V Goes to College (Again)

This week is a big one for me, as I re-join the academic world as a full-time undergraduate student yet again. I’m no stranger to the full-time student/full-time employment combo, so it’s not new territory for me. I do remember how much work it is, but I’m ready for this new journey. Finishing my degree is something I’ve always wanted for myself, so here I go!

I dropped out of community college after only one full semester, and ultimately earned my Associate’s degree online while working full-time. It ended up being a good thing for me, because I was able to use my company’s tuition assistance program and graduated debt-free in 2010. Since then, I’ve stopped and started a few times as I worked toward my Bachelor’s degree. I tried University of Phoenix, but didn’t like the group-work format (why on earth an online school requires so much group collaboration is beyond me). After taking some time off I enrolled at Washington State University, only to find that it’s really difficult to be an online-only student at a school that is really designed for full-time students who can attend classes. At most, I was able to manage two classes at a time, and ultimately it just felt like I’d never graduate and I tabled the whole idea.

The idea of finishing my degree never really left my mind. Last year, after being with my current company for a year, I became eligible for their tuition assistance program. It would have probably been a good idea to jump back into school right away, but I was busy planning a wedding and taking classes was NOT in my plans. Now that the wedding is over, I feel like I can handle balancing work and school, and I’m ready to try yet again to finish college.

Since my real goal is to just be DONE already, I decided to enroll at Western Governor’s University. The courses are online, the classes are individual and completing them is based on a competency assessment, and there are no traditional class schedules. I can take as many courses as I’m able to per semester, and each semester’s tuition rate is flat – meaning that the more classes I complete, the less I pay (or my company pays) for school in the long run.

The enrollment process at WGU wasn’t a walk in the park, I admit. When I decided to move forward, I applied online and was accepted, but never heard anything further. I did some research online about next steps, and proactively ordered transcripts from my previous schools to be sent to WGU. I could see online that they’d been received, so when I still hadn’t been contacted I reached out and spoke with an enrollment counselor. Although he was very nice, he wasn’t a lot of help in the subsequent enrollment process; I did a lot of researching online until I figured out what I needed to do.

Financial aid is no picnic, either. In the past, I’ve always had company tuition assistance programs that issued Letters of Credit to the university I was attending, so I never had to pay. This time, the program is tuition reimbursement, so I have to pay upfront and then seek reimbursement after the semester ends and I pass my classes. Not wanting to drain my savings to pay upfront, I decided to apply for student loans, knowing that they will come due six months after I graduate and that I can simply use my tuition reimbursement money to pay them off. While this sounds simple enough, you can’t just apply for loans – you have to apply for financial aid first. I knew this was going to be a waste of time; my husband and I make far too much money for me to qualify for assistance. Still, the rules are the rules, so I filled out my required FAFSA and got my reply that I qualified for $0 assistance, then was finally able to move on and apply for my loans.

Once I got through all the admissions requirements, things got a lot easier. Yay! I was paired up with my Student Mentor, a former student who has successfully completed the program herself and who will check in with me weekly throughout this process. She got me set up with my orientation, and helped me with a road map for what my degree program is going to look like. She gave me a bit of an overview of what I could expect in the next year and a half (hopefully I can be done by then!). I completed the online orientation, and I’m all set to start my first class. Whew!

I really want to finish this time. Wish me luck!

 

My Tips for Great Hair

Ever since chopping off my long locks three years ago, I have become very particular about my hair care. Now that I’m currently in yet another phase of trying to grow out my pixie cut (I’ve made it to bob length twice, only to chop it again after seeing one too many perfect pixie cuts on Pinterest), I’m especially careful to be kind to my hair as I coax it to grow.

Whether you have the shortest of pixies or waist-length strands, there are things you can do to keep your hair looking great….and bad habits that can harm it. Here is my comprehensive list of tips to keep your hair looking amazing.

Do bring photos with you when you get your hair done. Anyone remember that episode of Friends when Monica asks for Demi Moore’s haircut, but Phoebe gives her Dudley Moore’s instead? Don’t let yourself fall victim to a mistake like that; bring photos of the haircut and color you want. Even better, bring photos of both styles you love AND hate…it’ll give your stylist a better idea of what will make you happy (and help them avoid what will make you cry).

Do invest in good styling tools and products. It blows my mind when someone spends upwards of $150 on getting their hair cut and colored, only to stop at the dollar store on the way home to buy shampoo. Even though high-end products are more expensive, the good news is that they’re also more concentrated, so you don’t need to use a ton of product every time you style your hair. I recently made the change from traditional shampoo and conditioner to New Wash by Hairstory. It doesn’t contain detergents and is much gentler on my hair, eliminating my need for conditioners, masks, and detanglers.  When my hair is wet, I protect it from heat styling with TGI Bed Head After Party, and I like to finish my style with Ion Styling Solutions Texture Spray Wax to give it a bit of a piece-y look.

Along with using quality product, I upgraded my heat styling tools so that they are easier on my hair when I do need to blow dry/flatiron it. I recently scored the Bio Ionic GoldPro Speed Dryer for 50% off at Ulta, and I like to style my bangs with my LumaBella Dual Touch straightener (I also use this great tool when I curl my pixie cut!).

Don’t lie to your stylist. When your stylist asks you questions about your hair care routine, ESPECIALLY when you’re getting your hair colored, be honest. It’s okay if you’ve only used box dyes up until now; a good stylist isn’t asking you these questions to judge you, they’re asking because different dyes and chemicals will react differently, and they don’t want to inadvertently turn your black hair green. Being upfront about your hair’s history will help you get the look you want, without having to endure any unpleasant hiccups along the way.

Don’t cheat on your stylist. Once you’ve found a stylist you love, who makes your hair dreams come true, don’t ditch them just because of scheduling issues. A good indication that your stylist rocks is that his or her calendar books up quickly. It’s always a good idea to schedule your next appointment as you’re leaving the salon to ensure that you can get in when you need to. Schedule changes definitely happen – I recently had to move a cut/color appointment so that I could attend a family gathering – but be prepared to wait a few weeks with some root grow-out if you do reschedule. Trust me, it’s always worth the wait. Going to a different salon just because your regular stylist can’t see you, like, yesterday, is probably going to end up with you getting a cut you’re not in love with. I would much rather veer into sheepdog territory for a week or two than have my hair butchered.

Do get regular trims. Even though I’m trying to grow my hair out currently, I still get my hair trimmed regularly. Your hair will look much healthier and will hold its shape much better if you go for regular cuts.

 

Red Hot Dance

Seven years ago, a coworker invited me to her favorite Zumba class, led by her good friend Nancy. It was a life-changing night for both of us; for her, it was the night she officially weighed 100lbs less than she had nine months before, and for me, it was the night I discovered a passion for dance.

I loved Zumba, and attended three to five classes a week. I would rearrange my work schedule to make sure I could go. I brought friends with me and got them hooked too.  In 2013, my friend Kate and I even got certified to be Zumba instructors and led a class together (she went on to be a favorite instructor alongside Nancy).

After moving out of the area, I did still attend Nancy’s Zumba class every now and then, but it was ultimately too far to drive. I found Beachbody On Demand, which I love, and it was a great tool for keeping me consistent in my workouts. Still, I missed Zumba terribly.

A few weeks ago, my friend Kelly was telling me about Harbor Square Athletic Club, the new gym she and her husband had just joined. She encouraged me to get a six-day pass to check it out, and I’m glad I did. I love working out with her, and I cannot say enough nice things about Harbor Square. Everything is so modern and clean, the studios for group classes are spacious, and the women’s locker room was recently remodeled and is absolutely beautiful. There’s a smoothie bar, tennis courts, and a pool for lap swim (and you can reserve lanes for swimming!). I loved it instantly, and after taking Husband with me to check it out we ultimately became members.

When I looked at the group class schedule, I was a little bummed that there were only a couple of weekday morning Zumba classes, but I was intrigued when I saw an evening class called Red Hot Dance. The schedule described RHD as a “fun, exhilarating, calorie-burning dance party”.

Kelly and I went, and I was instantly hooked. The class was SO much fun! The dance steps were similar to the ones I loved at Nancy’s Zumba classes, the songs were fun to dance to, and I felt so happy dancing again. Some of the moves were pretty challenging (my body is 15lbs heavier now, and let me know it all through class) but I’m hoping that with time and practice I’ll get my former groove back. I am so happy to have dance in my life again!

 

Back in the Saddle (See What I Did There?)

After a six-month bad-weather induced hiatus, my husband and I dusted off our bikes last Saturday for our first ride of 2017. It felt so good to be biking again. I knew I had missed it, but I didn’t realize just how much until I was back on my bike with the warm breeze in my face.

For our ride, we chose to start in Kenmore at Log Boom Park, and take the Burke-Gilman trail down to Seattle’s University district. We stopped at Agua Verde Cafe for a nice lunch and enjoyed both our burritos and the view of Lake Union. Once we were full of delicious Mexican food, we rode back to the trail and continued on to Ballard, where we treated ourselves to a refreshing beer on the patio at Stoup Brewing. It felt so nice to sit in the warm sun after enduring months of chilly weather!

It was mid-afternoon by then, so after our visit to Stoup we decided it was probably time to head back to the car. We did take one detour along the way, cruising down to Magnuson Park. We had hoped to visit the infamous ‘A Sound Garden’ sculpture. Soundgarden named their band after the sculpture, so we were curious to visit it after Chris Cornell passed away last week. Unfortunately, we found out that there is no weekend access to the sculpture, but we were able to see it from a distance and it was decorated with balloons, flowers, and other items left by fans.

We left the park to bike the last seven miles to our car, and by then I was beyond tired. My legs were totally fatigued and it took some stern conversations with myself in my head to keep me going. I was a little surprised at how much weaker my legs were; I know I haven’t been biking regularly, but I felt like I was in pretty good shape from the Beachbody workouts I’ve been doing in the mornings! Apparently those exercises aren’t helping the leg muscles I need for biking.

After what felt like an eternity, we got back to the park where we’d left the car. In total, our ride on Saturday was 32.8 miles – not bad for a first time out after a long stretch of not riding, but about half of what I’d like to be able to do by the end of summer. Now that the weather’s nicer, I want to spend my weekends on my bike!

Before We Disappear

This morning, my husband broke the news to me that Chris Cornell has died. That in itself was upsetting, because Soundgarden was one of those bands I would blast so loud that my ears would ring later when I was a teenager. When I moved to Seattle, I was excited to be living in a place that had produced such epic bands as Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana. The music Chris has made over my lifetime has inspired me, it’s spoken to me deeply, it attached itself to memories of moments in my life. But then I found out that Chris Cornell apparently took his own life, and that makes me even sadder still.

Sometimes I think that this world is too cold and unfriendly for sensitive, creative people. I know there are times where it feels like far too much for me; when I feel like I don’t want the things I’m supposed to want, that I’ve strayed from a clearly marked path off into the seeming chaos of the surrounding forest. Most of the time, I’m okay with that. But there’s another side to it: being this way means that I feel things deeply, and sometimes that’s very overwhelming. Like this morning, when I held back tears because I saw two raccoons along the side of the road that had been hit by cars. I had looked away as quickly as possible so as not to see the details of what had happened to them, but the fact that they had been violently killed made me so sad. It always does. So I can understand how others would feel this way. Would feel like going on for even one more day is an impossible task. I understand.

Five months ago, a dear friend of mine took his own life. This weekend I will be attending a celebration of his life, a life so incredibly worthy of celebrating. We will be remembering yet another creative, beautiful soul who for whatever reason felt that this world was just too much, or that he was not enough, or both. I will never know his motivation, I only know that I will never stop wishing that he could still be here. My feelings and emotions as I remember him mix and intertwine with how I feel about the loss of Chris Cornell. It seems wholly unfair that the people who make this world so much better and brighter are the ones who feel driven to leave it.

This life may be crazy and at times it’s damn hard, but it’s all we’ve got. Both Chris Cornell and my friend made my life so much better for touching it, and when it’s my turn to leave the world I hope I can do so knowing it’s better than it was before I got here.

 

Reclaiming My Optimism

I haven’t been doing much writing lately, mostly because over the last few weeks I have been in a funk of epic proportions. I suspect my mood was mostly due to the fact that the weather in the Northwest has pretty much sucked since November, and I am so sick of cold weather. I readily accept that winters are tough here: the days are very short, and very gray, and very gloomy. The weather is cold and damp. But usually, by mid-March we will have some hints of spring and a promise of warmer weather. As day after day passed without even breaking sixty degrees, I began to despair of ever enjoying being outside again.

Thankfully, the first week of May brought with it some warmer, sunnier days (and even a thunderstorm!), and it has started to feel like Seattle may have summer after all. My spirits rose with the temperatures, and I started feeling better. I also started feeling like I needed to rediscover things that keep me feeling optimistic and happy, so that I can hold onto feeling better even if the weather doesn’t hold.

One of the things I love the most about my office is that it’s located directly next to a trail that runs beside a little creek. I love walking that trail. There are frequently ducks and geese by the creek, and occasionally I’ll see a nutria or a little turtle who likes to sun himself on a tree branch that drops down into the water. I hate being cold and had all but abandoned my walking ritual, but last week I decided I needed to re-commit to it. Not only does fresh air make me feel cheery, but the breaks from my desk are a necessity.

Speaking of my desk, I got new photos printed to display at work. Looking at photos of my husband, our fur kids, and our families reminds me of why I work hard when I’m feeling stressed at the office. I hadn’t put out any new photos in quite awhile (a framed one of Bill and I was actually the first photo anyone took of us together!), so I swapped out some of the older ones with new ones from our wedding.

Aren’t we a good-looking group?

I also added some newer photos of the cats, including a really cute one of our newest baby, Ernie.

Ernie Monster!

I also decided I needed to resume writing in my Gratitude Journal. What better way to brush off a lousy mood than to sit and think of things that make life good? My journal has evolved a bit since I started writing it; currently, I write down three things I’m grateful for that day and three wins. The wins can be anything from merely getting out of bed to a major accomplishment like completing a stressful project. The point is to remind myself daily that I have a lot in my life to be thankful for and that I am accomplishing things, even if those things are small.

Got any other tips for shaking free of the blahs? Feel free to leave them in the comments!

 

 

 

An Open Letter to the People Who Ask Me When We’re Having Kids

An Open Letter to the People Who Ask Me When We’re Having Kids:

Since my wedding last month, you have taken to asking me when my new husband and I plan on adding a baby to our family. You probably don’t notice that this question makes me a little uneasy.

We see each other often – by the coffee maker in the mornings, in meetings, in passing in the hallway. Let’s be honest, we probably see each other more during the week than we see our own families. And so I know you aren’t trying to pry when you ask me about my plans to expand my family. I realize you have good intentions. Believe me, you aren’t the only one asking. I think a personal record is being asked by three separate people during one workday.

To answer your question, children are not in the cards for us. You may want to interject here, to ask me my reasons and to try and overcome them. I do have my reasons, but they are my own, and there’s really no productive reason to go into them here.

The thing is, I wish with every fiber of my being that you would not ask childless women this question, and am requesting that you consider refraining from this line of questioning in the future. I’m not asking this for myself necessarily, but for the women who desperately want children but cannot have them. When you ask me when I’m having kids, it makes me feel uncomfortable. But when you ask a woman who is struggling with infertility when she’s having kids, you’re reminding her of a heartbreaking challenge in her life that hurts her deeply. When you ask her this question, you only see the plastered-on smile. What you don’t see is that she goes to the bathroom and locks herself in a stall. You don’t hear her sobs, because she’s mastered the art of crying silently to herself. You don’t see how much your seemingly innocent question is tearing her apart.

I cannot even begin to describe you some of the crazy situations I’ve been in when someone decided to demand of me when I’m “going to get knocked up” (and yes, it’s been phrased this way…crazy, right?). I’ve been asked in the middle of a staff meeting, by strangers at a bar, by people I met in the pool on my honeymoon. Quite frankly, it’s embarrassing to be asked such a personal question in such a public environment. Please keep this in mind, and do not put women on the spot like this. It makes us feel SO awkward.

I hope you can appreciate that family planning is a personal matter. I can assure you that if a woman does want to discuss it, she will initiate the conversation and tell you all about it! But for a lot of us, we would prefer to have our teeth drilled without Novocain than to be faced with that question, so please respect our privacy and do not ask us. Instead, ask me how my kitties are doing – that’s a question I’m always happy to answer!

 

3.11.17

The last month has been delightfully busy and fun and life-changing. Surrounded by family and friends, Bill and I tied the knot on March 11th. The ceremony was perfect. Our dear friend Jamie officiated, and even though I had practiced the vows she so beautifully wrote over and over I still found myself emotional and a little teary-eyed (thankfully, she knows me well enough to inject well-placed humor just as I needed to laugh!). Our wedding was followed by a reception that was so perfect I can hardly believe it was a day in my life.

In short? Our wedding day really was our Best Day Ever. I loved every second, would not change a thing. Our wonderful venue, Urban Light Studios, captured highlights of the day here on their blog (the pictures are stunning!).

We enjoyed a six-day honeymoon in beautiful Cabo San Lucas, soaking up the sun and warm weather. We fell into a comfortable routine of lounging on our balcony before strolling downstairs for breakfast, then returning to our room to relax for awhile until we were ready to make our way to the pool. We spent warm afternoons poolside, protected by the shade of umbrellas and refreshed with mojitos. In the evenings, more often than not we elected to order room service and eat our dinner on our balcony, watching the ocean and feeling the evening breeze on our faces. It was bliss.

We are back in Seattle now, and though it is far from warm and sunny here, it always feels good to get home. We’ve settled back into a routine, getting up early to work out before rushing off to work, catching up with friends, carving out time on the weekends to relax and enjoy each other and our kitties.

I knew that I would love being married to Bill, but I honestly didn’t expect our relationship to feel any different. It does, though; we’ve entered this new phase of our journey through life together and it has strengthened our bond even more. Using the word “husband” to describe him is still foreign and exciting to me. I’m in awe that I found this loving, selfless, smart, and sweet human who sees the very best and worst in me and loves all of it. I’m grateful every day for this beautiful life we have together and for all we have planned for our future.

 

Pixie Cut FAQ

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I cut my hair from a chin-length bob to a short pixie cut at the beginning of the year. With my wedding coming up, I wanted to have cute, fun hair, and I truly love rocking a pixie.

I’ve been alternating between pixie and bob cuts for the last few years, and I think it’s safe to say that long hair is NOT for me and I will not be sporting Rapunzel-esque locks anytime soon. Short hair is so stylish and flattering, and I love having a hairstyle I can play around and have fun with! Since my hair grows out quickly (I generally have to get trims every 4-6 weeks), I never feel limited from trying a new cut or color. If I don’t like it, my hair will grow out!

Since I’ve gotten a ton of questions about my hair since getting it cut, I thought it would be fun to write a FAQ post to answer them all in one spot. Please feel free to comment and add more questions, I’ll answer them in a future post!

-What’s your favorite part of having short hair?
Wearing my hair short makes me feel stylish and beautiful! It’s definitely a confidence-booster.

-Who cuts your hair?
Andrea at Ombu Salon in Edmonds. She is the BEST and I adore her!

-How often do you get your hair cut?
Generally, every 4-6 weeks I’ll need a trim. My look can literally go from stylish to furry practically overnight!

-How often do you wash your hair?
Every 2-3 days, depending on my workout schedule (I always have to wash it on cardio days, because I get crazy sweaty!)

-What are your favorite styling products?
I absolutely adore Ion Dry Texture Spray Wax, Oribe Superfine Hair Spray,  and Bed Head After Party (this protects my hair from heat styling)

-How do you style your hair?
It’s ever-evolving; currently, after washing my hair I run a very small amount of Bed Head After Party cream through my ends and spray the longer pieces of my hair with texturizing wax spray. I comb my hair forward while blow drying, since that’s the way I want the style to go. My bangs tend to get a little bit of a wave in them, so I’ll smooth them with a flatiron. Then I hairspray and go! On non-wash days, I freshen up my roots with a bit of dry shampoo and smooth any strange kinks or waves with my flatiron.

-Is your hair thick or fine?
It’s pretty fine

-How do you describe your cut to your stylist?
I don’t rely on descriptions, I take her LOTS of pictures so I know we’re on the same page! My current cut is Jennifer Lawrence inspired.

This is the photo I showed my stylist of the cut I wanted

-Do you get bored with styling your hair the same way every day?
No way! It’s such a myth that short hair isn’t fun or versatile. I can style my hair lots of different ways and use fun hair accessories. Last weekend I had an appointment to practice my wedding-day hairstyle, and it was as gorgeous as any style we could have created with longer hair!

A few leftover curls after my bridal hair practice appointment

-Are there any downsides to a pixie cut?
Bad hair days are one…there are days when my hair is just not in the mood to do anything I want it to, and I definitely can’t just throw it in a ponytail! On those days, I usually end up pinning back my bangs with cute clips or just wearing a hat.

People’s comments can be a downside, too, although I really don’t care what other people think of my looks. The response I got after cutting my hair was overwhelmingly positive, but one coworker did make me cringe. She saw me in the hallway at the office and said, “You cut your hair!…Oh well, you can wear extensions for your wedding.” It makes me crazy that women still identify long hair with looking pretty! I would much rather rock my cute short cut on my wedding day than wear a head full of fake hair!

-What would you say to someone who is thinking about getting a pixie cut? 
Do it! Short hair really does look good on anyone; just find a stylist who is comfortable with the style you like and who will spend time with you discussing what you like and what you don’t, so they can give you a cut that looks great on you. Remember, hair does grow back, so take the plunge and give it a try!

Nutrition and Fitness – January Check-In

Earlier this month, I wrote about how Bill and I had embarked on the 21-Day Fix as a way to get into the habit of working out more frequently this year. Being more physically active is important to me, and committing to starting my day with a workout seemed like a great way to improve!

So, how’d it go?

It went great…until last weekend, when I missed the last two workouts. Saturday morning, I woke up at 5am (yes, that is an ungodly hour on a weekend!) to get my workout in before Bill and I headed to Seattle to participate in the Women’s March. When my alarm went off, I got up and put my workout clothes on as usual, but I felt terrible. I definitely know what it feels like to wake up groggy, but this was a whole different feeling entirely. My body was telling me that it needed SLEEP. And so I listened, and went back to bed for an hour, and when I woke up again I felt so much more refreshed and energetic!

I don’t feel too awful about having missed Saturday’s workout, because we ended up spending the entire day on our feet. My Garmin logged a total of 16,400 steps for the day! I definitely got lots of exercise on Saturday.

Sunday should have been yoga day, and I really have no excuse for missing that workout. I just plain didn’t do it. I woke up late and we had shopping to do, and I just didn’t make myself do the workout.

I didn’t finish strong, and that bums me out. But I know that even with missing those two workouts, I still did a lot for my health in January than I did during any of the months in 2016. I did get better. I did get stronger.

Bill and I decided that we are committing to another round of 21-Day Fix. I woke up Monday morning feeling energized and ready to re-commit…only to have my Internet connection crash just as I was doing the first move of the workout. By the time we got the connection restored, there wasn’t enough time to finish the workout. I was definitely aggravated, and I felt cranky and low-energy all day. It’s amazing how quickly my body has come to crave those morning workouts!  Tuesday morning, after two days of no exercise, everything seemed to re-align and we were able to begin our next round. Today was our fourth day, and this time, I am going to finish 21 days straight no matter what!

I didn’t lose any weight during our first 21-Day Fix, although I definitely gained muscle tone. I wish I had taken measurements before I started so that I would have a better idea of inches lost – we’ll do measurements this time around! I guess I thought that the workouts would just make the weight fall off of me, but this week I had one of those aha moments where it hit me that I need to start thinking of fitness and nutrition as very different things with different results. I work out to feel good, to build muscle, and to keep my body strong. To lose weight, I need to eat healthy foods and be mindful of my portion sizes.

Last fall, I signed up for Weight Watchers, and at first I was happy on the program. Over time, though, I’ve felt restricted by the plan. The SMART Points calculation is rather complicated, and it was hard for me to predict how many point values a food will have. When I was at the grocery store, I would have to stand and scan the labels of everything I bought before I would buy it, because I did NOT want surprises. Some things had so many points that I could just never have them (a chocolate chip cookie from Panera Bread is 380 calories, which I could easily fit into my day if I were calorie-counting, but those cookies are 17 SMART Points!…and don’t even get me started on the occasional movie popcorn). I found myself omitting days if I knew I was going way over my points. I was also noticing myself picking things that had lower point values, like brands of Greek yogurt, even though I was comparing labels and knew that the brand with the higher point values was better for me to eat. I could have a turkey sandwich on a flatbread for 3 points, but my beloved Shakeology shakes are 7 points.

I tried attending some of the meetings at work, but I didn’t really get much out of them that I couldn’t learn on my own doing research online. I had thought it would be great to be supported in a community at work, but no one really seemed interested in getting to know each other. It felt like a bust. I haven’t been back since the week before Thanksgiving, because I just honestly wasn’t getting the benefit from it.

Last week, I decided to take a break from Weight Watchers and go back to calorie-counting, which is much simpler. When I lost weight in 2012, it was by using Lose It to track my food. I wasn’t dieting or restricting any kind of food, I just counted calories and tracked everything I ate. It worked incredibly well. This time, I’m using MyFitnessPal instead. The app on my phone works better, and there are a lot of foods already built into the tracker so I don’t have to look things up and do a lot of math to track a meal. Because calorie-counting is second nature to me, it’s very simple to keep up with.

I’m going to give calorie-counting a try for the remainder of my 21-Day Fix workouts and see how it goes. Truthfully I’m quite happy at my current weight, and if my body stays the way it is now I’ll be perfectly happy. I do want to be more aware of what I’m plopping in my mouth though!

Overall I’d say January has been a successful month for fitness for me, and while nutrition-wise I definitely have room for improvement, I’m happy to be trying something new and I’m confident that I’m going to find something that works. My plan for this year is to do a fitness and nutrition check-in once a month, so we’ll see where I’m at in February!