Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

You Might Not Pass By This Way Again….*


Last October my favorite aunt passed away after a long battle with bladder cancer. She wanted to be cremated and opted not to have a service so I wanted to honor her with a post here. I had this half-written and decided to hold off (you’ll see why by the end). 🙂

Roma began dating my uncle when I was 3 or 4. My uncle Warren is my dad’s older brother who drove truck for a living until retiring a few years ago (not by choice, he loved roaring down the road!). He settled in Michigan shortly after meeting her. She was feisty and fabulous with curly red hair and a sweet southern drawl. I loved her. She and my uncle visited several times when I was little. In first grade she taught me how to multiply (way before my classmates, I felt so smart!). In high school my family drove out to Michigan to stay with her and my uncle. It then became a summer tradition and one of my favorite memories. Roma could take a joke (like the time we dyed her then white hair red….only to discover we used too much and it came out fire engine red!). In college my mom and I would have “girls trips” and spend a week in October with her appreciating Michigan foliage and exploring the Midwest.

My Aunty Roma and Uncle Warren

My Aunty Roma and Uncle Warren

She was always up for an adventure…like finding Eminem’s recording studio in the notorious 8 mile section of Detroit or hunting for Michigan’s best ice cream sundae at Woody’s in Royal Oak….(but we have to start from her sister-in-law’s house or else she’d get turned around). Her life mantra was “You might not pass by this way again” – which could justify anything from a quick stop at a yard sale or a radical life decision. No matter what the circumstance you could sum up your next move with “you might not pass this way again” – so why not do it?! So many times it was true. We’d take one road to go someplace and come home a totally different way – missing the cute coffee shop or some great sunset over an open field. In life I often find myself wanting to say or do something then hemming and hawing until I’ve missed my window. In 2012 I adopted this as my mantra and I had postcards made up so I could hang them everywhere as a reminder:

Pass by this way

She didn’t care for TV (except for Oprah, she just loved Oprah) but she was amazed by the career Derek and I both chose. She loved hearing crazy work stories and she loved to know how things work behind the scenes. I remember sitting with her one summer night in Michigan while we were both up too late explaining how green screens work – she was just fascinated.The last time I saw her was on a work trip in June of 2013. I convinced my sales manager at the time that we should drive from Chicago to Detroit to see my customer – and see my family. When we got there she was in the hospital and I remember being struck by the juxtaposition of her frail body and her sharp mind. She wanted to know if there was a boy in my life (there wasn’t and she was sad to hear this, LOL), how work was, how Mom/Dad/Derek were and more important what awesome things I had seen – because I might not pass this way again! I told  her about driving to get fresh peaches in Atlanta (because the peach is the epitome of Atlanta!), heading 2 hours  outside LA to find a store that sold funky recycled jewelry and the extensive collection of Starbucks mugs picked up by friends all over the globe (from Oslo to Dubai to Singapore). I was proud to say I was living our shared mantra!

I’m a huge fan of self-improvement and I shared with her the book I had just finished, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I decided to make my list of my personal commandments; it had to make the list. 🙂  She loved it and we shared a laugh about how hard it can be to let things go.

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Since there wasn’t a funeral or wake my family mourned in our own way – releasing balloons the day she passed and on her birthday and taking time to appreciate the little things (like perfect sunsets and car rides with great sing-a-long playlists). We talk about her often and laugh – because so many Aunty stories end in hilarity.

A few months ago Derek decided he was ready for his first tattoo – after some back and forth…I decided to take the plunge and join him. I’ve always been a fan of tattoos but super indecisive when it came to actually permanently adorning my body with one. I spit-balled some ideas with my friend and personal Photoshopper, Tyler. He took my disjointed ideas and created this amazing piece:

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I was in love. We scheduled our appointment with Jaesun, an artist our friend G uses and on August 22nd I came home with this on the back of my right shoulder:

 

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Perfect. Just perfect!

On our drive home from getting tattooed I found myself especially weepy – somehow it felt so real that she was gone and I couldn’t call and tell her about the art or about this boy I met and fell for (but still haven’t confessed my feelings for, LOL)… Through my tears I noticed “Roma Bakery” on our left – which made me smile – then a giant sign advertising “Berry Smoothies!” on my right. I took that as a little sign that she could see us and appreciated the tribute! ❤

Rest in peace Roma “Aunty” Berry (November 18 yearshallnotbementioned ~ October 26, 2013), I hope  you’re doing all your favorite things (putzing in the garden, eating dessert for dinner, taking long rides and stopping at every bend to explore!). Oh and your age will always be your secret with Mom! 😉

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Summer Update: Sunsets, Salads and Soul Searching


I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last posted! I always take these mini-breaks without meaning to – I’m just so easily distracted once I’m on the computer that I end up with 37 half written blog entries. 🙂

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The face of someone who KNOWS she needs to blog more….haha.

So June –> July has been a bit of a blur….BBQs, aimless drives, cocktails with friends, soul-searching, perfect weddings,  sleeping late and SO MANY VEGETABLES! Oh man, I am REALLY happy I chose to get a CSA this summer.  My friend Steph posted this a few weeks ago and it’s become my mantra:

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When you realize that you need the same care and feeding you would give to a plant things became a little more clear. Have you had enough water? Nutrients? Sunshine? If not – make it happen.

Let’s discuss the amazing bounty I’ve been receiving every Thursday from Picadilly Farms in NH since early  June. Since last time I have tried a bunch of things that I can’t recall ever having (and I’m not a fussy eater).

  • Loved: Boy choy (especially in stir-fry), radishes (raw or cooked these are awesome!), turnips, carrots (I used to hate them, now I love them!), leeks, fennel (roasted or raw, mmmm), golden beets and kohlrabi (stir-fryed or raw in a salad)
  • Mezzo Mezzo: Red Russian kale (sweeter than regular kale but not something I would buy on my own, mustard greens, senposai (collard-type) greens.
  • Not my thang: Kale (I just can’t – I have tried it 52,000 ways and I don’t like it), sorrel (lemony bitter green), swiss chard (I tried it twice – stir-fryed and braised then decided to pass it along to a colleague at work who eats healthy), garlic scapes (I love garlic but these were not for me) and dill (just not a flavor I like).

Other things I have LOVED but were not new to me – spinach, arugula, green beans, sugar peas, snap peas, zucchini, summer squash, scallions, basil, cilantro, tiny strawberries and romaine lettuce.

This week new to me I have patty pan squash (I just love saying that name!), daikon, pickling cucumbers and Japanese eggplant! I haven’t tried them yet so I will report back once I do!

Since I love pictures here is two pretty collages featuring some of the fabulousness. See if you can spot the tiny stow-away I found when washing spinach. 😉

Veggie Collage

Veggie Collage 2

I highly recommend doing a CSA to get out of your food comfort zone – it’s amazing to me how many things weren’t on my radar before and now will become Samantha staples (like carrots , fennel and radishes!).

There is something special about this summer – it hasn’t been anything I can put my finger on but I feel different – more excited, more open to new adventures and more appreciative of the beauty around me. I have been making a point to admire the sunset each night and I have some gorgeous photos to show for it….

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – sunrises and sunsets are two of the most powerful things in nature to witness. No matter how good or bad a day is, it will end. ❤

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I’ve also been doing a ton of soul-searching and while I find myself writing a lot there isn’t much I want to share publicly. Let’s just say I’m finding being in my thirties very liberating. Suddenly all these things I had hoped I’d be by this age are a reality.I don’t have to apologize for how I feel (or don’t feel) or for the things I want (or don’t want). I credit Danielle LaPorte for opening me up to these changes. It’s amazing reading daily blips of “truth” and inspiration from someone as no-bullshit as me! I think the next 6 months of my 32nd year will be filled with more risks, more reward and less hesitation. Life is too short to be anything less than ridiculously happy.

Truthbombs

Truthbombs – a few of my favs!

 

I had coffee with my friend Tiana on Saturday. We met in 7th grade and were friends all through middle/high school and then went our separate ways. However thanks to the magic of Facebook we reconnected and chat often. Yesterday was the first time we have seen each other in 14 years and it was like nothing had changed. A quick coffee date extended almost two hours and I can’t wait to spend more time with her soon!  I’m so thankful for friends like her who get me in a way I don’t have to explain. 🙂

 

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Here’s to another 8 weeks of summer-amazingness! Cheers, friends!

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Temptation and Truthbombs


I love alliteration – it just ties things together so perfectly for me! I mentioned a few weeks ago I was starting Whole 30 again – I can’t even lie, it’s been hell. I didn’t realize QUITE how far off my clean eating track I had gotten. Nor did I realize just how many temptations I face and fail in a daily basis!
Breakfast? On Whole 30 I’m either having eggs/chicken sausage or that nut porridge (comes out better if you soak the nuts in coconut or almond milk instead of water) or a Lara bar and leftover veggies. Before I would be tempted by bagels, brown sugar oatmeal or Belgian waffles. Sure none of those alone with kill me or lead to weight gain..unless that’s standard fare 6/7 mornings.
Lunch and dinner I definitely fall into the carb cravings. I want soup – with bread. I want potatoes every night (I may or may not be part potato…). It’s crazy. Once I convince myself that I’m craving veggies I can be satisfied with amazing lunches like this homemade power bowl –
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Dinner I’ve been consistently good at sticking to protein and veggies so that’s been easy but I’m finding myself eating larger breakfasts and smaller dinners. I’m also rocking the water (thanks to this lovely BKR water bottle):
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I’m also obsessed with wilted spinach and onions (olive oil + onion + salt). Here’s a snapshot of dinner Friday night:
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Dessert….yeah that was back to an every day kind of thing. A treat loses it’s specialness if you have it every day. It’s funny, I’ve learned and relearned these lessons…but for some reason they don’t stick in my head until I strip my eating to bare bones! Once I do I swear that I’m hardly saying clean. Now they’re are things I miss like cottage cheese and cheese in omelets but I think going without really made me realize how frequently cheese and crackers trumps tomatoes and guacamole as a snack!
I’m ready to transition to an 80/20 clean eating lifestyle. I can totally commit to eating clean during the week and weekends if I have one or two meals where I splurge. This week will be my most challenging – I’m in L.A. for work from Tuesday morning through Thursday night (red eye home). I’ve got 13 meetings crammed into 2.5 days I’m addition to 2 planned dinner dates. I need to be ON and of course I’m lucky Los Angeles is one of the best places to be eating clean! My hotel has an organic menu and I’m in control of picking one of the two dinner locations so I can steer towards a small farm to table style place and away from a martini bar (huge temptation!). I’ve got cashews and Lara bars packed for emergencies – I totally think I can do this. One real truth that rang through during this challenge was how often I excuse away my own bad behavior while harping on someone else for doing THE SAME THING. No one likes a hypocrite.
I’ve been completely in love with a blogger/author banged Danielle LaPorte lately and one of her best ideas is a “truthbomb” – a quick email with wise words you need to hear. This was from a few weeks ago:

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Ha. Was I right? Totally true, thought-provoking words! Can you talk about what you want in life without referencing what you have or had? It’s tough! I want to be able to master clean eating while still enjoying treats without overdoing it. What do I consider overdoing? Well if I look at my past… No past! Don’t mention the past! LOL. It’s tough! If I think about my love life and taking that chance and putting myself into the online dating world (something I’ve still avoided) I get so scared and so worried…what if I only meet assholes? What if NO ONE wants to date me? What if I meet someone who can only see where I am and not where I’m going? Well, it’s on me to put my best foot forward and act the way I want to feel (as Gretchen Rubin says). If I want to be loved I need to act loved (and truly I am loved!). But, dwelling on roads you’ve already traveled just gets you places you’ve already been!
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In three weeks I’m super happy to say I’ve lost 13 pounds! I know so much of this was getting away from the healthy (and not healthy!) quick foods and back to eating healthy meals in their natural form. Now let’s look forward to a healthy, clean eating future! 🙂

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It’s been a long December…


One of my favorite songs is “Long December” by Counting Crows – it always feels very final, very matter-of-fact and a little melancholy. Granted, it’s only December 9th but the song perfectly sums up my feelings towards this year already!

I’m about 90% recovered from pneumonia that struck right before Thanksgiving and I’m getting back into the swing of things. This time of year it’s SO easy to fall off track and just say “eff it, I’ll start fresh in January” – but think how much better you’ll feel if you stay on track through the most challenging month and continue that great streak right through January! As my friend Stef says – stay accountable!

How am I doing this?

*planning workouts with friends – lots of Zumba dates, circuit dates and checking in with my brother and my fit friends. Workouts are a great excuse to meet up with someone and burn calories at the same time!

*avoiding the “but it’s the holidays!” food pitfall. I avoided Halloween candy completely, I barely ate at Thanksgiving (because I was sick) so I was far from overstuffed…now I need to keep that momentum straight through the season of gingerbread lattes, salted caramel hot chocolates and Santa sugar cookies!

*making the most of my time on and off! I have vacation from December 20th – 31st. While I’m super excited for time with family and friends I need to ensure I wrap up all my projects and meet my work deadlines without going nuts. Balance + prioritize!

*reminding myself that I’m striving for good, not perfect. I will never exercise 7 days a week and stick perfectly to my calories – but I can compensate for splurges and  ensure to up my water intake etc.

*last but not least- remember that the year is coming to an end and that means an exciting new beginning is on the horizon. I mentioned that I love sunsets and sunrises because they symbolize that everything (good or bad) will come to an end. I fully believe in that concept. 🙂

This past weekend my family put up our Christmas tree with old and new wonderful ornaments. I’m the family gift wrapper so those gorgeous presents were created by yours truly (and I’m modest too!).

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As we approach 2014 one of my favorite bloggers and writers, Kate Northrop suggested something I can’t wait to do with my family: “Release it. Mike and I are having a Winter Solstice party this year. We’ll have little cards by the fireplace on which people can write down what they’d like to release and leave in the darkness of the shortest day of the year. Then we’ll have other cards where they can write down what they’d like to welcome in with the light as the days grow longer starting on Dec. 22nd. The end of the year is a beautiful time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not, and let go of what’s not. Spend some time letting go instead of accumulating and you’ll fee more free.”

What are you ready to release?

What would you like to welcome?

I’ll share mine: I’d like to release self-doubt (because this year I have really questioned my place in the working world, in friendships, in life etc.). I’m ready to release that worry and negativity about past mistakes that I harbor.

I’m ready to welcome in a romantic partner who pairs with me in a fabulous way. I feel like 31 was my year of trying new things and opening myself up to new ideas. I found Zumba, I got healthier and learned to focus on whole foods,  I grew through some challenges professionally, I lost someone I loved dearly and learned to appreciate the family (and friends) here. I tried my hand at cooking (and had a few successes!), I spent time alone and appreciated my quirks (and tamed some of annoying traits). I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life with someone I love by my side. ❤

As for resolutions, I had a giant list I started to build (42 things and counting) and I decided to go in a different direction – next year I will focus on being happy. Period. I will spend more time with my mom and less time on menial tasks. I’ll remember to pack my stuff for work/Zumba the night before so my mornings are less stressful. I’ll smile at strangers and try to be less sarcastic. I’m email friends I don’t see enough and take impromptu road trips to try new things. Little tweaks will add up to big happiness in the end. I’m sure if it!

Are you making resolutions? If so will you focus on one out two things or try to tackle a laundry list? I’d recommend trying to conquer one or two meaningful items. Read the rest of this entry »

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Autumn Book Club/Words for the Soul


It’s autumn here in New England – my FAVORITE season! It makes me want to curl up on the couch with an apple cider or a hot chocolate and read books under a blanket all day. Before I share my latest fabulous reads I just had to share some New England BEAUTY spotted on Friday. Yes, they were taken in a grave yard (where my Nana, Papa and uncle are buried) – sound morbid but graveyards are so peaceful and appear to be a mecca for amazing foliage!

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Leaves

Now onto the books! I’m a huge fan of books that focus on feeding your soul and weight-loss – enter this month’s reads that cover both topics. First up is “Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much” by Colette Baron-Reid. I can’t tell you how many times in my life someone tells me I’m TOO emotional or TOO empathetic – when my friend Corynne snapped a picture of her bookshelf and I spotted this I had to check it out. So far it’s really interesting – I might even follow the 8 week plan for removing the emotional attachment to food. It’s silly really, I KNOW I shouldn’t eat my feelings…..and yet I find myself doing it subconsciously. Just now I’m watching Criminal Minds. Anytime an innocent victim is hurt I think “I wish I had cookies”. I can’t say this explains my whole life (I definitely still made poor choices and too many of them) – but it definitely sheds light on to why I am so affected by the emotions of people around me.

I find myself nodding a lot during the book – it’s nice to be able to relate to someone else who can’t process their feelings and turns to food instead. I always promise you guys honesty an no BS – if you ever read along with my blog and think “Oh wow she does that? Me too!” – pick up this book and drop me a line, let’s chat! 🙂

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Next up is Jeff Goins “The In-Between” is all about taking those annoying moments (like being in traffic or being delayed in getting what you want and using them to fuel you to live a happier life. Friends were tweeting and Facebooking about “The Slow Down Challenge” and I knew I had to check it out. I often sit in bed at night and think of how rushed I was during the day. Gotta go to a meeting, gotta finish this project, gotta reschedule that lunch date with Kate, gotta start my Christmas shopping. I’ve made a little change and that’s calling my Mom during the day just to say hi. We’re really close (as previously mentioned) and I just love her to pieces. Calling to say hi only takes 5 mins and over time makes a big difference in keeping me grounded. 🙂

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My favorite meme from the book:

Where are you right now? Are you appreciating the moment (even if it’s an “in between’ moment?). So much of life is defined by what we do in between the marriages and babies and new jobs and milestone birthdays. Make sure you’re not just rushing to check the next task off your list. Make sure you’re actually ENJOYING life.

Disconnect from your smart phone.

Turn off the TV.

Have coffee with someone you love and give them your FULL attention.

Stop getting upset about things you cannot control (like traffic) <— sometimes easier said than done! 😉

As Gretchen Rubin taught me in “The Happiness Project” – the days are long but the years are short. How many of you can’t even remember your first few weeks of your relationship with your spouse or the first few weeks of nervous excitement after you graduated college or your babies first steps? Life really does fly by and it’s up to us to grab on to small moments in between the big ones and cherish them!

What are you currently reading? Is it inspiring you to make changes in your life? I’d love to hear about it!

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Blogtember (or “Where Did Summer Go?!”)


Sometimes you take “a little break” from something, like say blogging – then look up and realize it’s been  4 months. Whoops! H! Thanks for still following me. 🙂

So where have I been? I wish I could say “traveling the world” or”curing cancer” …. but alas, no. I have been going around the same mountains – and beating myself up about the same failures. My mom is a fan of Joyce Meyer and even if you’re not religious, I encourage you to read this on behaviors that hinder instead of help.

I can only describe the last few months and my summer as “trying” (as in “trying my patience, LOL). I’ve had some ups – and a lot of downs both in my personal life and in the weight-loss sphere. I felt like I could just keep doing the same things and see different results – which is just silly. We all know the definition of insanity is doing the exact same thing and expecting different results.

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So rather than eating the exact same meals and doing the exact same workouts and over-committing myself to 90 projects at work I stopped – took a staycation and chilled out. It was blissful. I have to return to work on Monday and I don’t want it to end truth be told! This last ten days taught me to SLOW DOWN, stop being “everything to everyone” (because it’s really NOT possible), spice it up (workouts, food, different things keep you on your toes!) and most importantly – stop thinking. I am such an over-thinker….it’s honestly exhausting being in my head sometimes!

In the weight-loss sphere I’ve tried a bunch of different tweaks and finally concluded there is no “perfect diet” or “magic pill”. However, there is a nice balance that yields success for me. It looks something like this:

Samantha Success

“Healthy Diet” for me now includes lots of fruits and veggies, lean proteins (eggs, beef, chicken, turkey, fish), some starches (couscous, quinoa, potatoes), dairy (Greek yogurt, cream in my coffee) and the occasional treat (ice cream, a martini etc). Giving up gluten long-term doesn’t work for me – but I’m glad I tried it. I am also much more conscious of my “carb” intake now – and avoid mindless eating (like crackers, white bread etc).  Giving up treats makes me feel deprived and then I binge (which leads to feeling awful….which leads to mindless eating to self-soothe. Lather, rinse, repeat bad behavior). I love vegetables even more now  than ever before – and I can eat salads sans dressing and enjoy the flavors (arugula or spinach + roasted and fresh veggies + lemon juice = best salad *ever*).  I love fruit, so that was never an issue. However, I’ve learned how to shop seasonally and enjoy what’s ripe and fresh at the moment – which makes a huge difference! Check out this delicious caprese salad from a few days ago:

tomato caprese salad

and check out my “loaded” fruit bowl (now a weekly feature in the house)

Peaches, pluots, bananas, avocados, oranges and two kinds of apples!

Peaches, pluots, bananas, avocados, oranges and two kinds of apples!

Sleep is an obvious one – and something I’ve blogged about before. When I get 7 hours of sleep I feel better (and I’m much less bitchy). 😉  ‘Nuff said!

Exercise is  TRICKY one. I threw myself into doing JUST strength training and discovered it does not take the pounds off. In order to lose weight AND reshape my body I need a combo of cardio (currently loving Zumba and Pound – which is a cardio class that includes neon green drum sticks. Dead serious. It’s sooo much fun!) as well as strength (my beloved barre n9ne – often imitated never duplicated + circuit training). Over the last few weeks I have finally balanced a schedule that allows me 4 cardio workouts, 3 strength training workouts and overall a good variety of exercise. I am convinced that the secret to success is spicing things up! Oh and to achieve this balance I dropped my gym membership and joined the YMCA – slightly more expensive, but tons of Zumba classes at 2 locations nearby was a huge selling point.

Minimal stress eh? Well the last few months have been stress-filled in every avenue of my life. My favorite aunt is ill, my job has been just nuts (not good nuts either – lots of changes and challenges that I really wasn’t ready to rise to) and I was finding myself “not where I wanted to be by this point in my life”. Do you ever do that? Do you ever look around and think “Fuck! I was supposed to have accomplished so much more by 31!”. I do. ALL THE TIME. I got into a really negative frame of mind and all I could focus on was *STILL* being over weight, *still* being single and *still* conquering the same demons I’ve been fighting since my early twenties. I got to a place where I thought “This must be as good as my life gets and there’s no use in wanting better” – but honestly, that’s crap and we both know better. 🙂  I am fabulous, I will conquer this weight demon and I will meet someone – when the time is right. I think sometimes you need to focus on where you’re going and not where everyone else around you is going. So, getting out of my head and allowing work to stay at work has been the focus of the last few weeks – so far I think it’s paying off!

During my staycation I noted a few things I want to focus on for September:

*Positive self-talk (every day, find something awesome about myself and share it – with myself). I don’t need to turn into one of those people posting constant selfies “looking for shout-outs”. No no, this is just for me to get out of a negative frame of mind and focus on the positive. Today’s positive is recognizing how much I eat intuitively now-a-days instead of mindlessly. Woo!

*Stop going around in circles (ala Soul Coughing — “I don’t need to walk around in circles, walk around in circles….”). Find a new path – change your mind – don’t react the same way you normally would.

*Letting it go. Sometimes, no matter how much I want to – or how hard I try I cannot change a situation. I need to continue working on letting go of what I cannot control.

That’s it – just 3 little goals. I figure if I can strive towards those things, other things will fall in line. What are you focusing on this September?

 

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Presence.


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Sometimes you have a realization half way through the week so you jot down a quick note and come back to it. This week for me was just insane and on Wednesday I realized my digital diet (life without Facebook) was allowing me to be more present in my life. I wasn’t “multi-tasking” during a meal with my family. I wasn’t spending hours in front of the TV or computer only half paying attention because my nose was buried in my phone. Nope, I was actually PRESENT in my life. Woah! So I have this epiphany then I forget all about blogging it over the weekend and then my pal Jess posts this #presence2013  and I laughed out loud. Talk about reading my mind!

I’ve mentioned a dozen times or more how bad I am at living in the moment and not letting my mind wander. I am perpetually replaying past mistakes (and wishing I could change the outcome) or fantasizing about my future (and worrying I won’t live up to my own expectations). It’s exhausting and it robs me of my present joy. I don’t appreciate the moment I’m in because I’m thinking 10 frames ahead or behind.  This last week I have been focusing more on conversations (and realizing how much of what people are saying isn’t registering in my brain because of all the other junk clogging my brain!). It’s such a waste to meet a friend for coffee or call someone to say hi and then spend the entire time together looking at your cell phone. If someone said “Hey, wanna go sit at Starbucks and ignore each other?” you’d laugh right? Exactly. So why are you doing it on a daily basis? (food for thought friends).

Giving up Facebook made me realize how much of my life is spent “snipping” moments to fit into my online life. Have you ever done that? Have you ever stopped and thought how you would phrase something on Facebook? Gag. What has social media done to our society when we think in status updates!? This morning in barre method with Erica I was focused on my movements (and pushing past points when I would normally stop – like during triceps!). I was focusing on the music and syncing my movements to it. I was focused on her counting (because she does this cool thing during reps where she counts “8…7……………4…3….2…1” and you have to really FOCUS to make sure you’re in sync with her). It’s a great brain switch!  I left really sore and really proud of myself for being in the moment and ya what the first thing I thought was? Oh man I should post this on FB and tag her! BAH! My brain is literally conditioned to thinking about sharing things. I have 5 more weeks to retrain my brain. I hope I succeed!

There have been quite a few deaths in the last week that have touched folks in my life. It makes you realize how short life is and how much the little things truly do not matter. Like Facebook. Or Twitter. Or reality TV. 🙂  Enjoy life. Be present with the people around you and cherish the moments you have with them – even the little ones.

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Is Weight-loss an Accomplishment?


I follow a lot of weight-loss / healthy blogs –  some have amazing tips and give me warm fuzzies, some get me fired up and thinking. Recently someone posted a negative comment they received about fat people getting praise when people who have maintained a healthy weight their whole life never get accolades. The commenter said she was sick of seeing fat people get praised of overeating then undoing their mess.  Of course, people went rabid like Justin Bieber fans at a free concert in Time Squares. Insults were hurled, angry faces were thrown, swear words exchanged etc. etc.

I sat back (for once) and pondered this. Do we (“society”) praise people for unfucking their lives? We do! There are TV shows dedicated to losing fat, giving up additions (“Addiction”) or getting over a failure (or failures) ala “Fix My Life”. There are magazines and news specials all about transformations. We are obsessed with success stories, we thrive on progress and we live for triumphs over adversity. Right? So then how do people on the other side of the coin feel? Should we in fact be celebrating people who have kept it together all along?

awesome

This graphic made me laugh out loud, I had to use it!

 

Weight-loss is a perfect platform for this argument. I was once 450 pounds. I got there 100% of my own accord (special shout out to food for being my once BFF and main accomplice). I am now coming out of the downward spiral with exercise, healthy food options and lots of support from friends and family. Is my struggle “worse” or somehow more tragic because it was of my own making? No. Are my accomplishments somehow more impressive because of my size? Nope. So why then do I get so much praise from the folks around me for getting my butt to the gym or fitting into smaller jeans? I’m guessing it’s because the people in my circle – my community want to see me succeed. Sometimes I feel like a sham – I write a weight-loss blog for 2.5 years and yet I am not at my goal weight – how the hell is that possible?! I’m still struggling. But, maybe that’s the beauty of it. I have flaws (loves cupcakes, hates to cook), I fall down – I make mistakes – hell I straight up give up sometimes! But, I always get back on the proverbial horse and try again. I am resilient (I wasn’t always) and I share those struggles with the world. This blog is a lot about my success but even more about my real-life on-going struggles with my weight and my choices.

All that said I can’t help but wondering (in a very Carrie Bradshaw sorta way) – should “normal” people be getting the accolades for getting up every day and just being awesome? Shouldn’t those folks that have never strayed more than a few pounds from their ideal weight be saluted and revered more than those of us that slip up (time and time again) only to (someday hopefully) reach success?

Are you more drawn towards success after immense failure or status quo awesomeness?

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Happy New Year!


Fireworks 2013

I stopped blogging for a bit – not intentionally I just get so in my head that I couldn’t write without worrying about someone would think. In 2013 I will be writing when I want to and about what I want….which may mean I lose some followers. Meh! Life is too short to worry about how many friends you have on Twitter or how many comments your blog gets.

I’ve been watching episodes of My So-Called Life on Netflix- god I LOVED that show in 1995 – I forgot how much it spoke to me – and it still does. All the music from the season is still some of my favorite music and I swear I could have been Angela Chase at one point in my life.

“People are always saying you should be yourself, like yourself is this definite thing, like a toaster. Like you know what it is even. But every so often I’ll have, like, a moment, where just being myself in my life right where I am is, like, enough.” – Angela Chase

Sometimes, I feel the same way. Sometimes I feel like I lost touch with who I am. I get caught up in meetings and drama and nonsense and pretty soon I’ve gone weeks without reconnecting with my body (or my mind!). I start with good intentions, but then I get off-track and pretty soon I’m so far gone that I can’t remember all my healthy habits I had adopted. So, I stop blogging and I stop chatting with friends about healthy goals and I kind of shrink off into my own little world. It’s sad!

As always I’m thinking about what I resolve to do this year … what did I resolve to do last year?? Oh right – thank you blog!

In 2012:

I resolve to love more and fear less.

I resolve to trust more and question less.

I resolve to choose health over convenience or emotion.

I resolve to continue growing personally and professionally. Knowledge is never wasted!

I resolve to have more barre and less bullshit in my life. I’m at the point where I don’t want to subscribe to nonsense anymore.

I had more barre but I had a fair amount of bullshit too. I tried to love more and I ended up finding something I wasn’t looking for. Looks like I need to be more specific about what I’m looking for in a relationship – and what I’m bringing to the table. LOL.

So moving on – what will I accomplish in 2013?! Here we go……….13 goals in honor of ’13

* Complete Couch to 5K (using the fancy new heart rate monitor I bought – in pink of course!)
* Hike to the Hollywood sign! (I have ALWAYS wanted to do this – and I finally conned someone into doing it with me. So come February I will be hiking my cute butt up to see the sign and the lovely city of Los Angeles!)
* Go gluten-free (like legit. I want to go hardcore for a month and see how I feel – then adjust as need be).
* Get more fruits/veggies into my day (roasted, chopped, pureed – any form…just do it!)
* Stop stressing out about shit I can’t control (As the story goes: “Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.”
* Cook an actual meal – like 3 courses that go together for someone I love
* Buy cute workout clothes at Lululemon (Stasia this means once they fit we’re going on a shopping spree!)
* Have more adventures – who doesn’t love an adventure?!
* Spend more time with the people who make me smile – and less with the ones who make me self-doubt
* Write more (not necessarily here – just in general. I have these moments of brillance…and I lose them on scraps of paper and random note pads in between life)
* Stop trying to make everyone like me. I’m sure I’ve confessed this before but in case you missed it – I HATE when people don’t like me. Hate it. At work. At the gym. Anywhere. i need to be liked. In 2013 I will build a bridge and get the fuck over it. Not everyone is going to like me – and that’s OK!
* Complain less. I am a habitual whiner, I know I am. Sometimes my inner monologue becomes my OUTER monologue and that just isn’t sexy. Time to kibosh the bitching!
* Be more awesome (I know, this sounds so arrogant right? But I figure it this way – if I am more awesome I will attract more awesome into my life and frankly – that’s what I need!

I’m super excited for NYE – I’m going to a masquerade ball with a bunch of girls (including my NYC BFF Jewels and my barre bestie Stasia – yay!!!) – can’t wait to celebrate the new year in STYLE! I got this mask – but of course I have no idea what to wear with it. Oh the woes of being a chick. LOL.

Happy New Year! Make resolutions – resolve to love yourself more – resolve to be happy (especially if you’re not) and resolve to make progress in 2013.

See you next year (har har)

XO

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Ten Things to ponder for Tuesday


My friend Lauren posted this to Facebook yesterday and it just struck a chord with me. At one point in my life (not too long ago) I was doing all of these things. Now I would say my biggest problems are #1, #2 and #4. I have been making progress with  #1 thanks to the “Nice Girls Finish Fat” book – but it’s been tougher than I imagined!

What do you need to give up in order to move forward in life? Maybe it’s someone, maybe it’s something, maybe it’s the image of how things were supposed to be. One of my favorite song lines is from Matt Kearney’s “Annie” : “Maybe the hardest things are the dreams that we’ve been given”.  I love the line, but I can’t relate personally. My parents didn’t give me dreams – they pushed me to create my own. Now, I need to push myself to execute those dreams. I have been big time procrastinating lately, and it needs to stop.

My pal Jess blogged about not being able to relax – yeaaaa I have the opposite problem. I made a 12-point to do list this weekend and accomplished 1 thing. No lie. ONE! Insane. I need to get my butt in gear! Today is November 13th. I have 48 days until New Years and 78 days until I turn 31!  Time is slipping through my hands, while I sit on the couch relaxing. HELLO? Earth to Samantha? Let’s go!

So, in hopes of keeping myself accountable I have made a schedule for the next 3 weeks. Did I mention I have crazy (fun) travel coming up? I am in LA from Dec 3rd until Dec 15th for work visits and an upgrade. I’m excited because I have lots of LA friends to visit, lots of healthy food choices and a barre at my hotel gym! I’m nervous because I know myself and the temptation to drink every night and have dessert will be high. I need to keep up my gusto….which means I need to get my gusto going before I go. Capisce? 🙂

Here’s the plan from now until I leave. Color-coded (red = Danvers barre n9ne, purple = Andover bare n9ne, black = Zumba DVD). It might sound crazy but I am supposed to get 10,000 steps a day and Zumba accounts for 6,000. In my average day I get about 4,000 so I do hit my number, just not in the traditional fashion.

Now the challenge of “Can I stick to this?” sets in. I hope so! I do have pager, I do have friends in town but I can’t use those as excuses to fail! Write it down, make it happen!

Oh and Saturday if you’re looking for something fun to do come to Zumbathon hosted by my pal Stefanie Sweeney! She is the only Zumba instructor I like, and teaches one of my favorite barre classes (lean and tone). 🙂

You don’t have to be coordinated to have a good time (trust me)!

There we have my new mantras (let go, get moving, stop comparing) and my hopeful schedule. Please help me stick to it will ya? 🙂

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