Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Look Who Showed Up Today

Well this is awkward. I've been away for so long that I don't know whether to open this with "I'm Sorry" or "You're Welcome". Let's try to string things together from where we left off over a month ago

You'll be relieved to know that WiFi is back in my world. No more strange invitations from Starbucks employees on their breaks. No more sifting through old DVD's in the value bin at the neighborhood Wal-Mart. Still playing board games, making up our own card games and succumbing to the necessary rounds of power-hour that make us, well, us. 

We aren't going to bed as early anymore, but that's mainly because work-life has taken a shift toward work. We get home later and we have a pool and a yard to look after. A pool that's had some chemical-related casualties and seen some heroic net-grabbing rescues. We've saved two frogs from the skimmers - it may have been the same frog twice - and a bullfrog the size of your head that was swimming gracefully up and back. I say 'we' saved them but that's not the truth. I'm always the one jumping around and shrieking about how 'yuck' it is that there's things other than us in the pool. I haven't been in it yet, why are amphibians taking a dip before me?!

We've also taken to our shows, finishing the Walking Dead, House of Cards Season 4 and soon completing Making a Murderer (no spoilers, please!). After that we have grand plans of geeking out over Breaking Bad again, a show that's so binge-worthy that I fear I'll fall behind on my Southern Spring base-tan. We were champions of Lent, even though what we gave up shifted around a few times. We landed on a full 40+ days of no Mexican food and then celebrated with an Easter Sunday of 100% Mexican food. Taco Bell at 1am wasn't the way it was supposed to go down, but it happened. You'd do it, too. 

What about the new things in my world? 

I've been running. I'm not logging the miles like I used to, but I'm making a point of hitting the pavement for some me-time at least once a week. Some thinking, some considering. Some processing. Being directionally challenged has its downside, but with a wrong turn last week I transformed a 3.5 route into a Tuesday 5-miler. A distance I haven't ran in over two years that I completed with a smile on my face.

I've been planning. It's getting closer to one year in Tennessee and I'm still finding my way. I'm still driving around with Oregon plates on my 2015 Prius and I still fumble around when I fill up the tank. It's a place I firmly planted my roots, but seeking more ways each day to find Portland again. In nature, in culture, in cuisine, in libations, in music. 

I've been preparing. I'm about to take the next step in my career and it's going to be the challenge I've been hungry for. The work excites me and the opportunity was made for me. In fact, a few opportunities were made for me and this is the path I chose without hesitation. 

What about you, what's new in your world?

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

When You Don't Have Wi-Fi

Do you realize what life might look like without access to the Internet at home? Do you know how bummed my guy is that we can't view the start of March Madness from our brand new couch and loveseat? Do you know how much money you'd spend at Starbucks, and the awkward moments that would follow, if you had to go there every time you needed to use more than just your mobile phone to get your mischief managed? 

This could easily be a rant about our experience with Comcast moving service from one home to another, but instead it's going to be a confession of the person you become without Wi-Fi or cable for 20 days and counting. 

You buy $3 movies from value bins and you watch them. Then you miss how funny movies used to be. We have bought/watched Dodgeball, Ferris Bueller's Day off, Coming to America, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and already owned some classics like Curb Your Enthusiasm Season 1, Best of SNL and Zoolander.

You 'hang out' at Starbucks but then the barista/local photographer wants to do some tasteful nude portraits with you to build their portfolio. It's awkward, and you realize you're spending way too much money for what Starbucks considers 'coffee'. You really just need their signal, and you may be better off just sitting on their patio and bringing your brew from home. 

You adult date with apartment neighbors you never got to know as you plan fun picnics at the park and watch the kids play with kites, bubbles and slides. And here you were worried they hated you as upstairs neighbors with your stompy footsteps the entire past year.

You cook more often, and you finally perfect your bacon-lattice meatloaf with your new convection oven. You learn what a warming drawer can do for your cooking game and you cherish the new freezer and its incredible storage.

You sit by your pool and dream about jumping into it when the weather heats up, but also talk about the weeds and the lawncare that home ownership is going to take. And start bargaining to do the indoor chores indefinitely to get you out of the weed pulling, because humidity.

You play board games and work on puzzles, and do projects around your new home together to continue making it yours. You sink your boyfriend's battleship and hate that he still knows Seinfeld trivia better than you. 

You go to bed earlier. You still wake up feeling groggy and sleepy-faced, but you find that all of a sudden it's not 'WHAT, it's 11pm?'. It's 'ha, can you believe it's only 8pm?'

You spend more time on each other. No explanation needed.

If it wasn't for March Madness and the Starbucks situation, I might like to keep having these Comcast issues for a while longer. It's reminded me of my life in Portland without a TV.

What would you start doing if you lost access to WiFi and cable temporarily?

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

For All You Health Nuts

If your desk job is taking a toll on your health goals, this one's for you.

I've worked in the corporate world for 7 years and before that, I was a NCAA Division I athlete. Coming from a life of activity all day and transitioning to the dreaded wheel we all know as wake up tired, commute, sit at a desk, 2pm sugar or caffeine fix, commute, maybe gym/maybe cook/most likely Netflix, fall asleep too late... Repeat.

In collaboration with, today I'm sharing my favorite workplace health hacks to get the most out of your long hours in the office making that money. 

Work on your Feet

I've been shouting about the benefits standing at work for years. It helps with your posture, your flexibility, your core strength and your overall mobility. I don't mind that most introductions begin with a handshake and 'yeah, you're the girl who never sits down'. It's how I work happier and healthier. I don't stand all day and I'm not a sitting snob, but I am thankful that my office provides adjustable desks and encourages workplace ergonomics. 

Jam to a Feel-Good Playlist

I know that some of you don't have the opportunity to be tuned out with music all day, but bring your headphones to work and find the moments where you can sneak in some feel-good tunes. You know, to dance to while you're standing at your desk. I've recently been streaming my favorite Portland radio station to give me some lovely memories of home, even with the commercials included. If that's not your game, find me on Spotify then get started with your own curated playlist for a feel-good workday. 


Want an instant mood changer? Follow these very wild and extreme steps:

1. Smile.

Good, that's it! How do you feel? My guess is that you feel a little lighter, stress wiped away from your face and you just made the people around you feel your radiating good vibes as well. It's amazing that something this obvious could be considered a 'hack', but don't you agree that happy-you makes better choices for your health and happiness?

Stay Hydrated

One of my personal checklist items for every day is 120oz of water. If I don't meet my goal I owe $2 to our 'adventure fund' that's used for the fun things we do as a couple. Start with baby steps if this is out of your range, but my best advice to get more water into your body is to always have some by your side. If it takes a cute water bottle to get it done, do that. If it takes setting timers on your phone for benchmark goals, do that too.

What won't work? Saving it all for the end of the day. You'll feel terrible and you'll lose out on a lot of sleep with all the times nature will call in the middle of the night.

Take a Walk

An easy way to cure the office blues and quell the stress of your day is to get outside for a walk in the sunlight. With the weather about to turn, it's going to be a daily requirement to take a walk around the office and to get out into the fresh air to refresh my mind and gain some perspective. Try to schedule your next meeting as a "walk and talk" to see if you can find your walking buddies around the workplace. 

Keep Healthy Snacks Handy

I'm giving IIFYM a try and it's been essential for me to space out my day with smaller meals and protein packed snacks. This means having nutritious options that won't fail me when the hunger pangs hit, saving me from giving in at the vending machine or the sweets that co-workers bring into the office all year round. Have you checked out the Healthy Snacks for Work on Trail mixes, dried fruits and energy squares are the top picks from their registered dieticians. See if you can find something you like!

Take the Stairs

I work on the highest floor of my office, which is only the 2nd floor, but if I were on the 5th I'd be taking the stairs too. If you work in a place where the elevator is your go-to, try to get out a few floors earlier and opt for the stairs the rest of the way. You could always make friends with someone on another floor or just start to use the restrooms on other floors and pretend like you're the new girl (or guy) in the building.

Get your free printable checklist here and tell me how you make your own workplace a healthier environment!

*I was compensated with social media karma for this post, these healthy hacks and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Take Me Home

It's been difficult to keep this not-so-secret secret off of the internet. I've never been the best keeper of big news to myself so this was no simple feat. I've just had to keep my excitement limited to texts, emails, phone calls and hallway conversations. Maybe Snapchat too for those who follow.

We did it, we bought a house!

We saved our money, we moved out of an apartment for the last time, we're getting settled in and best of all is that we've done it together! 

I've been hinting at our plans to move to the trendy and walkable part of town with bars and nightlife, but that's not where we ended up. We looked, we really tried. We drove around and ate the food and loved the area. We just didn't We didn't love the schools, the space, the yard or the storage. We didn't love the maintenance. It wasn't the vision even if the vision was only for 3-5 years into the future.

In the middle of January, we set aside 60 minutes of quiet time to make a collaborative I-Want, You-Want, We-Want list. Thirty unique items were jotted down, including dark hardwood, granite kitchen, yard, pool, fireplace, natural lighting, pantry, garage, high ceilings, curb appeal, proximity, etc. After we reviewed the list something surprised us. We noticed we wanted suburbs, we wanted safety, we wanted new and low-maintenance, we wanted fresh and exciting, we wanted low sweat-equity and low stress investment. We wanted more and less at the same time.

Like all good things in life, it happened suddenly. I will always remember the moment I saw the listing newly published. I didn't even make it through half of the photos before passing my phone to Brian. We loved it and immediately wrote an email to our realtor. Within 10 hours we were in the house, looking around at the 1987 home that had new floors, new paint, new granite kitchen and master bathroom, 5 bedrooms and a bonus room and a two-car garage with storage and a great front yard, great backyard and a pool. Unbelievably, every single item on our I-Want, You-Want, We-Want list was met or has the opportunity to become that in the future. It was meant for us and our big scary view of the future.

Oh right, sorry I lost you at "pool", didn't I?

Now this is entirely too much house for just us two, but the good news is that we're looking forward to the future to fill that house with laughter, happiness, warmth and memories. And maybe more than 3-5 years at this location. 

It shows that there's always a reason to leave a little wiggle room in life to go the opposite direction of your crazy wild amazing plans. It's always going to be beautiful.

We just hilariously made it through our first February together and have a big month in March ahead to follow it up! Hang tight while we make this house a home in our own very special way. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Things Making Me Happy Right Now

I'm going to have to fill the void with a weird post about the things that are making me happy right now because I'm anxiously waiting out some bigger news. I know, it's not fair to tease like that, but hang around because I promise it'll be good. 

:: Adulting so hard. I'm getting closer to telling you all - y'all? - some big news about how life in Memphis is about to change in a big way. For now, the big accomplishment has been sticking to a budget and using gift cards wherever possible for food and entertainment. And maybe coming to terms that his 33rd birthday and our first Valentine's day wouldn't be over the top like we wanted for each other, but still personal and romantic in an extremely us way. (read: ice cream and sneaky sentimentality)

:: The Amazon Echo we got for Christmas from my parents can stream my favorite Portland radio station and take me back to some of my favorite memories from my hometown upbringing. This includes perfectly mood-induced plays of RHCP's Under the Bridge and dramatic Foo Fighters smash-sessions. I incorporate my old friends into my morning get-ready routine.

:: 5% body weight lost since early December and it's staying off consistently through even the sneakiest holidays. Yes, Valentine's is a perfect time for a cheat-day. Yes, your boyfriend's birthday is a perfect time for a cheat-day. Yes, ah Friday. You're a great excuse too. I think my success is still credited to the If It Fits Your Macros way of life through its flexible dieting guidelines. There's still more that I need to master before sharing what this means exactly, but just take my word that protein is your friend and eating more isn't something to be scared of.

:: Daylight Saving Time begins March 13th! I'm a light in the evening type of girl and will welcome the loss of the hour with all my energy. More time to be outside, more time to enjoy the world and more daylight for my favorite new photography backdrops. It's just around the corner.

:: The return of the right-hand ring on Valentine's day. The promise ring you saw me flashing back in 2014 didn't touch my hand in 2015. The question on my guy's mind was, "Does a promise ring lose its value if the promise I made was broken?". Unfortunately, the answer was 'yes' and the reason it was taken off in the first place. So does fourteen months of preserving the ring in the original box next to the ring I gave him revive that value? As long as we live in the now. Not the past and not the future. now.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Four Eyes: Better Than Two

My friends over at Firmoo have done it again!

It had been over a year since the wonderful people at Firmoo contacted me to showcase a pair from their blogger collection. Getting an email from them at the start of 2016 is high on my current "YES!" list.

My last selection in 2014 was the most hipster-Portland pair I could find, seeing that I was a Portland native who never really got into a lot of the flannel and big glasses style. Well, wouldn't you know that the Tennessee boyfriend said 'they weren't his favorite', but that didn't bother me since we lived 2,500 miles apart. And whatever, Pacific Northwest style rules.

However, moving to Tennessee made me see that the boyfriend's opinion carried some weight. The big frames are really off-trend here, especially in Memphis. That out of place feeling paired with the reality that I am down to my final box of contacts made this opportunity to shop the collection very exciting. 

Firmoo glasses are not only affordable, there's several other reasons why you should be shopping their collection for your next pair. Especially for that first-time discount!

It can be a little challenging to narrow down which pair would be the best fit for your face and your style, but their 'upload a selfie' option allows you to see how each pair would look on your mug and help to point you in the right direction. This time, I took to the 'upload a selfie' tool, compiled options into a one-pager and allowed my Snapchat buddies to weigh in on which ones were their favorite. 

Once you've found the right look for you, the customer service team makes your order, your prescription confirmation, the wait time and the mail day so seamless. In less than a week I had confirmed my order and picked them up from my apartment's mail office. The packaging is on point with a sturdy wanderlust-worthy case, a colorful cleaning cloth, a separate travel case and of course, your frames. The frames? You'll love them, just like I've loved my last two finds. 

Like mine? These are the FRM8821 - Black/Purple C81 with 1.57 thin & light lens with anti-reflection and anti-UV coatings. 

Cherry on top! The purple is an exact match to my 2016 Moleskine planner that I tote around with me everywhere!

*I was given prescription glasses in exchange for a review on my blog - all opinions are my own and all selfies are shameless.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

On My Mind

The thoughts on my mind are piling on top of each other lately. 

There's so much adulting underway that my 28-year-old self can hardly believe it. 

Last week I mentioned mortgages and realtors, but before that there's also budgeting and prioritizing. A few weeks ago I mentioned a Summer Caribbean vacation that's paid for, but now there's global awareness to the Zika virus that has us scrambling. I've always been into health and fitness, but things are beginning to click as I've lost 5% of my starting body weight in the last two months.

There's upcoming anxiety to do my guy right in celebrating his birthday as a couple for the first time, the upcoming anxiety of our first valentine's together, the upcoming anxiety of getting-that-house, spending-that-moneymoving-those-things, jumping-in-that-pool, making-that-home. Hilariously, we broke up in 2014 and 2015 on February 1st over FaceTime, so waking up next to each other this year on February 2nd was a mental miracle. 

There's the new jeans I'm wearing and how they fit so well, the glasses I recently got from a collaboration with Firmoo and how I love them so much, the weekend 7 month anniversary of my life in Tennessee, the big plans and the big surprises and the yes I can do this feeling. 

It's all on my mind. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Here, Lately

It's been a minute since I showed up around here, but just believe that means I've been settling into the new year with a better me and a better plan for the future. With lists and goals and memories, oh my! 


A week in excruciating pain from an abscessed molar, scary same-day emergency doctor visits in the wrong part of town because I'm still a little green around here, medication after medication to stop the pain, screaming myself awake in the middle of the night with a supportive boyfriend who helped through it all, a real appointment in a better neighborhood for the root canal, a full-body tremor reaction to the local anesthetic with epinephrine at the better neighborhood better dentist, some stressful memory (loss?) moments from the prescription medications, relief post-op, recurring pain after medication ran out, still a supportive and loving boyfriend through it all. 

A deep dive into IIFYM with a pro who's been doing it for a year now. Tracking the macronutrients of my food intake and balancing the good proteins, the good carbs and the good fats all together in a pretty puzzle. Finally understanding the importance of knowing 2oz and 4oz servings of meat. Learning patience in the precision of measuring in tablespoons, cups and grams. Giving Men's Health & Fitness magazines a try after growing tired of the ads found in the female versions worth the same money. Seeing those men's issues full of helpful tips, science-backed data, professionals and little fodder over 'what to wear to impress the guys' makes me wonder why I didn't think of this sooner.

A change in plans with what the future holds for our living situation, meaning thinking 5-10 years into the future rather than the 1-3 we've been visualizing. All the while trying the very hardest to focus on the right here, right now. The tender mornings, the blurred nights. A realtor! Mortgage talk! Have the will to remodel or rather move in for a little more money. Or go nuts and move into this house that would truly have me giggling every day at the trippy floors and YES rooms. Those walls have stories to tell, I'd love to live there and would convince my guy if it was closer within our price range. 

So that's what I've been up to. I suppose these are confessions worthy of a share with KathyNadineSarahLauraLaurenAlanna and .... ???

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

This is How We Rung in the New Year

It's a little comical how we spent the first hours of 2016. It's fit to be my first confession post of the new year and I hope you enjoy.

We had no plans of how we were going to ring in the new year leading up to it. Did we need to go buy a few bottles of wine or did I need to go find a new party dress? Did we want to drive and be out on the town dancing like last year, or did we just want to spend it looking into each other's eyes like the year before?

We chose staying in with two bottles of wine, college football and some board games. We even shared a *toast*.

The funny thing about our night is that we stressed over what we were going to make for dinner as our last meal of such a momentous year. With nothing that was so perfect, we finally decided to prepare a batch of hamburger helper. You know, in case we drank too much and needed sustenance for the wee hours of the morning. It turns out that was a perfect last meal of the year, and possibly a tradition was born.

The hours from midnight turned into minutes from midnight as we played board games, laughed, dreamed and competed.

Midnight struck with the kiss, the look, the promise, the text messages from family and friends and then that strange feeling to do something spectacular with this gift of a new year. We were having a great time playing board games and card games but once the new year hit, we took a blast to the past as he showed me some of his tried and true college drinking games that I'd never seen before.

I saw him get a cartoon-grade thought lightbulb and all of a sudden we were pulling twelve beers out of the fridge for his next grand idea.

Power Hour.

Yes, the kind you might have played in college and never really made it through successfully. At least I couldn't. If you're ever in the market for such an activity, YouTube has a delightful collection of power hours. Music decades, music genres, comedy scenes, retro TV, anything. We chose a comedy sequence and had some laughs with old favorites, coached each other through with encouragement like,  "no  you're too far ahead" or "no you still owe one!!!" 

We capped off the night on our small apartment balcony with me in my shortest shorts in 30-degree weather, him with as many layers as he could put on, a heat dish, two cigars and 90's power hour music coming from inside of the apartment. Conversation, elation, care and plans for the new year ahead of us.

It was a night I'll never forget despite all of the things that I may not remember. But it was the way we started the year and I guess you can say that we can only go up from there!

Linking up for confessions with KathyNadineSarahLauraLaurenAlanna and .... ???

Tuesday, January 5, 2016


Never has a bra felt more uncomfortable than it did yesterday on my first day back to the office in eleven days. I'm sorry that those are the first words you have to read from me in 2016, but it felt less - therefore more - appropriate than "Happy New Year! Our tree is still up and we still have the lights on every night to display the Christmas cheer to our neighbors." 

So, this is January. We're back in the office, back in town, back to reality and looking forward to what wonders the year of 2016 may bring. I'm ready to tackle this turn of the atmosphere and treat it as a precious gift to replace memories of January's and February's of the past with new awestriking examples of love, comfort, safety and happiness for the future. 

Before I embrace 2016 too closely, here are a few milestones in my world that deserve a mention today.

:: It's been six months since we crossed the Mississippi River on our 2,438-mile drive across to country to bring me to my new home, but not without a few bumps that remind me why I moved and what it means to be together, together.  

:: I made it to the other side of the first round of big holidays away from Oregon, but not without a few bouts of homesickness and multiple calls to family there and friends elsewhere for help, comfort, laughter and advice. In some instances, mindless crafting and post-Christmas giving lifted my spirits too.

:: I've celebrated another milestone of my sobriety from french fries with 14 years and 5 days without a lick. The few unavoidable sniffs and the search for fry impostors have quelled the addiction I dropped my freshman year of high school as I pursued making the Varsity softball team. The only thing this sentence did was made me feel old because it's been 14 years since I was a freshman in high school...

:: Don't forget the streak. Streaks are made to be broken, but not this one. 113 is the count and that's all the time we have today, folks.

What's up in your new year?