What a Wild Summer

It really bothered me all summer I did not write a single post, especially considering I had publicly set a goal for myself that was left behind in a short time. I’m talking about my very enthusiastic plan to embark on some Farmers Market Adventures . . . every. single. weekend.

Well let me tell you what: this summer has been off the chain (I don’t care if off the chain  is or is not a cool thing to say anymore; I have no other term that absolutely depicts what the past three months have been like for me. Bat shit crazy also comes to mind).

Although hind sight is 20/20, I still feel awful that I claimed, that because I wasn’t getting produce from a CSA this year, I would get it from Farmers Markets each weekend as an alternate/supplemental method to grocery shopping, meanwhile connecting with the folks selling their products, and sharing with you what I found, what I did with it, and some tips for navigating your way through the market. I think I visited the market a total of three or four times this year, and yes, only wrote about one. Because honestly, I couldn’t write about much.

Number one, like many people this year, I was way anxious for winter to be over and I was ready to get outside and do everything I can’t when it is snowing. So when I first came up with the idea of visiting farmers markets each week, I completely forgot it was only May, winter overstayed it’s welcome, and there really wasn’t much local produce even ready yet! It wouldn’t be for a while! When I did visit the market, I found that a lot of things were super expensive (I know, I was enthusiastic about supporting our local farmers, but it is NOT in my budget to purchase a small organic chicken for $25). So oftentimes, I didn’t come home with much to work with.

Number two, I had no idea what was in store for me this year. In May, I was coasting at my full-time day job. There really wasn’t a ton on my agenda. I was so bored I really wanted to leave ASAP. (Side note, I am the type of person who finds work to do, there is no such thing as boredom. I was BORED). Then, in June, I had two enormous projects thrown at me, and they needed to be done by the middle of August. And this did not surprise me – one of the reasons why I do still intend to move on. At least one of these projects did not have to be kept a secret from me. I could have been getting it in motion in January – JANUARY! – and I most likely would not have been sitting around with my thumb in my ass for months. I am frustrated and bitter about it. And this happens every summer.

Aside from work, I was asked in June to be the maid of honor for my sister’s wedding in September.  (It’s next Saturday!)

I don’t ignore my own desires when shit hits the fan. I still needed to fix my closet, and I wanted to get the house painted. I did fix the closet, and I was going to share my accomplishment, but considering my perfectionism, it isn’t quite finished. It still needs a shoe rack, hooks installed, and other organizational items. Perhaps because it is not perfect – picture shoes accumulating in a pile where a shoe rack should be – would be absolutely perfect to share. No, I won’t call it finished, but shit happens, dude, and I’ll get there. I think it is amazing. I couldn’t be more proud of myself. And I guess I’ll save all that for the day I do share my finished closet with you! Along with the fixed and painted hallway that used to be royal blue. It is incredible what colors can do to us. Ahhh, I can breathe now!

Considering how much has been on my schedule on a daily basis, buying and making food was a chore that barely fit in to my day. Even on the weekends . . . ESPECIALLY on the weekends! Although I am doing a lot of venting now, I have a feeling this can spin off into a very helpful post for people who live like this often. I can’t live like this permanently, and I won’t, but I know many people do! Fortunately for me, I have a whole nine more months before another over-ambitious project is thrown at me way too late in the year. I have time to get a word in now with the bosses: I’d really like it if you can give me a better heads up next time. I’m learning, and we’ll see how that goes. And during those nine months, I hope to focus more time back into this.

I’ll close out with a poem I wrote last night:

Some Days Are Hard

Some days are hard
Some days are easy

Some days it’s okay to live
like a tub of lard
Some days, smiling so sweet
is too easy peasy

No one is perfect.
Not you
Not me
Not him, nor her.
Sometimes we all move through moments
with our consciousness blurred

My wish for you
is to feel peace now.
Feel your heart beat
Close your eyes, breathe deep . . . wow.

Your life is a miracle
. . . always has been,
and always will be

Don’t dread so much, my friend
. . . always remember:
Some days are hard,
and others are easy

Have a Fabulous Friday, my friends,
Alyssa

Farmers Market Adventures Part 2

I visited the Elmwood Village Farmers Market on Saturday, May 12. It was okay.

It was nice to get out and wander through the market, say hello to people and their dogs walking by, but for me there was not much that tickled my fancy for the day. That day was mostly prepared products. Not really any fresh produce – except for the guy wearing scary dirty sweatpants selling eggs and Halos from Wegmans! It wouldn’t be illogical to assume perhaps the fruit and vegetables were from the grocery store as well?!? Who let that guy in?

did pass by a tent selling salmon. And salmon is on my menu this week. However, I had somewhere to be at 11 (and later realized I had to be there at 10; so already way behind schedule); I was not in a good position to be purchasing fish.

did pass by a tent selling honey, and I need honey. But they accepted cash only. I thought my daughter and I would take a little walk up to the bank and come back.

Well, we passed by a consignment shop and I couldn’t help myself. – I think the time by now was about 10:15 – We looked around and I found a pair of Hunters rain boots and a couple leggings. After I paid for our things we sauntered out of the shop and continued to head toward the bank. I received a text at 10:30 from my friend: “Are you still coming?” I thought it was just a friendly reminder to be there in a half hour. “Yes ma’am!” I said, “Be there soon!” 

I knew by now we probably wouldn’t make it to the bank, and then my daughter yelled, “Pee! I have to pee!” The closest bathroom was at the coffee shop back across the street from the farmers market, so we booked it!

Rewinding to the beginning: can you believe I bought a decaf coffee for myself and a scone for Aryana from there? Pour-over coffee and baked goods were being sold at the market. Why I did not purchase any from there, I don’t know. Let’s just say the first day was a warm up. And honestly, I think the first day for the Elmwood Village was a warm up for them also.

Here are two takeaways for a productive experience at the Farmers Market:

  1. Bring cash. Technically I knew this already, but thinking I did not have to be anywhere until 11:00 I assumed I would have time to walk up to the ATM.
  2. Bring a cooler and ice. This would be most convenient if there are other stops to make after visiting the market. I could have bought the fish! And now I have nothing.

Farmers Market Adventures Part 1

Hello there and Happy Spring Finally!!!!

Spring came so late for many regions this year. It’s hard to believe it started in March because it hasn’t actually felt nice outside until . . . maybe a couple weeks ago. It is so awesome to finally enjoy some heat and sunshine – I am sweating at this very moment, indulging in a Starbucks decaf coffee on the patio! (My caffeinated coffee abstinence is still current and I am going strong). Also, I’ve never been so happy to be sweating.

I have been feeling so anxious to live life outside: ride a bike, go for a walk,  hike, check out some festivals, go to the beach, garden, grill – sheeit, you name it, I wanna do it all! I have especially been looking forward to the start of farmers markets!

Months ago I posted about my love for CSA’s and I was totally looking forward to a share this year. However, my cousin and I like to split it, and we both really couldn’t decide on one that worked for both of us. We are both very busy ladies, but each with different needs. While the drive out to the farm last year was a long one that required a whole week be planned around one evening, I enjoyed taking my daughter there for the experience. However, my cousin preferred a nearby pickup site. We didn’t exactly come to a decision; our last conversation about the CSA was just left hanging. However, neither one of us pursued the topic any further and I am confident that if it was that important to either one of us, one of us would have followed through.

One day I had an idea that if I am looking for an experience to get fresh, locally grown produce, the farmers market is the place to be! What better way to connect directly with multiple local farmers in one place, support those local farmers, have access to an even greater variety of local foods, and enjoy the wonderful social environment?! My intention is to visit several markets throughout the season, ideally one a week – the place to do a good portion of the food shopping.

My first stop – I hope, if my agenda is not too full – will be this Saturday, May 12 at the Elmwood Village Farmers Market in Buffalo. I want to fill you in on the foods I find, and show you how I prepare them (recipes 🙂 ). Look forward to a weekly post on my Farmers Market Adventures! I am so excited!! Let me know if you are too!

 

Eight Ways a Food Journal Will Get You Closer to Your Health Goals

Taking note of the foods and beverages we consume is a helpful way to visualize what our diet is truly like. There have been many times I’ve asked clients to write down every single thing they eat and drink for the health concerns we were addressing, and it was often very eye opening for them. Sometimes, they chose not to eat something because they knew they would have to write it down. The journal starts its magic right away!

If you are ready to lose weight, improve your cholesterol or blood pressure, or want to figure out why every day around 3:00 PM you feel fatigued, one of your first steps is writing everything down. Here’s what you need to do to make a journal your go-to reference in problem solving:

  1. Every single thing that enters your belly gets written down. If you pass by a dish of popcorn and throw a handful in your mouth, write it down. If you washed it down with just a gulp of soda, write that down. If you put mayonnaise on a sandwich, that counts!
  2. Details, details, details. Sandwich bread to you may be your classic white, whereas to another person it might be sprouted grain. Both contain different types and quantities of nutrients, and ingredients. It is important to include the details of the type of food you are ingesting.
  3. Measure! This is another very important detail.  What is “a glass of” juice, or “a cup of” coffee? This step will probably be the most difficult, but it is super important to become familiar with portion and serving sizes. Do NOT skip this step if you are serious about making healthy changes to your diet. Yes, it will be a difficult step, but you will not have to do this for the long-term, promise.
  4. Note the time. Indicating when you eat can give clues to why you may be experiencing issues with weight loss, not feeling so great at a certain time of day, or can be linked to moods or behaviors that are standing in your way to success.
  5. What mood were you in? Our moods can seriously affect what we eat. Maybe you blindly binge on salt and vinegar chips when your nerves are tense, or when PMS makes its obnoxious monthly visit all you crave is chocolate and cheeseburgers.

A helpful food and beverage journal contains at least three days, and is ideal at no more than seven. Start now! Grab a pen and paper or your go-to notebook. If you prefer the digital type there are many apps available for this. A simple search for “food journal” should pop up with more than enough suggestions. If you’re reading this near the end of the day, that’s okay! Settle into a quiet place and do your best to recall your day. Make no more excuses, the only time to start is now.

After you have a completed journal, this is how you’ll use it:

  1. REVIEW. Getting all these facts down on paper will paint the picture you need to see what you can do to make healthy changes. It might be that you skip lunch many times each week, or you eat a lot of deep fried foods, or you eat anything in sight as a result of boredom.
  2. PLAN. Let’s say you do skip lunch every day. Question yourself why you do this. Are you so consumed in work you forget, or worse – are unable to? Do you have no appetite? Whatever is causing this to happen, do some brainstorming and implement a plan you can accomplish.
  3. ACT. Nothing changes until you do. Your plan has to go into action right away, not next week. If you continue to hesitate with following through on your plan, it might be time to make a different plan. No matter what, when you’re taking on a huge task to change your health, it is important to have a support team. This can include your closest friends or family, doctor, or other health specialists. There is no need for you to do this on your own. The world is a better place when we help each other out!