Updating My Wardrobe for Fall for Just $40

Every year before school started when I was a kid my Mom would take me to her favorite department store and I’d try on any number of new dresses and pants and shirts and matching headbands. The woman had a thing for outfit themes and I’m not blaming her, I looked darn cute as a mini sailor.

updating-my-wardrobe-for-fall-for-just-40

Look at me, I look like an adorable tiny Santa Claus!

Now that I’m an adult on my own, there’s a somewhat different version of this tradition. I’ll admit that I enjoy virtually flipping through the fashion blogs and reading up on how to tackle everything from a personal take on the latest trend to perfecting my capsule wardrobe.

Something that I don’t agree with, however, is spending uncomfortably outside of one’s means to satisfy that creative bug. Starting in college I discovered my city’s wonderful secondhand resources and I’ve rarely shopped outside of those stores since. My favorite is Goodwill for their really reasonable prices (as opposed to a vintage premium), their excellent selection, and their commitment to amazing principles as a nonprofit.

As the weather becomes cooler and damper up here in the Pacific Northwest, I start to shift my wardrobe to more Fall-appropriate wear. Largely this just means pulling my heavier coats out of storage and making sure my leather boots are all up to snuff, but I also turn to a list I’ve been making throughout the rest of the year on pieces I’d like to add.

I try not to impulse shop because I’m honestly pretty bad at figuring out the gaps in my current clothes options or how certain pieces will pair with what I already own on the fly. Hence the list! Plus I get to really think about clothes in terms of useful categories and whether or not I truly want them.

A few things I knew I’d be lacking in were some nice (meaning non-ribbed) sleeveless tops to go under cardigans, a crisp white button up shirt (because everyone should have one), flared dark wash jeans, and white skinny pants (I know it’s after Labor Day but I don’t much care for that rule and I need a pair like nobody’s business).

updating-my-wardrobe-for-fall-for-just-40

I may have also picked up this burnt orange cardigan, it was just so soft!

updating-my-wardrobe-for-fall-for-just-40

Don’t mind the mess in the background…

updating-my-wardrobe-for-fall-for-just-40

I have a hard time nailing the stripes look but I loved this one.

updating-my-wardrobe-for-fall-for-just-40

I love that this isn’t a traditional button up.

For almost exactly $40 I walked out with 7 pieces that work well with each other and the rest of my closet. All are from great brands like J Crew and Banana Republic and they fit perfectly.

My next goal is to get rid of any pieces I’ve been grudgingly hanging onto due to the lack of an appropriate replacement. My favorite part of the wildly popular Konmari Method for organization is to evaluate what an item makes me feel when I flip to it in my closet while deciding what to toss. I have a few places I’ll be sending those items, including some teen moms in a neighboring school district.

Until next time!

Travel Guide: Oceanside & the Oregon Coast

I love how all my traveling outside of Portland tends to fall right in the middle of the only beautiful weather this city gets. The things we do for love.

This year’s Labor Day weekend was at least spent a 90 minute drive from our front door, in a lovely little town called Oceanside, OR. The trip out to the coast was a little rainy and beautiful, filled with shifting, billowy clouds and sweet farms. If you’re the passenger, that is. If you’re driving the view was mostly the back end of a slow moving RV. A word to the wise: Route 6  is prone to some awful car accidents, so be careful to drive safely.

travel-guide-oceanside-the-oregon-coast

One of my favorite parts about coming to Oceanside is the relative solitude and quietness of the area. Unlike Seaside or Canon Beach, Oceanside isn’t a big tourist destination, just a sleepy little town with a single Inn and the best darn desserts for many miles. It’s also right next to Netarts Bay for crabbing and clamming. We didn’t get the chance to do it this time, but I’ve done it before and had a blast. Months with ‘R’ was the advice I got for those activities.

travel-guide-oceanside-the-oregon-coast

The homes are quirky and offbeat, with a strong beach vibe. I loved walking my dog around the neighborhoods. We’ve stayed in a number of the vacation rental houses here and loved them all.

travel-guide-oceanside-the-oregon-coast

You can get gorgeous views anywhere since the town was built on a steep slope to the shoreline.If you go when there’s a neap tide, you can check out Lost Boy’s Cave. Just watch out for the crabs and the rising tide.

travel-guide-oceanside-the-oregon-coast

You’re only a few minutes away by car from one of my favorite Oregon hikes, Cape Lookout. I’ve done this trail a number of times and it never gets old. Last time we were here we saw what I believe were porpoises below us. This time it was whales.

travel-guide-oceanside-the-oregon-coast

If you’re from somewhere like California or Florida, this isn’t your usual warm water. In fact, I always call it the coast instead of the beach for that very reason. It’s still worth it to dip your toes in though. 😉

Travel Guide: Oceanside & the Oregon Coast.JPG

I hope some of you find your way over to Oceanside one day soon for a relaxing long weekend with loved ones.

Until next time!

Tone It Up’s 31 Day Challenge

The lovely founding duo of Tone It Up have put together a 31 day food & fitness challenge for the month of October. If you sign up (free) on their site  you get their starter pack to help you figure out how to tackle the program. I love these challenges because they serve as an accessible introduction to the community and also for the extra little push it gives me to stay on top of living a happily healthy lifestyle. For me, consistency needs to be interrupted with exciting and new things to keep it interesting and motivational.

These 7 questions were posed by Karena and Katrina at the beginning of the starter pack. I decided to answer them here before I read any further so I can really think about how I want the month to go.

1. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in 31 days. How do you want to feel physically? What about emotionally? Who is looking back at you in the mirror? Is she confident? Radiant? What has she learned?

I have a surgery coming up this Friday that will quite frankly knock me on my butt for quite a while. My goal is to feel like I didn’t lose everything I’ve worked so hard for the past year and a half with Tone It Up. I want to look back at myself and still see the person I’ve become, because I really like her, inside and out! Hopefully along the way I’ll learn how to tackle this challenge when I know that I won’t be able to do everything 100%, because sometimes life will throw curve balls at you and you can’t let them get you totally struck out.  😉

2. What is one habitual goal you want to achieve? Maybe it’s to start meal prepping, waking up earlier to work out, or to start journaling. A habit takes 21 days to form, so by day 31 it’ll be second nature. Now is the perfect time to create those new healthy habits!

I want to start writing down a list of daily goals in the morning for both my work and personal life to keep myself on track throughout the day. Checklists are a huge motivator for me, but I’m not very consistent about them.

3. What is one spiritual goal you have? It can be that you want to start going to yoga once a week or to simply feel confident and strong. Maybe you want to be more positive or respond to obstacles in a better, more productive way. Whatever it is, write it down right now and you will get there!

One thing I really want to get back to is volunteering in my community in some way. Depending on how my recovery goes this might be a little tough to tackle in these 31 days, but I want to write it down now to hold myself accountable to this in the future. An amazing resource for this in my area is Hands On Greater Portland. I also really enjoy joining one of my friends in helping out at a community meal hosted by her church every weekend.

4. What is one physical change you want to see? Do you want stronger arms? Do you want to build muscle overall? Or it can be something as simple as feeling confident rockin’ your sports bra at your fave workout class. Write it down. Visualize it and make every decision every day with that goal in mind. We promise you’ll get there! You’re capable of more than you’ll ever know, and we’re by your side every step of the way.

To be honest, my biggest goal is to make sure I keep all (okay most) of my current muscles while I convalesce! If I’m doing particularly well, I wouldn’t mind some extra nice lady guns though…

5. What are your usual setbacks? What usually prevents you from working out or eating healthy? Most of us are completely aware of our personal obstacles. How will you prevent them and work on them? Maybe you make everything else a priority before yourself or easily get distracted or discouraged. Or maybe your environment or the people around you are holding you back. Can you ask for their support? Whether it’s work, friends or family, take the time to realize that you are the only one in control of your body and your future. Stand up for yourself and stick to your goals. You deserve it.

I love this question! It’s such a smart thing to think about before you embark on these 31 days. One thing I need to figure out how to handle is the conversations about food with my boyfriend. He and I have very different food requirements, tastes and desires. I’d like to get better about finding compromises there. I’m also guilty of getting very snacky before dinner (but never after, oddly enough) and making my worst decisions of the day then.

6. If you could thank your future self right now for sticking to the 31 Day Challenge, what would you say to her?

Girl, you’ve been through a whole heck of a lot this month. I’m so glad you made the choices that make you the happiest in the long run even if your (Vicodin addled) little heart said mac n cheese three times a day.

7. Now imagine yourself on November 1st. You feel exactly how you visualized above. What do you want to say to the girl reading this Starter Pack, preparing for the next 31 days? What words of encouragement do you have for her? What do you want her to push through and what do you want her to let go of? Let it out.

I know you’re sad that you couldn’t give this challenge your all from day 1. I know that frustrated the heck out of your perfectionist side. But you did your personal best and that’s an amazing thing to behold!  ❤

How would you answer these questions? I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time!

Tone It Up’s 7 Day Slimdown: Recap

Hello friends! Today’s post is a recap of my experience with Tone It Up’s 7 Day Slimdown in gritty detail. I hope this helps for those of you considering whether or not to dive into their nutrition plan!

Day 1: I sprung out of bed at 6am (okay, 6:05 after scrolling through Instagram…) feeling pretty good about tackling this first day. I even got to sleep in since my very kind boyfriend offered to drive me to work! Being a morning person, which I very definitely am, is both a blessing and a curse. Have you ever fallen asleep on a friend at a bar at 8 in the evening because I have and no amount of coffee can save me once that train gets rolling. It does mean that I at least tend to start the day on a high note though.

For my morning workout I got in a 3 mile run and TIU’s 5 Minute Abs, which is an amazingly effective routine for making me think I have a baby 6 pack in the weak morning light.

I’m following the meal plan as closely as possible, so my food was straight from my spreadsheet (such an exciting sentence, I know). I definitely had to lug a few tupperware to work with me, but that’s not particularly unusual. My fridge is like a grown up version of Tetris right now though.

By the time my afternoon snack rolled around I had to pretty much force myself to eat it since I was feeling quite stuffed. From experience I know I get really peckish as soon as I get home though, so I suffered in silence and ate the damn hummus.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap
Too. Many. Vegetables.

I got in a nice full body toning workout & a walk with my dogs when I got how from work and then did what could be considered awkward or even rude if my friends didn’t know me as well as they do. I pulled out some very tasty food for them, chicken chili and a rocking veggie lasagna, and made myself a plate of my thankfully meal-prepped quinoa, veggies & chicken. With how full I was, it honestly wasn’t too bad. I probably would have caved if I had to do more than microwave at this point though.

Day 2: 5:30am. Still a morning person. Still springy. Still going strong. I did a great half hour of a HIIT workout off of one of Tone It Up’s DVDs and ate a leisurely breakfast.

I love waking up this early even though I don’t have to leave the house until 7:45 for work. It gives me ample time for those workouts, walking my dogs, and eating a real sit down meal. There are plenty of “habits of successful/healthy/cool people” lists that I like to read that mention this tip. I’d say to give it a shot for a week, it changed my days significantly.

Same deal today with feeling extra full from the sheer volume of vegetables I was eating. A fun new thing was the chia seed pudding, though! I used to dislike it because of the texture but I would cautiously call myself a fan now. Just goes to show you how important it is to try foods multiple times before turning your nose up at them for good.

Before dinner we got our butts to the gym and I put a good half hour in on the stair machine while watching the worst part of the Broncos game. I would never have called them winning that one in the end from the part I saw, but it was a fun distraction at least. Almost as fun as the plastic surgery shows. Almost. Squeezed in a 10 minute ab workout and said sayonara to the 24 Hour Fitness staff.

Which of course leads to the first hiccup: getting home entirely too late and figuring out that I couldn’t make the fish I had initially planned on for dinner because I am silly and put cod in the fridge for too long. Lesson learned. And relearned when I smelled my compost bin the next morning. Thank you again meal prep for providing me with a mountain of chicken!

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap
Not too shabby still I’d say.

Day 3: 6am Barre3 class and I’m feeling it. Well, sort of. I mean at least I made it, right? I tend to stress about group fitness classes just a little, but I’m working on it. It helps that I am no longer the obvious worst person there.

More protein waffles! I really love protein waffles. All waffles are near and dear to my heart, but at least these ones don’t slowly kill me with buttery sweetness.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap
The Holy Grail of breakfasts to me.

It’s Friday and my boyfriend & I are going to see Kubo tonight, so I’m making sure to get in all my meals throughout the day. I honestly ended up shoveling dinner into my face on the way to the movie but thankfully Ian didn’t mind (too much). A full body workout happened before the movie & a walk with my dogs after.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap
From the MyFitnessPal app. I was curious about the nutritional breakdown of a day on the plan, so I entered everything into the app on my phone. (Goal macro percents are from MyFitnessPal, not the 7dsd.)

Day 4: Saturday is a day for adventuring and this one is no different, even if I am on the 7dsd! I got myself to an 8am spin class and then shuffled my energized body back home for that egg white scramble. I was somewhat resentful of said scramble to be honest. No matter how much I glared it didn’t turn into a waffle.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap
Still not a waffle…

We went kayaking with friends on Trillium Lake and I’m happy to report that I had enough endurance to paddle most of the time. Sometimes I made Ian do it alone, but really that was just because I’m so bad at steering I send us in circles. I packed all my meals for while we were out and they mostly filled me up. I think this was the first time I felt even remotely hungry all week. Twenty minutes of abs before dinner and I was done for the day.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap

Day 5: It feels like the home stretch! I went way out of my comfort zone and tried out a Zumba Nightclub Experience class, discovering two things in the process. 1) I am still exceptionally bad at Zumba. 2) It doesn’t really matter if no one can see you in the back of a dark room. 10/10 would recommend.

And today turned into another adventure! We went for a leisurely float on the Clackamas River that turned into a bit of an escapade due to rain the day before and our cooler spilling our dry bag (with car keys) into the rapids. The latter part was totally my fault, lesson learned! Needless to say it was a bit of a race to catch up to our stuff, which we eventually did with the help of a pair of our intrepid friends.

To make up for the river flub, Ian got pizza for the group. Guys, it was strangely extremely easy to turn down a pizza sitting in front of me and wait until I got home to eat dinner. If this is what this level of healthy eating is doing to me I’m all in. A short total body toning workout later and I was golden.

Day 6: Monday and it’s back to work. I started it off with a half hour of HIIT routines from TIU and another scramble. Today was pretty straightforward to be honest, but the food was getting a bit boring. I met up with a friend (the one who rescued the keys yesterday actually!) for a short HIIT class after work and felt like a badass doing box jumps. This one was also a new class, I’ve got to make a habit of trying something new more often.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap
This sign taunted me on the way to work. I wanted that acai bowl, darn it.

Day 7: I was supposed to run this morning. No running happened. Instead walking my dogs happened. No regrets.

And I’m officially hungry today! I mean lets be honest, this 7dsd is meant to lead up to a specific event, like the first pool party of the season or seeing your ex for the first time in a while. It’s tapered toward the end and today is the day where things are bound to get rough.

I of course schedule, unbeknownst to me, the toughest spin class of my life after work. I think this is what SoulCycle must be like. Or death. One of the two. (I still liked it.)

Home. Baby ab routine. Dinner. Sleep.

Day 8: Hah! Fooled you didn’t I? You thought there were only 7 days to this 7 day slimdown. Okay so day 8 is optional, if you want to follow it on the actual date of your event. I decided to try it out for completion’s sake because, as Katrina Of TIU says, “Don’t half ass anything, always put your full booty into it!”

It’s meant to be a rest day, so the only thing I did was walk my dogs in the morning. And eat more waffles! The waffle trend will be continuing after this thing is over for sure.

I was still hungry today even though I was eating more food, but I think it was the boredom setting in. Honestly I loved the meals I was eating and chow down on them regularly with strange glee, I just didn’t get to mix things up as much as I usually do.


And now, for the final results! All photo fuzziness is my fault due to trying to take pictures in the early morning light and an insufficient number of lamps in my workout space.

Before:
tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap

After:
tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap

Before next to After:
tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-recap

The best piece of advice I can give is to take pictures and measurements and ignore your scale. I lost 5.4 pounds, which was mostly in the first few days, and I fully expect the scale to tick back up after this. They’re pretty explicit about trying to get rid of any excess bloat for your special day, but the more extreme effects are bound to be temporary. To be honest, I’m fine with that since they’re upfront about it. Plus, my secondary goals were to get used to fewer treats and less snacking before dinner, both of which I have so far accomplished.

Here are the changes in the measurements I like to take to track my progress:

  • Bicep: -0.25″
  • Waist: -1.25″
  • Abs: -1″
  • Hips: -0.75″
  • Thigh: -0.75″
  • Calf: -0.5″

Overall, I’m very pleased with both how I handled the process and how it worked for me. I think that people who are prone to obsessing unhealthily over food should think pretty hard about starting anything like a slimdown. Obviously if you have any medical conditions you probably shouldn’t be drastically changing your diet without talking to your doctor. I hope this helps if you were on the fence about giving it a shot though!

Until next time!

 

Tone It Up’s 7 Day Slimdown: Planning Ahead

Hello friends! I started writing this post from the most scenic spot I’ve been in all year, the Oregon Coast.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-planning-ahead

My boyfriend & I drove out here for the holiday weekend for his family reunion and it was utterly relaxing and filled with great food. And wine. And lounging. Which of course means that by the time Sunday rolled around I was sitting at the table planning out my week ahead because my type A personality refuses to be quiet for more than a few days.

tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-planning-ahead
But seriously, look at that view! And the adorable retro vibe of the place.

Now, what am I planning for, exactly? I’m going to tackle Tone It Up’s 7 Day Slimdown.

What is the 7dsd? It’s a 7 day (plus 1 to ease you into less restrictive eating) plan that centers around wholesome, healthy food while cutting out the junk like most added sugar. It also includes a general workout plan to go alongside. The exact details of the 7dsd are found in the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan, which I bought from their site about a year ago.

Why would I do this? I’ve gotten deep into my I-deserve-a-treat mode and I would really like to pull myself out of the bad eating spirals I’ve found myself in recently. In general, I don’t believe in crash-dieting. What I do believe is that self-control is a muscle and when I fail to exercise it regularly enough, it gets pretty weak. I also think that sugar (not fat, not carbs, etc.) is the real health bomb and the toughest thing for me to eat in moderation.

Am I crazy? Yes, but that’s unrelated. 🙂 I’ve actually done the 7dsd before and really liked it. I was never hungry doing it, but I did get really bored! This time around I know to work around that by mixing things up. The only other sticking point for me is that I will have to make some extra time for workouts in the evenings, but I’m setting myself up for success by scheduling only the things that I love to do (like barre classes).

Here is my plan for the week, complete with workouts and meals. I’m going to tackle food first. You can see that I’ve tried to nail down everything in advance so I can go grocery shopping once and be done. It also allows me to plan for any events that I have like the dinner I host every week on Wednesday and my friend’s production of Midsummer Night’s Dream one evening.
tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-planning-ahead

Next up is my grocery shopping list, which I always prefer to write out by hand. I usually start with listing what I need by recipe and then condense on a separate sheet the final list. Usually I have a good idea of what I have on hand, but if I don’t want to run back and forth to my kitchen I just put a question mark on items to check all at once later. This list gets messy fast, but it’s what works for me to keep everything organized!
tone-it-ups-7-day-slimdown-planning-ahead

And finally, I take my giant pile of food and a flurry of meal prep ensues. Normally I commit Sundays to this task, but my holiday weekend out of town means a very awkward but doable Tuesday evening session. Music, podcasts & movies all help, as would an extra set of hands. Usually. If they aren’t too busy sneaking the julienned bell pepper as a snack. Not that I’m naming names of course, that would be rude.

I try to carefully plan out the order of cooking so I combine things that go into the oven at the same temperatures and the longer cooking stuff gets started earlier instead of about half an hour before I wanted to be asleep. Here’s what my meal prep last night looked like:

  • Preheat the oven to 400° & start the quinoa boiling
  • Place dried chicken breasts in a baking dish with oil & seasoning and cover with parchment paper
  • Prep dinner vegetables by chopping or trimming where needed and tossing them lightly with oil & seasoning on baking trays
  • Pop chicken & vegetables into the oven and check on them regularly to take things out as they finish at different times (tip: slightly undercook veggies so they stay firmer when reheated)
  • Cube and saute the tofu in oil & seasonings (tip: mix things up to avoid boredom)
  • Chop scramble & salad vegetables and store in the fridge
  • Tear up kale leaves and massage in dressing for the week (tip: kale gets better in dressing over time!)
  • Make hummus (tip: homemade is delicious) & chia seed pudding
  • Pack everything away as necessary in the fridge & freezer (tip: freeze some of the cooked chicken if you don’t want to have to make more midweek for the later days)

The second part of this 7dsd is of course planning my workouts. I need variety and excitement to motivate myself to regularly work out. In fact, that’s how I found Tone It Up in the first place! I’m a huge fan of their weekly workout guides and a big portion of their videos are free  on their site and Youtube. I’ll talk more about their workouts at a later date, but all of my toning routines will be from their website or their DVDs for the 7dsd.

I also have a ClassPass membership that I love and will be utilizing heavily this week. I have Zumba, Barre, HIIT & Spin classes all planned out at various boutique gyms near me.

Check back later this week to see how it all goes! I officially started today, so wish me luck. 😉

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments, I’d be happy to answer them for you if I can!

Traveling Healthy, Wealthy and Wise

This week I’ll be making the trek to a family reunion in Minnesota. I’ve been looking forward to it for months, though it’ll be tinged with some sadness since my Grandma’s health may be declining after a hip fracture this month. We’ve always been a pretty jovial group though, so I’m hoping to show her a bit of the good old family merriment.

All the family aspect aside, airline travel seems to come with so many complications and pitfalls these days that I feel like I have to prep everything down to the most minute detail. One of my most frustrating (and strangest?) quirks is that I get ravenously hungry when I travel. Like three cheeseburgers, fries, a shake, and then Panda Express just for lunch kind of hungry.

Costco Hot Dog Goodness
Okay so this is actually a picture of my biggest weakness, the Costco hot dog. You get the gist though.

Since I’ve been cleaning up my eating and getting into a regular exercise routine over the past year or so, it feels pretty cruddy to be shoving my face with fast food right at the beginning of what should be a fun and exciting adventure. Not to mention pocket-draining and nap-inducing at the most inconvenient times!

Sleeping Ella
If only we could all nap like dogs. 🙂

There are ways to make a trip go smoothly for those of you out there like me though! Here’s what I’m packing to make this a successful and healthy jaunt through the airport.

For clothing, I try to pack the exact things I will need and nothing more (except for one extra pair of unmentionables because that one is hard to fix if you’ve miscounted). I’ve found that even if I need an extra outfit one day, I’ll probably end up not needing something I packed another day. The bare minimum toiletries has always worked for me as well.

I have to stick to my exercise routine to feel like a functioning human being while on a trip, so that’s always something I take into account too. Just roll everything up and go at it like a jigsaw puzzle of clothing!

Packed Suitcase

I love to take advantage of the copious amount of entertainment that my smart phone and tablet provide. Not only are there tons of options, but it also means you don’t have to carry around extra things in your bags. Because let’s be honest, how many of us are taking more than a carry on these days?

We have Amazon Prime for the free shipping but I’m really happy with their Amazon Video App. Unlike Netflix, which we also have, it allows you to download episodes and movies so you can watch them offline. Just make sure you download everything well before it’s time to head to the airport, I wouldn’t want to rely on their WiFi!

If you don’t have Amazon Prime, my next favorite diversion tactic is my Podcast app. I always have about…three dozen podcast channels that I listen to at least somewhat actively at any given time. It offers a ton of variety and all for the low, low price of free. You can also put ebooks and audio books on your phone through your library with the Overdrive & Hoopla apps. Again, totally free. I listened to The Girl on the Train that way and it was an awesome experience.

The Girl on the Train

As a last ditch form of distraction I have a few phone games that I consider highly addictive. My favorite one to date is called Qubed and it’s a funky Tetris-style game that gives my hands something to do while listening to other things. Set is also great for the same reasons.

My last piece of entertainment advice would be to have a project to work on. Feeling productive feeds into my list making/completing personality, so I love the rewarding sensation of crossing a to-do off.

I was listening to a Cracked podcast and I learned some unsavory facts about how people actually get sick when flying. It turns out it’s not the recycled air that does the dirty deed, it’s the surfaces you touch at your seat. They just never get cleaned, which I’m sure I knew somewhere at the back of my mind given the tight turnovers I’ve seen with every flight I’ve been on.

That’s why I’m adding a disinfecting wipe or two to my packing list this time! Another pro-tip from them was to never, ever drink the plane coffee (or any water that’s not coming straight from a bottle). File that under ‘things I wish I didn’t know’ right next to how one gets pink eye and the fact that our bodies contain about the same number of bacterial cells as human ones.

My best tactic to beat the insatiable travel munchies was to just stay ahead of my hunger. That meant overnight oats at 3am on the way to the airport, a salad at what my normal breakfast time would be, a big snack I had packed, and finally an early dinner at the ballpark.

Twins Game at Target Field
The Twins still got destroyed but that is entirely beside the point on Dollar Dog day at the park with your Dad. 🙂

I hope this helps any new or less confident travelers out there! It took me a while to not feel overwhelmed when I set foot in the airport, but planning things out really does help!

I think my next post will be a traveler’s guide to the Twin Cities for all those who may be thinking of hitting up this gem in the Midwest.

To Blog or Not to Blog: Is That Even a Question These Days?

I’ve been thinking about starting a blog for past few years but the project always seemed so daunting to this narratively challenged person. Writing has never come easily to me and I’m pretty atrocious at word choice and commas, but I realized that having a creative outlet is important for everyone. If this adventure isn’t for me, at least I can say I gave it my best shot (and cross it off a few ancient to-do lists in the process).

 

Almost exactly four years ago I started my first job out of college in a research lab and while I find my work there rewarding, it allows for precious little in the way of imagination and fun. I’ve written poster abstracts and methods sections until my eyes were sore but I’m not calling those exciting literature. Most of the time I’m actually quite comfortable with being details-oriented on months-long experiments, but I’ve really started to let other facets of my life and personality slide.

 

Yesterday I got a stern talking to from a caring acquaintance about making time to let other parts of my personality out occasionally. There’s an extra perk to all of this as well. It will hopefully give me the impetus to explore things that interest me – in the hopes that they’ll interest you too.

 

The older I get the more I realize I have so much unexpectedly in common with others I meet, from my love of grocery shopping and Costco to my avid interest in number crunching and statistics. I’ve even found that the concepts and skills we want to learn are very similar!

 

I’m hoping that this blog can be a place where I share the things about myself that connect me on some level to other people, be they loved ones or strangers. I’m always impressed by the bloggers who strike this perfect camaraderie with their readers and can convey an openness that makes blog posts feel like conversations with an old friend.

 

I’m not quite sure yet what the scope or depth of this will be, but I do know that I needed to start it. For now, I’ll leave you with this.

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 9.31.46 PM