Playing Many Parts


Loosing Weight – Adding Fresh Vegetables

My First Vegetable Garden

My First Vegetable Garden

Beginning Success

If you’ve been with me a while you know I am trying to loose at least two dress sizes, or about 20 pounds.  I will be happy with that.  If I can loose one more, I will be over the moon happy!  I am on the downward turn.  It is a slow process, but then I knew it would be.  I have lost about 7 or 8 pounds in a about as many weeks, which is a fine pace for me.

So far, I have adopted a very strict no sugar diet and added about 10,000 steps to my days.  I feel good and have made peace with changing my perspective on food.  I am trying very hard to see meals and food in general as what it is, a means to an end, not my happiness.  The only purpose of food in my life right now as sustenance.  For happiness, I am turning to hobbies like spending time with family, reading, writing, and now growing healthy things.

Fresh Vegetables

My newest step to becoming a much healthier weight is to grow some of my own food in a large 30-Inch container on my deck.  I will do some more in depth posts later about all that is wrong with our food supply and some of the debates I watch about that.  However, I don’t think anyone will disagree with the fact that growing your own food can be fun, is very good for you, and should cut your grocery bill a little.  So to me it is an exciting win/win/win situation.

Here is what I am growing to start:

I just planted the starters this week, so I will keep you posted on how my new hobby is going!

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Friday Fun – A new business and random thoughts

weddings-sjpI’m starting a new business with my brother, finally.  We have been talking and planning for a good 2 years, but our jobs and schedules have kept us from being able to pull the trigger.  It seems the stars have finally aligned and we may be able to do that beginning in August.  And how do I know I should move forward?  Sarah Jessica Parker told me.  I’m kind of kidding, but both my brother and I, for very different reasons, LOVE SJP.  So when I went to buy my first official wedding magazine (we are starting an event planning business) and SHE was on the cover, I new it was serendipity!

After my magazine purchase I began a Pinterest search of all things

Sarah Silverman (Tribeca Film Festival) by Joan Garvin

Sarah Silverman (Tribeca Film Festival) by Joan Garvin

Event Planning and stumbled upon a neat website, which lead to another, and another.  But somehow I ended up at this interview with Cathy who is the author of the blog Poor Little it Girl.  This interview mentions a quote by Sarah Silverman that I can’t find anywhere else, but it really spoke to me this morning and I want to put it here to have it.  Cathy says “Sarah Silverman did an interview once and said, ‘Don’t clutter your life with stuff you can’t afford. Keep your overhead low. Get a car with good mileage. Work towards buying your apartment. Shop at Gap. Enough with obsessing over the latest bag. It’s a purse. It holds stuff. Get a backpack. You’re being ridiculous.’”

I love to shop, read, eat, cook, drink and basically buy stuff.  But in order to make my dreams come true, in order to start a business that I will love and work with people I love, I have to give stuff up.  I need to stop buying useless crap that means far more to others than it ever will to me.  Happiness can not be found in things, I have tried that and it leaves me sad and wanting more.  I want to do work I can be proud of that makes me feel alive, THAT is what I need to spend my time and money on.


My Favorite New Party – Wine Tastings

Winter Reds Pairing Party

Winter Reds Pairing Party

I have been testing party layouts with my family and friends this winter.  I have been perfecting my wine tasting party planning skills by hosting several small wine tasting parties for months.  They don’t mind though, we have had a lot of fun doing it, and I have learned some things along the way.  I will be planning a few more of these events this summer and can’t wait to make notes and learn new tricks for summer events.

If you want to host a wine tasting, I highly recommend this quick guide by the folks over at Thrillist.  They give the basics for hosting a party featuring Cabernet Sauvignon, but it only takes a few Google searches to figure out the details for any flavor you choose.  However, I will note that I had a bit harder time trying to find good information on how to host a Moscato focused party, I’m guessing due to its relative newness to the wine scene.  But if you are cleaver, you can do it!  My favorite tip?  Make at least one cocktail that even the wine naysayers might like.  There are lots of great recipes out there, and this can be a fun way to get more people participating.  Just be sure to taste test and have the recipe ready to hand out!

There were lots of notes on the different guides about how to note each wine and what pairing it should have, but I found this chalk board paper and chalk was not only easy to setup, but provided a keepsake for my daughter whose birthday we were celebrating.  She now has a reminder of not only what wines we served, but everyone got to write nice things to her too.

One final note, you may think a wine party is just too fancy or too expensive, but I found that isn’t true.  I can serve a lot less food, and better quality food, at a wine party than most other dinner parties where I not only have to provide appetizers, a meal and dessert but also several wines and other drinks.  Study, create, have fun, and don’t forget to let loose and relax.  Just don’t forget to note the wines no one likes so you can remove them from your rotation, even if they are your personal favorites.


Health Corner – Eat More Brussels Sprouts

Brussels Sprout - Superfood

Brussels Sprout – Superfood

As part of my new “Sugar Impact” diet I am trying to eat a lot more veggies.  I don’t like veggies.  I am always so jealous of my sister-in-law who can munch on red, yellow, orange and green peppers the way I enjoy munching on chocolate.  She honestly loves the taste of all veggies, I however, am not quite wired that way.  Eating healthy vegetables for me is a bit more of a chore, but I know it is good for me, so I am trying hard and finding some ways to do it.

Thanks in large part to my local grocery store, I am finding fun and even delicious ways to add a once hated food, Brussels sprouts, into my weekly diet.  I was wondering just how healthy they may be, so I headed over to the website of my go-to doc for all things healthy, Dr Joseph Mercola.  This guy is serious about helping others beat disease and live and eat better.  I love many of his products, but appreciate that even if you don’t buy his products, you can still benefit from hundreds of free articles on how to eat better and live healthier.  His take on Brussels sprouts is simple, they are filled with vitamins and help you detox naturally, they of course are touted as a Cancer killer too as they are part of the cruciferous veggie family along with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages.  So learning to eat and love this food is important and at the top of my to-do list.

I can buy these pre-shredded at my local grocery store, which helps me get these on the table.  They have shredded them, added a touch of bacon, and  packaged them in a small container so I can just dump them into a pan and fry them up in some coconut oil at home for a very handy snack or dinner side.  This is easy enough for anyone to do.  I have even found that Brussels sprouts shredded like this makes a very nice rice substitute for many of my stir fries.  Give them a try, with all their health benefits, it can’t hurt.  And feel free to share any recipes you have that make these gems easy or fun to eat!


Monday’s Reading Nook – The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane

Engraving

Engraving

One of my favorite new things to do is to check out humanities courses on Coursera and EdX.  I am currently working through a fascinating class on Historical Fiction called Plagues, Witches, and War: The Worlds of Historical Fiction.  There are lots of great books, stories and articles highlighted in this class, but the one I jumped to first to get a feel for the material was The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe.  There is just so many interesting things to say about both the class and the reading material I hardly know where to start.  And yes, if you didn’t get it by now, I am most definitely a book worm nerd and will always call reading my superpower!

Katherine Howe is a descendant of both Elizabeth Howe who was convicted and killed for witchcraft, but also of accused but not sentences Elizabeth Proctor (whose husband was convicted and killed).  For me, that makes her book a bit more real and vastly more interesting.  Also, Howe jumps back and forth between present day and the 1700s which also adds much interest for me.  There are love stories and mystery and history all here in this little gem of a book.  I am not completely done with the book, so I guess it could take a turn for the worse, but at two-thirds of the way through I can say that this is a really enjoyable summer read and has made this class a ton of fun.

Salem Trials

Salem Trials

I now want to be both an English Lit Doctoral Student and a Historical Fiction Author, so I think both the class and the book have been fairly successful.   On a more serious note, I think we remain so interested in this particular part of our history because it seems so utterly devoid of human kindness.  It is hard to imagine a world where one is arrested, locked up, and killed for a crime that can’t be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.  Or are we still doing that?  Have we really progressed, or are we just a touch less brutal so we bury our heads in the sand and pretend that situations like this could no longer happen here?


It’s Working – Back on the Diet Bandwagon

Will it ever budge?

Will it ever budge?

I know I said I was done dieting for a while, but the day after I posted that it all changed.  I jumped on the scale, my nemesis, and realized that I was actually going up not down, and panicked.  The next day I looked all over the internet for something that may help me finally get down.  I happened upon JJ Virgin and her program and bought the book and shakes the next day.

I knew from a quick check of the internet that her program was very much like my former favorite plan, Atkins, and that I wouldn’t have to learn a whole new way to eat.  I just needed to tweak what I had done before.  I am almost three weeks in and almost down the promoted 10 pounds in that time.  It did not happen for me in 2 weeks as she says, but then I knew that wouldn’t be the case for me.  My weight has not gone up or down at all in over 2 years until the past 2 months, where it first went up, then has come back down.

Her program is not perfect, in my humble opinion, nor is it completely sustainable for a lifetime, at least not as strict as she recommends.  It is based on 3 phases and the first and third are somewhat identical.  These phases can be done for long periods of time, with weeks off or cheat times built in, at least for me.  Food is my passion.  It always will be as I was raised to love food and treat it as a way to bring happiness to myself and others.  HOWEVER, that is an unhealthy way to think of food and I need to fix that.  This diet so far has helped me make strides in the right direction.  I am now viewing food as a simple means to an end. . .it is only to keep me alive.  My happiness I am seeking by pursuing other passions like reading, walking, playing with my dog and pursuing other business opportunities.

It helps that this diet also did as it promised, it cut my cravings.  I really am not thinking about and craving foods like I used to only 3 weeks ago.  Some days I have absolutely no cravings and need only my planned 3 meals.  Other days, I still want something else at night, so I find an approved snack and feel full and fine.  This is perhaps the best reason to give a diet like this a chance.  That first day or two is really horrible, I won’t lie.  I was yelling and crying at my husband, telling him I would never change, as he quietly reminded me that this was my choice and I promised myself I would give it the two weeks.  For me, by day 3 I was much calmer, able to skip snacking and not feeling hungry or angry from the sugar withdrawal anymore at all.

The best part for me is that after week 3, I was able to cheat twice.  It was Memorial Day and there were s’mores!  I had the cheat food, then got right back on the wagon and didn’t cheat again.  It was not a day of binging or anything, just one food at one time each of the days.  It happened to be two days in a row, but I was able to start right back on the diet the next morning and still watched the scale go down.

I have no idea if I can maintain this long enough for the 20-30 pounds that I really need to loose, but here’s hoping that my new lifestyle/diet can get me where I really want and need to be!  I’ll keep you posted!


Time for Change – I’m Just Counting

Just Counting

Just Counting

While I am keeping my promise to myself, not to diet again for a while, I did decided, with some help from my wise husband, to at least count the numbers.  Which numbers?  I am counting my calories and my steps for the next 25 days, because I just have to get my eating and my sedentary lifestyle back under control.

I have been bouncing around from the intermittent fasting diet to the low carb diet and many others so much that I lost track completely of just what and how much I was eating.  So last Wednesday I decided to just keep track.  What I found was  bit shocking.  Turns out, when I combined these diets in my head and tried to eat “normal” I was WAY over eating calories!  So, I am eating a healthy amount for my age and weight now.  To figure that out, I used this handy calculator. 

So, once I realized that I actually was overeating for weight loss, I decided to focus on just counting my calories and while I am at it, counting my steps for 30 days.  Being a true type A personality, I also decided that my daily steps would need to be at least 10,000.  Both my dog and I will benefit from this, so it is a win/win.  I am about 5 days in and I feel good.  I am happy, eating better, and much more conscious about what I am eating, how much I am eating, and when. I also am trying hard to remain active all day and take walk breaks whenever I can. . . and it makes me happy!


Having Fun Moving More

Oh my gosh, I can’t even believe I am posting this, but I am having so much fun right now finding new videos on YouTube to use during work to move around more!

A week ago I decided that I was going to try and incorporate more movement into my day as I was swearing off all the yo-yo dieting of the past 2 years.  Sine then, I have had a lot of fun finding clever new ways to work out in my cube at work.  SHHHH, don’t tell the boss.  It seems that it is perfectly fine to take several smoke breaks an hour, but most people frown on a 5-10 minute movement session in your cube.  Too bad, doing it anyway.  Let’s hope I am not soon blogging unemployed from home.

Here are some of my most favorites from the past week:

Denise has a series of quickies that can be done right from your cube!

I LOVE this song and can quickly do this one many times a day. . and it is so much fun!

It is just too easy to walk in my cube, I can’t believe I haven’t done this sooner!


Why I’m Not a Fashion Blogger

I’m not a fashion blogger.  In my dreams I play one, as any full blown clothes horse does, but due to my age, size and small income, it is silly to try. Who knows, maybe I will still pursue that, except that I am perhaps to jaded to be one.

I have been looking around at some of the most influential bloggers, like Chiara Ferragni, Leandra Medine, and Wendy Nguyen.  Wendy is by far my favorite, and to be honest, her site is the easiest for an old timer like me to follow.  Her style is pretty but not over the top much.  She still wears many outfits that I can afford and just has a realness that I can appreciate.

But here is where I really stumble.  I look at some of the fashion week pictures and wonder what in the world people are thinking.  I like these boots well enough. . .

Fendi-Fall_Winter-2015

Fendi-Fall-Winter-2015

But these boots I hate . . .

Gucci-Fall-Winter-2015

Gucci-Fall-Winter-2015

I mean, come on, who wants to wear a pair of “shoes” that look like you had your dog shaved and glued to your feet?  Does anyone really wear this stuff?  None of the women I have seen anywhere (and I live in one of the biggest cities in the US) wear this kind of stuff. . .so who does and who are they for?

Yeah, I don’t get it, so I guess my dreams of being a fashion or style blogger will remain in my dreams.  I just don’t see it.


I’m Done Dieting (for now)

We will walk!

We will walk!

it didn’t work.  Here we are in the first week of March and in over 2 years of constant eating plans, I have lost no weight.  My son helped me remember that I also have not gained weight.  At my age, I guess that is a tiny baby step. . .to not have gained any weight in the past two years, but I need to loose.

It scares me to death to not have a plan, so while I refuse to diet right now anymore, I will at least eat as healthy as possible.  Plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and very little sugar, flour and processed foods.  What I am going to do differently now is focus on movement.  I want to walk my dog daily.  I want to dance daily for health and for fun and because that makes me happy.  I want to build some basic muscles that will help me stay fit and I want to do at least a couple of days of yoga a week.  3 days a week at work I will do my muscle building.  Every night after work while dinner cooks I will dance.  Every night I will walk the dog after dinner and on my days off (2 per week) I will do yoga.  I am committing to this plan for 2 months, like I did the No-Carb Diet and will see what those results are.