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Posts Tagged ‘Sofi!!!!!!’

2014-07-25 10.02.15

(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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As you guys know, I’ve been loving the ToneItUp‘s workouts since mid-January.  I’ve done them 5 days a week, every week since I began, only missing while I was on vacation in Hawaii.  (If you haven’t checked them out, I highly recommend you do.  It’s completely free, and they have a fun community, full of supportive, motivating people who cheer on every workout you post about).

They’re about to launch their new #bikiniseries this coming Monday, which will run for 8 weeks, until the official start of summer.  Karena and Katrina put so much into the daily workouts they design, and the best part is, the whole thing is free.  All you need to do is sign up for the #bikiniseries and you’ll get reminder emails, weekly workouts, fun giveaways, yummy recipes, contests, etc.

I like the approach that Tone It Up takes toward living a healthy lifestyle.  Not only do they include workouts and nutrition, but they also concentrate on mindset.  Take yesterday’s challenge, for example:

The challenge asked participants to create their own summer must-do list.  Beyond workouts and eating right, what were things that we wanted to make sure to fit in this summer? I loved this! Any time I can make a list and get creative with my summer plans, I’m all for it!  As a teacher, lots of people ask me, what do you do all summer long?  My answer is always the same – anything I want to!  🙂  This summer, I really want to concentrate on enjoying each and every day.  I didn’t include all of my plans on my list, but I did include most of the things I’m hoping to do:

 

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The photo I used is one that was taken for me by a Danish tourist while I was riding my bike at Kailua Beach on Oahu.  She worried that I would be upset that so much of it was in the shadows, but I assured her that I actually liked the way it turned out.  It was the perfect photo to use for this assignment because it has an artsy feel right off the bat.  I like the way I’m in silhouette with the bike, but the ocean and the beach are in the bright sun in the background.

I thought I’d elaborate a bit on each of these summer plans…

Mid-morning swims: One of my favorite parts of summer is being able to swim at the pool at my parents’ townhouse complex.  More often than not, if I get there by 10:30 or 11, I have the entire place to myself, and I’m free to swim laps to my heart’s content.  Sometimes my dad and I meet there and swim together, and it’s a nice way for us to connect with each other as we update each other on the latest family happenings while we’re drying off in the sun.  It’s also a great time for me to be alone with my thoughts and just let go of all worries and stress.  Swimming really soothes me, and I can’t wait to start my almost-daily swims.

Daily doses of laughter: Whether it’s retelling a funny story, joking with my nieces, or watching Sofi do something goofy, I want to appreciate all the little moments of laughter that are part of my daily life this summer.  Laughter is good for the soul and the spirit, and I want to make sure I’m enjoying it all the time.

Hawaii-themed party: Since I had such a fun time in Hawaii, I figured it would be fun to have a party with a Hawaiian theme.  I’m still deciding if I’ll combine it with a Silpada party that I’m planning to have, or if it will be more of a traditional party.  Either way, I have plenty of fun outfits to choose from.

Coffee chats: I live really close to Starbucks (doesn’t everyone?!), so close in fact, that I can walk there with ease.  It’s become a habit with three or four of my friends that we meet up there and catch up about all that’s going on in our lives.  It’s the perfect place to get together because I can get a calorie-free passion iced tea, or a caffeine kick with an iced cinnamon dolce misto.  As far as I’m concerned, coffee is the perfect drink any time of day, so it fits well with a more carefree summer schedule.

SF (and SJ) Giants games: I love supporting my Giants, and plan to go to as many games as I can afford to this summer.  One that I know I’ll go to is the Italian Night at the Giants, where a really large group of family and friends all get together.  It’s so much fun!  The tickets at AT&T Park are expensive, so lately my friends and I have been opting to go to the SJ Giants games.  Not only are they ridiculously inexpensive (less than $10 per game), but they’re a lot of fun.  Very family-friendly, with lots of activities for the kids to participate in between innings.  My friend Di and I are even signing up to do the Giant 5K, which gets us into the game the evening of the race.  I’m actually going to an SJ Giants game this Friday with my sister and nieces, which will be tons of fun.  Bring on the baseball!!

Going on dates!: I’m actually really looking forward to this one.  Assuming of  course there are men to go on dates with.  I was only on Match.com for about 2 months back in November/December, and I have to say, I was pretty underwhelmed.  I got lots of winks, emails, and nudges, but when it came time for the guys to just make the move and ask for my number so we could move it to the next level of texting/talking on the phone and then hopefully soon afterward meeting up, they never pulled the trigger.  Even when I directly said, “here’s my number, I’d love to figure out a time for us to meet up for coffee or something.”  They disappeared quick.  I’m not one to go into a long and drawn out relationship online via email, or text, for that matter.  If you’re interested, you think I’m cute, you want to get to know me better, then let’s do that – let’s meet up and see if we hit it off.  Because we can have all the chemistry in the world online, we won’t know if we’re really going to be attracted to each other until we meet up.  I’m hoping that this time of year will be easier to connect than it was around the holidays.  One of the major takeaways I had from my trip to Hawaii was that I’m really ready to be in a relationship, even a more casual one.  Hopefully I have a bit of romance in store this summer.

Leash-free beach trips: Last summer I had a blast taking Sofi to a lesser-known beach where she could run off leash.  We have the best time when we go – she loves running along the shore, but is afraid to get too close to the water, so I don’t have to worry much about the waves taking her.  We both get in a great walk, we get some sunshine, and I get to read and relax.  What could be better?  Besides just that particular dog-friendly beach, I also hope to hit the other local beaches often this summer.

Long walks w/ Sofi: I take Sofi on walks almost every single day, but in the summer it’s so nice to be able to wake up and take a nice, long walk before the temperature heats up too much.  I love exploring all the different streets around my neighborhood with Sofi.  She loves when I find new places for our walks, so that’s definitely on my to-do summer list.

Reading: I’m not off to the best start so far this year in terms of my reading goal on Goodreads, but I did get quite a bit of reading time in when I was on vacation in Hawaii.  My goal for the summer is to fit in at least an hour a day of reading time.  I enjoy reading so much, and I want to make it a priority during the time of year when I have so few responsibilities pulling my focus from the things I enjoy.

Riding roller coasters: This is a huge one for me! It will definitely be its own blog post when it happens because it will be a major NSV.  I love going on roller coasters – the wilder and faster the better.  I haven’t been on one in I can’t even remember how long because of the time that I got on one and almost had to get off because the safety bar wasn’t going to close.  I pleaded with the kid running the ride to let me stay on it, and he did.  After that I only got bigger and knew that roller coaster were way out of reach.  I didn’t ever want to risk the embarrassment of being asked to get off before I was able to ride the ride.  So, this summer I plan on going to Great America and the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to ride as many roller coasters as I can.  Can’t wait!!

Family BBQs: I love grilling any day of the week, but getting together with my family and friends and sharing a meal as easy as BBQing is something really look forward to.  Sometimes it’s as simple as bringing my meat over to their house for an impromptu BBQ; other times it’s a more planned affair, like for Father’s Day or 4th of July.  Either way, I can’t wait to fire up the grill and get cooking!

Cocktails: Summertime is a great time to relax and let go a bit.  While I usually only drink on special occasions because the alcohol has empty calories, there is something to be said for enjoying a nice glass of white wine or a Swirl (local peeps will know what time talking about) with friends. Any afternoon or evening becomes more of a celebration when you add a cocktail.

Bike rides: I love riding my cruiser around, and now that more of my friends have bikes, too, I hope to get out and go on rides all summer long.  Half Moon Bay, Morgan Hill, and everywhere in between.  I love the freedom I feel when I’m riding my bike, the sun shining on my face, the wind in my hair.  There’s nothing in the world like it.

Backyard lounging: I have this great Adirondack chair that I bought a few years ago that’s nicely weathered now.  I adore sitting in it and enjoying the peace and serenity of my backyard.  Looking at the garden and seeing the flowers and trees.  Watching Sofi cavorting in the grass.  Reading, listening to music, or just trying to keep cool on a warm night.  Sounds perfect to me.

There are a lot more things I could add to my list, but I’ll save those up until I have enough to create an entirely new one.  This was such a fun exercise, and I’m really glad the Tone It Up girls gave this assignment.  It put me in a great mood and gave me some inspiration to get through these last weeks of my school year.

Now that you’ve read my list of how I’m going to create my summer, I’d like to challenge you to write your own list.  Either in the comments or by joining the TIU challenge.  Post a pic on Instagram with your list.  Tweet about it.  Write your own blog post.  It was a fun activity that really put me in the mindset to enjoy myself this summer, and I can’t wait to read about your plans.

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Happy Monday! I had a great weekend! It kicked off Friday night with a girls’ night at a favorite wine bar with two of my BFFs and my sister, continued with 3 hours of volunteering and a great walk with Sofi on Saturday, and ended with Sunday spent organizing my both my closets.  That last one is the one that took the biggest load off of my mind.  I went through every single piece of clothing I own – things I had packed away in storage containers under the bed, things in the closet of my second bedroom, things I hadn’t worn in months – and decided if I was donating or keeping it.  I separated the items I was donating by category: workout/casual, business/dressy, and pjs/lingerie – having been at a charity on Saturday, I see how much time they spend sorting through clothing donations, so I figured I’d save them some time.  Then I hung/folded/organized each item I was keeping.  I feel SO good when I look at my closet.  

For the months of March and April, FMM is moving locations.  Sarah over at Losing Weight and Having Fun is hosting FMM for the time being, and I’m excited to discover her blog and meet a bunch of new bloggers.

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: Losing Weight and Having Fun 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: Would you rather…

1. Chocolate or vanilla ice cream?

I haven’t really been eating a lot of ice cream lately, but I guess I’d choose chocolate.

2. Coke or pepsi?

Neither.  I don’t drink soda (diet or otherwise) at all anymore.  Not only is it bad for you, but because of my VSG, I’m not supposed to have any carbonation.

3. Cats or dogs?

Dogs all the way.  I grew up with an adorable Maltese/poodle mix named Sweetie.  And you guys know now I have my adorable Sofi, who turns 3 this Wednesday:

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4. Summer or Winter?

Summer.  Not only do I get 8 weeks off from work because I’m a teacher, but I really do love being outside and active.  Spending my days swimming, biking, and taking long walks with Sofi are the best.  Not to mention the plethora of fresh fruits and veggies available. I think this is going to be one of my best summers yet, because I’ll be able to wear lots of clothing styles that I haven’t felt comfortable wearing before.  Plus, I have some fun local outings planned.

5. Early bird or night owl?

I’m a night owl at heart, but because of my job I also wake up early.  So I just don’t get much sleep.  😉

6. Baseball or football?

I love them both.  I’m a huge San Francisco fan – 49ers and Giants – and I watch as many games as I can.  Since the SF Giants have a minor league team here in San Jose, I love going to see those games, too. Not only are they less expensive than the major league games, but it’s fun to see the  up-and-coming  players.  Plus, the games are very family friendly.

7. Glasses or contact lenses?

I had LASIK surgery in 2000, so I don’t have to wear either.

8. Coffee or tea?

I’m a huge coffee drinker, but I have started to drink a lot more tea lately.  It’s become a nightly ritual for me to have a cup of tea or two after dinner.  I absolutely LOVE David’s Tea – I’m obsessed!

9. Mac or PC?

Mac, no question.

10. Roller coasters or not?

I was talking to my sister about this a couple of weeks ago.  For so many years, I haven’t been able to ride roller coasters because I was so heavy at 315 pounds that the safety harness wouldn’t be able to “click” down.  Now that I’ve lost all this weight, I am so excited to ride roller coasters this summer at Santa Cruz Boardwalk and at Great America.  I cannot wait!!

Now it’s your turn to answer the questions!   And also be sure to go back to Sarah’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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I first saw the Thinking Out Loud posts on A Merry Life, and I liked the concept so much that I decided I’m going to join in on the fun. Be sure to check out Amanda’s blog, Running with Spoons, to hear all the thoughts.

Here’s what I have milling around my mind this morning…

Today is my 9-month surgiversary, so my weight loss is definitely on my mind.  I’ve lost 124 pounds from my highest weight, and my life has completely changed.  I am so glad that I made the decision to get VSG and stuck with it through the 2 1/2 years it took me to lose the required pre-op weight. Some people think weigh-loss surgery is the easy way out, but I can vouch for the fact that it’s anything but.  It takes diligence, planning, and consistency.  The surgery has helped me tremendously in terms of portion control, but every single day I make the decisions about what I eat, how I’m going to workout, and whether or not I’m going to log it all into MyFitnessPal. The surgery is a dynamic tool, but I’m the one making sure I continue to lose weight.

1662019_10203079989939205_98500168_n I’m going to a Zumba Step class at 11am this morning, and I’m really looking forward to trying this new class.  I love Zumba, and I used to really love step classes, so this combo should be interesting.  It could also be a recipe for disaster – I can easily imagine tripping over the step as I try to samba to the beat.  LOL.  Look for a new AIF post soon, describing all the details.

I’ve been calling this week off my Fitness Staycation because I’ve taken advantage of the fact that I can hit the gym any time of day to take a bunch of classes that I’ve never done before.  I’ve always been a fan of getting lots of variety in my workouts, and I love taking fitness classes, but lately I’ve gotten out of the habit.  I’ve been so involved in my run/walks, and having the hybrid elliptical/recumbent bike at home makes it so convenient to just hop on it.  But there’s nothing like the jolt I get from taking a class at the gym.  I love the music, the energy, and the social aspect.  I’m going to aim to take a couple of classes a week at the gym from now on: definitely Spin, and then maybe an alternating pattern of Turbo Kick, Body Combat (depending on how that class goes tomorrow), and Zumba Step/Zumba.

Bathing suits have been on my mind a lot lately.  I’m going to Hawaii in early April, so I’ll definitely need a few for that trip, but I’ve also been missing swimming.  Since my gym has a pool, the only thing stopping me from swimming regularly is the fact that I don’t have a suit that fits me anymore. And this time the reason is that they’re all too big!!  My problem area has always been my thighs, so swimsuit shopping has always been a bit tricky.  In the past I went with a skirted swimsuit, but after all my weight loss, I’ve decided that my skirted swimsuit days are behind me.  But my thighs are super-jiggly, and no one needs to see all of that.

landsend So I’m on the hunt for board shorts and a bikini top.  And not shorty shorts, but bermuda-style board shorts to cover everything I need covering.  Choosing the separates will be smart for me, because I’m still much bigger on the bottom than I am on top. I found these on Land’s End that might work well.  It’s weird to think that it’s late February, but I’m already looking at buying swimsuits.  Another example of the good changes around here.

eeTyBW3zE2RE63KcXwHdaC1eM6oL70vArWu_JAQ-uuDBujPvB3XUocy2nXMj42eXG0nd=w300Music really motivates me, whether I’m working out, cleaning the house, or grading papers (which I really should be doing right now instead of writing this blog post).  I’ve been having some issues with iTunes and getting my music on my iPhone lately, so I decided to upgrade to Spotify premium.  I love how easy it is to access so much new music, and so many sites and blogs I follow post new playlists there all the time.  What’s a playlist/album/song you think I should check out or follow?  Let me know in the comments.

And because she adds joy to my life daily, why not post a quick pic of Sofi? She’s such a cuddle bug this morning!

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What are your thoughts this Thursday?  If you have a few to share, you should write up a quick post and link it up on Running with Spoons.

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bilbl_superThis week, I was determined to start strength training, no matter what.  I’m not going to lie, I was really intimidated by the thought of working out at the gym using the machines or the free weights.  And did I really need to do that type of training, anyway?  The more I’ve been reading on the different fitness blogs, the more I see that the trend that seems to work well for the goals I have in mind is using my own body weight resistance along with dumbbells and kettlebells.  After looking at so many great, free sites, I settled on Tone It Up because I remember reading their fitness tips in Self Magazine in the past. When I researched their website, I really liked the fitness community that Karena and Katrina have built. Plus, I saw their new show, Toned Up, on Bravo and thought they had cute, quirky personalities.  And I mean, look at them – they’re gorgeous!

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Right now Tone It Up has a series they’re calling #LoveYourBody, which I think is so empowering.  When I signed up for the newsletter, which gives me free access to the #TIU community, daily workout routines, inspirational quotes, and some recipes, I loved their message about what I could do with the 4 weeks until Valentine’s Day:

Remember there are 4 FULL WEEKS left of the Love Your Body Series~ just in time for Valentine’s Day.  You have a HOT DATE with yourself!  Take a look at your calendar- commit to yourself and your goals.  In 4 weeks anything is possible…

♥ If you run/jog or walk 2 miles a day… that’s 2 MARATHONS you’ll complete by Valentine’s Day 

♥ Is weight loss your goal?  With the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan, you could lose 8-10 pounds in a healthy way

♥ Is toning your goal too?  You will see a major difference in muscle tone with the workouts below

♥ If you compliment 1 woman a day from now until Valentine’s Day… that’s 26 women who won’t forget how you made them feel beautiful.

♥ Connect with a new team member in the community each day… that’s 26 new TIU girlfriends 🙂

♥ 4 weeks doesn’t seem like much… but you can achieve a lot between now until then! ” ~ToneItUp

I was totally inspired by this!  I really like that they take a whole body/mind approach – not just working out and eating clean, but connecting with other people, too.  I feel like supporting each other is so important.

So when I got the weekly schedule in my inbox on Sunday, I new I was going to start on Monday after work.  I love that the schedule has video links, pdf downloads, and a Pinterest-ready photo of each workout, as well.  I also REALLY love that the whole thing is themed – each of the workouts are named with Valentine’s Day in mind.  So cute!

  • Monday: My mom and I had taken a quick-paced mid-morning walk as my “cupid cardio” and then I came home and did the #LoveYourAbs workout 3 times, which took me about 30 minutes.
  • Tuesday: I went to the gym and did the run/walk intervals on the treadmill for cardio and I did #LoveYourBodywithKettlebells for my toning.  This workout was killer, and even though it was only 19 minutes (I only did one set) I’m still feeling it!
  • Wednesday: rest day. I was starting to feel sick, and since I’d worked all day, I decided to take a break today.
  • Thursday: Despite having a pretty bad cold, woke up and did 18 minutes on the stationary bike followed by 1 round of #LoveYourArms&Abs (15 minutes).  If I wasn’t feeling sick, I definitely would’ve done the recommended 2 rounds.
  • Friday: I took another sick day, but still woke up and did 18 minutes on the recumbent bike, followed by 3 rounds of #LoveYourBooty, and I know I’ll be feeling that workout for a few days.
  • Saturday: I’m going to rest on the cardio, but I’ll complete the week’s plan by doing two sets of #LoveYourWholeBody2 (35 minutes).

I have really liked these workouts because they don’t require a lot of equipment.  I have everything I need – a kettlebell, some hand weights, and a yoga mat.  It doesn’t get simpler than that.  I can feel the workouts working by how sore my muscles are each day, but the thing I’m enjoying about these workouts is that I can do them.  Some of the moves (like the side plank) are out of reach for me, but I can find easy ways to modify them.  I feel so good when I’m finished with each round of toning, and I really like that none of the workouts take that much time.  I can easily fit in 30 minutes a day.  I like checking in on FB and Twitter, and getting support from the @ToneItUp girls every time I use the #TIU hashtag.

Another fun thing about these workouts is that Sofi really gets into them.  She thinks it’s playtime every time I hit the mat to do crunches, booty bridges, etc.  It’s impossible not to start laughing every time she licks my face when I’m trying to do leg lifts or is right underneath me as I’m doing kettlebell swings.  So, we’ve made a deal – she get get a few kisses and licks in and then she has to let me get my toning in, and afterward we’ll fit in a play session on the ground.  How can I resist – how cute is this?

2014-01-24 12.14.22A huge thank you to Karena and Katrina for making such a fun, easy-to-follow, FREE program.  I know I can keep this up!  I can’t wait to see how my body changes in the next four weeks!!

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Happy Friday!  Today is my last Friday of summer vacation!  I wish I could tell you I was typing this from some amazing location, like  the beach, but alas, I’m sitting on my couch in the living room.  I did want to make sure to make today really count, since it’s the last Friday I’ll have off in quite some time.

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1.  I started out today with a Zumba class. My first time taking Zumba since surgery, and it was fantastic! The teacher was super energetic, and really fun.  I noticed that I was able to really increase my intensity with the moves like never before.  For example, in the past when the class was doing jumping kicks, I’d just keep my feet on the ground and kick.  Not today!  I was jumping and kicking right along with them.  My cha-cha-cha and my meringue probably looked a bit rusty, but I was keeping pace with the rest of the class, which just shows me another NSV – my fitness level is so much stronger than I was before surgery, and it’s only going to get better from here.  I decided today in class that once I’m able to fit into the sizes, I’m buying myself some Zumba pants to wear.

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2. Speaking of buying clothes, this week I hit another fun milestone – I’ve lost enough weight that I’m able to justify buying bras from Victoria’s Secret. For so long my band size was too large to find anything nice at VS, but now that I’m measuring a 38, there’s so much more within reach.  I treated myself to a couple of fun, sexy bras, and I can’t wait for them to arrive.

3. Wednesday evening headed to Italian Heritage Night at the SF Giants, and had a great time.  But what is sort of amazing to me is that when my friend snapped this photo of me while we were waiting for the train, I didn’t immediately feel the need to crop the photo so that it only showed my body from the waist up.  In fact, when I looked at it again yesterday, I realized just how much smaller my hips/thighs are now. Those are still (and always will be) my biggest problem area, but my body is really transforming.  It was really cool to notice it from this photo.

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4. School is about to begin, and next week I have two teacher professional development days that I’m attending, which isn’t something worth writing about, except for the fact that this year, the district bought every teacher an iPad!  I’m so excited to get mine and try it out.  I’m a huge Mac fanatic, but couldn’t see spending that much money on an iPad, when I have a  MacBookPro and an iPhone.   But since the district is giving us one, hey, I’m all for it.  The PD day is supposed to show us some interesting uses of the iPad in the classroom.  Yay for free Apple gadgets!

5. Since today is my last Friday, I want to do something fun, so I think I’m going to head to the beach with Sofi so we can both enjoy this beautiful day.

I hope you have a great day!

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Happy Monday! I have a lot of fun things in the works this week, and I’m excited to share them with you as they happen.  Look for some great posts this week. One thing I’ve been really lax on lately is reading and commenting on blog posts.  I feel like ever since Google Reader announced its departure, my reading habits have been thrown a curve ball.  So I plan to rectify that, beginning today.

But now let’s get on with this week’s topic.

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: 10 Things That Make Me Happy

1.  First and foremost, my family.  They are the people who forgive me at my worst and celebrate me at my best.  They have been absolutely amazing in cheering my weight loss, and never shy away from complimenting me.  I am the person I’ve become because of their guidance and unending support.

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2.  My friends.  So many of the women that I consider my best friends are people I’ve known since high school.  Friendships that last 24 years are solid friendships, to be sure.  But I also feel really close to people that I’ve met much more recently, because sometimes you meet someone and you just click.  You know the type of friendship I mean – the kind where you feel as if you’ve known the person your whole life.  I value my friends and remain loyal to them through thick and thin.  If you’ve heard the term “ride or die chick,” that’s who I am for my friends.

3.  Sofi!  You knew she was going to be in the top 3, didn’t you?  This pup has brought unending joy and happiness into my life. She helps me live in the moment and to appreciate life’s special, little moments that I might otherwise miss.  There’s nothing better than going on a long walk with Sofi.

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I love this little one even when she’s being a monkey and tearing up the roses in my yard! (She loves eating the petals!).

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Her favorite resting position. Does it get any cuter?!

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4.  Teaching.  As much as I complain sometime about the workload/grading, I really do love what I do.  I adore hearing from former students and knowing that I impacted their lives in a positive way.  I enjoy watching them mature into bright, mature people who are ready to be contributing citizens.  It sounds corny, but I am so lucky to be able to do what I love for a living.  (Remind me of this in the middle of the semester when I’m drowning in honors essays, ok?).

5.  A great pedicure.  There’s really nothing like feeling like you toes look their best, especially in sandal season.

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6.  Reading.  Not only does reading offer a much-needed escape from reality, but it often allows me to learn, grow, and expand my thoughts.  From the moment I was taught how to decipher words on a page, I’ve loved reading, and I know that love will last with me forever.

7.  Writing. This blog is my outlet, my creative space.  A place where I share my thoughts and emotions, my dreams and my frustrations.  Who knows if it will ever become something more, something greater.  I’m just glad I have an ability to express myself through the written word.

8.  The beach.  I go to the beach as often as I can, and still it’s never enough.  Someday I would love to retire to a small little cottage on the beach so that I could take morning walks along the ocean.  How amazing does that sound?  Believe it, be it, right?

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9. Cooking.  Over the years, I really have become someone who loves to cook for myself and for others.  I love every aspect of it, from finding the perfect recipe, to planning the menu, to shopping, to chopping, to cooking, and tasting the final product.  Cooking is another creative outlet for me, and it’s been so much fun adapting the foods and flavors I love into my new post-surgery lifestyle.  I love a challenge!  Food is a huge part of my Italian culture, so the fact that I’m able to carry on my family’s traditions through some of the meals I make brings me great joy.

10. Shopping! Whether it’s shopping for a gift for someone else, or adding to my own wardrobe, I adore shopping.  I get a rush when I’m looking for that special something and find it.  I’ve always loved the way that clothes make me feel about myself, but now that I’m seeing the results of my efforts on the scale, clothes are even better.  I haven’t had any major shopping trips yet…but I’m biding my time until that first major shopping trip.  I cannot wait.

11.  (I know Kenlie asked for 10, but I just have to add this last one).  Working out.  Who would’ve thought that I would have written those words.  But it’s so true.  I love the feeling I get when I tackle a new fitness milestone. And the sense of accomplishment that comes when a really good workout is over.  I even love the way my heart pounds out of my chest as I try to match the tempo of my workout tunes while I’m on the elliptical machine.  I love the way working out feeds my competitive nature.  I know fitness is going to be my hobby/obsession from here on out.  As things get easier to accomplish because my overall health is improving, I know I’ll try to overcome bigger challenges.

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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1. What a great week to be off of work!  I’ve spent my week off doing the perfect mix of activities – plenty of hardcore gym sessions, a few new culinary experiments, spending tons of time with friends, and reading.  The only way I could think of to top this week would have been if I’d been laying on a tropical beach somewhere.

20130222-103944.jpg 2. One of my culinary experiments was my cauliflower crust pizza.  Although my first attempt has needs some perfecting, I think I know exactly how to do just that.

3.  Yesterday I spent a fabulous day riding my bike in Half Moon Bay, and I also found this little quote, which just so happens to look strikingly similar to my beach cruiser, Lola.

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4.  I finished Gone Girl, and all I can say is if you haven’t read it – READ it!  I can’t say much more because there are lots of twists and turns that keep you shocked all the way to the final page of the novel.  My current read is another one by Gillian Flynn,

5886881 As the title implies, this one is another dark novel, and I am just as engaged by the flawed characters in this one.

5.  Finally, this morning as I was making my coffee, Sofi once again reminded me that sometimes all you need to be content is just a little spot of sun.  I love my pooch so much, and I’m glad she’s here to teach me all of these life lessons.

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Happy Friday!!!

1. Today began rainy and misty outside, but now that’s around noon, the sun is out and the weather is beautiful.  I appreciate winter’s cooler temps, but I have to say, I’m much more motivated when it’s sunny outside.

2. This afternoon I’m looking forward to taking Sofi on a nice, long walk. It’s been pouring rain for the past two days, and that little doggie is in need of a sunny jaunt outside.  She seems to really love our post-rain walks because of all the fresh smells in the air and on the ground.  Our walks are definitely bonding time, and I love seeing her so happy.  Plus, it helps me burn a few calories, so win win.

3. This Sunday, since there’s no football, I’m determined to do a major closet cleanup.   I’d planned to do this after Christmas, but never got around to it.  I know I have a ton of clothes and shoes to donate, and I’m overdue for organizing. I’ve been trying hard not to buy any new clothes, since I’m losing weight and even more rapid weight loss is imminent post-surgery, but I think I’m going to reward myself with a new top or accessory. It will be just the “carrot” I need to complete this loathsome task.

4. I movie tickets that I haven’t used yet, and might find some time on Saturday to head to the movies.  Any suggestions?  Is Django worth it?  Should I see Les Mis instead?  Or is there an indie that I should see? Let me know in the comments.

5. I found this recently on Pinterest, and I’m proud to say that this is how I’ve been living for the past month:

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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.

Today I am thankful that the rain let up and Sofi and I were able to take a nice, long afternoon walk. I’m also thankful that the steroid shot that I got last week helped to keep the plantar fasciitis pain at bay.  On the walk this afternoon, it felt like it had been a really long time since we’d taken a good walk together. With the time change, working late, and Sofi going to doggy daycare twice last week (where they walk her 1-2 times per session), it had been a little while since we’d gone.

I love taking walks with Sofi because nothing helps me clear my head or manage feelings of stress like taking a walk with her.  It gives me time to slow down life’s hectic pace and just enjoy the surroundings.  Appreciate the everyday.  With that spirit in mind, I decided to take some photos along our 35-minute walk.

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Even an everyday path becomes something worth exploring after the rain.

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Sofi saw another dog and his owner taking advantage of the break in the weather.

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I have a special affinity for vintage/old cars.  This one caught my eye.

20121117-163515.jpg Beautiful roses.

20121117-163553.jpg This tree was alive with fall colors.

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I love the cast of our shadows in this picture.

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Sofi got a bit tangled in the leash.  Silly girl!

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I love this shot, both for the leaves, and for the “action” shown.

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Another great shot showing our movement, along with the fall leaves.

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Sofi’s favorite places to sniff out the “news” – bushes.

20121117-163647.jpg Sofi didn’t want the walk to end.

20121117-163654.jpg I had to show my fall decorations.

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I love that face and I’m so thankful for it, every single day.

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Welcome home!
(I also wanted to show off the new entry rug I bought for fall. I like it so much that I may keep it out longer).

It was so nice to get out of the house, get the blood pumping, and breathe in the fresh air.  I’m thankful for today’s walk with Sofi.

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