Clothing Sizes are Not Your Friend

Last weekend I took decided to be brave and go on a hunt for new pants. This might seem silly to some, but pants are hard for me. My big (but not big enough) hips and butt, my belly squish and my big (strong, gorgeous) thighs mean that I don’t easily fit most of the pants on the rack. 

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When I was younger and many sizes larger I thought it was because I was just “too big” overall. Choices were limited. But as I’ve shrunk over the years I’ve found that pants are just a b*tch in general. 

My biggest issue is that if I can find jeans that fit my legs, they’re way too big in the waist. If I can manage to squeeze my legs into pants that fit in the waist, the legs end up being so tight they pull the waist and stretch the pants. Either way same uncomfortable problem. 

Anyway, lately I’ve noticed that my pants are a little big and decided to buy some new ones. Unsure whether it was due to two years of stretching fabric and I was still a 12 or if I’d actually lost weight and was something smaller, I went in unsure of my size. 

Naturally I went to the jeans wall in target and got ten pairs of jeans in three different fits and four different sizes. At one point I put on a 12 that was a tiny bit too big and then a 6 that was too short but otherwise almost right. Yeah a 12 and then a 6. Same brand. 

What the hell?

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I could go on and on about how the numeric sizing in women’s clothing doesn’t even make sense and men’s clothing going by measurements if much more useful, but that’s a post for another day. My issue is that, if I can manage to not let a number define my body and if I can avoid the media barrage of impossible bodies, I’m still confronted with total confusion in the dressing room. I’ve grown a serious garden of love flowers to cushion my body but I can only take so much of this bull honkey. 

Eventually I went into a random store in the mall and bought a 29…This number sounded like men’s sizing but unless I’m measuring myself incorrectly, that’s not true. 

So, I ended up buying pants and I like them but bro, what the hell? The fashion industry has got to be stopped with the confusing numbers and the ridiculous sizing. 

Oh and then I went back to the same store a week later to get another pair of the exact same pants and ended up needing a 27…what?

Have any of you had a similar experience or is it just me and my “weird” body over here? Let me know in the comments and, as always, best of luck.

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How To: Batch Cooking

I’m back!*

So a couple of days ago, a friend asked me for advice about batch cooking/meal planning. I’ve been doing it consistently for a while, mostly because it makes for fast lunches when I wake up late and quick dinners when I come home tired, but also because it’s hot as balls in NYC this summer and turning on the stove once a week keeps my teeny apartment stay much cooler.

Seeing as school is starting soon, fall is coming for us, and change is around the corner, it seems a good time to share some of my hard-earned knowledge.

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Am I a professional cook? Absolutely not. Am I an expert of kitchen tools and food quality? Not even a little bit. What I am is a perfectly average cook with an interest in saving time and a propensity to walk away from a cooking session with at least two bandaids. I do not own a zester of any kind and for the last four years I’ve either cooked in the corner of a tiny studio apartment or shared a partially outdoor and entirely oven-less kitchen with a Peruvian family.

So why am I, the oft injured non-expert, writing about batch cooking? Because I can’t be the only one with a lot of interest and almost no skill. If we all read advice from only the experts, we’d start to get worried about our abilities. This one’s for you, average cook with very little time, I raise my box of bandaids to you!

Lessons I Learned While Batch Cooking:

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Have a Plan

Sure this seems obvious, but until you’re splashing boiling water down your pant leg because you have thirty seconds to strain it and oh sh** you should have but the meat in before the greens and is that FIRE, THAT’S FIRE…you don’t understand just how little you can wing it.

This is particularly important in the beginning: planning not just what you want to cook but the order in which you will cook it and a rough timeline is key.

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Mix Up Staples and New Recipes

This took me a while, but especially starting out, you don’t want to have to cook some new and impressive recipe for every meal. That’s 21 new recipes.

I don’t know about you but around 20% of the new recipes I try are sub-par. 20% of 21 is more than four meals. Four meals that you have to box up and eat later, knowing they aren’t going to be very delicious.

Avoid this by choosing 1-2 new recipes for the week and sticking to what you know for the rest. It’s also important to mix it up, cooking some full meals (ex: Beef Curry on Rice, Cracklin’ Chicken) and some things that can be mixed with other things (ex: boiled carrots, vegetable mix**).

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Ask For Help/Take a Damn Break

Cooking food for the entire week is not a simple task. While I’ve gotten better at it, almost every week I end up either hurting myself or getting tired doing it. Boyfriend has gotten very good at stepping in about five minutes before I hit this wall to help me finish up and clean the kitchen.

If you don’t have someone right there to help you, consider planning in a place to take a break and sit down with a glass of wine for twenty minutes. This does not make you weak, it makes you smart and less likely to injure yourself.

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Choose smarts, not the emergency room.

 

I hope these tips help in your future kitchen adventures and may the odds be ever in your flavor (Yeah).

Best of luck!

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*At this point, I’d like to say that I’m going to pick up the blog, cradle it in my arms, and rekindle my loving relationship with it, I would really like to say that. But I don’t want to lie to you. I’m starting the year of my life where grad school and full time work as an NYC public school teacher intersect and I’m still trying to figure out how to fit eating and sleeping in. But right now, I have a vacation and I’m going to blog, because even in the darkest times, something something, idk I’ll write when I can. But I do love you, you perfect cupcakes and I appreciate you reading the blog at all.

** Pre-cooked vegetables make for really fast omelets in the morning.

How To-

Let’s Talk About Motherhood

I am a great many things.

Some things I’m proud of: being a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, a graduate fellow, a teacher, a blogger. Some things I’m less proud of: being a tooth grinder, fighting a sometimes epically failing battle with Anxiety and IBS, my propensity to burn food when cooking.

I am a lot of things and I plan to do and learn and become many more things in my lifetime. One thing I’d never really considered an option or a desire in my life was being someone’s mom. Until two days ago.

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I was sitting in a lecture about the connection between the Harlem Renaissance and the Black Lives Matter movement. Surrounded by in the very intellectual, my uterus whispered in my ear yeah ok, I get it, you’re a scholar blah blah blah, but what about…BABIES? 

Ladies and gentlemen, my uterus; causing problems since 1999.

2112013212753I have never wanted kids, in fact I have very adamantly and openly not wanted kids. It’s always been “maybe one day I’ll consider adoption” for me. But in that moment I realized not only a possible, tiny, very very small desire for a child, but the terrifying closeness of my 30th birthday. Yes I know it’s more than two years away but time moves fast, y’all*.

It might have been a hormonal moment. It might have been stress, a desire to be doing anything that is not grad school for a moment. A better conclusion, brought up by a friend, is that I like winning. I’m getting to a winning place in grad school, close to winning the career I’ve wanted for so long, so naturally I now must win family! Maybe it’s all three or just a weird case of whispering uterus.

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Sitting here now, I still don’t know what I want, I’ll need some time to figure that out. The point of this post, if there is one, is that I got a little crazy, got a little emotional, and then decided the best way to deal with the crazy and emotional moment was to talk to Boyfriend about it.

In my experience, sitting on a possibly irrational but definitely emotional moment rather than talking about it, doesn’t work. Early in our relationship when I immediately assumed every un-responded-to text signaled a breakup, I told Boyfriend. When I was certain that New York would squash our shot at happiness, I told Boyfriend. When I was convinced that he was mad at me because I stayed out late with friends, I told Boyfriend.

Talking about that irrational monster in my brain is like turning on the light and checking under the bed. Yeah, there might still be a small fear that the monster can turn invisible, but for the most part it helps.

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So I said the awkward and annoyingly tearful words to him. We talked for a long time about everything that could impact this decision. He was, well, exactly who he always is, rational, kind, loving, and smart. There was no perfect answer that fixed everything because life is riddled with complexities, but I no longer feel alone in this.

Just saying it is important, even if you sound a little crazy and you cry on the street in front of your neighbors because I don’t know why I’m crying I’m just, it’s a lot. Whatever you’re not saying, stop holding on to it; a good talk can work wonders.

Best of luck.

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*I really hope this isn’t a mid-life crisis because I’d like to live to be at least 60…and I just learned to spell Renaissance

Stress, Anxiety, and Starting Over

You know when you get a text and totally mean to respond to it when you think of something funny but you put it off and then suddenly it’s been three weeks and you haven’t relied? Well that happened with me and this blog. Oops.

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Three weeks ago, almost a month now actually, Boyfriend and I moved to New York, saw our tiny, studio apartment for the first time, panicked, proceeded to fill it with furniture, I started school, and the giant rolling Boulder continues chasing me through the tunnel of adulthood.

So let’s talk about stress.

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Oof. It’s a killer. Stress has made me cry, vomit, lose sleep, oversleep, yell, thrash. It’s made me angry and mean, it’s paralyzed me with pain doctors couldn’t diagnose. It’s caused migraines and panic attacks and dangerously low blood pressure.

It’s like that person who swoops in after you’ve procrastinated on something and you’re in the final countdown to get it done, not to help but to say “you know, if you’d started earlier…”

Stress is not my friend. And it isn’t yours either.

I’ve talked before about self care, and actually written a similar post about stress, but in the past week of endless papers, books, students, and a sense of not belonging, I’ve noticed the need for a “help me, I’m panicking” guide. So here it is, friends:

STOP:

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Unless you’re crossing the street, in which case cross and then stop.

I know you have a septillion things to do, but just hold for a minute. Sit down or lay down.  Take ten deep breaths. Drink a glass of water, it replenishes your body quickly and helps increase focus. Think of one thing that makes you happy: a goat falling down a slide, a cat and a crow who are best friends, that time your friend repeatedly fell down on the ice and you tried not to laugh. Anything.

DROP

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The self deprecation, the self hate, the self pity. Drop it. Let it go. Forget if you wasted time before or you’re running out of time now or you’re scared that you’ll mismanaged time again. You did, you are, you probably will. Getting upset over it won’t help you. Hating yourself for it won’t make you better.

ROLL

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If all else fails, find a big hill, lay down and roll down that damn hill like you mean it. Nothing eases stress quite like acting like a kid.

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If you’re still in the red zone, reach out. Friends are friends because they listen. And if none of them want to listen, I’m here.

Best of luck.

15 Things that Happened in 2015

I apologize for the lag in posts, I am finally packing myself up, moving myself out of Seattle, and moving myself in to New York City on Friday, so time and motivation have been lacking. I promise you’ll get a play-by-play of the adventure soon.

Until then here are 15 things that happened in 2015:

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I got into all three grad schools 

At the end of 2014/beginning of 2015, I applied for Masters in Education programs at Columbia University – Teachers College, University of Wisconsin, and the Evergreen State College. I crossed my fingers that I would get in to one, while planning to apply for more schools if I didn’t get in to any.

I got in to all of them.

Said I love you and moved in with Boyfriend

I got my electronic admissions letter from Columbia, my top choice, on a Tuesday and waited until I’d gotten to Boyfriend’s house to open it. Before I could bring myself to open the letter, I turned to Boyfriend and told him I love him, because I needed him to know that before grad school shook our whole world up.

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We moved in together several months later and now he’s casually running away to NYC with me.

Started this blog

Got an IUD

Went blonde for real

It was a brassy, brassy struggle, but eventually it happened.

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Figured out eyebrows

Became the boss and hated it

Deferred grad school

After much deliberation and a Skype conversation with the program director, I decided to push my start date from May 2015 to January 2016. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made but I needed time with Boyfriend and my family, I needed time to just live for a little while. I couldn’t be happier that I waited, I’m beyond ready now.

Went hiking

Got fired

After months of drama and unhappiness sponsored by the world’s biggest ass-hat of a boss, I was let go. I was not given a reason, I was paid incorrectly on my last paycheck, and I was gossiped about after I left. And still, it was such a perfect thing to have happen.

Getting fired felt like the universe finally saying ok, no more, you can’t be this unhappy anymore. After a four-day weekend, I started my new job and I feel like it saved my life. No more late night phone calls to cover, no more passive aggressive emails from previously mentioned douche waffle and no more emergency clinic visits because of “stress induced IBS.”

Sometimes the universe says “GTFO” and you best listen when it does.

Got a new job

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Lost a friend

A friendship crashed and burned this year that I knew was falling apart but didn’t want to let go of. It hurt like hell but I’m so much happier without the negativity.

To anyone on the fence about a friendship, I fully recommend letting go of anyone who makes you feel selfish for wanting to be heard.

Made wonderful new friends

Spent a holiday with boyfriends family

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Invited boyfriend to join my family for a holiday

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What were some important things that happened to you in 2015?

Best of luck!

 

New Year, New…Year

Happy 2016, friends!

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I hope you all had a lovely New Years Eve. I don’t know about you, but mine definitely reached a pivotal moment at the strike of midnight when Boyfriend and I drunkenly tried to fix our TV which had gotten stuck on televangelists and wouldn’t respond to any command, while opening a bottle of champagne and shouting to each other over the blasts of fireworks outside.

It could not have been more perfect.

It really is a strange thing to wake up in a new year. I can’t help feeling like it’s a new beginning, even if it’s an arbitrary one. But I do love a good beginning, so this year I have decided to share a couple of resolutions.

Resolutions can be tricky because they are both highly likely to fall apart, and, they can make you feel pretty terrible about yourself. So I’m taking a couple of precautions before I start:

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  1. There should be no implication in a resolution that you are not already a beautiful, smart, flawless human being. A resolution should not be made to fix you because you are fantastic already, a resolution should be made to continue personal growth and achieve a goal.
  2. Resolutions, along with all goal setting, should be SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time (it should have a timeline). Without all of these pieces, it’s hard to succeed.
  3. Choose to learn knew skills or drop old habits that help you grow as a human, but also that you are interested in. If you decide to learn Japanese but have no interest in it, you…well, what is that? What are you doing? Choose things that make you happier.

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That said, here are my goals for 2016:

Do something new each month (and blog about it). It doesn’t have to be skydiving, it could be going to a social event or trying a new hobby, but each month I’m going to try a new activity (that’s maybe a bit scary for me) and tell you all about it.

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Get Back to Health. This year I was officially diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). I have gone to doctors all year and done a lot of my own research and experimentation for much longer; I know what’s best for my body. So in 2016 I hope to focus on:

  • Eat paleo at least 80% of the time*
  • Get out and move 30 minutes a day (especially running and yoga) to keep anxiety and stress low
  • Journal at least twice a week
  • Remind myself often that these things are important and that my physical and mental health are crucial to my happiness and effectiveness as a human being.

Those goal seem lofty, but they aren’t all new. I’m not building a house, just repainting a couple of rooms and buying some new furniture.

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So, friends, what are your goals for 2016? And what fantastic things did you accomplish in 2015?

Best of luck!

 

*Except cheese, ain’t nobody gonna make me quit cheese again

How To: Get Over a Cold

My bloggery has been lacking this week, but I have a good reason! For the first time since winter of 2012, I have a cold.

Between Peace Corps and working in schools, my immune system has gotten pretty dtrong. Well, it’s either that or the universe saw me struggling with IBS, Arthritis and steadily greying hair at 27 and thought “maybe we’ll just leave her be on this one.” Either way I don’t often get sick and this week I’m realizing, it is the absolute worst.

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So in honor of my sniffles, here are some tips for when you’re feeling crappy too.

Rest

I am the worst at this, but it’s so important to give your body a break. There’s an epic rap battle happening inside you between white blood cells and this sickness, so they’ve got enough going on without you thinking you need to do anything but rest.

Make sure you get enough sleep at night and let yourself relax as much of the day as possible. Now is a great time to turn on a show you don’t really care about and nap through it.

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Hydrate

Normally I’m pretty good at staying hydrated but for some reason I hate water when I’m sick. Whether you love it or hate it, water is the key to surviving this. So drink it plain or with lemon, or as tea, or full of good wishes, but drink up.

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Calm the **** Down

I probably got sick due to the added amount of germs in my daily environment, but I also got sick because I’m been stressed as hell lately. Physical health is affected by mental health, so it’s important to maintain your mental health as well. If you’re anxious, stressed, upset about something, handle it, don’t just let it continue to mess you up.

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Essential OIls

A friend of mine gave me a couple of bottles of essential oils for Christmas and her timing was impeccable. I’m not an expert by any means but I know that inhaling Frankensence (and even putting a drop under my nose) has been helping clear my head like nothing else.

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Drink My “Special Tea”

Every time Boyfriend starts to get sick, I make a variation of this tea. This time around it’s my turn to drink it and I’m finding that it helps. It’s not only good for a stuffy head and sore throat but it’s loading with Vitamin C. The recipe is roughly as follows.

-Special Tea-

8 c. water
6-8 Tea Bags (I like ginger or camomile)
1 lemon
1 orange
1/2 grapefruit
1/2 c. chopped, fresh ginger
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
honey to taste

Put water and tea in large pot to boil. Chop lemon, orange, and grapefruit into large chunks and add to pot. Add ginger and spices and bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute and turn heat to low. Add lid to pot and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain and add honey or other sweetener as desired.

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For anyone out there battling a cold, the flu, or just holiday exhaustion: I feel you, pal. And I hope you feel better soon.

Best of luck!