Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Books that changed my life in 2012

Reading is one of my favorite ways to spend my leisure time. Not only is it great entertainment but strangely sometimes it is my therapy. It amazes me how the right book comes along at the right time and is just what you need for that season. I did not plan on reading any of these books at the beginning of the year. As a matter of a fact, they were nowhere on my radar. However they each came into my life at the right time and made a remarkable difference in what I was going through.
I came across this book on a friend’s Facebook page this past summer shortly after my daughter passed away. My friend posted the following excerpts:



When I saw them, I knew I had to read this book. Looking back, this book started the healing process for me. I had been through a lot over the past six months and I became totally absorbed in Shauna’s stories while on a long train ride to and from my best friend’s bridal shower. I felt all of her ups, downs, joys and pain. I also highlighted almost every page! I remember hoping and praying at the end of the book that she had gotten her desire. So as soon as I finished the book, I hurried off to Google the rest of her story. Most importantly, the message in Bittersweet was simple: “when life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.”

A short while after reading Bittersweet, I came across Kelle Hampton’s blog Enjoying the Small Things. I had seen it once before while I was pregnant but this time her story touched me in a different way. I borrowed a copy of her book Bloom which tells the story of her daughter Nella who she discovered had Down Syndrome at birth. Boy oh boy, this one really brought back all the emotions that I had experienced in the past few months. I was amazed at how similar our grief process was even though our circumstances were different. This book truly did for me what no therapist, or my family and friends could. I also knew after reading Nella’s story that I had to write Karissa’s story. And so I did- the night before my surgery shelf no less. Sometimes you have to get some things out to move forward. If I had to assign a theme to the second half of this year in my life it would have to be love. I learned about love as I sat and talked with Hospice patients and their families, in church as my pastor labored with us in John 14 v. 34-35 and 1 Corinthians 13 for weeks, and even as I stepped outside the box to learn about faiths that were different than mine.

 A few weeks ago, I came across Bob Goff’s book Love Does on Amazon. As I read this book all I could think was this guy really does everything big (to the point of annoyance in some cases). By the time I was through however, I was left inspired to live a life that exemplifies Christ’s love by doing and not just saying, studying etc. Bob has done some daring things that I would never have been bold enough to try (seriously, who invites Heads of States to their houses?) but reading about them led me to ask myself, why not? Why not be bold and daring if it means doing something meaningful? So Bob, if you ever read this :-) I will definitely find a way to do something bold, daring and entirely unconventional in 2013.

Up Next:

I haven't read this last book as yet but I will be closing out the year with A Million Miles In A Thousand Years and I expect nothing less than to be left feeling inspired and ready to take on 2013.

Share: Did you read any great books in 2012? Please share!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Rocking the Runway

Recently I had the opportunity to model at a fashion show put on by our local SNMA Chapter. I had a blast but after the show I promised to never ever criticize another runway model again! It was so tiring and I was more sore after the show than I have been in quite a while. I had four outfit changes during two segments (two in each segment) separated by a break so I was rushing a lot. Check out the photos below. Outfits are courtesy of Black Cat Vintage.

SNMA-325SNMA-322  SNMA-398 SNMA-453 SNMA-575

Thank you to the photographer for these awesome photos.

This experience taught me to seize opportunities to have fun no matter what size or shape you are. Live your life to the fullest and remember, You are Beautiful!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Shrimp and Grits (My remixed version)

This recipe is a favorite of mine when I am short on time. It packs a serious flavor punch!

The original recipes can be found here at Food Wishes and in the Cook Yourself Thin Faster Cookbook


3/4 cup quick 5-minute grits
3 cups water
Dash of salt 
Bring water to a boil and add grits and salt. Cook for about 5-6 minutes.


1 pound shrimp, peeled and deveined
a handful of grape or cherry tomatoes
2 tsp Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
A dash of seasoning salt (I used Adobo)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced green onions
1 tablespoon minced jalapeno
1 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons cream (I actually used some Soy Milk and yes, I know they are not equiv. but it worked!)
2 teaspoon lemon juice
dash of Worcestershire

Heat olive oil and add shrimp and tomatoes. Add in the other ingredients listed above and let simmer until the shrimp is cooked and the tomatoes have collapsed. 

Serve shrimp over the grits and enjoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Cheese "Fries"

Recipe found in Cook Yourself Thin Faster

1 Large Butternut Squash, peeled and seeded
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Teaspoon salt
1/4 Teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut squash into 1/4 inch fries. Toss with olive oil and spread onto foil lined pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes until the fries are golden- toss and turn them about half way through. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and return to the oven for about 2 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

A New Season

Photo Credit
Fall is here again.  I love this season not only because of the beautiful colors in nature at this time of year, but because it usually represents a time for re-commitment to my health and fitness goals. This is the time to think about what I want to accomplish before the end of the year and begin working on it. The heat and craziness of summer has gone and I can finally return to my kitchen to spend some quality time. I can also workout more comfortably at home.

My overall goal for weight loss is still the same. I have about 55 lbs that I would like to lose over the next few months. That being said, I would be happy with 45 or anywhere in that ballpark that my body decides to settle.

I am kicking off this new season with a 48 hr cleanse. I have eaten sooo much crap this year. It all originated in pregnancy cravings that just kept perpetuating themselves even after the pregnancy ended. Now I am at the point that I have consumed so much sugar, fast food and junk that I feel tired and crappy all the time and I am getting frequent headaches. Many of the healthy habits that I worked hard to develop have fallen by the wayside. I feel like I need a reset; a fresh start.

Today I went grocery shopping and picked up all the items I will need for the Dr. Oz 48 hr Weekend Cleanse. I have never done an official cleanse before but I am familiar with the concept from the "washouts" I got as a child. I am excited to see the results. From there I plan to get my eating back on track since hopefully I will have curbed some of my unhealthy cravings. I am also developing a rough plan for working out for the next few weeks. I have my eyes on a 5k on October 20th so I am going to try to get some runs in between now and then along with Yoga, Pilates and strength training. There might be another round of Turbofire coming up after that!

How do you plan to bring in this new season?

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Starting Again

Hello friends! It's been a while but I am back and ready to get back on track with achieving my weight loss goal. The days of eating all kinds of crap and inactivity must come to an end. Regarding my last post... sigh. I will explain at a later time. So here I am six weeks post surgery, got the all clear from my doctor and I am ready to make it happen. I started with a 1.7 mile walk yesterday and a 3.4 mile walk this morning with our local Black Girls Run! group followed by some much needed stretching. My work hours will be much better for the next month so I should be able to fit in 4-5 workout days per week. On the food side, I have a raging sweet tooth as usual that I am trying to get under control. I am also working on eating healthier and watching my portion sizes. The main problem I have right now is that it is just too hot outside for me to want to turn my stove on, especially since I don't have AC. So tell me ladies, what are your workout plans for the summer and how do you continue to eat healthy during these warm summer days?

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