Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Finding the activities that I enjoy the most has been key to getting fit and sticking to an exercise routine. 4 months ago I started Jazzercise. I was 50lbs heavier than I am today, and while what and how much I eat is key to my weight loss, so is Jazzercise. I am totally addicted! I started out going 3 days a week and now I try to go everyday - and I must admit I've even done 2 classes in a day before. If you haven't seen Jazzercise in 20 years and you enjoy dance and music, well you are missing out. The routines are choreographed at their HQ in California to 25 or so new songs every 10 weeks. Music is current and the moves combine aerobic dance with hip hop, latin, cardio box, etc. Plus we get strength training with hand weights and stretching in every single class as well. It's like the perfect workout in an hour a day! I know, I sound like a walking commercial for Jazzercise, but that's how much I love it. I started out having to do many of the routines in low impact, not able to keep up, and now I do almost everything high impact, only taking it down when I'm losing my breath at the end of a few high intensity songs. I've increased from 3lb to 5lb and the past six weeks am now using 6lb weights for everything. That just feels amazing to me that in 4 months I have changed my fitness level so much! I've had 3 different instructors comment to me on how great I'm doing too, surprising me that they've noticed with so many in classes every day. I really believe in the effectiveness of group fitness - it is motivating to me that there's so many others in class all doing the same thing, and taking a spot near the front means I'm always pushing myself too. The positive energy that exists is amazing!

Anyway, the real reason I'm posting today is that I've decided to take some dance classes this Fall. I love dance. I took tap, jazz, and ballet from the time I was 4 til I was 15. Yes, it has been over 20 years, but so what? why not do something I know I'll enjoy and never thought I'd do again? So I'm signed up for Adult Tap with my friend Maddie who brought up the idea in the first place, and while registering I decided to sign up for Adult Ballet as well. Ballet was my favorite, and while I'm not in 'ballet shape' now, I do plan to be eventually! What I love about ballet is the flexibility, the control/strength you gain with your muscles, and the beauty of it. Can't wait! I'm also going to sign up for a short session of an Adult Hip Hop class. Something I've never done beyond moves integrated in Jazzercise, but I think it will be a lot of fun to try something new and different! Stay tuned to hear how it goes :)

Friday, August 27, 2010


I love a good deal (well, really, who doesn't?)!

Remember those black pants I tried on last week at The Limited? Well I went searching on Ebay this week for either those or one of the pairs from Loft that I liked, hoping to find someone selling a pair they no longer need for cheaper than the $60-90 the stores wanted. Knowing that I won't be wearing a size for too long has me very frugal about buying new clothes. However the cooler weather this week had me worried that I have no pants or jeans that fit me. Anyway, I did find a pair on ebay but the bidding got up to $28 and I stopped. 

Well yesterday I was driving through Northville and thought I'd stop at Consignment Clothiers. This is the nicest consignment store I've been to and they win 'Best of Detroit' awards, so I thought it's worth a look. What a sign of the economy - not only me shopping at a consignment store, but the 20 or so other women who were in there yesterday - the place was packed! They were doing 20% off if you paid cash too. A lot of brand names and everything seems to be in great condition. I tried on a bunch of things, but the most exciting - I found THE pair of black pants from The Limited that I was looking for - for $14 (and then minus 20%!). Also got a pair of jeans for $7 and an Ann Taylor black top for $7. How great is that? :)

I think I'm going to go through some of the clothes I have piled to get rid of and take the nicer stuff in to them. And I'll definitely be back there to shop when it's time for another size!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Sometimes Simple is Just Great!

Today is our 9th Wedding Anniversary! Amazing how quickly time flies, I don't FEEL like it was 9 years ago that I was putting on my dress and walking down a rose petal aisle (all teary) to marry Thad. But at the same time it feels like we've always been together.
We've had some fun anniversary celebrations over the years. Our first anniversary we went to San Francisco for a weekend (we were living in Oceanside/San Diego at the time). I believe our second anniversary we went to Las Vegas for the weekend (again, we were living in Southern California so an easy weekend trip). Our fifth anniversary trip was to Cancun for 5 days.

This year we played it simple, yet had a perfectly lovely day together. Thad had to work today, but we went out to lunch to our new favorite place to grab a healthy (and yummy!) bite close to home - the Tuscan Cafe in South Lyon. They get daily delivery of Zingerman's bread and make about a dozen Zingerman's style sandwiches - I had a delicious turkey, avocado, sprouts and sundried tomato on rye and Thad had a roast beef one and some italian wedding soup.  We sat and talked, then drove by the library, picked up a couple books and a DVD and headed home. I know it sounds silly, but we love doing those simple things together! Our presents to each other - Thad got a new natural rubber yoga mat and I got a gift certificate for a massage - both things we will each enjoy, and a further testament to how much we've changed our lives this year.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Attitude is Everything

Izzie and I went for a 4 mile walk at Kensington this morning - we had been going every morning but the past couple weeks have been so busy we were skipping it. I'm so glad we went today! It's so tranquil to be out there in the morning with the sun rising over the water. I also have found that it's a great time to just slow down a bit and be able to be introspective.

There are so many things that have been going on in my life right now that I could be upset about or stressed over, but I've decided not to. Yes, it was a conscious decision. I had to really think about what stress was doing to me physically, mentally and emotionally and decide that it was more important to put myself first and find happiness in that. Giving myself that freedom is what made it an easy decision to not let stress rule my life, to accept that there are things that can't be changed, but how I look at them can be. Attitude really is everything and it's what gets me through the challenges we've experienced and I know will get me through the ones to come. A year ago I could not have said any of these things as I had not learned this yet about myself. What a blessing in disguise in so many ways.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Never Say Never

My theory on camping has always been, 'not my thing', figuring if I'm going on vacation I'd rather be staying somewhere at least as nice as where I live. I know I have friends in both camps on this, but I'm here to say after my first weekend of camping, I was so wrong!

Thad and I had been looking forward to HollerFest 2010 all summer - a weekend-long outdoor music festival at Frog Holler Organic Farm, one of our favorite farms to buy from at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market. Thad convinced me to try camping, and in the spirit of being open to new experiences, I said yes. As it got closer I got a little nervous. Tent camping with no showers and only port-a-potties? What did I get myself into? Well it turns out, I got myself into a fun weekend of relaxation and togetherness with my wonderful husband :)

We had a great time, even though it rained all day yesterday til about 6pm. Great music, friendly people, awesome food cooked with produce right from the garden at the farm (plus Pilar's Tamales, mmm!) and yoga each morning. My favorite was lunch Saturday - a yummy sandwich made with whole wheat bread from Mill Pond Bakery, sprouts, hummus, baked tofu,  pickles from The Brinery, and a big slice of an heirloom tomato, plus a cold pasta salad with fresh pesto, cherry tomatoes, green and wax beans and broccoli.

It was a bit of an adventure setting up the tent in the dark Friday night, but we did it. (at least it wasn't raining then). Sleeping in the tent was actually pretty serene and I must admit, I really enjoyed it and will definitely do it again! I'm so glad I opened myself to this new experience and can't help but wonder what other adventures will be in our future :)

Tent is up, now Thad is calling Todd (who we borrowed the tent from) to help figure out putting the rain cover on.
Holler outdoor kitchen

Me, just a little wet

Thad, enjoying some wine and music

outdoor solar shower - no, we didn't try it out!
One of our favorite bands at HollerFest - Orpheum Bell

Friday, August 20, 2010

Still a Scrapper?

I must admit that I have not scrapped since making the decision to close LM last year. I could try and tell you it's because of not wanting anything to do with scrapping, but I've realized that's not entirely the case. Last month I told friends I was questioning whether I would ever scrap again and what to do with all my stuff.

Well last week while Thad was up late doing some work, I kept him company downstairs and ventured into my scraproom. I don't have a photo to share, but let me assure you, it was scary! the doors wouldn't open without hitting boxes or bags. not one clear surface - and not because I had been scrapping and made a mess, but just piles of things never put away. I started going through things and unpacking bags and boxes and ran across products I'd loved, photos I'd never scrapped, projects I'd wanted to start - and I realized I DO want to continue scrapping! I just need to 'clean house' and simplify what I have.

My wonderful friend Ann had volunteered months ago to help me go through everything and organize my room. I hope she realized what she was getting herself into!

We spent yesterday pulling everything out of the room (and I have a big garage sale pile now). Today we worked on starting to put things back into the room and organizing what I have. I expect I'll still need to go through things and keep weeding out. In an ideal world I'd like to get closer to what my friend Kate has in her scrap room - just her favorites at hand. Anyway, I took a few photos today to share. I'd say we're more than 1/2 done now:
Love my Ikea Expedit shelving
Don't get too excited, 1/2 of those are empty awaiting the pile of layouts on my desk!

Making progress!

Well, onto next week when we'll finish up! Ann swears she's coming back :) Then I'll have no excuse to go downstairs and use my scraproom/office the way I had intended it but never really got much use out of. I've even scheduled a crop with friends at my house in September too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One of My Forgotten Life's Pleasures

Warning: Self Indulgent Post Ahead!

A huge downside to running LM was that the business literally took over my life. Always something to do, never caught up, and feeling like any waking moment should be dedicated to LM. And it really was - I would feel tremendous guilt taking almost any time for myself. And thus how it became so unhealthy for me. Stress is not my friend.

One of the most exciting things for me resulting from my weight loss this year and the greater amount of time to myself  has been shopping. I always used to love to shop - not necessarily buy, but see what fashions are out there, try things on, hunt for great deals, etc. The last time I remember taking the time to enjoy this was pre-LM, when I lived in Southern California, had a regular full time job, and would stop on my way home from work to browse or look for something at the mall or the fabulous outlet stores that were nearby. So, we're talking 8+ years!  I wondered if I had forgotten how, or if I would still enjoy it as much.

Well, I'm back from 4 blissful hours of shopping to tell you that I enjoy it even more now - and the only thing I actually bought was a chai tea latte! Of course my enjoyment could also be a result of the fact that I can now fit into REGULAR size clothing! Those of you who are now or have ever been in plus sizes really understand what an amazing feeling this is. Bye-bye Lane Bryant, bye-bye 'Women's' Department!! WOO HOO! This is HUGE for me. The last time I was shopping at regular size stores I was in my early years of college - so we're talking maybe 1993?!

I tried on half a dozen pants at The Limited - thrilled that every single size 14 zipped right up and looked pretty good (although seriously, those new skinny jeans, aka jeggings? - I'm thinking they're meant for size 6 and under!).

Snug, but Size 12 pants at Loft!
Went in Loft for the first time ever and tried on some pants there as well - OMG! in one style I am between a 12 and a 14 -  I couldn't believe it was actually me asking the sales girl to grab me a 12 to try.

At Macy's I wandered around the entire women's floor in wonder, with a smile on my face, that I could actually try on anything in any department there, without the nagging voice in my head telling me I didn't belong even looking in that department. I tried on a bunch of jeans (after all, all my jeans have been Lane Bryant brand for the past 15+ years!). Fell in love with a black pair of Not Your Daughter's Jeans - get this - in a size 12 (a little tight, but buttoned and zipped and felt great on!). 

Size 12 Not Your Daughter's Jeans at Macy's

Since I have been going down in sizes so quickly, I have kept my wardrobe to a bare minimum, only buying when it's something I need to go somewhere (although I do have a good collection of yoga pants and workout clothes, but those are worn often). Cleaning out my closet has been a cathartic experience, one that has made both Thad and I realize that we really desire to simplify many aspects of our lives and find great joy in that. I know, that sentiment seems so at odds talking about my enjoyment of shopping, right? The difference in my life now though is that I had a great time today, but also came home happy to have not bought things I really didn't need right now and happy to have not spent $ from our tight budget - kinda seems like the best of both worlds to me. As cooler weather approaches I will need to get a few things, but plan to buy with the knowledge I won't be wearing for long, so I'll look at Marshall's, Kohl's, Old Navy for some inexpensive transition clothes. Doesn't mean I'll stop shopping just for fun though :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lemon Cucumber Goodness

Yes, you heard right, LEMON cucumber! No, it's not citrus-y in the least - in fact it's crisp, a little sweet and flavorful - and all cucumber. Thad and I had never seen these pretties before when we ran across them a few weeks ago at an interesting booth at the Ann Arbor Farmer's Market. The woman also grows over 50 varieties of organic heirloom tomatoes and quite a variety of zucchini and squash.
The skin of this heirloom lemon cucumber is a little thinner than a typical cucumber, but there are pricklies to be rubbed off. And of course there are seeds inside, but what a pretty picture they make! The first time we bought them I sliced them thin with some heirloom zebra striped tomatoes and a bit of a purple sweet pepper, tossed in some white wine vinegar, EVOO, salt and pepper making a delicious crisp fresh salad that just screamed summer! Tonight I'm using this one in a lemon cucumber and pesto salad to take advantage of the abundance of fresh basil. (see recipe)

Every time we discover something new to us at the farmer's market it makes us wonder how many varieties of produce have been 'lost' to us in the world we now live in where fruit and vegetables are grown by corporate farms for their hardiness and ability to ship 3000 miles across country rather than for their beauty and unique tastes. I did a bit of research online and found that lemon cucumbers date back to 1894!

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Simple Decision to Change Your Life

"Once you make the decision to take control of what goes into your body, you're able to harness that power and reclaim yourself." -- Jillian Michaels

I've been asked many times over the past months what my 'secret' is . . . or what 'diet' I'm on. In reality it's rather simple, and it's changed my life completely (and I'm not on a diet).  Jillian hit the nail on the head - it's about making the decision to take control of what you are putting in your body - then believing in these changes in your life so completely that it just becomes your new normal. In doing this, I've transformed how I feel, how I look, where I shop, how I cook, what I enjoy doing and really my entire outlook on life. Believe it or not, it has not been difficult for me to do, because I was ready. So many life changes came together for me in January 2010 to make it the perfect time for a metamorphosis in my life - to become a butterfly.

In transforming my life and putting myself on a path of self-realization, I've decided that I do have a lot to say and share, so here we are at the first entry in my personal blog. I'll be sharing my thoughts, activities, favorite places and recipes - and whatever else seems to fit along the way. I hope you'll join me on my journey!