Transformation Tuesday

Hey Ya’ll! I know it has been a while since my last post, but life has been a little hectic lately and I’ve been busy living it. What have I been up to? Well, geeze thanks for asking, you’re so sweet (LOL)! I’ve been working, making new friends, reconnecting with lifelong friends, traveling, and working out. Don’t fall out of your chair, yes, I said working out! At the beginning of the year I wrote a post and shared with everyone what my goals were for 2017, and so far, I have stayed true to myself and these goals. It hasn’t been easy, but I have been making the best effort to get my body into a better place than it was a few months ago.

So, before you roll your eyes and say oh great another fitness junky… STOP! I am FAR from being a fitness junky, in fact, I still roll my eyes at eating healthy and spending time in the gym, but I put one foot in front of the other and try my best. At the beginning of March, I got on the scale at the office where I work and saw a number that almost made me pass out! I am not exaggerating when I say I gained close to 20lbs after I moved to Kentucky. I know that I am not a big person, so yes, I realize that I’m not “fat”, but I didn’t feel good in my own skin and that’s a problem. I decided it was time to make a change and I got on track with a healthy sustainable diet and I got back in the gym.

After a couple of months of meal prepping my lunches for work and working out at the gym I decided to try something that was a little extreme for me. I am going to Vegas at the end of this week with some of my close girlfriends and I wanted to slim down a little more to feel confident walking around in my bikini at pool parties. So, at the beginning of May what did I do, I took the plunge and completed the Whole30 diet! What is the Whole30 diet you ask? Well its easier for me to tell you what I couldn’t eat or include in my diet than it is for me to tell you what I did eat. The Whole30 diet excludes grains, sugar, legumes, dairy, alcohol, and any processed foods from your diet for 30 days. How did I survive, and not kill anyone? Let’s just say it’s a miracle, but I felt great at the end of the month!

I am not a certified nutritionist, or personal trainer. I am just an average, sarcastic, 28-year-old female who cracks herself up while trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I still indulge in cheeseburgers, pizza, and plenty of booze… so by all means I am NOT perfect. I am proud of myself though, I accomplished a short-term goal while setting the foundation for a long-term lifestyle change. I am down 10lbs and fit in clothes better now than I did when I bought them a couple of years ago. If any of my girlfriends are reading this, thank you for all your support and encouragement along the way, I couldn’t have done it with-out each of your texts, positive words, and threats holding me accountable (LOL)!

Xoxo,
Nicole

P.S- if you are looking to try the Whole30 diet the website I used for all my meal planning and recipes is paleoglutenfree.com

P.S.S- I didn’t take any before pictures because I wasn’t happy with where my body was, but here are some pictures of my journey/progress.

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Oh Chicago

I am not typically a city girl, but it is safe to say I fell in LOVE with Chicago. I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Chicago Collective event the last couple of days with Cuff To Collar. What is the Chicago Collective you ask? Well, it is a men’s apparel and accessory trade show where tons of vendors come to show their summer/fall product lines in hopes that buyers come ready to shop their product. For those of you who know me, you know how perfect this event was for me and for those of you who don’t, well I have a passion for merchandising (especially men’s apparel). Not only did I get to experience a new side of fashion merchandising/buying, but I also got to see some amazing product and meet some great people along the way.

So what made me fall in love with Chicago? Well, I’m not sure about you but I wouldn’t mind my typical Monday night to consist of eating deep dish pizza with my friends at Lou Malnati’s, then heading to Three Dots and A Dash for an under ground tiki bar experience, and finally heading up stairs to close the bar at Bub City which is a local country bar with a live cover band (they also make a really delicious drink call back porch tea). Usually crowded over populated areas stress me out and aren’t fun to me, but Chicago felt so much more spread out compared to San Francisco. I know these two cities are totally different, but San Francisco is my reference point giving where I grew up. So obviously I got to experience good food and fun nightlife, but I was also lucky enough to get to explore Chicago and do a little site seeing before I spent my day meeting vendors. Chicago is a beautiful city considering most cities can look dirty and crowded; it was very spacious and clean. I was able to walk from Navy Pier to Millennium Park and see The Bean and everything in between. I was happy to be such the little tourist.

I know Chicago has so much more to see than what I was able to jam into two and a half days, so I can’t wait to plan another trip to visit. If you haven’t considered Chicago for a vacation, I honestly recommend you visit at least once. I’ll go ahead and wrap this post up with some pictures of my trip. As always thank you for following along, and I hope you enjoy!

Xoxo

Nicole

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Hello 2017

There is only one rule for 2017 and that’s we do NOT look back at 2016. Ok, ok… maybe I’m being a little dramatic. WHO AM I KIDDING?! 2016 was a big year for me, and although I learned a lot about myself I don’t wish to look back at the year. Struggling with your happiness is not easy because you feel like you are never at peace, but the first step was realizing how unhappy I was and putting one foot in front of the other in a direction that would make me happy. No one wants to look back at a time in their life when they were unhappy, right? So goodbye 2016 and HELLO 2017!

So here I am, one week into the New Year and I am asking myself what all do I want to accomplish in 2017? Well, for starters, I am not going for the cliché caption many people are guilty of using “A new year, a new me”. I’m choosing to look at the new year with a different perspective because I have come to really love who I am so I don’t want to be a new version of myself, just a better version of myself. I know it might all sound the same, but to me it means something different and that’s all that matters.

So what are my goals? Well I have a few, nothing crazy or too specific. I want to leave them a little vague so that I can decide if I feel accomplished at the end of the year. Here we go:

 

Health & Body

For starters I want to feel comfortable in my own body. This doesn’t mean I want to hit a special number or even that I want to get into a specific work out routine to gain a noticeable amount of muscle. I just want to feel healthy, and comfortable in the clothes I wear while making a conscious effort to exercise and eat right.

Friends & Family

In the upcoming year I want to continue to strengthen my relationship with my family. I want to visit my sister and nieces and spend quality time with them. I want to continue to sustain my strong friendships with my life long friends, but I also want to branch out and continue to make new friends. I want to constantly support and love the people who matter most to me.

Travel

I want to take advantage of where I live and take the time to explore areas around me that I haven’t seen before. I want to get outdoors more and spend time in nature. It might not be California, but Kentucky is beautiful in its own way and there is plenty to see in the states around me. Lastly I want to travel to a destination I’ve always wanted to travel to but didn’t have the time or the money.

Mind & Spirit

I have become a much more open-minded person than I have ever been in the past, and I want to continue to have an open mind and try to understand other points of view. I want to continue to embrace change because I still struggle with this, believe it or not. Most importantly I want to relax a little and not be so damn hard on myself. I am not perfect, and that is ok!

I am sure that there is so many other blogs posted about new years resolutions, so thank you for reading mine and I hope you continue to follow along in 2017!

Xoxo,

Nicole

 

 

 

The Confessions of A Single Woman

After a few glasses of wine and a much needed FaceTime date with one of my best friends, I was inspired to share my thoughts as a single woman in todays society. Single women in society after a certain age aren’t looked at through the same filter that they are looked at in their early twenties when they had more single friends than they have now. So here is a little insight, since everyone LOVES to give their opinion on what the single women in their lives should do. Before I get started, I do want to say that I appreciate all of my friends love and support, so please don’t take offense to this. I also want to put out a disclaimer that this isn’t necessarily how I feel currently but thoughts I have felt at some point in my time being single. Oh and also remember that I am super sarcastic and it’s not to be confused with bitterness.

  1. Just because I choose to forgo the bullshit of getting ready and choose to enjoy a quiet night snuggled up with my dog and a glass of wine in my favorite PJ’s, doesn’t mean that I’m going to end up alone and become the crazy dog lady. Let’s face it I’m already a crazy dog mom with or with out my relationship status.
  2. I can also offer insight into the opposite of the previous scenario. If I choose to go out and have a good time and drink a little too much, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to settle down or be serious. I am single with nothing tying me down, so if I choose to go out and have a good time it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with me.
  3. Yes, I am an independent woman who has lived on her own and made her own house a home with out a significant other. That doesn’t mean that I have three heads or deserve a special award. Newsflash, living independently and being able to provide for yourself is completely and absolutely NORMAL. I am flattered that you want to pump me up and make me feel good about myself, but sometimes it can feel a little condescending.
  4. If I don’t ask to be set up with anyone DON’T assume I would appreciate you trying to set me up with someone. If I want to date, I will date. Thank you.
  5. I know that I am single; I don’t need to be reminded of it. I am a confident person and don’t have to have a date to feel comfortable hanging out with my friends who are in a relationship or married. I appreciate you caring about my feelings, but I am totally fine attending an event solo.
  6. I know my worth. I have heard the line “You are a great girl and deserve the world, but…” enough times to know that if a guy really wanted to be with me he would do whatever it takes. I don’t need your opinion or life advice to realize this. I know you are just trying to help, but I saw the warning signs before I even decided to tell you.
  7. I can’t magically make a relationship happen. I don’t know when or how I am going to meet the guy I end up with, so please respect that I can’t just pull my dream guy out of a hat and be just like you, happy and in love.

Ill wrap this post up with some advice for people in relationships and happily married couples. Dating these days can be a complete nightmare. There are too many dating apps and ways to put yourself out there that it can make your head spin. So please remember that you haven’t been single in a while and you might not remember what it is like, so before you go offering your opinion, STOP and put yourself back in the single lady shoes you grew out of.

Xoxo,

Your Single Friend

 

Kentucky Livin… California Dreamin

Every time I have had someone ask where I am from in the last 4 months I have answered honestly with California, and it is instantly followed with confused looks and an over exaggerated “HOW DID YOU END UP IN KENTUCKY?!” response. I never really understood why people made such a big deal of it until the last week and a half. I AM COMPLETELY FROZEN! I am not exaggerating either. The coldest it has been back home is what low 50’s? Yeah well as I am writing this it is currently 15 degrees. This morning I showed an act of true love for Cody (my dog for those who don’t know) when I had to run outside in 13 degree weather barefoot, in sweatpants with only a t-shirt on to open our back door that connects the screened in porch and backyard to let him out to pee because the door that is usually open was closed. To give you some perspective incase you are curious what 15 degree weather is like, I wore wool socks with my UGGS today, and I was still chilled. I now understand why people take tropical vacations in the middle of winter. Incase you can’t tell already, I absolutely 100 percent miss California winters.

I promise I really enjoy Kentucky, but people in Kentucky drive COMPLETELY different than people in California. An upside to driving in Kentucky is that the speed limits are higher here than back in the bay area. The interstate speed limit is 70, and most in town driving is 45-55. HOWEVER, with this people either drive 10 above the speed limit and make you feel like you are driving like a slow poke on the interstate, or they drive 10 below and make you crazy driving in town. Another thing people are notorious for here in Kentucky is running red lights. Not only does one car run a red light, but that car plus the two other cars behind it run the red light. NEVER proceed through an intersection with a green light with out counting to 5.

HAHA.. I was going to start writing about the stuff I enjoy about Kentucky, but I still miss a few things. I miss my favorite food places. In-n- Out, there are literally ZERO words that can tell you how much I miss it. Dutch Bros Coffee, yeah I’d probably kill someone for a mocha freeze or an iced white mocha. I am NOT kidding. I miss good Mexican food, street tacos, and even Murillos (only people back home will understand why). I REALLY miss going directly to the source for my favorite champagne and all of the views, and enjoying a bottle of champagne with best friends. Aside from all of that, I miss all of my friends. This is the time of year I am missing all of the holidays, birthdays, and family functions. I am incredibly lucky to have the support system I have though, I love all of you guys so much!

Now onto the bright side of Kentucky! I have met some great people so far. I have made friends with some down to earth people who have not only introduced me to a local pizza place (I have a serious weakness for good pizza), good beer, ALE- 8 (one of the best sodas ever) and bourbon, but they have accepted me with open arms and haven’t judged me for who I am and which is one out of place Californian. 2016 has been filled with so much change and so many challenges, and I can’t wait to put it behind me, but 2017 is filled with so many opportunities. I have so many great places to visit all with in driving distance. I have the next 8 months to actually LIVE my life and enjoy all that I can before I start another new chapter (I will share more later). One of my best friends, Michelle, is coming to visit at the beginning of the New Year and I can’t wait! SO EXCITED! Another one of my best friends is moving only 4.5 hours away from me and it will be so great to be close to someone from back home. Every day Kentucky starts to feel more and more like home. I know all of that sounds cheesy, cliché, or overly optimistic, but all of that beats anxiety and negativity every time. I hope you enjoyed this one, and I didn’t offend any Kentucky natives in the process.

Xoxo,

Nicole

Life Update

Hey Ya’ll! I know it has been a while since my last blog post, and I am so sorry if you have missed me. Who am I kidding? I am not that popular, lmao! As you can see, my sarcasm hasn’t disappeared. I have been a little busy living my life, but I also haven’t posted anything new because I had a little writer’s block. Then tonight it hit me! I started this blog to put myself out there and share my thoughts. So far I have shared a lot about myself, my past, and where I am in life, but I haven’t talked much about my daily life and what I am up to right now in the present. I haven’t shared much about my daily life because up until a month or two ago there wasn’t much to share, but I have made some progress in my life here in Kentucky and I’m here to share it with you.

So what’s new in life? Well for starters I have adventured out and visited new places. In the last few months I have traveled around parts of the country I hadn’t been to before, with my favorite place so far being Charleston SC. It is a gorgeous city to visit with beautiful architecture, a ton of history, and of course great food. I visited new parts of North Carolina that I hadn’t been to before, and saw first hand the impact of a natural disaster post Hurricane Matthew. I got to venture out locally and find local places to go to for good shopping, food and drinks. I have been able to see the seasons change, and seeing the change from summer to fall was gorgeous in this part of the country and much more dramatic than what I am use to back in California. However I am not looking forward to winter. I keep hearing that the worst is yet to come, but I am excited to see the first snowfall.

Aside from a little traveling and visiting new places, I have finally found not just one job but two jobs! After hundreds of applications and a couple of interviews, I finally found two opportunities. What are these opportunities you wonder? Well, I didn’t completely get out of retail, but I found a great LOCAL small business that specializes in fine men’s apparel. Cuff to Collar has been so much fun, not just because I get to stay close to my retail roots, but because I get to see how a small business operates. I work with some amazing people, and I am so grateful. While Cuff to Collar is a fun part- time job I also have a full time job working as an office assistant for Bluegrass.org. Bluegrass is mental health and substance abuse clinic and the organization provides services in 17 different counties through out Kentucky. Bluegrass has been a completely new experience for me, and so far it has been great to meet a wonderful team of people who have been so welcoming.

So not only have I traveled a little, finally found a job or two, but most exciting of all, I have met new people and made new friends. It has been great to feel like I have made some connections that allow Kentucky to feel more like home than it did when I first got here. Everyone I have become friends with has been so welcoming and truly so much fun to get to know. If any of you are reading this, thank you for being so accepting and supportive!

I know this post has been long so ill wrap it up with some pictures that show my journey from the moment I made my decision to move across the country up until this last weekend. Don’t you worry though, there is plenty left to share about life in Kentucky, the best is yet to come.

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Xoxo,

Nicole

 

You Never Know

I am sure that most of you reading this have in one way or another heard the phrase “don’t assume anything because assuming makes an ass out of you and me”. However, if you stop what you are doing and look back at things you have said and done, how many times have you passed judgment on someone else with out knowing their story? I hate to admit it, but if I’m being honest I have found myself passing judgment in the past. In fact it took me recently starting over and coming to terms with my past to understand that you NEVER really know everything about a person. I am sure there are plenty of people who read my last post and had NO idea I struggled with a past of abuse. Just like you think you may know someone so well, but maybe you don’t.

Ok, so why am I writing this post? I have recently found myself feeling judged by others close to me, and have struggled with how to move on. At the end of the day I am who I am, and if the people around me can’t accept that… It’s a shame. I am also writing this post in hopes that the next time you go to pass judgment on someone you stop, and remember you NEVER know. This applies to strangers, but it also applies to people you have known your whole life, best friends, parents, brothers/sisters, etc. Just because someone chooses to live their life differently from yours doesn’t mean their way is any less valuable. Just because you don’t understand someone’s point of view doesn’t make it invalid. In fact if we stopped and listened to others, we could gain more perspective than we had before. I am sorry, but no one is perfect, not even you.

If there is anything to take away from this post, please just remember you NEVER know. Your best friend could be struggling with their past and things you don’t know about them. Your sibling could be struggling with not being able to find a job. Your parents could be struggling financially and don’t want their children to know. The person making your coffee today could have recently lost a loved one. You just NEVER know. If you are reading this and find yourself motivated to pay it forward, thank your barista, leave a larger tip than usual, send that encouraging text, or simply smile. Don’t forget that something simple could turn someone’s day around.

-Nicole

Take A Stand

Warning: This post is not for the light hearted, and is the deepest post I have written to date. If you are looking for a funny and sarcastic post this is not it, but there is a great message to be shared.


I have a story to tell that has not been told to many people, and I feel like it is important to share my story in hopes that it can help someone who has been through or may currently be in a similar situation. I do not seek sympathy, nor do I want to victimize myself. These events have taken place in my past and I have successfully moved on in life. While my past has impacted certain relationships in my life, it has also molded me into the strong woman that I am proud to be today. If you are reading this post and in any way feel like you can relate or have a similar story to tell, I encourage you to seek help if you haven’t before and talk to someone about your situation.

I am a product of abuse. My parents divorced when I was three, and my mother was granted primary custody and moved across the country from my dad and his family (our support system). I was very fortunate to have an older sister to look after me and help while my mom worked to support us. Growing up my mother had a short temper and quite the drinking habit. She would be quick to respond with a spanking, which would later escalate to “the belt”, then yelling and screaming in my face, and before you knew it I was 13 getting slapped across the face. After years of physically proving she was the parent and I was the child my mother started playing a mental game. All of my teenage years when my self image was in constant question all I heard was how I wasn’t pretty enough, skinny enough, smart enough, and flat out not good enough to accomplish my goals in life. It wasn’t until I started to experience success in early adulthood that I realized everything my mother had said about me wasn’t true. I know that it may sound far-fetched, but when you have a parent who you are supposed to count on and trust belittling you and tearing you apart it is hard to believe in yourself. It wasn’t until my early 20’s that I took a stand and said enough was enough and confronted my mother. This led to the decision for me to separate myself from the relationship I had with my mother and end all communication. I realized a few years later that holding a grudge wasn’t the best way to live the rest of my life and I have recently spoken with my mother and forgiven my past and how I was raised. This in no way means that I want or will have a relationship with my mother, but it does mean that I can let go of years of pain and doubt and live a healthy life full of love and positivity.

So you would think living a childhood/young adulthood filled with mental and emotional abuse I wouldn’t entertain a relationship with a man that possessed the same capabilities, right? Well, I wish I were strong enough back when I met him to look passed his great looks, amazing body, charming personality, and deep southern accent and say NO and move on. This is not easy for me to share, because unlike parental abuse, I made a choice to keep going back. The extent of our actual committed relationship was short lived, but we have maintained a toxic friendship for nearly 6 years. My ex never physically abused me, but up until recently I was emotionally and mentally abused by him. Close friends and family are well informed of the toxic relationship and have always encouraged me to stay away. I have blocked him from contacting me multiple times through my cell phone provider, and have had him blocked on social media as well. There was a time I had been transferred with my job, blocked his number, and he called me at work to find a way to communicate with me. I have been called every negative word you could use to describe a woman, and although I am not proud to admit it there have been times that I have been pushed to say awful things in return. My ex was a heavy drinker and depending on how much he drank he either loved me, or thought I was a stupid bitch. For years I heard about how unsuccessful I would be and that I would never amount to anything if I cut him out of my life. He has openly admitted many times that he is aware of his ability to manipulate people to get what he wants. I always tried to find the good in him and remember the guy I fell in the love with when we were younger, but a person can only take so much abuse before they are exhausted and have no energy left to give. I will always wish him the best, and hope that he finds happiness even if some would say he doesn’t deserve it.

I know that this post is heavy, and for some it may even catch you by surprise. I hope that by sharing my past you see my strength and not “baggage”. For those reading this post who can relate or have experienced any abuse, please remember that you are so much stronger than you think and you deserve all the happiness life has to offer.

-Nicole

 

All The Single Ladies

Have you ever asked yourself “where have all the good men gone” or “does the perfect guy for me even exist”? It’s okay, be honest, because I am pretty sure every single woman has asked herself this question. I know I have asked myself both of those questions. In a world where technology and social media rule people’s lives, it seems nearly impossible to find someone who you can trust and build a long lasting relationship with. Right? Well, I’m not so sure about that. I think there are a few things that contribute to a single lady missing out on a great opportunity with her perfect match.

First, the media has created an image of the “perfect” relationship that is far from reality. Trashy television shows like the Bachelor and Bachelorette on ABC are a perfect example of expectation versus reality. I am ABSOLUTELY guilty of loving both of these TV shows, but you can’t lose sight of reality while enjoying the drama and entertainment. Not everyone can fall in love in 8 weeks while traveling and jet setting across the world, love takes time and any perfect companion should hopefully have responsibilities that keep them grounded. Any relationship that is going to be long lasting requires a strong foundation, and you can’t rush that process. A real relationship consists of compromise, honesty, compassion, support, selflessness, trust, and hard work.

So now that you have a more realistic expectation of a relationship, it is important to remember to be self-aware. I have often observed women wanting to find the “perfect” man when they are far from perfect themselves (I myself have been found guilty of this). Ladies, you can’t expect a man with a great career, perfect smile, and smoking body when you don’t have any of the same qualities. Further more, aside from the superficial demands you can’t expect to marry a man with all of the perfect personality traits when you are lacking in the personality department as well. Relationships are give and take. You can’t just expect a man to meet all of your expectations on that handy checklist I know you have, and you don’t meet the same expectations. Also, take a step back from superficial dating apps like Tinder because if you think you will find love swiping right or left, you will be disappointed.

If you are looking for love, stop. It will find you when the time is right. I know this is cliché and trust me, I have heard it myself and rolled my eyes and said yeah fucking right! However, when the time is right and you are ready and willing, the right man will cross your path. In the mean time, work on yourself and love who you are!

-Nicole

Overqualified and Jobless

I have always been proud of my career and all that I accomplished with the company I previously worked for, but starting over has been the true definition of a struggle. It all starts with your resume and cover lever and when you finally complete them then there is the whole application process. I have probably sent out hundreds of applications in the last 60 days, and from those hundreds of applications I have only landed three interviews. The last external job interview I had was over 8 years ago, and since then it has been internal interviews for promotions, so lets just say my interview skills are a little rusty. Set aside the rusty interview skills and then there is a whole new obstacle of what do I wear? For those who know me, they know my outfit means everything. So I’ve done all of this work just to get an interview and I have stressed over the perfect interview outfit so what’s next, the actual interview!

One common thing I heard through out every interview is that I am over qualified based on my experience. Yes, I know this; I changed my entire life for a change of pace. My application for the job was intentional. I am flattered to hear that I am over qualified, but I don’t need to be reminded of it through out the interview. You would think a company would be happy that someone who is over qualified is willing to come aboard. So once I get through the over qualified portion of the interview, next comes the obstacle of wanting to keep me in the box of my experience. I didn’t apply for a job that is the same as my previous job, so please see my skill set and apply it to your field of work. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to show someone how you are qualified for the job based on your experience when all they see is what you come from. So, you make it through the interview and then what comes next? The waiting game!

Waiting to hear back about a potential opportunity makes days seem like weeks and a week seem like a month. Luckily I have a job opportunity that I am excited about, so the wait isn’t as bad. Let’s face it though I wish I could make a living off my love for puppies, champagne, and fashion. That would be a real dream come true.

-Nicole