Five things that will happen when you attend ShiftCon

In early December, I was lucky enough to go to Shiftcon in New Orleans as a volunteer. During the conference, I bounced from session to session providing back-up photography, but I also got to help lead two Twitter parties, where I gave away tons of prizes from Shiftcon’s amazing sponsors. April went to Shiftcon in 2014, and I’m so glad I finally got the chance to go. Leah, the founder, is a friend of mine (and my favorite chicken lady), and I’m so proud of the huge community she’s brought together. Want to know five things that will happen if you attend Shiftcon in 2017?

  1. You will meet awesome people from all different walks of life. Here’s me with Tracy, who I clicked with instantly when we joked about the hotel hallway feeling like the hotel from the Shining. Dark sense of humor? Check. Passion for blogging? Check. Mutual friend of Leah? Check! You will also connect with people you may have met before, and enjoy an awesome bloggy-friend reunion. 15327479_1198311406904107_4270921376446775687_n
  2. You will learn something. I learned more about obesogens, Instagram Pods, and how to run around an exo hall taking live photos while also giving away prizes during a massive live Twitter party.

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  1. You will come home LOADED with swag… even more than you get at BlogHer, which used to be the grand-daddy of all free stuff. My favorite Shiftcon swag I’m still using from day to day? My BeautyCounter lipstick and a bunch of delicious goodies from Bob’s Red Mill.dsc_0120

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    Loving my Plant Therapy essential oils!

  2. You will be well-fed. And you’ll be well-fed with food that is locally sourced, non-GMO, organic, and often, gluten-free. We had freshly shucked oysters, a locally raised cow, sandwiches, yogurts with granola, roasted veggies, salads, pudding… We were *very* well-fed between the sponsored breaks, expo hall, and hosted lunches and receptions. dsc_0232dsc_0272
  3. You will enjoy the sights and sounds of Shiftcon’s location for the year. New Orleans is one of my favorite places on earth, and it’s a city that comes to life in its rich music, stunning wrought iron and brick, and vibrant local personalities. This year, Shiftcon will be in Orange County, just a jaunt down the highway from my place, nestled between the majestic ocean and theme park mecca. There will be something for everyone, no doubt!

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So, whadda ya say, friends? See you in February next year? 🙂 Stay tuned here and at ShiftConMedia.com for all the latest about everything ShiftCon. This is one conference you won’t want to miss! (And trust me – I go to alot of ’em. I’d definitely go back!).

A bundle of joy arrives in November!

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My husband and I are very excited to share that in November, we’ll be parents! We enjoyed an awesome five years of marriage before deciding to expand our family, and now that we’re expecting, we’re over the moon. I’ll be sharing more on the blog later about what it will mean to have a plus-sized pregnancy (hint: nothing dramatic. With healthy eating and exercise, you can have a healthy, normal pregnancy — I have so far been lucky to have not gained a pound, and have felt great!), and how I ultimately made the decision to move forward with my life despite not reaching my goal with weight. But for now, I wanted to share a little bit about how we broke the news.

Matt and I went on a Caribbean cruise in mid-March, and thankfully, even though I was about eight weeks along, other than fatigue, I felt really good (I did miss my mojitos, though!). We decided to take a photo on the beach and write “Baby C” in the sand (See below). I’m wearing my weekly bump shirt that I made (thanks to my pal KJ Pugs), and two awesome gals on the beach helped us stage a mini photo shoot. Because we live eight hours away from our immediate family, we knew we’d have to break the news digitally to some people. Thankfully Matt’s Dad was coming down to visit, so we got to surprise him in person with a custom mug that says “Grandpa, Est. 11/15”.

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We also got to tell my best friend and sister in person. I bought them aunt onesies, wrapped them in boxes, and had them both open the boxes at the same time. My sister screamed so loud and jumped up and down that I’m pretty sure the cats thought it was the apocolypse — it was awesome! Here she is right after hearing the news, and right after putting on her makeup (sorry, Ape! My timing was off on that!), hair still wet in a babushka.

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Surprising my parents was a little bit more complex. We decided to have my sister print the photo from the cruise, and present it to my parents while we skyped them. You’ll hear my sister say we shipped the picture. Thanks to my awesome brother, we have this video of my mom’s insane reaction. (Back story: My mom has been annoyingly obsessed with becoming a Grandma since I was about 18 (not kidding!). She had to be sternly reminded several times that we would have kids when we were ready, and I always told her good things come to those who wait. See, Mom? It finally happened!) PS if you’re offended by F-bombs, do not watch this video because there are several of them! My favorite part is the dog jumping up and down with my mom.

I’d been trickling out the news slowly to family and friends, and as of today I’m 13.5 weeks pregnant and thanks to a detailed scan last week, we know that Baby C. looks great and is so far nice and healthy! (Please say a little prayer, send good thoughts, or make a wish on a dandelion that all continues to go well.) 🙂  To pre-emptively answer a few questions I’ve been getting lately:

  • How am I feeling? As I mentioned earlier, my only major symptom has been fatigue, but I’m starting to perk up a little bit. I haven’t had any morning sickness and I feel so fortunate that so far I’m feeling really, really good. Being crazy excited helps 🙂
  • When is the due date? November 12, a Scorpio!
  • Will we find out gender? Yes! Definitely. I think we still have a few more weeks to go before we’ll know. I definitely have a “feeling” it’s one gender, so I’ll be curious to see if I’m right!
  • Any cravings? In the earlier weeks I craved a Veggie Delite sub from Subway, and have been super averse to chicken. In fact, I’m struggling with eating meat in general. I’ve never been a big meat eater and am having to be creative about getting enough protein. The most consistent craving I’ve had is berries – strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, which I have almost daily. I’ve also craved Sour Patch Kids and Cheez-Its, but am trying to keep my junky indulgences to a minimum.
  • Was the baby planned? Yes, indeed! I am very grateful to have conceived as having PCOS can make things dicey in terms of fertility, and I am well aware of the struggles so many people go through to become parents. I am holding all of the hopeful parents to be in my heart that one day their dream is fulfilled.

So that’s my news, Double Chinners! I’ll be back on the DCD more often now because, heck, I missed y’all, and even though my new blog is cool, DCD will always be my home. Thank you as always for your loyalty and time, and for reading my little old blog. I’m a pretty lucky gal! <3

My 3-Day Walk Training Progress

Hello friends, I hope you had a great weekend. I just finished a delicious dinner of roast chicken, potatoes, and grilled egg plant. Super yum! I’m relaxing with a hard cider before settling into the couch to watch Silicon Valley, one of my new favorite shows. This weekend was pretty laidback; hanging out with my grad school girlfriends, lunch with the hubs, recipe testing for the California Avocado contest at Fitbloggin’, and lastly, a nice 3.5 mile training walk today with my husband.

I’ve been squeezing in walks here and there whereever I can, and this weekend marked 24 weeks until my event. Eeek! I have many miles to go between now and then. I’m happily almost to the halfway mark of my fundraising goal of $2,300, and so far have been blown away by people’s generosity. It’s alarming how many people’s lives cancer has affected, and fundraising and walking is just one small thing I can do to try and prevent cancer from stealing another person’s life. (Want to help? I’d be so grateful. I will happily carry the names of a loved one, in honor or memory of, on my 60 mile journey. A $35 donation ) A few weeks ago I bought myself some Snazzy New Walking Shoes, and I just learned today on my walk app (Map My Walk) that I’ve put 30 miles on my new kicks. Nice!

I think back to a year or so ago when I hated walking a 5k distance (3.2 miles), and I’m happy that now I’m doing 3 miles with no real challenge. I’m definitely not a fast walker, but the nice thing about the 3-Day is that it’s not about the time. It’s about the commitment. I did 5.5 miles last week on one walk, and I’m hoping to get in another 5-miler this week. It’s really going to be crazy to me when I start walking distances of seven miles and above. You’re supposed to walk 10,000 steps a day, which is about five miles, so that doesn’t seem as extreme to me as choosing to hoof it seven miles or more. (I’m lazy when it comes to exercise. True fact.) My friend Monique, who’s walking with the team Double Chin Divas, will probably walk with me next week, and then in July, I’m hoping to attend my sister April’s official 3-Day training walk in San Francisco! I also need to get in more cardio, as my awesome endocrinologist reminded me in a very friendly but matter of fact way that walking nice long distances just ain’t gonna cut it for me for weight loss. (Darnit.) Hold me accountable, peeps!

Taking nice long walks has some perks, besides being relaxing — you get to see things you never knew existed, like these awesome body weight exercise machines at Lake Balboa. I definitely had a good time screwing around on the foot elliptical and torso twister. You’re never too old to play!

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Lake Balboa Foot Powered Elliptical

 

I’m feeling good about the event, and am hoping I hit my half way mark really soon here with fundraising. The next few months are going to be critical for my training success, so now, I just need to make an effort to do the work. I don’t have to walk fast, I just have to walk often. That said, if anybody is in LA and wants to go on a walk… hit me up! Do I have any other walkers for exercise out there? Have an amazing day!

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Interested in walking 60 miles in San Diego in November? Considering joining the Double Chin Divas team. We’re kicking cancer’s ass, one step at a time.

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.

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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,

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Mamavation Motivation

Hey gals and boys! TGIF, right?! This week has been a craaaaaazy whirlwind. I’ve been jamming on some client deadlines and projects, and in addition, I’ve got a personal project going on that’s keeping me very busy… HOUSE HUNTING! More on that and how it makes me want to stress eat later.

I’m pledging my membership to Mamavation and part of that pledge is to tell y’all why I want to be involved. Because Alpha Gamma Kappi Phi! Just kidding, but any time I hear the word pledge I think about sororities, of which I was shamefully never invited (nor interested). I was always more of a band nerd/online message board type of gal…

Anyhoodles, Mamavation is an awesome online community of women social media and blogging fanatics. The cool thing about Mamavation is it has a healthy living angle, and the creator, Leah, is a weight loss and health transformation success story, having lost over 170 pounds over two pregnancies. WOW. Beyond being an all around kick-butt lady, I’ve met her in personal several times and she’s always been super nice, incredibly intelligent and an all-around mentor and thought-leader in social media. Given that I pay my bills by twiddling with Twitter and frolicking on Facebook for brands, companies and public figures, I look up to Leah for her unique approach to creating meaningful conversations online. She’s the real deal.

Leah and Alyssa show off their pearly whites at FitBloggin 2013 in Portland, Ore.

Leah and Alyssa show off their pearly whites at FitBloggin 2013 in Portland, Ore.

I’ll be joining other Mamavation bloggers for a fun-filled fitness vacation in October in Paso Robles, Calif. Although I’m not a mom yet, I’m looking forward to the MOTIVATION, SUPPORT, KNOWLEDGE and FRIENDSHIP I can gain through Mamavation. That’s one of the very best things about social media and blogging — the friends you gain just by being yourself. (I’m lookin’ at you. Yes, you, the person reading this when you probably should be working!) 😉

So, there you have it — my pledge to be a Mamavation Gal and work off this double chin. I actually haven’t stepped on a scale in two weeks, which could be catastrophic, genius or just “meh”, but I’ve been doing ok food wise and slacking a bit on exercise. My goal next week is to kick it up, which should be easier as a bunch of my deadlines will have come and gone. Also, tomorrow I’m running the Neon Run 5k — so watch for that! It will be a glow bracelet, black light jamboree in downtown LA. I can’t wait!

I hope you have an amazing Friday, and tell me, what online communities or groups are you a part of???

 

 

 

 

No Sweeter Than the Ripest Cherry — Cookbook Review

Hi Friends! Today I’m sharing a review of my friend Suzie’s comic-cook book, No Sweeter Than The Ripest Cherry. Suzi and I met about 7 years ago when she and my husband attended the UCLA Film School. When I found out Suzie was a raw food chef, I was instantly intrigued by her career, thinking that raw food must mean ALL YOU CAN EAT IS SALAD. Thankfully, I was wrong, and when Suzi’s book came out, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy to explore.

No Sweeter Than The Ripest Cherry is a seasonal, fresh food inspired comic book recipe guide designed to fuse foundational, science-based nutrition concepts with a non-dogmatic seven-day culinary exploration of exciting, practical, and bowl-licking-good meals… that are mostly raw, mostly paleo, and made 100% from scratch with whole food ingredients and superfoods.

This is not your ordinary cookbook. The design is incredible, filled with comic book style illustrations, mouth watering photography, and clever typography and text placement that has you reading each page in depth to make sure you don’t miss anything. Look at these gorgeous pages!

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I also really like the style of writing. To me, cooking is FUN — so when things get a little too stuffy (cough cough, Mastering the art of French cooking), I get bored. Ripest Cherry is filled with personality, from the cutesy images of the character Ingrid on her 7-day health transformation, to great tongue-in-cheek quips such as “Like a wild primate, bang the empty coconut on the ground until it breaks.”

For my first Ripest Cherry adventure,  I decided to tackle The Blueberry Hawaiian, a yummy raw smoothie with Avocado, Celery, Cucumber, Lime, Wild Blueberries, Ginger, Honey and greens.

Photo from EssentialLivingFoods.com

This was my first time making a smoothie that had (GASP) vegetables in it, so I was a little nervous about what I’d end up with. For “greens”, I used a handful of spinach. I also added some Spirulina, because I got some at FitBloggin’ and it’s been staring at me from my pantry since June because I had no idea what to do with it.  For the record, wild blueberries are so cute and tiny, and their color is an amazing purple! Also for the record, raw honey is so much more robust than its boring sibling. I got mine (a sage citrus blend) at the Calabasas farmer’s market and it’s so good!

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The end result is perhaps not the most photogenic smoothie, but I have to say – I’m impressed! I was nervous it would taste grassy from the spinach and spirulina, but instead, the sharp ginger was really complemented by the honey, and the texture had a creaminess from the avocado that was only accentuated by the cooling cucumber.  This recipe makes a very large amount, so much in fact, that I had one full glass for dinner and have a blender-bottle of it for tomorrow’s breakfast. SCORE! What I liked about this smoothie was that not only did it taste super fresh,but it was incredibly filling.

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Besides having super yummy recipes like Guacatacos, the other huge benefit to Ripest Cherry is the health and nutrition information. Almost every other page is packed with an easy-to-read essay about topics like how digestion begins, the benefits of fermentation, and the importance of exercise. This is the type of information that you simply won’t get in your Glamour magazine — it’s the kind of information you get from that super-smart friend who teaches cooking classes at the local Ashram. (Suzie does that too!) For example, I loved this passage from the piece about exercise: “Remember, beginnings, however humble, are still beginnings. Everything in nature begins with a singular impulse. From the tiniest germ of being, life manifests outward into the universe. Where ever you may be in your journey, you can always take the first step towards reinvention.”

There’s also a super nutrition appendix that lists the health benefits and properties of all of the ingredients in the book. Did you know that celery is sometimes used as a treatment for rashes, and that bee pollen can help reverse the effects of obesity?
These tips, along with the amazing photography, innovative recipes and informative health knowledge earn the Ripest Cherry the Double Chin Diary seal of approval. You can buy your own copy at RipestCherry.com for $14.95.

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Because a review just ain’t a review on the Double Chin Diary without a giveaway, Suzie has graciously agreed to offer a copy to one lucky Double Chin Diary reader. For your entry to win, all you need to do is visit RipestCherry.com, and tell me which recipe out of the four sample pages shown you would be most inclined to try (Leave a comment).  The winner will be picked next Tuesday at 11:59 PM. US Only, please — and GOOD LUCK! You can earn an additional entry by “liking” Ripest Cherry on Facebook, sharing a tweet or Facebook post about this giveaway! If you do those things, just let me know in the comment. Viva la ‘Raw’volution!