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Friday, May 26, 2017

Man, It's May! Weight Loss Progress

So I've been mentioning in a few posts that I am following the Hungry Girl Program and have been pretty faithful since September of last year.  I am not out to break any speed weight loss records but instead am taking it slow and steady, that way I don't feel like I am depriving myself and I am making it a sustainable habit.  So far I've lost a little over 43 pounds and have not been at this weight since 2006.

Here is a comparison photo from August 2016 to February 2017 and then one from today.

In addition to following the plan, I've begun taking a walk around our neighborhood daily and doing some plank exercises at night before bed.  I am definitely not a fan of exercise and though I had a membership to Planet Fitness a few years ago, I think I only went 10 times in a year and a half.  I don't run.  I have never been a runner.  When I walk I listen to music and use the time to look at the world around me and do some thinking.  When I first started doing planks I could only hold it for 30 seconds.  Now I am up to at least 2 minutes or more.  It requires no special equipment. 

I've been keeping a food calendar/journal since I started and write down pretty much everything I eat during the day and note the exercise I do.  I've been wearing a basic pedometer and keep track of my step count.  Since I work from home doing transcription which keeps me at a desk most of the day, I was not getting too many steps in.  I find that if I can get at least 6000 steps a day, I notice weight changes.  Each time I hit a lower number on the scale I give myself a star.  This month I have 4 stars so far!  That may only mean a loss of 4 ounces, but it is motivating me when I see the stars to keep going.  I also took my measurements so when I hit a patch where I feel like nothing is happening on the scale I re-measure and the decreasing numbers help me see that something indeed is changing. 

I am taking medication for diabetes and my most recent numbers were so good that if they continue to fall I may be able to cut it down, if not completely eliminate it.  Since diabetes is in my family and I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant, I am not surprised I have it now, but keeping control of it is important.  

Preparing four meals at a time is helpful, especially on those really busy days.

Drinking these teas has been a staple.

This is one of the "snacks" you can have - strawberries stuffed with ricotta cheese and topped with chocolate chips.  I could have had 6 stuffed strawberries but 4 was enough.

Trying new things like powdered peanut butter and tofu noodles have been pleasant surprises.  They are not half bad. 

I am about halfway to where I'd like to be but as I said, I'm not out for speed, I'm out for sustainability.  I can definitely tell the weeks and months I concentrate harder than others but overall I'm pretty pleased.  Weight is definitely one of those subjects that is kind of hard to discuss and I'm not at the point where I am comfortable putting my exact weight out there, but seeing the difference in the mirror is pretty cool.   

How about you?  Have a weight challenge/success story?  Love to hear it if you'd like to share.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Man, It's May! 365 Picture Update

It's been a while since I shared the 365 pictures I've been taking.  Here are some of my favorites in no particular order:

#136 - We went to see the Giants play and in the concourse they have a case that shows the 3 World Series trophies.  I wanted a picture of them and my husband took this great shot.  It looks like I am standing in the middle of them but it is really my reflection in the glass!  Perfect illusion.  So good that another fan copied the idea!  You can see my husband's hand holding his phone up in the middle trophy.  Next time we go I'm going to have to check out the other side of this case because our friend told us that they have the rings on that side!
#143 - This is a mini-album/Father's Day card I made.  It is in the shape of a t-shirt and is sports related.  It is for sale on my Etsy shop and I am in the process of making another one that is tool related for the handyman.  I just got invited to participate in a Holiday Boutique in Redwood City in November.  The chairman of the event likes the things I have for sale in my shop and sent the invite.  I am honored!  

#193 - I've been taking a walk around the block almost every day and even though we have lived in this neighborhood for 20 years I am continually finding things I never noticed before.  This is in the sidewalk down the street from us.  It looks to me like a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. 

#137 - One of the things I've been making in my Hungry Girl meals is an egg mug breakfast muffin.  I cook Egg Beaters in the microwave and then put them in an English muffin with a slice of cheese and/or a turkey sausage patty.  The eggs look so cool when they are cooking in the microwave.  They really puff up and it almost looks like it is going to overflow but it never does. 

#140 - Our anniversary was on May 20th and we've been married for 33 years, together for 35.   Ours is a true romance story which I've talked about before.   It's still a good story and whenever I see a picture of a couple like this I think it is us.   This is by Mary Engelbreit from one of her desk calendars.  I can see us dancing along the shore in the sunset.

#142 - I went to the grocery store the other day and saw these gorgeous red, white and blue bouquets and my first thought was 4th of July, which is still a month and a half away!  I thought these flowers were never going to last that long.  When I posted that on Facebook, one of my friends reminded me of Memorial Day, which is this weekend.  That makes much more sense!

#141 - We went to a Stanford baseball game with our local Pony baseball team.  I had never been to the sunken field at Stanford and it was pretty cool.  It was a moving game on several levels.  The coach was retiring after 40 years coaching there and this was the last home game of the season so there were tons of tributes to him.  The game was a close one and Stanford eventually won in extra innings.  As we were leaving the game, I saw the tower on the Stanford campus.  Love this style.   

So there are a few of the more interesting pictures I've been taking this year.  I am up to date in my book and I think that's pretty good for 144 days!  This year I think I'm going to attempt a slide show when the year is over and I have the complete set of pictures.

How about you?  What have you been up to for the last 144 days?

Monday, May 22, 2017

Man, It's May! Father's Day T-Shirt Mini-Album

I've made several mini-albums for the moms out there but very few for dads so this year I decided to make one in the shape of a t-shirt.  It is made using chipboard so it is pretty sturdy.  I chose a cream colored background for this one but I could easily make it in any color.

Inside the first "page has a pocket with two cards in it.  There is room to write a message and/or put some pictures.  This one has a baseball theme.

The next page is similar but has a football theme.  Again there are spots for writing and/or pictures.   The TV has a few lines to write on too, to celebrate that arm chair quarterback :)

 Inside the back cover is an envelope so you can tuck in a gift card or tickets to the next game.

The back cover proclaims that this is for the World's Best Dad.

On the other side is a spot for pictures with a tie on the front, where you can write a note or talk about what makes dad one of a kind. 

There is a spot for some more memories.

Finally, one more spot for a picture and some notes on the chair.

It is held together with blue rings and some ribbons and stars for decoration.  Chalk is used to detail the edges.

Here are the inside pocket cards.  As you can see there is plenty of room to make this a really special gift for a great guy.

Definitely one of a kind and not your usual tie kind of gift!

So, what do you think?  I am kind of pleased with how it turned out.  It is for sale on my Etsy site and can be made as a special order if you wanted to choose different colors or have one made for a fisherman or golfer instead of baseball and football.  Next I'm thinking of one with a tool belt for the handyman!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

April 2017 - #Atozchallenge - Wow it's W

W is for The Who --

We got a chance to see them when they had a make up show in Oakland.  They had had to cancel an earlier show because Roger Daltrey got sick.  Being another one of those iconic groups, I felt it was important to see them before they stop touring.  We take BART over to Oakland and my husband was having such pain in his leg from a blocked artery that we had to stop every few steps to let him rest.

My daughter, Amanda, came over to visit and helped me decide on the background papers.  Then I added the "extras."

Even though this was just a couple of days before our anniversary, I forgot to take our usual concert picture so I used the owls to represent us.

My husband didn't think they really put their all into the show but I thought it was good. 

It was Peter Townshend's 71st birthday so it was a bit special.

Ringo Starr's son, Zak Starkey, is their drummer.  He did a great job.

They pretty much covered their hits and talked about the last 50 years.

There was a good write up in the paper the next day and I am happy when I can include that in my album.

So, better late than never I say.  I only have two more letters to cover and then I really will have completed the challenge.  I have ordered the pictures so it will be a bit, but I'm sure you don't mind waiting :)

The challenge is officially over for this year but you can still click over to the main A to Z Challenge page to see what other participants have come up with for this letter.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

April 2017 - #Atozchallenge - Quest for Q

Q is for "Quit Playing Games With My Heart" by the Backstreet Boys.

Of course my husband was not interested in seeing this group so my daughters and I took a road trip to Concord.  It was quite a warm day.  The car showed the temperature to be 103 degrees.    

Jesse McCartney was the opening act.  I had forgotten how many songs of his I liked.

Then came the Backstreet Boys.  I have always liked them better than NSYNC because I think their harmony is better.  They have a ton of energy on the stage and I love their choreographed dances.

I used another one of my templates on this page.

We had a great time and it was fun to share the concert with my girls.

Though the A to Z Challenge is officially over, I am still going to add my missing letters.

You can still head over to the A to Z Challenge page to see what other participants have come up with for this letter and read some of the reflection posts.  I know I am going to be revisiting to catch some posts I may have missed.  There are a lot of talented people out there!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Man, It's May

Some of the things I've been working on since completing the A to Z Challenge last month have been:

Making some cards for my Etsy Shop:  I made and listed 8 new cards, from Happy Birthday to Thanks, Love and Friendship cards.  All come with matching envelopes.

I've been keeping up with my 365 pictures too.  Here are a few of my favorites:

Everyone knows about my love of the moon.  Full moon is tomorrow night!

Started Book #9 in my Reading Challenge.  I have taken a couple of online classes with Susannah Conway but had not read her book.  It is great.

This is what the inside of the 365 picture album looks like.  I am adding a bit of a story to each one along with some page decorations.

This cute cactus village is in the yard of a neighbor's house.  I want to do something like this in our yard.  No maintenance and so cute with lots of little houses and other statues.

A reminder that dreaming to the moon is not going to completely get me where I want to go.  I have to do some of the work myself!

And the last big project is to take the book I read on Al Jolson and turn it into a junk journal to hold all my favorite quotes.  I am really excited about how it is turning out so far:

I took out some pages from the book to make it easier to add my collection of papers and things.

This is where I inserted the junk journal that I started making in March.

I added this woman walking down the hallway in this picture.

There is room here for me to write my favorite quotes.

I used the title of the chapter on this page, "There's a rainbow 'round the corner" and then painted a rainbow on the top with watercolor crayons.

This is the inside back cover with a pocket to add cards and things.  

So, that plus doing my regular work has kept me pretty busy.  I think I'll take a little break now and work on one of the letters I had to skip in my concert album.  

What do you think of my projects?  Got anything you are spending your time on now that the A to Z is over?