Category Archives: updates

Twenty Five

I’m 25 today. Some people call this quarter-life, but I’m a facts person and statistically speaking my life expectancy as a healthy woman (regular workouts, regular drinking, mostly healthy eating, living in Dallas county) is 80.2 years meaning, technically, I hit a third-life milestone. Third-life means you’re fine, not crazy. Right?

I’m not so much a believer in the quarter-life crisis phenomena, though I see how it could easily happen to me or to anyone around me. In addition to being a facts person, I’m also an emotions person so I totally know how the combination of nostalgia, wishes not granted, dreams come true and general length of twenty-five years behind you could pile up into a mound of feelings. And we’ve all just realized how complicated I am as a human.

Twenty five years.

When I was young, my imagination stretched only to age 21. I figured once I got to 21, the rest would be a cake walk because then I’d graduate, get a job, get a husband, get a cat, get a baby, get rich, retire and then eventually die. In that order, and that streamlined. Clearly, 16 year old’s thoughts about adulthood don’t win out in this world.

Which is fine.

Because since age 21, I’ve learned, stretched and hurt more than I thought possible. I’ve felt extreme joy, jealousy, compassion and passion. Probably all in the same week. But more than anything else, here on this day, I can finally say the feeling I feel the most is gratitude. Thankfulness for all I’ve been given and all that’s been withheld, all I’ve deserved and not deserved. Happy the way I see things, want things, isn’t always the way they go and the way things go doesn’t always work for me.

I’m also thankful my birthday is in January, when the year starts fresh. New Year’s Eve is so quick, so sparkly and I never feel like I have time between the rush of the holidays and presents and food to really take inventory of myself, my year. Those 8 days in January before my birthday, though? I use those.

So, what do I want most now?

  1. To primarily operate out of an attitude of thankfulness, because I believe only then are you joyful
  2. To get over myself and stop my jealousy
  3. To stop being jealous by starting to live out my dreams
  4. To live out my dreams
  5. To count blessings more than hurts
  6. To work smarter
  7. To lift others up
  8. To smile more
  9. To teach Jackson to stop eating walls (I mean…)
  10. To write more
  11. To notice more – the details are where you find it, I really believe that
  12. To live bigger, more uncomfortably, in the awkward places and spaces I try to shy away from
  13. To stop talking about being single, sad, or anything else not on my wish list of life
  14. To do my dishes regularly (this will be on my birthday list indefinitely)
  15. To learn a new skill
  16. To rest
  17. To stop feeling guilty about anything
  18. To pray
  19. To release expectations of others
  20. To bake more
  21. To quit Facebook
  22. To travel, far and frequently
  23. To trust in Jesus, the Universe, the plans I don’t get to make for me
  24. To savor the good days, foods, moments – to enjoy something so much I have to close my eyes to feel it
  25. To make it to 26 with love in my heart and grace in my hands

Simple, easy, straightforward. I typically don’t make resolutions or numbered goals. I’ve found in the last four or five years, my goals are similar yearly: to live gracefully, content with the items I get and share as much as possible – but twenty five is different and I felt it required a bit more intention this year.

Happy birthday to me, and happy New Year to you.

Xo,

CB

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July things

1. I re-watched Pitch Perfect the first weekend of July and proceeded to listen to the soundtrack on Spotify for six days. I will not apologize and I will admit I now try to mash up songs while singing in my car. I’ll leave how fantastic I sound up to your imagination.

2. Did you know DJ & Kimmy are still best friends? You do now. You’re welcome.

3. A large chunk of time at my job is spent utilizing Google News and boolean operators to find coverage for clients. I love it – not because it’s highly interesting to do but because I get the opportunity to read comments on major (and minor) news stories. Here’s a newsflash: PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! I laugh aloud daily because of comments. Some favorites from July:

  • U.S. Citizen: No such thing as news media anymore, its a propaganda media doing the same type of reporting as they did for Hitler. And we all know how that turned out.
  • Nick Dasher: He sort of dies and then comes back. It’s complicated.
  • KarlaH: It sure would be nice if people were ….. RESPONSIBLE FOR THEMSELVES

4. Speaking of Google, if you searched for ‘millennials’ or ’20-somethings’, you would find so many theories and opinions on who we are as a decade, age group, generation. Most of it is probably true, or at least applicable to a majority. But something I want to shout at my friends is this: We don’t have to be stereotypical. We don’t have to be penniless in jobs we hate. We don’t have to be scared, powerless, in limbo.  We can change the story! You can be whoever or whatever you want to be. You aren’t trapped. Being 20-something doesn’t mean you’re 20-stuck. You don’t have to have the same quirks as college or high school you and 30 year old you doesn’t have to be the same as 24 year old you. Don’t trust me? Trust people I trust like Shana Niequist who says you can change your story or Paul Angone who can help you jump through a quarter-life crisis.

5. Q: What would you do if you won the lottery? Thanks for asking, I thought about it recently and here’s my plan: I would buy houses in a cul-de-sac and allow my friends and family to move into them for free. I would say “hello, how are you friend/sister/mom/dad/cousin with the cutest kid? Here’s what’s up. I have a couple million to blow and I’d like us all to live in the same neighborhood so we can have dinner parties and go to zumba and our kids can have sleepovers.” Also, I would go on a long vacation and buy insanely expensive knives for my kitchen. Pipedream.

6. Here is a thing I did in July:  I de-virginized my hair via highlights. I took approximately 14 selfies before I gave up and figured people could just see it in person, then I took this one to send to my mom and thought maybe I nailed the selfie game. Sidenote, if you have tips on actually looking normal in a selfie let me know – I prefer the eyes squeezed shut style. At any rate, I am beyond thrilled with my hair color and feel sunshine-y and fun. Also, if you want color in Dallas go see Frankie at Salon Pompeo, she is my new best friend.

selfie

6. Travel things I did in  July? See Justin Timberlake and JayZ at Soldier Field in Chicago. <- See how casually this sentence is written? In no way does it accurately describe HOW BEYOND AMAZING THE CONCERT WAS. Also, I went to Maui. If you have not been to Maui, GO NOW IMMEDIATELY. We had a fantastic family vacation filled with desserts, walks, hikes, rainbows, fruit and laughs.

jtjayz

hawaii

7. On this same note, I have a break up letter to write:

Dear Dallas,

I have grown to like you immensely in the two years we’ve shared. I appreciate your side streets to avoid traffic and your quick access to a myriad of grocery stores, Sonic and CVS. I like the city-wide appreciation for brunch and I’m OK with the weather. But, I’m having an affair with Chicago and there is no end in sight. We’re in love and I can’t stop. I love to walk, I love hearing people’s conversations, I love the train, I love the lake, I love the restaurants and I love Kate. I will be cheating on you as much as possible until further notice. Feel free to change our Facebook status to “In an open relationship.”

Love,
Chelsie

8. How to look like a million bucks when you’ve only spent $10. Hint: those symbols on the tags in your clothes actually stand for how to properly wash the thing.

9. I love all of my married friends and baby-parent friends. I love their weddings, because pretty things are fun to watch and also there is usually delightful food and free booze. Same for baby showers, here’s a onesie where is the punch? You know what we’re missing though? Showers for the singles, the puppy moms, the work-iversary. On this same note, NY Mag has really hit the nail on the head in a number of posts recently. Add it to your Feedly. (RIP reader)

10.  I’ve been a bit lackadaisical in July about food, writing, life, working out, cleaning (sorry, what, why I am confessing this…….) but August 1 is a new month, new day. I’m starting another Whole30 (sorry, what, why I am crazy……), joining a new gym, paying attention to things like sweeping, mopping, organizing my inbox. You know, life things. What motivates you more, a to-do list or just reminders electronically? I love to know peoples tips for not “forgetting” to dust regularly.

So, there’s July. All in all a month in which I traveled, laughed, cried (once, let’s not talk about it), saw new and old friends and relaxed. I am forever grateful to have time to travel and friends to see when I get there.

Like last month, if you’ d like to see what other awesome people learned in July, head to Emily’s link up. Happy August!

XO,

CB

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June Things

Hello, happy almost July!

June was busy, fun and a change. I spent my first full month in my new apartment, attempted to eat mostly paleo and failed and took a few roadtrips to celebrate friends and family. Because this is my blog I obviously think any thoughts I have I need to share with you. Here are a few things I thought in June.

  • Summer means sprinkle ice cream cones every day. The first half of June I thought of sprinkles very often because we celebrated national donut day at work with Hypnotic Donuts, where naturally I had a  ‘homer’ (strawberry glaze, 1,000 sprinkles) and therefore craved sprinkles the remainder of the month. My only satisfaction came with this beauty.

sprinks

  • Someone leads you to believe, as a teenager, your acne will go away as you age. This is entirely false, 100 percent untrue. I have the worst face and I’m mid-20’s. True story I get carded at rated-R movies
  • The same person who lies to you about your teenage acne is the same person who lies to you about your teenage friends and how it’s a phase for people to hurt your feelings. Sometimes, no one grows up and you still do not get invited to Ashley’s slumber party when everyone else does and you are all twenty five so it shouldn’t matter but it does.
  • I discovered I pay (paid) nearly $140 a month for cable and internet. And then I thought, WAIT I AM POOR. So I remedied the situation by switching to AT&T, where surely my bill will always be incorrect and my costs will hike tremendously next June when my contract ends. Take that, cable bill.
  • On the same note, I lived in my apartment four weeks before watching Netflix which is a sentence meant to tell you I was incredibly busy in June and worked a lot.
  • Speaking of work, there have been a number of days in June where I feel schooled when I get home. I reflect on the day and realized I learned at least 347 new things, from different people. Sometimes I am in awe of the brain power surrounding me at this job. Then my brain turns to mush as I cook a quasi-paleo meal and perhaps drink wine. It’s all about balance.
  • There are many days where many things need to happen and there are some days you do not put on shoes and you spend time laying on the grass staring at clouds. Make sure you do both of those days regularly.
  • My schedule was pretty packed in June and remains this way through September. One weekend I drove out to the lakehouse to meet my family and it rained – and I took three naps in one day and did not wear pants (I mean, I had on a bathing suit) and ate a lot of queso. My dog barked at 1,000 duckies. My soul felt better. I thought how important margin is in your life in order for your soul to breathe.

Jackson Lake

  • I cannot stop scrolling through Rich Kids of Instagram. I want to interview these children and make a mashup of ridiculous thoughts they have in their tiny expensive brains.
  • Since I’m currently in my 20’s, it is fun for me to read about others in their twenties. Mostly when they mess up and find a way to figure out the humor in it all….which is why I love Paul and his new book “101 Secrets for Life in Your Twenties.” Even if you’re a bit past your 20’s, Paul was some wit and humor in there anyone could benefit from digesting. Need an example? Here is one of my favorite ‘secrets’: “Obsessive Comparison Disorder is the smallpox of our generation. Nine out of 10 doctors agree this disorder is the leading cause to eating two boxes of Girl Scout cookies while watching The Bachelor.” #guilty.

Liked my June things? Head over to Emily’s link-up and read a lot of lessons learned in June.

As for me, I’m going to Hawaii.

Talk soon,

XO
CB

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outdoor activities, Jesus and how I survived a whole30

I miss writing to you all. This morning, I had the urge to get a giant cup of coffee and sit down with you and let you know how I have been the past few weeks since we’ve spoken.

So hello, let’s chat. I’ll start with my updates then we’ll talk about you, yes?

I have been wonderful. I spent the majority of April focused on me, on food and on feeling great.  I did my best effort to spend time outdoors every day possible, taking long walks around downtown at lunch and discovering new scenery. I went to church and volunteered with our Youth, spent some time doing a lot of dishes at Pine Cove for a weekend with said youth and will be an official member of Munger Place this Sunday. Yay! I also spent a lot of time at Sprouts Farmers Markets and doing my own dishes. Oh, and I did a small challenge – I completed a Whole30. What is a Whole30? Glad you asked.

For 30 days, I abstained from eating any sugar, all alcohol, all grains and all dairy. This is a very strict 30-day protocol created by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig and introduced to me by one of my friend-workers Kylie. Whole30  is based off the Hartwigs’ Whole9 lifestyle, in which good, clean, quality food is the #1 priority. I experimented with new vegetables (hello, cabbage. nice to meet you, beets) and substantially increased my meat consumption. I ordered very specific menu items at work lunches and watched with envy as coworkers sipped delicious, sweet red wine. I instagrammed a lot of photos of food and felt very proud of myself for making them in my own kitchen.

I could write for days about this program, refute your arguments and answer your questions. To make it as simple as possible I’ll break it down into this:

What I Think Is Awesome About Me After Doing A Whole30

  1. My internal monologue is much more positive with myself. I find my mood and energy to be fairly even-keeled. What do I mean? Well, I don’t want to rip anyone’s head off and I don’t want to take a nap at my desk. I could run a few blocks easily and I don’t get super tired when I’m at Zumba or Kickboxing.
  2. I am not scared of calories or fat and I am not logging a single bite of food ever again. Mentally or literally. Here is where I confess: since I was 12, I have (in one way or another) logged my food intake. Did I think that was crazy? Well, if you asked me two months ago I would have told you no. If you ask me right now, I say HOLY HELL YES THAT IS INSANE. Logging every morsel of food or drink is a quick jog into crazy person territory.
  3. I am proud of my discipline – not just with food and cooking, but this way of intentional eating has opened my mind to realize that I am a big fan of what I like to call intentional living. I made a list of things titled “I want to do the things I say I want to do” that includes simple things like brush my teeth for 2 minutes and stretch every morning. I realized that taking the 2 to 15-minutes to do said things makes my life so much easier than not doing them. Same for cooking good, quality food.
  4. I did not cheat or slip or accidentally eat a bowl of ice cream once. Not once.
  5. Can I boast for a second? 30 days of saying “no I’m fine”, “no club soda is good”, “it’s really not that hard”, “thanks but it’s not that big of a deal” led me to today, day 31 where I can say: I feel fantastic and I kicked ass. I spent thirty days – 720 hours – doing something I said I was going to do. Clarification: ENJOYING myself because I was doing something I said I was going to do.
  6. I lost 5 pounds, 2.5 inches from my waist and 1 inch from my legs. This, while awesome, was not the goal – and is last on the list for a reason. If I had lost nothing at all, I’d still  be as proud of me as I am. Though in the spirit of transparency  I danced a happy dance around my house this morning after measuring.

What I Heard The Most From My People:

  1. “I could never do that. I love cheese/bread/wine/not worrying about food and it’s too much work/too hard to quit. How do you have time?”
  2. “I can’t believe you’re not drinking for a month, that is so boring.”
  3. “Wait, you weren’t drinking last night? I thought you were! You were so fun!”
  4. “I hate coconut. I don’t like green vegetables. I don’t eat meat. Etc.”
  5. “I don’t want to be obsessed with food. Aren’t you getting obsessed?”
  6. “Are you going to quit eating like this?”

What I Responded to Said People:

  1. Can’t never could. This is not hard – there is a blog post on the Whole9 site about how beating cancer is hard or rehab from a serious injury is hard, but choosing to eat better foods than you usually eat is not hard. Is it time consuming? A little, at first. By week 2, I was already familiar enough to wing it at the grocery store. Meal planning becomes a quick thing when you know specifically the foods you can eat (and see my links below for where I figured out the best recipes). As for the I love [insert food here] – well, yes so do I but 30 days in the span of a lifetime is a blip on the radar. As for the “too much work” – in my words: grow up, Peter Pan. In a more eloquent statement: nothing great ever came out of a half-assed life.
  2. If you require alcohol to be a social person and/or to be your friend, you should reconsider your own relationship with alcohol. Don’t get me wrong – I am a big fan of red wine, prosecco and craft beer but if one of these items is the basis of your social life, you should probably take a big internal look. OK, off soapbox.
  3. See above. Also, duh I am hilarious and fun to be around. I don’t need a beer to suddenly morph into a fun person.
  4. To these people I say, how many different ways have you tried that item? Did you try it sauteed? What about raw? Did you try it in a salad or with another item? I don’t love cabbage, but I do love sauerkraut. I don’t love cooked mushrooms (mostly) but give me a handful raw and I’ll eat them all day. Part of this 30 days is about learning to adapt. Try something new!
  5. No, I am not obsessed and you shouldn’t be either. Yes, I had to pay much more attention to what went in my mouth for 30 days; however, obsessed wouldn’t be the word. In fact, about 10 days in I realized it was all second nature and I was less focused on food, calories or weight than I had been in years. Food is more than just things we eat and I don’t think eating should  be a passive activity. I love food. I love to cook, watch cooking shows and I love to eat. I realize not everyone feels this way about food but I do think everyone should think about what they’re putting into their system before they put it in there. You don’t just throw oil at your car’s hood and hope it gets in the right places, right? You wouldn’t expect your car to work if you didn’t put the right kind of gasoline in the correct place. Same principle.
  6. Am I going to quit eating fulfilling, whole foods? No. Am I going to add back in some things like Pad Thai or Prosecco? Yes. I am going to shoot for an 80 percent Paleo diet, meaning the food I cook for myself (which is approximately 4-5 nights a week, with leftovers for lunch) will remain primarily meat, vegetable and healthy fats. If I am out to dinner with friends, at a family cookout or just feel like some cake I will have it. I do plan on following the reintroduction protocol to gauge my body’s reactions to dairy, grains and sugar separately.

Look, here’s the thing. I don’t think this is for everyone and I have no intention of pushing my choices off on family and friends. I think you should always decide for yourself the best way you can live and stick with that. Would I recommend looking into something like clean eating, Paleo or Whole30? Yes, yes and yes. The changes in energy, mood, skin, hair and general well-being are enough but if you also are looking into losing some weight you’ll be satisfied all the way around. Plus, it’s always good to pay attention to yourself for a little bit. These 30 days have shown me things (unrelated to food) about myself including willpower, desire and more.

What we eat shouldn’t always be the focus, but how we eat, with who we eat and when we choose to eat are relevant. Eating is more than food, it’s part of our social and cultural makeup. Food shows love and thought –  sharing a meal is intimate, baking a cake for a neighbor is kind. Take some time to digest (yes) how you’re going about an activity you do 3-5 times a day, everyday.

This is much longer than anticipated but I had a lot to say. I told you I’d go first then listen to you all – so talk to me. How are you? How was your month of April? I’d love to know what you learned.

Talk soon.

XO,

CB

Some helpful links if you’d like to know more about Whole30, Whole9 and changing habits:

  • Start here for more information on the philosophy from the Hartwigs
  • Find the book here on Amazon
  • I found recipes and inspirations for my own recipes here, here, here and here.
  • I found overall encouragement and hilarity with this blog.
  • Prefer hard science? I do, too. Here is an article on your gut as your ‘second brain
  • I distracted myself when the cravings were annoying by reading non-food related material. Seth Godin’s insight rules and my friend Kathleen inspires me to be a little more feminine/to paint my nails every time I read her posts.

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the last month

December?

I just went back and read my blog through December 2010 – it’s funny to read each month’s post because I can remember exactly my state of mind, my location, my mood. I re-read in order to gain perspective on what goals worked best – what goals I stuck with, which ones created a better sense of happiness.

Happiness isn’t something you can create alone. I know many people say it’s how you think, what you say, that makes you happy — and to some degree, that is true. And, it’s no one else’s responsibility but your own to figure out how you can stay in happiness. But I don’t think you get to be happy all the time, and you don’t get to be happy just because one day you decide to be happy.

Throughout the past 11 months, I’ve realized that while budgeting, cleaning, exercising, laughing, singing in the morning and forgiving people have contributed to my happiness, you can’t always control it – sometimes you’re in winter and sometimes you’re in summer. You’ve gotta go through it all in order to see how you can cling to hope in the middle of anything.

For this last month, I’ve picked the goals that seemed to have the most direct impact on how I felt daily. I plan on carrying these into every month of 2012 – although I don’t plan on blogging about it or creating new ones every month.

My 2012 resolution is going to surprise you all — and probably 1/2 of you won’t believe I can do it. But we’ll get to that in January. For now:

1. Clean
When I kept things tidy and clean, so much stress was alleviated. You don’t realize how much dirty dishes or a messy closet subconsciously bothers you until you don’t have either for an extended period of time. There’s an invisible strain lifted off your to-do list and you realize…..ohhh thats why there’s so many blogs dedicated to decluttering your life. I plan to vaccum on Mondays, dust on Tuesdays, clean the bathroom on Wednesdays, the kitchen on Thursdays and use the weekend to make sure my clothes are clean and put away. I also need to clean out some junk drawers( +cabinets, +shelves) at some point.

2. Body
No brainer, but boot camp month was the best I’ve felt/looked in awhile. Working out 4x a week seems like too much, but after doing it for four straight weeks I realized how much you can actually accomplish from 5 am to 6 pm. It’s unreal and it feels so great — I was not only exercising well, I had more energy and drive for everything. I’m going back to 4x a week workouts (I’m joining a gym on Monday), and keeping a food journal. I also will not use a snooze button the entire month of December (I swear, this was the best goal I had all year).

3. Mind
Positive self-talk is still a priority and something I work on daily – as well as praying and being cognizant of my surroundings. I will continue working on my gratitude journal daily, as well as noting my prayers. I’m also going to participate in linking up to Tuesdays Unwrapped posts from my other blog.

4. Budget
…wah wah. Same as the clutter/clean bit. You never realize the worry you have about money until you don’t worry any longer. I need to save more and stop just freely spending. I wish my bank account supported that lifestyle, but sadly it doesn’t. I will start making my direct moves into savings when my check hits, and I’ll start paying attention to my budgeting app that kindly sends me alerts that I have not read since September….oops.

As for November’s goals – I think I did well. I finished my last gratitude letter tonight and they’ll all be in the mailbox in the morning. The USPS better never go under, there’s nothing that makes me happier than getting mail.

Happy last month of 2011. How was your year? Do you feel happier than you did in December 2010? I can promise you I do, by leaps and bounds. So thank you to those of you reading this who stuck with me.

xo,

CB

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the new experiment

Join me: http://whitehousesgreengrasses.blogspot.com/.

And no, don’t worry. I’m not leaving this (or my happiness project) behind. Read here to understand more.

Xo,
CB

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The new design

Hello all!

My friend Kate created a pretty new design for my blog. Thank you Kate!! Just giving credit where credit is due…
AND she is a local celebrity now! Check out the article about her Celebrationist blog in the OU Daily.

new post coming soon about February’s successes and March’s predictions!

Xo,

Chelsie

PS:

Some thoughts on a Thursday —

Today, no matter where you are and no matter what your world looks like, remember that there are no accidents and there are no mistakes. What would you do if you realized that you never lost anything — not a friend, not time, not an opportunity — but that you actually are exactly where you are supposed to be for a reason? GUESS WHAT! You are exactly who you are, who you want to be and who you can be RIGHT NOW.

Nothing’s ever lost. Ever.

Now go have some fun today.

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