working out

Summer of Chill 2016

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I hope everyone is enjoying their summer! It seems the blogosphere is determined to cut mine short by posting about shopping for fall already… Stahp it! I have summer weather until Halloween in California, let me live in denial that it will ever be over, just a little longer!

I have had a great summer so far. Nothing crazy, no elaborate travel plans or long getaways – just a mellow summer mostly at home. But this summer is different. I needed this summer to be something special. I have decided that this summer is….

Stephanie’s Summer of Chill, 2016.

Imagine that in lights on a marquee, announced by a guy with a moustache over a loudspeaker or something. Because that’s how baller it is.

I went into this summer needing a break. Just in general. Anthony finished his PhD in March, then graduated in June when we threw a big party, and it the midst of it all he was trying to find jobs. It was pretty stressful. Really stressful, actually. The months leading up to summer were just intense.

So intense things were happening, but also I had gotten into this intense productive mode where I was doing all this shit to like, become a put-together person. It was probably a coping thing – trying to make sure I crossed all my t’s and dotted all i’s so I could feel better about what felt to me like a pretty chaotic couple of months. Here are some examples:

  • I was tracking how many drinks I had, how I ate, how much I exercised, etc. – every day, using this app
  • I was feeling guilty for not blogging enough
  • I was posting things like this, and trying to find magic ways to get my shit together around the house
  • I was posting things like this, feeling like I needed to lose weight but also resenting that idea (and trying to laugh about it while I figured it out)
  • I was feeling guilty about not working out enough
  • I was feeling guilty that I wasn’t saving enough money, and that I was spending too much

So there was a lot that I felt like I needed to improve, or tackle, or manage, or advance about myself. And I had a day where I realized how insane my brain was getting – it would go round and round, trying to find something to fix, trying to find something wrong, so I could pounce on it and fix it. It was like this Pinterest mentality of hyper vigilance I had established over my life. I finally realized what a weirdo I was being – Why, Steph?! Fucking chill. out.

That’s when I decided – we are taking a break. A BREAK. From all of it. Here are all the things I decided to get rid of for the summer:

  • Guilt, about anything
  • Self-improvement projects
  • Exercise routines that aren’t fun
  • Tracking of anything not fun or that produces guilt (see above)
  • Negative thoughts about my body

And I just, let go. I focused on doing things that were fun. We made a summer bucket list (which I am shooting to post about soon, but if not, no guilt). I did more stuff outside after work. I didn’t think about how much beer I had that week, or if I was getting enough cardio. I stopped caring how clean my house was, or how my belly looked in that top.

I don’t know, my head was just in the right place to just stop fucking caring about that shit. And it worked.

Why just the summer, you may ask? Why isn’t this just your new life?

Well, telling myself that it was just for the summer to start was a way to really let go of the guilt completely, because things like finding ways to save money are things I will need to get around to eventually, but not necessarily now. So I thought, okay – I can really just forget about it for a while, and I’ll pick it up in the fall, if I want to. But the idea was, if I could just get in the right mindset, hopefully this will be the new state of things.

And it has been an amazing, stress-free summer. It really was so great, you guys. I just lived my life. Now it’s August, and I still have so many fun things I still want to do while the weather is still warm – but I am also learning to prioritize fun things all year round. I established great healthy habits while I was in my intense phase over the winter months, that have stuck throughout the summer, but without the guilt and fastidious tracking. And some new productive habits have just naturally emerged – Anthony and I have worked on cooking at home a lot more, which is saving us money and allowing us to eat healthier. I realized I didn’t have to have the intense attitude to make improvements like that – and, more importantly, guilt doesn’t have to be a part of it.

As I mentioned, the rest of the world is getting ready for fall, and work is starting to get busy again (work has been so slow for the summer, which helped a lot with the carefree attitude) – so I can feel some of the old ways creeping back in. I’m extra tired and stressed this week, so I have less energy to go do fun stuff after I get home – but I’ll adjust. I just need to keep the spirit of chill alive through fall, too.

What has helped center me back to that mindset is asking myself this question, that I kept thinking when our friend was visiting a few weeks back…

What would I do today if I were on vacation?

I love playing tourist in my own city, and just because I worked that day doesn’t mean I can’t take dinner up to the mission and have a picnic, or grab a beer at a new restaurant in town, or walk down to thrift shop after I get home. Sometimes I save all the fun for the weekend, and do all the boring stuff after work – working out, cleaning, catching up on shows. I realized I need more balance, so I don’t get so bummed when Monday rolls around. My life can happen in between Fridays! I need to get off the couch more and treat my life like one big summer vacation, work or no work.

 

I’m into it, guys. I’ll let you know if I can keep the spirit alive as we get closer to fall! What have you done to de-stress lately and enjoy summer?

 

 

 

To Do

So I was laying in bed last night, getting mentally prepared for another week, and I started obsessing over the things I want to get done. I thought I might share my to do list with you that I have been compiling lately – maybe it’s similar to yours?

  1. Cook at home more often
  2. Get a toned body
  3. Eat super healthy all the time
  4. Learn how to actually do my hair right
  5. Quit my job and blog and become internet-famous
  6. Know about all of the local, domestic, and foreign political issues
  7. Become an activist for women’s and minority rights and have an impact on the world
  8. Make my own cleaning supplies
  9. Produce no waste (like this chick)
  10. Learn how to keep plants alive

 

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My newest victim, who is now looking super depressed and wilty. In this picture it had no idea what type of person had its fate in her hands. Look how happy it was.

 

Ever since I’ve gotten back my normal energy and mood, I’ve been feeling great and wanting to tackle new goals. However, I also still enjoy binge watching shows on Netflix and doing nothing with my boyfriend at home. Plus I work full time. That leaves little time for all the things I want to do.

But seriously, do you guys ever feel this way? Like I know people who do alllll this amazing shit all the time and still have full time jobs like me. I guess I’ve never been the type of person to take on a lot – I really like having a lot of down time and I’ve always made that a priority. And I’m fine with that, until I have a moment as I’m trying to fall asleep where I get overwhelmed with all the things I’ve been wanting to do but haven’t done.

My two biggest things right now are blogging and working out. They are the two things that I want to do consistently and I have goals associated with – but they are also the two things I need to be the most careful about. I don’t want them to start to feel like work or something that I dread. I want to work it into a convenient schedule that feels natural – and I don’t want to beat myself up if I have a week or two where I just can’t mentally get myself to it. And now the two seem to be competing – if I have some time after work, it’s either work out or blog. I don’t want to slack on either, but I also don’t want to cut into my watching SVU and sleeping in time.

Sometimes all I want to do is come home from work and do absolutely nothing. How do you guys do it? What goals are you struggling to reach? I would love to hear how you manage it!

 

 

 

Twenty Seven

On Sunday I turned twenty seven. It sounds very grown up. Anthony made me dinner on Friday night and we went out drinking – Saturday we had a party at our house with a bunch of friends, a lot who I see rarely or who came in from out of town. Sunday my sister came into town for brunch, shopping, a movie, and dinner. She took this snapshot of us, which was such a perfect slice of my life right now to remember this year by:

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Photo by Two Happy Lambs Photography

Some things that I wanted to remember about my life when I turned 27:

  • I just bought a new car, for the first time ever. A 2013 Toyota Corolla named Yoncé. Anthony calls her Mrs. CARter. I feel very grown up after doing that. Automatic locks, windows, keyless entry, talking on my phone THROUGH my car – it’s all very fancy and new to me.
  • I’ve been at my job for over a year, and I’ve had a pay raise and a fun business trip this year. I love it and I’m hoping to stay for a long time. I’m so ready for a real career that I am challenged by and makes the days go by fast. I feel appreciated and fulfilled, and I couldn’t ask for anything more.
  • Anthony and I have been living together for over a year now. It has flown by, and is the easiest, most enjoyable, fun thing ever. We live in a one-bedroom apartment and pay way too much rent, but we live near downtown and in walking distance from our favorite place. It has been extra hot this summer with no AC, we are doing laundry at my sister’s house every chance we get, and we really want a dog but aren’t allowed…but other than that we love our apartment to death. We do “urban hikes” through the neighborhoods in the mountains above the Santa Barbara mission on the weekends and I love the view of the mountains from our lawn. I don’t know how long we’ll stay, but it’s looking like quite a while, if we can.
  • When I turned 26, I started working out consistently for the first time ever. Now I go to the gym twice a week, and I’m trying to get it up to three. But I achieved my goal of getting to a point where I wanted to work out twice a week and making it part of my routine. I can feel the positive effects it has on my mood and how my body feels – I’m hoping to fine-tune my workout to maximize its effect and get more confident with trying new things in the gym.
  • This year I also took over the blog on my own! I love this blog, not only because I can use it as a creative outlet, but it is also a substitute for the journaling I used to do when I was younger. I am thrilled that people are reading and absolutely LOVE when people mention that they are a reader – it usually completely surprises me. Can’t wait to see where it takes me this coming year!

<3

 

 

 

The ultimate work out playlist

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How do you get your heart pumping during a work out? I recently realized that calm podcasts like Dear Sugar or Serial weren’t really motivating me to sweat my butt off.

But Ariana Grande? She works like a charm. We are BFFs now, in case you were wondering.

I thought I would share my work out playlist with ya’ll, in case yours needs some beefing up. Mine definitely does – I could use some more variety – so please share your favorites in the comments!

Let’s start with the maybe-normal-person-with-a-pop-bias playlist:

  • Flawless Remix ~ Beyonce, Nicki Minaj
  • Dark Horse ~ Katy Perry
  • Hypnotik – Original Mix ~ Keys N Krates
  • Yeah 3x ~ Chris Brown
  • Carried Away ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Applause ~ Lady Gaga
  • Don’t Worry ~ Madcon, Ray Dalton
  • Domino ~ Jessie J
  • Just Fine ~ Mary J. Blige
  • I Need Your Love ~ Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding
  • Feel so Close – Radio Edit ~ Calvin Harris
  • Wild Ones (feat Sia) ~ Flo Rida
  • Trust a Try ~ Janet Jackson
  • Coming Down ~ Buchanan
  • Break Free ~ Ariana Grande, Zedd
  • Habits (Stay High) – The Chainsmokers Extended Mix [umm, okay…] ~ Tove Lo
  • Want To Want Me ~ Jason Derulo
  • Forever (Lindstrom & Prins Thomas Remix) ~ HAIM, Prins Thomas, Lindstrom
  • Hey Mama (feat Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack) ~ David Guetta
  • Latch ~ Disclosure, Sam Smith
  • Dancing On My Own ~ Robyn
  • Part Of Me ~ Katy Perry
  • Too Much to Handle ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Sweet Nothing ~ Calvin Harris, Florence Welch
  • Work B**ch ~ Britney Spears
  • Love Myself ~ Hailee Steinfeld
  • Worth It ~ Fifth Harmony, Kid Ink

Then there’s some cool down tracks in there:

  • Replay ~ Zendaya
  • You’re The One For Me ~ Great Good Fine OK
  • Where are U Now (with Justin Bieber) ~ Jack U, Skrillex, Diplo
  • Crooked Smile ~ J.Cole, TLC

…and finally, the I’m-a-14-year-old-girl songs added in for flavor (sorry not sorry):

  • Problem ~ Ariana Grande, Iggy Azalea
  • Beauty And A Beat ~ Justin Beiber, Nicki Minaj
  • Don’t Hold Your Breath ~ Nicole Scherzinger
  • Miss Movin’ On ~ Fifth Harmony
  • You’ve Got The Love ~ Jessica Sanchez
  • C’Mon ~ Ke$ha
  • One Last Time ~ Ariana Grande

I use Spotify to create my playlists – what do you use? Do you gym it up or do something else to werk it out? What’s your favorite method for cardio?

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P.S. I also just started using the Under Armour’s MapMyFitness app through a discount at work – it’s mostly fun just to pat myself on the back for what I’ve done this week. I feel like I have proof of things now – like, “LOOK! I worked out THREE TIMES this week. THREE. Plus I ate a salad once. HERE’S THE DATA!” …Yunno, just in case someone stops me in the street and accuses me of not taking care of myself or something. Totally prepared.

 

 

 

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