Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top 5 of '12

It's time for my annual TOP 5 of the year! Check out the last two years' lists....here and here!


5. Getting involved. This was more towards this years end, but I have gotten more involved in activities outside of work- joining a social sport league (kickball) and volunteering at the SPCA. In my quest to get involved and do things for fun or for others I am starting to cleanse my life of "extras." My first step in this is ending working for my friend's pet sitting business. I felt the need to simplify certain things in my life to allow for more flexibility and free time and that is the first to go (I will also work less at ticket sales for games). I am excited about the time I will have for other activities.

4. Weddings! I watched six friends walk down the aisle this year. All weddings were unique and great fun. I wish them all the best:)

3. Running! Ok, ok, I know, I know- I had this on the list two years ago, and it's not really an exciting thing, but I am continuing to make strides in my running and have registered for my first half-marathon. I hope my enthusiasm and good feelings continue until March!

2. Traveling to Texas! I had a nice, solo visit to my brother's place in Texas. It was a fun trip where I got to see a lot of the Lonestar State and hang with my bro and sis-in-law! Some giant Texas margarita's were also involved.

1. Buying my condo! I love love love my new home and feel like it is a great reflection of who I am at this point in my life. The process was not as smooth as I would have hoped, but it all worked out and has been an affordable investment. It is the perfect size, my neighbors are great, and I LOVE the area. It is close to everything with great restaurants, running routes, shops, movie theaters and parks. I think I'll stay for a while:)

And with that I wish you and your families the Happiest of Holidays...so Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanza, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! I am spending my Christmas with my parents and brother, visiting family in Ohio, and celebrating the New Year with friends back in Richmond! I hope 2012 ends for us all with a renewed faith in the beauty of everyday life.

The most sacred place dwells within our heart, where dreams are born and secrets sleep, a mystical refuge of darkness and light, fear and conquest, adventure and discovery, challenge and transformation. Our heart speaks for our soul every moment while we are alive. Listen... as the whispering beat repeats: be...gin, be...gin, be...gin. It's really that simple. Just begin... again.
Royce Addington 

Cheers to a new beginning this year!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Stir

For those of you currently not in the dating game, or those of you in relationships that did not involve meeting over the world wide web, let me debrief you on the online dating world. As you have probably heard, there are a variety of online dating sites. Some are free and some are not. Some are religion based, some are known for "hook-ups," and some are pretty legit (I can think of 5 couples who have met online off the top of my head). I am privy to most of the online sites because I have friends who have used just about all of them at one point or another. However, a new phenomenon in the online dating world are the social events. On Match.com, these are called "Stir" events where once a month, Match rents out a bar or social room and invites members of a certain age to come out and mingle in REAL LIFE (crazy thought, right?!). I have only ever heard about these and never knew anyone to go to one (my friends met the old-fashioned, ya know, emailing way...), so I jumped at the chance last night to join my friend, who was working the door, at the event.

It was a trip. First off, Match totally segregates it's Stir events by age. This one was for the 35-45 age group, and some of the people were NOT please. You wouldn't believe the amount of people that came to the front table to ask where younger people were and how many older men stayed around chatting with my friend and I (she is my age). It was also a great place to people watch and see what the dating scene is like for people older than I. Some were uncomfortable and awkward, while you could tell some of the former "players" in the room. Most people were semi-decent looking, but no one stood out as being incredible hot or cute, which may or may not bode well for me as I age. I did try to help one guy mingle with two ladies I thought were cute, but he didn't seem very interested in my suggestions!

The highlight (or not) of my evening was an older man (circa 45, minimal hair) who would not leave us alone, leaving me his email and telling me I was what he 'was looking for." Good to know I attract the older men. I may have to have a sugar daddy one day if I can't ever find someone closer to my own age:) The Stir events may be the place to be for me!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Work Bloggin'

Since I am a counselor at a high school, I get word of a lot of incidents going on in or around our county. I am also privy to emails and resources about what can help parents and students during difficult times. Today I encourage you to go over to my work blog, mbkschoolcounseling.blogspot.com, for some ideas for you or your family when something like this happens.

It has been a very dark few days for our country, so I hope you and your loved ones find light in one another and the holiday season. I have never felt unsafe at my own school, but after the tragedy at Virginia Tech, which hit very close to home, and now this, I find it hard to believe that we are ever truly safe from anything anymore. The media, mental health field and gun control all need to be reexamined. There is no one quick, easy fix, but we all need to remember how we feel now to make this world a better place.

For the children.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Half-Crazy?

A new item is on it's way to being crossed off my bucket list. That's right, ladies and gents, I registered for my first HALF MARATHON.

Thanks to some friends who will be running with me and the fact that it is the Virginia Beach Shamrock Half-Marathon, which is a flat, pretty run along the water (and guarantees me a weekend at the beach), I have finally signed up!

My running has been going very well lately with the cooler weather. I have kept up with long runs on the weekends (up to 7 miles so far) and two shorter runs (3-4 miles) during the week. I am going to continue training this way and up my mileage each week after the new year. I am also going to do a 15k at the end of January, which is about 9 miles, so that will be a good time to see how my progress is going. It also will be hillier run, so it will be a good determiner.

What I have really tried to focus on lately in my running is not my time, but how I feel when I am running and cutting myself some slack when I have off days. I find that when I go slower and really enjoy my surroundings, I overall have a much better run. Getting into a rhythm is so essential for me. So there is no time goal for this half, and if I have to walk a couple of times, that will be ok. It is about accomplishing a goal and making it a good experience regardless of the end time. The journey is greater than the result!

If you have any training tips, please let me know! My longest run ever was a 9 miler I did last winter, but I can do up to 7 miles without any training if I am feeling good:). I have one planned for tomorrow morning actually and am looking forward to it!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weekend Whirlwind!

I love the holidays.

Precisely because of the social gatherings (holidays=an excuse to PARTAY)! I just had a super-busy, but super-fun weekend. Friday night (after a great nap) was game night at a friend's house for her friend's birthday/the holidays. Saturday morning I went on a great 6 mile run down to VCU and back in the mild weather (I actually would prefer it be more seasonal...but oh, well). I had SPCA orientation from 11-1, fed a neighbors cat, came home to clean and then went to a holiday/housewarming party for an old coworker from 4-6 that was a lot of fun. Then I babysat for two boys I watch regularly from 6:30-11:30 and got to help them decorate their tree! It did fall in the middle of the decorating...but I digress (all was fine- the mom and dad admitted they did not secure it well and besides some water on the floor, no major issues- I had already unplugged the lights). Today I baked Christmas cookies after my morning run while I was doing laundry and then went to help my parents set up for their party that went from 4-6. I just love socializing with people! I should be a professional party-goer.

Anyways, THIS is why I love the holidays- even though it can be busy and stressful, you get to see so many different types of people that you don't see as much during the year. I love all the parties and gatherings because they are all around food, friends and beverages:) What's not to love?

Here is to enjoying the remaining weeks of the holiday season (hopefully not to the neglect of our waistlines...I did have two dinners last night)!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Morning Routines

I have a weird obsession with what people are doing in the morning. I like to know when people go to bed and get up and what they do before they do to work. I assume this obsession has something to do with the fact that I have to be at work between 7:10 and 7:15, so I don't get much of a morning during the week and always feel pressure to go to bed at a decent hour, but I also am curious as to how people use their time. Do you work out in the morning? Do you clean? Meditate? Watch TV? Read the newspaper? Shower? Roll out of bed and out the door in 15 minutes? Especially families with kids- I hear horror stories of what their mornings are like when it comes to the early alarms (aka children) and getting everyone dressed, fed and ready for the day on time. It can be a very exhausting time.

I struggle with how I want my morning to be during the week (weekends are set- sleep in, eat breakfast, watch some morning news and go for a run). In high school I got up around 6:45 and was at school by 7:25. In college, sans my first year when I had earlier classes, I went to the gym before my morning classes, usually getting up around 8:30 because my classes started at 11. On the days when my classes were earlier, I would just sleep in. Often I would go to class straight from the gym (if I walked) or I would drive to the gym and back to my place so I could shower. I always found it ironic that my first year when I could walk to the gym in 3 minutes, I never used it in the mornings. Oh, well!

In grad school I had night classes, so I would get up around 9 and go to the gym and shower before working the lunch shift at my waitressing job. I had a much later schedule then, so I could really get up whenever I felt like it.

Once I started my current job, I would wake up at 6:25 and be at work by 7:10. This year, though, I am finding myself needing more of time in the morning to wake up and feel like my best self when I get to work (you have to be "on" to deal with teenagers!). I have been experimenting with how best to approach this need in the morning. Some days I still roll out of bed at 6:25, other days I wake up at 5:40 to work out at my condo's mini-gym or run, or on days like today, I get up at 6:00, and do a "light" routine on the elliptical for 20 minutes while watching the news. This way, I can rationalize waking up earlier because 6 AM does not seem as bad as any time in the 5 o'clock hour (mental tricks!) AND I am not really "working out" but I am more of "getting my juices flowing." I don't need to shower, and it only increases my morning routine by 25 minutes but gives me that needed extra wake up time.

As you can see, I am not the type of person to give myself more time in the morning to do nothing. I cannot simply sit on the couch (I would rather be sleeping than watch TV in the morning). I also do not drink coffee (except a Starbucks treat) nor do I even get the newspaper. I have internet at work to check the important things (minus Facebook...but it's not worth getting up earlier to check) so I don't even turn it on in the morning and I am one of those freaks who cleans up after herself whenever I do something, so cleaning is not necessary. I shower at night because my hair takes too long to do in the morning. I don't have a dog to take out and my cat does not need morning attention besides me refilling his water to only have him drink out of the toilet (sigh). SO I really need to DO something to give myself the extra time I need and make it worth while to get up. Hence, the casual elliptical viewing.

So what I would like to ask you all (my thousands of readers) is: What is your morning routine like? Do you have any tips for me in my quest to give myself time to wake up in the morning? Yoga? Pilates? Just chill out? :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Video Throw Back

I found this video from my college graduation in May 2008 in dedication to my brother, Nate, who was living in New Zealand at the time. We had consumed three bottles of wine at dinner in Charlottesville at The Melting Pot and most of that was between me and my other brother, Brian. There are other videos from that night that I need to track down because they are pretty funny!




Cheers to a new week!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Loss

After the thankfulness of this holiday weekend, I learned sad news. My cousin was hit by a truck while riding his bike in California and killed. He is one of my Walsh cousins (one of 18), and I was in his wedding as flower girl when I was 4 in 1990 (if I had a scanned picture I would post it). I was around this age but with longer hair- I will work on getting a picture to post.


While distance and age seperated us for most of my life (he was 45 and lived in California), I only have fond memories of his spirit, optimism and contageous personality. His wife and young daughter will truly have a void to fill, as will my aunt and uncle and cousins.

I hate that it always takes trageties like this to bring perspective to your life, but that is what this has done for me. You are never guaranteed another day or hour or minute. Especially in the times we live, nothing is certain. Everything you have can be taken from you. Nothing is guaranteed, so my challenge to myself is to live without abandon and remember who I have known that has not gotten to live as I do. To live in honor of all those who have been lost and those that have lost someone close to them too soon.


And to cherish the memories and be a friend to those who need cheering up.
Much love to the Koechlin's and all of the Walsh extended family. 




Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Poker

You know how I said we played Texas Hold 'Em all Thanksgiving afternoon while drinking wine and taking tequila shots (well, you SHOULD remember at least)?! This is a video of a hand that is probably 3/4 of the way through our 4 hour tournament.

video

And some pics of the afternoon...

First tequila shots at about 1:30 pm...

Yum

Joe is rolling in the dough!

Nate

Brian & Sarah

 Don't snap that picture

 Funny sequence...

 Don't remember what it was about!

Laughs

Why are these crackers called a fake word?!

 B, my coach.

I won!

 Winner and runner-up feeling the effects.

I hope you all get a chance to start crazy holiday traditions with your family like we have!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Turkey Trot and Treats

Wishing all ya'll (and your families) a very Happy Thanksgiving!


The Walshes celebrated by running a Turkey Trot 10k (which was uncomfortable hilly...no PR for me but a gorgeous morning!) around the University of Richmond and then proceeding to eat all calories burned (and more) in mostly desserts and liquor. Or maybe that was just me...


Happy smiles at the beginning of the race with my brother, Brian, and my friend's husband and brother.


Not so happy at the end (but determined)...damn hills!

The fam also engaged in a pretty hysterical, long poker match (involving many funny hypothetical dating questions and my oldest bro falling out of his chair), which I won but paid for by getting so drunk that I passed out after dinner for 1 hour. No one ever said afternoon tequila shots and wine were my strong suite. I blame my brothers.

This kicks off my absolute favorite time of year because of the celebrations with friends and family and the HAPPINESS all around! I hope you enjoy Black Friday and the rivalry football Saturday! Cue the Christmas music:)


Thursday, November 15, 2012

READ

My very own READ poster I did at work this week:


Do I inspire you?!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Jersey Shore

This weekend I went with my mom to visit her aunt, my granddad's sister, in New Jersey. She lives in Margate which is about 2 miles south of Atlantic City. She was evacuated for a week following the hurricane, so we really didn't know what to expect when we went. She is also 93 (almost 94) and still living on her own, but she is lovely and as cute as she can be. She wasn't particularly fazed by the hurricane, since they get them frequently, but we could see the devastation everywhere. Her house was ok, but a few blocks over was another story. She lives just far enough from the bay and beach that she got lucky. Sand was EVERYWHERE as these pictures show, but they had done a lot of cleanup (3-4 feet was typical right after the storm). It was sad but also good to see the shore, because they will be able to pick up the pieces and repair the homes and everyone was grateful it wasn't worse. I enjoyed a great run on the Atlantic City boardwalk on Sunday and people were out smiling, greeting strangers. Nothing like the Jersey Shore!

House moved off it's foundation

Damage to the walkway

Sand!

Sand in the houses' garden


 Cranes redistributing the sand

Cape May!

One of my favorite vacation spots on the shore


Victorian houses everywhere

Jersey, hopefully I will see you again soon!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Two Cents

When I think about living in America, I think of a melting pot, a land of opportunity, starting over, making your own life and living it with convictions; not settling, fighting for what is right, equality, and freedom.

Election seasons always give us a time to think about what is important to us as individuals. What ideas light the fires beneath us? What do we think is good for the country? Or more (or less) importantly, what is good for us as individuals?

I grew up in a house of liberals, though I never knew until I got older (though my grandparents were conservative). I remember when I heard on the news as a teenager about some law regarding abortion, and how outraged I was that it was legal for someone to tell me what I could and could not do with my body! I had never talked politics with my parents and never knew who they liked, but that night I learned what fired me up and what fired my mom up as well.

In government class my senior year of high school, our class was polarized as Democrats and Republicans. We had debates and often argued about our views. That was the first time I realized I was a true liberal. I had a political identity! It was exciting and frustrating at the same time, because I realized people did not think like I did about everything that mattered most to me.

I remember in my first election how shell shocked I was that Bush won reelection. How could people not get as fired up as I got about the issues that mattered to me?! How could women vote for a party that wants to decide their rights for them? How could it be acceptable for gay people to be treated as unequals in parts of their life? I was in a funk for days and weeks after that 2004 election.

As the years have gone on, I have come to understand more about each of the sides. I have found that I am actually moderate- fiscally conservative but socially liberal (and now leaning libertarian)- and that the political process and role of the President is so much more complicated than who wins the elections. I have conflicting feelings about who wins (no candidate is perfect), how campaigns are run (can't we use all this money for the greater good instead of flying candidates all over the county and running a million political ads?!) and the limits of the two party system (hello Gary Johnson!).

I also hate the nastiness. The point of an election is for people's voice to be heard, not to hate and yell at differing opinions. The name calling, the social media rants- that is never ok. People have their reasons to vote a certain way- it is what is important to THEM. It is part of their freedom of speech. That it may differ from your opinion does not warrant nastiness or hatred. It should create a forum where we can discuss and evaluate our opinions. I am happy to talk politics with someone, but I also know that what they say will not change what is important in my heart.

When I go into that voting booth, my heart is decided by the candidate or party that supports the rights of all his/her people. The one that does not tell me what I can or cannot do as a woman. The one who agrees that all people should be treated as equal- no matter sex, sexual orientation, social class, or country of origin. To me, social issues are the cornerstone of my soul. Equality, equal opportunity, and personal choice are the most important parts of what I take as being an American. You may call that foolish or not agree with me, but it is what matters most to me.

The two party system is outdated. But while the Democratic party is not perfect by any means, I fully believe that America has turned a corner and until the Republicans can embrace a more socially moderate platform and stop ignoring what is becoming a majority of the population, they will keep losing with their old ideals. The country old-school "white majority" is dwindling (hello, Latino immigrants!) and pretending it's not gets the party no where. Just come look at the students at my school and tell me they deserve less rights and opportunities because their parents decided to come to America for a better life.

And as my friend said- "Make no mistake. Change is a motherfucker when you run from it."

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted!

I voted at 7:30 am for President/Vice President, Virginia Senate, Virginia House, Richmond Mayor, Richmond District 1 School Board Rep and two Virgina Constitutional Amendments.


Did you?

(And I also didn't hate on anyone else who voted differently than me)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Condo Living

It has been 7 months since I bought and moved into my condo, so I think it is due time for a little update! I have absolutely loved living here. The place is a perfect size for me, so I don't have any wasted space but have plenty of storage, and I have loved the neighborhood and condo community. I have friends who's places I can walk to at the drop of a hat, and the pool and gym have been perfect for me (we joke that it's like "Melrose Place"). I have no regrets about my purchase, and I have loved living alone. In fact, I feel less lonely living alone because I get out and do more, and when I want to do nothing, I don't have to worry about anyone else and their plans!

I haven't changed anything cosmetically in my place since moving in (I do think I might paint at some point) and so far nothing has broken. I did have some bug issues in the spring- ants and house centipedes- but I figured out how to get rid of them and prevent more from coming. I will be more prepared next year. I also have loved my electric bill- even in the summer during 100+ degree days, I never paid more than $62/month in electricity! One of the big pluses of a smaller space:)

My bed geared up for winter!


Romo in his usual position and getting into the cabinet to take my hair ties (which I then find all over the place)

My fridge of love!

Yay! My appliance corner- waffle maker, toaster, mini-blender and coffee maker, none of which are used much but are good to have!

Fall in my living room- the tree out the window is a great red!

New purchase from Target next to my door- perfect for my purse and extra storage!

Fall pumpkin and fruit basket

"R" from my mom!

 Dining table with a Halloween card (Thanks, Jess!) and great fake flower.

On the outside of my front door I also have a pumpkin and scarecrow greeting my visitors:) So you should come visit if you haven't!


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brio

Last night a former coworker and I, who both now work in high schools, went out to eat at Brio Tuscan Grille. I realized that I did not blog much when I worked there because this blog began as I was ending my years as a waitress and beginning my career as a counselor. And what a shame that is, because my grad school years at Brio were a great time where I met my first group of friends in Richmond outside my high school buddies. So here I go:)!


I feel like my life as a waitress is a different part of me since it was a transitional period, but it was really a great time. I worked as a waitress in college during breaks at Cheeburger Cheeburger and at UVA Catering in college (that was more of a customer service job, but food/alcohol delivery and flirtation was essential in my duties), but most of my time as a waitress was at Brio in grad school. I always enjoyed waitressing because it was a very social job where I got paid to move around, talk with people and constantly stay busy doing something. I met a lot of great people during my two years waiting tables during grad school (May 2008 through August 2010). It completely paid for my grad school education and also allowed me to save during my studies. I also realized the key to enjoying waiting tables is when you do it PART TIME. My typical schedule was lunches Monday, Tuesday and Thursday (I had classes Monday through Wednesday night starting at 4), dinner on Friday (where I eventually became a "closer," meaning I would get the best section and hours) and Sunday brunch. All of my shifts, besides Friday and Sunday, were only 11-3, so I worked a total of 20ish hours a week and usually made somewhere around $300/week in tips. And as I said before, it was straight social hour. When I wasn't at a table, I was talking to a coworker while doing my work. A job TOTALLY made for me. I loved it.

Even now, I often think about how I do miss waiting tables. The corporate part of it sucked (contests and stupid rules) and the sidework blew, but the actual interactions with the customers and staff were great. I'll be the first person to tell you I never was a great upseller or knew every detail about the food or drinks (it was a joke that half the time I didn't know what I was serving), but I was very bubbly and easy to talk to, so I always did well. And I met some amazing people.

So here is a shout out to all my former Brio peeps! Even though I am done with waiting tables, I look back at it with a smile and great memories:) I especially enjoy coming back and visiting on the customer side!

Friday, November 2, 2012

What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self

I read the above book because it was on a list of books every twenty-something girl should read (according to an article I stumbled upon). While I didn't find it groundbreaking in any way, I thought I would post my favorite entry.

Dear Lisa,
Here are the ten things you need to know.

1. Your hair matters far, far less than you think.
2. In fact, the way you look matters far less than you think.
3. "Can I ask a dumb question" is never a good thing to say.
4. In fact, asking permission to speak is never a good idea at all.
5. While we're on the subject, don't speak too fast because you're afraid of wasting your listener's time. Listening to what you have to say is the highest and best use of anyone's time. Even if your hair looks terrible.
6. And don't edit what you say before you say it. That would be you, getting in the way of truth, and, worse, of your heart.
7. You are already working approximately 25 percent harder than you have to to get the result you want. Chillax.
8. Don't hang out with anyone who doesn't understand why you're so wonderful, or needs to be told, or who doesn't tell you at regular intervals or when you forget.
9. That little voice you keep ignoring is the only one you should ever listen to.
10. Love

I liked this entry because it talks about how we should always say what we feel, live like we think we should, and not question our abilities or settle for anything less than we deserve. We should never let go of our dreams or be afraid to change our lives. Important things for me to remember now, as I am contemplating many life decisions!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy and Some Others

This is how Richmond, Virginia was affected by Sandy:

1. Schools were closed Monday and Tuesday
2. It rained. A lot.
3. It was slightly windy.
4. The local NBC news station freaked out about the storm for 4 days.
5. Stores ran out of bread and water.
6. I actually prepared by buying flashlights, getting a radio, and turning down my fridge/freezer and packing a cooler with ice and all my frozen foods in the freezer for the inevitable power outage.
7. A few hundred people lost power.
8. Barely any trees fell down.

This is how Richmond, Virginia was affected by three Severe Thunderstorms in June:

1. No schools were closed.
2. It rained. REAL HARD.
3. It was VERY WINDY.
4. The local NBC news station only freaked out for about a day each storm.
5. Stores were stocked.
6. I didn't prepare.
7. TONS of trees fell down and houses near where I live were destroyed.
8. THOUSANDS lost power. For days. Each time.

This is how Richmond, Virginia was affected by Hurricane Irene in August 2011:

1. Schools closed for one day.
2. It rained. A LOT A LOT.
3. It was EXTREMELY WINDY. For an entire day.
4. The local NBC news station freaked out for about 2 days.
5. Stores were out of bread and water.
6. I only prepared with alcohol and some candles.
7. Trees were everywhere. Like legit EVERYWHERE. Poor Monument Avenue and some cars outside my apartment.
8. Hundreds of thousands lost power (including me for 8 days)


Do you see a correlation? Seems the more Virginia freaks out, the less likely were are to be hit with anything bad. I am not complaining, but the anxiety an impending storm causes is something I could do without especially when nothing happens. I am fine with some days off work, but not to the extned of my sanity. Hurricane Irene was much worse for us, and since we aren't a big enough city, got much less media coverage.

That being said- thinking of my friends and family in NY and NJ!!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Mean Girls

For the Halloween Parties this weekend, some work friends and I went as "Mean Girls." I was Karen, the dumb blonde who thinks her boobs have magical powers, and two of my coworkers went as Regina and Gretchen. We were completed by a burn book and looks of pink.


We wrote funny/mean things in the book about our administrators.


This is the only one I can show you since he remains unnamed. The pages got more hysterical as the night when on and more people added to it.


We are so mean.


Things I learned from wearing a blonde wig:
  1. Blond, shinny hair makes my eyes pop WAY more than brown
  2. Cab drivers think I am a cross dresser (yes, that did happen)
  3. People will not recognize you because you look so different (yes, that also happened)
  4. I should probably stay brunette...I didn't have more fun as a blonde anyways!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Week(end) Update

Sandy is putting a damper (literally) on my exciting weekend plans. I hate the idea of possibly losing power as much as I hate the idea of having to get a dental procedure done (cue the fact that I have to get gum grafts in the next few months). And Virginia is known for losing power with high winds because of all the trees. If you remember last year, my apartment lost power for 8 days. Now, I am in a different place where the complex only lost power for 1 day last year, but I hate losing power with a passion. Seems all my hobbies (besides exercise) revolve around the TV or computer. I should probably work on this (I actually am). SO I am calling it now that if we get hit like the weathermen say we will, I will be of school until Wednesday at least. Can't educate with no power!

Anyways, I have fun plans for this weekend including three Halloween parties and a cooking/baking extravaganza with my mom tomorrow. But that is not why I am feeling good- I am feeling good because I just had a nice week at work. It was one of those weeks where I was very productive, got to get out of the building for a networking opportunity and I actually got to do some counseling (say WHAT?!). I love good work weeks- the good mood from work seems to rollover into all aspects of your life. I also am taking charge in my free time by signing up to get back into volunteering (it has been too long since I regularly volunteered) and trying to find a part-time babysitting gig since many of my afternoons involve a workout and then sitting on my couch for 5 hours, which while I like that once in a while, is not how I want to spend my life. I enjoy being busy and hopefully putting these two new activities into place will be a fulfilling and fun way to expand what I do in my free time!

Also, I am hitting the week two mark of my low carb "trial." I am not doing this to lose weight, but simply to see how I feel and what changes I notice by eating more fat and less carbs. Thus far I have had very few side effects (poor performance in workouts and a slight headache), but I hear those will go away shortly. It has been difficult giving up some of my favorite foods (pretzels! bread! pancakes!) and limiting my sweets (though I will never give these up entirely), but I am feeling good overall. I will try this for probably another two weeks before I decide if it is worth it to stick with. On the plus side, I have consumed more veggies in the past two weeks than ever, so that has been a nice health benefit. I surely have learned a lot and will definitely continue to limit my carb intake, though I don't know if I will be able to keep it as low as I have (100-130 g/day when I normally eat 300-400g/day). Being a vegetarian AND low carb is not easy.

Anyways, that is my week(end) update. Stay dry and safe to my neighbors on the east coast!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I believe that

1. I am in control of my life
2. Friendship is the true epitome of happiness
3. Traveling is as important as the air I breath
4. God may or may not be real, but kindness and acceptance are undeniable
5. What I do is important, but it is not important enough to be my whole life
6. Alcohol does not taste very good (nor do hangovers feel)
7. No one can fill my own needs but me
8. The grass will always be greener, but it is up to me to not believe that's true
9. I need to live more in the moment rather than plan my life away
10. Everyone makes mistakes because we are constantly learning
11. Life will not go as planned, and I should just accept it rather than try to change it
12. Music makes everything (literally) better
13. Sadness will come and go
14. Money cannot buy happiness
15. What I want will not always be what I need, and what I need with not always be what I want
16. Looks will come and go, but how you make someone feel will always linger
17. Finding your passion can take most of your life, but the key is to keep looking until you do
18. I am only as old as I feel
19. Heaven is a beach
20. Everything works out in the end, so if it hasn't worked out, it's not the end

"The art of living lies in the fine mingling of holding on and letting go."

Monday, October 22, 2012

Wedding Crasher

My 2012 wedding season is over!

Since May, I have had the privilege of attending six weddings. All were wonderful and had unique character. I drank a lot of good alcohol, ate too much wonderful food, danced more than I have since college frat parties (and learned a few new, more classy moves), saw many wonderful friends that live near and far, bought many gifts and new dresses, and celebrated the best part of life- LOVE! Only one wedding was out of town, so I also didn't have to travel very far. And I only had one meltdown about not being anywhere near my own wedding (too bad it was on the way to a church of a wedding I was in), but I would still say it was a success!

Twenty Thirteen looks to be another busy season as well- as of now I know of SIX weddings I am invited to in June, July and August, and it looks as if that number may be going up! The mid- to late-twenties certainly are a time of wedded bliss! I also am lucky to have so many wonderful friends that think of me as someone they want to be a part of their special day (and am lucky to be in touch with so many people). It is getting to the point where I won't be able to attend all the weddings due to travel and time issues, but I am going to do my best because they are such great experiences (maybe I will actually bring a date to one of them?!)

So adios to this wedding season! I will rest my dancing shoes, wallet, and liver for next year!

Nicole and Dan in May

Sarah and Zack in June

Brooke and Peter in July

Cate and Ryan in September

Jane and Doug in October

Keaton and Keely in October


*And if you like trivia, I keep track of all of the weddings I have ever been to, and with the wedding this past weekend, I have been (not just invited) to 25 total weddings (I started young with my extended family)! Wedding snob, anyone?

Sunday, October 21, 2012

This Is Awesome

If someone can watch this and say it isn't one of the coolest things they have ever seen, than they're just not human.


Go Bucks!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Why We Get Fat

 
As many of you know, I care a great deal about health and wellness. I am always up for learning about new research or views on what it means to be healthy. In the summer of 2011, this lead to me becoming a vegetarian thanks in large part to my friend Nicole and brother Nate who both recommended books at the time that changed my life ("Skinny Bitch," "In Defense of Food," and "Eating Animals"). Now, almost a year and a half later, I am hitting a new leaf in my continual aspiration to be my best self.

I have been thinking about exercise a lot lately as Richmond is in the midst of a huge training season with the marathon and half marathon next month. I have been discussing with people how much we actually need to exercise to be healthy, because I feel that I have hit a plateau in my running and think that I could cut back from 5-6 days a week to 3-4 it wouldn't matter (I actually eat more when I exercise, but I do enjoy the mental aspects of a good workout). Well, my coworker Ernie, who is an English teacher at my school, recommended I read the book "Why We Get Fat" because he and his wife are also very into health and wellness. This book brought to light how everything we have ever told about what is healthy, is pretty much a lie. That it is not about eating less and exercising more, but about WHAT we are eating (and not calories or fat). This book, with research to back it up, explains that carbohydrates are like cigarettes- they never should be eaten, even in moderation, because what good is it to smoke in moderation? I will not go into details because you should read the book, but basically when we eat carbs and sugar, that is what our body will burn, and all the fat we eat will be stored, which makes us fat. When we eliminate carbs, our body has to switch to burn fat, which in turn causes you to lose weight because it is burning all the excess fat that is stored.

Now you may be thinking that this makes no sense because people lose weight when they eat less and exercise more. Well, of course they do, because all weight lose programs (Nutrisystem, Weight Watchers, South beach, ect) assign more points to, or allow less, carbs. A pasta dish may have up to 7 points on Weight Watchers, but an egg is close to 1. An egg has 0 carbs and pasta is loaded. So naturally, whenever people lose weight they do cut carbs. However, when carbs are not limited almost completely, you are still craving those foods and are often hungry. Eating almost exclusively meat (or tofu, veggie burgers and fish for me), protein and veggies eliminates cravings for carbs/sugar because you are eating enough fat to not be hungry. And those studies about increases in heart disease and cholesterol with excessive fat? Heart disease actually INCREASED when starches and breads were heavily introduced into our diet and there is no link to fat and an unhealthy increase in cholesterol (both LDL and HDL go up).

As far as exercise goes, this book also explains that while exercise is very important, we don't need much to get what we need. Twenty minute bursts a few days a week is fine, because your eating will compensate for how much activity you are getting. Studies have proven this (he has a lot of good studies cited). Also, your body can only change so much- genetics is the main reason we look the way we do (sorry:(). We can only do our best to make sure we are eating right and controlling what we can. This, of course, is easier said than done, but just 2 days of actually reading carb content on nutrition labels has blown my mind. My "healthy"cereal? My "healthy" preztles? My "whole grain" bread? LOADED with carbs. No wonder I am hungry in the middle of the day.

My first step is becoming carb-low is to change my breakfasts to eggs, cheese and veggies and to get rid of all granola/cereal bars instead for afternoon snacks of cottage cheese, cheese sticks, veggies in regular dressing and other protein products. Then I will tackle lunches (my dinners are pretty carb-low anyways, but I will need to get rid or go through all of my rice/pasta). Sweets will be the hardest, but if I can cut back everywhere else, I can still allow myself to stay under 60 grams of carbs a day with a sweet treat after dinner. And being a vegetarian (besides fish), this will also be difficult, but I know of plenty alternative options and eating full-fat everything will fill me up even without meat.

Don't believe me or think this is all bull? Read the book and then we can discuss:)