Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Year of the Hot Mom: Week 16 Update

Well, guys, this is the date (April 24th) that I wrote about back in January as the date I wanted to lose 18 pounds by.  There were 18 weeks until my trip to Florida, and my goal was to lose one pound per week, right in time for my little vacation. 

Well right off the bat I should tell you that I added wrong.  THERE WERE ONLY 16 WEEKS.  There’s a reason I don’t pay the bills in this house!

Regardless of my stellar math skills, 18 pounds is still my ideal goal weight, but as of this morning I have lost (drum roll please…….)

9.4 pounds and over 19 1/4 inches!!!  That is almost 38 sticks of butter and well over a foot a foot and a half of fat!  lol

So, yes, I’m a only a little over half-way there.

Is it what I ideally wanted?  Well, no.  But am I happy to say that I’ve lost that much?  Well, what do you think? :)

Here’s what happened:

Weeks 1-10:   I focused on portion control, limiting sweets/treats, and working out 6 days a week.  I lost 5 pounds and a lot of inches.  I also plateaued for about five straight weeks.  Talk about depressing!  I tried everything short of full-on “dieting” and nothing – and I mean NOTHING – worked. 

Weeks 11-16: I started implementing the Weight Watchers Points Plus system and continued to exercise 5-6 nights a week (I added Pilates at this point to build more muscle and add toning).  So far on WWPP I’ve lost an average of 1 pound a week for an additional 4.4 pounds lost.  (This week I am a little behind on the pound-per-week thing but this week is also bad timing if you’re catching my drift…) I love that I can eat super clean on this plan – it’s really no “diet” at all.  I eat whatever I want; I just write it down and make sensible portion choices.  It has been a lifesaver for me!

One thing I know for sure after 16 weeks into this: I AM A CHANGED PERSON. 

I work out 5-6 days a week now (rotating between the elliptical and my Pilates toning dvds).  I eat clean as much as I can (something I was already doing), but I also really watch my portions.  I realize the food will still be there later if I’m really hungry.  I don’t eat until I feel uncomfortable anymore. 

I’ve learned to really analyze my food before I eat it.  I ask, “Is this going to be worth it to me later?”  I enjoy my food more.  I am more intentional.  I slow down. 

4 months ago, I despised exercising and would rather have scrubbed my toilet bowl for an hour than gotten on the elliptical.  I can’t say I love it now, but I can tell you that I honest-to-goodness crave exercise now and there is just this force within me that compels me to exercise every night (mostly because I’m too scared to stop in case my bad habits set in again).  I look at an exercise video online and don’t think “Ugh, that looks horrible.”  Instead I think “Oooh, I should totally try that! It looks fun.” 

FUN, people! Am I crazy?!  lol

I am going to Florida for 4 days this week (wheeee!!) and I’ve already figured out that I’m going to bring my Pilates dvds and my sneakers so I can do some exercise at my aunt’s house and hopefully take walks around the neighborhood, assuming I don’t die of heat stroke down there in the tropics.  Working out is part of my life now – vacation or not. 

I am in this to win it.  Clearly you can see by my sloooooow pace that this was not an overnight thing.  It has been HARD.  I thought for sure I would be at my goal weight by now.  There has been more than one melt-down on my part, sobbing to my husband about how it’s not fair that Gayle King can lose 9 pounds in 10 days on Jenny Craig and I need 15 weeks of hard work to lose that much and blah blah blah blah blah. 

But these changes I’m making are permanent.  Every day, in my head, I remind myself: “There is no going back.  You can only move forward.” 

A few tips I’ve learned that I want to share with you:

1.  If you’re in a plateau (they’re the worst!), don’t despair.  Try something new.  Try anything new.  Try everything new.  Don’t stop, and most importantly, don’t give up!  Repeat after me: The plateau will break. 

2.  Portion control, in my humble opinion, really is the key to weight loss success.  We’ve all heard it before: weight loss is as simple as your calories in must be less than your calories out.  I can’t recommend the Points Plus system enough.  It rocks.  (I don’t go to meetings and I’m not a member online.  I had a friend who gave me her points info, and I also use this awesome Weight Watchers calculator when I need to figure out the points of something not in the material.)

3.  Eat clean, healthy, nourishing foods.  Don’t sacrifice your body’s health for the sake of saving some calories on “sugar-free” or “low-fat” items.  It’s not worth it in the end. 

4.  Make time for exercise.  I had only lost about 3 or so pounds back in the winter but my husband was already noticing and commenting on how toned my upper thighs were getting in the back.  Motivation?  I think so. ;)

5.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to take your measurements!!  Knowing that the inches were dropping, even during my plateau stage, was what kept me going. 

6.  Tell someone about your weight loss plans!  Heck, tell everyone you know!  Then you’ll be too embarrassed to go back.  :)

7.  Tell yourself, like I do everyday, that this is it for you.  There is no return to the old lifestyle of bowls of ice cream on the couch every night (or was that just me?!  lol).  If I can do this, the girl who loves food and who was picked last for every gym-class sports team in elementary school, SO CAN YOU. :) 

Here’s to the final 8.6 pounds! :)

My hope is that those of you who shared in the beginning of the year about your weight loss goals have been able to make 2012 your year, too.  I’d love to hear how you’re doing!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Thrifty Treasures–Church and School Sales

I know for a fact I’m not the only girl out there whose heart starts pounding a little bit at the thought of a big sale in the morning!  Right?! Typically I’ve only ever gone to yard sales on a Saturday morning, but this weekend was an exception.  I hit up two large sales on a Friday morning with my mom and Luke by my side. :)  The first, as you’ll see, was kind of a dud….but the second…ohhhhh, just wait til you see my finds from the second sale! ;)

So here we go with the boring first sale: total spent was $5 on these items.

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Two vintage skinny belts (navy and white), $1 each:

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Stainless spatula (needed it for my new cast-iron skillet I got from an estate sale in March that I am LOVING!) and cute little candle-lantern for summer nights outside, 50 cents each:

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Harry Connick cd (how can you not love him?) and good old’ Kenny G ‘s Christmas album for $1 each:

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Then we moved on to the second sale…..total spent here was $22…but OH so worth it!  Do you see what goodies I have in this picture?! 

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Please behold these amazing vintage Pyrex dishes!!!!!! Do you hear the angels singing, or is that just me?!  lol These lovelies were only $9 for all 3.  I originally thought they were taken because they were behind the pay table.  Right as I took my wallet out, one of the ladies took them out of the box they were in and muttered something about “These have been here all morning.”  As she walked forward to put them out for sale again, I intercepted her (super politely, of course!) and the rest is history….. 

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I’m in love, I’m in love, and I don’t care who knows it!  (Bonus points if you can name that movie!  haha)

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They need a good washing, but I am already envisioning them filled with summer fruits and veggies.  Ahhh!!! They make me smile. :)


I also brought home my VERY first Pottery Barn item, as well!  I grabbed this huge mercury glass tree for $5 without even looking at the bottom – I’ve been admiring them for years.  Luke was starting to lose it a little after being stuck in the stroller for a while, so I just grabbed it quickly and kept on movin’.  It was only when I got home that I realized where it was from!  Can’t even imagine how much it probably went for in the winter catalog!

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I also snagged this super girly and fun pink damask Country Living tablecloth for $4 – how fun is this for Valentine’s Day or a summer lunch with friends? As you may have noticed in my last post, I love having pink around the house – I try to sneak it in in small doses when I can! haha

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This awesome shoe rack was only $3 – and no it didn’t make it into the original picture b/c it had already been put to good use! :)

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I picked up another Italian glass canister for $1 – love collecting these at Goodwill and yard sales!  I think I have about 6 of them now – great for storing homemade trail mix, goldfish crackers, cookies, you name it!

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This green frame for Luke’s room was 50 cents but they threw it in the pile for me for free and I didn’t even have to ask!  How nice. :)

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This yard-saling day definitely fell under the “quality versus quantity” category.  No complaints here! :) 


Visit Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality to get a glimpse of other great finds!


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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I’m Loving Wednesday {Home Edition}

I’m joining up with Jamie for the first time for her What I’m Loving Wednesday blog party. 

Here’s what I’m loving today:

1.  Easter Clearance 50% off at Target.  I had my eye on this banner for weeks  (yes, at full price it was only $6.99 but I just knew I’d be able to get it cheaper!).  Loving that I can still use it for a few more weeks and loving the person who decided to add the pop of hot pink to it.  :)

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2.  Method hand soap in “Watermelon Patch.”  Ahhhhhh.  First of all, it’s PINK, and second of all, it smells JUST like Watermelon Bubbalicious gum from when I was a kid.  Anyone else remember that gum?!  It got me through a LOT of boring nights watching my brother play Little League.  haha  Loving the flashbacks it brings me!

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{Frugal tip: You can get Method soap for only $.69 a bottle this week at Target!  Go to the Target website and print the coupon for $1/1 Method product (print twice), then go to Method’s site on Facebook and “Like” them for another $1/1 coupon (print twice).  You can stack the two – and since the soap is on sale for $2.69, it makes for an awesome deal!  I also got the coconut flavor, which smells great, too. }


3.  Loving my favorite Starbucks blend (Decaf Caffe Verona) in my favorite Anthro mug (from my sweet sister for Christmas).  I tried to cheat on Starbucks a little by trying other brands of coffee that I could get cheaper with coupons – all I have to say is, NEVER AGAIN, Starbucks!  I’m back to you being my one and only.  I’m so over the bitter, burnt, twiggy taste of other brands.   

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4.  Loving the fact that my mom cleared some stuff out of the house since they just moved and gave me these four blue/green bottles.  Aren’t they beautiful?! 

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5.  This beautiful PINK! tree that God gave me in the front yard.  How cool is it that my favorite color is pink (did you catch that?! lol) and I have this beautifully-colored tree to look out my front window every day?  What a gift.  Love it. 


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6.  Last but certainly not least, I have to add this picture.  Luke had his speech therapy this morning and he did really, really well for his teacher.  He added a new three-word phrase this week, all by himself!  That is HUGE for my boy.  I know the picture is crappy (it’s a carbon-copy) but I wanted to document this good feeling.  Under “progress since last visit,” it says, “Luke said ‘I’ll get it’ spontaneously.”  Love my sweet boy. 

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Okay, so that’s what I’m loving this week!  :)


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Mystery of What I Believe

I just finished a twelve-week online Bible study with friends that took us through the book of Ephesians. Throughout the book, Paul writes about the “mystery” of the Gospel.

I keep thinking about that word.

What I believe makes total sense and then no sense at all, depending on how you look at it.

Christianity is beautiful and miraculous and also weird and peculiar at times…I’ll totally admit that. God loves humans and wants to have a relationship with us. Beautiful. God created the world but also allows pain and suffering. Ugh. Awkward, complicated truth.

God sent Jesus to earth as a baby – fully man and fully human at the same time. Miraculous…and hard to process, mentally.

God sent His Son to die so that we could be at peace with God. Amazing and awe-inspiring…and a little odd, if I’m being totally honest.

We celebrate communion at church once a month to remember the body and blood of Christ that was given for us as a perfect sacrifice. Powerful, beautiful symbolism. Also? Slightly creepy taken out of context.

This faith that I have….it’s beautiful and odd and messy and life-giving all at once.

The awesome thing (to me) is that the Bible totally admits that to a non-spiritual person this won’t make any sense (1 Corinthians 2:14). It’s like, “Sweet, Bible, you get that you’re complicated. What a relief!”

All I know is that I can’t possibly fathom my life in any other framework. I believe…because to do otherwise would be denying everything I know in my heart and soul to be true.

This Easter season, my hope for all of you is that you would embrace the mystery and the wonder of the Gospel. We will not know the mind of God until we get to heaven…but until then we have “[our] hope as an anchor for the soul.” {Hebrews 6:19}

Happy Easter! And if your soul is not at peace and you want to talk to someone about it, please e-mail me (blessedlifeblog{at}gmail{dot}com.)

I’m going to leave you with a song I keep playing over and over lately. It’s “Alive” by Natalie Grant and the lyrics are amazing. Be blessed!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

10-4 Good Buddy: A Blog Hop {April Edition}

Abby is an adoptive mommy with an ADORABLE little boy.  I found her blog, Akers of Love, when she was doing a series on adoption and I stuck around ever since!  On the 4th day of every month, she asks 10 questions with a link-up.  Here’s this month’s edition!

1. What is your favorite vacation spot?

Mount Desert Island, Maine (home of Acadia National Park).  No questions asked! We went camping there for years and years and years growing up.  I have never felt so at home (besides my actual home) any other place on earth.  My soul feels at peace there, as corny and ridiculous as it sounds! 



2. What is the first record, cassette or cd you remember buying or receiving as a gift?

Oh my gosh – well it was definitely a cassette – because I remember when cd’s came out!  WOW am I old now!  haha Probably Point of Grace!  lol


3. What is your favorite picture from last month {March}? 

For sure this picture.  Not that it’s the best picture we’ve ever taken (um, my hair has birds nesting in it) but because I was with Lindsay in Pennsylvania thrifting on a Saturday morning and all was right with the world. :)

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4. Last month, I asked you what your favorite piece of furniture was.  What is your least favorite piece of furniture in your home?

Probably our bed.  Our mattress itself is amazingly comfy, but we’ve never had a real bed – only the metal bed frame that came with it at the mattress store.  I really want a real bed with a headboard and footboard but they are SO expensive!  Someday I would love to have a sleigh bed!

5. What was your first job?

JCPenney men’s department, the summer after junior year of high school.  I worked 40 hours a week.  It was actually really fun!  I liked the job a lot. 


6. What is the last thing you purchased on-line?

An antique map of Connecticut from Etsy!  I am SO excited for it to arrive!  It was my first Etsy purchase ever. :) Can you see it down there in the stack?  It’s from the shop Unexpected Elegance. 

RESERVED Listing for Jessica  Antique Map of Connecticut: Collier's World Atlas and Gazetteer by Rand McNally 1930's
{via Unexpected Elegance}


7. Does your family have any nicknames for you?

My husband calls me Babe or Baby a lot.  Everyone pretty much calls me Jess, if that counts as a nickname?  lol  Although one of my oldest and best friends calls me Jessica and has NEVER called me Jess.  It would totally throw me off if she did.  :)


8. What is the newest blog that you have discovered that you love?

I am always finding great new blogs that I love!  I think my most favorite recent “find” was Karen Ehman’s site.  She’s written a couple of books that I really enjoyed, and I was so happy to find her blog!  Plus she’s just wrapping up a series on hospitality, which is a subject I really enjoy reading/learning/getting better about! 


9.  What is your favorite post that you wrote last month? 

WOW.  I didn’t realize until now that I only wrote TWO posts last month!  I really did take a blogging break, I guess!  Of the two my favorite would be the St. Patrick’s Day Felt Garland Tutorial.  I still have it hanging up now – it goes with my Easter stuff, too! 

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10. What is one thing that most of your readers don't know about you?

I am SO grossed out by belly buttons and eyes.  I hate when people touch their belly buttons (even Luke!) and the thought of anyone like pushing in on my belly button seriously makes me feel woozy.  I specifically remember when we had the big 20-week ultrasound with Luke – his head was right behind my belly button and the tech kept rubbing the probe over and over and over it.  I was seriously was about to pass out right there on the table.  And don’t even get me started on when people rub their eyes and it makes that gooshy sound.  AaaaaaaaaaaaaHHH!! just writing that made me want to throw up!  hahaha


Have a great rest of your week! :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sickness, The Waltons, Spring Cleaning and Computer Weight Gain

I have a cold/allergies/something funky.  Something that makes me tired enough to not feel like my normal self because I have no energy, but I’m also not at the point where laying in bed all day sounds fun.  In other words, I AM BORED.  I slept til 10 (thank you weekend morning where my husband is home!) and have putzed (that is SO a word, spellcheck!) around all day, watching The Waltons on dvd in bed.  I want to be productive but I feel soooo blaaaaaaaah. 



Speaking of The Waltons, I totally forgot about them until recently when I went through my DVD cabinet looking for something to watch on my elliptical.  I have officially renewed my love for that show.  I loved it when I was a kid (although John Boy’s voice always weirded me out, don’t ask me why), and it is a nice, quiet show to watch when sick in bed.  That show is the reason I have always loved the name Olivia and specifically the nickname Livi, and always wanted to give my daughter that name someday.  I thought the mom was the most beautiful and perfect woman on earth when I was a kid.  haha

Watching that show has made me think a lot recently about how hard previous generations worked all day long (I’m talking physical labor).  They didn’t sit around during naptime spending two hours on Pinterest.  They worked hard and then earned the right to relax.  If you’ve been here for any amount of time you know how I feel about eating healthy foods but I also think a LOT of the obesity problems we have stem from butt-in-front-of-computer-all-day syndrome.    There’s a blogger I read frequently who admitted that she gained 20 pounds in the few years she’s been blogging.  It sounds insane but it’s really easy to gain when you’re not active all day long.

Which brings me to spring cleaning.  You following this rabbit trail?  lol Last year two of our friends deep cleaned their apartment and it totally inspired me for this year.  Deep cleaning, to me, means cleaning EVERY nook and cranny – like, we’re talking taking q-tips to every crack and groove.  This spring, I’m trying to do some kind of deep cleaning a little bit each day – here’s what I’ve done so far:

Cleaned every. square. inch. of my bathroom – literally. 

Cleaned all of the windows and French door, inside and out, on the back side of the house – including all the dirt in all the outside grooves and taking a hose to them and everything. 

Cleaned every square inch of my dining room except a final vacuum and taking Murphy’s Oil soap to the table base (I only did the chairs)

Organized the pantry/laundry room shelves

Deep-cleaned the refrigerator


I hope to get through the whole house by the end of the month of April.

So there you have it.  A post that starts about being sick and ends with a picture of my refrigerator.  You can’t say I don’t keep things exciting around here.  ha! I should probably go back to bed. :)


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