The Last .01% of Recovery

Remember when I posted about 99.9% recovery?

I posted it in the summer of 2015, examining the question: “Is full recovery [from an eating disorder or any disordered eating] even possible?”

My answer at the time was:

More often than not, I don’t care about calories, I eat what I want, and I can skip a workout without any problem. However, there are days when eating more or skipping workouts doesn’t come easily or without thought.

Maybe you can reach 100% recovery, or maybe you have! I am so genuinely happy for those who do. This post is just my two cents based on my experiences, and I have concluded that I might be at 99.9% for a while.

I believe that I was in a healthy place last year, mentally and physically, and I don’t think that there have been groundbreaking changes in my mindset since then. Yet somehow I feel that I’ve tasted that last .01% of recovery.

I say “tasted” because our mental state is transient— it is constantly shifting and wavering depending on our environment, experiences, and seasons of life. Maybe there’s something about being home that triggers more inner demons. Maybe there’s something about being abroad that has forced all those demons away.

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God has granted me the incredible opportunity to study abroad this semester, and these past 3.5 months on a different continent has helped me develop as a person in many ways, including my mental health. Being in a completely different country with an unfamiliar culture and new people has forced me to adapt in every way—intellectually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. I don’t have my familiar surroundings to fall back upon when I’m stressed or bored or whatever, which can be either disastrous or fruitful. I’m grateful to say that it has been the latter this semester.

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The main things I have noticed in this last .01% recovery are that:

1) I don’t remember everything I’ve eaten in the past week, and I don’t feel the need to share it all with everyone on the blog.

I’m definitely NOT saying that people who share what they eat at every meal are in a bad place (hello, I’ve been doing it for the past three years on this blog), but for ME, there was always safety in knowing pretty much everything I ate in a week as a subconscious “balance” check.

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Showing you these dates with peanut butter, because a lot of you recommended it. 10/10. 🙂

Now it’s more of a day-by-day, or even a meal-by-meal, evaluation. It’s a little more present and future-focused than past-focused.

Past-focused: “What did I eat earlier today/this week? What should I eat now, since I ate that before?”

vs.

Present-focused: “What will satisfy me right now?”

Future-focused: “What do I need to make me feel better later?”

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In other words, there is little to no room for regret or compensation these days.

2) I’m not afraid of meals that make me think of “something I would eat in my disordered eating days.”

This one sounds strange, but I used to be slightly afraid of eating a meal that was very light or extra “healthy” during recovery, because that would make me think that I’m heading backwards. I feared that I might fall into the mindset of cutting calories again.

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But I know that I have zero desire to cut calories consciously or to restrict myself. Zero. Therefore, I can trust myself to eat a small box of salad or a small breakfast and know that I’m not trying to restrict or compensate. When my body is ready, I will naturally eat more later. Does this make sense?

3) I’m not afraid to be lazy.

THIS ONE. This one was hard for the longest time. Detaching myself from calories and food restriction was the easy part, but detaching myself from a mindset of constant activity and fitness has been the most difficult part of recovery.

Move, groove, walk everywhere, yoga, don’t take the bus, have a constant desire to be active.

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Don’t get me wrong, I still love moving and grooving, walking, etc. a lot! But listen, at the end of the long day, I just don’t want to walk 1.5 hours home, even if I have the time. Sometimes I don’t want to get off three stops early just to get in more steps. Sometimes I don’t want to take an active 5 minute break every 25 minutes while I’m working at my desk.

In other words, I trust myself to be lazy. I’m not going to spiral into a pit of sedentariness forever and ever if I’m lazy every now and then. It is indeed possible to enjoy sitting on your butt and to also love fitness, and I think this has a lot to do with the fact that I truly do exercise in ways that are enjoyable to me.


To answer the original question: Full recovery is possible. I think initial recovery can and should be pursued vigorously, but 100% recovery (in my eyes at least) is mostly reintroduced to us over time. 100% recovery finds YOU, but you have to be willing to be uncomfortable, whatever that entails for you. Over and over again.

For me:

  • sitting for very long periods of time without exercising beforehand
  • sitting for very long periods of time after eating a lot
  • eating salads that have more dressing than I would have wanted
  • going a whole day without a whole grain

Those are just some examples of discomfort for me. Does this mean I force myself to feel this discomfort every day? No, not at this stage (earlier in recovery, I did). But these discomforts must be welcomed and embraced, and honestly, just passed over with as little thought as possible, which you can only accomplish if you allow them to happen a few times. Only then might you find that they aren’t as uncomfortable anymore.

I have come to the conclusion that 100% recovery does not mean that we don’t care about my body image at all or that we disregard calories completely. It doesn’t mean we act oblivious to all those things, because that’s impossible. Instead, I think 100% recovery means that we have an abiding sense of peace in ourselves that cannot be budged by external factors (missed workout, more sweets than usual, someone else working out when you can’t, etc.) NOR internal factors (feeling tired, feeling extra hungry, etc.).

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be more like St. Francis

As always, I must remind you that I am not a professional by any means. I share all this from my own experience only. If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, please find help from a registered dietitian (you can reach out to RD bloggers like Robyn or Kylie even!). 

So tell me: 

Any thoughts! 

Have you learned anything more about what does good for your mental health recently? 

Dear Alison… {A Look Back at 2015}

The last three days of 2015 have been going out with a bang, I’d say!

Some good food for the body…

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Some good food for the soul…

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dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house

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banana peach green tea slush in a BOWL (they know what’s right)

Some more Christmas cheer…

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my lovely family caroling for senior citizens

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talented gingerbread house designers

Some “big kid” fun in blizzard weather…

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smiling through the pain of freezing rain blowing into our faces

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delicious chicken taco because I was hangry waiting for ramen

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“sakepolitan” (alcoholic cranberry lime juice, essentially)

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ramen that hit. the. spot.

And lots of baby cuddling…

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photo creds to my uncle!

We also did yoga and bouldering yesterday! I felt like I was in Boulder, CO with all their fit, hip, and healthy citizens. It was a fun day!


Since today is the last day of 2015, I feel obliged to reflect on 2015 with my second annual letter-to-self. So without further ado, here are month-by-month letters to Alison (myself), highlighting the moments that made this year a beautiful and transformative one.
dear alison

Dear January Alison,

Well weren’t you just living it up in Florida!? Disney World, air boat rides, that time you almost ran into an alligator in the wild, your first spa day… What a way to kick off your year!

I forgot that you tried starting a budget spreadsheet. Haha. I also forgot that you posted a couple workouts and you did lots of burpees. You were a maniac with burpees.

You started your second semester of freshman year, but winter storm Juno shaved off what felt like half of your class time. Not that you were complaining.

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Dear February Alison,

Second semester kicked your bootay, despite the snow days you had every Monday. I’m proud of you for getting through anatomy, organic chemistry, linguistics, and a tedious writing class all in one go.

You also became a certified tour guide for Boston University, woohoo! I know you were stressed about remembering all the information, but you pulled through.

Lent started and you gave up music. THAT WAS HARD. But spring retreat with the Catholic Center totally recharged you and made you remember what truly matters.

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Dear March Alison,

You posted about your eating disorder struggles for NEDA week. That was heavy, but it was good for you to reflect on your progress and hopefully good for others who have similar struggles.

Spring break was a BLAST! You hung out with your BFF, Daliza, and I think this is when you realized that you have a college BFF too (Rachel!). Of course, y’all bonded over food. BIG TIME.

You joined intramural softball even though you hate baseball/softball. You weren’t good at softball and you’re still not good, but I hope you learned to try new things anyway.

You cried for the first time over schoolwork, but are you really in college if that doesn’t happen?

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Dear April Alison,

Wait whoa, this is your last month of freshman year already. You celebrated your first Easter away from home with some beautiful people.

First Boston Marathon experience! Watching it at least. Get pumped for another year of screaming your lungs out and getting inspired by the participants.

You learned even further that there’s more to life than food and fitness. I’m glad you expressed this.

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Dear May Alison,

Finished with freshman year, what whaaaat.

You went to Colorado (hiking was beautiful, but work on that lung capacity, eh?) and Blend Retreat, which was like a dream to you. Wasn’t it so cool to meet bloggers like Emily, Amanda, and Tina!? *starstruck*

Back at home, you started your physical therapy internship, which turned out to be an amazing experience.

Last but not least, you made one of the best decisions of the year in May— to take it easy with exercise and up the calorie intake.

Oh, you turned 19, which means you’re legal drinking age in Canada 🙂

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Dear June Alison,

Look atchu with your new short hair! I dig it, even if other people don’t.

Vlogs with Daliza are always a fun idea.

Don’t forget that stretching, mobility and progressions are crucial in terms of physical fitness. Be a good physical therapist.

You met Arman AND you FaceTimed Julia. Still recovering from the fan-girling.

You also met up with college friends in the city! So cute, cool, and college.

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Dear July Alison,

Fourth of July in Boston was the best weekend ever. Tori Kelly live in concert is even better than recorded. How?

You talked about 99.9% recovery and the idea that 100% recovery might never be attainable, but to be honest, I think you’re gonna have to do a followup on that post…

Oh yeah! You had jury duty! That was a good experience. But it’s nice that you don’t get called back for another few years.

The barefoot walk for sex trafficking awareness is something you should do every year.

Keep working on becoming a better grownup, but hey, keep being extraordinarily ordinary.

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Dear August Alison,

Rachel visited New York again! Fun times. Except when Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian ignored you. At least he retweeted you.

You made a lot of quick trips this month. First, you spent under 24 hours in Kansas City after a whole day of traveling there. The things we do for Midwestern hospitality. 😉 But seriously, St. Louis was lovely, especially since your baby cousin got baptized!

You and Pop also made a “quick” drive up to Canada for a few days, and you did cool things like bouldering and knife throwing.

Portland and Seattle are cool places. I think you need to go back there soon.

Two year blog anniversary, high five! Keep it up. I think you like this whole blogging thing.

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Dear September Alison,

You’re back at BU and loving it. So good to see your best friends again! Sophomore year, baby.

Also, don’t forget to own it. Yeah, you look stupid sometimes, but that’s what makes people/life not boring.

Kicking off a food bucket list with Rachel, I see. Typical you.

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Dear October Alison, 

Oof, you’re getting busy. But with really good things, like fall retreat.

Apple picking is still one of your favorite fall activities!

Also, first couples Halloween costume…with Rachel, haha! PB&J because you guys are so freaking predictable.

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Dear November Alison,

You finally asked Rachel to do a vlog with you! You guys also finished a whole tray of brussels sprouts. Please calm down.

There were a lot of emotions happening, especially with the terrorist attacks surfacing to the news. They really brought you back down to earth.

Thanksgiving was relaxing and wonderful in every way. Please always be this grateful.

Also, run. Even if you’re slow, just run if you feel like it, because you don’t hate it. I repeat: You don’t hate it.

OMG you also got something really exciting!!! Praise God.

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Dear December Alison,

Apparently, you have a “look of wellbeing.” I can tell you that it’s largely because of the people around you.

And just like that, half of sophomore year is done and gone.

Which brings me to this moment. Alison, never take what you have for granted and always trust in the Lord. Have no fear, because He has a good plan. I think this is the overarching theme of everything you’ve learned this year. Take this invaluable lesson and grow in it in 2016.

Keep on swimming.

-Alison on December 31, 2015


 

So tell me:

What would you tell yourself as you reflect on 2015?

Do you have any specific goals for 2016? Nothing specific for me. I’m not really a big New Year’s resolution person. I kinda just try to be better every day… #lame.

What are you doing for New Year’s? Hanging out with family here at my cousin’s house!

 

Boston-Bound + Fascinating Friday Links #41

I’ll try not to be dramatic…

…But this is the last post I’m posting from my New York home before I go to Boston. From now until Thanksgiving, I’ll be posting from college— sometimes via ethernet cord, sometimes from a library, often when I’m procrastinating work. YAY!

I’m moving in on Monday, but I actually don’t start classes until September 2nd. Next week I’m participating in a volunteer program for freshmen called FYSOP➔ First Year Student Outreach Project. It’s an optional program during which you get to volunteer in a certain focus area with some of the current Boston University students and of course, fellow first-year students.

My roommate and I are both doing the “Hunger” focus area (hmmmm…wonder why I chose something relating to food), which explains the #NOMaste I posted at the end of this week’s WIAW. They want us to use that hashtag along with #KungFoodFighting on social media. I love these people already!

So that’s what I’ll be doing this coming week. I’ll do my very best to update you all on what I’m doing and eating sometime! If you don’t hear from me though, you’ll know what’s happening.

Alrighty! I’ll catch ya on the flip side, but in the meantime, check out some of these awesome links from the blog world!

Since there is a slim chance I will be doing these Fascinating Friday Links every week from now on, I’m making this week’s roundup slightly longer! (I also just found a ton of great links I needed to share with you all.)

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[Assess your workouts] Top 5 Reasons Your Workout Isn’t Working via Eating Bird Food

[Drastic restriction just does not end well] This is What Dieting Does To Your Body via Better With Sprinkles

[Drop it lowwww] 40 Squat Variations You Need to Try via Greatist

[Core strength is essential] 5 Core Exercises That Will Take Your Adventures to the Next Level via Sierra Social Hub + Your Trainer Paige

[For mind and body] 6 Easy Ways to Be Healthier via I Heart Vegetables

[We all wonder this at some point] WTF Does It Really Mean to “Listen to Your Body?” via Greatist

[Move and groove] 30 Minute Dumbbell Workout via Your Trainer Paige + Dumbbell Circuit Workout with 10 Min. HIIT via Fit Foodie Finds + Cardio Core Circuit via Run Pretty

Food for Thought

[“Yes” isn’t always good for us] The Small But Soul-Crushing Word You Use Every Day via Goins Writer

[Life.] 25 Things to Remember When Life Gets Tough via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[You absolutely cannot judge a book by its cover] Rethink Homelessness via LifeBuzz

[Fitness for life, not looks] Fitness Isn’t About Building a Better Body, It’s About Building a Better Life via Peanut Butter Fingers

[For new moms and dads] 12 Things I’ve Learned in My First Year of Parenting via Sweet Tooth Sweet Life

Food for Belly

[Who wouldn’t like these?] Healthy Cookie Dough Bites via Yeah…Imma Eat That

[Heck yes] Gluten-Free Peach and Oat Pancakes via Cookie and Kate

[Flaaaavor] Garlic Butter Salmon with Caramelized Shallot Relish via How Sweet It Is

[Brunch at its finest] French Toast with Pear Chutney and Mascarpone via Pinch of Yum

[All of it] 9 Gourmet Grilled Cheese Recipes That Are Totally Easy to Make via Greatist

Miscellaneous Fun

[So…don’t go to a club?] Admit It: Clubbing is LAME via Youtube

[For real?!] Can You Grow Oats at Home? via Kath Eats Real Food

[Gotta get me some mason jars] Ways To Use Mason Jars in the Kitchen via The Lean Green Bean

[Build a business] How to Grow Your Blog and Make Money via Peanut Butter Fingers

Ta ta for now, folks!

 

Fascinating Friday Links #37

Good morning!

Thank you to all of you who commented on yesterday’s post about whether you liked Fascinating Friday Links or not. Popular demand (aka, like, 5 people) says YAY to the links! So enjoy this week’s recipes, thoughts, and workouts from around the web!

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[Awesome subs] 83 Healthy Recipe Substitutions via Greatist

[Personal responsibility and public responsibility] Healthy Eating: A Shared Responsibility via Kath Eats Real Food

[Stress management is essential] Stress + Weight via The Real Life RD

[Rest to be better and stronger] Rest Day Mental Mind Games via The Big Man’s World

[Move and Groove] 20 Minute Leg Workout via Purely Twins + Full Body Workout via Jessie Loves 2 Run + 20 Minute Bootcamp Workout via Peanut Butter Fingers + Sculpted Summer Arms Workout via Peanut Butter Runner + Standing Core Workout via Fitnessista + Outdoor Workout via Blonde Ponytail

Food for Thought

[Remember these] 10 Forgotten Truths to Help Get You Through Hard Times via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[Incredible] How My Prayers Transformed My Husband To Be via The Chastity Project

[Children are so wise] 5th Grader Thoughts via Olive to Run

[Be sensitive] When A Healthy Diet Doesn’t Translate Into a Healthy Baby via Nourishing Gourmet

[You don’t have to drink to have a life] Why Giving Up Alcohol for 2 Months Was the Best Thing I Ever Did For My Self-Confidence via Greatist

[TRUTH] You’re Allowed to Love Your Body via Snack Therapy

Food for Belly

[Perfect] S’mores + Peaches = S’meaches via The Kitchy Kitchen

[How could you say no?] Cream Cheese Frosting for Breakfast via Yeah…Imma Eat That

[Summer and Asian. I like it.] Grilled Thai Spice Chicken Sliders via Family Fresh Cooking

[Cheeeeese] White Pizza Pull Apart Bread via How Sweet It Is

[So cool] Hassleback Zucchini with Lemon, Basil, Feta via Peas and Crayons

[Mhm] Healthier Peanut Butter Cup Popsicles via Chocolate and Carrots

[Savory donuts?!] Savory Kale + Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Doughnuts via Edible Persepective

Miscellaneous Fun

[Workin’ on it] 7 Steps to a Handstand via Yoga Journal

[LOL] 12 Things You’ll Never See on My Instagram via Olive to Run

[To make those Insta pics fabulous] Phone Photography Tips via SITS Girls

[Great tips] Social Media for Newbie Bloggers Part 2 via The Healthy Maven

I finished my Italian final today and I am FREE AS A BIRD. I’m actually currently finishing this post in English since we’re just having a food party, but I’m going to go home soon to cook some fried rice for our music cook-off!

One more day of school after today.

So tell me:

Which links did you enjoy?

What are you doing this weekend?

I hope to go shopping today to pick up some summery clothes, and then we have our last dance company gathering on Sunday. 😦

 

 

Fascinating Friday Links #35 + Hunger Monster

Hiya!

(HIGH-ya, not hi-YAH! Although, I am a ninja, so I guess the latter would be appropriate too.)

I really wanted to have Amanda’s oatmeal cookie dough smoothie this morning, but since our AP Calc class is having a celebratory breakfast party today (seriously, that class is just about food from here on out), I decided to have the smoothie for dinner last night. Satisfied the craving. 🙂

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Using Amanda’s no-fail recipe with added spinach, ⅓ c. oats instead of ¼ c., and peanut butter instead of almond butter. With Greek yogurt on the side for dipping, of course.

*Adding this at 5:30 in the morning: Apparently, as filling as this smoothie was, I guess it was not calorically sufficient for me, considering I just woke up STARVING at 5 AM. That hasn’t happened in a long time! (Don’t fret—I’m not revisiting any old habits. I just wanted the smoothie last night, and I’m paying the price for such a light dinner.)

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The typical snack. Plus another spoonful of peanut butter after I finished this. The hunger monster attacked me.

{Alright, back to sleep…hopefully}*

Oh and here are this week’s moves!

Monday: 5 min. stair master + 3 rounds of: 10 pistol squats each leg, 15 bulgarian split squats each leg, 1 min. wall sit, 25 hamstring ball roll-ins + 8 minute ab tabata

Tuesday: Ballet

Wednesday: 5 min. row + arm workout (that involved TRX tricep extensions➔ soreness!) + 8 minute ab tabata

Thursday: Modern {dance}

Friday: Dance company auditions for next year. Current company members do not have to re-audition, but we still have to go to lead my example! So sad that this is the last one for seniors though… *Tear*

My mom cancelled my gym membership this week, so I have one more month left to attend. It works out well because dance will be ending by the beginning of next month too, so after that, I can truly just focus on REST!

Anyway, onto the link love. Enjoy this week’s Fascinating Friday Links!

fascinating friday links

Health and Fitness

[Stress could be the culprit] Is Stress Sabotaging Your Health and Fitness Goals? via Your Trainer Paige

[Because there is nutrition advice EVERYWHERE] Why Registered Dieticians Are The Best Source of Nutrition Advice via Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen

[I need these] 3 Running Mantras That Work Every Time via Greatist

[But if you don’t want to run…] 5 Metabolic Interval Conditioning Workouts (Without Even Stepping On the Treadmill!) via Your Trainer Paige

[Awesome tips] How to Stick With Your Workouts: Tips From Consistent Exercisers via Carrots n Cake

[Plants don’t get enough credit for their protein content] What’s The Deal With Protein? via The Real Life RD

[Move and groove] HIIT the Hill Workout via Fitnessista + TRX Circuit Workout via Peanut Butter Fingers + 12 Minute Interval Workout with an Equalizer via Purely Twins

Food for Thought

[Ask yourself] 20 Questions That Will Free Your Mind From Negativity via Marc and Angel Hack Life

[Important to remember these things] Building Self-Confidence via My Food N Fitness Diaries

[Interesting] White Privilege via Snack Therapy

[Honest] Truth About Pregnancy Exercise via Tiny Blue Lines

[I’ve been on both sides of this] Now We’re Questioning Encouragement? via Olive to Run

[I don’t have a furry friend, but these are awesome] 8 Lessons I’ve Learned From My Dog via Better with Sprinkles

Mother’s Day

15 Healthy Mother’s Day Recipes via Chocolate Covered Katie

10 Easy Brunch Recipes for Mother’s Day via Greatist

Gift Guide via Peanut Butter Fingers

Food for Belly

[Mhmm] Super Easy Coconut French Toast Bake via Pinch of Yum

[So many flavors!] Roasted Spring Vegetable Cobb Salad with Honey Herb Vinaigrette via Iowa Girl Eats

[I’ll take both pans…] Peanut Butter Butterscotch Skillet Cookies via Bake Your Day

[Clouds of sweet delight] Fluffy Lemon Cupcakes with Whipped Coconut Cream via How Sweet It Is

[Summah] Blueberry Lemonade via Damn Delicious

Miscellaneous Fun

[Is this real life?] Kids Absolute Crush Salsa Routine via Huffington Post

[THIS is real life] 10 Signs You’re An Exceptional Procrastinator via Thought Catalog

Happy Friday, everyone!

So tell me:

Do you ever just want a smoothie for dinner?

What is the strangest thing you’ve had for dinner recently?

Current exercise?

Favorite links?