I struggle with consistency

It's been a very long while since I've written.  Since my last post, here are a few highlights:

1.  I played a solo (actually duet) with an orchestra!  It was so much fun and I feel so lucky to have been asked to do something like that.  I was also really excited because my mom came into town to hear it!

2.  Went to Puerto Rico with Dan, Rick, and Andrew.  It was lots of fun and I highly recommend staying in old San Juan if you are traveling there.  One of Andrew's friends lives there so he nicely volunteered to be our tour guide for the week which was a special treat.  Just thinking about it makes me want to be back on vacation.

3.  Celebrated Dan's 30th Birthday!  Ice cream cake and a new espresso machine!

4.  Left my CBUS store in the beginning of July and transitioned to being the Operations Manager at the SoHo location.  Going into a strictly operations role has been very different and so far and a major challenge for me.  That being said, I'm learning a lot and am excited for things to come.  Look at the cutest card one of my girls gave me!  There is a real kleenex glued to the front!

5.  I went to the Lake Placid Chamber Music Festival last week.  It was very nice being there and I remembered how much I love violin and miss music.  I took a month off of playing because I worked for about 30 days straight, 14 hour days.  I think this going back and forth with music will be a struggle I'll have to deal with for the rest of my life.

6.  Jackie and I went to Toronto for work earlier this week for an operations workshop lead by the manager at Bloor Street.  She was amazing and I got to share some of my best practices with her team as well as pick up a few good ideas that I'm excited to implement when I go back to work tomorrow.   Jackie and I also got to play tourist and did some relaxing time as well.  :)


random injuries are no fun

I have had a history of odd illnesses (tendinitis/carpal tunnel, shingles, random saliva gland removal) and 2013 wouldn't be the same without a debilitating injury!

Inflamed/slipped disc/pinched nerves happen randomly and are very painful.  They cause you to not be able to walk, cry in front of your district manager, have to wear flat shoes all the time, and take a hiatus from practicing viola instead of playing more because you have a concert coming up.

I've been seeing a great chiropractor 3 times a week and haven't felt better!  I am resistantly taking this as a wake up call that I am getting older.  I started working out before all of this happened (which, Dan thinks caused my injury), purchasing an exercise ball, resistance band, and free weights.  I was really excited about getting in amazing shape for my Puerto Rico adventure in May and be in overall better shape.  Unfortunately, my exercise has sadly been toned down to stretching/physical therapy style exercises.

I'm also on a new diet:  low carb, low fruit, low sugar, low red meat, low dairy.

At first I was extremely depressed about this whole thing, but it's actually been ok so far.  I've been paying much more attention to my eating habits and making sure that I'm eating fish, chicken, and lots of veggies.  I don't know how this happened but at some point, I stopped eating veggies and didn't notice.

Revamped 2013 goals- be healthy.  be smart about being healthy.  eat vegetables.  stretch a lot.

And for your viewing entertainment, here is Sangria, being the best kitty in the world:


welcome, March!

The month of February definitely flew by and I woke up feeling good that today was the first day of March.  Since my last post about a better work/life balance, I have been thinking about health in general.  I am not an unhealthy person but living in New York City definitely changes a person.  I rarely cook anymore and making food to bring for lunch seems like an awful chore.  When you live and work next to a plethora of immediate food options, sleeping that extra 15-20 minutes seems worth it.

The last week or so I've tried to make food instead of eating out all the time to be a bit healthier and save some money.  In addition I've been working out!  ...Only for 2 days, but I plan on keeping it up!  Yesterday I had time in the morning to do some yoga and make myself a delicious fruit smoothie.  This afternoon I went for a run.  Running felt tortuous as I'm still getting over a cold and cannot breathe through my nose; however, I'm glad that I forced myself to go.  After I got home I was sad to discover that I probably only ran 1.5 miles and that felt extra hard.  I know that once I get over the initial pain and crying it will be worth it.

I am excited to keep on with some healthier habits to make them part of my routine instead of just occasional random things that I pat myself on the back for.  Here are a few meals I've made recently and been very happy with.

Hope everyone had a great first day of March, too!


less work, more life

For the last few years, my focus has solely on work.  Since I've come back to Club Monaco, I've been trying to get myself to where I need to be to take over the store for the time if and when Brandee leaves.  I've been working long hours (not a new/good thing) and really trying to better myself as a store manager.  Things are going very well for me at work and I think that things can only go up from where I am right now.

HOWEVER, I have been thinking...

I think I'm going to stop doing what I'm doing.  I mean, I'm still going to focus on doing my job well and working hard when I'm there, but I am going to have a better work/life balance.  I am constantly tired and borderline sick all of the time.  I want the main part of my life to be about music, friends, spending time with Dan, making food...  doing the things that I love, which I realized (this week) requires me to work less, stress less.  It's not that I don't want to be promoted because I do; however, I've never felt content just being where I am for any given time, but I'd like to start.  Right now.  There was a time where I loved work and wanted to work all of the time.  This is no longer the case so I'm going to start prioritizing my life to put my outside-of-work-happiness first.

To begin my new major life decision, I had a really good practice session last night followed by making some super yummy sweet potato, red lentil, curry soup.

I read my book, fell asleep watching tv with Dan by my side, and woke up this morning in my sunny, Brooklyn bedroom with Sangria curled up next to my head.  

This is the life that I want.  This is the life I will have.


kale chip how to

One of my new years resolutions is to eat healthier so I decided to start making some healthy snacks.  Kale chips are super easy to make and really yummy.

You can use any type of kale:  curly, dinosaur, spear, etc.

Wash kale and remove middle stem part of leaves.  Very important:  dry leaves thoroughly otherwise chips will be chewy rather than crispy.

Put leaves in an even layer on a baking sheet and, using hands, rub oil into every part of the leaves.  Sprinkle with salt and other desired spices.  Bake in oven at 300 degrees for 8-10 min.

Ta da!


musical thoughts

I am in the process of trying out a viola!  The prospect of getting a new viola is super exciting but also a little terrifying because it's not only a big investment, but a representation of my future self in music.  I have a viola that I use but getting a nicer viola means, to me, that I am committing to stay in music and be more active.  I love the idea of this but I just need to make time which is easier said than done.

My friend Maureen, an amazing violist, was kind enough to contact a friend who is selling several violas and we met a few weeks ago so I could try them.  My friend, James, was also kind enough to come along with me for an extra set of ears.

The viola I picked is a bit out of my price range but I'm falling in love with it more and more every time I play it.  I am getting more mentally serious about learning the Brandenburg and decided to take a break from violin until after the concert is done.  I even gave my lovely violin to James to use in the mean time so she doesn't just sit in the corner of my room.  If anyone is in NYC and wants to come, the concert is at the beginning of May!

xoxo- MK

home sweet home

I recently got back from visiting my mom in Wisconsin.  While I was there I realized how much I miss seeing my mom in person!

Unlike most people, we talk on the phone every day and use skype on a semi-regular basis so I feel like I "see" my mom all the time.  I hadn't been home since last Christmas and my sister, Jenna, and I haven't been home at the same time for 2 years.  Jenna and I talked about going home more often than once a year so we're already thinking about a trip home at some point in spring time.

One of my mom's cousins found these photos of my dad with Jenna and me as babies and sent them to her.  We put them together to get the whole picture.

I also got to see Jacki!  I haven't seen her for over a year either so it was great to catch up, see her new apartment, and meet her new cat- who has no name and is really, really mean... but I still liked her.

xoxo- MK


2012 reading list

In 2011 I decided that I didn't read enough.  I got held up reading things I didn't like (I have this awful mental block where I can't start another book until I finish the current one.  This is usually an arduous process and usually leads to me throwing some sort of tantrum) and in the fall I got a tv which, after not having cable for years, became the thing I looked forward to doing every day (letting my brain turn to mush while watching Grey's Anatomy and the entire series of Felicity).

I gave myself a goal to read 15 books in 2012.  I ended up reading 28!  I'm so impressed with myself.

Books 2012

1. Wind Up Bird Chronicles- H. Murakami
2. Little Women- L.M. Alcott 
3. Norwegian Wood- H. Murakami
4. After the Quake- H. Murakami
5. After Dark- H. Murakami
6. A Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao- J. Diaz
7.  The Broom of the System- D.F. Wallace
8.  Identical Strangers- E. Schein & P. Bernstein
9.  The Art of Eating In- C. Erway
10.  Blindness- J. Saramago
11.  A Wild Sheep Chase- H. Murakami
12.  Room- E. Donoghue
13.  Wild- C. Strayed 
14.  1Q84- H. Murakami
15.  Lolita- V. Nabokov
16.  Everything Beautiful Came After- S. Van Booey
17.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower- S. Chbosky
18.  Stranger Than Fiction- C. Palahniuk
19.  The Time Traveler's Wife- A. Niffenegger
20.  Dog On It- S. Quinn
21.  Thereby Hangs a Tail- S. Quinn
22. To Fetch a Thief- S. Quinn
23.  The Dog Who Knew Too Much- S. Quinn
24.  A Fistful of Collars- S. Quinn
25.  A Cat Was Involved- S. Quinn
26.  The Humbling- P. Roth
27.  American Pastoral- P. Roth
28.  The Psychopath Test- J. Ronson

If you can't tell, I really like Murakami.  The world that his characters live in is surreal and incredibly imaginative.  I also really liked Quinn's books.  You will like them too if you like books told from an animal's perspective.  Also, I finally read Lolita.  It confused the hell out of me.  Feeling bad for a pedofile is something I didn't think would ever happen.  

I liked so many of the books I read and would really recommend most of them.  Except Little Women.  I really hated Little Women.  

Since my commute to work is at least an hour I have plenty of time to read on the train.  After I surpassed my original goal of 15 books, I wanted to double my goal and read 30 books before the end of the year; however, sometime in early December I didn't have a free hand to hold my book, so I started listening to an episode of "This American Life" and was reminded of how much I love Ira Glass.  He's such an amazing journalist and I find his voice to be very soothing during underground rush hour traffic.  Listening to his voice drowns out my own thoughts of kicking someone for leaning against the pole so noone else can use it.  Consequently, the last 2-3 weeks has been spent catching up on TAL episodes that I've missed over the last year or so and not reading Franny and Zoey of which I am 2/3 of the way through.

Happy New Year everyone!  
My new goal is 20 books and to catch up to current TAL episodes- I'm 6 months behind...