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25 April 2014

weekly goals : week 1 & 2.

I'm a jump-starter, a compulsive and impulsive do-er, a maker of lists, a re-writer of lists when that list gets a little messy, an over-thinker, a trier of everything, but a notorious un-finisher of a million "projects". I have been a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-maybe-two-or-three-tops since I was just a little kid because I have always had my fingers in a million pots. The problem with having your fingers in so many pots is that, of course, it's really hard to do a completely successful and great job at each thing, so you end up with moderately well-done and mostly finished tasks. This goes for craft projects, my Etsy shop at times, the laundry I need to put away, paying my bills, and my health, namely my diet and exercise routines. 

I'm very good at getting myself motivated to do things, but it's the follow through and the consistency, making things habits and sustainable, that I have a harder time with. I've read that it takes doing something 21 days in a row to create a habit, so I've been keeping that in mind. But I've also been giving myself mini weekly goals. These weekly goals are small, hopefully manageable, that I am hoping will start to create/reinforce good habits and will give me little successes to help myself stay motivated when the long term successes might seem too daunting or out of reach.

WEEK ONE : Drink 32 oz. of water every day!
This might seem like a no-brainer, or far too simple to some people, but to me this was huge, and the most important change I needed to make. Having Crohn's means I use the bathroom A LOT, which leaves me severely dehydrated. The Crohn's also makes me bloated nearly 24/7, which being dehydrated wasn't helping at all. Add to this disaster the steroids which make you retain water/salt, and I was quickly becoming a puffy mess. I am very happy to report that I smashed this goal. That first week I was drinking at least 32 oz a day (most days it's been more like 64 oz+) and I'm now in the middle of week 3, nearing the 21 day mark, and I have consistently had 32 oz of water everyday. I've given up on soda nearly altogether--only having it as a treat occasionally if we eat out (though usually in that case I'm opting for a beer (shhh! I can treat myself!)) and have begun supplementing in coconut water as well. My mom read an article about coconut water benefiting people with Crohn's, so I'm giving that a bit of a go.

WEEK TWO : Exercise a minimum of 30 minutes every day!
This one was a little harder, and honestly, not super realistic or manageable for the week I had last week. So, really, I shouldn't have made it that week's goal, but I am still really proud of what I did accomplish. Sunday and Monday Connor and I went for jogs at our new favorite spot. There's this great park about a 5 minute drive from the house that has a jogging "loop" I guess you could call it, around a pond. You can park by the loop and just jog that but we prefer to park at the bottom area of the park and walk up the hill to the loop. Walking up the hill and then doing the loop one and half times and then walking back down is about 2 miles and takes us about 30 minutes (he does the loop more like 3 times though ha). It's kind of perfect for me though--the perfect length, I get a warm up by trucking up the hill and a cool down at the end going down it, and I can do the loop as many times as I feel comfortable that day, giving me something to strive further for each time. Tuesday I had my infusion, so my body was far too worn down for a run and Wednesday I worked 7:30-3:30 then went straight to my doctor's appt for the second opinion and didn't get home until after 7 and it was getting dark out. Thursday I worked that same schedule and didn't really have an excuse to not do anything but I was just tired. Friday however we were back at it and Sunday as well, before we celebrated Easter dinner at my parents house. I was really happy that we forced ourselves to go get a run in before gorging on ham and eggplant parmesan lol. Saturday was my bff's Sam's wedding and I hadn't intended to do any exercise that day other than dance it up, but I'd been really light headed all morning and headachey so we wound up heading home relatively early, about 6:30, to rest and nap. I woke up about 9pm needing a little snack and so we decided to go to the store and wander till something struck my fancy. The store is only about a 5 minute walk from the house, but we usually drive because we're lazy or buying too much to want to walk back with, but this time I forced us to walk and it was actually really nice, albeit a bit creepy at 9:30 on a Saturday night (we live in a weird area, let's leave it at that). SOOOOOO (I'm so incredibly long winded sorry) all of that is to say, 5 out of 8 days is actually pretty damn impressive. This week I've gotten a bit off track because it's been raining everyday making running outside highly unappealing. I need to just set my yoga mat up inside the bedroom and do some youtube videos--a future goal!

23 April 2014

currently ♥

(I had this keychain custom made by The Roo Pouch as a daily reminder to, as usual, HUSTLE gurrrl).

Eating: Cayenne pepper. I know, random right? But in an effort to get my health back on track I've been reading a lot of articles and blogs about whole foods, paleo, and natural remedies. This isn't the first time I've dove into educating myself about eating a more basic natural diet based on proteins, fruits and vegetables and I've learned a lot and discovered some interesting tips and tricks in the past. Something that kept coming up was using more cayenne pepper to flavor your foods. The benefits of cayenne pepper seem to be numerous, but for me the keys are that it can ease upset stomach, ease gas and bloating, help your overall digestive system function, relieve joint pain, boost metabolism and curb appetite. We just so happened to have a little shaker of cayenne pepper so on Tuesday of last week I decided to try shaking a little bit on just about everything I ate. Today is now Wednesday and after a week I have noticed a huge difference. It's crazy. I literally do feel fuller longer and I haven't had nearly as many stomach aches. I am on a high dose of steroids to help with my stomach and have had two Remicade infusions also in order to help my stomach, the second one having just been Tuesday as well, so I guess in theory it could also be the Remicade starting to do it's job but the doctors have all said it's unlikely I'd notice a huge difference until my third infusion. Anyway, for now I'm gonna stick to this cayenne thing and see how it plays out. I'll keep yall posted.

Watching: Call the Midwife. I finished Season 1 last week and I just love the main actress, she's got such a classic look. My parents pretty much devour any BBC television series so they've been talking about the show forever telling me I'd probably like it, and they were right. Also, being that I'm 29, I get a little bit of baby fever here and there and watching all those babies cures that in a hot second.

Listening to: The National's "High Violet". We saw their documentary a couple weeks ago, Mistaken for Strangers (highly recommend!), and though they have a newer album, and I pretty much played this one to death when it came out, I haven't listened to it much in the last year or two. I'd forgotten how beautifully perfect and seamless it is. Finding a record you can listen to beginning to end without skipping tracks is rare, but High Violet is just that.

Reading: Blogs again! There are a million reasons why I hadn't checked my Reader App or caught up on my blogs and subscriptions, but suffice to say I'm glad I've gotten back into it. Unfortunately, a few of my favorites have stopped blogging, so my feed is a little dead. Just an opportunity to find some new great blogs to read! Any suggestions?

Anticipating: Bloomsday. It's a 12k race that is done every year here in Spokane. I wasn't living here last year, so I missed it, but I did it the last two years before that and a lot while I was younger. It's the first Sunday in May, so it's coming up quick. Connor and I have been training on and off for the past couple months. We'd started in the beginning of March going for jogs, and we actually went running the morning of the day I went into the hospital with my intestinal block. So yeah I'm a little crazy seeing as I was in a lot of pain that morning but just figured it would go away lols. Since I got realized from the hospital I had to take a couple weeks off to let my body rest and heal, but we've been back at it and have gone three times this week already. I know doing 7.5 miles is going to be a lot rougher than the 2-3 mile jogs we've been doing, but getting myself moving is enough for me. Plus, my slowest time was 1:45 three years ago, so I'm going to try to still do it under that, but if I don't I know I'll be proud of myself just for completing it at all.
Craving: A day off. I worked 5 days last week, which really isn't that bad, but I've also been putting in at least 2-3 hours a day working on my Etsy shop (take 30% off with code "HELLOSPRING"!) too. This week I work 6 days straight at the two coffee stands and I know by the time Sunday hits I will be so glad to just do NOTHING.

Planning for: The summer. There will be a lot of changes coming, from me watching my parents house again for a month, to Connor and I getting a new place, him going back to school as well as working crazy hours at his job, me working god knows what job or jobs haha, trips, friends visiting, concerts, weddings, etc. It's going to be very busy and a little hectic but I am so excited to start the next chapter.

17 April 2014

it's been a long time coming now...

hat: eBay
dress: ModCloth (old)
boots: eBay
denim jacket: Forever21

Where to begin yall, where to begin? Recapping and going backwards just seems pointless, useless, and not very fun for me, so I'm not going to. It's my blog and I'll do what I want, alright? I'm sure eventually, here and there, through other posts, I'll slowly but surely talk about everything that's happened in the last year, but at this point I want to focus only on the present and the future. So that's what I'm gonna do.

If you're a long time reader you most likely follow me on Instagram and if you're a friend you already know what's up with my health, but for those of you reading who are out of the loop, my Crohn's flared up pretty bad this winter/spring and I wound up back in the hospital for about a week with an intestinal blockage. A little back story: I was first diagnosed with Crohn's Disease when I was 21 years old, so about 8 years ago. In the past 8 years I have been on every medicine for Crohn's that is on the market, I have been hospitalized about 6-8 times, I have had stomach surgery once already, I have tried natural and naturopathic remedies, and I have mostly tried to act like there is nothing wrong with me. None of those things worked for my disease or for my life.

While in the hospital, they had me on a very high dose of morphine to keep the pain at bay and a very high dose of IV Steroids trying to bring down the inflammation and avoid surgery (surgery meaning they would remove part of my small intestine and then sew the two ends back together). Luckily, the meds worked and I was sent home on an equally high dose of oral steroids and the plan to begin Remicade infusions. The Remicade infusions are pretty scary, the side effects being various types of cancer and tuberculosis, all of which, obviously, can kill you. Because of the intensity of these new meds my doctors wanted me on, my parents and I decided to seek out a second opinion.  

Dr. Liu said more to me in that hour yesterday afternoon about my health, physically, emotionally and mentally than all of my other doctors combined (Gastroenterologist, Counselor, Primary) have pretty much all year. Over the past 4-5 years, steroids have been used consistently to keep my disease in check. Prednisone steroids have incredibly harsh side effects, the most annoying being weight gain. And not just weight gain, but prednisone leads to a redistribution of body fat to places that are undesirable, particularly the face, back of the neck, and abdomen. I have blogged in the past about my struggles with my weight and about my struggles with the prednisone. A quick recap: I weighed 147lbs when I first went on steroids at 23 years old; I was on steroids off and on for about 9 months and gained about 40lbs all in all. That's a pretty average amount of weight to gain for a steroid course that lengthy. In retrospect, I shouldn't have been on steroids for that long, I should have probably started on Remicade back then, but hindsight is 20/20 even for doctors unfortunately. The issue too with steroids is that even after you stop taking them it can take a few months for the medicine to completely leave your system. And steroids are hormones so they are changing the hormonal balance of your body. 

Since gaining that initial 40 lbs I was able to lose some of it, but then I'd get sick again and be put back on steroids for a month or two here and there off and on over the last 5 years. Because of this my weight has constantly yo-yoed and I've never been truly successful in losing it. I've also become pretty obsessed with the whole thing; obsessed with ever getting back down to the magical 147 (as if that number even matters), obsessed with being overwhelmed by how much weight 40 lbs really is, obsessed with every pound I would gain here and there around the holidays or when I was going through something rough, obsessed with how my clothes fit, what size clothes I could buy, obsessed with my hair and makeup to over-compensate for my body, obsessed with going gung-ho into fitness and diet routines and then burning out after a few months because I wasn't seeing the results I wanted, obsessed with what people thought of me who hadn't seen me in a couple months, years, etc etc etc etc etc. 

During the doctor's appointment yesterday we talked about my Crohn's and how painful and frustrating my disease is, and we talked about the Remicade and how scary and life threatening the medicine is, and then we talked about the steroids and the unfortunate side effects. As soon as we began talking about the steroids, I broke down. I began crying and just couldn't stop. Dr. Liu put her hand on my arm and stopped me and said to me, "You're a young woman and I understand the pressures young women are under, but do you realize that you care more about your weight than you do about your disease or the medicine for your disease?" It was just like a shock to my system. 

She went on to tell me that from everything she was hearing (which is that A. I began tapering myself down off my steroids quicker than my doctor had wanted me to--which is both dangerous and dumb--to try to keep me from gaining too much, B. I had begun tracking all of my calories and was trying to limit myself to under 2,000 a day, and C. I already begun noticing and trying to hide my moon face and buffalo hump) I was being far too hard on myself and not being healthy.  She went over with me my struggles with the steroids and the weight gain over the past 5 years and really brought it home for me that I was obsessed and that I wasn't doing myself any favors, I wasn't being fair to myself, I wasn't loving my body. 

For starters, she explained to me (I began taking steroids in the middle of February and since then I have gained a total of 15 lbs) that even though I have begun tapering off the steroids, it's likely that I will gain a bit more weight and not to be surprised or disheartened by it, but to truly accept that it is out of my control. She explained that even once I am completely off the steroids, which will be near the end of May, they still take a few months to completely leave your system, so I will still be hungrier than normal, my face will still be swollen, and I will still probably have the fat build up in my back causing the hump. She told me that putting myself on a limited caloric intake is kind of crazy because dieting is hard enough for the average person who isn't dealing with all of this other stuff, but I'm trying to diet while taking a medicine that literally makes you feel starving for most of the day. She felt like I was setting myself up to be frustrated and disappointed in myself all day long.

After all of this she said to me that there were four things I could do for myself to keep myself from hopefully gaining a whole TON more, to keep myself more physically and mentally healthy, and to prepare myself to start trying to lose the weight again once I am off the steroids. 
  1. As much as possible cut out processed foods and fast foods. It's okay to treat myself here and there, but overall focus on real foods: proteins, fruits, and veggies. Not to worry too much about how many calories I am eating in a day if the majority of my calories come from those things. I showed her my food diary and she was pleased with how I have been eating. She said it seemed to her that for every 6 meals I ate that were very healthy and good I had one cheat meal and that with the dose of steroids I'm on now that's both impressive and a fantastic start. 
  2. Exercise as often as possible, even if it's just a 20-30 minute walk each day. This is something Connor and I have already implemented (I've been doing weekly small manageable goals and this weeks goal was to try to exercise every day).
  3. Drink plenty of water. Last weeks goal was trying to do 32 oz of water a day and I smashed it. I now drink probably more like 64 oz a day at least! It's been great.
  4. Cut myself some slack. Remember that I am on the steroids because I have a very serious, very aggressive disease and it's more important that I heal that than that I obsess over weight gain and make myself sick by messing around with my dosage. Remember that I am a beautiful woman and my weight does not define me. Remember that people who see me out and about, and even my friends and family, who I might feel are judging me because of my weight A. really have no clue what I am going through, how my body feels, how the medicines make me feel, etc and B. have their priorities skewed if my weight is relevant to them. 
I felt this huge weight off my shoulders after the appointment. I felt like I wanted to cry more and also high-five myself. I felt, more than anything, that I wanted to write all of this down. That I wanted to document her advice and document all the positives and negatives of this situation and remember this moment. That I wanted to be able to write it all down so I could sort through it, so that I could explain it to everyone else more clearly, so that I could feel like I have a solid plan for going forward with how to deal with my weight due to the steroids, both with gaining it and eventually losing it.   

05 April 2013

happy friday: jethro fox - blinding light

My good friend Brad made a playlist for friends of all his favorite songs of 2012 and I've been slowly working my way through it, picking my favorites from his favorites. This Jethro Fox song stood out from the first few bars,  almost has a Grizzly Bear-ish sound to it. And who doesn't love a little Beach Boys style harmonies? I'm sold.

04 April 2013

square one.

bow headband: Urban Outfitters
dress: Target (old)
saddle shoes: eBay
whistle necklace: eBay

I'm on day four of my new schedule and I am pretty much obsessed with how much more productive and happy I am because of it. I've gotten my workouts on a much more planned schedule, been able to check about ten things off my to do list (annoying things and fun things alike), gotten back onto a blog and photo taking schedule (finnnnnnally), made plans for lots of eexciting future endeavors, had time for friend bonding and a little letting loose (or as I like to call it "getting yoked then getting loked"), started two new books, and have been eating clean the whole time. It's been great. Getting myself to a better place mentally allowed nearly everything else in my life to follow suit. Also, did you know that if you wear saddle shoes all you will want to do is dance around, pretend you're having a malt at the soda shop, wear the perfect shade of red lipstick, and just feel like a retro goddess? Cuz that's what happens.

Amanda Seyfried / Tatler Russia / April 2013.

Now, I am not normally one to post spreads or lookbooks, mostly because it's a rare occasion that I find myself compelled to or that I find something I just adore. And then I saw this one Amanda Seyfried did for Russia's Tatler magazine. And I died. Let's just start with the pup in the sunglasses, okay? Or how about the pumps with the red lips in the last photo? The nod to the '60s, the tiny hair bows, the soft waves, that perfect green Michael Kors dress and shorts combo - from styling to editing, this shoot is perfection to me. And I had to share.

01 April 2013

little miss scatterbrain.

cardigan: Forever 21 (old)
tank: Truly Madly Deeply via Urban Outfitters
skirt: Forever 21 (old)
boots: Buffalo Exchange - Seattle
bag: Crossroads Trading Co - Seattle
bag tassel: Little Fellows via Brickyard Buffalo
bullet necklace: Atomically Adorned via Brickyard Buffalo
rosette headband: Urban Outfitters

The scatterbrain that is my brain has been in overdrive lately I think. I have a habit of always having twenty things on my plate and if I don't, well I create twenty things. Then I get all stressed out, don't do a good enough job on each thing, and end up forgetting responsibilities or just being a space cadet. Take yesterday for example--I locked my keys in my car for the second time this month. I personally don't think you should be allowed to lock the car doors if your keys are in the ignition still, but I digress. Point is, my new routine ish started today and so far I'm feeling a hundred times more in control of my HAVE TO-do list and my want to-do list which allows for my hey! Target's having a sale let's go wander impulses to not make me end up with actually more stuff to do and even less time to do it in. 

Additionally, after a bit of a freakout moment this weekend, I realized that I realllllly miss home, and my family, and my friends, and the familiarity of my favorite bars (I'm serious and I'm not ashamed--there are bar stools and dark booths calling my name... and bartenders wishing I'd stayed away). So, after some chats with Brian and my mom, we all decided what I needed was an impromptu trip home for some real R'n'R. I'll be heading back to Spokane next weekend to spend the week getting more than my fill (hopefully) of a lot of stuff I love a lot. In Spokane. Seriously. WTF. My excitement (again WTF) has me half on that scatterbrain train of adding in extra stuff for myself to do and half super focused on tying up lose ends before I head out. Here's hoping I keep my keys handy all week.

31 March 2013

pinky promises.

cardigan: Forever 21 (old, $15 sale)
Nothing Shirt of Wonderful Dress - ModCloth (sold out, similar)
leopard satchel: H&M ($10 sale)
leopard print flats: H&M ($12)
turquoise bauble ring: H&M (old)

Can I just tell you guys how incredibly amazingly awesome this dress is? Like, I don't know what took me so long to get it in outfit photos since I bought it at the end of last summer in one of ModCloth's huge sales, but yeah it's the best. And of course, sadly totally gone at this point, but (and also of course) Forever 21 has a damn close knock off.

Let me explain to y'all why this dress rules: 1. It's sleeveless and the top half is sheer so it's perfect for layering and also perfect for when it's warm. 2. I wore it last Fall for my bf's bridal shower and it was like the perfect dress for that event. 3. I've also worn it to work a few times, both when serving and when barista-ing (is that a word?)(I'm making it one). You can not underestimate the value of a dress that is long enough to be appropriately worn at work, cute enough to look "good" at work, loose and airy enough so that you're not sweating your pants off, and also plain-ish enough to not look too dressed up, at work.

In conclusion, it's great for Fall and perfect for Spring/Summer and it's great for dressier events and perfect for casual ones too. Thanks dress, you rock! Which reminds me: You rock, rock! This rock just sits and is. (<--- and if you know what that's from we can be bffz.)

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