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Flexing my writing muscles

14 May

Wow, it’s certainly been a while.
The other day, while waiting for some update to run on my computer, I found myself looking at this blog. I read through the last few posts I wrote (in 2014) about my trip to Colombia and the need to disconnect from technology while I was there. And then, nothing. I have said it before and I will say it again. Reading something I wrote some time in the past gives me such joy. That got me thinking, maybe it is time for me to start writing again.

When I got back to the States back in the summer of 2014 , I found myself extremely busy with new projects at work. At the same time, I was trying to maintain my newly acquired passion for exercise*. Then I got pregnant that fall and literally everything changed. Even though I was elated to be pregnant, I was constantly scared something might go wrong with the pregnancy. For that reason, I stopped doing Insanity and Zumba and switched to gentle walks. That came to a sudden halt when, around week 6, I started experiencing morning sickness. Which in my case should have been called, all-day sickness. It lasted all the way through my second trimester. At that point, I started to take slow walks again . When it was cold out, we would go to the gym and while I walked on the treadmill, the husband would run. As the third trimester came along, my feet, my stomach and my behind got progressively bigger and bigger. I have to say that I was the most unhealthy, laziest pregnant woman ever. I ate doughnuts frequently and my workout of the day was putting the dishes in the dishwasher. Still, I had a relatively easy labor and delivery, although my baby was 5 weeks early.

My little boy was born in July 2015, and we found ourselves trying to survive the crazy newborn stage. Then, I just plain got lazy and stopped working out at all. I stopped caring about what I ate. I would tell myself, “hey I’m in survival mode; gotta do whatever it takes to survive this stage of life”. To some extent, that is true. I think I took things too far though. So far, that almost 9 months after giving birth, none of my pre-pregnancy clothes remotely fit still.

Yes, I have heard that it takes a full year to recover from pregnancy and childbirth. But in all honestly, I cannot justify my unhealthy habits that way. Our lives today are much different than they were before we had a kid. Most of the time, I am way too tired to work out. My 60+ mins daily commute (one way) is not conducive to cooking healthy meals, getting a good workout and taking care of a 10 month old who wants to explore every nook and cranny of our home.

Last month I completed the Whole30 program and I lost 10 pounds. Being that I have so much weight still to lose, 10 pounds is not that much. It has made a difference though. I am no longer passing out at 7:30 PM every night. I have more energy, fewer mood swings, less inflammation and I am sleeping a million times better. Also, my migraines are pretty much gone and I can now pinpoint exactly what was causing them (gluten for the most part). The Whole30 program is famous for helping people curb their sugar cravings. While I can say that mine have diminished considerably, they have not totally disappeared. The other day I found myself eating a brownie (totally off plan) and then feeling guilty about it the next day. I realize that the struggle against my sugar dragon** is not over and probably won’t be for a while. But that is okay because I am taking the steps to take care of my health and finally have a healthy relationship with food. Instead of using it as coping mechanism when I am stressed or sad, I want food to be simply fuel for my body. And every now and then, I will enjoy more indulgent foods totally guilt-free. On the exercise front, I am taking small steps to get myself moving again. My boys gave me a mountain bike for Mother’s Day and I have been making an effort to hit the trail and ride my bike at least once week.

I don’t know how to close this post other than saying I missed blogging and just felt like doing it again.

PS: I can’t believe my first post after an almost two year hiatus is all about fitness and exercise. I guess that is one topic that has been on my mind a lot lately and so I guess I just needed to share.


*While I have always worked out, in one way or another, I owed this dedication to my husband who is a rock-star athlete. His endurance and amazing physical shape at almost 42 years old never cease to amaze me. You inspire me, lovely husband! 😉

**That’s what the Whole30 calls it.

Hello from The Caribbean!

30 Jul

And soon goodbye too, HA!

I have been in Colombia for three weeks and I have loved every minute of it. The husband came with me but only stayed for a week. I miss him terribly but I get to see him this Friday, yay!

I had planned to blog my whole trip and take millions and millions of pictures, and while I have had taken a lot of photographs, I definitely haven’t gone overboard witht the picture-taking. For one, I feel kind of ridiculous pulling out my iPhone or my camera at a fancy restaurant. Or telling people not to dig in just yet because I want to instagram our food and drinks. Kind of ridiculous if you think about it. Also, there is the obsession we have as a society to document every single minute of our lives and then post it on social media. Why? I understand the want to capture moments on camera so you can look at them and relive the memories. Isn’t it more important to actually be in the moment so that later you have a clearer memory of that time?  I have been trying to  just be in the moment.


This is not to say I won’t try to write recaps here. Just that I am going to enjoy this trip to the fullest down to the last minute of it.

See you on the other side of the Atlantic!





Partay At My Hotel!

7 Jul

I’m once again traveling for a work conference. Even while I’m on vacation! Yay!


This time I’m in Morehead City NC for a two-day workshop.


I’m really enjoying the conference but I would be enjoying it more if it weren’t for the big trip we have this Thursday! I’m still not done with packing and the eleventy billion errands I have to run before leaving and the whole thing has given me a chronic migraine.

As a way to relieve stress, I’ve been taking pictures of myself


Such unruly hair, much windy, so trendy (inside joke)

I was actually hoping to eat at a famous local seafood place but then my migraine got worse so I just went out and got more painkillers, takeout sushi and frozen yogurt. And then I had a solo party in my hotel room with delicious spicy sushi and free HBO!


(Side note, I can’t believe how much I love sushi now when I used to dislike it so much. It’s crazy how your tastes change as you get older)

Next time I post, I’ll be writing from an exciting place somewhere in the caribbean!

A Rant

6 Jul

In light of the loss of Colombia against Brazil in Friday’s World Cup match, I have seen a myriad of Facebook statuses and tweets complaining about the injustice of it all.

Yeah, I was disappointed we lost even though I don’t care about sports that much. But hey, I grew up in Barranquilla where futbol is a big deal and I can’t help getting excited when my team plays (beautifully to boot!)  in the World Cup.

Here is the thing people. It is still just a game. It is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. While I wouldn’t do what others do to express their passion for soccer, like posting a wall of text in which you pray to God for the team to score a goal, I have no problem with that because to each their own.  However, I do think there are far more important things to pray about (On Facebook or otherwise).

But when people post videos like the one below, it makes my blood boil.

Really? Killing the referee? Over a soccer match? In what universe is a human life more important than a stupid sport?

I know some people argue that it’s just a joke, just for fun, blah, blah blah. But this is not an acceptable joke in a country like Colombia. A country that has been plagued with violence for a really long time. A country whose citizens living abroad have to live with the burden of always being reminded of our past with drugs and cartels.  A country that has to put up with other countries in the world making fun of our people and insinuating we are all into drugs.

And the worst part? Whenever either of these things happens, we have the audacity to get offended because how dare people make fun of the history of our country? People, we perpetuate the stereotype by making videos like the one above, by filming shows and soap operas about cartels and Escobar and the guerrillas, and by having our national media give so much coverage to all the terrible things that go down in our country.   Don’t we have enough crap to deal with as it is?

I love Colombia with all my heart but this is something that we really, really need to work on as a country.


Photo/Thought Dump

27 Jun

Life has been kind of hectic this past week which is why blogging has fell to the wayside, as usual. We have a big vacation trip coming up so I’m getting everything ready for that.  Honestly, I am too exhausted to compose any kind of coherent text right now. My exhaustion is both physical and mental since I had the great idea to attend an Insanity class yesterday morning and now I can’t walk without hurting. So I am here in bed drinking coffee and eating oatmeal while debating if I should go to Zumba class or just stay in bed. Hence, a Photo/Thought Dump!

1) I can’t get enough iced coffee. For the record, the one I make at home is just as good (or maybe better) than Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. photo 3



2) Everyone who knows me well is aware of the fact that I am not into sports, either watching them or practicing them. However, I can’t help getting excited over the World Cup and cheering for Colombia, who’s doing awesome this time by the way. I think it’s partly a childhood thing. I have fond memories of watching USA ’94 and France ’98 World Cups with all my neighborhood friends. Ah, the 90’s. How I miss that decade!

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3) It kind of sucks when you’re off for the summer and your husband is not. It wasn’t so bad last year because my mom was here. And while I have plenty of things to do around the house to keep me busy during the day, sometimes girls just wanna have fun!

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photo 1That would be a Bento Box from The Cowfish, a sushi/burger joint that opened in Raleigh last year. The sushi was awesome; the burger was kind of meh.  I’ll definitely be back!

4) We went fishing for the first time last weekend! I mean, it wasn’t my husband’s first time fishing and technically I didn’t do any fishing. So I guess I should say, the husband went fishing for the first time in the Neuse River and I tagged along to take pictures and ask him to put the fish back in the water.

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5) Ever since I turned 30, I have started to notice slight but definitely perceptible signs of aging. My eyebrows aren’t as full as they used to be; I have more sunspots/freckles and my eyelids are getting a bit droopy. Oh, well. Aging cannot be stopped and I am definitely not going to go out of my way to hide it, other than wearing sunblock and moisturizer.

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6) Oatmeal! I cannot get enough oatmeal lately. This is one of my favorites ways to eat it: Raw old-fashioned oats, pineapple greek yogurt, banana and a little bit of peanut butter. Yum!

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What I’ve Been Up To

19 Jun

Believe it or not, when I am on vacation it is harder for me to get stuff done. I think it’s because when I’m off for the summer, I have this feeling that I can tackle any DIY project, complicated recipe or cleaning task because, hello? TWO MONTHS OFF! I have all the time in the world.

I guess that feeling of having so much time off brings out my procrastinating tendencies because I end up accomplishing nothing. Last summer, my mom was here so we spent a lot of time traveling and going on little adventures here in NC. However, as the first day of school approached last summer, I started complaining to J that I felt like I had wasted my summer because I hadn’t done anything productive. All I did was eat, watch TV and read. I’m not complaining because it was really restful and all, but that feeling of guilt for not being more industrious with my time was still there.

On Tuesday, J called me midday and asked what I was up to and I said I wasn’t doing much. Then, I got defensive and started offering explanations as to why I was doing nothing. It wasn’t like he was questioning my laziness, but I still felt the need to defend it. He then reminded me how much I had lamented my wasted summer last year. Alright, wise husband! I need to get my butt in gear and stop languishing on the couch watching movies on Netflix. I mean I’ll still be watching chick flicks, just not every waking hour.

I think one thing that has been different this summer is that I’ve been more physically active. I’ve been more consistent with exercise and, dare I say, I might actually be enjoying it now. I’ve also been trying a new approach with cleaning. Instead of choosing one day a week where I clean ALL THE THINGS, I’m doing one chore a day. That way, I can smile smugly as I watch four episodes in a row of Orange Is The New Black because hey, my kitchen floor is sparkling clean!

Yesterday I started with cleaning out the closet. I got rid of old clothes and shoes I wasn’t wearing anymore. Speaking of shoes, I realized my shoe obsession is getting a little out of hand.

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The fact that I have three pairs of shoes that are almost identical except for the color is proof that I have a problem. I kind of hate myself for it.

Other things I have been doing include trying to redecorate here and there and experimenting in the kitchen.

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I was a bit skeptical to buy that tray since I know chevron has been way overused for the past two years. However, I kind of like the contrast between the colorful flowers and the black and white. Also, it was very inexpensive and it makes a great tray for Sunday breakfast in bed. I would also like to decorate the kitchen/dining nook a bit more. We’ll see!

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I made this Thai lemongrass rice noodle soup for lunch yesterday and it was the bomb! I only made one serving because I was experimenting so J didn’t get a chance to try it.

So that’s what I’ve been up to. Plans for today include watching Colombia play against the Ivory Coast at noon with a friend and then picking up a new bed I bought! Yay, consumerism!


Maybe Horoscopes Do Tell The Truth?

15 Jun

Not really. I don’t actually believe your horoscope can tell you–to a tee– what’s going to happen in your life. However, four years ago I wrote something here that should lead me to believe otherwise.

Since I’ve been blogging more frequently this month, (I know I said I would do it daily but 4 times a week is good enough, really) there has been a higher influx of readers, some of which have been digging through my old archives. One post in particular got a lot of views. One of the paragraphs in that blog post got me thinking. Here’s what I wrote:

Now, my love horoscope was incredibly positive and dare I say, a little unrealistic. It said I would begin this year getting a lot of attention from men and that I would have so many men pursuing me, I would have trouble choosing one. HA!  They explained that some lousy planet had been in my House of Love for a long time, but now it had finally left which meant total romantic bliss from now on. HA HA! My horoscope also foresees that by the end of 2010, my romantic life would reach its peak, meaning I would get either get married or move in with someone.  HA HA HA! I don’t mean to sound pessimistic. But I find all that hard to believe. At least, for now.

So that prediction actually turned out to be true. Allow me to elaborate.

I was, for all intents and purposes, single at the beginning of 2010. That didn’t mean I wasn’t hopelessly in love, but that love was indeed hopeless, and so I made the decision to start dating. I had never really tried online dating and I thought I would give it a chance. I signed up on at the suggestion of a friend. While I had my share of dates that were a bunch of fails, I did find myself at some point where I had many suitors and I actually didn’t know who to go out with. I obviously chose to date the losers who were either not really interested in a relationship or the weirdos who were kind of creepy and had the personality of a rock. My enthusiasm for online dating slowly fizzled out and I gave it up.

Then over summer break, I made a terrible mistake. A mistake which many women have made throughout history over and over again: I got back together with an ex while I was on the rebound. It happened without me even realizing it was happening. And it was even more complicated because we were 2000 miles apart. But somehow I found myself in serious relationship again that was, seemingly, quickly headed for marriage.

Now, here’s the part when I want to kick myself in the proverbial nuts. A part of my brain, albeit small, knew that I was making a huge mistake by getting back together with my ex. But a bigger part of my brain was in denial mode. I was so desperate to find a way to get over that hopeless (failed) relationship that I was truly fooling myself into believing this new relationship actually had a chance of working out. I guess I wanted to simply replace the feelings in my heart, which now that I think about it, was utterly ridiculous.

One day, something clicked in my brain, and I realized that I was in for a world of pain if I went through with my plans of marrying my ex. Breaking up with him was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do. I felt like a piece of garbage for treating him that way. Many people got mad at me and hated me for doing that to him. I sort of hated myself a bit as well. But here’s the thing. I’m a firm believer that most people* who cheat on their spouses, at some point of the courtship had reservations or felt unsatisfied or unfulfilled with the relationship. I didn’t want that to be me in the future. I felt that if I went through with it, I was going to be miserable and make him miserable. I made the hardest choice but in the end, the right one. From what I’ve heard from mutual friends, he’s moved on and seems to be very happy with another girl now. That has definitely helped me forgive myself for making that decision.

In the midst of all that breaking up drama, I met the man who is now my husband. Granted our romantic relationship didn’t start right away. I honestly refused to give him my number several times at first. I was full of doubts and fears. I was afraid of falling in love and having my heart broken once again. I was afraid to put my hopes of happiness in a man only to realize it would never work. J was persistent though and didn’t give up. He never pressured me or anything but he sort of stuck around as a friend until I decided to give it a chance. And I’m so glad he did.

Going back to the horoscope prediction, my life did reach a peak at the end of 2010, although I was still a little ways from moving in together or marriage. That peak moment came when I decided to let go. Let go of what I wanted from love, let go of my expectations, of my illusions of perfect love. That was the first step. Letting go.

It took a long, long time for me to understand that indeed everything happens for a reason. That there was a reason for me to fall in love so desperately with the wrong man, that there was a reason for me to pursue meaningless relationships, or to try, in vain, to make it work in a relationship that was doomed from the start. All of those things have led me here. All of those things have made me the woman I am today. I understand now that J was the person I was meant to be with from the start. For this, I regret nothing. I am eternally thankfully for all the experiences I have gone through. I am also grateful for the other (two) men I loved before my husband and what I learned from loving them.

Not too long ago, I wouldn’t have been able to admit all this to myself, but I am strong enough now to do so. So I guess, maybe, horoscopes do tell the truth?

* I know that is not the only reason

What I’m Wearing Lately

12 Jun

Alternate Title: The one where I give in and post a bunch of selfies of what I’m wearing. A few weeks ago, I photographed everything I wore during the work week just to see if I was rotating my clothes regularly. I found out I tend to wear the same thing over and over again while other pieces languish unworn in the closet. Here’s what I wore to work from May 27th till May 30th:









And that Friday, I went shopping and tried on this lovely dress:


I didn’t buy it though. It was was too tight and too expensive!

Weekend Highlights

10 Jun

My laptop battery is currently at 25% which means I need to finish this post before it dies* because I’m just too lazy to go get my charger. So to make it faster, I’m doing weekend highlights, bullet-style.

  • I had a doctor’s appointment Friday afternoon which got cancelled at the last minute. That cleared my agenda for reading on my couch. J had to work late so I just ate leftovers and watched Netflix that night.
  • Saturday morning was the usual, except no brunch because I was going to a cookout/going away party later that day so I was saving room for that feast. The food was delicious and I tried some yummy cocktails.
  • On Sunday, we went to church, ate at our favorite Mexican place and then went to see The Fault in Our Stars. Yeah, I hadn’t cried that much at the movies since Titanic came out when I was in the 8th grade. While it was no surprise that I was probably going to shed a tear or two, I was really surprised at how much the film moved me considering the book hadn’t that same effect. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the book pretty well, but for some reason the movie was a bigger cry-fest for me. I would say don’t watch this movie if you are clinically depressed or if any of your relatives has cancer.
  • We had planned to go on a walk/run Sunday evening, but I backed out at the last minute. J went by himself but made it a short one. I decided, instead to do this strength circuit for arms that I found online while listening to trashy pop music on Pandora. It made my arms feel like jello. They’re still pretty sore actually.
  • Finally some photographic evidence because you know one of the rules of blogging is pictures or it didn’t happen. 

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* I apologize in advance for any typos as I am not planning to proof-read this post.

Living Abroad

9 Jun

You might think that when a person moves to another country they have a million stories to tell. And I think it’s true because I think I could write a 10 page essay with all the things that have happened to me while I’ve been here. I’m not going to write a 10 page essay here, though. I’m too lazy for that.

I certainly don’t want to give people the impression that during my time here it has all been bad. Wonderful things have happened. But living away from home has been harder than I thought. It’s not just the being homesick part, even though that is one of the worst parts. There are so many major differences between the American system and the Colombian one. I suppose if an American decides to suddenly start living in Colombia, they would encounter the same problems I have encountered.

It was so difficult getting used to everything. Starting with transportation. Here, at least in NC, you must have a car. Not having a car is like not having feet. You can’t get anywhere without a car. To be able to purchase a car, you must have a driver’s licence too. And trust me, getting a licence here is NOT like getting a licence in Barranquilla. It’s almost like they give them away in Barranquilla. Leaving my house on a random Sunday afternoon to watch a movie at the mall was no big deal. I could either walk 10 minutes or take a taxi and be there in 5.

When I first moved to the US, I was living in a very rural area of NC. Don’t get me wrong where I live now is no metropolis, but at least I can get to the nearest Walmart or drugstore  in 5-10 minutes instead of the 40 mins I had to drive before. Still, that is light years away from my life in Barranquilla.

Transportation was not the only issue. Food was also a concern, at least at the beginning. Everything tasted weird and after I ate, without fail, my stomach would start grumbling like crazy. There were many things that I didn’t like from the start like collard greens, kale, or sweet potatoes.  Eventually, I developed a taste for the food and I truly learned to enjoy it. Cultural differences were also an issue at first. Silly things mostly. Like I would say something serious to a group of people and they would laugh as if I had made a joke. Or things that people said that were meant to make me laugh and I didn’t get at all. With time I have come to understand that there are aspect of one’s culture that simply cannot be explained.

I guess there is really no point for me to be writing about this other than to say, it takes time. It takes time to get settled in a new life when you are living abroad.