My Pathfinder Initiative: One Year!

mass-effect-andromedaIt’s incredibly appropriate that I post this today, November 7 – a day celebrated by Mass Effect fans around the globe. Last year, I started working out again on this day, and it was on Nov. 1, 2016 that I took the first steps on my Pathfinder Initiative. It’s been nearly 400 days since I declared my intent to get my shit together and better my life – to find my path, so to speak.

This was me a year ago — “I have completely lost my path in physical, mental, and emotional realms. I am a shadow of who I once was – a result of tumultuous life decisions and one stress-inducing mess after another.”

The darkest of timelines.  I have cried and bled. I’ve poured sweat and sacrifice into this Initiative, and I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. It has been a long year, and I haven’t written every single month as planned. To be honest, I find myself mentally exhausted most days due to the evolving beast that is 2017 and how things are going in the world. But despite falling behind in writing, I have kept to my Initiative and have some pretty fantastic results to share. Thank you for coming along with me on this journey, and for your unfaltering support both online and in person. Thank you for believing in me.

Continue reading “My Pathfinder Initiative: One Year!”

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 “My Pathfinder Initiative: A Road Bump (Month 3)”

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.


 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 “My Pathfinder Initiative: Month 2”

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

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 “My Pathfinder Initiative: Month 1”

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.”

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Another year, another entry.

Mabel Pines Gravity Falls Shoulder PadsHello again.

It’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m mentally gearing up for another major event at my pub. I’ve spent the last week stressing excessively over it, the menu, the logistics, and the inevitable people who will complain and make my day a little less than wonderful.

It’s our second New Year’s Eve party at the bar. This year, we’re retaining the Viking-inspired theme, but we’ve focused more heavily on the business. For example, I sold out of a lot of VIP upgrade packages, which is a big win for me. That’s guaranteed money before we even open the doors. We’re also turning the place ages 21+ only, and instituting a $5 cover entry. We’re typically free to enter and play games, but we’re trying to minimize the table campers and maximize the crowd we receive. Last year, it was pleasantly busy and an overall rewarding night for all of our staff. I’m really quite concerned it’s going to affect our NYE attendance, but Markus reassures me that we will just revert to a free cover next year if that happens.

Continue reading “Another year, another entry.”