October 7, 2015

California Kim

This post has been brewing for seven months. I never wrote about it because after exhaustive discussions with friends and my therapist, I figured it out. So when it crept back up recently, I thought writing about it would bring clarity and remind me of what I figured out all those months ago. Here goes.

When John and I were in LA for the Grammys back in February, we talked about moving there. We came close to doing it, but ultimately decided to stay put. I was crushed. I had already moved there in my mind and had created a whole new persona called "California Kim". I went on and on about how sick I was of "Tennessee Kim" and how I couldn't wait to be "California Kim".

Tennessee Kim had just spent her first Christmas separated from her family and was dealing with the grief that came along with that. Tennessee Kim was training for a 70.3 mile race that she didn't want to do. She had just started a business and wasn't sure what direction to take it in. And she was sick of the far-right politics of her home state.

California Kim, on the other hand, she led a happy, balanced, relaxed life where she rode her bike to the farmers market, ate salads and went on hikes. California Kim didn't train, she did what she wanted to do. She became a yoga instructor and dabbled in juicing. California Kim drove a white Fiat and cruised the Sunset strip blasting Father John Misty.

I'm sure I've said this before, but the key to mental health is integration, so it should come as no surprise that living your life as two different people isn't super healthy. Fear not, I'm in therapy. So back in February-March when all of this came to a head, my therapist helped me realize two things:  1) that I had created California Kim because I didn't want to do my race (I was registered for Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga in May), and 2) that I had to merge California Kim with Tennessee Kim.

*Man, this sounds REAL crazy typing all of this out. It felt normal at the time.

This took a couple of months of work, but I figured it out. I quit training for my race and ultimately didn't do it (a race that I had spent upwards of $500 on, by the way). I started buying healthier foods and snacks to keep around the house. I started thinking about if I wanted to think about becoming a yoga instructor. Oh, and I started meditating.

And it worked. I merged the two Kim's, and I've spent the last few months reprogramming the way I think about health and exercise. It's been great!

So here's where I'm at today. I'm registered for a half marathon in December and I'm a week away from being registered for a second half marathon in April. But I don't think I want to do them. I've started upping my mileage on my training runs and my knees hurt. It's affecting my other exercise. It hurt to kick in the pool this week and it hurts to do squats and lunges, which is a big part of what I do with my personal trainer. I'm not injured, it's discomfort, but discomfort is still a pain in the ass.

WWCKD? She'd probably say fuck it and take her laptop to a juice bar and write a compelling blog post on the resurgence of denim patches.

What do I do if I'm not a runner? Can I still be a runner if I only do my East Nasty and Pancake runs, but no half marathons? Do I even give a shit? I joined a cycling team. Do I become a cyclist, and if so, how do I become a cyclist in the winter? Do I become a yoga instructor and start juicing? These are my questions.

To be continued.

September 28, 2015

Ironman 70.3 Augusta - One Year Later

One year ago, I completed Ironman 70.3 Augusta, my longest endurance race to date. The race is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run = 70.3 miles. It took me 7 hours and 32 minutes. I trained for 7 months, 4 of which with a triathlon coach, and all with a swimming coach. I hated my training by the end, but loved my race, which means I did it right. I still think back on the race as one of the happiest days of my life. I LOVED my race.

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of my race. It was also the day of both IM 70.3 Augusta and IM 140.6 Chattanooga. Because I had friends competing in both of those races, my Facebook feed was full of race-related posts. Early in the day, I was reflective of my experience and excited for my friends. I monitored them throughout the day, tracking them online and checking Facebook for updates. Again, I was a little reflective, but mostly I was proud of my friends and grateful to the spectators for keeping us updated.

At some point early in the evening, my feeling a "little reflective" turned into feeling a little sad. I started seeing finish line pictures from Augusta and it made me cry. Was I crying because I was proud, sad, or bored from being home on the couch? Did I feel left out because everyone was doing something I wasn't? Did I regret that I wasn't out there racing? When I opted not to do IM 70.3 Chattanooga, I didn't feel anything except glad I wasn't there. What was different about yesterday?

This post isn't for anyone who raced yesterday. I am so fucking proud of all of you that I can hardly stand it. This post is for anyone who did a really big thing once that they got a lot of attention for, and then never did again. Now when other people do that really big thing, you feel kind of weird. And you feel super shitty for feeling weird.

I am genuinely not interested in doing a 140.6 mile race. And as I sit today, I am not interested in doing another 70.3 mile race. I still love a half marathon and sprint-distance triathlon, but that's it for me.

I think yesterday felt like an expiration date, that I have to quit talking about my race now and that makes me sad. I remember on my one-year wedding anniversary feeling like I had to take my wedding pictures down from Facebook, that the time to talk about my wedding had passed. Maybe I need to give myself permission to keep talking about that big thing I did that I'm really proud of. Man, I hope that's it because if I'm just a victim of FOMO, I'm going to feel so lame.

September 25, 2015

Birchbox Review: July

Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Liquid, $39

I receive a lot of Dr. Jart+ samples from Birchbox and I like them! I've been putting this ceramidin liquid on at night, under my moisturizer, using it more as a serum. Actually, I may save the rest of it for this winter when my skin gets dry from running outside in the cold.

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray, $29

I don't have thin hair, but in the long history of me buying hair products, I've bought this one a few times. It also gets used on me a lot by hair stylists. It's a legit product. Unfortunately I rarely blow my hair out, so I don't have a lot of use for it, but everything by Bumble and Bumble is great.

stila look at me liquid lipstick, $20

I was so excited to see this little sucker in my Birchbox! I got one of these a year or two ago and LOVED it. These stila liquid lipsticks are sooooo good! If you haven't tried them yet, go get one. I like Beso and Venezia.

COOLA SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray, $36

I really like the COOLA brand. They have a cucumber moisturizer with SPF that I LOVE. This matte setting spray is great. I used it a few times and I could definitely tell a difference by the end of the day. My makeup still looked fresh. Unfortunately, after a few uses, the spray nozzle got clogged and I had to throw it away. I didn't see any other Birchbox reviewers complaining about this, so I'm hoping it was just me and my hot and humid bathroom.

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer, $25

I love this stuff! I'm real into Liz Earle. When Kiehl's quit making the face wash I've been using since 2000, I bought Liz Earle cleanser and LOVE IT. This little spritzer has been super awesome this summer. I read an article recently on how the worst thing you can do to your face mid-day is apply more makeup; that adding or re-applying makeup makes your skin look dry. Instead of adding more make-up, you should spritz your face. I started doing this and it totally works! You think it won't, but it does. Trust. If you've got $25 burning a hole in your pocket, buy this spritzer.

September 22, 2015

How To Repost Pictures In Instagram

Do you ever wonder how your friends repost pictures on Instagram? Do they take a screen shot and crop out the edges? Maybe, but there's better way. I use the Repost for Instagram app. The app is available for both IOS and Android.

I have an iPhone, so Android users, adjust these steps as necessary. First, go to the app store and download the app. It's free with the option to upgrade to a pro account for $4.99. I use the free account.

After the app finishes downloading, simply open it.

When you open the app, you'll see this welcome screen asking you to log in to your Instagram account.

Enter your Instagram username and password and click "Log in". Note the box at the bottom of the screen. This will be checked to automatically follow @RepostApp in Instagram. You can either uncheck this box before logging in, or if you miss it, which I always do, you can unfollow them later in Instagram.

Once you've logged in, Repost takes you to your Likes page, correctly assuming that you "liked" the picture you want to repost. If not, you have the option to search for an image.

Click on the image you'd like to repost, preferably a monkey surrounded by fat stacks.

You can get creative with the Repost tag box. They give you the choice of 4 screen positions in either light or dark. They also give you the option of no tag box at all. I always use a tag box to make it clear I'm not taking credit for the image.

This step is confusing. The only thing you have to click on this screen is "OK". The text is automatically copied to your clipboard and will magically reappear later in the process.

Next, click on the Instagram icon.

Then proceed in Instagram like you usually do - choose a filter, hit Next.

You'll come to this familiar screen. But don't start typing. Remember, you have text copied to your clipboard.

Click "Paste".

You can edit this text however you like, but I do recommend keeping it as-is. If I add any commentary, I add it at the beginning, before "#Repost". Again, this is to make it clear that you're not stealing the image and to give credit to the original user.

When you're finished with the text, hit Share!

Voila! You have successfully reposted an image on Instagram. Now, go forth and repost!

September 16, 2015

A New Tattoo

Yesterday I got a new tattoo. I've been thinking about it for awhile. At first, I was thinking I would get something to represent that I'm a triathlete, or that I did a Half Ironman, but that didn't feel like what I wanted. I mean, I am a triathlete, but in the grand scheme of things, it's a small percentage of who I am. So, meh. The tattoo idea went back into the incubator for further cooking.

I had a hard time being alive in 2014. My brain felt like it was on fire, figuratively. Every emotion and interaction was painful. I could not navigate anything. In one of the first appointments with my therapist, she told me that my ship was on fire and I needed to get on the first lifeboat I could find and row away to safety. It sounds dramatic now, but at the time, to have someone look at me, see that I was on fire, and know how to help me put it out, was huge.

Thus began what has proven to be a life-changing relationship with, what I believe to be, the world's greatest therapist. I did a lot of heavy lifting initially. I had to put out all of my fires. I tore it all down, grieved, DID A HALF IRONMAN and started to heal. Then I was okay. And once I was okay, it was time to unpack 9/11 and work through my PTSD.

Everything is connected:  how I define myself, the situations I get into, the jobs I take, the jobs I don't leave, the people I choose to surround myself with. Working through my 9/11 trauma has healed me in a greater way than I imagined. I feel whole, alive and loved. I know who I am. Furthermore, I'm okay with who I am.

This tattoo is an obvious, symbolic nod to New York City, but for me, it's also emblematic of strength and resilience. When New York City was attacked, it fought back, it healed and it came back. I've done a similar thing. This tattoo is a daily reminder of my own strength and resilience, and how proud I am for working this hard to be okay.

Thank you to Shannon Wages at Banshee Tattoo, and thank you to Freya for pointing me to a tattooer with the right balance of artistry and empathy.

One last thing. There was a guy waiting while I got my tattoo yesterday and he heard me talking to Shannon about my tattoo. He told John that he joined the Marines because of 9/11 and was in there yesterday to get an eagle tattooed on his arm. Thank you for that, universe.

September 12, 2015

The September Issues

A few weekends ago, John and I holed up in a cabin in Big South Fork. To pass the time (4 days without internet), I took a big stack of magazines and books. Luckily, our trip coincided with the release of the September issues.

Fall is my favorite time of year to refresh my clothes and makeup. It's the only season where I'm excited to buy new things, or veer in a different fashion direction. I like to pour over the magazines and then make a fall inspiration board. My new fall Pinterest board is still under construction, but here is what piqued my interest.

First up, the mecca of September issues, Vogue. Oh hey, Beyonce. How YOU doin'?

I dog-eared this J. Crew ad because I have a thrifted blazer similar to this and I'm always looking for ways to wear it. A wool red blazer is harder to pull off than you'd imagine. I have two Equipment tops (blouses?) and I have so much trouble styling them. A) these shirts are meant to be over-sized, but B) I bought them when I was bigger, and I paid too much for them to let them go. So I persevere. Maybe if I just wear them braless and half unbuttoned, no one will notice they're too big.

I love a new fall bag! Here is my take away from the September issues:  if you don't have a new, cross-body satchel, you may as well stay at home, loser. I'm real into the Altuzarra one in the bottom picture with the fringe. It's $3,000, so I'm sure I'll get one.

I love a black and white manicure! My last attempt looked like 10 little Hitler mustaches, so I need to practice. But I'm inspired! In the bottom picture, I'm into that black Rachel Zoe ring. It's on Amazon for $67. Maybe?

Not pictured, but there's a scent strip for the first fragrance by MIU MIU and it smells AMAZING. I'm kind of obsessed with it.

Miley, Miley, Miley. I was annoyed to see Miley Cyrus on the cover of Marie Claire's September issue, but then I read her cover story, and now I like Miley Cyrus. Sorry, not sorry?

Can we all take a minute to appreciate Michelle Williams? I saw her pushing a stroller in Park Slope right after Heath Ledger died and I've always had a weird affinity for her. She's beautiful, obviously, and I love her baby blonde hair in this Louis Vuitton ad. Hair goals.

I dog-eared this Calvin Klein ad because I'm still working through how to style my clyde work pants from Elizabeth Suzann and I like the idea of a high-heeled boot, but not in red.

There are some great articles in this issue of Marie Claire:

This Sophia Amoruso article is really more of a column, but it's worth reading. I read #GIRLBOSS and liked it a lot. I like Amoruso's perspective and I like that she fails big and talks about it. I feel like there are a lot of millennials who are becoming a new type of female role model, and Amoruso is definitely one of them. See also:  Tavi Gevinson.

This article on the female entrepreneurs coming out of Harvard Business School and how the school has had to re-work it's class and teaching system to be less male-driven is a must-read. It's an interesting look at the women who have come out of this school, the businesses they started and the challenges they've faced, like getting venture capitalists to invest in female-owned, fashion and makeup based companies.

This last article is on PTSD and how in some severe cases, women are being treated with the hallucinogen MDMA. The street name for MDMA is ecstasy. This article is rough and talks about real-life combat and sexual trauma. As someone who has experienced PTSD, I found this article heart-breaking and fascinating.

The last magazine I read on my horsey, country vacation was Elle. I didn't find a lot here, probably because I had already seen it all in the first two magazines.

Okay, this is important. All of the drugstore makeup brands have knockoffs of the Naked eyeshadow palette. I went to Walgreens to check them out and they look legit. Loreal and Maybelline both have two different palettes, one in classic nude and one in blush/pink tones. They're like $14. DONE.

I haven't had luck using Maybelline eyeshadows. I like their cream shadow pots, but their powder shadows don't have enough pigment for me. Loreal, on the other hand, is fantastic! I've used their eyeshadows for years and they're legit.

That top pictures is a neat list in Elle of the top 30 books from the last 30 years. It starts in 1986. It's a great reminder of all the books I meant to read and never got around to.

And last, but not least, another black and white manicure! I'm determined to perfect the two-toned nail this fall.

Stay tuned for an update on my Fall 2015 Pinterest board!

September 2, 2015

Birchbox Review: June

Dr. Jart+ Dermaclear Micro Water, $32
This is "cleansing water" which is mineral water with active hydrogen. I don't know what that means. It's supposed to remove makeup and brighten skin.  I didn't use it to remove makeup (because I hardly wear makeup), but I did use it at night to wipe the day off of my non-makeup face. I liked it. I wouldn't buy it, but it was an interesting sample to try.

La Mav Green Clay Detox Mask, $29.95
I think clay masks are typically for people with oily skin, which is not me, but I love clay masks! This one may be great, but I won't know because the ingredients in mine separated during shipment, rendering it impossible to apply. I read the Birchbox reviews and several people complain about it being runny, so maybe it's the product and not the shipping. Who knows!

Marcelle Waterproof Eyeliner, $11
Meh. I'm getting a lot of eyeliner pencils from Birchbox lately. At first, I was excited because I was getting waterproof ones, or black ones with glitter, but now I'm just getting a new blue or black eyeliner every month. This one is okay, the color isn't as dark as I'd like and I have to go over it a few times back and forth. Meh.

Temple Spa Good Hair Day Shampoo, $14
This, I'm actually annoyed about. I've stayed in hotels with better shampoo. It was super drying. And this is now the second shampoo Birchbox has sent me with sodium laurel sulfate. I have color-treated hair! Come on, Birchbox. You're better than this.

Temple Spa In Good Condition Conditioner, $14
See above.

Pura Vida Lace Headband, $18
This was a Birchbox extra and it actually is kind of cute. It doesn't 100% stay on my head, but I wear it around the house and like it. I tried wearing it to yoga, but it just popped off mid down dog.


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