Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Why Not Start Right Now??

Many people don't realize it, but we all have the power to accomplish
great things. I, myself, was not a believer of this fact. Life gets in
the way of actually living it sometimes. Many of us don't take a step
back, take a deep breath, and just be ourselves for a few seconds.
They sit back and let others take the glory and think to themselves,
"I could do that if I..." or "Next month I vow to..." My question to
them? WHY NOT START RIGHT NOW?



What is stopping you from doing today what you want to do tomorrow?
Stress? Kids? School? Work? Throw it away. For one hour a day. Shut
the world out and spend time with the only person you can REALLY count
on; yourself. Meditate in the morning. Take a yoga class. Go for a
hike. Sit on your bed and punch a pillow. Get that much needed
massage. Have a good cry. Will it make you feel better about YOU?
Good... Let's move on...

I am a statistic. I am one of the 25% of women that will experience
domestic violence in their lifetime. I was one of the many that put
off today what I wanted to do tomorrow and that was to live. I never
found time for myself because my time was spent making sure somone
else was happy and satisfied. I was wrapped in hypothetical chains
that weighed me down and it really came down to just not caring about
me. I hit an all time low in my life until one day a light came on. If
I wanted to live, I had to save my own life first. So I did...


Now, I shut the world out when I need to. I throw it all away for an
hour a day...and I have lived to tell my story. Who will listen? The
real question is...who cares? I might tell my story to 1,000,000
people and 999,999 might not care to listen. But it only takes that
one to change the world...

I have been told that I can't. I have been told that I can. I have
been told that I am a dreamer. A free spirit. A lifer. I have been
called a motivator. An inspiration. Strong. Driven. A role model. My
message to them? You are too. You want to listen to my story,
therefore you are my motivator. You drive 3 kids to school each
morning, organize bake sales, clean 5 loads of laundry a day, pick up
crafts for Grandmom's Christmas present this year? You go to work a
9-5 job and try to go through life day to day while your husband/wife
is deployed overseas and you live for the one day a week when you can
see their face and hear their voice? You are a young girl with big
dreams of being President, or a little boy who is determined to cure
cancer? A headliner making front page news of every magazine or the
one who reads it in line at a grocery store paying for their month's
meals with food stamps? We are America's story. We are the
inspiration. We change the world for the better by living our lives.
Let's do it together. Let's encourage the world to LIVE healthy,
happy, and hopefully. WHY NOT START RIGHT NOW?

My Trip to LA/San Diego Part 2!!

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope Santa was good to everyone this year! It was great to hang out with family but it's time to get back in the grind!

So I left you in my last post explaining about making it to the Venice Beach pier in time for the sunset! Definitely needed a California sunset picture! With a great meet up with our friend Melissa and after a great Italian dinner, we headed to Long Beach in anticipation for a night full of fun.

Well...it was an interesting night that's for sure.


After walking through the ghetto of Long Beach, being asked twice if we were headed to the club, etc. we finally landed at an Ale House that wasn't all that bad.

We spent a drink at the Ale House and then headed to a place called Alex's Bar. For those of you who are True Blood fans, this is Fangtasia. The outside of it where they tried to kill Russell, the inside, the stage where the bands played is where Eric sits on his "throne", etc. Literally...this bar WAS Fangtasia.

This bar was a good time:



The band wore Whip It hats so of course we had to take a picture with them!

 The next morning we headed to Manhattan Beach and took a short drive through Hermosa Beach and part of Redondo Beach (which is gorgeous) and then headed back up to LA to see the infamous Hollywood sign.



This was your view from a scenic overlook- all of LA! Wow! Just around the corner, of course, was this:

The sign is a lot smaller than you might think!
An interesting fact about the Hollywood sign: It used to say "Hollywoodland" but in the 1930's (I think that was the decade) a landslide wiped out the "land" letters. In the 1970's they paid over $20,000 PER LETTER to restore "Hollywood" and dubbed it a social landmark.


Due to time restraints we could not go on a hike, but instead started to make the 2 hour drive down to San Diego... BYE BYE LA!!

Our drive took us through Laguna Beach (for you MTV lovers out there) and through much of San Diego. Unfortunately it was dark by the time we arrived but the city gets all lit up so it was actually pretty!


The next day we visited La Jolla Beach. Apparently seals hang out at the beach all the time and you can actually go swimming with them! Though we did not go swimming, I was able to capture these:




Very cool sight to see...


Anyway, now it was down to business and the whole reason why we went out there in the first place... The Baltimore Ravens!!

Making signs for our Ravens and NBC was something we really wanted to do so we gathered some materials and went to it!



Nothing fancy, just enough so you could read it from far away :)

Our final products?

Me and Sean with our signs!

(We had no idea that our signs would never be put to use because of the disgust that was the Ravens that night but we had fun anyway!)


Tailgating was a lot of fun as we saw SO MANY Ravens fans! I even met up with a bunch of people I went to high school with and saw some old friends along the way!

As we took our seats inside Qualcomm Stadium, we were so excited about our view:

We had GREAT seats! Thanks StubHub!
Like I said before, we sat almost in total silence for the game since my team played like crap. However, San Diego fans were actually very nice and not rude, unlike other team's fans....

Our time in San Diego was short lived as we had to return to Baltimore the next day (Boo!)... If I could move out there tomorrow, I would! It was such an awesome city!

Having a non-stop flight from LAX to Dulles is very tiring but I got a second wind when we landed, I looked at my phone, and saw that the Steelers were losing to the 49ers! Woo hoo! Thanks San Fran for helping the Ravens out!

This was one of the sights I came home to:


They even lost their team spirit that day!


Anyway, that was my trip to California in a nut shell. If I come across any more great pictures I will share them!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and are looking forward to the New Year! Be on the look out for a duo challenge with me and Cait !!

Let's welcome 2012 with a bang ... and on our own two feet...





Until the next step bloggers...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

My Trip to LA/San Diego!!

As most of you know, I took the plunge and went out to California to see what all the hype was about. I headed out there with my girlfriend Anna bright and early Thursday morning in hopes to see the "tourist-y" spots like Beverly Hills, Hollywood, Malibu, Venice, Mulholland Drive, etc.

This was at 7am...yet we were very excited about our upcoming trip!


When we were getting close to the LA area, our captain got on the intercom and told us to look out the window...Low and behold, this was our view:
The Grand Canyon!


I am sure seeing it from 30,000+ feet in the air does not do it justice but I have always wanted to see it! I got an excellent capture of it too! After we landed and got our trusty car (which we named Penelope or "Penny" for short) we were on our way!

Penny was so good to us- and she got GREAT gas mileage!

We were on our way to Hollywood! We decided to take the long way from LAX so we could hit up the beaches along the way! Our drive took us through Santa Monica, Venice, and Malibu where we saw views like this:




They have the best backstreets that take you on some wild twists and turns but the scenery is out of this world! Anna and I loved sightseeing around here because every single house was different than one another. We could not find two that were remotely the same.


When we finally got to Hollywood, we stayed at the historic and iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel (Thank you Kayak! ) The hotel had a 1930's feel to it and with great customer service! Just take a look of their main lobby:
So gorgeous inside!
The next day was a much needed walk down Hollywood Blvd.! Being across from the Chinese and Kodak Theater we were definitely in the thick of the action and buzz so it was pretty easy to just stroll across the street to take some pictures! Of course I had to get mine taken with my all time favorite idols:

Paula!!

Michael Jackson!

Of course in front of the Chinese Theater was the infamous hand/footprint display where I shot these in memory of my grandmother:
Cary Grant! Such an amazing actor in the 1930's and 1940's!

She always wanted me to be like Gene Kelly...another classic actor/dancer/choreographer/icon!

Of course when you are in LA every girl thinks of the movie, Pretty Woman, and it is a necessity to hit up Rodeo Drive. Although we knew we totally would not belong, we headed that way!




Infamous and beautiful!

If you are following me on twitter, you probably already saw many of these photos as I was too excited at the time to hold them on my phone! While walking down Rodeo Drive we went into stores like Dolce and Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany's, Jimmy Choo's, and more! We even saw this little baby parked on the side of the street:


Just to let you all know, that is a Bugatti and it costs between $1.5 and $2 million. Ahhh!


Along our walk, we went into Cartier and I decided to be brave and ask to try a ring on. I was then brave enough to ask how many karats, the cost, and if I could take a picture:

That is a 3.65 karat, $115K ring, ladies! *Sigh*

Ok so as we were feeling kind of down on ourselves at the fact that we were definitely out of place here, we decided to move on. Anna and I took our sight seeing on a scenic route that we found in an LA magazine. At only 10 miles long, it took you down legendary Mulholland Drive to scenic overlooks, canyons, and even some surprises! Along the way we were able to capture views like these:


Charlie Sheen's house! I told you there were some surprises!

Wow! What a view!
Amazing, right?? You would think we had enough excitement for one day...Hell no! We still had so much to do! We headed down to Venice Beach where we were to meet up with our friend Melissa for dinner and to stay the night in Long Beach. After what seemed to be forever (the traffic out there is out of this world!!) we finally got to Venice Beach pier in time to see the sunset:



There were people still out there surfing when we took these pictures! What a bunch of beach bunnies!

Stay tuned for Part 2 which includes hanging out in "Fangtasia" from True Blood, La Jolla seals, the Ravens game, and more! Hope you all come back and read all about my adventures and how I stormed California...on my own two feet...




Until the next step bloggers... 




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Day 2 is in the Books!

Today was an awkward day for me. Usually when I don't eat for long periods of time, my stomach feels like it wants to eat every organ in my body...and you can hear it trying from a mile away. However, today I didn't feel hungry at all until the late afternoon. Weird...??

Anyway, I woke up later than I wanted to today (8:45) but I needed to get a move on because I had a final at 9:30. I did a mix of jumping rope, jumping jacks, high knees, and butt kicks to get my heart rate up for a little bit and then I did what any working girl-on-the-go would do...COFFEE AND WATER TO GO PLEASE!

Today I was determined to drink at least 110 oz. of water (which I should be doing anyway--even though it's way more then half of my body weight). I stole 2 water bottles from my fridge (the one thing I absolutely HAVE to have in my refrigerator at all times)...and I packed my coffee just with some skim milk and Stevia (just like yesterday!)

After destroying my final (in a good way!) I came home to make some breakfast--the Protein Pancake! Personally, I don't care for the mix of ingredients in this meal (flaxseed, blueberries, bananas, protein, and egg whites) so I opted out of the banana and had it on the side!



It looks like a small amount but it is very filling! In the awesome Maryland cup? Water!

We have company coming this weekend from Georgia so I went to cleaning the house! Sometimes putting some "elbow grease" in it feels like a workout in itself!

Thanks to Sean, I got my oil changed in my car today but not before I had my amazing snack I consumed yesterday (half an apple, peanut butter, and granola!)

Other than that I really didn't get hungry throughout the day...


Once home I made a Protein Shake (the same as yesterday) and did a workout. Thanks to Jillian Michaels I once again completed the 30 Day Shred for a 2nd day in a row...Level 1. I was definitely feeling rather sore from yesterday, especially in my calves and pecs but I even went on to do a workout from her 6 Week Abs DVD... Do work!


Thankfully, I had some left over fish from yesterday so I heated that up with a mix of veggies (carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower) for dinner!


Nom nom nom...





Thanks to a little online retail therapy:


I am ready to go to sleep!


Thankfully my Cinnamon Apple Tea always puts me in the mood for bed!

I love my Starbucks coasters too!

I have an early wake up call tomorrow to meet up with my Baltimore Workout Crew. I love how these girls inspire and motivate me!

We have had to move our workouts inside--it's freezing!!


However, this is a view I would always get up for:


Beautiful Baltimore!

I will be back tomorrow to recap Day 3...Sorry Day 2 wasn't more exciting :(


I hope you all are excited for your Friday! May you embrace it with excitement and conquer it...on your own two feet...





Until the next step bloggers...

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

7 Day Slim Down and 30 Day Shred!

Ok so by now you all probably know that I have been super excited to book my trip to LA/San Diego for next week. Well, any vacation you take has the same reaction: "Holy crap! I gotta get into shape!" Well, let me tell you, I have the answer!

Thanks to the wonderful trainers of Tone It Up and their amazing Nutrition Plan (No seriously...you should get it!) I decided to start their "7 Day Slim Down" exactly one week before leaving for California. I won't give away too many details (so you all can check out these ladies yourselves!) but I will keep you all updated in hopes it sparks some of you to either create a challenge of your own and to hold myself accountable during this week!


So here we go! Day #1! The beginning of my slim down!

This morning I woke up a little later than usual (9:15am). With my family issues and the semester coming to a close, I think I was just so sleep deprived. However, I woke up super excited because I knew today would be the start of my week long journey. After drinking a big glass of water, I hit the gym for some cardio. I mixed up some running, biking, the elliptical, and rowing. I can't stand staying on a treadmill for long periods of time. I get super bored without any scenery or a buddy to talk to.

Meal 1: Though my day started a little slower and later than usual, I made the amazing Slim Down Scramble!



Of course I had to have my coffee and some more water! Don't hate on my Ravens and Navy love :) !


2-3 hours later, time to eat again!


Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of it because it was THAT good. However, as my mid-morning afternoon snack, I sliced up half an apple, spread them with about a tablespoon of peanut butter, and threw some honey almond granola on top. YUMMY!! I could eat that all day!

I know that lean protein is so important in the process of losing and maintaining weight, but honestly? I get tired of the same dishes time and time again. Healthy salad + lean protein = win? Wrong! SO for my lunch and meal 3, I decided to opt on the meats (especially since I had peanut butter as part of my snack).

Yes Meal 3 for me was a salad but it was a salad I did not have before and I actually enjoyed it.

Spinach, chickpeas, lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper!

Do you like my reading material for lunch? I love getting these things in the mail--especially since Trader Joe's is less than 10 minutes away from my house!

After some cleaning and studying for finals (I have one tomorrow! Eek!), it was time for my favorite meal of the day-- PROTEIN SHAKE! Adding things like almond milk and almond butter make this drink super yummy and one of my favorite "meals" of the slim down.

I needed to get to the gym, of course, to burn this fat off! However, looking at the clock. I knew I would have to wait in line for every machine I wanted to use (I hate this!) so I went to the next best thing: Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. I knew I would get a full body workout with her ass-kicking routines. In getting ready for my workout, I thought, "Why not do the 30 Day Shred as a challenge??" Why yes, Sarah, that's a great idea! So, let me ask you all this:

For those of you with the 30 Day Shred, would you like to join me on a 30 Day Challenge?? Let's see how great we can look after one month! We can do it!

With her great 3-2-1 technique in this DVD, I was definitely feeling my muscles burning in no time (Thank you weighted gloves and hand weights!) Her workout included strength, cardio, and abs...LOVE IT!

For dinner, I had some fish with light seasoning and some broccoli-- Lean and Green as K&K like to call it! I love fish and if I could I would eat it everyday!

And whoops! While making dinner (aka Meal 5) I totally forgot today was Wednesday which means I have class! Dinner to go! Thank goodness the class was short and it was a test prep for my final next week!

As I have been writing this post, I have been drinking my favorite:



Super yummy and definitely puts me in the holiday mood. Plus-- NO SUGAR, CAFFEINE, OR CALORIES! What more could you ask for??

All in all, Day 1 is complete and in the books. I am feeling good and plan on getting to bed early so I don't get hungry again and to catch up on my sleep!

Have you participated in a slim down? Are you going to join me in the 30 Day Challenge??

I will be back tomorrow for Day 2 updates, of course. Make sure you follow me on twitter as I update my followers and fellow Tone It Up sisters!


I am off to bed and going to prepare myself for Day 2. I am ready to conquer it...on my own two feet...



Until the next step bloggers...


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Friendsgiving!

Happy December everyone! Did you all enjoy your Thanksgiving?! (Which is my FAVORITE holiday!) Well, as most of you know my grandmother passed away on the 15th and her memorial service was on Saturday the 26th so my family did not have a traditional Thanksgiving. Leave it to the Baltimore Tone It Up Crew to change that though! We planned and created our very own Friendsgiving last week, something I needed and wanted to have.

You know how they say, "A picture is worth 1,000 words" ? Well, this is one of them...


Oh geez. This was part of our post-dinner photo shoot and we just had to do it.

This dinner was planned as a pot-luck, however, I don't believe I have ever seen so much food at a pot-luck before in my life. You might be wondering what was on our menu...brace yourselves...


  • Brie & pear bites

  • Butternut squash soup

  • Pesto, sun dried tomato & goat cheese pinwheels

  • Spinach salad

  • Honey roasted carrots

  • Zucchini pizza

  • Roasted veggies

  • Chorizo stuffed peppers

  • Chicken & Mediterranean salsa

  • Turkey & gravy

  • Broccoli

  • Green beans

  • Sweet potato pecan casserole

  • Buckwheat salad

  • Cranberry relish

  • Pumpkin roll

  • Pumpkin chocolate chip streusel muffins

  • Pumpkin pie & apple pie pops

  • Lots & lots of wine


  • (When I have more time, I will attach the recipes for each menu item.) Oh yes, we did a recipe swap and I think I came home with more papers than orientation day at my job.


    Either way, to say that I became full was an understatement. With plates looking something like this:


    -it was hard not to become STUFFED!!

    We needed to showcase the fact that we were thinking healthy thoughts after our wonderful dinner. What did we decide to do? Oh, just some casual planking...


    Yay us! All in all, it was an incredible night filled with good times, many laughs (happy squatting!), amazing friends, and lifelong memories. We have only 2 1/2 weeks until our Christmas party so more recipes and fun pictures are to come with these girls! I will leave you with more pictures:

    

    
    Licked our plates clean!
    Can't forget about Molly's damn Pie Pops :)

    Pumpkin and apple filled Pie Pops- thanks Molly!
    My pumpkin rolls that we killed! Delish!
    My amazing friends! Myself, Caitlin, Lauren, Jami, Molly, Mary, Brittany, Annie, and Kate!
    This is going to be our Christmas card...expect one soon!

    video


    Thank you to Kate and Brittany for the pictures!



    Hope you all have set new December goals and are preparing to enter the new month...on your own two feet...



    Until the next step bloggers...