Category Archives: Operation Girlify

In Stillness

I want…space. Space to breathe, to stretch, to create. I want lightness, ease, and more time to cuddle.

I can choose to be aware, or I can cruise through life mostly checked out. Lately, I’ve been checked out. I’ve been telling myself it’s because I’m just so busy…but whether that’s true or not, I can’t afford it anymore.

I’m fighting real anxiety these days, with physical hints of panic attacks just below the surface. I constantly feel like I’m barely holding on, and I can’t keep doing that to myself. I let it spiral in April, and now I’m midway through May and trying to pull it all back together.

I want truth. I want to be honest with myself, for myself.

I want to dress in ways that make me feel lovely instead of invisible. I don’t intend to abandon my nerd shirts, because they’re very much a part of my honest expression of self…but I want to be better about pushing the limits of what I think of as ‘comfort’ when it comes to my appearance, because what I really mean by that is that I’m choosing what’s easy, what’s familiar. It’s like I get dressed every morning and choose between feeling pretty and feeling comfortable, and I don’t think both is an option. It’s confusing and weird. I ordered one last Stitch Fix (that’s a referral link!) even though I haven’t had great luck with that, just because I’m hoping for something that works for me. I’m also considering Gwynnie Bee when our finances improve a bit.

I want to feel like I’m aligned with my own personal truths, with who I really am. I’ve felt aligned before, but right now I’m not even sure how to find that path, let alone get back on it.

I need to feel stable, to feel safe. I need to stop feeling the world unravel around me. I want to stop lying in bed, worried about a thousand things that will never happen. I want to strip away all of the unnecessary things that surround me every day and circle in on the things that matter most.

I want to make and consume food that lights my fires, that excites me again. I want to spend time in the kitchen with the kid, crafting things just because we can.

I want to walk in the sunshine more than I sit under fluorescent lights. I want to meet myself on the yoga mat every day. I want to close my eyes and find stillness, explore the me I don’t always share, and find the touch points that allow me to embrace her entirely, every day.

I want to sleep more, because I’m a better me when I’m rested, and because sleep fuels everything else that happens in my day. Sleep returns me to myself, as I undoubtedly become lost through the course of the daily trudge.

I want to be right here, right now, doing only what I’m doing – not allowing my head to spin off into the other million things I might need or want to do today. I want more play and less work, more love and less tension, more air and less stress.

I want fresh produce and fresh air. I want to lay in the grass, giggle with my kid, and not always feel exhausted.

So it’s time to lay out what that takes for me, at least to start.

  1. In bed by 10pm
  2. No caffeine during the work week
  3. Yoga 4-5 times a week
  4. Meditate every day
  5. Cook one real dinner per work week
  6. Cook two real meals on the weekends
  7. Wear something that makes me feel pretty at least once a week
  8. Document the things that light me up…the foods, the outfits, the moments

(as inspired, so often, by Mara)


Do it!

invisible crown

Emmie got me thinking this morning about what will really work best to get me and my body and mind to a place where we all feel good, energetic, and at our best. I’m definitely headed in the right direction, but I’m still struggling a lot, and it’s time to look for ways to help myself move forward. Progress is good. It’s healthy. It helps me stay positive and on track.

So, this morning, as I read through the post, I had a bit of an epiphany. I have been coming at intuitive eating from the standpoint that it must be in the moment, immediate, instantaneous food choices or I won’t truly be honoring my body. But here’s the thing. For the most part, after years of, well, eating, I know quite a bit about how my body responds to most foods. I’m learning that intuitive eating isn’t so much about what I feel like eating at a given moment, but about what response it will provoke in my body. Armed with a fairly well stocked encyclopedia of how my body responds to certain foods, I totally CAN plan ahead.

I’m stealing Emmie’s category headers, because each one provoked a response for me, and I want to talk about them.

Adjust your schedule: I really fall down on this one. Emmie points out that while we think the hardest part of a workout is the workout itself, I’ve noticed that getting there, getting up from my desk, making the time… THAT is my struggle. So I’m going to start scheduling my workouts again. I’ve made a spot in my work calendar for lunch/gym breaks, so now I need to plan specifically what will happen for those breaks. I know I’ll need to be flexible, and I’m ready for that. For sure, my workouts will now include one Pilates session, one yoga session, and one long walk every week, along with some more consistent strength training. And god, as I type that out I realize how amazing that sounds to me. Just the thought of that workout schedule makes me excited, makes my heart all aflutter. E voila, intuition…

Adjust your sleep: Under no circumstances do I get enough sleep. I’m always tired, and it’s not helping. It makes motivation harder to come by, and it makes it easier to eat foods that don’t feel good.

Adjust your stress: This one is super tough for me, since I honestly believe most of my stress comes from outside. However, I can practically hear Karen in my head, reminding me that it’s all about how I process that outside influence, whether or not I allow it to stress me out. So I’m working on slowing down in general, taking things in stride, and making plans to cope with stress. I’m also trying to intentionally add more yoga/Pilates into my schedule, which will help with stress levels for sure.

Adjust your shopping: Aaron and I just talked about this last night. I wanted to get back to cleaner eating, and I had a plan to do so, but (frankly) i ignored the plan because I was concerned about the extra costs. After talking to Aaron, we realized we’re actually eating a lot of processed foods right now, and that portion for portion they’re definitely more expensive, and less satisfying as well.

Adjust your family: This one is easier for me. Emmie says to cut back on the eating out. We eat out once a week, maximum, and we nearly always go somewhere like Panera where healthier choices are easier. Our snacks at home are incredibly healthy since Evi picks them out and leans toward healthy stuff naturally. Still, I’ll work to be more mindful.

Adjust your mind: This is a BIG one for me. I’m not sure, but I think it is going to mean a return to more regular blogging. I most certainly can’t afford therapy, so this is a pretty great substitute for me. I have to be vigilant about really thinking through what’s going on in my head. I have to be honest with myself, and with this blog. It’s a long process, but I’m ready for it. I’m also going to start trying a little harder with my fashion. I’ve fallen into a rut, telling myself it’s about ease and comfort, that doesn’t make me feel good about the way I look. I have some decent stuff, so it’s time to take a little more pride in myself.

Adjust your body: I’ve had more than my fair share of testing done lately, so I think I’m in pretty good shape in terms of understanding where my body currently is. What I need to do now is focus on keeping it that way. I need to be paying careful attention to my pain levels, to my stretches and strength building exercises, and to progress markers, no matter how small.

It’s weird to realize I’ve been doing everything in a totally unhelpful way for SO long. The process of getting to a good place is so long, so all encompassing. I have to change nearly everything. I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed, but surprisingly energized as well.
Thanks, Emmie. I needed this sort of reflection today.

Still here…

CAFFEINATE! (Dalek Coffee)Dude. So busy. I feel bad that it’s been four days since I blogged. I miss it.

I’m not exercising. I’m not sleeping. I’m eating marginally well some days, marginally poorly others. Work is INSANE. Evi is coughing all night, so we’re taking turns sleeping sitting up with her, and once she falls asleep she flops like a fish. My allergies are going nutso.

Basically, I’m exhausted. I’m not working out, and my body misses it BIG TIME. I am SO looking forward to FitBloggin, which I’m basically looking at as my own personal spa weekend. I’ll be working out essentially all weekend, eating healthy food, and being surrounded by inspirational people. See you tonight, roomies!

Random stuff I’m thinking about: dyeing my hair, making another attempt to get girly, and running every day instead of 3x a week.



DC Earthquake Devastation


QUAKE: So… we had an earthquake here this afternoon. It was weird and a little scary. I actually didn’t know what was going on at first. I thought I was getting super dizzy until I saw the lights on the ceiling swinging. It felt like someone was holding on to the back of my chair and shaking it as hard as they could. It was not a good feeling, but there was no real damage. Apparently I was supposed to go outside, but by the time I knew what was happening it was already over. It took a while longer for my adrenaline to chill out though. The phone lines went down right away, but text was still working so it wasn’t long before I confirmed that everyone was safe and Evi slept right through it at daycare. Whew! Not fun.

HEALTH: I didn’t take my second muscle relaxer yesterday. I was feeling more and more tired and dizzy and it was getting to the point where I felt like I was near blacking out every time I stood up. On top of that, I was still having considerable pain. I didn’t feel totally normal until this morning, but by 6pm or so last night I finally started feeling like I could move again. Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with a chiropractor first thing. I’m looking forward to some real relief instead of someone throwing ever increasing amounts of medication at me. I have a lot of faith in modern medicine, but I am not happy with my doctor. I may be switching.

SCHOOL: I am so bored. I have nothing to do with myself right now. Even if I weren’t taking the fall semester off, I’d have this week off… but something about not knowing what happens next  is really messing with me. I’ve applied for a zillion internships and I’m not getting any responses… so I’m feeling a little lost. I have some writing I can do to bring in a little bit of money… but that can’t be all I do until January! I’m considering getting my EMT license soon, and I’ll keep applying for internships at least through the end of this month. In more awesome news, I got an A in Physics!

WRITING: Since I do have so much free time right now, I’ve been thinking about trying to start another novel or work on something unfinished in my writing folder. I miss writing, so I feel like now might be a very good time to get back to it.

OPERATION GIRLIFY: I’m slipping on this one. Between the haze of muscle relaxers and the uneasy feeling of being personally and professionally adrift, I’ve been doing nothing for my attempts to girlify. I have really high quality hair dye that my sister sent and I really need to use it, but I just… haven’t. I didn’t wash my face last night either even though I can tell the Yes to Carrots stuff is working. Since some people have asked about my routine, here’s what I’m doing. My mom & sister sent me the blueberry and tomato lines. The tomato is for acne and the blueberry is for aging skin. I know I’m not “aging” but I figure it’s better to be proactive. So… at night I wash my face with the face scrub and then use the moisturizer. Since I’m focusing on clearing up my skin right now, I use the tomato for two nights then the blueberry for one. In the morning, I wipe my face with one of the blueberry face wipes, then use the tomato acne spot treatment anywhere I have an obvious breakout. After less than a week I can see a difference. I took pictures of my skin before I started, so I have plans to post before/during pics sometime soon.

SECRETS: So… I have two embarrassing secrets to share. And no, this has nothing to do with my abiding love for Darren Criss. That might be embarrassing, but it’s not a secret. So here they are. #1 – I have downloaded two Kreayshawn songs. I am aware that certain music-minded friends may never speak to me again, but I can’t help it… I like Gucci, Gucci. Yes, I am warped. #2 – Speaking of music, sometimes I still have fantasies about making it big in music. You know, now that I’m old, totally out of practice, and no longer marketable. But that’s why guitar and piano are back on my someday wishlist. Because I miss writing songs.


Fangirl Dreams

Because I’m a nerd in so many ways, I’ve been thinking about a list of things I’d love to do with my life in that mysterious future time when I have “free time” (whatever that is…) so I decided to make the list a little more fun by illustrating it with pictures from my various fangirl interests. I’m so weird.

Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) from Teen Wolf

Allison Argent (Crystal Reed) from Teen Wolf (source:

 I want to learn to shoot a bow and arrow. Specifically, I want to master the longbow. I don’t know where that comes from, but I wanna. I just do.

Darren Criss at Chicago Market Days

Darren Criss at Chicago Market Days (source:

I want to learn to play the guitar. I learned a few chords when I was at Berklee, but gave it up not long after that for various reasons. Since I still write lyrics and melodies occasionally, I’d like to be able to accompany them.

Joe Walker as Dolores Umbridge in AVPS

Joe Walker as Dolores Umbridge in AVPS (source:

I want to learn to dance. I want to take some dance classes and get some basic knowledge.

Mark Salling from Glee

Mark Salling from Glee (source:

In line with the guitar thing, I want to relearn to play the piano. I was pretty good for a while but I haven’t touched a piano in years, so I imagine I’ll be awful when I try again.

Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar (source:

Get into shape so I can do a Warrior Dash or something like it.

The Nine Lives of Chole King

The Nine Lives of Chole King (source:

I will learn to rock accessories like that awesome hat. It will take time, and money I won’t have until I’m out of school.

I searched in vain for any Drop Dead Diva, Dr. Who, or True Blood pics I could put to good use… and I would have also liked to find good images for wanting to get back to fluency in Italian and getting another tattoo, but…

Alas, Earwax -- Dumbledore; Harry Potter

Alas, Earwax -- Dumbledore; Harry Potter (source:


Operation Girlify: Week 1

Tiny Pinwheel Earrings

I WANT these pinwheel earrings from Etsy!

It hasn’t quite been a whole week, but so far I’m not doing half bad with my efforts to girlify. This “being a girl” business is hard work though. It takes <whine> TIME </whine>. It’s weird and feels occasionally shallow to find myself spending brain energy on my looks.

That being said, I’m liking it. I’m wearing skirts and dresses more often (which means I’m discovering I need more of them) and my skin is clearing up because I’m washing it more often. My hair is still a bit of a challenge because the new shorter ‘do means having to mess with it more often. I don’t have time to straighten it properly during the week, which means I’m just doing curly mousse. For it to look its best that way, I should ash it every day and redo it, which just isn’t happening. I’m hoping to get my hands on a diffuser and some Be Curly, which is what it will take to recreate the pretty curls the stylist made for me at the salon. Those curls also last a little longer, which will mean not having to redo my hair every single day.

So… it’s a process, but it’s working so far. I do feel better overall.