Family fun

Daddy/daughter dates

I’m not going to lie to you guys:

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I’m a big ol’ daddy’s girl. And I love it.

I hang out with both of my parents far more than most 24 year-olds do. Maybe far more than is healthy. But that’s okay, because my parents are pretty awesome.

I went through an extremely rough patch with my dad when I was in my late teens and early twenties. I was asserting my independence, and he was trying to hold on to his little girl. It didn’t work. We just didn’t know how to have a healthy, adult relationship with each other.

With a lot of work on our relationship, we’re finally at a really good place in our relationship. But I’m still daddy’s little girl. When I’m upset, I talk to him about it. I think there’s always that feeling that “daddy will make everything better”. I’m learning that those are unrealistic expectations (shocking!), and that it’s not his job to fix everything throughout my life (again, shocking!). But those were the expectations I used to have from him.

Recently, we’ve started working on not taking care of each other. We’re still supportive of each other, but our lives have stopped being so enmeshed that we can’t function on a basic level. My dad is one of the most loving, supportive, and important people in my life, but I’m finally realizing how lucky I am that he lets me figure things out on my own. He’s a great sounding board when I’m upset, but at the end of the day, I’m the one who has to figure out a solution.

Because I’ve stopped relying on my dad as a handyman for my broken life, I’ve actually been able to put my life back together in a way that makes me feel proud.

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Today, my pops took the day off work, so he drove up to my neck of the woods and took me out for some delicious Thai food. We normally have a standing dinner date each week, but I feel like these spur-of-the-moment daddy/daughter dates are some of the most special. It’s nice that we can just meet and hang out without either of us having any kind of agenda; we just talk. It’s some of the time I cherish the most.

You know, until he says something weird, and I give him the eye roll coupled with “daaaaa-aaaaad!”

How often do you hang out with your parental units?

How has your relationship with them evolved as you’ve grown up?

Get fit · Running · Sports

7 miles in heaven

There’s something about running further or faster than I’ve run before that I just can’t describe. It’s the same feeling I got when I set a PR at a swim meet, or when I was in a shell full of 8 girls working together in perfect harmony, flying over the water. It brings one word to mind: ineffable.

in·ef·fa·ble; adjective

  1. incapable of being expressed or described in words; inexpressible: ineffable joy.
  2. not to be spoken because of its sacredness; unutterable: the ineffable name of the deity.

I certainly can’t express the feeling I have when I push myself to the limits and succeed.

However, let’s get past the flowery descriptions of the rush I felt, and get down to the physical business.

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The kind folks at Sweat It Out were nice enough to send me some items to try out and review for y’all. Here, I’m wearing their quarter socks, compression shorts for low back pain, and sports bra. I’ll post a full review of the items later. For now, I have to say I wasn’t sure about the length of the shorts at first, but from this picture, I think I like the way they look.

As I got started, I headed down towards a park that my 5k races usually loops through. The original plan was to run the 5k course twice, then run home. However, in usual Caroline fashion, I changed my mind after the first time through the park. I was on a long run, and I was going to explore, dangit!

That ended up being the best decision I could have made. Running a new path was so much fun, and really took my mind off the miles that my legs were pounding out. Instead of focusing on how many miles I’d run, and how many miles I had left, I focused on the scenery around me.

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I stopped at a CVS 5 miles in, and chugged a Powerade. Rookie mistake. I got some mild cramps from drinking too fast. Nothing that significantly altered my run, but slightly uncomfortable nonetheless.

Throughout the last 2 miles, I realized that I felt good. This is new for me. Running is uncomfortable. I’m not fast. I have to work really, really hard to run for more than 30 minutes. But today…today was different. I felt strong and fast through those last miles. I felt like I could have run further.

That’s what’s ineffable. I can’t put into words my feelings about what my body is doing for me after I’ve punished it for so long. The fact that I have even made it this far into half marathon training is an amazing feat. And I’m proud of myself. And proud of my body. I couldn’t have felt that way about myself a year ago.

That’s why these were 7 miles of heaven.

Very crafty

Halloween Wreath Tutorial

I love decorating for different holidays throughout the year, but my budget unfortunately limits how much decorating I can do. When I’m low on cash, splurging on making my house look like a holiday heaven just seems too frivolous.

However, I’ve recently been exploring my crafty side, and I decided to try my hand at decorating a door wreath for Halloween. I’m no Martha Stuart, but I really liked the end results. Plus, the whole project only cost $15 whereas a a decorated wreath from Ms. Stuart retails for over $40.

I got all of my crafty goods from Michael’s. I used two different kinds of 2” wide ribbon, an 18” twig wreath, thin-gauge wire, and fake cobwebs for this project.

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I started by making these cute ribbon roses. I’ve been making them since the 4th grade, so it was nice to be able to use the skill for a project finally! I found a great tutorial on how to make these here.

By varying the lengths of ribbon from 1 yard to 3 yards, I created roses of different sizes and thicknesses. When I finished each rose, I then wrapped wire at the base of the ribbon rose to secure it, and left a long tail on each rose.

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Like so. You want to tightly wrap the wire at the base of the rose, and you’ll also want to be sure to leave a long enough “tail”. You’re going to use the wire tails to secure the ribbon roses to the wreath.

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I laid out the roses first to see where I wanted to secure them, then fastened them all on. Once they were secured to the wreath, I trimmed any ribbon tails hanging down from the roses.

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Here’s the wreath with all the roses on.

As pretty as that looks, it was a little simple and not Halloween-y enough for me, so I stretched fake cobwebs across the wreath.

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Here’s the end result. The wreath took me under an hour from start to finish, and the wreath can be stripped and used again for other holidays. I love that it’s not a “spooky” wreath, and I really like the simplicity of it.

Or maybe my love of all things simple speaks to a real desire to not have to make too much effort.

Anyways, for $15 I now have a cute wreath to hang on our front door, and enough left over cobwebs to decorate a few windows. I’m thrilled to actually have a house that looks like someone tried.

You know, because trying is something successful people do, right? Maybe I should try more…

Just for fun

The most awesomely 90’s things I nearly forgot

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an ultimate 90’s kid. In fact, where are my slip dresses and Blossom hats?

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Mayim Bialik, still rocking my world as Amy Farrah Fowler.

When I was a teenager (read: obsessed with being cool), I was more concerned with fitting in than keeping my 90’s heritage alive. But it was there. Oh, was it there.

Nothing quite makes me happy like something related to the 90’s. Maybe chocolate, but I still think the 90’s wins.

On that note, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve been rediscovering my roots, and I’ve been pained to find out that there are some things I had forgotten about that are just plain awesome.

1. Riverdance.

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In 1995, there was no PBS special cooler than those Irish steppers. I remember gallivanting around our living room, pretending that I could dance like this guy:

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I’m not sure any man has ever made the puffy pirate shirt cool, but Michael Flatley came pretty darn close. The nation was swept up in Riverdance fever, and I was certainly a part of that. I begged my mom for tickets when they came to the Fabulous Fox Theatre and was overjoyed when we went. I also had the VHS tape and watched on repeat. I even still listen to the soundtrack sometimes when I want to feel old. Yes, I am that cool.

2. Where in the World is Carmen SanDiego?

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She’s in Seoul, South Korea…that’s all of the theme song that I remember.

Carmen had her crime-boss heyday in the 90’s. She had a digital empire. Computer games, a TV show, a game show. Hmmm, maybe that was all a part of expanding her smuggling operation?

In a weird way, Carmen was a role model for me. I know, that explains a lot. But, come on! The woman was brilliant. Plus, I learned stuff. I think.

3.  Platform Skechers.

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I wanted them. I needed them. I didn’t get them. Something about my mom being afraid I would break my ankle. Looking back, I’m pretty sure she was just afraid I would look like the gym class ‘ho.

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But anything the Spice Girls did, I wanted to do. I know, that also explains a lot. So I saved up my money, and in 1997, I became the proud owner of platform Skechers. Just in time for them to go out of style.

4. Bindis

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In the 90’s, Gwen Stefani was the epitome of cool. She still might be, but that’s besides the point. Whatever Gwen did, millions of girls around the country wanted to do. So when she not only died her hair blue, but also started sporting tons of bindis all over her face, I knew what I had to do. Tear out a picture of her, stare at it each morning, and hate my parents for making me dress “classy.” Then again, I bet taking those things off hurt like a you-know-what. So, in retrospect, thanks mom and dad.

5. Bill Clinton on SNL

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I don’t get  political on here. At all. But this was a defining moment of the 90’s.

Bill Clinton, however, is not the coolest of the 90’s sax cats. That honor goes to:

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Scat-Cat. Yes, he’s originally from the 70’s, but the Aristocats got released from the Disney vault in the 90’s. So it counts.

How’s that for some nostalgia?

Budget shopping · Get fit · Running · Sports

My favorite things: let’s start from the bottom up

Today introduces a new installment on Adventures in Living Lean: my favorite things! This series of posts will cover products that I personally can’t live without.

Since I spend tons of time talking about running on my blog, I figured the feet would be an obvious place to start. After all, I do spend 40 hours a week working on my feet,  plus those extra hours I spend running and walking my butt where it needs to go.

When I started running, I went and got fitted for shoes. Unfortunately, I have super weird feet, and was somewhere between a guidance shoe (moderate support) and a neutral shoe. I went with the guidance shoe because I figured…mo’ support, mo’ betta.

I was wrong. I switched to my current running shoe after that pair wore out. These days, I trot around in the Saucony Cohesion.

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I’m going to be honest. I wasn’t fitted for these, and I don’t recommend going the buy-them-and-cross-your-fingers route to anyone. Seriously, get fitted. However, I got super lucky with these shoes, and will be sticking with Saucony until they stop making Cohesions, or until I can’t run anymore.

The cushioning I get from these shoes is awesome, and they’re a steal at only $55 on the website. My old shoes were $120! I like that my stride is more natural in a neutral shoe, and the color combos available are really cute. I try to get great bang for my buck, and I am a total believer that I get it from this shoe.

I’m also a big believer that running shoes aren’t gym shoes. I don’t like to lift weights in my running shoes because I can feel how easy it is for me to get out of a good lifting alignment in a shoe designed specifically for running. That’s where these puppies come in:

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The New Balance 737. I like a really minimal shoe for weight training, and these give me a negligible drop (I think it’s like 4mm or something). Since these are specifically designed for cross training, they’ve become my go-to shoe for all things non-running related. If I’m out for a walk or hitting some heavy squats, these are the bad boys I reach for.

These were also super cheap. I think I paid $40 for them on Amazon. Keep in mind, I’m still $25 ahead from my old running shoes, and I’ve now got great runners and great cross-trainers.

Finally, let’s talk socks. There will probably be some more sock posts coming soon as I research compression gear, but for right now, I run in these raspberry Balega’s.

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I didn’t get them for running to start with, even though I got them at a running specialty store. I got them because they were pink and they were on sale. However, a few days later, I went back for two more pair in blue and green. I’ve had issues with hidden comfort socks in the past because I find they ride down under my shoe’s heel cup, and I end up with a sexy heel blister.

These guys don’t move. I have yet to have any issues with these socks moving around on me, rubbing, or causing discomfort. I try to run all my long runs in these, and most of my short runs if I can.

Please keep in mind, these are just my opinions on these products. I think they’re awesome and worth a look by anyone who’s looking for excellent quality on a budget. However, please don’t mistake my advice as some expert tips. These are products that work for me. None of these companies have paid me in any way to endorse them…I just think these particular products are the bee’s knees.

Do you think they’ll start paying me to not endorse them?

Hope you enjoyed the first round of my favorite things! I’m really sorry I’m not rich like Oprah and can’t give everybody all this stuff. Or a car.

Do you have any products you swear by?

Healthy living

Battle rEaDy: a guest post

I’ve been following Chelsie’s blog since I started this blog, and I love what she has to say, particularly on the subject of eating disorder recovery. Not to mention, the girl kills it when she’s out running! So I asked her to do a guest post for my blog, and she was kind enough to agree. With that…here’s Chelsie!

Battle REaDy

A huge Hi! to all you 4F on a Budget readers!! I’m Chelsie and I blog over at Balance, Not Scale where I chat about my ED recovery, love of running, thoughts on weighty issues, and (of course) all the mistakes I make along the way.

I have to admit, I love reading Caroline’s blog. And while our backgrounds and stories are completely different, we have a lot in common — especially where penny-pinching is concerned. I love a girl who loves a good deal — I knew we’d get along instantly. 😉 I have to admit, I was truly honoured when she asked me to do a guest post … So I thought I’d share a post another commonality that Caroline and I share — eating disorder recovery.
When I originally sat down and started to brainstorm exactly how I’ve moved into recovery, I still can’t believe that I’ve pulled it off. Because it took a lot of effort, courage, and cunning intelligence. Waging a war against an eating disorder is, just that, waging a war — going into battle against the enemy.
An ED is an invading force. It attacks your body, entering through a hole in your self-esteem, planting its seed of doubt in your core. And as that seed grows, the venom from it spreads to every part of you. It infects your brain — you no longer process the world in a real way. You see your universe through the eyes of your eating disorder, not your own. No matter how much others try to get you to see reason, your brain is contaminated with these toxic thoughts, and you cannot quite align their realities with your perceptions. Paranoia, anxiety, depression, isolation, and self-loathing feelings and thoughts are all that rush through your mind. They travel in at break-neck speed, never settling, never letting you catch more than a glimpse or a whisper of their disdain before moving on. The weaker your body gets, the stronger the ED becomes. But you can’t counter any of it because your mind has been overtaken.
Something has to give. Your sanity is gone, your health is gone. What do you have left? Most of the time, the only left in the ED version of Pandora’s Box is the will to live. As long as you hold on to that, you can recover.
The first thing that you need to do is acknowledge that you need help, that you want help, and that you’re ready to recover. If you have this, you can begin to wage your war … here are the steps I used to build my army and conquer my invading forces.
1. Find something to fight forChoose to live. Don’t settle for the half-life your ED has committed you to. Decide to actually enjoy each and every moment. Your future can have hope, happiness, friendship, and love. But you need to want it. You need to embrace it. You need to choose to leave your old habits, feelings, and fears behind. This doesn’t need to happen all at once, but if you can see the hope and build it, it will become stronger along with you. Revolutions are not started by huge groups, they are started by one voice, often whispered and magnified by joining forces. But it takes that one whisper to start the revolution. Choose to fight and commit to the cause!
2. Pick soldiers to battle alongside you — I read a fabulous book called Beating Ana by Shannon Cutts. The author states that “relationships replace eating disorders”. I fully believe that this is true. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family, they are going to be your strongest allies. They will keep you accountable and encourage you. However, realize that they are very concerned for your well-being. Things may get tense and they may start to police you — please remember that this is because they love you. You may get frustrated, but the more you show them that you are strong in your recovery, the faster they will notice that their policing isn’t necessary.
Also, be sure to include only those who will not add negative thoughts to your life, those who are drama-free. This may mean abandoning a fair number of “friends” during your recovery. However, if they are toxic forces in your life, are they really friends? Will you actually miss them? Probably not.
You can also choose to include others in ED recovery for support, though this can be precarious and possibly triggering. Be careful on this front.
I include my treatment team under my army heading as well. They’re your generals and majors, the coordinating forces. Listen to them and do not omit facts because you’re embarrassed or ashamed. They’re there to help, not to judge, and they can’t do their job properly if you’re hiding facts.
3. Pick a battle strategy — Make yourself a relapse prevention plan (outline certain situations — events, foods, comments — that you think would possibly trigger a relapse and plan out what you would do should these arise) and share it with your soldiers. Work on body image exercises to improve your self-esteem (I hold Self-Esteem Saturday every week where I make challenges for myself, come check it out!). Write out your future goals/bucket list — realize that you probably won’t accomplish many while sick — gain motivation from them. Keep a recovery journal of your thoughts and feelings. Educate yourself — read about recovery (whether through blogs, articles, or books) just be careful to be critical of what you’re reading and be aware that not all recoveries are the same (just as no forms of this illness are the same).
4. EAT — Easier said than done. Trust me, I know. I’m not saying to go out and have a cheeseburger or a pizza or a pasta dinner or a doughnut, but you do need to eat. Your brain, while malnourished is more prone to ED thoughts. Once you start refeeding, you will begin to become conscious of just how twisted your thoughts have become. Build a beginners meal plan with your medical team. Make your family aware of it (at the beginning, I ate every meal with a family member or co-workers I trusted to keep me accountable). This will be your base. As you begin to gain weight and your metabolism begins to boot up again, it will increase. Try not to panic. Think of food as your fuel. You absolutely cannot continue to run on empty. Eventually, once you have built your base, start challenging more difficult foods (I have a CrushED challenge of foods/habits that I want to try over the next year).
5. Believe in yourself! You CAN recover. Life has so much more in store for you. Choose life. Choose happiness. It is as simple as that. The hard work is making it stick, but if you have a well-rounded recovery and cover all your bases, a happy, healthy, ED-free life is possible. 🙂
Feel free to email me with any questions or comments you may have … chelsie@balancenotscale.com.
Healthy living

Talk the talk

Throughout my recovery from disordered eating, I’ve struggled with negative self-talk. Scratch that. Ever since…well, ever, I’ve struggled with negative self-talk. I can look at anything I’ve done, said, or thought and pick it to shreds faster than Sheldon Cooper can say “bazinga!”

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Yes, I have an unhealthy obsession with all things Big Bang Theory.

I let the negative thoughts keep me from doing things I loved for a long time. Climb a rope? Might not get to the top. Speak in front of people? Could sound stupid. Run a half marathon? Never going to make it.

I realize now how silly some of that sounds. I can run a half marathon if I put my mind to it. Who cares if I make it to the top of a rope? And guess what? I’m totally going to sound stupid in public, and the people who love me will sound stupid right along with me!

One thing I’ve done to combat this negative talk is to make a list of ten things I love about me. Not ten things I hope I’ll someday have. Not ten things I want other people to think about me. Ten things I love about myself or am proud of or grateful for right this second.

Here’s ten things I’m proud of an love about me right now:

  1. I had enough courage to start a blog and share my writing with the world.
  2. I asked my mom for advice on a work email. And actually took it.
  3. I sang in front of people I barely knew last night. Even though I’m tone-deaf.
  4. I’ve persisted with half-marathon training further than I’ve ever made it before.
  5. I’m okay with being single. Actually, I’m enjoying being single for the first time in my life.
  6. I have roommates that I love and am grateful for every day.
  7. I have a job I can truly be grateful for. I enjoy going to work, which is more than a lot of people can say.
  8. I talked with my dad about going back to school to finish my degree and realized how badly I want it this time.
  9. I can talk to my dad about important things in my life and actually have a conversation about it.
  10. I have an immensely better and more satisfying life than I ever believed was possible less than a year ago.

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This picture is from the S.W.A.T. Institute blog and is titled “Self love is very different than selfish narcissism”. I love that.

Finally, remember those Nike Women’s ads that celebrated our body parts? Here’s one that has inspired me over and over again.

Thunder thighs