Where to go...

Monday, March 31, 2014

Real Talk, Real Food

Like most women, I have had a complicated relationship with food my entire adult life. Don't get me wrong: I love food. I love everything about it. I love making it. I love reading about it. I love collecting recipes I'll never make. I love smelling it. I love serving people something I've made with my own two hands. I love eating. I love it all.

But somewhere after college and before 30, things started to go a little sideways.

So, let's get honest.

I was never body conscious growing up. I was a ballerina for most of my childhood and adolescent years; about 20 years as a practiced, tried and true dancer. Most, if not all of my confidence came with my skill and ability. I was (am?) a naturally good dancer. And because of that confidence, and hours of time spent at the dance studio, I never once flinched in the mirror at myself.

It wasn't until somewhere in my late teens/early twenties that I started to worry about my weight. I worried, but didn't really act on any of those thoughts. I don't think that I'm alone in that I had plenty of comments thrown my way about what I look like... Either by family, friends, acquaintances. Hell, even strangers. Women's bodies have long been up for public forum. Which is an entirely different topic, and I'm sure fodder for another post.

Nonetheless, slowly but surely, my confidence started to take a hit. Somewhere in my mid-to-late twenties, my waning confidence became pressure to improve myself. Some of this was due to a not-so-fantastic relationship I was in, but it was mostly due to the not-so-fantastic relationship I was having with myself. So this pressure, coupled with my intense perfectionism and Type-A personality manifested into a very structured and disordered way of eating.

In short: I starved myself.

*deep breath*

I starved myself and whatever I DID eat was quickly washed away (or so I thought) with laxatives and copious amounts of water and coffee.

This went on for roughly 3 years.

Coming out of that lifestyle and mindset is quite difficult. It takes therapy, patience, great friends, supportive family and re-learning the role that food plays in your life. I still struggle. But, it's bearable.

Fast forward to today, and what this post is truly about: food = health. About 5 months ago, I started experiencing this horrible, sharp yet dull, achy feeling under my left ribcage. It made it hard to take a deep breath. It definitely made it hard to eat a full meal. And it made me damn uncomfortable ALL. THE. TIME. After a dozen doctor's appointments, X-Rays and CAT scans, a brief (benign) tumor scare, and a few visits to a specialist, the culprit behind all this pain was one pissed off stomach. The entire organ was blood-red (it should be pink), swollen (it should NOT be swollen) and really, really mad. So mad that it couldn't get un-mad. There was no 'medical' reason why. No ulcers. No cancer (thank goodness). No celiac disease.

Just...you know, mad.

So after a month of 'prescribed' Prilosec with zero result, I took matters into my own hands. I had a chat with my super-awesome doctor friend and she suggested (as I thought), that my issues might be due to some food allergies, coupled with the damage I had inflicted upon my own digestive system years prior (this was my guess...she confirmed the possibility in a very gentle and caring manner). I did some research on 'allergy elimination diets' and jumped into it.

Two weeks in of no sugar, no dairy, no wheat, no soy, no nightshades and some various other 'no's,' and I'm feeling better than I've felt in... Well. A long time. I'm eating good, pure, REAL food and my body is happy. My stomach, for the most part, is happy. And you know what? Unplanned and unbeknownst to me, I've lost a surprising amount of weight. I add this in for one point only: what is it about what we eat that makes your body hold onto excess weight? Certainly, there has to be something hiding in the overly-processed convenience foods we all know and love so much (seriously: cheeseburgers ALL DAY).

It's a mystery I plan on diving into as I learn more and more about what my body does and does not like.

All this writing for the simple point of loving yourself. It's hard out there for a pimp woman. If there is one thing you take from my ramblings... take this: be good to your body. Now.

And if you want to know more about what I'm eating (because, let's face it: you have to get creative when all you can eat is lean protein, veggies, fruit and brown rice), holler at your girl.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


I feel like I spent the majority of my 20s apologizing for who I was. In hindsight, I can see that was just a lack of confidence that only maturity can bring. Because who I was is who I am. Plus some years of straightening up, straightening out, learning what works and who works and what I shouldn't even TRY to make work.

There's something about turning 30 that just solidifies your being. At least that's how I felt when I turned 30 a few years back.

But then there's this guy.

My husband turned 30 yesterday. (That's right kids...do the math. I'm older). And the cool thing about this man is that he just is who he is. I've never met anyone who I can accurately describe by saying, 'What you see is what you get.' Except him. He just...IS.

He's the kind of guy that will willfully and purposely drive out into snowy weather just to see if he can help anyone out of a ditch. He'll strike up a conversation with a complete stranger at the grocery store or in a restaurant, where I usually shy away from making small talk. And as great as he is at getting people to talk, he's equally as great (if not more so) at cutting off an interaction before it gets painfully awkward... (You know the random strangers that just won't. stop. talking. just because you said hi?? Those ones).

He loves creating things with his hands - building, yard work, working on his car or bike - and will teach himself something if he doesn't understand it. Which serves to say that he has a great deal of patience for himself. More than I have for myself, or anyone else for that matter. He has a great respect and profound inner obligation to serve his family. He brings his grandmother flowers. He'll listen to me talk incessantly about my love for cheeseburgers, or my deep disappointment with the state of the Rap genre (...seriously, you can't even compare Tupac or Biggie to anyone in the game right now. You just can't).

He's a pretty decent singer. Although, he'd completely deny that. He's hilariously horrible at accents. He'd also probably deny that too. He loves animals, being outside, playing Nintendo 64 and hanging out with his best friend.

I don't think I was as cool at 30 as he is. Someday I'll catch up.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

10 Years

Tara and I met in our early twenties while working retail. It was a miserable job with miserable hours, but what job isn't miserable when you're 22? We were both managers at a tweeny-teeny apparel store, toiling through mounds of t-shirts, crying through holiday season and learning how to work at 8:00am after a night that ended at 3:00am prior. Needless to say, she and I became friends relatively quickly and have stayed friends since.

The funny thing about 10 years is it doesn't SEEM like that long when you say it out loud. But, when you start bringing ages into play, a decade has a way of stretching. I'd say early twenties to early thirties is a pretty significant gulf of time as far as growing up is concerned. I'm not embarrassed to admit that Tara, while a few years younger, definitely grew up before I did. I was still holding on to loads of inappropriate things long after she met her (now) husband, got married, bought a house and generally grew into the fabulous adult she is today.

Where Tara really shines in my heart is her unfailing willingness to accept me where I am. And where I was before I got to where I am. Are you following? She has an infectious laugh, razor-sharp wit and the most expressive eyebrows I've ever witnessed. I told her this when we met for coffee this last weekend. Well, the eyebrow part at least. She's the kind of girl (or woman, I guess. We are adults now...) who always rsvp's, sends Christmas cards and birth announcements.

So, really, this weekend's coffee date was somewhat about catching up, but mostly about Sweet Miss P., Tara's beautiful daughter. And her expressive eyebrows.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Difference(s) Between Knowing and Learning

Here's what I know about myself:

When I am on the verge of learning something new, I have to mentally prepare myself for the pending obsession. Let me explain it like this... My brain and my stomach work much the same way. When I'm hungry, I eat quickly (and way too much). When I'm about to take on a new task, I consume information too quickly, and try to take on too much, too soon. I have always been this way. And then I obsess until I get it 'right' - and the 'right' is only by my own standard. Which, I know is completely ludicrous.

That's just how I roll.

Which is why, dear friends, when I purchased my Fancy New Camera (it deserves it's own title, obviously), I didn't even crack open the box for the first 24 hours. I knew that once I opened it, I would consume and obsess and consume and obsess and consume and obsess until I gave myself a headache.

Lo and behold, I am sitting in my office with a pounding headache and a crapload of pictures.

So, here is what I'm learning:

1) Photography is a process. I cannot do it all at once.

2) My husband is fantastically patient with me.

3) Antique stores love creepy faces. And heads.

4) But they also have a lot of cool stuff (this one is a given).

5) And Meg is pretty photogenic.