Sunday, March 27

Calm down. It's been a rough week.

It's been a rough week.

On Sunday I noticed that my heart was beating quicker than usual-- pounding through my chest as if I had just finished running.

While I hadn't been running physically, I had been running a mental marathon by working several jobs (teaching, tutoring French, writing, and evaluating online advertisements) as well as working on my personal website, and trying to keep up with the online media world all at once.

I worked myself into a tizzy trying to earn enough money to save for all of the expensive things that I want to do in the next couple of months, and noted that my heart problem was a symptom of this over working, so I spent the rest of Sunday reading books and doing yoga to relax.

On Monday morning, the problem had not abated-- actually becoming worse while working in the morning. On my lunch break I called the doctor to make an appointment, and discussed the problem with a nurse. "If this gets any worse you need to go to the ER," she said.

It immediately got worse.

My mom came home from work and drove me to the ER, where the nurses told me that I had suffered a panic attack. As I sat in the hospital bed with several wires stuck to my skin I realized something: For no amount of money am I willing to sacrifice my health. I felt inspired to make a change in my life-- to work less and play more.

But how? The inspiration subsided on my way home from the hospital and I suddenly felt discouraged and depressed. How had I let myself get to this point? What changes do I have to make in my life? How will I ever afford all of the things I want if I work less and play more? These thoughts numbed me for a few days, causing numerous crying spells. I felt like utter crap.

On Wednesday I made a decision with some help from my mom. I decided to quit one of my jobs in order to make more time for myself (the meaning of which I'm still trying to understand). I felt like a failure for not being able to handle my own circumstances, but a sudden realization in the shower (the most inspiring of places) made me feel calm: I don't have to be the best at everything. I don't have to compete with everyone else. I don't have to compare myself to everyone else. What a relief!

So here I am on this Sunday feeling better than ever because I finally feel like I have time to do the things I want to do without worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Saturday, March 26

Best Authors of All Time

I'm working on a project and I could really use some of your help.

Who are your top three favorite fiction authors of all time?

You don't necessarily have to tell me why, but if you'd like to I would love to hear it!

My favorites (at the moment):

1. Marcel Proust

2. Oscar Wilde

3. Ernest Hemingway (I'm reading A Moveable Feast right now)

Saturday, March 19

The black hole of multitasking

Right now I am doing way too many things all at once.

  1. I have 8 tabs opened on my browser
  2. I am working
  3. I am reading blogs
  4. I am reading the New York Times
  5. I am writing this blog entry
Moreover, my mind is in a million places reflecting on how I will spend my time for the rest of the day. I feel that I have so many things that I could be doing that I try to do them all at once. This means that I'm not doing any of them well.

This behavior goes against my basic principle of quality over quantity, and it makes me feel as though time is passing and I'm not really engaging in what I am doing. So, I have closed all but 3 tabs on my browser, and once I finish this post I am going to try to focus wholeheartedly on my work.

Here is a New York Times article titled "Shortcuts--Multitasking Can Make You Lose...Um...Focus"

Here is a post from Zen Habits on "The Magical Power of Focus"

Friday, March 18

Natalie Portman is the new Miss Dior

It looks like no one can get enough of miss Natalie Portman! I love this new Miss Dior ad.

Thursday, March 17

Spring? Is that you?

Yesterday I enjoyed a blazing 55 degrees!

Messing around with my mom's camera (learning about shutter speeds and whatnot), I decided to venture outside and take some pictures of this most beautiful day!

I am obsessed with this picture of the tomato plant (see the remnants of last year's fruits?)
So sunny! I love it!!!

Kona's sick of having his picture taken, but he looks adorable!

How are you spending these first days of spring weather?

Tuesday, March 15

Inappropriate Winter Footwear

Last Tuesday, I roamed the hallways of the local mall in my long coat, knit scarf, and leather boots. This winter has been a brutal one, for sure-- which is why I was shocked to see a posse of teenage girls wearing flip-flops during their winter shopping trip.

While I must admit that I am sick of wearing the same leather boots every day, I know one thing for certain-- it is still much too cold to wear flip flops.

Sadly, when I was in high school I know that I did the same thing. I remember my mom telling me I was crazy as I walked out the door with minimal foot protection. The sandals made me feel rebellious and free. I scoffed at my mom's opinions on my footwear.

The thing is, flip-flop fashion is a uniquely American thing. While living in Paris in the fall of 2009, an American friend spoke of her bewilderment at how French people seemed to know she was American just by looking at her.

"French people don't wear flip flops" I told her bluntly. She stared down at her feet in confusion and then looked at everyone's footwear around us. She knew that I was right.

In the French opinion, flip flops are beach footwear-- not appropriate for daily life, and especially not appropriate for cold, snowy weather. So please, American teenagers, I know that it's difficult, but please hold on for just a couple of months before bringing those multicolored, plastic contraptions out of your closet. Your feet  will thank you!

Sunday, March 13

Sunday's Preparation for the Week Ahead

Here are some of my favorite sites that will inspire you to prepare for the week that is to come:

1. Zen Habits by Leo Babauta. As I mentioned in my last post, this is one of my favorite blogs. I'm somewhat obsessed with it. I recommend beginning at his start page, which advises readers on what to read first.

2. Marc and Angel Hack Life, with tons of articles on ways to reflect and make the most out of your life. This post discusses "20 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Every Sunday".

3. The For the Love of Blogs Sunday blog hop. It's so great to get feedback from other bloggers on Sundays!

After consulting my favorite sites, I am going to work a little, read some of my current book, The Story of French by Jean-BenoƮt Nadeau et Julie Barlow, and hopefully find some time to RELAX (it is Sunday after all).

How do you like to spend your Sunday?

Friday, March 11

Prayers for Japan and some Zen Habits

More than any other recent natural disaster, the devastation in Japan has really affected me.

Disasters really make you think about the shortness of life, and how important it is to live fully.

Quality over quantity.

One way to find out how to live better is to read the Zen Habits blog by Leo Babauta. His posts are powerful and simple. I've been reading it for a year now, and find it absolutely fabulous.

 Have a good weekend,


Thursday, March 10

Enough, already!

This weather is horrendous! Snow, rain, wind-- we've had it all today.

I'm ready to move on to spring. Who's with me?

Here's a photo from one of my favorite blogs, Les Composants. Here's to the sunny mornings that are soon to come!

Tuesday, March 8

MacBook Pro or MacBook Air? A Worthy Debate

My life must be pretty hard that my most pressing concern is weather to purchase a Macbook Pro or a MacBook Air, both of which have their pros and cons. I figured I should use my blog to ask you, the people, your opinion on the matter.

So, let the battle begin!

Sunday, March 6

My First Freelance Article Submission

Today I submitted my first freelance article to a print magazine. I know that the chances of being published are slim to none, and that many writers submit hundreds of articles before being published, but this is an exciting moment for me indeed.

The publication is called Skirt! and you can find them at their website.

Here is a picture from their current issue titled "What if?" Let's just say that it hit a chord with me.

"Could you move, master a foreign language, marry a foreigner?
What's really stopping you?

The world or your will?"

Friday, March 4

Authentic Happiness Inventory

The University of Pennsylvania's Authentic Happiness Test Center is looking for online participants for it's authentic happiness questionnaires. They're quick and easy, and at the end you get a happiness score (between 1 and 5). While the research has not yet concluded the absolute value of the score, at the end of the questionnaire, you will recieve a percentile score rating your level of happiness to that of other participants. Fill out the questionnaire at the Authentic Happiness website to help positive psychology research!

Because of comments I have decided to reveal my number: 4.54

Thursday, March 3

Live the language - Paris!

I've watched this video about 10 times already and you should, too!

Tuesday, March 1

Bonheur in the month of mars

Here is a quotation from Mireille Guiliano's bestselling book French Women for All Seasons that I definitely live by:
“French women know happiness is not a matter of luck; it’s what you make of your life. This word for happiness is literally ‘good time.’ The French way of connecting feeling with time is telling. It suggests something to be cultivated in the course of our hours and days and months and years, how we live in relation to them. The English word happy comes from the archaic word hap, which means ‘luck.’ Interesting distinction.”