Things I Am Not

I am not the size of my pants.

I am not the number on the scale.

I am not a quitter.

I am not a flake, though it may seem that way sometimes by my actions.

I am not a person who has completely figured themselves out yet.

I am not my anxiety.

I am not less than because of my gender, my age, my job, other’s opinions of me.

I am also not my job. My job does not define me as a person.

I am not failing.

I am not all of the cruel things others have said to me over the years.

I am not the small person I feel I am when others seem to have better things to do than listen to me or have a conversation with me because I don’t fit their M.O. for being “cool enough.”

I am not ungrateful, though I certainly don’t say thank you as often as I should.

I am not the harsh thoughts my mind tries to tell me I am sometimes (fat, stupid, ugly, worthless).

I am not the additional weight that my body has collected over the years.

I am not my stretch marks, my cellulite, my bulging bra, or my dark circles.

I am not JUST anything. JUST a receptionist. JUST a woman. JUST an overweight person. JUST.

Here is what I am:

I am a woman. I am a 27 year old woman. I am a 27 year old woman who lives in Chicago. I am a 27 year old woman who lives in Chicago and is married. I am a 27 year old woman who lives  in Chicago, is married and has two cats. I am a 27 year old woman who lives in Chicago, is married, has two cats and works by day as a receptionist. I am a 27 year old woman who lives in Chicago and is married, has two cats, works by day as a receptionist and is also a musician. I am a sister, wife, daughter, friend, aunt, cousin, co-worker.

I am overweight. I am overweight and ready to lose the weight I put on. I am overweight and ready to lose the weight I put on and spend way too much time reflecting on what others may think about my weight, and not enough on what I want to do about it. This is unfortunately something I define myself by. I hope this will not be the case forever.

I am kind. My heart is larger than life, sometimes it scares me how large it is. I take on other people’s moods. I am deathly afraid of other’s opinions of me, even though they do not matter in the long and short of life. I spent my childhood being rejected by many people that I loved and because of that I spend my adult life pursuing friendships, but cautiously, so as not to be rejected in the same way again.

I am genuine. I don’t know how to manipulate others and even if I did I wouldn’t bother with it. For me, being straightforward and honest is my preferred way of living, even if oftentimes that makes me an over sharer. I’m okay with that. I’d rather others know too much than too little.

I am smart. Smarter than I let myself believe I am, because again, I like to remind myself that I’m nearly 28 and JUST  a receptionist. But I’m more than that. I help others and talk with people for my job. Since moving to Chicago I have been able to become  a part of a professional network to do what I love. I know how to successfully run a business but I’m so terrified of failure that I won’t try. I read and absorb books like water and I can memorize text in 10 minutes flat. I may not always remember your name, but I’ll remember that story you told me 10 years ago at that bar where we got way too drunk and drank way too many shots. I often overlook my experiences as less than others, though when I hear them listed off to me by proud parents or my husband, I often wonder if I heard my accomplishments from others if I would be impressed.

I can be lazy.  Sometimes my voice gets too loud. I don’t always do chores the way I should and my husband ends up taking on the majority of the housework. I can’t wear a pair of flats more than twice without them getting a little smelly. My idea of a perfect evening is parking it on my couch watching reality TV with a rotisserie chicken, potato wedges and a glass of Pinot Grigio (or three). I sometimes don’t think before I speak. I can be forgetful. I’m not great with money, but I only spend on little things.

But I am also thoughtful. I meticulously think out gifts to get for my friends, even if it means spending my last dime to make them smile. I feel like my favorite TV characters are friends of mine that I can always go back to on a bad day. I can make a pasta dish like nobody’s business, and I will make sure your wine glass is always full. Sarcasm is a fluent language for me, and sometimes people don’t know if I’m being serious or not. I am a Christian, but it took me a long time to feel like I was, because after I got depressed I felt like I had a strained relationship with God. I love my cats more than I probably should.

 

I’m quirky. I’m lucky. I’m thankful. I’m working on it. I’m getting there. I’m me.

 

 

 

 

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Things I Love Thursday

Hi Everybody!

I hope everyone is having a good week! Today is my Friday, I’m taking a vacation day tomorrow to relax before my show tomorrow night. Wanted to re-visit my Things I Love Thursday series, since let’s be honest, I’m loving a LOT of things right now.

Lularoe

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Come on now! I know you’ve been invited to a group at this point and you’ve been like, what the heck is this? So Lularoe is an online only clothing company. The consultants have sales and pop-ups and the clothes are seriously cute and come in so many fantastic patterns. I am ADDICTED. I have upwards of 30 pieces, and they make me feel SO cute! My favorite part besides the gorgeous patterns and uber soft leggings is that they make their clothes all the way from size XS to size 3XL so the chances are VERY good that you’ll be able to find something that fits you and makes you feel amazing!

 

The Moana Soundtrack

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I haven’t even seen this movie yet and I am already obsessed with it. I love that Moana is all about girl power, and I have been listening to the soundtrack like crazy (especially How Far I’ll Go, which is like my anthem right now.) Thinking about trying to finally see it this weekend!

The Lego Batman Movie

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If you are in desperate need of a laugh, PLEASE RUN TO SEE THIS MOVIE. I saw it on Saturday with  my best friend and my husband. We loved the Lego Movie, but this was honestly 20 times better and HILARIOUS. There were so many funny parts, I can’t even remember them all, and I want to see it again.

 

The Moth Podcast

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I’ve been looking for a podcast for a while that would really hold my interest. I had about 5 people recommend The Moth to me and I listened to it this week. I am super into slice of life stories, and that’s exactly what this is. People telling pieces of their life in a public forum. I laughed, I teared up, I smiled until my face hurt. I HIGHLY recommend this podcast if you like hearing others fascinating stories about their lives.

Wine of the Week:

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Protea Chenin Blanc. First of all, the design on this bottle is BEAUTIFUL. I had this wine for the first time when I was singing at the Peninsula Hotel in the summer of 2015. It’s delicious and crisp, and I think it pairs beautifully with chicken (especially a chicken with citrus…it really brings out the citrus notes in the wine). I love this wine just to sip as well, it’s the PERFECT wine for spring/summer (and it’s coming you guys! It really is!)

 

That’s it for this week…what are you loving?

 

-B

 

I Need To Get It Together

The title doesn’t lie y’all. I need to get it together.

 

Here are the facts:

I have been trying to lose weight for three years.

I have never stuck to anything or actually put in 100% effort.

I don’t know if I always believe I can do this.

I am having a hard time scheduling a routine that allows me to put myself first, because somewhere deep in my psyche, I don’t think I really believe I deserve it.

 

I signed up for The Color Run in June. Partially because it looks fun as hell and I want any excuse to go to something called a “Unicorn Party”, but also because I want to prove to myself that I’m not just a fat girl who can’t move. I want to run one mile of the race. I don’t know if that will be possible, but I’m gonna try.

I am not feeling particularly excited about my health at the moment. Losing weight feels more like a chore than something that gets me amped up and motivated. I feel like it’s something I HAVE to do instead of something I WANT to do. Some days are better than others. Yoga has been helping, but then I have people who tell me that “Yoga isn’t really doing that much for your body..you need to do cardio if you want the pounds to come off.” Maybe that’s true, but yoga makes my body feel good, so I’m gonna keep doing it and that’s that.

The thing is…I stopped caring about the number a long time ago. Every time I stepped on the scale and saw what I’d become, I felt HORRIFIED. I felt ASHAMED. I felt ANGRY. I felt worthless. Because a number made me feel that way. Because society says that a girl of my weight is “gross”. Because I was officially the thing I had feared my whole life. The thing I had dreaded becoming. Obese. This is why Weight Watchers never worked for me. I left filled with shame every single time, and had to answer questions like “Well did you poop today? Maybe after you poop you’ll be down a quarter pound!”…….Yeesh.

I finally stopped trying to squeeze into the “plus sized” clothes at Target and H&M and started shopping at Torrid, Lane Bryant, and Lularoe, stores that sell clothes for plus sized women that don’t make us feel like we are sausages trying to fit into a world of supermodels. Being able to dress myself in clothes that aren’t a shapeless sack (always in black…BLACK IS SLIMMING!) has helped immensely with my self confidence.

I realized I have an all or nothing attitude about this whole thing…and I’ve put myself on a STRICT timeline. You MUST lose 100 pounds by this date. You MUST lose 50 pounds by your best friend’s wedding. You MUST be this size or you are worthless. But the thing is….there is no timeline on your health. You just start. You just show up and do it. Unless a doctor tells you you’re going to die in two weeks unless you lose 25 pounds…there’s no time limit. You just have to commit, which has been my struggle in the past few weeks.

I’m a creature of habit and I love a routine, but somewhere in saying yes to EVERY opportunity that came my way in the past three years, I lost how to take care of myself. I feel like I’m re-learning and it’s NOT easy (though doesn’t it seem like it should be?) I guilt myself over saying “no thanks”, so I can take some time for me when I need it. I feel like every opportunity I miss is one that could have been something great (FOMO much?) I feel like because all of the women (read: in my opinion) around me are losing and I’m not, my journey means nothing. If I would just carve out the time, get my shit together, show up and do the damn thing, I would be where I want to be by now.

I know I post a lot of pretty pictures on Instagram of me in yoga poses and me smiling into the sun, and yes, those are moments I want to share, but it isn’t all pretty and filtered and happy. I still am not happy most of the time with what I let happen to my body. I still feel embarrassed. I still wonder when I run into old friends I haven’t seen in years if their first thought upon seeing me is “WOW, SHE GOT FAT!” This journey is hard. But for some reason, I keep choosing it. Even when I fall off, I get back up again. The gains I DO get from it outweigh the struggle for me.

Maybe I won’t hit a 100 pound loss in a year like all these people I see on Instagram do. Maybe I won’t ever lose 100 pounds…but more like 50. The fact that I will be HEALTHY and STRONG and most importantly, PROUD of myself…that should outweigh the number.

I’m going to get my shit together. And I’m going to make myself proud as hell of the woman I’ve become.

 

-B

 

 

Things I Love Thursday

Hi Everybody!

Welcome to my very first Things I Love Thursday post! I’ve been loving on a LOT of stuff this week, and I wanted to take a moment to share it with you. I’ll be trying to keep up with this weekly, so stay tuned!

Yoga With Adriene: Yoga Revolution

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You guys, I am officially OBSESSED with Yoga with Adriene. Yoga is something I have always enjoyed doing, but I get embarrassed in class settings because I don’t always know what I’m doing. I started doing her 31 day Yoga Revolution on Tuesday and it already has me feeling amazing. This is obviously yoga, but it’s also about setting intentions, finding what feels good, and taking a journey inward, which is something I am desperately craving right now!  You can find her yoga videos on YouTube, and I promise, you won’t be sorry! My bestie Linsey gets a shout on this one for paving the way for me to try this! I may become a yogi yet!

 

Dasani Sparkling Water in Raspberry Lemonade

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Y’all know I am a LaCroix girl through and through. The company we order our drinks from at the office unfortunately doesn’t carry LaCroix, so I thought I would order this and give it a try, and it. is. AMAZING. I love this flavor. I actually find the natural flavoring in this water to be a little stronger than LaCroix, but I am absolutely loving it. It’s helping keep me down to one Diet Coke a day (and hopefully soon I’ll be down to zero!)

 

This song – I’m Me by Us the Duo

 

I saw Us The Duo for the first time when I went to see Pentatonix. They opened for them and I have been OBSESSED ever since. I actually heard this song for the first time on a Spotify shuffle of their songs, and I absolutely loved it, but now that I know the story behind it, I love it even more! They wrote 5 songs for their visual EP Public Record based on fan stories. This song was inspired by a gay man in the military. Watch the video, it’ll make you feel so good!

Lush Bubble Bars

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Normally I’m more of a bath bomb girl because the colors are so fun, but this bubble bar might be changing my mind! It’s called Big Bang and it smells SO good. It has a little bit of sparkle to it, and the pink stars on top are actually bath melts which are so good for skin softening. The great thing about bubble bars is that they last for more than one bath, so you’re really getting your money’s worth!

 

 

 

Wine of the Week:

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Bogle Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel basically LIVES on my wine rack. I tried this one on a whim because I had had Bogle wines before and enjoyed them, and this one is DELICIOUS. I love Old Vine Zin because it has really deep beautiful flavors, and it has a lot of berry flavor which I love. If you’re looking for a good sipping red, this is definitely one that would look really good in an Olivia Pope sized glass! It retails at about $10.

 

Those are the things I am TOTALLY loving this week. What are you loving this week?

 

 

 

Meet your resident wino.

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Hi! I’m Bri, your resident wino. I have been thinking about making a blog to track my weight loss journey for well…what feels like forever at this point.

 

Here are the facts:

  • I am a wino. My husband and I had a wine themed wedding, and spent our honeymoon tasting wines all over Napa Valley. Nothing makes me happier than a glass of wine after a long day, or going to our local grocery store and discussing the different flavor profiles of wine and how they pair with foods with the person hosting the tasting. You may be thinking, what are you, an alcoholic? My husband and I like to joke that we are  high-functioning alcoholics, but in all seriousness, wine fascinates me. It feels elegant and mysterious to me. It can make flavors pop out of food that you didn’t even realize were there to begin with. The history of wine in and of itself is endlessly interesting. Our wine rack is always full. My current wines of choice are an Old Vine Zinfandel and my old stand-by, Pinot Grigio…though I’ve been dabbling with Rose of late.
  • In 2012, I got VERY depressed. I had just met my now husband. I was in a musical that was really stressing me out, my parents had just moved to a different place, and I had such severe anxiety that I wasn’t sleeping or eating. I was literally eating watermelon and drinking water, just to survive. I knew something was wrong when even pizza didn’t sound good to me anymore. I got the help I needed, but when my appetite came back, I stopped moving (I had been working out 5 days a week prior to the musical) and started ordering in pizza, hitting up my local 7-11 for sour cream and onion chips and orange soda, and at Easter I would buy 4 Cadbury eggs and a bag of Starburst jellybeans and eat the WHOLE thing in one night. I was also frequenting the bakery on my walk home from work for a Toffee Cookie sandwich filled with frosting. It was delicious, but it did not do me any favors.
  • 5 years later, I am 100 pounds overweight. I am not proud of this fact, but it is a fact, no matter what way I spin it.
  • I tried Weight Watchers on and off for about a year and found myself gaining weight more often than losing it. This made me feel extremely discouraged.
  • In May of 2016, I found Beachbody and the 21 Day Fix. From May to September, I had HUGE successes with the 21 Day Fix. Here’s a before and after for evidence.
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  • I was feeling like a SERIOUS boss babe. And then winter happened. And I got complacent. And I gave into my excuses. And the holidays happened, and now, I find myself not quite back to square one (I am DEFINITELY way stronger than I was in that first picture) but not nearly as close to my goal as I would like to be.
  • That’s where this blog comes in. I have been wanting to find a place to write about my journey. I have always been honest about this journey and what it means to me. It isn’t perfect, because I’m not perfect. I have good days and bad days. But I’m here, and I’m showing up. I drink wine a few times a week because it makes me happy, and frankly, it’s a part of who I am. I’m ready to make things HAPPEN in 2017. Here’s where I’m starting from.
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If you’ve read this far, you’re up to speed on my journey. I have a plan of action for the month of February, and I intend to make it work for me. (I also just discovered a new brand of bubbly Rose that I am SUPER amped about). I hope you’ll keep tuning in for info about my journey, the wines I’m drinking, self care, and everything in between!

Big Love,

Bri