A relaxing weekend in SLO

Good morning, Chinners! I hope you had an awesome weekend. I sure did! This weekend, Matt and I drove up the coast of California about three hours to get to San Luis Obispo. We had been to San Luis Obispo once before for a weekend away, and had an amazing time. Since then we kept saying we needed to go back, but hadn’t made any commitments. I surprised Matt with a quick one-night get away to our favorite tacky hotel, the Madonna Inn. The Madonna Inn was created by a construction foreman, Alex Madonna, who got sick of having to stay in lackluster hotels off the side of the highway when he traveled. He began to build his own hotel to make up for it – putting imagination and quirky, whimsical touches into each room. Last night, we stayed in the Currier and Ives room, named after the first people who made famous art and photographs into low-cost prints for the mass public.  Here are some photos of our room! Note the details, like the elaborate gold printed wallpaper or the angel light fixtures. The toilet seat was even heated! Now THAT is classy!

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After we checked in, we relaxed by the pool for a bit, soaking up sunshine. Then we headed to Trader Joes to fill up our cooler with snacks for the drive in movie! The Sunset Drive in Theater is a cheap $7 for two movies, and you listen to the movie on your radio, no clunky metal speakers required. I splurged and had a delicious peach Lambic to drink and some movie popcorn. We also had bread with salami, olive tapenade and cheese. I really didn’t overdo it, but apparently, eating squeaky clean for two weeks and then having a little night of indulgence can rip apart one’s stomach. I learned that the hard way this morning, but I had a grand old time in the process…

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I couldn’t resist taking this shot of the vintage coke cup, but it’s a little lost on me since I’m no longer drinking soda. I had my lambic and water and that’s it… but I was just fine! The two movies playing were After Earth and the Fast and the Furious 6. I made it through After Earth with only minimal disruptions (aka me blurting out “That doesn’t make sense! This is stupid!”), but within the first ten minutes of Fast and Furious, I had flipped to my side with my car pillow and started snoozing. Matt made it through both movies and then we were back to our hotel for a night of slumber.

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We woke up this morning and had a yummy breakfast at the Copper Cafe, where I ordered a veggie omelette with egg beaters and fruit on the side. I also drank looooots of water to make up for my little boozy indiscretion the night before. The Madonna Inn is known for their famous pink cakes with white chocolate ribbons on top, called the Barbie Cake. See ‘em? Looks sooo pretty. Then, we were headed down the coast to get back to home.

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It was an awesome, low-key weekend, and it was nice to get away from the ever-growing pile of laundry and stack of invoices I need to send out on my desk. I’m a big fan of quick little getaways – it’s great to refresh the mind and body with a change of scenery. What’s the last little road trip you’ve done? Do you like one-night get aways or would you rather save up for one longer vacation? In our case, it’s more budget friendly and we don’t need to take time off work, so little weekend trips are great for us. I hope you have an amazing day today!

 

Starting Over: A Clean Slate

Today, I struggled with a feeling that often surfaces — I saw a friend who’s lost an amazing amount of weight, and I instantly thought, “Why haven’t I done that?” I’m THRILLED for my friend, but it reminded me once again that I absolutely cannot compare myself to other people – as everybody is walking a completely different path in completely different shoes. However, recognizing other people’s success is always a good reminder of, “How I can try harder?” Here are the things I need to do to try harder: be kinder to myself, stop beating myself up in my head about my weight, drink more water, stop avoiding the scale, and curb the overeating.

With that, I’ve made a decision to start over. Here’s what I’m going to do: I’m restarting My Fitness Pal, at my current weight. I’ve been yo-yoing the past couple months, and who knows what from – muscle building, eating junk food, water retention, hormones, stress…. who knows! I’d been avoiding updating the weigh-in graph on the app, and for what? Because the number would bother me? Who cares – life goes on. I will start over. I’m starting fresh, with a clean slate, and it doesn’t matter how much weight I lost six months ago, or what weight I’m at today – what counts is that as of today, a new page has been turned. I need to track EVERYTHING on MyFitnessPal. Your support has been huge – I totally love seeing all of you stopping by the blog, writing comments to me, “liking” my updates. It really means a lot, and helps motivate me to keep trying. It’s also been awesome having April join in on the blog, because it reminds me that I’m never, ever alone, and someone with the very same blood and DNA as me shares the exact same struggles!

In addition, I’m going to start adding weekly weigh-ins again. We all know the scale and I have a mostly hateful relationship. However, I recognize that I need it to keep me in check. My first weigh in update will be posted on Friday, and I’m going to try reaaaaally hard to keep it up, because I need some more transparency about that number. I can’t disregard the amazing progress I’ve made so far, in particular, I’m thrilled at my transformation from out-of-shape to somewhat-fit. I look forward to getting stronger, better and faster, and am loving the new support system I have with my workout buddies Susannah, Merrie and Sally.

When you’re trying to change bad habits, do you ever find yourself just wanting to start over? It doesn’t need to be cold turkey, but it needs to be a marked point for me, where I say, “Ok, I’m starting over. I’m going to forget the past and just live in the present and focus on making a better future.”

Now – help me with my first starting over challenge. Next Thursday, I’m going to Mexico for a five day vacation. How do I log my food when I won’t have internet access? Should I go old-school and use a pen and paper, or try and trust myself without logging? Should I enjoy my vacay and eat what I want, but in moderation?

Random Monday Ramblings and Alyssa’s Crispy Critter Poll

Greetings, friends! How are you today? My weekend was busy, nice, relaxing and fun all at the same time. Matt’s parents just came back from a month-long cruise to Polynesia (I KNOW! Color me jealous) and this weekend they came to our place fresh off their cruise ship. We got to see pictures of Tahiti and had a yummy lunch and dinner trading vacation stories. It got me even more excited for my upcoming trek to Thailand! Woot woot! I don’t have a “topic” for tonight’s post, so here’s a bunch of randomness:

Same jacket, one month!

1) I did an excellent job with cardio this week, clocking in four hour-long cardio sessions. This is the good stuff, because I’ve felt relaxed, calm and healthy all week. I guess exercise does give ya that feel-good feelin’, huh? Another thing I noticed is that even though the scale might be slow to show it, I feel like my hips are starting to poke out more – always a sure sign I’m toning and losing weight (the fat melts, the curves appear!)

If I fits, I sits.

2) I love working from home. Since this is the month of gratitude, I’ll say I love having a job that allows me to work from home and have office-mates like this fur-ball, who has decided an overflowing letter tray is a great place to nap.

California Chicken Salad

3) Look at this gorgeous salad. This is from the California Chicken Cafe and can easily be two meals. A scoop of feta cheese, half an avocado and boneless skinless chicken breast chunks let me get my omegas, proteins and healthy fats in. And it’s so tasty! I get it with the fat-free Italian dressing for extra calorie-cutting. Deeeelicccious!

4) I am starting to plan out our itinerary of things to do in Thailand. One of these things, I have decided, will be eating a bug. Which bug I should eat? I will film this for your viewing pleasure. Consider it my Christmas gift to you – a disgusting video from your favorite blogger. I have no idea why I feel like I HAVE to eat a bug, but for some reason I feel like it’s part of an exotic Asian adventure. Choose which bug you’d like to see me choke down!

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Talk to you tomorrow!

Introducing… Thailand 20 Tuesday

Hello dear readers! Yesterday, as I flitted to and fro doing things here and there I realized – I’m going to Thailand in 10 weeks!!! WOW.
My second thought was, “Holy shit! I need to lose weight!”.
So – time to kick it up a notch. It’s time to go into BEAST MODE. This is a fairly aggressive goal for my sluggish, slow metabolising body… but I’m shooting for 20 pounds by December 21st. That gives me 10 weeks, and if I can sustain a big but still healthy loss of 2 pounds per week, I can reach 20 pounds. I’m going to…

1) Exercise 5 days out of 7.
2) Drink at least five 8 OZ Glasses of water per day.
3) Cut out all sugar and junk.
4) Focus on whole grains, lean proteins, and yummy veggies.
5) Take care of myself.

So – every Tuesday, I’m reporting back to you all with my progress. Help keep me accountable. It’s time for Thailand 20 Tuesday. Because when I ride an elephant, I don’t want the elephant to think “There’s an elephant riding me.”

Don’t mind the horrible photoshop work. The art genes went to my brother, not me. And yes, that is me in a bathing suit. Shock! Horror! Bravery!

Lake Tahoe Chillin’

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This weekend, Matt and I drove North to celebrate…my new job! I’ve accepted a great senior level social media role at a really visionary and innovative medical healthcare company. I’m so excited for the way my career path is shaping out- I absolutely love social media, writing and blogging, and it’s a huge thrill for me to able to do it full-time and get paid for it! While I’m sad to leave my buddies behind at MGA, it’s time for me to spread my wings and learn more about how social media can work for any type of company – and this one in particular that’s been saving lives for over 50 years…including my great grandfather’s. More on that later- I’m so excited!
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We met my mom, dad, brother and his sweet girlfriend Allison in South Lake Tahoe for a fun weekend of beach-going, hanging out and laughter. The first night in town we saw the super raunchy but hilarious Ted, and I even managed to say no to popcorn.

The next day we woke up, got some sandwiches and searched for a free beach in Lake Tahoe. Let me tell you- Lake Tahoe was where it’s at this weekend, because we tried three beaches before we were able to find a parking spot. We ended up at the gorgeous King’s Beach, where Matt and I braved the chilly water to wade in the waves.

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We played some slots, and at one point I was up $20, which of course I lost…but that’s how it works!

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After our beach going, Matt and I visited the Bridge Tender restaurant, a childhood favorite of his. I ordered an avocado burger and peeled off the bun and cheese, he got amazing chicken tenders. I indulged in waffle fries, but we saved some to feed the wild trout at the near by “Fanny Bridge”.

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Then we visited the gorgeous Emerald Bay at dusk, where the sun was just starting to sink behind the mountains. This weekend was a perfect little getaway from our beloved but busy city of angels- there’s nothing like towering trees and majestic mountains to make you reflect on what life is all about. I indulged in some junky food, but I did it in moderation and am ready to start the week fresh with lots of veggies and lean proteins.

Have you ever been to Lake Tahoe? What’s the last little getaway you went on?

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Big Bear Getaway, Part 1

Hanna Flat, Fawnskin & Big Bear Lake

This weekend, my grad school friends Julie, Emily, Virginia and I packed up the truck and headed southeast to Big Bear Lake. Big Bear is an awesome little alpine escape that’s a quick 2 hour drive from Los Angeles, yet feels like it’s a world away. We stayed at the charming Hanna Flat campground and had an amazing time listening to the howling wolves and staring up at the towering redwoods touching the star-studded sky.

Julie and Alyssa tackle the tent

After a two hour drive and a lunch of greek yogurt and funyuns (hey – the gas stati0n had nothing else and we tried four different exits to find food!), we arrived at our campsite and tackled challenge #1: the tent. I don’t know if there’s some of man code in my family that makes them believe that women can’t assemble tents, but both my husband and father chuckled when we described how we’d be staying in Emily’s suave six person tent. “Oh,” they said. “Have you ever assembled a tent?”. Well, no, I hadn’t, but I can make a fierce grilled cheese… so I’m pretty sure i can do anything. (Confidence. I has it.) Here’s photographic proof that I helped assemble the tent – and no tents, tools or woodland creatures were harmed in the process. And yes, it was a pain to assemble but – totally bearable. Kind of like getting a tattoo. Annoyance < Awesomeness.

Boulder Bay, Big Bear Lake

Once the tent was properly set up, we donned our bathing suits and headed over to the gorgeous Boulder Bay. Boulder bay is surrounded by multi-million dollar cabins with huge bay windows overlooking the mountains and lake. It’s pretty much paradise. Emily and Virginia bravely swam in the cold water while Julie and I skipped rocks, chatted and soaked up the sun.

 

Log Cabin Restaurant has so many good eats!

After a couple hours swimming, we headed to my favorite Big Bear establishment, the Log Cabin restaurant. After sharing our ghost photo from last time with the management (much to their delight) we ordered a delicious dinner and headed back to our campsite. Stay tuned for the next post to read about my big bear tummy, and why I didn’t get this blog posted today. (Let’s just say that after the 10,786th time this has happened, I might finally be realizing that eating clean for a long time and then eating junk is a recipe for disaster.) Did you have a good weekend too? What’d ya do?