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Posts Tagged ‘relaxation’

Even though it was absolutely no fun to have the flu because I felt so miserable, now that I’m past the worst of it, I can see a bit of the silver lining.

The main thing was that I’d been in a huge rut/pattern of overeating/making the wrong choices for a few weeks. Not being able to eat anything for a whole day and then being on Cream of Rice for a few days really helped me break that patten.  I’ve been eating normally for the past two days, and so far so good.

Along with eating so much less came weight loss, which I really needed because my 3-weeks of I don’t care led to a 5-lb gain.  I am proud to say that I’ve lost all of that weight between being sick and now being back on plan.  I was a bit worried that the initial 2.5 lbs were going to come back on as soon as I started back to my 1200 calorie diet, but they didn’t.  And this morning I lost another 2 lbs, which really put me in a great mood for the day.  Not that I live and die by the scale, but it just reinforced this “light” feeling I’ve been having lately.

I got a lot of rest while I was out sick this week and it seems to be just what I needed to recharge.  I’m feeling really good today, and I know it’s because I am finally caught up on my sleep.  I’m going to make a point to try to go to be about an hour earlier than I normally do, because even though I can “survive” on 5 hours of sleep on a daily basis, I know that it’s better for my body and mind to get more sleep.  Not necessarily 8 hours, but maybe 6.5 or 7.

So it’s Saturday and I’m in a great mood – down on the scale, feeling better, decorated the house a bit (more on this in my next blog post), and I’ve gotten a lot done today.  What’s not to like and feel grateful for?

 

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Phew, I’m finally coming up for air.  And YES, I do realize that today is Tuesday, and not Monday, but it’s been so crazy that I am barely catching up on some of the blogs.  I was super-busy this weekend grading and now that it’s done and I have a brief respite until the next sets of essays come in, I thought that letting my mind wonder on today’s topic would be the perfect getaway.  Even if it’s only pretend!

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: Dream Vacation(s)

If you were given two tickets that you (and someone you chose) could use to fly anywhere in the world, where would you go? And why?

I have two vacations in mind – one is a completely relaxing, lay-on-the-beach-and-veg-out kind of trip and the other one would take me to the hustle and bustle of NYC/East Coast.  You know what?  Since this is my blog, I think I’ll write about both.

Dream Vacation #1  – The Beach  – Sorrento, Italy

Sorrento, Italy

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by work (and life) the last few weeks – nothing too stressful if I’m honest with myself – just really busy.  Nonetheless, I have been feeling a bit wound up and stressed out.  At times like that, nothing calms me down like being near the ocean.  I’m lucky enough to live 45 minutes in either direction from the Pacific Ocean, but since we’re talking about a Dream Vacation, I figured I had to make it a bit exotic.  Right?

I’ve been to Sorrento, Italy before, in 1995 when my sister and I took a month-long, single-sisters-see-the-old-country trip through Italy.  It was fantastic.  It has all the coastal beauty of the much more well known Capri, without all the hype.  There are definitely lots of tourists all about, but the people of Sorrento seemed nicer and more down to earth than the ones we met on the isle of Capri.

On my this dream vacation, I’d wake up early and walk through the town square, stopping at my favorite torrefazione and order a Cappuccino and some sort of breakfast bread.  My days will be spent on the beach, lounging with Salvatore and/or Giuseppe, reading, laughing, and enjoying the turquoise water.  Evenings will be spent enjoying the locals – soaking up my southern Italian culture, learning a bit of the language, and just having fun.  Maybe a ride on the back of a cute guy’s Vespa.  Nothing too planned out.  Just pure hedonistic enjoyment of the time, place, and people.

Dream Vacation #2  – The East Coast

I’ve never been to NYC before; a fact that most find shocking.  I know I’d love the busyness of the streets, the energy of the people, and the amazing sites and sounds.  NYC just seems to be alive to me.  I want to see plays on Broadway and food from around the world at 3am (it IS the city that never sleeps, after all).  I also want to take a spin class at Soul Cycle.

I want to go running or biking through Central Park and take in all of the natural beauty hidden in the middle of that giant metropolis. I want to have a sweet treat at Serendipity (after burning off the calories at Soul Cycle, I think my food log will allow it).

From NYC, I’d like to travel to New Jersey.

  No, not because I’m obsessed with all the t.v. shows featuring Jersey (although I do love RHONJ), but because it just seems like my kind of state.  Lots of down-to-earth, loud, hard-working, loyal Italian-Americans.  In the Bay Area, there are some Italians, but nothing like the numbers I know live in Jersey.  Growing up, I was always mistaken for another ethnicity – Mexican, Persian, Colombian – you name it, but never Italian.  In New Jersey, I know that I’d be recognized without a doubt.  One of my friends kids that “Jersey is the armpit of America,” and I’m sure that some parts of New Jersey are that way, but I know that others are just as gorgeous as anywhere else.  I’ve always secretly thought the future love of my life would come from the East Coast, and Jersey is as good as anywhere to find “the one.”  And if all else fails, I’ll go “down the shore” and just enjoy the beach (and the fist-pumping music).

What trip to New England would be complete without a stop in Boston?

Beautiful fall foliage in Boston Common.

I’ve been to Boston, MA in the summer, and it was nice, but I really want to go at this time of year and see the beautiful fall foliage that can’t be found anywhere else.  Plus, Boston is one of the only other cities I could ever see myself living (if I ever had to leave the SF Bay Area). The people are so warm and friendly, and they definitely know how to have a good time.  There’s so much history, too, which I love learning more about.  Whether I could withstand the winters is a whole other story.

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Now it’s your turn! Where would your dream vacation take you?  Don’t forget to go to Kenlie’s blog and link up in the comments!

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I’ve had four fantastic days off and I feel so rejuvenated!  It’s weekends like I just had that make life good.  And I really needed a wonderful weekend, because there’s been quite a bit of stress in my life lately (some big, some small, but all annoying), and it was nice to just leave that all behind and enjoy myself.

Friday – Semester  Break
I am so thankful that I did what I needed to in order to finish my grading (and record my final grades) before I left school on Thursday.  I was there a lot later than I expected to be, but I actually put together a really cool mini lesson for the first week of our new semester.  I left on Thursday afternoon feeling really organized and “free.”

On Friday I really didn’t do a whole lot of anything.  I was online for a while, I read for a while, I watched some t.v..  Later in the afternoon when my parents brought my nieces home we all went on a long walk and enjoyed the sunny, cool day.  The girls stayed at my house catching up on their favorite Nickelodeon shows until my sister arrived around 5:30.  They  ended up staying for dinner – my sister heated up leftovers for her and the kids and I had one of my Lean Cuisine meals.  It was nice to be able to share an impromptu meal together without having to put in too much effort on either part.  I’m sure we’ll do that more often.

As Friday nights go, this one was pretty tame, but that’s ok.  I just needed to take the day and relax.  Plus, I’m not 20 anymore, so it’s ok not to have major plans on a Friday night.  Eventually I would love to have some dates to go on or other social engagements, but while I’m in “forced hibernation mode” I’m perfectly content to keep things quiet.

Saturday
I had a busy morning planned on Saturday.  We began with a “whole crew” (my sis, nieces, Lulu & Minnie) walk at 9am.  My older niece led the way on her bike, the younger one was on her big wheel, and my sister and I pulled up the rear with our dogs in tow.  It was sort of chaotic (at least for me) and we had a few near misses with dogs’ leashes and big wheels, but it all turned out fine.  I’m sure that once we get the hang of the bigger group it will go more smoothly.  I do think that Lulu and I need to start taking our normal solo walks again, too, because I like our head clearing/bonding time.

Then it was time for me to take both dogs to the groomers, and boy did they need it, especially Minnie.  They came out later that evening looking like (almost) new dogs, and I swear that Minnie is strutting around with a new sense of purpose now that she looks cute again.  :)  While I was out doing some errands, I brought a big garbage bag full of old clothes, and 2 boxes of books to a local charity, thanks to the Daily Challenge.  I’d had the stuff waiting in my garage for a couple of weeks, but the Daily Challenge made me put the stuff into the car and donate it to one of my favorite charitable organizations, and it really didn’t take any effort at all.  I can’t tell you how good it felt to get that stuff out of my house and on to someone else who it can be of more use to.  If you haven’t gone through your closet or bookshelves recently, I highly recommend I CHALLENGE you to do it; you’ll get rid of some clutter and do a good deed all rolled into one.

The main thing I was excited about on Saturday was that my high school alumnae food & wine group was going to be  going to a Passport Saturday.  Passport days are amazing!  You buy a passport for $40 and it entitles you to one free tasting at any of the participating wineries within the Santa Cruz Mountain Winemakers Association, and there are 51 wineries that participate!  The passport never expires, and they have passport days every quarter – in January, April, July, and November.

Originally there was a good group of alums who were planning on going to the event, but it ended up that just my friend Ms. AD and I went.  And really, it worked out perfectly.  This way she and I could really catch up with each other without having to worry that we were excluding others from our conversation (because there’s nothing I hate more than people who leave others out of the conversation with a lot of inside jokes, talking about people others don’t know, etc.).  Ms. AD and I headed off in my convertible (the weather was unseasonably and gloriously warm at 70 degrees) and hit three very local wineries.  The original plan was to go into the mountains a bit more, but I didn’t want to challenge the windy roads of those mountain wineries.

Our first stop was a winery that I used to be a member of, Flemming Jenkins.  Yes, as in Peggy Flemming.  What started out as a landscaping project at one of their mountain estates turned into a really profitable wine business. Their wines are very good, albeit quite pricey, but it was nice to begin at a winery that I knew I liked.

From there we headed about a mile down the road (actually, up a hill) and came to Testarossa Winery, which is one that I’d never been to but had heard amazing things about.  Testarossa was a 19th century novitiate (training center for Catholic priests) before it was a winery, and the grounds are truly beautiful.

This last photo is from their website, but I’m using it because it shows the dramatic tasting room with it’s gorgeous, old-world ceiling and walls.  When you’re in the room you feel as if you’ve stepped back in time and are in an underground crypt somewhere in Europe, rather than just a mile off the main road of a bustling town.  It was so nice that I know I’ll have a party here at some point in the future – maybe even my rehearsal dinner (a girl can dream). Oh, and the wine, the wine was delicious and very affordable.  I’m going to make sure I always have some of this on hand to share with good friends.

Our last stop was a winery that I had heard such good things about, but which was the least favorite of the afternoon.  Maybe it was because I had enjoyed our time at Testarossa so much that in comparison Cinnabar couldn’t quite make the grade.  Or perhaps it was because no one told us anything about the wine they were pouring.  It was fairly busy in the tasting room, but it seemed as if the people working that day couldn’t be bothered to explain anything to potential customers.  Which is a shame.  And with that, I think I’ve already spent too many words talking about this place.

The rest of my Saturday was spent doing a few errands, but it ended nicely enough with a good dinner that I made for myself.  Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the doggies look like after their grooming appointment, I couldn’t resist snapping a few photos to share with you:

(My mom bought them matching sweaters for Christmas, and I couldn’t resist having them match in the last photo).

Sunday
The day began as all Sundays do – with the Sunday paper and a nice, hot pot of coffee.  But I was also expecting a visit from Comcast.  Luckily the tech arrived at 8:30am (the window was from 8-2).  I’ve been having nothing but problems with my OnDemand service every since I moved, and I finally wanted to get to the bottom of it.  I’ve had 2 other technicians out here, and placed countless phone calls (I think I average 1 every other week), but it wasn’t until today that the cableguy (who was here an hour and a half) realized the problem was that they gave me an old, obsolete receiver box when I moved in.  Not only that, but I’ve been paying for a more expensive receiver this whole time.  I’m relieved that I finally have the proper equipment, but you’d better believe I’m going to be on the phone on Monday demanding my money back plus compensation for my trouble. It goes to show that it attention to detail and not stopping until the job is done really does pay off. Let’s just hope that Comcast cares about their customer enough to do the right thing.

The rest of Sunday was fairly lazy. Some reading, some time online, some t.v. time, a walk with Lulu, some light housework and laundry.  Nothing especially exciting, but nice just the same.

Sunday evening my friend Ms. AD (whom I spent the day before with wine tasting), was having a Just Dance 2 party, and I couldn’t wait.  What a great idea for a party, right?  It’s like those old-fashioned dance parties in the 50s.  Only this time we all brought our Wii remotes and tried to match moves with the computerized choreographer.  I have Just Dance, so I was used to it, although I will say I like the graphics a lot better on Just Dance 2.  Plus, it so much more fun to “play” with other people, instead of just dancing around my living room by myself.  I did so much better than I thought I would, and I was consistently the top or 2nd highest scoring player.  And it sure didn’t hurt that Ms. AD made some killer sangria and we each brought some “tapas” with us.  It was a fun time, made even more so because Ms. AD made sure we came in our comfy clothes and knew that we could be as silly as we wanted to because there were “no boys allowed.”  Although after about 5 dances/songs, lots of the girls sort of pooped out and we moved from dancing to chatting, which was good too.  I’m definitely going to take Ms. AD’s lead and have one of my own Just Dance 2 parties.

(Speaking of which, this house has such a great layout for entertaining that I want to make sure to have some parties.  I’m going to have Lulu’s 1st bday party in early February, and I also want to have an Oscar party, but beyond February, what are some ideas for themed get-togethers that I can have? I’d love any and all ideas).

Monday
Today is going to be all about enjoying this day off. The weather started out really foggy again, but once it clears (around noon yesterday), I’m going to take Lulu out on another walk.  This time the goal is go explore a new street in our neighborhood and walk for at least an hour.  Other than that, I’m going to be doing laundry, organizing my food for the week, and watching t.v. and doing some workout DVDs.  I feel like staying close to home today, but I am going to go to a group exercise class at the gym – either Zumba (@ 5:50pm)  or aqua aerobics (@6:45pm); I’ll decide which one depending on what the rest of the day shapes up to be.

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It’s been an absolutely amazing weekend, free of stress and filled with fun and friends.  I need to try to have at least 1 weekend a month exactly like this one, because it’s good for the soul.

What did you do this weekend?

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swimm2-225x300 Today at the pool I swam about 20 lengths, although I lost count at one point.  I know I did at least that many, although I may have done a few more.

All of this activity is definitely beginning to show – I’ve been feeling a bit of soreness in a few of my muscles, which is great.  Plus, it just feels great to fill my days with movement and exercise, rather than just laying around.  Each day I’ve been trying to do one major workout (bike riding, swimming, EA Sports, etc) besides the 15-20 minutes of Wii Fit that I do first thing every morning.  This week I’ve earned 39 APs, which is the most I’ve ever earned in one week!  Of course, this means that I’m going to try to top it next week, so next week’s activity goal is to get 45 APs.

Today while I was at the pool I really tried to take in all of the beauty around me.  The pool is surrounded on all sides by beautiful, park-like grounds – green grass, lots of trees, and a few flowers.  It’s really such a nice setting.  The pool also has one wall of flowering ivy which is just gorgeous:

download It makes me feel so pampered to swim in such a well-maintained area.  Along those lines, today I decided that I’d go “spa style” with my water.  You know how they always put slices of cucumber in the water at spas? Well I figured I could do the same thing, poolside.  My dad’s garden is coming in and he gave me 2 Italian cucumbers, so I decided to put them to good use.  If you haven’t tried it, I really recommend putting a few slices of cucumber into your water bottle/glass.  It adds a really subtle, fresh flavor that isn’t overpowering at all.

Today as I was swimming I really felt lucky to be able to spend the early part of my afternoon that way.  Because of the pool access, I’ve really been able to experience both the physical benefits of swimming, but also the mental ones.  When I swim, I am able to focus on my breathing in a way that’s similar to meditation.  Usually when I’ve tried to meditate, my mind is going a million different directions, and I can never truly quiet it.  When I’m swimming, though, I am focusing on the movements of my arms and legs, the number of seconds I can hold my breath, and the feel of the water on my skin.  It’s been a wonderful way to relax!

One thing that hasn’t been too beautiful about swimming is my hair.  I have very thick, fairly coarse, very curly hair, and all this swimming hasn’t been doing it very well.  The pool isn’t overly chlorinated, and in fact has some salt in it, which is kind of nice when you’re swimming, but does a number on the hair.  So, I’m off to Sephora to see if they have any conditioning treatments with sunscreen.  If that doesn’t work, I just may have to invest in a flowered swim cap!

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