Monday, February 8, 2016

Feb's check in

Hey February. Here you are. It's amazing how quickly time goes when you spent most of January out of state. I also recently got back from La Junta, CO, one of the worst drives on dreaded highway 50, also for a work thing. Needless to say, I am happy to be home (and I can barely remember that it's 2016 now and not 2015).

When I was in PA, a was hanging out with a friend and he asked me if I had made any New Years Resolutions. I told him I did, sort of, although in the moment I could not remember what they were. Clearly, I am off to a great start.

Scrolling down the blog a little bit, I decided to check in with them again. Here's the summary.

1. Hip improvement.

This continues to be my constant battle, as my leg constantly hurts whether or not I am excising or not.  On bad days, it turns when I stand, it it hurts when I lie down, it hurts when I sit. I really cannot win. (Today is a bad day. I am currently heating my glut muscles and icing my leg). I do know, however, that a lot of my leg issues are really nerve issues. I guess that's helpful to know, even if it feels as if there is nothing to do about it. I also recently got a massive bill from the physical therapist, demonstrating how little insurance actually covers, which I was not anticipating. I am not exactly sure what to do now. I continue to do my pt exercises every day, but it no longer seems to be making a difference.  On the bright side, since I can do nothing and my hip and leg still hurt, I've started going back to my cardio classes at the Wellness Center. Don't worry, I still take it pretty easy and have a strict no lunging policy. I've also started doing yoga again, which seems to help things the most.

2. Eat more fruit and veggies.

I have a feeling this will always be a struggle. I do pretty good some weeks and then awful for awhile. It's really hard to do this when traveling. I'm trying though. And I think I will go eat an orange as soon as I am done with this post.

3. Make more things from my pinterest board.

This is probably the only thing on which I've been consistently working. I'm trying to make at least one recipe from this source per week. I made this cheese dip for the super bowl party we went to yesterday. (Go Broncos). And let's be real, one of the main reasons I like the super bowl is because of the opportunity to eat a lot of dips. (And to see Queen B destroy us all. Amazing).

But in other recipe news, I've also recently made this broccoli cheddar soup (which does not count as far as veggie increase goes because it is clearly not healthy, but it is so delicious), and these oatmeal dinner rolls, which, let's be real, are not as good as my Gram's roll recipe I make all the time, but it is a nice one to keep in the bank.

4. Work on my mental well being.

Let me tell you, going to PA for 2 weeks did not help with this. It was the worst. And although I want to read some "self-help" type books this year, I have not done that yet. That is not to say that I am not working on this goal. I have been trying to pay a lot of attention to my emotions and trying to not project things on to others, especially my boyfriend. I think it's been going a lot better. Even the act of being aware of it is a major help.

5. Be creative.

Always the struggle when it's cold and windy outside. But spring is coming soon and I am sure that will make my creative juices flow. It usually does. Being home for more than 2 weeks at a time also helps with this.

Anyway, those are the things. I am going to go put my bread in the oven and eat an orange. Cheers.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekend in VA

One of the good things about being stuck on the East Coast for 2 weeks is that I get the opportunity to see my sister.

In between my 2 weeks in Akron, PA, I zipped down to Harrisonburg, VA to visit my sister's family in their new home. (They moved from Raleigh to Harrisonburg a couple of months ago). While I do miss all the things about visiting them in Raleigh, it was really nice to be able to be close enough to drive down for a quick weekend.

Because of how exhausted I was for my work meetings the previous week, we mostly just chilled... and ate food. Duh. It's what Leah and I do best together.  This was my first official visit to Harrisonburg. (I had been there a couple times before but not for more than a couple hours max). Despite first impressions of this town, I was very impressed with their local food scene. We managed to eat at some very tasty places. Moreover, they have a year round farmers market that actually has vegetables (and not just bread and jam). I was super impressed.
 And, of course, I had lots of time to be with this crazy wonderful boy.
It was so nice to get away, especially to my sister's home.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Trips for introverted professionals who travel

I just got back from an extremely long work trip. I am talking 13 long days of traveling. And what have I learned? Well, I learned that I can never do that ever again. NEVER. Traveling for that longs makes me loath my job and wipes me out completely. To top that off, I tried to leave PA right before a huge winter storm. (Thankfully I did make it out before it really hit, but I got stuck in Chicago for the night and thus was delayed getting home by a day). My travel anxiety has had enough of airports and logistics. I want nothing but to sit on my couch with my boyfriend and my cat and (ironically) wish that we were getting a blizzard here so none of us have to leave for several days.

Oh well. At least I get to sit on the couch with my boyfriend and my cat and "watch" football, regardless of today's weather.

I don't think I was ever so happy to be back on Kansas soil as I was yesterday morning when my flight landed back in Wichita.

The longer I stay in my current job, the more travel tips and tricks I've learned.

Don't get me wrong, I still do an incredibly large amount of dumb things - like being gone for 13 days. (This entire trip was kind of a disaster. For whatever reason, I did not follow the self-care things I know I need to do when I am traveling. When I go to Akron for meetings, I especially find it extremely challenging to take care of myself, even doing basic things like exercising for 10 minutes and showering. It does not stack up very well by day 13.

But let me back up to these travel tips and spell them out a little bit more. I cannot stress the importance of knowing that I need to take care of myself.

As an introvert in a extrovert dominated field (fundraising), I have learned that I cannot do things exactly like my fellow extrovert coworkers. And that's totally fine (and honestly, once you know that, embrace it and don't let guilt tell you otherwise).

Here are the things that help me the most.

1. When I am using my brain, I try not to be gone more than 3 days (or 4 days max including travel time. Not 13. What was I thinking?) That's pretty much all I can handle without serious home time.

2. Secondly, if I can avoid it, I do not schedule things in the evenings.

3. This time in the evening alone gives me the time I need to recharge. It also learned that I need to do at least 10 minutes of exercise (such as yoga) most of the days that I am gone. Being out of my daily schedule is actually stressful for me. Having a piece of my exercise route is good for my mental health.

4. Finally, I try to only eat french friends and cheeseburgers one time per trip (or not at all). In the early days of me traveling for work, I used to seek out cool, local places to eat. I've since learned that I don't really enjoy that by myself and it takes a lot of extra energy and time to seek them out. It is better for my energy level to just eat somewhere close by. Thus it can be so easy to default to french fries. So wherever I am at, I try really really hard to pick a healthier option. Let's be real, that's extremely challenging and I don't often succeed, but at least I try every time. So that, I think, counts for something.

As I've noted several times, I did not really do any of these things during my recent PA trip. I did fairly okay with the exercise thing due mostly to the necessity of needing to do my stretches for physical therapy. But over all, not awesome, especially in light of my New Years hope of trying harder to have a happier mental state of being.

*face palm emoji*

Oh well, I will pick myself up and dust myself off (in the form of major introvert activities this week) and hopefully take better care of myself the next I travel for work.

Did I meant how psyched I am to be home?

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2016 hopes

New year. New things, right? Maybe. It can often just feel like more of the same.

Is it silly to make goals or have hopes or resolutions? Maybe. But I still think it's important. It's our annual reminder to ourselves that we can always try something new or been better versions of ourselves. After all, spring will come again and things will warm up and hope will swell up with lots of possibilities. We kind of get a taste of that in right now. I don't know about you, but I kind of like that reminder that comes on January 1st.

New Year's Eve is highly overrated. (It's awful. This year, Levent was sick. So I made him soup and then went home a little bit before 11pm. woo). But I like new years day. I like the beginning of the new year.

I am not the best at remembering my goals after I make them. However, they kind of on-going hopes. Maybe that will help.

As I think about 2016, here are some things I hope will happen.

1. My hip will get better and I can get back to my exercise routine. I long for that to happen

2. I will continue to remind myself to increase my daily intake of fruit and veggies.

3. As of today, I currently have 75 pins of my "to make" (aka "Eats and Treats") pinterest board. I would like to cut that down by 1/3 by the end of this year. That's only 25 recipes, roughly 2 a month. Why not? Let's try it.

4. I want to work harder at being a mentally healthier person. I am tired of letting my anxiety impact my relationship with my boyfriend for the negative. I don't want to self-destruct the best thing in my life. I want to work harder at not projecting my emotions on others but really trying to dive into discovering why I am so insecure. I don't want to say any more negative things about my body. This is going to be really hard. I am super aware that these things will probably always be with me. But I really need to get my s**t together. I need to start trying. I think I want to read some books that might help me with this.

5. I want to figure out how to get creative inspiration, whether that is with painting, photography or writing. Especially writing. I haven't even tried for so long. (This also includes figuring out my mountain art wall. More on that later (hopefully)).

That's pretty much it.

And really, it's been a good start to this new year already. After all, Levent and I kicked off this new year by going to the BEST KU game ever!! (Triple over time y'all. Finial score KU 109, Oklahoma 106.) It was insane. And one of the best dates we've ever gone on. It was amazing.

Happy New Year everyone! Let's go, 2016.

2015 summed up

I realize that I am behind in this blog. It's already January 10th and I've solidly missed the annual end of the year recap blog post. I also did not blog about my 2015 goals and if I did any of them or if I will even have for this year.

Even though we've definitely into 2016 now, I still want to take a little bit of time to do all of these things. While I know new years resolutions can be ridiculous, I am all about self reflection and that is what is suppose to happen this time of year. So here goes.

2015. What was your deal, huh?

This past year was full of good things and full of hard things and full of everything in between. (I guess every year is like this. But this year felt like there were more highs and lows than usual).

2015 was the year my twin nephews were born. It was the year that Levent and I celebrated 2 years together. It was the year I went to Guatemala (and completely forgot to really blog about it and share most of my pictures with my blog). This was the year my Grandpa Zehr died and my boyfriend's parents were hospitalized because of a really bad car accident. There was a lot of hard things that went along with both of those things. It was the year that I went to the beach with my sister and hung out in Chicago with my international friends, Jill and Lucas. It was the year that I moved yet again. (I am now 5 houses for 5 years of Kansas life. One more house on Knott Street to check off the list). It was the year that I barely had anything to can from my garden.  It was the year where I feel as if my fitness game really went up a level. But it was also the year where I hurt my hip and had to learn how to take it easy, (which I am still trying to do). It was the year where I went to Asheville for Christmas and went outside barefoot multiple times because it was nice out.

And 365 days (plus a couple more) and a paragraph later, 2015 is all summed up.

I realize the other day that only recording my year goals on a blog post is not the most effective plan. I forget all about them. (You can check out my 2015 goals here, but to summarize, they were pretty much the following
1. Bake things again (but balance that out with eating healthy)
2. Eat kale and make more internet salads
3. Keep running and swimming
4. Stop spending so much money on cloths, except for professional clothes
5. Make or delete recipes on my pinterest board that are from before 2014.
6. Go out and do more things with Levent.

So it was pretty hit and miss. I did bake things. I did eat kale, which I still don't love. I didn't really make more interesting salads and if you read my blog regularly you know I am trying to increase my fruit and veggie intake. It mostly goes average. I did, however, really up my exercise routine (as I mentioned). I really swam more this year than I maybe ever have, thanks mostly to swimming during lunch break at the outdoor pool in Newton with my coworkers. Yeah, I still spent probably too much on clothes I did not need (hey, it's hard especially since I am a SINK (single income, no kids). I did get some much need staples though. I did crank out of a lot of pinterest things, but probably not to the extend that I was hoping I would. And Levent and I didn't really get out a ton, although we do occasionally. We just definitely did not go bowling.

Overall, I am not too disappointed for surprise by my progress on these 2015 goals. The bottom line was to try and be more healthy and I think I am on my way. That's got to count for something.

That's it I guess. Farewell, 2015. I really hope 2016 is a better year then 2015.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Today's coffee date

I have 3 weddings I am shooting this year. (Yes! It's super exciting!) However, I am in serious need of some practice with my new camera body. So, today, when I went on a coffee date with Amy to the Reverie in Wichita, I lugged it along.

I should probably do this every weekend. I have a lot of learning I need to do before April 16th

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Christmas 2015

So my Christmas traveling did not go as well as expected. (It was pretty terrible and translated into me feeling sheer panic at not 1 but 2 different airports). I managed and thanks to my father (who drove down to Atlanta to pick me up), I made it home to Asheville. It was really nice being home, doing all the Christmasy things we Yoders do and enjoying the Asheville area (and 70+ degree weather - seriously I didn't wear shoes outside on multiple occasions).

Part 1: Asheville
My sister and I spent a lot of time on the porch. It was lovely
Some time in Black Mountain...
Hanging out in Downtown Asheville (my favorite place). We found a great new coffee shop called High Five Coffee. Great name too. 
Ice cream at the French Broad Chocolate Lounge
Of course I have to take too many pictures of this little bear

Part 2: Columbus
After Asheville, I headed up to Columbus for a mere 24 hours with the Millers. Even though it was really short and a little nuts (travel wise), I am really glad I went. It was so good to see Levent's parents and see for myself how their recovery is going. (The last time I saw them Wilbur was still in a coma and Shirley could not talk let alone get out of bed). They saved their annual Christmas ice skating outing until I got there, visited a local coffee shop and ate a lot of good food in a short period of time. 
Anxiety-wise, it was a pretty horrible holiday, which is why I am glad I keep this blog and why I take pictures. It helps me remember the good stuff.

Merry Christmas, y'all!