November 27, 2014

"Thankful" = "Happy"?

Hello again, old friend. It seems my little break turned into a 50-day complete absence.
I hadn't exactly intended for that to happen.
Seeing as it's Thanksgiving Day, I thought it fitting to return to my beloved blog and start plunking away at the keys once again. I'm actually getting a little nostalgic just now. :')

I took a fabulous idea from the lovely Carrie over at All I Know Now and decided to write out a page full of things that make me happy. Little things, like toe pads (which you will see on my humble list below), and somewhat larger things like electricity and Internet connection. 
Really, I would be very, very limited without Internet. I couldn't even do my schoolwork!
...Then again, maybe no Internet wouldn't be such a horrendous thing... ;)

November's installment of Things That Make Me Happy:
You may notice that I originally spelled "hair ties" as "hair tyes;" I was still quite groggy when I wrote this list. Things like these happen when I don't get enough beauty sleep. 
Of course, the things that make me happy are not limited to this single-page list! I'm already thinking of more things that I'll be adding to next month's edition.

I've titled this post "'Thankful' = 'Happy'?" because I got to thinking: is being thankful really and truly the same as being happy? I, for one, have had many an occasion on which I have been "thankful" but not entirely. It seems as if I'm in a constant state of wanting - whenever I get something new, as a gift or bought with my own money, I'm content for a day or two, then I'm back to revising my wishlist once again. I have all I could ever need and then some, but no matter how much I have, I'm always wanting more. That's not really happiness then, is it?
People living in hiding, in poverty, riddled with sickness, evacuated from their homes, living with only one parent or no parents at all, without a place to sleep, without near enough to eat or any clean water to drink, no money for education... these are the people who would give all they could to help another. These are the people who are glad to be alive; they're filled with hope of a brighter future for themselves and their children. These are the people who love unconditionally and ask for only one thing: love. Love is all they need, and once they've found it, they're happy. If they have each other, they could be dying of illness and starvation, but they're happy.
I believe that true happiness comes from being thankful - truly thankful - of what you have. I've grown up in a loving home with two devoted parents, a strong roof over my head, plenty of income, insurance for any situation, and enough food to last me for months. I have never had to sleep on the streets or beg for money. I have never been separated from my parents against my will, and have always felt safe. I have never had to hide to read my Bible, or sneak food for my little brothers. I have been immensely blessed to lead this life.
I have all that I need; what else is there to ask for? Apparently, there's plenty to want; but I'm trying my hardest to be happy with what I have, and to be thankful for the little things.

As for you, dear reader, I challenge you to fill out a page (or two, or three, or however many you please!) of little things that make you happy; things that you don't appreciate enough, things that alter your life in big ways, no matter how little they are. 

Have a spectacular Thanksgiving if you celebrate it; and have a glorious normal day if you don't! :) 

x  Janessa

October 08, 2014

Mini-Vacation Recap

My grandma came to stay for nine days last week. Her sister lives in Archibold, Ohio, home of the Sauder Village (more info on that here, if you're interested). Since my dad had that week off from work, we decided to take advantage of driving two-and-a-half hours to drop my grandma off at her sister's, and we went on a two-day "vacation" that went something like this:


I had originally planned on getting up at 6:15 to work on some schoolwork so that I wouldn't fall behind while we were away. Instead, I slept an extra 30 minutes because I just couldn't bring myself to so much as sit up at such an ungodly hour.
I did get a bit of schoolwork done, regardless, and even got a half-hour walk in on the beast of death treadmill. I finished packing, took the fastest shower in history (my history, at least) and ate some breakfast before starting the journey to Archibold.

When we arrived, we stopped at my aunt's house for a bit to relax and catch up before going to the Barn for lunch. It's kind of a tradition to get the buffet at this place; a tradition we have yet to break.
The food was alright, but the salad was (and always has been) my most favorite.
Of course, it doesn't look near as glorious as it tasted. The croutons are sublime, and the poppyseed dressing is totally worth drooling over (...which I did). Let's be honest, everyone likes the toppings better than the leafy greens. ;)

After lunch, we checked into our hotel (read: the most gorgeous inn I have ever seen) and returned to my aunt's house for a while. Later, we went swimming at the inn, then went out to a local diner.

It was a cute little place! The lighting wasn't the greatest, and there was no music but there was a little jukebox hiding away in the back so music was available, but for a price.

After dinner, we went on a more in-depth exploration of the hotel.
Soooo thankful for these!
oh hey, wooden replica of The Last Supper  O.O
Random pond, just chillin' in the hallway.
I didn't snap very many photos of the lobby/entryway, as the lighting was horrendous. 
Our room was my favorite part, anyway...
On the far wall directly across from the main entryway was a sliding door that opened to a patio that led to a pathway which led to a pond with a nice fountain.

In the room, we discovered some complimentary cookies that took all of my willpower not to eat.
Dad stuck them in the ice pail so the younger kids wouldn't find them. xD
Because we were short on beds, my sister and I both had to sleep on a roll-away. My only complaint is that I was stuck with the one closest to the patio door -- i.e. the natural air conditioning. With three blankets and a sweater it was still a pretty chilly night for me. >.<


Breakfast was held in a special room close to the pool. What caught my eye was the plethora of pastries on display...
Much icing...such sugar...
A cinnamon roll with LOADS of icing (my favorite!) and slice of blueberry coffee cake <3
And this was the first time I had ever found granola amongst the cereals! Therefore, I had to get some of that as well.
#granolaandpeachporn  ;)
It was all so deliciously sweet; but alas, I could not finish.
the remnants of a fantastic dessert breakfast.

After breakfast, we went to the Historic Village. There were loads of attractions (40 in all!) and we weren't able to see all of them. I was glad to see that they had added on so much since the last time I was there - about a decade ago, no joke - and I was really glad to see some of the things that I saw when I went for the first time...
The first time I saw this, my dad had to lift
me up so I could see inside.
But I guess there were no criminals to bust
lately... Either that or he escaped. 

Short as it was, the train ride was actually really fun! It was freezing though, so I was quite thankful it didn't go on for very long.

In the Village, there was a museum with hundreds of historical bits and bobs, including...
The coolest bike ever(!!!)...
A snazzy milk truck...
A carriage almost like the one from The Aristocats...
The classiest baby booties I've ever seen...
The next thing on my wishlist ;)...
A fancy phonograph...
And a vintage horse-drawn fire engine!

One of my favorite locations was the trader's tent. Here, we learned about fur trading, and how fur could be used to make things in the early 1800-1900s. In particular, I found this guy to be pretty intriguing:

It's not every day you get to see a black bearskin. Or a skunk skin. That, however, was not an attractive photo; a skunk hanging from the ceiling may be a bit too disturbing for some.

Once we left the Village, we went to the gift shop where I found a lot of modern things, such as a giant Beanie Boo...
I have the normal-sized version of this guy^^

...I also saw a plethora of (i.e. total of five) owl Beanies, which may have excited me a bit too much
I kind of want them all now.

Also, (non-Beanie Boo-related) I found this:
Gloriously relevant. Incredibly tempting. Painfully expensive. 


We arrived back home. Actually, we left on Wednesday after having another dinner at the Barn (buffet ftw!) and saying our farewell to my aunt and Grandma. So all in all, not much out of the ordinary occurred on Thursday.

While it was short, and not what most people would classify as a "vacation," this was exceptionally enjoyable and I wouldn't mind going again. And again. And again and again and again. 
...Maybe not that many times, but you see what I mean. ;)  If you're ever in the Archibald, OH area, check it out! You won't regret it, I promise!

I should probably note that I am in no way sponsored by the Sauder Village. Nor do I own any of the products photographed in this post. Except the foods that went in my belly...those are technically mine. 


September 26, 2014

Food Anxiety + My Struggle This Week

I'm going to jump right to the point. No fancy intro, no pretty pictures, no fantastic words or elaborately thought-out scripting. Just me and my thoughts (and a few of my opinions)...

I have had serious problems with food - rather, my relationship with food - for a long time. To give you a little background; I grew faster in height and width than anyone else I knew. Being home-schooled and going to a really small church, I had two best friends who, coming from a different family with different genetics than mine, were significantly smaller than I was. I compared myself to them more often the older I got, until I was full-on bashing myself every time I saw them. I took a ballet class, and I wore a leotard, tights, and ballet skirt like all the other girls, but I felt like a whale in comparison to everyone else. I compared myself to other girls, not noting how skilled I was or how hard I worked. All that mattered to me at that age was all that mattered to me say, six months ago - and still does sometimes.
I won't diagnose myself with anxiety because a friend of mine has suffered severely for years, and I can't say my cases are anything worth diagnosing. However, I do - or did - have food-related anxiety. From the age of 12, somewhere around my birthday, to the age of 15 (February of this year to be more precise) I went through many severe and less-severe struggles of trying to lose weight, trying to eat healthily, and eventually, going off the deep end and developing orthorexic and anorexic tendencies, thus losing far too much weight than could be considered healthy. I lost a total of 50 pounds over the course of two years, with a lot of yo-yo-ing and relapsing. 

I can't tell you how many articles and studies I've read about "the latest and greatest diet tips" or "how to lose weight fast" and don't get me started on "never eat these foods if you don't want to be fat!" 
These things consumed my life, my thoughts, and the way I thought about food. Any "bad" foods were cut out of my diet, and I was totally confused as to what were "good" foods and what were "don't-eat-these-too-often" foods. It got to the point where I couldn't fully enjoy a sit-down meal with my family because I was too consumed by what the ingredients were or how many calories made up one [child-sized] serving. 

Food anxiety can be fatal. If my parents hadn't caught me and put me into counseling, I don't know where I'd be at this point. If no one cared enough to ask me how I was feeling, or to listen to me about what was going through my head at that point, I could be living in a hospital not able to stand on my own. I can't even imagine what direction my life would be going in right now. 
That being said, there are some tendencies that have stuck with me and come up on occasions, such as this week.

I visited family over the weekend and, fully prepared to have a great time, didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. I counted calories the whole week, ate out once every day (and felt guilty every time), and restricted more than was acceptable. I am still trying to increase my caloric intake every day to a healthy amount, but rather than using that as a guideline, I used it as an excuse to count my calories. 
I used to be obsessed with counting calories/fat/carbs/sugar, and this week was an example of my poor self-control. Every morning, I would tell myself not to log my meals, and every evening, I would have calculated the estimate of every meal, snack, and drink I had. 

Personally, I don't agree with counting calories. It is too easy to become obsessed by the numbers and consequently deny your body of what it really needs because the app tells you you've gone over your goal, even though you've been running around all day long burning off those calories. Now, if you're an adult and you need a rough estimate of how much you're eating in a day, by all means, go for it. Myfitnesspal is a great app (disclaimer: I'm not sponsored or anything; just personal opinion) but don't let yourself go overboard. It doesn't take long for one to become consumed by what you should be consuming. [quote by yours truly]

This week wasn't my greatest. I displayed poor effort and am now more determined to turn myself around and get back on track. I refuse to go back down the road I was once on; I've made my decision to recover and restore my mind and my body back to health. 

And there's my speech for the week. Thanks for reading - even if you didn't make it this far. xD 


September 18, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #16

Happy Thursday! :D
[more info here]
I'm getting less and less creative with my introductions...Ain't nobody got time fo dat.  ;)

I.  New discovery: hazelnut coffee + chocolate creamer is better than Nutella. #forreal  Try it!

II.  My daily dose of coffee has been giving me tummy troubles. :'(  Normally, so long as I don't drink it on an empty stomach, there's no problem - however, for the past few days, about 10-30 minutes upon consumption, the gurgles start and the pain kicks in. Not good. I cannot give up my beloved brew!
Does this count as a selfie? ;)
III.  I found a DIY for nail polish: eyeshadow + clear coat (or other translucent nail polish) = shiny new shade of nail polish! I tried it with an orangey-brown shade of eyeshadow and I produced a very nice, subtle shade of brownish-orange. Sadly, my ipod camera doesn't do it much justice.
They look much nicer in person. 

IV.  I watched The Woman in Black with my friends the other day. Despite the multitudinous jumpscares, it wasn't all that scary. 

V.  We also watched Edward Scissorhands which was a very sad but sweet story. My friend Kennedi "awwwh"d about 30 times, therefore I was determined to not show a soft spot for Edward.
Needless to say, I was disappointed with the ending because really, who wants to be left all alone in an ominous castle? I feel for Edward (but don't tell Kennedi).

VI.  As far as books go, I've been loving Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. I can't give it enough thumbs up! 

VII.  My daily reading time has become nonexistent. I don't know what happens - time just flies by like you wouldn't believe! I think this new school system is getting to me. ;P

VIII.  Lately, I've been eating a lot more than usual. Like a lot more. I'm not exactly complaining but, for example, Mom bought me a jar of Biscoff cookie spread and I've eaten half of it in three days. How does that happen?? 

IX. Speaking of spreads, I'm almost out of peanut butter - how does that happen?!

X.  No worries though, because  I'll be spending the weekend in Ohio visiting family and celebrating my grandpa's birthday! I'm really looking forward to pizza. And cake. I'm really hoping there will be cake. ;)

Thanks for stopping by; now join in on the fun!


September 11, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #15

Wow. I've only done 15 of these since I first started? 
[more info here!]

I.  Glass Animals is my new favorite Indie band. They have such a great sound! I still have yet to decipher the underlying meanings within their lyrics, but I find that makes them such an incredible band. 

II.  My first pointe class was super easy. My angelic teacher decided to take it easy on us for the first class - I did actually think it was a little too easy for me, and it ended way too soon. However, ballet was fantastic. It was quite possibly the best first class I've had in a long time. I was gently challenged (i.e. I was not worked to the bone) and I learned some new things!
[source: Pinterest]

III.  I've been faithfully taking a leisurely walk up and down my road at least once a day, and despite the fact that they are leisurely/moderate. I swear, my legs are getting more toned and even if no one else can tell, I can. I won't post any photos, because I don't have any "before" ones, but I'm so sure of it; I'll have a body like Beyonce before too long.
...Jokes. ;D

IV.  My stomach has been housing a beast that refuses to be satisfied. Normally, I wouldn't eat late at night, but for the past few nights, I have been positively ravenous!
It isn't just at nighttime either; I'm a monster constantly seeking sustenance, no matter what time it is.

V.  Fun fact: whenever I find something I really like at the discount store, I always always always write my name on the package, otherwise the rest of my family likes to polish it off for me. I found some delicious peanut butter cereal once; didn't write my name on it - my siblings ate all that was left. I'm still mourning.

VI.  I've learned that, while it may be cheap (discounted) and therefore seemingly revolting, coffee bought at a scratch & dent store is actually pretty incredible. I have found some pretty great coffee for pretty reasonable prices. Dunkin Donuts for less than $4? It's a win-win. 

VII.  Some flavors I scored are: jelly donut (great), blueberry muffin (not as incredible as I anticipated, but still good), pumpkin spice (way better than I thought it'd be), and banana bread (brand: Life is Good; score: 4 out of 5 stars). 

VIII.  I've been trying to work ahead in my studies to get caught up with the public school schedule, that way when my public-schooled friends are on break, I'm not stuck doing summer school like I was this year. Let me tell you, it's tough work spending 4 1/2 hours a day, nonstop, doing nothing but school. 

IX.  Although, believe it or not, I'm enjoying my schoolwork thus far... Geometry - dare I say it - isn't even that bad. It has to be a spell.

X.  I must be off; time to catch up on all the schoolwork I have left on my agenda for today. Hurrah. -_-

Join in on the fun!