Thursday, December 30, 2010

My BIG Chop Story- Part 2

Most common question so far... Why I cut my hair

The simplest answer is that I was fed up.  Back in September I went through similar frustrations (i.e. difficulty with detangling) with my hair as I did the day before I cut it. I relaxed it then to make it more manageable and immediately regretted doing it. I intended to do a long term transition to natural hair and discovering that my hair did not like sulfates helped a lot but washing was still an hour long or more process. Not to mention drying. I air dried exclusively and my hair wouldn't dry completely overnight. I am sure that with some patience I could have found some solutions but with working out six days a week, being really busy, and having an irritated scalp and dry hair because I probably needed to wash it more often than once a week, I was at my limit. This particular week I washed my hair on Sunday (I put it off for a few days because I knew I wanted to go to Bikram), ended up going to Bikram and getting drenched in sweat on Tuesday and needed at least another rinse or co-wash (conditioner wash). As I pondered my options and the hour long detangling fiasco I might encounter, having little to no hair was waaaay more appealing.

Why I Big Chopped vs. cutting a little at a time

To me if I was gonna cut any, I might as well cut it all off. I think other people were way more attached to my hair than I was plus I was curious about what I would look like with short hair (I've never had a short cut). As I told one of my friends, "It's just hair!"

Why I cut it myself

I realized two things during the contemplation stage: 1) I am more likely to cry if a big deal was made out of the process eg. going to the hairdresser and having to answer to why I would cut off all my long non-damaged hair. 2) I might cry after the first cut but I was ready to deal with whatever the results were. So to save myself the drama I did the major cut myself and let someone else do the fine tuning. I also trimmed some more relaxed ends off after the barber cut and then a week later I went to a natural hair salon and cut it again.


On my birthday, I changed my Facebook profile pic to a picture I took the night before when I went out. There were a lot of compliments from friends and acquaintances. At school they also loved it. The only people who really didn't were some of my family members and one ex (his opinion don't count no mo', lol) but I kinda expected it. My cousin and sister-in-law both probably had minor heart attacks when they saw it. My sister-in-law promptly began searching for earrings to help me work the look and told me I should have provided warning before I came over, lol. One cousin was not amused... at all, another threatened to take me out of her wedding then informed me I would have to get a weave. Me ---> *blank stare*. Everyone else pretty much rolled with it. The chain of reactions is usually shock and mourning ("You cut your hair off! It was so long.") then questions ("Why?") then acceptance ("It looks good on you."). I am also pleasantly surprised at how many of my friends told me they were considering or were currently on their natural hair journey as well.

My BIG Chop Story- Part 1

Reflections from the day post big chop...
It's amazing how much of our value we place in what our hair looks like. We spend hours taking care of it. It makes our day right and adds a little pep to our step when its on point. We are even defined by it... "Do you know so and so?" "Yeah, the one with the long/short/or other adjective hair right?"

Well, last night after a haunting six or so hours of contemplation, I took the scissors to my bra strap length head of hair. Before getting to that point, I texted and called a few of my friends to ask their opinions on my plan to cut my hair off. Some thought I wasn't ready, most concluded that it was a major decision and I should probably take it step by step with a series of smaller cuts, and others just weren't sure if the cut would "fit" me. Well, neither was I. I was however grateful for the person that reminded me that cutting my hair would not take away from who I am. I spent hours on sites such as CurlyNikki and Naturally Curly looking at TWAs (teeny weeny afros) and hoping that I would see myself in one. As I prepared to make the first cut, I remembered that one of my friends had also done the big chop a while ago so I went back to the computer to look at her Facebook pics. It looked great on her... a little more encouragement... back to the bathroom mirror. The deal I made with myself was that I would start in the middle because if I changed my mind I could hide that section in my pony tail. And then I began cutting.

I fully expected tears after the first snip but the only thing that came to my mind was the time when I took a pair of scissors to the back of my head when I was a little girl out of frustration with it not "acting right" aka not staying in my ponytail (hide the scissors from your children people!). After the first cut I felt committed so I continued. The feeling of exhilaration was creeping up on me. A few minutes later it was time it was time for the final cut. Freedom! I stared at myself in the mirror, spiky hair everywhere, and saw.... me. I hurried to trim down my relaxed ends then jumped in the shower for the first wash. As soon as the water hit my strands, curls began to form underneath my fingers and I couldn't have been happier.

This morning I woke up, combed out my hair (which now reminded me of Coneheads) and began to figure out where I would go for a shape up and what products I would buy for styling. The salon I intended to go to was closed but a nearby barbershop was open. After assuring the barber that there was no oil in my hair, he agreed to do my cut and so began my first barber cut. After he was done, I was still in love with my TWA. I rushed off to Target and Sally's to buy hair gel and conditioner with a new pep in my step and a huge smile on my face. When I got home I washed again with Hair One, deep conditioned with Giovanni Deep Moisture and olive oil, added some Giovanni direct leave in, Olive Oil hair pudding and my hair oil mix (coconut oil, almond oil, Castor oil and Jojoba oil) and let it air dry. I had to go to class shortly after so I did my makeup for the debut. How did I feel? AMAZING! I love it! I felt free! And best of all, I no longer had to be a slave to my hair.

Stay tuned for part two.

Thoughts...old stuff, new stuff, it's all in here

First of all, Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has a Merry Chrismahanukwanza and a Happy New Year when it begins.

Lazy blogger... yeah, that's me! There has been a lot of chillaxing around here in the past week and a half.

Since my last post I cut all my hair off (Hello TWA  :-). Yeah, I ran out of patience.), had a run in with this...
Spin Bike
...on my born day morning, endured three to four days of pain after (hmm I must have lost all cushioning in that area!), and cussed out one of my bffs for not providing adequate warning about said encounter.

The Holiday Hoedown Challenge ended last Wednesday. Our team continued to rock the exercise minutes but we were not the biggest losers. I weighed in with a 3lb gain in the finale because honestly, it was my birthday week and all bets were off! It started off a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory and then had some of this...
Goat cheese and Apple Salad
Sweet Potato Fries

And continued with some of this...
Who needs cake when you can have this?
Baileys in Chocolate Shot cups

Yummies and...

Chocolate Fondue

Plus many more unphotographed indiscretions ;-). Good food, good friends, good times (and awesome gifts :-)). I thoroughly enjoyed the three day celebration! Thanks to all who participated/made it possible!

In addition to all that bday eating, there was "OMG, real Jamaican food (from Brooklyn)" eating and "10+ hours of driving in one weekend" eating and we won't mention "Christmas traditions" eating (that darn rum cake!). Oh yeah, no exercise either. I did get in a good (40 min or so) run on the Y's indoor track when I came to my senses woke up from many hours of post bday recovery slumber. I've been taking it easy since then and enjoying the holidays with my family so that means a hiatus from TurboFire and Chalean Extreme. To be honest, I think my body really needed it. I'll be back at it next week and restarting month three.

The Power of One- A new challenge started over at the Sisterhood and since I really enjoyed the last one, I will be participating in this one as well. The first weigh in was today and (somewhat) surprisingly I weighed in 3lbs lower than my final weight for the Holiday Hoedown Challenge. Our first challenge is to outline our healthy living goals for the challenge (which is 8 weeks long) and the New Year.

Here's my short list:

Run, run, run (a 5K and possibly a 10K... giving the Half Marathon the side eye). --I am excited about this goal because my shin situation put a damper on my running start this year but I discovered that I love running so here's to an injury free spring, summer and fall!
Be consistent with eating healthier and drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water/day.
Lose the remaining weight and get to my goal weight!
Do more Bikram Yoga-- I love it!

Finally, I love it when I find a blogger who inspires me to step up my game. Check out these amazing ladies:

Fabulous Financials

That's all folks!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Brief Week 4 Holiday Hoedown Summary

This post is kinda late but I guess better late than never :-). I am sooo tired. I finished my last exam for the semester today and then went to catch up with the Christmas shopping that I've been missing out on. This week was full of exam stress and such but I fit in the TurboFire/Chalean workouts. I planned to do Spin as my new class but the frigid weather/ snow/ exam stress didn't permit. Anyhow here's the breakdown...

Wednesday- rest
Thursday- 47 (Strength and stretch)
Friday- 55 (Cardio and Abs)
Saturday- 48 (Strength and stretch)
Sunday- 65 (Cardio and Abs)
Monday- 30 (HIIT and stretch)
Tuesday- 55 (Cardio and Abs)

Total mins - 300
Weight down 2.6 from last week- 4.4lbs total for the challenge

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Week 3 Recap- Holiday Hoedown Challenge

This week sure went by fast and there are only two more weeks left in the challenge. Our team, the lovely Winter Warriors has been in the Top 5 for exercise minutes for the past two weeks. Yay us! The non-fitness goal for this week was to write three things that we will do to stay on track this month. Here are my three and how I've been doing with them:

1. Be diligent about and track my food and water intake -so far so good.
2. Eat a snack before attending holiday parties so I eat less of the not so good for you stuff - didn't work out for a party I went to last week but all in all I did pretty good and practiced some restraint at the evil desert table :-).
3. Try to keep my stress level reasonable (it's finals time) by being proactive - hmmm, working on this one.

The fitness challenge continued with tracking exercise minutes and they also encouraged us to try something new. I posted the follow as my goal for this area:

"I have been putting off Bikram Yoga for a while now. I think it's time..." Well, mission accomplished!"

My exercise minutes for the week with the usual side commentary:

Wednesday- rest
Thursday- 46 (strength and stretch)
Friday- 70- (Cardio, Abs, Yoga)
Saturday- 0- (had an exam in the morning and a holiday party in the evening)
Sunday- 45 (strength and stretch)
Monday- 112 (Cardio, Abs, strength, stretch) <-- making up Saturday's workout
Tuesday- 145 (BIKRAM! and Cardio and Abs) <--- sooo tired by the end of the cardio workout, my body doesn't like me very much right now.
Total for the week- 418 <--- WOW... bring on the rest day!

Weigh In- down  2.8 from last week (the 1.8 I gained over Thanksgiving weekend and then some!)

After yesterday's overzealous exercise session, my body is doing some serious complaining. But all in all it was another good week! And I earned this from my teammate.... Isn't she awesome?
Smiley from my fellow Winter Warrior!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bikram Yoga

One of my teammates in the Holiday Hoedown Challenge posted this pic and a huge "Yay!!!"on one of my comments in the forums over at "The Hood". I thought it was really sweet of her so I posted it here. What did I do to deserve it?

I completed my FIRST Bikram Yoga class!!!!! Yay me! I am pretty excited about it and it made entire rest of my day because like the 5K, I tried to talk myself out of this one too. Every excuse in the book-- "It snowed and the roads are messy." "I have to dig my car out." "I can do it next week...." Not to mention the "What ifs" ---> "What if I am not ready?" "What if I get dizzy or even worse PASS OUT?" I kindly reminded myself of how I felt after the 5K and when the opportunity presented itself this morning (I got out of class early), I seized it. I went to the noon class because I figured there would be less people to embarrass myself in front of it wouldn't be as crowed and sure enough there were only five of us there. The people at the studio were really nice and a very friendly lady showed me the ropes after I told her it was my first time. I appreciated that a lot since it made a whole lot more comfortable. She also practiced beside me and checked on me throughout.

When it was all over, I couldn't believe I made it. I never got dizzy and was able to get through the poses. I was starving at the end though and my tummy made that known to the entire class during the last savasana. I am so happy that I talked myself into it and look forward to my next session.

P.S. Remember to be nice to the new person in class. It helps :-)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Week in Review- Holiday Hoedown Week 2 and Thanksgiving

The holiday season is officially upon us. Last week I took the party on the road :-) to visit my family for Thanksgiving. I was a little unsure about how it would go in terms of keeping up with my workout schedule and limiting excessive food consumption. On Thanksgiving day I ate a little bit of everything and I made most of the sides so I was able to control fat and sugar content. What I didn't do so well with was that I ate out much, much more than I expected to. I bought groceries so I could have food in the house but didn't even touch most of it. On the workout front, after rearranging my workout schedule a bit, I managed to get all the TurboFire and Chalean Extreme workouts in. I took resistance bands with me to do the strength training (you have that option in Chalean Extreme).  My little cousins (ages 6 and 8) had a lot of fun working out with me at home. We shared lots of hi-fives. I also did an hour of Zumba with my two older cousins and a family friend on Saturday morning. The class was led by Sistah Anyango of FLYY Fitness in the Hartford area and I must say it was hands down the best Zumba class I've been to so far. It even had reggae mixed in. Here's the workout breakdown for the week:

Wednesday- rest
Thursday- 0-
Friday- 90- strength, intervals, abs, stretch
Saturday- 60 mins- Zumba (with the family- loads of fun)
Sunday- 45- strength and stretch <---- after 6 hr drive!
Monday- 100- strength, abs, cardio <----- Damage control!!
Tuesday- 73 mins- cardio and abs
Total- 368

As I mentioned in my last post, I brought my water jug with me because this week's non-fitness challenge was to drink water. I will be doing this for Christmas as well. I am sure I look weird traveling around with a water pitcher but oh well, it gets the job done. I actually feel like I made improvements in the water drinking department this week. I refilled my pitcher at least one each day. It holds 7 cups and I think this was my average/ day this week. Saturday was probably the only day that I came close to drinking one half my weight in ounces.

Last week I picked up Marianne Williamson's book A Course in Weight Loss after seeing it on Oprah. I am on Lesson 11. I have only been reading the lessons, not doing the things that require physical action (rituals- hmm, working on that). So far I love it. It has helped me to identify the roots of my overeating and give more thought to the reasons behind why I gained the weight that I am working on losing in the first place. Great read.

Weight up 1.8 lbs from last week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Hoedown Challenge- Week 1 Summary

Week 1 of the challenge is a wrap. This week I logged 372 minutes of exercise. This was the breakdown:

Wednesday- Rest
Thursday- 80 mins
Friday- 56 mins
Saturday- 80 mins
Sunday- 55 mins
Monday- 45 mins
Tuesday- 56 mins

I basically stuck to the TurboFire/Chalean Extreme hybrid plan and I added in two extra cardio workouts. One was a makeup Turbo Fire workout from the previous week and the other was a 30 min. run. Overall it was a good week. I felt like I was making up for the damage from the previous week where I ate out like three or four times and had A LOT of baked goods (Hello Brownies!). I lost about a pound this week which is also good.

Week 2 will continue with logging exercise minutes as the Fitness Challenge and the Non-Fitness Challenge is to drink half your weight in water daily. I really need to work on my water intake so I am loving this challenge. One of my fellow Winter Warriors shared that she puts out the total amount of water she wants to consume for the day in a pitcher and then makes sure that it is empty by the end of the day. I like that idea and might try that. I even brought my own PUR pitcher along while visiting family for Thanksgiving! It's THAT serious!  Also, I think this challenge is well timed because if you're filled up with water, it will make it much harder to overeat during the holidays. Bring it on Week 2!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Quote of the Day

"True nobility is not about being better than anyone else. It’s about being better than you used to be."

-Dr. Wayne Dyer

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Winter Workout Plan

I am not really good at getting out of the house to workout in the winter time and that usually puts a damper on my workout plans. Last year I bought a treadmill in January to encourage working out at home (and it worked!). This year I will be doing DVDs. A little over a month ago I started doing the Chalean Extreme/TurboFire hybrid schedule. The entire program  is five months long so it will take me through the winter. Chalean Extreme is a program for strength training while TurboFire is cardio conditioning with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). I got these programs back in the summer while the P90X/ Insanity craze was going on. They are all sold by Beachbody. I took pics while I opened them and saved them just for you :-). So here goes:

Both programs come with a workout schedule/guide and a meal plan book. The TurboFire kit has a bunch of DVDs so I didn't take a picture of all of them. A few other items that came in the kits are two lower body bands, a resistance band, a tape measure and body fat calipers.

The first month of the program was a recovery month for people who completed another program right before starting this one so I supplemented the workouts with walking or running on my treadmill. That worked out pretty well and I lost about 4 lbs. I feel like I lost a lot of inches but I haven't taken my progress measurements as yet. I started the second month this week and it's a little more hectic. My body is definitely feeling it so far. I will keep you all updated on how it's going.

Share: What are your workout plans to get you through the winter?

Winter Warriors!!

The Holiday Hoedown at the Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans starts today!! I am on the Winter Warriors Team. For this challenge we will have both fitness and non-fitness challenges. The fitness challenge for this week is to log as many exercise minutes as possible. The non- fitness challenge is to write down our goals. Here are mine:

Fitness challenge: Currently doing TurboFire/ Chalean Extreme Hybrid so I will be following that workout plan. I am in my second month of it. It's between 30-70 minutes per day 6 days a week.

Non-fitness challenge: For calories I do a diary of everything I eat and also add portion sizes if I overate. I may add in actually counting the calories if time permits. For now I just estimate and add a 200 calorie catch all for anything I may miss or underestimate. I would also like to get up to drinking 64 ounces of water per day. I currently do about 48 on average.

Fitness goal for the entire challenge: Lose 10lbs. Wear size 12 jeans. (I wore a size 12 dress this past weekend though!)
The challenge ends on December 22. You can find more info about it here.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Could chocolate be the remedy for my sweet tooth?

I am determined to get my sugar addiction under control. Cookies, cake and pies were made for me. In an effort reduce my consumption and give this weight loss process a little boost, I decided to substitute milk chocolate for dark chocolate. I have never been a dark chocolate lover before this but thanks to my mini relationship with Trader Joe this summer, I discovered that dark chocolate and I could really become friends. Well, my exploration continued since then and I have found a few other brands that I like. Dove is currently my favorite. I love the fact that one bar is 190 calories and after eating it I feel like I've had enough. I even had days where I split one bar into two to save for the next day emoticon. In addition, since switching to dark chocolate I consume waaay less of the other stuff (cookies etc.) and I don't even have chocolate everyday. Let's hope the trend continues.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Quote of the Day

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."

The above quote is credited as a Japanese Proverb and is also similarly stated in Proverbs 24:16. Many of us made resolutions at the beginning of this year that we may (or may not) have let fall by the wayside. The year will be over in about 10 weeks and we will usher in 2011 with  new (or old) resolutions. Two Sundays ago the date was 10/10/10, a date that signified new beginnings for many. On that date, I recommitted myself to my goal of becoming healthier that I set at the beginning of the year. I definitely fell off the wagon quite a few times since then but as the quote above states, no matter how many times you fall down, the important thing is to get up again.

Are there any resolutions that you made for this year that you will recommit to in the last 10 weeks of 2010?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Run Forest! Run!

Last night I felt like Forest Gump. I hopped on the treadmill to get in a run in an attempt to maintain the progress I've made in the running arena and much to my surprise, I could not stop running. I told myself initially that I would aim for twelve minutes of continuous running since I've only been able to do about ten minutes continuously for the past few weeks. Well, ten turned to twelve and twelve to fifteen and I still felt great. Before I knew it, twenty five minutes was coming right up! I stopped at twenty five minutes but I felt like I could have kept on running. It was amazing! I really don't know what made the difference with this run. Might have been all the stretching I did this week, or the crazy inclines that I walked earlier in the week, or just the lack of pressure... who knows. I just know that I am happy with the way my body keeps surprising me. Last Sunday I picked up my Jeanette Jenkins Pilates DVD after weeks of not practicing and busted out this move at the end for the first time ever!!!!

The Rollover

That's twice in one week that I surpassed my own expectations! That is one of the things that I love most about this fitness journey.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

How junk food affects the body

I just had to repost these videos. Sooo giving up my sugar addiction! Any thoughts?

NYX and Stila Mini Haul

This is my first makeup post so I'll start by saying that I LOVE shopping for makeup and creating new looks. I won't be doing swatches of any of the products that I am sharing (I'll leave that to the pros) but just wanted to show some of the things that I bought recently and sort of give my opinions of them. So, here we go...

I bought these items from the NYX website after going to my local Ulta and not finding them. I waited until there was enough stuff that I wanted because I had to pay shipping. Here's what I got...

In the first photo (from left to right) are Mocha and Dusty Rose. In the second photo (L to R) there is a Highlighter and Love, both are mosaic powders, and the last item is the Purple Smokey Look kit and it has two lip colors in the bottom row. I got these items mainly because I wanted to add to my collection of blushes and I really wanted a highlighter. If you are familiar with NYX then you know that these items are very highly pigmented yet very affordable. I fell in love with the Smokey Look kit when I saw it on their website this summer and because I LOVE purple (blame it on my alma mater :-)) I had to have it. That kit was $11. The blushes were $6 each and the mosaic powders were $8 each.

I also ordered from (releasing exam stress here!) and got the Stila travel palletes. These pallettes are very affordable ($10 each) and allow me to do a makeup look in no time.

The first two are Moscow and USA and the last two are Paris and Tokyo. In total there are five so there is one left to be released. There are four shadows and one convertible blush (aka both blush and lip color) in each pallete. Some of the lighter colors look like they were washed out by my camera but you can find them here. I used USA and Tokyo (haven't gotten to the other two as yet) and I really like them. I was able to put together a simple and professional daytime look in under fifteen minutes. Of the two I think I love the Tokyo pallete the most. I look forward to trying Moscow and Paris this week. They are easy to use, I got good color payout and best of all they fit into any purse or bag that I own, no matter how small it is.

I also got a small Makeup Forever High Definition powder to try out. I might do a review of that one at a later date. That's all folks!

Race Day

  In my last post I talked about possibly running a 5k (3.1 miles). Well, the race day was yesterday BUT because I didn't get a chance to train the way I wanted to and was sick for a good part of the previous week, I chickened out of doing it. What I did do however, was sign up to be a volunteer- hence the T-shirt and bib number (they gave us one so we could participate in the raffle). The race was the Dr. Richard Sarkin Memorial Run/Walk in honor of Dr. Sarkin who was a Pediatrician in Western New York.

 I came up with a whole lot of reasons why I shouldn't/couldn't run the 5k- I think it was mostly anxiety because it would have been my first. In addition, I have never been to an actual race before. Thankfully, I read in someone's blog post a few days ago that a good way to familiarize yourself with the process is to be a volunteer and so that's what I did. Overall, I had a blast! My job was to stop traffic in the area that I was assigned along with one of my classmates when the runners came through. Thankfully there was also a cop there because those people were not trying to listen to us. A few of my classmates ran the race and it was fun to encourage them and the other runners along as they passed us. One thing that stood out for me was how appreciative the runners were as they were passing by. Many of them thanked us and I thought that was really nice - something to keep in mind for all of you race runners out there :-). My classmate who I was with and I got to know each other better and talked about our interests in running. It turns out that she was using Couch-to-5k as well! While she is more ambitious than I am and hopes to run a marathon in the future, maybe next spring we can be running buddies.

When I got home I was so inspired and realized that I really could have run the 5k that day. There wasn't much to it. So, I got on the treadmill in hopes of redeeming myself and close to an hour later.....

... my 5k was done! 3.1 miles in 51:36 minutes. Not bad considering that I haven't been running seriously for over 2 months. I look forward to running an actual race (next spring maybe... it's getting too cold for ME to run outside). And the moral of the story... if there is something that you really want to do, volunteering is a great way to familiarize yourself with the process and also inspire you to make it happen!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

What one thing could you do (that you aren't doing now) that if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your personal (or professional) life?

Quote of the Day

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them."
-Albert Einstein

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Six Months In!

Time does fly when you're having fun. Last week marked six months into my fitness journey; let's see how much progress has been made. First and foremost I lost a total of about 20.5 pounds! The majority of that amount was lost in the first thirty days and for the last thirty (most of the summer) I pretty much stayed consistent and then surprisingly lost a few more pounds in the last 1-2 weeks. I was happy to see the scale moving again after the post-vacation bloating!

Over the past six months, I learned a lot about how to eat properly and was mostly able to focus my workout ADHD and create somewhat balanced workout plans. I also developed new interests as it related to eating and exercising like clean eating and Bikram Yoga (haven't done it yet but its in the works). I spent time in injury recovery from running and discovered the benefits of cross-training; I did pool running, biking, Yoga, Pilates and also spent some time falling in love with the elliptical again. After recovering, I went back to run/walking and found some beautiful trails in Oakbrook, IL (photos in the last post). I learned how to take my new-found healthy lifestyle on the road (I spent the better part of the summer elsewhere other than my home) and trick and strategies to do so. I have mostly retrained my taste buds so now processed and restaurant foods taste "too sweet" or "too salty". "Too salty" is a frequent complaint these days. My blood pressure has improved drastically, I don't recall the exact numbers but it was low enough to catch my attention. All of these changes have been wonderful however the most important one is that I feel STRONGER. I was grateful for the hours I spent in Body Pump this summer when I had to carry five dozen bagels, two dozen pastries and my book bag from my car into a lecture hall a few weeks ago. 

I have an fall/winter workout schedule planned and possibly a 5k coming up....Finally! More on that in later posts. I am resuming my Couch-to-5k training this week in preparation for that and adding in two strength training classes and one Yoga or Pilates class per week. Well, that's all for now folks.

Success: Congratulations (and a huge THANK YOU) to my workout partner on achieving his weight loss goal; he lost 30 lbs over fourteen months! I appreciate having a workout partner even though it is long distance because we keep each other accountable and there is someone to listen to my crazy workout ideas and recipes.

Share: Do you utilize a workout partner to keep you accountable?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

I'm Back!

The unintended hiatus has ended! I decided to take a little break from blogging to finish up the school year but a little break turned into a long one when I had to pack up and hit the road for work only three short days after my final exam. I've been burning it at both ends with work and other obligations but I finally have some semblance of normalcy so I am back! I have lots to share and will be doing so over a few posts in the next couple of days. I am living out of a hotel room currently so I will post about the challenges of maintaining your eating and exercise habits away from home, I will still do the 90 day update even though it is long past, and also let you all know what I have been doing in terms of working out and eating these days (I was in injury recovery for a while). A hair and makeup post or two make sneak in there somewhere. In the meantime, enjoy these photos that I took on some of my walks/runs in this beautiful, and very exercise friendly area.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Couch to 5K works!

It's been a while since I have posted on the bloggie. April was a whirlwind of a month and though I had a lot of fun (and worked my butt off), I can't say I am too sad to see it go. I have been mostly consistent with my workouts- I think I got in about 4 days per week. I took a few rest days each week though to nurse my shins and prevent major injury. I have also been keeping up with the Couch to 5K program and it has been great! I finished week 5 today and made it through a full 20 minutes of jogging without stopping. I have NEVER done this in my life. I remember when I started this program I couldn't even run 1 minute without feeling out of breath. What I have learnt so far is that you can definitely keep running long after you think you can't. It's all about mental toughness. I have four more weeks to go and I will be celebrating the end of the program by running my first 5K in June!

In other news, May 15 will make 90 days since I started this journey. I will be back next week with a post on what I have accomplished in the last 90 days. Happy exercising!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dream Board

I finally got around to creating my dream board after about three years of planning to do so. It is true, I can be a major procrastinator. Well, I finally got started it and here it is!

For those who don't know, a dream/vision board is a way to take your goals, hopes and aspirations, and put them into an artistic form that you can look at everyday. By utilizing the law of attraction and focusing on what you want to accomplish you bring your dreams into your reality. It is reccommended that you write your goals down and look at them on a regular basis, even daily if possible. A dream board is a good way for me to do that especially since I always forget to go back and look at the paper I wrote them down on! I learned about this concept many years ago and wanted to create one. The wall space in front of my treadmill was looking very bare and that got me into action mode. Now I have something positive to look at and meditate on during my workouts. It is definitely not complete but it's off to a good start!

How do you maintain sight of your goals? Please share by leaving a comment below.
Click here to learn how to create your own Dream Board.

Working Out and Hair - Part 1

Hey y'all! I know it has been a while but things got a little busy around here. Well, I did complete most of my workouts from the last post, (with the exception of WL Yoga) and I did not get a chance to workout during my trip (but I did dance my butt off one night :-)) Anyhoo, when I returned home I was mucho bloated from all the extra salt and extra food consumed during the weekend's festivities. I quickly grabbed that water bottle (I drank lots and lots and lots) and got back to working out. I am very happy to say that I was back to my pre-trip weight before the end of the week. Since then Couch-to-5K has been in full effect and I am currently finishing up the Week Two regimen. I am also adding on cardio and weight sessions on alternating days after running/walking. I am however taking a day off after each of those workout days to try to nurse my terrible shin splints ( I will do a post about that).

So, on to the subject of this post.... MY HAIR.

One of my challenges this week was having to take two consecutive days off from working out so that I could relax my hair. While this doesn't seem so bad in retrospect, it was a huge bother since I was getting into the groove of working out every other day, and I have a really itchy scalp that I had to keep in check. What I did was, I worked out on Wednesday (my hair was soaked when I was done), let it dry overnight, then detangled and oiled my scalp Thursday morning and then left it alone until today- relaxer day. Detangling was a very painful process, I lost lottttss of hair but the oiling did curb my itchyness and help me to make it to today without digging in. This morning I went through the relaxer process (a very, very long one) and guess what? NO BURNS!!! This is a miracle for me. I almost always burn during my relaxers. I will post the results once I'm done deep conditioning and drying.

My other option was to co-wash (conditioner wash) my hair on Wednesday after working out and detangling and then just leaving it alone until today but I wasn't up to it, especially given my bad experience detangling after last Sunday's wash. I would still have to oil my scalp on Thursday anyway -I guess you can call it pre-basing, but it works for me.

What are your experiences with working out regularly and maintaining your hair?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

This Week's Workout

I have recently been accused of having workout ADHD and I think I agree with the diagnosis. I love to change up my workouts ever so often. I have been on a Biggest Loser DVD kick (these workouts are awesome!) these last two weeks so last week the plan was to walk for thirty minutes 4 days of the week and alternate Biggest Loser Cardio Max with Biggest Loser Power Sculpt (Level 1 on both) on those days. I was also supposed to get in one day of BL Yoga. Well, I managed three out of the five days and by the end of the week a final exam and lack of sleep threw me off the wagon. Next week is another week....

So, the plan for next week is to start running using the Couch to 5K plan ( I may do that two days) along with BL Cardio Max one of the days and BL Powersculp (Level 1 and 2) the other day. I will also try to squeeze in two days of BL Yoga on the other two days. I am trying to get all of this done by Wednesday because toward the end of the week I will be traveling so I may not get to workout those days (even though I planned them into the trip). What are your plans for working out this week?

Ahhh, Food Heaven

Today was a good day in my food world. I finally found Larabars at a local health food store and tried the Coconut Cream Pie. I am in looovvee. One of the things I have been trying to do is cook tasty, healthy meals. It also doesn't hurt if they also are time efficient since time is usually limited for me these days. So, on my trip to Borders today my eyes caught the Cook Yourself Thin Faster cookbook and I snagged it. Let me say that upon browsing it there were so many thing I wanted to try. I settled on Shrimp with Grits (I mixed and matched the recipe from this cookbook with one from Chef John at and Cheesy Fries (using butternut squash)...

Taste test

Honestly, I really though I died and went to food heaven. Both were really, really yummy. The shrimp and grits made excellent comfort food and was done in about 30 minutes. The butternut squash took longer because of the peeling and cutting up but it was well worth the effort. I have posted the recipes under the recipes tab. Until you try them... Feast your eyes :-)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Laugh of the Day

Well not today, but the other day I came across two of Mo'nique's interviews for the movie Precious (for which she won an Oscar). The first link is to her interview with Craig Ferguson that definitely had me ROTFL and the second is an interview with HipHollywood where she talks about making it in Hollywood, Oprah, her talk show, the movie and a few other things. I admire that even though she considers herself the "finest sex kitten" out there she was still inspired (by her husband) to lose weight (40 lbs at the time) so that she can be around for the long term. She looks great in these interviews! Did I mention that I love how she talks about her husband... ladies, take note. Congratulations to her on breaking barriers in Hollywood and winning that Oscar!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Knowing Your Numbers

An important first step for me in my journey to becoming healthier in 2010 was to know where I was starting from. We all know that we should get an annual physical done but even though I had one last summer, I did not know what my cholesterol, blood glucose and iron levels were. After doing a little digging, I found out that my school offered "RN Health Screenings" so I called and booked an appointment. This was one of the most informative doctor's appointment I have ever had. They performed rapid cholesterol and blood sugar testing along with a blood pressure reading and BMI calculations. I requested a rapid HIV test and STD screening so I had to have blood drawn and from that they also did a Complete Blood Count and checked my thyroid hormone levels.


They were very efficient at getting my results back to me within a few days (even though I think the RN was a little annoyed when I asked for a copy of all my test results- it is my right as a patient, isn't it?). My results were mostly okay but it reaffirmed my decision to take my weight loss seriously. The highlights were that my blood pressure was into the pre-hypertensive region (which required immediate action on my part because hypertension runs in my family), my iron was a little low (I began taking multivitamins) and my blood glucose was slightly elevated (might have something to do with the fact that I ingested a reasonable amount of GLUCOSE about 30 minutes before I had this testing done. What was I thinking???!!! Yeah, I wasn't).

The bottom line is this guys, knowing what your numbers are is the key to early detection and prevention of chronic diseases (my Public Health plug for the day :-)) So if you don't know where you stand in the above tests (and others appropriate for your age and gender) then please make an appointment with your medical provider at your earliest convenience. Make sure that you ask them to explain the results to you if you don't know what they mean, and don't forget to get a copy!

Weight Loss (or should I say DROPPING the weight)

I figured that I would start here since it is one of my major focuses right now. Like many other people, one of my New Year resolutions was to become healthier in 2010. Not only do I want to become healthier but specifically I wanted to drop the extra 80+ lbs I am carrying around. I have a gym membership that I restarted last summer and I was going sporadically until the snow and freezing cold killed my motivation, so I started out the year by making the financial sacrifice of purchasing a treadmill. Since I am not a dieting type of girl, I knew I wasn't going to go low carb or low fat or low anything diet so I began researching ways to make healthier food choices. I found a lot of useful information and began implementing the basics in January (eating more fruits and veges, cooking more at home etc.). I finally got my treadmill in mid January but it took another month for me to get around to using it regularly. Life (i.e. school) definitely got in the way. So here I am almost three and a half weeks into eating better and working out 4-5 days a week and I feel fabulous. Not to mention the fact that the pounds have started to come off. I am ecstatic! I will definitely be sharing more about the process in future posts and hopefully we can keep each other accountable to becoming fit and healthier.

What are your health/fitness goals? Please share by leaving a comment.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Me! I am a 25 year old student with many interests trying to figure this life thing out one day at a time. I hope to share thoughts and tips on my journey to healthier eating and regular exercising, hair, makeup, health, and balancing life. I have learnt a lot from other bloggers and I also hope to share some of those things as well (credit will be given :-)). Join me as I embark on this journey to figure it all out!
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