Mid-Hudson Valley, New York

We live here now! My partner and I arrived at our new apartment on May 31st. Initially, we were focused on setting the apartment up to at least be comfortable, looking for jobs for myself and going to a different grocery store each shopping trip, but we have been doing some exploration each weekend.

Culinary Institute of America (CIA) – Hyde Park, NY

We did not make reservations, but there are 3 options if you do not. We ate at the Apple Pie Bakery Cafe, I had the Salmon Poke Bowl. It was good and the environment was casual and lovely. Next time though we really want to go to the Italian restaurant casual eating area. We were schooled by one of the students as to the best places to go on campus. The menu for that looked quite good. There is also a tavern for the American Bounty Restaurant. We will likely make our way through dining at all the casual and reservation required eateries at CIA eventually.

Beside the food, the campus and Hyde Park are beautiful. Before or after your meal at the CIA, you can check out the FDR Presidential Library and Museum. We only stopped at the visitors center and drove through the park, but I cannot wait to see more of it! I would LOVE if a job opened up there.

Walkway Over The Hudson

Yesterday we made our way to Poughkeepsie, NY where we ate lunch at Tavern 23 a totally hidden place that makes you think you might be trespassing on someone’s private property, but it really a cool neighbor bar and eatery. After lunch we made our way over to the Walkway Over the Hudson to enjoy the incredibly beautiful day. The walkway is an old train bridge that they converted into a space for pedestrians, kind of like the 606 in Chicago or the Highline in New York City.

There is a parking lot that is quite rocky on the Poughkeepsie side of the bridge and they are under construction to add cafes and seating areas on both sides. You can also follow a few trail options on the Highland, NY side. We will definitely be taking family and friends here.

What is Next?

While we need to work on making our spare bedroom less of a storage space, we want to try out new places every weekend. Some places we have on our list at the moment include:

We are adding to the list as people tell us things and we drive around going “WHAT IS THAT??!?!?” Exploring is my favorite thing to do. If you have recommendations please add them in the comments below!

Hope you have an amazing Father’s Day!

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Times Should Never Be This Tough

The recent celebrity suicides may not be people I know or even follow, but still shock me. Thinking of the pain they must have been going through reminds me that I was once at a point where I attempted suicide. I was quite young (I was in 3rd and 4th grade). I know how one could get to that point, but I am so glad I came back from it. Life is so worth living.

It was thanks to making a new friend who became my best friend. Talking to her and having her in my life relieved me from so much private suffering. If you are hiding your agony, I beg you to talk to someone about it. There are people who want to listen to you and care about you. If you are unsure who to turn to, please go to https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Thank you for being my friend, Andi.

Represent Yourself

People seem to have conflicts with how they are represented by others or representing themselves versus who they feel they really are. I am no different. I remember in graduate school I felt so offended by my friends telling me I was fair skinned. I tan well, however since having a skin cancer scare, I wear sunscreen everyday and so yes my skin is fair and has been since I moved further north. We also so not get a lot of sun up here nor do I spend a lot of time outside. This is just a small, physical example.

What I am really referencing is when you are nasty to others or complain a lot (do you vent all the time?). It is negative energy output. The question is, how do you really want to represent yourself in the world? A few weeks ago I made a post about treating others how you want to be treated and I want to expand on this.

It is not just about how you treat people and how you want to be treated, but rather putting the energy and person out there you want to be known for being. We are not perfect, so we slip up. It is quite important to me to do my best and try not to throw my emotions and troubles at everyone I interact with. I also think you can stand up for yourself without being rude.

I do not just want to have good stories to tell and be remembered well. I feel great when I connect with someone who puts out positive energy through smiling, complimenting, helping and enjoying every moment even when things seem challenging and stressful. Everything works itself out, you just need to find a solution and persevere.

I need to work on how I handle interactions during times of high stress. Last month, I had multiple break downs because I shouldered all of the burdens instead of asking my partner to help me. After the break down though, I felt foolish and did not even apologize. That is not how I want to represent myself. I know I can change the decisions I make in the future, such as asking for help and taking time to breathe. I can also apologize to those I have drained my negative energy onto.

This is just some food for thought. How could you spread the positivity?

Moving This Week

Oh man am I stressed. Taking a break from packing right now and reminding myself that everything will work out. Also, I am watching one of my favorite anime (My Hero Academia) to help chill out. When I first started writing this, I realized pretty quickly how sad it sounded. While reading back through it, I did not want to spread the anxiety and concerns I was feeling to my readers. So I started to look on the bright side.

By the time this is posted, 95% of the packing and moving out of this apartment will be taken care of. We choose pod storage moving and since the parking in the complex is limited, we hired movers to help us fill a Uhaul with everything but our air mattresses, pillows, the things we were told not to put into the pod and our personal essentials. We will be able to relax and clean the last 3 days here.

My mother is coming up to help me with driving to New York since I do not do will with driving long distances. We have also turned it into a road trip so we will see a baseball game, check out a zoo and a major college campus we have never seen before. I am most excited for seeing parts of the country I have never seen before, including rural Pennsylvania. I know not everyone would find this exciting, but I love to explore.

I will miss a lot about the Great Lakes area, but I am really looking forward to living in the Hudson Valley. I have been a nomad for nearly 15 years now, since I left St. Louis to head off to college at University of Kansas, and I can not say I regret it. I lived in Kansas, California (twice), Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and now New York state! I do hope to find a place to settle down, but the adventure of living someplace new calls to me.

This calling makes us recognize how much physical stuff we have that holds us back. We got rid of a lot, but there is still much we feel we need to sever our attachment to. Like textbooks we will never use again because we look up everything on the internet these days. BetterWorldBooks is a great organization to donate books to. I think keeping a few mementos of your life can be great, but I am the type of person who is more about developing a story.

What experiences have I had that I can share with others. When I was an Undergraduate, I loved hearing everyone else’s life story, but felt mine had not be a happy one to tell. Instead of being jealous and retelling other’s journeys I set off to gain more of what I loved in life. So while moving our stuff is stressful, the experience will be well worth it.

Learning a Second Language

I have been meaning to learn Spanish since my partner is half Cuban and if we have children we want them to be bilingual. Spanish is a very practical language to learn and it would be a benefit to my relationships with his side of the family, but I have just not felt that passionate about it.

When I took French classes in high school, it was because I loved the culture and still do. I enjoy brushing up on French and loved practicing it with friends during my college years. Having that kind of joy and passion for something makes it a priority and can relieve some of the stress in your life. If I had the time I would love to learn German, Japanese, French and Spanish.

Recently, my partner and I have expressed a shared interest in Japanese culture. We love Japanese food, anime, how well everything seems to work in Japan, the quality of their products, their politeness and the gratitude they show in daily life. We feel that if we were to live abroad at some point in time, that Japan would be at the top of the list. So I started doing Japanese lessons on Mango and I am finding it to be super fun!

I really thought I would devote more time to learning Spanish during this time off. I feel bad, but at the moment my heart is just not in it. Plus, my partner is excited to learn with me and can not trick me into saying, “El gato orinó en la alfombra,” (The cat peed on the rug).

I liked practicing a bit of Spanish when I had friends or coworkers to practice with. Though I kept using French pronunciation at first. Practicing with family is difficult because they forgot to speak slower, felt uncomfortable telling me I wrote or spoke something incorrectly and Cuban’s seem to have their own dialect. With them all just use to everyone knowing Spanish and me not, they just went about speaking as they normally do. Which makes for a challenging learning environment.

I am hoping the area of New York state we are moving to has Meetup groups for practicing these different languages. Then hopefully I will also make some friends in our new area. Plus, with practice we can travel to more amazing places! That should be a motivation for me to learn Spanish, but at the moment Japanese is serving me well.

Jaa, mata! (See you later!)

Treat People How You Want to Be Treated

I touched on this a bit in my last post. Since gaining some weight, I have been fat shamed. People ask me why I stopped working out and say things like, “oh no, you have gained weight,” or “maybe you should seek a second opinion because I do not know why a doctor would ever want you to gain weight.” I also had a family member point out to another family member that I looked much thinner last year, thanks Facebook for those walks down memory lane. It makes me feel horrible.

Then after being put down so much, I start shaming myself. You should never put yourself down. I gained weight and that does not make me a bad person. It was the result of going through a tough time and hormonal issues. It is ok. I am working on the problems and feeling better. No one deserves to be treated poorly because of their physical appearance.

When I hear someone say, “they look disgusting,” I think, “no, your disgusting.” We should be bringing each other up, not putting people down because think about what it really does for your life to treat someone that way. I was bullied heavily as a child and what I regret the most are the times I bullied others. Even right after I did it I felt horrible about it because I knew what it was like to be in their shoes. I did not know how to handle myself though and had way too much going on at home to become self aware until I went away to college.

I am deeply sorry for the times I have passed judgement on or hurt others. I sometimes meditate on how I have moved on from these negative past behaviors and what I still need to work on. If we have children, I already know there is so much I am going to teach them. So much that I feel I was not taught that is valuable to becoming a great human being.

While their are still these negative attitudes in society about certain physical appearances, I have to say I am really loving some of the steps that have been taken to opening up everyone minds and expectation. Such as the inclusion of women of all shapes and sizes in clothing advertisements. I think the more we normalize things that no one should feel ashamed of, the happier everyone can me, and therefore, the healthier we all can be.

Just some food for thought. You are beautiful.

Life Update: Moving to New York State and No Cycle in April

To be honest, I really had no clue what to write about this week. I started writing about 2 different topics and just could not stay focused to complete them. So I am going to write about what is on my mind right now.

Last weekend we spent a long weekend in New York State’s Hudson Valley where we are moving to at the end of this month. I learned just how very important it is to say New York State, not New York. We found an apartment to live in for our first year there. I have also just applied to 2 positions I am excited about at local historical societies/museums. We even spent a couple days around New York City. It was my first time being in that area of the country. I loved it and am looking forward to exploring more.

All this moving stuff (planning and preparing for the trip, scheduling appointments to see apartments, deciding on a place, having to start packing again, etc.), has stressed me out quite a bit. I did not get a cycle in April. I stopped working out right before the trip because I had a feeling my cycle was not going to come and the thought of working out stressed me out more. We walked a lot during our trip and enjoyed eating out once a day with treats. It felt like a relief.

Upon returning I just feel like walking and hatha yoga help relieve stress and resistance training only adds to it. Plus, I said if my cycle stopped I would stop the workouts. I think the hardest part is dealing with the weight shaming I have experienced from others and myself. When I start hearing it from others I start doing it myself. And today I packed up the clothes that do not fit me. Not much fits me right now. So part of me feels like I should be working hard to get rid of the excess weight ASAP.

It is ok though. Surprisingly, I lost a pound after the trip. I also just bought a pair of shorts that fit me and boy does having clothes that fit make a big difference in how you feel about yourself. My partner reminded me yesterday that this is a process and I am making the right choices. Which helped me sweep out the binge eating thoughts of, “I have that dark chocolate bar I could eat, chocolate makes everything better.” In this case, not so much.

I am thankful we are making this move together. We have been in sync with supporting each other lately and it is a blessing. Even though I had some tough moments lately, I feel grateful and fortunate.

How I Got My Cycle Back, After 2 Years

This is a part 2 from my post 2 weeks ago, How I Lost My Cycle. I had a few folks who asked me to share my story, so here we go!

Once I had the my IUD inserted, I stopped taking my hormonal birth control. I had really hoped it would be that simple to get my cycle back, but when it did not return after a few months of being free from taking the pill every day I began to research the situation. I found a lot of other women with the same story as me:

  • 10+ years of being on hormonal birth control
  • vitamin deficiencies
  • amenorrhea continuing past a year after discontinuing hormonal birth control

 

The following year, my doctor refereed me to a gynecologist who studies hormonal imbalances, where finally the answers came. She noticed my estrogen and progesterone were at their lows simultaneously. Since my insurance was running out and I had just moved, she told me to keep in touch with her and gave me the follow recommendations:

Actually, after a year of amenorrhea I had found a YouTuber/Instagramer, this girl audra, who had the same suggestions. She is a life coach who specializes in helping women get their periods back and keeping it. I recommend checking her out if you are experiencing amenorrhea and do not have access to a good doctor. Amenorrhea is a serious cause for concern. The longer a woman (who is not on hormonal birth control) experiences the absence of her cycle the higher her risk of things like endometrial cancer or bone loss!

I began following Audra’s positive messages to help remind me of the recommendations my doctor gave me. I think the most amazing part was how I felt from the manifesting thoughts about knowing I will get my period back. I did this by meditating in bed with my hands resting on my lower abdomen saying mantras like, “My body is beautiful, I am capable of taking good care of it and my cycle will return when I get to the right place.”

Building myself up like this helped me get into the right mindset and BAM, my period was back! I continue to do most of the recommendations to this day. Working out can be a part of a healthy lifestyle and as long as my period is still coming, I will proceed with doing the activities I enjoy that make me feel good.

A year ago, I thought giving up working out entirely for months at a time was impossible for me because I love being active. It was important to give me body a break and allow for calories to be focused toward healing my hormonal imbalance. It is amazing what we can do when we put our minds and whole hearts into it.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about this! I linked above some of the blog posts that refer to my following doctor’s orders.

Restricting Vs. Moderation

I spent 2 years of my life obsessing over eating. What a waste of time. Food is meant to be enjoyed and to energize your body, but not rule your life. And too many people out there are restricting their calorie intake to the point of slowing down their metabolism because they want to lose weight or think if they up their calories that they will gain a lot of weight. It is just not worth it.

For the first 2/3 of my life, I did not think about what I was eating or if it were healthy. I just ate what I wanted or what was available when I was hungry. That was normal eating. I was slightly overweight, since there was not a lot of variety in the food available to me when I was younger (because we often ate the same things biweekly) and I did not understand how it was unhealthy. There were things that seemed unappealing that I associated with being healthy, but a salad covered in ranch… not it.

In graduate school I began disordered eating habits due to stress. I did not think I have an eating disorder because I thought that meant having bulimia or anorexia. So I thought I was still just a normal eater. Then I realized my weight just was yoyoing and thought it was because of my reduced physical activity. So I became a runner, which helped me maintain my weight around the overweight mark.

When I lost weight in 2015, I partially did so by restricting my calorie intake for a few months until I dropped down to a weight I was nervous to see on the scale (I do not know why, but seeing a weight below 130 lbs made me feel like I had gone too far). That happened when I was restricting far too much for my activity level at the time. I was walking 3-10 miles a day around the city, I ran every other day, followed by some workout and did yoga the days in between.

Now that I feel like a normal eater again, I am focusing on buying the nutrient dense foods that are around the parameter of the grocery store or provided at the farmer’s market. I see that my digestive issues are better off not causing myself a bunch of stress. I think it is because I am eating a varied diet.

I have heard that gluten is the problem or dairy or meat or soy… First of all, we are being given the media’s interpretation of the researcher’s interpretation of their study results. These researchers are often funded by the competing industry. If you look for the   research papers yourself, you will see that the studies are of a very small group of people or the people have very eating that way before or that it is a correlation and not a definitive result or the results look completely different to you.

I have found that eating all these things in moderation and not restricting myself works great for me. I think choosing to be vegetarian or vegan or paleo are not bad things, but restricting your calories, self-diagnosing a problem, saying an entire food group will give you cancer without understanding the research fully or restricting your mindset to what is healthy is the problem.

Lets look at the areas of the world who do not experience diseases like cancer or dementia, they eat all these things (soy, meat, dairy, gluten, etc.) in moderation by having a varied diet focused on naturally nutrient dense foods. If you have been diagnosed with celiac disease, then by all means avoid gluten. But if you are saying that gluten is the devil because it made you constipated after eating it at every meal for a day or week or month or year then maybe cut back. Maybe have it during a meal and then not again the rest of the day. Do not worry, you can have it again another time.

I think we cause more problems eating the same things all the time and not providing our body with the nutrients we might only be getting from a multivitamin. The only reason there are multivitamins is because most people do not eat a varied diet that allows them to get all the nutrients they need. Think of the money we could be saving!!! Vitamins are expensive! Not to mention, if there is research showing that eating too much of a single type of food will cause you health problems and disease. More expenses!

Just a thought I have been having lately. I am off to eat tofu, cheese, bacon and whole wheat bread, but not all at once and not for every meal.

 

How I Lost My Cycle

I received a request to write a post detailing how I lost my period and how I was able to get it back. I am happy to do so and will plan to make this into 2 different post within the next month or so. I appreciate the support from my 2 years with a Copper-IUD, My Experience post and it seems like there is a lot of interest in women’s health. As an adult going through hormonal issues, I have realized women’s health issues were not as well known to me as I thought they were and I am happy to share what I have learned.

First off, a woman who has had a regular period before and goes through 3+ months without one is said to have amenorrhea. Second, the main reason I lost my cycle was from being on birth control pills for a long time (over a decade). If you look through the information packet that comes with the prescription, you will read that it is possible to have loss of cycle due to taking birth control pills.

Back in graduate school, I saw all those mighty appealing commercials about seasonal birth control. With the knowledge I had about periods why would I not want to only have to deal with it 4 times per year. And at first that was how it worked. I only had 4 cycles each year. Additionally, the length of my period decreased by a day and they became very light. At 24 years old, I could not be more thrilled.

Unfortunately, other things started happening that I assumed were linked to relationship issues and diet. My vagina became very dry and my libido disappeared. I also started to wonder at times if I could be pregnant and just not know because the pill would hide that fact. You know sometimes you do not take the pill on time or forget so what if you got pregnant.

As the years went on and I continued to be naive, I did not think that there were any symptoms related to taking the pill. That is until I had a conversation with my cousin regarding the effects hormonal birth control had on her and other family members, which revealed the possibility to me that my vaginal dryness and loss of libido could be connected to the pill. I got me thinking that maybe I should look into other methods of birth control.

Only months later, I had a one day cycle and developed a deficiency in B12 (during a time period I was eating meat regularly throughout the week). The cycle after that never came, which made me scared. My mother had mentioned so many women on her side who experience amenorrhea and found out it was due to cancer. So I made a doctor’s appointment.

Around the same time I had lost a good amount of weight and was feeling proud of that until a doctor my physician was consulting with about my concerns said I hit the lower threshold weight limit for the seasonal birth control and that was what was likely causing me all these issues. While my doctor argued that there is research showing vitamin deficiency linked with hormonal birth control use for longer than 10 years.

I also questioned whether my workouts could be causing this issue and maybe I was at one point doing too much cardio while restricting my calories, but it had been a year since that maybe 1-2 month long endeavor. I had been eating a lot more food since then. Plus, I gained a bit of weight and cut down a lot on cardio. My doctor looked at my routine and felt like what I was doing could not be the reason.

Either way, I was sick of all the testing and wanted off of the hormonal birth control ASAP. So I got an Paragard IUD inserted and I continued experiencing amenorrhea for another year and a half. This begins the second part of the story, how I got my period back. I will write about this in a couple weeks. If you have any questions, please let me know 🙂