Sunday, November 25, 2012

Guilt-less Lazy Day

Today is, sadly, the last day of our fall-winter quarter break. Tomorrow is the first day of winter quarter 2012-2013. The last winter quarter I will ever endure! Six months until graduation, and it can't go by fast enough. These last six months will be full of compiling my cover letter and intro video, job searching, interviews (hopefully...), board exams...and just trying to get through clinic from day to day. Hopefully all of the other things that need to get done will make everything go that much faster. My experience is that the more you have to do, and the more you keep busy, the fast time goes by and you wonder "where did that year go?" Kind of like, where did my last two weeks go?

I rescheduled my written exam from this week to December 20th. I decided that it was more important for me to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday weekend than to stress out over not studying on Thanksgiving Day, trying to study during all the awesome football games, and complaining about studying to my husband who had a four day weekend from work.

So I've been thoroughly enjoying this last weekend of holidays and freedom. I've done a pretty good job of getting ready for Christmas: put up the stockings and decorations on the mantle (we don't have room for a tree, so I hang a few ornaments in a big wooden frame and set some right on the mantle itself), finished Christmas card address list and ordered them to be direct shipped, planned part of Husband's Christmas present, did some serious wine cork crafting including some Christmas ornaments, planned Brother's Christmas present, and got some other Christmas gifts and decor taken care of via Heritage Makers. See wonderful project to do with all your digital photos, here.

In addition, I am having a Mary Kay sale with various items put into gift sets by me (i.e. items from my inventory that go well together, not gift sets designated and sold by the company as a whole), so please contact me via email or telephone if you are interested in any of these sets as gifts this Christmas - I have descriptions written out for all of them, and can snap photos if you like as well, so if you need more info, let me know! All of these gift sets, as well as all fragrances I have in my current inventory, are 25% off. This is my MK business website, but it does NOT include the custom gift sets I have compiled this season. You'll have to directly contact me for that info, like I said. Thanks :)

Today, I am enjoying one last day of NOT studying for my written national exam. Instead, I am watching the Seahawks game, working on wine cork ornaments, making turkey stock, snuggling with the dog, drinking tea (of course), and generally enjoying life. I am forcing myself to not feel guilty about not studying over the last three or four days. This is a holiday weekend, I rescheduled my test for a reason, and I'm going to DO WHAT I WANT before I have to go back to school tomorrow.

Maybe one of these days I'll post some photos of the cork ornaments I made, and some gift sets too when I compile them for photo ops. The cork stuff (ornaments and keychains) are for Mom's business; she does in-home wine tasting and sales. She's awesome.

That should be all for today mates, back to doing whatever I want for the next nine hours!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving is Tomorrow!

I LOVE Thanksgiving. The only other holiday that even comes close in my book is Independence Day. The two are actually tied for my favorite holiday, but no others really compare all that well.

Of course Christmas is great, but who needs the stress and awkwardness of reciprocal gift-giving? Thanksgiving has everything Christmas has, without presents and commercialism. That's why it's way better.

My birthday is pretty fun, but as you've probably gathered, I'm not really all that interested in getting more stuff than I have (one of my requirements for leveling-up in my Game of Life is to purge at least one thing per day), and I'm not a huge fan of being the center of attention in a large group of people for longer than my part of a conversation.

The 4th of July is comparable to Thanksgiving in that there is a huge seasonal feast involved, and gathering of people you really want to spend time with. Plus The 4th has fireworks and bonfires and roasting marshmallows and summertime parades and of COURSE, the best event EVER, the Maxwelton 4th of July Egg Toss!!! In case you didn't know, my brother is a reigning champion.

This year will be our first Thanksgiving that we don't eat things like rolls and white potatoes and stuffing and regular pies and all that. Yesterday, The Paleo Mom posted a great Recipe Round-Up to cover all the bases for Thanksgiving dinner, without straying from our Primal lifestyle (too much, anyway).

In case you haven't looked at any of the info on my Blogroll about the lifestyle, it pretty much involves eating only REAL food. Therefore, if it's prepared before it gets to my house (with a few exceptions), we avoid it. If there is an ingredients list, we typically avoid it (again, with a few exceptions - some things aren't very practical to attempt to prepare yourself, like seaweed, wine, our favorite dark chocolate bar...).

That means we eat a lot of produce, nuts, expeller/cold pressed olive and coconut oils (NO seed oils or vegetable oils!), and animal products except for milk (unless it's full fat or heavy cream).

One of the things that is hard to express to friends and family about this whole thing is that it's not a's a lifestyle. There is a HUGE difference here...I am starting to get asked the same question over and over now, since it has been almost 5 months since we started this. That question is, "are you still doing your diet?" Yes, yes I am...but it's not a diet. It's how I live. I don't ask you whether you're still eating your insert-food-choices-here. And we don't "cheat" on our lifestyle, either. We make conscious choices about certain indulgences, and probably feel physically worse for it later, but we move on. No guilt, no stress about it, because it wasn't a "cheat" in the sense that a candy bar is a "cheat" on any other diet program. Because this isn't a diet program. There is no finish line. This is long-term, for life, for my own personal health and the future health of my children.

This post is going a lot more into detail than I have mentioned about our lifestyle before, but I thought it was probably time to go ahead and kind of explain the basics first, and refer you to my Blogroll (and future posts, just be patient). It's not just about food being "healthy," or whatever everyone wants to call it. I get that a lot: "oh my gosh, your lunch is so healthy, I wish I could do that in the morning before school!" It's about making conscious choices about where our food comes from, too. What does our animal product eat during its lifetime? Because it has been shown time and time again that what our food eats is what we end up eating as well. Most of that is corn and soy - industrial crops, processed meals, etc. Our goal is to stick so as much grass-fed meat and animal products as we possibly can.

There are some more extreme measures that we haven't taken yet, in order to get more acceptable pork products, like ordering more meat online, but for now we have a nice local source of beef and chicken and we do well with that from our local farmer's market. It's nice that we can get it from a farm that's just across town. For now, we're okay with getting the best label bacon from Trader Joe's - it may not be grass-fed, but let's face it - pigs eat anything and everything, and finding a corn-free soy-free source of pork is impossible in all of the grocery stores we have here.

As far as produce goes, there is myriad evidence that soil quality and nutrient content directly affect the quality and nutrient content of produce grown in that soil. Now, from a science-oriented point of view, this all makes sense. But we all know how mass media and politics can skew anything the way they want it. Without getting into opinions about that, let's just leave it at this over-simplified example - the color of hydrangeas is dependent on nutrient content and pH of the soil. Keep a potted plant in the same pot forever, without extreme fertilization, and it won't do so well. Soil quality directly affects the quality of what's growing in it.

Also, to go back to the statement I hear time and time again about friends and colleagues who idly state, "I wish I had the time/budget/knowledge/insert-excuse-here to pack as healthy of a lunch as you..." It's not about "I wish" this or "this is my excuse" that. It's about priorities. Nerd Fitness posted about that a while ago, I think I may have linked to it in a previous post already about prioritizing rather than making excuses. Sure, we can make any excuse we want and it sounds great and all, but what it comes down to is that whatever it is we're making an excuse about just plain IS NOT A PRIORITY. If it were a legitimate priority, whatever internal conflict we have would be solved by now.

Now, Mark's Daily Apple (see link under Blogroll) has tons of references for papers written about the above issues regarding food source and quality. The Paleo Mom also has some great information, as does Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf. Please, if you are at all curious, I encourage you to click on one or more of the links and do a quick search for whatever information you are curious about. Chris Kresser and Robb Wolf also have amazing podcasts that address these issues from science and medicine points of view.

Random thought to end this post - a couple weeks ago, on a Tuesday, a colleague greeted me at school early in the morning. As most people do, we ask, "how's it going" or "how are you" or something to that effect. We both asked that of each other, and both of our responses were something along the lines of, "ugh, it's Tuesday, so exhausted already, still dragging from the Mondays yesterday," or whatever it is that we say to express our dissatisfaction with being at school at 7 am on a Tuesday morning. After that person left the room, I realized that I just lied. I realized that in fact I was not actually exhausted. I didn't really have any complaints about how I felt in general, just about the fact that I am just sick of school and over the whole thing at this point. It had nothing to do with it being a Tuesday, just general "I'm sick of this place." No actual physical exhaustion or lack of sleep or hunger or was an automatic response to say something like "ugh, so tired," or whatever it is that we say on Mondays and Tuesdays. For the first time, I realized that I had spoken those words out of pure habit rather than how I actually felt. In fact, I physically felt great. Probably better than at almost any other previous time during school these last few years. I was finally getting enough sleep, satisfied with my lifestyle habits including eating, exercising, recreation, etc. The only thing that could use modification is the fact that graduation is still 6 months away. But everything that is under my control, I am satisfied with it. There was no real reason that I should have said anything along the lines of "ugh it's Tuesday and I'm so tired." What a lie! And it feels great to realize that it was a lie, and that we say things like that out of habit - and now I try not to say that anymore, unless it's legitimately how I am feeling!

Anyway, wow, what a long post. If you're still reading...thanks. Haha; hope you enjoyed my general ramblings.

And as always, please see the links in the right hand module of this blog, they have been most helpful throughout this whole journey of learning about food and lifestyle.

Thanks again ladies and lads; until next time. Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Missing My Creative Side

Today I spent a few hours with a friend at the opening day of a HUGE outlet mall nearby. They've got some really nice stores, much better selection than the outlets about a half hour outside town, and much closer as well. The shopping includes Coach, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, J Crew, American Eagle, H&M, Banana Republic, Nine West, Le Creuset, Kitchen Collection, Gap, Nike, and Under Armour, just to name a few. There are plenty more that I just can't name off the top of my head right now. While I did come home with some great finds for both myself and my man, I keep thinking about some of the super cute jewelry I saw at Banana Republic.

I'll take this opportunity to let you all know that I love jewelry. But I have a really hard time buying it, and here's why: I always look at it and think to myself, "I can make that (or something similar)." Then I don't buy it, keep thinking about it for at least the rest of the day, and never make it (or anything similar). It's not for lack of supplies; if you saw my craft supply collection you'd tell me to open my own Hobby Lobby. For real. It's that it's all put away in boxes and containers, and although it's on a large bookshelf and therefore relatively accessible, I never feel like getting it all out to work on something. It doesn't just take me five minutes or an hour to make something; I'll unload all my supplies and lay them out and then make like fifteen things at a time: earrings, necklaces, wine charms, for myself and as gifts for others. Or I'll stop after making like two things and leave all the supplies out for days and days, until someone starts moving them around because they're in the way and he needs a little corner of desk space...then I'll feel sad that I didn't make more crafts, and pout about it while I put it all away...

I found a super cute ornament DIY idea on the Tip Junkie blog today, and I really want to do it (or something similar). I want to make a few different versions of them and use them for my holiday decorations since we don't have room for a tree. When am I going to find the time to do this, you ask? Ha, good question. Well, I am a master procrastinator, but I am going to force myself to wait until after I take my test before I'm allowed to do ANYTHING for the holidays (even update my Christmas card address list to get the cards they might be late, sorry). I had one minor lapse and searched Amazon for the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree, and I found it, and was to cheap to buy it for $20. I thought to myself, "I could make that (or something similar)..." Haha...

Sort of related, but maybe only in my own train of thought: I want to make a goal "list" of things for myself to achieve in order to "level up" in life. This comes from a Nerd Fitness post (How to Level Up in the Game of Life) about how to turn your life into a game and move up the levels. Basically, make yourself a Productivity Ninja and prioritize, stop making excuses and tell yourself the truth, and develop yourself into a legitimate badass.

So, why haven't I made the rules and the list of level-up achievements that must be met in order for me to start becoming a badass? Because I don't think I have time because I think it would be detracting from my board studying time. This, of course, is a lovely self-destructive cycle, as I'm sure you can tell. So, I've just got to strategize and tomorrow instead of procrastinating using this new blog, I'll procrastinate by working on my level-up requirements, and also make it a rule that I must get through 25 flashcards for studying before I can make requirements for subsequent levels in my game of life.

Well, that's about enough for tonight I think! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings...and hope you find some useful and motivating things on Nerd Fitness if you clicked on the above links to specific posts I referenced. I enjoy Nerd Fitness quite a bit.

Until next time, mates. :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daydreams of Ireland

Just a few thoughts for today, while I expertly find more things around the house with which to procrastinate. Right now, I'm using the justification of having to figure out how to print a bunch of review materials in the format in which I want to study them. I think the major source of my frustration with the format-to-print thing is the fact that I'm using a Mac and our printer is a multi-functional machine that prints, copies, and faxes, as well as scans to PDFs. It's a great and useful tool, but the print previews and options that pop up when I click "print" on my Mac don't show me true previews of the options I choose. It's quite frustrating, and something I have to troubleshoot every time I go to print something other than a normal single page Word document. Maybe it's just that I'm not very tech-savvy. Whatever.

So the title of this blog comes from the fact that indeed, I love my afternoon tea time. I realized just how much I enjoyed it while on my honeymoon in Ireland. Without a care in the world about what day or time it was, having tea after a mid-day meal and just sitting gazing out at cute little Dingle and its harbor, I really do just love afternoon tea. The photo on the main page of my blog is of the town of Dingle taken from the bulkhead on the outside of the main harbor. I truly miss that place, and think about it on a daily basis. Maybe someday we will move there. Ah, the dreams of a dreamer...

Speaking of tea, if you're looking for an amazing Irish tea, an authentic one is definitely the way to go. Not authentic in the sense that it says so on the box, but in the sense that it actually came from Ireland. We still have some Barry's tea from the honeymoon, and as much as I love Trader Joe's tea selection and the fact that their Irish breakfast tea is $3 for 80 teabags, Barry's wins.

One of the things that makes me love Ireland more than pretty much any other place I've ever been is the hospitality. Oh sure, here in the US we have a HUGE hospitality industry, but I have to say that I personally enjoy Irish guest houses so much better. One could argue that it's part of Ireland's hospitality industry, which of course is true - who goes to Ireland and wants to stay in a Sheraton? That's not a real Ireland experience! There is something about the Irish people that really defines the term "hospitality." It's really about the people, not whether it's a Hilton or a Super 8. Irish people are just so warm, and welcoming, and the second you stand on their doorstep there's a pot of tea brewing and a fresh snack on the table for you, no matter what time of day. They want to know all about where you're from, what your life is like, all about you. And it makes you want to know all about them, too. And a beautiful friendship is born, no matter how brief it may be. THAT'S hospitality.

I suppose that should be all for now, seeing as how I now have four packets of printed board review material to go through. Until next time...if you've made it this far ;)

Monday, November 12, 2012

First Blog Post Ever

Since my written board exam is less than three weeks away, I thought it would be a great time to start a blog. I'm not even really sure where to start, since an "introductory" post would be more like what should go on my "about me." Most of you know me anyway, so I didn't think any of that would be necessary.

The point of this was for me to be able to use a venue other than Facebook to talk about things I find interesting. Lately, my interests have centered on wellness, real food, and fitness, as I'm sure you have realized by seeing the links and tidbits I've posted on Facebook. Well, I wanted a different place to post those things, so that they don't clutter up your news feed, and so that people who intentionally would like to read that information can still do so.

We've made some major lifestyle changes in the past five months, and as I get more involved in the community that shares these lifestyle interests, I've been wanting to share it with people who haven't made the change yet but who might be interested.

Being Primal isn't the only thing I'll be posting about; I quite enjoy crafts and DIY, our dog, traveling, shopping, and various other things.

Well, for now you'll see a few of the blogs and sites I follow regularly, in the right hand module. It's not a complete list, but it'll do for now. I'll keep adding to it, and any information I get specifically from any certain location will recognize the source so you'll have even more information for your hungry brain (and of course I'm all about giving credit where credit's due!). If you have seen some posts on Facebook and wonder how I "have time" to find all of these things, take a peek at the blogs I follow on the right, and you too will soon have so much information you may not know what to do with it all! (Hint: I don't "have" the time, I just "make" the time, and use a Chrome app called NewsSquares to help organize and sift through all the things I want to keep up with.)

I suppose that's all for now, lads and ladies. Thanks for reading and hope that this blog helps those of you who are interested keep up with what's going on in my life, seeing as how I'm far, far away from most of you at the time being.