What if…

Trying to stay unfrozen has been a feat until this week.  Seriously, it literally snowed 3-4″ last week!  #notcool But now spring has finally come to Wisconsin…and I’ve finally come back to blogging!

Not gonna lie to y’all–my life is pretty boring so I feel like I don’t have anything to post about regularly lol.  Like, do people really care that I started buying groceries at the local Aldi?  Are folks really trying to read about the new bike I bought?  Answer:  probably not (at least that’s what I assume).  So my posts have been infrequent.

Butttttt I’d like to change that!  Maybe y’all aren’t interested in what I’m doing (which is honestly not a lot) but what I’m thinking (which is all sorts of things).  Honestly, y’all might not be interested in what I’m doing OR thinking lol.  But today I’m gonna share a bit of what’s been going on in my brain.

Lately, I’ve been playing this mental game called “What if…”  Basically, I’ve been thinking about all the ways my life could have gone wrong.  Not in a morbid, “woe is me” sort of way, but just considering all the events and circumstances (great and small) that led me to this awesome life I have today.

My mom is the most wonderful person on the planet.  If she hadn’t raised me, I’m almost certain my life would have gone poorly.  Like, I hope I’d be a good contributing member of society if I didn’t have her as a mom, buttttttt I’m skeptical.  That lady raised me RIGHT.  She taught me to be caring and diligent and showed me how to work hard even when it feels like everything and everyone is against you.  She encouraged me and motivated me and, most importantly, disciplined me when I needed it and called me on my bullshit.  Without her, who knows who I would be?

My daddy died when I was only 13.  His death could have been a trigger for my life to take a bad direction.  In ways, it did create issues–I didn’t have a role model for how a man should treat me and ended up in some terrible relationships as a result–but it could have been much worse.  On occasion I’ll watch the show Intervention and the stories that touch my heart the most are of women who lost their fathers or whose fathers were emotionally distant.  Women who, quite possibly, could have been me.

On the flip side, what if he hadn’t passed?  Would he have gotten better, fought his addiction, and been the father I needed?  Or would he have continued to drink?  Would I have ended up estranged from him?  Would I have drunk right along with him (alcoholism does run in families, after all)?  There’s no way to know.  And honestly, this version of the “What if…” game hurts the most.

My best friend in the world moved to our town when we were in the fourth grade.  She was a bookish Black girl just like me, and I needed her at nine years old in a predominately white school in a predominately white (and very southern) town.  If she hadn’t come, I don’t know who I would have relied on to support me when my daddy died.  I don’t know who I would have called when my ex-fiance was abusing me.  Who knows what friends I would have made and what paths they would have taken me down?  (One of my childhood friends ended up with a drug problem.  I could have been right there with her.)

Even outside of the key players in my life, all the small events and decisions and interactions in my life add up too.  I dated someone in college who I though was going to marry me, but ended up breaking my heart instead.  If we had married, I wouldn’t have met the man I truly love and who lets me be myself.  After college, I applied for a job at the Social Security Administration and was devastated when they didn’t hire me.  But if I had taken that job, I might never have gotten the opportunity to do something I truly love.

Just to be clear, I don’t play “What if…” to throw myself a pity party.  Playing this game makes me sad sometimes, but ultimately I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  I’ve been through stuff that could have broken me, but I survived.  I’ve learned to appreciate the things and people who make my life special.

I urge you to consider the circumstances of your life and how you are a stronger person because of (or in spite of) them.  If you’ve got a story of triumph you’d like to share, leave it in the comments!

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Image courtesy of Maryeoriginals

 

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Let It Go

Ever overhear someone talking bad about another person and just know they were talking about you?

Yeah, me too. It happened Saturday night, in fact. I’m sure the ladies didn’t expect me to hear the conversation, but I heard it nonetheless. I won’t tell you exactly what was said, but I can tell you that most people would probably let it go.

But I can’t.

That’s the problem with me and my anxiety. I can’t just let shit go. And I can’t articulate what’s happening in my mind to anyone else–my words never feel strong enough to make someone else feel what I’m going through.

So I pretend. I act like nothing is bothering me. Even when anxiety is constantly looping in my brain, threatening to push me into panic mode, I smile and pretend like everything is fine. It’s been this way for as long as I can remember. Saturday night I pretended to be looking up something on my phone to make the ladies think I hadn’t heard them, or didn’t care enough to acknowledge that I did.

I haven’t mentioned what happened on Saturday to anyone until now, but trust I’ve been thinking about it nonstop since it happened. It happened after an event I’d helped plan, one that I thought was pretty successful. But apparently someone had issues with me and my departure from the event, which was the conversation I overheard.

I wish I could just not care.

I wish I could remember that the event was successful and someone’s small comment doesn’t overshadow that.

I wish I could remember that what other people think about me doesn’t matter.

But too many times, I can’t let it go.

So I’m setting a new intention for 2018: let it go!

  • Let negativity go.
  • Let stress go.
  • Let other people’s opinions of me go.
  • Let drama go.
  • Let my unrealistically high expectations for myself go.
  • Let doubt go.

Not saying I’ll have it mastered by the end of the year, but I’m damn sure gonna try.

What are your methods for overcoming anxiety?

Snowy Days

Winter in Wisconsin is in full swing, y’all. And ya girl is NOT FEELING IT.

Something Everything about the blistering cold, the gray skies, and the seemingly unending snowfall just makes me depressed. Being cooped up inside doesn’t help my anxiety either. The days are so short it feels like you never see the sun. The wind chill is so cold that it burns your skin. Now how much sense does that make–weather so cold it feels hot?!?

We got four inches of snow on Saturday, and another inch on Monday. More snow is predicted for tonight, and even more next week. My snow shovel and I have been best friends the past couple of days. #truestory I shoveled my driveway as my cardio warmup before my personal training session on Monday. There’s a silver lining to this cloud after all! 🙂

But, in all honestly, I know this rough patch won’t last. Where there is cold, eventually there will be warmth. Gray skies will be blue again. And summer will be here and make me forget all about these snowy days. Here is a snapshot from a hike at Devil’s Lake last summer–I cannot wait until I see green trees and feel the warm sun again!

Veggie to Vegan

Happy February, friends!

Today’s post revolves around a decision that has been months in the making for me–I’m officially starting my transition from vegetarian to vegan.  This is my “official” start because we all know the Internet is forever–I figure if I declare it here, I’ll have to stick to it.

Just for a bit of background, I gave up meat on and off during high school (over 10 years ago #oldladystatus) but made my forever transition to vegetarianism in 2016.  In the beginning, it was tough–I literally dreamed about frying chicken–but now I’ve gotten pretty comfortable with the lifestyle change.  The cravings for meat have subsided, and vegetarian cooking has become second-nature.  Honestly, some of the vegetarian dishes I make taste better than the meaty version!  (At least to me, anyway.)  Check out a few vegan meals I’ve made below, and if you want more #foodporn, follow me on Instagram:

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Delicious vegan food I’ve made!  (Clockwise from top left:  Banana “Ice Cream” with Chocolate Peanut Butter Bar, Tofu Fingers with Roasted Potatoes, Tofu Scramble with Roasted Potatoes, and Portobello “Steak” Strips with Green Beans and Rice Pilaf)

Why haven’t I become vegan yet, then?  Three big things:  Greek yogurt, eggs, and cheese.  Greek yogurt makes the list because it’s a good source of protein, which is something I need since I don’t get protein from meat.  It’s also super convenient for breakfast and/or a snack, which works well with my work/gym/life schedule.  Eggs make the list for the same reasons–protein and convenience.  (Also, plenty of the baked goods I love contain eggs, and I can’t quite give up my sweet treats just yet.)

And then there’s cheese.  Ahhhhh, cheese.  I live in Wisconsin, y’all.  The cheese up here is out of this WORLD, and it’s EVERYWHERE!  Real talk, I had no idea how many different types of cheese there are–and how tasty they could be–until I moved to America’s Dairyland.  I’m also a firm believer that it ain’t pizza unless it has cheese on it–and I love me some pizza.  So cheese has stuck around for a while even though I got rid of butter and cow’s milk a long time ago.

So–how is this transition going to work?  Starting today, I’m cutting cheese out of my diet.  (Guess I’ll be eating a lot of “ain’t pizza”.)  I know it’s going to be rough, but I really want to transition to a plant-based diet so I’m gonna do it!  Here are a few of the reasons I made this decision:

If you’re interested in cutting meat out of your life, check out this article by the Harvard Medical Center–it’s got some good information about the different types of vegetarianism and potential health benefits (and risks).  Also check out my Veggie Girl board on Pinterest for lots of vegetarian and vegan recipe ideas.

If you’re not interested in cutting meat out of your life, that’s cool with me.  #nojudgementhere #yourlifeisyours But I hope you’ll wish me luck on my journey from veggie to vegan!

Pura Vida: Part 3

We’re drawing nearer to the end of this four-part series on the mother/daughter trip of a lifetime–a tour of Costa Rica!  If you’re just now checking out this series, make sure to go back and read Part 1 and Part 2–trust me, you wanna know about all the cool/funny/awesome moments Mom and I shared during the first two legs of our trip.  🙂  And now…

Day 6 (continued):  Arrival Day in Guanacaste!

Another day, another early morning pickup–our van arrived at 6:45am to take us to the final stop on our Costa Rican adventure.  The van ride was long and the roads were winding, but the views along the way were absolutely breathtaking.

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Adios, volcano!

And when we got to Guanacaste, the view was even better!

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Hola endless blue skies and beautiful blue ocean!

We arrived at our hotel before our room was ready so to pass the time, we browsed in a few shops and had lunch at a vegan restaurant.  It was delicious!

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Sweet and sour veggies with Asian slaw for me and “ice cream” cake for Mom!

With a few more minutes until check-in, we hung out at the bar until the front desk manager told us our room was ready.  The room was absolutely adorable–inside and out!

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Artwork outside the room…

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…and inside too!

 

Our room was also very close to the pool, so we slipped into our swimsuits, grabbed our books, and enjoyed some delicious cocktails poolside.  We we definitely feeling the #puravida vibes.

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Relaxing.  Refreshing.  Amazing!

The rain kept us inside again that night, but the skies were clear when we woke up.  We took advantage of that by hitting the streets of Guanacaste!

Day 7:  Guanacaste!

Breakfast at the hotel kicked off our beach day!  We spent some time checking out the different stores on the strip, then found a restaurant with a patio on the beach for even more relaxing in the sun.

You wouldn’t think that chilling on the beach would make two ladies work up such an appetite, but it surely did.  We asked the front desk manager at our hotel for some recommendations for lunch, and he hooked us ALL the way up.  He talked to a friend of his who owned a restaurant called The Roof.  We quickly learned how it earned its name–it was a ROOFTOP pizza place!  The restaurant wasn’t open yet, but the owner opened up early just for us.  Talk about #VIP treatment!

The view was amazing, and the pizza was absolutely divine.  Just see for yourself:

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The Roof

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The Roof

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Delicioso!

After that fantastic lunch, it was more of the same awesome stuff:  drinks and reading by the pool.  It may sound lame, but the hotel was such a wonderful place that we didn’t really want to leave it.  (If you’re ever in the area, I highly recommend Hotel Pasatiempo!)

And the rain lulled us to sleep yet again…

Day 8:  Guanacaste!

You can probably guess what we filled our time with on our remaining day in Guanacaste…

  • Shopping – check
  • Eating – check
  • Enjoying delicious drinks on the beach – check
  • Generally being fabulous – double check!

We made a few new friends at the different beach side restaurants we dined at too:

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Friend 1:  Sleepy!

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Friend 2:  Hungry!

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Friend 3:  Squirrel-ly?

This was one of my favorite days of the trip because Mom and I got to really vacation.  We didn’t do anything we didn’t feel like doing.  We enjoyed decadent desserts and didn’t care about the calories.  And we talked–which meant the most to me.

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Enjoying a sweet treat with the sweetest woman I know–my mommy!

Day 9:  Journey to San Jose!

Saying goodbye to Guanacaste was terrible.  But we had to make our way back to San Jose to catch our flight back home.  It’s almost like the universe knew we didn’t want to leave:  this transport was the worst van ride of all (it almost made me carsick!) and we were stuck in traffic for a longggggg time.  (Long enough that our van driver flagged down a bread vendor and bought a loaf.  Guess he figured he might as well have a snack since we weren’t moving at all!)

After we finally made it to San Jose, we grabbed a quick snack while we waited for our room to be ready.  This was my final Spanish test, as the restaurant staff didn’t speak any English at ALL.  I guess I passed (because they gave us the cake and coffee we ordered) and after we settled up our bill we checked into our last hotel room of the trip.

We read more, uploaded tons of pictures of our trip to social media, and checked in with loved ones back home.  Dinner was room service in the hotel room and our lullaby was the heavy deluge that is a hallmark of the rainy season in Costa Rica.

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Nighttime in San Jose

Day 10:  Departure Day in San Jose!

Our dreaded final day in Costa Rica–after a whirlwind of fun and adventure, it was time to say goodbye.

I’m a momma’s girl through and through, so I hated saying goodbye to my #1.  But, at least it wouldn’t be goodbye for too long–I’d see her again at Thanksgiving in November.  I’ve said this a million times, but only because it’s true:  I’m so thankful to have a mother who loves me so much.  She sacrificed a lot so I could have a great life, and I could never ever EVER repay her.

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Mother and daughter after the trip of a lifetime!

Yes, our trip was over, but…this series isn’t!  Check back soon for the final part of my Pura Vida series–it’s the best part for sure.  🙂