Category Archives: 26 Before 27

The Half-Way Mark | 26 Before 27

How am I already 26 and a half?! I swear my amazing triple threat birthday/graduation/going-away party was like.. last week. My two friends with the same exact first and middle name sitting at the bar drinking beer, my high school friends throwing darts, my best girls catching on life with babies and plans to go back to school full time, and a whole table full of women who have been some of my biggest cheer leaders the last few years. #crying #blessed

In this my 26th year I have done a lot, despite my pretty much constant down playing of my successes. I guess I am rather happy with the whole graduating college, moving to the second largest city in the US, finding a place to live, and getting a job.

Okay, enough gloating, let’s see where I’m at on the goals I set for myself this year. I’ll italicize the ones that I’ve been keeping up on, but are long term and thus can’t be considered a success until May.

1. 30 Days Of Biking
2. Get new glasses and wear them NAILED IT. I now have 6 pairs of glasses. $6 frames, $6.95 single vision lenses. I love Eye Buy Direct. Get your own here, or leave a comment with your email address and I’ll send you my referral link. I’ll do some kind of post on those at some point.
3. Send 50 pieces of mail .. I have to be at least half way on this one.
4. Stop shoving stuff in closets … FAIL. I still down on a dresser, so my plan to make my closet into a dream space has failed and thus it’s full of junk.
5. Clean the bathroom and vacuum weekly
6. Stop binge watching TV – Seriously, you watched 107 episodes of a horse show made for teens.. you can’t get that time back. Haha, funny.
7. Cook meals, eat the leftovers
8. Go on a film camera adventure
9. Take the train to San Diego
10. Drive up the 1 and camp Big Sur
11. Get on a surf board (no need to put the pressure on actually learning to surf, just get on)
12. Take great care of the CR-V
13. Invest in some health related stuff: good shoes, fitbit, gym membership, etc.
14. Budget, save money, don’t go hungry
15. Make a blog schedule, try and stick to it .. I’m trying. Haven’t really made a schedule, but I’m here.
16. Find some friends in Los Angeles
17. Commit to weight training/find a great gym and an even better trainer
18. Make 12 vlogs
19. Explore California – Joshua Tree/San Francisco/Running Springs/San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara .. This weekend I’ll be in San Diego, and Thanksgiving I’ll be in Los Osos!
20. Go to a LA Kings game
21. Film a makeup tutorial
22. Drink at least 120 oz of water a day .. OMG THIS IS SO MUCH WATER, WHAT WAS I THINKING?!
23. Buy a new camera lens
24. Learn enough LA history that I can give a super cool LA tour .. Visit me, let me take you to Venice, promise it will be great.
25. Take a trip with the California Family – Mexico? Los Osos?
26. Lose 20 pounds – I’m not super strict on this number.. I just want to lose fat and gain muscle. Lean mean lady machine.

That’s a little reality check. I’ve only crossed off two things.. Looks like I need to step up my game. The next six month better be action packed.. also I now realize some of these goals are contradictory.. like “save money, and also buy a new camera lens, and new shoes, and travel a bunch”.. I guess I wasn’t anticipating my salary. In the words of Tim Gunn.. “MAKE IT WORK!”

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Mission Whole30: COMPLETE

I survived, no totally crushed, 30 days of no sugar, dairy, grains, or legumes. That’s no candy, no cheese, no rice, no hummus. And you know what, it really wasn’t that hard. I learned some lessons about my body and about food, but I mostly just feel like a total champion. Most importantly though, I don’t feel the need to reward my success by scarfing down a large pizza or having a bowl of ice cream. For me, that was sort of the whole point.

Despite having lost a significant amount of weight over the last year, I still wanted to eat all the garbage all the time. But now, I feel like a lot of that stuff just isn’t tempting me. Could this change in the next week or month? Yes, and in that case I will do a reset again to remind myself that healthy eating is the best way for me. This is Food Freedom, and I’m currently halfway through Melissa Hartwig’s new book, Food Freedom Forever. It’s a guide to a lifetime of eating well, whatever that means to you. For me, that’s going to mean eating pizza again after my reintroduction, and not feeling bad about it, but I also hope that it means I won’t have any desire to eat pizza in excess.

I want to tell you about the cons of this program, however you can totally get through them. Yo, cooking yourself every. single. meal. (save two in my case.. thanks Briands!) SUCKS! It sucks. Yes, you can make bulk meals and just heat them in the microwave, but you are putting in work all the time. There are days that are totally exhausting, not because you’re eating shitty, but because eating well requires work. So, as my roommate pointed out, which made me almost fly off the handle because I was tired of cooking, I was eating bacon maybe too much. Shout out to BLT+A salad for helping me thrive. To get through these 30 days, you might have the same meal a few too many times, and that’s alright.

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The second con of this program is not the program’s fault, but the people around you will, hopefully unintentionally, constantly ask you if you want a drink or a doughnut. There are days within this 30 days that you might tell these people where they can shove their doughnut hole. That’s alright. You’re just doin’ you boo, and if getting through this means that you have to tell these people every day how dumb they are for constantly asking you if you want something you can’t have, do it. I spent a lot of my Whole30 at home alone because I really wanted this to be a success, and going out was just too much for me. Alone time turned out to be really great for me. I went to bed early, felt well rested, went for a lot of walks, started reading again, and found new motivation to achieve my goals.. this was also thanks to my new healthy diet. I think we call that a WIN-WIN!

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There are so many pros that I might end up sounding like I joined a cult if I listed them all, so instead I want to share my non-scale victories. I actually can’t share my scale victory because I don’t have a scale, so I have no idea what I weighed when I started, or what I weigh today. No big deal to me, I will weigh myself next time I visit my Aunt and Uncle’s to see where I’m at from my starting weight and then give myself a little high five. I did however measure, so I’ll put those down below.

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First victory, my sleeping habits; I fall asleep faster, I don’t wake up in the middle of night (unless my cats wake me up -_-), and I feel well rested every morning. My hair has started growing like a flippin’ weed. I got about 2 inches cut off just before the start of the Whole30, and all of the length is already back. My hair is also a lot more shiny and strong, and so are my nails. My focus is like a lazer.. ok maybe like a disco ball, but no diet can fix that. While I still have lots of things that I’m focusing on, I find myself less distracted while working. There are more, but the biggest non-scale victory here is my HAPPINESS. Last month I was struggling. I hated everything. I wanted to move home. I just couldn’t hang. Today, I feel happy. I am looking forward to so many things. Things that I knew about before I started the Whole30 that were just meh, are now YAAAAS.

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Completing this Whole30 makes me feel so much more capable and in control of my life. No matter how you spin it, food is key in a healthy body and a healthy mind. I wish that I could convince all of you to do a Whole30. It’s really not that hard. I mean, do you remember what you ate 30 days ago, or even last week? Doing this reset has made me feel amazing, and I want every single one of you to feel as good as I do now.

So here’s the stats:
September 2015        September 2016          October 2016
Neck: 14″                     Neck: 13″                       Neck: 13″
Bicep: 12 ½”                 Bicep: 12 ¾”                 Bicep: 12 ¼”
Breasts: 43″                 Breasts: 39”                  Breasts: 38”
Chest: 35 ½”                Chest: 34 ½”                  Chest: 32 ½”
Stomach: 38″              Stomach: 35 ½”             Stomach: 34”
Butt: 49″                       Butt: 44 ½                      Butt: 43 ½
Thigh: 29″                    Thigh: 24 ¾”                   Thigh: 23 ½”
Calf: not recorded      Calf: 15 ¾”                      Calf: 15 ½”

I’ve lost a total of 24 ½ inches, 7 ½ of that on the Whole30.. if my math is right.. which it’s probably not, but whatever. Here are my before and after Whole30 pictures, which I can’t’ say I’m totally stoked to put on the internet, but progress is progress!

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From Binge Watching to Book Reading

One of my goals for this year was to stop binge watching TV. For the most part, I will say I have failed. I have a myriad of excuses including building a website, being unemployed, and then being employed but with very little tasks beside sitting behind a computer. Excuses aside, I have been spending a lot of time with “book people”, and book people talk about books, a lot. In order to join in on the conversation, or at least feel a little more apart of the group, I’ve started reading again.

I haven’t read much since I entered into the collegiate world. I’m sure that’s true for most people.. I mean, they make you read there. They make you read terribly long and boring books called textbooks, which slowly crush any desire you have to read other kinds of books because after reading 70 some pages about marketing strategies between your Tuesday and Thursday 8am class you never want to read another word ever again.

A few months have passed since I’ve had any required reading, and after reading what my Aunt calls a beach read, I have discovered a love for books again. A love that somehow has me reading multiple books at one time, which is a little hectic, but I think it’s actually helping me continue to read. I’ve also recently discovered those books that teach you stuff, I think they call them Self-Help or How-To books.. whatever they’re called, I like them. They’re like watching YouTube tutorials with way more details. I probably sounds like a millennial idiot right now.. “DID YOU KNOW YOU CAN LEARN FROM BOOKS?!”.. Derp. But I’m telling you, it’s really super satisfying and genuinely fun.

On to the books I’m reading right now, and like I said, I’m reading probably too many, but it keeps things interesting.

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Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer Roy Peter Clark
This book comes as a recommendation from my friend Emilie. I have to tell you that Emilie is one of those totally fierce women that you can’t help but look up too, weather you’re young or old. I mean, Bernie flippin’ Sanders invited her to ride on his private plane from the Iowa caucuses to the Vermont caucuses. Can. We. Just. Okay, now that we’ve had that moment. I asked Emilie for some tips about self-editing, because if you read this blog, especially if I call you ‘Mom’, you’ll notice I have a difficult time with grammar and spelling and throwing in random words and leaving out other really important ones that make sentences actually make sense. Emilie suggested two books, this being one of them. While I’ve only just scratched the surface, this is a straight shooter. It gives you tips for improvement, but also encourages you to embrace things that maybe you’ve been discouraged to do, like long sentences (Hi, my name is Hannah, and I love long sentences). I can already tell I will be carrying this one around for a long time, and hopefully you’ll notice a difference here as I dive in further.

A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life Jack Kornfield
Some books take a lot of time to read, and you read them again and again, and every time you will learn something different. This is one of those books, for both me and my wonderful Dad. I also want to tell that this book probably should be for everyone, but is more than likely not. As you can tell from the title, it’s about your spiritual life. As in, your inner self, not a religious self. So, if that is not your jam and you’re thinking maybe I’m a devil worshiper, just pretend you never read this and hop down to the next book.
I have always felt a connection with myself, like a ‘you know you best,’ kind of connection.. there is a passage in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert where she sort of rediscovers God and realized that God speaks to her through herself, with her own voice. I think I’ve always felt kind of like that. The voice that calms me down, that tells me to take a deep breath, that gives the best advice, is my own. A Path with Heart teaches you to access that voice more than ever before.
The first half of the book teaches how to gain said access. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific area of life from letting go of self-doubt, to learning to love yourself in order to love others. At the end of each chapter is a meditation guide. The second half of the book is learning how to live in the world and culture we live in today, while practicing these techniques. Call me a hippie dippie, but this book has TOTALLY made me feel better every single day since I started reading it. And also, maybe the best part for me, my Dad has left notes all throughout the book, so it’s like I’m learning with him, and I’m learning to love him even more. (LOVE YOU, PA!)

Now onto to the non-fiction!

Beautiful Ruins: A Novel Jess Watler
This, my friends, is a beach read. It’s one of those books that doesn’t make you have too many feelings, it’s funny, it’s romantic, it’s easy breezy. You can stop and start and you won’t forget what happened, and somehow the book gets better if you are in a slightly reclined position, preferably in the sun, and definitely drinking something fruity. Beautiful Ruins is one of those books that has two stories going on at the same time. One takes place in the 1960’s in Italy (say no more), the other is present day California. There are actresses and innkeepers, and writers and producers. I’m sure the stories are somehow tied together, but I haven’t gotten that far yet. Go find yourself a beach, or come visit me at my beach, and read this book.

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: A Savannah Story John Berendt
So this one is like.. a real book. Aren’t they all read books? Yes. But this one is not a beach read or a how-to. This book is elegant and detailed and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. The setting, Savannah, Georgia, is what drew me to the book. I have this southern fantasy, which is probably totally inaccurate, but has to do with big plantation farm style houses, those super long drive-ways leading to said houses, and those bald cypress trees.. and probably some hoodoo or voodoo.. Anyway. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a first person account of life in the Deep South, and the twist and turns of an infamous murder, or maybe self-defense, case. It opens up with a very detailed description of one of those giant houses that happens to be owned by an antiques dealer. That’s about as far as I’ve gotten, but Jackie Kennedy has already made an appearance in the book, so I’m 100% hooked. Also, you can actually take a Midnight Garden tour in Savannah, so put that on my to-do list.

Thank you too anyone who has made it this far.. there’s a lot of words up there. I actually meant to post this yesterday, but somehow ended up spending my entire morning on Goodreads. I decided to try and add every book I’ve read and might ever want to do read, and had a ton of fun doing it. Do you use that website to keep track of books you’ve read and books you want to read? If you do, be certain to add me, you can find me at goodreads.com/sweethannahpea. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little long post about what I’ve been reading, and be sure to stay tuned for completed book reviews, suggested reads, and maybe better writing if all goes well.

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p.s. these books are linked with my Amazon Affiliate account.. if you buy one of the books from the link you’ll be supporting this blog at no extra charge to you!

September Whole 30

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Attention ladies and gentlemen (or man, probably just Dad), I am here to proudly declare, because it’s actually one of the steps I’m supposed to complete; I will be participating and completing the September Whole 30. Are you like, what is the Whole 30? Well, some might say it’s impossible, or hell, or a terrible idea.. but I say it’s the next step in my transformation from chubby caterpillar to lean and fit butterfly.

The Whole 30 is a lifestyle, which I know sounds hella cheeseball (which you can’t eat on the Whole 30), but it truly is a lifestyle. For 30 days you eat clean, like cleaner than paleo, which you’re more likely familiar with. The truth is sugar, grains, dairy and/or legumes are probably affecting your physical, and maybe mental, health negatively. And you can’t forget about all those nasty chemicals in like flippin’ everything we eat. So you eat clean, preferably organic, veggies, fruits, meats, seafood, eggs, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. You plan, you cook, you eat, your life changes. I’m not even being dramatic.

Over the last year and a handful of months I went from going out to eat on an almost daily basis to an almost never basis. I said goodbye to snacking on cheese and candy and drinking energy drinks. I stopped bringing home a bottle of wine or a six pack of cider. And slowly but surely I’ve watch my body shrink, my sleep improve, and my love for myself grow. I am now super ready to lose the last 15 pounds and start working out like I’m Khloe Kardashian.. just kidding, kind of. No, but seriously, do you follow her on snap? Her workouts are insane and the shape of her body is.. unreal.

So this, the magical September Whole 30, is my next step. Oh, and this Whole 30 is kind of a big deal. Melissa Hartwig (Google her, #goals) the creator of the Whole 30 is releasing a new book on the 30th day of this round. The book, Food Freedom Forever, gives you the skills you need to never return to savagely eating Cheese-Its or always buying gummy bears in the Trader Joe’s checkout. The book weens you off your Whole 30 so you can figure out what Whole 30 no-no’s are affecting you, whether it’s your evening glass of wine that’s keeping you up at night or lunch meat with nitrates that’s causing your acne.

I have been meal planning for weeks and I can’t wait to put this plan into action. If this has inspired you and you want to participate too, check out whole30.com and be sure to leave a comment below so we can support each other along the way!

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*image by emilie blincoe

A Little Good Luck

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What a whirlwind these last two weeks have been. It started last Thursday when.. I GOT A JOB! Yippee! It’s basically my dream job. How the hell that happened, I have no idea. Well, Oprah would say it was opportunity meeting preparation, also known as luck. This past Monday I started as the social media/pr/office/store front manager at Von Lintel, a furniture design company. Yes, I am responsible for all of those things. Which is exactly what I wanted! I will also get the opportunity to actually do some building, which is super cool because I’d love to make furniture design and wood working a more regular hobby. The picture above is from inside the store front.

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On Saturday, Jesse and I hiked around the Angeles National Forest. We spent what felt like just a few minutes in the car to get there. Absolutely one of the best parts about living in LA is how quickly you can go from city to nature. It was practically perfect weather, and we even saw a deer.. which park ranger Jesse then informed me meant there was likely a mountain lion near by. We never saw one, and I can’t say I was too disappointed by that.

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I’ve also been spending a bunch of time with my brother. On Wednesday we biked around downtown. I recently discovered this amazing Polish street art duo called Etam Cru, and when I found out they had piece up in LA I had to see it. This one is called Mr. Rooster, and I think I’m in love. You can see more of their work here.

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With Monday came more good news, which is almost official. Normally, I don’t like to share good news until it is official but.. I HAVE A PLACE TO LIVE! I know, right. How is this all happening so quickly and so perfectly?! Andrew text me that his and Jesse’s neighbors were moving out, making their three bedroom available. He asked if I would want to move in with the two of them. I can bring the cats, I have my own bathroom, and I have a walk in closet. HELLO BEST DEAL EVER. I can’t wait to live with two awesome guys and get back into a normal schedule that involves my own bed and cooking regular meals.

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