Is There a Silver Lining to a Failing Diet?

I am without a doubt failing on my diet goals. Technically I’m still below where I started, so we will call that a step in the right direction. Although Thanksgiving is this week, and I for one plan on enjoying it, soooooo that might mean I’m right back to where I started a couple of months ago.  Even so, I think there is a silver lining.

Why am I not mad at myself? That’s a good question. Like most people in their 40’s I have a plenty of things that distract me from my personal goals. Work, the kids, a house, and I have had some medical challenges mixed in along the way. That’s life, a bunch of distractions from the focuses we feel are important. Dieting usually finds its way to a top focus. Maybe I’m trying to hold onto or regain my figure from my younger days, maybe I feel like if I do lose the weight, I’m still young.  Hahaha I know, some of my thoughts are somewhat delusional😉. Whatever the reason, dieting usually has a way of either making me feel good or feel really horrible about myself.

Failing while dieting happens, and yet I use the failure as an opportunity to squash any confidence I have in myself. Rather than considering what life is slinging at me, or even just understanding that I’m human and its ok to fail sometimes, my inner voice has all kinds of nasty it throws my way, making me feel even more miserable. You know the kind of defeat that makes you want the extra slice of pizza, followed by a tub of ice cream, all eaten while watching The Biggest Loser. All of which reminds me of my serious lack of backbone.

ENOUGH!!! That’s me yelling back at myself! I’m saying enough is enough. While I haven’t lost all the weight I wanted to, and I certainly haven’t jumped on a treadmill, I have done some good things. No, I haven’t adopted any life changing eating habits, I have managed some minor adjustments to my old habits. So, what have I done that’s good???

I have found a way to get through the normal daily challenges, a move, a couple of medical procedures and some not so exciting news about an upcoming surgery. I have managed to do this because thankfully I have help and support. The love and support in my life is something I am beyond grateful for and fortunate to have. Without that support I may have seriously shut down. Instead, I have been able to spend time with my loved ones and friends. We have been having fun, getting dressed up for trivia night, planning holiday gatherings, decorating and enjoying the wonderful life that unfolds in front of us every day.

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Maybe its because of the holiday season but I feel like this is where my focus should be. If I can be there to support my friends and family, if I make time to teach the kids a life lesson(whether they are ready for it or not), if I can find time to relax and share a laugh with my unconventional family or a friend, isn’t that what I should reflect on at the end of the day? Um, HELL YEAH it is! Basically 90% of life is headed the right direction, that’s just about as good as it gets!

My 40’s have made me appreciate that time is a gift. I don’t want silly distractions, like a number on the scale robbing me of it. Each year I am reminded of how much the kids change, and how the moments throughout the year and especially at the holidays are unique every time. I want to soak it all up, even the inevitable family bickering. Let’s face it, the bickering is often the entertainment😉

I would love for everyone to give themselves the gift of kindness and understanding this holiday. It’s easy to take a breath and be kind to a stranger, we’re taught that from an early age. It should be just as easy to be kind, and patient to ourselves. Be as understanding and forgiving when we miss a goal as we would if a friend did. I want to focus on enjoying all the wonderful moments the holidays are sure to bring and better yet truly enjoy and have fun with all the wonderful people in my life. Hoping your holiday season is already off to a warm, cozy and happy start!

It’s Official…

I closed on my house yesterday, woohoo😊 Everything has either been moved into storage or moved in! Notice I said moved in, not actually unpacked. I’m seriously wishing I had a fairy Godmother. You know one simple bippity boppity boo and everything would dance right into place.

There’s so much stuff! It has officially taken over the house which is starting to produce some serious anxiety for my BF and I. Clutter has a way of making me feel scattered, probably because I can’t find what I need. Or, maybe it’s because it brings out the procrastinator in me. I’m not much for avoidance, I mean that never solves any problems, but when the clutter and chaos get to a certain point, it’s tough to get motivated. Who wants to dive into the mound of randomness that has built up over the last several weeks?

On the upside it’s not because of my once very sloppy nature; in my 20’s my closet was a waist high pile of clothes mounded on the floor, I would spend tons of time digging until I found what I wanted. My high school locker was even worse, I couldn’t even close it, I think at one point I was keeping things in my friend’s lockers. I was such a mess, it’s amazing I got through a day back then! At least at this point in my life I can blame the mess on moving.

This mess is rapidly becoming a serious problem, it looks like it could threaten my ability to start decorating for Christmas! That is so not happening. Hallmark Christmas movies are in full swing, the leaves are falling, Thanksgiving is early this year, and all the decorations are under one roof. I even know where we put them. My BF dedicated an entire storage area for Christmas decorations. Basically, that means this mess has got to go by the end of this weekend! The kitchen will be completely cleaned and organized, the kids are going to wrap up putting their remaining items away and I will take advantage of the organizing Jon did yesterday and wrap up the garage.

I’m ready to tap into my inner Clark Griswold and bust out the blow ups for the yard, oh yeah… that’s plural!!! I’m pretty sure my mom was on the verge of disowning me because of my love of holiday blow ups. Last year for my birthday I was given a 12’ Santa’s sleigh for the front, I’m not sure if he noticed when we moved, but I brought an 8’ snowman, a cute blow up Christmas tree and a happy penguin. I might be the only person who admits to loving these fine decorations, but it’s all good. What they lack in class they make up for in making people smile. Last year Carter proved my theory that they make people happy. As soon as he saw Santa’s sleigh he ran yup and gave Santa a big ol’ hug. (I should probably mention Carter was 4 at the time😊). That’s really the goal, we want to make people feel welcome, have some fun, create new memories and make the house twinkle inside and out!

It’s time to start thinking about gathering with family, baking some goodies, listening to holiday music, watching our favorite movies, and playing some games. It’s definitely the most wonderful time of the year!!!

My Parents Were So Right…

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The list of things they were right about is long, but what I’m feeling today in particular is how fast time seems to pass these days. My parents always said blink and you’ll miss it. I didn’t realize how quickly the phases of life can pass by, it really does take focus to take it all in.

I have no idea where October has gone, and it’s one of my favorite months! In September I was thinking about the kids’ Fall break and how easy going it would be this year. I mean my son is driving which is a help for rides and my daughter didn’t have practices for Sensations. The only things to manage were regular dance practices, soccer practices, football practices and a couple of games, piece of cake! Sometimes I surprise myself with my naïve thoughts😊

There were fewer practices, and no homework, yay!!!   Let me tell you it is very humbling when your kids come to you for help with homework and what they put down in front of you may as well be written in a different language. I’m always happy when there’s no homework, that means a week of not trying to disguise my in ability to provide a legit assist with homework. It means not having to creatively look for a solution that makes it sound like they should have to work for the answers. So, woohoo, no school! What I forgot about was all the extras, the random dentist appointments, the packing of my kids’ rooms that needed to happen and oh yeah, they have a social life now.

I think I saw even less of the kids over break than I do on our normally hectic week. The house was always buzzing with teenagers. Picture a bee hive, and all the busy bees and their buddies, that’s pretty accurate. I think on a given night we had as few as 4 teen boys, and I think we maxed out at 9 one night. It was a fun, but a busy Fall break. We quickly realized Sunday night is our only night to have a family dinner where everyone is together and there are no games, practices or friends. Sorry kiddos, Sunday is officially family time.

I think that’s why time moves so quickly as an adult. Every year that passes the kids change substantially. Driving was such a game changer. I barely see my son any more because he doesn’t need a ride. He works, plays sports, has school and a social life. It feels like overnight everything changed.

High School is a massive change too. The changes in the physical appearance of the kids throughout the 4 years is noticeable for sure. What really makes me feel older is the change in who they are. Growing into their personalities, gaining confidence in who they are, making mistakes and trying to solve them without help. That last item is a love/ hate part of the teen years for me as a parent. I like that the kids are problem solving, if I’m honest, I miss always being the go-to helper. The biggest challenge is not trying to stress, I really wish they had a better understanding of when maybe their buddies shouldn’t be the voice of reason and solution.

So far, we are managing without anything catastrophic changing their paths, thank goodness and knock on wood. I know this can change at any minute. Sometimes I wish things would slow down so I could catch up a little. As time passes and the challenge of having kids changes to the challenge of teens, then to the challenge of teen/adults and eventually adults, I am mostly filled with pride and amazement at what I’m learning along the way and the amazing people that are growing up in front of my eyes. In other words, MIND BLOWN!

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It’s None of My Business

Yesterday I had a long conversation with my kids. The topic was drama and why people seem so judgmental. My daughter had said even her friends who say they don’t want to be a part of drama, will in the next breath start criticizing people.  She’s knows that usually they don’t know the person, it only takes a second and people are bonding over criticizing. Talk about intimidating!

I told her I wished that I could say that changes but to a certain extent it’s human nature.  Not the uplifting sentiment either of them were hoping to hear.  I reminded them, all you can do is be kind, even when others aren’t at their best. No one knows why someone is short tempered, or harsh. They could be in the midst of a problem they have no idea how to face. It’s possible they could be a ginormous jerk, but for my own sanity, I prefer to think most of the time people are having a bad day and need someone to be kind.

My kids both get this, they’ve had days where they were short tempered, or they’ve watched me come home and be feisty as all get out. It usually starts with me nagging them about whatever they’ve left on the kitchen counter. They know this means, watch out, Mom is in a mood. In general, they don’t see me as a big crab ass, thank goodness. So, we chalk those moments up to being human.

The thing they were both stuck on is what people think of them, either based on how they look, or what they are involved in, or where they live etc. They worry about what people think of how they dress.  they worry about people judging their friends.  My son worried about what people will think because he made JV soccer instead of Varsity. The list of things popping into their mind is long. No wonder teenagers are so stressed out!

My advice was simple.  What people think of me is none of my business. I wish you could have seen their faces.  The look basically said, ok Mom has lost her marbles.  So I explained, I truly believe I don’t need to know. You can’t control what people say, especially people who don’t know you well. Knowing deep down that we all have bad days, but we approach our days with kindness and work hard each day needs to be enough to hush the chatter of others. If you spend all your time worrying about it, you’ll only feel bad about yourself and “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

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Where Are the Cool Mom Clothes??

I know that’s kind of an oxymoron, cool and mom don’t generally go in the same sentence. In the US, Women between the ages of 30-50 account for 13% of the population, that’s over 42 million women in the US alone. Um, I think that means we should be able to find clothes that don’t make us look like one of the Golden Girls. Or worse yet, like we are trying to be friends with Kylie Jenner, so not ok!

Today I’m not talking about how to improve myself in any way, this is even a touch trivial, but it’d be nice if it were easier to find clothes that made me feel confident and even a little sexy. I said a little sexy, not the coy, frisky tight clothing of our 20’s. Why does it seem so complicated? Maybe this is why Jennifer Anniston is always caught in jeans and t-shirts. Of course, she still looks drop dead gorgeous, but maybe she keeps it simple because there aren’t enough options for women in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s.

As my kids have gotten older two things make me step back and assess my appearance before going out;  1.  Is what I’m about to wear appropriate for being around teenagers? 2.  Do I look like I’m trying to be a teenager? Can you imagine how mortified my daughter would be if one of her friends came over and I was wearing the same outfit?!? I gave myself a rule to follow, just because clothes from the Junior’s department fit, doesn’t mean that I can wear them! It’s been hard letting go of some of my go-to stores, especially the comfy clothes like leggings from PINK, ahhh, the things I do for my kid😉

I want to feel good about myself, I want to feel feminine and fashionable. I’m not ready for moomoo dresses and mom jeans. I have found a few places where I tend to find things that bring my wardrobe back to life.   Here are a few favorites:

White House Black Market

https://www.whitehouseblackmarket.com/

I always feel like the catalog is a misrepresentation of this company. It feels geared toward business and almost has an older feel to it. But, I love this store, the jeans and reversible tanks alone keep my coming back for more. I generally order most things online. They have great quality most everything is washable, and their clearance prices are fantastic!

Target https://www.target.com/

Everyone knows Target, I find myself shopping there more and more. I almost have to schedule when I go, because I can lose hours in this store, ok I might be shopping for more than just clothes😉

ModCloth https://www.modcloth.com/

Great for dresses, they have a large selection of A-Line and Midi dresses, feminine and fun. Prices here are moderate.

Kohls https://www.kohls.com/

I think Kohl’s is one of the best kept secrets out there. I get most of my work dresses, cardigans (the cute kind), and even workout clothes. Bonus, their prices are easy on the pocket book.

Stitch Fix https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/leighculian?sod=w&som=e&utm_source=mailto&g=w

This is a subscription box service and if you haven’t tried it, you don’t know what you are missing. This is my periodic treat to myself. You answer some questions, enter your size and pricing preferences and what you need and request a fix. The jeans are magical! I swear they are like Sisterhood of the Travels Pants kind of awesome. I can go to the store and try on a dozen pairs of jeans and none fit, they send one pair and it’s like Hollywood magic, they fit like a glove. I also like that the box sends tops that I like but I wouldn’t have necessarily tried them on had they not been delivered to my house. If you keep all items the discount makes Stitch Fix an affordable option, but you can read more about it online.

Lorna Jane https://www.lornajane.com/

I can thank my younger sister for introducing me to this one, love her! Athletic ware, Ok ladies this is the most expensive athletic ware I have ever purchased. But, they have sports bras that are AMAZING! Lorna Jane Sports bras are cute, sassy and they have pads! I don’t have to look like a pre-pubescent boy when I’m working out, woohoo!!!! Now you understand why I’m willing to pay the big bucks😉

These are a few of my favorites. Leave me a comment if you have a go to store I missed that makes you feel like the fine woman you are! I’d love to have more options. Happy shopping!

Thanks for the feedback:)  one cool mom gave me some information on a couple of sites I haven’t used before.

http://www.altardstate.com/      They’ve got some great looking tops, dresses and accessories and I like their lookbook section.  I think that will help keep me from going to the same cuts and styles I usually choose. I will be checking them out!

https://www.afterpay.com/index

This site has a large variety of merchants and items.  It ships same day and they have payment options if you want to take advantage of them.  I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this site before.  Becky, thank you for sharing!!!  I have a feeling this could keep me entertained for awhile!

 

 

Big Time Fail

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At this point in my life I’ve had my share of failures. I’d say each day there is probably something I fail at. Some failures are frustrating, like forgetting my laptop at home and not realizing I forgot it until I pull into the parking lot at work, (yeah that actually happened today). Some failures I tend to be a repeat offender, glance through my photo albums, or Facebook, the bad hairstyles and fashion misses just keep coming.

Outside of the poor fashion choices, I try to understand my failures and learn from them. I think we’ve all heard someone say you’ll learn more from your failures than your successes. I agree with this statement completely!

There’s one fail in life that many people face and for some reason this one seems like the fail is taken like it’s the final verdict, a failure. This failure comes burdened with guilt, not the type of guilt that lands you in jail, the useless emotional version of guilt. The BIG doozy, divorce.

The negative stigma that I associated with this failure initially kept me from realizing how important it was to pause and step back. I accepted this was a failure and that was all there was to be said about it. Even worse probably one I would repeat, because if I could be successful in a relationship, wouldn’t I have chosen to make it work??? What was wrong with me?!? These are the feelings that kept me from understanding what I was going through and why it was a significant time in my life.

I had to start somewhere so I started by spending some quality time reflecting. I’m not gonna sugar coat it, I was big ol’ hot mess! I felt lost because I was. To get through it, there were a few adult beverages, some tears and lots of phone calls to my friends who had the courage to stick with me. My most important lesson was be engaged. I needed to stop doing things because I thought other people wanted me to or expected me to. It was time to start participating in life with intent. Help others when I want to help, when I have the energy, not out of obligation. This choice alone was very empowering, it made me less resentful and improved my sunshiny disposition A LOT!

Being engaged helped me be present with my kids. It was devastating facing giving up 50% of my time. What time taught me is make the most of the time you have.  Now when I have them, they have my full attention. I’m not too busy talking on the phone or cleaning the cabinets, I give them my time. In the past I had been there, but I wasn’t present. Now, we talk about important things like Fortnite and dance. (I’m kidding, my son thinks Fortnite is important, so important he lost his passport while in a foreign country because he was Snapchatting a picture of him with a llama to his friends. Apparently, llamas are a big deal in Fortnite, insert motherly eyeroll here.) While I don’t think the video game itself is important, understanding how he spends his time, knowing what he and his sister are doing and being a part of their daily is important and fun! My relationship with both my son and daughter has become stronger in their teen years, and that makes me proud.

In my personal relationship, I learned how to have a voice. Listening to my partner and understanding when he needs support makes me feel good. Having a partner who listens to me and supports me on my good and bad days is how I know I’ve grown. Sounds simple, but anyone who has been in a relationship where they aren’t heard by their partner will know how important and challenging this is, not to mention no fun! Sometimes I can’t believe how much I enjoy being in my relationship, its feels like the very first time, and in some ways, it is😊

The biggest mistake I could have made would have been not learning from this failure. I have learned who I am, how to forgive myself, and I’ve gained confidence in myself and my choices. Through the process I have become a better mom and am a much better partner because I own this failure. Knowing that what felt like my biggest failure could turn into me having a healthy, happy life filled with love makes me feel very blessed. I will always have room to keep improving, but over the last 6 years, I feel like I have traveled a million miles.

Life’s daily challenges can feel like walking a Lego covered path barefoot, but I’m telling you, it’s so worth it!beach-dark-dawn-39853

If you relate to this, enter your email info at the bottom of the page to follow me. XOXO

Stilettos and Flip Flops

I’m just over 3 weeks into the Biggest Loser challenge.  I seem to have my eating under control. Well, saying it’s under control might be a touch strong.  Let’s be real, the cheese garlic bread and Italian salad I had last night for dinner are not exactly clean eating, but I’m keeping my calorie count within reason. Most days, activity is the bigger challenge. I haven’t quite gotten the energy to set the alarm clock earlier, that would probably help a lot! I blame my comfy bed for the lack of motivation.  Hmmm, maybe we shouldn’t have gotten that super fluffy mattress topper after all! I know, excuses, excuses.

I have a lovely desk job. Sure it’s air conditioned and the environment is clean and friendly, but let’s face it, I’m sitting on my ever expanding rump. So how do I change it?

The first thing I’ve done is a touch embarrassing should anyone ever walk into my office while I’m doing it.   I got the idea when I was visiting our Tokyo headquarters.  In Japan, the entire office does a series of stretches and movements at their desk to instructions and music piped through the overhead speaker. The fact the entire office is doing the exercises together is pretty impressive. Here’s a little info about these exercises. https://taiken.co/single/morning-exercise

Now, I didn’t go as far as asking for music to be piped over the speakers, but I did bring a set of 5 lb. hand weights to work. I’m trying to keep my arm jiggle from turning into full blown wings, you know the kind I’m talking about, not cool! I keep the weights in the corner, in full sight, so I can’t ignore them. Once a day while reading my emails I do 5 different arm exercises. https://www.shape.com/fitness/workouts/get-fit-5-minutes-rockstar-arms-workout  It raises my heart rate a tad, mostly likely because I’m out of shape. Regardless, I’m counting it as a plus. Still hoping no one walks in on my little office activity life hack😉

The second new habit I’ve adapted is where the flipflops and stilettos come in. Heading out the door in the morning, I’ve started packing a pair of flipflops in my purse. So as not to look like a total slacker rolling into work, I start the day in my work shoes. When I have a stopping point and need a break in the morning, rather than gab with my work buddies, I grab my flipflops and I head out to the parking lot for a 10-15 minute walk. It feels good, allows me to get a few steps on my fitness tracker and doesn’t interrupt my workday.

At lunch, whether I take my time at my desk or whether I leave the office, I am intentionally leaving 15 minutes for walking. By 1:00 I already have a 30 minute walk logged! If I’m lucky and can create another 15 minute break in the afternoon I’ll be able to leave with 45 minutes of walking done. I’ve never loved my flipflops so much! They’re compact, cozy and easy to change in and out of. No excuses right?!? Now come winter I’m going to have to reorganize my purse to make room for my tennis shoes and socks!

I’m starting to feel like I’m crushing it! Ok, maybe crushing it is going a smidge too far😉 It does feel like I’m making some changes that work for my day and that’s a goal. Woohoo!!!

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