New Year, New You?

I always chuckle a bit, at the beginning of the year, when I hear about people making their resolutions. Perhaps I’m jaded from working in the fitness industry for the past decade and seeing firsthand how well most of the population does at keeping their resolutions. Fitness classes are packed throughout January, with most instructors knowing we’ll encounter plenty of newbies. So while I know how little New Year’s resolutions truly mean to most of us, I can’t help but succumb to the allure of starting fresh along with everyone else.

We dust off planners and create new entries in our long-forgotten journals. We promise ourselves that this year we’re gonna stick with our diets. We de-clutter our living spaces, intent on making this year the year we stay true to our minimalist dreams. We organize closets and sort through our clothing, donating what doesn’t fit or what we don’t wear, promising ourselves that this will be the year that we purchase clothing that actually creates a cohesive wardrobe. We rummage through kitchen cabinets, tossing expired mixes and unmatched tupperware, vowing that this will be the year that we make good on our resolution to cook more. We purge our pantries of chips and cookies and make another vow that we’ll eat better. We sign up for gyms and fitness classes, committing to adopt a healthy lifestyle this year.

We swear, we promise, we vow, we commit. And 9 times out of 10 we break those promises to ourselves. Not that I blame anyone. We’re only human and though we all seem to hold ourselves to the same lofty standard (an organized, well dressed, salad-eating, gym-going human who probably never stress eats or binge watches Netflix), we just can’t make ourselves comply. Hell, I know firsthand how hard it is to change your ways, even when you have a powerful reason to. So it’s easy to be cynical about the whole New Year, New You thing that a lot of people buy into. I was all set to sit down and write about how ridiculous it is that people even make resolutions.

Come on, you know you’re just gonna break it the first time it’s raining 
outside and you don’t want to drive to the gym because it’s coooooold.

But then I paused, and I reconsidered. Because even if someone doesn’t visit the gym after January 31st or they abandon the planner they were so totally gonna use this year. Or the living room is cluttered with toys three hours after you cleaned it. Or you had a bad day and indulged in one or two or a box of your favorite cookies. Even if we do end up buying clothes we don’t need or eating take-out way too much. Even if we don’t stick to our resolutions 9 times out of 10….. there’s still that 1. That 1 resolution in 10 that you did keep. And hey, the New Year got us off the couch after a month of eating too much and into the gym. It prompted us to purge and organize and de-clutter and even if that only happens once a year – it still happened!

So I wish you all good luck, in whatever you promised yourself this year!


Gather round…

… for I have a story to tell you. A story of how I (deservedly) got the dumbest speeding ticket in the history of speeding tickets.

So let me set the scene for you: a bright, cold Tuesday afternoon. I had gone to Target to buy a coat rack, an impulse I couldn’t shake after deciding that I was tired of throwing my jackets all over the place. I needed a place to keep them! Preferably with a shelf for me to put my wallet! And I needed it now! Plus the dumpling probably needs a new winter coat for the season. So off I went to Target! My search for either item was unsuccessful (perhaps I should have taken it as a sign as to what was to come over the weekend) and I begrudgingly decided not to buy anything unnecessary. I got in my car and headed home.

I was close, only about 3/4 of a mile away from our home. I had turned onto a brand new stretch of roadway – expansive, three lanes in each direction, divided, and completely empty. As I turned onto this roadway, I saw a police officer waiting to turn in behind me.

Oh there’s a police officer! went Belle’s brain, as I passed by.

I proceeded on my merry way, listening to Above & Beyond’s crescendo moment for their ABGT 150 set, when I suddenly saw the dreaded blue and red lights in my rear-view mirror. I pulled over and quickly discovered that I was being pulled over for speeding.

Well crap.

I mean, not only was this not a speed trap, I had seen the officer pull out behind me. There wasn’t another soul around, yet I still didn’t pay attention. Hell, I didn’t even realize I had been speeding. My first thought when I saw those lights in my rear-view: are my brake lights out? That’s how oblivious I was. I drove the remainder of the way home after I had been released, positively fuming with myself. My god Belle! How much of an idiot can you be?!  Apparently, quite the idiot.

I was so mad at myself that I contemplated immediately driving to the courthouse to take care of the ticket. Instead, I ordered my driving record and enrolled in a defensive driving course. I fumed at Luffy, doing my patented routine where I get so mad at myself that I curse myself out, calling myself every degrading name in the book. Thankfully, he pointed out that he was fairly positive I needed to take care of the paperwork before doing the defensive driving course. Silly me had wanted to get everything knocked out so that I could just go once and present all the paperwork and proof. Of course, the government doesn’t really work like that and I absolutely had to have approval before taking the course.

I had to work downtown Wednesday, so the earliest I could go to the courthouse was Thursday morning. I went bright and early, as soon as I had dropped the dumpling off at daycare. In true Belle fashion, I found out that I had beat the government. I sat down at the counter to file my paperwork electing to take the defensive driving course and was told that my ticket wasn’t even in the system yet. They told me to come back the next day.

Wah wah.

Luckily for me, I called back about an hour later to ask if I could go ahead and start my defensive driving course. I couldn’t, but the woman recognized me from earlier that morning and told me that my citation had been uploaded to the system. I could now come in and file the paperwork!

True to form, I’ve already finished the course. I have 90 days to submit proof of completion, but I didn’t want to wait around. If I had opted to pay an additional $20, I would have already had my certificate and would have stopped by the courthouse to finalize everything. I figured I could spare a few days though to wait for snail mail delivery. Just a few though. Don’t want to push it.

T-minus three days

I typed that title out an hour ago and then promptly got distracted by a pre-departure task. So yeah, that’s about how my mind is going right now.

And that sentence was written literally 90 minutes ago, so double yeah! Doing great so far!

But I’m here now, hopefully to finish this post out because I have a very important topic for discussion: periods and vacation or how I’ll probably end up getting blood on all of my outfits in the middle of Rome.

[TMI heads-up: I mean, you just read my topic of discussion, so steer clear if you are so inclined…. er…. disinclined.]

Here’s the deal. Before Luffy and I decided to get pregnant, I was on the pill. For nine-ish years. Remembering to take a pill every day is beyond annoying, but one HUGE advantage of being on the pill is knowing exactly when your period is going to show up. That and “scheduling” your period around things. Going out of town that weekend? Got a big event? Don’t feel like risking leaks during your final presentation? Psh, grab the next pack and save your placebo ones for afterwards. So, I’ve never actually had to deal with having my period while on vacation. I have never prayed for my period to start now, now, NOW like right now (except for maybe the two pregnancy scares I’ve had in my lifetime). If I could just get the first couple of days over with, I wouldn’t even mind dealing with the tail end while we’re gone.

You see, after I had a child, my flow has changed. [Hmmmmm Belle, I know you gave me a TMI warning but good gracious, are you really going to talk about this??? < you, probably] But for reals, it has. The first day is low to moderate, just enough to break out the tampons/menstrual cup. Then, the second day. Well, you’d think my body had decided to get the whole thing over with in one day. I bleed so much. SO much. Like, more than that, SO SO MUCH. It still catches me by surprise, even after a full year of dealing with it. A couple of months ago, we decided to go check out my new office (before we had officially moved in) and go to the Children’s Museum while we were downtown. It was the second day of my period. I was wearing a dress and it is the only time, in my entire life barring my very first period, that I’ve leaked so badly. I went to change my tampon in the museum’s bathroom and was horrified to see blood all over my thighs and the back of my dress. I’ll spare you the details [hahahaha, too late], but it was embarrassing. I’m a thirty-year-old woman, how on earth are periods still surprising me?!

So yeah, that combined with the whole pay-to-use-the-bathroom thing has me terrified of being on the second day of my period while travelling. But, my body’s been falling into a shorter/longer cycle of, er, cycles and this one is due to be a “longer” one. Plus, I’ve gone and written about it, which means that I’m probably damning myself to getting my period while over the Atlantic ocean or while on an all-day boat tour or something equally horrific. Wish me luck!

In pursuit of shorts

In what I swear – pinkie promise – is not a humble brag, I have a confession:

My current pair of go-to shorts have to be at least a decade old.

They’re denim, soft (obviously, after a decade of wear). They’ve held up really , really well. But now, they’re actually (oh god, I swear guys, not bragging) too big. I didn’t mind in the least until I caught my reflection in the mirror one day and realized that it’s giving me a droopy butt. That combined with the fact that my underwear frequently makes an appearance over the gaping waistband and – of fine. I guess I should get a pair that fit. Ugh. And so started my pursuit for a new pair of shorts.

I’ve bought a pair (and returned said pair) several times over the summer, from different places. My problem is that shorts have gotten just so darn tiny these days, especially denim shorts. Call me modest (and, let’s face it, a 30-year-old), but I’d prefer it if my cheeks didn’t peek out from beneath my shorts. I tried several styles of longer shorts but I have not managed to find a style that suited me. They’ve either been too long, or made me look stumpy, or flattened my butt, or all three of those things combined into one truly awful pair. (And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous levels the “distressed” trend has climbed to.)

I managed to find a pair of American Eagle (the brand of my current shorts) shorts at Thred Up. They’re a dark wash, a size smaller than my current pair, and they seemed to check all the right boxes. I got them in and they fit perfectly well except they are so damn short. SO SHORT.

Still though, I haven’t managed to find anything else, so I’m hoping that after a few wears, they’ll stretch out just a tiny bit so that they’ll be a bit lower (if they loosen up a bit).

Anyway, it’s an ongoing saga. One that makes me feel so very, very old as I shake my fist at the sky and curse today’s teens for setting the shorts bar so very, very high – er – short.

A random bag of Christmas

GUYS! Guys!

Ok, so let me back up to like an hour ago. The sky is heavily overcast, so it’s pretty dark out. I get home from my usual Monday night exercise class to find that Luffy is swamped with work. I offer to go pick up our usual Monday meal – Jersey Mike’s – so that he can work some more. After a quick shower, I head back out again. I’m two houses down when I glimpse something through the window of a house.

A Christmas tree.


I know right?! I had the same reaction. I mean, it’s September, so I feel like it’s a bit early to be putting up your Christmas tree. Or does this mean that they never took it down and it’s been up for the past nine months? Do they ever take it down? I mean, I guess I can see not taking down exterior lights in between seasons, but not taking down your tree? Isn’t it in the way? Or does it become part of your decoration? It kind of has to right, it’s not exactly inconspicuous.

I finally settled on giving them the benefit of the doubt: perhaps they put their tree up over the weekend so that they could take some holiday photos for holiday cards. Just because I think that’s way too much work for some measly holiday cards, doesn’t mean they feel the same.

Anyway, it baffled me so much that I slowed down on my way back (with our dinner!) to confirm that I had indeed seen a Christmas tree through the window. Yup. It’s Christmas in September I guess.

My office stocks a couple of little candy dishes in the conference rooms. Little miniature chocolates and fun size candy bars. Every once in a while I’ll have something, but since Luffy and I are obsessed with Lindt chocolate, nothing quite compares on the chocolate front.

Today, I discovered that they now have peanut butter M&M’s. I really, really wished I hadn’t found that out as peanut butter M&M’s are my weakness. My only saving grace is that the conference rooms are off by themselves. It’s super obvious when someone goes to get candy because that’s the only reason to be over there. Since I’ve established myself as the healthy eater, I have to maintain appearances and I can’t just be grabbing candy. Whew. 

I’m enjoying reading through a few of my favorite books again. I used to use my iPad for books and had accumulated about 50 or so titles there. I recently transferred several of them to my Kindle, including a few of my absolute favorites.

I am, however, deeply annoyed that I can’t move everything. All the titles that were purchased through iBooks are firmly encrypted with Apple’s DRM technology. While I understand the need for data rights management, I’m so frustrated that I can’t read my own books on the device of my choosing. The only reason I have a few titles that are DRM-free is because I used to have a Sony eReader and I wanted to transfer those books to my iPad. Luffy busted the DRM on those at the time, leaving me with usable copies. Now though, Apple has really tightened their security and I can’t un-encrypt anything I’ve purchased through them.


I don’t think I’ve mentioned it anywhere, but Luffy and I are getting ready to go on a pretty amazing trip.

It all started because some dear friends of ours are getting married in Ireland and you don’t just go to Ireland for the weekend. So, we heading over a week early and spending some time in Italy. Our fifth anniversary just so happens to fall in that week, so we’ll celebrate our fifth in Rome!

On one hand, I am so freaking excited I can hardly stand it. We love to travel and we haven’t done any proper travelling since I got pregnant. I can’t wait to spend some time with just Luffy. We’re going to have an wonderful time, I just know it.

And yet, I’m also not looking forward to it because the dumpling is staying here. My mom is going to stay with  him, here at our house. We’re doing everything we can think of to help him out. My mom is taking him to daycare each day, to try to keep his routine as normal as possible. I’m going to make him a little calendar of sorts, to mark off the days until we return. (We actually got to practice this when Luffy went out of town!) We’re going to video chat with him each day, unless it seems like the calls do more damage than good. Just this evening, Luffy suggested that we make some videos of us singing to his favorite songs.

So yeah, on the one hand I am so, SO, SOSOSOSOSO ready for Italy and vacation. And on the other, I just don’t know how I’m going to say goodbye.

Of Football and Fall

Luffy and I watched our first football game of the season last night. It was (I believe) the first Thursday-night football game of the season and Luffy and I tuned in after I made dinner. I can’t tell you who was playing or what the score was. I can’t tell you about plays or points or suspenseful moments. What I can tell you about is the feeling of satisfaction that envelopes me when I hear the commentator’s familiar voice or listen to the sounds of the game.

That’s the thing: I don’t necessarily love football, but I do love when it’s on. It reminds me of fall and winter. Of cozy nights, curled up under a blanket. Of relaxed Sundays, with the crisp light of December filtering in through the windows. Of jeans and sweaters. Of friendly gatherings with beer and BBQ. Oh, such happy times.

I’m always glad when it’s football season again.


It’s the fifth third fourth I-don’t-even know week of August, so please enjoy some random thoughts and don’t forget this applicable treasure.

The dumpling has been in daycare since he was 12 weeks old. He’s loved it and I love being a working mom – wouldn’t change a thing. However, I’d like to make an official complaint that I was rudely denied an opportunity by taking this route. You see, all my other mom friends (I have like two … it’s not a very large sample size, I know) who stay at home and have toddlers the dumpling’s age are posting these adorable First Day of School!!! photos on Facebook with their toddler all dolled up in uniforms and backpacks. It is completely, adorably precious. And yet…. they aren’t really going to school. Those toddlers are headed off to preschool. I’m not denying that it’s a huge milestone, especially for kids who have been home with their moms this whole time. But still. I have to wait another four years for my dude’s First Day of School!!! photo even though the dumpling’s totally in “preschool” right now and I’m a little jealous, that’s all. Perhaps I’ll doll him up tomorrow and title the post Four-hundred-seventeeth Day of School give or take a few days!!!

What? I did the math at least.

Speaking of working and stuff (nice segue self), before I had a baby, I was addicted to chewing gum. I would chew at least a couple of half pieces each day, though definitely more than that on some days. I guess maternity leave got me out of the habit? I’m not really sure, but I just don’t chew gum anymore. I never think about it and even when I do, chewing feels awkward. Or maybe I’m just newly awkward with chewing gum. Who knows?!

The cake baking and cake pop making went excellent this past weekend, thanks for asking! I did indeed get everything done, with a lot of help from Luffy (to distract the toddler and also keep me company in the kitchen). I was pretty proud of my creations, until I took the smash cake over to the party and all of a sudden it was SHOCKINGLY clear that my cake was lopsided on top. Uh – whoops? And also, how did I not notice that before?! Oh well, the little birthday girl seemed to enjoy it and the cake pops turned out fantastically, so I’m still calling it a win.