Wednesday, February 23

We went on a diet and it was hard and I barfed

Yup. So don't read this if you don't want to hear details about puking (because I think it's hilarious).

Also, if you are one of my friends who is vegan you might come kill me in my sleep after reading this (although that wouldn't be very vegan of you), so carry on with whatever you were doing before this.

And also any people who are offended by the idea of evolution, adiós for now. Unless you want an anecdote to have handy when arguing that believing evolution makes you barf. 'Cause it did.

But this post also has praying in it, so good times can be enjoyed by all.
Except the vegans.

I'm going to tell the whole story with disclaimers before I even tell the whole story. My bad.

So before anybody stages some sort of body-image intervention, we WEREN'T trying to lose weight. Actually, if I lost any more weight (post-Sweden jet lag was hard on me) I'd have to start buying bras from the little kids' section again, so No Thank You Very Much.

Our gym (Crossfit, which we looove, love, lovelovelove) suggests everyone try the "Paleo Diet." It's definitely not mandatory, but they recommend it for more energy and better athletic results. The basic idea behind it is to limit your diet to things that were available for the majority of human evolution (before we invented cooking and agriculture), because theoretically we should digest those things most easily.

Like most diets, you can eat whatever you want to eat. Except grains. And legumes. And potatoes. And dairy. And processed food/food additives. This kind of made sense to me, since people have trouble digesting many of these things anyway (gluten, lactose, those magical little fruits known as legumes). The sciencey-side of us was intrigued. Time for a little experiment... on ourselves.

If you want to know more, here's a little propaganda video for ya.
For more sciencey explanations of why the forbidden foods are bad for you, this is a cheesy yet interesting video
Or if you'd rather read about it, a great article from Runner's World.

The bag of banishment
We cleared our cupboards of all the banished foods and put them in this giant bag. We went to the store and filled our cart with free-range meat & eggs, nuts, and colorful produce. It looked delicious. I looked forward to the challenge of cooking new things, and smugly doubted that I'd experience any willpower issues.

In those first few days, I learned something about myself. I LOVE LEGUMES. I was hardcore missing-- no, mourning-- peas, hummus, tofu, fake "chicken" nuggets (I'm not a vegetarian, but I love strange, processed soy foods), and for the love of all that is edible, refried beans. Black, pinto, I didn't care. I just needed a big pile of smooshed-up beans.

Also, I realized that unless we ate a LOT of veggies, we were going to have trouble getting enough calories from carbs to not lose weight. And protein was out of the running for a main caloric source-- not only is protein expensive, but my conscience has a bit of a problem with eating that many animals. So, I resolved to get my calories from fat. Cashews, raw coconuts, olive oil, eggs, bananas fried in coconut oil... I ate a lot of fat.

By the fourth day, we'd started craving starches (bread, potatoes) like Edward Cullen wanted to shred Bella in that first Chemistry class. No friendly amber-colored vampire eyes here, amigos. F***ing RED. Don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about. We were strangely hungry... our stomachs burned, but all food sounded gross other than, basically, waffles. We forced down taco salads instead, literally scowling like four-year-olds. I had gained a huge, huge respect for those who have to diet and still manage to have friends. ...Also for "vegetarian" vampires.

Other than that, though, we definitely felt more energetic & were having great workouts. Maybe there was something to this Paleo Diet business.

That night, we had salmon patties and asparagus (dipped in lemon juice & olive oil for the extra calories). Sounds pretty awesome, right? Not after 92 hours of this stupid, STUPID diet. Bitter much? You bet. I was literally having olfactory hallucinations of cake.

Why do you need to know what we had for dinner that night? Foreshadowing, my dears.
the best late-night barfing companion

I woke up around 1AM that night with a horrible burning in my stomach. And thanks to high school anatomy class, I knew that it literally was my stomach: a J-shaped pit of mortal agony on the left of my torso. I turned the lamp on and started reading to distract myself, but it got worse. WAY worse. I hadn't experienced this much pain since I broke my tailbone a decade before.

I started getting a weird feeling all over my body. I thought it might be nausea, but I'd only thrown up three times in my life so I wasn't really sure. I moved myself and my book to the bathroom just in case. An hour passed, then two hours. I started crying from the horrible, tight, searing sensation in my stomach.

Now, I'm not the most religious person, but I do pray pretty often. I never ask for specific things to happen, because I trust that God knows what he's doing; I usually just say, "This situation sucks so I'd appreciate if you'd reveal whatever lesson I'm supposed to get out of it," or, "Thanks, the world is awesome and I'm really enjoying being here." (And then rainbows and little heart-shaped bubbles start floating around my head.) (Kidding.)

But that night, I just felt stuck. I felt stuck in this horrible pain; I was tired of sitting there feeling it get worse, and I wanted it to be over with. (The agony, that is, not my rainbow-and-heart-shaped-bubble Carebear life.) I tearfully begged God, Please give me peace, fix my writhing stomach, let me know what to do to make it go away.



And then as if given a shove from behind, I lunged over the toilet seat and started hurling my guts out. HARD. It sucked.

Dear God, 
   You're a funny, funny fella.

And since you really must know, this was some weird barf. There was no stomach acid, no liquid, just chewed up, undigested, pink and green dinner. My sister told me not to write this, but I think it will really benefit you to know that it was so thick, I seriously felt like I was pooping out of my throat.

And because this was only the fourth time I've ever thrown up, ever, I slumped against the toilet for a while feeling confused and violated by whatever the hell kind of trick my stomach had just pulled there. Then I climbed back into bed, shivering, wrapped Jason's arms around me and finally fell asleep.

In retrospect, I'm somewhat embarrassed to tell you that the following morning I continued on with this dieting business. I did some online sleuthing to figure out what had caused the weird stomach pain and the whole little regurgitation trick. Apparently, I learned, fat requires a lot of bile to be digested. If you eat too much of it, you can temporarily run out of bile.  Basically, my stomach had said,

"We're sorry. Please try again later."

Then I looked up the Crossfit workout for that day, and I swear to rainbows and heart bubbles I am not making this sh*t up:
Run 1 mile.
Complete, in any order and any increments:
100 pull-ups
200 pushups
300 air-squats
Or, you know, DIE. Whichever happens first.

So we went. And I did it. And it sucked, but I didn't die. Plus I got to tell people my awesome barf story.

And then, in our sweaty workout clothes, we drove straight to our favorite Mexican restaurant and I ate THE BEST PLATE OF BEANS AND RICE I've ever had. And it stayed down.

Monday, February 21

Surf & Snow

First of all: Want every phone picture you take to look EPICAL? There's an app for that.
Should I feel bad that this Hipstamatic app was 50% of why I replaced my old dead phone with an iPhone? Meh. Bygones.

Anyhoo, welcome to Hipstamatic-opolis (AKA the first post after I've become totally addicted to taking pictures with my phone).
{click to zooooom}

The little sister & I road-tripped ourselves to the coast on a last minute whim. Luckily, all the hotels we tried calling (minutes before we left) were booked, and I say "luckily" because we ended up finding this awesome little bed & breakfast!

Not only was it slightly cheaper than the hotels we'd been looking at, but the owner Eileen offered that we could come downstairs into the kitchen and eat the ice cream in the freezer whenever we felt like it.

Never again, Best Western. Never again.

There were plenty of classy books in our room, but we found the juicy stuff:
I stayed up to 3AM reading that entire damn Elvis book.

The next morning, our homegirl Eileen cooked us this DAAANK breakfast. And by daaank I mean poached eggs, bacon, extra-crunchy hashbrowns, coffee, juice, and two pieces of french toast each. Can I just say:
We made it fit.

And, as promised:
(You may have previously heard it called Newport, Oregon.)

To make this day even better, we randomly ran into Jason's sister, Sammie! What a happy coincidence. (At first I tried to write koinky-dink coweenky-deenk cowinky-dink but as you can see, there's just no way to spell that correctly. I'll keep working on it and get back to you.)

And where was Jason this whole time, might you ask? Happily skiing with our pal Kody, with whom he has a flourishing bromance. Seriously, they have a history. Our wedding photographer snapped this shot of Kody trying to steal him away before the ceremony.

Sure enough, at about 3PM Kelsey got a text from Kody saying,
"By the way, I'm taking a nap with Jason right now.
Tell April." 
Apparently they laid down in a corner of the ski lodge, on the floor, and used their boots as pillows. Those two and their curly-haired camaraderie... it's pretty cute.

Saturday, February 19

Thrift Therapy

I recently made a discovery that changed my life.

Goodwill sells randomly-colored coat hangers for 99¢ a dozen.

(And I realize they're just going to get reshuffled, but I couldn't help myself:
...then I re-randomized them, because I couldn't figure out how to get rainbow-organized hangers to mesh with a rainbow-organized closet.)

While my pal Kanette and I were at Goodwill, the coat hangers (and the atypical Oregon sunshine outdoors) inspired me to go on a spring-colored frenzy:

These three things were my sister's birthday presents (lucky shmuck). As far as I can tell, everything is serious vintage status. The shirt's tag is yellowed and totally faded, the cutesey drink coasters (6 of them) were still in their original packaging, and the rainbow lace belt has $*#% glitter on it. Enough said.

And the rest was mine. Damn, I love that soy-sauce spoon thing. This super-lucky Goodwill trip has me seriously considering opening an Etsy shop...

P.S. Jason was totally cool with me bringing home twenty plastic pink poppies. He rocks. However, when I texted him a shot of this mustard velvet chair, I found the limit to his tacky tolerance. The way he oh-so-delicately tried to tell me that it made him gag was pretty hilarious.

Tuesday, February 15


{Flowers from my dad! So sweet.}

What a weekend! Full of love, in all kinds of expected and unexpected ways.

My (separated) parents drove up to visit--together! Honestly, I cringed when I first got the news. But by the time they headed back home Sunday morning, I was floored by their friendship and respect for each other. Really, it's an inspirational feat for any two people who've known each other for almost thirty years. I love my family.

Valentines Day with Jason was so, so much fun. We cooked dinner, we played with food ate fondue, played Scrabble in true romantical Matthews-er style, and throughout all of it danced around to embarrassing music (think Lady Gaga/Britney Spears). I swear, if I hadn't already walked down the aisle with this man once, I would've proposed to him by the end of the night.

In other news, I kicked off Saturday morning by missing a phone call from one of my very best friends, who was calling to ask for a ride home from the hospital. [He/she] had woken up in the ER in a hospital gown, hooked up to IV needles after a blacked-out night of drinking. I haven't felt so shaken up in a long, long time. I've cried myself to sleep two nights in a row imagining what my life would be like without them. I'm so glad they were taken to the hospital that night.

As much as I love to give advice, I've done a decent job so far of not doling it out here on this blog. I figured that might get annoying. But I'm going to make an exception, and this goes out to everyone who's reading (since I've already talked to little Mr./Ms. Scared-the-$#!%-Out-of-Me-This-Weekend):

Please remember that you mean THE WORLD to at least one, but probably several people. Think of who you love the most in the world, and treat yourself as you wish they would treat themselves. 

If you drink, please remember that max drunkenness does not equal best drunkenness.
If you aren't happy with your body, please be gentle on yourself and have patience to change what you need in a healthy way.
If someone gives you a compliment, take them seriously.
Ask for help when you need it, people love to help others-- they just need to know how.
Give yourself a hug every now and then, and keep squeezing until you mean it.

In other words, take good care of yourself-- if not for you, then for those who love you.

Monday, February 14

{via peaceloveandsunflowers}
Happy Valentine's Day!

For some reason we're in an especially mushy mood this Monday so we're going to definitely do some romantical business this evening. Okay, I don't mean THAT romantical business, specifically. I mean, not that we're not going to do romantical business... GACK.

WE'RE GOING TO LIGHT CANDLES & DRINK WINE & COOK DINNER TOGETHER. Sorry to interrupt you, little caffeinated typing fingers with a mind of your own. (*waving to my parents and grandparents... including the in-law varieties.)

Obviously I can't properly censor myself right now, so here are some links for your love day:


When zookeepers feel romantic.

Doesn't get any tackier than sending valentine's day e-cards right? Well, you know the best part of every holiday? Embracing the tackiness. I dare you.

Want to take pictures like these? Check out the tutorial.

IT'S BUSINESS TIME. I know you've all seen it before, but let's make this a Valentine's sing-along tradition, eh?

Last but not least, a rockin' V-day philosophy via Kelley Maria:
Give yourself an excuse to celebrate love and friendship by doing something that makes you or someone special extra happy!
Valentine's day doesn't have to be about spending money or having a significant other.
Just celebrate something.
Why not?!

What are you guys doing to celebrate today?

Thursday, February 10

It's my baby sister's birthday.

Except, not so baby. Eighteen?!

She means the world to me, and it broke my heart to move off to college and leave her at home five years ago. Now that she's a UO Duck, we finally get to live in the same city again! It's such a trip living here together, without our parents, as adults-- it's like a sleepover on steroids.

She's grown from a red-headed, stubborn, adorable, prodigal grade-skipping genius kid who HATED to have her picture taken... a red-headed (with platinum and pink streaks), stunningly gorgeous, go-getting, super-talented woman (woman!!) who's totally up for letting me do two-hour photoshoots in the park.

I'm so proud of her. She's a loyal and supportive therapist to all her friends, a busy little bookworm, a bold & brazen fashionista, and a total weirdo who can crack me up like no other.

I love you beebsh!!

Monday, February 7

Adding a little 'life' to the place

We got some nifty waterproof stickers for Christmas, and I decided to leave Jason a few little surprises around the house.

Because, really, the crock pot definitely needed to express its inner demented koala.

And Sally the Soap is now free to be her bubbly self.

Hank the milk jug... is Hank the milk jug.

"Who is this man, and why is he so willing to stick his finger there when his wife asks? Is it because all my stickers are on the camera side?"
(Hilarious that Jason already has one bandaged finger...)

Guests will be happy to find that the toilet is eager to accept your offerings.

Jason walked into the bathroom as I was affixing the toilet's face, and chuckled to himself while he picked up his electric razor.   "Too bad you can't put stickers on this, since the bottom gets wet."

"Turn it over, Jay...
..Meet Slim."

Thursday, February 3

Welcome to the Real World, kiddo.

I am TERRIFIED of getting a job.

[...exhale. There. I said it.]

I've had a degree in Architecture since July, which is basically a nice way of saying I've been unemployed for eight months.

That first summer after graduation, I didn't look for a job because I wanted to decompress from sleeplessly shredding my way through a five-year program in four years. A niiice, leisurely, three-month pat on the back, if you will.

Then, I didn't get a job because I wanted to tag along to Europe with the mister. (Was blogging a job? Nnnno. There's this picky little technical requirement called "income.") (But I'm still glad I did it.)

Well, it's been two months since we got back from living in Sweden, and I still haven't sent out a single resume. This is so painful to confess. I attribute it to 25% laziness, and 75% paralyzing fear of failure. Obviously, neither of which are any kind of excuse.

For those of you who aren't in the field of architecture, it's even a little more complicated than just sending out a couple sheets of paper. If you're serious about the job, you need to send them a portfolio of your best work.

If you're a super-duper Matthews-er reader, (Hi. I love you.) then you might remember from a previous post how insanely perfectionistic architecture students are. So imagine:

       horrific fear of failure
    + OCD perfectionism
    + no real deadline assigned 
       nitpicking through my portfolio for MONTHS. Redrawing projects. Rearranging pages.

...Not to mention procrastinating from nitpicking.

I'm not just afraid of getting turned down at interviews. I'm afraid of getting hired, and then my employers thinking that I know nothing about architecture. Because I feel that way myself. Don't get me wrong, I did well in school and everything, it's just that THERE IS SO MUCH TO KNOW in this field-- you have to juggle geometry, physics, psychology, graphic design, art history, even ecology for crying out loud. Plus, you know, this silly little thing called building code.

I'm not even bragging. I'm panicking.

But then, I remind myself, this encyclopedic knowledge requirement is exactly why I chose it. I'm so in love with learning about our world that I purposely chose the career which requires you to harmonize the hugest number of subjects. (Booyah. No red squiggly line under the word "hugest.")

And then, I remind myself that there's no way I can be an expert in architecture, even after busting my ass through four years of school. This is why they require four years of hyper-documented internships after school before you can even apply to get your license. Then you have actually pass the licensing test. So I'm probably right where I should be and am expecting way, way, way too much of myself.

And also, I need to get out there and get a job because: can you imagine me as a housewife?? (Okay, yeah, maybe a totally batsh!t crazy one. The house would be in a constant state of remodel, and the kids would get their faces painted like zoo animals every day before school.)

THAT being said, I'm printing out my portfolio this morning. It will never be 'done,' but I'M DONE. Done with these weird confidence issues. Done feeling like I'm mooching off of Jason. Done feeling guilty about having any kind of fun, because I should be working on my job search. Ready to step out of this comfort zone I've been in my whole life, called "school," and put it all to use.

{photo credit}

P.S. Sweet and inspiring reply from the talented Kelley Maria! Thanks Kel! (2-11-2011)