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bilbl_superThis week is exciting because it’s the start of the ToneItUp Bikini Series!  As you guys know, I love being a member of the TIU community, and use their workout plan as my weekly inspiration.  I recently purchased their Beach Babe 4 Workouts, and I’m really looking forward to trying out some new moves.  Besides the support I get online from the other TIU girls, I also have a standing workout date with my friend Amy on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  We don’t always make it to all the workouts, but it’s nice to have a set plan in place that we try to reach.  And when RDC3 and I see each other on the weekends, we always  try to workout together.  This week my main goal is to use my time as wisely as I can so that I can fit in the workouts and all my other responsibilities.  That seems to be the hardest part for me at this time of the year – fitting in after school grading, keeping up with the house (cleaning, laundry, etc), and making time for working out.  But where I just have to stay organized and MAKE the time.  Here’s this week’s plan:

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Monday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Total Body (x3) + TIU Rock Your Body (Beach Babe 4 workouts)+ walk Sofi
Tuesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Booty +TIU Bikini Bod + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + stair stepper)👯.
Wednesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Arms +HIITY Bitty Bikini + K&K Slay and Toned Arms (Beach Babe 4 workouts) + walk Sofi  👯
Thursday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: + 40 min gym cardio (treadmill + elliptical) + Cardio Yoga (Beach Babe 4 workouts – I’m going to see how I feel after doing the other workouts and then decide on the yoga)
Friday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Total Body + Total Body Tone Up (Beach Babe 4 workouts) + 30 min walk with Sofi
Saturday: AM:  TIU 5 Daily Moves:      + 30 min gym cardio (stair stepper + bike) + Cardio Abs (Beach Babe 4 workouts)+ walk Sofi 👸🏻🤓
Sunday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves:  + 30 min gym cardio (elliptical + row) + TIU Bikini Buns &  Thighs + Legs for Days (Beach Babe 4 workouts) + walk Sofi👸🏻🤓

AM = early morning workout before work
PM = afternoon/evening workout after work
👯 = friend workout
👸🏻🤓 = couple workout with RDC3

Keep me accountable!! I post my daily workouts on Instagram, so follow me (or look at the sidebar of this blog) to see what I’m doing!

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bilbl_superI’m really excited about the workout week ahead just to show myself that I’m not just talking the talk, but that I can *literally* walk the walk, too.  Way back when I was really on my game, I was waking up at 5am to workout before school.  This school year that hasn’t happened, so instead of setting myself up for major disappointment when I fail to stop hitting snooze, I’ve decided to be more realistic in this week’s plan.  Most days of this week, I’m going to workout after work.  Friday will be my only pre-work workout, because I have fun plans with RDC3 on Friday night, and I know I won’t be able to workout after school is over.  I haven’t done my ToneItUp workouts in a really long time, so I’m very excited to get back to those.  Here’s this week’s plan:

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Monday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Booty + TIU Thailand Tush + walk Sofi + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + rowing)
Tuesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Abs + TIU Bikini Abs (x2) + TIU 5 Min Ab Workout + walk Sofi + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + stair stepper)👯. Update: I ended up taking a rest day because I had too much grading I needed to get through. 
Wednesday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Balance Ball + TIU Band Workout + 45 min gym cardio (rowing + elliptical) 👯
Thursday: PM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Foam Roller + 30 min gym cardio (treadmill + elliptical) Update: I ended up taking a rest day. 
Friday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Booty + Tone HIIT Up video (x2)
Saturday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Arms + TIU Beach Arms DVD + 30 min gym cardio (spin bike) + walk Sofi 👸🏻🤓
Sunday: AM: TIU 5 Daily Moves: Total Body Toning + 30 min gym cardio (stair stepper + treadmill) + walk Sofi👸🏻🤓

AM = early morning workout before work
PM = afternoon/evening workout after work
👯 = friend workout
👸🏻🤓 = couple workout with RDC3

Keep me accountable!! I post my daily workouts on Instagram, so follow me (or look at the sidebar of this blog) to see what I’m doing!

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Every year I find a mantra that I try to live by for the year.

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I was in the last stage of my weight loss journey, with only about 20 pounds to go to reach my ultimate goal weight.  Then life happened (fabulous, wonderful, incredible things happened, don’t get me wrong), and I regained 30 pounds. Not in my plan, but it happened.

So true to Bella form, I’m ready to dust myself off and get back to what I KNOW I can do.  To prove to myself that my incredible weight loss wasn’t just a fluke.  That it really is a lifestyle.

  • I have proven to myself  before that I am stronger than any obstacle in my path.
  • I have proven to myself before that I can accomplish amazing things when I set my mind to them.
  • I have proven to myself before that I am worth the tremendous effort it takes. Every single bit of it:
    • every minute spent planning healthy meals
    • every trip to the grocery store for healthy food
    • every meal logged into MyFitnessPal
    • every ounce of sweat in my workouts
    • every  time I hold my breath right before I step on the scale
  • I have proven to myself before that I can make weight loss a priority in my life.  This time it won’t be my main priority, because my life is so much fuller now than it ever was before (which I’m incredibly grateful for), so this will be a very new aspect of this journey.
  • I have proven to myself before that I can reach my dreams.

And since I’ve proven all of this before, I CAN do it again.  I WILL do it again, and then some!

So it’s ok that I now have 50 pounds to get to my ultimate goal weight.  I am confident that I will get there.  And who knows?  Maybe the reality check of gaining weight when I got too lackadaisical will be the kick in the booty that I need to get all the way there. No, strike that.  Not “maybe,” it is the inspiration I need to get myself all the way there.

I’m ready.

 

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Goals – they help keep me focused, give me something to shoot for, and offer me so much motivation.  Writing goals down makes me accountable and putting them out there in the world helps them come to fruition.

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We’re more than a quarter of the way into 2016, and I’m ready to post what my 2016 goals are going to be.  Last year I was able to check some really important goals off my list, so this year’s list is going to stay nice and simple.

  1. Lose the weight I’ve regained.  In the past year, I’ve gained about 30 pounds for a myriad of reasons.  My main goal for 2016 is to lose these 30 pounds and get closer to reaching my ultimate goal weight of weighing 150 pounds.
  2. Travel, near and far, with RDC3.  My boyfriend and I love to get out and explore new places, old favorites, and anywhere in between.  Since the start of 2016, we’ve already been to Vegas for his birthday, attended Swan Lake (my first time!), gone to Land’s End in SF, taken Sofi to her favorite dog-friendly beach in Aptos, spent the day in Half Moon Bay with my parents to get fresh crab, and explored Carmel during my spring break in April.  This year I’d also like to visit Calistoga to do a sip & cycle, go to LA to explore the art scene, and hit the snow in Tahoe.  I’m sure we’ll do many other fun and exciting things throughout this year, and I can’t wait to experience each one.
  3. Continue having adventures in fitness.   This year I want to continue finding new ways to enjoy fitness. One of my main ones for 2016 that I’d love to check off is zip lining! I’ve discovered that they do it right in my own backyard, in the Santa Cruz mountains, so I think this goal will be more than reachable this year.
  4. Read more books.  I know this seems like a strange goal for someone who loves to read and who teaches English for a living.  But oddly enough, I don’t have as much time to read as one would think.  Which is why I have to set this goal and MAKE the time to read.  I’ve challenged myself to read 26 books in 2016, and I’m going to have to get a move on if I want to reach this goal.  I’m continuing to read with  an online book club that has lots of fascinating books lined up.  Those, coupled with my own “to read” library will insure that I’ve always got a great book to enjoy.
  5. Tap into my creative side.  In the past I wasn’t great with this goal, but this year I’ve already made strong progress.  I’m on Instagram almost daily, creating fun collages of photos, setting backgrounds, and adding text to photos.  I love taking pictures and documenting my daily life, and the fact that RDC3 is a photographer really helps me get inspired with my shots.  Last year I discovered  Project Life, and although I didn’t do much more than buy lots of cute packages, I do want to use it as a way to “scrapbook” my life – both my weight loss journey and my adventures with RDC3.  Another creative outlet for me has been getting more involved in using my Erin Condren planner as more than just a place to put my daily lesson plans.  The planner community is strong on social media, and I’ve gotten lots of inspiration.  Plus, using my planner more combines creativity with my love of organization.

There you have it – 5 goals and priorities for 2016.  I can’t wait to see how much I accomplish!
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Everyday Bellina{Tap, tap…is this thing on?}

It seems that my last several posts, of which there have been far too few, have all started the same way: “It’s been so long since my last post. I’ve been….”  And while that’s still true, I don’t want to make a bunch of excuses for why my posting has been so sparse.  Instead, I think I’ll just give an update.

Life has been amazing.  I’m blessed in so many ways.

Let’s begin with the love life, shall we? As I posted earlier, I met a truly fantastic person, RDC3.  The update is that I am madly and deeply in love with him, and happily, the feelings are mutual.  Yes, the “L” word has been spoken out loud. Without planning it that way, we said it to each other for the first time very late at night/early in the morning on our 6-month anniversary. We were having a very deep conversation, as we often do late at night on Sundays, and we both expressed how we were feeling.  I’ll never forget it.  (Truth be told, I’d told RDC3 that I loved him a couple of months earlier, but this was the first time he’d actually said it out loud to me.  I knew how he felt because of his actions and the way he looked at me, but it’s a whole other thing to hear those words spoken for the first time, you know?).  I definitely think saying it to each other with such honest emotion took our relationship to another level.  There are so many details that I could share, but I’ve made the decision that I want to keep our relationship private.  Which is odd for someone like me who likes to detail so much of my life.  But our relationship is so special to me that I don’t want to put it all out there for the world to read about.  Of course I’ll highlight our most important milestones, or fabulous things we do together, but the intimate details are going to stay just that, intimate.

Work has been going really well.  I’m loving being back in the classroom! I’m teaching the same American Lit honors and yearbook classes I used to, and this year I have a new sophomore English class that I’m really enjoying.  I was actually really worried about the 10th-graders, because I’d heard that they were “freshmen without fear.”  But my particular students are sweet and very friendly, and I’m so glad that I’m teaching those two classes.  They’re actually a ton of fun because they’re more mature than freshmen, but not as stressed out as the juniors.  I’m really enjoying teaching the new curriculum, but it is a lot of work to create brand new lessons and pacing for this class.  So I am looking forward to next year, when I don’t have to do quite so much work for that class.  I’m very proud of myself for the way that I’ve been able to keep up with the grading this year.  Especially considering that I now balance a social life with my working life.

The one thing that has really slipped is my fitness.  In terms of my weight, I’ve gained about 7-10 pounds (it varies) of “love” weight.  Mostly due to the fact that I’ve hardly been working out.  Thankfully, my sleeve (VSG) keeps me in control in terms of the portions I eat.  No matter how decadent the dinner we eat might be, I’m still able to keep things in moderation because I don’t eat that much of any one thing.  My workouts have suffered, not because of RDC3, but because of my teaching schedule.  I haven’t been very motivated to wake up by 4:45am so that I can workout, get ready, and make it to school by 7:30am.  But that has to change because I don’t like the lack of muscle tone that I’m noticing in my body.  I was doing so well, and I want to get back to that.  In fact, I want to surpass where I was.

In terms of my future with this blog, I want to be a lot more active than I have been in the past 7 months.  (Geez writing 2 posts in that time would be an improvement).  I won’t make any certain commitment to how often I’ll be writing, because I don’t want to disappoint myself (or anyone else) by not meeting that commitment.  And I won’t be writing much (if at all) about my relationship.  But I do want to continue to motivate myself and others by writing about returning to my workout routine, my weight loss, and my determination to reach my goals.

{In the mean time, if it’s been a while since I’ve posted something on this blog, check out my Instagram account – I post on there almost daily}.

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bilbl_superOn Sunday, June 14th my sister, 3 friends, and I got up super early and drove up to San Francisco’s Presidio area to participate in the inaugural Mermaid Series Tour de San Francisco bike ride.  I was so excited to take part in this ride because I’ve participated in Mermaid Series events a few times in the past, and appreciated how organized and fun they are. Plus, I love riding my bike, and who better to do it with than my sister and my 3 BFFs?  Not to mention, I’ve never ridden my bike across the Golden Gate Bridge, so that would be exciting, too.

We’d signed up for the 7-mile ride, choosing the more conservative mileage since this was our first attempt.  I kept thinking we should’ve signed up for the 13-miler, but once I saw the hills involved in that leg of the ride, I’m so glad we stuck with the shorter distance.

Since it was 6:30am when we left my house, the ride up to the City was smooth and easy.  Hardly any other crazies on the road at that time of the morning on a Sunday.  We even found a primo parking area, which made the start of the race really nice.

Of course we had to stop and take some pre-race photos to capture the moment.

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Geared up and ready to ride!

Geared up and ready to ride!

It was a foggy morning, which is usual at Crissy Field in the morning, but it was the perfect temperature for the bike ride.  As we made our approach to the Golden Gate Bridge, we all took photos to capture the beauty all around us.

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As we turned that corner, we realized what they meant by a “medium-sized hill.”  I guess the Mermaid Series is all about the art of understatement, because the hill was quite steep.  I rode it almost all the way to the top, but eventually had to get off my bike and walk.  One of my goals for next year’s ride (because my friends and I all plan on doing this ride again next year) is to make it up the hill all the way without getting off to walk.

Once we hit a really scenic area right before we’d get on the Bridge, we all stopped to take photos again.

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I love this pic of my sister and me and our

I love this pic of my sister and me and our “dueling” bikes.

Now it was time to get on the Bridge and ride. The wind was blowing, the fog was rolling, the cars were speeding by, and other bikers kept saying, “on your left,” but despite these obstacles, I was truly awed at the fact that I was riding my bike on this magnificent bridge.  There really is nothing else like it anywhere.

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The journey toward Sausalito was tough – my legs were pumping and we were fighting the elements, including that brutal wind, which offered a ton of resistance.  There was also a very steady incline the entire time.  All of this didn’t phase me, though, because if I have one thing going for me with these big thighs it’s that they’re strong and powerful.

We made it to the Sausalito side and found another opportunity to take a water break and snap a few more photos.

My sis and I, happy that we made it across.

My sis and I

When one of your friends is 6 feet tall and you're only 5'3

When one of your friends is 6 feet tall and you’re only 5’3″, taking a selfie is tough business.

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Luckily, we found two nice sisters who were willing to take a proper group photo for us. I love this photo so much, and have made it my cover photo on FB.

Inspired that we’d made it halfway across the Bridge, we knew heading back to the end would be much easier. Not only was the wind on our side this way, but we also had a steady decline on the way back, too.  I had my bike on the highest gear and my had on the break almost the entire way back.  The only harrowing part was the cross traffic of bikers, and the “expert” riders who were also trying to pass in a very narrow space.  Since this wasn’t a race, but just a ride, I’m not sure what the need was to pass with so little room.  Not to mention that most of these people weren’t even taking part in the ride.  I guess people like speed.  I’m not one to talk – I’m highly competitive and prefer going as fast as possible, most of the time.

I got away from most of the “traffic” so that I could take a few more action shots and a quick video.

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The entire time I was riding to the finish line, I just kept thinking about how happy I was to share this experience with these awesome ladies.  And about how far I’d come – at my heaviest weight I might have been able to make the 7-miles, but I know I would’ve been so much slower and very sore for days afterward.  And I would have been ultra concerned with how my big butt looked on that cruiser.  I can honestly say this thought didn’t even cross my mind once during the ride.  I know I still have a big booty, but I’m proud of it, and all of my curves.  Doing these kinds of events always solidifies for me how much I’ve accomplished in my weight loss and fitness goals.

Once we hit the finish line, which we crossed as a 5-pack, we triumphed over our achievement.  You can’t miss those huge smiles on our faces at a job well done.

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I cannot say enough about what a great time we had on this ride.  It was scenic, challenging, and so much fun.  If you have the chance to do a Mermaid Series race, ride, or swim, I highly recommend it.  My sister, friends, and I all said we’re looking forward to making this an annual adventure. Can’t wait!

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I always love going shopping, but I especially love it when I find great deals and hit new NSVs in the process.

Today I was shopping at Target, and some maxi skirts caught my eye.  The $15 price tag was too good to pass up. Normally maxi anything doesn’t fit me because they’re always really long on my 5″3′ frame.  But because there’s nothing as easy-breezy as throwing on a maxi skirt and a tank on a warm summer day, I figured I’d give them a go.  Here’s where the NSV comes in – I picked out a couple of Larges in patterns I liked, held the hanger up to my waist, saw that it wasn’t dragging on the ground, and bought them – without trying them on!  I was that confident that they’d fit.

When I got home, I immediately tried the skirts on, and was pleasantly surprised that they weren’t the least bit snug.  They hugged my curves well, but were very flowy and not even a little bit tight.  In the pictures I took, I don’t even have a shaper on, which is a bit of an NSV in itself.  (Although I might wear a shaper under the skirt when I really wear it out, just to avoid any jiggling when I walk).

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(Forgive the hair in these pics – it’s raining here today, and I’d been running around).

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Even though these both have horizontal stripes, I think they’re pretty flattering on.  And I love that they’re short enough for me to wear flip flops if I want to.  Although I could see dressing the outfit up with some strappy wedges that I have, too.  The tank is also new and has a really pretty weave to it (which I know you can’t see in these pics).

The best NSV was when RC3 and I were walking around Union Square in SF on Saturday and decided to go inside Banana Republic’s flagship store.  I love the classic, sophisticated style of the clothes at Banana Republic, but for years only window shopped because I could never fit into them.  And I guess I sort of forgot about the store in this past year, even though I’m down to a size that they actually carry.  So when RC3 suggested that we go inside and look around a bit, I was excited to see what they had.

We happened upon the sale section, and one dress immediately caught my eye – it was a black and white abstract floral pattern and cut in my favorite 50s style.  I loved the shape of it, and the fact that when I held the hanger up to myself, it wasn’t too short.  (I’m still really self-conscious about the flub on my knees and thighs). The dress hits just a “tidge” below my knees, which is my favorite length.  It was originally $119, but on sale half off, so I got it for $65, tax and all.  Don’t you just love a great deal wrapped in a Banana Republic bag?  I know I do!

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I went to the dressing room to try on the 12, and I was thrilled when I zipped it up and it fit.  Not only did it fit, but it looked really good.  It flatters my small waist, and allows enough room for my ample hips.  It looks so cute on, and I cannot wait to wear it.

Speaking of which, RC3 said that he’d seen that The Marriage of Figaro is coming to SF Opera, and asked if I’d want to go.  Would I?!  Of course!!  Neither of us has ever been to the opera before, and the SF Opera house is truly spectacular.  Plus, this opera has such a light, fun storyline. My sister took a music appreciate class in college, and studied many of Mozart’s operas, and she said it is by far, her favorite.  How romantic will it be to go to the opera for the first time with RC3, getting all dolled up?  I’m definitely wearing this dress!

Now I just have to find some awesome heels to go with it… which will be another NSV.  😉

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