When life makes sense

You know you're pursuing the right career when everything sort of falls into place and makes sense, right? I feel like things are falling into place all around me and it is exhilarating!

elie rev field (1 of 1).jpg

Freelance work is in progress, I've made more professional contacts in my first two months in North Carolina than I did in four years in Florida, and the program I am pursuing (Public Administration) has been less horrid than I previously imagined. In fact, the topics we cover in class essentially describe my personality to a T. 

Last week, we covered program management tools and I was happy to learn that I live my everyday life as if I was a program manager. Ha! In particular, we covered scope of work, needs assessments, feasibility studies and Gannt Charts. All are tools that are used professionally by program managers and yet they are also reasoning processes that many people use in everyday life. It was exciting to learn about tools that already come naturally to me. For example, I got excited (maybe too excited) about Gannt Charts because I use them in my bullet journal to keep track of my job progress and daily goals. 

Side bar about bullet journals - I love this style of journaling because its minimalist in nature and allows me to combine all of my lists, thoughts, goals, worries and planning into one document. I use a Lemome dotted journal and its not only pretty but easy to use as the paper is thick enough to prevent bleeding and ink smears. Here is the original website for Bullet Journaling, but you'll find a ton of resources just by googling "bullet journal".

Anywho, its just nice that life has decided to make sense lately. I know change will come again soon, but I'm soaking in all the goodness that comes with this stability and confidence I have in school and career choices. 


Shameless plug here - my website eliewrites.com is live and I'd love for you to check it out! I have a couple of projects in the works but if you have questions, want to collab or need to consult with me, shoot me an email!

Also, none of the links posted above are commissioned. I'm just sharing the resources I find the best for me!

xx

A confession, part II

Several months ago I wrote about my personal struggles with food. Since then I have experimented with plant-based diet and have found real success.

This isn't a post about what you should and shouldn't eat, nor will I lecture anyone about what a vegetarian is or why it is or isn't better than vegan, meat-eaters, paleo, etc. 

ELIE SHOE.jpg

I have dabbled in many diets - some I will definitely label "fad diets" - but one thing I can say with certainty is that there is nothing "fad" about eating whole foods. Nothing can replace real, fresh, wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The one thing I truly believe is "diet" is a word we should throw out the window.  "Diets" have a negative connotation and are commonly thought of as temporary and usually harmful. Food is fuel and is as an integral and necessary part to feeling our best. So I prefer to talk about food as what it is: food.

There are many reasons why people choose to not eat meat, or not eat grains - some have allergy reasons while others have ethical concerns. Choosing what you should and shouldn't eat should be based on how you feel when you eat those foods. Many people will tell you that they stopped eating meat because it literally hurt their stomach to eat it. Other people find that chicken and beef are difficult for their bodies to handle, but fish is more easily digested. Grains are the same way. 

Personally, I believe the genetic experimentation and chemicals put in our food have affected our bodies for the worse. There are times I can't afford to buy organic or non-GMO foods, but when my budget allows it, I try to buy the freshest, least-processed food possible. Additionally, I have certain ideological views, such as the belief in a sustainable lifestyle and the dream of having a farm one day - to provide both food and enjoyment. But not everyone thinks this way, which is ok.  

After struggling for years with digestive issues, I tried different diets to see if one would help ease the bloating, weight gain, breakouts and headaches. The first to go was sugar. The next to go was all heavily processed foods. Then I had to eliminate dairy and that was the biggest help for my body at that point in time.

Then I tried gluten-free and meatless. I can now say with certainty that my body can digest meat and gluten with no issues. It's the processed food that my body hates. However, I enjoy putting more emphasis on plant-based foods and focusing on colorful meals. I still indulge in a bowl of pasta and a grilled steak, but with less frequency. 

While I don't label myself, I practice what many call "reducitarianism." I eat meat less often and focus on eating more vegetables throughout the day. It works for me and it makes me happy, which is all that matters. I've been experimenting with different foods and recipes and can say without a doubt that my palette is expanding and changing for the better! My new favorite meal is now vegan dahl - an Indian-style dish with lentils and red curry paste (thanks Tania!). SO GOOD!

Anyways, my main point with this post is to say food is food. Do what works FOR YOU. There are a million different view points out there - different diets, different lifestyles, opinions, etc. But every body is different. Experimentation is necessary so have fun with it! In the end, its all about how your body reacts and adjusts to the food you feed it.


Protein is a concern for people when they contemplate going meatless, particularly if dairy or soy is off limits. In this regard, I will say that I  have found a tasty vegan protein powder that I love -  S.A.N. Rawfusion in the Vanilla Bean flavor has been my number one protein powder for the last two years. I recommend it for anyone struggling with whey protein!

 

A new perspective: Lagom

We are one week into the new year and statistically, the vast majority of the resolutions made on Jan. 1 won't survive the next few weeks. 

I gave up on resolutions because I was mad at myself for not always keeping them. But I also found that life had a funny way of changing and as a result, so did my goals. Many of the resolutions I set for myself were no longer a priority by month four or month five, and it was easier to let things go rather than make new resolutions.

This year, I've taken an entirely different approach. Given the drastic change in scenery we experienced two weeks ago, I have wholeheartedly decided to take everything day. by. day.

DSC_0738.JPG

Part of my decision to focus on one day at a time was a means of self preservation. I am a planner, through and through, and if I can't plan, my world becomes chaotic. Well, this season of my life is just plain un-plannable. To prevent a meltdown, I had one choice: I needed to change my outlook, my perspective on life.

In relation to my planning nature, I am usually a black-and-white, all-or-nothing kind of person. Meaning, in most areas of my life, I have big goals and I know what I want. But this characteristic gets me in trouble. Mainly, it creates a lack of flexibility, spontaneity, and balance. In terms of resolution-making, I would become so focused on a singular goal that I would lose sight of the other aspects of life that, oftentimes, meant more. Since marrying my husband, who is the definition of spontaneous, I have since learned to let go. 

This year, I am really focused on bringing my balance to my life, but through less planning and more intuition and freedom. Enter lagom. Lagom is a Swedish word that mean just the right amount - not too much, not too little. It comes from the phrase "lagom är bäst," meaning "the right amount is best."

The Swedes utilize this life perspective in sustainability, food, culture - basically in everyday life. I'm actually really excited to identify with lagom (like hygga) and am ready to embrace a more sustainable, balanced, simple and free lifestyle. Letting go was step one. Step two is live each day as mindfully and intentionally as possible.


As much as I love my home country, how beautiful does life as a Northern European sound?! Hygga, lagom.. a trip to across the pond is definitely in order! ;)

Adventure Awaits

The next big adventure has begun.

Ben and I spent the last four days physically moving from Florida to North Carolina and the two weeks before that packing and silently preparing for this change.

elie beach 1 smaller.jpg

I have always struggled with change, mostly because it is uncomfortable. Bilbo Baggins, as quoted from The Hobbit, summed up this sentiment quite right: “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”

But I've been trying to envision this week, and the coming weeks, with the same optimism and excitement of an older Bilbo, as quoted from The Return of the King, when he exclaimed, "I think I'm quite ready for another adventure!"

With that said, its high time I admit that we not only survived but came out the other side of our latest great adventure - in the tropics of Florida - with an abundance of knowledge and wisdom. Ben and I spent our first years together as a married couple in Florida, learning the highs and lows of living with a spouse in a tiny home far from most family. 

Life can be a bit angering and sobering, but it can also be funny, sarcastic, wonderful and surprising. We experienced many nights apart, lost many family members, changed jobs, and lived on pennies. But we also experienced many peaceful mornings together, gained new family members, new jobs, and made headway in many areas of our life together.

On our second to last night in our tiny house, we put together a (still growing) list of things we learned during our time in Florida. Its quite incredible to see just how much goodness came out of a generally difficult period of our life together - yet it makes it all the more beautiful. 

We are still processing everything, but I wanted to briefly share the top 10 things we came up with. Interpret them how you like, though I hope to have a more in-depth post for yall in the near future! 

In no particular order:

1. Love is forgiving

2. Life will hit you where it hurts, so learn to dodge the bullets and stand strong 

3. "Small" things mean the most. Text/call people when they cross your mind

4. Family is most important. No matter how present they are in your life, work to be present in theirs

5. Health isn't linear and we can't forget to heal physically and spiritually in the midst of hard times - not just when things are good

6. Space is sacred, but company is more so. In other words, sharing is caring!

7. An open heart leads to an open mind and an open home (see #6)

8. In marriage (or any relationship), it is prudent to think before you speak. Specifically, it is better to respond rather than to react

9. Be tough, but fair. Learn to stand up for yourself in difficult situations, but also strive to understand the other side of the equation

10. Trust your gut. Also, its not the stuff on the outside that matters as much as what feels good and right on the inside (similar to #3)

I hesitate sharing our plans for the future simply because they always change, but I can say that there is a lot in store for 2018! And while our Instagrams will no longer feature Florida beaches and sandy pups, they will feature woods and fields of wheat. I think that's a pretty even trade!