A New Month Already? Julying

Happy second half of 2020! We’ve had a hell of a year so far, but there’s still time to turn it around.

Disney opens at the end of the week, and while I am excited, that’s not the subject of today’s post (I am signed up for one of the Cast Member preview days, so I will talk more after going to that). Today is all about that lovely goal I have about getting healthy. Woohoo!

Quick recap: I am an accountant and therefore sit around all day and do not exercise very often. I am also prone to stress snack on chips and chocolate. All bad habits combined led to a 30 pound gain since I got married in October 2016. I was doing good this past year- I started going to Orange Theory this past October and was taking daily walks on my lunch breaks. Oh, and I kept my desk at standing (LOVE my standing desk at the office) until the afternoon, which also helped a lot (scoliosis back pain, so fun). Then quarantine and working from home (indefinitely still at this point) happened and everything just kind of stopped.

In the beginning of May, I did my very first 5K for one of my favorite organizations: Bert’s Big Adventure out of Atlanta. It was a virtual race, so I was able to complete it by running around my neighborhood. I did not train for it, and according to MapMyRun, I did a total of 5.14KM in 57 minutes. Not too shabby for my first race.

My first 5k race!

You would think that would have made me want to get moving more, especially with the Wine and Dine 10K not yet cancelled, but I still did not get into a routine when it came to fitness.

In Flordia, Orange Theory opened right before Memorial Day. I did start back the week after it opened – OTF and the grocery store are basically the only places I go now. The first few classes were terrible as my body had ditched all the gains from the past 6 months. It was very discouraging, but enlightening to what all I had gained, then lost. I started making sure I took walks more regularly after that- and because B.B.A. announced another virtual race for the 4th of July. This time we could get shirts!

Y’all, my time on Saturday was 51 minutes. Things are working.

The best part is the scale is starting to trend down! I am so excited, but I do have a feeling that it is not just because of the increased activity. A couple of weeks ago, I began to really count the calories I ate – I bought a food scale and everything. Staying home all day decreases my calories burned, so I incorporated a very loose intermittent fasting schedule as well (16:8 for those who follow IF). My morning is hot tea and water; I try not to eat anything until noon. It’s working as long as I stick with it.

With all of that being said- what are some good healthy snacks? I know fruits and vegetables, of course, but what about non-traditional snacks? Especially for someone who loves sweet and salty things. Let me know some of your favorite recipes for me to try!

Goals Check In

Hello everyone! We are still in self-isolation/quarantine land, and I have barely been outside my home in over a month. The worst traffic I have seen is my cat cleaning his junk in the middle of the walk way. As such, most of my health goals have been replaced by excuses.

I started out really well with morning runs and such, but then the Cast Member 5K at Disney Springs was officially cancelled and I just kind of lost the motivation. And that motivation has been extremely difficult to get back. I haven’t worked out in two weeks. It’s bad.

I did sign up for a virtual 5K that is taking place May 2nd. Bert’s Big Adventure from Atlanta is hosting it. All money raised is going to the charity which takes children and their families to Disney World among other things. Most of the children have some kind of serious illness or superpower, and I have been a big supporter for more than a decade. It’s awesome. Go check them out. The race is $15 for a runner and $5 for each additional runner you register.

I also purchased an elliptical that has yet to ship. I am hoping it will come soon, but COVID is putting a delay on a lot of purchases.

The other big problem my health goals are facing is the fact that I can snack all day long with no judgment thanks to working from home. The snacks plus the lack of movement (I am averaging less than half of the usual steps a day I got in the office) means I am definitely consuming more calories than what I am burning.

But, this is a new week leading into a new month. I am going to get back on track and complete that 5K. I will be ready to get back to the gym and the theme parks when they finally reopen. And as soon as that elliptical gets delivered, I will be adding it to my morning or afternoon routine to the point where I am doing some kind of cardio at least 4x a week.

And I will continue to be honest to myself and to you guys when it comes to the ups and downs of this. Health is hard, and you have to be able to acknowledge the issues to get there.

Create Gratitude

So, this was not going to be my next post, but with everything going on, I believe it’s more important than what I was planning.

I am an avid listener to a relatively new podcast called The Upside with Callie and Jeff. They are big on the topic of gratitude and finding the upside in the everyday, and they make a point to be a break from the news that clogs our social media and other outlets. I started listening to Jeff almost 20 years ago when he was a radio DJ in Atlanta, and I cannot recommend them enough.

Anyway, a lot of what I am writing here comes from what I have gotten out of that podcast, hence the quick plug. Gratitude is so important in the world we live in. When everything seems dark and negative, a simple “thank you” can change someone’s day. You can show gratitude in other ways as well- an act of service, being there for someone who was there for you, a smile, whatever. You are not restricted in this area.

Start keeping track of what you are grateful for. My planner has a section at the back of each month that I can write what I am thankful for and why. I have included things like my crock-pot, my husband, my cats, working from home, and milkshakes. It doesn’t have to be something life changing. But keeping up with it will change your view on life.

Right now I am thankful that my position allows me to continue to work remotely during this global crisis. As most of the world is stuck at home, please think about those who still have to show up:

  • Doctors, nurses, other medical professionals
  • Our military
  • Our first responders
  • The customer service reps who are trying to help you reschedule your spring break plans (my heart goes out to my fellow cast members who are dealing with thousands of calls)
  • The grocery store clerks that cannot control what is out of stock
  • The other service workers such as trash collection, mail, deliveries, etc.

If you interact with someone in one of these professions, remember that they are human too. They are not the business that told them to come in. They are working for their paycheck. They are tired. Treat them with kindness.

On the other side of the same coin, check in on the local businesses that may not have the resources to survive the shut down. I know of a few bakeries and restaurants that are still open, but only serving carry out and delivery orders. Show them gratitude, even if you don’t order from them- comment on a post on Facebook or something.

But the best way to show gratitude right now? Do not go out unless you have to. Remember that there are other medical emergencies going on, and the hospitals are not only dealing with this virus. Stay away from beaches and crowds. We are trying to slow the spread for the benefit of our community. By working together, we will be able to go back to Disney World sooner rather than later.

Here is the link to The Upside if anyone is interested: https://www.callieandjeff.com/

Creating Health Goals

So, being an accountant means that I basically sit on my rump 40-50 hours a week (including commute time). Then there is Netflix and other non-active activities to engage in when I’m home. This has led to being at a state of health that I do not like. I have tried combating it with spur of the moment diets, halfhearted home gym work outs, and even a personal trainer. Nothing has really stuck. 2020 is the year I change that.

In October, I started going to OrangeTheory Fitness. I go twice a week as my work schedule allows, and I really enjoy it. OTF is an hour long HIIT group class that utilizes the row machine, treadmill, and weight floor in order to improve muscle and cardio. The coaches are super supportive so far, and I feel like I can modify as needed, depending on what my body tells me. You also earn “splatpoints” which is a great pull on my competitive side and makes me push harder.

On the food side of things, I am working on snacking less and eating more veges and fruits. This is a huge challenge, and it’s where I am the weakest. I am using MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories and macros, but I know I am not doing enough in this area to really get me where I want to be.

Now that the setup is complete, I give you my health goals for 2020:

  • Lose an overall 10-15 pounds
  • Move to a jogger from a power walker
  • Complete my first 5K with a time under 50 minutes (which, I actually have signed up for one at the end of April)- I currently have a 16.5ish minute mile.
  • Complete my first 10K with a time around 1 hour 45 minute (the original plan was only to do the 5K, but I managed to snag spots for the Wine and Dine 10K in EPCOT in November!)
  • Cook with more fresh veggies
  • Less SUPER processed foods for meals (I love my Chef Boyarde ravioli in a pinch, but I will not be unrealistic and say all processed foods. I’m still human)

I have dedicated a page in the back of my planner to keeping track of my progress when it comes to OTF. Every month I update/ choose new parameters for myself. Basically, as my fitness gets better, my speed on the treadmill and weights on the floor increase. I know it’s not always going to be a linear thing- it is very import to listen to what your body tells you. One day I be able to jog a few minutes, the next power walking may be a struggle. The progress is in the long game.

To everyone in their own health and fitness journey: may we all suffer together and support each other. This is a team sport, y’all.

Goals for 2020

So we are six weeks into 2020, but I am still trying to figure out what my main goals for the year are. I am trying to have at least one for what I believe to be the important parts of my life. As soon as I share them, you guys can help hold me accountable. But, here are the couple I have so far:

My reading goal for the year is 50 books. That’s a little less than a book a week, and I think I can pull it off. Heck, I have 12 done already which will be good if I get into a reading slump later in the year.

Health goals are going to be non-scale based. I think that is part of the reason why I have such a hard time with it- numbers get into my head. I want to complete a 5k by the end of the year and move from power walking to jogging on the treads at my Orange Theory class. I just started jogging on the all outs without inclines, and man, that makes me super winded. Cardio is not my thing, y’all.

I want to finish writing my NaNoWriMo 2019 novel before NaNoWriMo 2020 starts. My plot decided to not follow my outline so I have been stuck with how to get things going again.

Make the most out of my annual passes. I am paying for Universal and SeaWorld, and I don’t want that money to be wasted. I don’t see it happening because I just love theme parks and roller coasters, but my life isn’t 24/7 Disney (it basically is, but we keep getting blocked out thanks to Star Wars).

Career wise I don’t have any specific goals yet. Last year was huge for my job, so I feel like this year will be honing my knowledge on skills I need for industry accounting. The change from public was a welcome one, but a lot of my every day smarts are not used here as they were tax related. It’s a different brain and I am enjoying it very much.

I plan on keeping you updated on these goals and more as they come up. I also plan on bragging about all the fun theme park stuff I get up to, so if you have any questions about Orlando theme parks, let me know and I will do my best to answer!

Dreams Come True

Okay, so I know that it was been WAY too long since I have written anything, so let’s do a quick life update:

  • I survived one of the worst tax seasons ever (thank you new tax laws that no one really understands yet).
  • We went to Disney! It was a blast. I even got to experience Hollywood Studio’s 30th birthday celebration.
  • We stayed at Port Orleans French Quarter while we were there. 10/10 would definitely stay there again and recommend to everyone. Everything was amazing, especially the food.
  • I got a new job, so goodbye public accounting.
  • We are in the process of moving for that new job. In fact, I’m writing this from a hotel room as part of the relocation process.

So, what is my new job you ask?

I am super excited to say that I am a financial analyst working at Team Disney for DCL!! Guys, I work right across the street from Disney Springs. Six years after the end of my Disney College Program, I am back working for the best boss ever. It still feels surreal. This past week was my first on the job, and yes, I totally almost cried at Traditions. I may not be in a role with a lot of guest interaction, but I still get to help make the magic come to life.

Earlier this year I chose the word renaissance to define my goals and path. And, just like Disney in the 90s, I feel like this is my renaissance. I got my CPA and I am back with the company I have dreamed of all of my life. Things are only just beginning. Next steps are becoming a homeowner and getting my health goals back on track (walking around Disney World should help with that one).

Things are happening. Let’s see how far they’ll go.

There’s a light…

At the end of the tax season tunnel. While Friday is business return deadline and everyone is stressed, we have just over a month until freedom.

And for me, that freedom means actual weekends and Disney World.

Things have gotten to a slightly more manageable than they were. I’m settling into this senior role with all it’s weird management like responsibilities. It’s getting easier every day, but that does not mean I am less overwhelmed by it all at times.

What has really helped has been going to the gym before work. That’s right. My husband and I are getting up at 5 and going to the gym most mornings now- except on the one day a week I see my personal trainer. My mood has been a lot better and I don’t have an excuse to not go to the gym.

Also, I rock the wet braid look at work.

This week will be a challenge thanks to deadline PLUS daylight savings time. I’m already sleep deprived so let’s take away an hour on top of long days.

Good luck fellow accountants. Five weeks until the end and we can sleep until extended deadline.

I’m Still Here!

We are a week and a half away from the first deadline of tax season. By January first, all W-2s, 1099s, 1098s, etc must be prepped, mailed out, and filed. As such, I have been super busy. I have averaged about 53 hours a week the past three weeks, and I am in a constant state of tired and stressed.

Even my personal trainer has noticed. He was very concerned when I came in Thursday, and I just told him that I’m going to look like a zombie until April 15. I also apologized to him in advance for any crabbiness and rudeness he does not deserve.

The most challenging part this year is learning how to be in my new senior role. I am in charge of a lot more things this year, and, as such, my stress level is a tad high for how early it is in the season. I have too many excel tracking workbooks to count, and I am more or less in charge of training the interns we have on all things tax. I also have to make sure I am keeping them busy. Managing is hard, you guys. I’m doing my best, but I know I have a lot more to learn.

Health wise I’m struggling to find a routine right now. It is very easy for me to say I am too tired to go to the gym. I am really only going once or twice outside my personal training appointment, and I want to get it back up to three (for a total of four workout days during the week). As for food… We eat out a lot in tax season. I try to stick to salads, but that is not always easy. This is an area that needs more work right now. I have goals, and I need to work towards them, no matter how tired I am.

Just as a FYI: I can’t answer most questions about the new tax law. We won’t really know what changes until we see it in action. This first year is a big one for all of us as we see how the IRS treats the different rules. It may take longer to process things this year. Please be patient with us accountants.

I hope everyone is having a great start to their 2019!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a safe celebration last night. We have officially said goodbye to 2018! Today is the first blank page of 2019, and the book can be anything you want it to be. I’ve been spending the past few weeks thinking about what I want to accomplish the coming year, and I want you guys to help me stay accountable.

  1. Lose 20 Pounds
    1. I want to be in much better shape by the end of this year.
    2. I still have my personal trainer once a week, but I need to be better at going to the gym at least three other days in addition.
    3. I have a snacking problem that I need to work on. It’s bad, especially on lazy days or crazy work days.
  2. Work on Crafting
    1. Now that I have free time again, I want to learn new things.
    2. Quilting is my number one new craft this year. I already have plans with my aunt for her to teach me this summer.
    3. Making my own Mickey Ears. This one should be easier than quilting, but it looks just as fun.
    4. Sewing my own cosplays. This is probably a forever work in progress as I learn how to use my sewing machine.
  3. Better money management
    1. We want to buy a house this year. That means a lot of planning for down payments and cost of movers and new furniture. It’s a huge decision and I can’t wait.
    2. Two pretty big vacations this year in addition to moving. After tax season we are going to Disney World for a couple of days, and labor day weekend we are going on an Alaskan cruise. We have saved quite a bit for these, but they are both big spending trips.
    3. I am weak when it comes to books, leggings, and Amazon. My goal for this year is to cut down on the extra spending on non-needed things so we can afford all of our big purchases this year.

What are your main girls for this year? Maybe we can help each other out!

2018: A Reflection

Gosh, what a year. I passed the CPA exam, swam with sea turtles, started with a personal trainer, and did a bunch of stuff in between. As for my 2018 goals, let’s review together:

  • Pass the CPA exam- check!
  • Lose 10 pounds and be healthier- I could have done better here. I got really close to the goal, but I got really lazy this month which put me at half my weight goal. I did lose an average of 1.5 inches all around, and people keep telling me muscle weights more so maybe I can blame some of the weight on that. But I mostly stuck to a workout routine and ate healthier overall so I count that as a mostly win.
  • Increase monthly savings- check! I now put money into 2 different savings account at each paycheck. One is for our future house and the other is for vacations.
  • Focus more on mental health and self care- This one was a hit and miss during the year. I did get back into reading which is relaxing for me, but I did not do things like face masks and I still need to work on telling people no and removing myself from stressful situations even if it is just a ten minute break. Balance is another struggle that will need more work in the coming year, both in my work and personal lives.
  • Improve back/ posture- honestly no idea on this one. I never got my scoliosis checked (it’s been almost 15 years since I’ve had to wear a back brace) but I did yoga and wear a lumbar brace sometimes. Soooo 50/50 check?

The good:

  • Went on 3 vacations this year, two beach trips and a cruise.
  • Had a fairly food handle on finances even if Christmas went a little crazy
  • No more studying!
  • Got more serious about health goals

The bad:

  • Some issues at work that have been discussed and won’t be said here
  • Passing of family members
  • Did not won 1.6 billion lotto

The ugly:

  • Had to get new mouthguard that insurance didn’t cover but it was very needed
  • Rent and other expenses increased
  • Tax season is always ugly

So 2018 could have been a little better goal wise, but it was still a great year. I know what I need to work on in 2019, and I really hope it does not involve too many intense, serious conversations (I know I can’t avoid it in some situations, but I really hate it).