October Update – 2016 Goals Check-in



This month felt like a solid decade.  I meant to write this post like I did the others, around the middle of the month, but I found I was just too emotional to do it justice. Packing for the move, finishing my last couple weeks at the bridal shop, prepping for NaNoWriMo, there was a lot more going on than I was ready for.

The month started out with me realizing that I actually was moving. I’d been discussing the idea with my aunt and uncle for so long that it seemed like it would never happen. Being a pro at packing because I’ve basically lived out of a suitcase for the last 10 months when I was staying with Big Red, I kept feeling like I was missing things, but for the most part I wasn’t. The only things I forgot in the move were soap, my razor, tape for my posters, my yoga mat, and my desk chair that didn’t fit in my car anyway. Otherwise, my entire life fit in my little blue Prius. It’s a weird feeling when you realize that your life can fit in your car. Very scary and yet freeing as well. I plan to go out and purchase a bookcase for my room since I brought about 25 books with me, plus all of my writing notebooks. I know. I brought books with me. But I only brought the ones I plan on reading before I visit my parents again since I really don’t have space here to store all of my books. It hurts, not having all of my books in one place. #BookishProblems

I attended homecoming at my alma mater, East Stroudsburg University in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, on the 15th. My friends Jordan, Connor, and I revived our radio show The SoundWave for the day, which was fantastic. Then we wandered around campus and grabbed a bite to eat downtown. It’s one of the best feelings, returning to a place that brought you so much joy and taught you so much about life. ESU and WESS 90.3 FM are a couple of those places for me.

Hanging out with my local friends one last time before I made the move was hard. I know I’ll see them during holidays and everything, but with everyone basically out of college now and working, it’s difficult to make time to see each other, especially during this time of year. I’m so thankful they were all able to take the time out of their busy schedules to see me before I moved.

The hardest part of making this move was leaving the bridal shop. The last 10 months there have taught me an extraordinary amount of things. My customer service skills have increased tenfold. My understanding of logistics and conversion rates, and sales in general, has improved astronomically. I now know the difference between the colors Guava, Punch, and Coral, Blush, Bellini, and Petal, Pool, Malibu, Spa, Oasis, and Capri, and Portobello, Mystic, Mercury, and Pewter, something I never thought would be relevant to my life, but now seems indispensable. The ladies I worked with showed me new points of view to just about every aspect of life, and I made some friends there that I will never find the likes of anywhere else. I truly hope I never lose touch with them. Working at that bridal shop has been one of the best choices I’ve ever made, and I will never, ever, regret it.

Still, making this move, I think, was the right choice too. I’ve always been one to explore new things and love new experiences, and so far I’m loving my new city. Boston feels pretty homey. My arrival here wasn’t full of hoopla or craziness. Walking the streets, even for the first time, feels like greeting an old friend I haven’t seen in years. Yesterday I overheard two girls talking about their new favorite word, ken, which comes from Gaelic and means to know. I’ve always liked that word, and I find that I like it when other people have really crazy intelligent conversations just walking down the street. Living near Harvard has its perks. I passed a group of stay-at-home-parents the other day, and two stay-at-home-dads at the back of the pack were discussing toxicology. How neat is that?


Source: MemeGenerator


Let’s take a look at how I did on my goals. I’m sure it’s atrocious.

TOTY 24 Goals:
Write Every Day – This didn’t happen, again. But I’m getting better! I actually had a dream Thursday night that turned into 3,000 words of a new story, so there’s that. Unfortunately, I spent the majority of the month packing all my stuff and working, so I didn’t have a lot of  free time to locate my notebook and get some writing done. I did, however, do a lot of organizing of my background material for my novel. This will hopefully help me not get distracted when I attempt NaNoWriMo next month.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is a project that people sign up for, where the goal is to write 50,000 words of a story during the month of November. why November, nobody knows, especially since we have Thanksgiving in there and everything. It’s exhausting. I attempted it last year when Iw s taking a break from my main storyline and working on a spin-off, but I only got 4-5,000 words into it because I kept getting lost in my background information. This year I’m hoping to tackle a full draft of my main story, so it’s going to be an interesting ride!

Apply to Full Time Jobs – I think I’ve succeeded for the year with this one! As I mentioned before, I’ve moved to Boston, MA to nanny full time for my baby cousin. He turned 7 months old on Saturday! I’m beyond excited, and so far I’m enjoying myself. I’m only a week in, and while my muscles are tired and I’m actually really, really exhausted, I absolutely love it. And I’m getting more writing done than ever before because nap times are a wonderful thing. So, check getting a full time off the list for this year!

Apply to Grad School – I’m going to the graduate open house at Emerson this weekend! But I haven’t done any GRE prepping yet beyond buying a GRE prep book…

If I like the school on Saturday, I’ll start prepping on Monday. I know it’s going to be hard. Supposedly the math portion goes up through Calculus?? 😦  but I’ll survive. I do still have to look into where/when the test is being offered in/around Boston, and I’ll need to contact professors to ask for recommendation letters, but there’s no point in jumping the gun if I end up not liking the school, is there?


October Goals:
Read 7 books – Ha. Ha. Ha. With all the packing, I finished Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at the beginning of the month, attempted reading A Passage to Shambhala and gave up after 2 weeks and getting nowhere after 400 pages, and I just finished Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which I read this week during, you guessed it, nap time. So that brings the total up to two? and a half? maybe one and a half? It all depends on whether you count Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as this month or last month because of when I read the majority of it vs. when I finished it.

Exercise – Does walking 4 miles round trip to visit a bookstore yesterday count?  I hit 10,000 steps for the first time in ages. It seriously only used to happen when I went to NYC like once a year.

Write 5 posts – I wrote my moving info post on October 1st, and I haven’t posted since. Oops! Well, here is number two, and my NaNoWriMo prep post should be up tomorrow. So that makes three! Next month you’ll mostly be getting my weekly NaNo updates, as well as a post or two about exploring my new city, and of course the monthly update, so you can look forward to 6-8 posts next month at minimum because let’s be honest, I’m probably going to gush about Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them when it hits theaters in two weeks as well.

Write 10,000 words – Well, if we count the dream I had that turned into ~3000 words of a new story, I wrote a total of 5,519 words this month. which isn’t bad, but it’s nothing close the the 50,000 that I’ve signed up to write next month as part of NaNoWriMo. And a lot of it went towards that new story, which doesn’t help me in the long run with working on my main novel.

Move to Boston – Now this, I succeeded at. I’m currently writing from my desk in my new room. It’s in the attic, so I think I’m going to call this place the Aerie. It feels fitting. My desk chair only arrived yesterday, so I’m very excited. I’m headed to Target tomorrow to buy a bulletin board. I thought I could live without one, but my desk is kind of small and I am in desperate need of space for NaNoWriMo notes, so to the store I go!

Write 14 book reviews – This one was heavily dependent on me reading all seven books on my TBR list, and since that included the last three big Harry Potter books, A Passage to Shambhala, and Moby Dick, I’m not really that surprised that I got nowhere near this goal. I have written 5 reviews so far, and I’m halfway through a sixth. I’m hoping to finish the sixth and complete another one tomorrow before the month ends, bringing my total up to seven. Also, in case you were wondering, Moby Dick has been tabled until further notice, because I can only have one massive and boring book in my TBR pile at a time, and A Passage to Shambhala has usurped that position.

November TBR:
Will Definitely Be Reading:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (the screenplay, which I have on pre-order)

Might Be Reading:
A Passage to Shambhala (~300 pages left to go!) – Jon Baird and Kevin Costner
Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
You Are A Badass – Jen Sincero
Thrive – Arianna Huffington
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo
Present Over Perfect – Shauna Niequist
Manage Your Day-To-Day – Jocelyn K. Glei

September Update – 2016 Goals Check-in


It feels like it was yesterday that I was writing last month’s update. Boy, did that month fly by; I went up to Boston to babysit my cousin, I was in not one, but TWO of my best friends’ weddings and four more couples I love got married that month as well (I didn’t attend them all. I’m not that magical). It was a very long month. and yet, suddenly we’re halfway through September! I’ve been a literal zombie for the past week, recovery from my trips while trying to get back to work as usual. At least I haven’t gotten sick yet (fingers crossed that I won’t!).

This month isn’t too busy, but it is full of planning for the next year. So many exciting things are happening! I’ll tell you all about them soon, but first, let’s check in on my goals for the year.

TOTY 24 Goals:
Write Every Day – This is day three! I wrote a book review each of the last two days, and I’m hoping to write another two over the next couple days, while I finish this post and hopefully get some time in on my novel during my day off on Friday. I tried to write last week, but my brain was so dead that only nonsense came out of it. It was painful.

Apply to Full Time Jobs – I HAVE NEWS!!! My aunt and uncle and I have been discussing a potential opportunity for me for nearly a year now, but I didn’t want to rely on it because it always seemed like it wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. They had a baby in March, and up until now, my uncle has been a SAHD (Stay-At-Home-Dad). He’s due to start a new job in November though, and that’s where I come in. I’ll be taking care of my cousin for them all day while they are at work. For all intents and purposes, I’m a live-in nanny. If that isn’t a dream job at some point in the life of someone who is maternally inclined, I don’t know what is.

If all of that wasn’t exciting enough, they live in Boston! Which means I’m MOVING there. Like, I get to live in this city that I’ve been mildly obsessed with for ages. Which brings me to Goal number three for the year –

Apply to Grad School – My top grad school at the moment is Emerson College and their Masters in Writing and Publishing program. Being that Emerson is in Boston, I’ll finally being going on a tour of campus and trying to meet some of the professors to determine if it’s definitely where I want to go.

Also, this Friday I’m sitting down to plan out my studying strategies for the GRE. Woop Woop!

September Goals:
This month I decided to let y’all in on a secret. I don’t just have yearly goals! I also make up a set of goals for the month, which filters into my daily to-do list(s). This month I want to:

Read 5 books – So far I’ve only finished two, but I’m nearly halfway through my third, so it’s looking good!

Study for the GRE – As I mentioned earlier, this starts on Friday!

Walk 5 miles, 4 times – I originally had this read “walk 5 miles, once a week”, but after the double weddings I was down for the count. Hopefully, I can walk one of my 5-mile stints on Friday!

Ab workout, 4 times – Another one that read once a week and has since been amended.

Write 3 posts for TCSB – This is the first! I’ll probably fill you guys in on more details about Boston, and I’m visiting a Renaissance Faire on the 24th that should be pretty interesting as well!

Write 4 book reviews – Two down and two to go! Wicked Charms by Janet Evanovich and The Escape by Mary Balogh are up on CSR now!

Write 10,000 words towards your novel(s) – That’s right, I’m writing a book (or is it ~SeRiEs~?). I’ve been writing it for over 10 years actually. Very few people have read any of it, and those who have, haven’t read it in so long that they probably wouldn’t recognize it today. For one, the characters started out as 11 or 13-year-olds, and they’ve since evolved into 20-somethings. Not like they aged in the book, more like as I aged I found it harder and harder to write young characters. The universe(s) the book(s) take place in has expanded exponentially, to the point where I keep trying to populate parts of it and ending up with literally hundreds of characters. And I love every one of them so much that they all have a background and purpose and a future… And you wondered why I’ve been working on this for 10+ years. My goal for the year (TOTY 24, not 2016) with writing every day is to get at least half of my rough draft of the first book finished. Hoping to dive into this some more this month.

I think that’s all for now ,you guys! I hope you enjoyed this update, and I can’t wait to share more with you about my move to Boston, and my grad school apps, and my adventures in writing!

Until Next Time,


Piercings and Tattoos, Oh My!



The last six months have simply flown by. We got little dustings of snow here and there, but the only blizzard we got was back in January or February, when Big Red and I got buried under 30″ of the stuff. It has rained a lot this spring, however, and maybe that makes up for it. I’ve been working pretty steadily, and helping Big Red and The Nurse plan their weddings. It’s a lot of fun, actually. The month of May, however, has been particularly interesting in the general course of my life.

For The Nurse’s wedding, all the bridesmaids are doing matching jewelry. She and I were discussing this at the end of April, and I bought up the point to her that I didn’t have pierced ears. I wasn’t opposed to them, I said, but I had never had a real reason to have them. Why should I pierce my ears unless I have a reason? I would simply be creating another reason for me to spend money. A wedding though, THAT is reason. So I told her that so long as she gave me about 2-3 months of notice, I would get them done so I could match the rest of the bridesmaids, etc. She let me know the last week of April, and I enlisted Big Red’s help to find a place to get them done. I don’t even notice I have them unless my hair or my shirt gets caught on them. So far they’re fine, and I haven’t had any issues. I do the whole alcohol swab thing every morning and night and today marks a month since I got them done.

My tattoo (seen above) is an entirely different story. Maybe it SEEMS as though I got the ear piercings and went crazy and decided to get a tattoo as well. Not true. I’ve always planned to get a tattoo, but I could never decide on one. there are many things I love, but almost none of them that I would put permanently on my body. About two years ago, one of my sisters asked my cousin to design a tattoo for her: a pine tree with a cross inside of it. My sister never ended up getting it, but my cousin decided that she really liked the pine tree as a symbol of our family (our last name is Woods after all), and got a small pine tree tattooed on her ankle. As soon as I saw it, I knew that was what I wanted. Still, I spent the last TWO YEARS mulling it over. My cousin was supposed to go with me to get it at the end of last summer, but she left for school in Montana before we could get to it. When I found out that she was home for Memorial Day weekend, I informed her that it was time, and we drove out to Silk City Tattoo in Hawthorne, NJ, where she got her first tattoo, to get my pine tree. Mine ended up being more intricate and larger than hers, but there is not a single thing I would change about it. The guys at the parlor were super nice to us, even after they found out it was my first tattoo. There was no teasing, and they made it as painless as possible (I would equate the pain level to scraping your foot on the concrete sidewalk, except for a prolonged period of time, so like a 2-3/10).

Sure, it’s in a place that can only be covered by pants, or tights, or knee socks, but besides being one of the least painful places to get a tattoo and the exact location of my cousin’s, I wanted it to to be somewhere where I could see it every day. I didn’t see the point in getting something meaningful if I was just going to forget it was there. I have no idea how having my tattoo will affect my future in terms of employment, but I do know that it hasn’t affected my current situation at the bridal shop (where many of my coworkers have multiple tattoos).

The effect on my family has been interesting. My siblings and my parents think it’s a little on the large side, being nearly 5″ tall from trunk to loftiest branches, but in proportion to my extra long legs, it doesn’t seem that big. My paternal grandparents, who aren’t surprised by anything anymore after raising 8 children and 20 grandchildren, really like it. My coworkers love it. Other reactions have been mixed, but it hasn’t fazed me so far. I expected many of the reactions I got, and the majority of them were pleasantly surprising.

Will I ever get another tattoo or piercing? Probably not. I have no reason to get any other piercings, and I’m not really interested in piercing anything else, like my lip, eyebrow, belly button, or cartilage, and see no reason to get multiple holes in my ears, either. Tattoo-wise, I can’t say. I may eventually find a quote or other symbol that I want, but I don’t see it as very likely.

Let me know your thoughts on piercings and tattoos on Twitter!

Until next time,


Wellness Update #3 – New Year, New Opportunities to be Healthy

I didn’t run the 5K on Thanksgiving. Not just because I was lazy, not just because I didn’t find out about the $15 entrance fee until the week before, and not just because I had a severe cold, but because I psyched myself out. I built it up to be such a big thing that I worried if I didn’t perform at a certain level that my family would make fun of me for it. Did they? Nope. Did they pick on me for not running at all? No. Because to be honest, they had all completely forgotten about it. No one mentioned it, not even once. I felt foolish for thinking my athleticism was so important to other people. It does not, in fact, have anything to do with them, nor is it really even any of their business what kind of shape I am in, except how it pertains to the yearly family Football and/or Ultimate Frisbee game.

So now it’s the end of January and I am still out of shape. I’ve attempted to recruit my friend, we’ll call her Big Red (BR for short), to be my workout buddy. She’s getting married in September and I’m her MOH, and we agreed we want to get in shape and look fabulous for it. The only problem is that She leaves for work early in the morning and I work until late at night, so we haven’t been able to find a time to work out together yet. I am determined, however, to make it happen, even if I have to workout alone.

I’m just waiting for all this snow from the Jonas Brothers’ Blizzard to melt…

Just kidding, it won’t melt until May at this rate. We got slammed with around 30″ of snow this weekend and Big Red and her fiance hiked to the grocery store on Sunday because we all ran out of food.

I’m in the middle of planning some sort of routine for working out around 3 times a week to start, and I’ll go from there.


On the Acne front, I finally made it to the dermatologist at the beginning of December and the meds are working! She agreed that we had probably jumped the gun and went too-harsh-too-fast with treatments, so she prescribed a Retin-A cream, as well as an antibiotic to kill off whatever acne I had. So far it all seems to be working! I’m just using a mild face cleanser, Cetaphil, which is surprising available at the local grocery store/pharmacy/etc. and 99.9% of my acne is gone already! We still have to wait and see if it will stay away when I go off the antibiotic, but all indicators point to me being acne free in the future.

I am beyond excited, mostly because people will finally stop asking me about my acne, but also because no acne means I can wear less makeup, and I am mostly not a fan of makeup.


Until next time,


A Little Perspective

SummerFall 2015 671

Perspective. It’s a mammoth of a word. It fills a room more than the proverbial elephant ever could. You hear it everywhere, from everyone.

“You need to get some perspective.” they say, “Once you have the right perspective you can get your priorities in order.”

But what is the right perspective? Would you even know it when you found it? Probably not, but that’s okay. That’s I’m here for. To give you a little bit of perspective.

These days, people are expected to choose a field of study as soon as they graduate high school, and then stick with it for the rest of their lives. As if a person who has just spent the majority of their first 18 years of life sitting in a classroom and being obedient is suddenly supposed to know how the entire world works and what field they could be an expert in for the remaining 60-80 years they have left on earth. Then if they’re lucky, that person gets to spend 4-6 years paying money that they don’t have to become an expert in that field, after which they have to fight it out with other up and coming experts to land a job in the field they are supposedly an expert in, only to find out that they will be doing nothing but proof-reading posts for social media and fixing the copy machine for the next 3-5 years.

We all need a little perspective.

First of all, who decided that we have to be experts in something before we can get an entry-level position in that field? The whole idea that you have to have experience to get experience is the biggest load of bunk I’ve ever heard, yet it has somehow become a recurring theme in our world. Entry level positions were originally designed for someone who is new to the field, to ease them in to the actions and the lingo that come with it.

Second of all, who decided that a person can’t change careers during their lifetime? Lately news stories have been praising people who are quitting their jobs and moving to a new field. Why is this news-worthy? Why is this so important? It should be normal for people to be curious about the jobs that others do, and to want to try working in new fields. Often in reality, people who attempt to learn about other positions at their companies are reprimanded for ‘doing others work’ rather than praised for ‘helping someone in need’. If they want to help, LET THEM HELP. Let them learn. Your company will be better for it. If you can’t afford to pay them for the extra work, just make sure they know that any learning they do will be on their own time, but don’t deny them information that could potentially change the course of their life.

Change is natural, and curiosity is good.

I am a jack of all trades. In this day and age, that moniker often exudes a flaky quality to it, like I’m not good enough at any one thing to stick with it. But it used to mean that the person was good at everything, just not the all time expert at every single thing. It used to be a good thing.

When I was growing up, I was home schooled. I had plenty of time to learn new things and explore all of my options. I can cook, sew, crochet, knit, paint, draw, ride a horse, dance, sing, read music, play a little piano, guitar, and flute, I know a little bit of HTML, and I know the basic rules and scoring to baseball, basketball, football, soccer, cross country/track and field, volleyball, hockey, and tennis. I can read and write, my handwriting is nice, my grammar is pretty fair, and I can speak publicly without puking all over the stage. I didn’t learn most of these things in school. I learned them because I was curious. I went to work with my father in his office. I helped my mom with work for groups that we were a part of. If I could type fast enough, I could probably be a world-class secretary. If I had that spark that allows a person to command a room, I could be a CEO or a politician. I am a jack of all trades. I can do just about anything if you give me enough time, because what I am a master of is learning. I wasn’t raised to be competitive or better than my peers. I was raised to be my best.

You don’t see a lot of that today. You see people who try just hard enough to be better than everyone around them, but once there, they don’t strive to get anywhere else. People are only trying as hard as they need to, not as hard as they could. If everyone did their best work, the world would be an amazing place. But they don’t. Everything has become a competition, and to get anywhere in any field, you have to be willing to compete against everyone you know and love.

So. Perspective.

The world doesn’t have to be a competition. You can do something because you like it. You can do something because it pays well, but you don’t have to pretend that your life rotates around it. You don’t have to work with people you don’t like. You can leave, and go somewhere that has people you do like. If you major in English that doesn’t exlcude you from becoming a video game developer. If you major in Mathematics that doesn’t exclude you from becoming a chef. People were not meant to be defined by their profession (or lack thereof!). People were not created to be two dimensional beings. They were created to be complicated and curious, excited and confident, fearful and unsure of themselves. We were created to never stop learning.

Even today, when bloggers are all writing for specific niches, there is no rule that says you can’t ever change topics. If you start as a beauty blog, you can totally become a cooking blog, or a travel blog, or a literature blog. Nothing is impossible. It all depends upon your perspective.

Until next time,


Wellness Update #2 – The Thanksgiving 5K Logs #2

Last week and this week are pretty interesting because I have visitors at my house just about every day. Despite my failure last week to get a run in, I have free time tomorrow to finally do one. In the mean time, I’ve been attempting to catch up on some sleep and do some yoga.

Yoga is always interesting to me. It looks so simple, yet it is easily the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I am not very flexible, at least not anymore. In 5th grade I used to do those pretzel sits where your feet go on top of your thighs, like this:

pretzel maker sitting like a pretzel

Source: CraftCaravan.com

and I could ‘walk’ on my knees like that. Not anymore. Whether because I grew another five or six inches in almost strictly my legs (I was already over 5′ at 10 years old. ohhhh the stretch marks), or because I started running and actually built some muscle, I doubt I’ll ever know. My flexibility has been all downhill since 5th grade, and my athleticism has only gone up. So yoga, with it’s focus on flexibility and strength, fascinates me. I would love to someday do the 30 Day Yoga Challenge where I do yoga every day for a month, but I get really wiped out after about 2 days right now.

There are some pretty amazing people out in the world who are living a yoga-centered life and they inspire me all the time to keep at it. Whether I’m able to hold my downward dog for 3 more seconds or get into a deep lunge without tipping over, I’m gaining ground every day.

If you’re interested in yoga, you should check out two of my favorite people:
Adriene Mishler of YouTube’s ‘Yoga With Adriene‘ and Rachel Brathen of Instagram’s ‘Yoga_girl‘.

Check back next week to see how my running goes! There are 6 weeks left until Thanksgiving. I’ve got this, right?

Until next time,


Wellness Update #1 – The Thanksgiving 5K Logs #1

As I prepare for the Thanksgiving 5K, I decided it was a good idea to update you all weekly about how I’m doing. So here’s the first update.

I ran my first full mile in almost four years today. It hurt a lot, and not just because it was mostly up a hill.

I’ve been rather lethargic the last few days. No energy, brain dead, too blah to even be bored. Maybe you know what I’m talking about. I suspect its an introvert thing. If you’re a fellow introvert like me, you should check out my post tomorrow for tips on how to be an introvert and still interact with the rest of the world.

Anyways, I was feeling yucky, and I recently got over a cold/virus thing that seems to be going around, so I decided to walk the only place nearby that I can walk. It’s a five and a half mile loop of road. Hard, paved, concrete. There are variations I could take to make it six miles, but five and half is usually enough for me, and there are plenty of hills to keep it interesting. To be fair, it isn’t the only place for me to walk, just the most convenient. So, I set off. A mile and a half in, I decided that walking and trying to run various places over the last month had prepared me enough to run a full mile without stopping. So for the third mile of my route, I ran. And by run I really mean more of a limping shuffle. It was pitiful really, but it was also mostly uphill and I couldn’t breathe, so I didn’t really care.

At the end of that mile, I checked my running app: 11 minutes and 36 seconds. Well, it was a far cry from the 7:29 PR I had in high school – not that that was spectacular either – but it was a starting place. Even if I run the whole Thanksgiving 5K at that pace it’s still only 35 minutes. I’ve run worse, and I still have six weeks before the race.

After my mile run, I still had another two and a half miles to walk. My lungs burned something fierce, and my chest hurt (apparently I need to invest in a better sports bra before race day), but otherwise I felt amazing. I haven’t felt runner’s high since high school, and the clarity is something that stays with you forever. I walked the last two and a half miles slowly and in silence, turning off my iPod and just breathing in the world around me. The air was crisp with the scent of Autumn leaves, and I could hear neighbors fixing their four wheelers, mowing their lawns, chopping firewood. It was peaceful… And then it started raining.

All good things come to an end eventually, and I just managed to make it home before the downpour began, which was lucky. Today was just the first of many there, where I hope to eventually add more running and less walking, even if it is hilly. I don’t know what the course will be like on Thanksgiving, but I guarantee that town doesn’t have as many hills as I do. It’ll be rough, but I think I’m up for the challenge.

Until next time,


TOTY – 23: Wellness and Becoming My Best Self


Too often I find myself saying ‘I’ll just watch one more episode’ while I’m watching Netflix in bed, ‘I’ll run tomorrow’ when I’m feeling sluggish, or ‘what should I have for dessert?’ When I just claimed I was too full to finish my dinner.

These little things quickly turn into big things, which weigh on my mind and make me feel less than fabulous, trick me into not loving myself, and cause me to doubt even my most inherent skills.

My goal for this year is to watch out for the little things, and to address them before they become big things.

I guess you could say that my weight bothers me. Not because of how much I weigh, but because of how I wear it. I’ve allowed myself to slouch all my life, maybe in part because I grew quickly as a child and was always taller than my friends. The more people commented on my height, the more I slouched, wanting to fit in, to hide from the spotlight cast upon me by my physical attributes. But I was also just lazy. Slouching took less effort than sitting up straight. I’ve actually had my doctor tell me during a routine physical when I was younger that I might develop a curved spine because of it. Still, I slouched.

I was never a stellar athlete, but I did run Cross Country and Track in high school. During those years, everyone would comment on how skinny I was, how I ‘should eat more’, how if I got any skinnier it might effect my menstrual cycle. As a runner, I was hungry all the time. I ate nearly as much as my brother did in high school, though we weighed nearly the same and I was taller. I couldn’t gain weight. When I attempted to talk to my friends about it, they laughed in my face or told me to shut up because I made them feel bad. They said I should be thankful I wasn’t like them, struggling to lose weight.

When Cross Country ended my senior year and I had already decided for entirely different reasons that I didn’t want to run track that year, I stopped working out entirely. Typically I gained 5-10 pounds during the holidays and lost nearly all of it in the spring. This time it didn’t happen, because I had stopped running entirely. I was tired of people telling I was too tall and too skinny, so I maintained the extra 10 pounds through the summer, and then I left for college. Being in college was stressful, and in college they like to give you a meal plan that allows you to eat everything and anything you want. It was great at first. People in college are much less likely to comment on your body simply because they don’t know you. This freedom was wonderful. I missed running a little bit, but my campus was huge, and I walked everywhere.

Freshman year I gained 10 more pounds. When I visited home, no one made comments about me being ‘too skinny’. I was happy. I still missed running. Sophomore year I gained another 5 pounds, astounding even myself. I had to go up a pants size, and I no longer needed a belt to keep them up. However, ‘Low-rise’ jeans soon became the enemy. At first I loved them, but as I gained weight and grew out of puberty, my body distributed my weight throughout my hips, thighs, and boobs, and the cut of the jeans gave me a permanent roll.

I didn’t notice it at first, but somewhere between transferring colleges and moving back home during my junior year, it became really obvious (to me at least. I doubt other people really noticed). I started driving everywhere because nothing was in walking distance anymore. I switched to a major where I was sitting in meetings or at my computer all day rather than hiking and searching for signs of wildlife. Between my transfer and my graduation, about three years, I gained another 5 or 10 pounds, making it 30 pounds total since highschool. I had run maybe 5 times in as many years, and I felt it. I developed terrible acne, and I started to see myself as, horrifyingly enough, overweight. Looking at my BMI I could easily see this was not so, but that didn’t stop me from worrying about how my clothes fit.

The first thing I attacked wasn’t my weight or my posture. It was my acne. I had your basic, run of the mill acne during high school, but once I got to college, I started to break out a LOT more. maybe it was the stress, maybe it was my diet, maybe it was my lack of exercise, but I quickly became a pizza face. At first it didn’t bother me. Sure, I had red bumps all over the place because I picked at it, but it was just skin, right? and it wasn’t like I really had time for a boyfriend, so what did it matter what I looked like? When I moved back home junior year, I finally realized that it wasn’t just caused by my stress levels. I spent the next 2 years attacking my acne full-force, trying everything from drug store cures to Proactive, but nothing worked until I acknowledged that maybe I had over reacted. Maybe I had jumped on the medical miracle band wagon before I looked at all the clues. I recently dumped all my acne creams and cures. I’m now washing with just water, using a gentle astringent when I need it, and adding a daily moisturizer.

The second thing I did was tell my aunt I would run a Thanksgiving 5K with her this year. That means I have until November 26th to whip myself back into shape. I am thankful to have an event to work towards and people to keep me accountable for getting back into running. It may be slow going, but I refuse to give up.

Finally, I’m addressing my posture. I am being extra mindful of how I am sitting, making sure I have adequate back support in all my chair and couch choices, and not watching Netflix in bed! I’m looking at starting to lift weights again like I did in high school to compliment my running. There’s a technique called the ‘farmer’s carry’ that looks especially helpful.

I’m increasing my awareness in terms of diet as well. I adore dairy and carbs. I refuse to give up my carbs, and since I still have a high metabolism I’m not worried about my caloric intake, but I am cutting back a lot on dairy because too much of it could be assisting my chronic acne. Not so much pizza and yogurt and cheesy sandwiches for me, and more of what I need, like fruits and vegetables.

The last month has been rocky because of my travel schedule, but now that things have calmed down for a while I can focus wholly on my health and fitness. I have the power to be whatever or whomever I want to be. I don’t want to lose weight necessarily. If during the course of getting shape I lose or gain a few pounds, it doesn’t really make a difference to me. I DO want to scourge my closet of old clothes that don’t fit me right. I want to wear ‘hip-hugger’ jeans that actually hug my hips, not my butt, and I want to get back in shape. I want to be healthy. I want to get enough sleep and have enough energy to keep up with my little cousins and my more active friends. I want to have a nutritious diet so that my brain will function at its best and I can get back to doing what I love: learning new things.

So, now that I am 23, I want to take control of my life. Part of that involves getting an adult job, and part of that involves taking care of my body and my health. I hope you’ll read along and follow my journey as I chase my theme for the year: Becoming My Best Self.





Past Theme Of The Year (TOTY) posts:
TOTY – 22: Why Soul Searching is Not my Theme of the Year

More TOTYs:
TOTY – 24: Me Doing Me
TOTY – 25: Responsibility
TOTY – 26: Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise
TOTY – 27: Aiming for the Stars
TOTY – 28: Further Reading Required