Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Toss it or keep it?

Woo hoo!  First summer goal, done and done!

Jordan and I were very successful in cleaning the basement.  We actually cleaned the whole basement, not just the storage area!  It took several hours, spread across three days, but it was nice to have the project broken into manageable pieces.

As promised, I hosted a "Clothing & Stuff Swap" after the basement was clean.  However, like the doofus I am, I didn't photograph any of the event.  Whoops.  (Can I blame the heat?  It was all kinds of hot & sticky that day.)  You'll have to take my word that everyone had fun, and came away with at least a few items.  I also had almost five large garbage bags full of items to donate to Easter Seals.  My friends and I talked about making a Swap an annual event, which would be great!

As I've been cleaning, I've thought about cleaning preferences.  Are you a tosser or a keeper?

For shared spaces in our house, I need my husband to clean with me because I'm a tosser.  I want to get rid of anything that looks like clutter.  I'm not terribly sentimental, so I can be pretty quick to chuck something.  Haven't looked at this since college?  Buh-bye.  Might use it in the future?  Might not, let's get rid of it.  My husband is a keeper (in more ways than one!), so what looks like mess to me might be essential to him.  Luckily, I'm pretty good at categorizing messes in my head; meaning, I can mentally "look past" his cluttered desk or shop space.  It doesn't stress me out that those places are messy because they're not my space, or shared space.  And Jordan's pretty good about keeping his items contained.  So it works out!

As for summer projects, we are well on our way into project 2: replacing our fences.  Stay tuned...

Friday, July 18, 2014

Custard Battle 2: Leon's vs. Gilles

As a celebration of summer in Milwaukee, I've decided to taste-test as many independent ice cream and custard places as I can.  Hey, it's a hard task, but somebody's got to do it! ;)  You can read about the first competition here.  For our second battle, we pitted two of Milwaukee's oldest custard stands against each other...

Competitor #1:  Leon's on 27th St.

I've been to Leon's plenty of times.  It's always a fun stop.  It was originally a drive-through, so there isn't any seating, indoors or out.  In fact, you can't go inside it at all; there's only enough room for the workers and equipment inside the building.  It's fun to watch everyone mill around the parking lot, lounging by their cars or trying to find a spot on the pavement.  It's located in a fairly diverse part of the city, so you often hear a smattering of languages being spoken as everyone licks their cones.

I got the a double scoop of raspberry in a regular cone.  Leon's always serves vanilla, chocolate, butter pecan and one rotating flavor.  I've had the raspberry before, and like it, but it's pretty intensely sweet.  I usually try to get one scoop of raspberry and one of vanilla or chocolate to offset the sweetness.

Competitor #2:  Gilles on Bluemound Road

I remember going to Gilles when I was little.  My dad played on a softball league and we'd stop at Gilles after his games.  They had an old-school popcorn wagon set up in the parking lot that sold the most delicious, buttery popcorn... I miss that wagon.  I haven't seen it for years.  My dad stopped playing in the league when I was around 8 years old, so until Jordan and I moved into Milwaukee 5 years ago, I hadn't been to Gilles since my youth.  Since moving back, we've been plenty of times.  It never disappoints.

I got a double scoop of the flavor of the day - banana fudge - in a regular cone.  I wasn't expecting much from the banana fudge - banana flavored things can be nasty, like banana Runts - but I shouldn't have doubted.  It tasted like a banana split!  I was very, very happy with my choice.

Final verdict:  Gilles is the winner!  I love variety, and Leon's limited menu choices just doesn't do it for me.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A surprise fashion post!


What does a honeymoon, people-watching, and broken promises have to do with fashion?


I blew the dust off my little-used fashion blog (katie does a great job of keeping it up!) and wrote the answer there!  Check it out!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Six years

Our anniversary is tomorrow.  Six years.  And I don't think I've ever loved you more.

That hasn't always been the case.  Sometimes, it's hard to be married to someone so steady.  In the past, I've missed those feelings of excitement and passion that accompany the early days of love.  I've daydreamed about what it would be like to be dating again.  I've paid too much attention to other relationships, swept up in the emotions that come with getting to know someone.  I shudder to think about those things now.  I'm so thankful God has opened my eyes to ways I've let my emotions carry me away, even though the process has been painful at times.  Because now I value your steady love more than ever.

Recently, one of our friends described you as "a generous teacher".  And that's what you are.  You are generous in your care for your friends.  When you have something to teach someone, you don't act pretentious.  You guide them carefully and kindly.  And that's what you've been doing for me.  You've been gently, generously, kindly teaching me about steady love.  It isn't as showy, or exciting, but it's sustaining and true.  Now, I wouldn't trade what we have for the early, heady days of love.  Now, I value an everyday kind of love for more than ever.

Maybe John Green was able to say it best:

"... from where I'm sitting, true love is when you're standing in line at Chipotle, and you say, "I shouldn't get guacamole," and the great love of your life says, "You know what, just get the guac!" and then you go home and you watch T.V. together while eating burritos.  THAT'S true love, me from the past... true love is eating burritos together on the couch in your sweatpants."

Happy anniversary, honey.  Here's to true love and burritos (your other true love).

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Learning to love myself: Part 2

(check out part one here)

I always felt like I had a little bit of weight to lose.  Just a few things here and there.  I figured I would always feel this way...

until I actually lost that weight.

Earlier this year, I alluded to my struggles with anxiety.  That's been its own story, and process of acceptance, but typically, the anxiety is at a manageable level.  However, on two occasions, it was intense.  My body was under significant stress, and eating became difficult.  I frequently felt nauseous, with the idea of food often triggering nausea.  It even became difficult to chew at times.  These feelings, combined with tense, shaking muscles during most of my waking hours, caused me to drop weight quickly.  Like I said before, I had only a general sense of my weight, but I knew I was losing weight quickly.  When I finally went to the doctor, they weighed me, and confirmed my suspicions.  I lost 10-15 pounds in less than two weeks.  While that may not sound like much, on my five-foot frame, it was noticeable.

During the second episode of losing weight, I started to look at myself, really look at myself, in the mirror.  I lost the weight I always thought I needed to lose!  Yippee, right?

The more I looked at myself, the more I hated the way I looked.  Yes, my stomach was flat.  My thighs were thinner.  But my hipbones jutted out too far.  You could see my sternum and upper ribs.  My breasts were even smaller than before.  My clothes were too loose.  I looked sickly, and weak, and unhealthy.  I knew I was at the start of my process of getting help.  I had hope that things would turn around, and they have.  What I didn't know was that I was about to love myself like I haven't before.

Feeling good!

I'm back at a normal weight.  My clothes fit well.  I have the energy to exercise; I'm even finding exercises I enjoy doing!  (Pilates, bike riding and taking Kendel on long walks!)  When I look in the mirror, I don't see that imaginary pudge anymore.  I see a healthy, happy body.  I see a girl who is well on the way to loving herself, as much as others love her.

I never would have imagined a battle with anxiety would lead to a whole-hearted acceptance of my body, but as they say, the Lord works in mysterious ways.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Learning to love myself: Part 1

Blogging about body image is something that has been on my mind for a long time.  However, up until this point, I didn't know what I wanted to say, or how I wanted to say it.  I think I know now.  I'm going to break up my story into two parts: the confusion, and the acceptance.

First, the confusion.  It begins with a mis-conception: petite girls don't struggle with body issues.

Me in high school.
I still own that t-shirt; I gave away the hat a long time ago.

Like the Mythbusters, I'm here to bust that myth.  Like the majority of high school girls, I didn't like the way I looked.  While I've always been on the small side, I thought I could be smaller.  I felt like I noticed pudge everywhere, whether it was really there or not.  I wasn't involved in sports, and didn't particularly enjoy exercising.  So, my focus, and way of control, centered on food.  While I didn't develop an eating disorder, I definitely has some disordered eating.  (There's a difference; check it out.)  I tried to limit my calorie intake.  My dad, who has dieted on and off for years, had a book with the calorie count of non-labeled foods, such as an apple.  I would sneak the book off of his desk to check what I ate.  I set up weird rules for myself, such as specifics about what I could and could not eat.  I would feel guilty whether I ate or not; I knew not eating wasn't healthy, but I felt guilty when I felt like I ate "too much".  I became very concerned with weighing myself.  I knew these actions weren't helpful, or healthy, but I didn't know how else I could "manage" my weight.

Thankfully, even when I was most obsessed with my weight, it never ventured into the point of being uncontrollable.  Slowly, I was able to release the majority of guilt and control I felt around eating.  Starting to date Jordan during my senior year of high school helped a lot.  (He constantly told me I was beautiful!)  I opened up to a few friends, including another petite girl, and realized I wasn't alone.  During my freshman year of college, I went to the gym regularly, finding that exercise helped me maintain a healthy weight.  Besides one short relapse during a particularly stressful time in my junior year of college, I didn't fall back into the realm of disordered eating.

Despite this, I knew that some of my body image issues continued into my adult years.  Some of them evolved into healthy habits, such as weighing myself.  I knew weighing myself can be a trigger, so I try to avoid it.  I use how my clothing fits, how I feel, and a loose knowledge of my weight to monitor my weight.  It helps me keep a stable mindset.

But I was still dissatisfied with the way my body looked.  Definitely not to the degree I felt in high school, but it lingered.  I'd look at myself in the mirror and wonder... couldn't my stomach be flatter?  What about around my hips?  And arms?  What about when I'm pregnant?  Would I gain weight I couldn't lose?  I could easily shake these thoughts, but not get rid of them permanently.  I figured this was the way it would always be...

(to be continued)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Snacking: yay or nay?

Apples aren't completely related to this post, but happily, I can eat them again!
I was allergic/intolerant to them for years, but the symptoms have faded in the past few months.
I can't wait for the fall - apple orchards, here I come!

Question of the day: are you a snacker?

I'm more of a "three square meals" a day kind of girl.  If I start to snack, I get into the habit of snacking.  I start craving snacks, my meal schedule gets thrown off, and I just get thrown off.  Also, like my mother always warned me, snacking ruins my appetite.  I get more satisfaction out of a meal when I'm sufficiently hungry when I begin.

I typically want to snack around 10 am and 4 pm.  I usually push through the morning, waiting until lunch, but in the afternoon, I tide myself over with a drink.  Usually it's tea - hot in the winter, iced in the summer.  Sometimes, it's a cocktail.  It's also more pleasant to prepare dinner when I have something to sip on during the prep.

If you're a snacker, when do you find that the munchies hit?  What do you reach for?