Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Red Underwear

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve and I find myself incredibly shocked another year has passed.  On this night last year, as I was readying to ring in 2014, I read some insane fact that wearing red underwear will ensure you find love in the new year.  Ridiculous, I know, but I was all aboard!  I am so happy to report that my being ridiculous actually paid off for once.  This year, I did find love…with myself.
A few weeks ago at a friend’s party, I saw a few people that I haven’t seen in several months.  Obviously, I look very different than I did over the summer and some people don’t read my blog.  It’s a shame, I know. :) The following conversation occurred,

Person: “So Sarah, you look great!  What are you doing?  What happened?  Are you in love?”
Sarah: “Yeah, with myself.”

Totally accurate.  I guess many people do have a specific reason for making a drastic change in their lives and I’m assuming that many people do it because of love.  I’m doing it for the love of myself.  The journey might not have started out that way but I am amending my course.  I will keep going and striving because I, honestly, love myself too much to put my body through the hell I used to.  Now, the only hell I endure is in the name of sweat and muscles.

I have the luxury of being incredibly selfish.  I will continue to put myself first because after 28 years, I deserve it.  I deserve to be the #1 priority in my life.  My health and happiness are at the forefront of my mind every day.  If that means turning down a late dinner, running 5 minutes late to work because I was at the gym or saying no to a social situation I can’t be trusted in then that’s the way it goes, folks.  I love a lot of things, especially cupcakes, but right now I have to love myself more.  

In 2014, I fell in love with myself and my new life.  People (who, I don’t know) always say that you won’t find love with anyone until you love yourself.  I won’t need any red underwear this year because I know love will find me soon.  I know this because I’m open, ready and already completed step #1.  Plus, Sylvia the psychic said I would.  Let me guess, you want to know what color underwear I’ll be wearing tonight?  That would be yellow, friends, which is supposed to bring you wealth, prosperity and/or success.  Why?  Because I need wealth in order to afford all the new clothes for the cute new me!  Another skinny girl struggle.  Visit here to see meanings for what color undies you should rock tonight.

This photo is the LAST one I have of my old self.  It was taken on 12/31/13 at a pajama NYE party.  Exactly 2 weeks later, I had my consultation with the weight-loss clinic.  Here I am 52 weeks after photo, extremely thankful that momma bought me new pjs for Christmas!  Can we talk about how even my HANDS are skinnier?

Happy New Year, everyone!  Drink champagne, dance on tables and don’t forget to eat your black-eyed peas tomorrow.  Call a cab, or your mom, tonight and celebrate responsibly!  Cheers to 2015!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Sur-prise, Sur-prise

I hope everyone had the merriest of Christmases!  My time at home was short but I had a great time with family and friends.  I definitely have to get my eating under control as I’ve been on and off the wagon since my birthday.  I really missed the gym, too.  I was gone for 2 days, which is totally normal, but it felt like longer.  The ONLY thing I cared about eating on Christmas was this baked brie.  Holy Toledo, it was worth it.  I made it with apricot preserves and Crescent roll dough.  If you’ve never had one of these, get your life together and make one.  It took about 15 minutes and 3 people to destroy it.  Ah-mazing!  Also, here's a photo of me passed out at like 3 p.m. from all the carbs I consumed.  Mom thought it was funny that Oliver and I were napping but he promptly awoke when she broke out her phone to get a pic.  His eyes are the reason mom called him devil dog for the first 3 years of his life.  Well, his eyes and the fact that he can be a jerk sometimes.  How cute am I in my lumberjack chic look?  #lumberjackchic is going to be trending one day so wear it and hashtag it!  Anyway…

Remember a few posts ago when I said I wanted an honest-to-God surprise for my birthday?  Well, I got a few of them.  Technically, some of them weren’t necessarily for my birthday but they were definitely in the vicinity.  On the eve of my birthday, I saw a shooting star.  Well, I think it was actually a meteor as apparently showers are really common in the beginning of December.  Thank you, Google.  I was out walking Oliver on his last quest of the night and I glanced over my shoulder and saw this bright light shooting across the sky.  It took me a second or two to register but I closed my eyes and made a wish because you just never know.  The second thing that surprised me was the generosity of my friends.  I know I said I didn’t want my surprise to be a gift and I’m holding true to that.  I’m not surprised by the gifts but rather about the thoughtfulness and meaning behind them.  I believe I threatened to punch a few people over the enormity of their thoughtfulness.  The biggest surprise of all was finding that the truest of friendships will always shine through.  This year has been rough and I have definitely had a tribe of people behind me showing support.  Those same people are the ones that were there to celebrate my day.  Many helped me celebrate from afar but they were phone calls, text messages and cards filled with wishes.  As I get older, I realize that the quality over quantity mantra is so true.  I would much rather have 10 dimes than 100 pennies.  I want to thank all the dimes in my life for making my birthday so incredibly special.   Hugs!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Call Me For Ya’ Free Readin’

As stated earlier, I’ve just arrived home from a weekend away in Savannah with some friends.  It was an epic girls’ weekend filled with fun, food, shopping and a psychic.  What?  I know!  Wandering along River Street, we saw a sign for Sylvia and decided to give it a try.  I am, obviously, not disclosing who participated or what was said in anything other than my own read.  Also, I’m not revealing ALL of what Sylvia told me about myself as I’m not sure if that negates it from coming true, much like a birthday wish.  We waited to meet Sylvia and decided to get a tarot card reading.  When it was finally my turn, I was incredibly nervous.  What if she told me I was going to get hit by a bus tomorrow?  If she did, I would book it out of there as I have a plane to catch and food to eat.  I shuffled the deck 3 times, as instructed, and had to shuffle another 3 times because Sylvia told me that someone’s energies were still left in the cards.  Not something I think someone should be leaving behind anywhere but you do you.  She deals my first cards and reveals some VERY accurate information about my professional life.  While I realize that her read could probably apply to many young professionals, the fact that I have uttered the exact words that came out of her mouth multiple times in the last few months is freaky.  I’m starting to become a believer.  Next, specific details withheld, Sylvia goes on to tell me when I’m going to find love (she even told me some interesting details about him), about the kids she sees in my future and some very exciting news about 2015.  Let me guess, you’re still skeptical?  Well, Sylvia tells me that this year I’ve really been focusing on myself, figuring out where I want to be in life and planning how to get there.  Do you think she reads my blog?  I know I won’t win all of you over and most people don’t believe in any of it.  Regardless, this experience was so much fun and has left me feeling incredibly optimistic about the future.  Even if Sylvia is wrong and none of it is in the real cards for me, I’m looking forward to playing wait-and-see game.

OH!  I totally forgot to post my progress chart from the doctor last week.  Look at that beautiful downward slope!  Sorry, ma’, I’m not calculating it.  I absolutely put it on my refrigerator just like mom would hang my macaroni artwork when I was a kid.

Cupcakes and Lost Lunches

I apologize for the silence, friends!  The past 10 days have been beyond busy!  It all started last weekend with 3 parties, moved on to birthday celebrations (I use the whole week) and ended with a trip to Savannah that I literally just walked in the door from.  I was itching to get a post up to you as I have been contacted by several people asking when the next installment of my life would be available for the masses.  I will probably disappoint for a few weeks due to not having as much time to ponder and write with the holidays rapidly approaching.

Not ready for all this jelly
These past 10 days have not only been busy but have also been filled with food.  Most days, I ate cake, a cupcake, ice cream, a beignet or some other form of something I shouldn’t be eating on the regular.  I did make a fabulous find in Orlando at the Blue Bird Bake shop.  Their cupcakes are ON POINT!  This is a picture of the box my parents and I got after my birthday lunch.  This picture also captures my face of disappointment that I can’t eat this PB&J cupcake every day of my life.  Vanilla cake.  Peanut butter icing.  Grape jelly syrup on top.  I DIED.  It was amazing.  I HIGHLY recommend this cupcake shop and will be back once I’ve lost all the weight I will inevitably gain from this week.

Pizza & ice cream-worth it!
Okay, cupcake connoisseur dialogue over and back to trying to be fit.  I ate so much on my birthday that I was sick that night, which carried over into the next morning’s workout.  On my b-day, I woke up at 3:50 a.m. (yep, sure did) and worked out for an extra 30 minutes.  I had my normal breakfast and proceeded to eat the following: fried mac ‘n’ cheese, fried pickles, grilled cheese with bacon, French fries, a cupcake, oxtail with faba beans, pumpkin rice, coconut cake and chocolate cake.  I feel like I need to say a Hail Mary like I just left confession.  Lying in bed that night, I thought to myself, “I’m going to throw up.”  I haven’t eaten this quantity or quality food in a long time.  I made it through the night without losing my lunch.  The next morning, I was mid super-setting squats and step ups and I felt like I was going to pass out.  Let’s just say the next series of events wasn’t pretty.  Hovering over the gym bathroom sink, I yelled at myself for eating so much.  I must not have listened because last night at dinner in Savannah I seriously thought I was going to blow up.  I’ve had a food hangover all day.  The struggle is real, people.  Also, in Savannah, I had my first piece of pizza in 6 months and real ice cream in I don’t even know how long.  Let’s take a moment to focus on the positives of the past 10 days.  I worked out 6/10 days (even waking up at 5:30 on vacay to hit the hotel gym).  My pants still fit when I put them on this morning.  Yeah, that’s all I got.  I did have a dang good time and, honestly, needed a break from my low-carb life.  I’m back to good and starting a detox tomorrow.  I don’t even think I’ll eat much/”bad” on Christmas because I’m really looking forward to eating the way new Sarah does.  I miss protein.

I’m hoping to get some blogging in this upcoming week with Oliver at his grandparent’s house and a 4.5 day weekend.  Here’s hoping something funny or embarrassing happens soon so I can keep your readership.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Letter to Me

Happy birthday, beautiful! You make 28 look good! It’s been a long, difficult year and I’m so optimistic about the year ahead for you. I know you’re reluctant to turn closer to 30 but 27 was amazing, and I’m incredibly excited to see what this next year has in store for you. In the past year, you’ve cried more tears and sweated more sweat than any years before but you kept your head up and kept moving. I’M SO PROUD OF YOU. You never gave up. You never fell (figuratively) on your face. Sure, there were slip ups and missteps but you persevered. One day you woke up and believed you could so you did. You proved to yourself that you are courageous, strong and determined. You’ve accomplished eons and I know you’ll keep striving for more. Get the pen ready because you’re going to keep checking items off your goal list and will be adding more along the way. Celebrate today and all of your accomplishments as you deserve a day off! I raise a cupcake to you and wish you health, love and, most of all, happiness. Be you and be great.




Sunday, December 14, 2014

And Suddenly You're Just Different

In honor of my birthday week, I put together a photo montage of me from age 18 to 28.  If a photo couldn’t be found from the day of my actual birthday, it is definitely close.  I’m the smallest I can ever remember being and am way lighter than I was in high school at age 18.  It’s hard to believe that 10 years ago I was getting ready for prom, prepping for college, stressing my way through AP statistics class and caring more about my social life than anything else.

Recently, while hanging out with my friend, Aly, we were talking about my blog, and how awesome it is :), and it was brought up how I was fortunate to not be bullied in high school. It’s totally true. No one was ever deliberately mean to me in high school because of my weight. I had plenty of friends, played a sport and was voted friendliest by the senior class. My true friends never saw me as fat, they just saw me as Sarah. Elementary and middle school was where kids were the cruelest.  I can remember crying to my mom over being the fat kid and feeling so ugly.  I was afraid to try new things and go out for teams because when I did, I wasn’t ever good enough.  Kids would call me fat, or other equally creative names but I’ve always been funny and sarcastic so if anyone said anything mean to me I usually had a comment right back. I let being fat define me and believed it was all I would ever be. Being overweight held me back from a lot and lead me to miss out on things. It’s hard to believe that it took 20 years for something to finally come along that was worth giving up being fat for. Not being chosen for cheerleading in the 7th grade, not being asked to prom, being too fat to ride roller coasters, always being in the friend zone, skipping parties in college when being scantily dressed was theme required or being described as the, “big girl with red hair.” None of these things ever pushed me to be successful at losing weight. Nothing was worth the sacrifices and hard work required for long-term results. Until last December.

Around my 27th birthday, I started to panic that life was passing me by. I called my mom to tell her something I hadn’t been able to admit to myself out loud. I’m terrified of being alone for the rest of my life.  What if I miss out on some of the best parts of life because I can't lose weight?  What if I never find my happy?  We talked about it for a few minutes and she said to me, “You know you’re going to need to lose weight.” I know this might sound harsh but I love her so much for saying those 9 words to me. This wasn’t the first time mom and I have talked about my weight but this was the first time I realized she was, as usual, 100 percent right. A few months earlier she asked if I’d be interested in getting lap-band surgery. “It’s not that bad, mom,” I think I countered. It was that bad, I was just so blind to it.  Mom would never say these things to hurt my feelings. She said them because she’s my mom. She wants what all moms want, for her kid to be happy and live a fulfilled life. I quickly realized after our honest phone conversation that I needed to start designing the life I’d been dreaming of. It was time to stop sitting on the sidelines watching others have happiness. I started going to spin classes, I kept up my (small) gym routine through December and attempted eating better. After the holidays, it was incredibly obvious that I was going to need a little help. All of the pieces fell into place after that. Girl gets meds. Meds help girl lose weight. Girl eats less and moves more. Girl starts blog. Girl loses more weight. Girl gets hot. Okay, you’re all caught up.

I have finally found the one thing capable of snapping me out of my fat phase. After all these months, the one thing keeping me going all this time is the same reason why I started. It isn’t a material object, it isn’t money, it isn’t dreams of being skinny, it’s a concept. The concept of a life where I am happy, accepted and loved.  A life where I'm actually living each day not just passing through it.  A life worthy of being the great story I tell my grandchildren when I'm 90.  Hell, actually seeing age 90.

Looking back, I cannot believe how much has changed in a year since that epiphany.  It’s amazing to witness all the engagements, weddings, babies, job changes, moves and personal growths of friends and family.  I know I am a completely different person than I was this time last year.  I guess that’s the fun part about life, you never know what lies ahead.  I never dreamed I would be where I am or have accomplished the things I have this past year.  Sure, I was optimistic but this year has completely exceeded all expectations.

This past year was, honestly, the most rewarding and the most difficult I’ve had in all 28 lived.  In 2014, I found myself.  I found a girl who was tired of the bullshit she was putting herself through.  I was fed up with being me, so I changed.  I finally flipped the light on and became the person I was too lazy to be before.  Twenty seven was a transition and 28 is my debut.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Ain't Worth the Whiskey

To quote the Cole Swindell song, some things just ain’t worth the whiskey.  This year, I’ve definitely been able to discern the difference between what’s worth it and what’s not.  I’m not a wasteful person (especially when it comes to whiskey!) and would never waste my calories, carbs, sugars or fats on something that’s not worth it.  Burger King breakfast, not worth it.  Momma’s chocolate chip cookies, worth it!  I bring to you on this Wednesday several food finds that are worth it and several that are just worth purchasing because they’re not “bad” for you and are ON POINT!

My sweet momma was kind enough to make me my very own dessert for Thanksgiving to enjoy while everyone shoveled pie and cheesecake.  Jerks.  She mixed sugar-free vanilla pudding with pumpkin and cool whip, layered it with cool whip and added a sprinkling of graham cracker.  This delectable little cup was heaven.  She’s so good to me.  After eating one the night before Thanksgiving, I decided to calculate the carbs and sugars.  They were a little more per serving than we would have liked but did save me on calories and fats compared to pumpkin pie.  Regardless, this dessert was definitely WORTH IT.  

A lot of those I follow on IG talk about Complete Cookies by Lenny & Larry.  ONE cookie is TWO servings, which equates to a cookie of 58 carbs, 32 sugars, 16 proteins, 14 fats and 6 fibers.  I quoted the pumpkin flavor as that’s the one I purchased.  These vegan cookies are dairy free with no animal products and no preservatives.  This cookie was AMAZING!  It was soft and had a buttery texture.  If you’re going to have a cheat cookie, it might as well be one of this brand.  WORTH IT!  I got mine at Vitamin Shoppe but you can check out Lenny & Larry here.

I successfully made sugar-free instant pudding with almond milk.  Not supposed to be a thing because it’s missing enough fat to make it pudding-like.  However, if you use 1 cup plus 2 TBSP almond milk and 2 TBSP water it totally works!  This is exciting science news because it severely cuts down on the carbs, fat and calories!  This photo looks like green snot because I made pistachio flavor pudding but it tasted pretty good.  Pistachio was a good experiment flavor because the almond milk just enhanced the nutty flavor.  Also, I added peanut butter and whipped cream like I do to all things.  WORTH IT (as in eating what looks like slime).

I discovered ThinSlim Foods the way I do most things, through Instagram.  This product line boasts everything from bagels, breads, cookies, muffins, brownies, sweet squares and pizza dough.  I ordered a random sort of foods to sample.  I purchased a pack of the Love the Taste Bagels in everything flavor, which has 16g carbs, 0 sugars and 14g fiber.  Again, net carbs are carbs minus the amount of carbs with no impact on blood glucose levels, therefore many would subtract the fiber to gain 2g net carbs.  However, I’m under the impression that you’re still consuming 16g carbs and the same amount of calories regardless.  The fiber is an added bonus.  Either way, I’m okay with the 16g carbs for a bagel.  I toasted mine and added some veggie cream cheese and it was tasty.  It was a little dry but I may have over toasted it because I wanted it to be crunchy.  I’m still experimenting.  The brownie was decent (again, added PB and whipped cream, duh) and was very moist (barf, I know but I have no other word for it).  I had a chocolate chip muffin that wasn’t as good as momma’s but nothing is.  The double chocolate muffin was pretty dry, though.  Obviously, all the things I’ve tried are not replicas of the real thing but they are extremely good substitutions.  You can check out ThinSlim here.  Bagels get the thumbs up.

While in Orlando for Thanksgiving, I made it a point to go to Whole Foods to get some Halo Top Creamery ice cream.  I’ve heard good things.  I bought the lemon cake and strawberry flavors.  The lemon cake was so good!!  For ½ a cup you get 12g carbs, 4g sugars, 7g protein, 3g fat and 4g fiber.  The strawberry, however, left something to be desired.  It was nowhere near as good as the lemon cake.  I will for sure buy lemon cake again but probably not the strawberry because it’s ‘spensive for a pint.  On the lemon cake, I drizzled some almond butter and added whipped cream (y’all know by now that this is my M.O.) on top.  

Also, while browsing Whole Foods, I found my new favorite thing of life- SUGAR COOKIE SLEIGH RIDE tea.  I’m not exactly sure what a sugar cookie sleigh ride is but I want to go on one and never leave.  This tea is amazing AND caffeine free.  Hallelujah!  I also purchased a few other flavors but the sleigh ride tastes just like a sugar cookie.  Mix in a sweetener and a dash of almond milk and you have Christmas in a cup.  Promise.

Choices these days are all about what’s worth it and what’s not.  If you’re going to eat a treat, you might as well enjoy it and have it taste good.  There’s nothing more disappointing than giving in to a craving and having it totally suck.  I’m still trying to figure out what’s not worth drinking whiskey over.  I’ll continue to ponder…

Please be warned that when you finish the pint of Halo Top and attempt to take a photo of the carton for your blog that an unsuspecting doxie will sneak in.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Roller Coaster Ride

Butterbeer lovin'
I’ve been obsessed with roller coasters since I was a kid.  Being a tall child, I met the height requirements by the time I was 4 years old.  I was that fearless kid who wanted to ride over and over again.  I love the rush and thrill of rides and growing up in Orlando around theme parks was amazing.  I remember at one point in life wanting to design roller coasters for a career.  Good thing I let that go because there’s no way I would have made it through an engineering program in college.  In high school, I got a part-time job at Universal Studios so I was ALWAYS around rides.  It’s crazy to think about it now but I haven’t been on a roller coaster in nearly 10 years.  One day after work at Universal, I met up with a friend at Islands of Adventure (where the big rides are) to hang out.  We went to ride on the Hulk coaster and when I sat in the seat it seemed noticeably smaller.  My fat ass couldn’t get low enough in the seat so the over-shoulder restraint wasn’t close enough for the seat belt to reach.  I PANICKED.  It was probably one of my top 5 most embarrassing moments of life.  I had to GET OFF the ride and wait for the next car to come forward and they put me in a bigger seat.  It makes me sick to even think about that moment now.  The next week, a bunch of us from my department took the day off to go to Busch Gardens in Tampa.  Having the experience I just did, I was so nervous about getting in line for coasters.  I faked a stomachache for the first few but knew I’d eventually have to brave a ride and stop sitting out.  Luckily, on the next coaster, they put up a diagram of what seats on the car were bigger.  I asked a friend to switch seats so that I could sit next to another friend but really it was so that my big butt could actually ride the ride.  I proceeded to go on this coaster about 4 times in a row because I knew I could.  It’s so sad and embarrassing to admit this to you all.  That was probably in 2005 and I believe was the last time I rode a roller coaster.  Until yesterday.


On Wednesday, my friend and I decided we needed to get out of Gainesville and go on an adventure.  We decided to choose happy and settled on a day trip to visit the new Harry Potter attractions at Universal and Islands of Adventure.  I had a freakin’ blast!  I geeked out on all things HP, drank my first frozen butterbeer (calories don’t count when you’re on Diagon Alley) and rode zillions of rides.  I had forgotten how much fun roller coasters are!  I was screaming and laughing all day.  

All set!

I had a slight nervousness upon riding the Hulk and waiting in line I was reminded of that extremely embarrassing moment years ago.  All the coasters now have signs throughout the line area directing guests as to what rows are “modified seating,” which they describe as being able to fit other body types.  Where were these signs years ago?  Regardless, I comfortably fit and have a photo to prove it!  The sign above my head tells you that certain upper body types might not fit in the seat I’m sitting and the seat next to me is one of those modified seats.  I’m so happy that I was able to fit in all regular seats and my weight didn’t hold me back from anything on this day.  I was running through the lines out of excitement and had no issues walking the entirety of BOTH parks.  I treated myself to an annual pass and I can’t wait to go back!

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Sun Always Rises

HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS to my #1 fan, Papadopolous!  Enjoy your first day of retirement and eat anything you want!  I love you more than donuts!

Well, kiddos, I didn’t make my goal.  Whomp, whomp.  Technically, when I set out on this journey, I wanted to weigh under 200 lbs. by my 28th birthday on the 15th, which I still have time to make.  However, I won’t.  I’m not giving up.  I’m not throwing in the towel.  It’s seriously just not possible at this point with 8 pounds to go (unless I get that miracle!).

I changed my goal date to December 4th so that it would coincide with a doctor’s appointment, but a few weeks ago I had to reschedule an appointment and that put me back a week.  I don’t weigh in at the doc until the 11th.  With all this said, I was committed to keeping my goal date at the 4th because that’s what I wrote down and put out to the world.  Here’s the thing, I should be devastated that I didn’t make it.  I should feel like crap and put myself down for failing but I CAN’T.  I didn’t fail anything.  Look at me!  I lost 84 pounds in 46 weeks.  I feel amazing and I wouldn’t trade any cookie, bagel or missed workout.  I lived life this year.  Yes, it was EXTREMELY hard work and will continue to be a struggle every damn day but I definitely worked my real life into my new life.  Of course, there’s a tiny part of me that’s disappointed I’m not where I wanted to be, but the rest of me is overshadowing that part and knows I’ll get there eventually.

When I went to Miami a few months ago, I woke up early on the last morning to watch the sunrise.  It was overcast and there were clouds completely blocking the horizon.  I was one of many people standing on the beach waiting for the sun to come up.  In the end, it didn’t disappoint.  It was painted with so many different oranges and pinks turning to deep gold and red.  Regardless of a little cloud cover, the sunrise was still so beautiful.  You, dear reader, are following me on this mission of mine and will hopefully continue to regardless of a cloudy day.  I might not have made my goal but in the end I’ll still rise.

I’m not perfect.  Not everything can go according to plan.  When you fall off the wagon, get up, dust yourself off and start running.  I’m assuming the wagon is being pulled by very fast horses.  Something changed in me in the last few weeks and I realized this is a marathon and not a sprint.  It’s not about losing weight the fastest I can, it’s about getting rid of the weight and NEVER gaining it back.  I used to beat myself up and get discouraged by a number on the scale and then I woke up.
 As long as I move in the general right direction, I’m going to be successful.  If any of you are disappointed in my failure to reach a goal, sorry I’m not sorry.  I would usually say a favorite four-letter F word to you but I like to save those for special occasions as I have to apologize to momma whenever I use one.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Dollar for Your Sweat

Thank you Pinterest for all of your crafting, fitness, eating, drinking, clothing, party planning and SO much more glory!  After seeing a pin recently for a reward system, I have decided that for every work out I do I am going to pay myself $1.  This way, I reward myself with something wearable or a vacation instead of food.  I also decided that I am going to retroactively pony up for my work outs from this whole year.  As of yesterday, I owe myself $165.  With the holidays and my birthday coming up, this seems like a crazy time to start allocating funds to this cause but I really feel like I have earned every penny.  Why can’t I reward myself for all of my hard work this past year?  That’s right, I CAN!  I can’t decide when I’ll cash in though.  I was very good to myself, and momma was EVEN better to me, on Black Friday and with the Christmas tree project so there’s nothing I really NEED right now.  I think I’ll keep saving my earnings and work out toward a cruise in the spring, which will require a whole new wardrobe, again.  If anyone would like to join, I’m currently recruiting friends to bid bon voyage with me.

SUPA PROUD time!  This week, I’m supa proud of my Papadopolous for tomorrow he crosses off his last day of work and enters RETIREMENT!  Congratulations, Dad!  We’ll be poppin’ bottles to celebrate over Christmas when I next see you.  Now seems like a good time to explain the whole Papadopolous thing.  We took a family vacation to celebrate momma’s retirement in June 2013 to Italy, Greece and Croatia.  Upon landing in Venice, I started calling dad Papadopolous.  I vaguely remember it being the name of a company or something I saw on a sign but it immediately stuck.  We debated over the spelling but I think we have a good thing here and there’s no going back now.

Tomorrow, as many of you know is D-day.  December 4th was when I set to lose 92 lbs. by.  I haven’t shared my actual weight in a few weeks to keep you in suspense.  I already know the outcome and of course there will be a post about it on Friday.  See you then!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Tree in all her glory!
Happy December, friends! I can’t believe that my favorite month is finally here. For obvious reasons, my birthday and Christmas, December is by far the best. The weather, the holidays, the time with friends and family, and the cupcakes make it #1 out of all 12. I have decided not to do a challenge this month because it’s really difficult to fit in extra work when I’m travelling and so busy. This month has so many events on the books that I’m just asking myself to get behind. I will get back at it with January, I promise. I’m still 4 days away from finishing my squat challenge as Thanksgiving really threw me off. Dang, Turkey. I had to quit the plank portion of my challenge this month because it was causing serious issues with my lower back. To avoid injury, I bowed out. Forgive me, please!

With the holiday season upon us and life being about choosing happy, I decided that it was time for a real Christmas tree. I love Christmas trees and always have. Sitting in a dark room with the lights a glow is one of my favorite parts about the holiday. Usually, I put up my tiny table-top PINK tree with colorful ornaments. This year, I wanted to have an adult tree and also wanted it to be my first LIVE tree. As a kid, we always had a fake tree and I’ve never known any different. What better year than this to start something new? I loaded up on ornaments, purchased a stand, finally found a skirt and headed out to find the perfect tree. Those who know me know that I am extremely indecisive, so there I am, dancing around the tent set up in the Lowe’s parking lot looking for a tree. I have no idea what I’m doing! I’m lifting trees up, examining them, judging them and panicking. After about 20 minutes, I find what I believe is the perfect 6-7 ft. Frasier fur and drag it to the check out. After my tree has a fresh cut and is wrapped up, I haul it to my Jeep. Sane people would put it on top of the car but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get it up there on my own. Mind you, I did a massive shoulder workout about 4 hours before this. BIG mistake. I put the tree in the trunk and headed home. I carry the tree inside and set it up in the stand ALL BY MYSELF!! I’m covered in sap, dripping sweat and wondering, “When does this get fun?” After nearly 28 years on Earth, I finally know why husbands and boyfriends are needed. This was a lot of work alone and Oliver was no help at all. I wanted to rewind and go back to before I purchased the tree and just get one in a box with pre-strung lights!

After an additional ornament run and a few glitter explosions, the tree is complete! I absolutely love it and it smells like Christmas in my house. I think my favorite part about having a real tree is that it isn’t perfect. Its limbs weren’t designed in some factory to be level and even among the tree. The tree has a bare spot and a slightly crooked top but that’s what gives it character. I accept my gorgeous tree for its flaws and sat in awe at what I had accomplished. It may seem like no big deal to some but I’m proud of myself for taking on something and not giving up when it seemed too hard. I wish this tree would last forever because it matches my living room so well! The girliest of trees with glitter, pink and gold ornaments to match my hot pink couch.

Your takeaway from today’s post: do even the smallest of things if they make you happy, love imperfections, and with enough determination and endless glitter I could probably rule the world!