Adulting is Hard

adulting
Photo courtesy of Echo Magazine

This semester I’ve learned a lot of things, but one of the biggest things I’ve learned is that adulting is hard, or at least whatever it is that I’m doing seems like adulting and it’s a lot.

Living in the dorms the past two years, I didn’t have to worry too much about preparing my food. Most of the time, I would get something from one of our dining halls or their express shops or I would pop something in the microwave and voila, my food would be ready. This year, things are a bit different. I have a kitchen! I’m very happy to be able to make food for myself but it has been an interesting balance trying to make sure I still get all of my school work done and then also cooking and making something decent for myself to eat. I’ve enjoyed being able to use my kitchen though for the most part. Very thankful for it as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

When I lived in the dorms and even living at home, chores have always been a thing. Cleaning up after myself has always been a thing. I would consider myself a pretty clean person but I never realized how much responsibility comes with having a space to yourself like my apartment until I’ve had to take care of it. Vacuuming and cleaning the floors are a regular part of my weeks. Cleaning my mirrors and wiping down countertops, tables, and my decorative table are also things I have to keep up with. Dishes, laundry, the lists go on and on and on. I may sound like I complain when I say these things and sometimes I do complain that there’s so much to do and only one person to do it. But I’ve also learned that I appreciate cleanliness and that cleaning up around my apartment makes for a great study break sometimes.

Reflecting on what I’ve mentioned here with my food situation and my cleaning, I feel like I still haven’t done much of this thing that people do call “adulting” but I feel like I’ve had a good introduction to what’s to come.

Sorry for another short post this week. I have a lot going on with school and I’m really trying to finish two of my classes early since I have the chance to with them being asynchronous and fully online. Final push here!! Have a great week everyone!

Reminder to Be Kind

This week, I’ve got a lot going on so I need to keep this a bit short. An anatomy test and econ test are in my future unfortunately. I hope you all had a great and safe Halloween! It’s crazy how fast the year has flown and that it’s already November. I also hope that you are all staying happy and healthy. With flu season on its way and the cold temperatures coming in, it’s more important than ever to be healthy. With all of what is going on in our country currently, especially with Election Day being on Tuesday, I just wanted to remind you all to be kind.

We may differ in our political views and opinions but we need to respect one another. You don’t need to sever ties with your family and friends, just because they vote for a different person. Yes, these choices matter, but that shouldn’t be what ends a relationship. You don’t need to call people names solely based on the fact that they filled in a different bubble than you did on the ballot. Let’s act like mature adults with this wonderful right we’ve been given. You don’t need to create an environment of hate and tension in a time when that’s really the last thing our country needs. We may not see eye to eye on various issues, but we need to recognize that and choose to be the better people. We need to use our heads, think with clear minds, and do what we think is best not just for ourselves but for the wellbeing of the country. We need to educate ourselves, and learn the facts, so that we can be better people and functioning members of society. More than anything, we need to BE KIND. Not just on Tuesday with the election or throughout the week but every day.

Be good to each other. Be kind and stay healthy and safe. See you next Sunday.

reminder to be kind

Fitness Journey Update

fitness journey update

On July 26, I posted that I was going to start working with a personal trainer to help me find a sustainable and healthy workout routine. If you’d like to read that post here’s the link to it! FITNESS JOURNEY BEGINNING! Not only that, but I had the goal of adjusting my eating habits and working to create more healthy lifestyle habits for myself. Here we are, now on October 25. I’ve been working with my trainer for about three months now and I just wanted to give a little fitness journey update!

I think the hardest thing for me this past three months has been training my mindset. I’m easily motivated to workout and hardly find myself having to force myself to do my workouts, but I struggle with the progress part of this whole process. After dealing with such painfully-slow healing with my injuries in high school, my patience has really been cut short and I get frustrated easily when I don’t see progress or improvement quickly. There have been moments where I’ve stared at myself in the mirror and still hated what I see but I’ve noticed that I’m feeling that way, less and less as I’ve been working out more. I still struggle with my patience but I’m starting to appreciate the process and celebrate the small progressions and little victories. When I first started with my trainer, I was tracking my activity in a log but now with my watch, I just track my workouts from there. In my log, I was tracking the little victories I had and I think that’s part of the reason I’m starting to see a more positive mindset when it comes to progress and I’m starting to be a bit kinder to myself.

My favorite thing to do is look back on that activity log and see those little sprinkles of positivity. Like on August 22nd, I did bench squats for the first time and that was my first time ever lifting truly heavy weight. I squatted 95 pounds that day. When I first started in the gym, I was mainly working with 10 and 15 pound weights during arm circuits and arm workouts but it was really tough. For being a tennis player and also setter during my volleyball years, I’m shocked my upper body strength was so weak!! That has been one of the main focuses of the time with my trainer. Upper. Body. Strength. On September 19th, I wrote that I was finally able to EASILY work with the 15 pound weights. Good day. ๐Ÿ™‚ The next weekend, my trainer noted that my core was clearly stronger because I was able to do an exercise that I hadn’t been able to do when I first started working with her. That was something that made me really happy. In October, some of the highlights came from October 2nd where I wrote that I didn’t expect myself to be able to do wide leg squats with a 65 pound kettlebell as easily as I did. I also bench pressed for the first time that week and lifted 55 pounds. Not much, but a good start. I also did some core stuff with these weird elbow sock things where you dangle off of the ground and I found those really fun. I stopped tracking my activity after I got my Galaxy Watch 3 for my birthday since my watch can do that for me, but I still note the little things that motivate me to push myself harder. Like last weekend, my delts were really starting to get some definition and just yesterday, I bench squatted 125 pounds, setting a new PR for myself. I was really proud of that. This fitness journey has been no joke. I’ve been really sore some days but I love the feeling of being sore. It means things are working and progress is being made!!

When this all began, my first few workouts were very full-body focused and as I’ve progressed, the days have become more focused on arms, legs, triceps/back, glutes/back, and cardio. I appreciate the focused days, especially arm days. They suck but I find myself enjoying those the most because I feel like I die the least on arm days haha. My trainer has also been such an important part of this whole fitness journey. She’s an amazing person and I’m so happy to consider her not only a mentor but also a friend. She has done so much for me and I love getting to workout with her and laugh and have fun, even when she’s killing me with the intense workouts.

I’ve really tried to refrain from making the goal of all of this to lose weight. That’s not what this is about. I’ve told myself that I’m working to get stronger mentally and physically. With that said however, I have lost 8 pounds to this day. I see and feel strength in my arms and core and my legs are feeling a bit tighter. As I mentioned a little before, I feel better about myself but I still have some things to work on regarding the mental aspect of this all.

Regarding food, I try to stick to the same things when I’m at school. Breakfast is avocado toast with two poached eggs and I try to add some sort of sausage or other protein when I can. For lunch and dinner, it varies, but I’ve cut out pasta (unless it’s whole wheat) and have really tried to up my protein and fiber intake. I eat a lot of salads and soups and have really enjoyed making use of my air fryer to help keep vegetables and also potatoes more fun and hopefully more healthy. As far as sugar intake goes, I really limit that in the mornings because in the past, that’s where I’ve taken in a lot of sugar whether that was from some sugary coffee/tea drink or a pastry or some sweet yogurt, etc. I still enjoy sweets occasionally, but I’ve found that I’m just a lot less inclined to eat sweets now. I still do really enjoy the occasional trip to Starbucks though, I will say that.

From the past three months, I’m most happy to see my mindset begin to transform. Nothing comes overnight and this is something my mom has told me over and over again but in the past, I’ve just been frustrated by that comment because I wanted results that instant so I could be happy with myself again. Sometimes, I still feel that way, but it’s all getting better. Some things just take time and it’s so much more worth it to celebrate the little victories and enjoy the progress. Have a good week everyone.

21!! Almost…

This weekend has been such a fun weekend, mostly because my family and I decided to celebrate my 21st birthday! I officially turn 21 on October 20th (this Tuesday) but we decided to celebrate a little bit early since I won’t be home on my actual birthday because of school.

Friday, my mom and sister treated me to Chick-Fil-A and Starbucks after I finished my macroeconomics recitation which is always a good time. I really like their spicy chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese. Yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚ Definitely not the most healthy meal but it tasted good and that’s what matters haha. The rest of Friday was spent doing a lot of homework just so I could spend more time doing other things over the weekend.

Yesterday morning, I worked out and then my dad and I went to pick up my cake from Nothing Bundt Cakes. My aunt and uncle are always so sweet to get me a cake for my birthday. I love the tradition and I especially love the cream cheese frosting on Nothing Bundt Cakes. It’s so sweet but so good. I went with a pumpkin spice cake, because who wouldn’t in the fall? It was a super pretty cake and I’m very thankful that my aunt and uncle think about me. I just wish they could be here to enjoy it with us. ๐Ÿ™‚ We played tennis yesterday and then later in the day, my sister and I got Clubhouse Games on our Switch and practically played that for the rest of the day. Clubhouse Games basically just has a bunch of games like mancala, checkers, chess, and Yatzhee. Very classical but super fun!

Saturday night, we went to Ted’s Montana Grill, one of my favorite restaurants and my mom let me try some of her margarita. Yes, I’m technically still 20 but I’m so close to 21, we figured it was ok. Anyway, 10/10 do not recommend tequila. I like the lemony-lime taste of margaritas but the alcohol part I’m less happy about. Dinner was great and back at home, we had cake and I tried another tiny amount of alcohol, this time Baileys. Again, 10/10 do not recommend. I hated the burning feeling it gave me in the throat. The taste itself wasn’t horrible but I just think I’m never really going to be that much of a drinker and that’s ok! I know that alcohol typically tends to be a theme when people turn 21 and I’ve just never been that interested or curious. I was yesterday for a little bit but I think I confirmed my theories and know that I just won’t be doing what a lot of other kids my age are doing and I’m perfectly happy with that.

Sunday morning, my mom and I did some grocery shopping before heading back to school and I got my gifts from my family. Beside the cute new pair of boots I got, I’m really excited to play around with my new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3. It’s such a cute little thing and I’m most excited to use it to track my workouts and see how active I am, especially doing online school for the most part.

More than anything, I was just happy to spend some good time with my family and friends this past weekend to celebrate something special. Birthdays are always fun but they mostly remind me of how loved and supported I am and it really means a lot to me. I don’t say that to brag or make an attempt at showing how amazing my life is, but I say that because sometimes we struggle to feel loved and appreciated, and it’s during special celebrations like this that I’m reminded of how wonderful my family is and how much they mean to me.

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Cheers to (almost) being 21!

Visits From Angels

This is definitely going to be a really different post but it’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately. Sometimes I wonder if dreams are a way for those from Heaven, our angels, to visit us. Shortly after my grandma passed away, she appeared to me in a dream and told me how proud she was of me and then she walked into light. When my grandpa passed away, I saw him and my grandma holding hands in the distance. They both waved at me and smiled from a distance.ย 

When my sweet little boy, Marty, passed away last August, he appeared to my sister in a dream not too long after his death and he was apparently very happy and healthy looking again which made me very happy to see. I saw Marty in a dream a couple of months after he passed and there was such a feeling of warmth and comfort. It felt too real to just be something my brain was just imagining. A few weeks ago, my sister said she saw Marty again and his hair was getting fluffy and he was becoming a โ€œwooly mammothโ€ again, as we used to call him. Jokingly, I told her that God needs to give Mar a haircut.

Just this past week, I had a dream that we had this little pop-up tunnel thing in my living room at home and I could see and hear movement inside so I looked to see if Boo was in there and it was Marty. His hair had been cut in the typical Schnauzer cut we always had him groomed in and his little lion poof of a tail was wagging. I remember the noises he would make when he rubbed his sweet little face into the carpet. Whenever he finished, he would always let off this really deep sigh or sneeze and I could just hear him making those noises as if he really was there. I picked Marty up out of the tunnel and squeezed him so tight. He gently licked my face like the good boy he always was and I told my mom and sister that Marty had come to visit. I let him go and he went over to get some water. He was a very thirsty boy, thatโ€™s for sure.

Dreams like that make me feel so good and honestly make me feel complete again and itโ€™s very clear that I still really really really miss Marty. I cry a lot over Marty and maybe thatโ€™s ridiculous that it has now been over a year since he left us, but he was my first dog and will always hold the most special spot in my heart. I think about him a lot and every weekend I come home, which has basically been every weekend since school started, of course Iโ€™m excited to see Boo and spoil him for the weekend, but I miss my Mar. I wish I could still hug him in person and hang out with one of the best little guys ever.ย 

Dreams like those Iโ€™ve kinda shared do make me wonder, are dreams a way for angels to visit us? Iโ€™ve mentioned this a bit already, but the feelings Iโ€™ve had, seeing my grandparents and Marty feel too genuine to just be my subconscious and my brain processing information. There has to be more to it. The feeling of comfort and security and warmth I get with dreams like these Without a doubt, it feels like Iโ€™m being visited by my angels.ย 

Have a good week everyone.ย 

Fall Colors in Nederland

It’s October, everyone! Life is weird but the sun still comes up every morning and fall is in full swing. Speaking of fall, my family and I made a quick little trip up to Nederland last weekend to take in the beautiful fall colors of Colorado!

We didn’t see as much color as I had hoped, but things were definitely changing especially with the aspen trees. Regardless, it was really nice to be OUTSIDE and enjoy some fresh air with my family. We even brought our dog, Boo, with us and he really seemed to enjoy the new scents and the lake. We didn’t let him go in or really even let him get near the mud, but he was veryyy interested in the water. It was really cute actually. ๐Ÿ™‚

There’s this lake not too far into Nederland that we stopped at and walked around for some time and it was really nice. There were other families out and we all just really seemed to be happy to be doing something other than sitting or staring at a computer screen. I’m not all sure what Nederland itself has to offer, but I personally felt that going to the lake and walking around was a good enough trip.

On our way up, traffic was disastrous through Boulder and then up into the mountains. If you’re planning a trip to see the fall colors, plan on at least being in the car for an hour heading up and then an hour coming back. Obviously, things will depend on where you’re coming from, but if you’re coming from the Denver Metro area like I was, it may take you awhile. Totally worth it though!

I feel like this weekend would have also been a great weekend to go. Fall is always so pretty. I’m especially a fan of the trees with the leaves that turn red on top and then a more orangey-yellow on bottom. So pretty!! I hope you have a chance to get out this weekend, wherever you are and enjoy the pretty fall colors too. Have a good week!

The Stress of the COVID-19 Test

Recently, my apartment complex had to be tested for COVID-19 as a result of wastewater testing and I have a little story to share regarding that. Good news is, I’m negative, first of all. Second, I hope you are all staying healthy and doing the best you can to stay sane and optimistic during these weird times in the world.

Story time!! I received an email from my university’s housing services requiring mandatory COVID-19 testing. Understandable. I scheduled my test and was able to get in the next day. The test was self-administered meaning that I had the joy and pleasure of sticking a swab up my nose til I felt a little bit of pressure and then swirling it around a few times on both sides. Following that, I had to carefully break off the little tip with all my nose gunk on it and seal it in a little tube with some liquid and then place my tube in a biohazard bag that then went into a little cooler. Easy peasy. Yes it did hurt a little, but I’m thankful that my school offered a quick and free test for students. I hope following that experience, I never have to be tested again, but only time will tell.

The test itself wasn’t difficult, as I mentioned, it was the thoughts that led up to my test and those that followed as I waited for my results back. The convenient thing about the testing ordered by my university, was the turn-around of results. I heard back that my test was negative a little after 24 hours. I absolutely DREADED waiting to get my results back though. Yes, I have been asymptomatic. Yes, I have been wearing my mask and following all CDC guidelines and procedures to the best of my ability. Yes, I have been doing whatever I can to maintain a happy and healthy physical and mental state. But still, the thought of, “What if I have this virus and have to quarantine in my apartment all by myself?” loomed over me from the moment I got the email requiring testing to the moment I got the email with my results back. I had all this anxiety and nervousness about what I would have to do if I did have COVID-19 and I absolutely hated how on-edge and stressed out I was.

Like I said, I was pretty confident that I didn’t have the virus, but I thought a lot about, “Well, what if you’re just not showing symptoms? But you might be the kind of person to show symptoms, considering that you have asthma.” And then my head went in the direction of, “What if you really are forced to quarantine? Are we going to have enough food for two weeks?! What do I do if I can’t leave my apartment to get food but I’m all out?!” There was just a lot of unnecessary stress and panic. Maybe some of you can relate. The feeling of not knowing is a really scary and stressful feeling. In the end, I am grateful for my health and that negative result.

I’m not quite sure what can be done to alleviate the stress associated with being tested for COVID-19, or if anyone else has felt like they were in a similar situation, but it would be interesting to know how you all are dealing with this. And if you have been tested, how has that been? I just hope you all are staying happy and healthy. Take care of yourselves this week!! See you next Sunday. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dear Freshman Ana,

I just had my first anatomy exam this past week and tomorrow I have my first macroeconomics exam. School is just chugging right along. It’s crazy to think that after this semester, I only have a year of undergrad left and then hopefully we’re off to dental school. I thought about that a lot this weekend and one of the things that I wanted to do was write a letter to past me and just reflect on how things were already so different from my freshman year. It’ll be cool to look back on this three-ish years from now too and see how different life is. It’s crazy to think about where I am right now and how far I’ve come! This post feels a lot more personal, so if you’re not here for that kind of stuff, I’ll get back to something else next week but this just felt important for me right now. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you’re into these types of throwback-y posts let me know! It’s fun to relive memories! I’ve also thrown two pictures from freshman year in, so enjoy!

Dear Ana,
I’m currently sitting in that really loud chair in your future apartment during your junior/senior/whatever-the-heck-we-wanna-call-it year as I write you this letter. You don’t know it yet, but you really like your apartment and it is such an upgrade from that homey little room you lived in freshman year. It’s been nice having no roommate, that’s for sure though. I remember how motivated and excited you were to beginning your college journey. You were so determined to be perfect in everything you did. You knew what you wanted to do and that has been one heck of a confidence boost as we’ve taken this journey that is college. When we first added that business minor, I started to think that might not be the greatest idea, but it hasn’t been the worst thing in the world. We’re just not a big fan of macroeconomics right now. ๐Ÿ™‚ And then we decided to add the chemistry minor… Ana, you are so funny and a bit ambitious sometimes but we’re doing the best we can!!

Freshman year, you thought general chemistry was going to be the death of you but we actually learned that organic chemistry II was the bane of our existence. Yes, it sucked but we still survived! You thought that it couldn’t get better than your general biology courses, but I came to learn that physiology was actually one of the best classes I’ve ever taken and I’m currently really loving anatomy, despite the fact that there’s just so much to know. You were so eager to get into your more interesting, less general classes, and I feel like we’re definitely there now. Things are tough but they’re manageable and it’s helping make me a better student and more educated person.

I bet you never expected to live through a pandemic. That’s fully happening right now. Freshman year, the biggest thing you were concerned with was making sure no one found out that you were the one that threw up in the hallway that one night you randomly got super sick (cat’s out of the bag…. HAHA) and now I spend a lot of time cleaning and have to check to make sure I have hand sanitizer and a mask every time I leave my apartment.

The one thing I really miss about you, freshman Ana, was your confidence. We’ve lost that these past couple of years and I really miss the confidence in your silliness and just in yourself in general. We’re working on it now, but I hope we can get back to your energy and sureness one of these days. I remember that you were ambitious freshman year and little me, I just want you to know that we are exactly where we need to be. Maybe there were things you wanted to have accomplished by now that haven’t been accomplished, but I’ve come to learn that we are doing just fine. Everything leading up to this very moment has happened for a reason and everything is going to be great.

I’m proud of you for all you did and accomplished freshman year and I can’t wait to see what Ana another three years from now has to say! Keep your head up and stay awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

Love,
Ana

Some Fun on the Platform Tennis Court

My dad recently had to shoot some videos for the USPTA and gave my sister and I the opportunity to help him out. In each of the videos, we’re out on a platform tennis court and we talk about There are three videos each about a minute in length but I thought it would be fun to share those with you all this week. If you’re looking to learn a few quick things about platform tennis, now’s your chance!

In the first video, my dad talks about compact volleys in platform tennis. The court is much shorter than a tennis court which means that the ball is going to come back much quicker than you might think so it’s important to keep everything tight and compact. You might see from my face, but it was SO bright the day we shot.

In this video, my dad talks about serving in platform tennis. The paddle is shorter than a tennis racket (obviously), so the serve is going to look a bit different. Also, I’m definitely not right-handed and I had arm day the day before we shot these videos so I’m actually pretty proud I was able to keep my arm up for so long. It might not seem like a long time, but it SURE FELT LIKE IT!

In this final video, my dad talks a bit more about volleys but we played around with the positioning of volleys in platform tennis. More specifically though, my dad is showing how easy it is to hide behind your backhand volley. And from personal experience, I can agree that it’s better to hide behind that backhand volley. Things happen very quickly on that tiny court!

I hope you all have a great week and I’ll see you next weekend!

Cooking is Fun!

So I have a kitchen now and it’s something that I’ve really enjoyed using! And with that kitchen, I’ve been able to do a bit more cooking than I have in the past and I recently discovered that cooking and working with food is actually kinda fun!

In the mornings, I like to make myself avocado toast, scrambled eggs, or an omelet, and I also add some sort of meat, whether that’s chicken or some form of sausage. I’ve also recently discovered that cheese inside omelets is so good. I don’t know if that’s just a me thing or if that’s something that other people have also enjoyed, but I know that I enjoy it now! As far as how I make my eggs, I have an egg cooker that does all the work for me. Yes, this may seem like I’m not actually doing the cooking, but I still prep a lot of stuff to make sure I get my eggs just how I want them that morning. It’s a very handy, helpful little appliance. ๐Ÿ™‚

cooking is fun

As I’ve grown in my cooking and food handling abilities, I’ve learned how to cut a variety of different things, my favorites being avocados (I just really like avocado) and mangoes. Mangoes were a bit tricky in the beginning but I think I’ve figured out a system when it comes to cutting those. I was not aware of the flat seed in the center when I cut my first mango and I wish you could have all been there to see my reaction. I thought to myself, “This is one strong mango!”, “Is my knife broken?”, “Maybe I’ll follow the hard parts of this mango as best I can but just cut around…” HAHA. After about ten minutes of struggling with my first mango, I washed my very sticky hands and proceeded to watch at least three videos on how to properly cut a mango. We’re good now. The internet is a great resource for learning how to prep food and make things and I’ve definitely taken advantage of it.

Also, I apologize for the low-quality picture but this was the first breakfast I had in my apartment and I was pretty proud of it, even if my poached eggs were a bit overdone. It still tasted good. ๐Ÿ™‚ Something I haven’t made yet in my apartment but I’m excited to make is pasta. I’ve made rice and that has turned out pretty decent so far but I’m really excited to try out this yummy whole wheat penne and spaghetti I have. I have some sauce and sausage I could put it with and I feel like either the penne or spaghetti could be really good. We shall see!

If anyone has anything easy to make and yummy that they recommend I try, let me know! I’d be happy to try new things out and eat some good food. Who doesn’t wanna eat good food? Have a good week and I’ll see you all next weekend!