my southern identity, and events back home

I’ve been trying to put my thoughts together lately on all that has been going on in my home state in the past month but am still struggling to make it coherent. I started to tack this on to my last post but felt it was going to get long.

It’s a weird feeling to feel so emotionally involved and connected but be geographically far away. It feels uncomfortable to me when people here in Utah talk about the Confederate flag and the Charleston shootings with detachment – that’s my home. That’s where I’m from. I worked in the same building with one of the victims for 3 years when I was a student at CofC. Lord knows how many times my paths crossed with the other victims, it’s not a big city.

Part of it, too, is I have this super weird Southern identity. I have been a bleeding heart liberal since I was old enough to have reasonable political views. I still am. I learned very quickly not to share this with other people in the South, and to keep my opinions to myself, as I was in the minority. I still do this now. But I’ve also developed a deep pride in coming from the South.

When I was younger, I was not completely thrilled to be from South Carolina. I was embarrassed by the conservative politics, the racism, the stereotypes that the rest of the country applies to Southerners. I carefully avoided using the word “y’all” and I never developed much of an accent.

Most of my friends growing up had family from places like California and New Jersey that brought liberal influence into my life. I was also raised in a pretty liberal Presbyterian church that taught inclusiveness and love for all people. I’m not really sure where the liberal economic beliefs came from, but I knew I was a Keynesian the first time I learned what it meant in high school, and it never went away, despite the efforts of most of my Economics professors in college.

Growing up, I always thought I would ‘escape’ to some more liberal part of the country. The Confederate flag has always been a blight for South Carolinians. I was never proud or happy that it flew on the statehouse grounds. But honestly, it never felt like it was going to go anywhere. The only option I ever felt like I had to make political change was to leave the state. The conservatism runs so deep in SC, you have to be incredibly strong willed to try to do anything as a liberal or a Democrat.

I am so happy that the flag has finally been removed, as it should have been, long ago. I wish that this could have happened without the terrible event that sparked the removal. I desperately hope that more open dialogue can take place now, and that there may be lasting affects that open politics to the middle.

I am still proud to be a South Carolinian and always will be. I am a Southern woman who has good manners but still curses a bit, and loves bourbon and fried chicken. But I also believe in values that most of the rest of my beloved state does not, and that’s ok. I can do both. And I will continue to hope and pray for progress in SC and the rest of the country.

my southern identity, and events back home


Sometimes you just have to go full fatty.

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It’s been a crazy last few weeks! John is finally down to one sport a week and this is the last week. Then we get one week of nothingness and then our beach trip! SO excited. We are now under 100 days until the wedding and I am starting to get a bit nervous! There are just so many little logistical details to think about. If at the end of the day, we just get married and have some good food and some good beer, though, I’ll be happy. 🙂

A handsome man in a dark steakhouse

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It was John’s 30th birthday today! We went to High West yesterday and had some delicious whiskeys, and then Ruth’s Chris tonight. It was a very good but very rich meal. About halfway through our butter soaked steaks, we agreed we’re totally ready to eat healthy for the next two weeks. We’ve already planned out meals for the week and are going to try to be really good in preparation for the beach. 🙂

We didn’t end up doing the entire 30 days of our shred like we planned. I did about two weeks straight and then started having some knee pain, so we dialed it back. John was having a hard time with doing 3 sports and shred, too. I’ve been using an app called Sworkit for strength training and yoga to mix it up since shred started feeling really repetitive. I’m down about 3 pounds post-Minnesota madness, and pretty sure I’ll drop a bit more with our two weeks of “detox” eating coming up.

Pulled pork by Costco, rest by me

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Highlights of cooking recently: I made roasted green beans and homemade (super-cheesy) mac and cheese to go with this pulled pork from Costco. We’re going to be eating a lot of pulled pork this week, lol. We tried a honey lavender BBQ sauce that was really interesting.

Still working on my steak grilling game, but salmon turned out really well!

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Still on a major grilling kick, too! My next goal is to grill some perfect chicken with the honey lavender BBQ sauce.

Really looking forward to vacation soon as work has been super hectic lately. We’ve lost a few people recently and we’re feeling the workload. It’s going to feel so nice to kick back on the beach and have very few responsibilities for a couple days.



Whew. This weekend we went to Minnesota for one of John’s high school friend’s wedding. One of the most hectic weekends we’ve had in a while! There was not as much eating as anticipated, but I’m still feeling kinda icky and bloated from drinking and not getting much exercise. The travel really wore me out, too. We had a good time, though!


One of the highlights of the trip was visiting a bar in Rochester with a very serious tap menu. We cruised through several flights. The best we had was New Belgium’s Cocoa Mole. Cinnamony, chocolatey, with just a hint of spice. One of the better chili beers I’ve had! I also loved the Victory Kirsch Gose, though John wasn’t a big fan – no surprise since it’s a gose.

We started our shred yesterday, though I actually did a Sworkit workout instead for Monday – 15 minutes cardio and 10 minutes strength. Today I went back to 30 DS Level 1. Man, it is hard getting back on the exercise horse.

Will be grinding through another few regular work weeks before our beach trip! And my birthday is Monday, so we’re going to do some fun things this weekend. I want to hike but it may be too hot. Jurassic World is definitely in the picture, though. And dessert. Lots of dessert.



Ah, I let time get away from me again! This week was crazy hectic – I went to all 3 of John’s games this week (Monday – volleyball, Tuesday – softball, Wednesday – ultimate Frisbee), there was a kitty play date on Thursday night, and then Friday night I ran all the errands I didn’t do the rest of the week! So yeah, I didn’t cook at all this week. 😦

I did make breakfast yesterday morning and made some baked ravioli for lunches this week today since last week we were scrambling for lunch stuff with no leftovers available. I use this Emily Bites recipe that is super delicious and pretty low-cal.

Last night, John and I had date night before hanging out with friends. We went to Rye for the first time and were really impressed.


We both got the steak special and it was amazing. Mashed potatoes, really delicious grilled asparagus, and a fabulous steak. There was a spicy-ish miso sauce all around the plate as well that was divine. Creamy and rich and fabulous. We tried out a few of their cocktails and also had the dumplings as an appetizer, but the steak was the star of the meal for sure.


We also bought our wedding bands yesterday!!! We went to get my ring cleaned and decided to look and ended up buying bands on the spot. John’s is a classic gold band while mine has some sparkle. 🙂 It’s going to be hard to wait 4 more months to wear it!

This week is another dose of 3 sports, and then we’re going to Minnesota for the weekend for a wedding. I am 100% planning on stuffing face and having a great time! Our 30 day shred starts after we return, so this is a last hurrah for a bit. Then comes birthday celebrating and bach bash!

Coming up, May’s 1 second video recap…




Oops, I let the week get away from me. It was a busy one. This long weekend has been amazing! We had a pretty good mix of laziness and activity, in my opinion. Saturday, we went to Park City and hit the outlets and I bought more clothes than I probably should have, oops. But such good deals! Then John worked on the garden for a little while and we did laundry and took a walk around the neighborhood. I made our staple fish taco recipe:


Blackened tilapia with avocado, cilantro, and lots of fresh lime juice. Spicy and fresh and tasty!

Sunday ended up being even lazier…a Costco run and then playing games and drinking beer with friends. I did make these delicious cupcakes!


They are mini chocolate banana cupcakes with a peanut butter frosting. It’s a Weight Watchers recipe, 2 points or 101 calories per little cupcake. They are so good! And rich, too. I actually am satisfied with one even though they are so small. Not that I don’t want to eat 3 more, but, you know.

There was also Taco Bell AND Five Guys on Sunday. John deemed it a “getting fat” weekend that night. This is the last week I have of WW so we’re getting a little slack. We’re going to try to pick it back up tomorrow. But…


We did have this healthy dinner tonight – salmon, zucchini, and baby kale salads. Of course, this was because we were going out for milkshakes after. We did get a walk in today along with some walking while picking up those plants at the top of the post! I even helped John garden today. According to Lose It, I was only about 80 calories over when all was said and done (including another cupcake I caved and had just now. Oops.)

I was also battling some major sinus nastiness this week that seems to be gone now, so I’ll get back to working out more. I did actually go to the gym once this week and get some lazy elliptical-ing in. Our 30 Day Shred experiment starts in just about 3 weeks! And hopefully this rain rolls out soon so we can start hiking again.

This week’s menu:

Salmon (had tonight)

Brats, sauerkraut, and grilled corn

Tacos or enchilada casserole

My birthday is in about a month, and we get to go home in about two months! After that, the wedding countdown gets real serious. (And then baby countdown for my sister too!) So much happening this year – I feel very lucky and happy.



Food for thought:

Weight Watchers budget: 26 points daily to lose, 32 points to maintain (49 weekly points as well)

Lose It goals: 1592 to lose 1/2 lb a week, 1842 to maintain *note: the goal it has to lose 1 lb a week is 1342, which is below my BMR, below*

BMR: 1376

TDEE: 1645 (sedentary) or 1885 (light exercise)

We watched Fed Up tonight (while eating pizza, oops) and it was thought-provoking. I’ve always heard “a calorie is a calorie,” but WW doesn’t subscribe to that, which is something I’ve struggled with. In a way, that’s why I’ve been tempted to go back to regular calorie counting, because a 200 calorie beer on a 1590 calorie diet, is only 12% of my day; but on WW, it’s 5 points out of 26, which is about 19%. Granted, I get weeklies in there too, but even if I budget in 7 weeklies (a fair split per 7 days), it’s still 15% of 32 points.

Another topic brought up (and what actually inspired us to watch the film tonight, due to a very similar Washington Post article we read this morning) was that exercise really doesn’t play that big a role in weight loss. This really has the cogs in my head turning. John said he already felt that way about exercise to begin with, but I’ve been thinking of exercise almost strictly as a way to eat more…it explains some things. I’m going to try to re-orient my head into seeing it as a way to be healthy, not just to get more food.

It actually makes me feel a little less pressure. It probably helps that I’m close to where I want to be, weight-wise. Realistically, if I didn’t lose any more weight than now, that would be ok. I am in a healthy range, my fiance likes my body just fine, and I comfortably fit in my wedding dress. 🙂 I still would like to be under 125 (which I’m about a pound away from), so my arbitrarily picked goal is 123. The important thing for me is staying there once I make it.