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?

 

 

2015 Goals vs. Reality

I did turn 40 this year. It actually happened. And I must admit, I’m not dealing with it all that well. I’m more vain and shallow than I realized! I spend entirely too much time focusing on new wrinkles and saggy skin. I’m thinking about trying some kind of dermal filler or Botox or something. Just a little something to perk up my skin. Part of it is that I work in a very young industry, and I don’t want to show my age. Part of it too is just pure vanity.

But enough of that!

Last year was the first year that I truly made a set of New Year’s resolutions and then followed through with them. I have never been a goal setter, but this past year has been a game changer for sure. I never realized how vocalizing a goal would help me to really think about what I needed to do to actually make it happen. Yes, it took me til 40 to understand this!

I was far from perfect in reaching my goals this year. Some of that was my fault and some of it wasn’t. Here’s how things ended up:

  1. Learn to do a handstand. FAIL. Not necessarily from lack of effort though. I worked pretty hard to build up my upper body strength, but there wasn’t much I could do about my wrist. They are weak, slightly arthritic, and leaning towards carpal tunnel syndrome. I have pretty lousy joints overall. Thus, no handstand for me, but I have peace about that.
  2. Pay off our credit card debt and personal loans. SUCCESS. I also paid off my car! We were lucky enough to both make good bonuses this year, along with nice salary increases, and we made some money when we sold our house. I’m very happy to say we knocked out all of our consumer debt other than my husband’s car, and that’s just because we’re waiting to see what VW is going to do about the “clean” diesel debacle.
  3. Be less anal. I’m calling this a SUCCESS. I think I’m little bit more go-with-the-flow. I can’t change who I am inside, but I am committed to continually finding compromise with other people and their ways of doing things.
  4. Run a half marathon. SUCCESS. Boom.
  5. Downsize. SUCCESS. Man, I was all over the place with this one over the year. We went from looking at one bedroom condos and vacation cabins, to almost buying a five bedroom house, to ending up in a perfect-sized three bedroom with almost an acre. We’re sort of turning it into that cabin we also wanted too 🙂
  6. Meditate. FAIL. I tried. I don’t like it. I know it’s something that you get better at, and the couple of times I did it, I did feel more relaxed and clear headed. But making it into an obligation sort of took away the benefit. Maybe one day…
  7. Drink less. FAIL. I’m trying not to beat myself up about this one. I did a few alcohol-free weeks, and I’ve cut back recently as I’ve been losing weight, but this summer, I relied on our end of day cocktails to help with the stress of my new job and our move (mostly during our two month hotel stay).
  8. Go to marriage counseling. FAIL. We never went, not once. We talked about it. We talked about us, our relationship. I think we don’t have as much motivation to go to therapy together because we’re crazy in love and really do like and enjoy each other 95% of the time. It’s not like our marriage is in trouble or anything. We’re totally committed to each other and plan on spending our lives together. But I know there are old hurts we need to resolve eventually, things that always seem to bubble back up when you least expect them. To be continued.
  9. Write. SUCCESS. This will be my 117th blog post, according to WordPress. This is undoubtedly the most I’ve ever written in a year. I’m also doing social media posts for two non-profits, so I’m writing some there as well. I would still like to learn to write essays, so hopefully I’ll have some time and energy to devote to that in 2016.
  10. Continue to evolve my relationship with food. I think I can call this a SUCCESS. This summer was eye-opening, as I experienced stress-eating (and the accompanying weight gain) for the first time. Not good! I also had to pretty much admit defeat when it came to controlling what I was eating during that time. My self-discipline was stretched thin during the first few months of my new job. I thought I could use this blog as motivation to lose weight, but instead I just added on a few more pounds. In hindsight, I was just barely keeping everything together, so it was a bad time to diet. Over the year, I think I tried every kind of fad diet or gimmick I could find. NONE of it worked (shocking, I know). But now that things are settled, I’ve been able to lose 9 pounds since Thanksgiving. And this was during the holidays and a trip to Chicago that had the express pupose of eating! I’m feeling good about that. I’m understanding what works for me. For example, I am do not have success with low carb. Or Paleo. For me, I need to eat tons of vegetables and fruit, and add in protein when I’m craving it. I need to be very restrictive about the types of food I eat, especially fat. The more fat I eat, the more I crave it. It’s worse than sugar for me. And if I’m restricting what I eat all day, then dammit, it’s totally fine to have a glass of wine or a martini at night. I can’t be good all the time 🙂
  11. Try some minimalism projects. This is sort of a toss up, but I’m calling it a SUCCESS. Mostly, I realized I’m not a true minimalist, so while it’s not what I was expecting, it’s a great lesson. I like to keep the clutter very low and to stay organized, but I like to have stuff too. I prefer to have things just-so, rather than make-do. If I have things that are as perfect as they can be, I won’t want more things. So I’m going through my life and our home and working on that that now.
  12. Practice empathy, be more compassionate and stop being so judgy. SUCCESS. Now, being compassionate and empathetic is a life-long project and something I will always be working towards. But what I realize now, here at the end of the year, that most of what I meant by this was directed towards my co-workers. We were all way too close and they were driving me crazy. Getting away from them helped me stop being so judgy. Other people’s life choices are none of my business.
  13. Do a volunteer activity once a month. MIXED. I did not volunteer for most of the year. I did donate a fair amount of money, but it’s not until the last couple of months that I’ve been actively volunteering. But I would say I made up for lost time! As a social media volunteer, I’ve been posting for my two charities several times a week, and daily around Thanksgiving during the shopping madness. Moving into 2016, we’re working on an agreed-upon posting schedule so I can better organize my time.
  14. Travel less often, but more memorably. SUCCESS. We started the year at the beach, and then made trips to Asheville, Jekyll Island, Louisville, and Chicago. I also traveled for work, to Portland, New York, and Dallas. It was not as much travel as 2014, but we were able to stay in nicer places and do more while were there. This is a trend we’ll continue.
  15. Find a new job. SUCCESS. I knew it would be tough, but it’s been tougher than I imagined. But all these hard things are absolutely helping me grow, and I have learned so much. I miss my old company and my friends there, and I have the feeling I’ll go back there one day. I definitely needed to leave though, so I don’t regret that.

Of my 15 original goals, I had success with 10 & 1/2. The importance of each of these waxed and waned throughout the year. I really struggled over the summer and early fall to accomplish much besides working, running, and keeping my head above water. I’ve also struggled to find a true focus for this blog, but since I’m enjoying writing here, it’s not something I’m too concerned with 🙂

In all honestly, I’m pretty damn pleased with myself for setting these goals and following through with them. Even the ones I failed at, I truly did make attempts to follow through. Mostly they just became less of a priority as the year went on. I added in some goals here and there, with varying degrees of success. I’m excited for a new beginning and have lots of great ideas for 2016. See you then!

How was your 2015? Are you happy with your progress? And what are your thoughts on resolutions? Will you be setting any this year?

 

‘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?

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?

Live From New York!

Happy Friday!

I’ve spent the week in New York City, training for my new job. My brain is pretty much melting. SO much new information, plus all the frenetic energy of the city. I’ve been wined and dined but have also had a lot of time to myself. I’ve also been pretty good about keeping up with my health goals: I’ve jogged twice, took a 4 mile walk, and did some bodyweight exercises in my hotel room. Running in New York is a different beast. I’m not near anyplace good to run, so I’ve just been zig-zagging my way through Midtown. I’ve also made a decent effort to eat healthfully, despite all the amazing temptations up here.

I knew taking this job would mean stepping outside my comfort zone. And I wasn’t wrong. I’ve gone from being an expert in my field to almost starting over. It’s scary! I’ve been doubting my decision all week. It does help that I kind of anticipated this doubt. I’m definitely giving this a go. I imagine it will be better when I’m back in Atlanta, as the team there is older. (The digital world in NYC is soooooo young!) It will be important for me to continually remind myself why I made this decision. I needed to take this chance and I needed a change of scenery.

I fly back to Atlanta tonight. Overall, my anxiety about flying has been much better this trip. I sort of feel resigned to it. Assumin I make it home safely, we’re going to spend the weekend house hunting. We’re scheduled to close on our current home on August 20th, so we really need to figure out what we want to do. We’re all over the place, between downsizing (condo), buying a vacation property, moving to the almost-country and getting a big ol’ house with room for our families. TBD…

SO. MUCH. CHANGE. I might have overdone it 🙂

Asheville is Love

This past week, Jack and I celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary in Asheville, NC. We rented a wonderful little cabin just outside the city, tucked away in the woods. It was sort of like having two vacations in one: our secluded, cozy cabin, complete with firepit and hot tub and bears (oh my!), and a fun, bustling, tourist-y city for eating and drinking and indulging. Really, we felt a little pressure to do EVERYTHING, so it wasn’t the most relaxing trip. But. We had so much fun together!

We only were able to do one hike because of Jack’s continuing post-race Achilles issue. We spent a few hours on the Mountains-to-Sea trail and enjoyed the awesome mountain views, wildflowers, and rocky terrain. We walked around downtown Asheville a bit, but felt overwhelmed by the tourists. So many people told me how much I’d looooove Asheville – but honestly, I was surprised by how many tourists there were. Yes, of course, I was one of them. But Jack and I tend to go for more “authentic” (local?) experiences, so we didn’t love some of the spots that were recommended to us.

We did have some amazing eats and drinks. We used a recent Bon Appetit article and some local recommendations to make our choices. If you ever go, listen to the hype and eat at Cúrate. One of the best meals of my life! We had an early lunch there on Saturday in order to beat the crowds. We then were lucky enough to have an appointment at Wake, a foot spa (!!!). We soaked our feet and drank tea and had neck and shoulder massages. We felt crazy-spoiled.

We then proceeded to drink! (Thank goodness for Uber.) We bar hopped and brewery hopped and went back to our cabin with a pizza. We stayed up late in the hot tub and drank even more. It was such a good mix of nature and city – I see why so many people love Asheville. It’s also a very dog friendly spot. Nearly every restaurant with a patio had water bowls and people had their pups everywhere. And I felt like we only scratched the surface; I’d love to go back when we had more time to travel around the area.

One of my goals for the year was to travel less often but more meaningfully. This was just a long weekend, and an easy drive from Atlanta, but it was so good for us. We’ve recently started a travel-only savings account, so it was nice to not worry about what we were spending because we’d already saved up for it. We also were pretty careful to balance our time between hiding out in our cabin and hanging out in the city. We talked the nights away, and really bonded with each other. We came home more in love than ever, so I’d say this was a meaningful, special trip 🙂

On Traveling Alone

I recently went to Portland, OR for a conference, and to visit my best friend and her family. I was looking forward to some time to myself, as Jack stayed home with the dogs and for work. I was NOT looking forward to the flying-alone part, but the alone-time at the hotel and exploring the city was speaking to me.

The first day, I was very happy. I awoke way too early since I was on East Coast time, but I got up and went for a long walk. I wanted to map out my route to the conference the next day, to get a feel for where I was staying and what downtown Portland was like. I came back and spent some time in the hot tub with a mimosa, before walking over to my best friend’s home. I love that pretty much everything is about two miles from where you are in Portland! Atlanta is such a pedestrian-unfriendly city. I spent the afternoon with my friend and her kids before heading to the convention for registration and a super-awkward networking reception.

It was about this time, about 24 hours after I’d landed, that I started to feel uncomfortable. I knew I didn’t love all the fake networking stuff, so I just chalked it up to that and to being tired. I took a cab back to my hotel and ate dinner at the hotel bar. SO not like me! I love going out to eat and exploring new places. I also love solitude, and get very little, so I was looking forward to dinners alone.

I slept horribly was up before 4am local time again. The walk across the Steel Bridge, that I’d loved so much the day before was nerve-racking. People were very stiff and didn’t seem open to casual chatting at the opening session, which made me even more uncomfortable. I mean, I’m not the smoothest operator, but I can have a meaningless conversation with just about anyone, so I was weirded out that no one seemed to want to make idle chit-chat.

The weather was amazing that day, so I’m pretty sure everyone in town was out on their bikes or laying in the grass by the river. Walking back to my hotel, I was again nervous about all the bike traffic and felt completely out of sorts. All I wanted to do was crawl into bed and order room service! Instead, I forced myself to walk over to a nearby restaurant (which turned out to be amazing and a lucky guess on my part) and ate alone at the bar. Again, I felt really uncomfortable.

I spent some time that night and the next day with friends, but was mostly at the convention. I didn’t go to the evening events at the convention, since I was worn out and wanted to spend time with friends, and maybe that would have helped to get to know the other attendants. But I was so tired from feeling out of sorts each day that the last thing I wanted to do was be around more people I didn’t know and who didn’t seem open to meeting me!

I’ve been thinking about my anxiety and discomfort since I got back a week ago. I was so surprised that I felt that way! I thought I was such a great loner and pretty adventurous. But I think I really really prefer traveling with my husband and/or friends and family. I need that crutch so much more than I realized! I always thought I should have taken some cross-country drive by myself or backpacked through Europe alone, but turns out, I’m not as bad-ass as I thought I was 😦  Forever humbled!

What about you? Do you like to travel alone? Do you have any tips to feel more comfortable in a new city?