Hello lovelies! It's been a while since I sat down and told you what's going on in my world and what's on my mind. Not that you asked or anything, but here it goes.
I've been busy with my Revisit Rome Series (RRS) and my series on Porto travel, as you know. Today I wrapped up my RRS and I decided that I'd wait a bit before I started my series on Lisbon, as I can go one of two ways. I can do a 3 part series such as with the one I did on Porto, or I can do a revisit series like I did with Rome. Not sure which way I want to go, and in the end I may come up with a hybrid of the two. I just want to do it in a way that is best for me and my readers as well as my followers on Instagram. Aesthetics and all that stuff.
I finally finished my 31st book of the year! I have to admit my awesome reading streak came to an end for a while. For over a month now I have barely had a chance to read. I started a book back in June and just now finished it on Friday, because I've been so busy that I only get about 30 minutes of reading time a day. And for about 3 weeks I didn't read at all. Yikes! It's not a reflection on the book, as it's a great read, I just got to a point where I had so much on my plate that something had to give, and for the last month that was leisurely reading. So to review, The Last Train to London by Meg Waite Clayton, is a great historical fiction piece, and I'd recommend it to anyone. Next up is Love Her Wild, a book of poetry by Atticus.
In other news... I had mentioned before that we started a new healthy lifestyle with lots of exercise and healthy eating, as well as putting into place the 16/8 fast which basically keeps me from snacking all the time. I'm happy to report that it is working. I'm down about 12 lbs since June and Brandon is down just over 15 lbs! That's great, but even more important than that, we feel better.
It hasn't been a fast or easy process and there are days when my weight goes back up a few pounds and I feel defeated for a moment. I just have to remember it isn't a diet, it's a lifestyle change, and those take time and perseverance. I'm almost to my goal weight and that's so great to be able to say, but getting there and maintaining it isn't easy.
I use a calorie counting app (Calorie King) and I am pretty religious about putting my food and drink intake in everyday. It helps to know which of the foods I typically eat are more calorie rich, so I can avoid eating those too often. Coupled with the 16/8 fast, which limits the amount of time I have to eat everyday to an 8 hour window, as well as getting at least 1 hour of exercise each day, and I feel I am on a path that is maintainable. And that's the key difference between a lifestyle change and a diet. Diets come and go but lifestyle changes are maintainable and should hopefully be permanent.
I'm not perfect though, and I have to give myself room to have a cheat day now and then where I indulge in a piece of cake or some yummy high carb goodness, or both! If you completely deny yourself all the foods you love, you'll fail. Instead, let yourself have a treat (once a week, once a month, whatever works best for you) and know that it is ok if that means the next day you'll see a slight uptick on the scale. It's not the end of the world. Also, you'll likely find that you don't enjoy those treats as much as you once did. We had a cheat day on Saturday where we indulged in a charcuterie board of meats, cheeses, a baguette, some veggies and wine. So yummy!
Ok ok ok! When did this become a health blog? Moving on...
I am working really hard to get this website flowing with new content (at least weekly), as well as on my Instagram (trying for daily) and I've been working with my husband to get our vlog off the ground. Guys, COVID sucks! We had planned to do so much travelling this year, which was to facilitate us starting our vlog featuring travel and lifestyle videos (more on that later!). But all that got cancelled and now we're scrambling to find a way to still keep our content fresh and start our vlog while not boring you with constant cooking videos. Ha! It's something we're really passionate about (travel, photography, & all that) and want to do more of, but getting started is the toughest part, especially during a pandemic when you can't travel. So, we have to get creative. Not to mention the fact that we have to learn a whole new skill set; videography & video editing. You'd think it would be easy for photographers to pick up, but it's not so much. I can edit photos all day long in Lightroom, but video editing is so foreign to me. So yeah, I've been watching a lot of YouTube tutorials lately. So much so, my brain hurts!
I'm also struggling with whether or not I should be going back to work in September. Most of you should know by now that I work with kindergarteners in a before & after school program at a local Catholic school. I've been off work since the week before Spring Break, due to COVID. But... the schools are set to reopen in September, and every fiber of my being is screaming "NO!!! It isn't safe yet!!!" And that's the thing, I don't think going back is safe yet for the staff or the children and I feel I'm left weighing the cost of maintaining my health & safety against bringing in a paycheck. I don't want to put the pressure of full financial responsibility on my husband (he carries so much on his shoulders as it is), but I also don't want either of us to be exposed to COVID because of my job. So yeah, if anyone knows of a job I can do from home, with flexible hours, I'm all ears! Otherwise, I don't know what I'm going to do come September.
Speaking of COVID... today is #157 of social distancing protocol here in Ontario. The borders of Canada & the USA are still closed and will likely remain that way for some time. That means I have no idea when I'll be able to see my son, other family members, and friends that reside in the USA. I usually only see my son about 3 times a year as it is, but going this long already has been difficult. Yeah, we FaceTime often, but it isn't the same. I usually see him during spring break, a summer visit, and during Christmas, in the least. So far, I haven't seen him since he went back home in January after his Christmas visit. And if rumors are to be believed, I may not see him again until next summer, if then. Sigh... I truly miss my kiddo.
I haven't had a haircut since January, and even though salons have been operating again for a few months, I haven't felt comfortable going. Instead, I've been trying to limit my outings to those most important, such as doctor's visits and groceries & other necessities. But I finally broke down and made an appointment for this past Saturday, and I'm so glad I did. I was pleasantly surprised by the lengths the salon went to in order to keep themselves and their clients safe, and it feels so nice to have a fresh cut. I went pretty short (for me) again in order to keep me from having to go back in for a trim for at least 3 to 4 months. We'll see how that goes.
As far as my health goes (I know I've touched on this and should update you), I'm feeling better. I think the lifestyle change has helped me with a lot of the pain I've had from the OA and herniated disk. I do exercises & stretches each morning to specifically help these issues and I feel they are working. Some days are worse than others, but overall, it's getting better. I still haven't been able to see any of my specialists and my RMT quit the day before my scheduled appointment with her in June. So frustrating, but I get it. It's a difficult decision to go back into the workforce during a pandemic. I still have a few mysterious medical issues going on that the doctors can't seem to figure out, but they seem manageable at this time. And I'm still having to go for way too many mammograms, ultrasounds, and CT scans for my liking. Way too many! But...
At this point, I'm meditating everyday, which is helping me to control my reactions and thoughts about these medical issues, which is helping me to not dwell on them. And I'm staying super active, which is always a good idea and so helpful for just about anything mentally and physically speaking. You can't go wrong with exercise, as long as your exercise routine is designed around your abilities and limitations. Be active, but don't overdo it!
And that's about it really. We are just trying to get through this difficult time as well as we can, as I am sure the rest of you are. I'd say right now what I miss the most is family and hugs. I'm a hugger and I truly miss hugging friends and family and just miss the closeness, that for so long most of us took for granted.