Friday favorites: back in the saddle edition

cowgirl_on_white_horsei know it’s been a long time since i’ve shown my face around here. (thanks to everyone who’s hung around!) still a bit sorting through reasons why (maybe a post for later), but long story short, not writing these little posts is not helping me answer any of the questions i have been having about what i’m doing and why — here and in a couple other aspects of life. so i’m jumping back in. that’s the plan at least! and since i’m in, you know i gotta post my favorites from the week! this weekend, i’m looking forward to Spy returning home from a week in Germany. with everything going on in Europe right now, i just want him to get home safely! also, pool time, Secret Life of Pets (mandatory viewing!) and a wine tasting on Sunday afternoon. hope y’all have some fun/relaxing stuff planned, too! let’s go . . . Continue reading

5 on Friday: reasons to hate juicing

juicehater.001(photo: Yoga Journal)

so everyone who’s done a juice cleanse, raise your hands. now keep ’em up if you loved it and would do it like all the time. all 6 of y’all are crazy.

i started out the week on a bit of a health kick. seemed like a simple little 3 day juice cleanse would be just the thing to kill some bloat and jump start some healthier habits that would hopefully carry me through the holidays, starting with the candy-and-booze-fest that is Halloween. so last weekend i hauled my ass over to the Whole Foods and picked up all the supplies (19 bottles!) to do the Arden’s Garden Love Your Liver Cleanse.

i’ve done various juice cleanses several times over the past several years — Master Cleanse once and a couple of the dtox juice ones several times. but it’s been a while. obviously long enough to make me forget why every time i do one i say never again. and it’s not the reasons you’d think. i always think the juices taste great — even the weird green ones. and i never really get hungry, so it’s not about that. but here are the 5 reasons i hate juicing:

1. sugar 
there is sooooooo much sugar in juice. yes, even the green ones always have some apple or something in them. to be perfectly honest, it makes me feel like shit. i generally eat a fairly low-carb, low-sugar diet (especially since they took away the candy bowls at work). starting your day with 24 grams of sugar is like . . . according to the Googles . . . downing 2 tablespoons of sugar at breakfast. i know fructose or whatever is in fruit is different from white refined cane sugar, but still. that just seems really gross. and that’s more or less all you’re putting in your system all day long for (in this case) 6 bottles worth. this go around, i never finished more than 4 of the juices + lemon water. i was just too sweeted out. and instead of flushing out toxins, i honestly think it bloats me.

2. protein
yeah, protein is my boo. as hinted above, my diet (on a good day) contains a lot of protein and good good fats. these cleanses contain neither. long story short, even for 3 days, this makes me feel like complete crap.

3. fiber (and crunch!)
mmm-hmm. another thing there is virtually none of in a juice cleanse. um. not to get too graphic, but how are we supposed to be eliminating all these toxins if there is no, uh, elimination? ingesting no fiber for 3 days is also a really weird thing for me and my, um, system. i also miss the crunch of fruits and vegetables. okay, fine. and gluten-free crackers. bottom line: chewing and pooing are basic everyday experiences that just make life better.

4. wine
speaking of making life better, is wine not a juice??? this has been confusing to me every single time i’ve done this. am i alone?

5. boredom
and in the end, even for 3 days, no salt, no texture, no socializing normally is just not for me. even if it is helping my physical well-being (doubt — did i actually gain weight this time??), the mental portion does not click. i think i did get that Zen feeling after like a week on Master Cleanse. or maybe i just submitted to the utter boredom at that point and what i was experiencing was sheer and utter ennui.

lesson finally learned, i think. i will stick to my solid-food version of healthy eating (lean protein, veggies, no dairy, no starches, no booze) next time i’m feeling like i need to pull it back together for a few days. would love to hear your experiences with juicing! i plan to read responses over a non-WHO-approved bacon-wrapped filet and a bottle of Zin . . . happy weekend, y’all!

good start: 6 tips for making your day great

yawning cat(photo: zastaviky.com)

okay. so i have been slacking over here. a lot. i know it. it’s been a weird summer. but it’s now a new month and i’m determined to get my mess back in gear. to that end, i’m making every effort to post (nearly?) every day. and you’ll probably see a lot of responses to a lot of random prompts that i know are good for me, but that i kind of hate writing. sigh. so without further ado, here are my NaBloPoMo best tips for getting my day off to a good start.

1. wake the F up!
it’s hard. i know. if you have been following along here, you know the struggle is real with our ridiculously early school-week schedules and our non-conforming body clocks. but somehow, some way, we are managing to get everyone up by about 6:30. for me, it takes a 6:15 alarm and the fear of total impending disaster if we don’t stick to the schedule. for Miss Girl, it takes a lot of cuddles and a carry downstairs to her breakfast seat. it sucks, but so be it. things do get better from here.

2. caffeinate!
i honestly don’t know what i’d do without our timer coffee pot. i have learned that mornings are much better when i come downstairs (now) in the dark and that caffeinated cuppa is already waiting for me. i get a few minutes to enjoy my first one while letting out the dogs and guessing what Miss Girl might want for breakfast. okay fine. i usually just pour her milk and wait for instructions. though i am completely not a planner, this small little act of getting things ready the night before makes everything so much better the next day.

now here’s where things get a little theoretical in the sense that sometimes they happen around here . . .

3. work it out.
i always, always feel 1,000% better if i work out in the morning it is done for the day and is one less thing to worry about having to fit in. the weather here in Atlanta is just about ready to cooperate with my fantasies of a morning run in non 1,000% humidity right after the bus sweeps Miss Girl off to school at 7:15. it’s been since June. it’s time, y’all.

4. write it up.
a close second in morning satisfaction is to be able to spend some time writing a blog post, getting an early start on some work or catching up on some emails . . . or even just make a list or pay some bills. the key here is productivity. i need to feel like i’ve gotten a at least a couple personal accomplishments under my belt before i go to work and all hell breaks loos (usually).

5. wear what works.
this one definitely takes pre-planning and i am so not there yet. and i don’t mean the kind of pre-planning that involves laying out outfits for the week. i used to do that in my 20s. in my 20s (and 30s), i also had jobs that required me to look a part: hello, young, female advertising lobbyist among old white men on The Hilll; hello cool, budding agency copywriter; oh hai, entrepreneur straddling morning networking, evening board meetings and actually getting shit done . . . it was exhausting. now that i’m a salty old creative director in a much smaller agency than what i’m used to, the dress code is far less stringent, but it doesn’t mean i don’t want to look good. i’m not a uniform girl for sure (wish i was!!), but struggle most every day with the tension between pulling out one of the 60 pairs of jeans in my closet and a t-shirt or shaving my legs and putting on an actual outfit. no matter how many style blogs i follow, this one is still hard for me, y’all! but i am working on developing a set of go-to looks.

6. never miss the smoothie!
so let’s do the math. i get up at 6:15 and lately leave the house at 8:45ish. i actually could not give a rat’s ass about eating between those times. eating for me is like a 10:00 thing. but they say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. i have also read that you should eat something like 20 or 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. wuuuuut?? so i do my best to balance. and i find that making a smoothie before i run out the door actually helps me feel really good. i can drink it before i get to my parking garage and a really balanced meal is in my system before 9:30 on most days. boom. here’s what i do — guaranteed, it is probably disgusting to smoothie aficianados:

1 banana ( i prefer them really ripe)
1 scoop Publix vanilla protein powder
1 cup spinach
¼ cup almond milk
¼ cup egg whites
1 cup ice
(and, if i’m feeling fancy: 1 Tbsp peanut or almond butter — it’s like a peanut butter/banana sandwich, y’all!)

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how do you start your morning to make it amazing?

NaBloPoMo September 2015

girls don’t sit on the bench

i know. as usual, i’m a little late. but today at the gym, i was lucky, um, to be at the gym at lunch time for the first time in a long time. but also to hear CNN coverage of this story. i can’t find the Ashleigh Banfield clip, but found this much better one, instead. so proud of this little girl, her family and her team — 10-year-old boys wearing pink shorts, y’all! — for supporting her. love that WNBA took it on, too. just so cool it brought tears to my eyes on the elliptical and again just now, watching this clip. and i wanted to share for those who hadn’t seen it.

the story hits pretty close to home, because Friday night, as Miss Girl and i drove home from school both wearing our Falcons shirts and looking forward to the second pre-season game, she asked “Mommy, can girls play football?” um. “of course, they can!” i answered confidently, while inwardly scratching my head to figure out what to do with this. we proceeded to have a conversation about it. she wanted to know if she could play like Matty Ice. she does wear the number 2 jersey, after all. i told her yes, but that maybe football was more like a first grade thing — and hoped that when it really became a thing, if that’s still what she wants to do, it would be so.

she loves her soccer. she’ll keep playing this year, albeit in the afterschool program. if she decides she wants to try football or basketball or anything else, as far as i’m concerned, she will. and i will do everything i can to help her be awesome at whatever she loves. and i hope that she is lucky enough to play on teams that are as open and nurturing to talent — no matter who it belongs to — as this awesome team was. and now i just wanna know where i can get one of the “girls don’t sit on the bench” shirts in my size!

you called my friend fat.

eatasalad

file this one under nonsense, y’all. a weird thing happened in my social media world a couple weeks ago and i’ve been sitting on this a while figuring out what i wanted to say and how to say it. because it was so freaking stupid on so many levels. so here goes.

a friend of mine posted this Twitter screenshot on Facebook. yep. she was one of those 2 people in that row on that Delta flight that basically got called fat. she actually saw the guy next to her tweet this. and of course was appalled. like me, Ms. L is the mom of a 5 year old. like me she worked her ass off last year to, well literally, work her ass off. she’s like a size 6. she looks fantastic. she eats salad like a boss.

so, not only was this judgement from a stranger hurtful and confusing, it was just a downright lie. for attention from this dude’s like 86 followers. lame. super-lame. well it got attention, alright. Ms. L has some amazingly loyal friends who always have her back. they also have Twitter accounts and weren’t afraid to start giving this guy shit. he was man enough to post something negative about someone he doesn’t even know, but not man enough to ever respond to criticism about it. lame. super-lame. the conversation escalated a bit on Facebook, too, with mostly support, but also a comment or 2 saying to give the guy a break, he was obviously joking.

even though this dude proceeded to spend the flight hogging arm rests and generally manspreading, totally uninhibited by the 135-pound women on either side of him, i’m not writing this post to call him out. obviously, or i wouldn’t have hidden his name. but the chain of events really got me thinking — about the role of social media in our lives, given the multi-channel life this thing took on, but also about why men think it’s okay make these kind of judgements about women. ever. even joking. and yeah, i’m calling it out as a man thing because what specifically irritates me is men talking about women’s bodies like they’re not attached to real people. and it happens all the time whether they are degrading or complimenting. if he’d been flanked by 2 bros with beer bellies, would he have said the same thing? or anything? nah. they probably would have ordered a round of Miller Lites and talked baseball the whole flight.

Ms. L is totally grounded and pretty much unfazed by all this. i love her. but there are a lot of women who aren’t (including me). body issues and eating disorders are so rampant in our culture. and i believe judgmental episodes even as small as this one just feed all the impossible standards set for and by us. so, in no particular order, i just wanted to put down a few reasons why this whole thing was just not okay. even if the guy was just joking. here goes . . .

  1. if you would punch someone in the face for saying it about your wife/girlfriend/baby-mama/mother/sister/best friend, it’s just not okay to say it about some other woman you don’t even know. and i mean whether you’re talking about how fat her ass is or how amazing her tits are.
  2. don’t think you can say anything you want to on social media and think you won’t be called out. it’s a small fucking world. and somebody will tell you it’s just not okay.
  3. do you know whether that woman is on the up-side of gaining 30 pounds (and feels crappy) or the down-side of losing 130 (and feels amazing)? if not, it’s just not okay to comment on her weight or how her body looks!
  4. did she just have a baby? you don’t know! maybe remember your wife/girlfriend/baby-mama/mother/sister/best friend brought children you love (or you!) into this world and she probably felt crappy about her body for a while after. it’s just not okay to forget she didn’t need some d-bag calling out her chubbiness or her mammoth, milk-filled, life-sustaining boobs. don’t be that guy.
  5. your wife/girlfriend/baby-mama/mother/sister/best friend is hot! lucky you! how’s it feel for creepers to talk about her parts and pieces? probably really icky. it’s just not okay. don’t do it.
  6. hey, dad bod. did you look at yourself lately? it’s just not okay.
  7. do you know whether she struggles with an eating disorder? she might look great, but feel horrible about herself. it’s just not okay to assume looking thin is being healthy.
  8. it’s just not okay to objectify. women are not books to be judged by our covers — fat, thin, beautiful, plain, hot, not, black, white, straight, curvy, smooth, bumpy . . . whatever. reducing us to our physical appearance — positively or negatively — ignores the other 80,000 (million) facets of who we are. and why you love us.

there are so many more nuances to all this, but it just frustrated the hell out of me. and i’m proud of my girl for not dumping a bloody Mary on this dude’s lap. am i overreacting?

words of encouragement: proud

FullSizeRender 3it was last Saturday morning. the temperature was hovering around 30° and with Spy leaving for his Europe trip that afternoon, i was in a time crunch. i had to work out before my 10:30 hair appointment. it was the last chance i would have for 2 weeks to go for my morning run on a weekend and i’m really trying with this. really. but it was cold, y’all. and this Southern girl don’t do cold.

trying to catch up on a few things around the house and get him ready for his trip, i was also watching a rapidly closing window of being able to make it to the gym for at least a warmer workout. it would have been so easy to pull an anti-Nike on this sitch and just not do it. but i knew i would be angry at myself the rest of the weekend. and at him for causing this situation in the first place. i mean, damn him for going on a work trip he doesn’t even want to go on and inconveniencing my completely inconsistent and half-hearted workout schedule!

so i put on my big girl pants, a.k.a. running gear. i pitched a fit about not being able to find the awesome gloves i got just for unbearably frigid mornings like this, then pulled my sleeves down over my hands and set out into the cold. the neighborhood streets were still covered in shadows, though the sky gleamed bright blue. i cranked up Buju Banton, hoping a little dancehall would help transport me to a warmer state of mind.

step after step, i hated everything about what i was doing. until somehow, i eventually forgot. outside the neighborhood and into the cemetery, there were no houses to stand in the way of the gorgeous sunshine. and the crisp air slowly became a welcome refresher with each deep breath and passing block. step after step, there eventually was nothing but the next step, the next breath and the next song in my ears.

i made it my 30-ish minutes (it was all the time i really had at that point) and averaged the fastest per-mile pace i have in quite a while. honestly, i think somewhere in my mind i reasoned that if i ran faster, 30 minutes would be over sooner. funny what you can talk yourself into.

by the time i returned home, i was glad i had gone. not just glad, but like overwhelmingly happy. i felt great. invigorated. and i know it’s usually this way. but what felt even more great was that i wasn’t the only person who was a little proud of me. as i raced through the shower and some semblance of sprucing up, Spy looked at me like he does after pretty much every run and told me I’m proud of you for going, sweetheart.

in response to The Daily Post’s prompt today, Proud, that is the last time someone told me they were proud of me.

happy first Monday of 2015, y’all!

seinfeld.001

okay. that chalkboard is a little all over the place. but so am i. i think i need to create a new “i must be crazy” category for posts. here it is, Monday. i’m back to work after nearly 2 straight weeks off. shit is about to hit the fan for the next 8 hours or so. and me? oh, well, never one to do anything in moderation, i obviously talked myself into 2 other major undertakings beginning today. yeah, 2. i better be so. fucking. alive.

first, i’m signed up to start Blogging 101. i’ve missed the daily challenges/assignments i took on in October and November and was looking for something i feel more obligated to stick to than just a plain old daily prompt. (sorry, daily prompt.) even though i just officially opened my doors in September, i’m wondering if this might be a little too basic — not that i don’t have tons to learn — but well, we’ll see. has anyone else done or is thinking about doing one of these? stay tuned.

second, because i apparently enjoy torturing myself, i’m doing another cleanse. speaking of nothing in moderation, November and December were pretty much 60-ish blissful, exhausting days of eating, drinking and not working out with utterly wild abandon. unfortunately, Santa didn’t put a new liver under the tree for me nor a gift card for lipo. so. time to get this shit back in check.

a woman in my neighborhood runs Sculpted Nutrition and a couple of my neighbors have worked out with her and done her cleanses and rave about it all. it’s basically the Whole30 program (but only for a whole 21 days, thank god). translation: it’s basically Paleo on steroids for 3 weeks, except that i guess steroids are totally not Paleo. hmm. nothing processed, no grains, no dairy, no booze, mostly meat/fish, vegetables, nuts/seeds. i honestly don’t eat that poorly (and have been trying to cut offending foods the past few days to prepare — except wine, which i’ve been bulking up on as if it stores for the winter. sheesh. but the no dairy (cheeeeeeeeeeese!) and totally no grains (not even a damn spoonful of quinoa) is going to be really tough. so tough, that in fact, i have already decided i’m still having my 1 cup of freaking half-caf with 1 tablespoon of cream in the mornings. okay, technically, i’m not even supposed to have caffeine either . . . why am i doing this again? anyhoo, i’m sure i’ll feel better for it all 3 weeks from now. but seriously. if a tablespoon of cream in a barely-caffeinated cup of joe the morning is what’s keeping me from losing that last 5 pounds, it’s so totally worth it. posts about this thing should definitely be, um, fun.

hope y’all have big plans for the week that include lots of wining, dining, Starbucksing and writing utterly unguided and unfettered so that i may live vicariously through your posts. i can’t wait. happy Monday!

NaBloPoMo day 7: Friday favorites

yay for Friday! seems like things are finally getting back to normal with Spy back from all his travels and me getting back to some semblance of a routine. as much as i hate to admit it, i thrive on routine. just wish i could be disciplined enough to stick to one for any length of time! anyhoo . . . this week turned up a few fun finds. enjoy and have a great weekend!

warmer runs

okay, y’all. when i went out for my run Monday morning and it was 36°, i nearly died. but it was light out, so i pushed forward and, in the end, was glad i did. but it was clear that if this is going to become a thing, which it needs to be, i need some new gear. enter the lovely items above, all from Target. Champion Hooded Stretch Tech Fleece: this is awesome. so lightweight, but really warm. it’s got a hood (obvs), all kinds of pockets and even a reflector strip. i have never owned any clothing with a reflector strip before! Champion Beanie Hat: i needed it to keep warm and wanted a pop of color (they only had the jacket in black in my size). it’s got a reflector strip, too, and i just thought it was fun.  Isotoner Smartouch Technology Gloves: because i always have to change the song on my iPhone and taking off gloves to do it sucks. i haven’t been out since to test this stuff, but soon . . .

finding it fast

minted.001

we finally got a preview of the family photos we had taken a couple weeks ago, with the promise that the full set will be ready soon. i didn’t waste even a minute before taking my favorite of those and starting to design our Christmas card. i love, love, love minted. great designs, super easy process/interface and beautiful product. i used them for Miss Girl’s birthday invites and party accents. so i was even more psyched to log on this week and find the “find it fast” feature. it lets you try out a photo on an entire page of card designs all at once. i honestly cannot think of anything more convenient. fingers crossed we get all our photos tomorrow and i can get this done and ordered this weekend!

design by AI

i’m glad there’s a video because i don’t even know how to explain this one. i’m completely intrigued. basically, The Grid lets you input all your content and it designs a website around it. it’s supposed to be completely custom, seamless and awesome. i can’t even imagine how it works, except that they have a crap-ton of templates with oodles of variations and some mad algorithms. i signed up to be founding member #7130 for the spring release. and they even take Bitcoin for payment. this shit is legit. . . . or either it’s the biggest scam on the planet and i just wasted $96 . . . stay tuned!

the cleanse: fin!

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(photo: lovemeow.com / Giane Portal)

fist-in-air moment, indeed. 5 days, y’all. it’s not that impressive, but it’s all i can take. and thank god, i think it’s all i need. just for good measure, though, i actually did a salt water flush (i know, super-gross, right?) this morning and took one last dose of my herbs. plus, i have an hour and a half massage scheduled for later. whatever isn’t out of my system after all that can suck it.

after crossing the Kilamanjaro-sized hump that was Wednesday, the past few days have been totally normal. like better than normal. in other words, i pretty much feel fantastic. i actually woke up this morning at 6:00 sans alarm — electronic or human (damn, if Miss Girl isn’t still asleep here at 8:30 for the first time in forever). no headache. no body aches. my wanting to bury my face back in the pillow and sleep 2 more hours was mainly on principal, rather than desperately physically necessary like it’s been for pretty much the past month. it’s all kind of amazing, actually. plus, i lost 4 pounds of bloat.

so why stop early? now that i’m past the hard part, i probably should push on through for at least 10 days, right? eff that. the thought of it all basically bores the living hell out of me. extreme case, but it’s like when i did the Master Cleanse a few years ago. i didn’t feel crappy or hungry or anything, i was just so. damn. bored. and btw, nothing crazy seemed to be happening to or coming out of my body on that one by the 10th day, so why bother with the torture of boredom?

5 days has been enough to get my abysmal-of-late eating and exercise habits back on track and clear up some general physical blahs i was feeling. and just because i’m stopping doesn’t mean i’m headed out to the bar for a booze and pub grub bender . . . though there will certainly be some wine this evening. what it does mean is that i will now go back to eating and drinking like a sane adult instead of acting like some ridiculous combination of Hemingway and Louis XIV. i now have the mental clarity and strength to do it. that sure as hell is an improvement and as far as i’m concerned, it sure as hell is enough.

i hate my morning run.

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i hate my morning run,
but am thankful i have 2 strong legs to carry me on it.

i hate my morning run,
but feel lucky to see the sun rise again today.

i hate my morning run,
but love watching my neighborhood wake up from darkness.

i hate my morning run,
but savor the time alone to think.

i hate my morning run,
but am proud i didn’t get sucked in by the snooze button.

i hate my morning run,
but always feel invigorated after i’m done.

i hate my morning run,
but now i can move on with my day.

i hate my morning run,
but i’ll probably be out there again tomorrow.