Monday, March 30, 2009

Earth Hour Recap

Did you remember to shut off your lights from 8:30-9:30 on Saturday? I wanted to send you a reminder but I wasn't near a computer. Matt and I shut off the lights at 8:30 and then bumped around his apartment with too few candles. We both laughed when we would walk into a room, with a candle, switch on the light, scream "BAH!" and then immediately switch the light off again. We both did this a few times but at least the thought was there.

Then we walked (how green are we!?) up to Time Square to see what billboards were shut off. I was impressed. Some of the really big signs were out. And a lot more than last year, which is really the point. We stood in the median that runs right through the center of the area, with lots of other people who had come to see the spectacle. And at 9:30 one by one the signs lit back up. Next year I'm going to suggest they add a loud "CHUNG!" sound link someone flicking a giant switch. Add a little drama, you know? But maybe millions of people worldwide coming together to make a statement is drama enough.

Today's song is Augie March's One Crowded Hour, the Earth Hour theme song. Well done to everyone who participated in standing up for our planet.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hi Grandma!

I'm writing to you with hot rollers in my hair. I know my grandma is somewhere up in heaven smiling down on me. I'm going to a masked ball tonight. Doesn't that sound fancy!? It should be but trust me, in my mask I look more like Darkwing Duck than Serena Van Der Woodsen.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and here is a little something to get you jazzed up. Please enjoy Gnarls Barkely's Smiley Faces.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

My Hero!

Last night I went to a book reading and signing with Heather B. Armstrong. She is the blogger behind, which is Positively my favorite blog (you can find a link on My Blog List conveniently located to your right). I check at least five times a day and gobble up absolutely everything she writes so you can imagine my excitement when I found out that not only was she releasing a book, but she would be doing a reading in New York City! If you can’t imagine my excitement then I’ll just tell you that I did a little jig that looked like a combination of Lord of the Dance and an epileptic fit.

So her new book is called “It Sucked and Then I Cried: How I Had a Baby, A Breakdown, and A Much Needed Margarita”, a heartwarming and hilarious story of Armstrong’s first pregnancy, becoming a new mom and her subsequent battle with postpartum depression. All these topics are a little foreign to me as I don’t plan on having any babies for a long while (Matt and my parents are breathing a collective sigh of relief right now). In fact, almost everything Armstrong writes about is foreign to me as she is an ex-Mormon, living in Utah with her husband and daughter. But I find her writing to be original, hilarious and interesting. And regular! I know that sounds more like a characteristic you would want in a bowel movement, but when you fall in love with a blog you appreciate when there is something new for you to read everyday.

Well if I was a fan before last night, now I am a super fan! I was in awe of Armstrong. She read two wonderful passages from the book, which were so clearly written in her voice. She didn’t have a gimmick or a shtick. She isn’t packaged or pushing some kind of agenda. She just is who she is and people came from all over to see her. It was pretty amazing. So Heather B. Armstrong is my hero! I not only respect her candid and humorous writing style, but she has this “take it or leave it” attitude that I think is a must when you write about your personal life. On the other she still to seems kind, real, and approachable. She has managed to build a career on being her self and I think that is pretty damn cool.

And to put the cherry on the sundae that was this excellent evening, I had great company at the event. I went with a friend, who happens to be a fellow blogger, and we swooned and grinned at Armstrong and then we both clammed up as we handed her our books to sign. And then we swooned and grinned some more during a great dinner at Kitchenette. Great writer + great company + great dinner = a Positively great night.

And my great company had some great song suggestions. Here is Ellis Paul's The World Ain't Slowin Down.

Monday, March 23, 2009

101 Things in 1001 Days: Status 2

Ha Zaa! I've completed my first Thing! #89: Read a graphic novel. My first graphic novel was Watchmen, which is THE graphic novel. It was interesting and not what I expected. If you have never read a graphic novel, check one out. They are a cool way to rethink the novel.

Also, how much do you love the feeling of finishing a book?! It is my favorite. When you finish the last sentence on the last page, and you close the book and just sigh. that! And then I always feel like I deserve a gold star. But since I'm not in the second grade I usually settle for high fiving anyone who is around.
What book were you most proud of finishing?
Haven't heard any Dave Matthews in a little while. Please enjoy Two Step.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Next Level

I just have to say that I have the best boyfriend ever! Matt and I were on the phone, catching up on each other's day. I told him that I had been writing a lot for the blog and he said "I hope this blog takes you to the next level in your life." What is so miraculous is that that is what I really I hope for this blog. I'm not sure what that "next level" is or how to get there, but deep down that is what I want. And Matt gets that! He put his finger right on it. It was a very simple thing to say but to know that he understands my hopes, well that feels pretty amazing.

Do the same. Let someone you love know you care about their hopes. That might just mean listening intently to their latest great idea or giving them a book about what they have a passion for. Prove that you really care about someone by showing that what is important to them is important to you.

I'm one lucky gal!

Today's song is Huey Lewis' Doing It All For My Baby, which is just about being sweet. What a nice idea!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Habit: It'll Make Ya or Break Ya

My mother passed along an email from a painter/writer she greatly admires( While I’m not a painter, part of his email really spoke to me. Below is a quote from John Di Lemme, a business coach, that was included in the email:

"I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed--you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men, and, alas, of all failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man. You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin--it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I? I am a habit!"

I have never thought about habits like this. I used to think of habits just as little things, like biting your nails. But I guess you can think of almost everything you do as a habit: How you act at work, how you act at home; How you treat yourself, how you treat others. It can be a little overwhelming to think this way, but what is nice about this train of thought is that it means you can change everything you want in your life! Whatever you wish for yourself, you can make happen.

If you don't like the way you feel about yourself, imagine your low self confidence as a habit. A habit that you can change. Not something you can change over night, but change none the less. Or maybe the change you want is more tangible. Maybe your house is a mess and it drives you crazy. You are just in the habit of being messy. If you can be in the habit of being messy, then you can be in the habit of being clean.

Sometimes change requires a simple shift in the way you think. As Di Lemme said, "You may run me for a profit or run me for ruin." Shift your bad habits into good ones and see new profit throughout your life.

Today's song was a request. When was the last time you heard Inner Circle's Sweat!?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

New Gym Motivation: $

It is hard to find motivation to get to the gym. You can buy new shoes or get a workout buddy. You can try positive public pressure. But for me, no kind of motivation lasts for an extended period of time, so I'm forced to keep coming up with new ones. My newest motivation is financial. Gym memberships are expensive and nearly impossible to get out of. The agreement at my gym says you can only get out of your membership after serious injury or death. Good Lord! Since I don't intend on getting seriously injured or dying anytime soon, I might as well make my membership worth it.

I try to get to the gym about 3 times a week. I thought this schedule was making my gym membership worth it, but when I actually calculated, going 3 times a week means I'm paying about $7 per trip. So I thought about it....Do I mind the idea of paying $7 for my favorite kick boxing class that I look forward to every week? Nope. It gives me a great workout and I have fun. Now, do I like the idea of spending $7 to run on the treadmill, where I huff and puff and time refuses to pass? Hell no!

So there is my motivation. If I get to the gym 4 times a week, then I'm paying $5 a visit. In my opinion this is still a lot to pay to run on the stupid treadmill but is it worth having flatter abs, tighter butt and generally feeling better about myself? SURE!

I think a good song for today's post is Donna Summer's She Works Hard for the Money.

Friday, March 13, 2009

If You Like It, Check If There Is A Ring On It

A friend of mine has noticed a cute guy in her office and she was asking for advice on how to strike up a conversation with him. I stopped her right away, saying “First things first. Have you checked for a ring?” I was surprised when this came out of my mouth. I sounded more like Charlotte York and less like the girl, who when a friend tells her about a new crush, asks if he is friendly and how are his teeth.

I guess this new ring checking habit is part of being in my late 20s (EEEK I can’t believe I’m in my late 20s). Let’s face facts. By your late 20s lots of people are married. And if you are single, these people are off limits. For that reason, wedding rings are very helpful. To the married couple they are a sign of love and commitment, but for the rest of us they might as well be a mini stop sign conveniently found on the left hand.

Now let me be clear, I’m very much in love (so in love it is a little gross, but I won’t get into that now). I’m not checking for rings for myself. But when I meet a friendly person with nice teeth, man or woman, I think about if I could set them up with one of my friends. I’ve never actually set anyone up (damn, I should have added that to my list of 101 Things) but I like the idea of it. “Hi, single friend who is friendly with nice teeth. I would like you to meet my other single friend who is friendly with nice teeth”. And then they would kiss and get married and name their first child after me.

So, are you a Ring Checker?

I know the most appropriate song would be Beyonce's Single Ladies but I played that not too long ago. So instead we are going to go with Freda Payne's Band of Gold. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

101 Things in 1001 Days: Status 1

As promised to you and myself, I will be providing updates on how I’m doing on my 101 Things in 1001 Days list. Currently I’m working on #73: Keep my eyebrows groomed for one month. I got them waxed yesterday. I spent the better part of the day looking like someone had hit me repeatedly with a belt over the brow and then covered it in Vaseline. HOT! But I’m off to a good start.

I have, or rather my mother has, been plucking my eyebrows since the 8th grade. I have surprisingly thick eyebrows for someone that isn’t really hairy. My brothers do too. We call it the Ballard Curse. And you wouldn’t think it would be tough for a bushy brow like me to keep up with regular plucking, but it is. I like how I look when my brows are cleaned up but let’s face it, I’m kind of lazy and find it hard to motivate myself to pull a bunch of little hairs out of my face. But my hope is that by challenging myself to keep my eyebrows groomed for a month, I’ll see how easy it is and how much better I look and be able to stick with it.

So I’ll update you again on April 10th, when hopefully I can report that I have conquered goal #73 and no one will compare me to Bert or Frida Kahlo.

Today's song is Michael Jackson's Black or White. I love the part in this video when people turn their head and they morph into someone else. Got to love early '90s special effects.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Knowing Snow

I've been home for the weekend to help celebrate my grandmother's 91st birthday (more on that later). We got about 8 inches of snow today. I haven't lived in New Hampshire for 9 years but I still "know" snow. Growing up in New Hampshire, where by March you are pretty sure that the only kind of weather there is is snow, you get to know snow. By my first two steps outside I can tell what kind of snow it is by the sounds it makes and the way it feels under my boots. When I was young, I could tell in those first two steps if the snow was wet and would be good for building snowmen and snow forts, or if we should trade our snow engineer hats for sleds because it was dry. As I got older, those first two steps told me how heavy the snow would be to shovel and how annoyed I should be about the plow piling snow in front of my car. But at any age the most important thing those two steps told me was if there would be a snow day! Well I guess that only lasted until I was 18 when I found out: No snow days in college!? What the hell!?

While this snow storm has kept me housebound for the day, it has reminded me how beautiful snow can be, which you can forget while living in New York.

I feel like I haven't played any Beatles in a while so here you go.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Earth Hour

WWF is sponsoring a program known as Earth Hour, which was originally started in Sydney in 2007. The idea is that people everywhere will turn off their lights for one hour to let the world’s leaders know that we are concerned about global warming. What attracted me to this idea was that I’ve heard countless people say that the little things they do won’t make a difference. Well when everyone does just a little thing it adds up to a huge impact! They estimated the 50 million people participated in Earth Hour last year. They shut off the Golden Gate Bridge for goodness sakes! That is pretty amazing and impossible to ignore.

The goal for 2009 is 1 billion people shutting off their lights. I think this would be a truly amazing thing to be a part of. So I’m pledging to shut off my lights for 1 hour on Saturday, March 28th from 8:30-9:30 pm. Will you join me? Oh come on, it’s not that big of a deal. It isn’t like I asked you to shut off your TV for an hour. And I know it is on a Saturday night but everyone knows drinking in the dark is more fun anyway (KIDDING!) Click here to learn more about Earth Hour and register to pledge your hour.

Because I know you guys like when I match the song to the post, today's song is Bob Marley and Lauren Hill's Turn the Lights Down Low.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Camels: So hot right now?

Check out this wonderful pic of my friend Liz on a camel. She is in Egypt for work and is clearly enjoying herself.

So I’ve been reading bridal magazines lately. NOT because I’m one of “those” girls but because one of my best friends is getting married and has asked me to be one of her bridesmaids. I’ve never been a bridesmaid before so I’m taking my responsibilities very seriously and doing my research. So take THAT you people on the subway who watch me with judging eyes as I flip through The Knot while not wearing an engagement ring.

What does getting married have to do with camels, you ask. Well in the honeymoon section of several of these bridal magazines there have been pictures of couples atop camels. There they are looking pleased as punch to be spending their honeymoon riding around on those smelly, mean, uncomfortable animals. Call me old fashioned, but I thought honeymoons were for gazing longingly at each other and S*X. But maybe there is something sexy about camels that I don’t know about?
Today's song is Oukast's Hey Ya!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bad Boss?

Do you hate your boss? If you do, I’m sorry. I’ve had some really horrible bosses in the past. And it is the worst! I’m lucky enough to have a wonderful boss these days (For the record: She doesn’t know I have this blog, so she will never read this, so I’m not being a kiss ass).

For those of you who despise your boss, for those of you live in fear of your boss, for those of you who think your boss is the biggest idiot face of all time, you are not alone! In fact there is a whole website dedicated to idiot faced bosses just like yours. Things My Boss Has Said is a compilation of hilarious/impossible/bizarre things that people have heard their bosses say.

I know that posting mean things about your boss on a website might not be the most Positively wonderful thing to do but I figure it is better than you calling your boss an idiot face to his/her idiot face. So check out the website and you won’t feel so alone. EVERYONE has been there.

Matt said that I have been playing too much country lately, so I let him pick today's song. Please enjoy My Morning Jacket's Off the Record.

Monday, March 2, 2009

101 Things in 1001 Days

My list is complete! I’m so excited about getting started. While I think I have a good list here, I reserve the right to make changes along the way. I will keep you posted as I complete my different goals.

I hope you have thought of making a list too! And as you will see, I like my lists like I like my closets, ORGANIZED. But everyone's list is different. Format yours however you like. Or don’t format yours at all (I promise I won’t judge you). Send me the link to your list. I would love to check it out!

So without further adieu….
PositivelyAnna’s 101 Things in 1001 Days
Start date: Monday March 2, 2009
End date: Monday, November, 28 2011

47 down, 54 to go

Adventure and Travel
1. Be the skipper on Dulcinea for a sail (1/1)
2. Go to California again (1/1)
3. Go some place tropical for vacation during the winter (0/1)
4. Go to a state that I have never been to before (1/1)
5. Go on a trip outside the US with my dad (0/1)
6. Fly first class (0/1)
7. Plan a vacation with the HBB (0/1)
8. Go on a vacation, just me and Matt (0/1)
9. Visit Ben in Colorado (0/1)
10. Sail a boat other than Dulcinea (1/1)
11. Invite 4 or more friends to Maine (1/1)

The Arts
12. Complete a drawing a month (2/33)
    -  Happy Valentine's Day
    -  Christmas Gift Tags
13. Buy a piece of original art (0/1)
14. Draw a portrait of my grandfather (0/1)
15. Give someone I love a piece of art I created (0/1)
16. Go to a symphony (1/1)
17. Go to an opera (1/1)
18. Take Alice to a musical on Broadway (0/1)
19. Go to a country music concert (1/1)
20. Attend a dance performance (0/1)
21. Go to a concert with Jack (1/1)

Being a Positively Better Person
22. Let Matt try to teach me how to play chess 2 more times (0/2)
23. Watch or read the news for a half hour everyday for a month (0/30)
24. Volunteer to work with homeless people (0/1)
25. Give over $100 to a charity that helps children (25/100)
26. No cursing for 1 week (0/1)
27. Volunteer 8 times a year (3/24)
     - How the Post Office Almost Stole Christmas
     - Volunteering 2
28. Volunteer in another state (0/1)
29. Send thank you notes at Christmas, birthday, etc.
30. Send a care package to a friend (0/1)
31. Start a history journal (1/1)
32. Do something to improve my French (0/1)

33. Create a logo for PositivelyAnna (1/1)
34. Take a writing class (1/1)
35. Post every weekday in a month (1/1)
36. Submit a piece to an online publication (0/1)
37. Submit a piece to a printed publication (0/1)
38. Receive at least 30 comments on one post (0/1)
39. Get a professional photo for PositivelyAnna (1/1)
40. Backup all posts 2 ways (0/2)
41. Go to a blogging panel or conference (0/1)

Finances and Work
42. Get a promotion that includes a title change and a raise (1/1)
43. Open a 401K (0/1)
44. Save 2 months pay (1/4)
45. Do something great at work (not sure what this will be but I’ll let you know when it happens) (1/1)

Fitness and Sports
46. Do 1 unassisted pull up (0/1)
47. Go surfing again (0/1)
48. Bike the length of Manhattan (1/1)
49. Run 10 consecutive miles (1/1)
50. See the Red Sox play at Fenway (1/1)
51. Do a split (0/1)
52. Take a dance class (0/1)
53. Workout 6 days of the week, 5 times (3/5)
54. Play a whole round of golf (1/1)
55. Go skiing (1/1)
56. Workout before 10 am everyday for a week (1/1)
57. Run in 4 charity races (0/4)

Food and Drink
58. Buy a slow cooker (0/1)
59. Plant herbs and use them to cook (1/1)
60. Choose a favorite wine (white and red) and be able to explain why I like it (0/2)
61. Be a vegetarian for 1 week (1/1)
62. No alcohol for one month (1/1)
63. Buy and use a spice rack (1/1)
64. Make homemade pasta (0/1)
65. Make a pie from scratch, including the dough (1/1)
66. Cook a dish that includes tofu (1/1)

Health and Beauty
67. Get broken capillaries removed from cheeks (0/1)
68. Meditate for 10 minutes a day for a week (1/1)
69. Buy and learn how to apply bronzer (1/1)
70. Get a mouth guard for sleeping (1/1)
71. Improve my teeth through straightening or whitening (1/1)
72. Wear my hair down everyday for a week (0/1)
73. Keep my eyebrows groomed for a month (1/1)
74. Wear sequins skirt (0/1)
75. Go to the dentist (1/1)
76. Floss everyday for a month (1/1)
77. Try a detox (1/1)
78. Buy myself a nice piece of jewelry (1/1)

New York, New York
79. Get a New York drivers license (0/1)
80. Vote in a local NY election (1/1)
81. Visit the Met, the Guggenheim and the MoMa (1/3)
     - McQueen Exhibit
82. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge (1/1)
83. Visit the 4 other boroughs (2/5)
84. Go to the Botanic Gardens (1/1)
85. Write and post a review on Menu Pages (0/1)

86. Start or join a book club (1/1)
87. Read 10 books I haven’t read already from the Modern Libraries 100 greatest books (3/10)
88. Read every article in an issue of the New Yorker, Vanity Fair and The Atlantic (0/3)
89. Read a graphic novel (1/1)
90. Find out each family member’s favorite book and read it (2/5)

Sorting Out My Life
91. Change all light bulbs to CFL bulbs (0/?)
92. Clean out or throw out college laptop (1/1)
93. Completely paperless billing (1/1)
94. Throw out any socks and underwear that I would be embarrassed about wearing if I got hit by a car and had to go to the hospital (0/2)
95. Organize I-tunes (0/1)
96. Put all pictures in photo albums (0/1)
97. Do all dry cleaning (0/1)
98. Get stuff out of Dad’s basement (0/1)
99. Organize a friends closet (1/1)

101 Things
100. Do at least one of my 101 things with my mom and do at least one thing from her 101 list with her (2/2)
101. Put away $10 for every task I complete. Use money to complete tasks on my next 101 list (0/101)

Today's song is Van Morrison's Bright Side of the Road. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A New Project

I recently stumbled upon a project called 101 Things in 1001 Days on a blog I like, Zandria. You create a list of 101 things you want to accomplish in 1001 days. You can list anything you want from simple household chores you’ve been meaning to get done to something more extreme, like motorcycling across Europe or running for public office.

I’ve really enjoyed putting my list together. It took a few minutes to get started but then the ideas start flowing. I’ve been building my list in my Genius Journal, so no matter where I am I can jot down a new item.

I had a great moment when I got around number 60 on my list. I realized I was smiling while I was writing. I was excited about all that I could accomplish in almost 3 years. When I got to 60 I was elated with the idea that I could choose 40 more things that I wanted to conquer.

I’ve been working on my list for about a week now. I’m going to take the weekend to finish up and then I will get started next week. Join me!!! Learn more about the project here. Check out other people’s lists. They are fun to read and are helpful for coming up with ideas for your own list.

Made a new friend this weekend and this was one of her pick-me-up songs growing up. Please enjoy Blackhawk's Just About Right.

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