1. One Small Step…

    Oh. Hi there. How are you? I am well, thanks.

    Sorry I haven’t written in a LONG time. I just have not the motivation, nor have anything profoundly interesting to say at present. Then, I realized most of what is posted on the internet is not significantly important or interesting, and I guess me just writing to write and hope that people read it is OK! So here is to some new blogging adventures. Shall we?

    Two weekends ago, something pretty amazing happened. Well, many amazing things happened (ahem, we crashed a Sears Holiday Party at our hotel,) but one amazing thing in particular happened. Here is some background for ya…

    Since I moved to Vancouver in 2006, I have refused to give into the fact that I live in a place that it rains…like, all the time. I grew up in Denver, Colorado and we are said to have more sunshine per year than Florida, the freaking sunshine STATE. So, imagine my shock upon moving to Vancouver when the Summer of ’06 ended and I did not see the sun for weeks on end.


    My skin grew pale and my spirits grew sad. I was overwhelmed with how much I detested this weather. I do not think unless you have lived somewhere where the sun shines most times, you can truly understand how difficult this weather is to get over (I am still working on it, OK?) Pair that with the ever shrinking Summers, and well, the sun loving days of my Colorado youth being long behind me. Even the rainy grey days I spent in Milan seemed somehow more pleasant, less…less wet. (Well, anything in Italy feels more glamorous I think. Oh, also I bought a rain coat, rain boots, and an umbrella within the first month of living there…)

    So I refused for years, almost 8, to buy any sort of rain gear. I have given into other Vancouver “trends,” I even worked at the lululemon offices for crying out loud. One day, while I was walking down the street in Aritiza pants, a lulu hoodie and jacket, ankle boots, a bag from David’s Tea, and a bag of gluten free nonsense from Whole Foods, I realized how “Vancouver” I had become. Yet I still would get soaked in the rain, refusing to buy a rain coat, an umbrella, or a pair of rain boots. (Idiot.)

    So for me, making the leap to buy rain boots this past weekend meant more than me just adding another pair of shoes to my closet. It meant that I, in a small way, have accepted the rain as a part of my life. For me, that is kind of a big thing. My Auntie Greg told me that moving to a new place that I was completely unfamiliar would take me about 5 years to adjust. For once in her life, she was wrong (hehe) as it took me 7 years to even buy freaking rain boots! Ha. My journey as a Vancouverite is still a major work in progress. Will I ever accept my fate, and give into an umbrella? Will a raincoat ever grace my hall closet? Maybe, maybe not.


    You will just have to stick around to find out.

    Till next time!
    A

  2. Couples Therapy.

    Last year, David and I started doing this little running thing I saw on Pinterest. It was called “Couch to 5K.” Now, if you know David and me, we are not exactly the most “active” people. Last summer we were pretty motivated to change that, and I was still pretty into fitness. So we started the program and were doing pretty well!

    Then we went to Hawaii for two weeks. Our first few days were spent at the fabulous Modern Honolulu, and we actually got up early in the morning and ran along Waikiki Beach and stuck to our plan. Then we moved to the western shore, where there was no path to run on…only a sandy beach. Which at first we thought we could do…then the waves and the beach and the coconut vodka called our name. We spent the rest of our two weeks eating and drinking and being lazy. When we got home, our running plan was forgotten.

    Fast forward to today and I am still struggling with losing weight (which is made loads worse by PCOS) and I thought it was time to strike it up again. This running plan could not be any easier. Tonight was our first night back at it, and it was so easy on paper…but out of shape Alexandra was not having it. Man, I was a hot mess. I look forward to sticking to it this time and not letting our upcoming trips to LA, Summerland and Mexico ruin it this time! (Cause ya know, it is totally the places fault…:) Fitness does not get a vacation…cause clearly it takes me way top long to get back into it!

    Check out the running plan here, and try it! You will be surprised how well it goes. And grab a buddy too. I am glad to have David supporting me on this journey, that I fear will never end;) 

    Till next time.

    xo. 

  3. The 14th Year

    We all have people who are important to us, and at some point, we will lose those people. This is one of those awful life truths that you really do not understand until it actually happens to you. It is hard to understand it, until you are actually going through it.

    On May 2nd, 1999, My mom, sister, and I were leaving Target in Littleton, Colorado. It was a Sunday, and one of our favorite things to do after church was shop. As we left the parking lot, I asked my mom if we could go visit Duma and Dupa. For those of you who do not know me, Dupa and Dupa are my maternal grandparents, and unlike most grandparents, these people played an almost as vital role in my life that my actual parents did. I lived with them in Switzerland, I traveled Europe and the US with them, my Duma home schooled me (and my cousins and neighborhood friends), and my Dupa would give me flying lessons on any trip we took. I would willingly spend the night at their house over my friends’ houses, as I enjoyed being with them immensely. Even after I stopped being home schooled  I would still go to Duma’s house weekly for Spanish lessons. It was a strange week if I did not see them at least twice, and this is not including our weekly Sunday burrito dinners at their home.

    As I asked my mom if we could go see them, the clock was at just around 1:00pm. Strange to think that I thought about them at that time…and asked about going to see them even though I very well knew they were away, en route to visit my Aunt Greg and her family in Farmington, New Mexico, because around that time was when their small plane that was piloted by my Dupa went down in the area known as Wolf Creek Pass, in Southern Colorado. I was asking to go see them, and at that moment, it was decided that in this life at least, I would never see them again.

    I was 15 years old, and had big plans for myself. So did my Duma and Dupa. They wanted the best for me, and their love and never ending encouragement was a big part of the person I had become, and who I wanted to become. John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans,” and while I was busy making plans that included my wonderful grandparents, life happened. And everything kind of fell apart for me.

    For days after their plane went missing, we held on to hope that the search and rescue team would find them, covered by blankets (Duma always got cold in-flight) in the plane’s fuselage, surviving off of Duma’s travel boxes of puffed wheat cereal. I think the grandchildren (9 of us back then) all really thought they would survive this, and it would be an amazing story we would talk about for years to come, at birthdays, graduations, weddings, and so on.

    It is still a story, and it is a part of all of us that loved and were loved by my Duma and Dupa, but the story did not end the way we wanted it too.

    Today, it has been 14 years. Next year, it will be 15…and the year that marks I have lived longer without them than I lived with them. That is a horribly sad thought for me, as I expected (and I think we all did) more time with them. I planned to graduate high school with flying colors, and have Duma walk on stage and give me the lotion smiley face on my hand she would give me every morning after I slept over (she said she would come up on stage at my grad and do that, and I would have let her:) I planned to attend Duke University, where she had attended classes. I planned to be Miss America and change the world. I planned for Duma and Dupa to not only see that, but be an active part of it. Instead, life looked entirely different for me and I ended up kind of just “getting by.” I felt like, what was the point? We are just going to die!

    It took me a long time to realize that had my Duma and Dupa had that mind set, their lives would not have been so important to so many. Had they just lived mundane lives because, “what is the point, we are all going to die,” then losing them probably would have not been so damn hard. Now, at age 29 (gasp!) I still sometimes find myself thinking of how my life would have been had they survived that crash, and if they were still here. But they’re not, and they won’t be. So instead of living my life just trying to get by, and just survive, I need to live up to the high expectations that my Duma and Dupa left me with. Because even though they are not with me now, someday, I will be with them where they are. And when I leave this earth for heaven, I want to be remembered and loved and missed like they are, and inspire life, even in death.

    I think that is a really great way to keep Duma and Dupa with me, by living life like they never left…because in some ways, they never did.

    Till next time.

    xo

  4. Little Voices.

    You have seen the cartoons, the man with the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. One saying, “Do good!” the other, “Do bad!”

    While we all have those struggles in our life, I do not think I have ever really had the whole angel/devil dilemma My two voices are of a different type.

    My two people are a fat, lazy chick, and a super fit lady decked out in lululemon and new Nike running shoes. The two meet quite often, especially when working out and / or eating is involved. They came out with their dukes up yesterday morning, on more than one occasion.

    My alarm went off at 5:32am, so I could get up and be at the gym right as it opened. I turned the damn thing off, and rolled back over. Cause the lazy lady was convincing me that one more hour of laying in bed was worth it…

    But that is when Miss Fit jumped in, “Alex, one more hour of laying here wishing you went to the gym. GET UP.”

    So I did. I got up and I went to the gym at 6:00am. 

    At the gym, the two reared their heads again as I ran on the treadmill. Now, I hate running. HATE. But I am working my way up to running and making it something I enjoy. (hahaha, how funny it that!) So each day, I increase the amount of time I spend running by a few minutes. 

    As I surpassed my previous goal, and worked my way towards the new goal, the lazy lady wanted me to stop. But Miss Fit came in and got me going. Yes, the voices went back and forth, but in the end, the positive prevailed.

    I think these internal battles are good. They remind us of why we are doing what we are doing, and remind us what we are trying to do. Life is a battle, and you need that voice inside your head telling you, “You got this! You can DO this.” And it might take a while, but eventually, that positive voice will win out. Yea, the negative one who wants you to give up and give in will come back every once in a while, but that is OK  It keeps us fighting:)

    So give into your stronger voice, and remember that like me, you too can do it. You can run that extra few minutes  that extra mile, that extra ten miles…you. can. do. it! And so can I. 

    Till next time!

    X.

  5. Action.

    Well hello there. It has been a while since I blogged, and I wish I could say it is because “I have not had time,” but it actually drives me INSANE when people say that they don’t have time for something. We all have the same amount of time in the day, and there is someone far busier than I am who takes time to blog. We have time for what we make time for:)

    The reason I have not been blogging is not for lack of time, but for lack of motivation. The past few months I have been down in the dumps. Living in Vancouver has a lot to do with it, weather wise I mean. I grew up in the sunny state of Colorado, and truth be told I will NEVER get used to life in a city where the sun just don’t shine very often. Don’t get me wrong, summers here are lovely, but they are short and sweet.

    So since  November, I just have not been feeling it! I blogged here and there but they all have the same “I got fat again and need to lose weight again” theme. All talk, no action.

    Now as we enter Spring, I am starting to FINALLY get motivated again. One of the things that kicked me in to gear was that I was sick for two weeks and just the action of walking was painful. I do not want to be sick like that again, and I am sick of feeling bllllaaah. So how does a person get motivated? For me, it has been a combo of things:

    -My wardrobe: It is horrifying the amount of clothing I do not fit in anymore. And I do not want to buy clothing as I will lose weight and what is the point of having a bunch of fat clothes? Pass. So I am motivated to lose weight and get fit again, not only so I can wear my favorite $300 AG Jeans (that I got on sale for $50, boom!) but so I can buy new clothes! My style is evolving, thank goodness, as I grow older and wiser, and I am desperate for my closet to reflect that. After all, dress for the job you want not that job you have, right? Lately I have been dressing like a frumpy cat lady. Last time I checked, that is not a job. 

    - Summer: The season of swim and surf is always a motivator, for a lot of people. It is the season of swim suits, short shorts, and sun dresses! And I  speak from experience when I say that wearing a skimpy little sun dress at Kits beach on a hot August day while you are 20lbs overweight is just about the most uncomfortable thing ever. 

    - Health: I have been a hot mess lately! Just ask my work. I have missed more days because of sickness than I think I had banked! Having been diagnosed with PCOS, asthma, anxiety, and depression, I have to be on the ball as much as I can with my health. Bottom line, lower body fat percentages mean less trouble with PCOS, asthma AND mental health. Maybe enough that I can eventually be off Zoloft and even my many asthma drugs one day! Dare to dream, right:) 

    Oh, and my friend Vanessa is getting married at the end of April and I want to wear a cute dress! hehe. 

    So there is my motivators, and I hope they can be something more than just passing thoughts this time around. I do not want to hit rock bottom before I start to get better. So it is time to take some serious action and stop running my mouth:)

    Till next time!

    X. 

  6. Club James.

    When my cousin, Carolina, and I were younger, we used to play this silly game when were were out shopping at Southglenn Mall in Littleton, Co. (Actually any mall we went too…)

    This game was that we were rich, like unlimited funds rich, and that everything we touched was ours! Also, we were moms. What is it about some little girls just wanting to be moms when they are 5? Haha. We would dress our imaginary kids in the cutest of clothes, and fill their imaginary closets to the brim. Of course, we only ever had little girls cause girls clothing was (and to an extent still is) so much cuter!

    A lot of time has passed, and I am now 28 (29 in April, eek!) and Carolina is 25. We are both married, and Carolina today become a mom. Like, a real one.  

    I am over the moon for her, and wish all of those clothes we “bought” all those years ago would be magically hers! Even though I am sure our styles have changed quite a bit, haha. And baby Halle won’t need all those clothes as I am sure we all will shower that baby with more clothing that she could wear in a lifetime! I wish I could be there, to welcome Halle James and give her a snuggle. Then I could welcome my dear middle name twin, to the elite Club James. Named after our wonderful Duma, Jimmie Nell (born Nellie James) it is a name that will remind us of who were are, and who we came from. I cant wait to meet baby Halle, and tell her hilarious stories of her mom and my adventures.

    So from one James to another, welcome to the world, baby girl. Sending much Love from the Great White North.

    Till Next time.

    Xo

  7. Now Leaving: The Comfort Zone.

    In one of Jillian’s many workout DVDs, she said something that has stuck with me, not enough to make any positive permanent changes, but stuck with me none the less. She says “I want you to get comfortable, with being uncomfortable.” She, of course, it talking about her tough exercise circuits in this case.

    For about 2 years, I was totally comfortable with being uncomfortable when it came to working out. I loved it. I loved the sweat of it, the soreness of it, and the overall endorphin rush.

    Now, almost a full year since I “fell off the wagon,” I have gotten comfortable with another form of being uncomfortable. I have gotten comfortable with being fat & lazy. Now, I do not like sharing this, and it is something personal, but it is something that I literally carry with me and that everyone I know and see can see. In the past 4 months, I have gained 25lbs. In the last year? 35lbs. How did this happen, I ask myself?!? Easy. I got lazy, I ate too much, worked out too little, and kicked back one to many glasses of Pinot Gris. This is 100% my fault.

    Well…maybe 90%. This last month, thanks to numerous blood tests, I have been finally able to figure out why I have been dealing with a bizarre range of symptoms. From weird rashes, a horrible allergic reaction on my face, stomach issues, and the a fore mentioned weight gain. I have something called Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome  and while I do not understand it totally, I am learning that what I eat and drink has a major effect on my hormones and insulin levels. Making it hard to lose weight, and causing my anxiety disorder to become worse. In short, I am a mess. I have been reading and researching how I can “fix” myself, as I don’t want to be pumped full of drugs and hormones, and the bottom line is if I work out, and eat right, I can actually really reduce these symptoms, and maybe get knocked up one of these days!

    As I embark on this journey, I welcome any advice or words of wisdom from you! It is going to be hard to stop eating things I have eaten and enjoyed for my whole life, but guess what, being overweight and unhealthy is hard too. So I will choose my hard. 

    And you may be wondering why I am sharing something that can really be quite personal. The reason is that I think a lot of people struggle with things, from little to big, that they don’t want to share or talk about cause they are embarrassed. Jillian Michales, an fitness idol of mine, has PCOS and was silent about it for years, afraid it would change the way people see her. But when she talked about it, it almost made her easier to relate too, especially for me. We all carry these things inside of us that can really (sometimes literally..;) weigh us down. Talking about it, learning about it, and not being afraid of it, that can be really cathartic.

    So. There ya go, my newest and probably longest battle of the bulge starts again. This time, I am prepared to make it a life change, and I look forward to sharing it with those of you who are kind enough to read my rants/blog posts:)

    Till next time.

    Xo

  8. Lucky 13.

    Happy New Year! I know I am 9 days past the whole “New Year’s Day” thing, but this is the first post of 2013 for me, so Happy New Year is fitting:) 

    The new year is always a time where we look at ourselves and see what we want to change. The gyms become packed, the produce section of grocery stores have been ransacked, and the fridge at work is full of healthy lunches! For a week or two. Then the elliptical does not have a wait, I can buy kale without going to 3 stores, and there is room in the work fridge for my growing collection of yogurts! 

    I rarely make resolutions, as I try to improve myself at all the times. I have spent the better half of my adult years try to get fit and healthy. It is a non stop battle, as I am up and down. As I sit here typing, I am horrified to say that in the past 4 months I have packed on an extra 20-25 lbs. (Depending on the day…ha) As it is the first of the year, I feel like it is a perfect time to reassess my diet and lifestyle.  Not so much resolutions, per say, but improvements that I will work on for the rest of my life.

    I am ever a work in progress, and look forward to this year and all the wonderful things it will bring! I look forward to posting more as I learn how I can improve myself, my lifestyle, and the world around me! I also look forward to sharing it with you:)

    Till next time!

    xo & may 2013 rock:) 

  9. Worst. Christmas. Ever.

    I think one of the hardest lessons we have to learn in life is that life is not fair. Bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people. On the flip side, good things happen to good people and ya, sometimes those bad people get what is coming to them.

    This lesson was learned again for me this Christmas morning. David and I had spent the night out at his parents house, celebrating Christmas eve. When we arrived home around noon on Christmas Day, we were startled to find out front window was missing. My first instinct was maybe there was a freak storm in Vancouver, and it took out our window? OK, it was not my first “instinct” it was more of a wish. As I stumbled over to the window, and gazed in to see our flat screen TV missing, I began panicking. Who DOES this sort of thing? As I entered the house with David, the regular way (unlike the thieves…) I began to see more was taken. All of our electronics were gone, including our Mac Book Pro, which housed thousands of songs, photos, and documents. David’s PS3 and all his games were gone, (blessing in disguise? haha) and even a really crappy laptop we held on to just because. 

    I ran to the kitchen, for some reason concerned about my wine, and was relieved to find it still there. I took a deep breath, telling myself over and over, that these are just things. They are replaceable.

    David was on the phone with the police, as I walked into our room. My drawers had been ransacked, though nothing was taken from them (clearly these people have no taste) but it was unsettling to know that someones filthy hands had been all over MY things. I was relieved to see my Kate Spade bags and prize YSL heels had been untouched. Then I noticed my jewelry bowl, sitting out of place on a heap of my clothes. It was empty. 

    I do not have a lot of great jewellery. In fact, most of my necklaces and earrings are from places like Forever 21, or if I am feeling really fancy, Anthropologie. I have two engagement rings, one that David gave me, and then one that David had reset for me, it was my Duma’s diamond and had been given to her in the late 50’s from my Dupa, then given to my mom when she got engaged. It was a small diamond, a little over half a carat, diamond, but it was an almost perfect stone. It was sparkly and lovely. I wore it most of the time, but on Christmas eve, I wore my original ring. How I wish I would have worn them both.

    The ring that had been in my family for the last 50 some odd years was gone. It was then that this all hit me and I feel to the floor in heaving sobs. This ring was one of the few things I had left of my Duma, who was killed (along with my Dupa) in a plane crash in 1999.  I was sick. Devastated. I can buy a new TV, I can get a new tablet. And yes, I can get a new ring, but it wont be that one.


    I thought about what my Duma would say to me, should she still be here, and I remembered a time I spilled pizza on her expensive Berber carpet. I was terrified that she was going to be furious, but as she came down the stairs to see what had happened, she just said “It is ok, it is just a spill. It is just carpet.” She knew that getting angry at me, or at all, would not change anything. And that my feelings were more important than that stain on the carpet. People are more important than things.

    Things are just things, and when this world comes to an end, they will too. But the people we love, they stay with us in our heart and memories, and no one can take that from us. I may not have her diamond, but I have my Duma’s wise words, and such wonderful memories, that will last forever. This robbery made me look at things a bit differently. That is for sure. These things, these material things we love so much, can be taken from us so quickly.

    As news of our unfortuante run in spread, I received calls, emails, facebook posts, and texts from friends and family with the kindest of words. I was aksed to multiple Christmas dinners that evening, and have been lent some tech toys until we can get some new ones. What wonderful people I have in my life, and that is something that no robber can take from me. 

    Even those people we do not have with us any longer, we still have those memories. I read something the other day that I thought was so beautiful, “the people you love become ghosts inside of you and like this you keep them alive.” I want to create relationships, memories, and adventures with the people I love. And maybe this was a horrible way to realize it, but when you have “prized” possessions taken from you overnight, I think you automatically focus on the things that cannot be taken from you. And these are the things where I will find my peace. My faith, my family, and my friends. Thank you all for your kind words, and lovely thoughts. It has truly meant so much. And to David, for keeping it together and being such a wonderful husband to me…even when I am being a hysterical, crying lunatic!

    I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and that your 2013 is filled with joy.

    Till next time!

    X.

  10. Waist Not.

    Well, December is just around the corner, and unless you live under a rock, you have surely been able to see that Christmas is in the air. From the Starbucks “red cup” over load on Instagram, to the Christmas tunes already on the airwaves, it is no secret that here in North America, we LOVE Christmas. Over course we could get into the consumerism of it all (I mean, really, do you kids need 67 new toys? Do I need a new Tiffany’s key necklace? Do you need a new Kitchen Aide blender? No. But it is fun so give it to me;) But why let the Christmas spirit be anything but just that. Spirited!

    Americans and Canadians alike are about to drop major dollar bills on toys, new housewares, travel, food, booze, trees, decor, etc…all in the name of getting in to this ever so jolly season.

    But how can we enjoy it, and not go over board? How can my waist not see the effects of the endless soirees and office treats? (Today, a co-worker brought in eggies. They have eggies at Christmas now….even Easter wants in on Christmas!) Here are some tips I try to adhere to this time of year.

    "Cheers to Christmas Eve! Cheers to Christmas! Cheers to…snow! Cheers to everything! " Everyone loves Christmas time drinks. I myself like to enjoy some Baileys on ice come Christmas morning. It just feels right. When out and about in Yaletown the other day, they had this adorable festival called “Candy Town” going on. I got very excited about a “cocktail tour” they were putting on. Local restaurants would have “candy” themed cocktails, in honor of the festival. I got super excited…then I thought about it. Candy themed cocktails? Hello calorie AND sugar rush. Which if you just have one, sure that is fine, but what kind of “tour” do you just do one stop? This holiday season, you cant co wrong with a vodka soda, and a lemon twist. Feeling a bit more seasonal? Grab a glass of straight up bubbly. The French 75, while delicious, packs as many as 250 calories, while a glass of straight champagne or prosecco is only 80. 

    Noshing through the snow…Calorie counting goes out the window, like Santa goes out your chimney, around Christmas. We are surrounded by food, and mindlessly eat and eat and eat, until we look like we have an elf or two on the way. When going to a party, I try to bring something light and a teeny bit health. My go to, thanks to Sarah, is a bocconcini, a basil leaf, and a cherry or grape tomato on a toothpick. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction, and you have a really classy looking appy that even matches the season. 

    The reason for the season. Now, for something a little deeper. Christmas is a time where we get to enjoy our friends, or family, and our new gifts. But there are people around the globe, and even in your neighborhood maybe, that will not have a very lovely Christmas. There are tons, and I mean tons, of charities that help these people. And I encourage everyone to give. A little goes a long way. Here are some great links if you need ideas. And get your family involved! I remember when I was little, my dad & I delivered donated gifts to families who had a father or mother in prison. It was heartbreaking to visit these children, sometimes 5-6 kids living in a small apartment! But oh how HAPPY they were when we came with those gifts. Such a small gesture, made such a special moment for those little ones. And come one, what kid doesn’t deserve a good Christmas?

    Angel TreeThis is one of the ones I was involved with when I was younger. It gives presents to kids with parents in prison  who lets face it, wont get one otherwise. It is a Christian charity that my dad was pretty involved with, and NOT cause he was a felon. Lol

    The BEST Gift Ever - Some kids want a toy, some kids NEED a chicken. This neat charity lets you browse a catalog and buy things that kids across the globe NEED. I loved doing this as a kid, it was fun to browse the catalog and see not only what we could get, but how it would help. 

    Toys for Tots  This long lasting campaign is run by the Unite State Marine Corps. As the sister of a Marine, I love this charity. As a decent human being, I love it even more:) 

    So there you go, I gave you a few ideas how you can make this season a bit more merry for you, and maybe someone else. And a lot less jelly for your belly.

    Until next time!

    X

About me

I like to write about things I like, things I love, and things I think are funny.

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