* 2 0 1 7 *

 

Is February to late to post a goals list? Asking for a friend. Trust me, if I don’t write it down it won’t happen. Even though I’ve made lists before and completely ignored them. But this time is different, I swear!

If you’re alive, you’ve probably seen goals posts out the wang this year. This list started out as a birthday goal list. The idea is to make a list of x number of items to complete before your next birthday. (x=your current age. #MATH) It gets tougher the older I get and I seem to put off big goals I have out of fear. For the last few years I’ve had the same few things on my list to complete, but after my 26th birthday I’m-seriously-getting-older-and-not-younger-what-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life crisis I’m making strides to get these done. Like I talked about in one of my recent posts, I’m the most balanced I’ve ever been and arguably the most motivated. So lez do eet.

2017
  • Start retirement fund
  • Save an emergency fund
  • Save $700 cushion fund
  • Get a credit card (See #27.)
  • Finish decorating my apartment and be done
  • Buy a new computer
  • Budget an entire year and stick to it
  • Start a band
  • Redesign blog
  • Travel to two new places
  • Develop a core group of friends (wanna be friends?)
  • Get first tattoo
  • Get a second tattoo
  • Meditate more
  • Find a part time work from home gig
  • Lose thirty pounds (I KNOW)
  • Don’t dip into the negative. Ever. (already screwed this one up!)
  • Love yourself more
  • Keep your house as minimal as possible
  • Visit fifteen Dallas spots on your list
  • Mark off three bucket list items
  • Wear sunscreen every day for a week
  • Complete Whole 60!
  • Go camping
  • Take another friend vacation
  • Be bold
  • Pay off credit card every month

If I wanna be extra…

  • Buy a bike!
  • Learn to put on false eyelashes
  • Buy good tennis shoes and start running again
  • Paddle board or kayak on White Rock Lake
  • Run a 5k without walking

 

The good news is I’ve already crossed off a decent amount! The bad news is some of these are abstract and can’t necessarily be measured in a year and some may seem like easy challenges. Like going camping? Easy. Getting a second tattoo? Done. Others are tough. Completing a Whole 60 instead of a Whole30 this go round is going to be difficult, but I can do it! Starting a band? Woof. I look forward to having a benchmark for myself to look back and see how I’ve improved. Crossing something off is the most satisfying thing to me!

 

Here’s to the next 325 days!

 

xx

All My Tattoos

If you know me IRL, sometimes I get an idea in my head and obsess about it for literal years before I take action. This is true in my move to Dallas (ask anyone I went to college with), buying a Honda Civic and now true of tattoos.

I think I started wanting a tattoo when I was seventeen, but thank god I didn’t get one back then because surely any idea I had back then was total hot garbage. (AHEM, LITTLE SISTER RUDY. I’M TALKING TO YOU.) Anyway, I’d been bouncing ideas off of my mom the illustrator and bugging her for months to draw me something. I told them leading up to my birthday in September that all I wanted was tattoo money. One day my mom randomly texted me and asked how much people tip for tattoos. And because I’m as dense as a fruitcake I was completely oblivious. ADOY. On my birthday, they gave me all the money I’d need for my tattoo AND AN ORIGINAL DRAWING OF THE DALLAS SKYLINE IN MY MOM’S SIGNATURE STYLE. I think I died.

I already knew which tattoo artist I was using so I made an appointment for mid October. My appointment was on a Friday and I lucked out that my sister could come up from Waco and go with me! I hate going places alone and having someone there relaxed me.


Oh, did I mention I made the appointment at historic Elm Street Tattoo that just happens to be seven minutes from me? Because I did.

Josh Arseneau was my artist of choice and he did not disappoint! He was kind, patient and talented. This was obviously my first tattoo and he indulged in all the photos I wanted and snapchats and video. Good thing the shop was pretty empty that day. THANK YOU, JOSH. You rule.

All healed up. I couldn’t love it more and I’ve already commissioned my mom for several more tattoos. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take six months like the last time. >.<

A couple months later Elm Street was having an anniversary tattoo event and I decided to randomly get this awesome rose piece on my arm. This also happened to be my third date with Paden. He was a good sport and came to the shop with me and even bought me tacos after while we looked at my arm wrapped in plastic slowly turn into what looked like a pack of bloody meat.

 

One of my other favorite artists from Portland, Tyson Arndt, just happened to be doing some appointments at Elm Street that week. When he introduced himself to me I said, “I know. I love your work.” He should’ve been completely freaked out and rolled away from me on his stool, but instead he said, “Oh cool! Thank you.” And then I got another cool tattoo.

 

So THANK YOU to Josh and Tyson for putting up with me and all my videos and photos and flinching, because now I have some permanent art on my body.

 

 

Do you have any tattoos? Where’d you get them? Who are some of your favorite artists? I’ve listed some of my faves that I follow on social media!

  1. JENNIFER TROK TATTOOS
  2. WONDERLAND TATTOO IN PORTLAND
  3. TEA TATTOOS IN BROOKLYN
  4. BLACK MEDICINE TATTOO
  5. BRITE IDEA TATTOO

 

List some of your faves below because I am now tattoo obsessed. <3

 

xx

Ohhh, hai!

 

Well, I thought it was about time I updated you on the last four months of my life since you’ve so clearly been missing out on them. Wait…how do I blog again? Oh, I think I remember.

 

The last we spoke I told you how to deal with living alone being an extrovert. Remember in 2015 when I was losing my mind with that breakup and depression? Yeah. 2015 was probably not a good year for me EXCEPT the fact that I moved to Dallas. Save for that, 2015 was pretty shot. 2016 got a whole lot better when I started going to therapy and finally got on some happy pills. $6? Don’t mind if I do! I gave up dating, cut out toxic relationships and painted my house. For a hot second I thought about going to grad school for my MBA, but then scrapped it when I completely forgot about doing it. I threw myself a birthday party with all of my friends, since my big 25 kinda came and went. I made a list of things I wanted to learn and jobs I wanted to do. I adopted another dog, but you already knew that. I started working with Paws in the City as their Digital Pet Profile Coordinator, which is really just a fancy title for managing the volunteer writers. Recently, they asked me to help with their massive social media so I now run their Instagram and Twitter! Remember when I said two seconds ago I wrote a list of stuff I wanted to learn? Guess what was on there? Social media. BOOM, two weeks later Amy from PITC calls me to add me to their team. What’s funny is I started following them a year before I even moved to Dallas. I loved their mission and their work in the city and wondered what it’d be like to work with them. Well, now I do and I can say it’s pretty great.

In October, I went to a meeting my friend Josh was leading a community meeting to talk about LGBTQ youth homelessness in Dallas. I went just to learn, and came away a member of the Marketing/PR team. What a wacko night that was! Four months later we’ve launched an entire organization and I now run the entire Marketing/PR team with some pretty kickass talented people. What even is my life now? Oh, by the way? We’re Outlast Youth and we exist to reduce and prevent LGBTQ youth homelessness in Dallas and its surrounding counties by 2020 and you should totally join our Thunderclap awareness campaignAlso? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ll love you forever if you do it. Seriously.

I’m so excited to dive into this thing. Six months ago I had no idea LGBTQ youth homelessness was even a *thing* you know? But now, I’m like, fighting it. I’m interviewing transgender people and former homeless youth and meeting people I’d have had no contact with ever if it weren’t for Josh and this organization. It’s exciting and so, so fun.

Also last year, I quit dating altogether for about seven months. It was the happiest and most freeing seven months of my adult life, I think. I was so sick of constantly searching for someone and then feeling like no one out there could be what I wanted. I was a washing machine. I’d date someone for a bit and they’d get on my nerves and I’d spit them out. (Do washing machines do that? Whatever. You get it.) It felt so good to delete all of those self-centered dating apps and cut out the toxicity of constantly being sexualized. I think I finally remade my account the week of Thanksgiving. I went on a few dates with a guy but it just wasn’t right. When I finally met Paden, I don’t think I could delete my accounts again fast enough. Our beginning is kind of funny, but that’s a story for another day. For now, look at this photo of us and puke at how cute we are.

 

Yep. That’s us cuddling a puppy. I mean, come on.

 

The short of it is, I haven’t been this balanced and happy in a very long time. I’m stable for probably the very first time in my ENTIRE life and I can’t believe I lived so disjointed for 25 years. It hurt, but if that pain is what I needed to get me here I can deal with that. I’m doing things I can finally put my heart into. I’m learning new stuff every day and I have a boyfriend I have no anxiety or doubts about for the first time probably ever. I’ve been fighting and hurting for a long time.

Hello, happy. I like you.

 

 

xx

Tips For Living Alone As An Extrovert

In the last six years, I’ve discovered a lot about the different personality types. There’s a definite difference between me and my younger sister, Shelby. We are so much alike, but our personality traits couldn’t be more different. Where Shel is content being home, I’m discontent. Where Shel is reserved at large parties, I couldn’t be more comfortable. I used to think of myself as an extrovert, but I’ve recently realized I’m a hybrid of the two.

I love being out in crowds. It fuels me. The hybrid part is being in those crowds with people I know well. I’ve gotten better, but I’m not great at striking up a conversation with a stranger. I have to trick my brain into thinking I’m acting and that this is all normal and fine when my insides are like WTF ARE YOU DOING THEY’RE GOING TO THINK YOU’RE WEIRD. More often than not, if I have the option of going out rather than staying home, I’m going out. In the past, a lot of that was fueled by being terrified of the silence in my apartment. Moving to Dallas meant moving to Dallas to live alone for the first time. Ever. I romanticized it for years but when I actually had to live it out, depression hit pretty hard. It’s easy to tell a depressed person to just get up! go out and do something! But when you’re living alone for the first time, know no one in your city (or the ones you do know you aren’t really close with), and it gets dark at 5:30, it can be crippling. No, it IS crippling. So how did I (literally) survive? How do extroverts and hybrids live alone? Here are the basic ways I’m surviving on a daily basis living alone as an extrovert.

 

GET COMFORTABLE WITH THE SILENCE

Yep. Living alone means silence. Even if you have the TV on 24/7 there will be moments when silence hits you. Just waking up in the morning, walking in the door from work with no one there to greet you, taking a shower. Never in my life did I anticipate how much silence there’d be living alone. Heavy silence, at that! I grew up in a house with two sisters and a set of parents. We did everything together. No matter what time someone came home, there’d likely be someone or some cat there to greet them. Dad watching the 6:00 news, Formula 1 races on Sundays, mom making dinner, sisters banging out homework at the dining table. Constant noise. Even when I went to my room, I’d be there with my dog watching Netflix and answering the occasional door knock. Living alone? None of that happens. The first two weeks I lived in Dallas I cried every afternoon when I got home from work. I’d call my boyfriend at the time wailing about how lonely I was and how I had no friends. It took five or so months of counseling and the steps below to get comfortable with this. And actually learn to love it!

 

IF YOU CAN AFFORD IT, GET CABLE. OR AT THE VERY LEAST, HULU

Yeah, your house is gonna be quiet. And dark. And empty. (Sad, yet?) When I told my counselor how much I missed life being in my house, she recommended I leave the TV on all day so that when I got home, it’d at least feel like someone else was there. And you know what? It worked. I got Hulu because of that. Netflix times out after three episodes, but not Hulu! I left that sucker running all.day. For months! I never thought I’d miss commercials, but yo. I missed commercials. Commercials were like a little connection to the outside world. I was controlling Netflix and knew when the next episode was coming up, but I got commercials and infinite scroll with Hulu. This summer, I actually opted in for cable. It’s definitely more expensive, but I know winter is coming and I’m going to get sad again, so being able to leave it on all day is really going to help.

GET A PET! EVEN IF IT’S JUST A FISH

Fish are pets too, kinda. Honestly, if I didn’t have Pepper…well, let’s just say I’m glad I had Pepper in those depressed months. Having her to excitedly greet me every day, even in a quiet apartment, let me know someone loved me. Even if she couldn’t audibly tell me. I could talk out loud to her, tell her about my day (like she cared) and pet her. If your apartment allows, adopt an animal! You’d be surprised how uplifting having another little life in your house is. I liked Pepper so much I went ahead and adopted another one. Oops. On top of them making you feel better, they distract you and take up more of your time. You don’t have time to be depressed or lonely if you’re feeding an animal or picking up the crap they left on your new West Elm rug or picking up cotton they pulled from a pillow. But hey! They turned that depression into anger and frustration. At least you’re not depressed now. My point is, get some life into your house. This includes plants!

LEAVE THE LIGHT ON

I started going to counseling right after Thanksgiving when the light was all but gone from this side of the planet. I mean, seriously. WHY does it have to get dark at 5:30 in the fall and winter?! My sessions started out at 5:00, right after work, but I quickly changed those to lunchtime appointments. Talking about being sad when it’s 40 degrees outside and it’s already dark just made me sadder. At least I’d have 2 seconds of daylight at home by moving my counseling sessions to lunch! She suggested I look into a sun lamp. A sun lamp is a lamp that emits light that mimics the sun. (Target carries them for relatively affordable prices.)  Sitting under fluorescents, or even just regular bulbs, doesn’t tell your brain you’re seeing the sun so you get sad. Brains are so cool! I’m fortunate enough to sit next to some pretty big windows at work, but even so, I brought some faux sunflowers to keep next to my computer. Just in case. Don’t want a sun lamp? Print out a photo of the beach or somewhere sunny. Just looking at it can instantly lift your mood. Swear. As for your house, if you can afford it leave some big overhead lights on. Or just a lamp! Walking into a dark house can be rough.

GET OUT AND DO SOMETHING

I know I just said that it’s easier said than done, but look. If you love people, go be with them. In a new city? Don’t know how? I gotchu, boo. I’m working on some posts that will help you do just that! I think part of the reason I dated so much is because I knew no one here. I mean it’s partly my fault for not reaching out to the handful of people I sort of knew here already, but at least I got some really insane stories out of it. Sure, date if you want. But if you’re looking for friends, go hang out in places you like. You’ll find like minded people there guaranteed. Find a home church, get a job with people your age, start following people on social media that live in your area. (It works, trust me.) Or, just stand on a chair in a bar and ask who wants to be your friend. That’s something I’ve always wanted to try.

 

What do you think? Have you tried these? Do they work for you? What do you do that helps you not feel so alone?

 

xx

D*EYE*Y Painted Statement Wall

D*EYE*Y

Since painting my entire apartment white, I’ve been craving more statements. I love the consistent white throughout the space. Everything is so much brighter and cleaner! But as hard as I tried to keep everything minimal, I just couldn’t. I needed a punch on a wall somewhere! SPOILER ALERT: I put a lot of punches in a lot of places, but you’ll have to stay tuned for my upcoming dramatic apartment tour reveal!

If you’re looking for a weird statement wall idea, check out what I did!

SUPPLIES:

-pencil
-black craft paint
-thin paintbrush

 

D*EYE*Y

Since my ceilings are pretty high and everything else in the surrounding rooms is still solid white, I decided to go with a medium sized eye. You could easily make a stencil for this (check out this post for a much more precise way of doing it!) but I decided to freehand it with a pencil!

D*EYE*Y

Stencil and pencil away! I tried using a wide-tipped black permanent marker, but my walls are much too textured for any lines to be drawn smoothly. I opted for a thin paintbrush and black craft paint. The end result?

D*EYE*YD*EYE*Y D*EYE*YD*EYE*Y

 

Obviously there are three on the top right that could use some extra paint. I at least traced them out in the hopes I’ll make it to the craft store for another bottle of black paint!

What do you think? Would you try something this bold in your house? Eye love the way it turned out. Makes me feel like I’m getting side-eyed every time I come home. 🙂

 

xx

#YDM Goes Natural: The End of Whole30

After nearly a month since its ending, I’m finally writing about my Whole 30 experience! (This has truly been the longest month of my life.)  Whole 30, if you don’t know, is a 30 day program designed to revert your body to relying solely on a caveman’s diet essentially. You’re not allowed dairy, sugar, alcohol or grains for 30 days. Some people, like my friend Jennifer, are crazy enough to do it for upwards of 60+ days. I am not one of those people. However, Whole 30 has been good for me! So while I sit here at my desk eating macaroni and cheese, let’s talk about Whole 30.

30 days is a long time. When you’re not allowed any sugar, alcohol, grains or dairy it gets old pretty fast. Your creativity also runs out pretty quickly, or gets pushed to the limit. I ran out of ideas within the first week and resorted to 100% internet and Pinterest meal ideas.  I pretty much do everything in my life on the fly and this was no exception. I rarely meal planned, which could have been my downfall if I wasn’t already so committed to finishing the full 30.

BREAKFAST:

This was by far the hardest meal for me. Before I started, I’d eat either Greek yogurt + honey or oatmeal for breakfast. Since I wasn’t allowed either of these things, and I’m not a huge egg fan, I mostly just ate fruit. Whole 30 forced me to like bananas. I discovered I’m kind of a picky eater? I like what I like and don’t vary too often, but for the potassium and as just another food option, I ate bananas. I also made fruit salad with cinnamon sans whipped cream. 10/10 would recommend.

In week 2.5 when I discovered Lara bars, I ate those. “They” (the powers that be over Whole 30) say that your brain doesn’t know the difference between a Snickers bar or a Lara bar. To that I say, poppycock. My stomach sure knew the difference and that counts. Most of the Lara bars are Whole 30 approved, just be sure to check the ingredients list before chowing down. My favorites are the lemon pie, apple pie and key lime pie. I like pie.

On weekend mornings when I had a little more time for breakfast, I’d saute apples, ghee, and cinnamon. It. Was. Delicious. The great thing about Whole 30 is that I never felt guilt for eating anything. Since I could have ghee, it felt like I was eating like a normal person, only more conscious about what she was putting into her body.

LUNCH:

Lunch was usually leftovers from dinner the night before. Occasionally I’d choke down a spinach salad, but it wasn’t my favorite. Probably because I didn’t meal plan and add any chicken or meat to it, but that’s neither here nor there.

There were a couple of times I was forced to go out for lunch. Once, it was a Tex-Mex place and I was starving. I should win an award for passing on the chips and salsa. That is some serious will-power. I ended up ordering tacos and only eating the insides. Guacamole salad? I’ll eat the lettuce underneath. Taco guts? Yummy.
Two or three other times I checked out Mod Market, a local place serving up farm to table “fast” food. Now there’s a salad I can get behind.
Other times I just had to pass on going out. Which really wasn’t that hard! I knew I was doing this challenge for a reason and blowing it on Chick Fila for a quick lunch fix just didn’t seem fair to me or my body.

DINNER:

Dinner was where I really shone. When I actually did cook, I made some pretty creative stuff! Like hot wings, chicken parm without the parm, ranch dressing and chicken and vegetables (my favorite!). Honestly, if you have a craving for something, figure out a way to make it Whole 30! Fried chicken? Use almond or coconut flour and egg wash. Fried rice? Use cauliflower as a rice substitute. Chocolate? Just drink some apple juice or hot tea. This was my biggest hack! At night when I’d want something sweet, I’d just drink a few ounces of apple or cranberry juice while I made dinner. It was an easy fix and kept me out of my secret freezer chocolate stash. Over time, the juice actually tasted sweeter to me! It was weird.

WORKING OUT:

Honestly? I didn’t. I mean, I was more active that month than most other months, but I didn’t drastically change anything. I did a few workouts here and there and walked the dogs, but I didn’t join a gym or finish a workout DVD. I just ate better and thought more about working out.

WHAT I LEARNED:

This was difficult. Mildly, compared to some of the other things I’ve done in my life, but changing something you’ve been doing for years is hard. But I did it! And I lost twelve pounds! (I’ve gained about five of it back, but that’s to be expected.) More than anything, I’m just proud of myself. I did something on my own without needing to held accountable to anyone but myself. I needed that little boost, I think.

I’d always heard people brag about how differently their bodies felt when they ate clean. I knew there had to be some truth in it because why would so many people claim that to be true if it weren’t? It truly was amazing to watch my body gradually change over the course of thirty days. My guts felt better, my heart palpitations nearly ceased, and I looked better. Towards the end I could really tell I’d lost some weight and I felt more confident and proud that it wasn’t my working out that did it, but what I put in my body. I was incredibly conscious of that. It trained my brain to look at ingredients, only shop the outside walls of the markets, and stop filling up on carbs because it’s easier. (she says as she eats macaroni)

The craziest thing that happened was the size of my abdomen! Sure, I lost weight, but because I was eating clean I was virtually never bloated. All I drank was water and it showed. The day I was finished I ate wings and fried pickles and my stomach has never been the same. 🙁

HOW I FEEL NOW:

Since living on my own I’ve been solely responsible for what I eat and drink. While I don’t binge eat or necessarily eat terribly, I don’t eat a lot and when I do eat it’s things that aren’t that great for me. Grocery shopping with my friend Cait this month I made the passing comment that, “Cool! These groceries will last me all month!” She looked down at my basket and said, “How much are you eating? Are you eating enough?” “Oh…probably not.” And that’s true! I don’t really eat a lot. I get distracted very easily and don’t eat big meals. This last week I’ve been adding a snack at work in the afternoon just to give myself more energy. #LARABAR
I’ve made the promise to myself to meal plan before I grocery shop and stop buying pasta as a filler. It’s cheap and filling, but it isn’t good for me. Instead, I should replace that with quinoa or rice or greens. The last twenty-something days of eating like I used to have made me feel like I used to: bloated, tired, and unhappy. It’s insane how much food is tied to my mental well being. Two therapists have told me that so far and I just brushed it off, but believe me. Eat better, feel better.

FROM NOW ON:

I’ve virtually stopped eating fast food. It’s costly and never makes me feel good. It’s a nice splurge every now and then but isn’t a way to live my life. Sorry, Whataburger. 🙁 I’ve been drinking more water, cutting down caffeine (Bonus! It helps with my anxiety!), and cooking more at home. I haven’t drastically changed my lifestyle, but I’m working towards a more holistic way of living. This is just one piece of a very large puzzle.

 

-Have you/will you do the Whole 30 Challenge?
-How do you stay healthy?
-What are your favorite meals to make?

 

xx