amo.says

my life in my words


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One Big Holiday

As friends of mine are spending the next few days in Disneyland, I find myself in my own little theme park. My theme: SNOW! I know it’s the unpopular opinion, but I do appreciate the beautiful snowfall we just got in Seattle. When I first moved here 4 years ago, so many people assured me that it barely ever snows here and when it does, it’s only half an inch or less.

Yeah.

Right.

Every year since I’ve been here, it’s snowed . . . a LOT!

Since my friends are at Disneyland, but still have a foreign exchange student, Renee, to provide meals for during the week, they asked me to housesit and cook for her. This has proven to be both wonderful and a bust. Wonderful is waking up to a lane covered in snow, snuggling next to a fireplace, sipping on a homemade latte, and playing the Wii.

The bust is trying new recipes and having them not turn out quite as well as you plan them to. I clearly did not inherit my dad’s cooking skills. It hasn’t been too bad, though. The learning process has proven to be one of the funniest things for me. At least the Freschetta pizza I made in the oven last night was a solid hit. Meanwhile, I skipped the pizza feast and chowed down on my leftover black bean burger mash—I call it mash because well, it just doesn’t quite hold the same form as the ones in the pictures.

I’ve also been getting work done for my 9 to 5 job. I loaded up my external hard drive with documents and photos to edit and organize. With all this snow falling beautifully around me, it’s been tough to focus. Yesterday, I caved and took a break so that I could do a snowy photo shoot! Thankfully, Renee was willing to join me out in the winter wonderland so that I could get my photo fix.

Here are some of my favorite pics:

I’m really thankful that it “never snows in Seattle” . . . because it’s given me so many reasons to enjoy life outside of the office environment, work on projects in my pajamas, experiment with food, and just relax. Now that all my 9 to 5 work is done, I think some quality coffee hang time with friends is in order. And away we go!

Shopping Cart Art


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Run The World

Sweat was dripping down my forehead as I looked over at Jolly, both of us on all fours, scooting across the basketball court on hand towels. With a slightly pained look in my face, I asked,

Why is our government spending so much money training soldiers in coercion tactics? We could just take spies, make them do this Boot Camp workout, and they’d be spilling the beans to make it stop in no time. This is obviously a much more effective, quicker, and cheaper option!

I took a second to catch my breath, looked around at the other gym members in class doing the other Boot Camp stations and just told myself, “Don’t quit. Don’t quit. Whatever you do, don’t quit!” I guess my stubbornness does come in handy from time to time. For someone who is naturally lazy in the fitness department and could care less about whether or not I can bench press 100 lbs or win a wrestling match, it takes a lot to motivate me to work out. Thankfully, I am surrounded by amazing people who help me work on my weakness . . . literally.

I’m grateful for the incredible team at my local gym, 24 Hour Fitness (Northgate). They offer a very diverse selection of classes and the instructors are wonderful! You can imagine how incredibly uninspired I am to wake up early on a Saturday to lift weights, do kickboxing, or circuit training. However, knowing that I’ll be greeted with a smile at the front desk and  motivated by the encouragement and challenge from the class instructors has helped me come back time and again to Body Pump, Boot Camp, and Turbo Kick.

Another cool thing I’ve been able to do at 24 Hr. is work with an amazing trainer! My trainer, Josh R., has been able to work with my lack of knowledge/skill and teach me some GREAT workouts that I can do in and out of the gym. Because of his training, fun sense of humor, and patience with my sassiness, I was able to make healthier choices in my nutrition and do some quick, fun workouts when I was home for the holidays. The result of that was not only avoiding the excess holiday pounds, but shedding a couple instead. Getting a gym membership has motivated me to actually get off my butt and out of the house to make healthy change happen in my life. It’s also developed in me a confidence that even when I can’t get out I can still do kick-butt in-house exercises. It is perhaps one of the best investments I’ve ever made in my life.

Another part of my motivation to work out has been my awesome workout buddies. I get to work out with my best friend, Heather J., every Tuesday night before going to Biggest Loser night with our friends. We also work out together every Saturday morning, alternating mainly between Boot Camp and Turbo Kick classes, and every so often the Body Pump or Aqua class. On Mondays, I’m going to be working out with my other friend, Maggie, in Zumba class. Yes, Zumba—that class that reminds me just how un-Latin my hips are. Again, the instructor is fun and it becomes more of a dance party than a workout. My housemate, Afton, also comes to the gym to workout with me from time to time. Other times, I have to find my own methods of motivation to drag my butt there. So I game plan my workout, fill up my water bottle, and crank up the tunes!

Music motivates me a lot during solo workouts. Though I am a punk rock princess at heart, my inner guilty-pleasure pop queen comes out to play when it’s just me and the machines. Here are my top workout tunes that help me sweat to the not-so-oldies:

Warm Up

I Feel Like Dancin’ by All Time Low
Whirring by The Joy Formidable
Fences by Paramore
Release Me by Jack’s Mannequin

Sweat It Out

Tonight, Tonight by Hot Chelle Rae
Raise Your Glass by Pink
You Make Me Feel by Cobra Starship (Feat. Sabi) 
Run The World (Girls) by Beyonce
Pretty Girl Rock by Keri Hilson
Renegade by Paramore 

Cool Down

We Owned The Night by Lady Antebellum
Young Blood by The Naked and Famous
Heartbeat by The Fray
Patience by Plug In Stereo

Some other things that help me with my nutrition/fitness/health:

Evernote

My trainer got me started on keeping track of a food log at the end of our first session. When he asked me to keep track of it for the first week, I thought, “No prob. I got this. This is silly.” Since I’d never done one before, I went online to find a sample and I did. Keeping a food log is great and I wish I’d done it sooner. Yes, it’s annoying and tedious, but it caused me to be more aware in the moment because I knew I was going to have to write down how much of everything I was eating and turn it in to someone else. Still I did it and I ended up doing fairly well. When I came back from vacation to check in with him, I realized I had a minor problem—I accidentally left my papers in the literature pocket of my airplane seat. After that, I decided to change my method so that I wouldn’t have to worry about losing papers. I created a notebook in my Evernote just for FITNESS. In it I keep my food logs, my weekly menu/shopping list, and exercise ideas. Since I have the app on my phone, there’s no excuse for me to not write things down in the moment or lose a piece of paper . . . unless I lose my phone, which would be a total nightmare.*

Lose It! App

On this fitness journey, I am a calorie-counter. Now, let me just say that I know there are so many differing views on this approach. Some think it’s silly, some think it’s overwhelming, some think it’s unnecessary. And you know what, maybe it is, but it works for me. And since it works for me, I decided to make it REALLY work for me by using an app to help me out. This handy dandy app allows me to track what/how much I eat and how many calories it equals up to. It’s been a really good way for me to look at the bigger picture of what I’m putting into my body and learning where my weaknesses are when it comes to food. It also provides a website, that it syncs to, where I can keep track/print up reports that I can show to my accountability partner each week so we can see what I need to add/take away from my diet.

Social Networking

When my trainer looked at my food log, he noticed the amount of times a week I eat out and set forth a challenge: Go grocery shopping and make meals at home. My immediate excuse was that I was too busy and my life is just so go-go-go. He said for me to just think about it and try it. I gave him my skeptical sassy look and probably rolled my eyes, and he just dealt with me patiently and said, “Seriously, think about it. This is your chance to decide what you want to put in your body.” His grace, patience, and perseverance in that conversation motivated me to get serious and really think about it. Shortly after, I realized that I actually know next to nothing about nutrition and health, so I shot some rescue flares out on Facebook and asked others for ideas. My friends all rallied with me, commenting their suggestions, emailing me recipes, offering to go shopping with me, and sharing some more nutrition advice with me. I’ve also been able to use the EXERCISE/CLEAN EATING/HEALTHY FOODS tracked tags on Tumblr and my Pinterest for health tips and workout ideas.

I now feel more confident about my weight-loss journey and I’m looking forward to seeing more results and having more fun times at the gym with my friends. And to top it all off, I can tell that BL nights are going to be even more of a riot—this season of The Biggest Loser is already shaping up to be a hit!**


* first world problems, duh.

** see what I did there??


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Miss You Being Gone

There comes a time in everyone’s life where you have to be bold, daring, different, and just plain outrageous . . . I just happen to enjoy making use of that “time” every day. More recently, however, I have decided to apply those times to my hair. For the last few months, I’ve been growing out my hair. And it was LONNNNNG—longer than I’ve EVER let it grow.

It was quite an experience. I had to learn some pretty creative ways to make it look like I didn’t just roll out of bed, when in fact, I had. Most of the time, I failed. After standing in the mirror countless times armed with bobby pins, clips, hair bands, and that confused look I get on my face when I’m thinking of creative ways to make things happen, I finally called it quits with my hair. I made a plan to save up for a hair cut and the next day, I got an e-mail from amazon deals offering a half-price cut at a fancy-pants salon downtown. I couldn’t turn down that $25 shampoo, cut, and style! I just couldn’t! So then I took to Pinterest to search for that perfect look. Once I found it, I clipped it to my Evernote, wrote down some questions for my stylist, booked the appointment, and waited the “this-is-taking-forever” 3 days to get the cut.

Once I got to the salon, I was greeted with an offer for coffee, magazines, and wi-fi. My stylist was engaging and funny, setting me at perfect ease and consulting me on options for my style. This was important because I was going out on a limb and trying a completely different style than what I usually go for (read: bangs!). I haven’t had bangs since I was a little kid . . . and they were kinda ugly. But she assured me she would make them work with my face shape and I felt like I could let go of that fear and just go for it. When she spun me around in the chair and handed me her gigantic all-angles mirror, I was all smiles! I found a fun cut that I really loved!

She also gave me some great styling tips for my on-the-go lifestyle and it made me love the cut even more! Now I feel more free, fun, and purdy. 😀


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Ceremonials | Happy 2012!

When Jeff and Sue sent their New Year’s Eve Party invitation, there was a phrase that piqued my interest:

. . . there will be loud and raucous fireworks at midnight!  Jeff has never grown up in this regard.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew they lived in a residential area and that it wasn’t in a prime location for fireworks (that I knew of). However, I couldn’t pass up the chance to spend the evening ringing in the new year with some of my best friends, yummy treats, and FIREWORKS!!! You see, Jeff isn’t the only one who has never grown up in regard to fireworks. I am a sucker for those bright and beautiful explosions in the sky! So I donned my party hat and squawker in anticipation of the bombs that would soon be bursting in air. I was NOT disappointed!

 

 

We all gathered on the elevated back patio and looked down as Jeff and Fabian emerged from the ground level entrance, toward the table of fireworks, wearing plastic-shielded helmets and safety headphones. When Jeff picked up his butane torch lighter, we KNEW he meant business! The light show was gorgeous in and of itself, but the real “fun” came when one of the mortars accidentally fell over and sent its explosion headed straight toward us! We all ran inside and laughed about almost dying for a long while before everyone finally packed up and said their goodbyes. We were in such a funny frenzy that you would’ve never thought that just 20 minutes earlier, I was snuggled up next to Kathy and Heather on the couch, talking about Jane Austen, youth ministry, and everything in between. In that moment, I remember thinking that if this had been my night to die, I would’ve died with no regrets and among some pretty amazing friends and I would’ve been quite alright with that.

 

 

Last year, I chose one word to focus on throughout the year. That word was FORWARD. I tried brave new things to get over fears, I survived one of the most trying relational situations I’d ever been in with flying colors, and I finished out the year with a very fun and freeing trip home filled with surprises and excitement. The goal was to move through the year in a FORWARD motion and I feel like I reached that goal! This year, I’m going to focus on a different word/theme and resolve to make it the big deal/lesson to learn in my everyday life. My word for 2012 is:

 

Dis·cov·er[y]   (verb)   \dis-ˈkə-vər\

  1. To to make known or visible
  2. To obtain sight or knowledge of for the first time

 

It seems so simple, and I’m pretty sure it’s something that’s done naturally and often without care or concern. However, this year for me will be all about intentional discovery. I am consciously choosing to rise up to the challenge of pushing myself to see just how far I can go in every area of my life as I chase my dreams. I am choosing to explore the world around me with an open heart and mind. I am deciding that this year, I will learn more about myself and others so that I can increase the amount of love, care, concern, and attention that it takes to make my life and theirs count. And who knows, I *might* also discover my true love this year . . .  😉

Happy 2012, everyone!
Let’s make it count!