NC Tornado Damage

This is in our neighborhood. Towards the very end, we turn right and I scan over to the left, you can see my car in the driveway. Just to show you how close the damage was around us.

New Blog!

Hello all!

I just wanted to introduce you all to my new blog, The Skinny Baker (currently followed with “…well, not just yet.” Hopefully soon though!) Follow me on this as I go through my weight loss challenges, starting with the Whole Living Action Plan: 28 Day Challenge. Today was day one! I think I will use that blog to talk about my other “life bettering” ventures such as, The Happiness Project. I’d rather keep this blog for other things.

I am hoping to use the new blog to help me with my sugar addiction and tame it with healthy eating habits and exercise! Maybe it will even give others motivation. I know I’m searching for it everywhere I can.

Happiness is…

Normally, I wouldn’t spend much time coming up with resolutions for the new year. My new year usually started on my birthday. For some reason, in my head, it’s easier for me to recognize the sign of a “new year” as the changing of my age. This makes sense, I’m sure, but while everyone else was starting a new year, I was focusing on the end of my very own.

Starting resolutions in January seemed so daunting. Knowing the statistics surrounding unkept resolutions you’re pretty much setting yourself up for failure. You can almost see the traditional goals swirling around above, thick in the air, “This will be the year I start eating better. The year I start an exercise routine. The year I start a hobby, find a job I love, cook more, blah, blah, blah.” Anyway you slice it, January usually isn’t the best time to start these resolutions, because it’s not realistic. Just because it’s a new year doesn’t mean things will magically change or get better. I think, because I have such a hard time sticking to goals, starting resolutions privately and not on the same day billions of other people are starting theirs, made me somehow think I’d be able to stick to them better. I’m surprised it has taken so many years for me to realize that it’s not working that way either.

I bought The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin as soon as it came out last year after reading Gretchen’s blog on a semi-regular basis. The point of the project was for her to become a happier person, not from a depressed state-of-mind but from a normal, everyday, “I’m happy but I could be happier” state-of-mind, something I think every single person could benefit from. I, myself, being a generally happy, many times overly happy, person, found I could really use this book right now. Lately, work has been a struggle, especially some of the personalities that I am required to deal with on a daily basis. I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve let others’ moods affect my own, negatively. I’m tired of it. It adds much more stress than I need and it’s not fun to be around or make for a very fun work environment. It’s also starting to affect how I act when I get home. My patience grows very thin throughout the day and when I get home I’m surprised if there is any left. Then my frustration grows because not able to get as much stuff done at home because I feel like I haven’t had any time to myself all day! It’s a vicious cycle. Anyway, this only started becoming an issue recently, probably because things aren’t getting any better. Unfortunately, there isn’t much I can do other than change my own attitude towards everything. My pride gets in the way of this a bit because I’m not a huge fan of giving my full consent to someone to walk all over me. (I also have a hard time knowing when to keep my mouth shut!) Granted I do think it takes a bigger person to turn the other cheek. How many times can it get slapped, though, is the question.

So, what comes to mind as I think about things I’d like to change in my own life to take more control of my happiness are the following lists:

Things I need more of…

  1. Meditation
  2. Sleep
  3. Exercise
  4. Patience

Things I need less of…

  1. Unhealthy food
  2. Negativity
  3. Unnecessary stress
  4. Craziness

There are plenty more that should be on both of those lists but that’s a good start.

New Year, Better Me…

…well, maybe. I know, I know. Everyone says that. It gets kind of hard to believe after a while. After the second year in a row with a layoff, I’m hoping I will realize what I need to do to really make 2011 better than 2010, like I said around this time last year. The difference between then and now though is that now I have an idea of what I’m up against. From what I see, it can only get better. In a lot of ways 2010 was very much an improvement from 2009. I have grown up a lot, I have a great boyfriend, everything is great with my friends except that I don’t get to see them as often as I’d like, and my family rocks, but everything else seems to be lacking. Everything else meaning work/ career related and personal issues, such as exercise and healthy eating. Many people say money would be the answer to all their issues. I don’t disagree but at this point in my life, weight loss would be the answer to my issues.

In my last post, I talked about starting a program that would help me become healthier by New Years. Well it’s a week and a half before NYE and I’m probably worse off than I was when I wrote that post! Today, my new issue of Whole Living magazine came and the cover instantly kicked my motivation into gear a bit. They have a program called the “Whole Living Action Plan: 28 Day Challenge” which is designed to help you detox then build a foundation for an exercise and healthy eating program. I’m hoping the program will be a good start for me because you have weekly goals for the other parts of your life too. Week one includes a media fast and gaining an extra hour of sleep. Things I’d like to do also. After reading the program through, it’s a whole life make over, not just body. I might as well put all my energy into this program rather than putting my energy into thinking about changing my life.

Just added to my Christmas list…

After watching a few episodes of Gossip Girl tonight to catch up a bit on my DVR, I’ve realized a few things…

1. I’ve added something new to my Christmas list : a gift card to RentTheRunway.com
2. Bathing suit season isn’t the only thing you need to lose weight for.

With the incredibly cute strapless and one shoulder dresses on Rent the Runway, maybe New Years Eve is the new summer. The opportunity to get out in a flirty, festive dress for the holidays is scary after being all covered up for the past few months.

I’ve been trying to figure out what my problem is with starting an exercise regiment. I will have to start something soon if I want to get into baking school. All I can picture is people saying, “Of course she’s a pastry chef. Look at her!” I’m struggling, I’ll admit it. I’m hoping, though, that the worst has come and gone. I have a few words of encouragement in my head that I’m trying to replay for motivation every chance I get. Exercise is such a funny thing with me. I feel like I can’t start a program unless I have all my ducks in a row. I have to be eating healthier. I have to have energy and protein and count my calories. Ugh. Then I give up. My ideal workout would be yoga and running. Both very low maintenance and effective. What’s holding me back? I wish I knew. What I really want to do is have so much discipline to put myself on an “exercise only” diet. Wait, what if I did? Let’s think about this for a minute. Today is Tuesday November, 16. If I gave myself 6 weeks from this date to get myself on a program, what would happen? By New Years, I’d be healthier, skinnier, richer because I’m not out during the week, and happier. That sounds like a win-win situation to me. And it’s not like I do too much during the week anyway. Hmm.

Holidays are approaching fast!

This year it started early. On halloween, Target was already setting up their Christmas display. Yesterday, North Hills shopping center was putting up their decorations, including their gigantic tree. I’ll admit it. I’m excited early. I’ve already done some shopping! I can’t believe it.

Normally, I’m a bit of a scrooge until after Thanksgiving. I just think you should give each holiday the time it deserves. It might just be that I’m ready for the year to be over. Or… I’m ready to start my holiday baking!

I went to the Farmers Market today and got 4 bags of apples. I want to premake some apple pie filling to have after the holidays but I’m going to make Spiced Apple Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream. I might also make Apple Pie Cupcakes. It’s such a tough choice, I can’t decide 🙂

For the Christmas “cookie” exchanges I’m going to, I’m planning to make Mini Chocolate Cupcakes with Peppermint Buttercream. I picked up the peppermint extract today and purchased the mini muffin pan last night!

The excitement is probably due to me getting my tuition approved for Spring semester! Yay!! I will be taking Basic Culinary Skills and Baking I. Can’t wait to get those started.

Other than that, we got a puppy a few weeks ago and have been dealing with some of his health issues along with his puppy issues. He is my little man and I love him already 🙂

Hopefully the baking will begin soon! I’ll post pictures when that happens. For now, let me introduce you to Mr. Jackson!

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I need more time!

Happy Sunday! Today is my Saturday so I probably enjoy my Sundays a little bit more than the next person. My Sundays usually consist of football and NC Pint Night at Flying Saucer. Today has been a little different, though.

I had book club at 1p today and then went to our football bar to watch the rest of the Packers game with JZ (they lost FYI). He had to come back to the house and finish up some work so I took the opportunity to do some homework. After doing about half my reading and note taking, I opened my laptop and got lost in the web, only to come out a few hour later more frustrated than before. To explain, here’s a little peek into my thoughts from this afternoon…

*Caution: this may cause confusion. I’m not responsible for any negative side effects from taking a trip through my brain. 🙂 *

It’s very much like a snowball. I started off by searching for a local bakery that one of the girls told me about at book club. We will call that Search 1 (S1). That turned into a search for all the local bakeries (S2). One bakery’s Facebook said something about a recent chocolate festival somewhere in Raleigh and I had to search for that to see when and where and why I hadn’t heard about it until after the fact (S3). That lead to a search for event sites that I can subscribe to so that I can get updates on events BEFORE they happen (S4). I found 5 websites that listed many events for the Triangle area and proceeded to search each sites listings (S5-10). Those searches lead to other searches for venues and venue websites and venue event calendars and groups and group calendars (S10-358,544,731 and so on). I’m sure you get the picture. Then, after all those searches, I went back to my original search of bakeries. The same thing happens with the next search and then I realize that I said to myself a few days ago that the next little bit of free time that I get I want to spend it researching whatever it was I wanted to research and that’s where the frustration begins because I realize that I just spend my entire day getting sucked into this one search and, if I had planned it better, I could used my time a bit better than I did. This is why I make lists, does that make sense now? Ugh.

Even if I had the time to do it, I know it would never get done. There will always be more… and that actually makes me pretty happy 🙂 Either way, I had to vent. The frustration has just about passed and now I’m on to the next search. Trying to get another in before we leave for the Saucer. G’night!