Best of 2017

So.  2017 was an…interesting year.  So much craziness went on in the world (including, but not limited to, somebody’s President acting a fool constantly) but plenty of good things happened too!

Here’s is my list of personal highlights from 2017 (in no particular order):

  1. Getting back into acting…kinda:  I completed recording for my first lead role in an audio drama!  I’m used to acting for stage and screen, so doing just vocal work was new to me, but it was a fantastic experience.  And y’all–this story is SO GOOD.  I can’t wait for you to hear it.  Please check out Who Killed Julie?, debuting later this year!
  2. #relationshipgoals:  My boyfriend and I celebrated one year together!  Wonderful can’t even describe this man.  He has been so supportive and understanding (given my rocky last relationship) and I can’t imagine my life with out him.
  3. International travels:  It was a bit late in the year, but I went to Ontario, Canada for a work trip in December.  I had never been to Canada before and was excited to get another stamp on my passport.  I’d love to go back for fun instead of work (preferably in the summer months).
  4. Mommy/daughter Costa Rican extravaganza:  I guess technically this falls under international travels too, but it was so awesome I had to give it a special shout out.  My mother and I took a trip to Costa Rica in October that was so wonderful.  Look for more details on our adventures in a FOUR PART series next month!
  5. Three decades of life:  This year, I turned 30!  Honestly, I feel like I acted like a 30-year-old long before my actual birthday, so it is nice to have my age match my maturity level.  🙂  I’ve come a long way from that girl who first boarded a plane at the age of 16, who thought she’d live and die in the great commonwealth of Kentucky.  I’ve learned a lot along the way and I can’t see what the good Lord has in store for me for the next 30 years.
  6. My squirrel friend’s wedding, my other squirrel friend’s baby, and just general squirrel friend shenanigans:  This year I was blessed to see my good friends make awesome moves in life.  One had a daughter, who is now a DRDIT (Drag Race Diva In Training).  One got married in a beautiful ceremony in upstate New York (which I was fortunate enough to be able to attend).  One finally freed herself from an abusive relationship.  And so many called, texted, Skyped, or just hung out with me.
  7. Girls Trip:  If you haven’t seen it, you must.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever laughed that hard in a movie theater.
  8. StellaMy brand new car!  You know, after seven years, I finally feel safe driving in these Wisconsin winters.  It’s amazing.
  9. Workin’ on my fitness:  2017 marked one full year since I started working with my personal trainer.  I’ve lost 20 lbs so far (and improved my eating too)!
  10. Fully realizing the awesomeness of Amazon Prime:  “Why yes, I did order a dish drainer online.  Couldn’t I have just gone to the store and bought one?  Absolutely!  But…why?”

Tell me–what’s on your “Best of 2017” list?  What are you hoping to accomplish in 2018?

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Body Goals

Today was my monthly weigh-in with my trainer, and guess what?

I lost seven pounds in the past month!

My trainer tasked me with logging my food intake each day, which has been extremely eye-opening. The “healthy” smoothie I made for breakfast each morning? Yeah, that baby was over 1000 calories. 😳 The container of homemade trail mix wasn’t terrible…but eating it all in one sitting was. It was OOC–out of control. 

So lately, I’ve been working on eating more protein-rich, fiber-rich foods to stay fuller longer. Portion control has been a big focus as well. In the beginning it was really tedious and frustrating to log everything I ate (and honestly sometimes it still is). But lately I’ve been trying to think of it as an asset instead of an inconvenience. If this is something that keeps me on the right track, I need to do it. I don’t just want to lose weight–I want to be healthy. 

Seven pounds doesn’t sound like a lot, but it feels awesome. (I couldn’t weight to text my mom to tell her!) My boyfriend–who has a degree in exercise science–said that diet is a bigger influence than exercise when it comes to weight loss. And as much as I hate to admit he was right…he was right. I’ve seen faster results in the past month than I ever expected. #thanksbabe 😘

I originally wanted to lose 30 pounds before my 30th birthday, but I’m altering that body goal. I want to be healthy. I want to be fit. I want to make good food choices. And I feel like those are goals that are worth working toward. 

Eating Well and Helping Out #100HappyDays

Day 94:  Eating well makes me happy.  I’ve mentioned it a few times on the blog but for those who may not know, I’m a vegetarian.  (Fun fact:  July 8 was my one year veggie-versary!)  I originally became vegetarian in order to eat healthier and improve my lifestyle, but quickly fell into the habit of eating very unhealthy vegetarian foods.  (Another fun fact:  French fries and cheese pizza are in fact vegetarian, but they aren’t the best foods for you.  #TheMoreYouKnow)  I’ve also been working with a personal trainer, and he encouraged me to start a food diary to keep up with the number of calories and amount of protein I’m eating (peep this post for more on that).  Now I know it’s possible to have a delicious, filling dinner for under 700 calories!  (Final fun fact:  This does not mean I’m never going to each french fries or cheese pizza again.  A lady has to indulge every now and again.)

Day 95:  Helping out my company makes me happy.  I actually have *two* days in the office this week!  And I chose to spend two hours of each one not working in my office.  (That’s #assbackwards I know.)  Our annual company picnic is on Saturday, and I’m helping out with advance registration. Volunteering for this internal opportunity made me happy in a few ways:

  1. I get to spend time in a part of campus that I never go to.
  2. I met three really cool coworkers that I probably wouldn’t have talked otherwise.  (In a company of 9000+ people, it’s easy to work with folks you’ve never met.)
  3. I got to brush off my retail customer service skills.
  4. I got to pick up my own tickets in advance.
  5. I got a free t-shirt!

Throwing Shade, Writing Poems, and Saying Goodbye #100HappyDays

Day 73:  Throwing shade makes me happy.  Two of my very best squirrel friends, Kathy and Julia, love RuPaul’s Drag Race as much as I do.  We have a call every two weeks to throw shade on the current season (and also to catch up on life).  Hearing their opinions on the queens and latest life updates makes me so happy.

Day 74:  Using analogies makes me happy.  As someone who teaches adults every day, I’ve come to realize that the adult brain learns a bit differently than the child brain does.  So, I like to come up with fun analogies to help my trainees learn the new information.  The analogy I used this time?  Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper.  🙂  A lot of my trainees said they had a “light bulb moment” after hearing that analogy, so I think I’ll keep using it!

Day 75: Being creative make me happy.  Speaking of teaching adults, I wrote a haiku for my class because they were so awesome.  They had great question and paid excellent attention during class, so I wrote them a quick poem to express my gratitude.  They really liked it!

Day 76: Weddings make me happy.  My boyfriend invited me to the wedding of one of his coworkers.  It was beautiful!  The weather was perfect for the outdoor ceremony, and the groom cried when the bride walked down the aisle (So sweet!).  I had a great time meeting the groom, bride, and other folks my boyfriend works with–and the cake was delicious!

Day 77: Reliving my childhood makes me happy.  I downloaded a bunch of sweet 90s music and it really took me back to “the good old days.”  You know–the days when I got summers off and didn’t have to pay bills.  Here’s one of the many songs I got–enjoy!

 

Day 78: Getting fit makes me happy. Today was my monthly weigh-in at the gym–and I lost 3.6 lbs!  I’m really working on lowering the number of calories I eat and getting enough protein in my diet.  Hopefully next month I’ll have even better progress!

Day 79: Getting rid of old stuff makes me happy.  Today I sold Raven, my old car. It was a bittersweet moment–that car was my college graduation gift and saw me through my first apartment, a move to Madison, and six snowy Wisconsin winters.  But now that I have Stella (peep this post to meet her) I couldn’t justify keeping Raven too.  The money I got from selling Raven will go toward paying down my credit card. (Not a fun way to spend the cash, I know, but #adulting)  I hope Raven’s new owners enjoy her as much as I did!

Raven

Ride on, Raven! Thanks for nine awesome years!

Friends, Fathers, and Fitness #100HappyDays

Day 67:  Great conversations make me happy.  Cornelius (my bestie from college) and I had a wonderful phone conversation–I love catching up with him!  We even made plans to get together in person later this summer and I can’t wait.

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Corn and me last summer. You could say we were excited to see each other.

Day 68:  Fridays make me happy.  Sometimes you just gotta celebrate the end of the workweek!

Day 69:  Morning walks make me happy.  My boyfriend and I took a walk around the neighborhood before the heat of the day (and the rain) set it, and it was awesome.

Day 70:  Celebrating fathers makes me happy.  Father’s Day!  This day is tough for me (check this post for reasons why) but I was joyful because I got to celebrate two awesome men in my life.  My stepdad (whom I just call “Dad”) is one of the greatest men I’ve ever known (look here to see just how awesome he is).  Even though we didn’t get to celebrate together, I loved hearing his voice on the phone and was glad I got to tell him how much he means to me.  My boyfriend and I also made dinner for his parents so we could celebrate his dad–a great day spent honoring great men!

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The two men who shaped me into who I am: my biological father (top) and my stepdad (bottom).

Day 71:  Learning more about fitness makes me happy.  I had a session with my personal trainer and we talked about how diet impacts fitness goals.  He sent me home with a task to complete–track all my food for the day so we can review it during our next session.  I’m excited to find ways to improve my diet (and hopefully improve the results from my workouts)!

Day 72:  Office days make me happy.  This is my last office day before a straight week of training customers.  Trust that I’m savoring the moments of working in solitude with my headphones in.  🙂

Anniversaries, Work Life, “…and a brand new car!” #100HappyDays

Days 40-41: New cars make me happy! It’s my great pleasure to introduce…Stella. She’s a 2017 Subaru Crosstrek and she’s ALL MINE. She’s stylish and, most importantly, good for these Wisconsin winters. Last winter I got stuck in a (pretty shallow) ditch and had to be towed out–I’m hoping Stella will get me out of those sticky situations if they arise in the future. 

Day 42: Anniversaries make me happy. One year ago, my boyfriend and I went on our first date. We’ve been together ever since, and I am so grateful for him. He lets me be me, which is something I’ve never had in a relationship. We make a great team and I’m looking forward to spending many more years with him!

Day 43: Doing new workouts makes me happy. Each month, my trainer comes up with a new set of exercises for our sessions. I really like learning new stuff, so this is always a fun time for me.  I’m sure my trainer gets tired of my constant questions about what muscles will be worked and if my technique is good though. 

Day 44: Coworkers who are also friends make me happy. Imagine my surprise when I go to leave for work and my garage door wouldn’t open! I couldn’t get it open manually and had to be at work at 8am, so I called my officemate. She came to pick me up and I truly appreciated it! She is an awesome person to work with and also a good friend, which is a tough combination to find sometimes. 

Day 45: Teaching camp makes me happy. I’ve been teaching classes to internal staff this week–we call them “camps”–and I have really enjoyed this group of campers. They ask great questions and even laugh at my corny jokes. 🙂

Enjoying the Gym (a.k.a Something I Never Thought Would Happen to Me. Like, EVER. )

It’s been a bit since my last post, but I’ve been busy in an unexpected place–the gym!

Now, I’ve never been particularly athletic. If I was, it was in an artsy-fartsy kind of way–ballet and jazz classes or colorguard with the marching band in high school. And I’ve definitely never liked to sweat (real talk–still don’t). But once I got to my heaviest weight ever last year, I decided to get my ass in gear…workout gear. 

Like many hopeful fools at the beginning of 2016, shortly after January 1 I bought a gym membership. Guess how many times I went to the gym that spring? 

Approximately twice. (Lame, I know.)

But now, a year later, I’m hitting the gym three times a week. And you know what? I actually kind of like it!

I never thought I’d look forward to going to the gym. Ever. It’s like Invasion of the Ashley Snatchers over here! But there were a few things that changed my mindset:

  1. Accountability. Instead of working out solo, I hired a personal trainer at my gym. This way, I have an appointment–and someone to hold me accountable for showing up. Now it isn’t “I’ll work out when I have time” or “I’m tired so I’ll work out tomorrow.” I’ve got someone who expects me to be at the gym. 
  2. Guidance. When I worked out solo, I got anxious. I had no idea what exercises to do or if i was doing them correctly, so I stuck to easy cardio (walking usually). When I worked out in large groups, like a boot camp or class like Zumba, I got anxious and embarrassed. Was I the worst person in the group? Were the other people judging me? Once in a group boot camp, an extremely pregnant lady literally ran laps around me–not a great confidence booster, y’all. (And guess who never went back to that boot camp.) With my trainer I’ve got someone to show me what exercises to do, how to do them, and no pressure to be “the best” in the class–I’m #1 by default!
  3. Consistency. If you know me, you know I’m a full-fledged Type A control freak. I gotta have a plan for errythang. So, I plan my workouts. I meet with my trainer twice a week on the same days at the same time; a recurring meeting request on my calendar keeps me on track. Starting this month, I plan a solo workout too–a week in advance–and put that on my calendar as well. Getting in a routine makes getting to the gym much easier for me. 

Since I’ve been hitting the gym regularly, I honestly haven’t lost much weight. However, my body fat percentage has decreased since I’m replacing fat with muscle. I’ve noticed changes–my body is more toned overall and my waist is smaller–and other people have too. When I went home to Kentucky for Christmas, multiple family members commented on how I’d lost weight since they saw me for Thanksgiving less than a month before! 

Don’t get me wrong–she’s not a gym rat yet. I go to the gym, sure, but I still hate sweating. (I guess some things never change.) However, I’m slowly enjoying my time there more and more. I’m even toying with the idea of adding a fourth workout each week in the morning before work! 

My goal is to lose 30 pounds by my 30th birthday in September. But even if I don’t meet that goal, I’m still really happy and proud of myself. I’m making a lifestyle change! And that’s pretty damn awesome.