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oh, what a week it’s been. the first week back from vacation is always quite rough, isn’t it? this week certainly was for me. after getting in super late sunday night, i was a total zombie at work on monday. note to self: always give yourself an extra vacation day to recoup, do laundry, go grocery shopping, become a human again, etc. i spent tues-friday trying to get my life back in order, and getting back into the swing of my schedule: bar method in the mornings, a tues night soul cycle class with my favorite instructor, isabel, marathons of chicago fire, shrimp pasta with fresh basil and tomato. you know the drill. i read a quiz in this month’s self magazine that was all about whether you were an adventurous type or a homebody. not that i really needed a quiz to tell me which type i was, but guess what, folks? i’m a creative of habit. even self thinks so. which explains why, despite the absolutely incredible time i had on my trip to nicaragua, i am thrilled to be back home and back in the habit.

on the docket for this weekend:

a friday night friend soul cycle/dinner date with my girl katie, who i haven’t seen in far too long, and whose southern accent i miss dearly; saturday morning bar method then brunch at lafayette with my friend sara, and a sunday afternoon lunch and last minute christmas shopping with my ladies kara and sophie. and of course, my requisite sunday night soul class, where i tap it back and get my groove on for the week ahead.

in the meantime, i’ll leave you with the things i loved this week:

this holiday candle has been making my apartment smell amazing for the past few weeks. it smells like christmas in a candle, all pine and yummy spices and the scent of snow. get it, trust me.

* this roundup of blair eadie’s 2013 outfits offers some serious sartorial inspiration. blair’s style is a bit more overdone than my personal taste, but i still get inspired by her unique, feminine fashion choices.

* i bought a few of these notepads for my girlfriends for the holidays, and i can’t wait to gift them. everyone loves a cute notepad, right? ain’t nothing like staying organized in style!

* my mom got me this new, holiday-appropriate deborah lippman polish for hanukkah, and i can’t get enough of it. it’s the perfect shimmery forest green.

* do you read love taza? it’s one of my favorite blogs. naomi is a great writer, and her photos of her beautiful family are always such a nice dose of inspiration. she recently went blonde, and i can’t get enough. it’s making me want to go platinum.

* speaking of inspirational, here are 10 ways to dazzle in a meeting, courtesy of the everygirl.

* i’m reading lean in. love sandberg or hate her, agree or disagree with her, it’s a really interesting read. suffice it to say it’s making me feel angry, passionate, emotional, and totally fired up all at once.

 

tumblr_mke6f6DD811r24iwto1_500yesterday, i had one of those days. you know the ones where you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and you just know, today is not my day? i had one of those yesterday. i almost missed the bus across town to make it down to bar method. then, after class, as i’m getting ready, i realized, i forgot underwear. i mean, no biggie, right? (not). thank god i was wearing tights.

work was rough. i got put on a project i absolutely despise, one that’s not in the least bit creative (literally, powerpoint decks on powerpoint decks), one that does not excite me or inspire me or make me feel fulfilled in the least. i spent my entire day churning through slide after slide, inserting commas here and there, and dealing with people who i find to be ever so slightly incompetent. as i chugged along, i told myself, just make it to 6:30. then you can leave, and go to soul cycle, and spin out your annoyances, and all will be okay.

on top of all that, i’ve been feeling frustrated with this immense sense of competition i’ve been feeling from some of my fellow employees. i work with a few people that are of the ‘always raise their hand, always make themselves seen’ variety. you know, the kids who always sat in the front row in class, always volunteered to go first to present their project. teacher’s pets, all grown up. i’m sure they exist at your office too. and while i can appreciate someone who always knows the answer, feeling like you always have to be the star (and pushing other people out of the way to do it) really isn’t my jam. and i feel like there’s been a lot of that around me, and that’s led me to doubt that i’m doing enough, putting my name out there enough, getting noticed enough. in my heart, i know that’s not who i am (and not who i want to be), but when you’re surrounded by competitive “look at me!” types, it’s hard not to feel like you have to play the game just to keep up.

as if that frustration wasn’t enough, upon leaving work, i got to the 6 at 33rd to find the platform packed, people crammed in like sardines, staring at the sign that read, “6 train to parkchester 6 minutes.” which would have been fine, except that 15 minutes later, it still read 6 minutes. and i had to be at 83rd and 3rd at 7. when the train finally came, it was so packed that no one could get on. nor could they get on the next one.

finally, the third train that came had a tiny bit of room, and a kind gentleman moved his backpack and motioned for me to squeeze in just before the door closed. thank you, lovely stranger.

suffice it to say i didn’t make it to a 7pm class until 7:06, and i burst into soul cycle looking a hot mess, my stomach pooching out over my lulus, my hair all frizzed out, sans shoes or locker or anything else. luckily, they let me duck in late, and i clipped into my bike and shut my eyes and as i spun my legs, i let all of my anger and frustration from the day spin out behind me and dissipate into the air. one of the things they talk about at soul cycle is finding your goals, and sticking to them. they tell you to think about why you’re there, they advise that you shut your eyes and just pedal, and let everything else fall by the wayside. they ask you think about what you want, about what you need, about what you’re doing there, about who you are.

and who you’re not. because when you think about who you want to be, you also have to consider who you don’t want to be. and who i don’t want to be is a competitive, take no prisoners, take credit for things i have not done, step on the toes of others to get where i want to be type of person. that’s not who i am. i pray it’s someone i’ll never be (and to my close friends reading this, if i ever get that way, please slap me upside the head and tell me to snap out of it).

when i got home, i stripped out of my sweaty clothes, and i took a long, steaming bath with some lavender oil and epsom salt, and i closed my eyes and turned off the lights and just let myself be. i took a step outside my grievances, and the things that were bothering me, and i reminded myself of who i was, and who i wasn’t. and then i toweled off and ate annies on my couch while watching the season premiere of chicago fire, otherwise known as my favorite fall TV show. because sometimes a girl just needs to watch hot firefighters saving lives to feel better about the world.

really, though, the above is pretty good advice. sometimes you really just do need to take a step back, get some air, and remind yourself of who you are, and who you want to be.