Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

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.


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.


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.

CWXC6jxcPbjkL_L_3dCw4N3g7hvkiaYq9pxVYm-_hAK4GVWtvEDX5wAovtomOC9yhT0BU1a_wVSmRmYVPu4vSn1pWG1BuOtbaR4Ts-BKxfL0dmdz_dEI_xjZ2VB6pYptUZV4alSmsN2rkFXejJR1Mn1AhpQkKJLDIjvLxiwLT47gk86dM4xXUwOaX2SX78KsaW5zTmqd84NJvo6FIUXeAhpQxGPS3q RDC3 is a photographer, and always captures quiet moments like this one without me knowing about it.  I’d taken out my journal and immediately started writing, reflecting on all that has happened in the past seven weeks.

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.


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.


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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Let me start by saying that I’m not sure if I’ve ever been more excited to write a post since I started this blog 7 1/2 years ago.  Longtime readers know that this blog has mainly focused on my weight loss and healthy living journey.  You’ve been with me through the struggles, the striving, and the successes.  But one of the underlying dreams I’ve had for years, one that I wrote a lot about on my original blog, was to have a romantic relationship.

When I was at my heaviest weight, feeling insecure about how I looked and feeling like my outside didn’t match the inside, I just gave up on dating.  I wasn’t meeting quality people; actually they were just the opposite of that. I decided that if this guy wasn’t someone I’d date when I was at my goal weight, why would I settle and date him now?  On the one hand, it was empowering to know that I was worth more than hanging out with some random guy.  On the other hand, my lack of a dating life was an area that left me with such longing.  Not one to dwell on the negative, I pushed past any thoughts of “I wish I had a boyfriend…” and just focused all of my energy on myself and losing weight.  That tactic paid off, and I couldn’t be happier with the results of all of my hard work.

In the back of my head I thought that once I lost all the weight, I’d be able to meet a really great guy and finally start that part of my life again.  Little did I know how difficult it would be to find someone even at a normal weight.  Lots of bad dates with odd ducks, dates with guys who weren’t into me, good dates with people I thought had potential, but didn’t end up working out.  I’ve written quite a bit about how frustrating the whole thing was, and I took another break at the end of the summer last year.

At the beginning of May, my friend encouraged me to join Zoosk, which is an online dating site that I hadn’t heard of before.  After kissing a lot of frogs, she had found a great guy and she wanted me to give it a shot, too.  So I went on the site, uploaded my photos, wrote a bit about myself and crossed my fingers.  I got a lot of attention from all sorts of men, and sifting through everyone was a bit overwhelming. Lots of chatting, texting, talking on the phone, and even one date that was pretty humbling.  (I thought we’d had a pretty decent date, albeit not a lot of chemistry, but when I texted to thank him for the dinner, he just disappeared).  Online dating makes people think it’s ok to be rude – ugh.

Through all of this, there was one guy that had completely intrigued me.  RC3 had such a sincere profile, was a complete doll, was my same age, had a passion for photography and art, and didn’t have kids.  He was like an online dating unicorn!!  We texted back and forth for a few days, and then started talking on the phone.  As soon as we were on that first phone call, I knew that we had chemistry and wanted to get to know him even better.  The one downside was that we lived about 30 miles from each other and had completely opposite work schedules.  When I mentioned that this might pose a problem, his reply was, “these are easy obstacles to overcome.”  That positive attitude put a smile on my face, and made me take even more notice of him.

He asked me out for that Saturday, May 16th.  We were meeting at Santana Row, a great spot near my house with lots of stores, restaurants, and bars. It was ideal because we could walk around and see where we felt like going.  Plus, it’s really beautiful.  I’d decided to go to Dry Bar to get a blowout so that I was looking my best, but of course the stylist was 30 minutes late. Not the best way to start out a date – worried and running behind.  RC3 was super cool about it when I texted him, telling me to take my time and not worry about it.  That put me at ease, and showed me that he was a really flexible, patient person.

Our meeting spot allowed me to scope him out a bit as I walked up to him, before he saw me.  I knew he was tall (6’3″) and good looking, but when I walked up and saw him, the word that popped in my head was “whoa!”  He was even better in person than in his profile.  (A rarity that only those who have been on a date with someone whose profile picture is 10+ years old can understand).  He has the warmest eyes and the sweetest smile, and he seemed really happy to see me, too.  He complimented my hair, and I said, “well, you have to say that after making you wait!” It broke the ice, although I had a nervous excitement that I couldn’t shake. But I knew he liked what he saw, and that gave me the best confidence boost.

Our first date was really awesome – we had a great dinner, walked around looking at all the shops, talked easily, had drinks at a pretty outside bar, and just clicked.  The chemistry was so strong that when we were sitting outside at the bar I did something that I never do – I leaned over and kissed him! Such a huge risk (especially for a girl who doesn’t like to make the first move with guys) but it paid off, because he kissed me right back, and we shared an amazing first kiss.  He confessed that he’d been wanting to kiss me for awhile, but wanted to be a gentleman.  So sweet!  As he walked me back to my car later in the evening, we even took a selfie to commemorate the date.  I can’t tell you how cool it was that he didn’t mind taking photos like that, since I drive my family and friends crazy with how often my camera is out to capture memories.  (Although that makes sense, since he is a photographer).

We hung out the next evening, where I drove up to his area and he showed me all around.  More selfies, more kisses, more laughs, more butterflies, and more getting to know each other.  We have so many things in common – love the same kind of music, enjoy the same types of tv shows and movies, have cultures that value family and food, and are both honest, sincere people. I can trust him and he knows he can trust me, too.  He likes that I’m a strong woman, thinks my “spiciness” is sexy, and just gets me. I can’t tell you how exceptional that is, because my personality is definitely not for everyone. I like that he’s such a gentleman who opens doors for me (every single time we get in the car, he opens the door for me, which I love), has such a giving heart, and has an artsy side that completely captivates me.

Every time we see each other, we get closer and closer. We have the best time when we’re together, whether we’re eating a great restaurant or strolling the aisles at Target.  It’s so fun showing each other around our cities and making new discoveries together.  Things are so easy between us – we just have an ebb and flow that works perfectly together – he’s the calm to my excited, he’s patient when I’m impatient. We are both passionate people, although we display it in different ways.  We just fit.  And I feel absolutely lucky and so grateful that he found me on Zoosk.

If you can’t tell by now, sparks are flying!

Things are moving quickly, and while we’re being realistic, we both agreed to just go with the flow and not worry about timelines.  We’re at the age where we’ve been hurt, know what we want, what we don’t want, and what we need from another person.  So to me, if things move at a faster pace, it makes sense, because we’ve already done the hard work of wading through a lot of the B.S. that comes with dating.  We’ve had lots of serious conversations about our pasts, shared things that we haven’t told very many people, and understand how where we’ve come from makes us the people we are today. We’ve allowed each other to be vulnerable with the other, taking the risk that comes with opening up. Those late night chats have allowed us to take the leap of faith that comes with commitment.  With that said, I’m happy to announce that RC3 is my boyfriend!!!

My boyfriend?!  I haven’t used those two words together in longer than I’d like to admit.  Which makes it all the more special.

And remember all of those fears I had about getting intimate with someone?  The worry that once the person saw me without my clothes on, things would be awkward, weird, or otherwise terrible?  Not at all the case with RC3. Quite the opposite, actually. He makes me feel absolutely beautiful, flaws and all, because he doesn’t just see the outside, but connects with me on a much deeper level.  It’s awesome when he compliments me on how pretty he thinks my eyes are, or how he likes my curves, or how cool my hair is, but it’s even more amazing when he looks at me and I know he’s seeing my soul.

I am beyond thrilled that summer is literally two days away and we have so many fun adventures ahead of us.  We’ve already made so many plans about places we want to go and things we want to see.  We’ve already spent many fantastic days together – walking along Jack London Square, popping into old bookstores, discovering a bike shop with the coolest cruisers, getting together with Tinkerbell and her hubby to watch the Warriors win, riding the roller coasters in Santa Cruz, hearing a great singer (Eilen Jewell) at a local jazz spot, and just looking at the moon while we’re on the phone together.

I can honestly say that I haven’t felt like this in years.  When we’re together, I feel like I’m in my 20s, and not just because we both look young for our ages.  But because I haven’t experienced something like this since that time.  Actually, I haven’t really ever experienced something like this. I wasn’t ready for it then, but I am now. The connection I thought I’d made with people in the recent past pale in comparison to the connection that RC3 and I are forging.  I love how attentive he is – texting and calling me even when he’s on a weekend boys’ trip and his friends give him a bad time for contacting me so much.  Bringing me coffee from a great coffeehouse in Portland because he knows how much I like a good, dark roast. Sending me photos of his day. Letting me borrow his favorite art books. Listening to the songs that he knows I love. Just checking in to see how my day is going. We click on so many levels – artistically, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  It’s exciting and never fails to take my breath away.  You can see it in the Instagram photos I’ve posted. I’m completely smitten, and RC3 shows me in lots of little ways that the same is true for him.

I’m definitely falling…

…and it was completely worth the wait.

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It’s only a quarter of the way into 2014, but it’s already shaping up to be the best year ever.  I’ve had so much success with my weight loss, I’m embarking on new adventures in fitness, I have an amazing group of family and friends supporting me with everything I do, and I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life in general.

And then today, I found out that…


I’m so excited and honored!  I was nominated last week, which really made my day – it’s so nice to just be recognized.  This is my tenth year at my high school, and I’m having one of my best years yet in terms of how much I’m enjoying my classes and students.  Not to mention that I’ve had a lot of fun putting together quite a few events for my faculty, including a volunteer night at a local food bank and organizing a the 408K walk.

Winning this title is something that I think every teacher hopes for at some point in his or her career, and I’m just so thrilled that it happened for me this year.  I’m really proud of all that I’ve done professionally over the past 14 years that I’ve taught, but this just caps off what has become a truly wonderful year in my life.


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onederlandTalk about a NYE miracle! This morning when I weighed myself, as I do every morning, I saw the number that I’ve been yearning to see for years.  Gosh, I can’t really remember when I was last under 200 pounds – at least 20 years ago.

You guys know I was close on Sunday, but even though I really wanted to see 199 or less by the end of 2013, I wasn’t sure if I was going to.  Then yesterday I just so happened to drink a ton of water (11 glasses!) and this morning Mother Nature paid me a visit, which always helps me drop a decent amount of weight.  When I got on the scale this morning, I had hope in my heart that I would see good news.

So without further ado…

2013-12-31 08.48.33

I really couldn’t believe it when I saw it.  I actually had to get on and off the scale a few times just to be sure.  And of course I had to document it for this blog (and Instagram).

The first thing I did was write a post on MyFitnessPal, and then I texted a bunch of my friends and family.  Then I stood there without any clothes on, crying.  Crying happy tears, but crying.  I was completely overwhelmed and overjoyed. I’d dreamt of this moment for so long, and it was here.  On December 31, 2013.  On New Year’s Eve.  What a way to end this year!

This marks so much more than just a number on a scale for me.  This is a HUGE accomplishment.  To think that I started 2013 at 302.0, and I’m ending it at 199.8 is amazing and incredible.  That’s 102.2 pounds that I’ve lost over the course of one year (115 pounds, total)!  In January, I was wearing tight size 28 pants and now I’m wearing 16s.  I was shopping exclusively in plus size stores, and now I can buy tops in any “normal” store out there.  I was dealing with such terrible plantar fasciitis pain that I couldn’t even take Sofi for a walk around the block, and now I’m running for 5 minutes at a time. What a transformation I’ve had in 2013!

I’m so proud of myself!

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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 21: Strange Encounters
Encounters | What thing did you keep encountering this year over and over again?  Was it something you learned from or just a strange coincidence?

This prompt wasn’t an easy one for me to answer.  Nothing jumps out at me as coming up over and over again throughout the year.  I mean, I could of course talk about weight loss or fitness, but I’ve already done that so much in the other prompts, that it seems a bit repetitive.

I guess I’ll say this… As I’ve lost weight and posted progress photos on Facebook, this blog, etc, or when people have seen me in real life, they keep saying the same thing.  That I’m glowing, that I look so happy.  And while I think I’ve always been a positive, happy person, even at my highest weight, my true happiness might have been overshadowed by my frustration with my weight.  Now that I’ve shed so much of that frustration along with all the weight, I do feel that my outward appearance finally fits with the person I’ve always known I am on the inside.

So I guess I keep encountering a happier me, and it definitely is no coincidence.


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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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It’s been a long time since I did a Saturday Smiles post, and because I’m so happy right now, I figured it was the perfect day to post.

1. One of the best things about this week was that I got to see one of my besties, CTLB.  She had come out to SF for a teaching conference, and we were able to steal a couple of hours to catch up on life.  The awesome thing about our friendship is that even though it can be months between phone calls or a year since we’ve seen each other in person, when we do get together again, it’s as if no time has passed.  I’m really hoping to get out to MA to visit her this summer, if she’s not too busy with family life or obligations to friends (SO many of her friends have gotten married over the past few summers that she was booked up almost every single weekend. I’m hoping that they’re all married now, so she’ll have a bit of free time).

2. Yesterday I had a lot of fun shopping at Target – for clothes!  Now I’m not saying that Target is the place where I’m going to fill my closet with fashions, it does mark a milestone. When I was morbidly obese, I longed for the day to be able to buy inexpensive clothes at Target. I know Target has plus-sized clothes, but they are all pretty awful, and when I was at my heaviest, even they didn’t fit.  So yesterday when I saw a few fun items, I knew I had to pick them up:

First up, pjs!  Now that it’s getting darker earlier, and the temps have turned chilly, I often get into my pjs when I get home from work.  I got this set (XXL), which have an alpine/fair isle patter on the pants.

2013-11-16 07.40.27

dotspjsI also got this fun grey and berry polka dot set (XXL).

14583156_201307011740I’ve been needing long-sleeved tshirts because all of my others have long since been donated. (Long-sleeved tees are a great way for me to extend my weekend/casual wardrobe, because I can wear them under short sleeves on cooler days. When I saw them for $12, I picked up some basics – a black and a white (XL).

This coming week I’m going to be teaching my AVID students how to annotate a text (mark notes onto an article or other reading), and to keep it interesting and grab their attention, I found a great article on the NY Times Learning Network about selfies.  I have a fun lesson planned, complete with a quick write and discussion questions, culminating in the students taking some selfies, which I’ll put into a class slideshow. (They’ll love seeing this goofy pics when they’re seniors). So when I saw this sweater, I knew I had to buy it to wear on Wednesday during the lesson:

2013-11-15 16.48.13 Too perfect, right? And I love that this is an XL in juniors!

14921788_201310292139Last Christmas I really wanted to be able to buy this shirt, but even the XXL wouldn’t fit.  This year, I’m hoping I can find one in the store, because I know the XL will work. What a long way I’ve come.

3. I’m hoping smile will be beautiful as I continued the shopping and bought some new lip treatment/lipsticks.

Fresh-Sugar-Berry-Lip-TreatmentI splurged on a new Fresh Sugar in Berry, and then saved money by picking up 3 new NYX lipsticks @ $4 each:


snowwhiteSnow White

b52 B52

We’ll see how they look on me, but from the swatches I found online, I think they’ll work.

4. And finally, the thing that I’m really smiling about today is the bike ride some of my friends and I are going on later this afternoon.  I appreciate that they’re taking time out of their busy schedules on a Saturday afternoon to join me in celebrating my 100+ pound weight loss. It’s a gorgeous, sunny, clear day, so it should be ideal for a long ride.  I’ll write a post, with pictures, later.

I hope today brings you plenty of things to smile about.

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