You are attractive. Incredibly attractive.

Ladies, when’s the last time you thought about how attractive you are? Are you disgusted or accepting of your image of you? Or perhaps you know you are and love it?

I think in a world that wants us to turn heads with body language and sex appeal, or find approval of ourselves through others’ opinions, it’s important to step back and see your attractiveness in your own eyes.

Look at your body, and think of how incredible it is. You can lose or gain weight to better your health. Your body is able to stretch to grow a baby or flex some mighty muscles. Whether you are tall curvy all over, petite and slender, or some other combination, your form is womanly without trying. Your body is powerful and provocative without ever showing any of it off. Your hair, eye, and skin color? All of that is an awesome combination God picked out for you and is part of what makes you unique. There is a specialness in having your grandmother’s eyes and your dad’s nose.

Think of what you’re attracted to when you’re thinking of your boyfriend or potential date material. What is conventional and what isn’t? More than likely, you don’t just like someone for conventional attractiveness. If the idea of tall, dark, and handsome makes you giggle and roll your eyes, then why do you think you need to be some idealized creature? You probably had non-physical traits in there too, didn’t you? Maybe you like someone with a good sense of humor. Maybe you like someone who is confident and fearless. Maybe you like humbleness or sensitivity. Did you throw in common interests? Maybe they need to be fluent in Marvel and DC comics. Perhaps they need to love pizza as dearly as you do. Did they maybe need to share a sense of adventure for the outdoors? Think of how it is not only the physical traits that make you attracted to others. Think of how others likewise see you as a multifaceted person with interests and passions that also connect you with them. Think of how unique you are and how special it is when there is a common bond.

Let’s take a moment to examine how you project yourself. What do you want to say about you, and how do you want that affecting your allurement? Perhaps you are mindful of your vivacity. You’re loud and animated and you love it and they have to love it too. Or perhaps your passion is spiritual and that is a large priority that you project to potential suitors – they know you are firm in what you believe. Perhaps you are nurturing and you show warmth and care and encourage growth in others and you find that someone with that trait works best so you can be more effective as a couple. Do you consciously put anything out there, looking to find someone that appreciates that projection? Are you aware of how you present yourself to the world? Everyone has something great to project, but sometimes we don’t make it mindful or do so boldly.

Lastly, think of what you personally like about yourself. There is always something, and ideally, there should be many things you can think of because you are truly awesome! Accept that others may think these things are pretty cool too, because more than likely, they do!

You are attractive. You are magnetic to the right people. You have control over what you project. You are worthwhile not because others say so, but because you know so. Don’t ever let self-doubt tell you otherwise. You don’t ever need someone’s approval to know so. Know that you are attractive as you are, outside of other people’s opinions.

You are magnificent and beautiful just being who you are, and being true to that attracts just the right people for you.

Unsolicited Comments : Mark It as Spam

We’ve all gotten comments and opinions we never asked for or invited. Things like:

“Oh, you started working again? I guess your husband’s income isn’t cutting it.”

“Your body may not be ideal but at least you’ve got a beautiful face.”

“It must be exhausting having a downs child.”

“You’re so skinny. I wish I could eat anything and not gain weight.”

“I can’t believe you still use the microwave. It causes cancer.”

Think of these messages of ignorance and stupidity as flagged messages in your inbox and send them to the spam folder.

Do we open messages in our spam folder? No, because based on the subject line, we know the content may be harmful or that the message is meaningless to us.

In that same line of thinking, I’ve been relating it to the unsolicited comments I’ve received in real life. It sucks that sometimes these comments are said by people close to us, but the fact is their comment doesn’t do any good. Before letting a hurtful comment fester – giving time to internalize their words, and opening myself up to their message, I simply sort it to spam. The real life version of “unsubscribe” is to respectfully tell them that topic is off limits, what they said was rude, or brush it off by changing the subject.

Don’t open their loaded email. Don’t let their words ruin your day or get you down. Treat spam as spam: delete. Keep your inbox for what makes you feel good and builds you as a person. Don’t let messages that don’t fit that filter ruin the good stuff.

As a rule of thumb, I also sort gossip to junk mail. Bye bye, BS.

 

A Great Workout and an AMT Review

My posts tend to get pretty heavy and pedantic. I don’t really write to delight or keep the attention of my readers (although I appreciate all of you!). But I also don’t like keeping a negative focus. So, I have good news and a much shorter post this time around.

Last night I watched my heart rate climb, felt sweat pouring down my brow, coached myself through two cramps, and ran my heart out on an AMT for 20 minutes. I gave it my all! There was something gratifying about being the heaviest person in the little line of machines and going faster than all of them with my head in the game. I stepped down and the pay off was immediate- my legs felt like they weighed a ton each but I was so pumped.
Have you seen an AMT? They are like ellipticals 2.0. but so much more. It stands for Adaptive Motion Trainer and the beauty of it is a more fluid motion and broad range in strides.

 

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                          The AMT-885 from Precor                             Photo Credit: amtfitness.com

 

Imagine a machine that allows you to bounce so that your movement isn’t rigid and isn’t guided by a track or wheel. You can bounce up and down like skipping on a jumprope or swing your legs far apart and feel like prancing gazelle. You can change your stride length from zero to thirty-six. You get a full range that feels like you’re running on air without the pounding of a treadmill or the stiffness of a crosstrainer or elliptical. You can go up and down like climbing stairs or do big large ovals like treading water.

I like that this is much less impact than running on a treadmill or on concrete but still gives enough bounce to get the benefits of some impact. Impact is a friend and foe to one’s body, especially with obesity. I know that some impact on my bones and joints is a way to keep them healthy and strong but I also know that high impact exercises work against my body since I’m carrying way more weight on my frame than I should. When I first tried this machine at my gym, my knees were not happy. I was dealing with knee problems and so I approached this machine carefully and tried to limit my time on it to 10 minutes initially. I found the impact really helped and feel my knees to my knowledge are benefitting from it!
I typically do 20-25 minutes of cardio followed by weight machines and then wrap it up with another 5-15 minutes of cardio at a more leisurely pace for cool down. I’d like to increase that number to 35 minutes of cardio, some weight machine, some free weights, and a 10 minute cool down.

I have a book coming my way to help me learn more about the machines and exercise moves so I can confidently do them with the right form and knowing what muscle areas they target.

If you have this type of machine available at your gym but have been intimidated to try it, I say give it a go! It’s so much fun!

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.

Vitality Corner

I’ve done a few big projects to make my room a sanctuary and here’s a project I’d like to complete next: a vitality corner of encouraging quotes and pictures and many plants.

plant-leaves

I would call it a vitality shrine but some would take offense to that because of the religious connotations people assume with the word ‘shrine.’ It’s not religious in an idolatrous way, but it is reflective and meditative.

I want to use green plants as a reminder of all the things I want to be: 

– I want to bloom as I prepare myself emotionally, financially, and physically for mid-life. 

– I want to reach new heights.

– I want to seek the light even if I must bend and outstretch in one direction towards it. 

– I want to nourish my body with good healthy food and kindness so that my radiant outside reflects a well fed and cared inside. 

– I want to be growing in Christ. I feel tingling in my roots and hope to know and experience even more foundational truths about my God and our relationship. I need to be reminded that what I soak up in my roots helps me react to the world around me and feeds me substance.

– I want to prune and throw away the bad parts so that I can focus on what’s important and not feel inhibited. 

– I want to remember as I’m tending them that people who love me are tending me and to love them back fiercely with that devotion. 

– Like photosynthesis, I want to use good energy to fuel me and have that process produce beneficial things for my environment. 

– My assortment of plants may all look different and need different types of tending and soil environments for best performance, but they all work together to be beautiful although they are diverse. Similarly, I want to see my strengths and weaknesses more bigger picture and know that what I have works together to do even more good collectively.  I want to remember not to judge someone for not having similar outlooks, interests, faith, or personalities, but find ways to admire them and encourage our growth and relationships.

– Like potted plants, I want to accept help when I can’t get what I need from my limited resources. Plants need fertilizer, and I need other people’s wisdom, encouragement, and experiences to help feed me. I may need coaching, programs, and therapy to help me reach my potential at different times in my life and shouldn’t be afraid of needing these resources.

I think just a few years ago I would have thought this notion was silly, but perhaps that is a sign I’ve grown. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Spinny Chairs, Soup Cans, and Other Splendors

On Saturday my boyfriend and I took advantage of the free admissions to some major museums. We made a day trip to two art museums: the LACMA and the Hammer Museum. I sometimes forget how fortunate I am to live close enough to a major metropolitan. The work of classic and modern figures like Matisse, Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Braque, Warhol, and more are just a drive away. And featured at the LACMA, works by Elaine Lustig Cohen, which made my designer heart flutter.

The Hammer Museum is always free, so on a day when you can go elsewhere for free which usually costs, it’s lax and devoid of congestion. I’ve been to the LACMA several times, but this was my first time ever at the Hammer Museum. When one usually thinks art museum, one thinks structured, grandiose, and somewhat serious. This place feels entirely different. I walked up to the front desk, got my stickers, and as the person pointed to open exhibits on the map, she added, “Don’t forget to check out our lounge and ping pong area up stairs.” We walked up and in the courtyard were these huge chairs and people laughing as they gripped the sides and spun around. Functional and playful!

Here’s a video of the functional art pieces in action:

Chairs at Hammer Museum

At the risk of admitting puerile pleasures, I will say that the spinny chairs and ping pong break really added to my experience. I also couldn’t believe my luck at their permanent collection. I feasted my eyes on art by French and European greats. Josh’s favorites were Gustave Moreau’s King David (1878) and Salomé Dancing before Herod (1876).
Talk about visual opulence. On a more contemporary note, I loved Catherine Opie’s portraiture. Her dramatic lighting is so painterly and visceral. What is not subtract by shadow is large, detailed, and impacting.

LACMA was PACKED. Like, nearly sweltering as the A/C couldn’t keep up with the droves of art amateurs and enthusiasts alike. We weaved through much of it as quickly but efficiently as possible while taking breathers outside to cool down and get away from crowds. To my dismay, the Rain Room was sold out for the day. The highlight of LACMA for me was their graphic design exhibit on Alvin Lustig and Elaine Lustig Cohen. And revisiting pieces I always anticipate each time. In the contemporary section, we both had to point Warhol’s iconic Campbell soup painting and the Litchenstein’s work.  Josh enjoyed the Egyptian art and lavish religious art/sculpture best. We have very different preferences in art appreciation and that worked out well for such an impressive amount of work in one museum. We both pointed out different things to each other.

I know he would have enjoyed our outing either way, but when I mentioned getting Dim Sum before tackling the sites, I think that sealed the deal. 😉

 

Does Anyone Have it All Together?

You’ve heard it before: “They seem to have it all together.”

That person looks like they are the model citizen – someone to aim to be like in most if not all ways. They’re rational, inspirational, well-rounded, innovative, and just seem to have everything going in their favor. From what we can see, through our rose colored glasses, their life is envious. We examine our own lives and beat ourselves over where we think we fall short in terms of personal or societal expectations.

Does anyone have it all together?

The high school sweethearts are finally married and have a love story that would compel Nicholas Sparks to turn it into a novel. They never expected their small combined income would cause them to move thousands of miles away from where they grew up and desperately miss all their family and friends. And still, they are scraping by.

The successful businessman is at every charity, well loved, and the social media pictures of his lavish vacations with his family cause much envy. Little do they know his 80+ hour work weeks leave him worn and give little time to make memories with loved ones. He treats them all to summer vacation splendors to reconnect and thank them for understanding. Sometimes he wishes he could trade the success for time, but knows he is able to provide a future and financial legacy if he just stays the course.

The budding millionaire has three innovative patents that have enabled her to “get rich quick”.  Growing up with little, her head is spinning when thinking about investments and managing her expanding wealth. Friends and relatives she never figured would leech are pressuring her for loans and pricey gifts and dinners. She is making waves and ready to date after spending years developing her products. But now, she isn’t sure if the suitors are wanting to get to know her or more about the patents or figures.

The county’s brightest student is off to an Ivy League – but his ultimate goal is to be a minister. His family and teachers desperately want to see those smarts equal a high profile job. He wants to do what is on his heart and is passionate about his dreams.

The grace and beauty of her small town is as lovely inside as she is outside. She has looks, smarts, and heart, and is complimented all the time on all three. Even though she is praised often, some jealous individuals try to make life difficult for her just because of her beauty. They are downright rude and constantly looking for flaws to make her seem less perfect. For all the good they have to say, they jab her with remarks about nearing the end of fertility, wasting her looks not thinking about making progeny, and scratching their heads about why with all that she has going for her she can’t “get a man.” They don’t understand the personal standards she has committed to and why she is cautious. She can’t tell them about all the times men have tried to pursue her only to be a notch in their belt or for less than savory intentions, about how she has to be extra careful because her beauty sometimes means unwanted predicaments. They would think she was full of herself to say such things.

No one has it all together. For all the steps we take forward, we encounter new obstacles. Our timelines are unique. There isn’t an ideal for everyone. Our milestones are ours to make, and were never meant to be compared. Just because someone’s struggles seem smaller doesn’t mean it doesn’t takes less out of them. When we pretend others have it all together, we only take the joy out of our lives by pining for something we only see through a lens.

I can choose to look around and feel like I’ve fallen short, or I can choose to look at my own path and see how far I’ve come.

My victories are no less victorious. My struggles are no less real. My journey is mine to take. I’m not going to assume that I, or others, will ever have it all together. Life is happy, sad, joyful, messy, hard, rewarding, sweet, and stressful. Life is not multiple choice, it’s essays. I was never meant to try to glance at others #2 graphite lead filled bubbles and try to copy. I was meant to write my heart out and try my personal best. Just like school days, you finish the last sentence and turn it and sigh deeply. It was hard, but you did what you could with what you knew and the resources you were given. And that’s the same for everyone.

Creating a Safe Sanctuary

I moved months ago but I’m still slowly adjusting. The largest setback is a smaller space and some space sharing. In fact, the space sharing is a large reason why I need to make my bedroom a sanctuary for my sanity.

I made a huge resolutions list this year and de-stressing and organizing are both on that list. Both can be in harmony, right? Right?

The truth is I’m still figuring things out. So walls are empty even though I have art to hang, and accenting/styling still needs to be done. Right now, it’s more like an extended stay hotel than a room.

My bedroom needs to be functional – it’s my office, study desk, library, and place of rest. It’s also weirdly shaped so my furniture doesn’t suit it well.

I’d technically do better with a smaller bed, but then again my bed is my de-stressing zone and my couch and book nestling area. I’ve also got a desk that barely clears the side of my closet and the end of my bed. But do I keep an awesome desk or try to sell it and spend a ton on a new one that has to be so small and so wide to fit better?

Here’s my layout [not accurately proportionate in scale]:layout

Can you see my plight a little? The bed ONLY FITS in one end really…it can’t go against the window because that window lets too much chill in at night. The random cut in the wall where my bed backs against is the closet of the room next to mine. Apparently my room used to be an office at one point and the closet for this room was in the space between my door and small dresser. The owners converted it from a room to office by closing up where my door used to be, and taking out the original closet. Because the door is now there, when this was reconverted to a true bedroom, a closet was attached to the inside wall. Thus my crazy little nooks.

I’m thinking at one point I may have to downsize my desk but in the meantime there is a writing leaflet that pulls out…see the thin dashed rectangle? I’m using that as a laptop desk for quick web surfing and stuff and as a keyboard and mouse area  for the desktop…while sitting on the end of my bed. I can technically move out my chair and carefully scoot in, but I’m not little and this is quite a hassle. I also don’t have an outlet where the folding bookcase is so I can’t just go buy a tiny laptop type desk and put it there unless I want to run cords across my floor from the wall  where my bed touches on the top.

ANY TIPS ARE WELCOMED.

Here are my basic thoughts for helping it transform despite being on the tight side:

1. Add a pretty privacy film to my window so I can let the sunshine in without having the street peer in on my life.

2. Place some plants around to give it some life and pep.

3. Decorate my walls some so it looks personalized and not so renter-ly.

4. Keep busy patterns and designs to a minimum.

5. Get some nice big pillows I can pile when my bed is in book nook or couch mode.

6. Whittle down miscellaneous knick knacks.

7. Washi tape a headboard?

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My walls are a powdery green blue. Brighter than the picture above. Very baby boy nursery in color, but I chose it. I wanted something soft and not white and not neutral. Blue has been my new mood color and I think some gold/yellow and silver accents will compliment it nicely. Blue is known for being calm and restful – in fact, it’s one of the colors recommended for a nice restful sleep. I think in the back of my mind that’s why I picked it.

What do you think? Any tips or suggestions?

Fitbit Bits – Post #1

Since this blog is a mishmash of everything in my life, I’m going to do periodic fitbit updates as it is one of my resolutions to be more mindful of how active [or lack thereof] I am.

Here’s where I’m at now:

Average workday steps: 3500-5000
Average weekend/days off steps: 7000-10000
Gym Routine: None yet
Badges:  5k steps, 10k steps, 26 miles, Weight Goal set
Short Term Goal: 3 gym days, tone up and lose weight/inches for flights
Long Term Goal:  5 workouts/week, fit into a size 14/16 and set second/final size goal

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I still haven’t added the gym into the mix. That’s on me, and I know I shouldn’t provide any excuses so I won’t.

But! I’ve been walking when weather conditions aren’t challenging on work lunch breaks. They aren’t long but they do get me a short exercise in the mix and gets everything going again after sitting for over 4 hours.

What I do is I walk from work to my farthest point and  run  fat girl jog back as far as I can, then walk the last bit back to work so people from the office don’t see me looking like an idiot.

This whole thing is only about 10 minutes total of exercise, but I feel victorious! Running…ahem…jogging…is really hard on my body and I’m impressing myself with the little stamina and good breathing I’ve had. I used to forget to breathe and have to stop to recover and my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest. Now, the only thing that happens is my back strains a bit after a while and my running onsets some wheezing AFTER my run/walk is over. Sounds a bit pathetic, but it is progress!

I really am more sedentary because of my career – that’s been interesting to figure out. Another reason I need the gym and stuff, for sure. On a full time work day, I clock in about 3500-5000 steps. When I was off for a week, I was consistently clocking 7000-8000 without trying, and 10,000 when I had time to do extra walking/running.

Ideally, my first fitness goal is to do 3 gym days for 45 minutes or more at a time. I’d also like to do a dvd workout on days I don’t go – either T-Tapp or a trainer led zumba routine or music-based workout.

From there, I’d like to increase it to 3 gym days with a true workout circuit and 3 days of T-tapp (I’d do it on gym days) and 2 days of harder trainer dvd workouts like my Jillian Michaels or Marissa Tomei ones.

I have some flights to plan mid year and later. On my last plane ride, I was at the end of the buckle. I have since gained about 10-15 pounds and I’m mortified of that buckle not clicking or someone complaining  that I should have ordered two seats. I AM NOT going to let that happen. I lose weight very slowly but I’m hopeful that with a good routine I’ll at least tone up a bit if not be down hopefully at least what I gained since then. That is my short term goal – to hop on that plane feeling good about myself and not feeling like I spill out of my seat.

2016 Resolutions

It’s that time again! One thing is clear – I am imperfect and often fail these goals. The reason I set them is to examine myself in areas I need to work on. It bothers me when others declare that they do not bother with resolutions at all because they’ll inevitably fail. To me, that’s not the point. It’s looking in retrospect at how far you’ve come, and giving yourself goals as you go forth.

I think we should all feel the need to invest in ourselves and our futures. As unique individuals with different strengths and talents, we have a lot to offer and learn for the betterment of ourselves and the world around us. That starts with accepting the notion that we can and do create an impact.

I have learned that lofty but precise goals don’t make me feel good.

Lose 80 pounds and go to the gym everyday.  Um, yeah right. Good luck with that. Large number to lose and no room for practical things like illness, injury, or travel.

So now my goals look more like this:

Be more conscious of how active I am daily and be more faithful to eating and logging to myfitnesspal and fitbit.  No set numbers and much more practical. I’m building a consciousness that feeds into my behavior and habits rather than doing something because I have to.

Here’s my list for 2016 in no particular order:

1. Remember KonMari tips as I shop, tidy, and discard [“Spark Joy”]
2. Be more conscious of how active I am daily [general and fitness]
3. Be more faithful to eating plans and logging it into MFP
4. Devote time to mindfully pray and update my prayer board
5. Worry less about numbers on the scale [acknowledge NSV’s]
6. Work on revamping my design skills through online courses
7. Commit to a savings plan for the courses, new software, and supplies
8. Mindfully stay in touch with long distance friends and family
9. Hone in on things that bring me relaxation and make time to unwind
10. Reconfigure long term savings and goals
11. Offer more words of encouragement
12. Dwell less on thoughts of anger, jealousy, and insufficiency
13.Discover more about my faith through reading, seminars, and prayer
14. Determine what projects to concentrate and conquer them one at a time
15. Strengthen my work relationships
16. Spend less time online
17. Offer and carryout more one-on-one activities with my family so they know their individual importance in my life.
18. Work on bettering communication and vocalizing appreciation [w/ BF]
19. Habla more phrases in Español
20. Stress less about being out of my element and accept things as they happen even when I don’t know how to handle it [depression/anxiety]