It’s the ‘New Year, new me’ month

January is actually a pretty depressing month; the holidays are all over so you may be a little broke, very overfed and if you live in the midwest like me, it’s ungodly cold outside. I had a glorious week off from work where I slept in until 8 AM ish everyday and ENJOYED it! However, the cold and snow prevented me from going places and doing some thing I wanted to, including having fun on New Years Eve. It’s better to be safe than sorry and wind up frozen to death in a ditch somewhere. It’s not a settling thought knowing this weather could literally kill me. These periods of arctic chill continually make me wonder why we willingly choose to live here?

It takes all of this month to get your normal groove back on again but if you are one of those that jump on the New Years resolution bandwagon it’s alright that it takes you a month to figure out what your new normal will be. I only see the new year as an exciting time I can bust out my fresh and shiny new Eric Condren Life Planner. There are 12 whole months or 52 weeks for me to plan and write out my days, weeks, months, goals, ambitions, fun, etc. I didn’t make any resolutions or goals with the new year, I sort of started doing that in November while in between jobs and trying to figure out where I’m going next. I figure why think in terms of a new year but more of how I did two months ago, just start today. Don’t just talk about it, just do it.

This week while back at work and talking with my co-workers, everything just made me sad. New Years Day fell on a Monday so even though we went back on Tuesday, the day felt like a Monday. Getting up at 5 to be at work by 6 AM is pretty awful in the sub zero wind chill hell. The parking lot feels bigger like you are walking across Siberia. There a huge blizzard and very cold temps like we’ve seen here that will be hitting the East Coast where who knows how many lives it will claim. Sadly this year Tyler and I will not be taking our January trip to Cancun as we are saving for house projects and hopefully a bigger trip in the fall. This past week has made me feel more devastated that we can’t escape the frozen tundra of Iowa this January. *sigh*

It’s easy for me to feel even more depressed thinking about things that happened to me in 2017 or things I wanted to happen that didn’t: I didn’t get to go on an international trip with my girl friend, I didn’t get that job I wanted after quitting my former job because of a toxic environment which caused me to go back working somewhere I told myself I wouldn’t have to go back to. I know I’m not alone in thinking there were some dark days in 2017 but I can’t deny that this past year brought some pretty fantastic events:

-Even though there was no international trip, I still went on the other 2 of the 3 trips I had planned out: Cancun with Tyler and Las Vegas.
-I paid off my student loans! (Reason for Vegas trip, to celebrate and see Britney Spears!)
-I sold my old car that I’ve needed to for some time and bought a new (to me) car! This car is bought and paid for, so no loans for me to deal with. I had to deal with some repairs but I didn’t get financially strapped by them!
-Becoming debt free and beginning to really build up my savings
-We adopted an adorable beagle mix puppy named Nikki. I never thought this little dog could bring so much warmth and happiness into our home. I’m thankful for our third family member every day.
-Even though I’m back working somewhere I didn’t want to, it’s providing me with money and insurance while I continue to look for ways to get back on my career track.
-Tyler and I drove up to see his family in Northern Michigan with our puppy so we got a nice little four day vacation at the end of June.
-Besides two shows in Vegas I went to go see on my trip, my super awesome brother in law got me a ticket to go see one of my favorite bands up in the cities with him, my hubs and their older brother. I felt lucky even if this meant being the only female driving a car load of three brothers up to the show and back home after not getting home until 4 AM.
-I went shopping in May and November with some great girl friends. The trip in November is an overnight so I’m lucky to have three gal pals to hotel it up with. Even when the pool and hot tub area was closed for repairs. :S

My list of good things that happened could go on and with what I have down outweighs the bad of 2017. I hope you can create a very long list that is pages and pages of all the good things that have happened to you in 2017, but only after you write down the bad from 2017 and when finished, crumple it up and throw it away. There is always something to be thankful for and always a new day or week in a new planner to write in. Sorry if that’s corny but don’t just get hung up on waiting for a new year, you can start a change and a new year today.

Like this cold weather I would like nothing more than to teleport away from, the next good day and time is coming. The forecast for next week is showing temps above freezing, so there is a light at the end of this tunnel that I know by the name of January.

Gym Etiquette

I know I’m not the only one who wonders about how to interact with people when at the gym. Usually I put in my headphones and get in the zone. If I see someone I know, depending on who they are, I’ll give a nod and acknowledgement but not take them away from their workout or my own. I figure it’s polite that we are nice but also not making each other stop what we are doing.

Yesterday while doing the ab portion of my workout, a man next to me on a stationary bike seemed to be talking to me while I had my head phones in. At first I thought maybe he was talking to someone near us but it became apparent he was trying to speak to me. I took out my headphones and he asked while pointing at the tv, “Do you go to Waldorf? Did you see that?!?” There was a news story about how Waldorf now has a snapchat filter with Warrick, our mascot. I replied to him that I’m not a student but work there and yes I saw that today. He continued to rave about it with ‘Wow’s’ and other such words. Man he was really excited about that Snapchat filter.

Now I don’t get annoyed when I still get mistaken for a student, I’m 30 so it’s nice to know I could still pass off for someone in their early 20s but come on! I can’t look that young, could I?!?I agree it’s a good problem to have but are people like him for real?!? I was just more annoyed he interrupted my ab time to talk about something that isn’t a big deal to me. Please tell me I’m not alone that I feel you don’t stop a stranger with headphones in during a workout.

Please don’t be the filter guy….


Moment of Truth….

First off apologies this entry is a day late. Things are getting a little busier but will slow down just as quickly as they came. I won’t let another post be late again, unless I go on vacation. In that case I will post a notice that I’m on break.
Ok, so here’s is the report about the month of March. I made it over 31 days and an extra week without having a drop of alcohol or soda, no sweets, no fast food, etc. Since I did it last year it wasn’t much of a struggle and it passed quickly. Between work and practices, I got at least 60-90 minutes of workout time a week. I know if I want more results, I need to spend more time but it’s still not bad. Between commitments I’m glad to get 30 minutes a day instead of nothing.
Half way through the month I decided to weigh myself to see how my progress was going and if I needed to adjust:

9 pounds!

At halfway through the month I already lost what I did last year in the whole month. I didn’t want to rest, I had to keep going to try and lose more before the month was over. Some of it could have been water weight but when all I’ve been drinking is water, it couldn’t have been solely water weight. I tried a new workout class on Tuesday nights at the Y; HIIT Workout. (High Intensity Interval Training) It was only an half hour class but each of the six intervals we did were very intense cardio. Jumping rope for two minutes is a lot harder than it looks! Oh and you will hurt for the following two days after. I would still be doing this class but I have play practice now on Tuesdays and Thursdays up until opening week of the show. Something I can get back into after April.
Anyway, after taking an extra week of cleansing on for women’s troubles: it was finally time to weigh myself to see if I got anywhere close to my goal of 135.

Beginning Weight: 155.2
Weight at end of month: 143.6

Down almost 12 pounds! So I didn’t get down to my goal but I lost more than I did last year. I’ve been told you shouldn’t completely go by numbers on a scale alone but use them as a guide to see if you are moving in the direction you want to. I should try to go by inches or see if I can squeeze into a size 4 pair of jeans I’m trying to get back into again. So there you have it, want to lose weight fast? Cut out drinking, soda, fast food, sweets, basically all things bad for you and work out for at least 30 minutes a day. All things in moderation, it’s common sense. Devote one day a week to go meatless for making sure you get your veggies in! Take a daily multivitamin too!

Post Wellness Month Goals:
1. I will try to get an hour in of working out a day; I will follow the rule of half hour to maintain weight, an hour or more to lose/ton.
2. Another thing I want to do is try and go whole wheat on our pastas and other things like tortillas or buns. We are already wheat bread people and if other breads or tortillas can be wheat as well it would just be a healthier option and eliminate more unnecessary sugars and carbs from our diet.
3. Learn how to Meal Plan and implement it
4. Only drink on weekends, only do it during the week for special occasions with friends.
5. Start doing a little more weight training for toning and to get some upper body strength. I seriously don’t have any and it’s sad! I can’t even do one push up!

Tune in next week as I write about being involved in our local Community Theater, Brickstreet Theater, and our upcoming production of Rumors by Neil Simon.

March is Over!!..Well actually not quite yet…

I have one more day left of March. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!! All month I have gone without a drop of alcohol, soda or any amounts of the unhealthy food I wanted to stay away from during these last four weeks. Half way through, I weighed myself to see if I was headed in the right direction. I was down 9 pounds and at only after two weeks! This excited me. This week for final weigh in, I was disappointed. I was going back up! But how?!? I’m working out more than ever and I literally have nothing that is crap in my diet. I realized I have been forgetting one minor detail. As a female, my last week where I do my final weigh in landed right in the middle of my cycle where I bloat and gain extra pounds from water weight. The water weight is not consistent and every month I never know what to expect. DAMN!!

So therefore I must go ONE MORE WEEK without any booze or fun. I’m not too worried, I have gone this far so what is one more week? My final weigh in will be next Tuesday or Wednesday after I am done harpooning the whale this month.

Sorry to disappoint you all but it’s only one more week. Not everything goes as planned am I right? All you ladies feel my pain.

March My Wellness Month: Week 4

With every passing year of my 20s, I’ve slowly accepted more ways of adulting: saving money and being financially stable have become more evident with time. The habit to spent and not to save is a really hard habit to break though looking at my past I could have been much worse. I didn’t have a real credit card until years after college when I needed it to rent a car. The only debt I had after college were the loans themselves. The couple years after college working my first entry level job were spent being very broke but taking care of myself in a cheap one bedroom apartment. I never put money aside, I just figured that after paying bills, student loans, groceries, etc that if I still had money left and didn’t go in the red I was ok. Even if you only have a couple of dollars left, I still should have started the routine and get in the habit of saving SOMETHING.
After going through a layoff and being unemployment at age 24 for almost a year I still managed to get by and not use assistance of any kind. I owe it all to the simple budgeting skills I had developed and knowing what to cut; which in my instance the only thing I had to get rid of was cable. Luckily I lived in a building were the units were kind of funky and even after I cancelled, I still got all the channels anyway. Shhh! Haha come on, if you were broke and unemployed you would take advantage of that free shared analog cable too!! I also decided this was the time to quit smoking. The last pack of cigarettes I bought was on August 25th, 2011 and for a couple of months after Tyler and I would share when we would go out on the weekends. Eventually this gradually cutting back helped me kick the habit. Tyler’s last cigarette was Thanksgiving weekend of 2011 and I followed a couple of month after.
When you break the cost it saved me: I smoked an average of a pack and a half to two packs a week at the most. When I quit Camel Crush’s ran $6.50 a pack. So $6.50 X 1.5= $9.75 to $13.00 a week. That’s $507. to $676. a year!! If you are a smoker who’s short on cash QUIT SMOKING!! No excuses!!! Think of your health!!
I have to laugh now at when I went out to the bar I also budgeted, which was often because what else do you do when you can’t even get an interview and you spend all day job searching, cleaning, playing guitar, and going for walks? I would walk into the VIP with a 10 or 20 and when that was gone so was I. I could get a couple of drinks, tip and get a song or two on the jukebox if I wanted.
Fun side story: That same time period from the layoff to finding a part time job and still drawing unemployment: it was Halloween season and I’m a huge fanatic and love going all out. I realized this year I also needed to cut back. Having TOO much time and very little money, I decided why not make my costume this year? Using a recycled Xena costume, pieces found on Amazon, consignment stores and supplies from Hobby Lobby: I spent over a month making myself into Lady Gaga! I loved the look from the Edge of Glory music video.

(These three from the video are not my photos! I found on google images.)

Anyway on to wrapping up the story of my broke ass: Finally after a year had passed I was now 25, I was employed full time again with better pay and benefits! Tyler, my then boyfriend, bought a house and I moved in with him. All the joys of cohabitation and no more outdated small apartment with annoying neighbors who I could hear bang frequently like clockwork! At this time besides my loans (which I still continued to pay during my unemployment), I had accumulated more short term debt: I owed $2000. to my dad for a car I bought from him before the layoff and another $2000. in hospital bills for having to get my tonsils taken out. I was lucky that is happened when it did because I was young enough to be back on my mother’s health insurance. My dad had me hold off on payments to him until I was employed full time again. If I had to be unemployed for a period in my life I’m glad fate picked this time. While working at Winnebago making bank by being on so much overtime, I took care of these two debts within 10 months. If my bank account got big, I would move the over flow to savings. That wasn’t bad I started to save then but it still didn’t get me into a habit of saving a set amount and more into having fun with all the money I was making. I did have fun wisely, I took a bitchin trip out to Vegas to see friends and drove a BRAND NEW Mustang with only 3 miles on it out to LA and back putting over 600 miles on it. I’m more for experiences than blowing my money on a shopping spree. I’m the best wife ever only for the fact I hate Coach purses and would never spend hundreds of dollars on a purse or anything like that.

January of 2015 when I started working at Waldorf at age 28 I finally decided that being almost 30 I need to start getting more serious about saving. Getting paid once a month can be the pits but in a way it helps SOO much with budgeting. I started the habit of what was left over at the end of the month before the next check got deposited would go into savings. In April I decided to take up a part time job so I could build a savings up faster. It was also time to look at where my money was being wasted and what could be cut. At work I had been putting money on my ID card to eat at the grab n go lunch place. Putting money on the card saved money on tax and if you put $50. on, you would have $5.00 added on. So pay $50. and get $55. However if you put 50 bucks a month on this card like I did, that added up to $600. a year! I could go back to Vegas for that amount.
Something I have also implemented was the Penny A Day savings I kept seeing over Facebook and on Pinterest:

“365 Day Penny Challenge: Day 1- Save $.01, Day 2- Save $.02, Day 100- $1.00, Day 365- $365. By the end of the year you will have saved $667.95 and it will seem like nothing throughout the year.”
I have been making deposits from checking to savings once a month at the beginning and so far:
January: $4.96
February: $13.36
March: $23.56
Bringing this to a grand total of: $41.88, so far so good but the only possible flaw that I can see is toward the end of the year when the amount per day goes up this is the holiday season and that can conflict with trying to shop for Christmas. Hopefully if this can be executed along with not eating at the Warrior Crossing this can put $1267. extra in my savings by the end of the year.
This month of no drinking has made me save a ton of money $20-$30. per week. Besides being busy with my graduate course, play practice and bartending two nights a week, I have no time to spend money on fun. It literally pays to be boring and busy, haha. I do like having fun though but after taking a break, it will be easier to go back and manage how much fun I decide to spend.
One last little tip I have for anyone who is my age, you know the lingering pain of student loans but they really don’t have to be. After consolidating my loans; my minimum payment has always hovered between $100. and $150. a month. I want these fuckers gone so I started paying over $200 a month, bumping it up to $300. a month after a couple years and then finally to $400. a month a couple more after that. Always pay more than the minimum payment if you can! The sooner you attack the principal amount the sooner it will be paid off and there will be less interest paid in at the end. My goal when I started paying back my federal loans was have them paid off by the time I’m 30. I’m happy to say that next year I will be 30 and my student loans WILL BE PAID OFF!! 🙂 Eeek! Oh that just gets me so excited I might just pee my pants.

That is all for this week, please like, comment, share this post. Also comment here with any tips, questions, concerns. I like to hear what anyone else who reads does in all the areas I have covered over the last month. Next week is the final March Wellness entry and my final weight in! How much will I lose over last year? Stay tuned!!

March My Wellness Month: Week 3

I’m a very busy person I’ve been told, and I suppose that is true but all I owe it all to how I’ve learned to manage my time. Besides my full time job, I have a one to two night a week part time job, I write this blog with weekly posts, I just started graduate classes (one at a time thank God), I will be in a play for our local community theater at the end of April, and I still find time to get a 30 minute work out in three days a week. It’s very good to get involved with activities and have routines but I’ve had to learn when to say ‘No’ when there is too much going on.
With all that I have going on outside of the home, I try not neglect my life at home. I could go on about things I’ve learned or tips I acquired but I am like one of many that owe creative ideas to Pinterest. I am still amazed at all that I find on there. Below are two in particular that I LOVE!!!

This makes me hate cleaning less:
Makes it easier breaking down cleaning a little each day. I follow this one for the most part but add laundry in on Mondays or Tuesday, depending on what I got going on for the week. It’s nice to get everything done to be able to relax on the weekends. This is also the only period I get to spend quality time with my husband so the less I have to do besides hang out on Saturdays and Sundays, the better. The cleaning products I use from Melaleuca make it more enjoyable too. Less harsh chemicals and they last a long time! Good way to get my money’s worth.

Look at this! Sorry I am unable to get it into any other file but A PDF document.
This is a Monthly Buy Guide as it shows the best time to buy any type of product each month. Example the best time to buy swim wear is January or July. I was able to get a good deal before we left for our Cancun trip.

That is all for this week, I said it would be a quickie. If you haven’t noticed a Pinterest link on my side tab, please check out my Pinterest page, for more tips and other boards. Please follow me as well that way I can get more ideas from your page as well. Please comment on this post as well, would like to talk tips and such with others…

March: My Wellness Month Week 2

Hello to anyone who showed back up to read about how my March is progressing. So far just a week in and there’s noticeable differences but I’ll get to that later. It was a little strange this past weekend to just drink water at every stop my husband and I made on Saturday. Ay Jalisco: no margarita or sangria, Paddler’s Tap: no West O (my fav when I’ve gone there), Bowling Alley: no beer. It really wasn’t that hard, I’ve done it before, but it just made me wonder what else is there to do in this town besides drink? Well maybe a movie at the theater but that’s pretty much it. That’s ok even when I’m not drinking in drinking establishments I do enjoy conversations no matter my state of mind.

I’ve done very well sticking to the things I said I would give up. Not a drop or bite of anything. I think for the remainder of the month I plan to see if I could cut down on portion sizes a little. I read a very good article and I can’t for the life of me remember where I found it but in this I remember a couple of very important tidbits. The main one being that you need to eat a bigger breakfast or lunch instead of your evening meal being the biggest. Your body slows down later in the day and this can pack on extra unwanted calories. This made me realize I may need more than just a yogurt or a banana for breakfast. I should add on a yogurt/cereal bar, oatmeal, toast or something, so by the time lunch comes Im not so starving which can carry on the dinner. I’m glad my breakfast diet has gotten better and more healthy but it just needed to be a slightly bigger portion. However it’s quite an improvement from the Casey’s breakfast sandwiches or blueberry bagels kick I was on last year. Bagels are not at all healthy especially if you want to loose weight. Plain coffee in the morning though.. that’s where it’s at. I really can’t get through my morning or day without it and it’s good for your metabolism. That extra spark of caffeine goodness that makes me change drastically from the zombie I was crawling out of bed (even after a shower) to Mary Fucking Sunshine. Plus it makes you take a big giant deuce in the mid morning and come on, who doesn’t enjoy that? You know, the ones that change your mood and make you feel like new person afterwards. My friend Ben calls them “Life Changers”, so true!
Any way moving on from poop…The Meatless Mondays I’ve adapted have me getting veggies and other greens in my diet I wasn’t getting before. Plus it’s a way to even out the weekend when I don’t care as much. (I still stuck to my diet this weekend out so there wasn’t much to have to even out)
It (the article) also stressed the obvious importance of water. Keeping hydrated by just sticking to water has helped me make better choices for the afternoon portion of my work day and throughout this cleansing month. The real A-HA moment was that those times I’ve felt hungry late at night while drinking alcohol may not have been hunger. When you drink you become dehydrated and this sends the same signals to the brain as being hungry. Drinking water is really the best thing to do even though you really want that Original Grand Slam from Denny’s at 2:30 AM.

I decided last fall to take the advice of my doctor and start taking multivitamins even after years before not having luck. I once took something over the counter like a generic version of One A Day for Women (Women’s Daily I think was what it was called). Little did I know many over the counter vitamins like One a Day or Centrum are just shit and are not soluble at all; you basically just pee them out. Taking those One A Days I felt no difference and just eventually would forget to take them because they didn’t seem to matter anyway.
Last fall I signed up and became a customer of Melaleuca and was on board right away because of their Multivitamins Vitality. I felt a major difference in my energy levels at work, I was alert at 2:00 PM instead of almost falling asleep at my desk. When I work out, I can actually run instead of just walking. I’ve never been a runner AT ALL in my entire life. My body seems to recover quicker or fully after a workout. I can’t say enough good things about these vitamins, I don’t know if you could find these anywhere else in another brand but I don’t want to try. Love these and how they make me feel; even thought they turn your pee like a bright florescent neon yellow. I also take the calcium supplement that comes in a pack with it. You can take anywhere from 1 to 4 of these calcium pills a day. Being I’m not that old and not sure how much I need I just take 1 of these a day with the two multivitamins.

I’m really not the exercise expert and everyone’s needs are different but I can just share what I do or what seems to work for me. I try to do a little bit everyday; somedays I do things very intense other I can’t because I go from one job to something else and have no time in between. I have a Y membership and last fall I tried out some of their classes. My favorite was Ultimate Cardio, once a week I got my ass kicked in the good way it should be. I would shoot for this once a week on Tuesday night, then I would follow up my Wednesday nights with Yogalates. This class would help with stretching and serious toning; much needed after an intense 45 minute class the night before. At times I feel there’s too much breathing and relaxing for me but it was nice for those nights you were still sore from the night before.
Now Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesday if I can’t make a class and just have a window of time I ALWAYS try and just do even a half an hour workout in the cardio room on the treadmills or ellipticals. That’s one thing I always tell myself to keep that routine, unless I have something special going on, I should spend 30 minutes doing some cardio. Now that the weather is nice I can go on walks again for a change of scenery and to be outside.
One of the best thing I could have done for my myself was getting that stand up work station for my desk at the office… Let’s look at that sexy thing up high one more time….
Oh yeah!!!!

Well that is all for this week. Hit me up with any questions or tips that you do; I always love talking health and fitness things with fellow wellness enthusiasts.

Next week for Part 3: Activities, routines, at home, cleaning- seriously it’s more intriguing than it sounds… Trust me…

March: My Wellness Month

Last year in March I decided to not drink for a month just to see how much weight I would lose. This came two months after I started my job at Waldorf College (about to be University); a sitting desk job after spending the previous two and half years at a factory being very physically productive 10 hours a day. Going from one extreme to another is very shocking to the body and an unwanted weight gain started to occur. Also during this time I was apart of the River City Dames of Anarchy and we would practice for two hours, two nights a week. (Man I’ve said the number two a dozen times already in this post. I swear it’s just a coincidence. No theme intended). Even though I kept active after work by walking or roller derby practice, majority of my day was spent sitting so it just counteracted itself with no benefits.

I wanted to also see for myself how much weight you can take off just by not drinking. It sounds so simple to do but it has become part of my routine and it’s something I do socially with others that take it away it just feels awkward. I don’t really drink when I am at home; I will have a glass or two of Cabernet here or there but most of the alcohol I consume is when I’m out with others. To help boost the potential pounds I decided to cut out other unhealthy foods that I enjoy in moderation.

After four weeks of cutting out alcohol I lost a total of: 9 pounds. I wasn’t down to where I wanted to be again by a few pounds but I was able to squeeze (and I mean SQUEEZE) into my old high school prom dress for the Cinderella premiere Princess dress up event at the Forest Theater!!!
Ah, to be the size I was at 18 that I thought was big… *Pseesh*

One year later I’ve started 2016 by making some better choices for my overall wellbeing such as:
-Getting a membership though work to the Y
-Participate in Y classes or develop my own fitness routine
-Trying one day a week to go meatless (Meatless Mondays)
-Taking a daily Multivitamin (Vitality is the SHIT!!)
-Investing in a stand up work station thanks to my husband:

This March I want to beef up I did last year. Teetering between 150-155 pounds, this is the most I’ve ever weighed, ever. I’ve been told this comes with age but I’m not ready for that yet and just want to be down to my happy medium weight of 135, what I was before taking a desk job. With the healthy choices I’ve made so far this year I want to see how much more I can better myself by removing more unnecessary things.

For the month of March I will give up:
Foods I enjoy mostly in moderation that will get cut:
-Fast food (good bye big greasy delicious burgers)
-Junk food or sweets/ desserts of any kind; potato chips, chocolate:(
-White bread of any kind (I’ve had a weak spot for garlic bread lately)

I don’t even care that I’ve been missing St Patricks Day the last two years. March is the first glimpse of spring and warmer weather and this gets me in the mood to start getting more healthy after suffering though what all winter does to my body.

Stay tuned to the weeks to follow as I will center on each aspect of my health and wellness goals as well as some tips and tricks:
-Vitamins, supplements and exercise
-Routines, planning and cleaning
-Financial and savings

How much weight will I lose this year? Hopefully with the additional improvements made from a year ago I can slowly develop better habits that will keep the weight off this time instead of doing a yearly cleansing.