Friday, January 22, 2021

It's not Goodbye, It's See You Soon


Hello! 


How is your 2021 starting out? Are you still feeling optimistic?

I'm entering an incredibly exciting and busy season in my life that I couldn't be happier about. 

I started my new job this past week and to say I'm pumped is an understatement. The culture, the people, the mission - I'm in my second week and just as jazzed as I was on Day 1!

B and I are also about to move into our new home. The painting is done, the movers are booked and we're ready to settle down in what might be our Forever Home. (In the very least, it's our home for the forseeable future πŸ˜‚)

I am making my mental and physical health a priority this year, adding to the tools in my mental toolbox from the two years prior. I'm also making my rest a priority this year with intentional and creative ways to relax. (See this post if you want to know more!) 

However, all of this means that I need to set limits and boundaries for myself. All of this new-ness - with intense learning in my new role, a few weeks of unpacking up ahead, and putting my self-care on the top of the todo list - means that this blog will need to take a back seat. 

I've had a blast picking this back up this year. Writing these posts have been a highlight of my week! Taking the time to write some of what's happening in my world has been a great way to channel some of my 2020 frustration into something creative and productive. 

Yet, my free time will be much more limited as we continue into 2021. I won't be able to carve out as much time to create in this same way anymore. I don't want to step away from the blog without a note or explanation, so it's with a bittersweet heart that I put a pause on my posts for the time being. 

As evident from my last few years of blogging, I'm confident that I'll find my way back to posting at some point in time. Maybe that'll be in 3 weeks? Maybe that'll be in 3 months? Maybe it'll be 3 years? I really don't know!

What I do know is I appreciate you sharing in this journey with me and reading along on the ride. So this isn't goodbye. It's see you soon πŸ’™

Thanks for stopping by today πŸ˜€

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Friday, January 15, 2021

My 2021 Goals and Resolutions

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Chicago River - 2020

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Tribune Tower - Chicago

Hello!


Well - what a start to January, huh? Thank you for giving me space to take a week off from a regular posting schedule after the events of January 6th. While I remain appalled, I'd like to bring back some normalcy to this blog. 

B and I are a few weeks away from moving into our home. I'm also spent this week starting my new job. So I'm feeling a buzz of nerves and excitement!

 I'm also feeling very reflective. 

This is the end of one chapter in my career and the start of the next one. 

B and I are reaching the end of our renting life and the start of our home-owning life. 

We're also starting a new year with a heck of a lot of hope and optimism as positive progress is made in regards to the pandemic. (At least, I sure am!

It's the perfect time in my world to reflect, review my goals, and create goals/resolutions for the upcoming year. 

So I thought I'd change this weekly post up and open my heart up a bit more to share with you my goals for the upcoming year.

2021 Goals/Resolutions

1. Reach my happy weight and maintain it

Disclaimer: I want to preface this by saying that I am not a medical professional or expert so I share this only to share my personal experience. Please talk to your doctor if you're seeking weight loss or weight management support.

Additionally, what a happy weight looks like for me may be more or less than what a happy weight looks like for you. What feels higher than normal for me may be a goal weight for you. What may be a happy weight for me may be much more than your current weight. So I won't be speaking in specific numbers because every body is beautiful and I believe that health can be achieved at any size. 

Additionally, just because this is a goal I would like to achieve does not mean that if you are larger or smaller in size than I am, that you also need to change your body. This blog is a place of gentle conversation so judgment and shame will not be tolerated.

This is a really vulnerable topic for me and one that I barely talk about with those close to me, let alone publish on the internet. Yet I feel that it's one that so many of us struggle with. So I'm hoping that being a bit more vocal about my story might help someone else too.

All of this said, my weight has always been a struggle for me. I have been fighting the scale for over 20 years - never looking or feeling how I thought I should look or feel.

My weight has especially fluctuated the most it ever has over the last 4 years, as my stress levels and lifestyle dramatically changed. (Raise your hand if you ever went through a downsize at work, your workload tripled, and you stress ate your way through it ✋✋✋

I spent the summer of 2017 at the lowest end of my weight spectrum, after spending 4 months in heavy calorie restriction. I spent the Winter of 2019 into 2020 at the highest end of my weight spectrum after feeling completely exhausted and saying, "F*ck it."

Over these last four years, I fluctuated between heavy calorie counting and distance run training to exploring "The F*ck it Diet" and anti-dieting in general. I've had to face my challenges with body dysmorphia and my own mistaken beliefs in regards to my self-esteem (both that I'm still working through with a professional). 

I walked into 2020 feeling like I had enough of this yo-yo dieting experience. In general, I'd been craving stability and my first step was in regards to my health. So I spent much of 2020 working on my relationship with food. 

I spent a lot of time researching, reading, and understanding what healthy means in a clinical sense, what healthy means to me, how to find balance in my love for food with moderation, and what long-term, maintained loss of weight actually looks like. 

I learned what I didn't want. I learned that I no longer wanted to exist on the low end of my weight spectrum because it was just horrible to maintain. Horrible. I want to take care of my body but I also want to enjoy my life. At the lowest end of that spectrum, it just wasn't possible for me to enjoy the food I loved without feeling guilt and shame. Frankly, life is just too short and I don't want to live that way.

I also don't want to give up on my health entirely and overindulge all of the time, leading to the higher end of my weight spectrum. Sure, there's a fun element to that lifestyle but I'm also then constantly feeling sluggish, sleeping terribly, and battle a constantly depleted energy system. I also find that negative, self-doubting thoughts creep in more when I'm not exercising and getting enough endorphins.

 At the end of the day, I want to live a long and full life. To do that, I need to take care of my heart, my lungs, my muscles, and my bones among every other organ in my body. Of course, I'd be lying if I didn't say there was a vanity aspect involved in this decision as well.

Armed with a year's worth of research and information, I'm ready to turn this information into action and re-balance. (Technically, I began this journey at the end of November but it's great to put it to paper for the New year.)

So I'm walking into 2021 with a healthier relationship with food and a mental picture of what a happy weight looks like for me.  I felt my best, achieved a happy balance, and liked the way I looked at my happy, goal weight. As of writing this, that's a weight that I am currently above as I'm living at the high end of my weight spectrum. My happy number falls more toward the middle (just above the middle actually) of my weight fluctuation spectrum.

This year, I'll be working on reaching this weight in a very slow and maintainable way. I have a personal plan that will help me achieve my happy weight in about 11-ish months and then focuses on maintenance. 

I'm not a health care professional, so I won't go too deep into specific. I will say that this Instagram account, this article, and this website were very helpful to me in creating my own, personal goals to get to where I want to be. I'm really looking forward to achieving this goal and enjoying the process along the way.



2. Incorporate yoga and strength training into my routine

They say that you either love cardio and hate strength training or love strength training and hate cardio. I am 100% in the first camp!

It's very easy for me to add walking, running or aerobics into my weekly routine. Weighs and muscle training? Not so much. 

I'll shamefully admit that I never found strength training to provide enough short-term pay off in the calorie burn department to commit to it. I'm not proud of that mindset, though, because I'll never get faster or stronger in my walks/runs if I don't build the muscle to support it. 

During 2019, I went to a few yoga classes. I loved the way my mind and body felt afterwards, but I am just not someone who loves working out in a group. When the pandemic hit, I found Yoga with Adriene. I followed her 30 day Yoga Journey by splitting it up into 2 sessions for 15 weeks. Pairing these yoga classes alongside my walks was so wonderful for my mental and physical health!

I had a ball learning to be a beginner yogi and used those workouts as my strength training of sorts. Once I finished that playlist though, I fell off of the habit.

So I'm ready to carve out designated time in my routine to commit to both yoga and strength training alongside my cardio routine. I'll be using resistance bands this time, instead of weights, and I'm more excited about the process than I have been in the past. We'll see how it goes!



3. Continue to learn to play the piano

Learning to play piano is something I wanted for as far back as I can remember. I took a few lessons when I was a child but didn't get far. 

Last year I decided that 2020 would be the year I would learn. As luck would have it, someone in our apartment building happened to be selling an electronic piano right when I was saving up to buy one. B, my loving husband, gifted it to me as a late Christmas present and it's been one of the great joys in my life ever since!

I've been using the Simply Piano app to learn and am loving the experience. I'm about 1/3 of the way through the app, most recently completing the Chord Styling II course and currently learning the D position in the Intermediate I course. With this process, I'm also taking it very slow to really learn and enjoy.

During the holidays and home buying process, I was (understandably) distracted. So I'll be making a time-specific commitment to play most weeks, once a week, by the end of the year (building in a few weeks where life might not go according to plan!). 

Ambitiously, I'd love to be learning to play FΓΌr Elise by the end of the year, but we'll see how long it takes for me to make it there!



4. When it's safe to do so, travel!

I am very optimistic that we'll see a return to travel during the second half of 2021. In watching a recent Allison Anderson video, I loved her goal of traveling to one country and one state every year (when it's safe to do so). 

Internationally, I'm hopeful that B and I will be able to go on our honeymoon to France later this year.

Domestically, I'd like to explore a bit more of the Midwest. I haven't quite narrowed down which state I'd like to see but I have my eye on Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Traverse City, Michigan, and Indianapolis, Indiana.



5. Settle in to our new home

In the same way that I want to balance a healthy relationship with food while achieving my happy weight, I also want to balance travelling and settling into our new home. 

I'm excited to finally be able to paint walls! Buy art for a specific wall! Buy furniture that doesn't need to fit a variety of spaces! (When you've rented for as long as B and I have, you know just how special these changes are lol.)

I don't expect to have a perfect and complete home by 2022, but I'm committed to furnishing, decorating, and completing at least a few of the spaces in our home.

We'll be moving in within a few weeks or so, so I'll be sure to share the journey as we go along. 



6. Read more

These last couple of years, I surpassed my reading goal on GoodReads. I'm very proud of that!

I typically aimed to read 12 books a year, but am now averaging 13-15 books over the last 3 years. I'm envious of those who read 30-50 books a year so I'll need to challenge myself if I want to get there!

Previously, I've been much more haphazard about reading - picking up 10 minutes here, 15 minutes there. This year I'll be committing a 1/2 hour daily to reading so that I can read somewhere between 18 and 24 books a year - about 1 and 1/2 to 2 books each month.

When it comes to picking books, I usually just pick something when I'm in the mood for it. I tend to prefer historical fiction, old Hollywood biographies, and memoirs. A few of the books that I know I want to devour this year are this, this, and this.



7. Watch more movies

Speaking of envious, I find myself envious of cinephiles. I think I've already made it clear on this blog that I love classic film! So I'd love to start making more headway in watching quality films. 

In 2021, I'll be challenging myself to watch 52 movies in 52 weeks, with a film from a different year each time. 

What I mean by this is that I can watch any movie I want in a given week, whether it's something I've seen before or not. But let's say that the movie I watch is from 1999, then I can't watch another film from 1999 for the rest of the project.

I think this will be a really fun way to watch a wide variety of films while achieving a sub-goal of intentional and protected rest time. Win win!

That's a Wrap

And that's it! 

To some, this list might feel shallow or frivolous. Others might find it overwhelming. This list certainly isn't perfect but it's the right mix of self-care, new experiences, and skill development for me πŸ˜€.

I would love to know what some of your resolutions are. Let me know in the comments what you're hoping to achieve this year and if we share any of the same goals for the year.

Thanks for stopping by today πŸ˜€

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Friday, January 8, 2021

A Personal Message This Week


I had a different post queued up this week. I planned to share my goals and resolutions for 2021, taking a light-hearted and self-care approach to ways I want to grow in 2021. That post will be shared next week, to continue making this blog a positive and light-hearted place to visit.

However, I wrote that post earlier in the week, prior to the appalling events of January 6th and the coup on the Capitol building. I am politically progressive and, more importantly, believe in the structure and workings of our American democracy. I am disgusted by the acts of terror that transpired by those who were mislead by lies and encouraged in their acts of violence by political leaders.

I want this blog to be a place of honesty, gentle conversation, and positivity. Yet, I cannot publish a light-hearted post when my heart feels so heavy right now. 

So I will be taking a break from my regularly scheduled weekly post to pause, reflect and process. Thank you for reading this post and I look forward to our weekly catch ups next week.  

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