NYR’s and PR’s

NYRs = New Year Resolutions
PRs= Personal Record

I had a wonderful Christmas and New Year! I’m feeling refreshed and ready to make the most of 2017. I’m also humbled and feel like my selfish desire to hide out for a week was wrong. I truly enjoyed the company of the relatives that came for Christmas and the relatives I saw in Arizona during my week off.

I ate horribly this holiday season. I didn’t really follow any guidelines for food or exercise and I sweet-ed myself out. All that to say when I was in AZ with my cousins and they were obsessing talking about logging calories into myfitnesspal, going to the gym religiously, and breaking all types of weight-lifting PRs, it made me feel super crummy. Some of the crummy I deserved to feel because I was making poor choices. But a lot of the crummy felt like shame, incompetence, and worthlessness — and I’m not okay with that.

They have all worked hard and I can’t discredit their efforts. I’m PROUD of them. I will say that they started out as healthy individuals of ideal weight and physical ability when they started so they didn’t have weight or health issues and were able to hit the ground running. Trying to compare myself with them isn’t fair. We have different goals even though we’re both working on our health.

We went out for a hike one of the days there and I needed to prove to my own self that I was capable. As we hiked (it was an easy trail, btw) I kept the lead most of the way up and down. Some of them weren’t wearing proper shoes or clothes, and I was in snug jeans, so none of us had ideal attire, but I pushed myself to keep ahead. It didn’t matter if they were casually hiking and I was putting in 110%, it mattered to me that I was able to keep up and feel good about what I was able to do. That hike dissolved a lot of the mucky feelings I was having and set my mind straight for 2017.

Here are my 2017 resolutions:

1. A healthy body, mind, and spirit. First and foremost.

Learning to rest/de-stress myself physically and mentally because I’m HORRIBLE at it. And leaning on Jesus. Also working on this body of mine, one day at a time, with new focus.

2. Working on patience instead frenzy, kindness instead of aggravation, and helpfulness instead of frustration. Especially with family members.

3. Minimizing belongings and unnecessary thoughts/feelings that cloud my outlook, rob my time, and prevent me from seeing my potential. Dwelling on/owning what truly brings me joy.

4. Being better friend. Finding new local friends organically.

5. Giving myself a heck of a lot more grace than I did in 2016. But also push myself harder with healthy motivators.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Hacks for Ladies on the Go

Are you a frequent flyer, over scheduled parent, or career gal? All of these situations call for long days and limited access to items for freshening up. I’m going to throw what knowledge I have from traveling and being a career gal your way in case it helps you out.

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Toilet Seat Protecters – Oil Blotters on the Go

Please use discretion with this hack. If you’re in a stinky gas station bathroom that looks run down and dirty, I would not suggest this. But, if you’re in a reputable place, one that looks clean, take a sheet out of the dispenser, blot with the part that goes towards the rear of the seat in a light pressing or tapping motion, and then go ahead and use it to do your business or throw it in the toilet and flush. You’ll be surprised at how efficiently it grabs oil and excess makeup. I’m always wowed. Maybe not conventional? But pretty darn cool! Instant refresh!


Hair tie/Rubber Band – Waist Band Expander

Feeling bloated or just need to feel more comfy? Take a hair tie (preferred) or thicker rubber band and pull it halfway through your button loop on your pants. Take both ends and hook it over your button, if you want to tighten it more, loop it around twice. Zip up and you should have a little more room. This may not work for pants that have a fussy zipper that likes to descend all by itself, but I’d say it works for 90% of my pants.

 

Tiny Finger Taps – Eye Refresher

Take both hands and use tips of your fingers to gently tap across the eye area. Imagine how you tap your fingers against a table when bored, but more gently and under your eyes. This tapping motion helps improve lymphatic movement and blood flow to the area to help with dark circles and puffiness. You only need to do this for 30-60 seconds. It’s a good exercise to do daily and it doesn’t cost a thing. Click here to see a short video of it.


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Hand Lotion – Hair Tamer

I learned this hack from my friend Joelle. She applies hand lotion and then uses her moisturized hands to sweep the top of her hair or the unruly strands that like to do their own thing. You aren’t applying it like hair gel, just to be clear. You’re just using that little bit that doesn’t fully absorb into your skin to help with fly-aways.

 

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Hand Sanitizer – Your Deo in a Pinch

18 hour flight? Forgot to pack deodorant? Ran out of the house and forgot to apply some deodorant first? You can temporarily keep odor at bay with hand sanitizer. I don’t recommend this often, but you gotta do what you gotta do, right? This will help rid the bacteria and it’s the bacteria with sweat that makes pits stink.


Wash your bangs – Overall Hair Refresh

Maybe humidity got you really sweaty or you thought your hair could go one more day without shampooing and it’s just looking limp or greasy. If you have bangs, hold/tie back your hair and take some hand soap and rinse your bangs clean. You might look a little crazy doing this in a public bathroom, so wait until the bathroom is clear. After washing, “wring” what you can and then use paper towels to dry those bangs. On the occasion I’ve had to do this, it takes maybe a minute or two for my bangs to look completely dry. I usually wash my hair every other day, so on my off day, I start my morning routine by washing just my bangs in the sink with a shampoo bar. It really makes a difference in the overall appearance especially for people like me who have oily T zones.

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Small Muslin Drawstring Bag – Money Stash

This is the most effective thing I think I’ve ever thought up for travel or going out and not wanting to have a lot of money on hand. Take your money and fold it to fit the drawstring bag, if you have a larger drawstring you could theoretically put a credit card or gift card in there too. Draw the strings so the bag is closed. In front of a mirror, take the bag and place it above the cup of your bra in the strap area and pass the bag through both strings and pull to tighten it around your bra strap. Tuck the bag portion in your bra cup, close to where your arm hits it. This works best for more structured and larger bra cups, but it should work for any lady. For guys or ladies with very small cups or very fitted tops, you can try this method on a belt loop of your pants and tuck the bag inside your pants. It’s important to not put metal items in your drawstring bag if you’re going through the airport security line, but I’ve never had a problem using this method with cash and going through the body scanners.

Moments as Souvenirs

The last few years, as the friends closest to me move states away, I realize that the object of my vacations are moments together rather than sightseeing. Since everyone’s so scattered it has been fun to see their new haunts and homes and see what their state is all about.

This past trip was a long time coming. It’s been three years since I’ve seen this best friend and family (I did see her briefly last year when she flew out alone for her grandfather’s memorial.) I pretty much have best friends and then acquaintances, so I don’t mean to have her sound like she’s the only one that matters, but sometimes in life, you are so close to someone you are practically sisters/family. That’s the case here. She pursued a friendship with me during a dark time in my teens where I lost hope in people. From there, I stuck by her side through some heavy stuff in her life. We’ve seen the worst and best of each other, and because of that, we have a bond that is unbreakable. And as her family grew, I was at each birth and am an honorary auntie to her three precious boys.

Her youngest wasn’t even one when they moved, and I was nervous about how long it would take to warm up to me. We skype and my friend mentions me often, but three years is a long time for young kids. When they picked me up, the younger 2 were there and staring/adoring me. I had to stifle a cheesy grin and pretend I didn’t notice it. They wanted to reacquaint with me and that was taking in every detail of what I looked like. The littlest one was talkative and chattered with me right away. The middle smiled but was soft spoken the first day. The eldest was in bed by the time I got to their place, but the next morning, he hugged me and it was like old times.

God has been working great things in this family and it was so neat to just be a part of their week. All of them are doing so well there, and I can’t even selfishly wish they’d move back. I know they are where they should be and they flourish here. I am so proud of the life my best friend and her husband have made for themselves here.

The sweetest parts of the trip were all of us in the car getting eldest brother to school and praying all together before they got to the school. And all of us gathered, mommy, daddy, the kids, and me – holding hands and praying together at bedtime. And of course, hearing three little voices tell me throughout the day, “I love you, Auntie Laura.”

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Making lego gummies and gummy bears with Auntie Laura.

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At the waterfall fifteen minutes from their home. Yeah, it’s crazy. There’s water everywhere here.

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Pedis with the bestie!

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Frozen custard – A local favorite!

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Another spot not even 15 minutes away with gorgeous waterfalls.

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The rock formations and lushness around it just makes it even more breathtaking.

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So much green! So much water!

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Turtle boy! One of the funniest moments! The youngest is such a goofball! He was playing in his carseat, collapsed in it all buckled in, and started walking around like a turtle.

It was hard to say goodbye the last day. I know I’ll be back, but I also know an annual trip isn’t going to happen, so it’s bittersweet. My best friend and I talk nearly everyday though. We stay close mostly through messaging each other and social media and skyping.

I came back feeling really rested, really loved, and full of love. ❤