Monday, June 20, 2011

30 DC: Day 13 (A love affair) AND my 200th post!

Sorry for the delay!!!  Today's 30 day challenge post ties in with a post I was already going to write.  I also purposely decided to wait to post it since this post ALSO marks my 200th post on the blog.  Woo!  It's interesting to think about all the changes that have happened over 200 blog posts!  Anyway, today's topic is "A place you would like to move or visit."  Today I'll tell you a bit more about my love affair... with Provence.

If you read my blog regularly (or have talked to me ever), you'll know that I spent this year (and my previous study abroad experience) in Avignon, France, in the western part of what is known as Provence, or, more specifically the 'région Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur' (PACA) because it includes Provence in the west, the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur) in the east, and the beginning of the Alpes in the north.

If you're one of the people I'm friends with on Facebook or even Twitter, you'll also note that I move home from France soon. As in, I fly out Tuesday night at 10pm EST from Marseille (6am CET).  So, not only is this post a nice chance to mark the journey I've had this year and since I started the blog, but it's kind of an interesting precipice to be on as I'm closing this chapter.  I know the next 200 posts will be full of surprises too.

Anyway, on to the challenge.  I'm leaving Provence this week, but after spending so much time here it will always have a piece of my heart.  If I could bring Jon with me (and buy a car once I got here), I really could see myself being happy living here.  This region's got it all: mountains, fields, beaches, rivers, cities... You name it.  Oh and yummy food.  I'm going to talk more about this year in a few upcoming posts (and how I wrapped it up/crammed my life into three suitcases and a purse), but for now I just wanted to leave you with some of the photos I've taken this year that start to give a sense of how beautiful and varied this region is.  I am really thankful I was lucky enough to be able to spend nine months here and, in response to the challenge, I could definitely see myself moving here one day.  Retirement in the South of France, eh? eh?

Je t'aime, Provence.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Road Block (and Getting Ready to Leave)

Just a quick post.  I'm sorry I'm failing at the challenge posts... I feel like I've been failing at everything that even remotely involves being healthy, dieting, losing weight, twitter, #7daychip, or this blog lately and I am really sorry and feel pretty bad about it.  I feel like every time I go to start something or set a goal with the first hiccup it all falls to pieces and I'm back to where I've started.  Like the first mistake or misstep turns into a road block that keeps me from getting back on track and doing what I said I would do.  I never used to feel like this, why now?

That said, I hope to get back on the horse starting tomorrow.  Not going to write any goals right now because I don't want to let myself down again, I just really want to survive the next (get ready for it) 6 days before I fly home to America!!!  I've been busily packing and getting my affairs in order... and letting my eating and exercise slag in a big way.  It's really caught up with me all of a sudden today and I've been really bummed out and feeling huge and disgusting all day.  After I post this, I'm off to bed so I can MAKE MYSELF get up and RUN tomorrow before work.  I'm going to do it.  I am. I am. I am.

This week I've also really started thinking about going back to WeightWatchers when I get home, more specifically for the summer.  I checked my loan repayment plan (I'm trying to REALLY accelerate it to be out of debt ASAP) and paying for 4 months of the monthly pass change the end date of my new plan at all.  So, I'm currently thinking I'll sign up with a goal of doing it for the summer.  If at the end of summer, I'm not taking advantage of it and I'm not at least 10lbs down... then I'll stop my subscription when we move and go back to using CalorieCount for free... What do you guys think?  I think that with this plateau and the way I've been feeling, I really need my meetings (and my AWESOME leader at home) back.  Something needs to change and I need to kick myself in gear since Jon and our friends have a packed schedule of fun races and other event we want to do.

Anyway, sorry for the rambling post, just wanted to put out how I'm feeling to the blogosphere and remind you all that I'm still here.  I'm working on a few posts right now: moving out (with photos), a new challenge post, a plan for the summer, etc.  Stay tuned!

Update: For the first time in I think all of 2011 so far, I actually DID get up at 6am and go for a run after this post.  I hope that this is the start of me being back on track, one mile at a time.  Stay tuned for the next post, I just saw it's going to be my 200TH!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

30 DC: Day 11 (A Tour of my Friday)

Today's challenge post calls for a bullets account of my day today.  You'll see why I've been feeling out of my healthiness journey when you look at today... but I at least faithfully described everything I ate and did, so at least there's that.  I really do need to get back in the swing of things...  Anyway, here goes:

  • Woke up at 9
  • Had breakfast of weetabix, honey, skim and a cut up banana.  Made tea.
Essentially my bfast, only sub the yogurt for milk.
  • Got all my important mail ready to be sent.  (Forgot about my tea.)
  • Decided to go back to bed for an hour... got woken up by a phonecall to set up a "going-away" dinner with a friend
  • Gave my friend Kévaly two little shelving units I didn't think would sell on Le Bon Coin
  • Moving things off the shelves induced a packing panic, thus:
  • Cleaned/essentially packed all my suitcases to come home...looks like everything will fit.  ::knock on wood::
  • Ate lunch (leftover morbier risotto with zucchini, peppers, leek, garlic, and mushrooms) and too many (6-7) Percy Pigs.  
  • Went to La Poste and mailed everything.  Ran into two women from Texas, helped them mail their package and gave them tips on things to see in Avignon while they're here.  My advice is going to save them at least 100€.  Woot.
  • Met Rosie and her friend Camilla at Place de l'Horloge.
  • Got frozen yogurt with the nutrition negated by the fact that Rosie told me I absolutely had to get the brownieish sauce.
  • Picked out a few things I will be getting from NafNaf (where Rosie works).

I had to get Jon's opinion if it was as cute as I thought or too hippy.  He likes.

  • Hung out with Ro and Camilla and meandered through Avignon... and found some new Invaders!!!

  • Made a dinner reservation for tonight at Le Différent--it's gotten good reviews!
  • Skyped with Jonboy! :)

    Not an actual photo from today either, but you get the idea! ;)

  • Paid off my credit card back from my trip to the UK and other misc. European things! WOOO!
  • Looked into how soon I can feasibly pay off my gov't loans... Dec 2013 looks to be the earliest.  You know, unless one of you want to give me money! ;)
  • Got really hungry and decided to make a bowl of oatmeal with some shaved almonds and a fresh peach... disaster.  Should have photographed, but didn't.  Had nothing else to eat and was hungry, ate it anyway.
  • Got slightly dressed up in my new shoes from Barcelona (and pretty jewelry from Jonboy)
  • Met up with Claire for our lovely dinner at Le Différent:

Crème brûlée au fois gras et son écume de magret fumée

Mignon de veau sauce au miel aux saveurs d’agrumes 
accompagné de son écrasée de pomme de terre et de ses légumes

Trilogie de desserts
(Composée d’un moelleux au chocolat, d’une panacota aux mangues et d’une soupe de fraises)

  • Wandered around Avignon with Claire for a bit of an after dinner walk
  • Skyped with Jon and got to say hello to one of my favorite girls

  • And now, at 1:30am, I'm off to bed so I can get up early (hopefully) tomorrow morning before going to spend Saturday/Sunday with Magali and her family! 
Hope you've not been bored to tears by my life here in France (and my detailing it).  Probably won't get a challenge post (or any post at all) in tomorrow since I'm not taking my computer, but I'll see you all Sunday!!! :)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

30 DC: Day 11 (a shuffle of my iPod)

Today, as part of the 30 Day Challenge, I invite you to a top 10 tour of my iPod touch.  The challenge requirements said to tell you the first 10 songs on shuffle, so be prepared for an odd mix.  I originally only used the touch for running, but I've since added some things to listen to on the bus since I ALWAYS seem to get car sick/headachy on my commute home from work.

1. JK Rowling: "Aunt Marge's Big Mistake" from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

I LOVE Harry Potter.  I got the British audio recordings from a guy I dated a few years ago and they're worlds better than the American ones.

2. Mumford and Sons "Winter Winds"
One of my British friends turned me on to them after the BRIT awards, I highly recommend them!

3. Corbin Bleu "Push it to the Limit"
This is part of a running playlist.  If ever I want to give up, this song ALWAYS makes me push through.  I wish there were a way to have it on 'speed dial' or something.

4. Adele "Turning Tables"
If you've never listened to Adele, stop what you are doing and listen to this song or anything else by here immediately.  That is all.

5. Bénabar "Monospace"
I couldn't find a good recording of this song to show you, but it's adorable and it's upbeat and catchy with a fun theme: the guy singing is talking about being a dad and driving a monospace (mini van)

6. Buck Cherry "Crazy Bitch"
Good for running.

7. Cali "C'est Quand le bonheur?"
'When is happiness?' or 'When will I be happy?'  Upbeat even with kind of a sad theme, Cali is probably if not my favorite definitely up there among French singers.  Saw him in concert in 2008... amazing. 

8. Ellie Goulding "Lights"
Again, learned about her from the BRIT awards.  Love her... and she's cute to follow on Twitter too!

(The link is to a Yo-Yo Ma version, but same piece)
I played cello for 10 years and this is hands down my favorite things for cello.  I keep all of the suites on my iPod because if I ever need music to relax to or to drown out noise so I can sleep... this is it.

10. Girl Talk "Triple Double"  
I HIGHLY recommend this CD to all runners.  I got it for free online at the Girl Talk website a few months back and the songs are SO fun to run to.

Do any of you have anything weird on YOUR iPods?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

30 DC: Day 10 (First love, first kiss)

My first love and my first kiss.  Sadly, since I'm in France and have no access to my pre-digital photos, you're just going to have to imagine photos of me being young and in love.  Ready?  Go:

Well, the first kiss thing for me is sadly pretty anticlimactic and something I kind of try to forget.  No adorable story here, sorry folks.  Sadly, it was with the neighbor boy (as ya do) in a weird little cottage thing in his backyard.  Plus, he was and still is kind of weird, so I mostly like to pretend it never happened.  

As for my first love, that's kind of cute.  I've gone to the same church ALL my life and grew up going to their Wednesday evening after-school program called "Super Wednesday."  We all kind of loathed going there as we got older, but now I have lots of fond memories.  

For the most part, I spent all of elementary school and most of middle school years of church going as part of a threesome (get your mind out of the gutter, dear readers!).  I spent all of my church time hanging out with my friends David and Jason.  In true triangle fashion, Jason apparently had a huge crush on me, I had a HUGE crush on David, and David was indifferent.

Somehow (I really honestly don't remember) I ended up in a "relationship" with David for all of 8th grade.  I was in love.  I swore we'd get married and have little adorable children.  He gave me a set of Hallmark kiss-kiss bears and a charm bracelet and I thought we were meant to be.  We stealthily kissed a little in his parents basement (probably not as stealthily as we thought) and got dropped off by our parents to see movies.  It was love.

Then, high school happened.  David joined the band and, well, I played cello.  They went off to camp and had a wonderful time and came back cliquey and busy and I was left on the sidelines.  We went to our Freshman homecoming together and he promptly broke up with me the next night after youth group.  He told me his mom had forbidden him to break up with me before the dance.  I was devastated and took EONS to get over him, whereas he immediately moved on to a clarinet player and was always in a long-term relationship with SOMEONE from there on out.

As for me, on the other hand, this lovely middle-school relationship was really my only "true" 'This is my boyfriend, so-and-so' relationship until Jon... kind of embarrassing really.  Seeing David always be in a relationship (even once I was totally over him and we'd gone our separate ways) always kind of stung, even though I did date a little and have fun.  Funny coincidence?  Jon's always been a serial monogamist too.  Guess I'm just weird.

Another funny co-inky-dink?  David's mom lost 50+ pounds on WW and works as a receptionist at my meetings at home.  She's lovely and it's fun to know her more as an adult now.  

That said, there's my first love.  Not too serious, but we did have a good time. :)  I still have those kiss-kiss bears and the bracelet too.  My favorite thing?  He signed every card he gave me with his first and last name.  As if there would be other David's giving me romantic gifts!  :-P

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sometimes I feel like I'm in Barcelona

As promised, here are a few photos from our time in Barcelona last week... Sadly, like the rest of Southern Europe, Barcelona was mostly a rainy mess the whole time we were there, so I don't have a TON of good photos, but we did have a lovely time.

Walking down La Rambla

Hungout with some Brazilians... and ate bananas.

Random free workout equipment on the beach?  Interesting health idea, Barcelona!

Working my obliques on the playa

Beautiful view... really choppy free elliptical.  Boo.

Posing on the beach in the wind

The famous Sagrada Familia

Sunny recommended this delicious Ethopian restaurant.  YUM and pretty darn healthy!

Waiting for the train 
I mean business.
Barcelona was amazing... to be honest, I'm SO sad we didn't get more time there!  The food was pretty healthy and I wish I'd brought my running gear to run along the nicely paved/lined beach area... I will definitely be going back!  Hopefully next time, I'll have Jon with me and there'll be more sunshine!!!

30 DC: Day 9 (The Future. Again?)

How I hope my future will be like?

I thought that we addressed this with the previous "What I want my life to be like in 10 years" post.  But, in case you've forgotten... to summarize:

I want my future to involve being with Jon 
(and the furry babies):

And eventually (as in a few years from now) include these 
(not necessarily at the same time):

I would also like to earn a few more of these:

And then be one of these:

All in all, in my future, I would like to be this: 

The rest will work itself out.