For January, I decided to abstain from the consumption of alcohol. Even though we have another week of January left, I can already report that it’s been a personally positive and socially interesting experiment and I would recommend trying a dry month, or even a week because there are some very obvious benefits. I’ll share mine below.

The most immediate physical changes I’ve noticed have included much better, sounder sleep as well as a major reduction in the acid reflux I’m afflicted with at times. I also haven’t had to deal with the dread aftermath of a hangover: dehydration, nausea, headache, etc. I’ve been able to take five to six CorePower classes a week, so I feel more toned and leaner. Mentally, I’ve avoided the guilt that often comes with hangovers. I feel way more energetic, productive, and focused. I also feel less stressed, no doubt in part because I’ve been able to attend so many CorePower yoga classes this month. The benefits are financial as well; I’ve undoubtedly saved quite a bit of money by not drinking when I go out to eat with my friends.

The only time I felt tempted to drink was during my traditional family dinner at Athenian Room with my uncle, his girlfriend, and my brother. I love having a glass or two of red wine with my go-to skirt steak and Greek fries. Don’t worry though, the salt from the meal made me puffy even without the wine! Other than that, though, I haven’t craved alcohol or found abstinence to be particularly challenging.

That being said, the outward reactions to a dry month are mixed. From friends to matches on dating apps. Some have congratulated me, some say they could never do it, some don’t understand it, and others don’t care. And really, it doesn’t matter. It’s a very individual choice and I am still the same person and my company is the same, though arguably, happier and healthier. Come February, I don’t plan to beeline it to the liquor store, but I will drink again in moderation. When I travel to Austin, Texas for a long weekend vacation, I will treat myself. That said, I do think I will drink less than I used to because the benefits are there and as I said, I haven’t missed it all that much.

Have you ever done a dry month? How was your experience? Comment below!

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Warning: spoiler alerts!

On Saturday night, I watched the much-talked-about Netflix documentary, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez. Directed by Geno McDermott, I found this three-part docuseries to be fascinating, but also frustratingly inconclusive and lacking evidentiary support. Still, I think it’s worth a watch considering its commentary on mental disease, identity crises, and one of the most profitable businesses in the United States: professional football.

Admittedly, I am not an enthusiastic football fan, but I do remember hearing about Aaron Hernandez after his 2013 arrest. Still, it didn’t have a huge impact on me. I had just returned home from a short stint in New York City. My life was kind of a mess, and I was focused on getting a job. Watching this documentary helped me to understand just how dramatic his rise and fall were; almost on par with O.J. Simpson’s indictment for the murder of his late wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman.

The series explores Aaron Hernandez’s childhood in Bristol, Connecticut, raised by his machismo, football star father, a seemingly aloof mother, and his older brother DJ, a football talent in his own right. Like his father and brother, Aaron was blessed with natural talent and athleticism. He blossoms in all sports, but particularly football. This leads to an eventual three-year stint at the University of Florida, a National Championship, as well as the John Mackey Award in 2009. In 2010, he is a fourth-round draft pick by the New England Patriots, despite his first draft talents. We learn that this is because of disquieting and concerning questions around Hernandez’s character, including drug abuse, incidences of violence, and seedy associations.

And the murders. In 2012, Aaron murdered two innocent men that he encountered at a Boston nightclub on a slow Sunday evening. Their names were Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Teixeira Furtado, 29 and 28, respectively. They were immigrants working hard to make a living with no criminal histories or associations. In 2013, Aaron murdered Odin Lloyd, a minor league football player and well-regarded son, brother, friend, and teammate. He also attempted to murder his “friend”, Alexander Bradley. What’s mind-boggling about this is Aaron’s double life, as both a murderous “gansta” and as one of the best tight ends in one of the most successful NFL organizations. At his peak, he signed a five-year $40M contract with the Patriots in 2012 after a successful 2011 season that included scoring in the Superbowl game. The purpose of the docuseries is to find out, why?

The documentary drops a bombshell that Aaron may have been gay despite his engagement to Shayanna Jenkins and his child by her, Avielle. A high school football friend and teammate recounts a secret sexual relationship between the two. One of his defense lawyers, who is gay, reminisces on a conversation between the two when Hernandez asked if he thought homosexuality is something one is born with. A few Patriots teammates recall some rumors they had heard. We hear that Aaron’s dad was a man’s man, and would not tolerate any behavior he deemed homosexual or anything but stereotypically masculine. Beyond this, we aren’t given any sort of corroboration, evidence, or comments, least of all from Aaron. If, as the documentary suggests, Aaron’s murderous behavior was affected by an identity crisis of sexual orientation, they would’ve explored that more thoroughly.

Another possible reason, or excuse, depending on your perspective, was Aaron’s brain health. After Hernandez’s suicide in 2017 while incarcerated, his brain is studied by preeminent Dr. Ann McKee who studies neuro-degenerative disease at Boston University in their CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) Center. She reported that Hernandez’s brain showed signs of advanced damage.

“We can’t take the pathology and explain the behavior, but we can say collectively that individuals with CTE of this severity have difficulty with impulse control, decision-making, aggression, often emotional volatility, and rage behavior,” McKee said.

Hohler, B. (2017, November 9). Aaron Hernandez’s brain was severely afflicted by CTE – The Boston Globe. Retrieved from
Dr. McKee presenting her findings.

While this is a more evidence-based theory, we have to remember that many football and contact sport athletes also suffer from CTE. There have been cases of both self-inflicted and outward violence, however, there is no indication that the majority do.

Another theory was Aaron’s childhood and home life. We hear a few times that his father, Dennis, was abusive to his mother, Terri. Aaron’s brother DJ recounted in his memoir that Aaron was sexually abused by an older male babysitter during a game of “hide and seek”. And after his father’s shocking death from complications of hernia surgery, his mother gets together with the husband of Tanya Singleton, Aaron’s cousin and confidante. Disturbing, yes? But an excuse for murder? No.

The National Football League and the New England Patriots don’t escape the finger-pointing. It does appear that at worst, they knowingly concealed, and at best maintained a willful ignorance of Hernandez’s bad behavior and shady associations all for the sake of protecting the organization and their profits. Soundbites of Roger Gooddell and Robert Kraft espousing the advantages and healthiness of American football hammers home the “greed is good” interpretation of the league and the very ardent reminder that it is still a for-profit business. Even back at the University of Florida, Hernandez never had to face the consequences of his violent, typically unprovoked behavior. Why? Because he was a football star.

While it’s clear to me that all of these factors certainly play a part, Aaron Hernandez was a sociopath. For example, his behavior shown via home security recordings the morning after the murder of Odin Lloyd is telling. He hangs out with two associates that participated in the murder, playing with his baby, and acting relaxed. He does not appear at all concerned about what he had just done. His ability to compartmentalize and his apparent lack of empathy are hard to believe, though suggest someone sociopathic by nature.

It’s certainly a thought-provoking documentary and the Shakesperian drama of Aaron Hernandez’s rise and fall is highly entertaining, but I felt that it failed to explore or provide enough evidence around its assertions. Perhaps that was McDermott’s intent, but for me, there could have been a few more episodes to really explore all of the factors, and more importantly, to hear from other, less peripheral sources in Aaron’s sad life.

My takeaway from this documentary? I do not feel a tangible amount of empathy for Aaron Hernandez. Even with all of his misfortunes, he made horrible choices based on self-created paranoia and the desire for attention. He was professionally successful and rich. There was no reason for him to lead a “gansta” double life. There are plenty of people that have dealt with the same obstacles he did: a crisis in sexual orientation, a dysfunctional upbringing, brain damage, or being part of an unethical system that will protect you as long as you make them money. He snuffed out innocent lives and didn’t seem to be bothered by it, except for the fear of being apprehended. What a waste.

What did you think of Netflix; documentary, Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez? Leave a comment below!

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As I mentioned in my earlier posts this year, I have decided to reinvigorate my dating efforts this year. Of all of the applications available, I have found Bumble to be the most fruitful…to some extent. After chatting with an interesting person for the last week or so, he canceled on me twice. I wasn’t rude in response, but rather let him know it was unfortunate and stopped responding when he kept trying to hammer his reasoning home. I understand that things happen, but considering the pattern that was already developing, I felt it’s best to just move on. I don’t think it’s personal towards me (how could it be when he’s never met me?), but rather an indication that he may not consider follow through when it comes to dating a priority.

Inevitably, after this second cancellation last night, I was feeling a mixture of disappointment and frustration. It was something I was looking forward to, but it made the dialoguing over the last week or so feel like a waste of my time. My initial impulse was to do something to distract or numb myself, but in thinking about it, reaching for a bottle of wine or ordering pizza just weren’t the solution. They may have provided temporary relief, but I realized the best thing for me to do was to sit with my feelings while being kind to myself. So after work, I decided to go to my local Whole Foods and have a healthy, comforting dinner (roasted broccoli, cauliflower, lemongrass tofu and peppers, and cauliflower mac & cheese). I sat in the dining area, surrounded by other people, so I didn’t feel quite so alone.

I went home, washed my hair, got prepared for bed, read, and went to bed early. This morning, I went to a CorePower class (my fifth this week). In a little while, I’ll be going to the hair salon. Already, the intensity of my feelings has dissipated and I feel better. I strongly believe our reactions to adversity are the most important. People will disappoint you, but there’s no need to numb it or brush it off immediately. That said, I’m hoping the next person I connect with actually intends to make the date and meet me. I have a lot to offer!

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I had a moment this weekend where I just realized how good life is. I’m starting the year off on a high note. I’ve been working really hard. This past week was my first week back at work, no days off. We are already flush with new searches and I met with several candidates. Three times, I went to CorePower Yoga for their 45-minute sculpt class at lunch. On Wednesday night, I met my Uncle George, his partner Cecylia, and Bill for our traditional dinner at Athenian Room. The skirt steak and Greek fries, as always, were delicious and, as always, made my eyelids puffy the next morning from the sodium content.


This weekend, I got myself out of my apartment quite a bit. On Friday, for a surprise going-away party for our dear family friends moving to Denver, on Saturday to “watch” football with my friend Arie, her husband Ben, and their friend Brett. And on Sunday, a lovely brunch with my friend Sarah at the classic Bakin’ & Eggs on Lincoln and Barry. I’ve enjoyed the month so far and have felt equal parts busy and relaxed. I’m trying to remind myself that a day off is necessary sometimes so as not to run myself ragged.

The healthy (and delicious) spread at Arie’s.

It does seem that despite my activities and buoyed spirit, that little blue shade of seasonal affective disorder is still finding its way in. Just a little. Next month, I plan to get out of town for a bit to expose myself to some sunshine and have a vacation of sorts. I’m okay with it being really low key; I just feel compelled to get away from Chicago this time of the year. At the moment, I’m considering domestic locations including Palm Springs, California, Austin, Texas, and possibly somewhere in Arizona. I have not been to any of these places but I think a long weekend to at most, five days, would be sufficient to reap the benefits of their climate and get a decent look around. Any recommendations are certainly welcome.

I hope everyone has a great week and remains kind to themselves, especially if they have lofty resolutions. As I’ve learned more and more, life is precious and should be enjoyed as much as is possible daily. Thoughts of gratitude help. I also think exercise is vital. It quite literally creates brain activity to make you feel better. Focusing on the people that bring value and inspire you to be your best is also a great tool. It sounds very hokey, but I mean it sincerely. Take care, all!

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Recently, a Loop location for the popular workout chain, CorePower Yoga, was installed on the second floor of my office building. They offered a pretty compelling deal that included a weeklong free trial. My very first class was a 45-minute iteration of Yoga Sculpt, which I believe is unique to the Loop location so that downtown professionals can work out over lunch. This was almost a week after having been diagnosed with strep throat. I was still on antibiotics. I told myself to take it easy, but I managed to get through fairly well despite not being fully well. Yoga Sculpt is a fast-paced hot yoga class that infuses weights and cardio. Typically, it’s 60 minutes, though they also have 75-minute classes on the weekends. I’ll be working my way up to the latter soon, hopefully! It’s incredibly challenging in terms of strength and stamina, but I have never regretted a single class. It makes you feel glorious.

Andrea and I before a 45-minute Yoga Sculpt class at the Loop location.

Since my start in mid-December, I’ve taken Yoga Sculpt classes at four different locations. Luckily, they seem to be everywhere in Chicagoland and I was even able to attend class on Christmas Eve near my mom’s home at Old Orchard. There was only one YS class that I had to leave after 30 minutes, but this was because I rushed to get there right when I woke up. I didn’t eat breakfast and wasn’t hydrated enough. I went home, relaxed, ate, hydrated, and returned to try again for a later class, which I finished successfully.

In the past, I assumed that CorePower Yoga was elitist, overly priced, and not a diverse community. I was wrong. I’m glad the convenience of the Loop location prompted me to try it. Now I go regularly to the Lakeview location as well. Sculpt seems to draw a predominately female audience, but I’ve seen men in there too. When I took their Hot Power Fusion class this past Saturday, which reminded me much more of the Bikram style, the class appeared to be an equal mix of females and males. I have also noticed more racial and age diversity than I expected. While all of the teachers are different, they foster a welcoming, non-judgmental, and inspiring practice. I don’t think about my weight, the brand of my workout clothes, or how flexible I am compared to my neighbor. It just doesn’t even cross my mind.

I walk away from each class CorePower class feeling lighter, more relaxed, and centered. I won’t lie; my body has been pretty sore and fatigued at times, but I’ve been sleeping better and have noticed my clothing fitting better. I do think it’s important to do things on the side to come to the mat fully prepared, whether that’s foam rolling, slugging water, eating well, and getting a monthly deep tissue massage. At least for now, I realized that doing Yoga Sculpt every other day is best for me, otherwise, I might get injured. I plan to take a C2 class soon, which I believe is a more classic vinyasa flow, to make sure that I’m also prioritizing flexibility and mobility, besides just strength and toning.

I canceled my gym membership with Chicago Athletic Clubs and so far, I don’t miss it. I like the community and extra push that comes with group fitness and guidance. Plus, the gym I used to go to had yoga classes right beneath the treadmills so it was not a peaceful environment. I also believe the heated rooms have helped me with being looser, which is especially helpful considering my neck and back pain. I also signed up for CorePower’s Power Up Challenge this month: 20 classes in a month. If you succeed, you can be entered to win prizes, but for me, I’m just wanting to challenge myself physically and mentally (it would be cool if I won something though!). What’s also helped is having a dry January so far. I’ll be posting about that experience after the end of the month. 

In health, Megan,

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A lot of people look at the new year as an opportunity to refresh and buckle down. Austerity tends to be the main focus in January in nearly all imaginable categories: food, alcohol, money spending, entertainment, etc. It’s also an opportunity for many to “take back their health” now that the holiday festivities have ended.

For me, skin health is always important. It’s the largest organ on our body and is often the biggest tell in terms of our lifestyle. So beyond eating well, abstaining from drinking and smoking, how can you give your skin the tender loving care it deserves without loosening your January purse strings too much? Well, I’ve boiled it down to three essential categories with both a budget friendlier and a splurge option. I have personally used these products and can highly recommend them.


No matter the clime, we all need to moisturize. I live in Chicago, so this is especially important during the winter season. Aveeno has always been a drug store favorite and I like that they have an extra boost of SPF in their moisturizer (there’s also an SPF 30 option). It’s oil-free and the soy extracts help to even skin tone and create a more radiant visage. At the moment, I’m religiously using Tatcha’s Dewy Skin Cream morning and night. It’s very luxurious, rich, anti-aging thanks to antioxidant-rich ingredients like Japanese purple rice, Okinawa algae, and hyaluronic acid. Plus it smells lovely!

Budget Friendly: Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Face Soy Moisturizer SPF 15 | $13.99

Splurge: Tatcha The Dewy Skin Cream | $68


Everyone likes to end and start their day with a clean face and dermatologists seem to recommend gentler cleansers these days without the stripping chemicals and big exfoliating microbeads that can damage the skin. Cetaphil’s classic cleanser is soap-free and perfect for sensitive skin in addition to being fragrance-free. If you like a little scent, Youth To The People offers an equally gentle cleanser that’s like giving your face a shot of green juice. Ingredients include antioxidant-rich kale, spinach, and green tea! Plus, it’s packaged in a recyclable glass bottle.

Budget Friendly: Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser | $12.49

Splurge: Youth To The People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser|$36


Sunscreen is probably the most important anti-aging product. Even when it’s not sunny out, you should be applying.

It’s easy to assume that if it’s not sunny outside then you don’t need sunscreen – after all, you’re not feeling the sun on your skin. But actually, you can still get sunburnt even when it’s overcast and grey outside. It’s the UV index that puts you at risk of burning, and that exists whether its bright and sunny or cloudy.

Downey, A. (2019, August 29). Should you wear sunscreen even when it’s cloudy? Retrieved from

Both of these options offer UVA/UVB SPF 50 sun protection and they’re non-greasy, easily applied, and wearable with makeup.

Budget Friendly: Neutrogena Face Sunscreen For Sensitive Skin SPF 50 | $11.79

Splurge: Kiehl’s Super Fluid Daily UV Defense SPF 50+ | $38

If you’re looking to spend less but make more of an impact on your skincare, sometimes, less really is more. Boiling it down to essentials is better for your wallet and over-treating skin can wreak havoc. I plan to keep my routine more minimalist this year, built on the foundation above. Take care of your skin in 2020!

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A lot of people are posting about the ways they’ve changed in the last 10 years because we’re entering not only a new year but an entirely new decade. As with all people, there were instances and even periods of angst, but my accomplishments and personal development have mostly eclipsed that. I believe that I’ve trained myself to focus on the positive, including when reminiscing on the past. Still, I don’t forget the struggles completely; I’ve simply contextualized them in the lens of resilience and improvement. Here’s what happened in the last 10 years of my life:

I established a fulfilling career.

As an English major, my career path was fairly open-ended. I knew I didn’t want to teach and I was also aware that writing would not get me out of my mom’s house until I was 30. After a spontaneous decision to live in New York crashed and burned only after several months, I returned to the north suburbs of Chicago with my tail between my legs. It took one more brief stepping stone before I found the company for me, where I’ve been since 2014. It took a while to acclimate to the recruiting industry (it’s not for the faint of heart), but my personality was well-suited for it and I’ve always been determined to succeed and excel. The best part of my job is becoming friends with many of the people I’ve represented in their search.

I became estranged from my father, then reconnected with him.

I’ve written about this before a couple of times, but this may be the most important to me personally. I was fed up with the attitude and lack of attention that I received from my father and chose to end communication for over a year. As flippant as I was about the estrangement, it was tearing me up inside and manifested in unhealthy habits. Luckily, I recognized this and was able to work through it. Now, when someone asks me if I have any regrets, I can truly say no.

I returned to therapy.

My estrangement from my dad was the impetus to seek regular professional help again and I’ve found a therapist (who also happens to be an Indiana University graduate) that has helped me through the highly emotional and painful process of reunion with my dad. While I don’t see her as often at the moment, I look forward to our monthly conversations because she still helps me in finding actionable solutions to systemic or momentary issues with compassion and no trace of condescension. I can’t emphasize enough how immensely valuable seeing a therapist has been, even when things are going relatively well.

I overcame a long-term eating disorder.

After a decade of eating disorders, I was able to eliminate these behaviors and unhealthy obsessions with food, exercise, body image, and control. At times, the struggles left me feeling hopeless, but I never gave up trying to heal. I had to make decisions that, at the time, felt extreme such as leaving my sorority and ending toxic friendships, but it was vital in terms of regaining my health, sanity, and happiness. It feels like a lifetime ago since I was a prisoner to these illnesses, and that in itself is so beautiful.

I had my first serious relationship.

While it didn’t last particularly long, I met someone that I felt connected to on a very deep level. I was able to be my authentic self and feel appreciated for that. In this next year, I am hoping to meet more people with the ultimate result of finding another deep connection like that one, though admittedly, it hasn’t been a priority. Still, having had this experience gave me hope that there are people out there that make you feel wonderful and intimately connected.

I’ve established my finances.

Being in sales offers greater risk, but greater rewards and I can say that I feel pretty powerful and proud when it comes to my finances. I have established a comfortable savings account, a Roth IRA, a high credit score, and have even started investing with Robinhood! I was able to move to my own apartment and furnish it without the help of my parents. I’m extremely proud of this. In the next year, I will be even more focused on saving so that I can prime myself for home ownership.

I became more patient and understanding.

Through my job and simply more years on the planet, I’ve become more mature and far less black and white when it comes to life. I try to be more thoughtful about why people act the way they do and remember that 99.9% of the time, it has nothing to do with me. This isn’t the easiest in today’s sociopolitical climate, but I think it’s vital to staying productive and optimistic.

My gratitude increased.

With time, I have seen people, including very close friends, experience tragic loss, trauma, and major health problems. I’m not trying to discredit my struggles, but I recognize that I am a healthy and privileged person and I won’t forget that. I am grateful for my family, friends, my health, career, my opportunities, my resources, and my desire to do and be better.

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Christmastime has been as enjoyable as I could have thought possible. Last weekend, I celebrated with the Newman family; we went out for a fun dinner, did a gift exchange, and played Yahtzee. Their eldest, Lily, is better at adding up the score than I am! The next morning, Andrea and I went to a packed Yoga Sculpt class at the Arlington Heights CorePower. I then hightailed it to Wilmette to shower quickly and borrow my mom’s car to visit my dad in Ottawa. Being the wonderful sister that I am, I picked Bill up from his place on the way. Once on the highway, it was an easy drive, thanks to perfect weather and lively, fun conversation with Bill.

Hanging with part of the Newman crew!

Upon arrival in Ottawa, we took Dad out for a meal at a nice restaurant in LaSalle-Peru a few towns over. Afterward, we took the long, scenic route through Starved Rock and my dad was tame for once with his back seat driving. Still, he can’t help himself but alert me of a speed limit change. He would then tell me to look at bald eagles or some sort of structure and I had to remind him I was watching for the speed limit, teasingly. When we got back to his house, we opened gifts, had dessert, and hung out with his dog. We were back in Wilmette by 7:30 pm. During this trip, there was no instance of bickering whatsoever, which may be a first. It was really, really nice.

Dad with his English flat cap

On Christmas Eve morning, my dear friend Arie and I took a well-attended CorePower class at Old Orchard mall followed by a requisite, but an unnecessary trip to Sephora. I came home with Youth To The People’s Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser, a mini Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo for my purse, and a mini Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist since I’d just run out. I sent her off with a big hug afterward as the next day, she was headed to Thailand for her belated honeymoon. When I got back to my mom’s, I was able to take a nice bath (I would never deign to do that in my apartment). Later that evening, my cousin Susan and her kids, as well as my uncle and his wife, came for Christmas Eve dinner. We had phenomenal beef tenderloin, horseradish sauce (which I dropped on the floor), garlic smashed potatoes, green beans, and salad. Bill and I cleaned up and I went to bed around 10:30 pm while the two of them stayed up a while longer talking politics (no thank you).


The next morning, we opened gifts to Christmas music and I had a giant onion bagel and cream cheese for breakfast, which to me is the ultimate treat. After my mom had finished her phone calls to her siblings, we went for a walk in Wilmette, marveling at the 50-degree weather. I took off my coat at one point because the sun was so warm. In the afternoon, we did a gift exchange at the Geocarises then took a catnap before dinner at the Allens. Sadly, Bill didn’t attend dinner as he had to work at 6 am the next morning, since this is his busy season at Radio Flyer. At dinner, we had more delicious food, steak, potatoes, and a lot of red wine. We played music trivia, which was a total blast. Frankly, I barely remember heading home around 2:30 am!

Headed out for a walk on an unseasonably warm Christmas Day.

The next morning, I was feeling fairly tired of course, but got myself home via Lyft, leaving my bags unpacked while I climbed back in bed for three or four more hours. The rest of the day passed predominately in bed, reading. The following morning, I decided last minute to go to a morning Yoga Sculpt at CorePower in my neighborhood, but frankly, I felt dizzy and had to leave halfway through. I hadn’t eaten or hydrated enough, so I decided to try again in the evening. Before I did that, I had a nice lunch and gift exchange with my friend Kylie at Crosby’s Kitchen in the Southport Corridor. The evening Yoga Sculpt class was successful but very intense. I made it all the way through and already after two weeks of starting CorePower, I feel leaner, stronger in my core, and mentally more peaceful.

The calm before the Yoga Sculpt storm.

Today, I’m sitting at Starbucks writing. I haven’t done this in quite a while, but with the closing of the holiday season, I suspect I’ll be here more frequently. I certainly plan to post more on the blog. That said, it’s been really nice to see family and friends and have the opportunity to recharge and prepare for another busy work year! In fact, I’ve been sleeping in until 9 am the last few days, which is unheard of for me. Might as well take advantage while I can. I am feeling very good about the future and grateful for all that I have. Happy New Year, everyone!

Mom and me on Christmas Day.

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While I’m slowly but surely on the mend, I’ve had a lot of alone time in between long sleeps and tiny chores around my apartment to think about the upcoming year and some of my goals. What’s been swirling in my head is my move in mid-May, hopefully to a lovely one-bedroom close to my current apartment as I love my neighborhood. I think about the process of identifying this next home, of packing and moving, finally buying a larger, quality mattress without my Psycho-esque ident, redecorating to some extent. I think about eventually introducing a dog to the mix, but also the massive preparation needed in advance. How my life will change so completely. The challenges and the joy. I think about my writing, of bravely addressing the long-term goal of writing a novel or a short story collection that’s been brushed to the side like Cinderella because I was too busy building a career.

I think about sustaining and increasing my career success. Of really saving a big nest egg for myself to be able to purchase a home in the next few years. Of finally taking dating seriously and allowing myself to be vulnerable. Of being more consistent with my health, of moving every day in some way to assist with stress and depression management. I think about the way I want to be with others; more graceful, sympathetic, less judgmental. How I want to give back more so that I remember that my problems are valid, but there are others with more life-threatening ones.

I’m generally very excited about this next year. I have a lot to look forward to, but I need to remind myself that these goals do not need to be conquered all at once and it doesn’t mean I’m a failure if some of them don’t happen. Control has always been a “frenemy” of mine, a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can be the guiding light and discipline to manifesting the future, but on the other hand, it can wreak havoc on self-esteem and steer oneself off course if it renders you utterly inflexible. There are so many things that we can’t control. Probably, the concept of control is in part, delusion.

Whatever happens next year, I have a framework of ambitions that I expect to accomplish, but who knows for sure. I hope that my thirties aren’t only spent climbing towards something. I hope I make a lot of stops along the way to rest and enjoy the present.

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Well, I am stuck home, sick with strep throat, so I suppose it’s as good a time as any to share the goings-on of my life recently. It’s been inordinately busy, hence the lack of posting this holiday season.

The first week of December brought two work-related parties, one for clients and the other with employees and significant others only. The client party boasted I believe a record number of guests and it was really enjoyable for me to be able to catch up with so many partners that I haven’t seen in a year, in some cases. I was very pleased with my outfit as well. I wore an L.K. Bennett dress from Rent The Runway and received many compliments. I would absolutely look to this brand again for rental or for purchase. It felt flattering and high quality. Plus Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is apparently a fan of the brand as well.

Wearing L.K. Bennett at the client party.

The employee only party was a glamorous affair. We met for a few cocktails prior at Apogee Lounge, a modern bar with floor to ceiling windows an outdoor area with heat lamps overlooking the Gold Coast. We went around the corner to Tao for our main event. The dinner was exceptionally good; the beef and broccoli and black cod were among my favorites. After dinner, we headed into the nightclub part of the venue and I did my characteristic flailing in lieu of acceptable dancing. But at least I flailed with conviction.

At Tao Chicago.

Aside from the events and parties, work itself has been extraordinarily busy. 2019 has been a prolific year in terms of hiring and December seems to be no exception. It’s a very good thing, however, rather surprising as we have typically experienced at least a small lull. Not the case.

In the middle of the week, I felt myself declining a bit, with increasing muscle aches, coughing, and a bit of throat soreness. I was very surprised to learn I had gotten strep throat as my symptoms this time around (no fever, mild throat soreness) seemed incongruous with what I’ve experienced in the past. Perhaps I just identified it early enough before things devolved.

No one enjoys being sick and I know there are so many other things I’d rather be doing than sitting at home. I did begin to watch a series on Netflix called, Marcella, which is pretty interesting. I also watched the film, The Duchess, which was better than I expected. I had been researching the English aristocracy and learning about Chatsworth and Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. She was a very interesting woman and I felt that Keira’s Knightley’s portrayal of her was very compelling. I may look into a biography to read about her, since no doubt I have time on my hands.

Portrait painting of Lady Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, by Thomas Gainsborough (18th century)

I’m very sad today because I was supposed to exchange gifts with Andrea and her girls tonight and then go to my mom’s house to bake holiday treats for my friends and family on Saturday. These plans are of course cancelled, but I was most looking forward to them. I’d like to go for a walk, but even that seems out of the question today. What a drag, indeed.

If anyone has any suggestions on things to read, watch, or do while home sick, please let me know.

Thanks for reading. To get new post notifications for Oh | Hey, subscribe with your email address and follow me on Instagram at ohhey__megan.