20 Days and Back Again

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Yikes, did I really fall off the web for a full 20 days? My apologies. Not exactly the greatest way to stick to goals and resolutions. But when you fall down, you get back up again. So I am climbing back on my horse, gathering up my sword, and continuing on.

2014 has been interesting so far. Some friends and I started off the new year with a post-holiday, 21-day detox. No caffeine, no alcohol, no meats, no dairy, no added sugar. High fiber, plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, rice, beans.

I won’t lie, I wasn’t the most legalistic in my approach to the rules of the detox. What’s the point of being healthy if you’re miserable while doing it? So I took a few days to wean myself off the caffeine and sugar. And when I got a minor concussion at work last week, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts to get coffee so I wouldn’t fall asleep as soon as I got home. When some friends met for dinner, I ordered a nice big salad… and I didn’t bother to request they leave off the chicken. Sue me.

But I haven’t had a drop of alcohol in three weeks. And I’ve gone from needing cream and sugar (and often flavoring) to stomach my coffee, to drinking it with skim milk and half the sugar I used to need. I sweeten my oatmeal with bananas instead of two spoonfuls sugar. And I have a giant bag of brown rice and another of flaxseed, both of which I intend to keep using every chance I get.

I haven’t weighed myself in a while, so I don’t know if I lost anything by eating this way. But that wasn’t really the point. My body feels refreshed and more balanced that it has in a while. I no longer feel as though I NEED coffee to wake up each morning. And, overall, I’m really proud of myself. Proud that I stuck with it for three weeks. And proud that I made decisions that fit MY life, rather than forcing myself to stick with a list of “good” and “bad” foods.

Yesterday was officially the last day of the detox. Today I begin the process of deciding what changes to keep in my diet and what foods to re-incorporate. I’m definitely going to start eating some meats again. And I’ll keep a small bottle of milk on hand for cereal, coffee, baking. I’ll drink caffeinated tea and coffee, but I don’t plan to rely so heavily on them. I want to keep my diet low in sugar and high in fiber to keep my tummy as happy as it has been this month. 🙂 Beyond that, we’ll see how it goes!

Right now, I’m off to the gym! I overslept and missed a yoga class I’d planned to attend this a.m., but I refuse to give up working out today. Hope you all are having a lovely Saturday afternoon and are staying warm. (We still have snow on the ground here and are expecting more flurries tonight.)

Yours truly… and please let me know what you think of the new blog layout!

REBLOG: “18 Things Women Shouldn’t Have To Justify”

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“Our lives weren’t meant to be scripted the same way. When you adopt someone else’s narrative, it’s because you aren’t hearing your own clearly enough.”

Thought Catalog

1. Putting themselves first. When Barbara Walters asked Michelle Obama if it were selfish that she openly makes herself her first priority she responded: “No, no, it’s practical…. a lot of times we just slip pretty low on our own priority list because we’re so busy caring for everyone else. And one of the things that I want to model for my girls is investing in themselves as much as they invest in others.”

2. How little or much they’re eating, especially if it’s “unhealthy.” You can eat a big lunch without having to say “I haven’t eaten anything all day” or have some delicious ass nachos without saying “I totally deserve this, I was so good this week, I’ll start the diet again tomorrow.” More importantly, you shouldn’t have to always be interrogated with “that’s all you’re having?” or “you’re going to eat all that?!”

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Virginia Beach Sunrise

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 Happy New Year, friends & followers!!

I hope that your 2013 went out with a bang (in a good way) and that you are already being blessed and loved in 2014. My New Year’s Eve celebration ended up being smaller and quieter than I’d originally hoped, but in hindsight I’m totally okay with that. Last year this time I made some questionable choices that didn’t have any lasting repercussions but did mess with my head a bit… It feels good to wake up this morning with no regrets or commitments. It feels mature and settled. (Perhaps that is a sign of what’s to come in the next 12 months.)

Anyway, after a quick Dunkin Donuts run for a bagel and coffee, I decided to start the New Year off right this morning with Season 5 Episode 1 of “Supernatural.” What better way to kick off a new start than watching Sam and Dean battle the Apocalypse?

I also decided to re-read The List. See if anything new jumped out at me. Ponder which item to check off next. In doing so, I realized that I’d already completed one this week, completely by accident!

After visiting Beth earlier this week, I made the 11-hour drive from her home down south back to my beautiful (and frigid) New England apartment. As it just so happened, Beth’s 18-year-old younger sister was also traveling north on the same day, and it made so much more sense for her to just ride with me than to take a bus by herself. And thus, I gained a travel buddy!

I suppose I could use this to check “Road trip with a friend” off my list. However, it doesn’t really count in my brain because (a) I make very similar south-north/north-south drives several times a year and (b) I barely knew her before we got on the road. Just the same, though, it was a really great trip and I loved having company, particularly company who appreciates country music as much as I do. 🙂

Anyway, we headed out bright and early in hopes of getting to my place at a half-way decent hour. I don’t mind driving at night… except when it’s the last few hours of a nearly 12-hour long drive. Then I mind a bit. So my goal is always to use as much sunlit time as possible.

We didn’t even think about the fact that we’d be on the road when the sun came up. Or that the “road” we’d be on would be the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel.

If you’ve never driven through the Virginia Beach area, you may not know about the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. It’s a 23-mile long stretch of road that stretches not only over, but also UNDER, the Chesapeake Bay. It’s quite a marvel to travel over, especially if you’re like me and have only heard about it but never actually traveled it before. The experience was made even more impressive by the perfect timing as the sun slipped above the horizon and broke through the clouds.

Virginia Beach Sunrise

Another upside to have someone ride shotgun: She got to take pictures while I kept driving.

Even after we finished crossing the Bridge-Tunnel and were back on solid land (at least I think it was solid land… the lines are all a bit blurred around there), the sky was still stunning.

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So I may not feel ready to cross the roadtrip off The List, but I definitely count this amazing morning drive as “Watching the sun rise over the ocean.” I certainly don’t plan on this being my last time to experience it. But I’m very pleased to have this as my first. 🙂

All photos borrowed from my fantastic copilot and photographer J.G.

22 Things I Did Before I Got Married at 22… And What I Plan To Do After

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I am one of the hundreds (thousands?) of people on the Internet who shared the blog post “23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23.” [See my previous re-blog.] Because I like her list. Because I relate to her list. And then a friend sent me this blog, and I immediately felt the need to share it as well! Not because it changes my liking of the other article… nor does it negate the viewpoint of the other… but because this article also resounds with me. And the author has a fantastic point: Everyone has their own list to strive for and take pride in, and it’s not anyone’s place to judge what is or isn’t on that list. Different people want different things out of life. That’s the beauty of life. Embrace it! Write your own list! (And also remember that 23 is SO young! You have so much of your life ahead of you. Live it to its fullest right up until your last breath.) ♥

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There’s a post making its rounds on Facebook that is grating me the wrong way: “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23.”

I want to preface this post by saying that yes, I did get engaged before 23. I was 19 when he officially popped the question with a ring and everything–but I was sixteen when we decided that was what was right for us. I was 22 when we got married, and it’s been over a year since then.

I’m 23 now. Have I done everything on that author’s list? No. Not because I didn’t have time or am now incapable of such things now that I’m married–it’s because I have no desire to complete most of them, because that list isn’t me. It also isn’t, I don’t think, a list for many of the people reposting it on my Facebook newsfeed, nor even a…

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23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23

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Over Christmas break, my mom and I had a conversation at the laundromat about why I’m not upset, depressed or discouraged by my friend’s recent engagement. It was a good opportunity for me to put my viewpoint, philosophy and way of life into words, which I hadn’t stopped to do recently. It was nice to log onto Facebook this morning and find a blogger who seems to be walking a similar path and be totally okay with it. I’m a few years past 23, but most everything rings true. I could add a few more and make it “27 Things to Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 27” and it would still make just as much sense. [And I don’t mean any of this as an indictment of marriage, or even young marriage. If it’s right for you, that’s great! But it doesn’t fit me right now, and that’s not a bad thing. There’s plenty else for me to be focusing on.]

Wander Onwards

Marriage

As 2013 wraps up, I’ve been noticing more and more people getting engaged and/or married under the age of 23.

I get it.

It’s cold outside… you want to cuddle and talk about your feelings… life after graduation is a tough transition… so why not just cut to the chase and get married, right?  It’s hip. It’s cool. You get to wear clothing that wouldn’t normally be socially acceptable at the dive bar you frequent with the $5 beers.  Eff it. YOLO. YOMO! You only marry once…

Oh wait.

The divorce rate for young couples is more than twice the national average. Divorce is no longer a staple in a midlife crisis, but rather, something that SEVENTEEN Magazine should probably be printing on. Headlines could read,

“How to budget for your prom AND your wedding in the same year!”

“What’s HOT: Kids raising Kids.”

“Why your Mom doesn’t really…

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“Wow, you really have a selective memory, don’t you?!”

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I adore my friends. Truly, honestly, I have the greatest friends in the world.

They do fantabulous things like stay up all night to write a novel in one month. And buy full-length prom dresses at Goodwill, just because we can. And make cross-country road trips, living out of the back of a Subaru. And freak out when they wake up and have blue-painted toenails. And show up at my door unexpectedly for a Halloween party. And watch full television series start-to-finish in a handful of weeks. And spit tequila all over the living room floor. And run to the nearest IHOP whenever we see one another.

We’re a little bit crazy. And a lotta bit awesome.

And in three weeks, one of my very bestest friends in the world is moving to Australia. Which is a very, very long way away from where I live. (So far, in fact, that GoogleMaps has no idea how to map the trip.)

Therefore, as I write this, I am sitting on Beth’s bed following a lovely trip to the International House of Pancakes. Because I couldn’t let Christmas break pass by without coming to visit her before she left. I haven’t felt this comfortable and this “myself” in a long time. The two of us on either ends of a bed, both buried in our laptops, with potato chips and Helluva Good dip and a bag of chocolate between us. And of course, a movie playing in the background. Tonight’s selection is “The World’s End.” [The combination of this movie and being back with Beth is prompting me to add “Bar Crawl” to The List.] Feels like I’m right back in my senior year of college again.

It may be the world’s end… but, at this moment, the world feels pretty okay to me.

On another note, Tuesday night is New Year’s Eve. My friend Christine and I are planning to hang out, though the exact details of our plans are still up-in-the-air. I’ve also extended an invite to Matt (that really sweet, cute guy from our Halloween party) to come out on the town with us. We’ll see what happens. Hope you each have fun and safe things planned for your New Year’s!!