Bringing in the New Year and the New Challenges

We all approach the new year differently. Some make resolutions (some to be kept, some not), others make lists (ME), others still act as if they cannot improve upon the previous year so they just keep trucking as they were. Regardless, do what makes you comfortable. The new year is about you, and you only. This is what I am going to try to remember in 2015 ūüôā

Today I was sitting in church (when in rural America, one goes to church with their mother) the pastor was talking about being human and being content. Well, about 5 seconds before the sermon started I found out that I got a rather un-wonderful¬†grade last semester. So, i’m sitting there feeling sorry for myself as well as angry and embarrassed and all of the other things, and the pastor starts talking about getting over hurdles and staying content and accepting that we make mistakes. I will keep you all from my entire coping process (also, I’m definitely not finished wallowing in self-pity and anger), but I decided how I’m going to try to approach this new year and all it’s new challenges.

Keep going. Don’t forget you are human and will make mistakes. The biggest positive change we can make will be moving past those mistakes. So many people get caught in the self-pity and wallowing and it becomes impossible to move forward. Well, I am going to wallow, and then move on. M, please hold me to this when I wallow too much, as I indefinitely will. We all will, we are human – remember?!

So, happy 2015 everyone! Embrace the challenges of this year with a little better attitude and we will all no doubt be ready to take on 2016 in 361 days in a little better place than the great place we are in today.

Enjoy some of my favorite pictures from 2014…all mixed up and all pretty great memories ūüôā

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Tiny Living

When BME and I¬†were preparing to move west, we discussed how we wanted to live and various goals. ¬†We both have debt we want to pay down, are attracted to a more downsized (hopefully one day minimal) lifestyle, and are in general, simply tired of clutter. ¬†We also agreed that we prefer to spend money on “doing” things rather than “owning” things (and especially more than “owing” things). ¬†We¬†decided that moving west could be a “reset” and we could¬†start to live in a more downsized manner.

So we packed up our two story row house with a finished basement and made numerous trips to Goodwill.  We dropped off trash bag after trash bag of clothes, kitchen utensils, and books; we gave away many of our appliances to friends and Purple Heart; and made it a goal to use only one small moving POD for larger items: our cherished dining room table, bed and skis.  Everything else had to fit in our GTI and Yakima skybox.

This of course led to a feverish tossing of items the morning we were supposed to leave. ¬†(And a somewhat hungover tossing: we left the day after I finished the bar and had met a large group of close friends for crabs and drinks the night before. ¬†It was such an amazing time — I only had 2 crabs I was so busy fitting in as much quality time with people as possible!) ¬†Fortunately, many of our neighbors were willing to take random items off our hands so we didn’t feel too bad about not planning & donating these items. ¬†Finally, we¬†had everything packed! We were ready to go! And then the skybox locks, yes both sides, broke. In the locked position. ūüėź ¬†So we started our trip across the country at REI, where we were grandfathered in to their old return policy, and got a brand new Thule skybox for next to nothing! ¬†We repacked it and FINALLY, WE WERE ACTUALLY OFF!

A week later, we finished a 10-hour driving stretch and arrived at our new apartment, all 700-squarefeet of it (it’s amazing in comparison to our old, way too big for just us row house!). ¬†For the last month, we have been creative in figuring out where larger items go and got rid of even more. ¬†And we absolutely love it. ¬†What do you guys think of our creativity?

With skis like these, who needs art?
With skis like these, who needs art?
Much better than standing on the floor, leaning against the wall
Much better than standing on the floor, leaning against the wall
A little messy because there is a lot, but much better than strewn around on hangers!
A little messy because there is a lot, but much better than necklaces strewn around on hangers!
Close up of my jewelry organizer -- enough space for my scarves even!
Close up of my jewelry organizer — enough space for my scarves even!

Healthy Living: Who is it for? (and a tutorial!)

A quick and full-of-goodness scrambled egg tutorial at the bottom! I promise the read is worth it but feel free to skip down. ūüôā

On Saturday, September 20th, NBC‚Äôs TODAY show held ‚ÄúShine A Light‚ÄĚ Health Fair in Baltimore City, MD, in conjunction with Living Classrooms and the Baltimore City Health Department.¬† The event was part of the year-long ‚ÄúShine a Light‚ÄĚ campaign, dedicated to helping the city improve its health and fitness by showing city residents how to exercise in creative ways; encouraging and teaching¬†healthy cooking and eating; and empowering the city residents to improve their lives on their own.¬† All in all, a great message and goal that I could analyze and discuss for multiple posts so I’ll move on for now.

A little background: part of the reason the TODAY show selected Baltimore is because of the city‚Äôs high rates of diabetes, obesity, and residents who smoke.¬† However, the problem is greater than just the simple ‚Äúhealth + fitness‚ÄĚ formula: Baltimore‚Äôs easy access to drugs, lack of conveniently accessible grocery stores, abundance of gas station convenience stores, high infant mortality rate, and lack of funding in public schools for gym class or sports makes it one of the least healthy cities in the country. ¬†And those items aren‚Äôt even the entire list! As a resident of this fine city for over 2 years, I see this clearly.

But on the other hand, I also see the exact opposite lifestyle all over the place.  Indeed, we are a city of contradictions! Personally, I experience farmers markets and exercise fanatics.  People who choose to bicycle to work instead of drive. And the best part, group fitness classes in parks scattered throughout the various Baltimore communities. These things are what I see and experience in Baltimore.

I went running Saturday morning around 7 a.m. and on Sunday morning around 8 a.m.  My favorite time of the day in the city is the morning (on weekdays it has to be about 6 a.m. to get the same effect); no one is outside, no sirens or panhandlers, the harbor is quiet and pretty, and the only other people out and about are the other runners.  It’s a strong community, the people who jog around Baltimore city and explore the history on foot, whether within a Meet Up! group, a community oriented group like Friends of Patterson Park, or just neighbors and friends.  However, it is clear that the young middle-class adult exercise community lives in a city that is functionally miles apart from the city residents the TODAY show focused on.

The point of this rambling is that healthy living comes in all shapes and sizes. ¬†I believe that a person‚Äôs affinity for healthy living comes from how you were raised and where. ¬† My parents don’t exercise but due to living on and running a farm, they never stop moving. ¬†When I moved to a city, first Columbus, OH, ¬†then Baltimore, I had to find a way to be just as active¬†but without the built-in exercise that is living on a farm – hence, now I marathon! ¬†I have friends who exercise because they hate only having law school in their lives. ¬†Others have health issues that need to be controlled. ¬†And for The Pilot, if he doesn’t exercise and get all the extra energy out, it leads to some cranky times in the house. ¬†(Admittedly, I have the same issues – I¬†once had a temper tantrum because I didn’t have time to run the 12 miles I was scheduled to and could only do 6. ¬†Pathetic, I know. #nojudging)

So, who is healthy living for? Everyone. But in their own way. You can’t force someone who has been taught that Doritos and Sprite are dinner to shop only at the farmers markets any more than I can make my roommate train for a marathon with me or The Pilot make me do a Triathlon next weekend. We all should live healthily on our own terms! With that said, the TODAY show‚Äôs message of demonstration, encouragement, and teaching is a wonderful vessel to bridge the gap and show an alternate healthy living style to those who may not have been taught the basics of healthy eating and working out.

I’m passionate about this because I have seen the disparities, and how much they can drive a wedge between people, communities, and specifically,¬†socio-economic groups. I’m from a mid-western farm; you think that working criminal defense in Baltimore only taught me how to file paper work? Nope! So much life learning came with it.

So, work with what you have! Don’t ever feel like you have to buy specific, organic things at the store. Empty out your fridge and put together the things you love anyway to do some healthy eating and a little treat will be that you’re wasting less food! Cha-ching!

Scrambled Eggs with Peppers, Tomatoes, Ham, and Cheese (aka: the stuff that was going bad in my fridge)

I had all this stuff in the fridge and it was starting to go bad. ¬†I don’t eat an egg a day, I get sick of them easily so sometimes they sit too long. ¬†Mix it up to make it more exciting!

First: chop up your veggies and put them over heat.  Whether you brown them or just soften them up, they just taste better with the soft eggs when they are a little soft too.  Then, I chopped up the ham and tossed it in with the veggies.  I browned it all up and when it was good and crispy like I prefer.  When it was done, I put it aside.

Next: mix together some eggs and milk (salt and pepper if you are a fan of that).  Put it in the same hot pan you just used for the veggies and ham.  Make the eggs however you like and when they are almost done, add in the veggies and ham.  Mix together.

Finally, the cheese!  I had sandwich cheese so I laid it on top and put the lid on for a minute but if you have shredded you can probably mix that in with the veggies!

Finish it all to your preference, make a fresh cup of coffee, and enjoy! You just prepped a great meal, you saved some food from being thrown out, and you are still on your healthy living trek!


For more information on the ‚ÄúShine a Light‚ÄĚ program:

And how it is at work in Baltimore: