Health

Diet + Exercise. They’re Just Four [And Eight] Letter Words.

You know those people who just absolutely love working out? Like, they freak out if they don’t get a workout in every single day? They hit several group workout classes a week, they do cardio every day, plus they go to the gym and do strength training.

Yeah, I’m definitely NOT one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong, I do love to run. It’s very therapeutic in the sense that it burns extra energy and allows me to get my head on straight [writer’s mind makes you a little extra loco at times]. The actual physical act of running, though? So not my fav.

I truly envy those of you out there who have such a passion for working out. I have honestly made a solid effort to become one. I commit to these workout challenges [Tone It Up, for those females out there that are interested – actually love their programs, the timing of them just never works well with my life], I set my alarm to run before work. I’ve even been seeing a personal trainer since February [MAPT Fitness, for those fit folk out there who want an awesome trainer who acts like your brother and best friend and doesn’t treat sessions like freakin’ bootcamp – if I wanted to join the military I would have] to try and make a habit out of working out. And literally NONE of it works for me. I get so burnt out, and life gets in the way.

I’m also not somebody who can commit to eating healthy for every meal, every single day. To be completely honest, trying to work out and worry about what I’m putting into my body is freakin’ EXHAUSTING. It’s a full-time job [maybe this is why people hire other people to do it for them – personal trainers, dietitians..]. I, for one, do not have the time or energy to put into meal prepping and planning workouts every day.

Let’s be real for a sec. Does anybody actually believe that your body will be absolutely RUINED if you have “cheat” meals, cocktails, miss a workout, etc? You guys, you will be FINE. And look, I get it – I know exercise and nutrition are super important. Especially in this day and age with all the genetically modified food that’s sold at our grocery stores, and how polluted our earth has become. I totally get it. But we only get one life! We can’t be so obsessed with these two things that we forget to just enjoy living.

Don’t beat yourself up if you miss a meal, overeat, eat poorly. Don’t feel guilty for needing more sleep one morning instead of going for a run. In this day and age, it’s all about enjoying the little things in life. Indulge yourself. We get so caught up in keeping up with the Jones’, pushing ourselves to be the best that we can, spreading ourselves too thin because we have mortgages, utility bills, car payments, children, pets.. Give yourself the okay to let your guard down every once in a while. A weekend [or even a week!] off from your obsessions won’t kill you.

For some people, I think there’s a fear that if they step off track for even one second they will fall off whatever wagon they’re on. And THAT is unhealthy. Using exercise and nutrition as a crutch for other things in your life is not good, and if you are one of these people then you desperately need a vacation far away from your daily life. Like, STAT!

You guys, I am obviously by absolutely no means a professional at anything I talk about on my blog, especially diet and nutrition [seeing as I literally just stated that I cannot stick to either one for very long]. But, that said, I do wholeheartedly believe in doing things that are good for you. I believe it’s healthy to unwind, put your walls down, indulge, relax – I’m sure you work hard, so spend some of that well earned cash on a weekend away. YOU DESERVE IT!

As Donna and Tom would say, “Treat yo’ self!” [Parks and Rec – if you haven’t watched it, it’s on Netflix, and it’s hilarious].

Organic Antidotes

There few things I despise more in life than needing medication to feel better.

Truly. I don’t believe that there’s ANYTHING good in pharmaceuticals. Just because something seems to help.. Well, it’s probably just masking your symptoms with something horrendously bad for your body.

I don’t even like to take over-the-counter pain pills like Advil – mainly because they never seem to actually work, but also because it’s a drug and a foreign entity to the body.

I get that there are some things that we need medication for. Certain infections, for example, require antibiotics. I totally get that! And I strongly suggest medication for those types of health issues [because, honestly, to my knowledge, there really isn’t anything else that will make an infection go away].

A few months ago I started getting migraines. For the first time in my life! Now, as far as migraines go, I’m pretty positive that they are mild compared to what some of my friends have struggled through. I definitely haven’t seen spots, or been bedridden, or felt nauseous [some people actually get sick!]. No, mine have been relatively manageable. But they’re bad enough that the pain is distracting and keeps me from concentrating on work and keeps me from being able to work out.

Since I’ve never gotten migraines before, I found it odd that they came on so suddenly almost the moment I turned 29. So I delved a little bit in to my memory bank and tried to pinpoint what exactly may have triggered them.

After wracking my brain, I finally attributed the migraines to stress. Which, funnily enough, I haven’t been managing well at all the last several months. Imagine that.

I relayed my symptoms to a girlfriend of mine who had been having similar symptoms a year or so before. “Oh, just take a Xanax. That always calms my mind down.” I was so freaked out by the thought of taking it that I immediately nixed the idea without even a consideration. There had to be another way.

And that’s when I stumbled across the idea of acupuncture.

It actually just so happened that my boyfriend had started going to a masseuse shortly before I decided I couldn’t handle the stress or migraines anymore. We were lying in bed one Saturday morning, and he was in so much back and hip pain [he’s a chef so he stands for 12-15 hours every day] that he could barely get out of bed. I told him he needed a massage, and he said, “I need something that isn’t just a regular massage.” So I Yelped it, found a place, and booked him an appointment for that Monday.

Post massage, he had almost no more back pain, and had already booked an appointment for the next month to have his masseuse work on his hips. I went to check out the place online to see if maybe I should get a massage there, and that’s when I saw that they also offered acupuncture. And when I saw that they treat headaches, stress and anxiety, I knew I had to try it.

I had no expectations going into my first appointment. I know people that have had acupuncture [my boss, my best friend, my dad], but nobody can really tell you what to expect. Looking back, it’s probably best that I didn’t know what I was getting into. I had no reason to have any fear [although, I did have a little – my entire life I’ve had a horrendous fear of needles (I was 18 when I finally got my ears pierced)]. I did have excitement, but that was in the hope that acupuncture would help relieve my stress and headaches.

One of the things that I liked about my acupuncturist prior to meeting her was that, not only did she have an education in Chinese Healing [more specifically, acupuncture], but she also earned a business degree from UCSB. For me, that was a solidification in my mind that she actually knew what she was doing [oddly enough, because I don’t have a degree myself].

When I arrived at my appointment, I had to fill out a first time client questionnaire and health history survey [pretty standard for any doctor’s office]. Once completed, we sat down for a consultation – she asked me questions more specifically regarding what I had marked on my survey, and also inquired as to what may have triggered the migraines and stress [lifestyle, events, etc.]. She suggested cutting out caffeine, as that may be contributing to the anxiety and the headaches.

Once the consultation was over, it was time for the treatment. I got settled on my back on a table similar to that of a massage table, comfortably adorned with a soft “mattress” and pillow, and a prop to go underneath my knees. She wiped down several parts of my body with a cleanser, and then she began inserting the needles. She warned that there may be a quick pressure but that after the initial pin prick, I should feel no pain. Once she had completed with the needles, we did a breathing exercise to help relax me, and then she turned a heat lamp on over my feet, dimmed the lights, said, “I’ll see you in 25 minutes,” and left me be.

I honestly don’t know how to describe the feeling your body gets during acupuncture. I know that it’s different for everyone – some are more sensitive to it than others. For me, I became so relaxed that I felt like my body was melting off of the table. I found that I was unable to lift my legs [nor did I want to]. I had zero control over my body and my limbs. I could actually feel my blood shifting and moving inside my body; I could feel the pressure of stress being moved upwards through my body and out at my head. Odd, yes, but even more so, relieving.

Before I knew it, the 25 minutes were up. She gently plucked the needles out of my body, scheduled me to come back a week later, and sent me on my way.

Three weeks later, and my stress and headaches are still at bay. I did as she suggested and cut out caffeine, which, much to my surprise, has helped me to feel so much better! I no longer get energy crashes in the afternoon, I don’t find myself getting overly worked up at stupid things – I’m sure some of that is coffee-related, but I like to believe a lot of it has to do with my body getting its balance back.

I know acupuncture may not be for everyone, but if you have ailments and haven’t tried it yet, I HIGHLY suggest that you do. I can truly say that it has helped me and has changed my health for the better.

Fit Tip Tuesday

There is nothing like a three-day holiday weekend when you’re taking a break from alcohol to get you motivated to get back in the gym.

Until recently, a sunny, 75-degree weekend would most likely always lead me to a mimosa brunch followed by a booze-filled day of drinking. Fun, right?!

And then a ridiculously rough day back at work following said bender. This part = not so fun.

It wasn’t until I actually rang in this new year sober that I realized that I really didn’t want to waste my two precious days off every week muddling my brain and wasting away anymore.

Not to totally hate on day drinking and having fun – I think it’s fine, or, rather, necessary to let loose every once in a while. Sow some wild oats and all that.

BUT, I also believe that there are other, healthier ways to let loose on a more frequent basis.

I realize it’s a bit hypocritical of me to start blabbing about the importance of exercise when I literally just got back into it after taking several months off [truth: honestly can’t remember the last time I went to the gym – it’s been years, at least].

However, that said, now that I’m back into the full swing of things, I’m becoming what some may refer to as a gym rat. Or maybe not necessarily a gym rat, but exercise and staying fit has become very important to my routine. And, actually, it’s something that is important, nay, VITAL to Miss Bella’s routine, as well.

So why the three-day weekend as the starting point [or any weekend, really]? Most would consider a weekend the worst time to start a new system. Generally, we’ll pick a Monday to add a new regimen of some sort. First official day of the work week – it just makes sense in our minds to add something else we aren’t all that thrilled about to an already scheduled day. Well, I already had to suffer through an eight-hour day at the office, might as well schlep my ass to the gym.

With that kind of mindset, that is absolutely not the right time to add fitness to your daily routine.

Exercise produces natural endorphins, but it’s hard to appreciate those endorphins when our brains aren’t looking forward to the task of obtaining them.

With nothing but free time and gorgeous weather on my hands, I felt that this last weekend was the perfect opportunity to boost my exercise regime. Bella and I started every day with a run [I’ve been tracking my progress with MapMyRun – love this app for those of you who are trying to get into running! It keeps you motivated.. I am always trying to beat my previous distance and time], and then cooled down the morning with a little hike on a trail close by. I found myself bored to tears mid-afternoon, and thought, What better time to go to the gym than now?

Truly, the best time to go if you’re trying to get back into it is on the weekend in the middle of the day. There is nobody there. I literally had the place to myself, which was wonderful. For me, there is literally nothing worse than going to the gym at six pm. Aka social hour. No, I am actually not here to work out my vocal chords. My hair is up, I’m sweating and I have no make up on – I MEAN BUSINESS, PEOPLE. #sorrynotsorry

If you’re worried about cost, shop around a bit. I go to Crunch [a) because it’s right across the street from my apartment, and b) because it’s only $10 – that includes classes – and all of the machines are brand spanking new!] Just because a gym is inexpensive doesn’t mean you’re getting what you pay for.

If you just hate how meticulous the gym can be, try something else like OrangeTheory or The Dailey Method.

OR, if you’re really against spending money to get fit, GET OUTSIDE. Outdoor fitness is FREE! Running, cycling, yoga, SUP. And the best part about all of that is that you get to be outdoors. You really can’t beat that. Not in my mind, at least.

Terminal Velocity

Since returning home from my five day trip to San Diego, I have made it a goal to exercise every single day. And it’s been much easier than I anticipated it to be.

In the past, when I’ve tried to build up an exercise regime, I have failed. Miserably. I’ve tried running in the morning before work or school, I’ve tried going to the gym in the evenings – nothing has ever stuck. And 100% of it had to do with me and my mind. How much did being healthy and in shape matter to me?

It didn’t. Not really.

Until now.

At 28-years-old, I know I am extremely lucky and blessed to still have my slender body type – and it’s no thanks to the amount of garbage I put in my body. I absolutely love food, and I’m very fortunate to have no allergies to it [well, none that I’m aware of]. I put anything and everything into my body, and I just hope and pray that I won’t blow up like a balloon. And my justification for all of this is, “Well look at that oversized human over there, at least I don’t look like that.”

This, by the way, is horrible logic. Just because somebody else doesn’t have a beanpole body type doesn’t mean they aren’t trying. Several of my family members struggle with thyroid disease and other reproductive diseases that make it almost impossible to keep weight off.

So to whom or what do I attribute my recent success at keeping a steady workout schedule?

Myself. My brain. My willpower.

Spending five days in San Diego really was exactly what I needed to get my motivation back. And I can’t actually say that it was the location, per se – I honestly think I just needed a break from the mundane reality I had come to know. Wake up – go to work – come home – take the dog out – come home – shower – eat – sleep. Repeat.

GODDDDDD. I’m bored to tears just thinking about it.

For me, the hardest thing about exercising has always been cardio. I have no problem doing lunges and weights and ab work – anything muscle building has never been an issue. I love the burn and I love the soreness that comes afterward. But cardio has always been the bane of my existence. So when I decided that I wanted to be more fit and start exercising more, I knew that I had to nip this little cardio problem in the bud.

I heard something on the radio the other morning – the DJs were talking about runners, and how some ridiculously high percentage of them, when surveyed, said that the only thing they think about while they run is how much they hate running. After hearing that, I realized that I have always been one of those people – I go for a run because I have to, not because I enjoy it in any way. I mean, who actually likes to pound pavement and sweat and be gasping desperately for oxygen? And all the while you’re trying to tell yourself, “You can do it. Run to that tree and then you can stop. Fuck. Okay, stop now. You’re not going to make it to the tree. At least you made it this far. Running sucks..” Yes. I know you are familiar with that inner dialogue.

So what was the difference for me this time around?

I think my issue in the past is that I have always made running [or cardio in general] about what it’s doing for my body physically. It’s shedding pounds, it’s getting me in shape. It’s making me healthy.

But what I’ve never noticed before, until now, is what it does for my mind.

When you run for the physical aspect, it’s a thousand times more difficult to get out of your own way. Your mind is going a million miles a minute, you can’t stop thinking about how taxing this is on your body, how much you hate this feeling and how much it sucks. But when you run to let off steam or to take the edge off of a rough day, THAT is when you will finally find some sort of release. That is when you will actually enjoy what cardio does for you.

On weekdays, my workouts happen in the evenings after I get off work. I’ve tried to get up before work and just get it out of the way, but I cherish a little bit of extra sleep in the morning when I don’t have to be up to get work done. And yes, the afternoons in Sac are hot, and yes sometimes I think that the last thing I want to do is go for a run after a stressful day at the office. But that’s exactly why enjoy it now – when I’m stressed at work, I can 100% count on running myself ragged on the road to bring me back to a calm state of mind.

This morning I set off on my run with both my dogs [Miss Roca is staying with me while she goes through her biannual heat cycle]. And I was eager to get my workout done so I could start my day. I woke up on the right side of the bed – I had the whole day ahead of me to do some shopping and get my errands done. I had plans to see a friend that I haven’t seen in a few weeks. And then literally two minutes into my run, the goddamn sidewalk jumped up, grabbed my foot, and sent me crashing and skidding across the ground. Nothing like throwing a wrench in my good mood. And at that point I had every intention of turning right around and stomping back to my apartment, but I took one look at my dogs and thought, “Fuck it. They need the exercise, and now I’m downright angry that this just happened.” And so I spent the next five miles running off every last ounce of stress and anxiety that I had accumulated in that split second of tripping and falling.

And it felt amazing.

I spent FIVE MILES out of my mind. Five miles just pushing myself because the anger hadn’t quite left my body yet. Five miles – and, upon returning to the apartment, I wasn’t even winded. The dogs were dragging behind me, and I probably could have run another five more. And not even for a moment did I have a single one of those “You’re almost there, just make it to that stop sign” thoughts.

And that, for me is a huge accomplishment.

The one thing I did think about, however, is that cardio, for me is, almost like terminal velocity. Once you hit a certain point, you’re no longer gasping for air, your muscles aren’t aching and tight with underuse. It just feels right. And it almost gets easy. Almost.

I can honestly and truly say that the only only ONLY thing standing in your way is you. And that goes for anything. We are all so in our minds all the time that we forget to just be. And I can truthfully say that if I am able to get to this place where I actually enjoy cardio, then you definitely can, too.

My advice to all of you, if you’re trying to find the motivation to get started on something, use what irritates you or angers your as a starting point. Make the upset into something positive – running off the anger instead of sitting at home and stewing about it. Let the exercise be your therapy.

Free your mind, and the rest will follow.

Motivation Monday [or Friday, Whatever..]

There is nothing like a trip to Southern California [and a simultaneous five days off from reality] to really get one’s ass in gear.

I mean, there really is no better place than SoCal to go if you want to find some motivation. And this really goes for anything.

I have never, ever thought I was fat. In fact, I consider myself extremely lucky that, at two years shy of the dirty thirty, and I still look great. And this is with minimal to no exercise AT ALL. And, on occasion, eating healthy.

So recently, during a trip to sunny San Diego with Bella, in which I stayed in San Marcos with my best friend and her fiance, I found myself striving for a better me.

Since my friend had to work that Friday, Bella and I set off for Del Mar. We walked on the beach and ate lunch at a little restaurant called The Americana [super dog-friendly and right in the little downtown area]. As I sat there enjoying my ice cold beer [hey – I was on vacation, okay?], I began to think, “This is a place that I could call home.” Maybe not Del Mar per se, but San Diego in general. Or SoCal.

And, as coincidence would have it, I also happened to stumble across Paige Hathaway‘s Instagram page [fitness guru and also just straight beautiful]. And, let me tell you, there is nothing more motivating than seeing a woman who is in shape but also has womanly curves [because, let’s be honest, I am just really not into the whole muscular woman thing – when you begin to lose your curves and look like a man, it is just not attractive].

A couple of days ago, Ms. Hathaway wrote a caption to one of her photos that really just spoke to me. She said:

“Greatness will not find you: you have to find it, and you have to work damn hard for it too. Growing up we’ve always heard ‘follow your dreams, don’t settle for anything less.’ We’re taught to do work for the love of it, not for the money. This is a nice goal to strive for, but once you move out and bills start piling up – reality hits. You might feel slighted, lied to, or unfairly left out of the wonderment that life was supposed to bestow on you. Is it possible to do what you love, be successful, and be happy the rest of your life? Absolutely – but you have to WORK REALLY HARD, EVERY SINGLE DAY to get there.

You have to do those 10,000 sketches, play 10,000 gigs, study and practice for 10,000 hours, etc. Stay late, come in early, put in over time, sacrifice, be consistent and never give up. You have to put in the work in order to get there. Figure out who your heroes are in your chosen lifestyle, and focus on the stories of the boring crap they had to do in order to get there. The media loves stories of people who just happened to be in the right place at the right time and got lucky, but for the other 99.99999% – this is not the case.

We all were put on this earth to achieve our greatest self, to live out our purpose, and to do it courageously. But if you really want to do great things in your life, then you have to take chances and make things happen for yourself.”

Upon returning to Sacramento, I realized that this is not the place for me. Sure, I’ve grown to love living here, but I’m tired of the people. I’m young, unattached, and I have a great job that, with some hard work and dedication, will eventually afford me the luxury of living elsewhere.

After reading what Paige wrote, I made some goals for myself, and I made myself a timeline.

The first thing I decided is that, in two years, I want to be successful enough in my business that I have the ability to move – and I want to move to San Diego. In two years, I will be there. It is no longer an option for me to not be there.

I also decided that there is really no excuse as to why I don’t have a diligent and daily workout schedule. And not necessarily to be thinner or to fit into my clothes better, but for the mere fact that exercise produces natural endorphins AND, for me at least, it takes the edge off after a hard day. Too often I find myself agitated or irritated about the must mundane of things and I think to myself, “If I had just gone for a run, this wouldn’t even be an issue.”

The hardest part about life is that the only person standing in your way is yourself. Nobody is going to hand you your goals. Nobody is going to make you thinner or fatter. Things don’t just happen or fall into your lap. You have to work really hard, as Paige says, EVERY SINGLE DAY.

If you’re lacking in motivation, the best thing you can do is surround yourself with positive and motivated people. Visiting San Diego really got my ass in gear. My friends there are fitness fanatics. They run every day and do tons of at-home workouts – proof that you do not need a gym membership to get in shape. And further solidification that there really is no excuse.

Too often, I think we get stuck in the groove of our daily routines. For me, I wake up at the same time every day, go to work, come home, take Bella out, come home, shower, eat, get in bed and watch TV. I’m throwing away precious hours of my one life wasting away in front of the boob tube. GROSS. Just the thought of it makes me want to leave the office and go on a run.

Of course, everybody’s life and schedule is different, we just have to work things in where we can fit them. For me, running after work is the only solution. I cannot motivate myself enough to get out of bed a 5 am. I just know that it’s an unrealistic goal, and that if I try and make it work, I will just give up. Find what works for you, and stick to it. NO EXCUSES.

And for those of us who have a really hard time sticking to a diet – DON’T. If you’re going to work your ass off working out, then you completely deserve a delicious pizza or a burrito. I think it’s unrealistic to expect people to remove the things from their diet that taste good. Just cut down your portions. If you’re going to have a burrito, get it a la carte instead of with the rice and beans. Simple as that. And you still get to enjoy the goods.

So, this weekend, if you’re planning on going out and drinking and stuffing your face, at least make it out for a run first. You’ll feel so much better about indulging, I promise.

Matrimonial Motivation

There is nothing like a new year and the promise of wedding season to kick one’s booty in gear!

This holiday season started with lots of happiness. Two of my best friends are getting married! And while I am not actually a bride, there is still much to be done in the ways of planning showers, coordinating the infamous bachelorette parties, getting a bridesmaid gown.. The list goes on!

I’ll be the first to admit (and I actually believe I have previously stated numerous times) that I am by no means a fitness fanatic. Every time I tell myself that I’m going to get on some sort of health kick, it lasts maybe a week and then I’ve chalked it up as a loss and moved on with my life. Not this time.

I left 2014 grateful and relieved for the year to be over. I could just leave it at that. The past is the past and we move forward, right? I guess.. But I also think I really need to be conscious of the reasons I’m happy to be moving on to a new year. Because it’s a fresh start. Because there were things I did in 2014 that I’m not proud of and didn’t make me a better person. How can I change the worst things about myself if I just simply forget what they are? I can’t.

That’s why I’m starting 2015 off with a positive attitude and a new lust for life.

One of the things people neglect to tell you when you’re a part of the wedding festivities is that WEDDINGS ARE EXPENSIVE. Bradesmaids gowns are currently running in the $200-$300 range. Bachelorette parties and locations are getting more and more extravagant, and the cost to travel and book a play to stay is ridiculous. Let’s just say that I did not properly budget myself for this May’s upcoming nuptials.

But, instead of berating myself and ripping my hair out, I’m making a resolution out of my conundrum. Year 2015: the year that I will finally get my finances in order. No more “retail therapy” shopping extravaganzas (as much as it heals, the major buyers remorse directly after dumping twenty shopping bags on my bed does not feel good). No more eating out for every meal. No more boozing (this is hard for me – I love to wind down at night with a glass of wine). No more rash financial decisions. It’s time to plan and save! For two weeks I have been living as a penny pincher. And let me tell you, it is literally LIFE CHANGING. The feeling of having money in your bank account and knowing that it’s just “safety money” is a feeling that cannot be topped. I don’t know why it has taken me so long to find this feeling, but I am so glad I did and I am NEVER. LETTING. IT. GO.

2015 is also going to be the year that I really start treating my body right. I realized this last week that I do much better in my entire life when I pop out of bed before the sun is up. Winter time in by business is the busiest time of the entire year. I found myself up at five and in the office by six – and I didn’t hate it! It really motivated me and kept me prioritized. This last week, my workload went down tremendously. I didn’t find the need to be in the office so early, and I found myself putzing around on the computer and avoiding what little work I did have to do. I don’t like that version of me. It leads to bad things like shopping online and planning nights out to spend money. I need motivated me. I need early morning me. And if I like being up so early, then why not just do it and fill the time with healthy activities. I have a dog. What more reason do I need than that to get up and get our bodies pounding the pavement?

And also in 2015, I need to find my passion for cooking again. Since moving to my new spot, and since moving in with a roommate who doesn’t know the difference between a pot and a pan, I have lost my love for the kitchen. I have only cooked one meal in the three months I have lived here. ONE! Bad, Sarah. Bad, Sarah! *Slaps Wrist*. Need I say more?

Make 2015 your year! What is it about yourself that you want to change for the better? There’s not need to make a long list. Long lists are daunting and scary and we usually end up giving up on the entire list. Mine only has three things. And I’m going to work to make those things count. I have 365 days to make every single thing on my list some of the best qualities about me. And I’m not going to give up! Life is happening and I don’t want to miss a single second of it! Cheers to 2015.

Loving the Little Things

I meant to write this post yesterday, but I’ve been so busy that I’m a day late (but not a dollar short)!

This weekend kicked off my start to living a happier, healthier, more responsible life (and, more specifically, summer).

In my previous post I vowed that I would be devoting this summer to my fur babies and being a better “me.”

I am generally an early riser, even on weekends. I hate the feeling that precious time is passing me by while I laze away in bed. My Dobermans feel the same. My mornings typically begin with Baby Roca’s wet Dobie nose poking my face, and her giant pink tongue leaving a slobber trail all across my face. Some mornings she does this from her spooning position beside me, other mornings she hops off the bed, walks up to my head, and lays her adorable face right next to mine (let’s face it, she’s so tall her head is the exact height of my bed). If she’s already off the bed, it’s time to get up PRONTO because somebody has to do a number two in a BAD way.

This last Saturday, the Dobies could tell I had plans, and that those plans included them (little did they know that they each had a bath in store for them). I loaded them up in my new car and we were on our way!

There is a gorgeous, preserved nature trail that follows a paved path behind several neighborhoods. The dogs love it because it’s chalk full of wetlands – this means DUCKS and WATER.. Easily two of their favorite things. Not to mention they get to run off leash the entire time.

It was on this walk that I really noticed the beauty around me; the fact that all three of us were fully enjoying nature in such different ways. I love to photograph everything I see on these walks, while the dogs love to swim and chase birds and run up and down and around in big giant circles.

20140603-211920-76760172.jpg

20140603-211949-76789728.jpg

After our romp on the nature trail, we went to visit my [NEWLY RETIRED!] dad and give him a celebratory gift..

20140603-212104-76864671.jpg

At 9.5% alcohol he couldn’t exactly drink the beer that early in the day without needing a giant nap, but since our last name is “Jack,” I thought it was pretty appropriate..

I finished my Saturday with a sunset cruise on the boat (I know, I know.. I said I wasn’t going to go boating – but to be fair, the dogs got a great workout and were exhausted the rest of the day).

20140603-212430-77070024.jpg

Sunday morning, Baby Roca and I headed over to grandma and grandpa’s or show them my new car. Roca was in heaven! Grandpa spoiled her with half his sandwich AND a snickerdoodle cookie. She also didn’t have to share her ball with alpha female Bella..

20140603-213404-77644090.jpg

And finally my Sunday evening was, yet again, spent on the boat enjoying nature and it’s glorious beauty.

I feel blessed every day to have been given such a wonderful life. Not every day is easy, but I always try my hardest to put my best foot forward. I’d say for my first weekend of a responsible summer devoted to my dogs, I did a pretty good job.

Stay tuned.. I’ll be keeping you updated on my yummy summer recipes as well!