The Fight Against Fast Food

I went to college at Fordham University in the Bronx. To people who don’t know much about New York, the first thing that happens when I mention this fact is that they say I must be tough since I’m from the BX.

Unbeknownst to them though, Fordham is one of the most preppiest and upper middle class schools in America and even though it’s situated in the Bronx, there’s a fence that keeps anyone out who doesn’t have an ID.

Fordham kids might be tough in their own way but most of us are also very privileged.

It would be unfair to say we didn’t care about issues affecting the Bronx. Over half of my classes and activities centered on volunteering and ending suffering. I never could say I understood the suffering though no matter how hard I tried to.

One such issue that I thought about a lot was the concept of ‘the food desert’. This meant that the accessibility to people in the Bronx to fresh produce and healthy foods were slim to none. It was a concept I could vaguely wrap my head around. Outside of Arthur Ave and Little Italy, it was easy to see that the only options were bodegas unless you wanted to ride the subway system for over 30 mins. That’s not that big of a deal in the car but being someone who enjoyed trekking all the way to Manhattan (an hour subway commute one way) I understood why toting bags back and forth wasn’t ideal.

Especially after working.

It’s funny because I know I’m still very privileged if not more so. I’m living on an officer salary without any dependents and I have little debt (thanks to the Army).

Yet, I eat fast food about four times a week and while I don’t know if I’m officially living in a ‘food desert’ I’m starting to understand how working and giving limited options can affect a person.

If I don’t shop on the weekends, I won’t be shopping that week. I get out of work and the grocery stores are closed. I could go to Walmart but at 7PM after working all day and really hungry, that drive into town isn’t ideal.

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On my way home I pass a McDonald’s, Hardee’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, and something called Diego’s Burrito Bar.

I only live eight minutes away from work.

It’s crazy too because I was showing habits of lazily just buying food instead of preparing it in college but underneath my dorm was a restaurant called Cosi which sold things like tomato mozzarella and basil sandwiches and since it was in my dorm, only college students ate there. It was my go to.

Now that my go to is Taco Bell, I’m starting to get really nervous about my eating habits not because of weight gain or anything like that, but just performing physically and staying healthy.

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Hits Deep Tour: Phoenix

People who say Christians can’t have fun have obviously never been to a tobyMac concert.

As I write this, I am sore and exhausted, but my heart is so full and happy. Being a part of a sold out crowd of believers will do that to you, I suppose.

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So I went to a tobyMac concert in Phoenix on Friday, at the Talking Sticks Arena. It’s not the first Christian artist that I’ve seen in concert, but it had been a while since I had gone to a concert for a Christian artist, and it was certainly one of the largest concerts I had gone to.

It wasn’t the quality of the concert that blew me away (though it was amazing quality-wise, so don’t get me wrong). What really amazed me about this night was the ability for so many people to come to a venue and make it a house of God. For that one night, the arena was a Church and it was full of believers. Believers who danced and sang and jumped around for Jesus.

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Being able to gather with thousands of people I had never met before and feel so connected in faith, taking a Friday night concert and turning it into time for worship and to hear prayer fill the room was an incredible experience, and I’m so glad I was able to be there to feel so lifted.

I feel so thankful to have come to a point in my faith where I don’t feel embarrased to be in that type of environment and really let loose. I remember being at the last Christian concert I went to almost 10 years ago and feeling so timid in my faith, not wanting to lift my hands or sing out loud. I sat in my seat and hid while the people around me worshipped. Tonight I danced without shame, sang loud for everyone to hear.

For those of you who think Christians only stay in on Friday nights and we don’t do a whole lot of partying, I would like you to know that Jesus held a pretty fantastic party Friday night, and thousands of Christians went and had a great time.

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5 Long Distance Relationship Tips

  1. Admit they’re hard. It’s okay to tell your significant other you’re having a rough day or month or year with the relationship. You can admit that it’s hard and it hurts. You’ve got to talk about it.

  2. As much as possible, have a date when you can see each other again. Nothing is more frustrating or detrimental to a LDR than not knowing when you’re going to see the person next. Even if it’s something crazy like a year and a day, at least you have that so you can start counting down the days. It’s more reassuring to be able to mark off calendar days to seeing each other than to just be up in the air and unsure.
  3. If you plan Skype/Facetime dates, don’t flake out. It’s easy to have a last minute invite from friends who live in your area and to tell your significant other that you’re going to have to raincheck, but imagine what they’re going through. If it’s too last minute, they might’ve already cancelled plans just to talk to you and now they’re sitting at home alone and lonely. It’s okay if stuff comes up occasionally, but try your best to truly honor plans made in advance.
  4. Determine how you want to spend your money. My boyfriend and I know that it’s really important we not only see each other, but go on fun and often exotic vacations. This means that when we see each other, it often costs a pretty penny. Because of this, we agree ahead of time that we don’t really do things like Christmas or Birthday gifts. We might get each other something small but we would rather splurge on a hotel room and a nice dinner.
  5. Let them truly in on your life. I always let my boyfriend know about the people in my life by name so then I can be like, “oh my goodness, Mike did x, y, and z today” and even though John has never met Mike, he can start putting names to people and feel like he’s really understanding what’s going on.

Health Journey : The Beginning

I think part of what makes getting healthy so difficult after living in an unhealthy manner for a while, is that as an adult, you are the person who can make you change your ways. You might have other reasons to be healthy, such as kids, family, people who need you, or things like your job or dreams require you to be healthy, but you are the only person who can force yourself to become the healthier version of yourself. No one will do that for you.

But something I have begun to learn is that having an accountability partner definitely helps with this.

I signed up for the Color Vibe run with a few of my friends, and one of the friends who agreed to do it asked me if I wanted to train with her since we’re both at a beginning level in a sense. I agreed, and it’s become less of just training together and more of planning out getting healthy together.

Though it’s still 100% on me to get my meals prepped, to eat right, to go and exercise, etc., it does make it easier to do so knowing that someone else is counting on me to go through the journey with her.

I’m obviously still having problems with a few things. Quitting soda and coffee has always seemed impossible to me, and having a really rough semester doesn’t help my attempt to quit. I’m also finding myself eating more cheese than I should and suffering the consequences of that. Exercise is something I tend to get into in phases, sometimes I’m really into it, but most of the time, I just want to sleep.

I’m also not sure how I want to measure my goals for getting healthy, which is so important for any journey. Without measurable goals, it can be so easy to be discouraged, and I want to avoid that if possible. Any suggestions?

Until I can figure that out, I guess my ultimate goal is just to feel great about my body. Lately I’ve been in a bit of a rut when looking to love my body, I’m not happy with what I see in the mirror and I’m definitely not happy with the way my body feels. Hopefully this journey will help me to connect better with my body and to appreciate it for what it can do.

Coffee as a Crutch

I keep finding myself without time to have coffee in the morning and it consistently causes that day to be very bad.

To coincide with the idea that for Lent, I want to take time to do yoga and meditate, I started to make sure I had at least 10 minutes in the morning to simply sit down and enjoy my cup of coffee. For a while, it was working incredibly. Those 10 minutes let me gather myself and let me relax while also allowing me to get the caffeine boost in the morning that I needed.

Suddenly, my schedule didn’t allow for me to drink any coffee and I lost those 10 minutes of me time.

That was incredibly devastating.

That also makes me pretty embarrassed. I’m upset I let myself rely on something so much that it now has the power to determine how the next 12+ hours of my day is going to go, That’s an addiction and that’s not okay.

Don’t get me wrong though.

I think that wanting and getting me time is very important. Without that type of self care, people don’t do well. As I type that out, I don’t really know if I have a source for that which is funny… but at the end of the day, the person who knows what you need best is you. Life is meant to be enjoyed.

I love my job but I don’t think I could perform well at it if I didn’t get to have fun on my off time and if I didn’t get to destress every once in awhile.

So now it’s tricky… how can I continue to do things like drink coffee and take time to myself while still retaining a sense of flexibility that even without it, I am going to be okay.

Right now, I’m still trying to drink my cup of coffee and have my 10 minutes of peace and when I do, it’s great, but now I’m afraid of the days where I don’t get that.

I don’t want to regret coffee but I also don’t want to need it.

Even the smell of decaf has the power to make me smile and feel warm. I love popping out of my shower and savoring a warm drink while feeling clean and sitting watching the trees outside my window. There’s nothing like pouring that first bit of milk into the cup and watching it color the brown like dissolving ribbon.

This is a Short Post

I missed my post on Monday, and this one is really late, sorry, but I have good reason for such bad posting habits this week.

This past weekend, I was overloaded. I mean, seriously, too much on my plate, I didn’t sleep, I definitely had Starbucks coffee for about 6 of my meals. I had to get through three photoshoots, write a 7 page research paper, do a bunch of work for an online class, the list goes on and on. Long story short, I spent this weekend getting no sleep and working myself to death.

So Monday I was still recovering and forgot to try to post, and the busy lifestyle just keeps going. Weekends don’t really exist and there’s never nothing to do. Having a life and getting work done simultaneously is an olympic sport and I’m training for gold.

On the bright side, I managed to get some really great photos, got a good amount done otherwise and didn’t actually die from lack of sleep and real food. Hopefully I can recover soon and start at least attempting to function like a real human being again. Also I will try to share some of my images as soon as I work on them a bit. Because seriously, it was a productive weekend in the world of photography.

Until then, this is a short post and I will try to queue some more so you all won’t have to miss me too bad…

Beauty Review: La Mer The Reparative SkinTint SPF 30

If there’s one piece of advice I follow is that I wear sunscreen. I can’t bring myself to wear the sporty one that smells like the beach though so fancy makeup brands are the only way I can bring myself to apply sunscreen. I think it’s because I associate it with gritty sand in weird places.

For awhile I was using Olay 7 Effects. I actually really liked it and the way it felt on my skin. It is also available at Costco and that’s a huge plus in my book. Alas, it isn’t tinted and it is only spf 15.

The Melanoma Foundation recommends at least a SPF 30 which blocks out 97% of rays. So, I found La Mer’s The Reparative SkinTint.

After a 15 min explanation about “the miracle broth” inside the product and how it was developed by an astronaut I decided to give it a try.

The only problem is that it’s 90 bucks!

All the reviews online were great though and I love that it’s also a bb cream so when I apply it, it is slightly tinted. It’s nice for my lifestyle where I don’t have time or the luxury to do much in the makeup department. The only step is to lather on the cream really fast.

That being said, I don’t know if I love La Mer. I would if it were 50 dollars or less. But 90? I feel like I can shop around for something less but just as good.

Would I recommend it to a friend? Perhaps to splurge because it does what it advertises; It’s very lightweight¬† and doesn’t seem to sweat off or clump up throughout the day. I don’t need to always check myself out in passing mirrors because I know the product is staying how I applied it.

That price tag though will have me looking elsewhere.