The Return of the Sweet Tea

Lately I wake up (& yes I am sleeping… feels awesome!) and think “beach”. Thankfully I have been lucky  enough to get up & get there before the crowds & the real heat arrives.

Yesterday caught me dragging a bit more than usual so instead of breakfast at home, I grabbed an egg & cheese bagel on the way. No biggie, but what was big was when I ordered it, I also ordered a small iced tea, SWEET iced tea! Completely out of habit & being half asleep. Part of me thought “did I just say sweet or unsweet?” When the cup arrived & I took the first sip, I knew the mistake I had made. SWEET.

Funny thing was, I didn’t like it.

My dreams of accidentally being given sweet when I order unsweet are shattered. I made the mistake, but it just wasn’t as rewarding as expected. Tasted like syrup. I barely got down a couple of sips before deciding that wasn’t going to work anymore. I tossed it. This was tea I used to find some of the best anywhere. What is happening to me?


For one thing, I have energy again. Like as in I WANT to do more.

Yesterday watching the kids splash around riding boogie boards in with the waves as I walked around & swam a little got me thinking. I wanted to paddle out & ride the waves in too. So I splurged on a body board! Ok splurged as in got the cheapest one I could find that was the right size. Perk of living at the beach is there is always somebody trying to sell them somewhere cheap. I’m not going pro, so no need for the $100 boards.

It was bliss!  I floated watching the waves roll in & picking the ones I thought would push me the fastest. Held my ground & paddled through the others. Found out that it isn’t as easy to do as it looks sometimes but it is a lot of fun!  More than I remembered it being as a kid. Even got to watch as a couple of pods of dolphins passed by sending fish flying up out of the water ahead of them now & then! It was beautiful.

What wasn’t so awesome was having a large umbrella/tent whack me in the head as I was laying on a towel letting the sun dry me out afterwards! Had my eyes closed so I didn’t even see it coming. No one yelled “heads up”, “incoming” or anything although they were apologetic as they retrieved it. No harm done, but just adds to the hatred of those stupid things.

Seems like every family has to plop one up. I get how it helps some who truly need to stay out of the sun, but lets face it not everyone who is putting them up needs to be. Half the time I see one, not a soul is under it. They deposit their load of everything but the kitchen sink, then head off to run around or sit in a chair directly in the sun.

You shouldn’t be sitting in the sun all day anyway. It is seriously hot out there & even if you bring a cooler of ice cold water, you can take a break. For kids especially they should take breaks. I can’t stand to see the really small babies out for hours with someone holding them & their parents thinking it is fine because they have a tent. Shade saves all. NO. You are still holding a baby who can’t regulate their body temperatures & doesn’t have the option to go inside on their own or take a dip in the cool water, heck they can’t even say that they are hot. Also what right do you have to spread out all over the beach? I have my towel, maybe 6 feet by 2.5 feet, these campgrounds spread out all over the place. Just rude. I’m starting to see why some beaches are banning them. People just have lost common sense.

Just another reason to get my butt up off the beach & into the water more I guess. As if I need an excuse! As for me I will pack lightly & take back everything I bring. In this heat I don’t stay longer than a couple of hours. I can always come back later if I want to.


I’m going to be sad when these days come to an end. Til then I am savoring every second.




the 10 Day YOU Challenge: Day 9





Today has felt like a whirlwind kind of day.

Should have gone to get groceries yesterday when I got home but laziness from traveling kicked in & well… this morning I ended up regretting it. Drive thru on the dash to class. Still glad I kept in within the acceptable carb range & was able to resist the sweet tea urge.

After class was straight to the beach (seriously I wore the bathing suit under the jeans & tee) which was much needed. I know it had only been a few days but I missed the sounds of the birds & the waves crashing. Just the peaceful calm of it all.

Covered in sand & sweaty from relaxing in the sun, I ventured the grocery store. I should be ashamed. Part of me felt guilty for not going home & showering first but as someone who has worked retail, I know I was far from the worst thing that walked in that day! Plus I was starving which is never a good thing. Now I have food & a few protein bars to carry for those emergency situations away from home. One of which ended up being lunch along with a bottle of cold water that I swear tasted like heaven.

Being seriously low on my calories paid off tonight when my sushi plans turned into Mexican restaurant night. Nearly just gave up & called it a cheat day (which I never do because why would I cheat on myself?). Looking over the online menu while I waited to go made me feel like all the articles on suggestions for diabetics eating out basically just said avoid the Mexican places because there isn’t much there for you. Thankfully I found a couple that made me realize dining out wouldn’t be blowing it for me, especially since I was no where near my goal calorie range. Grilled chicken tacos with lime juice & boo-coos of cilantro on corn tortillas rocked my world! They came with a side of rice & beans, which although normally I would have devoured I knew just a few bites would be plenty. May or may not have gotten a strange look for squirting stevia in my unsweet tea but at the end of it all I had a great night of great conversation & food without compromising my goals at all. Nothing sweeter than that!



9. The beach. (surprise!)


8. Fresh, clean, free water. No calories, detoxes, cleans, what doesn’t water do?

7. My friends who keep me laughing & remind me I’m not alone in this world.

6. The fact that I am in a place in my life where I feel better about myself than I have in a long time. I don’t panic at the thought of wearing a bathing suit around other people & even seem to have found a confidence that shines thru to where I can go out with whatever color hair & feel at ease. Got a great compliment that made me realize this tonight. In talking about the purple color, I got told that it wasn’t even weird on me. That for me it just seemed natural not just a way to get attention. I had the confidence to pull it off and it works. Hearing this still makes me smile. I guess I finally do.


5. Color… all of them. The brighter the better. Just cheerful and vibrant all around. There is a time and place for black & white, neutrals, but for now color is king.

4. The sense of smell (most of the time). The fragrances like gardenia, watermelon, sea spray, coconut, cilantro.. so many different notes. Bliss.

3. Baxter. What would I ever do without him? Absolutely love him.


2. The fresh produce I have been lucky enough to be eating now. Not sure how I was doing the fast food thing so much before, but I’m grateful to be back eating food that is real and makes me feel more alive. Dare say I’m getting energy back & I know it is the dietary changes.

1. This kid ( of course).  Can’t leave the nephew out. It is harder and harder to leave him every time I visit. Grateful he seems to remember me & gets excited to give his aunt a big hug. The sad face as I pull down the drive way is brutal. Already looking forward to the next time I see him when I know he will have grown again & learned more tricks!


Maybe I’m Not A Mermaid Afterall

This week has been an eye opener. I think I am falling in love again.


with food.

well some of it. I am discovering some of it I thought I loved is just crap. Some of the new stuff I try that should be good is also crap.

Like swapping whole wheat pasta for regular pasta.  I had high expectations, but the reality is pasta is pasta. It may never been something I should eat as often as I did. Sure whole wheat sounds better, but calorically and in terms of carbs, it isn’t that much difference. The SLIGHTLY higher fiber content may make it slightly better, but I wouldn’t call it a health food.

Again the old moderation and planning are key.

Treated myself to a few new to me products that looked good nutritionally and discovered that some definitely are an acquired taste. Like kelp or rather seaweed snacks. Found a sale on them & had just read a blog with comments raving about how a few posters couldn’t get a trip to Whole Foods in without picking up a few & enjoying a bag on the way home. Chocked full of vitamins. On sale cheap. Why not? I get teased about being a mermaid for all the time I spend at the beach anyway, why shouldn’t I end up munching on seaweed instead of chips?

Except, I have legs and taste bugs that just aren’t there yet. While I adore sushi, the sheets of dark green fiberous flakes just were missing something. Like rice, fish & a splash of soy sauce! Didn’t hate it but not sure it is something I will ever crave or be unable to pass by without wanting.

There are some winners along the way too but mostly it has been rediscovering the beauty in natural foods. Fresh berries, peppers, asparagus, spinach, apricots, mangoes, brussel sprouts, carrots, apples… so much taste & so much value comes in the foods that don’t necessarily come with bar codes or brand names.


Also have ventured out of the house which I admit I was slightly scared to do. I know it can be dangerous territory and my trust issues don’t make me want to trust someone else making my food right now.  Still that isn’t the way to live life. When friends wanted to do dinner out, I accepted the challenge head on.  Honestly I think they were more worried than I was, which touched me.  We went for seafood since we also wanted to stroll the pier & chill on the beach for a bit. Was a beautiful Saturday night & we live here so why let the tourist be the only ones taking in the sites. Thought I might be stuck with a salad, but upon reading the menu I realized just how many choices I would be able to work with.

The key is moderation and making the right choices that do what is best for me. This applies to so much in life.

So instead of stressing out or being the pesky person at the table trying to create something that wasn’t on the menu to meet my dietary requirements. I just ordered a grilled salmon steak.  Came with 2 sides & at first I thought the steamed veggies were the only thing acceptable, but I realized that I hadn’t had many carbs or calories through the day so the garlic mashed potatoes were also added. Again moderation. When the plate came I ate the salmon & the veggies… and a COUPLE bites of the potatoes.  I could easily see the portion was massive so being a clean plater just wasn’t in my best interest. Still at the end of it all I was full, proud of my choice and felt wonderful being out relaxing with friends. I didn’t have any envy of what they were eating & couldn’t even tell you what they got at this point other than the massive fillet of flounder that hung over the sides of the plate we decided had to have been the biggest flounder that ever lived. Seriously it was hilarious since she had ordered the small fried flounder plate & it was anything but!

Missed my sweet tea, but I planned ahead & brought a sugar free drink packet to add flavor to the glass of water I ordered. The drink choices were as I expected: beer, wine, cocktails, soda, tea or juice. So water it was & it was absolutely fine.


The real test was after dinner. We decided that after the pier time we would head up to a local donut place that is notorious for delicious hot donuts. People wait in the longest lines for these things. Nothing but cash accepted and only one thing on the menu but the place stays packed. There was talk about whether buying one dozen would be enough or if more were needed.  I know I COULD have tasted one and just added that to the calories & everything being tracked for the day, but it just wasn’t worth it. I am on goal & very proud of the choices I’m making (hell I’m blogging about them!) so I passed and enjoyed the sugary air & watching their faces of near ecstacy as they munched down. Again I thought I would feel a twinge of jealousy or sadness that I couldn’t just eat anything & everything I wanted, but I didn’t. Truth is nothing is forbidden. Just have to deal with the consequence for each choice I make. With tracking all the data I can see where I do & don’t have room to play with and still stay with my goals. Thus the mashed potatoes when I know it isn’t the best choice for me.  Thinking this way feels empowering rather than restricted. I can do this & I will do this FOR ME because even if I am not a mermaid, I AM worth it and that is all that matters. The sweet flavor of a single donut will never compare to the bliss of feeling that I mean enough to take care of myself. As silly as that sounds. It’s something I needed reminding of & even if the medical news was not anything I ever wished for it has had it’s positive impacts too.

“I’m learning how to taste everything. ” 
― Laurie Halse Anderson

So maybe I will try seaweed again.


Who knows, maybe I do have a little mermaid in me.


Sweet Tea & Liberty

Hi. My name is Ali & it’s been one week since I took a sip.. of sweet tea.

I also take goofy selfies at stop signs.

I also take goofy selfies at stop signs.

Don’t mean to make fun of AA, but lately I have a new appreciation of the willpower & restraint it takes to give up something you adore just because you know it isn’t good for you.

Of all the things I miss, sweet tea is certainly the one I would love to bring back.

But it just isn’t worth it.

So water it is & occasionally coffee.

Still figuring all this out but so far it has been fun.  Like a daily puzzle. Track the numbers in the food & make it all work.  It’s a good distraction to give me a break from stressing over the love life or lack there of.

Cooking at home & having lots of healthy options ready to go has made it almost easy. Thankfully I have always been a lover of vegetables & who doesn’t love fruit?  There are a ton of great recipes for nearly anything you can think of all over the internet. Discovering a few new ones has been just what I needed.  (like this one.. hummus crusted chicken has rocked my world!)


The biggest issue so far has been being afraid of eating anywhere outside of the kitchen. Used to just hit a drive thru when time was short. Quick cheap meal on the way to class is what got me into this mess.

Yesterday I found myself dashing from class to the beach & hungry. First instinct was just grab something quick. But I don’t really know what to get. Iceberg salads have never been appealing. Prefer lettuce with some actually taste & nutritional value and that isn’t wilted from being made a couple of days ago. I could blow all my calories on one meal, but that would leave me either going over or starving the rest of the day. I’m sure there are options, but I didn’t have the time to figure out where to go & what was safe.

So I headed home. I took time out to make a hummus wrap & bag some berries that would travel just as good as anything that would come in some greasy bag and was a heck of a lot tastier. I was pretty proud of myself. Just a bit of thought and this all works out.



Didn’t think about the cherries. The pits in particular. A smarter version of me would have brought a spare container to put the pits in. A smarter version of me would have used a reusable container not a plastic bag. But live & learn.

I will get the hang of this.


You Just Can’t Make Life Up


There is one great truth to life, it will always pop up with something unexpected. You can plan every detail you want but surprises appear along the way.

Dating again (or at least trying to) is no exemption to this law.

The dating site profiles are back up. The insanely crude messages are coming in as it seems is par for the territory of meeting people while not actually meeting them. Along with the expected comes the unreal that I never could have thought of. Like the guy who claims to be a secret agent with the Army stationed currently in Nigeria (riiiight, guess that secret part escaped him).  Tried to just ignore him, but it got the best of me when he asked what I did for a living. My reply of “leading an intergalactic rebellion” just got a “I do not understand your work” & a delete of his messages.

A few nice guys have popped up. But so far nothing that really connects. Still I am proud to be getting back out there and trying. Still feel a bit jaded and annoyed at the irresponsibility of all the insincerity that I trusted from Mr Man, but time heals. Hopefully at some point I will meet someone who is on my level and enjoys my company as much as I do their’s.  So far it has been fun having some unique conversations and just feeling wanted again. I’m in no rush to get physical but I imagine in time that will change with the right guy too.

So for now I am just spending as much time making myself happy as I can. Lots of beach time & working on the list of things to do.


Well that & trying to figure out how to lose the tan lines without being arrested for indecent exposure. Missing my tanning bed this year, but loving being at the beach more. Yes I am using sunscreen, but still the lines come.

Classes started back this week to there is added distraction there that I am grateful for. Who knows where this summer will lead. It promises to be memorable. I’m trusting that I am exactly where I need to be right now & that my path is unrolling as it should be. I just have to trust and keep walking even if I can’t see the road for the turns up ahead.

Busy is the new Happy

Know how when you try not to think of something, that ends up being the only thing you can think about?

That’s pretty much how my weekend ended up.

I keep thinking about everything that happened & didn’t happen. I miss him & still love him. Even have thought I have seen him a few times only to take a second look and it ends up being someone slightly similar. I know it is over but it still hurts.

I decided to get out of the house and do something rather than just wallowing in missing Mr Man. Distraction action!


Spent some time at the beach. Starting my list of things I want to do… although not sure what the time frame is, this summer/before I start trying to find the next relationship? Also discovered that most of the time, if there is something I want to do, I just do it. No need to wait for a list. Which is pretty awesome. In fact some of the things I thought of and added to the list Friday, already happened this weekend! Checking off already! List to come soon.

Tossed the cheap pedometer that wasn’t counting steps any better than if I was trying to mentally count them. You get what you pay for sometimes. Turned out the FitBit Ones were on sale so back to a real deal I can trust. Goal is each day get more steps than the day before. This weekend though, I just focused on getting thru the days.

Attended group therapy (always interesting) & am looking forward to getting up with a friend there & possibly helping her with a resume. (old HR skills come in handy) Also learned of a yoga group that meets for the new moon that sounds incredible that I may join her for.

Accepted an invitation to a Kentucky Derby party & actually placed a bet on a horse.  Samraat didn’t win, but he/she came pretty close. Still proud. Ended up figuring out that the floppy hats got tossed during the purge, so had to make due with my trusty mouse ears.

Met up with a few friends after that downtown for the Port City Comedy Fest Top Comic Finals. We all could use a few laughs. Pleasantly surprised by some of the talent there. Definitely going to have to check out the local stand up scene more often. Still as I sat there, I just kept thinking how much I want to crawl in my bed and be held. I laughed, but sadness was still there. So when the contest was over & it was time to go dancing, I bid everyone a good night & headed home. Just didn’t feel like dancing & certainly didn’t feel like dampening their mood.

Woke up & hit the beach again. Sadness and missing Mr Man more and more. What do I stumble on while trying to park? TWO BRIDES. Dagger to the heart. Ended up tossing the towel a long distance away from the weddings and enjoyed soaking up some sun & listening to the waves.

Next up was to finally check out the crystal shop that I have been thinking about going to for a while now. They had a TON of stones that were just beautiful. Some that I really wanted to come home with me, but were beyond my meager means. Discovered some crystals I hadn’t even heard of. Before I went I thought about getting something to help with meditation & something to alleve this miserable muggy fog about me lately. Maybe a rose quartz or new amethyst to charge. Maybe something grounding to help ease the emotional wreck I have been lately. I was surprised by the selection & had two stones that I just couldn’t leave behind.

This stunning auralite 23 and blue fluorite!


Smitten kitten. I basically just want to hold them forever. As soon as I got them home & sat feeling their energy, I felt peace. The tears stopped and I felt calm.

Both are healing stones and help with insights and growth.

Funny enough as I was leaving, the expert who was selling the stones mentioned that the blue fluorite was also called the student’s stone because it was excellent in helping to focus the mind. PERFECT. After the troubles this semester, I certainly needed this boost. Sometimes it seems the stones pick you.

As I held the auralite, I could almost feel a pulse emanating from it. Just a really beautiful, powerful crystal! It’s energy is inspiring & comforting. Yes I am in love.

Alas I had to separate from my new rock star friends for a few because I had agreed to another event & I was making myself go. Now is not the time to slip back into the staying home and avoiding crowds tendencies and this one promised to be a crowd.


There was a rally downtown to support keeping the local film industry here. State politicians are threatening to end the incentives given to lure productions to the state and without them, the jobs will be lost to the 44 other states that DO offer incentives. Wilmington is a HUGE productions town, in fact a movie was being filmed in a restaurant just a few blocks up from the rally. Many people here benefit from the various TV shows, commercials, music videos & films being produced here. From the families that directly work in production to the people who serve them when they take a break, it all helps the local economy. To lose it would greatly impact the character and life of this city. Simply put FILM = JOBS & we need them here.

Attending the rally was inspiring but also exhausting. Sensory overload and a lot of people.  Still no panic attack & no need for a klonapin to get me through, which is a major plus. In fact I didn’t have to deal with any panic attacks or feel the need to pop klonapin to avoid them all weekend. I’m dealing and even if I haven’t a clue what is next or how to make life better at the moment, I’m healing.

Just got to get over this aching and back to better days.

Maybe tomorrow will be the day I wake and everything feels better.

That’s No Snow

For all those friends and family members who were praying & begging to see their winter wonderlands, they got their dose.  Just not quite like they had expected or hoped.   We got a massive dumping of pure ICE.


Heavy.   Slippery.   Dangerous.


It was enough to shut down schools even at the college levels from Tuesday to Friday, when it finally started to melt.  The whole city was an ice skating rink.

While I was quite content to stay inside and hibernate in my grumpiness, Mr Man was having none of that.  He was determined not to let some frozen water stop his fun.  He missed one day of work and pulled me out to explore.  Even ended up playing a bit and taking a turn sliding down the street.  I trusted his confidence in his driving skills and judgment and against my instincts let him drag me around town from the river to the ocean to see the town in an entirely different light.


I dare say I had fun.

Doesn’t mean I want any more winter weather but I admit it wasn’t as bad here as it could have been.  The terror that happened in and around Atlanta was a nightmare, but thankfully we didn’t deal with those issues.

Worst part was completely slipping as I walked across the street to the car and hearing a crowd of people from the bar giggle, which I joined in doing.  Nearly flipped completely.  My rear end certainly remembers it well but I’m hoping soon it will forgive and forget & feel normal again.  Always spreading smiles I guess! Could have been a lot worse.

Best part was enjoying a few hands of cards and a bottle of wine in front of a warm fire Mr Man insisted on making.  He truly does know how to make life better and for that I am truly grateful.