Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Quick Update with Pictures

Guys, sorry that it's been awhile since I've written a post (though I'm sure everyone is used to it by now ha ha).  Work has been totally turnt up the last 2-3 weeks which is great, grand and wonderful overall, it's just a big adjustment since I doubled my workload so I'm trying to balance things.  I feel like I don't have time to blog or to work on my music project, both of which are important to me so I'm stressing about it.  I've been a bit overwhelmed lately and feeling like I bit off more than I can chew.  Ultimately it's a good thing to be out of my comfort zone and to push myself, I've just got to force myself to get organized so I can fit in everything in my life.

ANYWAYS, I thought I'd just do some quick updates with photos!

1.  It's cherry blossom season in Oregon!  

Despite the crappy weather, we got out this weekend and enjoyed the cherry blossoms that were blooming alongside the riverfront in Portland.  It seems all of Portland had the same idea, it was crazy busy!  We also creeped on a couple who were getting their pictures taken under the trees.  The bride had the most beautiful dress!  I'm sure their pictures came out really amazing.

2.  So far so good with the foundation free challenge for April

Going without makeup is SUPER weird but I'm getting used to it slowly.  Shockingly, the world has not crumbled nor has anyone said anything to me about it.  I have to admit that it's nice to have one less thing to do in the mornings, and it's also cut down on my skin routine at night since I'm not having to really work to get makeup off my face.

3.  Molly turned 9 on Wednesday!

I can't believe how much time has passed, but we celebrated Molly turning 9 last Wednesday.  As is tradition we had a little "party" for her (really just a photo op with party hats)  I made her little oatmeal banana cupcakes with melted peanut butter as the frosting.  We sang to her, she jumped up and almost pushed a lit candle into my face, then she proceeded to swallow the cupcake whole and almost choke.  You know, a basic evening at our house.

4.  I can officially raise my game with strength training

So my highest set of dumbbells are a pair of 15 pounders, and I have slowly come to the point where I've outgrown 30 pounds for many of the exercises I do, especially lower body ones.  I'm able to pretty easily do 30 pounds for certain upper body exercises too such as chest presses, closed rows and those types of things.  While I'm not trying to turn into She-ra, I do want to push my strength capabilities a little.  I started pricing out dumbbells and realized that if I am going to keep progressing that I might want to instead invest in some adjustable dumbbells, specifically Powerblocks.  Powerblocks are not cheap, but ultimately continuing to buy weights up to 50 pounds was not only more expensive, but was going to cause an issue with space in our house. (It's already ridiculous!)  I started saving up the money little by little to purchase the set I wanted that goes up to 50 pounds per hand, but it was definitely going to take me a bit to get them.

Eric surprised me last week with an Amazon gift card for half the amount of the weights, basically telling me that he was proud of me, wanted to support me and wanted me to have the weights I wanted sooner.  I was totally blown away by that, it came out of nowhere!!  I was additionally excited because I'd already saved up half of what I needed to get my weights, so I was able to order them on the spot.  They came in yesterday and I just about peed myself when we drove up to the house and saw them sitting on our stoop!  They are even cooler in person than I'd imagined!

I don't foresee wanting to lift heavier than this, so these weights are going to be the only ones I need for a very, very long time.  I am so thankful that no matter what, Eric always has my back and supports me.  Some men are weird about women who lift, so I'm happy to be with someone who not only supports me, but pushes me!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Foundation Free April

Today's post is going to be girly and talking about makeup/skin stuff, so if any guys happen to be reading this today, sorry!

So I am very self conscious about my face because I have some pretty big pores and also have mild rosacea, so my cheeks and chin are always a bit red.  I've always treated my face pretty horribly (not removing makeup really, not wearing sunscreen or really any moisturizer), and to be honest I think it was part of my low self esteem when I was heavier.  As my weight has dropped I've had more and more urges to take care of other aspects of my appearance, and I've really committed to taking better care of my skin for the last 7 months or so.  I have a set routine both in the mornings and evenings, wear sunscreen daily and have been really, really good about removing my makeup at night.  This is pretty huge for me and while I don't want a head pat for basic adulting, I'm pretty proud for sticking to a skincare routine for the first time ever.  I am not a girly girl really, so forcing myself to take the time to "foo-foo" as my mom calls it goes against my nature.  As a result of my routine though the redness has lessened some and my skin doesn't feel tight anymore because it's actually moisturized!  I've also started getting carded again a bit more, which feeds my vanity and encourages me to keep doing my routine!  

I decided to take things a step further and do a new goal that's a bit scary (or a bit scary as a lady anyways!) and that's to try to go makeup free* for the month of April.  (*I will likely still wear mascara during the week since that isn't contributing to my skin issues, and since my eyes are something I like to highlight.  I don't wear lipstick or gloss anymore anyways, so I'll just stick with my SPF balm.)  I know this is a very frivolous thing to have as a goal, but it is a bit of a stretch goal for me since I am so self conscious about the redness in my face.  I don't want to show up to work looking like I crawled out of Mordor, but my skin has some issues that I think are related to wearing foundation and  I just have the feeling if I just bit the bullet and went without foundation for awhile that my skin would improve gradually.  I always notice my skin looks happiest by the end of Sunday when I've been makeup free all weekend.

It will be kind of scary to go without makeup, I know that sounds vapid and silly, but women are conditioned from birth that you don't look "put together" without it, and I'm no different.  I don't really care on the weekends when I'm just running around locally, but work will be challenging.  You just have these thoughts of wondering if people will think something is wrong with you, if you'll be treated differently at work, all kinds of craziness that will likely not happen.  I just keep telling myself that I'm still the same person, still kick ass at my job and that the state of the world won't crumble if I don't wear makeup!  At the end of the day I have red cheeks, it's not like I'm the Elephant Man, so I think doing an experiment like this will be a good reminder of that.  Also, ironically April is Rosacea Awareness Month!  I didn't pick April as a challenge month knowing that, so it seems a bit like fate.

I picked up a couple of different products that vary from my normal skin routine, basically more geared towards sensitive skin.  I'll have to post updates (and of course selfies) on how things go!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Physical Fitness Test: Round 2

Fitness Blender suggests you do a physical fitness test before certain programs of theirs, just so that you can measure your progress from the beginning vs. the end.  You do a timed mile, see how many squats you can do, how long you can hold a static plank, how many push ups you can do, and how far you can reach past your heels.  I did one last year at the beginning and end of FB Fit, so I was definitely curious to see what my numbers have been since I've completed several of their programs since then.

So I'd kept quiet about this, but recently I've had pangs about running,.  I've waffled that maybe I could start running casually again now that I'm lighter, do a race and see how it would be getting back into it.  I almost signed up for the Flying Pig 5k, and there have been races here and there here in Portland I have toyed with signing up for, but stopped because of the prices.  (almost $100 for a half marathon??  Seriously?)  I figured that the timed mile would be a good way to put a toe into the pool as it were.  Let's just say that my timed mile threw a bucket of ice water on all these "oh, maybe it would be fun to start running again" designs.  About 5 steps in I was immediately like, "yep, still hate this."  It's the craziest thing to me, I did a damn marathon yet running this one mile mentally felt like torture.  Every bad feeling about it came flooding back.

Physically it was okay during.  I really should have warmed up before I got out there since we had just gotten home from work and I'd been sitting all day, but I was trying to dodge a storm (made it back in the nick of time), and honestly just wanted to get it over with.  I am so salty about my time though because I was able to hit 10:02 back in June the last time I did a PFT, but this time I finished in 10:25.  It's not like it's vastly different, it's still a sub-11 which for me is pretty fast.  But I expected to at least be at the same level as the last test since I'm lighter and have pretty consistently worked out.  We can speculate that maybe I'd have hit 10:02 or better if I'd been more warmed up, but the fact of the matter is that I didn't.  Anyway, today I woke up with the very familiar pains I get from running, and it just reminded me how much I hurt ALL of the time when I used running as my primary exercise.  From sore feet to achy knee joints to a pissy aductor muscle, it all came flooding back.  I have sore muscles here and there with strength training, but I never hurt now the way I used to.  I think it's safe to say that my running days are over unless I am doing another PFT or being chased by a murderer.

As for the rest of my numbers...I'm not that happy with them.  I mean I didn't go into it thinking that I was going to have superhero level fitness, but I just expected a bit more from myself than what happened.  Again we can speculate whether being tired from the workday and not warmed up affected me, but I just felt a bit disappointed regardless.  The only 4 extra squats I achieved this time probably was the most surprising, especially since I love leg workouts the most and feel the strongest doing those.  I was only 10 seconds better on the plank and I am so pissed and annoyed about the push ups.  Push ups are the one thing that I just cannot seem to improve upon, any time I have to do them in a workout I feel as weak as I did day one.  To be honest, I don't go out of my way to work on them, but I've made pretty significant improvements when it comes to strength training my upper body so  I just thought I'd be a bit stronger and be able to at least do more than 15.  I know I need to quit being a titty baby about it and just simply do push ups regularly to try to improve it.

I know I should be more positive, improvements are improvements, I just really wanted to do better!  Hopefully at the end of the 4 weeks I can do a bit more.

I did my first FB Sweat workout today and it was brutal!  It was a lower body one (I was thankful for that since my arms were still sore from the damn push ups, ridiculous) and my legs were definitely singing to me afterwards!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Thinner Thursday

Previous Weight: 183.2
Current Weight:  182 pounds
Difference: 1.2 pound loss

I am so grateful that my bad week last week/Sunday binge didn't do a ton of damage.  This week has been much better than last, I feel a bit more like myself again!  I don't know if I'm recovering a bit still, but I find that unlike last week, now I'm not really hungry much at all.  Bodies are so weird, I literally never could feel full last week despite eating horribly and often, this week is the opposite.  I've somewhat tried to honor that, mainly by skipping/delaying breakfast or just having something really light.  I usually am starving by the time we leave work, but I've been fine until dinner this past week.

I've also committed to my workouts again this week and have been trying to push myself as much as I can.  It's been fun just kind of free styling a schedule this week before I start a new structured program.  On Saturday I start a new program called FB Sweat, which is much more geared towards fat loss than it is lifting.  Strength training will still be involved in the workouts I imagine, but I think I can expect a lot more HIIT and cardio.  I do love strength training more than I do HIIT, but I feel like it's good to mix things up and make sure that I'm keeping up with my endurance and flexibility as well as strength.  I'm likely going to do my fitness test tomorrow, so it will actually be interesting to compare that one to the one that I did back in June, because I've continued to do various FB workouts without continued fitness tests to compare my progress.

That's really all I have for now, sorry for the short post.  This week has been crazy!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Entering the Confessional

So, I had a bad binge last night.

Binges are thankfully very few and far between for me now, but there are tell tale signs when I'm in the "danger zone" (1. I hate myself for typing that, 2. Do I have to give Kenny Loggins residuals?)  I felt it coming all last week, just these feelings of being out of control and anxious that I could not get past.  A lot is changing for me at work, and while it's ultimately all good and something I wanted, it's this big shift and very nerve wracking.  There was also a lot of stuff that was disruptive to our normal routine that just had me feeling like I was flailing all week.  These feelings were just building all week until I binged on Sunday.  What was to be an evening of being super productive, prepping meals and some other household stuff that needed to be done turned into an evening of feeling really sick and gross.  I'm very disappointed in myself.  I knew deep in my heart that the "break" I was giving myself last week on eating and exercising didn't feel right.  Even in writing my last post "I was like, you're BSing yourself girl", yet I didn't listen to myself..  Ultimately, it's a good reminder that one is never safe or out of the woods in this journey.  You will fail and do an emotional face plant about a million times.  All you can do is keep getting back up and walking forward.  Yes it's exhausting as hell, but is there any other option really?

I am moving forward and took steps to get back on track today, starting by confessing to Eric what I'd done last night (he was gone when it happened).  It's not like he's my keeper or my judge and jury, but the worst part about binge eating is the secretiveness of it.  The binging in secret and then being ashamed in secret turns into a vicious cycle.  I find that saying, "I'm not proud of this, but this happened" to someone I trust helps break the cycle for me.  He of course was supportive as always, but also gently called me out on the fact that I didn't work out all last week, and that I should get back to it this week since it helps so much with my stress levels and emotions.  And he's right, I'm always so mad at myself when I don't work out because I feel so good when I do!  Forcing myself to do my workouts usually recalibrates my brain and could have possibly prevented the binge.  I'm glad that we're at a point in our relationship where he can call me out on these things and be loving while also not enabling me.  I rescheduled my new Fitness Blender program to start this Saturday (I was supposed to start it this weekend), and loaded my calendar this week with old favorites that I know I'll be enthusiastic about.

I ate way less today, not from a self punishment standpoint, but I honestly just didn't feel well physically due to the binge last night so I listened to that and respected it.  I wasn't even hungry until 10:30, so I ate a banana as a late breakfast.  Lunch was an English muffin with peanut butter and a clementine.  Otherwise it's back to normal, and I do have our weekly menu planned/the groceries bought, so I'll be able to jump right back into it.  Tonight we're having chicken noodle soup with vegetables, so I'm pretty enthused for that.  I'm actually making homemade stock, so it should be extra tasty and also a nice gentle thing to eat.  The only good thing about this rotten weather is that it's still cold enough for soup!

I also took steps to get organized and feel in control at work.  I've got a lot of new job duties (and VP eyeballs on me) compared to before, so last week I was totally freaking out trying to get my ish together and worrying about screwing up.  I came in today and right away made to do lists and assigned specific blocks of time for specific tasks instead of frantically trying to juggle everything at once.  I couldn't believe what a difference it made to my day today and how much better I felt.  It seems so simple and stupid, but sometimes these things are hindsight.  Being organized and strict is not my strong suit as you guys know, but I am doing my best to work on that!  It will definitely help me in the long run for work.

Anyway guys, thanks for hanging with me.  It feels good to be honest about things and put it out there.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Thinner Thursday

Previous Weight:  181.2
Current Weight:  183.2
Difference: 2 pound gain

I was expecting that one this week.  It's been a weird week to be honest, I don't know if it's the daylight savings thing or the weather we've been getting but for the first time in awhile I've had a week where I am "down" and utterly unmotivated.  I actually took all of this week off from working out and have also felt like I'm constantly hungry for absolutely no reason, so my eating habits have been off.  Usually I have one snack a day devoted to whatever extra thing I want after dinner, but this week I've wanted to eat constantly.  It's very weird.

Part of me feels supremely guilty about it because I don't want to backslide.  I think the line between "I need a break" and "I'm making excuses and slacking off" is very thin, and I don't want to cross it.  At the same time, I'm trying to build trust within myself so that I can tell when I'm bullshitting myself and when I actually do need a break, and I really felt I just needed to take a few days off.  We've had a really busy week on both a work and a social obligation front, and I was also pretty physically wiped out from a yard project on Sunday, so I feel taking a break was needed.  I have a new Fitness Blender program starting Saturday, so it will be good to start something fresh and just get right back to normal.  Ultimately I think I'm just having a bad week, as humans are prone to do!

I really do think the weather has contributed a bit to my slump this week.  I like living in Oregon most of the time, but the rain can be really draining emotionally after a certain point, and we've had a really awful winter.  Besides the ice nonsense, it's rained nonstop and we've broken every existing record for rainfall that existed!  I read an article yesterday that in 5.5 months, we've reached the rainfall levels we normally get in a year.  I definitely believe it.  I used to kind of be depressed about summer and heat, but the last couple of years things have shifted for me, and I'm really becoming down during the winter and spring.  I didn't realize how much until we went to LA and I got some sun and felt so energetic!  The constant rain and grey skies definitely take a toll.  I really should get one of those happy lamps for my desk!  I take Vitamin D but sometimes wonder if it even does anything!  Thankfully we are getting a couple days of nice weather this weekend, so I should be able to finish up my yard project and soak up some sun.

Sunday I did a complete overhaul of our backyard all by my lonesome, and it was crazy but desperately needed.  I should have taken some pictures of the before and after, but basically I ripped up some garden boxes and rearranged things in the yard to have a much more low maintenance setup.  I used to grow a lot of vegetables but as any gardener knows, that's tons of work!  If I had the right setup I'd be more into it,l but my backyard is not only tiny but it gets punished by the sun in the summer, so my vegetables often ended up burned and stressed because I couldn't keep up with the water they needed.  We also have tons of slugs, so the bastards would eat about half the things I planted if the cabbage moths didn't land on it and lay their gross eggs first.  The last few years I've shifted to just having an herb garden and also hardy flowers like lavender and salvia, and it's worked out much better.  Not only does it require less water but I'm constantly using herbs for cooking, so it's very economical to have a huge bed dedicated to just that.  The flowers have resulted in a lot of honey bees and hummingbirds visiting the yard too, so that's fun!  I'm pretty passionate about honeybee conservation, so anything I can do to help the poor things out feels good.

ANYWAY, basically Sunday was rearranging my yard in order to better fit the goal of just keeping flowers, cleaning up things, and giving Molly more room to wander.  I'm pretty excited because I also took the existing garden boxes and turned them into one super tall box, so now I won't have to crouch to tend to my herbs!  I worked out there for probably 4 hours or so.  It was brutal, but I will say that the strength training I've done over the past year made the aftermath night and day for me.  Normally yard work would pretty much ruin me for a week, especially my lower back, but I woke up on Monday slightly sore but otherwise okay.  It was definitely draining, make no mistake, but at least I wasn't crippled.  I still have more to do this week, I have to buy barkdust to recover the yard, and also I need to buy new herbs for my bed since the ice storm killed everything except for my very stubborn rosemary.  (Bless that plant, I'm convinced that it's too mean to die).  I plan on getting mainly parsley, chives and cilantro since that's what I use the most of.  I also ordered a ton of sunflower seeds to plant, hopefully despite the stupid squirrels thieving them and Molly stomping around like Godzilla destroying Tokyo, I can get at least a few to grow!  Every year I plant sunflowers and only seem to be able to get one to grow thanks to all of the rascally animals I'm surrounded with!

It actually makes me look forward to summer.  I can't wait for everything to start blooming because I miss seeing my little hummingbirds everyday, and miss sitting outside and reading!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Catch Up

Much like Joe Walsh, life has been pretty good to me lately.  Things have settled into a comfortable groove and routine, and I'm enjoying the calm.  Life is less busy on the concert and travel front (though picking up a bit this year) due to finances, but that's okay honestly.  Here's just a snippet of what's going on in our world (forgive the stream of consciousness!):


This July will be my two year anniversary of working at my new job, which is so hard to believe!  Like any job it has its pluses and minuses, but overall I'm really happy here and can't complain!  From a health/stress standpoint, there is no comparison to where I was, so I'm really grateful for that.  Having an actual work/life balance while also being appreciated as is is pretty amazing!  I recently pushed to be involved with a project here dealing with social media, and found out a couple weeks ago that I will not only be involved with the project but will be eventually taking it over!  I don't have "career" designs in the sense of "I want to be X when I grow up", but I've been interested in my career shifting towards social media for a bit, so this development is pretty cool for me.


July will also be my two year anniversary of volunteering at the dog shelter, which definitely blows my mind!  It's been a really unexpected joy in my life and made me feel like I'm actually doing good in the world.  When I initially volunteered I worried that it would be a sad or negative experience, but it's been the opposite.  I have seen some upsetting things like bait dogs, abuse cases, etc, and have also dealt with some difficult dogs, but being able to help show them kindness/affection and teach them good behaviors has actually been overwhelmingly positive as opposed to negative.  Ultimately we're helping them have a better life and find loving homes, so I feel really good about what we do at the end of the day!  Our shelter moves dogs in and out pretty quickly (they are no kill thank goodness), so I have a constant parade of different dogs in my life.  I always come home with an entertaining story and of course selfies!

Smokey, master of the sneak attack kiss.

Helen, aka Batdog
Luke, a total bro.

My own crazy dog Molly is still doing great.  She is getting to be an old girl (9 this month!), I can't believe how much grey she has in her face now.  Next month will be 4 years since we adopted her, yet another "how the time flies" milestone.  Personality wise she is still the same demanding diva, like when she pouts and sulks over things like us not feeding her 2 hours ahead of schedule.  Like legitimately turns her back on us (while cutting her eyes back to make sure you're noticing the tantrum) sulking:

But she's pretty and knows when to turn on the charm, so she gets away with it.


Eric is still doing great, he's still the same hardest working man in matrimony as always!  I've been so proud of him, he has his own side project related to the Rock Hall, basically a music and Rock Hall analysis blog, and it's really taken off.  He's even been mentioned by the music writer in the Cleveland Plain Dealer!  He's really kind of chipped away and shouldered his way into that world, and I'm so proud!  He's a better writer than I'll ever be, so I love reading his stuff.  I've never seen anyone so passionate and knowledgeable about music, so it's wonderful watching him do something he loves.

We are celebrating 10 years of marriage in May, and I know I keep saying "oh I can't believe [insert event]" but it really is crazy that 10 years have passed and even crazier that someone has put up with my shenanigans for that long!  I told you guys he was the hardest working man in matrimony!  Seriously though, he's pretty awesome and I'm very lucky.


So travel...I've got a lot of good trips coming up this year.  We've kind of had to take a hiatus from traveling like we used to just to save money, (that's the one drawback of our new job is not being able to live like Scrooge McDuck) but it's honestly made all the stuff coming up this year all that more exciting!

May is a big month, especially because I am for the very first time meeting a group of women that I am thankful and proud to call friends.  I've talked about my Lovely Ladies group (and our love for Alan Rickman) here and there on the blog, but basically we're all fitness bloggers who kind of stumbled upon one another.  That led to a weight loss support group being created, but turned into SO much more than that.  Anyway, we have become very close and like family over the last couple of years, so we finally decided to meet in person.  A few of them are doing races at the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati (including Meg who is doing the full!!) so we're all going to spend the weekend together.  I'm just part of the cheer squad, but I am so excited to finally meet the women who make my life pretty awesome on a daily basis.
At the end of May, Eric and I are headed to Chincoteague, VA for our anniversary.  When I was a little girl my grandmother gave me a series of books called "Misty of Chincoteague" about a group of wild horses on this island off the coast of Virginia.  The wonderful thing is, it's a real place and there really are wild ponies there!  I've wanted to go all of my life, so I am beyond stoked.  It just seems like a wonderful little beach town, so I can't wait for us to kayak, hike, take nature cruises and just relax!
In July we're taking a trip to Bend, Oregon, which will be pretty cool since I've never been.  It wasn't something we'd planned on really, and I'm a bit ashamed to say that the only reason we decided to take the trip was because of Molly.  July 4th is miserable hell for us every year because of fireworks and the fact that our street becomes a warzone.  To say that Molly doesn't handle it well is an understatement, and every year becomes a horrible evening of trying to console an inconsolable, panicked dog and results in a sleepless night for us.  (Usually nights plural since the rednecks around us feel the need to blow off fireworks for several days in a row.)  It upsets both of us so badly to see Molly like that and absolutely nothing works to calm her, not even sedatives.  After a miserable January between New Years Eve and election night, we decided that we had to go somewhere for July 4th in order for all of us to somewhat keep our sanity.  After some research we discovered the Bend area has very few fireworks (it's pretty much wilderness), so we decided to rent a house there for almost a week.  Despite the somewhat negative reason we originally booked the vacation, we're pretty stoked.  It's in a beautiful area with lots of nature and that type of thing around, so it will be nice to go somewhere remote to relax.  I also hope that it ends up being a helpful solution for Molly!

We'll pretty much never NOT have a pile of concerts to go to, though we did calm down considerably last year!  This year is ramping up again, we're seeing Roger Waters, Nick Cave, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Neil Diamond, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Depeche Mode.  Of course that's who we're seeing for now, someone else always manages to creep into the schedule!

Those are about all of the updates I've got.  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!