Inspiration

I’ve been feeling kind of blah this past week. It all started one early morning when I woke up tortured with thoughts about the rest of my life. The fact is, I’m not at a job that relates to anything I went to school for.

I’m not even sure if I want a job in the field I went to school for.

I’m 22 years old living in suburbia and every time I just want to go to a hole in the wall bar in a cooler location, I have to drive a half hour. My commute to work is long  and I constantly think about how the large amount of money I spend on gas could be spent on the numerous endocrinologist appointments, diabetes supplies and student loans that seem to suck all the extra money I have out of me.

It’s not that I’m poor or struggling to survive. But I think everyone would say they could use a bit more money. Some more cushioning. A nice, padded bank account. I could save a lot more if I didn’t live so far from work. And I’d be a lot happier, emotionally, if I lived closer to D.C./Arlington and further from suburbia/almost the sticks Virginia.

I’ve spent my entire life living closer to a city than I do now. And quite honestly, the chain restaurants, which are pretty much my only option where I live, are stifling. And the creepy guys who hang out at Jackson’s are unnecessary. C’mon! You’re 50 years old hitting on a 22 year old…

Anyway, I need culture. I need diversity. I need dive bars. I need kitschy. I need pizza at 3 in the morning. I need the Metro to not be a 20 minute drive away from my house. And I need to never have to drive through Tyson’s Corner during rush hour again!

Mostly I just need to be closer to work. I think that will alleviate this stress that has been hanging over my head all week long.

As far as the job thing… not so easy. But, I’ve got one for now and that’s all that matters.

So, in case you are stressed out, angry, tired, sad or whatever other emotion you want to insert into this sentence, here are some inspirational pictures. A little pick me up. They at least picked me up:

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Monday Night Musings

Hey everyone! Hope the three day weekend was fabulous! I actually titled this post “Sunday Night Musings” because I kept thinking today was Sunday.

Sure feels like Sunday night.

Netflix and wine… usually the way I spend my Sunday nights. Tonight, it’s a 30 Rock marathon and a Pinot Noir from California.

My weekend was pretty relaxing. Besides waking up at the crack of dawn to go to the dentist on Saturday morning (just to be told I have lovely teeth) I spent the day with my parents eating lunch and watching movies. It was nice to see them, considering I haven’t seen them since we got back from Jamaica.

I was quick to get away too. I spent about two minutes at their house after getting back from the airport before getting in the car and driving back to my house in Northern Virginia.

Then I spent the next week and a half communicating with them through e-mail. I love my parents. A lot. They are one of my greatest support systems and are always there for me, no matter what stupid thing I’ve decided to go through with. I truly got lucky. I also realized spending a week straight with them after living by myself for six months is a hard thing to do.

Anyway, I was more than happy to spend the day with them and was a bit disappointed to say goodbye later in the day.

I spent the rest of my weekend running various errands, watching a lot of 30 Rock, tackling a big pile of laundry and napping with Lilly.

I, of course, saw a lot of A. We went out for a bit when he got off work on Sunday night. And then we came back to my house and had a silly photo shoot with my Photo Booth. We have issues.

Monday’s plan was to get out and go somewhere. I was thinking somewhere in the sticks of Virginia, or maybe go into DC for a bit since I had the day off and A had his first day off after a busy week at work.

But, A was called in, so plans were cancelled. Flexibility. It’s not always an easy thing to be. So, I let myself be disappointed for a minute. And moved on.

With plans cancelled, I was able to have what I like to call, “Single Girl Dinner.”

This is what I eat when I’m not around anybody else. It’s also what I eat when I don’t exactly feel like cooking and don’t have many ingredients to make anything anyway. This tends to happen around the end of the week.

My “Single Girl Dinner” tonight was a cup of the rest of the roasted red pepper soup I opened on Friday with a bit of goat cheese on top. Some fried up polenta slices (this log of polenta has been sitting in my cabinet for months!). Also with a bit of goat cheese on top. Then I roasted the almost going bad broccoli and cauliflower that has been sitting in my fridge for about a week.

Roasting is amazing because it really brings out the flavors of the veggies. Plus, you can’t go wrong with all that olive oil and salt.

I also cooked up some frozen green beans in the pan and added some slivered almonds.

And that was my dinner. Yes, I know it isn’t crab stuffed flounder or a filet mignon, but it wasn’t terrible. And it filled me up.

Although not enough to deter me from the last of the coffee frozen yogurt in my freezer. That and some chopped up extra dark chocolate.

Can’t go wrong.

It’s never easy saying goodbye to the weekend. Especially when it was a nice one. But after a week of being sick with fevers, headaches and sore throats, I’m definitely happy to start this week fever free and relaxed.

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want”

 

An Ode to Lilly

I’ve been working on a post about diabetes all night, but have the attention span of a five year old at the moment. Could be because I’ve been running around like crazy planning a holiday party at work and am finally able to relax tonight. It could be because I have a messy room that I’ve been cleaning in between spurts of catching up on “The New Girl” (love that show!!). I’m also probably not done writing because I took a much needed two hour nap. So, tomorrow, I will have a Diabetes 1.0 crash course post. I think it’s probably a necessary post to have considering many of my readers probably don’t know anything about diabetes other than those ridiculous blood glucose meter commercials about painless testing (believe me, it’s not painless) or how diabetes can be prevented by eating less sugar (not true).

Just a preview of what will be in the post- it will include information about the different types of diabetes. Different types?! I know, I know… the media only focuses on Type 2 diabetes and the epidemic in America. For a good reason too. 90% of diabetes patients are Type 2. But then there’s that pesky 10%. I’ll talk all about Type 1 and Type 1.5 diabetes, both of which are auto-immune diseases where the body mistakes healthy insulin producing beta cells in the pancreas as foreign invaders. And then kills them off, leaving a non-working, non-insulin producing pancreas. It’s even better than that series “Spartacus.” I promise. I’ll delve into the raging argument between holistic medicine and conventional medicine. And I throw in some statistics. Everyone loves statistics, right?

But tonight, on this lovely (yet chilly) Friday night where I have done nothing but relax (and exercise, but that was kind of relaxing too) I dedicate this post to my roommate’s cat, Lilly.

She’s a fluffy white lady who deals with this guy all day:

He’s quite a cutie, but also a little too rambunctious for Lilly. Anyway, Lilly has some, uhh, anger issues. She doesn’t like new people. She doesn’t tolerate dogs. Children annoy her.

My roommate told me that the vet’s office put caution tape around her cage one time because she was so vicious.

And for the longest time she avoided me like the plague. And I avoided her. Sure I wanted to pet her fluffy white fur. But she scared me. This eight pound ball of fur frightened me to no end.

But recently, she’s been unusually friendly. It started out with her sneaking into my room and climbing into my boxes. Then she would hang out on my bench. In the past week, she’s taken over my bed every night.

It took six months, but I think we finally have a good thing going:

So, here’s to you Lilly. I appreciate you letting me finally pet that white fur of yours. I also like that you don’t hiss and swat at me every time I walk by you anymore. And I really thought it was cute when you started rubbing your little cheeks against my computer screen, gradually moving to my hand and then licking my face with your sandpaper tongue.

To many more lazy nights where you seem like you actually like me:

And, just as an after thought… I would like to say that I am not a crazy cat lady. Just a fan of super cute fluff balls.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Friday night!

7 Minutes In Heaven

No, not that silly game teenager’s play at their first boy-girl party. I’m talking seven minutes of relaxation for your soul… which, to me, translates into heaven.

I’ve always known yoga is good for the mind, body and soul. Every time I get done a yoga session, I always feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle whatever comes at me in my often chaotic, messy days. I always tell myself to do more yoga. Seriously… here is a mental clip I have quite often.

“Wow, I feel so relaxed after those 15 minutes of yoga. I really need to do this more often.”

My inner monologue is so poetic, I know.

But, the truth is, I don’t do yoga as much as I want. I find much inspiration from my dear friend Sarah, who is a faithful yogi (waking up before the sun comes up on Monday mornings to practice yoga at a studio takes serious dedication). You can check out all of her yoga adventures, as well as her baking creations on her blog at http://collegekidyoga.wordpress.com/.

I guarantee you will find her full of life and as inspiring as I do. Shout out! She’s also my favorite walking buddy. Early morning conversations during long walks with great friends is also great for the mind, body and soul. But I digress…

Back to yoga. Now if only I was as flexible as Sarah…

Maybe that’s part of the reason why I don’t engage in yoga as much as I would like. My flexibility has always been, how should I put this… non-existent. I’m serious. Ok, not really. I’m actually more flexible now than ever, but that’s probably in part to the sporadic yoga. Which means I should probably do it more so I can get into bendy positions like this:

Actually, I really just want to be able to do this without feeling like my legs are on fire and going to fall off:

Anyway, this morning I woke up, showered and decided I didn’t give a damn about my hair. Au natural aka curly, I was letting it air dry as I put on my makeup, made breakfast and danced around my room to Stereophonic’s “Maybe Tomorrow” (you know you like that song too!).

Then I had a brilliant idea as I looked at the clock to see I still had plenty of time before I had to leave the house and fight through traffic.

Tara Stiles morning yoga! Bingo. A seven minute YouTube video that will transform your morning.

And my morning was transformed. Introduced to Tara Stiles through Sarah, I knew this woman had to be amazing.  While I’m not quite as flexible as Ms. Stiles (who makes folding her body in half look so darn easy), she is an awesome inspiration with a whole slew of yoga videos on YouTube from beginner (oh, me me me!) to advanced.

I finished up that seven minute video (it went by super quick) and went on with the rest of my morning, feeling better than I had all week.

I’m thinking yoga might be a good addition to my morning beauty routine. My roommates will hopefully be able to sleep through all the noise when I fall over from trying some yogitastic move.

Namaste!

Taking a moment to breathe…

First blog post… so much anticipation. High expectations. What do I write? What will interest people? Should I start out with my mundane list of foods I ate today?

Hmm… let me see, Greek yogurt (yum Chobani), a red pear, almonds… nope. No one wants to hear about that super exciting list.

Maybe about my crazy dream last night which included a polar bear, a blue Christmas tree and my old boss from Starbucks. Slightly more interesting, but way too bizarre of a post to start my entire blog with.

Ahh, the stress of trying to figure out what to write about is getting way too high at the moment. Perfect topic. Stress levels! Ok, wait. That sounds even more boring than talking about food and polar bear dreams. But it’s not. Most people in America (the country without siestas and limited vacation time at work) deal with a phenomenal amount of stress today than ever before. Money, family, societal pressures, traffic, work, student loans (please tell me that’s not just me!), health insurance and the list goes on and on. Did I mention traffic?

Living on the East Coast my entire life, I’ve never known anything but the hustle and bustle of metropolitan areas. I grew up right outside of Baltimore City, visited New York City a few times a year and am currently living right outside of Washington D.C. I honestly don’t know what life would be like without traffic, and tons of it. My roommate does though. The native Kansanite (??) that he is said he only remembers one traffic jam in his life. I jokingly asked if it was because of a cow. And he seriously replied that it was due to several cows…

I also don’t know how I would survive without the plethora of free entertainment that comes from living near major cities (hello, Smithsonian museums in D.C.  and Friday night movies in Fed Hill in Baltimore). Ok, so there are pros and cons to living near some of the biggest cities in the country. But let’s really focus on traffic. Whether it’s public transportation or trying to get to work from anywhere inside or outside the beltway, it’s usually slow-going, frustrating and miserable. I used to bang my head on the steering wheel. I used to yell in frustration. I used to honk and give people mean faces (hey, I couldn’t help it). But a few life changing things happened and I realized that the level of stress I experienced in traffic, and all parts of my life, was having an extremely negative impact on my life. My energy was focused on negativity and it was ugly. Not only that, I usually had a headache after severe stress moments like those in the car. And we all know headaches are not ok!

The fact of the matter is that traffic will be there. I had no power over anything. Except how I responded. Instead of yelling in frustration, I did some relaxation breathing in the car. I looked at the scenery around me (granted, not a whole lot on the beltway, but cars are scenery too!) and thought about it. I let my mind wander. I did some light stretching. Well, sort of light… at one point my foot was almost out of sunroof, but hey, it felt good! (WARNING: Do not attempt unless stuck in completely stopped traffic! Please!)

Zen. Say it with me- “Zen.” Feels good, right? We’ve all heard the term Zen. Images of calm will probably wash over your mind as you think about the word. And that is exactly what it means. The word Zen can be loosely translated as meaning “meditation.” It is a school within Buddhism (a religion AND philosophy I have recently taken great interest in). The idea behind Zen has to do with an enlightenment of your person. It is about living in the moment and quieting your internal chatter. This idea is relaxing and meditative, and something I am striving to do more of in my own life. Zen. It’s a beautiful word.

Stressors are always present. They will only impact your life in the way you allow them to impact your life. Stress causes health problems. It is bad for digestion. It causes blemishes. It makes people cranky. Instead of letting stress consume your life, have the power of Zen so you can control the stress. Easier said than done, of course, but it is a path I’m willing to spend a lot of time walking down. I’m willing to take my time and breathe.

For your viewing pleasure- Zen-like images: