This time my cousins Oli and Matt are expecting their first – a baby boy named Mateo! I just love that name. I can’t wait for him to be here. 🙂
Typically, I stick with pretty traditional quilting. Civil War quilts are my favorite, followed closely by The Farmer’s Wife (1930s). But, I just couldn’t see myself giving Matt and Oli’s son a traditional quilt. I decided to go for something bold, modern, and way out of my comfort zone. Pretty much the entire time I made this quilt I asked two questions 1) is there something with more contrast? 2) is there something bolder? I think I finally got the questions answered with ‘no’.
Again, I didn’t use a pattern and I just used jelly rolls. It will be the last time I use jelly rolls though. They just aren’t consistent! Im pretty sure it’s the one time that a human is more consistent than a machine – plus they cut them between 2 3/4 inch and 3in and it just makes no sense. trying to match them up with anything is a nightmare. If you look close you can see I used a lot of optical illusions on this quilt to adjust or the non-standard jelly roll strips. *shakes fist* never again jelly rolls! But I’m super happy with this quilt. It’s modern, fun, and super bold. It’s perfect.
If any of you have ever traveled with me or lived with me, you’ll know I am a royal crab in the morning when I first wake up. I don’t think I’ve ever been a true morning person. I think this some deep rooted shit from my childhood, because Lois has ALWAYS been a morning person. She wakes up at 4am willingly and seizes the day, everyday. I remember as a kid I would cry, scream, and nap all morning because I was sweepy! But, honestly I can’t pretend this was when I was a small kid – all through high school I wasn’t trusted to wake up alone so she would have to call the house to make sure I got my ass up. Lois also turned to insane tactics to wake me up – my least favorite was her singing Dean Martin’s ‘Volare’ at the top of her lungs. I still can’t even listen to that song without getting sickening chills down my spin. In Chicago, I had some progress in getting up, I would start my work shift at 7:30am BUT only so I could leave at 4pm. At my current job we don’t have clockin/out so the motivation to go in early is low since I’ll get stuck there until 5/6 anyways. Anyways back to the story, I hate waking up early, but over the past year and half I have developed the worst SNOOZE issue.
What is a SNOOZE issue? Well for me it’s acute and it involves hitting the snooze button for up to TWO HOURS…. I know it’s insane. I have to set my alarm for 5:30am to even dream of getting up at 7:30am…
I had picked up a ‘retro’ (read 1980s) alarm clock a few months ago that was literally just for show over the summer. It sat right next to my head (like my phone) so whenever my phone alarm sounded I would just naturally hit SNOOZE and go back to ‘sleep’ for the 9 minutes I was allowed.
Well over the weekend I turned 29 and decided I needed to make a few changes to my daily schedule. SNOOZE issue was top of the list.
So here’s what I did:
I moved that 1980s alarm to the other side of the room on our new dresser. I set it for a realistic time (6:15am). Now that’s all good and well, in the past with the my phone I would do the same thing and then still find the time to SNOOZE for hours. So I had to make a promise to myself to not lay back down, not to hit SNOOZE. I literally had to tell myself, SNOOZE does not exist. I also had to have a ‘chore’ or something I wanted to do in the morning (i.e. harvest tomatoes in the garden, crochet for 30 minutes, journal, answer work emails). Notice I don’t have ‘go for a run’ etc becauce those ‘chores’ although make you feel great are not the motivator for me anymore. I hate running in the morning and know myself well enough to know I’m not getting up for that shit. SNOOZE.
Now it’s been 5 days of actually waking up on time (6:15am) and I love it! I’ve been able to do a lot of things that I would normally not get to do until later in the day. I get to show some extra love to the tribe, play in my garden, clean, do laundry, type this blog post, and plan for world domination. It’s funny how a seemingly small change can have such an impact on your day and attitude. I haven’t felt grouchy, frazzled, or foggy walking into work. It’s really been enjoyable.
I may not be a morning person, but I’m sure enjoying pretending I am! 🙂
Well, we are 3 weeks underway of getting the farmhouse – livable.
Here are the things we have done:
removed all bathrooms that were not supposed to be there
re-did the main bathroom on the first floor
removed all debris from the yard/house
hung window treatments
got all new appliances
installed new well system
installed washer & dryer
repaired all rusted windows
removed paint from all window sills
installed new furnace and water heater
It’s been A LOT of work. Thankfully, Lois has been a huge help with most of these items – the yard looks 1000% better due to her. On the days we were able to tackle things together it felt like we got a lot more done than I would have ever imagined. My Pops has been a major help in figuring out what we can/can’t do electrical wise and prepping for Connelly Power Co to jump in on some things. We still can’t live there until we resolve the electrical issue for the water pump/well system. That is the most frustrating part, since we really can’t live there without water, but everything will be easier to work on, continue to deal with once we live there. Right now, every moment over there has to be utilized 100% so I think I speak for everyone, but I’m tired. I love working on the house and it is really rewarding and exciting, but it’s just hard to not have a bathroom to use there, or water to use – and it’s hard to drive back and forth to our apartment in Broomfield (30 minutes away). Eh, but why am I bitching? I fought super hard to do all this – just at a different pace I think, but oh well in a months time or less it won’t feel ‘so close, yet so far’. Plus, a lot of the things I had planned on spacing out over 2 years will now just be done. So when we do move in we can literally just start enjoying it instead of prolonging some of this fun.
Moving forward I’ll being doing more ‘before and after’ shots on our progress – now that there are some really impressive ‘afters’!
Thanks again, Lois, Pops, Uncle Mark (MD Services – my HVAC/plumbing hero), Aunt Lori, and everyone else in their virtual support so far in helping us get this fixer upper livable!
Push-ups – you think after all the weight-lifting, cat/pug lifting, and trying to carry ALL my weekly groceries up the 3-4 flights of stairs at once I could do a push-up. Well I cannot. I can do a ‘poor man’s’ push-up, on my knees or by not touching my nose all the way, but I can’t seem push myself back up when I lower my body all the way down. So there’s goal 1.
My jeans won’t be so tight. Listen the ‘I just washed them so that’s why they must be snug’ excuse has only bought me a few months and I am not buying the next size up, so I’m anxious to see my Levi’s fit with just a little room around the waist.
Follow the plan! This one is the most critical and will ensure I even see my other goals, but I’m going to follow this plan down to the last chia seed smoothie and plank exercise. I know if I put the work in, I will see the results I want.
Be nice to myself! I’m not gonna make excuses or miss workouts or eat Whoppers, but I think a huge part of this challenge is being kind of myself also. I care enough about my health and my body that I am changing my lifestyle to reflect that. Despite what each day may feel like, I can be happy in knowing that I am being kind to me!
Also be sure to check out my partner in crime’s blog over at FranklyTannith!
A few weeks ago the dude and I took a trip to visit my Grandma down in the ‘land of enchantment’ – New Mexico! I have such fond memories of New Mexico (tons and tons of summers there as a child) and it felt so good going back with a clear and sound mind to experience all the things I know as a child I took for granted. I would move down there in a heartbeat too.
It was so great to get to spend time with my Grandma – she is like her own sweatshop with the amount of quilts she produces! But, she is such an inspiring and strong woman. She beat terminal ovarian cancer and now has 15 years in remission! She has blossomed in her own community, even after the death of my grandfather 10 years ago. Plus I LOVE being able to talk to her about crafts, life, and living a happy sober life (this lady has never even been to a bar!).
Since she lives very close to Carlsbad Caverns, the dude had never been to the caves and well… that’s what you do when you visit Artesia, NM! 😉
I love this song. It reminds me of all the people who are no longer in my life. It makes me hopeful all the people that I’ve lost are still here in some form. They are most assuredly in my mind and my heart, but hopefully they have something to do with the beautiful sunrise and sunset too. And if I’ve lost some friends along the way in my journey, I’m grateful we share the same sunrise and sunset – and I do think of you often and wish you well.
So I have been wanting to write this post for a year. However, I figured I needed some time/evidence/and some personal research before I dished about my weight loss last fall and then keeping it off for over a year. I lost the weight through a controversial method – the HCG Protocol. Some see it as no better than a diet pill, for me it was in no way shape or form ‘the easy option.’ Also surprisingly, through HCG I learned just how important nutrition and fuel is for my body. It went from the sole desire to ‘look a certain way’ to being able to fuel my life and be healthy.
Shall we look at a before?
Now what about an after (april 2014)?
Let us begin.
About a month after I got sober in July 2013, I realized that just stopping my alcohol consumption would not magically make me lose the weight I had, for years, deduced must be there because of booze/booze related consequences. After a month sober, I physically felt better and mentally felt great, but still had every excess pound on me. Now at this point, it had been years since I exercised regularly and I had 26 years of bizarre eating habits going on. A prime example of my ‘bizarre’ eating habits is ‘oh no I can’t eat that whole serving of chicken breast, instead I will only eat half and use those ‘saved’ calories to consume some M&Ms’ – makes total sense….. However, before HCG I had tricked my brain (but not my body) into thinking all calories were equal. Of course I’ve heard the opposite of this said everywhere; at the gym, at WeightWatchers, at CrossFit, at Title Boxing, at Whole Foods, on Dr. Oz, in People Magazine, etc etc… but I never really believed it. Why? Because I wanted to eat the bad shit. Plain and simple. Sure an avocado is amazing for your body/nutrition, but a donut is more fun! Also I am a ‘victim’ of the generation that was told fat and calories are BAD! Something we as a culture are just starting to wake up from….
However, I digress, I wanted to lose the weight. I was single, sober, and by golly I wanted to be thin. (Yes thin, not healthy – we will get there) When thinking about the way to lose this excess 30 pounds I had with me, I immediately thought of the HCG Protocol. I have had several close friends see long term success with HCG so I figured I would try it in Chicago. Oddly enough, there is a medical clinic just two blocks from my house that advertises (in giant neon flashing lights) that they have the HCG Protocol there. I took it as a sign from some ‘diet higher power’ and made an appointment.
Now here is where the risk got high. This HCG protocol was not cheap. In fact, it was a cool $1000. I was weighed, questioned, pinched (for BMI), and had an EKG done for heart health in my consult. The Doc said – it seems like a good fit for you. I agreed (good thing I had that 0% APR Chase Slate card on me!). I’m going to give the canned version of what the next 42 days of my life were like. First off, I was to inject myself daily with HCG (which some of you may recognize as a hormone produced by pregnant ladies) and follow a very strict meal plan of specific foods that were under 500 calories a day. This may sound alarming, because well it is pretty insane. But, I had seen the results of the folks that followed the protocol and so I followed the instructions.
The first two days of injections you get to pig the eff out. NO JOKE. There’s a little bit of a ‘science’ behind what you want to eat (more fats/proteins), but basically anything you want in an quantity until you are so full you may vomit all over yourself. I vividly remember this was the last time I ate Taco Bell. It was amazing.
Day Three – 42. 500 calories MAX a day. Of only certain proteins (chicken breast/certain fish), leafy greens, and two fruit options (apple/grapefruit). So I wasn’t miserable. 1 – because the pounds fall off by 1-2lbs per day. So it was at least results producing. 2 – the HCG chemically tells your brain/body you are satisfied at 500 calories and thus is allowed to burn your fat without knowing you are actually starving yourself. I don’t know the real science behind this – this was my attempt at not putting you asleep but sharing my process. Now this whole 500 calorie business is serious. I recall one day chewing (NOT EATING) 10 sticks of gum and because of the sucralose in the gum I gained 3 pounds. Once I realized that was the only thing different in my diet I made sure not to do that again. That was early in the protocol too so it reinforced that cheating was going to really sabotage this. Plus I JUST SPEND A GRAND ON THIS. (Believe me I hyperventilated about it many times – but stress deters weightloss so I had to calm the eff down and be thankful that card was 0%APR for a year longer)
During these 42 days I also had weekly (every Sunday) doctor visits where I would weigh in, get my weeks worth of shots and a weekly B12 shot.
So, naturally there is fear about the sudden stopping of the shots and then increasing the calories. At the end of the 42 days I had gone from 195lbs to 166lbs. For the next two weeks following the protocol I had to increase my calories to at least 1500, BUT remain on the same selection of foods. Now 1500 calories disappears very quickly in a diet where you can have nuts, pasta, pizza, sugar, soda, but when you can only eat eggs, chicken breast, leafy greens, apples, grapefruit, certain fish… it takes a lot of those things to get you to 1500 calories. For the first time in my life I felt like I was gorging on healthy foods. The doctor said I would probably continue to lose a few pounds which I did – I finally ended the weight loss at 164lbs. This re-introduction of calories is also so important because it sets the ‘base level’ for your metabolic function. So if you follow the 500 calorie days, then biff it in the 2 week post weeks the whole thing was WORTHLESS.
After the two weeks I was able to introduce basically everything except starch and sugars into my diet. Obviously this means bread is out. Sugar is the goddamn devil, but again that’s a conversation for another day.
So what did the protocol teach me? A LOT. It actually retrained my ‘yo-yo dieter’ brain into eating proper and good nutrition. Gone are the days of skipping dinner to eat a pack of M&Ms or have a sugary cocktail. Now I want to eat to fuel my body. In the past year I have learned that I can do anything with my body – ride 1000 miles on my bike, walk around Thailand, craft, walk my pug, discover Chicago, run an 8 minute mile, and learn to box. In September I took a break from my usual 2 hour daily active regime (3000 calories/day intake) and got a little confused. I started letting the empty sugar calories invade my day instead of eating cashews/avocados and other healthy fats. I blame seasonal induced lameness. I got on the scale on 11/3/2014 and weighed 175lbs (at night after eating all weekend long in Des Moines) and was bummed. I knew what I had to do…. Today (11/10/2014) I’m 164lbs as I have cut the added/processed sugar from my diet for just the past 7 days. (What’s that base level weight?! you are a real thing?!)
In conclusion, the HCG for me was the best option and it came at a time when I was most focused and inspired to do this. I followed the Protocol to the ‘t’ and lost the 30+lbs in the 42ish days. I have successfully kept off ALL the weight over 14 months later. To say I am happy with the process and the results is a gross understatement. The HCG protocol retrained my brain to care about my nutrition and my health, not my calories. Today and this past year I have experienced the healthiest relationship with food I have ever known as an adult. It may seem extreme, it may not be your cup of tea, but it allowed me to reach a level health wise that I am so proud of. I know what works for my body and I am happy that finally at 27, I have a healthy relationship with my body and with food/nutrition.
If you have questions you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I would love to educate anyone interested in this process. I also understand many people do not agree with this protocol, I understand that as I was once very against this (until through my close friends was shown long term healthy results are the outcome) – please don’t demean my journey as I would never demean yours.
With fall here and the holidays right around the corner, let me make your custom items/gifts! Pretty much anything you see knit/sewn/crochet I can make for you! My pricing is very affordable and I work hard to get you exactly what you dreamed!
I have done custom embroidery orders, scarf/cowl, baby bibs, kleenex coozies, crochet people/objects, dresses, skirts, blouses! Don’t forget about the pets either – I can make any costume idea or fun accessory for them too!