Try, Try Again

Wow, I knew I hadn’t blogged in a long time, but I didn’t realize it has been just about a year! How can that be? Apparently my last post was my resolutions for 2016, so it’s kind of interesting to see how those worked out, a year later.

My diet and weight have fluctuated. I actually got below 120 for like 5 minutes, and have been hovering around 124 recently. I’m not hating that. I all but stopped running; I was having some nagging hip/glute issues, and then I got a little elective surgery in June, so I was out of commission for a few months afterwards. I’ve been working with a trainer since September, and I am loving the challenge and the results. It’s so much more fun than running!

We’ve done an OK job with organizing things around the house. Jack started a new job last spring, and now when we’re not on the road, we both work from home. We have our separate home offices up and running, which is super nice. It’s especially nice since we used to both work at the dining room table, which has been in garage for a month now as we’re having our kitchen redone. We still have a lot of work to finish up for this reno, and I feel like it’s going to beget a whole slew of new projects once complete.

Finance-wise, we have spent a lot of $$$, but I’m happy to report that I paid off my personal student loan (let’s not talk about the government subsized ones just yet) and some credit card debt we built up. One of our goals for 2017 is to really cut back on all the superfluous spending (I’m looking at you, Amazon!) and be much more mindful about where our money is going. It’s way past time to get serious about saving for retirement.

What else, what else… Jack became a grandpa for the first time! His daughter had a baby girl this summer. His other daughter moved to San Diego with her mom, and his son and daughter-in-law moved to Amsterdam. Suddenly, his family is so scattered. We are planning some fun trips at least 🙂

We were lucky enough to take several vacations: Cancun, San Diego, Hilton Head, Amelia Island, the Blue Ridge mountains. We now have two Chihuahuas in congestive heart failure (one of whom also has two torn ACLs!), so that has hampered our travel plans to say the least. We’ve taken them with us on our last three trips, which means going to places that aren’t too much of a drive. Still, we’re hoping to get to Europe this spring if we can work it out.

Thinking back over the year, it has been 95% good. Maybe 97%. The main dark cloud is my job, which I just can’t make up my mind about. I kind of hate it, and I don’t trust the company I work for, but there is so much flexibility, and they just switched to unlimited vacation, and my boss is great… Thinking about having to sit in horrible Atlanta traffic and then be in an office in front of a computer ALL DAMN DAY, only to sit in even worse traffic on the way home – I remember why I left a company that I loved to take a chance on my current role. But it is just not where I see myself in the future (partially because I don’t know how much of a future this company has). So there will be decisions to be made there.

But for now, I’m thinking about 2017, and how I want that to look. I’ve been reminded all year about important good health is, and how much I take it for granted. I want to be more devoted to my health holistically, mind/body/spirit. And financially! That’s what keeps me up the most in the middle of the night.

My goals for January:

  • No Facebook (except for the nonprofit work I help with)
  • No Amazon (if I really need it I can drive to the damn store)
  • No white carbs (I can still have honey though, right?)
  • No gin on weeknights (whomp, whomp)

 

How has your year been? Are you happy with your progress? Have you thought about what you want 2017 to look like? Are you relieved that I didn’t even mention how many awesome celebrities we lost in 2016 (RIP George Michael) and how miserable the presidential election was?

 

 

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‘Tis the Season

It’s so almost Christmas, y’all! Of course my workload has been intense, but I feel like maybe (fingers crossed) things are lightening up and I’ll get to enjoy the rest of December. It’s been crazy so far. Jack and I spent a few days in Chicago, eating ALL THE FOOD. We were lucky enough to have great weather – sunny and in the ’50s. I’ll take it! We walked all over and tried to eat at as many great restaurants as possible. The Girl and the Goat absolutely lived up to the hype. If you go, get the cauliflower, or just make it at home. We also ate at one of Rick Bayless’ restaurants and got the burger from Au Cheval. Normally when we travel we aren’t such tourists, but since we only had a couple of days, we wanted to hit at least a few of Chicago’s more famous restaurants. And they did not disappoint!

We also got a hot tub! Finally! I cannot even remember how long I’ve wanted our own hot tub. We have rented so many mountain cabins, only to never go hiking and instead spend the weekend in the hot tub. The delivery came at an great time, as we’ve both been dealing with back/neck/hip injuries and this is crazy therapeutic. I know some people hear “hot tub” and think “ew,” but for me, it’s relaxing and comforting and I love that Jack and I just hang out and talk. And maybe have a mimosa 🙂 Much better than vegging out in front of the TV or ignoring each other while we’re on our laptops.

We decorated our new home a little over the top for Christmas. I don’t know how many strands of lights we put up. We also hung ornaments in the bushes, and Jack got a couple of those inflatable things. (Not a fan, but it’s his house too and it’s cute how excited he was about them.) Our TV room is like the coziest room ever. We finally got the fireplace in working condition, and I hung up our new stockings. I even totally dorked out and hung up stockings for the dogs. And did I mention they have their names on them? Barf 😉

We’ve been so busy, meeting our neighbors, doing house projects, exploring our new town, managing my volunteer projects, catching up with old friends, being buried in work. This past weekend was my niece’s 6th birthday party, and this weekend is my Dad’s 73rd, so we’re spending lots of time with family as well. Somehow, we even feel like we’re kind of on top of the Christmas plans too. We sent out our cards and have like 75% of our shopping done. Last year, we took our families to the beach instead of giving gifts, and turns out we really missed gift-giving. Also, this is the first year (in 15 years! crazy!) that Jack’s kids will spend Christmas with us. True, they definitely aren’t kids anymore (they are in their 20s and 30s), but it’s still going to be awesome having everyone spend the night here and be together on Christmas morning. ❤

In other news, my back is doing much better and I’ve been able to do a few short jogs over the past two weeks. I also FINALLY got motivated enough to get back on the diet train, and I’ve lost about 6 pounds so far. Eight more to go – hopefully in the next 5 weeks before we head down to Mexico in late January. So far December has been a much healthier month. I’m eating primarily a vegan diet, and this amazing weather (today’s high is supposed to be 70, with sunny skies) is motivating me to be outside. I’ve done something athletic every day this month but one, and that was the day after we got back from Chicago and I was exhausted and slammed at work.

I’m also continuing to think about my goals for next year and what my resolutions are going to be. So much of what I’m able to accomplish will depend on what my job is like. There are times when it’s 70 hours a week and times when it’s 30. I still haven’t mastered the art of working from home either. I tend to be productive until mid-afternoon, then I hit a wall. In an office setting, I could talk to my co-workers or walk to get coffee or something, but here, I end up playing games on my phone or taking a nap with my computer next to me in bed. Not so good 😦

But for now, I’m going to keep enjoying the holiday season. Jack and I are so damn lucky to have the lives we have, with our families near us, in our cute little house, with our awesome marriage, and with laps full of little dogs. It’s so important to remind ourselves of that when we’re pulling our hair out at work. We are so blessed 🙂

How is your holiday season going? Do you have a love/hate relationship with this time of year? Are you thinking about your goals for 2016, or are you just enjoying what you have right now?

Thanks for the Love!

Oy. I just spent almost an hour writing a new post, and then accidentally closed down my browser and now it’s gone 😦

But the gist of it was, thanks to my awesome blogger friends for nominating me for three awards!

By Jen Lawson, All Round Better Me, and Travel Run Style each gave me a blogging award, which means SO much to me. I love each of their blogs and I love that they enjoy reading mine and have shared it with their own readers.

I’m totally going to cheat now, and not quite follow the rules of either the Beautiful Blogger Award or the Liebster Award, and just tell you seven random facts about me, as inspired by the blogs above 🙂

  1. The best place I’ve ever been is the Alta Crystal Resort on Mount Rainier. All of the Pacific Northwest is amazing, and this was our last stop. We’d been from Portland to the coast to Seattle to the mountains. We’d spent the day hiking and the week living out of hotels. We were SO happy to have a hot tub to soak in and a real kitchen to cook in.
  2. The next place I’m traveling to is Dallas. For a Garth Brooks concert with clients. Have I mentioned I’m not a country music fan? But this should be an experience, a country music concert in Texas!
  3. My guiltiest of guilty pleasures is an Oreo Cheesecake Blizzard from Dairy Queen.
  4. The habit I’d most like to break is having a couple of (often several) drinks at the end of the day. I’ve been increasingly reliant on using alcohol to relax and to shut off my brain.
  5. The best thing I’ve done this week is spend time with my family. We’re currently in temporary housing while we look for a new home, and it’s really close to my parents and my sister’s family. I love that I can just drop by or meet my sister for hot yoga.
  6. My hero is Jimmy Carter. He is even dying with grace. #myhero
  7. I am having a harder time with being 40 than I ever expected. Not being a mother, I’m not caught up in raising any children, so I’m a bit at a loss with where to place my focus these days.

I’ve been thinking a lot about budgeting and spending and investing lately, so I’d like to share with you two young financial bloggers:

From Frugal to Free: This chica has already paid off her student loans and takes advantage of every side hustle to stack away some extra $$$. I SO wish I’d been this responsible when I was her age!

Half-Banked: A woman who is giving Millennials a good name (for once!). She’s striving to save half of her take home pay.

Hope you enjoy reading these blogs from two inspiring young women!

Have a great weekend! Do fun things!

Hot Times in the Suburbs

Hellllloooooo!

You’ll be glad to know I am in a much better headspace today than during my last couple of posts. We moved on Friday and are settled in at our awesome little hotel. (Seriously, if you travel with your pets, this is the BEST brand we’ve found. They don’t do doggy happy hours or anything, but they’re super pet-friendly AND you get a kitchen and yummy free breakfast daily!) All of our stuff is in storage. I had no idea how much the move was hanging over me. I thought all my stress was from not having a house to move into and from work, but apparently a large part of it was being unsettled, with everything in boxes, and trying to get the townhouse ready for the move. Now that it’s finished, a weight has been lifted!

I’ve come to understand that now is not the best time to be on a diet, so I’m chilling on my Lose Ten by Summer’s End goal. Yes, it might be just excuse-making, but everything is too chaotic for me to be successful. I’ve found myself stress-eating for the first time in my life. It sucks. So I’m just trying to be gentle with myself, and make mostly smart/healthy choices. The good news is that I continue to stick with my running, I’m working out again, and today I’m going to hot yoga for the first time in probably three years.

My goal is to just enjoy the rest of the summer. We haven’t gotten to do much of that, since we were showing the house and then packing it up and looking for a new one. We are going to make an offer on another house today (fingers crossed that third time’s a charm!) so I’m hopeful that’s the end of the house hunting. Our hotel is really close to my family, so I plan to spend as much time with them as possible. I also plan to work from the pool, enjoy the greenway, eat tons of salads from the Whole Foods right down the street, and do some hiking on the weekends. We’re here for at least a month, and since chores are basically non-existent, I might as well take ALL that time for being good to myself 🙂

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Thankful Thursday (One Day Late)

The last few days, several things have reminded me how easy it is to:

  • Lose perspective
  • Be selfish
  • Be careless
  • Forget that life is precious

I am so thankful for my family, for my health, for my career, for my partnership, for all the love in my life, and for all the peace in my heart.

As we head into this long holiday weekend (Happy Memorial Day!), please take the time to be careful, to pay attention, and to tell everyone how much they mean to you.

Practice gratitude.