Pensacola, Florida- TripAdvisor vs. a Local’s Top 5 Things to Do

tripadvisor-vs-local-top-5-things-to-do-in-pensacola-floridaOne of the challenges of military life is being apart from family and many times you can go  many months and even years before being able to visit “home” or for family to come visit you. However, when the stars align just right, and you’re able to have family come to you, what better way to celebrate than getting to be a tourist in your new home of residence?

My brother-in-law came to visit us last week for a quick, but great trip! We were so excited to be able to show him around Pensacola and we were able to take advantage of a little road trip together to New Orleans, which has been on my bucket list for quite sometime. I’ll write all about New Orleans in another post, but for today I will go over our voyages around Pensacola.

The first time we visited Pensacola was in 2014 during a roadtrip we completed of the southeastern part of the US. We came back in November 2016 to house hunt, and moved in December 2016. In our travels and now residency, we’ve been able to experience a lot of what Pensacola has to offer, but there was still more for us to do that we hadn’t had the opportunity to take advantage of yet. So let’s take a gander at the Top 5 Things to Do in Pensacola according to TripAdvisor:

  1. National Naval Aviation Museum– The National Naval Aviation Museum is a free museum with free parking and free tours. Free Free Free! They also have an IMAX theater and simulation rides you can do for an additional purchase. It is the largest Naval Aviation Museum in the world, and has over 150 aircraft representing the Navy, Marine Corp and Coast Guard. The museum is located on Naval Aviation Station Pensacola, but civilians and military are both welcome. I have been to the museum more times than I have fingers, but I still enjoy it every time. I can see why it is listed as the #1 top thing to do in Pensacola.  pensacola-nationa-naval-museum-tif
  2. Pensacola Naval Air Station– This includes the National Aviation Museum, the Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, Fort Barrancas, and Barrancas National Cemetery. Since TripAdvisor compiles it’s ‘Top’ list based off of comments and reviews of users, some reviewed all of these destinations under the NAS and some reviewed each place individually. I think it makes it a bit redundant, and not as comprehensive, but oh well. All of these things are located at Pensacola NAS and all worthy of your time, military or civilian.
  3. Blue Wahoos Ballpark– Number 3 on TripAdvisor is the Blue Wahoos Ballpark. This location is absolutely beautiful and is located on the Gulf of Mexico with a fantastic modern playground for children, and outdoor amphitheater. Since it is currently winter, there are no baseball games to catch, but if you would like to take a scenic walk/run around the ballpark, it is definitely a great place to do so. 461810650_1280x720
  4. Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum– The Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum is my favorite thing to do on base. It is not free to go inside, but well worth the small fee to be able to climb the 177 steps to the top and take in the view of NAS and also the Gulf of Mexico. The museum portion allows you to learn about the history of the lighthouse and the keepers who have maintained it for decades. There are even rumors that the lighthouse is haunted, and who doesn’t love a good ghost story? Also, behind the museum is a short path that leads you onto one of the many white sandy beaches in Pensacola. The sand is so fine it feels like you’re walking on sugar. pensacola-lighthouse_03
  5. Fort Barrancas– Fort Barrancas is a military fort located on NAS Pensacola. This is another free excursion that can be done. It’s such a beautiful and historical site and I highly recommend going down into the fort and through the underground tunnels. Such a cool experience! fort-barrancas-drawbridge-entrance

We did all of these things when we visited Pensacola the first time, now after living here for almost two months, I think I’ve found a couple other gems that I would recommend you do should you ever find yourself on the panhandle of Florida.

  1. Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum– As described above, the lighthouse is gorgeous, historical and quite the sight to see. Put this at the top of your list. And don’t forget to hit the beach behind the lighthouse, it’s like two birds with one stone! untitled-2798
  2. Pensacola Ice Flyers– I went to see my very first ice hockey game at Pensacola Bay Center. So So So much fun! The tickets are inexpensive, even the most expensive are only $29 and they offer a military discount. There is not a bad seat in the house and many of the home games have an open skate following the game. Definitely do this if they are playing while you’re in town. 15966288_10210209510026789_1555044419640420471_n
  3. Downtown Pensacola– Main Street and Palafox Street are where a majority of the restaurants, bars and boutiques are located in downtown Pensacola. Even if you just take the time to stroll up and down the streets, it is an easy way to spend a few hours. Also be sure to see how many of the pelicans you can find that are on display! fd7352d2_eee9_4384_b16f_fdfdcebd293e_ab3bf5bc-cb94-4d0f-a300-1166378a7f23
  4. Brothers BBQ– If you’re in the mood for delicious southern bbq, Brothers BBQ is a spot I highly recommend. Tuesdays and Wednesdays they even have an all you can eat special. Calories don’t count when you’re enjoying BBQ. img_7361
  5. Seville Quarter– For those adults out there looking for some adult activities, Seville Quarter has 9 bars in 7 buildings all conveniently located together in Downtown Pensacola. My favorite… well technically the only one I’ve been inside is the piano bar, the musicians were excellent and the ambiance and decor was terrific. 10/10 friends would recommend. Also Wednesday night is ladies night and drinks are cheap! img_7655

I’ve always thought no matter where you lived, people and places were all generally the same. But I was wrong, each place is so unique and will have different things to offer. I’ve really enjoyed our time in Pensacola so far and discovering all the quirks that make one a ‘local’. As we spend more time here, my top 5 may change, or perhaps we’ll get orders soon for a new location and I’ll have the opportunity to discover a whole new place. Do your worst United States Navy, I’m ready!

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When Weight Loss and Real Life Collide

when-weightlossI’ve been back on the wagon now for 24 days. Last week I was down 8.4 lbs since Jan. 3, and 45.2 lbs since my heaviest recorded weight. Those first three weeks were relatively easy. Maybe easy isn’t the best word, I still had to put in the work. I tracked all the food I ate and I exercised almost everyday, if not multiple times a day. But in those three weeks, I didn’t have too many temptations to get off track, just a dinner out here, or a bbq there. Cue this week.

This week my brother in law came to visit and I am so glad he did! We took him around to show him Pensacola Lighthouse, the National Museum of Aviation, Pensacola Beach, downtown Pensacola, and we did an escape room with a group of friends. I loved being able to show him around our new city and of course we also wanted to take him to some great eats as well, because um…. hello food is amazing! So since we’re in the south, of course we had to get BBQ from Brother’s BBQ and then we went to a little seafood place in Pensacola Beach called Shaggy’s. Ultimately I did not go crazy going out to eat at these places. I didn’t eat any of the bread at the BBQ joint, and I had shrimp tacos at Shaggy’s… to go with my margarita and whiskey with coke and sprite. That was the first time I’ve had soda in….. I couldn’t even tell you. I so seldom have soda I don’t remember the last time I did.

You probably don’t really care too much about the food I had, or maybe you do because who doesn’t love food! My point is that life is going to happen. Circumstances are going to come up that interfere with your typical schedule, and we need to learn to continue living and how to navigate them so we stay on track towards our goals. So how does one manage eating out when trying to lose weight and get healthier?

  1. Plan ahead– If you know where you’re going out  to eat, prior to getting there- get online and research if their menu is available. Then you can pick what you’re going to order ahead of time. This will give you the opportunity to make sure your other meals are super good choices in the event that you’re going to splurge a bit on your meal out. Or you can pick something healthy and then when you’re at the restaurant, don’t look at the menu again. The temptation to veer off course could be too great and you may regret it later.unknown
  2. Box it up– When placing your order, ask the waitress to bring you a box with your food. Portion sizes at restaurants tend to be larger than typical. I’ve told myself that I’m only going to eat half of my food, but then in the midst of eating and socializing and eating more, I end up eating a lot more than what I originally planned. This doesn’t happen if I box up half of it before I start eating. Out of sight. Out of mind.too-full-to-take-another-bite-not-enough-left-for-doggy-bag
  3. Let go of your old faithfuls…most of the time– We all have them. Our go to dishes we absolutely adored, and binged on, and we know how absolutely horrendous they are to our health. To truly get healthy we need to let go of some of these temptations. When I would go out to eat I would always always always order either a shrimp or chicken alfredo. It’s my favorite. But I know how unhealthy it is and so I have learned to make better choices when I go out, because even if I eat a modest portion, it’s still not as healthy or filling than if I get something else. Now I haven’t banned alfredo pasta altogether. I’ve learned how to make alternative healthy dishes for it at home that will satisfy my craving, or I’ll allow myself to order it at a restaurant once or twice a year. No one’s perfect.unknown-1
  4.  Healthy alternatives– I get it, that pasta and that burger you’ve been ordering at restaurants is so tasty and you’re a creature of habit and it’s super tempting to keep with what you know. But I got fat and unhealthy by repeating dietary choices that are not healthy. If you want major results, we need to commit to major changes! Finding alternatives that still satisfy you, but aren’t 3000 calories for one meal are an excellent way to start. Find some healthy alternatives that work for you. Grilled chicken instead of fried chicken? Vegetables instead of potatoes? Salad instead of bread?ab3nzx2_700b
  5. Guilt-Free– Let go of the guilt. So you went out to eat and didn’t have a plan. So you went out to eat and didn’t stick to the plan. So you went out to eat more than once, or twice. So you went out to eat and had an appetizer, entree, and dessert. This is life! Don’t feel guilty and beat yourself up about it. Just get back on the wagon as soon as you can. And DO NOT tell yourself, you’ll get back on the wagon on Monday… unless it’s already Sunday night. Start with your very next meal. You’ll be thanking yourself later.

Life happens. It’s going to be near impossible to make every meal you eat perfect. So do what’s best for you and have a plan, that can really be my best advice. Correction: my best advice is to love your body first, then have a plan.lyb

I will have to give an update on any weightloss or weight gain for this week at a later date. We’re in New Orleans, and while I debated bringing my scale with me, I ultimately decided it would be weird and left it at home.

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Random Ramblings

Women’s March Brings Unity, Passion, Inspiration, and…. Confusion? Part 2


womens-march-brings-unity-passion-inspiration-and-confusion-part-2Now I remember why I never post about politics. It is exhausting. I was very nervous writing about the Women’s March. I was nervous because I know a lot of conservative and/or republican people, and I thought my views on the march might not be well received. I was pleasantly surprised. While I’m not sure how many of my right-leaning friends actually took the time to read what I wrote, no one belittled or wrote anything negative either. I also participated in a pretty extensive conversation on another friend’s Facebook status with a stranger as to why I walked in the march. Despite having different opinions on certain topics and disagreeing about certain issues, the long conversation remained respectful. Even though I was not attacked or experienced any backlash for participating in the march, my brain is still tired from explaining and justifying my stance on particular issues.

But I will carry on and continue to share my perspective because I am proud of being part of such a large and incredible movement and have been inspired to be more involved advocating for the issues I believe in for myself and for those who cannot, and to educate myself on the issues I do not understand or have never taken the time to research in the past so I can form an opinion of my own.

One point that has come across from various people on why they do not believe in the march or do not feel it was impactful was the broad number of topics being advocated for. I’ve heard that it made people feel like all those women out there couldn’t unify under one front and instead are just, “all over the place”. Well, the fact that there are so many different issues which need to be marched for should speak volumes itself, but the purpose of the march was to bring a collective voice to all of the different topics to serve as a platform over the upcoming months. Now that America and legislators have hopefully opened their eyes to the concerns of millions of Americans, more emphasis and targeted tactics can be taken to continue the work and progress.

In my first post about the march, which you can read here, I wrote about reproductive rights. This round I will be highlighting worker’s rights. You’ve heard it before, the wage gap. It is undeniable that women make less than men and advocates and women around the world are asking for equal pay for equal work. Below is a chart from the Bureau of Labor statistics for 2015. screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-20-30-pm

In case you can’t tell, the women’s earnings are lower than the men’s earnings. An even more disturbing chart is when we start looking at gender and race. Take a look:screen-shot-2017-01-23-at-6-21-08-pm

You would think this information would speak for itself and not require further explanation on why this data is alarming, but there are many people who are still in disbelief or deny that this is a problem. I have personally experienced being in the same position as a man with the same qualifications, skills, and arguably a better work ethic and still made a lower wage. I have also been witness to a male getting preferential treatment in the workplace with a promotion over a female despite having just returned from a suspension for behavior issues. Have you ever been exposed to the “humor” of a woman “getting her knees dirty” to earn a position of leadership? This direct undermining of women is a systemic problem across our nation and it is not remedied by sucking it up and working harder. These are all very real circumstances women face today and the concern with the current government is there is no address to this topic as a top issue. The current administration plans to “bring back jobs and growth” without a single mention of equality. In fact, equality is not listed anywhere on the current White House dot gov website and the presidential cabinet is currently only slated to have four women.

Maybe you still do not think women in America are experiencing oppression or inequality. “Try being a woman in the Middle East and have to wear a burka or not even be able to drive” is one argument I have heard. And yes, there are women in much more horrendous situations than the average American woman. But just because there are others in worse situations, does not mean we cannot fight and insist on a better situation for ourselves.

So perhaps equality in the workplace is not a top priority for you so you’ll roll your eyes and say there are bigger problems at hand. And that is certainly your right to believe so. But to dismiss others making this their priority is unfair.

I came across this article that put into words what I have not been able to. This is an excerpt, but you can read the full article here.

The United States ranks at 45 for women’s equality. Behind Rwanda, Cuba, Philippines, Jamaica.

But I get it. You don’t want to admit it. You don’t want to be a victim. You think feminism is a dirty word. You think it’s not classy to fight for equality. You hate the word pussy. Unless of course you use it to call a man who isn’t up to your standard of manhood. You know the type of man that “allows” “his” woman to do whatever she damn well pleases. I get it. You believe feminists are emotional, irrational, unreasonable. Why aren’t women just satisfied with their lives, right? You get what you get and you don’t get upset, right?

I get it. You want to feel empowered. You don’t want to believe you’re oppressed. Because that would mean you are indeed a “second-class citizen.” You don’t want to feel like one. I get it. But don’t worry. I will walk for you. I will walk for your daughter. And your daughter’s daughter. And maybe you will still believe the world did not change. You will believe you’ve always had the rights you have today. And that’s okay. Because women who actually care and support other women don’t care what you think about them. They care about their future and the future of the women who come after them.

~ Dina Leygerman, 2017

Over 500,000 people were in attendance in Washington, D.C, 750,000 in L.A., 250,000 in NYC, 250,000 in Chicago, 150,000 in Denver, 130,000 in Seattle, 150,000 in Boston, 2,000 in Pensacola, 3,000 in Charleston, 40,000 in Austin, 10,000 in St. Louis, 100,000 in Portland, 7,000 in Palm Beach, 100,000 in London, 60,000 in Toronto, 10,000 in Sydney. Over 670 marches took place world wide. This wasn’t about women whining or making much ado about nothing. If you don’t understand why women are marching, maybe you haven’t been listening. if-you-dont-understand-why-women-are-marching-maybe-you-havent-been-listening

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The Five Stages of Grief…aka Becoming the New Military Spouse

the-five-stages-of-grief-aka-becoming-the-new-military-spouseWhether you are marrying your significant other who is already in the military or you’re already married and they are now enlisting or commissioning, many spouses undergo a cycle of emotions when becoming a new military spouse. These stages may look familiar as the stages of grief, but they 100% apply to this life changing moment as well. Pour yourself a cup of tea or some Irish coffee and enjoy:

  1. Denial– It’s not going to be that bad. My spouse won’t be gone ALL the time. Our lives won’t be SO different from what they were when we were civilians. Oh sweet, naive you. This is the first part of the cycle when you have your rose-colored glasses on and haven’t received your own set of battle wounds yet. Now don’t get me wrong, the reality isn’t the complete opposite of what you think it’s going to be like, it’s much more in the middle, well…. maybe leaning a little bit more to the right. Truth is  your life is going to be completely different from when you were a civilian, and no your spouse won’t be gone ALL the time, but they will be absent pretty frequently -some more than others, depending on their job- and no it won’t be that bad. It’s not going to be all candy and flowers, but it will certainly be an adventure so buckle up for the ride.thisisfinecomicthumbnail1-630x227
  2. Anger– Oh will there be anger. You’ll be mad at your spouse. You’ll be mad at the situation. You may be mad at the military or the government. You’ll be mad at yourself for being mad. You’ll be mad because you can’t make any concrete plans. You’ll be mad because Sally’s spouse called her or sent her flowers and you didn’t. You’ll be mad because people ask the same questions over and over again. You’ll be mad because you feel guilty for being mad. You have a right to be mad. Don’t be ashamed of your anger. Just don’t stay there.94b77afc279bec32413ccc62976004815ed0665d82e88e4892097a043fb6d025
  3. Bargaining– You’ll make deals with yourself or with your God about if you get to talk or see your spouse you’ll be ever so good. You’ll be the best spouse ever when they get home. You won’t take your time together for granted. You’ll bargain with family, you won’t be home for the holidays this year but maybe next year. Or what if they come to you instead? No? Don’t be surprised when they can’t or won’t come. You’ll take a job below your skill or education level because sometimes you have to take what you can get. You’ll watch the neighbors kids this weekend if they’ll watch yours next for a date night with your significant other. Get your bargaining chips ready, there’s a lot to barter for in the military life.nzox5nl-jpg
  4. Depression– You’ll want to be alone. You’ll want to not do anything even though they say, “Keep Busy!!”. This is like the anger stage. You have a right to be depressed. Don’t be ashamed of your sadness. Just don’t stay there. tumblr_n7mcyauebg1t7gtxto1_250
  5. Acceptance– You’ll start to get the hang of things. You’ll get into a routine. You’ll make a few friends. You’ll be able to find everything you need in the grocery store, and even get to the grocery store without a GPS. You’ll start speaking the military lingo using all those acronyms and your civilian friends and family are going to need you to translate. And then you’ll PCS and even though it won’t be as hard as the first time, you’ll hit up some of these stages again. 348baa9ffbfdd7791f63c2bf2632b234

The stages of grief do not move in a cycle like they are frequently pictured, and neither are the stages of being a new military spouse. It is much more organic than that. You’ll bounce from one stage to another and back again, you may skip a cycle and think you’re in acceptance, only to go “back” again. It’s all normal and it’s all part of the adventure! Because you’re not only going to feel these emotions, you’ll also feel extreme moments of happiness, joy, excitement, support, purpose, and love. Those are the ones that make it worth it.

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Random Ramblings

Women’s March Brings Unity, Passion, Inspiration, and…. Confusion? Part 1

womens-march-brings-unity-passion-inspiration-and-confusionHeads up, this post will not be full of laughable memes or silly humor. Hopefully it won’t be boring either, so please press on.

January 20, 2017 marked a day in history. Inauguration day is historical and notable for the United States of America for our government to commemorate the peaceful exchange of power. So on this day Donald Trump officially became the 45th President of the United States of America. This day was celebrated by millions and for many others also induced a great deal of fear, panic, and alarm. I am not writing to bash President Trump. So if you think that is where I am headed, you will be disappointed, or perhaps pleased, depending on where you stand politically.

Now fast forward to January 21, 2017 and this day will also be noted in the history books. It will be noted because millions of men, women and children participated in a world wide March. It began with the Women’s March on Washington which quickly expanded to include hundreds of other sister marches in other cities around the globe. Not just country. On every. single. continent.

I’ve seen a number of posts on social media of men and women confused about why so many people participated in such an event. So I thought I could maybe share a little input to hopefully bring some clarity to those who don’t understand. First of all, this was not solely a protest against President Trump. Were there people in attendance who were there to protest President Trump? Yes, however, this march was bigger than that. This was to bring a collective voice around issues regarding reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, ending violence, worker’s rights, civil rights, disability rights, immigrant rights, and environmental rights. Now you may be thinking that’s a very wide spectrum and you’re absolutely right, but each topic deserved to be highlighted and I’ll break it down over a series of posts,

Read Women’s March Brings Unity, Passion, Inspiration, and… Confusion? Part 2

and you can read more at the Women’s March website. I know our attention spans are limited and I don’t want you to lose interest to go look at a cat video instead, no matter how worthy and cute that cat is of your attention.

Let’s start with reproductive rights. No this is not only about abortion. Reproductive rights also include access to contraception, health screenings, STD care and prevention, and sexual education. So there is the argument that we have access to all of this and while we can debate how one defines “access”, for arguments sake, let’s agree. However, current legislation threatens the continued equal access to contraception of the woman’s choice. Let’s get personal. I have made the choice for myself and my body to not have children. To ensure this does not happen I have elected to have an IUD as my method of birth control. I chose this for multiple reasons, but the biggest reasons were it’s long-term effects (5 years) and the high percentage of effectiveness. Now this is an expensive method of birth control, but under current legislation my health insurance is required to cover it at no out of pocket cost to me. This opportunity is threatened for me now because should certain legislation be passed, my health insurance, or your health insurance could elect to not cover contraception and then the burden is placed on us to pay for the expense. I can afford to do so, and I will if it comes to it, but there are many women who cannot shoulder this burden to ensure they do not get pregnant until they are ready.

You may be prepared to argue that women can get birth control pills or condoms for free even if legislation changes and these other contraceptive options are no longer covered. But these methods are not as effective as an IUD, and they may not be a feasible option for every woman, there are allergies, health side effects and discomfort that could be taken into consideration. Many unplanned pregnancies occur when these are the only methods available. I am not saying every woman who does not wish to get pregnant should have an IUD, however, I think every woman should have the CHOICE to select the method that is best for her and her body regardless of cost.

Why is this important? Many reasons. I do not expect to get everything for free; however, let’s look at this from an economical standpoint. More unplanned pregnancies= more unplanned children. And we do not live in a perfect society, so many of these children then experience growing up in poverty, receive a poor education and do not even have their basic needs met of food, shelter and feeling safe. Many experience a life of violence, criminal behavior, and repeat the cycle for themselves. Does this happen all the time? No. But if it could be avoided simply by offering women the choice of contraception, why not advocate for it? Many Americans complain about the number of families living off of government assistance, well let’s offer a way for women to prevent starting families prior to them being ready and that may alleviate some of the burden.

Still not convinced? By preventing unwanted pregnancies we are also preventing unwanted abortions. This should be a huge incentive for pro-life advocates. This can only be done through equal and unobstructed access to a variety of contraception options.

Now let’s briefly address the big bad wolf of Planned Parenthood. This is a hot topic for many. Many believe Planned Parenthood should not receive any federal funding because they offer the service of abortions. Planned Parenthood does much more than abortions, they also offer numerous health screenings, STD testing, prevention, and care, counseling and contraception. There are not many options out there for abortion, so Planned Parenthood does the bulk of this service for women. Think of it as if Planned Parenthood is a cable provider. And they are the only ones in your area who provide internet service. So you buy your internet, cable and phone from them. Your neighbor doesn’t need internet, so they just get their cable from them. They don’t insist the company should be shut down because they don’t need internet. Comparing internet providers to abortion may seem like a stretch, but my point is that Planned Parenthood gets a bad rap because they offer abortions, but reproductive rights is more than just being pro-choice or pro-life. I’m not here to change your mind about Planned Parenthood, that is a mountain I do not even want to attempt to climb.

Try to be a bit more open-minded. I focused heavily on contraception in this post because that is the area that is mostly under attack and what seems to be difficult for many to understand. But just like parents would like to have their choice to get pregnant and raise their child covered by their health insurance, those who are not ready or will ever choose to have child, would like their health options to be covered as well. I would like to make everyone a little more aware of why reproductive rights are important and that they are indeed at risk. Think of this march as if it were the military. We do not wait for an attack to build up or organize an army. We are proactive because a great offense is the best defense.

Over 500,000 people were in attendance in Washington, D.C, 750,000 in L.A., 250,000 in NYC, 250,000 in Chicago, 150,000 in Denver, 130,000 in Seattle, 150,000 in Boston, 2,000 in Pensacola, 3,000 in Charleston, 40,000 in Austin, 10,000 in St. Louis, 100,000 in Portland, 7,000 in Palm Beach, 100,000 in London, 60,000 in Toronto, 10,000 in Sydney. Over 670 marches took place world wide. This wasn’t about women whining or making much ado about nothing. If you don’t understand why women are marching, maybe you haven’t been listening. if-you-dont-understand-why-women-are-marching-maybe-you-havent-been-listening

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Travels with Carlie-Planning a Road Trip

the-best-road-trip-guideIn 2015 I planned the most awesome road trip of the southeastern part of the United States. My husband was going to be submitting his application for Officer Candidate School soon, and we knew flight school is held in Florida, so I wanted to meander our way down there to scope out the area, and also take advantage of touring other parts of the U.S. along the way and back. Never having been on a road trip before I picked some popular and random cities in states along the way and did some research thanks to my ole pal google. To the seasoned roadtripper, they may be able to plan a road trip in a few days or hours, I don’t really know what would be customary; I however, spent a few weeks picking locations, planning our route, figuring out the budget, and trying to jam pack 12 states in 10 days of traveling. I definitely overplanned, had tons of fun (planning and doing), and learned so much for our next time road tripping. Here are some tips and how-to’s on how I did it (with my lessons learned built in):

  1. Destination Picks
    1. Since we would be starting from our home in Delaware and trekking our way down to Florida, I picked at least one stop in each state along the way for us to experience some sort of activity or adventure. I picked locations based off of what I knew was popular, some I already had my heart set on (Orlando) and some I did a little googling or trip advisor-ing to identify spots. Trip advisor-ing.. hmmm, pretty sure I just made that verb up. It’s pretty handy though. Just download the app, or go to the website:, plug in your destination, you can be as vague as a country, state or narrow it down to a city if you have one picked out. You can search for things to do, restaurants, accommodations, the works.screen696x696
  2. Navigation
    1. Planning your route can be a bit tricky. How far should we travel in a day? Which route should we take? There were some days we only had to drive 3-5 hours total and some days we drove 8-10 hours. The 10 hour drives were a bit much. So I’d recommend keeping it between 5-8 hours if you have a lot of distance to cover, but if you have the time and can fit in stops with cool things to do and see, plan to do so.its-the-journey-not-the-destination
    2. In my research some road tripping enthusiasts recommend bringing two GPS options on your trip. This is because not all GPS know the same routes. We had a TomTom GPS in addition to our phones, so we thought we had this covered. However, it had been a few years since we needed to use the TomTom, so we discovered the hard way that the charging cord was no longer functional. We discovered this because in the mountains of West Virginia, if your cell phone carrier is Verizon, you will get ZERO service. So cell phone GPSs weren’t an option and the TomTom wasn’t an option either. What did we do? We stopped at a library and begged them for a map of the area to get us along our route. In my mind map reading was this immensely difficult task that only navigators knew how to do; turns out, it isn’t that hard. But yes, I also advocate for double GPS options, just make sure they are both functional before hitting the road! In addition to having the GPS options I also printed map quest directions because it’s 2006 and that’s what we do here, K? It was a waste though, I don’t recommend doing it, and won’t be doing it again. It didn’t help us when the TomTom died, the TomTom had taken us a different route than mapquest and there is NO redirecting on paper mapquest. So I recommend two GPS options and a map. Maps are handy even if your GPS and cell phone doesn’t crap out like ours did because if you plan on following any scenic drives, it’s a challenge to get your GPS to follow that route. GPSes tend to take you the fastest or shortest distance, not the prettiest. So unless you want to have it direct you to a pinpoint of the scenic drive and then wing it to your stopping point, a map will be handy. Better to be over prepared.enhanced-buzz-26374-1389315775-18
  3. Busy Bees along the way
    1. Sightseeing, scenic drives, and quirky stops. There is so much the U.S. of A. has to offer and many of these treasures are a little hidden. So if you’re interested in seeing what there is along the way of your already pre-determined route check out and/or download their app. This nifty little do-dad will give you lots of info on places within a certain mile radius of your route so you can be sure not to miss all those giant rubber band balls, dinosaur parks, and dives your heart desires. There are even pre-planned trip guides you can peruse for free if you want to let someone do all the work for you! Work smarter, not harder my friends.roadtrippers-iphone-and-ipad-app
    2. Car games, audiobooks, and playlists. You spend a lot of time in the car when on a road trip, so be prepared with ways to help the time go by more pleasantly. You can find tons of car games like license plate bingo, yellow car, I spy, the list goes on and on. Here’s an infographic with some ideas:4d4da30d23a97abd1e64c5e962e8c4ffI also recommend creating a playlist on your phone, or making a cd of music you’d like to hear on your travels. Audiobooks are also a great way to pass the time and you can get them for free from the library if you’re looking for budget friendly options. Lastly, we killed time in the car by pulling up Netflix. Now before you start blasting me about it being dangerous, we didn’t watch movies or TV shows, we pulled up stand up comics so we could listen to a little bit of comedy on some of the long stretches of travel. Some favorites are Mike Birbiglia, Jim Gaffigan, and Aziz Ansari.
  4. Food- My favorite subject. Now to save money on our budget I made sure all of our hotels offered a complimentary hot breakfast to get our day started. This saved us from having to make an extra stop which is time, and it saved us money. The first couple days I was able to pack sandwiches to get us through for lunches. I couldn’t do this the whole trip because I didn’t want to keep having to refill our cooler with ice. So after the sandwiches ran out we either did lunch by stopping along the drive at fast food, or eating at an already pre-planned destination, or sometimes we were still full from breakfast and snacks which held us over until dinner. I think every day is different, so just do what works for you for lunch. Dinners were fairly similar, we’d either grab something along the drive at fast food, or eat at an already pre-planned destination. I found our pre-planned spots using Trip Advisor. Love Trip Advisor.4b7f0a7e2c802c82c23da5ac0116c87a
  5. Budget– When planning this trip I knew there were some more expensive items on the itinerary we would be doing. I had to spend the day at Universal Studios in Harry Potter World, which was going to be more pricey than kayaking in Charleston, SC or taking a hop on hop off bus in Savannah, GA. So there were some days that I budgeted more expensive excursions and balanced out with days of free adventures or fairly low cost. I also tried to find hotel accommodations for between $50-$90 bucks a night, making an exception for Nashville, TN because I knew I wanted to stay downtown to avoid driving around in city traffic. Again Roadtrippers and Trip Advisor are great tools to use to find things to do within your budget. But make sure you figure this all out so you can make adjustments to your plans ahead of time to avoid breaking the bank. This goes for excursions, restaurants, and gas stations. Many restaurants share their menus online or on trip advisor so you can see their prices prior to going. I also recommend the app gasbuddy to help you find gas stations near you with the lowest price. This will definitely help you save some bucks.fa584b9ee703e3ddc9dd0b43e954d2df

So there you have it. Five tips to help you plan your next road trip. But where did we go on our trip and what did we do? Allow me to show you:


Have you been to any of these destinations? What did you think?

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How to Get Motivated to Exercise When you HATE Working Out

courtesy-of-11I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I hate running. I’ve never been a runner. I failed gym class in middle school. I’m not proud of it, and it had more to do with the fact that I never changed my clothes, which for some reason is how you’re graded in physical education. Doesn’t really make sense, but since I haven’t taken a physical education class in over 12 years, I think it’s time I let it go. Moving on, like I was saying, I hate running. For years my husband has been trying to get me to go for runs and I’ve always refused. I’ve intermittently done zumba classes and pretended like I knew what I was doing on the strength training machines at the gym, but I’ve never truly had an exercise regimen. So when the husband left for OCS I already had plans in my head to dedicate the next 12 weeks to improving my health with diet and exercise. I wanted to finally get rid of the 50 lbs I gained since we got married and then some, not all in 12 weeks – that’s crazy- but as much as I could. I also wanted to be able to run 1.5 miles without stopping. Historically at OCS graduation family members could participate in the candidates final grad run and I wanted to be able to surprise my husband with being able to do it.

So the day after my husband left for what was supposed to be 12 weeks, but ended up being 15 weeks (yay for 3 more weeks of being able to lose weight!), I got my butt out of bed, put on some tennis shoes, and went for a run. Now let’s be forgiving for a second and broadly and loosely widen the definition of the word run. I do more of a hop walk, or a skip walk, maybe it’s considered a jog, I don’t know. I don’t think I fit the traditional sense of the run, but I wasn’t walking… the entire time, so for all intents and purposes my exercise will be defined as a run. Thank you for your leniency. I didn’t stop at just running, I also swam laps, started weight lifting, kept taking various barre classes and my favorite: zumba. I did not do it all in one day. I gradually worked up to the full out exercise regimen, but once I got motivated, it was fairly simple and easy to keep it up. So let’s break it down:

  1. Baby steps– If you are typically very sedentary with your amount of activity, I do not think it would be logical for you to jump into a crazy exercise regimen. The likelihood of long-term success is not high. So start small and work your way up to where you want to be. Walk for 30 minutes a day to start. Once that’s not a challenge, incorporate some interval training of jogging. This means you’ll jog for a set amount of time and then walk, and then jog again, and then walk. I did this using the c25k app. More on c25k later. I think it deserves it’s own number. Strength training- you don’t need to join a gym to do strength training, I mean, do it if you can and want to, but if not you can do it at home too. And the key to success is gradually increasing your workouts. The best strength training workouts I do at home are squats, push ups and leg lifts. Just those three exercises. I’ll do 10 of each to make a set. Do as many sets as you’re capable of. Can you only do one set? That’s fine to start. Next week do two sets. You’d be surprised at how quickly your stamina and strength will increase. So you’re doing your cardio with walking and your strength training, go ahead and add in swimming if/when you can. I love swimming and I’ve gotten a lot better with practice. When I first started, I would be exhausted after swimming 25 yards. That was only one way in the pool. I was too tired to swim back to complete the lap. But I kept at it, and now I can swim a mile, which is 36 laps in the pool I go to, not too shabby for someone who is
  2. Workout Apps– I use various apps to keep me motivated and consistent with my exercise:
    1. Running: 
      1. Back to c25k, c25k stands for couch to 5k. So the gist is it trains you from literally no exercise to being able to run nonstop for 30 minutes, in theory this would allow you to be able to complete a 5k, unless you’re slow as shit like me and it takes you much longer than that to cover the distance-welcome to the turtle club. I like c25k though because it’s a free app, it’s only 3 times a week, it prompts you when to run, or when to walk, and it really works. I never ran a mile in my life prior to starting c25k and this morning I ran 3.27 miles. Again, we loosely use the term run here.turtles-in-peanut-butter
      2. I also use the app mapmyrun when going for runs because it tracks my pace and distance which the c25k does not. Could be an area of improvement for them in the future. It’s also super fun to make inappropriate shapes of male genitalia on the map.courtesy-of-10
    2. Strength Training: Stronglifts. I use this for weightlifting. I love strong lifts because it’s only 5 exercises: squats, bench press, overhead lift, rows, and deadlifts. Unfortunately, you either need a weight bench or a gym to complete these. I like strong lifts because it keeps track of the weight you lift and gradually increases it so you can improve. You don’t have to start using the bar either. I started my squats at body weight and used dumbbells or the weight plates to gradually work myself up to being able to handle the weight of the bar.5d86cdc270a92afe28da6ce725e112f5
    3. Fitbit: Yes I’m one of THOSE people. I wear a fitbit. I do not however talk about needing to get my steps in, or brag about how many steps I have for the day. Don’t be that guy, no one likes that guy. But my fitbit does make me aware of how active I’m being for the day, and it’s fun when it buzzes because I’ve hit my step goal, and I’m super pumped about the new one I got for my birthday because it’s water resistant and I can wear it in the pool. There are also challenges you can do with friends through fitbit to keep you motivated. You can set up daily, weekly or weekend contests. Whoever has the most steps for the challenge wins the virtual trophy! I may or may not have spent an evening jumping around and pacing my bedroom to get more steps in than a friend. We’re all competitive on the inside. Just don’t be a dick when you win. 85a20e5aa4a643d0ac292218ea139727
  3. Workout Buddy: Having someone to check in with, and is also working on their own goals is a stellar way to stay motivated. And if you’re thinking you don’t have any friends who can be your workout buddy you’re wrong. A work out buddy doesn’t have to be someone you physically workout with, or a personal trainer. Let’s chat about the options:
    1. In Person– So if you’re lucky enough to have someone you can workout with that’s awesome. It’s hard to find flexibility in our different schedules to workout at the same time. But it you do! yay! Knowing you have someone to workout with can make it a little less lonely, a bit more of a social experience, and you’re probably going to be more likely to show up because you know there’s someone waiting for you.gym-buddy
    2. Virtual– You can also connect with someone virtually, either someone you know personally or even a stranger through social media. There are tons of weightloss groups with people looking for accountability partners. So keep each other motivated through sharing your workouts, checking in with each other to make sure the other worked out and offering support or a swift kick in the ass (virtually) when it’s needed.57999939
  4. Diversify– A common misconception about weightloss is that you need to do cardio to lose weight. Or if you do any strength training, it’ll cause you to gain weight. These are myths. Yes strength training will cause you to build muscle. Yes muscle weighs more than fat. But muscle also burns more calories than fat, and it burns calories when you are at rest, not only when you are working out. So don’t be afraid to incorporate strength training into your regimen. It’ll help to keep you from getting bored, as many do when strictly doing cardio, which may lead to you giving up. We’re talking about getting and staying motivated after all. If you can add in swimming, I highly recommend doing so. Swimming is an awesome full body, low impact workout that will wear you out and you don’t even realize it. why-not-both
  5. Consistency– So getting started is super tough. Once you’ve done it though, it’s very important to stay consistent. This makes staying motivated so much easier. The key to my success is… can you guess?… making a schedule. Schedules are like lists, they make the world go ’round. I kid, but it’s true! For years I’ve tried the route of just saying I want to work out 3 times a week or 5 times a week, without a real plan on making it happen. And you know what happened? I didn’t work out, or if I did it didn’t last for long. To be successful for months at a time I write down the day, time, and what workout I’ll be doing, and that’s how shit gets done. Want a handy schedule you can download to help you get motivated? Alright… you can download mine here. It looks like this:fullsizeoutput_842

Getting started is the hardest part. I get it. My alarm goes off in the morning and I badly want to just stay in bed a bit longer. I don’t have any advice on how to get the motivation to get started other than make a plan and stick to it. Get your ass moving. When you feel too tired to exercise, that’s when you really need to do it. I’ve found I always have more energy after a workout than I did before. So what are you waiting for? A one hour workout is only 4% of your day. Don’t have a hour? Make time. Wake up earlier, stay awake later, workout while you watch Netflix. Move that caboose! You’ll be so glad you did even after a short amount of time. Trust me. I did it and you can too!

Update on my current weightloss:

Week 3: I lost 1.4 lbs, bringing the total since Jan.3 to 8.4 lbs lost, and from my heaviest weight ever 45.2 lbs. Last week we went out to eat dinner and I allowed myself two margaritas and macaroni and cheese (my kryptonite). The next day we attended a BBQ and I was able to really keep myself in check by loading up on fruit and a hotdog without the bun. I’m super proud of myself for that! The rest of the week diet wise was on point, and I followed my above workout schedule perfectly! I know I’m building muscle right now, so it’s going to be minor losses to start, but I embrace my membership of the turtle club. Slow and steady wins the race!

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Health · Military · Random Ramblings · Travel

Not your Typical Millennial: Choosing to be Intentional

courtesy-of-6Twenty-eight years. I’ve spent twenty eight years and some months becoming the person I am today. It’s funny how I have always thought I had my life together. I’ve had to be an adult for as long as I can remember. I started working (on the sly) when I was 11 at a convenience store my mom managed. I didn’t get paid, but she still got in some trouble for that when the supervisor found out. Fast forward to my first legit job at 14 working at McDonalds. I’ve worked for Dominos, Claire’s Accessories, back to McDonalds where I became a shift manager, multiple banks, multiple schools, and even running my own little business selling desserts. All throughout high school and college I worked full-time, and at one point I was doing school full-time, work full-time, and a part-time job.twitter-work-work-work-ahafgeidbdveisnaidhbejdisb-work-work-573277

I have a habit of trying to stay just under being overwhelmed. Which is why I was shocked when I was faced with the brutal truth that I’m considered to be part of the millennial generation, and I. was. appalled. Every time you hear about millennials it’s made out to be synonymous with entitled, lazy, overly sensitive children. So I was very distraught to be lumped into that category. And it didn’t really make sense to me. I’m not anything special. A majority of the people I know my age are very hard workers, and like me, have worked or do work multiple jobs. I think we should split up this millennial category a bit. Because I get around a younger 20 something and I don’t feel many similarities between our two upbringings or lifestyles. But that’s neither here nor there.courtesy-of-7

My point is, I’ve always felt very put together and like I had my shit on track. But something has happened the last couple months since turning twenty eight. I’ve started to really feel more clarity in who I am as a person, my values, what I stand for and believe in, who I want to be and where I want to go. And it makes me realize that younger me was just basically playing life and going through the motions. I was getting a college degree because I wanted to make a liveable wage, I wanted to feel accomplished and successful. I did what felt right at the time. I was getting a degree to be a teacher. And at the time it felt right, or at least I thought it did. Maybe getting a business degree or a journalism degree would’ve felt right too. I probably should have explored my options more because now I have a three degrees and three teaching certifications and have no interest in entering a classroom again. Buuuuutttt I have those pretty student loans to remind me that I paid a lot of money for a piece of paper with my name and and a sticker on it. Hmmmm. Maybe I am a millennial.

I make it rain on my loan holders.

One degree wasn’t enough though, because even when I started teaching and I thought, maybe I don’t want to teach forever, I continued on to get my master’s degree in school counseling. And my how those student loans very quickly skyrocketed when paying for master’s levels courses. But I didn’t think about it, because I wanted that larger, more impressive piece of paper. And now I have it! And it’s framed, and sitting in a box right now, because I refuse to fully decorate a house I will only be living in for a few months. And I also don’t think it’s fair, or wise, or probably even realistic to find a job as a school counselor when I’ll be moving in a few months.

Even if we weren’t going to be moving soon, I still feel I’ve found a better connection with writing. And while doing research for a few posts this week, I came across another blogger who wrote about being intentional with her use of social media this year. And it really spoke to me, because I feel like intentional is exactly how I see myself now. I don’t want to just go through the motions, I don’t want to survive through the week to live on the weekends. I want to be intentional in a variety of aspects throughout my life. So what does intentional look like for me now?

  1. Career– I’ve always been very job-oriented, and career-driven. And I don’t necessarily want to change that, but I’m definitely pursuing it in a different way. I have this obsession with finishing things that I start. And I think that’s why I have a masters in education. I started my degree in education and by golly I was going to go all the way come hell or high water! And I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to be intentional with my career choices that fulfill me professionally, personally, and can make an impact in others. And while the idealist me would like to say-no matter what the compensation is, the realist me says-you’ve got bills to pay (thanks student loans). So I need to make a way for this writing gig to pay. Writing has connected with me in a way that teaching never will, so my pursuit from here will be taking my writing and finding a way to pay the bills with it. Intentionally step out of my comfort zone of banking, or teaching, or school counseling and truly set my sights on what I want to do. Oh fuck, it’s intimidating. Eh, I swear too much to be surrounded by kids anyways. f6e57fd72fcbf51feff9e60fe0d95184
  2. Social Media– I check social media a god awful amount. Sometimes I feel like my eyes are crossing from staring at a tiny screen. Anyone else scroll through their newsfeed until they have seen every new post, just to refresh so you can see the new ones that rolled in while you were scrolling? I’m going to be much more intentional with my social media usage going forward. Not to cast a dark shadow on the big bad demon of social media, it’s just, I can probably be doing something much more productive with my time. So I’m going to limit my social media usage to two times a day, with a time limit on how long I’ll be catching up. To make this work, I’m going to get rid of all those useless pages I currently follow- Do I really need to like Walmart’s page, or Dominos? No. So this way I truly can focus on staying connected with family and friends. courtesy-of-8
  3. Diet and Exercise– So I started this at the beginning of the year and I’m going to continue it, because even after only two weeks of healthy eating and exercise, I already feel a thousand times better! I’m going to be intentional about what I am eating. In case you didn’t know processed food is crap and really bad for you. So let’s try to stick to lean meats, fruits and vegetables as best as we can, k? K. And exercise. I’m finally getting my exercise regimen into a schedule that works for me. I’ll be sharing more about it on Friday’s post. 0e7c931b14166d183ec643e942a37914
  4. Free time– This is something I need to work on. I want to be more intentional with how I spend my free time. It ties in with the social media piece though. Currently all my free time is spent scrolling through Facebook or Instagram; however, with limiting my time with these apps, I’m going to finally allow myself the time to do some of the things I tell the strangers I do. You know how your dentist or someone will ask you what are your hobbies or what do you like to do? Normally I have no idea how to answer this, because who has hobbies anymore? It’s sad. I’ve gotten so tied to my phone, I’m such a liar when I finally spew out reading or knitting or some other super cool hobby that I have. Oh you don’t think knitting is cool? Psh. Wrong. But I haven’t knitted in probably years! So bye bye Facebook, and hello knitting needles! Or the books that just became available from the library on my kindle. Or how about all that traveling I claim I want to do? Let’s do that instead! So sorry Netflix, but I’m about to get all bookish and artsy AF. tumblr_ndannigsdv1qcy5a2o1_5001
  5. Marriage– My husband is about to become super busy with flight school, but right now we have some down-time while he waits to class up for part of his training. So rather than scrolling through Facebook, I’m going to instead be intentional with spending time with him while I can, doing all the things we both love, him outdoorsy stuff, me traveling and experiences. We cute.untitled-2524

This ended up being a longer post than I originally intended. And it almost feels like all those New Years Resolutions people set. New Year, New Me! Hopefully you’re still with me. Of course you are! If you weren’t you’d miss out on this awesome picture of my cat:img_7282

But seriously, intentional. Intentionality. Intentionalism. Let’s be a little bit more purposeful about how we choose to spend our time. Do you feel like you’re just going through the motions?

“Do not stay in a mistake because you’ve spent a lot of time or money making it.”

I’ll say it again:courtesy-of-9

And if you find yourself hitting your late twenties, or thirties and you realize you don’t want the same things you did when you were 18 or 20. Don’t be afraid to change. Yes it’s important to be responsible, I’m not saying drop the ball on your family and stop paying your bills. But don’t be afraid to change because it will be hard. Fuck yeah it’ll be hard. That’s what makes it worth it.

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Five Things I had to Give up as a Military Spouse


Sometimes the military life is romanticized and sometimes it gets a really bad rap. To be honest, it’s a little bit of both. Do the men look really sexy in uniform? Yes. Is it fun to get all dolled up for a military ball? Why yes, yes it is. How about those homecoming videos after deployments, is there any other feeling like it in the world? Nope! Ok, I get it. It’s romantic. Speaking of uniforms, I claim the one on the left… and sorry, the one on the right is taken too!:courtesy-of

Now what about the bad stuff? How about that lack of communication during training or deployments. Yeah that’s not fun. Or moving every few years or less? Moving is THE worst thing ever. Do you really not get to pick where you’re going to live or if you can take a vacation for summer break? Yeah, no. Alright. I get it. Doesn’t sound like a good time to many.

Let’s be real. You have to give up some things when you become a military spouse. It’s not all candy and roses and fancy balls, there’s also sacrifice and there are challenges mixed in. It’s one helluva ride, and this is what I had to give up:

  1. My Job- I had to give up my job because unfortunately it was a position very specific to the state we lived in. I was a lead facilitator for the Delaware Readiness Teams. This meant I worked with organizing and managing schools and community groups in Delaware towards improving early learning in their communities. Not exactly something that all states have. So even though my job could not be transferred, I have a pretty killer résumé and can use those skills to find work in my career field in our new location. There are so many resources available to military spouses, and even though it isn’t a cakewalk, it’s more than possible to continue your career as a military spouse. Check out this super sweet infographic, I’ll be sharing more about it in a future post:career-hacks
  2. My Home- I have lived my whole life in the same county in Delaware. I was pretty comfortable living less than two miles from my sister, twenty minutes from my brother, and thirty minutes from my best friends. I knew once we were fully immersed in the military life it would not stay that way, but I was super excited for the adventure. So put on your travel britches and get ready to move, because home is now wherever the military leads you! Do not fret! We are extremely lucky to live at the time we do with all the opportunities for communication, so you can still stay in touch with your families back “home”. There are some downsides, like you won’t make it to every birthday, holiday, dance recital or baseball game, but it makes the times when you are reunited, that much sweeter. courtesy-of-2
  3. My addiction to planning- Lawd how I love to plan! I have so many spreadsheets and calendars and lists I’ve made-beginning from the time I could write, through high school, college, when planning my wedding, my sister’s wedding, and basically every day of my life. Well…. the military likes to look at your plans and chuckle and then do what needs to be done, even if it doesn’t fit in with your plans. So I had to take a moment and put into check my desire to plan out multiple vacations a year, with itineraries, and reservations, and skipping the travel insurance. But I heard a great tip from a senior spouse at a group meeting I attended last week. She said, she has learned to plan her life with the assumption that her husband will not be there, so when he is able to be there, it’s a wonderful addition. This eliminates being disappointed, and it also eliminates putting your own life on hold and constantly waiting to pursue some of the things you want to do. Does this mean your significant other is never going to be there? Absolutely not. But there will be times when they will be gone, and depending on their job, some more than other. Now obviously this doesn’t apply to every situation, but I think this is a good mentality and “plan” to have. 4bd35ca970677125a92c873c1b7bdef0
  4. Clutter- Being in the military means moving. They’re basically synonymous. So unless you like to move a lot of stuff every couple of years, or less if you’re in flight school like we are, it’s time to PURGE the clutter. I downsized a lot when my husband was at Officer Candidate School in preparation for our move. We had lived in the same house for 3 years (a long time for us) and had accumulated crap. So I held 5 yard sales over the summer and we still ended up donating about 20 boxes of junk…. I mean quality second-hand items, to the Purple Heart Society. I like them because they’ll come get your… quality second-hand items. And then we moved, and I’ve identified an additional 10 boxes of crap I’m going to get rid of. Anyone need some throw pillows or kitchen glasses?courtesy-of-3
  5. Comfort zone- When you live in one place for an extended period of time, you get very comfortable. You have your schedule and your habits, your friends, family, and coworkers. You have your go-to restaurants, you know where everything is in your grocery store, and you know which gas station has the cheapest gas. These are all things you need to relearn every time you move. Your comfort zone is more than just having to make new friends. You’re basically relearning how to live your life. It’s tough, but it’s also exciting, because when you finally find your favorite bread or ice cream, it’s such a relief! And even better when you discover a NEW favorite bread or ice cream that your old location didn’t have! It’s the little things. Learn to embrace the little things. why-ridiculously-photo-genetic-frog-is-so-happy-19048

I hope this didn’t come across as negative, because I absolutely love my life as a military spouse and you will too. The morale of the story is to be flexible. Be resilient. You can try super hard to cling to all the things that came so easy when you lived back home. Or you can embrace the life you now GET to live! You GET to meet so many diverse people from different parts of the world. You GET to make an impact in different communities! You GET to be with the love of your life as you build an amazing and passion-filled life together. One set of orders at a time.

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Eat food. Lose weight. A Recipe for Weight loss

this-is-me-eating-food-and-still-losing-weightIt’s a new year, and a lot of people start thinking about their health and make a resolution to lose weight or improve their fitness. Along with all of these “New Year, New Me” pals, are the critics. The ones with their negative nancy comments about new, fat people at the gym, or how it’ll only last for a couple weeks before it’s back to old habits. To these people, I say, how dare you? Get off your high horse and celebrate that someone has good intentions, or is taking steps to be a healthier, happier them. And I’d like to wrap it up with a big, you can fuck off. Who gives two figs if they’re only doing it because it’s a new year. And to those of you who made your resolutions and are making a commitment to do whatever it is you want to do, you’ve got this and you’re going to prove all the skeptics wrong! Allow me to not only join you, but help.

I’ve talked about the five steps I took to losing 40 lbs over the summer. You can read about it here. I also embellished on the importance of tracking your weightloss with a super handy FREE Spreadsheet here. Now let’s chat about food.

Lawd how I love the food. And it took some getting use to, but I found some really awesome ways to still enjoy my food, but lose weight at the same time.

  1. Plan. Plan. Plan. Those who fail to plan are planning to fail. So what was super helpful to me over the summer, and again over the past two weeks I’ve been back on the wagon, is planning my food for the week ahead of time. Every meal. Every snack. That way two things happen: I’m never hungry, and I don’t fly by the seat of my pants and end up eating something fattening and unhealthy, but convenient. Here is my schedule and you can download it FO’ FREE HERE! and then customize it to you, because you might not want to eat a quest bar everyday like me. screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-6-40-01-pm
  2. Don’t go hungry. Did I mention I’m never hungry? I mean it. I stick to a schedule and even if I’m not hungry, I eat, so that way I don’t GET hungry. And I lost weight. I lose weight. Present tense, because I’m back on the wagon. I’ve learned that if I let myself get hungry, then I’m much more likely to grab whatever is convenient or to overeat at my next meal. So while it may seem unwise to eat when you’re not really hungry, follow the plan.
  3. The same, but for less. This became like a game for me. I wanted to still eat some of the yummy foods I love, but make healthier versions of them. Like pizza. I LOVE pizza. Instead of getting it from a restaurant or falling back on the old Red Baron, I started to make it myself. I’ve mentioned before that I follow weight watchers. So I went all crazy lady at the grocery store scanning items into my app to see which ingredients I could find for lesser points. So I went from having one slice of pizza from Papa John’s for 11 points, to an entire pizza for 12 points. I call that WINNING!www-listfiveblog-com
  4. Substitutions. My second love is ice cream. Actually ice cream is my first love, pizza is the side chick. So I again scanned every item in the freezer section to find the lowest point ice cream. The answer is Arctic Zero. And then I moved and was able to get Halo Top in my life. And I will. Never. Be. The. Same. Again. Halo Top reigns supreme. Seriously. Find it at a store near you.www-listfiveblog-com-2
  5. Let it go. There were some things that unfortunately just could not be replaced though. And I had to ask myself. Is this really worth it? Is this brownie, or cheeseburger, or snickers bar really worth all the downsides of what fat feels like? More often than not, the answer was no. So I let it go. Forever. And I didn’t miss it then. And I don’t miss it now. Some things you just have to let go.www-listfiveblog-com-3

Food is amazing. Healthy food is even more amazing. I seriously feel a thousand times better when I stick to my plan and eat the non-processed, real food, over the garbage that I momentarily think the taste will be worth the heartburn, sluggishness, and fat that accumulates on my stomach, ass and thighs. I’m seriously so excited to see where I will be in a few months time. And I’m going to do it without sacrificing my love for the food.

Update on my current weightloss:

Week 1: I lost 5.6 lbs. I contribute this big loss mostly to the over drinking of fireball, wine, and strawberry-ritas that happened on New Years. But I also stuck to my eating plan all 7 days and getting in over 12,000 steps 4/7 days. This was done through running and dance fitness at home.

Week two: I lost 1.4 lbs. I get to put my money where my mouth is this week. Despite not losing as much as I would have liked, I’m not going to let it get me down. I stuck to my eating plan all 7 days, and I need to work on getting in more steps and workouts if I want to improve my fitness. I worked out 5/7 days. This was done through running and dance fitness and I finally added in swimming too.

This is me looking disheveled after a few workouts.

The next before and after pic will make the bitches go even more wild than the first one did.

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