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As you guys know, I’ve been loving the ToneItUp‘s workouts since mid-January.  I’ve done them 5 days a week, every week since I began, only missing while I was on vacation in Hawaii.  (If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend you do.  It’s completely free, and they have a fun community, full of supportive, motivating people who cheer on every workout you post about).

They’re about to launch their new #bikiniseries this coming Monday, which will run for 8 weeks, until the official start of summer.  Karena and Katrina put so much into the daily workouts they design, and the best part is, the whole thing is free.  All you need to do is sign up for the #bikiniseries and you’ll get reminder emails, weekly workouts, fun giveaways, yummy recipes, contests, etc.

I like the approach that Tone It Up takes toward living a healthy lifestyle.  Not only do they include workouts and nutrition, but they also concentrate on mindset.  Take yesterday’s challenge, for example:

The challenge asked participants to create their own summer must-do list.  Beyond workouts and eating right, what were things that we wanted to make sure to fit in this summer? I loved this! Any time I can make a list and get creative with my summer plans, I’m all for it!  As a teacher, lots of people ask me, what do you do all summer long?  My answer is always the same – anything I want to!  :)  This summer, I really want to concentrate on enjoying each and every day.  I didn’t include all of my plans on my list, but I did include most of the things I’m hoping to do:

 

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The photo I used is one that was taken for me by a Danish tourist while I was riding my bike at Kailua Beach on Oahu.  She worried that I would be upset that so much of it was in the shadows, but I assured her that I actually liked the way it turned out.  It was the perfect photo to use for this assignment because it has an artsy feel right off the bat.  I like the way I’m in silhouette with the bike, but the ocean and the beach are in the bright sun in the background.

I thought I’d elaborate a bit on each of these summer plans…

Mid-morning swims: One of my favorite parts of summer is being able to swim at the pool at my parents’ townhouse complex.  More often than not, if I get there by 10:30 or 11, I have the entire place to myself, and I’m free to swim laps to my heart’s content.  Sometimes my dad and I meet there and swim together, and it’s a nice way for us to connect with each other as we update each other on the latest family happenings while we’re drying off in the sun.  It’s also a great time for me to be alone with my thoughts and just let go of all worries and stress.  Swimming really soothes me, and I can’t wait to start my almost-daily swims.

Daily doses of laughter: Whether it’s retelling a funny story, joking with my nieces, or watching Sofi do something goofy, I want to appreciate all the little moments of laughter that are part of my daily life this summer.  Laughter is good for the soul and the spirit, and I want to make sure I’m enjoying it all the time.

Hawaii-themed party: Since I had such a fun time in Hawaii, I figured it would be fun to have a party with a Hawaiian theme.  I’m still deciding if I’ll combine it with a Silpada party that I’m planning to have, or if it will be more of a traditional party.  Either way, I have plenty of fun outfits to choose from.

Coffee chats: I live really close to Starbucks (doesn’t everyone?!), so close in fact, that I can walk there with ease.  It’s become a habit with three or four of my friends that we meet up there and catch up about all that’s going on in our lives.  It’s the perfect place to get together because I can get a calorie-free passion iced tea, or a caffeine kick with an iced cinnamon dolce misto.  As far as I’m concerned, coffee is the perfect drink any time of day, so it fits well with a more carefree summer schedule.

SF (and SJ) Giants games: I love supporting my Giants, and plan to go to as many games as I can afford to this summer.  One that I know I’ll go to is the Italian Night at the Giants, where a really large group of family and friends all get together.  It’s so much fun!  The tickets at AT&T Park are expensive, so lately my friends and I have been opting to go to the SJ Giants games.  Not only are they ridiculously inexpensive (less than $10 per game), but they’re a lot of fun.  Very family-friendly, with lots of activities for the kids to participate in between innings.  My friend Di and I are even signing up to do the Giant 5K, which gets us into the game the evening of the race.  I’m actually going to an SJ Giants game this Friday with my sister and nieces, which will be tons of fun.  Bring on the baseball!!

Going on dates!: I’m actually really looking forward to this one.  Assuming of  course there are men to go on dates with.  I was only on Match.com for about 2 months back in November/December, and I have to say, I was pretty underwhelmed.  I got lots of winks, emails, and nudges, but when it came time for the guys to just make the move and ask for my number so we could move it to the next level of texting/talking on the phone and then hopefully soon afterward meeting up, they never pulled the trigger.  Even when I directly said, “here’s my number, I’d love to figure out a time for us to meet up for coffee or something.”  They disappeared quick.  I’m not one to go into a long and drawn out relationship online via email, or text, for that matter.  If you’re interested, you think I’m cute, you want to get to know me better, then let’s do that – let’s meet up and see if we hit it off.  Because we can have all the chemistry in the world online, we won’t know if we’re really going to be attracted to each other until we meet up.  I’m hoping that this time of year will be easier to connect than it was around the holidays.  One of the major takeaways I had from my trip to Hawaii was that I’m really ready to be in a relationship, even a more casual one.  Hopefully I have a bit of romance in store this summer.

Leash-free beach trips: Last summer I had a blast taking Sofi to a lesser-known beach where she could run off leash.  We have the best time when we go – she loves running along the shore, but is afraid to get too close to the water, so I don’t have to worry much about the waves taking her.  We both get in a great walk, we get some sunshine, and I get to read and relax.  What could be better?  Besides just that particular dog-friendly beach, I also hope to hit the other local beaches often this summer.

Long walks w/ Sofi: I take Sofi on walks almost every single day, but in the summer it’s so nice to be able to wake up and take a nice, long walk before the temperature heats up too much.  I love exploring all the different streets around my neighborhood with Sofi.  She loves when I find new places for our walks, so that’s definitely on my to-do summer list.

Reading: I’m not off to the best start so far this year in terms of my reading goal on Goodreads, but I did get quite a bit of reading time in when I was on vacation in Hawaii.  My goal for the summer is to fit in at least an hour a day of reading time.  I enjoy reading so much, and I want to make it a priority during the time of year when I have so few responsibilities pulling my focus from the things I enjoy.

Riding roller coasters: This is a huge one for me! It will definitely be its own blog post when it happens because it will be a major NSV.  I love going on roller coasters – the wilder and faster the better.  I haven’t been on one in I can’t even remember how long because of the time that I got on one and almost had to get off because the safety bar wasn’t going to close.  I pleaded with the kid running the ride to let me stay on it, and he did.  After that I only got bigger and knew that roller coaster were way out of reach.  I didn’t ever want to risk the embarrassment of being asked to get off before I was able to ride the ride.  So, this summer I plan on going to Great America and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to ride as many roller coasters as I can.  Can’t wait!!

Family BBQs: I love grilling any day of the week, but getting together with my family and friends and sharing a meal as easy as BBQing is something really look forward to.  Sometimes it’s as simple as bringing my meat over to their house for an impromptu BBQ; other times it’s a more planned affair, like for Father’s Day or 4th of July.  Either way, I can’t wait to fire up the grill and get cooking!

Cocktails: Summertime is a great time to relax and let go a bit.  While I usually only drink on special occasions because the alcohol has empty calories, there is something to be said for enjoying a nice glass of white wine or a Swirl (local peeps will know what time talking about) with friends. Any afternoon or evening becomes more of a celebration when you add a cocktail.

Bike rides: I love riding my cruiser around, and now that more of my friends have bikes, too, I hope to get out and go on rides all summer long.  Half Moon Bay, Morgan Hill, and everywhere in between.  I love the freedom I feel when I’m riding my bike, the sun shining on my face, the wind in my hair.  There’s nothing in the world like it.

Backyard lounging: I have this great Adirondack chair that I bought a few years ago that’s nicely weathered now.  I adore sitting in it and enjoying the peace and serenity of my backyard.  Looking at the garden and seeing the flowers and trees.  Watching Sofi cavorting in the grass.  Reading, listening to music, or just trying to keep cool on a warm night.  Sounds perfect to me.

There are a lot more things I could add to my list, but I’ll save those up until I have enough to create an entirely new one.  This was such a fun exercise, and I’m really glad the Tone It Up girls gave this assignment.  It put me in a great mood and gave me some inspiration to get through these last weeks of my school year.

Now that you’ve read my list of how I’m going to create my summer, I’d like to challenge you to write your own list.  Either in the comments or by joining the TIU challenge.  Post a pic on Instagram with your list.  Tweet about it.  Write your own blog post.  It was a fun activity that really put me in the mindset to enjoy myself this summer, and I can’t wait to read about your plans.

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c3959dd8e615028a696c196daabc7017I wish that I didn’t have this story to share, but it so affected me this week that I think I have to tell it.

I think I mentioned a while ago that ever since surgery, my naturally curly hair had turned really wild and frizzy (frizzier than usual), and I really couldn’t do anything with it. So, I decided to treat myself to a keratin hair treatment with my mom’s stylist, J. It was pricey – $300, but the smoothing lasts 4 months the first time, and then 6 months at at time with subsequent treatments. J only uses formaldehyde-free keratin, which is actually good for the hair because it adds luster and protein, takes out the frizz, and completely smooths the hair out. It would leave my hair much less curly, but I liked that it wouldn’t make it stick straight. I had the treatment done on December 13th, and absolutely love the results:

Don't mind the no-makeup look - I blew out my hair at night before bed.

Don’t mind the no-makeup look – I blew out my hair at night before bed.

The only thing about the hair was that by the next day, it looked a lot flatter/less full than I would’ve liked:

2013-12-26 15.53.30 It also needed to get a bit cleaned up in the back (see the photo above), as well as a bit darker on the color. It had a bit more red in it than I would’ve liked. So I headed to my usual stylist, D, whom I’ve been going to for a few years. I told D that I wanted it to be a bit fuller somehow, and she suggested some layers, to which I said, “sure.” I did tell her that I want to let it grow so that it’s at least to my shoulders, or maybe a bit past. She started cutting A LOT off the top of my hair, and while I was a bit concerned, I didn’t worry too much, because I’m not a stylist, and I assumed D knew what she was doing. Then she started using a curling iron to add some volume to the top, and then added some curls to the sides, which was strange. I didn’t love the result of the styling she did, but I didn’t think too much of it, paid her, and left.

I had plans to meet up with a friend I haven’t seen since high school, so as soon as I got home, I jumped in the shower, re-washed my hair and started blowing it out again. I was horrified with what I saw next (and I actually can’t believe I’m posting these online):

Can you say, Long Island Medium? I think the look on my face says it all.

Can you say, Long Island Medium? I think the look on my face says it all. These pictures don’t look as bad as it was in real life.

I don’t know what the hell D was thinking, but this was horrible. I was completely crushed. I felt terrible. Seeing my hair like this brought me back to those feelings of ugliness I had when I was 315 pounds. Those feelings of not having anything to wear, of hating the way I looked. I haven’t felt that way in so long. I’ve actually be so happy with the way my hair was looking, because unlike with curly hair where I never know from day to day what it’s going to look like, with the straight style, I knew it always looked nice. Until now. This completely destroyed my self esteem and I was really depressed Thursday evening and most of Friday. I cancelled on my friend (who was so understanding), and changed plans with another friend so that we could stay in instead of heading out on Friday night.

I made the decision Thursday night that I wasn’t going to D ever again. My family was trying to convince me to tell her how upset I was, but I told them that I didn’t see the point. I didn’t want her anywhere near my hair, and without letting her have the chance to fix it, there was really no point in getting into it with her. I’m not one to shy away from confrontation, not that there would’ve been anything like that going on, but it was just so awkward to bring this up to her. So we’re done.

I spent most of Saturday praying that my hair would grow fast, because I seriously didn’t know what I was going to do for the next month or two.  All of that money wasted on a keratin treatment that wouldn’t show because of this f***ed up haircut.

Curly it was a bit better, but not much.

Curly it was a bit better, but not much. It was flatter on one side than the other, making the curls on one side really flat.

Then Saturday morning I got a call from J’s salon, telling me my mom had scheduled and paid for an appointment with J for Saturday afternoon.  How sweet of her!  I wasn’t sure what J was going to be able to do, but I loved her professionalism with the keratin treatment, and had always heard nothing but great things about her from my mom.  I knew J was a perfectionist, and wouldn’t stop until she got the cut/color/treatment just right. She was my hair 911.

As we were going over the haircut, J pointed out how uneven it was.  It was shorter on one side, had been cut into on the other, and had even been texturized, which is something that should never be done to my hair.  Not only that, but J said that there was no weight line, which my hair needs, so that it holds its shape at the bottom.  She wanted to make a few snips here and there, and I told her, “I have complete trust in you, J, and besides, it really can only get better from here.”  She spent so long making sure each strand was just right, and then explained what she was doing as she went.  Completely the opposite of the chop job D did on me.  I left the salon feeling hopeful, and looking forward to my next appointment with J in 6 weeks.  (That quote at the beginning of this post is SO true – and J is definitely that hard-to-find hairdresser).

I am thrilled with what J was able to do with the mess I brought to her salon.

I am thrilled with what J was able to do with the mess I brought to her salon. The smile is back!

You might read this post and think that I’m so vapid and superficial for letting something like hair affect me so much. I’d respond that hair is one of the first things people see – it’s something I wear every single day.  My hair has gone through a lot lately, what with it getting thinner, and losing so much of it for 3 months after WLS.  Now that it’s finally growing back, getting thicker, and looking good smoothed out after the keratin treatment, I feel better about myself.  It goes along with the new person I’ve become through my weight loss.  My confidence is one of my best traits, and I’m so thankful to have it back.

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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 27: Laugh
Pee your pants funny | What was the funniest thing that happened this year?  Was it funny when it happened?  Or was it one of those things you laughed about later?

When I think of this prompt, no specific event comes to mind, but when I look back at 2013, there were lots of small moments filled with smile and laughter.

  • Sofi does things on a daily basis that make me chuckle to myself
  • My nieces are full of life and they constantly make me giggle
  • My family and I get along so well with each other, and we’ve been through so much.  We can die laughing recalling an old story.
  • My students are hilarious and I love how often they make me laugh out loud.
  • My friends and I are constantly cracking each other up.

I’m so lucky to have laughter in my life all the time.

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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 20: Counting My Blessings
Gratitude | How did you show gratitude this year?  Did you keep a gratitude journal?  How do you want gratitude to play a role in your life in 2014?

I believe in counting my blessings on a daily basis.  I don’t keep a gratitude journal, per se, but I do make sure to appreciate all of the little things that make me so lucky.  On a simple daily walk with Sofi I breathe in, look around, and marvel at all that I have to be thankful for.   I live in a great place that’s safe and comfortable.  I have amazing friends and family who love me unconditionally and support my every endeavor.  I have a job that I look forward to going to and where I’m appreciated.  I’m well on my way to my goal weight, thanks in big part to the fact that I had weight loss surgery. I reach new fitness milestones almost daily, and the magnitude of how far I’ve come doesn’t escape me.

I am so happy with where I am in my life, and I hope to continue this attitude of gratitude into 2014.

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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 6: Blowing Out the Candles
You’re another year older!  How did you celebrate the passage of another year?  Did it turn out the way you had hoped?

I love birthdays! My own and everyone else’s.  From the time I was a young girl my parents always made birthdays my own private holiday. (For both my sister and me). There’s nothing more special than feeling like the entire day is dedicated just to you.

This year, I had a nice, quiet birthday.  Since it was a year without an 0 or a 5 in it, I spent the day doing all the things I love.  I woke up to my parents on the other end of the phone, singing me “Happy Birthday.”  Then I got on the scale, and saw a nice weight loss (great gift!).  Then Sofi and I went on a long walk, followed by some pool time.  Later in the afternoon my sister and I had some sister time getting a pedi.  And then the evening was spent opening presents and going to dinner at a great seafood dinner with my family.  My friends took me out for dinners and drinks and coffee dates the days before and after.

It was wonderful to spend the time surrounding my special day with everyone I love.  Sure, I would have loved to have a huge surprise party with tons of friends and family, or go on a trip to Vegas with all my girlfriends, but spending a quieter day doing all the little things that make me smile was fitting for the year I’ve lived.  This year I’ve spent so much time making my life better through health and fitness, and while the overall changes have been dramatic, they came about in small, subtle ways.

They say the way that you spend New Year’s Eve is the way that you’ll spend the year ahead.  Since I consider my birthday my own little “new year’s day,” I guess the same can apply.  I spent the day doing all the little things that make me happy, and this year has been my happiest yet.

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Saturday+SmilesWhat a day it’s been!  I’ve gotten so much accomplished, and it isn’t even 3pm yet. Although my To Do list does have a few more items on it…but those can wait till tomorrow.

1374797_10151835540301234_1766305497_n I definitely did this, bright and early this morning.  I hit the neighborhood high school track again for Week 1, Day 2 of C25K. This time I brought my mom and my sister with me.  They’d been inspired by what I did yesterday, and figured they’d give it a whirl.  Both of them tried jogging for a bit, but decided they preferred walking, which is just fine.  The only downside to today’s jaunt was that we got there at 7:30am, and it was FREEZING.  I found it so much harder to jog when it’s really cold out – I was much more out of breath than I was yesterday.  But I still completed all the run/walk intervals, which makes me really proud – proud enough to smile.

Most of the day today was dedicated to a “photo shoot” for my Christmas card.  I knew what I wanted it to look like, but I needed to ply my sister with a P.F. Chang’s gift card in order for her to put up with my diva behavior.  We even had a “costume change” halfway through. Since I won’t be able to send most of you a card, here’s the result:

ChristmasCard2013

On the back I was able to write a bit about what this year has meant to me, and I also included a cute photo of Sofi & me:

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A bit of backstory to this photo – I had to stand on a chair so that I’d be tall enough for the holly tree berries to show up in the photo.  This meant that my sis also had to get up on a step ladder to take the photo.  See why she totally earned that gift card?!

Since I was in the photo-taking mood (really, when am I NOT in the photo-taking mood?!), I decided it was time for a Santa hat before/during photo.  The left one is from 2 years ago and the one on the right is today.

2011 to 2013

Seeing the changes in all of these photos puts a huge smile on my face.  It’s one thing to see the numbers on the scale, and it’s an entirely different thing to see photo proof.  BTW, the lipstick I have on in all of these photos I took today is the Snow White from NYX that I bought a few weeks ago – I love it!

Yesterday I got all of my Christmas shopping done, except for a couple of stocking stuffer-type items that I have to pick up.  And I’m very proud to say I didn’t fight the crowds and risk life and limb to do it. (Did you read this story about the person who died at a Black Friday sale? Simply disgusting and ridiculous.  I’m all for capitalism, but people are acting like animals).  Anyway, without needing to change out of my pjs, I got presents for everyone on my list.  I found some excellent items that I think they’ll really love.  And if you know me, you know I also bought myself a few things in the process.

HallmarkChristmas

I’ve been spending the past two days inside, taking down the Thanksgiving decorations and getting all the Christmas ones organized.  Plus the aforementioned online shopping and Christmas card creation.  And while I have been a busy little bee, I’ve had the Hallmark Channel on in the background.  They’re playing all of their Christmas made-for-TV movies right now, and I am loving every cheesy scene.  So far the Mrs. Miracle ones are my favorites, but they’ve all been really cute.  They’re the type of movies that make you believe not only in the spirit of Christmas, but in happy endings.

the-book-thief Speaking of movies, tonight my parents, sister, and I are heading to dinner at Outback, followed by going to see The Book Thief.  I haven’t read the book, although I have it, but I didn’t want to miss the movie, because I think it looks really good.

The rest of the weekend should be just as fun as the week has been – I’m meeting up with a friend for coffee tomorrow morning, decorating the rest of the house for Christmas throughout the day, and of course catching my 49ers beating the Rams.

I hope you’ve had just as many smiles today as I have.

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Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on all of the blessings I have in my life.  This has been quite a year – so many of my greatest wishes have come true.

  • I’m thankful, above all, for all the people whom I love.  My family and friends have always been incredibly supportive of me, and all of them are cheering loudly with each new success I share. I am so lucky to know all of them.
  • Every single day I am so grateful that I get to have Sofi in my life. She adds so much joy, so much fun, so many smiles, and my life would not be as full without her.
  • I am so glad to have a job that I look forward to going to each weekday.  Teaching is a career that gives me so much happiness, and while it won’t make me rich, it does allow me to live a fairly comfortable life.  My students inspire me on a daily basis, and they teach me just as much (if not more) as I teach them. And let’s face it, I’m really grateful for the school vacations, too.
  • I am really thankful for every one of you who read this blog and offer words of encouragement, support, and friendship.  Thank you.
  • I am so grateful for all of my pals on MyFitnessPal who cheer every ounce I lose and every new fitness feat I accomplish.
  • I’m so glad that I live in this wonderful place called the Bay Area.  The weather is gorgeous, the scenery is beautiful, and there is so much to see and do.  I can drive 45 minutes to see the ocean, 1 hour to San Francisco, and less than 2 hours to Napa/wine country.  But more than that, I live in a lovely, safe neighborhood that’s only minutes away from lots of my friends and family.
  • This year, I am so thankful that I was finally able to have the VSG surgery.  It was a struggle to get to the pre-op weight requirement, but even those trials taught me something.  And life since surgery has been even more than I could have imagined.
  • Every NSV I celebrate is a way of me announcing how grateful I am that I have been able to change my life for the better mentally and physically.
  • I am grateful for this whole new world of clothing sizes that I’m able to explore. Each time I can purchase something in a store I would’ve only window shopped at before helps me realize how happy I am.
  • I am thankful for this body of mine that allows me to be amazed at all I can do.
  • I’m eternally grateful for this life I lead, where the possibilities are endless and the best of me is yet to come!

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Happy Thanksgiving!

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Happy Monday! Today I’m especially happy because I have the day off.  This is the first year that my district has given us the entire week of Thanksgiving off, and this week-long break couldn’t have come at a better time.  I’m looking forward to spending extra time with friends and family, and I have a few other fun plans, too.

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: The Holidays and More: Part 2

1.  What state/country do you live in?  I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, California (USA)

2.  Where were you born?  Were you raised there?  I was born and raised in the same neighborhood I live in now.  I love it here, and have no plans to move.

3.  How do you feel about stores like Wal-mart opening on Thanksgiving Day for pre-Black Friday sales?  Will you participate?  I think it’s a terrible practice.  I don’t like Wal-Mart for so many reasons, but especially the way they treat their employees.  I definitely won’t be participating.  I don’t even shop on Black Friday.  I prefer to stay home (or away from the malls) and do my shopping online.cyber Monday.

4.  Have you ever participated in a Turkey Trot?  Will you do one this year?  Yes, I did one several ago, when I was having all those problems with the numbness in my feet/legs.  It wasn’t easy at all, but I did complete it – slowly.  I’m signed up for the Turkey Trot this year, and I know that it will be a whole different experience this year.  In fact, I plan on having a PR!  In anticipation of the event, I bought this great turkey headband (for $1.99 at Party City), and I’m really excited about the shirt – in a size L!

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5.  What was your favorite toy as a child?  I don’t know if I can name just one.  I absolutely loved reading my books. I also loved riding my bike and putting on my roller skates, but in terms of toys, I loved playing with Barbies. Even as I got older, I loved styling the hair of my Barbie head:

My  Barbie head didn't have the cool colors in her hair, but it was pretty close to this one.

My Barbie head didn’t have the cool colors in her hair, but it was pretty close to this one.

6.  Will you count points/calories on Thanksgiving Day?  Yes, I track my food on MyFitnessPal every single day, every single meal, and Thanksgiving Day will be no different.  This is a lifestyle for me.  Which is not to say that I won’t enjoy my food, but I’m going to use the built-in portion control of my sleeve to make sure I don’t go overboard.

7.  Will you watch football Thursday?  I love football, so I’m sure we’ll watch the games.  I’m more excited about tonight’s Monday Night Football game featuring my 49ers!

8.  Do you decorate inside/outside of your home for the holidays?  Yes, I am really looking forward to Friday, when I’ll completely decorate my house (living room and dining room) and front porch.  I put on my Christmas music playlist and just enjoy prepping the house for Christmas.  It puts me in such a wonderful mood.  I don’t put a Christmas Tree up, but I do think my house is really festive and inviting anyway.

9.  Do you have allergies that prevent you from eating traditional holiday meals? No.

10.  Is it snowing where you live?  It never snows here. Although the snow is about 4 hours away, in Lake Tahoe.  I’m actually very interested in heading to the snow at some point this winter.

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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Saturday+Smiles

One huge thing making me smile today is the fact that I have the entire week off next week! This is the first time my school district has given us the whole week off – we usually get Wednesday – Friday, but having these two extra days is really wonderful. I don’t have anything “amazing” planned, but I do think I’m going to do a few things:

  • clean and organize the closets
  • cheer for my 49ers as they win on Monday Night Football
  • start my Match.com profile – I recently bought a Groupon for $17 for one month on Match.com, so there soon may be some interesting tales to tell of my online dating exploits
  • get my hair blown out at Dry Bar Tuesday night with Tinkerbell
  • watch Hunger Games on Netflix and then go see Catching Fire at the theatre
  • start C25K on Monday
  • begin reading The Theory of Opposites (and hopefully finish it before the week is over)
  • buy some “after school”/casual clothes in smaller sizes
  • do the Turkey Trot Thursday morning w/ Ani
  • take Sofi on plenty of long walks

Yesterday I went to Sports Basement to pick up my bib for the Turkey Trot. Originally I was going to get a women’s XXL, since the race shirts are the technical tees that are slim fit, but they didn’t have any that size.  So I knew it was time to get a men’s tee.  I went over to the XLs, and one of the guys doling out the shirts told me, “there’s no way that shirt is going to fit you – it’s way too big.”  Too big!!! An XL! I mean, just a couple of months ago, an XL in men’s wouldn’t have fit me at all and I would’ve been hoping I could stretch out an XXL.  So, I picked up a large, and… it fits.  It not only fits, it looks good!

2013turkeytrotshirt

This morning I started bright and early on the hybrid and did the elliptical for 45 minutes! I haven’t done the elliptical for more than a month, favoring the recumbent bike, but this morning I wanted more of a burn. Plus, I wanted to push myself a bit more.  I told myself, “just do it for 30 minutes.” Then when it was getting closer to 30 minutes, I said, “go till 45 minutes, you can do it, no problem.” And I was right.  Pushing myself a bit more felt great, and I burned 646 calories! I’m going to do it again tomorrow morning, but I’m going to put in an hour.

Today I got to spend lots of time with my sister and my 6-year-niece (the older niece is on a Girl Scouts camping trip in Point Reyes, so she’s having fun, too).  This afternoon we went for a nice walk at the Rose Garden with the pups, and then after dinner we put on our dancin’ shoes and had a ton of fun playing Just Dance 4.  My little niece is quite the hip-hop dancer, and whenever a song with an upbeat tempo came on she’d say, “now THIS is my kinda song!”  Too cute.  It’s great having so much more energy to do all these fun activities with my family.

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Today FaveCousin and I walked in the SF Mermaid 5K.  A stark contrast from my first Mermaid 5K, which I participated in back in March 2009 with my sister.  If you have a few minutes, go and read that post.  If you don’t have a few, I’ll recap it:

It was March 2009. I weighed 275 pounds or so (over 60 pounds more than I do now, but 40 pounds less than my all-time highest weight).  I had signed up for Team in Training, planning to walk a half marathon, but had been having difficulty with numbness in my right foot which moved up my leg all the way to my hip.  It was awful, debilitating, and extremely frustrating.  But my friend Harj decided that she wanted all of her friends to celebrate her birthday by participating in the Mermaid Run.  So I asked my sister if she’d do it with me.  From the start of the race, everyone passed us – the runners, the power walkers, the walkers, the women with strollers – everyone.  I mean, we were dead last.  And it got to me because I wanted to push harder, go farther, move faster.  But I couldn’t.  I had shin splints, cramps in my calves, and the numbness in my feet/legs.  I broke down hysterically crying shortly after we’d begun, and my sister had to talk me down.  One of the things I realized that day was that I’d have to forgo the TNT training and the 1/2 marathon, because I physically just couldn’t do it.  It was one of my low points in this journey.

The photo on the left was taken in March 2009.  The one of the right was taken today.  I can see a HUGE change in my face.

The photo on the left was taken in March 2009. The one of the right was taken today. I can see a HUGE change in my face.

Cut to today – FaveCousin and I had to walk about a mile from the parking lot to the start of the race and we did so in less than 12 minutes!  We got to the starting line and enjoyed the “girl power” music – Beyonce, Katy Perry (Even though I really dislike her music, I have to admit that “Roar” is a rallying song), etc.  I was excited for so many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that today I was wearing that women’s cut shirt that I would’ve never fit in back in 2009.

2013-11-10 07.23.332013-11-10 07.33.30 At 7:35am, the race started, and while plenty of people passed us, we were far from the last ones walking.  In fact, we were solidly in the middle of the pack.  This fact alone made me incredibly happy and awestruck at just how far I’ve come.

It's hard to see because of the lighting, but I just had to take a photo of all the walkers behind us.  We weren't the last ones!!

It’s hard to see because of the lighting, but I just had to take a photo of all the walkers behind us. We weren’t the last ones!! There are more walkers for a good half mile behind this group, too.

While we walked, I felt good.  I wasn’t exerting myself, and I knew that eventually I should either push myself to start competing in 10Ks or I should start run/walking.  (More on the running in a future post – let’s just say that next year I’m going to do my best to run most of the 5K). But for today, I decided to just continue walking at my 3.8mph pace, and enjoy the lovely scenery and the great company. Today there were no tears.  Today I was all smiles as I realized that this 5K was going to be an entirely different experience from the last Mermaid 5K.

2013-11-10 07.49.29 2013-11-10 07.40.14 2013-11-10 08.05.44 2013-11-10 08.03.48San Francisco really is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and that Golden Gate Bridge is one of the jewels.  The weather was brisk and chilly, but sunny while we were racing.  Oddly enough, the fog rolled in later in the morning, but while we walked we were blessed with the sunshine. (Although you can see just what the foggy, ocean air does to my hair – can we say ‘fro?!).

All told, we finished the 5K in 56 minutes, which is a darn good pace for walking.  I hit over 10,000 steps by 9am.  I’m so proud of all that I have accomplished and the dramatic difference between this race and the one back in 2009.  I’m a completely different person now, with abilities that match my determination.  I couldn’t be more thrilled with my progress!! Today was definitely one of the high points in my journey!

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