Black Friday Shopping

I have decided that I am the perfect target for all forms of Black Friday shopping and Cyber Monday deals. It’s a bit of a problem but it’s a problem I am actually okay with. This Black Friday, I spent the morning scouring the internet for all sorts of deals to see what I could get and surprisingly enough I spent money on practical items. I didn’t think that I would actually get to a point where all my purchases would be all practical items and I feel pretty proud of myself.

That being said, I spent a decent chunk of money because I also realized that I was only a few weeks away from my big trip and I hadn’t purchased any flights or hotels.  So I used Black Friday as an opportunity to find some discounts through Expedia to get cheaper hotels and flights.  But unfortunately, I spent quite a bit of money because I was pairing all of my shopping with the travel bookings.

It’s interesting because what I learned through this entire experience is that I feel more than okay purchasing hotels and flights. In fact, when it is time for me to pull the trigger on a travel experience, it is so very easy for me to decide that it is something I want. When it comes to purchasing anything really tangible, I have a hard time actually making the purchase. Usually I will put a million things in my cart, and then continually shop around until I decide what I want.  This usually ends up with me removing a bunch of items from my cart and then purchasing about one item total.

I remember back when I decided that I wanted to purchase a vacuum for my apartment – I shopped around for days and months and couldn’t pull the trigger to purchase one.  Even though Target had one for about $50 that could do a quick loop around my tiny apartment. I still couldn’t get myself to actually purchase the vacuum until I absolutely needed it because I hadn’t vacuumed my apartment in months.  But on the other hand, I purchase flights without hesitation.  It’s kind of surprising but to be honest, I am totally okay with it. I feel like this allows me to maintain a minimal lifestyle with what I own and I get to experience all the great things.

Anyway, I am so very excited for all my packages to start appearing for the things that I purchased.  I know that there’s a possibility I will return a decent amount of these items but I love opening packages.

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Things I’ve learned so far…

In my new decade:

  • reading true crime novels before bed is a BAD idea. Get ready for some weird dreams.
  • I may be addicted to reading and I am okay with that
  • The best things I can be doing for myself would be focusing on reading/learning, exercising and eating healthy
  • Exercising really does produce endorphins and serotonin.  Or at least that’s what I think is happening.  I feel more calm and excited about everything after making sure I exercise every single day and hit my step goal
  • Walking every day, even if it isn’t a full dedicated workout, is helping improve my mental health
  • I’ve developed a new love of mussels and clams.  I’ve taken to making sure I order them when I see them on the menu
  • My body is slowly shutting down with old age.  I woke up one morning, stepped wrong and had shooting pains down my hip all day long.  I walked with a limp all day long and it was a permanent reminder that I am getting older
  • Cooking really isn’t as difficult as I always thought it was
  • My skin is revolting due to my old age.  I’ve noticed that my skin isn’t retaining moisture as much as it used to.  I don’t think it’s necessarily something that just magically happened on my birthday but it’s been a slow and gradual process by which now I’m blaming it on old age.  My pamper Sunday routine is turning into a pamper Sunday and Wednesday with some additional night routines to make sure my skin is feeling happy and healthy.
  • I’m more comfortable with sitting on my couch playing phone games. I’m really love Two Dots and it may be becoming an addiction.
  • I don’t understand the changes with social media and with all these various updates, it takes me a very long time to get caught up and understand what is happening.

The new decade has already had a lot of pros and cons.  I’m curious to see what the rest of this decade has in store for me.

How to keep your sanity

We do this thing where we share tips within our team and I was “nominated” to share some for our team. I didn’t volunteer for it, was definitely volun-told. But after reading it, I’m glad I wrote it and thought that I would share it here:

Warning: A decent amount may feel like a cliché, but it works.

1) Take time to yourself every single day. I know it can be hard, but finding 5 minutes where you can stop thinking and zone out is enough to rejuvenate and ground you again. This can be your commute, stepping outside for a few minutes, or finding a conference room to just sit and exist. Don’t look at your phone, don’t pay attention to emails or social media. Just. Exist.

2) Be present. When you’re sitting at a table with one person, two people, 10 people, be present. Don’t look at your phone, don’t think about other things. If you can, keep your phone out of sight but if you absolutely need it, put it face down on the table to avoid distractions. We’re so consumed by social media, emails, easy access to everyone and tethered to our phones (mine’s literally face up staring at me right now) that it’s easy to not focus on the people in front of you.

3) Take time to do something you love. Even if it’s for just 10 minutes a day. Doing something you love forces you to break away from work and to just do something that makes you happy. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself making more and more time for it that it becomes a habit.

4) Exercise. For those that know me well, I complain a lot about exercising. I exercise but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it. But it makes all the difference. Fun fact, we’re not made to sit on our butts all day long. So stop! Try to take a small walk every hour just to get up and move, or take your meetings standing up. Or drink a lot of water which then results in multiple trips to the restroom.

5) Drink water. My tip is to get a cup with a straw and lid so that you can rest your head on the lip of your cup, drink water, while simultaneously typing and reading emails. Efficiency at its finest.

6) Write things down that motivate you, that make you think, that remind you of something good in your day. I recommend taking a minimum of 5 minutes a day to write down one accomplishment and one positive thing from the day. This practice will force you to focus on the positive aspects rather than the negative ones. You can always find at least one thing that made you smile.

7) Set boundaries. There should be chunks of time within your day in which you unplug from your email and your phone. Whether it’s 30 minutes before bed or during a meal. But make sure that you have time set aside to think about something other than work.

8) Create a routine. When I get the most stressed it is because I feel out of control, in the sense that I have no say in what is happening around me. Creating a routine, even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day, will help. It can be meditating, making breakfast, reading, etc but create some level of consistency. And it brings back a level of control, a level of focus that helps put everything else back in perspective.

9) Watch people. Yes, this sounds absurdly creepy. But sometimes the best way to learn is through other people. Find people who you think have everything together and understand what they do. Everyone’s got their own tips and tricks and you can learn from them. Then modify their solutions so that it fits you and your lifestyle. Sometimes seeing someone do one thing can give you an idea on what you want to do or better yet, what to avoid doing.

10) Travel. Work travel doesn’t count. Travel somewhere that’s not your home for fun. See something that’s an hour away or 15 hours away. Make sure you get a change of scenery and those experiences will help put things in perspective. There’s nothing like standing on top of a mountain and remembering that there is just so much more out there to be discovered and experienced.

11) Do something every day that challenges you. This can be at work or in your personal life. But if you aren’t challenged every day, then you’re not growing. When you are able to accomplish that one thing that you’ve been working so hard for, there’s no feeling like it. Like the moment you set foot in a country on your first solo trip, or you run that extra mile you never thought you could. Or you eat that giant bowl of pho that has bested you multiple times. We, as humans, are impressive and it’s nice to get a reminder of just how awesome you are.

Adulthood – Food Poisoning

As someone who prides themselves on their love of food and puts a focus on food during almost every hour of the day, food poisoning is the worst.  To be honest, I used to think that I had an iron stomach. I am proud to say that I have only ever really gotten sick once while traveling and that was in Guatemala and my own fault. Note, never travel four hours in 80 degree weather in an non-air conditioned van with creme filled pastries and then decide to eat them after a meal filled with a milk based savory cream. It can really mess up your system… But that’s what I get for not giving up my pastries when I should have.

That being said, I recently got food poisoning. The only other time I have gotten anything close to food poisoning was the stomach flu in high school that left me bed ridden for a week and dropped me down to 90lbs. It was rough. So getting food poisoning this time really just threw me for a frenzy. I was not prepared for this and I became just how unprepared I am for being sick in general.

I ate some pasta and it was the only thing that I ate that week that was a bit out of the ordinary in terms of where I ate from and it left me ill for three days. That being said, here’s what I learned about myself and what I learned about how to get over food poisoning.

  • Those that said carbs make you gain weight, it’s not 100% true. When you’ve got major stomach issues, you should stick to the BRAT diet which is bananas, rice, apple sauce and toast. That’s what I lived on for three days straight. There was one day I decided to try plain noodles with some vegetables and it ended up being a terrible idea. Stick to the basic carbs and easy to digest fruits. I, unfortunately, lost weight which was due to the lack of other food coming into my system.
  • I hate being trapped in my apartment for so long. I left once to go to the grocery store to get apple sauce and bananas. Otherwise, I just stayed inside, weak and unhappy. I get stir crazy way too easily.
  • You can get tired of apple sauce…. and bananas.
  • Plain rice is not exciting. That being said, brown rice is a bit harder for your system to digest when you’re suffering so keep that in mind if you are dealing with stomach issues.
  • Hydration is key. I was told to drink gatorade but half diluted. I forgot to buy Gatorade so I just chugged water. But less of a chug and more of small sips because chugging hurt my stomach.
  • I realized that I may have a caffeine dependency. I had a permanent headache for the days that I couldn’t drink caffeine.  I need to do something about this.
  • It sucks to feel so lackluster. I hated not having any energy to really do anything or feel like I could really move around too much because I was so weak. I was so tired and had a hard time really focusing on anything.
  • I have never craved cheese so much in my life. I legitimately dreamed about eating cheese while I was sick. Never raved something so much in my life.
  • I was and am terrified to eat food again. As much as I want to eat all the food again, I am terrified of a repeat experience.
  • I’m really good at throwing a pity party for myself. Oops.
  • It’s surprising how many dishes one can accumulate when you’re sick and trying to continually live off the same food over and over again.
  • I’ve never gotten so much sleep in my life and still felt so tired.

Let’s just say that I am so happy that the food poisoning is over. And we shall see when I’m going to eat pasta from that place again.

I hope that as an adult, I will be better equipped with how to take care of myself when I’m sick going forward. Wish me luck.