Resolutions Month 2

For the most part January was a success.  It was my no means perfect but it was successful none the less.

Eating: In January my eating was vastly improved from the holiday schmorgesborg of food and alcohol.  The first three weeks were extremely empowering.  I didn’t ahnilate the bread basket on girls night.  I kept my wine nights to a minimum and I said adios to refined sugar.  I was on a roll.  However, something happened during the snow days that made me realize I needed to work on my mindset surrounding eating and not just on how strictly I could follow a diet plan. 

When the Jonas Brothers sent their blizzard last week I literally had the thought, “Blizzard=I Can Be Bad.”  Three minutes later I ate half a pizza, 10 organic oreos (the healthy kind) and 6 cheesy breadsticks.  By Sunday I was up to 3 dinners and 1 bottle of wine.  Apparently this means my brain really can just click on and off when it comes to food. 

After coming to this conclusion I decided that if my brain can click on and off so easily when it comes to food then maybe I can train it to do something better.  

One of the podcasts I listen to, the HeyFrase podcast, talked about Mindful Eating and I began to think that this might be the perfect compliment to my new attempt at yoga.  Mindful eating is based in meditation and awareness and teaches you to slow your eating process and focus on the present.  Perfection! Kindle: Downloaded.  I will fill you in as I go.

Exercise:  I’ve done yoga 27 of the past 30 days and it has really made a difference in my muscles and mind.  My goal for this month is to continue the yoga and add some kettlebell back into my routine.

All in all Month 1 was a success!  I hope to start Month 2 just as strong.  And no, no plans to weigh myself this month either.

~E

10 Things to Remember in a SnowMaggedon

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1. Find Your Gloves: This morning I went into my closet and a mitton fell on my head.  Basically someone was saying, “Hello idiot it’s going to snow, you need a mitton!”  If only that person would locate my matching mitton.  Why does that always happen??  No one wants just one!!  I digress.  In a storm it is imperative that you find your winter accessories such as your hats, gloves, mittons and snow scarves (the ones your grandma knit not the other kind) and put them in an easy to access location.  You need these things to clean off your car or get into a snowball fight.

2.  Make a grocery list:  Wine is not the only good group you will need.  Organize your list by breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Multiply your meals by estimated days in captivity and then again by the  number of people in prison.  Always remember to add 2 bottles of wine per person as a precaution.  No one wants to re-live the epic Chardonnay meltdown of 2012.

3.  Have Activities: Once upon a time there were these paper things called books and we read them before TV or radio came along.  Think about it, you will be stuck inside for hours and eventually you will be sick of TV or your eyes will give up.  It will happen.  Get a book or art project or board game.  You’d be surprised how old TV and napping can get.  I know, blasphemy.

4.  Locate your shovel:  This is key but sometimes you forget the obvious.  It’s happened to me.  I used a broom once.  Don’t do that.

5.  Buy Snow Boots:  It’s amazing to me that people actually wear sneakers.  This is a beyond terrible idea.  Don’t do it!

6.  Have a Vice:  TRUST ME!  Once I travelled 6 miles in a blizzard for coffee.  It was horrible.  It was really 6 blocks but that was horrible.  Coffee.  Diet Coke.  Whatever it is, go get it now.  Don’t complain to me when you start crying in a fit of insanity tomorrow around 11am Saturday morning! Go.  Now.

7.  Give the Diet a Break:  Blizzards are not the time to be mad at yourself about food.  You are bored, cold, tired and cranky.  Forcing yourself to be trapped in a house for days with snacks you can’t have is no good for anyone!  That’s horrendous.  Be mindful but also be nice to yourself and have some hot cocoa.

8. Shoveling is Cardio:  Last year some kids asked to shovel my sidewalk and I had to say, “Step off youngin, I’ve eaten 4 packs of oreos and need to work it off.” Rude? Maybe but my health comes first.

9.  Have Alone Time:  No one wants to be on the next installment of Making a Murderer so do yourself a favor and escape if you can.  Lock the door and dissappear for 20 minutes.  Too much togetherness=agitation=murder.

10. DON’T FORGET THE WINE!  or water is ok too.

Well, hope these tips were helpful.  Enjoy the Snow!!

I’ll be here, obviously.
~E

Any and all comments can be directed to the Jonas Brothers as they are running the show.

Status Update: Resolutions

It’s officially been 2 weeks since the ‘Day of Resolutions’ also known as New Years Day. 

How is yours going?

Happily I can report that my quasi  resolution goals are going very well.  Let’s recap. 

1. Stay in the present, forget the future: surprisingly this is going extremely well.  I decided to focus on the day, week, month at hand and not go beyond that.  I have to remind myself multiple times a day to stay present but it’s been working quite well, which much credit going to #2…

2. Do yoga every day for 1 month: DONE!  I haven’t missed a day and I even bought a mat to bring to Farmville.  It’s amazing how much just 20-30 minutes by yourself each day can clear your mind, destress and work out the kinks in your body.  Highly recommended!

3. Stick to a diet 100%: two weeks in and going strong.  I would say I’m 98% which is pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

4. No scale for 30 days:  this has been fabulous.  I might extend this goal to 90 days.  You don’t realize how much added stress that number puts on you and it’s been nice to feel good without the scale.

5.  No alcohol for 90 days: FAIL but it hasn’t been to much.

So all in all I am very pleased with my 2 week progress and will continue to make decisions day by day.

Let me know how you’re doing!

~E

Forget the Future

Last night I laid awake thinking about everything that 2016 holds for me.  As a creative thinking/planner type I could feel my heart begin to race just thinking about the massive amounts of things that could happen or should happen in 2016.  My stress level automatically went from 0-60 and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to sleep.

Every new year we all make resolutions, whether we intend to or not.  This year I simply said to myself I want to eat healthier and save money.  I didn’t think of it as a resolution but more of a goal. 

But last night as I tossed and turned I thought of 50 different scenarios for challenges or obstacles to completing my goals and how I would overcome them.  From there I went years ahead of myself worrying about what I could or could not accomplish if I didn’t reach these goals.  Being in my brain is sometimes just exhausting.

After about 10 minutes of this madness worrying about what the future holds I knew that this had to stop.  I kept repeating to myself,

“Forget the Future.  Focus on the Present”

I decided then and there that this was going to be my mantra for the year.  I am going to live more for the moment and focus on the day at hand and not the 362 other days that are waiting for me in 2016.  Wish me luck and if anyone wants to join me we can do it together.

Talk to you soon
~E

Christmas Letter 2015

Christmas Letter 2015
8th Edition

As I sit in my delightfully oversized seat on the Amtrak 84 train from Virginia to NYC the thought comes to mind, “What shall I do on this 5 hour ride?” Sleep? No. Read? No, I get motion sick when I read and they haven’t cleaned the bathroom since ‘96. After immersing myself deep into thought, eureka! I will write the Christmas letter to end all Christmas letters. JK Rowling created Harry Potter on a train so naturally trains are where million dollar ideas happen! This is brilliant so without further ado, let’s commence with the best year yet…

Travel has been the theme of 2015. To be honest I’m a little exhausted just thinking about it but only snotty people say that so I won’t. In January I left for a much needed one day vacation to the Dominican Republic. I’m fairly certain that the flight took more time than the vacation but duty called from Orlando where I had a mandatory meeting. Luckily for those enduring my post vacation blues Harry Potter World was on the meeting agenda so wrongs were righted. (It’s almost as if JK Rowling knew I was going to write this letter!)

My next trip was a makeup cruise with Mom and Bryn to Key West and Cozumel. I learned that I like cruises and that the sun still plays hilarious jokes on my pale skin, touché sun. Once again I had a mandatory meeting during my vacation only this time it was in Las Vegas. I will go if I must. Flying through LA had its perks as I was seated next to the manager of the ‘Thunder from Down Under’ and scored some free tickets to the show. Calm down and splash some water on your face, it’s only an accent! Plus after seeing Magic Mike XXL four times in theatres I determined I preferred movie screens to live shows anyway.

In early May my Dad came to see the house, landscape the front yard and go on a whiskey tour. In July my Mom came to visit and forced me into the same indentured servitude that was my childhood. When is Dad coming back? I thought we would have some relaxation by the pool but Anne had other ideas. I love her but I always need a few recovery days after she leaves.

August brought the wedding of my friends James and Michelle where I danced the night away. Thankfully the rest of August was low key because September was insane. We kicked September off with a trip to Milwaukee followed by a trip to the beach for Whitney and Raul’s Spanish-American Wedding Extravaganza. A few days later I was off to London for a week. I learned that they have free Wi-Fi in bars, which is awesome, and that I miss my English people so I will have to return sooner rather than later. England is still very rainy in case anyone was wondering.

I feel like I’m forgetting something. Hmm what could it be? Oh yes. In March I went on one of those online date things. We’d been talking for a while but he never asked me out so naturally I thought he was a nut job; a funny, cute nut job. We went for sushi where he informed me that he hated sushi but thought I would like it so points for him, cuz I do! Maybe it was a match made in Sticky Rice heaven, love at first sight, or the beer, but Jonathan from Farmville (as he will henceforth be called) ended up my boyfriend and without a doubt the best thing that happened all year. Wish him luck when he comes home for Christmas!

The yearly review is coming to an end as I embark on my final trip of the year to NYC! My good friends Ruth and Doug are getting married and I’m off to celebrate with them. Thanks to Jonathan from Farmville and all my friends and family for making 2015 great and for keeping me slightly sane through all its ups and downs. Wine, I’d like to thank you most of all. Till next time, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

~Erin

Dear Stomach,

We used to be friends but our friendship is no more.  When did you turn against me?  Maybe its my fault, I felt you distance yourself from me when I turned 26.  I chose to ignore it then but I can ignore it no longer.

Gone are the days I can thoughtlessly order a flight of beer for you without a revolt.  Gone are the days I can eat spicy foods with out having to buy stock in Rolaids.  As for watermelon sangria, forget about it.  And white wine, it’s not going to go over well.

You used to be such a trooper back in college.  I don’t appreciate you turning on me.  So, since you did not provide me written 30 day notice of changes per our contract, you will be hearing from my lawyer. 

I’m sorry it had to come to this.

Thank you,

~E

A Letter to Hipsters

Dear Hipsters,

I would like to start by saying that I am not one of those people who hates hipsters because it’s ‘cool to hate a hipster.’  That’s not how I operate.  I like to meet people on an individual basis before I decide if I want to hate them or not.  I am merely a regular person with a few issues I would like to address, as well as some suggestions for us moving forward in a positive space.

There are many things that I like about hipsters and that I would like to applaud and encourage.  First, you promote clean and healthy eating, always a plus.  Sure I could go to McDonalds for $1.99 but sometimes I like to think that the food I am eating is healthy instead of slowly killing me.  This is why occasionally I am willing to spend $30 on a non-alcoholic breakfast.  Now, I need to point out that I said ‘occasionally willing to spend’ because I do feel that you need to examine the need to charge more than Starbucks for coffee.  Charging $6 for plain coffee means it better be gold-plated.

Second, I actually do not mind that you have man buns or that you purchase man buns online.  I do not mind that you wear brightly colored pants that are so tight that they could interfere with your child rearing abilities.  I do not mind these things.  Fashion is personal and I don’t have to date you.  For that matter I applaud your artistic work and the colorfulness you bring to the world on your bikes, on your pants, in your hair, etc.

Thus far I have been a supporter of the hipster’s quest to improve the health and wellness of the planet while charging obscene prices for everything.  However, last week my feelings changed.  Typically I don’t mind some cauliflower in my omelet or kale in my juice but you’ve taken it upon yourself to redefine basic food guidelines and enough is enough.

Last weekend I went out to eat at a nice restaurant.  I knew going in that my meal would be expensive and I didn’t even mind that we were eating on benches and not chairs (FYI totally not the same thing nor acceptable!)   As I am looking over the menu at the different options I plan my budget and choose wisely.  For starters, I limit myself to 2 beers for $7 each and 3 oysters at $3 each; expensive but anticipated.  For my entrée I chose a fancy chicken sandwich and because I had been eating like garbage disposal all week I decided to choose the salad over fries.

Salad, have you heard of it?  At its core salad contains lettuce or spinach, maybe some spring greens or arugula.  Once the creator of said salad has chosen their leafy vegetable they decide on appropriate toppings like vegetables or nuts and select a nice dressing.  It’s not that hard.  There are a million different variations on salad that are deemed appropriate but it is here, my hipster compadre, where you have failed me.  Parsley is NOT an appropriate mixed green or leafy vegetable!  Neither is cilantro and worst of all, you rounded out my salad with…wait for it…mint leaves.  These are all delightful garnishes that might accompany a salad but they are certainly not THE salad.  I was served an entire ‘salad’ made out of parsley, cilantro and mint leaves.  Not even a dressing, noooooooo, just a few sunflower seeds on the side.  This is ridiculous!!  This is NOT appropriate and this is completely uncalled for?  What did I ever do to you to deserve this?

So, dear hipsters, just because something is ‘redefining’ or ‘imaginative’ that does not mean that it is a good idea and that people actually want to see it or eat it.  This is why people hate you.  Things have gone a little too far in the creativity department and I’m going to need you to pull back a little for the sake of humanity.

Sincerely,

~E

PS In case you need some direction, here is a link to a salad cookbook and kindle if you need convenance!






That New York Magic

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On a chilly Friday night in the heart of Brooklyn the laughter and dancing was drawing to a close.  The evening wound down and last call rang out from behind the bar.  Everyone sensed the end was near, then slowly out of the speakers came an old familiar melody.

Start spreadin’ the news,

I’m leaving today

I want to be a part of it

New York, New York

Friends and neighbors gathered around, arm in arm and like a scene straight out of a Broadway show they kicked in unison while singing along.

I want to wake up, in a city

That doesn’t sleep

And find I’m king of the hill

Top of the heap

 

I’ll make a brand new start

of it

In old New York

If I can make it there, Ill

make it anywhere

Its up to you, New York,

New York

If there was ever a thing called New York magic, this was it.  It would make even the grumpiest of people believe that New York had something special. I’ll have to admit, this was my third time to the big apple and I never found the magical city I’d seen and read about for so many years.  To be honest, I always deemed myself much more of a London person if forced to choose.

My first trip to New York was at 14 with my family and the first thought that came to mind stepping out of Penn Station onto the city streets was, “Man this place smells bad!”
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Two days ago I once again stepped out of Penn Station onto 7th Avenue and thought,

“Man this place smells bad!  In fifteen years you couldn’t make it smell any better? Graffiti, garbage, rats… I see you’re still here too.”

As I headed toward Herald Square to catch the M train to Brooklyn, suitcase in hand, I was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people.  Black friday had hit NYC in a big way.  As I crossed onto 34th Street I looked up and saw the remnants of the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade lingering in shop windows and atop buidings surrounding the square.  This is it, I thought.  This is the magic.
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Every year since I was little I would watch the Macy’s parade in the living room with my Mom and sister while my Dad prepped Thanksgiving dinner. Every Christmas season we would watch movies like Miracle on 34th Street along with many other old Hollywood classics and get lost New York of another time.  Nowhere else in the world could bring back all those memories and feelings of joy except New York.

The magic really isn’t New York the city, the magic for me is in the feelings and memories that New York represents.  At it’s core New York is just a city with regular people.  Regular people who wake up, go to work and live everyday lives.  The magic happens when you’re walking down the street and stop to say “Wow, that means something.”  Not every city can do that.

We visit for the New York magic. The moment of magic is why we put up with the smell and the fact that breakfast in a shanty shack is $50 and they put cauliflower in omelettes, a place where cauliflower does not belong.  We ignore the fact that next to the fancy restaurant is a bag of poop and an abandoned cardboard house.  We put up with all of that because at the end of the day when you find that small piece of New York magic, you are awfully glad you came.

~E

If you’re curious about New York life or interested in travelling there, check out these books:

Happy Thanksgiving

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Inbetween the turkey and cranberry sauce don’t forget to be thankful for all the blessings you have.  It’s easy to focus on things or situations that frustrate or anger you but if you start counting your blessings every day the world looks a little brighter.

Happy Thanksgiving!

~E

Stop Eating!!

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“STOP EATING…you are full.  You don’t need it!”  This phrase has been on repeat in my mind for the past five minutes as I shove barbecue potato chips and chocolate chip cookies in my face.  My intentions were good.  I came into lunch with a plan.  First, I filled my plate with salad and removed the bread from the sandwich leaving just protein and cheese.  I felt so proud and accomplished but that didn’t last long.

For almost 5 years I worked in the weight loss industry and have been on a healthy eating journey (as I like to call it) for about 9 years.  Eating healthy for me is not something that comes easily or naturally so I consider myself on a journey to progress and get better at it.  The first thing I had to do was educate myself about food and then I had to change my habits and figure out a balance.

One of the strategies we used to talk about at Jenny Craig was to identify and ask yourself the question, “Why am I eating?”  What this does is start an internal dialogue about why and when you choose to eat.  This is a very good strategy for mindless eaters or people who snack when they’re bored.  For social eaters I always recommended going in with a plan like I did.  I knew what was going to be offered for lunch and I was able to determine ahead of time what I would eat.

Normally that strategy works well for me but lately I’ve been disastrous.  For the first time I can’t blame the change in season or halloween candy, my problem is emotional.  Emotional eating is the toughest to overcome.  While I have never had a big issue with emotional eating, my stress eating has reared its ugly head worse than ever.  Recently I have been under serious stress and subsequently I am pounding the food.

Its like a prolonged force of nature I have never experienced before.  My stress got to a point where my drive to maintain my exercise and healthy eating completely stopped.  I was going along great and then it was done.  My control over food took up too much energy and with my tennis shoes in hand I drove right past the gym and to my couch for a Real Housewives marathon.

After I finished my bag of chips I thought to myself, “Erin, it’s ok but you’re done now.  You are not hungry, you are full, you don’t need any more.”  Nice thought but immediately after down went the cookies.  All the while I was saying to myself, ” WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!?!!! It’s not even that good!!”

imageYesterday was a breaking point for me and that is why I decided to write about it.  I’m tired of having these conversations alone in my head and figured if I wrote this down it could be the catalyst for change.  I need something to shake me out of this food funk and back into my normal routine.  As motivating as everyone can be the one thing about food is that it is very personal.  If you want to lose weight or if you want to eat healthy you have to have the right mindset or nothing will change.  It’s not about friends, trainers, inspirational quotes or significant others.  It’s about you and what going on upstairs.

These are hard times but I can be resilient and get back on the horse.  There is no alternatives to my goals.  No matter how many times I fall off I just have to pick myself up and get back on.

It’s an exhausting, tiring, irritating truth that this will always be something I and many other people deal with.  But the sooner we accept that and move on the better we will be.  Maybe you’re goal is to lose weight.  Maybe your goal is to eat healthy.  Maybe your goal is to love where you are right now.  We all have goals to get to and its time we keep fighting.

To Resilience,

~E