Saturday, September 28, 2013

struggling is not failiure: as taught by elle woods

So, you may or may not have noticed but I kind of fell off the blogging-about-my-weight-loss bandwagon.  Mainly because, I've sucked at it the last little while.  I hit a plateau.  The pounds were  coming off and then suddenly they stopped.  My clothes were getting bigger (meaning I was getting smaller) but there were no major results showing on the scale.  And I was feeling like a failure.  I didn't want to blog about it because I felt like I failed my readers and myself. 

Still, there is one thing that will always make me happy and give me direction in life.  That is: Legally Blonde.  Seriously, Elle Woods is basically my role model.  After seeing that movie as a young'in I had a pull toward the law.  After graduating high school, I started out as a musical theatre major but eventually found my footing and passion for criminal justice.  Now I work in law enforcement, I'm seeking a business degree and hoping to attend law school at a later date in my life.  I'm a blonde (bottle blonde, I admit), I'm not your typical law enforcement official and sometimes I have to be a real a biz-natch to get respect in my profession.  Just like Elle, she had to go after what she wanted and stand up for herself to get it sometimes. 

So, in my latest struggle with weight loss I have found solace and words of wisdom from my home-girl and soul sister, Ms. Elle Woods. 

{one} Exercise will make you happier.  Even when you feel like it's going to suck so badly and you're going to hurt a LOT.  Exercise will boost your mood.  And make it so you don't want to shoot your husband.  Because I can almost guarantee that everyone feels there are time where you want to shoot your husband.

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{two} Some people will just never accept you for who you are.  And that's okay.  The most important thing you can do is be true to yourself and accept that you're good enough the way you are and find people who think you're perfect like you are.

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{three} Pink will always make you feel better.  Seriously, having a rough day?  Slap on some pink lipstick and pull yourself together, honey.  This is the exact reason I just got a pair of PINK workout shoes.  I have a whole new outlook on life.

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{four} Best friends are not only good to have, but necessary.  No matter what, they'll stick beside you and support you through it all.  So, don't fret.  Your best girls and guys have got your back.

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{five} Grab a good fashion/beauty/gossip magazine and relax for awhile.  You'll have a better outlook on your life afterwards.

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{six} Take good advice and forget the bad.  There will always be good and bad influences in your life.  It's up to you to listen to the good and leave the bad for someone else.

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{seven} Believe in yourself or no one else will.  Even when it's difficult to, take care of yourself and believe that you can make a difference.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

femme is not fragile

So, as I've said before, I work for Wyoming Highway Patrol as a Port of Entry Officer.  I don't carry a gun but I work with Commercial Vehicle Enforcement.  Most days, I work alone or with one other person.  We're a 24/7 Port of Entry, so we have tons of shifts.  Meaning, we're "shift workers."  Which translates to, rotating shifts (two weeks of afternoon shifts, one week of day shifts, one week of graveyard shifts).  A vast majority of afternoon shifts and ALL graveyard shifts are one person shifts.  So we spend a lot of shifts alone.  The other night I had a group of truckers in the port while I was writing them overweight permits.  The men were talking among themselves while I worked and they kept commenting about how a "woman like me" shouldn't be left alone without a man here.  I heard this and it troubled me.  So I asked them what a "woman like me" meant.  Their comments were the following:

"A pretty, young woman."
"Someone so feminine."
"You're too beautiful to just be left alone."
"Oh come on, you wear nail polish, your hair is done up fancy and your face is made up.  You wouldn't stand a chance if a man attacked you."

So this begs the question, since when did being feminine translate into being fragile?

It is a common misconception that being feminine in the work place translates into being "unprofessional."  Which, to be frank, is a load of crap.  The Webster's Dictionary defines professionalism as: "the competence or skill expected of a professional."  Is there anything about the way you dress that is involved in this?  No?  That's what I thought.  Also, I've found in the professional settings I've worked in, my femininity is appreciated.  Employers like employees who take care of themselves.  Who look good for work, who give a good image to the company.  It's a definite pro to be feminine in the work place, at least in my experience.

For some reason there is a social stigma that being feminine means I am completely against the feminist movement.  Let me be very clear about this: Being feminine does NOT mean I am trying to appease misogynistic gender roles.  It means I genuinely like to look pretty.  I believe that the government shouldn't be allowed to make decisions for me just because I have uterus.  I believe that we all deserve to have a fair shot at getting paid the same amount for the same job.  I believe that women's rights matter.  Not because I am some man hating woman how likes to burn my bras in my spare time.  It is because I am a feminine woman who happens to care a great deal about making my own decisions and earning a fair living.

Another is that because I am feminine, I have no idea how to be an "independent woman."  Guess what, I am probably the most fiercely independent woman you'll ever meet.  I love being married, I love my husband and I believe that we complement each other perfectly.  However, I don't believe that we "complete each other." The idea that you are not a whole person without someone else is ridiculous.  Of course you're an entire person with certain thoughts, ideals and ambitions.  You are that person regardless of if the other person is there.  Femininity does not mean lack of independence.  
Relating to the point previous, being feminine not only signifies that you're completely dependent on someone else, but also gives the impression of weakness.  For some reason, because I like to dress nice and put on make up, I am seen as weak.  In a society formerly dominated by misogynists and with some still promoting the male dominance today, women are fighting the battle of showing that we are not the "weaker sex."  At work, I have had drivers threaten me.  I have had people call me expletives.  I've had drivers hit on me.  However, I've still been able to hold my ground.  Just because I like to look pretty, DOES NOT mean I am weak.  When drivers belittle me or threaten me, I stand up for myself and tell them to get out of my building before I get a trooper to make an arrest.  When they hit on me, I tell them to back off because I'm married (also, even if I wasn't married I'd probably lie and say I was...because yeah, not interested).  I am a strong woman.  I don't feel the need to be bullied by anyone, regardless of gender.

So, let this be a lesson to you.  Femininity has nothing to do with personality traits, job performance or dependence on men.  Femininity has to do with loving your female gender identity.  Femininity has to do with liking to use make up.  Femininity has to do with liking to wear dresses or looking pretty.  I'm sorry that because I wear makeup there are societal assumptions made about me.  I'm sorry if it makes you uncomfortable that I can wear nail polish and also stand up for myself at the same time.  

Also, I'm sorry this became a much longer post than I intended. And I'm sorry if you feel this is preachy or weird.  I just have strong feelings about how I should be treated, regardless of how I look. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

the elusive honeymoon phase

So, a few nights ago I got to have a nice conversation with one of my best friends.  We're tight and kind of the classic opposites attract friendship.  I love it.  Emma often is caught saying "Why do I have a friend that is so girly?!"  She loves me, it's all good.  :)

Anyways, we got to chatting about our lives, our husbands and all of the other things going on.  Somehow we started talking about the "honeymoon" phase that everyone always asks newlyweds about.  Emma was married in December, so she's often asked about these things each day also.  People are always asking me, "So, have you left the honeymoon phase yet?"

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I've never understood this elusive honeymoon phase people speak of.  I mean, is there really a period of time when literally EVERYTHING your husband does is adorable?  Because, I can name a lot of things my husband does that are absolutely not adorable.  Example: Hanging his pants on our over the door towel hooks.  Seriously, not a big deal (better than on the floor) but just drives me bananas.  Just put them in the hamper!

I think part of the joy of marriage is seeing that not everyday is a fairy tale.  Marriage involves a lot of hard work from two people who have to be completely and totally dedicated to preserving and protecting and nourishing that marriage every. single. day.  Now, I'm not trying to scare my single friends out of getting hitched with such a bold statement, I say it because it's true.

Marriage isn't always sunshine and lollipops.  While dating, I thought that marriage would be a piece of cake.  We dated for almost two years, we'd been friends for five years.  We knew each other pretty darn well. However, when you are actually with someone 24/7, living with them, being with them and having nearly no separation time, it's a totally different thing.  You find out little idiosyncrasies, you learn that they have habits that annoy you and you see that neither of you are totally perfect.

However, I also find myself hopelessly and disgustingly in love with my cute husband.  There are days and times when I just think how lucky I am, how good it feels in his arms, how I still get little butterflies when he kisses me.  (I know, it's so adorable you could puke)  So, this all begs the question, What really is the honeymoon phase?

To me, I find moments of the honeymoon phase every day.  One morning a few weeks ago I was super annoyed with JD.  I was just getting back to work, JD had a day off and I came home and there was a new little mess from him eating lunch in the living room.  We had a little argument about it, he cleaned it up and I was just annoyed.  After he was done cleaning he came into our room and cuddled up close to me.  He held me, kissed my forehead and told me he loved me.  I was just so overcome with love at that moment that all of the frustration I had earlier just swept away.  That was a honeymoon moment. 

My point is this, the honeymoon phase doesn't have to end after you've been married a certain amount of years.  Honeymoon joy and love can be found each and everyday.  Even on days when you just want to put your face in a pillow and scream.  Believe me, I've done it.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

7 habits of {not very} effective people

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**This post was inspired by one of my husband's all time favorite books is The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (thank you Grandpa Hoffman for giving that boy good literature that helped make him a good man).  **

Everyday at work I meet some wonderful people.  Seriously, truck drivers are some of the most interesting people you'll ever come across.  However, I also meet people who make me wonder how they're still alive.  Not only does this happen at work, but pretty much everywhere.  The grocery store, the post office, my Facebook news feed, etc.  I mean, really, how do some of these people make it in life?  They clearly are not exhibiting the habits of highly effective people, but are exhibiting the habits of NOT VERY effective people.

Now I want to help out those who read my blog from making the same mistakes I see people make all the time (and mistakes I may have made a time or twenty).  Here's what NOT to do, ever...ever, ever, ever if you want to be an highly effective person (or just be taken seriously in life).

1. Post vague Facebook statuses about "him/her" "not understanding" or "not loving" or whatever the heck else.

I mean, really, I have no idea who "they" are.  I don't care to know about the problems in your personal life.  Honestly, you're probably my friend on Facebook for one of three reasons 1. We're actually friends and I honestly love you and care about you, 2. I need to see what people I went to high school with are doing or not doing with their lives now, or 3. You have really cute babies or animals that I love seeing pictures of.

2. Gossip about people.

Honestly, I just get annoyed when people talk behind other people's backs.  If you have a problem, just tell the person.  At least if that's me.  And those that spread the gossip that other's say, just get a life.  I don't care if so and so thinks my hair looks funny.  And I think you're silly for telling me they said that.  Honestly, who gives a rat's behind?

3. Pretend to be stupid.

This annoys the heck out of me, especially when women do this.  When did intelligence become something that makes us unattractive?  Seriously, educate yourselves and don't "pretend" you don't know things.  It's a good thing to have knowledge!  It shouldn't be treated like some weird thing that will surely prevent you from ever landing a man.

4. Paging Dr. Facebook.

I understand that you might not know what some bite really is or why your children's barf is blue.  However, I don't want to see pictures of it, hear about the nasty symptoms or anything of that nature.  If you really have a medical question, look it up on WebMD like the rest of us...and, always CONTACT YOUR REAL DOCTOR!

5. Staring.

This is one of my absolute biggest pet peeves EVER.  I hate when people stare at anyone for any reason.  I get on my husband about this all the time, because he has stare-itis or something.  He stares at things all the time and it annoys me to death.  So yeah, I don't care how weird you think something or someone is, DON'T STARE!

6. Need to tell you how to do things.

No, woman at the super market I am sure you know that Diet Coke will eventually kill me and give me cancer.  It's staying in my cart, but thanks. 

7.  Being unkind.

I will never understand people who are just hateful when they meet people.  Honestly, everyone is having a difficult trial that we don't understand.  Everyone struggles with something.  Why make it more difficult on them by being so mean?  Regardless of the circumstances a person is in, we're all in this together.  Why not make the journey of life easier for someone rather than make it more difficult? 

**Disclaimer: I have had this post sitting in my drafts thinking it was too harsh and that I'd read it later.  I read through it today and didn't change one thing.  Sometimes, you just have to let your feelings get out there I guess**

Thursday, September 12, 2013

back at it

Well, I am both happy/sad to report I am back at work again.  On Saturday we opened the Port back up after they painted and gave us new flooring.  Then they tried to replace our windows, and the bricks holding the building together started crumbling.  So, we'll see how long this lasts before they have us out again. 

You know, I absolutely love my job.  And I feel very lucky to be able to say that.  Not very many people can say they love going to work.  However, I really do.  It's exciting to learn about how interstate commerce works.  It's exciting learning about all of the laws for my state.  It's interesting and different everyday.  I love it.

However, it's still a bittersweet thing.  Namely, I now have no time with my husband.  I do shift work, JD works Wednesday through Saturday.  I have two weeks of swings (afternoon shifts), then a week of days and a week of graveyard shifts.  When I was on administrative leave, I was able to spend all of my husband's days off with him.  Now, we only have a few coinciding days off, so time spent together is in short supply. 

Last night was one of the few nights we have together, so we rented a movie and grabbed some dinner to have an impromptu date night.  While we laid on the couch watching Now You See Me (husband's choice for the rental wasn't bad!) I just felt so peaceful.  Neither of us were rushing to work, doing homework or anything else.  We were just able to be together with no demands.  It was lovely and perfect.  I longed to have more moments like that, but unfortunately  that's not possible.  Oh well, working means that we'll treasure these little moments more.

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Us Circa June 2013 on our anniversary escapade

Sunday, September 8, 2013

treat yo' self

I feel like I sometimes harp on this a lot, but SELF CARE IS SO IMPORTANT!  Perhaps I harp on this particular thing because for so many years I neglected taking care of myself.  I constantly and consistently put others needs before my own because of my low self esteem (that's another topic for another day)  And it worked for a while, until I finally had a nervous breakdown.  I couldn't do it anymore and I realized that I needed to come first. 

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Now, I know so many people who feel like putting themselves first is kind of selfish.  They say that we're supposed to be selfless and serve other people with everything we have.  While I do believe this is true, how are we expected to care for other people when we can't take care of ourselves?  Shouldn't our top priority be ensuring we are in tip-top shape to handle life around us?

I know some people who think "If I am dressed and eat food, I'm caring for myself.  Yay me!"  WRONG-O.  While those are aspects of self-care, there is SO much more to the mix than just the essentials for living.  There's a lot of work that goes into having a perfectly aligned and healthy mind, body and spirit.  So, how do you do it? 

I'm not about to tell you exactly "how" you should take care of yourself.  Because, it's YOU.  You know you better than anyone else, so you know what steps are needed to take care of you.  (wow, it took such strength for me to type "you" that many times in a row)  Find a routine or care plan that works best for your situation and your body.  I'll share with you how I try to find moments in the day to take care of myself.  Often, I have to CONSCIOUSLY find times in the day to ensure I'm caring for myself and take time to do so. 

I try to dedicate at least 30 mins of "loving movement."  That term is from Fly Lady and I absolutely love it. Loving movement is essentially, exercise.  If I think of it as "exercise" I don't want to do it almost instantly.  However, exercise really is loving movement for your body.  It's doing physical activity to strengthen your body and make you feel good (even though you may not think you feel super good during the work out).  And it is so important for your body to move it!

Another thing I find super important to completely clear your mind.  I try to find time during the day to pray, read and meditate to find a spiritual center.  This probably sounds really strange and hippy-ish to a lot of you, but I think it's super important to find a way to clear your mind of stress.  You can walk the dog, listen to music, take a nap, find whatever works for you.  That's just the method I use to completely and totally clear my mind for a couple of minutes. 

Monthly I try to do something specifically for myself.  Maybe getting a massage, maybe getting a pedicure, maybe getting a manicure, maybe getting my hair dyed, maybe go shopping.  Whatever makes you feel good about yourself.  Take time to do it.  Treating yourself makes all of the difference in your mood.  Find something that makes you feel good and do it. 

I've seen this quote around pinterest and even on my little sister-in-law's twitter, it's easily become one of my favorites. 
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So, make sure you take care of yourself, love yourself, be happy and don't forget to treat yo' self in the coming week. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

currently i'm...

Listening: to my husband playing Halo 4.  I will never truly understand the intrigue.  However, I do love playing Lego Harry Potter on the Xbox.  I will own you at years 1-4, I have yet to beat 5-7...

Loving: having the turtles back in our living room.  I don't think I've mentioned this before, but we have two little red-eared slider turtles.  Their names are Jimmy and Minnie.  We've had them for a little over a year.  They're lake turtles, so they love water, but also need space to bask on a rock.  We've had them in our bathroom for awhile, but I wanted more counter space.  It's nice having them out here.  I love sitting and watching them.  They're SO funny! 

There's Jimmy, in all of his rock climbing glory.  See the little thing that looks like a rock underneath in the shadow?  That's Minnie.  She's the shy baby turt.

Thinking: We drink a lot of Sunny D.  Really, We just bought a thing of it (I don't know what to call the bottle that doesn't have a handle, because a "jug" has a jug?  Maybe I'll come up with that word and patent it and make millions.  Oh yes...) two days ago.  It was gone by today.  So I bought two more at the store.  The hubs has already drunk half of it. 

Wanting: my lovely package from Sephora to arrive.  Yeah, Sephora had a sale.  And I live 2 1/2 hours away from the nearest store.  So I went online and purchased some of the lovelies available.  I'm a beauty product hoarder.  I love to try EVERYTHING!  So, I got a few old favorites and couple new tryout items.  P.S. I've heard AMAZING things about Benefit Cosmetic's Watts Up.  I ordered one, I'll let you know if it is as cool as it looks.

Making: a baby quilt for my friend...who's baby is already 2 months old.  Yeah, it'll be done before she's too big for it.  Promise. 

Wearing: Jammies, my wedding ring and my Tiffany ring.  It's this ring here.  Simple, no diamonds or anything.  But I love how dainty it is and the fact it is my first ever Tiffany's piece.  Perhaps someday I'll add something else to my jewelry collection from Tiffany's...maybe I'll even step it up. ;)

Sorry for the lack of creativity today.  It's been a much busier day than I expected.

Monday, September 2, 2013

i'm not cut out to be a housewife

For the last two weeks, I've been on administrative leave from work.  And, currently the leave is indefinite.  Black mold was found at our Port of Entry, so we all were forced to vacate the building and make doctor's appointments.  The state has yet to decide what they are going to do (i.e. bring out an office trailer for us to work from or just keep us on leave until the building is up to code) so we're all getting paid to be at home.

I don't have any children, so you're probably thinking "What a sweet deal, Megs!  (You call me Megs, because we're tight, yo) You're so lucky!  Staying at home without any kids to take care of."  Hahahahahaha, you're hilarious.  Because...I am really not a huge fan of this whole "housewife" thing. 

I have an impulsive need to be productive.  So, I've been going through things, organizing things, cleaning everything in sight.  I HATE CLEANING!  What is happening to me?!  I've been cooking dinners, which is actually super relaxing for me.  I love to cook and make good food, but then I am actually around to have to CLEAN UP THE KITCHEN!

Here's the thing, I have a compulsion to keep myself busy...all the time.  It's one of those lovely traits from my amazing mommy.  So, in not going to work daily, I've been trying to find other ways to busy myself.  I've cleaned, organized, cooked, prepped, done a million things that are TOTALLY out of character for me.  And, newsflash, I don't like it.

I don't mind cleaning, but it sure isn't my favorite thing.  My favorite type of cleaning it tidying up on one of my days off and always keeping the bathroom immaculate (I have a thing about the bathrooms being spotless at all times....I'm weird, I know....).  However, being home and around all of the little projects I have just been working on each of them.  And it is killing me.  I'm more exhausted than ever, I'm feeling like I constantly am not doing enough, and I'm getting really antsy being around the house all day. 

Seriously, stay-at-home mama friends, I have no idea how you do this.  I'm exhausted, tired and worn out...and my only child is a black Labrador that spends most of his summer days outside.  I've got a lot of respect for all of your stay and home moms who work so hard every day.  I, personally, cannot WAIT to get back to my job.