Challenge

Meatless March 2019

I’m a few days late with this post, but better late than never! This month, I am taking part in Meatless March. This is my 3rd year in a row taking part in Meatless March. During Meatless March, I am giving up eating red meat (pork and beef), poultry (chicken and turkey), and seafood.

The first year was the hardest. I used to eat a lot of red meat and chicken, so I definitely missed it when I was unable to eat it. The second year was a little bit easier. I didn’t miss red meat as much, but I did miss eating chicken a lot. Not sure how this year will go, but I am more prepared and have learned from my past mistakes in taking part in Meatless March. One mistake I made in the first year was not eating enough iron. This led to me being anemic and having low energy most days.

The reason I am taking part in Meatless March is to get myself used to eating less and less meat and chicken. My goal is to one day become vegetarian, but I need to take it slowly. I know there are some people who are able to give up meat overnight, but I am not one of them. The easiest thing for me to give up will be pork, since I don’t like eating pork. The only time I eat pork is when I eat pizza with pepperoni. Chicken and turkey will be a bit more difficult to give up. In my family, my mom cooks dinner with meat most days, so for the month of March, I will have to make my own meals.

So far it’s been six days since I had any meat and I admit that it’s been harder than I thought it would be. Hopefully I can make it through March without eating any meat. I just need to start cooking more for myself and add more veggies, especially spinach and broccoli.

Events, Life

Selena Taylor

It’s very hard to believe that my baby girl is almost three weeks old! I feel like I just gave birth to her. The nine months went by so quickly. Well, except the last month. It seemed to last forever. At the beginning of my pregnancy I weighed 114 pounds, by the end of it, I weighed 128 pounds. I gained a total of 24 pounds. The first seven months I gained 11 pounds, I gained 13 pounds in the last two months. The last month was definitely the hardest. I had trouble sleeping, couldn’t work out anymore, not even walk, was always low on energy, and would have massive back pain just driving to and from work.

My doctor scheduled me for an induction. On January 18, I got to the hospital a little bit after midnight. The nurse decided to check how far along I was. When I got there, I was only 1 cm dilated. However, I was having contractions that were less than 5 minutes apart. I didn’t realize since at that time, they were not painful. Not going to lie, I was definitely nervous. I had heard that being induced might lead to longer labor or even an emergency c section.

My mom and I were debating whether I should stay at the hospital and be induced or go home and wait for my baby to come naturally. Since I was already having contractions, we decided to stay. At 3 am, the nurse finally induced me. I had originally wanted to have an all-natural birth, but 3 hours into my labor, the contractions were becoming too painful for me and I decided I wanted the pain reliever and the epidural. Besides my mom, two of my sisters were also there with me. I took my tablet and was watching Netflix to pass the time.

My boyfriend and his mom went to visit me. They were unable to stay when I gave birth because the hospital only allowed two people to be present. Of course I chose my mom to be there and I also chose my sister. I wanted my boyfriend to be there, but he said he didn’t like the sight of blood.

My doctor got there a few hours after I did. He broke my water, but I didn’t realize that’s what he had done. I remember telling my mom that I thought I had peed on myself. The nurse was like no, he broke your water. When I moved into the second part of labor, aka the delivering baby part, I had no idea what to do. I should’ve taken classes, but I didn’t. Luckily, my mom was there to help and motivate me. There were a few moments when I felt like I couldn’t keep going, but my mom pushed me to keep going. The doctor ended up making a small tear (episiotomy) and having to use a vacuum in order for the baby to come out. Even though I couldn’t feel it because of the epidural, it kind of freaked me out seeing so much blood and seeing the doctor stitch me up.

When Selena Taylor was born, she was 18.5 inches and weigh 7 lbs., 5oz. I started crying as soon as she was born. I am not a very emotional person and I rarely cry, but that day I was so overwhelmed with emotion. Even my sister was shocked to see me crying. It was one of the happiest days of my life, seeing my little baby girl being born. My mom was the one who cut my baby’s cord. Since she is her first grandbaby, I thought she should have the honors.

After having the baby, I remember I was shaking so much. It kind of freaked me out, but apparently, that was normal. I also ended up throwing up a while after delivering the baby. I think my body was trying to get rid of the medicine in my body. One of the most embarrassing things that happened was when I went to the bathroom for the first time, one of the nurses went with me and showed me how to use the bottle to clean myself. I felt so awkward.

My sister spent the night with me at the hospital. I was really grateful. If she had not been there, I wouldn’t have been able to get any sleep at all. I think I went 30 hours without sleeping. At one point, I was a little dizzy. I only had to stay one day because there were no complications. I’m so glad because the hospital food was awful! The only meal that tasted good was my first meal after having the baby and that was only because I was starving by that point. Even though the room was super cold, I kept waking up in the middle of the night sweating. It kind of freaked me out, but apparently, that’s normal. My family went to visit me both days. One of the funniest moments was when my sister Ayanna, who is 4 years old and at that point was the baby of the family, took a look at the baby and started crying. Later on, she was looking at the baby and saying that the baby took her spot from her. I would take my sister everywhere with me, it’s almost as if she was my actual daughter and I guess she got used to that.

This might sound vain, but I am really happy that I managed to get through the pregnancy without getting stretch marks or without my hands and feet getting swollen. However, in the first week of recovery, my calves did get swollen but they eventually went back to normal. During the first week, I was taking ibuprofen every day, so I didn’t really feel the pain of having to get stitches. My sister and mom helped me a lot with the baby. Feeding her, watching her while I took naps.

The second week somehow felt even harder than the first week. I felt pretty sick most of the week, but luckily my mom and sister were able to help me take care of my baby. On Thursday, I had decided that I needed to take care of myself because otherwise, I couldn’t be there for my baby girl. I went to urgent care, but it was closed. So I went to another one and though they were still open for two more hours, they were no longer accepting patients, so I had to go home.

The next day, I had to take Selena Taylor to the drs for her two week checkup. The doctor said she was very healthy. I was so glad to hear that because I was nervous that since I am not breastfeeding, I thought she would be too thin or not in good health. After her dr apt, I took her home, dropped her off with my sister, and went to another urgent car. They were unable to help me, so they sent me to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena instead. I went to the emergency room. I waited about two hours to be seen. There were so many people there. Once I got admitted, I was there another four hours. It was so tiring and I missed my baby girl. While I was there, I watched a documentary on Ted Bundy. I am glad I went because they were able to help me feel much better and gave me medicine. I had spent all week being miserable and now I was finally better. I only wish I had gone sooner instead of waiting so long.

I always said I wouldn’t become the mom who is constantly posting pictures of her kids. However, that is exactly what I have become. I can’t help myself, I just want to share my little bundle of joy with the world. My camera roll on my phone is basically 80% pictures of Selena Taylor.

I never really thought of myself as one day being a mom. When I first found out I was pregnant, I was in shock and nervous/scared etc. The day I gave birth to my baby girl was one of the happiest days of my life. It’s such a cliché, but it’s so true. Now I can’t imagine my life without her. Don’t get me wrong, it is hard sometimes waking up constantly to feed her and change her diapers in the middle of the night. Changing her diapers when she poops is the worst! But she brings so much joy to me and my family.

Some of the things that I missed most while being pregnant were eating food like hot dogs, deli meat, and esquite (corn in a cup with mayo, butter, cotija cheese, and sometimes hot Cheetos crumbs). I also missed going on roller coasters at Knott’s Berry Farm and working out and especially running. Some people continued running and working out while pregnant, but running became difficult for me in the 7th month and I stopped working out in the 8th month. I just did not have the energy for it.

In case anyone was wondering, I picked the name Selena after the most famous Selena in history. Selena the Mexican American singer who died at a young age in the early 1990’s. I grew up listening to her music and to this day, she is one of my favorite singers. I also liked that the name Selena is derived from the Greek goddess Selena and I have always had an interest in studying Greek mythology. I’ve always like the name Taylor as well, though I did have some concerns choosing that as her middle name because of Taylor Swift. But I like how the two names sounded together. My two other choices were Samantha and Anastasia but my boyfriend didn’t like either name. Oh, well, maybe baby number two can have one of those names.

That’s my birth story and the first three weeks of recovery. I only have about nine weeks left of maternity leave and I plan to enjoy all this time I have with my baby girl.

Challenge

No Spend Challenge Update

So far it has been 15 days since I started the No Spend Challenge. It was originally meant to be a 30 day challenge, but I wanted to make it a real challenge, so it is now a 90 day challenge. That means the No Spend Challenge will take place January-March!

For the most part, it hasn’t been too hard. I think the hardest part of this challenge so far is not buying fast food. I’m in the final days of my pregnancy and sometimes I crave Chick Fil A or even McDonalds. Since I can’t have any of that food, I have been eating much healthier these past few weeks.

The second hardest part has been not being able to buy anything at the Bath and Body Works semi annual sale. I love their lotions and body washes and in the past I would go and buy enough things to last me the whole year! That wasn’t possible this year. Luckily, I still had some lotions left and for Christmas/my baby shower, I was given perfume and lotion from there. They should last me at least until the challenge is over, maybe even longer.

Not buying clothes has been so easy for me. I think the last time I spent money buying clothes was back in August/September of last year when I was buying myself maternity clothes. I did buy a couple shirts after that, but for the most part, I haven’t bought much clothing during my pregnancy. I probably won’t get back to my pre baby body any time soon, so I don’t think I will need any new clothes for a while.

I have 75 days left in this challenge. I know as time goes on, this challenge will seem much harder. Next month I have three siblings celebrating birthdays. For two of them, I have already bought gifts during the after Christmas sales. Not sure what I will do for my brother.

Some things I have done to keep myself entertained is watch movies on Netflix (my mom pays for that), read books, write my novel and in my blog, cook and bake for my family, and spend time with my family. The baby will be here soon and then I won’t have much time to myself anyways, so I might as well enjoy these last few days.

Random

Man Crush Monday

Was bored today, so I decided to make a list of my top 25 crushes in honor of Man Crush Monday. It was tough narrowing it down to 25. The list includes soccer players, actors, wrestlers, and even a football player.

1 Henry Cavill

2 Isco

3 Ian Somerhalder

4 James Rodriguez

5 Jamie Dornan

6 Gregg Sulkin

7 Fernando Llorente

8 Alvaro Arbeloa

9 Raul Albiol

10 Xabi Alonso

11 Diego Luna

12 Sergio Ramos

13 Cody Rhodes

14 Jose Callejon

15 Claudio Marchisio

16 Mats Hummels

17 Prince Harry

18 Jimmy Garoppolo

19 Roman Reigns

20 Finn Balor

21 Esteban Granero

22 Paul Wesley

23 Daniel Gilles

24 Joseph Morgan

25 Leonardo Bonucci



Here are the few that barely missed making the list.

Tyler Breeze

Andrew Garfield

Mario Gomez

Sergio Aguero 

Stephan El Shaarawy



Bucket Lists, Challenge, Life

Hello 2019

Although 2018 was a good year for me, I am definitely looking forward to 2019. Of course the biggest things I am looking forward to is the birth of my baby girl. She will be here in less than 2 weeks! Still in shock that I am going to be someone’s mom. Never saw that coming. Some other things I am looking forward to is becoming a better and faster runner, finally starting my business, and paying off most, if not all of my credit cards this year. Every year I like to make a bucket list. This year is no different. Some things on my bucket list are small things like learn to make cheesecake from scratch, while others will take more time and dedication in completing them, like running a half marathon (13.1 miles) in under 2 hours. Here is my bucket list for 2019.

Personal
Have a healthy baby girl
Take part in Meatless March
Write two blog posts a week
Read 50 books
Take Ayanna to Disneyland for her 5th birthday
LA County or OC Fair with my family
Go to Universal Studios during Grinchmas

Fitness/Running
Do 25 pushups nonstop
Run a half marathon (13.1 miles) in under 2 hours
Run a 5k race (3.1 miles) in under 25 minutes
Run 1 mile in 8 minutes

Financial
No Spend Challenge
Pay off at least 5 credit cards
Start a business

Cooking
Learn to make cheesecake from scratch

Movies to Watch:
Glass
Captain Marvel
Avengers 4
Toy Story 4

Will be adding more to the bucket list as the year goes on!

Events, Life, Year Review

Looking Back at 2018

Another year has come and gone. 2018 was a good year for me. So many things took place this year. One of the most exciting things that happened was I found I was pregnant with my first baby. I also got to travel and take part in fun races. Here are my highlights of 2018.

Pregnancy
My boyfriend and I always talked about having a baby, but we didn’t know it would happen so soon. My boyfriend wanted a boy and I wanted a girl. I was thrilled when I found out I was having a girl. This is a blessing and I can’t believe our little one is almost here. I spent the majority of 2018 being pregnant and while I did miss out on a few things, I will cherish all the little moments with my baby. For example, the first time I heard her heartbeat and saw her on the ultrasound, the first time she kicked, and when my belly bump started to get bigger.

Moving
Another thing that happened in 2018 was that my family and I moved out of Montebello. This was after living there for almost 10 years. We moved about 20 minutes from Montebello and while I do miss my old city, I am very happy and comfortable in my new city. Only bad things are that I live further from my boyfriend and my commute to work is a bit longer. When I was in Montebello, I was able to leave my house 5 minutes before starting work and get there on time. Now I need to leave at least 25-30 minutes before I start work. I give myself the extra 5-10 minutes just in case there is traffic of construction going on.

Travel
In February, I spent the weekend in Orlando by myself. I had gone to Orlando before back in 2017, but this was my first ever solo trip. The reason I went to Orlando was to take part in the Disney Princess Challenge. This is a series of races hosted by Run Disney. I ran a 10k on Saturday morning and then a half marathon on Sunday morning. I really enjoyed my solo trip and I’m so glad I got to experience it before becoming a mom.

In March, I ran a half marathon in San Diego. I normally travel with my family or friends, but this time I went with my boyfriend. This was our first weekend away together. It was long overdue. We have been together for 5 years and that was our first trip. Hoping we can take more weekend trips with our baby girl in the upcoming years.

I decided my last trip before the baby’s arrival should be a fun one. What could be more fun than almost a week in Las Vegas? In August, I went to Las Vegas with Giovanna for a few days. There were many things I couldn’t do like drink or ride on the New York New York roller coasters, but I still had fun. The best part of the Las Vegas trip was getting to see the Backstreet Boys in concert. I also got to try a lot of good food and we walked so much every day that I was always walking at least 10,000 steps, which was my goal.

Running
I ran almost 300 miles. I’m sure if I hadn’t been pregnant, I would’ve ran more. Regardless, I am still happy that I was able to run 300 miles. Not only that, but I was able to run one half marathon, one 10k, and two 5k races while pregnant. I wasn’t going to let my pregnancy slow me down!

At the beginning of 2018, I did my best half marathon 2 hours and 9 mins in Pasadena. This was so close to my goal of running in under 2 hours. I’m hoping that in 2019, I can reach the goal. I know this will require a lot of training runs from me, most of which will take place in the summer.

As I mentioned earlier, I did the Disney Princess Challenge in Orlando. I love to challenge myself. This was the first time I ran 19.3 miles in 2 days! What makes the Disney Princess Challenge runs even more fun is the fact that you get to run through the Disney parks and take pictures with the characters. I got to take pictures with Anna and Elsa from Frozen, Belle and Gaston from Beauty and the Beast, and even Buzz Lightyear to name a few. I won’t take part in the races this year, but I plan to be there in 2020!

In 2018, I ran the LA Marathon for the first time. I did not run in under 5 hours like I had planned, but I did improve by 6 minutes over my first marathon. Not going to lie, this was a tough marathon for me. It didn’t help that at the start of the run, I did some have pain in my left knee. I also didn’t follow my training plan as well as I should have. That’s okay, every time I run a marathon or any other race, I always learn ways I can improve my time and my training. The hills after mile 20 were the worst. Now that I know what to expect, I will definitely train for that in 2020.

Concerts
I went to see Brad Paisley in concert with my mom. My mom isn’t fan of country music, but she really likes Kane Brown, who was one of the openers for Brad Paisley. I had to choose between going to see Tim McGraw (my favorite country singer) and Brad Paisley. I decided to see Brad Paisley and it was worth it. He is such a great singer live and entertaining. I really like the song he sang with Carrie Underwood, who sang her parts via satellite/video.

Seeing the Backstreet Boys was the highlight of my Las Vegas trip. My only complaint is that I wish the concert had been longer. They played some of their newer music, along with their classics. It’s great to see them still together after all these years. They are touring this year. They are scheduled to play in Anaheim and Los Angeles. I’m hoping I can see them again. Fingers crossed that I make it to their concert.

Favorite Movies
Normally I am the kind of person who waits for movies to come out on DVD or Netflix instead of going to the movie theaters to watch. In fact, most of the time I only go to the movies once or maybe even twice a year. This year, I ended up going to 7 movies, which is a lot for me. Who knows if next year I will be able to watch as many movies since I will have my little one. Of course, I will make an exception to watch the new Avengers movies. Here are the movies I went to watch in 2018. The little kid movies are the ones I took my sisters to go watch.

Sherlock Gnomes
Black Panther
50 Shades
Hotel Transylvania
Avengers Infinity War
Goosebumps 2
Crimes of Grindewald

2018 was a memorable year for me. I can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring for us!

Challenge

No Spend Challenge 2019

In the past I have done many challenges. Some of them include the Meatless March challenge, no meat for the whole month of March, no TV for a month challenge, and I even went vegan for a week. The last one was really hard because I had to read the ingredients of every single thing I ate. Well, there is a new challenge I will be trying in 2019. It is called the “No Spend Challenge”. Another name for it is a Spending Fast. The main rule for this challenge is that you don’t spend any money on anything that is unnecessary. You can do it for a day, a week, a month, or even a year. I plan to do it for the month of January. The purpose of this challenge is to become aware of your spending habits. A lot of us don’t realize how much money we waste on things that we don’t really need. Any money I save by no buying things will go towards my credit card debt.

Everyone has a different idea of what is considered “essential” or “non-essential”. Here are the rules I plan to follow during my No Spend Challenge.

Essentials (can spend money on this)
Groceries
Bills
Gas
Toiletries (shampoo, toothpaste etc.)
Things for the baby

Non Essentials (can’t spend money on this during the No Spend Challenge)
Fast food
Books
Clothes
Take out/delivery/pizza
Going to the movies
Concerts
Soccer games
Jerseys
Races
Magazine subscriptions
Video subscriptions
Dvds
Beauty items such as nail polish, lotions/perfume