Thursday, March 1, 2018

What I'm Loving Lately

So, my life isn't all gloom, doom and a sludgy feelings casserole, and since my last few posts have been kind of a one way ticket to Bummerville, I wanted to share some things lately that make me happy and are generally positive from a healthwise standpoint.  Just as a disclaimer, all of the sites/products I'm about to share are of my own free will, I wasn't paid to write about them!

K-Beauty/Asian Beauty Products

I actually started getting into this back in November when I was really hyper focused on self care, but I finally decided to stop hiding behind the "I'm so cool and not girly that I don't need skincare" facade and just admit that I'm a liar.  I love skincare and beauty stuff.  Totally love it.  I don't care if it makes me seem vain, it's my little thing that I do every day that makes me feel good.  I do a majority of my fussing at night when we're watching TV, and I love every second of it!

I got into Asian Beauty specifically starting around December, and I'm officially hooked, never to return.  Most of the products I use are Korean, but I have a few Japanese products thrown in too, and I can honestly say that the hype is justified!  I wish I'd taken before and current pictures to show you the difference, but my skin has a night and day difference from before.  A lot of my smaller lines are just about gone, my skin doesn't look dull, I don't get hormonal acne anymore and my rosacea is so much calmer.  Last year I did a challenge in April to go a whole month without makeup, which honestly was stressful to me because I am so self conscious about the redness in my face.  There is a picture of how my face typically looks in this post.  This is what my skin looks like today (sorry for the crappy bathroom lighting):

The picture doesn't do it justice.  There are some days I get up and my red patches are down to nothing, but most days that's about as red as my face gets.  It's a huge improvement!  On the weekends I think nothing of going without makeup, and when I do wear makeup, it's just literally a pea sized amount of BB cream just to even out my skin tone.  I don't even wear powder anymore.  The BB cream I use is also an Asian one and is miles above any Western product I've ever tried.  To be honest though, I'm less interested in makeup and am happy at being able to get away with less of it!

So what's the deal?  Basically Asian skincare is the polar opposite of Western skincare, and it hyper focuses on moisturizing the face as opposed to stripping it and harshly exfoliating it.  This has been pretty life changing for me since I have combination skin that leans really dry, especially on my cheeks and around my mouth.  My skin constantly felt tight and miserable.  Even if you have oily and acne prone skin, moisture is the key to healing it, not harsh astringent products. That's really all there is to it, combined with the fact that Asian products tend to have much more advanced technology in their products.  I could write a whole post on it alone, but if you'd like to read a lot more in depth, The Klog and the Asian Beauty subreddit are way more informative than I could ever be!

If you are into beauty, you may have read at lot about the "Korean 10 Step Method" that takes an hour or more to do, and honestly that's all a bit overblown.  (Nothing wrong if you like spending that much time on it though!) I probably use more like 5-6 products once I found what worked for me, and my morning routine takes maybe 15 minutes, while my night one takes up 20 to 35 depending on if I'm doing a sheet mask or not.  (I am obsessed with my sheet masks, I do one almost every night and they make my face feel super moisturized and look a lot brighter!)

The thing that has made the most difference for me and are my holy grail items are my toners and snail mucin, which is exactly what you think it is.  Asian toners are very different than Western ones, and are bouncy and a little more thick than what you think of as a traditional toner.  The Klairs toner there on the left, and the Hada Lobo there on the right have been life changing for me.  I do the "7 Skin Method" with the two of them every single day, and my skin absolutely loves it.  The middle product is the Cosrx Advanced 96 Snail Mucin, and yes, it's snail slime.  Before you recoil, think about it logically...snails constantly get micro-tears on their delicate skin by nature of crawling around, which is why they create mucin in order to protect and heal themselves.  It does the same exact thing for human skin, and is wonderful for healing and treating acne, as well as reducing redness.  I was very skeptical and grossed out at first too, but now I can't live without it!  It's made HUGE difference in the redness in my face and instantly calms my skin down when it feels irritated.

Anyway, it's all been nice because it's a little selfish thing I can do every night that makes me feel better about myself!  As with most skincare, there's a wide range of prices, but everything I've gotten has been between $20 and $10!

Imperfect Produce

A coworker tipped me off to this company back in the fall and raved about it so much that I had to see what the fuss was over.  It's a genius idea on every level, the company takes fruit and vegetables that are too "ugly" for the store, and boxes it up and sells it at 30% - 50% less than store prices.  Each week you get an email where you choose what you want in your box, and they deliver it right to your door in the evenings.  You never even talk to a person, they just send you a text 5 minutes before they deliver, then right after they deliver so you know it's there.

I absolutely love it.  Among the many things my curmudgeonly ass hates, I hate food waste, I hate skyrocketing food costs, and I hate grocery shopping so this really kind of solves all of those issues!  This has been super awesome for us on every level, and has really helped with meal planning.  We got a delivery last night, so I took a picture for you guys so you can see the types of things they offer:

I have to say, I've been getting the boxes since November and have yet to get anything "ugly".  Honestly, the produce looks better than most of the stuff you'd get in a store, even better in some ways because it hasn't been pawed all over 100 times.  This week was oranges, grapefruit, scallions, asparagus, fennel, broccoli, celery, carrots, potatoes and romanesco cauliflower.  Oh and coffee!  The last few weeks they've been offering the most amazing coffee beans, and I'm hooked!  We get a medium sized box, but you can add or subtract as many items as you want.  A medium box typically will run you about $15 to $18, which is really a steal when you see that amount of food I got above.  You can also easily skip weeks, and the delivery plans are pretty flexible.  You can go all organic or all conventional, you can get all fruit, all vegetables or a mix.  There's a lot of options!

Sadly they don't deliver nationwide, and are currently only available in the following areas:  Bay Area in California; Los Angeles, CA; Orange County, CA; Portland, OR Metro Area; Seattle, WA Metro Area (includes Tacoma); and Chicago, IL Metro Area.  If you happen to live in any of those areas and would like to sign up for a box and try it out, I do have a referral code.  Full disclosure, it would give me a $10 credit, but you would get a $10 credit as well!

As always I am likely late to the party on discovering, but I am totally hooked!  If you've ever felt that you had to choose between meals being affordable or healthy, those days are over, because this site manages to have recipes that are both!  I discovered it when a coworker (the same one who recommended Imperfect Produce) started sending me links to recipes she'd made and I was very intrigued, so I chose a couple of recipes to make.  I was immediately in love!  The recipes are all simple, wholesome, CHEAP and really rely on pantry staples.  In fact, I can usually go into my pantry even when it's low and still be able to make many of the recipes on Budget Bytes.  It's worked out really well paired with my Imperfect Produce deliveries, because I can just base what I'm making the next week on what I get from that week's box.  With very few exceptions, these are all readily available ingredients that anyone would have access to.  I love Cooking Light magazine to death, but I really feel they've kind of gotten snooty with some of their recipes.  I'm lucky enough to live in an area that's super food obsessed and also has a lot of amazing ethnic shops (I literally have a Halal grocery store, a Hispanic grocery store, and TWO Asian grocery stores within walking distance of my house), but a lot of the country doesn't have that.  I'm a supporter of cooking being simple and approachable, which these recipes definitely are.  I like that Budget Bytes focuses more on typical ingredients that anyone could find and will use multiple times.

I also like that there is a nice balance of meat dishes with vegan and vegetarian recipes, since I like to incorporate all 3 into my lifestyle.  For the most part, these meals would fit nicely into a clean eating plan since they contain grains, vegetables, fruit and lean meats.

The site has honestly been a godsend during this weird thing I've been going through.  Not only is it getting me out of a food rut and me making the same meals all the time (a lot of my problem I think is burnout/routine), but the recipes are so simple and basic that it's made it very easy for me to make something even when I feel very overwhelmed or in a depressive state.  As someone who loves to cook, even when I'm feeling super low I always feel a little better about life and more accomplished when I make a home cooked meal as opposed to ordering takeout.  It's sometimes those little victories when you can say, "at least I made a nice dinner for the family" that help you get through the day!  I feel like the slow cooker meals especially are very easy to throw together and make a ton of leftovers that are easy to freeze just so I have stockpile of lunches and dinners waiting in the freezer for us when I'm really feeling yucky!

Cutting The Cord

We finally did it.  We got rid of cable, and we honestly couldn't be happier.  A lot of our "what can we change about next year" chats involved reducing stresses/things we don't use, and we realized that we simply really didn't utilize cable very much.  We were spending a lot of time watching things on Netflix, or just reruns of Family Guy, which again you could just get on Netflix.  We cut the cord back in January and haven't looked back!  We have Netflix, Amazon Prime, a Firestick and a digital antenna, and we really haven't missed dropping cable at all.  I think we were both surprised at how little it affected us, but it's definitely saved a chunk of money


This kind of ties in with the K-Beauty stuff, but when I was looking for product reviews I stumbled across this really cute Youtube channel from Emily.  She does reviews of K-Beauty products, but also has a lot of fashion and makeup videos that are a lot of fun.  She's definitely been inspiring me to refresh my wardrobe a bit (when it stops raining every damn day and being 40 degrees, my God)!  If you are into fashion and beauty stuff, check her out! 

Anyway, if you guys have any questions about the stuff I mentioned, fire away!

Monday, February 26, 2018


I guess I am quite overdue for an update!  Grab a cup of coffee, tea, or maybe even a glass of wine, cause it's been awhile.  I'll do my best to summarize.

Overall I'm...upright?  I don't really know how to describe where I'm at really other than that, my emotions are kind of like a pendulum week to week.  Some weeks the pendulum swings are "old" me, and sometimes unfortunately they are pretty far on the opposite end of the spectrum.  If you guys are Golden Girls fans, there's a scene in an episode where Blanche describes feeling "magenta", and God bless the internet and Google images for having a convenient meme at my disposal of the actual quote:

So yes, basically I'm magenta as a baseline, but sometimes swing hardcore one way or the other positively or negatively.


December was so bad that honestly, that was half the reason I have been putting off writing a post, because I didn't want to rehash it all again.  I have a draft of a post recapping the month, but basically it boils down to, December was shitty.  Super shitty.  Within the span of a week (the week of my birthday I might add), I got so sick that I didn't go into work for almost a month, we discovered that Molly had a bone disintegrating in her toe, requiring almost immediate amputation, and we had to prep the house for, then host some family for Christmas.  I am really glossing over quite a bit, but the entire month was basically big hits with constant fallout.

For the record, Molly is fine and has made a full recovery!  She was a complete trooper and a brave girl about her toe amputation, and even the vet was impressed with how well she recovered.  Her post surgery tests came back free of cancer, which was a huge relief.  But I would not recommend having your dog's toe amputated, then two days later having to host house guests for Christmas, all while recovering from an upper respiratory infection.  Molly was on enough pills that even Judy Garland would have given her a side eye, plus she couldn't play, go for walks or jump for two weeks.  She was SUPER pissy about not being allowed upstairs.  It was just a very trying time.

My birthday was comically bad.  I was in urgent care the day before, then the day of I was dazed because I'd coughed so much I was sleeping an average of 1-2 hours a night.  In fact most of December, my average night's sleep was no more than 3 hours a night.  All I had the energy for the day of my birthday was for Eric to take me to Powell's bookstore, where I wandered around for about an hour until I physically couldn't stand anymore.  And my period started a week early, of course, ON my birthday.  My birthday dinner was Thai takeout, though I will say, it was damn tasty.  We made the best of it, and Eric was incredibly sweet and a great nurse.  Bless him, he dealt with a lot of sobbing and nonsense from me all month.

For the first time in my life, I hated Christmas and wanted it over.  It was nothing but stress, sickness and misery.  We didn't get to do any of our normal little things that made the holiday special.  It was spent rehabbing the dog and rehabbing ourselves, because yes, Eric got sick right after me.  And our Christmas house guests got sick.  By the time actual Christmas was done, we couldn't take down our decorations fast enough, and as one last "screw you" from the universe, one of the Christmas lights on the tree broke and stabbed me in the palm as we were taking the tree down.  Yep.  Peace on Earth my ass.

We are just beginning to kind of see the humor of it all, but yeah, generally December 2017 is not spoken of much in our household!


I'll be honest, the last two months have been a bit of a blur, and I just had to physically look at my calendar to see what we'd done.  Which honestly, was a whole lot of nothing because I've been almost physically adverse to going out and doing anything.  January was all about just rehabbing and recovering from December, and discussing changes we need to make in our life to start scaling back and making things less stressful.  One of the conclusions we came to at the end of December is that we need to majorly recalibrate our lives.  We're constantly busy, constantly stressed and if we're not enjoying the million things we book for ourselves, then what's the point of doing them? 

February and Beyond

Like I said, currently I'm kind of just in a state of magenta.  I am still going to therapy, which is super helpful in many ways, but I still struggle day to day with feeling "normal."  It's hard to describe the feeling I have most days, but I feel flat, I guess?  It's like my general attitude day to day is a big shoulder shrug.  Generally I don't feel any type of high emotion, either excitement/enthusiasm or rage/sadness, and that emotional flatness is incredibly uncomfortable and weird.  It also makes everything feel 500 times more difficult than it should be, so I really struggle with motivation for anything in my life.  Bluntly put, when you aren't enthusiastic or excited for anything, there is no motivation.  Normally I feel so guilty and upset when I fail at goals I set, but again, I've been in a full shoulder shrug about everything.

And I have to publicly apologize to friends and family who have to deal with me or just haven't really heard from me lately.  Part of this quiet flatness lately has been this complete adverseness to being social.  I am slow to return texts/emails, if I remember to at all, and I've gotten in a bad habit of staying cooped in my house instead of going out with people.  I do think of the lovely people around me, quite often, but haven't made the effort I should in staying in touch.  It's the ultimate, it's not you, it's most definitely me. 

I am fighting those feelings tooth and nail, because I don't want to feel like this.  I'm still young, and I don't want to coast through life numbly.  There are so many things I want to do.  I want to write on the blog again on a regular basis, I want to do with things with my music project, I want to get back to my workout mojo, and just in general have some areas of my life I want to be more driven on and accomplish more.  There is travel I want to do and things I want to see.  The work I do doesn't exactly set my soul afire, and of course that comes with all kinds of implications, all of which take an incredible amount of drive and energy that I'm not feeling right now.  But I'm doing my best to fight it.

Some have asked me about getting on medication, and I'm definitely considering it, which is a huge hurdle for me because it isn't something I've ever entertained before.  I am still very much on the fence about it, and am currently trying some smaller, less nuclear things to see if they will help.  I started taking Vitamin D, I purchased a light therapy lamp for my desk at work, and I've slowly been working on bringing fun and spontaneity back into my life.  We've tried out a lot of new restaurants and coffee shops lately, which has been surprisingly helpful.  It's hard to describe, but it helps to kind of break that feeling of being in a rut and provides a bit of excitement and brain engagement.  We're big foodies, so that first time of trying a new restaurant and experiencing a dish I haven't had before is a bit of a rush, and it's nice of course to have that shared experience with Eric.  It's not been so nice for my waistline, but some of the yummy meals we've been having are the ultimate sorry, not sorry ha ha.  On a healthier front, we also want to break out of our travel rut, and are exploring some new cities/landmarks we've never been to that we want to check out.

I do really want to get back to a place of regular workouts.  I haven't gained like some insane amount of weight thankfully, I've gained back about 12 pounds which is a miracle considering I basically gave up on life for two months straight.  Both December and January (and let's be honest, February) have been all eating and drinking my feelings.  My clothes still fit, but it's more about my body shape than the number showing on the scale.  I'm flabby again, and I hate that.  But at the end of the day it's not rocket science.  I've just got to cut back portions, count calories and start lifting/doing HIIT again. 

Anyways, that's all my windbag way of saying, I'm fine basically.  I'm not feeling 100% amazing, but I'm here and slowly trying to crawl my way out of the doldrums.  And things certainly aren't all womp womp, I do have more positive things to share, I just kind of needed to get this 3 months of crap out of the way first!

I hope you all are well!

Friday, December 1, 2017

How to Start Meditating

Hey everyone, thank you so much for your kindness after my last post!  I got a lot of nice comments and messages from people, and it made me feel very loved and supported.  I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a lot of amazing friends and family, and to also live in a progressive area where self care and mental health are not taboo or shameful.  I am very privileged in that sense, and also very grateful.

I got a couple of questions on meditation as well, so I thought I would just do a quick post about what I've been using and just talk a little bit about how the process has been for me.  So I was very skeptical of meditation for the same reason I suspect many are, and that's because I had this perception of it being very...I don't know, granola or something?  Crystals and patchouli?  I don't even know what I thought.  But really, it's just taking time to sit, breathe and train your brain to be quiet for a bit.  No tantric chanting, no woo, it's just training your mind to calm down.  My brain is constantly racing and can get on very anxious or negative loops to the point where I wish I could physically grab it and yell at it to stop.  Meditation is just that, it's just shushing your brain, or at least that's what it's been for me.  I do guided meditations because I'm not at a place yet where I can just sit quietly and zone out on my own, and that's where I recommend starting with if you're new to it.  It does take practice at first to get to a place where you sort of shove your thoughts to the side, but once you do, it is such a welcome relief every day.  It's my 10-15 minutes to absolutely zone out and be at peace.  My brain stops going in what I affectionately call the "cyclone of despair", which is exactly what it feels like.  You can pretty much do it any time, but I love doing it before bed.  It's been a godsend for better sleep, which had been an issue for me for several months.

I got started with the Stop, Breathe & Think app, which is free and what my therapist recommend to me as a starting point.  If you are feeling like I was, which was both skeptical and unsure of how to even begin, I definitely recommend starting with this.  Basically you tell the app how you feel physically, then it asks you to pick 5 emotions you're feeling at that moment.  Once you do that, it spits out 3 or 4 guided meditations to choose from, all ranging from 2 to 10 minutes.  They are all very basic and straightforward and were very helpful in helping me practice how to actually meditate.  Like I said, at first it was very difficult to quiet my mind and the thoughts I had racing constantly.  I really had to work at it, but once I did I was amazed about how it kind of does put you in this weird trance.  It's not a negative experience at all, you just kind of feel like you're in a dark, quiet room a million miles away from it all.  It feels like my negative/anxious thoughts are an object that I am setting down.

Once I kind of got the hang of it, and once I sort of exhausted the list of meditations the app has (I'm too cheap to buy their extra ones), I sought out guided meditations on Youtube.  I just searched "guided meditations" and explored all of the ones in the 10-15 minute range.  This opened up a lot of options and it's been fun kind of exploring different videos and coming up with a list of ones I like and can rotate between depending on my needs that day.  This Guided Meditation: Deep Relaxation & Bliss video is my absolute favorite one and I feel is probably the most approachable one even for beginners.  The lady has a very soothing voice, and really guides you through some deep breathing, and then asks you to picture being in a place where you're happy.  This is probably personal, but the image I use is from this summer when Eric and I were in Bend with Molly.  We would go out every day and read on the front porch for a few hours, which is a luxury that I haven't really afforded myself much this year.  We would drag Molly's bed out so she could be with us, and she absolutely loved sitting and watching all the birds/squirrels and being outside with us.  I just think of that time, just both of us sitting quietly and reading, the dog sleeping peacefully next to us, the smell of the juniper trees in front of the house we rented, and how quiet it was other than the sounds of the birds around the house.  That was such a peaceful, happy time this year, so that's what I think of.  :)  It's prompted me throughout the day to think about that image when I am feeling stressed, which was a benefit I wasn't expecting, but has been very effective.

Another great, approachable type of meditation is progressive muscle relaxation, which is basically the process of contracting your muscles very hard, then releasing them.  You typically start at the top of your body, then work your way down to your feet.  By the time you are done, you feel very relaxed.  I listened to this Squeeze Away Tension video at work this week and liked what I heard, so I will be trying it out in earnest this weekend.

I have also really been utilizing calming music while I'm at work (and sometimes at home if I'm up doing laundry or something), and it's made a huge difference in both my work productivity and my stress levels.  There are times I really like to get riled up and listen to Tupac, Black Flag or the Ramones, but lately I've just needed to try to calm myself rather than escalate my agro ways!  I just started looking up "zen music" on Youtube and have a playlist of the type of music that they play when you're in a spa, that's honestly the best way to describe it.  I've gravitated the most towards the videos from Yellow Brick Cinema, there's a wide variety and they are all super long, so typically one video lasts me a whole work day!  This one with the Native American flutes and thunderstorm is my absolute favorite though.  I love storms and we don't really get heavy ones here in Oregon, so to me the thunder is very relaxing.  I can't play this one around Molly because the thunder in it makes her nervous, that's how high quality the sound is!  I just save it for work.

Anyway, I hope that was all helpful.  I highly encourage anyone, even if you're just feeling a little anxious, angry or stressed, or you're having trouble sleeping, to give meditation a try!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

When You Can't Think of a Title

Oh boy.  I know.

I've been dreading writing this post, truly. 

It was pretty clear from my posts over the summer, but I was struggling then.  I thought it was just normal struggling, but by late August it was pretty clear to me that it was something different and bigger.  By early October, the wave of depression that's been building for months and months suddenly knocked me on my ass and knocked the breath out of me.  The gravity of everything that's happened in two years hit all at once:  the situation with my dad, some work stuff, the flood my family went through, the destruction of my grandmother's house, the election, the Eagle Creek fire, a million little minor things, and a million major things that I'd rather not get into on the internet.  It just suddenly felt like the world was 100% darkness, that something bad was going to happen any second and that I was in a place I couldn't crawl out of.  I was constantly on edge and convinced something negative was waiting around the corner.  Even the most minor thing felt exhausting, and I lost all interest in anything I cared about.  I was insanely anxious while constantly tired at the same time.  This went on for months until one Sunday after a bad shift at the dog shelter, I came home and honestly just snapped.  Not like a dramatic psych hold snap thankfully, but just utterly dissolving while my husband held me and listened to me admit that most days I felt mildly disappointed when I woke up.  I don't like thinking about that day or recalling it really, but there it is.

So that's kind of where I've been.  I've been figuring a lot of shit out, and I needed a break.  I know I don't need to justify it to anyone, but I did want to eventually write a post to anyone who reads this blog just so you don't think I went off and died or abandoned the blog. 

The good news is, it made me reach a point to where I realized that navigating these feelings without a professional just wasn't an option anymore.  I'm about to be 38 years old, and I don't want to white knuckle my way through life anymore.  I want to enjoy it and be present for it.  I want to be thankful for each day.  I want to be stronger and better.  So I've been seeing a very wonderful therapist since the end of September, and I can honestly say it's already made a huge difference in my life.  I was terrified to do it at first, and I'm not saying that spending an hour each week delving into my psyche is always pleasant, but it's been immensely helpful.  It's made me start meditating in the evenings, which I know many might think is a bunch of pansy liberal woo, but I can't sing the praises of it enough.  It's made me feel remarkably calmer, and I'm sleeping better than I have in months.  I don't feel the same level of dread or jumpiness.

I'm definitely picking my way back to a normal life and enjoying myself.  I've been cooking again, which I really missed, and making healthy meals.  I'm kind of doing a half calorie counting/half intuitive eating approach to my nutrition.  Basically I shoot for 1600 calories a day, and if I'm below that but don't feel hungry, I stop eating.  If I hit that and am still a little hungry, I have a snack.  I am finally back on the workout train for the last month or so.  Going back to eating whole foods and working out has of course helped matters.  I haven't weighed because honestly, who cares?  At some point I'll focus on and get to my weight goal, but my priorities are doing things that make me feel good right now.  And I am starting to feel good finally.  And I'm lucky.  I have good insurance, I have a husband who loves me and encourages me no matter what, and I have a lot of support from my friends and family.  A lot of people don't have that, and I couldn't have muddled through this without them.

There's still other stuff I've been avoiding and am not back to normal on.  I've been terrible about my music project and have pretty much abandoned it, which makes me feel like an awful person.  I don't know why I have such a mental block about it, and I'm trying to psyche myself to get back into working on those accounts.  There are times to be honest, I wish I could just drop it entirely, but I feel like that's the depression talking.  And there's this blog.  Admittedly there are times where I don't even know who I'm doing this blog for anymore.  Like is it for me?  Is it for the tiny handful of people who read this?  I don't even know at this point.  When the email came through like a month ago to renew my domain I was kind of like "hmmm".  Maybe it's time to let go.  But then again, I don't want to be hasty.  There's a lot of history and personal growth (and a lot of cringe too, my God I was so whiny) that I'd hate to lose.  So I'll keep it for now.  I may not write often, but there's no harm in keeping it.  And maybe at some point I will feel like blogging a lot more.

So there it all is.  Things are pretty good now and I'm feeling hopeful.  I am mildly anxious of putting my business out there, but at the same time, I hope if someone else is reading this and feeling what I was feeling, that it will encourage you to go talk to someone and that you're not alone. 

Since I'd like to leave off on a happy note, and since I've been abysmal about putting photos in my last few posts, I wanted to show some post therapy photos/activities where I was feeling happy and doing small, positive things to put myself in a better head space. 

In October we went hiking on the Washington side of the Gorge since the Eagle Creek fire pretty much destroyed where we had planned to go.  We had a pretty awesome little adventure/hike to Falls Creek Falls, which was absolutely gorgeous.  Being outside and active definitely helps the happiness levels.

I'm about to out myself as a giant dork, but in November we drove to North Bend so that we could see all of the sites where Twin Peaks was filmed.  I was a huge fan of the original run back in the 90's, and really loved the Season 3 that Showtime just did.  Anyways, it was a pretty amazing and fun trip and I'd like to backtrack and some point and write a post on it.  We both had a blast.  That's me at Twede's Cafe, AKA the Double R Diner.  It was also like 30 degrees, so that's why I'm grin wincing, lol.

  On the same trip we drove to see Snoqualmie Falls, which is something everyone needs to see because it's absolutely incredible.  While we were there, there was a surprise snowfall.  We were utterly unprepared for it, hiked the 2 miles round trip to the falls and back in it anyway and laughed our asses off the entire time at the absurdity of it all.  I also love snow, so I was pretty excited!

Anyway friends, thanks for listening.  I'll definitely be touching base more, even if it's for me.  I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Short Reprieve, Taking Steps

You guys, it's seriously the weather.

This weekend we had a really, really beautiful weekend.  On Saturday it stayed cloudy until well after lunchtime, then it rained for literally like 55 seconds late in the evening.  It was such that Eric yelled at me to come outside, and we were both cackling with joy.  Sunday it was sunny and in the 70's all day with a soft breeze.

It's like a switch got flipped, but back in the good direction.  I can't even explain it, but I got up Sunday feeling rested for the first time in a really long time.  I was able to spend extra time out in the yard with the shelter dogs, and found myself feeling antsy at the thought of spending time inside.  When I got home I told Eric that I didn't want to waste the day, and he was totally on the same page, so we went and walked for probably 45 minutes or so at the nature park by our house.  As soon as we got home I went straight upstairs and did my upper body lifting routine I had planned.  I felt like I had endless energy all day.  I made a normal dinner, with my oven no less, and was so excited to cook.  I also prepped all the meals and snacks for the next day.  It was the first time in a really long time that I was enthusiastic about cooking.  Just overall, I felt like myself.  No anxiety, no worrying, just living.  Things felt easy again and I didn't feel that hopeless feeling that I've just come to accept over the last couple of months.

Yesterday it was hot as blazes again (above 90 degrees if you can believe it), and I felt my energy tank and felt anxious for most of the day.  Again, switch flip.  I did power through a workout and made dinner/prepped for the next day, but it felt a lot more forced and difficult.  At this point I don't know if it's 100% mental or if my body is really having a reverse SAD type reaction, but either way it's clear that the weather is having a horrible effect on me.  I just need to ovary up and talk to my doctor about it, because I don't exactly fancy going through this again next time we have a heat wave.

Regardless, I have been sticking to my plan for the week and getting back on track.  It's felt really good, my stomach already feels so much better physically, and my pants are just the tiniest bit more comfortable.  I haven't weighed yet, I just really don't want to be concerned about the number on the scale, and would rather make feeling good and getting back into good habits the priority.  I'm just going meal by meal, day by day and trying to not stress too hard about things.  Just to give you guys a peek at the workouts for this week, this is my workout schedule (links are not autoplay videos):

Saturday:  Lower Body HIIT and Strength Training  (done)
Sunday:  Upper Body Strength & Cardio  (done)
Monday:  Abs & Lower Back  (done)
Tuesday:  Lower Body Strength Training & Pilates (done)
Wednesday:  Upper Body Strength Training
Thursday:  Dynamic & Static Stretching Challenges
Friday:  Rest Day
Saturday:  Lower Body HIIT, Hike at Hagg Lake
Sunday:  Upper Body Cardio & Strength

Honestly, I don't like HIIT or cardio very much, but acknowledge that I need to mix it up and also focus on burning fat, so I've been trying to make it a point to mix it in.  The workouts are going well so far, I've definitely lost some strength, but not a terrible amount.

As you can see by the schedule, we're going for a hike at Hagg Lake, which is this really beautiful park close to the house.  The wildfire made me really take a hard look at the fact that I don't appreciate the beautiful areas around us nearly as much as they deserve, and I don't take advantage of the amazing hiking opportunities we have either.  I'd really like to start going for hikes more and making sure that I get more time outside.  Hagg Lake is a pretty easy one and fairly flat, so I'm looking forward to it.

The forecast going forward looks like it's going to be in the 70s and we're supposedly getting rain on Sunday and Monday.!!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Awful, No Good Summer

I'm sorry guys, truly.  I feel like all I do is not post for awhile, then when I do it's a bitch sesh.  In fact there is no "feel like", that's 100% what I'm doing.  I know I shouldn't say sorry for posting my feelings/experiences on my own blog.  Honestly like 10 people read it, I don't know why I freak out so much.  I get stuck between hoping I'm not annoying someone, but also hoping me being real helps people?  Like, I hate when you read a profile on someone who has lost weight and it sounds like, "I just started eating chicken salads overnight like the easy switch went on and lost 40 pounds.  No big!" I think we all know it ain't that easy and linear.

This summer has truly been the worst.  I preface this by saying that I have total white girl problems, and acknowledge that.  But yeah, I've struggled and it feels like one hit after another.  The weather, some personal family stuff, work, and a million other little things that I worry about and feel down about.  My list is vague just because some things are private, some things are topics I don't like to discuss on the blog like politics and some things are just difficult to explain in general.  But I feel anxious as a baseline anymore.  And the big hit this week has been the big Eagle Creek fire that's been raging in Oregon.  There hasn't been much national news about it, but we've had this horrible wildfire happening started by snot nosed teenagers with fireworks.  And just oh my GOD don't get me started on how much I despise fireworks as it is but...anyway, it's been so difficult.  It's burned down 30,000+ acres of the Columbia River Gorge, which is one of the most beautiful places in the world and nature's version of church.  I think all of Oregon is in a state of grief right now.

On a health note, it ties in because the smoke has been so bad that not only have we not seen the sun for a week, but you can't breathe basically.  Even in the house and office we've struggled to breathe, and my throat has been killing me.  The sneezing and coughing we've all been doing at work would be comical under any other circumstance.  We had a team meeting yesterday and when any one of us would speak, we'd start losing our voice or coughing.  It's insane and I've never experienced anything like it.  We've skipped our work walk for 2 days because of the air quality, and I haven't worked out at all.

There is a positive note as there always is to these things, but it has been awe inspiring to see the community come together to provide aid to those who had to evacuate.  It's been even more inspiring to watch firefighters go above and beyond to save the Gorge.  I'm sure even outsiders know of Multnomah Falls, which is truly one of the most breathtaking places in Oregon.  At the foot of it there is a historic almost 100 year old lodge, which seemed inevitable to succumb to the fire since the falls were surrounded.  Instead, firefighters stayed overnight with their backs literally against the lodge, fighting off the fire.  They did indeed manage to save it, and even thinking about it makes me emotional all over again.  They saved something beautiful and old that we all enjoyed as children, and now many more generations will be able to fall in love with it too.  It's the little things sometimes.

But anyway, that's kind of been my deal.  It's summer, there's been a parade of depressing stuff and it's miserable.

I don't know if anyone watched the revival of Twin Peaks (it feels like basically Eric and I are the only two people who watched it), but there is a character on there who rants constantly about "shoveling yourself out of the shit".  I was annoyed by the character at first but as the season went on I must of drunk the kool-aid because that phrase has been on repeat in my head.  I just feel stuck.  My pants feel so uncomfortable.  I don't feel good about my body.  My stomach feels utterly awful.  I have zero energy and honestly don't care.  I just find myself going through these cycles.  I know that I need to shovel myself out of the shit but I really don't know how.

For me, the most miserable and difficult part of weight loss and sticking to a healthy lifestyle has never been portion control, exercising or making healthy choices.  It's always, always, always that initial push to get back and stay on track.  I don't know why it's so hard for me.  I know what being healthy feels like.  I know how good it feels.  There is literally NOTHING good that comes out of backsliding into eating like shit and not being active.  I felt on top of the world at the end of spring, and now I look in the mirror and feel disgust, which I haven't really felt about myself in a long time.  The bitch of it is, this isn't even coming from a place of enjoying eating poorly.  Every meal I just feel eh about.  I don't even feel that hungry at meals, I just eat easy, crappy food out of sheer apathy.  

And of course the simple answer is, well bitch, get it together then.  It's not rocket science.  I get and acknowledge that.  Yet here I sit.  I just honestly feel like this summer has broken my brain and my spirit.  I know I need to care.  I know that only I can do that for myself.  I keep clinging to the fact that it's September, and summer officially ends on the 22nd.  I don't know why that seems like the be all end all, other than the fact that summer is just representing misery to me.  I don't mean to be dramatic, it's just what it is.

It is reaching a crisis point though.  My jeans are at a stage where a choice needs to be made.  Either I buy bigger pairs or shovel myself out of the shit and go back down a better path.  As tired and as apathetic as I feel, I brought in one of the weeks I liked the most on our Fitness Blender meal plan and set it up in my calendar.  I'm going to go shopping on Saturday and start trying to white knuckle my way back to where I was.  I've got to at this point, because admitting defeat and buying bigger pants isn't really an option.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Space Oddity

Unless you live under a rock, you know that yesterday was the big fancy solar eclipse!  I hope that you were able to get out and see it in some way, shape or form.  We were incredibly lucky, because Oregon was in the path of totality.  Where I live got about 99% totality as opposed to places like Madras (central Oregon) and the coast, which both got 100%.  Regardless of the 1% difference, it was an incredible, amazing day and I'm so thankful we got to see it!

We requested to work from home since the traffic was predicted to be pretty much apocalyptic, and I'm so glad that we did.  I originally was like 'whatever' about the eclipse, mainly because I just had major fatigue from hearing about it on the news for months on end (as you can imagine, the coverage here was nonstop since last year).  As things drew closer, we both became pretty pumped about it and decided to go whole hog yesterday to celebrate.  I started the day by making us some Eclipse pancakes with Kodiak chocolate pancake mix and Bisquick.

We did have the correct viewing glasses ahead of time, Eric thankfully prompted me over a month ago with some links to the fancy ISO approved glasses so I ordered them from Amazon and we had them ready to go.  Good thing I did, because everywhere around here either sold out of glasses or had to recall faulty glasses.  Yikes!  No one likes a burned eyeball.  The smallest pack I could get was a three pack, so I gave the 3rd pair to my boss.  They are...not fashionable exactly, but eyesight is better than looking cute.

On Saturday we went out around the time the eclipse was supposed to happen so that we could see where the sun was at and if we could view the eclipse from our yard, or if we'd have to move down the street to view it.  We were stoked to see that we'd have a perfect view in our own backyard, so yesterday morning Eric got our chairs all set up and ready for prime time.  And because we are horrible people, we cracked the two eclipse themed beers we bought just for the occasion.  It was really good!

I love making playlists for things, so I set up a really good one for the eclipse viewing.  The track list went as follows:

1.  "Black Hole Sun" by Soundgarden
2.  "Brain Damage/Eclipse" by Pink Floyd
3.  "The Moonbeam Song" by Harry Nilsson
4.  "Moonbeam Levels" by Prince
5.  "Space Oddity" by David Bowie

We got all set up...

And we got a hell of a show.  I seriously have never experienced anything like that in my life, and I can see why people become eclipse chasers.  It was weird, eerie, beautiful and completely surreal.  Since we didn't get 100% totality it didn't go fully dark, but was this weird dusky vibe, as though we were looking at our yard through a greyish blue film or something.  I didn't bother trying to take pictures of the actual eclipse since I wanted to be truly present for it, and since no one wants to see my crappy Android pics of it, lol.  Eric and I held hands and just experienced it for the 20 minutes or so that it took to get to 99%.  It was truly special and something I'll never forget.

The rest of the day was pretty anticlimactic since I had to go back upstairs to my office and work.  For her part, my "coworker" didn't understand the fuss, slept through the eclipse, and was very happy when it was all over so we could go back upstairs and she could supervise me again.