Jul 31, 2015

Blogger Tea Swap! Tasty Teas from Trish

I'm on an alliterative kick, as you may have noticed.

Anyway, I joined in for Trish's tea swap, got to partner up with the host herself, and was sent some very tasty stuff in this extremely glamorous package.  (All I had was Christmas paper, so Trish's package was a bit less, uh, classy.)

I took pictures!  Partially for the linkup, but mostly so I could remember what I drank and liked.

Jul 30, 2015

My Man is The Man - an Uncharacteristically Sentimental Post

I don't normally do this, but I'm writing my vows and it's making me feel feelings.  If you're not one for excessively long and sentimental expressions of heartfelt... ok, nevermind, I can't do this.

Here's a slightly less sappy summary of how and why my boyfriend/fiancĂ©/soon-to-be-husband is the best.  And, if I'm being honest, this is totally part of my brainstorming for my vows.

1. He Listens

While we occasionally run into the "let me solve your problem" issue that so many men and women have trouble with, most of the time Ryan is fantastic about just listening to my feelings and telling  me it's perfectly ok to feel that way.  Since validating my feelings is usually half the battle to feeling better, this is probably the most meaningful thing he can do.  And I know that when he says, "Talk to me, Goose" I can just spill out everything on my mind with no fear of judgement or ill feeling.

2. He Helps

If the relationship books can be believed, most men are hardwired to be problem solvers.  When I started my healthy eating journey, it was really hard for Ryan to not help.  But after getting snapped at a few times when he mentioned that I might not need to eat that ____, he got the point and shut up.  Despite my ungracious responses to his previous offers of help, he was very quick to offer again, when I admitted I was in a slump a couple weeks ago.

I told him no, that I had to figure it out on my own, but the amount of junk in the house was making it very difficult.  Lo and behold, it all disappeared!  It's a silly example, BUT the fact that he finds positive ways to support my goals and actually pays attention when I tell him which ways don't work for me is something I'm immensely grateful for.

Jul 27, 2015

Beaches, Bars, and Blating

I went on my first blate!  I also learned what a "blate" is.

Last Saturday was the Beach Blogger Meetup, and I met Alyssa, Michael, and Dani in person (hence, "blogger date").  They are all as fantastic in person as they seem online!  I learned many things, including the following:
  • It costs $10 to get onto the NJ beaches (not cool)
  • But the bar has their own private beach and you can get alcohol ON THE BEACH (very cool)
  • When other bloggers mention you in conversation, they have to refer to your blog name (I probably should have picked something easier to say)
  • Going to the beach in another state instead of your own means a longer drive, but no traffic (totally worth the trade-off)
The only picture I took - documenting the important things, obviously

Jul 26, 2015

Sunday Sweats - "R" is for Routine

Sunday Sweats Theme Inspired by Holly

A couple other Sunday Sweat-ers mentioned feeling unmotivated last week.  I got through my major slump, but I'd like to take that one step further and tackle the smaller battles each week.  I've noticed one huge pattern: each week starts great.  Then I get sleep deprived and it all goes downhill.

I don't get enough sleep because I overload myself with projects, and I always think, "Just one late night and then I'll be caught up."  But the truth is that I'll never be caught up, because when I do have extra time, I add more projects.  So to best optimize my attempting-too-much lifestyle, sleep has to be a priority, regardless of deadlines, projects, and who needs what now (Spoiler: everyone needs everything now).

I think it is possible to find other time in the day, mostly from my unmotivated mini-slumps where I can't force myself to get off the couch because I'm so tired of doing things.  Too frequently I find myself doing that for 2 or 3 hours before finally going downstairs and getting to work, and then I end up a couple hours short on sleep because I "run out of time."

So here's the plan:
  1. At 8:30 go to bed.  No matter what still needs to be done.  I can do it tomorrow.
  2. Schedule free time.  Or else my brain will die and I'll end up back on the couch mindlessly browsing social media
  3. AVOID THE COUCH!  I'm usually fine until I stop moving.  Then inertia kicks in and it requires a great effort of will to get back into the productive mindset again.
  4. Multitask.  Not the way most people do, but with different kinds of tasks.  So if I do laundry while I work on a client project, when I need a break I can fold clothes instead of hopping over to the time warp that is Reddit.

Jul 23, 2015

Leggings are Just Leggings - Letting Go of Oversensitivity

This is another "response to ridiculous Internet thing."  Well, ridiculous might be too strong of a word.  But I disagree with it.  So obviously the mature way to handle that is to say nothing and retreat to my own blog to write about the issue.

I read a post that claimed to solve the issue of whether or not leggings should be considered pants.  I was expecting something light-hearted and funny, as I fail to see how anyone could take this "issue" seriously.

I mean, people express strong opinions for or against leggings as pants, sure, but strong opinions in the same way that some actor is the "worst ever" or your "spirit animal."  It's not real feelings, right? (Right, guys?  Right?!?!)

Apparently I'm wrong.  It's not only serious, but quite relevant to many current social issues.  How DARE you try to body shame people by telling them leggings aren't pants?  How dare you try to enforce your own standards of propriety on other people?  And so on and so forth.

This makes me tired.  To me, it seems like far too much emotion being attached to an article of clothing.  I haven't seen a single argument against leggings as pants that body shames people or that says thing people can wear them and fat people can't.  Anti-leggings-as-pants people seem to believe pretty universally that leggings are never pants, on anyone.  I'm sure there are some exceptions, but let's not judge the entire side of the debate by those people, who probably say that about a number of things, extending well beyond leggings.

Jul 21, 2015

#LiteraryLadies - 1 Month Check In

I'm not exactly powering through this challenge, but I did read a couple of things.  Even better, I managed to talk about them without spoilers!

A Handmaid's Tale - ♥♥♥♥♥

For some reason, I thought this was a classic drama, or something more in the style of Charles Dickens.  So when I went through my list and saw that it was dystopia, I resolved to make it a must-read in this challenge.  I love dystopia anyway, but this one was fascinating!  The story jumps around, between different points in the main character's history.  It's a little confusing at first, but gradually the pieces come together and you start to figure out what the hell happened on this earth and how things became so entirely screwed up.  I think the feeling of figuring out the puzzle is part of what kept me intrigued, but I also like how the author didn't spoon feed it to you.  It wasn't like a YA book, where everything is spelled out.  It was more true to how someone who actually experienced all this would talk about it, and a lot of things are left wide open for interpretation, just like real life.

Jul 19, 2015

Sunday Sweats - Back on (a Different) Track

Sunday Sweats Theme Inspired by Holly

I'm back on the health train and feeling much better about myself and life in general!  My workouts weren't anything spectacular, but at least I did something and bothered to track it.  :)  Small steps.

Weekly Workouts

Monday - Strength Training | DTT: 30 Min

After a couple weeks off, I was really starting to miss weight lifting.  The physical therapist had said not to do squats, but... since I've given up on trying to run the half and I have a better understanding of what was wrong with my form in the first place, I'm going to ignore that.  Today was bench and, as I mentioned on Tuesday, that adrenaline boost from working your muscles is better than a cup of coffee.

Tuesday - Strength Training | DTT: 30 Min

We swapped out clean and press for "curl and press," which is a little easier on certain body parts.  I'm glad, because I'm fairly certain my back isn't supposed to hurt after clean and press, so I should probably just not do it unless I can figure out how to do it properly.  And, honestly, I don't care nearly as much as my father about lifting heavy weights or using the big bar.  I'd be just as happy to do body weight exercises and dumbbells, but I try to keep my workout partner happy.  After work I bummed out and went to bed early instead of biking.  My brain wanted to feel guilty and then I decided that was pointless and I would just enjoy it.

Jul 16, 2015

Snobs, Trolls, and Satire. But Mostly Snobs.

The Internet is an awesome place.  Within its great vastnesses, we find like-minds, we find freedom of expression, we find resources, inspiration, the answers to many of our questions.  We find all that is great about humanity.

But, since all of humanity is on the Internet, we also find all that sucks about us.  Here's one of those things that I ran across earlier in the week:

I was trying to find the source of the quote, "We all have a book within us" or something like that.  Instead a New York Times opinion piece popped up with the title "Think You Have a Book in You?  Think Again".  I knew I shouldn't read it.  I'm pretty good about seeing the warning signs that here is yet another ignorant person posting something either for self-masturbatory purpose or just to piss people off.

But I was drawn in.  I mean, it was the New York Times!  It can't be that bad, right?  It's not like a Huffpost piece.  And maybe it was satire.

Nope.  The whole purpose of the article is to talk about how most people (not including the author, as he's clearly above the rest of us) shouldn't write a book.  It talks about how arrogant it is to think you can write something good, and how we all need a good dose of humility and realism to prevent us from adding to the "schlock pile."  Again, this obviously excludes the author, who is far and above the rest of us talentless peasants.

Jul 14, 2015

I Hate Running (but I hate not being able to do it more)

I've been struggling a bit.  You may have noticed the lack of Sunday Sweats posts (or maybe just been relieved because you hate them anyway).  In either case, they haven't been going up because I've been too busy moping in a puddle of self pity.

I had written a little blurb about finally understanding the love/hate relationship most runners have with their chosen hobby.  But I didn't post that either.

I was too bummed.  Bummed that my legs aren't fixing themselves quickly.  Bummed that the deadline for my half marathon is rapidly approaching and all I'm doing is limping around and losing my conditioning.  Bummed that I can't do the thing that I hate doing.

Because I do hate it.  Running feels awful just about every time I do it.  I feel accomplished when I do it and that's nice, but it's not enough for me to say I "love" it.  In fact, the word "love" couldn't have been further from my mind when I was in the groove and seeing progress.  "Proud" was one.  "Healthy" and "energetic" might be others.  Not love.

But then it was taken away from me.  And I struggled to force myself to follow doctor's orders, because it was so damn hard to just let go of all that progress.  All the months of forcing myself to run.  Strength and health and discipline gained, and to just let it go for some piddly, little leg pains?  I don't think so.

Jul 9, 2015

Vitamins - My Daily Regimen

Remember my outrage over ridiculous (and sometimes dangerous) supplement dosages?  I ended by saying I was going to be more careful choosing what to take and do my homework.  I've done a fair bit of research since then and settled on a regular vitamin routine.

My typical day looks like this:
  • Morning: Iron, Fish Oil, and Folic Acid
  • Night: Calcium, Magnesium, Probiotic

Jul 7, 2015

Obsession - It's My Turn!

I've seen a couple of these popping up and they are super fun!  I, following in Stephanie, Holly, and Kristin's footsteps, polled my family and friends to see how they would answer the following:

What Am I Obsessed With?

Blogging (2/8)

This is a no brainer.  When I asked them the question I started with, "I'm doing a cheesy blog thing..."

Self Improvement (2/8)

Yep!  One of my favorite topics and highly featured on the blog.

To Do Lists, Organization (2/8)

If you guys could see the elaborate lists I put together in my Google Docs, you'd know exactly what these people were referring to.  And I'm continually reorganizing the kitchen to attempt to attain optimum efficiency.  (Spoiler: It's not going to happen.  Too many people, too little cupboard space.)

My Dog, Dressing My Dog in Human Clothes (2/8)

Well this is just begging for a collage!  Care for some crappy phone photos, anyone?

Running, Healthfulness (2/8)

I'm certainly trying to make this an obsession!  It's definitely true that we've got a plethora of workout equipment in the basement that we did not have 2 years ago AND I'm super excited about my new fitbit.  Wearable technology!  This is the future, guys!

Jul 6, 2015

Wanna Be Fitness Friends?

I just got a Fitbit!  (Aside: what an awesome birthday present.)

I was a little unsure at first of how I was going to use it since I've been using MyFitnessPal and RunKeeper pretty consistently.  As it turns out, you can link Fitbit to all the other apps, so I can just keep doing what I've been doing, and then look at the pretty charts and graphs that Fitbit puts together.  Plus, it keeps congratulating me for drinking the amount of water and climbing the number of stairs that I already do each day.  So that's nice.

One thing I learned already - my heart rate is fairly low.  I just assumed it would be high, because I'm a bit heavier and my blood pressure is high.  Apparently blood pressure and heart rate aren't correlated.  So an average range would be from 60 to 100 beats per minute.  Mine seems to sit around 55 when I'm sleeping or desk-jobbing.

So I guess that's good, right?  My blood pressure sucks, but I have the heart of an athlete!  (sort of, not really)

Jul 2, 2015

De De De Design! And Other Life Things

I want to write and I want to have things to say, but I'm also having trouble staying on top of things.  So here's a quick update on the things keeping me up late, filling my heart with joy, and my body with fatigue.

Current Projects:
  • A super secret design project.  I can't talk about this until my client announces themselves, BUT I can tell you it's political.
  • My own website.  I really want to get this done in the next week, but we'll see.  Client projects come first.)
Design Concept for Jenn Wells Design Website
  • A real estate website for my brother-in-law.  The website itself should be fairly simple.  Drawing the caricature, setting up photo galleries for the properties, and building an online application, not so much.
Design Concept for Enveste Real Estate Website