My “Me” Days Are Essential!

Hi everyone!

It's been a while since I've communicated- it's been quite busy around here, which is not a bad thing. It just means I've been taking care of … Laura (Sirene).

Quite frankly, I felt like I needed to step away from my blog for a while. Mainly to reassess what it is I want to accomplish with it. Lately, I have been in the company of wonderful people who are bloggers themselves and who kick a$$ at glorifying the written word. With these thoughts in mind, I realized that I am, first, not taking my blog as seriously as I should and second, I needed to define the goal of my blog in order for you, dear reader, to be glued to these pages in the future.

This past month also made me realize how crucial it is for me to have one day (or a couple) dedicated to me, myself and I- you know, "me" days. The ones that make you feel relaxed or ponder deeply about personal things you care about: career goals, life purpose, objectives, etc.

Yes, the hashtag #TreatYoSelf is often trending on Instagram/twitter along with funny memes. But the reality is, I do need to treat myself. Not with material things, but rather dedicate time to myself to gather my thoughts; get reacquainted with myself and the things I value and that bring me sheer utter happiness. Below I've gathered multiple reasons why "me" days are necessary to a healthy life.  I am not a life coach, but I understand why "me" days are important because at times I feel I've lost myself in the process of life and its responsibilities.

  1. Being Present: There's nothing like doing the things I love with out being bothered by noise. Setting time for myself means doing the things that make me feel relaxed whole heartedly- For me, that means being present in the moment and purposely turning off all the noise. What makes me feel relaxed is doing my nails. Something about focusing on polishing my nails makes everything else go silent. I try to polish my nails at less once a week during my "me" day.
  2. Self Awareness- When I was teenager, I spent some swaths of time alone and away. As much as I hated not going out with friends, I also learned how to be by myself- I was able to dive into my interests without the influence of outside noise. The process of listening to myself and finding my own voice helps me cater better to my interests and past-times today.
  3. Clearer thought process: Purposely stepping away from the day-to-day gives my mind capacity to reorganize my thoughts. With so much going on,  I feel my brain needs to reboot and replenish itself in order to focus and have a clear thought process.
  4. Productivity will flourish: giving my mind a break from the day to day allows for recharge- this way I can get back to the daily grind with a clear mind. If you're like me, you may need to purposely push worrisome thoughts out of your mind. That means literally choosing not to think about what brings you worry- I talk myself into the idea of "I will deal with it later". Phrases like "I trust that it will be okay" or "It will get done tomorrow" allow me to relax and understand that work eventually will get done. I trust myself, those around me, and always thing about this: if you worry about something that hasn't happened- you suffer twice. It's important to push worries aside to give my mind a break to deal with it later- work smart not hard!
  5. Better relationships: Not only have I obtained a degree of independence by taking time for myself, but my relationships have benefited from a better-taken-care-of version of me. It's evident that personal issues aren't just dealt on a personal level- someone else will always take on part of the issue because we are human and cope with our problems by sharing with others (that or we self-destruct). Having alone time, or "me" days allows for a clearer mind. A clearer mind provides room for me to decide what kind of relationships are beneficial and necessary for me.

"Me" days are essential to a healthy thought process. In a world that never sleeps and where people think that time is money, alone time is crucial in order to maintain a peace of mind. Trust, breath, and take some time for yourself. I guarantee that work and responsibilities will be exactly where you left them once you return.

Thank you for stopping by!

Stay groovy,
Sirene

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Whole 30- tips for you & final results! (btw, I slipped)

Hey, worldly readers! 😀

I finished my Whole 30 and my results are in!!!

I LOST SOME WEIGHT! Woohoo! You know that was my main goal with this whole Whole 30 thing (;

Anyway, here are few tips I learned along the way that can help you. All of which you could get by merely googling. hehe. But hey, it helps you could get good tips all in one place, right?

MAKE UP YOUR MIND: this is the biggest issue people come across when making a lifestyle change: They don’t make up their minds about what’s about to happen. Nothing in this world works unless you do, that includes healthy eating habits. Once you have wrapped your mind around what’s about to happen, the process, the steps, and the “struggle” you might come across, somehow it becomes easier. Life is about choices. Make the choice, understand what comes with that choice (the good and the bad), and then (and only then) decide if the Whole 30 choice is for you. If not, move on and don’t linger.

COME TO TERMS WITH PLANNING AHEAD: It’s obvious, YOU HAVE TO PLAN! This goes along with tip #1. This is part of “making up your mind”. Understand that you have to plan ahead in order for this to work efficiently and consistently. Planning your food gives you peace of mind and allows you to focus on other things, like work, working out, or whatever it is that occupies your mind.

FIND ALTERNATIVES TO YOUR EATING ESSENTIALS: Whole30 authors might disagree with this one. But listen, if there is a food you cannot do without and you can find a replacement that follows whole 30 rules, by all means, DO IT! For me, it was coffee creamer. I freaking love half & half in my coffee. I found the most delicious alternative to half & half. I’ll leave the link here so you can check it out. It’s almond and coconut unsweetened creamer. No sugar in ingredients, all ingredients are compliant and it’s creamier than half & half! Check it!

GET USED TO READING/SEARCHING INGREDIENT LISTS: If you can, train yourself to do so before beginning Whole 30 journey. You might slip in the first weeks. Why? Because it takes work to know what foods contain what. My slip happened during my second week of Whole 30. What was it? Sugar and soybean oil in Chick Fil’A’s grilled chicken. My mistake? Assuming that because it was grilled chicken there were no bad ingredients in it. The lesson? RESEARCH restaurants that are compliant and READ labels. Again, this goes along with tip #1- come to terms with doing all this “extra” work. It’s not just about eating clean, it’s about doing all the research and avoiding almost all restaurants in order to stay compliant. Whole 30 rules indicate to reset the button if you cave in, not if you accidentally eat something you’re not supposed to.

UNDERSTAND IT’S ONLY 30 DAYS:
That’s it. Nothing else. Just a few days out of the hundreds you will spend living. The first week will feel like an eternity. So will the second week. But if you’ve made up your mind, you will get through it. I promise you! By the third week, you will start eating properly out of habit. Remember, it takes up to 21 days to create new habits. Don’t expect not to have your mouth water over and over in the fist few weeks. You are only a human who is used to eating a certain way, it’s only normal to dream about sweets, or in my case, bread.

IF YOU SLIP or CAVE- MOVE ON: Either you do it & fail, you do it (maybe slip) & succeed, or don’t do it at all. Whatever you decide, make the choice and move on. Don’t linger on feeling like a failure cos you couldn’t commit. Maybe this isn’t the right time to make a commitment like this one. And that’s okay. There is such thing as making the right choice at the right time and making the right choice at the wrong time. I felt shitty when I realized I ate something I wasn’t supposed to. I felt shitty when I realized I hadn’t dropped a pound by the second week. However, I didn’t linger on failures. I moved on and kept on going. Cos that’s life- you realize stuff and move on. (:

RESULTS: WIGHT LOSS: 10lbs to be exact! Mind you, I didn’t work out at all. I am still paranoid about my hip (read more about my hip issues here). lol. Though I went running once, wore heels two days in a row for the majority of the day, jumped off some stairs, and the pain did not come back! Before Whole 30 I couldn’t do any of those things without massive hip pain the following day. CLEAR SKIN: My skin is smooth and not flaky. BETTER SLEEP: Don’t ask how my new eating habits helped my sleep because I don’t know. I do know my sleep quality improved and I don’t feel groggy in the AM. The only difference between today and 30 days ago has been what I’ve been putting in my body, so I can only assume food plays a role in the quality of sleep. CONFIDENCE: Is there a vitamin in healthy food that boosts confidence? Probably not. But there’s a ton of confidence in knowing you have completed something difficult with success. I found Whole 30 to be difficult during the first weeks. But I pushed through. I did it. I realized, what is it that others have that’s allowing others to complete whole 30 that I don’t have? They have made up their minds. That is all. And, if you don’t have the courage to make up your mind, you fake it. Fake it till you make it. lol.

Thanks for stopping by!

-Sirene

This is not a compensated post and I am not a physician. All opinions, tips, and images are my own. 

Whole 30- Week 2- What to expect!

Hi lovely blog readers 😀

I hope this blog post finds you well. As you can read from the title, I have embarked on the Whole 30-new eating style- wagon. So far.. I AM LOVING IT! Quite honestly, I thought it would be dreadful, the first couple of days at least. But as a blissful surprise, it hasn’t been bad at all. Yes, I am craving certain foods, but prior to starting this journey I’d crave foods, too. The only difference is that I am not being submissive to my food cravings. Woo hoo! Let’s hope it continues this way. lol

I decided to write a post about my two week progress because I am experiencing a few different results in addition to what the Whole 30 program promises. Some which you, too, might experience if you decide to give the program a try.  Here are a couple:

  1. So far, zero headaches, vertigo, breakouts, sleepiness: You can read about the symptoms you might experience while doing Whole 30 here.  While I haven’t dealt with any of those mentioned above, I have experienced crankiness, CRAZY bread cravings, and indigestion. Most of which are subsiding by now (currently on day 12) except the bread cravings. I feel any symptoms you might experience depends on what your diet was like prior to Whole 30. So plan accordingly.
  2. Hip pain is disappearing: About 8 months ago I fractured part of my hip area while working out.  I say “part of” because up until today, I am not sure if I fractured a joint, a tendon, ligament, bone. I just know my hips have been in pain and the pain was torturous every time i’d do any sort of physical activity for an extended period of time- even walking! After day 5 of Whole 30 I noticed the pain was going away! Guys, I couldn’t believe my brain and the (simple) connection I made when I realized that maybe i really am allergic to one of the foods (if not all) i have been avoiding. I have been raised to think that if I experience some sort of physical discomfort I have to 1. take medicine or 2. get over it. Although I know allergies exist, I always thought I was immune to them. I have always felt like a really healthy person and that I could conquer any sickness, pain, etc. Except this time when I injured my hip because I dealt with it for so long.  For eight months I dealt with it thinking I was just aging badly and would have to deal with it for the rest of my life. I tried special stretches, yoga, icy hot, ice pads, heat patches, compression pants, and I almost scheduled appointment with the doc. I have a hunch that what was causing inflammation in my hip fracture was dairy.  I guess I will find out once I end Whole 30. Unless I decide to continue…
  3. No weight loss: I know the rules of Whole 30, okay. lol. You’re not supposed to weigh yourself, but I have. Every week. So far.. zero pounds lost. Disappointing? Yes, because that was my primary reason for doing this. The obsession with the scale sits well with me because I understand what the scale is for in my own terms. For me it’s another way to keep track, and that’s okay with me. Now, although it’s disappointing I haven’t lost weight, I have lost inches and I have am still so thrilled with the other results of this eating style. You have no idea how happy I am about my hips getting another chance to heal. So grateful I tried this.
  4. My skin feels so fresh and supple: My skin feels so great! Since about day 8 during Whole 30 I wake up with skin that feels soft, fresh, and moist. Not like it did before- dry, flaky, and with a pimple here and there.
  5. Humans find safety in sets of rules for guidance: This could be an extensive topic. But for the sake of a “quick read” I will just say this: Most humans love guidance and that is great. I could have just decided to avoid certain foods and call it day. But no.. I have found a “program” with rules and guidelines for help called Whole 30. I love this idea of finding a set of rules for guidance because it builds community, trust, and encouragement.

One of the biggest lessons that has really sunk in while doing this program is that our body compositions are all different. I haven’t experienced any sugar withdrawals but have had so my cravings for bread.  I was literally drooling as my Baby Seal (life companion) was eating bread/pizza next to me. #DROOL #MOUTHJUSTWATERED. If you are dealing with pain that just won’t go away, or have tried everything to lose weight with out much success, or you’re just curious about Whole 30, I encourage you to try it! I know the program isn’t about weight loss but rather psychologically disengaging from processed foods. However, if your primary goal is to lose weight I’d recommend trying this program first before any other. Not only will you most likely lose a couple of pounds but you will learn about food triggers that cause discomfort. Thank you for stopping by and happy Whole30! 😀

Stay groovy!
Sirene

 

Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist or physician. This is not a compensated post. All reviews and tips are my own. 

 

10 things I learned about Massachusetts- SireneWorld

I wasn’t prepared for the brutal winters of MA! But that didn’t stop my Baby Seal and I from having a blast and learning about the state and its people. Here are the top 10 things I learned about Massachusetts. Most of them are good, I promise!

  1. It’s fucking cold in March. The moist air of the Atlantic conspires with the area’s geography to create frigid discomfort. Seriously, this cold cracked the skin in my hands.
  2. There are a lot of aggressive drivers.
  3. The roads are bad. They are worst than Houston, and that’s saying something. The poor wheels in our rental were pounded mercilessly! lol
  4. There are so many roundabouts with exits to various different highways. Some of which don’t exactly match the google maps street names. Maybe google maps needs an update! lol
  5. The Italian bakeries are amazing.
  6. Their coffee is delicious!!!
  7. People are very friendly and cheerful.
  8. The clam chowder really is peerless. I don’t think I can ever have clam chowder anywhere else on earth and be satisfied after having it from Boston. lol.
  9. There are barely any cops around. We were around for 6 days and saw maybe 2 cop cars.
  10.  You can hike, you can spend a day at the beach and tan (when its warm), or take a stroll in the city and shop till you drop with out having to drive too far. There were parts of the city that almost felt like New York and others that felt like we were in a small town in England. Seriously, this state has the best of all worlds. lol. Except, of course, the winters- those  are brutal. I suppose they feel great during the holidays. But you really don’t have to drive far to get different tastes of atmospheres.

I loved getting to know Massachusetts. I would totally go back there in the near future. My favorite part of MA, however, were the people. I don’t think i would’ve loved MA as much if the people weren’t so welcoming and cheerful. If you’re going to MA soon, be prepared for a great time. Thank you for stopping by! Cheers 😀

Stay Groovy,
Sirene


Massachusetts Series- Things to do in Salem- SireneWorld

I finally got to visit salem! I remember learning about Salem and the Witch Trials as a young girl. I imagined an old town full of people walking in cloaks holding old books in their hands; possibly on their way to get together with friends to create the next potion in their cauldron. Give me a break, I was young! lol.  Obviously that’s not how I imagined the place as I grew older, though I was hoping the town had a more rugged look to it. It didn’t- but it’s still a place with a unique personality and full of really cool stores and restaurants. Below are photos of some of the places we visited, including a restaurant suggested by a local. If you are planning on visiting Salem in the near future, I highly recommend these spots. (:

  1. Salem Witch Museum: Warning: the muppet presentation on the history of the Witch Trials is a bit cheesy. I had never experienced anything like it before, so I found it quite entertaining (admittedly cheesy, but entertaining) . My Baby Seal who had never seen anything like it found it cheesy. You sit in the middle of an auditorium as you watch different stages light up with muppets illustrating the history of the Salem Witch Trials. It provides a good story of the trials, sound is good, muppets look like they could use a make over, but over all it’s a fun show. The second part of the show includes a tour guide talking about the history of the the Salem Trials.  I don’t recommend the muppet presentation for children. The sound is very loud and could be considered scary for some kiddos.
  2.  The Witch House: This place was fun! It is the one and only house standing with any connection to the Salem Witch Trials. The house belonged to Judge Jonathan Corwin- he was called upon to investigate claims of witch craft activity. We didn’t get a chance to take tour inside, but tours are offered from mid March- mid November.
  3. Gulu Gulu Cafe: This was one of my favorite places from our trip to MA! Gulu-Gulu Cafe was named after Cafe Gulu Gulu in Prague, where the owners of Gulu Gulu Cafe met. The restaurant pet is a bulldog, as you’ll notice from all the wall art. The place is quaint, full of personality, while not pushing too hard. They have a stage and every week/day they have different bands/DJ’s/artists doing their thing. They sell really cool and adorable merchandise, too! We only tried their warm drinks and were very pleased with quality and taste. 
  4. Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market: This place was recommended by a local from Salem. At first we were apprehensive about coming here, but my!  We were blown away by their delicious food. We had the Fish & Chips, Clam Chowder, and their Lobster Bisque. All three dishes were so fresh, with neat presentation, and very reasonably priced. I cannot tell you enough good things about their clam chowder. We had chowder nearly every day we were in MA. This place definitely blew the others away, and that is saying a lot because restaurants in MA pride themselves in their chowder. If you visit Salem, this place is a must for their chowder. I don’t have any photos of our food, my cell phone died by the time we ordered. *sad*

When you visit Salem, Massachusetts make sure to take a trip to these spots! You will have good time, I promise!

Thank you for stopping by (:

Stay groovy,
Sirene

Massachusetts Series- The Mapparium- SireneWorld

I am still recovering from our most recent trip to Massachusetts. We planned and did so much my feet were a bit swollen at the end of each day. lol. Needless to say, MA is a place full of history, delicious food, and awesome gem-like places- like The Mapparium. I am not entirely sure why it’s not more popular, seriously. Look at the photos, though they don’t do the place much justice AT ALL. The Mapparium is one of those places you can admire best in person and not photographs. The place truly is magnificent and one of a kind.

The Mapparium is located inside Mary Baker Eddy library and it’s only viewable through a guided tour. It consists of a stained glass globe with a bridge that takes viewers from one end of it to the other. The globe is lit with eco-friendly LED lights that change colors throughout the tour. The spherical shape of the globe allows you to whisper from one end of the bridge to the other: the sound travels in a circular form outwards from the right and the left of the globe and ends at the other end of the bridge. Read below for more details about The Mapperium. Nevertheless, this place is a place you have to experience live. I mean, how often does anyone get to walk inside an LED-lit world globe? 😀

  • The Mapparium is a three floor stained glass globe.
  • It took 3 years to built, finalizing building in 1935
  • The world map showcased on the globe is the world map as they knew it in 1935.
  • In 1960 The Mapparium was recognized as a historical work of art, prohibiting anyone from making any changes.
  • The first renovation of The Mapparium happened in 1998: new lights and incredible sound system was installed.
  • The shape of The Mapparium creates strange sound effects.

For more information about The Mapparium visit: www.marybakereddylibrary.org

Thank you for stopping by!

Stay Groovy,
Sirene

 

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Why I LOVED Valentine’s Day in 2017- SireneWorld

The last couple of months have felt like living in a war zone of political views between families, friends, colleagues, and anything that holds some sort of human relationship.

I am that V-day grinch who feels Valentine’s Day is a marketing stunt for consumers. But this year, I definitely loved all the marketing on love, friendship, chocolate, roses, and anything that feels mushy, cheesy, and overly lovey dovey. I loved seeing my Facebook timeline full of people showing their Valentine’s gifts. I loved every photo of married couples reminiscing on their Valentine’s love over the years. I loved seeing all the snap stories celebrating love. I loved showing my love to those I appreciate through a text or something materialistic like a balloon, or some dessert. It felt really great and not overly cheesy.

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For a while, I have felt a little disoriented and confused about people’s choices. But, thanks to Valentine’s Day and a project I’ve been working on (more about it later), my brain can humanize humans more efficiently again. Not that I think humans are monsters or anything. I’ve just felt very disconnected from everyone and everything lately.

This Valentines I am not only gratefully in love with my Baby Seal, family, and friends, but I am also grateful for the new people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Coming from a place where I have felt disconnected and not really myself, they are a reminder that kindness among strangers exists. And, that people love “love”. And that, my friends, rules over anything else. People love “love” and I am happy they aren’t afraid of showing it off.

Alas, Valentines came to save the day guys! haha. Thank you for stopping by.

Stay goovy,
Sirene