Sea Turtle

3 Jun

Photo by: Jamie Neal

Completely warm darkness, silent with the exception of crashing waves swirling sand and shells. The moon sheds a gentle light; between the vast ocean, endless night sky and the formidable moon a person feels small but grounded and whole with their place in the world. 

Wet sand squish between my toes and shells stab my soles as I approach the unmistakable signs of a turtle having finished her task and returned to the sea. Four times I passed these tracks with mounting frustration and worry that I’ve missed my chance to see one of natures amazing moments. 

Finally I spot her; fifteen feet from the braking waves a beautiful turtle with sand piled all around her, my heart slams in my chest having come upon her so suddenly. 

Keeping my distance I wait, finding a comfortable spot to sit in the sand…mosquitos swarm and feast biting repeatedly so in a moment of desperation I flung myself into the ocean. Cooled off certainly, but the mosquitos don’t relent.

The certainly of tomorrow’s misery is worth the chance to witness the turtle nesting, so I wait. 

As suddenly as I stumbled upon her the turtle has finished her task and is hastily making her way back to the ocean; the waves glide over her head and she is gone. 

Spontaneous Solo Travel 

8 Mar

With the promise of a three day weekend I made the decision to do something I’d been wanting to do; visit St. Augustine, FL.

I did invite a couple of people, with short notice no one could come. I decided to go anyway. Best decision I could of made.

I had the most enjoyable weekend, possibly of all time. I booked and inexpensive hotel right in the center of all there was to see and do and I purchased a trolley tour that came with admission into 5 popular attractions.

I spent 48 hours going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, seeing and doing whatever I wanted. It was beyond perfection not having to compromise or think about anyone but myself. It truly blows my mind how much I’ve grown and changed in the last three years or so. There was a time when I wouldn’t even go to Walmart alone, now here I am traveling over two hundred miles for a weekend totally alone.

St. Augustine is truly amazing, the history, shopping, food, and all there was to see and experience. Now, the price of admission seemed a little high on some of the attractions but when purchased in the trolley package totally worth it. My only trolley complaint was if you wanted to get on just to get back near your hotel it could be quite a long ride, upwards of an hour/hour and half.

I learned a lot about the area, American history, and myself during this trip. 

Diet

8 Feb

In high school boys tormented me; if they saw me eating during lunch they’d offer me their own lunch as well, obviously I was still hungry being “Shamu” and all. So I stopped eating lunch, or I’d cram a granola bar in my mouth in secret as I went up the back stairs to class.

Sad thing is, I wasn’t even that chubby yet. I just had hips and a chest. But the not eating basically shut down my metabolism and as the years went on I did get chubby, very chubby. I tried every diet and exercise, and gym out there. I went to doctors specializing in weight loss, nutritionists…didn’t matter. The damage was done both to my mindset and my body.

The result is a terrible relationship with food and eating. Being tormented in high school lead me to hate food; I don’t want to eat, I don’t enjoy eating an when I do I feel shameful an guilty like I don’t have a right to be eating anything. 

Now as an adult I’m trying so hard to eat right and exercise I was getting right in my head but I’ve put a good portion of what I loss back on even though I’m still working out and eating right, it still doesn’t seem to be enough.

Working and sacrificing…and still having it not be enough is soul crushing.

I think what truly bothers me the most is people assume I’m weak or lazy when they look at me. I’m neither of those things.

So Friday I start a new round of life style changes with a diet to kick start me. 

30 Before 30

30 Jan

I just turned 29. I’m not exactly sure when I got to be this old…yes, yes 29 isn’t “old”. One day I’m sure I’ll be lying and say I’m 29 when I’m not.

But really, that went really fast. I’ve been out of high school for 11 years this summer! I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to join, experience, lead, travel, see, and have love in my life. But I feel like I still should be doing more with my time.

So in keeping with my love of list making;  the 30 things to try to do before I turn 30 next year.

  1. Go on a cruise 
  2. Take a train trip
  3. Play paintball
  4. Go zip lining
  5. Spend the night on the beach
  6. Be totally surprised
  7. Be positive
  8. Spend an entire day happy
  9. Get better at cooking
  10. Look in the mirror and find fault with nothing I see
  11. Feel at home where ever I am
  12. Get a NEW haircut, not just a trim
  13. Put financial plans into action for my future
  14. Have FULL days
  15. Live in the present; less in the past & future
  16. Take a picture with a ’30’
  17. Send my mom 30 flowers
  18. Dance to 80’s music
  19. Make a list of 30 things I’m thankful for
  20. Give 30 acts of kindness
  21. Dig further into my family’s genealogy
  22. Get a stamp in my passport
  23. Laugh so hard I end up on the floor
  24. Declutter my bedroom at my parents house; I’m hanging onto a lot of crap
  25. Get my professional teaching certification 
  26. Visit a new state (or several) 
  27. Eat clean
  28. Be more active
  29. Watch less tv
  30. Read more

Another Year Gone 

1 Jan

2016 was another year of firsts, triumphs, trials, and tribulations. 

For 2016 I decided that I was going to have no expectations; I was just going to go with the flow and see where the 365 days took me.

That was the best thing I could of done.

I said yes to so many new experiences and had a pretty good year. I lost weight, renovated the tiny house I am living in, took a spontaneous trip to Seattle, I am more confident in my job, and I’ve had the chance to do things for the people I love.

So for the first time in a while I’m sending off the year without regrets. I said what I meant, I did what I wanted, and I tried new things.

I hope 2017 will be as filled with new experiences and awesome memories as 2016 was. 

The Christmas Card 

16 Dec

15326351_10104927238232114_9134524054777893964_nI’ll start off by admitting I did not want to do a personalized Christmas card. Those are for families and people with babies…not single girls. That’s awkward. But my best friend talked me into it by saying it would be fun, people would love it, and “you live an amazing life in Florida show it off!”

So to continue on my path of “brave, proud, single life”, I sent out 15 personalized Christmas cards. My best friend and her husband took the picture for the card and I created them on Shutterfly; I love that website so much. I buy way too much from them.

At first the plan was to take the picture with the Scooby Shack… but I couldn’t think of a way to take the picture that wouldn’t look exceptionally awkward, as well as have other people an their homes in the background. Ultimately we decided to take the pictures at the beach and the they turned out awesome! The water was a beautiful shade of aqua that day and I wore a great Lilly Pulitzer dress.

img_0791For the card itself I decided to add some intentional “funny” to the body of my card by adding the chorus lyrics to “Single Bells”. On the front I put “Seas & Greetings”. I even made the envelopes special by coloring a large monogram of everyone’s last initial on the front, a snowflake on the back, as well as matching address labels I ordered from Shutterfly. 

It’s funny how there are just some things in our society we don’t do because of social convention, seriously it’s just a Christmas card. But it’s not the norm. All of the Shutterfly examples used to showcase the different styles were of parents with their children, and a few young couples. Our society really sends mixed messages about “single life”. For the most part it is glamorized, exaggerated and celebrated by the entertainment industry. But when it comes to product sales relationships and families are hailed.

The small group of close friends and family I sent the cards to all seemed to enjoy them. I sure would love to know the reaction of the person who printed my cards… I wonder if they thought they were funny, clever, or strange?

 

img_0790 img_0789

Freezing Usable Portions

13 Dec

img_1121I was asked how I prepare meals being single. Well it’s definitely hard. I don’t eat leftovers so I don’t want to waste food… It’s rare healthy that food is packaged in single servings, but I’m figuring it out.

I’ll start posting some of the things I’ve figured out so far. The first is freezing usable portions.

I buy fruit (canned, fresh, or frozen) blend it with water or juice, protein powder and then freeze that mix in ice cube trays. All of those cubes I put into a zip-lock bag in the freezer once they’re frozen. 4 ice cubes of the fruit protein mix then can be blended with a little more juice, protein powder, and a couple of spoonfuls of plain Greek yogurt (22% protein!) to make an awesome smoothie.

I also portion out pasta sauce this way. I freeze them in ice cube trays and store them in a zip-lock bag.

Other food that can be portioned out and frozen are meats, even though I rarely buy it. I buy the smallest amount of ground beef or turkey that I can and I break it up into two or three zip-lock bags. This can also be done with shrimp just look at the serving size on the package and break it into that many individual bags.

Tiny House: Paint Job

19 Nov

492d9c5e-6a6f-4944-a760-f60bbdc6653bA lot of time and energy was spent on the inside of my Scooby Shack, and it is beautiful.

However the first thing I said when I saw the camper, so many months ago now, was that the red stripes had to go. Until recently I didn’t have the time to make that happen.

A quick trip to the hardware store for paint color options started the process. Since the inside was whites, grays, and blues I wanted to go with a blue for the strip. I spent a week looking at shades of blue before I finally landed on a trio of beachy aquas.

Supplies

Supplies

I purchased a high quality quick dry oil based outdoor primer that accepted all types of paint on top of it. I purchased the highest quality outdoor water based paint for the trio of aqua blues.

I purchased rolls of painters tape that I ended up not using and returning; I was able to flow the lines and grooves of the siding. I also purchased a sponge brush that was a mistake. Fell apart. Had to go and buy a regular brush when I returned the tape.

So far the color is holding up nicely to the sun and rain. Just changing the old razed red with fresh blue made all the difference! It easily took 15/20 years off the appearance. I’m very happy with my color choice.

Overall I spent under $100 and eight hours for a major curb-appeal improvement! I also took the time to paint over the old logo stickers and added a fun decal that reads: “not all who wonder are lost -JRR Tolkien”

Before

Before

After

After

From the back

From the back

You Know You’re An Adult When…

7 Nov
  1. img_0335You complain about the music played on Today’s Hits.
  2. Kids playing in the road make you nervous.
  3. The volume of music in your car has gone down.
  4. You enjoy driving without music at all, sometimes the silence is wonderful.
  5. You are able to give good financial advice.
  6. You have a routine on Sunday that includes cleaning your house and doing laundry.
  7. You have no problem asking for your mom or dad’s advice.
  8. You hold steadfast to your beliefs even if they aren’t popular.
  9. You gage your actions on their long-term effects.
  10. You made yourself a budget that includes putting money into savings.

 

Tiny House; Tiny Bread 

27 Oct

It’s difficult to buy groceries when you live alone. You either waste a lot of food or eat a lot of food that is bad for you to avoid wasting it.

I stopped buying bread over a year ago for that very reason…but I miss bread, I love, love, love it.

My solution: I found a little Pyrex loaf pan in my moms endless cabinets of kitchen gadgets. She makes homemade bread a lot from frozen bread dough and it is delicious so I thought that this would work the same just on a smaller scale.

I bought a bag of dinner roll dough, same thing my mom uses just smaller portion. I mashed 3 of them together, let it rise, and bake! Makes about 3 or 4 sandwiches worth of bread, I’m not wasting anything, and I’m eating less bread because it makes a mini sandwich!