Tag Archives: scheduling

Adding Gadgets To My House (or Tools To Help Me Out)

While I’m trying to cut back on my spending and bringing more things into my house, sometimes you need to break that rule to make things better. It’s a hard balance to figure out because I’m sure I can justify spending for stuff I really don’t need. So I’m trying to be very picky and making sure that it’s something that I really need and not just something that I want. But there were two gadgets that fit into that rule that I ended up buying this week.

The first thing I got was a lamination machine for my house. Usually when I need to laminate stuff, I go to Staples and pay to get it done. I normally only need one thing or one page so it never seemed worth it to me to have my own lamination machine. But my mom has had one for a while and loved it, so when I was thinking about getting stuff laminated this week I looked into buying one for myself.

I did manage to find one that was heavily discounted on Amazon that would arrive that day at my house (thanks Amazon Prime)! And it was perfect because I have been working on my meal planning and wanted to create a nice reusable meal planning guide.

The machine I got is really easy to use and it came with a bunch of the laminating pages so I don’t need to buy any for a little bit. And I have been able to use the meal planning page I created each day (although I’m still trying to figure out how I can write on this without ruining it). And it’s small enough that it fits into a shelf on my desk so it is out of the way when I am not going to be using it.

The other new gadget I got this week also has to do a bit with my challenge to work on meal planning. I’ve thought for a long time that my kitchen was perfectly set up for me to cook, but I’m aware that I set it up based on what most people need and not what I need. I’m a pretty decent cook and my knife skills are ok, but when I have to cut up a bunch of stuff I’m not so great at it. So I have been looking casually at ideas to make chopping stuff easier and decided I needed to invest in a new cooking gadget. So I went out and got the Vidalia Chop Wizard.

I got it yesterday and used it last night to cook dinner. I made meatloaf muffins and this was perfect for chopping the onions and mushrooms I use it in. It was so much easier than chopping things by hand and everything was uniform so I didn’t bit into a huge piece of onion while eating dinner. I know that this can be used for a ton of stuff and I have a feeling that I will be discovering ways to use it on a regular basis.

And besides the new stuff I bought this week, I’ve been rediscovering stuff in my kitchen to help me with my food goals. I’ve been using my slow cooker (and I found my slow cooker liners so I don’t have to do much cleanup) to make easy meals and I’ve found recipes that don’t require browning food or getting another pan dirty to make the meal (my slow cooker pet peeve). And I’ve been using my food processor regularly the last few weeks and have started to think that maybe I need to buy another food processor bowl and blade so it will be easier to use it multiple times a day.

I know that I can do a lot of the work I’ve been using these gadgets for by hand, but why should I? This is making cooking easier and seems like I could be more likely to keep things up in the long run. The only downside is that I do need to go through my kitchen now and figure out what I really want to keep and what I can give to others because my kitchen is super tiny and lacking storage space. I don’t know where to put everything just yet (there are things all over my house that could live in the kitchen if there was space), but that will be something else I need to work on with organizing my house.

But for now, I’m just so glad that I was ok spending a bit of money to try to make things better for me with figuring other things out in my life.

Thanksgiving Prep (or So Little Time)

Leading up to Thanksgiving, I knew there was a lot of stuff I had to get done and I was really trying to plan things out the best I could. Of course, things never work out the way you think they will. I’m just glad I got all my prep work done before I left last week!

The main part of my Thanksgiving prep was getting the food made that I knew I was bringing. I only was bringing 3 dishes with me, but when you have a tiny kitchen making 3 dishes can seem overwhelming! Especially when I don’t have multiples of the kitchen things I was using!

The first thing I made was banana bread. This has become a tradition over the past few years and I’m glad I’m able to make it to help out. It’s a pretty easy recipe to make and I happened to have some bananas that were overly ripe that I could use. I had almost all of the ingredients that I needed for the recipe at my house (except some of the dairy and the blueberries) and it was a quick thing to put together and get into the oven so I could make the 2 other things I needed to make.

The other dishes I was bringing were dips. I made the feta dip that is a tradition with the family (usually my mom makes it but it is now my thing to make). This is another easy thing to put together, but it is something that I usually don’t have the ingredients for in my house. But once you have everything you need, you just throw it all in the food processor and it is done! The other dip I made was a white bean dip that I found online. It was another really easy thing (just white beans, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and lemon) that was a food processor dip. The only complication I had was I only have one food processor bowl. So I made the feta dip, washed and dried the bowl, and made the other dip. Between the dips and the bread, I got everything done within about an hour.

thanksgiving-food

Packing was something else I tried to plan out, but it ended up being something that I was doing while I was working the day I was going to be driving to San Diego. My family now does casual Thanksgiving and that does make things easier with packing. But because I have lost a pretty significant amount of weight lately, I’ve been realizing that many of my clothes don’t fit anymore. So I grabbed all of the things I was thinking of packing and was trying them on between customers. I guess I should just feel lucky that my work is online chat and phones and my customers can’t see me!

Between packing and cooking, I felt like I had enough on my plate. But I also ended up having my liver MRI the night before driving to San Diego. I was at the hospital for a few hours getting it done so that was a bit of a time suck. The MRI itself wasn’t too horrible. Once the IV was in and I was in the machine, it was about 45 minutes. And at this hospital, you can listen to music while in the MRI tube. They had Pandora as an option and I requested the Broadway station. All the songs that played were things that I knew, but the best moment was when I heard my friend AJ singing on the “Heathers The Musical” soundtrack in-between 2 songs from “Hamilton”! That really made me happy and forget about all the stuff I had to do to prepare for San Diego the next morning.

And because all that craziness wasn’t enough leading up to San Diego, on Monday morning as I drove to my workout the power steering in my car died. I’ve never driven without power steering before and I knew that it was something that needed to be fixed before driving down. I took my car into the shop around 10am on Monday and discovered that the power steering in my car isn’t the standard one used so it would be tough to find a replacement part. They were hopeful that my car would be fixed by Friday, but that meant I wouldn’t have my car for Thanksgiving. Fortunately my mechanic offers free loaner cars so I got one of those and drove that to and from San Diego. As I’m writing this, my car still isn’t fixed. They got the replacement part in on Friday, but it’s still not fixing it. I’m hoping I’ll get my car back this week, but at least I have a loaner car to use so I don’t have to pay for a rental.

My Thanksgiving prep did end up being a bit stressful, but it all worked out in the end. I got everything done that I needed to (plus some things I wasn’t expecting) and I had an awesome Thanksgiving trip. But my Thanksgiving recap won’t be until tomorrow’s post!

Almost Through A Year Of Monthly Challenges (or Picking A Good Challenge For November)

I’m on to my 11th monthly challenge! I’m still so happy that I have my Spark Planner this year (and I already ordered my Volt Planner for next year) and while it’s not always easy to think up of monthly challenges I know they are good for me. But before I talk about my challenge for this month, I want to recap my October challenge.

I had decided that creating daily to-do lists would be a great challenge and I really though that they would help me stay as productive as possible. And at first, they were working well for me so I wouldn’t forget random things that I knew I needed to get done that day. Also, once something it written down I feel obligated to get it done. The first few days were great to remember weird things that aren’t a part of my normal day that needed to be done.

But after that, I discovered that these to-do lists really weren’t changing that much from day-to-day. I’m pretty set in my schedule most days (I’m still working on scheduling my afternoons better, but that’s another issue) so I was just writing the same thing each day. Those lists ended up being something that seemed more like an obligation that I had to do to complete the challenge instead of something that helped me. I don’t love that I didn’t have the best experience with this challenge, but I guess I had to do the challenge to find that out.

I still think that writing out a to-do list on my busy days is a great idea. There are times that I have a bunch of random things I need to get done and I don’t want to forget anything. So those lists can help me remember things that I can easy forget. But to do it every single day isn’t looking like being the best use of my time or focus. Toward the end of the month, I even started to get out of the habit of looking at what I had written so I was starting to forget what I had planned. But I tried and that’s all I can do.

Even though I’m not continuing with the challenge I had done last month, I’m excited about the challenge that I’m doing this month. In the past, I had no issues with drinking enough water. I actually had issues with drinking too much water so I started to track water to make sure I wasn’t drinking too much. But I’ve noticed lately that there can be days where I only drink half of what I know I really need to drink for the day.

So my challenge for November will be to drink at least 80 oz of water every day. I have a tumbler that I drink out of at home that is 24 oz and my workout water bottle is 20 oz. So my plan is to drink 4 full tumblers or water bottles a day. That will get me a bit more than 80 oz a day, but it won’t be too much water either. On the days that I seem to be drinking water endlessly, I do try to keep it under 100 oz of water, but if I go over that by a bit it’s not dangerous. When I used to drink too much, it would be more like 200 oz of water or more in a day.

I used to think that since I had issues with drinking too much water that I’d never have an issue with drinking enough. But I think that thinking made me a bit lazy and got me to where I’m not tracking water or making sure I’m getting enough. And with all the random health issues I have, drinking enough water is important. So I’m glad that I’ll be focusing on it this month so I can get back on track and help to my hydration a non-issue with my health.

I’m looking at how to best track water in my planner. I’m thinking maybe checkmarks or making some stickers at home so I can mark each glass down. I know it will be easy to forget if a glass of water is my 2nd or 3rd for the day, so I want to make this as error free as possible. But no matter what, I know that this is going to be a very positive step for me and my health so that I can focus on more important things regarding my health.

Almost a full year of monthly challenges is done! I feel like I’m going to have to do something huge for my December challenge (originally that was going to be my yoga class a day challenge, but I’ve already accomplished that!). Fortunately, I’ve got an entire month to decide what December will be! Then after that, it will be an entirely new year of monthly challenges to take on!

Staying Super Busy (or Another Job)

I’ve been super busy with work lately. I’ve got my regular box office job which hasn’t really changed since I started there almost 2 years ago. But because I will be out-of-town for a weekend in July, I’ve been working extra hours to make up what I will be missing (that way my pay doesn’t get docked). I’ve been so grateful for that job since I got it, even though it doesn’t have the most flexible hours. I’ve also been busy with my data entry job. I actually just got some more hours with that job and a new process that I’ve been helping with. It’s nice to have variety with that job since it can feel very repetitive researching events and entering them into the system.

Between those two jobs, I’m working 43 hours a week (not counting the extra hours I’m working now with the box office job to make up for July hours). I’ve also got my random box office job on occasional weekends and babysitting. So in a single week, I can easily be closer to 60 hours in a week. It’s great, because I do need the money and I know that I’m so lucky to have any work right now. But of course, I had to add another gig in as well.

I’m now working very part-time (4 hours a week) for a friend of mine doing some assistant/producer work. It’s not hard work, but since she is so busy she doesn’t have the time to do it. Again, the extra money is nice and I know that this can lead to more work so I’m super grateful for it. Plus, working for a friend is pretty fun and I know that we work well together. This job is only going to be for the next 6 weeks, but any extra work is helpful in getting my bills paid and saving up for my new computer (which sadly doesn’t look like it will be released until the winter). Since I know it can lead to more work, I’m totally fine with temporary work. Technically my data entry job was temporary since I was only going to be able to have a 2 year contract, but now I’ve got more hours than ever and it looks like I might get that 3rd year contract. So if I have to start at 4 hours a week to end up with a regular gig, I’m fine with that.

Only my box office jobs and babysitting have set hours. Everything else is on my own schedule and I don’t want to seem like I’m slacking because I set my own hours and there are no quotas I have to reach each day. With my data entry job, I think I’ve got a great line of communication with my boss and she’s been telling me how everyone has been happy with my work. And I doubt I’d be getting additional hours and possibly a contract extension if they didn’t think I was meeting or exceeding what they expected of me. And since the other job is with a friend, I know she’ll call me out if she isn’t happy with things and we have already had multiple texts back and forth just making sure we are on the same page with everything.

With all these jobs, I’m getting tougher on myself with my time management. I used to think that time management was one of my strong points, but as my time as gotten more crazy and less structured I’ve realized how much more work I’ve had to put into planning things out. I’m a little OCD with things (I’ve always been like that with organization) so my calendar is color-coded and I’m using the alerts and reminder apps a lot so I remember to send invoices or other work related tasks that are time sensitive. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to view my schedule because I love the monthly view on the calendar app on my computer, but some days I have so many things scheduled that I cannot view all my plans unless I go into weekly or daily view (I’d love any tips from other people with this issue on what works!).

Besides all my jobs, I also have my career (acting) and my writing (both on here and where I freelance) to schedule so I’ve been focusing on making sure I meet all my deadlines for those too. So far, I haven’t run into issues, but I’ve seen where issues could have happened so I’m working on setting myself up so those issues don’t ever become an issue.

I know that most people work just as crazy or crazier hours than I do. A lot of people work 60-70 hours a week every week. I’m lucky that when I have a 60 hour week or have to work 3 jobs in 1 day that those are rarities and not the norm. I probably keep taking on all of these jobs because I’m finally getting to a better place financially and I remember when I wasn’t working or working enough and how much of a struggle everything was. I don’t want to get to that place again and the best way to stay employed is to have as many jobs as I can. I know that jobs can go without warning and I really want to be as prepared for that possibility as possible.

Missing Out On Some Fun (or Flexible Time Management)

This week has been a pretty crazy busy week for me. I’ve been very busy with the day jobs, including learning how to do a new task for my research job. I now have 4 extra hours a week plus a new aspect of my job that takes up 50% of my hours. I’ve done some phone training, but we’ve also had a bunch of technical issues and it’s required so many phone calls and emails back and forth (I’m so grateful that my boss is chill about all this).

I’m very happy to have the new tasks and the additional hours because the extra money helps and I want to make sure that this day job continues beyond when my contract ends in October. But learning new things and trying to balance the hours split between the two jobs for one job has been a bit much. I’m finally starting to get into a good groove with the new work and things are much more normal, but that definitely affected the beginning of my week.

And the beginning of this week was supposed to be pretty packed with social events. But because of the stress I was dealing with from the job, I had to make the decision not to go to them.

I’m not too happy about missing the events. Both of them were actor events. And I know I’m been slacking a bit with my acting career lately. I need to make more of an effort to make my career a priority. But that’s not easy when the money-making jobs need to happen too. I thought I had figured out a good balance, but all the technical issues really made me have to reorganize my time and figure out what things had to be sacrificed. And sadly, the free acting related things had to be sacrificed over the money-making jobs.

Time management isn’t usually my weakness, but I’ve realized that flexible time management is. I get my schedule set for the week (or day), but I don’t allow for issues to come up. I have to get from one thing to another really quickly at times, and if there is a delay it can affect multiple things at once. The delay isn’t usually traffic (I typically give myself double the time I’m expecting it to take to get somewhere), but something in my life that stops me in my tracks and requires my attention before I can move on. Sometimes, these things aren’t avoidable like health issues (panic or gallbladder attacks can easily ruin an entire day). But I need to be aware of other issues that might need extra time and to build that into my day at some point.

I am glad I stayed home to work on the things I had to do, but I can’t help but feel that there may have been another way for me to deal with them and still make it to the events that I want to go to. I’ve been looking at my upcoming calendar and the fun events I have planned. I want to make sure that I can add in some flexible time in there to help make sure that I can do whatever needs to be done without missing out on the events.

I think the reason why this has never really been an issue for me before is that I’ve never been as busy as I’ve been lately. I miss the days where I only had 1 day job and that was it. It was super easy to schedule around that because my hours were pretty set and nothing would change. While my box office job hours don’t change (unless they need me to cover for someone or I have to make up hours), my research hours can be at any time. I try to do them around the same time as the box office job, but sometimes they have to be done late at night. I try to keep things as stable as possible, but life happens and since my job isn’t restricted to certain hours I can’t say that if I miss work at a certain time that I get to skip it. I have to find the time to make it up.

I can’t go back in time to fix the scheduling issues so that I could attend the events that I wanted to go to. All I can do is learn from the mistakes that I made (or the issues that I experienced) and try to make things better for me for the future. Hopefully, I can find a great way to balance out life and work and I can make acting events a priority in my life again.

Back To Normal (or Catching Up On Life)

Even though I was only gone to Santa Barbara for a couple of days, when I got back to LA it felt like I had been gone for a lot longer. I’ve done other weekend getaways before, but for some reason it felt like this one was different. I’m glad I was out-of-town as long as I was (I had time to relax and see my family), but I’m also happy to be home.

The first thing I had to catch up on was work. I did miss work on Saturday last week (which was fine because I had worked extra hours not too long ago to cover for a co-worker), so I had to see what had happened while I was gone and if there was anything weird that I needed to know about. I ended up logging into my work email on a day off to see what went on while I wasn’t working and I looked at some of the issues that my co-workers had to make sure I was ready for any customers with the same issues. It didn’t take too long, but since my brain was in vacation mode a bit it seemed to take longer.

Also, in my other day job, I’m getting more hours soon. I can’t start the new hours until I have some training (and they might have to set me up with some work computer stuff), but since I know that it’s coming up I want to make sure I’m prepared. I’m trying to do as much as I can now with my current responsibilities because I know that when I get my extra hours my time needs to be split between my current work and the new work that I’m being trained on. I need to figure out a good time management system to split up my hours and I’m trying to look at that now before I have the extra responsibility to deal with.

I’ve also been busy working on the short film my friend wrote for us to star in. We have our director and our director got us a great producer. We’ve had a couple of phone meetings to work on budget and other things and we are all hopeful that things will be ready to go at the end of May when we are hoping to shoot. Even though I’ve produced a documentary before, working on a narrative (scripted) film is very different and there are things to think about that I didn’t have to worry about with the documentary. Fortunately, everyone else is much more experienced than I am so they can help guide me to what I need to help with. It’s a little overwhelming, but I’m so excited to be working on this project and seeing what ends up happening with it after it is done.

Besides all of that work plus the usual stuff that I have to do every week (errands can get annoying and time-consuming!), I’ve been running around like crazy and I’m finally starting to feel caught up on life. I have some really fun adventures coming up over the next few weeks and I don’t want to have to stress about not having a ton of free time to catch up on other things. It seems like I have weeks where everything is overbooked and crazy and then weeks where I’ve got nothing to do. I wish the weeks would be a bit more mixed up, but I’m dealing with the craziness (and lack of sleep) just fine for now and I know soon enough I’ll be wishing I had more stuff to do.

Relaxation (or Taking Some Time To Myself)

I’ve been busy with a lot of things lately. Between work, workouts, acting, and other stuff I feel like my days are getting filled up really quickly. This is awesome and I’m so happy about it, but sometimes I realize that I need to take a step back and relax for a bit. I’m finally getting better at realizing when my body feels like it’s getting to a breaking point, so when I started to feel like that at the beginning of this week I took some time to myself. I’m glad that I didn’t get to the point where I got exhausted and needed a few days to get back to my usual self. This time, I really only spent 2 afternoons being selfish and doing things for myself and I feel back to normal already.

I ended up canceling plans that I had made this Monday to do some stuff that I needed to do but had been putting off. Even though my plans were more fun, getting stuff crossed off my to-do list is really nice too! None of the things on my to-do list were urgent, so I had been putting them off for a while. I think knowing that I should be doing something but not was causing a bit of stress in my life. So getting those done relived some stress and made the rest of the things I needed to get done not feel as overwhelming.

I’ve also rediscovered my love for the library. I used to use the library all the time. My original e-reader was a Sony because at the time that was the only one that could get library e-books. But then I almost forgot about the library and I let my library card expire (did you know they could do that?). So a few weeks ago, I went down to the local library branch to get a new library card so I could start enjoying library books again. I’ve checked out a bunch of stuff lately. It’s so easy to get library books on my Kindle (much easier than my old e-reader) so I’ve gotten a ton of new books lately.

I feel so silly that I haven’t used the library lately, but now I’m back and obsessed! After running the errands I had to run on Monday, my afternoon and evening were spent reading and that was such a perfect way to spend the day. I still have books that I buy, but I’m so glad that the library is pretty well stocked with e-books so I can curb that spending habit. I know I’ve spent a lot of money on books (I love them so much!) and if I could limit my book spending just to the books I love so much and know I’ll be reading over and over again, that will help me budget better. I still can’t get over how this wasn’t something I thought of sooner, but at least know I’m on the right track to reducing my spending habits without reducing my reading material.

I also spent time getting ready for my upcoming trip for Rayshell’s wedding. I had already gotten a dress to wear and some cute and comfortable shoes. But I realized that if I was wearing open toed shoes at a nice event my feet probably should look nice. So on Tuesday after work, I went to my favorite pedicure place and splurged on a pedicure. My last pedicure was last spring, so I think that I had deserved to get another one. And I found the perfect color to put on my toes for a wedding!

Pedicure

I’ve still got a couple of other things that I need to do before this weekend, but there’s nothing that feels so big that it will be tough to complete. I want to be able to enjoy my weekend (which includes the wedding and a 5K race) and not have to stress about things at home or things that need to be done. Most of the things on my to-do list now are ideas that I’d like to work on (like reorganizing my desk and cleaning out my workout clothes drawer), but they won’t affect me if they don’t happen this week or month. I would like to work on checking things off more often so they don’t build up like they have. That’s just something else I need to work on in my self-improvement so I can maybe start treating these relaxation days and rewards for getting stuff done!

Monthly Recap Update (or My New Habits)

I’m 1/6 of the way through the year and I’m still totally loving my Spark Planner and using it every day! I’ve been using almost every single feature of it (I’m still not 100% sure what to do with the monthly calendar, but I’m working on it) and it’s made a huge difference in my life!

I’m pretty much using most of the sections of the planner as they are intended. I use the weekly goal setting for weekly goals, monthly goal setting for monthly goals, and monthly challenges for monthly challenges. I love how I’ve been accomplishing so many of the weekly and monthly goals I’ve been setting. Some of my goals are easy to achieve (like how many workouts I’ll do that week), but I always set a couple of challenging ones too. I’ve been working on going to bed earlier and I’m setting weekly goals to slowly do that. I’m setting a goal to go to bed 5-10 minutes earlier each week. So far, I’m in bed 45 minutes earlier than before and I’d like to work to maybe 10-15 minutes earlier than I have it now.

Even though most of the features are being used exactly how they are set up, I’m still playing around with the weekly calendar and love what I’ve got going so far. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m using the first of the 3 sections on the weekly planner as my blog planner. This has been so helpful for me and it’s really helping me plan out posts way in advance (for example, I’ve got a couple of things already planned for the end of this month in the works). This also allows me to see when I don’t have something fun to write about yet so I can work on what I want to write about that day.

The bottom section of the weekly planner relates to what I had set to be my 30 day challenge for last month. I’m using that section every night to write at least 5 things that I’m grateful for. There are a lot of repeating things on that list, but it’s a nice thing to do at the end of the day to reflect on what I’ve done and to keep myself in a positive mindset. I’m finding that even on days that I struggle to find 5 things to be grateful for, I can always figure out something. And that reminds me that even on my worst days there are still good things.

I started to do this in January but I really wanted to make sure I continued doing this last month. I never missed a day (I did forget to write once but I did it immediately the next morning) and now I have reminders set to go off to remind me to do my daily gratitude, weekly goal setting, and monthly goal setting. I’m making sure that I stay on top of things.

I’m not even letting myself slack off when I’m on vacation. I remembered to bring my planner with me when I went to Sacramento and worked on my goals in my hotel room at the end of each night.

Spark Planner

I’ve just set up my 30 day challenge for this month. My goal is to not order delivery food for 30 days. I’ve done it before so I know it’s not impossible, but I’ve gotten into a bad habit of getting delivery food when I’m tired. I don’t need to spend the money (especially since delivery food has a minimum for an order) and I definitely don’t need the calories. I’m not saying that I won’t go out to eat at all, but I won’t be getting delivery food. If I want something from a restaurant, I’m going to have to go there to get it (I would rather not do take-out either, but sometimes I like to get something yummy but need to eat at home so I’ll allow that in my challenge).

What I’m loving about these monthly challenges is that they are starting to turn into habits. I’m still keeping up my January monthly challenge of 100% food tracking (I’m pretty much only using Recovery Record now). And I can totally see myself keeping up my nightly gratitude notes. I don’t think that giving up delivery food will be a permanent change, but I’d love it if I could keep delivery food to a minimum.

It’s so funny that for years I was trying to figure out how to do almost everything digitally and not have a paper planner or tracker anymore. I had finally gotten everything to that point and then started using my Spark Planner. It’s not a planner in the same way that my planners in the past have been, so maybe that’s why I never realized how great it would be to write some things down to track and that I would be able to accomplish more goals each month than I ever expected.

Lack Of Planning (or No Home Cooking This Week)

After doing so well with cooking recently, this past week was a serious let down for me. I had ever intention of trying to do some real cooking this week, but that never happened.

Part of it is due to my schedule. I got back late on Monday night from my trip. And while I did go to the grocery store, I wasn’t going to cook at 9pm for the week. Tuesday after work I had my WIF meeting. Wednesday after work was my workout. And while I could have cooked after getting home from my workout, I wasn’t feeling up for cooking after taking over an hour to get home. Thursday I had a friend at my house after work and I didn’t want to be rude and cook while they were here. And tonight I’m supposed to be meeting a friend for dinner. It’s just not my week to have free time after work to prepare and cook meals.

I guess there were little places in my schedule that I could have cooked, but I don’t think I’m really the person to cook a meal that I don’t need to eat that night and to use all of it as leftovers. I’m still easing my way back into cooking and I think knowing that what I’m making is going to be my meal is more normal to me than just cooking and storing everything immediately. When I cook, I do get hungry (even if I just ate). So knowing that I will be eating that meal when it’s done is a way to stop the cravings to want to snack while I’m cooking.

Just because I’m not cooking doesn’t mean I’m eating like crap. I’m doing my lazy version of cooking with the easy to prepare things that I bought at the grocery store on Monday night. These aren’t the most balanced meals and I’m sure I could do better, but sometimes I need something easy like a waffle with peanut butter and a banana so I don’t get really hungry and order delivery food (which is almost never the good option). I’m finding better things to keep in my house to use as easy meals so I don’t feel like there’s nothing in my house to eat. A lot of these things are frozen, but I think that frozen food doesn’t have to be bad food. Trader Joes sells lots of good frozen veggie options and I love their frozen prepared brown rice. Those plus a protein (like the frozen cowboy burgers) are great meals that I can put together in minutes.

I’m lucky that breakfast is pretty easy for me, and dinner is easy enough (but I know it could be better). The place that I’m struggling is lunch. I used to miss lunch a lot because I would get distracted by work and forget (never good before having an after work workout), but I have an app that alerts me to eat by 1pm now. So at least I’m not forgetting anymore. But I’m still struggling about what to eat because it needs to be easy enough to prepare because I don’t want to step away from work for too long but also needs to be easy to eat since I have to take bites between customers if someone calls or starts an online chat.

I’m working on meal planning (but not looking at bulk cooking as the plan) right now. I know that if I plan things out better, I can grocery shop better (and probably spend less money) and I won’t have the “what can I eat” feeling at mealtime. While I had a decent plan going last year on the cleanse, I think that it worked for me so well because the lack of variety. I need more variety than what I had then, but too much variety is too overwhelming and too expensive. The balance is tough to find, but I’m working on it.

I know this weekend will not be including cooking because I’ll be out-of-town again, but I’m hoping after getting back from that trip I can get back into my groove and continue to enjoy lots of healthy, delicious, and easy meals that I cooked myself.

Staying Calm In The Crazy (or Is This Month Over Yet?)

In my effort to do more fun adventures this year, I may have overdone things lately. There are a bunch of things back to back in my schedule and it’s starting to stress me out a bit. But I know my schedule calms down soon so I’m just trying to focus on getting through things.

My schedule craziness has a lot of factors in it. I’m currently doing the Orangetheory Weight Loss Challenge. While the weight loss challenge isn’t too crazy, one of the requirements made my schedule a bit weird lately. You have to do 3 workouts a week, but the weeks are from Friday-Thursday. So when I did a workout on a Thursday instead of a Friday recently, I had to make up an extra workout on a day that I don’t usually go on. While that alone didn’t make my schedule crazy, it did eliminate a free afternoon that I’m used to having and that threw things off a bit.

I’ve also just spent the weekend out-of-town. I went to Sacramento with my mom and my aunt (recap to come tomorrow) and being out-of-town for about 2 1/2 days changed when I would have time to do things about in my life. I had to rearrange when I could do errands that I typically do on the weekends. I had to figure out a new time to clean, do laundry, and do grocery shopping. With most of my afternoons the week leading up to the trip busy with workouts, I had to figure out when I had little breaks in my day (typically before 9am) when I could do things. It’s not horrible to have to schedule like this, but when things are a bit different they can be stressful for me and make me feel a bit too anxious.

I’m also going out-of-town this weekend. This time it will be to San Diego for Rayshell’s bachelorette party. I’ve been looking forward to this for a while, but again it’s requiring me to do some crazy scheduling. The party is from Friday evening until Sunday. Fortunately, I got that Saturday off of work so I could drive late on Friday night (after my workout) or early on Saturday morning without having to worry about working until 11am. And while some people will be hanging out there for a good chunk of Sunday morning, I will need to be back in LA by noon on Sunday because it’s Oscar Sunday! I made a really simple costume for the party so I don’t need much time to get ready, but I still need to get back to LA, get ready for the party, and I’d like to do laundry then too. I have the option of driving back late on Saturday night and I’m still debating about doing that. I think I might not know what I want to do until I do it.

Besides those two weekend trips (which I hadn’t planned to be back to back but are), I’ve got some other fun adventures in the next few weeks. I’m going to see my WIF mentees soon, I’ve got another bonus show at the Pantages that I just got tickets for, and some of my friends and I are trying to figure out a time to go whale watching together.

These are all super fun things coming up. And I’d love it if I could get used to schedules like this. I think it could be really good for me to have more social time and less alone time at home. I love my alone time to read or watch TV, but I might do better with less of that. I’m already alone most of the day working at home, so making my afternoons, evenings, and weekends more social helps to balance things out. I think that I might have jumped into making myself busier with both feet instead of easing into it and I’m a bit overwhelmed right now.

Despite my stress, I’m really excited about every event I’ve got in the next few weeks. I do plan out my blog posts and I love that my upcoming schedule is pretty full with fun posts and less boring ones (like this one). I hope that you enjoy reading about all of my upcoming adventures and hopefully these next few weeks for me go by without too much more stress added to it.