September 13, 2016

Why Fall is my Favorite

Cool breezes and the end of summer humidity
Bonfires and scent of them on your clothes
Changing leaves on trees and hiking through forests of them
Cozy blankets and open windows
Boots, scarves, and smartwool socks
Hoodies and bluejeans
Flannel shirts and all things plaid
Camping trips
Apple orchards
Hot cider
Pumpkin fields
Pumpkin carving
Roasted pumpkin seeds
Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves
Halloween costumes and memories of childhood
Time with family and reminders to be thankful

What are your favorite things about the changing seasons?  I don't know about you, but they make me thankful to live in the Midwest!

September 1, 2016

...Hello September...

The end of summer is upon us!  August didn't quite turn out the way I wanted it to, but thankful that every day and every month is a fresh start.

Things to look forward to:
*Possibly a camping trip to the UP with Ineke.  (after original plans for this trip fell through, looking forward to possibly spending some time with one of my best friends)
*Camping trips in general.
*Cooler weather and less humidity!
*Spending some time with family at the end of September.

Goals to reach:
*Actually get to CKO three times a week.  ( I know I said this last month, but life, busyness, and excuses definitely got the best of me)
*Finish a book.
*Write letters to at least 3 people.

Things to work on:
*Be less lazy about cooking.
*Look for positivity daily, even when it's hard.
*Be more gentle with myself.
*Eat more whole foods.

August 12, 2016

Awkward Awesome Friday

*Forgetting to get a lunch order for the CFO.  (more horrifying than awkward.) Thank the Great Lion of Judah our higher ups are kind and mellow people.
*Sneezing blue post Color Run
*The blue spot on my hair line that would NOT go away no matter how hard I scrubbed.
*My upstairs neighbors raining nails (yes, like construction nails) onto my deck while they were building "something" on their deck.  I'm not talking two or three.  I think I counted 20+.
*Chad leClos's attempts to "intimidate" the greatest swimmer to ever walk the earth during the prelims for the 200 Fly.

*A weekend with dear Jamie
*Color Runs.  They are always epic.
*Tonight I will be driving down to Chicago for some much needed mom time and a day of wedding dress shopping (insert lots of happy tears I'm sure) with my sister, whom I haven't seen in over a year and a half!  Can NOT wait to hug them both.
*Finding out that GR has a water polo club.  That might have to happen.
*Michael Phelp's comeback.  Can we just take a sec to acknowledge the greatest swimmer ever!?  Not only did he wipe the floor with his "intimidator" and crush the competition at the age of 31, but he's also shown that you can come back from a dark place.  He's overcome depression, addiction, and shown that we never have to be defined by our mistakes.

August 8, 2016

The Happiest 5K on the Planet

This weekend was an epic couple of days.  My friend Jamie drove up from Bloomington to visit me and run her first 5K!  We had a blast making a color filled mess downtown, relaxing at the beach, body surfing some fresh water waves, enjoying the most amazing tacos I've ever eaten, and worshiping God together at Frontline on Sunday.  Definitely a weekend for the books.

August 2, 2016

...Hello August...

Can't believe August is already here and the summer is starting to wind down.  This season has been such a whirlwind!  I wanted to start a new blog series that happens at the start of each month documenting goals, ideas, and exciting things for the month.

Things to look forward to:
*National Night Out tonight at FZ!
*Color Run and a weekend with ms. Jamie D. this coming Friday!
*Next weekend's trip to Chicago!  Get to see my momma and my sister (whom I haven't seen in over a year and a half!) and do some wedding dress shopping!!!
*Under the Roof at Church.  An event giving a hand up to those in need in the community around Frontline.

Goals to reach:
*Get to CKO at least three times a week
*Finish Whole30 strong!
*Visit a dog beach with the Wilkinsons.
*Incorporate more veggies into my meals.

Things to be proud of:
*Having an overall more positive look on things.
*Finding the strength to take charge of my health once again.
*Increased courage in the world of dating.

July 29, 2016

Awesome Awkward Friday

(so true, and Whole30 makes it that more real)

-I'm living in MICHIGAN.  Yes, almost 10 months later, I'm still stoked about it.
-One of my dearest friends and her husband are officially staying in Michigan after three years in Alaska.  I'm beyond thrilled they are here to stay!
-Cornhole tournaments at work.
-The incredibly dirty FZ worker who came into the office on Tuesday.  Literally looked like he'd rolled around in the dirt.  I was very impressed not only by how hard he must be working but by the smudge of soot left on the desk when he left.

-Being staggered just so during kickboxing that you are face to face with another person while doing squats and forced to try and not make eye contact.
-Online dating.  Never stops being awkward.
-The sheer VOLUME of "wrong numbers" I get everyday at FZ.  And the amount of times people don't hear me say "Feyen Zylstra, this is Haley, how may I help you?" and then proceed to make their request that is clearly not for us.  When I finally tell them that there is no person by that name that works for us, or no we are not scheduled to have a bed and nightstand delivered to us be cause we are a BUSINESS... they finally hear me.  Oy.
-Every time I see anything about the election or hear anything about the election... all I can think of is King Theoden from Lord of the Rings prior to Helms Deep...
"How did it come to this?"

July 27, 2016

Sometimes Things Move Backwards

Friends it has been far too long.

Those of you who read this blog could've been or might not have been wondering where the heck I've been.  Honestly, I'm simply one of those people who doesn't force themselves to do things they just don't want to do.  And for the last six months, I just haven't felt like writing.  Could have been for a number of reasons... adjusting to my new city, lack of inspiration, weight gain and feeling like a fraud, or just plain laziness.  Really, it's probably a mixture of all of the above.  But now I'm here to answer any questions that might be floating around out there.

How is Michigan?
Most of you who read this know me, and know that I LOVE my new city.  There have been plenty of "oh my word, I can't believe I get to live here" moments.  There is so much to do and see and it's fantastic.  It's been an adjustment, and not always an easy one.  Making new friends, learning more about myself, and starting a new job have all contributed to an overall sense of busyness.

What's new?
The biggest change in the last month has been a new job.  I'm now working as a receptionist for a large electrical engineering company.   I've been there a little over a month and it's been really great so far.  I like my co-workers, the office environment is beautiful, and I'm staying busy!  I've also taken up boxing, which isn't super new but it's new since I last wrote.  That's been a great experience. Swimming and running have taken a backseat, because again I'm just not someone who forces myself to do things they don't want to do.  I haven't quit, just on hiatus for now.

How's the weight loss going?
It's not.  The combination of losing momentum last summer in preparation to move and then getting here and adjusting.... I fell into a rut.  A bad one.  Old habits resurfaced, motivation went missing, and too many opportunities to cheat presented themselves.  I haven't gotten on a scale in months because I haven't been able to face those numbers.  But I know just from the way I feel and the way my clothes (don't) fit that it's NOT good.

So, now what?
I have a plan in place.  Whole30 started Monday as a means to reset, kill the sugar/carb cravings, and generally get back to feeling better.  Now that the craziest week at work thus far is over, boxing 3-4 times a week will pick back up again.  I'm going to plan on keeping myself accountable by journaling, getting back into blogging, and TALKING about things with people who understand and know me.  I won't be getting on a scale because I honestly believe that's not where my worth lies and that's not where happiness lies.  This time around it's not about numbers, because numbers drive me crazy and have also become a bit of a trigger for binges and bad choices.

I'm confident about where I'm headed.  I am happy, I love where I live, and I've been able start putting a lot of the past behind me.  I'm not going to obsess over the mistakes that have been made or be cruel to myself for allowing the weight to creep back on and I'm not going to dwell on the sense that I feel like a fraud because it all.  Sh*t happens and it's about how you handle it.  So I'm handling it.

December 30, 2015

December 29, 2015

30 things I've learned in 30 years

Well it's here everyone!  I'm saying farewell to the twenty something years.  And though the feelings are mixed, I definitely feel as though I've come into a place where I'm truly sure of who I am and what I want.  That in and of itself makes the big 3-0 worth it.  So I'm here to share things that I've learned by my 30th year.  These are things worth pondering a huge part of the person I've become.

1. Surround yourself with people who make you better.
These are the people who make you laugh regularly, challenge you, and encourage you.
2. Things worth having are rarely easy.
Don't let that stop you. Ever.
3. Be who you really are.  
Putting on the facade is never worth it and if you hide things about yourself, they eventually come out anyway.  Anyone who doesn't accept you as you are 100% isn't worth your effort.
4. Never apologize for who you are.
There's only one you and that's pretty great.
5. Do things that scare you.
You grow and usually find things you'd never guess you'd love or enjoy.
6. Take time to learn something new: a language, a skill, a sport, or whatever!
Because why not?!
7. Be the kind of friend you'd want to have.
If you don't take the time to know, serve, love, encourage, and treasure your friendships, how can you expect to receive that love in return?  Friendships are precious and should be treated as such.
8. Take care of yourself.  
Health is one of the few things we have the most control over.  Health issues happen, but most can be prevented by nourishing and moving your body and getting enough sleep.
9. Learn how to hang curtain rods, change a tire, and put together furniture yourself.
It's empowering and saves you from having to hire handymen or hunt down friends to help you.
10. Boundaries are healthy
This goes for relationships with people, food, or money.
11. Eat more from the earth and less from a package.
Your body will thank you.
12. Don't waste time doing things you don't enjoy just because you think you should.
If you hate running on the treadmill, don't do it. Find something else!
13. Aim to be the kind of person you'd want to look up to as a kid.
Little ones, teenagers, and peers are always watching.
14. Learn how to be present. 
Get off the damn phone and socialize without social media.
15. Only keep the clothes you absolutely love. 
The ones that make you feel fabulous.
16. Take time for yourself.
If you're constantly on the go, schedule time to be alone and do something you really love.
17. Don't be afraid to say "no".
Over scheduling yourself leads to burnout.
18. Let grudges go.
Bitterness only hurts the one who harbors it.
19. Own your choices.
Take responsibility for your actions instead of placing blame elsewhere.
20. Donate time. 
Find a cause you really care about and commit some time to contribute regularly.
21. Look for the positives in every situation.
It helps lessen the blow of a rough patch.
22. Simplify.
Get rid of things, clothes, and books your don't need.  Donate them or bless someone you know.
23. Learn to be alone.
If you have the opportunity to live alone for any amount of time, take it.  Learning to be self sufficient and make the most of my time is a strength I'm incredibly grateful for.
24. You can't make everyone happy.
You're not pizza. Ha! But in all seriousness it's the truth.  There will always be people who disagree with you and it helps to avoid dwelling on that.
25. Take time to see live music.
Orchestral, folk, rock.  Doesn't really matter.  But find a way to see true musical talent live.  No lip syncing, no air banding, true talent is a beautiful thing to witness in person.
26. Drink water.
This may either seem really silly or really obvious but trust me.  The majority of the liquids you consume should be water.  You'll be amazed at how much better you feel when you drink water throughout the day.
27. Don't settle.
In my years of seeing friends of mine marry I've learned that this is very important.  People accept the love they think they deserve.  So believe that you deserve nothing short of wonderful.
28. Feel.
Accept emotion.  No amount of food, alcohol, shopping, or self abuse will drown it out.  Allow yourself to feel your emotions and and often times that helps you to let them go easier.
29. Don't quit.
As Michael Jordan once said "If you quit once it becomes a habit. Never quit."  If you hit a road bump or fail, try again.  If it's something you really want, never give up.
30. Numbers do not define you.
Your age, pant size, pay check, etc.  None of them define you!  So embrace them.

December 17, 2015

Holy Moly Another Recipe!

I know! Two recipes in two days!  This one was purely an experiment because I've been craving Chinese food!


1 C brown rice
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 3/4 C water
1 tsp coconut oil

1. Heat coconut oil over medium high heat.
2. Add brown rice and combine.  Stir occasionally and toast the rice for about 5 minutes.
3. Add curry powder, salt, and garlic powder and stir. Toast for another 2 minutes.
4. Add water and stir.  Bring to a boil.  Cover the pot, and bring down to a simmer.
5. Cook for 25-30 minutes or until rice has absorbed all the water.

Ingredients: (all measurements on seasonings are approximate)
1 lb chicken breast cubed
2 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp coconut sugar
chopped cilantro
diced green onion
2 small zucchini sliced
2 large carrots shredded
1-2 tbsp coconut oil

1. Start by adding your chicken, tamari, chili flakes, garlic powder, curry powder, paprika, and sugar to a large zip lock bag.  Then use a meat tenderizer (I used a large ladle) to beat your meat!  It makes the meat more tender and absorb the flavors.
2. Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat.  I test the pan by adding a piece of the chopped green onion to make sure it's hot.  Add the chicken, spread evenly in the pan, and leave it for about 5-7 minutes.  Don't stir!  It creates a tasty caramelized yumminess!
3. Once you notice the edges of the chicken are cooked and the chicken has browned, flip the pieces over with tongs. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and put the chicken in a bowl.
4. Add your zucchini, carrots, half of the green onion and cilantro.  Saute the veggies in pan for about until tender 
5.  Add the chicken back to the pan and combine.
6. Serve over the rice.