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Archive for the ‘healthy outlook’ Category

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Spring has sprung! Which means that the weather is turning warmer, the days are getting longer, and fitting in outdoor activities is a whole lot easier. Spring is a time of renewal, and in the spring of 2016  I’m living my life in full bloom! Now that I’m losing the weight that I’ve re-gained, the pounds I lose this spring are like petals on a flower, making my life just a bit more beautiful. I want to enjoy each day of this season, soaking in the sunshine, blue skies, and happiness. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend, and will give me a positive goal to begin each new week. My Sunday progress updates will be called Super Spring Weigh-Ins.

Week 1 of losing my regain found me slowly getting back on track after that painful reality check of last week’s weigh in when I saw 201.0 on the scale; a number I thought I’d never see again.  But sometimes a shock to the system is exactly what it takes to get me moving in the right direction. I was on spring break this week, so I had the time to make some slight, yet significant changes: I went on a hike and worked out at the gym with RDC3, I got in over 10,000 steps on trips to Half Moon Bay (with RDC3 and my parents) and Carmel (with RDC3 and Sofi).  I made a grocery run, prepared healthier meals, and had a general sense of things getting back into place.

bilbl_scale.jpg So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 199.2, which is a loss of 1.8 pounds this week! I’ve lost a total of 77.8 lbs since surgery and 115.8 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 49.2 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really happy with this week’s loss.  The first pound came off right away when I did my daily weigh-in on Monday; the other 0.8 came off a little at a time as the week continued.  Not only did I lose almost 2 pounds without any huge changes to my diet and exercise, but I’m gratefully back in ONEDERLAND.  I will never get out of it again!

Today I had an NSV when I texted RDC3 for our Sunday weight loss accountability update.  We’ve both gained weight since we’ve been together, so we’ve decided that enough is enough and it’s time to get serious about getting these pounds off.  He’s as committed to living a healthy lifestyle as I am, which is so nice. This is a whole new experience for me, because while I’ve had lots of great female friends who are weight loss buddies, I’ve never shared the weight loss journey with a boyfriend before.  That’s where the milestone comes in.  I’ve never, ever shared my actual weight with someone I was dating before.  EVER.  Even last week when I had that fateful weigh-in, I told RDC3 how much I’d gained, but not the actual number on the scale.  Today when I texted him my update, I told him the number.  Gulp!  He knew what it meant to me to be able to feel safe in sharing that with him, and he was so supportive.  He cheered on the fact that I’d lost 1.8 lbs, and didn’t make it a big deal about the 201.  Which means absolutely everything to me.  As he said, “we should be able to share everything with each other.”  And I couldn’t agree more.  That’s one of the many reasons I know that this is IT!

Phew! This week has been quite productive, when I look back at everything.  I faced the scale, made some easy changes, saw weight loss results, shared my weight with my boyfriend, and made lots of updates on my blog.  Progress!!

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Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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8_Reasons_You're_Regaining_Weight_11.15.15Or, to be more accurate, REgain!!

Now, let’s not overreact.  I haven’t completely blown everything that I worked so hard for.  I’ve still lost over 100 pounds; 115 to be exact.  Which is a tremendous accomplishment in and of itself.  One that I’m very proud of.  Anyone who sees me walking down the street wouldn’t think, “oh, she’s got such a pretty face, but….”  They might think I’ve got an overly big booty, but they wouldn’t categorize me as fat in any way.  I’m still wearing size 12 pants and large tops, which puts me below the national average.

A pic of RDC3 and me in Half Moon Bay, taken on Monday, April 4, 2016

A pic of RDC3 and me in Half Moon Bay, taken on Monday, April 4, 2016

But let’s also be honest.

  • I could tell I was gaining weight when some of my smaller workout tops started to be a bit too tight to comfortably  wear to the gym.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when the size 10 jeans I was so proud of fitting into no longer zipped up and I had to go buy some size 12s.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when I would see those “last year on this day” posts on FB and notice that my face was so much thinner in the then than in the now.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when I saw selfies that I took and noticed my collar bones weren’t quite sticking out as much as they once did.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when my hair stylist stopped asking me how much more weight I’d lost, as she had done at every appointment since my VSG surgery.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when I looked in the mirror and saw my face getting rounder.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when my mom mentioned something at Christmas.
  • I could tell I was gaining weight when my #TBT pics started showing my face looking bigger now instead of then:

    IMG_8785

    June 2015 vs March 2016

So while I “could tell I was gaining weight” for quite some time, I didn’t want to actually face the music, get on the scale, and see exactly how much I’d gained.  Because that would be a scary reality.

But scary or not, I told myself that I am someone who faces her fears head-on.  In fact, I am someone who is afraid of very few things in this life.  But let me confirm that re-gaining weight is definitely one of my major fears.  So last Saturday I asked RDC3 to change the battery in my scale.  (You see, the scale had needed a replacement battery for several months.  I went out and bought the batteries, but couldn’t seem to drum up the courage to actually put them in the scale, because that would mean I had no excuse not to just step on it and see what it said).  It took me until Sunday morning to summon the courage to actually get on the scale, though.

And when I did, I saw a number that I was so sure I’d never see on my scale again.  I saw a “2” as the first number.  The last time I’d gotten on the scale was months and months ago.  Maybe back in October or so. It said 190 lbs, and that number was scary enough, let me tell you. But last Sunday I saw 201 lbs looking back at me, and I felt my heart sink.  Not only that, but tears welled up in my eyes, and I actually started to cry.  So much of my personality is about being as close to “perfect” as I can be.  And while I know in my head that nothing and no one is ever perfect, it is an idea so deeply ingrained in me that it is always painful to accept when I’m feeling very “unperfect.”  And seeing 201 on that scale was about as “unperfect” as I have felt in a very long time.

A huge part is feeling that I’ve disappointed so many people. Everyone who has shown me so much support and encouragement in my weight loss journey. I’ve been feeling like a fraud, which, for someone who lives her life “out loud” like I do, is one of the worst feelings imaginable. I want to be someone other people admire, not another statistic who regains weight.

It brought up so many worries for me.  Would I just keep on going up and up and up and hit my highest weight again?  Would RDC3 still love me if he knew how much I weighed?  Would I be able to lose the weight AGAIN?

After he consoled me, and RDC3 and I started to talk, I realized: that by stepping on the scale I was ensuring that no, I would never again get to my highest weight; that he loves me for who I am on the inside, and although he wants me to be healthy so that we can have a long life together, he’s not worried about a number on a scale, and he is completely attracted to the way I look, extra lbs and all***; and yes, I WILL be able to lose the weight again because I am a fighter.

***While I did come clean with RDC3 and told him that I’d gained 31 pounds, I didn’t tell him the exact number on the scale.  He knows about my blog, though, so he will see it on here, which will make me feel like I’ve completely come clean with him.  I know that he won’t judge me about seeing 201 on the scale, because that’s not how he is.

How did I regain 30 pounds?  The sweet answer is that it is “love weight” now that I have RDC3 in my life.  We are always out and about and a lot of the time that also means eating out.  But let’s be honest, he or our relationship is not the reason I regained weight.  In fact, I was already regaining a bit by the time I met him last May.  My lowest recorded weight ever was 167 at some point in late 2014/early 2015.  Last May 13, 2015 (3 days before my first date with RDC3) I weighed in on MFP at 177, which is a 10-lb gain.  And I know it slowly crept up from there.  Sure, going out to eat more often was a part of that regain.  But an even bigger part was that I stopped:

  • planning and prepping healthy meals where I weighed and measured everything, opting instead to buy pre-made salads from TJs, many of which had a protein-to-calorie ratio that was way off from what I know helps me lose weight.
  • logging my meals into MyFitnessPal
  • working out consistently, or even working out at all.  There were many weeks in the past 11 months where I didn’t work out even one day of the week, let alone the 5-6 times that I was doing when I was really on my game
  • drinking enough water

Basically, I stopped doing all the things I know that I should be doing in order to lose weight.

RDC3 was very concerned that he’d “been a bad influence on me” because I’ve regained this weight in the time that we’ve been together.  But I told him that actually, that isn’t true. I’d been out of my routine and gaining weight even before we met each other, it just hadn’t really shown up yet on the scale or in the way my clothes fit.  And none of that had anything to do with him.  Because we live 40 miles away from each other and have opposite work schedules, he and I are only able to see each other on the weekends, so I have no excuse for why I wasn’t doing what I should have been during the week.  And RDC3 is someone who doesn’t feel settled and at peace with himself if he doesn’t work out, so he works out really consistently, at least 3-4 times a week.  We even belong to the same gym, and he’s always asking me to go with him when we’re together on the weekends.  He has also gained about 25 lbs since we’ve started dating, and he’s not happy with where he is on the scale, so he’s so supportive of any efforts towards a healthier lifestyle.  No, this weight gain is all my fault.

But the good news is, it’s also all in my control to start losing weight again.  And that’s the kind of power that I thrive off of.

This past week I’ve been off for spring break, and while I haven’t gone full force into weight loss mode, I have made some small, yet significant, changes.  I’ve been starting my mornings with protein shakes 4 out of the past 7 days.  I’ve been a lot more active, getting in hikes, walks, and a trip to the gym.  Until I got a pretty bad cold, that is.  But still, I was on a good roll.  I’ve also been cooking low carb, high protein dinners which I’ve been really enjoying (have you seen them on IG?).  I’ve also been drinking lots more water.   Those are the ways that I lost weight before, and those are the ways that I’m going to lose weight again.

My plan is simple:

  1. plan, prep, and eat high protein, low carb, low calorie meals
  2. because life is meant to be enjoyed, make those meals taste good and avoid food ruts
  3. indulge on the weekends, but only in moderation – one meal, a few cocktails, not 2 days of craziness
  4. log everything into MFP
  5. workout 5 days a week, at a minimum.  Not only is RDC3 a member of my gym, but so is Tinkerbell and another great friend of mine, plus I don’t mind working out alone.  I love my ToneItUp community on social media, which inspires the heck out of me.  And now that the weather is going to be getting better and the days are lighter longer, I can get activity in doing things I love, like riding my bike.
  6. drink more water.  I’ve been so negligent about this prior to this past week that I am going to be happy with 6-8 glasses a day, even though I know I should drink 8-10.  A little at a time.
  7. weigh in weekly. To keep myself accountable, RDC3 and I are going to weigh in and tell each other the results every Sunday.  I’ll also write a blog post about it. (I’ve really missed writing my weekly weigh-in posts).

I’m not kidding myself into thinking that these 7 steps are going to be easy-peasy, because they’re not.  They are simple, but they take enormous effort and energy.  This time weight loss isn’t going to be the main focus of my life as it has been in the past, because I have an amazing man in my life and all of the experiences that come with being in love. It will be a priority, because I also know in my heart that weight loss is still important to me, so I will do whatever it takes to make it fit into my new life so that it can happen.

I know how good I feel when I eat right, workout regularly, and start to see results.  I love all of the positive reinforcement I get from living a healthy lifestyle.  I want that back, and I know that I can do it again.

By writing all of this out, I’ve already taken a huge leap.

Remember Oprah’s cover photo a few years ago?

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As she might say, “Honeychild, I know where you were, where you want to be, and what you’re going through.”

And just like Oprah finally “came clean” on the cover of her nationwide magazine, I’m finally “coming clean” here on my blog.

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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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Now that I’m finally coming up for air after a week of celebrating, I wanted to make sure to capture just how special my birthday was this year.  I’ve written before about how my parents always made my birthday like my own private holiday, and this year was no exception.

The birthday festivities started on Monday, with a dinner at my friend Tinkerbell’s house.  She made really delicious food and gave me a “fun in the sun” gift bag filled with lots of goodies that I’m going to enjoy using all summer long.

Next up was a birthday dinner with my parents and sister on Wednesday night.  We went to an Italian restaurant that we enjoy, and had great food.  Afterward we went back to my parents’ house where I opened presents.  They were all really generous, and bought me everything I’d wanted from my Amazon wishlist, including a new  blender, a beautiful ring, a pretty turquoise and silver necklace, and car wash certificates, to name a few. I know just how lucky I am to have this family.

Thursday, my actual birthday, was one of the best days of recent memory.  I woke up, enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee, perused social media and saw all of the fun birthday wishes, and took Sofi on a long walk.  All leading up to spending the day with RDC3.  That’s what I was most looking forward to because I knew we were going to have an amazing time, as we always do when he and I are together.  No matter what we do, I always have the best time with him because he makes everything so special.  And is there really anything better than spending time with someone you’re crazy about?

For so long, I wanted to share my life with someone, and now that I have this amazing man in my life, it makes all the years that I was alone worth it.  He is definitely worth the wait, and I’m so grateful that fate stepped in and put him in my life.  As independent as I am, I have to admit that I’m a person who enjoys being part of a couple.  But not just with anyone – it takes a very special someone to spark this in me and RDC3 definitely has.  I don’t want to gush, but the relationship we’re forging is really more than I could have ever dreamed of.

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Our day started with him surprising me with a bag from Chanel.  I wasn’t expecting any sort of present from him because he’d just taken me to the opera (that post will be coming soon) the week before, and I’d told him that that was more than enough of a birthday present.  So when he presented me with a beautifully decorated gift bag from Chanel, which he’d gone up to SF to buy at their boutique so that they would wrap it with all the trimmings, I was floored.  He bought me a beautiful bottle of Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, which has a light, fresh fragrance that is sure to become my new signature scent.  Every time I wear it, I’ll definitely think of him and how thoughtful he is to go out of his way to buy this for me.  Not just the expense of the present, which is significant, but the fact that he went all the way to SF to buy it at the boutique so that they’d wrap it up in such pretty packaging.  He definitely knows how to make me feel special.  The card that he wrote which accompanied the gift is something I’ll also treasure.  RDC3 always claims that he’s not great with words, but the things he wrote in that card definitely made my heart smile.

After the gift, we were on our way to Half Moon Bay, at my request.  There’s a beach right near El Grenada called Pillar Point that has to be my very favorite place on earth.  It has huge boulders that reach all the way out to the middle of the ocean, and lots of fishermen and surfers go there.  Not too many tourists, although it’s right by an RV park.  I discovered it by accident about 20 years ago, and ever since, it’s held a really special place in my heart.  Whenever I was having a bad day and just needed to clear my head, I’d drive there with my notebook and write about whatever was going on. I loved hearing the crash of the waves and seeing the inevitable fog roll in and realize how small my problems were in comparison to the immensity of the ocean.  The ocean is such a source of comfort and power for me, and I love spending time at this place, just thinking about life.  I hadn’t been since losing my weight, and I’d never taken someone special there before, so it meant a lot that we were going there together.

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Climbing the rocks is always a bit daunting for me, but I found that it was quite a bit easier for me this time around than ever before.  Just another example of how much my weight loss has positively impacted my life.  RDC3 and I found  the perfect spot, and we each took to our own rocks to take in the scene.  I really liked that we were able to be there together, but each enjoy it in our own separate ways.

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After a time, I asked RDC3 to join me on my rock so that we could sit there quietly and take everything in together.  Sitting on the rock with him, sharing with him how special it was for me to have him there with me in that moment and in my life in general meant so much. He told me something incredibly touching (which I’m going to keep between the two of us), and again my heart swelled with happiness.  I got a bit teary eyed thinking about how lucky I am to have this amazing person in my life.

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View through the sun roof as we were driving on Hwy 1

View through the sun roof as we were driving on Hwy 1

Next up we were driving up Highway 1, on our way to SF to the Cliff House for dinner.  I’d never been, although I’d passed by it many times while I lived in San Fran.  RDC3’s father used to take him there to celebrate special occasions, so the restaurant had a lot of sentimental value for him, making it all the more meaningful that he wanted to bring me there for my birthday.  RDC3 had requested a window table, which is the only way to go at this restaurant.  The views are breathtaking!

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We decided on a great bottle of red, which I completely loved, as you can tell.

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This is a really expensive restaurant; definitely something for special occasions.  The menu is limited, but the food is truly delicious.  I ordered the lamb chops and RDC3 got the duck. We thoroughly enjoyed the conversation, the food, and the entire experience.

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After dinner, I wanted to walk along Ocean Beach.  It was so hauntingly beautiful that I just couldn’t resist going in.  Whenever I’m by the ocean, I always have to at least dip my feet into the water, but this night I was feeling so happy, that I waded out a bit further, even though I had my jeans on and it was freezing outside.  Oddly enough, the water was fairly warm (for an SF ocean), so I started getting a bit more daring. 

 

Even I didn’t expect a huge wave to crash up and hit my jeans all the way up to my thighs!  RDC3 looked like he wasn’t quite sure what to do with this crazy girl who was completely soaked, yet laughing at it all.  In that moment I was just so grateful and happy.

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I can honestly say that this has been the best birthday I’ve had in the past 20 years, maybe ever.  It has everything to do with the people in my life making me feel so loved and cherished.  I am so blessed to have all of these people in my life, and I will never forget July 2, 2015.  It was a day to remember forever.

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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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