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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

My First Week on Phentermine

So far, this medication is a miracle. Not a miracle drug, but a miracle for me.

You see, I have a problem with eating too much. I eat healthily 90% of the time. I'm talking chicken salad and greek yogurt and babybell cheeses and miracle noodles. I haven't had fried food in a long time. I eat 99% whole grains and flax seed and oats. And I actually enjoy eating these things... it's not forced on me. It's habit.

But, calories is calories regardless of where it comes from. If you eat more than you body can burn in a day, you will gain weight regardless; and this is where I'm at. I do exercise (cardio/HIIT Mon and Wed and Strength/weights Tue and Thur), but I haven't lost weight.

Sweets are my weakness. The meals that I eat put me at around 1400-1500 calories, when my body burns about 1680 just by being alive. Which would work out well if I wasn't hungry. And sweets will put me over that 1680 mark easily, and at that point all I'm doing is maintaining or slightly gaining.
I tried Belviq, which is supposed to trick your brain into thinking you're full sooner when you eat. It kind of works and kind of doesn't. Unfortunately it doesn't stop my cravings (define: food I will eat regardless of whether I actually feel hungry or not; sometimes even when I'm full) and I hadn't been losing any weight on it. So here comes Phentermine. If it sounds slightly familiar, it should. It's the Phen part of Fen-Phen. The non-dangerous half of the formula. But it's supposedly highly addicting and so you are closely monitored by a physician, and can only be prescribed for 3 months. There can also be some very concerning side-effects, which I luckily haven't experienced.

Phentermine increases production of some chemicals in the body through the adrenal glands that increase your energy (aka your heart rate) and block signals of hunger. And it most definitely works. I've been able to maintain a diet of 1200 calories a day so far. Not only does it block hunger signals most of the day, but makes me full faster (even if I do feel hungry), and it also curbs cravings because I am a satisfied kind of non-hungry, if that makes any sense. 

The only issue that concerns me is that this is not a long-term solution. From the articles and posts I've read, Phentermine is normally given to people who are obese and need to learn better habits. Phentermine will allow people to start eating healthy and exercising so that they can take care of the weight themselves. Due to it being so addicting I will only be on it for 3 months, and then what? I already eat healthy and exercise. Of course I want to lose 30 pounds - 40 is my goal. But can I really maintain this after I'm off the medication? I'm just so hungry all the time, which I think is due to leptin resistance, which I'm not going to get into here, (read about it here. It's a real thing) but I think that's what I'm fighting against. My hope is that with less fat, I won't be fighting the hunger as much.

Right now, I think I will just enjoy the wave of weight loss. I only need to lose 15 lbs to be lower than the lowest weight I've ever been, and I'm looking forward to that tremendously! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Nail Stamping

A couple people have asked me how I do my nails, so this will be my guide/tutorial on everything you need to stamp your nails and make them look pretty without spending a fortune at the salon (I don't know about you, but I don't like people messing with my nails!)

First thing first: I highly recommend OPI nail polish for all your basic needs. They go on thick and generally only need one layer. They also dry pretty darn fast! You will need a clear base coat for sure (base coats are formulated to adhere to your nail. Don't try to save money here by buying an all-in-one. The formulas are different in a base coat as opposed to a top coat.) And you can not do these stamps without a top coat because they can and will scrape off easily. 
I also like Orly nail polishes, but I prefer using them on their own because they come in a lot of wacky and cool colors. Plus they are also thin so you need more than one coat in most cases.

Here are the items you will need (I will use amazon links to make it easy but you can find a lot of this stuff cheaper elsewhere):

Stamper and Scraper - Believe it or not, not all stampers and scrapers are created equal. The scraper pictured here is my favorite. A good stamper will not be too firm and not too soft. It will need to pick up the polish well and form fit to your nail.
I also highly suggest that you "prime" your stamper with a nail file because it will help pick up more polish. The color of the stamper can be important too... if you choose white and you use a lot of white stamping polish, you're going to have a horrible time lining up your stamp when you can't see it!

"Special" nail polish - You may think you can get away with using a regular thick nail polish and you'd be wrong. Trust me, I've tried. Stamping polish is much thicker. This is the brand I use (try ebay). They are small bottles, but they will last you a long time.

Manicure plates - My favorite part! There is so much to choose from it will boggle your mind. [I have read that not all stamping plates are created equal either. Some of them are made so cheaply that the recesses etched into the plates aren't deep enough and won't produce a good stamp. I have bought $2 plates off of and have been fine, but you've been warned!] I have used the round plates before, and they certainly work, but those kinds of designs are mainly little pictures of things like flowers and butterflies. They are hard to line up perfectly. I prefer nail plates that have pictures designed to fit to your entire nail. They usually give enough room for error in case your stamp is a bit off. They also have ones that depict an entire scene and you just pick the part you like and stamp it. I find those a bit odd and haven't bothered with them.

That's it for supplies! Now for the tutorial:

After your base coat dries, paint your special polish into a plate design that you like. Make sure its in there thick; don't be stingy. Scrape off the excess - and scrape it twice (this will insure all gaps are filled with polish). Now work rapidly here - the polish is thin and will dry quickly. Use your stamp and roll it onto the plate, pressing hard. It should pick up most all of the polish. Line the stamp up with your nail as best as you can, and just like on the plate, roll it onto your nail from one side to the other in one fluid move. Its best to have your nail on the table when you do this. Between each nail, you will want to wipe off your stamp and your plate with nail polish remover (please just use acetone. It works so much better for clean up. Also don't use cotton balls for this; you will regret it. Paper towels will work just fine). And that's it! The process seems long and tedious but once you get the rhythm down it'll go quick. 

One downside to full nail stamps is the clean up around the edges. 
I have a manicure pen for this.

One last step before it's all done: the top coat. The stamped polish is pretty much immediately dry, so after you're done stamping all your nails you can paint on the top coat - but one more piece of advice: your top coat brush will literally pull the stamp with it as you apply it. My advice is to carefully and lightly dab the top coat onto your nail. Swipe it as little as possible. Once it dries, add another top coat in the normal fashion. 

All done!

There are so many options here; different stamps to try, different color combinations... the possibilities are endless and will keep you busy for a long time! Plus they look super cool, don't you think? :D

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Great Desk Swap

This whole blog post is going to sound like one big shill, but considering I only have 20-40 readers, it is certainly not! Like Alton Brown, I only "advertise" what I personally use and find really amazing!

Now, first I have to mention that without my new Chevy Sonic Hatchback, none of this would have been possible [alone]. Not only was I able to drive to Ikea and fit two drawer unit boxes plus a 59x29 piece of table top, but I was also able to throw broken desk pieces in there to toss into the dumpster! (more on this in a minute!)

This was my old set up. The things that are inherently wrong with these kinds of desks are: 1. The one shitty "leg" on one side holding everything up. After several moves, it was close to collapsing 2. The backing board, making it nigh impossible to get anything plugged in back there 3. The whole top piece, making desk space very limited. After buying my new computer case (A Carbide 500R, btw - so freaking awesome! A++ 5 star), I could no longer fit it up top and had to put it at my feet, which created its own set of issues) and 4. See that printer waaaay up there? Yeah, if I wanted to do anything with it, I had to grab a chair.

So all of those things, plus the fact that it just looked like shit (don't ever leave duct tape on furniture like that for more than a few hours or you'll regret it) have made me want to replace this desk for a long time. But, with what?

Lifehacker to the rescue. (I told you this post would be shill-y). That link (and pic below) is my inspiration. 

The part that got me was the fact that it was built from Ikea parts, so anyone could do it. Now his is a bit different - for one, he used the white cabinets. But he also used a different top... a kitchen counter made from 100% beech wood, but is also 74" long (and $119). I definitely didn't have 74" to spare. My original plan was to go to Ikea on Saturday, pick up the cabinets, and then go with my dad on Sunday to pick up the counter top and have it cut down to 58".
But, while I was at Ikea on Saturday, I found this: Linnmon Table Top. It was almost the perfect size; 59x29 which was do-able (a bit wide, but not crazy) and only $30!! What a steal! Now, it's not 100% wood, but because I wouldn't have to cut it down, that didn't really matter.

But, before I could even build this thing, I had to put the drawer units together and tear down the old desk. And I do mean tear down literally - it was a floor model so it was glued together. I had to figure out how to rip it apart because I couldn't just take it apart, and be able to throw it all into the dumpster. 

This was by far the hardest part of the whole project. I had to pull out my reciprocating saw (something that I had just bought on a whim at a friend's garage sale not knowing if I would ever need it for anything). Again, this project would not have been possible without it! I literally had to saw through the desk to take it out in pieces!!! Look at what it did to my poor saw!

That's seriously bent, in case you can't tell

But once the old desk was out of the way (Thank you Chevy Sonic for allowing me to pile the pieces in the back and take it to the dumpster! [Which was also very difficult as the dumpster is 4' tall and you can't hold the lid open to throw anything away. Nothing can ever be easy!]) I could now put together the new one. Like my inspiration desk, I bought a cable management piece to hide all my cords and installed that. I screwed the risers into the cabinets (I bought 2" ones instead of 4" ones because I'm short), and just placed the top onto the risers. Badda-bing, badda-bang, all done. 

The table top isn't even attached to the risers... it doesn't need to be. It won't move unless you move it (I know, I couldn't believe it at first either). This is also a blessing, because now if I need to plug in something that has a brick, I can slide the table forward, drop it back there and slide it back. GENIUS. Now, I have my computer case off the floor (no more worrying about static electricity shorting out my PC on the carpet) with easy access to install hardware or plug things in. And also, my printer is accessible! 

Another thing to note besides the fact that I just about doubled my storage space and now have a blank canvas behind me for some awesome art, is the height of the desk. I spent a pretty penny on a DXRacer chair not long ago (I really wanted something that I would never have to replace. Don't judge me) but never found is as comfortable as it claimed. I still sat forward in my chair and didn't feel as though it was giving me any support. Now I know why - my desk was too low and my chair was too high. Now my keyboard is a bit high; it's something I'll have to get used to, but my monitor is the perfect height. It's actually eye level to me, and the natural way to sit in my chair now is to lean back in it, making it a ton more comfortable.

I also have to mention that despite Ikea's reputation for horrible installation directions and confusing pieces of furniture, those two drawer units were some of the easiest things I've ever put together and was easily do-able with one person. They are also very nice cabinets and well worth the cost, I think.

Total cost: $219 not including tax. Well worth it in my humble opinion! 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

I Feel Stuck

I'm not here to put blame on anyone or anything but myself, but I'm feeling very stuck in my life. The thing is, is that I don't want to change it, or I don't care to, and I'm okay with it.
But I'm watching everyone around me advance, and it gives me that stuck feeling.

I'm watching friends of mine find loves, either get married or know that they will, save up money to buy a house; some of them will have children and some of them won't, and I'm still here doing and being the same thing I've always been. And that's where I feel different... I don't want to change my situation because I don't want to necessarily be them. Not only do I not want children or care about having a stupid white picket fence; but I don't want to own a house either.

My point is, it's not that my friends' are buying houses and possibly having children, but it's that they're growing and moving and not being stagnant. 

I know I could change this situation if I wanted to. I know that I could go back to school, get out of the job I'm in (where in a couple of years I will reach my salary cap) and move up a little bit. But I won't. To be honest, I don't have the gumption to change that drastically; to get into massive debt by going to even a trade school, to get more money to pay off that debt. It doesn't seem logical to me. To use up all of my free time to sit in a hole of debt for years. I am comfortable where I am... I make enough to support myself and basically buy what I want in life. The apartment that I live in is very nice and more importantly, close to work/stuff and very secure.

I've spent almost 7 years at Franciscan, now. I've established loyalty with them, as in - fully vested. I'm putting money into their 401k, have money in their 403b (which is inactive right now), gained retirement benefits. The problem with rooting yourself in the healthcare industry as a non healthcare professional, is there are only so many options to move up. Franciscan will help you pay for school if it requires a degree, which means becoming a CNA, LPN, RN, ARNP or physician. I have no interest in this, so they'll be no help. Any school I do will be out of my own pocket.

I'm also not interested in stress. The other day I was stressed at work because Brenda called out sick and I was the only one on phones. There was no clinic, but there was a lot of stuff I had to do. My supervisor tells me that one of her people was sitting in Gig Harbor right now, answering phones and checking in 30+ people all by herself, and looked at me like I was retarded. What she doesn't understand is that stress is different for different people. I don't handle stress well because I'm never stressed. I've never had to build up a tolerance for stress. I don't have children running around my house, and animals to take care of (sans gerbils). I don't often have to make life-altering decisions, or have to deal with a vehicle that only runs half the time. And I don't believe that getting into a position where if I were to make more money - which ultimately means more stress - is for me.

Here's the truth, and if anyone I'm dating reads this, don't fret too hard because this isn't anything I'd make a life-altering decision over: It would be nice to marry into stuff. Not necessarily marry rich, but just find somebody that already has the stuff. The house, the job. The nice stuff. Of course I wouldn't choose one person over another because of stuff; I've already proven that I don't care [about that] with my past relationships. But it would just be nice. Does that make me entitled and lazy? I don't know. Maybe in another couple of years when my raises stop coming, I'll decide to change my course. But I just can't convince myself to do anything about it right now, even though everyone around me is growing. It just makes me kind of sad.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Into the Mind of Anxiety and Shyness

Getting into the mind of someone with anxiety and shyness can be difficult for some people to understand. I'm going to write about this now because I currently have less than an hour before I have to head off to a party.

A party that my boss's friend is throwing at her house.
With about 100 people.
Most of them her family.
And this particular boss is not fond of me.

I'm pretty sure I was only invited because the entire clinic was. It wouldn't be fair to single some of us out, you know?

So anyway, lets delve into the mind of an anxiously [introverted] shy person.

What if I can't find the house? (I'm using google navigation)
Where am I going to park? What's that situation going to be like with 100 people?
What if I get trapped in a space and I want to go home?

Most of the time I freak out about arriving too early, but I'm a compulsively early person because I hate being late. Even though logically I know I should probably arrive a bit later, I will probably be one of the first people there, which will make things even more awkward, especially if none of my other co-workers are there yet. And then my car might get trapped behind someone else's car. It's inevitable.

I'm going to just stand in a corner and not talk to anybody. I'll find Beverly or someone else to latch onto and follow them around so I won't look awkward and lonely being by myself.

I'm wearing my boots for style but I definitely won't be able to stand in them all night.

I hate it when there's nowhere to sit.

Will there be food? I'm probably going to be hungry. I hope I like it. 

I wonder how fancy it's going to be. I'm not a very fancy person.

I just painted my nails and they look very unclean around the edges.

There better not be party games. Oh god.

I can't embarrass myself if I don't talk to anyone. Please don't make me talk to anyone.

I'm going to be meeting my boss's family. This is creepy as f*ck.

Dr. Saffari and Dr. Bidus is going to be there too. Just greeeeaaaaat.

I'm going to need some alcohol to loosen up but I'm driving. So I'm either going to allow myself one drink, or stay there for a really long time.

I wonder how long I need to stay before leaving becomes acceptable.

This isn't going to be a dinner, is it? Oh god.

There better be somewhere to sit.

Where's the bathroom? I'm too embarrassed to ask anyone. But I really have to pee. Why did I drink all that water?

I have to mentally prepare for a lot of people and a lot of cacophony. My brain can't stand cacophony. 

My head hurts.

I'm freaking out about embarrassing myself. I can't even explain how this might be accomplished, but it's 110% likely.

I'm going to be highly anxious and completely dead bored at the same time since I won't be participating in anything or talking to anyone. It's a very strange mix.

Breathe, just breathe.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Orca Experience 5/31/15

Wow, I put this off for a really long time, which isn't like me at all. After all, seeing Orcas was on my not-quite-yet midlife crisis list, and I finally got to see them!

My mother and I had already attempted to see them once before the previous year, and we'd only gotten a glimpse of some Humpbacks, which put whale watching on my spite list. So, with another Groupon at my disposal, we attempted again, this time using a different company. Groupon is filled with deals for whale watching, however most of them start on the San Juan Islands and you first need to get yourself to them which can be a hassle, so I had to find one that starts on the coast instead. This one started in Port Angeles, and we took a 3-hour boat ride up to Friday Harbor. It included a 2-hour layover at the harbor and then a return trip for $50/pp and that was a great deal, especially considering all we got to see.

The only real issue I had was my motion sickness. It doesn't tend to be a problem as long as I can look out a window, but unfortunately we were seated 6 to a table, 3 on each side, and I was on the isle. I tried looking out the window from my position but my brain said that wasn't good enough. I didn't get ill, however, I just felt generally crappy and and dizzy. Another unfortunate issue was that this trip started quite early in the morning and despite having a record-breaking heatwave of a summer, it was only about 60 degrees and the sun hadn't broken through the marine layer yet. Some people braved the cold to be on the outside of the boat but I was not one of them.

On our way up to Friday Harbor we saw a lot of wildlife including a bald eagle and a sea lion. And then, the word came. Orcas. Our boat was the first of the day to spot a pod of Orcas (all the boats of all the companies share information so that everyone can see the whales when they're spotted.) so they were not yet identified. What we knew from general knowledge was that while resident Orcas tend to spread their pod out, transient ones tend to stick in a tight group, which these ones did.

Turns out these were Transient Pod #127 which was also captured (for free! grrr lol) moving along under the Tacoma Narrows Bridge the next day.

I was so stoked to see real Orcas. I did a report on them in high school (had been my plan since day one of joining Marine Biology) and they are one of my favorite animals. Definitely my favorite marine animal.

Anyway, after we got our fill of Orcas, the boat headed to Friday Harbor to spend a couple of hours. Mom and I walked around and found a decent restaurant to eat in, and did a little shopping. Two hours was definitely not enough time!

I think I want to do this trip again. Hopefully next time we'll run into playful Orcas that are jumping out of the water. That would be epic!

Last Day in Alaska Night 3

I'm going to try to fit the last bit of my trip into this one blog post. Man, I've never written so much about a trip; not even New York City! If you need to catch up, here are some links:

We had decided to check out the International Ice Scrupling Festival at night because we heard that was a cool time to go with all the pieces lit up. They weren't wrong. I'm glad we picked night time to go. 

I think we all (there was a small line of people that Mom and I were following through) thought that there was a walkable path where all the super big sculptures were being created (none of them were done yet - sad pandas) that turns out to have been an off-limits area as they were using cranes to unload large blocks of ice.


So, after my hands officially froze off, we headed back to our hotel for a decent night's sleep.

Our plane doesn't come until the evening the next day and we had nothing officially planned, so I was sorting though all the little pamphlets and found an interesting shop called the Knotty Shop (pun surely intended), but it was made of all these knotty pine logs. It was in Salcha, which was probably 40 minutes from Fairbanks, so we head down there. Turns out they are closed on Mondays (I'd spite this place but I never want to visit Fairbanks again lol). FINE. BE THAT WAY.  We drive all the way back up, and I'm randomly driving through streets in Fairbanks like I know my way (but it's not that easy to get lost) and we stop at this bowl shop that's super cool and I was able to knock some more things off my must-have list:
Elk, Caribou, and Reindeer meat. No moose though. Damn!

We spent a bunch of time shopping in Fred Meyer and Walmart for souvenirs. Fairbanks is an industrial town... I don't think their tourist rate is that high... we never saw any small dinky curio shops around town, really. And still, not one shot glass said Fairbanks. Luckily, however, I'd caught that a gift shop at the Fairbanks Airport (Lolz, the only gift shop) was selling them and that was my last resort. So, after returning our truck to Enterprise, they dropped us off super early at the airport and I got my shot glasses (thank goodness!).

And that was it. We took our flight home and I was never so happy to be comfortably warm.

Add caption

Monday, August 22, 2016

Star Trek: Discovery

So recently, there was a teaser drop about the new Star Trek series coming out on CBS: all access. And like many of you that I read in the comments, I am severely disappointed in what they have chosen for it to become.

Star Trek: Discovery, in case you haven't heard, is going to be set in a time *before* TOS.

First of all, WTF? 

Second of all, WTFF??!
(the first F stands for flying)

Okay, I am a huge Star Trek fan. I grew up watching the show. But I will be the first to admit that I never got into Star Trek: Enterprise and actually refused to watch it. Why? Continuity. 

I know, I know. I like Red Dwarf. How can I scream about continuity? Because Star Trek has it. In fact, I think they pride themselves on it.
The first time I saw the Starship Enterprise *before* TOS, I screamed at the flat panel screens and the apparent advance of technology. I also screamed at the stupid Vulcan for being on the ship with all the humans. Maybe she was just a liaison; after all, I believe Spock was the first Vulcan in *Starfleet* not the first Vulcan on a Federation vessel. But still. Back in TOS, Vulcans were like, a new concept. McCoy didn't even know how to treat him medically, let alone how to act around his logic. I'm not even going to go into all the aliens they ran into that never ended up appearing in TOS.

WTF is this? It looks like a Klingon Battle cruiser and the Enterprise 
had some kind of lovechild. 

Yeah, the new movies kind of veer off in the same direction as Enterprise, but at least they have a split timeline to blame it on.

The reason I bring up Enterprise is point #2: It didn't last. The fans hated it. In Star Trek, 7 seasons seems to be the golden number. If you get to 7, end it on a good note and be happy. Enterprise lasted 3.

So of course, lets make a new series and peg it *before* TOS. It's sure to be a hit. -_-
Like, how far back are we going now? The moon landing? C'mon. Where are we putting these people on the timeline? Before Enterprise or after? And I swear to God if those ships have flat screen holo technology I am going to scream. 

They already mentioned that there were going to be "a lot more aliens than all the other Star Trek franchises." Great, so again with the lack of continuity. You know what I liked about TNG, DS9 and even sometimes Voyager? When they went to Starfleet Command and walked around, most of the aliens you saw, you recognized. Oh, there goes a Bolian. And here's a Ferengi (aww, more are joining Starfleet, that's nice). And occasionally you'd see something you'd not seen before but that was okay because you recognized the mains. The aliens that made the Federation what it was to begin with. And now what do you get? Shock value. All these writers want to do is stick a bunch of random creatures on your screen for a split second to show off their awesome CGI creativity and then you never see that species ever again. What is even the point?

I mean, I love Jeffrey Combs, but come on.

The other issue is how they are deciding to air the new series. They are going to put the first episode on CBS to get yow hooked, but then every subsequent episode they are putting on their streaming service called "All Access" which costs I think $7.99 a month. They are touting it as kind of the HBO of CBS; where they will be allowed to show "a lot more" than on a basic network channel. Yeah, no. Not worth it. Not for one show.

I honestly think this series is going to tank, and I am already depressed about it. Star Trek never seems to die (thankfully). New fans replace old fans and the gift just keeps giving, even though we haven't had a series run in over 10 years. Us fans have waited a long time to see if someone would begin again with a new series, and now that its actually coming to fruition, I feel mostly disappointment. I'm a little hopeful that it will turn out better than we all think, but I, for one, won't be paying to watch it, no matter how good it is. Let's just hope it's good enough.

What do you all think? Let me know in the comments!

Friday, August 5, 2016

All Good Things...

Sometimes you can kind of see it coming, so it doesn't really come as a shock, but damn if it doesn't still hurt, especially when you put 1-1/2 years into the relationship and think that maybe, if you just hang in there a bit longer, it'll all work out. After all, he's a great guy, and great guys don't come along everyday, you know?

I can be loyal to a fault. I was loyal to my marriage a good long time. Probably much longer than any other person would be in my situation. I hung in there. I tried, I stressed, I hurt. He would have rather lived in the toxicity of our marriage than end it. At least David had the decency to tell me that he thought we didn't mesh. I would have hung in there and waited for him. Waited until he was finally down to a decent 8 hour shift, or until he got better days off; something. But I had already been waiting a long time. He was having difficulty making me a priority in his life; partially from the stress of everything and partially because he didn't have the feelings for me that he thought he should have by now.

David really is a decent human being. He will give you the shirt off his back. He's the most understanding person I have ever met. And he will truly listen. But, he has anger issues, and coupled with his size and strength, and kind of his general appearance, I could admit that I was a little afraid of him. Warranted or not, it actually gave me a great deal of respect for the man; something I severely lacked with Justin. And I mean that in a sense of instead of getting angry or snapping at something when he snaps at me, I back off. I might cringe a little, in fact. But I considered this healthy because if my first instinct is to defend myself and snap back, it only makes problems worse. This is how I felt.

I wanted to know who I was as a human being. Was I this angry, irritated, always nagging, always defensive person in a relationship, or was I not? Was it Justin that had turned me into this, or was this who I was? And no. Over the 1-1/2 years that we dated, I can honestly say that I am not this vicious person. It was the toxicity of the relationship that made me. I knew I could be better. I just wish I could be better with David.

I'm sad, but I'm not depressed. I kind of felt this was coming for a while. It feels as though our relationship was made with hundreds of strings woven together into a rope. And over time, each strand comes loose and falls away. And it fell away so slowly that you would barely notice, until you realized that there were only a few strands left holding the whole thing together.

We will remain friends. I made it perfectly clear that I would still be there for him if/when he needed me, and he would do the same. That's all I can really ask; to have a relationship end with no animosity, no crazy angry sprees. It may be difficult at first to stay as a friends, but like the strings, we were already almost there anyway. And that's okay.

Go Shinedown. Always giving me a song to fit every situation

Saturday, July 30, 2016

My Personal Review of Star Trek Beyond

Me personally, I don't care about spoilers, but I know most of the public does; passionately. So it's hard for me to gauge what is a spoiler and what isn't. I will say that this review will not contain plot spoilers and things of that nature, but more of the character aspect of the film. So, fair warning!

I need to discuss this while it's still fresh in my mind off of just seeing the film. Now, I love Star Trek. I grew up with it. Discovered it on TV on my own in junior high watching new episodes of DS9 and going backwards from there; TOS being the last frontier for me since it was made before my time.

I honestly had no issues with the first two films (believe it or not, missing the lens flares in the 3rd installment here!!!) And I've read articles about people complaining that it was "nothing like" the show, not Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future, and people getting angry at Chris Pine for saying that action is more important than character interaction when it comes to films. Well, we are talking about action films here; Star Trek is not a drama. It's not a comedy. It has those aspects, but it is an action film at heart.

There is much more character interaction in this film, and yes, it's nice. It makes it feel much more like the show for sure. But... I'm not sure I liked it. I don't know, it's weird for me. I get it. But maybe it's because I know these characters already. I already know how close knit they are. I was perfectly fine with the lack of "character development" in the first two films because the films were still good. However, the writers/director did a good job in making the personal characters part of the plot of the base movie. The characters were separated and each scene played into their individual strengths. (One negative here - I watched World of Warcraft and Jeremy Jahns saying that movie jumped around too much bugged me because this movie is actually really bad about it!) On a positive note, Anton Yelchin (Chekov) got a lot of screen time. Much more than I think any Chekov in the history of the franchise, and it's really fitting tribute for him.

So, this movie felt like watching a highly budged two-parter of a Star Trek episode. For lovers of the series, that is very high praise. After all, just about every other Star Trek movie made feels the same way. But, maybe it was the tone. At the core, it's an action film. It's got the quick movements, the high energy music, the scene jumping, the fast pace. When it slows for a character scene, it feels... off. Maybe I think it's too late. The first two films never stopped for this, and now it feels out of place. Maybe it's because we couldn't establish these specific characters to a series prior like we could with all the other movies, so we don't really "know" them, as it were, and it feels weird to shove it in now.

If you try to compare this movie to what most fans would consider the best Star Trek movie made, which is First Contact, it's completely off kilter. First Contact was probably 70% drama and 30% action. There was a lot of down time in that movie, remember? Helping Cochran build the ship. Data's weirdness with the Borg Queen. Running around the Enterprise while it's full of Borg who do nothing but ignore you until they consider you a threat. The action was actually very minimal. Even during the scene with Picard out there at the deflector dish - it was more suspense than action.

This scene was actually agonizingly slow, because they were in space!

With these new Star Trek Films, action is defined as "shit that happens so fast that we can blur it and spend less on detailed special effects". Star Trek First Contact feels slow in comparison. So I think Chris Pine is right in a way. When you film a movie like how the new Star Treks are filmed, character development seems completely out of place and almost unnecessary.

Don't get me wrong, I still liked the movie. But was it my favorite of the three? Not by a long shot. I think i'll only buy it on Blu-Ray for the fact that I have the other two. Plus, the special features and behind the scenes stuff is always cool.

On an unrelated note - Star Trek is beginning to get messed up by adding a thousand new alien species we only see in fleeting shots that were never in the original series'. And I know it's a different timeline here but it's still the past. [Plus they've established that even though its a different timeline, a lot of the same events still occur, just in different ways. AKA: Khan.] The Federation should not be this advanced and far reaching for this many unknown aliens to appear when in TOS all we were friendly with were basically the Vulcans. It actually bugs me quite a bit. At this point in time, their advancements far exceed even Star Trek Voyager. I feel a bit perturbed.

But anyway, I want to know what you guys think! If you saw the movie, how did you like it? Agree, disagree? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Warcraft Movie Review

I don't do a whole lot of these, but I really wanted to pick this one out for a couple of reasons. Number one is because the critics are hating on it, and number two is because I am not really a Warcraft fangirl. I kind of am only because I play World of Warcraft, but I'm not all up into the lore like a lot of fans and haven't really followed any of the story lines in game (aka: you have a quest for me? No time to read it! Accept and point me in the right direction!)

I have to say that Warcraft the movie actually helped me understand the game better. There is so much lore surrounding the World of Warcraft (The game Warcraft is mainly about the war against the Orcs) that it's hard to keep track of it all and you can get buried in everything. So, obviously the movie only touches on the war with the Orcs, but there's a lot more in it than I even realized. However, the best part about it is that you don't have to be a Warcraft or WoW fan to watch the movie; the only references I got were basically names and places that I recognized from the game.

I follow Jeremy Jahns on youtube and I think a number of his reviews are spot on, but no so much for Warcraft. He mentioned something about the movie jumping around a lot, and it does, but not so much that you can't keep up with it. The director wants you to know all this stuff is going on at the same time, so it jumps from point to point and I didn't mind. One thing I did mind though, was the abundance of CGI, like way more than they needed. It was good CGI, no doubt, but does everything have to be fake, even things that exist in real life? Another thing that frustrated me was Garona. I'm sure Warcraft fans know exactly who and what she is, but for us uninitiated, the writers never explained her, and I'm not sure if that was on purpose.

[Spoiler alert I guess??: WoW Wiki describes her as: Garona Halforcen is a half-orc[1] half-draenei[2] quest giver for the Horde in the Twilight Highlands. Like most others, she believed she was half-human until the truth was revealed to her.[3] Which, on the one hand, makes sense I guess, if the movie was trying to be true to the game, to look nothing like an Draenei so no one could guess that that was her other half. However, this doesn't follow with the story of the movie, where we find her already an adult living on Draenor and she follows them through the portal to meet the humans for the first time. Considering they shared their planet with the Draenei and not humans, it would be plausible to believe that she was half Draenei. But of course, the movie does nothing to help the audience guess. You see Dranaei in cages for half a minute and only know who they are if you play the game, and the Orcs mention nothing about sharing their planet with another race.]

That was the most nitpicky thing I had to say about the movie, though. Khadgar was by far my favorite character. I found him adorkable; I loved everything about him, and I knew nothing of the history of Khadgar in the game.

I have a three tiered rating system. It is:

1. So bad I won't even bother torrenting it

2. Good enough to torrent and take up valuable HDD space forever

3. So good I will buy a blu-ray of it (very rare)

For reference purposes, Jurassic World is a rare one I would buy on blu-ray because I loved Jurassic Park like, insanely as a child, and there was so much fan-service I was basically squeaking throughout the whole movie at the theater.                                                                                                      
Warcraft almost got there, I'd say a 2.5. Hoping and waiting for a Lich King sequel. That would kill in theaters, I'm sure.

                                                                                                                 Created by Rachel Fields

Did anyone see it? What did they think? Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Whole30 Completion

OK, here we go. All done with the Whole30. Got myself weighed with one of those fancy scales at the dietitian's office that includes body fat % and water etc. I'll get to that in a bit. First of all, I want to run down the list of all the things Whole30 was supposed to do for me besides the weight loss, since that's technically a secondary effect. There's an extremely long list of things it's supposed to help (most of them hinging on whether it was an issue for you in the first place, like joint inflammation) I'll just focus on the things I wanted to see improvement in.

1. TARGET: An (Unhealthy) Relationship with Food
    "The Whole30 rules are carefully crafted to quash your cravings (specifically for
sugar and empty carbohydrates), identify your food triggers, and teach you to find
other sources of comfort and reward, so that you are in control of your food, and not
the other way around."    

Did it do this? I'd say yes, mostly. I have a horrible time with willpower. The only times I can say no to a piece of birthday cake is when I have a reason not to (like when I'm on hCG or Whole30). I missed only 2 things majorly in the last 30 days. That was creamer in my coffee and gum. I also kind of missed bread. Not for the sake of bread, but for the versatility of making sandwiches! I've stopped using artificial sweeteners like crystal light in my water, so that's a plus. It's working out pretty good.

2 .  TARGET: Sleep
       I have trouble staying asleep. Sometimes I have trouble falling asleep, but this is directly related to whether I end up napping on the couch in the evening, which is correlated to my energy levels, which I will mention next. Did it help my sleep? No. But I don't think diet has anything to do with my sleep. My issue is my body being unable to regulate my temperature. I have to freeze out my bedroom in order not to wake up at 2am bustin out like I have a fever. If I can get into that sweet spot between 58-60 degrees, I usually sleep pretty well.

3. TARGET: Tiger blood
     This is what the program calls this burst of energy you get when your body finally realizes that fat is a good source of fuel and it slow burns it so you have energy all day long. Did I get this? Definitely not. This is disappointing, because my energy levels were the biggest thing I wanted to improve. Honestly though, it may have helped and I hadn't noticed, because this program had me prepping, cooking, and cleaning my life away. I literally had no time to do anything else in the evening. It was draining. So maybe I DID have energy, and I feckin' used it up doing that crap. But I still took long naps on my couch. Which caused me to make it hard to fall asleep at night, which cut the amount of sleep I got and made me tired during the day... vicious cycle, which happens regardless of my diet. I did fine without coffee, I only drank it when I had a crappy night's sleep the night before. But I wasn't bouncing up and down with energy like I thought I would; which sucks.

4. TARGET: Improved nails
     A-HA! Something that worked! I was having horrible peeling layers on my nails that I couldn't stop no matter what I did. It was so frustrating, and I couldn't use nail polish because the acetone would make it worse. So, something in my food choices has drastically improved my nails. What it is I have no idea, though. Could be increased intake of Vitamin E, or my protein sources (I'm usually not a consistent meat eater). I know that I was able to stop taking my Iron supplement because I was getting enough in my diet, so that's awesome. I didn't see any improvements in my skin but my skin isn't necessarily "bad" to begin with. Hair would probably take 6 months to notice any difference. But, even with washing all my dang dishes by hand due to needing to use them constantly, my nails are still perfectly healthy. It's a miracle. 

So, after all that, what about my weight?!



2 lbs lost.

Okay, it's not as drastic as I'd hoped, but to be honest, anything is better than nothing. I struggled with this stagnant weight not moving for months on end regardless of exercising, and my body finally let go and I lost a couple of pounds. Now, not all the 2 lbs was fat, some of it was water, and fat-free mass (which is other stuff), but still. It's movement. That's what matters. And that's eating until I'm full. That's eating a lot of fat. Mayonnaise, and tartar sauce, and ranch dressing. 

Fat is not your enemy. Fat helps keep you satiated. It has stopped me from being hungry between meals. It has stopped me from constantly thinking about food; about that cake in the break room. It stops me from eating when I'm not hungry because YES - THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BEING FULL AND BEING SATIATED. I can not overstate this enough.  It's the difference between bored eating, and not caring that you have chips in your cupboard. So, I have learned a valuable lesson through all of this. I'm not going to avoid all fat. Obviously eating brisket all day long is not ideal - but I'm talking about dressings, sauces, lean meats. Don't avoid the fat. Use it to your advantage!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Whole30 Update

I'm pretty sure I'm losing weight! This is cray. I'm not allowed to check though, because the creators believe that weight loss is a secondary effect of the plan and figure that people will get discouraged if they're not dropping any weight and quit, and they don't want that. Neither do I, but I'm used to abstaining anyway. I've had this messed up mentality that I don't want to see what I weigh because I'll be disappointed, so I just don't ever weigh myself.

I'm almost done with 3 weeks out of 4. I haven't experienced this so-called "tiger blood" yet, which is what they call it when your body figures out that fat is a good source of fuel and starts burning it. It's a constant, all-day burn, as opposed to sugar that lights up like gasoline and then it's gone. I'm not lethargic at least, so I've noticed a slight peak, which is nice.

The food is really good, but it's really taking up all my time prepping, cooking, and cleaning constantly. The hardest part is having to make your own sauces because everything they sell in stores has sugar in it. I can't even find horseradish sauce without sugar and it should just be grated horseradish -_-.

Sweet potatoes have saved me. I'm so glad that I like them because they are basically in every recipe they offer. They use them as a sweetener and a binder. They're in everything from the salmon cakes to the BBQ sauce (yeah, I know. It's weird. I'd suggest skipping that recipe). 

I'm constantly making sweet potato oven fries, and using their garlic aioli for a dipping sauce. Add that as a side with a protein and you've got a meal that won't just fill you up but satiate you. There's a big difference. I've been focusing on nothing but calorie intake and trying to keep it healthy, and I lost sight of hunger. My nutritionist just kept telling me to go off and do something and ignore the hunger but it was really hard. Now I'm not counting calories at all, which is very nice. I eat until I am full, and I stay full until my next meal. I don't think I've ever felt this before - not on purpose anyway. It's like magic. 

I will share one recipe with you guys, one that I absolutely love. It's called Mexican Tuna. I eat it for breakfast because I can prep it a couple days ahead of time and it doesn't need to be reheated (most breakfast-y items are off-limits for the Whole30... their mantra is anything can be eaten for breakfast, even dinner! I'm getting used to it.)

Mexican Tuna boats

PREP TIME: 10 minutes
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
2 cans (5 ounces each) tuna, drained
3 green onions, thinly sliced
Juice of 1½ limes
½ jalapeño, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
1 head endive or romaine, separated into leaves

IN a medium sized bowl, mash the avocado with a fork, leaving it slightly chunky.
Add the tuna to the bowl, flaking it apart with a fork, and mix to combine with the
avocado. Add the onions, juice of 1 lime, jalapeño, cilantro, chili powder, salt, and
pepper and mix well.
SPOON the tuna mixture into the endive leaves. Sprinkle a dusting of chili powder.
Squeeze the juice from the remaining ½ lime over the top and serve.
MAKE IT A MEAL: While there are some greens in this dish, you’re lacking serious
veggie power. Try serving the lettuce wraps with Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Gazpacho,
or raw carrots, bell pepper strips, and celery with Avocado Mayonnaise for dipping.

So to save the headache of making boats or a wrap, I just chop up the romaine and mix it in with the tuna. It may seem like a lot of food, and trust me, it is. But I eat a serving of this with sweet potato fries in the morning and I am riding on a full belly all morning. It's great.

I'll make sure to give you guys an update when my Whole30 experience is over! 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Alaskan Adventure (Day 3)

Alaska Adventure Day 1
Aurora Adventure Night 1
Chena Lodge Day 2
Aurora Adventure Night 2

Another really long, cold night, another day to sleep in late. Because we had gotten a late start yesterday, we needed (Or rather - I needed) to head back up to Chena Lodge to finish out all the things to do up there.

That day, I had resolved to ride in a dog sled. It hadn't been on my list when I was originally planning, but I quickly thought about how unique it was to this region and it would probably be my only chance. So I had to do it. No matter what. #Determined

Mom was pretty much drained at this point, though. In fact, all she wanted to do was sleep in the car while I did my Chena exploration. I was pretty disappointed, and I tried to convince her that this would be her only opportunity, but she had refused so I let it go. I went into the Lodge to sign up for the dog sled rides, but it turns out that guests get first priority and the only available spot wasn't until 4:30 that afternoon. It was already past 11 and I didn't want to wait that long, so I left dejected. However, my next stop was to check out the Chena Hot Springs.

I had brought my bathing suit with me and had every intention of getting in. It was the perfect day to do so - bright and sunny, (which it had been the whole trip - I get so lucky with these things) and probably 10 degrees outside (you wouldn't think that would be a plus, but in this case it definitely was).

After paying their fee and changing in the changing room (using a bathroom stall of course [horrible high school flashbacks]) I was already pretty warm because the changing room was humid as all get-out. It actually felt good to get out of that humidity and make my way down the ramp and into the water.

It was hot. Like, too hot. Not scalding-my-skin hot, but as the heat warmed my core, even the part of me out of the water was unbothered by the cold. I was to the point where I had to find a bit of shade from a rock outcropping and raise my arms above the water to cool off. I hadn't put on any sunscreen, and I knew just standing there in the sun with the reflection from the snow would burn me to a crisp if given the chance. That didn't give me much opportunity to enjoy the springs because there was really no where to sit. The water was chest deep when walking, and I didn't want to wet my hair because then I'd be really cold afterwards. So in the end, I probably only stayed in there for about 15-20 minutes, and I was way too hot to enjoy it much longer anyway.

After changing back into my clothes (which was the most insufferable part, because my core was burning up and I had to put on 20 layers for the temps outside) I woke mom up and we started to drive back. I was still determined to get in a dog sled ride however, so we needed to find something today. I cursed my lack of internet service out here. Alaska had Verizon towers (while I had T-mobile), and Mom had Verizon, but not a smartphone. Curses! We knew, though, that we had passed a number of private dog sled places on the way up here, so we kept our eyes open for those signs coming back down.

The first one we saw, we turned into. I don't even know if it had a name. We just drove to these people's house, and saw all the outside kennels. (By the way, the dogs really do hang out on the roof of their huts!) Mom chose to stay in the truck again as I went in to see if I could procure a ride.[You could tell I was a tourist because of how careful I was on the icy ground. Of course, I also had an unprotected camera around my neck.]

I was in extreme luck. Turns out, they had a spot for a single rider right that moment, and it wasn't even as expensive as I'd feared - I think $60, which was a lot cheaper than Chena. He told me about Chena's dog sleds too, how they run them all day long every day. To run them often was good, but not to the amount that those guys did. So it made me happy that I hadn't signed up for that.

Pics of the ride:

The dogs were young, and we were probably only going about 7 mph, but it was a pretty good clip. A few times she stopped to correct the dogs, and the signals and words they knew were astounding. I think that was my favorite part - just how well trained they were, even so young. 

This video is just the informative bits while we were talking. Good facts about sledding! 

It was probably a good idea mom hadn't joined me, because it was pretty uncomfortable, and every time we went over a snow bump and the sled became airborne, it was a hard landing for sure. This was where the good advice of Jason (the tour guide) came in when he said that no one really needed more than a 30 minute ride on a dog sled. I'm glad I heeded that advice!

When that was all said and done, we made our way back to town and got ready for our last night in Alaska. Fairbanks was known for the World Ice Sculpting Championships being held there, and we were just in time to see some of the results, which will be in the next post!