A New Life Awaits

bridge-19513_960_720

Well, I promised that I’d share my great news this week – then I wondered if I should wait until the new year, but that would be cruel (if anyone cares!)

It’s something I’ve been wanting to do my whole adult life and due to a variety of factors – I am finally in a position where I can GIVE UP MY DAY JOB and FOCUS ON MY WRITING CAREER!

person-984124_960_720

That’s right – I’ve handed in my resignation and my last day worked will be 1/4/16. I know it’s a Monday, but I thought I might as well get my paid holidays. I have four more work days until then, which I know will drag – but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

Two major things have paved the way for this momentous occasion: my husband getting a better paying job and my discovery of freelance work. I didn’t want to rely on him for my “pocket money” – not that we’re rich by any stretch of the imagination. (We keep joking that one day I will be earning enough as an author for him to be able to stay home, wear fluffy slippers and eat bon-bons all day!)

I have ten writing projects (my own) that I plan to complete by the end of 2016, which is a mix of fiction, non-fiction, articles, short-stories, poetry and even a cookbook (which is related to one of my projects: “The Willow Lake Group” – to be released early 2016.)

I currently have two freelance jobs I’m working on – found at:

https://outsource.com/

One is a Ghost writing gig and another is data entry. Together they total $700 in earnings for me – with many more to come. I have a lot to be grateful for and I’m going to make the most of it, by planning carefully and ensuring that I don’t have to beg my husband for money. (Even though he’d be more than happy to help – there’s a side to me that wants to make sure that I don’t become a “kept-woman”.)

What’s also going to be better for me is ensuring that I do have the time for proper diet and exercise. No more excuses about lack of time or motivation, etc. Even though I’ve been mostly good – trying to cut out gluten, soy and anti-thyroid foods among the other no-no’s – I’ve been a bit slack with the exercise.

Funnily enough – the holiday period hasn’t affected my eating regime a bit. We had a simple Christmas dinner (just Robert and I) – with roast pork-loin and veggies – done in the slow-cooker. I’ve been able to stay away from ice-cream but have had some chocolate here and there.

Making my own granola bars, eating eggs when hungry in between breakfast and lunch as well as having Green smoothies and Kombucha tea, I feel a lot “cleaner”.

I’m going to be making my own Kombucha tea next week. I bought a Scobie – the starter for the Kombucha tea – and have saved my bottles, so I’m looking forward to making my own healthy, probiotic drinks – which will save money too. ($3.00 plus per 16 oz drink is becoming a bit much!)

2015-04-06-Kombucha-7

The following info about the Scoby is from this wonderful website:

http://www.thekitchn.com

(“SCOBY” is actually an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast.” It’s very close cousins to the mother used to make vinegar.

The scoby bacteria and yeast eat most of the sugar in the tea, transforming the tea into a refreshingly fizzy, slightly sour fermented (but mostly non-alcoholic) beverage that is relatively low in calories and sugar.)

I’m also hoping to be growing our own herbs and veggies next year – so we’ll see how that goes!

I made a nice dish with turkey balls – creating Shasliks/Gyro’s – along with peppers, zucchinis and onions:

Shasliks

I mixed the mince turkey with onion, garlic, parsley, an egg and some seasoning, then formed them into balls and carefully slid them onto the skewers – alternating with the veggies and grilling for about seven minutes each side. I didn’t put any breadcrumbs in the mince – which I usually do.

They were delicious and so easy! Also – looked a lot like Christmas!

I have already planned how my days will go once I leave my job, as I will continue to get up early and prepare for my days as though going to a full time job. Even though I won’t have to dress up or commute, I’m going to keep up a schedule and stick to it. My work day will start at 8am and I will “knock off” at 4pm – still allowing myself an hour for lunch.

I hope to be able to focus on my freelance work in the mornings and switch to my own writing projects in the afternoon. When 4pm hits, I will start preparing dinner and do a little housework. After dinner I will continue with my writing (which will also continue to include promoting and marketing) and will endeavor to go to bed at a reasonable hour.

I will treat the weekends as my free time – but won’t feel so stressed with having to get back into the daily grind on Monday morning, in terms of getting ready and travelling to work. I know that I’ll continue writing on the weekends as I love it and won’t be able to help myself anyway!

The first week will be dedicated to getting the house in order so I won’t have much to do on a daily basis the following week. I will also be going to the bank to open a separate account for my freelance earnings, as I’ll need to make sure I keep proper records for tax, etc. I will be putting back at least 20% each month – just in case.

I had to get smart and start a proper budget spreadsheet, making sure that every dollar is accounted for. With my final pay (which includes holiday pay and earnings from freelance work so far) I’m covered up until the end of February. I just need to make sure I keep the work lined up – which shouldn’t be a problem – as there’s plenty of work on Outsource – as well as:

https://www.upwork.com/

and:

https://www.fiverr.com/

This is a very exciting time for me and a milestone that’s been a long time coming. I’ll be posting some dreams I’ve been having on my Collective Unconscious blog soon – which all pointed to this momentous occasion!

As a side note, I don’t want you to think that I’m rubbing your noses in my happiness, as I wish the same if not better for you all. If I can do this – so can you – with or without a supportive partner. Of course, it makes a difference to have that kind of safety net, but the freelance work is out there just waiting to be picked up. I’m kicking myself for not getting into it sooner!

Here’s my menu plan for next week:

010116

Until then, stay happy and healthy!

 

 

Advertisements

The Negative impact of Stress

buried-alive-1241454

I think stress and lack of sleep are two big factors in maintaining your health and weight loss. Without giving too much away (as I’m still employed – for the moment!) we’ve had a lot of spot fires to put out due to lack of staff and absences, so my workload has increased – to say the least!

I am already doing my old job as well as someone else’s job  and recent events have revealed that there is a lot of backlog and errors to complete. It also doesn’t help when phone calls, emails and people continue interrupting with questions and crises – forcing me to switch focus and re-prioritize every 5 – 10 minutes!

Throw on top of that certain personalities who range from Mild irritant to Machiavellian and Passive Aggressively Sarcastic – then you can only obtain a glimpse into my work day. It’s very hard to plow through old work when new work continues streaming in, which is why I’m grateful for a couple of people who are helping – and others who came forth yesterday.

It’s also difficult to retain your composure when you are talked down to, while you’re spinning plates and trying to get work done which isn’t even yours. This sounds like whining, but I assure you it’s not. Anyway – I’ll talk more about stress in the workplace in a future post. Now I want to discuss how the situation has affected my health over the past week.

As I stated in my last post, I was all gung-ho about forging ahead with my regime – but I found myself exhausted when I got home every night – even after having a nap on the bus on the way home. I was only averaging 5 hours sleep per night and didn’t have time to exercise in the mornings due to still being exhausted when I woke up. I cooked two nights, got rotisserie chicken one night, then burgers another night.

The other night is a blur. I feel puffy and bloated, tired and short-tempered – as I’m barely holding my temper in. At work yesterday – after an annoying meeting and continued stress – I felt my chest continuously grow into a gnarled fist. By the time I walked out of the door I was a ball of rage.

cartman-1-1490907

Apparently desk rage is steadily on the rise, as workers are often feeling like they need to repress the building anger and despair over being trapped in a futile job, where they cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I did many things to try and relieve the pressure, like listening to music on the way to work and at night, short meditations and breathing exercises – when I had the chance – in the bathroom!

My breakfasts and lunches were still healthy but the cumulative effect of it all crashing down became too much. So, I’ve made a decision – one which I’ll reveal next week – where I will finally achieve one of the greatest desires I’ve had for most of my adult life.

I’m going to keep this post short, as I have started freelancing and have a job to complete. (Part of my surprise!) Here’s a link about de-stressing with food and alternative healing:

Alternative Healing and Stress

managingstress-280x157

 

According to MyDomain.com – Here’s what you should reach for the next time you’re hungry and stressed:

  1. Leafy green vegetables
  2. Turkey breast
  3. Oatmeal
  4. Yogurt
  5. Salmon
  6. Blueberries
  7. Pistachios
  8. Dark chocolate
  9. Milk
  10. Seeds
  11. Avocado
  12. Cashews

Link: http://www.mydomaine.com/stress-reducing-foods

I am going to try and catch up on my sleep this weekend (even though “they” say that you can never actually catch up on sleep) and I will make time for healthy eating and exercise. Like Robert told me, if they’re already getting to you, why would you allow it to keep going after hours? It’s like doing the punishing for them!

Until next week, stay happy, healthy – and Merry Christmas!

 

 

A Wavering Eye on a Distant Prize

flame-sunset-1393682

I didn’t post last week due to lack of time. Robert’s company held a Xmas party and they paid for everything – including a room at the Embassy Suites in Nashville. We had a great time and I was careful with what I ate but I had three glasses of Pinot – divine!

We stayed overnight and had a wonderful breakfast before heading back home. I was too busy with catching up on housework etc, and had to focus on my writing projects during the week as well as working, blah blah blah.

I will have some exciting news to share in a couple of weeks – so stay tuned for that!

I tried an experiment for the last two weeks, after reading about how exercising can drain your adrenals – even though it wasn’t like I was over-extending myself. I stopped doing the elliptical and planking, which seemed to have zero effect in terms of weight gain, however I felt the lack.

I started getting tired in the afternoons and had less energy, with the breathlessness creeping back in. In general I felt more fatigued so I started back up yesterday. Felt better immediately – so – there you have it.

Most days, I was drinking Kombucha tea in the mornings and felt better for it. I’m going to start making my own, so I saved the bottles and will purchase the alien-looking scobie next week. I continued with alternating smoothies in the mornings – fruit one day and green the next – but I’m starting to find it incompatible with the weather changing.

Cold mornings call for a hot breakfast, so I’m going to start preparing it the night before. I just have to get up a little earlier to eat it before I leave the house. (I’ve been drinking my smoothies on the way to work, which is convenient.)

Here are a few breakfast ideas I’m going to try:

wild-mushroom-and-tatsoi-bowl-with-a-poached-egg-eatandrelish
Wild Mushroom and Tatsoi with a Poached Egg

IMG_9048-PM600sqc

Broccoli Cheese-Quinoa Bites

(I’ve made these before – scrumptious!)

coconut-pancakes

Low Carb Coconut Pancakes

 

(I would use Coconut milk as Almonds give me headaches.)

I’ll also be making frittatas and on the weekends we’ll have scrambled eggs or tomatoes on toast, etc.

I’ve been sticking to the plan I spoke about last time – with two eggs around 9:30 a.m. It’s amazing how they curb the cravings – especially for carbs – even though it’s been tempting of late, regarding the goodies that my co-workers bring to work. Tis the season – but that’s no reason to stuff myself stupid!

I’ve been far better at only having a sliver rather than a slab of cake or other naughties. There have been several times where I’ve walked away from the table or avoided going near it.

I’ve also started making my own granola bars as Robert discovered (after years of eating store-bought granola bars, even though they are zero High Fructose Corn Syrup) that he might be allergic to them. When he stopped eating the store-bought ones, his allergies reduced dramatically. We love my granola bars – which I’m calling:

Kelly’s Seedy Oat Slabs!

Ingredients:

2 Cups Old fashioned Oats

2 cups Raw Sunflower Seeds

1 Cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

1 Cup Honey

4 tbps Peanut Butter (I use creamy, but crunchy would be just as good)

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

1/4 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt (Optional)

1/4 – 1/2 Cup Sesame Seeds for sprinkling (Optional)

Method:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a 9 x 13 inch pan (or thereabouts)

Spread the oats, coconut and sunflower seeds over two baking trays. Place in oven and toast for approx ten minutes, checking halfway and stirring them up if toasting is uneven.

Meanwhile, melt the honey, peanut butter, vanilla extract (with salt, if using) in a small saucepan.

Take the trays out of the oven and tip the contents into a large mixing bowl. Stir the honey mixture through until combined. Spread in the greased pan and sprinkle with sesame seeds (optional). Then grease the bottom of a glass or flat-bottomed jar (they make the rockin’ world go round – sorry – couldn’t help myself!)

Using the glass or jar, press the mixture down into the tray to make a compact and even surface. Then place in the oven and bake for fifteen minutes – unless you prefer crunchy – in which case you’d need to leave it for another 2 – 5 minutes or so.

Take it out of the oven and let it cool completely before cutting into bars.

Here’s a picture!

Seedy Oat Slabs

They are delicious, if I do say so myself! No flour or eggs. You can cut them smaller, to suit yourself. One of these when I get to work (after a smoothie) has been a nice filler which keeps me going until around 9:30 – 10 a.m. Sometimes I save it for the afternoon, depending on how my appetite is going.

Here’s a picture of my Zucchini Crusted Pizza –

ZCP

Recipe posted here:

Scroll down for Zucchini Crusted Pizza recipe

I doubled the amounts for the zucchini crust – as I find the normal amount too thin. For the toppings I used:

Half a small can of tomato paste, mixed with a tsp of dried oregano and two garlic cloves – chopped. (Sometimes I just spread slices of tomato – sprinkled with oregano and garlic.)

Then I sprinkle some Romano cheese over the tomato (just a small handful), then I spread a layer of pepperoni, followed by half a chopped onion, red and green bell peppers (half each – depends on how much you prefer), black, marinated olives (pitted – I used Greek), and a generous handful (or two!) of cheese – whatever you fancy.

I’m not posting my menu this week – too busy – so here’s a picture of a Red Tailed Hawk we saw from the window at work this week! (Awwww!)

Hawk

Pity he didn’t have a beautiful forest to look over!

Well – until next week – stay healthy and happy!