Fitness hiatus: Graduate school takes over my world

On February 17, when I was worried about what bra I should wear while working out, I received my comprehensive exam questions.

In order to obtain my Master’s of Communication from Wichita State University, I must take and pass comprehensive exams, a four-hour essay during which I will answer six of the 20 questions I received to practice.

Since February 17, I have not attended Muscle Pump or Power Yoga at the YMCA. I have not gone running in my neighborhood, even though the weather has been perfect for it. I have not done much of anything for my fitness, except for the occasional spring walk with my dog.

In addition, I have not done much of anything for my body internally. Excessive indulgence and stress eating are terms to describe my consumption habits. Too much chocolate. Too much fried food. Too much fast food. (Luckily, I enjoy Subway enough to soften the blow of my take-out habits.)

I may have lost 10 pounds last year, but I am not on track to lose another 10 pounds. In fact, I’m not on track to lose the five pounds I have gained since February 17.

Five pounds.

I’m not joking.

My clothing is not too tight yet, and perhaps that’s why I haven’t noticed the five-pound weight gain. (I have avoided the scale.) Perhaps I haven’t noticed it because the muscle I used to have has been replaced by squishy fat.

I am actually not too bothered by how much I weigh right now. I’m not overweight. But I feel unhealthy.

Feeling a way is a better indicator for health than looking a way, and I don’t feel well.

Graduate school and comprehensive exams have been my life. Every night. Every week. I have studied and studied and read and read, and I am prepared.

Hope for health comes in the form of a deadline.

Tomorrow, Saturday, March 31, I will take my comprehensive exams and end the torrential cycle of sitting on my butt and stuffing my face full of French fries and Ramen noodles.

After Saturday, I will pass my comprehensive exams. After Saturday, I will be free from my laptop, my notes and my books. After Saturday, I will be on track to losing the weight I gained, replacing it with muscle and training for a few 5K’s I want to race.

I am prepared, but I am nervous to take my exams. I am nervous I will choke or fail or fall apart, but I am also excited. I am excited to be done with them, to be free of them, to go back to the gym again, to cook and eat well again.

Lisa Johnson Fitness described how to get back to the gym in Getting Back on Track: How to Return After a Fitness Hiatus:

  • Acknowledge that you slacked off. Pretty sure I just did that.
  • Don’t try to make up for lost time. Thank goodness! I do not have to double my efforts to fall back into fitness.
  • You didn’t lose as much ground as you think. According to Lisa, I should feel healthier and better able to work out by my third or fourth effort. (I didn’t take that long of a break.)
  • Set a fitness goal. My goal is to go to Muscle Pump and Power Yoga twice a week and cook and eat real food again. (No more couch. No more Ramen.)
  • Bribe yourself. I plan on bribing myself with a professional massage. My back will appreciate it.

Wish me luck! (For my exams and my fitness freedom.) See you Sunday friends!

Get even skin tone and other skin tips

Since I am on a quest to discover the perfect foundation, I thought I should explain why.

(Hint: It’s not just because I have a zit farm on my face.)

When I went through puberty (ew. gross.), I did not suffer from some of the same follies many girls and guys suffered from, such as crazy skin problems.

No. I did not truly run into crazy skin problems until graduate school.

Stress. It’s a killer.

Now, I am sure my face is a hot mess because karma is… well, you know. My skin is violently rebelling against any treatment I try.

Proactiv didn’t work.

Apparently, graduate school stress is also making my face change colors. Not occasional colors like sun-burnt-red or oops-I-popped-a-pimple-purple, but regularly occurring colors like rosy-rosacea and dry-skin-scratched-red.

OK. So all of those colors are reddish, but I want my face to be one color. Preferably a peachy pink color! (I use peach-colored blush to pull it off in the meantime.) I do not want bright red blotches on normally pale skin.

Not my thing.

Even tone is my goal! Sun damage and scarring are two culprits of permanently uneven skin tone. (Otherwise, I’d just have the occasional summer sun burn and a few acne scars.)

Assistant Professor of Dermatology at New York University’s Medical Center Doris Day, for Women’s Health Magazine, recommends using an over-the-counter lightening cream with Sepiwhite, which fade existing blotchy-ness and prevents new spots. Day recommends Olay Professional Pro-X Discoloration Fighting Concentrate for which I have a coupon. Bonus.

If you prefer a natural approach to evening skin tone, which I usually would, but I haven’t got the time, you can try lemon juice, oatmeal, honey and milk.

We will discuss dark circles on another day. (Those I definitely got from graduate school.)

On the path to graduation: Final classes and projects

Final exams and fitness promises
My last semester of grad school (of school forever) seems to be a breeze, but I know the calm will not last.

A storm is coming…

A four-hour storm during which I must regurgitate all that I have learned as a grad student at WSU in the form of comprehensive exams. I get my questions next week or the week after, and then I have 5-6 weeks to study and prepare my answers.

I must pass my comprehensive exams in order to graduate with a Master’s in Communication. Nervous? Yes. Panicky? Quite.

The semester will soon get the better of me, and I will have a freak-out-panic-attack period during which I will want to take a break from blogging and diet and fitness, but I won’t be able to because I have to blog for class.

Oh, just, joy.

I will go to the gym. I will eat healthy food. I will cook at home.

I have to do it for three credit hours, and my health.

Continuing my research
My graduate project is also starting to stress me out, but in a good way.

Last semester, I worked with a group of undergraduate and graduate students and our professor to raise awareness about hunger on campus. My research focused on graduate students and graduate teaching assistants. It was qualitative research – no statistics, no percentages, just stories.

My graduate project is a proposal to the university to develop the resources needed to create a Campus Kitchen Project at WSU.

It is a big project, a big proposal, and I’ll leave WSU (if I pass my comps) before I see the proposal come to fruition – if it ever does.

The quantitative communication class is taking on the hunger project again this semester. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to provide their food security and hunger stories anonymously to contribute to the research and the cause.

Making time for myself and friends
I do have a ton of work to do, but school and work make Shae a dull girl. She needs time with her friends :)

On Friday, February 17, I attended the Women’s Fair at Century II with some fabulous ladies I met on Twitter.

ICT Women's FairICT Women's FairICT Women's FairICT Women's FairI got my ring cleaned for free, taste tested some frozen wine and made fun of weird hats like this one.

Pink Winter Hat with FurAfter the Women’s Fair, we went to the Drury Plaza Hotel’s AVI, and I ate a ham and cheese sandwich from heaven.

Ham and Cheese Sandwich and Fingerling Potatoes with a Dill Pickle on the SideOn Saturday, I hung out with friends from my hometown, and then with Husband and his friends at my house – all of whomare coming over to clean up their poker chips.

Boys.

Ciao friends!

Blogging again + An update

Two weeks?

Really?

Wow.

No excuses.

I have avoided my computer because I’m glued to 52 square inches of screen at work.

Computer WorkstationNot that I don’t love those screens! I am thankful and blessed to be staring at those screens. I’m thankful for work! (And I’ll give you another reason in a minute.) But I just had to rest my eyes and my mind.

Sometimes, you have got to get away from technology. I also cut myself off from Facebook and Twitter – so much so that one of my friends sent me a message to make sure I was OK.

Hilarious.

During my break, I finished reading the second book in my series: The Girl Who Played with Fire. I love mysteries, but here is my warning: It is just as morbid as the first book.

Two weeks. A nice vacation from blogging (just one week from social media). I had a nice rest, but I’m back to blogging!

I am also back to school. I have six credit hours left until I get my master’s degree.

Six.

I am so close! My class met Thursday: Writing and Editing for the Web. The required textbook? The Yahoo! Style Guide. Assignments? Write blogs.

No. I’m not joking.

Yes. It’s awesome.

skinnyshae will change this semester. Instead of a lot of original, unique content, the blog will transform to a “link blog” somewhat. I will share more information than I will create. Expect to see a lot of links to some of my favorite blogs and websites.

I also have a graduate project this semester. I want to write a proposal for the university to consider creating a Campus Kitchens Project at WSU as a continuation of my research about hunger from last semester. Check out the CKP here. Another student from that class, Katie, and I might be able to create a poster for a graduate competition at WSU. I am super excited about that possibility. Fingers crossed!

The project will take up much of my time, but I should be far less stressed than I was last semester. I’m sure we all remember how crazy I was… I know Husband does ;)

Already this year, I suffered an unfortunate loss…

My car died :(

According to the man at Jiffy Lube, who I am sure knew his stuff, I blew a head gasket. Pretty sure that’s a $5 part and a $1500 repair bill. Husband and I have put so much money in to that car.

When I told him, he looked at me and said: “I think its time to buy a car.” So guess what we did during my technology break!

WE BOUGHT A CAR! And by “bought,” I mean we have a loan and a car payment and boo… but we totally have a new(er) car! Yay!

If I did not stop teaching at WSU and start working at the bank full-time, Husband and I would not have been able to buy a car to replace my dead Grand Am. My mother and her husband will work on the broken car. Here is my apology: I’m sorry I broke it! Thank you for letting me drive it for so long.

Speaking of my job… I love it! Research is one of my favorite activities. I was the weird kid in school who loved writing research papers. I don’t write whole papers at work – no time for that – but I write plenty of little reports!

Giddy with excitement <—- ME.

Prepare yourselves for some serious link-blogging because I am back.

The Story of the Missing Ring

I never thought I would be a blog-a-week kind of gal…

…but here we are…

…one week later…

…and one semester OVER.

That’s right! It. Is. Over. (Well, for the most part.)

Here is my final week of classes in review. It’s a good time.

Monday, December 5, 2011
My group goes over last-minute details for our Communication Law presentation.

LADIES’ WINE NIGHT at Sabor! Every once in a while, my former coworkers from WSU’s Office of University Relations and I get together to catch up over a glass of wine and appetizers. I love these women, and I miss working with them. (But I grew up and couldn’t fill their student position anymore! I was totally the best.)

Corn Queso with Flatbread and Tortilla ChipsCorn Queso with Flatbread and Tortilla Chips
And a Strawberry Mojito!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Students give final speeches in preparation for Jeopardy review game on Thursday. They do a good job!

Spend the rest of the day studying for my Communication Theory final exam. I was fully prepared for this exam. Studied hard and had everything pretty much down.

Looked at the test for two and half seconds, but I notice something strange…

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS MY WEDDING RING?!

I’ll tell you where.

Gone. As in not on my finger. Gone.

I freaked. (In the middle of a quiet classroom during a final exam. My class hated me.) A panicked request to leave and a hopeless search of the bathroom followed.

It was gone. Not in the bathroom where I must have taken it off to wash my hands. I am in tears at this point. No longer panicking. Just crying almost uncontrollably.

Note: When I take my ring off outside of my house, I put it in my mouth. Lotion, hand-washing, etc. It’s hanging out between my teeth.

But, oh, hope! A student told me a girl picked it up and asked a concurrently occurring speech class if it belonged to any of them.

And then the girl disappeared…

Hope dashed.

I waited and waited for the speech class to get out so I could talk to someone. Anyone. To turn up any evidence of my ring’s location. Of the girl who picked it up.

I got a description: my height, dark hair, white coat. Not a lot of help but I am appreciative.

I filled out a report with the campus police, just in case my ring turned up in “Lost & Found,” and then I went home to explain to Husband what I had done.

FUN conversation.

However, he said I did such a good job of beating myself up about it, he wasn’t too mad. I’ve got such a good husband.

While I’m tearing myself up and muttering curses at myself, I’m on Twitter notifying all of @elliottschool’s followers to notify them and the building that my ring is missing and any information would be so much appreciated. (Also doing this on Facebook.)

Reason No. 1 Why I Love Social Media: An entire community is at my fingertips. I reached out, and they reached back.

Not only did I receive words of support and hope, but I also found my ring :)

The girl who picked it up turned it in to her teacher, who I know and contacted through Twitter. The teacher put my ring in an envelope and left in the Elliott School’s main office to which I have a key. I went and got my ring the same night I lost it.

I love good, honest people.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Had lunch with my boss at the big girl job and had fun checking merchandising at our locations. (I will totally tell you about this job in detail soon. Totally soon.)

“Presented” our Communication Law project. It was awesome. (After a minor heart attack with the Prezi not working… PowerPoint all the way.)

Otherwise, I did not do much on Wednesday.

Thursday, December 8, 2011
Taught my final public speaking class. Yep! That’s right! I’m done teaching Communication 111 at WSU. I have a big girl job for reals (and it’s one of those full-time jobs I kept hearing about! See above.)

Finish paper. Turn paper in. Go to another grad student’s going away party!  She’s running home to get married or something… Psh! Who leaves Wichita?! ;)

Friday, December 9, 2011
Judged my final Shocker Speakout. It’s a speech competition for the public speaking classes at WSU. I judged six speeches, listened to the finalists and completely agreed with the winner (but they all did such a good job)!

After the competition, I did some healthy grocery shopping and cleaned (well, sort of) my messy, messy house.

(And at some point during the week, I got a flat tire. Husband and Father-in-Law are awesome and changed it for me in the freezing cold!)

Which brings us to… now.

And the fact that skinnyshae is back!

Missed you, friends! :)

Update + My motivator

UPDATE
One week of classes left in the semester…

Two final exams scheduled for the final week of classes…

One group project and presentation…

One research paper (complete with data I have yet to finish analyzing)…

I am DONE with my fall classes on Thursday, December 8.

I am DONE with my students’ classes on Tuesday, December 13, and then I have to turn in grades.

I am DONE soon.

Very soon.

I feel like I need another week :)

MY MOTIVATOR
I am too busy to go to Shocker Fitness :(

However, I am making time to get some form of workout in every day because I cannot be stationary. My legs get mad at me if I sit for too long, which is awesome.

At least three or four mornings each week, I go for a quick run around my neighborhood or do a light circuit workout in my house.

However, because it is very cold in the morning, I do not really want to go outside and exercise. Luckily, I have this dog…

My motivator, Ivan, wants to go outside all the time, and if we’re running around the block, he’s a happy camper (probably because he has a built-in winter coat and loves running like his mommy).

I also take the stairs at work from the lobby to the FOURTH floor. Oh, yeah. I climb those babies. In heels.

I am lacking in the healthy eating department. Sigh.

Ramen noodles, sweets, fast food, pizza… it’s been happening. And I hate it.

However, instead of fighting it, which will not work, I am incorporating salads, vegetables and proteins (Greek yogurt review coming soon) into the unhealthy eating regimen.

When I have more time and less stress, I believe it will be easier for me to switch back to healthy food if I’m still eating healthy food.

I have not given up! I am not taking a break! I am getting as much in as I can right now, and I am happy with myself.

I am not happy about gaining two pounds. Ugh. (I think dry skin is going to be my biggest annoyance, though.)

Tell me if you’re in school, how’s school?

What do you do when you’ve got NO time?

Both ends are lit…

Burning both ends of the candle. Both wicks are lit, steadily burning hour after hour, until the wax runs low and the flames go out.

Not the best way to go about life.

I am exhausted.

In an attempt to make up work I should have done on Friday and Saturday nights, when I was out with friends, I think I might have destroyed several brain cells reading Burke’s A Rhetoric of Motives and researching for my thesis today.

(Definite loss of brain power, for sure. Since beginning writing this blog, I have spelled four words incorrectly and used the incorrect word more times than I can count. Ex: “work” instead of “word.” Yes, I did it in this note.)

The Situation

Problem: Exhaustion.

Cause: School.

Secondary Cause(s): Bad diet, no workouts, going to be late and sleeping in.

Solution(s): Eat healthy fuds! Go to Shocker Fitness! Go to bed early! Get up on time!

Also, more than two cups of coffee? Yes.

I believe I am going to find a remedy for scheduling little mental breaks throughout my day, such as not thinking for five minutes, which is impossible, but I’ll try. If I can get a little baby break, maybe, just maybe, these uber horrendous study days will be less demanding and taxing on the blood supply to my brain.

Here’s hoping!

Mental break ideas… Go! And I’ll share! :)

Side Note: Watched my 8-year-old brother do homework today… I do not remember doing book reports in third grade. We had assigned reading that we talked about in class. I actually don’t remember having homework until fourth grade.

Dear Public Education System,

Seriously!? He’s 8!

Sincerely,

Shae (Concerned citizen for youngin’s everywhere who do not get to make mud pies or play with pets and friends because of math homework)