The Art of Eating Alone

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I have been traveling quite a bit for work these days, which inevitably leads to eating many meals alone. Eating by myself is not something I have ever really enjoyed — and I realized during a values exercise I took in my coach training program that sharing a meal with my family is an important part of my life. I ate at the dinner table with my family every night of the week growing up, so I feel a natural pull to want to eat at the table with my family as an adult.

But when you’re stuck in a hotel or airport alone, you just have to make do with what you have. Here are some of my tips for making solo meals enjoyable:

Order something nice. You’ll be much more likely to have a great meal if you’re eating something delicious. Don’t skimp just because you’re alone, all meals are meant to be enjoyed!  Don’t forget to order yourself a nice glass of wine!

Take advantage of the opportunity to people watch. By far my favorite part about dining alone is the time I have to take in my surroundings. If I’m eating with someone else my focus would be on them. But if I’m alone I can people watch to my heart’s content without ignoring my date.

Catch up on your reading. If I’m in a quite cafe or restaurant, sometimes I will bring along the newspaper and catch up on the world news. Or, if I’m in the middle of a really great book I might pull out my Kindle.  Right now I’m reading The Red Notebook and I have about 10 other books on my must-read list (see below!).

Image via Pinterest

 

The Cotton Anniversary: Part II

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Happy 2nd anniversary to my husband, Doug! Its been an amazing 2 years, and I know we will have many, many more! I tried to surprise Doug with a cotton hammock, but he ended up finding out a few days early when I needed help unloading the 200lb box from my car. Oops. He loved it anyways and it kind of worked out nicely since was able to spend most of Sunday afternoon relaxing outside in it.

I’ll have to plan a little better for next year, the leather anniversary!

Cotton Anniversary

Technically, today is my 2 year wedding anniversary! Most people know that we had a big vineyard wedding in June, but Doug and I had to be all complicated and legally got married a month and a half earlier in May.  We sometimes get tripped up when people ask what day we celebrate, but I think the best answer is just to celebrate both days! Who can argue celebrating love?

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Traditionally, cotton is gifted at the 2nd anniversary. I think this year (and many other years — iron? tin?) requires some creativity. I had a few ideas up my sleeve, and came up with a great gift idea for Doug, but I can’t tell you quite yet. Maybe I’ll let you know in June!

I’m actually really excited for 5 years, because the gift is wood and coincidentally we already have it waiting for us! Our wedding party sealed up a wooden box with a bottle of wine and two love letters that we’re supposed to open on our 5th anniversary. The box is patiently waiting for us in the basement!

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What do you think of the traditional wedding anniversary gifts? Do you have any good cotton ideas? Let me know in the comments, and stay tuned to find out what I picked out for Doug!

Gym Etiquette for the New Gym Rat

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Tracy Anderson’s Mat Workout / Trader Joe’s Very Green Juice

Were you one of the millions of people who vowed in their New Years Resolutions to start going to the gym?  If so, good for you!  I, too, think that 2014 is my year to get healthy! But for someone who hasn’t been to the gym for awhile, it may be hard to smoothly integrate yourself with those already-dedicated gym rats.  Here are a few Modern Girl tips for proper gym etiquette:

1. Take it serious
Those who are hardcore working out at 6am have a goal and a plan — get up, get their work out in, shower, and head off to work. It might be arms day, legs day, cardio, ab work, etc., and you should know what your plan is too. Decide what you want to do before you get there so you’re not aimlessly wandering around the equipment getting in someone’s way.

2. Know the gym rules
If you’re going to be going to the gym at a peak time, there are probably some rules about how long you can spend on a cardio machine — make sure to look for a sign, or inquire at the front desk. Gym rules also include re-stacking  your weights, wiping down machines after use, and leaving your cell phone in your gym bag! If you’re using your cell to listen to music, make sure to set it up before you get there and stow it away in a pocket or armband.

3. Be clean!
Nobody wants to be working out next to someone who looks (and smells) like they haven’t showered since 2013. Just because you’re at the gym doesn’t mean you can’t be presentable. Pin/pull your hair back, and be sure to wash your gym clothes after every workout. It’s not only nice for your fellow gym goers, but its good for your skin too! Sweat in clothes harbors bacteria — yuck! It’s also a good idea to stash some face wipes in your bag post-workout to immediately remove pore-clogging sweat, bacteria and dirt from your skin.

4. Take it slow
Don’t be intimidated by others around you who may be marathon training or bench pressing 3x your weight. Go at your own pace and listen to your body! Over training or pushing yourself too hard can lead to injury. If you’re not sure how to do certain exercises or how to use some of the equipment, enlist the help of one of the gym trainers. Sometimes a session or two may be included in a new membership!

Thank You Notes

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‘Tis the season for giving — and sometimes, if  we’re lucky, we’re on the receiving side of that giving!

It is so important to let your friends and family know how thankful you are for them and everything they do for you! Although we may tell them thank you in person after receiving a gift, it’s nice to send a thank you note too. I always have them on hand during the year for holidays, birthdays, and impromptu gifts. I also like to keep blank notes to use for just saying hello!

I definitely stock up around the holidays, so there are no excuses not to write them. My favorite place to buy thank you cards is at TJMaxx and Marshalls — they always have the cutest ones!  Here are some more fun thank you notes: