whole 30: fail.

A and I are officially done with Whole 30…just not in the way I anticipated. Unlike other diets, Whole 30 isn’t necessarily geared towards weight-loss–but instead encourages the elimination and reintroduction of common allergens to determine what foods actually fuel your whole30body, and what foods are actually causing you to feel worse. Thirty consecutive days without sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy and all their by-products.

I started off my reading through The Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom and learning about the program; next came my favorite part…meal planning, grocery shopping, and meal prep!

True to Whole 30 form, Day 1 felt great; I was motivated and encouraged that we were making healthy changes for our bodies. And then Day 2 and 3 happened; I was plagued by a massive headache–which I’m told was my body trying to process the two plates of pasta, key lime pie and various glasses of wine I had during the weekend immediately before we began Whole 30. However, since then, it’s almost been a breeze; I don’t think I’ve felt any other wonky symptoms or consequences…either I wasn’t eating as much junk as I thought I was before, or I just have no idea how to listen to my body. I’m guessing it’s the latter.

Unfortunately, on Day 12, we decided to stop. It was restricting, A wasn’t really into it, and I have to travel for a facilitation experience later this week, where I’ll be staying and eating at a hotel (that doesn’t have a fridges or microwaves in the rooms!). Ultimately, we’ve decided to continue experimenting with Whole30 recipes and have set some other food limitations for us.

The best thing to come of Whole 30 was discovering so many new recipes. So, here’s a roundup of a few favorites:

summer bucket list.

For basically the first time since we’ve moved in together, A actually has weekends off from work. After our trip to Hawaii, we talked about how we need to get out more and do things on the weekends; to be transparent, I’m definitely the homebody who would love to just veg and go on a Netflix binge all weekend. However, we chatted about trying to get out to do something at least once a weekend: out to dinner, go to the beach, go geocaching, or try new Miami tourist spots we’ve not been to yet.

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Last weekend A’s grandparents were in town, so we were able to explore the new science museum (not as great as it was hyped up to be), saw Wonder Woman (amazing!), and toured Biscayne National Park (national park geek and proud). This weekend, A and I did one of the local escape rooms; it was Sherlock Homes-themed and we escape with thirteen minutes to spare.

So, here’s to the summer bucket list–okay, maybe it’s a little ambitious, so we’ll call it the “Things I Need to Do Before I Leave Miami” Bucket List.

  • Visit the Venetian Pool in Coral Gables
  • Visit Everglades National Park and Robert is Here for a smoothie
  • Visit Jungle Island and become BFFs with a sloth
  • Visit the Perez Art Museum Miami
  • Visit Lauderdale-By-The-Sea (again!)
  • Visit the Hollywood Boardwalk
  • Visit Bayside Market
  • Visit Fruit & Spice Park
  • Take a walking food tour of South Beach or Little Havana

And, some larger, more lofty, goals:

  • Visit Key West and Dry Tortugas National Park
  • Visit St. Augustine

hawaiian nostalgia.

I recently returned from a week and a half vacation in Oahu, Hawaii and my heart is aching to be back in paradise. I haven’t taken a true vacation (where I didn’t answer a single work or school email!) in years; I’m sadly one of those overworked, overachievers–a title I’m trying to no longer wear as a badge of honor. Dealing with a variety of life stresses prior to vacation, I was in need of pure relaxation and adventure. I came back to work refreshed, full of energy, and just more content in my day-to-day life.

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Being away from work, from home and from Miami was everything I needed. I read four different books, spent lazy days on the beach, hiked a mountain ridge, to a waterfall and to a WWII bunker, and ate my way through the island in the best way possible (dreaming of poke bowls already).

During our first, full day on the island, we woke up at 4AM to eat breakfast and watch the sunrise over Kaneohe Bay; after, we hopped into the car and took the scenic drive to the North Shore, on the other side of the island. We were a bit early for our planned excursion, so we wondered around town and tried Matsumoto’s famous Shaved Ice. Then we made our way to the small harbor, boarding a eight-passenger boat and headed out to a spot about three-miles of the coast of Oahu. There, we put a snorkel mask and fins…and hopped into the clear, beautiful blue water of the open ocean and spent an hour swimming with around 15 wild, Galapagos sharks! (Okay, so maybe I got sea-sick after 50 minutes and chummed up the water a bit–but apparently that made the sharks a bit more active; really, I was just trying to make it a more interesting experience for our fellow swimmers!) It was absolutely beautiful and almost calm; I never knew sharks were so chill–when they’re not being threatened, are starving, or are being filmed for Shark Week.

Hawaii definitely relit my travel-bug, and I’m already hoping we can plan our next vacation–even if it’s just for a weekend to the Keys!

the dilemma of an introvert.

I am a hardcore introvert. I get mentally and physically drained when I have to engage with a large group of people. I tend to get cranky, lethargic and detached. Most people think my life’s motto is, “I hate people.” I don’t hate people. I hate the way people make me feel after interacting with them. I’d much rather sit-down and have a solid conversation with one or two people. Engaging with too many people in a short amount of time is overwhelming and not meaningful; I feel like I can’t be myself.

The last few days I’ve been helping to coordinate and host my graduate program’s interview days. We hosted almost 50 candidates and 25 potential employers–plus the volunteers that are already in our program. There was lots of smiling, cordiality, and customer service happening. I am a confident person; I’m fine with public speaking; I don’t mind meeting new people. But, by the end of the three-day program, I was cranky and ready to ignore the world.

Know yourself. Self-care is important–particularly for someone going into a very people-oriented field. Besides a few errands I needed to run this morning, I’ve been a shut-in today. Food, a healthy session of Netflix binging, little communication with the outside world, and bit of housecleaning later…and I’m feeling recharged and energetic. Here’s to the last full week of work before spring break, more time for self-care, and a visit from a good friend.

 

an ode to running.

In summer of 2012, I ran ten races–mostly 5Ks and all with my father. We searched through Active and local running websites to find one for almost every weekend. It wasn’t something we set out to do–just something we enjoyed doing together and kept coming back for more. Almost every weekend, I shaved time off my 5K personal best…and almost had that elusive sub-30 5K (well, elusive for a turtle like me).

In May 2014, I ran my first half marathon…with little training. Thankfully, I had a sorority sister (who also hadn’t trained) run with me and we made it through. A year later, I signed up for another half marathon, got to mile 10.2 and had to call it quits due to pain in my feet.

Now, I’m in no shape to run ten races in the span of three months and definitely couldn’t complete a half marathon safely. However, I’ve always been motivated by having an end goal and, with running, the best goal for me is always a race.

Well…here’s to 88 days until my first 10K, 285 days until my next half marathon and every day to train and reclaim one of my favorite hobbies.

{resolutions}

  • Continue to be a voracious reader.
    • Read all the lonely books sitting on my shelf that I’ve never picked up. I have exactly 30 books on my tiny shelf that I’ve never read. Some I’ve had for years and some I’ve only acquired recently; some are fiction and some are non-fiction. However, I’ve vowed to not book another book until I’ve read these 30–with the exception of Roxane Gay’s Difficult Woman (which came out today!) because I’ve been waiting for this book for months!
    • Read at least 50 books this year…compliments of my annual Goodreads challenge.

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  • Continue to find a healthy balance.
    • Food. When last semester started, I was doing pretty well at planning for our weekly dinners and cooking; however, towards the end of the semester, it seemed YOYO (you’re on your own) dinners and takeout where on the menu more often than not.
    • Fitness. I still have a on-off relationship with working out; last year, I went through a yoga phase, two running phases, and now an Insanity phase. I just need to find something I enjoy and stick with it. I’m contemplating signing up for another half marathon–I always seem to stick with something when I’m working towards a larger goal.
    • School and work. As always, I’m still a workaholic and still an overachiever–and not in a healthy way. I work more hours than I should and still procrastinate on my school work. This semester needs to be different (and will be!), as I’ll have classes, my assistantship and an internship! Hopefully, my hours will be more structured that I have less time to overcommit in one area or another.

365 days, 14,568 pages and 50 books later…

I don’t place much stock in New Year’s resolutions, at least not as much as I do in setting yearly goals. I always get satisfaction when I cross something off my to-do list…whether it’s something small like washing the sheets or a much loftier achievement. One of the few goals I set for myself during 2016 was to read at least 50 books.

I was always a voracious reader and I’ve always been adamant about finishing the books I start (even the bad ones). However, I almost stopped reading entirely in the two years after I graduated from college. According to my Goodreads account, I read 35 books last year and a whopping 0 the year before (to be fair, I certainly read, but didn’t track it). This year I was determined to make time for one of my favorite hobbies.

With the latest trip around the sun almost complete, I’ve successfully read 14,568 pages for a total of 50 books! And, in no particular order, the top 10 books of my year:

  1. Year of Yes, by Shonda Rhimes
  2. Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti
  3. Bad Feminist, by Roxane Gay
  4. Notorious RBG, by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik
  5. milk and honey, by rupi kaur
  6. Scrappy Little Nobody, by Anna Kendrick
  7. Talking As Fast As I Can, by Lauren Graham
  8. Where Am I Now?, by Mara Wilson
  9. The Memory Box, by Eva Lesko Natiello
  10. Life of Pi, by Yann Martel

I think next year’s goal might need to remain at 50. The majority of my reading was done before I started graduate school this fall and I saved the last 8 books for December, when I was finished with classes and papers. 50 even seems like a stretch for this upcoming year, since I’ll still be a full-time student for the whole calendar year. Here’s to 2017 and 50 more…

playing catch-up in a coffee date.

It’s been two months since my last post and, what a coincidence, two months since I started graduate school and my assistantship. So, if we settled down for a coffee date…here’s how I’d play catch-up:

  • Books I’ve Read Recently: Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse: One Twentysomething’s (Mostly Failed) Attempts at Adulthood by Alida Nugent; Where Am I Now? The Stories of Girlhood and Accidental Fame by Mara Wilson; and Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur. I’m currently working on So You’ve Been Publically Shamed by Jon Ronson.
  • Work: It’s certainly been a transition from a full-time professional to a graduate student and part-time assistantship. I currently advise of Multicultural Greek Council and Order of Omega, the national Greek honor society. A month into my new role, my supervisor left for another department at our university and I now have another supervisor. Beyond my direct responsibilities, the first six weeks of school are done and so is our marathon of programming weeks…Panhellenic sorority recruitment, Week of Welcome, MGC Week,  NPHC Week, IFC recruitment week, and National Hazing Prevention Week. At least I have a two week break until Homecoming…where I get to work a 2 Chainz concert.
  • School: School is just…whatever. For all of my classes, I have to submit five reading reflections for the semester, and I just feel like it’s a lot of busy work. Readings are fine. Papers are fine. I have missed being in a classroom and enjoy being able to engage in academic discussion again; I have two great professors and am already trying to figure out next semester’s schedule. I’m also contemplating getting a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies.
  • Personal: For an introvert, I think I’ve been doing an okay job at making friends and getting involved with my cohort. I signed up for our intramural volleyball team, went to brunch with a bunch of people, and went to Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. I’m also a committee member for my program’s interview and visitation days, so I’ve slowly been getting involved.

 

july reads

  1. The Freshman Project, by Erin Fischer and Friends
  2. The Memory Box, by Eva Lesko Natiello
  3. Red Bones, by Ann Cleeves
  4. Stolen: Is Social Media Stealing Your Identity?, by Jessica Fralin
  5. Sex Object: A Memoir, by Jessica Valenti
  6. Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Standing in the Sun and Be Your Own Person, by Shonda Rhimes
  7. The Almost Moon, by Alice Sebold
  8. Reasons to be Pretty, by Neil LaBute
  9. War Child, by Emmanuel Jal

Almost doubling my goal of finishing 5 books this month, I think it’s safe to say I rocked July. This month finally brought a bit of stability to my schedule and my life; I’m finally settled in one place, am a resident of a new state, and am the proud owner of a public library card (after many, many years of not being able to)!

The nearest library is only five minutes away; it’s one of the smaller branches, but I’ve already put their online request system to good use and am eagerly waiting the arrival of seven books on my “to-read” list!

This month was about new releases, exploring my new library, and finally making sure those unread books on my shelves felt a little love. This month’s standouts were, by far, Sex Object by Jessica Valenti and Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes! I switched it up with Year of Yes and got the audiobook; listening to Shonda’s words in Shonda’s voice just took this book far above and beyond. I laughed; I cried; basically, a good time was had by all.

As for August, I’m looking forward to my library requests — particularly So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson and Hunger by Roxane Gay — and some new purchases, like Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West and, once payday hits and I can merrily skip to the nearest bookstore, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling!

coffee date: 7/7

If we were on a coffee date…or more likely an iced tea date, given the weather, I’d tell you:

  • I start my new job in less than a month and I’m both excited and nervous. My nerves probably stem from the fact that I know practically nothing about my job and responsibilities. I don’t know which student group I’ll be working with or what my day to day life will look like. I’m excited to start a new professional adventure and can’t wait to be stationary, working with the same students day-in and day-out.
  • I start classes in seven weeks! I already bought and received two of my textbooks…and I may or may not have already started to excitedly flip through them. I miss being in a classroom setting, learning and engaging with others. I miss being a student and taking control of my own learning experience.
  • This holiday weekend was exactly what I needed. We went to the beach, started binge watching a new TV show, ate delicious brunch, and kept our not-so-American 4th of July tradition alive. For the last three years, we’ve celebrated this holiday by eating Mexican (mainly tacos) and indulging in ice-cold margaritas. Sadly, this year, A got food poisoning. Oops.
  • My best friend and lil’ sister arrived yesterday and I’m so looking forward to a week of adventures with her! I love our beach trips and can’t wait to share the magic that is Disney World with her! Plus…I’m hoping she’ll indulge me and we can try new brunch places around town. Her visiting will be good for my soul and spirit.