For My Auntie Bea

I don’t want to spoil the ending, but…my Auntie Bea was one of the greatest of all time.

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To understand this reference, is to understand the essence of Bea. She had one of the most vivacious, sassy, and wonderful senses of humor that I have ever known, could dish it and take it better than anyone, and knew how to throw a punch line (even if she didn’t realize her proclivity for it). In this case, she said that first line just before going ahead and spoiling the whole reason for the story, but that just made it all the better.

In life, we are lucky to get time to spend with any grandparent, but I’ve had the fortune of three remarkable women who I consider to be my grandmothers. But for now, I want to focus on the person who was not just my aunt, but one of my very best friends.

Auntie Bea, or BB for short, was the person who picked me up from school when I didn’t want to walk; blew straw wrappers at my brother in the fanciest restaurants; scooped up the smallest bite of ice cream and swept it to the side as she devoured the bigger bowl in front of her; stayed on log flume rides longer than necessary because her friend was stuck on it (the same friend, my Nana, who I suspect was waiting for her with a drink in hand); ordered aforementioned drink with ice on the side so as to get her money’s worth; took me to the movies every day before Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember; attended every long and tedious cheerleading competition I’ve ever been in; dropped a suitcase full of Barbie shoes and laughed about it after; sassed kids at the beach who mocked her name; acted out the name of the categories instead of the word during charades; got banned from the library for wanting to use the internet during children’s story time; fought over who grabbed the last dolphin with her sister over an epic game of Splash; kicked our butts in mini golf and checkers and card games; asked me if I was wearing white stockings and grimaced when I said it was my bare legs; never missed a story, piece of gossip, chance for a drink, or a good party; sang loudly and terribly over the phone on every birthday; visited me in the hospital when I had surgery; was the first and last at everything we’ve ever needed her for; helped shape me into the person I am today; loved me for my strengths and called me out on my flaws; and was- is- one of the most important people in my life.

There are so many more memories that will come to me in the strangest of moments, but those are just a few of them. There are also many facets of Bea that make up who she was, daughter, sister, wife, mother, nurse, friend, but for selfish and selfless reasons, I am focusing on what I know her to be.

That she is gone now, in the early hours of Monday morning, is something I have yet to comprehend. There is a ball of grief burrowed in my chest, waiting, as I’ve made it through these past few days on autopilot. Right now, it’s as hard to think back as it is to move forward because to think there is a life to be lived without her is not something I want. That there will be people, important, life-changing people, who will enter my life and not know her, doesn’t feel right. Because she is one of the most impactful important, life-changing people for me. I have to believe in something like an afterlife with the sole purpose of needing to see her, and other much loved ones, again, because if not, I could not take my next breath.

This grief, and I’ve still yet to be hit with the sheer magnitude of it, makes me believe that just as the heart beats, the lungs breathe, and the mind thinks, the soul exudes; emotions- love, grief, joy, and anger- sit heavy within and around.

Words will never adequately express the sense of loss I feel at her passing, or the love I have for her, but I needed to try, to share, because to know, even on a surface level, my relationship with my Auntie Bea, is to understand me on a better level.

I am not okay, nor will I ever truly be the same now that she is gone, but I am the lucky one for having her for as long as I did, for the memories I’ve saved, and the attributes I’ve inherited. There is peace in knowing that she is not suffering and that she is watching over me, but the pain of not having her here will endure all the same.

For BB, one of the greats, this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever written, but thanks for making these stories so damn wonderful to share.

 

 

 

I Had To Blow Dry My Sweat

I had to blow-dry the sweat in my hair. This is disgusting and I’m even a little sorry for sharing, but this is my blog and silliness needs to be shared. If you read yesterday, then you saw my new hair do, which I love, but I wanted to keep the good hair day going and decided to try working out with my hair down.

A number of factors could have contributed to the ultra sweatiness in my hair: A. Quality workout B. A new product that was put in my hair C. Having hair down. In the end, what matters is that I had to work and had ten minutes to fix myself up. Blow drying ensued, as did pulling my poor new cut into a tiny ponytail.

Example:

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It’s sadly a little frizzy right now, but I’m off to run in a few minutes and will hopefully learn how to style it appropriately.

Back to my workout, it was butt (leg and back) kicking! After my strength training, I finished with some jump roping that wiped out my legs (in a good way). I’m hoping my run with stretch them out!

Finally, I’ll end with a quick food pic from this morning. Breakfast is my favorite (and most important) meal of the day, so it’s also the most caloric for me. Featured are a scrambled egg with egg whites, bacon, two leftover peanut butter pancakes that I forgot to bake with baking soda, bacon, strawberries and blueberries. Delicoso!

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Enjoy your Thursday!

 

 

New Hair Debut

So apparently I’ve been dyeing my hair ALL wrong for months now. Coolio. Once you find the color you like, the hair stays that color and you only have to re-apply to the roots. How did I not know this? People probably know this, but not me. I’ve been fraying my hair, but it’s all good because I went to the hairdresser this morning and it looks much fresher. Phew!

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We are giving it a few weeks and then we are going to dye it blonde-blonde, no more red! I’m tired of people telling me I have strawberry blonde hair. It’s not what I want. The color actually looks better since cutting it too!

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Yesterday I had my uber long day and didn’t have time to post, but it was overall successful. I had a great workout on Monday working the triceps and chest, which are still sore, followed up by a much needed rest day on Tuesday. I’m gearing up for a leg-back day later on, which will be killer. The pyramid training is H-A-R-D, but fast-paced and I’m loving it!

I’m adding the challenge of leaving my hair down because it’s super cute right now, but I still need to workout. I think it’s short enough to not be a problem! Time will tell.

Foodwise, I’ve been good! Since noticing the changes already, I’ve found it easier to remain good. I no longer have the urge to reach into the candy bowl or indulge as much, which just goes to show how addictive sugar is and how strong our habits are. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it means habits can always be changed!

This, along with my new fab haircut, adds to my confidence and hope to only keep getting better! My kinda silly but kinda not goal is to wear a bikini for the first time since basically childbirth by the end of the summer. We’ll see!

I also got a bitmoji because I’m hip like that. I don’t know if it will work on here…

 

It doesn’t.

Monday Snow Day

Oh hey, it’s the second day of Spring and we’ve got…SNOW! It was a fairly pleasant day welcoming Spring yesterday, but a bit on the chilly side. However, the family came over for dinner and we spent some time outside playing Spike Ball. I was a bit rusty, but not as bad as I expected. Here’s a nice action shot:

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But now:

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I started the weekend off on Friday with an awesome total body workout that kicked my butt! It was the same set up as last week with 3 sets and 15 reps and by the time I was done, I was ready to face the day. After work on Friday, I enjoyed a big hunk of a salad with honey BBQ steak tips while watching the Amy Poehler and Tina Fey movie Sisters. I really wanted to like the movie because I love them, but I just didn’t. I didn’t laugh out loud once. Cue sad face here!

Saturday started early with work. I love that Daylight Savings Time provides more sunshine towards the end of the day, but when you have to wake up early in the morning, it can be a tad painful. All good though! Once I finished, I headed out to lunch with my parents and grandma and a visit over to BB & the P’s house. Before the sun set, I had time to fit in a quality run outside and was feeling strong. I’m already noticing those few pounds I’ve lost has made a huge difference to my runs. Saturday night, I went over to my sister’s house for a meal of leftovers and a throwback film: She’s All That. I also spent some quality time with my nephew and realized that some Snapchat filters work on him:

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Too cute!

On Sunday, I started off the day with a great workout. It’s pyramid training week, which I described last week, so it’s fast-moving and hard! Feeling pretty strong (and sore) today! I also mentioned the family dinner and some Spike Ball and there was a scary moment when I tripped in a hole and rolled my ankle. Before bed, I put some ice on it and elevated my leg and there’s no soreness at all this morning, phew!

With the snow falling (and already starting to melt, yay March!), I made myself a delicious breakfast this morning.

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It was also weigh-in day and I’m happy to report that I’m down another 1.4 pounds, which brings me to a total of 5 pounds lost since I started two weeks ago! The incredible part of this is it’s all been in my stomach, which is just convenient!

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Please pardon the state of my hair. It’s a snow day kind of morning.

Feeling good so far! If you’re trying to lose weight as well, remember, it’s not all about the scale. Weigh in once a week, but try to focus on the way you’re feeling, from your health benefits, the way your clothes fit, and if you like to take measurements. Anything you do, from eating healthier to exercising more, is benefiting your body and mind, regardless of what the scale claims. Keep at it and stay positive!

You Can’t Face Swap With Your Dog

Hello party people, it’s Friday! The weekend forecast isn’t looking too promising come Sunday, but I am determined to be positive and have a great weekend.

I have some weird stories and pictures to share with you all today, so I hope you cherish the ridiculous. First, I woke up later than I wanted to on Wednesday as I was covering for someone at work and had to eat breakfast on the go. This is all well and fine, except, I was hankering for waffles and thought they could be portable if I ate it more like a piece of toast than cut up in usual waffle-style. I’ve actually done this before, so I was feeling good until I must have over maple syruped the waffles and the maple syrup dripped everywhere! My steering wheel may never be the same, nor will the inside of my jacket sleeves. I also smelled like maple syrup the rest of the day. Yay, me! *I could have smelled a lot worse!

A couple of nights ago, I finally realized how to use the face swap filter on Snapchat and it did not disappoint- except that I’ve been trying to face swap with my dog and it won’t work. Here’s option one between my mom and me.

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Kinda spooky, not at all flattering, but overall hilarious.

Second option, I can’t even preface:

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I kept some of my childhood dolls over the years and decided to have some fun yesterday morning to see if it would work. It did, except, as you can see, my face maintained that weird, creepy smile so everything just went bananas. I disturbed myself with this photo. I’m sorry if you have nightmares tonight!

Now onto a workout recap! This week was 3 sets of 15 reps for each exercise with lower weight and it kicked butt! I used the same workout plans I did the past two weeks, six exercises for each body part, so the breakdown looked like this:

Monday- Biceps, Shoulders, and Core

Tuesday- Rest

Wednesday- Triceps, Chest, and Core

Thursday- Back, Legs, and Core

Friday- Total Body

For today’s workout, I incorporated a ton of moves with kettlebells and plyometrics, which means I really got that heart rate moving! I will be sharing that with you soon! On Wednesday, I also ran and will be heading out for another one tomorrow before the weather gets bad.

Next week’s reps and sets will be pyramid-focused so I’ll start at my highest amount of reps with lowest weight, decreasing the reps and increasing the weight as I go until I’m lifting my heaviest for 2 reps. I like to mix up the reps and sets to keep from plateauing and working my muscles in different ways. For instance, lower weight and longer reps works endurance, heavier weight and lower reps is what builds that strength and power.  Already feeling a little scared, but also excited.

Get moving this weekend and make sure you spend a lot of time with the people you love!

Weekly Weigh-In

It’s been a little over a week since I decided to actively lose weight again and I’m happy to report my weigh-in news. I weigh in on Monday mornings, but it didn’t fit in with Monday’s post and yesterday was my lo-ong work day and I didn’t have time to write a post! After one week, I’m down 3.6 pounds.

This loss is drastic, but normal for the first few weeks of weight loss because your body adjusts quickly to the new changes. I expect it to fall under the .5-1 pound loss as the weeks progress, but any progress is good!

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It might be cheating that I’m dressed in all black.

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I also hope you appreciate the too-short pants. I only point it out as something to brag about because pants are never too short on me. I suppose one might get away with wearing them as capris, but I couldn’t because they’re not quite short enough and therefore we’re back to the same problem again!

Anyways…

As for my goal, I don’t have a number in mind as I like to base my body off how I feel and not the number. However, I haven’t felt like my best as of late and was ready to put in more effort and I’m already feeling so much better! Right now, I’m focusing on a range that I think would lead me to my best results.

With my body, I try not to see anything as being on a diet or temporary. At this point, the changes I’m making to my eating and exercise habits are nowhere near as drastic they were when I first started to lose weight five years ago. For one, I exercise six days a week hardcore because I love it and it makes me feel strong. The only changes I’ve tried to incorporate are to keep me from plateauing by either upping the amount of weight I’m lifting or changing the amount of sets and reps and exercises I do, as well as throwing some intervals into my cardio sessions.

For food, my meals are fairly healthy as I eat a ton of fruits and veggies. Lately, I’ve been watching portion size more and really paying attention to my body’s signals. The other thing is eating between meals, especially sweets. I’ve found that allowing myself one small-moderate indulgence a day works well and makes me more mindful of what and when I’m eating it. Overall, I’ve found it not to be so difficult as it seamlessly falls back into place. The difficult part is paying attention, which I’ve been using the My Fitness Pal app to track what I’m eating, not so much to count calories, but to keep me aware throughout the day and less likely to give into urges.

Yesterday, I had to be hyperaware because I work 10 hours and need to make sure I’m fueling myself throughout the day, especially when training. To prepare, I dedicated some quality time on Monday to food prepping. Thankfully, Tuesdays are my new rest day so I can just focus on work, so I started the morning off with a typical breakfast of eggs, toast, and fruit. The meal was sustainable enough to carry me through until lunch where I packed food that was portable and quick: kefir with grapes and cinnamon, a peanut butter rollup, a hard-boiled egg, and hummus with carrots, pepper, and celery. My mid-afternoon snack was a handful of almonds and raisins for a quick trail mix. I also had a sugar cookie someone brought in for my sweet and all of that seemed to do the trick!

To get through the day, energy is important, which means you need to eat food! Don’t be afraid to eat and to include your favorites in there! I still eat pizza, burgers, and ice cream every so often and it’s all part of a healthy diet. I just make sure I’m listening to my body and providing it the other nutrients it craves at an appropriate amount! It’s also important to dedicate a half hour-hour 3-5 days a week to exercise! It doesn’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to like it (every time), but you’ve got to move! The time you put into exercise, whatever it may be, belongs to you because it’s something wonderful you’re doing for yourself. Physically you will reap the benefits, but not enough can be said about the mental and emotional wellness exercise provides.

It’s all good, every little step you take, even if it’s backwards because you can get right back into it. Like I tell my clients, my three steps to successful weight loss 1. Drink more water 2. Lift weights 3. Stay positive!

To sum everything I’ve just written, I’ll leave you with this: be kind to your body.

An Appreciation Piece

This little blog is about health and wellness among other silly topics. I focus on the health aspect a ton, especially in regards to eating and exercising, but I think it’s time to talk a little bit more about wellness. This topic is so broad because it ranges from mental and intellectual strength, as well as the things you like to do and the people in which you spend time. Wellness, among other more complicated factors, equates to happiness.

My family is a huge contributor to that happiness, from childhood to now. I’ve been writing snippets of my weight loss journey into book form, but sometimes I find myself drifting into more of a memoir, thinking back on my childhood.

I’m lucky because I am so close to much of my family, especially my parents, sister, brother, and now brother-in-law. There are three other people who have made such an important impact on my life and since this blog shares so much of my story, I’d like to share a little bit about them.

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My Auntie Bea, Uncle Peter, and cousin Maura have been there for me and my siblings every single step of the way, from the big occasions like graduations and weddings, to the smaller daily events, such as picking us up from school, going to the movies, or just hanging out at the house talking and playing games.

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Summers always include visiting them at their summer home- days spent at the beach, trips to The Christmas Tree Shoppe, cookouts in the backyard, cocktail hours, long-lasting card games, and trips to Dairy Queen to end the night. Vacations are always that more special, from Disney World and Storyland, to London and Oxford (we might have gotten a little fancier as we get older).

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Holidays are special for what they mean, but also the traditions we’ve built together. Movies with my Auntie Bea the day before Thanksgiving, a more intimate dinner together before the rest of the family comes over for dessert, lunch on Christmas Eve, and cheesy potatoes and games on Christmas.

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My siblings and I have dragged them to dance recitals, cheerleading competitions, and hockey games, but I don’t think they see it as being dragged- and I think that proves just how much love is there. We’ve had casual take-out dinners or fancy meals in the private rooms and laughed just as hard no matter where we were.

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There are so many memories that we’ve made together and so much of that has made me into the person I am today. It is their presence, love, and support that has given me strength. Not everyone gets a BB & the P with M, and my siblings and I, we’re the lucky ones because we do.

 

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As a whole, we don’t get to choose who we are related to, but through a million and one lifetimes, I would choose them. And I hope they know that.

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