Saturday, August 25, 2012

teetering on the socially unwelcome.

So, in order to share some things about what is going on in mine and Evan's life, I first must ask a question. I welcome answers from anyone and everyone who stumbles upon this post:

Is it appropriate to discuss personal finances?

Not only considering this format (my blog), I am also curious what people think about it in any format. 
 Now, obviously, it will probably always be inappropriate to share salary details, (unless it is a very personal setting) for legal reasons. 
But as far as personal approaches to finances, debt details, bank account that too taboo?

My thoughts:
Being religious, money has, in my mind, often been related to "worldly" things, especially when it is used inappropriately. It has the ability to do things to people, such as change the way they act to others, or cause some to sacrifice important things for selfish reasons. It's incredible to me the power it holds over some people. We all know of the lengths some may go to get money: excessive gambling, embezzling, sex trafficking, drug dealing/transporting, even murder. For money! To me, I just can't even imagine. Also, there are so many more important things to me than money. However, even for some people who would never consider doing those extreme things for money, it still holds an important place in their lives. Talking about this with Evan, he supposes that it may be more of a man thing (to be concerned about money) simply because (in our culture) it is more of the man's responsibility to make sure the family succeeds financially, so I can understand that.  

About a year ago, Evan and I watched this video. Herb Goldberg mentions that there are many people in society who are willing to talk about their sex lives before their money situation. I really had never thought much about the taboo that surrounds money and personal finances, but it really is true! It seems that hardly anyone would be willing to share how much is in their savings account if they were asked, or at least not without some hesitation. Why? Why does money have to be such a secret? I feel that by keeping it secret only adds to the power it can have over things/people. If you act like it's a big deal, it will continue to be one. 

Now, these are my thoughts. I am very curious to hear your thoughts as well. Then, depending on responses, I will know if I should expound on what Evan and I are up to. Because (surprise!) it has to do with money, but I don't want to be open unless people are interested/willing to read. If I had only strangers reading my blog, I honestly wouldn't hesitate, but I don't want to weird out people that I actually know, haha! Oh, the blessings of anonymity on the internet. 

Anyway, please! I am ASKING for you to share your opinion. Get on your soapbox, if necessary!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

In Retropect: Things that I am sorry for.

I would imagine that everyone has things that they look back on and think, "Man, that was dumb of me."
You may recall that all it would have taken is a simple thought, and you could have avoided that which made you look less than a genius. Example; the other day I locked myself out of our apartment as I left to water my neighbors plants. All I would have had to do was check the handle as I walked out (which I actually usually do). That would have prevented me from having to break in by removing my bedroom window screen and climbing inside in less-than-lady-like fashion by lifting up my leg (wearing a skirt, mind you) higher than chest height. Yep, guaranteed I think back to that and think 'that was dumb of me."
However, today that is not the type of personal reflection that I am going to be talking about.
There are things in my life that, when I think back on them, it goes much deeper than a silly mistake or blunder. There are some things in my life that, no matter how much time seems to pass, I truly feel bad about. For some, it's downright shame. Others, they are things that make me feel pretty deep embarrassment. While even more may be a bit silly, but I feel still require an apology to those parties involved.

#1. The first thing that made me think about starting this list was: hating hiking. When I was in Young Women's, we went on many hikes, both at girls camp or beforehand in order to pass off things for personal progress. I clearly remember at least one hike where I know for a fact that I complained the. whole. time. Sad part is, it barely counted as a hike. We had to keep it local in order to get a large amount of girls passed off, so we really just took a trail near our neighborhood that went on for a few miles. No incline, no rocky terrain. But I hated exercising that much. Therefore, I have zero doubt that I complained on every other hike as well.
It was last weekend when Evan and I went on a hike with our friends that I really thought about how sorry I am to my YW leaders for being such a poop. It's been about a year since I posted about a wonderful experience I had while hiking, and my feelings have only intensified since then. It is such a beautiful thing. The nature, my body's ability to move, the clean air. Hiking makes me think of so, so many things that I have to be thankful for. Which is why a) I wish I could go back to smother my young self's mouth, because there are so many things I should have been enjoying about the experience, and b) I just cannot believe the patience my leaders had with me that they didn't smother me! Oh, bless their hearts, they were incredible. Not only for tolerating my incessant complaining; they truly saved my life and made it possible for me to get to where I am today. Which only makes me feel that much worse for being so lame.

#2. Seeing teens in high school make me ashamed that I ever existed between the ages of 11 and 17. Then, seeing the single college students while they're hanging out in groups here in town make me ashamed for much of the time between 17 and when I was married. It's the same reasons for both groups: I now know how dumb everyone around me must have thought I was, how original I thought I was, and how annoying I actually was. *sigh* It's one of those things, though, that I never could have explained to my younger self. It's something that can only be understood with retrospect.

#3. Now, this is something that I sincerely wish with all my heart I could do. Even though I doubt that she'd even remember, considering she was indeed a Jr. High teacher (that itself must bring upon incredible amounts of abuse). But I wish that I could tell my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Hancock, that I am sorry for laughing while my fellow student tormented her. His name was Johnny, and he was (I'm sure) every teachers worst nightmare. I won't waste my post with the details of his doings, but I will say that, in my opinion, it was more than any teacher deserves. Even when taking into consideration the expected abuse that one commits to when being surrounded by adolescents all day.
I especially remember one lesson she gave; it was on the subject of apathy. I came to the realization that that was a good word to describe Johnny's actions, and I think she did, too. I would think that it concerned her, because she DID care. I know that she did. I would be incredibly surprised if she ever remembered me, even if she saw a picture of what I looked like while I was in her class. I never personally connected to her, and I wasn't enough of a nuisance nor a scholar to make a big impression on her. But I wish that I could tell her that her lesson made me realize just how dangerous apathy can be, and made me make a conscious decision to avoid anything that could be seen as such. It made me feel sorry for tolerating Johnny's actions, and gave me a desire to stand up for greater things in life.

#4. Today Evan was making ringtones. He made one out of the song "Lady Marmalade" (the reason Evan chose that song is because of the beginning it says "sister" a lot, and he used that part to make a ringtone for when his sister calls him.) When I was young, I loved that song. I thought it was cool for ladies to dress up with gallons of make up, big hair, and bustiers (yeah I know, I had a bright future ahead of me). I remember my older brother, Scott, telling me that that song was not only ridiculous, it was an insult to the movie Moulin Rouge. He told me that when people heard the words "Moulin Rouge", they were thinking of this incredibly lame song instead of the musically delightful movie, when the lame song didn't even have the benefit of being included on the soundtrack for said movie. How despicable.
My young self thought he was being silly. Didn't he see how fun feathers and fishnets were? What was wrong with people connecting that with the film? Now, in the film, there were plenty of people dancing around in 1900 style lingerie, but in it's defense, it was nothing as ridiculous as the music video for that song. The talents of the actors in that movie cannot even be COMPARED to the obnoxious "oooohhhaAAAAHHHHHs" Christina Aguilera belts out to a 1970's remake about a lady asking if you'd like to sleep with her. It is, indeed, despicable.
This is actually not the first time that I have felt embarrassed for arguments I made against my brother's logic. His taste in music and films has definitely stood the test of time better than mine. It seems that when I think I have made a great discovery, I then learn that Scott was listening to/watching the same thing about a decade ago, while he was supposed to be going through that stupid teenager stage of awful trendy music. (It appears that he skipped that stage altogether, and instead was born with a fantastic taste in all things, well, fantastic.)

I am hoping that as my life continues, I can keep myself from adding things to this list. Here's to hope!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

more to come.

Don't doubt! I'm still back in the game! 
I have procrastinated writing a post for a few days, (just because of time), but today I'm afraid I will be procrastinating once again due to mental/emotional reasons. Today is my 3rd day in a row closing at work, and staying up late+sleeping in just does NOT work well for me. Plus Evan works the exact opposite of me, 8am-3pm, (I work from 3pm-1am), so I haven't seen him for 3 days either. Definitely doesn't help! Tomorrow is my day off, though, so hopefully I can recuperate enough to write something worthwhile :) 

Friday, August 3, 2012

Staying Motivated.

Last summer, Evan and I were pretty motivated to stay in shape. It was the first time in my life I had ever enjoyed running, which was partly because of training for my first time doing a 5k:
an extreme 5k, at that
That is mud all over us.

We were both eating the same way, both determined and convinced that we were doing what was best for our bodies. (I mean, it wasn't bad, we were definitely quite healthy, but I would no longer agree that it was best)
I felt really strong and confident. It was a great summer. I accomplished things physically that I never had before, and I was really proud of myself. 

Now, it is summer again. Well, almost the end, isn't it?
Between last summer and now, I didn't change all that much physically. My size has stayed the same, but I have lost a bit of tone, which I would attribute to my not moving nearly as much as I was.
You know, it's dumb, and I am determined to change this, but when Evan isn't on the fitness wagon with me, I find it hard to stay committed. I am always trying to eat healthy, (though if I get a little lax it's most likely because Evan is, too*). Working out, however, was not my first love, and I only ever began enjoying it because of Evan's example, support, and motivation. So when he goes through his off-times, I don't exercise nearly as much.
As I said, I want to change this! I want to work out, no matter what Evan is doing, or what the weather is, or how busy I am etc., but I want to be doing it for ME, because that is the only way I'll stick to it! Now, it's so easy to say right now that based on how I'm feeling, there's no way I'll be okay with not working out regularly. But, I said the same thing last summer. And right now, Evan's super into working out. So, I guess the real test will come either with winter, or when Evan calms down (he goes through seasons, too, lol) whichever comes first. 
(Though, to give myself a little credit, this 7 week challenge was all my own thing!)
*My logic for doing or not doing what Evan does it because Evan ALWAYS looks great, he was very blessed in the ways of eating-anything-doing-nothing-still-have-a-six-pack. I am grateful, because I sure love having a hottie husband, but it can be bad when I, for some reason, convince myself that I might be able to do the same. Which, trust me, I can't! 

So, the things that have helped keep me motivated.
I know, it hasn't even been 2 weeks! But, I have heard that the 2nd week is the hardest. It really takes effort to make a change, especially one that you are hoping will be long lasting. I have to make a decision everyday that I will go running, as well as decide everyday what I will or will not eat. I mentioned on facebook, getting those 3 liters of water down isn't all that easy either! I don't have time to sit and sip on water while I'm at work (which I am for 50 hours of the week) and I don't like carrying my big liter water bottle while I run, which takes 1 1/2-2 hours, plus I ride my bike as a means of transportation, and it's awkward drinking while doing that....Point is, I am making decisions everyday, throughout the day, and sometimes it can be easy to convince myself that "today will be fine if I do, or don't do, [whichever goal I'm having a hard time with that day]".

To convince myself that I don't need that sugar

Sugar is my personal weakness. I love anything that comes out of the oven and involves chocolate chips. I also love ice cream. This is a newer one, I was never a huge ice cream person until the past few years. I really wouldn't have minded staying the type of person who didn't love it! ugh, it is my nemesis. It is SO BAD for a body. For me, it is the pure embodiment of all evil things that a food has to offer. But, that is because I love it so. This could be soda, or pizza, or french fries for anybody else. I do eat almost exclusively vegan, but oh man, if there is anything I will bend for, it is ice cream (and sushi on special occasions.) I will eat so so good all day and all week and convince myself that it's okay if I eat that scoop of Gorilla Munch ice cream from G's Dairy. But, it does not need to be that way! I am trying to teach myself to love GOOD foods...always. Even for desserts and sweet treats! I make all kinds of vegan desserts, but just because they're vegan definitely does NOT mean that they are low calorie, and unless I find them from specific people in the blogosphere, most recipes call for just as much sugar as any non-vegan recipe would. So, I try to stick to recipes that call for natural sweeteners such as stevia, dates, bananas, etc., but that still doesn't fix the calorie issue. And I have come to learn (wasn't too hard to realize) that I am very much capable of eating more calories than my body really needs! So, in order to keep my caloric intake in check, I really need to calm it down with the sweets. Once a week, at the most. (I could easily have a gourmet gooey vegan dessert everyday!).
To help me keep track of these calories, I use a lovely app that a great friend told me about:
 This application can be used from pretty much any electronic. Not only is each version free, (including signing up), it is super easy to use, AND it will all sync together! Meaning, at home I can put entries in using my iPad, then when I am at work I can use my phone, and both entries will appear on each device! It really is such an awesome system. I love it, it doesn't stress me out at all, and lays out what I have consumed so easily. It doesn't just do calories, it also measures fat, sugar, carb, protein, etc. I HIGHLY recommend it!

To convince myself that I should go running:
  • A new thing that I am doing for the first time with this 7 week challenge is instead of listening to music while I run, I listen to audiobooks. I am listening to The Hunger Games right now. I have already read it, but I enjoyed it enough that I don't mind listening to it again. The thing is, I am only allowed to listen to it while I run. Not while cleaning, or in the car, or riding my bike. So, since this is a book that I am thoroughly enjoying and would like to hear more of, the only way I can keep listening is to get my butt out there! This really has helped give me the little push out the door that I need sometimes. But, I am a lover of books, and don't mind listening to/reading books that I love over and over. So it helps that I can know how much I enjoyed a book, and use that to judge if it will be a good enough one to keep me coming back for more.
  • I try not to think about running as an option. Each day, it is kind of a given: I will wake up, and I will run. Kind of like for us LDS peeps and tithing; that gets taken out first and foremost and you don't really consider not paying it. (or is that just me?..I feel weird speaking for other people sometimes). But running is part of my day, and that's that. When I work in the mornings, that makes it a little harder. I plan on running after work...but sometimes Evan has plans for us, we want to hang out with our friends, etc. See this is when it's great to have Evan on the same page as me, because he will be making time for his workout as well. But at times when he isn't, it's hard to say no to spending time with my husband and/or our best friends. It's just a decision I have to make everyday! Hopefully I can make this a habit of my own that will last, no matter what the circumstance.
  • I am a person who enjoys visual motivation. I can imagine this not working for some people, though. I am able to look at a picture of a chick with a killer bod and realize that, no, no matter how hard I work, I will never have a body just like hers. I have a booty, I have hips, I have boobs (sorry!) that have proved that they are not going anywhere, anytime soon. So, no, I won't ever look like Cameron Diaz. But, I can look at a picture of her abs and use it as inspiration to PUSH myself to be the best I can be. So, yes, I use pinterest to get a collection of pics of scantily clad ripped women. But, if doing so will only discourage someone, or make them hate their body because it doesn't look like the woman's in the picture, I would not encourage doing such. 
  • Though only some might benefit from pictures, I feel it would be safe to say that most people can be motivated by words, if they can simply find the right saying that rings true with them. An awesome place with a collection of motivational sayings:
    Here are some of my favorites:

 (in case you're curious, here are the reaons why these help me so much.)
#594-If you have followed my blog for any amount of time, you should know that I would absolutely love to deliver my future children naturally. Honestly, it is probably my number one motivator as far as what gets me through more than anything else: I want a strong body so that I can have a healthy pregnancy, delivery, and recovery. It is so, so important to me to have those. Not just for looks, though that is a part of it. But I also want to treat my body with respect, and give it the opportunity to enjoy one of the greatest things it will ever have the pleasure of doing.
#417-I have fallen into the trap of wanting my body to look a certain way, and becoming mad at myself when it doesn't. But when I focus my efforts on health, and ability, rather than the vanity part of it, I not only become happier with myself but I succeed much more. I try to look at food as fuel and medicine for my body, and eat according to what will help it function best, rather than what will help me be thin vs fat.
#369- as I said before, I don't let myself think about it. I feel this way about all good things in life. I have faith that good deeds and efforts will result in a good product. So when I know that a formula works (eat well+exercise=healthy strong body, or prayer+not judging=increased love for those around me, etc.) I don't think about the if's or why's. I take advice from Nike: Just Do It.
#390-haha this one is just kind of for fun. It makes me laugh, and makes me feel empowered thinking about having a body that can acclimate to just about anything, the way Katniss's can.
#481- This obviously directly relates to my 7 week challenge. I try not to look too hard in the mirror each day so that when the time comes to take that "after" picture, I might be able to recognize my results even more.
#474- Exercising definitely helps stabilize my moods. Though I continue taking my medicine, I would dare say that exercising and eating well has had just as much, if not a greater impact on my bi-polar disorder. I feel confident saying that because I feel like if I had to choose just one or the other, (medication vs. healthy living) I'd probably have more success with the latter.

Sorry for the insanely long post...just look at it as a make up for my months of neglect :)
I'm excited to be back!

    Thursday, August 2, 2012

    the 7 week challenge.

    this is how it started.
    A lovely lady (seriously, I love her!) that is a coworker of mine came into work one day, (the week preceding graduation) telling me that when she had woken up that morning, she looked in the mirror and saw that she had acquired a 6 pack! She has been working on becoming healthy for years now, so this was a much worked for accomplishment that she obviously had all the right in the world to be happy about. I turned to another coworker of mine and said "I want a six pack!" She replied slightly joking that she did too, that over the 7 week break (the weeks between spring and fall semesters at BYUI) we could get one. Now, she had said this pretty casually. Most likely joking. But I thought, Why not??
    Truly, as simple as that. But I became determined.
    So, the Monday following Evan's graduation (July 23), the challenge officially began.
    7 weeks after that date will be September 10, 2 days before the start of the fall semester.

    the ultimate goal: a six pack
    How I plan to obtain my goal:
    •  Cardio as my main source of exercise. Running/brisk walking (mostly uphill) 5-6 days a week.
    • Upper body work outs (arms+abs) 2-3 days a week.
    • Eating clean-sticking as closely to vegetables, whole grains, and a few fruits as possible.
    • drinking at least 3 liters of water a day.
    • keeping track of my calories (hoping to become a better judge of portion sizes, and of what my body actually needs vs. what I want)
    So, that is the basic plan. I am only about a week and a half into it, and I am ALREADY seeing some results! Though, I am trying to not look to closely. More on that in the next post :)

    (also to come: details about our new apartment (!) and Evan's graduation)

    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    I am returning.

    I am revamping the blog! 
    with the internet in my home again, the time has come. 
    I already have the next few post topics planned out, so stay tuned! :)

    . . .