Monday, March 17, 2014

Friend Makin' Mondays - Holiday Traditions

Just a side note - if you are celebrating Spring Break right now - congratulations. I just don't want to hear about it right now (one of the most stressful weeks for my work). I love break, warm sandy beaches, crazy cross-country trips, and relaxing at home - I'm just a bit bitter - don't mind me.

Now on to something much better - FMM!!

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 on Sarah's Blog so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. 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. So. Much. FUN!

Holiday Traditions.

1. Do you celebrate St Patrick’s Day?

Mmm, not really. I wear green, and I have some of my students sing St. Patrick's day songs (or leprechaun, or rainbow, etc songs). But beyond that, not so much.

2. Which is your favorite holiday to celebrate?

Definitely Christmas for all around warm fuzzies with family and friends, beautiful music, festive atmosphere, etc.

That being said,  I have an unusual fondness for April Fool's day as well. Growing up, this was a huge and fun holiday in my family, and I still look to find people who can take a good prank on this epic day :)

3. Do you have a favorite ‘holiday’ food?

Um, yes, all of the stuff I am trying to distance myself from - mashed potatoes/gravy, pie, appetizers in general. Good stuff.

4. What do you think of holiday parades?

I really enjoy smaller-town parades where I know a lot of the people involved, and am able to watch with good friends or family, otherwise, I'm not so impressed. That's not to say that I wouldn't mind having a hotel room with a view of the Macy's Thanksgiving parade (would LOVE that) but I'll avoid the crowds if possible.

5. Have you ever been part of a parade?

Yes - when I was probably about 6 or so I was in the Twin Cities May Day parade (an awesome one!). I've also marched in a few more local ones throughout middle and high school.

6. Do you decorate your house for the holidays?

Sometimes. It really depends on what's going on. I don't host people very much, but if I did I think I would decorate more than I do.

7. Do you send holiday cards?

I'd love to, but Christmas-card-sending-season tends to be at the same time as crazy music concerts season, so currently as a music teacher, the answer is no. Someday, I hope to though!

8. Are there any holidays that you celebrate that are traditional in another country, but maybe less well known in the US?

Nope! :)

Ok, that's it! Be sure to participate if you have your own blog! I love reading all of your answers!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Week that Took Me Down

Yes, last week was the week that took me down - in SO many ways!

First, last week took me down to the lowest weight I have seen in at least 8 years - YAY! Good eating + walking 1.5-2 miles/day = one happy and healthy girl. I also saw my parents for the first time in three months, and they were pleasantly shocked to see my weight loss progress, so that was a huge source of boost in my motivation They were so supportive, willing to go on walks with me, and mindful about the things that I have chosen to eat (and not to eat). It was an excellent visit.

Unfortunately, when I came back from that glorious weekend, real life hit me like a ton of bricks! I have two really big concerts placed a week a part, and all the stress really started to bog me down on Wednesday. I started the week off strong, exercise and food-wise, but used stress as an excuse to relax on that front, and am paying for it now!

All of that stress manifested itself this weekend as a nasty sick bug of some sort, including fever, chills, aches, and really not wanting to do anything. The bad news? No exercising for this girl over the weekend. The good news? Being ill has allowed me to reset my eating habits and prepare for the week ahead. I'm not feeling 100% better yet, but I think there might be a short walk or exercise video in my future today - I've got to keep fighting for a healthier me!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Friend Makin' Mondays - All About VACATIONS!

What a gorgeous day for FMM! 59 degrees and no school? Sounds like a perfect end to my weekend!

If you've read my previous posts, you know that FMM is all about getting to know other bloggers! All you do is answer these questions on your blog, invite your blog readers to in, and then head on over to Sarah's blog at Losing Weight and Having Fun and post a link to your blog so we can get to know you better.


1. Where was the last place you went on vacation to?

Well, I just got back from a mini-vacation to see my parents in the Twin Cities. It was amazing to just get away from everything and spend some quality time with them.

2. Do you have any plans for a vacation this year?

Not right now, but hopefully if I continue to reach my weight loss goals, I will be able to cross some things off of my bucket list!

3. If money was no option, where would you dream vacation be?

Probably a trip around the world in American Race style - go to a country, do something really out-of-the-ordinary-push-you-outside-your-comfort-zone tasks then move on to the next place.

4. What is your favorite vacation spot that you have visited?

Definitely the US Virgin Islands (St. John especially). So much snorkeling, so little time.

 2013-06-18 18.50.15

5. Have you ever had a staycation?

Kind of - I do enjoy spending my vacation time just relaxing, but I don't know about doing sightseeing in my own backyard or anything.

6. Are you a lie on the beach person or a go out and explore person?

Currently a lie on the beach and go snorkeling person, but I believe that this might change quite a bit when I lose some more weight and am able to more comfortably move around. I will always love snorkeling though!

7. When you fly do you have a favorite airline?

Nope, but I didn't mind American Airlines when I used them.

8. Have you ever had a ‘vacation from hell’ ?

Probably my only one would be the time I got VERY sick on the 18 hour bus ride back from a vacation. It was absolute torture. Besides that, nope!

9. Have you ever had an airline lose your luggage?

Thankfully, no.

10. Do you send postcards to friends and family when you go on vacation?

Sometimes! It really depends on where I am or who I am with.

Happy warmer weather everyone! It's so nice to be able to go outside without a big parka on anymore (or, at least, for now!) The first day of spring is March 20th :)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Guess What DAY it is? Friend Makin' Monday!

It is absolutely amazing how much Friend Makin' Monday really "makes" my Monday (get it? ok, a little corny, but I couldn't resist!) I was just finishing some lesson plans at school and thinking, "Man, I really hope there's a new FMM up, I could sure use a pick-me-up!"

If you are not familiar with FMM, the idea is to answer the 10 questions posted on Sarah's blog - Losing Weight and Having Fun - and then leaving a comment on her blog so we can get to know fellow bloggers better! Mad props to Kenlie at All the Weigh for starting FMM and entrusting it to Sarah while she takes a break!

Ok, here are the questions this week:

1. What is your all time favorite movie?

Wow...ok, here we go- Finding Nemo, Pursuit of Happyness, Rent, Frozen (currently obsessed), Enchanted, Mona Lisa Smile, Captain Phillips, Argo,  - and about 100 others.

2. Who is your favorite actor and actress?

Tom Hanks and Julia Robert/Emma Thompson/Sandra Bullock

3. What is the first movie you ever saw at the cinema?

I remember seeing The Little Mermaid - not sure if that was the first, but definitely the first I have any recollection of.

4. Did you watch The Oscars last night?

Yep, and it was one of my favorites so far. Ellen kept me laughing, some great musical performances, and they made me really want to see more of this year's nominated movies.

5. How many of the Best Picture nominations did you watch and which did you enjoy the most?

I only saw Gravity and Captain Phillips, but really wished Captain Phillips won - I thought that film was amazing.

6. What did you think of Ellen hosting The Oscars?

Ellen just makes me happy. I absolutely wish I could watch her show every day, because her outlook on life and humor is just fantastic. Great selfie - loved the pizza and good witch costume, and c'mon, she BROKE Twitter! That absolutely never happens!

7. If you had the chance to play a part in any movie, what would it be?

Something in a musical - not necessarily a lead, but just to be a part of it, even if it was just backup vocals, would be fantastic.

8. Is there a movie you have watched that was so bad that you have either walked out of the cinema or turned it off?

Yes. I honestly can't remember the titles of the two movies I've seen that I've walked out on, but they were so bad (most have blocked it from my memory?)

9. What do you think of 3D and IMAX movies? Are they worth the extra money?

Meh, ok. A lot of the movies that are especially effective in 3D are a lot of action films (not a big fan). Now, some of Disney's stuff, Alice in Wonderland, for example, are fun in 3D (and sometimes even push a movie from the so-so ranking to good).

10. What was the last movie you saw at the cinema?

Saving Mr. Banks (good movie!)

Ok, your turn! If you are a blogger, head on over to Losing Weight and Having Fun and link up your answers!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Week Recap: Mind Plateaus, Diet Bets, and the 100 Challenge

I have so much to talk about today, and simply can't wait another day to blog about all three of these topics, so I'm just going to consider this a "weekly recap" - a mixed bag of all of the things on my mind this week.

First, let's talk about this week's plateau. Weight-wise, I have been bouncing around the same 2-3 pounds this week, and I'm pretty frustrated about it. I have been putting in the work, exercise wise, but as the week progressed, my mind took a negative turn and I found myself going back to some of my old eating habits. 

After reading other people's weight loss success stories, there always seems to be a point where the blogger is doing everything right, and the scale is not moving - the dreaded PLATEAU! Let me be clear - this is NOT what I'm going through right now. I know exactly why my scale did not move this week, and now that I have acknowledged it, I can move on and get my diet back under control. I absolutely HATE that I'm counteracting all of this great exercise with awful eating habits, and that is going to stop immediately.

This, as you can image, is making me a little nervous about my DietBet challenge. I actually ended up joining two DietBets- one 4-week challenge headed by Alex Respess from Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition and one 6 month challenge called "The Transformer" (you can read my initial thoughts about DietBet here). The good news? I managed to lose enough weight in the first two and a half weeks to make my 4-week challenge early - so I should have no problem staying the course and meeting my goal. As for Round 1 of the transformer bet, I'm a little nervous because of this week's lack of progress, so we'll have to see how this goes! I'm still very happy that I am participating, as it is a small reminder every time I make choices about food or exercise that I will immediately be held responsible and that there will be monetary ramifications for not meeting my goals :) (sometimes weight loss and overall health rewards are a little too slow - I often need more immediate gratification/consequences)

And then there was the 100 Challenge - 100 leg kicks, push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks per day for a whole month (what am I, CRAZY?). I'm calling last week a "trial run" before starting the first official day today. It is the first of the month, anyway! I learned a couple of really important things during my trial run:
  1. Jumping jacks, push-ups, and squats will all be modified for this month. Someday I hope to revisit this when I can do all of these the non-modified way, but for now, if I have ANY chance of even coming close to this goal, I need to modify. This means doing chair squats, wall push-ups, and lower impact jumping jacks - hey, it's better than just sitting on the couch
  2. It's going to hurt. A LOT! After day three of my trial run, I went to bed laughing and crying all at the same time, because every single muscle in my whole body was soar, and I hadn't even completed all of my squats for the day. I'm not all about pain= gain all of the time, but I definitely liked the feeling of knowing I had pushed my muscles to the max. There wasn't a ton of next-day soreness, though, so I know I'm not injuring myself, just pushing harder than I am used to
  3. This will be one of those goals were I will practice not being a perfectionist, and instead listen to my body. My goal each day is to reach 100 of each, along with continuing to walk 5-6 times/week. Some days I will hit this goal, some days I won't, but each day that I participate will be a day I will be getting stronger. This is nothing like my healthy eating goal. For this month, I want to stay away from refined carbs and sugar. Unlike the 100 challenge, this diet change is 100% possible, and I expect to reach this goal every day this next month, and will be more disappointed if I miss a day.
There we go! A recap of last week and a plan for the rest of the month - bring it on March (but please, not too much more snow or cold weather - I can't take it anymore!!)