Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Wow! Insanity Round 1: COMPLETE!!

It's been awhile since I've posted. Way too much going on around here! With the holidays, my girls taking dance classes 3 days per week, church on Wednesdays, and doing Insanity 6 days per week, it's been a mess!! I, however, did find the strength (pun intended) to complete Insanity! I finished it up 3 weeks ago and I must say, it feels great! I started a second round after I finished it so I am one of those crazy people who apparently didn't get enough the first time. ;-)

My stats for now:
Starting Weight: 168.8
Current Weight: 141.8

Waist: 34
Hips: 37.5
Biceps: 11.25
Thighs: 19.5
Chest: 36

I've lost a total of 26.2 pounds and 23.25 inches! Yay!!!! I feel amazing, and these size 8 pants feel even more amazing. I'm thinking another 5-7 lbs and I'll be exactly where I want to be. :-)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Destiny: A Brightest Kind of Darkness book review

I've waited forever for this book. I mean, really and truly. It was supposed to come out in March but the author (Ms. P.T. Michelle herself) moved across the pond and it got pushed back until October 15. I must've read BKoD and Lucid at least 4 times each in the time before I finally got this book. Ms. Michelle gave me the book in exchange for my honest review, and honestly? I would've paid MORE than it costs. This book was freaking phenomenal!! I wouldn't have thought it would be possible to be even more in love with Ethan but Holy Cow did he ever take it up a notch in this book! And, well, wore less clothes. And provided more entertainment with his hands and mouth. ;-) 



Here's my review on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/R19Q94VI92KNI8 
"I must say, my heart is still palpitating after the last line of this book. What?!?! OMG, Ms. Michelle, you have totally ensnared me...mind, body, and soul!!

I told the author that I was savoring this book and it's true. I took my time reading this, re-reading certain passages, highlighting about a million paragraphs, and trying to calm my breath. I waited a long time for this book to come out and it was definitely worth the wait.

Ethan and Nara have been through a lot. I spent the first half of the book just wanting to slap some sense into Ethan in the hopes it would help him remember. I thought Nara was a little overreactive and sensitive about some issues, but with good reason. It all worked out for the best and when he did finally remember, the goosebumps started and stayed until the end. Danielle...what can I say? I think she probably started out with good intentions but when it came to Ethan, her heart overruled her own purpose and who can blame her? Ethan has that effect on people. I'm sad for her that the end came like it did, but more than that, my heart bleeds for Drystan. I miss him already and I'm hoping that we still see him in the next one. His exit was abrupt and heart wrenching.

Nara's dad...well, that's going to be interesting to say the least. I'm very curious how that whole unintentional love triangle is going to play out! How will her mom react? Or Mr. Dixon for that matter? Yikes!

I'm surprised but not surprised over who the blond man turns out to be. It's a turn I wasn't expecting but once it was revealed, it made a whole lot of sense and I just went "Ah ha!" Now I can see where fate and destiny and purpose all roll into one to bring this series to life.

This book answered a lot of questions and then brought up a whole slew more. I had to bring my husband into the Corvus world just so I had someone to vent to. He (not an avid reader like me) thinks the book premise is great and different as well. I love the characters. I love that they fight for each other and for their destiny. A lot of book characters let other things get in the way of what they are meant to do or be, but Ethan and Nara get closer and more bound with each obstacle. It's a beautiful thing to watch. I have high hopes for them in the future and what they can accomplish. I really love how this book showed both viewpoints, and you really get a sense of how much Nara means to Ethan, what she does for him, how she lights up his darkness. And Adder? Holy Hades, was that not the hottest thing this side of the sun?? The only thing hotter was the culmination (finally!) of the love between Ethan and Nara. I was a smiling fool when it finally happened!! I think I have an entire chapter highlighted for future easy reference.

Kudos, Ms. Michelle, for giving me characters to love, to dream for, to hope with. The depth of love and purpose and pride for and with these two is astounding. I am anxiously awaiting the next book so that I can get more of my favorite couple. I highly recommend getting all 4 of these books and reading them back to back and re-reading them again and again. This is by far my #1 favorite series that I've ever read and it never disappoints or fails to live up to my expectations."

Seriously, though, if you haven't read these books yet, please run out and get them. They are different and interesting and will keep you guessing and engaged from beginning to end. You will be salivating for the next one!! Thank you, Patrice, for giving me another dose of Ethan! Cannot WAIT for the next one!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Day 29 - Recovery Week

Yesterday was the 1st day of my week 5 Recovery Week. It's supposed to be Core Cardio and Balance all week but I have the Deluxe version so I wanted to check out Max Interval Sports Training. I figure since it's 54 minutes (what?!), I'd do it on Sun, Wed and Fri when I have more time, and then the Core Cardio on Mon, Tues and Thurs when my girls have dance. My assessment is below...

Max Interval Sports Training:
This workout is 54 minutes long. The workout starts with one warm-up circuit that is repeated for 2 rounds with no breaks in between, for a total warm-up of about 9 minutes. Then, the main workout is numerous sports based drills in a circuit format. Each circuit is done once, and each drill in the circuit is 30 seconds to 1 minute long. There are water breaks at various points throughout the circuits and in between the circuits. The workout ends with a cool down stretch.

Warm-Up Circuit: (not too bad; I was still sweating but not as much as the regular warmups)
  • Jump Rope
  • Jump Rope – Switch Heels
  • Jump Rope – Switch Heels Higher
  • Jump Rope Side to Side
  • Cross Jacks
  • Knee Pulls – High
  • Knee Pulls – Low
  • Knee Pulls – Hand to Floor
Boxing Circuit: (I enjoyed this one. Really fun and powerful)
  • Jab Across
  • Jab Across 2 & 2
  • Jab Across 4 & 4
  • Jab Across 8 & 8
  • Uppercuts
  • Uppercuts 2 & 2
  • Uppercuts 4 & 4
  • Uppercuts 8 & 8
  • 8 Jabs/8 Power Jumps
Football Circuit: (Hate. Hate. Hate. lol I'm not a guy so football is not my thing...)
  • Football Drills
  • Tricep Pulses
  • Tackle
  • Offensive Line Elbow
Basketball Circuit: (this one is ok. It worked me out, just wasn't too fun)
  • 3 Point Shot – Run
  • Guard Drills
  • Suicide Drills
  • Basketball Dribble
Gymnastics Circuit: (this one was really hard. My 9 year old dancer/gymnast had no problem with these. I, on the other hand, looked like a spastic frog, especially on the pike jump and bronco jumps. You basically lean over in a V-push up stance, then push your feet off the ground and jump up into a sort of handstand. Not easy, and OMG it hurts).
  • Pike Jump
  • Pendulum
  • 6 Inches Hold
  • Flutter Kicks
  • Scissors
  • V-Push Ups
  • Bronco Jumps
Track and Field Circuit: (just running. I just finished C25K so this was easy lol)
  • Ladders – 15
  • Ladders – 30
  • Ladders – 45
  • Ladders – 60
  • Ladders – 45
  • Ladders – 30
  • Ladders – 15
  • Long Jump

The Max Interval Sports Training workout is one of my favorite Insanity workouts, even if it is a bit long. You do a ton of new sports orientated exercises in this workout including boxing, football, basketball, gymnastics, and track and field. Shaun T drills you and pushes you like he is your coach, making you feel like it is game day and you are in it to win it. The gymnastics jumps are so different than any other exercise I have done before so I think it's definitely challenging and keeps you a little more engaged if you've gotten complacent so far. Overall, I think this workout is really fun and makes you forget how hard you are working out!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Insanity Days 14-21

I am still doing Insanity, although I'm no longer posting a play by play every day, only because the exercises are at the repetition stage. For those of you curious, though, I'll list the workouts below!

Day 14 - Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Day 15 - Pure Cardio and Cardio Abs
Day 16 - Cardio Recovery
Day 17 - Cardio Power & Resistance
Day 18 - Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Day 19 - Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs
Day 20 - Cardio Power & Resistance
Day 21 - Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Day 22 - Cardio Recovery (haven't done yet but scheduled for today lol)

It's intense but I'm slowly getting better at it. My endurance is definitely better than it was when I started 3.5 weeks ago. :-)

Here's my weight stats:
Start Weight: 168.8
Current Weight: 151.8
Total lost: 17
Measurements:
Waist: 35
Chest: 38
Hips: 39
Thighs: 20
Total Inches Lost: 18 inches

And current pics:


Apples in a Bag

Can I get a What, what?! OMG. I was about to embark on a not-so-exciting breakfast of oatmeal this morning, which was the only thing I had at work. I was online trying to find ways to spruce it up when I came across this fabulous site http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/family-recipes/apples-in-a-bag and saw this wonderful recipe! I thought, hey, surprisingly I actually have said ingredients here at the office so no harm, no foul, right? I'd say so! I sliced my apple, added my spices, shook the baggie like a Polaroid picture, and popped that sucker into the microwave. Not only did it taste divine, but it made the office smell yumalicious! Try it on oatmeal, ice cream, or just eat it out of the bag for a sweet, healthy dessert!


Apples in a Bag
 
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert, Snack
Ingredients
  • 1 small apple (Golden Delicious or Granny Smith are my favorite)
  • 1 packet of sweetener (Splenda is my favorite), or a spoonful of sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Small handful of raisins, optional
Instructions
  1. Peel or don’t peel apple, core and slice or dice. Place in freezer-quality plastic zippered bag along with remaining ingredients. Seal bag and shake well to mix ingredients.
  2. Reopen bag just a touch to vent. Microwave on High for 2 minutes– longer if you use a big apple.
  3. Carefully (it will be HOT and steamy) open bag and pour over plain or cinnamon-sugar pita chips, flour tortilla chips, oatmeal or ice cream.
Notes
(Nutritionals based on no raisins, unpeeled apples and artificial sweetener)

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 Calories: 59 Fat: .2 g Carbohydrates: 16.7 g Sugar: 11.0 g Sodium: 2 mg Fiber: 2.9 g Protein: .3 Cholesterol: 0 mg

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Insanity Days 8 - 12 and updated Fit Test!

So days 8 through 12 are repeats of the previous exercises as listed:
Day 8 Pure Cardio
Day 9 Plyometric Cardio Circuit
Day 10 Cardio Recovery
Day 11 Cardio Power and Resistance
Day 12 - Pure Cardio & Cardio Abs - something new! Cardio Abs hurts like a mother. Seriously. My body just does not want to do the "V" formation and the leg pulses. Ugh. I better have some kicking abs after all this is done.

Day 13 - Fit Test! I was actually really surprised at the difference in my fit test scores. I didn't think 2 weeks would make that much of a difference!
Fit Test 1:
Switch Kicks - 50
Power Jacks - 36
Power Knees - 50L/30R
Power Jumps - 30
Globe Jumps - 9
Suicide Jumps - 14
Push Up Jacks - 17
Low Plank Oblique - 15

Fit Test 2:
Switch Kicks - 110
Power Jacks - 44
Power Knees - 100L/82R
Power Jumps - 35
Globe Jumps - 12
Suicide Jumps - 18
Push Up Jacks - 26
Low Plank Oblique - 30

Wow! I can tell that the C25K has helped my breathing and endurance. I'm officially running 3 miles daily and it feels great! It definitely assists me with all this Sean T INSANENESS!!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Insanity Day 6 & 7, C25K, and Maegan's vow renewal

Another round of Plyometric Cardio Circuit for Day 6 and Cardio Power & Resistance for Day 7. I think doing this workout is starting to pay off. I'm able to get through without as many breaks, which is a big deal for me! I still sweat something fierce and it hurts, but I've stopped being sore the next day. That's progress, right?

I'm also doing the C25K program at the same time. Insanity is definitely helping with my stamina and lung control! Sunday was Week 8 Day 1 (i.e. warm up walk for 5 minutes, run for 28 minutes or 2.75 miles, and cool down for 5 minutes), and I've been able to run as it asks without taking extra walks. I'm definitely not a runner...or at least I wasn't before. So this is exciting to me!! I actually ran 30.25 minutes because I wanted to return to my starting point (or my front door) so that I could use www.mapmyrun.com and calculate the exact mileage that I ran. It ended up being 2.91 miles!!!!! OMG I was so aggravated!! Why, you ask? 2.91 miles is great, right? Well, yes. But I started at my door, then ran down the main thoroughfare off my street. I came down to this tiny bridge that had a mile marker about halfway across it. I thought that'd be a good place to turn around and start my trek back. I have a feeling if I had passed that marker and ran to the other side of the bridge before turning back, it'd have been an even 3 miles! Aghhh!! Oh well, at least I can shoot for that today when I run. lol

Saturday was a really friend of mine's vow renewal for her 11th anniversary. Her sweet dh planned the whole thing as a surprise to her. It was super cute! She looked amazing and he is so stinking sweet and cute. We had a great time, and I got a lot of "wow, you look great" remarks so that felt really really good! Our 11th anniversary is in 3 weeks so I'm hoping I can lose even more and tone up before then. I have a really fabulous dress that I got at J C Penney for $2.77! Looking forward to wearing that sexiness!

Insanity Day 5 - Pure Cardio

Equals Pure Hell. Ugh. 

This workout is about 38 minutes long. I'm dripping with sweat and cursing by the end of the warm up. Day 4's cardio recovery really doesn't feel like it helped me much in recovering. lol

The warm-up:  same as it was on Tuesday for Plyometric Cardio Circuit. 

  • Jog
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Heisman
  • 1-2-3
  • Butt Kicks
  • High Knees
  • Mummy Kicks 
I really don't mind this warm up. The kids really enjoy the Mummy Kicks. I'm glad they do because they hurt me. After warm up, we do some stretching again. After that? 15 minutes of nothing but cardio. No breaks. No sitting. Just sweating and crying and cursing. 


The main workout consists of fifteen exercises:
  • Suicide Drills
  • Switch Kicks
  • Wide Football Sprints
  • Stance Jacks
  • Pedal
  • Hooks and Jump Rope
  • Power Jacks
  • Level 2 drills
  • Frog Jumps
  • Power Knees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Ski Down
  • Scissor Runs
  • Suicide Jumps
  • Push-Up Jacks 

Each exercise lasts for a whole minute, and you go straight into the next one with no break. The new exercises are basically just previous exercises with some changes. See below (thanks to http://thegrouchpotato.blogspot.com/2012/04/insanity-workout-blog-day-5.html

Stance Jacks

Drop into a squat and touch your left foot with your right hand. Return to an upright position, then drop into another squat and touch your right foot with your left hand.

Variation of: Jumping Jacks

Pedal

Sprint on the spot for a four-count, then drop into a lunge. Right foot forward first, then switch to a lunge on the other side. Repeat.

Variation of: Sprint and Basic Lunge

Hooks and Jump Rope

Hooks and Jump Rope is easy enough to follow, so I won't bore you with a description. I get a bit of a recovery during this exercise, which is good because we're only a third of the way through the workout and I'm exhausted!

Variation of: Uppercuts

Level 2 Drills

Remember Level 1 Drills? These are worse. Drop into the plank position and squeeze out 8 Push-Ups. Run it out for a four count, then bring your knees into your chest (just like In-Out Abs) and stand up straight. This exercise works all your major muscle groups, so it's going to hurt!

Variation of: Level 1 Drills

Frog Jumps

If only it was as fun as it sounds! A simple enough exercise, but by this point you're probably running on empty. I had to take a break.

Variation of: Globe Jumps

Scissor Runs

I love Scissor Runs! Shaun T tells you you'll get a slight recovery during this exercise, and you will - as long as you get the form right. Don't let the front foot go past the hip or you'll work yourself twice as hard as you need to.

Variation of: Switch Feet

All in all, this workout really does make you feel great. By the end, I'm sweating buckets but also feel really pumped. Yay for not quitting! 

Insanity Day 4 - Cardio Recovery

Yay!! A break!

Uh, no. I'm just kidding, this workout still kicks your butt and refuses to take names. It's all about recovering from the intensity of the cardio that you've been doing, but with some megawatt deep muscle work and yoga. Now, I've done yoga in the past and felt pretty confident going in, but this is like yoga on crack. 33 minutes of stretching and contortion. But it was enjoyable for what is was, I definitely slept really well, and the hubs got a kick out of watching the show. ;-)

Insanity day 3 - Cardio Power and Resistance

In the immortal words of The Waterboy, "foosball is the Devil". Or, in this case, Sean T and his jacked up Cardio Power and Resistance workout. Seriously, I'm a girl. I've never played football. At least not with any other goal in mind but looking cute and trying to snag a boy. These football drill exercises are kicking my booty. This workout goes like this:

Pretty much the same as yesterday. 39 minutes long. There's another 11 minute warm-up, nearly 7 minutes of stretching, and 18 minutes of cardio power before the cool-down stretch.

The warm-up
  • Jog
  • Power Jacks
  • Log Jumps
  • 1-2-3
  • Butt Kicks
  • High Knees
  • Vertical Jumps

Now we chug some water and prepare to stretch our muscles....or try not to cry.

The main workout is broken up into two sections again. There are four basic exercises in the first section:
  • Power Jumps
  • Belt Kicks
  • Hit the Floor
  • V Push Ups

You do three sets at 30 seconds each exercise, and you get a 30 second water break between sets. At the end of the third set, there's three more exercises: Triceps Dips, One-Legged Triceps Dips and Triceps Ball Push-Ups.

For the next circuit in this workout, there are these next (horrifying and sadistic) exercises:

  • Hurdle Jumps
  • Globe Jumps
  • Moving Push-Ups
  • Floor Sprints
Same as before, you do three sets with a 30 second water break between each set. I just about made it through the final "bonus" exercise - 8 Hop Squats/8 Push-Ups. I'll be sure to add that one to my list of least favorite exercises! It seriously sucks big...well, you know. 


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Insanity with Sean T: Day 1 & 2 Review

So, my fabulous BFF came to the rescue again and delivered unto me my very own copy of Insanity by Sean T. I'm 10 weeks into this weight loss/healthy lifestyle attempt. I've heard some good things about Insanity so I'm excited to give it a try. 

I was able to find some videos for the first week of the program on YouTube, basically watching other people do the workout and copying them. Which is either really fantastic, or I was learning how to do the moves completely wrong. Anyways, I completed those in a pretty decent fashion. If you consider me lying on the floor, bleeding sweat, crying and cursing Sean T as decent. Which I do. So now that Renee has made my year, I decided to start over from the beginning so that the hubs could do it right along with me. 

Day 1, Fit Test:
This is the "in what kind of shape are you in" pre-workout test. It consists of 8 exercises: 














You do each exercise for 1 minute, then log how many you were able to do. For the record, I despise Globe Jumps and Suicide Jumps. I obviously have no comparison yet but I think I did okay. By the end of the 63 day program, you will do the fit test 4 times and have some neat comparisons. Here are my "scores":

Switch Kicks - 50
Power Jacks - 36
Power Knees - 80
Power Jumps - 30 
Globe Jumps - 9 (seriously?)
Suicide Jumps (aka Burpees) - 14
Push Up Jacks - 17
Low Plank Oblique - 30


Day 2, Plyometric Cardio Circuit (aka WTF?):
This is the longest 42 minutes of my life. There is a warm-up followed by 2 circuits of 3 rounds of exercises. Yay. 

Warm-Up:
Do this circuit 3 times (about 30 seconds per exercise), increasing your pace on each circuit. 
Jog
Jumping Jacks
Heismans (these are actually fun)
123s (run to the side, knee to chest)
Butt kicks
High Knees
Mummy Kicks (think zombie lol)

Now we do a 7 minute stretch. Seriously. This warm-up and stretch is about 17-18 minutes. OMG. (Thanks to http://fitnessfatale.com/2011/10/15/insanity-plyometric-cardio-circuit/ for the exercise descriptions! I personally have given them descriptions that are non-postable.)

1st Circuit:
Suicide Drills (move a few steps across floor, bend and touch the floor. Go to other side)
Power Squats (squat and jump)
Mountain Climbers (stand up high knees and use arms like climbing a ladder)
Ski Jumps (feet together, jump side to side)

Additional moves at 3rd set of Workout 1:
Switch Feet (jump to right foot front, then left foot front and repeat, keeping both feet flat on the ground the whole time and swinging your arms)
Football Sprints (with feet wide, quickly alternate weight from left to right foot and follow Shaun’s instructions to turn right or left, move forward and backward, etc).


2nd Circuit:
Basketball Drills (squat and pretend to shoot a basket)
5 sets of Level 1 Drills (4 push ups, 4 plank runs, move to a standing position and repeat)
5 sets of Ski Drill (Start in plank then jump your feet to the right and then jump back to center, then jump feet to left, repeat)


Additional moves at 3rd set of Workout 2:
Jabs (in a boxing stance, punch the air, alternating hands)
Cross Jacks (Alternate hands going above your head while alternating crossing one leg in front of the other and both legs out)
Uppercuts (in a boxing stance, perform uppercuts, alternating arms)
Attacks (I call it the Mr. Miyagi. In a deep squat, alternate throwing your open palm out like you are deflecting an opponent)


Whew! By the time the workout was completed, I was drenched in sweat, my double-layered sports bras looked like I had removed them from the wash cycle and put them on, and my make-up was streaked around my eyes. (Removing it would've been too easy, I suppose). The hubby....well, I seriously thought I was going to have to call an ambulance. Whereas I had run 2 miles (well, 25 minutes, which comes out to roughly 2 miles lol) about an hour before, he hasn't exercised with any real form or substance in years. My bad for allowing him to start with this. However, I made sure to give him plenty of encouraging words and sexy talk throughout! I'm hoping that is motivation enough for him to continue on. If not, I can always continue to perform the workouts while standing directly in front of him, which is good eye candy on the squats and stretches. ;-)

So far, I recommend Insanity. It's at least very sweaty and very physical!!! 







Monday, September 9, 2013

2 months into my weight loss journey/battle/hell

Yikes!! Didn't think I'd even make it this far. lol It's been a ride, but not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. I guess I was finally ready to make a true lifestyle change and not just "go on a diet"...again...for the millionth time. *blush*

Beginning Weight: 168.8
Current Weight: 158.6
Total lost: 10.2
Measurements:
Waist: 36
Chest: 39
Hips: 40.5
Total Inches Lost: 13.5

Yay! I've still got way more to go, but I'm pretty pleased with that. I'm averaging about a 1.4 lb loss per week, which is steady. Still doing the C25K running plan and the CrossFit. I've done a couple of the Insanity workouts, and will start the whole program from beginning to end when my bff Renee is ready to start it with me!! Keep losing and keep the faith!

Mary's Super Sweet Sixteen

One of my best friends from high school, Samantha, had a sweet 16 for her gorgeous daughter, Mary, this weekend. Sam and I were roommates when Mary was an infant so I've spent some time around this girl!! ;-) The theme was "Cocktail Dresses and Cowboy Boots", teal and yellow and white. It was so stinking cute! I wish I could've gotten a good photo of the ice sculpture...a pair of cowboy boots..but alas, my camera made it too dark. Boo! On the flip side, here are some photos from the party... Me, Robyn, Mary, and Samantha My kid, Raegan, acting goofy in the photo prop area!! Overall, it was such a fun night! Great food, great atmosphere, a PHENOMENAL 16 year old "woman", and fabulous friends. Love!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Hold me accountable!

I'm not being flippant or funny or cute in a ha-ha way, either! I have begun my weight loss journey. I had posted previously about it but I've been serious about it and dedicated since July 7. Just a randomly chosen date that got me past eating the4th of July goodies. ;-) What I've been doing: Running - never been a big fan of running but I've heard it's the best cardio. My motivation for this is The Color Run that is scheduled for Mobile in October....on 10/12, to be exact - my 11th anniversary. :-) I've been wanting to do one forever so this motivates me to complete the C25K app that I've started and stopped a million times. The hubby and my girls have all been doing it with me, we're making it a family thing. I do this 6 days per week (repeating each day of the program twice). CrossFit - Gym memberships and specific CrossFit packages are way too expensive for my test but I've found some fantastic home workouts via Pinterest. You can find me here . I've found that I really enjoy CrossFit! It's challenging, never boring, and some of the moves have become my favorites, like the inverted handstand pushup! Surprising to me but I really enjoy doing it and it seems to be making a rather fast difference in terms of tone and definition, especially in my arms, legs and back. I do this 4 days per week, doing a different workout every day so that I can mix it up and stay motivated. Dance - My daughters' dance studio has begun offering an Adult Jazz class and an Adult Cardio Hip Hop Class, each class once a week. I thought I'd try those out and I love them! The hip hop more so than the jazz, maybe because it's slower. But they've been fun and there are a ton of great women in the classes as well. It helps that the teachers have been the dance teachers for my kiddos for several years now so I'm comfortable with them! Diet - Healthy eating, lifestyle change. Lots of veggies and baked foods. Limited sugar and carbs. Very little bread, if any. Using my LoseIt app to track my intake, drinking 64-80 ounces of water daily. Where I'm At: Starting Weight: 168.8 Current Weight: 162.2 Goal Weight: 140 6.2 lbs lost over the past month. I weighed yesterday and this is my TOM so I've got some water weight in there, I'm sure. With that being said, I'm okay with 6.2 lbs!! That equals out to a little over a pound a week. I'm determined to push myself even harder to make it come off that much faster! Here's my before photos....be proud! No one, and I Mean No One (save hubby and girlies) has seen me like this ever!! lol This is what 2 cesareans and a love of food does to you.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Taylor Hicks, crawfish...and a boat lawn ornament

Father's Day weekend was a great weekend for us! We headed over to Foley/Orange Beach/Gulf Shores to stay with my bff, Renee and her fab hubby, Bobby. Friday night, we headed over to the FloraBama's 1st Annual Shindig in the Sand music festival. $10 entry fee for the day and Taylor performed at 7. He put on an amazing show!! We were uber close, as he was set up on the beach stage. I've enjoyed him since prior to his American Idol days, due to his performing locally so much. After the concert, he signed autographs, took photos, and even spoke with people's relatives on cell phones! He's a really great guy, super genuine.

















Saturday, we went to the Undertow bar for all you can eat crawfish, sausage and shrimp...also $10! Omigosh, so stinking yum!!!

Saturday night, we stayed up late. Nee and I headed to bed around 12:30-ish while the guys stayed on the porch chatting. We all hear this noise similar to a dump truck unloading a dumpster. Renee comes into my room saying "There's a boat in my driveway!" Of course, we jump up and run (nosily) outside at 1am. Some drunk neighbor had careened around the corner from the boat launch, took out the neighbor's mailbox, and his boat (which hadn't been secured properly) flew off the trailer, slid across the grass, and landed across her drive. I think every cop in town showed up and we all posed with the boat. Because, really, who would believe us otherwise?! lol

Thanks for a great weekend, Nee Nee!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Jes Baker: Militant Baker, Tattoo Lover, My New Hero

For anyone not living on planet Earth and who hasn't seen/heard/cheered about Jes' response to Mike Jeffries, CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch's notable dumbass tirade about his clothing stores "model and customer preferences", then you have GOT to check out The Militant Baker. This woman is fearless and just freaking awesomely brilliant!

This is amazing and inspiring. For real. I was born thin, grew up thin, and started adulthood thin...and then I had my kids. Now, I am a size 14/16 and it's taken me a very long time to be comfortable with myself. Every piece of clothing in a department store is form fitting and snug. If it's not, then it's huge and would make even a skinny person look big. And the clothes designed for plus size girls? Muumuu, anyone?

The kicker? My husband actually prefer me now. And contrary to what Mr. Jeffries believes, most men prefer a little meat on the bones of their women. More to hold on to, as my hubby says. Otherwise, the "standard" size of a female model in today's society is the equivalent of a 12 year old boy...which shouldn't be attractive to ANYONE outside of a 12 year old girl. Because, really, just ewww.

I applaud Jes for her courage, tenacity, and kick ass, rockin body. As for the commenters who are questioning the male model in her photos being thin...the secondary purpose of these photos is to show that it doesn't take 2 thin people to be sexy, nor can "fat" women only be photographed with big men. There are just as many lean men in this world who find big girls beautiful, who find them sexier than their matchstick counterparts.

Great job, girl! Kudos to you...and also to Mr. Shay for being a real man and going against what is arguably the norm for his own profession.

While I personally am still not entirely comfortable in my skin, I can't wait for the day when I, too, like Jes can hold my head up and say "How do you like me now?!"

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Black Dagger Brotherhood

As I've mentioned before, I am an avid reader. At any given time, you can catch me reading. I love it so much, I even sneak a couple of minutes here and there! There have been a few novels and/or series over the course of my life that have really resonated with me. When I was much younger, it was Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club (yeah, you feel me!). Now that I'm older, my taste has turned more towards dark and steamy. Such is the case of The Black Dagger Brotherhood.


I don't think I've ever loved characters as much as these unlikely heroes. The Dark-Hunter series (Sherrilyn Kenyon) and the Carpathian series (Christine Feehan) definitely rank up there as favorites, but the vampire saviors of the Brotherhood are everything a woman could ever want. Dark, brooding, scarred and broken, sexy. Allow me to introduce you:

Wrath - the Blind King of the vampires. Last purebred vampire. Mated to Beth, daughter of the slain leader, Darius. He leads the war against the Lessers, de-souled humans out to destroy vampires.

Rhage - Movie star beautiful, nicknamed Hollywood, he is possessed by a dragon like creature. Mated to Mary, a human though now immortal.

Zsadist - By far, my favorite Brother. Scarred and broken from his existence as a blood and sex slave after being stolen from his family as an infant, he remained there for over a century until he is rescued by his twin, Phury. He is tortured, cold, merciless and unforgiving with some serious hangups about sex and feeding. Until Bella, his mate, redeems him. Has a daughter named Nalla. Beautiful and haunting, he literally stays implanted in my brain at all times. He is my favorite character of all time.

Vishous - resident genius who can see visions and is the only one who can heal Butch. Son of the Scribe Virgin (their "deity"). Mated to Jane.

Torhment - Brotherhood leader. Lost his mate and unborn child to a Lesser attack. Leaves the Brotherhood a broken man then returns later in the series. Re-mated to Autumn.

Phury - twin brother to Zsadist. Starts the series a celibate as an atonement for what Zsadist went through. Mated to Cormia and is the Primale of the Chosen.

John Matthew/Tehrror - a mute human man who was born with the mark of the Brotherhood although this mark is usually given and isn't a birth right. Is later found to be the reincarnation of the slain leader, Darius. Mated to Xhex.

Butch/Dhestroyer - a former human homicide detective turned Brother, he is mated to Marissa and has the ability to absorb Lessers into his body. Is the object of the Lesser Prophecy.

If you haven't been introduced to this series yet, I highly suggest you run off and grab them. I've read them a zillion times (Z's story, Lover Awakened, probably 2 zillion) and recently downloaded the entire thing to my Kindle so I can have my fix anytime, anywhere. The only one I have not read yet is Lover At Last, the newest chapter featuring Qhuinn and Blay, who are yes, both men. I'm excited to read their story, as past interludes with them have been explosive. Check out JR Ward's videos on YouTube and make sure you read this series. At least one of the Brothers will touch your heart, mind, and a very specific place in the southern hemisphere. ;-)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Banana Nutella Muffins

I've always been a big fan of cooking and baking. More so baking, because hey, it involves sweetness in the forms of chocolate and sugar. I came across a new recipe on Pinterest that I wanted to try, Banana Nutella muffins. What's not to love? Bananas and the sweet, creamy chocolate hazelnut spread. Heaven, I tell you! I bought some bananas last week and they were finally over-ripe enough yesterday to use. (And it was a major feat to keep my girls from devouring all of them before I could use them!!!).

The recipe is pretty straight forward...thanks to Jessica over at The Novice Chef, you can find the original here Banana Nutella Muffins. Her muffin photos are beautiful! It was a pretty quick and easy recipe, and my word, my kitchen smelled fabulous!!!! I, of course, couldn't wait until they were cooled properly before snatching one up and promptly burning the roof of my mouth. But it was so worth it, these muffins are to die for!!!! Here's the photos of the ones that I made (sorry for the quality, my phone is really giving me issues!)


 

 

 

 




 

 





 

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins

Yield: 18 muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
nutella

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with liners.
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.
In large bowl, whisk together banana, sugar, brown sugar. Beat in egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps. Fold in pecans.
Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Top each muffin with about 1 teaspoon of Nutella and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter.
Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Serve warm or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Magic Mike style

So my girlsfriends...Crystal, Tracy and Michelle...and I decided to check out a Magic Mike style male revue show that came into town this weekend. Hunks the Show out of Las Vegas. See the hunkiness here....


















We danced, we drank, we screamed until we were hoarse. Seeing as it is my birthday next week, Tracy bought me a lap dance. *sigh* It was crazy!!! You would have thought we were nuns who broke out of the convent. lol Afterwards, we met up with our men at one of the local girl strip clubs. Um, slightly different atmosphere. lol Men sitting all primly and quietly, sipping beer, and holding out $1 bills. We were like y'all are boring!!! Ha! I assume it's different with male "dancers" because they don't care if they get touched. So glad it is because man, that was a HOT evening out! Now for this weekend when we will be heading to a local club for my actual birthday night out....and that will be the extent of my evenings out for the year probably. lol

Bucket List

So I came across this bucket list in my computer from a long gone blog that I had. I had completely forgotten about it! Looking over the list, it's amazing how many things I have done (which I've highlighted) and how many more things I want to add to it. *sigh* Feel free to steal this list and make your own changes!!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld
8. Climbed a mountain9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelos David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53.Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Whew, what a crazy 2 weeks!

So I've been MIA obviously. What with Mardi Gras going on and all the catering and ball dancing. :-) It's been a complete and total blast!

First up, I helped hubby's catering job/restaurant/whatever you call it cater two balls. The first one was great...I bartended and hello, can we say TIPS?! Major thumbs up to that. The second? Not so much. I was a runner (the tuxedo clad person whisking trays of hot and steamy deliciousness to and fro from the kitchen tent to the main tent). The running wasn't the issue, nor was the temperature of the kitchen tent. The people, however, were rude and salacious and obnoxious. I smiled and "excuse me please" like the good Southern girl that I am...but inside, there was a battalion of potty mouthed sailors vying for the opportunity for a few four-letter word spewage. Ugh. Must people act like that? And this was for one of the ritzy, have more money than sense organizations. Geez.

On the flip side, the last event was the ball we attended, his aunt's Mobile Mystical Ladies organization. OMG did we have a blast!! I first went to my mother in law's, where she did the most amazing thing to my hair:



We danced and danced to all of the DJ's appropriate older-crowd approved music, and then finally towards the end of the night requested some Killin' In the Name Of by Rage as well as the ever popular Ice Ice Baby. ;-) The crowd seemed to be digging the Vanilla....their faces upon hearing Rage was priceless, though!! Hahaha!! Anyway, here we are...

















My bff Renee and her hubby Bobby (my other hubby) came over early to get ready. Bobby is from Chicago and therefore, aside from his wedding 6 years ago, has had no reason to wear tails. Listening to Aubrey's "Tuxedo Tails 101" instruction to Bobby as HI-LA-RIOUS!!


We had a really really good time. I'm hoping we didn't freak Bobby out too much and that his first ball was a hit!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm a bartender!

Well, kind of. ;-) I helped my hubby's job cater a Mardi Gras ball this past Friday. I got put in the bar and needless to say, I was petrified! I've never bartended a day in my life. Unless you count the very generous drinks I make for myself at home. I ended up having an absolute blast, though! All the guests were very nice, albeit drunk by the end of the evening, tipped well, and I had a ton of repeats so I ended up remembering the drinks of most everyone who kept coming to me. I got a bunch of "awesome job!" and "wow, you're good". :-) That makes me happy! I felt very proud of myself. I also had one girl trying to take me home all night. Her boyfriend thought it was hilarious (and I'm sure he would've been all about it had I actually gone lol). Then again, my hubby thought it was great, too. What is with men?! At least she was cute! We ended up, after packing up and heading back to the restaurant to unpack, getting home at 4am. And being a mom who is used to getting up early, I was still up by 8am. Ugh.

We have another ball this Friday night, followed by our own ball on Saturday. I'm going to be exhausted but I'm still determined to dance it up and have a blast!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thrift stores are my crack

It's been a few days since I've posted. This week has been cray-cray with end of the month paperwork at the office. I also helped the hubby cater the Senior Bowl last Saturday. For anyone that doesn't know, the Senior Bowl is a football bowl game for those seniors graduating college. NFL scouts, coaches, etc all come in just for this game so they can check out all the talent in one place. It's a pretty big deal. So I got roped into helping. I got there at 4:45 a.m. - yes, before the chickens were even up! Well, the chickens that would have been there had they not already been filleted and seasoned. ;-) Flash forward to 8:30 p.m. when I finally got off and needless to say, my feet were aching!! I had a blast though. I've never worked in the food industry before. I am just not a people person, and waitressing is something I would get fired from on day one for tossing a drink at someone, I'm sure. But this was fun! And apparently, I did a spiffy enough job that I also was asked to help cater a Mardi Gras ball both this Friday AND next Friday. And I don't turn down money to be made!! Laissez le bon temps roulez!

But I digress. To get back to my crack...um, thrift store obsession. I love love love thrift stores. I feel the need to check in with them every time I pass them on the street. The one nearest my in-laws house and my daughter's dance studio must feel like I'm a stalker. On any given day, you can see me walking towards the double doors, head swiveling from side to side as I furtively try to sneak in to catch the deals before anyone else.

It pays off, though! Here are the items I found just on Sunday!

$5.99 for these lovely ladies. Aren't they gorgeous?!

$5.99 for these Nikes. The soles on the shoes don't have a mark on them!! So obviously, if they were worn, they weren't worn outside! An essentially brand new pair of Nikes for $6.  *sigh*

And $2.99 for these babies, which are now my Mardi Gras ball shoes. I had intended to wear the first pair, and just spray paint them silver to go with my dress. But then I found these, which is great because the longer I lookd at the blue pair, the more I love them as is!!

And here is my Mardi Gras gown...not from the thrift store, but still only $40, part of my Christmas gift from my mother in law.

That ball is next Saturday. I'm really looking forward to a night out on the town! We are attending the ball for the hub's aunt's organization, Mobile Mystical Ladies. Along for the ride are my bff of 25+ years, Renee (Lord, how old are we?!) and her hubby, Bobby - who by the way is like my other half! ;-) Love me some Bobby. Oh, well, Renee, too, but still. Love me some Bobby. Ha!  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Healthy beginnings in 2013!

So, I'm not fat. I'm not skinny, either. I have, however, had 2 children via c-section. As much as I love them, they totally screwed me over! ;-) Being married to a chef isn't helping matters much in the "healthy eating" department, either. *sigh*

My goal for 2013 is to beat my husband until he remembers not to bring cream sauce-riddled, bread encrusted, fat enhancing delicacies home from the restaurant. Or, at the very least, sew my mouth shut to avoid the temptation to shovel said delicacies into my pie-hole. On a more realistic note, I would like to shed around 25-30 pounds. My current weight, at 5'6, is 165. I think 140-ish is reasonable for my height. I also would like to tone up.

Exercise is my biggest issue. Not because I don't like doing it, but because I don't have anywhere TO do it. I live on a dead-end street off a main thoroughfare, so jogging isn't really an option. I've tried the whole "run up and down the street until someone calls the cops because they think I'm casing the neighborhood". That doesn't work out so well. There aren't any parks near me, and my kids' school is an option but isn't very well lit after dark. Blech. I love to jog, though, so I'm hoping to get that all ironed out. Somewhere in between dance classes on Mondays, tumbling classes on Tuesdays, church on Wednesdays, and Vampire Diaries on Thursdays. ;-) I do have an all-over bodyweight workout that I've been doing in my living room 3 times a week.

Seriously, though, have you ever attempted to exercise in the living room of your house with your spouse of 10 years ogling your behind every time you do the downward dog?! Yeah, not much accomplished there. I've even tried to entice him to just join in the exercising with me so at least we can ogle each other. For some reason, he found that hilarious. Needless to say, it's distracting but I have kept up with that. Dealing with 15 minutes of leering and innuendo 3 times per week is a small price to pay for a nice ass.

I decided to put all this out there on my blog so that it's written down, in the stratosphere, and I can't NOT stick to my end of the bargain. I'm also not giving myself a specific goal date. I'm only saying that by summer, I want to be comfortable in shorts and sundresses. Do-able, I think!

So, if you see me with anything breaded, fried, or otherwise fat enabled headed towards my mouth, feel free to shout at the top of your lungs for the fatty to step away from the food.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

My new favorite author AND first ever BOOK REVIEW!

I stumbled across this amazingly talented author on Amazon when I was searching for books for my Kindle. Her name? P.T. Michelle. Seriously, her books are awesome! So awesome, in fact, that one of my initial reasons for even creating this blog was so that I could share her awesomeness with you. :-)

The book that I stumbled across was Brightest Kind of Darkness.

It's the first in a series of the same name and centers around Nara Collins, a typical 16 year old girl who has one slight difference...every night, she dreams her entire next day. She's spent her life avoiding the desire to change events due to an incident that occurred when she was younger, but one fateful event she can't help but change...and it sets her life on a collision course with fate. Enter the young, brooding Ethan Harris, whose connection with Nara is just as mysterious as he is. Drawn to each other with a desire they cannot control, their powers combine in a way that is different and breathtaking.

I literally could NOT stop reading this book. I purchased it one day, and was so drawn in that I finished it by lunchtime the next day. I read it on lunch, I read it while sitting in the waiting room of my daughter's dance studio, I read it in the tub. I'm the type of person that I'm okay with borrowing ebooks from the library or perusing the free books on amazon.com. For BKoD? Heck, no, that wasn't going to fly! I HAD to find out what happened at the end of this book. Enter Lucid...


Book 2 of BKoD centers around Nara and Ethan's relationship, what happened to him at the end of BKoD, and what they need to do to save each other. It kept me even more on my toes than the first one! I was breathless from page to page, fighting alongside Nara to save the love of my life...and yes, Ethan is now the love of my life. I want to help him, hold him, take care of him. *sigh* Broken and bruised and brooding, he's so perfect it's not even funny! You will not even believe where this book takes you. I cried and laughed and truly wanted to just beat the crap out of someone.

And now that brings us to Destiny, which I have to wait like 2 more months for! I absolutely cannot wait for this book to come out. I want it the second it's available. I want to pick up where Lucid left off, I want Ethan to come and pull the feather out of its hiding place, I want the desire and passion to take its natural course. I am DYING here!

I highly recommend you get these books. They are romantic and sexy and intriguing, all without being overtly sexual and cheesy. The premise is so different from anything I've read before. I applaud you, Ms. Michelle, for giving me a new kind of hero and making me fall in love with Ethan and even Nara!