Reboot

The first few weeks of 2014 have been…bumpy? Nothing’s really gone according to plan, but surprisingly, I haven’t been sucked into the usually funk I experience when things don’t go accordingly to masterfully designed plan. So that’s something, I guess. Workouts, proper eating, water intake, sleep—all have been sporadic at best. I blame moving, a busy schedule, increased expectations at work…and my own laziness, of course.

I was originally supposed to be out of town this weekend to engage in some bachelorette shenanigans, but I’ve made a conscious decision to tap the brakes a bit here and—for lack of a better way of phrasing this—get my shit together. I need to be the good kind of selfish and practice a little self-love this Valentine’s weekend. So here is my full-proof, two-day plan to Get Your Shit Back Together:

1. Sleep, Hydrate, Move
This seems pretty self-explanatory, but I’m going to spend some serious time sleeping in my oh-so-cozy, newly furnished bedroom, drinking my weight in water instead of alcohol, and finally enjoying this awful winter we’ve been having—I’ve got plans to go cross-country skiing and snowshoeing! And then, let’s be real, I’ll probably spend the rest of the weekend immobile, since I’ll be so sore from the wintery workouts.

2. Eat All The (Good) Food
A few days (or maybe weeks?) ago, I mentioned on my Instagram that I was going to attempt Whole30: 30 days of eating “whole” foods—veggies, certain fruits, lean proteins…and that’s really it. I’ll be sharing more about my experiences with the program, obviously, but this means none of my beloved peanut butter, no bread, no creamer in my coffee for a whole month. Sounds awful, right? I was originally putting it off until March, since I had the aforementioned bachelorette party this weekend and a wedding in early March. But it has become increasingly obvious that I need to reign in my eating ASAP—it’s becoming somewhat of a problem again (oh, hello eating disorder! Nice to see your ugly face again! Not! Hahaha). 

So Whole 30. Starting this weekend. Send spinach and pray for me. Or, rather, pray for my family, friends, and co-workers having to deal with me in this state for a whole month.

3. Loving Love
Earlier this week, my roommate and I stayed up way past our bed times (read: past 9:00pm!) discussing what we’re going to put in our online dating profiles when we join up. Boys like Disney movie marathons, discussions about the Universe, and dissecting Beyonce’s Instagram feed, right?

This is the weekend I bite the so-called bullet, though. I’m going to do it: I’m going to actively put myself out there and try to wipe the perma-bitch look from my face, and I’m signing up for online dating. Again, send spinach (what?!) and pray for me.

It’s time to settle in and get serious again. So, let’s regroup and hit restart on this year. It’s going to be a big one: earth-shattering, core-shaking, life-changing. I can feel it!

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

I’m so insanely excited and hopeful about life these days. I find myself wanting to be around people, being unabashedly joyful and positive…it’s all very, very odd. But incredibly good.

I have this inexplicable feeling deep down inside me that there is so much good lying ahead for me in 2014. Call it what you will, chalk it up to the new year, if you must, but this feels like more than that. This isn’t just hope, this is a feeling of inevitability, of belief.

Instead of being bogged down in the day-in-day-out of life, I’m actively looking forward to fully living each day, embracing the ups and downs, seeking out the good in all situations (and people), looking for new ways to grow, change, be happy, live love, say ‘yes’ to it all.

What a new, strange, beautiful thing…

A Year Of Love

I don’t do New Year’s resolutions anymore–hence, the lack of the obligatory blogger resolution post. No, this December I spent time reflecting on the failures and successes of my 2013: the goals I accomplished and the ones I didn’t. The pounds I didn’t lose and the massive mental baggage I did. And then I spent some time thinking about how I wanted my 2014 to unfold. What did I want to see and do? Who do I want to be? What will I achieve?

This is what all of that looks like, as words and ideas I want to populate my still new year:
IMG_20140119_161821The thing that struck me most in my reflecting and goal-setting was how the idea of love permeated everything: from self-respect and confidence and strengthening relationships with families and friends, to time spent creating and experiencing natural beauty…and if it happens to be in the cards, working on that whole boyfriend/soulmate/person-to-be-with-so-I-don’t-become-an-old-spinster-cat-lady 🙂 It’s an odd thing, since love, in all its forms, is the one thing I’ve run from my entire life. But no more. Now I want to live, breathe, be love.

That’s what I want my 2014 to look like: positivity, light, happiness, strength, smiles…lots and lots of love, love, love.

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Wrecking Ball

Throughout my high school and college years, and really, up until I began this transformation, I was the queen of making excuses. Excuses about any and everything, but in particular, I excelled at making excuses to avoid uncomfortable social situations. I was afraid. Of what? I’m not sure I fully understand, honestly. That I’d be noticed? That I’d be ridiculed? That someone else’s words and actions or my own self-consciousness would force me to expose the me I worked so diligently to avoid?

The summer before my senior year of high school, I volunteered to be a freshmen mentor. It meant wearing a dorky t-shirt that read something silly like, “Ask me!” and required me to attend an orientation pizza party with all my fellow college application padding senior cohorts. Now, these were people I saw every day. I had grown up with these people. Most of these kids were my friends and I generally got along with all of them.

So why then, on the night of this lame and unnecessary shindig, did I proceed to slip on my t-shirt, get in my car, and drive halfway to the school before turning right around and going home? When asked of my whereabouts the next day, I claimed sick (as I so often did during those days).

In college, my excuses, and my general disposition, grew bitchier. Meaner. I wouldn’t go out with my friends to the bar because, “so-and-so’s crush would be there and if I have to watch them make-out one more time I’m going to vomit.” My friends would constantly attempt to appease me by switching plans, choosing a different venue, letting me decide what we should do…and I complained and begged off the entire time. I pissed a lot of people off. I spent a lot of nights alone watching TV and getting fatter. I lost epic friendships.

Post-university experience, I just kept on rolling. Destroying everything in my path, withdrawing more and more, until I ended up basically completely alone.

Case in point: after I’d backed out of her birthday party two years in a row (one that would involve strangers and boys! Gasp!), my oldest and closest friend called me while I was shopping at Target. She was rightfully angry: her dear friend hadn’t shown up for her in one of the most basic and celebratory ways a girl can. I’d be pissed, too! I listened to her yelling at me, terrified, trying to explain (falsely) why I wasn’t there. She hung up on me. I stood in the throw pillow aisle, crying. We haven’t been more than acquaintances since.

People mistook my excuses as me not wanting to spend time with them, me being difficult and judgmental, me being pathetic and infuriating. But in reality? I just didn’t want to see my peers succeeding where I was failing miserably. I didn’t want to get sloppy drunk and make mean comments about others (as I was wont to do), while they took ladylike sips of their cocktails and flirted with every cute boy in the room. I didn’t want to attempt to squeeze through the throngs of college co-eds, trying to maneuver my extra-large body around the space without bumping anyone and spilling their drink.

I didn’t want to go unnoticed. But I certainly didn’t want to be noticed, either.

I didn’t want actual proof that my life was ever-so-slowly starting to fall apart, lose control, pass me by.

Lately I’ve been feeling an urge to rectify the situation. To apologize to the people I’ve hurt most. It feels like some sort-of twelve step program idea, but I just want to explain to these people that I’m sorry for being a huge pain in the butt and I’m sorry that things have ended like this. I know it most likely won’t effect their lives, but it feels like necessary closure for me.

Whether or not I do ever apologize for my old ways, this painful analysis has also taught me that love is always the answer. Love and kindness. Towards yourself, towards others, in any and all situations. It’s something I try to live each and every day. Positivity and love. Because while you can’t go back and fix hurt feelings, lost relationships, or missed experiences, you can learn from the negative and use it to influence the light in your present and future.

Post-Turkey, Pre-Fruit Cake

Sometimes it’s nice to let the pictures do the talking. Now that my brother and I no longer live at home, and he lives further away, we get together at my parent’s house the weekend after Thanksgiving to decorate for Christmas, make cookies, sing along to Alvin and Chimpmunks Christmas tape (yes, cassette tape)…all that good stuff. It’s a nice tradition. So while this post is more than a few days late, here was my post-Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas family weekend:

Cocktails and turkey with the Grandparents

Cocktails and turkey with the Grandparents

Football and napping. A family tradition

Football and napping. A family tradition

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Heart shaped potatoes :)

Heart shaped potatoes 🙂

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The not so healthy fish fry and for those of us eating healthy, a shrimp, snow pea, mushroom stir-fry

The not so healthy fish fry and for those of us eating healthy, a shrimp, snow pea, mushroom stir-fry

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Mama hanging up her Mama's ornament :)

Mama hanging up her Mama’s ornament 🙂

"What are you doing, Manda? Trying to take a picture?"

“What are you doing, Manda? Trying to take a picture?”

We broke out my Grandma's old cookie press to decorate!

We broke out my Grandma’s old cookie press to decorate!

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I was so proud of this one...

I was so proud of this one…

...and then this happened

…and then this happened

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Happy Holidays!

Living Life

Hi! Remember me? Long time no blog, huh? I’ve been busy–get this–living my life. Whoa. Between weddings, concerts, funerals, moving, busy season at work (and yes, a few workouts, too), there hasn’t been much down time to talk to y’all. I will be back later this week (hopefully) with a new post I’m working on, but for now, here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

If you’re easily offended by selfies, I would suggest you come back another day…

My beautiful cousin, Katie, got married. And our family knows how to party. I mean, we group sang/screamed Miley’s Wrecking Ball 🙂
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I had a huge work event for which I finally sorta learned how to curl my hair
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I got to see my two favorite singers three times in one weekend and my face was sufficiently rocked off
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My gorgeous Mama Ruthie came down for her annual visit
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I drank lots of coffee to stay awake and keep upIMG_20131116_121847

And most importantly, this is how all of that makes me feel:
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So Good

I’m frightened to admit this. I don’t want to jinx anything or be a Negative Nancy. But…

Life is really good right now.

I seem to be striking a rare balance in all aspects of my life—career, personal, wellness, financial, etc—and that rarely, if ever, happens. I just eel like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop, as history as shown always happens whenever I’m feeling this great. But for now, let’s focus on the positive in the hopes that putting good energy out will bring good energy back in. Shall we?

Home: Next month, I’ll be moving to a new home. I’m staying in my same city and literally moving about 500 feet from my current place, but I’m moving nonetheless! I’m picking out paint colors, brainstorming design ideas, and purging my useless stuff. My last day in my current place is December 31–which, if you think about it, is a neat sort of coincidence: starting a brand new year in a brand new home, closing the door on this five-year long chapter of my life that was full of destructive, unhealthy behavior…this move is going to be so, so good.

Work: My job is going super well—a huge accomplishment for me. While I still loathe the idea of actually having a 9 to 5 (I just want to be a stay at home mom, shop, cook, clean, and workout…or be Ina Garten), I love what I’m doing right now: I get to write, be creative, spend time thinking and planning, maintain a flexible schedule, and, best of all, once I leave work, it’s done. I don’t carry any of it home with me, physically or emotionally. It’s a beautiful existence.

Health: I’m fully recovered from my late summer slide. Mentally, I feel strong. Physically, I’m getting there. I’m back into my group classes at the gym, and in an effort to run more, I’ve started running a mile or so before each class as a warm-up. Not only does it help me get loose and ready for class, but, hey, guess what? Running is getting easier! I’m also back into my yoga practice, which makes my soul super happy. I’m going twice a week and looking at visiting a new studio for even more goodness.

Social: My social calendar is packed through the end of the year with tons of fun stuff (Weddings! Family time! Concerts! Holiday parties!), so basically, you guys, I’m firing on all cylinders. And it feels amazing. And I don’t want it to end. I’m just going to continue working hard, expressing gratitude to the Universe and any other forces at work in my life right now, and smiling.

Always smiling. Lots of smiles 🙂

Push Through

Happy Monday, friends! I posted something over on Instagram today that I wanted to share with you all. When we experience especially rough patches in life, it’s easy to give in, give up, and forget your ‘why’–why am I on this journey? Why am I trying to lose weight and live a healthy life? Why do I wake up every morning? But as I’ve been reminded over and over (and over and over) lately, you only truly fail in life when you stop trying. The struggle is, ultimately, part of your success.

Remember your ‘why’. Smile through the struggle. Keep your head up and your heart strong. You got this. We got this.

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Make Your Past Your Past

Most kind of stories / save the best part for last
And most stories have a hero who finds / you make your past your past…”
-Joshua Radin, Brand New Day

Type_BrandNewDayRGBNobody, Amanda, is who they are based upon one decision, one day, one path, one chance, one relationship, or one anything else. 

Every day is brand new and opportunity never stops knocking. 

Who’s there? 
    The Universe