The First

The first.

So many firsts have happened in the past 3 months. First thoughts, first fears & first dreams of what the future will hold.

The first test was negative. I thought it was just another month of trying without success. I threw that test in the garbage receptacle and went along my day. We had been trying for a couple of months so it wasn’t a huge surprise. It takes time. It takes timing. I was fine with it. A week went by and I could tell something was off. My body was playing games with me. It knew how much I yearned for a positive so it was dragging out the inevitable monthly visit to confirm the empty womb I knew I had.

After talking with my dear friend, she suggested I take another test; just to be sure. I walked down to the local Walgreens during my lunch break, expecting to waste $20 on tests to learn what I already knew. I got back to my office & because I wasn’t expecting anything other than a negative, I decided to take the test in the restroom on my office floor. It wasn’t a minute after taking the test those 2 pink lines popped up. I was in shock! I FaceTimed my friend, told her her suspicions were true and cried tears of joy. It was the most surreal moment of my life. I got myself together, sort of; then walked back to my desk, grabbed my things and left. Without telling a soul where I was going.

I got into my car, still very much in shock. I decided I needed to go to Target to purchase the first onsie to present to my husband along with the first positive test. Cliche I know. During my drive, I called the birth center to give them the news and to save a spot for my due month. (they only take 15 due dates a month so it was vital to get on the list as soon as I found out) I will be doing a post on our choice to go to a birth center vs hospital for those who are interested.

I pulled into Target, with red puffy eyes and a feeling of disbelief. I walked around the baby section quietly sobbing to myself looking for the perfect onsie. I settled on one that says “I love my daddy & naps” bought some gift wrap, checked out and started the long drive home; wondering how my husband will take the news.

After getting home and settled, I ran downstairs to finish up the wrapping of the biggest gift I will ever give to him. He walked downstairs and before I could even begin to hand him the gift bag…he says

“You’re pregnant, arent you?”

WHAT?! How would he know! I’ve literally only told the birth center and 1 friend… I looked at him with wide eyes looking for a response. “You always call me on your way home from work, I knew something was up when you were home 5 hours early without a call” Well shoot.. there goes my idea of a grand gesture… He opened the bag and we embraced, I cried & he went back to work. It wasn’t grand. It wasn’t romantic but it was us and I will forever remember the day I told him we were pregnant with our first child.

Now, I was still in disbelief. What if this was a false positive? I went back to Walgreens and purchased 7 more tests, yes 7. I chugged what felt like a gallon of water and took all 7, all with those 2 pink lines or a digital Pregnant reading. It was indeed real, it was happening.

I downloaded the pregnancy tracking apps, that told you what size of fruit to compare your growing fetus to.  I started on prenatal supplements & made my appointment with the midwife to confirm the little blob inside me would one day turn into a tiny human. A Tiny Being. 

I am now sharing my body with someone I cannot wait to meet. Who will he/she be? What will he/she do with their life? Will I be a good mom? Will we be able to do this being so far away from our families? Will this child be everything I’ve dreamt he/she will be? Is there something wrong with the baby? How will I make it another month before I can go in and see him/her on the ultrasound to confirm a healthy babe? So many questions that will not be answered for what feels like a lifetime away.

Flash forward, I am now 8 weeks along. 2 months pregnant. Feel awful. Brushing my teeth has become the WORST part of my routine. Most foods sound awful (aside from fruits) & I feel like I can barely get out of bed. I can’t cook dinner. We order out 5 nights a week and the other 2 we eat frozen pizza or chicken tenders, which are pretty gross right about now. I feel like I’m in a permanent state of being hungover, without the gratification of having a fun story to tell from the night before. Bless my husband’s heart for not getting frustrated with loads of clean laundry left unfolded, the mounds of dishes left unwashed, & the dogs who so desperately needed some of my attention. Bless him for taking on as much as he could while I was stuck to the couch watching re-runs of Grey’s Anatomy and not saying a word for hours on end. He really is the best guy I could have ever asked to take this adventure with me. Seriously, the best.

It is now our first appointment day! We get to finally see our baby! We check-in to our appointment and get settled into the clinic room. It has a beautiful marble shower that we are told some laboring mothers use during their delivery at the birth center, a daybed filled with comfortable pillows and blankets, and pictures of newborns all over the walls. No medical equipment aside from a blood pressure machine. No gloves, no needles, no stirrups. The nurse came in asked us a few questions and asked to take my blood pressure. She asked me to close my eyes and she softly told me ” You are safe. You are worthy.  You are exactly where you need to be.” She took my blood pressure and even with her reassuring words, I must have been anxious, as the results showed. We chatted for a bit and she went to get the midwife to start the rest of the appointment and hopefully see our baby. She warned us that sometimes it’s hard to get a good view if one at all this early on in the pregnancy. We gathered some typical information you would expect to get at a first prenatal appointment and then went into the ultrasound room. My heart was beating out of my chest. I don’t believe I had ever been more excited & nervous in my entire life. So many positive & negative thoughts were running through my mind. Please let this baby be okay and on track. Please let that tiny heart be beating. What will it look like? What will I feel?

It was magic. A little kidney bean shape appeared on the screen and my heart stopped. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t speak. I could see the little flicker of the heart beating furiously. The midwife pointed it out to my husband and I and asked me a handful of times if I could see it, all without my response. I was mesmerized. I was brought to a place filled with almost too much joy for one to consume. I for the first time, felt like a mother to this kidney bean. I never looked away, not even for a moment while she took a couple measurements to determine the due date and to see if everything was on track. She printed a couple of photos for us to bring home and we finished up. It’s hard to put into words the emotions I was feeling during that first ultrasound, but I will forever remember.

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We finished up the appointment with some blood tests and scheduled out the next handful of months of appointments. I cannot wait for the second appointment, and the third and so one. Knowing this baby is growing healthy and right how it should be is the most assuring feeling in the world. I’ve never been a fan of hospitals or appointments but am now counting down the days until I get to go back to the birth center.

We are now 12 weeks along, the last week of the first trimester. I am surprised at how fast it went but how slow it seemed. I am finally feeling better, getting my energy back & have an appetite that seems more appropriate for “eating for two.” We just attended our first pregnancy class & are relieved at how much we CAN do and how we shouldn’t be living out of fear for the can’ts. I am more conscious about what I put into my body and listening to it more than ever. Things are different now. Things are new. This is a first, for me, for him, for this tiny human. Things are good.

Here is to the first trimester. I’m happy to have experienced you but SO happy to see you go. Now to look forward to first kicks, first baby accessories, and our first time getting to meet this tiny being, in January 2019. We cannot wait.

 

The best is yet to come

 

 

 

The art of getting what you want.

A successful career. The body of your dreams. A strong marriage. What do you want? Once you figure out what you want, how do you obtain it? Where and how do you get started, without burning bridges or relationships along the way?

Easier said than done, right? I have a list of 5 things that I want out of my life, listed in order of priority that I want to share along with my plans on making each of my things happen and hurdles that I constantly face. It’s all apart of the game and I’ve been loving the ride thus far.

  1. Successful Career
  2. Strong Marriage
  3. Health. Mental & Physical
  4. Financial Freedom
  5. Family

That’s it. These are my life goals. Of course, there is SO much that each of these holds for me and simply laying these out doesn’t account for all the smaller milestones that I’ll reach when pursuing my life goals.

Let’s get into it.

Successful Career

I’m in the Human Resource industry and am passionate about providing the best employee experience for everyone that I hire/work with. I am a strong believer that a companies employees are their best assets and regardless of the service they are providing, without those employees; you will not make it very far. I have been in my current role for over 3 years now, and I am constantly learning more about business administration, HR & what it takes to actually run a successful company. Do I want to work at my current company forever, hell no! While I am currently successful and comfortable, this is not my end goal. I have lots of aspirations up my sleeves for my next move and eventually, my “successful career” will look so much different than it does now. For now, to get to where I want to be, I need to continue to be engaged, work hard, and absorb as much information as I can.

Strong Marriage

Marriage. This shit’s hard. I recently read an article on how a strong marriage is not always rainbows and butterflies and it couldn’t have resonated with me more. I always had the idea of a perfect marriage, and let me be the first to tell you, my idea was far from the truth. I’ve come to learn, you don’t need the rainbows and butterflies to have a strong marriage. You need the fights, the struggle, the growth that comes with dedicating your life to being with a person. I’ve been with my partner since I was 18 years old. I had no idea that when we started dating he was going to turn into my soul mate. My partner is such a team player. We don’t have roles. He doesn’t do the heavy lifting just because he is a man, and I’m not the only one to do laundry because I’m a woman. It takes teamwork and a lot of it. We argue, and that’s okay. We argue because we love each other and want to understand one another. We grow together and will continue to grow until a higher power decides its time for us to leave this earth.

Health. Mental & Physical

In the past year, this has moved up my list from the bottom. I’ve always been slim and never had a problem with my weight. I always thought because I was skinny, I was healthy. I would eat whatever I want without repercussion. In the past year, my definition of ‘healthy’ has changed substantially. I began practicing yoga daily, meditating & tracking what I put into my body and the effects it has. Being healthy DOES NOT mean being skinny. For me, being healthy means being happy. Happy with the way I look, inside and out. Happy with the foods I put into my body (McDonald’s will never make me happy regardless of how tasty I think that burger is) It sucks having body image issues because of the society of today. My mental health has been on a rollercoaster ride because of my body image and it will continue to be a rollercoaster ride for the rest of my life. By continuing to be conscious and self-aware I will continue to build up my mental and physical health to the place I want to be. I won’t get there by sitting on the couch every night, nor will I get there by continuing to eat foods that I have negative reactions to. This may be the biggest hurdle I face in my life.

Financial Freedom

This is another one I’ve struggled with. Straight out of high school, I took out a bunch of student loans to help me through college. I later dropped out of college, leaving me with tens of thousands of dollars in loans that did nothing for me in school. I opened up a bunch of credit cards, maxed them out, then started down the spiral of never-ending debt. I love to shop. When I see an available credit on my credit cards, I see new clothing, vacations & concert tickets. What I want is to be free from living paycheck to paycheck. I have made huge strides in the past few years, with the help of my wonderful money smart husband. We paid off my car loan, consolidated my student loans & came up with a plan to get my credit cards manageable. I have become more financially free to afford the lifestyle I want, but there is still so much room for improvement. By the end of 2018, I want to be debt free (aside from my mortgage.) To get there, I will not be going out as much, buying the latest trendy outfits or traveling as much as I have in the past. Its all about give and take for me. Giving up new outfits and fancy vacations and take the personal satisfaction of having a savings account WITH MONEY IN IT without thousands of dollars of debt and unpaid interest! One day…

Family

This one should be at the top of my list. However, without everything else coming together first, I know that I cannot start a family of my own that I can support 100%. Without a successful career and financial freedom, how am I going to support my family? Without my mental and physical health, how am I going to keep up with a growing child? Thinking about teenage years scare the crap out of me! Without a strong marriage, how can we raise a child in a non-toxic environment without possibly affecting that child negatively for the rest of its life? Family means the world to me. I moved away from my family immediately after graduating high school. I see them a handful of times a year, thankfully, but it’s not enough. I need the community that family brings. I call my parents at least 10x a week, just to talk. I want to be able to drive over to my parent’s house for coffee and Sunday dinners. I want to start a family of my own, that I can build traditions with. My husband’s little sister is going to college here in Denver in the fall, and I cannot express enough how excited I am! His sister and I are amazingly close and have a lot of the same interests. Having someone other than a friend in Denver will be a game changer for me. It will help to fill a void I have about starting my own family and bringing children into this world until we are both ready and able to conceive. Once that day comes, who knows, maybe we will move back to Minnesota to be closer to our families. Maybe our families will move to Colorado. To get to where I want to be, I will continue to make smart life choices and decisions that will better my family for many years to come.

It really is an art. Getting everything you want out of life. Its an art that takes a lot of time to perfect, and even then, like I said, there is always room for improvement. My life will never be perfect, but so long as I keep working hard every single day. My life can and will be good, it will be great & I will love it.

The best is always yet to come.

XO

Tay

We’ll always have Paris

“I’ve seen you, beauty, and you belong to me now, whoever you are waiting for and if I never see you again, I thought. You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.” 
― Ernest Hemingway

If you’re like us you, want to see as much as possible while on a vacation. You want to do it all, see it all, experience it all… Well, that’s kind of hard to do when you’re visiting a city like Paris, especially when you’re jet-lagged. This city is huge! We had a little over 48 hours to spend before our next train and this is how we spent it.

Upon arrival, we went and dropped our packs at our Airbnb. We arrived a few hours before check-in so we meandered around our neighborhood for a few hours. Luckily for us, our neighborhood was a block from the Eiffel Tower! I have seen hundreds of pictures of this beautiful establishment but let me tell you; its beauty is breathtaking, especially at night. After walking the boardwalk next to the Seine river and getting our obligatory selfies it was time to head back to the Airbnb to settle in.

Our Airbnb was so quaint! Located on the top level of a historic building the wood beams were noticeably old, but the loft was modern, historic, and so beautiful. Everything from the appliances, french windows & updated bathroom tied together perfectly. One thing about these old French buildings is that the elevators and stairwells are tiny! Ryan and I barely fit in the elevator of our building. We opted for the stairs a couple of times to avoid feeling claustrophobic.

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The beams in our Airbnb

After we settled in and showered after 20 hours of travel we decided to head out to find the Catacombs.

Every block in our neighborhood had a cafe or restaurant on the corner. Outdoor seating was popular, even in the misty wet weather. We walked through booming city squares filled with people and cars traveling in all directions. Unlike Denver, you can get away with not listening to the walkway signs (most of the time) In Paris, if you’re not paying attention you will get run over!

We were told that you don’t need to go into every museum to see the art that fills this city and they were right. Statues, architecture, and cobblestone roads lead us to the Catacombs and were some of the most beautiful “art” I’ve ever seen.

Children were getting out of school around the time of our walk to the Catacombs. The kids were running around burning off the energy of the day and making their way homes. Remember razor scooters? They are beyond popular here! Adults and children alike used these more modern versions to get from place to place a hair quicker than walking. We saw hundreds of them tied up outside the schools and a few stores dedicated just to these fancy scooters.

We finally made it to the Catacombs! We were lucky enough to only wait in line for 40 or so minutes. Once we got inside we started the descent down. It was noticeably colder once underground. Limestone lined the walkways and pillars kept everything from caving in. The mystery started to set in as we walked farther and farther down the path. After 15 or so minutes of limestone walls, things started to change..and this is when things got creepy.

Bones were now the main materials of the walls. Skulls, Legs, Arms, you name it; these human remains were what built the walls and lead you on your way. These bones were dug up over the centuries and moved to these Catacombs to make way for new development in Paris and we only saw 1.5kilometers of it. Masonries (if that’s the right term) arranged the skulls in different shapes. We saw hearts, circles and what seemed to be faces made out of the skulls. Being surrounded by thousand years old remains resonated with me. Most of these people were victims of the plague. You could tell which ones had shallow graves by the moss that grew on them. These were people, far before my time. My grandparents time. My great grandparents time. I felt a deep sense of respect walking through the Catacombs and gave my gratitude as we finished the journey through the tour. After the 83 steps back up to the city we were blocks away from where we started and I felt as if we just journeyed through time.

After getting our bearings back, we were starving! Time to find some French cuisine. There were so many options it was hard to decide which place to go to. We walked into this friendly little restaurant and were sat a beautiful spot in the front of the all-season porch to enjoy our meal. We had some Rosè with our entrees and reminisced about what we had just experienced.

Once we couldn’t eat anymore, we called an Uber and headed back to our place to get some much-needed rest. We assumed we would be up early the next morning and could get some more sightseeing in…we were wrong.

We slept until about 2pm that afternoon, with no regrets! Since its winter the sun sets much earlier, so by the time we got ready to head out for the night the sun was already setting. Time to enjoy Paris at night!

Ryan had booked us our dinner reservations for the night 6 months ago at the 53 Eiffel Tower Restaurant and while we were making our way there and walked right into our first Christmas Market of the trip! We enjoyed some Mulled Wine and looked at all the goodies surrounding us. There was a skating rink, crepes & everything in between to enjoy. Children visited Santa and young couples tried their best to skate around the rink, falling along the way.

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Ryan with one of the many Santa’s the filled the Christmas market

The Eiffel Tower is the definition of romance. You can feel it and you want to be apart of it. While making our way to the top of the tower you could see the love in the square below. We opted to take the elevator to the first floor of the tower and had the most spectacular view while doing so! I will never forget the lights that lined the tower and the love that poured into me during that ride up.

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Now for dinner. The BEST dinner. We wined and dined until our heart’s content. We enjoyed local steak and chicken dishes paired with the house red wine. This restaurant was very small and we were lucky enough to have a balcony view! I personally believe it was the best seat in the house, but that could have just been me.

 

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Best seats in the house!

 

 

After dinner, we decided to keep going up the tower, only this time taking the stairs. We climbed, and climbed..and then climbed some more before reaching the second stop. The fog was starting to set in as the night grew older. We peered through the telescopes and daydreamed about what it would be like to live in this city, before making the long trek down back to the ground level.

 

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With the romance in the air, we centered ourselves directly under the tower to take a picture. I was swept off my feet when Ryan decided this would be a great place to kiss and he was right. It might have been the most romantic kiss of my life. Actually, it was the most romantic kiss of my life. What can be better? Literally, nothing. Hands Down.

Once leaving the Eiffel Tower area we started our walk back to our Airbnb. Taking in every bit of beauty we possibly could. After just getting out of the tower area we turned around to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling with Christmas lights! It was the most breathtaking thing I’ve ever seen. We basically walked backward the rest of the way home to enjoy the lights. After getting back up to our room we settled in for the night, looking at the Eiffel Tower one last time from our bed. I feel so whole, so content, so happy here. No pictures could compare to the magic we witnessed this night.

Thank you, Paris. I will never forget you…

For more pictures of Paris and the rest of our European Adventure, check out my Europe 2017 album on Facebook! 

Under my skin.

Sun. Exercise. Wind. Stress. Heat. Cold. Alcohol. Make-up. Spicy foods. Life.

These are my triggers. Life is my trigger, great….

Trigger for what you might ask. Here’s a little background on my journey to clear skin and my new diagnosis.

I had pretty clear skin in high school. I would get the occasional breakout, usually after a basketball or volleyball tournament. I would deal, pop all the pimples and deal with the aftermath of scabs and scarring. After high school, the breakouts ceased and it was glorious. I was happy in my skin. I loved not having to wear a ton of make-up to feel pretty and enjoyed the compliments I received about my freckles and not covering them up with foundation.

Now comes adulthood.

Everything changed when I was about 22. I started getting bumps that I thought was acne that lived under my skin. My face started looking flush even when I wasn’t working out, and my chest would breakout after a sip of alcohol, especially red wine. I started having pimples constantly, and I, of course, would pop them, mess with them & try every OTC remedy on the shelf. None of which helped. I would cake on the foundation that would look flakey on my dry skin, and I now know only made my skin disorder worse.

The acne and redness moved to my back and especially flares up when I’m stressed. I had shingles (OUCH) as a kid and my doc told me I was going to have flare-ups for the rest of my life. I had thought for all this time that my flare-ups were shingles, but I have now learned I have Rosacea.

Time to do what any hypochondriac would do, hop on Google and learn everything there is to know. Not even kidding, I was online for about 3 hours googling causes, remedies (home & prescription) side effects and so on…

According to http://www.rosacea.org, Rosacea is a chronic and potentially life-disruptive disorder primarily of the facial skin, often characterized by flare-ups and remissions. Although the exact cause of rosacea is unknown, various theories about the disorder’s origin have evolved over the years. Facial blood vessels may dilate too easily, and the increased blood near the skin surface makes the skin appear red and flushed. This may also cause bumps and pimples under the skin, appearing as typical acne. Those with fair skin, red hair, and freckling are at higher risk for developing rosacea aka I am at higher risk for developing rosacea. 

Well now what.. I have this skin disorder that is not going to be cured, but rather manageable. What options do I have to manage this? My dermatologist prescribed Soolantra which is a topical ointment that I can apply once a day and over time it should relieve my redness and prevent flare-ups.  Remember when I said it is not a curable disorder? This $800 tube of ointment is only to “manage” my flare-ups and only lasts 2 months. Thankfully, I was able to find a coupon to save me some money on my first prescription fill, but it’s a 1 per customer coupon, so in a couple of months I will have to decide if its worth $800 or if I have to find another remedy to “manage” my redness & flare-ups.

This disorder might drain my bank account, quickly.

There are also pills that I can take that will also help prevent flare-ups, but that is the last resort option since they have some pretty nasty side effects and I have been on a mission to cut out all manufactured drugs out of my life.

I know I shouldn’t be that upset, it’s not a terminal disease, I’ll live to see another day. My self-love will suffer, my perception of how I look will now always be on how red my face is, if I’m having a flare-up, and what people think of me. I will learn to cope, to manage and to live with rosacea.

This is my journey and now rosacea is part of it.

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The best is yet to come

-Tay

 

A letter to you.

I hope to every higher power in our galaxy that you read this.

I hope you know you are loved, cared about & worthy. Worthy of a life more than this. Worthy of success. Worthy of love. You are not doomed to this life. You are so smart, so caring, so insightful. You have always been there for me, regardless of the situation and I am forever here for you. I want to continue being here for you but not in the capacity you want me in. I cannot support or give pity to these struggles you are currently having. You have the world on your side but these demons are taking over. Changing you, and not for the better. You are losing yourself and it’s killing me.

How did this happen? Where did I go wrong to not have seen this coming? Is it because I moved away? Why did this happen? Where did I fail at preventing this from happening?

Part of me feels as if this is my fault. It’s your choices that lead you to this, but still… I feel guilty. You confided in me in the past but I played it off like it wasn’t that big of a deal. You’re smart, you can figure it out, this is a hurdle you have to get over and once you get over it that’ll be the end of it. We can all go back to our lives as if nothing had happened. No one will ever know.

I was wrong. 

These hurdles turned into hills, hills into mountains. Now you have an entire mountain range to travel and it’s going to be the hardest thing you ever have to do.  Even if or when you decide to start the climb up the first mountain, you will forever see another mountain in your path. For the rest of your life, you will be climbing mountains and it will forever be a struggle and I am so, so sorry for that. I will forever wish these were not the cards you have been dealt.

You know I’m a fixer. I want to come to you and fix all of this. I want to do everything I humanly can to make this better for you. I cant. This is one thing that I cannot fix. I can support you 100% in fixing this with you but I cannot make all the bad things disappear. I cannot support this habit or tell you it’s not a big deal anymore. It’s a life-changing deal. This is your life you are playing with. Your pulse. Your heart. Your being.  I can, however,  be your rock, your support system, your friend. I can call you every day to see where you are and how you are doing. I can give you all of the options in the world to get better, but you have to make the choice to actually get better. You have to see that this is an issue and accept that you need help.

It sucks asking for help. I know. It’s embarrassing and nobody likes to ask for it. It is, however, one of the biggest steps you will ever take to ridding yourself of these demons that continue to haunt and torture you. It will be the hardest step but I promise you, after you ask, things will begin to get easier. The demons will begin to go back into the dark. I will help you figure this out, but you have to be willing and ready for that help to happen.

You are worthy of help. Of support. Of love. 

I’m here for you, whenever you’re ready. Please don’t take too long though, I’m not sure how much longer you can survive at this pace.

I love you so much. 

-Tay

 

 

 

The Carousel Never Stops Turning

21 Days. No social media, no added sugars & a ton of progress! This month has been a crazy carousel ride, never stopping, constantly changing, always turning.

First things first. Not being on social media is way easier than I expected. I no longer feel the need to sit online for hours at a time, reading peoples posts that I don’t know or care to follow. Being disconnected gives me a sense of bliss and the reset in life that I have been searching for. I do miss Facebook Events. Being in Denver, there is always something going on. From concerts, yoga classes & other special events, I feel out of the loop with what is happening in the city and I have total FOMO (fear of missing out) over it. Also, Facebook must miss me. I get daily emails wanting me to check out random peoples posts that I haven’t talked to in years… Facebook you’re creepy!

No added sugars. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and I am just now falling into a routine with my diet and what I want/can consume. Going out for drinks has been a challenge since most bars/restaurants serve their drinks with either juice with a ton of added sugar or simple syrup. I am a gin girl. Gin and Grapefruit is my jam! Asking if a bars grapefruit juice has added sugar in it is kindof awkward, but luckily 8 out of 10 times the bartenders have been super understanding and either has juice I can drink OR have an alternative drink that does not have added sugars.

I miss sugar. SO much. I crave brownies, sweet coffee, and candy daily. It’s honestly torture when someone brings in Krispy Kremes into the office.  I thought that my cravings would subside as the month went on but they haven’t. I am currently thinking about what my first sugary treat will be…and I’m not going to lie, I’m salivating. While I miss sugar, my face has cleared up a ton, my headaches are few and far between and I feel much better about myself as a whole which was the whole point of this challenge; to feel better. I’ve been thinking about whether or not I’m going to dive back into my old diet or maybe modify to maintain the progress I’ve made by not having sugar. If anyone has any tips on how to not have a 100% no added sugar diet but maintain healthy sugar intake, let me know! I need to find a happy and healthy balance.

This month has been busy! I finished the walls of the shed and I cannot express enough how much I love this space now that it is 98% finished!  We purchased some MDF decorative paneling and it looks just like cedar planks! I also found this super cute hammock chair on Amazon and now I have a place to read/meditate other than the floor.

Speaking of meditating, I have been meditating for 45mins a few times a week! I started reading this book called Find Your Souls Purpose by Janet Connor and I have completed the first of her guided meditations and it is beyond eye-opening. Find Your Souls Purpose is all about answering questions many of us have but are not sure how to answer.

1.Discovering who you are

2.Remembering why you are here

3.Living a life you love

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The first of the guided mediations takes you on a walk down the first loop of the sacred spiral. From my readings, the sacred spiral is everyone’s path to answering the 3 things mentioned above and much much more.  All of our souls yearn for a “home” a purpose, a reason for being. It is my hope that upon finishing this book I will have found that purpose and can continue to live a life that I love and feel has real meaning.

I am here. I am present. I am open. I am ready.

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I am beginning to feel as though my life has a different meaning than I originally had thought. While I’m not sure what that meaning is, I know it’s not the path I had been walking prior to starting these challenges. Things from career changes, family planning, and travel are a constant thought in the back of my mind and everything I thought I wanted is starting to shift and change into something completely different. I am scared and excited to see where my path leads in hopes of enlightenment and true meaning.

I have been practicing yoga 1 hour a day with 1 day of rest a week. I originally had planned on 1 hour of yoga a day, no exceptions. I’ve learned that our bodies need to rest in order to grow. Rest day is hard for me. Having an amazing space to practice in makes it hard to rest, however, by giving myself a rest day I can see more clearly the progress I am making. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t have started practicing. I am beyond thankful that yoga came into my life, it changed me.

I have never been so present in my life. I feel like I am living 100% of my life and living to fulfill my personal desires, not my perception of myself on my social media accounts. Ryan, my dear hubby, has mentioned a few times how we are able to go out and do things without me asking for pictures, selfies, or having my face in my phone telling the whole world what we are doing. It’s kindof exhilarating. Living that is. Living without the world knowing. Living without the pressure to do things that will please others. Living selfishly.  

I originally said I was going to blog about my first week, half-way point and completion of these challenges. I obviously have not done what I’ve said, and I’m sorry for anyone that was looking forward to reading those posts. I’ve been taking it all in, internalizing and doing some major soul searching & work and blogging got in the way of that. This is where I’m at and it feels good. There’s more to do, more to learn, but hey, it’s all about progress, not perfection right?

The best is yet to come. 

 

Namaste

Tay

 

 

Day One

Disclaimer: My blog post settings automatically post to facebook without having me login 🙂 No breaking of the social media rules happening here! 

 

I woke up feeling like absolute crap. I indulged myself by having a milkshake full of sugar as my last form of unnatural sugar intake for the foreseeable future. Bad Idea. I don’t drink dairy often and I think I may have developed a bit of an intolerance to it. My body hated me this morning. Gross!

I have a habit of checking social media as soon as I wake up in the morning while still in bed. It was hard to refrain from doing so this morning. I wanted to check and see if I got any more book recommendations and what all my friends were up to this beautiful Friday morning. Instead, I launched the Apple News app and read a couple of articles about Trump because I guess that’s the only news Apple thought I wanted to see… thanks, Apple.

Finally got myself out of bed and went to go make a pot of coffee only to realize that my creamer has 5gs of sugar in it. Off to Sprouts, to find some sort of unsweetened creamer because there is no way I am drinking my coffee black! After reading the ingredients on basically every creamer/non-dairy option at the grocery store I finally found an unsweetened coconut creamer. I paired it with some cinnamon and it was surprisingly delightful!

Flash forward to the first accomplished challenge of the day! I went to a great 1-hour Vinyasa Flow with my dear friend, Cassandra, who by the way is amazing! She has been sending me photos of her adorable new puppy and helping in keeping me occupied so I’m not thinking about social media. Cassandra, you are a saint and I am so unbelievably blessed to have you as my friend and neighbor!

Don’t judge, but I am an avid phone user at stoplights while driving and that has been the hardest part of the day. I found myself checking my phone this afternoon while driving to and from yoga, Home Depot, and the grocery store and each time my fingers automatically knew where to tap to get to Instagram (the first media outlet I check) Talk about muscle memory!! Another valid reason this is so important. Social Media should not be this big of a part of my daily routine. It’s embarrassing that it has and I hate it.

I kept myself busy today that’s for sure! After work, I went and returned some extra Yoga-Shed materials and bought the supplies to finish up the interior walls! Spiders and insects have decided my shed should be their new home and that’s not going to fly..literally! My weekend is now going to be full of sawdust, sweat and hopefully an officially finished space to practice in!

If there is one takeaway from today it’s that sugar is in EVERYTHING! We had chicken for dinner and the only condiment we had without sugar was spicy brown mustard. I couldn’t believe that BBQ sauce, ketchup, sweet and sour (the list goes on) all have sugar in them. I will be going shopping tomorrow for some sugar-free condiments because spicy brown mustard is not good with chicken!

I binged a few episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and that helped with the boredom that set in in the evening. The hardest part of not accessing social media is finding things to do when you’re bored. I have a feeling my house will be cleaner, projects will get finished faster and Ryan and my parents might get sick of talking to me by the end of the month.

Today has been hard. Really hard. I had to put myself into check a few times, I got frustrated and I was not in the best mood. However, I was present. I experienced today with my own two eyes and not from the screen on my phone and that feels amazing! I didn’t feel anxious about monitoring social media or coming up with a cool Instagram post to share. There’s this weight that’s been lifted. It’s SO hard to explain but I feel so much better already.

I’ve been thinking about why I want to blog about this experience and while it may seem like a play by play of my boring life it’s real, it’s raw, and I want to remember how I was feeling and what I was doing to make the progress I hope and believe I will. I’ve decided to blog about my first day, (what I’m doing in this post) one week in, the half way point and the completion of these challenges.

Day one is a wrap. Anxious and excited to see how I feel after a week!

The best is yet to come

Namaste

-Tay

Stepping into September

September is my month. 

This September I want to push my boundaries and do some real soul searching. I want this September to mean something much like Septembers in the past. Continuing a tradition of positive life changes, growth, & self-love empowers me to do more. To be more.

3 years ago I decided to start looking for a new job after years of being unhappy with previous employers. 2 years ago I married the love of my life. 1 year ago we traveled to Thailand. September puts a spell on me. It sounds weird I know, but it does! Maybe it’s the winding down of the summer, maybe it’s the changing colors of the leaves; whatever it is I’m blessed September has always been good to me and I hope it continues to do so with all that I have in store.

With that being said here are my September challenges:

1. Cut out Social Media 100%. Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram will be deleted from my phone and bookmarks removed from my computer come September 1st. I want to focus on being present in my life without the constant need to check/post/share. This is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to social media and it has been affecting me negatively and positively over the past year. If you follow me on insta you’ll know that  I am a HUGE advocate for #yogaeverydamnday. It motivates me to make it to my mat by the possibility of getting a cool picture or video to share. I need to move past my weird need to get pictures of my practice and focus entirely on my practice internally. Not what you might see from the pictures I share.

2. No sugar. Sugar is SO freaking good! I add it to so many things and my dentist can agree, its time to let go of my relationship with sweet sweet sugar. Not only will my teeth thank me, I believe that my daily headaches will begin to cease. From the research I’ve done, as long as I keep some fruit around (natural sugars yo!) This shouldn’t be too hard of a challenge. Time to hide all the chocolates and gummy worms!

 
3. 1 hour of yoga/meditation #everydamnday! I have been practicing every day for a full 8 months now and I want to up my game. Some days I only practice 30 minutes, others only 15. I want to build a routine of practicing for 1 hour every day to take my practice to a whole other level. I want to meditate to internalize all the other challenges I am attempting and yoga to strengthen and continue to build a strong yoga foundation for future endeavors.

4. One day a week I will cut out meat and fish from my diet. Having a husband who is a meat and potato kind of guy will make this challenge difficult. Aside from making a stance against animal abuse (I know there is so much more I can do) I believe this will also have some health benefits and who knows maybe I can slowly remove meat and fish from my diet completely.

Well, there you have it! September is going to push me farther than I have been pushed before.

I need support. I need to be held accountable. I need motivation. 

Shoot me an email or a text, please! It will mean the world to me to know that people have my back and support me on this crazy journey of mine. If you do not have my email or cell number please shoot me a message ASAP so we can connect!

The best is yet to come 🙂

-Nameste

Tay

 

 

Sak Yant Experience

I wanted to share an experience that changed every part of my being down to the core. I wrote about this experience prior to actually getting my Sak Yant and I can confirm I feel the magic it holds every single day. When I see my Sak Yant in the mirror each morning I am reminded of who I am, who I want to be, and where I am going. It is a constant reminder to be the person I was set out to be and I hope it inspires you to find something that gives you the same feelings and sense of belonging because we all belong in this world and we all have a purpose.

Enjoy.

December 10th, 2016:

I write this post as I sit in a coffee shop, sipping my caramel macchiato wondering how I am going to pass the time until my appointment at 2. This is my first time ever going to an unfamiliar city alone, and for it to be Vegas makes me quite a bit anxious.This city is nuts! Part of me wants to hide in my hotel room until my appointment, the other part of me wants to go walk around and take it all in. I’ve only been here once before, and it was not my cup of tea. Perhaps this time it will be.
I woke up at 4am to get here and sat next to the smelliest fella the whole way. He was super nice though! I got lost in the airport trying to find where to grab an Uber and just found out I can’t check into my hotel until 3pm. Looks like I can’t hide out in my hotel after all..
Why am I here?
I came to Vegas to get a Sak Yant. By definition: “Sak- meaning “to tap” or, “to tattoo” and Yant- meaning “yantra” Sak Yants is the Thai name for the tattooing of sacred geometrical designs on the skin. Why travel all the way to Las Vegas to get a tattoo you might ask. Well, while in Thailand this past September, I fell in love with Buddhism, Thai history & the history behind Sak Yants. As much as I wished I could have gone to a Wat (temple) and get this done, we didn’t have enough time. With that said, I NEEDED to figure out how I could get one without having to travel all the way back to Thailand, though I WILL be going back one day.
After returning to the states, I did some major research and found out that Ajarn Ohr was traveling to Vegas from Bangkok to do Sak Yants! I jumped right on the opportunity and sent numerous emails to get an appointment. I was luckily successful and now I am here! I booked this appointment a couple weeks after getting back from Thailand and I cannot believe how slow time has gone. I thought this day was never going to arrive.
Why isn’t Ryan here with me, why would you choose to go to Vegas alone? I’ve heard this a few times now and to set the record straight; I do not need my husband to keep me safe. This trip isn’t for me to come here to party, heck, I’m literally here for 24 hours, I will be doing 0 partying. This trip is for me to connect myself to Thailand indefinitely and to be “blessed” with a Sak Yant, that will be a constant reminder of the person I want to be.

The Sak Yant I am getting is named Hah Taew. Hah Taew is magical tattoo with 5 lines, or the 5 row yantra. Each line represents a Yant or magical spell. These spells are chanted 108 times to invoke a state of the mind where the mind can create these magical spells before entering a high level of meditation. Each line will be tattooed individually and each represents a different spell:
1.The first row prevents unjust punishment and leans in your favor when the area is grey, cleans out unwanted spirits and protects the place you live in.
2.The second row reverses and protects against bad horoscope constellations and bad fortune.
3.The third row protests you from the use black magic and anyone who tries to put a curse on you.
4.The fourth row energizes your good luck, success, and fortune in your future ambitions and life style.
5.The fifth row is to gain charisma and attraction to the opposite sex. It also is a boost to the fourth row.
Each one of these rows means something very special to me, with the exception of row 5 (I don’t need to be attractive to the opposite sex, I’ve found my life partner already!)but I’ll take it!. I would go more into detail about the meaning of each of these rows, but I find it very internal and personal. Maybe a story for another time…

At the end of each Yant there is an Unallome (ever decreasing spiral) to complete it. The spiral indicates the distractions we encounter in our daily lives and as I grow older and wiser the spiral gradually decreases until it becomes a straight line pointing upwards. This signifies the path to Nirvana or true enlightenment. I’ve read quite a bit about obtaining Nirvana and this has become my most important goal in life. If you have not read about Nirvana (not the band) please do. From my findings, to obtain Nirvana you follow the Noble Eightfold Path. This path is a list or guide of 8 ideals that will lead you towards a greater understanding of the universe and the goal is to follow this path right through to Nirvana.
The 8 ideals:
Right Views
Right Intention
Right Speech
Right Action
Right Livelihood
Right Effort
Right Mindedness
Right Contemplation
Vague right? You can interpret these ideals in SO many ways, but generally speaking, you can follow the path by approaching the world with compassion, patience and joy, and contemplating the universe through meditation. The fundamental goals are to cultivate morality (shila,) meditation (dhyana) and wisdom (prajna.)
It is very hard for me to meditate. I live a life where I am busy. VERY busy. I have been practicing almost daily and hope that with this Sak Yant, I will have more patience and find the time to let everything else go and focus on myself and meditate.

Well, there you have it. This is why I’m in Vegas, alone, for 24 hours. By the time I will be posting this, I will have already gotten my Sak Yant and will have some magic in me that will last a lifetime and help me towards my goal of reaching (or closely reaching) Nirvana.

Wish me luck as I get started on this endeavor and continue to become the best I can be! Maybe I’ll start a blog to keep you all in the loop. We shall see!

 

Cannabis. It’s for me.

Growing up, I was taught that smoking weed was the same as smoking meth or heroine. People were called stoners, bums & burnouts. Cannabis is a life ruining drug. If you smoked you might as well throw your life away, you’re going to live out the rest of your days stuck to your couch eating potato chips and then one day, the high from cannabis won’t be enough so you’ll move onto more powerful drugs.

Weed is a gateway drug

I believe that cannabis is a gateway drug, but not to hard drugs like a lot of people I know believe. I believe cannabis to be a gateway to seeing, feeling & healing in a way that some don’t have the ability to do without using cannabis.

I have rotator cuff tendinitis. Basically, the joints that move my shoulder are inflamed causing severe pain, stiffness, and swelling. I was diagnosed in high school and was offered 2 options, both of which did not work for me or my high school sports career. Option 1.  Corotozone shots. Option 2. Surgery.  Both of these options would take me out of the game permanently and that wasn’t going to work for me. I decided to “suck it up” and play through the pain and do the few physical therapy exercises my doctor showed me.

Fast forward a few years. The pain has increased, I am only able to sleep in 1 position that relieves the pain of my rotator cuff but irritates other parts of my shoulder. I can no longer throw a softball like I used to, and I’ve lost strength from fear of over using my shoulder.  I am frustrated, broke from numerous doctor visits, and sick of taking pills that relieve the pain momentarily but don’t fix the problem. Not only did these pills not fix the problem, but I felt I was becoming dependant on them. They made me fuzzy, cranky and unhappy.

Time to explore other options.

I made an appointment to see a doctor that specializes in medical marijuana. I didn’t know what to expect. Was it going to be like any other doctor visit? Was my doctor going to be a hippie? Maybe an undercover cop waiting to bust me since marijuana is still federally illegal? What was going to happen?

It was like any other private physicians office. There was a couple of nurses, a receptionist, and plaques on the wall showing my doctor is legit. I was greeted by 2 ex-Iraq war dogs that were both super intimidating but the sweetest pups. If you know me, you know that I almost always prefer dogs over people. These two eased my anxiety and made the whole experience ten times more enjoyable! After filling out the required paperwork for both the doctor’s office and the State of Colorado, the doctor brought me back to the exam room. He took a look at my paperwork and asked about my shoulder and how much pain I’ve been in. He performed a brief exam, rotating my shoulder and feeling the grinding that happens every time everytime I raise it over my head.  He asked if I had a history with substance abuse and my preferred method of taking cannabis. He then wrote me a prescription and explained what I needed to do with this pile of paperwork to finalize the prescription and to receive my medical marijuana card in the mail. That was it. I was now a medical marijuana patient.

I was now a medical marijuana patient. 

I received my card in the mail a few weeks later and couldn’t wait to go into a dispensary. I’ve heard stories about candies, drinks, lotions, everything you could think of they make with cannabis in it. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning walking into that store! There were walls lined with different products, I wanted to try them all. Then I started noticing all the different strains and types of cannabis to choose from. Thank goodness the lady helping me knew what she was doing. I explained my pain, my inability to sleep and my anxiety. She grabbed a few different things for me to look at. I ended up choosing to purchase some CBD candies and an eighth of indica flower.

I immediately wanted to try the candies! I opened up the package and popped 1 in my mouth. I had never experienced edibles before and wasn’t sure what was going to happen. Is it an immediate high? How intense is the high? What did I get myself into? Well, I didn’t get high. See, I had purchased CBD candies. CBD or Cannabidiol is a chemical compound found in the cannabis plant. Unlike, THC (the stuff that gets you high) it is completely nonpsychoactive. After about 45 minutes the pain in my shoulder started to cease. It was still there, but it was not as severe. The first night I tried those candies I remember having the best sleep in years. It was glorious! After 3 years of no relief, I had finally found something that seems to help.

Flash forward another couple of years and I have learned a lot about cannabis. You CAN be successful and partake in marijuana. You can smoke and be productive. You can heal from a combination of physical therapy and the right types of pain relievers and relaxants. In my case, that was cannabis. Since starting yoga and my continued use of marijuana, I have gained my strength back in my shoulder. I can sleep at night. Handstands are NOT out of my reach like they were just a few years back. When I vape before yoga class I find it easier to focus on my breathing and hold my poses longer.

Now, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. I have also smoked too much before practicing and fell flat on my face. I’ve ingested too much and could only lay in savasana. It’s all about moderation, micro-dosing and figuring out what your body needs to be pain-free and free minded to obtain all the physical and mental benefits yoga has to offer!

Marijuana is not for everyone. I know some people that shut down completely when they use, they get anxious, nervous and hate every second of it. There are certain strains that I do not use due to how they make me feel. Everyone has their preferences and if you are interested in exploring/using cannabis, I recommend talking to an expert before trying anything new.  I prefer to vape vs smoking because of how the smoke makes me cough and hurts my lungs. I enjoy indica/cbd heavy strains because of their pain relieving compounds and how I am still physically and mentally able to go about my day without being stoned out of my mind. Everyone is different and luckily, we live in a world where there are hundreds of strains and ways to gain the benefits this beautiful plant has to offer!

Namaste

-Tay