Just keep sparkling

 

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Some days just SPARKLE right from the start.

After a trying weekend, I woke today (from a FULL night of sleep without any hard dreams) to find Baxter snuggled up so cozy, the air felt just a bit softer & the scale forgave me for a decadent birthday. Hit another milestone this morning & feel like dancing around. Hearing my Dad is going to take me “shopping for clothes that don’t fall off”me this weekend for my birthday is one of the best gifts ever. Not just because he is right, but more because he has noticed & clothes shopping was always more of Mom’s deal.

Tough birthday for sure without her. Not celebrating really til this coming weekend when I can make it in to see the family. Spent the day just low key. Enjoyed watching a storm roll in on the beach. Shopped a little without buying a single thing. I did take a day off of counting calories & carbs and ended up “treating” myself to a trip through what used to be a favorite drive thru. Of course there are reasons I don’t do that anymore & of course my body reminded me. Yesterday I felt awful. No energy and just felt sick all day.  Thankfully my bloodwork was done Thursday before I went nuts so it shouldn’t effect my A1c or any of the test readings. Still a bit nervous to meet with the doc again this week to go over everything. I REALLY don’t want to have to start doing injections ever! I know I could clean up the diet a little more but not without really being the weirdo & I already feel like there are times I am tip toeing around ED territory again. Reminding myself this restricting is for good not evil & at some point when I reach a healthy weight, it will change.

Moments I don’t feel like I am sure of myself & what I am doing. So many changes this year. Trying to figure out the internship & change from thinking criminal law to civil. Hard to imagine that this is the last semester. What next? I’m scared that the 9-5 will bring me back to a world of stress I can’t handle. Hopefully without the added pressure of worrying about Mom’s illness & actually caring again about what I am doing, it will be easier to balance. It is strange to have life flip some times. Especially when the comfort clothes don’t even fit the same, the comfort foods are off limits & the ones you would call to get the reminder of who you are, you aren’t able to reach. All part of the adjustment I guess. Time for new comforts. Thankfully some are still around like friends, the family that are here, pets & Panthers football (even if last night’s game wasn’t the birthday wish come true!).

2 favorites of mine - Marilyn & Nikon

2 favorites of mine – Marilyn & Nikon

It is very strange to know that now I am older than an idol ever got to be.

Physically I can truly say I am better off than last year. Well aside from the diabetic stuff. Weight wise anyway. Not where I expected to be by this age, but just have to trust everything works out as it should & keep going.

Which with temperatures like these… how can you not enjoy the moments?

PLUS only 224 days til I will once again be in the happiest place on earth & just like I did when I was celebrating single digit birthdays, knowing this makes me ridiculously happy!

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the 10 Day YOU Challenge: Day 9

 

 

 

 

Today has felt like a whirlwind kind of day.

Should have gone to get groceries yesterday when I got home but laziness from traveling kicked in & well… this morning I ended up regretting it. Drive thru on the dash to class. Still glad I kept in within the acceptable carb range & was able to resist the sweet tea urge.

After class was straight to the beach (seriously I wore the bathing suit under the jeans & tee) which was much needed. I know it had only been a few days but I missed the sounds of the birds & the waves crashing. Just the peaceful calm of it all.

Covered in sand & sweaty from relaxing in the sun, I ventured the grocery store. I should be ashamed. Part of me felt guilty for not going home & showering first but as someone who has worked retail, I know I was far from the worst thing that walked in that day! Plus I was starving which is never a good thing. Now I have food & a few protein bars to carry for those emergency situations away from home. One of which ended up being lunch along with a bottle of cold water that I swear tasted like heaven.

Being seriously low on my calories paid off tonight when my sushi plans turned into Mexican restaurant night. Nearly just gave up & called it a cheat day (which I never do because why would I cheat on myself?). Looking over the online menu while I waited to go made me feel like all the articles on suggestions for diabetics eating out basically just said avoid the Mexican places because there isn’t much there for you. Thankfully I found a couple that made me realize dining out wouldn’t be blowing it for me, especially since I was no where near my goal calorie range. Grilled chicken tacos with lime juice & boo-coos of cilantro on corn tortillas rocked my world! They came with a side of rice & beans, which although normally I would have devoured I knew just a few bites would be plenty. May or may not have gotten a strange look for squirting stevia in my unsweet tea but at the end of it all I had a great night of great conversation & food without compromising my goals at all. Nothing sweeter than that!

10-Day-You-Challenge

9 LOVES:

9. The beach. (surprise!)

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8. Fresh, clean, free water. No calories, detoxes, cleans, what doesn’t water do?

7. My friends who keep me laughing & remind me I’m not alone in this world.

6. The fact that I am in a place in my life where I feel better about myself than I have in a long time. I don’t panic at the thought of wearing a bathing suit around other people & even seem to have found a confidence that shines thru to where I can go out with whatever color hair & feel at ease. Got a great compliment that made me realize this tonight. In talking about the purple color, I got told that it wasn’t even weird on me. That for me it just seemed natural not just a way to get attention. I had the confidence to pull it off and it works. Hearing this still makes me smile. I guess I finally do.

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5. Color… all of them. The brighter the better. Just cheerful and vibrant all around. There is a time and place for black & white, neutrals, but for now color is king.

4. The sense of smell (most of the time). The fragrances like gardenia, watermelon, sea spray, coconut, cilantro.. so many different notes. Bliss.

3. Baxter. What would I ever do without him? Absolutely love him.

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2. The fresh produce I have been lucky enough to be eating now. Not sure how I was doing the fast food thing so much before, but I’m grateful to be back eating food that is real and makes me feel more alive. Dare say I’m getting energy back & I know it is the dietary changes.

1. This kid ( of course).  Can’t leave the nephew out. It is harder and harder to leave him every time I visit. Grateful he seems to remember me & gets excited to give his aunt a big hug. The sad face as I pull down the drive way is brutal. Already looking forward to the next time I see him when I know he will have grown again & learned more tricks!

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No sugar coating it – Tea time

As if I wasn’t missing it enough, I woke to find today is National Iced Tea Day. Which of course I read as National Sweet Tea Day because there just isn’t any comparison and I still have that mindset. Maybe one day I will forget about it but living in the South just doesn’t make it the easiest. Here tea is sweet. If you dare to specifically order unsweet tea you immediately get asked what sweetener packet you want (Sweet & low, equal, etc) because how could anyone drink tea without a kick of sweetness? (even my spell check doesn’t recognize “unsweet”!)  So yeah the one thing I have cut out (I didn’t drink soda that much before so not even counting that) is the one thing that seems to consistently tempt or taunt me. All a test of my dedication I guess.

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I may be sweet but when it comes to taking care of me, I can be a beast. I’m worth it. Besides when it comes down to it, it really is just flavored water anyway right?

Still. The temptations lurk everywhere.

But the rewards also seem to be appearing. I’ve lost several pounds which didn’t hurt & I dare say I am starting to have a bit more energy back. Could be the change in meds but I have to think that the clean eating has a lot to do with it. I know calories have been reduced (have you tried to eat the same number of calories as a fast food meal in veggies & fruit? it would not be comfortable at all) but also the vitamins are increased and it just seems to feel better.

Still catch myself at times wondering if all this focus on counting grams of sugar & calories, etc is really healthy but I know I will get used to it & at some point I will know what is acceptable & what isn’t. It will come more naturally. Had to laugh at myself when I spilled coffee down my shirt & my first thought wasn’t “Shit” but “Wonder how many calories that was?”. I may be a tad obsessive right now. BUT I know this is for my best & I will not let it get back into dangerous territory. There have been days where I know I haven’t eaten enough & I add food. So it isn’t all about reducing. Focus is on quality and restriction of the parts that are not good for me. Feels good. Strange to do some of the same things that I did in self hate years ago but this time in self love. I don’t even know how to describe how that makes me feel.

Really grateful for so much right now. Second chances & turning bad habits into good ones, in so many ways.

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2013 Favorite Things List

So a certain megaceleb has released their annual list of favorite things again and yet again I look through it & wonder… who is buying this stuff?  Sure some of it looks pretty & could be fun to actually use, but some of it just doesn’t hit me as anything I would be happy if someone gave me.  Sure the intent would be great & I would be thankful, but there are just other things that would be better gifts.

Seriously.  No one wants a chocolate nativity scene.  How does one even eat that? “Wise man or Mary after dinner?” Just seems bizarre.  Wonder if any of her staff pointed out all the jokes that can come from this? I’m guessing no.

Last year I got sucked into some show on how she went about picking her favorite things, so I realize a lot goes into making the list, but it just doesn’t seem realistic unless you live at Harpo.  I did enjoy how she helped to make some small businesses get recognition and gave back advice on how they could improve their exposure or products.

Since I feel pretty safe saying that neither I nor many of the people who stumble across this blog have Oprah’s annual salary, I think there should be a list for those who actually can’t justify spending $225 for a tomato server.  We do just fine passing out food with the cheap silver ones we got at Target.  When is the last time you felt bad about what the tool you used to move food was anyway?  I’m guessing this may be the first time you thought much about it.  Let me just help you out, even if you do…. probably 99.9% of your guest are just happy you are sharing food & are focused on that food.  Probably couldn’t even tell you 2 minutes later what you used to move that food to their plate.  That $225 could provide for 900 meals according to the Food Bank money requests that states they can provide 4 means for every dollar donated.  No clue what stores they are shopping, but betcha Oprah doesn’t step foot in those places in her Ugg boots with the bow ties on them!

So here is my version.  Grated these aren’t necessities either, but they are simply things I love and actually are a LOT cheaper than her favorite stuff.  I promise no $42 containers of tomato soup here.  These are affordable.  Well if you have extra cash, because none of this crap on either list is going to be anything you NEED, they are gifts.

I didn’t get paid to mention a single one of them. The makers of them probably don’t even know there is a blog here that mentions them.  My favorite things are simply just that.  Things I have that I have enjoyed at some point in 2013 that I love and think others would too.  I didn’t get freebies (except part of one, but I can explain that & will).  Sorry I can only wish I could give everyone one of each of them.  So in no particular order…

ALI’S FAVORITE THINGS 2013

Race Charms

 In 2013, I completely my first 5k.  Distance wise it wasn’t a marathon, but to me… HUGE step.  To celebrate I decided to do something special for me.  The shirt was great, but this deserved something more meaningful.  Enter etsy & a shop I have come to love.  The Run Home.  If you enjoy running and are more of a silver than gold girl like me, this is your place.  I have had them make a couple of charms custom for me & every time I have had the best service.  Feel like she is cheering me on.  The charms…STUNNING.  One of those things that is so simple it can go with everything.  She has a lot of items you don’t have to customize that are on my list to get one day.  The ones I do have are hanging there reminding me that I did it and since there are just a couple, I then think of how great it will be to add more.

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They are completely affordable and will make you feel like a million bucks.  Seriously, your dinner last night probably cost more unless you also shop where the Food Bank shops… in which case, tell the rest of us your secrets!

Chalk (in hair) Trend

So fun, so easy, so cheap, so temporary you can change it with your outfits…. so why haven’t you tried it? Chalk up the hair & have fun in life.

much better.

much better.

Fitbit

When it comes to pedometers, I have been obsessed for several years now.  There are probably more days that I wear one than not.  Bad thing is sometimes I end up changing clothes and forget to change it over to the new outfit.  That happens way more than I would like to admit.  It can be an eye opener to see how many steps you take every day.  Plus when setting a goal, you have to know how you are going to measure and see improvement.  Wearing a pedometer is not enough.  You have to be able to compare each day and make sure you are doing better day by day.  Fitbit ROCKS at this!  No longer will you need to jot down your daily totals.  All you need to do is plug it in.  Actually you don’t even have to do that.  It is wireless!  If the computer is on & the charging station is plugged into the computer, it will update your totals!  When the battery gets low (every couple of days or so) you just slip it on to the base & it charges right up.  Ok here is my one confession.  Some how my charging station went kaput.  Still no clue how or why.  What I do know is that their customer service is amazing!  No hassle at all.  They walked me through a couple of quick checks to see what the problem was and then after figuring out it was the base, simply mailed me a new one.  No having to send anything back or waiting.  Easy peasy fixing the issue.  Made me a very happy girl!  So while the actual Fitbit Ultra was not free, the new base I use to charge it up was.  There online tracking system is free to everyone & gives you more information than you even know what to do with.  They offer premium memberships to giving training advice, etc. but there is a lot that comes with the free membership.  When they first came out there was one design in a couple of colors.  Now they have several different designs to fit your budget and style.

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Ssekos

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Yes I am in major love with these cute and comfy shoes.  From the look, to the way the money goes on to assist women attend college, to the artistic feeling you get when you try new ties…. they just rock! I see more straps in my future.  Thankfully this crazy hot and cold weather has enabled me to wear them once in a while so I haven’t had to deal with withdrawals, but they are THAT addictive.  

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I know I was late to the party on this one.   While I used to shake my head at the people carrying around the overpriced plastic cups, I now get it.  They are convenient and fit perfectly.  I know that plastic isn’t the most ecofriendly material, but these have literally saved me from going for a quick drive thru run to get a drink for class or to take to the beach.  I just need to locate a glass straw to fit through the  top and I will be good to go.  Thankful to my cousin for springing for my first one, a Carolina Panthers one of course!

Googly EyeS

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Do I even need to explain this one? Seriously get some.  Get the ones with the self stick backs that you just peel & stick.  Share a smile with the world.  Everything is more funny with googly eyes.

Glynne’s lip balm

Lips need love too.  Mine seems to go thru spells of being fine one day & super chapped the next.  While I love the color of lipsticks some days you just want something to make them feel better.  My sister swears by something from the drugstore, but honestly it tasted like wax.  I don’t go for another popular brand because it tingles on my lips.  I don’t want to irritate them, just make them feel better and don’t make me nauseous in the process.  

I was resolved to just suck it up and deal when the perfect solution presented itself.  A local company run by 2 amazing ladies and their 2 dalmations (one may work slightly harder than the other greeting everyone weekly at the local farmers markets) had just the thing! Glynne’s Soaps is known for having incredibly delicious smelling soaps and scrubs, but the real secret is their lip balm line! Feels heavenly.  Light but consistent coverage that last in flavors that are sure to make you smile.  My personal favorite is a tie… blueberry or dreamsicle.  All are all natural and petroluem free and are perfect for stocking stuffers, as long as you plan ahead & get your own as well to prevent them not making it to the stockings!  

Roku

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This little baby has been a sanity saver.  I honestly never thought I could be one of those people who could cut the cable cord and still not feel like I was one step away from living in a cardboard box.  With Roku, channels stream over the wifi right into my TV.  Bonus – massively reduced commercial time.  Instead of 5 or 6 per break, there may be a total of 2 per show!  Love Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime and Plex for allowing me to still feel connected without the constant dollar drain on my account.  Feels great playing Live 365 or Pandora when I just want some background sound.  Over all this may have been the best change financially ever.  Savings without suffering.

Dole Frozen Banana Slices

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This by far is the best food item found this year.  Dark chocolate discs covered in dark chocolate.  Decadent treat at just 100 calories.  Check the frozen food section for these and keep them handy.  They also have frozen strawberries covered in chocolate.

 

So there you go.  My favorites for now.  There is so much I could go on about, but will stop there.  So what have you discovered in 2013?  Any favorites I should know about in 2014?

Good Things To Bake #52lists

Baking.

At the moment it is one of those things that I should be doing more of, would like to do, but for whatever excuse…er reason… I just haven’t.

This will soon change.  I have a huge stack of cupcake wrappers sitting on my coffee table currently reminding me.  My sister’s baby shower is in two weeks & I plan on making at least 50 cupcakes!

Seeing this week’s 52 Lists got me thinking about baking again.  Life has been too busy to do much else other than think about it, but thinking is a step in the right direction.

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InstaSeptember Me

Confession time.

Instagram is one of those aps that I’m struggling with.  Hear so much about how cool it is and see posts left and right of pictures taken or editted by Instagram, but hadn’t really played around much with it.  Just don’t get it.  I love capturing memories and completely get the use of the convienence of the cellphone to do so, but my camer ap has worked just fine.

Didn’t give it much of a second thought til I had a photographer on the photowalk I went to a while back nearly shame me for not having an account.  We talked about this & that regarding some nearby locations and how beautiful they were. Showed me a couple of her shots on her iPad (was using a camera on the walk, with a kick ass lens set up!) She then asked what name my Instagram account was under? I said I didn’t really have one & that I never really got into it since my phone was extremely limited on space.  The melting of her face was priceless, “Oh.”  Yup the “Oh” you really don’t want.  The “Oh”…you don’t brush your teeth… or shower… or do something most every other human being on the planet does.  Seriously?!? I got dissed over an Instagram account? Suddenly I felt 20 times older and more out of it than this person who was maybe 20 years my senior.  Shrugged it off, but later got to thinking.  Maybe there was more to this program than I had seen.  Certainly captured the hearts of so many who use it frequently.

When I got my replacement phone, I didn’t install Facebook or Twitter on it.  Just used the pre-installed versions that came on the phone – the very limited versions that are driving me absolutely bonkers!  So far I am just checking Facebook a lot less, but I had to cave & install the regular Twitter.

So with the extra room, I decided to give Instagram a shot.

Also have been seeing the PhotoADay post on Twitter & Pinterest and keep thinking how it would be great to get on board.  So kill two birds with one stone?  NO.  No killing birds, that is just barbaric.    But why not give them both a shot?

List for September PhotoADay ideas from FatMumSlim.

First hurtle came when I tried to view Instagram online.  Was not happening.  Can do by phone, but its a no go via their site.  Could change my password a million times, but forget viewing the photo I just sent!  Why? How useful is that? Thankfully it seems to be an issue many deal with through other sites.  It wasn’t just me not getting how to do it, just not what Instagram does.  So in comes a link with INK360 to view the photos in a larger than phone format.

September started with a visit to my parents and a reunion with my beloved Pumpkin Spice latte.  The creme de la creme of coffee experiences in my book!

Day 1 – Me Now (with my first of hopefully many Pumpkin Spice Lattes of the season!)

Also convienently the word, FATHER came on a day where I actually was lucky enough to be spending time with mine.  He took me to get my second Pumpkin Spice latte of the season and to enjoy his first.

Day 2 – Father

Today’s term is/was FAR AWAY.  So many ideas popped into my head, but not many that were able to be caught on film, er… digital pic.  Still as I loaded up the car and headed down the highway back to my place, the road felt long and my home felt far away.

Day 3 Far Away

At least it isn’t further away and the road goes both ways, so I can always come back soon, which I am already planning to do.

So on we go into another month and another start.  Maybe there is some value into this, maybe not.  Only time will tell if I get into Instagram, but I do know its a lot of fun thinking about various shots and interpretations.  Who knows what this month will bring.  More memories and more pictures are sure to be along for the ride.

 

Hope Glows Like a Chandelier

Remember how I dreamed of redoing my bedroom & then put all that on hold after changing & then leaving my job?

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I wanted so badly to just change it all from top to bottom.  I really did mean start at the top!

Even tried to make a faux capiz chandelier that basically would fit over the existing unit & replace the cover!  That stupid thing is STILL waiting around for me to finish.  It may end up chunked in the trash very soon. I tried to make lemonade out of the lemon of a bedroom light I had, but without the sugar it just ended up sour & unfinished.

 This weekend I got offered some free handy services from the Crab.  He had noticed a few things that to me would mean expensive outside professional help, but having previously built a few houses himself, he had the knowledge & ability to fix.  Some seemed simple,  but annoying – like the bathroom door that seems to enjoy trapping people inside with its required random number of turns to open.  Some seemed monumental to me – like the dripping faucet IN THE BATH TUB! No clue how to even begin to tackle that one.  I seriously had visions of needing to rip thru a wall to get to the pipes.  Deal was I bought the supplies and he would give free labor, I tossed in dinner for good measure & we were off to the home improvement big box.  Several trips & hours later, I was beaming at all that had been accomplished.

thankfully it wasn’t THAT drastic!

Then he mentioned the fact that the two bulbs in the ceiling light in my bedroom were driving him crazy being two different wattages or shades or whatever it was.  Honestly I didn’t think it mattered as much as I hated that light.  Course I agreed that installing new matching bulbs would be a good thing & off we were…. almost.  Then I brought up the chandelier & how I had dreamed of popping it up one day.   I’m sure he probably regreted the next statement, but there it was “I can put that up if you want. Its not hard.”  HA!  Not hard my ass.  It is when you have no clue what’s what.

Out came my crystal laden beauty!  After some adjusting for height, there it was – up and on!  The dream was one little step closer to being reality.  We talked of moving stuff around & replacing this or that.  But mostly all I could do was stare in wonder at the light, finally where it should be lighting up my room.  It already felt/feels cozier & more me.

Maybe the dreams aren’t totally dead just yet.  Sometimes I guess it takes a few steps back & letting go to move forward.  Then again a great side kick certainly helps too.

Tomorrow I attempt to tackle the summer clothes purge – 100 things gone (yes I have more than enough clothes to wear! Sadly I may be a clothes hoarder).  We dropped off one bag at the Goodwill today with 26 things no longer needed.  Tomorrow going for at least another 75!  We shall see.

Also looking forward to registering for classes in the morning & figuring out what the next few months are going to look like.  Hopefully I can get into the classes I need & maybe even have some time left over to get a part time job & bring in money to assist in taking a few more steps to home improvement.  We shall see.  But tonight I am going to be snoozing under my very own chandelier – feeling pretty proud, pretty loved & just plain pretty.