30 day challenge august alcohol detox

30 Day Challenge – August

30 Day Challenge.

As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m back with the announcement of my final 30-day challenge in this year of 30-day challenges.

Each month since I turned 40 I have completed a 30-day challenge. Some have been physically challenging and some have been mentally challenging. Some months the challenge has been a breeze to complete and others have taken extra dedication.

Through it all, the main goal was growth.

That has been accomplished.

August Challenge.

I have come full circle for my final challenge.

The challenge for the month of August is:

30 Days of No Alcohol.

Beer at Paris Cafe

If you’re wondering what I mean by full circle….last August I also went 30 days with no alcohol.

I wrote about the beginning of that challenge in this post.

I shared a little more in detail of what prompted me to go 30 days without alcohol and what I learned during those 30 days in this post.

Flight of beers in Stirling, Virginia

Lessons.

One of the lessons that I took away from the challenge was that by challenging myself, I could grow.

And so began the year of 30 days challenges upon turning 40 years old.

At the time, I didn’t see any major changes by cutting out alcohol. However, when I added it back in, I realized that it did make me less productive. I have a hard and fast rule about not responding to comments after a glass of wine. My concentration levels also go down.

Given the fact that my stress levels are also leading to current bouts of insomnia, this couldn’t be a better time to incorporate this as my final challenge. While I don’t plan on abstaining permanently from alcohol, I do like having this “reset” of sorts as I head toward the celebration of the day of my birth.

I think that even after I turn 41, it is very likely that I will continue incorporating 30-day challenges into my life.

I’ve learned so much about myself on this journey and I’m looking forward to learning so much more in the years to come.

As always, if you feel compelled to join along in this challenge, please do!!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 26

Friday Faves – Edition 26

We're rolling into another weekend… the second one of August already!

But before we get there, I'm sharing some of my faves this week.

Miss Sunshine and I did some school shopping. Back to school shopping for a female going into 8th grade is not for the faint of heart! It's not that she isn't fun to shop with..she is! It's that the current fashion trends do not conform to school dress codes.

Ripped jeans… yes you can wear them, but the rips must start below the acceptable shorts line

 

All the jeans had a rip at the thigh. Scratch that. We found a possible pair online, but they haven't made it here yet.

The other popular trend. The cold shoulder. But is the part above the shoulder wider than three fingers? Whose fingers? Some chubby fingers? Some petite fingers? And what the heck is wrong with shoulders?

At least we found a backpack!

In the past, Miss Sunshine has picked out her backpack from a surf shop we frequent on our beach vacations. Last year, it was a little too small to carry what she needed, so this year she wanted a bigger one. And all black. Since I don't replace backpacks every year, we opted for this North Face one. I expect it to last a good while.  Can it make it 5 more years of public school? I'm not setting my hopes that high, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Big Mr. had Senior photos this week. We won't receive them for 2-3 weeks and which point we will decide which to place in the yearbook. If you remember from this postthe Big Mr. had hair down to his shoulders. Curly and thick hair. He knew that he planned to cut his hair, but wanted his Senior photos with his long hair.  When I asked why, he told me so when he was 40 he could look back and see that time when he had long hair.

So after Senior photos, off he went and came home with so much gone.

Bold move!

I'm so happy that he loved the new cut because it took 1 1/2 years to get it to the point it had been at before.

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This past year has been a year of growth for me. If you've read my blog or followed me on Instagram for a while then you know that in April I went overseas for the first time. It pushed me outside my comfort zones to travel to a new country, but I also had my husband (who had done some world traveling) as my security blanket. When my mom suggested taking her first overseas trip, to Scotland, at the end of May… I jumped at the chance. I wanted her to find a love for travel just as I had 6 weeks before. I handled transportation & city navigation (with the help of some map apps) as we moved throughout some areas of Scotland. I came back from that trip even stronger and more confident in myself. As I think about future travels and the fact that I'll be turning 40 in a little over a month…I see a year of pushing my comfort zones even farther. How have you pressed outside of your box this year? 💙🌎☀️ . . . . .#sheisnotlost #femmetravel #dametraveler #travelstoke #traveldiaries #travelblogger #lifeofadventure #ladiesgoneglobal #theoutdoorfolk #keepitwild #liveauthentic #livefolk #darlingescapes #fromwhereistand #thehappynow #thisisscotland #visitscotland #visualsoflife #stayandwander #wearetravelgirls #lifestyleblogger #passportready #momboss #bossbabe #passionpassport #natureaddict #naturehippys #thediscoverer #roamtheplanet #seekthesimplicity

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I found high amusement in the Big Mr.'s commentary about "when I'm 40" because I'm sure that to him it seems so far away. I know that when I was 17, I probably thought that seemed so old.

And yet, here I am, at around a month away from being 40.

And it was so far away.

I've lived  so much life thus far. Done so many things. Met so many people. Traveled to faraway places Grew life inside of me. Celebrated life's highs and mourned life's lows.

Still I feel as if I'm just on the edge of having experienced all that I want to in this wide world.

I feel as though I'm just beginning to embrace who I really am. Learning that the world doesn't get to dictate my choices.

I ask you the same question that I asked on Instagram…

How have you pressed outside of your box this year?

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I mentioned in last week's faves that I was making some dietary changes. I am on my third week of a four week no alcohol detox. I read somewhere about it being a good thing to try before heading into Virgo season. I don't know if there's anything to that, but I figured letting my liver not have to process out toxins for a bit was probably a win-win for it. I layered in no gluten the second week and this week no dairy.

Dairy has been much harder for me. I had no problem giving up my splash of heavy cream in my coffee. I just switched it to almond milk, something I use in my smoothies already. However, I do love cheese. No cheese has been hard. When I decided on "no dairy" along with "no gluten", my husband asked what I was going to eat. I admit that I wasn't on top of things with pre-planning so I wasn't always happy with my choices. Oh… that meatloaf recipe takes milk… here everybody…eat up…I'll just be over here with my salad. Maybe I can eat a baked potato… oh wait…no butter…no sour cream either. I'll just be over here eating the leftover taco meat…with no cheese.

I did make guacamole. That was a tasty point in the week. And I love my breakfast smoothies. It was the other two meals where I should have planned better.

The goal wasn't really an elimination diet. Although I wish I'd have done that.

The hubby and I went to dinner last night. My favorite Chinese restaurant. I ordered my regular choice. Hot and Sour Soup and Kung Pao Chicken. It was the first time I noticed the area on the menu that says these items can be made gluten free. For some reason, I just assumed they were already gluten free because of the stamp beside them. I'm not a stickler in restaurants for how things are cooked because I don't have Celiac Disease. I just have various digestive issues and have for years, but don't know my triggers.

The meal was awesome and tasty. The conversation with hubby full of laughter. I felt a little pain in my stomach as we went to leave, but really it wasn't a big deal. At home, about an hour later, the pain returned, but centered on the left scapula and toward the chest and I felt a headache type pressure in my head and down my sinus cavity.

Since I wasn't on an elimination diet, I still have no idea what the trigger was. It could have been the gluten in the soy sauce, but it could have easily have been the peppers or any other number of things that make up those two recipes.

I'm not sure if I'll move to an elimination diet. The alcohol detox has become more about finishing out the goal that I had set. I would have to go even longer in the entire process cut out other foods and I just keep seeing my birthday on the horizon with a slice of cheesecake and a cocktail calling my name. Would I have time to add things in and discover my triggers before that day? I don't know, so I'll have to ponder it.

 

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This week I took back up spending some time in my journal. The black journal started the year out as a place to write a little snippet of fiction. A page to a page and a half. 20 minutes. I really wanted to work on being more descriptive. To see if I could tell a fictional tale that would draw somebody in enough to want to know more.

And then I got sidetracked.

It was something I enjoyed, but I didn't make it a priority. My goal is to move it back to a priority.

I picked up the mint journal because I've wanted to start a gratitude journal. I've been working more on staying in the present moment and gratitude seems a great place to start. I just picked it up Wednesday…made a list of 5 things I was grateful for and promptly forgot to do it yesterday. I've obviously got a ways to go to make it a habit.

I think I'll set a reminder on my phone so that I stop and actually do it.

Do you have ways that help you focus on the present?

The song I chose this week came up on my recommended list. The band found the inspiration for the song when they moved to London and left their loved ones behind. If you're a Game of Thrones fan then you'll love that the video features Maisie William (aka Arya Stark).

I got the hubby to watch the documentary Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things with me, and while he's always been an advocate of us reducing our clutter, now he's finally ready to actually help me with the process. This weekend is supposed to be a huge purge weekend for us!

I hope that as you go into your weekend, you find yourself a little freer from the daily stressors of life.

Take a moment to look around a see what a magnificent world in which we live.

The sun rises and sets.

The flowers bloom.

The breeze blows.

Take it all in.

This gift that nature offers.

And all for free.

 

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. - Henry David Thoreau

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

Friday Faves – Edition 25

Friday!

Sometimes I have to ask myself what happened to the week.

Well this one was filled with dental cleanings for me and the teens. I was at the dentist office 3 days in a row! Yesterday Miss Sunshine had her final orthodontic evaluation. Baby teeth gone and molds taken. Braces go on in two weeks! It made me feel like my baby is growing up. My last one in braces…and only months away from being 14.

I also rode with Mr. D on the Interstate. He’s in the learner’s permit phase and less than two weeks from being 16! It was a mild interstate in the scheme of interstates. It starts at one end of Roanoke so it didn’t require him merging onto the interstate. The speed limit is also only 55 mph, much less intense than those 65 or 70 mph roads. He opted for the slow lane instead of the middle so we were able to work on deciding whether you need to speed up or slow down as people merge into your lane.

Next week is Big Mr’s appointment for Senior photos and all my teens gets their class schedules.

But on to some more of my faves for the week.

Watermelon

Did you know that August 3rd was National Watermelon Day?

Usually I’m behind in knowing these things, but I was on top of my game this week! I even though about writing a post, but I had promised the photo tour of The Cloisters at University of Glasgow. And then I remember I shared about how to pick the perfect watermelon in this post.

Did you celebrate National Watermelon Day by eating any of the sweet treat?

 

Our puppy, Maverick, keeps us busy as usual.

Since Miss Sunshine maintains his Instagram, sometimes I’m just as surprised as everyone else by his antics.

This was one that made me laugh out loud when I discovered it on his page.

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This was my recent read.

It caught my eye on the front racks of the library. I didn’t have it for a whole 30 days so I perused and took what value I found to apply.

I’ve read that it takes 21 days for a new habit to become like second nature so I figured I’d just implement whatever habits I found intriguing.

I read 3 pieces of advice that were my favorites.

  • FIFO | The pg version of this is “figure it the frick out”. But the gist is about self-motivation for knowledge in situations that need a solution. I have some areas in my blogging where I’m trying to learn the things that are my weaknesses…such as getting my words in front of more people.
  • Layering in habits.  | I’ve decided to work on some detoxing of my body as I move toward the season of my birth. I think it goes well with my decluttering / minimalism process, which is also a detox of sorts. I mentioned in last week’s faves that I’ve started going to the steam room to attempt to sweat out toxins. I also decided to go 4 weeks without alcohol. I’ve almost finished week 2. Where layering came into play was that in week 2, I added cutting out gluten. I haven’t fully decided if I will maintain that long term, if I will add no dairy, or if I’ll just move to no processed food. I liked that layering cuts down on being overwhelmed and quitting because you’ve started too many habit changes at once.
  • Rock your victories. | Celebrate along the way about staying on track with the habit that you are changing. I’m not very good about pampering myself with any self-care so those will be the rewards that I am putting into place during my formation of new habits.

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Miss Sunshine is finishing up her summer reading. She decided that it would be nice to put up a hammock in the back yard as a place to read.  Big Mr’s hammock needed some repairs so she ordered her own.

I took full advantage of lounging in it when she was off doing other things!

 

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My self-care pampering this week (technically I’m almost due for a 2nd self-care moment, but as I mentioned it’s not something I’m good at prioritizing) is to take a long soak in my tub. I have a jetted tub that I have used about 3 or 4 times over the past 3 1/2 years. It’s not that I don’t love a good soak, it’s just there is always something else taking precedence.

I saw an article about a salt bath with essential oils that sounded nice. When I tried to find the article again, I ended up finding an aura cleansing one. It was very similar to the original one that I read with a little more ritual involved. Either way, for me the goal is to find some moments of mindfulness and relaxation. I was looking at Lavender essential oil, but opted for this Peace & Harmony calming blend because it smelled so nice. It’s ingredients are Peppermint Oil, Patchouli Oil, Orange Oil, Lavender Oil, and Basil Oil.

If you are interested in the process, it’s to clean the tub and take a head-to-toes cleansing shower completely prior to the bath. To the tub water, you add 2-3 handfuls of unrefined sea salt or himalayan salt (I think mine is unrefined, but I’m not going to stress over that) and the the 2-3 drops of essential oil are optional. You can pray or set intentions releasing negativity while you relax. The recommendation is to not towel dry afterward, but to just put on a robe or whatever. I’ve picked up some candles and am debating some classical music reminiscent of my bath soaking pregnancy days.

I’ve already put the word out that I’m not to be interrupted. Keep your fingers crossed for me that they can handle my hour of alone time.

I’m thinking pedicure and massage may be some of my future weekly self-care rewards.

What kinds of things do you do regularly for self-care?

Your mind will answer most questions if you learn to relax and wait for the answer. -William S. Burroughs

Last week, I had a song pop into my mind. It took me a while to remember the name, but once I did, it took me on a happy trip down memory lane.

When we first moved to Stuart, Florida in 2010, we rented a home. Even though they called it a 3 bedroom, it was technically two and a den (in Florida, the law is it can be called a bedroom if it has a closet). Big Mr. and Mr. D. shared a bedroom and Miss Sunshine had the room off the living room with pocket door that never closed properly. But we were living near the beach and the rental came with a boat dock at the end of our road.

Since we didn’t know how long we’d be there, we opted to forgo cable.  Our TV was on a lot less during those days. We opted to go for evening boat rides or walks around the neighborhood. It was here that Mr. D would show us his feat of learning how to do a kip up and a planche. That didn’t mean life wasn’t chaotic. I was raising a 7, 9, and 10 year old. Our nephew came to live with us (3 boys in one room) so that I could tutor him, mostly in math, before he took the ASVAB. There would be quite a passage of time before he would eventually ship out for the Marines.

At some point we added Netflix. Some evenings we would find family movies to watch. One happened to be the movie Bandslam. This song is played in the movie. After we watched it, we hunted it down and all practiced the whistling part of the tune.

I had almost forgotten that I found it last week, when last night the hubby was watching Limitless and I heard the song playing from the other room.

Synchronicity?!

It takes me back to a simpler (not less chaotic, just simpler) time in my life. It reminds me of what I’m hoping to achieve by seeking a minimalistic approach to materialism.

I hope that you all have an amazing weekend and a wonderful week ahead of you.

Inhale the future. Exhale the past.

And be fully present in the pause in between.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

Friday Faves Edition 22

Friday Faves – Edition 22

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Do you ever have a week that seems like a blur?

My week was chaotic. There are still so many moving parts with decisions to make, things to complete, and places to be.

However, I did find beauty in those moments. Here are some of my faves for the week.

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On Sunday, I met a girlfriend for coffee.

I’m not a person who needs lots of friends, but I do need some that I consider my safe zone. These are the friends with whom I can speak freely. I can tell them about my trials in parenting, talk about the personal stuff of marriages and relationships, and the details I tend to keep private about what’s going on in my life.

Without fear of judgement.

She is one of those friends.

We decided to go to Sweet Donkey Coffee which is in South Roanoke. It’s a cute little coffee shop that always has something going on. I’ve been wanting to go since it opened (some years back), but hadn’t been yet.

Why hadn’t I been yet, you ask?

Confession time: some of you may already have guessed, but… I don’t parallel park. It wasn’t required for a driver’s license in Florida and I find it very intimidating. I did discover that that is plenty of  places that I could pull along the street and just walk back a few blocks, but for that day, my friend picked me up and we rode together.

When I visit a place, I like to try something that I can’t get anywhere else. Sometimes it works out, others times not so much (like the Carbonara that I had in Paris, which I didn’t realize came with a raw egg on top).  I decided to try the lavender latte. It could have gone either way. I’ve had a lavender kombucha that was tasty, but I hated the floral macarons that I tried from Ladureé in Paris (I felt like I was eating perfume).

The latte turned out to be amazingly tasty. And we had a great time catching up on everything happening in our summer so far…so much so that it was a 3 1/2 hour visit.

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My next fave doesn’t look so faveish (I don’t think that’s a real word) yet. Our home is wood frame. Wood rots over time. The wall and steps had finally gotten to the point where they need replaced.

Especially given that Feng Shui principles are that the entry to your home should be inviting. Rotted decking is not inviting.

The original entry was sheathed the same way as the house. The layout of the interior of the house is very contemporary and we have decided that we want light allowed through the railings. We haven’t completely formulated what that will look like.  I have been scouring through Pinterest and pinning things to my Pinterest page. I’m very excited about the prospect of a nice entry to the front door.

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Some of the books that I had on hold at the library came in…actually a bunch came in at the same time. I haven’t started this one yet, but I love the title because that is what I have chosen to do. I kept wanting to find a different house (and we will still probably downsize once we have less kids at home) and I have decided that in this moment I need to embrace this one.

I am still working on my goals of simplicity / minimalism by decluttering. I’ve found that one of the things that works best for me is to set a 20 minute timer and work diligently in that location. Then I set the timer again in a different location. I work in as many of these 20 minute bursts as I can fit in around the other plans for my day. Sometimes I work on my bedroom closet, sometimes my office, sometimes the filing cabinet, and sometimes the garage or other specific area that is cluttered. The 20 minute bursts keep me from getting overwhelmed (and thereby paralyzed and unable to move forward) with the projects in front of me.

Of course, Maverick has kept me super busy. He had his first check with our veterinarian last Friday. Getting him at 14 weeks meant that he was behind on socialization so she told us to get him out as often and to as many locations as we can. We visited my mother-in-law and took him for a swim in the pool. He wasn’t in love with the pool, but he did love my mother-in-law (dogs know that she’d choose them over a human 😉 ).

While I was at coffee with my friend, Miss Sunshine and the hubby took Maverick to the dog park and then over to splash around in the Roanoke River.  He did love the river! 🙂

Getting him socialized, teaching him “sit”, and potty training have consumed quite a bit of the week. Yesterday, he went in for his final distemper shot. We also opted to get him the leptospiroris shot since he will be hiking and playing in the river. It ended up making him sore and I spent the day wondering if it was the shot or if he had fallen on the stairs when I wasn’t looking. By the end of the day, he was back to his normal, crazy self.

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I don’t know if it was the fried foods, the alcohol, or just too much overindulgence, but I didn’t feel great after I got home from the beach. I decided to go back to having a glass of lemon water every morning to start the day.

Yes. Even before coffee.

yoga mat and bag

My shoulder was bothering me over the weekend, but I still decided to go to the gym.

On Monday, I went to Pilates. I take these as a group exercise class at my gym, not at a studio.

And I got called up in front of the class!

I was nervous because I wasn’t sure whether it was to correct my form or show that my form was correct. It ended up that I was doing it properly, keeping my shoulders in place and not using my trapezius which wants to take over on the specific exercise.

On Tuesday, I went to the new Bodyflow release (the yoga class that I take). It was release number 77, which I thought would bode well since that was the year that I was born. It was a great release, but there was a lot of shoulder work and I opted to do the “flip your dog” into a “wild thing” and finish out in the backbend. The back track also included scorpion push-ups and fireflies. I think on a good day I would have been sore because the other shoulder felt tired. But it was a little too much for the shoulder that was bothering me.

I decided to honor my body and take Wednesday off, even though I really wanted to be there.

Thursday, I felt better and went back to Bodyflow. I did not “flip my dog” and took the back track from my knees and skipped reps when I needed to skip them.

Today was Pilates. This instructor does not teach this class often at my gym. All the instructors have their own style. I knew this one focuses a lot on breath work. This is an area that I don’t work on often, but I know that it is so beneficial, so I knew that I wanted to go. It turned out to be the entire class focused on getting our breath into those spaces that we don’t often take it… into the back of our ribs, into the thoracic spine… it required such concentration that I was totally in that present moment for the entire class.

Just what I needed to realign my focus and head into the crazy life that I call mine.

Every day is a blessing. Embrace it fully.

I know I’m always hoping that your weekend is filled with sunshine, but if your days have been as hot as ours, I’m hoping for a little cloud cover 😉 But still wishing you lots of smiles and days filled with kindness.

Mountain sunset with ee cumming quote

Let your light shine!

Amy