Friend Makin’ Monday: The Tuesday Version

Hi guys! I have total “Blogger’s Block” tonight, so I decided to do my friend Sarah’s Friend Makin’ Monday a day late.

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic! This week the questions come to you from Stephanie who blogs over at Athlete at Heart.

Favorite things

1. Favorite color? (be specific… what shade of blue/green/red etc)

I definitely gravite towards blues, teals, and turquoises. My car is royal blue, aptly named Blueberry, as are my iPhone case, computer case, bedroom walls… lots of blues! I love jewel tones.

2. Favorite piece of clothing you own?

Oh, this is a tough one. I adore my Taffy yoga pants, and a pair of gnome pajamas my first boss gave me. I also have a new skirt I just bought — a maxi skirt, that may end up in the favorite things rotation. As I’m between sizes right now and my jeans are too big, I don’t want to buy new things yet, so skirts and dresses are coming into play more often.

3. Favorite smartphone app?

Another tough one! I probably use my Twitter app the most, followed by Instagram, then Map My Walk and Yoga Studios. I also love Tab, which easily splits a bill in a group of people at a restaurant, A Beautiful mess, which lets you add cute quotes and graphics to photos, and PicShop, which lets me edit photos.

4. Favorite city?

While I of course love my two current home state cities, Los Angeles and San Francisco, my heart will always belong in my maiden city of Chicago. Chicago just has so much to do – from the Field Museum, to exploring Grant Park, to the John Hancock Observatory, to Greek town… I just love it there. The amazing food doesn’t hurt, either.

Can't beat this skyline.

Washing Windows at the Willits Tower
Washing Windows at the Willits Tower

5. Favorite strength training exercise?

Uh. I can’t think of anything. Does Yoga count as strength training? Yeah, probably not.

6. Favorite vegetable?

Now we’re talkin’. I love Persian Cucumbers, tomatoes, artichokes, peas, onions, garlic, cauliflower… the only vegetables I don’t LOVE are eggplant and asparagus.

7. Favorite hair product? (shampoo, styling, conditioner etc)

I use Bedhead’s “Dumb Blonde” for shampoo and conditioner, and a bunch of random stuff for styling. I don’t really have a favorite – I don’t spend a ton of time on my hair.

8. Favorite animal?

Giraffe, hippo, penguin, cat. For a long time I had this lovely ridiculous mental image of spreading a beach towel out on a hippo’s belly as it sunned, and sunning on a hippo’s belly, and then I learned that hippos are vicious, vile, creatures, and that idea went out the window. So yeah.

9. Favorite superhero?

Hmmph. I like the idea of the nerd turned super hero, so probably Spiderman. But I’m not a big superhero/comic fan myself.

10. Favorite recipe? (share the details with us)

Aghhh, too many to choose from! Probably my favorite lately is one my husband’s family got me into, named “Fall Apart Beef”. I’m going to butcher this, but roughly, you get a rump roast cut of beef, barbeque it to slightly brown it. Put it in either a crock pot or big pot on low all day with one bottle of cheap red wine and a packet of onion soup mix. You can add sliced mushrooms a few hours in. Serve it over egg noodles. So simple, flavorful, and delicious!

Ok, well, that was fun! Will you participate in Friend Makin’ Monday? How about donating a small amount towards my journey walking 60 miles this fall to help end breast cancer? Every little bit counts! :)

 

 

Buy the box weight loss

Even though I am currently “doing” Weight Watchers, it took me a while to get keen on  the idea of paying money to do a program that had already been determined for me before nothing was known of my own personal condition. But since I can’t resist a good deal and I knew I needed some sort of extra pressure to help me… I signed up.  As you guys saw with my last update, I have actually been having some success over the past few months.  Whether or not I could have done that on my own, who knows.  I do know that I counted points for like 2 weeks and the rest of the time I have just been eating my typical “earth food” that comes from the ground rather than a box.

I’ve got this issue with boxes with more than just avoiding food from them.  I also have a big issue with companies that try to fit their potential customers or current customers into a box.  Specially, weight loss plans.  Ever since I started gaining weight as a teenager, I’ve had suggestions of weight loss programs that I should do.  Slimfast.  Nutrisystem. Jenny Craig.  Weight Watchers.  Atkins.  Now, as an adult blogger, the suggestions come on even stronger.

The past few months on Weight Watchers has really confirmed my disliking of programs that are designed to place certain people in certain boxes.  For example, my daily point allowance for WW was based on my age, height, weight, and my suggested activity level.  The spectrum for everything is pretty broad though.  According to this handy blog by LaaLoosh, age groups are clumped within ten years and people who fall between 5’1 and 5’10 are clumped together as well.  So that means a 27 year old female who is 5’9″ and 200 pounds who is sedentary will have similar point values to a 37 year old female who is 5’2″ and 160 pounds and walks often.  I would like to believe it is balanced accordingly per person, but I just doubt the specific attention each member receives when determining what they should eat every day.

Weight Watchers gripes aside, my point is this:  I believe there is no program that works for everyone.  The weight loss industry in the United States is driven by one thing: money.  Our country feeds into this multi-billion dollar industry by quickly latching on to whatever they feel is going to be the easiest solution to their weight loss.  I know when I signed up for Weight Watchers, it was and is because I still feel like I need the weekly meetings in order to feel accountable for myself.  I had a feeling that I probably wouldn’t actually track points and  even without it, I have still been able to have success.  Whether or not it is because I’m enrolled in the program and going to the meetings, who knows.  I do feel more determined that ever to get this weight off so whatever it is that I’m doing, it is working.

However, I can not just go and say that Weight Watchers works for everyone.  I think the only sort of program I can really advocate for is one that a trained dietitian and nutritionist creates specifically for YOU.  Anyone that I have talked to about their successful weight loss has been on a journey that has consisted of what they have crafted together by what works best for their bodies.  There is no simple, by the box, weight loss program that works for everyone. The trick is just finding what works for YOU.

Lots of love,

AprilSignatur

 

 

 

Monday Memo: What’s Cookin’ in the Land of Double Chins?

Hello there! Did you have a good weekend? I sure did! I started my weekend off by attending and speaking at the Los Angeles Lifestyle Bloggers Conference. It’s always nice to be surrounded by like-minded people, in this case, a room full of women who love blogging and technology. The panel I was on was about networking with social media and blogging, and while I’ll never call myself an expert, I do think social media is super-awesome at connecting people who otherwise may not have a chance to meet. In fact, this weekend I was lucky enough to meet several new friends — and that’s what I love about blogging and the internet. There are so many wonderful people out there that belong in your same “tribe”.

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Photo by my friend Calvin @MayhemStudios. See my water bottle?! I was hydrated!

Once I got over the first ten minute jitters of the panel, I had a great time! I tend to get nervous during public speaking, but I know that the more I do it, the better it will get. The audience had some great questions and for the remainder of the weekend we learned about things like SEO optimization, basic business principles, accounting for bloggers; you name it! We also ate delicious treats by places like Stonefire Grill, Fresh Brothers, Peddler’s Ice Cream, and A Sweet Design. I also experienced my first earthquake on the 11th floor of a high-rise! EEEK! Let’s just say this Midwestern girl still isn’t used to the earth rocking and rolling even after 10 years of living in the Golden state.

That brings me to the other thing happening over here in Los Angeles pretty frequently — all those earthquakes. April got to experience an LA Quake that was a 4.3 a couple of weeks ago, and this weekend Matt and I felt a 5.3 and then a 4.1. I try not to worry too much about natural disasters because I have no control over them happening, but the quaking of the earth reminded me this weekend that I need to be prepared. We’ll be shopping for some emergency supplies soon, in addition to what we already have (water, canned goods, flashlights, tent, etc.). Do you have any emergency preparedness kits or supplies?

And lastly, here’s a picture of my kale, which is growing out of control. Anybody have recipes that use kale? (Besides kale chips.) That’s all I got! Busy weekend, but super fun. Next weekend will be another busy one, and April and I will have a special announcement to share. Hope you have a great day!

 

What’s Up, Wednesday?

Hi guys! (And girls!)

Sorry for my radio silence lately. Ya know that John Lennon quote, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans”? Yep, that pretty much sums it up. I’ve had a very busy month, filled with lots of awesome house guests and fun excursions. I figured I’d fill you in on a couple things before getting back to a regular (I’ll try) writing schedule.

1) My Weight Watchers attendance has been more sporadic than I’d like, (I’m set to go today), but at the last meeting I was down .6 of a pound. Hey, it’s not a big loss, but it’s a loss, so I’ll take it! I’ve been far more laidback about tracking than I should be, so I need to get back into the “If you bite it, write it” mentality.

2)  I had an appointment with an awesome endocrinologist a few weeks ago. He ran some blood tests and confirmed that my hormone levels definitely signify PCOS. There wasn’t really any doubt about it after the ultrasound scan I had, but the markers in my blood make it more like “Yep, sorry, it’s for sure.” The good news is that my thyroid appears to be functioning normally, so I’m able to discontinue the thyroid meds. He doubled my PCOS medication, Metformin, which should help with the weight loss and some of the other pesky hormonal problems of PCOS, like acne. I’m seeing a dermatologist this week about some of the acne. I’m so glad I have a PPO and can hop, skip, and jump to whatever specialist I need. That’s a definitely luxury, and I feel like I’ve finally assembled my medical dream team. Now that I know what’s up, I know my marching orders!

3) Next Friday, I’m honored to be speaking on a panel about networking for bloggers at the Lifestyle Blogger’s Conference in downtown Los Angeles. My friend Ana Lydia, whom I met at Fitcation, is hosting the whole event, and she and her team have some amazing panels, sessions, and workshops planned. Check out her latest blog post for a special surprise if you’re interested in attending! If you DO attend, make sure you let me know so we can meet up.

LL Blog Badge v2 SPEAKING

4) Also in blog related news, I was so jazzed to participate in a Blog Swap hosted by my friend AJ at Confessions of a Fat Girl! The purpose of the blog swap was to write a post assigned to you by another blogger that would take you out of your comfort zone. Think wife swap for bloggers. My pal Chris at What I Run Into assigned me a post about red lips! I don’t wear a lot of makeup, so having to actually put color on my face was intimidating at first as I browsed the drug store aisles looking for RED. While some of the drug store finds were alright, ultimately, I found my happy ending at MAC. Check out my post on Chris’ blog, and stay tuned for my swapped blogger’s post soon. (Hint: it will involve something yummy!)

5) The other half of the Double Chin Diary was here this weekend! April and I had a ton of fun zooming around Los Angeles, doing things like hitting up a vintage flea market, hunting for fossils, baking cookies, and watching Despicable Me 2. Here’s a snap of us at the flea market. I definitely got in my 5,000 steps that day, AND scored a vintage sterling silver deer pin. I love productive fitness, and I love my sister! Maybe she’ll move down to Los Angeles to finish her degree. Hint, hint, wink, wink.

That’s all I got for today, folks! I hope you’re having an awesome week so far, and I’ll be back soon!

Love,

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

 

 

 

 

 

#deep

Last Friday night I had an interesting interaction that lead me to do some deep thinking over the course of the week of how I view myself.

I was walking towards Chipotle (mmm) to get my favorite standard salad with no dressing when I noticed a dude checking me out as I approached.  As I got closer, I decided to actually give him some eye contact for once instead of shyly looking away and avoiding looking at him.  The cute dude smiled and said, “Hello”  and feeling brave I said “Hi” back and walked into the restaurant.  As I stood staring and the menu and debating between chicken and pork, the dude came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder.  He said, “Excuse me, I know this is random, but would you like to have dinner with me right now, my treat?”  I gave him a curious eye but decided he seemed harmless enough and said, “Yes, I hope you like Chipotle.”

So I ordered my salad and he ordered an enchilada, something that any Chipotle fan knows that is NOT a menu option.  Although he clearly told me he liked Chipotle after my question above, how could he not know they don’t have enchiladas?  Then when it comes to pay, he struggled to find his check card and then claimed his buddy had it along with his phone.  I silently wondered why but insisted that I didn’t mind paying for his $3.75 quesadilla so we could get the horrible awkward moment over with.  Twenty minutes pass and we learned a bunch of random information about each other and got to the point of exchanging numbers.  But wait, his buddy had his phone!  Well, I suggested that he should just use my phone to call his own phone to get in touch with his friend, who supposedly had gotten separated from him an hour earlier at the mall Chipotle was in.  Sure enough his friend picked up and they were set to meet at Applebee’s.  The dude was quite persistent in trying to get me to come with him but I was quite focused on going on and doing nothing as I had been gone all day already.  As we hugged goodbye, he tried to kiss me and I immediately rejected his plan and said my goodbyes.

So that was that.  Now, I guess it could be a common situation for some people but for me, it is not so often that I get blatantly hit on and asked out on the spot.  It happens, but never like this dude.

All throughout the entire situation I kept thinking of this horrible scenario that relates back to the dating website Okcupid.  One of the great things about the site is that is asks all these questions and one of them is “Would you ever go wart-hogging?”

If you don’t know what it means, I didn’t until I was on  this site, it is when a group of men/women go out and try to “bag the warthog” or basically to pursue someone ugly/fat/unattractive that they weren’t interested in just for kicks.

What if I was the warthog?

I just didn’t get why a relatively hot guy would single me out and follow me into Chipotle without some other type of motive than just pure attraction.  Maybe he was a con-artist who uses women for their money to buy him food.  Maybe he was going to steal my phone but Chipotle wasn’t the right place.  Maybe he was going to try to abduct me if I went with him to meet his friends.

All these what-ifs crossed through my mind but the one that DIDN’T was:  What if he is just into me because he thinks I’m hot?

It sucks because there has been very little to make me have the self-esteem that I do.  I typically think that my self-esteem is pretty great and all the men I have dated I have always found pretty attractive and they seem to be attracted to me.. so why don’t I think I deserve a genuine situation like this to happen to me?

I think it may have to do with the fact that my relationships either come out of guys who I meet through friends or using Okcupid where the interest is sparked through conversation first. It’s just such a random thing to be approached out of nowhere for this day and age and clearly, it’s messed with my head.

Have any of you had issues similar to this? Have you ever felt not worthy even though you knew you really were deep down inside?

In other news, I’ll be updating this blog around 11am with my Weight Watchers results of the week.  I’m not expecting a loss, but we’ll see.

I hope you all have a glorious Friday and first weekend of March!!

Peace and monkeys,

AprilSignatur

Thursday Thoughts

Holy cow, you guys! How is it Thursday? I’ve been keeping busy in LaLa Land. So… let’s first address the double chin in the room.  I had my second Weight Watchers weigh in yesterday. No beatin’ around the bush — I gained a pound. There were some food indiscretions over the weekend involving chocolate cake, an enchilada, and frozen yogurt. There were also some hormonal things going on, if you catch my drift. Despite the gain, I kicked ass on making it to the gym, squeezing in extra steps, and drinking water — so I know I’ll be back at losing this week. No harm, no foul. Moving on. I’m past the point of beating myself up over a gain.

This week there’s a few things I wanted to touch on that have got me thinking.

1) I am now the proud owner of a FitBit Force. My initial thoughts are that it’s a neat little tool for tracking activity, but I’m having some user issues like it seems impossible to find and add friends, I only get “active” minutes from walking (and not from things like Zumba), and I am suspicious of its calorie burn functionality if it’s not based off of heart rate. It’s disturbing how little I move some days. Especially now that I work from home, I spend the majority of my day curled into my chair with an electric blanket around my feet. I’m trying to make a point of taking walking lunches. Today, I walked to the neighborhood ATM, which only took 30 minutes and scored me 3,500 steps. You’re supposed to shoot for 10,000 steps a day. I have modified my goal to 5,000 steps t0 begin with — still about 2.5 miles walked daily. At my new job there are a few FitBit power users, so I’m hoping they can tell me their secrets and get me into more of an “I love my FitBit!” type mentality.

2) This isn’t weight loss or fitness related, but how awesome is Lauren Conrad for coming up with this awesome, witty reply on the spot? You guys know I’m always on my media/feminism/body image soap box, so her snappy comeback delighted me. Go, L.C.! (Gif via TheFrisky.com)


3) My newsfeed has been blowing up about the Biggest Loser champion Rachel and her drastic 155 pound weight loss.  I’ve never watched the Biggest Loser with regularity, because I had problems with the fact that they paraded the contestants around shirtless and in sports bras, and to me, that just felt mocking. I understand the point is to emphasize what will be a transformation, but there’s no reason to shame folks by making them wear embarrassing clothes. As a non-watcher of the show, yeah, Rachel’s transformation looks like it went a little bit too far. But I feel for her, because she’d be scrutinized if she didn’t lose “enough”, and now she’s being scrutinized for losing too much. It’s a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Does she look healthy? Maybe not. Did she look healthy at her heaviest? Also maybe not. Does it matter how she looks? Maybe not. I’m starting to realize that the Golden Goose of this whole weight loss thing is really, at the end of day, not about how you look. It’s about how you feel, your blood pressure reading, your energy level, if you can schlep your booty up a mountain, if your skin glows, your jeans fit, if your smile says it all. It will be interesting to see how this story unfolds, but for now, I’m curiously watching along, specifically on Twitter, as Bob and Jillian refrain from making any comments. What do you think?

4) Kinda loving this as this week’s reminder as I charge ahead with trying to lose weight and committing to being fit. Just a great reminder, over all.

So there you have it — a few random Thursday thoughts. Give me one of yours!

Till next time,

The Double Chin Diary Siggy