Not all Sunshine and Rainbows

sunshine and rainbows
Photo by rita peron on Unsplash

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a good weekend. Happy Easter by the way as well! As I write this, I’m honestly very tired mentally. When I say this, I speak from an academic standpoint. This semester has been not been easy. As some would say, it really is has not all been sunshine and rainbows. There are a lot of good moments and I’ve had fun, but I’m getting really tired of everything.

I’m tired of online coursework. I’m tired of communicating over long email chains with classmates and professors. If I never saw Zoom or Microsoft Teams again in my life, I wouldn’t be upset. I’m sick of not being able to interact with people in a manner where we aren’t concerned about social distancing or other public health protocols. More than anything, I’m so over going to school thinking I’ll be able to have more face-to-face interaction, only for things to be an absolute, unorganized disaster, resulting in me spending so much time in my apartment by myself.

I’m not here today to write and complain about all of the sucky things about being a college student right now, but I also don’t understand why it seems to be ok to be a bit more disorganized and chaotic now. Take my chemistry lab for instance. We’ve had several labs canceled not because someone is sick but because the materials for the lab aren’t ready or haven’t been shipped yet. We missed the first week of lab because the professor and TAs weren’t ready to begin lab yet. I mean come on!!! You had all of winter break to prepare for this course and it’s not the first time this lab has been offered as a course. There have been several weeks in this lab, where something doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to or it doesn’t work at all and my TA throws his hands up in the air, laughs, and then says he’ll send some data over email and that we can all go home. Then why did I just waste an hour and a half trying to get something to work?? Why am I even putting any effort into this lab if it ends up with me sitting back in my apartment reading through a bunch of chemistry papers that I can barely understand to talk about something in a paper on a topic that my TA doesn’t even understand. Absolutely ridiculous.

And I know, again, that this pandemic has been easy for no one. Again, it has not all been sunshine and rainbows! Things have changed so much and there are so many guidelines and regulations to follow and ensure safety and health of all. I fully understand that. I bet there are a lot of ways that the pandemic has affected how this chemistry lab that I’m in can operate. I think there comes a point though where you can no longer blame the pandemic on your inabilities to be organized and put-together.

This class hasn’t been my only issue either. I feel like I really tried to be an optimistic and hopefully person about these classes at first, but I quickly came to realize that it was not going to be all sunshine and rainbows with two of my other classes… They have been horrible disappointments. It feels as if I’ve learned nothing. It feels like my professors try but all the words they speak have no true meaning. The thing that bothers me the most about this is that I pay for this. I pay a good deal of money for something so low-quality. It’s embarrassing and more than anything its frustrating! I was so excited for these two classes, developmental biology and chemistry of addictions, and I couldn’t tell you one really important or exciting thing I’ve learned in either class.

Being online for most of my coursework and living alone (unless I’m just staying at home for classes) has been a very interesting experience and as much as I appreciate the alone time, it can be really hard sometimes. I’m pretty distracted most of the time, whether I’m working out or doing classwork or watching a show. It is hard though, when I’ve done all that I feel I can do for the day and I have no one to talk to and everyone is busy. I just feel lonely sometimes and that’s something I have not enjoyed one bit. We are social beings and being robbed of that has really taken a toll on so many of us. Sometimes I go on walks and it makes me sad sometimes to not even see another person on campus. Even just seeing another person can make you feel less alone, or at least that’s how I am. At least there’s someone else around, in your presence. And it’s so different to text a person or talk to them on the phone. Yes, it helps to know that another actual person is interacting with you but it isn’t the same as seeing them in-person. In my opinion, it’s the interactions that occur face-to-face that make things so much better and mean so much more.

More than anything, I pray for better classes next semester with better professors and I pray for better days ahead. I’m really looking forward to spring break which starts next weekend and I’m thinking that will help with some of this burnout I’m feeling. I know I need some time to recharge and I’m sure a lot of you out there do too! I know that the world will not always be sunshine and rainbows, but I know that I can make the best of every situation I’m presented with and recognize that most of life is going to actually be pretty good. Life sucks sometimes though, and in these times you really just need to truck along and remember that things will be ok in the end. 🙂 Have a good week everyone. I’ll see you next Sunday.

A Breakthrough!!

I don’t know what it was, but something amazing happened this past week and I think I’ve made a breakthrough! I’ll just go ahead and share what I wrote in my workout journal. 🙂 I might edit it so it makes a bit more sense formatting-wise and for this post as I upload it today. Again, I’m pretty sore today but today’s soreness makes me feel so proud of where I’m at now. 🙂

I’m down almost two pounds from last weekend?! Not that weight matters an extreme amount but I’m genuinely surprised. I was going for 100 lbs with my bench press but I don’t think it happened and that’s ok! I believe I benched around 75 lbs and that’s still a PR!! 🙂 (Sidenote: My previous personal record, or PR, was 65 lbs for those of you that were wondering and I’ve been making good gains with my upper body as of lately, so my trainer and I thought it was doable.) I honestly think I had a breakthrough this past week. I don’t know what it was but I’m starting to feel better about myself. Yes, I am still working on things and I am also still extremely hard on myself but I’m learning and I’m making big improvements. I wasn’t too worried about food this week as far as worrying I was eating too much or too little which is a step in the right direction if you ask me. (Another sidenote: I’ve never been obsessed about tracking my food or anything but as I’ve started working out more I would definitely say that I’ve become a bit more aware of what I eat and sometimes it feels wrong eating certain things because I worry about it affecting my progress. Working to adjust that mindset has been challenging but I think we are making good progress with that!!) I just told myself that as long as I’m eating a lot of fiber and protein (and still including carbs!) then I’m good. As long as I see veggies and fruits on my plate, I’m good!

And with this thinking, I’ve actually started noticing changes with my body. The biggest for me has been around my hips and lower back which is where I’ve carried a decent amount of fat. Suddenly this week, things felt much slimmer to me! And I was able to fit into a pair of pants that I wore during my pageant times and I know that I weighed less than I do currently!! My trainer told me that I shouldn’t worry so much about what the scale says, and I agree because that doesn’t mean everything. She said that I should focus more on how things are fitting. Since I started working with her, I have definitely noticed a difference with that but just now and am I really starting to celebrate and feel proud of the accomplishments I’ve made. Workouts are still feeling good and I think it has really helped that I’m incorporating walks and yoga into my workout routines too. I think that has helped me learn to appreciate and honor my body more. 🙂

Now we’re back to me writing in the current time. Yay for this breakthrough!! I really am so proud of the progress I’ve made thus far. It bothers me that it took me this long to see it but I’m glad that I’m finally getting there. I’m so happy that I’ve made this breakthrough and I’m truly very excited and so motivated to see where we go from here. If any of you out there are working to accomplish something, do not give up. Dig in and get to work. You may not see progress and things may feel hard but others notice and you will eventually see it too. See you all next weekend. 🙂

Feeling Sore

So last weekend I got a new PR with my bench squats so that’s pretty fun. The last time I went for a PR was in October and then I could squat 125 lbs but this past weekend, I squatted 145 lbs. Needless to say I was feeling sore. VERY. SORE. Still, pretty exciting stuff!

It’s really satisfying and makes me feel good to see my strength improving, even if I still struggle to see physical changes because of how hard I am on myself. It is really encouraging to see the improvements elsewhere though and that makes me really happy.

The one thing that is rough about lifting and strength training however, is feeling sore the day or two after. This comes with many forms of physical activity! Feeling sore means that you’ve worked hard and really pushed yourself. I’ve come to actually feel really satisfied when I’m really sore the next day, because that means that I worked hard and that I’m getting stronger. Love to see that. A sore core is the best in my opinion. I love training core, even though it really sucks in the moment. It’s just a good feeling. What’s my least favorite place to feel sore? Definitely quads. Walking is just a much more difficult task when you’re feeling sore. And sitting just makes things 10x worse. After a good leg day, I think it’s really important to walk a lot, take a good hot bath, and just make sure my legs stay warm. That seems to help with the lactic acid buildup and keeps me from feeling like a stiff stick every time I get up and move.

If you’re feeling sore though, it’s also important to be more aware of your movements and body in general, especially if you are working out or performing some other sort of physical activity in the following days. In no way am I a doctor and in no way am I trying to give any sort of medical or training advice but I think it’s wise to take it a bit easier the next day following a heavy lifting day. You don’t want to push it too hard and injure anything!

It’s crazy that spring is already here and I’m honestly really looking forward to some sun and slightly warmer weather! Let’s hope Colorado doesn’t get another round of snow anytime soon. See you all next Sunday!

Snowmageddon 2021

snowmageddon 2021

So we’re currently snowed in. Earlier this week, a massive storm front was headed our way and today it finally decided to get ugly. I call it Snowmageddon 2021. It has been SUCH a long time since we had a true blizzard and it has been really nice to see so much snow. Shoveling it has been another story though. We woke up to a decent amount of snow this morning. Heavy, wet snow. It just kept coming and coming and continues to do so. I’m not sure what total amount we were expecting, but I would say we definitely have a foot by now and that’s honestly more than I was expecting. Maybe even two feet.

It was kind of funny to see how many people thought this storm might not actually be that big of a deal. It was supposed to start snowing hard yesterday, but all it really did was rain with the occasional frozen rain. I was able to get a good normal workout in and I also got to play tennis with my dad and sister. It felt like another March morning in Colorado. It was cold yesterday but not at all what it is today. We were all joking that this storm was going to be nothing and then overnight, Mother Nature, was like WABAM! YOU GET SNOW AND YOU GET SNOW. Mother Nature sure didn’t fail to disappoint today and presented us with Snowmageddon 2021, my goodness.

I went out and helped my dad attempt to shovel the driveway after lunch and that was an experience. The snow was heavy and wet, the wind was blowing, and the snow seemed to come down much harder especially when we tried to shovel. I was working to clear a path and it felt like I would shovel a bit, only to look back and see like half an inch where I had just cleaned. The struggles of shoveling during snowmageddon!! I’m also pretty sore from my workout yesterday (yay for leg day!!) and so that was a fun experience. It did feel so good to get out and move around though.

We haven’t heard whether or not I won’t have school tomorrow but I’m hoping that’s the case because we definitely have way too much snow to deal with and I’m not sure that it’ll be safe to get back to campus tomorrow. If anything, I’ll plan on going back to Fort Collins tomorrow in the afternoon if the roads are clear or Tuesday since I don’t have class til 3.

On days like today, I am reminded to be thankful for a warm home to stay cozy in. To be able to go back inside and warm up with some tea and my favorite fuzzy blanket after shoveling was a wonderful feeling. I’m also thankful for snow blowers and good shovels. Those make quite the difference!

Let’s all pray for a snow day and I hope that you’re all staying warm and cozy this weekend! Have a good week and I’ll see you next Sunday!

I Love LUSH

As far as I know, I haven’t talked too much about LUSH, which just so happens to be one of my favorite companies right now. If you’re not familiar, LUSH is a handmade cosmetics company that claims to use all natural, organic materials in their products. They are also cruelty-free. I got into LUSH about a year ago and I haven’t looked back since. I will say that this post is not sponsored by LUSH but if that ever were to happen, I wouldn’t be upset. Hint, hint, wink, wink.

My all-time favorite product of their’s is the bath bomb. Oh my goodness do I love their bath bombs. Deep Sleep is my absolute favorite bath bomb that they sell. It comes in this little muslin sack and has Roman chamomile, lavender, and Neroli in it. 10/10. It makes me feel very relaxed and it always leaving my skin feeling super hydrated. Some of my other favorites include: Turmeric Latte (which will leave your tub quite sparkly so make sure to give it a good rinse!) and Twilight (more lavender smells!!). I honestly haven’t had a bath bomb that I didn’t enjoy. My one suggestion with all bath bombs and products you use though: Make sure you rinse the tub after use! I haven’t ever had any experiences with tub staining but I do know that there sometimes is a little bit of residue from the bath bomb or bubble bar that I use which could potentially leave stains if left uncleaned.

Before Christmas, I ventured into the world of bubble bars by LUSH and those have also been a lot of fun to try. When using their bubble bars, you can take half of the bar or the entire thing (depending on the size) and just crumble it up under warm, running water. And then voila! You have a bubble bath and it smells amazing! I really enjoy their products with lavender, and one of my favorite bubble bars is Sleepy. This one is a little bit larger, so I broke it in half and then had two uses with the product. One of the bubble bars I recently got was called Milky Bath and I’m really excited to use that one. It has oat flour, patchouli, and Brazilian orange oil in it. One of the other bubble bars I’m SUPER excited to try is called Nana. This one has banana, organic cocoa butter, and whole oats in it. It smells amazing and as I said before, I’m just very excited to try it out!

LUSH also offers a wide variety of other products including face masks, massage bars, lotions, soaps (which are pretty good as well!!), shower bombs (which are similar to bath bombs but for the shower!), shampoos, conditioners, and most other self-care products you might be able to think of! I just really enjoy that all of their products seem to have a lot of thought go into them and that they use such good, high-quality ingredients to make their products. If you’re a person that enjoys treating yourself to a bubble bath every once in a while or feels like you could use a bit more relaxation, I highly recommend you check out LUSH if you haven’t done so already. I’ll include the link for you to all go check it out! 🙂 https://www.lushusa.com/home

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I’ll see you next Sunday! Stay healthy and stay happy! 🙂

Happy Birthday, Mom

So my mom’s birthday was yesterday. We got to celebrate on Friday when I got home from school and then went out for a late lunch/early dinner on Saturday and had cake. It was a good weekend. 🙂 Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Happy Birthday Mom

On my mom’s birthday, we received a package from some of my cousins in St. Petersburg, Russia. It was so wonderful to receive something from them and I’ve really enjoyed connecting with them over Skype and Instagram. I’m so grateful to have such a wonderful family. 🙂 My cousins are both working on their English and I’m also working (but not very consistently haha) on my Russian, so we talk over Instagram and on Skype when I’m home and they’re not asleep. They sent matroshkas (which are the cute little Russian nesting dolls), some marmalade chocolate, some beautiful little jars, some cute magnets, and a little bag with St. Petersburg written on it in Russia, of course. It was just so fitting that the package arrived on my mom’s birthday. It was like another birthday present!

We got two beautiful flower bouquets and cards for my mama and when she was home from work, we went to lunch/dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill which is definitely a family favorite. 🙂 We tried the bison nachos as an appetizer for the first time and I have to say, they were pretty good! If you’re looking to try an appetizer at Ted’s I do recommend the bison nachos. It was nice to be able to go to a restaurant again. We’ve been a couple of times since things started opening back up but the restaurants we like to go to have been fairly limited. I am just thankful we have the opportunity to go out and that we are all healthy.

My mom and I went for a walk after our big meal and then later in the evening, we had a delicious lemon bundt cake sent by my aunt and uncle in New Mexico. Always a fun tradition. 🙂 Kinda funny story with the cake though, the cards on top of the cake were mixed up and instead of it saying happy birthday to my mom, it was some congratulatory card for some other woman who was going to have a baby soon. Didn’t know my mom was expecting!! Haha! The cake was so good and that wrapped up our birthday festivities for the day.

I will go back to school a little bit after lunch today and then that’s kinda it! I hope that my mama had a great birthday. She means a lot to me and I’m so lucky to have such a good listener and such a supportive, genuine, and wonderful person in my life. If you’re reading this Mom, I love you so so so much.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will see you all in March! It’s crazy that tomorrow is already going to be March.

Random Thoughts: Part 2

Hi everyone! I hope you are all having a good weekend so far. This week I wasn’t really sure what to post so I’ve decided to dump a bunch more of my random thoughts into another blog.

Is it weird to have a favorite organ? I’m currently an anatomy tutor at my university and I was recently talking with my co-worker about all the different organs when we didn’t have any students and that made me wonder if I really have a favorite organ. Currently, the answer is no but I love learning about all the different structures and features of the human body and how it functions.

When is it considered weird to still have your Christmas tree up? In my family, we always leave our tree up past January 7th typically, which is Orthodox Christian Christmas. To me, that’s always been normal. I’m just curious if there’s a specific day where you might as well just leave it up because Christmas is coming again soon.

What do clothing stores do with all of the clothing that doesn’t sell? Do they keep it until it does sell? If they do, that seems impractical but also is much better than throwing away everything that hasn’t been sold. Do they sell it to other stores that will then sell it for cheaper?

How staged are the shows on TLC like My 500 Pound Life (or whatever it’s called), and 90 Day Fiancee? Shows on TLC especially have always seemed so fake to me but I just wonder how much of what people say and do is actually real on those shows. I’ve also always wondered what it would be like to be told to act completely normal and go about my day but then be followed by a camera crew throughout my entire “normal” day. That just seems strange.

I’ve found it really enjoyable to keep track of all of the super random thoughts that go through my head during the day. It’s kinda fun honestly. Never stop thinking big and never stop imagining! Have a good week and I will see you all next Sunday. 🙂

My Take on Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day
Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash

Happy Valentine’s Day!! I hope you all have a chance to spend today with the ones you love and if you can’t do that in-person, give those people a call or send a card and let them know that you’re thinking about them.

I just wanted to say real quick that we hit 15,000 views on Monday this past week and that was just insane to me. Thank you for being here and reading my writing. 🙂 I hope you’re enjoying the posts. If there’s something you want me to write about, let me know!!

Anyway, Valentine’s Day. In my opinion, the holiday has become a day about chocolate and flowers. Wow. I was grocery shopping for my upcoming week at school and that just really hit me. Maybe I don’t see how special the holiday can be because I don’t have a significant other but I realized just how commercialized the holiday is yesterday. Chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. Flowers and lots of them. Giant teddy bears. Rows upon rows of poorly made stuffed animals holding hearts with corny little sayings. Cards with cheesy but sentimental words. To be fair though, I do really enjoy sending out cards. I feel like there’s something special about receiving actual mail. 🙂

I always help my mom do something for my dad and help my dad do something for my mom but I really didn’t think about how much this holiday revolves around material goods. A lot of holidays do. This might be a bit late considering that today is Valentine’s Day, but if you get a chance to do something more than just buy a bouquet of roses or a box of Godiva chocolate today, I say go for it. I know that appreciation and affection can be shown in so many different ways, but I feel like we can all do something to make it a bit more special.

With that said, I hope you have a great rest of your Valentine’s Day and stay happy and healthy this upcoming week. Love you all!

Feeling Lonely

lonely
Photo by Nathan Anderson on Unsplash

I go home a lot of weekends but I decided to stay at school this weekend to work on a group exam for one of my classes and something I’ve dealt with a lot this past week has been loneliness. Something that I’ve really had a chance to experience this past semester and this semester so far has been a lot of alone time. Sometimes I’ve found that feeling lonely is ok and sometimes it feels refreshing to be on my own. Other times, it doesn’t feel so good and I know I’m not the only person that feels this way, especially as we navigate this pandemic.

From time to time, as I said earlier, it feels really good to be by yourself. You have only you and your own thoughts to occupy yourself with. You have time to focus on you and you alone. You have time to take care of yourself and maybe really focus on something that needs to be finished.

Other times, feeling lonely makes you really sad. Even if you talk over text or the phone, it isn’t the same as truly interacting in person with another person. Something this pandemic has done is isolate people, whether you like that or not. We are farther apart from our friends and extended families. We are unable to interact in ways we have in the past. And even if you get a chance to be with others for some time, that time is so short in comparison to the time that you are by yourself.

Sometimes when I’m lonely, I feel like get in my head way too much. My insecurities take over and that makes me feel really yucky inside. I know that sometimes it’s okay to be sad but lately, I haven’t liked the feelings that loneliness brings up. To cheer myself up and feel less lonely, it really does help to talk to someone on the phone, even if you aren’t seeing each other face to face. It’s at least some form of interaction and I’m able to get some feelings and thoughts out of my head. I’ve also found it helpful to go for walks and workout. That’s a way to naturally make yourself more happy and free. I’ve found that trying to busy myself when I’m feeling lonely by cleaning or doing homework is only really ever a distraction and doesn’t work well for me. I might get stuff done but it doesn’t make me feel better often.

I await the day that classes are back in person completely. I wait for the days where we can meet with family and friends without much of a worry. I know these days will come soon and that there will be good things ahead for all of us. If you’re ever feeling lonely, don’t hesitate to reach out. You’re most definitely not alone. Have a good week and I’ll see you all next weekend.

An Update on Bobo :)

Bobo my birdie

I don’t think I’ve talked too too much about my bird here, but for some reason, today feels like a good day to share how Bobo, my green-cheeked conure, has been!

Bobo is three and will be turning four on May 7th! He’s a little Taurus for those of you into astrology. 🙂 Some of his favorite things as of right now include his floofs which are these big toys made of some sort of yarn or something that he loves to pull on and cuddle with. Sometimes he talks to them and kisses them. It’s pretty cute. He also loves himself. Bobo is quite the self-centered little birdy. Any chance he can get to see himself in the mirror, he is kissing and chatting with his reflection. One of his newly discovered lovely is oranges. He has been a pretty big fan of apples for a while now, but oranges are a whole new level. He’s obsessed.

On the topic of food, Bobo has always been pretty comfortable with the pellets and treats we get him that were recommended, but I know that they’re supposed to eat a lot of fruits and veggies too. We’ve tried to get Bobo to eat more actual fruits and veggies in the past but he either hasn’t been interested or has been too scared to try. It has been really encouraging to see his curiosity grow and his fears settle as of lately. I’m not sure if that’s just a part of Bobo maturing more or what it is, but he has been much better about wanting to try things. He has tried and really enjoyed strawberry, apple, orange, grapefruit, and lettuce so far. We are still working on blueberries and bananas (although he does like banana chips). If anyone has any tips for helping out birds that are scared of food, please let me know! I would love to have Bobo eating more real fruits and veggies. 🙂

Bobo chats a lot too. When I say chat, I really mean that he speaks. He has been jumbling a lot of his words lately and I think that’s pretty cute. He has also definitely been trying to say a lot of new things but I can’t quite pick up what those phrases and words are yet. He works hard though, that’s for sure. He enjoys beat boxing, calling my dad’s name, and asking, “Are you a good baby?” We are still working on the response to the that. 🙂 He also enjoys saying many words and phrases in Russian including the words and phrases for bird and sweetie. He tells us good morning when we uncover him and he always makes it very clear if it’s past his bedtime. No particular words for that, but we do get some sassy chirps and screeches occasionally on that. He likes to shush people too.

I never thought I would be a bird person ever, but it’s crazy how much a sweet lil’ green bird has changed my life. He’s a pretty incredible little guy and I feel so lucky to have Bobo in my life. I hope he will continue to be curious and want to try new foods and new things (as long as he doesn’t get himself into too much trouble!!). If anyone out there also has a green-cheeked conure, or bird of any type, let me know what you do to help with getting your birds more comfortable with new toys and foods! I’d be curious to hear what you have to say. Have a great week and I’ll see you all next Sunday! 🙂