Sunday, March 31, 2013

Moved in!

Wow, what a smooth move yesterday!

We ended up having a great group helping us- 8 people including my husband and I!  Totally incredible! My mom and brother came, plus 4 friends.  Unlike our last move which had lots of hiccups around our moving truck specifically, picking up the truck this time was easier.  For our last move- from Gettysburg to Middle River- we rented with UHaul and if you've ever rented with them you know that they don't guarantee a location and pickup time for their trucks.  Well, they don't tell you that before we ended up having to drive 50+miles to pick up a truck, and had to move back our move a couple hours as well.  That was after I pulled out some serious powers of persuasion and insisted that they would not only find us a truck but if we had to drive, they would also be reimbursing us.  Which they did....duh.  Since we were moving a bit far, we actually had two shifts of helpers- some in Gettysburg and then some from DE to help us in Middle River. Talk about a coordination nightmare!

Back to this weekend..... we went with Budget (and even found a coupon- score!), where you book a location and a truck along with pickup/drop off times.  Much more my speed and MUCH better customer service.  I was willing to pay more for a truck if it was guaranteed, but it ended up being cheaper then the uhaul I quoted- double score!  I did have to wait 30 minutes, though, because lots of other people were picking up, but it all worked out.  So, it was good that we planned for some wiggle room and asked everyone to come at 10:00 am, with the pickup having been at 9:00am.

So we ended up starting right about 10:00am and with Kevin's master packing techniques (he is very handy to have around for anything homeowner related, he's helped us so much), the truck was packed and we were on the road to our new place by a little after 11am! Amazing!  I'm not sure exactly when we left the old house for the quick 15 minute drive to our new place, but everything was in the house by 12:10am!

Seriously, I don't even think there was a moment where I felt stressed.  Perhaps for a few seconds when I wasn't sure if everything would fit on the truck, but it all worked out.  Everyone even chipped in with a few other things that we needed some help on after we finished the move.  My mom herded the boys outside to rip up the old carpet in the porch because it was REALLY nasty, while I stole Kevin to help figure out why we had two flipped breakers after changing a bunch of outlets.  With some research and checking, we got it all figured out- wahoo!  And the yucky carpet is now rolled and ready to be taken away.  Now we just have to scrub the floors and paint the disgusting siding and walls out there.  The screened in porch is where the previous home owner did the majority of his smoking and's gross.  The walls are yellow from the tobacco and the carpet was smelly and badly stained all over.

We were able to get to the old house yesterday by 3:30pm ish and were all cleaned and out of there in less than 2 hours!  What a busy and productive day!  We enjoyed a nice celebratory dinner out before we unpacked a little of the bedroom.  We unpacked a bit more today and I feel like we made a good amount of progress! The best thing about unpacking this time....this is it! We are really unpacking for real, not just for a year or two, but we are settling in! It's really exciting to be able to know that, :)

And since I can't just skip over the importance of today for those that celebrate it, including myself- Happy Easter!  I checked out a new church today that my OT (hand therapist) recommended, and I really liked it! It's a nondenominational church and I really enjoyed the very contemporary and casual service.  I also felt very welcomed and an instant part of the congregation, which I haven't felt in years.  I've tried a couple of different churches over the years, but have never felt connected or particularly welcomed.  I don't know if this will be the one, but I am hopeful.  And as if that wasn't enough- it's a block from the gym.  Definitely a sign, lol!  So, of course, I headed to the gym for a workout after church.  A perfect morning before oodles of unpacking!  And much more unpacking to come.....

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Busy week

Wow....this week has been Insane with a capital I.  And unfortunately not the kind of Insanity with Mr. Hotness himself, Shaun T.

The early part of the week was planned out to be smooth and organized....until we got a random spring snow storm that dumped 3-4 inches of snow on Baltimore in one foul swoop on Monday morning....then was melted by the next day in a soupy mess.  Tuesday I had so much going on all day- lots of appointments and errands, and tons of work on top of it to prepare for two big, back to back workshops on Wednesday and Thursday.

Luckily, the most important thing that needed to happen before we moved in, did- we got the air ducts and carpets cleaned!  Although it is done, it didn't go as smoothly as I was expecting.  As the tech walked through the house with me to inspect the vents and carpets he noticed one thing throughout- MOLD.

Yeah, just hearing that word set me into a panic in record time.  He pointed out mold all around the air conditioner unit, which is an air duct system.  He explained how since it was at the entrance, it was throughout all the air ducts and could be contributing to the stale smell.  Fanfreakingtastic!   Then he also pointed out some stains on the carpet throughout the house that looked suspiciously like mold.  He wasn't certain, but explained that if the stains did not come out, then it was in fact mold.  The more he walked through the house and inspected the carpets to decide on chemicals and scrubbing, the more I heard dollar signs.  What I thought would be a $200 visit quickly because over $800!!  But, he said he could guarantee that the smell would be gone with the microbial chemicals he recommended in the air ducts.  I know it might seem like madness, but having that assurance that the smell would be gone was worth the extra money in my mind.  And then, he finished and I came back to inspect it.....and it smelled so clean! Like a new, freshly cleaned house!!  The real test will be tomorrow when we go back and smell it after the carpets have dried and the chemicals are aired out a bit.

So, having that completed, yesterday and today I co-facilitated an 8 hour workshop each day with a colleague of mine from Virginia.  If that sounds exhausting to you- I assure you, it is!  That much time not just on your feet and teaching, but being on point is taxing on your body physically and mentally.  My boss was there for my session today, after having flown in from Portland, OR!  This added some extra pressure to perform to the best of my ability, but I feel fortunate that I have a good relationship with her already.  We connected last night after my first workshop.  What I thought was going to be just a quick dinner after the workshop, turned into getting manicures then having a leisurely dinner and walking around the Arundel Mills mall. Yeah, I didn't get home till after 10:15pm!!! And I had left the house at 8:30am that morning.  Long day!  I wasn't expecting to be out so late, so I had planned on working out after dinner with her, which obviously wasn't an option that late.  Having said that, it is rare that you get to spend that much one on one time with your line manager, especially in such a casual setting, so I jumped at the opportunity and really enjoyed myself. I had fun!

Today was the big session in my main market, with the teams that I've been working with for the past 3 years.  I DOMINATED it!  I received some very helpful constructive feedback and some incredibly uplifting positive feedback about my facilitation skills.  I'm really proud of myself for doing my best today and showing my boss one of my true strengths of a job I love. I LOVE facilitating.  I get a high from doing it well, and really enjoy seeing others get that "light bulb moment" when something really clicks.  :)  It feels good!

After tearing everything down from the workshops, and hoarding some more boxes that we could use to pack, I took my boss to the inner harbor and we had a delicious, truly Baltimore dinner- at Phillip's.  It was delicious food, good company, and I managed to get home a little earlier- 8:30pm.  I had my workout clothes in my car again, but I was having trouble staying awake long enough to drive safely home so opted to get home asap and give my exhausted body a break.  Although I feel weird having skipped two workouts in a row, and unplanned to boot, it was a rare situation and I will kick my butt tomorrow- no doubt.  I'm thinking a run, some elliptical, and legs and abs strength training.  Good times indeedy :)

So, with that I bid adieu because tomorrow I have so much work to do after my big workshop and then, we have to finish....packing!!  And somehow I WILL fit in a long and killer workout in there.  I can't believe we are moving on Saturday!!  Excited and nervous, but so ready to move into our new home!

What tips and tricks do you use while moving to make the day run smoothly?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

New House!!

This year so far has been down right madness!  This year already, we've vacationed in Disney, gone to NYC and seen Tom Hank's Broadway debut (Lucky Guy), I've reached lifetime with Weight Watchers, and last but certainly not least....


I can hardly believe that is OUR house!  We settled on March 15th, just a week ago!  Leading up to it, we were so consumed with making sure everything closed on time and properly that it was hard to believe when it actually happened and we had the keys in our hand.  There was some small hiccups along the way, but overall it was a very smooth process- especially when compared with some friends' bad experiences.  The major issues we are dealing with now are because the previous home owners....well, they kinda sucked in some ways. lol.  They were smokers, who luckily didn't seem to smoke much inside (thank goodness).  The smell is concentrated in the porch, but the whole house also just smells stale and faintly smokey.  We cleaned the walls with TSP to get the minor tobacco streaks off and painted the majority of the main floor.  I'm praying that will make a difference, because we didn't paint the 2 other bedrooms.  We can obviously always double back and paint them as well, but we would rather not if we don't have to.

The other majorly annoying thing they did was paint over every single outlet.....yeah.  Not just the cover but the entire outlet juncture, making them unsafe to use and in need or replacement.  Kevin came over with Cibelle Saturday and showed us how to change them, thank goodness!  It helps to have handy friends!  It's not too bad once you get the covers off, but that is easier said then done because the paint acts like glue to the outlets, and it took many hours to cut off the covers.  I unfortunately blew two fuses on the breaker box so I need to figure out which outlets I did wrong and fix them, and then figure out how to replace the fuse.  Yeah, Colleen is still learning, people!

I am so proud of us, because we have accomplished SO much so far- and have some hand sores, destroyed fingernails (holy in need of manicure, it's insane), and achy bodies to prove it.  David, my brother, helped us paint today which was amazing!  Not only was it great having an extra pair of hands helping, but he is also great company and it was good catching up with him.  I can't believe how many awesome people are lending a helping hand next weekend with our move as well- I hope that means it will go quickly, smoothly, and I won't have to lift anything and make my arms worse.  According to my doctor, I need to only be directing people and lifting no more than 10 lbs at the max- but preferably not anything.  I can say after Saturday's day full of painting, wow was I in pain, I need to take the doctor's advice.   I'm so grateful that today I didn't have to paint nearly as much- I don't know if I could handle another painful night like last night.

It's also amazing how many calories painting burns! I didn't have time to workout Saturday or today, but my handy Active Link told me I earned 6 activity points Saturday and 3 today! Sweet!

What awesome words of wisdom can you give a first time home owner?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Update and New Beachbody Workouts!

Wow....what a month it's been so far! I actually started this post a week ago, when I was in Pittsburgh. After a BUSY weekend that took us from Dover, DE to NYC, I had a quick (aka 3 days) work trip to Pittsburgh to teach a workshop. Then on Friday we bought a house!! More on that later....

The session went really well after some heavy duty preparation that had me up late studying to ensure I totally killed it- which I totally did!! While I was in Pittsburgh, it was way too cold to run outside (it snowed each day I was there) and the hotel "gym" only had a treadmill, elliptical, and recumbent bike. So that brought me to the treadmill for one of my workouts and I remembered how relaxing it can be some time to just zone out on the treadmill, with my kindle fired up on an easy to read book. I've been doing that this past week because I'm trying to get back into a running grove before the Ovarian Cancer Federation 5k in May. This will hopefully be first of many races this season. Having said that, I am trying to take the pressure off myself because I don't want to deal with more injuries while I'm still recovering from the ones I still have. I still have a half-marathon in my goal set, then a marathon, but I have to take care of the cards I've been dealt first.

Case in tennis elbow surgery

Ding loves watching over me

I'm happy to report that my right arm is healing well and I have almost full range of motion back, which is very encouraging! What left arm is progressively getting worse still. It has it's good moments but they seem to be coming around less and less. According to my surgeon on Tuesday....I can go forward with my left arm whenever I feel ready- after April 20th! Wow...a lot sooner than I was expecting him to say! So now it's a matter of working with my boss to ensure I can get off another month straight with no traveling and not screw up a bunch of my coworkers along the way. Wish me good luck ;)

So, I want to shift my entry today into something new.....Some New Beachbody workouts!

There are two programs you guys have heard me talk about before- Insanity and P90X- that I've been really missing lately. The thing that I miss most as a result of this ongoing tennis elbow injury has been my inability to just press play and get a good arm strength training workout in with my favorite lifting buddy, Tony Horton. I've been able to still do a couple workouts, like P90X Plyo and a few of the Insanity Cardio workouts- I just have to take out any push-up moves and do something else because I still can't use any weight with my arms, which obviously would include push-ups. I never thought I would miss doing push-ups and planks- bizarre, huh?

Well, a few weeks ago I was contacted by a Beachbody team member to review three of their new programs on my blog! Of course, I said yes- Beachbody is such an awesome company with lots of great programs- P90X and Insanity included.

Speaking of Insanity, I am most excited to talk the newest and greatest from Shaun T (trainer for Insanity): Asylum Volume 2! You can probably guess, that there was first: Insanity: The Asylum. Now that just sounds retarded hard! Shaun T, who used to be a track star, takes you through the Asylum's "Athletic Matrix." It is "a program of dynamic multidirectional exercises, based on the actual movement patterns of pro athletes, that takes your body from average to elite in just 30 days—right in your own home!" That quote was taken from the Asylum website that you can check out above. In a nut shell, this video ties it all together, and includes a bunch of athletes who have done it:

Just like you guessed, Asylum Volume 2 takes you past the first Asylum to another level of athletic performance, utilizing what you've learned in Volume 2 and taking it up a notch to make you even faster and stronger! You are going to use the same, fun equipment with the agility ladder and speed rope in Volume 2, and Shaun also helps you with Nutrition (duhh we know how important this is!) and how to integrate the two volumes together.

The only caveat that I see of this program is that it does seem like you need to master Volume 1 to get truly move on to Volume 2. Aka this program is really meant for those die hard Shaun T fans who just can't get enough of Insanity and Asylum. It also is NOT created for a casual exerciser, so just like Insanity you have to be prepared to give your best and leave it all on the floor- which will involve sweat and maybe some tears. If that sounds as good to you as it does me- go check out the site and learn more at BeachBody: Asylum Volume 2

The next workout I want to talk to you guys about is Les Mills Combat. When this was one of the workouts they asked me to review, I was surprised because I didn't even know they had created videos of this! Many of you are probably familiar with Les Mills classes, perhaps you've taken Body Pump or Body Step. I actually have taken Body Combat before in a class setting, and it is a blast!! It's probably my favorite kickboxing type class workout, so it's cool that they have these on video to do at home now.

What I see here, is an even more intense class then I experienced in a class setting (maybe it's all the hot, muscly people), so it definitely seems worthy of checking out further, if you like this type of workout. I've done Turbo Jam and Turbo Fire (both workouts with Chalene Johnson with beachbody) in the past before and really enjoyed it, but I love the edginess that seems to be inherent in this program. Edgy is good, and I can definitely see myself getting really pumped up working out with these guys, and learning some different styles of martial arts. It also appears to be a very adaptable workout- you can bring down the intensity and impact or you can ramp it up and get a killer workout both ways to suit your needs. I love that! So, go check it out at Beachbody: Les Mills Combat

The last workout I wanted to talk about is perfect as we move from winter into spring and are all trying to look super hot in bikinis (or in my case, shorts because Colleen won't be caught dead in a bikini, lol). What I am referring to is the all important butt! Who doesn't want a hot butt? Brazil Butt Lift Master Series is Beachbody's newest workout with the butt master himself, Leandro Carvalho. As I looked through some of these movements, I fell in love! They are solid exercises that I have done several different variations of during my physical therapy for my strained hamstring, and you better believe I am still doing them! Did you know there are three major muscles in your butt: gluteus maximus, medius, and minimus! You better believe you will get all three worked in ways you never knew existed and your butt will be sore like you have never felt before!! So, go check it out at BeachBody: Brazil Butt Lift Master Series

As a general note for all of these programs- no matter which program fits you, and trust me Beachbody has a TON of programs out there if these don't speak to you specifically, they all come with a big support network complete with message boards and coaches on

So, any other Beachbody users out there? What program do you use?

Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this review, nor asked to give any specific ratings, all that is written is my opinion only.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


That's right, it's been six weeks since GOAL! and I have maintained my weight within 2 lbs (up or down) of my goal set with Weight Watchers.

My WW bling

The picture above is all of my Weight Watcher "bling" per say.  One of the things I LOVE about WW is all the focus on success and celebrations.  Each of those little discs represents 25 lbs of weight lost (different colors for each 25lb accomplishment up to 100lbs then you start over).  The key chain itself represents 10% lost.  The clapping hands with 16 inscribed is for hitting 16 weeks on program- stay and succeed reward!  It's been shown that those that stay at least 16 weeks are much more likely to reach their goal, so it's a big milestone.  Then I have three 5k charms for completing a 5k for each of the years they have been promoting completely a 5k as a goal.  Y'all know I love my fitness goals!  Next is the star you have recently seen which means goal!  And last but certainly not least.....THE key!!!

At this point, I have lost.... 221.6 lbs with Weight Watchers and 257.6 lbs total!  The two numbers are because I lost 36 lbs before joining WW- and that 36lbs took me at least 6 months of yo-yoing all over the place until I made the GREAT decision to join WW and jump start my life on October 21, 2009.

The interesting thing about this milestone is that when you look at my past trackers, I have actually been at this weight for 5 months!  Why did I wait to set my goal until January 23rd?  Well....a lot of reasons that I had to work through mentally.  My doctor set my healthy weight goal at 180lbs, his reasoning because I have roughly 20lbs of extra skin that needs to be removed.  Unfortunatley, by BMI standards that is still considered overweight by about 20 lbs.  For those 5 or so months, I really thought I could get to that healthy BMI goal and that ultimately I knew better than my doctor.  I was determined to hit that specific healthy BMI number of 160lbs, and I was starting to get frustrated and angry at myself.

After having a few heart to heart conversations with my old leader, Joni and new leader, Kelly I realized I needed to figure out what was good for my body- not my ego.  I was so fixated on that 160lb goal that life was starting to pass me by while I restricted what I ate and worked out as much as possible, with no results and lots of frustrations.  I wasn't restricting to excess, but I wasn't allowing myself to have a drink here or there or indulge in a great dessert sometimes.  All the while, my body was staying pretty consistently between 175-180 and I was getting progressively frustrated.  Then, my sister's wedding happened and I saw this exact picture of myself, on my cousin's phone, at the reception:


I looked at that picture, and I couldn't find myself, I was so confused.  I was thinking to myself- why is my sister in a red dress?  And then.....

I started crying.  That beautiful girl on the right, that I was convinced was my sister, was ME!  My cousin had to say it out loud for me to believe it, I was in such shock.  I had been happy with my progress up to that point and so excited to be fitting into awesome clothes, and receiving so many nice compliments.  When I saw that picture..... for the first time in my life, I felt truly beautiful on the inside and out.  It may sound crazy, but I felt a monumental shift from within.  It's like something literally clicked in my heart and I forgave myself.  I forgave myself for getting to 435 lbs.  I forgave myself for almost killing myself with my food addiction.

At that moment- I was at goal, finally.  After that, it was just a matter of technicalities and talking to my support system at Weight Watchers to make that happen.  Now I'm at lifetime, and I was so glad to celebrate it with my new WW family last night.  In two weeks, I will be celebrating again with my Gettysburg family when we will actually process my official Lifetime Membership paperwork.  Last night was supposed to be that night, but the snowstorm kept that from happening when the meeting was canceled.  Luckily I was able to celebrate close to home with my new leader, who made a sweet card that a bunch of members signed! :)  I brought some before and after pictures and shared my story, answered questions, and even caused some tears.  It was great and very affirming that the hard work was worth it!

I will leave you tonight with one my favorite quotes of all time, and one I try to live my life by....