January & February Favorites

janfeb

You are lucky enough to get a two-for-one special today! These past 2 months have been both cold and busy. Now that the daylight is lasting past 5:30pm I feel like we are Spring will loosen the grip of winter soon, even though we are still rocking the ‘polar vortex’ temperatures in Michigan. Now, let’s time travel, shall we?

JANUARY

1. Shipshewana – Some very good friends of Christopher and I headed to Amish Country for a getaway weekend in the middle of January and it was probably the best decision we made all month. During our cross country ski trip we were all reminiscing about when we were growing up and our families would take us on weekend trips to a hotel with a pool where we would swim, relax, and enjoy a change of scenery. Before long we booked a large room at the Farmstead Inn. This place had it all: a pool with hot tub, ping-pong tables, basketball court, breakfast included and many common areas with couches and fireplaces. We played games, swam, made stupid jokes, laughed at them and wore sweat pants the entire time. The big reason we went to the heart of Amish Country was for Essenhaus. We shared a family style chicken dinner that we all loved in the beginning and cursed as the plates were being cleared. And then we took pie back to the hotel to eat later. Yes, it was indulgent, but it was awesome. No regrets.

2. Puerto Rico – During our getaway weekend we were introduced to the game Puerto Rico. It is similar to Settlers of Catan but the element of chance is removed and there’s no bartering which I’ve never been very good at. The goal of the game is to develop the city of Puerto Rico with crops and buildings. The goal is to have the most victory points at the end. I would recommend this game to anyone who likes games like Settlers of Catan, though the flow of the game is pretty different.

3. When Harry Met Sally – The most beloved movie for Christopher and I came to the big screen at the Alamo during their ‘Cheap Date Night’ event. We didn’t hesitate to buy tickets when we heard that they were screening this movie. This movie is our favorite, both together and separately. It was my favorite movie from the time I first saw it in the 8th grade, same goes for Christopher. We didn’t know each other when we were young so this shared love was very interesting to both of us. I LOVED watching it on the big screen. I laughed at my favorite parts as if it was the first time I saw it.

4. Brazil – This was another movie that I loved at the Alamo. They have been featuring their Top 100 film picks and this was one of them. When I read the film’s description and after I saw the trailer it looked like very unique experience. Think dystopian movie from the 80’s with a little bit of film noir, while poking fun at the nature of bureaucracy. It is a hero centered story that follows average guy, Sam as he tries to correct an administrative error and then becomes an enemy of the government. I was captivated by the world that was created by director, Terry Gilliam, within the first 5 minutes. The use of sound editing, staging and lighting emphasized the strange beauty of the story being shown. Although the end of this movie dragged a little too long the power of the story and characters of Brazil stayed with me for days.

5. Cinderella Moscow Ballet – After binge watching this documentary on the NYC ballet I had the biggest desire to see a ballet. Lucky for me a production of Cinderella was coming to town in a few weeks. My mom joined me for brunch before we were whisked away into the world of ballet. The athleticism, grace and beauty of ballet never gets old to me. This was the first time that I had ever seen the story of Cinderella told through dance and it was beautiful.

FEBRUARY

1. Yoga – After getting some new yoga gear from my in-laws as a Christmas gift I have been trying some new poses at home and getting back into the hot yoga studio. I have some long term goals set for my practice such as introducing more inversions like bakasana, headstands and eventually pincha mayurasana. My ultimate balancing goal is natarajasana. All of these will poses take time, patience and determination on both flexibility and strength. I’m staying motivated by the large yoga community on Instagram. The videos help me to learn how to get in and out of poses to better avoid injury.

2. The Walking Dead – Not long after watching all of season 2 of House of Cards I was eager to start a new show. This urge also came from watching a little bit of a The Walking Dead marathon before the start of season 4 pt. 2. During this marathon they showed a trailer for the new season and some interviews with the cast about what you can expect, as far as the themes they will be exploring. The following weekend I started with season 1 and have been going full steam ahead ever since. I feel so invested in watching these characters that I have grown to love figure out how to survive these extreme circumstances.

3. Zero Personal Spending – Once I evaluated my personal bank account after the holiday season (that lasted through the month of January for me) I made the decision to not make any personal purchases in the month of February. This excludes spending on food. My financial situation is mostly back in tact but I intend on keeping this plan going for the month of March too. The only times I broke down was when I got my hair cut (Friday) and when I got new work pants and jeans last weekend (major sale, people!) What this exercise taught me was to be very intentional about what and when I buy new things.

4.  youarelistening.to – Talk about the best work-to-beat music ever! My job mostly consists of sitting at my desk pushing the pixels around, so having a good companion in my ears can make all of the difference. I usually jump between podcast stations, but when I want music I work the best to trance and electronic music. This music serves as a great pulse to keep me going at a good pace. This station layers music from soundcloud and police/fire dispatches from major cities. I realize this combination isn’t for everyone. Some call it boring, but I think it’s soothing and it keeps my mind focused, not on the music but it aids in my concentration of whatever else I am working on. I found this station via the podcast 99percentinvisible. Check them out! They have such thought provoking content.



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