It's been 21 days since I left Arkansas to start a new life on the West Coast. That's 3 weeks since I left the only home I have known for all of my 22 years. I left behind all of the family that has been there for me through thick and thin, kids that I have become more of a friend to than a nanny and my best friend. Leaving the comfortable bubble of my bible-belt, Southern home in Northwest Arkansas to find my self in the fast-paced, hustle and bustle world of Southern California was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made. But so far, I am proud to say that it has been the best decision I have ever made.
I have put on my big girl pants and driven 1,586 miles to learn to "do me." My life since graduating high school has been defined by someone else. I have made every decision based on how it would affect that person in that moment not how it would affect myself in the long run. That is changing. I am learning to focus on myself and just "do me."
Quick back track to the trip from the 479 to the 714:
I left the Northwest Arkansas area at noon on June 9. Said my good-byes to all of my loved ones, packed up my cute little soccer mom car and hit the road. A quick stop at the Tulsa airport to pick up my aunt and traveling partner, Brenda, who I am living with for the time being in SoCal. We drove until New Mexico, caught some quick zzz's at a Motel 6 and woke up to drive on.
|Crossing the Arizona state-line the morning of June 10 (Happy Birthday Momma!)|
|The University of Phoenix Stadium in Phoenix, AZ.|
We drove through the beautiful Sedona, AZ and stopped in Phoenix to have dinner with my Grandma. After refueling both ourselves and the truck and making a quick stop at the home of Mr. Larry Fitzgerald, I mean the Arizona Cardinals, we were back on I10 and heading for my new beginning.
|Beautiful Red Rocks in Sedona, AZ|
Safely and with only one speeding ticket we crossed the California border. We made a quick stop at the 43rd casino that we had passed on the trip and pulled in the driveway of my Brea, NorthHills home at 2am on Monday morning. So finally, after roughly 36 hours and 2 timezones later, I was ready to get a good nights sleep and in the morning explore this new world that is Southern California.
These first 21 days have been full of exploring So Cal and getting a feel for my new surroundings. I can't say that they have been the most productive of days but they have most definitely been entertaining. My first day on my own I set out to explore the Brea area, specifically downtown where I would be spending a lot of time day-to-day. Just my luck it was Tuesday and the streets were shut down for the Brea's farmers market! Loved all of the fresh fruits and vegetables and there were the nicest people! Just for future reference, the fresh Hummus is to die for! The strawberries are so sweet you can smell them clear down the street! Definitely something that I will be taking advantage of every Tuesday.
Most of my time thus far has been spent checking out the Orange County, Los Angeles and Malibu areas. Doing a little shopping here, sightseeing there, and looking for a little side job. But my main focus was still to "do me" and take time to step back from the bubble I have lived in to see what impact I can have on myself and others. I want to focus on my health and fitness starting with clean eating and exercise. The end goal being that my journey to a better me will be seen by others and they will fall in stride.
My first opportunity to do so was when my aunt allowed me to rid her refrigerator and pantry of all unhealthy and processed foods. If it's not there, it wont be eaten. So roughly three hours later the kitchen was completely clear of the bad stuff and was officially ready to house fresh, clean foods. The first clean dinner was pizza made with a cauliflower crust (recipe to follow soon courtesy of Kati Heifner). The pizza was a hit and will be making many future appearances.
|Recipe coming soon.|
Also, thanks to Ms. Heifner, I was able to make these quick and easy breakfast sandwiches that have been perfect to just grab and go in the mornings.
|Recipe coming soon.|
Now on to more current times:
I have finally had the chance to meet and spend time with the fabulous lady who initially sparked my interest in changing my lifestyle and learning to focus on me, the wonderful Kati Heifner. She has inspired me to set goals for myself based on my needs and wants not what others want for me. Since basically the beginning of the year Kati and I have communicated via social media and telephone. The fire she has lit in my heart to be the best woman I can be (*Oprah*) has inspired me to do the same with others around me.
Wednesday afternoon I made the trip out to Santa Monica to meet Kati and her boyfriend Jay. They welcomed me with open arms and a hill full of stairs. We got right to work. They introduced me to the landmark that is the Santa Monica Stairs. Approximately 175-180 steps (hard for the clumsy as such as I to count and focus on not falling) of intensity. Upon first look I did not think they would be such a big deal, half way up my first set and the stairs had proven me wrong. Used for training by NFL runningbacks and soccer moms alike, the Santa Monica Stairs were the exact opposite of what I was expecting. There were so many people working out, stretching before a set, cooling off after many. There is even an honor system water cooler. It is unlike anything I have ever seen before and definitely not something we have back home. And yes, my legs are still feeling the burn.
|Kati and I at the bottom of our first set.|
I am already so thankful Kati and Jay are in my life. They are going to be great mentors and friends as I start this new journey. Honestly, without Kati's encouragement and inspiration I probably would have not made the move out here to begin with, so for that I am already eternally grateful!
This is just a quick run down of who I am now and a brief look at my plans and goals for the future. Who I want to become I am not 100% sure, but for the first time I know who I am.