Interstate Misadventures

I made a spontaneous trip to visit an old friend and drive up to Grand Rapids, MI to watch my uncle open for OneRepublic this past weekend. Those of you that know me, know that I’m not very spontaneous because I like to research and plan just about everything. So I said to hell with detailed planning and decided to embark on this four-day road trip two weeks before leaving. I’m glad I did it. I had a lot of fun and the concert was awesome. I started off heading to Tennessee. I met up with my high-school best friend in my hometown. I spent the night at her place and we left out for Michigan the next morning. We drove north through Kentucky and Indiana before finally making it to the Great Lakes State a couple of hours before the concert was to start. We headed east to Detroit the next morning because I had never been to Canada and Windsor, Ontario was right across the river from Detroit and only two hours from where we were staying. We spent some time walking along the river in Windsor, and of course I had to visit a Tim Hortons (any HIMYM fan?) for some coffee and a maple donut. We then drove back to Tennessee by way of Ohio and Kentucky. So yes, that’s six states and two countries in four days. I had a lovely, lovely time, but I was pretty tired. I got a serious case of the cankles from being in the car for four days straight, but I’m starting to be able to differentiate between my leg and foot again.

However, I had a few weird encounters with men that made me not so joyous at the thought of entering the dating world again. One was a customs agent at the Canada/US border. And then there was an encounter at an Ohio Jack-In-The-Box with three men that had me pretty much running out of the place.

The Canadian/US Border: I’ve never crossed into another county by car before. I wasn’t too sure on what to expect. Well, the agent barked orders at me the entire time. He ridiculed my reasons for being up north and asked if I had any ex-boyfriends in my trunk. He also kept asking if anyone gave me any packages and offered to pay me in the U.S.   Um no. I’ve seen Brokedown Palace and Bridget Jone’s Diary 2. I know better than all that. Mr. Customs Agent didn’t seem to believe me. My friend said she thought he was trying to flirt with me. If so, he was really bad at it.

Ohio: We meandered south taking our time. We stopped at Lake Erie so I could check off my second of the five Great Lakes. Then we continued on. Anyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE Jack-In-The-Box tacos. There are no Jack-In-The-Box restaurants anywhere near where I live in Arkansas. So when I spotted one at an exit in Cincinnati, OH I pulled off. Big mistake.

We ordered our food without incident (besides the fact that they were out of curly fries) and sat down to eat. I was in a sundress (nothing fancy), no makeup, and my dirty (hadn’t been washed in three days) hair was up in a bun.  Two men walked in and continuously stared our way while ordering. One of the men had on overalls and a wife-beater.  Oh great, I thought.  They then sat down right behind us and continued to stare periodically.  I was uncomfortable but not super creeped out.  Then a man pulls into to the parking lot (our booth was at the window), and I exclaimed, “Jesus! He pulled in here on two wheels!” He then got out of his car and glowered at me very intensely. I looked at my friend, “do you think he read my lips?” Amber: “It seems that way sine he keeps staring at you like that.” He walks inside with his (very-dressed up) lady-friend and continues to stare at me very intensely. “Amber, he is still staring at me. What do I do? He’s creeping me out, and I’m afraid he’s going to try to kick my ass.” In fact, the man was turned all the way around while he and his lady-friend waited in line to order.  I was very, very uncomfortable.  We then threw away our things, and I went to refill my drink.  Oh great, the guy was getting his drink just then.  His lady-friend walked away and he turns to me (got pretty close) and whispers, “I’m sorry I was staring, you are just soooo pretty.” I laughed uncomfortably with surprise and said thanks. I am a southern lady after all. I turned to Amber and told her that we needed to get the hell out of there now.  We walked out, and I’m not kidding, the original two creepers had their faces smashed up against the window to watch us walk out.  I pretty much ran to the car and peeled out of that parking lot.


Other than the brush with creeper men, the trip was pretty stellar.  I’d love to hear about everyone’s summer travels.


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My uncle playing guitar for Josh Kaufman:


Don’t Let This Fat Fool You, Bruh. I Lift.

Last night at the gym, there were a few men acting very superior. Maybe they had a tough Monday, but one guy especially pissed me off. I’ve done a lot of research on my weight-lifting routine and watched multiple videos to make sure my form is correct. I’ve started out with a low weight and gradually built up the amount of weights I lift by five-pound increments over several months. I’m by no means lifting super-heavy, but I am lifting a decent amount. And I’m proud of how much I can lift now, especially considering where I started.

Just for those who don’t know, when lifting a barbell, the bar itself is 45 pounds and then you add weights to either side. There are also some shorter barbells that you can add weights to.  My workout buddy and I have long discussed how much these shorter bars weighed because we had no idea. We’ve asked around and were told inconsistent amounts.  I need to know so that I can accurately add weights to either side. So last night, I decided to ask my new gym’s staff how much those bars weighed so that I would finally be informed. He didn’t know which bar I was talking about at first (there is an ez-curl bar that felt really, really light and then another bar hanging up that was more what I was talking about). So we started back to the weight area, and I’m trying to explain what I want to know. He says, “ohhhh because the 45 pound bar is too heavy for you so you need something lighter.” He says this in a tone as if I couldn’t possibly lift 45 pounds, and it was patronizing. Um no. My reply, “No.  I want to know because on busy days, the barbells are all taken. I want to be able to accurately know how much weight to add. I just finished deadlifting 80lbs (3 sets in fact).” He looked at me with a very shocked face. The  comment and shocked response made me pretty mad, but I am used to people making snap judgments about my fitness level because of my appearance. Maybe I got so mad because just 15 minutes before, some guy inserted himself into my buddy’s workout routine, letting her know that she needed to get lighter weights, or because I had JUST shoulder-pressed the same amount (and sets) as the “dude” next to me (even though I’m not there to compete, I did notice). Either way, I wasn’t feeling a lot of love from my male gym-goers last night. Keep hating fellas, it just fuels my fire.



PS: Buzzfeed knows.


Guest Blog Alert

Sometimes I feel crappy for blogging about my heartache because it involves another person who doesn’t blog about his personal life, and a lot of the time it feels very raw and personal. I don’t ever want my posts to feel like a personal attack against him, because it is not.  I think it is important to share my personal struggles because so much of this quest for health is about my mental journey, as well as the physical. So with that, here is a link to my latest guest-blog post for I AM THAT GIRL about recognizing the strength in heartache and remembering to keep loving yourself through it all: Strength and Heartache

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When I get this feeling…

…I need domestic healing. Please forgive me for that, but I do have a point to make.  Here lately, one of the things that makes my sad, broken heart feel a little bit better is losing myself in domestic activities.  I definitely would not classify myself as a domestic diva, normally. However, this weekend I did not really feel up to being social or trying to converse like a normal person. I stayed close to home all weekend, and I hope my friends understand that I just didn’t really want to talk to anyone, or have to smile, or laugh at jokes, or answer any questions. So, I binged-watched Netflix (finally finishing Orange is the New Black) and found that my heart forgot to feel sad when I was doing domestic things. So this weekend, I cleaned up my closet (a little), cleaned my bathroom, cleaned the kitchen, baked cookies from scratch, shopped at the farmers market, and cooked nice dinners. I meal prepped and did laundry.  I did all the things that I have been slacking on the past few months because I was always with him on the weekends. It felt good to do those things, but as the weekend drew to a close, I started feeling really, really sad.  I had nothing else to keep my mind busy and the heartache started to sink back in. I joined a new gym yesterday, and I look forward to starting a week of sweating out the pain in a new location. I just feel so restless, but hopefully I can convert that restless energy into some productive workouts.  That’s the goal anyway.


Shopped for local veggies at the Farmers Market

Shopped for local veggies at the Farmers Market


Italian Chicken with Heirloom Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts, and Fresh Basil

Italian Chicken with Heirloom Tomatoes, Artichoke Hearts, and Fresh Basil

From Farmers Market to Table

From Farmers Market to Table

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Dance Class

I like to dance.  Zumba has always been a fun cardio activity for me.  However, when I took a dance class when I was younger, I felt so insecure about my body. It pretty much took the joy out of it all.  Now that I’m older, I can enjoy dancing around like a fool in zumba class.  Last Thursday,  I took it a step further and took a hip hop class.  It felt totally different from a zumba class.  First of all, it was in a small group setting — there were about twelve of us. The room was small and I felt front and center.  It was a little intimidating.  However, everyone in the class was so nice and seemed a little nervous. The instructor broke the dance down into 8 counts, and off we went. I’m a pretty decent dancer, but I do a lot of the moves backwards. It’s really weird, and I’ve had an instructor tell me that I do things the harder way.  I don’t know why I do it, but that’s how I’m wired. I’m not the best when it comes to a group routine for that very reason.  And yes, I know we weren’t auditioning for broadway or practicing for a performance, but if I’m going to do something, I want to at least be able to fake being good at it.  So, I was intimidated.


However, I tried something out of my comfort zone, and it was so fun! I felt such a sense of accomplishment after we finished up, and I kept wanting to do the routine over and over again to get it down right. So I am going to try out a new workout class this afternoon that mixes dancing and bootcamp together. We’ll see how it goes.  Try something new this week.  It might just surprise you.


The Routine in all of its glory!

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(Almost) No Joy in Runville

I went for a run on Tuesday, and it was probably my most pathetic run yet. I didn’t necessarily go because I wanted to. I thought sunshine, endorphins, and outdoors would help cheer me up a little though. I’m going through the grieving period after a (very) recent breakup, and am looking for anything (legal and drug-free) to help the pain be a little less present. My heart is utterly broken, but my legs are not, so Tuesday I thought a run might help.

It was pretty hot here in Arkansas on Tuesday and the sun was shining down. I picked one of my favorite running routes and took off to a recommended playlist on Spotify. I struggled a lot. I ended up walking most of my route because I’ve been eating terribly the three days before (very little and mostly just junk – typical breakup food) and it showed. My body was not cooperating, which just pissed me off. And that wasn’t fair because it wasn’t my body’s fault that I ate terribly.

I ended up walking more than running. During the sporadic spurts of running that I did do, I managed to fall off the sidewalk (apparently I cannot run in a straight line), French kiss an unidentified insect, and even cried when Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You” came on (thank God for sunglasses and sweat). Not my finer moments. However, during one point of my run (when I was actually running), a precious toddler girl broke away from her parents to run with me. She was so joyous in the fact that she had a running buddy. She ran toward me and then ran back with me to where her parents sat. Her joy was infectious. Even amidst all my grief and heartache, I managed to find happiness in that brief moment. I slowed and smiled down at her as she dutifully returned to her parents and then continued on my way.


So even though it was not a successful run in terms of pace and distance, it was still successful – giving me a brief reprieve from everything that has been going on lately. A nice reminder that no matter what is going on in life, there is always at least a little joy to be found.


PS: A note about my terrible eating. It has gotten better as the week has progressed. I know I have shared my struggle and concerns about comfort eating or emotional eating so I wanted to address that.  I wouldn’t say that my terrible food choice has been comfort or emotional eating, but more a matter of lack of wanting to put effort and thought into what I was eating.  I haven’t really been that hungry and the junk food was at my fingertips. I didn’t eat it because I thought it would make me feel better (which diverges somewhat from my emotional eating in the past), but because it was there – I didn’t have to think about it. I’m not saying that the reasoning makes it better or worse, but I just wanted to be clear about why I was eating the way that I was.

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Food and Fat

Recently, I watched a documentary: Peter Jennings Reporting – How To Get Fat Without Really Trying that aired on ABC on December 8, 2003. Something was said that really resonated with me, “Obesity is not going to be resolved by sheer physical activity alone.” True words. I’ve written some about the stereotypes surrounding fat people. In the past, I lived in constant fear that people thought I was lazy because I was fat.  I’ve struggled with wondering why, no matter how active I was, I was still fat.  It drove me crazy. Being active has always come easier to me than making better food choices.  It is just so easy to pick up something pre-packaged (okay, maybe I am lazy).  I would reward calories-burned with desserts eaten.  I thought that it was a simple calorie swap.  I heard it for years: the key to losing weight is to burn more calories than you consume.  So I’d log my food eaten and either severely limit my caloric intake or stay on the elliptical for an hour trying furiously to burn off that brownie I had eaten for breakfast. It wasn’t that easy.


Let’s read those words again.  “Obesity is not going to be resolved by sheer physical activity alone.” Food choice is so very important. I know this, but I still struggle daily to pick fruits and veggies over carbs and well, more carbs. And not good carbs, but sugary-sweet-processed foods. I’m an educated woman, but for some reason I have this mental block when it comes to making smart food choices.  This has to change, and I know it.  So I’m very interested in your food ideas. I don’t like fish, but love other seafood options and just about anything else.  Let the ideas flow.


P.S. If anyone knows of a good and natural pre-workout, I’d love to hear it.  My pre-workout just isn’t doing it for me anymore. Thanks y’all!

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