Feb 5, 2012


So I never finished NaNoWriMo.  I got about 20% done and hit a point where I was just over it.  Not that my writing was bad or anything, in fact, some of what I did write was quite good. It's just that I realized that writing a memoir in my early 20s is perhaps a little early and I'll just wait until I have more stories to tell.  Plus work and other responsibilities really robbed me of my energy and I couldn't muster up any amount of productivity afterwards.  Also, if this and other blogs are any indication, it's possible that I don't really like writing that much, or at least not about my life.

Speaking of my life, things are going alright here in good old Rexburg.  I've still got my job, and Nathan is still going to school.  His graduation date has been pushed back from July to December.  I can't pretend I'm completely over it, as moving out of eastern Idaho in August seems infinitely better than moving during the winter.  Plus, as much as Rexburg is growing on us, we're both quite eager to move on to the next stage in our lives.

I've recently begun taking more of an active interest in my appearance.  I've never been a particularly vain person but I don't think there's anything wrong with attempting a little vanity.  I finished Accutane in November or something and in the couple months since the therapy ended, my skin has transformed from a dry, cracked wasteland (side effect) into basically the best skin ever.

(Tangent: I hate it when you start puberty and you get zits and everyone's like, oh this will all go away once you get out of your teen years. This is a mega lie.  Your acne will cease to plague you whenever it feels like it, or never.  Or until you realize that freaking Clearasil isn't going to cure you of this skin disease and seek help from a dermatologist.  I hate those liars who try to placate you during your teen years saying your terrible skin become beautiful once you turn twenty.)

Back to my beautiful skin.  I've been a capable makeup-applier for many years--in fact, I did my own makeup for my wedding, way before Kate Middleton made it "cool"--but I have generally lacked the ability to care enough to put on makeup every day.  Recently I decided that since I have nice skin for the first time in 12 or so years, I might as well try to look my best.  I won't admit how long it's been since I plucked my eyebrows, but I plucked them last week and my hotness quotient went up about 10% per eyebrow.

Besides my face being amazing, I have also been working out at the school's fitness center a lot.  Nathan has been coming too, but I would work out for 2 hours if he'd let me, and he's usually wiped out after about half an hour.  My Wii Fit keeps telling me I am bordering on obese and that is very annoying to me, mostly because it uses BMI as the scale and if you haven't heard, BMI IS A JOKE.  Wii Fit is the bomb, but I can't read my Kindle while I'm pretending to hula hoop, so instead I just sit on an exercise bike forever and read books.

I heard from like 50,000 different sources that pregnancy and giving birth is way easier if you're fit when you get pregnant, because you can keep working out for most of your pregnancy and since I will be pregnant at some point in the future, I figured I might as well start now.  A stitch in time saves nine and all that.  I've been at it for about a month and there has been a dramatic decrease in the amount of back fat I have.  It's nice to see results.  We've also been eating less food but healthier food.  So go us!

Nathan's doing well in all of his classes this semester, which is giving me one less thing to be super anxious about.  I spend the majority of my waking hours in a state of nearly overwhelming anxiety and I don't know what I would do without Nathan.  You know he does the dishes all the time and cooks sometimes and does all the laundry?  Someone must have raised him right because when he's not doing homework, he does everything he can to make things easier on me.  Props to Nathan for being awesome! <3

That's about it for tonight.  Maybe I'll blog again in another 5 months.  See you then.

Oct 29, 2011


So Tuesday is November first which means something new to me this year!  I will be participating in National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo!  The goal is to write a 50,000 word book in 30 days--no stopping to edit, just bang it out--which ends up being ~1667 words a day.

While I don't have an idea for a fiction novel in mind, I have decided to write a collection of essays.  Not a memoir necessarily but I have some pretty funny stories from my life and some not-so-funny ones that I think need to be told.  I am going to shoot for 2000 word essays, and I have about 30 ideas.  I am hoping to come up with more before November starts because I know not all of them will work out. If I shoot for 2000 words, I will write 25 essays so I need a lot of padding :) some will be longer, some will be shorter, but that's okay.  The working title is "Grandma Hates Me."

This is a daunting challenge for me but I have some pretty specialized skills that I think will give me a cutting edge in hitting the word count.  For one thing, I probably type 50,000 words in a week through my job so it's not a number that freaks me out.  Also I have a program of typing abbreviations that I am certified in, and today I bought and downloaded the personal version.  I'm actually using it right now and it's pretty sweet.

I don't plan on trying to get my book published, so it's possible I'll post a few of my essays here on my blog for your enjoyment :)

Pretty excited for the coming month.  I used to write all the time, fantasy stories and stuff, but all my inspiration just dried up and I haven't been able to write for fun for years.  So it's like immersion therapy.  I'll update you on my progress periodically but don't expect anything in depth, as I'll probably have carpal tunnel by the time I hit 50,000 haha.  I hope not.

Oct 5, 2011

A new addition to the family!

Today I bought a betta fish at Walmart. I had to pick up a couple of prescriptions (last month of Accutane, yaaaay!) and while I was waiting, I strolled up and down the aisles (always dangerous) and impulsively purchased a fish. (I also bought some air filters for our apartment and margarine, but this information is not relevant.)

It's a blue crowntail and he looks a lot like this:

We've named him Tobias and he's pretty cool. I need to buy some of those aquarium rocks and a plant because the fishbowl looks a little sad. But we'll see if he dies in the next couple of days before I put more money into his habitat haha.

Nathan and I have been planning on buying a fish for a year and we never got around to it. We didn't know Walmart sold fish other than goldfish and frozen tilapia, so when I saw the bettas, I was like YES! and picked the coolest one there.

Welcome baby Tobias!

Sep 15, 2011

I suck.

I lack follow through. I'm never going to finish that book thing haha. So I'll paraphrase: I love Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, and books by Nick Hornby, though I will readily admit his books aren't for everyone. I like to reread books I've read a million times. I don't know why reading new books makes me nervous, but it does.

Anyway, the new semester started on Monday and so far so good! Work is going well for me, and Nathan's classes are pretty good! His Mondays are going to be horrible (in class from 7:45-5:30 with only one 90 minute break) but I know he'll do amazing. 

I'm on my penultimate month of Accutane! I can't wait to be off of it. My face is suuuuuper clear and looks great so it's obviously working but it's making my arms kind of... scaly? I don't know if that's gross but whatever. But like I said, almost done! 

I can't believe we'll be leaving Rexburg in less than a year. I never thought I would say this but I'm really gonna miss it! 

You know what else I'm going to miss? Writing this post, because I'm going to bed. HA.

Aug 23, 2011

Book meme! But I probably won't do it in 30 days ;)

A couple of my friends are doing this so I thought I'd join in on the fun. I don't read nearly as much as I used to, and it's a darn shame, but I'm doing it anyway!

Day 1 -  Best book you read last year

I jumped on the Hunger Games bandwagon relatively late, but I made up for lost time by powering through the entire trilogy in just a few days! While the second book, Catching Fire, was my favorite, I think Mockingjay was a pretty amazing ending. It was sad and haunting, but really a great book. I can't wait until the movies :D

Jun 10, 2011

Healthy Changes, Day Five: Mental Health Day

Gosh, writing all of these blog posts is exhausting! I need to take a personal day.

Psych! I will actually be talking about the subject of mental health.

A lot of people don't really understand clinical depression. They're like, oh you're just sad? Just sad doesn't even begin to cover it. Everything in your life can be going wonderfully, but if you have legit depression you'll still be miserable all the time. It's not something you can control. "Fake it til you make it" doesn't work with depression. Having depression can screw up everything in your life. Your relationships, your job, you name it and depression will mess it up.

I've had diagnosed depression and anxiety since I was 14. I was taking antidepressants and going to therapy from 14-17, when I decided to stop doing both. I don't really remember why, but things were okay for a while. And then it wasn't.

I decided that I should talk to my doctor about maybe going back on antidepressants when every day turned into a struggle over whether or not I should quit my job and just lay in bed all day.

I've been taking Prozac for about a month now. Things have REALLY improved, or at least the way I see things has improved. I'm sleeping better, eating better, exercising, and I doubt I would have the motivation for any of this without medication to pull me out of the hole of depression that I was sinking in. It's also helping with my anxiety. I have energy and can relax! It's an amazing feeling. Coming out of depression is like living in a dark room and suddenly someone opens the blinds and lets the sun in. Cheesy, I know, but that's how I've been feeling.

Sometimes I feel crappy about having to take medicine in order to feel normal, but then I remind myself that mental health and physical health work best when they're working together. Prozac can function as an appetite suppressant which helps curb my boredom snacking and my mealtime overeating. I'm happier so I'm more motivated to cook from scratch. I'm sleeping better and less anxious so I'm no longer physically and mentally exhausted every day and have the energy to work out, which leads to endorphins which make me even more happy! And it goes around and around and around.

I'm sharing this incredibly personal information on my blog not to make excuses for myself or anything like that, but rather to share something that has been a struggle in my life for a long time, and something that I'm finally happy to say that I'm successfully working through!

This has been a fun week for me! If anything I've said hasn't been helpful, I hope that it will at least have been interesting :)

Jun 9, 2011

Healthy Changes, Day Four: ENOUGH SLEEP!

Today's change is something that has been a goal of mine for years. I've slept poorly for as long as I can remember. I used to get in trouble a lot for not being asleep by midnight, one, two, three... but it's not like I didn't try. I would lay in bed in the dark for hours but my brain would not shut off, even as early as first grade. When I DID manage to fall asleep, I would still wake up several times during the night and not be able to go back to sleep. This continues to this day.

I feel as if a good night's sleep has been evading me for years. But I recently decided I'd had enough of spending my days feeling lethargic and irritable. I did some research and set a bedtime routine for myself (and Nathan).

I get up around 7-ish, so I try to go to bed at 10. I take melatonin at around 9:30 and turn off most of the lights. Ideally I would fall asleep by 10:30 but it usually ends up being closer to 11. But even so, it's still about 8 hours of sleep! Also I bought an eye mask to block out the light when it's finally time to sleep. Then I listen to an audio book (one that I've heard a million times, like Harry Potter) and fall asleep!

I've found that having a routine has been helping a lot. Going to bed at the same time every night has definitely made a difference. My body is like, okay, now it's time to wind down because you need to fall asleep in less than an hour. And 9 times out of 10, I am falling asleep in the time frame I set.

Now, my problems aren't completely solved. I still wake up in the middle of the night almost every night. I would rather not take something like Ambien that makes me hallucinate so I think I'll keep going with my routine and see if it lessens as it goes on.

Do any of you have problems sleeping? Any solutions you've found? Please share some ideas!

Jun 8, 2011

Healthy Changes, Day Three: Wii Fit!

This is by far been the most fun thing I'll be blogging about. Wii Fit, people. Get with it! How does something this fun exist? No, really. We've had it in our possession* for almost two weeks now and Nathan and I are both having a blast!

We both have our own things that we're good at but we both have so much fun exercising! Here, enjoy this video of Nathan skateboarding! The video is sideways, by the way.

He's totally cute, right?

I know that Wii Fit isn't terribly strenuous compared to, say, running 10 miles with weights strapped to your ankles, but man, it's a pretty good workout! Hula hooping DESTROYS me. Yoga is also much much harder than I thought it would be. I'm not very flexible and I'm not very balanced so I usually do pretty badly on those, but I can sure feel everything stretching! I thiiiiink I'm getting better. At least, I hope I am.

Nathan really likes the marching band (Rhythm Parade) activity, and I've been having lots of fun doing the snowball fight :) We've been playing with our friends Joanna and Clark and it's so interesting how everyone is good at totally different things!

If you have a Wii, I would definitely recommend investing in a Wii Fit! It can be disheartening when they weigh you and your little Mii gets fat, but it's pretty good motivation haha. I also love that there are soooo many different things you can do! You can play balance games, rhythm games, strength training and yoga, aerobics, and so on! With the wide variety available and the fact that most things only take up about 2 minutes, you can make up your own fun little routines! YOU CAN RIDE A SEGWAY, PEOPLE!!!

My new best friend!

Well, dear readers, I've told you my favorite way to work out (also the only way I work out, but I digress) so tell me the ways you try to fit a little extra fitness in your life! Do you purposefully park a long ways from the door? Do you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Let me know in the comments!

*Thanks in-laws for letting us borrow your Wii Fit! We'll probably never give it back.

Jun 7, 2011

Healthy Changes, Day Two: Easy Calorie Cutting

"Count your calories" is something we hear nonstop. Well, I don't know about you but that's kind of a drag for me. But I realized a couple weeks ago that there was a super easy way I could cut out a couple hundred calories a day: stop drinking them!!

I really hate water. I think it's pretty sick. I know human beings are 75% water or something (maybe that's the earth) but I can't stand drinking it most of the time. Soda is good, but sometimes when I was feeling like I should get something healthier, I'd pick up a Snapple or Sobe. But did you realize those things are like 300+ calories? That's no better than a can of soda and basically a whole meal! What the heck?

I thought about it for a while and then decided that if I'm going to ingest a ton of calories, I would rather it be in food form instead of beverage form. So I went on the hunt for low calorie drinks. Diet soda is more or less pretty nasty, but I found a couple that are quite tasty :) Vanilla Coke Zero is one of those. The vanilla really covers up the weird aspartame taste. Diet root beer is very hit and miss, but A&W is totally tolerable. Their diet cream soda is also tasty! Low calorie Sobe and Snapple is available when you're looking for something less carbonated, and everything I've tried from those brands has been good! The Fuze juice brand, on the other hand, was quite disappointing.

Lemon water has been a big winner for me. Put some lemon slices (or dump some lemon juice) in a pitcher of water and let it chill. Nice and refreshing and the gross water taste that usually keeps me away from water doesn't bug me with another flavor in there. Another alternative is cucumber water! Peel and slice a cucumber and put it in a pitcher of water and let it chill for a while. It's a great summertime treat! One more option is raspberries but those are just sliiiightly pricier than cucumbers and lemons haha. Lucky for me, Nathan doesn't like cucumber water so I get it all to myself :)

My last example is not quite as low calorie as everything else, but almond milk is really healthy and really filling. It makes a great breakfast, and at only 90 calories a cup, I wouldn't say that's particularly awful. It's also good on cereal! I think I blogged about its tastiness during BEDA and my opinion has not changed. Almond milk, yay!

While I haven't been trying to cut calories in any other way, I know that I'm taking in a lot fewer since cutting out soda and bottled juice and stuff. This wouldn't be a big thing for most people, but my aversion to drinking water makes the task of finding lower calorie beverages a little tricker for me. Most people would just stop drinking soda and only drink water, but ew, water. It's working out really well, too! When we go out to eat, if I want a drink, I get a diet soda or suck it up and deal with water (with lemon, of course).

I've only slipped up once, and that was while I was getting our car's oil changed. I got a free fountain soda and my options were diet Sprite, diet Mountain Dew, diet Coke, and diet Pepsi. So I got a small thing of Dr. Pepper. But when that was done I filled up with diet Mountain Dew. Mistake. Diet Mountain Dew is disgusting. Don't bother trying it.

Obviously I could cut my calories into shreds if I wanted to, but I don't. I just wanted to make one simple change and I think it's been a really good thing! I have even lost a few pounds, but as you'll find out the rest of the week, Vanilla Coke Zero doesn't deserve all of the credit ;)

I suppose if today's blog had a moral, it would be eat your calories, don't drink them! I never said this week would be full of incredible scientific breakthroughs, but I think sometimes we forget that just because something's liquid doesn't mean that it's not packed with calories.

Anyone have any tips for easy ways to cut calories without too much effort? Let me know if there's a low or no calorie beverage that you're a fan of in the comments!

Jun 6, 2011

Healthy Changes, Day One: Bountiful Baskets

In my humble opinion, step one to being healthier is eating healthier foods. Nathan and I try to stay away from ultra-processed convenience foods as much as possible but we still find ourselves not eating as many fresh fruits and veggies as we'd like to. With the exception of potatoes and bananas, everything's so expensive!

Luckily, thanks to a few friends, neighbors, and coworkers, we kept hearing about something called Bountiful Baskets and decided to give it a try a couple weeks ago! The short explanation is you pay $15 on Monday, and on Saturday you pick up something like $50 worth of fresh produce! You never know what you're going to get, because the people who run the co-op try to buy seasonal produce directly from farmers.

But it's always fresh and always good. Don't believe me? See what we picked up on Saturday morning!

Right there we've got 10 lbs of potatoes, four bananas, a cantaloupe, a pound of grapes, a pound of strawberries, two tomatoes, a head of cauliflower, a bunch of celery, a head of romaine lettuce, and SIX ears of corn. 

On top of that, we had five apples, five tomatoes, two cucumbers, and ANOTHER 5 lbs bag of potatoes left over from last week! And a banana, but I used it for banana bread :) I cut up a cucumber and put it in a pitcher of water and let it chill. Cucumber water is a delicious and refreshing summertime drink!

Phase two of this plan is to make our weekly menu based on what we get in our basket! 

Sunday we had friends over so we made Zuppa Toscana, the Olive Garden soup. It was tasty and impressive. We used potatoes in the soup, but other than that we didn't use any more of our produce.

Tonight we're having chicken salad (using celery and perhaps a bit of cucumber) on croissants and fruit salad (using bananas, strawberries, apples, grapes, cantaloupe, and some canned peaches).

Tuesday is Puttanesca with a fresh salad. I'll use the romaine, some corn, more cucumber, and possibly some celery.

Wednesday we're having chicken gravy with mashed potatoes, OR we're going to Aunt Marcy's for dinner!

Thursday we're having corn on the cob and German potato salad!

Friday or Saturday I'm making a vegetable chowder with potatoes, cauliflower, corn and anything else I can think up! I say Friday or Saturday because we don't know yet which day we're having our weekly date night. Whichever night isn't date night is chowder night!

Last Saturday I made my famous salsa with all of the tomatoes we had. We had it with quesadillas and a salad :)

We have most of the ingredients we're going to need already, and will probably only spend about $20 this week on groceries. That means our food costs for the entire week will be less than $50! So not only do we get to eat healthier, we also save a bunch of money!

This week was pretty easy to figure out recipes for, since most of the stuff we got in our basket was pretty familiar. Who knows what next week will bring? I don't know, but I hope it'll be fun!

Bountiful Baskets is rapidly opening new sites all over the US. Check their website to see if there's one near you! Contributions open today at 10am for Utah, and 12pm every other state, local time, and they close tomorrow night if you're interested :) Nathan and I have been very impressed with the amazing selection we've gotten two weeks in a row, so we'll definitely be signing up again.

I hope Day One was fun/interesting/informative! Leave comments for recipe ideas or other ways you know of to eat healthy for less money.