Weight Loss/Fitness Goals

Too often weight loss/fitness goals are vague ideas and it’s easy to lose focus.  Weight loss is hard and having unfocused, overwhelming goals does very little to keep you motivated.  Having those huge overarching goals is nice, but it is important to make step by step goals to get you there.  If you’re anything like me checking off something on your list makes you feel super accomplished.  So it helps to make small, achievable goals and build on them as time goes on.  Additionally,  it’s important to know your weight loss goals are actually about making you healthier and stronger, not just smaller.  It’s easy to get caught up in the pounds on the scale or the size of your clothes but neither of those things are the point.  The most important thing is being healthy.  Losing weight could mean you’re losing muscle and not fat which isn’t helping your heart or fitness levels out much.  You may gain weight but lose inches.  Sometimes you may even gain inches as your muscles develop.  It’s important to look at yourself as a whole and not as a breakdown of numbers.  One way to set goals I’ve seen again and again is S.M.A.R.T. goals: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time.


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When it comes to weight loss and fitness I would also recommend consulting with a doctor or research to ensure your goals are healthy. Also, when just starting out I like to make goals that are achievable within 2-6 weeks.  This way I can see myself achieving them, stay motivated, and set new goals long and short term.

My current fitness goals are:

  • By the end of March be able to do 10 consecutive push-ups.
  • Lose 1 percent of body fat per month.
  • Eat less than 30g of sugar per day.
  • Exercise for 30 minutes or more at least 3 times a week.

Without SMART goals my goals would be more along the lines of

  • Increase upper body strength
  • Lose weight
  • Eat better
  • Exercise regularly

Although none of my SMART goals explicitly say these things if I do what’s necessary to achieve my SMART goals those none specific goals will happen as well.




Homemade Tutus!

I love my family.  Every time we get together it is a celebration.  And as such, we are always looking for reasons to get together.  Our latest excuse for a get together is the St. Patrick’s Day parade that will take place this Saturday.  I’ve attended the parade for the past few years with a few friends and family that live in town.  Although I’ve never been to Mardi Gras, in my mind’s eye the St. Patrick’s Day parade is a close second.  We line the streets as the floats go by throwing out beads.  After the last float has passed we wander around downtown to different tents to hear the various bands playing.

In the past, I just dug around my closet until I could find a green shirt to wear, but this year I decided to go all out with my outfit and make a tutu.  I’ve been wanting a green tutu ever since J told me about the Disney Princess Marathon.  After a few google searches I realized making a tutu would be cheaper than buying one.  Not to mention I couldn’t find a tutu I actually liked.  Either way it was an excuse to head to the craft store.  All I needed was a spool of ribbon and 3 rolls of tulle.  No needle and thread required.  I measured the ribbon around my waist with plenty of room to tie a bow to secure it.  Next, I cut pieces of tulle  twice the length I wanted my finished product to be.  (You should add an extra inch or so to that length to account for the knot you tie.)  Once you have your tulle cut, fold it in half, place it around the ribbon, pull the loose ends through the loop and pull to tighten.

I was very pleased with the finished product and kind of want a tutu in every color now.  All the tutorials I read recommend using elastic if making one for a small child so it would stay secure.  However, needle and thread are required if using elastic waistband instead of ribbon  and it should be cut an inch or two smaller than needed to account for stretching.




P.S.  Sorry it’s late.  A had internet issues and J got distracted. 😦  Peace and love! -J

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Shells

Last summer I went to visit a friend in Philadelphia and had my first official Philly Cheesesteak. It was delicious! Recently, I had a craving and began searching Pinterest for recipes and stumbled across a recipe for Philly Cheesesteak Pasta Shells that can be found at http://lmld.org/2015/04/06/philly-cheese-steak-stuffed-shells/.  It’s so good.  I did make a few changes to fit my personal tastes.

I seasoned my beef with Adobo seasoning, cayenne pepper, and black pepper.  Then, inspired by Steak Escape’s Sriracha Cheesesteak, when the beef was mostly cooked I added some Sriracha sauce on top and jalapeño cheddar shredded cheese.  Next was stuffing the shells.  I found this to be tedious so next time I make this I think I’ll use bowtie pasta instead.  Although, the filling is so good I could just use it for dip or stuffed mushrooms.  What are some of your favorite recipes?  We’re always looking for something new to try!




MS Blues Marathon

I am not what you would call a fitness fanatic by any means. I don’t particularly like working out and I try to only run when being chased. However, I like to eat a lot so I exercise to counteract all the calories I consume. J, who I am convinced likes to torture me for the way I treated her as a child, likes to sign me up for races. Thanks to her, I have completed 2 half marathons and a 10k. She is still determined to finish a full marathon, but I am only half crazy, so only half marathons for me.

The last half marathon I completed was the MS blues marathon. I downloaded Whitney’s Houston greatest hits put my earphones in and started running. Things were going pretty smoothly, but I probably should have looked at a map of the terrain while I was training, because I was not prepared for all the hills. Nonetheless, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, although it seemed to take me longer and longer with each step. Towards the end my toes started cramping but I could see the finish line, so I had to keep going. I pushed through the pain and crossed over the finish line just as Whitney finished singing the national anthem. It was then that I realized how much pain I was really in. Somewhere on one of those hills I must have twisted my ankle, because I could hardly bare to put any weight on it. But the medal was beautiful and it was what they promised me.



Jamaican Birthday Vacation

J has been all over the world. I grew up watching her travel. Don’t get me wrong, I had been a few places here and there, but none requiring a passport. So for my 30th birthday (yes, I am that old), I decided to not only get a passport, but to get it stamped. Getting the passport was relatively easy, but deciding where to go was a whole different thing. Truth be told, I’m a little apprehensive about traveling by myself. But where there is a will, there is a way. And my way came in the form of my mom’s first cousin that lives in Jamaica for work. (At the time he worked for Margaritaville). During a family reunion, my cousin said that he didn’t know how much longer he would be living in Jamaica, so we better come and visit him while he was still there. Needless to say, he didn’t have to tell me twice. I flew in the day before my birthday and we headed straight to Margaritaville. I tried the fried conch fritters, you know because, when in Rome. They were delicious. The next stop was the office followed by my cousin’s apartment that had not 1, not 2, but 3 balconies. I didn’t know what I was doing wrong with my life, but clearly he was living his right. The next day (my birthday), I was dropped off at the beach (doctor’s cave) while my cousin went to work. The beach was only a couple of blocks away from Margaritaville, so my cousin instructed me to go there when I was ready to eat and they would call him to come pick me up. After some light reading and crocheting (you knew it was coming), it started to rain, so I went to the bar/restaurant on the beach hoping that the rain would let up.  The rain wouldn’t let me be great, so I walked down to Margaritaville and ordered some fish tacos. I was minding my own business, semi flirting with the bartender when another employee walked up the steps and asked if I was Mr. Dixon’s cousin. From then on I got the special treatment. Mr. Dixon (lol) came and picked me up and I cleaned up and changed so that we could go to the best dinner of my life. He took me to a place called Margarites and the chef asked me if I was going to order from the menu or let him cook for me. Whenever presented with this choice, always pick the cook for you option. Dinner was 5 courses of the most delicious food that had ever crossed my pallet.

My third day in Jamaica consisted of going to Port and watching food get photographed for a new menu. Did you know that they use butter in place of ice cream??? The trickery and deceit.  That night, I got dropped back of at Margaritaville so my cousin could go to a wine tasting for the new menu. I was minding my own business, looking out over the balcony when as strange little man approached me and tried to remind me of the time that we met back in the states. I was greatly disturbed because I have a pretty good memory and this man knew my name. Come to find out, my cousin had sent him to befriend me as I waiting on the wine tasting to end. The strange little man turned out to be quite nice and his girlfriend was just as nice. We had a lovely conversation while waiting on my cousin.

Day 4 consisted of zip-lining, a different beach with a pool and a swim up bar, and Chinese food. Side note – add scotch bonnet peppers to your soy sauce, it will change your life. For my last day in Jamaica, it was a good day.

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Kale to the Rescue

Remember the kale from the summer garden? Well, it kept growing all through the fall and winter. It was like that energizer bunny, just kept growing and growing.

Can’t stop that kale. I was ever so thankful for that kale one crisp morning when I realized I had nothing to take to work for lunch and did not want to eat out. Eating out can be expensive and often results in unhealthy meals. (And honestly, fast food doesn’t appeal to me anymore. For the past few years, I’ve been avoiding fast food as much as possible. There are times when I slip up, but honestly, I feel gross afterwards. And the longer I go without fast food the less I want it.)

But, back to the miraculous kale that seems to grow year round – I ran outside and gathered all the kale I could. Next, I sautéed some diced bacon and red onion in olive oil. Once the bacon began to crisp and the onion began to soften I added in the washed and torn kale and a splash of lemon juice. Then I let the kale wilt down and packed it up for lunch. It was scrumptious and saved both my wallet and waistline.



P.S. – We’ll be restarting our summer gardens soon after Resurrection Sunday and we’ll update you then. – J

To all the school teachers, enjoy your spring break! You deserve it!

Bike Riding

My mom had been wanting a bicycle for awhile and had done lots of research to find the perfect one for herself. She had her heart set on an old school style bicycle. After weeks of searching, she sent me a picture of a7-speed Schwinn in mint green and it looked so darling. Earlier in the year, J had started throwing the word triathlon around, which had me thinking I better start looking for a bicycle. I quickly learned that the bicycle you need for a triathlon is quite expensive, especially if you are not absolutely sure that you will be participating in a triathlon. (J had stopped talking about participating in one.) Even though the idea of participating in a triathlon was quickly fading, I still wanted a bicycle. And the one my mom had found was so cute.

So, last year my mother and I got matching bicycles for our birthdays. Getting matching bicycles wasn’t enough for us, we wanted to go riding together. Easier said then done considering that we live in different states. Where there is a will, there is a way. I loaded up my Schwinn in the back of my little SUV and headed to my mom’s house one Friday morning. (Gotta love a 3-day weekend.) We got up Saturday morning, put on all the layers we could, and went riding. I started off a little wobbly, trying to get the hang of changing gears but it turns out the age old saying is true – you never forget how to ride a bike.



P.S. – The triathlon dream has not died, just briefly on hold. If you’ve done one I’d love to hear your advice!!!!- J