(164.5) Vacation


It’s Monday, and I have a meal plan, but today I want to blog about something else: I decided to take a vacation. A real, relaxation-focused weeklong trip to the beach with a goal to work as little as possible. I take so few vacations or breaks from work of any kind that this feels major to me.

Of course, as you know, I’m going to France this week. This isn’t a vacation though–it’s a work trip. I’m planning to spend my time there reporting on the region and to write about it later this year. And, as you know, this trip has been a huge anxiety generator for me. I cannot wait until I get back home because I’m looking so much forward to not worrying about it anymore. I know that most other people would have a very different attitude about this, but this trip is something I’m forcing myself to do for professional development and personal growth. I think I will enjoy myself when I get there, but the run up has been tough.  Continue reading →

(164.5) Bedeviled


Last year, to celebrate my 37th birthday, I hired a tarot card reader and invited a few close friends and family members to help me welcome the next year of my life. It was an unusual party for me–girls only, both friends and family, and pizza ordered in instead of homemade food. (My kitchen ceiling was being replaced and I couldn’t cook.)

I was already in the midst of a stressful work time, pushing through various laborious projects I shouldn’t have taken on in the first place, and, unbeknownst to me, everything was about to get a whole lot harder. My tarot birthday party was a wonderful break from it all. It was so much fun having my girlfriends and aunts, my mom and mother-in-law, all hanging out over pizza and glasses of wine. It was definitely one of the best nights of 2014. There was a lot of laughing and warm, fuzzy feelings. I would plan a similar all-girls event this year if I weren’t going to France the day after my birthday. Continue reading →

(164.2) Stitch Fix Review: Box #5

Last week I spoke at a panel at the annual American Society of Journalists and Authors conference in New York. This event came hot on the heels of the big International Association of Culinary Professionals conference, at which I was also a speaker, and where I wore every businesslike outfit I own. I ordered up this box hoping it would come in time for my panel discussion last week, but it didn’t. It actually arrived while I was in New York, wearing Stitch Fix stuff I had received in previous boxes and had worn at the other conference–but I don’t think anyone noticed.  Continue reading →

(165.9) Meal Plan Monday

groceries may 3You know I decided to give up counting calories or monitoring my diet. You know I’m trying to focus on having more healthy behaviors that make me feel good while abandoning the notion of a weight goal. I remain committed to those ideas. Yet my weight is creeping up and up and sometimes I feel depressed about it.

I got my new Stitch Fix box over the weekend and I made Dan take photos both for a blog post and so I could be clear about what I wanted to keep and what I want to send back and I do not feel comfortable about the way I look in them at all. It’s just very hard sometimes. I know most people reading this blog understand how it feels. Continue reading →

(165.8) Bread-like Nut, Seed, and Oat Loaf


I spent every Friday in April with my friend Audrey doing a series of yoga sessions followed by gluten-free, vegan and mostly raw dinners prepared by chef Lisa Ransing. Even though I’m not what you would call a raw-vegan food enthusiast, I like great food of all types and of course I love yoga. I thought this would be a beneficial way to spend a month of Fridays, and it definitely was. I’m sad it’s over. Continue reading →

(164.9) Treat Yourself

PassionTeaObviously, I’m obsessed with the new Happier with Gretchen Rubin podcast. In last week’s episode, she addressed the importance of treats. I find treats to be super tricky, because I’m constantly wanting to treat myself with something that ultimately makes me feel worse and not better–cocktails, fried food, sweets, cheese, wine, beer etc. Everybody reading here knows what kind of bad-for-me treats I love most. It’s a self destructive impulse disguised as treat-seeking.

Continue reading →

(164.5) Meal Plan Monday

groceries April 26I had a rough week last week. I wasn’t feeling well, and I was not sleeping much. My energy was in the toilet, and I couldn’t keeping up with work, let alone this blog. For me, sleep is the cornerstone of all healthy behaviors. Without enough of it, I don’t have the get-up-and-go to exercise, eat right, or maintain a positive outlook. Thankfully, it’s a new day–a new week, even–and hopefully this one will be a lot better. I certainly grocery shopped for a week of nutritious meals. As you can see, there’s plenty of appealing green in my order: cabbage, collards, and fat stalks of asparagus to name a few. Continue reading →

(164.6) Negative Space


Illustration by Taylor Branam via artbyflowerchild.wordpress.com

When I look at my calendar over the past month or so, it’s obvious to me what’s been missing: breathing room. For better or for worse, I’m not the kind of person who holds up well when I force myself to go, go, go. When travel, social events, deadlines, and work events start to line up back to back, like they have recently, I start to feel not myself.

Believe me, I wish I were different. I have one friend who has been sustaining a life pace for at least a decade that would probably kill me. When we traveled to Iceland together two years ago, we literally picked her up from her office to catch our plane. And as soon as we got through customs on our return trip, she was hailing a cab to make it to a date on time. I could not have been more amazed, confused, or impressed if she would have made the jet we came in on disappear into thin air, a la David Copperfield. I really envy that kind of stamina. Continue reading →

(162.9) The Yoga Cure

There are many things that frustrate me about myself, and one of the biggies is how often I just stop doing something that clearly and dramatically benefits me. And there is no better example of this than yoga.

I have been practicing yoga on and off for decades. My yoga mat dates back to a time when you could not pick one up at Target. I bought it in the mid-90s from a guy in a warehouse who cut mine off an industrial size roll of the nonslip material based on his assessment of my height. I have sun saluted my way through awful breakups, life transitions, weight loss missions, and periods of uncertainty. One of my longest and best runs was back in 2001 when I was waiting to hear if I got into grad school. I practiced thrice weekly with a great teacher named Kristin and it was the only time I could consistently pull off “chaturanga,” which I think of as yoga’s pushup.  Continue reading →

(163.4) Shifting Focus

I’ve been rethinking my weight goals recently, and I have concluded that have a numerical weight goal isn’t right for me, at least not right now. My goals should be related to my actions, which I have direct control over, and not an outcome, such as what the scale says, over which I have limited control.

As it relates to wellness, there are three major areas I want to focus my attention and effort on. Notice these are all things I want to get more of or make sure I get enough of and not things I want to cut back on or eliminate. I think focusing on things I want to cut back on or eliminate puts me in deprived state of mind that ultimately makes it harder to be moderate about food and drink. I also tend to think that having more of these three things makes me feel good and sets me up for success, productivity, and positivity. Good habits like these have the power to crowd out more self-destructive behaviors over time, or so  I have noticed in the past.  Continue reading →