remembering the big things.

I’m all about appreciating the small things in life. The moments. The conversations. The seemingly insignificant experiences that we’ll remember forever. (I’m pretty sentimental, so I’ve got a lot of those things :P)

But, there are other “small” things in life that I must admit get more attention than they probably should. In fact, I’m realizing lately that my mind is typically most consumed with these types of things – work-related tasks, finances, household responsibilities, etc. Just sticking to a normal daily routine can take up most of our thoughts and energy, can’t it?

Don’t get me wrong – those are obviously all important things that shouldn’t be disregarded. That would just be irresponsible.

But for me, it’s not the act of doing those things that is a problem – it’s how much I let them consume my mind and my life. I find myself focusing so much on those particular ins and outs of every day life that I rarely stop to think about the WHY behind what I do. The bigger picture. The things that actually matter in the grand scheme of things.

My daily quiet time in the morning definitely helps, but I think I’m going to add a new practice to it – adding a few minutes to just reflect on those big things. I want to more often ask myself:

How can I help/reach other people more? What am I actively doing to make that happen?
How can I better cultivate the relationships in my life, and build new ones that I want?
Am I make sure to take care of myself – body and soul?
Am I allowing time for the things that I love? How am I actively pursuing those things?

Maybe that means stopping to make more phone calls. Maybe it means saying “yes” to a social event, even if I’ve had a long day. Maybe it’s as simple as eating more slowly. Whatever those things are, I want to do more of them.

Anyone with me? How do you make sure you’re not forgetting the big things in your own life?

snapshots.

It’s Friday, woooo!

I’m off to a festival downtown with Sydney and friends, but thought I’d throw together a quick post recapping some of the past week. It’s been a pretty slow week for me overall, which I’m happy about because I have a crazy week (and few months, actually) ahead of me.

I mean, you know it’s a slow week when one of the most exciting things you did was get a mani 😛

That’s Red Carpet Manicure “Star Power.” Normally I do my RCM nails at home (it’s an at-home gel kit), but this time I brought the polish to the salon and they used it.

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On Monday I had a bit of an “aha” moment before posting this Instagram:

I’ve shared before how it’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap, especially these days in the blog world where everyone has gotten so…professional. But I can honestly say I’m finally in a place where I’m confident about what GML has become, and I’m owning that realness! I’m also so thankful for all of you for encouraging me to just…be me :)

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Fast forward to Wednesday when my Community Group and I met, but this time we switched it up a bit. Sydney and I have been leading a group on Social Media & Blogging, and normally we meet at cafes around the city, but this time we met at our own private Breather space.

Breather has spaces all across NYC (as well as Ottawa, Montreal, Boston & San Francisco), and they’re essentially rooms that you can use for…whatever you want! Jessi and I have used them for everything from client meetings to photo shoots, to just somewhere to work during the day. You can rent the breathers for 30 minutes, hourly, or all day if you wanted to (and they’re quite affordable).

It was really nice having the private space for our group. We took the opportunity to bring tons of snacks, of course 😛

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I’ve made a bit of a weekly tradition of going to Hu Kitchen after SoulCycle on Thursday to eat + work for a few hours. This time I got one of their MashBar bowls, and it was ridic. I made my own combo – it had a base of taro pudding topped with blueberries, strawberries, walnuts, and almond butter. With a side of coconut iced coffee = breakfast perfection.

(If you’re ever in NYC definitely check out Hu – it’s one of my favorite healthy “fast” food places.)

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Today (Friday) I let myself spend the whole day working from home + cleaning my apartment. I also managed to squeeze a workout in. I’m typically the worst when it comes to exercising at home (I just don’t have the motivation), but I followed one of the workouts in the June issue of Shape magazine, and it was actually pretty great.

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Are you good at (aka motivated enough) exercising at home? 
Any fun plans for the weekend?

{SnapChat} Q&A.

Hey guys!

So I thought it would be fun to do a little bit of SnapChat Q&A action today.

I feel bad because a lot of you have been asking about my videos, but I’m stuck between a) wanting to make more “professional” ones and b) nixing them all together. I feel like SnapChat is a fun/happy medium because it’s simple and you get a real sneak peek into my life.

You can follow/send questions to me *alagracie* and I’ll answer via my story today. Nothing creepy or weird will be acknowledged. This should be fun!

Chat soon. xo

dating & relationships: when being picky is a bad thing.

Since writing my There’s Only Plan A post and reading all of your comment responses to it, I’ve felt pretty strongly that I should follow up with this one. Thanks especially to Bethany and her comment for inspiring me to address this (she shared this article with me, which is very much worth a read).

One might think that the whole just say no to plan B concept automatically means it’s okay to be picky – to write off guys more easily or more quickly because they’re not the plan A relationship you’ve built up in your mind.

Well, that’s not exactly what I meant.

Have you ever heard someone say “I’m just too picky” like it’s a badge of honor? I have, and I’ve probably been that person before. But the older I get, the more I realize that being picky can actually be a bad thing…and something that can hold you back from not just meeting the right guy(s), but also from becoming your best self.

Don’t get me wrong – I am (clearly) all for not settling. But, let’s always make sure that we’re not misusing the concept of settling. There’s a difference between not settling and just being too damn picky.

So, how do you know what the difference is? I suggest knowing what your non-negotiables are (this post that Jessi wrote does a great job of breaking it down). But for the short version, ask yourself:

What are the characteristics I absolutely must have in a partner?

Sorry, girls – “taller than you in heels” doesn’t quality for this one 😉 I’m talking about bigger picture things like beliefs, values, communication, integrity, etc.

And on that same note – 

What are the things I absolutely cannot tolerate in a partner?

For example – infidelity, dishonesty, anger issues, etc.

Does that make sense? I think those are the sort of things I think it’s okay to be “picky” about – not whether or not your partner is brunette, works on Wall Street, or is a Yankees fan.

Look, I’m not saying that you can’t still have certain attributes and characteristics that you look for in a partner. Chemistry is still so SO important, and shouldn’t be ignored.

But here’s the thing – I do believe there is a middle ground. I see so many girls pendulum swing from being hopeless romantics waiting for their dream guy (that may or may not exist) to come to sweep them off their feet…to believing that passion and romance doesn’t exist, so they go for the relationship that just looks good on paper. Life may not be a fairytale, but it also doesn’t have to be like Desperate Housewives.

So for the sake of not seeming like I’m contradicting myself (ha) – what I’m getting at is that I do believe ultimately in plan A relationships, but let’s always make sure we’re not writing off great guys/girls just because they don’t fit into the Plan A Box we’ve (maybe subconsciously) created for ourselves.

So if you’re currently dating – maybe challenge yourself in that. And remember not to pendulum swing – going on a date or two to get to know someone doesn’t have to be this life altering decision – it’s simply the opportunity to get to know someone new and see where it goes. Because if I know anything, it’s that love is a weird thing. A weird but awesome thing. And you never know who might turn out to be your plan A…

What are your thoughts on this? Do you think it’s possible to be too picky?

Related post:

How Social Media Is Making Us Terrible Daters
On Not Losing Yourself
How To Move On

On Passion and Chemistry
The Closure Myth

eats lately.

Hey hey! First of all – I need to say thank you again for the response to my There’s Only Plan A post. Your comments have been great and so insightful. I’ve loved reading each and every one of them.

Now to totally switch subjects – let’s talk about food, shall we?

eats

Sunday night was a huge feast at The Clocktower – we had a few apps, entrees, and dessert. Pictured above is the Steak Tartare and Lamb entree // Banana Shake from Juice Press // half of a mini watermelon // fruit bowl // veggie & quinoa bowl from Roast Kitchen // veggie sushi

I haven’t talked much lately about my Flexible Dieting (AKA Just Eating) experience, but not much has changed. I still bounce back and forth between tracking my food. Right now I am not, whereas a few weeks ago I was tracking everything to the T. I know I should probably stay consistent, but sometimes just living and just eating is more important, you know?

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I’m noticing that my meals during the week tend to be way more plant-based. I don’t know why that is – lately I just genuinely crave vegetarian food, which is weird because I’m typically quite the carnivore. Maybe my body is rebelling against me trying to cut down on carbs…? Whatever, I’m just going with it. That’s the beauty of just eating, right?

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What’s the best thing you’ve eaten lately?

dating & relationships: there’s only plan A.

When I first started writing this post, I tried to find a way to apply it to all areas of life. But, it just wasn’t coming together. It was messy, and I was having trouble getting my point across. So I slept on it, and the next day I realized that it should be focused specifically on dating/relationships. Writing about dating makes me all sorts of nervous and weird, which is totally not like me, so that makes me think that I am supposed to share it all the more.

there's only plan A - why you shouldn't settle when it comes to dating

In most areas of life, I’ve pretty much always been a “have a plan B” (and sometimes plan C) sort of person. You know – in case something (or someone) didn’t turn out the way I hoped – I had something to fall back on.

Over the past few months, though, that’s something that God has really been challenging me on. I heard a message from Todd White where he said over a dozen times how Jesus is plan A, and there is no plan B. That struck a serious chord within me and *my* relationship with Jesus. After a few days of meditating on that, I began to think about how it applied to other areas of my life as well.

What I realized is that I had that mentality pretty dug in deep when it came to dating specifically. And, looking around at my peers and society today, I think it’s safe to say that that’s a mentality that mostly everyone has.

It’s only natural, when you think about it. Whether it’s because someone just wants to have a bunch options to have fun, or to combat the fear of rejection, this day in age (dating apps – HELLO) makes it easier than ever to have as many plan B’s as you could possibly want.

There’s the plan B that is ridiculously good looking, but it kinda sorta stops there.
…the plan B that you’re head over heels for, but it isn’t reciprocated (or vice versa).
…the plan B who is everything on paper you could ever want, but the chemistry is lacking.
…the plan B who gives you just enough to stick around, yet you know deep down it’s not enough.

I apologize for how ridiculously harsh it seems to define human beings as just “plan B’s,” but I think you know where I was trying to go with that. Plan B’s aren’t necessarily specific people – they’re types of relationships that you know deep down are not right for you, but you keep them around anyway.

For such a long time I thought, well – where’s the harm in having plan B relationship? It’s just to hold me over and keep me distracted until plan A comes along, right? And you never know – plan B could always turn out to be plan A!

I get that – I totally do. And for a lot of people, that might work. But in my own life, especially as of late, I feel pretty strongly that it doesn’t exactly work that way.

Because here’s the thing I’m learning about having a plan B. Yes – it does a great job of distracting you until plan A comes along, but to what extent? Is it so distracting that you’re actually putting off finding your plan A even longer without realizing it?

For me (truth serum) that has looked a lot like waiting and hoping that a plan B relationship would suddenly turn into a plan A. It has been changing things about myself to be more appealing to the wrong guys, when I should have been focusing on becoming the woman that my future husband will eventually find and think – there she is.

At first it’s scary to kick the plan B’s and C’s. They’re usually still pretty decent options. But please remember that your hopes and desires for that plan A relationship – even if you haven’t found it yet – is there for a reason.

Our hopes and dreams and desires are there for a reason. Don’t settle for the second rate version. I challenge you to not even pay plan B any mind and just keep your focus on plan A.

It’s not “eye on getting attention,” or “eye on something is better than nothing.” It’s eye on the prize. Eye on YOUR guy. Eye on YOUR girl.

This isn’t about being entitled, it’s about being hopeful. It’s about having faith. It’s about knowing your value, and believing in what you deserve.

I think it’s important to note that it’s also about respecting the other person! I have admittedly been some guys’ plan B (and maybe even a plan D or E at one point…that’s New York, for ya :P), and it obviously sucks. So why would I ever want to do that to someone else?

Sometimes plan A might take a little longer, and it might be more difficult to achieve, but you know (you KNOW) it’s so much more worth it in the end.

I may not be an expert, but I know this much about successful relationships – they only work if you’re both each other’s plan A.

So for me…that’s what I’m holding out for. No more backup plan. There’s only plan A. And that’s actually pretty freeing.

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Can you relate? Have you found dating these days becoming more difficult because everyone has so many alternatives?

Related posts:

How Social Media Is Making Us Terrible Daters
On Not Losing Yourself
How To Move On

On Passion and Chemistry
The Closure Myth