bits o’ this & bits o’ that

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bon samedi! hello!

This morning I am, several days before the end of the month, I’m going out to breakfast with one of my best friends, Ann. Carb overload at Cracker Barrel! C’mon, you know that you can’t just eat one biscuit there..

I didn’t post much this week because the weather was soooo nice and I’ve enjoyed the evenings outside and not hanging with my laptop. desolee! Well, Tuesday evening I was hit directly with that storm that swung through the Midwest to the East coast. I was standing at my window checking out the sky and watched the lightning strike the electrical box thing and was without power till sometime in the middle of the night. I’m so thankful that it came back on!

Reads: I started re-reading and [first time] journaling my way through She’s Got Issues. I’m expecting some serious growth from this! As I said last week, I read the book before, but where I’m at right now is such a crazy/interesting shift in life and I truly believe this book will uncover some things within me. I’m diggin’ deep.

Listens: While working out I’ve been enjoying the Echosmith and Saint Motel Pandora stations. I’ve also been enjoying Elle King. Hey, did you know she’s Rob Schneider’s daughter? Rob Schneider who films with Adam Sandler, THAT Rob Schneider.

Sometimes I wish I filmed my face when reading stuff on the internet. Probably some of my best facial expressions are done in front of a computer screen. Oy vey.

Eats: For the month of July I am going to do the Whole30 diet and I’m really looking forward to this. So, as a prep I’ve been eliminating some things from my diet. I know just above I mentioned I’m going to Cracker Barrel, but that very rarely ever happens! I’m really looking forward to omitting grains/legumes and expanding my options. It’ll also make me get a bit more creative with my meal preps.

Lusts: hey, those Disney Vans I mentioned two weeks ago? WELL, I bought them. I had to. It just seemed like an essential that was needed. I’ve been doing A LOT of closet/clothing/shoes purging, so I can use another pair of sneakers (complete lie). I’m also cleaning and purging through my make-up collection. Both projects deserve their own posts.

In other news, I’ve started my Christmas shopping. I know, that’s nuts! But, I never have an issue finding or getting anything after November.

So, anything interesting to share?

Have you completed the whole30? Aside from their resources, have you found good boards on Pinterest or blogs? 

ENJOY YR WEEKEND.

bits o’ this & bits o’ that

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Today I’m driving to see my dad for an early Father’s Day breakfast and then visiting with some of my favorite family members. Yes, I’ll openly admit that I play favorites. BUT can I back that up with saying that I have known different family members as a child vs. adult. There are some who have communicated more with me as an adult and social media has played a huge role in this area. However, these peeps I’m seeing tomorrow I grew up with and aren’t on social media, so they talk to me because they haven’t been exposed to my Mad Men, Taylor Swift, random music video, God, and vegetarian posts on Facebook :) 

Moving on…

Reads: I’ve been reading Carlos Whittaker’s Moment Maker and I love it. It’s very timely, as I’m learning to relax and enjoy certain moments in life more.. I built up moments before and just thrived off of them and now I can read about truly allowing them to happen and not going over board. It’s a really great read and I’d recommend it to anyone. What’s even better is that Whittaker doesn’t get technical with his Bible references, it’s straight to the point. That’s something that we need more of, straight to the point Bible teachin’.  

My next read is going to be Nicole Eunice’s She’s Got Issues. This will be a re-read for me, but with a lot of journaling. I really think rereading this book is a need for the new place I’m at in life. 

Listens: I’m still enjoying Empires and my Taylor Swift binge ended since the concert happened. I’m really pumped about the new Frank Turner song and excited about the new album. I also can’t help but turn the volume up a little more every time Saint Motel’s Just My Type is on AltNation or XMU. 

Eats: Today I plan on having brunch with my dad at Mitzi’s Table. I’ve never been and I know he hasn’t. I’m really looking forward to going there and checking it out. I know that I said I’m on a 30 no meals out challenge, but I’m pretty sure Father’s Day weekend can be an exception?! 

I plan on making this tomorrow: http://www.howsweeteats.com/2015/06/summer-garden-white-bean-dip/. C’mon, doesn’t that look AMAZING?!  I had a lemon sweet tooth goin’ on and baked these: http://cookiesandcups.com/white-chocolate-lemon-blondies/. Mine are bigger and gooey-er looking, but oh so delicious. I also added a cup of unsweetened coconut to the mix for some added texture/flavor. It was a great idea!

So, any reading/listening suggestions?  Eat anything amazing? 

Parasites

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Best title ever, right?

It was nearly mid-May and I started getting severely sick everyday. I wasn’t eating dairy or gluten, so they couldn’t be the culprits. My diet was very clean at the time: no dairy, no gluten, no sugar… very little fats or carbs. The only foods I could eat safely were apples and cucumbers, they were great on my stomach and on those days I didn’t got sick.

For over 3 weeks I ate very little and at the end of the day would drink copious amounts of ginger tea, as that would slightly ease my stomach. Again, the only days I didn’t feel depleted of all energy were days I ate apples and cucumbers. Not only did I lose my appetite because of getting sick, there were times I actually felt afraid to eat.

I didn’t feel as though this was a medical emergency, I figured my body was trying to get rid of something. Eventually, I realized this wasn’t going to just pass and needed to do something. Turns out, I needed to receive hydro-colonic therapy for parasites. This happened a week ago and I can say that I’ve successfully been able to eat and not get sick, woo! While I was there I was instructed that I need to wash all my produce with lemon water. It seems as though my method of washing and soaking wasn’t good enough. Clearly, because I got a parasite.

I would use baking soda and hot water or the all organic produce spray, but occasionally there were the moments when I’d use my dish soap…hey, they use Dawn to clean off the animals caught in those horrendous oil spills!

Moving forward I will wash my produce with the following concoction:

Juice of 1 lemon, 2 Tbsp. of baking soda, and 1 c. of water

You can put this together and funnel it into a spray bottle or if you are cleaning berries I’d put them in a bowl with the mixture. It’s the best natural way to kill anything that may get on the outside of your produce, even your organic produce. I know :( , that’s not even safe!

You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar, however you want to dilute it as to not have the taste of vinegar all over your produce.

You can always Google having parasites and read all sorts of information till the cows come home, but I particularly like reading Organic Olivia‘s blog and prior to finding her on Instagram I (and my mom) have had most of the books that she’ll reference.

I hope you aren’t too grossed out, but that you’re also informed that this can happen to ANYONE.

(The sad/interesting part of this: at the time when I got sick, all my food was prepared by me. I wasn’t going out to eat. I bought my food at my local farmer’s market and stored it on my fridge, cleaned it, prepared it, ate it… like I have for all these years)

Taylor Swift 1989 Tour

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OMG.

This ticket was purchased before I opted to call this year Rachelle Celebrates Turning 30 All Year!. My friend Tina and I bought tickets and have giggled and shrieked like little girls whenever we would mention how excited we are to go.

Seriously, we would shriek from excitement.

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We danced and sang the night away.

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It also helps that we had AMAZING seats.

Vance Joy was good. I don’t know who Shawn Mendes is, but all the little girls loved him.

I’m not sure if I’d go see Echosmith live (depends on who would play with them), but I totally loved singing Cool Kids at the top of my lungs.

BEST. DANCE. PARTY. EVER.

Adjustments

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I recently changed jobs and am learning that I need to relax. I went from a very large organization to one that is minute in comparison. I knew that there would be an adjustment period, but I didn’t go much farther with that thought. I’m actually going through culture shock. CULTURE SHOCK. Not only with the fact that I’m working in an organization that’s the extreme opposite in terms of numbers, but now I’m traveling from small town to small town. It’s a beautiful drive and I’m so thankful that my commute isn’t anything like it was before, but I’m realizing just how much of a city girl I am.

This is something I’ve always known about myself. I had no idea that it would really play a role in my professional life. My [what was] typical day is what my new coworkers would consider an insanely busy day. My emails explaining to someone that ‘since X didn’t happen, Y will be the outcome’ are considered ‘aggressive’. Which then made me completely rethink my ways of communication and how I would things. I’m constantly being reminded to write ‘very nice’ emails. (I inquired about this, “Have I been writing rude emails?” “No, it’s just that when X was running this office they weren’t very nice and made a lot of enemies and now we are getting back to a friendly place with everyone.” Okay, well, now that we got that piece of history explained let’s continue with the present and building those friendly relationships!). I was even told by a few people “you’re in Small Town America, that will take awhile to get done,” WHAT? I even encountered a few Small Town Lifers if I was ever mugged. (No, thank God). Exclamation points are very popular. So are emoticons. In work emails.

I’ve only met a small amount of my new extended coworkers, but have met most of the immediate coworkers. Everyone has been nice, but the local cafeteria is such an awkward place. I opted for the cafeteria lunch one day and thought about how going to four different high schools was easier than this. I feel like I’m Nemo taken from the ocean and put into the fish tank, only I made the decision to leave the ocean (hello, living expenses!) and enter the small fish tank. But really, four high schools was easier than this. I never thought that trying to fit in as an adult would be so challenging!

Aside from trying to fit in as an adult, my days aren’t anything like they used to be and I’m trying to learn how to relax. Again, I’m a city person, so I’m used to getting things done quickly and moving quickly with things… no slowing down! Welp, now I’ve slowed down and have a lot of energy that needs to go somewhere other than working out and adding things to my never ending To Clean & To Organize list.

I had the opportunity to hang out with my previous boss and had asked their opinions about some of the struggles I’ve been having in my transition. Given that they know this side of me so well, plus knowing my strengths and weaknesses, they gave me great advice. I’d so thankful that my relationship is still in existence with them, as they’re an amazing and brilliant individual! Most people can’t ask their previous boss, “Do you have any suggestions for me about this? Since you know what makes me professionally tick, what makes me frustrated and what I’ve accomplished in the last eight years of my life?”

Have you made major job changes that created culture shock?

Have you ever had a struggle with fitting in as an adult?

Any advice or suggestions?!

bits o’ this, bits o’ that

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Bon Samedi!

Reads: It took me 3 or 4 days to read If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski. I believe in the mission of TWLOHA since I was in college and have always enjoyed the honesty and raw emotions expressed in Tworkowski’s writing. I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so much in a book before, or it may be that it was easy to highlight so much since I read it via my Kindle. Not as many people have the honesty that Tworkowski does and being able to express it tactfully. 

Listens: I love listening to Hillsong United’s Empires. I’ve been listening to it every morning as I get ready for work. Otherwise I’ve had Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear and the new Passion Pit albums on repeat. 

Eats: I’ve been on a 30 day challenge to not go out to eat and prepare all my own meals. I hope that my two lattes don’t count! Typically I spend my Friday evenings at the local coffee shop playing cards and socializing with friends. My favorite barista cooks dinner and it’s a good time. 

Buys: I haven’t bought anything, but I have my eyes on the new lines of Vans. They partnered with Disney and I’m pretty pumped about these Little Mermaid sneakers. I plan to buy the Winnie the Pooh or Minnie ones for my mom!

I’ve really enjoyed Lily Pebbles daily vlogging! I’m sure it was quite the daily chore, but I’ll miss tuning in each day. It’s also made me create a list of new make-up items to check out. 

Lusts: Several Sunday Riley items.. OMG why must they be so pricey? I’m really considering two of these, as I need some amazing skin products… a little more ooomph than coconut oil! 

What have you been reading, listening to, eating or watching? exciting purchases?!

Direction

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My last post mentioned how my emotions have been all over the place and it’s such an unusual spot for me. I’m finally in a very uncomfortable spot. A good uncomfortable spot. It’s also quite timely for just celebrating my 30th.

During my 20s I had a lengthy To Do List. Not a mental list, but one that was written out, revised, and had details below or to the side of the item. Only so many things were crossed off the list and that’s okay. I had some experiences get tossed my way that were amazing and heart wrenching, but they molded me and pulled me out of some comfort zones to get me ready for whatever was about to come next.

In 2011 I made a decision to move and extend my commute to work.  My commute became nearly 4 hours on some days and it exhausted me. I didn’t have much of a personal life and when I socialized I was making sacrifices with not getting as much sleep so I can still get some laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. done. My health wasn’t as good because I wasn’t working out like I used to and I was sitting for much longer periods during the day. BUT, doing that commute for about 4 years made me realize some strengths I didn’t know I had. It also introduced me to an amazing group of people: my Train Family (we even have a Facebook group).

In February I started a new job and I commute only an hour-ish, round trip, each day. AMAZING. However, all the small moments I learned to appreciate through the day/week with my former commute haven’t been lost. I only sleep in an hour later than before because I really want to drink that whole cup of coffee, at a leisurely pace, before work. I can also stop and get more coffee and chat with some friends before really going to work. Again, AMAZING. I’m truly blessed to have such a schedule and I will never take it for granted.

So not only do I have a new job, a new schedule for life, but more time to live life. I’ve been writing more, reading more, cooking and baking, spending time with friends, and I’ll do laundry during the week and not rush around like a mad woman. I can enjoy the moment(s). While spending time with friends I’ve had the opportunity to say ‘hey I’m starting to blog again!’ and discuss some writing ideas and the kind of content I want to have on here. When I started all this stuff way back when (when Last Year’s Girl and I had met) there weren’t labels like ‘lifestyle blog’ and this is just what I’m going to fall under. My hair stylist said I should write about my make-up and my routines. One of my mentors wants me to just write about life so others can read and feel inspired. A best friend said I need to put all my cooking and baking creations on here because she’s tired of just seeing the photos sent via text. A colleague said they’d like to read what I have to say about God and my relationship with Him, because our conversations/healthy debates were a ‘breathe of fresh air’ to our insanely busy days. I also like reflecting back on moments, tid bits of conversations, that just really amuse me or make me think.

I want to share all of those things with you!

So as my life is taking some new direction, this blog will be following me in that direction.

emotions

emotions.

such crazy, annoying, amazing, awesome, strange, indescribable, little, yet big, abstract things…

Most of the time I’m a fan, as they really make the moment!

Lately, so much has been thrown at me in conversation, in prayer, in thought and I’ve been trying to face things head on and not toss time aside for later.

Hey, how convenient is it that Jamie Tworkowski’s If You Feel Too Much came out??

brb! let me get a hold on a few things and get my butt back here!

Car Conversations

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Over the weekend I hung out with Tara, a local teenager I met at my local coffee shop.  Tara and I were talking about her dating life and she said that she can’t settle.  She’s a planner and she knows what she wants.  Tara wants to have 8 kids and she has 8 names picked out, but the idea of physically having a kid herself is daunting. So, this man she’ll marry needs to agree and understand she wants 8 kids. Then she started elaborating more on how she’s a planner and after awhile I had to interrupt.

“Tara, can I share something with you that most people don’t know about me?”

“Of course!”

“When I was your age, my childhood best friend and I had our lives planned.  When I say ‘had our lives planned’ I mean we had it written in a book that we were going to go to these colleges, major in this and that, graduate, share an apartment together and then meet our husbands, get married, and have our kids. We even had all sorts of details between those milestones planned. We left, what we thought at that time, was wiggle room for other events, but we had serious plans for our lives.  About 2 years ago we talked about this book and what we wrote down and how NONE of it happened.  Not a single thing happened how we planned, but we agreed that if it did happen as we planned it would have had potential for being boring and frustrating.  Frustrating with trying to keep up to expectations we made for ourselves while listening to the Dave Matthews Band on my stereo and eating fried raviolis.  In short, don’t plan too much, but don’t settle for anyone or anything.”

“I don’t think I had that much planned.”

haha.

I’ve been thinking about that conversation for several days now.  I really planned a lot and I’m thankful that none of those things came to pass.  Boston had too much snow this winter and that was where we were going to end up.

Being Present

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The last 6 months have been quite the transition for me. While going through (still going through) the mourning process, I have been blessed to really see how my brother impacted other lives. I’ve been able to see this and reflect on myself and how others have reached out to me (which was quite overwhelming due to shock and unidentifiable emotions, but appreciated).

One thing I realized is that I need to live life more and not plan AS much. I’m a planner and I can openly admit that. I can’t continue to make all sorts of set times to be with people.. I need to live in that moment.

Speaking of living in the moment: when I was going through the process of applying for my new position and thinking about the obvious changes that would take place in my life, one of my best friends had given me a good talkin’ to.  I needed to be present and really breathe in what was happening and stop planning the ‘what ifs’.  If I kept up with all my planning, I wouldn’t have gone through the shakes post-job offer for 4ish hours.  (I wanted to get another cup of coffee, but after that phone call my arms were all shaking and adding more caffeine to that feeling wouldn’t have been a smart move!).  I took that advice beyond the days of my interviews and job offer and it has made some serious alterations with my life.

I thought that I was enjoying moments and experiencing things, but in the back of my mind there were so many thoughts going on that I wasn’t truly present. I was too busy planning what I’ll do next, how much I’ll get done once I get home, what time I should wake up the next day… exhausting stuff.

That’s why I decided I needed to enter my 30th year of life with being fully present.  I also decided that each month I will have some sort of activity that celebrates me being 30! I wake up each day thanking God for another day, so why not celebrate each month?!

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On the eve of turning 30, I didn’t feel any different or have any crazy thoughts about life, but I did think about how I thought I’d be in a different place then where I am now.  I didn’t become sad or upset, instead I am grateful for having the experience’s I’ve had so far. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be who I am right now!

I’m excited to see what my 30th year has for me and all the things that God will do. 

Next up on my 30th year: Taylor Swift concert!

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