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A Long Walk

Ahh last night was so wonderful! We had an off day from boot camp which meant we didn’t have anywhere we absolutely needed to go. Instead, we made a relaxed dinner and then went to Bed Bath & Beyond to do our final wrap-up of our registry (although I’d imagine things will change between now and September).

I found some pictures from Friday that never made it to the blog and thought I’d share them now. One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while was walk to the Mexican restaurant by our house. It’s not quite a 5k round-trip and since it was so gorgeous last week, we strapped on our shoes and walked for our meal.

Across the bridge:

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You can tell Winter is over now (we hope) because there’s some serious road construction work needed!

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I’ve been having some weird muscle pain on the outside of my thigh – an inch or so up from my knee – which made walking a bit painful. So we took the whole route pretty leisurely.

For dinner, I went with my favorite: a beef and a chicken taco, mexican rice, and re-fried beans:

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I’m already craving another plate. I don’t know why, but I love their tacos. The re-fried beans, not as much – I wish they offered black.

Delicious tacos and the sweetest date on earth:

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Definitely a wonderful time!

Now that we’re in the midst of our first week of bootcamp, tacos with shells and cheese are no longer allowed. :( Ben actually found the bootcamp place in town and signed us both up – even though he already hits the gym every week day. He said he wanted to help support me now that I need some plan for weight loss. I think I mentioned yesterday – this is a 28 day “bootcamp” of sorts. You have to go at least 3 times a week and follow their nutrition plan. Then after the 28 days are over, they do your ‘after’ measurements and weight and you can decide if you want to do another month or even transition into one of their strength and conditioning classes.

The nutrition plan they follow is the Paleo diet. In a very basic nutshell – we have to eliminate sugars, grains, and dairy. We’re rocking the grain thing but I’m not 100% off the dairy yet. We have some Greek yogurt in the fridge, I have whey protein powder, and I absolutely need cream in my coffee (but I’m down to one cup a day at work!).

So like anyone does when they’re handed a nutrition shopping list: we stocked up on “good” foods the diet allows:

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We picked up a few things that we don’t usually eat (read: never) like artichokes, spaghetti squash, and balsamic vinegar. I have NO idea why/how kale chips ended up in the cart. The one time I made some myself, Ben hated them. Maybe he’s decided to give it another go? We also picked up a bag of double dark chocolate chips. Dairy-free and dark chocolate is on the OK list. Can’t figure that out since all sugar (unless it’s cocoa powder) contains sugars, but I’m not going to question the chocolate!!!

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I wish we’d had this shopping list before we went to Trader Joe’s and got all these fun new things to try. Oh well! I’ve always done better with time-boxed goals so I am confident I can rock these 28 days. Ideally I’ll see some good results and it will be the jump I need to get back on the bandwagon.

In the meantime, I’m SORE. The pain moves around a lot but right now it’s the front of my legs and my abs that are crying for mercy. No Mercy!!! Bwahahaha. :) It’ll be exciting to see what’s in store for us tonight. I’m hoping it’s warmer than predicted because I liked being able to take a short walk afterwards and keep the blood flowing. I think that’s been helping recovery. Sitting in a desk at work all day does not (note to self: take more quick breaks to walk and stretch legs).

Speaking of work, I’m off! It’s already Wednesday and I don’t usually say it, but this week is flying by!

Family Time

Thanks for all the wise words and encouragement from yesterday’s post. It’s been rough going the past few weeks, especially now knowing that my dress doesn’t fit. It’s a lot of money to throw away but more than that, it just represents another failed attempt to lose weight and manage to keep it off. :/

But you just get back on the horse right?

I was running behind the other day and couldn’t get my Easter pictures uploaded for yesterday’s post, but I had some fun ones I wanted to share. I think I’m getting older because two large meals with two families – it’s an awful lot! :)

After  church, Ben and I checked the radar and went for a quick walk to stretch out our muscles. We started a 28 day bootcamp and you’ll be hearing a LOT about it over this next month. But all you need to know right now is we’re sore and I’m dying. (Haha) We lucked out and missed the rain, but it began picking up as we drove over to see Ben’s side of the family. (I tend to say “Ben’s family” but they’ll be mine soon too!). Ben’s mom made pineapple ham, biscuits, cheesy potatoes, baked beans, sugar-free jello, corn, and apple pie.

 

Ben and his mom. Aren’t they so cute?! :)

 

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We spent all afternoon catching up with them and had to high-tail it outta there so we could be over to see “my” family. It’s hilarious because it’s almost the same food – but my mom makes everything organic, gluten-free, etc, etc… I’ll admit though, some of the more interesting new things fall a bit flat in the learning process, but we have a riot laughing about them afterwards. It’s just a lot harder – both expensive and time-consuming – to make inventive and healthy recipes the whole family will eat.

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We had local, organic ham, broccoli, sweet potato souffle (amazing), cheezy potatoes, deviled eggs, and lacto-fermented dill carrots.

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My plate:

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There was an orange cranberry chutney mom made for the ham which was wonderful. She also makes her deviled eggs without mayo. They are spicy and I love them. The carrots? Wow – hahaha. Mom is experimenting in lacto-fermentation and despite being loaded with probiotics, the carrots were something everyone had to choke down. To me they tasted like vinegar even though there was none used.

Oh and dessert – carrot cake (gluten-free with mom’s homemade cream cheese). Sooo delicious with nice chunks of pineapple. I was in heaven!

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I think all the stuff my mom’s been experimenting with is super interesting and I’ll get some more info from her and do a post about making cream cheese, yogurt, and her work with lacto-fermentation. They are also now soaking all their nuts and grains as well. It’s wild!

Tonight is an off-night from the gym, so I’m expecting we’ll veg around and do some housework. I’m anxious for the ground to get a bit drier so we can start work on the garden. Impatient Ali!!!!!

Have a wonderful day!

A Painful Realization

Good morning! I hope everyone had a good Easter. Ours was filled with lots of good food and plenty of family catch-up time. It often amazes me that we have our parents living so close and yet hardly ever go over and visit. It was nice to bring everyone up to speed on wedding plans and hear what was going on with everyone else.

All eyes are back on Boston today – and hopefully the event will be uneventful and wonderful for all those who participate. If the weather there is like it is here – it should be perfect: overcast, drizzly, and in the low 50s.

Psychologically it was a rough weekend. I went in to try my wedding dress on and… it didn’t fit. Bonus: it wasn’t even close. Back when I ordered the dress in September I was on a weight loss roll and had lost 30 pounds since mid-Summer. The dress would be a bit snug, but another 5 or 10 pounds and it would be perfect. Well… then my hair loss happened and I had to stop the diet. Stress kicked in (along with moping around the house) and 18 of those pounds went back on.

For anyone thinking “I told you so”, well you were right. It’s a cruel fate that I can gain so easily and can’t ever seem to keep it off. So now realistically I’m about 23-28lbs off from fitting into the dress. When you consider that the wedding is in Sept, that doesn’t seem too bad… but the first fitting needs to be 3 MONTHS before – which means I have 5 weeks. 23lbs in 5 weeks? Not practical.

Equal parts heartbroken and mad at myself, I commiserated with one of my bridesmaids on Friday night. She made a delicious dinner while our guys went off and did manly things, and we sat and chatted about remedies.

Delicious stuffed peppers:

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She served it alongside garlic mashed potatoes and rosemary bread.

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And, in usual fashion, I drowned my sorrow in sugar:

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It’s hard to admit, but I really, really am addicted to sugar. Plus food itself is such a comfort thing for me. If I’m upset, food makes me feel better. If I’m bored, food helps. Etc, etc…

So we have a few options. I could grab a dress from the clearance section of the store and be done with it all, I could work for a month and see where things are / what options the seamstress has for me, I could wear my friend’s wedding dress that fits me perfectly right now (minimal alterations needed). I can’t stomach the idea of shelling more $$ out for an overpriced dress I’ll wear once but you have to wear something. I’m feeling better knowing I have a back-up plan in place.

As to the weight loss / weight gain front, it needs to be addressed ASAP. It’s odd because I’ll gain .2 here, .4 there – which on its own seems like nothing, but over 4 months… it shockingly adds up. Ben did some research and thought we should try a one month program of gym/diet that has coaches. We signed up together so I don’t have to do it alone. Basically it’s a conditioning class 3x a week and then a diet plan you follow. We had orientation on Saturday and joined the first class – and it kicked my butt. I’m STILL extremely sore this morning (and we have to go again tonight!). We’ll see how that goes.

I’m optimistic about this new program but only because it has to work. I’m out of options and out of time. In truth, I’m devastated, ashamed, and mad at myself. Why aren’t I more disciplined? How did I eat that poorly? It’s hard admitting my shortcomings to the public like this, but there’s no point in hiding the harsh reality. Plus, we all struggle with something.

So starting today we’re on a 28 day diet plan and boot camp program. I’ll be back tracking what I eat daily and getting a minimum of three boot camp sessions in each week. I’ll keep you posted and we’ll see how things go.

Meanwhile, keep your fingers crossed for me.

Happy Easter Sunday

Happy Easter everyone!!

 

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My Facebook page is flooded with all kinds of elaborate egg decorating skills and festivities. Who knew people were so talented when it comes to eggs? Like this:

Clever I think.

It’s warm but rainy and overcast this morning. We’re off to Ben’s side of the family for lunch/supper and then to mine for dinner. Should be a lot of delicious food – so definitely need to go easy on everything. :-) These two meals in one day events are awesome on the taste buds but havoc on the waistline!

April is kind of cruising right along isn’t it? I’m amazed how fast the time is going, but maybe that has something to do with the snow finally (FINALLY) being gone. We even have some green grass sprouting up!!

I’ll see you all tomorrow. Have a wonderful day!

 

 

Why Isn’t the Snow Melting?

It’s universally acknowledged that the weather and everyone’s health are acceptable conversation topics. Knowing that, it’s hardly surprising that I’m completely and utterly sick of everyone whining about the weather. “Not enough sun”, “too cold”, “winter never ends”, etc, etc, etc… Yes, this winter stinks and is never ending. Yes, it was 20 degrees out this morning. Yes, I still have snow everywhere and can’t go for a nice walk. The re-hashing and whining from 50 different people a day wears you down a bit. I keep telling everyone “just one more week” because, eventually, that will be true.

Would be nice to put away the snow blower as well.

I’ve been looking into some other options for my chronic stuffy nose. Obviously we are never going down the steroid path again. Meds are somewhat helpful but terrible for me and only work for a short period of time…

My mom hosted an educational party with a few close friends to learn more about essential oils. One of my mom’s friends has been using them for several years now and just loves the results. She offered to give everyone a run down on what essential oils can do, what to look for in buying oils, and let us try and smell several different ones. It was a riot!

It’s interesting how there’s an essential oil for just about every possible malady. My mother bought a few bottles during flu season and was sold on how fast it knocked sniffles and bugs out of the house. So I’m intrigued and thought I’d give it a try and see. I’m pretty excited too. I purchased the oil combination that’s recommended for congestion:

And I bought a diffuser so I can have it misting in the room each night before I go to bed. I also am going to try their rub-on cream for muscle pain (I’ve had some strong pain on the outside of my knees) and a combo blend for calming and stress. I’m trying to be a bit less stressed. ;)

Here’s the diffuser. Kinda pretty too I thought!

So when everything arrives and I start using it, I’ll let you know if I notice any difference. I’m all for a little experimentating! Have any of you ever used essential oils??

I forgot to include one fun picture from Madison. This is the view from the outside sitting area at the Madison branch where Ben works. I’m zoomed in quite a bit here but how fun is it to be on the 6th floor and able to walk out for lunch, sit on a table, and eat lunch while you look at the captial??

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:-)

We’re cruising to the weekend! I’m planning on getting another 2 miles on the treadmill covered tonight. Have a great day everyone!

 

Let’s Go Back to Madison

When my family moved to Green Bay 15 years ago, I used to tell everyone about life further up North. During the winter months, I’d explain how things could be worse and lead into the story of how we all were outside figure skating on the homemade rink in our backyard. It was a beautiful rink and the picture mom has shows 2 foot high buffers of snow around the ice. The more interesting part? Mom took that picture on Tax Day. When I look out the window this morning, I’m not happy to be drawing any comparisons…

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It’s starting to feel like winter may never end. I’m wishing we were back in Madison now since the weather was so sunny and gorgeous!

Speaking of Madison, the rest of our trip was terrific. We had nothing planned other than a few stops we wanted to make, so Friday morning we sauntered down to the hotel’s breakfast buffet:

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We didn’t know the buffet closed at 9am – so just as we got our first plates, they took all the food away! If I’d known I would have grabbed a few more eggs. Oh well :-)

After breakfast we went for a workout in the fitness room. They have an indoor “water park” which is more suitable for the kiddos, but if was fun to look down from the exercise room and see everything

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(excuse the glare)

Ben found the elliptical – his machine of choice – and I went for the treadmill. He wrapped up after 20 minutes and went for the weights. I did 30 minutes and then Ben walked me through a few weight exercises as well.

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We showered and left the hotel around 11 in search of Bed Bath & Beyond. Our local store is so small that none of the china, cutlery, or glasses are on display. Plus, the online pictures aren’t good enough. I wanted to hold and feel everything to make sure it was what I wanted and we had hoped Madison’s store would have more to see.

Eureka!

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The store was huge with so much more to see. Our GB store always feels cramped but this was open and wonderful. The best part had to be the wonderful sales women we worked with. I made my top selections and then they’d go over the pros and cons, give me feedback, and I left feeling like I made all the right choices. We changed quite a few things based on our new-found education and I was so glad we did! What was so much fun was having the lady wheel out a cart with our china on it so we could pick out matching cutlery and place settings. They don’t have that in Green Bay.

The final product:

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Super happy – I just love it! It’s hard to see in the picture but the china has a delicate white-on-white scrolling around the edges of the plates.

We were famished after all that hard registry work and went in search of some lunch. The mall had a little sub shop so we stopped there for some sandwiches.

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We mosied through the mall for a couple more hours, made a few more unsuccessful errands to look for centerpiece ideas, and then went to look at Ben’s Madison office building. He has to go there a lot to help with computer stuff, so it was fun to see it all.

After that, it was time for dinner. We picked one of Ben’s favorite places when he is in Madison: The Bonfyre. You walk in and you can smell the wood chip smell and they have rotisserie chickens that have been slow-cooked all day.

My dinner started with a balsamic salad (kind of a departure for me)

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I left the olives and hot peppers but ate the rest

Of course I went with the BBQ rotisserie chicken. It just sounded too good!

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Ben went with his “usual” the self-declared best chicken parmigiana on earth

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And we finished with two little “dessert shots”. The cookies and cream was definitely my favorite. Ben ordered the white chocolate raspberry and oddly, I think he liked mine better too.

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I love mini desserts! You get a sweet treat without it being too big.

I also love their water glasses. So now I’m searching Amazon for a similar clear one for my registry. :) I just think they’re fun.

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We watched more Brewers Friday night and then crashed. It was a long day with a lot of walking. Saturday we checked out of the hotel and drove to a cute little retro 50′s dinner.

French toast for the boy:

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Eggs, perfect bacon, and the fluffiest buttermilk biscuit ever for the girl

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I caught Ben eyeing up my plate a few times and gave him a generous portion of my meal. As it was, I left totally stuffed. The place was so adorable too. It was all decorated to look like it came from the 50s. They even had an old fashioned black and white TV playing I Love Lucy. I would have taken pictures, but the place was packed and all the tables were in the open so I didn’t want to photo anyone.

A trip to Madison wouldn’t be complete without a stop to Trader Joes! I’ve been studying blogs for ideas on what to get and we ended up with a fair amount of new things to try. Among the goods: mandarin orange chicken, sweet potato fries, cashew meal, cookie butter (ooooh yes), tons of canned beans – stock up time, and a bunch of $3 wine for friends. I am so jealous we don’t have a TJs or a Whole Foods anywhere closer.

The drive back was pretty grueling. We ended up driving through a really bad rainstorm. The visibility wasn’t great and the storm didn’t let up for the entire drive. When we left Madison it was overcast and 60. When we arrived in GB it was 41 and pouring. Whomp-womp!

I’m so glad we got a little trip in. It helps so much to have a quick change of scenery and spend a few days doing absolutely nothing. Now I need to plan the next vacation. Ha ha! :)

A Little Break

Good morning and happy Monday to you all!

I sincerely hope that Green Bay is the only place being hit with wind / SNOW / and sleet this morning. It looks like Winter all over again – and I am guessing you are all horribly jealous, aren’t you!?

We took Thurs/Fri off of work and spent a few days in Madison. We didn’t have any grand plans but thought a few days of roaming about and not being at home or at work would be good for us. It was! We started things out by driving to Appleton so I could get fitted for new running shoes. I really loved the people who worked/owned the store years ago and wanted to go back and support them… but it looks like it’s now a chain. In hindsight, I think we’d have gotten a better selection in Madison, but the shoes I picked up look OK. We’ll see.

For lunch we stopped at the Atlanta Bread Company. ABC was one of my favorite places for lunch in Green Bay until they closed a few years ago. Ben isn’t as big a fan but indulged me. :)

Ben got the half chicken salad sandwich and potato soup:

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My meal was the balsamic salad (with apples, blue cheese, walnuts: yum yum) and the frontier chicken chili:

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We split a delicious, buttery macadamia nut cookie for dessert. We drove to Oshkosh and stopped at the Outlet Mall. I really failed on the picture front – I think I was just being low-key. Anyways, we got some candle holders and fun lilac Spring-scented candles (you know, to go with this beautiful weather we’re having ;) ) and I picked up a spring purse and matching wallet.

The breaks on the way down were really nice because although it took all day, it felt like we weren’t just stuck in the car. After we got checked into the hotel, we still had some time to kill. The weather was beautiful: 60 degrees!!! So we left our jackets in the car and did some more exploring. We ended up at World Market and I bought another set of candle sticks. I’ve been hunting for brown wooden ones forever. I’ll post a picture soon for you to see. I’ve never been to World Market so it was interesting to walk around and see what they had. Anyone need a terracotta pig grill?

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We left and still needed to kill more time before our dinner reservation, so we drove down the road and roamed about their Costco. It was a big disappointment – no food samples! I hope that our Costco doesn’t end up like that. The samples are my favorite part!

We were starving and it was still 30 minutes before our reservation, but we decided to go anyway and see if we could get a table. Hurray! We were seated right away.

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Ben absolutely adores Ruth’s Chris steakhouse and we always end up there during our Madison trips. We always get the same thing too: the tenderloin steak and house salad. Ben picks random potatoes but I am in love with their sweet potato casserole. It’s too delicious. I’ve often considered just buying two portions and eating nothing but that for dinner!!

We were absolutely stuffed after dinner and headed back to the hotel happy and tired. I wore my pedometer all weekend and was surprised that it felt like we were always moving around and yet I only clocked 5,000 steps. I think since we both have desk jobs we just weren’t used to standing and shopping that much – as weird as that is to say.

Our hotel room had a big whirlpool in it so we cashed in a few complimentary drink tickets and sipped them while watching the Brewer baseball game. The jets felt so nice on my feet!! I want one at home. :)

So that was our first day in Madison. The snow is still coming down so I’m going to wrap this up and head to work. Hopefully it’ll all be melted by the time I have to leave work this evening. A girl can dream, right?

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