Friday Fitness… Starting Over… Again

exercise-womanI didn’t exercise when I was in Nashville.  No sidewalks were a hindrance to walking… and freezing weather was another. And the third factor was the numbness of grief.  I just didn’t feel like doing much of anything.

Except I was able to eat.  My portion sizes ballooned.  I indulged in pie therapy, ice cream therapy, Indian food therapy, and prescription chocolate covered almonds.  I felt despair and I ate.

So it should not have been a surprise when I went to the Doctor’s for a sinus infection and discovered that my BMI was up to 31.  That’s not a very healthy number.  Puts me at risk for all kinds of bad things… heart disease, strokes, diabetes….

Time to get serious.  Really serious.

So my doctor recommended a weight management program through our HMO and gave me a prescription for Contrave.

Contrave, a prescription weight management aid

Contrave, a prescription weight management aid

I was intrigued by Contrave because it is a combination of bupropion (aka Wellbutrin), an anti-depression drug and naltrexone, an anti-addiction drug.  Together they are supposed to work in the brain to reduce cravings and mindless munching.

In addition to taking the medication, I had to register for a support program on their website.  They are going to send me a bluetooth scale.  This scale will sync with a website so the support team will know exactly how much I weigh and how much I am losing… or not losing….  there will be motivational emails and diet suggestions based on that information.

Big Brother is monitoring my weight loss progress.  Well, it’s less personal than my husband’s help… so I’ll take it.

The HMO weight management program goes on an 8-week cycle and since I need to take a few weeks off in April and the first one was filled, I will start in mid-May.  It is an educational program with weekly classes and weigh-ins.  And after completion, they will check up on you at regular intervals for a year.

This will be the year I reclaim my healthy weight… and keep it.



2015 New Year: New Start


2014 was the best of times… it’s hard to beat spending 3 months in Honolulu!  2014 was the worst of times… my mother’s cancer returned after an 8 year remission and after a brief (although it seemed like centuries at the time) struggle, she passed away in mid-December.


My mother and I at the San Diego Botanical Garden on Thanksgiving 2013.

Her passing rocked (and continues to rock) me in ways I could not anticipate.

And as the only child of someone who was not ready to go and did not have her affairs in order, 2015 looks like it will be a year of cleaning and probate court… in Nashville… far from my home in San Diego.

I will post when I can post. But there are no promises or resolutions this year. Just one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.


Friday Fitness: So it goes


It’s been a hard few weeks of my ongoing fitness journey.

First, I LOST my dietbet.  5 lbs down, but not the 7 lbs I needed to win the bet.

But then, we went to New York the next day and I spent a week celebrating the sister-in-law’s wedding… and promptly gained back all 5 lbs back… and then a few.

And then I went to a henna conference where they had healthy options for lunches and dinners… but put out Rice Krispie treats for snacks.  Or is that Rice Krispie Crack? ….more lbs gained.

I returned home.  The cat got sick (UTI… much better after a course of antibiotics) and then I got sick (upper respiratory… finally going away).

And now it is mid-November.  Ouch.

Well, tomorrow is a new day. And I plan to check out the Taoist Tai Chi group that practices in Balboa Park every Saturday morning.

And we’ll take it from there.

Wordless Wednesday

My neighbor's passionfruit vine.

My neighbor’s passionfruit vine.

Beauty Slacker

I’ve been slacking lately… not just in writing, but in my personal care as well.

Actually, there are several things that I usually slack off on — sometimes seasonally, and sometimes always… I usually don’t even think about it… but I recently read a post by Tine over at Beautyholics Anonymous that made me think.

Am I a slacker, too?  Yah, you betcha!

I jumped on the meme bandwagon...

I jumped on the meme bandwagon… you can make one too at What I Really Do.

Nailpolish: Most of my friends have lovely hands with perfect, manicured nails.  Me, not so much.  As someone who has to haul equipment, set up a booth, sit outside and use facepaints (which DO stain just about everything, especially the red paints), it’s almost impossible for me to maintain a manicure longer than a couple days.  When I absolutely, positively need to look like a lady, I will get a gel manicure — which usually lasts about a week and a half but afterwards my nails feel more brittle so I like to let my nails recover in between polishes.  One of my henna colleagues uses henna on her nails and it turned the same shade of auburn as her hair… it looked good on her so I might try that in the future… but since henna dyes the nails, it will last for months and months… if I don’t like the look, I may end up using more nail polish!

Pedicures: I am more diligent with pedicures than manicures, mainly because they last such a long time and when I’m putting in long distance walking, I like to pamper my feet.  In the summer, I try to get a pedicure once a month.  In the winter, it ends up being every 3-4 months.  With socks and closed toe shoes, my toenails are out of sight and out of mind…

Shaving: I am fortunate to have Northern European ancestry in the hair department.  While my genes give me much high risk for skin cancer, they also have bestowed my legs with sparse, fairly light hair.  So I go by the rule, if I can’t see them, I won’t shave them, especially in the “winter” when I wear long pants or leggings or tights.

Taking makeup off every night: When I am awake, I am very conscious to remove my makeup before getting ready for bed.  It’s right up there with brushing my teeth and taking my calcium.  But lately, there have been evenings where I sit on the couch, a cat on the lap, a science documentary on the TV… and then the next thing I know it’s 3am, so I just slip into my pajamas and get in the bed… without washing my face… or brushing my teeth until morning. Sad, I know. Perhaps I should start washing up for bed at 7pm just in case….

Styling my hair: I am a wash n’ wear kind of girl.  I own a blowdryer, but have only used it once for my hair… it finds more use drying glitter tattoos at events than it does in my bathroom. My hair routine now is: wash with cleansing conditioner.  Use a small dollop of leave-in conditioner.  Mix curl cream with gel and massage that in.  Scrunch and go.  If my hair looks awful when all is dried later on in the morning, I slap on a headband and carry on.

My glitter tattoos see more of my dryer than my hair does!

My glitter tattoos see more of my dryer than my hair does!

Multi-step routines using the same product line: I wish I could find a product line I could be loyal to.  And I wish I could simplify life by just using their line-up of products.  But each line seems to have something that either I find ridiculously expensive (usually a cleanser), or that irritates my skin or doesn’t seem to work.  I suppose that is the fate of a skincare junkie: to constantly search for the newest, greatest skincare product or routine.

Face and body sunscreen: I use facial sunscreens on my neck and arms.  I use body sunscreens on my face when I go for long walks. The facial sunscreens are usually easier to apply, more moisturizing and don’t require a major rubdown to get rid of the white cast.  Body sunscreens are usually goopy, waterproof and don’t budge when I am out there doing 4 miles in the hot sun.

And let’s not get started on my minimalist daily make-up routine…. while I love makeup, I usually wear just BB cream, concealer, a smidge of eyeliner and lipgloss if I remember.  Often, I remember the lipgloss while I’m on my way to somewhere and I end up applying in the car during a stoplight.  No mascara, no blush, no eyeshadow.  When I have a gig, I’ll do everything but false eyelashes if the occasion calls for it, but for just running errands, taking classes, or going shopping, I’m a no-frills gal.

How about you?  Are you a slacker?

Bee-utiful! Portland Bee Balm

I do love a good lip balm.

And I care about honeybees. The global epidemic of declining honeybee populations has serious consequences for the entire food chain, not just the supply of honey and beeswax.

And one way to support the honeybee cause AND protect your lips from chapping at the same time is to try Portland Bee Balm.

The balm comes in Oregon mint and unscented.

The balm comes in Oregon mint and unscented.

The good folks at Portland Bee Balm sent me a couple of samples to try and also 2 sets to share.

The ingredient list is super simple: Certified organic coconut and olive oil, Oregon beeswax, and Oregon organic peppermint oil. The unscented variety leaves out the peppermint oil.

The label is made from unpulped wood.  That’s right, it’s a very thin slice of wood instead of a paper label and the ink is sustainable soy ink. According to the website, their labels use fewer resources to create than conventional labels.  And they are also beautiful — the texture of the label begs to be touched.

The balm itself is basic and does a great job!  I use the Oregon Mint variety and it not only protects my lips, it’s a nice cuticle conditioner as well.

Hubby commandeered the unscented because it is the perfect balm for bearded gentlemen to use with snorkel masks — and we do hope to go snorkelling again, soon!

I have 2 sets of Portland Bee Balm (Oregon Mint and Unscented) to give away!

This is very quick giveaway since I leave for NY next Wednesday for a week of family wedding celebrations (sister-in-law is tying the knot!).

Have fun and good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday Fitness: Inching along

exercise-womanIt has been a quiet week here in Lemon Grove.  Hubby returned from his business trip on Sunday evening and I *thought* I was staying on track with my diet…. but… according to the scale, apparently, not so much.  When I weighed in yesterday, I had actually gained a lb from last week… but today’s weight is 1.5 lbs lighter.  Which makes the overall loss since starting the DietBet 5.1 lbs.

I have 10 days to lose 2 lbs for the final weigh-in.

I am pretty sure I can lose the 2 lbs by October 7th as long as I keep from drinking iced tea and lemonade — the slip-up I made when hubby returned was to drink sweetened drinks at meals again instead of water, and at 100 calories per glass, that adds up fast!

Exercise for the week has been steady: 2.5 miles each morning. My foot is feeling pretty good with Heel That Pain insoles and a slower pace. (I should get my custom orthotics in 2 weeks)  I follow my walks with 20-30 minutes on the exercise bike and am now adding in a second session on the exercise bike in the early evening as I wait for the Hubby to return home from work — which is usually an hour later than my stomach is ready for dinner.  This has stopped my 6pm snack habit and hopefully will become a healthier habit.

In 11 days we travel to the in-laws’ house in New York for the sister-in-law’s wedding and week of feasting. I just hope that I can keep from gaining back all the weight I’ve lost in September. And the plan is to do more walking than we usually do at Christmas because the weather will be much nicer and more conducive to walking than it is in December.

In the meantime, I must keep my eyes on my prize: 2 lbs to lose by October 7… so I can get my $30 back from Diet Bet.


Make It Monday: Honey, Honey…


Honey is a wondrous substance.  It sweetens tea, soothes coughs, and can also be used as a burn dressing (keeps the area moist and kills bacteria).

It is also a great addition to homemade masks, can be used as a gentle shampoo and also as a skin cleanser.

I have been using plain honey on my face as a cleanser for the past 3 weeks and can attest that it leaves it feeling clean but not squeaky.  Other cleansers with harsh ingredients can trigger eczema flare-ups and even break-outs.  I had that experience recently with a new cleanser I tried.  But within just a few days of using honey, my skin has calmed down, cleared up, and started to glow again.

The method is super easy.  Massage on some honey, let sit while brushing teeth for 2 minutes, rinse off with warm water.

Other ideas for using honey:

  • Mix a bit with plain yogurt for a brightening mask.
  • Mix a bit with your spirulina-water paste for a super nourishing mask.
  • Mix a bit with pineapple or papaya pulp for a refreshing (and delicious) enzyme mask.
  • Add a smidge of coconut oil to honey for a deeper cleanse
  • Mix with ground oatmeal for a gentle, exfoliating scrub
  • Or, mix with sugar for a more vigorous scrub
  • Dilute with water and use it to wash your hair — this is easier done with short hair than the long stuff.

Have you used honey as a beauty treatment?  Please share your stories and recipes!

Friday Fitness: Starting to see results!


It’s 10 days into the DietBet Challenge and I have lost 4.3 lbs!  Woo hoo!

I had a minor setback last Friday when I went to see the Podiatrist for nagging plantar fascitis and a heel spur.  His advice: stop walking and bike or swim instead.

Well, as an addicted walker, that was not what I wanted to hear at all.  I like walking.  I have a regular walking buddy who counts on me week-day mornings.  I enjoy getting out there in the fresh air each morning, surveying the domain, checking out the lawn projects and admiring my neighbors’ flowers.

Also, I don’t own a bike — never rode a bike as a kid, so I have no confidence in my ability to ride as an adult.  And we don’t have a community pool.  The Y, and neighboring gyms all require $$$ to join.

However, after some thought, I realized that I have seen improvement over the 3 months that I’ve been waiting to see the podiatrist and I have *walked* 2-3 miles each morning.  AND, I could look into getting an exercise bike.

I checked out Craigslist and found a couple bikes for $100, then decided to check out… and found a new one for just shy of $100 that has a full warranty… so I ordered it.

from the Amazon website... this in no way represents what *I* look like on this bike...

from the Amazon website… this in no way represents what *I* look like on this bike…

It’s a Marcy Upright Mag Exercise Bicycle.  It took less than an hour to put together and is super quiet.  It lives in the living room right now in front of the TV and next to Miss Java’s favorite box.  She doesn’t seem to mind having me pedal way just inches from her face — it’s THAT quiet.

So, now the plan is to reduce my morning walks to no more than 2 miles, then bike for a half hour while watching the morning news.  I had originally planned to put the bike on the back porch and listen to the birds while biking… but it is SO boring an activity, that I really need to watch TV.  However, it is a good workout — and I find it works different muscles than walking, so that is also a plus.

fat woman cartoonOn the diet front, eating a salad for both lunch and dinner has helped tremendously — I don’t feel hungry, I’m getting my quotient of veggies and they have fewer calories than other foods.  Counting calories on MyFitnessPal has kept me honest.

I’ve also stopped eating large breakfasts.  No more huevos rancheros or even large bowls of yogurt. A 165 calorie breakfast shake has been doing the job for just over a week and it 1) keeps me full until lunch, and 2) has 2 servings of fruit or vegetables (if I throw in spinach or kale)

All these diet changes have been relatively easy because the Hubby has been out of town at conferences.  When he returns, it will be more of a challenge to resist the call of the tortilla chips and to continue eating salads (he HATES salads).

It’s an ongoing adventure!

Friday Fitness: Keeping the Faith


Tuesday was the start of the DietBet.  I had to submit a full-body shot of myself in “airport attire” (which I interpreted as leggings and a tank top) as well as a photo of the number on the scale. It was humbling, to say the least.

And after 4 days of eating more salads, counting calories with MyFitnessPal, and upping my exercise, my weight this morning is exactly the same as it was on Tuesday.


But I also know that since I have my period right now, I am heavier than usual and my weight will drop when it leaves.  However, I’m in the middle of the CHANGE and sometimes my periods last up to 2 weeks…. and sometimes I don’t have them for 3 months…

So, I just will continue doing what I’m doing:

  • Walking 3 miles most mornings, and longer when I can.
  • Practicing yoga 15-30 minutes a day to increase flexibility — I’m using videos.
  • Strength training at the gym twice a week and at home at least once a week.
  • Drinking 10 or more glasses of liquid a day, mostly water.


  • Eating fruits and/or vegetables with every meal.  Adding in salads for lunch and dinner.
  • Keeping within my recommended caloric limits and tracking via My Fitness Pal.
  • Going to be before 11pm.  I’d like to get to bed earlier, but that is hard to do.
  • Waking up at 6am so I can get that yoga and walk in before it gets too hot!

Even though the scale doesn’t show any change, I already notice a bit more definition in my shoulders from the weight training.  I’ll take whatever encouragement I can get!