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Archive for March 31, 2013

Sunday Pictures: Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

At our house we start Easter morning off with a pancake and strawberry feast!  It’s a tradition I started in college and I’ve managed to make strawberry pancakes for at least the past 35 years…

Whole wheat pancakes with strawberries, maple syrup and whipped cream!

Whole wheat pancakes with strawberries, maple syrup and whipped cream!

It’s definitely a breakfast that makes us happy!

(Mostly) Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat bean flour (optional: adds extra fiber and protein)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tbl baking powder
3 tbl honey
2 eggs
1/4 cup melted coconut oil (melted butter or a bland vegetable oil are OK, too)
1-1/2 – 2 cups milk (depending on your thickness preference)

Mix dry ingredients, then add in 1 cup milk, the eggs, honey and oil.  Add more milk slowly until you reach your desired batter thickness.

Heat pan and ladle a small spoonful to make the test pancake.  When it bubbles, on top, use a spatula to flip it over. Give test pancake to the Pancake Goddess (or the dog or the hungry spouse…) Adjust thickness of batter if needed by adding more milk for a thinner batter or a tbl more flour to thicken it up a bit.

Serve with sliced strawberries, maple syrup and whipped cream.  Happy Day!

I’ll leave you with a pair of roses from our garden.  It is such a joy to have inherited roses from the previous owners.  We are not very diligent gardeners, but the roses seem to thrive in spite of us.  And I’m always humbled and awed when they bloom.

Easter_duoRoses

 

Friday Fitness: Keep on truckin’

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It’s been a pretty good week for my fitness journey. I continued to log my food and exercise in My Fitness Pal and I continued to walk at least 30 minutes every morning. Last Sunday, I tried to walk 6.2 miles, but was only able to do 4 due to plantar fasciitis heel pain.  Still, 4 miles is better than none, and it really helped me see how far I’ve come fitness-wise in the past few months. I wasn’t winded by the walk; I just had a very sore heel that needed a *lot* of ice. So, tomorrow I will feel very confident in walking a 5k (it was supposed to be a 10k, but so it goes.)

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Woo hoo! Down 1.8 lbs this week! And I lost an inch from both my waist and hips.  Alas, those pesky batwings persist despite triceps dips and pushups… I hope they start to shrink as my weight continues to go down…I would really like to wear all those shirts with sleeves again…

Upcoming challenges: I just picked up 2 additional days of work doing facepainting, henna and glitter tattoos — which means my both stress levels and exposure to Ben & Jerry’s will be increased.  Also, on days when I work at Seaport Village, I tend to come home so exhausted all I can do is heat up leftovers and then veg in front of the TV for the rest of the evening.

I am hoping that being aware of this challenge will make me better able to handle it without binging.

Do you also eat more unhealthy food when you’re tired?  How do you avoid binging?

Pevonia Spa Clinica: Test-driving the anti-aging routine

I first heard about Pevonia Spa Clinica from Christine at 15 Minute Beauty. She had received a trial regimen and had great things to say about it.

What caught my attention was the *free* part.  Pevonia Spa Clinica had a limited time offer where if you bought a sample regimen, you could get your money refunded once you filled out a survey 3 weeks later.

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Sort of. I signed up to get reimbursed once I completed a survey about the product. I have yet to receive the reimbursement, but I did finish the survey and get confirmation of a refund. Unfortunately, this offer is no longer available.

A few days after I put in my order, I received a box:

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It’s a really nice box made from very high quality cardboard.  I am a sucker for nice packaging.

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The contents revealed 4 small products with a personalized letter and an instruction card.

Basically, the regimen is to use all 4 products twice a day, every day. Cleanser, toner, serum and moisturizer. My Products were all from the Skin Perfecting Group, designed to fight sun damage and age spots.

Skin Perfecting Cleanser Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Decyl Glucoside, Sodium Lauryl Sulfoacetate, Disodium Laureth Sulfosuccinate, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Hydroxypropyl Guar, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Retinol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopherol (Vit. E), Sodium Ascorbate, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Beta-Carotene.

Skin Perfecting Toner Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Polysorbate 20, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Retinol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopherol (Vit. E), Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone.

Wrinkle Plus Serum Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Glycerin, Retinol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopherol (Vit. E), Sodium Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), Sorbitol, Sodium Bicarbonate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Hydroxyethylcellulose.

Skin Perfecting Moisturizer Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Squalane, Glycerin, Collagen (Marine), Octinoxate, Cetearyl Glucoside, Elastin (Marine), Calcium Ascorbate (Vit. C), Sorbitol, Retinol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Tocopherol (Vit. E), Sodium Ascorbate, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Glyceryl Stearate, Dimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Capryl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Beta-Carotene.

As you can see there are a lot of humectants (glycerin, hyaluronic acid, sorbitol) as well as retinol and it’s pre-cursor, Beta-Carotene.

Retinol is one of the gold-standard ingredients that every dermatologist and even Dr. Oz recommends. Retinoids (both the OTC varieties and the stronger prescription-only types) have been definitively proven to improve the cellular function of the skin. Retinoids improve skin texture, lessen the depth of wrinkles, and fade brown spots.

Pevonia Spa Clinica says:

The Unique Power of Retinol

  • Promotes cellular regeneration to brighten the skin
  • Smoothes fine lines and reduces deep wrinkles
  • Evens skin tone
  • Improves skin texture
  • Reduces the appearance of enlarged pores

In addition, the retinol in Pevonia Spa Clinica products is a micro-molecule which means it absorbs more efficiently for better results.  In additon, Pevonia uses a unique enzymatic process to further enhance the efficacy of its micro-retinol.

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These are good sized samples, and even after 3 weeks, I still have plenty left.

The cleanser is a lovely pale yellow gel with a citrusy scent.  It lathers nicely and does an excellent job of removing dirt and make-up (although I still did my first cleanse with a a makeup removing wipe first to get the waterproof mascara).

I am not a toner girl.  Toners make me think of Bonne Bell’s Ten-O-Six and other similar products that are more akin to paint thinners than skincare…but this was part of the routine, so I used it.  The spray pump seemed a little strange, but it was pretty easy to get the exact amount I needed on my cotton wipe. It didn’t tingle, but left my skin feeling soft.

The serum is just delightful. I love the pump applicator which gives just the right amount with no waste.  It, too, has a light citrus scent that disappears quickly.  The serum absorbs right in and makes my skin feel velvety.

The moisturizer is in a traditional pot container, which raises my bacteria contamination barometer.  But I got over it.  This has the same citrus fragrance and also absorbs quickly.  Despite being a rich cream, it did not leave my skin oily at all and I was able to use it when we had a heat wave without any trouble.

My skin was not in great shape when I started the regimen.  I was over-oily in my t-zone and had small white heads on my nose and under my chin. After 3 weeks of using the Pevonia Spa Clinica Skin Perfecting products, my t-zone has cleared up and is no longer over-oily.  Plus, the fine lines around my eyes have softened.

One of the things that sets Pevonia apart from other companies is its Professional Support via Video Chat, Text Chat or over the phone. You can send their esthetician pictures of your “raw” skin before makeup and get a detailed analysis from a real person about which products will work best for you.  I did not take advantage of this, but Christine from 15 Minute Beauty did and found her recommendations to be both accurate and helpful.

I really liked this regimen. I appreciate the hygenic (for the most part) packaging, the light fragrance that doesn’t linger, and the results.  My skin did well with these products.  I had no signs of sensitivity, dry patches, or over-oiliness. My skin which was over-oily to begin with calmed down and cleared up with use.

5stars

I would definitely purchase this again — even without the promotion.

Have you heard of Pevonia Spa Clinica?  Any thoughts?

Monday Blog Love: Girl Unwinding

On Mondays, I share about a blog that either makes me nod, makes me smile or makes me feel like singing.

Today’s blog does all three. Girl Unwinding isn’t a beauty blog, it’s an online journal about life’s meanderings.

In words and pictures and pictures about projects, Dawn shares her delight in all things wonderful. It’s a scrapbook for the soul.  And when I’m having a blah sort of day, that’s were I head for an inspirational poem, some color and a cup of tea.

Sunday Pictures: A Walk in the Park

It was a gorgeous spring day today so I decided to go for a walk at Lake Murray.  Since I’m signed up to walk a 10k next week-end, I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could do one (very slowly) today. Since Lake Murray has a 3.2 mile paved path that goes to the dam (and then it’s 3.2 miles back to the parking lot), I thought it would be the perfect place to practice a 10k.

It certainly is beautiful!

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A view of the lake from the path

Ducks and coots gather by the shore

Ducks and coots gather by the shore

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Even the prickly pear are blooming!

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A side path

I made it 2 miles in, then hobbled back and was really limping the last quarter mile.  Ice rubs and night splints are helping, but I am still limited by plantars’ fasciitis.

Sigh. I will ask the race organizers if I can downgrade to the 5k.

But, still, a 4-mile walk is a good walk and in such a beautiful place, it’s a great walk!

Do you have any favorite local parks? Is it spring where you are?

 

Friday Fitness: Challenging Sugar

fat woman cartoon

My friend, Dawn, threw down the gauntlet on Facebook:

I am doing a 5 day SUGAR FREE CHALLENGE next week. M-F ZERO sugar! You can do it. My 11 year old son is going to do it with me! YOU CAN TOO! Message me and I will put you in the support/challenge private group. FREE to join. Prizes given for participation!

I wasn’t sure at first, but I can do just about anything for 5 days, so I signed up.

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Then I looked at the list of banned substances:

SUGAR

Pretty straightforward until you start reading labels.  Spaghetti sauce. Soups. Canned vegetables. Tortillas.  Bread. Curry sauce. Salsas….

And then there are the obvious items with sugar: cereal (almost all of them), cereals without sugar are the ones I put honey or syrup on, yogurt with fruit, muffins, meal replacement shakes, honey for toast…

Fortunately, I had already done a kitchen purge of most items containing hidden sugar and just had to concentrate on the obvious sugar.

And for a cereal with fruit in the morning kind of routine I have, switching to eggs for 5 mornings was a bit different.  The first morning was fun.  Week-end breakfast on Monday, woo hoo! By Wednesday, I was running late and cursing the challenge.  Today I was just tired of eggs and ready for some CEREAL just like Hubby has been eating for breakfast for the past 4 days…

Lunch was a bit more complicated.  I only have 15 minutes for lunch and I have gotten into the habit of drinking a meal replacement shake while checking facebook instead of sitting at the table and eating a “lunch”… but sugar-free options don’t make tasty shakes, so on Monday, I didn’t leave myself enough time to eat lunch and had to wait until after work.  Also, having lunch items on hand is another cognitive leap…I had to figure out what would be fast, chilled, and non-messy to eat.  That was tortillas plus “stuff”.  I got some roast beef and made roast beef tortila roll-ups, tortillas with hummus and red peppers, and almond butter apple roll-ups.

Dinners were not a problem since I usually cook from scratch and don’t add sugar to my sauces.  Except on Tuesday when we went to a banquet; I just had to trust that there was no hidden sugar in my food.  I know it’s a common flavor-enhancing additive.

DONE!  Yippee!

But what was the point? I became more aware of how sugar is added to most processed foods regardless of whether it’s supposed to be sweet or not. In his book, “Salt, Sugar, Fat“, Michael Moss details how the food industry has tweaked the magic trio to put people into a state of “foodbliss” and make us want to consume more…thus increasing profits… and our waistlines. I heard an interview on Fresh Air as I was driving somewhere a few weeks ago and it was an eye-opening tale of how research done in the 40s to try to make rations that soldiers would actually eat became the cornerstone of a food industry push to create and promote additictive foods.

My purpose in joining the Sugar Challenge was to become more aware of hidden sugars so I can make informed choices.

Now that it’s over.  I’m going back to my Kashi cereals, but not buying jarred pasta sauce again.

Some people on the Challenge raved about feeling freer and more energetic and how beating the sugar addiction made a huge difference.

I did not experience those results. My skin did not miraculously clear up, my sleep improve nor did I do without the afternoon slump. My skin, my night-time tossing and turning and my afternoon nap cravings remained the same.

What I did learn was that a 400 calorie breakfast of an egg, one slice of bacon, a tortilla, some salsa, a dollop of guacamole and a dusting of cheese kept me happy and energetic until lunchtime. So I am going to tweak my morning routine to include 400 calories with a balance of protein, carbs and fat.

exercise-woman On the diet and exercise front, this was a good week.  Using the night splint for plantar fasciitis in one foot and an ankle brace for the sprained ankle on the other foot has really helped tremendously.  I was able to start walking again in the mornings with minimal pain and on Thursday, I walked for a whole hour! It feels good to exercise again; I really notice a difference in my daily energy level when I walk for at least 20 minutes in the morning.

Results: I earned my first 5lbs lost badge from my scale! I have lost a total of 5 lbs since March 5! (and I love that my scale emails me encouragement and badges!)

Woo hoo!

Pamper Party at Spa 33

Tonight was Pamper Party night at Spa 33 in El Cajon.

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There were free chair massages, complimentary Mary Kay make-overs, mini cupcakes, chiropractic consults, an oxygen bar, the sauna and, of course: free henna and glitter tattoos from yours truly.

The weather was perfect — which was good because my table was outside. And turnout was good, too.

Tiffany releases the stresses of the day with her Swedish massage....

Tiffany releases the stresses of the day with her Swedish massage….

Nell specializes in deep tissue and sports massage

Nell specializes in deep tissue massage

Sandy explains the healing properties of DoTerra essential oils at a salt scrub workshop

Sandy explains the healing properties of DoTerra essential oils at a salt scrub workshop

Robin soothes the stress right out with a heated towel during a mini-facial

Robin coaxes stress out with a heated towel during a mini-facial

The Oxygen bar was open...

The Oxygen bar was open…

A small lotus for a lovely lady!

A small lotus for a lovely lady!

I love pamper parties!  Everyone is relaxed and happy. I only wish that I could get a facial and sit in the sauna, too… but then I get to draw on people and that makes me supremely happy… so it all works out.

The next pamper party is April 18, 2013 from 6:30pm – 8:30pm.  If you can get out to El Cajon on that date, it’s well worth the drive.  And while you’re at it, check out Spa 33; the services are excellent and the rates are quite competitive.

(Disclosure: I have paid for massages at Spa 33 and enjoyed the after-sauna.  I have not tried other services…yet…soon…)

 

 

 

 

 

Shiseido Sun Protection Compact vs. Physicians Formula Super BB Powder

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It’s a smackdown between two powders.  One that claims to be excellent sun protection and one that claims to act as a BB cream, including excellent sun protection.

How do they measure up?  How do they compare?

First up, Shiseido Sun Protection Compact, SPF 34. $27 for the powder; $8 for the compact

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It is nicely packaged with a separate compartment for the sponge on top of the mirror.  The package is not included with the powder, but had to be purchased separately.

The company claims: “Defends against powerful UVA/UVB rays as it provides a flawlessly smooth makeup finish. Powder formula gives skin a natural, matte look.”

Ingredients: octinoxate 6.9%, titanium dioxide 15.3% petrolatum, talc, polymethyl methacrylate, nylon-12, silica, hydrogenated c6-14 olefin polymers, synthetic wax, sorbitan sesquisostearate, phytosteryl/octyldodecyl lauroyl glutamate, zinc myristate, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, thotaurine, dimethicone, methicone, glycerin, tocopherol, bht, ethylpraben, fragrance, mica, iron oxides.

It has an interesting blend of chemical and physical sunblocks and has an SPF of 34. This also contains glycerin which would help with moisture balance and tocopherol (vitamin E) to help nourish the skin.

This powder glides on beautifully, and does give a nice matte finish. If you can find a color that matches your skin, then is is a fantastic powder sunscreen.

Unfortunately, I am a very pale person and found that even the lightest shade was a bit orange for my taste, and that orange intensified by the end of the day.  Which is sad, because I really like the texture and finish and the SPF is an excellent strength for a powder.

Four out of 5 stars because the color doesn’t match.

4stars

Next up, Physician’s Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Powder, $13.95 suggested retail price

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The package is pretty cool.  I like the separate compartment for the brush and the disco holographic pattern on the lid.

The company says:

  • 1st ever Beauty Balm Powder form for a smoothing effect that instantly diffuses the appearance of imperfections, evens out skin tone and minimizes the appearance of pores.
  • Weightless powder acts as a protective veil from UV damage & moisture loss so skin looks and feels smooth, glowing and naturally flawless.
  • Use with the Concealer & Cream for the ultimate, high-performance wear.

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide. Inactive Ingredients: Mica, Zinc Stearate, Octyldodecyl Stearoyl Stearate, Dimethicone, Boron Nitride, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Magnesium Silicate, Lauroyl Lysine, Triethylhexanoin, Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract, Perilla Ocymoides Seed Oil, Lysolecithin, Glycerin, Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Silica, Glyceryl Caprylate, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Dehydroacetate. May Contain: Iron Oxides, Titanium Dioxide.

It’s not really clear to me how this powder qualifies as a Beauty Balm product other than having an SPF of 30.  Most powders contain pigments that color and coat the skin, minimizing flaws and evening the appearance of the skintone. It does have willow bark extract (salicylic acid) which might help with oiliness, and Glycerin and Perilla Seed oil which would help keep skin moisturized.  Vitamin E is another skin-nourishing ingredient.

This does go on nicely.  The enclosed brush does an adequate job, but I preferred using a flat-top foundation brush. It has an impressive SPF of 30. The coverage is not quite as good as the Shiseido powder, nor does it blend as easily.

Unfortunately, this only comes in 2 colors: Light/Medium and Medium/Deep… and I am too pale for either.  It also seemed a bit orangey to me, although it did stay the same color throughout the day where the Shiseido darkened slightly after 7 hours.

Four out of 5 stars because of color matching issues.

4stars

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It looks nice an tan in this picture — and as you can see both Physician’s Formula Super BB All-in-One Powder and Shiseido’s Sun Protection Compact cover nicely and give a gentle matte finish.

I currently use them as bronzers, so all is not lost.

But I still am on a quest to find a nice powder with a high SPF and that delicate balance of color between sheet white ghost and high yella orange…

Change is in the air: new FTC regulations and goodbye to Google Reader

There’s some changes afoot in the internetosphere…

New FTC Disclosure Regulations

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The FTC has issued a new set of guidelines (.com Disclosures: How to Make Effective Disclosures in Digital Advertising). This applies to bloggers who accept free products for review,  blogs with paid advertising and blogs with affiliate links. Carleen from Beauty and Fashion Tech wrote a brilliant summary about the new guidelines. And a shoutout to G from Nouveau Cheap for her informative post which also gave the regs link and a link to BFT’s post.

Several of the blogs I frequent have strong opinions about this matter.  Me, not so much.  I’m sure my 10 readers will agree that placement of whether or not I bought the product really doesn’t matter and being regulated to put that information in the front of a review won’t change what I say or how I say it. (I  don’t have any affiliate links or sponsored ads. That’s not to say I might not have these things in the future, but they don’t apply right now.)

But it does make me wonder why beauty bloggers must comply with the rules and not certain beauty magazines and their affiliated “blogs”.

Phyrra has compiled a list of several beauty bloggers and their views on this subject, so you can check out what other people think.  It’s a very interesting debate.

Goodbye Google Reader
Google has decided to retire their reader effective July 1.  Google is streamlining things and its reader is off the the scrap heap. But Google + will still be available — and personally I use Google+ a lot more than I ever used the reader.

Other readers are available… as a fairly non-savvy person, I haven’t tried them… but I’m sure I’ll get around to it if necessary.

What do you think of the new FTC regs?

Will you miss Google Reader?  Do you use any alternatives?

Friday Fitness: Getting back on track

exercise-woman

It’s been a pretty eventful week!

  • Worked a gig in Palm Springs, then tripped and sprained my ankle as I left the hotel to return home.  Drove with a sprained ankle, then worked a shift at Seaport Village. Not the best of things to do.
  • Saw the podiatrist on Monday and got diagnosed with Plantar’s Fasciitis, a very common syndrom.  I now have Superfeet inserts for all my shoes, and a lovely splint to wear at night. Also, I’m not allowed to walk barefoot (wah!) or wear sandals… hopefully, I will be able to transition back to sandals in a few months because closed-toe shoes in the summer is torture!
Medtherapies Plantar Fascia Night Splint

My lovely night splint looks something like this…

My fashion focus this week has been comfortable shoes that accomodate both orthotic insoles AND the stabilizing wrap for the sprained ankle.  It’s a rather old-lady look, but I’m able to walk and the pain is diminishing… so I choose comfort over style for now.

Despite limited mobility and the prescription to rest and elevate my ankle as often as possible, I did manage to lose 1.6 lbs this week!

Woo hoo!

And what’s making the difference is tracking.  I am using MyFitnessPal several times a day to log my food and water intake and any exercise I’ve done, and daily weighing on the Aria scale (I know they recommend weighing yourself only once a week, but I can’t resist using the new toy!) sends the information to MyFitnessPal’s dashboard so it’s all right there in plain English.

Plus, when I made a pie yesterday (for Pi Day), I was able to get the full calorie and nutrition information from the recipe builder section of MyFitnessPal.

Information is power. And I chose to have a smaller portion of dinner so I could have some pie. Life is just not worth living without an occasional slice of pie (says the woman who grew up in Tennessee, the buckle of the pie belt).

My body is also adjusting to fewer calories.  I didn’t notice as many hunger pangs this week as I have in the past. And if I don’t feel hungry, I’m less likely to over-eat.

Win, win, win!

I still have a long ways to go (or is that weighs…) but I feel that I’m finally really on track and ready to lose these extra pounds, build some muscle and get fit,  strong and healthy!