Learning how to read for fun

My favorite reading spot ~ sitting on a dock over the Pamlico Sound (the body of water west of Ocracoke Island in between the island and mainland).

Since my move to Ocracoke I’ve been working on reading a book called Lost in Translation by Jean Kwok.  On my last day in New York City I visited my good friends Lisa and Saul, who must have hundreds of books in their home that I’m sure have all been read.  While visiting I returned Crime and Punishment to Saul – I had the book for several months but never made the time to read it.  I’m hoping that the quiet nature of my new home and the increase in free time will push me to finish the 5 books I acquired at the village thrift store yesterday.

Do others out there have trouble starting or finishing a book?  Do you have any suggestions of ways to concentrate on reading or make time to read?  Are there people that used to dislike reading that have come to love it?


Stopping to smell the roses…

It’s been almost a month since I made the move from New York City to Ocracoke Island in North Carolina.  My perception of time has already changed so much, and I’m learning to just stop and smell the roses.

Took a break from writing my blog to check out this little guy who walked up to me while I sat outside and sipped my latte at the Ocracoke Coffee shop. (http://ocracokecoffee.com/)

Two years ago all I wanted was to live somewhere new where I could learn to be healthier, meet new people, and do things I had never done before and I can honestly say that’s exactly what I did with my time in New York City.  After two years I became a completely different person, physically and mentally.

Left photo taken June 2010 on my first day in NYC, right photo taken August 2012 days before I moved to Ocracoke Island, NC.

I was excited about the changes, and wouldn’t have been able to make them if I hadn’t lived in New York.  But living in a large city comes with a cost and I was beginning to wonder if it was worth it.  After weighing all of my options and being laid off, I decided to take a week to say goodbye to the city.   The timing was perfect – my best friend from Cleveland  requested a week off of work months ago, I expected I’d be working during her visit, but my new situation allowed me to become her full-time tour guide.

Sonia and I enjoying a late night snack while exploring the East Village, we came across this Cuban Bistro and enjoyed tapas and dessert before our ride back up to the Bronx.

We started uptown at Columbia University, and worked our way down through Times Square and Central Park.  We crossed the Hudson and the East River to see the Manhattan Skyline from New Jersey, Brooklyn, and Staten Island.  We walked through the West Village, East Village, Soho, Noho, and Nolita.  We ate in cafe’s, shopped at Bloomingdale’s and in Chinatown, we took ferries, the subway, and cabs, we saw weird and interesting performances in Union Square and Washington Square Park, and we almost got robbed by children.  It was an adventure to say the least.  After a week of fun I was ready to rest and take some time to slow down.

A photo taken during one of my many days exploring the city alone.

In the weeks before my friends visit so much had changed.  Days before a scheduled family vacation to Ocracoke Island in North Carolina my employer notified me that when I returned my position would no longer be my position– I was being laid off.  It was scary and freeing news as I was already considering leaving the city because of the cost of living, air/noise pollution, the rough commutes, and the overall stressful nature of life in the city.  While on vacation I started wonder what it would be like to slow down and enjoy my time instead of rushing through it.

From left to right ~ Aunt Robin, me, Jaden, Rainevan, Jacey ~ Vacation on Ocracoke Island 2012.

Ocracoke was the opposite of New York in so many ways but still similar.  Unlike New York the community in Ocracoke is close knit and small, yet each summer tourists from all over the world visit for vacation and the faces of the town constantly change as people come and go.  Looking for work was very different in Ocracoke than in Ohio or New York, and instead of applying to countless positions online, in Ocracoke you make contact with an employer directly and inquire about a position.  With the help of a friend I met on vacation I was able to find work, and a place to live.

The decision was final in September 2012 when I purchased a one-way ticket from Columbus Ohio to Ocracoke Island, NC.

Lounging on the beach in October 2012.

So just as I had done before I packed up and moved. I’ll miss my friends in New York, I’ll even miss some of the places, but after rushing for two years I’m looking forward to stopping to smell the roses more and stressing less.

Miss you friends! From left to right ~ Jon, me, Will, Dana ~ a night out in Brooklyn January 2012.


Inspirational Quote

I’m an idealist. I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way.-Carl Sandburg

This quote had me laughing out loud in a coffee shop, needless to say the other patrons were interested but weary of me as I giggled to myself.  I can absolutely relate to this quote and my personal goal is to be a little more lighthearted about life in general.  Does anyone know exactly what they’re doing in life, in work, as a parent, partner, friend, or employee?  If there’s one thing I’ve learned these last few years it’s that most people have no idea what they’re doing, and oddly enough it seems that’s totally normal.  There’s something to be said about being on your way even if you have no idea where you’re going, there’s a commitment in that, a commitment to living, loving, and learning without fear of the unknown.  Besides who can know what they don’t know until they know it 🙂 ? And how can you understand what you don’t know unless you make mistakes sometimes? 

Inspirational Quote

When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive; to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.-Marcus Aurelius

I haven’t posted a daily quote in weeks!  September was a month of traveling for this wanderer; the beginning of the month my father traveled from Cleveland Ohio to New York City and back to relocate me and my belongings to my hometown, then I visited family in Columbus before I moved to Ocracoke Island in North Carolina.  I’m privileged to have so much love and support from family and friends and I decided to search for quotes about privilege.

Today’s quote was said by a philosopher who was also known as the last of the “Five Good Emperors” of Rome.  I liked the quote and remembered reading his work “Meditations” several years ago.  I chose the quote because it serves as a reminder that thinking, enjoying, and loving are all privileges that some aren’t able to experience in a free and safe environment.  Despite the challenges in our lives, in our countries, in our families, or in our work appreciation is the best response.  What do you appreciate today?  How can you show that appreciation in your actions and words today and everyday?  During my weight loss I found that focusing on small successes instead of failures helped me maintain my focus and positivity.  Find something simple to celebrate today, motivate yourself to keep moving forward!

Inspirational Quote

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.-Harriet Tubman

Is there something you can do to improve and change the world around you?  Whether it’s related to healthy living, social change, or individual change know that you CAN make a difference in the world around you.  Never underestimate the power of self-fulfilling prophecy, imagine the change you want to make, then take action!  Every small step counts when trying to reach a goal.

Inspirational Quote

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.-Albert Einstein

Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake, instead pick yourself up and move on.  We all make mistakes, but we learn lessons from them that we can use to avoid making the same mistake in the future.  Are your mistakes holding you back from trying something new or continuing something you have been trying to accomplish?  Let it go and move forward today with confidence.

Inspirational Quote

A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.-Mark Twain

Change takes time!  Don’t be frustrated with yourself if you aren’t acting in line with your goasl.  Keep at it and eventually you’ll look back at who you used to be and smile at how much you’ve grown. 

Trail Mix Recipe

Snacking can actually aid in weight loss, as long as the snacks are tasty and healthy.  One snack I often ate during weight loss and still enjoy now as I continue to maintain my weight is trail mix.

I suggest making your own trail mix, avoid the trail mixes sold in stores which often have too much sugar and salt in a serving.

For my trail mix recipe I use the following ingredients, but feel free to substitute your favorite nuts/dried fruit.

1. Dried cranberries

2.  Raisins

3.  Almonds

4. Walnuts

5. Peanuts

6. Pecans

7. Brazilian Nuts

Mix a hand full of each into a container, add a touch of salt, shake and enjoy 2-3 hand fulls as a snack before or after a work out.

If you find that you are unable to limit yourself to a serving (like I did), I suggest buying the small snack size Ziploc bags and carrying just a serving with you.  Use the trail mix to avoid tempting foods too, fill your stomach with a quick bite of nuts and dried fruit instead of processed french fries.

Take a look here for more snack ideas http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/healthy-diet/HQ01396, find the snack that’s right for you and replace sugary and salty snacks with these healthier options.

Inspirational Quote

If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it.-George Burns

Stress and worry are engrained in our society as indicators that we are being good employees, family members, partners, friends, parents, and so on.  Is time worrying better spent on enjoying the moment?  Should we spend more effort on changing aspects of life we have the power to influence and accepting what we can’t change or is worrying a good use of our mental energy and time?  Apparently medical professionals are finding that it’s best not to stress as “stress seems to worsen or increase the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, depression, gastrointestinal problems, and asthma” (http://www.webmd.com/balance/stress-management/features/10-fixable-stress-related-health-problems).  Stress less this week, spend more time exercising, being present in the moment, and organizing your thoughts so that you can take action instead of worrying.

Inspirational Quote

Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.-Marie Curie

What gift do you have to give?  Are you letting difficulties in your life prevent you from giving it?  I liked this quote specifically because it was said by the first female scientist, first female professor, and the first female to win the Nobel Peace Prize.  She was so passionate about science that she often conducted research in difficult conditions but despite challenges she committed herself to her work leading her to successful discoveries and recognition.  Aspire to be the best, work hard to give your gift today and every day.