The Wandering Samurai

Hi there!

I know it’s been a while, but between work, another surgery and (dun dun dunnnn) the NEW PUPPY, I’ve been quite the busy lady!

IMG_20160706_114635[1]I mean…those EARS! How can you NOT love those derpy-werpy-EARS!!!
AHEM.

Okay…I’m done.

But seriously, though, we were really expecting to get a corgi. We were on about 5 different “waiting lists” for corgi breeders anywhere from Sacramento to Chino Hills to Oklahoma, and there was an indeterminate time frame as to when the little bundle of fuzz would enter our lives….

So one of my favorite things to do with Kurt when I’m really feeling down is go to the pound and play with all the shelter dogs. I had a panic attack that Sunday night and needless to say didn’t get any sleep. So, come Monday, I took a mental health day.
There’s something that’s uplifting about being surrounded by animals. On our way back from Montclair, we decided to go to the Rancho Shelter, which happened to be closed on Mondays…duh. So we made the trek back in the direction we came and decided to go to the Upland Shelter.

Lo and behold…we found a pair of ears….
A super shy, timid little pair of ears.

When we first saw him at the shelter…he was too afraid to even walk. At 4 months old and a stray, he’s never walked on a leash.
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His first night home.

But slowly and surely, he began to trust us…and the silliness began.
IMG_20160611_115321Not sure about car rides…
IMG_20160626_105707Or the very scary cat…

Ice cubes…and ropes…
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Human things…like the bathroom sink and the couch…

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And the bed…-_-‘
0618161114Water…

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The trail…

And eventually he made friends with the cat.

When we expected to get a Pembroke Welsh Corgi, we ended up with a Lab/Belgian Malinois mix (or something-or-other).  We gave a home to a dog that needed a little more love than most, and we ended up with our beautiful wanderer….Ronin.

IMG_20160703_172439[1]I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As always…
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Corgis and Macarons

Well, that’s been quite a day/week/month.

Last weekend I had another emergency surgery, this time on some nasty ovarian cysts that I’m really starting to think was the reason I had all this weight in the first place…either that or I’m losing weight at an alarmingly rapid rate and I should probably mention it when I go in to see my specialist next week…if I haven’t floated away in the wind.

No, seriously, pain medication is no joke. I can’t drive it makes me so dizzy.

You know when you get sick after eating something and never want to eat it again?
I would like to know WHY that had to be Korean BBQ for me???
life-sucksOn the up-side, I’ve been chomping down buckets of Mexican food…
Meet….MOCAJETE…
13087703_10207653504147989_4949380401225288357_nNo, literally, this is a bucket of Mexican food…and yes, that is bacon wrapped shrimp. We might have been able to tackle more than 2/3 of it, but there was that full order of guacamole and chips right behind it that came first.

Date nights rock.

Also, making French macarons at midnight also rocks…because I have a week left off work and my sleep schedule is so whacked out that I can’t possibly go to sleep right now, so I load myself with SUGAR.
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Okay, maybe these won’t be ready for consumption tomorrow (if ever). I’m really not up for making buttercream at midnight.Or ever. Actually the whole reason I think my cupcake business failed is because I hate making buttercream. Can’t I just bake cupcakes without the frosting? Picky customers, sheesh!

Anyway, I’ve been in a bit of a ranting mood lately. Not sure why, maybe it’s the cabin fever?
Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve called and emailed a hundred people all over the country and haven’t YET been able to find a corgi that comes from a good breeder? All I ever wanted was a dog, and now that I have the resources, job and stable life to finally get one, there aren’t any options. I want to cry.

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I’ll be here tomorrow to tell you how my cookie experiment went. And possibly sob over how freaking adorable this dog’s paws are. SQUEEEEEE!

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Whole 30: Day 5

I’m not going to lie…I’ve been in a haze lately. I don’t know if it’s the pain medication for my knee, the caffeine withdrawals or the lack of sugary foods. I’ve just been trying to get through some 10 hour shifts while trying to survive a little bit of a cold and my knee deciding to frequently swell up and feel like someone is stabbing me.

On a side note, I start Sports Therapy next week to (hopefully!) rehab my knee so I can (maybe one day?) run again. This has become a whole to-do, with x-rays and doctors appointments and emailing back and forth to doctors. It’s just frustrating getting hurt.

On the up-side, we are going to go look at an alternative wedding venue next weekend! While we did love Arrowhead, we both decided it was a good idea to look at other places as well, just to get a good idea of what’s possible to do within the next year. I’m also heading down to Fullerton on the 3rd to get fitted for my dress! (I love it!) I never thought I would like anything other than a white dress, but I absolutely adore the (subtle) blush-pink dress I picked out! Can’t wait!!

Back to the Whole 30 Challenge…
Whole 30

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’ve at least lost an inch or two. I know at this point, it’s probably just water-weight, but it feels good to see at least a little progress after months of frustration. It’s been extremely difficult the last couple days at work, because they’re pushing us to work as much as we can the next couple weeks to end the quarter, and that means the QAs are having an all-out feast of stress-foods. I’ve had to turn down cake 3 times this week, brownies once, donuts twice and cupcakes three times. My coworkers now know that Holly is on a “diet” and offering her miscellaneous foods is off the table. It’s actually really sweet. No pun intended.
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I had my first cranky-day yesterday, where in the morning I was annoyed by everyone and everything that crossed my path. My neighbors put up Halloween decorations, I was annoyed. Someone offered to walk my work over to be checked, I was annoyed. Someone interrupted my audiobook, I was…well, you get the point. I was a dragon waiting to attack. Good thing that only lasted two hours, or I probably would have ended up with some pretty ticked off people.

Diet and overtime aside, I came to a realization this week. I had applied for a higher up position than I was at, that I knew I had a really good chance of getting. I did the phone interview, polished up my resume, and put it all out there. It would have been more hours, more work and a learning curve, but it was something fulfilling that I would have fit into nicely. The only thing? I really like my job. I was sad at the prospect of leaving a position I worked so hard to get to, around people I generally enjoy. I feel like I’m in a good place right now, with balance and support, and that it’s probably a good place to stay until I finish school. Sure, there’s drama. What workplace doesn’t have it? But I’ve come to realize that I could stay here, if need be, for a couple years.

So, that’s it for tonight. I’ve got to knock out so I can get my overtime in tomorrow!

25 more days to go of this crazy diet!

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My Whole 30 Challenge

Considering I’ve made it to Day 3 of the Whole 30 plan without crashing and burning because of lack of sugar, chocolate, chocolate, coffee creamer and Starbucks, I thought I would finally blog about another hair-brained weight loss agenda I’m on.

Whole 30

Wait a minute…Before I go into detail, let me rewind back to how this all came about.

It all started Friday. Well, Thursday actually in which I wore some 4 3/4″ heels, but we’re not going to talk about that part and how it basically aggravated my pre-existing bursitis that I got because I wouldn’t.stop.running.DSCN1716

Fast forward a few months later… I stopped running and my knee started feeling better, I mysteriously needed to go to urgent care because my knee was the size of a cantaloupe and hurt like I was being stabbed. After one very painful cortisone shot (as seen as the purple bruise above), I decided I’ve had it and I’m tired of being injured and sick.

The culprit. (The beautiful, 4 3/4

The culprit. (The beautiful, 4 3/4″ suede culprit)

Yup.

The result.

The result.

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Working on Orthopedics for such a long time, I know that weight is one of the biggest factors when it comes to joint problems, along with diet and activity levels. As much as I work at a sedentary desk job, I do really try to get my 3-4 workouts a week, however small.

The answer was clear: my diet is taking control of my life. I needed change.

 I came across the Whole 30 plan, which in a nutshell is Paleo, excluding sugar, legumes, grains, dairy or alcohol. Also, there are no artificial sweeteners, honey or “cheat” foods that substitute junk food for “paleo-approved” treats. It’s cold-turkey, meaning I have to drink my coffee with unsweetened almond milk……did I mention no Pumpkin Spice Lattes? Because that’s probably the thing I’m the saddest about, although I’m probably going to save myself about $100 out of my budget, but…I digress…

I don’t expect to lose a ton of weight doing this plan, (because losing a ton of weight in 30 days is unrealistic and unhealthy) but I want to gain control over my eating habits and cravings, and this seems to be a good way to learn to exercise self-control. I also hope to reduce the inflammation in my knees and get my overall fatigue under control (an possibly drink less coffee…pffft, nope).

So here we go, Day 3 of my Whole 30:

BEFORE!
Age: 29
Weight: 180
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Trouble spots: Belly and thighs

Waist: 39
Hips: 43

I’m really not proud of these measurements, or how I got there. (I was once referred to in my office as the “potluck crasher”) But I am once and for all determined to get it all OFF.

Hopefully, I’ll be tracking my progress here and checking in!

Wish me luck!❤

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Labor Day Weekend

Well, Happy Labor Day weekend to everyone!

It’s been a long couple weeks for me, again, with all the overtime I’ve been working and dealing with wedding plans and figuring out the next year of my life (trust me, there are a lot of things I have to plan for!)

I was scheduled for a yoga session today, but I was exhausted and didn’t feel like rushing and fighting traffic to not get there in time (turns out I wouldn’t have).

Tomorrow, we are starting a juice weekend and are spending the long weekend at home, by the pool relaxing. Not to worry, though, more adventures to come (summer isn’t over yet!)

We got our last hurrah this evening with a BBQ dinner as a treat (it is labor day weekend, as a matter of fact) and now I’m pumped to get everything on track again!

I also started using EveryDollar to track the household spending. This is actually my first month trying it out, along with my nifty envelope system, I think I might have the right combination. We’ll see!

More later on that.

Again, here we go with another tightening-up of the weight loss journey. No pun intended.

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Happy Midnight

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Well, hello there and happy midnight to you!

Okay so I may or may not be up in the middle of the night because of a ligament strain in my ankle and it’s been aching so bad lately that I haven’t really been getting good quality sleep because of it.

That said, I’ve been up kind of working on our office space (aka, the spare bedroom) to make it functional. Emphasis on “kind of” because I’ve been having to stop frequently and ice my ankle. I swear, I’m so injury-prone I need to be put in a bubble.

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Lovely.

But injured ankle or no, I’m looking forward to a lot of plans this weekend. Our 10-year-old niece is coming over to spend time with us, swimming and whatnot. Hopefully we’ll be able to make it out to the Huntington Library on Sunday. It will be Kurt’s first time there, and I’m excited to show him one of my favorite childhood memories and quite possibly favorite places in Los Angeles.

We’ve been on a lot of expeditions lately around L.A., and I probably should start posting them here! (Ya think?) Our weekend usually involves some sort of activity, new food place and  loads of walking/hanging out/having fun. I think I might just start picking up guidebooks for the area to really start seeing what we can do on the weekends.

With all of the overtime I’ve been working, and crazy schedule I’ve had with activities outside of that (believe me, fitting in gym time during the week is becoming a major challenge!), I’ve had to really find time to myself (again, hello midnight!). This weekend will also be my chance to start fresh for the week, take my clean slate and run with it. I am excited to pick up this book this weekend:

Cleaning! Yay!

Cleaning! Yay!

I’ve heard so many great things about this book from other bloggers that I’m looking forward to a good read. (I am completely aware that I’m going to read a book on cleaning, but I am totally going to own the fact that I’m a nerd, so nyah to judg-y people!) I don’t know what else to say, I find a subject interesting, I read a book on it. I LOVE books!

Sidenote: Kurt pointed out to me that I have a problem…I have over 400 books on the Kindle…I’m not even sure how that’s possible, but over the course of 4 years of owning the Kindle, and with the addition of Unlimited, I figure there’s some sort of logic there.

So that’s my plan for this weekend, here’s hoping I get the rest I need to heal up and figure everything out!

Lots of love!
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A Few Thoughts on the Minimum Wage Law

Okay, so this is probably the most political post you’ll ever see on my page because I willingly choose not to engage in debates over the internet. But there is something I really feel like I need to say, and for those of you who disagree, do just that: disagree. It’s just my point of view and I’m not looking to change your mind.

That said, I just want to say: last week Los Angeles raised it’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

I started right out of high school working minimum-wage. At the time it was $6.75 an hour. Due to circumstances, I moved out of my mother’s house and figured out how to make ends meet (note, I ate a LOT of Ramen Noodles and drank a LOT of Kool-Aid.) It was horrible, and borderline degrading, but I lived through it. I took the job as a Clerk at PetCo knowing I wasn’t going to make minimum wage forever, knowing that this was just the start of my life-long contribution to the workforce. I knew that, once the opportunity came along, I was on to the next big adventure.

The next job I had was a Courtesy Clerk at Vons. Man, was that hard work, and it only paid a dollar more than minimum-wage. On this job, I was able to get away from a hairy family situation, move into my own apartment (a studio, in the bad part of town) and start attending school. I worked my tail off, trying to work my way up to the coveted Checker job (which at the time, made a whopping $9 an hour) so I could eat something other than Ramen and Kool Aid for dinner. But I kept going, knowing that my future wasn’t working for the grocery store pushing carts and bagging groceries for the rest of my life.

Several job offers and promotions later, I went through LVN trade school. It was horribly difficult; having to waitress until late night, make my car payments and pay bills while trekking back and forth 60 miles a day, just to better myself.

I didn’t get the nursing job right away. I got my foot in the door at the hospital as a transporter, and worked as a CNA for 4 years. I got my experience, got out, and now I finally work at a relatively calm office job, that has given me the best pay I’ve ever earned. It’s not a six-figure income, no, but it makes things more comfortable than the 10 years I’ve been in the workforce.

Here’s the thing: when the county raised the minimum wage to $15 dollars an hour, it became an insult to my experience and education. Why? I’ve worked the past 10 years to work up to where I am. I grasped at opportunities, and worked for every cent in my raises. When this minimum wage law passed, I now make only a few dollars more than the guy who works at Burger King. I’m not mad at my employer for this, actually, they’ve been extremely generous in offering me a job with security and health benefits. But, you know what? I earned it through hard work and perseverance. I wouldn’t be at the job I have, with the position I’ve taken, without a college degree if I hadn’t stayed the extra hours of overtime (some weeks exceeded 60 hours), put forth my best effort and tried my hardest to show my peers and mentors what I’m made of.

I clawed my way to my mid-level job, working in a position that employs foreign medical graduates, biology majors and RNs, and lot of them continuing their education to go on to something bigger and better one day. No, I don’t have the college degree, yet. But I didn’t qualify for financial aid because for the past 5 years, I’ve made over the $22,000 “poverty line” requirement that aids struggling students in receiving free education. I pay the $45-100 a unit, which some semesters, has had to take a back seat. And you know what? I’m okay with that. Education has helped me take small steps in my journey, but it was my attitude and determination that got me farther that I ever thought I would.

My mentors know that I’m not going to be there forever, that there is the possibility of medical school or physician assistant on the horizon, and they encourage me to shoot for the moon.

You know why? Because I worked, and I continue to work. And I will work until it’s time for retirement, because that’s what I do, and I’m going to do it to the BEST of my ability until then.

To wrap things up, I just need to throw this in there: stop complaining. We live in a culture of pessimists. The “I can’t, do it for me” generation. The generation where we still live with our parents, work at Taco Bell, or Denny’s, or Albertson’s, and can’t see past Friday, because the world is a harsh, harsh place. “We are the 99%” “Student Loan Crisis” “$15 minimum wage” “The little guy can’t make it”.

Here’s some advice, from an anomaly from this generation: Be Positive. Look up, have dreams, move forward. It’s going to get better someday.  If you work hard, put in the extra hours, have a positive attitude, people are going to notice and your life goes from there.

So go ahead, make some lists, have a dream and see where you’ll be in 10 years. It won’t be at minimum wage, I promise.

“Life isn’t about trying to make it through the storm, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”