2014: Keep good going

Tis the season for resolutions!! Whether you’re a fan of them or not…we’ve come to that very special time of year when we are all inundated with a flurry of ads for self-help books, weight loss programs and gym specials – and sweeping promises of going cold turkey on whatever vice you have while simultaneously (not to mention miraculously) dropping 50 pounds by March.

Now, don’t get me wrong…I don’t think resolutions…goal setting…aiming to better oneself… are bad. In fact, I think having goals is an essential part of growing and changing, but I do think success lies in how you go about it. And, personally, I don’t think that success lies in picking apart your life and focusing on what you think sucks…whether that’s a relationship, your salary, weight,  job, habits, hobbies, commute, social life… your… hair? Whatever!

What if we spent time reflecting on the good…instead of focusing on what we don’t like or didn’t accomplish? I mean…shouldn’t we be moving into a new year with a renewed sense of hope? Not … “Uhhhg, okay, I’m a whale…why can’t I look like [insert your favorite celebrity here]??? 2014 will be way better if I drop like 30 lbs, right?”

I know that’s not necessarily easy to do, but wouldn’t it be great to look at what made you happy in the last year and create goals that will keep you moving in that positive direction?

So keeping that in mind, here are some of my goals:

  • Run again. The feeling of accomplishment from my races this year was incredible. Time to grab that adrenaline rush again.


  • Give back. I was involved with a few non-profit organizations through work this year, and I’d love to expand upon that and really get involved with a cause I’m passionate about.


  • Get social. Like in real life…with real people. Let’s be honest, it can be daunting to make new friends as an adult. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some pretty amazing people this year by going outside of my own comfort zone and joining events/groups filled with people who geek out about the same stuff I do.


  • Segue that to…embrace my inner nerd. Embrace what I’m passionate about…who cares what other people think about it. I mean…I can love dessert and running, or high heels and Chucks. I can love bopping around to Top 40 AND any number of Joss Whedon projects. They’re not mutually exclusive. Seriously.

  • Schedule time for myself. Pen to planner. and make it happen.

  • Travel. I was finally able to get some travel in this year through work. I’m lucky enough to have friends and family in amazing cities across the entire country…time to plan, pack and take off.


  • Appreciate it all. We live in a world surrounded by social channels filled with posts that would make you think everyone’s lives are simultaneously super exciting, glamorous, hilarious, perfectly styled and manicured, delicious, filled with storybook love and romance, busy but zen, and fat-free (spoiler alert! they’re not..) – it can be really easy to get caught up in that, and while none of those things are bad, snapshots of other people’s lives shouldn’t influence whether or not I’m happy with mine because… I have a lot to be thankful for.

  • Be happy.

So, tell me, for you… what’s good in the coming year?


Wellness by the Water: Reset & Refresh

So this weekend was full of firsts.

I went to my first ever (First #1) wellness retreat – Wellness by the Water Retreat – held at the gorgeous Lenox Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve walked by the hotel, but this was my first time venturing inside…and not only was it gorgeous, but the staff was so incredibly nice!

Let me back up a little…the best place to start is from the beginning, right?

So, I woke up bright and early, got dressed and prepped myself for a day of meeting new people, boot camp, yoga, spa/wellness treatments and all sorts of other goodies. I left my house early (you never know with the T) and ended up arriving in Copley about 20 minutes ahead of time. Still a little sleepy, I grabbed a tiny, iced coffee at Starbucks and sat down for a minute before heading over to the Lenox.


At the hotel, I was directed up the stairs, and I could hear the familiar buzzing of people meeting, laughing and catching up. I looked around for anyone I might know, but didn’t see any familiar faces, so I dropped my stuff off, and went to check in. One of the first people I met was Celeste. So sweet! She got me checked in, and then I settled into the Dome Room with 30-40 other ladies.

purple ceiling

morning meeting

Everyone was excited to be there and the energy in the room (considering it was 9am) was awesome. I ended up next to Janine from The Purple Giraffe, who happened to grow up in the town next to me in NH aaand her husband is my friend Dan’s stepbrother (didn’t find that out til after the event) – small world!!. The lovely Erin from Creative Soul in Motion, joined us! I was so excited to see her – it’d been since our October meet up in Cambridge – too long! Meg and Carolyn rounded out our little section in the center of the room.

yoga mat chats

Kendall and Celeste kicked off the event, and we dove right into boot camp run by Celeste. I’d never done anything like it before (First #2), and boyyyy did it kick my butt – in the best way possible, of course. Planks, squats, kicks, jumping jacks, crunches, resistance, punches…we did it all. I definitely feel all those squats today. #hurtsogood I’m going to have to visit Celeste soon, and get my butt back into shape.

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

After boot camp, Kendall led us in some vinyasa yoga. Again, I’d never taken a yoga class before (First #3) – annnd I can now say I’m officially hooked. I never realized that I have a tendency to just be…tense…even when I stretched I think I tensed-up. I loved the expression of letting your body “melt” into positions… awesome visual direction, and totally worked for me. As someone with some of the tightest hamstrings ever…I was surprised at my own flexibility at points.

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

Via @thepurplegiraffej9

via @celesteplattkankel

via @celesteplattkankel

We all met for lunch at CityTable, which is connected to the Lenox – where Kendall talked about nutrition and how to deal with cravings and what causes them. Lunch was delicious – take a look.

via @thepurplegiraffej9

via @thepurplegiraffej9


After lunch, we had the opportunity to meet with a  TON of awesome vendors. I tried everything from Organic Chocolate to smoothies and awesome juice from e.t.c. Juicery. After some time spent milling around and getting to try a bunch of cool products – it was time for our afternoon sessions to begin.


I had – Dance Fitness (First #4), Reiki with Christy, Heart Forgiveness with Shawna (First #5) and Accupuncture/Accupressure with Denise (First #6).

All of them were great experience – I learned how to salsa, merengue and cha cha, had a fabulously relaxing Reiki session with Christy, learned about Heart Forgiveness/Holistic Health from Shawna, and “learned” that my shoulders are tiiiight aka I sit at a desk/ I’ve got too many stressors in my life (no surprise on my end!) and I could use a good massage from Denise – she was awesome, and the acupressure points she used on my shoulders/arms felt awesome!

We rounded out the day with a yin yoga session with Sophie – who came in from New York. She was the sweetest thing, and it was fun to pile into the hallway and stretch-it-out one last time before leaving.


I ended the day having tried new things, met some awesome people, and walked away with a ton of swag! Love.
Thanks again, Kendall and Celeste. It was an amazingly positive experience – and worth every penny, people! I’m already signed up for their next session, which is tentatively scheduled for May. I say, put some time away mid-month… now – and be on the lookout for registration!

The Happy Diet

Alright, so today I received the Jan 2011 issue of Glamour (I feel like my issue came really late…regardless.), and much of the issues is about being HAPPY! Which – well, I loved. I mean that’s the point of it all, isn’t it? I blog because is makes me happy, I cook, bake and eat what I eat because it makes me happy, I listen to Glee and Top 40 pop/dance/R&B as loud as it can go because…well, it makes me happy!

Within the mag, they had this section detailing a happy “checklist” – and while that’s kind definitely simplifying things, I totally agree with the majority of them (credit for all goes to Glamour):

  • Exercise – heck yeah! Get those endorphins going..plus, walking out of the gym after a workout, I always feel an extra spring in my step.
  • Eat breakfast – I am sooo bad at this (I’m the queen of gulping down coffee and the running out the door), but having an actual breakfast (when I do) always seems to create the best springboard for the day.
  • Speak up – I never would have thought about this one. It’s true though..boosting your confidence, and reducing your stress by getting something off your chest.
  • Do less – I think this is definitely an idyllic one. While having to do less (and stress less) would be wonderful – sometimes it’s just not in the cards – for me at least.
  • Focus on making memories – A sort of stopping to smell the roses thing…agreed.
  • Go outside – Yes! Cabin fever can be brutal!
  • Hug it out – I’m a hugger…I love this one!
  • Face your challenges – don’t put stuff off – I definitely agree. As someone who has dealt (and still deals) with anxiety, it’s true that the longer you put something off the more anxiety it produces.
  • Say something nice – spread the happiness around! Heck, a guy at Barnes & Noble told me he liked the buttons on my coat because they were “shiiny” – creepy, but it did bring me happiness…if only in the form of a good story!
  • Be grateful – so true…taking the time to realize how fortunate you are is a biggie!
  • Savor your snapshots – photos…inspiration boards!…love it.

What would you add to this ‘checklist’?

At the bottom of that page – they included what they’ve dubbed at the “Happy Diet”.

I agree..especially with the whole “no deprivation” thing…I don’t know a single person who is happy depriving themselves of something they love! I say,bring on the M&Ms! 😀

In my mind, the “Happy Diet” is all encompassing…not just what we eat or drink, but other aspects of our lives, too. I mean, after all, it all impacts us mentally and physically.


The good stuff, of course – greens, grains, lean protein, spices, beans, all that goodness.

Chewy vitamins – again, embracing my inner child and love for Flintstone Vitamins, I love the chewy vitamin!

click for source

Coffee!! It seriously makes me happy. 🙂

Chex Mix. It may not be the healthiest..but I love it like no other.

Taking photos (of Chex Mix?). I never knew how much I love this until I started blogging. The good ole point and shoot is still goin’ strong.

Me time! – Getting a new nail polish, or going out and getting mani/pedis…so necessary!

Of course…laughing with friends…and not caring how ridiculous you look in the photos.


What’s in your happy life ‘diet’??



As I mentioned yesterday, last night I embraced my inner scrapbook maven and went to work on an inspiration board for the year. I didn’t go into it with a plan; I just sat down with a bunch of magazines – new and old – and dissected them.

The result…

It ended up being more words than I had originally anticipated, but I just kept finding things I loved!

Loved this…especially: confidence, spirit, nerve, guts, peace, joy...okay, so the majority of the words.

Reminders that – hey, it’s cool to have your cake and eat it, too!

I definitely want to bake more this year – I feel like I’ve lost that in the shuffle!


A reminder that you can’t control everything – and that’s good, but to let go of what you can’t control. Goes along with the whole “stress management” thing…

Resolution #1!

Eat clean! …might be tough with the whole “bake more” thing… haha 🙂

Constantly! …I mean all the greats do it…

Don’t forget that “Hey, it’s okay…”

Finally, a reminder of what’s to come!

What would be (or is) on your inspiration board???

Also…thinking of doing a vlog in the new year! Any questions you might want to ask me?? You can ask ’em here or e-mail me, if you want!   jilian.murphy@gmail.com


Goals for 2011

On paper, my resolutions – goals…whatever you want to call ‘em!.. seem pretty involved, but I feel confident that I can accomplish ‘em! There’s always room for improvement, right?


Even if Urban Dictionary doesn’t think I can. haha

Health – the biggie!

This isn’t the “I want to lose ‘x-number’ of pounds in the New Year” resolution. For me, it’s the overall goal of health and wellness. The last year has been a wake up call for me – various members of my family are dealing with pretty serious illnesses, and while the illnesses aren’t necessarily genetically connected it has inspired me to be healthier than ever. This includes being more active, better stress management, eating  cleanly, and just being more invested in my own well-being

  • Sticking with the gym – I have a tendency to stick with it when things aren’t hectic, but the moment things start getting a little crazy I stop going (October through December – being a prime example). Basically, stick with it – especially when things are really busy because that’s probably when I need the little rush of adrenaline and endorphins most!

  • Get back on the rink – I’ve been having a hard time finding a great ice rink in Boston – with year-round public skating – that is easy to access by public transit. However, I’m determined to find one. Bostonians – anyone know of any great indoor ice rinks?? It’s probably my favorite form of exercise. Ever.


  • Read more about health and wellness – I need to educate myself more – it’s something that I really am passionate about, and I have gained so much knowledge being a part of this blog community…now, it’s time to contribute to that knowledge! Plus, I have so many cookbooks that I need to comb through!
  • Eat clean – Not 100% of the time, but definitely embrace a cleaner way of eating.
  • Yoga – I think this goes along with the stress management as well as being active. This was a goal that I didn’t reach last year, but my body and mind will definitely benefit from this.

  • Actually make more of my fellow bloggies’ recipes! I have entire folder dedicated to recipes I want to try, and more that I haven’t even put in there.


Spend less. hah. Seriously though, I’m not a big spender, as is, but this is something that can always be improved upon.


Don’t give it anything but 100% (though, this could be applied to every facet of life, too).  However, don’t let it consume and stress me out.


Get out to Cali. Period. Fun in the sun! (with sunscreen, of course, haha)


Read more – in general. I definitely need to pry myself away from the text books and read the pile of books that are next to my bed! It will probably make my textbook reading less tedious if I get some fun reading in there, too!

Have more adventures in and around Boston – appreciate this city more. My work with Blue Tierra Chocolate (my post on these amazing chocolates is: here) this semester has made me realize how there are those little gems tucked away in all corners of this city. I want to discover more restaurants, activities and areas….you know, go off the beaten path a bit.

Let the self-improvement begin!!