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March 1, 2015

February Final Thoughts: All Things Fitness (& Food)

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This past month was all kinds of bad for working out.  Yes I squeezed ten workouts in and yes I made a point of taking the stairs instead of elevators but I could have done much more.  Between the weather, stress at work and a basic major project hangover it was my not my most stellar month ever.  When I was there it was fantastic and I was amazed at how my body keeps changing.  My workout clothes that used to be snug are loose or too big entirely.  I'm at the point that I may have to adjust the band on my heart rate monitor again cause it's a little slack when I'm working out as of late.  And I have gone from actively avoiding the elliptical machine to spending forty minutes or more on it whenever I hop on that bad boy.  I'm within a half pound of one my bucket list items--lose forty pounds.  That may or may not happen this week but you know what I'm ok with that.  The weight doesn't have to pour off of me each week.  I'm not gaining weight and I'm losing at least five pounds each month which is what brings us to now.

It has felt like forever since I have lost more than five pounds and kept it off so this is a new experience for me.  While other people are noticing the weight loss when they see me for me I'm not seeing major changes anywhere except my belly which is shrinking, it's not flat but shrinking.  I've opted to upgrade the fitness watch as I think I mentioned in a previous post so it's just a matter of waiting until my plum Fitbit Charge HR is delivered.

As I finished my second bottle of water this morning I was amazed at my shift from water is disgusting to that is pretty much all I drink especially when I have my Mio or Minute Maid drops.  I'm not overeating and I'm not overindulging when I do have a cookie or brownie or something at work.  I'm committed to doing the food thing healthy now and can eyeball a good serving size and do check calories on things I'm buying.  I am by default counting calories because of my meal plan but I've been surprised about how not hungry I am eating a more balanced diet than the bored and ridiculous amount of food I was eating before.  And as my trainer has noted I'm still eating foods I like I'm just not making them in a way that would kill me and I'm not eating them to excess.  Time for a snack then beef kabobs and a baked potato for dinner tonight.

Gotta stick with it.  I will be pinup cute dang it.  More than that though I'm happy that I am not continuing to allow my body to be out of control just because I feel helpless to change it.  It's changing, slowly but surely.  I actually slid into a pair of my old size 18 Lane Bryant jeans on Friday and they were comfortable with a little give.  My other jeans are way too big now and if I don't wear a belt they would be in super saggy mode.  I haven't put on my dress pants as of late cause it's really freaking cold.  But I tend to be in at least one size smaller dress pants than jeans so whenever I brave the size 16s to see if they fit I will let you know.  I'm worried they will be too big.  The pants I loved from LB used to have belt loops, these do not which is just stupid.   How is the working it out going in your direction?

Fitness Friday

February Final Thoughts: All things hair

Ok I am really off my publishing cycle.  Work has been kicking my butt and I have just been in a get it done and sleep frame of mind as of late.  I have had good wash days the last few weeks but have mostly opted to air dry and then do something with it if I'm motivated to do so later.  So far that motivation has been lacking so I just faux bun and get off to work or the gym.  As I have been tinkering with my hair I can tell that the same breaking point with my hair has been reached so I have got to do better.  The lower half of the back of my head is always more prone to breakage and damage.  The rest can be full and thick and will cover up the weak spot but this has happened since I was at least 12 off and on and I'm not sure what to do to fix it but I am open to suggestions.  I have yet to consult with the hair braider but that may an option if I can get to their shop.  One because it will let my hair rest a bit and protect it from the ridiculously consistently cold weather and two it will allow me to stretch a bit longer.  Considering I did the last relaxer my roots are not completely out of control as they were the last time I paid someone to put it in.  The length appears to be holding steady but I'm also sure that I am in need of a trim to help even out some of the stuff in the back and just in general.

Otherwise my hair routine hasn't shifted much.  I did finally use the Roux Porosity Control conditioner and my hair loved it last week.  This week it doesn't seem as impressed but we'll keep plugging along to see if anything changes. I was going to say my hair looked pretty much like it does in the photo below because I didn't take a picture today but I am wrong.  It looks a bit longer today than it did a month ago so maybe I'm wrong about the length holding steady.  My hair has been ridiculously dry which I know is partially do to the weather but I'm being super lazy every day except wash day so someone please smack my hand on that if you don't hear me discussing healthy hair habits.  I did add a new hair vitamin the last time I went to grab the natural body wash from the health foods store.  I've only been taking it a few weeks and it hasn't been super consistent.  That's the issue with me lately consistency.

For those that asked yep I plan on self relaxing again.  I just may wear my old glasses next time so that I can be sure to get all the wavy bits covered without it being a touch only process.  When my hair is doing its own thing I also consider whacking it all off lol but I haven't had the motivation to do that either.  Plus as I mentioned it's super duper cold so more hair keeps my head warm.  I haven't had swim class to derail the whole hair journey right now either because the coach has been really ill but in the future that will be back on the agenda I'm sure.  How goes wash day and healthy hair journey for you?
The Wash Day Experience

February 8, 2015

Fitness Friday: Updates & Upgrades

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I am still getting my shrinking behind to the gym on a mostly regular basis.  January was a little spottier than I wanted but February has started off well so far.  I hit all the planned workouts for the week except swimming which got pulled because my instructor is still ill.  For the moment that means next week I'll get up and hit yoga then the gym and back to real life.  That does mean I need to work on my annual report before Saturday but I'm hoping to nail that down by Friday evening.  The workouts themselves are getting more interesting.  Not because they are hard but because of things I'm noticing later.  I mean they aren't easy but my body is hitting wave two of the weight loss process I guess.  I'm noticing my abs and behind in particular are much sorer after each work out.  A friend is saying the muscles are getting used again after shedding some weight.  That could be true but it's definitely different.  There are still a good mix of cardio and weights and stretches built in.  When I get tired I take it easier but I haven't had to cut any workouts short in months.  And now that I think about it that was at the very beginning when my body was surprised I was still trying to push it.  So really no abbreviated workouts since early November.

I've had to start buying smaller workout clothes a well because the original stuff is way too big.  The new stuff is slightly too big but I don't want things clinging to me while I'm sticky.  I need to find some longer shirts and matching sets more.  I like the idea of Fabletics but clingy isn't cute and they rarely had things in my size as it was.  Long sleeves always make me feel better but they aren't a sticking point.  I am on the lookout though so if you see anything in the 14/16 range let me know.  Wow even typing that is weird having been in the 18/20 range for quite some time now.

And after more than a year with my Polar FT7 I'm about to let it rest peacefully as soon as my new fitness band arrives.  In case you were wondering why I'll be happy to tell you.  Before I got smaller the band and heart rate monitor seemed to find an easy spot on my chest to rest and measure what it needed to.  After adjusting the band and being a bit more active it seems a little psychotic if I'm honest.  Most of the time the heart rate is fine but suddenly without any explanation it jumps up to 221 or something similar on the wearable monitor.  I notice this more on the cardio machines than just walking around but it can happen on both.  The reason I know it's off is when I grab the sensors on the cardio machines it stays in the right range so it's really the HR monitor on my body that is going nuts.  So I decided to upgrade after talking to my tech consultant, i.e. my younger brother who gets all the stuff way before I do, and I am moving over to the Fitbit Charge HR.  One because I can get one that's purple and who doesn't love purple lol.  And two because there is no band to wear and hope it's adjusted properly.  This measures heart rate at the wrist and is worn most of the time--no pool or shower, so it's not something you have to remember to put on to get the right measure.  If I forget the band for the Polar all I'm really doing is clocking time because it can't do much more without it.  Only problem with my purple (officially labeled as plum) fitbit charge HR is that they are in the preorder stage at the moment.  I measured my wrist and at 7 inches it would have been a snug fit in the large band which only goes up to 7.6 inches.  I'm getting the XL to be safe since my wrist does not seem to be subject to the same weight loss issues as the rest of my body lol.  Here's a look at it:

So how goes workouts in your land?

Fitness Friday

January Hair Updates

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Well it's been a while since I talked about my hair on here and I apologize for that.  I've been working and working out way more than planned.  Add in ridiculous cold and snow and it's just been a hot mess around here.

I'm about a month post now but that has been an experience in and of itself.  I have not found a new stylist after the relaxer fail late last year.  I thought I had found someone new but after making contact with her about two weeks before I was planning on getting a relaxer (before my conference) she never returned my call.  I called her a few more times but no one ever picked up at the shop.  That could have been weather related but yeah it's just poor business practice to me.  I gave up and relaxed my own hair.  Which let's just say was terrifying as I haven't done that in at least a decade.  I got the same kit that my old stylist in Arkansas used from Amazon.  Affirm Fiber Guard with the relaxer, prep and after care products, and the ability to make the relaxer as weak or strong as I liked.  I stuck as close to the timer as humanly possible for application and went with the regular strength relaxer for this first attempt.  I did let it sit on longer for processing cause my hair can be resistant as hell (as I mentioned to the nice woman at Ulta last year) and initially felt pretty good about the results when I washed it out.  There were a few underprocessed patches and I am in definite need of a trim but over all it looked and felt a great deal better than the last experience.  That is throwing me off schedule of course as my perm wasn't supposed to be until end of this month/beginning of next month but my hair was at the point of relaxing it or chopping it all off and starting over.  To be clear I haven't completely given up the major hack off idea but it's on hold for now that I haven't managed to make my hair fall out.  I am shedding a bit when I take down my hair from mock buns.  It could be the sweating or the not completely detangling it at night but it's not coming out in clumps which would make me sad.  I really think it's partially in need of a trim.

I've kept it straight and tucked away for the most part since January.  I may leave it down every blue moon but for the most part it's ends away.  I did a tiny trim myself the day of the relaxer but I'm no professional and getting to the back is a problem at the moment.  Blind women cutting hair is so not great.  And no I'm not blind but woosah without my glasses I might as well be.  I'm going to include some old pictures from the last few washes because I haven't started today and will be rushing the rest of the day as a result.

How goes things with you ladies?  I've missed all of you.

The Wash Day Experience

January 31, 2015

Subscription Box Review: Hatchery

So I haven't been around lately mostly due to work and traveling but I have a series of posts I need to make over the next few days.  I was going to start with a hair post but then I got a surprise a few days ago. Ok not a surprise I knew it was coming but didn't realize it would be here so soon after hearing it would be shipped. It's from a subscription service which isn't hugely monumental but in my case it's a big deal because I've for the most part entirely shunned those services.  I mean I like healthy snacks but my version of healthy and their version not quite the same.  And while I enjoy fashion and beauty I very rarely use makeup so those services won't work.  I ditched Fabletics because the cute outfits never seemed to be in my size and I am one of those women that legitimately hates yoga/thing workout pants.  This box could be called a fit of food snobbery but you'd be somewhat wrong.  It's a gourmet food service that gives you samples of small shops across the country.  Living Social had a three month special which amounted to a third off so I figured it wouldn't hurt to try it out.

Hatchery.Co produces the Hatchery Box.  Once a month you get a sampling of products to cook with.  Some of it is tailored to your tastes along with what seems to be part of the selection for the month.  And they alert you before the shipment moves out so you know when you to look for it.  I had a few of the same items as featured on the website this month but have to say I was pleasantly surprised by the assortment and taste for those things in the box.  The only miss for me was the jelly and that's just cause I don't like jelly.  I will review each item below the picture.  First up though just some photos of what the box looked like as I was unpacking it.  Call me a sucker for the somewhat kitchy and vintage look but I loved the look of this box.  Each item is very securely packaged and there's a description of each item on the cards I snapped.  There's also a recipe included using at least one of the items in the box.  This month it was for barbecue peel and eat shrimp.  Sounds good but I'm lazy when eating so the shrimp would have to be peeled ahead of time lol. 

Now on to the reviews.  This box came the night I wasn't sure what to do with my salmon so it worked out fantastic really.  I used a bit of the mustard and paella spice mix on my salmon.  The paella didn't pack much heat for the amount I used but it could have been muted by the mustard which was AMAZING.

This is a sample of a very nice olive oil.  I've only used it to coat my baked potatoes but it was light and tasted okay.  I need to try it on a larger scale either in meal prep or marinade to give it a better marinade.

I'll admit to being confused by this one.  Pasta gravy is a new one for me and I was nearly ready to chuck it to the mom donation pile until I started reading.  It sounds like a really good and rich pasta sauce.  As soon as I try it I will let you know.

This was the miss for me.  I won't be trying it but I'll give it to mom to try like normal.

I haven't tried this one yet but I'm semi desperate to.  I love a good barbecue sauce so flipping much.  I might try it with my steak tonight.

This mustard is delicious.  I may actually have to order this full size and love it more.  It's got a nice tang to it on top of being a rich full flavor.  

I was a little disappointed in this on the salmon.  It just kind of lost it's totally imagined fire.  As I mentioned that could have been because I added the mustard to it but I will give it another try on another dish.

Ok I got a three month subscription for 51 bucks through LivingSocial.  Regular monthly price is 25 a month with cancellation anytime you would like or yearly 240 bucks (a whole savings of 5 bucks a month).  If you really like to cook and try new things without paying full price for things this isn't a bad deal.  It isn't anymore expensive than some of the other subscription services and if you're like me it will expose you to things you can't get locally.  

Six items would work out to be about 4 dollars an item each month including shipping.  Now you can see about what sized items you are getting so it may not be worth it to pay that monthly especially since you don't know what is coming.  If you were willing to commit for the year then it would be about 3 bucks an item plus shipping.  I like the idea of things being sourced from all over especially since I keep finding myself in smaller towns with seemingly limited palettes.  Having said that though I really do like knowing that my boxes will end in March unless I'm just so overwhelmed that I must continue.  I like having the finite ending point.  The same could be said of the yearly package so if you want to give it a whack for a longer time that's an option as well. 

Have a good Saturday and enjoy good eats every day.

January 2, 2015

First Friday: Fitness on Tap

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I actually forgot that the gym was open yesterday but it wouldn't have mattered because Thursday is my off day. I was semi-dreading going today because I was convinced the Resolutioners would be there en masse and causing confusing. Turns out I was wrong on both counts. It may pick up soon but for right now my anticipated gym times seem to be quite clear.  As I was winding down for my last bit of cardio, I spoke with a cute older woman named Holly.  She was in the gym for the first time and the machine was confusing her.  Four minutes later she was up and running and tinkering with the machine to better account for her pacemaker.  I'm sure the Resolutioners will take over eventually but today was a good work out.

Fitness Friday

December 30, 2014

2014 Recap: The Good, The Bad, & The Growth

I haven't washed my hair yet.  I'll do that tomorrow after the gym or after my mother's doctor's appointment cause setting up appointments on New Year's seems like oodles of fun right?  Yeah the joy of raising you parents.  Tomorrow when I'm done ripping and running I will prepoo my hair.  Either for the rest of the day or for a few hours.  I will be using my Hot Head heating cap again because I super duper love it.  And I will let it loosely let it air dry like I did last week.  That actually turn out badly so I didn't blow it out or put any heat on it the last week.  I will after this wash day because I want to take a current length and potential damage shot for New Year's.  I also want to have a weight loss progress shot since I am now down 25 pounds.

Good: I know my hair won't fall out if I go swimming
Bad: Chlorine is still really hard on your hair
Growth: I'm still trying to make it work even though I admittedly started slacking at the end of the year

Good: My hair rebounded from the massive chop from last year
Bad: I didn't do enough to prevent split ends
Growth: I'm ready to get it popping again this year

Good: I bought a Mia to help with my skin regimen
Bad: I haven't used it regularly
Growth: It's reboot time and if I just get up 20 minutes earlier I can get everything I want to do in the morning done

Good: My hair is good and gray lol not everywhere and not all the time but woosah it's gray
Bad: Since that last perm didn't take my hair is ridiculously thick right now
Growth: I'm about 20 weeks post now and my hair hasn't crawled off my head and sought out a relaxer

Good: I worked out at least 45 times more than last year
Bad: It's still not as much as it could have been but I am getting better
Growth: That whole six weeks to make it a habit thing is true, I'm getting it in and I love it

Good: I am not remotely depressed about turning 40 next year
Bad: I have no idea how I want to celebrate that
Growth: I have developed the celebrate me mindset so it will happen

Good: I am really enjoying my life
Bad: Mad it took me this long to get here
Growth: If I'm lucky I have at least another 40 years to be loving me

I'm taking all of my Growth moments as things to move with me into the new year and will pad them with a bit of the Good stuff.  The Bad are lessons to learn from so all in all no matter what it was this was a GREAT year of self exploration, self care and growing into a better me.
The Wash Day Experience

December 27, 2014

FItness Friday: Sweaty Saturday Summary

So my Fitness Friday post is late again this week.  I did hit the gym as scheduled this week so now I'm three workouts away from 100 for the year.  Much as like last year though, the vast majority of them came at the end of the year when my brain and body finally said enough damn it.  I'm still learning my body and what works and what hurts and instead of just plugging along at something I'm not interested in doing I'm speaking up and making changes as needed.  My trainer is helping immensely and I'm figuring out that some of my old food wasn't so bad as long as it's not a daily kind of thing. Next week it's homemade pizza time--I'll try to take a photo, actually that's tomorrow so yeah I'll try to take a photo before I slice it up.  I had pot roast for Christmas and last night, I'll probably have that again tonight instead of a twice baked potato.  I do like potatoes but yeah not in the mood for one today.  That is something I have noticed over the last few months.  Even food that I love can either feel too heavy or just not what I'm craving.  Thankfully there's a lot of flexibility in the meal plan so I don't ever get too far off calorie count.  Trying to balance the dairy and protein and what not is a challenge some days but it's better than it used to be.  I'm not going to claim it at this point but it looks like I'm back on the losing end of things again after a week of flat weight loss.  If it holds I'll be down 25 pounds since I started this whole reboot two months ago.

I did just find out that my yoga class is moving to the same time as my swim lesson so I'm going to have to figure out when to sneak it in during the week.  Yoga this morning was different cause we had a new instructor for the day.  I got in a good sweat which is always nice but I really liked having yoga then scooting down the stairs to swim.  Ahh we'll see. 

Oh and I had a doh moment at the gym this week.  Remember I'd been having trouble with my heart rate monitor.  The readings would be all over the place like the sensor was losing its mind.  Well I was washing my hands and trying to get the sensor to read normally when the band came unhooked--again.  Why this didn't occur to me before I really can't say but I have NEVER tinkered with the band ever since I bought it.  I've been losing and gaining the same 10-15 pounds over the last year until recently.  There is actually less of me to wrap around so I had to make the band tighter.  Yeah for tangible proof of weight loss but damn that was an easy fix that had I just thought of earlier I might not have been checking out other fitness bands.

How goes the sweaty life for all of you?

Fitness Friday