stress & peace

Who’s ever heard of being stressed out because you don’t have enough going on?

Welcome to the insides of my head every day, fervently researching new hiking or camping spots within a few hours of Nashville, constantly heckling my friends to join me on day trips, overnight camping, and backpacking endeavors (I mostly fail at these attempts). Not a day goes by where I don’t think about being somewhere else.

IMG_5018playing in waterfalls in Short Springs Natural Area

And for some strange reason, it stresses me out not to be able to do those things. My mind gets a clenched up and I find myself day dreaming of the sweat soaked supposedly “breathable” clothes and achy back that comes along with hauling a backpack with everything you need for 3 days. And why? Why, does this make me feel so fulfilled? When I am immersed in nature, hiking, camping, and the like, I forget about what I think matters and realize what actually matters.

But, I don’t think I can put what actually matters into words, its more of a feeling, and you have to feel it to know what I mean.

IMG_3714Smoky Mountains outside of Gatlinburg, TN

Therein lies the stress. I’m stressed because I don’t know how to find peace when I’m not outside. I desperately search for it in quiet evenings at home drinking tea and reading, in journaling, in writing, in watching Parks and Rec on Netflix for the bazillionith time. And, I have yet to be able to replicate the peace that I find when I’m out there.

So, what I try to work on daily is capturing those moments of peace, so that I can perhaps not be so stressed out when I’m in “regular life”. Because regular life is stressful and not peaceful and hard and everything that being immersed in nature is not. But, this “regular life” is also a reality that I have to live with well, regularly. So, I’ll have to keep pressing on and working hard to not work hard, to learn to be peaceful in the midst of anxiety.

IMG_2806Sunrise at Percy Priest Lake

25 before 26, an update

Well, guys, it’s official: half of my 25th year of life has already disappeared.  It’s been quite a weird year, but it keeps me on my toes for sure. And weird most definitely does not mean bad

A lot of my goals aren’t really “one and done”, most are continuing things throughout the year, a change a lifestyle more like. But, here’s where I’m at:

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1. Well, I’ve had a lot of unexpected expenses come up with my car so it’s been a little hard to actually add to my savings, but at least I’m not in the hole with money, right?!

2. I ran my first one in April in Nashville and I’m running another one in October in Kansas City (and also visiting some lovely friends, Sam and Calin).  Just like tattoos, races are addicting!  (Side note: why do I enjoy putting myself in pain? haha)

3. Well, I’ve had a lot of lovely cocktails this year (courtesy of Holland House and Rolf & Daughters mostly) but haven’t really learned much about making them or anything. It just seems like so much to even wrap my head around.

4. Well, because you are reading this, you know that I launched my new blog, ‘Almost Overnight”!

5. I have plans in the works to make croissants with 2 co-workers but we haven’t made it happen yet.

6. Well, TECHNICALLY we really didn’t actually backpack because all the bakcountry sites were taken but we camped out the night before and carried backpacks on a 19 mile hike.  Also, somehow managed to hike 45 miles the week I was there.  It was absolute bliss.

7. Yeah, haven’t even started and probabaly won’t.  This was probably too lofty a goal.

8. I have been doing A LOT better job cooking at home recently.  I’ve hit my cooking stride again and I try to make a new recipe every week.

9. I have really taken this one to heart.  I have been taking in all my wonderful city has to offer in full swing.  I feel like I’ve seen and explored new parts of town, I’ve been trying out new things and just really enjoying being a 25 year old in this city!

10. Well, this has been on my list 2 years in a row.  I actually have all the equipment that my Dad handed over to me from his beer brewing days.  I just need the actual ingredients to make the beer.  It’s just a project I have yet to undertake.  Perhaps soon.

11. I feel like I am decently consistant with blogging (minus my little much needed hiatus).  I just never want to dread blogging, ya know?

12. I’ve been working to try to plan out weeks and days better.  Sometimes it works, other times, I feel like I just waste weeks. But, so goes living my life, right? I try not to be so hard on myself.

13. A recently developed hobby for me in yoga.  I’ve really kind of fallen in lvoe with it. I’ve gone to a couple classes and really love it and also do some at home.  It’s a great way to stretch and relax and also strength and tone.  I feel healthier because I take the time to listen to my body.

14. I have been writing to Prossy almost every month.  I may have missed one in there but, overall, it’s been fun to write to her more consistently.

15. I haven’t really made macarons as often as I would like. I desperatly need a hand mixer because hand beating the egg whites is quite the task.

16. I have been absolutely terrible about carrying my camera around. It’s just that I have this nice little camera on my phone that is so small and it’s just hard to want to carry around a bulky DSLR. First world problems right?

17. I took the loveliest little solo trip to a little inn in the Smoky Mountains and it was one of the best things I have done for myself ever.  I reccommend it to anyone, especially at the dearest little Buckhorn Inn in Gatlinburg, TN.

18. I have really been working on getting all the stuff that’s crammed into my head out on paper, to process through life.  I started a tumblr: FOUNDED. where I share some of my writings.

19. I haven’t made these yet, but still want to!

20. Kombucha hasn’t happened yet either.  Once I get my hands on a mother culture, it’ll be simple, I just haven’t been motivated enough to make that happen yet.

21. I went to the Grand Ole Opry with my parents when they were in town and got to see Charlie Daniels.  It was a wonderful time and I would definitely go back again. Have I mentioned that I’m perhaps falling in love with country music? whoops…..)

22. I have a few cookbooks and a bunch of recipes written on random scraps of paper and bookmarked online, but haven’t managed to be able to get them all together.

23. I really have been bad about coffee news.  I learn everything I know about coffee from my lovely co-workers at CREMA and that’s good enough for me!

24. I have been listening to NPR on my car radio lately and have been feeling much more informed about the world and what’s going on.  Plus, NPR is just a great station.

25. Learning to be free is, like the theme of my 25th year of life FOR REAL.

on becoming (for real) healthy; a lifestyle change

This is my journey.  It’s long.  I wrote it all out mostly for myself, but also in hopes to inspire other to do the same.  My story is different.  There’s not a dramatic weight loss part where I lose 50 pounds (because, let’s be honest, that’s a lot harder and takes some serious dedication and I’m so proud of the people in my life that have done that!). There is however, a dramatic mental change. Everyone’s “health” story is different and I wanted to share mine.

People always complain that they wish they could eat healthy, but they rarely do anything about it. If you aren’t serious about it, that’s fine.  Stop stressing yourself out and just live life.  But, if you are really wanting to make a lifestyle change, it’s hard. And long. And you will make a billion mistakes. But, for better or worse, here’s my story:

If I’m being really honest with myself, sometimes, I just like to jump on the bandwagon with things and get SUPER obsessed and into whatever it is, then it slowly fades out of my life until in disappears. Thankfully, the past year and a half have actually been a lifestyle change, both physically and mentally.

I’ve almost always been active.  I’ve always been thin. Up until I was 21, I’d always eaten TERRIBLY and been insufferably picky (Like, I think I consumed a total of 5 vegetables in 21 years.  And ate a HUGE bowl of ice cream every single night before bed, like a really big bowl.)

I started gymnastics when I was 2 years old and didn’t stop until I graduated high school and realized that, despite my 16 years of pouring my life into this sport, I wasn’t going anywhere collegiately.  And, that was ok with me. When I was 12 years old, against the advice of my coaches, I joined track, mostly just because I wanted to experience something other than the sport of gymnastics.

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After a pretty successful high school career in both gymnastics and track (pats self on back), I decided that I was done being an “athlete”.  It defined my for my entire life and I was ready to shake it.

My first two years out of high school consisted of lots of crazy study nights (wooo!), a LOT of fried food and an embarrassing amount of Diet Coke. A favorite meal was mini corn dogs, french fries, 3 glasses of Diet Coke, 3 cookies, and coffee. I probably owe my entire first years of staying awake in college to Diet Coke alone. It also didn’t help that there were places that sold 56oz sodas for like, 36 cents. I pretty much gave up on “working out”.  I think I went to the Co-Rec (what we called the gym at Purdue) like 2 times and tried to run on the treadmill.  Oh, and one time, I tried to run loops around the outside of the football stadium, which is situated on a giant hill, with my roommate and I nearly passed out.  Anyways, point is, I ate like crap and never exercised, but I was ok with that. My mind was in a healthy place.

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ohhh, freshman year…

Then, all in a whirlwind, I decided to transfer schools and switch majors and found myself in the lovely city of Nashville, TN going to a small private school called Belmont University.  Now, for some crazy reason, I decided that I was going to walk onto the track team.  I guess I thought it was time to kick myself back into some sort of shape. The athlete was still hidden deep down inside me (or more likely the competitive soul that I somehow picked up over the years).

So, in January of 2009, after not working out AT ALL for two and a half years, I joined the Belmont Women’s track team as a long and high jumper (and later a javelin thrower, which never should have been allowed, EVER). It was a rough first couple months.  I jumped, like, 14.5 ft at my first college track meet. (That’s REALLY bad, like 6th graders can jump that)  It was UTTERLY EMBARRASSING. But, somehow, I found the strength to carry on through the the constant burn in my lungs and legs. By the end of my college athletic career, I had earned some scholarship money and earned some points for my team at the Athletic Sun Conference (code for ‘We are division 1, but barely).

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When I became a college athlete, I decided that college athletes should probably think about being healthy, so I started actually thinking about what I ate for the first time in my life. My cooking repertoire was small and unskilled, but it was a start. I started cooking for myself and making vegetables not out of a can! And guess what? They were pretty good.  But, I still was pretty bad at cooking ate a lot of pretty terrible processed things.  But, for the first time in my life, I noticed that I felt better. I started to catch of glimpse of what an actual lifestyle change could feel like. But, it didn’t really last long.

Fast forward to August 2011, I graduate college, I move back to my first college town in Indiana for a job.  This is the part where my entire eating goes basically back to terrible again.  I still would attempt to cook things, but often got persuaded by cheap, crappy, and let’s be honest, disgistingly good college life food again (like were’re talking burgers with peanut butter, burgers with huge soft pretzels and cream cheese to buns, and cookie delivery to your door until 4 am). Overall, I was just pretty unhappy with a lot of the aspects of my life (which to this day, I can still barely explain why).  Hence, the crappy eating and no exercising.  I was back at square one.

For some reason, something changed in me as 2011 turned into 2012. I decided I was done with my unhealthy lifestyle and needed to make a change in a part of my life that I knew I could control; what I put in my mouth and the amount of activity I was getting. My body was just always tired and I felt weighed down and just gross.

Since it was January in northern Indiana, I had to find something to stay active indoors, so I started Jillian Michael’s Six Week Six Pack. And I did it.  All 6 weeks, 5 days a week.  And guys, it works.  It really works.  I mean I didn’t have washboard abs or anything but there was a DEFINITE huge change in my body.

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In conjunction with that, I really started looking into not only healthy foods, but also all natural foods. When I started a rigorous work out schedule, my body actually started craving better foods. So, I wanted to really feed my body right and try to do that in as natural way as I could. For some reason, this time the healthy eating stuck.  It made sense, probably because I was desperate to feel like I was in control of any part of my life. Also, I was probably a heck of a lot better cook and a heck of a lot less picky that I had ever been in my life.

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As soon as the weather was bearable enough, I started running outside.  Now, I don’t know what compelled me to take up running.  I have never liked (long distance) running.  In high school, the 200 meter dash was too long for me. I think I was just so happy with the results I had already had, I wanted to keep the (small amount) of fat off, so I forced myself into running to burn calories. But, something inside my head clicked with running, so I continued. And I fell in love. I don’t know how because I’m pretty sure the first 4 weeks, I couldn’t feel my knees or ankles because of the throbbing pains.  But, being the competitive soul that I am, I pushed through and kept getting better; kept upping my mileage and setting PRs on my mile paces.

It was addicting. I felt awesome. I loved the way my body looked and felt.

But, this is where the unhealthy body image thoughts come creeping in, right when I thought nothing could derail me.

I’d never struggled with any kind of eating disorder and couldn’t really wrap my mind around what type of mindset you would have to be in to contort your body image.  This all came crashing down when I started really focusing on what foods I was eating and how many miles I could run in a week. I became so obsessed with never eating anything “bad”, I would punish myself and feel miserable.  I would FREAK OUT if I didn’t get to workout almost every day.  ‘Oh my gosh’ , I would think, ‘I’m totally going to get the layer of fat back on my stomach if I eat that’. And, if I ate something I deemed as “bad”, I would run extra that day and push myself even harder to make up for the extra fat I ate.

I would incessantly look at my stomach in the mirror and always be unhappy because all the fat wasn’t completely gone. (Like what was I even thinking?!)  I would take photos of myself to compare to weeks past and convince myself that I didn’t look as good as I did the week before.  So, I would punish myself more, both in eating and exercising.

I pushed through injuries.  I sprained my ankle bad enough to hear a loud pop when I landed on it wrong during one fo my famed Jillian Michael’s workouts. I crawled up the stairs, iced it for 20 minutes, and continued on with the rest of my workout. On a freaking badly sprained ankle. I didn’t care.  I would still run miles a day on my ankle and even re-sprained it a few weeks later while running. I couldn’t stop. I would become fat.  It’s still not fully healed and will forever be a bit swollen and bigger than my other ankle.  That was a really low point for me.

It was exhausting. I was trapped inside my own miserable thoughts.

But, I convinced myself it was worth it because I wanted to “be healthy”. I never deprived myself of food or counted calories, but I definitely was not in a healthy mindset about my body. Nothing was every good enough for myself.  I never ate good enough.  I never exercised or ran enough.  I was still not perfect. (I could write a book on how much my struggle with perfectionism has shaped my life, but I will just leave it at that for now.)

Fast forward to August/September 2012. Through a whirlwind of events, I moved back down to Nashville. Finally my eyes were opened to the fact that I was seriously unhappy.  Now, it was time to dig into my heart and unearth all of this weight that I had burdened myself with the past year. It was a painful process, but slowly I realized that my worth didn’t lie in my body image or how much fat was in my stomach (DUH).

I was transformed inside and out in a way I can’t even describe.

I finally started to see my eating and lifestyle as a truly healthy thing.  It was no longer a race against myself to see how healthy I could be.  I wanted to be healthy to respect myself and my worth.  I wanted to run because I enjoy it, not because I’m burning fat (although it is a nice added bonus). It’s a completely freeing feeling, to not be trapped by your own head.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have those crazy thoughts creep into my head.  Sometimes, I have to forbid myself from looking at my stomach in the mirror.  But, it’s a process and I’m learning to come out on the healthy side a lot quicker.

I just ran my first half marathon on April 27 in 2:00:39 (yes, I was THAT close to breaking 2 hours although I did run the entire race in the pouring rain, so I would guess my adjusted time without my 8 lbs of wet clothes  would be like 1:58:34 right????!).  I was so proud of myself, not because I ran 13.1 miles, but because I did so with a healthy mind and soul. It was a really transformative experience for me.

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(soaking wet, exhausted, and looking rough, but so so happy right after my 1/2 marathon)

So, I’m going to keep running and keep feeding my body foods that are natural and make me feel great. (It’s amazing how much better your body can feel when you just start to feed it right!) But, I’m also going to do things like eat really good pizza and bake scones and macarons without feeling guilty because those are things that I really enjoy doing.

My advice after all of this? Just listen to your body.  Give it what it needs. Be patient.

And finally, of course, don’t forget to…

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(seriously, you have to or you’ll never make it)

Stay healthy kids, both in body and mind.

24 before 25 :: the results

The results, a month late (whoops!)

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I’m really proud of how much of my list I accomplished this past year.  It was quite a weird year, so it was really good for me to have some personal goals to keep me going.
1. While I didn’t dye my hair a crazy color, I did chop it all off!
2. I read many more than 3, and started doing the What She Read feature. I haven’t stopped 🙂
3. Yeah, didn’t really budget at all.  I’m not THAT grown up yet…
4. I taught a home brew methods class at my old job at Greyhouse!
5. I saw SO MANY great shows at the Newport Folk Fest (First Aid Kit, Alabama Shakes, Spirit Family Reunion, Punch Brothers, The Head and The Heart…. I could go on all day…)
6. Nope, but that’s ok
7. I ran a 10k in Franklin, TN in October and actually got first place in my age division… crazy.
8. I wrote a few, but not as much as I would have liked.
9. Because I traveled to France last May, I did learn some very basic French to be able to barely communicate while I was in country.  It’s a great language and I would love to learn more.
10. I definitely did this and still am doing this. The biggest accomplishment being transferring everything over to Typepad!
11. I got to see both Connecticut and Rhode Island.
12. With my now currently retired “Music Monday” feature, I pushed myself to discover a ton of new music.  I came to realize that I love a ridiculous amount of different kinds of music.
13. I had the opportunity to see 4 countries last year (Nethelands, Spain, France, and Turkey).  It was utterly wonderful and I can’t wait to see more.
14. Nope, first I have to save up the money to buy it…
15. I actually got 2 new tattoos! This one and one I haven’t shared with you all on here yet.
16. I was really good at this at the beginning of last year.  My old roommate and I would try to invite people over once a week to cook for them.
17. Yes!  I tried so many new recipes and got so much better at cooking.  I like to think of myself as more of a baker, but I also love cooking.
18. I read Scott Rao’s book, The Professional Barista Handbook, plus I started working at CREMA and learned a rididculous amount more about coffee.
19. Haven’t done this yet, I have plans for this upcoming year though!
20. I have, to date, bought 3 pairs that actually fit me.  It’s quite a wonderful feeling.  Spoiler alert, you do have to spend money for it.
21. This was just kind of a random one…
22. I made a few new really great friends this past year!
23. I started off really strong doing a little study of memorizing scripture, but it kinda trailed off halfway through the year.
24. I definitely have continued to realize my “dream” or just what makes me happy and what life is all about.  It’s a life long process 🙂

a new name…

This past year has been a crazy whirlwind of events including moving back and forth between Indiana and Tennessee, traveling abroad to 4 different countries, and learning quite a bit more about myself.  Along with that, I felt that my blogging voice and maturity needed a bit of updating.  I feel like I have outgrown “Live What You Love” and what I set out for the blog to be.  I have definitely learned to live out things that I am truly passionate about with the blog being an absolutely huge outlet for me to do so.  But, with turning 25 this year (my, where has the time gone?), I felt that I wanted to move in a different direction with the big picture of my blog.

Now, I am still going to post about travling and outfits and all of the other things I find lovely, but with just a slightly different undertone. I don’t even know if this will even make sense to you, but it does to me and that’s why I have to do it.

Why ‘Almost Overnight’ for the new name?

Well, weird story actually.  During one episode of ‘Modern Family’, Mitchell said something that really resonated with me.  Now, I know that Modern Family is mostly a comedy, and a hilarious one at that, but this quote was quite serious and though provoking for me.  It has just stuck with me ever since I heard it.  Mitchel is consoling Manny after he was picked on and he says this:

“But this is the funny thing about growing up: for years and years everybody is desperately afraid to be different in any way, and then suddenly, almost over night, everyone wants to be different… and that is where we win.”

I believe there is a universality to that quote, which is why I like it so much.  So, here’s to making this blog different, yet staying true to who I am.  It’s a lot harder than it seems isn’t it?

I hope you will continue to follow the small part of my journey of life that is this blog.

Lately…

Gosh. Life had just been a little insane lately. I spent this past (long) weekend being entranced by the lovely city of New Orleans (more on that later, of course) Then, some friends came to visit me in Nashville so I’ve been busy showing them my favorite places. It’s been nice to have a little bit of a break from “normal life”, but it will be nice to get back in the swing of things.

Also, I may have big plans for this blog… can’t decide quite yet. But, know that my custom design expires and I’m not renewing it quite yet because I might be switching blog platforms. Just wanted to keep you updated. Be back soon on the regular. Promise.

I’ll leave you with an absolutely dreamy photo I took in the French Quarter on a foggy morning this weekend…

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two thousand and twelve in review

My life is a journey, an exploration of the things that make me feel alive.  Each year, it’s so wonderful to look back and see the adventures that I got to be a part of.  Whether at home or thousands of miles away, each experience allowed me to enjoy what I’ve been given.  Don’t waste your life, k?

January

I did my first major blog overhaul.  I learned a bit of CSS and played around with the look.  It’s changed at least 5 times since then and I’m hoping to continue to improve!   Other than that, January was kind of a quiet month, besides a few trips to Indianapolis.  I also decided to get my life back on the healthy track.  I started exercising, eating better, and making my life more natural and simple.

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February

I turned 24 and had one of the most lovely parties.  My dearest friend Sara, hosted at her and her husbands farm out in the country.  It was unusually warm for the beginning of February.  We got to explore outside and even got to race barefoot down a gravel road.  Perfection.

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I also traveled to Nashville with some Indiana friends and got to show them around a city I love. Oh, and I also shaved a small part of my head, which got bigger and bigger as the year went on… 🙂

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March

I went to Chicago with some lovely friends from work to see them compete in the Big Central Barista Competition.  We got to meet up with other coffee geeks and gush about specialty coffee.  I just love spending time in Chicago and exploring new parts of this wonderful city.

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April

This month, I traveled to Portland, OR with a few people from Greyhouse.  We went for the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) Event and Conference.  Portland is probably tied for second favorite city in the world.  I just really love the Pacific Northwest and the culture and feel of this city.  I fell even more in love after spending 5 days there.  Plus, we had some amazing food and of course, coffee.
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May

I got to see Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Paris on my second solo trip overseas.  It was an indescribable experience and made me fall even more in love with traveling, as if I needed that.
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June

June was kind of a quiet month, but it was just what I needed.  There was a lot of back porch breakfasts, reading novels, and shopping at the farmer’s market; just what a summer should be. Oh, and another trip to Nashville to spend some time at a lake house with some friends… (whoops)

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July

I took a mini road trip with Sara to Newport, RI for the Newport Folk Festival.  We also go tot stop in NYC and visit our dear friend, Jason.  The festival and the little New England town were both lovely.  It was my first time in “real” New England and I loved it.  I got to see so many of my most favorite people play the the Folk fest.

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August

I had the wonderful opportunity to see Bob Dylan play live.  Now, I was prepared for it not to sound awesome, and it really didn’t.  His voice has really seen better days, but it was such an honor to see him play.  Even, if every song sounded almost exactly the same 😉

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I also threw a 25th birthday party for my Sara Jean along with her husband.  We had it out on their farm and it was just a wonderful late summer event.  It was also great to spend time with people I loved before the next major event in my life…

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September

In a whirlwind of events, I moved and said goodbye to West Lafayette and hello to Nashville once again.  I’m so very thankful for the community of friends I have in both of these places.

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We also celebrated Heather’s birthday on a wonderful warm afternoon at Arrington Vineyards. Such beautiful times and beautiful friends.

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October

Out on the road again, I headed south for a short little trip to Charleston, SC just because we could.  We had an absolutely amazing time. So much laughing, talking, and enjoying each other’s presence. And, oh my, what a beautiful little southern town. *swoon*

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I also ran my first 10k race (since becoming a huge fan of running) and visited the most beautiful of waterfalls (Burgess Falls) right here in Tennessee.

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November

The travel bug strikes again and this time, Turkey was the culprit.  I am so convinced that Turkey is one of the most brilliant countries on out earth.  There’s just so much to see and eat and love about it!
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December

I got to attend some of the loveliest parties this month, whether for the holidays or birthdays.  It reminded me that I have so many lovely people surrounding me and I musn’t take it for granted. (And daaaang, don’t I have some attractive friends??)
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Can’t wait to see just how amazing 2013 is going to be.  Aw shucks, life is pretty great isn’t it?
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