2 Years With This Blog

It is my 2 year anniversary with this blog! A lot has changed. When I first started this blog I planned for it to be focused on how I stay fit, maintain my happiness and save money. It has turned into just a blog of my weekly life, so I need to update the description a bit. Why did so much change? Life changed. I moved and wrapped up working at an amazing museum. I had challenging emotions I was dealing with.

All of this change caused anxiety, which in turn shifted my relationship with food and fitness. I started binge eating and to compensate I worked out more. I went from talking about getting healthy to becoming unhealthy because life has ups and downs. I had to pause from everything that is thought to be healthy to work on my health. While I have been doing yoga more lately, I do not prioritize working out.

My priorities have shifted. When I started this blog 2 years ago, working out and staying in shape were top concerns because I felt that was how to stay healthy. My beliefs of what is healthy for me have changed. I am focusing on what I want and living a fulfilling life. I am walking, cooking, eating, working, relaxing, exploring and trying to make some friends in our new area. So this is my life 🙂



First Period With Only A Menstrual Cup

Warning (if the title was not enough of a warning): I will be talking about my cycle. This post will even include talk about period fluid, blood. You have been warned.

A couple weeks ago I had my cycle (YAY!) and I was finally out of all the disposable feminine products I purchased from before I lost my cycle for 2 years. During those 2 years, I learned a lot about the waste problems we have here in the states and how the feminine products I had been using can effect my health. As much as I want to rant about how companies and corrupt people want to make money regardless of what is best for the environment and people, I will not because this post is not about that. My point is that I decided to change up my period game.

I quickly learned about menstrual cups and knew I wanted to give them a try. There are SO many options for menstrual cups. From researching Amazon reviews, YouTube videos and the product websites, I had a good idea that I wanted to try LENA Sensitive Cup:

  • Reusable for up to 10 years. Considering I used 20 tampons, 7 overnight pads and also 30 panty liners (thanks to lousy Playtex tampons) on average during my last few cycles, that is a lot less waste. Oh and do not forget these products come with wrappers and/or applicators.
  • Affordable, only $24.90 for a product that could last up to 10 years if I care for it properly. I have spent thousands of dollars on disposable feminine products since I got my first period around 12 years old.
  • Made in the USA. Supporting my economy and jobs for my fellow citizens.
  • Designed for sensitive anatomies. TMI ALERT! My vagina is VERY sensitive. I could feel my IUD strings moving in my vagina for over a year after getting it. Tampon removal when not complete soaked felt like I was ripping out my insides. There are few laundry detergents I can use on my panties without my vagina becoming irritated. Seeing reviews where women described similar issues with sensitivity and that they loved this product had me sold.

I used it from day one without panty liners, pads or period panties. I had mixed feelings the first day, but then day 2 changed it things to a very positive experience. Let me break down the experience by day:

  • Day 1.
    • I noticed my Basil Body Temperature decreased that morning and when I went to the bathroom, sure enough I had some spotting on the toilet paper I wiped with. So I inserted the cup for the first time and it was easier than I thought.
    • Peeing was interesting, it was like my urinary tract was pinched. I could still pee, but it was slow. There was a similar issue with pooping. Sounded like some, but not all experienced this according to menstrual cup reviews.
    • I had to do a lot of testing. Since I have an IUD, I want to make sure I am properly breaking the suction. In order for me to break the suction I have slide my finger up farther than the directions state. I read a lot of comments from women who dislodge their IUDs because of not releasing the suction. When I told my doctor I wanted to use a menstrual cup, they said, “GREAT! But a word of caution, make sure to have released the suction. It is not proven, but there appears to be a link to IUD issues and menstrual cup suction. For instance, the FemmyCycle cup should not be used while you have an IUD since it uses suction to draw in your blood.”
    • I irritated my vagina because I emptied the cup too often. So I gave myself a short break before wearing it to bed.
  • Day 2.
    • I could not believe how comfortable it was to sleep with. It did not leak and I did not feel it at all. I inserted it right before bed and then emptied it as soon as I woke up.
    • There was no smell. I always had some sort of abandoned meat market smell with my feminine products since I first got my period. It was part of what make me feel gross. When YouTube videos mentioned the lack of smell since the blood is not able to oxidize without the exposure to air. I was like, “REALLY?! Well scientifically, that makes sense.” Really, no smell.
    • No nasty, brown, clotty blood either, without exposure to air the blood will not oxidize and turn brown.
    • It was the heaviest day of my flow and I had to work standing for 5.5 hours straight. I did not leak, though my menstrual cup was more than half way full. You just need to empty it more often when you have a heavier day of your cycle. Thankfully, I made it through the full work day because this part time job has a disgusting bathroom.
    • I had some minor cramping just before bed and I am not sure if the cup contributed to me.
  • Day 3.
    • Slept with it in again. No leaking and comfortable.
    • As I stated on Day 1, I seem to have the issue of the cup straining/pinching my going to the bathroom. I was able to poop with it in, but it was slow and a bit uncomfortable. I experienced the same issues when I used tampons.
    • Made it through another work day without any leaking. At least it was a medium flow day.
    • Showered with it in, no issues there. It is not like it absorbs liquid so I just washed as usual.
    • I just really love that I do not stink. Usually, I feel like I need to bath my privates a lot or wet wipe every trip to the bathroom. It in like I am not on my period in this sense.
  • Day 4.
    • Another comfortable night sleeping without leaks.
    • 3rd work day standing for 5.5 hours without leaks or issues.
    • This was a light day so it was easier to take breaks from wearing the cup. When I took breaks I just used toilet paper in my panties, FYI or in case you were wondering.
    • This seemed to be the last day of my cycle. I only had a little spotting the following day.

Overall, I love it. I recommend it if you too are tired of spending so much money on feminine products or worrying if you have enough or generating so much waste. Though, I plan to get period panties or reusable pads as well because I think my vagina is just sensitive and needs to be able to take a break. Otherwise, that was the best period I have had in my life!

Getting Married

We do not want your typical wedding. We want quick, simple and easy. While it feels like everyone has let us know that we will regret this choice, we know ourselves. We do not need a big fancy party to celebrate the start of our marriage. We know that would make us miserable and look like we regret marrying each other in our overpriced wedding pictures. We have been told, “You have to:

  • have an engagement ring,
  • have engagement photos,
  • get married in a church,
  • have a Catholic ceremony,
  • have to wear a real, white wedding dress,
  • have at least 10 members in our wedding party,
  • invite everyone (including people you do not know at all),
  • have a cocktail hour,
  • have a full reception with food, dancing and speeches,
  • have a first dance,
  • have a 3+ tier wedding cake,
  • have do a bouquet toss,
  • etc., etc., etc.”

I always thought I had to have these things because everyone always said you had to, but honestly none of that makes me happy. Why pay for things that make you miserable to think about and experience. When I dream about marrying my partner, we are:

  • surrounded by the people we feel closest to (which is maybe 30 people each)
  • having a quick ceremony
  • eating amazing food
  • dancing in our living room to our favorite songs
  • playing (board, card, and video) games while we eat the best cake

It is very simple and low key. Although, we know the number of people we want there may be better accommodated in a large mansion, AirBnB or restaurant party space. My partner said that sounded perfect, but we have the obstacle of getting all our loved ones on board.

I wish it felt easy to talk to them about this. If we regretted not having the whole big wedding, then we would likely just have a big vow renewal sometime in the future. No part of me at this time wants to plan, pay and put a ton of effort into something we just do not want. It has been haunting us for years and we need to just come out with how we feel. We feel like we should get what we want for OUR wedding day. I hope the people who are closest to us know we are intimate, simple people and our idea is so us.

Part Time Jobs

I have not had a job since August. Volunteering helped me feel complete and it was a very cheap place to live in our previous city of South Bend, IN. However, New York state is expensive and I want to contribute to our income. My partner has a decent income, but we have complete sticker shock at the cost of rent, utilities, groceries and dining out. Everything is about double the cost.

Additionally, I have just felt weird not having income. I am not sure how to describe it, but having income from something you do empowers you. I feel motivated to do more with my day and it provides something special to me mentally. I wonder if this is an issue for spouses that stay home with the children. Do they feel like something is missing? We do not have children though and are just beginning to talk about how we should get married. I feel like it is important to not waste time. We should earn and save as much as possible now and then I could have the option to maybe stay home if it feels right.

Currently, I want a job. So I got a part time job that is not a dream job, but rather something to get me out of the apartment and feel valued until I find something that could be a career. I care about making a good impression regardless of whether I may keep this job for only a month or years. Therefore, I am taking this seriously and it is a chance to learn or improve my customer service skills.

Although, I had an interview this week somewhere I would LOVE to work! It is also part time so I could work both jobs until I find something full time or just feel like it is time to move on from the non-dream job. While I had a few people tell me that is horrible to take a job I do not feel serious about or that I am wasting this place’s time if I only work there for a month, I know this is what I need right now.

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!

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.