Ready, set…

For a really long time, I’ve been a wanderer. I meander in and out of places with no real set destination or even an idea in mind as to what I’m doing there. I’ll say that I’m committing to something only to lose interest within a month or so. This goes into every aspect of my life. Think deciding to go to bed at a decent hour every night. That didn’t last very long. Doing my hair and/or makeup every day for work? I think I lasted four days before going back to bare face. Soldierfit? I lasted two months before finding excuses. Granted, what kept me from going was a stupid fear of judgment (I last minute was unable to volunteer for an event they were holding and felt super guilty about it), but that fear turned into complacency. I go to yoga, i love yoga, but I only go sporadically. I re-commit to my blog only to let other things get in the way a few days or weeks in. Individually, none of those things are all that big of a deal, but they add up to a lifestyle I don’t enjoy for myself. I try to be accountable in other areas of my life, so why not the ones that really mean something to me? Sleep, exercise, and writing are extremely important things. Sleep is very important. Sleep is something i covet.

sleeptimeI love sleeping.

So, after I was unceremoniously dumped by the guy I was seeing for almost five months (literally just fell off the face of the earth completely out of the blue, I still don’t really get it), instead of getting mopey or sad because a boy I liked didn’t like me, I started getting this idea. It was a quite good idea. And considering the fact that I’ve already finished both Criminal Minds and Gilmore Girls on Netflix, I should be able to find some spare time. I’ve also finished The 100, Once Upon a Time, and Cosmos (again). Netflix is the devil.

Anyway, I got this idea. I’ve spent most of my adult life pretty wrapped up in guys and dating, love and the recoil of a failed relationship (though I’m usually most productive during that time). I wanted to emotionallyspend the rest of my 25th year getting to know myself and trying new things. Thus far, I’m breaking them into separate categories: Physical, Edible, Beauty, and Mental. Physical includes things like trying a spinning class, Zumba, pole dancing, acroyoga, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and so forth. Edible is actually my shortest list still because I’m not sure where to look for new or out there experiences with food. I want to try an entirely raw meal (like at one of those granola restaurants), try that super poisonous if it’s not cut right blowfish, and different ethnic restaurants like That Cuban Place (that’s the real name, I swear) in downtown near my house. Beauty is an amalgamation of things like acupuncture, a full out mani/pedi (had separately but surprisingly never together), athletic massage, bikini wax (I’m not ready for this but I figure I should try it), and so on. Ziplining and skiing are also on the lists in there. I’m creating an Excel spreadsheet, I shit you not.

The point being, I want to spend the rest of my quarter life crisis exploring myself a la Eat, Pray, Love (sans trip across the woeatpraylovemindyrld because, um, I have student loans). The book, not the movie. This whole experiment started, I guess technically, yesterday. I started Insanity: Max 30. I’ve never done these sort of tapes before, at least not all the way through, so this is the beginning. And sixty days from now when I complete it my reward is that aforementioned fancy mani pedi. Or maybe a massage, eesh. It’s brutal, but I’ll get more into it at the end of my first week. This weekend, I’m going to my first spinning class. Next week holds a barre class.

Following the instruction of a blogger I love, Gretchen In-Between, I checked out Yelp’s Fit Club and will be (hopefully!) trying out a few things with that.

Have any ideas for fun, weird, or unique things I could try? Let me know! I’m pretty open-minded, and I plan on writing about all of this.

– a.

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Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

Taking a quick break from drowning in paperwork to write this (aka on break at work) – I’m going to try and start a new type of post every Tuesday. I hate Tuesdays, they’re usually my biggest slump day of the week. Maybe that’s just me, but, Tuesdays are my “in desperate need of something to cheer me up” days. They also happen to be my biggest retail therapy day. Keep me away from Ann Taylor and TJ Maxx on Tuesdays. And the internet in general.

So, I want to try and compile a list of things that perk me up each Tuesday – whether they be something cute I saw online (buyable or no), an article that I read and really enjoyed, something nice that happened, or just an inspirational quote I ripped from my Pinterest board. Whatever. Probably better to show than tell:

Tuesday Pick-Me-Up #1

3 Simple Tricks to Improve Running Form (And Have the Best Run Ever)
3 Quick and Dirty Tips to Prevent Running Injuries for Good

Finding out what shin splints really are...

Finding out what shin splints really are…

These article, from Greatist, were short and to the point but the tips were great and better yet, information I didn’t already know. I’ve complained about it before I’m sure but I have a tendency to struggle with shin splints whenever I’m running a lot – I’ve learned they’re mostly from my stride and overworking myself. Luckily, though I had some pretty severe shin pain after running Friday, I was way more mindful yesterday and today and it’s completely gone (phew!). I genuinely love running and I hate when I have to cut back because my muscles are pulling away from the bone. Btw, yeah, that’s what shin splints do. And stress fractures, for those curious, are when the muscle pulls part of the bone away with it and – yeah. I’m grossed out too. So, I don’t want that. And the author of these short articles (seriously, check them out, even if running isn’t your favorite thing), Jason Fitzgerald, is a certified track coach so if he doesn’t know what’s up with running, we’re all screwed.

Mod Cloth’s Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy

CaddyI do not need this but it is easily the one of the cutest effing things in the whole entire world. My next place may (read: most definitely) have a woodland creatures-type theme. It’s okay, just call me Snow White. Can be found for purchase here: Extra Soar-age Shower Caddy. ModCloth’s home decor section in general is awesome – though a little price-y for a lot of cute but silly knick knacks. Don’t get me wrong, I troll their page endlessly and suggest everyone go check it out.

 

Fitness Blender

Not my photo, obviously.

My friend Meara first told me about this website and I finally checked it out. And it is AWESOME. You can search for workouts by the amount of minutes you are willing to scrounge together, the amount of calories you’re willing to let go of, even the part of the body you would most like to improve. FYI, there is no such thing as “spot reducing” so if you looking to lose fat from your abs specifically, it’s not going to happen. You’ll just lose weight in general. But if you want to actually strengthen your core, you know what kind of exercises to look up. I felt the need to throw that info in there. I’m just a wealth of knowledge today, aren’t I? So this website is created by a married couple that look like they make all of their friends on social media jealous and it’s pretty awesome. So far, it looks free too so it sounds like an all around win to me. I spend a lot of money on a gym but you really have a lot of options when it comes to home workouts.

Lastly and on a completely unrelated note, I’m a huge horror/thriller/suspense movie fan. I love ’em; love being scared, adrenaline-racing, edge of my seat, holy shit holy shit holy shit scared. So on Halloween, Beau and I rented a horror movie called Dark Skies to watch, then ended up falling asleep because we’re really exciting people. I still wanted to see it so I watched it alone the next night and you guys it’s about aliens. I love ghost movies, and it was from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious so I thought, “Oooh scary ghostie movie!” I was so wrong. They showed the aliens. They had the long thin appendages and big heads and big eyes and seriously it was the most incredibly wrong turn a movie that showed promise could make. Aliens. Aliens. STOP IT.

– a.

We’re all a little mad here

Basic reaction to a whole bunch of people I don't know reading about my feelings.

Basic reaction to a whole bunch of people I don’t know reading about my feelings.

So, in a completely unexpected twist, the CEO of the gym I joined last week shared a link to my blog and my readership blew up. The first thing I thought, after “holy crap why are so many people looking at my blog today?” was, “Oh SHIT, I was totally talking about my feelings, oh god oh god oh god oh god.” But, then I remembered that I’m human and most of us have feelings, so I stopped hyperventilating. Anyway, so grateful for the sharing of my blog AND for the program itself – four classes this week and all of them were amazing! I’m finally a little less acutely sore, soaking in Epsom salts and eating protein can help with that (in my humble opinion), but sore enough that I know I was working past my comfort zone. Have you ever done push up/sit up pyramids? You do ten push ups, ten sit ups, nine push ups, nine sit ups, etc until you get down to one of each. We did that between circuits including donkey kicks (aka I’m learning how to twerk somehow) and jump lunges. As per usual, absolutely soaked in sweat. As per usual, went out in public afterward and didn’t give a single shit. I’m pretty sure I jokingly told my friend verbatim, “Oh, I’m sweaty and you don’t like that I’m not all cute right now? OH DAMN, I DIDN’T REALIZE I WAS LIVING FOR YOUR APPROVAL.” Not that she gave a flying crap, we’re both pretty low maintenance people.

That’s actually what I had originally wanted to write about. I don’t know how to function around men that I find attractive anymore (nor have I ever really been able to, to be honest). I really am, in the least cutesy way possible, that idiot that runs into a pole, or end table, or wall because I’m physically incapable of thinking of something clever and also being a human at the same time. Which it proving very difficult because my life is decidedly far more filled with attractive people. I also, incorrectly, assume that men I’m attracted to would be more attracted to me if I…oh, wore makeup or did something other than let my hair do whatever the hell it wants. And wear something other than spandex pants. Well, maybe not that last one. Like I said, I’m a low maintenance person. Every once in a while I’ll whip out the curling iron and get really crazy, but for the most part, if you don’t like it, don’t look at it. Did that keep the 60-year-old thing that came directly from a swamp from catcalling out the window of his car “COME HERE AND GIMME A KISS, COMERE GIMMEA KISS” while we were both going 70mph on the highway? Of course not. Some people are just really hoping to be involved in vehicular manslaughter.

Oh, most people shower before going in public after a workout?

Oh, most people shower before going in public after a workout?

But anyway, something I’ve started to learn, at almost a quarter century old, is that I shouldn’t want to be surrounded in any capacity by people who wouldn’t appreciate me just the way I am. I wear jeans like five times minimum before I wash them, have no problem jumping into basically any body of water at any temperature, listen to every single genre of music that exists (except polka because fuck that), I don’t give a flying shit sideways about sports unless I’m actively participating in them, and will happily pummel a burrito when the mood strikes me. If someone doesn’t appreciate that, then I shouldn’t want to associate with them. I spent a lot of time in middle and high school not really understanding that. That the happiest people are the ones who are completely themselves, for all of their quirks, regardless of what people think. I read an article about that the other day, how the “insert stereotypes here” from high school are miserable now because they tried to fit a mold that doesn’t really exist. I read it and afterwards just shrugged, because at this point it just seems like common sense. People who try to be someone they aren’t to be accepted by society in some way aren’t going to end up satisfied at the end of the day. If you want to change, it has to be for you and not anyone else. Maybe that’s years of working with people trying to make positive changes that taught me that, but regardless. I’m glad that I accepted by complete lack of an ability to be a ‘normal’ human being years ago. Guys, I’m weird as shit. And I’m totally okay with it. I will dance in public if I hear any song that could be considered in any capacity “bouncy”.

That’s about it for now; it’s been a really good week. Plus, Friday the 13th is usually a good day for me, but that may be because I set the really bar really low. Like, oh I didn’t get hit by a car today or sleep past my alarm? Other than those two situations being vastly different in gravity, clearly as long as I get to work on time and survive the day, I’m doing solidly. I decided that I wasn’t going to be the person that continues to wax poetic about a failed relationship, but instead celebrate what was and accept that I’m meant for something better. Note: something, not necessarily someone. Because, you guessed it, I don’t need a man to be happy. Though after a month and a half, man, some action would be lovely. Like, shit. Emotions notwithstanding. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to work. Also, Shakira is on and I’m alone in the office and you better believe I’m dancing around.

– a.

Gotta get down to that Shakira, man.

Gotta get down to that Shakira, man.

Staying committed

Ha, those two words can hold a heavy burden on some people, depending greatly on the subject at hand. In this particular case, it’s staying committed to myself. The past almost two months now (since the turmoil of break up/back together/break up/why won’t you mail me my shit for the love of god) have been, to be completely cliche, a roller coaster. For a little while, I struggled to find any lasting satisfaction or contentment throughout my day. Certain things would make me feel better, but I didn’t really feel good. Thankfully, blessedly, my commitment to self-joy has brought me sufficiently out of the dark place all people go during a break up and my days are mostly joyful now, with moments of sadness. I read a fabulous quote last night from (you guessed it) Tumblr: ” Before I met him, I would dance in the shower. When he was in my life, I would think about showering with him. After he left, I would sit on the ground in the shower and cry. When I got over him, I showered so quickly there was no time for dancing, fantasies or tears. Someone can invade the smallest parts of your life, you won’t even realize it until you dance in the shower again and wonder why you ever stopped.”

Sorry man whose name completely eludes me, I still struggle with the word "no" sometimes.

Sorry man whose name completely eludes me, I still struggle with the word “no” sometimes.

What a perfect way to describe a break up. And desperately true. I’m still in the part where there isn’t time for dancing in the shower – but at least I’ve stopped thinking of him washing the conditioner out of my hair for me. And other inevitable things that happen when showering with your significant other. Speaking of said other things, I have to say that I’ve noticed a stark increase in exboyfriends/lovers/casual sex partners/people I’ve literally never looked at that way/asshole misogynistic strangers reaching out to me. Now, while I am fully aware that rebounding is something that happens and inevitably there will be someone “after”, I have never been a big rebounder. Honestly. After a break up, especially one that wasn’t mutual, the last thing I want is someone else shoving his tongue in or around my mouth (in some cases, mostly around – ew). Don’t get me wrong, attention when I’m feeling down is fabulous. Yes, tell me I’m pretty. All day. Go ahead I encourage the fuck out of that. But, telling me that you messed up with me and/or wish you had done things differently? Drop it, man (x10). I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but when I move on from someone, I fully move on. When I make the decision to walk away, fully drop the rope, I am gone and I don’t look back. Not emotionally, anyway. And, on a mildly related note, I really need to apologize to the guy who I convinced to wait for me upstairs when I didn’t know how to say, “JK no, you’re really good looking and clearly intelligent but I’m an emotional mess,” and then ran out of the house. But I knew that trying to use sex or anything like it to try to make myself feel better wouldn’t fix anything and it certainly wouldn’t make me feel any more chipper.

Peeta is just as confused as me.

Peeta is just as confused as me.

It feels good though. To feel good again, I mean. To have days where I don’t run across something that reminds me of all the good in the relationship – because I don’t need reminded of that right now at all. Just like I don’t need to know how he’s doing, or if he’s happy, or any of the above. After bothering him for three, count it, three weeks for the rest of my things (trying all different tactics, mind you), I finally just told him to keep it last weekend. Said it was the last text I was sending. I’m appalled by the childish behavior, that he’s so scared to even see me when I offered to just pick them up because it’s like $20 to ship anything anymore. Mind you, of course he responded to that text (but not to the cut and dry “please mail me my things, let me know if you need my address” one, idontevenknowyouguys) and gave some excuse and then asked for my address but still the whole process? Ugh. And her mother trolling my Facebook page to “see if I said anything mean about her?” For Pete’s sake. I was willing to put up with the sitting outside and watching the house to see if I was over, mildly suicidal ideations, drunkenly showing up at his house, social media stalking, etc (btw, all of these are classic signs of an actual stalker, FYI) while I was in the relationship, now I’m not and I would very much like left alone. Was it actually her mother? I have no foggy notion; she used to use her mother’s Facebook to stalk us beforehand. Do I want to continue to think about it? No. Truly, I want left alone. I need to recommit to myself and myself alone. I don’t want any more relationship garbage, or long lost loves flying back into my life, or any of it. If this was a book, I’m finished reading it. I’d like to put it down now and not have it be like that book about creatures from Harry Potter.

So, all of that fun nonsense aside, I’m really pushing myself to be even better than I was before November. I signed up for a 5K, have been trying to help and reach out to as many friends as possible (this is symbiotic – I also don’t love being alone), have been really trying to keep improving at work, and joined a gym. And I’m really excited about this gym. Like, typing about it keeps making my eyebrows do this jumpy “are you excited cause I am” thing that kind of freaks me out because I can’t help it. Anyway, it’s called Soldierfit and it’s abso-fucking-lutely bloody-fucking-tastically amazeballs. I can’t believe I just wrote those last three words. It’s a program that’s based around military boot camp drills – but they offer so much more. MMA classes, yoga, kids classes, a regular gym, etc. My friend got into it a few months back and is already working there as a trainer because she’s a. awesome, b. a beast, and c. toootally gets the whole “reinvesting in yourself after a breakup” thing. So I left my old gym and joined Soldierfit and already love it. It’s not just a gym, it’s a family. Everyone is so nice, there’s so much camaraderie, and you can bet your ass that all of the trainers are good looking. Like, do another box jump for me unnng, good looking. That’s some serious motivation right there.

After the break up, I stopped eating and lost almost 15 pounds. I was happy to lose it but not in the way that I did. Once I started eating, I gained about five back. That’s about normal and didn’t really bother me, but I really miss how I felt when I was actually in shape. And I’ve been waxing on about that for years now, which is, at this point, stupid. I know what I have to do to get actual abs back. I know what I have to do to run an 8 minute mile (I’m clearly not a sprinter or anything along those lines, definitely a plodder). This was my very enthusiastic way of finally doing it. And oh dear god, everything is sore. My life is sore. I am so sore. Soreness 4 lyfe. It’ll improve and I’ll get stronger, and for now this pain is a good reminder of why I shouldn’t quit. And man, these functional fitness workouts are awesome. Slamming a mallet into a tire, heaving sandbags (really heavy ones), whipping a 10 pound ball at the wall like a shot put – I love it. I love all of it. Indian runs will likely be the death of me, but I love it. I’m so exhausted afterward, and nauseous, but it feels so good to know that I did it. I’m doing something. And it makes me feel good. Good for me, not good for anyone else. If I look great in a bikini and can be eye candy for others, that’s fine too, but I want to be able to climb ropes and army crawl through mud, flip tires, and do back flips. God, it really feels good to be active again. It feels really really good to start feeling like me again. I’m just starting, but it feels so good.

It’s funny, last year around this time, I’d written a post wherein I’d used a .gif to describe my love life. It was, still apt and perfectly chosen from Bridesmaids, when she raises her champagne glass, looking begrudging. I feel a little differently this time.

No really guys, I got this.

No really guys, I got this.

Fitness assessment tonight before class. I’ll try and post the results.

– a.

Cue Rocky Theme

So, it’s been over six months since my last post. I have no excuses, I just had preoccupations. I thought so regularly about wanting to post, even planned posts, but when it came down to actually sitting down and typing…I found myself not finding the time. Not making the time, really. A lot of things have happened for me since August 2013. I quit smoking (again) in September and have not had a cigarette for almost six months. I really committed to it this time and found a voice I had stuffed away in regards to friends smoking around me. And I quit cold turkey.

Holy crap, you guys. That wasn’t fun. Four days of bargaining, irritation, mood swings, cravings, headaches…awful. But afterward I was pleasantly surprised by how little I ever found myself craving one. And how rarely I even think about it now. It’s great.

I messed up some part of my hip/lower back (still not sure) pretty badly in August. I went to the doctor and he diagnosed it as the ever-feared “tweak of the back” that you’re always terrified of hearing. If you can’t hear my sarcasm, let me show you:

hangovergif Shortly after ‘diagnosing’ me, he made a grotesquely creepy comment about how flexible I am. Needless to say, I am never going back there ever again. Unfortunately, I still deal with almost daily pain and what could possibly be reoccurring hip dislocation…or something. I guess I’ll never know. Then, overcompensating, I pulled a muscle behind my left knee.

Basically, I haven’t been running. Or hiking. But on the plus side, I picked up hooping (yes, hula hooping) and have slowly been making progress with that. I’m still doing yoga, though admittedly, I’ve really fallen off with it recently. I used to hoop outside when the weather was nice or do yoga inside in an empty group room on my breaks at work.

Speaking of work, I no longer work at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center (!). While I wish I could have left on different terms with a few people, I have never received so much love and well wishes after leaving a job. I’ll miss my co-workers all deeply. The job itself? Not so much. Working so closely for so long in an often times thankless job is extremely draining physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s funny, I’d searched for a new job for six months while working there, but after I left (without a job set up), it only took me 15 days to have not one, but two job offers. I ended up taking an administrative job at a financial advising firm. Perhaps some things are just supposed to happen.

myjob

My reaction the first time sushi was presented to me for free.

I’m working much closer to home, 8:30-5 M-F, don’t have to worry about my dress clothes getting torn in a restraint, and have yet to have someone yell at me or call me a bitch…so all around positive transition. I’ve been there for almost two months now and I really like it. My co-workers are wonderful, friendly, and competent and hey…they buy me sushi. Big fan. I’m excited to see how this job progresses from here.

I’ve gotten really into meditation, some weeks more than others. But I have to tell you, it really does work wonders. I have one of those minds that runs on overdrive all of the time. As in constantly. I worry and nit pick and over-analyze. I’m super sensitive sometimes. Okay, all the time. But I’m aware of it and taking time to quiet my mind and just focus on being on a regular basis really helps to ground me. If that sounds like you, definitely try it.

Lastly, my love life. For a long time after Manthing, I didn’t see anyone. I didn’t want to, I knew it wouldn’t be healthy for me to try and get involved emotionally…or even physically. Which, if you know me, is a pretty big deal. So I worked on myself, built myself back up, swallowed the bitter pill of rejection (and then pettiness) and moved on with life. I haven’t gone back and read my last few posts yet because I don’t really need to delve back into the mind state I was in/getting through. In November, I (technically) re-met a guy from years before, who I’d known in slightly unconventional way. A while later, we started talking and it became romantic. I don’t think either of us expected it, I know I didn’t, but one day we both just dropped our walls and there the other person stood. He isn’t a Manthing, or Manfriend, or Friend-Who-I-Sleep-With-But-Don’t-Have-Set-Guidelines-With-Regarding-Our-Relationship or any other term from today’s hook up culture. He’s my, as childish as it sounds, boyfriend. Bfriend. My man. Like, whoa boy there’s a commitment there, boyfriend.

It’s not always super easy. He’s going through a lot of transitions in his life (divorce being one…never fun, always sad) and while he has a wonderful support network of friends and (most) of his family, he’s had a lot of bumps in the road. But I see this spark in his eye, this constant unwillingness to give up, and this strength of character that I have rarely seen in someone young. By young, I mean 27. He makes me laugh so hard, tests my patience (necessary), cleans up after me and let’s me clean up after him…like actual cleaning with vacuums, tells me the sweetest things all of the time (not just after we argue), and kisses me like it’s the first time every time. I’m constantly amazed by how steadfast he is, how imperfect (in a good way), how honest. I know that I am a very lucky recipient of him, all of him. And I’m very thankful. And the best part?

I didn’t lose myself. Have you ever fallen for someone (like I have before) and it’s not…really right? But you want it to be so you do everything in your power to make it right? You agree with things you disagree with, you never compromise only give in, you don’t say what’s really on your mind. You just hope that eventually, it’ll be right and you won’t have that nagging feeling that it’s not. I have felt that many times. And I stop doing everything that I love so as to make room for what ‘he’ would want me to love (aka how I feel I should change to be more worthy of someone’s love…not healthy btw!). I never once have felt that way with him.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

Somehow this is an accurate depiction of my relationship.

When I feel like I need to say something, I say it. Sometimes we disagree. Sometimes we argue. Sometimes he apologizes, sometimes I do, mostly we both do. I still have the solitude I need, time with my friends, hobbies I can do all on my own. And ditto right back to him. The best part? While the future, of course, looks very bright, I don’t feel like I have to focus on it. I can focus on now, today. It’s a wonderful thing.

But one of the main reasons that I found myself writing today, other than purely missing writing, sharing with others, and being a part of the blogging community, is because I fell off of the wagon. So hard. And by wagon, I mean that I’ve gained some weight. I don’t know how much, probably just enough for it to be considered new relationship weight, but I’m not okay with it. It’s not even the weight number itself that bothers me, it’s the fact that I feel out of shape. I miss the way I felt when I was running and using my muscles regularly. I don’t want to be teeny tiny…at all. I want my quads back. So, back on the wagon of healthy food intake, regular exercise output, lots of picking things up and putting them down, and super dee duper accountability I go. This blog’s format won’t change much; I still like talking about things and stuff more so than online calorie counting, but a big part is going to be this transition. Which involves me admitting that I have slacked so very hard. Ice cream all the time. Chips chips chips. Everything must go…into my tummy. Immediately. While I don’t drink alcohol much anymore (byproduct of dating someone who doesn’t drink), which I’m actually a pretty big fan of, I have been consuming astonishing amounts of dairy products. Mostly cheese. And my stomach has been yelling at me so hard.

So tomorrow, I’m weighing myself. And posting it here. And going to the gym that I have been unknowingly paying $30 a month for these last three months when I thought my membership had ended and they just snuck themselves right on into my wallet. So, hello again! I’m excited to be back. Woohoo!

-a.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

Boyfriend and me at the bowling alley.

Who ever would’ve thought green smoothies could taste like happy?

Good morning all, happy Saturday! This month has been kicking my butt, in a totally acceptable way. My veganism challenge is going along swimmingly, minus one time when I accidentally ate something with whey in it but oh my god it was ONE TIME.

Image

 For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed the challenge of finding new things to eat so I don’t get bored and being mindful of my own eating habits. The first day I accidentally only packed food for dinner and zero snacks. I snack all the time. I snack constantly. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t gain weight from it and could eat salt and vinegar chips and peanut butter bananas ALL DAY ERRY DAY. I can’t. But basically, I almost died on that first day. I had never been that hungry for that long in a while. It was a pleasant surprise though. I hadn’t realized that my snacking habits were bad enough that I was never truly hungry before a meal. So, this has forced me to plan ahead meals and snacks so no matter what, I know what I’m eating. The first week or so was fine craving-wise, but this past week I think I actually dreamed of cheese. I became irritated by others eating cheese. I stared wistfully at the shredded mozzarella and block of goat cheese in my fridge on more than one occasion. I can honestly say that cravings for dairy far outweigh any craving I’ve had for a cigarette when quitting (except perhaps when I’m intoxicated…that’s rough). But, when I thought about it, I’ve been eating dairy products my entire life, as opposed to cigarettes. For the most part, however, I’ve really really enjoyed a plant-based diet. I can feel the difference with my energy and stamina. I feel good.

So what do I eat? ImageMornings usually consist of either Kashi cereal and Almond milk (I really like Berry Fruitful or Blackberry Hills or god forbid a combination of the two that is like god is reining down sweet heaven on my face), oatmeal made with any combination of ingredients, or a green smoothie. I make mine ala OhSheGlows with a frozen banana, two handfuls of spinach and/or kale, a cup of almond milk, a few ice cubes, chia seeds, and a tablespoon of peanut butter. I’ve mixed it up with cocoa powder, almond extract, and similar fun things. So good. I’m drinking one now. 

I think I’ve mentioned my weird work schedule before but I usually don’t eat another meal until around 5pm with the patients. I’ve done a lot of big bowls of veggies, or pasta with kale, or tofu wraps. I’ve eaten a lot of wraps. Spinach wraps, hummus wraps, yellow pepper and broccoli sprouts with whatever else I can find wraps. I’m a fan. They’re fast, easy, and filling. Snacks are usually one serving of a carb and a snack bag with a half-serving of craisins and almonds. I’ve made the best roasted broccoli I’ve ever had in my life this month. 

I’m lucky; there’s a My Organic Market (or MOMs for short) near my house that stocks every vegan thing you could ever want. I purchased my vegan cheese there (daiya is hands down the best – I prefer it melted to straight out of the fridge though), coconut ice cream (craving satisfied – better than regular ice cream), nutritional yeast (inactive yeast – I put it on basically everything), chia (surprisingly hard for me to find elsewhere) and any other odds and ends I couldn’t find anywhere else. They also have the best selection of kombucha tea, which I personally adore. I could drink it every day.

I’m considering sticking to a mostly plant-based diet after this month. Regardless, I honestly prefer how I feel now even with the cravings for cheese. No, but seriously the only thing I crave is cheese. That and one day I had a craving for one of those gourmet fancy burgers with bleu cheese, bacon, and a fried egg on top. I wanted to get it all in one visualization, I think. That still sounds so good. Image

Eating out has been the hardest thing to maneuver. Though I think everyone in my life is sick of hearing about vegan this and that, I’ve had a lot of support. Minus my one coworker that keeps asking me if I want bites of his chicken or beef (COREY). My response is to the right. My parents have been surprisingly tolerant of my constant use of the blender, my friends for the most part don’t mind eating vegan with me, but when I go out I feel very limited with options. I’ve found a few websites that locate nearby restaurants and stores that are vegetarian and vegan friendly, or just straight up vegan. I’ll post them ASAP for you guys. All in all it’s been a fun change, a harder challenge than not drinking for a month (aka last year’s challenge), and eye-opening. I have had to remind people quite a few times though that I’m not doing this for the bunnies and after August, I would be maintaining a plant-based diet rather than actual veganism. Meaning? I’m still drinking wine and beer even though it’s often fined with animal bones. Yup. I know, it’s gross.

Exercise-wise, I haven’t been getting out there all that much for a lot of reasons. One? I did something to my hip/lower back area. I’ve been told it’s a pinched nerve, my mom thinks it’s just an inflamed muscle, who knows. But I haven’t wanted to exacerbate it. I’ve still walked and jogged a few times but I don’t want to lift until I am seen by a doctor. I have been doing light yoga though and forgot how much I’d loved it. I’m trying to incorporate it more often. I also seem to be struggling with finding the time. No, really! My morning is very full of cooking, planning, and then attempting to clean up my messes before work (I don’t always do well with that). After work I like to read or relax to unwind before bed. I should try to add yoga in then, I think. Or perhaps a bit in the morning and night!

Lastly, I’m going to be posting an article a very nice woman asked if I would share of hers on cancer and fitness. While I forgot that I had another email account for this blog (probably not my shining moment), I finally was able to get back to her. I think it’s insightful and interesting. I should be able to get it up tomorrow for everyone!

Side note: I’ve fallen completely in love with maxi dresses. I think it’s a bit of a forbidden type of love because I’m 5’2″ and they’re always about six inches too long but I went from 0-4 in a month time span and wear them quite literally all the time. 

Alrighty then, I’m off to find a recipe for vegan cupcakes to freak the actual shit out of my friend later and then I have some birthday prezzies to purchase!

– a.

What happens when you take away cheese…

So, I mentioned it on Facebook, but I’m intending on going vegan for the month of August. Last year, I didn’t drink alcohol for the month of August and I wanted to do something restrictive again. I love challenges and being sort of bored with my daily goings on, I decided having to switch up my diet pretty hardcore was a good idea. And I don’t want to do this half-assedly. I don’t want to stock up on high-sodium, all-soy frozen products. I’m hoping to eat as cleanly as possible during this month. I’ve made a few starter vegan meals and so far they’ve been great.

Luckily, I have about seven years of vegetarianism still under my belt (college ruined that) and I prefer drinking Almond Coconut milk rather than regular milk. It’s so good. Seriously. I don’t even…it’s so good. My biggest struggle will be with making sure I don’t fall into monotony. Could I eat my Kashi cereal and AC milk every morning? Technically, yes. Will I end up throwing the box across the room in frustration after about a week? Oh, totally.

Unlike last year, when I planned fancy non-alcoholic beverages after the first and found myself staying in a lot because I wasn’t sure what I was going to drink, I want to go into this really well planned. If I like it, I might stay vegan. Probably not, but, here’s to hoping. I really like cheese. I mean, I really like cheese. I could survive without meat, that doesn’t bother me, but fish and cheese would be hard to never ever eat again.

I’ve found some great websites that have really good recipes and stories about going vegan (how they did it, why they did it, what was hard, etc). I never realized how expanded the ‘dairy-free’ arena of substitutes there were. Here are a few of my favorites, if you’re ever thinking of trying a recipe or challenging yourself:

The Gluten Free Vegan

Oh She Glows

Clean Eating Chelsey

Veggieful

My pinterest page also has a lot of good ideas brewing: Pinterest

If you know of any other good places for vegan recipes, or, hell just some motivation, don’t hesitate to post! Before I run along and get ready for work, I wanted to share my recipe from last night for the (vegan) soup I made. It was an absolute hit…with my parents and me anyway. My little brother said it looked like poop in a bowl but he also eats McDonald’s on the regular so…ignore him?

Asparagus and Leek Soup

Not the world's best photo, but nonetheless.

Not the world’s best photo, but nonetheless.

I cannot take credit for this recipe, however, and won’t attempt to try. I found it at Veggieful! Her photo is way prettier than mine, too. The only thing I changed between her recipe and mine was a.) no vegan margarine because I don’t have any, b.) wayyy more olive oil. Not a crazy amount, but it needed far more than a tablespoon, c.) I added half cup of the AC milk to add some creaminess.

Please try the recipe! Asparagus and Leek Soup

It. Was. So. Good.

Anyway, hope you all are having a great Hump Day!

What would be the hardest food for you to give up?

What suggestions would you give to someone changing their diet?

Have you ever gone ‘vegan’ or ‘vegetarian’ before? Would you do it again?

– a.