I Want Out

I'm having a really good week.

The other day I grabbed raw eggs instead of hard boiled eggs by accident to eat at work for breakfast. Luckily, all it took was one small tap and no mess for me to realize it but it was a bummer that I lost half my breakfast.  I also forgot my usual water bottle which I know is really minor but having that water bottle is part of my routine and on a bad day it annoys me to no end when my routine is off even a little bit.  The ATM machine in 7-11 that I normally use was broke down so I knew I'd have to make an extra stop after work and then there were two accidents on the freeway so I sat in traffic and was 10 minutes late for work.  Last night I found out that El Pollo Loco discontinued my food.  The under 500 calorie black bean bowl is no longer available.  Don't you hate it when that happens?  They make you fall in love with it and then take it away.  I've never ordered anything else from there so I didn't know what to get.  This morning I put on my shirt and got deodorant all over it then I flicked yogurt all over my sweater when I was putting my lunch together.

When the traffic hit I turned up the music in my car and started singing along.  At least I got my coffee.  At least there is money in the ATM machine for me to get.  When I couldn't get my black bean bowl I tweeted El Pollo Loco.  I have no hope that they will bring back the bowl but at least I enjoyed it while it lasted.  Nothing really seems to phase me this week.  Even tripping over MJ's shoes yet again this morning didn't bother me in the slightest.  I want to bottle up this positive vibe and stash it away somewhere so that I can take it out on one of those days where I'm in the dumps or just in a rotten mood and every little thing pisses me off.  You know those days where you are so grumpy in general that you are annoyed with yourself for being annoyed by everything and yet you still can't stop being annoyed?  I've been struggling lately.  There were no less then two meltdowns last month so it feels great to be in a good mood and feel like nothing can get me down.
Does anyone else pack like this? 
What's even more amazing is that I haven't felt stressed not even once about our trip.  Normally I'm a complete and total hot mess the week of a vacation.  I freak out about forgetting things I probably don't need and stress myself out running around picking up last minute things 'just in case.'  I ridiculously over pack and over think everything little thing to the point where I wish someone would knock me out until I get on the plane because one I'm on the plan there is nothing I can do about anything that's not already in my suitcase and I can finally stop stressing.  You'd think I was traveling to a different planet and not just to some other city where they have stores that sell toiletries and all kinds of other things.  It's not the end of the world if I forget my favorite hair clip.  It is however the end of the world if I forget my contacts and glasses.  I can't exactly buy them when I get there so as long as I have those I'm fine.  It's only taken me about a million trips to finally calm down and hopefully I won't relapse on our next trip because it's really nice going into a trip and not feel like I'm losing my mind.  I asked MJ if he was going to start packing yesterday.  He gave me an are you kidding me, don't you know who I am? look and said nope.  He's doing it today sometime between after work and our red eye flight.  He's crazy and truly a professional packer if ever there was one.  I'll never be as good as him.  I just wish he didn't have to loose something before he travels.  Last time it was his license and this time it's not one but two credit cards one of them being his debit card.  I was the last (and only) person to actually see them on Saturday at home and now they are gone.  Just poof.  Disappeared. 

I'm sure most of my good mood is because of vacation.  I was just kind of whatever about it a few weeks ago but last night I was so excited I could barely sleep and focusing at work today is going to be hard.  I just want out!  It's been a long time since I went to NYC and I can't wait for the sheer magnitude of those giant buildings to have me standing on the sidewalk staring up at them with my mouth hanging open.  We've got some really fun things planned and I just can't wait!!  I won't be blogging but I will be on Instagram.  The significance of our travel date didn't dawn on me until a few weeks ago.  Flying to New York on 9/11 makes me just a little uncomfortable but I'm sure it's nothing to worry about.

I'll leave you with this little gem from Sunday.  You might want to turn down your volume.  MJ thought it would be really fun to try to give me a heart attack while I was packing, film it and then put it on Facebook.  I was mad but even I have to admit that it's hilarious.  And just in case you are wondering our bed always looks that way.  We stopped making it everyday years ago and the decorative pillows never come out of the closet.

If you want to enter the Cocotique beauty box giveaway do so here.  I'll pick a winner when I get back.


I'm Giving Something Away

You guys! I finally got one of those boxes.  You know those boxes that everyone keep getting in the mail and blogging about?  Those surprise boxes delivered to your doorstep filled with all kinds of cool things.  I kept seeing boxes on different blogs and wondering what is up with all of these boxes and now I finally got my own pretty little box full of all kinds of fun beauty products.  The September Cocotique box has two full size and five deluxe sample size products and I'm giving one away to one lucky winner.  In case you are wondering what Cocotique is it's a monthly beauty box subscription service for women of color and diverse ethnicities. They find the best beauty and lifestyle products and ship them to your door each month.
I'm not going to say what's in it because that's part of the fun and I'm one of those annoying people that wants you to be surprised even if you don't want to.  Okay, just one hint.  One of the full size products has something to do with eyes.  I was pleasantly surprised by all the really good stuff inside.  I opened it and pulled out one cool thing after another.  I'm a hoarder of pretty much all things so I've already promised my husband that I will not "save" these things for who knows what day that never comes.  These are all things I can actually use and I will actually use them!!

Enter below and Good luck.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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You Never Forget How

I vaguely recall my first big girl bike.  It was was blue with giant handle bars and a black banana seat with a little handle on the back.  The handle that your dad holds onto as he's sending you off on your first ride without training wheels while yelling at you to go straight.  I remember really liking that bike.  I did not however like my 2nd bike.   After outgrowing the first one and they got me this purple and black bike that I thought was ugly.  I remember being embarrassed to ride it because it wasn't girly at all and didn't have the curled handles like the ones the other girls were getting.  I wanted a ten speed.  This was not a ten speed.  My parents got me what they could afford and I eventually came to love that bike just like I loved my witch costume after it got stolen.  This is a bit of a tangent but since we're going all nostalgic here I'm throwing it in.  In elementary school my mom insisted on hand making my witch costume for Halloween and I was so embarrassed.  I wanted a store bought one like the other kids were going to have but it was cheaper to buy material.  Turns out I loved my witch costume even more then all the other ones and I guess someone else loved it too.  At the end of the day when we went to grab our paper grocery bags where our costumes were stashed mine was gone and I went home with some other kid's generic store bought one and cried because in the end I liked the one my mom made so much better.

It's just one example of how kids are so often swayed and brainwashed by whatever the masses are doing.  So afraid of standing out or being different because kids are mean and nobody likes being teased.  I'm so glad that we didn't have social media back then.  I was never a popular kid or a cute teen and I can only imagine what a beating social media would have given my already fragile self esteem.  Getting older sucks sometimes but you couldn't pay me enough to go back to being an adolescent and if I could go back and tell my 12 year old self anything it would be to get over it because half the crap you are so worried about is truly meaningless.  And mom, sorry for being such an ungrateful child.

I'm rambling.  Back to bikes.  My parents bought me my 3rd bike while I was in college and I rarely rode it.  I'm not really sure why.  I guess I just wasn't interested at the time.  When we finally got a garage of our own I picked it up and brought it home but we probably should have taken the bike straight to the dumpster.  I feel really bad for having never rode it but now that I want to again the thing is totally broke down.  It weighs a ton.  It's super old.  The gears are messed up, there are cobwebs hanging off of it and the tires are flat.  I think it's beyond saving.
Um.  I'm not so sure about this.
MJ has a fancy road bike and mountain bike with clip in pedals which sounds positively terrifying to me.  I still have the jalopy and it had been at least 10 years since I last rode a bike.  Probably longer, so when he suggested bike riding over the weekend I was nervous because I wasn't sure if I'd remember how.  I was worried I'd crash or run over an innocent pedestrian and I totally forget how to brake.  "How do I stop?" I asked MJ frantically as we started to take off.  My last bike had handbrakes and this blue beach cruiser had nothing but handle bars.  I'm sure I did, but I don't actually remember having to back petal to break.  
I was really scared when we first took off but after 30 minutes or so I was able to release my death grip on the handle bars and had a really great time.  Meanwhile MJ can take his phone out of his pocket, take a picture and put it back in all without crashing.  The wind in my hair felt amazing and the view wasn't half bad.  It took us about 1 hour to go 9 miles and by the end of the day we'd gone almost 13 miles.  It's amazing how fast and far you can get on a bike just poking along at 6 mph. 

We took the ferry to Coronado Island and rode to Burger Lounge for food.  This part was pretty nerve racking because I've never rode in actual traffic before.  We made a left hand turn in the street with the green traffic arrow.  I was scared to follow MJ but even  more scared not to.  He is no stranger to 40 mph speeds in the street, but not me.  As a driver I HATE being near bike riders and as a wife it freaks me out that my husband rides so fast in the streets.  I think we maxed out at 10 mph the whole time and being so close to cars with so little room to navigate between them started stressing me out so I yelled ahead to go on the sidewalk.  The sidewalk is safe.  With our food in MJ's basket we rode back to the water and sat in the grass to eat before taking the ferry ride back to the harbor.  It takes 15 minutes each way.  We turned in our bikes and got ice cream.  Then for some reason I really wanted a beer and drinking it while looking out at the bay was the most refreshing thing ever.
Bike riding is so much fun and I love doing touristy type things in my own city.  I really want my own bike now so I'm trying to decide between a Beach Cruiser (with hand brakes) or a Townie.  The backpedal breaking was okay but I think I prefer hand brakes.  It seems easier.  Either way, it's going to be Pink with a cute wicker basket in the front and a bell.  MJ wants one too because apparently he really enjoyed not having to shift gears and riding without his feet attached to the pedals.  I still don't know how anybody does that.  It would basically be timber for me in about 2 seconds.   

Well, I guess it's true when they say it's like riding a bike.  You never forget how.


Popcorn By the Pound

I buy my popcorn by the pound.  Well I used to anyway. True life.  I was addicted to popcorn.

It all started sometime last year.  I had an insatiable craving for things like pretzels and potato chips.  Pretzels are low fat but super high sodium and you can only eat so many chips because FAT and neither one has any real nutritional value.  I started focusing on getting more nutritional value out of everything I eat and something kind of cool happened.  I totally quit eating pretzels and I only ate chips occasionally.  I fully enjoy the chips when I do eat them but I no longer crave them like I used to.  I needed a healthy snack that would satisfy my munchies AND give me some kind of nutritional value and popcorn fit my needs perfectly.  Low calorie, low fat and it has protein.  It has carbs but healthy carbs are okay right?  Loading it with butter defeats the purpose.  I wanted it in it's most natural form without added sodium or fat so I went old school and started popping kernels in a pot on the stove.  It turned out to be the perfect snack.  6 tablespoons of kernels makes a pretty big bowl of popcorn and I could eat all.  The whole getting to eat it all part was really cool.  

It was quick to make, I could eat a lot of it, and it was healthy.  Once I'd discovered the perfect snack I wanted it every day and there was just one problem with that.  Oil.  It was necessary in order to get the kernels to pop.  I used as little as possible but still, it was added fat AND washing the pot out every single day got old.  I'd want my snack but dread scrubbing out the pot. 


Enter the Nordic Ware Microwave Popcorn Popper that I found on Amazon.  Where has this magical bowl been all my life?  All I have to do is dump the kernels in the bowl, stick it in the microwave and in 3 minutes my all natural popcorn is done.  No oil, no fat and no clean up either.  I only have to wash the bowl once a week.  My popcorn addiction grew even more if that was even possible.  When I was making it in the pan I would sometimes add garlic salt or popcorn seasoning to flavor it up but if I do that in the bowl I have to wash it every single time.  With a daily popcorn habit I was too lazy to bother so it totally worked out that I didn't even miss the extra flavor.  I really love the natural flavor of popcorn.  If you really love popcorn this bowl will change your life.  I've since bought one for my mom and sister.  

Those dinky little 16 oz containers of kernels were not enough to feed my addiction.  I could not be a day without having at least the option of eating popcorn so I was constantly running to the store for kernels.  It was clearly time to go bulk so I went back to Amazon and bought the biggest bag of popcorn I could find.  Weighing in  at 12.5 lbs this bag of popcorn is actually larger then a new born baby.  I had to lean it up against the wall to keep the kernels from spilling out.  It looked really bad sitting there like that but I couldn't tuck it away too far because it's too heavy to keep getting out.  First world problems, I know.  I solved this by getting a cute jumbo mason jar to store the kernels in and refill as needed.

It was really bad.  This is the part of the addiction that I'm most embarrassed to admit.  I tend to be kind of possessive of my food anyway and it was even worse with popcorn.  I wanted  needed the entire bowl to myself.  I only allowed MJ to have a couple handfuls before I got really annoyed.  I used to ask him if he wanted some because if he did then, I'd pop some extra but he always said no so I felt mostly justified in swatting his hand away.  And how long do you think it took me to eat 12.5 lbs of popcorn? Let's see.  I ordered my first giant bag on March 1st and I had to place another order on May 3rd.  That's about 4lbs of popcorn a month.  Told you.  I was totally addicted, but if you are going to be addicted to something it could be a lot worse then all natural popcorn. Right?  If it's not one thing it's another with me and food.  When I like something I like it and I will eat it constantly and never get sick of it.

My current meal plan does not allow for a huge mega bowl of popcorn a day habit.  I still eat it sometimes but it's been 3 months since my last overflowing giant steamy bowl.  I am still as yet undecided on how long I'll continue with this meal plan but I definitely see a big bowl of popcorn in my future and MJ better not ask for even one kernel.  


Free Weight Fear is a Thing

I've enjoyed working out at home for a while now.  I don't have to worry about crowds or what I look like.  I don't even have to wear clothes.  I did weight training at home with what we had but I wanted to lift heavier and branch out with different exercises so after four weeks I forced myself to enter the free weight zone at the gym.  It was really hard at first.  I felt like a flopping fish out of water.  It took me a good two weeks of going almost every day before I started to feel more comfortable.  Free Weight fear is a thing. How 'bout some tips on getting over it.

1.  Get the gear.  It might make you look like you know what you are doing even if you don't.  MJ bought me some cute pink work out gloves.They keep blisters off my hands and I don't have to worry about feeling like I'm damaging my wedding ring.  Listening to music is motivating and gives me something else to focus on besides my nerves.  A lot of guys use the pockets in their giant gym shorts to put their music source but none of my outfits have pockets.  Some girls stuff it in their tank or their pants but I didn't want to worry about sweat.  I needed something to keep my hands free so I tried the SPI Beltfirst.  I like it and it's great for running but I needed to consult my online work out program too often to make it practical.  I had to keep taking my phone in and out which made me feel conspicuous.  I switched over to the Minisuit Armbandand now I can operate my phone right through the clear plastic and I can angle my arm in front of me to see the screen.  It's neoprene so my phone is protected and I can sweat all over it without worry and wash it later.  It makes it easy for me to switch my music up too so for me it's the much better option for working out.  I also wear my Polar HRM because I like to know how many calories I burn.  There is always going to be someone dressed weirdly inappropriate in jeans, chucks or a faded polo shirt.  You can't stick out any more then that! 

2.  Get a work out buddy.  It would have made things a heck of a lot easier if MJ could have just gone along with me for a week or so until I got comfortable using the machines but he dropped his membership a long time ago.  It doesn't even have to be someone who knows their way around the gym.  I saw lots of work out pairs and I know that if I'd had a buddy I wouldn't feel so self conscious even if neither one of us knew what we were doing because you can figure it out together.  I went with my mom over the weekend and it was great.  I wasn't as afraid to try new things and risk looking foolish.  I was nervous about doing box jumps because I didn't know if I could jump on the box without falling but with my mom there I went for it.  Then I did it last night at the gym on my own.

3.  Sign up for personal training.  It's really expensive so I only did the one hour free session that's offered to everyone.  During that time I asked him about three machines I wanted to learn how to use and it was just one more day of being out of my comfort zone around the free weights that I didn't have to do alone.  A personal trainer will be right there keeping you accountable, teaching you proper form and helping you navigate the free weight area but it just wasn't something I wanted to pay for.  I knew that I was capable of figuring it out so I toughed it out on my own. 

4.  Find and online training program.  If you know nothing about weights you are going to feel very aimless and even more confused in the free weight area if you don't have some kind of a plan of what you are even supposed to be doing there.  Having exercises in front of you using the equipment that you are nervous about using will force you to get on them and figure it out.  It's too easy to run back to the cardio equipment or the basic cable machines.  I went onto bodybuilding.com find a plan so I'd know what a weight lifting work out consisted of and have something to follow.  You don't have to do the whole thing.  Just get an idea of what a weight lifting plan looks like.  I found out how many exercises to do per work out and how the muscle groups are split up.  I followed the Live Fit plan for seven weeks and have now branched out to doing my own thing.

5.  Don't be intimidated.  I know there are a lot of buff guys wearing those tank tops with the huge cut outs in the arms but chances are they are too involved in their work out to notice you.  It truly feels like everyone is looking at you as you fumble around awkwardly with equipment but they aren't.  And the more comfortable you get being there the more comfortable you will feel about screwing up.  Maybe you can't get the equipment adjusted right but you aren't so freaked out so you can sit there and figure it out, brush it off if you can't or even ask someone nearby without feeling like a total loser.

6.  Keep on showing up and fake it 'til you make it.  There were so many days that I dreaded showing up to the gym because I hated that I'm confused and everyone is staring at me feeling.  I just wanted to say forget it, but I stuck with it and got more comfortable with every visit.  There were times I had to skip a machine because I couldn't find it and was too embarrassed to keep wandering around the gym or ask for help.  There were also times when I finally found that machine but skipped it because I was afraid I would like like an idiot when I couldn't figure out how to adjust it properly.  I kept watching what other people were doing and then eventually I got the courage to try it myself.

7.  Ask for help.  I failed miserably at this.  I'm sure I could have gone up to any trainer and asked where the row machine was or how to adjust the cable cross machine.  There are also plenty of people around me who also might know, but I'm shy about doing it and I just hate asking for help.  I'd rather wander around the gym casually sipping my water bottle and inconspicuously craning my neck in search of the back extension machine.

8.  Go when the gym is least crowded if possible.  It might make you feel braver about tackling machines and weight benches.  Plus, you won't have to jockey for space or stalk machines you want to use.  I get off work at 5pm and so do a lot of other people and pre work AM workouts are hard on me if not impossible so sometimes crowds are inevitable, which is one of the most annoying thing about the gym.  That and other people's sweat.  I went as early as possible on weekends when I was still feeling nervous.  My gym is 24 hours so I thought about going at 11pm on a Friday or 5 am on a Sunday but it never happened.  It would have been wonderful to have the whole gym to myself to figure things out though. 

9.  Remember, there are always people doing weirder exercises then you.  I saw this woman getting up and down into a straddle sit in slow motion with a kettle ball in her hand.  It was really bizarre.  Then she went over and did a handstand against the wall while she bent her legs into a cross legged position.  I saw this guy swinging from one of those giant racks and then putting his legs through his arms.  One pair of girls threw medicine balls at the wall.  People basically go into the gym and do all kinds of things to torture themselves.  Whatever works the muscle or gets the burn is what they are going to do so there is no need to be embarrassed about doing walking lunges across the floor or anything else.  I used to be embarrassed to even do the splits at the gym.  Why? I don't know.  I tend to be embarrassed of everything for one reason or another but I need to work those to keep my flexibility so I do them and now I don't think twice about it.  Speaking of which, I need to start doing my bridge there too.  Do what you gotta do and chances are it's no big deal.

After two weeks of I never ever want to go back awfulness I'm confident that I can walk into any free weight room in all my pink glory, be the only girl in there and not feel intimidated.  I don't notice everyone else. I'm not looking for people who might not know what they are doing so I can stare at them and make them feel uncomfortable.  I'm too busy sweating bullets and doing box jumps.  I get in there and do my thing.  You just have to push through the whole fish out of water phase and you can too.


The Kind of Happy That Just Is

I had a really bad dream last night. For some reason it really rattled me and I can't seem to get it out of my head. Have you ever wondered about what your life might be like if you made a different decision or if one thing or another had happened differently? I think everyone has at one point or another. The dream was very vague and unformed as dreams tend to be but the gist of it was this. I was not married to my husband. I was with someone else.  I was miserable and I was thinking of that guy I met with whom everything was perfect.  That guy that I only went out on a few dates with before deciding it would be best to go back to an old relationship.
July 4th 2008 // Our first Vegas trip together
There were no monsters.  I was not swimming in a vat of spiders.  There was no Nightmare on Elm Street running through a field screaming bloody murder and yet this dream was positively chilling because in it I knew what it was like not to have MJ in my life.  In the dream "that guy" was MJ and for whatever reasons I went back to an old tattered relationship rather then take a chance at being happy.  I knew what it was like not to be able to hold his hand or see him smile and it was a terribly empty feeling.

In reality there was no guy I went back to but there was a previous marriage that ended in divorce. Ten years ago my marriage had fallen apart.  I was bitter, hopeless and oh so very lost.  Life was misery for me.  When I hear about any suicide including the most recent one that everyone is talking about it really hits home.  When I see Robin Williams face I look at his eyes and wonder what kind of torment and pain might have been hiding behind jokes and smiles at that very moment.  I hid a lot with my smile too.  I don't know his struggle but I know what it's like to see ceasing to exist as a solution.

Four years later I was still single and very anti relationship because relationships are "so hard" and I was not worthy.  I didn't think I would ever meet anyone I liked enough to take a chance with which was fine because in my mind I was unlovable anyway; destined to be alone and sad. When we started dating in March 2008 I pushed him away because I did not believe I deserved someone like him.  I was distant.  I wouldn't allow myself to like him.  I just knew I would ruin his life and that's exactly what I told him.  I was in a slightly better place but still very damaged and afraid.  I still didn't know what it was like to love life and be happy.  I had moments of happiness but not the kind of happy that just is for no reason at all and that's when I met him.  That's when everything changed for me and I'm so incredibly grateful.  He pushed, I found the courage to let him in and life with MJ has been nothing less then amazing.  We don't fight, we figure it out.  Loving him is easy.  He is my rock.  He comforts me in so many ways.  What if I had never gotten divorced?  What if I had successfully sabotaged our relationship?  I shudder to think of what my life would be like right now if I had never gotten a divorce and it saddens me to think of the lonely and miserable person I was and might still be today had I not met MJ when I did.

I vaguely remember him kissing me this morning like always before he left for work and reassuring me that it was Friday and not Thursday.  That was the other nightmare I had last night.  And when I woke up I felt a huge sense of relief.  Not only because it was Friday but because the life I have right now is so very different then the one I had ten years ago and I get to come home to a man who means everything to me.  It was just a bad dream.