Your Next Vacation Will Probably Suck

You should probably expect for your vacation to be at least a little trash and here’s why…

I recently traveled to the Dominican Republic and, while it was a great time, I ran into some bumps.

Most were minor, of course: a smeared black stain on a skirt that I wanted to wear to dinner, my hair not drying in a decent amount of time, leaving me with frizzy, dandelion hair, and the like. Nothing too major.

And then I got on a boat.

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I haven’t been on a boat since high school. As a person that has an irrational fear (and vivid nightmares) of open water, I usually steer clear of going out into the middle of the ocean. But there were promises of a secluded island and endless food; all I had to do was take a short boat ride to get to the destination. It’s going to be nothing. Right?

You Already Know It Wasn’t “Nothing”

OK, so the boat ride to the island was pleasant. The steady rhythm of the waves actually seemed peaceful as our boat bobbed against the open water. I rather enjoyed it. And then, a few yards away from the shore, we stopped. Unsure of the situation, I looked around to see what everyone else was doing. Nobody else seemed confused so, you know, it probably was just me. It’s always just me.

I knew there were plans of snorkeling, however, I assumed that the snorkeling would take place closer to the shore; where my feet could touch the ground. I’ve been snorkeling before in Hawaii and my feet were so close to the ocean floor that my knees were scratched up by the end of it. However, our tour guides began to frantically hand out flippers. It became apparent what was happening; I was about to die.

Without letting my traveling partner know of my fear, I threw on my oversized flippers and goggles. My breathing passage immediately became obstructed. I sucked in the little air that I could. “This’ll be easy,” I calmed down my friend while my heart pounded unpleasantly, “Just relax.” Meanwhile, my legs were about to buckle as I glanced out at the open water. A small girl no older than seven and with no sense of fear jumped out into the water in front of me. I followed behind her, silently cussing a small child out for making it look so easy.

One of the guides held out his arm, “Grab it.” He instructed. I knew his scrawny arm would not hold this body but I grabbed it anyways and plunged into the water. Instantly, I was engulfed by nothing but water. My life vest shot up over my head. The goggles filled up to the point where I could see nothing. NOPE! I had NOT planned on dying that afternoon!

I grabbed the boat and, in my panic, forced myself to swing underneath it and push my head underwater a second time. My once panicked friend effortlessly splashed into the water after me as I frantically pulled myself back onto the boat. Mmm.

Long story short, after pulling my flippers off, I stood on the boat and silently watched as everybody else splashed around in the water. I knew I was going back in. I had never done this before and who knew if I would ever do it again? Except, this time I made sure to get back in on my terms. I kept the dumb flippers off and, instead of diving into the water face-first like I did last time, I used to stairs to slowly walk myself into the water.

Once in, I still panicked at the fact that I couldn’t feel anything underneath my feet but took deep breaths and splashed around a little, attempting to get used to the unfamiliarity of being in the open ocean. One of the guides swam over to me and pointed to my goggles. “5 seconds, ok?” he said. I got it. I put the goggles on and then waited for him to count to five. I then submurged my head into the water and felt immediate satisfaction as the fluorescent colored fish swam in between our bodies.

Despite my fear, going back in was so worth it.

Soon after, we all filed onto the boat and completed the journey to the island. We relaxed in the warm water, ate fried fish, and baked in the Caribbean sun. At 2:00PM, it was time to depart. Our group once again boarded the boat to return to the van that would take us back to our resort. Ominous clouds formed in the sky just behind us, and then, it began to rain. And the boat began to rock.

And I got sea sick.

So yeah, a few aspects of my trip were sucky. However, that daywas probably my favorite of the entire trip.

Let’s face it…

Expecting the perfect vacation is completely unrealistic.

Things are going to happen. If you’ve had a perfect vacation where literally everything went right, please let me know in the comments below. Because I definitely have not. But instead of letting these little mishapsdefine my vacation, I put them in the “Learning Experiences” category and let them go; only recreating the scene to laugh about it later.IMG_2553 2

Expecting a perfect vacation will ruin your entire trip. Just because you’re out of town doesn’t mean life stops happening around you. Something – even if it’s just minor – is going to go wrong. Life is never a linear experience; it’s eitheron an upward or downward slope and constantly shifting. And that is just fine. If you learn from the mishap, and learn to let it go, it’ll make the rest of the vacation that much better.

Have you ever had any hilarious vacation mishaps? Let me know…

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BBC #4 (Week Three)

No loss or gain this week. Still a disappointment.

Week Three Wrap-Up:

I didn’t really make any changes, which is detrimental to my success.

I continue to eat too much and exercise at a limit that’s well under my full potential.

An episode of My 600lb Life that I watched made me tear up from empathy. The subject of that episode discussed how his addiction with food proved to be harder to break than his addiction to hard drugs. I half-agree – given that I’ve never done hard drugs – but I’ve always had an emotional connection with sweets. Sweets have always been my downfall because I associate sweets with self-care.

I’ll mosey into the bakery section at a grocery store and gaze at the assortment of multi-colored, sugary death traps and tell myself, “I deserve to have a treat”. And then I’ll do that every day, masking my true emotional issues with the false sensation of “self-care”. And then I gain 25 pounds.

What I Did Right

It’s really important to focus on the good things we do, no matter how small. Positivity attracts more positivity. I did force myself to workout three times last week and I made myself cook dinner twice.

What I Did Wrong

Indulged on all the sugar and bread my little heart desired. I ate mindlessly and I created excuses on why I didn’t have to go to the gym between Thursday-Sunday. I exceeded my calorie goals on most days.

Goals:

1. Follow the meal plan that my nutritionist gave me:

2. Allow myself ONE (1) sweet treat

3. Workout five (5) times this week. No excuses.

4. Practice mindful eating and self confidence. I’m going to achieve my goals by any means.

Current weight: 237 (no loss or gain)

My ultimate goal is to be at 227 by Christmas. It’s a stretch but I know I can do it.

Remaining Body Positive AFTER Traveling

That body always looks good!

Look. I goes in on vacation.

I eat all the foods I want. I’m not a drinker but I’ll even allow myself a sip of something cute for the occasion. I squeeze my body into a two piece and flaunt on the beach like nobody’s watching because… well…

They’re not.

Nobody knows me in another country. Nobody’s stopping to say “hey, that girl doesn’t have a traditionally beautiful body she sucks.” And if they do, they’re weird. An important rule to remember: everybody’s body is acceptable on vacation.

I like to pack away my insecurities while traveling. While I tug on my clothes at home and constantly shove my already large shirt over my stomach, my tummy is almost fully exposed on vacation. I don’t care if people judge me; they’ll probably never see this face again.

I have a hard time recreating that nonchalance at Home. I’ve struggled with my weight for most of my life and I automatically assume that people are disgusted by the FUPA protruding through my jeans when they see it. But this isn’t high school anymore. I saunter through the downtown streets of where I live. Faces of sepia, caramel, mocha, white, and otherwise shuffle past me as I maneuver my way through the sea of nondescript faces. None of those people know who I am. And even it they do judge me; they won’t remember me in a few minutes.

So, what is the purpose of not maintaining that vacation confidence at home? What – or who – am I really getting down on myself for? Is it my own personal insecurities? Is it theirs?

Why can I be completely OK with my body when I’m surrounded by unfamiliarity but totally insecure when I’m home?

Just something to think about..

BBC #3 (Week Two)

I failed again this week but I’m not as upset about it.

I gained weight this week so, technically, I failed

However, I allowed myself to relax while in the Dominican Republic. The all-inclusive, all you can eat culture of the resort we stayed on gave me the power and permission to let myself go. I ate EVERYTHING. And guess how much weight I gained:

One pound. Uno. Dassit!

When I tell you I ate everything, I mean everything, honey!

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner buffets? I stacked my plates.

Even though I’m finicky about hygiene, I’d fill my napkins with pastries from the display case expertly situated adjacent to the open bar.

Nothing mattered. Especially not my weight.

There probably is something to the notion that weight loss begins in the mind and translates to the body.

Plot Twist!

I just went back and checked BBC#2. I weighed 239 and now I weigh 238. Huh? I actually lost weight! If only y’all knew how much I ate in the DR, this is wild.

Anyways…

Week Three Goals:

  1. Maintain consistent exercise schedule (five days/week).
  2. Practice visualization and manifestation in regards to weight loss (Posts coming soon).
  3. Lose 1.5 lbs.

It Ain’t Easy Being Me

I know what you’re thinking: who the hell are you? Don’t worry, it’s not what you think.

I’m a YouTube tutorial junkie.

I literally have to force myself to stop watching YouTube tutorials after work so I can shower. As soon as I finish agonizing through the disrespectfully thick traffic home, I immediately huff upstairs to my room, throw my backpack on the floor, flop down, and pull up a tutorial of some sort. Be it travel tips, natural hair care, cute styles, fashion, and the like: I’m always looking for someone to tell me how to function through life.

I’m not here to bash anyone who does tutorials. They’re usually meant to be helpful; not the end all and be all. Plus, I offer my own suggestions on this very blog. But I can say that over the last six years, I’ve implemented about 700,000 hair regimens, suffered through vegetarianism (no shade), starved myself with intermittent fasting, packed every travel bag military style, and embarked on a minimalism lifestyle because YouTube “told me to”. At this point, I am EXHAUSTED. My frayed, frizzy ends are proof! When does it become OK to stop following tutorials and start figuring out what works for me? I’ve spent so much time copying these regimens to achieve the results of others, that I’ve completely failed myself.

This journey, these results, are mine and mine only. The natural hair gurus and weight loss experts can provide suggestions (some really awesome) but figuring out what best works for your own body and spirit is of most importance to your overall success.

You know that girl with the bomb ass twist out who only used water and oxygen to get that voluminous style that frames her head like a glowing, luminescent halo? That water and oxygen miracle may not be in your forecast and there’s nothing wrong with that. Spend some time silencing the experts and listening to you.

*Sorry for the “I” issue. Apple done effed up…

BBC #2 (Week One)

So…. Yeah.

This week started out strongly but eventually morphed into a wastebasket filled to the brim with failure.

I started out the week eating healthily. Meal prepping on Mondays saves me a lot of time, money, and energy. I exercised Monday and Wednesday and used Tuesday as a day to catch up on much needed sleep.

Then it happened…

On Thursday, I ventured down to the little convenience store in my office building. No bigger than a walk-in closet, the store provides plenty of items like bottled water, pop (not soda), popcorn, sugary sweets, chips, deli sandwiches, hummus, and the like. I averted my eyes from temptation; pivoting to stare toward the healthy snacks nearest the entryway. But the small wooden rack packed with plastic covered, machine manufactured food items in the back of the store called out to me. I struggled, lifted up one leg to pull myself toward the items I needed to fulfill my body. But I gave in. The culprit:

A “Greek Yogurt”Double Chocolate Chip Muffin

I put the Greek Yogurt in quotes because that’s typically only added to make the item seem healthier. It isn’t. Don’t fall for it. It’s still a packaged muffin pumped with preservatives, sugars, simple carbs, and 580 calories. There’s nothing nutritious about a packaged muffin. Nothing, I tell you.

So, yeah. I gave that muffin what it was asking for and felt like shit immediately after eating it. I tried to make myself feel better about it by convincing myself that I was taking my sweet time with it instead of shoving it into my mouth like I always do. I didn’t feel better, though…

After that moment, I had officially barrel-rolled off the wagon.

By Friday, I had already quit my workouts, ate a piece of cake that some a*clown brought in, and began overeating every meal. On Saturday night, I inhaled a batch of mozzarella sticks and a whole small pizza in one sitting before going out to a Halloween party (where, in fact, I saw my ex).

But with that being said, I know I can do this. I’ve lost the weight before; I can do it again.

Consistency is so important at this point of my journey.

Measurable goals could be what I need to implement to get me going.

I need to:

  1. Be consistent. No overeating. Eat slowly.
  2. Workout at least four times/week (even on vacation)
  3. Don’t allow this week’s vacation to throw you off balance. You’re stronger than temptation no matter the setting.
  4. Lose 1.5 pounds this week

End of Week One Weight: 239 lbs (3 pound gain)

Week Two Goal: 237.5 lbs

Meditation: A Very Basic Guide

I used to think meditation was stupid. Spoiler Alert: I was wrong.

Defined as the act of engaging in mental exercise (such as concentration on one’s breathing or repetition of a mantra) for the purpose of reaching a heightened level of spiritual awareness (Merriam-Webster, mf), meditation has become a very popular subject as modern Western society shifts into a collective mindset where self-care is made a priority. I could provide some type of scientific insight on how meditation affects the hypothalamus and enhances your overall sexual responsiveness but really, who could care?
Regular meditation has influenced my life in so many ways. It has:
  1. Allowed me to focus on the present moment rather than let my anxiety push me toward worrying about the “what hasn’t even happened yet and may never happen.”
  2. Given me permission to clear my mind in the morning to create positive thoughts for the upcoming day and clear my mind in the evening to relax for bed. As someone that used to have trouble falling asleep at night, putting my phone aside to take three minutes and focus on my controlled breathing has changed the game.
  3. Caused me to sit and chill before losing my shit on those who try my precious patience. We’ve all been tried before (sometimes repeatedly) and it’s so easy to make a snap decision to let them have the first piece of your mind. However, meditation has allowed me to develop a heavily curated clapback that the other party so graciously deserves.
When I bring up meditation to any of my friends the first response that they give is usually, “I don’t know how to meditate.”
Girl, name a human that came out of the womb already in the Lotus position and began “OHMMM”-ing to clear their baby consciousness?!

You must learn the meditation technique that works for you and practice it regularly.

This is the technique I used when I first began meditating:

  1. I only meditated for a short period of time. 2-4 minutes (or even less) is perfect if you’re just starting out.
  2. I sat on the floor of my bedroom with my legs crossed (or directly in front of me), positioned my back comfortably against the bed, and placed my palms face down on my knees. I could lie and tell you I sat completely straight but my posture is awful so I’m not going to do that. Me and My God are working on this S-back, don’t you damn worry about it!
  3. I set a timer in my phone for 3 minutes. Sometimes I turn on some calming music without words (look up “meditation music” on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.) and sometimes I sit in complete silence. Both are effective. I close my eyes and begin.
  4. Immediately, I establish an intention for the meditation to remain focused throughout. Usually, my intention is to “clear my mind and begin/end my day with discernment.”
  5. I inhale through my nose for 4 counts (a completely straight back makes this easier). Usually, I try to imagine that I’m literally inhaling positive energy; like it’s a physical property that can be seen (picture it as a blue smoke if you’re extra like me).
  6. I hold in that energy for about 7 seconds, allowing the positive energy to metaphorically fill my body.
  7. I then exhale any negative energy (picturing it as a red smoke) and allow it time to exit my body. I audibly exhale from my mouth to expel the negativity. I relax every muscle in my body: from my shoulders to my neck, stomach, legs, and down to my toes.
  8. I repeat until the timer goes off. I always make sure that the alarm tone is something soothing because if it was that damn iPhone alarm sound, I’d lose my shit.
Remember:
  • I’m no expert on any of this. This is just my experience with this topic and my way of sharing it. That’s what this website is about. If you want expertise, catch it somewhere else, girl.
  • iOS apps like Headspace and Stop, Breathe & Think offer guided meditations that work well for beginners. I preferred the latter over the former for no discernible reason but, presently, I don’t use apps at all. I’ll probably delve more into guided meditation later but she’s a long one already.
  • It’s OK if outside thoughts pop into your mind during your session. I’m sure the most seasoned meditator would tell you that outside thoughts continue to invade their sessions. When it happens, DO NOT chastise yourself: this doesn’t help you to improve your skills or create positive thinking. Gently remind yourself of your intention and refocus on your breathing.
  • Meditation is a practice. If you practice regularly, you will get better. Let go of your perfectionism and allow yourself peace.

I once felt skeptical about meditation. Hell, I thought it was hippy bullshit for most of my life. However, I love meditation now. I had to go through some really terrible situationships to recognize that I needed something to clear my mind of all of the thoughts that don’t serve or enhance me.

Also, I recognize that this post is VERY long.

Happy meditating!