How I Packed for 10 Days

So, before my trip overseas, I searched the web for packing tips for 10 days. Much to my surprise, the “advice” wasn’t catering to me. Weather, work outs, engagements, etc. all played factors into packing.

Working Out: Work out clothes were easy to pack. I doubled my shoes with some outfits on days I didn’t have to dress more appropriate. Travel = walking a lot to sight see. I packed four outfits for working out because I knew I’d probably only have time for a few work outs. Early mornings, late nights, and jet lag all threw me off and I ended up working out a record one time. However, I walked a lot throughout the days. Next time, I’ll probably pack two or three pairs of work out gear. I made sure all of the workout clothes fit in the smallest packing cube to keep me in check about over packing.

Business Casual: Easy enough. What I can get away with wearing at work is pretty much what I packed. I brought two jackets which actually weren’t warm enough – kind of a fail. I packed about six shirts, but could have gotten away with four. I brought three dresses and could have gotten away with one or none. I brought three pairs of pants and bought one pair there (and damn, that was a good buy) to wear while there. I packed two scarves, but mostly wore one. I brought three four pairs of shoes (athletic, casual, and two chunk wedges) and could have gotten away with two. Moral of the story = no one cares what you wear because you are travelling!! I think I packed too much, but packed lighter than I usually do for domestic travel, lol.

Money Belt: Money, money, money. I usually wear a travel/money belt. I personally just feel safer this way on long flights where people generally pass out throughout the flight and the plane is dark. Better to be safe than sorry. I also kept within my budget and probably could have done better. I bought a pair of shoes while overseas, which weren’t a good buy and ended up giving them away to a friend upon return. Glad they got put to good use though. Given my meals, etc. were paid for, I only took $300. I exchanged currency when necessary. I probably could have saved about $50 on some impromptu purchases (shoes) but I’ve spent far more on dumb stuff. $300 was enough to just shop and I actually didn’t even spend that much. Something like $260 and that was mostly on gifts for people.

Now it’s back to working out and saving more money. I feel a bit more refreshed and want to plan my next adventure. Who knows where? But I have a feeling summer is going to be great. I’m still a bit jet lagged, but plan on at least going on a couple of walks this Easter weekend. Happy Easter to all who take time to read this.

 

Small Goals of a Singleton

I used to be the type that would try to tackle everything at once and then got “bored” which was really a sign that I had no clue how to tackle all of those goals I had planned on tackling. Multitasking wasn’t necessarily the problem; more like not understanding how to achieve goals I’d never accomplished before. So, I became highly overwhelmed when I tried. 
My 2017 started with one big goal of not drinking alcohol for an entire year. I am doing well in that I don’t dwell on the goal and it’s now become quite natural to just say no when offered or skip the aisle at the store. With that set aside, I started focusing on three areas that I felt like improving over the course of the year: health, finance, and travel. God is already in the plan. 


Health: I hated who I had become. I grew up as an athlete and put that on the back burner around 2010. I had slowly let a lifestyle of partying become my priority and I got stuck there. Then I hit rock bottom and I saw the choices I made so clear. After that night, it was so easy to quit that lifestyle. I gave myself a month to work out any would be cravings for fun and then began my journey. It’s taken me almost three months to enjoy working out again and now I absolutely love it. Running and lifting weights has definitely replaced the party lifestyle. I’m so okay with that. I also have enjoyed paying attention to how my body feels when I fill it with healthy food.

Finance: I looked back at my life and wondered why I never got anywhere financially. The highs and the lows and the stupid financial mistakes. I’ll always remember a former co-worker who had parents who set her up for financial success. She followed those footsteps and made sound decisions too. She would always say, “I don’t have any money” and then one day she bought a house, got married, and had a couple of kids. NO MONEY MY ASS! She was smart and saved and saved and saved. The “no money” line was part of her budget. The truth came out about that later. People’s financial truths come out eventually. Even the ones who seem well off. So, I guess it’s best to budget for one’s own goals instead of keeping up appearances. 

Travel: Who doesn’t want to get away? Who doesn’t want to explore?   This can be packed in a budget. $100 per month at the end of the year is $1,200 for travel or whatever. Getting away for 3 days or more can really reset the mind, in my opinion. Being able to travel just to a neighboring town for the day or weekend and explore could be a jump start to resetting goals and values. I love to just take a drive sometimes so I can clear my thoughts and just to shake up a routine. 

Lastly, I speak as a single person. I have time and freedom to achieve the above goals of improvement. It’s taken some time to embrace the singlehood. I used to be caught up in trying to be un-single. All of my energy went there. Whether it be from the stress of people telling me to find someone, get on a dating site, etc. or societal norms of starting a family. I am just going to focus on my goals because it feels good to do that. It feels good to be happy with me for once. It feels good to not be held accountable for people’s expectations of me. Besides, they say “love finds you when you least expect it.” Whoever wrote that quote, I don’t know. But, I’d rather have someone find me when I’m happy and enjoying life! 

Five Pounds Down!

My first 5 pounds is shed off! I feel really good! I’ve also made working out my priority! I don’t text in the middle of my workouts or waiver on the time I’ve dedicated to do them. I’ve been doing runs on the weekend and alternating days of HIIT during the week – they are short yet powerful, make me feel good, and work with my schedule. I started this way because I’m a former athlete and enjoy active routine. I’m trying to build myself up to 6 miles like I used to do, but I’ve only been able to achieve 4 miles at a time. It’s all a process. I forget that I haven’t exercised and consumed healthy food in quite some time so I’m forgiving myself and starting fresh. I’ll probably incorporate some p90x moves next month – decided to not do p90x as a starting point! One month at a time = one step at a time. March will be dedicated to just running, HIIT exercises, and continuing to eat healthy (and saving money of course!). 


Above from left to right: egg whites, baby kale, salsa, shredded cheese, and ground beef; corn tortillas, baby kale, ground beef, salsa, and shredded cheese; kidney beans, baby kale, salsa, and cheese; cucumbers with a balsamic vinaigrette.

Let’s taco ’bout it! Don’t ever take away my Taco Tuesdays, Taco Twednesdays, or Taco Thursdays, etc! I count calories and YEEEEES tacos are still doable! However!, I noticed a pretty big difference in how my body felt after eating tortillas after not having eaten them for a while. Not that I felt entirely sluggish, but more like I’d eaten a brick. 
I just ate: 2 eggs, ground beef, kidney beans, and salsa for breakfast while writing a portion of this blog. 590 calories feels so full. I wanted a substantial breakfast because I’m running today and need fuel!
I’m thinking I’m going to lessen my meat intake and do more tofu and fish. I already have a lot of that in my fridge and freezer.
My go to lunch has been: 2 cups of baby kale with some sort of protein (meat, fish, tofu) with a balsamic vinaigrette AND a 1/2 cup of oatmeal with 210 calories of nuts = 395 to 555 calories depending on the source of protein. This is hands down the most powerful lunch I’ve ever eaten (and cheeeaaaap!). I feel ZERO burn out after this type of lunch. I feel so good, my mood is elevated. I cannot go back to greasy food for lunch especially because I just feel SO good eating this way! It’s an amazing feeling! Part of packing on the 40 pounds I gained back at the end of grad school was a terrible feeling. However, I like feeling good now, so why not. 
I’ve got a goal to lose 2 pounds this week and an overall 10 by the start of April. The overall 40 by July and maintaining/setting new fitness goals then.
My goal is to be at a genuine strength.
Oh yeaaaah…almost forgot about stretching! I dedicated a day (and plan on continuing this) to stretching and only stretching. I’m talking 30ish minutes of making my body feel recovered. Fitness Blender has a good one! I love their videos!!
Until next week, roughly!

Nom Nom

Above: egg whites, kale, onion, cheese, and a bell pepper variety for breakfast; a can of tune with arugula topped with a balsamic vinaigrette and 1/2 cup of oatmeal with an individual package of nuts for lunch; a green apple, banana, and almond butter for snack (usually eat an orange and maybe another banana if hungry), prawns with sautéed arugula, minced garlic, and a bell pepper variety for dinner. 

Lessons Learned –
I got a little overzealous this week and so had to take a break from exercising. I’m back on board, but will work my way up to double days. Today I endulged in a HIIT exercise which was amazing. It’s from Fitness Blender – “HIIT the Ground Running”, which I found on YouTube. I personally found that I feel amazing after. 
I also ate processed chips, a frozen burrito, and a candy bar one day for lunch and it ripped my stomach to shreds! I will NEVER do that again. I could barely walk. After eating clean and healthy, my body doesn’t like it.
I’m going to try to eat like this 90% of the time while continuing to exercise because it feels good. I used to work out regularly and then fell off about two and a half years ago. I have nothing to lose though by going back to that routine of working out and eating healthy. Somewhere in-between I lost all that. Somewhere in-between someone told me I wasn’t good enough and I believe it. I have to get back to and used to the feeling of feeling good and paying attention to what doesn’t feel good. Right now, I’m back to that same feeling of way back when, when I ran and ate healthy and did things for me.

Writing Down Finances

I injured myself and so I have to take it easy exercising. In fact I am only stretching until all is well. I’m still good on healthy eating though.
Thought to blog about the fact that every single day I write down my account balance in a notebook. Even if I didn’t spend any money during the day, I do this.  This strategy has helped me so much in knowing how much I have going in and out. I also feel as though I don’t spend as much money and helps me stay on budget!
Just a quick little entry for some motivation!

Health

An entire month of being conscious of spending?! I can’t believe I did it! Saying “no” to things to reach a personal goal is really empowering and makes goals seem so much more achievable. 
I’m ready to apply “no” to health and fitness. Saying “no” to others priorities really means saying yes to my goals, values, etc. I used to do things out of guilt to please other people. In fact, I still get those feelings even though I might not act on actually pleasing the other person; the feelings of wanting to/anger/resentment are there. This has been a massive problem not only in my financial life, but in my fitness life as well.
My fitness life took a back burner in December due to constant travel. In January I really wanted to focus on finances. One goal at a time. Baby steps! Now that I feel secure in my ability to maintain finance goals, I can move to health and fitness goals. I started back up on p90x on Friday and did a double day yesterday. I’m ready for it! Let’s do this! 

Reflection: No-Spend month 

I managed to spend *drum roll* $135.63 extra this month. Broken down this looks like: Food, misc., and clothing.
Food: $64.14
Misc: $43.59
Clothing: $27.90
What an eye opener on food because I thought I only ate out like 3 times. In reality, I ate out 6 times! As per usual, a trip to get a birthday gift set me back some thirty-ish dollars. I can’t remember what I bought in terms of clothing, but that came out to almost thirty dollars.
This no-spend month has definitely helped realize some spending habits though! Instead of eating out four times per week, I ate out six times throughout a 31 day period. So ten times less than I would normally.
I will try and do this again this next month because I was still able to be social with friends, coworkers, etc. Saving is my top priority this next month. Really, I had some extra spending due to my car fixes. I count that as bills. I’m really tying to get rid of the eating out all of the time and spending on items I don’t need.
I would be left with $500 in savings but I bought a plane ticket on credit and will pay off that. No need to throw it in savings if there is debt! Also, I already put some funds toward savings this month.