Every first and third Saturday of the month Amazon lets the public tour inside the spheres and on this particular trip, the Corps flower was ready to bloom! I will admit, I am jealous of… More
Being healthy is to overall focus on myself for once. After going a few months at work eating my lunch at my desk almost everyday or having lunch cut short, taking my work home every night and weekends at the expense of my sanity. No wonder at the beginning of March I was knocked out by a cold. While taking a sick day, I realized as I went in and out of sleeping, I needed to stop feeling guilty for taking care of myself.
I have this habit of trying to be everything and doing everything for everyone. Maybe it has to do with being a women, or the competitiveness of society, or just social media making me feel like crap. Either way it seems like an endless cycle of trying to be everything; perfect friend/girlfriend/employee/daughter/Christian, staying busy all the time, staying fit, eating healthy, trying not to loose your sh!t at small things and large things, keeping a smile on your face, etc….the list goes on. In this modern society we have created a mindset that if we are not doing what needs to be done and being productive 100%, that we are being selfish, lazy, or worst, weak. It’s an unhealthy mindset which leads to burn out, depression, anxiety and host of other issues. Not to mention how tiring it all has become.
It has been tiring to the point of exhaustion-I’m exhausted. Isn’t it tiring trying to be perfect all the time? Exhausted trying to be everything without taking a break to focus on ourselves and our mental health.
For years I swept my feelings and issues under the rug, ignoring them and replacing them with unhealthy copping mechanisms. Always turned out miserable, feeling horrible all the time and left as a hallow out shell. After reading Becca Risa Luna’s post on this very topic, her advice was simple, taking care of yourself is work that needs to be done too. Work which you do not sweep feelings, issues, and health under the rug just to keep others happy or to be perfect.
A part of being healthy is to commit to being healthy mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Just by realizing this, you are more capable than you give yourself credit for is a part of taking care of one’s self. Giving yourself permission to take a break for as long as you need, to not control everything around you, to set limits, boundaries, and just live in the moment doing what makes you feel nurtured. Give yourself credit for just being, for living, and for once taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is work needing to be done too. You don’t need to be everything to everyone, you just need to be you. There is nothing selfish or lazy about needing to be yourself and taking care of yourself in the process. No need to be perfect for everyone.
As I continue into the next month, I’m still reminding myself this simple basic rule; taking care of yourself is work needing to be done too. Giving myself credit for being, for living, and taking care of myself at times first. Even if it is to simply read a novel while hiding from the world for a day or two.
Now with April showers being May flowers, I thought it would be time to punch out this post about the plants I have acquired for the last few years. Most have been brought home to celebrate a milestone in life (like a bouquet of flowers) or others have been pass down from a family member through propagation from the original plant. A few weeks ago I started noticing every time I walk by a co worker’s desk, I wanted to bring home another plant. You can say I’m becoming a crazy plant lady instead of a crazy cat lady!
Rubber Fig Plant (ficus “Burgundy” elastica):
I recently brought this plant home after wanting a baby rubber plant for so long. I would see these beautiful plants every where on Pinterest, but did not want to buy a fake one at Target. Back in January while shopping in Trader Joe’s I saw one in the floral department and decided right there the plant was coming home (screw the bagged lettuce!). Since January the plant has taken off with averaging new leaves twice every two weeks. The plant is going to be tree in no time!
I bought this plant to mark my second time graduating from college last spring. This plant has given me trouble from the beginning and at one point it nearly died. I has not bloomed since the day I brought it home, but I have been trying to force bloom it for a few weeks with fertilizer. Will see! The flowers are a range of light pink-purple to deep rich pink-purple. Some are white as well.
Jade Plant (arassula ovata) & Succulents:
The jade plant was too good to pass up when I first saw it. Since then it has exploded in growth near the window I have put it. Jade plants are succulents which may explain why I can go a few days with dry soil without much complaint. The other succulents were a prize at a friend’s baby shower a few years ago. One succulent created a few more after propagation, thus there are many.
African Violet (saintpaulia):
A reminder of Tanzania for me. Even thou these do not grow in that part of Africa, the blooms on the plant remind me of Tanzinite.
Easter Lilies (Lilium longiflorum) & Peace Lilies (spathiphyllum):
The peace lily was inherited from my Grandmother when she was moving house. This one in particular has been re-potted a few times since, and has now bloomed more than twice a year. At one point it almost died when the roots no longer had enough soil to cover them in the pot! As for the Easter Lily, this was another plant from Trader Joe’s. Around Easter these lilies bloom into a long trumpet looking flower signaling rebirth. This year I had to get one.
Lucky Bamboo (Draccens bravnii):
My mother gave me this plant as a house warming gift for my first apartment. Since then it has thrived and moved from one location to another without much complaint. Mine is not planted in soil, but freely standing between rocks in a bowl full of water. I have found the plant is much happy being in a bowl of water and near as much natural light as possible.
Wandering Jew (tradescantia zebrina) & Peperonia Radiator:
I saw these plants on the clearance rack at Home Depot and with TLC, they are a lot more healthy. The Wandering Jew plant since has started taking over the window ledge and the Radiator Peperonia’s leaves no longer looks as if an animal took a bite out of them.
Poinsettia (euphorbia pulcherrima) & Cuban Oraguno (plectranthus amboinicus):
This little plant was left over from the Christmas decorations from work. I brought it home after the company I work for closed for the holiday break. Since this little plant has stayed alive, and even started producing new leaves which are not red, but a dark green. My guess this little poinsettia will be still alive come next Christmas. The Cuban oragano plant is a propagation from another plant inherited from a family member. I has shared it’s space with many other herb plants over the years, and keeps growing.
But wait… you may have noticed I have plants that are poisons to cats. Yep I have a cat living with these plants. As a cat owner I am perfectly aware of how deadly a few of these plants are when a cat ingests them or breaths the pollen in. I take special care when it come to having plants that pose a risk. The lilies are always in a location where the cat cannot interact with them. As for the others, Maddie kitty does not have a habit of eating, chewing, or rubbing herself on the plant leaves of any of the above plants. Still, When it comes with tropical indoor plants, you really need to gauge how the cat interacts with the plants on a daily bases to know if there will be a problem.
Where I Buy:
- Trader Joe’s Stores
- Home Depot
- Sky Nursery (Shoreline WA)
I’m not done yet with collecting more plants. I have a list of plants I’m looking to add to the indoor collection. I would like a prayer plant, dwarf date palm, banana tree (Musa oriana),and monstera deliciosa ( cottage cheese plant). Hopefully by then I will have a house roomy enough for the cheese plant to grow and the rubber plant!
Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.
Henry David Thoreau
Lent began in the month of March and for forty days before Easter (April) it all about finding the balance between exercise and being healthy. Which would have been lovely if I did not start the season of Lent off sick! In the spirit of being healthy, well… some times the cold virus finds you, and takes you down for a few days. I am thankful every year I do not get the flu virus and with being vaccinated every year, this is the reason why I bounce back from a cold as well. It meant having to put my 5k training plan on the back burner for a week and half to make sure I was healthy enough to start back on it.
This month had been one of those going from two extremes; stress and peace. After enduring one extreme after another in the month of February, March started out with an extreme of snow still falling, to ending with spring sun. Gave the whole meaning of March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. Also another month of food with St. Patrick’s day full of the most unhealthy versions of Irish food and cheap green beer at restaurants. I some how made it through this month. Staying ninety days committed to making healthy choices is not a sprint, but a marathon at times. So here is the questions and answers to how the March- 90 days in all went down.
How Was I Successful?
With spring coming early in March, there were days when the sun was shinning and getting outside for a few hours helped with getting in the necessary exercise needed. With starting to train for my 5k this July, I started to go walking at least a few times a week after work.
Real authentic Irish food was made and consumed on St. Partick’s day instead the over hyped unhealthy food people associate the day with. This year I decided to make an Irish boxy with brown gravy to make my English Great-Nana proud, and Irish soda bread made with Guinness. May come across not even close to Whole30, but the ingredients are as wholesome as it get.
What Went So Well?
The fact there was a stretch of days of sunny warm weather in Seattle right before spring. After a few days of snow showers coming down, and the other crazy weather happening, just have a warm sunny day helped in getting outside for a few hours. With days becoming more spring like later in the month, the farm stands along the road started popping up selling fresh produce. Having a farm stand on my way to work and back home helped with those days when you need something healthy, but don’t want to drive to the grocery store.
What Didn’t Go So Well?
As I mentioned above, getting sick at the beginning of the month did not go so well. Getting older being struck down for a few days with a cold or flu just takes a whole lot out of you. Research as suggested when someone starts changing some of their unhealthy eating habits and looses weight, the immune system
I started to find myself keeping up with Whole30 plan slipping. When I came down with a cold, all I wanted was garlic bread, orange juice, and chicken noodle soup. Each of those are not completely Whole30 compliant, and feeling unwell I did not care! This I did not care went on for two weeks where I was fasting by not eating breakfast or lunch in order to speed up my weight loss. Great if you have a fast metabolism, but as we age or metabolism slows down.
What Can I do Differently?
Figure out how to balance all the stress happening all of sudden from work, and life. I am known to be a stress eater, so when times of stress happen it can derail me fast. With stress comes unhealthy sleeping habits and putting your immune system at risk of catching the latest virus circulating around. I realized taking my work home every night is not a solution to the mass amount of work needing to be done, and I need to set boundaries for myself to follow through on. With the days becoming longer and sunny, I should take a real lunch break and get outside for awhile instead of sitting eating my lunch at my desk while doing work.
I believe this could be what I do differently next month. Stop stressing over not getting everything done in one day, and set boundaries in eating away from my desk. My mental health and sanity will thank me later for doing this.
What Motivates Me?
After the bought of sickness from a cold spreading around work, I decided to go through all my workout cloths and start fresh again. During a store closing sale, I picked up new workout bottoms to start training for my 5k run in July. Just putting these bottoms on gave the motivation to get out there an kick some butt! With three months to go before running 3.1 mile around the T-Mobile Park for a non-profit, and the fact summer is fast approaching, I need to be fit for all the hikes I want to take.
How Do I Feel?
I’m feeling the spring fever of a fresh start again. I noticed a little of weight has come off this past thirty days, but not nearly as much as last month. I feel better after being knocked down for a few days by a cold, and now with sun coming out, my goal of healthy habits started to really ramp up.
I Give Myself 4/5 Stars
Spring has finally arrived here in Seattle! As the cherry trees blossoms awash the area in whitish-pinkish color, there are many signs of spring has finally here! The tulips are starting to come out of their slumber, and the yellow heads of daffodils are shining brightly through the gray days of spring. Finally after a roller coaster ride of a winter season, spring has come.
While large crowds crammed themselves into the University of Washington’s quad full of cherry trees, the Washington Park Arboretum and the Japanese Garden’s cherry trees where in bloom minus the large crowds. For four hours I walked the winding paths through the different gardens soaking in the spring sunshine with the cherry trees and dogwood trees in full bloom.
Unexpected find in the rhododendron garden! These beauties are Camellias. They are a broad leaf evergreen shrub with pink, white and red large showy flowers. I want to have these in my garden one day!
Photography done on a Samsung Galaxy S9 phone.
February is a short month, but judging by all the craziness happening in the short twenty-eight days, it seemed to drag on longer than expected. No, it was not getting bored with Whole30 meals, but the weather here in Seattle. What made February a crazy month was the
two three winter snow storms that hounded the Seattle area. If you saw the post on the snowpocalypse you would understand why it was called an apocalypse. Sticking to Whole30 is hard when you really want to indulge in hot chocolate- real creamy hot chocolate- without falling off the wagon. Thank goodness someone figured out how to make hot chocolate Whole30 compliant. Other than shoveling snow constantly (hey exercise!), February was a month of dodging all that Valentines Days candy on sale or at work (and girl scout cookies too, ugh double whammy!). I somehow made it through without having the damn sugar dragon going on all-out war. Here is a recap of what commit to being healthy!
After all the snow shoveling I should have lost some weight. After stepping back on the scale after another thirty days, I had managed to loose 4.5lbs! Some of it had to do with starting to train for a 5k in July. Right now I have managed to average 10lb weight loss in two months.
How Was I Successful?
Have you ever struggled to drink enough water? I have! I came across an Instagram story by Brittney Aldean (Jason Aldean’s wife) talking about how she struggled with drinking enough water during her pregnancy. She recommended Liquid I.V. electrolyte drink mix as a way for the body to get more hydrated. Being the scientist I am, I did a little research and tried the stuff out for a whole week. I found it did help keep me hydrated during the day (science lab air can be very drying during the winter months) and did help in drinking an equivalent of three glasses with a single packet. The difference I found with Liquid I.V. does not taste like a sports drink, but more towards what Pedialyte taste like. After a month drinking the stuff I started to make a habit of drinking more water or tea to reach the eight glasses a day of water.
What Didn’t Go So Well?
All those Valentines Day candies on sale because of the snow storm. Yep, almost too a nose dives into a bowl of Hersey’s kisses and hugs because I need a hug after driving in the winter storms.
Also I noticed (TMI alert) I’m passing gas more frequently (not the stinky stuff) then before. This could be a side effect of my gut health being restored back to normal working order, and the rest of my body is still trying to catch up with the new changes. Who knows!
What Can I Do Differently?
One thing I could do differently is not stress about all the things I cannot eat! There has been times where the stress went through the roof when trying to find something to eat that was Whole30 compliant. I have to remember this is elimination diet of foods that are potential issues, and not eliminate natural flavor of the foods itself.
How Do I Feeling?
Feeling like I am slowly managing the sugar dragon, and making a dent into making a habit of eating healthy clean food.
What Motivates Me?
I signed up for my first 5k run in a few years for July. Now $40 into this, I might as well get serious on being committed to being healthy if I want to run majority of this race.
I Give Myself 3/5 Stars
KonMari method has been making the rounds in the first months of 2019. Everywhere I turn another person is telling me how the Netflix show starring Marie Kondo has changed their life. I would like to call myself an organized person. Even my desk and lab bench at work are organized in an OCD way. Yet when watching the show I realized what I thought organized stuff was really just organizing chaos into bins. The Bowl Full of Lemons organization method was no longer working anymore! But my desire for the organization did not begin after watching Netflix, it began after a whirlwind summer and college graduation this past year.
With every new stage/level/etc in life, there is some degree of needing to purge, organize and update one’s life. The whole process took more than a weekend, but months as I did a deep cleaning of both my physical space and mental space.
Konmari The Shit Out Of The House:
Starting from the attic to the basement was the approach and one room at a time. Since I was unemployed for two of the months, I had time to take one room and deep cleaned the area out. One room I do not hear people talk about in the KonMari method is the attic or basement. Cleaning out the attic was a walk down memory lane.
I am a book nerd by default and the number of books I have acquired over the years is a testament to this. When in college a second time, I rented most of my textbooks instead of buying them. This helped in keeping the cost down and not being stuck with outdated textbooks. Still, there were a lot of books to purge I no longer found interesting, outgrew and no longer relevant to my life. Most of the book went to second-hand booksellers, Goodwill, and Amazon Market Place. I made rougly $30 selling the books!
Organizing filing cabinet is going down the proverbial black hole. Clearing out old paper work from years ago and shredding them takes time. One organizational tip I have employed in the past is using a manila envelope to hold all my tax documents and accompaned filing paperwork together. Each envelope roughly with the tax year (came in handy during college FASA submissions) and when you need to reference a year, you just pull out the envelope.
Moving to other areas of the home was cleaning out old tattered kitchen towels, bath towels, nasty Tupperware containers, broken electronics, chargers without a mate, all the Bath and Body free samples, and just throwing stuff out no longer being used. Even the contents of the car had to pass does it spark joy test or things just had to go.
Cleaning Out The Closet
After three half years of being a poor college student, I noticed my clothing looked old tired, ratty, and outright inappropriate for career clothing. Even the work clothes I use to wear before college looked dated and age-inappropriate. Purging my closet started with doing all the laundry, then putting all my clothes in a pile and sorted them out. First going through sorting out all clothes with holes, rips, and stains-trashed. Then started sorting clothing by type, and then started getting to nitty gritty of the Konmari method. By the time I had finished the process, it came apparent I needed to do a complete wardrobe overhaul for the next stages of life. Over the months I have slowly rebuilt my wardrobe both for work and non-work items.
Little by little bags full of clothing made its way to the local Goodwill, and a few items in good condition went to friends or family. The whole purging and organizing my closet gave insight into how much clothing came from fast fashion brands where low quality clothing fell a part fast. Since the purging I have been spending a little more on clothing I buy for the quality of the item, and taking much better care of the clothing I have.
Saying Buh-Bye: Decluttering Relationships
At this point in my life, if I put all the effort in a friendship or relationship and it does not seem like the other person shares the same values, morels, or not putting in the effort, it wont work out. I no longer hold on to relationships just because. Toxic relationships do not spark joy, but take joy. I read another fellow blogger’s take on KonMari method to toxic relationships, their method is to throw everything onto a pile, every man, every financial burden, every negative person influencing your vibe or taking up unnecessary space or time. Just like physical objects, go piece by piece asking yourself “does this spark joy? Do I need this in my future?” This meant taking the physical things given in the relationship I had been holding on to and letting them go. Not only purging the physical things, but also the mental and spiritual things cluttering my life due to those relationships.
Purging & Balancing Social Media
How do you KonMari method the shit out of your social media? Being honest with yourself on what you want in social media expereince. I purged a few things on this blog. Archiving old posts, cleaning up old posts, updating popular post for the most updated information. Instagram feed needed to be purged of a few followers (I realized some “followers” are porn accounts! Does anyone have/had this problem? Even when your is is private?) and unfollowed a few accounts I no longer want to see anymore. Cleaning up Pinterest boards for better organization of pins. I love the feature of having subcatagories within a board to further organize pins into. Lately have been disenchanted with Facebook. Purging or unfollow people I no longer keep in contact with (very old co-workers) or have not met in real life (yep have a few of those).
The Konmari process did not take a weekend to do, but a few months. The best advice for sparking joy is to trust the process. Trust your own process in decluttering your life, your space, and the people you no longer need that once upon a time brought you joy, but is now taking up space. Konmari method is about trusting the process in cleaning out to be healthy again.