Monday, December 31, 2012

Bye-Bye 2012 and Blogger, Hello 2013 and 12 Months of Lent 2.0!

First of all, I have some big news that I'm beyond excited about…are you ready for this? 12 Months of Lent has moved!

That's right, after 4 years with Blogger, I've decided that the start of 2013 and my 5th year of 12 Months of Lent (can you believe it?) is the perfect time to move onto bigger and better things, i.e. Wordpress. I've been a busy little bee (as has Dan who's been amazing at helping me with the backend of things) moving everything over to my new site, which I'm aptly referring to as 12MOL 2.0.

What this means for you is that this is my last post at the Blogger address, so to stay up to date with 12 Months of Lent, please make sure to update your bookmarks, and RSS feeds, and email subscriptions, and all that stuff I barely know anything about. Here's where you can find me from now on:

And that's not all! I finally got around to setting up a 12MOL Facebook page, which I plan on keeping updated with new posts and pictures and all that good stuff. Please take a second to like it, and of course, to share it with anyone and everyone you know.

And I suppose since it's New Year's Eve and tomorrow marks the start of a brand new, odd-numbered year (I have a personal philosophy that odd-numbered years are way better than even-numbered ones), I should give some sort of summary of 2012, or at least as it relates to this blog, right?

I'll keep it short since you're all probably reading this on your iPhones at a bar, so here goes: 2012 was an awesome year for me, both personally, and for my lents. I might have failed to actually launch my design portfolio site like I was supposed to do last January and February (can't win 'em all), but I did an intense 21-day dietary cleanse in March, a technology detox in April, and a cool microphilanthropic month in May. I sat with my 92 year-old grandmother in June and July to record our family's history (which I later made into a book and gave to her this Christmas), got my finances back in order with a wallet diet in August, and embarked on a movie-watching challenge in September and October. Then I topped things off with a reading challenge in November, and my 7 Golden Rules of Christmas this past month—which of course brings me to my final check-in for that challenge.

I'm not gonna lie, I kind of fell off the wagon a bit after Christmas—as hard as I tried to keep it together, Christmas is just killer, especially when you work retail. I didn't let it discourage me or give me an excuse to abandon ship though. I've still been striving to maintain the healthy habits I set up, even after days when I've totally missed the mark.

I read a nice quote from Baron Baptiste today (in reference to his Digital 40 Days Baptiste Yoga program) that perfectly summarizes how I feel about responding to failures and setbacks:

"I often tell my students that it doesn't matter how many times you fall, it's about calmly and kindly getting back up each and every time that makes all the difference. Part of this program is that (much like your day-to-day life) it will present you with many opportunities to jump ship... "I had a stressful day today and don't want to meditate for 5 minutes" or "I don't have the time today for yoga practice or to make myself something for dinner." The good news is this is where the personal revolution occurs: you'll be on the lookout for these kinds of disempowering thoughts and attitudes and experience the power of choosing your next action. If you 'fall off the wagon', simply get back on."

Happy New Year everyone, thanks for all your love and support this year.


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Championing My To-Do List, Week 3, A Mini-Breakdown & Christmas

Firstly, I'd like to report that I successfully crossed off every single to-do from last Sunday's marathon of a list. Every. Single. One. When has this ever happened to me before? Probably never—it was awesome (and a little exhausting).

Secondly, as far as my week 3 progress report goes, I fared pretty well. I hit my 4 yoga classes, I meditated every day, I practiced yoga nidra twice, ran twice, cooked 2 meals, didn't use my credit card, but...this is where I failed—I cheated on my no sweets rule. Dammit. It was a crazy day at work, a co-worker brought in a huge batch of my favorite kind of cookie ever (oatmeal butterscotch, omg), and...I just couldn't resist. So close—yet again—but still, I was feeling good. I was conquering the Christmas season.

And then, just like that, I had a mini-breakdown. I had left finishing up Grammy's family history book until the last minute (of course) but luckily the Staples gods were on my side and when I went to have it printed and bound, they were super accommodating and said they could do it right then and there for me. Perfect. No last minute Christmas Eve scrambling for me, phew.

But then the awesome guy I was working with had to help someone else and I got stuck with a lady who really couldn't have cared less about helping me put together a book for my 92-year-old grandmother, and suddenly things changed to "oh, we can't do this for you now, you'll have to come back tomorrow". Hello mini-meltdown.

It was fine though, I knew we had time to swing by the next day before heading down to the Cape, but it definitely threw me into the cranky-Christmas-sucks-stressed-out mood I had successfully avoided until that point. F. And then it certainly didn't help that after leaving Staples, Trader Joes was out of the cat litter I had driven there specifically to get. The mini-meltdown continued on until I yoga-nidraed myself out of it (but it did resurface a bit when I was bleary-eyed and up past midnight wrapping presents).

But everything ended up being fine of course, and I hope I don't sound too whiny—believe me, I'm counting my blessings that those were my biggest problems. I had a great time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with both sides of my family, the book turned out perfect (it made almost every member of my family cry), and I got one of my all-time favorite Christmas presents (which may or may not be the theme of my January lent—stay tuned).

Mini-breakdown aside, it's been a relatively low-stress holiday season and I'm almost to the finish line of surviving it. One holiday to go and I'm in the clear. Woo-hoo!

The sign on my Cousin Stacy's house

The wreath on my parents back porch

A Dzenawagis family tradition

Grammy's book

Me, my dad, and my brother

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Today's To-Do

This week started out stellar but I definitely have a little catching up to do today (remember that time I accidentally slept until 11 yesterday? Whoops). Here's what's on my agenda:
  1. Hatha Flow @ 9:30 am: Check!
  2. Decadent pancake breakfast with Dan: Check!
  3. Finish and print Grammy's book (Dear Christmas Miracle, I need you now)
  4. Wrap gifts
  5. 2-mile run
  6. Yoga Nidra
  7. Make real meal #2 of the week
  8. Finish up my Christmas shopping after hours tonight at lululemon
Time to quit blogging and get to work, eek!

p.s. Making Christmas cookies is out the window today because I used my bonus sweet cheat Friday night at a friends holiday party when I spotted these bad boys (thank you Stephanie for making my Christmas dreams come true). My friend and old roomie Marissa used to make them all the time and we always referred to them as "bad girl crackers" in our house. Enough said, right? Totally worth it.

Friday, December 21, 2012

"It Is Decidedly So"

One of the best parts about working for lululemon is that I can literally practice yoga, work, enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon at home, and hey—even sleep if I want to—in the same clothes. And I'm sorry to break the news to those of you who aren't ready to hear this, but yoga pants are the new jeans. I basically have no interest in wearing anything that doesn't feature 4-way stretch ever again—can I even remember the last time I put on a pair of jeans? My sources say no.

While this is great for comfort's sake alone, it's also great for motivation. For instance, this morning I had the 6am shift and knew that if I wasn't already wearing my running clothes that it'd be pretty tough to motivate myself to hit the pavement after such an early wake up. So what did I do? Dress like the little runner girl I'm posing as this month and deck myself out so I could stop by the river on the way home and do my favorite 3-mile loop.

But then it was raining when I left the house at 5:30am...and absolutely pouring when I left work at 1pm...and pretty torrential when I finally made it back home. Basically, I was totally rained out.

But of course, just when I had given up all hope of making it out for a few miles, the skies cleared up and the sun peeked it's little face through the rain clouds. Freaking. Perfect.

It went from "Outlook not so good"...

To, "It is decidedly so"

and then of course I stopped every 5 seconds to take Instagram photos. I do what I do...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

This Week = Killin It (NBD)

It's only Wednesday, and so far this week I've meditated every day (I even received a personal meditation and mantra from my teacher to work with), I've already been to yoga twice, practiced yoga nidra once, and cooked my first of 2 recipes. Did I mention that I wrote and mailed out all of my Christmas cards too?

Basically, I'm killin it. Danne. Bam.

And now I'm relaxing by my Balsam and Cedar scented candle and listening to the Hanson Christmas album (don't judge me) while I work on Grammy's Christmas gift—I'm finally putting together the printed book of our family history that I transcribed over the summer (you remember Tuesdays With Grammy, right?). It's definitely the gift I'm looking forward to giving the most.

p.s. Do these pics look familiar? Follow me on Instagram!

White bean and kale stew with a grilled cheese, avocado, pesto, and spinach, sammie.

Christmas card writin' last night

A surprise Christmas package I received from my friend Jocelyn with a gingerbread man tree ornament for me and a cat nip mustache for Fanne (which she's OBSESSED with).           

Monday, December 17, 2012

My Week 2 Progress Report

Well look at that—Christmas is just about a week away, full-blown holiday-madness is among us, and somehow I haven't totally lost it yet. How is this possible? I'm going to go out on a limb and say it has something to do with this month's challenge, no?

In addition to gift making/shopping, Christmas card writing, holiday party-going, and helping the clueless husbands of Boston's MetroWest pick out yoga outfits for their wives, this is what else I spent my time doing last week:
  1. Yoga Practice: I made it out to 4 classes last week. Goal = hit! I tried to squeeze in a 5th like I said I would, but the one that best fit my schedule was full. What can you do? I'm perfectly happy with 4.
  2. Meditation: Every. Single. Day. This was huge for me, and also probably what is helping me to keep it together the most.
  3. Yoga Nidra: I only got to this once last week but my goal was twice. My only miss for the week, sigh...
  4. Running: Against my will, I made it out twice. It was cold, it was getting dark, but what got me out the door was reminding myself that I never come back from a run, or any workout for that matter, and say "man, I really wish I had just stayed home."
  5. Cooking: We did indeed prepare 2 legit meals, one of which was potato latkes for Chanukah (I don't know if the house will ever smell the same again, in a good way, of course).
  6. No Sweets: I did awesome with this one too, completely abstaining from all sweets except for the legal cheat I allowed myself on my birthday.
  7.  Credit Card Freeze: Still chillin'
I'm not gonna lie—it's been hard to fit everything in. Between working full-time, regular life responsibilities, holiday responsibilities and activities, trying to keep up with blogging, and attempting to hit all 7 Golden Rules of Christmas, I'm stretched pretty thin. To all the moms out there: I don't know how you do it, really. You're amazing.

But I'm pretty sure these healthy habits are what's keeping me sane in the first place, so it's well worth the effort if you ask me.

This week I'm again attempting to make every single goal, especially since I was so close last week, so close...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sweet Cheat #1

Remember how I said I'd allow myself 3 "cheats" for my no sweets rule? Here's #1, which I enjoyed last night at my birthday dinner:

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Birthday Line-Up

I consider myself to be pretty shy about most things, but definitely not when it comes to my birthday. I'm a huge fan of birthdays in general, and I'm especially psyched to be celebrating mine this year because it's the last one of my 20s (sad face...but also happy face because I plan on welcoming in my 30s from a yoga retreat in Bali. Who wants in?).

I made sure to take the day off, so that in true Danne fashion, I could do whatever I want. Here's my line-up:
  • Sleep in (Fanne didn't bug me until 8:30, what a dream)
  • Breakfast
  • Meditate (I've been so good this week)
  • Goal Setting (what better day to do this, right?)
  • Lunch
  • Mani/Pedi (luxury!)
  • Blog
  • Yoga
  • Dinner at Maxwells 148 (cannot wait)
  • Pinot by the Christmas Tree
29 and feelin' fine...

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Picture It: It's 9am, I check my email from bed to see if I got into the 9:30 yoga class I was on the wait list for, which sadly, I did not. Before the depression began to set in, I hopped out of bed and threw my running clothes on so at least I'd get some sort of movement in. Right as I was lacing up my sneakers—no literally, the exact moment—my friend Ashley called asking if I wanted to go for a run with her.

YES. Serendipity at its finest.

Immediately upon returning home from our brief little 5 mile jaunt (which I'll definitely be feeling tomorrow...and probably the next day too), I rolled out my mat and put on a "Yoga For Runners" class from Yoga Today which made my poor little out-of-shape muscles feel a lot better. Today was a good day, especially for hitting my weekly goals.

So, for my 7 Golden Rules of Christmas, here's how I fared for Week 1:
  1. Yoga Practice: My goal was 4 classes, but I only made it out to 3. I did sign up for a 4th, but was a the weather on Saturday morning and didn't end up making it out. Shame on me. Because of this though, I'm (happily) sentencing myself to 5 classes this week. 
  2. Yoga Nidra: Goal was 2 times and that I did.
  3. Meditation: My goal was every day, my actual was..let's just say, I need to really focus on this one this week.
  4. Running: Hit my goal for this, woohoo!
  5. Cooking: Hit the goal for this one too.
  6. No Sweets: I was pretty on point with this one, however I may have snuck a single Hershey Kiss once or twice. Whatever though, it's still a win in my book because I turned down many cupcakes and candy over the course of the week.
  7.  Credit Card Freeze: It's still in there enjoying its winter hibernation.
My goal for Week 2 is to make every single goal. Can I do this? Yes I can!

And in other news, one thing I actually do love about the holidays is decorating. I did a lot of little things around the house earlier in the week, but today we finally got our tree (and of course busted out the menorah—this is a cashew household after all).

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Be a Bookworm Wrap-Up and December's Lent

And it looks like it's happened again—hello December, where did you come from?

It's officially a new month so that means I'm officially on to a new challenge. Although I still have a little bit left to read in Wild, I'm perfectly ok with only having read 4 books over the course of the month instead of my original 5. I mean, considering that I'm pretty sure I only finished 1 book in all of 2012 up until this Lent, I'd say that's an improvement, no?

And before I move on, I'd like to give Julie & Julia my 2 12MOL Thumbs Up. Regardless of how many people trashed it on goodreads because they thought the author was too "whiny", "self-absorbed", and "repulsive" (ok, ok, ok, even I agree, that maggot story was totally vile), I really loved it. Haters can hate all they want, but let's be honest—it's a pretty incredible story.

As for Wild, memoir #2 of the month, I'm fairly certain it'll receive my seal of approval as well. I have to say though, when I'm finished with this one I may need a break from books about women who overcome really terrible periods in their lives by creating insane personal challenges/epic journeys for themselves. I'm beginning to think I have a type…

So…what am I doing for December? After tossing around a few different ideas, I decided that I'd create a sort of "holiday survival guide" so I can end 2012 on the highest note possible (instead of fat and broke like I normally do).

The basic gist is this: the holidays are what they are, totally crazy and absolutely exhausting. After all the gift shopping, cocktail party-going, family gathering, and Christmas cookie-consuming, I'm usually totally beat—not to mention disappointed with myself for letting all my healthy habits slip—by the time New Years rolls around.

Not this year!

I'm taking control of the situation and in order to stay healthy, both mentally and physically, this December, I've decided on a few guidelines, which I'm calling "My 7 Golden Rules of Christmas", that I'm 100% committing to this month:
  1. I will practice yoga 4 times a week.
  2. I will practice yoga nidra 2 times a week.
  3. I will meditate every day.
  4. I will go for a run twice a week.
  5. I will cook 2 healthy meals from real recipes each week (ie. all of my meals will not come from the Trader Joes frozen section).
  6. I will abstain from all sweets (I had 6 cavities filled a few weeks ago, whoops), but allow myself exceptions for my birthday (which is next Tuesday in case you were wondering), Christmas Eve (how could I deny myself Aunt Sue's amazing dessert selection?), and Christmas Day. Maybe one more small one if there's something too good to pass up. 
  7. My credit card will remain in the freezer (where it has been since my Wallet Diet in August, go me!).
My goal is to leave 2012 feeling like the best possible version of myself so I don't need to kick my ass come January 1st. I'm even thinking about finding one of those yoga classes on New Years Eve where you enter the new year in savasana—anyone in?

Bye, Be A Bookworm Challenge, Fanne and I will miss you...