healthy hacks

Healthy Hack: Travel Edition

The 2 Chicks have been on the road a lot this summer. So much joy, so much adventure, the occasional stress.

I’ve shared my favorite tips for experiencing local flavors and activities. Here’s another quick tip for life on the go that has saved me stress this summer.

And so, without further ado, here’s my fab tip:

Have a separate set of toiletries. And not just travel sizes.

Extra skin care, hair stuff, deodorant, makeup, brush, toothbrush, sunscreen…All. Of. It.

I actually discovered this hack during last school year. With all the stress and shuffling of schedules, I often went straight from the gym to work. My gym bag grew from just having a very basic set of skin care to the full assembly over time. All summer long, I’ve either taken my gym bag (with toiletries and my gym clothes / shoes packed), or grabbed the toiletries to put in a larger packed bag.

There’s nothing really magical about it, I guess. Still, it has saved me so much time in remembering all the odds and ends I need on every excursion and adventure this summer. If you don’t have any spares to start with, be on the lookout for coupons and deals. (Some might happen shortly when college students head back to school.) I also stockpile stuff from Clinique free gift offers.

Once you’ve got your set, you’re good to go!

Hope this helps at least some of you with that inevitable travel stress (or the pain of forgetting your toothbrush!)

dare to be different, fitness and nutrition

Sense of Direction

It’s true, I’m getting older.

As I age, I notice that certain things are starting to deteriorate. Today’s example: my sense of direction.

When I was young, I would read Atlanta’s Creative Loafing newspaper every Thursday or Friday. I’d check out the list of festivals, events, art openings, even new music releases, and make my weekend plans. I’d pull out my mom’s Atlanta road atlas and set on my coordinate spree to map my weekend adventures. From these jaunts week after week, year after year, I got to know my way around Atlanta inside and out.

These days, I can hardly find my way around my little suburb without waze or google maps. If I’m somewhere without service, I get nervous and often guess the wrong direction. Such a change. It may not just be due to aging. Maybe more a combination of getting older and over reliance on technology. Still not a change I like, no matter the cause.

I spent the past week in a confusing condo building. Actually there were two buildings connected by bridges and corridors. There was also a parking garage. None of the connecting floors had the same number. Walk through a hallway from one building’s first floor and suddenly, without stairs or elevators, you’re on another building’s third. The garage was a totally different mess. I felt lost and disoriented much of the week.

After a couple of morning condo workouts, I went to the gym one evening to make sure I could find it from our room. The next morning I spent a half hour with dumbbells in the gym. After I was done, I decided to test myself and make my way back to the condo from the gym using stairs instead of the path I already knew.

I walked into the stairwell. When I opened the door, I was surprised to find an old man, slightly hunched over, standing at the bottom of the stairs. He was short with groomed gray hair. He wore a cotton t-shirt, athletic pants and tennis shoes. He was there to exercise. He smiled at me.

Good morning, I said.

Are you still moving every day? he said,

Yes sir, I replied. I want to be sure I can move for as long as I can, so I try to do it first thing every day.

Good for you, he replied. I do the exact same thing. Keep it up. It’s so important.

And with that, one floor up, I walked out of the stairwell. He kept walking up the stairs. Up. Up. Up. Moving. Ascending.

It was like the (living) ghost of Christmas Future. Letting me know that taking time to move, for me, is what will keep me moving long term. I can feel confident when I get up and make my physical and mental health a priority each day. What others think of it is none of my business. My approval is what is required.

Did I find my way back to the condo? Happily, yes. And taking that different path gave me unexpected landmarks and signs. I’m heading in the right direction. It was a roadmap to the future I am heading toward, nimble and purposeful.

perspective

Stranger Things

When toilet paper was a hot commodity during Corona I shrugged my shoulders and moved on. Thankful in the moment that I had some, of course.

Fast forward to today and now it’s gas. Of course I’m set to travel for work the next two days and I need gas and I’m traveling to rural areas wondering if I will be able to fill up on my way back. Serious question since the gas lines are insane currently. Hoarders are out in full force stockpiling the red gas cans. 

I seriously need to mow my lawn but will I need the lawn mower gas for my car? It is going to get real interesting with the holiday weekend fast approaching. People are going to want gas for their boats, jet skis, motorcycles or maybe their camper. 

Oh the joys of the crazy world we live in today. I wonder what the next hot commodity will be. This post today is titled Stranger Things. For good reason some strange and crazy things have happened and with a few buzz words on the internet a frenzy begins.

Strange as it is, it’s the world we live in today. I wish kindness spread this fast and lingered as long as Corona. I am also dropping this post on here for a good giggle years from now. Only in 2021 can I say I survived a pandemic and a gas shortage.

3Splitz Farm, dare to be different

A Doctor Digs in the Dirt

I recently wrote a rant-ish post about being a PhD. How I use my degree maybe not as a professor, but more as a thinker every single day.

I’ve recognized this a lot lately as I’ve waded into the first stages of flower farming. It reminds me of my surprise when I had a baby. When I became pregnant, I was immersed in this whole new universe and language I had no idea about. Pick up a baby magazine and I was surrounded by a new vocabulary. So many debates and decisions. What kind of diapers, how medicalized a birth, co-sleeping, onesies, products galore. It was a whole world I knew nothing about, even though it had been there all along.

Flower farming is much the same way. It has its own calendar, its ebbs and flows. So many special bloom varieties to choose from. Growing zones, soil amendments, succession planting…I am wide-eyed and soaking it all in. Just the photos on insta of all the beauty makes me swoony.

On the calendar side, so far I am playing catchup. I’m learning you have to be thinking at least 6 months ahead, and eventually a year. 3Splitz Farm is not even 6 months old (hard to believe!) so I am giving myself a little grace on that. We wanted tulips, but it took a while to find the right ones. In the mean time, I read in all sorts of places about where to source high- quality bulbs and what they should look like. My lightweight crumbly bulbs from the local mega mart weren’t going to cut it. This is a researcher in action. Most major places were sold out, but I finally found a farm with a great reputation that had the flowers we needed. The first set of bulbs went in the ground on the late side, but I’ve ordered seeds now so they should arrive in plenty of time. Slowly but surely the calendar is spreading forward. Soon we will be on pace.

Planning the land is the next challenge. It’s left me paralyzed at times, thinking that where we plant ______________ (bulbs, seeds, plants, veggies) is some kind of permanent decision. What if the flowers don’t thrive there? What if they can’t be seen the way we want them to? What if animals or pests destroy the crop? We took the step and planted the first set over the last couple of weeks. I was guided by my OLW: DO, and reminded myself that mistakes can be fixed. Of course, that’s only if we have the courage to make them! I am listening to the land and trusting that it will tell me what to do. It’s a wonderful intersection between science, wishes, and hard work.

challenges

Pretend It’s Normal

It’s not quite the end of 2020 and there are about ten thousand phrases I’d like to forget with the new year.

Here are just a few, besides the obvious social distancing:

Abundance of caution – “Out of an abundance of caution, we’ve postponed another event you’ve already planned for / paid for / trained for / committed to indefinitely.”

A little different – “Thanksgiving / the holidays / Disney World / The Peachtree Road Race will look a little different this year, but…”

A year like no other…the list goes on. I want it to stop.

But the one that is like a dagger to my lungs is just the word “normal” in almost any context. Yes, “new normal” is annoying because it implies that this is going to drag on and on forever. But just the word normal is even worse. Especially in my work environment.

“We want it to be like a normal school experience.”

Say what you will about science and politics. What we are going through is not normal. I’m hopeful it’s a once-in-my-lifetime occurrence. Walking around in masks, keeping 6 feet apart, sanitizing a million times a day, kids unable to move as they please or need to, feeling suspicious every time someone sneezes…none of this is normal. Dear bosses…Evaluating how or what I am doing based on “normal” standards is also silly. Thankfully, our state lawmakers came to their senses and made the high-stakes tests high school students take at year end irrelevant to their grades. Take it all as just data, not as a way to penalize kids for situations they didn’t create or choose.

People are doing the best they can. And now more than ever that can be a messy, unpredictable, incomprehensible jumble. Forgive it all. Accept it. This goes for my attitude toward myself, too. Keep going. Lift others up when you can. That’s all I can do.

So when you say you want it to be more normal…I want work (and grocery shopping and traveling and everything else for that matter) to be more like a “normal” experience, too. I wish none of this were happening or that I could wave my magic wand and have it be over. Voila! Normal!

Not that easy. Hopefully we are on the way to a better normal in the near future. But for now, can we please just treat this like the anything-but-normal experience it is?

What pandemic words and phrases make you ragey these days?