Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013


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A Magical Vacation

Well, I’m back from my all too short vacation and as promised, I’m here to tell you about my trip to Universal. I’m giddy just thinking about it.

I was pretty tired and co-piloting the 2+ hour trip to Orlando, but by the time we entered the park, I was practically skipping all the way to “London”…my friend could barely keep up with me. IMG_3448As we approached Kings Cross and Grimmauld Place, I spotted the Knight Bus. I snapped a quick picture before finding myself shaking as we crossed into Diagon Alley.

The moment we entered Diagon Alley, a smile never left my face. Everything within it is perfect and magical. The sights, the sounds, everything is perfect. The storefronts make me want to go into every one of them and stock up on supplies for my classes at Hogwarts. The music is exactly the same as the movie which is also in my top three theme musics from movies. Just at the end is of IMG_3462course Gringotts, and as I moved in slow motion towards it, the dragon above blasts fire and it’s perfect. The Gringotts ride is amazing, from as IMG_3464soon as you enter and wait in line to strolling through it’s main hall and getting up close to the goblins to the physical ride itself, down into the vaults.

Knockturn Alley is pretty cool too, and a treat from Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream is the perfect refreshment from the hot Flordia weather. I would have loved to go to The Leaky Cauldron to eat, but everyone else had the same idea, as they did for Ollivander’s. No wand this time.

And then there’s the train ride. Oh, the train ride. I didn’t want to leave Diagon Alley, but I wanted to ride the Hogwarts Express, so back out to London we went and into Kings Cross. You IMG_3492could have fooled me, I actually felt like I was in a train station. I have to admit, I probably would have done the passage through Platform 9 3/4 a little differently, but the feeling is the same as you turn the corner and see that scarlet steam engine. Ugh it’s so cool. And once you’re on in and in your compartment, the show is mesmerizing. I could live on that train.

Of course, we wandered around Hogsmeade and went on all the rides there, fighting the crowds. I’ve been there before and it’s just as magical. The details within both parks are so perfect and the thought that went into designing them really shows the guests the effort in the experience they are supposed to have.

After wandering around all of Island of Adventure, we decided to take the Hogwarts Express IMG_3496back to London. Make sure you do this, because the experience both to and from Hogsmeade is different. It’s also a nice way to end your trip in these magical lands, finishing in London. Sad, but kind of perfect.

Naturally, I’m already planning my return trip. And you all should be planning your trips here too. It’s worth it.


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So Far…

It has been a full 10 days since I have started the fix which means, I am set to finish right before Easter dinner!  (Can somebody say cheat meal?!)  I have found it much easier than expected. As promised, I wanted to tell you guys how it is going so far and what I have gathered.  I thought I would do a simple question and answer type review.

 

Let’s start with a simple how is it going?

Well, so far, the fix is much easier than originally anticipated. So far I haven’t been starving every day.  The one exception was on Friday.  No matter what I ate, it felt as though I had an empty pit for a stomach.  I definitely took advantage of more veggies, I even had additional fruit, and lots of extra tea and coffee.  Like stated in the original post, you can always have coffee or tea, and an extra green container of veggies if you are starving.  That being said, it has been pretty easy to stay on track, especially because I did meal prep.  This will lead me to my next point.

Meal prep is ESSENTIAL 

Without meal prep, it can be incredibly difficult to maintain the proper amount of foods you should be consuming on a daily basis.  I started on Sunday (3/15/15), so i made sure to have everything cooked and ready on Saturday.  I made chicken meatballs, sauce, chicken sausage, mushrooms, and sweet potato, turkey, and turkey bacon burgers. All, of course, were 21 Day fix approved.  This was just for week 1! (The turkey burgers have lasted because I froze them.  I still have some left) Cooking the food ahead of time helped plan my meals for the rest of the week.  This left me with no questioning of what I would be eating every day and allowed be to grab a container and go.

Is it difficult to cook for the 21 day fix?

I really enjoy to cook so, I don’t really think cooking and prepping for this is all that terrible. If you do it ahead of time, as I did, then you are cooking for the entire week so you don’t have to worry about cooking late at night.  There are a bunch of different recipes online so if you are interested in trying this, then definitely do some research and find recipes that best fit your needs/likes/dislikes.  However, be advised, it can get expensive.  You are essentially shopping the outer perimeter of the grocery store…aka fruits, veggies, yogurts, healthy fats, meats, etc. and these types of produce are rarely on sale/rarely have any types of coupons!

Are you hungry all of the time?

Thankfully, I am not hangry (so hungry you get angry) at all so far.  This plan worked especially well for me because I tend to snack on things like yogurt regularly throughout the day, which I can continue to do on this plan.  However, instead of granola or other carbs that I would reach for as additional snacks, I reach for fruit or veggies.  It really does not seem to be too bad at all to me.

Is cutting carbohydrates difficult?

This is probably the most difficult part of the fix.  I am only allowed 1 cup of carbs a day.  The limited carb intake seems to affect me the most during my high intensity workout on Thursdays.  I feel pretty tired and don’t seem to have as much energy as I used to.  I am thinking that on this day, I should try to add an additional half a cup of carbs and cutting out the container of healthy fats and cheeses so this way it evens out somewhat.

Is it working?

The reason I started the fix, is because I unfortunately gained a bit of winter weight.  I knew that, of course I have been working hard and the gym and I wanted that hard work to pay off, not to go unnoticed.  I want to try to look my best for summer so I was told about this through a few other people and finally decided to commit. Since I have started, I have lost pretty much half of the winter weight.   I haven’t measured my inches lost yet because I am waiting for the 2 week mark and can definitely let you know as soon as I do.


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Yearning for Color

I’d like to ask everyone a question.

When did we become so afraid of color?

It’s in our homes, adorning our bedspreads and covering our laptops. It’s out in nature, blanketing the Earth with flowers and vibrant birds. Some of us wear a variety of colors, using them to express our moods or personalities.

But why do we stop ourselves from being too bright or bold?

Clothes are conventionally limited to a safe pattern of what “matches” and what doesn’t. People tend to stray away from contrasting colors, or even shades of the same color.

Blue and orange? You’re so crazy! Blue on blue? Whack!!!!

Gosh, there’s an even an entire store in the mall dedicated to women only wearing black and white, with maybe one pre-approved pop of color here and there.

I spent my teen years not being allowed to dye my hair because people with vibrant hair colors were goth, emo, sad, depressed, rage filled, goat sacrificing hoodlums with no futures.

So then I starting dyeing my hair auburn when I was in college. I gradually went a little brighter with my red each time. I finally settled on a color that started out a beautiful merlot color and faded to a fun, bright, but definitely not “Little Mermaid” caliber, red.

I loved it.

Then I started student teaching. And then the ladies in the office (not-so) subtly told me that I had “some hair color there”.

Oh.

And they told me that often.

Finally, right before I graduated, I sadly went back to my plain, fairly mousey and cool toned brown.

I felt that a part of me had been taken away.

I had spent the better part of the end of my college career and my grad school career trying to regain my confidence and sense of self, after I had spent time being a meaner, poorer, shell version of myself.

My problem was that the red hair change had come just when I was starting to feel good again. I was coming to terms with my chronic illnesses, I was becoming happier, and I was finding out who my true friends were.

And honestly, I have just always loved red hair. From ginger to Ariel under the sea, I loved all of the shades of red hair.

So losing that spark was not fun.

Similarly, when I started to wear colorful eye makeup and either bright pink or pale bubblegum pink lips, people told me I was wearing too much makeup.

Too much, or was it too bright, colorful, and not the norm in a sea of neutral loving folks?

Again, I was stifled.

Recently, I tried to regain some of my confidence through color. I dyed the under-layer of my hair a vibrant red. As an under-layer, it’s still pretty subtle, but fun and quirky. And fiery in just the right light, just the way I like it.

I use a special color system to keep my hair bright. It has morphed into a color that I call “red velvet,” and I love it.


Red Velvet Hair Color

Recently, I used that same color system to add subtle pink to my bangs. I know that my job probably won’t allow this if it gets much more pigmented, but it makes me feel happy.

extreme pink bangs

It’s been a long, gray winter y’all.

Then I added purple to my red under-layer. Now my red has gone from red velvet to berry colored. I also apparently only make food analogies to describe my hair color. I do love food.

My hair is a little more berry than red velvet today!

My hair is a little more berry than red velvet today!

Anyway, it makes me happy. Color is life. And doing whatever I want with my color is even better.

 

Recently, I bought purple lipstick. I hadn’t had the courage to wear it out of the house for the longest time.

One night, I found myself at one of my shows and in need of some lipstick or gloss or something. Like the sword of Gryffindor in the Sorting Hat, the purple lipstick just presented itself to me. So I put it on.

IMG_3492

Wahbam! Suddenly I was a million times happier and I felt kind of fierce with my red velvet hair, big eyebrows, seam ripper around my neck, and helping put on a ridiculously colorful version of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Color was back in my life.

I was happy.

But why can’t I have my whole head be berry colored? Why can’t I wear purple lipstick everywhere, while still being a classy, cool, and trendy lady?

So here’s what I want to know:

Where and when is it acceptable to be colorful, funky, and free?

Kids in a lot of schools, and households, can’t dye their hair. Forget about purple, blue, and bubblegum pink lipstick. Even when colorful hair is an accident, kids are punished for it.

Most workplaces don’t want that kind of stuff. Vibrant hair styles and colorful makeup looks are only for artist types.

But why? Colorful hair is on the runways, in the magazines, on celebrities, and, like I said, color is everywhere. Am I rebel, or am I on trend? So you have to be celebrity or a cartoon character to sport blue hair? 

What gives, world?

Dislike.

Sadly for now, my dreams of a fully berry toned head of hair are just that, dreams. Maybe the norm will change one day. How many more runways and magazines need to feature bright colors before kids stop getting suspended and I can dye my whole head some fun colors?

What do you think about bold color combos in your wardrobe, makeup, or on your head? Yea or nay?


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Yes or No: Baths

An Overflow Bathtub with Fireplace

So last week, at the beginning of my break I decided that I would start off right by taking a nice relaxing bath.  And I was super excited because I used this soap to give it a nice peppermint-y smell and it was going to be great.  And it good for about a minute until I realized that I hate taking baths.  After about a minute of “relaxing” I could already feel the water starting to get cold, I was thirsty, I couldn’t ignore the incessant dripping from the faucet, I couldn’t get to a place that my entire body was submerged up to my neck so I was always a little bit cold in some spots, and I was distracted by how dirty the tub looked from that close.  I could stay in a nice hot shower all day (but don’t worry, I won’t because of the environment).

So, what am I doing wrong?  Someday if I get a nice big, deep bath tub (like above) will I find this relaxing?  Or will baths always be kind of boring?  Maybe I need more toys like when I was a kid, I’m pretty sure I liked baths then.  Do any of you bath people out there have any tips?  Or maybe there are just two kinds of people…

Bathtub photo (that I’m pretty sure I could learn to love) from pinterest.com


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Mildly Philosophical Ruminations from an Incredibly Exhausted Person

Bear with me, because I am tired, and sometimes when I get really tired, shit gets real. Also, sorry I just said “shit.” Twice.

On Monday, I was talking to my friend about how fast my day was flying by. Nothing different than normal was happening, I was just busy and focused on what I was doing. And I was excited that my day went by quickly, and she was bummed because hers didn’t. And today we were talking about what a long week it was, implying that the fact that it felt like a long week meant that it wasn’t a good one.

And then I had an epiphany of sorts – the fact that the mark of a good day for us is one that goes by fast…is kind of upsetting. It’s not a case of “time flies when you’re having fun.” It’s…“I don’t want to be where I am so I can’t wait to get to the next place.” And that just doesn’t sit right with me.

I feel about most days of work like I did about school when I was younger. I don’t mind what I’m doing, but I’m also happy when it’s over at the end of the day. I just find myself complaining about being in one place, hoping to be in another. And then I get to that other place…and nothing is actually better there.

I liked school. I like working. I like learning. I like writing. I like being busy and being engaged in what I’m doing. And I’m lucky enough that I have a job that lets me do all of those things. But I still get excited for the clock to strike 4 and I get to go home to…do nothing, really.

I’m not articulating this correctly. I don’t not like what I do. That’s not what I’m trying to say. I’m trying to figure out why it is that everyone I know just seems to be waiting for something better to come along, myself included. We are just never satisfied with what we have, even if intellectually we know it’s a good thing.

It’s like that old MTV dating show Next. Oh, yes, this is about to happen. I always got frustrated with those people on the show who had a good date with someone, but then said “next” to them anyway, just because someone better might be still on the bus. I just don’t want to keeping “nexting” every day, hoping for something better that may or may not come. (Now is not the time and place to talk about those jerks who would “next” someone as soon as they got off the bus…I’m still developing this analogy.)

I have to reel this in before this devolves into a post solely on bad MTV dating shows that aren’t even on TV anymore (OMG, do you guys remember that show Date My Mom?)

I know it’s normal to have some bad days where you just don’t want to be at work or doing whatever it is that you have to do. But the mark of every single day should not be: good = fast; bad = slow.

I don’t want my life to speed by me. I don’t want to constantly be waiting for the next good thing to happen while I’m just wishing that what’s happening right now is over. I don’t want the majority of my conversations with my friends to be about how bored we are and how unhappy we are about this or that. I hate that our first reaction to seeing someone we know getting married on Facebook isn’t to be happy for them, but to judge their dress and their choices, etc. I don’t want to be that person. I’m not a particularly optimistic person by nature, but that doesn’t mean I have to be so negative, does it? I always say that I hate complainers…but I find myself turning into one. I mean, look at me right now, complaining about how much I’m complaining.

Clichés be damned; I want to be the type of person that appreciates the present. I don’t want to do things just for the pictures that I’ll get out of it that I can post online so people will like them on Facebook or whatever. I want to be able to enjoy things in the moment, and not fixate on how everything can be better. I want to be happy for people when good things happen, and I don’t want my first reaction to be to tear them down, even if they won’t hear me doing it.

How the hell is the future supposed to be any better than the now if you aren’t actually doing anything to improve it? When all you do is complain instead of appreciating that, in the scheme of things, our lives are pretty damn wonderful.

Was this all nonsense? Probably.

Am I high right now? I don’t think so.

Am I incredibly tired and having a really weird week? Maybe.

Do I still think this is something worth remembering and thinking about? I do.

Now listen to this song because Max Bemis is way more prolific than I could ever hope to be. “Your life is always the post of something else/Where’s the present in the way that you present yourself?”


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Pre-Vacation Excitement

Well, it’s finally happening. I’m going to Diagon Alley!!!!! I’m off to Florida today for a mini vacation and part of the trip is heading to Universal Studios all day tomorrow. All I care about is Diagon Alley. And the rest of the Wizarding World, of course. But it’s been four years since I was last in this magical place (see what I did there?) and I’ve spent many days wondering when I’ll eventually get there. Surprise! It’s happening! If only for a day. I hope all the little spring breakers aren’t clogging the streets. I need to see everything. I want to see all the shops. I can’t wait to take a ride through Gringotts. I’m freaking out about going to Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross and taking the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade. I CAN’T CONTAIN MY EMOTIONS.

Next week I’ll report back with how freaking amazing the place is. Don’t worry, I’ll be knocking muggles out of my way left and right.

 

gif from giphy.com


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Chicken Meatballs

I must admit, I too was skeptical with the whole chicken meatball idea.  I don’t eat red meat, so my usual go as a substitute is ground turkey.  Turkey meatballs are delicious.  Anything with ground turkey is so much better.  But, ground chicken?  This was uncharted territory.  However, ground Chicken Meatballschicken was on sale at the grocery store, so I decided now was as good of a time as any to try it.

I basically followed this recipe.  Instead of ground turkey, I used ground chicken and rather than use clove garlic, I used powder.  Everything else I followed.  (I was making sauce already so I threw a few into the sauce to cook)

These were delicious!  I was so surprised with how great they came out.  They are especially great because they are 21 day fix approved!

SauceP.S.  I did not forget to update you guys about how the fix is going.  However, seeing as it is only day 3, I do not have much to go off of.  I will definitely have more of an idea for next post and will let you readers know how it is and if I see any kind of results!