Trying NaNoWriMo (or Kind Of Another Monthly Challenge)

Even though I just shared my monthly challenge, I’ve actually found another one and this one has to be done this month. National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo) is from November 1-30 and even though I missed the beginning of it I’ve decided to see how many days this month I can do it.

I had started working on a book about online dating a while ago, but I haven’t really worked on it much since then. I’ve meant to work on it, but it just hasn’t happened. I have updated things as I’ve had new stories that I knew I wanted to have in the book, but I know that I need to start writing my stories before I forget some of the details. And doing NaNoWriMo seems to be the perfect thing to help motivate me to work on the stories.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That is about 1667 words a day. I don’t really know how that will look in terms of the book I want to work on, but I think that could be some of the stories I have. I was using some old blog posts as ideas and they average about 1000 words. So doing more than a blog post isn’t going to be possible for each story I have to share, but many of them could easily be longer than that. I don’t want to have to hold myself to doing 1667 words a day because I don’t necessarily want to have to do a story and a half in a day, but it’s a good goal to have as an average.

So my idea for NaNoWriMo is to hopefully write one of my stories a day. As of right now, I don’t have 30 stories I want to share but I have to think about things and see if there are more swipe left stories (or guys that I didn’t want to meet) that I could add. There are so many guys that have started chatting with me and then said something that made me never want to talk to them again but I haven’t really thought about putting any of those stories in. All of my swipe left stories are guys that I was going to meet or there was something funny that happened. Sadly, guys that say gross things is a common thing and they don’t each deserve a story.

I have had some friends do NaNoWriMo in the past and they have worked on their books religiously and did accomplish the goal of writing a draft of their book within the month. While I would love to say that I’m going to work on the book every day, I know that it isn’t necessarily going to be possible. I have a feeling that when I’m with my family at Thanksgiving that I might be too busy between working my day job and being with family that I won’t be able to write. But I will have my laptop with me so writing will be possible if I find the time.

While I loved the idea of writing a book when it came to me, it has scared me a bit. It’s almost the same feeling I had when I started this blog and the best way to fix that was to jump right in and not think twice. With the book, since it isn’t being shared as I write I didn’t feel the same pressure to make sure I did it. But having the word count updates on NaNoWriMo should help to create that same pressure that I need to work. And hopefully the more that I work on it the less scary it is to me.

I have no clue what I’d do if I finish the book. So many friends have said I should publish it because my stories are so crazy. I don’t know if I would do that or how to do it, but it’s a fun idea. But I really just want to finish the book so that I can say it’s done and then I can figure out what to do with it. And I’m hoping that my crazy stories will be slowing down so if I have any more stories to add after it’s done that it will be a quick update. I’m guessing what I have to do right now is going to be a majority of the book and that’s a big hill to climb. But I know I can do it.

Are any of you participating in NaNoWriMo? Or have you done it in the past? I’d really love some advice on what helped you because this is a new journey for me and I know that having some tricks or tips can make this easier to accomplish.

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A Disney Birthday! (or Princesses and Awesome Ears)

I love Disneyland and I love birthdays so when those get to be combined it’s so much fun! And this week, I had a fun Disney adventure that was to celebrate my friend Michelle’s birthday! We also wanted one more Disney outing to see the Halloween stuff before it switched over to Christmas decorations, so this was perfect timing.

Since we were going to celebrate Michelle’s birthday, Dani and I tried to do some fun planning. We got her some Peter Pan themed ears and told Michelle to make lunch reservations somewhere fun and festive. Michelle is going to wear the ears we got her another time because this time her outfit was Maleficent themed. We all tried to have cute outfits this day because Michelle had recently added MaxPass to her annual pass which includes Photopass so we can get all the cute photos from Disney photographers!

We had to take advantage of getting fun photos right away. When we got to the parks, we started on the Disneyland side and did a bit of shopping at first so Michelle could get some ears to match her outfit. And then we were over to get some photos with Star Wars characters. When we saw Kylo Ren, there wasn’t a Photopass photographer, but we still got a cute photo.

But there was a photographer when we got to Darth Vader and we got so many photos! I knew they took photos while we were posing, but they also took so many photos while we were interacting with the character. It was fun to look at those photos, but my favorites are still when we posed.

After our photos we went over to Tomorrowland to do Space Mountain, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters (Michelle and I still have our year-long competition with the points on that ride), and Star Tours.

I wish I had a photo from Star Tours too because Michelle ended up being the Rebel Spy that time! I’ve never gotten to be on the ride when someone in my group was the Rebel Spy and I’m sad I didn’t think to have my phone out to take a photo when she was on the screen. Oh well. Hopefully that will happen again and I’ll remember!

After those rides, we headed over to California Adventure since our lunch reservation was over there. We had some time before lunch so we went on Soarin’ Around The World and then walked over to Ariel’s Grotto. I had never had lunch there before (they also do breakfast) and I was impressed by the decor and the view when we got inside.

When you walk downstairs to the dining area, you first take a photo with Ariel. We thought we could use the Photopass for that photo, but it isn’t part of that and we didn’t want to spend $30 on the photo. But we did take advantage of all the princesses that walked around during lunch and got photos with them. The only negative was that there wasn’t a photographer walking with the princesses so most of our photos ended up being selfies.

The food at Ariel’s Grotto is a prix fixe meal. You get soup or salad, a choice of entrée, and then a dessert selection.

I went with the crab chowder and the tri-tip and those along with the dessert were really good!

And we made sure that they knew it was Michelle’s birthday so she also got a cupcake with a candle in it along with her desserts.

After so much food, we wanted our stomachs to settle a bit before riding anything too intense so we went on The Little Mermaid ride and then went to the Animation Academy to do some artwork (I’m finally getting better at drawing circles).

Then it was time to ride Guardians After Dark. Since this was a Halloween offering we wanted to make sure we got to ride it again, and Dani hadn’t had a chance to check it out yet. We didn’t get to do the Guardians ride during the day, but I’m sure we’ll do that next time we are there. But the nighttime Halloween version is fun so I’m glad we did it.

After that ride, California Adventure was closing and we were going to go back to the Disneyland side. But we were taking our time and did some shopping and discovered something amazing in one of the stores. Disneyland now sells ears that have changeable bows! So you can have one set of the ears headband but change up what character it represents! I loved that idea and so did Dani and Michelle. All of us ended up buying ears and a second bow. I kept mine with the original bow, but I liked it that way too!

We then headed back into Disneyland to ride the Jungle Cruise since it’s so much fun to ride that when it’s dark out. But as we walked over, it started to drizzle/mist rain. It was so weird and none of us thought it was going to rain that day. But fortunately, the boats on the Jungle Cruise have canvas on top so we were protected from the rain.

And after that ride, we all felt like we were done for the day. But we decided to try to get a cute photo of all of us with our new ears and there was no line for the Photopass photographer in front of the castle! There is always a big line there but maybe the rain scared people away? But within minutes we were taking a bunch of photos in front of the castle. And I love how the rain almost looks like glitter in the photo!

It was a nice full day at Disneyland and we didn’t feel rushed around at all. And some of the Christmas decorations were already up when we were there. But I know we’ll be back at least once or twice to see all of those holiday decorations. But I was just glad that we got to see all the Halloween stuff one more time and got to celebrate another birthday at Disneyland. I never get to celebrate my birthday there since it’s during my pass blackout, but now I’m thinking I should celebrate my half birthday there next year!

Another Attempt At Mindfulness (or I Think I Need To Work On This Until I Figure It Out)

I’ve tried to work on mindfulness multiple times and it has never seemed to stick with me. But it keeps coming up in my life and I feel like that is a sign of something. So I’ve been inspired to try mindfulness again and the timing is perfect since it’s time for another monthly challenge! But first, time to recap last month’s challenge.

Last month, I challenged myself to work on doing daily speed cleaning. Ideally, I would spend 5-10 minutes a month focused on a small space in my house to clean and organize it. I wanted to do this because I had felt like my cleaning was getting overwhelming and I didn’t know where to start. So I wanted to take away the pressure from doing a big cleaning in my house because that seemed to be what was stopping me. I set an alarm to work on this each day and I tried my best to do what I could.

I wasn’t totally successful with this, but it went better than I thought it would. There were several days that I couldn’t do cleaning because either I was gone all day (like during the Convention) or I had no energy because I was sick. But when things like that weren’t stopping me, I really did accomplish a lot. And by telling myself I only had to do one small cleaning thing allowed me to just do it and not worry about not having time to finish it. There were some times that I did a really small cleaning job like using a new multi-hook hanger to put all my tank tops in one spot (it also saves room in my closet). And then there were other times where my small cleaning job ended up getting me motivated to do a bigger cleaning job. But it has gotten me into the habit of spending a bit of time every day working on this so that I don’t feel overwhelmed again.

Last month went well and I’m really hoping this month will too. Mindfulness has been a struggle for me each time I’ve tried to work on it. I’ve found little things that have worked, but they aren’t enough. I want to be more aware of so much in my life. This isn’t just a food thing because there are days where it seems like the entire day slipped away without me knowing what happened. I want to avoid days in a fog like that if possible.

The book that I’m reading as my 10 pages of a recovery based book right now is all about eating mindfully. I actually wish I had read this book when I first started trying to be more mindful because it’s pretty great. Each section has a lesson along with some action steps to take. And so many of these action steps are things that I haven’t done before or thought of doing before. I actually think I need to go back and start reading from the beginning to take notes on things because I haven’t been doing that. And that is part of my challenge for this month.

I want to go through the book again and other resources I can find and start finding action steps to take to work toward mindfulness. Maybe the reason why it has failed to stick with me before is because mindfulness is more of an idea and less of something I can do. If I had steps to take and work with, that would probably be better for me. I need something tangible or to check off on a list to work with and I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this before.

This month’s challenge won’t necessarily be about putting mindfulness into practice right away. I’ve tried that a bunch and it hasn’t worked. But instead, this challenge is going to be about researching action steps and ideas to put into use over time. I want to devote time every day to re-reading the book I’ve been reading as well as looking online or in other reference books to make a list that I can use moving forward. I want to make mindfulness work for me and it’s not something that I can just turn on right away. I need to work toward it and I have failed at doing that before. Because other challenges have come to me so easily, I assumed that this one would too. But I am learning and have realized what I hope will be the missing step to be able to implement this into my life in the long-term.

I know that this seems like a much more passive monthly challenge than others have been, but this is what I think I need to focus on this month. And there are only so many things I can add to my life with these monthly challenges, so having one that is more of a reflective thing is probably going to help me not get burned out on them. And I totally don’t want to experience burn out because I just got my 2018 Volt Planner so there will be another year of monthly challenges next year!

Halloween Awesomeness (or I Am Covfefe)

The Halloween party that my friends Marie and Chris throw was this past weekend. As it is with all of their parties, I knew that they would be doing some amazing decorations around their house and I couldn’t want to see what it was going to be. They had been sharing about how hard they had been working on decorations but weren’t giving any clues on what the theme was. So I had no idea what I was in for.

As far as my costume goes, I tend to be a bit lazy with costumes. I wish I was better at them, but it’s just not something that I’m creative with. So when a friend jokingly suggested I could go as covfefe by just wearing a “Hello my name is” name tag, I totally went for it!

I made extra name tags and was thinking that I would be sticking them on other people, on beer bottles, and other things like that. It was a super easy costume, but everyone who saw it seemed to think it was pretty funny.

But while my costume was low-key, the party was anything but! Marie and Chris really outdid themselves this year and they turned their house and backyard into all things Indiana Jones!

And of course, they dressed to fit the theme of the house.

They’ve done some amazing things with decorations before, but this was beyond what any of us expected. I loved the sacrifice pit that was in the middle of their yard.

But I think the greatest thing they made for the party was the golden idol room they had on the side of their yard.

Between the backdrop and the amazing painting work they did and the props that were in the room, this was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve seen! And we all were taking so many photos in there because of how awesome it looked (plus it had some really great lighting).

And I loved getting to see all the creative costumes that my friends did. Everyone always has really fun costumes and this year there seemed to be a lot of family/couple themed costumes. Of course, seeing little kids is costumes is just so cute! But I loved the couples costumes too because they were all really fun and clever. I’m glad that I go into the party not expecting to win the costume contest because the competition is stiff!

But the reason I go to the parties (besides the incredible decorations and awesome costumes) is getting to spend time with amazing friends. And there were so many amazing people at the party. I was able to get there toward the earlier side of things so I got to see a lot of people who had kids but had to leave early to get their kids to bed. But I also stayed later than I normally do so I saw some of the late arrivals too. There were a few people who arrived after I left, but I think I got to see almost everyone that I wanted to.

Some of us took some time to watch the World Series. It was fun because some of the people at the party are die-hard Dodgers fans but there are a lot of people there from Houston so they were rooting for the Astros. But it was all in good fun and I think pretty much everyone was happy to see that the Dodgers won the game that night. And the home run they got toward the end of the game was pretty impressive!

I really tried to be as social as possible at the party. But I had been up since 7am since I worked that morning plus I had a Hell Week workout that afternoon. I was hoping to get a nap in between my workout and the party but that didn’t happen. So I was a bit tired and run down. But it seemed like a lot of people there were feeling a bit low-key too so a lot of the time we were sitting around and talking. There was so much catching up to do at the party and we got the time to do that.

As with all of the parties that Marie and Chris do, I had the best time! They put so much effort into their parties and making sure that we all have so much fun. And we all do! I think their next party will be New Years Eve and I’m already looking forward to it!

Welcome To Hell (or Pushing Myself Even More)

This past week of workouts was the beginning of Hell Week. Today is actually the last Hell Week workout for me so I can earn my free shirt, but I did 4 of the 5 workouts I need to earn that shirt this past week. And because Hell Week was going from Tuesday to Tuesday, I ended up doing my first ever 5 workout week in order to get in the workouts I needed!

Monday was my only non-Hell Week workout. It was a mix of power and strength and it was a 3 group class. Because I knew that I’d be doing 4 Hell Week workouts that week and this was the beginning of 3 workouts in a row, I knew it was in my best interest to walk all the treadmill work. We had 2 blocks on the treadmill. The first block was longer pushes that I did at 6, 8, and 10% incline. The second block started with 30 second intervals and ended with 45 second intervals. But that second block was a bit tough so I ended up doing everything at 6% incline instead of working on my inclines like I did for the first block.

The floor had a very interesting first block. It was one long move that included bicep curls, squats, shoulder presses, and lunges in a fluid motion. So instead of doing a set of each thing before moving on, it was just one long movement. I was surprised that I didn’t find this as difficult as I thought it would be. Something about the order of the movements and continuously going helped me and it felt kind of badass to be doing it! The second block was more of a normal format with squats, row work with weights and straps, and mountain climbers. And on the rower the first block was 500 meter rows with lunges between each set and the second block was 250 meter rows were we worked on stroke counts.

Tuesday was day 1 of Hell Week and the name of the workout was Don’t Fear The Burpees. While the burpees were bad, it seems like the rower is what I needed to be scared of that day. I had run into one of my coaches in the parking garage before the workout and he recommended that I start on the rower instead of the treadmill for this workout. And I’m so glad I listened. On the rower, we had 3 rounds of 6.5 minute rows for distance. The first 2 rounds were coached where we were told when to do base, push, or all out paces on the rower. And the last round was on our own and just trying to get the best distance possible. Round 1 I got 1335 meters, round 2 I got 1354 meters, and round 3 I got 1372 meters so I was very happy to have made improvement with each endurance row.

After doing all that rowing, I was very nervous about the treadmill workout which had all the burpees in it. My legs felt like jello and I knew that I had to walk on the treadmill. The fact that I walked at my normal power walking speed was a victory enough for me because I was feeling so tired. The treadmill segments were all pretty short and after each segment we headed to the floor to work on burpees. There were 4 types of burpees we had to do and each round we did more of each type. I only made it to the third round because I was taking a lot of breaks. But I was still glad I did the rowing first because I don’t think I would have done any better if I had done things in the opposite order.

Wednesday’s Hell Week workout was called Don’t Breathe. This was originally going to be another walking day for me since this was my 3rd workout in a row, but as soon as I saw what the workout would be I decided to work on running. The first block on the treadmill was 8 rounds of 30 second all out paces followed by 30 second walking recovery. I was able to do all 8 of those at 5mph. The next block was 5 rounds of 45 second all out paces followed by 45 second walking recovery. And the last block was 3 rounds of 1 minute all out paces with 1 minute of walking recovery. And we ended with a 90 second all out. For the second and third block, I did all the running at my normal push pace of 4.5mph. But to do that much running felt awesome and I was so glad that I was there for that workout!

The floor was 1 long block with progressive work. Every round started with the same 3 things (bicep curls, tricep work, and rows on the straps) and each round we added one more core movement to the end of that. The core work included bicycle crunches, regular crunches, heel taps, and hip dips. Also, each round we had increased the number of reps we had with the first 3 moves of the round. We started at 10 reps and the last round was 25 reps. It didn’t seem too bad in the beginning, but at the end it was very difficult to do 25 bicep curls or rows on the straps. While this wasn’t the hardest Hell Week workout, it was still tough and I pushed myself a bit more than I normally would.

Friday’s workout was called 28 Reps Later. I wanted to run, but I was dealing with a bit of lack of sleep and just wasn’t feeling like I could. The treadmill work was all runs for distance which I usually love for running but this day was just something I had to get through. We had a 3, 4, 5, and 6 minute run for distance and I really didn’t focus too much on the distances I was getting. But I did try to play with both incline and speed with my walking. So when we were doing longer pushes, I would first increase my speed from 3.5 to 3.6mph and the next minute I would bring the speed back down but increase my incline. It was something different from what I normally do and it helped to make the distance runs more interesting since I wasn’t focused on the distance.

The floor work is where the name for the workout came from. We had a slightly different format where we did 28 reps of one thing before going to the rower to do a 280 meter row. Then we’d come back to the floor and do 28 reps of another thing and did the rower. So it felt a bit long since there wasn’t any variety in the floor work between each row, but I tried to break things down in my head so I wasn’t just waiting to get to 28 reps. The moves on the floor includes walk outs to push ups, lunges, side plank crunches, and pop jacks. My rowing wasn’t anything great and I was almost using it as recovery time after doing so many reps on the floor.

And Saturday was my first time having a 5th workout in a week! I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it, but I’m so glad I did. I had to take it easy because I was dealing with a bit of hip pain that day, but that was ok because it was a 3 group workout. This one was called Thighday The 13th and I really felt like my thighs were on fire. Every section had 2 blocks and I started on the treadmill. The first block was rounds of 90 second push paces with inclines. The idea was to get to 13%, but I was keeping it at 6 and 8%. And the second block was rounds of 45 seconds at 13% incline and then we went behind our treadmills where we did 13 goblet squats and then 13 normal squats. For this block, I did have the treadmill at 13% since it was only for 45 seconds but I decreased my speed a bit.

On the floor, the first block started with hop overs and then had skier swings, tricep work, and push ups. The second block was mountain climbers, squats, froggers, and lateral raises. I felt pretty good on the floor and it didn’t seem too tough for me, but that could be that I wasn’t feeling as tired from the treadmill work. And the rower was kind of the opposite of the treadmill. The first block was either 130 or 260 meter rows with 13 goblet squats and 13 regular squats after each row. And the second block was 90 second rows for distance. We had 3 rounds of those and I got 315, 325, and 349 meters on those. I was very happy to get better with each row even though I was getting more tired each row.

By the time you are reading this, I’m probably done with my workout today so I got my Hell Week shirt! But to know that I did my first 5 workout week this past week was almost a bigger victory. It wasn’t that long ago that a 4 workout week seemed to be impossible and that is now the norm for me. I don’t think a 5 workout week will become the norm for me, but I’m not saying never. But to prove to myself that I am stronger than I thought I could be is exactly what Hell Week is all about. And to not only do those workouts successfully but to do more workouts in a week than I ever have is the best thing ever!

Stock The Crock (or I Hope This Gets Me Back On Track With Cooking)

As much as I want to be an awesome cook, it’s something that has been very difficult for me to get into. It’s always tough to cook when it’s just for you because you know you’ll have a bunch of leftovers for a while. Also, I hate buying a ton of ingredients for just one meal and it seems like many recipes call for things that I just don’t have at my house all the time. But I’m trying to be better about cooking especially since I can use my slow cooker on days that I’m not going to the gym after I’m done with work.

So when I was offered a chance to get a copy of “Stock The Crock” I immediately said yes!

I’ve gotten a few slow cooker cookbooks since I got my slow cooker, but this is the one I wish I had gotten first! So many of the cookbooks I have involve too many ingredients or they require you to cook things before putting them into the slow cooker (I’ll admit, I’m lazy). But this one has an amazing mix of recipes that are simple and basic (but not boring) and the more involved recipes that I haven’t really been doing yet.

When I was looking through the cookbook, everything looked great to me. But one recipe stood out. It was the recipe for chicken with salsa.

This is a basic recipe, but that’s what caught my attention. This really only requires 2 ingredients; chicken and salsa.

The original recipe called for chicken thighs, but they were much more expensive at the store so I used chicken breasts instead. But what’s awesome about “Stock The Crock” is that there is a section for substitutions at the bottom. There are a bunch of different options for how you can change the recipe to fit different dietary restrictions or tastes. And it gives the directions on how to use those substitutions so you don’t have to worry about what to do.

I’m aware that I’m a bit skittish when it comes to cooking. I’ve tried some recipes that sounded delicious and ended up pretty much going immediately to the trash. But most of the time, that happens when the recipes are too complicated or need me to use ingredients I’m not used to using. But since salsa and chicken are both things I’m familiar with, I was excited to try this recipe.

It couldn’t have been easier. Put the chicken in the slow cooker and cover it with a jar of salsa. Then set it on low for about 4 hours (it was a bit faster with the chicken breasts). Once it’s done, shred the chicken and you can use it however you’d like. I decided to make a bowl with rice, some pico de gallo, cheese, greek yogurt (I use that instead of sour cream in most things) and avocado. It was the perfect dinner bowl!

And I have a ton of leftover chicken to use for more bowls or other things. I might see what else I can do with shredded chicken so I don’t waste any of it.

I’ve said this before, but each time I successfully make something I gain more cooking confidence. I don’t know how long it will take before I feel totally comfortable trying to cook new things from time to time, but I have a feeling that this cookbook is going to be a big part of that journey. Even the more complicated recipes are on the easier side. And if they are too complicated, there are enough modifications I can make to make it something that I can do and not need to buy too much stuff.

But I’ve also been inspired by some of the recipes in the cookbook to try some more ambitious things. I know that you can bake using your slow cooker and there are some recipes that I might want to see if I can do it. And getting this cookbook reminded me of how I should be using my slow cooker more often. I don’t think about using it as often as I should because it always seemed like slow cooker recipes were big deals. But this has reminded me that I can make simple and delicious meals. And this is the perfect way to cook when it’s too hot to think about using any other appliances.

I’m so grateful that I was given a copy of “Stock The Crock” because I have a feeling that I will be using it all the time. I have so many cookbooks that only have one or two recipes that I want to try and they just take up space. But this one has inspired me to try lots of new things and I’m getting excited about trying out each recipe and seeing what becomes new favorites of mine!

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I Hate Complaining About The Heat (or Can It Be Fall Now?)

If you don’t live in LA, you might not know we are going through a pretty bad heat wave right now. It’s hopefully going to end soon, but it’s been miserable. I know that we have had some heat waves in October in the past, but this is much worse than normal. It has been hotter now than it was over the summer when we had heat waves. Just the other day, this was the temperature by my house (where it rarely gets to 100 degrees).

I know that I’m luckier than others. I do have a little window a/c unit that I can use. And my a/c is pretty energy-efficient so when I use it my electricity bill doesn’t double or triple like some a/c units do for my friends. But even though it isn’t expensive to run, I try to limit how often I run it because I don’t want to get dependent on it and use it more than I can afford. But it’s nice to now that I have it there so that I’m not dealing with nights where it is still over 90 degrees inside my house when I’m trying to sleep.

Over the past few days, I’ve had just fans on for the first part of the day and then when I get home from a workout or whatever I did that afternoon I have to run my a/c until I go to bed. Then I can usually get my house down to a reasonable temperature to sleep in. But it’s still not fun to be stuck in the heat, especially when it heats up my computer while I’m working too. I haven’t resorted to sitting on ice packs like I did in the past, but I’m getting pretty close to that. I also got these cooling towels over the summer to help me sleep when it was too hot inside my house at nighttime. I have been using those around my neck or on my back while working to keep things more comfortable.

I really hope that it cools down soon. I want to feel more comfortable in my house and I hate what the heat does to my body. I’ve been working hard at getting things back on track but now it’s tough to tell if it’s working or not. All of my clothes feel way too tight on me but I know that my body is swollen from heat because nothing fits including shoes (which isn’t affected by weight loss or gain for me). Fortunately, workout clothes have a lot of stretch in them so I’ve been wearing those a lot. But I want to know that my efforts to get things back to how they should be are working and the best way to tell that is how my clothes feel on me. And having everything feel too tight does mess with my head a bit.

I’m sure it’s annoying to complain about the heat. But honestly that is occupying a lot of my mind right now. There are other things that have been bugging or annoying me, and having it be ridiculously hot doesn’t make things any better. But I am trying to make the best of things right now. I’m grateful for my workouts because there is really great a/c at Orangetheory. And it does motivate me to get out of my house more to relax somewhere else. It’s nice to have something breaking up the day when I have been working from home for 7 hours. I hate staying home all day so a post-work errand or adventure is good and now it has the added bonus of hopefully being a place that is cooler than my house.

I do wonder if the heat is really that bad or my negative attitude about other things is making is worse. Either way, it’s not fun and I keep checking the weather report to see when things will be getting better. If things are accurate, today will be about 20 degrees cooler than yesterday (but it will still be warm) and it will drop another 20 degrees by next week. To have it go down 40 degrees in a week is proof on how hot it is right now!

So for now, I’m just going to keep working and doing what I’m doing since there really isn’t anything that I can do to fix this. And before I know it, I hope that I’ll be complaining about how cold it is. Although I do prefer that sometimes since I can always add more clothes to warm up.

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This Might Be A Breakthrough For Me (or Trying To Believe I’m Not Unloveable)

I’ve talked about how in my past I’ve had someone who told me how I was unloveable. They tried to convince me that nobody would ever want to be with me and that anyone who claims to love me is lying to get something out of me. They tried to tell me how my friends didn’t love me and that my family was embarrassed by me. They told me the only way to change this was to stop being fat because being fat was being a 3rd class citizen. This didn’t cause my eating disorder (I had that for years before this conversation) but it didn’t help either.

As much as I wanted to not believe what they told me, I couldn’t get the idea of being unloveable out of my head. And the fact that I had really bad luck dating reinforced this and made me believe it more. I have been cheated on several times and that made me think that I wasn’t worthy of being the only person that someone wants to be with. I have tolerated not being treated the way I should be treated. And I allowed this to happy to me because I really did think that I wasn’t worthy of something better.

I know that I am worthy and lovable but it’s tough to believe that sometimes. Even with all the luck I’ve had lately with online dating, I still don’t believe that maybe someone will like me for me right now. And because of that, I have noticed that I am putting up with things that I shouldn’t have to. I am trying to be more open-minded about things, but being open-minded doesn’t have to mean lowering my standards. And I have noticed lately that I’ve been tolerating things I shouldn’t have to and I don’t want to put up with that anymore.

There is one particular guy that I’ve been seeing very casually for a little while. I hadn’t mentioned it really on here because we weren’t serious and I was still going out with other guys since I didn’t know where this would be going. I’m not a fan of casual dating because I like to know what is happening, but again I’ve been trying to be open-minded and didn’t feel like I needed to rush or push things. So we had been seeing each other on and off for a little while and it was going fine for a while.

But then things changed. He seemed to be flaking on me and then reappearing like nothing happened. I think if you are texting someone every day for a while and then you don’t text for a week or two you should probably apologize. But he didn’t and I didn’t want to push anything so I never really asked about it. I gave him another chance and he did it again. And again I thought that maybe I would give him another chance because I didn’t want to end something that was fun.

I’ve never been the person to end a relationship. Even when I was cheated on, it was more of a mutual decision than me ending things. And I’m sure that a part of the reason why I’ve never been the person to end things is because I’m terrified that the person I’m going to end things with is the last person who would want me. I don’t want to end something and risk being alone the rest of my life. I know how crazy that sounds, but that’s really how I was thinking.

But with this guy, I knew that I was pretty much done with him. I understand casual dating doesn’t mean you hear from them every day, but that doesn’t mean you can be a flake or fail to follow through with plans you have been making. So I decided to end things with him. But even though I knew that is what I wanted to do, I couldn’t get the courage to do it. I didn’t want to just send a random text to him saying that I thought we should both move on. So I waited for him to send me another text so I would have something to reply to.

It took about a week between when I had decided I wanted to text him and when he texted me next. And he texted me to ask what I was up to for the weekend and I was honest. I told him that I had fun seeing him but that I thought that this thing had run its course and ended. I was shaking when I sent the text because I couldn’t get the voices out of my head. But when he texted me back, I knew it was the right choice. Because his text back to me was something about how he was busy watching football. Not really the response I was expecting and I don’t think he actually looked at what I sent to him. About 3 hours after he responded, he responded again asking what I was doing for the weekend. And I sent my text back to him saying how I thought we shouldn’t see each other again. That was a few days ago and I haven’t gotten another text from him.

I still feel terrified that I will never find another guy to go out with, but I’m trying to keep those thoughts quiet compared to what I know is true. I am lovable and I will find someone who treats me the way I deserve to be treated. I don’t have to tolerate something that isn’t right because of a fear of being alone.

I really feel like this was a huge breakthrough in my life to prove that I am worthy of things that I want. I don’t have to settle in any sense of my life. And I’m hoping that this breakthrough will have the potential to lead to more breakthroughs in other parts of my life where I know that I haven’t felt worthy before. I need to get that voice out of my head telling me that I don’t deserve things because that was just one person’s opinion of me and not the truth.

Time For A Spa Day (or This Is Exactly What I Needed To Do)

A friend of mine is taking some time off from their job right now and she posted online that they were looking for some fun ways to spend the time off. She was looking for people who work non-traditional hours who maybe wanted to hang out and help her fill her time away from work with awesome stuff. And since I work non-traditional hours, I immediately sent her a message saying that I typically have Mondays free. So we made a plan to get together this week on Monday and it was such an amazing day!

The main reason my friend is taking time away from work is because they have dealt with some medical issues lately and needed to relax and take some time for herself. So I was thinking of some fun things we could do and I remembered that I have a bunch of day passes to Burke Williams from various swag bags! And since my friend lives in the valley we decided to go to the location in Sherman Oaks. So this was the 4th Burke Williams location I’ve been to!

Our plan wasn’t to get any treatments (I don’t have the money for that right now), but having a day pass to the spa is pretty great too. And my friend had never been to a Burke Williams before so I was so excited to share it with her.

We arrived around noon and since we didn’t have any appointments we were able to take our time doing whatever we wanted in the women’s spa section. So after we got changed and into our spa clothes (I just bring a bathing suit with me), we immediately headed to the hot tub for some relaxation. Since it was a weekday, we pretty much had the place to ourselves which was pretty awesome. So we just soaked in the hot tub and enjoyed spa water and the cool wash cloths that they had there.

After a little while, we were getting a bit warm so we went into the misting room which is basically like a cool steam room. It felt so nice to be in there! It was a really hot day (over 100 degrees outside) so being in a nice cool room felt great. I think we were in there the longest. And once we were nice and cool, we went back to where the steam room and sauna were. We decided to skip the steam room and went into the sauna. It was so hot (we joked how it felt similar to what it felt like outside) so we only lasted in there for a few minutes.

Then it was back to the hot tub for some more soaking before we decided we were ready to leave. We were there for over an hour which is a pretty decent amount of time to sit and relax. We ended up in the sauna one more time because we used it as a way to dry off after rinsing off (I took a shower so I wouldn’t smell like chlorine). It was a really smart idea and I was able to get my bathing suit much drier than I would have without the sauna.

After our spa time, we were both feeling a bit hungry. And the mall that Burke Williams is located in also has a Cheesecake Factory so we decided to stop there for a late lunch.

We didn’t get any cheesecake, but the food is still good. I got my usual salad that I almost always get there and it felt like the perfect post-spa meal. And getting time to hang out with an awesome friend and just be silly and gossip was exactly what I needed to do. Things have been a bit more stressful for me than I would like and I know that a lot of that stress is coming from me. But having an afternoon where the focus was on just relaxing really helped. I felt so separated from my regular life and stress while we were at the spa and after we left I was happy that the stress didn’t come back the way I thought it might.

While some of my stress is gone, not all of it is. But the good thing about the stress that is left is that I seem to have a bit more clarity on some things. Maybe I just needed a break from my normal life to step away and figure out what I need to do. I’m so glad that my friend needed some fun things to do this week because it gave me the perfect excuse to do a fun thing for myself and not feel any guilt about it. I was being lazy and relaxing at the spa, but I was also hanging out with an awesome friend and feeling like I was taking time for myself without worrying if I should be doing it or not.

I’ve got a few more spa passes left, so I’m hoping that I’ll be able to make it to the spa again soon. And I want to get another facial from my friend Michelle so that would be an opportunity to go to the spa but not have to use one of my passes. I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to make it back, but it’s something in my head now that I know I need to do more often for my mental health.

Feeling More Back To Normal (or A Good Week Of Hell Week Prep)

After having weird workout weeks the past few weeks, I’m happy that this past week was almost back to normal for me. I’m finally feeling almost better from this cold that I’ve had for a few weeks and I was able to push myself more in my workouts. It wasn’t always back to what I know I can do, but it was much more normal. And that’s good because this week is going to be a crazy workout week (but more on that in next week’s post).

Monday’s workout was a power workout. Normally I would work on my running, but I wasn’t feeling ready to get back to running that day. But I was finally back at my normal treadmill speed for power walking. It still felt a bit fast to be back at that speed, but it was something I could do for the shorter segments that we had on the treadmill. Everything on the treadmill was a push pace to an all out pace and the longest segment was 2 minutes total. All of the all out paces were 30 seconds long and the push paces varied. While I wished I had been able to run, I was just so happy to be back at my normal treadmill speed.

The floor work was 2 blocks. The first block was push ups, chest presses, and single arm snatches. And the second block was pull ups on the straps, skaters, plank work, and crunches. Most of the floor work was uneventful for me (which was actually a good thing because it meant I was back to normal), but my skaters were significantly better than they ever have been. I had much better balance than I could remember and I was able to jump to the side further. I have no idea how that got better, but it was pretty exciting. And on the rower we had 2 blocks. The first block was decreasing rows with squats between each round and the second block was increasing rows with lunges between each round.

Wednesday was the workout that made me feel the most like myself this past week. It was an endurance run/row day and the run/row started with a 1 mile run. I know that I’ve run for a mile without stopping before, but I hadn’t really done any running for a few weeks so I didn’t want to push it that much. But I still wanted to push myself so I decided to go for longer intervals that I normally do. I did 3 minutes of running and then 1 minute of walking. Sometimes the 3 minutes were tough to get through, but I just tried to zone out and not think about it too much. I increased the speed for the last minute because I really wanted to see how fast I could get the mile done in. I had a goal originally of just being under 14 minutes, but I ended up beating that by quite a bit.

It wasn’t my best mile time, but it was one of the better ones I’ve had. After the mile run, I went to the rower for a 400 meter row. Then I was back on the treadmill where I was going to do the rest of the run segments as a power walk. I was only partially through that run segment when time was called to switch to the floor. I know that I would have gotten further through the run/row if I had power walked the first segment (it would have only been .5 miles instead of a full mile), but knowing that I was able to run like that again was worth the limited run/row work I did.

The floor was 3 blocks that all had a focus on shoulder work. That was nice after my legs were feeling pretty tired from the run/row. The first block was front raises, triceps, and biceps on the straps. The second block was ground to press with weights, plank leg raises, and tricep work on the straps. And the last block was strap Ys, strap roll outs, and crunches.

Friday was a power day, but it felt like an endurance day to me. So I didn’t do any running on the treadmill even though I probably could have done some. The treadmill work had 3 blocks. The first block and second block were similar with a 3 minute push pace to an all out pace plus a stand alone all out pace. Because it was a longer push to all out pace, I knew walking would be the best option for me. But again I was back to my normal treadmill speed and inclines so I was happy with that compared to the slow treadmill work I had been doing the week before. The last block on the treadmill was all shorter push to all out paces and I probably should have tried to run those. Something was holding me back, but I think it was just a mental block.

On the floor, we had a mix of floor work and rowing. The first block was on the floor and had goblet squats and single arm swings. Most of the time I will do both of those moves with a 20lb weight, but this time I pushed myself and used a 25lb weight. The second block was on the rowers where we had 200 meter rows with squats using the medicine ball in between each row. The goal was to get faster each time we rowed, and I managed to take about a second off each time I did a 200 meter row. And the last block was strap rows, squats, and plank work. While I left that workout regretting not working on my running, using heavier weights made up for that in my mind.

And I made it to my Saturday workout so I was back to my 4 workout week! This workout was a mix of endurance, strength, and power. I started on the treadmill where we had 2 blocks. The first block had a 3 minute push pace, a 90 second push pace, and a 30 second all out pace. I ended up walking all of these because I was feeling a bit off when I started the workout. Fortunately, by the second treadmill block I was feeling more like myself because it ended up a good block to do some running. For that block we had a 30 second all out pace and after we did that we did frogger squats. After the squats, we went back to the treadmill for another 30 second all out pace but we increased the incline by 1%. In that block, I was able to run a 30 second all out pace at 1%, 2%, 3%, and 4%. I rarely run on inclines but 30 seconds is short enough to feel ok doing it.

After the treadmill, my group moved to the floor. On the floor we started with strap work, lunges with uppercuts using weights, and ab work. And on the next block we had chest presses, triceps, and walk outs to plank jacks. The floor work was a bit tough for me, but I used heavier weights than normal for my chest press and triceps so that might have been making things difficult. And finally I was on the rower where we had decreasing rows with squats between each round and timed rows at the end.

I’m glad that I got back to my 4 workout week. I needed this sense of normalcy back in my life. And it’s still crazy to me to think that having a good workout schedule gives me a sense of normalcy. This week and the beginning of next week will be Hell Week and I’m as ready as I can be for it! But it’s not only Hell Week, this week will be my first attempt at a 5 workout week and next week I will be hitting a milestone workout. But that will all be shared soon.