Coming Out of My Cage, And I’ve Been Doing Just Fine

Spring arrived this weekend. I spent the weekend with Mark (my boyfriend, who was merely an acquaintance at the time of my last post), my college roommate and good friend Caitlin, my current roommate Alex, and my favorite pooch Millie. The weather is a comfortable 80 degrees today, there’s a breeze in the air, and I can feel everything that’s sweet about my favorite season of the year on the horizon.

Last fall, keeping up with the blog started to feel like too much for me to handle. It’s not a secret that I’m a girl who’s easily overwhelmed. So I stepped back for a little bit. But with the warm weather comes a renewed attitude and excitement for the things that I usually love: music, writing, cooking with my friends, Blue Moons with orange slices, late nights and early mornings.

I’ve been working a lot these days. Business is booming, which is awesome, but it does mean that I spend almost all of my daylight hours at a desk in a room with no windows.  Fluorescent light lifestyle for me. Previous to now, blogging was a way to hold me accountable to healthy living. But these days, I feel like I just need a creative outlet. A place to talk about how lucky I am, or to post recipes that I like, or to talk about things that make me anxious, or to just post pictures of Millie (which is the only reason anyone would ever read this blog anyway).

58029_4670012319714_580933189_n

Being weird and embarrassing, as usual.

No scheduled posts for the blog this time around. Just posting about whatever I feel like, whenever I feel like it.

Today, I feel like talking about running.

Mark and I ran an 8k this weekend.

Pre-Race Drowsy Smiles

Pre-Race Drowsy Smiles

I have been suffering from a lot of lower leg pain due to some bum shoes (which I didn’t figure out until a week before the race, of course), so my training has been off. I made a goal to finish in under an hour, and I finished in exactly 1:00:00. Not too shabby for being almost totally out of shape and running with crappy shoes.

I will say that there were several times during the race when I thought to myself “I hate this… I miss when running was fun for me.” I’ve been thinking a lot recently that maybe running isn’t really my thing any more. I’ve been in pain, I haven’t really had the energy to keep it up, and I don’t have a lot of friends that run at all.

But throughout the race, I kept hearing Mark’s voice in my head reminding me to focus on the good stuff about running. And then I found out that Mark and Caitlin both had AWESOME times, and that made me super jealous (naturally). On top of that, I ended up finding a new pair of shoes at the racing expo that fit like a dream.

They may look nerdy, but I love them. From http://www.optimalrun.com.

They may look nerdy, but I love them. http://www.optimalrun.com.

Later that day, I talked to Mark about running the Philly Half Marathon in November, and he enthusiastically agreed. And then Caitlin and I chatted for a couple hours about some strategies that she uses in training.

Just like that, I felt a renewed interest in running. It’s so strange how it all turned around in a day, but I feel so excited to get back to the shape I was in a year ago, or better.

With the help of Caitlin’s brain power, I decided to totally start from scratch. I’m notorious for thinking I can do 5 mile runs just because I have in the past. But this afternoon I went for a really short 2 mile run/walk with no time goals. From there, we’ll see how I progress.

I’m definitely not the same runner, or girl, that I was a year ago. But it’s only up from here.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

How I Switched Jobs Without Becoming A Hot Mess

Two weeks ago, I left my wonderful little job as a leasing agent at an apartment complex to take a bit of a leap. I knew that I was going to be working for CustomInk about three weeks before I started, so I knew that I had three weeks to avoid the whirlwind of stress and identity crises that come along with such a big transition.

We all know that when I graduated college and started work at my old job, I gained 10 pounds, struggled with energy, continually asked myself if I was doing the right thing to become who I want to be (I don’t even know who I want to be, so…), etc. I realllllllly wanted to avoid that for the second go-round.

SO! Like a Girl Scout, I prepared. (I’m not a Girl Scout, but preparedness is an excellent virtue no matter how one labels oneself).

Some people have file cabinet brains where everything is all organized and easily accessed (CoughAlexCough). I have a cloud brain where everything is foggy and constantly moving around and hiding. Something that really works for me when I’m trying to avoid crushing anxiety is putting my worries down in a concrete outline. When I got hired at CustomInk, the beginning of the outline looked like this:

THINGS I FELT ANXIOUS ABOUT

  • Giving Millie enough attention
  • Having time and energy to exercise
  • Having time an energy to eat well
  • Feeling well rested
  • Not losing myself in my work

The first thing I did after acknowledging what was bothering me was step back from all non-necessary commitments. I’m still not drinking (woop woop sobriety!), so I didn’t have to worry about cutting back on late-night outings. I had an audition time set up to try out for a community theater production, but I backed out of my audition. And (obviously), I put my little ol’ blog on hold.

Sad? Well, kind of. But as my mom would say, it wasn’t a prison sentence! I just knew that I wouldn’t be able to juggle a busy social life, a community commitment, my blog, and all over my other mandatory  commitments while I was trying to adjust to this new job. Technically my schedule at my new job is the same, but it was really important for me to recognize that I would be using a lot of mental energy on learning and adapting. I figure I can start taking on other things when I master my tasks at work.

Anyway, after stepping back from some commitments, I channeled that inner Girl Scout again and started to prepare for everything I anticipated might stress me out. I got some new fall shoes; I did some re-arranging in my living room so things weren’t so cramped; I got Millie a little gate so she wouldn’t have to be in the kennel all day; I finally got a membership to the gym so I could attend high energy/low mental effort group exercise classes; I started going to bed around 10:30; I bought a lunch box so I could pack my lunch and I started planning for easily packable groceries.

Have all of these things worked out like I want them to? No way, Jose. But just having a plan has made all the difference.

These past two weeks have definitely been stressful, but I honestly think I’m in exactly the right place. My job is challenging and interesting. I’m using my brain, and my many co-workers are smart and creative. And the best part about it is I feel like I can really connect my personal values and goals to the values and goals of the company, and that helps me stay present in my work. I’ve also been loving the ACAC, and I’ve had a lot of support from my wonderful friends.

So that’s where I’ve been! Stressing out, tackling the stress, and working my butt off. For right now, the blog’s slowin’ down. Definitely not stopping (I love it over here!), but taking a chill pill, if you will. Because I’m me, I’ll never run out of things to talk about. But I’m gonna gain back a little mental energy before I start blogging daily again. :)

I’m off to snuggle with my main lady, Millie, eat some dinner, and watch my newest addiction, The Newsroom. This girl’s got an early morning, a long day of training, and an intense workout on the books for tomorrow.

Catch ya later!

*Sorry about the lack of photos… I just plugged in my camera and the only photos on it are two blurry pictures of my living room. But I promise you the only thing I could have taken pictures of this week have been the inside of my office and my apartment.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Excused Absence

Where I’ve Been (or, A ‘To Write’ List For This Weekend’s Posts):

  • The ACAC. Yep! I finally got that membership.
  • The CustomInk office getting my ass whooped during training for my new job.
  • Hangin’ out with high school buddy, Travis.
  • Hangin’ out with college roomie, Molly.
  • Watching The Newsroom.
  • Reading Where’d You Go Bernadette? (Swamplandia!, got slow enough that I needed a little breather.) (I’m all about books with punctuation in the titles these days, apparently.)
  • In my bed, which is exactly where I’ll be as soon as  Chehon and Eliana win So You Think You Can Dance is over.

See ya this weekend, friends. :)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

My Very Own Chili Recipe

Today was my last day at work! I’ve got some time off to get myself together, cross some things off that nagging to do list, and enjoy the most beautiful time of the year. Then I start up fresh at my new job at CustomInk!

I’m still trying to use up all those peppers Al brought me (they’re cayenne, I found out!), and today he brought in a whole new bag of tomatoes for me. So in honor of Al (and the cool weather), I thought I’d put those peppers to use and experiment with my mom’s chili recipe!

My mama used to make this amazing chili when I was younger. She was very health conscious, too, so I always knew that I was getting lots nutritious punch without a whole bunch of calories or fat.

I asked her for the original recipe, and then I had to make a whole bunch of my own twists on it. For starters, she made hers in the CrockPot and I don’t have one of those. Also, she said my brother and I didn’t like it too spicy when we were little, so I know she didn’t put the peppers in it like I did. So it’s not the same recipe I grew up eating, but I actually like making my own adjustments. One of my favorite inspirational authors, H. Jackson Brown Jr., says that everyone should have a signature chili recipe that they pull out every fall during football season. Consider this mine!

 

While I was waiting for the chili to cook down, I watched a whole bunch of Revenge (season 1 finale holy smokes) and Millie napped on my lap. We had a little photo shoot.

 

When it got closer to eatin’ time, I whipped up this (relatively) healthy cornbread recipe . I love love love cornbread, so it was nice to find a recipe that doesn’t involve, you know, lard.

 

Guys. Dinner was good. I put some pepper jack cheese on the chili, and had some cukes and homemade salsa for my veggie on the side.

 

Om nom nom.

Tonight’s after dinner entertainment is X-Factor!! So excited to see the inevitable perfect messiness that is Britney, Demi, and Simon Cowell all in the same room.

Posted in Body, General Lifestyle | 1 Comment

Some Things

Hey! I imagine that all people who blog feel this compulsory need to apologize (like I’m feeling now) when they haven’t posted in a while. But real talk: I would really owe an apology if I had been blogging daily about the mundane stuff going on over here in Katie Land.

So I figured I’d pull out the highlights from the past week and put ‘em into one post!

1. I’ve been training my replacement at my office. I really like her, and I think she’s going to fit in really well with the other manager in the office, Pam. It’s been b.o.r.i.n.g. at work since she’s been there, though, because it’s 3 people doing work fit for maybe one person. But as my time at this job winds down, I’m starting to realize how much I’m going to miss some of the people and experiences there.

Take one of my favorite maintenance men, Al, for instance. Today he brought me a grocery bag full of tomatoes and peppers from his garden!

 

I don’t even know what kind of peppers those are (Mom, I know you’re reading this and I know you know), but it made me want to cry why I saw them on my desk this morning. It’s looking like I’ve got some serious salsa in my future.

2. Guys. This weather. FALL IS HERE TO STAY. (I hope.)

That, of course, means that I’m getting my running groove on. I haven’t been wearing my Garmin out with me so I don’t know how far I’m averaging (I’m guessing ~3.5mi/run), but I’m having so much fun running around grounds, enjoying the fall smells, and people watching.

In fact, the other day I was enjoying my run so much, I resolved to spend some time looking up a half marathon in Virginia to start training for! If I started training now, I’d hope to be ready to run a half in December, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like there’s too much in terms of races in this area around that time.

Side note about runs: I’ve always thought that I need to listen to really fast pop music or rap when I run because it’ll help me keep up a beat. But it dawned on me the other day that that’s so ridiculous. I generally don’t like that kind of music at all, and I can run to the kind of music I actually like, even if it’s not traditional “running” music. Here’s one that I listened to on repeat today:

Even though it’s really quiet and folky, it has a great rhythm that was really easy to fall into, and it was so much easier to zone out and think than when I’m listening to “Starships” for the umpteenth time.

3. Other things I love about Fall? FALL TV!! Alex and I detest Comcast and refuse to pay $80 a month for the most basic cable service (don’t worry, I practically make it my job to tweet at them about how dissatisfied I am with their service), so we invested in a $40 antennae for our TV.

The antennae has been such a good purchase. We get all the major networks, which means that I get to catch up on alllllll the Fall TV I want.

This makes it look like I watch a stupid amount of TV. Which, okay. Maybe I do. But I can tell you right now that I’ll probably end up only watching How I Met Your Mother, Revenge, and Happy Endings. Although god knows I love myself some Connie Britton. (And I’m only watching Elementary so I can compare it to my beloved Sherlock).

Do you all feel like having the TV on in the house just makes it feel more…. homey?  The news in the morning, football on the weekends, Jeopardy while I’m cooking dinner… Even if I’m not really watching it, those familiar sounds are so nice to have in the background.

4. Apurva, Frances, and Aaron came over for brunch yesterday morning, and while I forgot to take photos of the entire brunch (womp), I did manage to get a snapshot of the baked oatmeal I made before all the leftovers were gone.

 

I made this recipe that I found on Pinterest, and it was a hit–really healthy and hearty. I also made a little berry compote sauce to drizzle on top by tossing some frozen berries and stevia in a pot to reduce down. Nom nom nom.

5. I live in a house of cute.

Catch you guys later. :)

 

 

Posted in General Lifestyle | 6 Comments

Fit Puppy

When I first got my little Millie girl, her old mama told me she was not much of an outdoors dog. Well, her old mama was way wrong. I think she was under that impression simply because she never took Millie outside. When I got her, the pads of her paws didn’t have any calluses on them and her nails (claws?) were way too long to even be cut. :( Poor Millie was too pampered for the great outdoors.

Millie’s first pic, all furry faced and outta shape! (Also: thank goodness that yucky ‘stache is gone, amirite?)

But the first few times I brought Millie outside to play, it was obvious that she loved being outside. She’s been known to run circles around empty fields just for the heck of it, and even though she’s an absolute mess on a leash, she’ll happily trot across miles of Charlottesvillian terrain by my side.

I’m really careful to remember, though, that dogs need to work up to fitness just like people do. Remember when she pulled her little belly muscles from playing to hard? Definitely don’t want that to happen again. So I’m trying to work her up to where she can run with me.

Just a blur.

Her training is two parts: 1. Endurance/muscle building, 2. Leash training. She just gets so excited, she runs all over the place and trips me and chokes herself with her leash.

So what’s on the top of my list for next pay day?

This retractable leash. These things are way expensive (in my opinion), but I hear they’re the best way to train your dog to jog with you.

I’m working on taking her for a couple ~2mi walks per week until she gets comfortable with it, at which point I’ll probably work up to .5mi jog/1.5mi walks. Then we’ll see where we go from there!

Today, Millie Girl and I covered a blissful 2.5 around UVA Grounds before it started to rain. Little lady was pooped.

The benefit of getting Millie in shape is twofold: I’ll have a running partner, and she won’t get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom!

Before I leave you, here’s a little link lovin’…

3 Tough Realizations To Help You Lose Weight (And Keep It Off!): Some great reminders about doing what it takes to get to where you want to be. (Related note? I’m alcohol-free for almost 2 weeks now! Woop woop!)

Happy almost hump day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Wherever the Wind Blows Me

Happy Labor Day! I’ve been waxing nostalgic about my college days recently, but today when all my friends are in class and I got to sleep in and play with my puppy, I’m happy to be a workin’ girl!

Yesterday was not my day. Long story short, I got a speeding ticket at 8:30 in the morning and it just set me up for a melancholy day. I spent several hours listening to Alexi Murdoch and burning candles. It was raining, too. #drama

Today was MUCH better and totally necessary. I spent the morning looking over this dreaded sheet of paper.

It could only get better from there, right?

I started prepping for dinner… lentils for veggie burgers! (Recipe to come tomorrow!)

And then Millie and I went on the longest walk all around the UVA grounds. It was such a great day- totally overcast and cool, but not a drop of rain all day!

Note to self: Mille + squirrel sighting = Embarrassing situation.

I dropped Millie off and headed to Starbucks for the first pumpkin spice latte of the season! Suzanne and I are what we like to call “season pushers.” We’re in love with all things fall, and even though there are many days of summer left, I’m happy to pretend it’s my favorite season with some pumpkin spice.

I drank it while reading my new book, Swamplandia! I’m loving this book. The main character, Ava, is awesome; Brave, independent little girls are my favorite type of character (a la Beasts of the Southern Wild).

When I got home, I laced up my running shoes and headed out for a few miles. While I definitely have a strict “always resist” list (two servings of dessert, anything covered in cheese, talking shit about people I don’t know), I also have a strict “never resist” list. I try to never resist the urge to be generous, give a compliment, and I especially never resist the urge to run. Even though I do like running, most of the time I have to force myself to get out there. So if the mood strikes, I try to take advantage of it.

Anyway, today I was just kind of going wherever the wind blew me. My favorite kind of day. :)

Tomorrow I start training my replacement at work…. That’s a little bit sad, so I’m super happy I had today to re-charge. Yay short week!

 

 

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Exciting News and Nagging To Dos

(Sorry about the rhyming….)

I can give some more details in a couple weeks, but I’ve had an exciting and unexpected change of plans: I’m switching jobs! I wasn’t looking to change jobs at all because I really love where I’ve been since May. But a little company that I met at the Charlottesville Job Fair all the way back in April contacted me recently and offered me a really great opportunity with them. I don’t want to say too much about it just yet, but it was necessary to mention the new job before I move on to what this post is about. :)

When I got my current job, I had been out of school for 3 weeks. I had a dog with an ear infection (hello, vet bills), an expensive apartment that I hadn’t moved into yet, and I had a grocery bill that I hadn’t quite figured out. I was applying for any and everything, and when my boss called on a Sunday night to offer me the position, I told him I could start in two days.

Two. Days.

I was in Harrisonburg at the time, so I packed up my crap, hopped in the car with my dog, and spent a week at Nate’s apartment with five boys. I shared a bed with someone, I didn’t have much space in the fridge, and I was generally a big mess. My schedule was a disaster and I started procrastinating everything that didn’t need to be taken care of immediately. So now, 3 months after I first stepped foot into my new home, I still have a massive list of things that need to get done.

One of my idols, Gretchen Rubin, calls this a “Nagging To Do List.” Regular to do lists say things like “go to the grocery store,” “take out the trash,” and “call mom.” NTDLs are those bigger things you put off until it gets to the point where you HAVE to do it. Rubin recommends several strategies for getting things crossed off her NTDL: Do one thing a day, do a few things every weekend, or take one day a month to get it ALL crossed off.

I’m going to focus these next couple of weeks, the weeks where I’m still settled in at my current job and before I start getting all frazzled and focused and learning something new, on crossing off almost all the things on my NTDL. It’s gonna take some serious time and a little bit of money, but I think getting these big things crossed off my list will really help me feel more comfortable when I get started at my new office.

Here’s what my list looks like (I wrote this up this morning and I’ve already crossed a few things off!):

Home: 

  • Touch up paint in bedroom
  • Clean off patio
  • Get new citronella candles for the patio
  • Spray paint bar chairs
  • Adjust and clean wall art
  • Get baskets to replace desk drawers in bedroom
  • Clean out bedroom closet
  • Clean out under bed
  • Clean out hall closet

Health:

  • Make an appointments with new doctors (general practitioner, dentist, etc)
  • Get new vitamins
  • Get a gym membership

Other:

  • Get new makeup
  • Get new fall shoes
  • Get a plane ticket/book room for Ashlee’s wedding next May
  • Birthday gifts/cards for upcoming birthdays
  • Get a day planner
  • Write and send letters to college friends
  • Donate some books
  • Clean out car
  • Finish painting of Millie that I started last week
  • Get vacuum fixed
  • Get car inspected 
  • Register for 10k in October
  • Get a lunchbox

I know that getting these things crossed off my list will really alleviate some stress and allow me to feel like I’m making a totally fresh start with the new job. Some things, like getting my car inspected and going to the dentist, are way overdue, so that’ll be good. Other things might not get done (like buying my ticket to Mexico for Ashlee’s wedding), but at least I have them written down so I remember to do it.

Can’t wait ’til it’s all done and I can get started on my next huge goal: creating and maintaining a work-week routine!

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Season In Alphabetical Review

Today is August 28, 2012, and for the first time in my memory I am not participating in the traditional mark of another summer gone. This morning, while my roommate was packing his backpack and looking at his schedule, I went through all the motions that I’ve gone through every day since May, and that I’ll go through every day for the foreseeable future. Today is not my first day of school. Today is just another day at work, just another day of the year.

My memory is punctuated by summers. Every year, time stops when the warm weather arrives, and I have the three months of blissfully suspended reality to reflect on the year and recharge. I’ve always traced my history not by my age, but by my summers. It’s a weird thing knowing that I might never again have those periods of reprieve by which to measure the passage of time.

My move to Charlottesville was a conscious decision to ease into adult-land. I could have been braver and moved alone to an unknown city. Instead I chose to relocate to a college town an hour away from my dad, and move in with my best friend. It’s been a gentle way for me to get the experiences of being an adult, but still have some of the comforts college afforded me (you know, like friends).

Even though this morning I rolled in to work at 8:49 (the same time as always), and I poured myself a cup of coffee (the same weak brown water as always), and settled in to a day in front of a computer (the same ancient model as always)…. I felt that familiar “another year older” sensation that comes with the shift from summer to fall.

Maybe that has to do with the sudden increase in activity on my street, or the UVA students I see bustling around the coffee shops on my way to work, or the peace that has fallen over my office now that the students are busy with school. But summer is distinctly over, and as a little reflection, I thought I’d do a little A-Z survey about my summer.

A: Available? Yes, I’m leaving Summer 2012 as single as I’ve ever been. And I’m cool with it. To be honest, I don’t know what I’d do with a boyfriend at this point in my life. Make him watch Pretty Little Liars with me?

B: Book? Best book I read all summer was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I made it through a couple books I didn’t really like, and right now I’m reading Swamplandia!, but I haven’t been as voracious of a reader as I have been other summers.

C: Crush? I’ve spent most of my time pining over Cyrus and Cheon on So You Think You Can, if I’m being honest.

D: Dog? On May 25, 2012, I rescued Millifred Beyonce (Millie for short) from the perils of life as a Craigslist listing. It’s  had it’s ups and downs, and I’m still learning to manage the headaches I get when she barks, but when she curls up next to me in bed, or makes her little Millie groaning noises, or gets all hyper in Alex’s back yard… there’s no doubt in my mind that getting a dog was a great decision.

E: Easiest person to talk to? I am so lucky to live with Alex, and I’m even luckier that I’ve made so many more amazing friends this summer.  Annie, Conor, Aaron, Sam, Apurva, Frances, Ian…. I honestly feel like I could talk to them all about anything. And I’m really happy to be able to report that I’ve kept in close contact with almost all of my best friends from school. I’ve even had visits from Suzanne, Lauren, Kristin, Colleen, and Molly!

The easiest to talk to, though, has be be Conor. I’m excited that I have him around for midnight emergency “I need to get this off my chest” talks. That boy’s a good egg.

F: Food? Man-oh-man have I had some good food. The best meal I’ve had out all summer was probably the brunch I had at Pigeon Hole a few weeks ago. The best homemade meal I had was the zucchini ribbons with pesto Annie made in July.

G: Gym? Still haven’t found a gym in Charlottesville that I’m willing to pay for. :-/ I’ve been getting my exercise through runs and at-home work outs. (I’m all about doing HIIT through one episode of The Hills, and then strength through another. Excellent 40 minute workout.)

H: Home? Loving my little apartment. Loving home improvement project. Loving all of it. I truly feel at home in my place, which is so so so nice. But home really is where the heart is, and I think my heart is pretty settled in Charlottesville.

I: If you could move, would you? I would not. This is where I’m supposed to be. Like I said, my heart is here.

J: Job? My job could be described as a “dead end”, but I can’t hate a job where I can write blog posts all day, meet cool people, and chat with my silly co-workers. Pam, the only other woman in my office, is like a second mom to me sometimes, and I am so grateful to have her in my life. And it doesn’t hurt when I come home with flowers or a bottle of wine from one of the people I manage.

K: Kids? For the first time in forever, my summer hasn’t revolved around children. I’m a child-care veteran, so the fact that I babysat only once this summer is really unusual.

L: Longest car trip? I took Nate down to Charleston for the start of his Bike and Build trip! I think that was 7 hours down and back? And I did it all in 24 hours! It was honestly some of the most fun I’ve had all summer, chatting in the car, eating good food, drinking wine, and seeing my best friend off for the trip of a lifetime.

M: Movie? I have seen AMAZING movies this summer. From rewatching Clueless and Cruel Intentions, to seeing Moonrise Kingdom and Beasts of the Southern Wild in theaters… It’s been a good summer for cinema.

N: Number of mental breakdowns? Only one serious one! At the beginning of the summer, too! I’ve been doing a really good job keeping an attitude of gratitude, and the breakdown at the beginning of the summer was largely due to the exhaustion of moving.

O: One thing you wish was different? I wish that I hadn’t put on weight this summer. I didn’t put on too much, and I’m juuuust starting to feel like I have it back under control (knock on wood), but I wish that I had felt more prepared for how different desk-life would be. And I wish that my parking space was closer to my apartment.

P: Plans for the future? My only real plans that I’m looking forward to in fall are getting a TV antennae so I can watch Happy Endings on the night it airs, and seeing the Avett Bros. in October! Wsup, living in the present!

Q: Quote that describes your summer? I love the Pinterest favorite, “Bloom where you are planted.” If you are put some place, take total advantage of it and be the best person you can be in that situation. I certainly am trying!

R: Reason to smile? There are countless things that make me smile every single day. Some of my favorites are the squishy face that Millie gets when she lays on the couch, the comfort of knowing that my best friend lives across the hall, and the daily “just checking in” phone calls from my parents.

S: Song of the summer? I have been in a music rut, largely due to the fact that I don’t spend a lot of time studying any more and I can’t listen to music at my desk. The majority of the music that I listen to is work out music, but I’ve loved “Take a Walk” by Passion Pit, “Crazy Girl” by Eli Young Band (not sorry about the country), and the whole Grouplove album. I’m reallllly looking forward to new Mumford & Sons and Avett Brothers.

T: Time you greet the day? I’m an early riser these days! 7am on weekdays!

U: Something Unexpected? I didn’t expect to like my job so much, if I’m being honest. And I also didn’t expect that it would be so freaking hot.

V: Veggies?  Since I last talked about my flexetarianism, I’m still dabbling in white meat. I’m enjoying turkey wraps for lunch, and chicken about once a week. But most of the time I forget that I even eat white meat, and I just make something veg. I can’t get enough broccoli or orange pepper these days. Nom nom.

W: Worst new habit? Probably drinking more than usual. But I kicked it!

X: Best eXperience? I feel like I would be remiss in my summer review if I didn’t mention the 3 weeks in the beginning of the summer (pre-Year of Katie) that I squatted in Nate’s apartment with Alex, Aaron, Conor, and two of Nate’s roommates. I definitely learned a lot about myself in those 3 weeks living with 5 boys.

Also, this might seem small, but when Alex and I were invited to dinner at his boss’ house, it was truly one of the best nights of my summer. Amazing conversation with wonderful people, and making a relationship with Christine (his boss) led to an invitation to join her book club!

Y: Youth? (Okay so there aren’t any good words for Y, bear with me here.) I’m definitely feeling like an adult. I really do feel older than most of my friends in CVille, but I have this “I’m young! I need to seize these opportunities!” attitude that I definitely don’t want to lose.

I’m gonna end my review with with Y (I haven’t been to any zoos, and my zodiac sign had been the same this summer as it’s always been), but looking back I think the letters of the summer were and G, for adjustment and growth. I’ve had an wonderful summer. I wouldn’t say it was my best, but I wouldn’t change any of it.

Here’s to fall in Charlottesville, the most beautiful place in the world.

Posted in General Lifestyle, Mind, Soul | 1 Comment

Off the Sauce

This time last year, I made a big proclamation, and I’m about to make the same one once again: I’m laying off alcohol. Indefinitely.

22-year-olds all over the world are caught up in happy hour culture. Head out after work, grab a couple cocktails and appetizers, you know the deal. I’m not a big happy hour goer since my co-workers are both ~40 years older than me and my friends are all ~2 years younger than me and on a tiiiight budget. But because most (all) of my friends are still in college, I am very much immersed in the culture of “college” drinking.

 

To some people, drinking like a college student means chasing shot after shot of Burnett’s with a beer bong full of Natty Lite. While I definitely remember a couple nights like that back at JMU, my friends in Charlottesville are much more the “let’s get a few bottles of white wine and drink them all while we talk about life” type. While I might feel all proud of myself for being more civilized with my drinking (although let’s be honest, it’s not really that civilized to drink a whole bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio more than once a week), the effect that my drinking style has had on my health has been no less detrimental.

Let’s back track a little bit: Anyone who has ever successfully lost and kept off weight will tell you that it’s all about lifestyle change. That means change of mindset, change of attitude, change of support system, etcI made that lifestyle change last summer, and I feel like my mind and soul are still coming from a place of health to this day.

That said, I have let my old lifestyle drinking habit back into my social life. One old habit isn’t that big of a deal, but unfortunately drinking is one of those domino-effect things. Here’s what happens with me and alcohol: Two glasses of wine at dinner–> Lowered inhibitions when it comes to portion control–> A few more drinks at home–> “Okay, I’ll take a shot of tequila if you take a shot of tequila”–> Late night pizza/French fries/Chinese food–> Lethargic mornings–> Hangover breakfast–> Sitting on my ass all day feeling sorry for myself.

All of a sudden I’ve consumed 1,000 liquid calories, even more calories worth of junk food, and made myself feel too crappy to get in a good workout the next day. This has been happening all summer. No wonder I’ve packed on 10ish pounds.

Alex, Annie, and I were talking about the difference between a “drinking problem” and a “problem brought on by drinking” while we were running yesterday. While I by no means think I have drinking problem, my weight gain and lack of focus is a problem that can be attributed (at least in part) to drinking.

So anyway, that’s all a long-winded way of letting you all know that I’m off the sauce for the time being. Now, I’m not going to pass up sips of the fancy craft beer that Alex likes to indulge in once in a while, and I’m not against a small glass of wine if a host is offering it to me. But $3 pitcher nights are turning into $0 glasses-of-water nights, and SYTYCD and wine nights are turning into SYTYCD and sugar free hot-chocolate nights.

What does this mean for my social life? Pretty much nothing. My friends rarely do anything that can’t be enjoyed sober as well, and chances are that if they are going to frat parties or something, I don’t want to be there anyway (top 10 places I don’t belong anymore: fraternity houses). I also found that when I stopped drinking last year, I had a lot of personal time for reading/craft projects/Friday Night Lights, and I LOVED that. So I’m kind of looking forward to that! Especially since (nerd alert) Alex and I just started watching Battlestar Galactica.  :)

So with the situation analyzed, the declaration made, and the excuses squashed… Let the (sober) wild rumpus start!

Posted in Body, Soul | 2 Comments