2014 resolutions revisited

As the year is drawing to a close I thought I’d write a little recap of my 2014 resolutions. I was surprisingly successful! The combination of realistic resolutions and hard work really paid off!

Resolution #1: Eat good breakfasts
Win! I now eat breakfast everyday, and it usually consists of some sort of fruit smoothie concoction. Since attempting to go grain free (and I’d say succeeding about 75% of the time), I’ve been trying to make egg concoctions to alternate with the smoothies. Unfortunately I haven’t made anything particularly good yet. I might need to try to scramble some eggs before going to work, even though it will mean getting up a little earlier. I’m generally against extra work in the morning, but this might be worth the trouble. Especially since swinging by the McDonald’s drive thru for an Egg McMuffin isn’t an option anymore! I have a few additional goals related to my breakfasts that I will be working on in 2015, such as making them healthier without sacrificing taste, but in general I did pretty well in 2014!

Resolution #2: Take care of my skin
Win! I took my last dose of Accutane on December 14th and I’m absolutely thrilled to be done with it after nine months. I won’t miss the monthly dermatologist appointments and all of the red tape associated with actually getting the prescriptions, but my skin has looked great since I started the medication. Taking the Accutane was a last resort for me since topical treatments and oral antibiotics weren’t working for me. I’m so glad I did it, though. Despite the side effects (very dry and sensitive skin, periodic rashes, and extremely chapped lips), it was worth the hassle. Now that I’m done taking the Accutane I’ll hopefully never have to take any more. There’s always a chance that I will sometime in the future, but we’ll see what happens. For now I’m enjoying my clear skin and the added confidence that comes with it!

Resolution #3: Run a race
Win! Not only did a run one race, but I ran twelve! Can you believe it? And that number doesn’t even include the two races in October that I signed up for but didn’t actually participate in (one due to work and the other due to oversleeping). How crazy is that? And the even crazier thing is that I’m already registered for twelve races in 2015 (4 in January, 2 in February, 2 in March, 3 in May, and 1 in October) and I know there are going to be many, many more! It’s so hard to believe that a year and a half ago I couldn’t run more than a block or two without getting seriously winded and now I’m running half marathons! I’m not competitive in any sense, but signing up for of these races challenges me and gives me something definite to work towards. And even when I run very slowly or feel terrible after crossing the finish line, I still have a sense of accomplishment for reaching a goal. All of the awesome medals I have hanging on my cubicle wall at work aren’t bad either!

Resolution #4: Wear shorts
Win! I actually wore shorts on a regular basis over the summer due to the prolonged hot weather in Los Angeles that lingered well into October. The only thing I miss about the relentless summer weather is wearing shorts. On the weekends it was so easy to throw on a pair of shorts, a tank top, and my cushy Nike Free shoes and go about my business. It was the perfect outfit for Disneyland, shopping, or just running errands when it was hot outside (and inside too since my apartment doesn’t have air conditioning). Now that it’s winter and we’re enjoying much cooler temperatures, the Nikes that babied my feet all summer don’t really pair well with my drawer full of skinny jeans. It’s a shame. Luckily I have big plans for wearing shorts in 2015. If all goes well I’ll be headed to Maui in June with some friends, and shorts are practically mandatory in Hawaii! I’ll be looking for some new pairs before then, though. I only have three pairs of shorts that fit, and I’m using that word loosely. I’ll be doing some shopping as soon as spring clothes hit the stores in 2015!

Resolution #5: Visit as many new states as possible
Win! In March I took a little side trip to West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware while on a business trip to DC. That added three states to the list of ones I’ve visited. And then in May I set foot in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho during a family vacation to Yellowstone National Park. Six new states in one year – not bad! My total right now is 33 out of 50 states, and I already have plans to increase that number in 2015, but it might take more than a little planning to cross some of the states off my list. I’ll cover that more when I start posting about my 2015 New Year’s resolutions in January. If I’m lucky I might even make it to New Jersey when I’m in DC for work again! (I can’t believe I missed it last time.) I’ve decided that trips and experiences are better than presents (based on all of the races I’ve traveled to, that’s probably obvious), so in December I made a travel wish list that I fully intend to make some progress on in the coming year.

Resolution #6: Read every night before bed
Fail! While I did ramp up my reading after making this resolution back in March, I definitely haven’t been reading every night. More often than not I find myself tapping away on my laptop or watching TV on my iPad as I’m sitting in bed. This is a very bad habit. A couple of weeks ago I wrote about decreasing my overall screen time in 2015, but I still want to encourage reading at bedtime. I have always loved to read, but it’s a hobby that has sadly fallen by the wayside over the last year. Now that I’ve installed a blue light filter on my iPad Mini I should be able to utilize my Kindle app to my heart’s content at night without disturbing my sleep patterns. Hopefully. I have no idea if the filter will really work, but it certainly can’t hurt to try. I’ll write more about this next year in relation to my 2015 resolutions. I have quite the backlog of interesting books that I’ve downloaded so I’m excited to start reading them!

2014 Resolution #4

New Year’s Resolution #4: Wear shorts

It’s July and I’m finally getting around to working on one of my New Year’s resolutions. I’m nothing if not a procrastinator! I guess it was a little silly to make this particular resolution back in January when the possibility of wearing shorts was months away, but there’s a lot more to it than just fashion. Wearing shorts represents facing some of the insecurities I have about my body. Of course growing up in Florida I used to wear shorts almost exclusively from March to October, but since moving to California I don’t have as much use for them. The lovely SoCal weather makes shorts a choice rather than a necessity, like they are in hotter, more humid climates. These days I have a few pairs that I’ve purchased over the years, but I’ve basically only worn them on vacation (i.e., Hawaii in 2010 when the above photo was taken). I prefer to wear jeans whenever possible so those poor shorts have been languishing in a box under my bed for a long time. Since my weight has fluctuated more than I’d like to admit over the last 5 years or so, my collection of shorts contains pairs in three different sizes. One of my major insecurities is not being able to wear the size that I think my body should fit in to. What I never seem to remember is that the sizing paradigm for women’s clothing is completely arbitrary. So what if those size 2 cutoffs are a little tight in the waist? The size 4 khakis are slightly big and much more comfortable to wear these days. It’s just hard for me to admit that at any particular moment I’m not able to wear my smallest clothes. This is ridiculous! My body is still the same size, no matter what I wear. It just means I’m not willing to be uncomfortable for the sake of knowing there’s a smaller number on the tags hidden inside my clothes.

I’ve digressed a bit, but the purpose of this resolution was to confront some of my insecurities in the hopes of improving my self confidence. Fortunately running has been a means to an end in that respect. Not only has it helped me start to whip my body into shape, but it’s given me the chance to shake up my wardrobe a bit too. We’ve had some really hot days in Los Angeles already the year (much to my chagrin) so I broke down and bought a couple of pairs of compression shorts to wear running when it’s too hot for my capris. They are extremely short, like volleyball shorts or boyshort-type bikini bottoms, but that keeps them from riding up when I’m running. Needless to say, these shorts show a lot of leg, and I think I look good in them! Being able to say that and actually mean it is a big step forward for me. Usually I try and hide my body when I’m insecure so wearing something revealing makes me feel very vulnerable. But I know I need to keep working on feeling more comfortable in my own skin. Like this weekend when I wore shorts on both Saturday (khaki shorts when running errands) and Sunday (denim shorts at Disneyland). I think this might become the norm for the rest of the summer!

Resolution #5 revisted

Remember those new blogging rules I posted at the beginning of the month? Well I didn’t adhere to them for very long, did I? Obviously my last three posts were just photos of me in the new states I visited during my vacation, but before that the worthwhile updates were few and far between. Pretty pathetic. I want to do better. I’m not making any promises, but I’m certainly going to try and post more often in June than I did in May.

Getting back to the subject at hand, I visited three new states while I was on vacation – Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho! It was an amazing trip. I’ve been wanting to visit Yellowstone since 2001 when my dad and I took a more northern route when driving across the country for my Boeing internship, but not nearly northern enough to visit our country’s very first national park. Denver was the farthest north we got. Northwest Wyoming is pretty out of the way, but I managed to talk my family into going there on vacation this year. And it was spectacular. I’ll have to write some more about everything we saw and did in another post (check out some photos here if you’re interested), but I’m going to focus on my New Year’s resolution to visit as many new states as possible in 2014 right now. After adding West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Delaware to my list of states visited when I was on the East Coast for work in March I couldn’t wait to check off more boxes before the end of the year. (I’m still kicking myself for not taking a quick detour into New Jersey in March when I was driving to/from Delaware, but I might be able to remedy that because there’s a chance that I’ll have to DC again in September.) So although the majority of my family’s vacation was spent in Wyoming (in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks), we drove a little bit out of our way so I could set foot in Montana and Idaho. The northern entrance of Yellowstone is actually in Montana so we only had to drive about five extra miles to take my picture next to the state welcome sign (which was much smaller and less ostentatious than I expected). Getting to Idaho required us to drive about twenty miles west from Jackson, WY and through a mountain pass before we could cross the state border. But I’m so glad we did. When else am I going to have a chance to visit that corner of the US? And look how much color is on my states visited map versus how it looked at the beginning of the year! This makes me very happy. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year brings!

P.S. My family decided that we’re going to Alaska next year. It’s going to be awesome!

Resolution #2 revisited

As part of my 2014 resolution #2 I started taking Accutane on March 4th (one week after my surgery, as requested by my dermatologist) and so far my skin is looking better than it has in years. This is partially because I’ve only gotten two pimples in the last six weeks (although one of them happened to pop up right before I got my new driver’s license photo taken so that was fun), but also because I’ve been very diligent about my skin care regimen to ward off the side effects of the medication. The most common of these are dry skin and chapped lips, and I’ve definitely been experiencing both. My lips are constantly peeling so I apply balm frequently. It’s tons of fun. As far as the rest of my skin goes, I use a lot of lotion. Living in Los Angeles makes my skin pretty dry to begin with, but the Accutane has made it worse. My face gets two applications of moisturizing cream per day (one with SPF in the morning and a night cream in the evening), and the rest of my body gets a liberal layer of Vaseline Intensive Care Repairing Lotion after my shower. I started using that stuff years ago when I was working in DC and the winter weather there wreaked havoc on my poor skin. Vaseline has always been my favorite brand of lotion and the repairing variety is amazing. It’s not greasy (unlike the Eucerin lotion I tried a few weeks ago – yuck) and it absorbs overnight, making my skin feel great in the morning. But besides the run-of-the-mill dry skin I’ve been dealing with, I also have random little rashes in the weirdest places. Most notably, on the backs of my hands. My dermatologist said it was normal, though, and it’s gotten better with nightly applications of Aquaphor. Fortunately for now the side effects are manageable, and all of this will be worth it if I have clear skin at the end of the treatment. Actually, I’m already really happy with the results after only six weeks! But since Accutane is supposed to be a long term acne solution so it might be a while before I know how it works for me. The good news is that I haven’t I’ve had any of the other more worrisome side effects, like depression or headaches, so things are going well so far! Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted on my future progress (whether you care about it or not!).


I know I’ve written about this a lot, but please indulge me one more time while I describe the events of the Seal Beach 10K last Saturday. This was my first race and it was a very big deal to me!

I woke up at 6 AM because I needed to eat breakfast (a raspberry and banana smoothie) and then have some time to digest it before the race started. After that I relaxed for about an hour before I had to get ready to leave. When the time came I slathered myself with sunscreen (this was atypical since I usually run at night), donned a Gator t-shirt (since the Final Four game was that afternoon) and running capris, laced up my running shoes (that’s a whole other post that I need to write), and headed out the door. Luckily I just live a few blocks from the start line so I got there quickly. Before the race started I met up with a group of Boeing employees to take a group photo. I only knew one other person there, but it was still nice to feel like part of a group. A few minutes before 8 AM I made my way to the back of the mob of people running the 5K and 10K races. I am an extremely slow runner (~11 min/mile at my fastest) so I didn’t want to get in anyone’s way when the race started. I didn’t go all the way to the back of the line, though, because there were a lot of strollers there than I didn’t want to dodge! Once 8 AM rolled around and I finally crossed the start line I ran my first mile very slowly, but that turned out to be a good warm up because every mile after that was faster than I expected. Much to my surprise, I only walked two brief intervals over the 6.2 mile route which coincided with the two water stations at miles 2 and 4. I estimate that I ran all about 0.3 miles of the whole race so that was an improvement on all of my training runs. It wasn’t warm that morning, but the sun was very bright (no cloud cover that day) and there was almost no little shade. I was sweating like a pig, but really enjoying myself. I didn’t break any records, of course, but I finished the Seal Beach 10K in 1:15:24 and averaged ~12 min/mi. Not bad for my first race! After crossing the finish line and drinking a bottle of water, I walked home (did I mention how nice it is to be a local?) for a much needed shower. Not that running a 10K is really that great of an accomplishment, but I was really proud. And it made me think that I just might be able to run the Disneyland Half Marathon that I’m registered for in August! Very encouraging!