Breaking the Habit: Part Two

You can find Breaking the Habit Part One here!

Ah, back to blogging about the butts. I had to write the part two sooner or later, and I’m happy to announce that as of today I am cigarette free. I didn’t quit on my birthday like I had originally wanted, but I was down to one cigarette a day for a few weeks before I finally just threw in the towel. I had run out one day and I was like you know what, Lara? You don’t need that one stupid cigarette anymore.

And just like that, I broke free from the habit that would eventually kill me one day.

Let me tell you, though, it was NOT easy. It’s been hard. Really fucking hard. I honestly have come to the acceptance that I’m just going to be a little bit bitchier for the rest of my life. For every time someone cuts me off on the highway, or anyone at work aggravates me, I don’t have that precious rolled up piece of goodness to get me through that spike in my blood pressure anymore. I have “deep breathing.” Pardon me while I hypothetically throw up all over that phrase because quite frankly, I’d rather smoke a cigarette.

BUT. The list of diseases my family has from smoking is of enormous quantities. So I’d rather be an old bitch than a nice young corpse. It makes life spicier that way anyways.

I’ve only cheated 3 times too! And it’s only when I’m drunk. Anyone who has ever been a smoker can attest that nothing is better than having a cigarette and a drink at the same friggin time. Ugh. It’s amazing.

But you know what? Each time I’ve cheated has never been followed by a relapse.

I won’t go back to it. I CAN’T. I work out six days a week. I do intense cardio and lifting. There is NO way I would be able to accomplish what I have with cigarettes. I can’t believe I got through workouts as a smoker. I used to smoke one right BEFORE a workout. HAHA seriously, Lara? Seriously.

Once the withdrawals go away, it truly is just mind over matter. My entire family smokes. Every single day I am surrounded by cigarette smoke. That’s will power right there. Just like how every day I decide to not eat the cookies on my counter, I also decide not to smoke a cigarette. And the fact that sugar is just as addicting as cigarettes is a WHOLE other post for a different day. And seriously, that WILL be discussed eventually because it’s just as serious as any other addiction in this world.

I can’t lie though. I DO have a crutch. And this “crutch” has been up for serious debate but it’s saved my lungs. What is this magic that I speak of? E-cigarettes. Not just any e-cigarette. A Provape – It’s one of the top ones on the market. NOT cheap but when I do the math between smoking that and cigarettes, my vape is FAR more superior. And I know what you nay sayers have to say:

E Juice is dangeroussss! OH NO PLEASE DON’T SMOKE THAT STUFF LARA!

This isn’t a debate, but I’m just going to leave the vape talk off with the fact that I haven’t seen one piece of research against e-cigarettes. I’m extremely careful with it, I keep children away from it, and I don’t poison my neighbors with it. A few puffs of that a day to keep me sane is extremely better than smoking a pack of cigs a day. I pick and choose my dangers wisely.

Anyways, I’m 4 months strong and so far, not wanting to go back. They say trying to quit after failing to quit is one of the hardest things to do – harder than the original quit. I won’t let myself get to that point. As long as I have my health on my side, I think I’ll be okay. Even if I’m a little bitchy :)

Fall Healthy Eating and Pinterest

It’s hard to stay on track nutritionally this time of year. Let’s face it.

Halloween candy.

Thanksgiving desserts.

And we can’t forget Christmas! UGHHHHHHHHH

Staying healthy during times of tricks and treats CAN be done. It just takes preparation and…well…willpower.

One place I find a lot of my inspiration from is…wait for it, wait for it! Pinterest.

I know, I know. I’m like every other woman on the planet. BUT I just hopped on the Pinterest band wagon only a few short months ago.

However, pinners beware. Not all pins are created equally.

The most important piece of advice I can give you when looking at Pinterest recipes is to read them closely. First of all, the recipes can be off. I’ve made a few recipes from there where the end result was NOT like the picture or correct. Try to look at the comments and see if anyone else had made the recipe or if the pinner themselves actually made it.

Second, unless it was from a reputable website, you need to double check their nutrition facts. I made a chili a few weeks ago that was dubbed “The Biggest Loser Chili Recipe” and the calories were WAY off. When making a recipe, I go to the Calorie Count Website and input all of the ingredients. I know it’s time consuming, but it’s the only way to really see the nutritional content of what you’re cooking.

Adding on to the point I previously made, checking nutrition is extremely important when it comes to clicking on those “healthy” pins. Sometimes those “healthy” recipes are full of sugar, especially the hidden sugar that the fitness world preaches about. Yes, that apple pie you want to make is a healthier version, but that doesn’t mean you should eat more than one piece or that you can have it every day. Any kind of baking you do at home can be considered healthier because YOU are the one making it – It’s not filled with all of those preservatives or additional funky sounding ingredients that you get at the grocery store.

This brings me to my next topic, which is more of a picture and recipe I HAVE to share because it came out AMAZING. I spen last Friday carving pumpkins with my friends and I said I’d bring dessert. Now, not everyone I know is on my healthy eating bandwagon, so I had to find something that would fit my nutritional bill AND taste delicious.

I scoured the internet for recipes and stumbled upon one for 60 calorie pumpkin cakes. It looked easy enough, so I figured why the hell not? And THIS was the end result:

Pumpkin CakesMy feet made a cameo at the bottom. Sorry about that :) I cut my squares into 28 instead of 35 so they were slightly more than 60 calories but WOW. Just wow. My friends and family loved them. They were moist, pumpkin-y, and the cream cheese frosting was out of this world. If you want the recipe, you can find it here. I highly recommend it to anyone, even if you aren’t a health nut like myself.

This coming Friday I’m going to a Halloween party with The Drummer, and I need to bring something but I have like ZERO time so I decided to make these bad boys:

Courtesy of skinnymom.com

Courtesy of skinnymom.com

I’ll post a picture of them when I actually make them this weekend. They aren’t the HEALTHIEST but I don’t know The Drummer’s friends well enough to engulf them with my craziness so these will suffice. If you want to beat me to it, find the recipe here!

Hope you guys have a great week! I’m new to this whole health blogging thing, so if anyone has any requests, I’d love to hear them!

P.S. If you or anyone you know needs vitamins, protein, or any healthy foods/healthy living items, Vitacost has MILLIONS of products. I seriously buy from them monthly. You can get $10 off your first order by clicking here!

The Drummer: The Good, the Better, the Best: An Update

I’ve figured since it’s been so long I owe everyone an update on The Drummer. For those of you just tuning in, he’s my Online Dating Success Story. In just a few short weeks, it will mark a year since our first date. I honestly can’t believe it.

He was the final straw. The I have had it up to fucking HERE with online dating and if this one doesn’t work out then I just give the fuck up last straw.

I drove around for a solid hour before our date, smoking cigarettes and trying to stay positive.

Well, Lara, you’ve done your homework. You’ve seen just about everything there is to see on his Facebook without you actually having a Facebook. You’ve googled, binged, yahooed, and background checked the terms “The Drummer’s Real Name Murderer, Felon, Arrested” as many times as you could. You’ve creeped on his YouTube page several hundred times, pausing at that one good side angle of his face and imagined it in front of yours. This will be just fine.

And just like that, he became my boo.

Yes. That must be the LAMEST nickname in the world to give your boyfriend, but I don’t like calling him baaaaabe, baby, or hunny. I’ve never really called anyone those words except for The Ex and for some reason it just doesn’t fit The Drummer. I started calling him boo as a joke. Honestly, total joke. But it stuck. And hey, I’ve heard of worse nicknames.

He’s been absolutely amazing – our relationship has been absolutely amazing. Of course we’ve had our tiffs. Sometimes I’m close minded, and sometimes he’s just a guy, but we both recognize our faults and try to make the best of them. We are certainly not perfect, but we’re happy.

This relationship is different this time around. I used to worry so much with The Ex. From the very beginning of our relationship to the very end, I was constantly worried. I was never sure about his feelings because I always knew how low I fell on the totem pole. I’ve never expected to be the most important thing in someone else’s life, but dammit I deserve to be one of the important things. When The Drummer and I first got together, I used to ask him if we could see each other on a Friday night since I hadn’t seen him all week and he would just laugh at me. But I’m not used to that. I had to ask my ex to hang out because, to be honest, the answer was “no” a lot of times. Band things, practice, shows, “guys night,” “alone night.” Those were all things that were far more important than seeing me once or twice a week. When we had been together for YEARS, mind you.

But not with my Drummer. If he doesn’t have plans, and I don’t have plans, our plans are together. And it’s nice because I don’t get to see him all the time. During the week, I’m working like a mad dog and working out harder – and he’s doing the same. When I get to his place on Friday, the first thing I do is throw my bag down and hop in his bed. It’s the first time all week that I get to just lay.

I’m flying to Illinios with him on Thanksgiving day to spend the holiday with him and his family. I’ve never met them before since they live so far away and I’m excited to meet the people closest to him. I’m a little nervous because I have to deal with the whole anxiety of Will they like me? thing, but from what he tells me I should be fine.

And that’s pretty much it for Drummer updates. It’s been one great year and I honestly hope I get to spend more with him. So far, it looks like that’s a possibility.

Summer Came & Went

Well, considering I haven’t written a single thing since JUNE, I assume I should do some “catch up” until I get to a somewhat present moment.

The summer flew by faster than it ever had before. I guess that’s what happens when you spend most of your free time sober. Somewhere between my terrible break up and meeting The Drummer, I had some weird change of the heart and mind. All of my drunken escapades where taking a toll on my body, and since I’d worked so hard on losing weight and getting healthy, I knew this lifestyle couldn’t last forever.

It began in June, when I finally quit smoking cigarettes. I had slowly weaned myself off of them – first by cutting the pack in half, and then another half, until I was down to just 1 per day. Then I ran out of cigarettes one day and just decided that was it.

And That. Was. It.

I don’t care what anyone says. I was a heavy smoker for 14 years. I couldn’t even STAND the thought of quitting before that point, but when I did, it felt like cake. Don’t get me wrong. I will ALWAYS have a love for those little cancer filled sticks of deliciousness, but I couldn’t fucking breathe. It just isn’t worth it.

Once I quit smoking, I started realizing how much more capacity my lungs could hold during workouts.

I CAN BREEEEATHE! I CAN BURPEE! I CAN NOT WANT TO DIE EVERY TIME I RUN!

It’s quite the feeling. You don’t realize how important breathing is until you actually get your ass out of bed and jump around every day. I’m in love with breathing now! And every time I want a smoke, I just think about how hard it would be to accomplish the fitness goals I have with cigarettes.

That’s where my next addiction comes into play…Fitness.

Exercise is the healthiest addiction there is. Of course, there’s always a way to make it completely unhealthy, but when you’ve done as much damage to yourself as I have, it’s hard to get to that point.

I spent ALL summer working out. Every damn morning I was up at 5:30 AM, hauling ass, eating eggs, and then going to work. It feels pretty rad to walk into work and smile at all the tired people – because in my mind I’m all like Yeah, I just jumped around for an hour. Take THAT!

So all my hard work eventually paid off – I surpassed my goal weight by 15 pounds, and am now lifting and focusing on toning and all those other good fake words to describe reshaping my body. I joined a gym so I could have access to all of those fabulous cardio classes that you see in the infomercials AND so I can take yoga classes. I’ve also heavily researched fitness and nutrition and hope to share all of the information I’ve picked up on here to maybe give some inspiration to others because if I can do it..seriously…anyone can.

Before I knew it, summer was gone! My class started at the end of August so the reality of summer’s end slapped me faster than the other people who got to wait until at least LABOR DAY to be depressed.

Not a very enthusiastic summer, but for me it was a rebirth. Less drinking (come on – I still have to let loose once in a while), more moving, and just feeling alive for the first time in a while. And all with a great guy that I met in the depths of online dating world. More on that next time.

Where to Begin?

It took a long time to gather the ability to begin this post. It’s been months since I’ve written. It’s been months since I’ve looked into my soul. The last time I was on here, I gave word that intothebeauty might be no more. That I may delete it. I definitely stepped away for, shit, MONTHS.

But, no.

I couldn’t delete it.

I couldn’t get rid of the one thing that kept me going when my psyche was on life support. This blog helped me through more hard times than I can count. It helped me release the sadness and disgust for this beautiful world we live in. And it helped me connect with people who, one way or another, felt the same exact way.

And now that I’m breathing on my own, how dare I walk away from this?

I’ve wanted to catch up for a while. I just lacked the motivation. I’m not afraid to admit it:

I have been fucking blog lazy.

Not lazy, lazy. I’ve been SO damn busy it’s not even right. Saturday marked the end of another class toward my HR certificate. Two more classes to go! And just recently I was promoted to management at the job I was just about to quit (I’ll fill you in on that later). Not to mention, I’m feeling my age a bit more. Christ, after working like a dog day in and day out it’s so hard to get the motivation to do ANYTHING extracurricular.

But life is too damn short to be lazy, so I’m back.

I was going to scrap this whole page and start with a new one but there’s just no fun in that.

I’m in my twenties. There are the bestworstgreatestcraziestundecided years of my life. I need not start over! I have just BEGUN! And whenever I need a good laugh, I have to be able to turn back time and revisit my crazy dating days. If you’re just tuning in, get the fuck back to my archives. I’ve got some SERIOUS stories within the dating realm.

I’m still in the works trying to co-create my health blog that I’ve been starting with some friends, but that’s taken a pause until we get some stuff worked out. I’m not any good at graphic designing and I refuse to start posting professional shit on a semi professional website.

However since health is such a big part of my life, I will definitely incorporate it here because this blog is all of me, not just bits and pieces.

OH and I’m still with The Drummer. Yup! Our one year is next month. CRAAAAZY. I’ll get to that later.

So, whelp. I’m back. In the flesh, or…the virtual flesh…whatever. I’m here. And I’ve missed you all! I hope to see some fresh faces and as always, some of my old wordpress crew. In the coming weeks, I’ll try to pick up on where I left off as well as incorporate some new shaat to this lovely blog of mine. Let the rebirth of my blog begin!

Hearts, Stars, and Horseshoes

BOOM. HEY. YO. What in the world is up?!

It’s been well over a month since I’ve popped into my corner of the internet. Christ, I can’t believe I still have followers. Writing material just seems so difficult for me to pick from space when my insides aren’t jumbled up into one hot mess of a person. But here I am, for your eyes or not.

I’ve been well. Stagnant, but well. Summer is here in New England, and let me tell you: You have to soak it up all you can because 9 months out of the year it’s cold. As SHIT. Today is actually the first scorch-ah (I had to, sorry) and it’s not even as hot as it’ll get. Thank God for my closet full of dresses. No pants all summer.

I haven’t been up to much since my last post. My birthday passed by without a hitch. Without TEARS. It was amazing. Though I hate being a year older, it definitely has put my future into perspective for me.

First off, I need a new job. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current job. I love what I do. I love the people. I wish there was more for me to do work-wise, but hey, we do have our busy seasons. It’s honestly about the money and growth right now. I can’t grow much here – financially or on the totem pole. And as a 26 year old woman with one degree and another on the way, I deserve much more than I get. I gotta pay Sally Mae back before I kick the can, you know? Being financially stable and racking in more dough to my savings account will set me up for the future – and emergencies.

Secondly, I gotta finish school. I can’t wait! Three more classes. Three more classes and three thousand more dollars and that will be one less bill I have to pay for. And that piece of paper I receive at the end of it all will benefit me far more than my psych degree is right now.

Third – the Drummer brought up an interesting proposition to me last week regarding location. He’s looking at PhD programs both in this state and a few others and the thought of him leaving made me sort of sad. We’ve had the most fun these past 7 months (can you BELIEVE it’s been 7 months?) and I’d just hate to separate after such a good time. And then he proposed that I think about coming with him if it were out of state. I mean, it wouldn’t be for another 14 months, but it’s still a lot to think about. Honestly, I’m young, intelligent, and spunky. I could get a job practically anywhere. And if we weren’t sick of each other after two years of dating, then why the hell not? My home is my sanctuary. I love my family. And the most wonderful thing about them is if things didn’t work out elsewhere, I could always come home. If I have the opportunity to leave, I WILL take it if it feels right because I’ve wanted to leave this state for so long and the time to do it is while I’m still young and resilient.

The only thing holding me back from 100% excitement is my parents. I’ve always worried what they would do when they grew old. Who would care for them? I spoke to my mother the other day and she assured me that if I ever left for good, her and my father would retire to Abu Dhabi (where my brother and his wife live) and be happy. That sort of distance just doesn’t sit right with me. My parents are my world and since I was young and I first learned they weren’t in fact immortal, it has bothered me to no end. Since then, I’ve had an abnormal fear of my parents’ death – Because they are my world, and if my world dies, that leaves me with another hole in my brittle heart. Ugh. Enough, Lara. Seriously.

All of these futuristic thoughts are connected – Finish school –> Better job —> More $$$ —> More savings for a possible out-of-state adventure. And now I have little goals I have set for myself to achieve all of it. Life isn’t to shabby right meow.

So, see? Stagnant. F*cking stagnant. Boring. YAAWWWWN. Are you guys still awake? I’m way boring being in a relationship. Plus, I’ve cut down on the drinking since I’ve become such a health nut these days. Which leads me to my next and final subject….

A New Blog

This blog has been and has done so much for me and I appreciate it and all of you more than you know. However, I find that I have no ammo anymore. I think I’ve exhausted writing about the ex – and that’s what blogging was about for me. Therapy. Healing. I will forever be healing but I’m not sure if it’s as much as I needed previously. I’m on a new adventure in my life and it’s a happier, more positive one. I worked really hard to get here and I will continue to write about what I’m passionate about.

My friend and I are in the works on creating a new blog. One that’s got a mind and body theme – specifically health and wellness. We’re only talking about it right now and haven’t started it up, but for anyone who is interested, I will keep you posted. I know many of you come here for dirty stories and laughs, so I’m on the fence about whether or not I’ll keep this one open for the public, but it’s all just thoughts at the moment. And I know not everyone is into the whole “health” thing, so if there’s any other way that you guys want to connect, drop me your e-mails and we can stay in touch through that portal – or Instagram – I’ve got one of those now HA! Sorry, no Facebook still.

Anywho, I had to write something on here. My blog looked so lonely and isolated. And I wanted to tell you all that intothebeauty might be no longer in the coming months. I don’t know though. Ugh. Eh. Even saying it makes me second guess it. We’ll see.

I love you all. Every single one of you. Until next time.

Because It Feels Right

May is my absolute favorite month. And not because it contains the anniversary of my birth. In fact, I sort of dislike my birthday. But anyways, May. Spring. Sunshine (sort of). Even the rain is tolerable. By February/March I am more done with the winter than Kim and Chris Humphries were done upon engagement. I wasn’t meant for cold and dark – I was meant for sunshine. And today is no exception to that.

I sat outside my car on my lunch break and let the sun beat down on my face. I was crying this time last year. I was hopeful, but lost. Happy, yet sad. Yearning but had given up. I was everything that I’m not today, but somewhat exactly the same.

Because I’m unsure about the future. Where will I be in 5 years?

OLD. (No offense. Let me vent).

Hopefully not alone. Though with the amazing people I have in my life, I know that will never be the case.

Stronger? I’ve been lifting. Shoot, it’s amazing what eating healthy and working out can do to your body. In 5 years from now, I better be a freaking rock.

But regardless of all my whereabouts in 5 years, I have other things on my mind. Things that actually matter.

Like how wonderful it is to see trees budding and blooming.

How Orion is hiding itself from the night sky until next winter.

And how at least once a weekend, I get to see a lovely man.

The Drummer.

Woof.

He’s one sweet thing.

Every now and then I catch my mind wandering to where this is going. If he’ll leave me like the ex. If his infatuation will just [poof] disappear. Or rather, if mine will ever as well. I don’t stay too long in that section of my brain because doubt and anxiety do nothing for my esteem and will do certain damage to my current relationship.

We are never meant to know what tomorrow will bring. And that’s what keeps me smiling. Tomorrow could be a disaster. Or it could be the best day of my life. If in this moment I feel happy, then I will soak this feeling up because being present is better than longing for yesterday or praying for tomorrow.

My birthday is on Sunday, but technically it’s on Friday and Saturday too. Friday I’m spending with The Drummer because during college move outs he can’t leave campus, which means my birthday celebrations will have to be without him. But we’re going to have a little celebration just us two, which I’m so excited about. Saturday will be spent with the friends. We’re going to Howl at the Moon, a dueling piano bar in Boston (and other major cities) and wreaking havoc somehow, someway. I always plan some sort of over drinking event for my birthday because I try to forget that I’m a year older. That’s why I HATE May 18th. Because it makes me a year older. And life feels like it passes by so quickly that I don’t have enough time with it. With my twenties. With freedom. I know I’ll get over this ” I don’t want to get old” phase eventually, but dammit I don’t want to.

On Sunday, my actual birthday, I’m planning on spending it like any other Sunday. I’ll work out for a few hours. I’ll prepare all of my lunches and snacks for the following week. And probably cry, because it’s birthday tradition. But the tears will fall a bit lighter this year. Last year the last thing I remembered the night before my birthday was seeing my ex walk away. Ugh, what a memory. This year, I plan on my last memory to be with some pretty amazing people.

And next week, Pennsylvania bound again! That’s for certain. And another certain I am so passionate about – warm weather is coming.