Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Memories From Hawaii

***I wrote this yesterday, while extremely jet-lagged, 
but waited to post it until I had a few photos to add***

Boyfriend-Fellow and I just got back from Oahu... A very momentous occasion - dear friends getting married, so many people we love all in one place and my very first destination wedding (I was their photographer). I am jet-lagged and delirious. The time difference is 6 hours and travel time is about 11 hours in the air (between two flights). So this post may be rambly but here are my thoughts/memories of trip while they're fresh...

My bed smelled exactly like celery, thus, every morning, I woke up smelling like celery myself

Hawaiian cuisine is not very vegetarian-friendly

When I'm editing photos on the plane, without fail, my seat neighbor feels it's appropriate to watch over my shoulder. I can't think of any situation where it's appropriate to look over some stranger's shoulder at their computer... They wouldn't do it if I were writing a letter, reading an email or a book. But somehow it's acceptable with photos? I don't know which makes me more uncomfortable; when they sit and stare silently for an hour or when they make comments like, "You missed a spot right there on her face."

I bought a swimsuit just for Hawaii and didn't find a chance to wear it.  Shame.

Similarly, brought Mowth for some pictures and ended up being too worried about losing him to carry him around. So there is no record he ever joined us.

Boyfriend-Fellow and I had lodging for the first 3 nights we were there but didn't figure out a place to stay on our last night until we'd already gotten to Hawaii. So unlike both of us.
This is our backyard view!

We watched Sharknado twice. Two different groups of people wanted to see it.

When I feel absolutely nauseated from lack of sleep or too much sitting on a plane, a bag of Doritos is the only comfort food that makes me feel better. Doritos on someone's breath is Boyfriend-Fellow's least favorite smell in the world.

Hawaii looks a LOT like San Diego, except for these mountains...

Dollar Express Rent-A-Car is the most misleading company name.

Rain can be very beautiful in a wedding (so long as it's not the whole ceremony)

Waiting for the flight home...

Have you been to Hawaii before? 
If so, which island and if not, which island would you want to visit?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Food and Control Issues - Part 2

Another post without pictures... Lo siento

Thank you everyone, for your kind words on my post a few days ago. I appreciate your comment so much, Charlotte. And you hit the nail on the head for what I wanted to talk about next, Noelle.

Last Christmas was sort of liberating. It was the first time I was really letting myself relax about food and starting to trust that everything would be okay. I naturally ate more food (and more junky food) because (a) it was Christmas, (b) I was spending the holidays with Boyfriend-Fellow's family so I was a little bit out of my element (I'm a nervous eater) and (c) because I was on the cusp of quitting graduate school and starting this new, scary process.

Naturally, I gained some weight from that and the past 7 (almost 8) months have been me trying to lose it. Not like I'm always making the best choices. Sometimes 'trying' means feeling distressed and having some chips to calm my distress. It's been a process.

I know what it feels like to be too skinny. Too skinny means I'm not able to focus on conversations. Too skinny  means the stairs seem like a challenge for my weak legs. Too skinny means I don't want to go out with friends because I am afraid of being tempted by the calories (and I'm tired). So for anyone who may be worried, I took all of the too skinny clothes out of my closet and donated them. I'm not going back to too skinny  But, there is a good size for my body where I feel great. Energetic, focused, alert and ambitious. I've been there when I was eating healthy but hadn't gone too far. I was there when I was doing well eating intuitively but hadn't gained the Christmas weight. That's where I'm heading. And all of the clothes in my closet that I've kept are from that time.

But everything is now complicated by my disordered eating. When I decide to buckle down and lose the weight (again, just to get to my happy body place), I have this deep fear of going too far. Yet I can't stay here, wearing the same 5 dresses day in and day out and feeling not at my best.

Every time I'm faced with 'bad' food, I have a variation of these too thoughts...
"Don't eat that, you're trying to be healthier remember?"
"You'd better eat that to prove that you've conquered this disorder and show that you can eat what you want."

It's exhausting. How am I supposed to lose weight without discipline. And how am I supposed to be disciplined when I have a history of abusing that power? Is forgoing chocolate loving myself by making a healthy choice? Or is it loving myself to allow myself to eat chocolate. I know the answer is that it's all a balance but where is the line? Sometimes I wish that someone would draw me a line I could trust in.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Food and Control Issues

***No, this is not a dissertation but it's long enough to be one***

There has been something that's been causing me to shy away from blogging and I feel like I need to share it both in the hopes that it may someday help at least one person and also so that I can get it out there and move on.

Last summer that I finally realized I needed to let go of my rigidness and rituals, especially regarding food (see this post)  During the period of time when my life was somewhat free-falling (end of a relationship, quitting grad school, moving home, trying to figure out what to do with my life, etc), I found it necessary to cling to some semblance of control anywhere I could get it and my diet was a great place to start.  I started trying to eat healthier, paying attention to nutrition for pretty much the first time ever. I started using a calorie counting app and was shocked to see how much more I was eating than my body really needed per day (according to the mr. internet).

For awhile, it was very liberating to make all these discoveries about what foods made me feel good (protein, veggies) and which ones made me feel just ick and not full for long (junk food, bread).  I naturally lost weight and gained confidence but what started as a healthy outlet quickly turned into something else entirely with me deciding which foods were 'bad' and not okay to have any of, ever. I was in fear of gaining back the weight and thus, losing the new confidence. While I began my nutrition journey by logging calories after a meal and thinking on the bigger time scale, I soon switched to logging calories beforehand to make sure I didn't go over my 'limit'. I lost even more weight but instead of feeling healthy and great, I started feeling weak and delicate. Of course, our society being the way it was, I got even more compliments with people expressing admiration for my weight loss and general skinny-ness so the thought of gaining back a pound was associated with losing people's respect and admiration. It was at this time that I was posting a lot of outfit pictures for fashion weeks like the ones below...

This is me, with not enough food

Constantly feeling hungry and counting calories was mentally distracting, to say the least and I'm not going to go into all the details of how much it took over my life for a few years but last summer, I finally crossed the line, mentally, where I realized I couldn't go on like that. It became clear to me that I could survive, but not live, with that amount of food and control mentality.

With the support of select family, friends, boyfriend-fellow and a therapist, I worked my way up to trying foods that were on my 'bad' list and began the journey to relearn intuitively eating. For several months, I was doing pretty good. But then Christmas rolled around with all of the cookies, candy, and general home-cooked comfort food. Like the rest of America, I gained a few pounds but unlike most of my peers, it was far more distressing to me in my fragile state.

It's been a journey since then to find my balance. The balance between eating healthy and enjoying food - between feeling in control but not too in control.  The thought of restricting my food is distressing but so is the consequence of eating whatever I feel like.

Obviously, this has been a huge part of my life for the past three years and there have been a lot of topics I've wanted to blog about that have stemmed from this larger issue but I needed to get this out in the open first. I've also been hesitant to post any outfit posts (i.e. pictures of myself) when I have gained a few pounds compared to the photos above. But I'm tired of that. So here's to moving forward.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Awkward/Awesome vol. 88

Awkward/Awesome Thursday!

Awkward: Posting this 40 minutes before it's no longer Thursday. And with no pictures.

Backstory: As I think I mentioned, I work once a week at a non-profit (because I believe in their mission and miss having co-workers). Since we're mostly all volunteers, there's a definitely air of casualness, which led to...
Awkward: During a slow-period, I finally glanced at the store's dress code. I was in violation of 6 rules.
Awesome: Yesterday, before my shift, I remembered the attire code and found a suitable dress.
Awkward: While rushing to get ready to go, I spilled my coffee all over my outfit.
Awesome: I had another suitable, clean dress to wear.
Awkward: Partially from the extra running around (changing, soaking other dress, etc) and partially because it was 90 degrees upstairs in our house, my face was melting off. My 5-year-old's instincts kicked in as I grabbed the bottom of my (new, clean) dress and wiped my face. Needless to say all sorts of sweat and makeup was seamlessly transferred on. With no time to change again, I had to just splash water on it and go to work. Did I mention I had sprayed one eye with hairspray and the other I had scratched with a mascara wand?

Speaking of sweat and eyes...
Awkward: During my group exercise class the other day, the instructor (who is working harder than the rest of us and sweating a lot) got sweat in her eyes and grabbed for her towel to sponge herself off. She used my towel.

Awesome: Going low-carb
Awkward: Going low-carb as a vegetarian

Awkward: I'm certainly not the best dancer but when we go to weddings, everyone is having such a great time, I just let it all out and am super silly.
Awesome: At the latest wedding, the bride's aunt came over and let me know that she had gathered a group of people and told them to watch me and they were all super 'entertained'. hahaha
Awesome x 2: At the end of the night, after we were shuttled back to the hotel, the 90-year-old grandpa sought me out to tell me he 'enjoyed my dancing very much'.

Awesome: Going to a cool, after-wedding party
Awkward: Falling asleep sitting up at an after party

Awkward: The name of one of my clients is slightly unusual but I was pretty sure I had gotten the pronunciation right in my head. When I finally met her, she said something completely differently. I spent the rest of the 2 hour shoot using her husband's name and referring to her as 'you'

I would love to hear your awkward/awesomes too!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pallet Coasters (a boyfriend craft)

I can count on one hand the number of craft projects that Boyfriend-Fellow wants to join in on. Heck, let's be honest, I can count those instances on two fingers. The first was a glass etching project (mentioned briefly [here]) and below, I present the second!

Pallet Coasters!

Normally when I find something really neat on Pinterest, I go, "OOhhh!" and show it to Boyfriend-Fellow and he gives his obligatory nod with a 'that's cool' but when I showed him this one he not only said, "Let's do that!", he actually brought it up several times until it was a reality.

It's not too difficult... Most craft stores have a 'cheap-o' wood section and to add a little extra flair (and make it look less like popsicle sticks, we used a wood stain on each piece first.

Make sure it's centered, add a little hot glue and flatten it with a book to make sure it doesn't warp.

Ta da!

Have you guys found a craft that your boyfriend/husband enjoys?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Stand by me

We're in full-on wedding season right now, both friend-wise and work-wise. Most of the friends getting married are Boyfriend-Fellow's which means I've had a fabulous time meeting his college buddies for the first time and seeing his old stomping grounds. But it's got me thinking... Are less of my friends getting married? Or just less weddings that I am invited to because I've lost touch with people? It's got me thinking about my roots (again).

I am so grateful that we moved every 3 years growing up. It's made me more adaptable and independent, given me more stories, made the entire state of California feel like 'home' instead of one small town and made me sometimes feel like I ended up with 20x more friends. Anywhere I want to go in California, I have somewhere to stay. But the downside of moving so often is that I don't have that classic best-friend-since-second-grade-through-high-school. So I've been wondering about who I'll have standing up there with me someday (not to start rumors, I'm definitely not engaged).

Not that I don't have amazing friends... I have people I hold very dear to me but they're often the ones that I end up going a year without talking to because when you move a lot, it's hard to maintain friendships with people that require daily talks. But I kinda want that...  I don't have someone I call regularly. Like when I cut my hair on Saturday, I was wishing for a best friend to come over and say, "Do it!"

There's a part of me that feels like I'm too old to make a new best friend. Like everyone who is cool already has a best friend.

So tell me, did you meet your best friend 'later in life'?

P.S. Because what's a post without pictures, here's one of me and a childhood friend, Fifi!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Humidity and a haircut

When I was younger, people always told me how lucky I was to live in California and how different the culture was elsewhere, yada yada. So I really expected the east coast to be like a foreign country and was secretly a little disappointed when I moved to upstate New York in 2009. I mean, yeah, there was snow but there's plenty of snow in California too, if you go to the right places.  I only was in upstate New York for about 5 months, from September to the end of January. I thought I had experienced the whole gambit of seasons since the first week I arrived was the last week of humidity, then it was fall, then I was getting the beginning of winter.

But holy cow was I wrong. One week of humidity does not prepare you for 3 months of humidity.  Until last night, I HAD been trying to grow out my hair. For about 9 months. It grows super slow so it has been a long process to get to the long-end of the short-hair-scale that it had achieved.  But it was far too much hair for this weather where you feel like you're constantly dripping off layers like a candle. I've lived in very hot places before, and even ran cross country in triple digit heat but with this added moisture, it's a whole 'nother ball game. Doesn't that seem strange? If someone asked me whether it'd be hotter at 95 degrees with or without some moisture in the air, I would think moisture would = cooler.

Anyways, last night we buzzed off Boyfriend-Fellow's hair and I was so jealous. I wanted shorter hair, I wanted a change and despite Google using the voices of thousands to tell me, "Don't do it!" when I searched, "How to cut a pixie haircut at home" I went ahead with it. I was partially terrified because the last time I gave myself a haircut (over 10 years ago), it was disastrous enough to make me pay the big bucks for a haircut ever since. But I went ahead with it mostly because I recently plopped down some cash for a trim and didn't feel like there was any way to justify spending money a mere 3 weeks later on the same hair.



The day after...
Apologies for my very dirty mirror.   No apologies for my adorable iPhone cover (thanks Madre!)

I wish I hadn't cut off so much in front, I would've loved longer side-of-my-face-hairs but other than that, I'm quite happy with the results!

I would love to know your thoughts on this... Do you cut your own hair? Have any good/bad stories? Share 'em in the comments below!