Will the real me please come forward?

Rome restaurantOur recent trip to Europe happened to fall completely within my Week 2, what my family calls my “happy week.” Hormonally, it’s the time in our cycle when we have the most energy, optimism, confidence, and curiosity.  It’s the perfect time to travel.  When we realized the trip would fall during this time, Mr. B and I were thrilled.  If you remember, last year, I was between Weeks 3 and 4 and it wasn’t as great as it could’ve been.

Most of our vacations, even quick weekend family trips, have happened to fall in my Week 4.  That means I need lots of quiet and alone time, I feel irritable, tired, and cautious, and physically I am uncomfortable with muscle aches and headaches.  Sometimes I surprise myself, but in general, those trips have required more effort on my part.

(Maybe it seems strange to you to fit events within a menstrual cycle timeframe? I certainly never used to think that way.  I wasn’t really aware of my body’s rhythms until trying to become pregnant, and I remember a friend telling me about all of that and feeling completely amazed that all of this was going on in my own body without my knowledge.  I have been using Hormone Horoscope to help guide me over the past few years. It’s packed with knowledge and useful tips about diet, exercise, sleep, and other ways to control the PMS beast. )

Outgoing meDuring this trip, I wanted to be with people.  Instead of it being Mr. B as usual, I was the one of us who wanted to stay out into the wee hours because I was having such fun, wanted to laugh and talk much more, go shopping (what??), and was coming up with and organizing plans for group dinners, feeling especially social and romantic. I meandered along scenic lanes and rivers, pausing to smooch Mr. B (most unlike me).  I wanted to linger at restaurants for hours, which is how long the dining experience in Europe usually is anyway.  I was carefree and happy.

Me at a casino??? Hilarious.

I had loads of energy, so much so that I only slept 3 hours of the final 48 hours of our trip.  Mr. B was amazed and delighted, as was I.  I must have been slap-happy… taking pictures of architecture and carpets and just about anything.

Airport floor hearts

I wish I could be that person all the time.  I truly felt like myself.  There were more than a few moments when I wondered why I’m not like that at home with friends.  But then I realized that having balance is better.  We weren’t designed to be social, confident, and impulsive all the time.  I probably would not have started this blog 7 years ago if I hadn’t felt the need to express my emotions, to connect with like-minded people, and to be introspective.  Those are all non-Week 2 attributes and they are just as positive.  (Plus, I didn’t think twice about spending money on taxis, food, and handbags… which is not good!)

It was a fantastic week in so many ways.  I feel rejuvenated, more in love with Mr. B, and very connected with some new and old friends.  That feeling of contentment… I have to say that I have always felt and thought I was content, but I got even closer to that feeling of such bubbling up joy.  I feel blessed in so many ways, even now that I’m home, tired, and in “regular life.”  It’s so so good.

Rome breakfast-001

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I’m back!

Lunch view St Paul

View from where we had lunch on a terrace in Tuscany. St. Paul de Vence (one of my favorite places) is in the distance on the far left.

I’m back! Did anyone know I was gone? Mr. B and I went on his company’s sales incentive trip, which was a cruise from Rome to Tuscany, Genoa, and Monaco.  Since he had 2 days of meetings in Rome before the fun part began, I went along for a pre-vacation break.  The jet lag got me on both ends this time, but it was well worth it.

The short review: we had a blast.  It was the best time all around: with each other, with friends, and enjoying our surroundings.  Our group took up the entire Silversea ship, which made it feel like we were having a family reunion, especially since I only get to see these people once a year.  There wasn’t any reason to say, “Oh, they aren’t with our group” because every single person was a friend.  That was pretty cool.

I will tell you more soon and I have many photos to share with you.  For now, I’d like to thank you for all your supportive comments about my recent health and fitness changes.  It was fun to come home to so many of your messages! I’m proud to report that the pasta and pastries didn’t divert me too much.  🙂

Have a great weekend, friends.

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Cultivate gratitude

I found this on Spirit Picks, a monthly Houston newsletter by Sarah Gish featuring inspiring programs and events in town.

“Gratitude is a habit that can change the world and our own lives. Musicians Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod were inspired by the 21-Day Gratitude Challenge to create this beautiful video and song that brought together dozens of people from around the world. Enjoy “GRATEFUL: A Love Song to the World.” May it inspire you to spread gratitude!”

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You got to move it, move it!

The good news: I’ve lost ten pounds.  I feel immensely better, having changed my diet.  The not-good news: I still don’t like how I look.  I don’t notice a difference yet at all.  Is that normal? We had a special bridging-to-Brownies ceremony for our Girl Scout troop last week and I very much dislike what I look like in the photos of me pinning on the girls’ Brownie pins.

Is that vain? I care about being healthy, but I also care about how I look.  There are two motivating comments that have been ringing in my ears lately.  One is from my former boss who, upon hearing that I’d been meeting a trainer at my gym for 5am workouts, said he didn’t think I could sustain that.  (He was wrong.)  The other is a dance teacher from high school who mentioned that I have “birthing hips.” Still, the voice in my own head is the worst.

So I’ll continue doing what I’m doing, of course.  I have been fast-walking every morning for a few weeks now, usually about 3 miles but always at least 30 minutes.  I’ve begun carrying 2 pound weights as well.  When I can’t walk outside because of the heat, I walk on my treadmill.

Today I’m looking for your ideas.  I have a few songs that are good for fast walking.  In order to motivate myself to start, all I have to do is turn on “Walkin on Sunshine” and I start moving and searching for my tennies.  Do you have good exercise music?

What about apps, books, videos, or other tools for physical movement? Once I’ve lost more weight, it’ll be easier to begin toning/strength training.  Thanks in advance!

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UncommonGoods – handmade art, jewelry, and gifts

uncommon goodsI know I’m in the flow of life when I notice great opportunities and events popping into my path.  I kid you not… I was browsing the Uncommon Goods website to find a birthday gift for a dear friend.  Not a day later, someone there contacted me through this blog, asking if I’d like to write a sponsored post about them.  Serendipitous!

For transparency’s sake, I should tell you that it does not affect me if (or if not) you decide to purchase anything using my links.  While they did contact me to ask for a blog post, all the opinions expressed here are my own and I would not have agreed if I didn’t already believe in their company and its products.

charity givingI’ve written about them before, about 5 years ago actually. (Is this blog really that old?) I really like their unique and handcrafted items and I have ordered some gifts and pieces for our home over the years.  They are continually striving to be more environmentally friendly and socially responsible.  Take a look at their mission statement and you’ll see what I like about them… they treat their employees right as far as health insurance, salary, and a joyful work environment, they respect our natural environment, and they give to the community (and encourage their customers to do so as well). I also like that they are a partner with Novica to empower artists and that they provide microcredit to artisans across the globe.  As long as you are buying a beautiful piece of art, why not help someone at the same time?

Friendship tree box Uncommon GoodsLet’s start with birthday gifts “for her,” which is why I started browsing there in the first place.  All 236 items in this collection are beautiful and I wish I could purchase them all, but I think this one is perfect for my friend.  She loves nature.  She wears rings and other jewelry.  I love her and her friendship.  Maybe I’ll even put something in the box first.

birthday giftsThis is also part housewarming gift, so I want to give something special for that too.  I can’t decide between gorgeous handblown glass art, something useful but still brings the outdoors in, or these wine glasses that I’m sure her husband would love to test out.

coat rackAgain, outside of my budget, but I wish I could get her this.

Father’s Day is coming up, so I am looking for something Mr. B would like.  They have 747 suggestions! Not all dads wear a tie to work, play a sport, or drink themselves silly, but they have something for everyone.

fathers day giftsI know he would like this because we are redoing our backyard and will be getting a grill.  I also am thinking about this set.  Both of those are made in China though.  Maybe this since it combines grilling and his love of wine?

pingpong setScreen Shot 2016-05-13 at 10.27.25 AMOK no, I’m definitely getting this we can play on our dining room table.  How fun! And I will get this so my daughter can make something fun for him too.  Honey, if you are reading this, look the other way.

Check out Uncommon Goods for games, housewares, kids’ toys, books, and clothes, personalized baby or wedding gifts, and unique jewelry and art from all over the world.  I didn’t even realize you could register there! Oh, and in case anyone wants to continue the serendipity, I’d love to have this.  Just kidding.  Sort of.

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Morning walk encounters (part 2)

Weeds Sky Puddle Lilies Firework flowers

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