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Posts Tagged ‘friends’

celebration

We’ve hit the time in the summer that is both a blessing and a curse for me.  A blessing because celebrating special events with friends and family is always fun.  A curse because these memory-making events always come with indulgent foods and drinks. Still, I feel lucky to have so much to celebrate over the course of these two weeks:

  • Italian Heritage Night at the SF Giants (Tuesday night)
  • My dad’s birthday (Wednesday night)
  • A Silpada party (last night)
  • Impromptu BBQ w/ my parents (tonight)
  • SJ Giants baseball game (tomorrow night)
  • Dinner out with a friend for my birthday (Tuesday)
  • My birthday (next Wednesday)
  • 4th of July
  • My friend’s annual 5th of July party

At each of these events, I’m going to make the best choices possible.  For example, Wednesday night at my dad’s birthday dinner, which we had at a local bocce court and restaurant, I ordered steamed clams and mussels in a white wine/tomato/garlic broth.  Healthy and very delicious, but we also had red wine. Which is fine, and wouldn’t affect my weight loss, except that I had a beer at the Giants game the night before, and I had cucumber sangria at my party last night.  See what I mean?  None of these choices alone are bad; but together they make it hard to lose weight.

Which is honestly why I didn’t weigh in on Wednesday.  I’d had an Italian sausage (no bun), beer, and a bit of kettle corn the night before at the game, and I knew it would put me up on the scale, even if it is just water weight.

Now I’m not saying that during this next week and a half I’m going to throw everything out the window and eat with wild abandon while lazing around at home inactive. That’s just not me anymore.  I’m still making good choices, I’m still eating small portions, and I’m still working out as much as ever.  But at this point in my weight loss journey, indulging a bit and working out equals maintaining my weight, not losing. 

Which I’m fine with – until July 6th.  I’ve decided that I’m perfectly happy to maintain my weight loss for the next week or so.  I’m actually really happy with the way I look and feel right now.  I’m proud of all that I’ve accomplished and enjoy seeing the person who looks back at me in the mirror.  But I still weigh more than I’d like to, so I’m not quite ready to call this my goal weight.  Not just yet.

So beginning on July 6th I’m going to get back to my weight loss mode.  I want to drop another 30 pounds, and while I know it’s going to be a lot harder to do it now that I’m at this weight, I know I can do anything I put my mind to.  Those 30 pounds aren’t going to come off in just one summer, but I can lose 1/3 – 1/2 of them if I get back to being a bit stricter with my food choices.

Which is not to say that I can’t have fun this summer, but I want to keep my ultimate goal in mind. My journey isn’t over just yet, and I’m excited to continue on with it after this brief rest stop.

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Happy Monday! I hope you had a great weekend and were able to spend time with friends and family.  My weekend was a great mixture of walks, a BBQ, time relaxing and reading, and even going outside my comfort zone a bit by going to a Match.com Stir event on Friday night.  While I’m glad I had the experience, it was clear to me that I’ll never attend another one of those events.  The word I can use to describe it was awkward.  People were standing around not talking to each other, and when I tried to start conversations several times with “starters” (being the teacher that I am), people responded with one-word answers.  Yikes!  Plus, the people there just weren’t those I’d be interested in hanging out with.  I decided that I’d much rather take my chances going to a local restaurant or bar with girlfriends than attend another one of those painful events.  Still, I’m glad I tried it, otherwise I’d never know. But let’s get one with today’s FMM.

Sarah over at Losing Weight and Having Fun is hosting FMM for the time being, and I’m excited to discover her blog and meet a bunch of new bloggers.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: Losing Weight and Having Fun so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Let’s Get Sporty

1. Are you following the World Cup? If so which team are cheering on?

No.  I don’t watch soccer and haven’t caught any of it.  If pressed, I’d say that I’m glad the Italian team won against England (sorry Sarah), and of course I’ll cheer for Team USA.

2. What is your favorite sport to watch either on TV or in person?

I love baseball and football.  Baseball is definitely something I prefer to go and watch at the ballpark, but football is something I’ll watch any which way.

3. Which local team (regardless of sport) do you support?

I’ve been a huge fan of the SF Giants and SF 49ers since I was a young girl.  More recently I’ve really gotten into going to the local San Jose Giants games, too, because so many of the players end up heading up to the SF Giants.  Plus, the SJ Giants games are really inexpensive ($10 each), very family friendly, and you can often get free tickets from local stores.

4. What is your favorite sport to play?

I’ve never really played a sport, because growing up I wasn’t athletically inclined.  Now I love fitness, but still haven’t tried my hand at a group sport.  I’ve enjoyed playing badminton at family reunions, and I think volleyball is fun, too.

5. Were you ever in a sports team?

As I mentioned in #4, I’ve never played a sport.  One time in 5th or 6th grade I tried out for the volleyball team, but didn’t make it, and I guess I felt so discouraged that I never tried again.  Growing up I was much more into riding bikes than I was into group sports.

6. Have you ever traveled a long distance to see your team play?

I never have, but I would be willing to, especially to go to The Superbowl.

7. Do you have a favorite stadium/sports venue you have been to?

I absolutely love going to AT&T Park, where the SF Giants play. It’s a gorgeous stadium where there isn’t a bad seat in the house. I’m also really excited that the new Levi’s Stadium for the 49ers is going to be right in my backyard (about 20 minutes from home), in Santa Clara.

8. What is your favorite food you associate with sporting events?

The food at AT&T park is amazing, and like Sarah, I love the garlic fries.

9. Do you have a favorite sporting song?

Nothing comes to mind.  I think it’s fun that they play Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline at Boston Red Sox games, but since that’s really not my team, I’m not sure if that applies.

10. Is there a sporting event you would like to go to in another country?

I’d love to go to the Olympics someday.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!   And also be sure to go back to Sarah’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments!  I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM.  You never know who you’ll meet today.

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Happy Monday! Today has actually been a pretty easy transition back to the “real world” after having the week off for spring break.  As much as I hate standardized testing, it’s come in handy that we started it this week in my English classes – it makes for a smoother entry into the work week.   Because I wasn’t ready to leave Hawaii behind just quite yet, I decided to go Aloha style for my OOTD (you might’ve seen this already on Instagram, if you follow me):
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For the months of March and April, FMM is moving locations.  Sarah over at Losing Weight and Having Fun is hosting FMM for the time being, and I’m excited to discover her blog and meet a bunch of new bloggers.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: Losing Weight and Having Fun so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Favorite things

1. Favorite color? (be specific… what shade of blue/green/red etc)

hot pink  As much as I’m drawn to dark colors, my absolute favorite color is hot pink.  I’d love to get my Beetle convertible painted this color someday.

2. Favorite piece of clothing you own? I’ve been loving skirts and dresses lately, because I can wear them a lot longer than I can pants as I lose weight.  I guess I’d say my Michael Kors skirt is my favorite, because it’s so versatile. I can wear it with sweaters, tshirts, or tanks and it can change the look completely.

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3. Favorite smartphone app? I’d have to say MyFitnessPal, because I love how easy it makes logging all my food, water, and exercise.  Plus, I get so much inspiration and support from all my friends on there – I go to it multiple times a day.  If you’re on MFP, too, send me a note and add me, if you’d like.

4. Favorite city? I’d have to say San Francisco.  There’s something for everyone there – the beach, art, shopping, amazing food, nightlife, and outdoors activities.  Plus, the city itself is just so beautiful.

san-franc

The Changing Light  by Lawrence Ferlinghetti (one of my favorite poets, one of the original Beat Poets, poet laureate of SF, and owner of City Lights Bookstore):

The changing light

            at San Francisco

    is none of your East Coast light

           none of your

                   pearly light of Paris

The light of San Francisco

             is a sea light

                       an island light

And the light of fog

        blanketing the hills

    drifting in at night

           through the Golden Gate

                      to lie on the city at dawn

And then the halcyon late mornings

    after the fog burns off

      and the sun paints white houses 

                     with the sea light of Greece

      with sharp clean shadows

       making the town look like

                             it had just been painted

But the wind comes up at four o’clock

                                    sweeping the hills


And then the veil of light of early evening


And then another scrim

           when the new night fog

                            floats in

And in that vale of light

                   the city drifts

                           anchorless upon the ocean

5. Favorite strength training exercise? I’ve mentioned it before, but since mid January I’ve been doing the Tone It Up exercises, and I absolutely love them.  They use your own body weight, along with small dumbbells or kettlebells to tone.  The difference I see in my body is noticeable.  Plus, the routines are so fun, and the community is really supportive.

6. Favorite vegetable?  This is like asking me my favorite book – I love so many that it’s difficult to choose just one.  Maybe zucchini because there’s so much you can do with them – make “zoodles,” stuff them, bake them, sauté  them, make zucchini fries, steam them, or have them raw with a crudité.

7. Favorite hair product? (shampoo, styling, conditioner etc) I’ve been using Pureology, and I love the way that it keeps my color fresh, but I’ve been noticing that my hair is drier since I’ve started using it.  I’ve been using Redken’s Smooth Lock, too, so I’m not sure if it’s the shampoo/conditioner or the styling product that is drying it out.  Either way, I think I need to make a change and see if it helps. On a recent trip to Dry  Bar to get my hair blown out, I was amazed at how shiny my hair looked.  I love how their products smell, so I’m thinking about trying their shampoo, conditioner, and styling products for a bit to see if they work better for me.

8. Favorite animal? Is there any question that I’m going to say dogs?

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9. Favorite superhero?  

bilbl_super Super Bellina 

Oh, did you mean a comic book superhero?   Then I’d have to say Wonder Woman, I guess.  :)

10. Favorite recipe? (share the details with us)

A recipe I make again and again, in summer and winter is my version of Hungry Girl’s 10-Alarm Crockpot Turkey Chili.  It’s hearty, satisfying, delicious, easy to prepare, and has great nutritional stats.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!   And also be sure to go back to Sarah’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments!  I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM.  You never know who you’ll meet today.

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Happy Monday! I had a great weekend! It kicked off Friday night with a girls’ night at a favorite wine bar with two of my BFFs and my sister, continued with 3 hours of volunteering and a great walk with Sofi on Saturday, and ended with Sunday spent organizing my both my closets.  That last one is the one that took the biggest load off of my mind.  I went through every single piece of clothing I own – things I had packed away in storage containers under the bed, things in the closet of my second bedroom, things I hadn’t worn in months – and decided if I was donating or keeping it.  I separated the items I was donating by category: workout/casual, business/dressy, and pjs/lingerie – having been at a charity on Saturday, I see how much time they spend sorting through clothing donations, so I figured I’d save them some time.  Then I hung/folded/organized each item I was keeping.  I feel SO good when I look at my closet.  

For the months of March and April, FMM is moving locations.  Sarah over at Losing Weight and Having Fun is hosting FMM for the time being, and I’m excited to discover her blog and meet a bunch of new bloggers.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: Losing Weight and Having Fun so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Would you rather…

1. Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

I haven’t really been eating a lot of ice cream lately, but I guess I’d choose chocolate.

2. Coke or pepsi?

Neither.  I don’t drink soda (diet or otherwise) at all anymore.  Not only is it bad for you, but because of my VSG, I’m not supposed to have any carbonation.

3. Cats or dogs?

Dogs all the way.  I grew up with an adorable Maltese/poodle mix named Sweetie.  And you guys know now I have my adorable Sofi, who turns 3 this Wednesday:

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4. Summer or Winter?

Summer.  Not only do I get 8 weeks off from work because I’m a teacher, but I really do love being outside and active.  Spending my days swimming, biking, and taking long walks with Sofi are the best.  Not to mention the plethora of fresh fruits and veggies available. I think this is going to be one of my best summers yet, because I’ll be able to wear lots of clothing styles that I haven’t felt comfortable wearing before.  Plus, I have some fun local outings planned.

5. Early bird or night owl?

I’m a night owl at heart, but because of my job I also wake up early.  So I just don’t get much sleep.  ;)

6. Baseball or football?

I love them both.  I’m a huge San Francisco fan – 49ers and Giants – and I watch as many games as I can.  Since the SF Giants have a minor league team here in San Jose, I love going to see those games, too. Not only are they less expensive than the major league games, but it’s fun to see the  up-and-coming  players.  Plus, the games are very family friendly.

7. Glasses or contact lenses?

I had LASIK surgery in 2000, so I don’t have to wear either.

8. Coffee or tea?

I’m a huge coffee drinker, but I have started to drink a lot more tea lately.  It’s become a nightly ritual for me to have a cup of tea or two after dinner.  I absolutely LOVE David’s Tea – I’m obsessed!

9. Mac or PC?

Mac, no question.

10. Roller coasters or not?

I was talking to my sister about this a couple of weeks ago.  For so many years, I haven’t been able to ride roller coasters because I was so heavy at 315 pounds that the safety harness wouldn’t be able to “click” down.  Now that I’ve lost all this weight, I am so excited to ride roller coasters this summer at Santa Cruz Boardwalk and at Great America.  I cannot wait!!

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!   And also be sure to go back to Sarah’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments!  I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM.  You never know who you’ll meet today.

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Happy Monday! Happy St. Patrick’s Day! This weekend was a mix of getting some spring cleaning and organizing done, meeting new friends, and volunteering at a local county park, and spending quality time with my family. All in all, a great time!

For the months of March and April, FMM is moving locations.  Sarah over at Losing Weight and Having Fun is hosting FMM for the time being, and I’m excited to discover her blog and meet a bunch of new bloggers.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: Losing Weight and Having Fun so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: Holiday Traditions

1. Do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day? This is what I wore to school today:

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My family and I have always celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by eating corned beef, cabbage, red potatoes, and Irish soda bread.  I went to my parents’ house last night, in fact.  Seven years ago my favorite uncle passed away on St. Patrick’s Day after a rather sudden illness, and so now it’s also become a time for us to remember him.

2. Which is your favorite holiday to celebrate? I think I’d have to say Christmas, since it’s a whole season of being kind, preparing for family and friends to visit, and giving gifts.

3. Do you have a favorite ‘holiday’ food? In my Italian family, each holiday comes with its own assortment of traditional foods, so it would be hard to choose just one.  I guess if pressed, I’d have to say that I love having ravioli on Christmas Day.
4. What do you think of holiday parades?  I don’t really think much of them, to be honest.  I enjoy watching the Thanksgiving Day parades on TV in the background, but other than that, I don’t really watch holiday parades.
5. Have you ever been part of a parade? Yes, several years ago I marched in the San Francisco Gay Pride parade with friends who were working with an organization called Stop AIDS.  We all wore shirts that said, “Got Condoms?” because the Got Milk? campaign was new that year.  It was an amazing experience!  Such a celebration of life, with the underlying reminder that so many people had fought hard for freedoms that people now were able to experience.  My own uncle was part of the marches and vigils in San Francisco after Mayor Mascone and Harvey Milk were assassinated.
6. Do you decorate your house for the holidays? Yes, I decorate for every holiday and season.  This weekend I spent time decorating for spring.  My wreath on the front door and my welcome mat both have pretty flowers. I change out the throw pillows on my living room  couch, and decorate my dining table, as well.

7. Do you send holiday cards? I send out Christmas cards to my family and friends every year.  I love getting all the photo cards from my friends with families, and even though I’m single, I still like to do it.  I think it’s a sweet tradition.  I usually also send out Valentine’s Day cards to my close friends and my immediate family.
8. Are there any holidays that you celebrate that are traditional in another country, but maybe less well known in the US? Nope.  There are a few Italian saints’ days that my mom’s side of the family used to celebrate when I was younger, like the Feast of San Giuseppe, but we don’t celebrate it anymore.

 

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!   And also be sure to go back to Sarah’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments!  I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM.  You never know who you’ll meet today.

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reverb13-blog-button Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb13: Reverb is a way to reflect on the past year and project into the next year with a prompt a day for 31 days.  December is the perfect time to reflect on 2013 and start to create intentions for 2014.

Day 30: Relationships

Relationships | Did you find a new best friend?  Delve deeper into a relationship?  Break up?  Get back together?  Tell us about who you added – or subtracted – from your life.  Why?

My friendships are so important to me, and I try to nurture them as much as possible.  Now that we’re in our 40s and busy with jobs, families, and other obligations, getting together is a lot more challenging.  Still, I try to make sure I get together with each of my friends (and sometimes a few of them at once) for coffee or something at least once a month.  Most of my friends are girls I’ve known since high school, and it’s really fantastic to know people that long.  These are tried-and-true friends.  Ride or die chicks.  Girls who have seen me through everything, and me them. We’ll always be in each other’s lives.  One major goal I have in 2014, which I started at the end of 2013 is to get together with them much more often.  To do things together, not just coffee and convo, but getting out and about and doing fun things, too.

One friendship that has blossomed in 2013 is with Tinkerbell.  She and I really started to hang out at the very beginning of January 2013, and our friendship has grown so much over the course of this year.  We have so much in common, including both getting the VSG. It’s fantastic having someone in real life to discuss all the issues that come up with having had weight loss surgery.  But beyond that, we have similar values, live in the same neighborhood (within 5 minutes driving), and like to do the same things. Tinkerbell is incredible supportive, so generous, and absolutely inspiring.  Whenever I see her post about her long runs on MyFitnessPal, I get motivated to do my walk/run intervals.  We have a great time shopping, getting our hair blown out, and delving into more serious topics, too.  I’m so grateful that we’ve become so close, and consider her one of my best friends.

A few of my most cherished friends are women who have moved far from me, but the distance doesn’t inhibit our friendship because of this great age of technology.  It’s not quite the same as being in the same room, but being able to check in on Facebook share our daily smiles through photos and statuses helps us stay connected.  Plus, with things like Facetime and texting, we can keep up with each other as if we did live in the same city.

And then there are the blogging buddies, pals on MFP, and WLS peeps on YouTube and FB  who have offered me so much support, encouragement, and happiness that they are definitely people I count among my friends, even though we’ve never met.  I am so thankful to have them in my lives.

In terms of romantic relationships, I recently signed up for Match.com, and while I find the entire process terribly slow, it has given me a bit of a boost to know that some of these men find me attractive enough to email, wink at, or contact.  I haven’t dated in years, and now that I’ve put myself back out there, I’m really hoping that 2014 brings me some fun dates (or maybe something even more serious) in the love department.

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I wanted to do something with my friends to mark the fact that I’ve lost 100 pounds.  My friends have been there for me through thick (literally!) and thin (soon we’ll be there!), and I wanted to celebrate with them too.  A few weeks ago a couple of my girlfriends and I headed to one of my favorite wineries for to imbibe, but I also wanted to do something fitness-related, because one of the best things about losing all this weight is the fact that I can be so much more active.

Since I love riding my bike, it seemed like a natural fit.  I chose this past Saturday, November 16th for our jaunt, and crossed my fingers that the weather would hold up, which it did.  It’s so difficult to get everyone together, especially on a Saturday afternoon, so I was really happy that my sister and Tinkerbell were able to come on the ride with me.

2013-11-16 13.50.37 I wanted to get a quick selfie to capture my happiness.  It was a gorgeous, clear, sunny day, I was going bike riding at LG Creek Trail, and I was going to get to spend some time with two of my favorite people in the world.  Of course I have a huge smile on my face!

il_570xN.499253980_sarr Before we ever left for the bike ride, my sister gave me this adorable bicycle basket tote bag.  She’d bought a different pattern for herself months ago from Gypsea Blue Bags on Etsy, and I loved it so much that she decided to buy one for me in honor of my 100-pound loss.  How special of her!  She bought the perfect colors, knowing that I want to buy myself a red beach cruiser for my 100-pound reward.

For those of you wondering why I want to buy another beach cruiser when I already have one, the reasons are simple:

  1. I love the ease of beach cruisers.
  2. I love that beach cruisers allow me to sit up straight – no slouching = great posture.
  3. They’re just fun!!
  4. I wanted a red one when I originally bought mine, but it was going to be a special order, and because I wanted it THEN, I went with the peach one I have.  But for the past 5 years I’ve regretted not getting the red one, so now it’s time.

So, I’ll be buying this cruiser for myself very soon:

chubbyscruiserBut back to our fun day riding bikes…

2013-11-16 13.50.48

The first amazing thing was fitting our bikes on the back of my sister’s little Vibe.  Her bike is no problem, but my bike is a whopper.  It’s long, heavy, and very awkward to transport.  But together, LC and I were able to get it on the bike rack without too much effort.  I’m glad to know that we can fit it on there, because it means we can go on lots of bike rides to fun places that are a bit farther out of the way.

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As much as I love that we are all in this group selfie, I hate that I was scrunching down so that it looks like I have a huge double chin. I know that sounds vain of me, but considering this is all about losing 100 pounds, I want the photos to reflect that. I guess I’m even more glad now that I took that selfie, above. Still, I do love that all three of us are in this photo – love these girls!

The LG Creek Trail is absolutely beautiful, peaceful, and serene, although these photos don’t do it justice. But believe me, each of us commented at different parts along our ride about how pretty the surroundings were.

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We rode the trail until we were at the edge of Vasona Park and decided it was time to stop for a quick water break.  Look at this view!  It was even more vivid in person.  At this point, we decided to turn around, because the entrance to Vasona from this side is very narrow, with lots of uphills, and we weren’t all sure we were up for it.

2013-11-16 14.30.00All told, we rode for an hour and had the best time.  We chatted, laughed, and just felt so alive there on the trail.  I even had a chance to take this pic, which I adore.  Pretty good camera work, if I do say so myself, considering I was pedaling as I took it.

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I can’t think of a better way to celebrate this milestone weight loss than riding my bike on a beautiful November Saturday afternoon with my girlies.

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Happy Monday! I have a lot of fun things in the works this week, and I’m excited to share them with you as they happen.  Look for some great posts this week. One thing I’ve been really lax on lately is reading and commenting on blog posts.  I feel like ever since Google Reader announced its departure, my reading habits have been thrown a curve ball.  So I plan to rectify that, beginning today.

But now let’s get on with this week’s topic.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section at: www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

FMM: 10 Things That Make Me Happy

1.  First and foremost, my family.  They are the people who forgive me at my worst and celebrate me at my best.  They have been absolutely amazing in cheering my weight loss, and never shy away from complimenting me.  I am the person I’ve become because of their guidance and unending support.

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2.  My friends.  So many of the women that I consider my best friends are people I’ve known since high school.  Friendships that last 24 years are solid friendships, to be sure.  But I also feel really close to people that I’ve met much more recently, because sometimes you meet someone and you just click.  You know the type of friendship I mean – the kind where you feel as if you’ve known the person your whole life.  I value my friends and remain loyal to them through thick and thin.  If you’ve heard the term “ride or die chick,” that’s who I am for my friends.

3.  Sofi!  You knew she was going to be in the top 3, didn’t you?  This pup has brought unending joy and happiness into my life. She helps me live in the moment and to appreciate life’s special, little moments that I might otherwise miss.  There’s nothing better than going on a long walk with Sofi.

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I love this little one even when she’s being a monkey and tearing up the roses in my yard! (She loves eating the petals!).

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Her favorite resting position. Does it get any cuter?!

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4.  Teaching.  As much as I complain sometime about the workload/grading, I really do love what I do.  I adore hearing from former students and knowing that I impacted their lives in a positive way.  I enjoy watching them mature into bright, mature people who are ready to be contributing citizens.  It sounds corny, but I am so lucky to be able to do what I love for a living.  (Remind me of this in the middle of the semester when I’m drowning in honors essays, ok?).

5.  A great pedicure.  There’s really nothing like feeling like you toes look their best, especially in sandal season.

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6.  Reading.  Not only does reading offer a much-needed escape from reality, but it often allows me to learn, grow, and expand my thoughts.  From the moment I was taught how to decipher words on a page, I’ve loved reading, and I know that love will last with me forever.

7.  Writing. This blog is my outlet, my creative space.  A place where I share my thoughts and emotions, my dreams and my frustrations.  Who knows if it will ever become something more, something greater.  I’m just glad I have an ability to express myself through the written word.

8.  The beach.  I go to the beach as often as I can, and still it’s never enough.  Someday I would love to retire to a small little cottage on the beach so that I could take morning walks along the ocean.  How amazing does that sound?  Believe it, be it, right?

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9. Cooking.  Over the years, I really have become someone who loves to cook for myself and for others.  I love every aspect of it, from finding the perfect recipe, to planning the menu, to shopping, to chopping, to cooking, and tasting the final product.  Cooking is another creative outlet for me, and it’s been so much fun adapting the foods and flavors I love into my new post-surgery lifestyle.  I love a challenge!  Food is a huge part of my Italian culture, so the fact that I’m able to carry on my family’s traditions through some of the meals I make brings me great joy.

10. Shopping! Whether it’s shopping for a gift for someone else, or adding to my own wardrobe, I adore shopping.  I get a rush when I’m looking for that special something and find it.  I’ve always loved the way that clothes make me feel about myself, but now that I’m seeing the results of my efforts on the scale, clothes are even better.  I haven’t had any major shopping trips yet…but I’m biding my time until that first major shopping trip.  I cannot wait.

11.  (I know Kenlie asked for 10, but I just have to add this last one).  Working out.  Who would’ve thought that I would have written those words.  But it’s so true.  I love the feeling I get when I tackle a new fitness milestone. And the sense of accomplishment that comes when a really good workout is over.  I even love the way my heart pounds out of my chest as I try to match the tempo of my workout tunes while I’m on the elliptical machine.  I love the way working out feeds my competitive nature.  I know fitness is going to be my hobby/obsession from here on out.  As things get easier to accomplish because my overall health is improving, I know I’ll try to overcome bigger challenges.

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions! And also be sure to go back to Kenlie’s blog and leave a link to your FMM post in the comments! I really encourage you to comment on as many people’s posts as you can – I’ve met some fantastic people through FMM. You never know who you’ll meet today.

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

Today I am thankful for all of the amazing people whom I consider friends. They are there to celebrate my joys. They are also there to console my sorrows. Many of them live across the country, but are still just a text, email, or phone call away. I’m grateful that so many connections that I made while I was in high school have survived the test of time; most of the people that I’m closest to are girls that I met in high school.

The abundance of riches was clear today when I drove to SF to see CTLB, who lives just outside of Boston, but was visiting for the long weekend. It’s been about two years since I’d seen her, and I’d never met her 8-month old baby, so we were long overdue. CTLB and I became BFFs instantly when we started teaching at the same high school, went through our Masters in Educational Leadership as a partner team, and have seen each other through the highs (and lows) that come with life. She is an amazing friend, a true soul sister, and someone whom I wish I could see more of. Even though the timing was less than ideal because I have tons of grading to do before Tuesday, I wouldn’t have missed the opportunity to hang out for the world, even if it was too short. With us, a week would’ve been too short! Distance my divide us, but CTLB and I will be friends for a lifetime.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day in SF – chilly (58 degrees), but sunny. I was meeting CTLB in the Marina district, which can be notoriously difficult to park in, but I found parking in a garage across from Monaghan’s, their usual watering hole/hangout spot. Unheard of! Then we nabbed a bench inside Peet’s for a coffee chat so that CTLB could open the early Christmas gift that I brought for baby M:

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I also got him a 3-pack of matching socks, but I couldn’t find the photo.

It was so great to hold M in my arms (he’s a BIG boy!) and see his reaction as he saw me for the first time. He is seriously the happiest baby I’ve ever been around – adorable. CTLB look so happy, and I loved seeing the pride in her hubby’s eyes every time he looked at his son.  I love CTLB and her family so much, and I wouldn’t have traded my time with them for the world.

I raced from SF (mercifully no traffic) to meet up with LMK, the friend who inspires me to chase my dreams. She took the year off to travel the world, and is just touching down long enough to regroup before she chases the sun to an ashram in India, followed by Bali, New Zealand, and then she’s off to Australia. LMK is starting a blog, about her travels and life in general, and wanted to get some tips for me.  We spent hours catching up, planning, and being creative.  I cannot wait to read and hear all about LMK’s adventures!  I’ve written about LMK in the past because she is such a motivating force and an amazing example of living a healthy lifestyle. LMK runs half marathons for fun (she just got back from Santa Barbara, where she clocked in at exactly 2 hours!), practices yoga to clear her mind and fill her soul, and is always up for a new adventure. Plus she has a fantastic fashion sense. In many ways, she’s who I strive to be “when I grow up.”

These two friends are just a sample of the many people whom I’m lucky enough to have in my life. I truly love each of them and know that my life is so much richer because they’re sharing in it with me.

“A friend is someone who knows all about you and still loves you.” ~Elbert Hubbard

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in #WEverb11.  Each day gives a new prompt, each of which is a chance to reflect and look forward.

December 5: Befriend

Did you meet any new friends this year? How did they impact your 2011?  Contributed by Jen.

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The older I get, the fewer close friends I seem to have.  Not counting Facebook, where it says I have 153 “friends.”  But even that is small compared to other who have 1000s of friends.

To me, though, a true friend is someone you can trust with your deepest, darkest secret.  Someone who will tell you what you need to hear, whether you like it or not.  A friend is someone whom you can call at 3am on a Wednesday if you’re really in trouble.

So to say that I have a select group of true friends makes me happy.  And to tell you that I’ve met some new friends makes me even happier still.

I’ve gotten closer to people at work, as well.  It’s easy to make friends at work, because you spend so much time with them.  But then sometimes you realize that other than working at the same place, you don’t have as much in common with people as you think.  That’s happened to me many times in the past, but this year the opposite has proved true.  I’ve become close to two people at work that I didn’t think I had much in common with.  And on the surface, we don’t, but upon closer examination, we actually do.  It feels nice to get to know these two people on a whole new level and realize just how much common ground we have.  It goes to show that you really need to give people a chance to get to know you before you decide how well you’d get along.  It’s been a great lesson for me to learn this year.

I’ve  also made great friends this year in the WLS/weight loss community:

  • BeautyJunkie824 is someone that I followed on YouTube and then met in real life, and liked her as much as I thought I would.  Even more, really!  She and I have become really close, and we check in on each other all the time to make sure we’re staying on track.  I am so thankful to have her in my life, and I know that we’re going to be friends for life.
  • Kim is a newer friend that I met through this blog.  As it turns out, she and I live in the same city, so we’re going to be meeting up soon to chat and get to know each other better.  Even though I haven’t known Kim very long, I can tell you that she’s so supportive and encouraging, and an all around sweet person.

In 2012, I’m hoping to widen my circle of friends even more by getting out and getting more active.  I’ve become quite the homebody, and I’m not sure how that happened.  I used to be quite the social girl, but over these past few years, I prefer to be at home and have people over.  I’m not sure if it’s age or what, but that’s not the way to meet new people and have new experiences, is it?  So, in 2012, I want to try to get out of the house more often and meet people while doing things that I love, some of which I’m sure I haven’t even discovered yet.  How exciting to think that by this time next year, I’ll have found even more new friends and new experiences to share with them!!

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If you’d like to join in on the daily writing prompts, go to WEverb11, sign up for the email notifications, and join us! Or follow along on Twitter using the #WEverb11 hashtag!

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