Reflections on 2013 and wishes for 2014

2013 was a big, important year. The past few months have had more challenges than I’d like, and overall, I’m happy to be wrapping up 2013. Let’s review what happened, shall we?

1) I crossed a major bucket list item off the list — traveling to thailand! One year ago today, I started my first new year’s resolution with a bang! I had wanted to be more active, and 2013 was kicked off with a huge, intense jungle hike across Phi Phi island to a ferry. It was an experience I’ll never forget — in both good ways (the view) and bad ways (the mosquitoes and getting lost on a foreign island with no Malaria protection).


2) I crossed another major item off my list – earning my master’s degree! While I’m so glad I did it, I’m not going to lie that working on a master’s degree while working full-time was a challenge. There were many tear-filled nights as I had to work through exhaustion and keep plugging away on my thesis, but in the end, I’m proud of what I accomplished. Plus, it’s fun to humblebrag about how I’m a master of mass communication. Oh yeah!

Very excited at my commencement ceremony! Photo by my wonderful thesis chair, Dr. Bluestein.

Very excited at my commencement ceremony! Photo by my wonderful thesis chair, Dr. Bluestein.

3) The Double Chin Diary took me lots of amazing places, like Portland for FitBloggin‘ and Paso Robles for Fitcation. April also joined the Double Chin Diary  this year, and I’m so thankful because she picks up the slack when I don’t have much to say, and it has brought us closer together as sisters and friends. There’s nothing like realizing you’re not alone in any sort of battle you’re going through. April gets it — and I know together we’ll be able to accomplish our goals. I’m always so gracious that people take the time to read this blog. Life is chaotic, and busy, and the fact that you stop by means a lot to us. THANK YOU! I’m also grateful to the great brands that believe in what April and I are doing — from Diet to Go to Amana to Hollywood Wax to Blogher. This year, I’m thrilled and honored to be speaking on a panel about blogging at the Lifestyle Blogger’s Conference in downtown Los Angeles, and to be attending FitBloggin’ in Savannah!

4) I finally got some insight into why losing weight seems to be my unreachable feat. After some stressful months of loss then regain then loss then regain, I worked with a few doctors on in-depth blood testing and PCOS screening. After several frustrating courses of misleading results, I finally had a solid diagnosis of PCOS, a fatty buildup in my liver, and subclinical hypothyroidism. I’ve been on medications for a few months and am happy to be at about 13 pounds lost. 2014 will be the last year I ever say my new year’s resolution is to lose weight. Now that I know what’s going on and have the tools to do it, I’m doing it. No stopping me. I will be victorious!

Life's a river. I'm gonna keep paddling!

Life’s a river. I’m gonna keep paddling!

Those were highlights from 2013, so now what about 2014? I don’t have any “resolutions” other than to keep on fighting to get to a healthier me. The Double Chin Diary has been kind of a “weight gain and weight maintenance” blog rather than a “weight loss” blog, and I’d like to change that. (Maybe I’ll just start a new blog? LOL.) I think I finally have the tools to do it. The So Cal Lady Bloggers, a blogging collective I’m a part of, asked a thought provoking question of what word I would choose to focus on for 2014. In 2013, I felt like I was always struggling to find balance. To find balance between how many projects are too many. To find balance in learning to say no. To find balance in continuing to exercise even though I was seeing weight gain instead of weight loss. To find balance in how I approached spending and saving. After some careful thought, I think my word for 2014 will be PERSPECTIVE. I spent a lot of time in 2013 learning to readjust the way I chose to see the world, and how I reacted to challenges. I’m beginning 2014 as a different person; a matured person in that recognizing sometimes all of the difficult things we encounter do actually serve a purpose. In 2014, I want to remember that a positive, thoughtful perspective on life will always serve me best.




I’m wishing you the most amazing new year, and now, I want to know:

What will your word be for 2014?






Sorry for the crickets!

Do you hear them? That gentle yet shrill “Chirp, chirp” of the crickets playing violin with their hind legs?

That’s the sound of silence… silence I’m sorry for! I’ve been very busy coming home from Mexico, and then I graduated and then I worked and went to  a play and celebrated a friend’s birthday… and now I’m finally home and ready to get back to blogging and getting rid of this weight! (I’m not going to say LOSE the weight because that implies I’ll find it again one day, and I’d like it to stay gone, thank you very much.)

While we’re on the topic of crickets, remember how when I went to Thailand I polled you all on which bug I should eat? And then remember how I couldn’t find any bugs? Well, my dear friend Julie and the creator of the awesome tee-to-tank tutorial showed up at my house with an unusual side dish…Crick-ettes Seasoned Crickets
. Bacon flavored, crispy crickets, fit for human consumption.

I did it in honor of you, dear reader. All I can say is watch the video!

Legs in my mouth. Yup. I’ll be back tomorrow… have a safe and gracious Memorial Day!



Tails and Tales of Thailand: Animals

Happy Friday! Let’s ditch weight loss, health and fitness for today, mmmk? (Just on the blog! It’s an everyday commitment for me!) Thailand is home to millions of exotic animals – from gigantic spiders that I thankfully never saw to regal Asian tigers. This is another photo heavy post, but I hope you enjoy the tails and tales of Thailand!


Matt and I visited the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, Thailand. For around $75 total, we spent 30 minutes (15 minutes each) with a “small” tiger and a “big” tiger and had a photographer follow us around taking pictures. Here we are with the small tiger – who loved getting his belly rubbed! His hair was more coarse than a house cat but not rough, kind of like a dog with wiry hair.


I was missing my kitty girl, so when the trainer told me to lay on the tiger I was like, SURE, why not!? Nevermind that even this baby tiger has paws about as big as my head… He was very sweet and docile and seemed totally accustomed to tourists laying their bodies all over him. Cute lil’ guy! I could nap on him all day!


This is one of my favorite pictures from our trip. Look at how beautiful this tiger is – the way her eyes glow gold, the exact symmetry of the black stripes across her face, the wonderful white patches around her eyes. She is absolutely stunning! This girl was about 18-months old and more feisty. Our trainer used a simple bamboo stick to warn her if she was getting too close. At one point our eyes locked and she grew a little fidgety – which is when the trainer gave her a gentle nose tap to distract her. Good thing, too, cuz I almost had a little accident in my pants. Locking eyes with a gigantic, powerful tiger is an intense moment!


Coolest picture ever, right?! Just so you don’t forget what you’re seeing. This is a real tiger… eyes, ears, claws and TEETH! Roar!


One day when I have oodles of money and time, I will start a “Spay Thailand” initiative. We saw HUNDREDS of wild cats and dogs on our trip, and most of them were very friendly but obviously in need of health care, nourishment, etc. This little beauty was very curious about us at a temple. We bought a pouch of Whiskas cat food and fed a bunch of the stray cats – causing this well-fed dog to sneak up, scare away the cats, and eat the rest. Then, he tipped over a container of milk someone had bought for the cats and ate that, too. See below – Brat. (Notice the cigarette butts? While Thailand is a beautiful country, the litter is horrendous. I regularly saw people just throw their cigarette butts and food wrappers onto the streets.)


Fish feet

Recognize the Running Jewess? One of the things I had to do in Thailand was the “fish spa”. Tiny fish named “garra fish” eat the dead skin off of your feet. It’s not an unpleasant sensation, but I definitely had the heebejeebes at first. My feet were super soft, though! Matt described it as “Wearing fish boots”.


This centipede was nearly the creepiest thing we saw in Thailand, even creepier than the small black snake we saw as we hiked through the jungle. (The snake was kinda cute – it zigzagged in a spiral pattern!) Look at this nasty milipede! Yuck!


Not all insects are gross, see?! This beauty was captured at the Chiang Mai Orchid Farm.


Monkeys are vicious beasts! Stay away! (Right?)

Monkeybeach Nobody paid attention to that sign, as you can see. These little guys were not at all afraid of people, and would often tug on your shirt or purse to see if you’d hook it up with a snack. I fed a monkey at a temple and he was … odd. He gripped my arm with his little hand and gave me this sad look like “You haz more food?”. I did not.


Before we rode elephants, we rode oxen! I felt bad for these guys because they were constantly dripping snot and boogers, and their yoke did not look comfortable. Made for a cool photo, though. We bought them some sugar cane half way through as a sweet treat.


Even though my elephant riding experience was ruined, I love these photos. When else will you get to ride a giant elephant? We had ethical concerns about riding an elephant because of the damage to the elephant’s health and the stress it places on their back, but we ended up doing it anyways. Not the most shining example of humanity, but it was an amazing experience.


Going in the water was actually mildly terrifying. Elephants are tall, water is cold, and that rickety wooden basket isn’t too sturdy.




Have you ever seen an elephant paint? They get some guidance from their mahout, but they can paint flowers, christmas trees, elephants and other things.

beeeAnd last but not least, a Thai bee on a lotus flower, because y’all know I love bees! That’s it for now – next week I’ll show some of my favorite places, like the hot springs and Tiger Temple. What an amazing trip! I hope you’re having a great day, but for now, what’s next on your travel list? For me, it’s Africa!

***PS – Thank you to everyone who entered the Chike Giveaway! Our winner is Denise S. If you didn’t win, have no fear! In the next month we’re giving away a Kalorie Box, a week of Diet to Go meals, AND a Thailand Souvenier gift pack from yours truly!

Jungle Trekking and Conquering my First New Year’s Resolution

Matt and I celebrated New Year’s Eve on a small, tropical island in Southern Thailand called Koh Phi Phi Don. This island is most famously known for being where Leo DeCaprio shot the film “The Beach”. The resort we stayed at was quaintly rustic with no hot water and no electricity from 6 am – 6 pm. No screens on the windows, either, which mean lots of tropical critters coming in to say hello. (My favorite was a giant monitor lizard who lived under our bungalow. I named him Pete.)

Our New Year’s Eve started off with a huge Thai buffet and Thai dancers. As we stuffed our face with yummy things like No Name Chicken and curried spring rolls, the dancers gyrated against the sinking pink and orange sunset.

As the hours ticked by, we met two sweet gals from Los Angeles, Veronica and Stephanie. We also were joined by two french friends we had met earlier on the day. We all counted down to midnight and then danced in the waves as fireworks sparkled around us. It was magical and easily the best New Year’s Eve I had ever had! We made it till 1 AM and then Matt and I meandered back to our little hut to snooze and pack for tomorrow’s next location.

Did I mention one of my biggest new year’s resolutions, beyond the big fat obvious one, is to exercise more? Well…whoever controls the plot in my life definitely found a creative way to give me a nice strong start on that resolution.

Picture 5The island we were on is so remote that long tail boats pick you up for a 45 minute ride across the water to the pier. When you get off the boat, you have to walk through the surf to get on shore. We had booked a private boat with Veronica and Stephanie from the night before, because our last boat ride was scarily crammed with people in a very choppy surf and we wanted a more relaxing ride. When it came time for our boat, the owner told us the weather had changed and we could no longer take a boat off the island. The waves were too high and it would be unsafe. We would have to walk through the jungle instead.

I heard a big sigh in my head, because I had also woken up that morning with a raging head cold. But there was no other way- the four of us, dressed for reclining on the beach (swimsuits, sarongs and flip flops) would be hiking the “easy 30 minute” trail to get us to our pier as our suitcases had already left in an earlier morning’s boat. Thankfully, Matt had an extra pair of running shoes that I changed into – one of the few times in my life I was thankful for my gargantuan size 11 feet.

Still in relatively good spirits.

Still in relatively good spirits.

We started up the first path which was straight up a jungle mountainside, and I thought to myself, “You have no choice about this. If you want to leave this island, you need to do this. Oh and btw? If you get hurt, you’re SOL because there’s no medical assistance on the island. Have fun!” Somehow knowing all this propelled me to just charge ahead, and by the time we’d hiked 45 minutes, I was feeling very proud of how well I’d been doing. I was soaked with sweat and out of breath, but despite the physical discomfort, the views were amazing and my endorphins had kicked in, probably at the thought of doing something totally dangerous in a foreign country.

Then, stuff started to go down hill. Several different paths converged and the signs were misleading. We started up one path, only to get eaten alive by mosquitoes, and we cringed as we slapped them off of our legs and their blood smeared on our skin. I definitely regretted not getting malaria tablets at that moment- because if I get malaria next week, I won’t be shocked at all.

Picture 8

Clearest sign in the world, right?

We went back down the path, realizing it wasn’t leading us to the ocean. After a few more missteps, up and down various muddy paths, we finally made it to the gorgeous view point- which we thought signified the end of our trek. Here I am looking relieved, as after two hours of hot, sweaty, itchy hiking, I was jazzed up to be done.

Picture 9

Feeling victorious at the top of the Tonsai Viewpoint. Little did I know was was on the other side…

How do you like that bird? Yes, it's true, even sweet lil old me *snort* has a sassy side.

How do you like that bird? Yes, it’s true, even sweet lil old me *snort* has a sassy side.

And then we saw the stairs. Thousands of stairs, very steep, leading straight down into the city. It was at this point that I started to feel stabby. My cold meds had worn off, and each step I took caused a surge of snot to bubble up in my head. The stairs were in direct 90 degree sun, with 88% humidity. They kept going and going and going and going….and just as I though I might faint on the last set, the stairs stopped, and we wandered through the bowels of tonsai pier, past the shops selling tiny wooden elephants and cheap sarongs, past the fruit vendors with pink juicy watermelon and pineapple shaped like stars. All I wanted to do was sit down and die, but we had to keep walking- quickly. We had ten minutes to make our ferry.

We finally got on the ferry, where we discovered there was no air conditioning. So for the next two hours we sat on sticky vinyl seats, showering in our own sweat, trying to wipe the dirt and mosquito bug pieces off of our legs. It was all very adventurous, as you can see. So clearly – on New Year’s Day, I gave my resolution one hell of a start- with a 3 hour up hill jungle hike, complete with killer stairs. I rock, and now all of my future work outs should be a little less tortuous- because I’ll have the right clothes, the right shoes, air conditioning, and a lack of blood-sucking creatures clinging to my legs.

Did you have any fun new year’s adventures??

Random Thursday Thoughts

Hi guys! Um – Tomorrow I’m going to THAILAND! I am so excited it’s not even funny. The past week has been a flurry of packing, cleaning, getting travel shots and little errands here and there. It will be so nice to just relax for two weeks with no thoughts of thesis or work or chores or any of that! That said, I have a line up of amazing guest bloggers for you guys, so please be sure to come back and keep reading the Double Chin Diary while I’m gone. Show them some comment love! I’ll also check in once or twice with some pictures!

So, after a 1 pound gain, my total for the goal of Thailand Twenty is that I lost a total of 10.6 pounds! I’m disappointed it’s not twenty, but realistically, 10 pounds is great! 10 pounds is a lot! I’m not going to “give up” on my trip, but ease up a little bit on what I’m eating – because everybody deserves a vacation. Plus, Matt and I have a lot of activity planned – like hiking ancient temples in Chiang Mai, snorkelling in the crystal waters of Krabi and strolling through the streets of Bangkok. I’ll actually probably be a lot more active on this trip than I am during my usual 8-5.

Here’s a couple random thoughts I had this week:

photo 2[1]I struggled this week with Holiday eating. When I saw this giant ice cream cone, I had to take a picture because I feel like this week I’ve been a bottomless pit. I saw this and the first thing I thought was “YES. ROCKY ROAD.” I used to be obsessed with icecream, but now I’ll buy a tub and it sits in our freezer for weeks until it’s so freezerburned I have to throw it out. But my sugar cravings this week were through the roof – probably from doing low-carb for a few weeks.


Rocking a doggy dalmation print.

Rocking a doggy dalmation print.

I feel like despite my struggles with my weight, I’ve gotten more bold about clothing choices thanks to people like The Curvy Fashionista. Remember a couple months ago I blogged about how I’d love to own this dalmation sweater? Well, I was at Old Navy with pal Sally and I thought, why the heck not?! Here I am rockin’ it, and feeling good. It’s funny that I felt “wild” in something as simple as a dalmation print sweater, but I felt confident in it and was proud I took a step out of my fashion comfort zone.A couple of years ago I would have never worn skinny jeans, calf boots OR a dalmation print sweater. So yes, woohoo for fashion risks!


Balance Ball Chair!

Balance Ball Chair!

Santa came early this year because of our trip, and look what Santa (Matt) brought me! Since I work from home I can be a little more unique with my workspace, and I was dying to try one of these balance balls. I feel like I have a weak core, and I know this chair will help make me strong like a tree trunk. Plus, who doesn’t want their very own bouncy ball?! When I get back I’ll give a full report on how my new bubble-butt chair is treating me.


Showing off my chike and purple manicure!

Showing off my chike and purple manicure!

And lastly… when I get back, I have a great giveaway coming up from Chike! I recently tried Chike’s chocolate meal replacement shake, and dang, this stuff was good. You know how most powdered drinks have that chalky kind of grainy thing going on? Not this one. I mixed it with some cold milk and it was almost like drinking a milk shake. Works for me! So stay tuned and at the new year we’ll have a great giveaway package from them!

Well guys – I’m out! Thanks so much for reading! It means a lot to me and April to know that we’re not alone on our journey and that you’re out there cheering us on. I hope you have an amazing holiday season!




Thailand 20 Tuesday: Week 1 Results

Hello friends! Today marks the first week complete of my Thailand 20 Tuesday and I am happy to report I am starting the week right on track with a loss of two pounds!

McCormick Fiesta Citrus Salt Free Seasoning on Cucumbers

This week I made lots of changes that helped me be successful – like eating tons of veggies! For lunch one day, I paired my turkey sandwich with some fiesta style cucumber slices – just cucumbers, lime juice and McCormick Citrus Fiesta seasoning I got from FitBloggin’. Yum.

Then for dinner, I bulked up my meals again with yummy things like roasted peppers and brussels sprouts with a spritz of Balsamic vinegar. Of course, I tracked everything on MyFitnessPal, too.

Brussels sprouts on the stalk! Just mist with EVOO and balsamic vinegarette and roast at 400!

I also stayed true to my word of entering “beast mode” and exercising as much as I possibly could! Not only did I hit the gym, but I did things around the house like washing the cars, weeding and doing laundry.

Sweaty and pink from a great cardio workout!

A couple other small things I did: I started a new vitamin regimen (more on that later), I drank tons of water and tea and tried to cut out my beloved diet coke (Sad.), and I was mindful of being hungry when I ate – not just bored or looking for a fix.

All in all I’m thrilled that week one was a great start – and now it’s time to keep it up for week two! Yay!