Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Already a snafu....

I am not feeling so hot today! I was sent home from work with a fever! :( I am so disappointed... I was looking forward to going to Zumba with Amanda! I know it's not my fault that I'm sick but hate that I had to cancel. :(

Thank you for all of your welcome back's :) It's good to know I was missed!

Going to go hang out on the couch some more...I guess the only good thing is I will be home for the Biggest Loser tonight! I am kind of obsessed with it! My only wish is that the weigh ins wouldn't take an hour! Whew...

Anyone else watch Biggest Loser? I'm also excited that Grey's Anatomy is starting NEXT

By the way, check out the giveaway on Megan's Munchie's blog for some sweet potato scones!!! Perfect for the upcoming fall weather!

Night all!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Are you there, Blog? It's me, Mandy

Remember me?? JR is SO going to kill me for posting this picture... haha!!! Paybacks, honey.. paybacks!! More on that later ;)

Okay to redeem myself and not get into TOO much trouble... we have much cuter pictures...
I'm done, I swear :)

I can NOT believe it has been almost two weeks since I have blogged! I definitely did not intend for it to be that long. It's been busy (but at the same time, pretty uneventful!

I have also been trying to keep up with everyone's blogs... I'm so behind!

Since I haven't been so great with taking pictures of all of my meals (sorry about that!), I thought I would share with you some food, quotes, pictures or whatever else I've loved the past couple of weeks :)

On the food front...I have tried a couple of new products! Now, when I say "new"... I mean, these are new to me but I'm pretty sure have been around for awhile... and as always, I'm behind in the times :)

I have always loved my Kashi waffles (always will!)... but this week, I thought I'd try out something different. I have seen Van's waffles everywhere... and thought I'd give them a go! I'm really glad I did!

These babies kept me SO full! I have been eating them as a PB&B sandwich... and I LOVE them. But SOMEONE (and by SOMEONE I mean the waffle stealing man who I call my husband) ate my LAST two waffles without asking... so now I have to wait until next week to have them again...sniff, sniff...

And having such a taco craving lately, I picked up these shells from Garden of Eatin'... and paired them with this great recipe from Eating Well's website. I used the recipe to season our ground turkey... we both LOVED the recipe!

That's it for food today! :) More discoveries later this week!

Other things I have loved during my break...

Maddie dressing up in Mommy & Daddy's clothes..

Speaking of Maddie, thank you all so much for your advice on her eating habits! I am mostly trying to stay patient with her as of now. I hope things change soon! I am trying to cut back on how much milk & juice she drinks during the day to see if that's a start! We'll go from there!

On the music front... I have been completely OBSESSED with Colbie Caillat's new album. If you liked her first one... Definitely go check this one out!

What else... hmmm... OH yes! Last week, I found myself with a (rare) hour of free time... and knew that local blogger Amanda worked pretty close to where I was at. We sent a few text messages - and met up at a fav coffee shop... Fido! We got to chat for about an hour... and I had a blast. She's such a sweet girl and so much fun to talk to! We are going to take a Zumba class together tomorrow night (her first class ever!) and do dinner Thursday night, too! How awesome is it that as bloggers we have the opportunity to make new friends we may have somehow never met otherwise?

I love, love, LOVE the Zumba class we are going to. The class is a bit of a drive for me... but SO worth it! The teacher is amazing and so motivating! Her website is here.... you can check out some pictures and videos to see what her class is like :) If you are in town and want to meet up for a class...let me know!

I am going to end this monster of a post here.... but leave you with a cool quote from Chalene Johnson... creator of Turbo Jam videos and Chalene Extreme..."Your weight does not define you. Your character defines you. Good health is essential, not a number on a scale".

Something I have been trying to remind myself of every.single.day!

By the way - is this font color better? Erica, thanks for the suggestion! I actually agreed with you and needed to work on it! Let me know if this is better for everyone :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wednesday Woes....and a contest for you AND for me! :)

Ever have one of those days where ALL you want to do is complain?? From the second I woke up, that's me today! I am going to do my best to not be whining this whole post :) We'll see what happens, though... haha

First of all, How did the first day of September treat ya? I swear I feel like it was just last week that I was saying I couldn't believe it was August already... heck, it seems like just yesterday, it was April... I was in VEGAS with JR having an awesome time on my birthday... and now, here we are in September already! But with that comes cooler temperatures...I hope the weather has been as gorgeous for you all as it has been here in Nashville this week!

You guys absolutely made my day yesterday with all of your awesome comments! Thank you so much! It felt good to brag on myself a little bit since I never seem to give myself that kind of credit! :)

And I'm so glad you are all enjoying Lisa's recaps... I am SO, SO proud of her. I thought what better way to start of September than with some motivation from my girl here on the blog!!! Thank you all for your continued support on her journey :)

Okay here we go! "Woe-is-me" numbero uno: I am S-O-R-E from my workouts this week! I mean to sit down, is painful! Although, this I should not be complaining about! I should be thankful I'm working out again!

Workouts this week:

Monday, JR and I did The Firm's Ultimate Fat Burning work out. I consider it more of a cardio work out... but it does have some 4-limb sections... we used 5 lbs weights for these.

Tuesday, we did The Firm's Supercharged Sculpting... which is an all weight lifting video. Man, I forgot how tough those darn dips and tall box climbs can be! We both used a big range of weights depending on the exercise... I used anywhere from 5-12 lbs... below what my old weights used to be but I am determined to get back there!!

Today is a rest day :)

Eating has been much better so far this week (knock on wood!!!) My meals haven't been anything special... but here are a few goodies...

As for the review of the recipe I talked about on Sunday... I made this recipe from Cooking Light. Normally, I love all of my Cooking Light recipes. Unfortunately, this one was not one of their best. Basically, you cook the peppers in a "sauce" that turned out to be VERY bland. I ended up draining the peppers out of the sauce... cooking up some pasta, placing the meatballs and drained peppers over it with some marinara sauce. That turned out great! I LOVED the meatballs, though! I added some parmesan cheese and some dried basil to the mixture and they were awesome! We made some "garlic toast" out of Ezekiel bread, some smart balance and garlic powder.
Now for "woe-is-me" numero dos... My daughter's eating habits! I'm really torn on this right now. Maddie used to eat anything and everything you put in front of her. She loved it all... fruits, veggies, whole grain pasta, meat, etc...I was so excited that I had a little one who had no objections when it came to food!

When she got to about 2 1/2 years old, all of a sudden - tomato sauce was not a good thing! She didn't want pizza (which is a total crime in our household!) because it had sauce on it... she didn't want spaghetti because it has sauce on it. She didn't like chicken - unless it was chicken nuggets, fruit was seldom... unless it was the apples from McDonald's or Subway... turkey burgers, etc, etc, etc...

Now, her typical diet is... begging her to eat some kind of cereal in the morning, PB&J for lunch (i at least make sure it's on whole wheat and some kind of reduced sugar jelly since she refueses to eat preserves at this point), maybe some carrots and strawberries if we're lucky! Usually with some Annie's organic bunny crackers... and her dinner is normally some cheese sticks, kashi tlc crackers, sliced ham, maybe an organic yogurt... or some of Annie's organic mac n cheese. Never what JR and I are having... which is aggravating.

That's a typical day for her at home on the weekends with JR and I.... she has dinner with us every night, though. What she eats at her grandparents house for breakfast and lunch during the week varies a lot.

Everything I have read says not to push kids to eat what's on their plate. I've been doing that for almost a year now... but Maddie seems to be eating less and less of things! But as of last week, we have tried establishing a rule of - try one bite of everything on your plate before you can get up from the table. I am hoping this will make her try some foods she hasn't in a long time or hasn't before and see if she will realize that she does like more than chicken nuggets!

Anyone have any kind of experience with this? Is there any advice you can offer? I would so appreciate it!

I do my best when it comes to the limited options she will eat! But I'm over fixing two or three different meals!

Okay... now for a contest - for you AND for me!

Holey Donuts has a great contest for us all! But I need your help for us both to possibly win!!

This is the email I got from Holey Donuts....
Enter September 1st -30th 2009 to Win 3 boxes of Holey Donuts! Low Fat Gourmet Donuts! and maybe it will be you that finds the $1,000.00 inside this time!

5 Lucky winners will be selected to win 3 boxes each of Holey Donuts! Ultra Low Fat Gourmet Donuts! But wait! One winner will be the luckiest when they open their winning box of donuts with an ENVELOPE inside the box containing $1,000.00 Cash!

Great tasting, Low Fat Gourmet Donuts and a chance to win $1,000.00 Cash! It doesn'tcan't get much better than that!

How Can I Enter? - Just visit www.holeydonuts.net then send Holey Donuts! an email to info@holeydonuts.net with the name of my blog - Mmmm...Meals, Mommyhood, Makeup & More in the subject line and your name and that's it you're entered!

Winners will be randomly chosen by Holey Donuts! and will be announced the week after September 30, 2009.

*The $1,000.00 will be in the form of a corporate check made out to the winner. All 5 lucky winners will be notified via email but no-one will be told which lucky winner is getting the $1,000.00 until their shipment arrives and they see the SPECIAL ENVELOPE with a $1,000.00 check inside their shipment!! How exciting is that??

Winners will be announced September 30, 2009!
Lets make this even better and give you a coupon code!
Your special offer will be buy 2 and get the 3rd box of 6 for $1.99! It will be added to their cart at full price but when they enter this code in the coupon code box ,then hit recalculate it will only charge them $1.99 . The code is SKINNY1 Making a purchase will automatically enter them into for Septembers $1,000 giveaway as well!

Sorry for the LONG post everyone! Have a great night!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Transformation Tuesday!

You all are too sweet!! Thank you for your comments on our dress up pics with Ms. Maddie ;) She's the best :)

And thank you all for your support with my recent eating habits and stress... I'm definitely taking it one day at a time! I think that's the best thing for me to do right now!

Did everyone survive their Monday? Mine actually went very well... not the norm... I'll take it! I am getting ready to start my work out here (if the hubby will ever get up and get down stairs!)... I slept HORRIBLY last night, so we'll see how this goes!

Now on to Transformation Tuesday!

Lisa's back! She's kickin' some tail and takin' names people!! Showing Jillian what she's made of :)

If you are new to the blog...One of my very best friends, Lisa, started a challenge to take on Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred! She has been keeping us updated on her progress with each level. I can't even tell you all how amazing the change in her has been... emotionally and physically so far! Actually, I won't even try... I'll let her tell you :) Check out her Level 1 recap if you missed it! Hi y'all! First, let me thank everyone for all the encouraging feedback on my Level 1 experience. If you've battled your weight as much as I have (or at all), you know that encouragement and support is key...so I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Level 2 proved to be a killer for me and you'll find I'm not as wordy this time around. I, honestly, felt as if it were a reminder that, while
I finished Level 1 strong, I'm not the bad ass I'd started to think I was, hahaha! (I heard you loud and clear Jillian!)

Lisa vs
Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred: Level 2

I didn't journal my thoughts on each day like I did w
ith Level 1 so I guess this will be more of a summary than a day by day; I hope that's cool. Truthfully, I feel like I struggled so much through this level that a day by day would prove to be really repetitive. Hopefully, for y'all, it means this one will be shorter than my last novel...er, I mean, guest blog.

I was so excited to start Level 2. I woke up eager to prove to th
is level that I was strong and I could do it. Yeah, about 2 minutes in, it laughed in my face. Loud. I was cussing Jillian again, hating her with a passion, swearing that if she told me one more time "not to phone this in," I'd rip her face off. I'm embarrassed to say, I meant every word. :) I am stronger, more capable than I've been my entire life...but Day 1, Level 2 made me feel like I was back at the very begining...or worse. I was elated when I completed it. I don't know if that was from being proud or just the fact that I was still breathing. It was insanely hard. Day 2, holy hell! I hurt in places I didn't know existed. My shoulders stung, even when they weren't moving, my abs were screaming and my legs felt like noodles. There are these V - Squat things...I think the devil gave her the idea. Nothing has ever hurt so bad. Ever. I struggled all the way though. I tried to cuss less and pray more over days 3, 4, 5 and 6...lucky for me, God is good. I can't say that it really ever felt like it became easier...but He always gave me the strength to endure. I cried a lot through this level, where -in level 1- the crying was minimal, and on several occasions, I seriously wanted to quit. I'm telling you, there were more days than not, on this level, that I had to ask "who are you kidding?" I kept waiting for that breakthrough I had on level 1 but I can still say that it never really came.

Day 7 set me off. It was my weigh in day for Weight Watchers and was also the second week, in a row, where I didn't lose a single pound. In spite of promising myself, and several very informed people, that I'd focus on the changes in my body and the way my clothes fit, rather than the scale (as muscle weighs more than fat)...it was heartbreaking and I found myself very bitter and angry. I felt like I'd been killing myself for 3 weeks...all for nothing. Logically, I knew there were changes taking place but it hurt so much to get on that scale and not see it go down. Especially when I have so far to go to achieve my goal. Everyone says "once you start working out and gaining muscle, the weight seems like it's melting off so, three weeks in, I'm screaming inside...okay, and out...wondering when the "melting" begins. I didn't think it would be a massive amount of weight...but I expected SOMETHING. This day was bad...BAD...BAD! I was ticked all day long, negative all day long, and thought I'd throw in the towel all. day. long. I thought stupidly "seriously? I lost more weight when I wasn't killing myself every day! What the hell is the point of this?" Somehow, I was able to stay on track with my food...which is quite the big deal when you're the emotional eater I can be. And the next morning, I got up...and I did it all again. I was cussing again, not praying, but I was doing it. I cried the entire way through, for my heartbreak of no loss, for my muscles that were screaming...either way it was because I was in pain. But I did it...and then day 9 was better. Hard as hell, still. But better. Then day 10...I thought I deserved a party! I didn't let my emotions get the best of me and I didn't give up. A year ago...I honestly think I would have.

So this was me vs
Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred: Level 2. Lisa: 2 - Jillian: 0. Hell to the yeah! I'm winning...and I'm never, ever, going back.

Mandy here again...I thought we'd keep going with the Transformation Tuesday and brag a little on myself... which honestly, I never do! That's quite a hard thing for me to do at times! I never give myself enough credit... so while I am feeling like I should, I'm gonna go with it!

If you have ever checked out the links I give you for the workout videos I do, I almost always link to my favorite workout dvd website, CollageVideo.com. Their website is always up to date with the latest new workout dvd's... and even better, you can always find a clip with a preview of any dvd - so helpful!

I sent in my "story" to Collage's website... and got a request from them to send more pictures to use in the monthly catalog that they send out every month! I was so excited! It came in the mail today... they put me on two different pages!! Okay, same picture on each page... but I'm okay with that! Here are the pictures :)
I'm so excited! This is the first time I have had anything printed in a magazine :) I am in an informercial for the Firm... JR (my husband) and I were their first "couple" ever to be featured in their infomercials! My co-worker still to this day won't leave my husband alone with what they quoted him saying... "I literally watched her butt lift"...LOL! Oh the joys of editing! If you are interested in seeing this, we are all throughout the infomercial... gotta watch for us! :)

Firm Wave Infomercial Part One

Firm Wave Infomercial Part Two

Firm Wave Infomercial Part Three

Whew... that's enough for one day, I think :)

See you soon!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Such a great weekend....

The things we as parents do for our kiddos....Maddie decided to play "dress up" with mommy and daddy... I thankfully got the cute pink bunny ears ;)And then Maddie pulled out her head bands... and thought mommy needed two... or three in her hair...How was your weekend? Friday night, Lisa came over! If you did not catch her guest post a few weeks ago, check out it here!! I had not seen her in a couple of weeks... and let me tell you, the girl is shrinking right before my eyes. She looks incredible! :) I was so glad to see her... I missed my Lisa time! Lisa will be back on Tuesday with another guest blog to recap her experience with Level 2 of Jillian's 30 Day Shred! Be sure to check back for that and cheer her on!

Saturday, we spent the day lounging around doing a little bit of laundry and dishes. JR and I watched Spider Man 2 while Maddie napped... it's so nice to sit and relax with my hubby! We don't seem to have that opportunity often anymore so I really took advantage of some cuddle time with him!

As for today, I got to sleep in thanks to my amazing hubby... did a TON of coupon clipping (anyone else a coupon clipper?!), a quick run to Publix for a yummy turkey and swiss sub... and now I'm sitting here watching "The Notebook"... can I just say, I LOVE this movie?! I kind of have a girl crush on Rachel McAdams... and a TOTAL crush on Ryan Gosling AND James Marsden... Ca-Ching!!!

James Marsden's wife has family not too far from where we live... a friend of ours would see him at Panera almost every day... and JR and I saw him and his son at Kroger some time earlier this year, too!

Anyways! Food has not been great this week at all. Since returning home from Florida, there has been nothing but drama that my family has been dealing with. I don't usually get caught up in it all... I learned the hard way that they have to take care of themselves. But this time, it was almost hard not to be a part of it. How did I deal with it? Instead of some great work outs, yoga or long baths... I binged. Worse than I have in years. I won't fully go into details obviously... but it's been pretty scary. I have tried not to beat myself up over any of it... which gets hard at times.

Normally, my work outs help keep me sane...in Florida, it was impossible to get a work out in... and since coming home, I was so exhausted from our trip, I said I would give myself a few days to sleep and de-stress before getting back into it. I kept delaying it, though! I kept saying... tomorrow I'll work out... tomorrow I'll eat better... and thanks to my good Firm infomercial buddies, Lindsey and Tammy P...they inspired me to get off my tail and do SOMETHING. So I did I did a yoga video from Crunch... with Sara Ivanhoe. I really like her videos... her voice is very soothing and she's easy to follow! Great instructions on this DVD if you are a beginner, too. This video is two videos in one... one is called the "Joy of Yoga" and the other is "Fat Burning Yoga". I did "Joy of Yoga"... nice and relaxing. I felt 200% better after only 35 minutes!

I have my work out routine now mapped out for the week! Lisa is finishing up her last week of Level 3 with Jillian... and then we are going to start a new Firm rotation together! I'm so excited to start another challenge with her!

So what did everyone do this weekend? I need to catch up on blogs to see how everyone is doing and check out all of your yummy eats! Anyone have a favorite meal of the week? I did... mine was my "oats in a jar"... allll filled with some yummy dark chocolate PB!!! Chocolately-goodness in EVERY bite!!!!
I am heading off to get Maddie up from her nap and get dinner going. I am making this recipe from Cooking Light that sounds yummy... it's Meatballs and Peppers. I hope it's good! I'll report in tomorrow with the review!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Home sweet home!

We are finally home! I had a great time in Florida... but happy to be back in Tennessee!! It was SO hot in Florida! August in Florida is always the worst month weather-wise! It was TOUGH getting back into work, though! I had pretty much NO motivation! I wanted to be hanging with my little girl all day long. I got used to being with her all day long this past week :( You can bet I was bolting out the door to go pick her up when work was over!

It was definitely a week of mixed emotions... Happy for my brother who is now a married man - still can't believe it! Sad for JR's family with Granny's passing and trying to adjust to a "new life".

Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers for JR's family!

We drove last Wednesday down to Florida and made it in great time, thankfully! Maddie survived the car trip up and down. I was really afraid that she would go nuts in the car for 11 hours straight... but thankfully we kept Taylor Swift playing on the IPod and plenty of books and My Little Ponies to keep her happy :)

I had almost a full afternoon with one of my closest friends... we have been friends since middle school! Her daughter is only a DAY younger than Maddie. Crazy, huh? She is one of those friends that no matter how long it's been since we've talked or seen each other, we pick right up where we left off... she's amazing! Our girls had lots of time to play this trip!

My eating was not great, though. I normally can balance vacation eating pretty well... but not this time around. Along with my "monthly friend" showing up TWO weeks EARLY (what the heck is up with that mother nature?!?) and a little bit of family stress over the trip... my eating was pretty off for me. TONS of sugar - I mean tons, tons, tons! I normally splurge on a trip... this was kind of beyond. And since we were on the go from the moment we got up until we went to sleep each night (we drive an hour each way between visiting our families... sometimes two or three times a day!), I had no time to fit in a work out! I thought I would jump right back into healthy eating today... but I think my body got so used to gorging on sugar, that it was craving it BIG time! I'm thinking I may need to go cold turkey or close to it to ween myself off of it!

But enough of that... Here are a few pictures of my brother, Justin's wedding...

Justin and our Dad....

Maddie was the flower girl :)
Justin and I

First kiss as a married couple!
My baby sister Ashley and her boyfriend George (I have the most gorgeous sisters!)

JR & I
All four of us kiddos....I swear I'm the oldest! They all outgrew me =P

And this was TOO cute...Justin and his wives daughter, Katelyn... who is now 7 months old... was so worn out from the wedding, she crashed and they put her out on these pillows... adorable!

As for food today - it was not the best! I have a pretty empty fridge due to being gone for a week! Dinner tonight was pull out whatever is in the freezer! I had some frozen leftover grilled chicken breast, some Arnold's Thins in the freezer... pulled those out... then grilled up slices of pineapple, swiss cheese, Annie's smokey maple bbq sauce... loved it :) Crispy fries on the side...
totally veggie-less :( Oh well... I'll do better tomorrow on that one. We got our CSA delivery tonight!

We got 1 yellow squash, some grape tomatoes, a patty pan squash, 2 corn on the cobs.1 green bell pepper and a cantaloupe (all for JR... not a big cantaloupe fan here!)...

Any ideas on what to do with our produce?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Heading to Florida!

Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers! JR, his family and I appreciate every one of you!

We are heading to Florida this morning for Granny's funeral service and my brother's wedding this weekend. I don't know that I will have the chance to blog while there... but I may sneak a picture or two in just to say hello :)

Hope you all have a wonderful week!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sad Evening....

Hey everyone...

Sorry for the lax in posting. It's been quite a whirlwind weekend!

I thought I would let you all know that JR's grandmother passed away this evening. It's a bit of a relief for the family. She has been in a lot of pain the past few days that has seemed unbearable. We now know she's no longer hurting...

Please say a prayer for JR's dad and the rest of his family. Although this is over, it's never easy!

Hope everyone had a great Monday

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Go, go, go Saturday!!

Hey everyone! How's your weekend shaping up so far?

Heading back to last night - we had some home made pizza. We used a whole wheat premade dough from Whole Foods... my side was grilled chicken, green peppers, red onion and tomatoes with part skim mozz cheese. JR's was the same with some added some pepperoni. I had a yummy glass of Shiraz on the side!
Today has been busy from the start! I got up at about 6:30 to be sure and squeeze in my work out before Maddie woke up and before my crazy cleaning adventure today. I have been itching to do my Firm work outs... so I did one of my all time favs! Total Muscle Shaping!This one is about 45 minutes long, which can be very convenient on days that I do not have a lto of time work out! It also has lots of combined movements, keeping the hearat rate up. You have bicep curls while doing leg presses on a 14 inch step, lunges with an overhead press, dips and hammer curls, etc. Today for most of these, I used 10-12 lbs weights, depending on the exercise. You also do some step aerobics using 6 inch step or using the step on an incline.

After, I was crraavvviiingg some yoga! I popped in The Biggest Loser's Weight Loss Yoga DVD. Now I LOVE this DVD for many, many reasons - one because I adore Bob (and LOVE having ANY excuse to post pictures of him doing different yoga poses... haha)...Two because I love the fact that this work out is broken up into three different time segments! You have the 5 minute warm up - then you can choose between doing a 20 minute yoga routine, 15 minute routine or 10 minute routine. Today, I did the warm up and the 10 minute routine. Just what I needed! I burned 444 calories today.

After that, it was seriously breakfast time! I don't know why... but I was desperately craving my oatmeal pancakes!

Today's combo:
1/4 cup oat bran
1/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp protein powder
1 tbsp cottage cheese
1/2 smooshed naner
a couple of cut up frozen cherries
1/2 cup egg whites

Allllll of those ingredients to give us this (and I took like six shots of this and NEVER got a clear picture! I'm so sorry!)I topped one pancake with 1/2 tbsp PB Loco's Jungle Banana PB and the top pancake with 1/2 tbsp PB&Co's Dark Chocolate Dreams. I also sliced the rest of the banana up and sandwiched it between then. Perfecto!

The cleaning started after... I had to get my clothes situated in our room. Shamefully I have to say, our room was a mess. And it's about 85% my fault! I still think I'm a kid sometimes and um... my clothes kind of end up on the floor. So then it gets so bad that we can't walk in the room... and yes, I'm saying this in public! Embarrassing but true! Maybe it will help me change things! Probably not, unfortunately! My hubby is shaking his head while he's reading this, I know it! :)

Anyway while going through and hanging up clothes and putting them away in drawers, I also went through my closet to try to reorganize things a bit. I haven't wanted to face the closet for awhile now. Knowing that most of my clothes don't fit me at all because of my weight gain has made it hard to stomach looking at some of my fav shirts or jeans that I can't get into! I divided things into two sections... what I can wear now and what I can't. At least that way, I know exactly where to go to in the closet to get stuff out for the day and won't depress myself by going through all the others! Here's to hoping!

I got rid of some things I don't wear anymore. I've had things in the closet for a few years now saying I'm going to have them altered that haven't been touched. Out they went!

Did anyone tune into the live streaming of the Healthy Living Summit at all today? I thought it was awesome they made that available to us! I had problems with the sound throughout some of it but thought it was pretty fun to listen to and be able to get to know the personalities a bit more of the ladies there. I thought Zesty's part was great info! He mentioned getting your own domain if you plan to blog for awhile... I'm not sure if I'm ready for that - nor can I afford it right now. I do hate that I feel so limited in what I can do with my page right now, though. I want to add extra pages with before and after shots (which by the way, if you are interested you can check some out here), an info page, etc.

They also talked on the importance of photographs, which I agree with. As y'all have seen, I am definitely NOT the best food photographer at all. I am still working on that! The worst part is that as many windows and lights as we have in our house, there is NO light. I fight with that daily! So... need to figure out that angle. Thanks guys for hanging in there with me on the photos!

Finally had lunch around 1:00... I knew I needed to use up the rest of the turkey I had and a pear sitting in the fridge. So I "peared" (haha... okay maybe not as cute as I think it is) on a sandwich!

I mixed some light mayo and dijon mustard... put that on the bread with some thin pear slices. Added the turkey, swiss cheese and pressed it in a pan for a few minutes. Presto lunch! I served it with the rest of the pear, some strawberries and a few blue corn chips.
I also had a square of Ghiradelli intense dark chocolate that I found wayyyy at the bottom of one of my (many) purses while cleaning it out. So yummy!

Okay, I am off to get ready for some more errands! Gotta head out to Target and Walgreens...dinner will most likely be pizza (and wine) leftovers.

Thanks everyone for the comments on the dress! I have to say I loved the dress on in person... but when i saw the pictures, I almost cried. I haven't seen pictures of myself since gaining weight. My face is so much fuller and I'm just not as toned as I once was. But I made myself post them anyway... I need to be proud of where I am regardless! It's been a struggle today... putting on a dress tonight and knowing how it used to fit... I am trying to stay positive!

Just curious again on taking photos of food.... anyone have some great advice to pass along to make it more appealing to the eye?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dress Success!

Sorry I haven't been around this week!!! Between working late and trying to find a dress... it's been quite busy!

I haven't had a ton of "blog-worthy" food to share. Which really, I hate saying! My meals are pretty simple and I think there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not one who can bust out the most creative meal in five minutes at lunch. I'm happy with simple stuff... so why change that because of a blog? I sometimes let myself feel like my food is not worth sharing because of this... but it's MY food and MY blog and if I'm making it my "own", why wouldn't I? I think I put too much pressure on myself to live up to a lot of other blogs out there... I don't need to do that!

I hope that makes sense!

So first of all, thank you ALL for you awesome comments on Lisa! Isn't she incredible? I am so, SO proud of her - obviously! I told her that the most rewarding part of this whole process is for her to see what I knew she had in her all along. It's exciting! She's kicking some booty big time on Level 2 already... she'll be checking in again with us after her next 10 days are up!

As for JR and I - we started Level 3 yesterday... HOLY freaking cow! I can start out doing some of the advanced moves but after a few reps, end up in the beginner moves. Level 2 was hard as heck... but I could at least do the advanced moves! This one is definitely different!

I have to say, after almost a month of doing Jillian - I LOVE the challenge it has been on me. Some of the cardio moves are KILLER and different than I've done before. I think that I will keep the shred and Jillian's new work out dvd's in my weekly rotation somehow - but I REALLY miss my Firm videos. I miss my "heavier" weight lifting! I think after we get back from Florida next weekend, I will be starting a Firm roation for the month... then we'll see where things lead me from there!

Back to the dress... last night, I braved the dressing rooms again! It took all night... and it definitely wasn't easy... but I finally found a dress! What do you think?? Be honest!!!
Five minutes after taking the pics... JR and I changed into work out clothes to take on Jillian for Day 2 of Level 3! Maddie decided she wanted to join us...

Here we are getting ready to work it (and um... please excuse my white legs!)!
By the way, thanks for all the thoughts and prayers for JR's family. Granny is still hanging in there but we're not sure what's coming over the next couple of days.

That's all I've got, folks! Hope you all are having a great week!!!

PS - did you all know it's national apple week?? Must be why apples have been my top snack choice every day so far :)

What is your favorite way to eat apples? I think mine is tied with in oatmeal or with some dark chocolate peanut butter!!!

Have a great night!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Transformation Tuesday! A Guest Blog :)

Before I get to today's post, I thought I would update you all on JR's grandmother's condition. Unfortunately, they have said she probably will not make it past the next couple of days. Her body seems to be shutting down at this point. It's been so rough on JR's parents! Please keep his family in your prayers!!

I had to share this picture, too... it's too sweet. This is "Nurse Maddie" checking on Granny with Grandpa...Grandma & Grandpa bought Maddie a little nurse's outfit and some doctor "tools" to help them keep an eye on Granny. She's been a great little helper!

Sorry for not posting yesterday! I picked Maddie up from JR's parents after work (they watch her for us while we are working), then we headed straight to Kohl's to look for a dress for my brother's wedding. We came home at 7:00... finally ate dinner at 7:30... and I had to do some work for the rest of the evening! My meals weren't exactly blog-worthy yesterday anyway - except for the amazing omelette JR made me for dinner!! I just couldn't get a good shot of it with the camera :( It had a whole egg, two whites with chopped ham, tomatoes and onion.... I then put it in a TJ's spinach wrap with some fresh spinach inside... had it with some hummus. GOOD stuff :)

My friends... I am SO excited about today's post! Back when I mentioned we had started Jillian's 30 Day Shred, I mentioned that our best friend Lisa was taking the challenge right along with us!

This is Lisa and I on July 4th...she's on the left :)
Taking on this challenge is a HUGE step for her - and I jumped on her saying yes before she could change her mind! :) Folks, she has done the most incredible job. The transformation I have seen in her emotionally and physically in just these first 10 days is beyond words! She is practically beaming with excitement over her new found confidence in herself... exactly what I was hoping she would find! I knew she had it in her!! She deserved to know, too! I'm like a proud mama ;)

I thought it would be awesome if she kept track of her progress and did a little guest blogging for us after she completed 10 days of each level!

I am going to stop blabbing here and let Lisa talk.... Here we go! Please make her feel welcome :) I know you guys will enjoy this!

Hey Y'all!

First let me introduce myself...I'm Lisa, the girl fortunate enough to be called the best friend of Mandy and JR Arostegui. I'm originally from Texas and have been in Nashville, TN for 9 years now. I'm 35 and feel like the last year of my life has been a rebirth of sorts. July 28th was my year anniversary in the Weight Watcher's program and I've lost 52 pounds so far. I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish I'd lost more in a year but, at the same time, I really want this to be a realistic life change for me...not a quick fix. Lord knows I've tried every one of those offered! The ups and downs on the scale have been a nerve wracking and, sometimes, heartbreaking learning process but, I think, what's important is that I haven't given up.

In order to keep this as short winded as I am capable of being, I will just say that this battle with my weight has been a life long thing. Like most everyone with a weight problem I grew up with all the usual heartbreaks. Falling for the jocks that wanted the hot, tiny, cheerleaders, the moo's as I was walking down the hall, and sitting in all those fitting rooms, in tears, because I couldn't fit into anything that was considered cool. I was 29 before I woke up and realized that beautiful comes in every shape and size...and that I was enough, period. They should make this a required course in school, starting as early as possible...self worth, and self love, are the most important tools we can have. They change every aspect of your life. Every single one.

Stepping off my soapbox...I'm not sure what finally clicked into place for me last year? I just woke up one day and decided my big, bold, incredibly happy, spirit had lived in this heavy shell of a body for far too long. For the first time in my life I wasn't doing it to catch a boys eye or to meet societies standards of beauty. Maybe it was because I'd been denied insurance because of my height/weight ratio and I found it completely embarrassing and horrifyingly awakening all at once. I thought "I want to be around...and if I continue down this road, I won't EVER meet Mr. Right and be the Mom I've always dreamt of being...cause I'll be dead." Suddenly it all became clear and my head just zoned in on what was important.

Thankfully I have Mandy! She is my champion. My constant source of inspiration and encouragement. It's a real blessing to have this living, breathing, proof that your goal can be reached. I think I was a little bit bigger, at the beginning of my journey, than she was...but it's so close that I really can look at her and see where I can end up if I'm dedicated and love myself enough to stick with it. She's been my confidant, my cheerleader, and my personal nutritionist. She's also pushed, and challenged me, physically. First it was Zumba and now, it's Jillian's 30 Day Shred, which is the real reason I am here...

This is my personal take on Jillian's Shred...as a person who's primary workout routine would be an occasional Walk Away the Pounds video - 1 mile and no weights. This recap of my last 10 days, Level 1 of the Shred, is as honest as I can be and I hope you find it as humorous as I did at the end of each day...as well as inspiring.

Day 1- Rough. Seriously rough. I told Jillian I hated her, for the first time, just 15 seconds into my second set of jumping jacks...and I meant it. How did she expect a person my size to continually heft myself into the air for 30 seconds. I laughed at the idea of push ups, I grunted, groaned, and had cussed up a blue streak by the time I finished...but I finished. Me. I've never been more proud in my life...except maybe when I got up and did it again the next day.

Day 2- Ouch. What muscle is this and how have I not noticed it before? Yes, I was sore in places I didn't know existed...yet, I somehow felt stronger and was feeling pretty confident as I completed more push ups than I had the day before. I couldn't believe all I was able to acheive through the pain I'd already inflicted on my body!

Day 3- Near defeat. I hadn't slept well the night before and woke up with a pretty bad head ache but, in spite of almost talking myself out of it, started my work out anyway. Mid way through, I was crying like a baby, begging God for it to end. I felt like I weighed a ton and negative 'who are you kidding, fat girl, you can't do this' thoughts were SCREAMING through my head. My push ups were embarrassing and every jump into the air caused my head to feel like it would explode...and, when I thought I couldn't go a second more, I pushed on. Needless to say, I survived. I may not have been in best form but I gave 100% of what I had. I laid in my floor for 10 minutes crying, and recovering, when it was done. Funny enough, the rest of my body hurt so bad that the headache was gone. Go figure. :)

Day 4- Breakthrough. I had everyone I know praying for me on the evening of Day 3 because I was so scared I wouldn't be able to make it through Day 4. God showed up because I was stronger and my endurance was shocking. I felt amazing. Now, this does not mean I didn't cuss or proclaim my intense dislike for Jillian for an entire 20 minutes...but I felt in control and could literally feel my muscles working through the soreness. I KNEW I could do it!

Day 5- Halfway Point. Really? Me? I'd made it five days and hadn't had a heart attack? Impossible. Day 5 was much like day 4 in the sense that I just felt really strong and confident in my ability to make it through. I was nervous for the weekend though. The plan was to take Saturday and Sunday off and then start back up on Monday. Being a person who had never worked out, I was unsure of what to expect with two days without the workout. Would I be setting myself back? Would I have to kill myself all over again? I was really nervous about this.

I woke up Saturday morning and found myself actually missing the workout. This is a complete change in my way of thinking! When I say complete, I mean COMPLETE. That being said, I did a Walk Away the Pounds DVD...one mile with weights. I then went to the mall with JR, Mandy and Maddie. Mandy made me promise I would let my body rest the next day and, for the first time in my life, I really had promise I wouldn't. I WANTED to exercise. I feel like this program is not only changing my body...I feel as if I've had a full blown lobotomy--and I like it!

Day 6- I was nervous to see how I'd feel after the 2 day break but was happy to see the strength I'd gained the previous week hadn't run off and left me. It was a little more difficult than day 5 but I still felt strong and able to succeed.

Day 7- Is it still working? So, it's still hard. It's still Hell...while I'm working. After that, I can feel the change in my muscles and there is a little ache but nothing like in the begining and I can't help but ask Mandy, "am I doing this right? What's up with this?" She assures me it's still working and REassures me that there are days it will still kill me and days when it will feel like I'm a pro. I'm finding great peace in that knowledge. Even people who've been doing this for years feel like it's hell sometimes. I'm feeling like maybe I can do this...for a lifetime.

Day 8- Dejavu. It was Day 3 all over again, minus the crying. I didn't rest well and just felt all around achy and draggy as soon as I crawled out of the bed...late. Now, the old Lisa took every possible opportunity to cancel some exercise. "Oh, I overslept, I'll do it tonight..." and then figure out a reason why I couldn't do it once I got home. This new "who the heck are you?" Lisa said "you can squeeze 20 minutes in here and still make it to work barely late...DO IT!" Huh? I couldn't help but keep asking myself that as I laced up my shox. You know what, though, I'm loving this new me. That same morning, as I was hopping down and back up the steps at my apartment (the same ones that used to leave me breathless, with aching knees) to get to my car, I thought to myself "my body is amazing. You are doing amazing things for yourself" and at that very moment I realized that for the first time in 35 years I loved myself. I loved my body and the things it allowed me to do even after so many years of abuse, neglect, and self loathing. I love and respect my body. Even this very moment, as I say that aloud, it brings tears to my eyes. I truly never thought I'd say those words.

Day 9- Are you kidding me? Tomorrow is Day 10! Day 9 felt much like Day 4...I was elated to feel rejuvinated and strong after such a hard day just 24 hours before. The soreness wasn't as intense and my stamina was shocking. I'm down to a very minimal number of "i hate you Jillian's" at this point. :)

Day 10- Elation, Shock, Pride and Fear. I made it. I'll say it again, I MADE IT! This, never worked out before, scared I'd literally die if I pushed myself this hard, girl made it! I've never been so proud of myself. I am shocked. This is me...and Jillian Michaels...and she didn't break me. It was another rough night in the rest department and I woke up late, again...but there was no way I was putting off day 10. This particular 20 minutes was a hard one for me. I had to struggle to maintain my balance and the push ups were extremely hard for me this day...as was the cardio. Another day of feeling like a weighed a ton...but I pushed through and it feels better than anything else I've ever experienced. I never thought I'd be able to do this and I am so proud of who I am becoming!! And I'm scared. Level 2 starts Monday and I know this means a whole new set of things I've never asked my body to do. Will it work with me? Will I be strong enough? Those questions are constantly running through my head right now. The old me might bail...but this is the new me and I will not quit. Somehow, someway, I'm gonna make it through level 2, just like I made it through level 1...twenty minutes at a time.

Good gracious this is longer than I hoped it would be. Level 2's blog will not be so long, hopefully, because there will be no need for the introduction, etc.

I want to say one more thing before I go. I didn't take measurements before I started the Shred but I wish I had. My clothes are obvious signs that it's working and I just had to share that, this weekend, I had to get some new jeans. I started at a 26 and am now, ecstatic to share, that I'm wearing an 18. I had a pair of jeans prior to this workout that were fitting better and better each week but there was still just a little too much flab here and there to feel really comfortable in them. Last week, after just 5 days of the Shred, I put those jeans on and wore them confidently for the first time. 5 days and I already had a drastic change. My heart is soaring. I'm including a before and after pic here. This is the first time I'd looked at a before and after side by side and I'm blown away. I cannot believe how much I've changed in 52 lbs. I can't wait to see what I look like after another 50.
Thanks to Mandy, again, for all your never ending support, encouragement, knowledge, and unconditional love...and for asking me to share. Thanks, again, to y'all for sticking with my wordy self and caring enough to hear my story! For those of you who are just starting this journey, I know it's scary. It's the most frightening thing you'll ever do to take that first step and try...but you CAN do it. Trust your body and push...it will carry you through. And in that moment where it feels like you have nothing left...look to Heaven, He will show up and you will go further than you ever imagined you could! I'm proof...and I believe in you!

Off to bed for an early start to Level 2...pray for me! :)

Hey y'all! Mandy again! Isn't she amazing? Thanks for reading!

Thanks Lisa!!!

Have a great Tuesday!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Great Weekend!!

You guys are so awesome! Thanks so much for all of your sweet words! I think the frustration part of it all is really coming from the fact that I feel like I'm working hard (minus my treats this weekend)... and seeing no results. I guess I need to sit back and REALLY look at my food... because I feel like my workouts aren't where I'm hurting with this. I go home next week for my brother's wedding and last time I was there, I was at my happy weight... so it's kind of embarassing to go back to see everyone. I feel frustrated and also like a failure! And honestly, I don't know how but I feel like I'm getting BIGGER. I put on three pairs of my bermuda shorts today and they were too small... I could wear them just fine a month ago!!!!??? I don't get it.

Anyway, my rant is over... I'm REALLY trying not to let it get to me. It's kind of come in waves this weekend! But thank you all for your support!

I have had such a great weekend! i hate that it's over! I got to spend lots of time with the hubby and the kiddo. Funny how doin' a bunch of nothin' can be the best time spent together.

JR and I have actually had a lot of fun lately working on puzzles together. I know we sound like some major party animals, don't we? Woohoo! No really, it's actually some good quality time that we can spend together... and it's almost meditative at times! While we were doing that, I had some dessert...Have you guys seen these new little individual servings of ice cream from Edy's??
Totally LOVE it... I'm one who normally can't have gallons or even pints of ice cream in the house because I WILL eat it... and not portion it out... haha... but this is PERFECT!!! I added a few of these bunny grahams and also 3 of these small marshmallows to make almost a smores type dessert...twas very yummy!
This morning, I got up and worked out... I did of course, Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred... and then since it's Sunday, I did some yoga, too! I don't know why.. but i LOVE doing yoga on Sundays. I guess it goes with Sunday's being a day to relax :)

I did this yoga video by Crunch... I REALLY like it... it focuses more on the lower body and you REALLY feel it when it's over!! I burned 386 calories with both work outs today.

I had a couple of work out buddies today while doing yoga... haha
While I worked out... JR and Maddie ran out and did some errands... and JR brought back some Starbucks! I got my usual skinny cinnamon dolce latte... and had it with breakfast. I decided to try something I have seen the lovely April do on her blog... add some pumpkin in my yogurt (I can hear JR gagging now... lol). It was REALLY good! I added some cinnamon and nutmeg... along with some agave and sliced banana. I had one of our new favorite blueberry muffins I made yesterday... the recipe that Jenna posted about a month ago. They're awesome... and so full of blueberries!!! I of course, slathered the muffin with a tablespoon of almond butter after this picture :)After breakfast, I got ready and headed to the grocery store for a few things for dinner tonight. Our grocery budget is done with for the week, so I'll have to make whatever we have around the house work! I have some fresh spinach and salad mix... a few apples, bananas and peaches... everything else produce wise is frozen. I'm sure we can make it work!

We planned to take dinner to my in laws house tonight so that they didn't have to worry about making anything for themselves and had a "night off" from cooking. They have been taking care of JR's grandmother... who is very sick (you can read more about it here). We're trying to make sure they're not stressing over little things and hoped this might help some! I came home from the store and while making lunch, made them a batch of the blueberry muffins for quick breakfast choices and also got things ready to make the mashed sweet potatoes.

While working in the kitchen, I made a quick lunch. A spinach wrap with turkey, hummus, turkey bacon, lite havarti cheese and spinach... there's a peach in the picture... but I got busy in the kitchen and forgot about it! By the time I saw it again, I didn't want it any longer.
When I finally got hungry again, I wanted my new chocolate smoothie... which I have no picture for...oops :(

We got to JR's parents house and JR grilled up the meats while I got salads ready... here's my salad and food once we got everything done: grilled pork loin chop with annie's bbq sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, some steamed veggies and a salad with mixed greens, blueberries, onion, gorgonzola cheese and sliced almonds...
We hung around and talked with JR's mom for awhile... and got to look at a lot of his grandmother's old photographs and letters... it was pretty neat!

We were going to head home but knew his mom needed a break... so we took her out for some ice cream :) We went to marble slab.... I got some of their fro-yo with chocolate chips... sorry for the blurry pic... I'm still not the best photographer!
Okay, I totally need to get to bed now... it's 11:30!!! I won't be getting up to work out... so I'll have to do it when we get home... which may mean it won't get done! :( I'm going to see how the day goes. I may make it my rest day, we'll see!

How was your weekend? Any fun plans this week?