Life in Pictures~ 4/19/14

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Friday Five~ 4/18/14

Happy Friday!!! I hope everyone has some great plans for the weekend, either celebrating Easter or just enjoying time with family and friends. This week’s Five is dedicated to Easter and bunnies!

5 Favorite Things About Easter:

1. Bunnies
2. Tulips

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3. Jelly Beans
4. Robins Eggs candy
5. Deviled Eggs

5 Things I Have Planned for This Easter:

1. Watch Hop for the first time ever
2. Pick up some jelly beans (and maybe some robins eggs as well)
3. Write out cards to send to my pen pals
4. Buy myself some tulips
5. Spend some quiet time in reflection

5 Favorite Bunnies

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1. Thumper (from Bambi)
2. The Easter Bunny
3. Rabbit (from Winnie the Pooh)
4. Bugs Bunny
5. Peter Rabbit

5 Easter Memories

1. Getting real live bunnies (Mine was Gumdrop, my brother’s was Coconut, we had them for years, I wish I had some pictures).
2. Easter Egg hunts at the park
3. Putting together Easter baskets for my family
4. Working an Easter Egg Hunt as an adult
5. Spending time with family

5 Random Things About Me & Bunnies

1. I used to collect stuffed bunnies and get a new one every Easter. I still have my favorites.
2. I had a friend who referred to me as a bunny because I always wanted a lot of kids
3. Disney’s nickname is Bunny (Cheshire’s is Monkey)

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4. In addition to Gumdrop and Coconut, I also had 3 other bunnies growing up… Baby Bunny, Salt & Pepper.
5. I still smile at the Easter Bunny at the mall every time I walk by… and I secretly want to have my picture taken with him.

What are your favorite Easter memories?

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Thinking About Food

Cassie posted recently about her food budget and why she is okay with the amount that she and her husband spend on food each month. I realized as I was reading her post that I have undergone a huge shift in my eating habits since my overall budget has changed so much. My food budget used to be much higher than it is now, in fact I would spend between $400-500 a month most months several years ago (just for me) instead of the $200 or less I try to squeeze out of my budget now.

When I got laid off several years ago, I used my severance to stock up on the essentials for both myself and Disney (Cheshire wasn’t around yet). In the first 6 months I was unemployed, I was still able to dedicate enough out of my budget to eat fairly well with the stores I had. Then Jeremy moved in and for the next year, my food budget was pretty much back to normal, except there were 2 (sometimes 3) of us in the house. Once I moved to Washington, I lived with roommates until just over a year ago, so while my budget was less, I was still eating really well. Then I moved out on my own and several financial setbacks happened to bring my weekly grocery allowance to $50 on a good week (some weeks I’m lucky if it’s $25).

I used to buy primarily brand names, now I buy mostly store brand. Since I ride the bus, my shopping trips need to be small enough for me to carry, and I have to choose stores that are on the bus route. I do a lot of my shopping at Target now. Their Market Pantry and Archer Farms lines are pretty good, and their prices are generally pretty good for most things. Unfortunately the meat and produce selections are pretty small, but I try to pick up those items at Fred Meyer. I’m not able to afford the higher quality in most meats anymore, but still stick to the leanest cuts I can find.

There are a lot of things that I’ve had to remove from my grocery staples that I really miss. Whenever I have a little extra money (or catch a really good sale), I treat myself to some of my favorites…

Stuffed pastas: I love all pasta, but really miss ravioli and tortellini. I would usually eat stuffed pasta at least twice a month. I got really lucky and found a great price on some crab ravioli a few weeks ago.

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Gourmet breads: While I stick with whole wheat or whole grain for sandwich breads, I’ve always loved having gourmet or specialty breads with dinners at least once a week (yes, I am a carboholic). I would enjoy french or sourdough, rosemary, garlic or any vast number of bread types. I was able to pick up a bake at home rosemary bread from Macrina Bakery this week for a pretty low price.

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Cheese: I love cheese, all kinds of cheese. While I still pick up cheese for quesadillas and tacos on a regular basis, I no longer purchase specialty cheeses for sandwiches or snacking. I used to indulge in real shredded parmesan for pastas, brie and any variety of cheeses to eat with crackers, plus bleu cheese or feta for salads. My all time favorite cheese for snacking is Beecher’s Marco Polo. The last time I splurged on this was for my staycation a couple of months ago.

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Big salads: Another thing I love is salads with lots of veggies and treats. Each week I would make a big salad filled with mixed greens, spinach, cucumber, at least two colors of bell pepper, green onion, radish, red onion, jicama, carrots, red cabbage, and whatever veggie sounded good that week. I would then add cheese, olives or nuts/seeds to top it off. I now have salad maybe once or twice a week and it’s usually lettuce, cucumber & a bell pepper; though I add more whenever possible.

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Nuts and seeds: I always had at least almonds and sunflower seeds on hand, some times more than that. And there was always peanut butter in my cupboard. When I’m lucky and can catch a good sale, I make sure to bring home some almonds whenever possible (my favorites are Blue Diamond Salt & Vinegar and Rosemary & Black Pepper varieties). I am usually able to pick up a small jar of peanut butter once a month or so, but I go through it pretty fast when I have it.

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Fruits & veggies for snacking: I have always been a fan of fruits and veggies. I used to keep my fridge stocked with several varieties of fruit and different veggies for snacking each week. I now generally have a couple of apples, oranges and bananas each week. This week I also got a couple of peaches. I really miss berries! Thankfully they are now in season and I’m starting to see sales on them crop up.

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Side dishes: I rarely have full meals any more, you know the kind that include a main dish and at least one side… I try to include a veggie with dinner most nights, either in the form of a salad or some roasted veggies mixed into the dish, but it is unusual for me to really have a dedicated side dish anymore (which usually means no leftovers for lunches). I did find some quick cooking quinoa and couscous sides on sale recently, so I picked up a couple to include in my meals.

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Baking: I used to bake a lot. At Christmas I would make at least 6 different kinds of cookies and a variety of candy from scratch. Throughout the year I would bake something at least once a month, usually more. I can’t remember the last thing that I’ve baked from scratch… I pretty sure it was still while I was in California. But the sad thing is I really haven’t baked much from a box lately either, the last time what when I made cookies and muffins during my giant food prep a while back.

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Shrimp: While I am not a huge fan of fish, I do like shellfish and would generally have shrimp at least twice a month, if not weekly. I have a shrimp pasta dish that I love to make, but I haven’t made it since I moved into my apartment. I haven’t found any really good shrimp sales yet… lobster and crab are pretty much out of the question right now.

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I am looking forward to a time when I can open up my budget and enjoy some of my favorites on a regular basis again. In the mean time, I continue to look for sales and stock my pantry as best I can on my limited budget.

What are your favorite food indulgences?

 

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Catching Up Again

Has it really been a week since my last post? How the heck did that happen? Time just really got away from me there…

So, what has been going on with me lately now that the major stresses in my life have been temporarily resolved? In some ways I could say, “not much” because I’ve basically just been going to work and coming home like normal, but there have been some little blips in there as well.

Good News:

Still no stress eating! I did have one rather large meal this week that was out of the norm, but there were no mindless stress eating sessions. I still have ice cream and I still have MnMs!

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Not-so Good News:

I somehow tweaked my back earlier this week. I’m really not sure how, but some time between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, my lower back ended up in a lot of pain. I tried taking it easy and even left work a few hours early one day to rest it. (I ended up sleeping about 12 hours). The next day it was mildly better, but by the end of the night I was in a lot of pain again. So far today I’m doing much better though. Of course I’m currently at home and can take it really easy, but hopefully this will continue into tomorrow as well.

Good News:

I am registered for The Color Run (I received a free registration code for posting about the event) and can’t wait until May 11th for the Seattle event. I have been wanting to do a run like this for a really long time and am so excited! Whenever I see recaps of this event, or people who have come from running it, I always wish that I could do it too… and now I am!!

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Not-so Good News:

Someone close to me is dealing with some medical issues and I am concerned about the outcome of some medical tests that they’ve recently had. Out of respect for them, I can’t really say more here, but I am just hoping and praying that everything turns out all right and the test results are good.

Good News:

Spring has made its way to Seattle! We’ve had some rain yesterday and today, but nothing like the storms we were having all winter. And we even had several consecutive days of sunshine!! Flowers are blooming all over and the weather has warmed up (no 70s yet, but high 50s and 60s are much better than 30s!). I have this weekend off and am planning to spend at least part of it outside!

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Not-so Good News:

I was so far behind on my blog reading that I had to do the one thing I really hate to do and mark everything as “read”. I will be budgeting my time a bit better so that I have time to read more of my favorite blogs on a regular basis. Please catch me up on anything I missed because I really do want to know!

Good News:

I finally made a super huge decision that I have been toying with for months. Every time I thought I had made a decision one way or another, something came up that made me think I should wait a little longer. But, now I have made a firm decision and I am going forward with it. I can’t share what the decision is yet, but as soon as I can you guys will be among the first to know!

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So that’s it, some good news and not-so good news from my last week to catch you up on where things are with me. Your turn to catch me up on what’s new with you!

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A Big Win for Me

Wow are things a little crazy in my life right now. It’s pretty intense, I won’t lie, and the last several days have been very stressful and frustrating as I was waiting for a response to a critical matter. But I consider this whole situation to be a success (and not only because the matter was resolved positively)!

First, while I have been incredibly stressed and frustrated, I have managed my stress pretty darn well I think. There were a couple of nights when I’ve needed a little help shutting down and falling asleep (nothing outrageous, don’t worry), and a few moments when I  got a little overwhelmed, but on the whole I kept it together very well. I am notorious for shutting down or going into total freak out mode when faced with major life changes, but I remained calm and created a back up plan from the outset.

Second, I did not resort to stress eating! As proof, there are 2 pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in my freezer (that have been there for a week) and each one only has one serving missing. I also have an entire unopened package of Reese’s Peanut Butter Eggs and a bag of Peanut MnM’s that I have limited myself to 2 small handfuls a day. This is a huge win!

I have remained focused on my goals and have been doing a great job with them. I have been stretching and breathing and finding outlets for my stress through dancing and coloring. I knew that though this was a very serious matter, I was going to be okay because I was handling my stress in a positive way. This feels like such a big win for me!

And now that this issue is resolved (hopefully for good this time), I am able to move forward and get my focus back to where it should be… like this blog and other fun things!

I would love to know:

How have you experienced a win in your life lately?

 

Posted in Its All About Balance | 7 Comments

Life in Pictures~ 4/5/14

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Friday Five 4/04/14

It’s funny, when I posted my very first Friday Five back on my old blog, I hadn’t really read any other blogs and didn’t know that there was a whole trend of various versions of the Friday five theme out there. My own version has gone through a few variations, but I really like the current format I’m using. Without further ado… here are this week’s Fives.

5 Reasons I Love Spring

1. I can switch from my bulky coat to a lighter jacket
2. Everything is green
3. Flowers are blooming… right now we have cherry blossoms and daffodils
4. Longer days
5. It’s the season right before summer!

5 Shows I’ve Become Addicted to on Netflix Recently

1. Chuck
2. Parenthood
3. Greek
4. Arrested Development
5. White Collar

5 Things I Love About Disney (my cat)

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1. Today is her 6th Birthday!!!
2. She has loved me unconditionally since the day I brought her home
3. She asserts her independence and isn’t afraid to speak up for what she wants
4. She loves to snuggle in bed at night… usually around my legs!
5. She keeps her little brother in line when he’s being crazy

5 Reasons I’m Glad I Moved to Seattle

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1. I met my friend Jeff
2. I love the weather (yes, I love the rain)
3. I was forced to become more independent… this hasn’t always seemed like a good thing, but it really is
4. It opened me up to so many new experiences
5. It allowed me to realize that I can do anything and don’t have to be locked into a certain path for life.

5 Things I Miss About Living in San Diego

1. Seeing my family at least once a week (I haven’t seen my parents in person in over a year, the last time I saw my brother was almost a year ago).
2. Living so close to Disneyland… I seriously went about once every 6 weeks
3. Knowing my way around everywhere, including the back ways. I have no idea how to get anywhere here aside from my usual places (I think this is mostly because I don’t have a car)
4. The beaches… we have beaches here, but they aren’t the same (but there are more lakes and rivers here)
5. The San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park (now named Safari Park)… seriously two of the best zoos in the country. I was a member and spent a lot of time  at the zoo, I’ve yet to make it to the zoo here yet, mostly because bus transportation is not very convenient to get there from my place.

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What do you love best about where you live? What about other places that you’ve lived?

 

 

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Thinking Out Loud~ 4/3/14

It’s time for another link-up with Amanda! Don’t forget to stop by and check out what everyone else is thinking about this week!

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~ I have rekindled my love of coloring lately. Sometimes I will pull out a traditional children’s coloring book (I’m partial to the Winnie the Pooh ones) and break out the regular crayons, but right now my preferences are a little more adult. I picked up a book of geometrical designs back before Christmas and I have pulled out the colored pencils for these designs!

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~ Tomorrow is a very big day for my little family… it’s Disney’s birthday! I can’t believe she’s already 6 years old. It seems like just a few months ago she was a little ball of fluff chasing fur mice around my apartment. Now she’s an older, more elegant princess who still occasionally chases fur mice!

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~ Also tomorrow is the 3 year anniversary of my move to Washington. My life is certainly very different from the way I imagined it would be when I moved, but it has certainly been an adventure! I don’t regret the move at all, even though there are definitely some things (and people of course) that I miss from San Diego.

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~ I love that the sun is staying out so much later now! I get so much more accomplished each day now. When it’s dark I feel like the day is over, so when the sun sets at 4pm, I’m just useless. Thankfully in the summer the sun stays up until about 9:30pm which means I am a productivity machine.

 Are you more productive when the days get longer?

 

 

Posted in Ramblings | 4 Comments

Goals for April

This year is moving way too fast for me! As I’ve gotten older it seems that time is moving faster and faster, or maybe it’s just that I’ve come to appreciate it more.

Anyway, I just wanted to do a quick post of my goals for April. This month I’ll be focusing less on the action and more on the thoughts. I know that I won’t be successful until my head is on straight again, so it’s time to get to work on that!

Without further ado, here are my goals:

April Goals

1. Each day I want to find one trait that I like about myself. I will be keeping a list to remind myself every day about the things that make me likable (even lovable). We’ll see how I feel at the end of  the month whether or not I make this list public.

2. I want to do something I enjoy every day, whether it’s playing with the cats, watching my favorite show, reading… anything I consider fun. Plus I want to do 1 fun outing every week- lunch with a friend, a trip to the movies, a hike, etc.

3. I need to keep my stress level in check so that I am able to focus on other things. To do this I will be writing in a journal, meditating and practicing deep breathing as needed.

4. Movement can be both fun and stress relieving. I want to make sure that I am getting in movement throughout the day, whether it’s a formal workout or an impromptu dance session in the living room. Stretching my muscles to ease the tension is a big part of this as well.

5. As an emotional eater, I will be trying to eat when I’m hungry, color or read when I’m bored and journal or exercise when I’m stressed.

So there you have it, my mental goals for April…

What are your goals for the month?

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A Breakthrough

Thank you all so much for your support after my last post. I have been living in such a state of stress for so long, it’s nice to get it all out of my head and be able to breathe again. The post really got me thinking about a lot of things and I realized that the state of my finances, my weight and the state of my apartment were all ways in which I have been punishing myself. But I didn’t know why I was punishing myself. Was there something horrible in my past I had blocked from my memory?

When I realized that I had the weekend off, I decided to unplug from social media, the blog, games, Netflix and everything that could be considered a distraction. My initial thought was that I was going to focus on getting my apartment clean, work on some financial paperwork, make some solid plans for April and try to figure out why I’ve been punishing myself.

I woke up Saturday morning with a very structured plan and was ready to go. I had a Skype session scheduled with my parents, so I knew I wouldn’t be shutting everything down until I finished talking to them. Once our call was over, I shut down my computer and got to work. It only took me about 2 hours to realize that the structured plan wasn’t what I needed this weekend. I needed to focus less on the doing and more on the feeling. The rest of my afternoon, while not as productive as originally planned, felt better to me.

Most of my Saturday was spent reading, coloring or cleaning the kitchen. I worked out a little, but wasn’t really into it, so I didn’t push it. I started to make some plans of my ideal day and set some goals for April, but just couldn’t get into it. I took a nap for a couple of hours, made dinner and settled in to watch Frozen, then finished up some more reading and went to bed.

Some of my reading sparked ideas that were starting to work in my brain as I went to bed. I wasn’t sure how Sunday was going to turn out, and thought at this point that I might turn the computer on earlier that I had originally planned.

I woke up relatively early Sunday morning (in my life 8 am is relatively early unless I have to be at work), and began a slightly structured plan for the day. Again, I spent a lot of time reading and worked more on cleaning the apartment. I also got a bit more movement including time spent on my recumbent bike and some dancing. Today, it felt right.  I also gave myself a facial and spent more time coloring.

A lot of what I am reading right now is very thought-provoking. I tend to be a self-help junkie when it comes to books and I have some titles that are very pertinent to where I am in my life right now. All of this, paired with the soothing motion of coloring and the lack of distractions helped me reach a breakthrough of sorts in the puzzle of my life. I had not been consciously focusing on either finding a reason  for my self-punishment or on my current financial situation. I tried to give myself a stress free weekend. I think all of this combined is what helped me to come to a very significant revelation…

I do not like myself. I consider myself unlovable and unworthy of my dreams and goals because I don’t love myself. This realization crept up on me Sunday afternoon and I recognized it as the truth. I still don’t know what in my life brought me to this point, but I do know that this is where I currently am. Surprisingly, I was not upset by this discovery, but almost relieved in a way. I can stop beating my head against the wall day after day trying to lose weight or get my finances in order or battle my depression and feel like there is something wrong with me because I can’t make it happen. Now I can really get to work the right way.

Obviously the first thing to do right now is to get to know myself. To find out what is likable and lovable about me and to highlight those traits. My mission for April is to become my own best friend (and maybe, hopefully, to fall in love with myself as well… if not we’ll work on that in May). I want to have fun again, so I am going to be figuring out what I enjoy… and to do it. I know that I need  connections, and I have been isolating myself way too much, so I will be seeking out more connections… with my blog tribe, with my friends, with my blogging pen pals (want to become one, let me know). I want to make new connections as well.

I am still on this weight loss journey, but without loving and supporting myself, I will fail; so this is an important piece of my journey in my opinion. Not only weight loss, but my career plans, my relationships, my entire life (including this blog), depend upon me learning to love myself again. I need to forgive myself for whatever it was in my past that sent me down this road, even though I don’t know what it is, and then I need to leave the past behind and focus on my now.

I am not upset and I am not in crisis right now. I really hope that this post doesn’t come across that way. I feel like I am finally moving in a positive direction. I’m not afraid of disaster waiting around every corner any more. I am less stressed that I have been in a very long time. My financial situation has not changed since my last post (if anything it may have taken a turn for the worse), but I don’t feel defined by it now. I have a lot of work to do, but I know that once I start loving myself again, everything else will work itself out, because I won’t be working against myself anymore. More than anything, I feel like I can make progress now towards everything that I have ever wanted, but never thought I deserved. This is a good thing!

 

Posted in Its All About Balance | 6 Comments