Travel

Texas Car Camping Part 3

I’ve fallen in love… and not with my husband.

I have found a new love in car camping and hiking. The simplicity of the experience and freedom it allows me is everything I didn’t know I was missing.

I told you how I prepared for my trip in my post Solo Car Camping. I told you about the first night in my post Texas Car Camping and my second day in my post Texas Car Camping Part Two. Now I’ll detail my third and final day of my weekend away.

As the sun began to rise Saturday morning I was feeling all sorts of things.

  1. I felt a stiffness in my shoulder that I wasn’t sure if it came from sleeping on it wrong or if it was from climbing in and out of the cave the previous day.
  2. I felt the four blisters on my right foot and the one on my left from hiking 13 miles in new shoes.
  3. I felt excited to move on to Enchanted Rock State Nature Area where I would hike to the summit of a massive pink granite dome.
  4. I felt a little gross and dirty from not showering for a few days. Thank goodness for dry shampoo and baby wipes.
  5. I felt disappointed this would be my last day of my adventure and I would have to return to work on Monday.

All of these feelings energized me for the day ahead. I hit the road by 7:45am to drive the 1.25 hours to my destination. I arrived 30 minutes after their opening time of 8:30 to this sight: About 50 cars lined up on the side of the road trying to enter the park. I underestimated the number of people who would be interested in hiking and this fantastic natural location so early in the morning. Watching every car briefly stop to talk to the park rangers lined up at the entrance only to either continue on down the road or u-turn and head in the opposite direction, I finally got to the front of the line. They already reached their max capacity for the morning, but I was offered a voucher that guaranteed admittance at 1pm when they reopened.

With a little over 3 hours to kill, I fortunately had many options to occupy my time before I would be able to return to the park. I decided to travel the 17 miles to Fredericksburg, TX. What a fantastic town! This destination is known for its German immigrant culture mixed with Texas pride. There are tons of shops, restaurants, wineries and entertainment to keep you occupied for days! The town was bursting with activity and tourists participating in egg hunts, shopping and sight seeing since it was Easter weekend.

I’m not really much for large crowds or spending money so I did some quick research and found a nearby wildflower farm that was free to visit. Sign me up! Wildseed Farms was perfect! You can’t help but admire all the Texas Bluebonnets lining the roads as you travel through Texas, and to have a location with acres of them growing in on place was absolutely gorgeous. They have a shop, winery, an event venue, cafe, and of course the fields. If you’re in the area, you really need to make it a priority to stop.

As the time drew closer to 1pm, it was time to head back to Enchanted Rock.

It was worth the wait.

My intentions were to hike to the top of the dome and then complete a loop around the base of the mountain as well. You can see the trail map here. The climb to the top was tough, but doable. My shoes gripped the granite easily and even a simple tennis shoe would probably do the trick. The views were breathtaking. Nature truly is amazing.

My feet and blisters were not happy though. I laid down and smiled through the pain.

After basking in the sun at the top, I finally decided to make my descent, skipping the longer hike I had planned and headed home.

I don’t think I could have had a better time on this trip. Everything exceeded my expectations. I know there were a few people concerned for my safety, but not once did I feel unsafe. Cold? Yes. But never, unsafe. I really need to get that sleeping bag for next time.

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.

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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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Health

What Fat Feels Like

Fat. Fluffy. Overweight. Obese. Chubby. Thick. Plus size. Chunky. Husky. Plump. The list goes on and on. There is a huge movement right now to eliminate fat shaming and acceptance of everyone’s bodies. And for all the men and ladies out there who are comfortable with their size – you go girls! Work it!14d47176edb9e37d79530d692143a701

I’m super impressed by Ashley Graham’s #beautybeyondsize promotion. It’s 100% true that you do not have to be a certain size to be beautiful or healthy. I am more active and “in shape” than some people who are half my size. And there are people who are larger than me who are healthier than I am. The number on the scale and in your pants does not define you. Health is so much more than numbers. Health is a feeling. Feeling of strength. Feeling of happiness. Feeling of being comfortable in your own body. Feeling of being able to ‘drop it like it’s hot’ and pick it back up again.

There are days when I will be super ok with my appearance, you know how you’ll wake up and just feel thin? You’ll look in the mirror and be like, Hot Damn! Not bad. Not bad at all. Yeah there are those days. But when I was at my heaviest weight, those days were very few and far between. Probably like never actually. This was part of my motivation to finally make some serious lifestyle changes. And those lifestyle changes worked! If you want to know what I did to lose almost 60 pounds you can read about it here.

And here’s that before and after bitches love: img_7273

Even though I wasn’t at my ultimate goal weight or size, I was in better shape than I ever have been in my adult life. And I got a little conceited and unempathetic to people struggling to lose weight. (Don’t virtually punch me in the dick here). I did it, so why couldn’t they? It’s really not that hard. If they would just TRY, they could lose weight. Well then I got the swift kick in the face that I deserved. I gained back 15 pounds. But I’m glad I did and here is why. It knocked me off my high fucking horse and reminded me that being fat is hard and no one chooses it-so stop being a judgmental douche. No one likes that guy. Don’t be that guy.

So if you’ve never been fat. Or you have and you need a reminder of what it’s like: this is what being fat felt like to me:

  1. Hungry- When I was following my weight watchers plan and eating healthy, natural foods, I never felt hungry. You know when I feel hungry? When I don’t have a meal plan and just fly by the seat of my pants. I end up eating junk and then I’m hungry again in a few hours, hell even minutes. Not to mention the more you eat the more your stomach stretches leaving you feeling hungry sooner. So the more you eat, the more often you’re going to feel hungry, leading you to eat more. Talk about a vicious circle. This is not scientifically proven, actually maybe it is, I don’t know, I’m not a doctor or a scientist. This is just what it feels like and it makes sense to me. e06c10956baebbc3983cafec570c7b6f6f9a151450bf65dcae9022e9db8b8fab
  2. Uncomfortable- You’re uncomfortable in your clothes because they’re either too tight, or fit here and then are huge in other places. No brand or style fits right. You’re uncomfortable in a bathing suit because, well because you’re in a bathing suit. You’re uncomfortable naked because your skin is touching your skin, they’re called rolls and they’re a constant reminder that you hate yourself and are never going to eat again- as you scavenge your pantry and refrigerator. You’re uncomfortable sitting because your pants are cutting into your stomach, or you’ve pulled your waistband up over your gut so there’s not a double roll. It’s suuuuuper stylish. You’re uncomfortable standing because while you were sitting your shirt rolled up, your pants shifted down-despite having pulled them up over the gut, so now you have to adjust every article of clothing you’re wearing to try to deceive the eye into a body shape you do not possess. You’re uncomfortable laying down because you have heartburn and indigestion from the shit food you’ve eaten, your fat is creating rolls that aren’t how you look in your mind’s eye, and your boobs are suffocating you if you’re laying too flat. I could go on.
  3. Heartburn- I mentioned the heartburn, but it deserves it’s own number. Everything gives you heartburn. Antacids have become your dessert. Well second dessert after you eat first dessert. 4400239
  4. Out of shape- Oh like you can’t run a mile under 15 minutes? No bitch. Like you can’t walk a mile. You can’t comfortably bend over to tie your shoes or pick something up off the floor. You can’t bend your leg and pull it close enough to paint your toes all at once, you either do a couple toes at a time, or if you let your leg fall to the side to make room for your stomach you can make that shit work. Your feet hurt, and your arms fall asleep if they’re bent for too long because your fat is cutting off the blood flow. 
  5. Tired- Despite having done zero physical activity to warrant being tired, being lethargic breeds more lethargy. It’s like that being hungry cycle. motivation-level-lazy-puppy

It’s not easy being fat. All of these things you endure are exhausting and much harder to deal with than diet and exercise. And I needed that reminder so I can stop making choices that lead to being uncomfortable in my own body, it’s the only one I get. So here is to taking the easy route-making an eating plan, scheduling my exercise and activity, kicking ass and taking names. Because life is hard enough without making it harder on myself by being fat.

Oooooh time to make another list!

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Health

How to lose weight

If you’ve never struggled with your weight-this post is not for you. If you have, welcome fam!

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It’s not about looking hot…. Ok it’s a little about looking hot.

At least that’s what was always my motivation for wanting to lose weight since middle school when I first grew to a size larger than most of the other girls. I always wanted to lose weight, but didn’t really know how to do it. In middle school and high school I had no clue about nutrition or how to safely lose weight so I went to some pretty extreme measures. I remember wishing I could stick with bulimia or anorexia. Those gals had dedication. But alas, forcing myself to vomit required shoving a toothbrush down my throat for about 20 minutes before anything would come up- making my eyes water and bloodshot, and my head throb. I came out of the bathroom looking like I just got back from a 72 hour rager in Vegas. Not exactly subtle. And I think the longest I went without eating was like 14 hours before I ate three packets of ramen noodles-chicken flavor of course- the food of the poverty gods.

Needless to say I wasn’t successful in achieving a healthy weight or body image in middle school or high school, as few do. Take a gander at this hot chick:

Enter my 20’s– still overweight but I’m a little smarter and now am braced with the vast knowledge of my brother, who lost 100 lbs on weight watchers. Between that and his obsessive compulsive research on health and fitness, I finally knew the right way to lose weight. Diet. Exercise. The whole shebang. But knowing and doing successfully are not the same thing. It is during this time period that I yo-yo lost and gained the same 15 pounds.

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Cue the wedding bells! It was after marrying my husband that I then did the opposite of what I always wanted to do (lose weight), instead I gained 50 lbs. Bringing me to the heaviest and unhealthiest I had ever been. I stayed at this weight for about two years. That’s not true, I yo-yo’d the same 20 pounds down and up.

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Finally enough was enough. I took 5 major steps to losing weight so I could be “healthy” (really so I felt like I looked hot).

  1. Weight watchers- I tried counting calories, I tried counting carbs, I tried counting fat. Didn’t work for me long term. Oh it worked for you? Rub it in, asshole. Weight watchers worked for me.
  2. Working out. A LOT.- I had always been pretty active in the past. I played softball and danced in high school. And I did zumba in other weightloss attempts. This time I did everything. I jogged, I weight lifted, I swam, and I did pilates and zumba (It helps with the feeling hot bit I go for)
  3. Water- You know those commercials where some dude quit drinking soda and loses like 15 lbs? Or so and so Sally switched to diet and lost 10 lbs? Fuck you both. I’ve never been a soda drinker so there was no soda to cut out. But I did increase my water intake. Take your weight, divide it in half and drink that in ounces. It’s a lot of fucking water. Especially when you’re fat. 
  4. Weighing in- So this probably isn’t the healthiest bit of my regimen, but I weighed myself everyday. Sometimes multiple times a day. I’m not recommending it. But I think it motivated me a lot. It didn’t cause me to skip meals or starve myself. Actually it helped me to recognize how much your weight can fluctuate in a day, so if I got on the scale in the morning and it wasn’t what I expected, guess what? not the end of the world. 
  5. Refocus- So I started it all to get ‘hot’. All very superficial reasons. But what ended up happening was I fell in love with the health benefits. I didn’t have to pop antacids after every meal. I didn’t wake up with back pain. I didn’t sweat in uncomfortable places due to fat rolls. I know, gross. I had more energy. I felt… strong. All of these things ended up meaning more than looking hot. 

Am I done losing weight now? Not even close. I still have more to go before I’m in a healthy weight range. But from June 2016-August 2016 I lost 40 pounds. I’ll go into more detail about each of these points in later posts, but I was almost 60 pounds less than my heaviest weight. And if the lighting and camera angle is just right-I might even be able to pass for hot.

Here’s a before and after. Bitches love a before and after.

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Just had a mini heart attack because I thought that was a snake behind me. Just a stick.

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