Posts tagged ‘goals’

June 11, 2013

Two Months to 30

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. And without going into my entire complicated train of thought, I’m going to give you what it all boiled down to: It’s finally hit me that I’m going to be 30 in two months.

Now I’ve never been one of those people who fears birthdays. To the contrary, I LOOOOOVE my birthday. I have a policy of no driving myself anywhere and no doing dishes on my special day. It’s the only day I make ridiculous demands (like this year I NEED H&H Bagels from New York for breakfast. NEEEEEEEED, people!)…granted, my husband would disagree. Despite the fact that my wedding and subsequent events made me feel self conscious, my birthday is the only day I love being the center of attention.

And this year is the big 3-0. Which is fine with me. I’m kind of excited about it actually. And up until just the other day, it wasn’t that big of a deal.

So what happened the other day, I’m sure you wonder. Well I was on the elliptical machine at the gym and I was scanning the eight or so televisions lined up hanging from the ceiling, each broadcasting a different program, and my eyes landed on a commercial. I think it was for an iPhone, but I’m not 100% sure. It portrayed these 20-somethings in different scenarios: on a college campus, in different landmark locations around the world, hanging with friends, at the gym, blah blah blah. And I realized it: I’m not one of them anymore. I’ve passed that phase of my life.

And it sort of took me to this concept of time, and I spent a few minutes feeling sad, like my opportunity to go after my dreams had passed.

Of course, that’s not true. But I feel like I spent my 20’s stagnant when I should have been out having adventures and trying new things and being a little more carefree. And then I think about all that I went through in my 20’s, all the growth and all the change and, as Jim reminds me, all the adventures I DID have. I mean I traveled to Europe and New Zealand and Hawaii and to all 50 states. I worked for a professional sports team. I got a bachelors degree. I wrote a novel. I got engaged…and broke off a six year relationship with a man I thought was my forever only to find an even better one waiting for me a few years away. I married that better man. I started writing a blog. I started a photography business. I bought a house. I’ve done a crap-ton of things in the last decade, probably more things than a lot of people my age have done.

But among the things on that list are not: living in another country…or living somewhere else in the US. Publishing a novel. Ceasing to work for my parents. … … thinking… … thinking… … I guess that’s it. I guess those are the major things I haven’t accomplished that make me feel like I’ve accomplished nothing. Wow, I’m kind of a whiner, aren’t I?

By the way, I literally just figured that out for myself. See? Writing it down does help you figure out life’s problems.

And since we have some more time in today’s regularly scheduled program, let’s check out my list of 30 things to do before I turn 30 and see how I’m doing with a little over two months to go.

Ok, so I simply copied and pasted the exact list from the “30 things to do before my 30th birthday” page.

1. Try (or create) 30 new recipes

             End of Summer Stuffed Squash

            Carrot and Fennel Soup

            Gluten Free Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

            Granola Balls

            Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

2. Buy a house

So excited to finally be a homeowner! Photos to come!

3. Write a(nother) novel

I’m working on this one. It’s about half done, and I’m pretty excited about it. It may be THE one! 🙂

4. Go to a storage auction (like Storage Wars only I’ve wanted to do this since I was 7 and my friend’s parents brought home a whole crap ton of treasures from one!)

– I still want to do this. I suppose I could call the place where we had out unit from the apartment and see when they do them.

5. Read 30 books

            Where we Belong by Emily Giffin  – Not her greatest, but still entertaining.

            Girl Walks into a Bar by Rachel Dratch – I have never been a fan of SNL and maybe that’s why I didn’t get this book, but it was really not very entertaining to me. I wouldn’t recommend it.

            The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – This book was so hard to get into. The whole first section was a bit confusing, but by the time the second section began, I couldn’t put it down.

            The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – I enjoyed this one enough. It was sort of strange, but it kept my attention throughout the whole book. I wanted to know what was going to happen.

            The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – For the seventh time, I adore this book!

            The Paris Wife by Paula McLain – It was good..and it was not my favorite at the same time. 

            The House at Riverton by Kate Morton – I enjoyed this book far less than The Forgotten Garden, but it still kept me interested through the end.

            Crazy Sexy Diet by Kris Carr – This book was amazingly enlightening. It made me rethink my entire life starting with what I put in my mouth on a daily basis.

            Marrying Daisy Bellamy by Susan Wiggs – Susan Wiggs is one of my favorite authors. Her stories are relatable, yet always end happily, which I love.

6. Sell one of my photographs

– I need to try harder here. If I don’t put them out there, no one is going to buy them, right?

7. Paint pottery

This one is just a matter of doing it. There are two pla

8. Create my own signature cocktail

– Again, just need to do it. Get in the bar and mess around with some stuff!

9. Throw a party (in our new house!)

– Technically we threw Jim and 30th birthday party and we had a housewarming party. I guess that counts, but I sure want to throw a really good party still!

10. Learn to be happy with my body

I’m trying. It’s hard, but I’m getting there. Maybe not 100% in two months, but it’s a work in progre

11. Revamp my wardrobe (get rid of crap I don’t wear, update my style a tick)

Began this by getting rid of a ton of clothes, and slowly I’m building it back up with new stuff. It’s hard to save money for things like windows and vacations AND build up a new wardrobe, so this is slow going.

12. Figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life

-The neverending challenge for me. I’m getting there, though. Again, slowly. One year was a bit of a small time frame for such a goal.

13. Learn to be happy in Roseville

-Again, getting there. I’m trying to be as involved in town activities and such as I can, and it’s helping. It’s also helped that we now own a house here instead of just renting. I may never be 100% happy, but I think I can be content here…for the time being.

14. Get rid of everything I don’t need (We finally had our yard sale! So nice to have all that stuff gone!)

15. Find my perfect lipstick (inspired by my good friend, Jenny, who feels lipstick is a necessity in life)

-Another one I just need to do. Note to self: text Jenny and go to Sephora.

16. Find the perfect little black dress

– I got A black dress. It’s not THE black dress. So I need to go for take-two on this one.

17. Pay off all debts (excluding house from item 2 and car)

-Getting there! By my birthday our wedding rings will be paid off as well as almost everything that we charged before I wrote this. Since then we’ve had to make a few large purchases (mattresses and appliances) that we’re not going to be finished paying on by late August.

18. Try one of the crafts I’ve pinned on Pinterest

-Still need to do this.

19. Take a photo that really makes me go “wow”

-I take a lot of photos of people. And a lot of them catch my breath, but the one I’m thinking of isn’t going to be of a person…see? I might just be too critical of my own accomplishments…how many times now have I written “I did this, but it wasn’t good enough to cross off the list”….oy. Gotta work on that.

20. Go hiking in Yosemite

-Probably not going to accomplish this one, but hey, I’ve got two months!

21. Purchase a nice (non-Ikea) piece of furniture 

master bedroom3

22. Read a whole book in one day

-Oh, to have time for stuff like that these days…

23. Learn the live completely in the moment (starting with practicing mindful breathing and meditation)

-I think this is going to be another work in progress item. It takes time!

24. Take a class with Jim (maybe a cooking class, maybe a photography class or a tennis class, to be determined)

-Just gotta do it…

25. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet

-Jim learned how to do this one and showed me…although I have yet to do it for myself.

26. Compile a cookbook of my most-cooked recipes

-I’ve been doing this on the blog, but not in a book format

27.  I need to come up with something new because I couldn’t donate my hair to Locks of Love

28. Get a dog This is Katie!

29. Take a yoga class My sister-in-law and I have been going to yoga for about two months now and we love it!

30. Have an amazing 30th birthday

 

So there you have it. Progress for the most part. I haven’t really given up on any of them, and I sure have a lot to do in the next two months!

Is anyone else turning 30 this year? Do you have a list like this? Does anyone turning a different age have a list?

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April 12, 2013

Life Altering Change

Jim and I have been making some major changes over the past month. I told you a little bit about our juice reboot, but it’s gone beyond that. We’ve decided we need to overhaul our entire attitude toward food and change what we put into our bodies while we still have the chance to make a difference in our own lives.

It all started on St. Patrick’s Day as we sat down to feast on processed food and plenty of beer. I was scrolling through Pinterest during a commercial on tv and the following image popped into my screen.

fat sick and nearly dead

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. “Interesting,” I thought, and checked Netflix to see if they had it. They did. And we watched (you can watch on Netflix if you have it, or through Amazon, free with prime or a $2.99 rental).

It’s about Joe Cross, an Australian who suddenly realizes he needs to make some changes in his life. He goes on a 60-day juice fast while traveling around the USA promoting healthy living. For whatever reason, this film struck a chord with us and we embarked on our own 4-day juice fast the very next day.

But somehow that wasn’t enough and through the “Reboot with Joe” website, I learned about a new documentary, Hungry for Change, that was showing for free for a limited time that week (also available for rental through Amazon).

hungry for change

This one was huge for us. Not only did it tell us a lot of stuff we already knew was bad for us, but it explained why, and that’s huge when you’re talking about stuff like diet soda, which I knew was bad for me (sadly, other people think it’s good for them), and I already stay away from, but did you know that it causes blurred vision, headaches, nausea, vertigo, memory loss and seizures and for those reasons pilots are not allowed to drink it while or prior to flying? Holy Cow! I won’t go into all of the details of the movie, but I highly recommend it. It features many prominent figures in the health/wellness world and Jim and I both found it to be insightful and eye-opening.

Along with these two videos, I read a book.

crazy sexy dietThe word “diet” turned my head the other way when I first saw this one. I didn’t want to read a diet book, but after reading the first few sections of Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Kitchen, a book devoted mostly to recipes whereas Crazy Sexy Diet is mostly information, I decided I needed to read Crazy Sexy Diet too. Carr never thought she was going to be a diet guru. She was an actress and photographer and when she learned she had cancer, her entire life changed. Doctors gave her a prognosis and she said screw that! From there, she transformed her life, started following a plant-based diet and claims she’s never felt better, cancer and all. But that’s her story, and you should get her books and let her tell it. Check out her website too. It is an amazing source for information, recipes and community support.

But back to Jim and I, because we don’t have a book and if you want our story, you’re going to find it here. Granted, our story isn’t that long yet, and you’ll have to keep coming back if you want to learn more, but here it is so far.

As I mentioned, we did a 4-day juice fast just after St. Patrick’s Day. I felt more energy after the second day of that fast than I have in so long. But then we had a crazy Napa 30th birthday party to go to, and we needed to quit the fast so we could have some fun (also, we weren’t so sure about fasting for longer than that at a time. We want to be healthy, not crazy and dangerous with our bodies). Having fun, by the way, is okay. We also went to the Food Trucks event in Roseville last night and had Po’Boy sandwiches from the Cajun truck. It’s okay.

We did another juice fast last week and we plan on doing one next week. The weeks between, we’ve been replacing one meal with juice and eating healthfully the other. We have smoothies for breakfast (usually filled with fruit, spinach or kale, protein powder, chia seeds and spirulina…it’s a seaweed) when we’re on the fast and when we’re not, and sometimes a little snack like a handful of walnuts and raspberries if we need it. We’ve also been kicking up our workouts, and by kicking up I mean doing them. We take Katie for long walks or go to the school down the street and play basketball. We both kind of hate working out, so we try to make it fun.

We’ve had very few desserts in the past month. We cut our added sugar down to almost nothing (okay, sometimes I have a few chocolate chips with my walnuts, but again, its okay!), and in the month we’ve been doing this, I think we’ve had caffeine twice. We’ve almost completely cut out dairy products and eggs and started eating more quinoa, wild rice and tons and tons of vegetables!

Mostly, I feel amazing. I have energy (except when I can’t sleep at night, like last night…argh!), I have a positive attitude toward the world. I want to get outside and do things. I want to cook. When I find myself craving something, it’s not tater tots or ice cream, it’s walnuts or carrots or oatmeal (oatmeal, people!). I was on such a tater tot kick before I started this and they don’t even sound good anymore!

As I mentioned before, though, this doesn’t mean we won’t partake in foods we’ve enjoyed in the past. Jim fully intends to continue eating meat when we’re out with family or friends or on special occasions. And I don’t see myself passing up roasted figs with goat cheese and honey come fig season. But we’re no longer okay with putting so much crap into our bodies. There’s increasing research that concludes that filling up on fats, simple white foods like pastas, breads and sugars and the plethora of lab created, chemical “food” products on grocery store shelves these days causes cancer and chronic diseases, and we just don’t want to risk it. It’s like stepping into a fire and just hoping you don’t get burned. We’ve seen too many people we care about…and so many people those people care about get diagnoses of cancer and heart problems that it seems stupid to us not to do something to stay off that increasingly long list.

So stay tuned for more tidbits and tales of our journey to health. I’m sure it’s going to be a bumpy ride, and it won’t always be easy, but we’re going to make the trek and hopefully come out on top as a result.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go enjoy my “lunch.” I’ve got carrots, oranges, fennel, red cabbage, baby kale, spinach and sweet potatoes today all wrapped up in a pretty purple juice. As Tucker would say, “Aaaaahhhh.”

If you find yourself intrigued, please ask me about our experience. I have tons of information, recipes, opinions, and advise if you’re interested in making a change like this in your life.

December 30, 2012

End of one chapter, Beginning of another

I’ve written before about how anti-Resolution I am when it comes to the new year. And I maintain that position because of how particularly useless traditional resolutions are. That does not, however, mean that I am completely oblivious to the convenience a new year provides for making goals and starting fresh.

And this year, in light of having a new house and a new pooch, I’m feeling a fresh start with an acute ping. How could I not? My entire life has been flipped upside down. Where I once was a newlywed living in a 900 square foot apartment, now I’m a full-fledged wife with a 1500 square foot house, an adorable black lab mix and a million new opportunities that I didn’t have a month ago.

I don’t necessarily mean that all of a sudden huge doors have opened. I don’t suddenly have contacts in high career places or anything like that. But I’ve always been a firm believer that it’s the small things that matter most. Like inviting friends over for dinner and dog sitting for my mom while she’s out of town (for better or for worse…..). I have enough space in my living room to bust out my 30 Day Shred DVD without having to rearrange the furniture to do it.

These little things can be as life changing as huge things. And I’ll keep you posted as I make this journey to finding my new self in my new circumstances. But since it’s a new year, I decided to do something I’ve thought about but never actually done until now: make a vision board. And I invited my friend, Reanna, over to make one with me (something I wouldn’t have done at the apartment).

The stack of magazines we were working with. It took HOURS to go through them all!

The stack of magazines we were working with. It took HOURS to go through them all!

I’ve seen multiple people do them. And people all seem to have their own philosophy and strategy when it comes to content, layout, purpose. I know people who look at the vision board as a request to the universe for the things that they want. Some are almost superstitious, being careful not to use words or images that might be taken too literally. I look at it as more of a reminder of the things I wish to accomplish in the year to come, an organization of thoughts and goals in a place where I can see them on a daily basis. I don’t expect them to come true simply because I put them on the board. But they’re there. Sort of like a paper Pinterest for the new year (anyone else see the irony of a “paper Pinterest?”).

Getting there

Getting there

While I don’t believe that the universe is taking note of my desires, nor do I believe that by putting my wishes/goals on a board that they will come true, I did notice that certain patterns emerged. I do believe in the psychology of our choices, the subconscious repetitions based on things we don’t necessarily notice at first sight. Like my friend Reanna. She got all of her photos and phrases on her board and realized that her overall theme was more of self-improvement than it had been in previous years. She also had far more wording than she was used to. She left our house with a lot to think about.

Since I haven’t done a board before, I didn’t have anything to compare to, but I did notice patterns. Like I cut out more than one phrase about “fear.” Likewise with “happiness.” I had many photos and phrases about travel and a handful about food and several about photography. While some people feel that using words on a dream board is a bad idea, I feel like my board without words wouldn’t be MY board. Words are such an important part of my life, it would just seem wrong not to have them present. I like my board. I think it feels very “me.”

The finished product

The finished product

I’m really excited for 2013. The past twelve months have been challenging to say the least, but I am really optimistic about the coming year. I think there is a lot of growth, a lot of fun, a lot of excitement and a lot of change on the horizon. For the first time in my life I feel like I might just be where I’m supposed to be. I feel like I might be getting a clear picture of who I am and who I want to be. And I can’t wait to see how the next year unfolds.

Happy New Year, everyone! Do you have any goals for 2013? Do you make a vision board every year?

November 27, 2012

Finding Happiness

To say that I’ve been busy lately would be an understatement. To say that my life is chaotic at the moment would be one too. And to say that I’m completely and utterly happy would be a third.

In August, when I put together my list of thirty things to do before I turn 30, I added “Learn to be happy in Roseville.” It seemed like such a daunting task. There are so many things about this town that I just despise: the lack of character, the cookie-cutterness of it. The fact that most of the restaurants and stores are national chains and the neighborhoods are a sea of suburban track housing. How could I ever be happy in such blah surroundings?

I’ve always believed that old saying that wherever you go, there you’ll be. Problems and all. That’s probably why I never moved to Boston or London or any of the other crazy locations that I was sure would make life so much better. Don’t get me wrong. I still think I’d rather live in either one of those places, but I was always aware that simply being there wouldn’t change me. I do, however, think I’ve remedied a couple of the major problems that made me feel so strongly about my current locale.

First things first. I am NOT a beige person. I believe our previous housing situation is to blame for my unhappiness in two three four ways. The first is beige. Our apartment, the hallway to our apartment, the exterior of our building was BEIGE. Is there an uglier, less happy color? Secondly, It was roughly the size of a shoebox which meant we had to rent a separate home for all of our pretty wedding gifts, our camping equipment and our childhood mementos in the form of a storage unit. Not to mention, it ALWAYS  looked and felt cluttered and that causes me some serious cognitive dissonance (I’m not a messy person, but there’s nowhere to put it all!). I can not handle clutter (insert involuntary shudder here). Thirdly, it was dark. When you have to turn on a light to see in the kitchen regardless of the hour, there’s no way you’ve got enough natural light. Lastly, I believe that not having a place that was really home was getting to me. I mean sure, we had a place where our stuff lived and where we slept at night and had our nosh and Scooby Doo or Nancy Drew video game marathons on Sunday afternoons, but it wasn’t ours. It was…standard. And it wasn’t enough.

In walks our new house (no, not literally…we actually walked into it, but that’s not the point). Which, by the way, we love. And we OWN. And while it WAS beige when we moved in, now it’s a pretty shade of grey with a touch of blue and more than enough sunlight to satisfy my vitamin D requirements. We’ve put holes in the walls with no regard for a security deposit. As I mentioned before, we painted….the WHOLE HOUSE. We even painted one wall a dark blue and one room a beautiful teal green color. We have a garage for our camping stuff, a big enough kitchen for all of our shiny new wedding gifts and even an entire room just for my books!

I know, I know. “We want to see pictures!” Well, you’re going to have to wait. Because while I’m uuber excited to have enough space for all of our stuff, we are still living in clutter, the clutter of the still-needs-to-be-put-away. So when I get it all together, I’ll write a whole post full of photos of our new house. Deal?

For now, I’ll post this one for you: Our new pooch, Katie.

We rescued her from the SPCA in Sacramento. She’s the sweetest dog, about a year old. She loves to be around people and hates the back yard! Which is too bad for her because she’s going to be spending some time there, especially while we’re still getting stuff put away. Her previous owners brought her to the shelter because they didn’t have enough time for her. She comes to work with me every day, so we don’t have a problem there (and don’t feel so sorry for her for having to spend time in the back yard. She is by no means neglected)! She’s part black lab and part…..we don’t really know. The vet speculates terrier, but she also looks a little like a basenji. We won’t ever know for sure, but we don’t care anyway. We love her regardless of her pedigree.

Katie’s been with us for about two weeks, which means she got to meet the families at Thanksgiving. They all loved her. And we had such a great time seeing all of them. Although there was one person missing at the dinner table this Thanksgiving: Jim’s uncle Ken, who passed away at the end of July. There was a moment toward the end of dinner when I realized that the last time I’d sat at the formal dining table at Jim’s parents’ house had been…I don’t even remember the occasion… but Jim was working late and didn’t make it to dinner. Uncle Ken was being his obnoxious self and terrorizing Jim’s sister, Tricia. It wasn’t a particularly eventful evening or memorable in any way except that he had been sitting across the table from me during that dinner, and now he won’t ever again. Uncle Ken would have loved Katie.

Two Christmases ago, Uncle Ken and his wife, Elaine, spent the holiday in Mexico with my family. Uncle Ken is in black next to me. The guy above him is the bartender at the hotel where they stayed. He’d become part of the family by the end of our trip. And the head in the background to the right of the bartender is my youngest brother, Dan. I can barely remember Uncle Ken without that giant smile on his face. For as much of a pain in the butt as he could be at times, he sure did love life. I’m so glad we got to spend this time with him.

But enough of hanging out on the verge of tears. Life is good. And there’s so much to love about it. Uncle Ken would have been so pissed if he knew we were sitting around crying over him. He’d want us to feel the joy in our lives. And between owning our own home, having a new pooch in our little family, being closer to Jim’s family, and the numerous little things that make life amazing, I think I may just be able to stay happily in Roseville. …for a while anyway.

September 13, 2012

30 things to do before my 30th birthday

Last month I turned 29. I am not like most people when it comes to birthdays. I freaking love mine! I love that there’s a day that’s just mine and I don’t have to drive or pay or do dishes. I can’t change the fact that it comes around once a year, so why fight it?

Lil Man helping me finish my birthday ice cream…

But this was the last of my twenty-something birthdays. So far I don’t feel like that carries any kind of stigma, at least not for me. I know people tend to go bat-shit crazy when they turn 30, 40, 50…you know, the milestones after 21. But for now, I don’t feel like the world is going to end or that I’ll be instantly rocketed into senility. That being said, I do realize it’s a milestone and it’s caused me to reflect on my prior 28 years and nineteen days and I’ve made a list: 30 things to do before I turn 30. It’s more fun stuff than crazy “Oh my god, I haven’t DONE THIS!” type of stuff, and while I’d love to finish it, it won’t completely screw up my life if I don’t. It’s for fun, for motivation, a little bit of enrichment and some of them are just so I can say I did.

Without further adieu, the list!

30 things to do before I turn 30

(This list can also be found in a tab at the top of the page!)

1. Try 30 new recipes

2. Buy a house

3. Write a(nother) novel

4. Go to a storage auction (like Storage Wars only I’ve wanted to do this since I was 7 and my friend’s parents brought home a whole crap ton of treasures from one!)

5. Read 30 books

6. Sell one of my photographs

7. Paint pottery

8. Create my own signature cocktail

9. Throw a party (in our new house!)

10. Learn to be happy with my body

11. Revamp my wardrobe (get rid of crap I don’t wear, update my style a tick)

12. Figure out who I am and what I want to do with my life

13. Learn to be happy in Roseville

14. Get rid of everything I don’t need

15. Find my perfect lipstick (inspired by my good friend, Jenny, who feels lipstick is a necessity in life)

16. Find the perfect little black dress

17. Pay off all debts (excluding house from item 2 and car)

18. Try one of the crafts I’ve pinned on Pinterest

19. Take a photo that really makes me go “wow”

20. Go hiking in Yosemite

21. Purchase a nice (non-Ikea) piece of furniture

22. Read a whole book in one day

23. Learn the live completely in the moment

24. Take a class with Jim (maybe a cooking class, maybe a photography class or a tennis class, to be determined)

25. Learn how to fold a fitted sheet

26. Compile a cookbook of my most-cooked recipes

27. Cut my hair and donate it to Locks of Love

28. Get a dog

29. Take a yoga class

30. Have an amazing 30th birthday

So there ya have it. They’re not all amazingly exciting or anything. Some are downright boring and serious, but these are the things I hope to accomplish in the next year. I’ll keep you up to date as I tick them off.

April 27, 2012

Spinach in my smoothie??? + More Adventures, day 1

My favorite mornings come one Friday of every month, when I open my door to head out to work and I’m greeted with the happiest box in the hallway!

It’s my Farm Fresh To You delivery! Fresh, local, organic produce delivered right to my door! This box included so many delicious goodies! Strawberries, carrots, lettuce, broccoli, apples, oranges, a lemon, fresh peppermint (some of which is floating in my water as we speak!), celery, spring onions, and some new potatoes.

I’m so excited to get some recipes together to use this stuff in!

But I promised to talk to you about spinach smoothies, so here we go!

I’ve always been a little curious about this concept of putting stuff like spinach into a smoothie. How in the world would that taste good mixed with all the other good smoothie stuff? I turned my nose up at the thought of it.

But then I read this post by Anna at The Guiltless Life, and she claims you can’t even taste the spinach! So I decided to give it a whirl (no pun intended. lol. I crack myself up.) in the name of eating more veggies. Here’s my recipe.

 

Spinach Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie

I handful of spinach, washed and stems removed

1 frozen banana

1 tbsp…or more…peanut butter. I like creamy

approx 1 cup chocolate soy milk (you can add more or less for thickness)

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1 pinch cocoa powder (for more chocolate flavor!…as if I needed it, right??)

1 pinch glutamine powder (optional. It’s a healthy amino acid…for energy)

1 tsp or so flaxseed meal

A couple chunks of ice

Load it all in the blender, whir it around for a while until all the spinach leaves are pulverized, pour in a glass (or a Christmasy Starbucks cold cup!) and enjoy!

Now that I have breakfast taken care of, I can move on to bigger and better things (although it doesn’t get much better, that smoothie was freaking delish!)

After reading my post from yesterday, Jim send me a text that says “Getting a new couch is a mini adventure.” I couldn’t argue with him. I believe change of any kind is an adventure, so I consented. After work I picked up the cash we’ve been holding onto from our wedding and drove down to meet Jim at Ikea. I know, I know. Ikea gets a bad rap, but my current couch has lasted me almost 10 years, so I’m not going to complain for $399. Just saying.

I’ll post pictures of our finished living room when it’s, er, finished. We have a small space and getting it all to fit in there is proving to be a challenge, although not impossible. We just have to be a little creative, and as of yet, our dining room is still full of most of the stuff that used to be in the living room, so I’ll spare you the photos until its ready.

I will leave you with this, however:

Yes, it’s a crappy cell phone photo, but that’s all I could get from the driving position! That’s Jim’s new truck filled with our new furniture! Exciting, right?

I’m still waiting for ideas for mini adventures people! Help a girl out!

Oh, and have an amazing Friday!

January 25, 2012

12 things in 2012

I have fun making plans, goals, setting challenges for myself. I have a list of things to do before I die (where did the term “bucket list” come from anyway? I’m not a fan), but that’s a pretty broad range of time, so I figure I’ll write one for myself for the year as well and I’ll keep you all posted as I go along.

1. Launch Stephanie Sutherlin Photography

I love to photograph weddings

2. Finish The Girl in the Painting, a novel that I’m writing and submit it to an agent

3. Paint pottery with Jim

4. Enter a photo competition

I entered this one in a small competition last year. I believe it hit 4th place.

5. Move into a house

6. Read all the books on one of the shelves of my bookcase

I'm working on this one at present. It's so good.

7. Visit our friends in Las Vegas

8. Learn how to make wine

9. Find a cool new hiking spot

10. Cut my hair and donate to Locks of Love

11. Purchase a new camera body and a L-Series wide angle lens

12. Pay off our wedding (eep!)

So there they are. Twelve goals. Although in light of yesterday’s events, some of these may be more difficult than others. Like I said, I’ll keep ya posted!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

January 4, 2012

What to do with all this fear

I’ve spent the majority of my life in some sort of fear. I think after all of my contemplating lately, I’ve narrowed it down to that.

source

I’m afraid of disappointing the people I love.

I’m afraid of being wrong.

I’m afraid to let my true self show….to almost anyone really. In fact, last night I printed out the first chapter of the novel I’m working on and let my husband read it. And you know what? The world didn’t end. He didn’t laugh in my face and tell me I should give up now because my writing sucked harder than our vacuum cleaner.

I’m deathly afraid of failure. I wrote a novel. I sent it to a few agents. It was rejected and suddenly I’m so terrified of being rejected again that I can barely get words on the screen. And I want to start a professional photography business but I’m so scared that I will mess that up that I’ve been carrying around the paperwork to get the business started for over a week.

The thing is, I think I’m pretty darn good at photography. It’s like when I was in school. I always had the right answers, but I never raised my hand because there was a slight chance I wasn’t right.  I did start a facebook page for my photography, though. I guess that’s a good first step?

One of my favorites from this past spring

So this year, I am trying extremely hard to embrace the things I love, get go of the fear that holds me back and become the person I want to be.

I’ve started working on my novel again. It’s hard, and I still freeze up every once in a while, but when I can send the rejection out of my head, my thoughts usually flow pretty easily.

And, of course, how I feel about myself is directly correlated with how I feel physically. So I am on day 1.5 of my mostly plant-based, as “whole” as I can manage diet, and we’ll see what my energy does from there!

January 3, 2012

New year, day three

I’ve been thinking a lot about life lately. Big, I know. And no, it’s not because of the new year. It started a few weeks before that. Actually more than a few weeks, but it all sort of culminated a few weeks ago.

To put it completely bluntly: I don’t much enjoy life.

I’m tired all the time.

I don’t like my job.

I can’t see more than a week into the future….if that.

I have random pains from my wrist to my knee to sometimes, when my stress level skyrockets, my chest.

I went to see a doctor and they pretty much told me it’s all in my head, which has more or less been the answer to all of my life’s ailments as far as doctors are concerned. I have very little faith in them these days.

So I’ve decided it’s time to do something about it, about this “crappy” life I have where I don’t feel good….ever, really.

But where in the world do I start?

I tried the doctor. That didn’t work.

Should I quit my job? Take a leap of faith that I can make enough money writing and taking pictures? Naw, too risky at the moment when we have rent to pay and a largeish credit card balance. Besides, my job allows me to see my precious little nephew a few times a week. It can stay….for now.

Taking pictures is what makes me happiest….

Should I give in to my exhaustion and just sleep when my body wants sleep? I don’t think so on that front either. I get a decent amount of sleep each night…at least 7ish hours usually, so I don’t think my body feels fatigued because it hasn’t had enough sleep.

Like I said, I’ve been pondering this for a few weeks now, and last week while perusing Amazon for….I don’t even remember now….I came across Alicia Silverstone’s book, “The Kind Diet.” I know it’s been out for a few years, and I’ve actually considered reading it before now, but I read a few negative reviews and I was never entirely interested in becoming vegan, so I just sort of left it at that.

Well, you know how Amazon has that feature where you can “peek” inside the book and check out a few select pages? I did that. And that led to me ordering it and receiving it today and spending the last three hours (holy crap, how is it already almost 7 pm!?) entirely engrossed. She seems to think that changing my diet is a miracle cure for all of my life’s woes. And you know what, I may just be desperate enough to try it out.

She has some good points, and I’m already a believer in the meat free lifestyle (duh). So what’s the harm in giving it a try? In the first section of the book, she talks about “nasty” foods, one of which is dairy. I happened to cut most dairy out of my life last week. As I was reading the section, she says that a lot of people suffer poor breathing, stuffy noses and allergy-like symptoms when they’re “on” milk. I took a deep breath and came to a realization: MY nose was clear. My seemingly chronic stuffiness had disappeared. I hadn’t even noticed, but it made sense!

So I’m reading the book (I also got another one called “The Happiness Diet,” but I figure I’ll fill my brain with one philosophy at a time), and I’m going to give some of her ideas, recipes and insights a whirl. I’ll let you know how it goes. I’ve got nothing to lose right? And plenty to gain. I can’t even remember what it feels like to have energy.

Along with changing the way I eat, I feel it’s important to take note of how I feel. I think I’ve grown so accustomed to just ignoring myself that I’m not sure I even know how to listen anymore. So, per Kris’ January Glam List at i heart wellness, I plan to spend a few moments after I wake up just writing down whatever comes to my head. My plans for the day, what my mood is like, how I’m feeling. And then I’ll go from there.

I can do this. I know I can.

I can be the me I want to be, the me I’m meant to be.

Wish me luck!

December 30, 2011

2012 goals and a small clarification

In my last post, I made some comments about my dislike for “New Year’s Resolutions,” but I’d like to clarify my thoughts a little bit.

I’m not entirely opposed to the concept. I think it’s a great idea to have goals and to work toward making yourself a better person in some way. I personally enjoy having goals, and I’ll go into mine a little bit more later. My problem with resolutions is that people expect a miraculous change, in the form of reaching their goals, but also in their own motivation to work toward them.

Nothing changes between December 31st and January 1st that couldn’t change between March 18th and March 19th. So while the new year provides a fresh start and a great place to begin new goals, it’s unlikely that huge life changes will take place, simply because it’s time to buy a new calendar.

That being said, I do have some goals for the new year. A lot of them have to do with our finances, which makes the new year a good place to start because it’s the start of the fiscal calendar too. And some of them are personal, too, and a lot of them have come about because of recent changes in my health. So the new year really has quite a small role in my goal planning.

As I was browsing some of my favorite blogs yesterday, I came across this post by Tina at Best Body Fitness. She bases her new year’s goals on a theme, rather than a list of desired results.

The concept fascinated me, and I instantly remembered a conversation with my good friend, Christie, last week. We were talking about how I don’t have the energy to go to the gym even though it’s the option for my evening that I should choose. Christie responded by saying she always tries to make the right decision, even if it feels too hard. And, as a result, she ends up feeling better than she had when she’d made the decision to do the harder thing.

How lucky am I that my close friend is also an ordained wedding officiant?!

So my blanket goal for 2012 is to always make the decision that seems right for the situation, even if it’s the harder of my possible options. That’s not to say that the right thing will always be clear. There’s still an element of judgement in there, but usually I know what I should do versus what I want to do.

And yes, I’ve already started. Last night, as my eyes drooped to the floor and my muscles gave me hell the entire time I was changing into my tennis shoes and stretchy capris, I went to the gym. And no, I didn’t spend an hour doing a wonderfully intense workout, but I did my best. I gave it all I had (which happened to be 30 mins of cardio, but hey, it was something!), and I felt good about it when I got home, took a shower and allowed myself to flop ont he couch with my book until my husband came home and I had to make dinner.

Along with my blanket goal of trying to always make the right decision, I have a few small goals.

1. I’d like to get my finances in order. And when I say that, you probably imagine a gigantic mess, but really, I don’t think it’s as bad as I make it out to be. We have our wedding to pay off, most of which is on my credit card and we would like to get our savings built back up so we can have a down payment for a house in the near future. I think mostly I feel uncomfortable carrying a balance on my credit card. I’m one of those pay-it-off-every-month people, and seeing multiple thousand dollars on it just freaks me out!

2. I’ve already started this one, but I’d like to feel like I’m comfortable being me. And I’m not even sure what that means or who I actually am, but I figure there are a few pieces of this puzzle.

a. I need to learn to let go of the things. A good example is my sister-in-law. She drives me nuts because she moves before she thinks and a lot of times she comes off as being very selfish and controlling. And I don’t surround myself with those kinds of people. But she’s family now. So I need to learn to just let it go. Another good example is my messy house. I’m messy, and as much as I’d like to be a neat freak, I’m not, and I need to learn to accept it.

b. I need to listen to myself. I think I ignore myself when I feel things I don’t want to feel. I think I have this image in my head of the person I want to be and I ignore all feelings, thoughts, etc that don’t fit into that image.

Awful, right? But part of my journey to this goal has been trying to figure out why I do it. And I’ve come up with this: It’s never been okay to just be me. For example, my grandmother used to take my spoon/fork/crayon/ball out of my left hand and put it in my right because she didn’t want me to be left-handed. My other grandmother’s favorite phrase was “that’s not ladylike.” So I’ve gone my whole life watching my every move to make sure it’s going to be acceptable to everyone around me. Let me tell you, it’s exhausting!

Check it out. In both photos I’m using my left hand…

But it’s time to care about what I  think, what I  want and what works best for me (…and my husband of course).

I don’t, however, know exactly how I plan to do that. The process has been etched into my brain. It’s how I think, it’s my natural instinct to consider these things before I speak, before I act. And my goal is to retrain myself to think about me first.

So those are my goals. The past year has been pretty crappy, but I have hopes that 2012 will be a year of growth and change and hopefully lots of joy.

 

 

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