100 days in…

IMG_2751[1]

Photo taken by: Shannon Sasaki Photography

July 2 is officially one of my favorite memories. Not only were we at our absolute prettiest, but we managed to pull off the party of the century. I mean, that sounds pretty damn biased, but this is my blog and I am calling it what I please because regardless, I am the boss. And so, here we are, one hundred freaking days later and I feel as if I should post what marriage has become to me, what it has meant for our relationship, and where we currently are in our life. And because my friends need absolute facts, I’ll tell the story, because I have them. The absolute facts.

100 days in has proven that marriage is keeping track. If you get up at 6 am and change a chirping fire alarm while the other one sleeps, mark it down. Keep track and use it as ammunition ALLLLL damn day (that was day 99).

It’s matching outfits better because you’re married and this is not a drill. If your wife wants to match you or buy coordinating outfits, you just say YES because clearly she is off her rocker and you will only make it worse if you decline.

If there is four squares of toilet paper left on the roll and you don’t change it, you might as well put yourself in time out because you done just left you’re WIFE hanging and how dare you? She changed that chirping fire alarm and you can’t even change a ROLL OF TOILET PAPER? Never mind that there was four squares left and it didn’t look out. Never mind that noise.

Being married is basically an admission that you can dutch-oven your spouse. That is now legal and allowed and they can’t get upset about it, especially when they passed the gas and you want them to gag over their own odors. That’s even more permissible and they can’t get make one peep about it. Because you’re married, even if it’s only been 100 days. That means more than just being together for five years, even though it shouldn’t because it was one day. Something inside you changed and now they are STUCK WITH YOU. And trapped under the covers with their own undoing.

100 days is smelling the belly button gunk of your other half. You have to. No ifs ands or buts. DO IT.

It’s arguing over enchiladas vs burritos and then bringing that damn argument up FOR THE REST OF YOUR DAYS and it can be interchangeable who is doing the bringing up, which is super confusing but hey, roll with it.

You can now start calling all conversations arguments. “What’s for dinner?” can ABSOLUTELY be followed up with, “Why are we fighting? Why are you always hounding me? Stop yelling!” because you don’t have to make sense anymore. I imagine this is what turning 70 can also look like. Your wife asks you questions and then you just mumble nonsense back. Boom. Also known as one hundred days since I do. Because now you do.

You can decide to go plant based for a few weeks and then decide to keep going because your wifey friggin lives for cheese and now you want to push all the boundaries to see just HOW long she will put up with your ish of no cheese or meat. Just to see. Just to know how long until she loses her ish with you. That’s okay.

In the meantime, she might be buying all kinds of trendy meatless ish for you, because she wants to support your plant based nonsense and then when you try it, you ARE 100 days in so don’t feel bad about making the most disgusted face you can muster up with your lethargy (because you know you aren’t getting enough protein in but you refuse to fall for her meat and cheese traps) and belting out, “THIS TASTES LIKE DOG FOOOOOOOOOOOD!” Go ahead and just yell that from the rooftop. If you have the energy for it.

And when you know you’re reaching the end of her ledge of sanity, agree to eat half a meat burger with her, just so she sees a touch of light at the end of your looney tunnel. Just so she doesn’t run for the hills just yet. You gotta keep hope SORT OF alive. Like that hedgehog you made her keep in the house for a bit. Just like that.

One hundred days is finding all the things wrong with your body so she can croon at your sweet face how much she loves it. Get gradually, increasingly more repulsive about it to see how far she will take this love song she’s penning you. “I hate the way my butt stinks!” Say it in a whiny, about-to-cry-but-not-really-because-you-don’t-cry voice. She’ll respond with, “You have the sweetest stank ass I’ve ever been around. Yay you, darling!” No matter where that was going, you’re winning. You are friggin winning at life.

One hundred days is a lot of gross for one of you and fun for the other. What sounds better than THAT? I mean, win-win in my book! So, Kulia, cheers to 100 days! Let’s pretend none of those stories are about us and drink some wine tonight while we watch This Is Us.

Sound good? Say yes because you have to.

2017.07.02

 

 

Three days of getting (re)fresh, as told by Vee

Guess who’s going to Hawaii in three sleeps (read: today)!!?!?!?! This beezy RIGHT HERE!!! My brother-in-love is getting hitched, saying I do, and bidding farewell to that bachelor life that he always made look so friggin fun. We are so excited! And you know what Hawaii means? It means you’ll be on a beach at least once, probably spending some hours at a pool, and wearing a lot less clothes than you have been for the last ten months because Washington gave you the longest winter in all of history. So you do a reality check, realizing that birthday month was a treasonous time in your life and you acknowledge that every article of clothing you wear now fits snug (read: tight) and you haven’t even worked out recently. As in at least a week. I figured it’s never too late to recommit to your health journey, so I ordered myself a 3-Day Refresh from my fave peeps down at Beachbody and read the rules yesterday to get ready.

Now, what is the refresh? First off, it’s a fancy schmancy title for a cleanse that restricts dairy, meats (read: proteins) and treats (read: wine) for a whole effin 72 hours. Doesn’t that sound like a nice cup of “stab me repeatedly with a fork for three days?” Needless to say, we ate pizza, drank wine and had fudge chocolate treats Sunday. We are the worst kind of cleansers. It is three daily shakes, a fiber drink, an ocean of filtered water, and rationed portions of fresh fruits and veggies. THAT.IS.IT. And here is an unbiased account of the ordeal:

Day 1: Today I woke up at 7 after hitting snooze an eff ton of times. I didn’t want to get out of bed. My eyes were so heavy. When you can finally manage to haul your bloated ass out of bed, you’re supposed to drink around 10 ounces of water to get your system (does this mean your digestive track? Like, get ready to poop?) going. I had a water bottle by the side of my bed but I had gotten thirsty at night so I estimate it only had around 6 in it. That may or may not be remotely right. I’m a horrible estimator of liquids. Suffice to say I drank the water and felt it hit the PITS of my stomach. Of COURSE I would wake up on day one of my refresh starving. Typical.

Within an hour of waking you drink your first shake. Yay there because I love my shakeo! Except I didn’t drink it on time because it’s frowned upon to show up to work ugly. And when I rushed to make it, I started out with too much water and not enough ice so it was a weird texture and consistency (super watery) so it felt like I was drinking super diluted iced coffee (I am drinking the vegan café latte for this). It didn’t feel like breakfast, when my shakeo normally does. Along with the shake you eat your first installment of fruit. Up first on the menu is a cup of cantaloupe that I actually measured! That’s already a win because I try to eyeball everything. My one downfall? I forgot to eat the fruit at the same time as I was drinking my shake. When I remembered I could have it, I SNARFED it down in two seconds. You guys. A cup of cantaloupe is just enough to make you CRAZY hungry but not enough to make you even feel like you ate. Throw on top of that a work lunch I’m planning so I was on the Fred Meyer’s catering website looking at pictures of baked chicken, fried chicken, sushi platters, sides. This is torture to the umpteenth degree. I am never as hungry as when I tell myself I’m doing something to feel better. Every time I think I need food I make myself guzzle some water. PS, I’ve gone to the bathroom six times and I’ve only been up for four hours. And because I can’t stop thinking about how empty my stomach feels, I set a timer on my phone for when I can have my next shake, which is the Vanilla Fiber Sweep. I foresee more bathroom breaks. Yikes.

Vanilla Fiber Sweep is done. I drank it fast because I’ve read other people’s accounts of the flavor of it so I was anticipating liquid death. I chugged it SO FAST because almost everyone says you can’t let it sit for more than a few minutes or it changes into a fire-breathing dragon that promptly makes you it’s meal. Shit, that dragon would be getting more of a mouthful than I currently am. Good news, there was no time to let anything evolve into anything dangerous and I basically shot-gunned a really tasty drink. I would equate it to an original orange Julius, which is doubly bizarre, being as it’s vanilla. The deed is done, either way and now I have to wait at least an hour before I can have my lunch. Yes, there’s another timer set and yes, I am going to drink more water.

1:00: Lunch time. FINALLY. I mixed my vanilla fresh shake, took my rhubarb salad out that I made yesterday, grabbed my baggie of strawberries and filled my water. I was making myself wait a little longer because somehow that felt much less dramatic. I mentally told myself I would eat slow and savor every bite because 2/3 cup of rhubarb salad IS NOT REALLY EVEN ONE BITE OF FOOD, that I would not down my shake like it was a margarita. YOU GUYS. I’m a liar liar pants on fire and lunch was inhaled in less than three minutes. It’s been less than an hour since and not ONCE did my stomach feel like it had anything in it.

2:23: I found a little Styrofoam box of pad-see-uw in the mini fridge from lunch last week Friday. I heated it up and told myself I would only have a few bites because I NEED FOOD. I picked out the broccoli and ate it because broccoli is allowed on the refresh even though I’m almost positive its not allowed when it has a delicious sauce on it (I’ll just double check what the list of guilt-free flavorings says about that) and told myself I wasn’t cheating. Then I told myself I could have two bites of rice noodle and that would be it. I then had four little bites because I can’t be trusted and then threw the box away because otherwise it was about to be shoved into my pie-hole (yum, pie sounds AMAZING) and because I started to get angry with myself. I am only seven hours into this shit-show and I’ve already messed up. This is why I have jelly-belly and this is why I have more than one chin. Send BOSS BABE vibes this way, because I need all.of.them. Now I’m drinking water and pissed.

4:00: I ate a teaspoon of almond butter and downed 700 ounces of water, at least. I’m not even exaggerating here. I feel empty but I don’t feel EMPTY. See, I’m so hungry ish isn’t even making sense anymore.

4:50: My iWatch just told me to stand up. That’s fine since I HAVE TO PEE ANYWAY.

6:00: I’m at my son’s baseball game and I have to urinate so bad that I have lower back pains. Ku texted me beforehand and asked if I wanted her to bring me strawberries and my response was something like, “Yes, I can have 12. And if you think you might want some also, please bring more than 12 because I need ALLMYSTRAWBERRIES. I texted that to my wifey, friends. And she didn’t throw fruit at my face when I got to the game and she didn’t threaten to leave me. I want to add that the fact she even stuck around the rest of the night without yelling PEACE and throwing her hands in the air is AMAZEBALLS. I would have run for the hills.

10:00: Went to bed listening to the relaxing sounds of my STOMACH GROWLING and some pretty horrendous releases of gas. Today sucked. I realized I am completely emotionally addicted to food. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t have been such an effin sourpuss all damn day. I may need more than 3 days to break this.

DAY 2

7:00: Woke up and said, “I’m starving,” right out the gate and then realized that wasn’t actually true. My stomach hadn’t even said good morning. It was when I downed my 10 ounces of water that I remembered my stomach had a bottom. All that water found it, quick. I also didn’t drink my shake within that first hour. I’m a natural rule breaker. I just can’t help it. PS, I ALSO forgot to eat the fruit at the same time again. Frick!

1:00: I’ve not stopped thinking about food and how hungry I am. I had to pick up lunch for the office, which is straight out of chapter one in the book of “Ultimate Corporal Punishment for your Subordinates.”

1:30: Got to the office with the FRIED CHICKEN, BAKED CHICKEN, BBQ CHICKEN, MACARONI SALAD (I love macaroni salad. I friggin LOVE IT) and POTATO SALAD. I don’t know why I just yelled that. I ran to my office and grabbed my effin rhubarb salad and my water and joined my co-workers in the conference room with every intention of not straying. And then five minutes later I had a sliver of bbq chicken and one teaspoon of macaroni salad in my container and I ate it super slow. I savored EVERY BITE and then got upset because I have done some pretty hard shit in my life. Why can I not control what goes in my mouth?

9:00: I told myself I was going to have a hard boiled egg because I’m certain not consuming protein is a death wish. There is no way this program knows what it’s talking about. But then I didn’t, so win there! Oh, let’s also throw in that I weighed myself this morning and I didn’t lose ONE OUNCE of weight yet. And somehow that’s determining my success with this. Goodnight, world. I cannot with today, anymore.

Day 3

I woke up this morning, drank my water and felt a little better. I almost just typed refreshed but I refuse to give this program any kudos. Yet.

Some point in the middle of the day: I am not starving. My thoughts are not consumed with food on the constant. I have felt more awake, more able. More in CONTROL and that is pretty phenomenal. The whole day goes by and I’m drinking my water, eating my food, following the plan and not once do I feel deprived today. I’m doing the thing. I’m friggin crushing it!

9:00: Ku and I pack for Hawaii and my whole time home I didn’t think about how I was so hungry and needed dinner now. I had a half a cucumber and felt good. WHAT THE WHAT? We went downstairs after getting a lot of packing done and Ku made some quesadillas and convinced me to have half of one. It was a whole wheat tortilla and some crock pot pork, so I decided to have it. I only ate the half, ate it slow, really enjoyed it and had ONE GLASS of wine. Over the course of two hours. If I won at anything, it was in THAT.

When I woke up Thursday, off the refresh, I didn’t immediately want food. I feel like I look the same, perhaps a touch less bloated. I took my after photos and see it, that the bloat is gone. I want to keep that ish going! Where the real transformation happened is in my mentality about food. I have not forgotten the feeling of absolute emptiness I had on Day 1 and Day 2. I always knew I was an emotional eater; I mean, I’ve been living this life for 35 damn years! Really seeing the grip my nutrition has on me made me realize why I haven’t had more success in my journey. It makes TOTAL.SENSE. Overall, I’m down four pounds. I don’t want them back. I’m cutting those toxic pounds out of my life FOR GOOD because they have been like herpes with my health journey. BE GONE!

I’m not going to say I’m going to be perfect from here on out, because I cannot lie to my friends. I will say that I’m going to try maintain smaller portions, remind myself I do not really need more food or carbs or an eff ton of meat (that was the hardest, giving up my meats. I don’t know how vegetarians do it!) or six glasses of wine. Because all of that has happened.

You want to try the refresh out? Hit me up. I would totally be up for torturing myself alongside you, because who doesn’t want to push the boundaries of just how much your loved ones will put up with. AMIRIGHT?!?!

QBSJ7356

The Secret to Life

My grandmother recently celebrated her eighty-third birthday.

EIGHTY-THREE!

As a treat, we offered to take her to lunch at her favorite spot. She loves Olive Garden, so naturally, that was where she picked. She called early the morning of, wanted  to know when we would be there so she could be ready. I could hear the excitement in her voice and couldn’t help but smile. My grandma has always been down for a good time and some laughs. This was clearly not going to be an exception to the rule.

Of all the people I’ve met in my life, my Grandma has been the least judgmental person. Ever. She is always kind, offering a smile and sweet words to anyone. I’ve never heard her raise her voice or be upset, not even with my Grandpa, who is quite an ornery fellow at times. My Grandma was one of my first friends, near the top of a short list of people who know how to really hug.

My grandparents lived on Lopez Island for most of my formative years. For those that don’t know, Lopez is a relaxing, calm, almost hippie-like haven full of good souls and sunshine, soft rolling hills and welcoming friends island off the coast of northern Washington state. You can only get there by ferry, where you can drive your automobile onto. Lopez is where I spent nearly every Thanksgiving, Christmas holiday, and spring break. I would have lived there, with them, if I would have been allowed. My grandparents are true gems; absolute angels. My Grandpa gave me my first set of luggage, which I would eagerly pack whenever I was given the green light. Always without hesitation.

When I was five, I had gotten sick to the point I needed to be seen by a doctor. I was supposed to go visit Grandma and Grandpa but needed the go-ahead first. My Mom was told I had a touch of heat stroke and was prescribed more fluids. With that said, I was off for my next adventure. Except, I was in for a different kind of fun, you could say, since about two hours after arriving, I started to break out in spots all over. It was chicken pox, friends. And it was RARING to be seen.

Being sick is no fun. Unless you happen to win the sick lottery and end up at Grandma’s. I WAS IN HEAVEN! She took the BEST care of me, waited on me hand and foot. Made any meal I asked for, which was almost always pancakes or French toast (which I can’t stand nowadays, probably because no one makes them like Grandma) and played so many games with me, like cribbage, rummy and hearts. That summer is still one of my favorites.

When we picked Grandma up for lunch yesterday, she was glowing. Had her makeup on, some lipstick and a vibrant green shirt to match her energy. She was genuinely happy to see us. After we hugged Grandpa and promised to have her home safe before long, we set out on our date.  Once we got to OG, we sat and jumped right back into our conversation that had started in the car. Chatting and spending time with my Grandma is one of my absolute favorite things in the world, and it was needed.

IMG_0303[1]

I shared my thoughts on this being my half-ways point in life, what with my upcoming thirty-fifth birthday. She laughed and said she thought that was a fun idea, a good idea. “You never know,” she said and she’s right. I, of course, asked her what her best piece of advice is for life, because I wanted to ask my friend when I saw her in hospice the other day, but couldn’t because she was sleeping and never woke back up. Grandma isn’t dying but I don’t want to miss my chance. I want everyone’s advice. I don’t want time to work against me anymore. I want to ask all the people, especially those close to me. Her answer made us all laugh out loud, but rang with so much truth.

“My Mom shared this with me once,” she began.

“You just got to learn when to shut your BIG, FAT mouth. If you can learn that, you got it made.”

Ohhhhhhhhmaaaaaagooooooodneeesssss, did we have a fantastic chuckle over that. It’s such a friggin truth bomb, though! I asked her so many questions yesterday, trying to remember every moment. None will stick out as much as that one. What we thought would be lunch with Grandma became life lessons, how to day drink a bottle (or two) of white wine, marriage tips, and raising kids. We learned about her Mom and all her ever knowing wisdom, taught Grandma about Snapchat, took hilarious photos. We made memories with her that I wouldn’t trade for anything.

IMG_0310[1]

Life is so short but can be as sweet and loving as you let it. Give people an opportunity to speak openly with you. Spend time with them and ask questions and don’t wait until it’s too late. We all just want to be heard and feel loved and all of us have that power in our hands.

Happy birthday, Grandma! I hope I get more years with you by my side!

Island Time

Before I dive into explaining Island Time and all that it entails, I want to disclaim the following:

I am not a chef.

I’m not even a real cook.

I’ve had zero professional training.

I most DEFINITELY am not a nutritionist.

Not a wine sommelier.

*

When I was five years old, my parents did something they had been working towards, dreaming about, saving for. They opened their own business, a Mexican restaurant. I remember moving to a small city, in the middle of nowhere to a place that didn’t even have a stop light. It smelled of cow manure and the American Dream and we were knee deep in it.

It was a small place, just full of hopes and ownership. They did all the work themselves, at least from what I can recall. They painted, made brick archways on the walls, hung some tropical ceramic birds from the ceiling, bought some fake plants, set up a used cash register. There was endless days of cleaning and preparing and I can remember most of it. The opening day, though? It’s nowhere in my mind. Maybe I wasn’t privy to be there or maybe it happened while I was in school. All I know is that one day it was a “soon” and the next it just “was.”

In no time or maybe plenty of time it was a happening place and had created a buzz around our tiny hometown. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was welcoming. I think back to the beginning and I smile, because it was pure. As I grew, the restaurant grew. I think about it in terms of falling asleep. It was gradual and then all at once. My days revolved around enchiladas, rice and beans, burritos and so on. Within five years we had outgrown the cozy dwelling on Front street and we moved closer to the Canadian border, away from our roots.

In all its growth and all its success, I never found myself in the kitchen. The cooks were rough looking, older, spoke Spanish (unlike me at the time). They were intimidating, deviant looking people that towered over me. I wasn’t one to find myself conversing with them, or them with me. It just wasn’t an acceptable thing. And then the end of sixth grade came. My Dad decided I should spend some time in Mexico, with some family, so I could learn my culture, my language, my roots. And off I went.

I lived in Chihuahua, Chihuahua (yes, that’s a place) for a little over a year. I attended seventh grade there. It was a literal sink or swim for me, in terms of communicating with anyone. Naturally, I began to really understand Spanish. More than that, and more rewarding, was understanding this foreign notion to me. family time. With the business, my parents were so busy. We had limited time for family meals or hanging out. It’s just how it was and it was all I knew, really. Mexico, though. It was amazing and harsh and scary and fun. My Aunt and Uncle taught me so much with so much love and patience.

My Aunt Celia was a phenomenal cook. She would get up early in the morning and make her two older kids and myself breakfast. She would pack me a lunch. We would all sit and have dinner together. She was the first to show me how to make homemade salsa, Mexican rice, enchiladas. I taught her how the cooks cut onions and tomatoes faster (I was watching, if anything). She was everything you could ask for in a teacher, but the reality was that I only enjoyed eating the food. That’s the truth! I never found the joy in cooking like she did.

When I came back to the states, I began to pick up on certain assumptions that people made when you tell them your parents owned a restaurant. The most common was they would give me that sweeping look, the one that says, “Oh YEAH they do because you are CHUBBY.” Or, they would ask me if I could cook amazing food. Yes, I was overweight. No, I couldn’t cook. Not like their employees at the restaurant and certainly not like my Aunt Celia. I didn’t want to.

I got married at nineteen years old and kept hearing from my ex MIL that I had to start learning. That I needed to put the food on the table. That it was my responsibility and I think as sort of a big EFFFFF  YOU, I refused. I didn’t want to learn. I wanted boiling water to be near impossible and I wanted to burn all the things. I wanted to make certain foods on repeat EVERY DAY and I wanted cereal for breakfast for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to be fancy. I certainly didn’t care if it was healthy. People deal with depression and anxiety in many different ways and this was one of mine. I had zero control over almost everything so this, this unreasonable aversion to cooking and house-wifing, this I would have on lock down. I wanted to fail and I made it obvious.

When I met Ku, who is a TOTAL FOODIE, my mind woke up. It started to remember what my lovely Aunt had shared with me, things I had seen in my parent’s kitchen, stuff I had seen on TV. My memory started to flash things back at me and this DESIRE to come out of my shell just took over. It’s been on fire since! Not a kitchen fire. A SOUL FIRE. And somehow, somewhere in that, a show was born.

There seems to be this misconception that cooking healthy is boring, bland, blah. It is salads on the daily and baked chicken breast with steamed broccoli. Friends. IT MOST CERTAINLY IS NOT! I promise I’m not making this up. I’ve had this EXACT conversation with NUMEROUS friends! And because of this, I started to put in the work myself and taste test away. I’m SACRIFICING myself for my friends and life has never felt more perfect!

We gave birth to Island Time with Vee (which is this homage to both the island in our kitchen, where we always congregate with family and friends, and a nod to our family in Hawaii, where our true Island time is) from this place of wanting to share healthy, easy recipes with everyone. My whole goal with it has been to keep it light, far from preachy, and fun! I make a show almost EVERY Sunday (sometimes life gets in the way and when that happens, I kick a throwback episode in there) and I bring some wine to the island because WINE IS LIFE, friends. When I can and it makes sense, we go live on my Facebook page to really showcase the simplicity and time saving recipe I found and tried before sharing it with you. There have been times I think something will be delicious and then try it and I’m like THAT IS NOT DELISH AND I CANNOT SHARE IT WITH MY FRIENDS and we scrap the whole thing in the garbage!

This latest episode is a skinny egg salad recipe and it’s easy to customize and AMAZING. Unless, of course, you don’t like eggs and if that’s the case, I don’t know what to say to you! I LOVE EGGS! If anything, watch it for a laugh, because you all know how MUCH I LOVE TO LAUGH. That’s the ONE thing I can promise on each episode! I hope you try it and share your thoughts with me! And the next time I post one of my videos here, I won’t go so deep into my backstory so we can cut straight to the chase!

And PS, the moral of this story is that it is INCREDIBLE how fantastic your food can taste when you use LOVE as your main ingredient. And if you would like to see my other Island Time episodes, find me on Facebook!