Happy 2nd Birthday, Blog!

Today my blog turned 2.

My very first post ever on A Day In The Life was titled “New Year New Adventures.” Little did I know just how much that title would ring true for every subsequent year. Year 1 was new adventures in blogging, attending BiSC for the first time, getting engaged, taking risks and stepping outside of my comfort zone, traveling, new friendships and a new job. Year 2 was new adventures in living on my own, starting my own organization, making dreams come true, volunteering in Africa and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and tons of self-discovery related adventures. Now, as year 3 begins, I am once again starting it off right and living by the “New Year New Adventures” motto that I set back on Day 1. Over the past two years, this blog has given me the confidence to have faith in myself, to follow my dreams, and continually challenge myself. Simply because I started this blog, new and wonderful relationship have blossomed and have enriched my life. I am so grateful for those friendships. I can say with 100% certainty that I would not be starting off this new year by embarking on my newest adventure of moving to DC this Friday (!) if it weren’t for this blog. I likely wouldn’t have had the courage or confidence to do any of what I accomplished in the Year of Caryn.

Blog – thank you for bringing wonderful people into my life, for inspiring me to be the most authentic version of myself, and for helping me grow into the strong, confident and positive woman I am today.

Happy Birthday, Blog! I look forward to seeing what we accomplish together in our 3rd year.

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I’ve Remodeled!

Hey readers! I’m excited to announce a new and improved A Day In The Life! If you haven’t visited my site in a while and you’re reading this in your Google Reader, on your mobile or anywhere else, please click-through to head on over and take a quick peak.

Go On! I’ll see you over there!  And as always, thanks for reading and visiting my blog. Come back soon!

XOXO.

P.S. About the new design – The photo is of the sun rising over one of the other peaks on Mount Kilimanjaro, about 6 1/2 hours into my summit climb. Standing above the clouds and watching the sun rise was absolutely breathtaking and shifted my perspective on life and gratitude.

I challenge you to really consider the posed question, and if your answer is no, what can you do to amend that?

New & Improved

Some Days You Gotta (Just) Dance!

Thank you to Ubisoft for sponsoring this post. Please click here to learn more about Ubisoft. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective. #UbiChamps 

Some days you gotta dance, Live it up when you get the chance, ‘Cause when the world doesn’t make no sense, And you’re feeling just a little too tense, Gotta loosen up those chains and dance  – Dixie Chicks

Man, the Dixie Chicks got that one right. Some days you just gotta dance! There really isn’t a better way to let loose than spending a night with friends for a ‘girls night in’ dance party. It is pretty much impossible to be unhappy and dance at the same time. Sometimes you just need those nights where you cut loose and act like a kid again.

The plan was for the girls to come over around 6pm, we’d order dinner, drink a little wine, and play Just Dance 4 for a little bit. Instead, when they arrived, we opened a bottle of red and got straight to playing, if you can call dancing playing. We barely stopped for dinner; we wound up playing until 1030pm! That is over 4 hours of dancing and laughing! In Weight Watcher points, that’s about 12 points of exercise! One of the girls said, it was “surprisingly more of a workout than expected, but didn’t feel like a workout at all.”

As a kid, I quit dance class because I didn’t like performing in front of people. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve stopped caring so much, especially when there is no way to look good while mimicking the silly dance moves in Just Dance 4. (And now there is video proof for all to see!) The first song we tested out was Carly Rae Jepson’s Call Me Maybe.  In the spirit of the American Music Awards that were last weekend, I am going to host my own Just Dance 4 Awards for the Best Music Video, The Worst Music Video and the Best Group Dance.

In the spirit of the American Music Awards that were last weekend, I am going to judge Just Dance 4 based on The Best Music Video, The Worst Music Video and the Best Group Dance.

Rick Astley – Never Going to Give You Up takes home the award for The Best Music Video. The video was as entertaining to watch as it was to dance to. In the background there was a sinking Titanic, UFOs, Godzilla, robots and more. 80’s music is just so much fun to dance to. When the song was over, Katherine said, “If all the videos were like that, I’d do so much better.”

B-52’s – Rock Lobster wins The Worst Music Video Award. There was this awkward lobster-man that was just too creepy and weird.

And finally, the Best Group Dance award goes to Dirty Dancing- I’ve Had The Time of My Life. We reenacted a choreographed duet as Baby and Johnny Castle. Hopefully, it is obvious who was who in the video below. Some of the moves didn’t quite fit the rhythm but we tried to make it work. Sadly the jump catch/hug at the end was accidentally cut out. Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

Check out the highlight video from a few of the songs we had a blast dancing to: 

Top 6 bits of feedback for UbiSoft:

  1. Videos should be more like Rick’s. So much more entertaining and fun to watch.
  2. I would love to see themed games like 90’s, Boy Bands, 80’s power ballad, modern, pop, reggae, or even zumba class songs. There were just too many random, unknown or bad songs on this disc.
  3. There is a calorie counter on Just Sweat portion but that should be made available on Just Dance, too. The calorie counter was a good feature, but the workout portion wasn’t much of a workout. I also preferred the Just Dance songs and dances.
  4. Maybe include a 3 minute intro video, “As you level up, you unlock more levels of difficulty. Every 5th level, you unlock a new song”. We wanted to know what we needed to do to unlock the “Cute Badge” or any of the levels. Maybe we didn’t play long enough (4 hours isn’t enough?) but we wanted to know how to accomplish goals and we weren’t sure how. I wish I had read the wikipedia article before playing – it explained bits of the game that were confusing.
  5. DDR has different levels of difficulty for each song and JD4 should too. While some songs, like Call Me Maybe unlock another version, it was kind of confusing. All songs should be classified by Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced and Expert. As you advance, the harder levels unlock. This would increase the challenge and extend the playing life and interest in the game.
  6. We found that the level of difficulty didn’t seem to correspond with the difficulty of the dance moves. Rick Astley would be a great starter and Time Warp was not hard enough to be a level 3.

The nice thing about the Just Dance series is that it really is a great way to loosen up those chains, laugh with friends and even get in a workout. Even though we are in our upper 20’s, we were pleasantly surprised at how entertained we were. While we all agreed, we probably would not invite friends over just to play the game, we would definitely include it in a game night shindig or a good “ladies date” as a free alternative to taking a barre or yoga class with a friend. We also agreed this would make a great holiday gift for friends or family. The game is available for purchase at Amazon.com or ToysRUs.com and many other retailers too.

Which video highlight did you like the most? Have you played? Which was your favorite song to dance to?

** Ubichamps provided me with the game and opinions are my own.

The Year Of Caryn: 2012 – Progress Check

If you remember, I didn’t do my New Years Resolutions on time this year because of it didn’t quite start how I had expected. If I did, this list would be completely different. Instead, in February after some dust settled, I deemed 2012 – The Year Of Caryn and this list was born. And oh, The Year of Caryn it has been! Here is my progress check on accomplishing my goals thus far.

Goals For The Year Of Caryn:

  1. Focus on me. Discover who Caryn is as an individual. Do some soul-searching – figure out what makes me happy and what makes me tick. – CHECK (but still in progress & evolving)
  2. Put my needs first. Don’t do something just to please others. If it is something that I don’t want to do or that doesn’t make me happy, DON’T do it.  (This is liberating!) Also note: It’s okay to be selfish sometimes. CHECK – Despite family trying to get me to come back early from Tanzania, I am actually standing my ground and not giving up on my dreams. I am not trying to please them, I am putting myself first for once. Also, saying no to plans because it isn’t something I want to do – SO FREEING.
  3. Make time to do the things that I’ve always wanted to do but made excuses for, never thought I would have time to do or never thought the time was right. CHECK – volunteer in Tanzania in 19 days!
  4. Follow my dreams. CHECK I started Tweetup For Change, volunteering in Tanzania AND I’m going to climb Kilimanjaro, baby!
  5. Get in shape  – this includes running more, attending yoga and core fusion more often and completing a month of Jillian’s 30 day shred. CHECK, completed several Jillian DVD’s, got a personal trainer and started Couch to 5K
  6. Find space between digital world and real world.  Disconnect from constantly being connected. Turn off  the cell phone and computer once in a while. Still need to do this, but will have limited access while in Tanzania
  7. Take a photography class & learn to use a DSLR camera. CHECK Took a 90 min free photography class, but want to learn more
  8. Buy that DSLR camera  Can’t afford this right now. STILL TO DO
  9. Be more proactive about reaching out to those I love.  So many wonderful people have come into my life recently, don’t take them for granted. Continuous & in progress but not sure worthy of a check.
  10. Surround myself with those who make me happy. If someone doesn’t make me feel happy/smart/cool/pretty/nice/thin/safe to be my true self/smart enough – then take a step back and re-evaluate the friendship. I want to surround myself with people who make me feel happy and alive and appreciate me. CHECK but still evolving. Amazing how much better you feel when you’re around positive energy. Realized even if bad things happen, you can choose to be happy.

Blog Goals:

  1. Stay on top of my ideas for blog content and post in a timely fashion. I have 63 drafts just waiting to be finished and published. I’ve got to work on this. I have more drafts now and haven’t been posting as often as I would like. I’ve been too busy off making shit happen!
  2. Personal posts are okay but add more inspiring content too. The intent of the blog is not to be a diary. CHECK. Also started Saturn Return segment
  3. Don’t feel pressured to post if it has been a while.  It is my blog and I should only post when I have content I want to share. Guess this contradicts #1 but CHECK
  4. Create a new blog name. Please feel free to submit suggestions. Seriously. CHECK. new blog TBA later.
  5. Buy my own domain with said new blog name. STILL TO DO
  6. Hold more contests, interviews, giveaways etc. Be a more active blogger but still adhere to Goal 3. STILL TO DO – but I do have a guest post series coming up and have been selected for UbiChamps…
  7. Embrace all that blogging has brought into my world and continue to grow with it. CHECK! BiSC #2, winning a free trip for BiSC 2013 and Kindle Fire, Tweetups, new friends, social media events, etc.
  8. Learn CSS and improve technical skills STILL TO DO

I still have a bit to do in the Year of Caryn, but I am really proud of all that I have accomplished.  I feel like a totally different person than I was and so much has changed and evolved in these 9 months. It seems like forever ago when I first set these goals. I have made improvements in my life and focused on the big, personal, soul-searching things, the things to make me happy and allow me to grow. I have realized a lot about myself and about life in general and while I know this process is far from over, I know I am finally discovering who I really am at my hearts center and what I want to get out of this life. It really is the material things that I have left to check off this list. And it is only September!

What were your goals for 2012? How are you doing on accomplishing the goals you set out to do this year?

A Little Thank You to YOU

“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”  Fredrick Koeing

I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you to all of you who have taken the time to stop by (and perhaps even comment on) this blog.  I am so thankful that I have had the chance to connect with so many wonderful people and I am truly grateful for all of you. Your support is truly amazing and inspiring to me.  There is so much negative out there, I think it is important to stop and take a moment to reflect on the positive and show our appreciation and gratitude for what we have and for those around us. My goal for this blog is to make it so that when people visit, they feel like they learned something about themselves, the world around them, find a little bit of insight, or perhaps learn a little more about me. When I started blogging, I wasn’t exactly sure of my voice or if I’d have any readers at all and I definitely didn’t know the impact that this blog would have on my life. I didn’t know that it would provide such a loving community, full of support and encouragement. This blog and all you readers have truly enriched and changed my life. So I humbly thank you all from the bottom of my heart, for stopping by, and I hope that you leave a little happier. I am honestly grateful beyond words.

Thank you!