My Pathfinder Initiative: Nine Months Later!

GoodNewsEveryoneOh, hey – remember me? I know it’s been quite some time since I last wrote a blog entry, and it’s been entirely too long without an update on my Pathfinder Initiative.  Lots of you have reached out to me, and it means so much that anyone cares enough to ask, let alone read this blog. Thank you for being there. It’s really hard for me to get an hour to myself to quietly sit down and think through everything in my head. More often than not, I’m rushing to another appointment, folding laundry, chasing my dogs around, or simply too mentally drained to start writing.

I have seven different drafts of this blog. I’ve been trying to write it since I got back from our cruise in March. I started feeling the same thing I did last time I tried this “reboot,” which is the crushing pressure of setting out a goal (monthly posts) for people to read, and then completely crashing and burning in my follow-through.  Continue reading

My Pathfinder Initiative: A Road Bump (Month 3)

Today marks twenty-five days past my self-imposed deadline for the next entry in the Pathfinder Initiative I began to better my life. I’ve managed to nearly skip an entire month, and as the days stretch, I feel the increasing pressure to produce something for accountability. (IT’S WORKING!) Unfortunately, I’ve attempted the entry a dozen times, and I can’t seem to get past the lede. Continue reading

Wee First

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Wee friends

This past weekend, we finally had the chance to experience my verra first Highland Games, thanks to some wonderful employees who helped cover the bar for us. I’ve been battling a cold, so it was a bit of a struggle to get out the door early enough for a full day. Still, we managed to squeeze in nearly five hours at the games themselves, and the fresh air seemed to do wonders for my allergy-induced cold.

If you don’t know already, I am unabashedly, profoundly, and deeply in love with Scotland. I love their weather, their vegetation, their food, their drinks, their accents, their fashion, and their wildlife. Scotland has always fascinated me, and the love affair blossomed when I visited in 2013. (More on that later.) And so, the Highland Games were satisfying in so many ways, from the haggis-flavored everything, to the throngs of kilted kin tossing, pulling, and pushing heavy objects everywhere. Continue reading

Here comes the General

264981_10100610153264917_986997695_nGrowing up, I always wanted to be a princess, but for some reason, the “princess mold” never fit well with me. I preferred blue jeans and baseball hats, balanced with tea parties and makeup. Perpetually mouthy, I use my sarcasm and self-deprecation to diffuse any situation. Like millions of others, I grew up loving Princess Leia – my snarky, no-bullshit role model. And like those millions, I am heartbroken that the fearless, courageous, and inimitable Carrie Fisher is now gone.

In a world filled with smoke and mirrors, infected by selfies and photo filters, there aren’t many real people anymore. Carrie Fisher stood out among the masses with her middle fingers and punchy remarks; she was a true leader of the rebellion against bullshit. I’ve followed her on Twitter for some time now, clinging to every emojii-filled quip, and adoring her cheek, or simply, her beloved dog Gary.

But last week, the world became an emptier place when Carrie suddenly passed. Fucking Christmas. Unfortunately, Carrie didn’t leave the hospital, and she left us mere mortals to fight 2017 alone. Carrie Fisher was only 60 years young. She was less than a year older than my own mother. That’s too damn soon, people. Just last year, she proved to everyone in Hollywood that you absolutely CAN age as a female actress and be a total fucking badass, beautiful heroine. She was flawless, and I loved every moment of General Leia on the big screen. Through tears, I watched as she lost Han, not knowing just one year later, I’d be crying because I lost her.

Roller Derby Leia, at Star Wars: Celebration

Roller Derby Leia, at Star Wars: Celebration

Quite frankly, this is the hardest celebrity death to hit me. I’ve cried more over this than over people I’ve known. I always had the dream to meet Carrie, but I never had the money to stand in line and get the pleasure.

I’ll never forget attending Star Wars: Celebration here in Orlando; she was a guest and her autograph line spanned the length of the exhibit hall. There was no way I was meeting her. We stood about 20 feet outside of the autograph and photo spaces, attempting to peer in between the inch-wide cracks in the curtains just for a single glimpse. Was that … that’s Mark Hamill, isn’t it? OH MY GOD IS IT? WAIT, IS THAT? AHHHHH.

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Leia and Han’s love story was the main inspiration for our 2012 wedding. I even walked down the aisle to Princess Leia’s theme.

It was a few minutes after we identified a pair of shapes as “probably” Mark Hamill and “maybe” Carrie Fisher that a friend trotted up to us with a tale. He had been in line for Carrie Fisher. A gentleman ahead of him pulled out a giant Star Wars poster with almost all of the Star Wars cast autographs on it. We’re talking old-school autographs, acquired over a period of years. The poster was plastered in sharpie scrawls, and Carrie Fisher was one of the last autographs it needed. Carrie, being as spectacular as ever, obliged and signed the poster … except … she signed it: “Suck my dick.”

This threw the guy into such a fit of rage that he ripped the poster up, to the horror of all. I remember hearing that story and realizing at that moment just how much I loved Carrie Fisher. While she could have simply signed her name and fit within his mold, she broke away and left her characteristic sass emblazoned on the paper. That poster would have been worth so much money with that unique sendoff, and it’s a story I will never forget.

So that’s how I’d like to remember her, my princess, and my general. She may have drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra, but she will forever remind me to rebel, hope, sass, and most importantly, never apologize for telling a stranger to fuck off.

Thank you for everything, General. And until next time, keep those stiffs on their toes.

My Pathfinder Initiative: Month 2

Another month has flown by, and with it, I welcome the start of a brand new year. 2016 was full of so much despair; like a permanent grey cloud hanging low across the world. The energy of a new calendar year can be something truly powerful, and this year, I’m choosing to dig in and make 2017 better. Back on November 1, I started my Pathfinder Initiative to kick my butt into gear and focus on reclaiming my wellness. Now 60 days in, I can say it’s really working. I still have miles to go on improving some objectives, but overall I am feeling happier, stronger, and more confident.

And thank you to everyone reading who has personally encouraged me with your words, and inspired me further with your own stories of struggle. We can do this. We will be our best selves to take on what lies ahead.

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 Mission Objective: Lose the weight. BE HEALTHY.

On Nov. 7, I started an at-home fitness program inspired by mixed martial arts called Core de Force. Now deep into round 2, it’s given me back my confidence and flexibility to exercise. I use the program’s suggested nutritional guidelines (based on macros and portions) to keep my days together, and I maintain one cheat day (Mondays) to prevent my insanity. So far, I’m down 13 pounds. I couldn’t be happier to have lost this weight, even if I didn’t make my initial 2017 goal (only 1.3 pounds away!) I’m feeling confident in clothing again, and overall just feel better about myself on a daily basis.

I’ll give myself a 9/10 because I’ve committed to working out every single day, even when I have 2 hours of sleep. I’m not getting the full 10 points because I need to learn to drink WAY more water, and WAY less iced tea.

Bonus XP: I still haven’t had a tater tot or french fry (Nov 1) and I think it’s helped a lot. I was able to stay on track through Christmas, and only gained a pound as a result. (Already lost it.) I’ve also almost completely cut out alcohol just because, so that’s a lot of calories I’m saving myself every week.  Continue reading

Fifteen After Fellowship

It’s incredible to think that FIFTEEN years ago, I was sitting in a movie theatre in Columbia, South Carolina with my parents, waiting with baited breath for The Fellowship of the Ring to begin. It was a midnight showing, and my awesome parents (who united back together for a night to honor our love of Tolkien) took me, a hormonal 15-year-old, to see it.

When the music began, my skin shivered and my heart began racing. The sultry tones of the opening monologue heated my blood, my mind began to scatter, and I was in it. As I watched my favorite creatures (hobbits, duh) come to life on the big screen, and no longer solely in my imagination, I dazzled in delight. There was a sharp intake of breath as I watched Samwise Gamgee – my favorite book character to date – breathe life onto the screen. There he was, my Samwise! It’s known that I have crushed on Sean Astin since his Goonies days (I just want to remind everyone he kissed a girl named Andrea so really what did anyone expect) and I applied to Notre Dame solely because of the influence Rudy had on my early years. So when Samwise waltzed onto the screen, with his golden curls, and his perfect intonation, I did like any normal teenager – I squeeeeeeeed. Thankfully, my parents ignored me to save me embarrassment.

As the movie progressed, I was blown away. I don’t think I even blinked, and I barely breathed, forgetting any basic functions while the perfect world of Tolkien perfectly played out in front of me. But then, the hobbits were running from the Ringwraiths. The tension in the theater could be cut with a knife; everyone was intensely focused on the chase. “Buckleberry ferry!”

The hobbits ran. The Ringwraiths galloped faster. The music rose. The action intensified. YES. THIS WAS AMAZING. I WAS SO EXCITED. MY STOMACH WAS IN KNOTS. MY HEART WAS BEATING SO FAST I COULD FEEL MY SKIN, I …. oh GOD OH GOD OH GOD

I immediately motioned to my parents that I needed to GO RIGHT NOW PEOPLE. My heroic dad ushered me out quickly as I dashed to the bathroom, and proceeded to puke my brains out for a solid five, gut-wrenching minutes.

Looking like I had just endured my own chase through the woods, I slithered out of the bathroom, as pale as ever. I looked up at my dad in defeat and tears, and he knew – we had to go home.

I was crushed.

Better Than A Trip to the Makeup Store

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December’s haul

Have you tried ipsy yet? I’ve been getting the $10/month subscription service for four months now, and I’ve really enjoyed it. For starters, it’s less than our usual Starbucks coffee bill. You get samples of items YOU choose (ex: if you really dig mascara, you can say that) that are usually worth a pretty penny in the Sephora checkout line. All of the mini samples are tucked into a custom designed bag, that works for just about everything you ever need to carry down the road.

You can also update your preferences to indicate which beauty products you’re really into, and you can rate each item so you won’t keep getting things you dislike.

I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for a fun, cheaper alternative to the monthly subscription boxes running rampant these days. It’s also a great way to remember to change out your makeup brushes throughout the year … If you want to subscribe, please let me know what you think when you get your first box!

My Pathfinder Initiative: Month 1

It’s fairly often that I take inspiration from sci-fi/fantasy worlds and apply it to my own real world. I channel a strong virtual character when throwing punches in my workouts, or I pretend I’m flying an X-wing when trying not to completely breakdown during plane turbulence. So it should come as no surprise when I say that for the past month, I’ve been working on something new, inspired by my friend’s own personal reboot, and the new Mass Effect: Andromeda game coming out in the spring.

My Pathfinder Initiative. (This is the first, so it’s a long one. Prepare thine eyes.) Continue reading

Le Fin

Not ready to write, yet.

But as of yesterday morning, she’s at peace.

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My Best Friend is Dying

One year and four months ago, we sped down the highway, dodging traffic and police in a vain effort to slow time and speed our arrival. My eyes were bloodshot, my face stained with tears, and my nose dripped onto my shirt. In the backseat of my little Elantra, I clung on to my best friend, my fingers slowly moving through her glossy black fur as I slowly whispered to her through broken words “You’ll be OK. I love you. Everything will be OK. You’ll be OK. I love you, Seattle.”

Continue reading