Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Nope. Not so sad.

Thought I would be, but checking in a few weeks later (well, posting about it), I'm not all that sad about the break-up. I'm actually feeling free and happy. Within 24 hours, I had realized the heft I had been carrying around was gone and just calm and freedom replaced it which are not burdens at all!
I think it is interesting that I am  not sad.
At therapy, I am relearning my wants and needs for a relationship. I learned very well to suppress those and to suppress feelings/frustrations/anger when people treat me poorly. Never again. I may not always put myself first, but I won't put myself second at my own detriment ever again.
I am so proud of myself for being strong and happy. I am happy again.

Influenster BlogStar!

I have been on Influenster for about a year and 7 months or so. I am a huge fan and have been from the get-go! Influenster is a great site and the #InfluensterApp is amazing! (I was voting for the app for such a long time - I am so excited it is finally here!!). Using #Influenster is easy. You join, write reviews of products, services, and companies and make friends! I love that I can connect to people on twitter or blogs through Influenster! It's awesome!
My favorite voxbox (Influenster's occasional reward for being a member) was the #InASnap #voxbox. I LOVE my Venus Razor and it is so perfect for traveling! I brought it on a bachelorette weekend recently and it was perfect. I still bring it on every trip I can (if I have to do carry-on bags, I can't obviously) and love it! The blade heads are even reasonable to replace (under 5$ a head at Target!)!



These are the links from my post about the In a Snap Voxbox:
Vine
In A Snap Pinterest board


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I thought I would be more upset than I am. There honestly isn't too much different in my life even though I ended a long-term relationship (7 years). I was upset the first night and subsequent full day and driving home the second, but now it really is just whatever. We had slowly been seeing each other less and less and talking less and less, so the suddenness of the actual breakup isn't hugely different from what I was previously doing.
I am spending lots of time with brothers and that is awesome. I love my brothers and that I can be friends with them. It's good.
Right now, I don't care if I don't find someone else...I'd be cool with just being and doing me. Traveling and dancing and doing cool shit on my own.
Our society is not too supportive of singlehood though. I can't say how many people have said, "Oh, you'll be fine. You are amazing. I have no doubt you will find someone just as amazing as you are." But I don't need someone else to be complete and have a full life. I am good on my own with my brothers and awesome friends. I don't need a partner to be complete. It's cool if I find someone, but it's also cool if I don't.
Right now, I will focus my energy on meeting Childish Gambino (AKA Donald Glover) and then once he meets me, his focus will be on me. ;)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Broken hearted

Unfortunately, I had to end my seven years and change relationship.
I have for a long time put aside myself and my happiness. I can't do that anymore and disappointingly, my ex and I don't have compatible goals and values. I wish we did because there is a lot of love and respect between us, but that can't account for incompatibility. So I ended it and I am putting myself first. No more sacrificial lamb.
I will get better and healthier and improve. And like he said, he will regret not choosing me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hmmm

It's interesting. I have been with Doug for seven years now. We have had about 6-8 months of completely, not talking at all, broken up "for good" time but the rest, we were together. I never really questioned him. I felt a long time ago that he is my "one" and I'm lucky.
I'm lucky in the sense that my first love will be my last. I know that we have grown up together - and that is SUCH a beautiful thing! I have grown up a LOT in the past seven years and I have been through a lot. I am still growing and moving and shaking and it is nice that I have been able to grow alongside Doug.
I am reading this blog that I find fascinating: The Real Housewife of Ciudad Juarez. I totally have a crush on her life - Emily is living in Juarez with her husband. Not so much the green card situation which is totally beautiful the way she is handling it, but the living in Mexico, the learning Spanish, different culture. I miss all of that so much. I was sitting here thinking, I almost wish I had a noncitizen husband who I move to Mexico with. I don't so much wish I had a different man than mine - I DON'T - you can't have him. But I wish I could move to Mexico. I miss speaking another language (however poorly) and living in a different culture. Oh, how I miss it. I wish Doug would do it with me.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

3-Day Refresh

Beachbody has a new(er) program called the 3-day Refresh. I have to be honest. I did not love it. I felt energetic, but I was HUNGRY. The allotted calories is somewhere around 900 (varies on what fruits/veg you choose). I loved the Fiber Sweep, meh on the Vanilla Fresh.
I didn't mind the restrictions on food. The dinner recipes were really good. I definitely will keep those in my repertoire. I am going to have a vegan day every week now, as well.
I think the #3dayrefresh is good to reset - I didn't want to eat (and haven't eaten) a ton of junk since...yes, it has only been a day but still, coming from a 10+ years long binger, that's pretty extraordinary.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Interesting

I found this article about happiness vs decision making style and it is fascinating. I am totally a satisficer and Doug is a maximizer. Drives me CRAZY but now I get it. I often feel like he is DRAGGING out everything when I just want to decide and move on to the next phase or choice or moment. That's not to say he makes bad decisions, just that he takes longer to make decisions (and usually we come to the same decision but I don't feel the need to test it out - he does). This is absolutely interesting to me.
Does anyone else find this dichotomy in their own relationship?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Excited to announce....

That I am officially a Florida State Nole! I will be attending Florida State University for their Master's of Social Work program beginning this spring!
I will be using LOTS of capitals and exclamation points because I AM SO EXCITED!
I was so bummed with how the application process went with my :( alma mater USF and felt like I was jerked around. Not saying alumni should get instant entrance into grad school at their bach uni, but it definitely should not be even NEAR as difficult as it was. As a result, I didn't have a ton of confidence jumping into the process again at a new school (especially one I didn't graduate from!) but I forged onward and left the past where it should be - in the past. I got 3 new recommendation letters and 1 from the same professor. I wrote a petition for exceptional circumstance and a new personal statement. I sent these to my favorite teacher-friend and she edited superbly for me!
AND NOW I AM A GRADUATE STUDENT AT FLORIDA STATE!!!!! I can't even begin to talk about how excited I am! This is such a perfect opportunity and was actually the only program in Florida I wanted to attend but before I applied to USF, they didn't accept students from other majors than social work (for undergrad level). I looked again over the summer and FSU started taking non-SW majored students, so I immediately started my application, resume, letters of ref and additional papers needed.
I am just incredibly pleased! I have been smiling for days and waiting for when I can start buying college textbooks again (do I have a sickness?). I can't wait for new notebooks, binders, pens, school supplies. I can't wait to study at a coffee shop and just get involved deep in my new field. I am over the moon with excitement, glee, joy and happiness. Doug has been laughing for days at how silly I am!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Turning a new leaf: Spending Diet!

Have you heard of the Spending Diet ? I LOVE And Then We Saved. It is a great website with tons of fascinating tips on daily life. Love it.
I committed personally to a Spending Diet.
Here is my budget. Everything is biweekly since that is how often I am paid. So this is what I "can" spend biweekly. All the rest goes into savings.
From my gross amount, my health insurance, FICA, SSA, and retirement amounts are taken. I base mine off of my net amount.
I decided that this is reasonable for my lifestyle.
80/gas (a bit flexible with the fluctuations in pricing)
100/food
65/Shakeology (seriously helps with my general health, well being, cravings and sanity so it is worth the cost)
50/car insurance
100/play.
This is probably more lenient than a lot of other people but I am only saving. I have no living expenses except food. Gas is a requirement for me because taking a 4 hour bus ride (2 hours there and 2 hours back) inhibits my life too significantly. I could ride the bus, but the time-cost analysis leads me to a 45 minute commute is well worth paying my own gas. As far as I know, I am not able to commute in a ride-share or drive with someone else. Hopefully, down the line, I will move closer to my job (or get a job closer to me or work from home).
I am currently doing #21DayFix but I also have #P90X and #Insanity that I can do if I get bored.
In my food column, it is needs only. My favorite water (La Croix!!!) is not a need, but a want so it comes out of my play money and I only buy it when it is on sale. Food needs are fruits, veggies, meats. That's it really. I focus on eating healthy and living healthy. I have found that I am a LOT happier when I am not binging, eating junk or tons of candy (my weakness is Cry baby tears - I can eat those til the cows come home).
But that is my basic budget. The rest of my money is going STRAIGHT to savings. I can use savings for gifts or genuine needs. I have a little bit of money in each of my accounts in case of emergency (like 50 extra in each of my checking accounts). My goal is to save up enough to be able to take 2-3 weeks to go to Malawi next year! EEEH!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Day Five

Day five of #21DayFix has led to some major cravings. I want bread, pasta and carby-starchy deliciousness. However, I have higher energy and even though I don't like the flavor, I am loving the healthiness and happiness #Shakeology brings me. I am definitely a convert. I will continue using Shakeo for a long time.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Day Four

Definitely a good day. I relaxed a lot and didn't stress. I am getting nervous about this upcoming weekend as usually I just chow my way through the weekends (anxiety, hello!). This weekend, NOPE! I will be following the fix.
I did cheat today. I had a mini Krackel bar (one of the like .5 oz ones). I don't regret it. Just a moment of caving to temptation. Now I'm back. :)
I am about to do the Pilates Fix, so here goes!!
#21DayFix I am coming for you!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Day Three

I ate less than Monday or Tuesday. and I am pretty satisfied too! I have my Shakeology ready to go for after I work out. I actually made a shake but it looked like ice cream so I put it in a bowl. I used 1.5 purple of "triple berry" mix (frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), 1 yellow of almond milk and Shakeology (Greenberry). It isn't bad. I don't love greenberry though. Any recipes for greenberry that I have to try?
Still have a headache but much lighter than yesterday, thankfully.
My energy is a little higher than usual. I am not sore yet, but I know when I wake up tomorrow, my arms/upper body is going to be killing from yesterday's Upper Fix. Today is Lower Fix. I am about to go kill it. Wish me luck!!
I am loving this #21DayFix !

Day Two

Day Two of #21DayFix has me going crazy!
Headaches galore from lack of sodium and processed sugars. However, I was able to kill it in the workout! So stoked about that!
I did not read outside of reading at lunch. :(
I feel like I am slowly getting better and better, healthier and healthier. Since that is my goal, I am good with that! I am excited to keep improving and I am proud that I haven't been cheating.
I haven't been "stuffed" but I have definitely been satisfied. I ate a little more than yesterday.
I got tipsy from my Shakeology. How weird am I? I added lemon extract...way too much spilled out (maybe a tablespoon total?) and somehow, maybe because I am a lightweight, I was tipsy. Strange effect but hey, make do with what you are dealt. I am a lightweight.
I can't wait to get to bed. Night yall!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day One

I decided I wanted to keep myself accountable.
I have been craving, craving, craving ALL DAY LONG. Anything with salt or any smartie type candy (chalky, if that makes sense). I really wanted pretzels or popcorn smothered in butter.
I did not succumb to my baser instincts but instead filled up on greek yogurt, fruit, veggies, Shakeology.
I got the greenberry Shakeology and I'm not loving it. :( I thought it would be fruity and yum without being strawberry but it was too much. I am planning on getting chocolate for next time. In the meantime, I am going to test different recipes. I did buy that blender so mixing with almond milk or fruit will help out. I also may try it with more water (I used half a cup which suddenly seems absurd).
I distracted myself from the cravings by reading which worked surprisingly well. I am glad to have discovered that solution. I will definitely be adding reading daily to my repertoire - as in focused, dedicated reading time. I am considering adding writing time as well.
If you are interested in #21dayFix or #Shakeology - let me know!
I am going to go work out now. Total Body Cardio Fix is today! I am excited and ready to jump back in the game!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

An ending and another new beginning

Last week was rough. I got in a big fight with Doug over something stupid (has since been resolved), flustered my way through work and ended the week frustrated, tired and annoyed. Not the way to start the weekend.
I binged. A lot. I decided to cut the bad and take a break. So I did. I didn't worry about eating on the Fix plan or stressing about working out. I just read a lot and took a break.
So I finally received my Shakeology and I am excited to start using it! I have it all set up for the week. I doled out the servings into smaller containers (I bought the big bag of Shakeo) and I bought a blender so I can just grab my small container, throw some ice in it and continue with my day. I will keep a blendyball shaker as well just in case I am not in the mood for frozen.
(I got this blender!)

I am really excited to restart my #21DayFix.
Here goes nothing!

(PS Have you ever had one of those weeks where you have to step back and reevaluate completely? Even something you are really excited about?!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

And so it begins (again)

I actually decided to become a BeachBody coach. Primarily for the discount, but I love helping people and this may be a way to do it.
I know that I have a lot of weight to lose, but I am going to focus on getting healthy and figuring out what works best for me.
I am excited to start a second round of the #21DayFix ! It is starting on Monday and I am really excited about it. I am anxious too. I ordered Shakeology so that will be a big change from last time! I haven't tried Shakeology yet so I will let you know how I like it!

I have been tweaking my hypothyroid medication too. My dosage actually got doubled by my doc when I went to take the blood test. Little by little, I am getting healthier and back to where I want to be.
There is so much internal shame, fear, anxiety, sheer TERROR I feel at sharing the following photos. I love who I am. I am working on loving how I look. This is me, right now. I am only getting better. These are the before shots. I am giving up the shame, fear, anxiety and terror. Here's to a new beginning.
Amy Poehler gets it. Amy Inspiration on Upworthy






Wednesday, September 17, 2014

After the #21dayfix

I definitely did not eat exactly as I should or work out according to plan. I am surprisingly not disappointed - just elated. I didn't binge for 21 days. I am continuing the fix for lunch and eating well the rest of the meals.
I am loving the clean feeling I have when I have fresh foods. I love the energy and happiness.
I had a major bout of mood swings which derailed me a bit, so I am going to try a new round - I am really excited for it. <3 I can't wait.
Here's to more positivity and gaining strength and health!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Final week of #21DayFix

My 21 Day Fix turned out VERY differently than I expected. I did not follow the meal plan to a T after the 2 weeks (I have done 3 weeks so far - an extra 7 days).
I have not binged - seriously - in this time frame. I have eaten crap food and had PROPER servings! I never thought I would be able to do that and I have!
I "binged" and it was 3 servings of cashews (over a 4 hour period) and 2 luna bars - way better for me and less food than going to Chick-Fil-A and getting 12 count nuggets and then spaghetti (at least 3 servings) when I got home.
This is so triumphant for me that it is surpassing the shame I feel from eating 12 counts and spaghetti. I am so grateful to start to change my eating habits. This is a huge accomplishment. After this week, I plan on continuing. I will keep doing the Fix portion control and slowly weed out the foods that don't work with me, like beans (kinda delicious but really tangle up my digestive process) and dairy (milk, ice cream - neither sit well with me. Cheese is usually okay because I don't usually eat large portions and I pull the cheese off of pizza too).

I have legitimately began a new lifestyle and I am beyond thrilled. I can't wait to keep going and changing and finishing this off. I am so much more comfortable in my body.

On the other side, I am really feeling emotions. Due to not binging (stuffing my feelings with food), I am really emotional. I got into a sad funk last week and it took a literal crying fest on Doug's shoulder to shake it. Good to know I have a solution but it was a frustrating week. I haven't noticed better happys, but then I never binged when happy - just when sad, ashamed, lonely, frustrated, stressed. I feel so much better - and so much worse sometimes, but getting the emotion out by crying or exercise is doing me so much good!

I am so damn proud of myself!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

#21dayfix

I am LOVING 21 Day Fix. The nutrition guide makes it super simple. The workouts are 30 minutes and each exercise is ONE minute! I can do anything for one minute! I love it!
I can't tell if I have lost any weight but I have been super moody. I have gathered that this is because I used to use good and binging as my coping mechanism. Now I am building healthy habits! Endorphins help me cope. 
Feeling my feelings is a strange and difficult adjustment. I know it sounds odd. I am so used to stuffing and hiding from my emotions that it is hard to just feel mad or upset or hurt and not do anything about it-- because sometimes you can't! And that's okay!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

#IceCreamStockUp

Package opening!

I got the #IceCreamStockUp #voxbox from #Influenster LINK HERE!
I am super stoked to test it out!
Magnum Taste Test

And additionally, until Saturday, there is a BUY THREE GET ONE FREE! Promotion goin on at Target!! 
Yum!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

21 Day Fix Take 2

Turns out the group 21 Day Fix starts tomorrow! So thankfully I get a a restart because I was bored with the lack of variety since I didn't prepare last week! I just made salads essentially. I am really excited for tomorrow to start over!
It includes 21 Days of Happiness too, so I think I will do that on here. I am so stinking excited!!!
Here we go!

P&G Everyday Challenge winner = #InfluensterChamp

I won the P&G Everyday Challenge and received a VoxBox for winning! I am officially an #InfluensterChamp.
Check out the video link to see what I got!
Influenster Champ Voxbox!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

End of Day 3

I just am finishing day 3, I am noticing that I cannot, CANNOT eat the full servings I calculated I should eat.
However, I have more energy, more self-control.
I haven't started the workouts yet. I did yoga on Monday and rearranged my room (like hauled furniture out and down the stairs) yesterday and today.
I decided that I am not going to guilt myself anymore. I am going to do things I enjoy and when my room is clean, working out WILL be a joy - I do love working out, but not if I have other things on my mind like reorganizing, cleaning, getting rid of, stuff and clutter in my room and essentially simplifying my life. I am sticking to the food plan and I like it. The portions are reasonable, which I found surprising! But I am pleased.
:) I will update again soon!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Starting 21 Day Fix

I am starting 21 Day Fix from Beachbody. I got the package and looked at the containers. I was kind of surprised - the containers seemed so small! When I prepared my lunch for the week, I was surprised how much fits in one container.
I decided to keep an update on what I am eating for the time and will update every few days. I will also update with my pictures!
These are before pictures (this is taking a lot of effort for me).



Friday, August 15, 2014

My life in 250 words or less.

I am now 26. I have 2 great brothers Ryan and Joey, 2 awesome parents and 3 dog-siblings, Flippy, Kaya and Kimba. We live in the suburbs of Tampa, FL. I am a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, which was probably the defining year of my life. I lived in Africa by myself with no running water, no electricity and only one American in a 10k radius from my house. I learned to be myself, to be happy and caring and kind. I learned I dislike teaching (at least the lesson planning and grading parts). I learned to grow up and how to become independent. I am in a serious relationship. We have been together for essentially 7 years though there was some off-time to us, he has been my man since I was 19, my first love, my first boyfriend, my first for almost everything. I am so lucky to have Doug – our relationship is stronger than ever and I am truly happy with this man. I am learning to love myself. I am in the midst of changing my lifestyle – and it is harder than I ever thought. I work full-time doing eligbility for public assistance and it is challenging but rewarding. I value honesty, gratitude and loyalty – because I embody those traits as much as I can. My goal in life is to become a social worker – a trauma counselor to be exact.

Please tell me something about you!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Body Love

I am an avid reader of themilitantbaker who is a Body Love/Fat Acceptance advocate. I struggle daily with the way I look - specifically my weight. I am not thin. Hah. It is still hard for me to admit that I am fat. I want so badly to delete that sentence. I want to delete this whole post.
I am not happy with my weight. I am even more unhappy since I started this combating hypothyroidism journey. The first 2 medications eliminated my appetite but I experienced edema (swelling) of my feet - I couldn't wear my own shoes and I was moody and exhausted. Third medication is effecting my moods greatly and not effecting my appetite at all. Not as much edema but some on some days and not at all on others.
I haven't ran or worked out or done any exercise in probably 2 weeks (excluding one week of sickness).

I am so tired. I am tired of fighting how I feel. I want to feel beautiful. I want to not care anymore. I want to worry about my health and not how my ass looks in a skirt. I want to be more concerned that over the past week, I now get tired going up the damn stairs.

Something is wrong and I don't know how to fix it.

There is so much shame and anger and frustration welling up inside me and I don't know what to do about it.

Please send some thoughts my way. Please send some wishes for good health.

I think part of the problem is that I know I have disordered eating (which I feel like I am misleading if I say I have an eating disorder - even though it is the same thing) on top of genetic bad luck. I feel like I am supposed to be small and compact and if I start taking care of myself then I will get there. And maybe that will happen. At the same time, why do I have to wait to start loving my body until then - or only love that I can potentially be small and compact? I want to love myself in this moment. I want to love myself right now! I can't grow if I hate my body - I can't change.

I recognize that there are a lot of factors relating to my weight - many of which stem from my past, including my rape. I don't like that some people in my life are unable to acknowledge that truth - to recognize that I am not and have not been and was not "okay" and that part of the problem stemmed from the lack of acceptance I had.

But you know what? I am not going to go downstairs and eat ice cream. I am going to go get a few carrots and a slice of pizza. And that is fucking okay.

Here's some interesting body-related articles:
Thin Privilege
Stop Hating Your Body on tumblr
Mindy Kaling on HuffPost

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Build a library for a classroom in need!

One of my dearest friends is a teacher. Mary is in the process of building her classroom library and has a fundraising site going. Please consider donating a few dollars to a great cause.
Creating a classroom library

Thanks for supporting a love of reading and books.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Health update - post doctor visit!

The swelling has dissipated mostly. I only swell a little bit. My doctor switched me from the generic meds to the name brand Synthroid. It is scary to me taking a daily medicine. I have never used birth control or anything daily outside of Malarone when I was in Malawi...and I forgot how much I hate taking meds every day. I haven't forgotten yet, but this morning I am sick and I forgot to take it before eating. Hopefully, I won't be too jacked up from taking it with food. Oh well, trial and error.
I was able to go for a run on Tuesday and it made me feel SO MUCH BETTER. Running is my release and calm. I missed it. I hadn't been able to go for about 3 weeks because the generic meds made me fatigued - I was exhausted every night coming home from work. I have a cold and sore throat right now so I am taking a break to make sure I don't over tax my body. Lots of changes going on.
My appetite has decreased significantly. I can go most of the day without eating if I don't think of it. I don't get hangry anymore either. Doug is very appreciative of that. 
Now that the swelling is mostly done, I am going to get back into the gym and start running again. I've missed it! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Health stuff

I just recently got diagnosed with "exercise induced asthma" and then got a big kicker of a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism runs in my family. I got an inhaler and then got the call from my pharmacy saying oh hey, your prescriptions here and THEN a call from the doc's office saying I have hypothyroidism and she put in for my prescription already.
I don't know too much about hypothyroidism. It essentially means that my body is not producing enough hormones- and I fit into most of the Mayo Clinic's symptom descriptions. So that is somewhat of a relief. However, since I started taking the medication for it, I have been exhausted. So tired I don't know what to do with myself except lay in bed until I fall asleep at 9pm reading or watching FRIENDS. I don't have any motivation to go work out. And I recently developed edema - ONLY after I take the medicine. It's not painful and I still fit in my sandals on the loosest belt but I can't wear flats or heels to work anymore because about 1.5 hours after I take my meds, my feet are too big to fit in my shoes. I have an appointment today to see what's going on and if that is normal or not.
Send some good thoughts my way!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

NOLA Photos! :)


The view through the iron balcony 
Cool doorknob


Pretty streetview

Balcony garden


New Orleans Jazz Orchestra Grand Opening


Lovely lifelong friend Emily - first female orchestral member in NOJO!

Doug and I at Cafe du Monde
Doug and I at Jackson Square








Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I just CAN'T

read about sexual assault or rape anymore. It hurts to read ignorance and low reporting numbers. It is heartbreaking to hear about survivors not getting respect and justice. I had immediate reactions and help when I came to terms with my own rape, so it is heartbreaking to read about students like Butters at JMU who got little assistance, no justice and on top of that, lost her scholarship and was forced to drop out of school.
But I can't read anymore. I can't see the comments (and who can help but read them) and not getting angry and frustrated. So much ignorance. So much trolling. And while I agree that trolls are trolls, this might be one of a few topics that should be off limits for trolls. It is not funny to victim blame or shame. It isn't funny to comment about how she shouldn't have been dressed like that or drunk.
Fuck that.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Post New Orleans

I am so ecstatic to be home, but it was such a blast. Babe and I had so much fun. This is Doug's first major trip solo (without my or his parents) out of state, so it was new for him.
Our hotel left a little to be desired at first, but after a good night's sleep and the AHMAZING shower, we were good to go. We had a cute, iron-worked balcony that we spent time chatting, reading and relaxing on. I am currently reading A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole which is set in New Orleans and it is really wonderful so far.
We drank our way down Bourbon (and back), and then had hangover cafe au laits and beignets at Cafe du Monde. We went to a 24/7 bar and then to a cool little jazz club on Decatur. We ate and ate and ate. I am in love with muffulettas (though how can you not be?). I am also in love with chicken and andouille sausage gumbo. Florida needs to step its game up. We had great weather too. It was pretty hot, and sticky but little rain.
We visited the WWII Museum (rad, check it out on Magazine) and the Beauregard-Keyes house. Loved both. I love history and museums. I only wish we made time to check out more.
We saw the Real World houses (I nerded out) and the Bar Rescue bar (babe nerded out). I LOVED New Orleans and I'm pretty sure I asked Doug at least 30 times if we could move there. He was not so keen - he is very rooted where we are now. I have shallow roots to start.
We enjoyed beignets, cafe au lait, hand grenades, gumbo, po'boys. Not so big of fans of hurricanes (too fruit punch-y).
All in all, a wonderful, magnificent, perfect first trip together.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Last on the Bandwagon

I am years behind in jumping on this bandwagon, but I have discovered This American Life, the podcast. I follow Upworthy on Twitter and they linked to this: Tarred and Feathered spot. I am interested, intrigued, and sad for this young man. I have now downloaded a few episodes of This American Life for my trip to New Orleans. Nine hours in a car? Yes, please. Thank you for enlightening entertainment. Anyone recommend an episode?

Monday, June 2, 2014

It's decided!

We are going to New Orleans!! I am so so excited. We leave on Friday after my boyfriend gets off work. I can't wait.
Doug and I have never been on our own vacation together; we have been places (Orlando) with my parents, but nary a solo vacation. I am very excited to see how this affects us and our relationship. We are driving to and from New Orleans, a city Doug has never been to, and I was only there for about 12 hours last summer. I fell in love with Nola then, and I am excited to explore more and see some of the nightlife!
Sort of a trial run for moving in together.
While on the subject, moving out has been postponed for personal reasons that I will share at a later point in time.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Tired.

I'm tired of being an advocate. AnnaLynne McCord is on the next cover of Cosmopolitan magazine and opening up about her sexual assault.
First, I'm tired of being in this club. Why did I have to join? I didn't want to. Now I'm in this club. The survivors club. I'm glad I survived. I'm glad I'm still here. I'm glad I'm doing alright. But why is everything I do a reflection of that? Even in my own mind, I'm "not letting him win". And how stupid is that? My existence reflects nothing on him or the circumstance pressed on me but only my own perseverance, dedication and heart. Why am I in this club where I have to do things to get better? I can't just drink a lot or be mad. I have to talk about it, get counseling, a journal, find some way to cope or find the "new" me. I want to go back to before! I want to read without thinking about it or run because I enjoy it. Not because my therapist says I should find my true authentic self. Why does it have to be a thought or an action? 
And second, I'm tired of being an advocate for this club I didn't want to join. I don't want to feel like I need to have a response every time  a new statistic comes up or I read an article on Slate or the good men project. Now I'm not saying I won't advocate. I'm saying in tired of feeling the fucking NEED to, the feeling inside that if I don't stand up and be counted, he's winning. What is that? I don't want to be counted. I want to do my work and my advocacy and not have it be a political statement but a true outpouring of my soul and spirit and heart and the love and compassion I feel for others on a daily basis. I want to be recognized not because I overcame something so now I am doing it to give back, but because I HAVE ALWAYS GIVEN BACK IN WHATEVER WAY I CAN! I have volunteered at countless organizations. My school required 70 on top of the 75 for Bright Futures. I think I graduated with 270.  I always have had compassion for those less fortunate. I get it from my daddy and mama. We used to feed the homeless on holidays- buy some bread and pb, apples, and gather up extra blankets and walk around downtown Clearwater to give it away. That's my family, my life. I didn't start volunteering because I experienced something shitty. I don't want to be recognized as that. This is me. This is not something I am doing to overcome. 
Third, I don't want to ignore the pain and trauma that survivors experience. I don't know your pain but I can relate. I'm just tired of having to feel something, second guess why I am feeling and be prepared to have a comment on it. I can't not have an opinion. I can't pretend like I don't give a shit. I experienced rape, so obviously I speak for all survivors (sarcasm to be clear). 
Last, I just want to go back. I'm doing my counseling to heal an find a better happy that the bogged-down frustration I had previously. This isn't about that. I'm tired of my response of "oh now I must find something to say about this" because it is talking about my tribe of people, all of whom never wanted to be in this tribe. And I do get asked every once in a while. However, when I don't, I spill my feelings on my boyfriend. More like boil him with them because I get so fired up and angry. He doesn't like to talk to me about these articles and stories now because I just blow up and then get mad when he doesn't respond exactly how I want him to (I don't know how I want him to respond but he's not responding the right way). I don't want to have to think about this. I don't want to formulate opinions and defenses and theses. I want to feel bad, feel compassion and do something about it, not because I feel guilt and horror but because I am that way. 

All in all, I am the member of a club. I didn't want to join but here I am. I am so much fucking more than my club. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

#InASnap Gillette Venus Snap Razor REVIEW

I am in love. I have finnicky skin. My skin gets red and bumpy and sad after I shave.
With this new razor, I haven't gotten even one bump. It is awesome. I am so pleased! My skin was actually softer too. The Embrace conditioning softened my skin and cleared away all the junk. It is fantastic.
I will never go to another razor brand. I am a lifelong-razor-brand-specific kind of girl now.
Link to my vine: Vine

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Confrontation

Sometimes, I read something that forces me to confront my views, my perspective, my mindset.
http://www.themilitantbaker.com/2013/09/rape-is-rape-is-rape.html

That blog entry is it for today (or at least I hope it is the only it). It is healing to hear the positive love coming from survivors. I heal a little more when I can positively contribute to someone else. I heal a little more reading about strength and power and empowerment in the face of a difficult, damaging situation.

I haven't commented too much on my own rape. I was raped in 2012 during my service as a Peace Corps Volunteer while on vacation outside of my village. I don't tell everyone. I "came out" as a survivor about 6 months after coming home. I was heartbroken to leave my village, my little Lyzinet and Neutoni. I still am heartbroken that I am not in my other home.

I struggled after coming home. Peace Corps provided counseling for as long as I needed. I didn't realize that once I "resettled" and found a good job and got into a rhythm and routine that my trauma would resurface. But it did. I gained about 80 pounds and looked to food as a source of stuffing that trauma into a hole. It didn't work and my family and boyfriend confronted me separately. I hit my bottom and had to search for a flashlight. Counseling is that flashlight I am using to climb back out. The higher I get, the healthier I feel. I will stand on firm ground again. I will advocate and counsel and love on those who are dealing with circumstances like (or unlike) my own, or just people in general. I will support and love.

I am strong. I am brave. I will conquer (or I should say, I am conquering)!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Traveling - I am planning a trip

I don't know where or when. I just know I have to get going. It is time to explore and travel. I need to be in a car or a plane or on a train. Need, not want.
I am deciding between New Orleans and Key West. Can't decide. Both I love. I've been to Key West a few times and New Orleans once for one night, so maybe New Orleans it is.
Please pass along your recommendations for places to eat, to stay, to explore.
I know I will visit the Malawian woman in the French Market and speak some Chichewa. Oh, heart of my heart.
Now, I need to go.

Shaving or in other words, the #InASnap Voxbox!

I started shaving in 5th grade. I was behind in quite a few ways when I was in 5th grade. I had no boobs to speak of (other girls were wearing training bras, and I was still waiting to hit 4 feet tall), was short. Okay, that's really probably it. I wasn't abnormal (except the height department...never did get to "normal" height).
I pretty much stole my mom's razor. Well, we all used the same shower growing up, so it was in there, so I used it.
I didn't get my own until the 3rd day of 6th grade. I remember because it was a big deal. My razor was a Gillette razor. It was blue and oval-ish shaped.
Like this! But in blue!
I loved shaving. I loved shaving and the calming bathtime ritual of it. It wasn't until joining the Peace Corps that I got out of the shaving habit. I usually remember my armpits, but not always. I usually forget my legs.

I got the amazing #InASnap VoxBox! This Voxbox is a brand box that I received from Influenster complimentary to test out the product. I receive no monetary compensation and my opinions are totally my own. 

I love the Snap Venus Razor. It comes in a little clamshell container. It is ADORABLE! So cute. It is prefectly sized to throw in a suitcase. Traveling is my zen; traveling is in my heart and soul. So a razor I can bring with me on trips is fantastic! I love it. The razor has 5 blades and is palm sized. I am a Gillette fan and with this new razor, I remain a fan. <3

Thank you for my new traveling tool, Influenster and Gillette!

Links:
The hashtag is #InASnap

Thursday, May 8, 2014

No news so far

on the moving out front. I am now distracting myself with planning trips to New Orleans, Boston, Paris, Copenhagen or Tokyo.
It is working but I am not losing my focus. I just can't decide on anything. I am deciding between nightstands. I love these mirrored ones from Pier One Imports. But 249 apiece is not in my budget.

I think I am deciding between these from Target.

What do you think?

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Moving on OUT!

I am 25. I wish I was younger as I am saying this, though I suppose I have had some major life experiences (joining the Peace Corps and living in Malawi, living in Panama, traveling solo to Europe). I am gearing up to move out! I am really excited about it.
I am moving out with my boyfriend. We have been together almost 7 years (which is probably another major life experience), since I was 19 and he was 20. Now, he is 27 and I will be 26 in a week! Crazy. So we have finally decided it is time to move out together and we are in the process of shopping. We are about a month out, which is crazy to think about, but really fun. I can't wait.
We chose our apartment complex, which I am really excited about. Our major concerns were: it must be reasonably sized with at least 1 bedroom and 1 bathroom, and with enough room for me to possibly work from home, have a gym/fitness center in the complex (so we can get rid of our gym membership), and as close to equidistant between our respective jobs. We found a place that shortens my commute to 30 minutes (from 50 minutes) and lengthens his to 15 (from 2 minutes). The complex is wooded, but right next to the major highway in our area but somehow, you can't even hear the highway! The fitness center isn't huge, but it has treadmills (for me), bikes (for him) and free weights and a bench press (for both of us).
We have made a GIANT list of things we want to buy. I mean, giant. I have lived away from home, but all my furniture in Panama was provided for, and I left all my furniture in Malawi. So little by little, we are piecing together our future home. We have the majority of the little kitchen stuff (the price, not so little to a saver like me). I have lots of cool pieces of art (perks of living around the world) and a little bit of furniture, like a bed, a few chairs, but not much else.
We plan on spending about 2000 to get started including the actual first month's rent, security deposit, application fees, etc which is about 1200. So we are trying to do this as much on the cheap as possible! I have been checking blogs and websites to see what are definite needs, and what we can forge ahead without, at least for a little while.
I found MyFirstMove to be amazingly helpful! Unpakt Checklist is another good link (and their moving advice and 8 most forgotten items are also pretty helpful). 7 Sins of first time renters - MSN is an interesting jump point - I never knew some of these things (particularly renter's insurance!).

I definitely will update this soon. Pictures to come when we finally move in!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

SO, I've been MIA

I have been thinking about what I want this blog to be, and why I want to blog. I thought about if I missed blogging while I wasn't and if I really wanted to put forth the effort to do so...especially if few people read it. My motivation at first was to become "famous" like YoungHouseLove or CupcakesandCashmere, two of my favorite blogs. Then I realized that I don't have the time to dedicate to becoming an intense blogger or the motivation. My motivation in life is helping people. I want to become a trauma counselor. I want to work meaningful, hands-on, person-to-person jobs. I could never make this my job, as much as I would enjoy it and respect the work, effort, dedication and honest skill that it takes to be a blogger.
I was forcing myself to post. "Once a day is nothing! You can do that!" With a full-time job (and currently working 5-10 hours of overtime per week), I don't have the time to do that! I have so many goals and dreams and desires that I overwork myself.
So here it is, my little unread corner of the blogosphere, I am going to do this for me. I will write for me. I will post articles for me to remember and critique. I will write because I enjoy it. I will do it as stress-release, not to gain more pressure and stress.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Cooking Curry! Pictures included!

 Ingredients: cauliflower (half), onion, 3 oz frozen squash, half that chicken package, 1 can coconut milk, 4 potatoes, curry paste (I used green today)
 I prefer dicing first
 Boil the potatoes
 Chop the onions and cauliflower
 this is the curry paste I love! No extra ingredients such as preservatives or HFCS.


 Coconut milk (try to find one that the ingredients is literally coconut water and coconut - you don't need guar gum to make it taste good)
 Spice and brown the chicken.


 After the potatoes finish, steam the cauliflower.
 Browning still
 When the edges are browned a little, perfect! Save the chicken AND the juice in a bowl.
 Saute the onions.

 This is how I like them, they are mostly translucent with a little purple left and tender.
 Cauli is soft.
 Add the chicken back to the pot, along with the potatoes, and add much curry as you like (it will get softened out by the coconut milk) and let it cook into the chicken and onions until it is fragrant (or you are really hungry). Then add the coconut milk, the frozen squash and let simmer.
 Fork the cauliflower until it is "ricelike" and delicious. Add your curry and YUM!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Friday Articles (8)

The Boys in the Bunkhouse
This article is heartbreaking but worth a read to see how disabled or handicapped individuals are treated. This is not so old.

Gov't Workers
It is interesting to read this as a state worker.

Audacity
This is awesome. It is so descriptive of everything I felt and didn't know how to express.

The Truth about Travelers
✌️


Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Articles (7)

Africa
I love this! Africa is so beautifully diverse. I miss Africa with my entire heart.
Related: Problem with little white girls and boys
Travel Related: Surreal America

Butter Coffee
I am intrigued! I can't imagine this would taste good, but who knows? Since I have been doing Whole30, I am fascinated by the science behind it all.
Related: WHO Sugar Guidelines  Oil Pulling Happy Meal Facts

"Convenience Fees"
Definitely information that is not well known. I need to start paying more attention to the receipts!
Related: Five Banking Secrets  10 Characteristics of Debt-Free People Frugal Habits of the Super Rich

Cancer and brownies
Consideration is something that is not often thought about. Compassion and goodwill are common, but not common enough. This puts a whole new perspective to respect and understanding.
Related: Prove it! Dating with HIV Dress your Today Body

Sharks
I have had a fear of sharks for a long time. I honestly cannot remember when it began. I remember at 15 diving in the Keys with my parents on either side. My parents saw a shark (I think a nurse shark) and tried to steer me away but I saw it and began hyperventilating underwater. There is a certain beauty about sharks and this woman's video eases a little of my fear.
Related: 35 Surprising Shark Facts Shark Crossing

Have a good weekend!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fave Whole30 Recipes!

These are the recipes I made up (adapted in the curry case) to eat happy.

Tomato Sauce
7-8 tomatoes (add more if you use Roma tomatoes)
1 tablespoon (more to taste- I use this liberally) of garlic powder
1/2 an onion (I use the purple onions)
sprinkle of Italian seasoning (take your pick - I am unorthodox and love cilantro)
I also found this awesome chicken seasoning (lemon chicken) that I add in.
Clarified butter

Get a pot, and heat some clarified butter. Chop the tomatoes and onion. Toss in the pot and stir around to coat in butter. Let it boil, drop down to a simmer and let it simmer for a while until your desired thickness. I usually stir it occasionally for about 30 minutes.

Meatballs
8 oz of Ground meat of choice (I prefer turkey but I imagine this would work for beef or chicken as well)
quarter of an onion
one egg
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
sprinkle of the lemon chicken seasoning

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mash the meat, onion, egg (leave out the yolk at first to make sure it won't be too runny) and spices. Shape into balls, put on a roasting pan and stick in the oven. 15 minutes and flip. Another 7 minutes or so, and then they are delicious and ready to eat!

Chicken Curry
8-10 oz raw chicken
1 whole onion
10 oz bag of frozen veggies
Curry paste of choice (red, green or yellow or whatever other flavors they have)
Coconut milk (I believe the can I use is 10 oz)
Coconut oil or clarified butter

Heat the oil or butter in a large wok-style pot. "Brown" the chicken (till not pink at least). Remove and save the juice as well as the meat. Using the same pot, cook the onions until close to translucent. Add the chicken and juice back in. Add in two tablespoons of curry paste (I like it spicy so I usually use four tablespoons). Cook until you can smell the curry flavor. Make sure to stir the curry in with the chicken and onion. Add coconut milk and stir. Add the vegetables and let simmer. Simmer everything until the veggies have absorbed some of the sauce and are tender.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Whole30 - end of day 15

So I have officially completed day 15 of Whole30. I am halfway finished. I am starting to think about how I want to eat after I finish. Whole30 is a feasible lifestyle, but difficult to maintain.
My body is constantly energetic. I am thankful for that. It is nice to have nice, even energy throughout the day. I don't require snacks anymore. I might notice my attention flagging and have a carrot or apple, but for the most part, I leave work with the snacks I packed, only having eaten the breakfast and lunch I brought along. I find that cooking does not require a huge output of time. Even tonight when I didn't get off work until 530 and home at 645/7, I still was able to cook meatballs (from scratch, Whole30 friendly) and tomato sauce (from scratch) and breakfast sausages for the rest of the week. I feel much more satisfied eating real food than ever before, and the food is SO good.
I have learned to make chicken/veg curry, meatballs, tomato sauce. I primarily just throw raw veggies in my lunch bin and leftovers from dinner and that is my lunch. Breakfast consists of eggs (which are SO satisfying) or/and fruit. Dinner is usually a big one-pot kind of meal I make on Monday or Tuesday and it lasts me for lunch and dinner for a few days. I haven't noticed a huge change in my body.
The past few days I have been sick, since Wednesday. Miserable sick. I left work early twice last week. I was going to bed at 8 and sleeping hard until my alarm went off. On Friday night, I went to bed at 9 and woke up (because a friend texted me) at 9. I have been eating extra fruit to see if I can get the extra vit C to kill off this sickness, cause I am sick still. However, I am recovering more or less, and since I am in the last half - my goal is to run or do yoga every day.
I am much more even-keeled, although I do get hangry (angry-hungry portmanteau). As long as I eat breakfast and lunch, I am usually good to go.
So I will update you next week on how my next 7 days go!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Friday Articles (6)

#AlcoholIsNotConsent
This buzzfeed list features a fantastic ad campaign of something near to my heart. I hope everyone will read this, relate to it, and share it. Become an effective bystander. Prevent rape.
Related Articles: Men, Drinking and Consent 

1200 Calories
I think this article is thought provoking. It is interesting because this is a widely-held belief (American). I am not sure I don't believe it. Health is so judgmental and talked about but still getting healthy can be a taboo. I feel shame and fear to share my health and fitness triumphs and successes.
Related Articles: "Rules" to Break

Every Border is a Crime Against Humanity
Oh, I have dreamed about a world with no borders, just cultures. Beautiful, beautiful cultures!
Related Articles: 6 ways America is like a Third World Country

Baby possibly cured of HIV
I read No Going Back There is Only Forward as a fellow medevac'ed and medsep'ed RPCV. I understand that tragedy, frustration, anxiety (well, I can relate - everyone's experiences are different). This article reminded me of this blog and of the ridiculous stigma faced every day. Shame.

Paper Dresses
How adorable is she?!

Dalai Lama and Homosexuality
:)

And one final article about my hometown.
31 Reasons why Philadelphia is underrated

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The transformation is complete!



I am so excited to have this beauty here! It is super comfortable and the shape is still beautiful. I love it!