Thursday, April 3, 2014

The Day I was Brave - THANK YOU

On Tuesday evening I posted a picture of myself from 2008 and one from last weekend on Instagram.


Then I got a text from one of my very best friends telling me how great it was and that I should post a  picture where you can see my whole body to see the full transformation that I have gone through in the past 4 years.  I had to look hard to find a picture that even showed what my body looked like, because I was so against pictures when I was heavier - there are very few of me anywhere.  I found one from Christmas 2010, and I was honestly shocked at how different I look, but I look at myself daily so the transformation was a little lost on me until I saw this...


I got some really nice comments on that photo, but I didn't post it to Facebook.  For some unknown reason I feel like Instagram is "safer" than Facebook.  When I posted that picture I wasn't ready for everyone that I am friends with on Facebook to see this - but then I realized that duh, they've already seen it since both of these pictures came from Facebook!

Then the comments and likes started rolling in and I was pretty much instantly overwhelmed.  This one photo has more likes and comments than nearly anything else that I have posted (except for a particular post on a current Supreme Court case involving a craft store - let's not get into that again).  It didn't stop all day yesterday.  Every time I looked at my phone there was a new comment or like - right now it's over 200 likes and over 30 comments.  Instead of commenting on the comments I decided that this topic deserved a blog post.

One comment that stuck out to me as being SO spot on was from my friend Rami:

The thing that stands out most to me in the before & after pics is how much more confident & relaxed your body language is in the after photo. It's obvious that you are a happier version of you & that is the kind of transformation that should inspire others. Never feel embarrassed to share that.

She couldn't be more right, the more that I look at the photo on the left, the more I realize how uncomfortable I had become.  My fists are clenched, the smile on my face is a little forced, and the best part - that was my favorite outfit of the time, I wore it at least twice a week.  I was struggling to find out who I was and where I belonged (I still don't have either of those things completely figured out yet) and I wasn't super happy.

Then I take a look at the photo on the left, not only do I like how I look, but I like the energy!  I am happier now, not because I weigh less, because I decided that is how I want to live my life.  I want to be a happy person, I want to wake up everyday and love my life, my job, and share my time with the people who make me happiest.  That's exactly what I am doing.

It's not easy by any means, it requires hard decisions.  I have had to watch friends walk away because they couldn't be in my life the way I needed them to be, and that hurts.  I have to decide not to have wine AND cake (like last night).  People ask me how I do it and it's fairly simple (in theory), I decided one day to start and I attempt to make good decisions every day.  I make mistakes, everyone does, but I decided that they won't derail me.  I decided that working out during my lunch so I have free time after work is something that is required.  I decided that as delicious as Diet Coke and Diet Dr Pepper are, they are shooting my metabolism in the foot.  I decided that 2014 was the year of me.  The year that if there are sacrifices that I have to make, those sacrifices cannot include my health goals.  That means that other things have to be sacrificed, sometimes my social life.  These are the choices that I have made to go from the girl on the left to the girl on the right.

I will not pretend that I did any of this on my own.  For Christmas, I asked my parents for 10 sessions with a personal trainer at my gym - she has been amazing.  I am telling you that cardio can get you pretty far, but if you want lasting results, you need to lift weights.  She kept me motivated until my body decided it was ready to drop.  I felt stronger nearly immediately, but I didn't see a serious loss until about three weeks ago.  Every time I have started this journey before now, I quit before I reached that point.  I decided that I couldn't quit this time.

I want you all to know that every single comment and like made me smile, some of them were so sweet that they nearly made me cry at my desk!  I appreciate each and every one of you for taking time out of your day to comment on my journey.  Here's one last photo - same location 3 years apart.

Thank you again so much for your support!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Skinny Chocolate Caramel Banana Bread

I've been craving sweets and carbs recently so I decided to try a new recipe that wouldn't kill my momentum.  Enter this recipe {original recipe here:http://www.recipegirl.com/2013/02/01/skinny-chocolate-caramel-banana-bread/}...



I made a couple of alterations here's my version:

Whole Wheat Chocolate Caramel Bread
2 c whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp apple sauce
1/3 c sugar
1/3 c brown sugar
3 mashed bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
5 packets Skinny Cow Milk Chocolate Dreamy Clusters

Oven - 350
Grease loaf pan

Mix dry ingredients, set aside
Cream butter, sugars, and applesauce
Add bananas, eggs, and vanilla
Chop up skinny cow candies - mix into the batter.

Bake for an hour - enjoy!



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Buttermilk Cranberry Breakfast Cake


I made this yummy breakfast cake for our Fab 5 holiday brunch - It was a recipe I found on Pinterest and it worked out perfectly.

Here's the much requested recipe:

Buttermilk Cranberry Breakfast Cake

1/2 c. butter (softened)
1 c. sugar
zest of 1 orange
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour (add an additional 1/4 c if you're at high altitude)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
2 c. cranberries (coated in 1 tbsp flour)

Pre-heat oven to 350
Cream butter, sugar, and orange zest until fluffy
Add egg and vanilla
Coat cranberries with 1 tbsp of flour (this keeps the berries from bursting and running when you bake the cake
Sift flour, baking soda and salt
Add flour mixture to the butter and sugar mixture alternating with buttermilk {I think it's best to end with flour}
Fold in the cranberries
Spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray
Bake for 35-40 minutes.  
*Mine took about 45 minutes and I covered with aluminum foil when the top was as brown as I wanted but the cake wasn't done.

Enjoy!

(adapted from this recipe)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Card Wreath

I have been wanting to make something to hold all the cute holiday cards I get from my friends.  I found this idea on Pinterest


It's a cute wreath made of clothespins - this one also used ribbon between the pins.  This is one of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to Pintrest - when you clicked on the link, it only led to this image - no how-to blog post or anything!  I decided that I could figure it out on my own so here goes!

Here's what you'll need for this project:

Wire wreath frame (I used at 12 inch which is the smallest of the frames they had at Michaels)
Clothespins - mine came from Walmart - $2 for 100 - I used 60 on my 12 inch frame
Scrapbook paper
Glue - I used ModgePodge
I'd get everything together first - it really takes no time if you get organized first!  I figured out how many clothespins would fit in each section of the wreath and then did some math (multiplication) to figure out how many total I would need.  Turns out you use 10 pins in every section of the 12 inch wreath - so I chose 10 pieces of scrapbook paper and made 6 pins of each type of paper to get 60 pins.

Take the scrapbook paper and cut out a section that would fit the number of pins you need.


Spread the glue on the paper, and firmly press in the clothes pins - let it dry.  I did all the gluing, and let the pins dry while I cleaned my kitchen :)


Cut out the clothes pins so that the paper is only covering the clothes pin with a slight overlap - you don't want to leave too much paper it will leave a slightly messy look on your finished product.  I decided to do the pins in different directions when I glued them on the paper so I got a variation of the pattern on the paper, it worked out cute!


The wreath frame has 4 circles - to get the look that I decided on you alternate every other pin.  Each pin starts from between the 2nd and 3rd circles - pins on the inside go on the inner two circles and the outside pins go on the outer two circles.


The ends will stick up making a zig-zag look.


I used the same order of pins around the whole wreath and I like the mismatched order of it all!


Then you simply tie a ribbon onto the back of the wreath and hang!





I can't wait until the wreath is full of cards of my cute friends and their kids!

Happy Holidays!




Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Voices


When we were at my great grandma's funeral this year we were right next to where my grandma (Nanny) was buried 14 years ago.  While I was there reflecting and thinking about how much I miss her and how much I hoped that she was watching down over all of us, I had a troubling thought.  I couldn't remember what her voice sounded like {I am getting teary eyed just writing this that's how much it upset me}.  I never ever want to forget her and when I realized I couldn't hear her voice in my head made me feel like that was starting to happen.

Through the miracle of technology my mom was able to transfer all of our VHS home videos to digital files.  My dad loaded those onto an external hard drive and mailed them to me.  When I watched the first video from Christmas of 1989 it started with my dad filming Nanny and her talking about being on camera (not her favorite) and I was SO happy that I cried because it was like part of her was back with me.

I am so grateful for technology for giving me the gift of hearing her voice again!
video


Thursday, August 15, 2013

32 Years


I posted this gem on the interwebs today because it was 32 years ago today that my lovely parents were married in the First Baptist Church in New Albany, Mississippi.

 They are the best example to us of what marriage really means.  It doesn't necessarily mean that you like the person a whole lot every single day, but it does mean that you love them.  Loving someone in that way means you're not leaving - no matter how tough times are.  Josh, Rob, and I have all had our moments when our parents could have thrown in the towel in dealing with our issues.  Because we are products of their love and the fruits of their marriage, they stuck it out.


I am grateful daily for the example that they are to me and am a firm believe that my dad follows one of my favorite quotes of all time with regards to marriage:
"The greatest thing a father can do for his children is love their mother"

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Side note: Is anyone else glad it's no longer 1981?  (1) Check out my dad's sweet mustache/beard/goatee combo and (2) those bridesmaid's dresses {in pastels no less}. LOVE YOU GUYS!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

{mid} Transformation Tuesday


I've been meaning to do this post for a while but I haven't achieved my final goal so I kept saying to myself that I should wait or be further along in my journey before I posted something like this.  But then I had a run like Saturday and this happened:


That run was faster than my runs all week {and longer}, but that wasn't the coolest part.  The best part was that I liked it.  I had fun running 5 miles, transformation #1.  Yesterday when I was driving to where I was going to run I told my mom that I might have to run on a treadmill because it looked like rain, which sounded so painful to me.  A year a go, I did most of my training runs for the October half marathon on a treadmill and loved it.  Like my Lululemon tank top says - I am a runner because I run, transformation #2

I am like a lot of people, I am a scale addict.  My whole life the scale has defined me.  The amount of weight I carry has been something that I allow to limit the way I live.  I am not done, and I would be lying if I said I didn't weigh myself once a week (better than once a day).  I would also be lying if I said I don't care what the scale says.  I do care, a lot.  But I also work very hard during the week to make sure that the number is what I want it to be, if its not, sometimes I have a meltdown.  That meltdown, however, no longer includes binging on food that will make me sick.

Speaking of foods that make me sick---
--I bake things, and these cupcakes were delish, but I indulged in more than one and I wanted to puke.  Because I have taken out most of the refined sugar from my diet, one cupcake too many makes me feel gross.  Three years ago when I really tried to start losing weight with little to no success, I never would have thought that two cupcakes would make me sick, transformation #3.

There are a few of my transformations so far, more to come, get excited.  For now here's this selfie of me being excited!