Archive for February 2012

Graduation Challenge: Inspiration

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Have you ever looked through your facebook pictures and compared the old ones to the new ones? Well, I was doing that today and ran across two pretty interesting pictures. Now I love to see how much I've changed over the last few years and matured, but this one gave me inspiration for my graduation challenge.  I found two pictures of me, one from 2010 and one from 2011, in the same exact dress.  Only difference, I'm a lot smaller in the second picture.  Now I know there's a year between these two pictures, but it still gave me the little extra drive I needed this week. Here take a look:

2010: 
 2011:
And just for fun, this was me last week.  

Ha! Isn't that crazy??  My stomach is flatter and my face is SO much thinner.  Just crazy!! I remember when I put that dress on last easter that I had to tie it tighter because it had gotten a little too big.  I didn't realize how much of a difference until I compared these two pictures.  I'm also pretty sure that this dress is way to big for me now.  Kind of exciting!  

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Graduation Challenge: Weeks 1 & 2

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Well as of today, I am technically two weeks into my graduation challenge.  I have done very well at exercising for at least 45 minutes every day these last two weeks.  I haven't seen a lot of pounds shed off, but I can tell I've lost some weight.  A friend recommended tracking my inches along with my weight loss, because inches count more than pounds and will reflect my status better!  I can definitely say that is true for me these two weeks.  I've been doing a lot of strength training with weights, so I think the muscle gain is balancing out the weight loss.  What I can say for sure though is that I already feel so much better.  My favorite exercise is still swimming, but I try to switch it up.  We go to the pool Monday/Wednesday/Friday and all the other days I work out in the gym.  I've lost a little bit of momentum these past few days, but I'm not allowing myself to give up.  I push myself to go workout and every time I feel 100% better afterwards.  This is definitely a process that I am new to, but I know if I stick with it I will see progress!

For the dieting portion of this challenge, I have not done as well.  I've tried very hard to limit what I eat and cut out unnecessary items throughout my day.  However, old habits still catch me some days.  I've decided starting this week, I am going to cut out fried foods and bread from my diet. Bread is going to be harder to give up because sandwiches are basically all we eat around this campus, but I'm going to try my best!  I also think it is absolutely necessary to give up fried foods.  I don't eat a lot of them, but they have absolutely no nutritious value and are very bad for my diet. Plus, if I'm going to allow myself to have pasta occasionally, I need cut out carbs in other areas of my diet.  This is probably the harder portion of the challenge for myself.  I've learned over the past few years that I am an emotional eater.  I eat for comfort basically. I love food and have a very hard time giving up my favorite items, but I really am trying to be better about it.  Portion control and not eating for comfort or out of boredom is where I have to start.

Anyways, on to the exciting news that I know you've been waiting for.  The numerical update on my progress!  I checked my weight and measured my inches on 2/23/12 and this is what I found:

I lost 1/2" around my arms, waist, hips, and calves! 
I lost 1" around my thighs!  
And the best news:
I lost 2 inches around my stomach!!


As for weight, I lost 2 pounds these last two weeks!  Like I said before, on the scale I haven't seen as many pounds shed off as I would like, but I think it's because of the muscle gain. Either way, I'm still down 2 pounds and 2 inches around my stomach!  I'd say that's progress even though I've got a ways to go!  You have to start somewhere though right?  Here are some before and after pictures as of now.  I think I can see it most in my face and a little bit on my stomach.  What do you think?  I can't wait to watch my progress through these pictures over the next few weeks!

BEFORE  ( 2/15/12):

 AFTER (2/23/12):
 BEFORE (2/15/12):
 AFTER (2/23/12):
Week three here I come!

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Not Me Monday

Monday, February 20, 2012

I did not throw myself a little inner dance party when Cassie said I looked like I had lost weight this weekend.  I would not be so childish to respond with dancing.  I always respond with a reserved and polite thank you when I receive a compliment.

And, I most certainly did not give into my cravings yesterday and eat a piece of my favorite cake after enjoying a bowl of macaroni and cheese.  I would never break my diet so soon.  Nor would I give into both temptations at once. Especially not after receiving a compliment two days before.  That would just be pathetic.

And, I also did not swim extra laps today at the pool because I didn't break my diet and skip my work out yesterday.  I've stayed right on track every day with my dieting and workout. I would never have to plan in extra time at the gym to make up for the day before. That would just be lazy.

And, I did not not take the elevator today because I was too lazy to walk up four flights of stairs after class.  And I absolutely did not force myself to take the stairs after the pool, because I felt guilty for skipping them before.  I always take the stairs.  I would never take the elevator.

And at the end of the day I don't feel an extreme pride in myself for sticking to my goal.  I have always worked out and never been lazy before.  This routine is not new at all for me.

Nope.  Not me.

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Loving the pool

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Yesterday was the first time I've gone to swim laps in probably over a year.  Lucky for us, we have a great indoor pool on campus built for swimming laps that we can use year-round.  I've been wanting to go, but kept using the excuse that I didn't want to go alone as a way to put it off.  So yesterday when Meredith mentioned wanting to go swimming I jumped on the opportunity.  We did have to go buy me a different tankini top for my bathing suit, seeing as how my current one is strapless, and a pair of goggles before we could go though.  It was a little expensive, but I told her and myself that we'd go enough times to make the cost worth it.  We figured the goggles were $13 so we had to swim at least 13 times this semester.  Haha I actually enjoyed it so much that I think we'll end up going way more than that.  Also lucky for me, Meredith has swam her entire life.  I know how to swim freestyle but that's about it.  She was able to show me some new strokes and tools to use in the pool for different exercises which will help a lot.

My favorite was probably the back stroke, and while I'm working on the breast stroke my legs seem to have a mind of their own.  She also showed me these cool things you put on your hands while swimming for strengthening exercises.  I did around 20-30 laps yesterday (I didn't keep a close count), and I can definitely feel it in my arms today!  I kind of like being sore though because it shows me I've done something and it's working.  As much as I like using the elliptical, swimming added a new and fun twist to exercising.  I had forgotten how much fun it was, and it's such a great workout!  Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be more efficient at these different strokes and my stamina will increase.  I had hoped to go swimming today but I couldn't fit it in with my class schedule.  Instead I plan to go to the gym after my last class today before hitting the road.

I'm going home for the weekend, which will also add a twist to my exercising routine.  We used to be members at a gym, but I think it ended.  Instead I think I'll either go up to Northern (my high school) and run on the track, or run through a neighborhood by our house with Coconut.  I think hims would enjoy that!  Or maybe Erin's gym will let a visitor come for free with her?  I'm not sure yet, but I'll figure something out.  Well that's all for now, I've got to head to class here in a few minutes, I just wanted to give a little update.

I plan to be back in the pool Monday afternoon, and I think more people are going to come with us this time!  Maybe everyone (including me) just needed a little push to get things started.

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Graduation Challenge

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ok folks, here it is.... I'm about to join the millions of other people who are attempting to lose weight. 

I have always struggled with my weight.  There are actually very few times in my life I don't remember it being an issue.  There have been times that I've hated my body, times I loved it, and times that I just lived with it.  Well, I decided I'm tired of living with it and am going to do something about it!  You see, I've never really put in a whole lot of effort into trying to lose weight.  It's one of those things I accepted as part of me and didn't really think I had a choice. I learned to live with being overweight and to accept my body as is. I've gotten used to shopping for larger sizes or standing to the side while my friends shopped in stores I couldn't shop at.  I've gotten used to disguising my size with clothing (thank you Spanx and layering!) and only shopping with people I trust to not judge me.  It's been an uphill battle with myself and quite frankly, I'm tired of fighting it.  So I've decided I'm going to do something about it.

I've tried diets before and failed because they forced me to give up all of my favorite foods.  This time instead of eliminating all of my favorite items (like macaroni and cheese and chocolate), I am going to limit them.  I think my biggest issues come from portion control and lack of exercise, so that's where I plan to start.  I know what I eat is important, and I am trying to eat better (like more fruits and vegetables and less junk food snacking) but getting rid of my favorite items is simply asking for failure.  I mean come on, anyone who knows me knows I can't live with out macaroni and cheese!  I can however limit my intake of it.  It may be baby steps at first, but I have to start somewhere.  I'm not really sure what motivated me this time, but I plan to stick to it.  I've done really well working out for an hour every day this week (I give myself Mondays off). I've been doing weights, running on the elliptical, and swimming laps.  I'm actually really enjoying it!  I've never really liked exercising before but it has helped relieve stress and I feel better already.

So here goes, my graduation challenge:   My goal is to lose at least 20 pounds by graduation (May 5, 2012).  There are 12 weeks until graduation, so that would average about 2 pounds a week.  I've heard that's a healthy rate to lose weight so that's my goal.  It would be incredible if I lost more than that, but 20 is my goal. I know there will come days that I want to give up and lose my motivation, and  I know there will be days where I cave and give into my food temptations.  However, I'm really hoping I can stay motivated. Plus, I heard once that it takes 12 weeks to break or start a new habit, so I'm hoping exercising and eating right will become habit by the end of this! Your accountability and encouragement however would be greatly appreciated (especially come like week 5)!  So here goes.. my graduation challenge has begun!

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Nontraditional Celebration

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

As you all know, (and if you don't then simply sign on to Facebook), today is Valentines day.  Oh the dreaded day people either love or hate.  So much pressure is put on guys to buy flowers, candy, etc to impress their lady.  At the same time you've got girls swooning over their gifts or crying in the corner because they have no Valentine. It's actually kind of sad.  Some girls who have dates but don't get a gift, pretend the day doesn't matter even though we all know she's secretly ticked.  Or you've got the girls who post their gifts onto the web for all to see and brag.  There are a few girls who are genuinely surprised when they receive a gift and are truly appreciative, but not many.  Most girls simply want an excuse to brag about their boyfriend and get flowers.  Yes, I'm guilty of wanting flowers sent to me, but I realized today how overrated the whole thing is.  We walked into the UC this morning and the concierge desk was COVERED in flower arrangements.  If the balloons didn't say I love you, you would have thought you were at a funeral home.  As much as I love having flowers sent to me, when everyone else is getting them too it's not as special.  I want to get flowers on the unexpected days when my boyfriend wants to show his love, not when he's told he "has" to send them.  Kind of cheesy if you ask me. While I wouldn't turn down a valentines day gift, I would still prefer to have a guy express his love for me in a more unique way.  I know this day is to celebrate love, but shouldn't that be celebrated every day, not just once a year?  I'm just saying!

So I spent my Valentines day in an nontraditional manner.  My day started with classes and a test, but I enjoyed my afternoon with a trip to the gym, shower, and a return to class.  I had dinner with a friend, Jessica Deen, at McAlister's (we're fancy I tell you!), and then we watched one of our favorite shows together.  I finished off my night hanging out with my roommates, laughing until my cheeks hurt, and enjoying being single on Valentines day!  While I didn't necessarily mesh with the norms surrounding valentine's day, it turned out to be pretty great.  I mean hey I had a hot date, a good meal, lots of laughs, a comfy bed to crawl in tonight, and best part: there were no strings attached!  I'd call it a great day!

Hope your Valentines day was as fun as mine :)

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The View from Here: Problem solved

Monday, February 13, 2012

Yes ladies and gentlemen, we have found a solution to the problem in my last post.  No High Point did not come seal our windows (even though I wish they would), and our room still reads 68 degrees, but thank God for Jessica and her heater! I've got a lot of studying to do for my Sociology test tomorrow which means I'll be sitting at my desk for an unreasonable amount of time today.  Seeing as how my window is right beside me, this temperature issue is quickly becoming a problem. But Jess came to my rescue and now I can be nice and toasty while studying.  I'm still wearing multiple layers and covered in a blanket, but it feels so much nicer in here now :)!  Thanks for the heater Jess!

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The View from Here

Sunday, February 12, 2012

What's wrong with this picture....?

I know it's a little blurry so let me help you out.  You see that number on the right, the 74?  That is what we want the temperature in our room to be.  That other number, the 67...that's what the temperature actually is in here!  It is FREEZING!!  The windows in our room are so drafty, and with the low temperature outside, and the crazy wind that's been blowing all day, we cannot seem to get our room to warm up.  Thank you very much HPU for putting in cheap windows that are not sealed correctly.  That is simply not extraordinary! 

I'm going to bundle up with a blanket or two now and go to bed. 

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Home

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Do you ever feel like you just need to be at home?  That's how I feel today.  Something about home makes everything feel right.  There are no questions about what you have to do next or what the next step in the road is.  Home takes your worries away when nothing else can.  Home for me is that safe haven where I feel protected, loved, and comfortable.  The place where I can lay my head at night and forget the worries of tomorrow. It's a place of serenity.  That's where I want to be today.  With these people:

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A little pick me up

Friday, February 10, 2012

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."  - Isaiah 41: 10

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Missing you

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I've been missing Haiti so much lately.  I watched a special from Oprah the other day on her time there, and was so jealous.  Cassie and I joked that instead of hanging out here at HPU last weekend, we were going back to Haiti.  My heart is there.  I miss the kids so very much.  I miss the culture, Dorothy, and the people.  I want to go give them all hugs, hold little Johnny in my arms again, watch movies with Sha Sha, color with the little ones, teach them how to ride a bike, and watch their faces light up when we come out to play.  I miss talking with Dorothy and learning from her undeniable faith.  I miss the craziness of the roads, laughing at Dorothy's crazy antics with Samuel, learning creole, and taking adventures to Giant.  I miss the warmth, the beautiful breeze, and the serenity of life up on her roof.  But most of all I miss this little boy:

His smile, his hugs, his kisses, and his willingness to share with anyone.  I miss seeing his little face light up when I come outside and having him run to jump in my arms.  
And oh do I miss his snuggles.  Even last time I visited, he came straight to me when he wasn't feeling well (see below).  Being able to bring comfort to such a sweet child  is an incredible feeling.  I don't know what it's like to be a mother.  I don't know what it feels like to have a child you can't live without; but if it's anything like how I feel about this little boy, it will be an incredible gift one day.  

Me and Johnny in 2009:


Missing you today Johnny.

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The View from Here

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's Super Bowl time!  We had some of our bible study girls over for the game and provided a feast for all.  The picture above was only half the food; the rest was on the coffee table.  It's been a really fun night and a great time to hang out. 

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The View from Here

Thursday, February 2, 2012

I'm copying this idea from a friend's blog.  I love the idea of giving a quick little snapshot of your day.

Yes people, that's a microwave and we are very excited about it.  When we moved in there was no microwave over the stove.  They said one would arrive within a few weeks and well...it never did.  We contacted HPU three times about this issue and finally today it arrives!  Yes we only have a few months left but I cannot tell you how excited we are!  I'm glad we'll finally have ventilation for when we're cooking, but I'm most excited about not having to stare at the hideous bracket on the wall anymore.  Simple pleasures I tell you. Simple pleasures.


On another note, this is the view from my window today.  It is 65 degrees and gorgeous outside.  Bright blue sky with a few clouds and the wonderful fountain we all enjoy so much.  Please also notice that the window is open.  It may be February but when it's this nice out, I can't help but to open up the windows!

What a beautiful and wonderful day!
Happy Thursday (Friday for me)!  Cassie comes tomorrow!

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Design Inspiration: Make your Bed

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The other day, my roommates pointed out that they can tell how my morning goes by how my bed looks after I leave.  If things went smoothly my bed will be perfectly made.  If I'm rushing out, or late to class my bed will be left unmade.  I found this quite entertaining because lately I've gotten into the habit of making my bed every day. It has come to the point that it drives me crazy to not have my bed made.  I'm not quite sure what started it, but I have to make my bed every day.  If it doesn't happen first thing when I wake up, it will be done as soon as I return from class.  I've realized that having your bed made makes the room look crisp and clean.  You can have a spotless room but if the bed is unmade it still looks messy.  So needless to say, I think it's important to make your bed each day.  It adds the finishing touch to your space, and for me it keeps life organized.  

Here take a look, which do you think looks better?

These:



Or these:


Come on, you have to agree the rooms with made beds look 1000x better!

On another note, I also think it is very important to accessorize your bed with the appropriate bed pillows.  Two basic pillows simply do not finish the look.  Throw some decorative pillows into the mix. Add some color, texture, and interest with such a simple change.

 Of course I love this one for the colors, but the patterns are amazing!  Don't be afraid to mix patterns as long as the colors coordinate. Try different size pillows in varying shapes for added interest.
 Here are four options of how to arrange pillows.  While I don't particularly love the top left one, it may work for you.  I would recommend the other three!
 Coordinate your colors with solid and printed fabrics.

 This one has a ton of pillows but I love it! If your fabrics coordinate and you vary the shapes you can pull the look off.  If you're new to accent pillows this may be a bit much or too advanced, stick with a more simple set up.
I love love LOVE a bolster pillow!  Throw one in with your solid fabrics for a pop of color and added interest!

You can even pull this look off in your kid's rooms!  Don't be afraid to accessorize their room too.  Kids love colors and prints.  Stick with smaller prints that can grow into new rooms with them.  It's also never too early to teach them to make their beds!

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