31 December 2011

End of 2011

I'm not entirely certain that have the time or the energy to appropriately recap the entire year in the detail that it truly deserves, but I felt that I needed to give it due, at least in a small way. 1) I started out the year wearing a size 20 pant. I am ending it in a 6. Yoga, tennis, cardio...I'm still working towards toning some things, but I've lost nearly 100 pounds this year and have literally never felt healthier. 2) the workout buddy I mentioned in a previous post has become lots more than a workout buddy and is the very best partner I ever could have asked for. We spent our first holidays together this winter and I'm excited to spend many, many more with him. 3) I still need a new job but at least I love my resume and am actively searching. 2012 is going to be really interesting I think....

14 March 2011


Today I did something amazing.

5 miles on the elliptical. 60 minutes total. Nearly 600 calories burned.


/booty dance

Amazing-er? I think I'm going to head back over there in order to do a yoga class later and then sit in the sauna.

And let me say this- I've been doing the sauna at least 3-4 days a week and my skin has NEVER looked better. I slather tons of awesome moisturizer (a facial massage bar from Lush that I love: basically an oil bar for your face) and then sit in there and meditate. My nasal passages get all cleared, I get a good sweat on and then I take a rough gym towel and scrub my body down as I sit there. Exfoliating and relaxing...not bad at all.

Also, as a fair warning, I am seriously thinking about doing a mini-triathalon in the fall, maybe spring 2012. We will see...

07 March 2011


So, I realize that I'm the kind of person who's fairly all-or-nothing, which sometimes works in my favor, but usually leaves me a little cold. Like the blogging, I've started countless projects where I go whole hog and then miss one session, one goal, etc and stop doing it because I feel I've failed. How limiting.

So, due to a lot of random health issues in the past year or so, I've decided that getting healthy is my #1 priority. The biggest kick in the seat is the small matter of a bulging disk in my back. The doctors basically said that pain management is out of the question (50+ years of it might not be a good thing!), the surgery is not 100%, has a long recovery time and pretty much means a life of less flexibility and screws in my back. Oh HELLLLLL no. So my new exercise plan- do it everyday- isn't really something I can slack on. It's something that will keep me from painful physical and financial repercussions. And so....


I have never felt quite so energized and I have to say that marking a month of not smoking today doesn't hurt. I've lost a great deal of weight in the past six months without much effort and actually adding cardio and strength training will help keep things melting off as well. Plus, getting a strong core is imperative for me to live with a bad back. So far, it's been 4 days in a row which isn't terribly amazing until I think about this:

1) On Friday, I conquered my social fears about taking a workout class at my gym. Not only did I speak to the instructor before to let her know that I had an injury but she was really great about calling out amendments for me (and others with back issues). I ended up taking both of her classes back to back and while I felt sore the next day, it was a good sore and not debilitating as I'd feared. I also did 40mins of cardio (20 pre, 20 post) wihout feeling like I might die

2) On Saturday, a friend of mine had his annual pub crawl. Because of a late night on Friday, I got a late start on the day and hadn't gone to the gym yet by the time I had to go to the crawl. I knew I had late plans that night so figured if I made an appearance at the crawl, I'd have time to hit the gym. Pie in the sky idea? Nope. Didn't have a drop to drink (except three glasses of water which was perfect because I'm so poorly hydrated most of the time and adding lemon is also good for weight loss), stayed for about 45 minutes and then headed home so I could hit the gym. Ended up having kind of a lazy workout (30 mins of cardio), but the fact that I made a point to move my day around to accommodate it at all is mind-blowing coming from me. I'm a lazy girl who, generally, loves making "Tomorrow Sarah" do stuff.

3) Sunday I actually went to the gym with a friend and allowed him to set the tone. There was bitching and moaning about being on the elliptical for nearly an hour, but having someone next to me meant a) talking the entire time (good for passing the time AND making sure you're keeping a steady heart rate) and b) amping up my competitive nature. I don't like being the one lagging behind. The partnership should turn out great considering he and I have very similar fitness goals...and have similar pitfalls (rich food, bourbon, laziness).

4) I went to the gym at 630a with my buddy and did a bunch of cardio and am most likely going to set up my Wii Fit at the house so I can do some yoga later...we will see.

So I'm trying to couch this in a bit of skepticism, but I think that because I've been told that it's either shape up or ship out (to the surgeon in 5 years), it's going to stick. ;) Plus, I'm actually really enjoying my body for the first time in ages. I feel more flexible, I'm breathing easier, I wore leggings to the gym unapologetically...it's a good place to be a week into my 30s.

24 February 2011



So my last post was in JUNE of LAST YEAR. Sheesh. I'm not going to apologize- life is what happens while you're making other plans- but for my next trick, I'm going to try to be better about updating and writing and reading and being an adult and being a better friend and listener and lover and...

Amended: I'm going to try to be a better blogger. BABY STEPS. Especially since I have the Oscars this weekend. Fashion blogging makes me happy.

Anyhow- I've got a big birthday coming up and a friend of mine reminded me of my birthday post from last year. Which I re-read. And made me cry. Because for all of the things that I said I wanted some progress on, I've only gotten to a few. But a few is better than none, right? Let's recap:

1) I'm single.
2) I'm a non-smoking superstar (2+ weeks but I feel like this one's going to take- I've had few cravings, haven't fallen off the wagon at all, and generally have a distaste for smoking ever again. Come find me in a year)
3) I'm 45 pounds lighter, primarily due to not taking care of oneself, burning the candle at both ends and see #1.

However, the job thing still looms...grrr. And I'm still not entirely certain about the long term stuff- kids, family, etc. BABY STEPS. I will say that since October, this is the most forward progress I've had in a long time. Part of that is going through a breakup and its way of changing the focus just enough to see other things fall away or some come into sharper relief. Part of it is just realizing that small changes are just as important as the big ones and a collection of small changes can LOOK like big change, making you more fearless for the next steps. It is equal parts mindfuck and brainwashing I think. It's very The Little Engine That Could over in this piece.

With the weight loss piece, now I have to say that it's becoming a bit of an obsession, if only because for the first time in nearly 10 years, I'm consistently wearing misses' pants and am not sized out of most traditional stores. I spent time yesterday trying so many things on and while I didn't love the way everything looked, everything I tried on FIT. And in some cases, I had to go down a size to get a better fit. Be still my heart. I need to start doing a lot more strength training for a number of reasons, but I must say that it's been a pleasure to see people I haven't seen in a long time and have them express shock over my current appearance. Not bad at all.

Anyhow 30. Yep. A new way to feel old and unaccomplished. Or, as I see it, a big fat cosmic dare. We'll have to see how this pans out...

09 June 2010

So here we are...

Life is what happens while you're making other plans- John Lennon
So I realize it's been a damn long while and I'm not going to apologize for that. I'd rather deal in quality rather than quality. What I will say is that I'm in a much better place right now, one that's a lot more creative, a lot more introspective, and a lot more driven to try to make myself happy. That said, I've got a lot to say in this post and I think I need to get a move on.

So what I've been doing for the last 10 weeks? Not a hell of a lot, save for a little staycation where I re-decorated the guest room. My lovely boy has lived in our apartment for 10+ years and this was always the place where people crashed when they were too drunk to make it home. I wish I'd taken "before" pictures because honestly, the room looked like an asylum-- stark white walls and a cornucopia of random bedding. When I finally got my entire bedding suite out of storage in March, I wanted to redecorate that room so it actually felt like it belonged to the rest of the place which is pretty modern and cool as well as put my cute linens to use! I've always wanted to try striping a room, but most of the time, it just looked too difficult. This room was the perfect venue for it: small enough that it made it easy to do by myself and it makes the room look so much larger than it is! It's hard to get a full picture of this room because 6' x 8'. At least now it's cleaned out and looks like a proper guest room, stocked with all the little things you might want or need while you stay with us. I know it sounds silly, but I'm a big decor geek when all is said and done, and it makes me feel really good to know that if our parents come to stay with us, we're not shutting them away in a sad little room. Plus, the soft yellowy-green tone really made the room seem brighter and cozier and the accent colors on the wall- a deep grey, a midtone gold, and a pale cement color- really class up the joint. Woot! The best part is that with all supplies and materials, it cost me less than $50 and only about 8 hours. They sell 8 ounce containers of sample paint now and they're $3 a pop! Perfect for this job! For my next project, I want to redo the study, aka Red Room as it has garnet carpeting and sad, dirty walls. It's a pass-through room in our place so the walls get knocked into a lot; it just needs some new paint and some TLC.

I've also been trying to make sure I cook more often, but sometimes it's really hard because the things I like to cook end up being way too much for just my man and me. I heartily recommend this cookbook for any couples stuck in a dinner rut. One of my favorite things about it is that when they require an ingredient that you're not going to use up in one recipe, they always include another recipe to show you how to finish it off before it goes bad- a HUGE deal in my house. I cannot say how many half-eaten veggies have lingered in my fridge unused-- or just how many Tupperware containers sat for a week as I'm not a huge fan of leftovers. It even includes a shopping guide so you can make the most of the recipes. Not only are the recipes convenient, but most of them are simple enough that you can toss them together in 30+ minutes- another huge selling point. The Cooks' Illustrated people always make good cookbooks, but this is the one that has gotten the most use in my cooking library.

This is a total godsend for me! I bought it last Friday and have literally used it every day for at least 30 minutes, but most of my sessions have gone into the 1 hour mark. It's intuitive and easy to figure out. I'm not a huge fan of some of the activities- the Tricep Extension activity in particular is worthless and I tend to just use my free weights when that one comes up- but overall, it seriously kicks your ass without you realizing it! I've vowed to use it every day and so far, so good. I especially like that you can do a lot of body measurement- weight, waistline, steps taken, activity log- without necessarily doing the actual exercises. That means I can just as easily track myself when I'm away from home as I do when I'm home. I'll probably do a fitness post weekly, mainly to keep myself on track. I don't want to get into specifics per se (no-one but me and my Mii need to know my BMI), but in the last 5 days, I've lost 7 pounds, an inch in my waist, and 1.5 points off my BMI. VERY exciting news indeed.

Alright, I'm wrapping up, but I'm going to try to keep up with my blog as well as my life....we will see... :)

14 March 2010

Absolutely, positively late Friday Favorites!

It's a short one, partly because it's late and I need to toss something up and partly because honestly, I wasn't terribly inspired by anything this week. It was a stressful week and I honestly just let it pass me by without much regard.

  • "Parenthood" on NBC. If you haven't taken the time to DVR this already, do it now. So far this has one of my favorite ensemble casts I've watched this season- only behind Modern Family and Parks and Recreation really. In the pilot they have to introduce a very large family and they did it with economy, saying a great deal about the inter-family dynamic and each character acting in it without making it feel like a laundry list about each person. Introducing 15 main characters in one hour has never felt so fresh. And the second episode is equally good. I laughed hard and cried hard during both episodes.
  • Rupaul's Drag Race on LOGO. This show is super-delightful. Catty and campy are a good mix. Plus, Rupaul's "host persona" is super likable while also totally skewering shows like America's Next Top Model and any other elimination-style reality show. Plus, those queens do some good face. We can all learn something from a drag queen.
  • The fact that by mid-week, I will be living in a 2-television household.
  • Cooking for Two: 2009. I cannot wait to start cooking from this and I will share all of my experiences here for others to enjoy.
  • Spring in Chicago. Everyone just gets a little silly from being cooped up for so long. Our first 50+ degree day, I saw no less than 10 people out in tanks and shorts. It was NOT that warm, but it had a sense of jubilation that I appreciated. People are generally looking less pasty. And last night, we sprung forward. It's a whole new ballgame!
Alright, promise that I'll get a better (and more timely) Friday Favorites up this coming Friday. It'll be mega-sized if all goes well.


"If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story."
-Orson Welles

So I've been thinking a lot lately about my life. I recently turned 29 (!!!) and when I think about where I really thought I'd be at this time in my life, never did I think I'd be doing the same thing I was doing at 25. I've had some amazing opportunities in the last 5 years, some character-building, some mildly destructive, but still nonetheless shaping my life as it stands today. But I realize that I'm not exactly a fan of the shape.

I'm blessed, this I (generally) know. I've got my health (with the help of a good neurologist), my family and friends who love me, a decent job that pays me well, and a lovely little kitten who is generally quite happy to have me around. I've loved and lost, which is truly better than never having loved at all. I'm mostly happy with myself. Until I dig a little deeper.

I think most people rounding 30 start to evaluate things a little more closely, wanting to make sure that they fix all the things that didn't work in their 20s, wanting to start anew in a new decade. I look around at all of my friends who are single and I'm glad that I don't have to deal with that anymore. I look around at my friends who are married and wonder if I have what it takes to be successful in that heavy endeavor. I look around at my friends with children and worry that I won't enjoy it as they do, not sure that I'm really cut out to be a mentor for a child in the way that a child deserves. I look at my friends who have truly found their calling in their profession and envy their blessings. I look at friends buying their first home and wish that I'd planned better in my youth to be at that point. Basically, I'm looking around and wondering, 'is this all there is?' and knowing full well that it is, unless I make significant changes in my life.

The impetus for this post wasn't to be down on myself for what I lack, but rather where I can improve. I want to be healthy. Those who know me know that I'm a glutton, in most senses of the word. If I like something, I want all of it, right now. That's a great thing at times- I immerse myself in things that I love, be they my partner or finding something new that I love. However, in certain aspects, it's not the best plan. In the next few weeks, I'll be starting a diet and exercise regimen. It won't be easy, but I'm sick of huffing and puffing my way through the city. Which leads to the smoking cessation that I've talked about forever, have attempted several times, and have never quite quit. I've smoked every day since I was 18. It's a crutch, a social lubricant, a stress reliever, and a true addiction. I've tried patches (which fall off my skin and give me rashes), nicotine gum (I hate chewing gum in general and this stuff is the devil), Chantix (which makes me absolutely nauseated) and sheer willpower (not the best plan for me). I'll get back on the Chantix soon and figure out strategies to curb the nausea, figure out ways to not want to punch babies and kick puppies when I'm beyond stressed at work. We will see how it goes. I don't like declaring that I'm quitting. It calls too much attention to it, making it impossible for me to conquer it. I'm the unfortunate sort who, when I slip, I give up. Quitting smoking and getting in shape will require a new construct for me and it's a matter of creating good habits.

As if that weren't enough, I know that I've done my time at my job and in order to have the happy ending, I need to extricate myself as soon as I find something else to do. It's daunting to be honest. I haven't had a job interview in 3 years. My job experience is fairly limited to merchandising and sales and I want to be in marketing/event planning. But yet, I know it's what I need to do. I love the people that I work with (generally), the job itself is almost rote knowledge at this point, and most days I feel good about what I do and the experiences I've had. But it's just not enough anymore to keep me sane. So I'll be starting to tighten my resume and search for something new. It's a scary thing- I've been in a little cocoon for 5+ years now and it's really unnerving to think that I'll be doing something new that will be a challenge. I always want to be challenged but it's so easy to coast. I'm sick of coasting.

This was a lot to write on this topic and, for better or worse, get used to reading some missives along these lines. I'm ready to make some changes in my life, ready to be scared for a bit, but I'm willing to do that if in the end I'm a happier person for it. I'm ready to be happy again.