Deactivating Facebook and other Hasty Decisions I Don’t Regret

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Eight years ago I gave up meat. I was hasty but it was a great three years first years…

Five years ago my mother made me promise I would eat fish once I went away to college…

Four  years ago I spent a year and a half eating chicken after a trip to Uganda at a point in my life where I definitely didn’t know enough about nutrition to properly feed myself abroad and then kept the chicken habit after the trip…

Two and a half years ago I went vegan. I was hasty.

I always laughed at the chicken eating, I was clearly no longer a vegetarian and I didn’t like that. Who was I? Uust a General Tso’s Chicken-loving mess (and about 30 pounds heavier that I am today). I was learning about nutrition and veganism was the answer. No more chicken, no more fish. And then on top of that no more ice cream or cheese (WHAT?!).

Sometimes it’s good to be hasty. My eating choices. My career choice: I made a list the summer after freshman year of college and quickly realized building a career as a tree hugger was better for me than building one in international business.

And let me tell you “hasty” is my rarest personality trait. At this point in time I have planned out what hairstyle I will have in two years, my entire masters degree, all my workouts for winter break, and two of my New Years resolutions. But the split second to just go vegan cold turkey (how punny!) has led to more passion about veganism than I have had about anything else.

I’ve decided to be hasty again. I’m deactivating Facebook. This is part of not going through the motions. Facebook causes problems, it really is too habit forming, and for my usual browsing time on there, fairly mindless. And when my regular habits have been shaken up since moving, why stick with this old one at a time like now? I am going to enjoying being off the radar. HAHA and yes I know this is social suicide for a 23 year old (omg no more event invites?) but I can’t be bothered (in British accent).  Actually for me being excluded outright and then realizing it at an awkward moment when you are completely dressed and ready to go to happy hour and realize you were uninvited (true story) is part of the reason. I don’t want to see this side of people, I want people to actually talk to me if they feel that I need to be uninvited/deleted. But they didn’t, and it’s happened twice recently… and how will I know, I’m dealing with so many new people that act and perceive things differently. In the past (you know, like only 10 years ago), I wonder if we actually sat down and talked to people when we were upset with them, as a means of better understanding each other? I don’t want to see the mechanics of their ways of functioning via a virtual reality. Maybe this will invite people to actually talk to me if things go awry. Instead of me ending up getting a hold of them to figure out what happened, and to learn it’s usually a slew of misunderstanding/interpretations and just lots of awkward messaging back and forth. Or maybe I’ll just have no friends for two years and do really well on my thesis? KIDDING! I know who my friends are both here and back home and in a moment like this I realize they are close at hand, not close at Facebook message (bloop… haha hate that sound, as promising as it is).

So go be hasty… responsibly hasty, as in something that affects you most rather than those around you (and isn’t dangerous, none of that folks!). Just do something RIGHT NOW that you think will make you happier in the moment.

Maybe happiness is a choice…

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I moved across the country 2 months ago. It’s just a pit stop, I moved for grad school. I love my program, I did A LOT of research about grad school and I have known for nearly 3 years that I wanted to do this program, it’s the leading program in the country for my field. 

It’s been hard for me, moving away from what I still consider the best state EVER (MARYLAND!! GO TERPS!). But recently something bad happened with a close friend… probably my closet friend here. One thing they said was that negativity is a choice. I feel like the things that have made living here difficult are outside of my control, and that I didn’t choose that unexpected change in my reality and my identity. But maybe this friend is right, as upset as I am with them and the complicated facets of our little (not that little) tiff, maybe it’s true. And let’s face it, we as humans are so unwilling to admit when someone is right. I feel almost foolish to let my friend be right, but I’ve thought hard about it, and they are right about this statement on negativity. Maybe negativity and happiness are both choices. And WHO CARES what bad things are happening, I have to look at every positive thing. School, my health (I lost 6 pounds this month!), my family, my future (which is based on the decisions and attitude/mentality I follow now).

This is it. This is the choice. I choose to be happy. Everyday. From now on. I’m done with just going through the motions these past few months. I can’t live my life in limbo, even during a pit stop.

Also…watch this video and get a little inspired: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qu39VqhSp-c

Getting back into blogging and an amazing Kale Salad

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I haven’t blogged in so long but I am getting a bit bored with the daily grind and feel the need to get creative again. Hopefully I can make it a goal to blog once a week!

Since we last spoke…

I have officially been in Arizona for grad school for 2 months now! I sure do miss Maryland though and thanks to my wonderful sister I will be visiting home for fall break in just 2 days! It has been a lot of work, I’m learning interesting theories (literally there are so so many theories in sustainability science) and I can’t wait to get my hands dirty by starting on my own research projects. 

Every Tuesday and Thursday I bring a lunch to campus because that is when I have most of my classes. I’ve made this delish kale salad the past week and it really satisfies. This recipe is fairly easy to travel with. Kale does not get as soggy as most other greens/lettuce so I actually take the entire salad with the dressing poured into the sides of the container and then I mix it a bit better once it’s lunch time. This recipe is inspired by my friend Jill. She had me over to her home in D.C. for a summer salad shortly before I moved and since then I love making kale my main salad green. It’s refreshing, lighter, and filled with amazing nutrients from super food like kale and goji berries!

Summer Kale Salad

Dry ingredients (mix to your liking)

3 kale washed leaves, ripped up into smaller pieces (about 3 cups)

6 sliced strawberries

half an avocado, sliced or cubed

Salad dressing of choice… this is best with a vinaigrette, I used a sesame ginger vinaigrette 

2 tbs each pistachios, dried cranberries, slivered or chopped almonds, candied or regular walnuts

1 tbs each coconut flakes, dried goji berries

Lemon slice to keep things fresh (optional, explanation in directions)

Directions

To eat right away: Mix it all together and chow down!

Pack for later: In a larger container pack together the kale and top it with the strawberries and avocado. Squeeze the lemon on top to keep the avocado and strawberries fresh. Around the sides of the container, pour dressing, avoiding the avocado and strawberries in the middle (those might get soggy from the dressing, unlike the kale). Store the kale and fruit mixture in the fridge until it’s time to eat.  In a small container store the rest of the ingredient outside of the fridge. Later when it’s meal time, top the dry ingredients on the kale mixture. 

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Enjoy!

 

Inches, goals, and perception

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“The next time you feel yourself reaching for unhealthy food, ask yourself why. Why are you doing this? Why do you think you need this? Is this going to make you feel better? For how long? How will you feel tomorrow after you’ve made this decision?” – CalorieCoach.com
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I just finished reading this article from February called “Why You Shouldn’t Make Weight Loss You Primary Goal”. It was posted on MizFitOnline.com as a guest submission by Tony Shroder of CalorieCoach.com (I quoted him above, from a different article though). And it really touched on how difficult it really is to focus on other aspects of measuring fitness because weight, like age, is just a number. So many of the fitness bloggers I follow weren’t always experts/fitness gurus but instead normal people that woke up one day and decided to put one foot in front of the other until they reached their personal goals. The fact that this was written by someone that knows how hard  it is to take stock of your goals, celebrate small achievments, and stop playing mental games really inspires me to focus on other aspects of fitness even thought I KNOW it’s going to be a huge struggle to break up with my scale.
   
I’ve been struggling for so long with numbers. A few months ago I seperately emailed two of my closest friends in fitness and told them how I weigh XXX and it’s frustrating because I’m the same clothing size as high school yet a good 30-40 lbs heavier. Of course both of them told me how I need to stop being a mental prisoner to the scale and took a good look at the image in the mirror and the immense progress I made to get back into my regular pant size and the muscle I built that alters what the scale says. Just a few weeks ago an old friend messaged me saying “you look good… You looking really f*cking good.” And now that I’ve managed to turn my eating habits around in the past 6 weeks and actually stuck to it, I feel GOOD!
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How I look and feel leads me to beg myself “Hello you? Yes, you! You are wearing the same freaking clothes, you look the same, everyone is proud of you! If you actually lost 40 pounds and tried to weigh what you once did, you wouldn’t be any of the things that you love about yourself. You wouldn’t have hips, boobs, a butt and all the muscle that comes with your new found fitness! And you have those all in a nice curvy FIT package.” I have other goals, I KNOW I’ve reached a huge one (though I rarely admit to myself that I’ve completely turned my health around) but of course I want to “slim down and tone up” more, feel 100% comfy in my current clothes, and get into just one (possibly 2) smaller pant sizes…. all the while focusing on INCHES.
 
But honestly the constant goals to go beyond my current success is driving me nuts and leading me to not even enjoy my body right now. I can’t think of a time since I lost the originally 60 pounds where I said to myself “YOU ARE AMAZING! Take the day off! Enjoy the fruits of your labor superstar.” Instead every meal good or bad and every workout was done to reach some far off goal that I might not ever attain because it is so damn unreasonable to continuously put that kind of pressure of oneself physically and mentally.

So I want to challenge myself with these four things as markers of my success:
1. Taking my weight with a grain of salt and focusing on inches.

2. Measure my progress, literally, with a tape measure. I love my “Inches Saturday,” the day of the week where I record my current measurements. I’m always surprised by what the tape says, much better than the stupid scale.
 
3. Focus on toning up and eating as cleanly as I currently am.

4.Wake up every day and be grateful that you are in this body. Because if you were a twig you would be searching for all the missing curvy girly parts that bring all the boys to the yard.

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In terms of fitness, I’m really proud of myself. I’m trying to get back into lifting weights and more intense workouts now that I’m finished with physical therapy and it’s lighter outside later at night so I just finally have more TIME. I also am proud of the fact that it’s been 6 weeks since I had one of the many candies lying around the office. Go me! 

In the past 6 weeks I’ve lost 10.25 inches all over, including 5 from my waist (of I love being pair shaped) and about 7 pounds. SUMMER is soon and Spring weather is finally here! I am really happy that I’ve dug deep the past few weeks, it made the transition to dresses and sandal a snap since I didn’t have a bunch of winter weight to shed hehehe! The nicer weather motivates me even more and I’m excited to feel 150% by the first day of summer :)

All photos via pinterest.

Vegan Beauty: Mini LUSH Haul

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One thing I’m excited to do with this online space is talk about vegan/natural products, something that I try to stick to where I can as a vegan. It is definitely a process and requires research because sometimes vegan and natural items are overpriced and out of reach to the masses, including myself. But depending on where you shop you can get some great vegan items to cover all your needs. I use natural toothpaste, facial and body cleansers, and laundry detergent. In the future I want to go a step further with make up and nail polish. But one thing I’ve noticed I that there aren’t many options for darker skin in terms of foundation/concealer. Any suggestions welcome! Right now I just use MAC and I really love their stuff. 

Earlier this month I bought myself two things from LUSH Cosmetics so that I could mix up my routine. Spring has started and the month of March just feels like the right time for renewal and switching up your beauty and care regimen. They are such a cool company to fight animal testing and support green initiatives.

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I got the Sweetie Pie Shower Jelly. It’s really cool and an actually gel mold and very wiggly, making showers a lot more fun. It took a while to learn how to use it so in the beginning I was very disappointed and thought I wasted my money. You break a chunk of the size of one finger (just about how much shower gel you would use in liquid form), stick it sort of inside your wet loofah’s layers, and rub it in until it foams up. It smells heavenly sweet, like dessert, and I sort of want to eat it… but that would be a terrible idea. It’s cherry-coconut flavored, hence the delicious smell. Also it is super sparkley and contains glitter, but I have not noticed any such thing on my skin, it would be cool if it did leave a slight shimmer though. Another cool thing about the “freshmade cosmetics” is that the tub includes a sticker telling me the name of the person that made my soap!

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I also got a solid body tint in Black Stockings. The product description notes that it was made to suit darker skin (but works on all skin tones if you watch the informational video) and luckily I read a product review under the product description where a black woman said it is indeed a great product for her skin! Part of her review said “I WAS SO HAPPY WITH THIS. I’m a dark skinned black girl so when someone says bronzer I’m like ‘obviously that will look stupid on me’ but it looks amazing! I look glowy but not like I put anything on my skin.” I was so lucky to read that review since sadly so many products are made for only certain skin tones or don’t note that they work on all skin tones (like BB cream… which I would love to try but they don’t make it in darker tones, womp womp). This isn’t my first time hearing about black women and bronzer. My fave beauty blogger Patricia Bright (formerly BritPopPrincess) once mentioned how she loves to use an argon oil bronzer on her skin during the gray winters of London, where she lives.

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This was actually made February 25th (Fe 25), how cool, it really is freshmade!

In all I love both products and I can’t wait to put the black stockings on my legs and arms once it’s warm enough for clothes that show them off. Yay for vegan beauty!

Note: obviously I wasn’t compensated and bought this stuff on my own. No one reads this blog anyway and if people do, my audience is probably myself and my 3 other vegan friends.

Results on Tone It Up 5 Day Slim Down and next steps

I wrote a long post about this and logged into my account the next day and it was gone! WORDPRESS YOU ARE LETTING ME DOWN!

This sucks so much and it’s not the first time :( I want to blog and talk about cool things and life and happiness and fitness but this system is letting me down. I also want to draft posts in advance then publish them later. Well I guess the best option is to just start writing in a Word document.

Anyway enough venting. Just going to quickly say that the 5 Day Slim down was awesome! I got to eat a lot of food, all clean eating, and everything was so guided. Next step is to keep it up and follow the rest of the TIU lifestyle. Tomorrow I plan to wake up early, do some toning workouts as part of the “booty call workout” which is the early morning workout they recommend to revv up your body and metabolism before the day gets crazy. I try to do toning in the morning and my cardio in the evening, which is sort of he opposite of how it goes but my gym is so crowded that it’s easier to just get in some cardio and a tiny bit of toning there instead of attempting an entire toning routine in the middle of a crowded DC gym.

My results: I lost 2.25 inches off my bust, 2.25 inches off my hips, and 1/2 and inch off my hips. I’m pear shaped so it’s harder to lose weight off my hips. I also lost 5 pounds! My clothes feel a lot more comfortable and I’m excited to finally commit and make more effort with my nutrition and this plan that I invested money into buying.

Tone It Up 5 Day Slim Down and Jumpstarting My Fitness!

A week ago I decided that when I get back from my trip to Arizona (which was amazing!) I will start the Tone It Up 5 Day Slim Down (5DSD) and get focused on getting fit now that I’m finished with physical therapy. The irony is that the trip and the beautiful warm weather (and the eventually hot weather that will follow in a few months) is exactly what geared me up to reach some of my ultimate goals.

The heat and concept of wearing summer clothes year round is a huge inspiration since I am always motivated by how good I look in clothes. And oh man, if I reach my goals, then I will have sooo many awesome new clothes I’ll need to buy, wooohoo! I honestly had the happiest feeling when I dropped weight the first time, and looking good in the clothes I have now is definitely step one since some of them have gotten tight in these winter months. Especially looking great in my favorite pair of jeans (they tweak the design a little each year, so mine are a little different) that are honestly a gift to women’s bodies everywhere and are actually affordable.

Tone It Up 5 Day Slim Down (5DSD)

I’ve been following Karena and Katrina of Tone It Up (TIU) since 2010 but all these years I’ve never fully subscribed to everything because after losing weight on my own I thought I could just keep doing it on my own. Even a year ago I bought the nutrition plan (they have a regular, vegan, and gluten free version, very accommodating) and just kept being extremely stubborn, working out intensely instead of thinking of my diet as much as I should have, which is what TIU does. They way I’ve been eating since starting the 5DSD means I don’t have to go crazy working out for hours anymore. I have way more energy too. The 5DSD includes tons of veggies, fruit, and protein. After I finish this stage I will stick to the TIU diet plan.

I’m currently on day 3 of the 5DSD and I’ve lost 4 pounds, never been hungry. Pretty much a sign of how crappy my diet has been that when I switch to a completely whole food diet I drop all this weight.

Look at all the amazing things I’m eating! My fave is the collard green wrap in the top right, the spicy mustard is the best with the vegan chicken, red onion, and tomato.

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I’m pretty excited about this all so to inspire myself I made a new board on Pinterest full of summer styles I love. Yea I’m pretty much obsessed with clothes in case you didn’t notice. I want to start including some fashion entries on here as well. Here’s a screen shot of my pinning:ImageOne final thing I want to treat myself with is a Maaji swimsuit, they are so avant-garde! As much as I want it, hopefully I can find it on sale.

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