Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hermitting: A Recap

I'm back from 10 days up in Maine! I vlogged during it, and part one will be up this Thursday on my YouTube channel. The next part will be up next Wednesday.

week in Maine

Friday, August 22 // My parents and I arrived up in Maine, which was a couple of hours in the car and then the rest of the day unpacking. This trip to Maine was also the third step in my moving process, because 90% of my belongings went straight up to Maine instead of going to Boston (remember how I wrote about making 1 suitcase last 2 weeks?). I began digging through all of my things from Nashville.

king charles cavalier spaniel

Saturday, August 23 // A lovely day of more organizing and unpacking. I got my desk area unpacking and organized, and went grocery shopping. (Thrilling, I know.) While sorting through things to decide what should go into storage, what should be thrown away, etc., I found a couple of old journals. Some of these were the diary-type from middle and high school, and some held my old writing. (Check out a dramatic reading of my 7th grade diary!)


Sunday, August 24 // I started going through said journals and typing them up. A lot of that writing was short stories, which was great, because I've been working on my next novel as well as a book of short stories. And now I have more for it! My parents left to return to Boston Sunday night, beginning my time of "hermitting," as a friend referred to it. Gus stayed with me, and he was very nervous Sunday night. He kept wandering around the house looking for my mom and whining. I ended up having to sleep downstairs so that he would settle down.

maine lake
How we ended our day

Monday, August 25 // I was up bright and early at 6:30 with Gus (significantly earlier that I've gotten up since school ended at the end of May). I started my morning off with coffee and him at the dock, though, which was pretty spectacular. I made a delicious and filling smoothie for breakfast, took him on a short walk, worked on my book of short stories, did some yoga on the dock, went into "town" for a few things that I had forgotten on Saturday, and had an early dinner with my grandparents. My evening involved another walk with Gus, a long phone conversation with my friend Sean, and watching the Emmys before crashing early! Luckily, Gus was much calmer and I was actually able to sleep in my bedroom.

bernese mountain dog
My 7 AM view

As a whole, Monday was significantly more hot and humid than the average - it even got up to 89, which was 11 degrees over the average temperature (keep in mind, the Bangor area hasn't hit 90 in 402 days and we don't have air conditioning). I really regretted doing yoga at the heat of the day, and poor Gus was just miserable in the heat. He went into the water briefly and spent a lot of time in front of the box fans.

Tuesday, August 26 // Another early morning with Gus, but this time I did my yoga at 7 AM, which was much cooler then than at 12:30 the day before. After some coffee and another delicious smoothie, I filmed the video for the week (a dramatic reading from my 7th grade diary) and had a consultation with Helene! I highly recommend them. I'm the kind of person who is constantly trying to do better at, well, everything. But a lot of information on how bloggers can do better tend to be aimed at beginner bloggers or it's just too vague to be helpful. Helene was able to help me figure out which specific areas I could improve and how to do better at the things I'm already doing. Overall, it was worth it.

bernese mountain dog

Wednesday, August 27 // Started off my morning again with yoga on the dock, a few cups of coffee, and a smoothie. I went into Bangor to do some work and to get a change of scenery, but ended up having a long and unnerving conversation with a homeless man in Starbucks.

It started off like a normal conversation, but he ended up talking about how the levels of the intensity of love were "lust, murder, and God," and how "the Lord sent [him] these sixteen or seventeen year old girls in short shorts," among other things. It was a 45-minute conversation that I couldn't end. I finally was able to, and after he left the property, I left, as well. There were a couple of good Samaritans who were sitting near us and clearly listening in and monitoring the conversation, and when it started to go south I was able to end it, but I talked to one them after and he was just trying to monitor because I was clearly nervous.

I went straight home after that. Let me say - that conversation triggered my anxiety and it also reminded me that I need to listen to my gut. My gut has always been right and has saved me from some not-good people in bad circumstances, but it also saved me from this one. When things started clearly getting bad, I stood up for myself and ended the conversation, and he luckily agreed to end the conversation (although it took him literally 5 minutes to accept that I wanted the conversation to be over).

And, of course, every little noise I heard all night made me jump out of my skin.

My workspace where I retreated to after Starbucks

Thursday, August 28 // Started off my day with my body refusing to cooperate. Well, that's the life when you have arthritis. Sometimes you have those days. I did manage some yoga (although it wasn't as much as I would have liked) and went to work on the short story book. After a couple hours of that, I went up to my grandparents' house to restock my freezer with frozen raspberries and to visit. I spent the afternoon cleaning up the house and on the phone and email with my doctor's offices trying to get a handle on the next step for my knee. I'm supposed to get the next available appointment at sports medicine, so we shall see. Very late at night, my parents arrived back up at the house with Piper (dog) and Abby (cat).

frozen raspberries
We take our fruit seriously

Friday, August 29 // Woke up to a 60-degree morning. It was glorious! Coffee in cozy sweats was so much better than it has been in months. My day overall was made up of reading, writing, working, yoga. A never-ending cycle! Ended the day with dinner at my grandparent's, which was lovely.

yoga pants
Ever wonder where to buy yoga pants?

Saturday, August 30 // I finished first draft of the book of short stories! I'm so happy to have that done and to be able to move towards publishing again. I'm aiming for a January release.

After that, the big project of Saturday was sorting through my stuff (for lack of a better term). I don't want to unpack what doesn't need to be unpacked and make moving later more difficult for myself. At the same time, I want to feel more at home in Boston and in Maine. So I sorted through pictures, nick knacks, etc. and decided what is remaining in storage, what is going to Boston, and what is going in my room and desk area in Maine. I also picked out which books I may need to refresh my memory when preparing for the GRE and (hopefully) graduate-level work in English literature. Some things were taken out to go to Boston, some things were made more easily accessible in Maine, and some things went back into storage.


Sunday, August 31 // I spent most of Sunday sorting through my clothes and shoes to decide what to bring back to Boston. I needed to bring back enough clothes for 3-5 weeks, but I don't have the space in Boston to bring back a whole lot. When I wasn't packing, I was cleaning. All. Day. Long. Ended the day with Scrabble and watching A Winter's Tale!

Monday, September 1 // We left the house around 7:30 that morning and were back in Boston by noon! All back from hermitting now.

How was your Labor Day weekend?

Friday, August 29, 2014

What to Wear to Yoga

I haven't talked about it a lot on here recently, but I'm a big yoga person. It has amazing benefits for your physical health (flexibility, strength, joint range of motion, and more), as well as your mental health (depression, anxiety, memory, and more). I highly recommend yoga to everyone. To which they usually reply, "So, I wear yoga pants, right?"

Well, yes. We all know yoga pants and we all know someone (or many someones) who wear yoga pants without actually going to yoga. I'm guilty of that for sure. They're just so comfortable! So yes, you do wear them to yoga. But that's not all you wear.

what to wear to yoga

Where to Get Yoga Pants

where to get yoga pants

Once you know that you want yoga pants, the next step is getting some. Yes, Lululemon has incredible ones. But they're also really expensive. What I require from yoga pants is that they be 1) comfortable, 2) last longer than a couple of washes, and 3) not be incredibly expensive. I bought a few pairs from Target for like $15, but they got holes in them pretty quickly, and I'm not about that.

What I would suggest doing is heading over to Yoga Outlet. They are the largest online specialty shop in the United States for yoga, so you can imagine how huge a selection they have. Their yoga pants range from $14.99 to $108, and they have an incredible selection of brands, colors, and sizes.

I got a pair of black capri Pure Karma yoga pants, which is what I'm wearing in these pictures. I've worn them just around the house and for my personal yoga practice. They're comfortable and they are great for, you know, actually doing yoga.

What to Wear With Yoga Pants

what to wear with yoga pants

The next part is what to actually wear with them for yoga. I usually wear a tank top, t-shirt, or long-sleeve shirt (if it's winter in New England). The key thing is that you want to be able to move in it and not be focused on what you're actually wearing while doing yoga. I like to layer flowy tank tops like this one with a more fitting one underneath so that when I am moving around in my poses I'm not thinking, "Can someone see under my shirt?" or "I'm so uncomfortable!" 

The idea is to be so comfortable in your yoga clothes - no matter what you're wearing - that you can move around and hold poses that put your body in abnormal shapes so that you can reap the full benefits of yoga. You don't want to be thinking about your clothes during your practice. 

But Kate, I'm a Guy!

mens yoga pants
Gus can't wear yoga pants because, well, he's a dog. But he'd get them from Yoga Outlet if he could.

Awesome! Yoga Outlet has men's yoga pants and clothing, too!

What Do I Wear to Hot Yoga?

hot yoga wear

Well, first and foremost, go you! I love hot yoga. It's awesome. But you do NOT want to be wearing pants because it will be over 100 degrees and you'll be in there for usually 90 minutes. Wear shorts, maybe with closer-fitting shorts underneath. Again, you don't want to thinking, "Can anyone see up my shorts?" while doing yoga because that adds anxiety while yoga is supposed to take it away. And definitely, definitely a tank top and not a short or long sleeve shirt. In classes I've been in, many men take off their shirts for it, and many women strip down to sports bras. (Oh, and I'm really jealous. I miss hot yoga. But my body can't handle that right now.) 

Any questions? I'd be happy to answer them! I've been doing yoga steadily for a couple of years now, so I have great ideas about what is comfortable and not in different style classes (yin, meditation, vinyasa flow, bikram, etc.). 

Disclaimer: I received these yoga pants in exchange for a review, but that is the only compensation I received for them. I am not in an affiliate program for these links, so if you click them I don't earn money from that, so don't get angry with all the links. They're actually all there to help you. 

All opinions are my own. If you would like more information, you can read the overall disclosure policy for Kate the (Almost) Great here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Where to Eat in Boston: Max Brenner

I'm introducing a new series today! Now that I’m in in Beantown most of the time, I thought it would be fun to talk about some of the fun activities in Boston. I’m calling this “See, Eat, Do,” and will be talking about the sites to see, what to eat, and what to do in Boston. I’m hoping that this will be helpful for anyone interested in visiting Boston – whether it’s a day or a week – and also for other people living here who may not know where to start in enjoying this awesome city.

family activities in Boston

Today, I’m talking about my trip to Max Brenner, located on Boylston St. It’s known as one of the best chocolate companies, which is right up my alley. A week or so ago, one of my cousins was in town, so we (my mom, sister, and I) took him there for lunch.

restaurants in Boston

My only complaint is that it was not very allergen friendly. I can’t eat gluten, dairy, or hydrogenated oils, and I really struggled to find something that I could eat on their menu. They had a few salads, but most of them I would have to take off so many ingredients that it would just become lettuce and the odd tomato. I ended up going with a burger (without the bun or waffle fries), and it was delicious. I just had it with lettuce and tomato, but it was one of the best burgers that I’ve ever had.

My sister had a salad on top of a waffle. The presentation was pretty impressive, as you can see below. It had cheese, chickpeas, quinoa, and tomato, and she really enjoyed it.

restaurants in Boston

My cousin ordered a cheese pizza, and between him and my mom, they finished it easily.

restaurants in Boston

Everyone was satisfied with their lunches and so full that we opted out of dessert. I do want to return some time to try and find out if they really do have the best chocolate. I mean, it’s my duty to all of you, right? If I have to eat some of their chocolate to find out if you have to stop by when you’re visiting Boston, then I’ll do it for you.

Overall, my family and I loved our meal there. My only issue was that there weren’t many options to accommodate me, but unless you have those intense dietary restrictions, it would be great to add to your list of family activities to do in Boston.

Just so you know, I was not compensated in any way for this post. If I ever am in any way for these posts in the future, I will absolutely let you know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Free Downloadables + Giveaway

Happy Tuesday! In my quest for a more organized life - specifically, a more organized blog life - I have put together a blog binder to keep all my information, statistics, plans, goals, to-do lists, and more in one place. I got a lot of pages for it just off of Pinterest or Google, but I was not loving a lot of the calendar options. They tended to not have enough space for me to actually write anything in them!

Free blog printables

First up - September 2014 calendar. There is enough space for you to write your post ideas and your goals for the month.

September 2014 calendar printable

I have it in 3 color combinations - blue and green, pink and green, and pink and cyan. Download for free!

Next up - for all you bloggers out there, I have a week calendar with reminders to write, proofread, make an image, schedule (if you do that), and promote it. AND there's space for you to add notes on your goals for the week, what's coming up, and reminders to yourself. Don't want to print off one of these each week? Print off one (or four for the month), put it inside a page protector, and write on it using a whiteboard marker.

Right now, I only have it in one color combination. If you would like other color options, let me know, and I may offer others in the future! Get in blue and green here.

Printable Weekly Calendar

Finally - I have a 2 week calendar with the same daily reminders as the one above. I also have this is just one color combination, and I have the same suggestion here as I do with the other one: print off one or two of these, put 'em in page protectors, and write on them with white board marker. Saves a lot of paper!

Get it here in blue and green.

Printable 2 Week Blogger Calendar

Dara : The Southern Thing // Melany : Melany's GuyDlines  // Kelly : Sparkles and Shoes 
Logan : Logan Can  // Jess : The Fly Away American  //  Kelly : Six One Six  
 Becca : Becoming Adorrable  //  Jess : Being Mrs. Beer  // Jackie : Our Nashville Life 
 Kate :  Kate the (Almost) Great  // Heather : When You're Making Plans //  Helene : Helene in Between

Monday, August 25, 2014

August Favorites

August has been a HUGE month for me. I moved away from Nashville - where I've lived since starting at Vanderbilt in August of 2009 - moved back home, and have fully started hoping to get my health back under control. So here is what I've been loving this past (crazy) month!

August Favorites


Taylor Swift - Shake It Off

Say what you will about the music video, but this is a super fun and catchy song. I can't wait for the rest of the album!


I've mentioned time and time again how much I love the Outlander series. I'm currently rereading the 7th book, and hoping to get the 8th one when it comes out in paperback (because I'm definitely not spending $35 on the hardback, as much as I love the series.)

Grad School Websites

Yes, I am applying to grad school. So I'm reading and reading and reading websites and information, so much so that my head is starting to spin.

Ash lives "to experience every day as an adventure by blogging about the grits of life." 

 Jenn shares with you her crazy dog lady tendencies, her shopping problem, what she's wearing, and her hopes, dreams, and… stuff.


I have this great pair from last year that I wear all the time! They look cute, and like I put in more effort than I did. Be sure to snag a pair in the end of summer sale!

I'm going to be giving a full review later this week, so I won't say more other than a) they're really comfortable and b) I got them for free to review, just FYI.

Look good, feel good, fit well, and all the jazz. Love them! 



Criminal Minds

Big Brother 16

World Without End - miniseries available on Netflix, historical fiction

Emma Approved - YouTube modern retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. And the actors who play Emma and Alex are dating in real life. It's just glorious.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Kate the (Almost) Great: YouTube Edition

As you may or may not know, I've recently started making YouTube videos as another way to express myself creatively. Subscribe to find out when I publish them, and/or watch my most recent videos below. Have a great weekend!

An Overview of My Channel

I Quit! A Vlog of the Quitting Process

Get Ready With Me

Why Do We Need Awareness

Piper Doesn't Hate Me! Vlogging My First Week In Boston

Friday, August 22, 2014

101 in 1001 Update

Back in January, I started a 101 in 1001 list. It's a list of 101 things I want to accomplish in 1001 days. Since my life plan drastically changed due to my health, I went through and changed some items that were specific to Nashville/living in Tennessee. Today I have that changed list, as well as an update on what I've accomplished!

101 in 1001

Start Date: January 2, 2014
End Date: October 4, 2016

1. Finish book #2

2. Publish book #2

3. Get a literary agent

4. Read 101 books
I'll be keeping track of this with Goodreads. Check out my 101 in 1001 bookshelf!

5. Throw a dinner party

6. Make Thanksgiving dinner from scratch

7. Invest in a classic handbag

8. Go to yoga class at least once a week for 3 months

9. Take a trip just for fun

10. Go to a brand new city in the US

11. Meet 5 blogging friends in person

12. Proper closet edit

13. Go one month without any frivolous spending

14. Go to church every week for 6 months

15. Go to 5 concerts (symphony doesn't count)

16. Go to the symphony 3 times

17. Get a dentist and go twice a year
(dentist - check.)

18. Get an optometrist and go once a year
(optometrist - check. one visit - check.)

19. Take all of my medications when I'm supposed to take them every day for a month

20. Get a DSLR camera

21. Get Photoshop

22. Learn how to use Photoshop

22. Organize my photos and back them up

23. Get an editor 

24. Make 10 recipes off of My Whole Food Life

25. Get a pet

26. Buy a car

27. Save up enough money to buy said car without taking out a loan

28. See a Broadway musical (on tour or not)

29. Find out my blood type

30. Find a rheumatologist in Nashville who I like

31. Finish setting up/decorating my apartment

32. Try 3 new foods

33. Get to the point where remission is able to be discussed as a possibility

34. Inspire other young people living with arthritis to stand up for themselves

35. Have 1 student tell me I made a positive difference in their life

36. See 5 more Audrey Hepburn films

37. Go to 5 art museums

38. Go to 5 other museums

39. Order a print of the cover of Aureole and have it framed

40. Meet someone famous

41. Get into graduate school

42. Create anti-inflammatory versions of my great-grandmother's famous cookies

43. Complete my first year of teaching

44. Have a picnic by a lake

45. Travel to 5 more states

46. Publish one outfit post a month for a year

47. Take a painting class

48. Go to 3 Red Sox games at Fenway Park

49. Go to 3 hockey games

50. Go to a Pats game

51. Buy a pair of riding boots

52. Have an outfit post pinned by someone other than me

53. Take my sister out for a day of fun, paid for entirely by me

54. Have 100 people buy book #2

55. Throw out or donate everything I own but don't use

56. Buy 3 pairs of heels comfortable enough for me to wear them to work

57. Publish my favorite homemade frosting recipe

58. Get 1,000 views a day on posts

59. Volunteer 5 times

60. Stick entirely to the proper anti-inflammatory diet for 1 week

61. Reach 2,000 followers on Bloglovin

62. Write an honest and open post about relationships

63. Drive the motorboat around the lake

64. Go kayaking

65. Participate in an Arthritis Walk or Jingle Bell Walk

66. Improve my health enough so that I can go back to work

67. Get a proper pair of Bean boots (not just the duck boots I already have)

68. Buy a brand new Lilly Pulitzer dress

69. Go to a wedding

70. Make apple crisp

71. Create and host a giveaway on the blog

72. Be able to do the crow pose in yoga

73. Go to the ballet

74. Participate in a book club

75. Participate in the Delta Gamma alumnae group

76. Give $5 to charity for every task on this list I don't complete by 10/4/2016

77. Go to confession once a year

78. Choose a signature meal

79. Perfect my signature meal

80. Get a cable box for my TV

81. Make a photobook of my Maymester in London

82. Take out my viola again

83. Play my viola for someone

84. Send thank you notes within 1 week of receiving the gift/cause for the note

85. Vlog

86. Go to a state fair

87. Find a red wine that I like

88. Give something tangible up for Lent

89. Send someone flowers

90. Vote in a Massachusetts election

91. Get my Massachusetts driver's license

92. Pay for someone else's Starbucks order

93. Spend quality time with each of my younger cousins

94. Go to a psychic

95. Put my personal mission statement somewhere I see it regularly

96. Go 1 week only talking about my pain when someone asks about it/brings it up

97. Zero balance on my credit card each month for 6 months

98. Host a link-up

99. Go out for brunch with friends once a month for 6 months

100. Journal every day for a month

101. Finish all of these items!

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