It’s not goodbye, but see ya around!

Dear Double Chinners,

When I started this blog over four years ago (wow!), I felt inspired and compelled to chronicle my journey from fat to fabulous. When I started blogging, the ‘fabulous’ part meant that I’d reach my goal weight and flutter off into a land of thinness, where I could eat chips and dip with no ramifications (I still wish for that!). As the years wore on and the journey remained a journey and not a destination, I started to grow a little bit bored of the whole “losing weight” thing. I’ve accepted that my struggles with reaching a healthy weight will be something I’m constantly trying to achieve, and that’s okay.

I decided over Christmas this year that I was ready for a change. I was planning on writing my traditional New Year’s post for this blog, and I was looking back at last year’s New Year’s post. I had already been feeling stifled this time last year, and even wrote that I was considering starting a new blog, since my “weight loss blog” has really been nothing but a “weight maintenance, sometimes loss, and sometimes gain blog”. I was feeling like I was falling out of love with blogging, and that sucked, because I’ve been blogging since I was 14 and I LOVE blogging. So I took some time away from the blog to think. We didn’t break up, but we took a break. And that break was exactly what I needed to decide that while I’m not done blogging, I need a breath of fresh air. I need to get out of the box that I put myself in, and step into a new place– one that’s huge and large and limitless and lets me talk about whatever the heck I want, like travel or makeup or fashion or weight loss with PCOS.

And so, my friends, LaLaLyssa.com was born. I noodled for awhile on a new blog name, and settled on LaLaLyssa.com for a few reasons. First of all, I had purchased AllLyssa.com as a play on words, to be everything and ALL Alyssa, but then I learned that Allyssa.com (one less L) was a porn site. Yeah, no. Too much potential for awkward typos. I was going to blog under my business site, AlyssaCurran.com, but I liked the idea of a cutesy, separate land for all my ramblings. And so I chose LaLaLyssa.com, for a few reasons:

1) I choose to live my life embracing quirkiness, and sometimes I feel like I’m in LaLa Land.
2) I live IN La La Land (Los Angeles).
3) I used to name products, and one of my favorite things I’ve ever named is a popular toy line that starts with the prefix ‘Lala’.

VisitMe

So there you have it. The Double Chin Diary isn’t going away, but it’s going to quietly simmer on the backburner. Every now and then when I want to write about weight loss or fitness, I’ll probably write a post over here, but will link to it from my new site as well. As I said before, my journey with weight loss is far from over. Despite the number on the scale, I’ve made some amazing progress towards being a healthier me — like being able to walk amost 60 miles in 3 days, and more importantly, learning to love myself despite my weight. I hope you’ll come over and check out what I’m up to at LaLaLyssa.com, because I love hearing what you think. I’ll always be grateful to the Double Chin Diary for giving me a taste of what being a ‘real blogger’ is like, and for opening the door to many exciting and awesome opportunities. I also plan to one day write a book, and that was the reason I started this blog — because I knew one day, I’d have an “after” to match my “before”, and I’d call it the Double Chin Diary. This isn’t goodbye — it’s just see ya later 🙂

The Double Chin Diary Siggy

 

Bon Voyage… I’m off to Fitcation!

Hello everybody! Here we are, one day before Friday! You’re almost there! I, on the otherhand, have been in blissfully happy “It’s my friday mode” all day, and as I’m writing this, it’s only Wednesday. Tomorrow I’m picking up my pal Simply Junebug and we’re off to beautiful Paso Robles, a lovely little wine town nestled in the coastal hills of San Luis Obispo, 230 miles north of Los Angeles. That area happens to be one of my very favorite places in California, as the husband and I have spent many weekends at the kitschy and totally amazing themed Madonna Inn, guzzling wine at the drive-in-theatre double feature, and exploring the salt water taffy shops along Avalon Beach.

Paso Robles, from Zillow.com

I’m excited for this blogging event because it’s less “conferency” with panels and such, and more “activity”, with winetasting, kayaking, hiking and even, my very favorite, olive oil tasting at places like Pasolivo. I’ve been pulling some crazy hours lately with last minute writing projects, so I’m looking forward to decompressing, tasting wines, meeting friendly new blogger faces, and enjoying awesome swag like FIT Protein Brownies from my homies at Lenny & Larry’s  and Nux Vomica in-case I over-wine it, from Boiron USA.

Events like these help rank high on the reasons of why I love to blog. I had a meeting with a client last week, and I was surprised that they spent a large part of our meeting asking why I wasn’t doing this and that on my blog to make lots of money. I do make a little bit of money from this blog, and certainly enjoy bountiful swag and freebies from this site, but if someone asked the number one reason why I blog, it wouldn’t be to make money. First and foremost, I’m a writer, and writers write. It’s what we do, and I’d write even if no one read it. The fact that you’re here, reading, is just a major perk for which I’m infinitely grateful. THANKS 🙂

Speaking of swag and freebies, We have a winner for the Naturally Sweet and Gluten Free Giveaway! Congratulations to KRISTINE! Thanks to everyone who entered, and watch for more giveaways soon.

There’s one last thing on my bloggy-to-d0-list — letting you know that I now have a snazzy badge! If you want to link up, just copy and paste the code to the right of this post (looks like the picture below) into your html widgets or body text on your website. Let me know if you do!

Also, here’s my confession. I have been super totally lazy about working out this week. As in, like almost no exercise at all. Eeeek. Not ok. However, I plan to make up for it with bootcamp, yoga, kayaking, hiking and crossfit this weekend. Thank goodness.

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I’m out! I’ll try to check in from the road this weekend and April might be around on Friday, but have an awesome end of the week, and thank you, as always, for stopping by the DCD! 🙂

 

 

Home sweet home: house hunting in Southern California

Home Sweet Home

There are some things in life that make you unequivocably grown up — joining Costco, bringing wine to dinner parties, yawning at 11 pm, buying a car with automatic windows, asking for household appliances for birthdays, waking up with a creaky back, seeing high-school kids in the mall and thinking “They’re so young/immature/stupid/fill-in-the-blank with a cranky adjective here”. The pinnacle of grown-up-ness, for me, perhaps beyond joking to my parents that we need to consider which raisin ranch we’ll put them in when they’re too old to wipe, is buying a house… or at least trying to.

First there’s the nerve-wracking stage of pre-approval, where your financial documents are meticulously scoured, every transaction, deposit and discrepancy painstakingly analyzed and explained. “Oh yes,” I said, “I do remember buying that belt at Fashion Bug,” as you rationalize the outstanding balance of $7.96 on your credit report, and then try to explain that you never received the bill and THAT’S why there’s a blip on your credit score. No, no… you would never forget to pay a bill. Of course you wouldn’t! Cough. This process is full of little holes to fill, reassurances to be made that you’re a secure, sound, responsible adult and you would NEVER dream of using your full-time income to do something like buy Coachella tickets or eat leftover movie theater popcorn for dinner. None of those things which I’ve ever done, of course. Cough. I’m still getting over that cold.

Once you’re pre-approved and still gasping at the amount a low-budget house turns out to cost you in monthly mortgage, you begin the hunting process. At first, your head is filled with dreams of things that your house will be — granite counters, shiny wood floors, charming Spanish archways that fill the house with quaintness and character. You don’t imagine carpeted bathrooms, popcorn ceilings, the swarms of termites lying in wait. The neighborhood of your dream has wide, slick asphalt, perfect sidewalks and pathways, mature trees and beautifully manicured lawns. These things are not reality, of course — they’re hopes, dreams, thoughts for the future. You realize with some glimpse of reality that you’re dreaming, but in life you know it’s wise to be optimistic, right?

Home for sale in Pasadena. Currently priced at $975,000.

The first house you really fall in love with is like your first highschool boyfriend. Sure, he’s got braces, bacne and loves Phish, but he’s got CHARACTER. He might be a fixer, but with a little bit of work, he could be perfect. You agree to date (write an offer) and after one date (the offer is reviewed), he makes some weird, offhand comment about how your sister has nicer boobs (they want a counter to get closer to the other buyer’s all-cash offer). You’re aghast, but surely, you’re new to this whole dating thing, so that’s how it goes (you write a higher offer). After a few more dates (a few more days waiting), your highschool sweetheart breaks your heart. “I have a thing for your sister,” he says (the other buyer got it). You’re mad, hurt, but oh well, you didn’t reaaaaally like him, anyway, right? He had bacne, braces and liked Phish! (Carpeted bathrooms, popcorn ceilings, wood paneling in the living room. You keep looking).

A few days go by and some potential suitors interest you (one with a beautiful bay window that looks out to the hills, but hasn’t been updated since 1949). Then there’s the one you fall hard for. The floors gleam like honey in the sunshine. Even though great Auntie Edith died in the guest room at age 103, you feel warmth, not a hovering ghost of sellers past. So what if there’s no central air in 103 degree Southern California? There are beautiful oak trees towering over the house in the backyard, and the 1950s kitchen has adorable little latches on all the counters. You imagine raising your kids there, crossing the threshold with a bundled newborn baby in your arms, hosting Thanksgiving dinners for your inlaws. You envision birthday parties and Christmas, smiles, memories, family warmth. Then you go outside and see the homeboys ride their bikes past your lawn, hear the sirens in the distance, ask the realtor about the neighborhood. “Well” she says with a sigh, “I’ll be honest.” You know right then that the dream is shattered. After all, what’s a home if you can’t sleep soundly at night? So what if the windows are dual-paned when they’ve been broken into twice before?

Sometimes you fall in love, but the person you’re buying the house with doesn’t. Then you have this weird halfway conflict of interest, where you want the other person to be happy, but you’re not really SURE if you want mayonnaise on the sandwich you’re about to share, you know? Then, your marriage becomes even more solid and secure as you spend hours analyzing the cost of ripping out a countertop stove, or explaining why you really couldn’t deal with the carving of the horse etched into the ceiling. These thoughts creep into the free-space in your head, and suddenly, at red lights, you’re dreaming of trips to Home Depot, replacing the yellowing formica with sparkling granite countertops, the kind with rainbow flecks that shimmer in the light. Eventually, you reach a mutual decision and move on with a sigh of relief, back to Trulia, RedFin and Zillow you go.

Sometimes, decisions are easy. The house you’ve absolutely maxxed your budget on has come back with the seller asking for another $20,000, and prior to that, buying this home would mean eating Top Ramen and selling your body by the pound on the black market. You have to regretfully decline. Sometimes, the decisions are not easy. Sometimes, a house has a beautifully manicured lawn, complete with blooming roses, neatly clipped grass, orange trees bursting with juicy, ripe fruit. However, the house also has a frequent visitor in the backyard — a commuter train, a mere 100 feet from your patio set. You could be drinking iced lemonades on a hot summer day, watching the kids play in the sprinklers, at peace with the world until you heard that fateful honnnnk honnnnnk. Then you’d be fearing that the train would one day veer off track and end up in your living room. Despite your agent’s hopeful urging that maybe you future son would grow up to love trains, you know it just won’t work. No, no, that one just wouldn’t work. You will have to choo-choose another.

More often than not you place offers on homes that you don’t love. Your heart doesn’t pitter-patter at the thought of re-painting, re-carpeting, re-upholstering, and renovation, but for your budget, it must be done. You must be confident in your offer that while you may not love the house, you will like it, and when you make it your own, you will love it. You take these risks. You jump in. Just when your hopes are up and you are imagining the dog run you can build in the 9,000 square foot backyard, you get the call that an investor has snatched up your sweet little fixer and will be flipping it into the modern California dream home. You are sad, but back to Trulia, to Redfin, to Zillow you go.

Your weekends become consumed with checking for new listings on Realtor.com, hoping to find that magical unicorn of a listing that isn’t pending, that isn’t a short sale, that has words like “upgraded,” “central air,” “hardwood,” and “over 1,000 square feet”. Friends and family that mean well but aren’t so well-informed of your budget send you beautiful listings for $500,000 in Culver City and Pasadena. You sigh and think, “One day. One day.” You visit open house after open house, learning the lingo. Comp, COE, addendum are new words in your vocabulary. You learn what a Jack and Jill bathroom is. You learn how to scour CityData.com, to compare crime maps with the local newspaper. You are thankful for your journalism education, because you know you can search the block number of any potential address to find recent homicides or break-ins. You compare these iffy neighborhoods to the one you live in now, the one some call the barrio, but it’s been home for four years, and you’ve been fiiiiiiine. Just fine.

At night in your rental home, you think about these things before you go to bed. Do you keep trying and hope that in six months you’re handed the keys to your perfect new home? Do you listen to people’s advice and buy a condo? Do you give up and stay in your rental? Do you wait a few more years until you’ve sold the first book, until the blog is booming, and you have more money to spend? Do you decide to give up all of the conventions of a normal, grown-up life and join a hippie commune in Topanga Canyon where you can walk around in the nude and not care that you’re 80 pounds overweight? These are the things that make you a grown up, that make you confident in your ability to think critically. Granite counter tops. Hardwood floors. Double bathrooms, copper plumbing, porcelain sink. One by one, the features come to you, drifting by like tumbleweeds on a warm fall day. Your thoughts are consumed and your efforts are valiant. One by one, these things enter your mind, and you drift off to sleep, knowing that one day…oh one day, you will find your home sweet home.

 

 

 

“You’re Real! – In which I meet other bloggers I admire. FitBloggin’ Part 2

Me and Kenz!

One of my favorite things about being a drone of the internet webs (in day job and blog life!) is that you make some amazing connections online. I still remember the first time I met “blog friends” in real life – I was meeting up with Kenlie from All The Weigh and Alexa from The Curvy Nerd. I got lost on the way there and my frazzled nerves were all worried about “Will we have awkward silences? Will they judge me if I eat bread? What if I want seconds at the salad bar? Do you think I can reveal my sarcastic sense of humor?” Of course, once I met them and we eased into conversation, it was so much fun – and they were both exactly like the people they were online. No big sweat. I got to see Kenlie again at FitBloggin’ and she was her usual sparky and enigmatic self. Isn’t that a fabulous dress on her?!

Skinny Emmie and Double Chin Diary rock!

I also got the pleasure of meeting Skinny Emmie – a weight loss blogger who’s lost over 100 pounds and works in social media. She’s very charming in real life and has a sweet little Southern twang. Aren’t we cute? Emmie petted my shirt, claiming that she loves textiles. It is a nice shirt, if I do say so myself – soft, stretchy and flattering to those with large… erm.. parts.

 

 

Me and Tara from Media Remedial

I also met Tara, from Media Remedial on my first day at the conference. I was jet lagged and disoriented, and after I got my lunch, I felt like a grade-school student looking for a place to sit in the cafeteria. All around me people were busy having conversations and eating their quinoa with gusto, so I felt a little lost. Tara cleared off a seat for me, looked up at me with a big smile and invited me to sit down. She’s a genuinely warm person and I was so happy to get to meet her and hang out with her through out the weekend. (Bonus points: Like me, she’s also a crazy cat lady and harsh media critic. It was love at first sight.)

Alyssa and Fat Girl Vs World Duke It Out

I was also lucky enough to meet Robby, from Fat Girl Vs. World. Robby and I have been Twitter pals for quite some time, and I actually started following her because she did boxing. At the time when I started boxing for fitness, I felt like not many females did it, so it was fun to find somebody who shared my enthusiasm. She always provided me tips on posture and hand position, so that’s why we’re “duking it out” in this pic. As usual, my wrists decided to go back to flute-player style, so I’m workin’ on that. Robby was super nice and funny in person – just like her blog.

Alyssa, Shelly and Beth

Two more lovely ladies I met were Shelly, or “Egg Face“, and Beth, from Melting Mama. I also met Nikki from Bariatric Foodie, but I didn’t get a pic with her! I first met the awesomeness that are Shelly and Beth because I was live blogging a session and Beth referred to now-skinny people as “former fatties”. As someone who uses humor to blog daily, I found her sassiness refreshing, and like a moth to a flame, I was drawn to her! I’ve already conversed with all these gals several times since the conference, and they’re the perfect example of why I need to attend conferences like this. It’s all about finding people with common interests who can help you remember what’s important – and for me, that’s losing the weight in any way I can, even if it’s slooooow like molasses. I’ll get there! 🙂

How about you? Have you ever met blog or internet friends in real life? Would you? I still have a few on my “must meet” list,  one of them being KJ Pugs!

 

Cupcake Decorating: My fav new hobby

Tonight, I baked and decorated over 70 cupcakes – 50 mini, and 24 full size. Why? Because I felt like it. So tomorrow, my coworkers and matt’s coworkers are going to be very hopped up on sugar.

Easter Cupcakes!

I feel like I’ve stumbled on a lucky little pot of gold for myself – I used to hate baking, but I’ve come around to it, thanks to my cake decorating class. I spent two hours tonight just relaxing with a piping bag and frosting, listening to music and decorating cupcakes. It’s a good stress relief for me, but what’s even better about it is I pretty much have 0% temptation to eat any cupcakes! I’ll work one into my calorie counting every now and then, but what I love about making cupcakes isn’t eating them – it’s the process of making something pretty, and then sharing that creation with friends.

Marbled pastel buttercream

I’m also glad because I feel like I’ve been doing a good job keeping the creativity in my life the last few months. One of my goals for 2012 was to do more creative things, and this blog, cupcake decorating and a few other things have been great for nurturing my artistic side. You can do a lot with cupcakes – marbling, filling, piping, sprinkling… the sky is the limit. It’s kind of easy to fall in love with. The only thing I hate about making cupcakes is the clean up!

Tonight I played around with the SkinnyTaste Coconut Cupcakes recipe, and made a batch of straight chocolate cupcakes as well. I used peeps, cadbury eggs and shredded coconut on top of standard butter cream to decorate. My kitchen was trashed afterwards, but oh well – it was a good time, and in some small way I might brighten someone’s day tomorrow with a pretty cupcake!

Cupcake baking makes for a messy kitchen!

What hobby have you found that just takes you away for a little bit? Reading, cooking, running, painting, etc? I wanna know! I hope you’re having a great day!

****Don’t forget to enter the EatSmart Precision Pro Kitchen Scale Giveaway! Visit my post here, and just leave me a comment telling me why you want to win! http://doublechindiary.com/review-eatsmart-food-scale-and-giveaway/   *********

Review: EatSmart Food Scale and Giveaway

39g of Dried Mango is only 120 calories! Score!

Hi there! How was your weekend? Mine was AWESOME… because I spent it in the garden, getting my hands dirty and planting veggies! Pix later this week. Today, I’m delighted to review the EatSmart Precision Pro Scale and give you a chance to win one of your own! But first, here’s the stuff good bloggers should always admit: Disclosure: I did receive a complimentary scale from EatSmart for this review.Remember how I was getting frustrated with Points Plus and said I would be starting to weigh out my portions? I knew I needed a scale to make sure I wasn’t fudging any numbers. I like to eat things like dried mango, and the calorie count is measured in grams – for example, 38 grams is 120 calories. How would it even be possible to measure grams without a scale?!
Here’s what I loved about the scale:

  • Super easy to use. I didn’t even have to read the manual to know how to toggle

    Measuring is easy thanks to the Tara function that deletes the container weight...

    between different measurements, to turn it on and off, etc.

  • It has a nice, sleek look that would match any decor well.
  • It comes with batteries (so convenient – I loved that), and has an automatic turn off after 3 minutes if you get busy doing other things.
  • The display window has big, easy to read numbers and letters – perfect for people like me who always lose their glasses.
  • Wipes clean with a damp rag – no need to wash, and the plastic material seems like it would be easy to clean up should you have a big spill.
  • It does the trick easily and measures accurately, which is the most important thing!
  • Affordable price. On Amazon, this scale is priced at $25.00 and has over 3,000 5-star reviews. WOW – feedback like that doesn’t lie.

    Nice, simple packaging.

I only have one nitpicky thing to mention –

  • The stainless-steel looking buttons show finger prints pretty easily. If you want to keep it out on the counter top, you’ll have to be a little more maniacal about wiping it down more if you’re a spaz like me 🙂 But, most normal people won’t even notice, so carry on!

Overall, the PrecisionPro Scale is a GREAT choice if you’re looking for a food scale. It also comes with a 2 year warranty, which is a big deal in today’s economy. If a company is willing to back something up with a long warranty, you know it’s a quality product. Check out EatSmart’s website for more details – how cute is this red retro scale? It totally reminds me of something Rachel Ray would have in her kitchen.

Want a chance to win your very own EatSmart scale? It’s super easy – just leave me a blog comment telling me WHY you want to win – and then when you do that, you’ll unlock five more easy entries! Make sure you use a real e-mail address when you comment so I can contact you if you win! This giveaway is for US residents only. Also – for every new Facebook “like” that Eat Smart gains in April, they’ll donate .50c to the Susan G Komen Foundation. So even if you don’t want a scale – “like them” to help raise money for breast cancer research.

I use rafflecopter for my giveaways, so I will randomly choose one winner on the morning of Tuesday, April 10. I think that’s all! Let me know if you have any questions – and GOOD LUCK!

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