Body diversity

Welcome back! I hope you’re doing well. My family had a crazy busy weekend full of birthday celebrations that were incredible. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to come together with friends (in person!) and celebrate; our kids all get along and play really well together, and it was just a really wonderful weekend. Totally filled my cup and, although I was hesitant to come into work Monday morning (hellooooooo June for a teacher!), I knew I was ready to take on this week and do what I gotta do.

Last week I touched a little bit on intuitive eating and, while I’d love to do a series of posts on that, I’m not quite ready for it. There’s a lot of reading and research to be done, and I really want to give intuitive eating the attention it deserves. Instead, I want to talk about something that I’ve seen popping up everywhere lately. Does that happen to you? You’ll see a post about something and think, “Oh wow, how interesting.” And then that’s all you see for days?! That’s what happened to me with today’s topic: body diversity.

We live in a time of “body this” and “body that.” 

Body positivity.

Body neutrality.

Body diversity.

But what does it all mean, and which one should you really be paying attention to?

The answer to that question is entirely up to you, and I can’t tell you what to think or believe. But I do intend on outlining these ideas so you can make an informed decision.

Let’s start with body neutrality. Basically this mindset emphasizes decentralizing the body as an object and promotes accepting your body as it is. It’s important to recognize your body’s nonphysical abilities over the appearance of your body, and that your worth is not connected to your physical appearance. Basically, focus on what your body can do versus what it looks like. Accept what you have and celebrate what you’re capable of doing! 

While I like the allure of body neutrality, I think this is a difficult mindset for anyone who is new to ditching diet culture. It’s hard to go from being obsessed with appearance to abandoning that entirely.

Next up is body positivity. This one emphasizes having a positive body image and loving your body for how it looks. According to Very Well Mind, “Some of the goals of the body positivity movement include: challenging how society views the body, promoting the acceptance of all bodies, helping people build confidence and acceptance of their own bodies, addressing unrealistic body standards.” So while body neutrality wants you to not really think about your body’s appearance at all, body positivity wants you to love and accept how you look. 

Still following? These ideas are very nuanced and you might identify with some parts of each. That’s fine, it’s not an all-or-nothing kind of thing. 

Finally, let’s talk body diversity. Body diversity debunks the idea that there is one “ideal” body type. That simply isn’t true. Humans are unique and our bodies are just as diverse. Although diet culture and our society have driven home a certain physique as being “better than” the reality is, some of us just can’t attain that “perfection.” And the big question I have is: why should we try?! Why should I want to look like someone who I’m not? Why shouldn’t I be happy with my body just as it is, with everything it has done. I’ve run hundreds of miles, lifted thousands of pounds of weights, lived for over 35 years, carried and delivered two healthy babies…the list goes on. Why on earth shouldn’t I celebrate all of that because I don’t fit into a mold made by someone else?! 

The biggest issue with body diversity is that for it to work and become more mainstream, we need people to accept and love their bodies and for diverse bodies to be represented fully, in every aspect of life. This isn’t one “plus-sized” actress in a movie or embracing the Thor dad-bod, this is truly requiring diversity of all body types and abilities in movies, shows, all forms of media. BUT if that takes off and body diversity really picks up steam, where’s the downside? The only pitfall is for the diet industry, a $71 BILLION industry that preys on us hating our bodies and wanting to shrink ourselves in every way possible. Once we start including everyone in the narrative and we see that, in fact, people are very different and there is a nuanced spectrum of bodies in the world, we’ll be more well-equipped to appreciate our bodies and the role they play in the scope of diversity. 

So, what do you do? Body neutrality, positivity, or diversity? Which horse do you bet on in this race? Honestly, that’s up to you and where you are in your life. I don’t think you have to pick only one; like I said, these ideals are nuanced and really blend together in a lot of places. What I do want you to do is take a minute and jot down the things your body does for you that you appreciate. Rather than obsessing over your weight or lack of celebrity-like physique, think of what your body has done that you should feel proud of. Let that drive you. 

Until next time!

Diets suck

Oh, hi there! It’s me again. Get a drink of water. Right now. It’s super hot in Upstate NY and we all know, hydration is super important. Gotta start respecting your body, and the first step is getting some H2O in your gullet.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way. I’m exhausted. This has been the most hectic weekend we’ve had in a while…honestly since before COVID hit I think. Friday was Felix’s birthday AND Lily had dress rehearsal for ballet, so it was a lot of last minute errands and tag teaming with Dan to make sure everyone was where they needed to be and on time. Friday night we had a recording session of Dan’s podcast, A Grim Podcast of Perilous Adventure, and we were delayed because Felix couldn’t fall asleep because the poor guy had a hell of a stomach ache. Few things pull at your heartstrings as much as your child being in pain and you being powerless to do anything to help them. Luckily he did finally fall asleep and was fine the next morning. Yesterday Lily had two shows for ballet, one at 1pm and the other at 4pm and I signed up to be a backstage helper for the 1pm show. I always feel guilty that I’m not more involved in ballet, so helping backstage is my atonement for that. Her dance studio was able to rent out a hangar at a nearby park to put on the show, and it was really beautiful. Everyone did a wonderful job. After I dropped her off for the 4pm show I had to get ready to chaperone PROM! We were able to put together an outdoor event for the students and it was incredible! I didn’t get home until 1am and let me tell you, I’m too old for that silliness. Two late nights in a row, despite getting to sleep in the following mornings, plus being nonstop busy for days has me feeling wrecked. I got to have breakfast with some friends this morning and just kind of hang out today after I got groceries, but I can still feel that I’m physically and mentally drained from it all. 

After a great discussion over in my Ditching Diet Culture group on Facebook, I want to focus today’s post on what we mean when we talk about “diet.” Last week I touched on it a bit, but I really want to delve into this. When we talk about diet, what do we mean? What images come to mind? The Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of diet is as follows: “1 : food and drink regularly provided or consumed. 2 : habitual nourishment. 3 : the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason. 4 : a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight…going on a diet.”

So literally, a diet is just the food that you consume on a regular basis. A cow’s diet is mostly grass and grains. A lion’s diet is carnivorous. Foxes are omnivorous and will eat anything from berries to small birds. It’s simple.

It’s not until we get to the fourth iteration of the definition that we get to what most people envision when they think of a diet. And, not surprisingly, when I put “diet” into the ol’ search engine, the first four sites that popped up were popular dieting websites guaranteeing results “FAST” with this shake/pill/special meals/point system etc etc etc. Ugh. Overwhelmingly the response from my Facebook group, when asked what diet means to them, is denial or restriction of certain foods or food groups with the specific intention of making one’s body smaller. Sometimes a diet can be necessary for health reasons, but typically we go on diets to attain an arbitrary number of some kind. Last week I explained that for as long as I could remember, my goal weight was 140lbs. That was a number I got in my head somehow and I’ve been striving towards it even since. Spoiler alert: I’m not even close. Even when I was “close,” I always had 8-10 more pounds to lose before I got there. And maintaining that weight? Forget about it. Most people feel so deprived when on a diet, and if you have to feel that way to get to the target number, guess what? Chances are pretty good you’ll have to feel that way to maintain the weight. For me, 140 just isn’t in the cards. I love food and celebrating with said food WAY too much to never have gluten, dairy, or sugar ever again. And you know what? I’m sloooooowwwwlllllyyyyy starting to love my current body so that the arbitrary number no longer holds any power over me. It’s slow-going, but I’m getting there. 

Another theme in the group comments was one of feeling “good” if you make a healthy choice by not having the cake or chips at a party, but feeling ashamed or guilty for treating yourself if you don’t “deserve” it. I was guilty of this as well, and I have a lot of issues with it. First of all, you’re not a dog so you don’t “earn treats.” No food is inherently good or bad, we just assign those labels to foods that should be eaten with more regularity and more scarcity. For example, unless you’re lactose intolerant, ice cream isn’t “bad.” But eating nothing but ice cream for a week? While that’s my secret dream, it would also be hell on your poor body! There’s no differentiation in nutrients or nourishment here, so yes, in this instance that would be bad. But a cone or dish of ice cream every now and then? It’s fine. And the term “cheat meal”? I’m sorry, but fuck that. That’s just perpetuating the idea of feelings of shame and guilt being associated with food and that just doesn’t fly anymore. You can cheat on your taxes, you don’t cheat with food. I said what I said. 

And ya know what the real mind-fuck about restriction is? You can deny deny deny all you want, and when you don’t have it around, you’re great. But once you’re face-to-face with the thing you really want, you are way more likely to binge on that food than if you just allowed yourself to have a normal portion of it more regularly. So if you “can’t be trusted with __________ in the house,” try it. Say it’s chocolate. Get a bar of chocolate. Keep it in the house. When you want a piece, have it. Eventually the novelty of that food will wear off and you won’t crave it so desperately. I can tell you from experience, I adore ice cream. I once fought with Dan about whether or not I could have ice cream for lunch (his argument was similar to the one I made above; as an adult I absolutely can have it for lunch, I just shouldn’t since it isn’t nutritionally dense. He’s smart but I’m stubborn so it was an impasse and I just had ice cream). I currently have two half gallons of ice cream sitting in my freezer. How much have I had today, on an insanely hot day? None. Didn’t want it. It was there, it’s been in there, but I just wasn’t craving it. I found that the key to my success was in actually portioning it out; I don’t necessarily mean with a measuring cup, but I did start physically scooping it into a bowl instead of eating straight from the container while standing over the sink like some kind of beast. Once my bowl was done, if I wanted more, I had it. Usually one bowl was enough, and for the sake of transparency I should say, during this time I did measure out a suggested serving size, just so I knew a rough ballpark of what that looked like. 

Now let’s get to some real tricky stuff. My friend, Elizabeth, and I follow a portion control plan from Beachbody. This does not restrict any type of food. If you want more details on what it entails just let me know, but I won’t get into it here to save on time. So we don’t restrict, but we do have a target number of servings of different food groups that are ideal. Is that a diet? We eat to nourish our bodies and we focus on eating what makes us feel our best. I still have pizza, but I’ve noticed I don’t feel great if I overindulge, so that’s my motivation for keeping myself from being excessive about it (gotta love life in your 30s, ammiright?). I’ve been tweaking with my lunches a little bit to see if adding more carbs, like rice and beans, has any effect on my afternoon energy levels (specifically for my workouts). I like the science behind it. But am I stuck on the hamster wheel of diet culture? Have they bamboozled me under the guise of independence and self-actualization? I just don’t know. I think we’re encroaching on intuitive eating territory, and this is what intuitiveeating.org has to say about it: “Intuitive Eating is a self-care eating framework, which integrates instinct, emotion, and rational thought and was created by two dietitians, Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch in 1995. Intuitive Eating is a weight-inclusive, evidence-based model with a validated assessment scale and over 100 studies to date.” I’ll do a whole post about intuitive eating at another time, but that’s what the portion control plan feels like to me, it just gives a foundation to start on. 

I’ll be the first to say, I’m no expert on this stuff. I just know what I know from my experience and a lot of research into it. If you take anything from this post, I want it to be this: If you want to be on a diet, that’s fine. You have bodily autonomy and you can do what you want with your body. But look deeply at your motivation for dieting. Is it aesthetically based? Are you fulfilled and nourished on this diet? Are you living your best, happiest life right now? If you diet to attain a number, where did you get that number from? Who says you have to weigh _____ or fit in size ___ pants? Analyze what you really want, and if you don’t want to restrict yourself in order to shrink yourself, great. Stay tuned for an upcoming post about intuitive eating.

Be well!

Dani

Back at it…the diet culture edition

Hi there. I’m Dani, and I have a consistency problem. It’s been a red-hot minute since my last post. Forgive me mother, for I am busy.

In all seriousness, work and network and life stuff all got in the way and the one thing I could sacrifice was this blog. It’s sad, because I love writing and would love to write a book some day. But life is just life and, like my sister-in-law so aptly put it, we can either go with the flow or get hit in the head by lots of rocks (I’m butchering her words but the sentiment is there).

So the blog is back and better than ever, for a few reasons.

#1- To be honest, my aforementioned sister-in-law started an incredible blog and I was inspired by her (check it out here!). Reading her words reminded me of the catharsis I feel when writing posts and dammit, I wanted that sense of relief back. 

#2- School is wrapping up and I should have more time. More time is good. Why not write?

#3- This gets a little tricky. I was inspired by a long series of events to start a Facebook group called Ditching Diet Culture and it seemed like a beautiful coupling. Why not dis the heck out of diet culture and write blog posts, too? I CAN HAVE IT ALL! 

So my next however many posts will be all about diet culture and societal norms and how it’s unfair and it’s bullshit and we all need to move on to be happier. 

So, let’s talk diet culture. What is it? Why is this something we should even bother talking about? Is it really all bad?

According to Behavioral Nutrition, “Diet culture is the glorification of losing weight at all costs.” Think of your daily life: how often do you see messages about losing weight, dieting, toning yourself, comparing bodies, and on and on and on. It’s never-ending. Eat this fancy seed, drink this detox tea, suck on this appetite-suppressing lollipop and then you’ll be thin and happy.

Right? It’s everywhere. Even when we don’t think about advertising, think about our daily conversations. As we’re starting to see more and more people we haven’t seen in over a year since the ‘Rona, our knee-jerk reaction to start a discussion is to comment on the person’s appearance. Oh wow, you lost weight! You look great! Keto is really working for you!

Even among your friends and family, it’s hard to escape diet culture. And I’m the first to admit, I’m guilty of many of these things. It’s hard not to mention how a person looks, especially when you haven’t seen them in a while, because their body is the first thing you see. And everyone is always on some kind of diet, so that’s a great conversation starter for a lot of people. 

So what’s the big deal? To be blunt, diet culture is toxic AF. Psychologically it leaves us in a state of never feeling “good enough” and it’s designed so that we ALWAYS feel that way. 

Think of major celebrities. We’re supposed to want to emulate them, but in addition to having stellar genetics they also have trainers and dieticians and chefs and access that the rest of us never have. And it’s literally their job to look that way. Sorry, but yeah, if I had a nanny and maid and chef and my job was to look like that, it might be attainable. But it just isn’t.

We should not be on a diet for the long-term, but diet culture has us bouncing from diet to diet to magic pill and plastic wrap for our midsections. We’re too preoccupied with trying to force our bodies to be something they might not be genetically able to be that we can’t focus on real issues that are all around us. We’re busy and stressed and being busy and stressed is absolute HELL on your overall health and well-being. 

The last point I want to make is, we’re all very unique beings. There never has been or ever will be another person quite like you. Why not embrace that? Behavioral Nutrition writes,

 “Diet and body physiology are all inherently unique so practices related to one individual’s diet can’t be applied to everyone. Corporations use a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to diet because they can sell those packages at mass quantities. This unfortunately leads to a lot of negative dependencies and false philosophies on diet and health. Because we have been immersed in this way of thinking for so long, these messages often go unnoticed. When we open our minds and take a step back however, we can see just how common topics around weight and size are in society. Body image is often construed to sell products that are aimed to create dependence.”

When we put body image aside we can begin to focus on something far more important: our overall health. Obviously if a person needs to lose weight to increase their health and combat disease they should obviously follow that path and do what is best for them. But speaking personally, I’ve had the goal of weighing 140lbs for…years. So many years. Through two pregnancies and delivering two healthy wonderful babes, caring for those kids, many life events and stresses, through it all I’ve had this ridiculous and arbitrary number in the back of my mind. And why? Who, aside from society and diet culture, enforced this number on me? No one but myself and these outside forces. What if, instead of focusing on numbers that don’t really mean anything, we focused on health related goals instead? Reducing your cholesterol numbers, increasing how many push ups you can do, walking 5k steps on weekdays…these are all way healthier and attainable than a number on a scale. I’m not saying don’t have goals, but I think we should have goals that make us feel good, strong, and accomplished instead of feeling at a constant loss for why we can’t just do things right. You shouldn’t be enshrouded in shame for your entire life because you can’t look a certain way. Focus on how you feel. I’m getting ahead of myself now, but I’ll talk more about this in a later post. 

Stay tuned for more on diet culture as we move forward through the summer. My Facebook group, Ditching Diet Culture, is going to be a great resource for anyone looking to move away from diet-centered thinking. I’m so excited for this new path in my life, and I hope you’ll join me! 

Until next time, be happy and be well

-Dani

Attack of the monday

Hi there friend! Long time, no see!
That’s on me, and totally my bad. I know I keep saying that life is getting in the way, and it truly is. I guess I didn’t really realize how crazy things would get when everything got back in full swing, but now my normal blog writing time has been interrupted by literally everything else in my life. And things have been very heavy with the passing of RBG and all the political ugliness…to be honest, I’ve wanted nothing to do with social media of any kind lately.

And today, as the title of this post suggests, was such an insanely “Monday” Monday shit show…the morning just made me cranky, the day dragged by, and I forgot my sneakers so I didn’t get to workout after school. The weekends have been flying and I hardly have time to take a breath. This weekend was especially busy with lots of podcast recording going on, and since the recording studio is in our basement, we’re very limited in what we can do while people are recording down there. So right away there goes the majority of my productivity for the day: no vacuuming, no laundry, etc.

On the bright side though, my little dude’s daycare has asked that we start sending him in pull-ups because he’s been really interested in using the potty and has done a great job, but is having a hard time getting his diaper up and down (we use cloth diapers and the snaps are a huge pain in that regard). Can we get him to use the potty at home?! NOPE. But if he’s ready and willing to do it there, maybe that will translate to potty use at home, too. A woman can dream…

So with life being pretty much back to pre QUAR craziness and my world screaming down the track like a runaway freight train, I thought I’d take a minute to talk about what I’m doing for self care. I know, I know, the term “self care” has a really bad reputation and many people think it’s just bubble baths and face masks for days. But truly, when life starts getting overwhelming, it’s past time to take care of yourself. For me, self care is a way of showing myself that I’m just as much of a priority as anything else in my life. I wouldn’t neglect my family, job, or other responsibilities, so why neglect my own damn self?!

Here are some of my most favorite forms of self care:

  • Massage.
    I’ve only gotten a few massages before, and before last month I had always gone to someone I didn’t know and would never see again. Lately my shoulder has really been bothering me, and I always talk about treating myself to a massage but I never do it. Finally I mustered up my courage and messaged my friend Rachel at A Time to Heal Massage in Walton. I’ve known Rachel since we were in high school and we reconnected at the gym a few years ago. She’s incredible AND a business owner, so she has even more of my respect. I messaged her business page for an appointment and let me tell you, it’s something I schedule monthly now. Being able to relax, chat with a friend, and get my aches and pains worked on is something that everyone deserves, and I only wish I had done it sooner. If you’re one who balks at the price of a massage, consider this: you can always get a shorter duration which is cheaper; you’d spend as much eating out twice as you would on a nice massage; if you go to a reputable place you’re being attended to by a trained professional who has spent years honing their craft and consistently work on professional development to stay up-to-date on current techniques; massage can combat numerous health issues including digestive and immune systems maladies.
    If you’re in the Walton area, check out A Time to Heal Massage and book yourself an appointment…you deserve it!
  • Social Media Timer.
    I flip flop between turning the timers on and off, but lately I’ve had one firmly set in stone for Facebook and I’m glad I do. It keeps me sane and keeps me from mindlessly scrolling through the expertly designed algorithm that the app sports. If it weren’t for certain groups I’m part of, I’d probably deactivate my account entirely. Knowing that I only have 30-45 minutes per day keeps me from obsessing over the app, plus I end up doing other, arguably more productive, things. How many times have you been on your phone, only to look up and suddenly realize that an hour (or more) has escaped you as you were being hypnotized by that tiny glowing box? I’m telling you, set a time and hold yourself to it and you’ll be amazed at how much your life is improved.
  • Movement.
    Yeah yeah, I work out. I’m trying to shift my mindset more towards moving my body in a way that celebrates what I can do, rather than as a form of punishment. My Beachbody coach started a Fall in Love group on the Beachbody app and I’m really loving that as well. It helps keep me accountable but also empowers me by connecting me to other like-minded people. I’m finding more and more than when life is crazy, I really need to get my 30 minutes in to show myself clearly that I am still a priority.
  • The Library.
    I love my library. They have continued to offer amazing programming all throughout QUAR, including a virtual book club, Take and Make activities, and STEM and coding programs for kids. Before they shut down back in March they contacted their patrons and told us, “Hey, come and stock up on books since we have no idea how long this is gonna be.” So that’s what I did. They were able to reopen the drop boxes in June and we could put holds on materials to pick up, but it wasn’t until very recently that they opened back up for browsing without an appointment.
    As someone who used to spend hours every week hanging out at the library (my kids LOVE their play area), not being able to go there was like part of my identity being taken away from me. I was finally able to go browse this past Friday, and to be honest, I got choked up. I was just so happy, and at peace, to be back in those book-lined aisles, it felt like going home. And as someone who didn’t have an ideal childhood and hid in the solace of the pages of books, it was even more fulfilling. I felt whole again.
    AND I got to meet the BOMB librarian I connected with through mutual friends and the virtual book clubs and I felt like we’ve known each other for our entire lives. The library is magical.
  • Podcasts.
    A 40 minute commute (one way) is a prime place for podcast consumption, but in the mornings I’ve taken to listening to Yoga Girl Daily’s podcast; they’re updated daily and are around 5 minutes each, and they’re a great way to start the day. She sometimes give you a meditation practice, or something to think about and reflect on, a journaling prompt, anything like that. She has a calming and peaceful voice, and I have to say, I prefer starting my day listening to her than checking the shit show that is social media…
    I also listen to TONS of other podcasts, including ours at PCN as well as My Favorite Murder, An Acquired Taste Podcast, Redhanded, Why Won’t You Date Me?, and This Might Just Get Weird.

What will you do to take care of yourself and show yourself that you’re a priority in the coming weeks? I’d love to know what your tips are, or if you do any of the things I’ve suggested above.

I’m on full-on “house makeover” mode so I’ll be posting updates on that as things get moving along. We’re not doing anything crazy as of yet, just getting our outlets replaced from being two prong to three prong (woo hoo!) and I’ve been looking at different things to do in our kitchen. I want to update the back splash and then pick a paint color from there, but of course the back splash I ADORE is hand-painted at a place in CA and I have to contact their show room for prices…so that’s gonna be way more than we can afford…
But I’m hopeful that we’ll find something similar somewhere. It’s so pretty.
Anyway. Thanks for reading, and I PROMISE to be more consistent in my posts. Talk soon!

The Decor Rabbit Hole

Well hello there, incredible reader. Take a second right now and get some water. Drink it. I’m serious. We could all stand to be a little more hydrated 🙂

Things have been incredibly busy over in my neck of the woods; school started up and the whole family is adjusting to a very new schedule. We had 6 months of free floating so getting back into the swing of things is taking longer than I thought it would, but when I really think about it, what did I expect? I guess I assumed we’d get right back into it in a day or two, but things haven’t been that straightforward; Dan and Lily’s school did a rolling open thing so they only had three grades in the building each day, so she went on Wednesday and then didn’t have to go again for the rest of the week. I had conference days Tuesday and Wednesday and then started with students on Thursday, and poor Felix is not sure why everyone is up so early now but he wants to be in on the action so he’s been waking up between 5:30-6 in the morning. 

All-in-all I think we all had a great first week back, but this upcoming week will be the real test when Lily resumes school every day except Wednesday and also has (virtual) ballet thrown in as well. But ya know what? It’ll be fine. We’ll figure it out and adjust as we go, like we always do. 

If you’ve been a reader for long you know that I am crazy about summer, and everything that goes with it. I love the weather, the food, the activities, it’s all great! But I do have to say, this past weekend was the perfect, quintessential fall weekend. The weather was lovely where it was cool in the morning but warmed up throughout the day, it was gorgeous. We made our way to the farmers’ market and then the park to play with friends on Saturday, and I got a great run in on Sunday and then did lots of meal prep and watched football. Go Saints! This weekend really made me appreciate the shift in seasons as a new opportunity and something to look forward to. While I’ll miss summer and everything about it, would I love it as much if I didn’t get other seasons to enjoy as well? Wow, that’s some heavy thinking right there!

I’ve felt a lot more like an adult lately (which is funny since I’m 34, I have 2 kids, and this is my 13th year of teaching, so I’ve been an adult for a while now…) and I think it’s because I’ve been wanting to do more “adult” things with our house. I’ve never really had “decor” or done anything like that, but lately I’ve been thinking about changing things up and doing some painting in our house and adding in some accessories. It all stems back to a dang candle from Target. Yep. That’s the culprit. See, I was at Target (blissfully) alone and they had a nice display of candles, and the small ones were only $5! Well I started smelling them, as you do, and there was a big one in a gold container and it smelled EXACTLY like my gram who passed when I was in college. Every other gardenia scented candle I’ve ever found was just not quite right, but this was spot on and I bought it. Note: it was not one of the $5 candles…but still worth it. So now I’m digging gold accents in my living room, and I want to paint the walls either a cream or deep blue to match flower pots I bought over the summer (even though I’m guaranteed to kill those plants because I have a brown thumb, but whatever). And if we paint the living room we should really do the bathroom and kitchen, and maybe I’ll get new kitchen towels because mine are red-themed but do I really want that now? And if we’re going to paint the bathroom we should really redo the floor and get a new counter, and maybe replace the medicine cabinet….And down the decor rabbit hole we go! All of this because of a candle!

A blogger I follow, Juli over at Paleomg, hired an online interior designer from Havenly and her house looks AMAZING, but she also has a lot more money and room to work with than what I have, and with two kids do I really want to spend a bunch of cash on redecorating? At this point in my life a white couch is the equivalent of burning a pile of money, right? 

What about you? Do you have a set “style” or “decor” or do you kind of wing it? Should I just tear the bandage off and do it, or ease into it over time? I’d love to know what other functioning adults are doing!

Thanks for checking in with me…we’ll talk next week!

Welcome to September!

Hi there, faithful reader. I’m sorry for the brief hiatus between posts; my family went on a trip to Old Forge with some nerd friends and their families and I was having too much fun on the lake to throw together a post 😉

25+ Inspiring Fall Quotes - Best Quotes and Sayings About Autumn


Can you believe that fall is practically upon us?! My husband, the science teacher and household “fact person” (a nickname handed down from our daughter) would argue that autumn doesn’t officially start until September 22, but there’s no denying that fall is fast approaching. While we were in the Adirondacks the air was crisper, the mornings cooler, and the surrounding hills enshrouded in a dense fog that all screamed AUTUMN! like a flashing billboard. As much as I love summer, I do love the transition from summer to fall. As a kid I was always enthusiastic about going back to school, plus I played field hockey which is a fall sport, so I have very fond memories of this season. Our season always started part way through August and ran through the fall, and I loved being able to watch as the hills slowly transitioned from their emerald green to the fiery oranges, reds, and yellows of autumn. And the smell in the morning, those quiet hours of stillness when the only sound would be the hollow tap of the stick on the ball as it glided over the dewy grass…I still wholeheartedly love summer, but fall is a close runner-up 🙂

Our nerd family stayed in a house on Fourth Lake, just a few miles from Old Forge. We had a playground right next to the house and beach access to the lake, which was wonderful. The owners even had Adirondack chairs arranged for the different houses on the property. You know what an Adirondack chair is, right? This guy:

Cordelia Solid Wood Adirondack Chair

Confession time: I’ve never understood the appeal of these chairs. Like, why do people pay hundreds of dollars for a hard wooden chair that their butts just sink into and they’re so hard to get out of? They’re hard, they look weird, I just never got it.
Until this trip.
It was our last day and I was up early with Felix. He and the other kids were hanging out in the house so I sneaked a last minute trip down to the lake (literally less than 100 yards from our porch). I walked down and tried to perch on the edge of the Adirondack chair to enjoy the view. Again, anger flooded my mind as to WHY people love these things?! I can’t even sit on the edge properly–
And that’s when it hit me. I’m a “percher” always ready to GO GO GO and I’ve been trained so well that I can’t even relax in a dang chair. I definitely thought that with this COVID quarantine stuff I had done better about slowing down in life, but apparently I was wrong. So I sat my butt in the chair and just enjoyed the early morning stillness of the lake.

It gave me some time to reflect on the summer that was behind us, what I had accomplished and what I loved about it, plus some time to look forward to the coming season. School starts up next week which is truly terrifying and I have no idea what to expect, but I always like to take some time to get in the right frame of mind to adjust myself to the new schedule. I tend to get a touch of the “summer time sadness” where I get teary eyed and beg summer not to go, please don’t leave me, please just stay a little bit longer.
So I take a few moments to get my head right about the change in seasons. I’m looking forward to a lot of things in the coming weeks, including:
1. Getting back into some kind of real routine. I love the lazy days of summer and I was still productive, but I am a person who thrives on having X happen on Y date at Z time. I need that stability, and going to work every day provides it.
2. I’m looking forward to getting back into a meal prep routine. I love the challenge and the feeling of accomplishment when it’s done. Feeding myself and my family nutritious food is truly my love language.
3. FOOTBALL. I love it. I’m sure it will be weird with no spectators in the stadiums, and who knows how long the season will last, but I can’t wait. (GO SAINTS!)
4. Apples, apple picking, apple cider donuts, etc etc etc. Pumpkin stuff too, but I’ve never had a pumpkin spice latte so I can’t really speak to those 😉
5. Cooler temperatures for running. My ideal temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees, and fall mornings are ideal for this!
6. Doing some slight house renovations. I don’t want to do anything major, maybe paint the living room and the bathroom, install a new kitchen faucet, and I’d LOVE to redo the counter and floor in our bathroom, but we’ll take all those projects one step at a time.
7. The holidays! I love Halloween, Thanksgiving is my favorite, plus my wedding anniversary is in there as well. Who knows what these celebrations will look like, but I’m looking forward to them regardless.
8. Sweat pants, hoodies, boots, cozy socks, the full fall look!

I guess this is all to say, even though going back to school and the coming year have me feeling anxious in many ways, there are still things to look forward to in this coming season. I hope you can take a minute to jot down a few things you’re looking forward to in the weeks ahead. I’d love to hear what they are!

Thanks for reading, be well, and we’ll talk soon! 🙂