Believe you can and you’re halfway there…

I really need to maintain this. For a girl who loves to write and always literally has lots to say, this blog says otherwise.

Anyway, after some time I think I may have finally found a topic I can write about–at least for this blog post. We’ll see how long I can stretch it out, maybe more than just this post but, here’s go nothing.

So, sometime back in February–the end of it–or early March–hell, I literally can’t even remember, oops–I finally decided to make a change. A serious one.

Within the last couple years, more than during earlier years (i.e. end of high school/early college), I have been not the most happy with my weight. I figured “meh, this is me. This is the weight/size I was meant to be so there’s that.” It got to the point where I became focused–no, fixated–on it. I was constantly thinking about my weight and wondering why I had to be given the gene of HATING exercising, LOVING food AND having a SLOW metabolism.

Once my weight became a constant thought on my mind I always told myself I would do something about it. I told myself I would eat better, not eat fast food; exercise, lift weights, etc. You name it. And so began when I half-ass attempted “working out” by walking like 30 minutes on the treadmill twice a week and not eating certain meals throughout the day. Yeah, a lot of good that did me, right? I got so bored on the treadmill that my motivation was quickly lost after a only few times. Plus, skipping out on meals only made me cranky and eat twice as much during my next meal. This inevitably lead to more weight gain.

I’m not sure exactly when my specific wake-up call was to do actually do something about my weight but once I started I got this sense of excitement and accomplishment once I started to see the number on the scale go down. I had done Weight Watchers in the past, started in 2013, and did it for a little while but then lost the motivation to keep going and I constantly felt deprived of not just my favorite foods, but food in general. I won’t deny I like food. In fact, I LOVE food. That’s why I hate the word “diet”, and seldom use it. I considered and researched other popular diets but I didn’t like the idea of a) having to pay for special food, etc. for weight loss when quite frankly I was already “paying” for having gotten to the weight I was. Wasn’t about to add insult to injury. Anyway… and b) I didn’t want to feel deprived. So, I took another approach. I decided to count calories and acknowledge that I would go over some days, but for those times I would make up by exercising to burn them off and then some or simply burning them off and breaking even.

It was, and still to this day, is a struggle for me to work out. I’ve been going at this counting calories and exercising thing for about 2-2.5 months now and let me just tell you–I didn’t like working out before and even to this day I’m still not the world’s biggest fan. Some days I FORCE myself to do it or actually just don’t work out period. (Bad, I know, but a girl’s allowed to have a rest day) But, one thing I’ve learned during this journey is that I actually, really do feel better, even if I am physically sore, after I work out compared to if I DON’T work out at all. I don’t work out every single day of the week even though some would say I probably should but, I do average about 3-4 times per week, which is better than those who don’t at all–which I used to be one of those people. And that’s not to say people who DON’T work out are lazy because some people are naturally fit and just don’t need to work out.

Anyway… In the past, after a few days of “counting points” and walking at a speed of 3.0 m.p.h. for 30 minutes, I was quickly disappointed by the lack of change in the number I saw on the scale. I was constantly looking for a quick fix and when that didn’t happen I gave up and thought, “Well, I guess maybe I was just meant to be this size” OR, “Guess I’ll just be this weight forever.” It’s not a healthy mindset to have and even now, fast forward, I still feel that way some days except, I KNOW I DON’T HAVE TO BE that size, or even my current size now. I CAN get to my dream/goal size with more hard work and dedication. It won’t come overnight just like my weight gain didn’t come on overnight as much as I like to think it did.

Like I said earlier, I can’t pinpoint exactly when I decided to make a serious change and actually on it but I think it was time back a few months ago and I realized if I kept eating and NOT exercising at the rate I was, I was going to have to keep buying BIGGER clothes–and that was not something I wanted to do. Not only that but I also didn’t want to gain any more for fear of a bigger issue at hand–like any health problems that can arise from being overweight. Well, and I had actually Googled peoples’ BEFORE and AFTER pictures and I thought, I want to be one of those people–I want to be my own success story.

So, after that moment I decided to act on the change I constantly talked about and I reminded myself daily that this was going to take time–weeks, months–but, that in the end, it would be worth it. I am not yet to my final goal weight but I’ve lost some weight already and can definitely tell in the way my clothes fit–they’re getting too big–and that serves as motivation to keep me going and to be proud of my accomplishment. It’s also motivating and reassuring when my family and friends tell me that they too have noticed a difference.

It’s strange though, and I didn’t think I would feel this way but I bet other people have felt this way too, I feel weird sometimes when people tell me ‘congratulations’ or ‘you look great’, ‘keep up the great work’, etc. Obviously that’s encouraging and motivating too but, I guess I never thought I would get to the point where I would have people telling me that so it’s kind of weird. But, like I said, it’s also encouraging and motivating so I keep people updated via social media with pictures, my work out motivational quotes I Google daily to remind myself to keep going, and even wear my FitBit, with my Alex and Ani bracelets, because I want to be held accountable in any way I can to keep moving and eat right and drink lots of WATER.

Speaking of “eating right” and drinking lots of water…

This brings me to my next point. So, after people compliment me they sometimes ask me what I’ve been doing. I tell them I’m counting calories and no longer drinking pop, which I gave up back in March (yay!) and exercising. And while I am not following a specific diet of only fruits and vegetables or low-carb or fat-free, I am making up what for what I eat in exercise. Now, not every one will agree this is a good approach to “dieting” and/or losing weight but I say to hell with them. It’s MY body and I myself will choose how to lose weight. I know I post it on social media for the world to see but that’s for encouragement–not for people to give their two cents on how I can and should tweak my current regimen. If people have actual helpful advice/tips then I am all ears but when it’s something entirely different, than I really just don’t care.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 2.5 months since I’ve drank any pop. I have to admit, even to this day I still have cravings sometimes. Not nearly as bad as when I first gave up pop but sometimes a little ol’ carbonation just sounds DELICIOUS! Plus, I get bored of just plain ol’ water so I mix in unsweeted regular tea, unsweetened green tea, black coffee and WATER ENHANCERS! I tell ya, water enhancers are the best! They’ve help change things up and make not miss pop as much. It’s wonderful. 🙂 But, I’m human and so of course I am going to have cravings every once in awhile but I haven’t given in yet so that’s good, right? RIGHT!

It’s been a roller coaster of a ride–this “journey” of mine, if you will–but, I like to look at it as a lifestyle change. I can’t really call it a “diet” since then I will probably feel as though I can revert back to my old ways once I reach my goal weight and I can’t. I can’t unless I want to go back to where I was. And I don’t. Ever.

I am saying goodbye to that girl. It sounds so corny but literally saying “goodbye” to my excess weight and becoming a healthier me is what keeps going and pushing harder everyday. And so does looking at pictures from a couple months and beyond compared to now. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at these pictures…

Left: September 21, 2014 Right: May 9. 2015
Left: September 21, 2014
Right: May 9. 2015
Left: April 2014 Right: April 2015
Left: April 2014
Right: April 2015

So, here’s a goodbye to the old, heavier me and hello to the new, healthier me. That’s my number one goal–is to be healthy. My second goal is to feel more good–feel more confident–when I wear clothes without any shadow of hesitation, like, “Did I make the right choice in wearing this?” I love clothes, fashion, and I like to think I have a good sense of style but *loving clothes and having a sense of style* and actually *feeling 100000% percent confident in your clothing choice* are two different things. I’ve felt confident in the past in the clothes I bought (regardless of the fact the size wasn’t a size I wanted to be at/wasn’t necessarily healthy) but, this time around I want to be at that 100000% confident without any about.

Well, wish me luck as I continue this “weight-loss/lifestyle change/healthier me” ride/journey. It won’t be without both ups and downs, high and lows, and setbacks and successes so be prepared. I am only human so I will make mistakes. This lifestyle change (or as some people may see it “diet”) won’t be perfect–and I’m not intending it to be so, it will take trial and error and time. Hopefully I can semi-maintain this blog with results of my weight-loss–oh, that’s another incentive/way to keep me motivated to lose weight–if there are people counting on me or just simply looking forward to my continued progress of weight-loss and becoming healthier. Hmm… We shall see.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, everyone. And thank you to those past, current and future for serving. ❤

Memorial Day 2015
Memorial Day 2015

XO,
Ana

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Hello, 2015!

It’s officially a new year. Another year down in the books. Another day, another chance to start fresh. After all, isn’t that what the new year is about?

I know for some people, even myself, the first day of the new year can be so cliche for new things, new goals, new aspirations, etc. to take place. But, if not now, then when? Something about a brand new slate gives people that extra push of motivation to get going on those new “things” they’ve been after.

Now, what do I have “new” going on for me this year in 2015? Well, I’m no Miss Cleo and so I can’t predict the exact future, but I can tell you what I am hoping to have happen this year. And, well, some things I know will happen–like me turning TWENTY-FIVE in five months. Ummm, what? :-O

Anyway… With a new year upon us I am looking forward to many things. For starters, I am looking forward to going to Nashville for my third time in 3 weeks to visit my old roommate/best friend Kayla. This will be my second time flying alone but, slightly scarier this time as I have a three hour layover and a plane change. Now I’ve done a layover and plane change before but, just not by myself. EEEEK! Let’s just hope I don’t miss my next plane because I’m caught up getting another cup of coffee or watching my DVD collection of Criminal Minds. 😉  Either way I am super excited and can’t wait for a little getaway from this crazy weather we’ve been having these past few days. (Where was this snow for Christmas? I’m just saying.) I’d say if I’m lucky then it won’t snow AT ALL while I’m visiting there. When I went last February, on my last night, there was seriously the LIGHTEST amount of snow flurries EVER and Nashville had their salt trucks out like they had just had a couple of INCHES fall. It was wild to see. LOL!

On another note… Between that and until June I’ll just be working and dreaming of my next trip to Nashville or elsewhere. Come June it’ll be my 25th birthday. Still can’t believe it. When did it become so close to me being 25? Didn’t I just turn 21 yesterday? Anyway, with me turning 25 the only thing I can REALLY, TRULY look forward to is my car insurance going down. WOO HOO! Oh, and being able to rent a car. That’s cool, I guess, right? 😉

In all reality I don’t really mind turning 25 as it’s another birthday to celebrate and who doesn’t like celebrating birthday with loved ones, regardless of the age you’re turning? In my opinion, turning 25 is when to do something REALLY big. So, my something really big I would love to do is either go to Vegas (better get saving… myself AND my best friends, included 😉 ) or something smaller, Chicago, or even smaller but still super fun–overnight stay at the casino. Who knows? I still have four months to go but you know me, I am a planner and like to get the party started early. HA!

What else is happening this year… Well, nothing too major that I know of. Or can remember. At least, that I know of, yet. Hmm… Hopefully big things will happen, if not for me, then for others. But, we don’t know what the future holds so I guess we’ll wait and see.

While I don’t personally know what else is in store for me, I do have HIGH hopes for things that I would like to happen. Might sound corny and overrated but I have high hopes I’ll find a special someone to start dating. Okay, so it sort of, kind of sounds so corny but who doesn’t want to eventually want to settle down with someone and all that? I do. I know not everyone does, and that’s totally okay and awesome, but for me, I just have a feeling, a desire, a hope, to be that sparkle in someone’s eye. Okay, taking it to too far as being cheesy/corny so I’ll leave it at that. LOL! We’ll just see what fate brings me.

In other news… I am also really hoping I can find a diet/exercise regimen I can stick to. Like I mentioned in a previous blog post, I HATE exercising and dieting. Like both words might as well be banned from my vocabulary. I hate them both. But, while I despise them both doesn’t mean I don’t think they’re important. They are both super important and I give major credit to those who stick to a good diet and exercise program and see actual results–have their own success story. I always tell myself I someday want to be my own success story but it’s just the motivation to get there is SERIOUSLY lacking. I like food too much, plain and simple. And, I HATE exercising. So, until I can tone down my love for food and get over my hate of exercise I have a feeling I’ll just have to deal and settle with where I am at now. But come on, who likes to settle for something such as weight, especially when you KNOW you can lose it. I need more willpower, damnit.

Anyway, enough about dieting and exercising. I really want to keep this blog going consistently this year but I just don’t know what to write about. People tell me to write what I know about but I think I can only write about and people can only read so much about….: My love for food (i.e. Chipotle), love for Starbucks, Criminal Minds, Pretty Little Liars… AND… Shoes. Yup. I mean I know there are others out there who enjoy these things as well but only for so long. I need NEW, FRESH content. So if anyone has any ideas for me I am ALL ears. 🙂

Oh, one more thing before I end this post–something that I found amusing tonight… My dad tried to use my iPad and didn’t have a clue on how to use it. Oh, I love you, dad! 🙂 Thankfully it didn’t take rocket science for him to figure it out but it was just kind of funny I thought. It made me think of how if I ever have kids that in that day and age they won’t know about what’s popular right now for my generation because by then it won’t be popular anymore. Same thing with my dad–the iPad and technology of that nature weren’t around when he was my age and so someday when I am his age I will be in his same shoes as he is now if I have kids and they’re playing with their popular gadget of the future. 😉 Just a little something I found comical, among several other things tonight. I swear, my parents, brother Tom and I should have our own reality TV show. We’re hilarious. Although, other times I am thankful there aren’t cameras around for the comical, nonsense we say. 😉

Hope everyone’s new year is off to a great start so far. Tell me, what are you hoping to happen in 2015? Big or small. Cheers to a great year!

Until next time…

– Ana

Finding a prince in a pond full of frogs

I don’t know about other women my age or at the same point in their life (post-college) but I feel like the dating pool is kind of small. Or maybe I am just blinded and missing the greater dating pool.

It could just be my over-picky-ness but in all honesty, where are women my age and at this point in life supposed to meet people? Hell, I wasn’t even sure where to find people when I was in college. The bar? A coffee shop? A concert? The bar seems to be the typical place to meet people for twenty-somethings and while I am a twenty-something, I feel as though I am not into finding my soul mate, my one true love, while having already consumed a couple beers and then some.

Don’t get me wrong, I love going to the bar and just hanging out with my girl friends but when it comes to meeting people (i.e. potential significant other) I feel as though it can be difficult. In my opinion people use the bar and consuming some liquor for well, liquid encouragement. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that considering I’ve done the same but, in the end it just doesn’t always work out as well as hoped.

Let me again reiterate that I don’t think there is anything wrong with people meeting their S.O. at the bar. I know some success stories from doing so but, since I’ve already gone through that phase, or at least attempted to (but really, was too shy/chicken shit to) I feel like it’s not for me anymore.

Which begs the question: Where do twenty-something women, post-college, meet men who are at the same point in their lives, if not even more established?

That’s part of the problem. I have people tell me I am much too picky when it comes to guys–whether it be to casually date him or something more serious and long-term. Now I will admit I suppose I am just a tad picky but I also don’t want to settle. On the other hand, the people I know who are dating someone or will date in the future are probably people I wouldn’t ever date. That doesn’t go to say the people they’re dating are undesirable or anything, it’s just a different taste than what I am looking for. After all, everyone has their own tastes, etc. and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I’m sure some people reading have probably written me off as someone whose standards are too high that no guy will ever be able to meet but, I disagree. It might not happen anytime soon but as people always tell me–things happen when they’re supposed to and when I least expect it. I am a firm believer every person has a soul mate in the world (should they believe in/want love–regardless of it results in marriage or just something monogamous without a piece of paper) and therefore that is why I don’t believe my standards are too high. Perhaps to some they are but for me I know what I wan’t and don’t want and I refuse to settle.

Perhaps there is that small part of me that still believes in those Disney fairy tales. The fairy tales where the princess rides off into the sunset with prince charming and they live happily-ever-after. Who wouldn’t want that? Okay, so not everyone wants that or believes in that but I do and I’m sticking to it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind being single. I’ve been single for some time now and it’s been great. But, at the same time, I’ve always been one who believes in love, wants love, had a great love once, and am looking for one again. I am a believer in fairy tales and while I don’t expect to literally ride off into the sunset with my prince charming, I do look forward to finding my soul mate and well, living happily-ever-after, on our own terms, however that may be.

Not everyone longs to find true love, their “other half”, and that is totally okay. But for me and seeing people in my own family (and friends) experience that feeling of true love/happily-ever-after I can’t help but feel I am meant for that too–and it’s what I want. But until then begs the question of where do I meet my so-called “prince charming”?

Can I still meet guys at the bar? Or am I past that? I personally think I am beyond that stage of my life now but perhaps I am wrong. I am curious, people who are reading this–where are twenty something women my age meeting people?

If you have any ideas on where to meet people I’d like to know. It obviously isn’t my life mission to pin point my prince charming this very second but, it’s certainly something I am interested in happening at some point. In mean the time the hunt for a job continues and hopefully saving up enough money to have my own place again. It’s best to just live life in the moment, right?

Until next time…

– Ana

Exercise might as well be a swear word

If there’s one thing I hate more than anything else in this world it’s exercise.

I hate the sound of it, the meaning of it, the looks of it–everything. You honestly probably couldn’t pay me to do it. That’s how much I loathe it.

Now don’t get me wrong–I’m not saying it’s bad for you, or anyone else, because we all know that’s not true but that doesn’t mean I still can’t hate it.

Why do I hate it? You ask. Well, to be honest I don’t really have a valid reason other than I think it’s boring and I don’t think there’s ever a convenient time to do it. (Which again, we all know is not true)

How I feel about having to exercise--NOT happy.
How I feel about having to exercise–NOT happy.

Honestly, I think what really bothers me (and sorry to all of you naturally thin, in shape people) is the thought of having to go to a gym, where there are other people (and not just any people, but random strangers), and a lot of them are already in shape and so they’re there working out to MAINTAIN their physique. I, on the other hand, am NOT trying to maintain this physique of mine. Over the past few years I’ve become more fixated on my size and the number I weigh but never motivated enough to do anything about it.

*Side note: I am in no way meaning to look down on people who do go work out to maintain their physique (and/or just happen to be naturally thin/at their ideal weight) but just simply stating my personal observation of “Wow, those people already look damn fabulous and therefore intimidate me.”

One part of me thinks like a ridiculous person by praying and hoping I’ll just one day wake up thinner. It’s this horrible mentality I have that thin people were born just like that, thin, and I, well, I was born not thin. But again, that’s as crazy as saying there is never a convenient time to work out.

Now, I do know genetics play a partial role in the amount someone weighs and so I do believe my genetics are partially to blame for how much I currently weigh but, on the other hand, I do admit I LOVE food and (again) HATE exercise. So what does that equal? Being overweight. I think I hate exercise because I feel as though there is this entitlement to being thin since other people in the world just happen to be naturally thin. Again, though, this isn’t their “fault” but rather just how their genetics are and their lifestyle. Their lifestyle allowed them to earn their thin physique and obviously there is nothing wrong with that!

Anyway… The other part of me thinks I am “pretty much” okay with my physique and the number on my scale even though in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth. Like I mentioned above I’ve become more fixated and desired wanting to lose weight more so in the past few years than when I was in high school or first starting out college. At that time it just didn’t seem like a big deal to me or anyone else so I thought, why bother?

But with heavy emphasis on weight loss in the media and pretty much everywhere I look I can’t help but feel pressured to do something about my weight. Of course it isn’t just the media either. I know too that if I don’t take my health and fitness more seriously than it could develop into more serious issues later on, which is something I definitely don’t want to have to deal with.

However, this is all so much easier said than done. SO much easier. I often think to myself how I will wake up in the morning and go on the treadmill or count points for Weight Watchers for the week but then I think, but I’ll just be miserable and hungry or miserable and sweaty–neither of which sound appealing. But, as we all know what this really does is make me feel even worse later when I eat beyond normal portion sizes and don’t exercise.

It’s a daily struggle. I am currently subscribed to Weight Watchers and have the app but I just get so tired, and bored you could say, of counting points. Oh, and something else to mention that I forgot to earlier, is I also have the mentality of thinking since it seems like my extra weight came on overnight then my extra weight should come off overnight as well, right?

WRONG.

And that’s where my weight loss journey needs to start first–is my brain and mind on accepting it will take time to see progress and that no one loses weight overnight unless they get professional surgery. I really have a love-hate relationship with WW. I do believe WW is a good program as it is helps a lot with portion control, which means you can still indulge in your guilty pleasures without actually feeling guilty after. The bad part though, for me, is the allocation of points women and men get and how those differ based on sex and height and weight.

For example, my daily points fall between 27-28 points. Without knowing anything about WW it might seem like a lot, and to some women it could be, but as a woman who loves food–especially Chipotle–the struggle is real to stay in that allocated amount. See what I mean?

I believe deep down somewhere I have the determination and motivation needed to lose weight but it’s buried beneath the mindset of thinking the weight will come off after one day of dieting and or thinking I’ll just wake up at my goal weight.

STILL WRONG!

As you can see I really loathe the word “exercise” and I also really don’t like the word “diet” either. It sounds just as painful and awful as the other. Aside from my lack of mental motivation I am also physically unmotivated. I always feel “too tired” to work out and while I may actually be a little bit tired, I think I feel more than I actually am because I am overweight. It takes its toll on you. I’ve seen that from other people as well, not just myself.

Now I know both men and women are supposed to love their bodies at any size which, I do to an extent but, health-wise I could stand and would like to lose weight. I want my clothes to become too big, not too small. I want to have that extra energy to do things other than sit around and watch TV all day or eat Chipotle. Because right now I feel trapped. I know it sounds crazy, and while I know realistically I will never be a size small or something near model physique, I know I can be thinner and (based on my height) should be (for health reasons specifically). I know a thinner, healthier version of me is there somewhere. I don’t intend for that to sound so vain or to put down women who are of similar or bigger size to me but for my height specifically (and even age too I’m sure) I am overweight. This isn’t just about wanting to feel better so I think I look better physically but it really boils down to losing weight so I can be healthy and live a long time and be more active in my everyday life. I want there to be a day where I don’t hate exercising and dieting and instead actually look forward to doing those things. I’m sure I can achieve it, sooner rather later, but I just need some tips, tools and resources.

My motivation is around here somewhere but it’s more about “rewiring” my brain and mind to think positive about diet, exercise, fitness and weight loss. So if anyone has tips for that specifically I am ALL ears.

Until next time…

– Ana

What I love about fall

In less than a month fall will officially be upon us.

As sad as it is summer is over I can’t help but feel a twinge of happiness that soon the leaves will be changing colors and I can get all the hot caramel apple cider drinks in the world as I want. (Sorry, pumpkin spiced latte)

Below I will share a list of what I personally think is awesome about fall, even though it means not as much sunshine and laying out by the pool/lake:

1. Hot caramel apple cider from Biggby

I put this as number one on the list to draw in people’s attention. It draws attention because I’m sure like just about everyone else in the world is drooling over Starbuck’s pumpkin spiced latte. Don’t get me wrong, I am team Starbucks any other day but when it comes to fall drinks the hot caramel apple cider from Biggby is where it’s at. To me that is what fall tastes like–if fall had a taste, which, is what I am sure everyone else thinks pumpkin spiced latte tastes like. Sorry, not sorry. I’m sticking to my hot caramel apple cider. Try it and you WON’T be disappointed. This is a staple of the fall season.

2. Sweaters

Who doesn’t love being able to throw on a cute sweater with some jeans and boots as the air gets cooler? We can still wear sweaters in the summer, more so at night when it cools down but, the fall season is prime wearing time. I love to shop enough as it is but when fall arrives as do new clothing arrivals in store, you know I’m all over that. Sweaters are cute to layer over camisoles and/or wear with long dangling necklaces or even scarves. Oh, don’t even get me started on scarves… LOVE!

3. Scarves

Alright, guys and girls, if you don’t own at least one staple scarf that you can rock all fall long then you might need to reevaluate your current wardrobe situation. I love, love, LOVE scarves, I can’t tell you enough. I love them so much that just a few years ago when I first started with my big scarf phase I told my family and friends I wanted to open up my own scarf business called “Sassy Scarves.” (Can I register that name?) But in all seriousness, if you’re not a huge jewelry fan whether it be necklaces, earrings or bracelets you can never go wrong with a classic scarf. A scarf can go with just about any outfit, but looks best with a chunky sweater. Find one that suits you and you’ll be set to stay on trend this season.

4. Leaves changing

Not to sound biased because I live here but Michigan has the best view, in my opinion, when it comes to the leaves changing colors. Seriously, if I had the time and didn’t look like a total weirdo with an iPhone (because that’s what I use as a camera) then I would totally set out and play photographer and capture all the greatness that is the leaves changing. Everything is just so pretty and tranquil–you should consider yourself blessed if you live in Michigan and experience this every year.

5. Boots, boots, boots

As if I didn’t already have a shoe problem (the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?) but come fall I can not be held responsible for any pair of boots I find and fall in love with and happen to buy. Seriously, since I don’t have a boyfriend at the moment shoes, particularly boots, is the next best thing. 😉 I aspire to have a closet like Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City. Boots, like everyone just knows, is another symbol of the fall season. My favorite are the ones that go over the knee or the ones that reach mid-calf. You can pair some boots with just about any outfit but they tend to look best with a pair of jeans and chunky sweater. (Fall is all about the chunky sweater, right? A classic that never goes out of style, in my opinion.) If you do decide to wear a dress or skirt I would suggest a short ankle pair of boots to keep things balanced. The important thing is to find a style of boots that best suits you and your personal style.

6. Bonfires

Bonfires to me are great, perhaps perfect, in the summer, but, you can’t argue they’re great in the fall too. The temperatures are cooler and it’s a way to bond with family and friends doing something low-key. Not much to say about bonfires other than it’s a given they’re laid-back, chill and ALWAYS a good time. I’d say it’s damn near impossible not to have fun at a bonfire. Right? Plus who doesn’t like roasting marshmallows to make s’mores? 😉

This is just a short list of things I personally love about fall. I’m sure other people could name countless other things that they enjoy about the upcoming season but, I’ll leave my list at this. Tell me what your favorite thing(s) is (are) about fall in the comments.

Until next time…

– Ana

What To Know: Life as a Central Michigan University Chippewa

It’s hardly half-way through the first day of classes at CMU and already I am missing so many things…

I was done with classes in May so it’s not like I just gave up what I miss yesterday or anything, but, I can’t help feel nostalgic after seeing all my friends’ social media posts. In honor of the first day of my alma mater’s classes, I will post some things I personally miss, along with advice/tips incoming freshmen and anyone in general should check out/know during their time at CMU.

TIPS/ADVICE:

Tip #1: Invest in FLEX dollars. These are absolutely worth it and can be used to buy copious amounts of Starbucks at the University Center OR to buy endless spicy chicken sandwiches, also at the U.C. Or to buy anything else your heart desires, as long as it’s on CMU’s campus.

Tip #2: When driving to the U.C. and PARALLEL parking, make sure you do JUST that–PARALLEL park. Don’t park too close to the front or back line and mess up the parking for everyone else. If there’s one thing that peeves me the most it’s when people don’t take the two seconds to readjust their parking. Besides, you don’t want anyone else accidentally hitting your car or something, do you? Just do it and save yourself a scratch or fender bender.

Tip #3: It’s an unspoken, unwritten rule that where you sit on the first day of school is where you’ll sit every day after–unless your professor assigns you seats–in which case sucks. But, if you don’t have assigned seats then know where you pick to sit on the first day is pretty much guaranteed where you’ll be sitting the rest of the semester. In other words, please don’t be THAT person who decides halfway through the semester that he/she doesn’t like his/her seats and sits in someone else’s and then messes everything up for everyone else. Just don’t do it. Pick carefully.

Tip #4: While it’s still technically summer and not fall for another month, remember to dress for the appropriate whether. As it was just brought to my attention from one of my sorority sisters, there isn’t AIR CONDITIONER in the buildings. Meaning as soon as you step foot inside whatever building your class is in you’ll be wishing you could jump in a pool or have one of those portable fans with you like the ones that were popular (although I never understood why) when we were younger. It’s hot and depending on how long your class is, or regardless of how long your class is, you WILL be miserable if dressed in clothes made for cooler fall temperatures or even winter. And as an extra precaution: pack water, or something else to hydrate.

Tip #5: Join RSOs (registered student organizations). I can’t stress this enough. I will admit I wish I had joined an RSO sooner than the start of my junior year but you know, it is what it is. Anyway… Join a group, whatever it may be, as soon as you can. You might be worried you won’t have the time to commit to it, which was my major concern, but trust me, you will, and in the end it will benefit you immensely. And for the times you really don’t have the time for it, again, it will be worth it in the end. There are so many groups/clubs to join on campus that if you really can’t find one then, well, you’re probably doing it wrong. You’re bound to find something that sparks your interest or may end up sparking your interest if you at least give it a try. Check out Orgsync for a list of all the RSOs CMU has–that is, if you didn’t already check out Main Stage this past weekend. Even if you’re not sure about joining a club right away at least attend one meeting/event or even e-mail the president to get a better feel of what that particular club is about. Trust me, you won’t regret joining an RSO. Besides, after having joined my sorority, Delta Phi Epsilon, I use that in my cover letters when applying for jobs talking about my experience as the Public Relations Chair AND how to effectively engage/work with different kinds of people as my sisters and I are all different.

Tip #6: Get to know your professors, especially ones in your department of study. Don’t just know their name but, when their office hours are, a little background info about them–like what inspired them to teach what they do, where they went to school, what type of internships they did, career advice, etc. When it gets closer to graduation and you’re applying for post-college jobs or even internships earlier in your college career, you may (or MOST likely) will be required to submit letters of recommendations to said job. And who better to have write you one than someone who knows you for longer than one semester? Once you’re at the point where the majority of the classes you’re enrolled in are your major classes then you will most likely have the same professors from there on out. Utilize them. They were once students too and while it was a different time when they went to college than it is now, they can still offer valuable insight and advice on how to successfully reach your goals both academically and professionally.

Tip #6: This pertains more to Welcome Weekend, which already happened, but also can apply to any other weekend. It’s no secret Central is known as a “party school”, which, to some may seem like an elite title while others look the other way. Regardless, in my opinion, students like to let loose–whether it’s every weekend or once in awhile. And just because you let loose doesn’t mean you have to be raging all night until the sun comes up the next morning or even drink at all, but you should still remember this next tip. Watch out for your friends! I’m not sure if it’s still up, but at one of the bus stops outside of Pearce Hall there is a poster that says something to that effect–take care of each other. Not everyone is friends with everyone at CMU but, if there’s one thing I really appreciated learning my freshman year was that everyone was at least friendly/cordial with each other. You don’t have to be besties but during my experience at CMU I realized how close-knit we are and are there for each other through the good and bad. Might sound a bit cheesy but trust me, you’ll be thanking your peers later if you ever go through a rough experience. My point in saying watch out for your friends, and non-close friends (peers) in general is because that’s what CMU Chips do. Even though CMU has the “party rep” and can be seen as negatively, I know CMU can also do a lot of great, positive things. So, if you see something, say something. All of CMU chips know this motto as every new student/freshman is required to attend the “No zebras, no excuses” skit put on by SAPA every fall semester. It’s okay to have fun–by all means, I think if you’re not having even the slightest bit of fun at college then you’re doing it wrong (although, just MY opinion)–but, be safe too. Some people might think the fun they’re having now and the capturing of it via pictures/social media, etc. won’t have an effect on them later in life but trust me, it will. After all, once something is posted online is never fully goes away–even if you do “delete” it. Have fun, but be smart about it and take care of each other.

Tip #7: Put quarters in your meter. I can’t stress this enough because although you may THINK you can get away for parking at a meter for a mere 5 minutes, trust me, the parking enforcement officers will be out and you WILL get ticketed. Sometimes you get lucky and you can get away with it but in my experience during my time at CMU–they’re ALWAYS watching, ALWAYS there–somehow, someway. Just pay your meters. It will save you the hassle. Plus, if you think you can get away with ripping the ticket up and throwing it away, it won’t do you any good. The parking enforcement office will continue ticketing your account and eventually can put a hold on your CMU account until the fees are paid in full. 

Tip #8: As a freshman it’s easy to go overboard buying all the CMU apparel, mugs, stickers, tattoos, etc. your heart can desire but think ahead and ask yourself how much of it you’re actually going to wear/use in the future? (Side note: Think of when you graduate and able to buy the alumni apparel/gear–that I think is way more fun. But, just my opinion.) Especially LANYARDS! Okay, just kidding, this is an exception. While I do believe it’s a “freshman” thing to wear a CMU lanyard around your neck 24/7 with your car keys/dorm keys/CMU ID on it, people continue to do it after, myself included, in which case I say: rock on. People can silently judge you all they want but in reality they’re probably doing the same thing as sophomores, juniors and seniors–you just can’t tell because it’s typically freshmen who wear the lanyard all the time. Just saying… Embrace it. Plus, a lanyard is really handy and even to THIS day, I use mine for my car keys so I can easily find and access them from my purse. 

Let’s see, I can’t think of any other tips off the top of my head but, if you have any to share please feel free to in the comments section.

But, back to what I miss and will continue to miss while being a graduate of CMU…

I’ll miss seeing the colors of the leaves change as I’m walking to class each day. I’ll miss meeting with my sorority sisters for lunch on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Down Under Food Court. I’ll miss going to my weekly CM Life, GC Mag and Yellow Ribbon meetings. (I know I used to complain a lot about my life seeming like it was just all about meetings but trust me, I miss that familiarity now.) I’ll miss going out on Thursdays with friends, being so happy and thankful I didn’t have Friday classes–because let’s face it, that doesn’t happen post-college life. Jobs are five days week! II’ll miss seeing all my friends on a regular basis, and even more if/when I ever move further away than I am now.

I will miss A LOT of things about CMU, too many for me to name, but thankfully I’ll always have the memories to look back on. For all of you new and current students at CMU enjoy your time. Make the most of it. Have fun but don’t go too overboard. Take pride in being a CMU Chippewa. I know it’s something I’ll take pride in until the day I die.

Forever a Chippewa. FIRE UP!

Until next time…

– Ana

REVIEW: ABC Family’s ‘The Fosters’ is a new kind of family welcomed by many

Last night was the season finale of one of my favorite shows–ABC Family’s The Fosters.

I knew right away from the previews of the show premiering that I was going to like it. What I didn’t know was just how much I was going to love the show. The story line is about a biracial lesbian couple who are parents to a son from one of the women’s previous marriages, two adopted former foster children and two additional foster kids, Jude and Callie, who they take in after Callie is released from a juvenile detention facility.

I’ll be honest, after the first episode I wasn’t sure if I would continue watching the show. Like I said, it was the preview of the overall season that really caught my attention. But, the first episode seemed like the story line could go in a somewhat uncharted territory for ABC Family and I wasn’t sure how well it was going to sit with viewers.

But, as the season went on I was so happy I stuck with it. I was first attracted to the show based on the story line. I can relate. I am an adoptee myself and the show touches on several different topics, adoption being one of them. Based on how well-written it is I would totally love to give executive producer Jennifer Lopez a big hug and say thank you! It truly is phenomenal so if you haven’t seen it yet I would highly recommend it.

The first episode of the first season is about a girl named Callie, who is released from a juvenile detention facility after serving time for getting into a physical altercation with her former foster dad. Upon her release she meets Lena Adams Foster, one of the main character moms, who agrees to let Callie (and eventually her brother, Jude) stay with her and her family temporarily (which later turns into permanently).

As the season progressed there was always some new surprise, new element, that I was pleasantly surprised it touched on. I think for some viewers the topics the show touches on might make them feel uncomfortable or like it isn’t appropriate for the ABC Family network, which I can agree to an extent, but, I love the show too much to care that much. Some topics have a more mature element and so for younger viewers they may notice and ask for clarification while for others it will go over their head. Either way, it’s up to a parent’s discretion on whether or not they want their children to watch the show, in my opinion.

The show touches on the topic of adoption, the LGBTQ community, foster care, mixed families, etc. The part that gets me every time and I enjoy is the portrayal of the character Jude, who at a young age, is exploring his sexuality and how to share with people he is gay. I enjoy it in the sense that I am rooting for him 100%. This aspect “gets me” every time because his character goes through some difficult times as he comes to terms and understands his true sexual identity and how to express it to others in hopes they’ll be accepting. I think it’s a fairly accurate and realistic portrayal of what some gay and lesbians experience in real life–it’s something people can personally relate to and/or empathize with.

Another aspect is adoption. The two characters, Mariana and Jesus, who are twin siblings who are adopted by the Fosters family. Mariana specifically deals with some things I myself have experienced (to a certain degree) in real life–although things that happened more so in the second season than the first season. In this second season Mariana deals with her peers asking her about her birth parents and if she has any desire to meet them and why/why not; and she deals with feeling like she doesn’t truly know who she is 100% because she is adopted and doesn’t know much about her biological roots. I myself have dealt with people asking me questions regarding my biological parents and while for the most part I don’t mind, at times it can be too much. Not because I am ashamed of being adopted or about my birth parents (I don’t even remember/know them) or anything else, but because I believe some aspects of adoption are simply private that I don’t feel the need to always share with people or with the whole world in general.

In the show Mariana “lies” (or just omits some truth) about information regarding her birth mother. She has met her birth mother before but it didn’t go as planned. Her birth mom is a drug addict and only wanted to see Mariana so she could get money from her. For Mariana this isn’t something she wants to tell just anyone as it is something that would most likely be frowned upon by society, by her peers. She tells her friends she doesn’t know anything about her birth mom and later her friends find out that isn’t true and asked why she lied. Mariana tells them she didn’t feel like it was something worth sharing.

This is where I somewhat relate to Mariana. Not in the sense that my birth mom was a drug addict (I don’t know anything about her) but in the sense I have people ask me questions from time to time, out of curiosity, if I know anything about my birth mom or dad or anything else. I get it’s mostly people asking because they’re curious but there are some times when I feel people ask to be nosy, rather than curious, and ask questions beyond what is normal curiosity. For the most part though people just ask me things because they’re curious. Like where I was born, how old I was when I was adopted.

For me I don’t have this life goal to know everything there is about my birth parents or siblings. That doesn’t say I am anti-finding out information about them but that’s something where if it happens then it happens that’s great, but, if it doesn’t then I guess it doesn’t, and that’s okay too. I think this surprises some people, particularly people who don’t have much experience with adoptees or adoption in general, because I think in their mind they would want to know, they would HAVE TO know. I however, do not. The family I have, that I grew up with since I was four months old IS my family–no ifs, ands or buts. This relates to the show because this is how Mariana feels too.

Later in this second season a guy named Mat takes Mariana to a Mexican culture festival and Mariana gets angry at one point thinking he only brought her to the festival because she is Mexican. Mariana knows she is Mexican but said because she didn’t grow up in the Latina community that she doesn’t have any real ties to what the festival offers. Also, in the season finale that aired last night, she meets with her birth mom again, thinking this time she really wants to meet with her and talk, only to have the meeting actually take place and Mariana going off on her mom. Mariana tells her birth mom she doesn’t know who she (Mariana) is because she didn’t raise her and that she (the birth mom, Ana) is nothing to her.

I felt bad for the mom in the show, as I think Mariana could have handled the situation better but again, this is something that happens in real life. Not all adoptees have this mind set but some do. Back to what I said above ^ the family I have IS my family. That doesn’t go to say I wrote off my biological mom or dad or siblings but, I don’t know them personally and they don’t know me. They’re strangers to me just like a random person on the street is. 

Overall the show provides something for every type of person–whether they’re adopted, a member of the LGBTQ community, a foster child or parent, a divorcee or child of a divorcee, etc.–there’s something every person can enjoy about this show. Like I said earlier some of these elements may be too mature for some kids now but that doesn’t mean this won’t be something they learn about as they get older. If you haven’t watched it yet I would highly recommending watching both the first and second season and hopefully the third if/when it airs. It’s a phenomenal show and one of my favorites that I can’t get enough of–second to Pretty Little Liars. Thank you to ABC Family for giving The Fosters the chance it deserves and sticking true to your motto: “A new kind of family.” That’s exactly what The Fosters is.

For more information about The Fosters check out the links below:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2262532/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Fosters_episodes

http://abcfamily.go.com/shows/the-fosters

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fosters_(2013_TV_series) 

Until next time…

– Ana