March 2019 Goals : How did it go?

dissertation, goals, graduate school, year of 1% better

Contains Amazon affiliate links. 

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the Year of 1% Better. You can see January goals here and outcomes here, February goals here, and February outcomes and March goals here.

I started last month feeling burnt out post-dissertation. I’m happy to say I feel much better now. I’m not ready to go get it yet, but March featured some big changes. We know we’ve moving. We know we have jobs for next year (a big relief). I still feel tired, but this is more physically because of being in the third trimester, not from stress and mental exhaustion. Of course — I’m still stressed. Who am I kidding? But at least the stress is about different things and not well, the big D-word (dissertation).

I did begin to downsize. I donated two trash bags of clothing to my little sisters, packed a fair amount of clothes I knew I probably would not be able to fit into for awhile yet, and am starting another trash bag of clothes now. We started bringing up boxes of books from the basement to go through and determine what to donate. All primary texts are safe, classics we thought we would read have to go. I actually expected to be more attached to my books, like “oooo, I totally want to read that” but I guess my self-expectations have become more reasonable, because when Bruno held up Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, I responded, “Yeah, get rid of it.” Sorry, Waugh. This moving vehicle will have no room for good intentions.

Although it is a day late for my March goals, I did resubmit my “revise and resubmit” for an academic journal yesterday. I really struggled with procrastination on this one. I probably could have had everything done much earlier, late February or early March, but I dreaded working on it. I would set a half hour timer and persuade myself, “Ok, just a half hour. You can do a half hour.” And I would go from there. This was sort of the last big thing hanging over my head, so now it is done I can say I feel free. Until, the next thing of course. I’m considering getting another article ready to send out before baby comes, but given that my future career decision kind of means leaving the academic rat race, I’m not sure.

Did I relax? Define “relax.” Ok, ok, it is true, I feel much better than I did at the start of the month. I spent a lot of time reading, which was great. I began thinking about post-graduate school goals. Also, great. When I was tired, I slept. I start trading out rowing for wods. So yes, I would say I relaxed, but I still think it is something I need to work on. A lot of my relaxing time, I found myself scanning through facebook or instagram. Still, less than I used to, but more than I want to be on those websites. I’ll just keep working.

How did your March goals go? We’re a fourth of the way through the year, is 2019 going strong?

 

 

 

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March 2019 Goals : The Year of 1% Better

goals, graduate school, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, pregnancy, reading, year of 1% better

We are already almost at the end of March (hello, spring!) and I have yet to post my 1% goals for the month. I have also failed to say how the goals for February went. All you need to know is that everything went by the way-side, but I did submit and successfully defend my dissertation. Still a huge win.

If you’re new here, I declared 2019 the year of 1% better. You can see January goals here and outcomes here and February goals here.

I’ll admit that I began this month kind of unfocused and burnt out. What is the saying they used to say about March weather? It comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb (where does this actually happen?). I came into March like a slug, a very tired slug. I’m not exactly at “let’s get after it” levels yet. In fact, by the afternoon I am so worn out that I find myself catatonicly sitting on the couch, wishing for ice-cream, trying not to scroll through social media (still a 1% goal).

Part of this I suspect is the post-dissertation “what do I do with myself?” feeling. The other part is pregnancy. I’ve been sleeping terribly. I’m trying to take this time to relax, but as I told Bruno, “I don’t know how!” I also told him, after a few days of traveling, that “the best vacation one can give oneself is a consistent routine.” I am trying to give myself the latter as best I can.

So what am I trying to accomplish for March?

Down-sizing. Baby is actually not the only big change to happen this summer. I’ll share more when it is all official, but we are starting to downsize to prepare to move. I joke that I’m going full Marie Kondo, except I assure you I am not thanking my clothes as I put them into trash bags to give to my sisters as hand-me-downs. The two big areas I’m focusing on this month are my closet as I can’t wear most of my clothes right now anyways and several boxes of class notes. Taking advantage of my mental burn-out, I’m spending some quality time at the scanner so I can send boxes of paper to the recycling bin. I suspect the paper overload will take me all the way up to the big day, but it is nice to see the amount dwindle now.

Finish a revise and resubmit for an academic journal article. This is the one goal I can already tell you I am struggling. At this point, it is a monkey on my back I just want to get off. I’m very happy (and grateful) to have received a very positive and helpful revise and resubmit, but I need a Rousseau break. If I can be done with this, no Rousseau for April. Those are the rules. Also, I still very much love Rousseau.

Relax. I’m trying to take some more time for reading. If I want to take a nap in the afternoon, I do not try to push through. Usually I’ve been calling it a day at around noon before I go to CrossFit. Whatever I have gotten done at that point is good enough. Little steps are fine right now. I am lucky that at this point, I can take the time to just do nothing if I need to. I’m not sure how to enjoy doing nothing, but that is a problem for another time.

And that is it! There are a few repeats from previous months. I’m still working through my #CathLit2019 books and trying to avoid social media during the week. Both need a bit of revitalization, so hopefully if I came into March like a slug, I can refocus and leave like a lion? Or pick some sort of fierce, but relaxed animal.

What are your goals for March? How have they been going?

 

On Impostor Syndrome and my Dissertation Defense

dissertation, graduate school

Last week Wednesday, I defended my dissertation. The following day I gave my public lecture. And just like that, it was all done. Aside for responding to any corrections to Turabian and citation formatting, I am finished. A Ph.D. Everything went well. I was told that people thought my public lecture was good and the question/answer section went satisfactorily. It would appear everything went smoothly.

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The picture of confidence, right?

But frankly, until we got home Thursday night it was one of the worst weeks I have had in graduate school. I don’t think I’ve had such a bad week since my comprehensive exams where I just felt immobilized by worry. And trust me, I’m naturally anxious so even for me this was excessive. And I knew, I knew my anxiety was irrational. Nobody lets you defend if they think you are going to fail. It would be a total waste of everyone’s time.

That said — the whole time I was sure, certain even, that this was the moment where I would be found out. I do not know anything about Jean-Jacques Rousseau. I was pretty sure that after all was said and done people would think, “Goodness, I thought this was supposed to be good?” I was afraid my public lecture would be incomprehensible or boring. I was terrified that I would be unable to satisfactorily answer a single question. I would be given my Ph.D. sure, but at the cost of everyone finding out I was a fraud.

I have been dealing with “impostor syndrome” since I started graduate school. And though all evidence over the last six years has shown me that I am perfectly capable of fulfilling all requirements, not just well, but sometimes extremely well, I have never been able to shake it. Not very inspiring or encouraging, right? But then again, courage never meant completely shaking off fear exactly.

After the public lecture, we went home. I celebrated with a can of bubbly…La Croix. I felt immediately better. I was just so happy that it was indeed finally over. A few days — I still feel happy, although I probably could use a return of structure to my day! It is almost as if the feelings of impostor syndrome never existed.

I know they are still there though. I’m not sure yet what to do about impostor syndrome, except to just simply make peace that yes, this does happen. I think the important thing is to understand that I’m irrationally worried and do what it is anyway. That method, at the very least, seems to have worked out for me.

And most importantly, I am still done.

 

 

This is the (Very Near) End

dissertation, goals, graduate school, year of 1% better

I am planning on turning my dissertation in early next week — the whole thing. I have been working on the dissertation itself for about two years now. I started researching for the proposal I believe this time 2017 (I took my comps in fall 2016 — but desperately needed a break, so I think I read novels and did nothing for two months straight, ah the luxuries of academic life). It was approved late April, early May (can’t exactly remember) and I turned in my first chapter five days after I got married. I’ve been working on it ever since. The time I’ve been working on the topic, if not the dissertation, becomes even longer if I include that it developed out of a paper I turned in fall 2015. So three and a half years. Me, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, religion, and politics.

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Hanging out at the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Paris. Also, home of the original Christian Louboutin store. Not pictured, me salivating over those beautiful red-soled shoes.

Even though I still have other requirements to fulfill after I submit — the defense and public presentation, I am starting to feel kind of strange that this is the end. I have no idea what comes after. So much of my life has revolved around this dissertation — anticipation for the dissertation, preparation for the dissertation, talking about the dissertation, researching for the dissertation, and of course, writing the dissertation. No longer having that big “d” word hanging over head feels like both a gain and a loss.

It is a gain for obvious reasons. These are the very final requirements for my doctorate, a process I began in 2013, something I wanted to do for ten years now. My undergraduate professors were (are) rock stars to me, modeling a way of life as much as they taught me about books. I loved what I did. I wanted to continue — well how to do that? Get a Ph.D. Those three letters do not mean that much to me as a credential. Instead, I think of them as representative of ten years of study, conversation, reading, thinking, and writing. Finishing is a gain because it reflects all those years.

I think it obvious why it might be a loss though. A long time ago — back in fourth grade — I told people I wanted to be a librarian, because I was under the impression that all they did all day was read. Cute, right? I know now that is not true, but I have been able to do just that for the last ten years really. I just hang out and read all day. I write about what I read. Last semester I taught what I read. My life revolves around reading, just as I had always wanted it. I get paid to sit around and read, with of course the stipulation that I’ll eventually finish this dissertation. I have no idea what I will do after this, but I can wager a guess that I probably will not be hanging out reading and writing all day.

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At the memorial to Rousseau in the Pantheon (he is buried in the crypts). 

Turning in my dissertation feels loaded. I’m a bit sad about it. But at the same time, I’m happy, proud of myself for finishing and for the work put in. I’m amazed that it is almost done, almost all over, that within a month, maybe a month and half — depending on how long it takes to schedule my defense — I will be completely done.

In the meantime, I’ll enjoy these last few days of sitting at my desk, scrambling to get things done. I’m sure I’ll enjoy the break from it too, but for now, I want to enjoy working on my dissertation for the little time left with it I have.*

*At least — in its form as a dissertation. It could very well be that the end has no end here.

 

 

Take It Easy

books, crossfit, daily life, dissertation, graduate school, Harry Potter, health, pregnancy, reading, running

Yesterday we had our second prenatal appointment. Everything looks and sounds good. My bloodwork was great and the baby’s heart was beating at around 154 bpm. Week thirteen starts Friday and then it is just one more week until I am out of the first trimester. I was actually really confused by this. I had thought after twelve weeks I was in the second trimester, but I guess it starts in the fourteenth week. Eventually I will figure all of this out, maybe?

Anyway — I was sick most of the day yesterday (and this morning too). Wednesday’s are hard days for me. Tuesday night is when I teach my Constitution class. It ends around 9pm — close to when I normally go to bed. However, I’m usually so amped from teaching I cannot sleep or if I do sleep it is restless. I wake up Wednesday morning feeling all sorts of messed up. Next thing you know, I have a bad headache that just will not go away and a stomach that will not settle down. And though I know and understand why and have tried to account for the fact that “Wednesday’s are hard,” it is hard to not get frustrated with myself anyways.

Like with the fact that I have not worked out since a Monday short ride on the trainer or that not much has been done with the dissertation since I found out chapter five was approved (that changed this morning, but still). After several days of feeling like a not just like a normal functioning human being, but frankly like a total ball-buster, the house is a disaster again, dishes are piling up and my clothes are everywhere. I had that bathroom perfectly clean before Thanksgiving! How do things go downhill so quickly? Just a few days of feeling terrible and it feels like all hell breaks loose.

I know. I know. Take it easy. I’m trying. Yesterday, I finished the first Harry Potter book and read some Bulgakov. I didn’t cave and order a buffalo chicken sandwich (buffalo sauce being my ultimate craving right now) and made a healthy-ish lunch (black bean soup and homemade sour dough bread). Bruno took care of dinner.

Today it is only 9:40 in the morning and I’ve already gotten more done than I did yesterday. I worked on getting the complete dissertation put together (and learned I have no idea how to use Microsoft Word). I submitted a journal article. I will probably actually run today and make it to CrossFit. I know days are like this. I just wish I would have more patience with myself in the process.

xo, Ali

 

 

Monday Miles : July 23-29, 2018

crossfit, cycling, dissertation, graduate school, monday miles, running, swimming, training, triathlon

I’m not burnt out. I don’t work hard enough to be burnt out. But I admit that I ended last week feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. It did not matter that I received good news — fourth dissertation approved! one chapter to go! — I ended last week and began this week with the big question: what next? This is the last year of funding. Now what? And then swarmed all the things I had to do to improve already approved dissertation chapters, make myself viable for jobs, the shoddy job market, fears of not being smart enough, not working hard enough, not being a good enough writer, etc. In other words, hello anxiety.

The relationship between regular life stress and working out stress are probably not discussed enough. I see plenty about recovery from hard work out weeks, but not much about hard life weeks. Most of the time working out makes me feel better, but then sometimes it feels like another thing on the never ending list of things to do.

So I took a recovery weekend. It worked out well because I went home to Ohio. My sister had a baby (a girl!!) and my mom watched my two nephews. I helped watch the boys and visited my sister and the new baby in the hospital. We swam in the pond. Bruno and I went out to a new place on a lake for fish tacos and beers, listening to a local cover band play “Fight for Your Right to Party” while we discussed whether the right to party was a natural or civil right. It was a nice weekend, but I’ll admit. I came back to Michigan full of anxiety.

I’m hoping the recovery weekend will help me out in the long run though, that long run being the Legend trail half-marathon this Saturday. I want to feel energized and rejuvenated come this weekend, not frazzled and exhausted.

Anyway — here are last week’s workouts.

7 – 23 : Rest

7 – 24 : CrossFit. WOD: Run 5k for time. Time: 26:29 minutes. Mile 1 = 8 minutes, 2 = 8:30 minutes, 3 = 8:49 seconds, .15 = 7.53. This was hard and about three minutes slower than my 5k PR, but I was glad to know where I am. Onward.

7 – 25: CrossFit. Warm-up: 2 x 10 ring-rows, 10 push-ups, 10 good-mornings, 10 air squats, 30 second plank, 1 minute run. WOD: The Chief. Max rounds – 3 minutes. 3 power cleans, 6 push-ups, 9 air squats. Rest 1 minute. Repeat 5 cycles. My form is improving! This is the first lift aside from dead lifts and squats that I’ve been able to actually use a barbell on. Improvements! I used a naked barbell at 33 pounds and — also very exciting! — none of my push-ups were scaled. I did them all regular. Rounds: 3 + 2, 3 + 2, 3, 3, 3 + 3. Like the 5k, I have plenty of room for improvement, but I was happy for those two wins.

7 – 26: Swim. 200m breast stroke. Descending ladder, 150m, 100, 100, 50 x 8 with 30s rest. 100m breast stroke. 1,050 meters. Bike. 6 miles. 29 minutes.

7 – 27: Rest.

7 – 28: Rest.

7 – 29: Rest.

Totals: Run 3.15 miles. Swim 1050 meters. Bike 6 miles. CrossFit 2 hours.

xo, Ali

 

Brief Thoughts on Turning a Dissertation Chapter In

dissertation, graduate school, Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I turned in my fourth chapter after work today. I had just a few citations to fix (as a Catholic, I do not happen to keep the volumes of Institutes of Christian Religion around, har! har!). It took me less time than I thought. It took me longer to just send the email with the chapter attached. Tomorrow I’ll go through my advisor’s recommendations for the third chapter and eventually begin chapter five. It will probably my last chapter.*

It is strange to be so close to finishing. I have been in school since I was five. This will be my sixth year in graduate school. I do not know how to think of my life outside of the school calendar, the four seasons being: fall semester (the real beginning of the year), winter break (four weeks of aspired productivity which turns out to be not so productive), spring semester, and summer (busier than you would ever expect).

That said, by being closed to “finishing,” I mean only with the dissertation. I’m not sure if a topic like this — Rousseau on Christianity and citizenship — anyone is ever finished, or if anyone will ever have the last word. Most of the time, I’m not even sure if Rousseau ever finalized his thoughts on the topic. There are topics in life that I hope I never have a “final” opinion on. I always want to be thinking, learning. Never dogmatic.

I always feel weird after I turn anything in or finish anything that took awhile. I can’t quite jump into the next thing just yet, so I am in a kind of limbo. Between chapters, I feel a mild form of this. After semesters, I would feel this in the extreme. I would leave an exam and think, “Now what?” I suspect after I defend the dissertation, I’ll feel the same way. I get stressed about being “busy,” but at the same time I don’t like not having things to do.

I’ve been trying to avoid the “reward myself” mentality, but tonight I will not do any work. I’ll sit on the couch and read a novel. I’ll go to bed a little earlier and maybe not wake up at four in the morning. Then, after work on Friday afternoon, I will be back to it, dissertation writing as usual.

xo, Ali

*Unless it gets split in two like chapter three, which I originally turned in back in April.

Thoughts on “The Process”

books, crossfit, dissertation, goals, graduate school, reading

At the moment my “guru” is Ben Bergeron. I love Chasing Excellence (I re-read it after finishing). I love his podcast. I love his Instagram account. His advice is commonsensical and yeah, a lot of it I have read or heard before, but I like his presentation. I always come away not feeling just inspired, but I actually try applying his suggestions and recommendations — not something I always follow through on. And while his book is about CrossFit athletes, I think all of it is applicable to graduate school.

I have one quibble though. And it is not just Ben who says it. I see it all over. The process. The process, not the outcome is what should be focused on. We can only focus on today. We can only focus on what we are doing right now, in this moment. The outcome does not matter. Just today. Only today. Ben Bergeron and two-times CrossFit games winner Katrin Davidsdottir never discuss winning the CrossFit games. He writes they never even talk about it. They only focus on the process.

I am very lucky. What I most want in life, I already have. On a good day, I wake up. I write. I work-out. I eat. I write some more. I eat again. I read. I study French. I read some more. I might work out again. I eat for the last time. I read even more. Bed. If you would ask me what I want to be doing twenty years from now, I hope I do what I do right now, but writing something different, reading different books, maybe studying a different language, and hopefully teaching. Sure, I’d like a different location and a different income. But the core of my life is exactly what I want. I wanted a life of learning and I am living that life right now. I just want this life to be able to continue.

In this way, for me, the process is the goal. The process is the positive outcome I want to continue. Yes, I want to write a good dissertation. Yes, I want to get my Ph.D. Yes, I want to publish. Yes, I want an academic job. Doing what I do every day, the process, should ideally lead to those outcomes. But I only want those things so I can continue doing what I do right now. I’ve already “made it,” so to speak.

So, back to not caring about outcomes and focusing solely on the process. How can I not care about writing a good dissertation or getting an academic job, not as the ultimate goal, but because without these outcomes, the ultimate goal the daily life of learning, is threatened? Because without these goals, in a way, my living in the process is threatened. Without achieving certain outcomes, I can probably say good-bye to all that. And as my dissertation comes closer to being finished, as I come closer to going on the academic job market, as Bruno as I talk more about this probably being our last year in Michigan, I know strongly I do not want to say good-bye to all that. Outcomes become more important. It doesn’t mean I do not care about the process, but outcomes also ensure that the process continues.

All that is to say, why not care about outcomes? Why not discuss them, want them, hope for them, long for them? I understand that people become way too focused on hitting a certain goal rather than living a certain life, but I do not think that means that wanting things to go a certain way, having specific goals and outcomes is always a bad thing. I do not think it is a bad thing especially when those outcomes are not merely stopping points, but help you continue with the bigger goal, the process.

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on a Hometown

daily life, dissertation, graduate school

We are back in my hometown for the next two weeks. Even though I think I know this area pretty well, things have changed since I left for college back in 2008. Bruno and I decided to do some exploring and ended up at a new (at least new to me) coffee shop that a reviewer claimed had “the best chai tea latte in all of Ohio.” I have not had every chai tea latte in Ohio, but it is the best chai tea latte I’ve had.

I was voted most likely to never come back when I graduated from high school. I don’t have the yearbook for that year — 18 year old Ali was “too cool” for that — but there’s a picture of me in a yearbook rolling a suitcase with my superlative written underneath. I was really proud of that superlative at the time, but in hindsight I suspect it had more to do with my willingness to hate the “provincialism” of the area. I’m not proud of that.

Hometowns are complicated places. Not everyone really has one. I’m talking about the type of place where everyone knows everyone. Your teachers taught not only your siblings, but also your parents, your aunts and uncles, and all your cousins. When you tell someone your last name, they say “you must be this and that” because your last name means something to people. Its the type of place where a stranger says “you look/act so much like your mom/dad” because, yes, they know them. I do not remember my graduating class number, but I do not think it was over seventy. I knew most of them since kindergarten. That can be stifling. It was stifling.

I spent much of my life wanting to escape. And yet, strangely, it is still a place I refer to as “home.” As in, “I’m going home this weekend” or “I’m back home for the next two weeks.” And while I do not want to move back (hard to imagine any political theory jobs popping up around here!) it is no longer a place I want to escape.

Part of it is because I see how much this place made me. I have a college friend that joked about me that you can take the girl out of the small town, but you can’t take the small town out of the girl. This is probably true. I cannot imagine knowing how to work hard on my dissertation if I had never worked on a dairy farm. The high school experiences — getting busted by the cops for having a football party when I was a sophomore, regularly skipping class, regularly partying (often in barns and cornfields) in some ways led me to run arms wide open into discipline and routine. But they also made me empathetic when other people mess up. I get it. I was there in high school. Time spent working in the local factory (and my father) gave me a blue collar sense of humor and I know that. For every delicious foodie meal I’ll ever have, I’ll never be too stuck up for the local greasy bar pizza.

When I’m here I feel reconnected with the important things — faith and family. While the anxieties of dissertation writing, planning to teach my very first college class, the really shoddy academic job market never really truly leave, they seem like lesser problems. The important thing is to make sure I spend time with my younger, still in elementary, middle, and junior high school sisters. The important thing is to make sure I stop by and see one of my best friends who just had her fourth baby and let her know she is a total bad ass for becoming a mother again. It is watching my nephews for a week because their babysitter is on vacation. I’m not too busy for loving people when I’m home.

While we were driving to this coffee shop, I told Bruno, “I just feel so relaxed.” We were driving along the country roads listening to the John Denver song of the same name. I’ve been working hard and getting back on a routine. The fourth chapter is swinging along. This was not the relaxed state of doing nothing on a beach. It feels like the relaxation of having your priorities straight. Time spent in a  hometown can do that for you.

xo, Ali

 

What I’m Loving Lately

books, daily life, dissertation, graduate school

I’ve been making some changes lately, swapping coffee for tea (most of the time) and my lunch-time sandwich for a lunch-salad. My work outs are different. I’m only running three times a week, with swimming, biking, and CrossFit thrown in. I quit working at home and now try to make it to the library every single day. I bought a new planner that I’ve loving. I’m trying to be consistent at practicing reading/speaking French again. Life is good.

Here are some things I’m loving right now.

Results tea from Tea Forte. Once upon a time, before I got hooked on coffee I was a real tea junkie. I even had a blog called “SocraTeas” because I was not a coffee person…yet. Then I hit that liquid ambition hard. With my stomach problems, I decided to mostly give it up, even though I still think and will forever think coffee is like a warm hug in a mug. I was drinking some rooibos tea from Kroger’s, and that was ok, but I figured if this was going to stick I would need to bring out the big guns. Results is delicious. I do not miss coffee at all when I drink it. It doesn’t seem to ever get boring (like rooibos) and I think it will be my standard morning drink for awhile.

RomWod. You might have noticed this addition to my workouts the last couple of weeks. I want to work on mobility, but sometimes I just need someone to tell me what to do for the day. These videos are usually only 20 minutes (aside for Thursdays) and they are effective. Bruno and I usually do them post-dinner when we are both super sore from our work outs and they usually help get me into the mindset of “ahh, the day is over.”

Working on campus. I am struggling with distraction lately. Being home has made it easier for me to say “ah, well I’ll just take the day off” and then I’ll sit on the couch on read…not Rousseau and not anything to do with an Introduction to the Constitution class. We decided we were going to start going to campus in May and for the most part it has worked out. I’m still struggling with desperately wanting to use the internet (I’ve already broke my goals to avoid social media during the week) and I suspect I still waste a lot of time internet surfing, but I definitely have gotten probably more done in the last two weeks than I normally do. So it is, at the very least, a step in the right direction.

Soup for breakfast. So here is something strange. When I was having all my problems back in March and April I was eating a really restrictive diet and a lot of bone broth. I started having soup for breakfast because I could not eat anything else, usually ground beef, bone broth, green beans, and plenty of olive oil. I’m still doing it, although I’ve been adding more veggies and the ground beef is grass fed, local, and (my favorite) raised stress free. This week is it ground beef, bone broth, carrots, turnips, and green beans. Its good and I feel satiated the rest of the morning.

The Historian by Elizabeth KostovaWhat I consider a relative miracle, Bruno and I managed to buy around 10 brand new, some hard cover books for less than $100 over the weekend. We bought them at some bargain book place and it was heaven. I was not expecting to find much, but I wanted everything. This book has been on my to-do read list for awhile. I’m not a Twilight person, but I love Dracula and I read Anne Rice in high school, so you could say I like the vampire stories. This book is so beautifully written, that I do not think one would even need to be a fan of horror to love this book. Sidenote: it explains academic life pretty well. There are some great lines about dissertation-writing.

Anything you are loving lately?

xo, Ali