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Happy Superbowl Sunday! As a football fan, I look forward to watching the Superbowl each year, even when my 49ers aren’t in it.  As a 49ers fan, I hope the Seahawks lose, but I’m not really rooting for the Patriots, either.  Either way, I know it’s going to be a good game, and it will be fun to watch the ads, the halftime show, and some really great football.  Plus, I love hanging out with my parents, who are huge football fans, too.  It should be a great afternoon.

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Weekly Workout Schedule

bilbl_superIt’s been so long since I’ve posted a weekly schedule on the blog, although I have been pretty consistent with weekly workouts.  Every Sunday morning, I log into ToneItUp.com to see what workouts they have planned for the week.  Then I log everything into my iCal so that the workouts are locked in as appointments, eliminating excuses.  With my work schedule, all of my workouts start at 5am.  It used to be so difficult for me to wake up that early, but once I realized that I’m usually way too tired to workout after work, I just made morning workouts a priority.  Some mornings it doesn’t happen, and then I do try my best to fit in an afternoon/evening workout, but on the whole, I really like starting my day with a workout.  It’s invigorating, boosts my energy, and just puts me in a positive mindset for the day.

Here’s this week’s plan.  All workouts are from the TIU Weekly Workout Schedule:

Monday: Love Your Body w/ HIIT + Bikini Abs + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 1
TuesdayCupid Cardio + Bikini Yoga + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 2
Wednesday: +StairMill Workout + Love Your Body Routine + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 3
Thursday: 2 miles of cardio (elliptical) + Love Your Arms & Abs + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 4
Friday: **Jump Your Heart Out Workout + Love Your Total Body 2 + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 5
Saturday: Body Combat (24 Hour Fitness) + Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 6
Sunday: ^Sunday Runday (5K incline treadmill walk) + Bloglilates 30-Day Butt Challenge Day 7

  • **Since I’m not really coordinated with a real jump rope, I’m going to do “virtual jump rope” where I mimic the movements with my arms/legs.
  • + I’ll hit the gym for this workout so that I can use the stair stepper machine.  All the other cardio (unless noted) will be done at home on my elliptical.
  • Saturday’s challenge was to go to a group exercise class.  Since I love the Body Combat class at 24 Hour Fitness, and haven’t gone in so long, I’m definitely looking forward to this one.
  • ^I’ve decided that for now, running really isn’t for me.  My knees have been acting up a bit (lots of cracking and a bit of pain here and there), so for the SundayRunday I’m going to walk at an incline at a 4.0 mph pace on the treadmill for 3 miles.

One of my fitness friends on Facebook posted this Blogilates 30-Day Butt Challenge, which I’m really excited to complete this month. I already logged each of the day’s moves into iCal, so I’m all ready to do each of the moves everyday.  In looking at the schedule, I know I’ll be able to do all of the moves, and I like the way it slowly increases the moves as the month progresses.  And who doesn’t love a rounder, firmer butt?!

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As always, I post my workouts everyday on Instagram, so be sure to keep me accountable.

Have a SundayFunday, and I’ll see you in my next blog!!

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(I used the Rhonna Designs app on my iPhone to make this pic. I used this picture I took from my recent visit to Santa Cruz Boardwalk).

1.  This is my last Friday of summer vacation. 😦  This time next Friday I’ll be at a “Welcome Back” meeting for the start of the new school year for our first teacher workday.  My plan for the day is to spend it the way I’ve spent the entire summer – a combo of fitness and fun.  Fitness: a session on my home elliptical, walking the dogs with my dad, and swimming some laps. Fun: a bit of shopping (just took advantage of Victoria Secret’s most recent email offer), reading poolside, and a possible date later tonight.

2. This week has been a very social one, getting together with lots of friends that I’ve known since high school, which I’ve loved.  That’s one of the huge distinctions between my life now and my life before I lost all the weight.  I was always a social, extroverted person, but I often felt a bit depressed about the way I looked. Not to mention the clothing issue – I always tried to look my best, but nothing ever fit the way it should’ve.  I can’t count the number of times I turned down an invitation or made some excuse just so that I wouldn’t have to deal with all of that.  Now, I have tons of clothes in the closet that look great and make me feel fantastic.  Now, I am happy and excited when someone suggests going out.  I’m actually getting teary-eyed thinking about what a huge switch this is.  Just one more thing to be so grateful for about this new life.

3. I’ve been getting into Instagram a lot this summer, as you can tell by my feed on the right.  I post daily check-ins for my workouts and lots of pics of other things that just strike my fancy.  While I’ve been off, it’s been easy and really fun. This month I’m participating in three different photo-a-day contests, and I’m hoping I can keep up with them once school starts. If you haven’t joined a photo-a-day contest, I righly recommend them…maybe not just three in one month.  Still, the contests are a great way for me to stay focused on fitness, get motivated, and inspire myself and others with all the photos.

2014-08-02 08.50.30One is for the TIU community,

2014-08-01 12.17.59 one is hosted by @MoxieFitchick,

photoand the third is the Active Living Challenge with Fit Approach and Lorna Jane Active.

4. In anticipation of the school year starting in about a week, I spent a good portion of the day yesterday mapping out my school year workout plans in my iCal.  Since I have a morning prep period on my B days (which means I can get to school a bit later than normal) I’m going to fit in early morning fitness classes at the gym several times a week.  The live Insanity class that I tried a few weeks ago is now offered Tuesday mornings at 5:45am, and I’ll be there whenever Tuesday is a B day.  I’m also going to spinning at least once a week at 5:45am.  I’m still undecided about what I’ll do on my A days, when I need to leave my house by 7am.  Towards the end of last year I was waking up at 4:30am to do a morning workout, but that is just SO early.  Although it’s not ideal, I think I may go back to afternoon workouts on A days, because I really did enjoy them and they’re a great way to relieve the stress of the day.

5. 2014-08-07 12.40.49 Kandis, one of the TIUgirls, mentioned a week or two ago that she had started reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s May Cause Miracles.  Who doesn’t want “subtle shifts for radical change and unlimited happiness” right? The reviews and general internet buzz about the book was so positive that I thought I’d give it a try.  Have you read it?  What are your thoughts?  What book are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments.

That’s my Friday Five – I’m off to enjoy some pool time.

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Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of fun and exciting adventures.

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(I used the Rhonna Designs app on my iPhone to make this pic. I used this picture I took from my trip to Oahu in April.  This is Waikiki Beach, and I loved the color of those umbrellas).

1.  As soon as I finish writing this post, Sofi and I are hitting the road and going to the beach for the first time this summer.  I can’t believe I haven’t been to the beach at all yet this summer. I’m excited to beat the heat (it’s supposed to hit the mid-high 90s here today), walk along the beach with Sofi, and just enjoy the crashing waves. Look for pictures on my Instagram later.

2.curly-curling-creme_0For those of you with curly hair, you know how important it is to find the right products.  It’s only recently that my hair has returned to it’s normal curls. After getting my hair smoothed with the formaldehyde-free keratin treatment last December, my curl pattern was completely changed; it wasn’t curly anymore, it was barely wavy.  I’m glad that I got the keratin treatment, because my massive weight loss affected my hair terribly, making it thin, frizzy, and really difficult to manage.  But I’ve realized that I’m just not great at blow drying my own hair on a regular basis (I just don’t have the technique), so I’ve decided not to get the keratin treatment again (which costs $300), and instead treat myself to Dry Bar appointments now and then. But let’s get back to the products.  Now that my hair is back to it’s normal curls, I wanted to find a product that would keep them defined, control the frizz, but and not build up. After trying lots of different things, I found Curly Sexy Hair. I’ve been using the shampoo, conditioner, Full-On Curls, and the Curling Creme.  I like that these products are really affordable, and that they work. I’ve been enjoying lots of compliments on my hair lately, which I haven’t had in about a year.

3. I’ve had a few clothing NSVs this week.  On Sunday, I found the cutest top, but it as in the petite section.  I liked it so much that I decided to try on the petite Medium anyway, and it FIT! Then on Monday, I was shopping around Target and found a cute 49er tee that was a juniors Large (see Instagram photo). The week before last, I went online to Venus and found a bunch of cute tops, all of which were size Mediums; they came on Tuesday, and every single one fits great (see the turquoise, floral peplum top in my Instagram). Yesterday I was thrilled to finally fit into the Chase Infinite tank that I’d bought a couple of months ago (again, see yesterday’s Instagram workout post). Every time I buy clothes in these small sizes, I am amazed at the fact that they fit. Not only fit, but that they look good.  Shopping is such a pleasure now.  I’ve always loved getting new clothes, but now that I can walk into any store and find something adorable, I am loving it!

4. I usually love watching movies in the summer, but I have to say that I’ve been very underwhelmed at the offerings.  The last movie I went to was The Fault in Our Stars, which was very good.  In the many weeks since, there really hasn’t been much I’d be willing to see.  But suddenly there are a few that I’m looking forward to:

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5. 2014-07-13 00.05.37 I found this photo on Instagram awhile ago, and I love it.  Not only is “choose happy” the way that I try to live my life on a daily basis, but I also love the beach and the image of the sun.  Seeing this just makes me smile, and I’m going to put it up on my white board at school as a daily reminder.  Because no matter how stressful the situation, how disappointing the news, or how unfortunate the event – I choose my reaction and I choose HAPPY.

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Happy Friday! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, full of fun and exciting adventures.

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bilbl_superI had so much fun challenging myself to the Tone It Up #150bysummer goal (I exceeded it by 5 miles and logged 155 miles) that I didn’t want to see it end right when summer is just starting.

For me, summer is the time that I get in lots of daily workouts, because:

  • it’s something I can do by myself or with friends
  • it gets me outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather
  • it’s very inexpensive
  • it fills my time off in a very productive way
  • I love the way I feel while/after I’m working out

This morning on FB, Kandis TIU, who is a huge supporter of the entire TIU Community, made an adorable chart for tracking our cardio miles. She purposely made it blank at the top so that we could edit it and use it for our own purposes.  So, I thought I’d put out a summer challenge that we can all do together.

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Bella’s Summer Challenge: #150byBacktoSchool

The way the TIU miles work is simple.  If you can count miles, like when you’re walking or running, do that. If you’re biking, you’re supposed to divide your mileage by 3 (so if you biked for 12 miles, you’d only count 4 miles into your totals). If you’re doing a class or some other form of cardio, 1 mile = 10 minutes of intense cardio.

Since I was able to do 155 miles in the 8 weeks of the Bikini Series (and that was with me taking about a week and a half off), I figured we should all be able to log 150 miles in the 8 weeks between now and the time I go back to school, August 15th (my first teacher workday). I’ll be using Instagram/Twitter to keep myself accountable, using the hashtags: #150byBacktoSchool and #BellasSummerChallenge. Be sure to tag me @bellablogger on Instagram or Twitter so that I can see how well you’re doing.  And because I love incentives, I’ll be doing a small giveaway for the people who log the most miles/check in often.

Use the chart above and mark off your miles each day, along with a pic of you doing the activity, and a cool quote, if you’d like.  My favorite apps to jazz up photos are Rhonna Designs, A Beautiful Mess, and InstaPic Frames. I’ll post my favorites each week on this blog, along with my totals so far so that we can encourage each other.

Are you in?

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I love that I’m writing my weekend wrap-up on a Tuesday! Don’t you just love short weeks like this one?

I had a fantastic weekend! It was a perfect mix of fun, obligations, and down time. If you follow me on Instagram (bellablogger), you’ve seen many of these photos already, but most of them are good enough to view more than once.

Saturday Scenes

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Sofi & I started off with a late-morning walk around our neighborhood. I’m happy to report that I was able to walk at my pre-plantar fasciitis speed. Sofi was as relieved as I was that I’m back to normal.

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Later in the afternoon, I met up with Tinkerbell, her hubby, and two of their friends for a “biker gang” bike ride. I’ve never ridden with 4 other people before. I’m sure we were a funny site, since we all have beach cruisers. It as a gorgeous day, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than riding my bike on a sunny Saturday.

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This week marks the end of my amaryllis. A student had given me the bulbs as a thank you for a letter of recommendation that I wrote for her, and I’ve enjoyed watching it grow and bloom since November.

Sunday Scenes

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Sunday morning I headed out bright and early to take yoga at my local Lululemon store. I love that local instructors from all sorts of studios take turns leading these classes. It’s always a form of vinyasa, and since that’s the type of yoga I’m least familiar with, I’m really enjoying trying it. Plus, I woke up the next day sore all over, which is always a great sign.

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Ani had met me at yoga, and afterward we grabbed tea and basked in the sunshine. It was a great way to begin the day.

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Sunday afternoon my 49ers came back from a 17-point deficit to secure their spot in the Superbowl!!! As a lifelong 9ers fan, I can’t tell you how excited I am that they’re returning to the glory days of the 80s and early 90s. It’s been a long time in coming, but it just feels like this year is our time.

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After the game, my friend Di and I met up for iced tea (Passion tea for me)and “catch up” time. Yes, that does make two trips to Starbucks in one day, but at least both of my drinks were calorie-free and counted towards my water intake.

Scenes from Monday

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After skipping the aqua aerobics class I’d planned on because it was way too chilly out, I was sure to make my date with the elliptical. Again, I’m seeing progress in my heel, because just a few weeks ago I wasn’t able to stand on the elliptical for 30 minutes. I also want to note that I actually burned 605 calories.

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A post-wrokout, post-grocery store shot of me driving with the convertible top down. It was in the high 60s all weekend, and you know when it gets anywhere near a warm temp like that, my Beetle goes topless. (It also helped that I was so warm after my workout that the breeze didn’t bother me one bit).

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Finally, a shot of the roasted broccoli I made last night. I’m not a huge fan of broccoli (one of the only veggies I don’t really like), but I do like it roasted. I added a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and quite a bit of cayenne pepper. I popped it in the oven at 400 for 20 minutes. Delish! (I make cauliflower the same way, but at 425 for 25-30 minutes).

The rest of the day and evening on Monday was spent cleaning and getting ready for the week ahead.

All in all, I had a really fun, productive weekend.  I’m proud of myself for working out each day, seeing several friends, and getting everything else accomplished.  If only all weekends could last 3 days!

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Happy Friday!!! It’s been so long since I’ve done a “Five Things Friday” post, so let’s remedy that.

1. I’ve been working at home since Wednesday, and will continue through next Tuesday.  As a teacher, I never get to work from home, so this has been a unique experience.  I have worked from home before, while I had a summer job, but it’s somehow different this time.  I enjoy the fact that I can get up at 6:45 and be ready to work by 7:30 (I’m never ready that quickly on a normal day, since I have to shower, dress, and commute).  I also love that I can “take a break” and go workout in the morning.   The hardest part of working from home is the balance.  It’s very easy to get lost online doing things other than working, but it’s also very easy to work well past the normal work hours.  I’m not sure I’d do well with it on a regular basis, though.  I need the distinction between work and home that comes with going in to work, even though I hate having to wake up so early.  Most of all, I miss the human interaction that comes with teaching.  But, it’s definitely been a great way to begin the new year, because I’ve gotten workouts in every day, and I’m starting habits that will last all winter (and year, but let’s start with one thing at a time).

2. I joined and started using Instagram.  I’m still getting used to it, and have only posted one photo (my dinner last night), but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it quickly and start posting tons of photos.  If you’d like to follow me, I’m bellablogger.  Leave me any tips and tricks for getting the most out of Instagram in the comments.

220px-Silver_Linings_Playbook_Poster 3. While I was really disappointed that Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated for an Oscar as best director for Argo, I am thrilled that Silver Linings Playbook has been.  I loved that movie, and I think both Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence showed strong acting chops in the movie.  If you haven’t seen it yet, go see it.   On the Oscars note, I love that I’ve seen so many of the nominated films this year.  Have you seen any of them?  Which one was your favorite?

4.  Tomorrow I’m going to my first Zumba class in months, and I’m really excited!  My plantar fasciitis has gotten much better, and I’m hoping it lasts through the class.  To continue my buddy workouts, I’m going with my friend Ani, which will make it even more fun.  Plus, I can’t wait to wear my Zumba shoes!

5. Goal #8 for my 13 in 13 is to keep up with my Google Reader/blogs I read.  I’ve done fantastic on it this week, and I’m proud to say that I’ve commented on nearly every post I’ve read. To me, commenting is as important as reading them, because that way I’m offering the blogger my support, encouragement, or advice.  I’d much rather read fewer blogs but comment on most of them than the reverse.  I know how much I appreciate it when people leave me comments (thanks, guys!), and I hope my comments mean as much when I write them.

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I have one addition to the Friday 5, and since it’s been so long since I’ve done one, I think it’s ok to sneak in a 6th.

Yesterday, this arrived in the mail:

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Meghann @ LifeAfterSleeve (aka ScaleWarfare) sent me this card, and it completely made my day.  Not only is Thoreau one of my favorite philosophers/writers, but that quote is also one of my favorites.  It fits everything that’s going on with my life right now so perfectly, too.  Does this girl know me, or what?  Thanks so much, Meghann, that card absolutely made my day, and it’s got a prominent place on my fridge to remind me of my dreams, and of our friendship.

On a side note, Meghann sent me the card as one of her 52 in 2013.  The basic ideas is to write down 52 ideas of things to do, some easy, some more challenging, and put them on different slips of paper and in some sort of container.  Then, each week, she pulls out one of the sheets and completes that week’s task.  I absolutely adore this idea, and I may do it next year.  As it is, I may join in on some of her challenges this year.

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