Trader Joe’s Haul

It’s impossible to go into Trader  Joe’s and NOT come out with 8,000 things.

Proof:

IN THE COMMENTS:

What is your favorite product from TJs right now? 

Day in the Life: Day Off

I have a week off before fall semester starts and I’ve been loving my lack of a schedule. Sooo I made a video on what my “day off” day in the life looks like.

IN THE COMMENTS:

What would your perfect day off include? 

Living Alone: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Living alone is good but also bad but also I love it except when I don’t but mostly I do.

So here’s a video of me rambling about that.

My First Vlog

So I decided to do a video blogging series. I stole the idea from Lindsay’s List and I think it’s gonna be hella fun*

*For me. Maybe not for you. TBD on that one.

So obviously I had to make a video telling you that I’m gonna start making videos. It just makes sense.

Comment below with your suggestions, questions, or topic ideas for future videos!

I want to apologize for about a million things in this video. Sorry for slapping my thigh so many times. Sorry for making weird mouth noises. Sorry for saying “um” 100 times in every sentence. Sorry for my voice. Sorry for my face. SORRY I’M SO LAME OMG SHOULD I EVEN UPLOAD THIS? PLZ DON’T MAKE FUN OF ME.

Okay I’ll stop. Just watch.

As promised in the video, here’s my Instagram!  And my Snapchat name is carlyjaneg. Feel free to follow along!

I’ll be back soon with another video. See you then!

 

There are things a BMI can’t measure

BMI. Body mass index. A tool used by doctors to quantify health. A tool I once used to measure my unhealthy weight loss. I would calculate my BMI and feel worthless when I fell into the “normal” range. I didn’t want to be “normal.” Normal meant average. I wanted to be special.

I used my BMI as one of many ways to track “progress.” I would calculate celebrities’ BMIs and compare mine to theirs. Because obviously, if I had the same BMI as a Victoria’s Secret model, life was going to get SO much better. When I started gaining weight a few years ago, I watched my BMI crawl into the dreaded “overweight” category. At that point, I yearned for the normality I once rejected. If I wasn’t “normal” did that make me abnormal? Was I now weird and different because an online calculator told me that I take up too much space?

I used to rely so heavily on numbers. I needed those numbers to prove I was worthy. My GPA, my SAT, number of Facebook friends, the number on the scale, the inches of my waist, the calories I saved by skipping dinner, the calories I burned at the gym, pounds lost, weight lifted, BMI… My self-worth was wrapped up in those numbers. I couldn’t see past them.

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But numbers are just numbers and a BMI is just a calculation. It takes your weight and your height and does some weird math shit on them and spits out a number.

There’s a bunch of things, though, that a BMI (or a scale… or a measuring tape…) can’t measure.

BMI

It can’t measure happiness.

It can’t measure healthiness.

A BMI can’t measure your ability to bring approximately 87 pounds of groceries up four flights of stairs in one trip.

It doesn’t measure dimples or muscles or your on-fleek eyebrows.

A BMI can’t measure how sexy you look dancing at the club.

It doesn’t measure kindness or compassion or a kickass sense of humor.

It can’t tell you your worth.

It can’t tell you your value.

It can’t even tell you how to improve your credit score **FOR FREE** in less than 3 minutes.

A BMI doesn’t know about how good your ass looks in skinny jeans.

It doesn’t know about that time you karaoked to Shania Twain and actually did a pretty good job (or maybe you were just really drunk).

A BMI can’t measure the love in your life.

It can’t measure courage. Boldness. Unapologetic self-love.

It doesn’t know that you spent years torturing yourself just so you’d no longer be “normal.” It doesn’t know that the “overweight” label used to make you feel so shameful.

A BMI doesn’t measure quirks or curves or anything that makes up your true identity.

It is a number. Just a number.

Remember that.

Big Girl

I was bathing suit shopping in Hawaii a few months back and a sweet little sales associate asked if I needed any help. Wow, I thought, what a helpful woman! Don’t you just love people who do their jobs well? I wanted to be nice, so I replied, “I’m just looking, thank you” which I followed with a jokey “All of these bathing suit tops are so small!” Great small talk, if you ask me. Conversational, silly, and fun. Good job, Carly. You just nailed that whole awkward yet polite conversation. You’re totally getting the hang of this human interaction thing!

I expected a small smile in reply. Or maybe a little giggle, if she was in a laughing mood. Ms. Sales Associate could have said, “well let me know if you need any help” or “can I start you a dressing room?” or even “yeah, the bathing suits just keep getting smaller and smaller.” We could’ve had a nice chuckle. We could’ve had a moment.

I didn’t expect what actually happened.

That kind little woman looked me up and down and said, “Oh. You’re looking for the big girl suits. I’m not sure I have anything for you, but let me check.”

Oof. That one hit me right in the gut. Right in my jiggly, cellulite-ridden, sponsored by French fry “big girl” gut.

Plus, she said it with this sadistic smile on her face. (And then her eyebrows scrunched together and she turned around in a swivel chair, petting a white cat and laughing maniacally at her own evilness.) I mean, in reality, the smile probably wasn’t sadistic. I was just offended and being dramatic. It was probably just her polite retail face, but still… It felt evil in the moment.

Like, woman! Don’t you know that I spent years trying to be the “skinny girl?” Don’t you know that I used to pump sugar-free Jell-O into my veins to avoid being “big?” Don’t you know that I pinched and prodded and berated myself for being too big, which in my mind was synonymous with worthless and ugly and unlovable? Don’t you know that a few years ago, those words would’ve sent me into a downward spiral of self-hate and restriction and Styrofoam rice cakes and celery?!

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No. She didn’t know. She didn’t know any of that, because she didn’t know me. She probably didn’t even think I would be offended.

In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much power I was giving my own interpretation of her statement. It’s possible that her “big girl” comment was strictly referring to my boobs, or my broad shoulders, or just the fact that I’m a sturdy Polish woman who could (hypothetically) haul hay bales around the farm. She could have been talking about my height. She could have been trying to steer me toward the swimsuits with a little extra coverage, especially after my comment about how freaking tiny bathing suits are these days. She also could have been calling me fat. I really have no clue.

And, the more I think about it, the more I realize the point of this story. That sales associate’s comment was just that: a comment. In and of itself, it was pretty innocuous. She probably didn’t mean anything bad by it. She was most likely just trying to help me find a swimsuit top that covered at least a quarter of each boob.

But her comment, and the way I interpreted it, brought me back to a place of self-judgment.

In Hawaii 6 years prior, at the height of my terrible body image

In Hawaii 6 years ago, at the height of my terrible body image

I reacted to her comment. It made me feel shitty and weird. It made me question my body positivity. It made me wonder if I wasn’t seeing what I really looked like. It made me wonder if people were talking about me behind my back fat.

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In Hawaii a couple of months ago

WHAT?!

One comment by one person who I’d never met in my life was all it took to bring me back to that terrible horrible no good very bad place.

I’ve made some incredible progress in my relationship with food, exercise, and especially myself. I’m really happy with who I am, physical appearance included. If you’ve been reading for a while you might remember me talking about body image and posting unflattering #transformationtuesday pictures for all to see. I’m in a pretty damn good mind space these days. But I still have my moments. I’m not 100% happy 100% of the time.  I feel like it’s important to acknowledge the fact that some days, I do feel unattractive and somehow less worthy because of that.

I guess I just want to say that it’s okay to have days where you feel shitty about yourself.  It’s okay. Don’t make yourself feel bad for feeling bad.  It’s okay to seek out help – from a friend, from your partner, from a therapist, from a book – if you feel like you need it. I don’t think getting help needs to invalidate your progress.

You just need to do what’s right for you… You know?

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And, when in doubt, grab yourself a cocktail, find yourself a pool, and rock your bikini like the badass you are.

File Under: Questionable Life Decisions

Since relinquishing my title as Stay At Home Daughter, I’ve been forced to make far more life decisions than I’m used to making. I have to decide what to eat for dinner (and lunch! and breakfast!), whether making my bed in the morning is responsible or ridiculous, and what kind of toothpaste to buy. Most of the time, I think I make good decisions. I mean, sometimes I eat pizza three days in a row and count several cocktails as dinner… So as I said before, I’m making good decisions.

But I did make one questionable decision  a couple of weeks ago. Call it peer pressure; call it stupidity; call it an alien taking over my body for a brief moment…

But I signed up for a race. Like, a running race. With running. Like with my legs. WHHYYYYY?!?!??!?!

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Awkward pre-run picture.

It’s only a 10k, which seems pretty manageable in an objective sense, but considering I’ve never run that far in my whole life, much less in the past year with my knee issues, I’m a little nervous.

It’s the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon in November and a bunch of people from my cohort signed up for the half marathon, but that seemed a bit optimistic for me. Hence, the 10k.

I downloaded a couch-to-10k app on my phone and I’ve been following the training runs which, so far, are pretty much just running/walking intervals. I have about four months to learn how to run for an hour straight without dying and/or murdering someone. I’m giving myself a 50/50 shot. Pretty good odds, I’d say.

In all seriousness, I have a question for you seasoned runners out there. I’ve been having pretty bad knee pain. It starts the moment I start running (after “warming up” by walking for about an hour). Should I stretch more? Do more strength training? Foam roll? Shoot ibuprofen into my veins?  HELP.

That’s all for now. I won’t be doing regular training updates because, honestly, I think reading or writing about running is boring.  But I’ll definitely keep you all in the loop with how things are going!

IN THE COMMENTS:

Give me your tips for running a race! 

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday! 

My Top 10 Favorite Foods (Right Now)

I haven’t done a foodie post in quite some time and I have tons of pictures taking up space on my computer, so here we go…  My top 10 favorite foods I’ve been eating at home lately!

1. Trader Joe’s (full-fat) Ricotta and

2. Trader Joe’s Fresh Bruschetta Sauce.

Yes, it has to be full-fat ricotta and it has to be the fresh bruschetta sauce. It’s an unreal combo (I don’t even really like tomatoes), especially on a nice piece of bread.  Ohhh ohhhh!  You know what?  It’d also be awesome on pizza dough.  Do it.

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3. Smoothies and smoothie bowls.

Especially if they have chocolate on top. This one is my take on a chocolate-covered strawberry. It’s almond milk, frozen strawberries and banana, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, and chocolate chunks.  GIT IT.

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4. Turkey sandwiches.

I have a really hard time getting excited about any kind of protein.  I’m a carb girl all the way to the grave (and I’ll probably be in the grave by age 50 because CARBS ARE THE DEVIL), but I’ve found that if I get deli turkey as thinly sliced as humanly possible, I actually like it. The deli counter people hate me, but as Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good.  It means you’re eating your thinly sliced turkey and meeting the daily recommended protein requirements.”

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5. Fruit.

Because it’s summer, you know?

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6. Cheese. All kinds of cheese.  I’ve eaten some  But especially these John. Wm. Macy’s Cheese Crisps. As Jake so astutely proclaimed, “these are like Cheez-Its… but better.”  In the spirit of full disclosure, I was sent these crisps to review on the blog.  With that said, I never ever blog about products I don’t totally love, and I totally love these. The sesame gruyere flavor is kickass.

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7. Cheese plates.

This one has 34° plain Crisps, a Trader Joe’s brie bite, and grapes. 

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This one has 34° Cracked Pepper Crisps, salami, almonds, fruit, carrots, hummus, and Trader Joe’s marinated mozzarella cheese. 

Again, these 34° Crisps are from Blend, but I never ever endorse anything I’m not hella into. 

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8. Nuts.

I’m nutz4nutz!

Sorry about that… That was… Weird.

I have a jar of almonds on my counter and I grab a handful whenever I’m hungry.  Also whenever I’m not hungry.  Really just whenever I walk by it.

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9. This peanut butter.

Not just any peanut butter. This peanut butter, from the Little Italy Farmer’s Market.  It’s toffee peanut butter.  Yeah.  I know.

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10. BACON.

I needed a couple slices for a recipe and instead of just omitting it, I bought a huge package and it has been making my life aprox. 800x better.

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IN THE COMMENTS:

What have you been eating lately? 

It’s Okay… But Only If

Every single day we get bombarded with messages from the world. Some of them are good, like “be nice” and “don’t kick dogs.” Some of them are bad, like “eat these Watermelon-flavored Oreos” and “wear a crop top.” Some of them are wildly unrealistic, like “shoot for the stars” and “floss everyday.”

But some of the messages we’re bombarded with are just plain confusing. Hypocritical. Wolves in sheep’s clothing, so to speak. These messages are almost good… almost accepting and inclusive. They’re thisclose to being perfect rainbow unicorn statements!  But they’re not, because they’re tempered by restrictive qualifications.  You know, things like “FREE MOVIE TICKETS… but only if you let us suck blood out of your body and use it for medical purposes.*

*Donating blood is very important and great and you’ll get free cookies at the end so do it. 

These “it’s okay but only if”s are everywhere. I see them all the time and they really do have a way of making you feel inadequate.

Some examples for you:

It’s okay to be thin…but only if you’ve tried to gain weight and just can’t.

It’s okay to have muscles… but only if they’re not too big.

It’s okay to be curvy… but only if you’re perfectly proportioned.

It’s okay to eat meat… but only if it’s organic and free range and grass-fed and cooked in the healthy fat du jour (coconut oil? grass-fed butter? human lard? I can’t keep up).

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It’s okay to be a vegan… but only if you don’t force your beliefs (and your celery juice) down our throats, you leaf muncher.

It’s okay to drink alcohol… but only if you’re, like, super classy about it #wino #craftcocktails #klassy.

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It’s okay to stay sober… but only if you’re an alcoholic or DD, or else you’re HELLA BORING.

It’s okay to go on a diet… but only if you’re fatter than me.

It’s okay to eat pizza… but only if you say something like, “I didn’t eat lunch today!” before mercilessly shoving slice after slice in your mouth.

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It’s okay to be smart… but only if you aren’t a know-it-all bitch about it.

It’s okay to know what you want… but only if you aren’t bossy or domineering or un-ladylike in any way.

It’s okay to have kids… but only if you don’t let those little brats on airplanes or in restaurants or out in public at all.

It’s okay to not have kids… but only if you have a kickass career as a “replacement.”

It’s okay to wear makeup… but only if it’s just enough makeup to look like you’re not actually wearing makeup.

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It’s okay to go makeup-less… but only if you have that naturally beautiful cool laid-back flowers in your hair look going on.

It’s okay to run for exercise… but only if you run marathons and have the calves to prove it.

It’s okay to lift weights… but only if you don’t get manly.

It’s okay to do Zumba… but only if you’re supplementing with other, better, harder-core (< not a word) workouts.

It’s okay to have big boobs… but only if you keep your cleavage covered at all times (or else you might distract the boys; they just can’t help it!).

It’s okay to eat processed junk… but only 20% of the time; the other 80% needs to be clean.

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Sometimes, it really feels like you just can’t win. It’s all just too much to live up to. It’s exhausting and impossible and ridiculous and overwhelming.

Which is why you have to say “screw it” and do your thing.

Because you can be a badass human being… but only if you start doing you, all the damn time.

IN THE COMMENTS:

Do you hear these mixed messages in the media? Add your own to the comments.

San Diego So Far

San Diego so far, in pictures.

(No words, because post-Fourth of July hangover.)

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