Tuesday, December 31, 2013

So Long 2013...Hello 2014!

I can't believe another year has come and gone.  Overall, I think 2013 was a pretty good year.  Like every year, it had it's ups and downs.  I think for the most part, the good outweighed the bad....at least when I look back.  As I say goodbye to 2013, I just realized that I'm also saying goodbye to my 20's.  This makes me much sadder than just realizing another year has passed.  But I want 2014 to begin in a great way and I am optimistic that this coming year is going to be a great one (despite turning 30)!

My 2013 in a nutshell... 
~Lots of drama with our rental house
~Moving twice (from in-laws to apartment then from apartment to condo)
~Having major surgery (vertical sleeve gastrecstomy)
~Losing 90lbs thanks to that surgery (woohoo!)
~Darren got a new job with "normal" hours and room for advancement (yay!)
~Darren working 2 jobs for most of the year (it sucks...but we are grateful)
~Selling our house (Praise the Lord!)
~Finding out I'm going to have a niece soon (due March 2014)
~Camping for the first time since I was about 7
~Training for a 5k that I have yet to run lol
~Cruise to the Bahamas
~Adding lots of debt to our already huge pile thanks to the IRS and medical bills (fun fun!)

And welcome into 2014... I have lots of goals for 2014.  I want to make weekly, monthly, and yearly goals to improve every aspect of my life.  I'm still working on those goals.  Below are just a few things I hope to see in 2014.

~We are really hoping that 2014 brings us a baby.  I know that it will probably be closer to the end of 2014 but that's ok.  

~I also hope to pay off a good amount of debt and put some money in savings.

~I want to challenge myself in photography.  To pick up the camera more and be more creative.  I plan on doing a self-portrait challenge.... either 52 weeks or once a month... haven't decided yet.

~I'd like to blog more and do more graphic design.

~I have about 20-30 more lbs to lose and I want to do some major toning.  I also want to run a 5k.

~Traveling is always on my list but I don't know how possible that is going to be.

~I want to also do more crafty stuff and hopefully eventually start an Etsy store :)

~And I turn 30 in 2014 so I would like to go ahead and decide that 30 is going to be the best year ever!

Friday, December 27, 2013

My Happy Place: Craft Room

I haven't had a "craft room" since we first got married.  We rented a house and I did a lot of scrapbooking and card making stuff so we made one of the spare bedrooms into a craft room and I loved it.  Then when we bought a house and packed everything up, I got out of the scrapbooking thing and got really into photography so all my spare time went into that.  My scrapbook boxes never even got unpacked.  One spare room became solely an office with two desks and two computers since we were both editing a lot and the other was a "guest room" aka storage and where we put the dog crate lol.  Then we closed our business, moved in with my in-laws, moved into the apartment, and voila, here we are in our condo.  Since we have a designated office area (will take pictures once it's finished...whenever that is), I have a spare room (until a baby comes along that is).

My scrapbook stuff still sits safely in boxes in our storage unit and I've moved on from that (for now).  Thanks to Pinterest, I've found lots of sewing projects (who hasn't?!) that I've wanted to try my hand at but I didn't have a sewing machine.  So...I asked Santa for one :)  My Christmas this year pretty much revolved around sewing and all things related to that which is totally cool with me!

Here's a little sneak peek at my craft room the way it is right now.  I still want to get some things on the walls and put some curtains up (and I'm sure I will paint at some point) but for now...

I had a little fun at Hobby Lobby yesterday buying fabric.  I seriously could spend a small fortune in that store.  It's dangerous.  Do you gather a theme?  I like fun, bright springy colors and I like girly colors of course.  I have a couple projects in mind.  You'll notice an Eiffel Tower in there.  I think I must have an obsession.  They had about 4 or 5 fabrics that had Eiffel Towers or Paris themes on them and it was ALL I could do not to buy them all  lol  I settled on one (for now haha).

This isn't exactly the machine that "Santa" (aka my sweet hubby) bought for me but he told me he didn't mind if I exchanged it for what I wanted since I had been doing so much research on them.  He really is the sweetest thing.  He knew what he got me wasn't exactly what I wanted but he wanted to make sure I had one to open Christmas morning.  I love him Oh So Much.

I love this sign :)  I got it for Christmas too.

This is on the other side of my craft room (ick!).  Maybe seeing it often will remind me to use it! haha

In my future house (if I had my way), I'd like a room off of a main living area with french doors to be my craft room and personal office.  One big enough that I could put a nice big table in the middle so that when I have kids and they get big enough, they can work on projects too.  If my future children are anything like their mommy, they will love all things craft related from a very young age.  I don't like being secluded from everything and when I am, I'm less likely to work on anything that I want to work on.  Does that make sense?  I found this idea at The Inspired Room.  Doesn't it look perfect??  There are lots of ideas like that on her website.  That could get me in trouble ;)

Do you like crafty projects? Do you sew?  Do you have a happy place?  I recommend it to everyone :)

How do you like my new blog look and logo?  I like the way it turned out.  I got bored one night and played around with my wacom tablet.  I think I'll keep it this way for a while.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Welcome to the Caribbean Love

This year, we waited to take our vacation.  We were talking to our friends earlier this year and I mentioned how much I wanted to go on a cruise.  They had already booked their cruise for December to celebrate their anniversary so I can't quite remember if we invited ourselves or if it was a mutual agreement that we book ours for the same week and go together  lol  I'm going to go with the second option ;)  It was really tough to wait so long to take our vacation but we had SUCH a great time.  The weather was perfect.  While everyone was at home freezing, we were soaking up the sun in our bathing suits.  I want to be back there so bad.

These are our cool lil' towel animals that our room guy made for us each night.

We didn't even take our big camera out of the bag.  So it was a trip of iphone pics and selfies lol and for this time....that is ok with me.

Ah...the Caribbean. Can I please go back? umm...now?

We only took one picture of just the four of us. Crazy right?  We clean up pretty nicely though... and might I add that I'm about 75lbs lighter than I was when we went on our honeymoon cruise.  That was a nice feelin' for sure.

We went with Carnival this go around.  We went Royal Caribbean for our honeymoon.  Not really sure which one I liked better.  They were basically the same.  I will definitely spring for a balcony suite next time.  We had one for our honeymoon and opted for oceanview this time.  The size of the room is about half the size of the balcony room.  They decorated the ship for Christmas which was cool and weird all at the same time :)  On the last day, the crew put towel animals out on all the chairs.  I thought that was pretty cute.

Anyway....that's where I've been :)  I'll post Christmasy stuff tomorrow (maybe).


Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Sunday Social: Week 7

I haven't participated in the Sunday Social in a while...mainly because I forget to do it!  Sorry :)  So if you want to participate, click the button below to get the questions and copy Ashley Lately's button then answer the questions on your own blog and put a link back on her blog so other's can read your answers :)

Sunday Social

1. What are your favorite Holiday Movies/TV Specials?
My favorite Holiday movie is Miracle on 34th Street (the 1994 version with Dylan McDermott and the cute lil' girl from Matilda...Mara Wilson).  I can pretty much quote that movie.  I also love the Santa Clause movies...the first one is my favorite though.  I love The Holiday with Cameron Diaz and Jude Law too.  And I do admit to watching Hallmark movies even though they are all so similar lol
2. Do you do any volunteering during the holidays if so what? If not what would you do?
I haven't done any volunteering during the holidays.  I'm bad at that.  I do want to do a little something for all my neighbors this year though.  I want to get wisks and fill them with Hershey kisses and put a note on there that says "We wisk you a merry kissmas"  lol  totally lame but bound to make someone smile...right?  :)
3. What is your favorite toy received as a child for the holidays?
Honestly...I don't even remember what my "favorite" toy was as a child.  It really depends on what age I suppose.  I got lots of Barbie dolls.  I got a cute pair of skates when I was about 7 that I liked.  I remember a lot of things that I got and I loved them all but there isn't one particular thing that stands out in my mind.
4. What was your must have item in high school for the holidays? 
I remember one year, I really really wanted a Papasan chair to put in my room.  And I did get it.  Come to find out....those things are really not all that comfy  lol  I also really wanted my own computer and got that at some point too.  My parents were pretty generous at Christmas.
5. What do you do on Christmas Eve? If you are Jewish what does your family do for Hanukkah?
Christmas Eve morning is spent with my husband's family.  It was a tradition for him growing up on Christmas day morning to go to his grandparents (that lived on the same property) and have a big breakfast.  When we got married, we all agreed to move it to Christmas Eve morning so that when we had kids, we wouldn't have to tear them away and make them go anywhere.  So we have breakfast and then do gifts. 
Then Christmas Eve night, we go to my grandfather's house with my mom's entire family and eat and do the whole "white elephant/Chinese Christmas/dirty Santa" game which a lot of times just ends up being a big gift card exchange lol.  Unfortunately this year, my grandfather just had open heart surgery so plans for Christmas Eve are still up in the air.  Hopefully we still get together because if not, it will be the first time since before I was born that we didn't get together and that's kind of sad. 
When I was a kid, after we came home from my grandparents' house, we would get to open one gift.  I will continue that tradition with my kids for sure.  My parents got to pick which gift we opened but they never could remember what was in which box so one year, I opened a camera case....for the camera I would open the next morning! hah :)
I love the Holidays! Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Pinterest Craft: White & Red Yarn Wreath

I pin LOTS of crafts and "DIY" stuff on Pinterest in hopes that one day, I will make (or take) time to actually do some of them just to say that I did them (or I imagine if they actually turned out well, they would make nice gifts).  I saw this wreath on Pinterest and thought it was really pretty.  The link went to Better Home and Gardens so you can find the original tutorial there.  It obviously doesn't look as nice as the original picture but I thought it turned out pretty good.  The part that took the longest was wrapping the wreath in the yarn.  The whole project took me about 3 hours.

Here is a picture of the supplies you will need.  I got everything for less than $20 from my beloved Hobby Lobby :)  They include a 10in (although all I could find was a 14in) straw wreath, felt squares in red, dark green (tutorial calls for olive green also but I couldn't find it), 8mm pearls, Christmas greenery, a hot glue gun, and a skein of white yarn.  What they don't include in the supply list is pins that you will need to stick the greenery to the wreath.

The only way to do a Christmas craft is with the Christmas tree in the plain view :)

 This is how far I'd gotten in 30 minutes when I realized that this would surely take me forever lol  It's kind of an annoying process for a perfectionist and an impatient person but I wanted to finish it so I stuck it out.  You have to make sure you get the yarn nice and tight and you'll have to work it tighter together as you go along.

Here is my completed plain wreath and my felt roses that I made but forgot to take pictures of the process....they were super easy though.

Final thoughts on this project.  My greenery looks really dumb because I should have cut it down so that the berries were over the white part.  But other than that, for my first attempt....not so bad :)

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

December Defeat

So far December has taken it's foot and stomped my diet, motivation, and exercise into smithereens.  It's full of Christmas parties and bad food partnered with cold weather.  I'm afraid to step on the scale and I probably won't any time soon.  I said to myself "this week, I'm going to cut my carbs and get this mess out of my body"....then I have a cupcake at work.  We are leaving Sunday for our week long cruise.  Then right afterwards is Christmas.  I think I'm just going to have to try to be as diligent as I can be and keep my "splurge" to one tiny something a day (in the evening) rather than "well I've already screwed up...there goes my day, where's the chocolate?"  Surely I'm not the only one that does that?  But that's what the old me on a diet would do.  I don't want to be the old me.  I like the new me.

I haven't exercised in weeks.  I went outside and ran for the first time last Monday (at 5:30am I'll add) and I wasn't even 2 blocks from my condo and I fell down.  I mean...I hit the ground like a big sack of potatoes complete with a big "umph".  (It's ok...you can laugh) Once I was over the shock of falling, I laughed at myself, got up and moved over to the road because the uneven sidewalk is what caused me to trip and kept on going.  I did 1.87 miles in about 28 minutes...jogging and walking.  I felt good for doing it until I got in the shower and almost passed out.  I had my arms up rinsing my hair and I slowly leaned against the wall and then sat down on the floor until the dizziness passed (better than going down and really knocking myself out).  It freaked me out.  I had been having some dizzy spells but it's really only been when I stand up so I thought it would go away.  That scared me enough that I went to the doctor later that day.  She told me I was probably really dehydrated.  I've been drinking a couple of cups of hot green tea every day for the past 2.5 weeks (about the same amount of time that I've been feeling this way) and since green tea is a diuretic mixed with the little bit of caffeine in it that will also dehydrate you....makes sense.  I haven't been willing to give up the green tea though.  It's a nice treat when it's cold and nothing is warming me up.  But I've been trying to be more diligent about drinking even more water.  But because of that and the fall, I've been a little skittish about getting back out there.  I know I need to get over that asap.  AND I have a treadmill in my spare bedroom so really...no excuses.  I bruised my knee and my elbow pretty bad with my fall.  But...I'll live :)

I'm not giving up.  I'm just being realistic.  I know I still have 30lbs to reach my goal and I absolutely plan on getting there.  However, I think I'm going to allow myself to enjoy the holidays (without getting too crazy) ...until December 26 and then it's time to say goodbye to the carbs.  I'm not waiting until Jan 1st.  I'm not waiting until a Monday.  The day after Christmas, I will go on a liquid diet for several days and restart my body.  And I'm taking my running shoes on the cruise with me and hoping that I can make myself get up and take advantage of the change of scenery (and weather) while I jog.

So that's my plan on getting through the holidays.  I'm sure it's not as good as others and I'm sure others are much stronger than I am but I think this is how it's going to have to be.

What are your plans to get through the holidays?  They are tough aren't they??  Not like we can lock ourselves away for the whole month. Oh yeh....I definitely forgot to take my progress pictures in November (I blame it on the move).  So I'll just have to do December....which may not be very good.  EEk.

Friday, November 29, 2013

A Quick Glimpse

I don't do the black Friday thing so I thought I would post a couple before and after pictures of our living room in the condo.  I still have some work to do (i.e. wall décor) and obviously it will look different when our ginormous Christmas tree is down but I like the way everything looks for now and I love holiday décor. :)

This is the main wall in the living room (before we painted).

 then after paint, furniture, décor...  I LOVE my canvases that I had printed of a few pictures I took in Venice, Italy last summer.  I kind of wish I had gone bigger though...oh well.  Color is Valspar City Storm....it's a nice warm gray.

 This is another view of the living room before. 

Curtains are from Ikea and I love them ($29/pair!).  Pretty sure I have at least 3 Eiffel towers on my Christmas tree :) 

Here is a closer look at my pictures :)

 and as promised, here is my new hair (before...from last month & after).  I cut probably a good 6 inches off.  I didn't go as short as I had originally planned but it was a big enough change for right now :)  And I went darker because I always like my hair darker.
And I am down 88lbs :)  I haven't taken my progress pics for this month or my measurements but I will soon.  It's on the to-do list :)


Monday, November 18, 2013

Marvelous Monday

This is a marvelous Monday.  I took today off to recoup from the move this weekend.  We got so much done this weekend....it was crazy.  We moved from our third floor apartment to our new condo within about 2.5 hours.  I'm tellin' you....crazy.  We are so grateful that we had a few friends lend a helping hand to get it all done.  We really couldn't have done it without them.  We even got most of our stuff unpacked already this weekend.  We still have quite a bit of stuff in our storage unit that we need to get out and go through but it will happen with time.

I'm really glad that we were able to get the keys to the condo early because having all the painting done the way I want it, is awesome!  I ordered 4 canvases from our trip to Venice and I can't wait for them to get here!  Other than that, I'll put up a few things here and there as I can find what I want.

On top of all the weekend fun, I weighed on Sunday and lost 3lbs from the previous week.  Which is a little crazy seeing as I haven't been able to work out since last Monday.  So I'm down 86.5 pounds!  I've been trying to only weigh once a week and I will continue to do that.  I decided a while back that even if I don't lose anymore, I will be happy and I will try to be the healthiest at this weight that I can be.  Not that I'm giving up hope on losing more ;)  I've been under the weather since last Sunday...stupid cold I think.  So I bought some hot green tea and it's actually quite yummy and a good change from cold water all the time.  I can really tell a difference in any bloated feelings I've had.  So I'll definitely keep it as a daily thing.  

Thursday, I will be doing something drastic to my hair.  I've had long hair for a couple of years now.  I decided that it's time for a change.  So I am chopping it off!  I'll probably end up cutting about 10 inches off.  I'm getting it colored too.  So I'll make sure to blog on Thursday and put a side by side before and after :)  I can't wait! I'm so nervous but I'm also really excited.

Stay tuned :)

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday Wants

Since Christmas is right around the corner (yay!) and we're also moving into a new place this weekend (which means décor ideas galore!), I thought I would make a list of some things I'd like to have :)  Not that anyone that would buy me a Christmas gift reads my blog  lol  (wishful thinking I suppose). And my wants can be a little on the pricey side :) imagine that....

I really want to do a photo wall like this one that Tatertots and Jello did.  I think it's awesome and it's happy and cheerful and just really cool.  She put the full tutorial up here on how she did it and even where she got everything.  The picture frames can be ordered from Cut It Out and then you just paint them whatever color you want.  I think this could be a little bit of a pricey project and I would want it all completed and not just a piece here and a piece there so I'll have to save for just a little bit :)  The frames themselves aren't bad but they don't come with glass and they have to be spray painted so by the time you add all that together and then also order your print...it adds up.  I really like the table she has here too.  She painted an old piece that her grandmother had.  I need to start perusing yard sales!
 I want this mirror from Ikea.  I like the thick frame and I like that it can hang on the wall or just sit on the floor.  And I like that it's only $99.  I need to be able to see if I look ok completely before I walk outside lol "Do these boots really go ok with this dress?" type of thing :)
This is a crappy picture but I want this lil' Pandora charm for my bracelet.  It's a gondola from Jared :)  It will be the only Pandora thing on my bracelet but WHO cares! lol
I'd like a new down alternative comforter/duvet.  Doesn't have to be this one but something similar.  I think I want a king size since Darren and I tend to tug the comforter back and forth between each other lol  I want to get my mom to make a white duvet cover and have a luxury hotel feel to it.
Along the same bedding line.  I'd really like a headboard.  I like the look of the button tuft headboards but man are they expensive (I'd say at least $400 in the store).  We don't have any bedroom furniture right now.  We have a chest of drawers that actually belongs to my brother but we don't have nightstands or anything so obviously I'd like some bedroom furniture.
Gift cards for clothes are always greatly appreciated and needed.  And now that I think about it....it's sad that these are the only 4 stores I can think of.  I obviously need to get out shopping more.  I just can't ever afford clothes from White House Black Market or Ann Taylor or Banana Republic, etc etc.
If I had a spare $700 or whatever...I'd like a new laptop.  I'd like one that I can put Photoshop on so I can do everything on there that I want to for my blog without having to sit at a desk and do it because I sit at a desk ALL day long.  I don't want to do it at home too.
8. Random expensive wants? I'd like to travel.  I'd like to do a photoshoot with Bobbi+Mike. I'd also really like to have a baby.  Perhaps we can make all of that happen within the next couple of years :)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Screw Society

Society scares me.  Everywhere you look now, you see a standard of "perfection" that we should all supposedly be living up to.  The overly photoshopped models in magazines, the makeup caked actresses, the 16 yr old models on the catwalk that haven't even fully formed into women yet... and "thigh gap".  Are you kidding me?  No wonder I've been on a diet since I was a child.  Society told me I wasn't "normal".  I fear for today's children.  I fear for a child that maybe even I will bring into this world.

Honestly, at this point in my life....I say screw society.  I may not ever weigh what the charts say I "should" weigh.  I'm pretty sure I will always have some flabby skin and not have perfect muscle tone or 6 pack abs.  But, I'm starting to like the woman that I see in the mirror.  Not because I've lost weight but because I'm an overcomer.  I no longer have high blood pressure.  I'm a lot farther from the diabetes and heart disease that I was spiraling toward.  My mind is clearer than it's ever been.  I'm strong and I've challenged my body to do things that I never thought I'd be able to do.  So instead of looking in the mirror and constantly seeing the minor imperfections, I choose to remind myself that I am beautifully and wonderfully made.  I am the woman that God made me to be and that is all that should matter.

I'm not saying we shouldn't work on ourselves.  I would certainly be a hypocrite if I said that seeing that I underwent surgery to help me lose weight.  But I didn't have surgery for vanity purposes.  I didn't have surgery because I wanted to get down to a weight where I would be more accepted by society.  I did it because I couldn't do it on my own and I was unhealthy and not living a full life.  It didn't have anything to do with my willpower or determination because I had lots of that.  Really, I think it comes down to genetics.  And I also believe that God allows you to go through things for a reason.  If I hadn't gone through all that I have, I don't think I would be the person I am today.  And I kinda like that person.  So in a round about way, I'm thankful for it.

And I'm just going to jump out there and say that society needs more "normal" people...like me.  People who have gone through struggles but by the grace of God are taking back their lives and not letting the world drag them down because they aren't "perfect".

Ok...I think that is all :)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Next Goal: Financial Freedom

2013 has been a big year for me (and us).  I had surgery.  I lost 82lbs (and counting).  We sold our house.  We moved twice (well...as of next week).  I'm becoming a runner (say what??).  My relationship with Christ is the best it's ever been.  Darren got a new job.  Who would have thought that so much could happen in one year?  I'm so grateful for it all.

While examining my current situation and reflecting on where I was at the beginning of the year versus where I am today, I'm choosing to take the next step to reaching my goals.  This goal is to reach Financial Freedom.... Financial Peace if you will.  Now that the house is gone, I feel like I can really tackle this.  Debt is an ugly word.  God doesn't want us to be in debt.  He wants us to be good stewards of what He has provided us.  We get into debt when we get caught up in our own wants and quick decisions.  I want to be done with it.  If being in debt is normal then I want to be the most abnormal one of them all!  Debt weighs you down and makes you feel like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.  Are people actually ok with this? Has it become a society "norm" that everyone has debt and it's no big deal?

So for the next however long, I'm going to write out my financial goals just like I do my fitness goals.  It shouldn't be any different.  I think you should have goals for many different aspects in life.  And on top of setting goals....also come up with a solution and a plan of action on how to reach those goals. 

I am a big Dave Ramsey fan and I think he has some amazing ideas but I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up cable and other "non-necessities" to go full on "gazelle intense" on my debt elimination (as of right now anyway).  I do believe that we are going to really need to write out a budget (each month) and stick to it.  After adding up how much we spend between groceries, eating out, and gas in the past month, it was quite eye-opening that we weren't really paying much attention at all.  Several years back, we did the envelope system thing for areas like eating out, groceries, clothing, gifts, etc.  It really helped.  You are much more emotionally attached to cash then you are to swiping your debit card.  It's easy to swipe that card and not think a second thing about it.  If you have cash in your wallet, you're more likely to think twice before spending.

My Financial Goals...
Debt Elimination
1) Credit Card (used to pay for house renovations)
2) Car (at least it's good on gas mileage)
3) Student Loan (the smaller one)
4) Student Loan (the big one)
5) Personal Loan (this is what happens when you have to pay the IRS a big chunk of money because you took the house tax-credit the gov. offered the year before you didn't have to pay it back and then you rent your house out and realize that that is one of the rules in which you have to pay it back all at once.  Plus add in a surgery and medical bills. Plus there was that pesky credit card that never seemed to get any lower.  That all lumped together because I thought it would be easier to handle equals a pretty icky personal loan and I believe Dave Ramsey would call it all "Stupid Tax". So my "stupid tax" is the equivalent of a very nice car payment each month minus the car....awesome.)
1) Emergency Fund (preferably 3-6 months worth of all our bills because with this economy...you never know)
2) Save for baby (which God willing, will hopefully happen next year)
3) Save for house (or at least a good down payment)
4) Vacation (paid in full BEFORE we go)
While these are my overall goals, I'm going to heed my counselor's advice in taking one month at a time and trying not to get ahead of myself.  I want to enjoy our life during the process. 

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

SOLD! and moving on...

It's official....as of today! Papers are signed and we are no longer home owners!  I never thought I would be SO happy to say that lol  We didn't tell many people but an investor came through the neighborhood early this month and made a cash offer on our house.  It wasn't asking price but it covered what we owed plus closing costs plus what we put into it after the renters moved out.  We said yes immediately.  God is good!  We were supposed to close last Friday but of course, it got pushed back...to today.  I'm just so thankful that it's over.  I really thought it was never going to happen.  This has been a long long drawn out process between moving out, renting it out, having crazy renters, fixing their messes and putting it on the market just hoping we had enough savings to last until it sold.  And now...it's gone!  Yes it was our first home but I really think we emotionally disconnected from the house after the first time we put it on the market 3 years ago....so it's all good :)

I usually consider myself a pretty patient person but man oh man has God tested my patience and shown me how little I actually had over the past year and a half.  But through this time, my relationship with Him has grown stronger and I'm thankful for that.  I've learned to truly rely on Him and to praise Him in the good times and the bad.  And also to take one month at a time instead of trying to plan ahead so far in advance which only increases my anxiety.

So as we close that chapter of our lives, we will be moving on and hopefully making better decisions.  Just a couple of weeks ago, I was throwing myself quite the pity party.  "Oh woe is me, what are we going to do..." We knew we didn't want to be in the apartment over the holidays because let's face it...it's a little boring and not "home" at all.  But there really isn't anything on the market and we don't want to settle the next time we make a huge decision like that plus we have a lot of debt and didn't figure anyone would give us the time of day for a mortgage.  Throw in some "I want a baby but we live in a one bedroom apartment and have no other options..." and you've got yourself a good tear-filled night.  (Poor Darren lol)  The next day, I got a call from my mom saying that her friend had an empty two bedroom, two bathroom condo (almost twice the size of our apartment!) in a nice neighborhood literally 5 minutes from my work and it would cost about the same as what we are paying now.  She was going to list it for rent the next day.  I think God was saying "see, Melissa....don't doubt me!"  So needless to say, we are moving....again :)  We've decided to go ahead and rent for a couple of years (possibly).  Our next course of action will be to pay down our debt and build up our savings before buying another home.  If a baby works it's way into that plan, then it is more than welcome :)

I'm so excited and I feel like this is really where God wants us to be.  We can make this place our home for a while until He directs us otherwise.  I can't wait to post pictures of my decorating because you KNOW I've already got lots of plans :)  I'm actually going to start painting this weekend so I can get it done before we move in.  We have to be out of our apartment by Nov. 25....right before Thanksgiving of course but I'm totally ok with that.  We'll probably actually be out the week before anyway.  I've edited a few of my Italy pictures so I'm excited to get those printed on canvas to display our own art from a memorable trip.

Anyway.  Yay!

Kiss It Goodbye Challenge: Week 6 Check-In

I'm halfway through the challenge that I created for myself.  I can see the finish line but only because it means stepping onto a giant ship and setting sail :)  Although I'm quite certain I will not reach my 25lb goal, I've accomplished other goals that I now think are far superior.  The fact that I'm running at all is awesome.  So is the fact that I'm at a place where I'm willing to get up at 4:45am in order to get it done.  So I'm just going to stick with that.  This post is going to be SUPER short because I have another post that I want to get up today that is not weight related at all.  So without further ado....that's all I've got and here's to hoping that what I want to post about actually happens today!

Friday, October 25, 2013

7 months

I am now 7 months post op so thought I would do a bit of a progress post.  I've lost 81.5 lbs.  Sometimes I look in the mirror and see the same person I was 81.5 lbs ago.  Then other times I catch a glimpse in the mirror and give a double take.  I feel better about myself.  I think I can actually attribute most of that to the c25k program though.  It's really amazing how good I feel after I finish one of the days in the program where I push myself just a little more than I did the day before.

Anyway...Here are inches I've lost in the past 7 months...
Neck: -2
L. Bicep: -3.5
L. Forearm: -2
Chest: -7
Bust: -6.5
Waist: -10 (wow!)
Hips: -9.5
R. Thigh: -5.5  (double wow!)
R. Calf: -1.5
Total: -47 inches

And here's a comparison side by side.  This is the day before surgery (March) and then this Wednesday.

Like I said, sometimes I can't see the difference.  I know that's completely mental though.  I mean seriously...I'm standing in almost the same spot and taking up a LOT less doorway  lol

I still have a long way to go.  I'd like to lose at least 40 more pounds, I think.  But more than that, I really want to tone and to build my running endurance.  I've come a long way.  Yesterday morning, I ran two segments of 8 minutes each.  Just 5 weeks ago, I was having to work so hard to huff and puff my way through a 60 second jogging segment....and now, 8 minutes?  That's awesome in my book.  I can't wait to see what more my body will do.

I said I was only going to weigh once a month but I don't think that's enough to keep myself in check so I'm going to do once a week.  That way, I can assess if I need to re-evaluate anything.  I'm trying not to worry too much with the scale but I'm having a hard time not.  I think my body has gotten to a point now where it's going to be super hard to lose more and I've really got to step up my game.  I've been running, yes, but I've got to start doing my strength training and really focusing hard on what I'm eating and making good choices.  I have been doing pretty well on my water.  I get about 70 oz in a day but weekends are really bad and I just don't think about it.

So...there's my progress update :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Kiss It Goodbye Challenge: Week 5 Check-In

5 weeks down! 7 to go!  Time sure is going fast.  Darren hid my scales and I haven't even gone to look for them.  I will weigh this Friday morning and take my 7 month progress pictures and measurements Thursday evening.  I can't believe it's been 7 months since my surgery either.

I did okay on my exercise this week.  I did c25k last Thursday, yesterday, and this morning.  I didn't exercise over the weekend but we did go to Blowing Rock so we walked for several hours if that counts :)  Very leisurely though.

We have a whole lot of stuff that is going on in the next 2 months on top of the holidays.  Life is about to get a lil' crazy.  I'm just praying I can breathe through it all and make good choices and continue to exercise.  Today was the beginning of week 5 in c25k.  I might do day one over again even though I made it through it plus jogged 6 minutes in the last segment instead of 5.  I'm a little nervous about day 2 and running 8 minutes straight (twice).  But, I've surprised myself along the way so I think I will continue to do so.  It's really amazing how much your body adapts when you consistently challenge it.

Oh...I forgot to post about my support group meeting last Wednesday!  There were 5 of us in there (4 sleeved, 1 lapband) along with the surgery coordinators and the dietician who was the "guest" speaker.  It was a pretty good meeting.  I found out that I'm supposed to be at 4oz a meal by this point.  Good to know since I'd only been eating 3oz.  After the meeting was over, the 5 of us left at the same time and everyone was like "ok, well now that we are away from them, let's talk for real" lol  At that point, it was nice.  We compared pictures and talked about problems we were having or anything like that.  So overall, it was good.  I'll definitely go back.  My next one is Nov. 20 and they are going to have a psychologist in there to give us pointers on how to get through the holidays.... Lord knows I need that!

I think Christmas is going to be difficult for me this year.  Not only am I going on a cruise the week before but my mother in law always bakes a lot at Christmas and it's all yummy things that I like.  I'm usually fine if we sit down for a meal and it's done...I can avoid any temptation.  It's when food is sitting around and everyone is just talking or whatnot and then before you know it, I'm popping a chocolate covered peanut butter ball in my mouth without even thinking about it.  I'm hoping I can avoid that this year for real!  I'm hoping that training for a 5k on Nov. 30th will help me through Thanksgiving.  Maybe I need to find a 5k for right after Christmas to help get me through that lol

Hoping to post good news on Friday...crossing my fingers anyway :)


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Kiss It Goodbye Challenge: Week 4 Check-In

Week 4 done already?  October is FLYING by!  It may be because I have a countdown until my cruise on my refrigerator :)  61 days!  Woohoo!  Anyways.  I had Darren hide my scale for real.  I'll bring it out next Saturday, October 26th.  I know that's past my "progress day" (20th) but I usually don't do my pictures during the week so I'll do everything on that day.  It should be interesting.

So far this week, I've gotten up twice at 5am to go exercise (well 3 times if you include last Thursday within "this week").  I'm actually beginning to enjoy it.  I have to remind myself when my alarm goes off that I will feel a lot better after I get up and complete my program.  I did week 4 day 1 of the c25k program this morning.  I was so proud of myself for making it through it.  It was a 5 minute warm up, jog 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, jog 5 minutes, walk 2.5 minutes, jog 3 minutes, walk 90 seconds, jog 5 minutes, 5 minute cool down.  That means I jogged a total of 16 minutes.  I can remember my first week when I was huffing and puffing through 60 seconds of jogging and I couldn't even make it through all of the jogging segments.  It makes me feel awesome to know that I've gotten this far!

This evening, I'm going to a support group meeting that is hosted by my bariatric surgery group.  Supposedly they have one once a month but they haven't had one since I've had my surgery (thank goodness for online groups!).  So I got an email the other day from the coordinator saying there was going to be one tonight.  I figured 'hey why not'.  They are having a dietician from a heart clinic come in to speak.  I really don't know what else to expect.  Hopefully it will be worth my time.

That's all I've got for now.  I will try to update on something other than my kiss it goodbye challenge :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Kiss It Goodbye Challenge: Week 3 Check-in

It's crazy how quickly time passes isn't it?  This week, I worked out 3 times doing my c25k program.  I even did those workouts on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning!  I haven't felt compelled to work out on a Saturday in probably 12 years (aka...when I was in high school)! And this morning, I was up at 5am to get dressed and go down to our apartment gym.  Craziness!  I really did enjoy getting my workout over with this morning though.  I just haven't had the energy or motivation to do it when I get home.  Granted, I had to go to bed at 9pm in order to get up at 5am  lol but oh well...

I didn't lose anything this week.  I made an announcement on Facebook that I was taking the batteries out of the scale.  Darren reminded me that it has to be reprogrammed every time you do that so I'm just having him hide it from me lol  I will weigh in on the 20th of each month because that is my surgery date anniversary.  I'm so tired of bouncing up and down 2 pounds so I just don't want to see it any more.  I know that starting a new exercise routine can throw weightloss off and other female things can lead to water retention.  So I'm just going to focus on succeeding with my c25k program and take my measurements and not worry so much about numbers on the scale.

Today, I've noticed that by getting up earlier, my water intake has been better.  It's only noon and I've already had about 40oz of plain water.  I read in an article the other day that you should drink half your body weight in water. WHAT?! I can barely get in the "suggested" 64oz a day.

Yesterday, I made it to dinner with only about 25 carbs for the day.  But for some reason, I was just so hungry.  I probably wasn't really and probably should have just drank more water...but what did I do instead?  I ate a big spoon of peanut butter (the bad addicting but oh so good kind that I said I was breaking up with) and then had a protein bar.  At least I still stayed below 50 grams of carbs so it could have been much worse but still....I'm trying to do better!  Today, I went ahead and put in all my food into My Fitness Pal and as long as I only eat what I put into it, it will be about 25 carbs but it's only 900 calories.  That's before you factor in the calories I burned.  So I guess I will find out if that's ok or not.  I'm also trying to not eat past 7:30pm.  We'll see how that goes.

So that's pretty much my week in a nutshell :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

My Motivation Monday... c25k

I don't know about you but on Mondays...I have NO motivation to do anything.  I make it to work and then I even go ahead and tell myself that it's okay if I don't workout.  How's that for a cop-out? Today, I will be starting week 3 day 1 of c25k (crossing fingers I make it at least lol).  So far, this is one of the best things I've done.  It's like pulling teeth to make myself do it 4 or 5 days a week but once I'm finished, I feel like a different person.  I can even tell in the last couple of weeks that my head seems more clear....less foggy.

I've been alternating doing the program on the treadmill with an incline (just 1) and doing it outside around the apartment complex with lots of hills and such.  I can't really say which one I like better, but I know I don't like hills lol  I'm signing up for my first 5k on November 30.  A local town that goes all out for Christmas is hosting it and it's in the evening so you're running by the light of the Christmas lights.  I thought that was pretty cool.  My friend and a couple of her friends are doing it so I thought I'd just join them.  Otherwise, I was going to sign up for one the following week to do by myself.  I may like it enough that I want to do that one too :)  I won't get ahead of myself though lol

If you've been thinking about trying this program, I highly recommend it.  It's amazing to feel the progress that your own body is making as you go through it.  Being able to push yourself a bit further everyday is great.  I haven't lost any weight (other than a quick hopeful bounce down just to go back up) but I've lost another inch in my hips just from the time I started the program.  I choose to go by that.  I do have a weight goal for sure but I think it will come as my body gets used to the new routine.  At least that is my hope.

I'm also trying to do my strength training routine at least 3 days a week (every other day).  I think it's important to include weights into a routine.  Strength is important for many different reasons.  Gaining muscle allows you to burn more calories even when you are not working out.  Also, strengthening your core can alleviate a lot of back pain.  Trust me when I say it sucks to go from a strong person who works out often to someone who has given up and lost the muscle they gained and feels like a weakling.  It's not a fun feeling so I'm trying to change that.

T minus 18 days until I can share house news.  Keep praying!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

The Sunday Social: Week 6

This week's Sunday Social is focused on your childhood :)  If you'd like to participate, click the cute lil' pic below to go to Ashley's blog.  Copy the url for the pic along with the questions and then post it all into your blog post and answer the questions.  When you are finished, go back to Ashley's blog and link your page.  Easy Peasy ;)

Sunday Social

1. What were you like in middle school and high school?
I feel like this is a REALLY broad question as I changed a LOT during middle school and high school.  I went to a strict Independent Baptist private school for 6 & 7 grade (worst decision ever!) and begged my parents to put me back into public school.  In 8th grade, I went back to public school and I conformed to what my friends thought was cool....which included smoking and drinking (another bad bad decision).

In high school, I was starting to find myself and the things that *I* liked.  I had more friends (still hung out with the bad influences) and we started going to a new church.  In 11th grade, I completely separated myself from my "friends" who were quickly on a downward spiral.  I focused on a lot of "acquaintances" at school and close friends at church (aka Darren lol).  In 12th grade, I became friends with 4 girls at school that are still 4 of my favorite people and I'm lucky to call them friends.

2. What were your favorite pastimes?
I spent a lot of time with my friends or on the phone.  We went to the movies or skating rink every weekend when I was in middle school.  Once I got into high school and turned 15, I got a job.  When I got my drivers license, I was on the road ALL the time!  I would go pick up a friend and we spent a lot of time shopping, going to the movies, playing pool, for the most part just innocent fun :)  I was also a BIG reader.  I could get lost in a book so fast and just read for hours and hours...forgetting everything around me.

3. What songs were you obsessed with?
Oh man...again..broad question considering we are talking a 7 year span  lol  I liked anything they played on the top 40 station.  I was into Boyz II Men, N'Sync, Backstreet Boys, Third Eye Blind, No Doubt, Sisqo, KC & Jojo, etc.  I liked songs with a great beat....but who doesn't?  Still today, when I hear certain "old school" songs, I can close my eyes and be back at a certain time when I was listening to that song.  So interesting how our minds can do that.

4. What fashion statement do you look back on and cringe?
I did the bang thing for just a little bit in middle school but I have a wretched cowl lick so it's not exactly the best look.

5. Who was your celeb crush?
In high school, I'm going to go with Ryan Phillipe, Justin Timberlake, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel.  Middle School was more like Joey Lawrence, Andrew Keegan, Jonathan Taylor Thomas lol (what happened to him??).  And I still love Justin Timberlake, Paul Walker and Vin Diesel :)  And have you noticed that several people have really only gotten better looking with age? Joey Lawrence, Leo Dicaprio, Mark Walhberg, Mario Lopez, etc etc  lol

6. What was your favorite movie?
I've never had ONE favorite movie lol  I don't know anyone that could narrow that down.  I really liked Save the Last Dance, She's All That, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, You've Got Mail....ugh...I can't remember what else was out there then.  But I watched a lot of movies...most of them were chick flicks of course :)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Kiss It Goodbye Challenge: Week 2 check-in

Can't believe another week has already passed and now we are in week 2 of my Kiss It Goodbye Challenge!  Things have been pretty busy the past week since I last checked in.  We went camping & hiking this weekend (will post pictures another time).  Other than the 3 or 4 hour hike (ouchy!), I only exercised once and that was yesterday.  Taking a whole week away from c25k hurt when I tried to get back in it.  But I did week 2 day 1 and pretty much made it through the whole thing.  I'll probably re-do day 1 again since I didn't quite make it through the 90 second segments (made it between 75-80 seconds each time) :)  But when I added it up...that's 9 minutes of jogging! That's awesome to me.  I can't wait until I'm actually jogging the whole thing.  That will be such a HUGE accomplishment.  If I can just get my lungs to keep up, I think I'd be doing ok.  I had to make myself do it yesterday because my calves still hurt really bad from the hiking. 

I did lose a pound this week!  Those 2 lbs that had somehow bounced back onto my scale are gone so I can now continue my weight loss count finally.  I still have another 23.5 to go before my cruise though.  And realistically...if I don't hit that, that's fine...it's just a goal I'm setting for myself.  I would rather see myself really succeed in the c25k program than to obsess about weight at this point.  Now that that's in writing for all to see...I have to stick by that thought process lol  I've lost 77.8lbs as of this morning.  Ready to pick it back up and get it going. :)

In other news...I have some house information but I'm not willing to share quite yet.  But I will share that we are going to look at a house tomorrow and I have high hopes.  It's so adorable.  I'm just not sure if the timing and all will work out.  I'll update more on that at a later time (probably won't be until the end of the month).  Just continue to pray that things go smoothly and quickly and it all works out.  I know it will work out if it's supposed to and if it doesn't then something better for us will come along.  I completely trust that God knows what we need more than we do.

Will post more later :)  Ciao!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Kiss It Goodbye Challenge: Week 1 check-in

Well...1 week down, 11 to go! :)  Just finished my first week of my Kiss it Goodbye Challenge.  I didn't do as well as I would have liked in the weight loss area but I kicked butt in the exercise area.  I only lost .5lb and unfortunately that's part of the 2lb I seem to be bouncing up and down but oh well.  But it's better than gaining .5lb :) 

I exercised 4 days over the past week.  Yay me!  I started the c25k program.  I'm going to probably stay on week one for another week before I move on to week 2 because I don't think I'm quite ready.  I also did some strength training and lots of ab stuff.  I'm really thankful for the gym at my apartment.  It's a pretty decent size and there is typically not anyone else in there and if there is, it's only 1 or 2 people.  But it's a full gym basically.  I have walked/ran outside 2 of those 4 days and we have quite a few hills and having to jog up those suckers is NOT fun!  I've really had to make myself go for a walk/run because I haven't "felt like it" but after I finish, I'm so glad that I did it because I feel a lot better and I know that I did something to put myself closer to my goal.

I have a dry erase board on my fridge with a countdown to my cruise (which is also the end of the challenge).  That has actually helped me quite a bit when making food decisions and deciding whether I'm going to go sit on the couch or change clothes and workout.  I also have a side by side picture of myself from the day before surgery next to my last progress picture (front ways and sideways) and in big letters "You have to MOVE it to LOSE it! Only 40 lbs to go!"  Because I have 40 lbs to reach my ultimate goal.  I highly recommend doing that.

I had my 6 month follow up at my surgeon's office.  I have to meet with the PA.  I haven't seen the surgeon since right before they told me to count backward from 10 in the operating room  lol  I'm a little bothered by that but not really. I mean...he did his job...now time to do mine.  Anyway.  She said that I've probably hit a stall because I'm not getting enough calories.  I usually stay around 1,000.  She wants me to stay around 1200 and that includes exercise calories.  She said if I eat 1,000 calories and then burn 300, I'm only giving my body 700 calories so it's holding on to every bit of it.  So I'm trying to pay better attention to that and I'm logging what I'm eating in My Fitness Pal.  I'm just not really sure what to eat that is still low in carbs (and not difficult or timely to fix).

I found a recipe for Almond Apple Spice Muffins that are low in carbs and high in protein.  I'm going to give it a whirl making them tonight.  I'll let you know how it goes :)  If they are good, I'll post the recipe and a picture.