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Summer_Sun1_000002It’s finally summer vacation!!!

I want to apologize for disappearing from the blog without any warning.  It wasn’t my intention, but life just got so hectic there at the end.  The end of this school year seemed especially busy for some reason.  But it all turned out fantastically well, and I’m so happy to be enjoying Day 2 of summer vacation. I have so much to update that I almost don’t know where to start.  I guess I’ll do a bit of a weekend update, and then take it from there.

Friday was my last teacher workday, which is always a nice, easy way to end the school year.  I was out of there by noon, and then spent the next several hours vegging out on the couch.  My sister and I went to go see The Fault in Our Stars, which I really enjoyed.  I loved the book, and the movie did a great job with staying true to it.  The actor playing Augustus Waters was phenomenal.  It was a great way to kick off the summer.

Saturday was all about sprucing up my yards.  My dad came over at 9am, and he and I worked until 3:30, stopping only briefly at 2pm to eat a quick lunch.

We started off transplanting groundcover from the backyard to the front.  This plant grows prodigiously, so I thought it would be a great way to thin out the backyard groundcover and fill in some spaces in my front yard.  It worked really well, and once it settles in and takes root, it will look great.  I’m not sure if it shows up, but this plant has tiny hot pink flowers that bloom during the summer. (That bush in the middle of the photo was already there – I’d purchased those back in April to replace two diseased bushes that I’d had the gardeners remove.  Even though I’m a renter, I don’t mind purchasing this kind of thing to make the house look good, because I get a lot of enjoyment out of a pretty yard. Plus, I can dig the bushes up if I ever move).

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Next, my dad and I headed to OSH to buy hoses, sprayers, planters, spliters, potting soil, etc.  You can see the soaker hose (black hose) in the photo above.  $153 later, we had plenty of essentials. Once the groundcover grows a bit more it will hide the hose, which will look better.  The soaker hose is cool because you can turn it on and leave it for 10 minutes and it slowly waters the groundcover.  After OSH, we headed to Summerwinds, the best nursery in our area.  I bought lots of full sun annuals and flowers for the hanging pots I’d bought on a whim at OSH ($77).  Before we headed home we realized we had nothing to hang the pots I’d bought, so we made a quick pit stop in Ace to buy chain, light bulbs (a few bulbs had blown out that I needed my dad’s help to reach), and some hooks to hang the pots ($35).  Whew! My summer garden was going to look beautiful, but it was expensive, at $265!  Much of that expense was the planters and hoses/sprayers, all of which I can keep, so it doesn’t make me feel quite as bad.  Plus, I consider this a gift to myself every summer, because I’ll spend my entire vacation (and beyond) enjoying the way my yards look.

When we got back, it was time to get to planting.  Sofi absolutely loved that my dad and I were in the backyard, playing in the dirt.  LOL. We started with the terra cotta planter, because that was going in the front yard, and I wanted it to look perfect.  The inspiration for all of this planting were these pots that my parents surprised me with when I got back from Hawaii:

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My mom had found the planters when she was out shopping, and from there it became a family affair.  My dad found the cement tiles to anchor them to, my niece picked out the Martha Washington geraniums, and my dad planted them.  When I got home and saw them, I was so happy!  I knew I needed to fill in the dirt (with the groundcover from the backyard), and move my huge terra cotta planter from the back to the front.

2014-06-08 06.59.22I love the way the terra cotta planter turned out! I found this great ficus ivy for the front, which will eventually hang down. I knew I wanted big blooms, and when my dad found those large zinnias, I knew they would be perfect.  I can’t wait for it to fill in.

I hated the hose I had in the front yard, because it was really inflexible and always kinked up.  The hose holder was also falling off the wall, so it was time to replace all of that, especially since we were buying the soaker hose and splitter anyway.

I had no idea you could even put a splitter on a hose.  My dad knows so many tricks!

I had no idea you could even put a splitter on a hose. My dad knows so many tricks!

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I love the black scroll work on this hose holder, and I really like that the hose blends into the background. They only had a 50-foot hose in this color, so I have way more hose than I need. My dad said we could cut the hose to make it the length I want, so that’ll be a mini project for another day.

Now the front looks really good:

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The only thing I want to add are some small solar lights, because I think they’ll look really nice and add the perfect bit of twinkle.

Now it was time to tackle all the pots for the backyard.  If money was no object, all of the my planters in the back would be terra cotta, too, but since I have other things I want to buy this summer, I’m using these plastic planters that mimic terra cotta.  They look sort of cheap, but they’re okay for now.  Eventually I’ll replace them. I think the backyard looks really happy now:

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These sun-loving annuals are bright and happy, and I love the mix of colors.  They go well with my roses and my hydrangeas, which are looking so pretty:

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I’d had this New Guinea impatien in one of the other pots, but moved it to this great watering can planter in a shady spot of the garden. We had a couple flowers left over, so I planted them in with my mint plant.

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The impulse purchase yesterday were these hanging pots. My sister has a couple of hanging pots in her back patio, and I really like the way they looked.  And then when we were at OSH yesterday, I saw these planters, and fell in love.  They were pricey, at $17.99 each, but I knew I was going to splurge on them, because they’d add so much to my patio.  I absolutely love the way they turned out, and can’t wait for them to grow and start falling over the edges of the pots.

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All in all, it was a long, tiring day, but very worth it for the end product.  I definitely want to have lots of people over this summer, so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of this garden.

Sunday my plan is to go on a 2- or 3-mile walk with my mom this morning at 8:30, and then spend the rest of the day cleaning the house.  It is in desperate need of a major cleaning.  I’m talking top to bottom and every room in between.  I let it go over the past month, and I want to start out the summer with a clean house.  One thing I love about summertime is that once the house is clean, I can tackle cleaning it a bit at a time – bathrooms one day, floors another, dusting a different day.  Once it’s spotless, keeping up with it isn’t a big deal, and insures that the house always looks immaculate.  My reward for all the hard work in store today is going to be a bit of a binge watch of Orange is the New Black.  I’ve watched the first episode of Season 2 already, but I love watching a bunch of them in a row, so that’s the plan for later this evening.

All in all, I’m starting summer in wonderful way – beautifying the house and gardens.

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I have a bunch of blog posts swirling in my head, so get ready for an onslaught of writing from me over the next few days:

  • getting back on track with my food & exercise routine
  • PopSugar MustHave Box reveal/review
  • 20-mile bike ride adventure
  • Diamond Head hike adventure (yes, two months later!)
  • Graduation NSV
  • Bottle Rock music festival discoveries
  • Bella in T.O.Y.land music mix
  • weekly workout plan
  • weigh-in update

 

 

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POPSUGAR Select FitnessExciting news on the blog today!  A few weeks ago I was asked if I wanted to participate as a POPSugar Select Fitness blogger, and of course I jumped at the chance!! I was really flattered that this small, little blog got noticed in this way.  After providing my information and a few other details, I got my official notice just the other day.

When you go on the site, and click on the Fitness tab, scroll down about 3/4 of the way, and you’ll see my avatar!

POPSugarFitnessSelectThis is such a cool opportunity for my writing to get a wider audience.  I’m also going to get chances to try out and review new products and events. I’m also excited to join this new community of bloggers!  I’m looking forward to discovering new blogs, and I hope you’ll take a minute to check them out, too.  If you do, let them know I sent you.

I’ve been reading POPSugar for a few years now, and have gotten tons of ideas for health & fitness (including great recipes), beauty tips, and fashion trends.  They have offices based in San Francisco, so it’s great to support a local site. If you haven’t already, definitely check them out.

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Happy Monday! Today was my first day back to school after 2 weeks off, and let me tell you, it was difficult. I think it was as hard for me to be there as it was for my students.  But like I told them, we get MLK day in 2 weeks, then February Break (President’s Week) the week after Valentine’s Day,  then one l.o.n.g. month of March where we’ll need a mental health day or two, then Spring Break in April, and then it’s all smooth sailing from there!  These 5 months of the second semester really will fly by.

One of the things I’m really trying to do in this new year, besides my other Goals for 2014 is to read and comment on blogs regularly.  I love reading blogs, but making the time where I just sit down and read them isn’t always easy.  But like I said about my goals, if it’s a priority, I’ll make it happen.  I know how much I appreciate when people read and comment on my blog, so I plan to reciprocate.

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: Happy 2014

What has been your happiest moment in 2014 so far?  I think it might have happened today, when a woman at my district office, whom I haven’t seen in over a year, got tears in her eyes as she told me that she is so happy for me and my weight loss progress.  She told me,  “you look so much younger, not that you were old before, but now you have this sort of youthful spark.  You have a sparkle in your eye, and this energy about you.  You look amazing!”  She was so sweet and made me feel so good about myself.  I definitely walked out of that office smiling from ear to ear.

2. Share the last compliment you received.  See above. Oh, and I’ve been getting a lot of compliments on Match.com from the potential dates.  Of course, some of them think “you have a juicy booty” is a compliment, so consider the source.

3.  What is one thing that you plan to accomplish in the next week? I’m going to run/walk in the Hot Chocolate 5K in San Francisco on Sunday, and I can’t wait! My plan is to hit another PR time with this 5K.

4.  What is your favorite TV show currently on air? While I’m very happy about the return of Downton Abbey, and I have to agree with Kenlie that Scandal is a show I really look forward to watching every week, I’m obsessed with American Horror Story: Coven.  I love that it’s set in New Orleans, enjoy the dynamics of the witches vs. the voodoo priestesses, and am impressed that it’s dealing with slavery and racism.

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This was one of the few photos I could find online that wasn’t overtly sexual and/or offensive. Gotta love a show like that, right?! 😛

5.  If you could go anywhere in the world free for the next two weeks, where you go?  For those who know how much I love the beach, I’m sure you’d guess that I would choose some exotic location like Tahiti or Hawaii, which would definitely be nice, don’t get me wrong.  But at the moment, my thoughts are in a completely different direction.  I’d love to go to Lake Tahoe because I’ve been really interested in going to the snow and learning how to snow board/ski.  I may actually have the opportunity to go to a cabin in the snow with a group of teachers during part of our February Break, which is really exciting.  So… since I don’t know how to do either, would you recommend that I try snowboarding or skiing, and why? I’m going to have to rent everything, so it’s just as easy to rent one set of equipment as another.

6.  Describe a significant event in your life that caused you to change your values system.  I haven’t changed my value system. My beliefs have been the same for most of my adult life, which is not to say that I don’t learn and grow, but that I know who I am and always have.

7.  What made you decide to live where you currently live?  This is where I was born and raised, where my family lives, and where I’m most comfortable.  San Jose was just named the richest city in America, and the neighborhood I live in is the most affluent.  Although I am nowhere near “rich,” it is nice to live in a beautiful, safe area where people take pride in where they live.  If you read the article, you can also see why I have no goals of ever owning my own house, and I’m completely ok with that decision.

8.  What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think about GOD? I think about the Golden Rule: treating others as you want to be treated.

Johnny-Depp-johnny-depp-34330259-589-707 9.  If you could have a long conversation with someone famous (and alive now) who would you choose?  I’d love to hang out and have a drink and a convo with Johnny Depp.

10.  List three things that you’re thankful for today.  

  1. That my 49ers won yesterday against Green Bay!!
  2. My students, who make getting up at 5:30am worthwhile.
  3. That I took the time to plan my meals for the entire week, including buying the groceries.  I feel so organized!

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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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 31: Farewell

At the finish | What’s next for you?

One of the best things about a new year is the potential it holds.  So many possibilities stretched out before me.  Endless hope.

These are the things I know for sure, in terms of 2014:

  • I’m going to enjoy something about each and every day, even if it’s just a song on the radio or a flower I see on my walk with Sofi.
  • I will reach my goal weight in 2014.
  • I’m excited about dating and what my romantic future might hold.
  • I can’t wait to see what else happens!

I saw this on Pinterest and think it’s the ideal sentiment for January 1, 2014:

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What a year I had in blogging for 2013!

Here’s an excerpt:

The Louvre Museum has 8.5 million visitors per year. This blog was viewed about 79,000 times in 2013. If it were an exhibit at the Louvre Museum, it would take about 3 days for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

A huge thank you to all of my readers, but I have to do a special shout out to these top 4 people who offered so much support and encouragement through comments.  Thank you so much for taking the time to write  – every single comment touched my heart!

Carina – 102 comments

Plum Petals – 59 comments

Aimee – 55 comments

Valerie – 24 comments

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

Day 30: Relationships

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 29: List It

List it | List posts are everywhere.  Top 10 Ways to be Happier TodayThree Tips for More Energy.  Seven Ideas to Stay Focused.  Give us a list.  Of anything.  Your to-do list for the day.  Your grocery list.  A Buzzfeed inspired list.  Anything.

This post is actually perfect, because it’s time to review the goals I set for myself for 2013. Let’s see how I did:

1. Qualify for WLS. I met this goal in mid-March, just as I’d hoped.  I had my WLS on May 20th, and life has gotten better with each passing day.
2. Read 35 books. I did terrible on this goal.  I’ve only read 11 books in 2013, which is pathetic, especially for someone who loves to read as much as I do.  I blame this on social media, because I’ve gotten in the bad habit of watching YouTube videos before bed, instead of reading.  Definitely something to improve for 2014.

#3 and #4 were a way for me to fit working out into my school days:
3. A Days: gym (elliptical, bike, swimming).
4. B Days: grade until 4pm, one Group exercise class per weekday.
I did great on hitting the gym on my early A days.  I wasn’t so good about going to the one group X class, though.  Still I’m happy with the way I met this goal.

5. Saturday: Zumba, then 2 hours grading. I went to Zumba up until my surgery, and then haven’t been going since.  I just got out of the habit and replaced it with other exercises.  I also wasn’t good about going to grade regularly on Saturdays.  This is a good goal to revisit in 2014
6. Sundays: Lululemon yoga. I didn’t do this one very often.  I went to the free Lululemon classes a few times, but then fell out of the habit.
7. Try 6 Pinterest crafts; learn to art journal. I didn’t do this goal at all.  Although I did start scrapbooking, so I think that’s a decent start. Another one to revisit in 2014, because I really want to.
8. Keep up with Google Reader/blogs. I wasn’t great about this at all, which is upsetting.  I get so many supportive comments from my blogging buddies, and I need to be better about reciprocating.
9. Do something fun with other people every other weekend. I did great on this goal, especially beginning in the summer and continuing all the way through the rest of the year.  I think part of this is feeling more comfortable in my own skin, and how I look in clothes, so I’ve been more apt to want to go out and be seen.
10. Go to bed by 10pm. Didn’t do this at all. Maybe for one week in early January.  I’m such a nightowl, and going to bed late is a hard habit to break.  I don’t know if I even want to try to do this one in 2014, because I don’t think I can change.
11. Begin researching becoming a health educator. I didn’t do any research on this at all.  I’m still very interested in it, though, and will spend time this summer looking into it.
12. Take monthly progress photos, begin measurements. Another thing I didn’t really follow up on.  It’s difficult to find time to take the pictures because my sis is so busy. I have no excuse for not taking measurements, because I can do that on my own.  I need to do this in 2014.

And now, for #13, the big, scary, outside-the-comfort-zone goal…
13. Sign up Match.com in the fall; go on dates by December.  I signed up for Match.com in December with a Groupon that I’d purchased.  I got plenty of emails, winks, etc., but no one asked me out, so no dates as of yet.  There haven’t been many guys I’m interested in, maybe 2-3.  Everything seems to move really slowly on Match.  It’s been alright, but I’d much rather meet someone in real life and let it happen naturally.  I am ready to date, so hopefully 2014 brings some love my way.

Not too shabby.  I have a long way to go on some of them, but I did well with others.  When I make my goals for 2014, I’m going to keep things a bit simpler, because I think I set too many goals for myself that weren’t enough of a priority.  Something to work on.

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