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Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb12: celebrating the successes of 2012, honoring the challenges of 2012, and planting the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013. December is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed and start to manifest dreams for the new year.

Day 4 – How Will You Celebrate You?
How are you going to celebrate yourself this festive season?

To me, the holiday season is about doing for others – buying presents, sending cards, getting together to connect. Which is why I love today’s prompt; it’s so easy to lose ourselves in the rush of the holiday season.

One thing that I do to celebrate myself is decorate my house. I live alone, and I’m sure many people wouldn’t bother going through all the trouble. But to me, making my surroundings festive adds “sparkle” to my life.

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Another thing I do for myself to help celebrate is to buy some new clothes to wear to the holiday festivities.  I love the incorporation of sequins into everyday items like sweaters, because it makes  it so easy to create a special look.

I use makeup to help get myself dolled up for the holidays.  I’m planning on pampering myself with a pedicure, because looking down and seeing red toes makes me smile.  I think I may just buy a special holiday nail polish, as well, so that I can add a bit of glitter to my nails as well.  Of course I love breaking out red lipstick during the holidays – red is a great color on me, but I only wear it this time of year, because it seems like a bit too much during other months.

How will you celebrate YOURself this season?

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

I’m incredibly thankful that I was able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. This year my nieces were with their father, so it was “the original four” – my parents, LC, and me. Though there were few of us, we filled up the house with smiles, laughter, and our passionate personalities. I love my family, and enjoy spending as much time as I can with them.

I’m also really thankful for the bounty we had at dinner, and that this year I was able to indulge, but not go overboard. I enjoyed all of my favorites, but I also tracked everything. Moderation was the key. I loved how I felt – in control.

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This was the appetizer I made – from Martha Stewart Living (found on Pinterest) – blue cheese and walnut spread. Adding the pears was my idea. It was delicious!

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My sister made these cheese straws from puff pastry, and they were so light and flaky.

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My mom’s tables are always the best because of her attention to detail. Gorgeous!!

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We took some fantastic photos of the family, too, which I’m looking forward to printing and putting in frames this weekend.

It was a beautiful day.  A day spent with family.  A day to be grateful.

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Happy Monday, Everyone! A special Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends! Today I decided it was time to take a “mental health” day off of work. Plus, one of my former colleagues, who’s now a globe-trotting world traveler, is in town and was looking for substitute jobs, so I gladly gave her one. Win win. My plans include a bit of blogging (writing and reading – I’m so behind!), catching up on household chores, Zumba at noon (a time I’m never able to get to normally), some curriculum planning, and a long walk with Ani, her dog Riley, and of course Sofi in The Rose Garden.

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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: Inside My Home

1. Do you live in an apartment/condo, townhouse or house? A duplex. I’m so lucky that my sister and my nieces live on the other side.
2. What is your home’s coolest feature? Besides the fact that I get to live next door to my sister, yet we can each retain our own privacy, I’d have to say it’s the fact that I have very large rooms.  The other amazing feature of my house is the backyard – I love that Sofi has a good amount of room to frolic and play while I’m at work.
3. Do you enjoy DIY projects? If so, what are you working on now? I’m not a huge DIY person. I can do small crafts, and I can putter around in the garden a bit, but nothing major. Whenever I need any sort of home improvement help, I call my dad, who is an amazing handyman. He can do ANYthing – tile work, flooring, plumbing, electrical, installation of lights, fans, painting, gardening, general at-home assembly stuff, etc. He learned all of it from my grandfather, and put it to use around our house, as well as in the summers (he was a teacher, too), when he earned money as a handyman for friends and family. His work was so good that he was always booked solid with people clamoring for an appointment. Sometimes he’d have to work during Winter Break or Spring Break, just to accommodate them. I’m really lucky that he only charges me in hugs and kisses!
4. When using the dishwasher do you use powder detergent or liquid? I use the Cascade Complete pods, which have a combo of powder and liquid. I love that it’s all pre-measured and ready to go.

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5. Do you have a TV in your bedroom? No. I like to read before bed, and if I’m really desperate to watch a show while I’m snuggled under the covers, I can always bring my laptop into my room.
6. Is your range gas or electric? Electric. I’ve had both, and I know most great chefs prefer gas, but I’m ok with either.
7. How often do you sweep/mop/vacuum? I use an electric broom on my bamboo floors (dining room, living room, and hallways) and kitchen tile and bathroom(s) tile several times a week. I use Bona to mop those surfaces about once every two weeks. I vacuum my bedroom (the only place I have carpet) about once a week. Having clean floors is so important to me!
8. What is your favorite place to shop for home furniture and accents? Just like Kenlie, I have a lot of places that I look for items for my home. Most of my furniture has come from Z Gallerie and Cost Plus World Market. My home accents have come from both of those stores, as well as Pier 1, Kohl’s, and smaller local stores.
9. Do you decorate for holidays? Yes. I begin with Halloween, then fall/Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I think this is why I always spend money on home decor in January – once all the trimmings from Christmas are put away, the house just looks so plain.
10. If you could have HGTV come in and redo one room in your home which room would you choose? I love the way that my house looks now, so I think I’d have them work on my 2nd bedroom, which I’d love to have become a home gym/office. All I have in there right now is my bookcase, but I’d love to really fix it up. (I do have an Aerobed in the closet for any visitors who might want to stay over).

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Now it’s your turn to share. Don’t forget to go back to Kenlie’s blog to link up in the comments!

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Last Wednesday I decided that I wasn’t going to make the trip down to LA, and I was disappointed, but there was a bright side. I now had some extra money to “play” with. I put most of it away for Christmas presents, but I decided to take just a bit of it and order something I’d been wanting for quite some time.

I can’t even remember how I first came across the artwork of Aimee Dolich, but as soon as I did, I was drawn to it.  I even made her “Moxie” saying my email signature.  And I more recently used her art on a blog post (with her copyright intact).  I loved her whole esthetic – the loops, the colors, the motivational words.  I knew that I was going to have to find out more about her and her wonderful artwork.  I was thrilled to find that Aimee had an Etsy Shop, and had her “doodle art” prints for sale.

I chose three prints that had the most meaning to me:

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This is the one that started it all. The Moxie!

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I find so much motivation from this one - the sentiment is so true for my weight loss journey.

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This one helps to remind me that I am SO CLOSE!

I knew that I wanted to put these beautiful prints in my living room and display them properly, so I set out on a hunt for the perfect frame.  Something that would hold all three prints in one.  I finally found it at Kohls, and I love the swirls and bronzed metal of the frame.  (On a side note, I really love Kohls entire home department – they have amazing prices on some very interesting and unique items.  I’ve found lots of my fall and holiday decorations there).

I was so happy with the prints arrived in the mail yesterday.  So fast!  I immediately put them in the frame so that I could display them on my side table.  (This also meant that I “had” to rearrange and organize all of the other photo frames I have in the living room.  I love the way they all turned out, and it made me feel really good to give my mantle an update).

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The frame with artwork in the kitchen (better lighting).

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On the side table. (Bonus: cameos from Minnie (background) and Sofi (foreground).

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This photo shows how well they go with the other decor I have in the room.

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I love the way this looks!

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Sofi approves of the new artwork, too.

Sometimes it just take a little spark to change an entire mood – of a person or of a room, or both.  I can say that these 3 prints really gave me an added pep in my step yesterday, which made my Saturday all the better.  A huge thank you to Aimee for her amazing artwork, her professionalism, and her speedy delivery.  I will definitely shop Artsyville again, and I hope you guys check it out, too.

What small change have you made recently that has lifted your spirits?  Have you given yourself a little treat that really made a big impact?  If nothing comes to mind, maybe it’s time to do something nice for yourself today.

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This pic was just too cute not to share.

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in Reverb 10. Each day gives a new prompt, which is a chance to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next in 2011.

December 19 – Healing
What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011? (Author: Leonie Allan)

This question is a bit “new agey” for me, but yet I can relate to it.  Interesting how that works, right?  Moving out of that terrible living situation that I was in has  completely transformed me – I’m happier, healthier, and feel so much safer.  I’m one step closer to living the life I was meant to have.  Living in this great place makes me feel so positive, so vibrant, and alive.  I finally feel content.  I can’t wait to have lots of people over to this house because I want to show it off.  I’m actually looking for excuses to have small gatherings (which, if you have any fun themed ideas for parties, let me know).

In 2011, I’m hoping to heal my body by losing a significant amount of weight.  First on my own and then via lap band surgery.  As I sit here today I know I won’t be able to imagine all the ways that my life will be improved by this, but I am so excited to find out.

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Happy Tuesday, everyone!

Things are going really well for me in the world of weight loss, and since I’ll update you more on that on  Friday with my Countdown to Christmas/NYE Challenge update, I thought I’d let you in on some other VERY exciting things that are going on.

As you know, I’ve been taking part in Reverb 10 (look for that post later today), and I really encourage you to join in.  I love how it’s allowed me to strut my writing skills and reflect on 2010.  It’s been a really positive experience that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Today has been the best day in recent memory, which is saying a lot, because life has been great!! So much good stuff in one day. I think I’m going to burst with happiness!!”
~~ My Facebook status yesterday afternoon

The reason for such exuberance? I’m going to make you wait for the main reason, but one of the other reasons was that I took yesterday off to finish up Christmas decorations.

I have lots of sick days, so I figured why not?  Plus two of the classes I teach on “B” days are really challenging this year – not in a good way.  About half of the students are extremely rude, disrespectful, and disruptive.  They’re also failing.  There are a myriad of reasons why that I won’t get into here, and I’m not alone – the other teachers at my level are also experiencing this with this group of kids.  Still, they wear me out, so I figured I could use a bit of a break.

I spent the day decorating for Christmas and going back to Pier 1 for a few more items.  My mom came with me, and we had a great time.  I’m happy that I finally have it all set up.  Now I need to invite a few people over so that I can share it with them.  🙂

A few of the photos you’re about to see are repeats from yesterday, but since I rearranged things I figured I’d show them again. (Click on any of the photos to make them larger).

Yes, I will change the “Days left ’till Christmas” every single day.  I do it when I get up in the morning and retrieve the newspaper.

When I showed my student what I’d done with the bowl of pine cones that I bought from her for the orchestra fundraiser, she was impressed.

Full view of living room.

I was afraid this looked too busy, but my mom said she thought it was festive.

You know spoiled little Lulu had to have her own stocking!

The photo is a bit blurry, but this looks really pretty at night, when the candles are lit.

The rest of the living room.

Instead of a full-fledged Christmas tree.

Ditto.

Love the whimsy of this table.  The candles are the exact color of the ornaments and balls.

All that decorating just puts me in such a happy mood.  This is the season when everything sparkles.  Glitter abounds, and it makes January seem so dull in comparison, doesn’t it?  I’ve decided that I’m going to decorate for each season, when appropriate, so that the house never gets that “worn in” look.  I want my decoration to reflect my attitude – happy and bright.

And now, without further ado, the main reason I’m so excited is:

DRUMROLL, please………..

My sister is moving into the duplex next to me!!!

She has finally made the decision to leave her husband (they’ve been talking about separating for more than 6 months, but he’s been unwilling to leave) and move back home to the city where we grew up.  Not only will we share a garage wall and be able to look out our bedroom windows at each other, but my parents are also only 5 minutes away, and most of my sister’s friends live here, too.  She’s going to have such a strong support system in place, and I know that it will mean such a positive change for her and my nieces.

It will mean a lot of change for me, too.  I’ve committed to staying home after school with the girls three days a week (my mom will cover the other two).  Which will mean a lifestyle change for me.  My life won’t be as free and easy as it has been, and my schedule won’t be as open.  But it will be nice to have someone else to care for  besides Lulu and myself.  (Plus Lulu is really excited that she’s going to have Minnie to play with all day). This is going to be a great opportunity to bond even more with my nieces, which will be so special.  I love them so much, and I’ve missed not being physically close to them.  (Even though an hour away isn’t that far compared to some people’s distance, it isn’t just across the street or down the road).  I am completely embracing  this new change.

LC is going to move the week after Christmas, so she and the girls will be able to start the new year off right – with a fresh start, renewed hope, and a new lease on life.  Sounds like the BEST way to start the new year to me!!

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in Reverb 10. Each day gives a new prompt, which is a chance to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next in 2011.

December 6Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

A few months ago, I would’ve shown you some photos of a new recipe I tried, but I haven’t been cooking much lately because I’m trying this whole pre-portioned frozen entree thing to help with my calorie counting, and it’s working.  I’m losing!  I do miss cooking – the planning, the shopping, the chopping, the cooking, the creative aspect, and the feeling of completion of a job well done.  What I don’t miss – the cleaning, the time, and the hassle.  I love cooking too much to let it  go forever, so I know that I’ll be back to it before too long.

But for today, the thing I’ve been “making” lately is my house into a home.  I love decorating (I got that bug from my mom, who should be an interior designer) and since it’s the season, I’ve been concentrating on sprucing up the house for Christmas. In fact, after I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom yesterday, I began to decorate, only to realize that so many of my previous decorations were so blah.  I think I didn’t notice it as much in years past because my old place didn’t get a lot of light.  Here, in the full light, they looked dingy.  So much so that I was feeling a bit down.  Until I put out the newer things I’d purchased, did a bit of sprucing up of the older things, and decided to spend a bit more money and go back to Pier 1 to buy the other decorations I really wanted.  So I took today off of work and my mom and I are going later this morning.

But I do have a few items that I’d love to share:

I bought the doormat at Kohl’s weeks ago, and then on a recent trip to Michael’s I found the snowman “calendar.”  The wreath was originally really plain, until I borrowed my dad’s hot glue gun and added the striped ornaments.  Now I think it looks really festive and welcoming.

This is still a bit of a work in progress. I need to buy colorful votives to put in the candleholders on the black metal piece.  I love the bowlful of whimsical ornaments(Michael’s), and how perfectly those colors go with the rest of my room.  And I found that card tree and knew I had to have it.

I love swirls, so this card tree holder (Pier 1) was an instant hit with me.  I added the Christmas card I made of Lulu & me, and then two fun ornaments (Pier 1) continuing the swirl theme.

This next item is either brilliantly creative or the worst, most ridiculous thing ever.  You decide:

I purchased the bowl of pine cones from one of my students for an orchestra fundraiser.  I added the gold and silver ornaments that I had from years past.  And then I added the “branches,” which I used to put in my two huge vases, but I didn’t like that look this year.  So instead of throwing them out (which I was this close to doing), I thought they might be a nice way to add some height to my dining room table arrangement.  I liked how the silver and gold balls on the branches reinforced the balls in the bowl and I also liked the pop of color the red berries add.

So while I didn’t “make” anything from scratch, I do think there is an art to home decorating, and I’m going to continue to do it, because I enjoy it so much.  So far I’ve decorated for each holiday/season, and I’m going to continue that throughout 2011.

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Last night one of my cousin’s came over to my house for the first time, and he was truly impressed with it. He couldn’t get over how large it was, the size of my yard (not that it’s THAT big, but for a rental), how great the “flow” is for entertaining, and how I’ve decorated it. He made me feel so good about it. I’m really proud of where I live and how I’ve decorated. Which makes me feel like the extra money I spend every month in rent (compared to my last place) is totally and completely worth it.

Today I woke up late, and decided to honor this sense of gratitude I feel for how lucky I am to live here. So today I’m doing a photo “essay” post, filled with all the things that are making me smile on this gorgeous Sunday.

I bought these mums yesterday and they are so vibrant and firey. A perfect addition to my outdoor table. I love seeing them as I look out the window.

I bought this fall bouquet yesterday, since I knew I was having people over. Plus, I haven’t bought fresh flowers for myself in a long time, and I thought it was about time.

Lulu always makes me smile. Even with her recent naughtiness, Lulu is such a joy in my life and I feel like she’s the best thing that’s happened to me in the past year.

Naughty #1 came Friday, when Lulu decided to use my power cord as a chew toy. Luckily I avoided having to spend $80 to replace it because my dad can literally fix anything.

Naughty #2 came last night, after I had been out for about 4 hours. Lulu was so excited to see me, and we were playing. Then I went into my room to get changed and she jumped on the bed and we played a bit more. Suddenly she was getting into this strange pose. Before I knew what was going on, I realized she was peeing! On my silk duvet!! So I sopped up the pee with a towel, treated the duvet with Zout (before reading that it wasn’t recommended for silk), and washed it on the delicate, cool water cycle. Then I put it in the dryer on no-heat fluff. I closed the garage door, went to bed, and hoped for the best.

How could I ever be upset with that face?

Having lots of fresh fruit and veggies on hand makes me happy.

Being stocked up on food makes me feel ready for the week. Safeway had a sale on Healthy Choice entrees this week, so that’s what I got. Nothing makes me smile more than being organized.

Sunday morning ritual, part 1.

Sunday morning ritual, part 2. Although who am I kidding, I drink coffee every day.

I have an actual garden that I can play around in at this new house. These roses have been here a long time, but I’m hoping that I can learn how to care for them so that they thrive. This photo also reminds me that this spring and summer I’m going to be able to make this yard look amazing with a little money, lots of effort, and some gardening luck!

This is what I saw when I walked out of my front door this morning. It’s a gorgeous day here today: sunny, bright, slightly windy, with clear skies. Oh and lots of leaves falling from those huge trees in the center island on my street. Luckily they should all be gone within a few weeks.

These are the bulbs my dad and I planted last weekend. It doesn’t look like anything more than a box of dirt, but by the spring, they’ll be gorgeous. It’s been fun trying something as new as planting bulbs and hoping for the best.

I am so thankful to have a garage at this house. With an automatic door opener (when I lived here before, it hadn’t been installed yet and it was a pain opening the door manually, let me tell you. On these weekday mornings when the roofs have been covered with frost, it’s so nice to be able to get in a car that isn’t freezing cold.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to decorate this hutch, but I knew I wanted a wine theme in the room. So after my recent trip to Napa I decided that I’d fill it with bottles of wine. BevMo, World Market, and Trader Joe’s – here I come for some inexpensive, quirky bottles to go along with the more expensive ones I bought in wine country.

Back to the scene of the crime!

Luckily for her (and me!), the duvet came out just fine.

No stains, no shrinking, and other than being a bit wrinkled, no damage at all. It looks just as vibrant and happy as it did before “the midnight incident.”

While I’m not thrilled at the prospect of spending the day grading all of these essays and tests, I am so grateful that I get to do what I love – teach English. Every job comes with a downside, and grading is it for me. But every now and then I read a truly inspired essay and it makes me proud.

This playlist featuring Joshua Radin and Ari Hest has been the soundtrack to my Sunday, which I needed to get through the household chores and grading that I had going on today.  I learned about Joshua Radin from an episode of The Bachelorette (she says sheepishly), and FatGirlvsWorld told me about Ari Hest.  Both are mellow, singer-songwriters who add a nice bit of background music without being overbearing.

Speaking of music…

I cannot wait for this soundtrack to come out!  I have a whole playlist of Christmas music that I start listening to as soon as Thanksgiving is over.  Over 120 songs by my favorite artists.  Whenever I play the music it reminds me of the reason for the season, as they say.  And I can’t wait to add this album to the mix.

These two are the definition of adorable, aren’t they? Today LC and my mom are getting my niece’s ears pierced (she’s 8 yrs old), while my dad takes the 3-year-old niece to the park.  Wanting to do my part to make the day fun, I told my sister that she could bring Minnie over so that Minnie and Lulu could play.  These two have been great pals since they first met, and neither one plays with other dogs as well as they play with each other.  It’s the cutest thing to watch them have fun.  The added bonus is that Lulu is so tired when Minnie leaves.

LoseIt makes it so easy for me to keep track of what I’m eating.  Changing from points to calories worried me at first, but as soon as I started tracking everything in LoseIt, I wasn’t worried anymore.  It makes it so easy to know exactly where I am with my eating.

A snapshot of my iCal for the week ahead – working out, minimum days, professional development, and ending with inexpensive (but delicious) wine tasting aka Passport Weekend. We’ll see if my budget allows for me to stock up on more wine from some of these wineries.

Just a few images and words that show how truly fortunate I am.  No fancy vacation or shopping spree needed – just a camera and an appreciation for all the things that make me smile.  🙂

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Yesterday my mom and I went shopping.  And by shopping I mean that we were at it from 12:30-5pm.  Yes, 4 1/2 hours of shopping craziness.  We hit Michael’s, Cost Plus, Macy’s (for clothes), Pier 1, and finally the grocery store, because my mom needed a few things.  We had the best time together, and found some amazing things.

My main shopping list included things for the new house, which I got, and then some.  I also found 6 new tops at Macy’s.  That aspect of the day was really eye-opening, because so many of the tops I  tried on didn’t fit or didn’t look good.  Even the 3x’s were small in some cases.  It was semi-depressing, but I just kept reminding myself that this won’t be forever, that soon I’ll be fitting anything I want to wear.  At one point we were in the “normal” sizes to find things for my mom and I told her, “I wish they had cute stuff like this for me.”  And she said, “Bella, these will be for you before you know it.  Don’t get discouraged about the fact that some of those tops were tight or weren’t flattering.  Before you know it, you’ll be shopping in this section and everything will look great on you.”  Which was really nice of her to say. And it just gives me that much more impetus to keep on track.

The rest of this post is going to be photo-heavy, because I’m really excited to share my new house with you.  Enjoy.

The front door/porch – decorated for Halloween:

I love this sign!  Purchased it at Michael’s.

I saw this doormat online at WorldMarket.com and knew I had to have it.  I built the rest of the decorations around it.

Even the pumpkin is “be-witched.”

Kitchen:

I love all the light in the kitchen, and that I was able to make a little “coffee nook.”

I’m re-learning how to cook on an electric stove, and so far, it’s going pretty well.  This photo also lets you see the beautiful tile on the floor.

I’m spoiled by all the counterspace I have in this kitchen!  This doesn’t even show it all; some of it got cut off in the photo.

Dining Room:

The dining room is still a work in progress.  I’m going to buy a “real” dining set in the next couple of weeks.  I know the one I want, so now it’s just a matter of paying for it.  😉

I’m beginning to develop the wine theme in the room.

I love these two framed art prints, purchased at Cost Plus.

Backyard:

This is a view of the backyard from the living room.  It is still very much a work in progress, as well, but I love how lush and green it looks here.  The backyard is a bit larger than this photo shows, and Lulu loves every square inch of it!

Living Room:

Close-up of the leaf pumpkin that I bought yesterday at Pier 1.  It’s a nice, easy way to add fall decor to the room.

The fireplace and the mantle.

I bought the Mexican spice candles yesterday at Cost Plus.  I love the way they smell, and they add great height to the mantle, as well as adding more color of the season into the room.

I found these fall harvest veggies at Michael’s yesterday, and I love how the add seasonal decoration to the room.

Master Bedroom:

Looking into the bathroom.

As soon as I saw this framed corset, I knew I had to have it for the top of my dresser.  I found it at Pier 1, and originally it was on a tall stand that would have never worked where I wanted it.  My mom suggested that my dad could cut the metal, and she was right – he did!  (What can’t that man do?).  I absolutely adore that the colored ornaments are the exact tangerine color of my duvet cover.

So that’s my home, for now.  I still have to decorate the other bedroom and the guest bathroom, as well as finish the dining room.  Still, I’m really happy with my progress so far, and I feel like this duplex has definitely become a home.  I’m thrilled with the way I’ve decorated it, and even prouder to call it my home.

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After last week’s scary weigh-in, I knew that this week was going to be better. No matter what the scale showed, I knew that I was going to be down, because I’ve been doing well with water, tracking, and generally feeling a lot more positive about the whole process. Besides that, I went to an aqua aerobics class last night (for the first time in over a year!) and I was feeling really good about myself and the choices I’ve made this week.

Let’s get to that scale shot:

Which means I’m down 4.2 lbs from last week (yay!), but I’m showing an overall gain of 1.9 lbs since first weighing in on this Lap Band journey. Even though I’m showing a gain since August, I’m not upset, because I’m moving in the right direction now. I lost 4 pounds since last week! And I know that I’m in the right mindset to continue this progress and drop those pounds (plus more) in the coming weeks.

The thing I hadn’t faced since last week was the fact that in 3 weeks I’d gained over 10 lbs. That’s scary (hence the name of last week’s post). It shows how easily I can slip into bad habits when I’m not being mindful of what I’m eating and when I’m not formally working out. I thought that all of my walks with Lulu and the packing would have circumvented the fast food and quick meals I was eating, but obviously not. It’s a good reminder for myself that I staying on track is essential to getting to my goal.

Now that life is back to normal, there are no reasons not to succeed, and I’m excited about all that I know I’m going to achieve in the coming months.

And You Thought Gym Drama Only Happened on The Biggest Loser!
Last night I went to the gym (after having avoided it for literally months), and it felt so good. Now that I’ve moved, I’m really close to my favorite 24 Hr Fitness location, which is great. It’s a busy club, but it’s big, has lots of machines, tons of fitness classes, and a pool. They’ve also instituted this new way to check in that moves away from the membership card (which I was always misplacing) and uses your phone number and your index fingerprint to verify your membership instead. Not only is this cyber-cool, it’s great not having to worry about whether I have my membership card with me.

The parking lot can be a nightmare, so I got there early and parked far away. I got to the pool about 30 minutes before the aqua aerobics class, and used the time to warm up: slow swimming, treading water, etc. Those minutes added up to 171 calories, which just goes to show that mindful exercise makes a difference.

Yesterday it was hot here: over 100 degrees, so I thought the class would be packed, but it only had about 15 people in it. The instructor was new to me, but she was awesome! And she announced that in addition to Tuesdays, she’s also going to be teaching the Wednesday evening class, as well. I’m definitely going back again tonight. The thing I loved about her teaching style was that she got in the water with us. She did all of the moves along with us, and showed us how it should look in the water. She also got out of the pool a few times to demonstrate some of the more difficult moves for the newbies, so it was a good combination of in and out of the pool instruction. (In the past all of the other instructors stayed on the pool deck, making the class feel a bit formal). Having her in the pool with us made it feel a lot more intimate and tight-knit, which was nice.

I was having a great time in the class, feeling like a star student. Even though it had been so long since I’d taken it, the moves came naturally to me, and I was able to put forth really strong effort, which didn’t go unnoticed by the teacher or some of the other students. It’s always nice to feel like I am excelling in an exercise class, because so often I feel like I’m not able to do the moves like everyone else. I was feeling so proud of myself.

Then all of a sudden there was this enormous splash in the water at the other end of the pool. Two knuckleheads decided to do cannonballs into the pool in the middle of our class! (If you’re sensitive to foul language, stop reading).

The teacher chased them out of the pool, but they were arguing with her. These meatheads weren’t young teenagers; they were in their late 20s, at least. One was near me and I looked up (from the pool) and said, “Really? You felt like you had to interrupt our class like that? Does that make you feel good?” To which he responded, “Fuck you, you fat bitch.” And then it was on.

I said, “Oh, you’re a big man for making fun of the fat girl in the pool, right, asshole. You’re no “Situation” yourself. Fuck you.” The funny thing is, in all these years of being fat, I can count on both hands the times when someone has said something like that to me. I wasn’t really riled up afterward, either, because they guy was such a dick.

I basically shrugged the whole episode off so that I could enjoy the rest of the class, and I’m glad I did, because I got in a really hard workout and left feeling really empowered, in spite of the antics. The cardio workout I get from aqua aerobics is great, and I could really tell how much better my lung capacity is now that I’ve quit smoking. It’s so wonderful to me that I am so much healthier in a relatively short amount of time (49 days, or 7 weeks!).

After the class I got changed and then went to the front desk and told them about the incident (which they knew about, somewhat), and they said that they were going to review the tape (they have cameras in the pool area) and that once they figured out who the member was, they were going to revoke his membership for what he said to me and the way that he disrupted the class. Justice!

They also said they were going to review their policy in terms of who is allowed into the pool area during an aqua class. Right now anyone can be in there, and there’s often an “audience” which is somewhat disconcerting because we’re not in the most attractive poses for most of the class. It would be nice if they’d post a sign saying that for the hour the class is taking place only class participants are allowed in the area. The only problem with that is that this is also where the hot tub, steam room, and sauna is, so I’m not sure how other members would feel about not being able to use those services for that hour. I guess we’ll see how it all shakes out.

The main point is – I went to the gym!! I enjoyed the aqua class! And I didn’t let some asshole disrupt me in the least. I’m going again tonight to the aqua class and I’m planning to go to this new bellydancing class on Sunday morning. I’ll have gone to the gym more this week than I have in over 6 months, and that feels great. I’m definitely on a roll, which is why those 1.9 pounds aren’t looming too heavily over my head. I know that as long as I stay consistent with my efforts, they’ll come off quickly.

Bella’s back, baby!

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