Grapefruit Rosemary Refresher

I made you all a fall cocktail because it’s Wednesday and I thought you might need one.

Also, I recorded myself making said fall cocktail because it was Tuesday afternoon and I definitely needed one.


Grapefruit Rosemary Refresher


White rum
Grapefruit juice
Fresh lime juice
Rosemary simply syrup (recipe below)
Sparkling water
Sugar and finely chopped rosemary for the sugar rim, optional
Extra rosemary for garnish, optional

Put 1 part sugar, 1 part water, and fresh rosemary sprigs into a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil then let simmer for 5 minutes. Let the mixture cool while the rosemary continues to steep. Discard rosemary sprigs. Syrup will keep for at least a month in your fridge.

Run a cut lime around the rim of your glass then dip in the sugar/rosemary mixture. Fill your glass with ice. Put 1 part rum, 1 part lime juice, 1 part simple syrup, 1 part sparkling water, and 2 parts grapefruit juice in the glass. Stir. Top with a sprig of rosemary and enjoy!

You can make this cocktail single serving or family style! Just replace “part” with a measurement (i.e., ounce, half cup, cup).


Drink up.

Confidence with an Asterisk


It’s such a strange concept to me; we’re told constantly we need to have it. We need to be confident as women, as men, as parents, as employees, as employers, as lovers, as butchers, as bakers, as candlestick makers…

I’ve seen a million and one magazine articles boasting headlines like, “Learn to Be Confident in 5 Easy Steps!” and “Self Confidence: The Key to Workplace Success” and “Body Confidence = Great Sex.” Wow! Such inspiration! Much confidence!

But then those same magazines and articles and websites turn around and tell us that we need to “Lose 8 Pounds Fast” and “Perfect Your Smoky Eye Look” and “Click Here because you’re the 100,000th visitor to this site and you just won a free iPad!!!” I’m not quite sure how that last one relates, but it feels relevant somehow.

These media outlets are preaching confidence with an asterisk.

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 11.36.48 AM


*As long as you’re thin and white and conventionally pretty and in a normal BMI range with nice clothes but not TOO nice of clothes or else you’re a pretentious asshole! And also you definitely need higher education and a good job, a healthy long-term relationship with an opposite-sex partner and a desire to birth children and yeah I guess a few piercings are fine but not too many because that’s trashy. And oh tattoos! Yeah tattoos are okay, because we’re so progressive, but they have to be little and tasteful and in a discreet location. And your house and your fingernails must be clean!!! And you have to floss! Yes, floss. Everyday!!!

Those damn asterisks. They’re fucking exhausting.

And here’s the kicker: If you fit into the weird, arbitrary asterisk definition up there, you’re supposed to be confident. You fit society’s definition of “good” or “pretty” or “right” or “normal,” so you’re not allowed to complain. You aren’t allowed to feel confused or sad or frustrated about your life. You have to feel good about yourself. Congrats! You made it! You’re done! Now stop your bitching.

If you don’t fit into the asterisks, you’re told to change. To become a new and improved version of yourself. But then if you decide to say “screw the asterisk” and decide to be confident anyway, then you’re SOOO *~*bRaVe*~* for being confident despite how gross you actually are. Like, if you can be confident, with your muffin top and that huge zit and your lack of a job, then anyone can do it! Good on you!

No no no no no. We have this all wrong.

Confidence is great. It’s sexy and beautiful and empowering.

It’s also really brave, no matter what.

It’s brave to be confident if you have cellulite on your ass and stretch marks on your boobs. It’s also brave if you have 6-pack abs.

It’s brave if you have a high-powered corporate career and it’s brave if you’re a stay-at-home-parent.

It’s brave if you’re part of the asterisk and it’s brave if you’re not.

What I’m saying is if you’re confident in yourself, even if it’s just one tiny part of yourself, that’s awesome. Kickass. Brave. Hard. Amazing.

If you’re not confident in yourself? That’s okay too, because confidence is hard to find and harder to maintain, regardless of whether or not you fit in the asterisk. Don’t feel bad about that. It sucks to not have confidence, but it’s okay. Don’t feel bad for feeling bad.

That’s basically my point: You’re allowed to feel confident. You should feel proud of feeling confident, always. You’re also allowed to feel shitty. You’re allowed to feel bad about yourself even if society tells you that you that you shouldn’t.

You’re allowed to own your feelings: good, bad, confident, what have you.

Do it. Own it. Live it.



How did you find your confidence? What does confidence mean to you?

Jake and Carly Answer Relationship Qs

Jake and I answer your relationship Qs…

BONUS: We’re both really awkward on camera.

Trader Joe’s Haul

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



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.


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.


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.


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?!


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.


In Hawaii a couple of months ago


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?


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?!?!??!?!


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!


Give me your tips for running a race! 

Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud Thursday! 

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