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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Day 31: A Vivid Memory

I remember my first time meeting Alex. She was 6. Colby and I had been dating since November 3, 2007. I had met Alex a couple of weeks after that when we went to Buffalo Wild Wings with a group of my friends.  Colby introduced Alex to everyone as his friend.  This was very important because I could really see how much attention she required.  If I was going to date this guy, I was going to spend date nights with Alex on his lap coloring...asking him to help her with a puzzle.  I was also realizing that I was going to be dating a guy who already had his shit together.  Not to mention the fact that I can witness what a good father he would be to our children (insert irony here).  In my previous relationships, I had been the mature one. The reasonable one.  How do we paint a room? I'll figure it out and do it. How do we get on an airplane? I'll figure out and do it. How do we budget a month of going out? I'll figure it out and do it. I loved that this guy didn't come with student loans, commitment issues, or responsibility issues.  Yes, he has a kid, but she's adorable and she just wants to be loved.  It's not simple, it's complicated.  But at the same time, it's simple. That probably doesn't make any sense unless you are a stepmom. I remember looking at him with a little bundle of pink and sparkles on his lap and I just knew that I was okay.  More than okay. I wanted to be 100% open to this being my life.  And, well, we all know how it turned out.

My loves, September 2008

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Day 30: Respond to "Letting Go"

No one wants to read my response to "letting go" and I sure as hell don't want to write it. Moving on.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Day 29: Five Key Pieces of Music

I truly need a prompt that allows for 15 key pieces of music.  I need room for so much more.

1. "Something Like That" by Tim McGraw
This came out when I was a sophomore in high school. We didn't listen to anything memorable or even cool when we were in the car with my mom.  Then, as a 16-year-old, I could drive and I play my own music. This is the first country song that I heard. I loved country ever since.

2. "The Next Episode" by Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg
Around the same time my teammate, Jill, introduced me to this song when I was on a softball trip with her family. This was my introduction to rap/hip hop. I loved it ever since (much to my parents' dismay).

3. "Foolish Games" by Jewel
I chose this song to represent both of her CDs, Pieces of You and Spirit. I know these CDs by heart. I could listen to them over and over. I loved Jewel. I still do. So melodramatic--as most high school girls are--but also so beautiful.  I have always loved slow, painful breakup songs. "Foolish Games" is probably my first one to connect with.

4. "Hate It or Love It" by 50 Cent
I was obsessed with 50 Cent in college. As a junior at Pitt State, I came in as a new player and upset the starting position for someone. I used to listen to this song before every game to give myself the courage to claim my right to take over if I've got the talent to do so. Girls hated me for it. Girls loved me for it. I was quite divisive.  I love this song. Takes me back...

5. "Making Memories of Us" by Keith Urban
Very few women know what it's like to marry a man who already has memories with another woman. Major memories. Marriage and baby memories. Just as he had a past to leave behind, so did I.  This song spoke to Colby & me because it's all about being someone's everything and beginning anew. It captured everything Colby and I were experiencing. It's our wedding song.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day 28: Only Pictures

Baby Chloe & Baby Alex, Fall 2008

Me & Baby Alex, Winter 2008

Baby Cody & Baby Alex, Spring 2010

Post-vacation Weigh-in

Excuse the gross feet. 

Boom. I ate so much food. Good food. No guilt. No calorie counting. Not to be misleading, I also worked out and craved salads. We also probably walked 3 miles per day in addition to workouts. But this is an extremely successful result after 10 days of vacation!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Phase 2

Welp, I've done it. I have not only lost 33 pounds in 18 weeks (January-May), but I have maintained my weight of 142-ish for 11 weeks. Boom. I was very scared about the maintenance part. I thought once I was free what I chose to eat, I would go back to old, familiar habits.  However, with a little help from Clean Eating magazine, I haven't counted a single calorie, I have "cheated" when I wanted to and I have not gained weight. I also work out Monday-Friday without fail.

So, what next?  I have 11 weeks of credit on FitOrbit. I didn't have a plan for these 11 weeks. I just knew I needed a break from prescription dieting. Now, I am 100% sure that I can do this on my own. I have discovered that my Size 4 clothes are a little too tight. (Some of you just vomited. #skinnygirlproblems) I really don't want to be in between sizes. I also have some really fun cellulite on my thighs that I would like to get rid of if possible.  I'm guessing that hitting 135 on the scale will do it. Another project I need to work on is training for an athletic event.  I'm running my first half marathon on October 19.

So, could I lose 5-8 more pounds on my own? Yep. Could I train myself for my half marathon? Yep. But I figure that while there are 2 goals involved, let's go ahead and hand the reigns back over to Jaqui, my trainer on FitOrbit. I'll let her train me and give me meal plans for 11 weeks. Then, I'll never need FitOrbit or any other trainer/meal plan again.

I have to say that I smirk while I write this because the very people that I call friends will judge me for wanting to lose more weight. They will talk behind my back: "Is she going too far? Isn't she thin enough? I hope she's eating!"  Why am I sure that they will do this? Because I've seen them do this to others in our lives who have lost weight.  To those people who criticize what I'm doing: I know why you are REALLY talking shit and it has very little to do with me reaching my goals and a lot to do with you not reaching yours.  And I love you anyway.

So, cheers to Phase 2. It's going to be hard (again), but it'll be worth it!

Day 27: A Letter to My Readers

Dear Readers,

Blogging has been such an unexpected pleasure. As you know, I write for me, but it is so cool to see others be "inspired" by my words. I've been inspired by others' ideas I've seen online via blogs or Pinterest, so to be the source of inspiration for others is very rewarding. I love what my friend, Jolie, says about her blog being a diary to look back on. I'm beginning to think that is exactly what this is--a modern diary. I very much regret that I hadn't recorded my inner musings for the past 10 years or so. How fun would it be to look back on college or the first years of marriage? I also know there are many great days that I have forgotten. That makes me incredibly sad. So, here's to my modern diary and those who choose to read it. It's so fun to have an audience. ;)


Friday, July 26, 2013

Post-Vacation Weight Predictions

Alright, people. I truly have no idea what I will weigh when I return home. You have seen everything I've put into my mouth. Or at least you can read the food list for each day. I haven't kept anything from you. I weighed 142.0 when I left. What number do you think I will see on Sunday morning?!

Leave your guesses in the comments below! And don't be shy. You won't hurt my feelings. This is real talk.

Day 26: Something I Read Online

You're welcome.

Vacation: Day 4

We woke up and workout out together. Then we went to the diner for breakfast. After that we got on the trolley and headed out to the Garden District. We walked Magazine Street and saw some cool shops. We ate an amazing lunch at The Rum House. And an amazing dessert from Sucre.

Then it got a little steamy, so we drive the trolley back to our hotel. I took a nap while Colby watched some filming of the American Heist movie on our street.  We got up and got pretty with our last night on the French Quarter on our minds. We headed to Stanley for dinner. I really need to learn how to make poached eggs. Amazing. 

Oh, and those cornmeal oysters were so good. Then we headed to Frenchmen Street which was a long walk, but we had heard multiple times that a lot of music and such went on down there. It was a flop. We looped back to Bourbon Street for a drink at LaFitte's. We walked the street and it was obvi that people were there to do some serious partying. Not us. We were dessert hunting.

We found it at Palace Cafe. Colby got bananas foster prepared table side. I got peach cobbler. Yummy. 

Workout: Legggs
Breakfast {Banana + Nut Bar + 1 Egg}
Lunch {House Salad with Chicken & Sweet Poatato + 3 Macaroons}
Dinner {Baby Greens Salad with Oysters & Poached Egg}
Dessert {Peach Cobbler + Ice Cream}
Cocktail {Vodka Soda + Rum & Punch}

Vacation: Day 3

I woke up early and worked out. We went to breakfast at a really cheap diner across the street. Then, we caught a tourism bus that took us an hour outside of New Orleans to Oak Valley plantation.

We took a guided tour of the inside and a self-guided tour or the grounds. Then, we got back on the bus and headed out to Jean LaFitte National Park aka The Bayou. We had a very lucky tour where we had 7 snappers surrounding our boat. We also got great info from our tour guide and held a hatchling. 

Then we trekked back to the hotel to clean up for dinner. We headed out to the French Quarter and ate at Redfish. We both had salad because we've figured it the the desserts are legit. 

We got a Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch (again) and walked around.

Then, we had dessert at a fancy place. I had bread pudding. Colby had a cherry cream cheese tart with chocolate ganache. 

2.5 mile run

Breakfast {Banana + Nut Bar}
Snack {Banana}
Lunch {Chicken Caesar Wrap (sans dressing) + Watermelon}
Dinner {Bacon Watermelon Salad}
Dessert {Milk Punch + Bread Pudding}

I'm getting VERY concerned about what the scale will say when I get back. This is becoming an experiment. I weighed 142.0. If I weigh in at 142-144.9, I won't freak.  And I will proudly say the vacation was well handled. Any heavier than that and I'll realize that I indulged too much. We shall see. You know I'll be honest with you!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Day 25: Something Someone Told Me About Myself

The only thing that comes to mind is a time when I was working as a camp counselor at Bear River Ranch in BFE Missouri when I was 21...1 year away from being a teacher. We do an overnight camping experience weekly on Wednesday nights. As a teacher in training, I was extremely upset with my fellow coworkers when I found out in the morning that I was the only staff who was really with the kids overnight. The rest of them had taken off after bedtime and never returned in the morning. How irresponsible. What if something had happened? What about managing 20 kids alone in the morning while the rest of you went out at partied?  Little bitches. 

So of course I reported them to my boss, the camp owner and director, Laurie. This caused a backlash and my fellow staff members now hated me and the horse I rode in on.

I went in to see Laurie because I felt their treatment of me was becoming very upsetting and wasn't fair because THEY were the ones who did wrong. Instead of support, Laurie told me, "Chelsea, I'm sure you will be a very good teacher, but you will not be a good camp counselor."

This is pretty much when I thought the world was effing crazy. Here I am working at a job for the purpose of supplementing my teaching degree and I'm being told that being responsible and holding people accountable to caring for children is not necessary. Bullshit, Laurie.

This is many experiences to come when I learn that doing what is "right" does not matter and will not play out the way you think in real adult life. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vacation: Day 2

We slept in. Then we went to a city sightseeing tour. We had a great tour guide and we learned a lot about the city.  We ate lunch at Central Grocery where the muffulettas are famous. Then we shopped the food section of a market and I picked up a bundle of bananas to help me make breakfast in the mornings. We came back to the hotel to escape the heat. We ended up working out together. Then we ventured out to Bourbon Street for some walking and drinking. We ended up at Acme Oyster House for dinner and Bourbon House for dessert. We went back to our hotel room after that and are ending the night with some TV and reading.

5 min walk (warmup)
Abs/Run Superset x 3
20 tabletop crunches
20 tabletop to bicycle crunches
10 slow bicycles
10 fast bicycles
20 reverse crunches
20 heel clicks
1 mile run

Breakfast {Eggs}
I ordered 3 eggs scrambled without oil or butter. I got 3 huge baskets of eggs that were greasy with bread. Yuck. I ate about half. 

Snack {String Cheese}

Lunch {Muffuletta no bread}

Snack {Hurricane + Hand Grenade}

Dinner {6 Oysters + Bananas Foster with Milk Bourbon}

Day 24: My Top 3 Worst Traits

1. Impatience
2. Dry delivery (When I say things, they come out very point blank rather than passive and soft. whoopsie.)
3. I curse almost too much. (But if cursing is wrong, then I don't want to be right.)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Vacation: Day 1

Today was a travel day and a loosely-explore-New-Orleans day.

I got up and ran 4.6 miles. Then I got dressed and finished packing. We loaded up the puppies and stopped at Starbucks to get me a Spinach Feta Wrap for breakfast. We dropping the dogs off at my mom & dad's. on the way to KC, I had a snack--a KIND Plus bar. We stopped at legends because i needed to return something.  I got Panera for us to take to the airport for lunch. 

When we arrived in New Orleans, we headed for our hotel, Omni Royal Crescent. Our room is awesome! We went and checked out the patio with hot tub and the fitness center. The fitness center is totally awesome. Total upgrade from last week's hotel. There is even a sauna and I thought of you, Jen!

Around 4:00, we went walking around the French Quarter for exploration purposes. It's so hard to describe, but it's like an entirely different culture than I've experienced before. The buildings seems to have a lot of history. They are French in style, but many tropical colors are used, so you feel like you are in the Caribbean or Key West. We went to Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop at the recommendation of Laura. It was a great hole-in-the-wall. I ordered a hurricane and let me tell you--it did the job. 

Then we walked Bourbon Street. We talked to a lot of locals and the conversations were great. There were mentions of donkeys and pot and X-Acto knives. Good times. 

I learned that skirts are the only way to deal with the heat and I won't be carrying a purse from now on. 

We headed to SoBou for dinner at the recommendation if Nathalie at Omni. We wanted to eat light, so I had an oyster taco and hubby had gumbo. And WATER. 

Then, we went to GW Fins for a kickass apple pie. I ordered a lemon drop martini. Hubby ordered soft shell crab. We both shared the apple pie. It. Was. So. Good.

The we returned to the hotel around 8:00. We had the rooftop hot tub all to ourselves!

So, that was our Day 1 and it was perfect. 


I recently wrote a post about an app lets the blogs you follow come to you.  I love it!  Then, I noticed of the blogs I read had a button that said "Follow Me on Bloglovin.'" So, of course I downloaded the app.  It does the same thing as Feedly, but I like the display a lot better.  Especially the iPhone display.  So, I follow blogs via Bloglovin' and I added a button to my website to make it easier for you to follow me!

Day 23: Three Things School Didn't Teach You

1. Your success at work isn't about the job you do. I used to think it was 100% competency 0% perception/gossip/relationships/social. In truth, it is more like 30% competency 70% perception/gossip/relationships/social.

2. Money management. I learned everything from Suze Orman.

3. Nutrition. Thanks, FitOrbit!

New Orleans!

Back in May, when I stopped my weight loss crusade, Colby and I decided that he would treat me to a sexy vacation just for us.  And this is an actual treat.  It's not joint money. This is his personal play money. Going toward a vacation for me.  Yay!!  We chose New Orleans because we had both never been and it's relatively close so the flights were cheaper.  Also, it's an adult playground. We can sunbathe and drink and eat and dance and get into some good ole adult fun. Sans 12-year-old.  So, we leave tomorrow and I'm ready from some sexy time with my man. Who knows, maybe I'll even suck on a crawfish (not a metaphor).  Jen, that little bit of craziness was for you! xo

Monday, July 22, 2013

Post-vacation Report

Well, yesterday we woke up, ate breakfast at the hotel, and began our 8 hour drive home. At home we unpacked and did a lot of laundry. Alex left for her mom's this morning and Colby and I leave for New Orleans tomorrow (more on that later).  Here is the food report and my returning weigh-in.


Breakfast {3 Eggs + Banana}

Snack {Pistachios}

Lunch {Qdoba Salad}

Snack {Clif Bar}

Dinner {Miso + Unreal Peanut Butter Cups}

Monday morning weight: 142.0

Day 22: Rant About Something

{ascends soapbox}

Why in the world do people take their young children on vacation?  I really think that children should start being included in vacations at the age of about 10.  Before that, what are they doing other than costing you money and having temporary thrills?  Here is a prime example. You take your 4-year-old to San Diego.  Do you get to delight in exciting your small child about the beach and seashells and sandcastles? Yep. Do you get to avoid feeling any guilt about leaving him/her behind? Sure.  But really, your child has no context for his beach experience.  He doesn't KNOW he's in San Diego on any level other than assigning words to a place.  He is having fun in the water.  Great.  Tell me that child can't have the same thrills at a local pool.  I'm sorry, but you'll never convince me that your child NEEDS the San Diego experience.  I am a stepmom and walked onto the parenting scene when Alex was 6.  She went to Mexico with her mom every year, so Colby and I didn't take her on vacations when she was that little.  We figured that the kid didn't need multiple vacations, especially at that age.  We made simple trips to my parents' old house (Missouri) and to Colby's parents' house (Oklahoma).  It just made sense.  Then, in July 2010, we took Alex on her first vacation with us.  We went to Las Vegas. She was 9.  She had a great time and still remembers lots of details.  Then, in February 2011, we went to Chicago for a weekend. She was turning 10.  Again, she remembers it all.  We went to Nashville for Christmas 2012. She was 11. This summer, we are taking Alex to Colorado. She is 12.

I have expressed this sentiment to Colby. We were sunning at the local pool and I was watching a lot of tots have the best time of their lives.  I told Colby that it seems like trips to the beach at this age are just unnecessary.  Colby said, "Yeah, it's hard for a new parent to see that they don't need to pet a dolphin at SeaWorld until they are 10+. But I agree with you now that my kid is older."

Before Colby's divorce, Candy & Colby, took Alex to Disneyland (Cali), SeaWorld (San Diego), and Mexico (Cancun).  Alex can tell me one single things about those vacations.  She remembers some dolphins at SeaWorld. That's it.  {Note: she's been back to Mexico as an older child, so she could tell you more about that!} Parents, if you could fast forward 10 years and hear your child say that they don't remember Disney World, would you still take them? If the answer is yes, then fine. You must want their company for your personal enjoyment.  But if the idea is to provide them with an experience, wait until they are about 10. Then go nuts. Show them everything you can!

I must add a note that if you are going to see family, then this entire rant doesn't apply!

I think parents take their young children on vacations because it's their one and only parenting experience and the concept of a "family vacation" is very much the parenting dream.  I also think that these parents don't see that childhoods are a long haul and you will even be able to vacation with your adult child in later years.

Being a parent on the later end of things has really given me some insight into how to have a vacation strategy for your children. Ages 1-10, go on vacations as a couple. I'm sure Grandma would love some cuddle time with the kiddies. Ages 10+, go nuts.

{descends soapbox}

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day 21: Favorite Posts from My Archives

These are my favorite posts from my archives. I pretty much went backwards chronologically and looked for the posts that were significant to the purpose of my blog: weight loss and nutrition. I think these posts capture the basics of how to do what I did as well as a few personal favorites. 

1. 90% Nutrition
2. Food Charmers
3. Documentary {Food, Inc.}
4. Fridge Cleanout
5. Motivation List  MY FAVORITE!
6. Guest Post {Colby's Perspective}
7. Guest Post {Alexandria's Perspective}
8. Before and After
9. Eating and the Social Calendar
10. The Word "Skinny"
11. How I Handle Grocery Shopping
12. I Thought I Knew How to Eat {Clean Eating}
13. Why I Started: {The Ugly}
14. About This Blog

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Day 20: Something I'm Struggling With

I could not be more bored with this prompt. I feel like we've already talked about this.

Vacation: Day 4

Today we are driving to Canon City for white water rafting. This is not really my thing--been there, done that. But Colby loves it and Alex has never been. It was actually really fun. It's was a lt warmer than last time. Then, we went and had pizza. We drove to the hotel to shower and then we headed out to the best outlet mall ever. 

Fitness report:
I always take Saturday and Sunday off. After yesterday's mileage and weights, my legs are definitely sore. They still feel fatigued, so I expect a deeper soreness to develop. 

Breakfast {3 Eggs + Miso + Banana}

Snack {Pistachios}

Lunch {2 Slices Pizza}
BBQ. Wheat crust. No cheese. 

Snack {Pistachios + Cranberries}

Dinner {2 Slices Pizza}

Friday, July 19, 2013

Vacation: Day 3

Because someone {ahem!} was a little pouty about what I planned for vacation today, we turned the tables on the 12-year-old. She got to plan our activities and pay for the day's adventures. Most parents wouldn't have the balls to do something this drastic, but I'm tired of Little Miss I-think-I'm-in-charge acting in a way that is anything less than cheerful, grateful, and eager to enjoy this privilege that is vacation.

Note: The money she has is given to her by us when she earns As or Bs each grade quarter in addition to a $5 per hour  when she does something resembling work i.e. volunteer at Colby's soccer practices, chores around the house. 

And let me tell you, she changed her attitude real effin quick. It gave her a new perspective on how you should act when someone is GIFTING you an experience. 

Anyway, Alex planned a hike in the Cheyenne Canon National park. It was glorious. Beautiful.

For lunch, Alex had a budget of $20 and Colby and I obliged and at for $10 at Panda Express. Then, we went to visit Garden of the Gods. Another free and beautiful experience.

Then, she treated us to our anniversary dinner at MacKenzie's Chophouse. Poor thing. She read the lunch menu which consisted of reasonable $12 sandwiches. When we sat down to dishes priced at $28, the poor thing tried to keep it together, but Colby and I knew she had bit off more than she could chew (pun intended). So, we came to a very fair compromise and all enjoyed an ammmmaaaazzzziiiinnnnnggggg meal detailed below.

Fitness report:
I worked out and did my usual leg routine. This time, I did squats and lunges with a 35-pound kettlebell. That thing was no joke. Great workout. {Legs + Cardio}

Then, we hiked AT LEAST 4 miles. My GPS isn't exact in the mountains. We hiked for 2 hours.

Needless to say, I was starving all day. Here we go. 

Breakfast {Eggs + Miso + Almond Butter}

Lunch {Broccoli & Beef @ Panda Express}

Snack {Banana}

Dinner {
Lemon Drop Martini

1/3 Crab and Lobster Cake

1/2 Wedge Salad

1/2 Piece of Table Bread
French Kiss Martini

California Sea Bass with Shrimp, Mussels, and Clams

Panna Cotta with Earl-Grey Grapefruit Sauce and Almond Cookie

1/3 Chocolate Cake

Meals like this is part of why I bust my ass day in and day out. I can have a meal like this and get away with it! Yesssss

Day 19: Five Favorite Blogs

I am going to be completely honest here. I have all of the blogs that I like come to me through and app called Feedly. that way, I don't have to search for updated posts. They come directly to me!  I'm going to chose my favorite five based on which blogs I get most excited about when I see that there is a new post.  Here goes in no particular order:

1. Beer, Dogs, and Getting Healthier: I've already professed my love here.  Need I say more?

2. Bring On the New: Randi is a dear friend of mine whom I work with. I get excited about her posts because I know they will be thoughtful, they will include pictures, and they will be honest. She isn't afraid to share her flaws. She isn't afraid to share her struggles.  She's a great writer.

3. The Bloggess: I get so excited to read her posts.  I don't know her. She is kind of famous, I guess. She is just so sarcastic and funny. It will lighten you no matter what mood you are in!

4. J's Everyday Fashion: I seriously spent hours looking at her posts.  All for the purpose of figuring out how to dress myself. She puts together combinations that I would have never been brave enough to try, but because of her posts, my closet has been reactivated. She posts an outfit almost every day and shows you where she got each piece of clothing and what inspired the look (celebrity, pinterest, etc.).  One of my favorite tricks that she taught me was how to wear a dress as a shirt.  I love J.

5. Happily Grey: This is the mightiest fashion blog I have ever seen. She posts very often (daily?) and I always know I'm in for a visual feast.  She posts about fashion--always showcasing an outfit.  The photos are just so saturated in color.  Of course, the author and model, Mary, is gorgeous. Some of the items she features are expensive, but some are not.  I love to add her outfits to my Outfit Envy board on Pinterest to reference later when I'm deciding what pieces to buy. Love, love, love.

Vacation: Day 2

Today we took a train to the summit of Pike's Peak and back. It was gloriously fun. Out of all the seats, we got the best ones. Right in front. It was like watching a big screen TV. Then, we had lunch at Jake & Telly's--a very yummy Greek place. In the afternoon, we zip lined. It. Was. Awesome. Highly recommend. We came back and eested at the hotel. For dinner we went in search of a "cheap" healthy lunch. We ate at Panera. Then, we walked Old Colorado City. It was pretty lame, so we drove the mountain line to north COS. we looked at houses and neighborhoods for fun. We did a drive by of University of Colorado--Colorado Springs. Then we headed home. 

Fitness report:
I ran 2 miles and did abs. 

Breakfast {Hard boiled eggs}
The hotel didn't have plain oatmeal as promised. Boo. 

Snack {Banana + Orange}

Lunch {2 Meatballs + Sangria}

Dinner {Apple Fuji Chicken Salad}

Snack {Pistachios}

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Day 18: A Story from My Childhood

I remember VERY LITTLE from my childhood. I remember events happened, but I could hardly form an accurate story about it.

There is one event that I remember very clearly. I had just moved to the other side of Oklahoma City in the middle of my fourth grade year. New neighborhood, new school.  I wasn't cool. I wasn't pretty or skinny or have the cool clothes.  I had freckles, crooked teeth, and a unibrow.  I'll have to dig up that picture.  However, I had no idea that I wasn't cool until I moved because the friends of my childhood treated me well. I had lots of friends and I was a good student at my old school.  At this new school, I was quiet and shy. I didn't know anyone.  I remember I was in Mrs. Welsh's class. She was a large older woman whom I remember had very little idea what was going on among the students in class.  (Now that I'm older, I realize she probably knew, but didn't know how to handle it.)  Anyway, I remember that this girl, Jesse, had given me a hard time verbally for a few days. I don't remember what she called me or what she said. I just remember feeling tension and that I was inferior.  I was sitting in the front of the class working one day when she started to spit paper wads at me from the back of the class.  One after the other, they landed on my desk. Spit spread onto my worksheet.  Soft giggles coming from the back. I didn't dare look up. I kept my nose down, my chin tucked.  I was humiliated. I felt like someone was standing on my heart. I was so confused.  I didn't understand how in one place I could be myself and have friends. And in another place I had no one--even worse, I had ENEMIES.  It rocked my world.  I actually think it is the reason why I became shy and unsure in my teen years. I remember not feeling good about myself socially until college.  In the meantime, I got my self-worth from academic and athletic success.  I did not have many friends. I was afraid to be myself.

By the way, I did report this to my parents. I remember my dad (a child of the 1950s) advising me to "beat the shit out of her" the next time she messed with me.  My dad asked me if the teacher knew about what Jesse did. I truthfully answered, "Yes." My dad said that since the adults weren't handling it, I could handle it myself and if I ended up in the principal's office, my dad would have my back.

Looking back on that, it makes me laugh.  Needless to say, Jesse never directly messed with me again. Was she nice to me? No. But she seemed to move on and didn't pay me any attention after the spitball incident.  I don't know if I really would have been able to hit her hard.  But I do remember that I planned to do exactly that if I needed to.  How funny.  Now I'm a teacher and would never want a student to hit another.  However, it is part of human nature to take matters into our own hands.  I think children still often do this when adults don't right wrongs. I don't fault my dad for coming up with that solution.  It's an age-old remedy to social order disputes.

That event is vivid in my mind and it also shaped my social confidence for the next few years.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vacation: Day 1

As far as activities are concerned, we didn't do much today. We packed up the car and headed west. We drove for 8 hours. We checked into our hotel and I napped while Colby went to the doctor for pink eye meds. Poor hubby. Then, we all went to dinner at Nosh. It's serves New American cuisine in a Japanese style with small plates meant to be shared. It was delicious. The mountains are a gorgeous backdrop and I can't wait to explore them more tomorrow. 

Fitness report:
I woke up early and ran 1.5 miles with the puppies. Then I did one round of a bikini body workout on Pinterest. It basically hits every major area once. It was about 30 minutes total. Perfect if you ask me. 

Remember, my snacks were packed for the trip!
Breakfast {Plain oatmeal + blueberries}

Snack {Swiss cheese + Blueberries}

Lunch {Southwest chicken salad from McDonald's--tortilla strips removed & dressing not used + Clif Bar}

Snack {Miso + Almond butter}

Snack {Pistachios}

Dinner {Beet Caprese + Sweet potato fries + Lemon Creme Brûlée}

Day 17: A Favorite Photo of Myself

This isn't my favorite photo because it's of me.  It's my favorite photo because of the man I'm standing next to. I respect my dad so much. He knows how I feel about him. He is incredibly independent and we both constantly go in our own directions. When we do spend time together, my heart sometimes jumps into my throat at the thought of how grateful I am that this person is my father. If you know him, you know the phrase "what a guy" doesn't even cover it.  Christa knows what I'm talking about. Mom knows what I'm talking about. I will cherish this image forever. Thank heavens my friend, Kym, snapped this picture as I walked to the aisle! Love you, Dad.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Vacation Diary Day #0

Today we prepared for our 5-day trip to Colorado Springs. I have an itinerary binder (not a joke).  I have clothes packed. I have workouts planned. I have meals/snacks kind of planned. I'm vacationing 10 of the next 11 days and then it's my birthday. And I'll be damned if I come back fatter than when I left. Maintenance has been going really well even since I stopped documenting my meals and workouts. So I think I'll be able to follow the 80%/20% rule and be fine.

So, I plan to work out every morning before the day gets going. It's on the itinerary. The hotel had a 24-hour cardio room. I will run and do squats, lunges, abs, and other body weight stuff. I'm taking Saturday & Sunday off (as usual).

My plan is to eat out. (I've researched restaurants & menus.) And have healthy snacks on hand for in between meals.  I called the hotel and they have hard boiled eggs & plain oatmeal for breakfast. Instead of shopping for and packing a bunch of food, I have packed snacks for the car ride tomorrow and plan to go to Walmart tomorrow night and get fresh fruit to supplement my pistachio bag. (Or nut bag)

I will log my weight before & after. I weighed 142.0 this morning. 

Day 16: Something Difficult

I don't mean to be a party pooper, but I'm not in the mood to use this blog as a platform for airing out my life's struggles.

Both of my current issues teach me that there is only so much you control and at some point you have to move on and be happy without resolution.

Moving on.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cable TV.?

The punctuation of the title perfectly sums up this topic.  It is.  Now what?

Of course, Colby and I got cable when we joined our lives together in holy matrimony sealed the deal.  I used to watch an obscene amount of TV. I watched it whenever I could.  Granted, I was working on lesson plans on the couch while I was watching, but I watched.  If it was coaching season, I would stay up super late to watch the shows that I so looked forward to.  Colby and I would often discuss what a drain it is.  It got to the point where we canceled our cable and we instead switched to online television (Hulu Plus & Netflix).  I loved it.  I had less TV to watch, but when I did want to watch, I could watch on my TV, laptop, phone, or tablet.  Some shows weren't accessible, but I realized it was good to cut down on the reality TV addiction.  After about 2 years of that (I think), Colby became resolute that he MUST be able to watch "cool" soccer games on TV in real time.  After just missing out on an entire week of the Women's College World Series (softball), I understood the desperation.  Plus, I felt ready to join the world of regular TV.  I am tired of being a month behind on Housewives.  (Judge me; don't care.) We just crawled out of infertility debt, so I was willing to add the expense back in.

So, the cable was installed on Wednesday and we now have basic cable in our living room and master bedroom.  I feel like I have a much better grasp of what I really want to spend my time watching versus what is a time drain.  I have been enjoying  a lifestyle of working out five days per week as well as reading novels again. I want to keep that up and it's more important to me than TV.  So when I go through the schedule and look for things to record, I definitely don't record as much as I used to.

Shows I record {new episodes only}:
The View
The Real Housewives of New Jersey
The Real Housewives of Orange County
Hart of Dixie
Project Runway
Giuliana & Bill
The Bachelorette
*These shows are not always airing new episodes at the same time, so I'm only recording about 5 hours of TV per week

I used to also record various news programs daily, Chelsea Lately, various OWN shows, various Food Network shows, various HGTV shows, What Not to Wear, etc.

If you have a time suck activity, would you cancel your subscription and then return a year later with new priorities?

Day 15: A Day in the Life

These dog days of summer are defined by freedom.  Today I am free from any obligations.  There is no where that I have to be at any certain time.  We leave for Colorado Springs on Wednesday, so I have a to do list with a few chores that need to be done.  Other than that, we are foot loose and fancy free.  Here is where the day took us...

I ate breakfast while Colby went to pick up Alex from her mom's house.

Workout! Went for a short jog and lifted arms.

Shower & get ready.

Vacation preparation. We cleaned the house from top to bottom.  Cleaned the car. We spent a lot of time deep cleaning Alex's bathroom (me coaching her through it) and cleaning her room & taking inventory of her clothes.

Go to the library and pick up books for the trip. Go to the ATM and Plato's Closet. Goodwill. Shopping at The Hub.

Dinner @ Qdoba

Go to the mall... Errand to Charlotte Rouse specifically.

Continue chores and watch The Bachelorette and Housewives of OC.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My Blog Reader {Feedly}

In true form, I feel like I'm last to the blog party.  When I first started hearing about my friends' blogs, I felt like I didn't have a way to keep up with all of them.  Some of them would post a link to Facebook and that would make it easy to see it and check it out.  Then, I learned about Google reader.  I never used the app version (Was there one?), so whenever I got onto my Google account, I would enter in the URL addresses for the blogs that I wanted to follow and whenever there was a new post, Google reader would show any/all new content of every blog I subscribed to.

Then, Google reader was discontinued.  I found out about Feedly and I love it!  There is a website you can go to HERE.  It's just like Google reader in that you enter your blog URLs and then it'll automatically push new posts to you.  If you are like me and you like to type on a computer rather than a phone, then I suggest that you set up your account on a desktop. Then, if you have an iPhone or iPad, get the app HERE.  The iPad layout is my favorite way to browse, but I look on my phone all the time.

It just cuts out the leg work and makes it as easy as possible to see your friends' posts as soon as they are published.

Day 14: Ten Things That Make Me Really Happy

I thought about making this a list of small things that make me happy like my bronze-colored necklace, pistachios, Alex's {silly} laugh, and Colby's funny jokes. But all of those things relate back to broader categories. Where I'm going with this also reminds me of this post where I discuss that life is made up of small tasks.  So, the list might seem boring, but what I'm really saying is that I love the flicker of a yellow tail barely visible above the line of wild grass at my parents' house. I love the clarity of mind that comes with a good run.  I love a great pair of jeans. I love labels. I love that Jen knows me so well that she can anticipate when I shouldn't say my next thought out loud until we are in private. ... And then when I tell her, it's almost always a samesies moment. I love driving up the side of a mountain. I love that feeling in my gut when I'm sure about something. I love that I have Alex write daily and I have to remind her NOT to spend an hour on it. I love having a highly emotional experience at the hand of a book.  But giving specifics like that would amount to more than 10 things, so I giving you my boring list of 10.

1. Real love (Colby)

2. Parenting (Alexandria)

3. Bond between man & animal (Chloe & Cody)

4. A really great friendship (Jen)

5. Health (fitness & nutrition)

6. Contribution to the community (teaching)

7. Cleanliness/organization

8. Pretty things (clothes, makeup, etc.)

9. Travel


Saturday, July 13, 2013

Watermelon Watermelon

This is another rave about Clean Eating magazine.  I love their two week plans because if something is involved in a recipe {like watermelon} it will show up in the meal plan many other times in many different ways so that you can be sure to use that melon until it's gone!  I love watermelon so much, but in the old days I wouldn't have been able to deal with a huge watermelon. It would stress me out that there is SO MUCH OF IT!  I am also ashamed to say that we would probably have let a portion of it go to waste either because it would go bad or we would get tired of eating it plain over and over.

Here are some recipes that have involve watermelon.  Sources: Clean Eating magazine July/Aug 2013 & July/Aug 2010.

Melon Salad (2 servings)
4 cups chopped watermelon
1 cup diced cucumber
1/2 cup feta
1/4 cup mint
2 tbsp. balsamic

Watermelon Mint Smoothie
2 cups chopped watermelon
1 cup coconut milk
1/4 cup spinach
2 tbsp. mint

1 cup watermelon
(repeat often as a side for breakfast, lunch, or dinner)

1 cup watermelon + 1/4 cup feta

1 cup cubed watermelon + 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

If this isn't enough, did you know that there is an entire website dedicated to watermelon which features recipes?  There are also some watermelon lobster tacos

Day 13: Summer Obsessions

The actual prompt for the Blog Challenge today was "Make a Public Apology."  I simply don't have any good ideas. I could apologize for the occasional swearing in my blogs, but, well, I don't want to apologize. Ha! As a writing teacher, it's hard to say I have no ideas and refuse to write because I would tell my students to just write something even if it's not something they are proud of.

I have been wanting to post about my summer obsessions, so I'll take this opportunity to do so. {YAY!}  I'm off of work for the months of June and July since I'm a teacher.  This time allows me to breathe.  I tend to make a list of things I want to accomplish or experience and then I settle into a routine that is productive, yet relaxing.  This summer, I have thought to myself over and over there are really 3 things that are essential to my sanity.

Obsession #1: Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library
I have visited the library about once per week this summer and I have become seriously dependent on it.  Because of this place, Alex has continued to read throughout the summer and we get to have great conversations about what she is reading. There is also a summer reading program for children, young adults, and adults where you log reading hours and you get prizes--usually coupons or free items from local businesses.  How fun is that?!  As a teacher, I constantly get book recommendations from colleagues, parents, and students. Add in book lists from Pinterest and social media and I quickly realize there is no way to keep up.  However, I have made it a priority to read regularly this summer and because of the TSCPL, I have been.

Personal Photo: Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library

Obsession #2: Clean Eating Magazine
I have raved about this resource before in my fitness posts.  But truly. I love this magazine.  They have two-week meal plans that feature seasonal produce.  They mix it up. They provide a plan. It's so easy to graze when you are at home all the time.  These meal plans have kept my diet clean and my calorie count on track.
Personal Photo: Clean Eating Magazine July/Aug 2013 Cover

Obsession #3: Not Your Mother's Beach Babe Sea Salt Texturizing Spray
When I'm running errands or going anywhere except for the pool or to workout, I do make an effort to get cute.  I shower. I put on some makeup. I do my hair.  However, this summer I have only dried my hair or curled it or anything like that maybe twice.  Instead, I've been using this product that I picked up at CVS.  I have very straight hair, but this spray gives me just enough wave to pull off the effect that I styled my hair, but I didn't spend an hour on it just to go to the grocery store.  Obsessed.

Source: NYMBrands

Friday, July 12, 2013

Recipe Spotlight {Raspberry Plum Salmon with Bulgur Salad}

This recipe is taken from Clean Eating magazine (July/Aug 2013). I absolutely loved it. I love salmon. I love berry sauce. I love a salad bulked up with grains.  I do have some notes to share about the ingredients. I got "wild caught" sockeye salmon from the meat counter at Dillon's.  Always purchase wild caught.  "Farm raised" means that the fish is being raised with hormones and antibiotics getting into the animal. I also used several ingredients that are locally produced.  I bought the plum, raspberries, corn, and red onion from the local farmer's market.  The mint and parsley are from my parents' garden.

I will share that Colby and Alex liked the salmon and sauce, but just couldn't deal with the bulgur salad.  Yes, this is frustrating for me.  I wanted to share it with you because if I could go back and do it over again, knowing that I'm serving this to my family, I would have just put corn and brown rice with it. Or maybe broccoli.  At some point, I'll learn that they will not change!

The 3 Basic Pots: Salmon & Bulgur
Salmon & Bulgur on Hold
 Raspberry Plum Sauce
Bulgur Becoming a Salad

Day 12: What do you miss?

I miss the game.

I haven't played softball since college (Spring 2006) and I still have dreams about it.  I think it's the most wonderful sport ever. I miss being outside for practices and games. I miss the camaraderie of having teammates. I miss having a coach who invests in you.  I miss calling pitches and finding weaknesses in hitters and then carving them up.  I miss the pitcher-catcher relationship. I miss wearing a uniform. I miss representing something big.  I feel like I reached my peak in skill right when it was all over for me.  I coached high school ball, but 3 years as the JV coach was probably my maximum. I should be coaching varsity. Since then, I've been umpiring high-level ball for 3 summers now. Someone I met (an older woman who still travels around and plays) encouraged me to play at a local Topeka league.  I emailed a few "coaches" of adult softball a couple of weeks ago, but no one has emailed me back. I would love to get into a situation where I go out and do my thing on Monday nights or something like that.  I should still be playing.

I miss the game.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

gracie b. {3 Ways}

If you read my post about The Hub, you know I made my first gracie b. purchase yesterday.  I bought this Funfetti Buttown-down Blouse in a size small.  At the online shop, there is only a size large left, but good news--it's on sale for $19.95!

Photo Courtesy:
I am so excited about this shirt because it's a print that is not season specific.  It is a muted blue-green {mint?} color with navy, pink, orange, and white flecks in the print.  I can think of more than 3 ways to work this shirt into an outfit.  I chose to show you people how I would wear it on a summer Saturday, a cooler-weather day out, and a day at work.  The only thing people need to be aware of is that the sleeves are gathered at the bottom (I don't know the technical term). So I'm glad I tried it on to be sure I could get the sleeves to work. Oh, and it's pretty see-through, so I put a nude cami underneath for the second and third outfits.  Let me know what you think!

Summer Saturday

Anytime Cool

Werk Work