KITHKINCAID   37,721
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The Africa Blog

Monday, September 12, 2011

I know you're all expecting an epic travelog - and I seriously don't want to disappoint, but one of the main reasons I have been so silent since coming back from vacation, is, well...I'm SPEECHLESS.

There is no beauty like Africa. Vast plains, gorgeous sunsets, wild animals, beautiful people. I loved every second of my trip and am starting to wonder already when I might go back again.

I am still working on editing approximately 2000 photos of my trip. So what I will do for those of you who want the entire travel-blog is post a link to my albums that I am painstakingly going through, editing and narrating as I go. There are videos there as well, so it's an all-encompassing look at my vacation from start to finish - "African Sickness" included.

From a Spark perspective, I don't feel like I would have been able to do this trip, nor would I have enjoyed it half as much 120 pounds heavier. In fact, I don't know that I would have even had the courage to book a vacation like this. For 12 days we camped through the Masai Mara in Kenya, the Serengeti in Tanzania, the Ngorogoro Crater, the Great Rift Valley, Lake Manyara, the foothills of Kilimanjaro in Moshi and all the red dirt roads and acacia laden plains in between. I successfully used a squat toilet for the first time in my life (and even managed not to pee on myself - which is a substantial feat in my books). I ate the local food and drank the local beer and enjoyed every ounce of it (except maybe the banana beer which is more like fermented banana juice mixed with plain oatmeal). I saw a herd of over 100 elephants on our first night in the Mara and cried at the shear beauty of it all. I saw lions mating (lots of lions mating, and elephants, and wildebeast, and zebra, and ostrich...it's all about the circle of life kids!), and leopards eating their prey. I heard exotic bird calls, and hyenas laughing (some right outside my tent at 2am, which is the one night I didn't sleep very well - can you blame me?) - the likes of which my ears have never heard before. I met local tribes people, and made new friends in the small village of Mtu Wa Mbu where we visited a kindergarten classroom and fed the kids trail mix for their morning treat. I noticed a small boy crying and as his sister ran to comfort him I noticed that he was wearing a torn sweater from my Alma-matter in Toronto - one of the most touching and striking images of my entire trip. I schlepped a 15kg pack all over East Africa and was amazed that my feet didn't hurt once. We helped load and unload the safari jeep at every stop - but honestly, we were spoiled by our guides so much that I didn't have to carry or heft as much as I expected. I learned a few words in Swahili and am now convinced that I want to learn the language and go back to speak it. Even though my brother and I got terribly sick for 2 days at the end of the trip - I'm forgiving. It was all part of the experience and it was the price we paid for probably being a little more adventurous than we should have been in the food/water department. Who knows. But even a trip to an African hospital was an adventure and something we will talk about for years to come.

I had some amazing bonding time with my brother and my cousins. And I no longer feel like an outsider in that group. For years I have felt "less than" when it comes to my family. Because of my lack of physical fitness, I couldn't keep up and therefore didn't feel like I was one of the gang. But this trip proved all of that wrong. Not only did I fit in, I matched the fitness level of the rest of my crew. I didn't hold anyone back. I didn't need help getting around. I was part of the team - and nothing can describe the relief and happiness I felt because of it. The only question now is "where to next?"


Overlooking the Masai Mara.


The Hippo Pool on the Mara River


A visit to the local Masai village - the kids were hungry for trail mix.


Clothing from home - this little one has on a sweatshirt from York University (my Alma-matter!)


My brother and I at the top of a Pride Rock overlooking the Serengeti.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYATLANTA2010 10/27/2011 7:27AM

    Wonderful!!!

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TEENY_BIKINI 10/26/2011 10:04PM

    Absolutely amazing. The trip of a lifetime.

Yay you!!

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SBHPATRICK 9/20/2011 7:45PM

    Oh, how wonderful! You have articulated all of my feelings from a few years ago. I went to Tanzania with my mom in 2003, 100 pounds lighter than I'd been just two years prior. I could not imagine doing that trip with that extra weight, much less loving every minute of it as I did. I'm so glad you had an amazing trip and look forward to more of your photos!

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KA_JUN 9/14/2011 10:33PM

    Awesome! Moshi is truly beautiful!

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GIANTPANDA 9/14/2011 8:00PM

    It sounds like an awesome trip. I can't wait for your photos. All these years I have had a limited edition print of the Serengeti on my wall and that definitely should be one of my rewards for getting down to my goal weight. I love the idea of a place so profoundly beautiful that it leaves a person speechless.

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FINALLYBEINGME 9/14/2011 10:25AM

    Wow, this sounds stunning! GReat blog.

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KRAWRS 9/14/2011 9:53AM

    You are AMAZING! It looks like a truly incredible trip. I forgot/didn't know you were going! Was this a "just because" trip, or a missionary trip, or etc.?

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JANIEWWJD 9/14/2011 12:06AM

    Wow, that was amazing. I sounds like you had a wonderful time.
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MILLIE5522 9/13/2011 3:18PM

    Thank you for sharing your trip....sounds amazing! emoticon

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FYREDRAGYN 9/13/2011 3:06PM

    Wow, what an amazing trip. I am so glad you are back though. I have missed your blog. It is amazing the pull Africa has for people, all the people I've known who go always want to go back. emoticon

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MOMASAURUS 9/13/2011 1:11PM

    Beautiful!!

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VIMVIGOR 9/13/2011 12:42PM

 
Fantastic trip, fantastic pictures, fantastic you!!! Way to go girl. Thanks for sharing. emoticon
P.S. Can I go with you next time???? Pretty please.

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JENJESS48 9/13/2011 11:55AM

    What an amazing trip! I'm so glad you enjoyed it as much as you did - and were so fit that the whole adventure was physically easy. Woo hoo! Good for you!

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SLFRISBEY 9/13/2011 9:08AM

    Amazing! I am so happy you got to go on this trip and a little jealous still :) Can't wait to see more!

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-POOKIE- 9/13/2011 9:06AM

    *smiles*

you should be proud of yourself for changing yourself for the healthier so you could do something as amazing as this.

Im so glad you had a wonderful time.

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JENNIFER_67 9/13/2011 8:59AM

    emoticon This is my dream trip. It's still a few years out for me. (Have to finish paying for my kids' education.) But I will be going someday. I can't wait to see the rest of your pictures.

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STFRENCH 9/13/2011 7:25AM

    emoticon

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SUNFLOWERSAVAGE 9/12/2011 11:18PM

    Wow...what an amazing trip! I want to go to Africa so bad.

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CHARLENERAE12 9/12/2011 10:27PM

    It's been a while, and all I can say is HOLEY SHEET LADY YOU LOOK AMAZING! What an amazing trip, and what an amazing transformation you have made.

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WYND10 9/12/2011 10:14PM

    Wow, your trip sounds amazing! I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures. And that first picture of you is breath taking, and not just because of the vista behind you. You look gorgeous!



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TETICH 9/12/2011 10:04PM

    It sounds like you had fun and I am so pleased for you, getting sick and all, lol.

And I'm sure everyone there told you how welcome you would be if you went back again. Karibu tena!:) emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 9/12/2011 9:44PM

    I am so glad you had such an amazing experience, and you are such an inspiration,doing things you wouldn't have done previously, and having the energy to keep up with all of the trekking, camping, you are just super woman!!!! I love the pictures,they are so great. Thanks for sharing your journey with us!!! I sure did miss you while you were gone, girl.

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MIQUEY73 9/12/2011 9:11PM

    Your trip sounds AMAZING! So glad you enjoyed it!

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CHEEKY1000 9/12/2011 8:53PM

    Just...wow!! If I ever have the money to do my trip of a lifetime (well, frankly it'll be to Scotland for a couple months), but if money weren't an issue, I'd love to do a safari as well.

I love that you can see the...uh...gastrointestinal mishap as an experience. LMAO!! Hey, it may have helped you lose any weight you might have gained. lol

I think it's great that you also got to bond on equal footing with your brother and cousins. To quote Mastercard: Priceless!


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LAURIETAIT 9/12/2011 8:43PM

    What a great trip! I look forward to seeing all the pictures.

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HOPE2011 9/12/2011 8:37PM

    So cool! Thanks for sharing - I look forward to seeing more!

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JENNSWIMS 9/12/2011 8:35PM

    AWESOME.

I so want to do a trip like yours... if you booked through a tour company would you mind giving me the details?

Anywho, it sounds like the trip of a lifetime, and how fantastic is it that you were able to enjoy it fully because you have been taking such good care of yourself? It's like a giant reward to you, for taking care of you!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 9/12/2011 8:25PM

    Thanks for sharing. What a wonderful experience and memories that will last you a lifetime. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your photos.

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MOCOHOLO 9/12/2011 8:13PM

    I'm so glad you had such a great experience and can't wait to check out your pics!

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JEREMY723 9/12/2011 8:10PM

    What memories to last a lifetime!

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FTHOODBABY 9/12/2011 8:08PM

    Awesome! Sounds like a great trip.

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Cloud Nine

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A couple of weeks ago, Nikhil invited me on a boat cruise of the Chicago harbour. His friend's wife was planning a party for his friend who just defended his PhD thesis and a bunch of his close friends were getting together to celebrate his graduation. Honoured just to be invited, of course I said yes - and immediately hit up Kohl's for a new dress.

It was a pretty big deal. I was going to be meeting all of his nearest and dearest friends in a single night and a) he felt comfortable enough to ask me to join him, and b) he doesn't take introductions of girls to those closest to him lightly. I was super excited, and only a little bit nervous about the whole affair.

The plan was that his best friend and his friend's roommate were going to drive up from Iowa and hang out with us at Nikhil's apartment for the day before having dinner and heading to the cruise. We started the day on Saturday like we normally do - me going to Zumba and him to soccer with the promise to meet up later in the afternoon. While he went home to shower and meet the guys, I baked a couple of batches of cookies to take with me (I'm no dummy - I know how to win over a male audience) and packed my bags for the weekend.

Saturday was HOT and lugging around a bunch of stuff on the CTA trains and buses in the middle of the afternoon had me sweating in no time - so much for looking awesome upon arrival - and I arrived fashionably late as usual. When I got there I met his friends and the jokes started flowing immediately, which to me meant that things were already going pretty well. They dove in to the cookies and praised my culinary prowess between mouthfuls - score! - while I had a bit of lunch that Nikhil had made for us. We waited for one more guy to show up and join our party before heading out to a local bar to have a couple of drinks and get the party started.

Nikhil told the guys to go on ahead and save us a table while we hung back for a bit. He had forgotten his wallet in his car and had to go get it, but really I think he just wanted some alone time with us since we ended up walking slowly together, hand in hand to the bar - giving the guys ahead ample space.

After some fun bar conversation and a couple of beers, we headed home again. The guys went to score some hookah at a hookah bar, but again, Nikhil stayed back with me and we napped on the couch to refresh ourselves for the evening. When the guys returned, we all decided that it was time to get ready, so I retired with my dress and make-up to his roommate's bathroom and left them to it. I had a shower, did my hair and make-up, and put on my new purple maxi-halter dress and a pair of borrowed earrings that matched perfectly. I felt like a million bucks. A couple of sprays of perfume and a deep breath and I emerged from the bedroom to all four guys sitting on the couch awaiting my arrival. And I couldn't have asked for a better response:

"DAMN!"

Nikhil was all smiles. And the rest of the guys were all nodding in approval. I quickly went to put my bag back in his room and then returned to the couch to snuggle up next to him. He leaned over and kissed my cheek and whispered "so pretty" in my ear. Now I'm grinning too for sure.

Time to go, and he escorted me out the door with the rest of the entourage as we headed for Navy Pier (with a stop at D4 first to meet the group).

Well - the night was fantastic. I met the rest of "the family" as they called themselves - his friends and their wives/girlfriends. They are all such wonderful people and I felt instantly comfortable and like one of the crew. We boarded the boat and enjoyed the most beautiful, breezy evening right up on the open bow overlooking the Chicago skyline with a lightning show in the distance. We kissed and held each other as the waves lapped the side of the boat, and we danced and celebrated with his buddies on the dance floor. The only bad thing about the night was the food at the buffet - ew gross - but everything else was pretty darned perfect.

Not wanting the night to end, we all headed to another bar to keep going until the wee hours once the boat docked at the Pier. More drinks, more dancing, more fun with my man and the people who matter most in his life.





I lost count of my drinks. I ate too much crappy food. I definitely didn't get enough sleep. But I was on Cloud Nine and that's all that mattered to me. After many good-byes and see-you-soons, we piled in a cab and headed home. The sun was coming up as we bid each other goodnight and passed out in/on the various rooms and surfaces of the apartment. I enjoyed another hot shower while listening to the drone of four drunk guys sawing logs. Hilarious.

Sunday we stayed in bed. I had planned on a 6.5 mile run which we started out the day with every intention of doing. But as the hours ticked by, it became pretty apparent that it wasn't going to happen. We did surface and go out into the world twice - once for brunch around 2pm and again to get ingredients for dinner around 10pm. The rest of the day was spent cuddling, napping, and enjoying each others' company in the best of all possible ways :). There is no doubt in my mind that I am falling hard for this guy. He makes it hard for me not to. We are so very compatible in so many ways - not to mention he spoils me rotten and treats me like an absolute princess. A girl can get used to these things! Sunday night ended with a shared bottle of wine, delicious chicken curry that we made together, and a romantic night on his balcony overlooking the city. Neither one of us wanted the night to end.

Monday morning came too early. I needed to make an early a.m. appointment to get the rest of my shots for Africa, so I rushed out of the house before he was out of the shower. Thankfully, I had business to attend to downtown for the morning, so I called him up for a lunch date. I sprung him from work around 1pm and we walked over to Greek town and shared some Spanikopita and Greek salad. We walked to a nearby park and shared a quick cuddle before returning to our respective places of employment for the afternoon. Sigh. I could do that every day and never get bored of it. I swear.

The fun definitely ended this morning when I stepped on the scale. My big loss from last week was swallowed up in a sea of alcohol and bad eating - but as it did after the long weekend binge of a few weeks back, this weight too shall leave, and soon I'd imagine. I skipped my morning run today in favour of getting caught up on more of my sleep, and then immediately regretted it when I stepped outside and realized that it was an insanely beautiful day weather-wise. My sleepy-time rational of 'I'll just ride my bike to work today' was also squandered by the remembrance of a post-work meeting tonight on the far north side. Too far to ride my bike to. Bummer.

Fast forward to the end of today though and my meeting is canceled. Hmmm. Maybe I can get that run in after all. I work a little late to get caught up on some stuff on my desk and head out into the late evening air. It's BEAUTIFUL and cool and breezy. Yes. I'm running tonight. I grab a latte for the bus ride home since dinner will have to wait. Get home, get my gear on quickly, and bust out the door - raring to go. And go I did. I ran, and ran, and ran. And smiled. And sang along to my music. My heart is happy and my legs know it. I could have kept going all night. I ran for 90 minutes straight. My goal was 6.5 miles to make up for Sunday. I finally called it quits at 7. Seven miles. Cloud Nine. I've never run that far. And I feel amazing.

So what if I gained a few water-weight pounds over the weekend? I just ran seven miles. I have the most wonderful boyfriend in the world. And my heart is so happy it could burst. I'm a lucky girl and I know it. I'm making things happen for myself right now and all of my hard work is paying off in spades. When times get tough, at least I have this blog to come back and read.

Cloud Nine. And loving every minute of it.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALOFA0509 8/25/2011 7:02PM

   
You Rock sista!!!!!!

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FREETHEGODDESS 8/21/2011 6:20PM

    Sounds like a romance novel! I am happy for you! Life is to be enjoyed and Love is to be shared! You are doing both. Glad to see you haven't forgotten to take care of your body. It's okay to "party" once in a while as long as you get right back on track. You have the right attitude! Best wishes to you and thanks for sharing so much about your life...enjoyed reading it!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 8/17/2011 11:03AM

    Girl, I ate this blog up like popcorn at a movie. I LOOOOOOOOVE that you are so happy and smitten with a man who is treating you like the queen you are.

This blog is brimming with sexy as well.

I love that last picture with you glowing and beaming. Absolutely stunning!

You go girl! So romantical :)

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KAKAKALI4 8/9/2011 12:16PM

    You are amazing! Way to understand and not worry about the change in the weight from a weekend off the grid! And holy cow .. I wish I could run at all .. i am working on it but you are an inspiration!
Teri

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STEFFIROCKSIT 8/9/2011 6:59AM

    Aaaaawww, just the way he looks into your eyes on that photo makes me want to cry. Soooooo beautiful! I am so happy for you!
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PELESJEWEL 8/6/2011 7:47PM

    You look absolutely fantastic!

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AMBER281 8/4/2011 5:53PM

    Sounds like a wonderful weekend and you looked amazing!

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LOTUSFLOWER 8/4/2011 5:31PM

    JENN LOVE THAT YOU POSTED THE PICTURES!!!! Gor-Geous!!!!

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REDDIRTRUNNER 8/4/2011 11:20AM

    AAAAHHHHHHHHHHH.........
What a wonderful Blog! Sounds like a super amazing guy!!!
The run sounded just as good emoticon

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MILLIE5522 8/4/2011 10:53AM

    The look of love!

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GRUBBMEISTER 8/3/2011 4:40PM

  Just wanted to ask you like Chicagohealthy.....were your feet touching the ground while you ran....hehe

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LUEYGIRL 8/3/2011 12:32PM

    Awesome. I love the early part of a relationship and getting to know one another.

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AMELIASEWS 8/3/2011 10:43AM

    Lucky girl! sounds like a wonderful weekend!

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MILLIE5522 8/1/2011 12:07PM

    Wonderful blog....I felt as tho I was there too!! emoticon

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CARAFAE37 7/30/2011 10:34AM

    This blog makes me smile emoticon

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WYND10 7/29/2011 6:21PM

    I am so VERY VERY VERY happy for you!!! Like...over the moon happy for you :). Congratulations!!!


Weddi
ng plans/details will be forth coming, for now I've focused on finding work before I go completely crazy.

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ROXELLS_WARRIOR 7/28/2011 4:02PM

    The best part of this blog is the "so what" conclusion at the end. I don't think you're falling in love, though - I think you've already fallen! Enjoy.

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MOMASAURUS 7/28/2011 12:53PM

    Amazing weekend, and 7 miles!!! AWESOME!!
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FTHOODBABY 7/27/2011 7:45PM

    emoticon

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NANASAMM 7/27/2011 7:28PM

    Oh my! Sounds like an absolutely perfect weekend. I can actually see you running those seven miles WITHOUT your feet ever touching the ground. So happy for you! emoticon

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CHICAGOHEALTHY 7/27/2011 5:11PM

    What a beautiful blog! Your happiness exudes off of the page. I overwhelmed with joy for your happiness! You certainly have been blessed with a lot right now. Your love story is better than any script Hollywood could write.

A big emoticon on your 7 miles. You are going to fly through the 10K in a week and a half!

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LMLOPEZ 7/27/2011 3:40PM

    YESSSSS!!!!!! Sounds like a wonderful time-tracking, schmacking. Your cloud 9 seems like a wonderful place to hang for a while-plus you ran 7 so that's perfect!!!
WOO HOO!!!

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HOLLIEWALLY 7/27/2011 2:54PM

    Great, great blog!

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MERETHOMP 7/27/2011 2:36PM

    So happy for all your happy! 7 miles is beyond awesome. Congrats!

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JENNIFER_67 7/27/2011 1:59PM

    emoticon Sounds like you had a great weekend.

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FINDING_MELI 7/27/2011 1:16PM

    Yay!

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SARAHSSUNSHINE 7/27/2011 1:00PM

    SO happy for you. You have no idea how much I'm grinning after reading this. You deserve this!

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KRAWRS 7/27/2011 12:58PM

    I am SO happy for you! You know I love reading your love story blogs. :D I dance in my set for you! Excitation! :D I agree though, where is the picture of you in this amazing purple dress? And random btw, I absolutely LOVE spanokopita. I used to get it from time to time at Miller's Pub in the loop. Glad everything, and I do mean everything, is going so beautifully for you!

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CHICAT63 7/27/2011 12:29PM

    No pictures of this freaking fantastic purple dress??? So happy you had a fabulous weekend, meeting the "friends/family" can be at times stressful but you shone through !!! What water weigh??? It will be gone soon enough.... emoticon

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MINERVASPARKING 7/27/2011 12:18PM

    soooo happy for you! :D

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RONOSOF 7/27/2011 12:10PM

    Cloud Nine is a wonderful place to be! I can feel your happiness in your words.

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SSORENSEN1 7/27/2011 11:58AM

    Wonderful! emoticon

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CABUSBEY 7/27/2011 11:42AM

    Such a happy blog! Love it!

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_AIYANNA_ 7/27/2011 11:26AM

    Reading this put a big smile on my face :) Sounds like you had a fabulous weekend! Here's to many more to come :)

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YOOVIE 7/27/2011 11:19AM

    AWESOME.

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HUGS2013 7/27/2011 11:12AM

    Woo-Hoo! Life on "Cloud #9" can be pretty sweet. Way to rock the new healthy lifestyle...all things in moderation! You go Girl! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JENNSWIMS 7/27/2011 11:02AM

    Fantastic! It sounds like you are really making this lifestyle thing a lifestyle. Making it work for you. :)

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KKINNEA 7/27/2011 10:31AM

    Wonderful, sounds like a great weekend and continuance of your excellent goals!

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SNOOKUMS19 7/27/2011 10:30AM

    How lovely. Love is so grand and you deserve every sweet second of it. Enjoy. You are inspiration. Love life and all its glory.

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MAMADWARF 7/27/2011 10:15AM

    Wow! Look who's living her life! Good for you! I have the biggest smile on my face reading that! WHat a great weekend and is there anything better than falling in love? YOu dont have to be the perfect eater or non drinker. You are fully living and you are fitting in fitness and healthy food to make it all work. I am so happy for you. You have come a long way, baby!!!!!

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LOTUSFLOWER 7/27/2011 9:59AM

    What an amazing weekend, Jenn! That sounds like heaven! And your 7 mile run sounds amazing too, it's so gratifying when we push ourselves to our limits, and then surpass that. emoticon

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SLFRISBEY 7/27/2011 9:28AM

    I love this blog! I just can't tell you how happy I am that you and the new man are hitting things off so well! He sounds like a doll! Congrats on the seven mile run too, by the way!

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JENJESS48 7/27/2011 9:22AM

    I'm so happy for you, Jenn!

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JEREMY723 7/27/2011 8:32AM

    So happy for you!

My fam was in Chicago in June and took the Architecture Cruise--most fun and great buildings to look at in C-Town!

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VICKYMARIEC 7/27/2011 8:30AM

    I love it! I love that this man is treating you like a queen - you deserve it!

7 miles?! CRAPOLA!!!! That's amazing!

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SNATCHCARRIE 7/27/2011 8:20AM

    You make me walk around with a big smile on my face. My man makes me feel just the same and every woman deserves to know this feeling. Have a great week!

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-POOKIE- 7/27/2011 7:47AM

    *big smiles*

Im so glad you are happy xx

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EUPHRATES 7/27/2011 6:59AM

    Ah young love. Ain't it grand? :)
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LAURIETAIT 7/27/2011 1:53AM

    I want to see the dress too. Reading this blog just made me feel good. I think I will start living vicariously through you, at least in the love department. As for the temporary weight gain it's definitely not affecting your running!

So happy for you! emoticon

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ANDEEC09 7/27/2011 1:18AM

    emoticon

Loved this!

Any pics of you in your gorgeous dress??

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Oh, Sweet Vices

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Found this blog in Runner's World today:

bigguyblog.runnersworld.com/2011/07/
time-to-ditch-the-diet-drinks.html?cm_
mmc=NL-Nutrition-_-645022-_-07212011-_
-My%20One%20True%20Vice%3f%20Diet%20Coke


Preachin' to the choir, Brother. I hear ya! I love me some Diet Coke. But study or no study - I can tell you from personal experience that everything they are "thinking" is true about diet cola consumption for me is the absolute truth. When I drink Diet Coke (or any other non caloric, fizzy beverage) I DO NOT LOSE WEIGHT. Now, whether that is because the aspartame tricks me into eating more, or contributes somehow to misplaced water levels in my body, I have given it up and added it back in to my diet enough times over my time here on Spark to have conducted my own personal research study. And the findings are still unanimously in favour of leaving it the heck out of my life. Sad tale, I know.

My rules with DC have always been the same. I'm not allowed to consume it until after I have consumed all my water for the day. And it's only for special occasions. But "special occasions" have a way of finding themselves into every day life so quickly, that it's better if I don't even start to begin with.

I have often prided myself on not being a coffee drinker either - tea and water only. But lately, the siren song of Starbucks has been winning out more often than not and aspartame has a bad habit of sneaking in there along with it. I'm quite happy for the new brands of all natural sweeteners (Stevia, for example), but really - aren't they just providing the same function and thereby the same side effects? I'm not sure. I haven't done enough personal research to find out - but frankly, I'm not sure I want to since I know sticking to my tried and tested, albeit boring at times, tea & water routine yields the best results on the scale.

An occasional diet beverage is, in my opinion, a necessity and a part of life. They are wonderful at parties and places where you would rather indulge in that particular vice over say, a beer or wine vice. And just as much of a treat if you make them so. But I have finally wised up to the fact that daily consumption for me is just not an option. I really can get away with eating fewer calories a day when I don't drink Diet Coke. So strange, but so true. Though non-caloric in and of itself, it functions for me like any other gateway food and leads to almost dependent overeating and cravings for other sugary treats.

So, with this blog, I bid adieu to my long list of fizzy friends. Parting is such sweet sorrow:

Diet Coke
Coke Zero
Caffeine Free Diet Coke
Diet Coke Plus
Diet Cherry Coke
Diet Black Cherry Vanilla Coke
Diet Dr. Pepper
Diet Canada Dry Gingerale
Fresca (and your multitude of delicious new flavours)
Diet Sprite
Crystal Light (I will always love you)

I think I might invest in a water infuser. I hear it does nifty things with lemons...



Photo Credit - www.infobarrel.com

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMADWARF 7/25/2011 10:20AM

    uh yea. I used to drink sooo much. Now, I drink 1 in the morning then water the rest of the day. (Unless I am visiting with the Captain!)

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BELIEVER104 7/24/2011 10:40PM

    Way to go! Getting rid of fake sugar has been really hard for me-- but so far, totally worth it!

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JENNIFER_67 7/24/2011 8:31PM

    I find the same thing. I'm completely avoiding any artificially sweetened beverages.

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WOLFKITTY 7/24/2011 8:05PM

    HEeheeehee!
Good for you!!

Jocelyn

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/24/2011 4:39PM

    Yup.

"Crystal Light (I will always love you)"...

Yup again.

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MINERVASPARKING 7/22/2011 4:12PM

    I read this with a renegade Diet Dr. Pepper on my desk. I gave up sodas a month or two back. I can see how well that turned out for me as I read your post...feeling even MORE guilty about my contraband! Friday is now a "Special Occasion" for me. haha!
Thank you for the reality check, clearly I needed it!I I do love me some DP. Gotta go get rid of it now!
THANK YOU!!!
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JENJESS48 7/22/2011 12:09PM

    I also find that diet sodas mess with my weight loss. Like you, I still miss them but realize that I'm better off without them.

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FTHOODBABY 7/22/2011 5:39AM

    emoticon

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LAURIETAIT 7/22/2011 2:10AM

    I have substituted diet coke with iced tea but i am still dependent on Crystal light. The water infuser sounds like a great idea.

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JANIEWWJD 7/22/2011 1:57AM

    Good Girl, I have done the same thing. We CAN do it!!!!
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ANDEEC09 7/22/2011 12:57AM

    I am right there with you. Plus, I just feel so much better if I stick to water or juice. I do allow myself 2-3 sodas per week on average, mostly on Friday nights, as that is when my boyfriend and I hang out with a group of friends until very late. But other than that, I stick to water. Great post!

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JENNSWIMS 7/21/2011 9:42PM

    That was a great article, thanks for sharing.

I love my infuser. Don't get the one from Crate and Barrel, it is sucktacular... the one from Pampered Chef is awesome.



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POLISHLOVER 7/21/2011 9:28PM

    I have a soda stream that I love! Sparkling water anytime!!

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SNOOKUMS19 7/21/2011 7:57PM

    You are a stronger woman than me... I've tried and tried again but alas I am a slave to the fizzy stuff. I have cut back alot but you are my guru on this. I bow to you :)

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ELOMBARDI- 7/21/2011 4:51PM

    I am most definitely a DC addict. I work beside a McDonalds, and they have those "summer days" drinks, which basically means you can get any sized drink for $1+ tax, and lemme tell you. I've been getting at least 2 large coke zeros a day.

However, reading that blog and your blog.. I guess I'm inspired to kick my pop habit! Thanks for the (most likely unintended) kick in the butt! I knew DC was bad, but like the blog in Runner's world said, I closed my ears and opened my mouth!

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JEREMY723 7/21/2011 3:32PM

    I have many faults but thankfully pop isn't one of them. I gave it up in middle school and never went back. I'm boring though, water's good enough for me.....if I could only slow down on ice cream...... Best of luck to you!

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MERETHOMP 7/21/2011 2:58PM

    I always forget Fresca is a diet soda (It tastes so undiety!), but I'm with you, I've had to boot these and full-calorie sodas out as well. Now my "treat" drink is carbonated water. I don't count it as part of my 8 glasses (it doesn't hydrate as well, in my completely made-up, unscientific opinion), but it does feed the bubble fix without the chemicals!

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LMLOPEZ 7/21/2011 1:21PM

    Have to agree with you Jen. When I drink my diet Pepsi (with or without the rum) I do tend to take in more calories that I normally would. I'll have to stick to my home brewed coffee, no sugar, with skim milk so I get the calcium in. And cut down on the rum. :) The water infuser sounds lovely...

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SLFRISBEY 7/21/2011 1:15PM

    I hear you on that! Today I drank half of my DC and then decided I didn't need it. But when I am not thinking and need to purchase some sort of drink, it's what I reach for! Stupid delicious diet drinks... I need to let them go too!

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MICHSTATE 7/21/2011 12:58PM

    Have you tried La Croix sparkling water??? It has no calories and no artificial sweeteners. It is what I drink now instead of pop.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 7/21/2011 12:26PM

    Bravo! Soda, diet or otherwise, an evil invention if you ask me. I'm again 30+ days without it. I just need to figure out how to enjoy that rare but oh so delicious Appleton Rum and Coke without the coke. I like your idea of a water infuser ...



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And Then That Happened...

Friday, July 15, 2011

To all of my new Sparkfriends (and to those of you who have been with me since the start) - I am not perfect. I know sometimes I write things that might make you think I have this whole thing figured out, like there's no stopping me, and like I might have knowledge of that special something that you don't, but last night was a perfect example of me, struggling, right alongside everyone else here.

After I wrote my blog last night, I did go home and enjoy a lovely evening on my own. I did everything I said I was going to - read my book, watched tv, gave my toes a pedicure and went to bed early. Well - almost everything. That nice dinner that I was going to make? I settled for a big caesar salad instead because I could make it fast and I was hungry. But wait? Was I hungry yet? No, not really. But that didn't stop me from eating almost an entire container of corn nuts that were sitting on my counter while I was prepping the salad. Nor did it stop me from eating TWO ice cream cups after my salad. It also didn't stop me from going back to the fridge/cupboard all night long, consuming countless numbers of calories on fresh salsa and chips, chocolate cheerios, and marshmallows. Yep - I had a full on, bust out, BINGE last night. Something I haven't done in a while, but still that all-to-familiar feeling of being totally in, yet totally out of control.

I went in to last night with some really good intentions. But perhaps those intentions came just a little too late. I knew I needed some me time - but because I held off on getting that me time until I literally CRAVED it, my binge mentality came back to bite me on the very night that I was finally doing something for myself. Maybe I just haven't separated the "doing something for myself" actions from the binge actions - since technically they are fulfilling the same need. There are also some physiological reasons for it - TOM is due today, and he always brings with him a torrent of bad behaviour.

Anyway - it happened. Whoops.

I carried on with my night, had a really great sleep and woke up this morning with a plan. I just came back from an AMAZING 5.5 mile run (probably amazing because I was WELL fueled, but there you have it). I've had my Peanut Butter & Chocolate Shake for breakfast. Dinner is in the crockpot. Lunch is packed. Today is going to be a GOOD day.

But today is also another Sparkversary for me. I took my measurements this morning and stood on the scale. Though there has been a slight change this month, it's not what I had hoped for. In the 4 months since my One Year Sparkversary I have lost 15 pounds. But thinking back to a year ago, I was down over 30 by this point. Am I disappointed? Maybe a little. But I'm still down. I still weight less now than I did 4 months ago. And really - I honestly can't expect to lose the second hundred as fast as the first hundred came off. So I'm choosing to look at it this way:

115 pounds ago (at 313 pounds) I was not living. I needed to lose 100 pounds just to get my life back. Now at 198 pounds, I have found my life. But REALLY living my life is going to mean slower weight loss. There is just so much going on to live for right now and it doesn't all revolve around losing weight 24/7. The first hundred pounds was about getting to where I am now. The second hundred pounds is going to be about setting myself up for the long haul. And knowing that when I get to my goal it isn't just arriving at the edge of a cliff that I then need to jump off to get to the valley of maintenance. I'm taking the long way down. Even if it takes me another 3 years. I will reach that valley.

But I'm struggling right now. Living life fully AND losing weight is hard work. I just have to keep the faith that I am doing this right. And if I just keep doing what I am doing (less the crazy binging) I WILL LOSE THE WEIGHT. Last night was not so much a set-back as a realization of where I am right now, in the present, and what I need to do to keep pushing for my future. So I'm admitting that this is hard for me right now, but that I have what it takes within me to get through this and to find that balance again.

I am not perfect. But I am DAMNED determined. And maybe THAT'S the secret after all.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SROBERTS82 8/17/2011 11:37AM

    I don't know about you, but if I get in one of those 'binge-y' moods, it always means TOM is around the corner. All you can do is try to have the self awareness to see what's happening when you're in the middle of it and redirect it to better choices. It's something we have to deal with once a month for many years to come, unfortunately.

I can't wait to be where you are. It's a journey, not a destination.

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TEENY_BIKINI 8/17/2011 11:05AM

    "The first hundred pounds was about getting to where I am now. The second hundred pounds is going to be about setting myself up for the long haul."

I LOVE THIS!

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Yes, I do.

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MOMMASCAR 7/27/2011 10:29AM

    I think the biggest sign of progress is the ability to forgive yourself and not let one night of binging derail you!! We all have those moments where we are eating to eat....not because we are hungry per se, and a lot of the times not even because it tastes especially good. Just because we feel like eating. I used to do that, then I would feel like crap and I would get all down on myself and even think of making myself throw up (never could do that though, thankfully). But the fact that you can move on without too much regret, recognizing a slip as a minor bump in the journey you are on, shows how much you have learned and how far you have come. Congrats! As always, I love your insight. Keep up the good work!
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K_CHRISTER 7/21/2011 12:20PM

    No one is perfect. We all make bad decisions from time to time. The trick is to see them and prevent it from happening again. During the weeks on SP I noticed a bad behaviour I have. I graze, I don't eat because I am hungry I eat because I need to fill my time. So I recognize the going back and forth to the cupboard /fridge not to fill my stomach or crave the hunger, but to have something to do. I has been easier as I am often working from home, but I am aware of it and I work on it.
Confucius says: Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. I think that fits rather well, to not allow to be kept down is our greatest strength.

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JENJESS48 7/20/2011 5:01PM

    Yup, determination will carry you through when nothing else does. Setbacks and bad behavior happen to all of us; you just have to do exactly what you did: start over fresh the next day and get right back to it.

I know what you mean about the second half of the weight coming off slower than the first half. I did not lose the first 30 pounds quickly, but now I am losing at a painfully slow pace. Ugh. But... But I'm losing inches and gaining both strength and stamina, so I'm accepting the plateau. Sometimes you have to adjust how you measure progress. I'd lose my mind if the scale were the only thing that's important to me. You're doing a great job with that!

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SNOOKUMS19 7/20/2011 4:06PM

    Thats what Sparkpeeps are for! We have your back and just log on and we are here for you! You are awesome! You are making life long healthy changes. Life is full of side steps. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming....we love Finding Nemo over here :).

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FTHOODBABY 7/17/2011 8:06AM

    You are doing great. All of us have moments where we slip and binge. Keep up the good work.

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JANIEWWJD 7/17/2011 3:03AM

    Keep that DETERMINATION and you will be a SUCCESS, my friend. Good Luck!!!
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ANGELOO29 7/16/2011 11:20PM

    Love this because it is all too true!!

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CATS_MEOW_0911 7/16/2011 9:09PM

    I really think they need a "LOVE IT" button on the blogs--but I clicked "I Liked This Blog" hardcore.

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-POOKIE- 7/16/2011 2:16PM

    OH yes, being determined and committed to, as Ive said before.... not killing yourself slowly with food.... its more important than attaining perfection, which is impossible.

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RAD062010 7/16/2011 12:53PM

    Weebles wobble and we all fall down.

The thing that separates the sparkers from the non-sparkers, is that motivation, that drive, that spark to get right back up again.

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Comment edited on: 7/16/2011 12:53:44 PM

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JENNSWIMS 7/15/2011 11:15PM

    I love this! I'm not perfect but I am determined... that should be in Nike ads.

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KRISKECK 7/15/2011 11:07PM

    You are very intuitive and determined. And even more important, you have a great attitude. With these tools you will get where you want to go, I am sure of it!

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COMPUCATHY 7/15/2011 9:26PM

    Determination will take you a LONG way! It's probably the best characteristic you could bring to the weight loss table. You will win the battle of the remaining weight and end up in the valley of maintenance. And the journey will teach you lessons that will make living in the valley a reality. Thank you for all your encouragement! I hope you have a TERRIFIC weekend! Enjoy! Celebrate your blessings! Spark on! emoticon

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HEREWEGO! 7/15/2011 6:48PM

    Well just to let you know, I am a official fan of yours now!!! I hadn't been on spark for a long time, and have hit my heaviest, which is a all time low. Your 1st blog I read is your 100+ benefits of losing the weight, thanks again for sharing! I dream of onederland.......

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CREATING_SARAH 7/15/2011 6:23PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LAURIETAIT 7/15/2011 6:17PM

    You've been going pretty hard for a long time. You were bound to hit the wall sometime. The big difference is that you are determined and you will pick yourself up, learn from it and carry on. Losing weight would be easy if life didn't keep interfering! I'm suffering through some slow times right now too. I'm just grateful that I'm managing to maintain my losses so far. I need to re-evaluate and adjust my attack on fat. Thanks for sharing. It's so nice to know we are not alone in our struggles. Have a great weekend.

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CHICAT63 7/15/2011 3:40PM

    TOM is a wicked time of the month, makes us do terrible things *lol* but we're women ! You are not alone, because TOM is looking also all week I have felt insatisfied, tired and well, cranky. Craving chocolate, salt, crunchy, name it I want it.

For losing weight, you are down and that is what counts. Just keep it up and you will get to your goal. Look at what you have accomplished !!!!

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KKINNEA 7/15/2011 2:32PM

    The important thing is that you picked up and came back right away - great job!!

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AUNTIELES53 7/15/2011 12:33PM

    great job on the 100 pounds girlie that is amazing :) you know what it takes you have already lost a HUGE amount and your right no one is perfect :) keep you head up emoticon

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LADYJ6942 7/15/2011 12:22PM

    Congrats on 100+ lost. Losing the second part is never easy however to maintain and do more can be just as satisfying.

I lost 60 pounds 6 years ago and have maintained it since. The scale does not go down often, however through eating right, strength training, cardio and positive self image and more I am still losing inches. There are so many ways to measure success.

I dont mind the scale staying put because I am not going up, havent increased my weight but buy buidling the muscle I have and do I am slowing down my muscle lose and building stronger bones and with resent health discoveries regarding my family these are both important. Not just because I am a woman but heredity. There are things my mom, God love her has gone through that I dont desire too so I keep pushing it.

keep up the good work!

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TEAM-SARAH 7/15/2011 12:22PM

    Losing weight does take an incredible amount of dedication!! It's hard to have so much going on and be able to dedicate time to losing it very quickly. You are moving in the right direction and you are healthy and enjoying life... that's WAAAAY better. It's good that you owned up to last night and were able to reflect about WHY you did that. You still have that leftover tendency to binge to be able to relax and enjoy yourself for an evening (me too!) that's a tough one to shake. But you got right back up and at it today and you should be proud. It's about progress, not perfection :)

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IMPRECIOUS1 7/15/2011 12:20PM

    Be kind and gentle with yourself. It is not about perfection but rather awareness. Two steps forward, one step back. It will get easier and easier and the binging will become something of the past. good job picking yourself up and dusting yourself off! The work you are doing is amazing.

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VICKYMARIEC 7/15/2011 12:18PM

    You are 100% a determined chick! Keep up your walking/running/strength training andENJOY life at thesame time. It's that balancing act thats hard to figure out. Good luck and thank you for being so open!

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LOTUSFLOWER 7/15/2011 12:07PM

    Jenn!!! emoticon emoticon You are human after all! Seriously, sometimes binges happen. Especially around TOM. TOm does crazy things to a girl, I know. Jenn, do you know how amazing you are? Really? Truly? You are. You are so honest with all of us, you show us EXACTLY what it is like to walk this journey (well, run it in your case) and as you are working through whatever situation you might be going through, you are helping us work through our stuff, too. I am so proud of you for starting today anew, with an amazing run, and a stash of good food. Lots of people might let last night get them down today. Not you. Lots of people would have slept in instead of going for that run. Not you. I KNOW that you will reach your goals and then some. You are a treasure, and you've lost over 100 lbs, the weight isn't going to come off as quickly. Tread gently. The finish line is right around the corner.

"Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough. " ~
Og Mandino

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SANDIMD 7/15/2011 12:02PM

  things like that happen and it's ok, see what kind of insight it gave you! Keep up the AMAZING work!!

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Practicing What I Preach: No Hypocrites Here

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Back in May I wrote a Spark Guest Blog about being selfish - or rather - self centered. I talked about the importance of fulfilling yourself first before others and taking ample time for your own goals and aspirations.

If you want to read the blog, it's here: www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?post=exe
rcising_not_exorcising_the_inner_diva


But let me tell ya, A LOT has changed in my life since I wrote that article. Namely, I'm no longer the "Single Lady" that I state I am at the end of that blog, and thus, being selfish isn't so easy anymore. I'm figuring out exactly how it feels to have someone else to worry about and satisfy in addition to myself, and it's taken a bit of adjustment on my behalf to re-arrange (and not give up) my single ways.

Over the past couple of weeks work has been intense. We're supposed to be in our slow season right now, but for whatever reason, the world hasn't gotten that memo, so it's been as busy as ever. Not something I can really complain about because it's good to be busy, especially in this economy - but dang it, if I wasn't looking for a bit of a break! My secondary jobs have also picked up - my burlesque show is going really well, packing big houses in every week which is fantastic and I am so pleased about, and my work with my other theatre company in town has also increased with our annual benefit coming up this weekend and casting for the second show in our next season happening next week. Every other spare second has been spent with Nikhil, discovering our common ground and loving every second of it.

So life is great right? Well, it is - except that I feel oddly out of balance. I was able to drop all the holiday weight gain fairly quickly, but now the scale is stuck again, which I always take to mean that I'm overcoming some sort of mental hump - and here it is: I'm HANKERING for some ME time! ALONE!

I'm behind on my reading, my blogging, behind on my house work, on my trashy television and cooking new recipes, behind on my "personal maintenance" - my toes look like a piranha got at my last pedicure, and I'm pretty sure my cats think that the hairless ape who feeds them doesn't live in their house anymore. I miss my singledom!

So I called a day of radio silence. I messaged Nikhil early this morning and said I needed a day to myself and that I would talk to him tomorrow. And let me tell you - it took everything in my being to do that. See - I am quite a fan of our little love notes back and forth over gmail chat all day long. I'm also a big fan of talking to him at night before I go to bed. And given the choice, I would probably choose being attached to his hip 24/7 right about now. Yeah - I'm a big fan of his in general.

But guess what? I'm also a big fan of me. And me needs some attention right now. Cause what happens when I negate my needs? I eat. Plain and simple. And my calorie counter for the past couple of weeks is indicating that I am doing JUST that. Only by a couple hundred extra calories a day. But that counts. And the scale shows it.

So today I am taking time for myself. Without the constant messaging all day long, I have been able to knock EVERYTHING off my work "To Do" list that has been stressing me out all week. And now I'm writing a blog - something I haven't had time for since last week. Tonight I'm cuing up some trashy television, a good book, and my home pedicure kit - cause seriously, something has GOT to be done about these feet! I'm going to cook myself a lovely dinner with leftovers for tomorrow's lunch and cuddle with my cats - who will still look at me like the hairless alien ape that I am. But that's ok cause I still love them. And then I'm going to go to bed early, get a good, full night's sleep and wake up early tomorrow and go for a good, long run.

Am I thinking about Nikhil? - umm, yes. A lot. I've been so tempted to message him ALL DAY LONG, but I'm not doing it. Cause today is about me. And furthermore, I will resist the urge to recap every single thing that I did/do today to him the next time I do talk to him. Because I am a person that needs to have things that are just mine. And it's kind of fun to know that I have my own life, and he has his own life, and neither one of us really knows what the other person is doing right now. I can do whatever I want today and it's ALL MINE and no one else has to know. That's freedom. And such a great feeling. And with the weight of my work stress off my shoulders for another day, I know that I am really going to enjoy it that much more.

I know it sounds crazy, but it has taken me a long time to develop this mode of thinking that I can put down my relationship for a day and not be worried that he might leave me because of it. I am allowed to have my own life. In fact, I am expected to. I am a more interesting and better person in our relationship because of it. But I have never felt that before. I have always believed that I needed to give over 100% of myself to the other person to make it work, and that any problems in the relationship were caused by my need to assert myself. So I avoided self-assertion. Big mistake. By handing over my whole soul and being to another person I was doing nothing but making myself more upset and bigger since I would eat to solve my self-assertion issues, and that only served to cause bigger problems and rifts in the relationship. Not a very healthy way to live. Honestly - it's so much easier, not to mention more relaxing, to just go give yourself a pedicure once in a while! Besides which, I wouldn't ever want him to feel like he can't take his own time to himself too when he needs it. In fact - I hope he wants it often, cause then I get more time to catch up on that aforementioned tv!

I feel lighter already.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THELINABEE 8/17/2011 12:13PM

    Kudos for taking you time no matter the cost! I LOVE that you can spend a whole day thinking about someone, and knowing that what you are doing for you is important enough to miss someone for a day. Also, congratulations on your new, exciting relationship!!! I love that happy tone in your writing :)

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TEENY_BIKINI 8/17/2011 11:09AM

    You are just so fabulous. I love reading about how you are finding balance - and dare I say - love :) It's a dance of balance that we all do - if we are being honest.

Thank you for being honest and for being you.

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CHICAGOHEALTHY 7/26/2011 12:01AM

    emoticon on taking a day for you! A day to celebrate you in what you want/need to get done. You are worth celebrating and this makes you a better person in being with others.

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ISIS10884 7/18/2011 8:56PM

    Something I need to start learning... but it's harder when you're married and in a whole new place. Congrats on your Me time! I plan to have my own within the next month. Thank you for your post!

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NANASAMM 7/16/2011 12:46AM

    We need balance in our lives and taking time just for you is going to make for a much happier, relaxed you.
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MILLIE5522 7/16/2011 12:10AM

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JENNSWIMS 7/15/2011 11:13PM

    I love that you are putting yourself first, that's the kind of thinking that will allow you to get to your goal, and have a life, and have balance and all that great stuff!

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KRAWRS 7/15/2011 1:22PM

    I definitely need to take some cues from you. I don't have any me time anymore, and its hard for me to ask for it. At the same time, I know its essential for my well being! I read today's blog too, and I'm proud of you for being so determined, despite a little slip up! But that's the thing... its just one day of many, so its great that you acknowledged it, embraced the good things about the day, learned from the bad things about the day, and are moving on. YOU GO GIRL!

In other news, I believe you are a fellow Chicagoan, yes? I'd love to support your theater and/or burlesque show, if you'd just give me the info! Of course, you may not want to as you are so busy already lol! ;D Do you perform in them, or manage, or etc?

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TEAM-SARAH 7/15/2011 11:59AM

    I'm proud of you for taking YOU time. It's soooo necessary. I am a person who bigtime needs that too. If I can't just hole up and do whatever the heck I want I start to get reaaaal anxious about that!

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CHICAT63 7/15/2011 8:42AM

    Good for you for taking ME time, I find it's important in relationships. I do not find this selfish, as being happy with yourself will bring harmony to your couple. And not only that you will have missed each other more *wink*. Have a great weekend, Josée

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FTHOODBABY 7/15/2011 5:20AM

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-POOKIE- 7/15/2011 3:31AM

    *hugs* again, a wonderful thoughtful blog.

We do all need this time, its something Im worried about my boyfriend getting since Im unemplyed and well, always here when he is. I worry he wont get time he needs.

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SARAHSSUNSHINE 7/14/2011 8:53PM

    I SO love this blog. It's great that you're finding that balance early on. It's so healthy for you, and it's something that sooooo many people (including myself) have difficulty with. I'm big on preaching self-comforts and putting yourself first, but it's hard for me to practice what I preach. So this is definitely something I needed to read! Thanks for writing. :) Glad to read a new blog of yours!

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JENNIFER_67 7/14/2011 8:35PM

    Great way to strike some balance in your life. "Me time" is so important.

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MICHSTATE 7/14/2011 7:19PM

    Good 4 U!!!!!:-)

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MIQUEY73 7/14/2011 6:37PM

    Good for you for taking time for yourself!

And thank you so much for this blog. You just helped me realize why I've been so destructive lately!!!

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JONICACALDWELL 7/14/2011 6:29PM

    Take care of you- just like you were- it's probably part of what attracted him to you in the first place!!!

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AMELIASEWS 7/14/2011 6:28PM

    Good for you! I am slowly coming to this realization myself!

Enjoy your time!

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IMPRECIOUS1 7/14/2011 6:24PM

    This brought back such fond memories for me! When I met my now DH, I went through the same thing and set some boundaries for 'me' time twice a week. It was very difficult at first and I felt very selfish, especially because he did not feel the same need for it as I did but over time he adjusted and came to cherish his time as much as I did mine. And the best part is..absence really does make the heart grow fonder! Now that we are married we still each have an evening a week where we do our own thing and we are convinced our marriage is better because of it. Congratulations and keep up the good work! emoticon

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KT-NICHOLS-13 7/14/2011 5:55PM

    Me time. Us time. You time. Them time. Work time. Kitty Time. Family time. So much time to balance. My therapist instilled in me that taking time for self care is key to a balanced life. I cherish my alone time and the Mr does his as well. Good for you for taking yours and enjoying it. Enjoy the books, trashy TV, that wonderful home cooked meal and those little fur balls that miss you dearly.

Stay Fabulous!

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LOTUSFLOWER 7/14/2011 5:50PM

    You are doing yourself such a great service by giving yourself your "me" time...you are so healthy not only physically but mentally and you know what is good for you, for your body, for your relationship. I am very proud of you for stealing that time for yourself, and yes, it is SO hard to do!!! Oh my...I wish I could do it more often. ROLFL about your toesies girl! Now go on, get your nails did. emoticon

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PJH2028 7/14/2011 5:35PM

    You're on to something here, my friend.
Absolutely. Keeping my entitlement to ME time and my love of ME time takes nothing away from my sweetie. In fact, if I don't get it...stuff eventually hits the fan and bites us both in the arse.

Love the You your with!
xop

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CRAZYBRE 7/14/2011 5:32PM

  I have too much time on my hands let's trade for awhile you can read all my books and watch all the TV you want. Great job your an inspiration. yhanks for your "realness."

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