, eating, and photographing. we found some new places, ventured out beyond our comfort zones (some of us, that is – my comfort zone stretches far and wide), ate a lot of really good food. I FINALLY GOT TO SEE JERSEY BOYS!!!

finally!

that’s been a long time comin… and it was everything i wanted and more. dude did a great job as frankie valli. i got to sing all of my favorite four seasons songs. loved it loved it loved it!! we also saw Billy Elliot, which i knew was gonna be good, but i didn’t think i was gonna love it as much as i did. 🙂 fabulous show times!! i need to start making a list of other shows i need to see, since i’ve pretty much done my broadway bucket list up to this point. no complaints here 🙂

we frequented the chelsea market this year- hadn’t been before, but it was only a few blocks from our fabulous hotel. (we stayed at the new hilton in the fashion district- i picked this place in part because of their rooftop bar, but unfortunately we never quite made it up there. the irony.) the market has a ton of bakeries, restaurants, and shops that were housed in a cute warehouse-type building… we had some fabulous lobster rolls there, i had an excellent soy latte, and we found some really cute cupcakes as well. i will definitely be back there on future trips to the city.

da best.

another great place we discovered was a place i actually went in december to grab a chocolate croissant- the food hall by todd english at the plaza hotel. i don’t know why i didn’t notice the place for what it was back then, but it’s a fabulous open space full of barstools, long tables, and visible food stations… reminded me so much of the market in madrid that i was constantly drawn to during my stay there. we were, likewise, drawn to this restaurant of sorts. what started out as a stop for a drink turned into wine, chicken and ginger dumplings, cod fritters, and a marvelous cheese plate of cheddar, camembert, and drunken goat plus olives, tapenade, quince paste, and fig jam all the while watching miniature lamb gyros, sliders, and burgers being crafted before our very eyes.

deeeeliciousness.

we were entranced and enthralled. i tell you what, nadia and i both agreed that it’s super hot when a guy can cook… 😉 the place and the experience was so fabulous we went back the very next day for madre’s birthday lunch (she was quite taken with the place). that day i had perhaps the best wine of the trip- a cotes du rhone (of course)- and more fabulous cheeses, as well as some chorizo from the grill. madre got some fantastic fried oysters, and nadia got the mini gyros. everything was delicious… but nothing moreso than madre’s birthday dessert- chocolate ganache cake that was to die for, chocolate gelato (i was in heaven), and watermelon sorbet. i will definitely be visiting your food hall again, todd english. remember this girl’s face. and stomach. 😉

the plaza food hall by todd english

we went to brooklyn on our last day to visit my dad’s high school… my mom and sister wanted to see his name on the plaque of outstanding students (a guy and girl are chosen each year from the senior class), and of course see the neighborhood where he went to school. while the neighborhood wasn’t super-enticing, it was great to see the school and a little piece of history. it was also nice to get away from the city and see where “real” people live, ya know? it’s so easy to think of the city and the lifestyle there, and easy to forget that most new yorkers live outside of manhattan. i would pick manhattan, though, if i had the choice… and the money.

grover cleveland h.s.

the other notable part of the weekend was the fact that pridefest was going on… coincidental to the occasion, governor cuomo signed the same-sex marriage law into effect on friday, causing a ton of celebration in the city, especially in the village. we got a chance to witness part of the parade on sunday and see all of the characters in the village and walk through the street fest (and get lots of fun free stuff! always a plus in my book). it was so uplifting to be in the city this weekend with all of this stuff going on- it was really nice to see how open most people are to alternative lifestyles and how it’s not such a hush-hush topic as it can be sometimes here at home. it was also really cool to see the empire state building lit up in rainbow colors 😉

empire state building

rainbow cookies at a bakery

as always, our time in the city was too short, but it keeps the desire to come back that way as well. i’ll be back at the end of august for the Dave Matthews Band Caravan (yesssssss!) on Governor’s Island, but i’ll be hangin in the city during the day for sure. can’t wait. speaking of my favorite person… 😉 nadia found me a book about Dave and his 20 years on the road so far and that’s what i read on the plane since i accidentally packed my kindle in my suitcase. whoops. but it’s really nice to read about the history of my favorite. i’m getting really excited.

we took so many great pictures this weekend, y’all.. i’ll have the rest of them on facebook, of course, once i get’em organized. til then, peeps.

peace,
-j.