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Monthly Archives: February 2012

14 // Buying a Scale

You wouldn’t think that buying a scale would make me happy. Most of my life, I’ve avoided knowing how much I weigh. Growing up, I did gymnastics. It’s one of those sports that is really good at highlighting every single one of your flaws. Even then, in middle school and high school, I never quite looked like the rest of my teammates. They were stick thin rails, flipping around with ease and still able to shop in the girls’ section of Old Navy.

I, on the other hand, was always bigger. Not fat, per se. But I was more a power gymnast than anything. Primarily meaning that my specialties were bars and vault, two events that caused my arms and legs to be fairly muscular. Back then, I always had this sinking feeling that I looked awful in my leotard. I had no idea how any of the other girls ate as much as they did but still stayed so skinny.

It’s easy to get down on yourself in a leotard. Since I left high school, my sports activities diminished. After my short stint in marching band in college, I quickly fell into a routine of being more sedentary than not. I’d walk to class and that was about it. When I graduated, I joined a gym in the ridiculous hope that I’d go every day. That didn’t last long.

I have problems with sticking to things. Following through. I’d make excuses for skipping out on gym time like “it’s snowing and I don’t want to get my hair wet” (I swam laps) or “the last thing I want to do when I come home from work is go work out next to a bunch of jocks I graduated high school with.” I don’t get tons of exercise. At work, I sit. That’s it.

Recently, a few friends of mine have been telling me about their efforts to lose weight. Hat tip to Rachel and Sara, specifically. What they were telling me sounded, well, not easy to do. But they inspired me to want to get myself healthier. I’m using a few ideas from both of them. One is using an app that tracks her caloric intake and also helps track some workouts. The other is pirating some Weight Watchers documents. I’m mixing both of their approaches, and I started really monitoring what I’ve been eating starting today.

It amazes me how easy it is to overeat. I honestly hadn’t REALLY realized how much I was doing it until I was writing down points (a la Weight Watchers) and seeing how many calories were in some of the stuff I was consuming (a la the MyFitnessPal app). Today, I turned down treats from Prantl’s Bakery. I only ate one slice of pizza at dinner, and succumbed to buying unsweetened black tea. I went to K-Mart and bought a scale. The first scale I’ve ever owned. We’ve never had one in the house. I’ve never known what my weight really is. With the exception of when I visit a doctor and they give me the number quickly under their breath, I try not to think about it too much. But I’m thinking about it now. Seriously. The number is much, much higher than I’m comfortable with and I know I need to modify my behavior.

I want to start exercising. Nothing ridiculous, but it wouldn’t kill me to go jog and walk the track every once in a while. I’m tempted to get a Wii so I can do some “exercise-centric” games. Even Just Dance 2 (when done full-out with all the dance moves) is a really good workout. I’m not a gym person. I’ve accepted that about myself. But I don’t want to go through my 20’s looking at every picture I’m in and cringing at how my arms look. So I’m starting a few steps to a healthier me. And I will be taking it one day at a time. I don’t have a super-set goal in mind for how much weight I’d like to lose but I have a range. i just want to feel better about myself.

13 // Free Pancakes

Let’s just face it right now. The concept of free anything in my family is something we can’t ever pass up. If there is a giveaway, we will be there. Radio contest? Entered. Free food? OF COURSE WE’D LIKE A PLATE.

So is it really any surprise to anyone that my parents and I were pumped for National Pancake Day? iHop designates this day, once a year, to give away free short stacks of buttermilk pancakes to anyone who wants one. They ask you to make donations while you’re there (which I did, thank you, $3), which I believe went to Children’s Hospital, so that made me feel nice and community-oriented.

Of course, the pancakes were pretty tasty too. iHop was always one of those mythical places to me for while I was growing up. I remember when we’d come across one in Florida or North Carolina during vacations and school trips. iHop was a staple of “Southern breakfast restaurant that you have to visit after driving in a car for a terrible amount of hours.” When they finally (FINALLY!) brought one close to my hometown, I couldn’t wait to drown myself in pancakey, syrupy goodness.

All in all, free pancakes on any day is quite fine with me.

12 // Selling My Work

A while back, I was introduced to the concept of Red Bubble. If the name throws you, don’t worry. This is not a balloon-selling service. It’s a website that allows artists and designers to sell their work and turn a (small) profit off it. I realize I mention my former boyfriend often on here, so I apologize, but he’s the one who turned me onto the idea.

I had watched him beginning to sell some of his work on the site for a while, and every so often he’d get a fun little email alerting him that he had made a sale. By my last calculations, I think he ended up making quite a lot of money off the iPhone cases he was making. His subject matter was more focused on Dr. Who and Nintendo. But regardless, his stuff sold. And he didn’t even have to do lots of promotion. It just kept happening.

A few months ago, I received a very unexpected email from a girl I had never met. She had managed to stumble across my design portfolio online and had seen one of my shirt designs. A design done for a screen-printing class, promoting the book (turned soon-to-be movie) “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” She asked me if my shirt was for sale. I remember laughing to myself, because that screen-printing class had turned out horrendously and I had lined the screen up wrong. The print was crooked and wrapped halfway around the shirt. I had chalked it up to a lost cause, but I’d decided to keep the shirt design up on my site because I liked it. Even if it wasn’t real.

So I started mulling over her question. What would be the harm in selling it? How hard could it be? I’d make one sale and be done with the whole thing. So I set up a Red Bubble account. Sent in my Illustrator file. Picked my shirt colors it would display on. Then I sent her an email response with a link to my site, and true to her word, she bought a shirt.

I decided to branch out the merchandise into iPhone cases on a whim. They were a little pricey in my opinion, but I wasn’t the one setting the prices. All I had control over was the percent of profits, to an extent. Which trust me, isn’t much. But anymore, there have been more people buying my things. All I have, literally right now, are the various “Perks” shirts (in black ink and white ink) and an iPhone case design. But people keep buying them. People I’ve never met ever. I’ve done a very TINY amount of promotion on Facebook and Twitter right when I put up my first design, but I honestly didn’t think it’d go anywhere. That was back in December or so.

I made another sale today, and I’m up to something like $30 that I didn’t have before I started this ‘selling’ process. I’m always so pleasantly surprised when it happens. I can’t imagine how people come across my work. But I think it’s kind of cool. And I really hope they’re happy with their shirts and cases. I’d like to do some more quotes. Work on my type skills. Could be a fun project!

11 // The Hunger Games series

 

The first time I heard about “The Hunger Games” was from my Dad. For a while there, he would often bring up this author named Suzanne Collins who had written some really interesting book. He wasn’t sure much of what it was about, but it was receiving a lot of buzz. Since I like to stay in tune to any kind of up-and-coming novel (especially one in the YA genre), I kept my eyes peeled for it on bookshelves.

I came across it originally at some discount book store at one of those outlet shopping malls. Looking at the cover alone, I wasn’t sold. In my mind, it looked like a ‘boy’ book. Now, obviously, that is a ridiculous notion because I’ve read lots of books that are probably geared in some way more at guys than girls (examples: Harry Potter series, An Abundance of Katherines, really any book with lots of boy characters and narration). So I took a look at the back of the book and read the blurb. It turned me off more. Made-up cities. Strange names. I usually shy away from novels like those. Which again, now that I think about it, is so stupid.

Fast forward to the summer when I took a vacation with my parents after my internship had ended. I knew we’d be driving for hours across a lot of terrain. I believe we were visiting the Maine area, and would be going to lots of national parks and such. Essentially, not the type of places where you could just watch TV or pop in a movie easily. I knew I’d need to stock up on some books for the road. I’d been hearing tons of good things, consistently, about Hunger Games so I finally broke down and bought a copy of the first book. At that point, the series was established and there were 2 books out by then. I only bought the first in the series though. I wasn’t sure I wanted to take a risk on two novels in a series I wasn’t familiar with.

So my family’s road trip began, and so also began my relationship with The Hunger Games series. I devoured the book in mere hours. I was so completely absorbed into the world, into the competition, into the characters. Katniss struck me as a very relatable character and I just thought the whole story was fascinating. After reading that first book, it reminded me a lot of “Battle Royale” for a younger set. And I was hooked. I bought the second novel in the series when we visited a bookstore in Bar Harbor. I was just so excited to keep reading. I really wish the third had been out then, because I probably would’ve bought it right on the spot.

It’s been at least a year and half since I finished reading those books. I still haven’t fully finished the third book because by the time I had gotten it, it had been quite some time since reading the second one. I’d forgotten what was going on with the story and couldn’t keep my focus on it. So today, I decided to just dive back into the series and read them back-to-back. I need to know what happens to Katniss and Peeta and Gale and everyone. I’ve enjoyed being pulled back into the world of the Games, of District 12, of everything. It’s also been a REALLY long time since I’ve sat and read for hours at a time. I’m nearly done with the first book after reading it incessantly all day today. I’m also very excited for the movie to come out. All I can hope is that they don’t stray a ton from the novel.

May the odds be ever in your favor.

 

10 // Margaritas and Salsa

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I went out tonight with my friend Morgan to this Mexican restaurant. We hang out often on weekends, and tonight’s plan was dinner, love letter leaving at half price books, then seeing a movie.

At the restaurant, they give free chips and salsa. This stuff always reminds me of the salsa I loved at a restaurant near my college. It brings back good memories.

The margaritas didnt hurt either. They make a mean strawberry marg. I have no complaints. PS. The movie was pretty good. We saw “Gone.”

9 // Having the House to Myself

I have been dying for an apartment for about a year. It’s one of those great life transitions that I feel I should experience, and I thought I had it worked out. I secured that elusive ‘real job’ after graduating college. I would stay with my parents until I saved enough money, preferably only a quick 6-month ordeal, and then I’d be off on my own in some fabulous apartment furnished with Ikea furniture and mood lighting.

Fast forward to a full year and then some since I started my job and moved back in with my parents. I’m still here. Laughing at my naievity in how the real world would be once I got that college degree.

Now. I have to admit it’s very nice to not have bills. I don’t pay rent, heat, water, any of that. But the wanting of my own space is so apparent. I’m almost 24. I need my own place to just be. I love my parents and it’s nice having their company, but I want that little slice of independence. Due to a myriad of reasons, the whole apartment thing just hasn’t happened yet.

But that’s why I like nights like tonight. I have the house to myself. My parents are off at some thing at Dave and Buster’s, and I’m alone. Sitting on the couch in my pajamas with my dog. I’ve got a sandwich with my name on it and I might watch some TV and just revel in the alone-ness of it all. I’m a little bit of a homebody. I’m very aware of it. But it’s nice to come home and clear your head. To just be by yourself for some time. No one asking you questions, no one trying to make you do things. Just you.

So tonight, for a while, I’m on my own. Miss Kelly Clarkson said it best: “Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone.”

8 // Being Waved at Randomly

On my way in to work this morning, I was feeling good. Despite my being a little sleepy, the second I walked outside to go to my car, I was instantly revived. Good weather will do that to you.

I had my banana. I had my juice in a Dunkin Donuts coffee-to-go cup. As far as I was concerned, the morning was not off to a dismal start.

I was running a little late, which really doesn’t surprise me, but I had a feeling I’d make it on time. News flash Mom! I did.

So on my way, I drove along at my leisure. I ate my banana. I drank my juice. Then I came to a stoplight. One of many along my route. I’m always stopping and starting for something. So there I sat, sipping juice. Waiting for that light to turn green.

A car next to me pulled up to the light too. There we sat. Other vehicles started filing in behind us. Then something odd happened. The car next to me honked twice. I looked over, purely because I was interested. There was no one else in front of him so I wasn’t entirely sure what he was honking about. So my eyes met the driver’s.

He looked young. There was someone with him in the passenger seat. He smiled at me slightly, and waved.

I wasn’t really sure why he was waving, but I waved back. The rest of my way to work, he and I drove in the same vicinity as each other. Sometimes I would pass him, sometimes he would pass me. After a while, I lost his car completely. But I hadn’t stopped thinking about his wave.

Why’d he do it? He didn’t seem to wave at strangers at any other stoplight. I checked. And I definitely didn’t know him. He wasn’t some guy I was familiar with.

So it was a strange occurrence. A little bit of stranger kindness in an otherwise perfectly fine morning.

And it made me happy. Just a little. It also made me slightly nervous, but that’s just the worrier in me. I think waving gets underrated sometimes. It’s the acknowledgement of another person. You don’t encounter much interaction or acknowledgement when you’re in a whirlwind of traffic.

Everyone’s so busy trying to get where they’re going. It was nice that he stopped for a moment. Just to pause and wave. Maybe his destination wasn’t nearly as important to him as everyone else on the road. I still wonder, though, where he was going.