Monday, January 25, 2016

Simple Changes

As we came into this New Year I have been determined to reclaim parts of my old self that have been lost in the shuffle of the past few years. I'm not one for resolutions or diets; I am from the lifestyle change school of thought and a firm believer in moderation. It should be organic and natural, another facet of our lives. Not a "task" or anything extreme. That's the only way it will stick.

2016 Simple Changes
1. Exercise
My first goal has been to make working out a regular part of every day. I need it as much for my mental health as my physical. I'm not a gym person, a simple Jillian Michaels DVD affords me a good workout in the privacy of my own home. Her Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism DVD got me in some of the best shape of my life in 2010-11. Since I have been on a very inconsistent exercise regimen for the past way-too-many-years-than-I-care-to-admit I have been weaning myself back in circuit by circuit. I am currently doing 4 of the 7 circuits every morning and hoping to add the 5th by the coming weekend. By the end of February I should be able to complete the entire hour workout on a daily basis. I have taken off 1 day in the past 13 so hooray for small victories! I am starting to feel like I cannot start my day if  haven't worked out and that is a great feeling.
2. Skin Care & Makeup
Let's just preface this by saying I am the worst at skin care and beauty regimens. I am way too no nonsense to care and have no problem using a bar of soap to wash my face while in the shower. Terrible, I know. I also don't like what I've seen looking back at me in the mirror either. My skin looks dull, tired and the tinted moisturizer I use is almost not enough coverage anymore as I move deeper into my 40's. I don't care for a "full face " of make up - I prefer a natural look. My daughter and I went to Clinique together and spent an hour or so getting makeovers. My new regimen is just as quick as the old one, still looks natural and yet I look better. I also began using Clinique's 3 Step skincare products and have been diligent about using it both morning and night. For someone who hardly ever washes her makeup off before bed ( horror!), this is a big deal.
3. Essential Oils
My new hairdresser introduced me to essential oils. A little lavender oil on my pulse points has become part of my bedtime routine. I love it. Enough said.
4.  Eating Better
This is a big one. Since I moved my eating habits have been horrific. I don't have a full kitchen at my disposal, I travel a lot more for work and all the changes in my life had me either not eating, grabbing fast and convenience foods and/or making all around poor choices. Gross. Winning at this is all in the planning and preparation. Keeping it successful in a limited kitchen environment has proved to be the most challenging part. I like a small bowl of cereal with some fruit for breakfast so on the weekend I make a big bowl of mixed citrus. I bake things like spinach quiche (cut the heavy cream in half and use a lower fat milk for the other half) or a chicken pot pie since they are easy and full of protein and veggies. I can heat up a slice in the microwave at work and it keeps me full all afternoon. I find now that I eat breakfast and lunch regularly, I am not really hungry for dinner and something light like a salad is just the ticket.
Since most garden vegetables are less than inspiring this time of year when they are out of season, topping greens with bright and flavorful fruit is the only way I can enjoy salad right now. This week I am topping spring greens with Satsuma mandarins, a little red onion, some Bulgarian feta and a fresh squeeze of lemon juice. The best part is that you can keep the base of greens and red onion and use any citrus fruit you have on hand with it. I put a few days worth of greens and onions together at a time in little portable containers then top with the fruit and cheese before I eat them.
There is a Whole Foods right around the corner here in Franklin (ironically in NJ the closest one was an hour away) and I was elated to see how much more inspiring their produce section is this time of year than in the local grocery store. I can get locally grown hothouse tomatoes! Who knew? It's a game changer for meal inspiration. I lugged my cast iron Dutch oven out here with me so I am thinking a big pot of soup might go on lunch rotation for next week.

Have you made any simple changes for the new year?


Saturday, January 9, 2016


plans for the dream house we almost built once upon a time
I had a total meltdown in the shower this morning. It's actually a good place to have a meltdown. The running water easily masquerades the sobs and there is a certain level of privacy since it is pretty much guaranteed that no one will walk in while someone else is showering. I cried because I miss my husband so much. I cried because I am overwhelmed with the house not being sold yet and having to pay rent and a mortgage on a house I don't even want anymore. I cried because I miss having my creature comforts around me. I cried because it feels like we will never find our dream home here.

As the tears flowed openly and freely and I begged and pleaded with God for resolution to this whole situation, I remembered something that stopped my tears right in their tracks.

An old friend of mine has a daughter who is waiting for a double lung transplant. She has cystic fibrosis. She is also the same exact age as my son. In fact, her father and I were roommates when I started dating my first husband. He was dating a friend of mine and our first born arrived within a few weeks of each other.
I was standing there feeling sorry for myself. Crying because we are making our dreams come true and it just happens to be taking a little longer to fully come together than we thought it would. I know deep inside that we will be together, I will once again be surrounded by all my creature comforts and we will be living our dream. It seems overwhelming and frustrating now, but I only stand to gain in the end. What do I have to lose? Selling a house for maybe less than I originally thought? My friend doesn't know when her daughter will be able to get her transplant. She doesn't know what the future holds for her 21 year old daughter.
Then I remembered the conversation with the young woman who works for me who was telling me only yesterday how her mom has not been well enough to receive her chemotherapy.
Or how on Christmas Eve another young woman who works for me had her home flood in those awful Christmas storms. She lost most of her furniture and many possessions and here I am stressing over having to possibly rent furniture for $150.00 a month.
I thought about the people I know who are praying and wishing for a baby. The baby they have been praying and wishing for years now.
As I thought more and more about how trivial my problems are in comparison to what other people are facing I felt ashamed. I am living my dream. All the pieces are just taking a little bit longer to come together than I thought they would.

*I would appreciate it if you could all throw up some prayers for my friend's daughter. That the call comes soon for that transplant and everything goes smoothly. She has way too much life ahead of her. And prayers for anyone else who is suffering and struggling. There is way too much of it in the world.