Actual Real Life – Episode 4: Texts With Dad

Although we’re buds now, my father and I didn’t always have the best relationship growing up. In fact, I’m pretty sure I said less than two paragraphs worth of words to him from approximately 13 to 17. And yet, in spite of the lack of communication during my teenage years, I managed to turn into a person that, at times, bears a striking resemble to my dad. And sometimes, just in case I’ve forgotten, a moment comes along to remind me.

Suffice it to say, I get my overarching sarcasm from both of my parents, but I get my dry sense of humor and my deadpan from my dad.

For better or worse.

dadconvo

Fitspo is dumb

Oh fitspo, the cool mashup word that’s been all the rage in online fitness circles. In case you’re not good at being hip, fitspo = fitness inspiration. Well, theoretically it does. And okay, I’m sure some people find these entirely motivating and not the least bit damaging, but I’m not a fan of the messages.

With messages about never giving up and pushing through the pain, and with phrases like “strong is the new skinny”, fitspo can be a little pushy. When those messages are then paired with images of headless fitness models, flat stomachs, and asses without cellulite, it gets overwhelming pretty fast. I understand the idea of pushing yourself and wanting to be better, but the constant barrage of the body parts of “ideal” women juxtaposed the inspiration not to give up is telling me things I’m not interested in hearing.

You can have this flat stomach if you just work harder.

You can be this skinny if you just work harder.

Eat better. Train harder.

Skinny is sexy. Strong is sexy. Fitness is about being sexy. Always make sure you’re sexy and desirable to other people.

I’m pretty over fitspo.

And I’m not the only one.

In the great technology age where women and men alike are constantly being reminded of what the perfect body looks like and how we should all be working toward that, fitspo can often do more harm than good. You may never have a flat stomach or buns of steel. These bodies we idolize are the result of specific eating patterns, exercise patterns, and genetics. The frames and the shapes of these bodies may not even resemble yours in the slightest. And that’s a good thing because we weren’t all meant to look the same.

What the hell is with separating women from their body parts anyway? I am more than my stomach. I am more than my ass. I am a person, I am working on me every single day, and I do not deserve to be boiled down into one body part as a reference for my level of fitness or my sex appeal.

I will no longer let a stranger’s flat stomach be my personal motivation.

I will probably never have a six-pack and I will always have cellulite. I can’t eat an incredibly restricted diet because it is both mentally and physically taxing for me, in ways that aren’t healthy.

I won’t work out for hours a day because my family, sleep, and my DVR are all important to me. I’m going to eat chicken wings and drink beer and get that big container at the frozen yogurt place. And I’m going to do these things guilt-free because I enjoy them and because I know I work hard to eat healthy often and exercise when I can. I won’t ever have the fitness industry’s perfect body but I can learn to appreciate my own. I can figure out where healthy habits and a healthy self-image meet to make the body in which I am most comfortable. I’m happier with that.

And so, I created my own alternative images to fitspo (click on the images to get the bigger versions).

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We could all use some more love and kindness in our lives. Be good to your body. Be kind to your body. Love yourself. Love yourself no matter what you look like, no matter how many pounds you want to lose, no matter how many cookies you ate with dinner. Be your biggest fan instead of your worst enemy.

Try to be the happiest and healthiest version of you that you can be, whatever that looks like. And encourage others to do the same. Think of all of the things that your body can do today and think about how great those things are.

Be good to your body, it’s the only one you have; and treat yourself with kindness to encourage others to do the same.

You are more than a quote over a body part.

You are awesome. Just as you are. Today. Right now.

And one more, for good measure, because I see you over there, looking all good…

7

Failventures: frozen Greek yogurt

Greek yogurt is kind of a big deal these days. Everyone with an interest in healthy eating is all about Greek yogurt. And — unlike other hip health foods — it’s not totally disgusting (I’m looking at you, coconut water). It’s chock full of protein, incredibly filling, and you could try a new Greek yogurt recipe every day for the rest of your life and still not try them all.

Peoples be loving the Greek yogurt.

So, as a person with an obsession for frozen yogurt and a desire to eat healthier whenever I can, I’ve dabbled a bit in using Greek yogurt to make my own frozen yogurt concoctions at home. Some of them are great (peanut butter yogurt omnomnom) and some of them… well some of them are failventures…

>> cue swipe graphic

After stalking Pinterest for my standard 500 hours a week, I had two brilliant ideas I decided to tackle. Watermelon frozen yogurt and chocolate frozen yogurt.

They sound delicious, right?!

IMG_7279Re: Watermelon

There’s a zillion recipes online that call for mixing some variant of a Jello powder (or Jello) with Greek yogurt.

Re: Chocolate

There’s a zillion recipes online that call for mixing Nesquik with Greek yogurt.

The interesting thing about both of these is that it seems people on specific diets (South Beach, maybe?) and diabetics have a lot of input. They’re big on making these two things happen in a sugar-free kind of way. I have no interest in using either sugar-free Jello or sugar-free Nesquik.

Sugar-free is not my jam. I’ll occasionally get down with sugar-free if it’s sweetened with Stevia but even then it’s a stretch. I eat regular, wild and crazy, white sugar. I know that as far as the blogging world is concerned sugar is basically the devil and whatever, but I’m fine with sugar. To a certain point. I’m not going to be eating your “fruit flavored” yogurt with 32 grams of sugar in it. Hard pass. But sugar in moderation is fine by me. I’m not a fan of fake sweeteners and I have no reason to use them because I have no dietary restrictions regarding sugar.

TO THE SUGAR MOBILE!

So anyway, if you take a gander online you can find a plethora of recipes for both strategies. Some people mix other things in, some people use actual Jello instead of the packet, some people cook the Jello or Nesquik powder with water before mixing, some people wear the containers on their heads as tiny hats (you do you, bro). There’s a lot of suggestions and I decided that since I’m not particularly fancy I would go ahead and keep it simple. I was just going to mix the powders into the Greek yogurt.

Not the same Greek yogurt. That would be weird.

And so…

I used one container of Greek yogurt because I didn’t want to make a bunch of either flavor and end up throwing a bunch out. I have a knack for making too much of stuff only when it’s really gross.

Then, because the internet can’t agree on any guidelines here, I made up my own numbers (#idowhatiwant). I mixed 3 oz of Greek yogurt with ½ tbsp of watermelon Jello powder, then did the same with the Nesquik.IMG_7295IMG_7300

I really wanted to make popsicles but apparently the world doesn’t make popsicle molds that I can buy out in the world anymore, so I took over one of our ice trays. I let the yogurt cubes sit in the freezer for one episode of The Daily Show and two episodes of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt before giving them a whirl.

Fun fact: ice trays and frozen yogurt don’t quite mix. To get the yogurt cubes out I maybe had to use a very sharp knife and maybe almost broke the ice tray and maybe almost stabbed myself.

IMG_7318I tried the chocolate and David tried the watermelon.

It occurs to me that I didn’t actually need to freeze them before trying the flavor and I could’ve saved myself a lot of trouble had I thought of this prior to right now.

Results?

The chocolate tasted mostly like bitter and plain Greek yogurt but sometimes with chocolate hints. For a non-sugar-free chocolate powder it sure tasted pretty unsugar-y. It wasn’t good enough to eat another one (or to make more) but it also wasn’t so bad that I didn’t finish it.

The watermelon tasted like bitter watermelon powder. David said I could try it if I wanted, but I decided just to take his word for it. He then spit out what he was eating and left the rest to melt in the sink. The rest will be melted along with the remaining chocolate bits. Too bad chocolate and Jello aren’t good for dogs. Chewy would love these things…

So basically, they were both gross and I’m glad I only wasted one container of Greek yogurt on the experiment. I’m also glad I gave it a whirl. The peanut butter Greek yogurt experiment was a resounding success in this household and I just know there’s more ways I can turn this tub of probiotics into delicious desserts.

I think I might try an actual recipe line-by-line for one of these things some day when I’m ready to get back on the frozen Greek yogurt cubes horse again but I think I’m going to need some time to recover.

And by recover, I mean stuff my face with the professionally-made frozen Greek yogurt in my fridge (with lots of chocolate chips and maybe some coconut flakes).

Actual Real Life – Episode 3: The Bra Store

This past weekend, David and I decided to adventure to the nearby outlet mall for the first time. With some sunshine and a slight breeze, it was a great opportunity for us to get to know this cute little gem near our newest home. Most of the stores are pretty useless to us but there’s a solid amount of athletic apparel stores (Reebok! be still my heart) and some shoes stores (Converse!) that we’re certain to be visiting again.

bloomers-brasWhile we were strolling around I noticed there were quite a few bra/underwear stores for women. Not the sexy kind like Victoria’s Secret or Frederick’s, just regular undergarment stores. I decided that it couldn’t hurt to stop in and see if I could find a new bra.

It’s important to note here that I buy my bras online because I have such small boobs. I can never find my size in stores.

I used to hate my boobs and my friends used to make fun of me for being “flat-chested” but I’ve come to a place in my life where I really love my body (most days). And that includes having small breasts. It took me a long time to get to that point. As recent as six years ago I was daydreaming about breast augmentation. I’m happy I never followed through with that.

I’m average height but have a small frame and the rest of my features fall in line with that. I think I still look super cute in low cut tops and bikinis. Also, sleeping on my chest and running are both way easier without weighty boobs to contend with.

That said, there was some incredulous staring followed by quite a bit of laughter after an exchange with David at the bra store this weekend. As a certified Guy Who Gives Zero Fucks, he doesn’t concern himself with how things sound before he says them out loud…

bracomic

Disclaimer: Lest anyone that doesn’t know him think less of my husband, it’s important to point out that he was asking a genuine question. Just… poorly. He knows my bras are small but never knew the exact size, and has no complaints (only commendations) about any of his wife’s bits and bobbles.

 

To my fellow white friends, confused by rioting

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to digest the Baltimore riots, the recent riots before them, and the political and social atmosphere that built them all.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking “I don’t understand” and trying to understand in spite of myself.

But that’s just it. I don’t understand. I won’t understand. I will never, ever understand what it means to be a person of color in the United States. I will never be a victim of institutionalized racism. When I do something wrong, people don’t assume the worst. I’m a white female. I have the privilege of getting the benefit of the doubt when I make mistakes.

The Frustration-Aggression Theory argues that frustration, when it cannot be displaced, leads to aggression. Without a means to deal with it, the aggression can turn to violence. Against people, against objects, against any conquerable target.

  • A woman constantly mistreated at the only job she can find in her town might go home and hit her child when he starts to cry.
  • A group of people oppressed by the institutions built to protect them, unable to see a way out from under the struggle, might start to riot.

This is about Freddie Gray and it’s bigger than Freddie Gray. This is a class problem. This is a race problem. This is our problem and we need to talk about it. No matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel.

So just consider, white friends, while you’re wondering why people are burning cars and looting stores, that it’s okay not to understand. It’s okay to admit that you don’t understand. Because you really don’t.

But it’s not okay to be silent. It’s not okay to take a back seat when people of color in this country have been so broken by oppression that they are reduced to acts of violence and anger. It’s not just one person. It’s entire communities. Communities that are hurting. Communities that need hope. Communities that deserve change.

Stand up and make a difference. Fight for justice and for equality. Challenge your country to be better.

You have the privilege to be silent, but that doesn’t mean you should be.

White silence = white consent.