A Week of Disappointments

This is pretty much a big rant. You’ve been warned.

It all started when my brother decided last week that the house he lives at must be worked on. My parents and I discussed this briefly and somehow I became the horrible one for suggesting that if my parents were paying for repairs, it should be done on their timeline. They felt rushed, I felt rushed, we both didn’t know why he couldn’t push it out a week if the contractor told us to start when we were ready. But they were mad at me for not being gung ho.

That’s how I became the horrible one. With the race being that weekend, I really didn’t want 2 people and 2 more dogs and moving furniture to be part of the mix.

It happened anyway. We discussed it Monday and on Tuesday, I spent my afternoon driving out and moving boxes and books and directing heavier furniture to clear three rooms worth of stuff with others.

Tuesday night, I readied a space for 2 extra bodies and 2 dogs who are apprehensive of change.

Wednesday evening, I come home and find out my SIL is sick and my brother recently had a stomach bug.

Thursday I get chills, discomfort, and a fever at work and leave at lunch.

Friday I don’t feel better and take the day off to rest so I can be ready for the race on Saturday.

Saturday comes. I’ve spent half my night in the restroom. I have to fold my cards and tell the crew I can’t be there for the event.

All because my timeline doesn’t matter. Because, you know, I haven’t been working on this event for the whole year and meeting Saturday mornings planning this. So it was a bigger inconvenience for my brother than me.

I don’t think so. He also denies my being sick has to do with him or his wife. I think the fact we all had the same symptoms, touched the same surfaces, and were under the same household suffices as enough evidence to that.

So no race, no free time, no workouts, no eating good foods. This week was full of disappointment. I bawled my eyes out Friday night knowing I wasn’t getting better, and then Saturday morning, when the reality sunk in, that I wouldn’t get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. Two vacation days gone, one year of work to not see it in action, and feeling terrible both physically and emotionally. That was this past week.

I’m finally back to eating normal food although I fear coffee would still be a bad idea for my tummy at this point. ‘Hoping to hit the gym Friday and get back into the groove.

Life sucks sometimes.

Fitbit Bits #4

I still haven’t strapped my fitbit back on since the whole cord fiasco. I’ve gotta eat crow for that. But moving on…

I’m moving!

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That’s a screen capture from yesterday. I use an app called Swarm to privately log in my workouts. Only my friends on the app see my check ins.

My boyfriend is on board with the gym too and that makes keeping the commitment so much easier because on nights we see each other we plan it into our schedule. We do our own thing at the gym but it’s still nice to have a buddy go with you. He lives too far to work out consistently with me but we usually get a gym workout in on Mondays and Wednesdays.

My parents made some hurtful comments last night about me being too busy and that I should focus on myself and my health. Well, yes, I should keep my health a priority, but what the heck guys, what do you think my gym stints and passes on your junk food offerings are? Chopped liver? It makes me upset because it negates all that I am doing and makes me feel like all they see is my outer self. Yes, I don’t look like I’ve lost an impressive amount of weight, boo-fricking-hoo. If they’re going to just judge me by appearance than I will never have their approval. Which is why at this point, I don’t care what anyone thinks, except that if they don’t have words of encouragement, I don’t wanna hear it. It hurts me more because blog-as-my-witness, I’ve told them that after the event this Saturday and my bible study wraps up 1&2 Thessalonians, I am keeping my schedule more open for organizing, cleaning, working out, eating right, etc. They know my intentions and yet keep ignorantly commenting.

On the plus side, I feel better in my clothes even though the scale isn’t moving much. I’m dealing with water retention problems after hard workouts and still haven’t found a good solution. And my event this Saturday is going to be awesome and all the work everyone is doing behind the scenes is worth it. We’ve raised nearly 30K so far for foster youth and that’s before  event day of donations and our silent auction!

12 Days until Race Day!

The race and foster festival is almost here! Like, less than 2 weeks away! I’m so excited. The culmination of our year’s worth of efforts will finally be put to action very soon.

I have so much respect for all charity races now, especially ones that are just starting up. It’s A LOT of work, and there are so many people behind the scenes to make it possible.

You start your year hoping that enough donations and fundraising help spread the message and provide you a backbone for all that happens. Then you run into little setbacks and people trying their hardest to secure a race place and work with the city to set the route and all the planning aspects. You work on race cards and flyers and hand them out hoping businesses will let you display them on their community boards and that they catch the attention of people around town and county wide.

This is my first year on board, for the fourth annual event. Our race numbers are the highest they’ve ever been which is a good sign, and God definitely put a hedge around us as other charity races around our timeframe were cancelled due to low sign ups. Now we are just praying that rain doesn’t get in the way.

I have learned so much about foster youth and some of their struggles. And I know what I currently understand is only a tiny amount. I think I naively assumed for a long time that all foster children wanted to be adopted and one of the primary reasons to foster was to adopt. The reality is that the heart of fostering is providing a temporary home and safe environment where you can foster hope, love, and encouragement. Sometimes that leads to adoption, and sometimes that leads to a child reuniting with a parent or a relative gaining custody. Sometimes children do wish to age out of the foster system with no plan of being adopted. Sometimes they place their loyalty in their parent(s) and refuse. Our race helps pay for things the state may not be able to offer, like orthodontia, extra curricular activities, and learning programs – things that help boost self-confidence and prepare them for a bright future.

Next Saturday and Sunday, we go to the site and walk through plans and do our training with volunteers. We need an estimated 200 volunteers, we’ve grown so much!  I’m just flabbergasted at that. 200 volunteers from all over the county have stepped up, local businesses and big corporations have stepped up, and the feeling of community is just so overwhelming. There are so many hearts unified for a great cause. This is what fuels us for next year.

Scent-imentals

Are you a fragrance fan?

I am. I’ve been a fan since I was little, cuddling up to my mother’s neck and smelling some sort of loveliness on her. Scent often plays a narrative in mood or gives us an extra memory for our five senses. Now that my sense of smell is gone more than half of the year, I internally weep for the delight I took in smelling food and fragrance. I find it’s more important for me to wear something now as I have no idea how I smell and I fear -although my hygiene is definitely in check- that my scentless self might be offensive.

As a teen, I owned some sunflower scent that I sprayed in my hair and a tiny bottle of Poeme I treated like liquid gold. On my 16th birthday, I was gifted a beautiful perfume in a glass bottle shaped like a lily. It traveled to me all the way from France. For my graduation, my auntie gifted me J’adore. It was so strong and I couldn’t distinguish the notes so it sat sad and untouched for a long time. I couldn’t understand the full beauty of those scents because my young nose was still wrapped around cheapie jellybean vanilla scents from the drugstore and 5 for $20 body sprays at Victoria’s secret (who hasn’t spritzed Love Spell in their lifetime?)

I lived in body spray land until college. That’s when my nose and paychecks offered me the freedom to sniff things in glass bottles rather than plastic. The first one that stood out to me was on the endcap at Target. Not only was it dainty, it was on sale. It wasn’t sweet or fruity like my usuals. It was heavier, woody, mossy, musky, spicy, but still toned down with a good amount of sweetness and some florals mixed with fruit. It was a little of everything. I think the complexity is what won me over. And yes, it was a celebrity perfume. By Hilary Duff. But it was an oriental and most other celebrity scents were sweet fruity scents. And I was shopping Target’s limited offerings. This perfume made me feel quite mature. It was a mental note I needed as I was exploring independence and individual thought.

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With Love by Hilary Duff

Nearly post college, I found two perfumes I gravitated towards because of their lightness. I think this was a combination of preparing for career-hood and office settings. I wanted to smell approachable and pleasant, and I found those qualities in the ever popular ‘Daisy’ by Marc Jacobs (who I just love as a designer) and the more romantic and unique ‘Giulietta’ by TOCCA. I’d say my nose is almost over Daisy. Everyone wears it, and in the heat of summer it’s sometimes sharp to my nose. But it tells a story, and is a gorgeous bottle – the first scent investment I made with a designer label. The first and only scent I’ve been gifted from a man is also from Marc Jacobs. Josh gifted me Lola our first Christmas together. That scent is a bit heavy and old lady, but in the most romantic and refined way. She doesn’t get spritzed much but she brings back happy memories when I see her bottle in my perfume tray. It’s like he gifted me an eternal rose and the contents are the bouquet.

Giulietta is my signature scent. When finding a signature, many people opt for something that connects with them or that is off the beaten path so they are distinct from the crowds wafting Thierry Mugler’s Angel, Viktor and Rolf’s Flowerbomb, and all the top sales from the Estee Lauder, Lancome, and Channel counter. I would say both come into play for me, but it’s the scent that really won me over.

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Giulietta by TOCCA

 

Giulietta is elegant and romantic without being stuffy, like the warmth of a kind hearted woman that is soft and sweet and considerate. The scent is rather clean but feminine and there’s a little fruity floral with a creaminess at the end that just seals the deal for me. She is perfect for the day into the evening, work or pleasure, and while she isn’t as lasting as some perfumes, she lingers on you just like a hug from someone dear. Her label tauts notes of apple, pink lily, ylang ylang, vanilla orchid, rose, and woods.

Now that my nose is dysfunctional, I’ve decided to add a scent to my collection rather blindly. I’ve been enamored by the bottles for years, and even if it doesn’t end up being something I love, it will be a bottle I’ll adore every time I pass by. It is Lolita Lempicka EDT. EDT, because I’m still wimping on the fact it might be too heavy for me as an EDP and the whole nose issue.  It’s supposed to smell like a fairytale, and if anyone knows me, they know my fascination with fairytales and and fables.

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Lolita Lempicka EDT

What scents would you consider signature, or if you’re not into fragrance, do you have any scent memories?

Spring Cleaning

First wave of Spring cleaning: my mind!

Start here this year and I guarantee a better physical decluttering experience of your stuff. You live in your home many hours of the day but you live in your mind 24/7.

Toss out thoughts of self hate and doubt.
Organize your goals and plans for the future so you can access them daily.
Dust off personal achievements so you can see how far you’ve come.
Take care of issues that are keeping you from peace.
Last but not least, save room for good things and don’t let negative things sit in their spot.

Obstacle Solving

Obstacle Solving – Like problem solving but tackling potential roadblocks.

Ready my arsenal.

    HDMI cable for the TV: No more dvd workout excuses. I’ll plug it into my laptop and play DVDs that way and as a plus stream youtube fitness routines I love. The DVD player  I had at my apartment doesn’t work here and plays black and white.

✓    New workout pants: The kind that don’t make me feel sloppy or make me wonder if my cottage cheese thighs are showing. Pairs that rise high and are opaque enough to give me confidence to bend over, dance, and jump without constantly worrying I’m gonna expose my belly or backside.

✓   Vitality Corner: A visual meditative center and reminder for me since that is the sense I am most honed into. It has motivational print outs that actually mean something to me and the green and blooming vitality of plants to tell me to keep striving for my best physical and mental health.

✓    Day Planner and Lists: I’m going to log daily weight, mood, and happy thoughts in there. I also need to be true to planning so I don’t put off things that will become workout or cooking excuses.

✓    MyFitnessPal: To log in food and exercise

✓    Time: I’m saying no to new responsibilities/studies/commitments until I’ve solidified my habits. One month until race day. One and a halfish months until Bible study is done. That frees my schedule even more until I feel set to take on new things if I want to.

✓    Music: Because music is good medicine.

✓    Friends: Because friends are also good medicine and my favorite sources of encouragement and wisdom

Tonight is a workout at the gym night. I have bible study until 9pm, so I’m hoping to do a late night gym routine. 9:15-10:15. That’s a long day for me. I was up at 6am. I won’t have time to “relax” until I’m back from the gym. But once I schedule my bible study work more faithfully, I will get a chance to relax for about an hour after work and then use that to empower a more efficient routine and attitude. Little by little, I’ll get this down.

Building Mentally Healthy Habits

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Who knew it would take my late twenties to understand the concept of self care?

I used to find purpose in myself by keeping super busy or involved in many things and that was taxing on my body, mind, and spirit. I’m ashamed to admit the little time I took for me meant sloppy tooth brushing, avoiding the 2 minutes exfoliating took, and running to bed many times when I could not keep my eyes open with a face full of the day’s makeup. These are necessary little things, right? So I just raced through all that. But it’s more than necessary, it’s ways I care for myself on a practical level.

Now I’m slowing down a bit, making even those little actions more intentional. I’m pausing for a moment to realize how important it is to not always be rushing and to take note that the minuscule things like cleansing my face and applying moisturizer every night are little ways I love the body I’ve been given. And yes, those crocodile legs are worth slathering in lotion. And I’m worth 2 extra minutes of exfoliating too.

If I can intentionally acknowledge I am worth less rushing and neglecting in my daily routines, I can finally move on to bigger things.

Keeping Quiet and Short Term Goals

I like that I have some anonymity here. Sure, I’ve got close friends that read my blog, but they are inner circle people that I don’t mind a little soul spilling to. I’ve been in a funk this month and haven’t been faithful to diet and exercise. But I feel like now that visitors and memorials and other hard things are over, I can better refocus. I know that’s a common theme here and one of my setbacks.

This time I’m keeping quiet in real life. People know I try to eat healthy. People know that I need to lose weight and WANT to lose weight. In fact, there are ladies from my previous church who have seen me at THM meetings and while they whittle their waistline, they probably wonder why I’m not improving dramatically. And that’s when shame sets in. It’s a little bit of progress comparison but mostly realizing that I’m the one that effs things up because I don’t stay focused. From the pinterest posts and fitness memes that shout YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES, to jaw dropping before and after pictures on my THM page, I feel a bit bombarded. In my head, even though they’re positive pictures, they translate to ‘YOU KEEP FAILING YOURSELF and LOOK WHERE YOU COULD BE NOW.’

So mum is the word. No one needs to know what I’m doing because they don’t understand my struggle. And I don’t need positive posts that end up tasting sour in my mouth. I’m letting my diet group go dark and keeping away from fitness posts. I’m not going to talk about weight loss journey with others for a while. I’m just going to push myself and go lalalalalala when I see some crazy 50 lb loss in 6 months or hear my mom blabber on about some new breakthrough weight loss research. I just need to listen to me.

I did something I’ve never done before – I succumbed to weight fear and paid an extra $80 to upgrade my airline seats for a trip. I was fearful, literally, fearful, that I wouldn’t fit. I thought about the shame of being told I’d need to buy another seat and how it would melt away all the self-confidence I’ve worked on building. I’m fearful because I know I’m that big. I’m the end-of-the-airline-seatbelt big. I’m hold-my-shoulders-in-so-the-flight attendant-doesn’t-bump-into-me big. Since I’m flying on a budget airline with smaller everything, I just couldn’t risk smaller than industry standard seats.

So now I have a 2 month goal. I have something to look forward to and fight for.  Sure, I still have upgraded seats, but I’m determined not to feel like I’m spilling out of it with what little time I have to work towards it. The upgraded seats are only 2″ wider. It’s not going to make a huge difference. But, I can work on toning my flabby body to help. And I can eat good on plan foods that will dramatically improve any bloat or water retention I’d have otherwise from bad eating. And feel good from diet and exercise, I can use that energy to play with my nephews and not sweat the homemade meals my friend makes that do not fit my diet.

Ideally, I’d like to aim for a 15-25 lb loss and hit the gym 5x a week until my flight. I won’t say anything outside of here though. I’ll just push myself and hope results speak for themselves one day. The race I’m helping with is late April, and I figure that even though I’m not running, since I’m helping with the event, it would be great to show up with lots of energy and endurance for a full day of running around and interacting with people who run and are fit. It’s like an armor of confidence I can wear knowing I’m working hard at my goals even though I’m not where I want to be yet.

Let’s see how far I can go. Let’s see where I am in late May from pushing myself and listening to myself.

Looking Ahead

It’s that time of year. You know, the one where Easter is around the corner and you scratch your head because it was just New Years Day.

This Saturday is my Uncle’s memorial service. It’s been rough on my aunt – she told me she is ready for the event to be over with. I think she’s wanting it to happen so she can have a final sense of closure. After all, he passed over a month ago. She’s very independent, strong, and a good kind of feisty, so it’s hard but also comforting to see her open up about her grieving. I was a blubbering mess on my Uncle’s last day, but she was as cheerful as one could be with a spouse on his deathbed. She kept things lighthearted and only paused to cry at the end. I can’t imagine how hard widowhood is. They would have celebrated 50 years in August.

The race and foster fair I am helping with is also getting very close – we’re 5 weeks away ! We’ve had a few setbacks but we’re hopeful that our 2016 event will be as strong as last year’s. Some of the little tasks I’ve taken on include calling local places for silent auction items. Talk about a stretcher. I am not a phone person. At all. I hope my awkwardness isn’t detected as strongly on the other side of the line.

In May, I’m going to visit one of my oldest friends and her family. I am so excited even though I have no idea what to expect (except humidity, ick!) How do you plan a trip to see one of the people you’re closest to and their family knowing it will probably be another three years until you see them again? Her youngest is four and I haven’t seen him since his first birthday. That breaks my heart a little since they all call me auntie and the only recollections he probably remembers of me are from Skyping. Her middle child just recently got baptized and start kindergarten this year. Her eldest was in kindergarten the last time I saw him in person! And I think the most exciting part is that her husband in the three years out there has recommitted himself to Christ. God is doing big things in their lives and I can’t wait to see it all in person.

I’ve decided to take another Bible study break after we finish 2 Thessalonians. We’re a little less than halfway through 1 Thessalonians are the moment and it has been such a rewarding inductive study. I like breaks because the studies are quite intensive and I’d feel burnt out if I went year round. I’d like to take the break to continue Bible art journaling and studying scripture on my own. I’d also like to use that time block in the evening to get more gym time in.

I feel like there are some big hills this half of the year, and who knows what the second half holds, but I’ll continue looking ahead with hope for the good things.