{Piloting Paper Airplanes} January in retrospect, coffee, journal, review, winter
{Piloting Paper Airplanes} January in retrospect, coffee, journal, review, winter

January was full of dreaming and planning; of trying new things and meeting new people; of challenging myself and finding routine. Join me for a glimpse of January in retrospect.

Fitness

As of this morning, I have been active 23 of the 30 days in January. I’ll add at least one more tonight or tomorrow. Including my walks to/from work (I didn’t count days that I walked without an actual workout in my total days), that equals right about 33 hours. Workouts ranged from HIIT, weights, treadmill, row machine, yoga and body weight. Sometimes I impress myself.

Things I learned this month:

• I heart the row machine. Used it for the first time a few weeks ago and I’m hooked. It helps that I have a cousin who rowed in high school and college, so I keep texting her for tips and to get feedback on my times and such. It’s a great cardio alternative AND it’s almost always available at the gym. #winning

• My favorite way to use the treadmill right now is half running, half uphill hiking. I’m loving a tempo-pace run at 2-3% incline and a hike at 9% incline. Usually I’ve alternated 10:00 intervals, but if I’m getting bored I switch to 5:00. P.S. those high-incline walk intervals burn major calories!

• Been my favorite, still my favorite. Melissa Bender is the BEST for HIIT workouts. You will not convince me otherwise. I do one of hers almost every morning. Get it.

Fun

I have been so social this month I can’t even stand it.  You must understand that I am a well-established introvert so this is a big deal. I reconnected with one an old high school friend who lives in DC now. I went to a professional networking happy hour and made a friend. (Like, a real friend. It’s Facebook official and she’s coming over for the Superbowl). I made new friends with a couple moving in to our neighborhood. I visited with a cousin about to move to DC NEXT WEEK when she was here house hunting.

Seriously, I deserve a sweet treat for all the socializing I’ve done.

I also decided to have more fun with Instagram (psst! follow me!). This involves posting more consistently and being much pickier about what I post so that I really like my feed.

Photos this month:

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, snow, photooftheday, instagram {Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, style, photoftheday, yoga, instagram {Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, yoga, inversion, headstand, instagram
{Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, soup, corn chowder, homemade, bread, eatclean, instagram {Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, hair, long hair, selfie, style, curly, brunette, instagram {Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, style, fashion, ootd, smithsonian, museum, instagram
{Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, yoga, inversion, tripod headstand, photooftheday, instagram {Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, flowers, plant, houseplant, green, sunshine, photooftheday, instagram {Piloting Paper Airplanes} retrospect, January, style, fashion, ootd, lipstick, winter, snow, instagram

Food

You guys, I need help. The sweets are killing me. Not including Superbowl Sunday and Valentine’s day, I’m swearing off sweet treats for February. Yes yes, it’s a short month and I’m skipping a couple days, but still! It’s going to be SO HARD! I need a sugar detox stat and while I’ll hate it, my body hates me more right now.

Food I’m loving this month:

• I can’t get enough soup. I’ve made some at least once a week, probably more. I kept it interesting and didn’t repeat any and I have a partner who also loves soups so I get zero complaints. It’s the middle of my most hated season; comforting soup is my way of coping.

• I feel like I actually took control of my snacking ways and that feels awesome. Deserts not included of course. I’m a prolific snacker who prefers to nibble in place of actual meals. I’m keeping almonds in my office for mid-morning munching, I make green protein smoothies with more regularity and I’ve done better about eating real dinner. #success

Thanks for reading, friends!

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} January in retrospect

What have you loved in January?
Any cool things you’ve done?

Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day

You know what I love?

I love a comfy sweatshirt that looks like I’ve tried without actually trying that hard.

Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day

I love a bold pattern that needs few accessories. The gold filigree in this top had me feeling self conscious at first, but now I wear it all the time.

Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day

I love a bold lip. Gloss is my every day choice, red and bright pink are favorites, and I’m shopping for a good purple. The black and gold filigree demanded red, clearly.

Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day

I love these boots. They’re not black, but a charcoal gray. The stacked heel is not too high, the double zipper and gold accents add a nice edge. They fit perfectly and so far they’ve held up well.

Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day

I love forever21 skinny jeans. They fit me great, the amount of stretch is perfect, and while they may not last years, at $8–12 a pop I can handle that. Also, I can pretend I’m still 21. #winning

Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day

I love braids. This side braid is my standard and I have 3 or 4 other braided styles that make regular appearances. When you have hair as long and crazy thick as mine, a ponytail just doesn’t cut it.

Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day
Gold filigree sweatshirt {PIlotingPaperAirplanes.com} Outfit of the day

You know what I don’t love? Snow. I’ll deal with cold when it doesn’t involve snow. But I do love a partner who’ll go out in the snow and take photos because I just had to get them done right this instant. So here’s my formal credit: all photos by Jonathan Stephanoff Photography. 🙂

Linking up with Nicole for Fit&Fashionable Friday.

Thanks for reading!

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What are your favorite wardrobe pieces?

4 ways to be a morning person {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}
4 ways to be a morning person {PilotingPaperAirplanes.com}

My mornings were out of control. I had become a regular snoozer, threw together clothes in a rush, some days didn’t have time for breakfast and put off making my lunch until 10 minutes before I ran out the door. I got to work frazzled and getting in a morning workout was out of the question.

I wasn’t always like this. I was a morning person. In fact, with rare exceptions, I never snoozed my alarm and enjoyed my peaceful mornings. In December I decided enough was enough.

• I committed to getting up at 6 am, an hour+ earlier than before.
• I committed to going to bed on time – meaning by 11 pm AT THE LATEST.
• I committed to a 30:00 morning workout.

Eight weeks in, my new habits have me feeling myself again. I’m more focused at work, especially in the morning; my routine eliminates excuses like “just one more episode before bed;” my sleep is more consistent, deep and restful; and I’m keeping a regular workout schedule.

4 ways to be a morning person:

1. Go to bed at the same time.
Clearly, getting up begins with laying down. This is so simple… so why do we find it so hard? Turn a hard eye to your evening habits. How late are you eating? Are you on electronic devices until right before bed? Do you avoid the bed or bedroom because it’s a mess? Do you watch TV too late? Are you frantically finishing today’s to-do list or stressing about tomorrow’s? Do you get sleepy at some point and then get more energy later?

Try “closing” the kitchen and turning off electronics after a certain time. Take 10 minutes after dinner to pick up the bedroom to make it more inviting when you’re ready to sleep. Set a limit on number of episodes per evening. Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down reminders for tomorrow, getting it off your mind tonight. Lay down with a book when you’re tired so the later energy boost won’t keep you up.

2. Prep the night before.
Start an evening routine. Make your lunch when you make dinner. When you get home and change out of work clothes, lay out clothes for tomorrow. Have your workout clothes prepped and the workout planned before you go to bed.

Then try pampering yourself! Reward yourself for the extra prep. I love lighting a candle and doing an easy foot massage right before bed. Some nights I’ll do a yoga nidra breathing practice. I like retiring early with my kindle (one of the only electronics we allow in bed) as long as it’s not a nail-biter book that will keep me up all night. Allow some “me time” after a busy day and evening.

3. Get up at the same time.
I used to get up at 7 am except on Friday’s when I open the yoga studio at 6:45 am. The earlier-than-normal morning was brutal. Now I’m up at 6 am every day and I’m not dragging on Fridays as I greet students. It’s such a routine now that my alarm rarely actually goes off. Most often I wake up before and turn it off. That natural wake up is so much more refreshing than the alarm!

In the last eight weeks I have only slept in past 6 am once. Even on mornings that I’m tired or too sore for a full workout, I’ve gotten up for a light yoga flow. I don’t want to break the morning rhythm my body is now conditioned for. (That said, if I really need the extra sleep or am not feeling well, that additional hour of z’s is much appreciated).

4. Plan time for something you enjoy in the morning.
Give yourself something to look forward to. It might be your workout, or making a good breakfast before kids are up or 20 minutes of distraction-free reading. I workout for 30 minutes Monday — Thursday. I keep this strict, too! I do not workout for 35 or 40 minutes. Afterward, I often turn on some instrumental piano music and sit for breakfast with my latest magazine or book. It creates a little zen space before getting ready for the day. This period is valuable enough to me that I will cut a workout short.

I would suggest leaving emails unread here. For me, this is a small window of morning time sans work or lists or expectations. It’s “me time” before other obligations. Mental zen.

 That’s it! Thanks for reading!

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Do you have other tips for better mornings?

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table renovation, diy

Let me introduce you to the coffee table I’ve hated for years. The table is a great size, but it was worn and I especially hated the lip on top. Yet Jon and I couldn’t find a new table we both liked. So when I stumbled on this cool idea using paint sticks, I knew it was destined to be our latest project. Coffee table diy, here I come!

Because, hey, if it didn’t work or we didn’t like it, I’d still get a new table.

• Worn, battered and just tired. Legs already off for sanding:

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

• We experimented with Liquid Sander for the first time. I’m not sure I’ll ever sand something without it again! It stripped the top “glossy” layer completely and softened the stain enough to finish up with sandpaper. No electric sander needed.

The areas I planned to paint received a light sanding while Jon did a more thorough sanding on the areas to be re-stained:

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

Painting! (Clearly we didn’t do this in January). We have lots of natural tones in our living space, so I wanted a pop of color on the table. A small sample jar of paint did the trick:

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

• Building the top. Jon basically took over from here. After four trips to Home Depot collecting enough paint sticks, Jon sawed off the handle ends and gave them a light sand. Then he trimmed out the lip of the table for a perfect fit. I stained the edges of the table top and stained the paint sticks in three different tones (not pictured).

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

• Next was simply putting a puzzle together. Jon used liquid nails to glue the sticks down in a pattern we laid out ahead of time. We discovered liquid nails tended to warp the sticks a bit, so he glued them in smaller sections and stacked lots of old text books as they dried.

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

Done! The last steps were attaching the legs again and applying several coats of polyurethane. The coffee table returned to it’s place and now I LOVE it. I mean really love it. It’s exactly our style: rustic, funky and a project done together.

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

{Piloting Paper Airplanes} Coffee table diy, furniture renovation

Thanks for reading!

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What do you think?
Do you enjoy DIY furniture projects?

{PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} Own it, Be a little wild, Henry David Thoreau, sunrise, sunset

{PilotingPaperAirplanes.com} Own it, Be a little wild, Henry David Thoreau, sunrise, sunset

If we met for lunch today, I would tell you…

I am a planner and a dreamer. Though sometimes at odds, the two characteristics keep me balanced between structure and spontaneity. My practical goals mix with out-there ideas, and paired with right people, they create something amazing.

Make it look pretty and you have me hook, line and sinker.

{The image above is the front and back cover I created for my 2015 planner. Check out Personal-Planner.com. You can customize just about everything in these gems. Not an affiliate link, FYI.}

This is year three using Susannah Conway’s Unraveling the year ahead workbook. It is the perfect blend of planning and dreaming all in a pretty package. First you’ll reflect on the year past then make plans for the year ahead, all guided by simple questions and lots of space to jot notes.

P.S. Keep the workbooks year to year. After reflecting on the year past, it’s fun to look at what you wrote last year.

My favorite part? Choosing a single word – or in my case this time, a phrase – to guide the year. I’ve chosen own it.

For me this means:

• own my decisions without excuses {less unnecessary apologies}
• own my mistakes {more necessary apologies}
• own my personality quirks {embarrassment takes a lot of energy}
• own my current situations {change what I can, work with what I can’t, less complaining}
• own my work-in-progress gorgeous self {embrace it all}

The workbook then guides you to select four companion words to flesh out your intention a bit more. This little word tree sets the foundation for goals, dreams and ideas in the year to come. It’s a fabulous process to help you be purposeful in 2015.

 Thanks for reading, friends!

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Do you have a word or intention for 2015?
What would you tell me at lunch today?