Musings of a Chicago-Born New Yorker

Exercise

Empathy versus Me Me Me

Why is it so hard to empathize with people who are different? I’m sitting here listening to some of my co-workers fussing about early voting.

I’m so confused. If you’re not going to early vote, and if you’re lucky enough to have a job where you can take the time out of your work day to go vote, why the hell do you care what provisions are in place for other voters?

Just to be clear, these people aren’t worried about voter fraud or anything like that (we all know that’s a Trump supporter problem anyway), they’re just irritated that they have to hear about the statistics of demographics of early voting.

This got me thinking about empathy, or lack thereof. How easy is it to see things from the perspective of someone else? To put yourself in their shoes and show compassion for their situation? Does having that ability make you any more likely to accept policies at home, work, or elsewhere that don’t directly benefit you?

Maybe it’s human to get that sense of injustice or to feel like something isn’t fair when things don’t directly benefit you. Or maybe it’s just a chance to stare your own privilege in the face and realize everything doesn’t have to benefit you to be important to the world around you.

But one can dream. If the world revolved around me:

  1. My co-workers wouldn’t all take lunch at the same fucking time and leave me on the phone by myself.
  2. My bosses would fix the schedule so I never worked on a short-staffed shift.
  3. Maids in NYC would suddenly start giving out “You Don’t Have Time To Clean, You Poor Thing” discount coupons.
  4. My yoga studio would consult my work and volunteer and travel schedules before scheduling vinyasa and aerial yoga classes.
  5. No one would call my husband for gigs between February 5th and February 15th.
  6. Subway platform elevators would never again smell like pee or vomit or shit or armpit or ass crack or perfume.
  7. People without children would get to vote on which section all the people with children sat in on the plane.
  8. The vending machine at work would never run out of cheesy poofs.
  9. Everything Colin Kaepernick says about the state of blacks in this country would immediately be turned into a bumper sticker and refrigerator magnet.
  10. You could subscribe to Colin Kaepernick’s refrigerator magnets, and all proceeds would go to make the Know Your Rights Camp national.
  11. My mom and dad would move to New York.

The world doesn’t revolve around me. I get it. It’s why I have to go to yoga smack in the middle of the afternoon on my days off, when I least feel like putting on pants.

That being said, I empathize with my aerial teacher, who is able to schedule her yoga classes around her other job(s) and auditions and whatnot.

And also, I love statistics. Who gets irritated about statistics? Nate Silver, my statistics boo, could make anyone love statistics. Well… I know that’s not true, but I wish it were true.


Yoga Is Kicking My Butt, At My Request

Ever since our niece came to visit NYC at the end of March, I’ve been going to yoga classes regularly. Pretty much every single day off from work, I’ve gone. I work full time, but it’s all squeezed into three days a week.

I think going to yoga 4 days a week is pretty good. It’s way up from the once a month I was exercising before. The motivation really comes from how close the studio is. This morning, my first class started at 11am, and the alarm was set for 9am.

At 10:45, I jumped out of bed. In 15 minutes, teeth got brushed, Emergen-C got drunk, yoga clothes got thrown on, and teeth got brushed. It’s really a blessing to have a studio so close to home.

I did something today I’ve never done before. I took two yoga classes. Back-to-back at that. I was tired as hell afterwards, but I felt so strong and so good and so proud of myself!

The first class was vinyasa, and for the first time since I started yoga, I was able to do tree pose equally on both sides and grow my branches. For those who don’t know what that means, I basically went from this:

to this:

Sometimes it’s like that. You do the same thing day in and day out without seeing much progress. Then suddenly, the progress leaps unexpectedly forward, surprising you.

The second class was aerial yoga, and being a bit tired from the first class added a layer of difficulty. But surprisingly, it became that much easier to push. I left the cirque tricks alone today, but did a lot more when it came to the ab and Pilates-style moves.

When I felt my legs lift off the ground for the first time, purely on the strength of my arm muscles pulling against the silk fabric, I was so elated. I want to feel like that all the time!

Because I basically know my schedule for the month, all yoga classes for this month are booked. There are thee more 2-a-days coming up. Usually vinyasa followed by aerial. I can’t wait to see what new ways my body will respond.

I am finally taking care of my body. I’m treating it better than I have in years. I’ve been saying it’s not about a goal weight or size. I haven’t lost any weight, and I still wear the same size clothes. Being not-in-my-20s means losing weight is a slower process.

If I’m being honest with myself, I don’t want to lose a bunch of weight. The smallest I’ve ever been, the day I met my husband, I thought of myself as too small. I was the size of my bone structure, so my opinion was wrong. But I grew up with a grandma who always said something to the effect of, “don’t lose too much weight, what if you get sick, you’ll need to have weight to lose.” Or something like that.

I know people aren’t really getting undiagnosable diseases like consumption anymore, at least not at the same rate they were in the 30s and 40s. But still… It’s part of my programming I can’t seem to break.

So instead, I focus on how good I feel in my body. How strong I feel. How flexible I’ve become. How much energy I have each day. The better food choices I’m making. And I try not to feel too happy that I haven’t lost weight. I’m only 31, the weight loss is inevitable if I keep this up.

Focusing on being as good to my body. Feeling pride that I can take two classes in one day and not just survive but thrive. Dreaming of the day when all of this is second nature rather than a new lifestyle I’m hoping and praying I can hold onto.


When Easter Gets Cancelled, I Bake & I Bike

One of the best things about living in New York City is that everything can be delivered or outsourced.

Laundry? We drop off our clothes and our laundry lady hooks them up.

Cleaning Supplies? Soap.com or Amazon.com are happy to help.

Need a babysitter? Care.com has you

Groceries? For my neighborhood, it’s either a co-op or FreshDirect.

Chris and I dislike grocery shopping so much that even a co-op is asking too much of us. So we use FreshDirect. And since this is New York, eventually the delivery and customer service was going to let me all the way down.

Back around Thanksgiving, I made the mistake of not submitting my order by the time deadline. Chris and I ended up in a grocery store at 10pm the night before Thanksgiving, buying all the stuff that wasn’t delivered. I wasn’t happy about that, but that was my fault.

This past weekend however, is totally on FreshDirect. When I woke up on Saturday, I saw an e-mail from them saying they were trying to reach me by phone.

I called them and they said the driver came by at 9am, but no one was home. My angry black woman almost came out right then y’all. I informed the lady on the phone that my husband and I had been home all morning, and we have the worlds loudest doorbell, so there’s no way they rang our doorbell and missed us.

She said they tried to call, and they “always call”, and why didn’t I answer the phone? I explained to her, that “always” doesn’t apply in my case because in almost 2 years of deliveries, I’ve never received a phone call from any driver ever because we only request the delivery when we’re home, and it’s “never” been an issue until today.

She said she’d reschedule the delivery and they would swing back by our house before ending their route, around 2p.

Of course, 2p came and went, with no delivery. I called back around 4p to find out what happened. This time I got a man who told me this:

-it does say it was scheduled for re-delivery

-they didn’t re-deliver my groceries

-they have gone back to the warehouse and dismantled my assembled groceries

-their shift is over and they’ve gone home

-he doesn’t know why my groceries weren’t delivered

-is there anything else he can do for me

 

So I tell him:

-you haven’t actually done anything for me

-Just confirming, that my Easter dinner is cancelled, and there’s nothing you can do about that?

-Who do I speak with to file an official complaint?

 

He took $25 of my next order. He rescheduled my delivery for Wednesday.

While waiting for the food to arrive, Easter was over, and that meant carbs!

I couldn’t decide what to make, but I knew it was going to include bread or potatoes or rice. I ended up modifying a recipe for apple muffins and made and apple-blueberry-pear loaf in a bundt pan. It was delicious.

For good measure, I also made red onion-garlic-baby bella mini frittatas. Breakfast-on-the-go was what I was going for, and it worked pretty well.

I also considered making butter cookies, but decided against that. I have quite the list of carb-y goodness that I’ve just been waiting to eat, but I don’t want to overdo it. So I’m pacing myself and only eating one thing at a time.

Sunday: that apple loaf thingee

Monday: pasta

Tuesday-Friday: I ate a bag of potato chips. I split the bag into portions so that I stayed under my daily carb limit. I’m seriously impressed that I managed to stay within the limit

And today, I had french toast. And it was so damn good. Definitely over the carb limit, so maybe no carbs tomorrow.

I fell into the trap y’all. I did a little bit of exercising, so I thought it was okay to go overboard.

In my defense, I really did a lot of exercising. I went to yoga yesterday, and it felt really good.

I love my yoga studio in Brooklyn. I go to Sacred Yoga, and the teachers are so great there. This class was a foundations class, and it was so beneficial because I got to press reset on some on my yoga poses. Reinforcing all the things I’m supposed to be focusing on in each pose was great.

Since I bought my new bike on Easter, I was happy to ride it to yoga. I love this new bike. The only thing wrong with it is it doesn’t have that step through thing that makes it easy to wear a skirt with, but just look at it.

I had to add a basket, a kickstand, head & tail lights, a water bottle holder, and tire locks. But totally worth it if I stay safe and my bike stays un-stolen. Image from Fulton Bikes

Riding it makes me feel so exhilarated. It goes pretty fast without much effort on my part and the gear shifts making riding the mild elevation changes in my neighborhood much easier than on my other bike.

I also decided I would ride the bike to the train station going to and from work to get in a little bit more exercise. The first day, I just went to the nearest station, but today I decided to go much further. I got almost all the way to downtown Brooklyn before I got tired.

I hopped off the bike, locked it up with my super high duty lock, and headed down the subway steps. I reached into my purse to grab my Metrocard.

And nothing.

I didn’t have my Metrocard. I didn’t have my backup Metrocard. I didn’t have my debit or credit cards. I didn’t even have my ID or the singles I keep just in case. I only had about $1.38 in change floating in the bottom of my purse.

Everything I needed was in my yoga bag. So I walked my tired butt back up to the bike, called work to tell them I’d be late, and biked back home.

By the time I got to my house, My legs were feeling very jelly-like. Mind you, this was hardly any distance at all, only a few miles. But for me, who has done next to no biking or serious exercising in months, I was done.

I took the bike back inside, grabbed my money and ID, and went to the bus stop.

The good news is that I got in my full exercise on the bike for the day. I’m thinking I should keep it up and do my Tracy Anderson DVD when I get home. I unfortunately can’t do yoga everyday because of working in Manhattan and the studio not being open early or late enough. We’ll see how I feel when I get home.

I’m trying to ramp up the exercise, and go with what feels good. But I’m also feeling like I should set some sort of schedule that I can make myself stick to. It’s a fine line to walk.

I’ve started and stopped this “attempt to get healthy” thing so many times. I just really want it to stick this time.

I’ve got good motivation though.

I just got plane tickets for Chris and I to go to the Dominican Republic this August for that family vacation. If that’s not motivation to get my body right, I don’t know what is.

I also got my ticket to go visit my parents next month. I’m going during the week, right before Mother’s Day. Should be a fun couple of days. It’s going to feel so weird going to their new house and that being their home. But I’m excited for it.

I’m excited for a lot right now: the sandwich I’m going to get from Potbelly one day this week, riding my bike more (NOT today), shopping for a swimsuit this summer). All these damn endorphins have got me going. Cross your fingers that the feeling lasts!


Just The Icing, Still No Cake

Easter is on Sunday, and I’m so excited! Part of me wishes I could say it was religious reasons, but it’s not. It’s for food and shopping reasons.

Lent ends real soon. And I gave up carbs and shopping for Lent, as you know. So all of you can go from being mini cupcakes back to being regular human people. You can keep your whipped cream frosting if you’d like.

One of my friends, the lawyer has a plan for the end of her Lent. Our girl is having a birthday dinner in Chicago on Saturday night. And of course there will be a cake. So my friend the lawyer is planning on getting a piece (or three) of this birthday cake and keeping it until midnight. After dinner, and likely dancing, there will be birthday cake.

When she said her plan for ending Lent, I knew I had to come up with one of my own. I thought about making one of the amazing recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest recently, just go full carb.

But that didn’t seem appropriate. I certainly haven’t lost any real weight since I’ve cut out carbs, but I feel a bit like I’ve cut an addiction. So I think I’ll just make some roasted red potatoes to go with my Easter dinner, and leave the carbs at that.

Speaking of Pinterest, I’ve been told by a few people how amazing it is, I’ve even been called a walking Pinterest, which I wasn’t sure was a compliment. But I love Pinterest!

All the hair ideas, clothing ideas, food ideas, drink ideas, design ideas. And I’m sure that’s just tip of the iceberg. I probably has one million and one cute cat pictures, I just haven’t stumbled across those boards yet.

I’m only using it (right now) to have a board for my Stitch Fix stylist and to get great accessory ideas. I got an idea I got for how to wear a head scarf, and I tried it out on Tuesday.

2015-03-31 23.39.15

20150401_001134

But back to the end of Lent. If I’m not going to go all carb, all day, I have to do something, and that something is going to be shopping.

It’s not going to be just shopping for the sake of shopping though. I’m going to be useful shopping. I’m going to take some of the money I’ve saved not shopping during Lent and buy a bicycle.

Every single bike I’ve ever owned has been stolen. I guess that’s the price of living in the hood (or hood-adjacent) all my life.

So while priority #1 for this bike will be the usual: it must be super cute, priority #2 is that it must must be lightweight.

The reason my last bike was stolen is because I had a cheap lock on it and kept it locked up outside. It was just so heavy to carry in and out of the brownstone where I live.

So this new bike that I will hopefully purchase on Sunday will:

1) be cute

2) be very lightweight

3) be turquoise

4) have some sort of basket for carrying things, and some other way to carry stuff on it

5) be old-style looking

6) be a relatively reasonable price

7) help me get my ass back to yoga

I’d like it to look something like this:

I just really want to get back to yoga. I always feel my best when I go regularly, I still have my monthly membership, and with a bike I can easily get back and forth to the studio.

Perhaps I’ll ride the bike even more now that Spring has truly come to NYC. With a real lock this time, I’ll have less worries of it being stolen. Then perhaps the bike can provide useful transportation as well as exercise.

Exercise is something I need in my life. Not just because I’m 30 and my body is already responding differently (ie, worse) to the lack of exercise. And not just because my family is going on vacation to the Dominican Republic this August and I’m trying get that beach body right. But because I want to feel like myself again.

I want the increased energy, I want the better sleep at night, and I want the confidence.

I want to be able to grab anything out of my closet and not have to hope it’ll zip up today. I want to wake up refreshed, not be so lethargic.

And the fact that the key to all of this seems to be shopping, well that’s just the whipped cream icing on the cake. Well, still no cake. I’m going to try and stay low carb even after Lent is over.


The Latest Effort To Get Healthy

So, again I’m trying.

I’m trying to get and stay healthy.

I’ve got the equipment, I’ve got the time, and I’ve got the space. What I’m missing is the motivation.

Motivation has always been the problem for me. My current work schedule is Monday-Friday 4p-12a. Ideally, I’d like to workout when I get home from work, but that’s not possible with my current schedule.

The best option is to wake up a few hours before work and workout then. Here is where motivation (or lack thereof) comes in. I would have to be awake and moving by 1pm at the latest to get some sort of workout in and still be on time for work. I’m usually awake-ish around that time. On Tuesdays when I go to Reciprocity Foundation by 2pm, I have no issues waking up that early.

But when the only thing I have to do is workout then go to work, I just can’t bring myself to get out of bed. “Why not just hit snooze 8 more times and get a smidgen more sleep?” I think. When I’m alert and looking at a scale that is stubbornly over 140 pounds (which is a lot with my bone structure and height), I remember that I need to get my ass out of bed and into some workout clothes. But when I’m in bed, all bets are off.

It’s so frustrating that half-sleep me isn’t as reasonable as wide awake me.

But I have won the battle with myself a couple of times in the last two weeks. I’ve done my Tracy Anderson workout videos three times and I went jogging around my neighborhood once. Four workouts in 2 weeks is a start, but it’s a pitiful start, and I need to do better.

Adding in the rock climbing, yoga, and kickboxing will be great if I can get myself into a routine.

One of my favorite games to play is something a friend of mine and I used to do in college. We called it In A Perfect World. It’s an easy game to play. You just start by saying, “in a perfect world…” and then fill it in.

This game is only for playing with yourself (that’s what he said) or with a trusted confidante, or if you’re not talking about anything to personal, with everyone who reads your blog.

I’m going to play a round of In A Perfect World but I’m going to focus only on my health goals.

In a perfect world, I exercise 5 days a week. I go running, I do kickboxing, I do yoga, I do Tracy Anderson’s workouts, and I do rock climbing. I don’t do all of them every week, but I do them at least twice a month, and fill in the schedule with running or Tracy Anderson.

I’m a size 4 or 2, whichever looks better to me in the mirror. My bone structure is a 0, but that’s too darn small for me. I like to see some curves and have a bit (just a bit) of cushion, you know?

Because I’m working out so much, I tend to eat better because I notice I’m sluggish when I gorge on unhealthy over-processed foods.

And best of all, I look great in this when I wear it for my 30th birthday celebration.

 

This is a hip & butt hugging, boobalicious dress that shows off a lot of leg. It would be a great way to say I'm 30, and I'm still super hot.

This is a hip & butt hugging, boobalicious dress that shows off a lot of leg. It would be a great way to say I’m 30, and I’m still super hot.

I’m hoping my girls come visit New York for Halloween this year. It’s a couple of weeks after my birthday, but I celebrate for a whole month anyway, so it would be perfect. I have one picture of me wearing this dress about 10 pounds ago, and I don’t love the way I look in it.

I really liked how I looked in the dress when I first bought it, but then I didn’t wear it for a while, and well, in a perfect world, I’ll love how I feel in the dress again.

In the real world, I’ve just got to stay motivated because what I would want in a perfect world, isn’t that hard to achieve.

In other news, I got a tablet!

2014-06-12 20.55.00

My screensaver is the sunset outside of my window at work. Beautiful isn’t it?

I’m super excited because I love me some gadgets! And it’s nice to have it for tracking my health stuff as well. If you have any of the fitbit products or if you’re on myfitness pal, friend me. Supporting each other and pushing each other to stay healthy can be key.

My fitbit profile

My myfitnesspal profile


On Coming Back to Blogging

Back again. It’s so hard to post consistently when there is living to do, mood swings to pretend I’m not having, and recaps that feel so cumbersome to put together.

But here I am, back and better than ever.

What makes me better this time?

Well, instead of pressing reset and acting like the time that’s passed didn’t happen, I’m going to pickup where I left off.

I left off talking about helping one of my best friends put together his second-to-last best man speech.

And I was talking about Wine School for the New York Times.

And I was talking about trying to get back in shape, and not really having the motivation to do so. Apparently pre-paying for exercise classes isn’t a great motivator for me.

And I was talking about embracing this wonderful city I now call home. New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do.

I’ve decided I’m going to also start talking more about the reason I’m here. I moved to New York City because of Easy, my jazz musician husband. There’s lot of stuff going on with that to talk about. And when they make a movie about his life and the lives of his contemporaries one day (it’s totally gonna happen), they’ll have some scene where I’m typing away on my blog as I’m cooking the guys dinner. The producers will have to include that scene as a condition of Easy’s participation in the movie. He just doesn’t know it yet, well now that he’s read that sentence, he knows. Hi Easy.

But until the movie gets made, this blog will document the mention-worthy crap that I know about his NYC jazz music world.

The first thing I want to talk about is the effort to get in shape.

I’m coming up on my 30th birthday soon. I have barely started on that bucket list some of my friends and I are doing that I keep promising to talk about. I should’ve put “get back to the size I was at college graduation” on the list.

What’s crazy is that around the time I graduated college, I felt like a fat ass. I weighed 125 lbs, which isn’t a lot at all. But when you’re only 5 feet tall and you have a tiny bone structure, it feels like a lot, especially when I floated around 100 pounds from age 13 to age 21.

But now I’m a good 15 pounds heavier than that. Which, again, I know is not a lot in terms of average adult weight. But all of my friends who weigh that much wear a size 2, 4, or 6. Because I am a ton of inches shorter than them, I’m wider and wear a size 8, pushing a 10 in some brands.

That shit is unacceptable.

If I lost 10 pounds, I’d lose an inch or so all around and immediately drop down a few sizes. I don’t ever want to reach a size 0 or 2 again because my fat girl boobs are kind of awesome (34C woot woot!), but I just want to reduce the jigglies.

My girls back in Chicago and I have a plan. We’re going to start keeping up with each other’s diet/exercise efforts. They all joined myfitnesspal and we’re going to keep each other motivated.

I think that having my girls trying to get healthy with me, along with the varied workout plan I’ve already paid for–and just have to start using– and the ease of online grocery shopping makes it pretty foolproof to stay on track.

At least, it certainly sounds foolproof.

I think there’s a saying, “it’s better to be thought of as a fool that to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

I’m feeling at this moment that my blog is a doubt remover.

But perhaps it’ll be wrong.

Perhaps I’m not a fool…?

I just want to wear a bikini and feel proud of what I see in the mirror.

When I’m home, alone or with my husband, I don’t have a lot of body issues. Even being overweight, I’m pretty happy with how I look naked. I’m shaped well enough, and again, I’ve got my fat girl boobs going. It’s mainly how I look in clothes that is a concern for me

I feel pretty strongly about dressing for my body type. I’m all about structured clothing items and fabrics that float away from the body. But I miss the days when I could literally put on any piece of clothing and it worked as long as it wasn’t intended for someone who was 5’10”. I want that back.

I promise if I get that back, I will still dress age appropriately.

Except for crop tops.

I figure it will take me until my 30th birthday to get a completely flat tummy, and my almost-but-not-quite-old ass will be wearing crop tops and lots of them.

But other than that, completely age appropriate.

I’m just hoping that when I get into bed tonight I can turn my brain off so I can get enough sleep to wake up early Friday and start working out.


122,000 Steps And Counting

My Fitbit is great! Thanks again to my girl Brenda for the amazing gift!

I can actually keep really great track of what I’m doing and keeping track is keeping me on track. Okay, I’m done using the word track.

Between fitbit.com, myfitnesspal.com, and cozi.com, I’m spending a good amount of time tracking my meals, steps, sleep, and workouts.

I’m hoping it’s front-end labor intensive, and once I settle into a rhythm, it will be easier to maintain. It’s already gotten easier.

I sync my fitbit a couple of time a day. I plan my meals now a week in advance. And while I’m eating or just after I finish eating, I log my food into myfitnesspal. I also log my exercises while I’m waiting for my post-exercise shower to heat up.

I don’t know how sustainable this all is honestly.

Once Easy (the husband for those of you who didn’t read my last post) is back, it might be difficult to maintain. I don’t know if he’s going to want to eat what I’m eating.

I’m basically a flexitarian now. I didn’t even know flexitarian was a thing until I saw there’s a Vegetarian Food Festival in New York in a couple of weeks that I’m going to miss.

I think this is me. Who knew? Image via No Meat This Week

I’m not a flexitarian for any other reason than a changing palate and health reasons. Tonight, I ate yogurt, strawberries, blackberries, apple sauce, brocolli, yellow rice, and kidney beans.

according to myfitnesspal, all of that was around 500 calories. According to fitbit, I burned around 550 calories just walking around today. Yet I’m full and not even a bit hungry or tired. How the hell is that possible?

I’d like to say that part of my feeling so good now is because I’ve been exercising. I have started on the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis plan, yet again.

I can tell that my legs are stronger than they were. All this walking around NYC has made my calves look pretty good, and it’s making these workouts easier.

But the storms that have been whooping up on the East Cost have kept me from doing the other workouts I’m interested in.

When it takes twice as long to get to work, that makes getting up early to go to a rock climbing yoga class to a gym with no showers virtually impossible.

I have a friend from work who also purchased the Amazon local deal and has committed to going rock climbing with me. I’ve picked out a class at the kickboxing place that works in my current schedule.

Now all I need is for it to stop freaking snowing!

I am almost certain that when this post publishes, fresh snow will blanket the ground.

I plan on working out at home tomorrow, so I don’t need to worry about the weather until it’s time to head out to work.

There is good news in all of this. I wore a pair of pants to work this week that I haven’t worn since late summer. They were too tight.

Hell, they’re still too tight. But instead of being I-can’t-even-button-these-why-did-I-bother to being these-make-my-ass-look-PHAT-which-isn’t-entirely-work-appropriate-oh-well.

That’s a big step in the right direction. I cringe to think of my butt shrinking. But I’m happy to think of the back rolls and tummy pudge going away.

I’ve still got farther to go. But so far, the change in eating habits is going well, and Tracy Anderson is making exercise possible in spite of all of this:

image via Google

image via Google

I am looking forward to next Friday with every fiber of my being.

Oh, before I forget! The gift from Easy arrived yesterday. He got me a long-sleeve t-shirt in red with the HRC symbol on it. This shirt is comfy and a great cotton 2nd anniversary gift.

He knows that I’ve felt ever stronger about LGBT rights recently. And he knows I love a good traditional anniversary gift. He did good.


Chicago-Style Girl’s Workout Plan, I Wanna See You Workout

If you scroll down to the very bottom of my blog page, you’ll see a few things.

There is the standard search box you’ll see on all blogs, but I’ve cleverly hidden it in plain sight so you can’t easily find it, bah ha ha. Actually, I just didn’t know where else to put it because I didn’t like the look of it on my right tab column.

There is also a job disclaimer that my people request we put up so that my words are not associated with the company. I totally get that, but I’m such a huge fan of donation, I’m happy to claim my words as my very own. Go sign up for organ donation people!

But the other thing you’ll see at the bottom is the MyFitnessPal Ticker and My Tracy Anderson countdown. Both are at the bottom so as not to depress me on a daily basis.

The Tracy Anderson 90 day countdown ended August 16, 2013. That counts as a super-duper fail. I didn’t get past Day 10. It’s just so hard. Whine whine, fill in whine here.

And I don’t have access to a scale anymore. I intend on getting this cool bluetooth scale that goes with the fitbit.

Image via Amazon

Image via fitbit

These were my intended birthday gifts. They still are my intended gifts, even though my birthday was three months ago. The husband and I are working it out.

Perhaps if I can avoid Queens in general and potholes specifically, I would’ve had my birthday gift by now. Stupid Geico insurance deductible.

Moving on. Because I don’t have access to a scale, I have no idea what I weigh. But I’m almost certain I’m at my highest weight ever. Seeing as how I never really effectively kicked off the weight loss in the first place, that’s less upsetting to say than you’d think.

Working 4p-midnight is detrimental to my life plans. I’m not a morning person, so I struggle to get up before noon. I’d have to get up and start working out by 10 am to have enough time to really workout and get to work on time. And now that I’m helping babysit at the home I volunteer at, there’s even less time. Weekends are out because of the soup kitchen and church.

I know. Excuses, excuses.

Having said all of this (what kind of jerk has 300 words of introduction?), I have a plan to kick-start my new healthy New York life.

This plan includes spending money, but not a lot of money.

Amazon Local has all these great options for things to try. Normally, I would look at it for deals at restaurants and cool live events. But then I thought, why not use it for purposes other than taking in hundreds of calories in food and alcohol?

There are some really great deals available now too.

When I was in search of adventure the other weekend, I considered finding a rock climbing place, but didn’t pursue it because most indoor places do belay, and you need a partner.

Guess what? Amazon Local has a deal on the one indoor rock climbing place in Brooklyn. I checked out the website for Brooklyn Boulders, and it looks pretty cool.

While I was looking around for deals, I also came across a yoga/pilates studio, a kickboxing class, and a ballet/zumba studio. All of these sounded interesting, but I decided to go with the kickboxing because that’s one I’ve never done before, but always found interesting as a concept.

So I have pre-paid (at amazing discounts by the way) for a whole day pass at Brooklyn Boulders and 10 kickboxing classes at Village Kickboxing Fitness. Y’all know I love me some Greenwich Village, so any reason is a good reason to spend more time there.

Image via Amazon Local

I’m hoping that pre-paying will really encourage me to make it happen. I have until the end of July to use the promotional offers, but I intend to get started on them within the next few weeks. It’ll give me something to do while the husband is gone for the month of February.

I used to rock climb at this place that was in a south suburb of Chicago, but that ended when I grew my nails out for the wedding. You simply can’t rock climb effectively with long nails, and I grew them pretty long y’all.

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But now they are shorter, though still nice. If I really like the rock climbing, and if I can find someone to commit to actually going with me, I’ll keep the nails short.

With any luck, rock climbing and kickboxing will add some variety to a workout that I already enjoy (but, ahem, never make time for), and I can finally get back on track with exercising.

I’m doing okay diet-wise. I’m not on a “diet” per se, I use the word diet simply to refer to the food I choose to eat. I’m doing this pseudo vegetarian thing now. I barely eat meat anymore. I certainly haven’t lost the taste for it, I just choose better options, like black beans or chickpeas for protein.

And if I’m successful with my 30th birthday bucket list (which I promise to write a real post about soon), I’ll be able to add tofu to my list of protein options.

I don’t do too much in the way of frying, and I haven’t eaten any fast food aside from the occasional french fry in months. I just feel better when I’m not eating all that processed food, you know?

So I am going to risk the craziness and officially reset the 90 day countdown. Just so you know, this is not a 3 month thing, it’s 90 days of working out. I have to assume that I’m not going to work out more than three days a week.

Let’s be honest here I don’t have the time or the motivation.

But I’m going to set a timer for 90 workouts at three days a week. Maybe some weeks I’ll do more and that will balance out the weeks I’m sure to do less. I will also count those kickboxing classes and the rock climbing, which could turn into a membership as well.

So yup, I’m spending money in an attempt to look and feel better. If I were rich, maybe I’d be getting liposuction and hiring a personal trainer. I guess it’s a good thing I’m not rich because that just sounds like too much, right?

Wish me luck, y’all. Here I go again.

Day 90 is… August 27, 2014.

Damn, that seems far away. But it’s not really because that’s with me exercising only 3 days a week, so that’s 30 weeks. I think that’s a more reasonable goal because it lifts some of the pressure to try an exercise 6 times a week, which I was never able to sustain except when unemployed.

And if I”m doing it over that period of time, it will hopefully become a real lifestyle change. The Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis program continues after the initial 90 days, and she has a pregnancy workout plus a post-natal workout. So none of my life plans should interfere with the success of this.

I’ve written myself into excitement for the possibilities. If I do the home workout 3 times a week, swapping out one day every two weeks for a varied activity, it could work.

I can attempt running again once it’s warm outside. I have this amazing book Born to Run, available on Amazon to thank for even feeling like I could do this cause I kinda hate running. Read this book, and you’ll feel like you could become a supermarathoner. Or at least make it around the block more than once.

I can also try ballroom dancing again. You should try to polka for more than 10 minutes straight and tell me that’s not a workout.

Maybe I can even go back to hot yoga, which I truly loved deep down in my heart.

Any day now, or rather in like 7 months, I’m going to look and feel amazing. You just wait and see. I can’t wait to start complaining that none of my pants fit anymore. Well, that’s actually a current complaint because they’re kind of tight, but I’m hoping for it to turn into a complaint that they’re too loose.

Day one begins today. Anyone want to join me on MyFitnessPal so we can encourage each other?


Why Did I Eat Flamin’ Hots Before Exercising?

So, I’ve been exercising more regularly, and I’m finally starting to feel the effects that come along with continued exercise.

I sleep better, and need less hours of sleep overall.

I feel more hungry for healthy food and less hungry for unhealthy food.

My clothes are even starting to fit better. I long for the day when this yo yo thing I”m doing with my size in clothing is done and I’m maintaining a healthy weight and sexy body.

Lastly, I’m enjoying the feeling of motivation. Even when I have a good excuse not to work out, I’m taking that extra step to workout. I’m hoping I can keep this up because it feels great.

So on to the point of this post. I love flamin’ hots. I haven’t eaten them in a while because they are basically the ultimate unhealthy junk food when it comes to me. Don’t know what flamin’ hots are?

I didn’t actually eat the frito lay flamin’ hots though. I got that good local Vitner’s cheesy hot.

I’m not downing ho hos or anything like that. But I’ll eat the hell out of some empty spicy carbs. Enter Crunchy Hot Kurls.

I bought some on a whim on Father’s Day when I stopped in Walgreens to grab a can of assorted nuts for my dad. He really likes the assorted nuts, so I grabbed them. I just couldn’t pass up the snacks for myself.

Since it had been so long since I’d eaten flamin’ hots, I didn’t finish the bag in one sitting.

The next day, I finished the  bag, and it was so delicious.

One hour later, I was starting to workout. My workout involves a lot of laying flat and also having my head pointed toward the floor (i.e., lower than my heart).

That situation is not good for digesting all that spice and Red 40. I felt some horrific heartburn/reflux type pain. I was able to finish my workout, but I needed all the water when I was done.

Now that my goal is to work out daily, I pretty much cannot ever eat those chips again.

At least not two days in a row.

Or right before I work out.

Or at all.

Will I completely swear off spicy empty carbs? No, I can’t do that. I love flamin’ hot funyuns too much for that.

But I know I don’t ever want to feel that pain of all that spice making it’s way back up out of my stomach again. Kinda kills the endorphin buzz that exercise brings, you know?


As It Turns Out, You Can Cut Yourself With A Plastic Picnic Knife

Can I just say, things have been so crazy at work that I’ve been trying to write this post for a month? I never have time to finish it and just click publish. If only I had more time to post at home.

I know I’m overdue to post my pictures of my progress. To be honest, I just don’t see much progress. Maybe it’s because my eating habits haven’t improved as much as they should. I’ve cut out carbs that come from flour and white potatoes, but that’s about it.

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of eating mostly home cooked food. It’s when I don’t have time to cook that things go awry. Vending machine food is the enemy!

Sometimes, I run to Wal-Mart and grab some groceries to make myself some easy lunch or breakfast. This usually means salad fixings. And that leads to the point of this post.

After doing Tracy Anderson cardio one day, I was starving. I felt weak and knew I needed to eat something, like NOW. I rushed to put together a good salad, with bacon of course. Because I purchased all the good salad fixings, I needed a good salad.

That involved heating up the bacon slices and making my own fresh bacon bits, getting shredded cheese, shredded carrots, and dried cranberries. And it also involved cutting up an apple for which I neglected to bring an appropriate knife. So I grabbed one in the employee lounge.

Next thing I know, I slipped and cut myself.

With a plastic knife.

I didn’t even know they were sharp enough to do that. I guess it was because I was eating a Fiji apple. those things are quite firm and required a lot of applied pressure to cut. As I watched my finger begin to bleed, I contemplated stopping the salad preparation.

But I was just so damn hungry.

So I grabbed a napkin to press against the cut and kept slicing the apple. I have to tell you, it was so worth it because that salad was delicious. And I had the whole time I was eating to contemplate how in the hell I managed to cut myself with a plastic knife.

Eventually, my hunger subsided enough so that I could properly clean and bandage my finger. The problem is that I do a ton of typing at work, and not just my never-ending attempts to put out a new blog post.

Imagine trying to type with a hurt and bandaged finger, feeling all the worse because your dumb ass cut yourself with a plastic knife.

Because I like to learn from my mistakes, this led to better meal planning so I’m not so ravenous when I finish working out. I’m still super hungry, but not so much that I will literally let myself bleed just so I can eat some food.

It’s different working out at work compared to at home. At home, I can just turn on the shower, throw off my clothes, go grab some food. I can do all that in any order. At work it’s a very clear order. I can’t exactly walk around the building in my workout gear so I can grab a pre-shower snack.

So now I try to eat and apple or banana 30 min before I work out. And I have something for lunch that I can start to munch on while whatever else I’m preparing the rest of my food. And so far, I haven’t cut myself again yet.

With a plastic knife.


Protected: Day One For The Second Time

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Back Away From The Donut

I’ve been trying to get healthy again. There were a few things that happened that made me think it was time to get my jiggly ass back in shape.

First, during the Ultimate Blog Party 2013, I joined in and found some new friends, one of whom commented on my UBP13 post. This comment came from Danielle, who invited me to friend her on MyFitnessPal.

If you are on MyFitnessPal, please friend Danielle and me. Her username is msvip213 and mine is cecerose0211. I don’t know about her, but I’d love more friends to track and get healthy with. From the moment her updates started showing in my feed, I felt more motivated. Just to know I wasn’t alone in the struggle meant so much to me.

The second thing that happened came right around the same time as UBP13. I received a text message telling me about my 10 year high school reunion. I knew it was about that time, but I hadn’t made the decision on whether or not to go yet.

I went to the information page and saw the upcoming dates are August 16-18th. That means I’d likely still be in town and able to attend.

You know what else happens August 16th? That’s Day 90 for the Tracy Anderson metamorphosis when I reset the counter. That day was chosen based on me working out five times a week starting last Monday. It just seemed like fate that I would get my jiggly ass in shape just in time for my 10 year high school reunion.

I have some thoughts about that reunion, but that’s at topic for another post.

On the topic of backing away from donuts, I have failed. I ate three donuts this week. Don’t even get me started on how many cupcakes I’ve eaten. I remember the summer I met the husband. I went low-to-no carb for a few months, and I loved the way I looked and felt.

Perhaps I should go low-to-no carb again? That would be no potatoes, no bread, no cake, no cookies, no anything that makes me happy in terms of food. I tend to overdo it when it comes to carbs anyway, so it might not be the worst idea.

Ugh, it also means no gravy! I can’t go without gravy, can I?

All I know is that with the new goal of truly reaching Day 90 by the time my reunion rolls around, I feel more motivated. I just have to get my life to agree with me.

My work schedule is not conducive to working out. This past week, I only got in three workouts. If I do six-a-week workouts for the next two weeks, I can easily get back on track. Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis is meant for six-a-week workouts, so I should be fine.

If I could just leave work at a normal hour, I could do it. I much prefer working out at 2pm rather than 9pm. Maybe I can  figure out a way to workout during work. After all, there is a small gym at the office with a DVD player and television. It’s definitely an idea to consider because it gets harder and harder to keep my motivation once the sun sets.

I think I have a pretty good psuedo-plan to get myself back on track. Possible no carb, possible working out at work, possible working out six days a week for a few weeks.

I will be posting again about how Day One went. I took pictures because I wanted to post about it. I am feeling so self-conscious about those pictures though, so the post will be password protected.

Perhaps when I no longer look like the pictures, I’ll feel like turning the password off. But for now, send me an e-mail if you want the password. I’ve got no problem giving that password out to my regular readers!

I can turn some of those possibilities into a reality, right?


Let’s Do It Again

Anyone familiar with the Staple Singers? I love music from before and right around the time I was born (this song clearly being almost ten years before). Those people could put together an entire song without ever saying two complete sentences. Good job Curtis Mayfield.

This barely PG song was running through my mind as I was feeling like getting back on top of all the goals I’ve set for myself.

Today is the first day in a while I’ve felt better about work. Things are still up in the air about so many aspects of my department, but at least I’m getting used to it. Having a new boss, having different job duties, and having different employees was really a lot to take in all at once.

I’ve been reading a lot of great blog posts around about how to handle stress. It gave some great tips, but it also just reminded me to acknowledge the stress and not hermit crab myself until it passed. Almost as soon as I looked the stress right in the eye, it dissipated.

I’m still not crazy about things at work, but I have a whole new perspective.

Ah, who am I kidding. I feel better because I see a way out. When you fix one part of your life, the rest seems to feel less important. Our lease on the apartment I’ve come to hate is up June 30th.

Obviously, I’ll be turning Project UnPack into Project Downsize-and-RePack. Wish me luck. I really have no choice but to get shit done in the next couple months. If I tell myself that a few more times, perhaps I’ll really mean it.

Since I’m getting my projects back on task, I’ll take a look at being healthy again. My blog was judging me as Day 90 came and went for the Tracy Anderson Metamorphosis. I really dropped the ball on that one.

If I start again (for the third time), I’ll start back at the beginning. I’m thinking I should. It was going well when I was making time for it no matter what and when I was utilizing MyFitnessPal.

A new friend I met through UBP13 named Danielle over at Motivating Mommy has invited me to friend her on the app/website. She’s my first friend on that site, so I’m looking forward to using that to get back into it. Can you tell I’m barely effective at utilizing social media?

So with Project RePack, starting over at Day 1 for Tracy Anderson, and finding a balance at work, I’ve got an awful lot on my plate. You know what always smooths things out for me? Shopping!

I don’t really have the expendable income to do a lot of shopping for myself, but I can do shopping for others. There are birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays coming up soon. Today, I just purchased the birthday gift for our twin nieces. We’re getting them these adorable old school style lunch boxes. Want to see a sample of what they look like? Of course you do!

So adorable, right? And these are just a few options they have.

So adorable, right? And these are just a few options they have.

If you click the screenshot, it will take you to the Frecklebox website, and you can have a closer look.I purchased two already and the gifts are shipping soon my way customized for each girl. Even though it’s not for me, a bit of shopping really just rounds out my week and takes the edge off.

For clarity’s sake, this wasn’t sponsored at all. If it were, the picture would be better, the post more streamlined, and praise more effusive.

Aside from the shopping-when-I-have-no-money, who’s getting back on track with me? Being healthy, reducing stress, making your house apartment a home? Let’s do this!


I Looked In The Mirror. Damn.

It’s confession time. I looked in the mirror, even though I said I wouldn’t. I didn’t mean to, well not exactly. Let me tell you what happened.

I had just finished working out. I was running to the bedroom to grab a hair elastic so that I could put my hair up before getting into the bathtub. I just happened to glance in the mirror in our front hall accidentally. The next thing I know, I’m standing in the mirror, admiring the beginning of those lines on my stomach. You know what I’m talking about. Those lines that hint at the outline of a future six pack.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m so far from having clearly identifiable ab muscles. But I will admit that I like to see those lines. They make me feel strong and sexy. All I know is, 2 to 3 minutes had passed and I was still admiring my body in the mirror. And do you know what happened after that?

A whole bunch of nothing happened after that.

Once I decided that I was going to work out only 5 days a week, I figured I didn’t have to pick specific days. I figured I would just work out as my schedule allows.

For this week that meant working out every day except for maybe Wednesday and Thursday, which were the only 2 days I have to go into work. Oh, but no, that’s not what happened. The mirror is my enemy. I knew looking at it would make me feel like I was making real progress.

I don’t know why, but any sort of progress sucks away my motivation. And as usual, I’m hoping that telling on myself will make me get back into working out. There are still enough days left for me to get my 5 workout days in this week. Cross your fingers for me because I really want to stick with it this time.

I know I say my main goal is to fit into the dress I wore the day I met my husband. And in some ways, it is my main goal. Or at least, it’s a way to visually recognize that I’ve got the body I want. But also, I just really want to be happy all the time with what I see when I look in the mirror.

Some of you know what its like to have mixed feelings about what you see in the mirror. I love my body and I think that I’m attractive and pretty and all of that. I know I could be better though. Having excess body fat on certain parts of your body is just unhealthy, and it makes certain items of clothing look unflattering. I’d like to be more healthy and not to leave certain items of clothing in my closet because they don’t fit well. It would remove a point of stress in my life, just that simple.

I care about my long-term health, more than I usually talk about in this blog. Working out as consistently as I can makes that possible. You may wonder why I care so much. Well, when I was a little kid, there were so many old people in my family, and I loved it. They were the siblings of my great grandmother. She passed when I was in college, making it past the age of 80 . So basically, I come from a family where people live until they are 70 and 80 years old. I want to be able to know my great grandchildren before I die. And to do that, I’ve got to grow old. And to do that, I’ve got to stay healthy.

I’m almost 30 years old, and I don’t have any children yet. The husband and I intend to have children in the next few years but we aren’t in any rush. That means I have to live really long time if I want to get to know some grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ideally, I’d like to be in good health when I’m spending time with him. I just can’t see myself in a wheelchair, on an oxygen tank, or needing a walker. I want to play with my grandchildren and great grandchildren. So I have to do everything I can now so that I can have a life I want later. I think that if I focus on the deep reasons instead of just the superficial ones, it will stay important to me day after day to get my lazy ass up and exercise.

I talk a lot about exercising but not so much about diet. I just wanted to explain why. I’m not exactly a health food nut. But I do believe in eating as many unprocessed foods as possible, and trying not to overindulge. It helps that I don’t have any food allergies, and I have a pretty strong stomach.

Normally, I don’t have problems with moderating my diet–except for when it comes potatoes. If it wasn’t for the fact that I would eventually weigh 300 pounds, I would eat potatoes every day. But usually, I don’t have a problem regulating my diet. So if you’re going through this same struggle trying to get in shape and stay healthy, I’d like to apologize for having no words of encouragement on the diet front. But I’m with you on your struggle to exercise.

It’s hard to get up everyday and expend that energy. Even when I think about the extra energy I’ll have after a few days of working out, it’s always… later. And for some reason ‘later’ isn’t a strong enough motivator. Or at least it wasn’t, until I started thinking about play time with my future great grandchildren. Needless to say, I’m feeling more motivated.

I just had to dig deeper. So if you’re lacking motivation, dig deeper. Figure you why you care about being healthy. Does it affect your future? Affect your clothes? Does it affect your happiness?

If you run out of motivation by thinking of whatever size jeans you aspire to fit, dig deeper.

If you can dig deeper, maybe next time  you’re working out, but don’t feel like pushing yourself, you can dig deeper then too.

Good luck.


Avoiding The Mirror

A week in and I’m still exercising. I feel very lucky that Tracy Anderson’s workout plan includes a day off. My work schedule has been bananas this week and I simply don’t have the energy to workout.

I’m not talking in a, “I’ve been working 12 hours and just don’t feel like it” kind of way. I mean, “I’ve been working 12 hours after only having 2 hours of sleep because I wasn’t supposed to work today, but I’m on fo resource, even though no other resource people ever bring their ass to work when people are short-staffed, but what the hell ever” kind of way. There was no way I was working out yesterday, so thank God it was my workout off day.

I think my best bet for maintaining my motivation is avoiding the mirror. The way this workout plan works is that you see results almost immediately. The second I see firmer thighs, a slightly flatter tummy, and less jiggly arms, I get too excited. That feeling that I can slack off because I’m almost there creeps in.

That feeling is complete insanity because I am in no way “almost there.” The goal is to fit into the dress I was wearing the day I met the husband. And I don’t just want to get it on, I want to look as good or better than I did that day. Just because my thighs aren’t as jiggly doesn’t mean I’m anywhere near that sexy little black dress.

Putting that in writing somehow helps me believe it more. Because I’m so far from fitting a size 0 it’s not even funny. Well, it’s little funny because for some reason I kept all my size zero dresses assuming I’d one day have the motivation to work out enough to get back into them. That’s pretty funny in an ironic kind of way.

But I still have hope. My optimism has not yet waned and I think my waist can again be less than 30″ without me sucking in. It will happen! Just not right away. It will take me a while, and if I’m being realistic, it’s going to take longer than the 90 days Tracy Anderson alludes to.

There’s honestly no way I can work out consistently 6 days a week. I think it would be better for me to aim for five days a week. That way, when crazy shit happens with my work schedule, as it always seems to these days, I’ll still be on track. And it will be easier to keep track of which set of workouts I’m on if I’m doing five days a week. She has it in 10 days intervals, so it will take me 14 days for each set of ten instead of 11-13 days.

I should reach day 90 in 18 weeks. That would be May 4th-ish, depending on which day of the week I would actually complete the 90th workout. That seems so far from now, but it makes me feel better somehow.

I’m not crazy, I swear. It’s just that the idea of boot camps and 30-day workouts mess with my head. It seems like a quick burst of hard work that’s impossible to maintain in the long run. But a nice mid-length goal of 4.5 months sounds good to me. It’s something I can maintain when I’m done, and the 5 day a week workout is doable as well.

I hope my optimism turns into proactive behavior. I guess we’ll see.

Oh, the other reason for avoiding the mirror is how I laser in on the burn on my lip every time I glance toward a reflective surface. I just hate the way it looks. I’ve been applying lots of neosporin, cocoa butter, and medicated lip balm. It’s healing quicker than expected thanks to the quick turn over of the skin cells of the lip. I hope it doesn’t leave a permanent mark.

For now, avoiding the mirror is the plan. I can’t see my burned lip or my lack of jiggles. I’ll just keep it up with the leg lifts and the neosporin. Before you know it, I’ll be wearing a size 0 (which is the size of my frame, not some unhealthy weight I shouldn’t aspire to) and having no signs that I ever foolishly threw freshly sliced potatoes into hot oil.


Christmas Recap And A Plan For The Future

The last post I wrote was all about how I wasn’t feeling Christmas this year. I said how I wanted to just fast forward through to 2013. I must admit that feeling hasn’t gone away. But I have found the need to get some more balance in my life. Blogging is one of the ways I manage to feel balanced, and so I’m back to try not to depress the hell out of everyone in the last couple days of 2012. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas in spite of lack of money, a bit too many national tragedies, and a fiscal cliff threatening to pull all the news stations in with it.

On to not depressing you. My Christmas was lovely. We spent Christmas Eve night at the husband’s parents’ house just hanging. We spent Christmas Day early at my parents’ house for brunch. Then we all went up to Evanston for a Christmas dinner at the house of one of the husband’s aunts. Well, not all of us. One of the gifts my parents received for Christmas was Bulls tickets, so they went to the game instead of dinner with the rest of us.

I was so full from their Christmas brunch though, I barely had room for dinner. I mostly just ate the pot roast the husband’s mother made. It’s so good. I ate so much of it at Thanksgiving, my stomach was going through withdrawal. So I had my pot roast fix and my stomach is currently devising ways to get her to make more even though we’re past all the major cooking holidays for now.

If you read my last post, you’re probably wondering if I ended up getting potpourri drawer things for all the women in my world. The answer would be no, I did not. The husband and I ultimately decided to get house gifts for everyone. We got a house gift for my parents, his parents, one of his older sisters, and my grandmother.

We got actual gifts for three of our nieces and our one great-niece. Our lives were made easier because most of the adult siblings etc. still live at home for various reasons (read, not because they are going nowhere in life but because life’s circumstances are kicking them), so they got lumped in with the house gifts.

We still went over budget, which sucks, but we got gifts we really felt everyone could really use and love. My two favorite purchases were the area rug for the husband’s parents and the electric carving knife for my parents. No more big open floor space, though I will miss seeing the great expanse of gorgeous hardwood floors. And for my parents, no more questionably carved… everything. I must admit one of daddy’s strong suits isn’t slicing or carving any meat. Hopefully, that will change now.

Even though I wasn’t feeling Christmas, I still had the Christmas I wanted. I forced my Christmas playlist on myself and really found myself enjoying the tunes in the days leading up to Christmas. How many times can you say Christmas in one paragraph? Anyway, I had good food and good company, which was all I wanted. And neither set of parents had any trees or lights up, so I felt right at home. Maybe we’ll all do better next year.

So about this balance I’ve been saying I needed to find. It’s related to work.  Since I got my promotion at work, it’s just been work. Work. WORK. The job requirements are more than any human can accomplish in a work week. There are things I’m expected to do outside of the hours I’m at the building. Donation is a 24 hour business after all. That being sad, I hate being less than adequate at anything, so I was all about work. Then I realized I was getting no sleep, eating no food, having no sex. It’s a real problem. I have since recommitted myself to finding more of a balance.

In my head, I’ll be blogging more frequently, trying to re-focus my blog on the things I think my readers will actually find interesting. I think my life as a newly married woman in Chicago is pretty interesting. I’ve discovered some great places in this city through hunting for good food and music with the husband. I also really love my job and what I do, though I try not to talk too much about work, but maybe I can find something to share that doesn’t violate HIPAA.

Of course, I’d like to get back on the exercise bandwagon. I’m not a fan of my profile and I shudder to think how difficult it will be to get back in shape after kids if I’m out of shape before we even start. And no, that was not a sideways reveal of a plan to start having kids. It was more of a reveal of the true depth of my vanity. I’ve been so busy with work, I haven’t even contemplated doing anything else but sitting on the couch and re-charging after work. But no more! My life will  be more than spreadsheets, and one on one meetings, and auditing phone calls. It will include baking, and exercising, and blogging.The husband has been really patient with this transition. I think I owe it to both of us to turn back into a real person.

I don’t know if I can just wake up tomorrow and be this whole new person, but I’m sure as hell going to try. I know what I need to do, so it’s just a matter of doing it. I’ve tried making new year’s resolutions. I’ve tried scheduling everything in. I’ve tried self-determination. None of that works long-term, so perhaps now I’ll try a combination of them all. I’ve learned I need to gear up slowly.

Have you ever tried to jump in with both feet into something new? Some people can do it, but not me. When I do it, I go strong for a bit, but eventually I fatigue. Whoever said three weeks was enough time to train people to new activity and habit was a liar and a fraud. It takes waaay longer. All I know is I need decompression time if I’m going to sustain an activity that sucks all my energy.

So what’s first up in my plan to re-gain balance? Well, duh, it was blogging. That’s why you’re reading this post. Once I’ve got blogging consistently back in my life, then I’ll add something else. My work out DVDs are calling, but I don’t know if they’ll be it. We’ll see. But you’ll get no new year’s resolution list from me, so stop asking. Oh, well, since you twisted my arm, I’ll at least let you know how I did on my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions.

Just over a year ago, I wrote my new year’s resolutions post. It was full of wonderful things I wanted to focus on for 2012.

1) Cook dinner for the fiancé at least once a week. This is one I came pretty close to accomplishing. On average, I definitely did accomplish this one. Some weeks, I didn’t cook at all. Others, I cooked several times. I’d say this was a mission accomplished.

2) Go to some sort of production/media thingee once a month. This can be as extravagant as the opera, or as simple as a movie theater. Fail. I think I’ve seen three or four movies this year. I’ve been to no plays, no musicals, no orchestra performances, no ballets. It seems now the only live performance I see is when the husband has a gig. Thank God his music is good.

3) Exercise an average of 3 times a week. This can be going jogging or yoga. Fail again. And to think I thought I’d still have time for yoga, or a desire for jogging. I hate running! I did find Tracy Anderson though. She’d be good to me if I ever popped her DVD into the player. But it’s on my to-do list for 2013. I will get back on track.

4) Improve my diet to a point where I’m only eating fried foods once a week. This one is in between. I rarely eat fried foods. I’ve even managed to get more vegetables on the table at big family dinners. But my intake of potato chips and things like that undermines my lessened consumption of fries, fried fish, and fried chicken.

5) Finish unpacking my apartment by April. Major Fail. I just really want to get out of Hyde Park, and I think not unpacking is a symptom of that. Some part of me never wanted this place to feel too home-y because then we’d never fucking leave. I realize that’s irrational now (though we are still here when we should reside in New York by now…), and I plan to ge it done. I have to actually unpack, so I can re-pack whenever we move the hell away from here.

6) Get another cat. This one I actually did! Jazz is a crazy cat, but she fits in perfectly with our family.

7) Use one of my bridal shower gifts at least once a week. Giggity. Eh, except for when I got my promotion, I guess we sort of made this work. There are still a couple of things I haven’t used yet. But I just can’t imagine the cleaning afterward if I put on the candy underwear. I’m not ready for it yet.

So, I didn’t do so hot on my list. I did better than I thought I did though. I’ve learned setting firm deadlines means nothing if you don’t have the time or motivation to make it happen. Maybe I’ll look up motivation techniques to do things you hate the idea of. I’m not referring to exercise, I’m referring to unpacking this apartment. I just really don’t want to do it. This is the only place I’ve ever lived that never felt like home to me. Perhaps we’ll get it right next time, and we’ll live in a place I can’t wait to make home.

How was your Christmas?Any great plans for self-improvement in the new year?


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Thirty Days Down, The Rest Of My Life To Go

Now that I’m past Day 30, I feel even better in terms of energy, mood, and self-image. When I look at my pictures from Day 1, Day 10, Day 20, and now Day 30, it’s really just amazing. In fact, I’ll post the old pictures

Aside from feeling amazing, the biggest notice is how my clothes fit. My largest clothes are becoming quite roomy. I figure by Day 60, I’ll have to get rid of some of my clothes because they will be too large. There are several items of clothing I haven’t been able to fit into for months that are starting to fit. I have a great pair of wide leg pants that button on the side. I can button them again, and I’m hoping to wear them in public in just 10 short days. They are perfect-for-fall pants after all.

The husband and I are going to a wedding in a couple weeks in Virginia for one of his cousins. God willing, I’ll be wearing this great dress I haven’t worn (or really fit well) since the day I met the husband. And I’m considering Halloween outfits that aren’t swamping my body. Halloween seems to be the time to run naked through the streets and claim you’re dressed as a “Sexy Bunny” or “Sexy Puppy” or “Slut #3.” Maybe I will just go as Slut #3. It will be hard to get me not to if I have any kind of lines on my tummy representing the start of a six pack.

Even when I feel like doing nothing and next to nothing, I still have energy. In that moment of doing nothing, I still know I could get up and do something, I’m not so pooped out that I have no choice but to lie down. The husband just started doing P90X (because he’s a crazy person). It’s been such a change in our house with both of us working out and making a more concerted effort to be healthy. When we’re working this hard, it makes everything else seem worth it somehow. Putting in work on the apartment, planning our schedules around work so we still have fun, and just hanging out and doing nothing is better. When you’ve worked up a sweat and can feel the burn, you feel like you’ve accomplished something that day. So just chilling and playing video games that night is nothing but fun and you feel no regret about it.

Taking care of my skin and my body has always been a priority, but when I’m working up a sweat 6 days a week, it’s even more important. I use lots of Mary Kay products on my face that include a toner, exfoliates, and has sunscreen. I use the Proactiv body wash. And Dove and Oil of Olay round out the pack for soaps, deodorant, and lotions. My hair isn’t an issue because I have locs. I can’t imagine how African-American women with hard to manage hair work out all the time. I guess those are the ponytail women. I honestly am glad my hair is locked so it’s not ever an issue.

I finished my Tracy Anderson food program after 30 calendar days. This was well before the 30th Metamorphosis Day. Since that time, I’ve just been trying to eat healthy (except for the evil ass cake week) and not overdoing it. The weight loss has continued, so I imagine I’m doing something right. I no longer eat anything canned or over-processed, and that has helped a lot. I eat a lot of lean meat, fresh fruits, fresh vegetable, and home-made baked goods. And now I’m basically following one of the P90X diet plans with the husband. The meal plan reads exactly like what we’ve been eating recently anyway. Each lunch includes lots of veggies either in soup or salad form with lean meat. Each dinner includes meat, some starch/health carb, one grain, and veggies. I think that even once we’re not taking their meal suggestions, it should be no problem to stick with this meal format, which isn’t too far from what I was eating on Tracy Anderson’s plan.

I’ve come up with some amazing recipes too. I made a citrus cilantro vinaigrette that doubled as a marinade for a chicken mixed greens salad we had for lunch the other day. More people would eat healthy everyday if I was cooking for them, trust me. Since I’ve had the baking bug recently, the house always has fresh cookies, or cake, or brownies to be found. They are definitely not low-fat, so we have to make sure we don’t overdo it. So far, except for the chocolate cake, it hasn’t been a problem. That chocolate cake is the first recipe I didn’t cut in half or into 1/3, so I can only blame the large volume of cake. The fact that it was still around after 5 days was trouble enough. When I cut a cookie recipe down and only make 8-10, it’s gone before we even get set to overdo it.

The last thing I want to say is that my calves feel and look amazing. I’ve always had thinner legs from the knee down, but now they look pretty shapely and strong. My skinny jeans are actually tight all the way down my leg now instead of just around the thighs and hips. Tracy Anderson wasn’t kidding when she said she’d give me an all-around more feminine shape.


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Twenty Days And Counting

I passed by Day 20 and I was so proud of myself. I truly understand how someone can start Tracy Anderson’s program, fall off, and only get back on momentarily before completely giving up. You really have to take it day by day and treat each day separately. I had to work hard to keep up the motivation. Now that I’ve moved on to the third set of exercises (for Days 21-30), I realized it was more about the exercises than my motivation. Okay, maybe it was both.

I just really wasn’t a fan of the Days 11-20 exercises. I liked Days 1-10 and so far I like Days 21-30. Maybe it’s because I’m stronger, more flexible, and have more endurance. Maybe it’s because I feel that I’ve gotten past a motivation slump. Whatever the reason, I’m feeling her exercises again. After coming in the house late Tuesday night, I still managed to get in the day’s exercise at 11:30 pm. I was so proud of myself for not missing a day. I would not have been able to do that this time last week.

I’ve been strutting my stuff the last few days. I’ve worn several items of clothing that have just been sitting in my closet. There are the slacks I haven’t worn in 6 months (and comfortably in 9 months). There was the dress I haven’t worn in over a year. It’s been such an amazing feeling to get back into these clothes I love. I felt bad leaving them so lonely in the closet. They just had to sit there watching my stretchy pants get pulled out to be worn yet again, feeling like a red-headed stepchild. But now they are back in rotation baby!

There are still a few more items waiting to re-join the fold. There is this skin-tight micro mini dress that the husband finds so sexy. I refuse to put that back on until my tummy is flat again, but it’s on my to-do list. One clothing item that has remained is my bras. My bra size increased as I gained weight. I don’t know what it is about Tracy Anderson’s workout that’s so magical, but I still wear the same bra size as I did with my fat girl boobs. My butt still looks curvy and plump, my hips still have the Coke bottle thing going on. That woman wasn’t kidding when she said she makes your shape leaner and feminine.

On a side note, did you know she has a pregnancy video coming out in October? I’ve been wondering what in the world I was going to do when I got pregnant, but she’s answered my questions. She has a 6 week old and she took the opportunity over the last year to produce a workout video for exercising while you’re pregnant. It’s supposed to be a great companion for her postpartum workout she did a few years ago. I won’t be getting pregnant anytime soon, but should I stick with the Tracy Anderson Method, it’s nice to know there’s a plan waiting for that point in my life.

The best part about this point in the workout is that other people have begun to notice the change. I have only lost about 8 pounds, but the difference is really being seen in the muscle tone and how much leaner my body is starting to look. My mother noticed my butt looked higher. The husband noticed my waist looked smaller and tummy looked flatter. And my co-workers have all said I looked skinnier. Skinny isn’t something I see as a compliment, but I know they meant it as a compliment, so it was still empowering.

At this point, it’s important to remember to maintain focus on the other parts of my well-being. I try to shower within a half hour of finishing my workout so my skin stays clear of breakouts. I make sure I use sunscreen so the my skin won’t get loose around the areas of weight loss. I drink lots of water, at least 40 oz. a day. And I do my best to get enough sleep, even sacrificing social plans. I have more energy, but only because I try to stay rested and stress free. Even when I can’t go right to sleep, I still focus on breathing and relaxation. Staying calm goes a long way towards keeping only the “happy” hormones in your body. And that helps promote weight loss.

As usual, I will do a separate post for Day 20, but it will be password protected. If you want access to the password protected posts, just e-mail me at chicagostylegirl@gmail.com. I usually have no problem giving the password to people who I know are regular readers/commenters.


Digging Deep To Find The Motivation

A few days ago, I was all set to write this post about how my good intentions had come to naught. But as I started, I looked at the clock and took note of the time. Sure, I hadn’t come home from work and changed right into my workout clothes to work out. But I had woken up with about two hours before the husband was coming to pick me up for our night out in the city. With those two hours I could either write a blog post and then get ready. Or I could workout and then get ready.

I honestly don’t know where I got the sudden motivation, but I put on my workout clothes and went to get my iPod, but I couldn’t find it. After 10 minutes, I gave up and decided to just work out without it. I hate working out without my iPod because all I have to listen to is the music on Tracy Anderson’s DVD. I don’t know how it works for some people, but feeling like I’m in the middle of a rave doesn’t make me want to work out, it makes me want to back away slowly and go hide.

Even with the music, I managed to get through the workout. I’m so proud of myself that I got back on the exercise bandwagon. I thought it might not happen. And now for a “this is going to sound f-ed up” warning. I honestly have a new compassion for fat people, which I never had before.

Over the years, I’ve gone from a tiny person to a regular-sized-but-short person to an overweight-but-still-short person. Over that time, I’ve always felt that getting healthy was just a matter of eating right and exercising. This is where my lack of compassion for fat people comes in. I honestly felt like all you had to do was get off the damn couch, and things would improve. I did hold a special exemption for health problems that attack one’s ability to workout/lose weight like myasthenia gravis, polycystic ovaries, etc.

Since working out wasn’t ever hard for me, my lack of compassion continued. I was either younger with more energy or unemployed with plenty of time. But now, I have learned my lesson. I’ve learned my lesson with a vengeance. I have a husband I spend a good amount of time taking care of, a full-time job, family responsibilities, etc., and it’s so hard to find the time. And even when I have the time, it’s hard to find the energy.

I know how extra weight tends to drain your energy, making it even harder to get up and motivated. Motivation is really the only way to keep going. Some days you just aren’t feeling it. Or maybe you start to see results so you think you can let off the gas a little. Whatever the specific reason, I can now name several why staying healthy is not simply a matter of getting off the couch. I know how easy it is to slip out of the exercise habit. I still maintain that being healthy is a real priority in life, but I officially have more compassion for those people who can’t find it in themselves to get started or to keep going.


Excuses, Excuses

Did you ever have an argument with yourself? The part of you that wants to take a break from responsibility is explaining how the dog ate the homework. The part of you that is responsible is shaking it’s head and saying, “I call bullshit.”

For the last two days, I’ve been having this argument with myself. Sunday night was such a great night. The husband and I went out to one of his friend’s shows and had drinks afterward. It was quite a lovely date night. But I woke up Monday morning with a weird pain in my leg. It was painful enough that I decided not to do my workout.

Then I got home from work Tuesday morning and had a raging headache. I just wanted to get into bed and sleep it off. So I did, reasoning that it was only two days off, and maybe I could get up early and do the work out before work instead. Of course, I didn’t set my alarm to wake up early, so that didn’t happen.

My responsible self is calling bullshit with increasing volume while I just hang my head in shame. I fully intend to workout this morning once I’m home from work. I have no reason not to and I actually miss working out. I’ve never been a fan of sweating, but when I sweat while doing Tracy Anderson’s workout, for some reason I can just feel the weight going away and the muscles tightening. I want that feeling, and I shall have it.

My job had it’s 25th anniversary celebration last night. I couldn’t officially attend because I was working, but I did dress up for the occasion since we had so many visitors in the building. The dress I wore was a dress I’ve had for over 5 years now. I was a completely different size 5 years ago. I haven’t been able to work a size small dress in over a year, but guess what? This dress is a size small!

My responsible self is saying, “I told you so bitch.”

So I’m done making excuses. I will take my butt directly home from work, change into my workout gear, and get it moving. And if I’m lucky, I’ll have enough energy to wash a load of clothes because I still haven’t washed any clothes in the past week. I will stop here without giving you an excuse because I am pretending I’ve learned my lesson.


Filling Up Two Days Off

You ever stare at an empty post template and wonder what to write? That’s happening to me write now. Unfortunately for you, that means you get to read my stream of consciousness until I stumble upon something I want to write about.

I could write about how the husband and I don’t see eye to eye on what makes us upset. I think people are allowed to be upset about different things. He thinks everyone in the world should only be upset about things that also make him upset.

I could write about how I miss my family because I haven’t seen them since our lovely trip to Ikea last weekend. My brother got into a car accident and I haven’t even been able to look him over to assure myself he’s got no internal bleeding.

I could write about how we really need two cars until we move to NYC, but we’ve really only got the one reliable car and one I doubt will make it through the winter. Everyone seems to want me to pick up a car note, which is insane because we’re about to move to New York!

I could write about how the exercise/diet program is going. Tracy Anderson says no substitutions, but I am the substitution queen, and I’m okay with that.

I could write about how hard it is to stick to our budget. Two months into a firm budget and I’m seeing how tough things get right around the 16th of each month.

It’s pretty obvious that I’m feeling scatterbrained right now. What do you do when you’re scatterbrained? When in doubt, do a diary entry? Eh, why not.

I’m working this whole weekend, but I had two days off before that. I’m starting to get used to having multiple productive days in a row. It suits me I think.

I feel like an asshole for not being more productive before. It’s like, what the hell have you been doing with the last couple years, girl? It turns out there are enough hours in the day to clean up, cook, exercise, sleep, etc. I have learned that I can’t do everything every day. I’m still mystified by people who can. My mother has a friend who washes a load of clothes every day. EVERY DAY. How does she do it?

I’ll never be a person who can wash clothes every day, or mop the floor every day, or cook every day. But I can mop the floor at least once a week. And I can wash clothes as least once a week, just not the same day I’m mopping. And I’ve finally mastered the art of cooking for more than one day at a time.

When you have to juggle making meals for your diet plan and making meals that fill up your husband, you get better at maximizing your time in the kitchen. It helps that I love to cook; I don’t think someone who loathes being in the kitchen could handle it.

The best part about my new productiveness is that I can schedule in time for mindless activities too. Like blogging. Nah, I’m just kidding. I mean like watching television. I love the TV show Leverage. There are a couple others as well, like Burn Notice and White Collar I try to keep up with. I love my summer television, what can I say? I finally had a few free hours yesterday to head over to my parents and reconnected with their DVR. I don’t remember what life was like before DVRs, and I never want to go back.

As much as I love summer television, I’m looking forward to the fall lineups. For one thing, the money I pay for HuluPlus  is worth it because I can watch all my episodes, which I can’t do during the summer because USA and TNT are so Hulu stingy. There are still a few more weeks before that happens, but I’m excited nonetheless.

To wrap up this diary entry with a TMI moment, I will list, in no particular order, my five favorite moments in my day. 1) My drive to work where it’s just me and either a friend on the phone or my music. 2) When the husband puts  lingerie on the back of the bathroom door during my workout for me to change into once I’ve showered. 3) Eating cookie batter from batches of cookies I make about once a week. 4) Curling up in the bed with the husband, Jazz, and Belle for our afternoon nap. 5) Looking in the mirror and seeing that while my thighs are getting smaller, thankfully my boobs are not (yet!).


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