Friday, May 8, 2015

Fitness Friday!!

One of the things I set out to accomplish this year is to start living a healthier lifestyle. That includes more exercise, more veggies and less processed food. I don't usually talk about this stuff on the blog, but lately these small changes are a big part of my day to day. Pinterest is usually my go-to site to look for new healthy recipes (check out my healthy living board and my food board here) and I'm slowly incorporating more vegetables to my everyday recipes, like beef and brocolli on rice or asparragus pasta salud (both delicious!!).

Before jumping in to healthy recipes and workouts, I thought I'd use this first post to tell you guys about myself, fitness-wise.

When I was in second year of uni, I was really good about doing exercise. I started to go running at the beginning of April, starting with about 15-20min about 2-3 times a week with my roommate, but slowly managed to do 40-45min from Monday to Friday. That for me was a great achievement. However, the years passed and days got busier and I got lazier, to be honest. Exercise was probably a 3-4 times a month sort of thing. I did do a lot of walking but not very many heart-pumping activities.

When you're young you don't usually give health too much thought, but suddenly I was diagnosed with two problems. First, hypothyrodism (I will tend to gain weight) and varicose veins, grade II. The first of the two is currently under control and without symptoms, which is great. It will progress over time but as long as I have my regular check ups everything should be okey dokey.

However, the second one is really what got my thinking about exercise more often. I first started noticing darker, greener veins on the back of my calves when I was about 17. Nothing major, just a little green spot. It was when I started working my first Summer job the following year, when it got worse. I was standing up for over 6 hours, so my veins started to show even more. That said, they still weren't very bad. But over the last 2-3 years things have gone from bad to worse. I'm not too bothered about the vein showing, so much as I am about the pain and water retention (edema) in my left leg.

There's nothing I can really do to make these veins go away but there are things I can do to help and stop them from getting worse:

1. Exercise! Which is why I'm writing this post, to share my fitness progress with you. When you move your leg muscles, it helps pump the blood back up to the heart and stops the blood from accumulating in the lower body.
2. Medication. I do take medicine for my veins from April until the end of Summer, which is when they get worse.
3. Hot-cold showers. I like to end my showers with some cold water on the legs to get my circulation going.
4. Lifting my legs as often as I can.
5. Not sitting down or standing for long periods of time. I like to get up every hour or so and give my legs a bit of a shake.

The next thing I wanted to share is my weight fluctuation throughout the year. My average weight is around 54,5-55,5 kg and has been for the past 3 years (I'm only 1,62m tall). But when Winter comes around, and with it cold weather and rain, I tend to exercise less and eat more. So I usually gain around 2kg by Christmas. When Spring is back two things happen: I realise I've gained weight and also realise I've gained about a kilo of water retention. With warmer weather, we usually go out more, take longer walks, eat healthier, greener meals and around July I seem to loose all that extra weight and am back to about 54kg. This never-ending cycle has been going on for the past 3 years. Yes, guys, THREE years. And this year isn't any different.

So, with all that said, I'd like to share my fitness goals and progress for this year. I started about 2 weeks ago and for now I'm doing pretty well with exercise: 30min of eliptic bike, 3-4 times a week. Veggie-wise, we've been adding brocolli and asparragus to a lot of things lately, as well as parmesan cauliflower, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, sweetcorn, etc.

I mean, come on, look at this heatlhy dinner I had on Tuesday:


Turkey, asparragus and potato. Yum!! And for dessert: pineapple!

I'm still not sure how often I'll keep you updated, whether it's once a week or once a month but I will update!

I'd love to hear from you guys, if you're getting bikini ready or if you've already switched to a healthier way of living. Please share your experiences and opinions in the comments below!!


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Days Off

We had a day off this week, so I decided to make the most of it making extra food and sorting out the garden.

While Adri was getting splattered with paint in the bathroom upstairs (we had a bit of a mould problem this winter), I spent my morning in the kitchen. Rice with veggies, fish and potatoes, tsatziki, rice crackers and apple crumble were made in a three hour cooking marathon.



The day before we went to the garden center with Adri's parents, where I had to come to terms with the fact that I may have a serious addiction to flowers. Here are some of the newbies:








I know, I have a problem.

So I spent the afternoon transplanting them and weeding the rest of the garden (it's a very long process).

I think days off are a great opportunity to get those chores done. It's also nice to sleep in every once in a while, but sometimes all it takes is one really productive day to get things under control and organized. Note: I'll be talking about this more in a future post about how I use my weekends to organize my week. 

The only thing I still haven't been able to get under control is my study schedule. I may have one really good day, where I sit down for a few hours and learn loads, but then another two days go by and nothing gets done. I'm going to focus on setting a schedule this month of May and sticking to it. The most important thing is creating a habit and getting used to the routine. Wish me luck!!



Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Time

Lately, I've noticed that my weeks just fly by and my weekends are basically non-existent. I don't know what it is about this year that is making it so short!! Maybe it's this new stage of life, having a job and having a home to look after that is speeding things up.

To be honest, sometimes it can all get a bit overwhelming. Some days I get up at 7am, go to work, get off work at about 3pm, have lunch with colleagues, have a meeting/course from 4-9pm, get home at 10pm, take off makeup and clothes, shower, change into PJs, snack (or not), and go to bed by 11-ish.

I'm supposed to be making time to study for this important exam again this year and the house doesn't clean itself. Tomorrow's food needs to be made. But when? Luckily, I have a great boyfriend who does help out a great deal and usually does his fair share of work around the house, but even still, with my OCD high standards,I always feel it's not finished.

It got me thinking about breaks again. I've written about this subject quite a few times on this blog because it's something I tend to need quite a lot of. I push myself to breaking point and always forget that sometimes all I need is to stop and breathe. "I can't do it all", I tell myself. I need time for me.

I'm determined to stop stressing so much this year. Most of the time it's my own fault, I just don't know how to say no. If someone needs a hand, Sam is available. Someone needs a database for next week at work, Sam can do it. However, Sam is now realizing she can't. I need to find time to unwind. Time to spend with loved ones. Just time.


Sunday, April 26, 2015

Spring Flowers and Garden Landscaping

We are now heading into May and the weather is improving day after day. It's like 30 degrees outside and it's only Spring. Good weather really gets me moving and motivates me to just do things, so lately I've been spending a lot of time in the garden. Last year I showed you guys a before and after garden picture, so you could see the diffence.


As you can see, our garden was looking a little dry at the end of the Summer, but at least it was clean. Over the Winter things got a little out of hand. Loads of weeds. Everywhere. 

So over the past few months I've been pulling at those pesky leaves and planing some nice pretty flowers! Wanna see??

{our very patchy grass}










Aren't they pretty??

What's your garden looking like this Spring? Love to see your pretty flowers! Please share in the comments below!!



Thursday, April 16, 2015

Blog Sell By Dates

During my blog absence I've been able to observe two things: simple, down-to-earth blogs that suddenly evolve into elegant, sophisticated and professional ones and blogs that decide to shut down for good (with or without warning).

It got me thinking. When it comes to a blog transformation, it can be good or bad depending on the change. If we're talking about a redesign to make things simpler for the everyday reader, such as fonts and widgets, change is probably a good thing. On the other hand, I used to have a long list of blogs on my roll, but over the past two years I've seen many turn into something I can hardly stand. Most of these blogs caught my attention because they were real people, with real budgets, real (cheap) cameras, just sharing their life experience. And now a lot of them are full time dedicated bloggers with expensive taste, complex project tutorials and staged photos I could never come up with. They seem to have changed their whole concept without even realizing.

So, what makes a blog a good blog? Is becoming professional actually slowing them down?

As for blogs shutting down, I can understand most of them. Life suddenly catches up with them and they have to make a choice: the blog or family? the blog or work? the blog or sanity? The blog seems like the easiest of the two to let go. And they will be truly missed.

So coming back to full time blogging, is that really a good choice? Is it a job or a long term hobby? How long can a blog hang on for without becoming boring or evolving into something no one wants to read? When those teenagers that read about make up tutorials grow up, will the new generations be into makeup as much as today or will they prefer a tech blog? When the OCD neat freaks with kids are left with an empty nest, will they still read those budget friendly, meal planning blogs? What's more, will the writer behind the blog still be motivated to write after 5, 10, 15 years?

I guess my question is only one. When does a blog expire?

I'd love to hear your opinions on this topic, if you'd like to share in the comments below!!!



Thursday, April 9, 2015

2015 Reading Challenge

I may have mentioned Goodreads on here before. It's really a social media page, but I love using it to keep track of what I've been reading and what books I'd like to read. Unfortunately, I haven't been doing a lot of reading lately, so after hiding in a shell for 6 months I decided to check back in to see what I've been missing. As soon as I logged in I was told to set a challenge for 2015. I've kept it pretty low this year, considering I have to study this year again. 10 books. 10 new titles. I thought I'd share what I'm looking forward to reading this year with you.

I may be twenty something, but I'm a teenager at heart, so most of my to read list is young adult (and I'm not a big fan of classics). Here's what on my list lately:

Allegiant - Veronica Roth


What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments #6) - Cassandra Clare


In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary's own brother.

Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris - but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned...

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!


Opposition (Lux #5) - Jennifer L. Armentrout


Katy knows the world changed the night the Luxen came.

She can't believe Daemon welcomed his race or stood by as his kind threatened to obliterate every last human and hybrid on Earth. But the lines between good and bad have blurred, and love has become an emotion that could destroy her—could destroy them all.

Daemon will do anything to save those he loves, even if it means betrayal.

They must team with an unlikely enemy if there is any chance of surviving the invasion. But when it quickly becomes impossible to tell friend from foe, and the world is crumbling around them, they may lose everything— even what they cherish most—to ensure the survival of their friends…and mankind.

War has come to Earth. And no matter the outcome, the future will never be the same for those left standing.

Silver Shadows (Bloddlines #5) - Richelle Mead


Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive. 

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.


So those are four of my next reads for this year. I'm sure I'll find another six before the year is over!

What's on your reading list this year? I'd love to hear what you guys are into! Please share in the comments below!!!




Tuesday, April 7, 2015

What I Expect This Year

I celebrated the beginning of 2015 on 1st of January but my new year didn't really start until 1st February. That's when I started to think about what I want to accomplish this year. And now, the middle of March (when I started writing this post, probably April now), I'm thinking about what I want to accomplish blog-wise.

As you read in my last post, I want to relaunch my blog properly, with a good number of posts prepared and ready to go. It's not always easy to find the time to take on projects, snap some photos and edit them. So I am going to be realistic. I'm setting a 2 posts a week goal for this year (probably Tuesdays and Thurdays).

Another thing I've noticed is that even though organizing and cleaning are still a big part of my life (and a necessity!), there are a ton of other things I'd love to share and may not be home-related. So I'm shutting down Following Sam and mixing it all together here on Life in Sam's Box.

This year is more about discovering what I need, rather than trying to sattisfy the blog's needs. I think people who can dedicate their life to blogging are really lucky (and really talented!) but I just can't be one of those people. I have a job. I have a test to study for. And I only have 24 hours a day to do so.

I've noticed a lot of the blogs I used to read have evolved into more professional and sophisticated ones and I no longer identify myself with them. I don't want that to happen to me. I want to stay real. I want to keep my blog real. And the truth is life isn't always what you plan it out to be. We have jobs. We have homes. Some have kids. We also need a social environment. It shouldn't all be said on a screen.

That said, I love my blog and I will do anything I can to keep it up and running. It's something that motivates me to be me and sharing my projects with you means the world. I hope you'll all stick around while I keep at it, sharing those little moments one post at a time...