We just got back from Montreal and despite being tired we went on a grocery trip. It seemed like the perfect time to make a “what’s in the fridge” video. No frills here, baby, just lots of food and laughter. Trust me, you don’t want to see my face at the moment. The bags under my eyes are so heavy they’d charge me extra to get on a plane 😉 — I have my dads sense of humor. Enjoy.
Hope this holds you over until I can write a longer post with pictures, because the trip was absolutely wonderful
There, I came up with a much better name for the poorly titled blog post: mirror, mirror; touch my body; move it. I wouldn’t say it’s up there with Eat. Pray. Love, but I’m making small gains.
Today’s topic is all about healthy vanity and getting off the couch. Here’s a little back story. When I was 14 months old I was adopted from Haiti by a white family from a very white area. I think there may have been one other black girl, so from day one my parents have always doted over me. I admit that I was a damn cute baby—diaper ad baby cute—and adorable young one, so I’m sure my parents and peoples’ kind words weren’t lies, but I think being the only black girl encouraged them to make sure I knew I was beautiful, as I had no one else to really look up too. That being said, it was probably the catalyst to my vanity. I adored looking in mirrors when I was younger, and it is habit that I’ve carried into adult hood (it has slowed down the past few years.) But I believe it is something we should all do more of!
Typically, when we have body issues we avoid looking at ourselves and wear baggy shirts and pants to cover our insecurities. Ladies and gents, I encourage you to take off your clothes—even your skivvies—and look at yourself naked. Get to know your body: the places you dip, curve, bulge, pucker, or are bony. I guarantee you’ll find parts, possibly quirky ones, you absolutely adore. It’s kind of clichéd, but I think being naked is one of the most fabulous things, and if you’re lucky enough to be rooming with a boyfriend/girlfriend, or have a single dorm room, then take advantage of it! On the flip side, you’ll also find places you don’t like, but you may make peace with them. I have 2 examples. For one I hated my breasts. Since age 7 I used to pray for boobs and one year it was as if the god (and you know how I love my various gods) of titties came down and was all “allakabam!” By high school I was a solid D; bathing suit shopping was– and still is– a nightmare. And for many big breasted women, you can probably agree with me that most big breasts are not like silicon enhanced ones. I’m not super saggy, but I wouldn’t say any porn agency would be casting me for “Huge, Perfect Melons 4—Grocery Adventures” But guess what: the more I started forcing myself to look at them the more I accepted their shape and realized they were fine. The same thing happened with this cellulite dimple I had. I used to hate it, but I realized that no matter how healthy I am it’ll always be there chilling on my left thigh, and I kind of like it.
Step two. Make like a body builder and touch your body. Flex your arm muscles, wimpy or bulbous, and see how they feel. Squeeze your calves. Feel your cheekies. Rub your tummy—trust me, it ain’t my favorite spot either, but looking and it and touching it has made me realize what diet and exercise habits change it negatively and positively. We’re tactile creatures, right?
Step three. Move your body. I’m talking about getting up and dancing. Try out different activities and figure out what ones work the best for your body type. Running is out of the question for me. I feel like a wheezing oaf and my knees constantly ache, but dancing and yoga class feel natural. So what if you have two left feet—experiment with swimming; have you ever heard of someone tripping while swimming? I personally think everyone should try hula hooping. You’ll certainly learn how to move that body and get a surprising cardio workout! Check out Sharna Rose, a hoop celebrity. She’s kinda amazing.
Me hooping in 2010 during my raver days
Learn to love the little (or big) things about yourself. I get that we all go through small phases of hating our body, but try not to let it affect you for a long time. Are you upset because you’ve gained a few pounds? If you know your body well (and can be honest with your habits) maybe you are meant to put on a bit of weight. But if you know you have been slacking on your care then turn that discouragement into fuel to eat better or workout a little harder. There is definitely a sense of pride in understanding your body. It’s the one thing we are stuck with for the rest of our lives, so I think we should owe it to ourselves to rise above hating it.
I’ve thoroughly whipped all your eyes into shape with these last few posts pushing 900-1,000+ words. So I’ll give you all a break. Here are some fun pictures from my Christmas break. I went through a lot to get these. I had to friend my sister on Facebook. You see, she used to always tattle on me as wee one about my Myspace (haha, yeah, that site) life to my mother and get me in trouble. I cannot really say I’ve let it go, but she took so many cute pictures of me and Chris, so allow me to gush for a few moments about how adorable my dude is 🙂
So here we are opening gifts. At my house we do Secret Santa. My mom got Chris, which was lucky for him. Notice the Mimosa glass in the background. It’s a family tradition. My parents finally decided last Thanksgiving that I was FINALLY old enough to partake in some holiday chugging sipping.
I got the one thing I really wanted: SHAKTI YOGA SHORTS! Honestly, these things are awesome. The sides are adjustable. They are cut in a way that you don’t need to get a bikini wax. You don’t get a camel toe– what more could a girl want?
“I’m with her.” Note: This never looks this good by the time we get to this pose in Ashtanga. Usually my knees are all bent and I’m all shaky waiting to die.
Now we take obligatory pictures under the tree!
My sister & my mom. Notice the intense family resemblance (hint: I’m adopted)
I think my massive bowl of Shrimp is justttt out of shot. Chris looks adorable here ❤
And now we kiss under the Mistletoe. We had two at my house, so double the fun!
Chilling in front of the heater with our morbidly obese– but happy– pug Max. I was definitely gearing up to pass out in front of the heater.
Here is a random photo from New Years Eve. I’m trying to dance my way out of all the photos I was ruining. I generally take horrible candid photos where my mouth is all open and I’m slouching and my lips are lazy.
And last, but not least, me as a young one. I found this Christmas morning. I think I’m like twelve here. Look at that stance! I was so full of sass-itude.
I put on my sports bra, my leggings, and I sort of look like the girl who was running this past summer, but it’s all a beautiful and cruel illusion. Three back to back to back reps of that fitness list was NOT happening. The first go around took almost 6 minutes, and, really, is it that realistic to imagine myself moving for 20+ minutes when I haven’t done any cardio for months? I think not. I did the first round, thought I was going to puke (even Body Rock workouts have 10 second breaks every minute or so), laid on the floor for a few minutes as the world twirled above me, and contemplated defeated. We all have your weaknesses and honestly if I wasn’t blogging I probs would have given up—you guys keep me on my toes. I did today’s Random Abs workout (I really have no strength in that region) and mustered up the courage to try another round of the fitness list. The second time was much better. Maybe after a few more tries I’ll be well on my way to three reps.
…Which brings us to looking forward to New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve mentioned before that we generally make diet/body related goals and we usually let go of them come February. I’ve been really hitting you guys with these opening posts about diet and a bit of exercise, because they’re things I’m passionate about (well the food yes, not so much the exercise), but being healthy means also having a positive state of mind. What makes a person attractive is not only their body and how we perceive they treat it, but also their brain. Smart and even tempered people are sezzy, and thus many of my resolutions actually revolve around ways to better my brain and life.
Diet/Body/Exercise Based Changes
1.) Get Gluten out of my diet: Honestly, I really need to do this. Since realizing I cannot eat it I’ve been being stupid and munching on it regardless. It’s not fair to my intestines, my poor hands (they always get so sore), or Chris who has to deal with me doubled over in pain. Step one: start checking labels. Step two: start making my own buns (they are my weakness.) Step three: sucking it the hell up. When I see other people who are in an obvious rut and only insist on digging themselves deeper I cringe, so I best not start being hypocritical.
2.) Continue to refine my diet: I like this one because I’m not saying eat more this and less of that (except for the gluten.) Instead I’m leaving it open to add more veggies, reduce my Reese’s intake, and continue to try more recipes. I have big hopes and dreams for that kitchen.
3.) Drink more water!: Okay, this is something I really need to do more. We can go weeks without food, but hardly a few days without water. For environmental reasons I’m normally anti- plastic bottle, but when I was home for Christmas my mom had bought me and Chris a huge pack of these mini orb water bottles. The spaceship shape is supposed to be appealing to kids and the smaller size is better suited for them. I had no issue swigging back 2-3 in a short time period. My brilliant idea: maybe if I reduce the size of my water bottles it’ll be less daunting and I’ll drink more. See, we often have the solutions to our problems, and they are often rather easy. We just need to face them and put our big girl panties and big boy boxer-briefs on.
4.) Do more yoga: Self explanatory. I want to start working on having a better self practice and really start opening this right hip of mine up. Lotus here I come.
1.) Start reading before I go to bed: Studies have shown that spending time watching T.V, browsing the internet, and texting friends before bed is horrible for our sleep cycles. It makes it much harder for us to go to bed and we end up staying up longer than we want or need to. With reading you are actively using your brain instead of randomly clicking; admit it college students and 20-somethings, what sites do you really go on besides Facebook? Also, the lights in our computers and TVs are constantly pulsating, though, we just don’t realize it, and our eyes must work extra hard to focus. With this change I can finally stop complaining that I don’t have time to read. I already have several books in mind! Tomorrow I’m going to the library to borrow We Need to Talk about Kevin, which is going to be out in theaters the end of January. Below are the American & UK Trailers. I really hope it comes out in all places and not just artsy movie houses or I might be out of luck.
Ezra Miller plays Kevin and can I say CUUUUTIE? Those cheek bones, those full lips, that dark hair. I feel like a cougar in training all ready. I also want to get The Hunger Games. Apparently they were a really good series of books growing up that I never heard about, and the movie is coming out in a few months.
2.) Learn a foreign language, sort of: Right now I’m battling between French or German. I did take French for 3 years, and I can read it okay, but I was never in love with it. They all spoke so fast anyway. Something about German speaks to me. It’s so fierce, so bold, and so guttural. Plus, my last name Harvey is derived from German Warlords. Maybe I’ll put a poll up so you guys can decide, though I’ll probably go with German for the fun of it.
3.) Submit work once a month to Literature Magazines: My poetry needs to start making its way into the world, and it clearly isn’t going to do that collecting dust on my desk.
4.) Start Vloging: I love writing, but I really love talking. They called me Jabber Jaws when I was little. I’d love to make this place part blog/part video chats because sometimes it’s nice to absorb stories and ideas through your ears instead of your eyes. This also means I need to learn how to video edit. Any awesome suggestions on programs to use? I have a basic Toshiba laptop, so nothing to fancy here.
5.) Become more DIY: One of my interests on StumbleUpon is DIY projects. I’m envious of people who can take something old and make it awesome and “new.” Sadly, aside from writing I’m really not artistic. My handwriting sucks. My mother didn’t even post my art pieces on the fridge. Boo. I’d love to learn basic sewing techniques so I could hem pants, make cool scarves and shirts, and put my Goodwill Discount to better use.
Well, I think that is a pretty extensive list. I imagined this post being tiny, but why should we short change our future hopes and dreams? Tell me about yours. I want to know what you plan on achieving this next year, and I hope I’ve inspired you to look beyond the body goals and typical resolutions we like to cling to year after year.
Now let’s peel back that last month on the Calendar and spring into the Near Year.
The boy and I are heading to my house in Maine for the holidays! I’m beyond excited. For years I got to watch my siblings bring their significant others to family events, and now I finally get to do the same. Mom, I love you, but I’m glad that you cannot crawl into bed with me this Christmas morning! But, before we get home we have a super-duper 4.5 hour drive ahead of us and a few pit stops. We’ve got the pomegranate seeds ready for a morning meal and those will hold us over for the first little bit of our drive. Since I believe in full disclosure, we will be stopping to get McDonald’s hash browns. It’s tradition. Whenever I drive home and back I always factor in a McMuffin and hash brown meal. Ahh, crispy indulgence followed by some powerful antioxidants ! We’ll be stopping in Montpelier, VT to see his mom who is going to take us to this (apparently) awesome local & organic diner that has lots of vegan and gluten free options. My stomach is already flipping with joy! Then we’re going to travel through NH, passing my former boarding school, and stopping at this great coffee shop in Bethlehem, NH called Maia Papaya. Honestly, if you are ever driving through the Twin Mountain region stop in. I do every time. The food is great, the ladies are wonderful, and there are tons of boardgames, books, and magazines that will entice you to stay longer and order more drinks. Then comes the 2.5 hour, boring trek on Route 2. I admit I almost fell asleep last time I was driving home, so hopefully having another person with me will help.
We won’t be in the 207 for long, only Friday to Monday, and I plan on writing a few posts during down time and updating everyone with lots of mistletoe, vomit inducing, lovey-dovey pictures. And food snapshots, of course! It was a bitter sweet discovery finding my camera that has been hiding for months, and then realizing my memory card has decided to stay in permanent “lock mode.” Girl can’t catch a break, huh? #firstworldproblems. Good thing mom has extras lying around.
Anyway, Remember: try to stick to your (possibly new) healthy morals, but don’t be too hard on yourself; you best believe I’ll be eating bucket loads of shrimp! Also, just wanted to let everyone know that I didn’t stop writing the food diary because I’ve been a naughty girl. I just realized it was insanely dull, and I can tell you more interesting anecdotes that would address my eating habits and health opinions far better.
I leave you with this: Dom Mazzetti. Everyone has their YouTube funny-(wo)man guru. Some people are of the school of Jenna Marble thought, but I roll deep with Dom Mazzetti. He also so happens to have a video on rolling deep. Truthfully, this isn’t my favorite one of his, but I’m trying to keep with the Christmas spirit (language warning!)
We’ve talked about what you need in the kitchen and how to make a fail proof shopping list, but there also needs to be change within you. Say you are a writer who uses a simple spiral bound notebook and pencil. Getting a mole skin and $30 engraved pen isn’t going to make you any better of a writer unless you alter your mind, aka: lifestyle. There are thousands of books that will tell you how to lose weight and how to get six-pack abs. Let’s be honest. We all know most of them are crap. My advice is to avoid these types of books when you’re first starting out. Instead check out reads like
The Omnivores Dilemma
Last Chance to Eat
and various other sources about our food culture in the states and abroad. These books will get you interested in eating without overwhelming you with food calendars on what to eat each day.
Around this time last year I stumbled up on Tara Stiles Youtube page. She’s currently the yoga spokesperson for Nissan, owns Strala Yoga Studio in New York City, and has an awesome new Tumblr that is worth check out. Yogi’s and yogini’s either love her or hate her, I personally adore her because she got me hooked on yoga, but she said something in one of her videos that changed my perception on how I eat and really put me on the path I’m running. I know what I’m about to say seems pretty obvious, but I can’t really think of a time that I’d ever heard anyone say it. The key to eating healthy is tuning into our own body and just listening.
As a country we’ve become so, so, so accustomed to stuffing our faces with whatever is in front of us. And, even more dangerous, we’ve become accustomed to feeling like crud after we eat. The stomach grumblings, headaches, lethargy, and quick trips to the bathroom are simply not normal, yet we’ve accepted them as the status quo. I think this stems our sports driven mentality of ignoring pain and pushing though. It’s the whole “pain is weakness leaving the body” line. If you eat healthier you will find yourself feeling light afterward and shouldn’t feel the need to crawl into bed. The rumbling sound in your belly is your body working really hard to break down what you’ve just put into it. Did you know that digestion is one of the most labor intensive tasks our body does? Why make it any harder.
Aside from listening to how our body feels about what we’ve given it, we also need to listen to what our body wants to eat. Some days our body is more ravenous then others. It wants nutritional, caloric dense foods: some meat, healthy fats like the ones in avocados, good carbs like yams and oats. Other days our body wants time to relax and you’ll crave fruits and raw veggies. Every once in a while my tum-tum desires the night off and says: just feed me one of those awesome berry cups from the grocery story; I’m all but happy to oblige. So try out this type of living for awhile. Too often we listen to what our sweet tooth or lazy brain wants. Take into account how you feel after you eat. I was shocked at how complacent I was to the pains I had. It’s a really hard thing to do, because in part you are accepting that you were once hurting yourself. It’s much easier to pretend that it’s normal because everyone else is feeling the same way. You will definitely feel like an outsider to many of your friends, who might find your new habits weird, new age, hippy, etc, etc. I say one thing: (queue angry mom voice) don’t you EVER be ashamed or embarrassed about taking your health into your own hands.
Just remember that all of it is a slowwwww process. It took me months to figure out what my body needs and doesn’t need, to reset my taste buds and perceptions, and to build up the courage to try new things. I really encourage you to use Youtube as an information source. If you’re considering going full out vegetarian (or trying to use less meat) then go to some videos. Find a personality you can really connect with. I love listening to a 10 minute clip as I get ready in the morning from one of my favorite raw-foodie lady. It’s a great motivational way to start out the day in a healthy mindset.
Peel Away ❤
Ps: The video above is a great listen. Even if you aren’t a raw food eater, there’s a good chance that people will be unsupportive of a healthy lifestyle.