Monday, April 4, 2016

Gym Diary

Today, I made my way back to the gym. Let me tell you how that sh*t went. 
  • Walk in the gym. Greet my homegirl who works there. Yup, that's right, I know people. I be in here and stuff. Wig still on so I'm feeling light weight sexy... For about 7 seconds. I talk it up with my girl and walk back to the locker room
  • Cue a number of pics to demonstrate how much I've let myself go. I haven't just let myself go, I released me like Rose did Jack in Titanic. *Chucks Deuces*
  • That's right. Madame gross guts in the house. I immediately regret taking these pics. But I realized that I have to have evidence once I start stunting on these fools. 
  • Ok, now that the evidence is posted. It was time to get on with the damn things
  • Exit Locker room, make a B-line for the the stair step. Think to self "I'm about to dominate this stair stepper".
  • Get's on stair stepper. 1 minute in- I hate life. I am dying. I am Shaina's burning lungs. 
  • 3 minutes in- Counting down the seconds until my death. Wondering if the music I hear comes from my headphones or the Angels coming to take me away... And I'm ready to go.
  • Cue my self consciousness making me wonder if everyone notices how absolutely wide my ass has gotten. I see my old trainer and he reminds me that we have 6 sessions left. I am bipolar as hell about this new information. He tells me to get my life together. 
  • I start speaking positivity into my life and concentrating on my high vibrations. I did a pretty decent arm workout 
  • Then I talked myself into getting on the treadmill. Keeping the incline at 15 and going between 2-2.5 and trying not to die. But I failed. I was watching "Supernatural" on my phone to keep me distracted. I just kept thinking about getting back to that body.  You know the one. 
  • Yes, I kept thinking skinny thoughts and willing myself to make it through. And you know what, 
I burned 1000 calories today. I was really proud of myself because I wanted to quit so many times. I kept thinking "Baby Jesus, please save me from this machine", but I felt good, and I was happy to be back at it. 
Not a bad look for today. Let's hope tomorrow goes it did today.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

We bought a house!! (Picture Heavy)

I can honestly say it's been a rough couple of months. The end of December until the end of January proved to be trying on so many levels, but out of line that struggle, came our new house.           
We decided it was time to plant some roots. Those are words I never thought could come out of my mouth. Plant + Roots has been the biggest fear for the Neals. We are free spirits - Hippies if you will- and the idea of staying in one place didn't sit well with us. My husband and I have been together for 9 years and we are so lucky to be growing and coming to realizations at the same time. We both decided that with a little more planning and saving, we could have the luxury of having both lives; the travelers and the homeowners!!!
My work family helped us figure out all the details and paperwork for buying a house, and we had an amazing realtor that helped us through the process, and we also realized that together, he and I could deal with anything. 
We are competed in love with our home. It's a 5 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom house on .5 acres of land. There's a screened in patio and beautiful front porch. The house is surrounded by trees and we're at the end of a cul de sac. There's also an extra room that I'm going to turn into a mud room- right now, it's a dog room because there's a doggy door! Can you believe it, a doggy door!?
The master bedroom is huge! And my absolute favorite part of the house is the spiral staircase in the bedroom that leads to the loft. Aka my book nook.
This is what the nook looked like before we bought it.
  The living room is huge and there is a gorgeous reading window that looks out onto the porch. The fireplace is surrounded by stone and we've mounted the tv there. And the carpet it AHmazing. And the doorbell has the most adorable song!
And without further chit chat...
Front porch!
Inside workroom
Fire pit
Kitchen has been painted!
Laundry room
Bedroom 2
Bedroom 3
Bedroom 4
Bedroom 5 man cave
Dining room
  Needless to say, we are in love. I can't wait to post up to date pics of all my little DIY projects. I've already put a lot of little things together for my humble abode, but I have plenty more ideas. Pinterest and the app Houzz have been my bread and butter for decorating tips. I'm just so glad we are blessed enough to call this beautiful house our home!!     Are you a homeowner? What's your favorite space in your home?

Thursday, March 24, 2016

This is my 100th blog. I think its fitting that I make my come back with this post. 
I'm sitting at work drinking a glorious green smoothie and watching my kids gruel over their unit 7 tests. This, and when the get their scores back, are the only times they actually think about studying. Any other time, it's just some magical word the teacher uses that has no meaning. Sigh. The life of a teacher. Anyway, life is good right now. We bought a house. (You can expect that post very soon. I'm just trying to get all the pictures together). I plan on doing a series about my decorating- attempts at decorating. But I wanted to check in.
I've been missing my blog. I always think of things I'd like to write about and then I don't. Simple as that. I've been out of commission for about 4 months. I know. Once upon a time, I had something to post every week. But life has been so hectic that all I want to do it go home and sleep. I even went to counseling about it. It's helping. But spending time with myself; taking time to just do what I want to do, that's what has helped the most. 
So now I'm good. I've had friends come in from out of town, parties, hangovers, and laughed until I cried (and cried until I laughed). I finally feel like I'm in a place where I can get the blog up and running again. And surpriseeeeeeee. 
We got a new doggy!! Her name is Gina and she fits right in with the family!!
My next post will be all about my new house. I am in love guys, really. It still doesn't feel like it's mine. I need a whole spring break and a summer to get the feel for it. Until then, I'll keep drinking my green smoothies and writing in my dori! See you guys in a few days! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Prose and shit

Have you ever felt extraordinarily ordinary? Like “If there was a world wide competition for the art of being ordinary, I'd come in first place”. I don't mean because you fell from grace after high school. All of you jocks and popular tramps do. I'm talking about people who were actually going places. Once upon a time, You were a jet setter, top of the class, the most promising blah blah blah. Now you are just another cog in the shit covered wheel of life. You're job, while it might be important, probably isn't what you dreamed about doing when you were a kids. I promise I didn't aspire to be a rodeo clown for bad ass kids. I thought I was going to be pulling babies out of vaginas, and after I de-babied that vag, I was going to get my swerve on- I was dreaming about being a character in Grey's Anatomy before Grey's Anatomy. (Thanks for jocking my dreams Shonda!) Then I thought, “Oh yea, I like to argue, I should be a lawyer. Why not a Judge? Holy shit I'm going to be a Supreme Court Justice! I'm a bad ass!” I don't like to argue - I just don't like being wrong. But now, like everyone else, I'm just trying to keep my head above water.

As young, black, first generation college kids, we are led to believe that if we just get this degree, that's all we need. That piece of paper is a one way ticket to success. You're in a bubble with other like minded individuals who are all starry eyed and ready to take on the world. Only to eventually realize that the world sucks! I've been helping my brother with his college applications and I wish on everything that I could go back to that time in my life. When everything was new and the world was my Bword. I mean, I literally walked into the “major fair” at my college, and when they philosophy department head asked me what I was hoping to do with my life I literally responded “I want take over the world”!


Insert finger in mouth, gag, choke,

How idealistic of me! Not to mention, I didn't even answer the question. Someone should have forced me to ACTUALLY ANSWER that damn question. Us first gen college grads had no clue what we wanted to do, or what majoring in something actually meant. I thought I was going to be a philosopher before become a supreme court justice. Lofty ideals for a girl from the Bronx, but with no actual conception of what that meant.

Huge Sigh

Not that I'm not thankful. I am. I just expected…more. And I think the problem is I had more for a while. For the tiniest moment, I was living the life I thought I should. The life I'd worked for. And it was better than I could have imagined. I found myself wondering if that was it. Is it over? Has moving back to the states sucked the life right out of me? I mean, I have fallen into the exact cycle I was in before, and for what?

No, I don't think its over, but I definitely think it will be harder. There are real responsibilities on the line here. We got IRAs and 401ks and shit. Savings and life insurance. But if I learned anything from being overseas, its that American's make work the #1 priority. While it is important, sense of self is even more so. Guess who's gonna start bringing wine to work in a sippy cup! Everyone is more relaxed than us. Everyone is more focused on life than work. Even people that have nothing.

And my body is trying to tell me the same thing.

I shit you not, my body is falling apart. Why? Because I am not caring about the right things. I've not been writing enough, or going to yoga enough, or just finding things to do that make me happy. I simply go home and flop on the couch and turn on the idiot box. I made a vow to never be that person. My mom made an excellent point about how I focus on the “Now” way too much, and that I need to spend more time focusing on the bigger picture. I'm going to have to design the life that I want, within the life that I don't. Big picture! Yea, I might be sleepy today, but I will never be anything more than exceptionally ordinary if I don't get some damn hustle back about myself.

So I'm getting ready to hustle real hard, hustle, hustle, real hard.

Cue Rick Ross

Friday, October 23, 2015

Oktoberfest- Jacksonville 2015

Who loves beer!?! NOT ME!!! But it doesn't matter. I said "I'm going to Oktoberfest because I'm sure they are going to have plenty of other things to drink. Yea, I was wrong.

So I spent the first week of October trying to find something fun for us to do because Rob will be deploying soon. Although I really wanted to go to Oktoberfest in New Orleans, I found one closer in Jacksonville and the way they talked it up on the website, I thought it was going to be epic. A two hour drive to Jacksonville versus a 9 hour drive to New Orleans. Yea, easy choice. So I booked the tickets and I was super pumped about it. Then we dragged my son ( even though he's like 4 years younger than us, he's our son lol), AKA, my coworker, along for the ride with us. It was promising to be a great weekend.

So the day comes, we leave the babies with our neighbor, and headed to our beach vacation. We rented a house from AirBNB (read all about it here)  that blew our socks off. I mean, she was missing some basic shit key things, like napkins and bags in the bathroom trash can, but overall the house was gorgeous.

Friday night, we had dinner at a place called Jimmy's. The wings were awesome. Not really used to being the only flies in the milk, if you get my drift, but we sat outside away from all the bullshit country music. Blah. Saturday was the big day. Oktoberfest on deck. Awesomeness had next...

But no.

Jacksonville Oktoberfest was wack as shit left something to be desired. It was tiny. Did not cover much surface area at all. I thought it was going to be way bigger. I guess for me, since beer wasn't the reason I was going to BEER FEST (maybe I'm the asshole huh), I was hoping for everything else to be live. Even my funnel cake was shit. I mean, how do you mess up the funnel cake!?

The best part of the day was when we hung out on the beach like super stars. Wind in my curls, feeling like I was in a cover shoot for Essence magazine!

The most loved shoes in my house

So I guess we had a good time anyway. After the left down of the country music's main hit "let me see your coozie" I had to get out of there. We took a walk down the pier and drank at a few bars, met some cool people, and talked too much like we always do. The night ended with our son falling asleep on the couch and rob not falling to far behind him.

We headed out after a nice breakfast at some local beach diner on Saturday. It was ok. The best part was my Graham latte from starbucks. I didn't know. Damnit, I just didn't know it was so good!
That's right, I am princess Leia! 

Then we took an impromptu trip back to the mall where I proceeded to spend ungodly amounts of money in LUSH! My favorite place. I'd say the trip was a success, but next time, drive my ass to New Orleans!

Why You Should be Using Airbnb

Comin at you live this glorious Friday night.  You are now reading to the smooth words of the Midnight Shaytrain taking you all the way home.  The time now is 5pm on this crisp Georgia night and I'll be bringing you the latest news and the soft tunes to keep your night moving smooth.  Stay right here.

I guess I'm feeling some kind of way right now Ha!

Anyway, Rob and I are no stranger to interesting travel arrangements. From volunteer vacations, to hostels, to couch surfing, and we were a little more than amped to add airbNb to that list.

What is airbNb (from the website)-

A Community Built on Sharing
Airbnb began in 2008 when two designers who had space to share hosted three travelers looking for a place to stay. Now, millions of hosts and travelers choose to create a free Airbnb account so they can list their space and book unique accommodations anywhere in the world.

 Airbnb hosts share their spaces in 190 countries and more than 34,000 cities. All you have to do is enter your destination and travel dates into the search bar to discover distinctive places to stay, anywhere in the world.

We encourage you to share all kinds of spaces on Airbnb! Whether you’re offering a seaside villa or an air mattress in the corner of your living room, it’s free to list your space. When you’re ready to start welcoming guests, you can publish your listing for the world to see.

I found out about airbnb though an ad on facebook of all things. I usually click anything that has to do with travel because I have an obsession. People rent out their guest rooms or couches for a price that they deem acceptable. You can even find some pretty good deals to rent the whole home. Here are some pictures of the home we rented when we went to Jacksonville this past weekend (including the one above)
This fountain lit up beautifully at night

It looked much better before I slept in it!

We never met our host. She was out of town quite a bit and only stayed in the house a few nights per month. She left the key under the mat, and text me all the information I needed to the apple tv, the wifi, and pool, the fitness center and things in the general location. Way better information than what you'd receive from a hotel.

We have also stayed in the guest room of a really nice couple before. They got up and made us breakfast and it was super healthy. They brought in vegetables from their herb garden and shit (well guess who has an herb garden now bitches!!) That's another awesome part of this; all the ideas you get from other people you wouldn't meet otherwise.

Common Questions I Get:

What if they kill you?
What if they rape you?
"Uh uh not me, I couldn't do it"

And my response is- "You can get killed or raped walking home from work. Take a chance on the goodness of people, do your research. Or you can stay in that same small minded lane you've been in all your life..." Your choice.
We love meeting people. That's something we've had in common for a long time. It's nice to make new memories, and in life, we only tend to attract people like ourselves. Organizations like this make it easier to meet people who can bring something to the table that you haven't experienced before.

So give it a shot!

Have you tried it? Think you might?

Monday, October 12, 2015

Body Shots

I'm sitting here looking at the yellow stains on my sheets from the TigerBalm I've been rubbing on my ankle. Watching Star Trek. Being enamored by William Shatner. Made me think about how old he is now and how hot he was back then.

Man, twisting my ankle last week really put things in perspective.

It's like someone sent a letter to my body, informing it that I am now 30 and as such, it has to start giving me problems. Thank you very much, anonymous writer. It's cool though. I was finally getting back into the heavy swing of working out and trying to get back where I was, and wouldn't you know, my body didn't cooperate. To be fair, I have quite a bit more weight on my bones than I did back then. *Insert side eye*.

All that to say...I WENT SHOPPING TODAY!!!

I know, ridiculous introduction.

Truth is, I haven't been buying clothes for my new size. I've been living that "If I buy bigger clothes I will get bigger" type life. Well booboo, that shipped has sailed and none of my shit fits. So I've been doing some shopping lately. And Old Navy had a fabulous sale today. Looking at my old clothes has actually been counterproductive. A chick just gets depressed when nothing in her closet fits. There is no motivation to be found in depression. Ultimately, it just makes you find that happiness somewhere So I went shopping and I plan to do more and more of it. Sure, when I get back down to where I want to be, I'll have to buy new things. So be it. I'd rather be comfortable on the way down.

In other news, I've been getting more work done on "Untitled". I figure writing a paragraph a day is better than just staring at a screen. Which is also why I'm blogging. I'm trying to get my content out again with less time in between.  Nanowrimo starts soon. Can't say that I'm pleased to be writing the same novel I was working on last year, but such is life. I've given myself 3 years to get my finished novel in the hands of a publisher. Three years. No more. I was thinking about the movie Limitless, and I found myself wishing I had one of those magic pills to give me laser focus and help me accomplish all my goals. But honestly, don't we all kind of know the things we need to do to be successful. I mean, I know that crappy carbs and sugar make me feel sluggish and heavy, yet I continue to indulge. I know that I can write this book when I turn my TV off and make myself get to work. But I get so intimidated by the silence that I shy away from it. So truthfully, I just need to be my own limitless pill and kick my shit into action.

Starting with nursing this ankle back to health and taking care to make sure I don't take any more body shots on my way to fit-body-ness.