Happy Weekend

Btw- this is my 800th post!

IMG_20140214_183935

This weekend has been fabulous.  I’m very happy! Since I have done my fair share of moaning and groaning on this blog (despite it’s merry title), I thought I’d share some pure happiness with you all.   I didn’t really take any photos of the days (mistake but I was just busy being happy not worrying about photos)

So here goes.  I’ve had a good work week and enjoyed watching the Olympics despite NBC’s attempt otherwise.  It has been a little bit of a disappointment in certain ways but I still enjoy them as a whole.  I know I’m working my hardest and whatever happens workwise in my future I’m enjoying the time right now.  So there’s that.

I’ve also had a pretty good sleep week and am feeling 100% healthy for the first time in over 2 months.  Hurray!

Even though I was feeling good I was having a hard time motivating myself to exercise.  I can’t really explain why I just was.  So I called my trainer and explained the problem and as the amazingly supportive person she is, she came up with a great, creative idea.  She offered to teach me some aqua aerobics instead of our normal meeting.

I’ve wanted to do this but simply never had, so I jumped at the chance.  My friend Lisa was planning on coming down for a visit and so I asked her if she would like to join in on the fitness class and she did.  The three of us had a blast!  It was a lot more fun than I thought it would and definitely a good workout (feeling it today!).  It was just fun to do something different and with friends.  I would like to do it again.

IMG_20140219_163151After exercise we went to dinner and had some Mexican food and good conversation.  It was a good time.  We ended the night by going to see the much hyped lego movie and you know what- it lived up to the hype!  It was extremely creative, funny and great for adults and kids (without the winking double entendres I hate in movies like Shrek).  The look is great and I thought it was going to be a Toy Story rip off but it really isn’t.  I definitely recommend it.

It has something for everyone.  Go see it.

So yesterday was great.  Then today I went to my BFF Emily’s baby shower.  This is baby shower #3 but it’s actually the first one I’ve been able to attend.  Emily was the only person I knew but it was a really cheerful fun group with great food.  I love finger foods, dips and things on skewers.  It’s just delicious.

One of the great things about Emily is she is a wonderful present opener.  She lights up no matter what she gets.  You could give her notepads and she’d say ‘you know I have been wanting notepads’ with a big smile.  I hope to be a great gift opener too.  I think I’m pretty good.  It’s a skill that should be taught because it really makes people feel good and it’s such a commonly needed social convention.

This is an old photo of Emily and I but I love it.  Great friend.
This is an old photo of Emily and I but I love it. Great friend.

Anyway, it was a lot of fun.  Then I got home and talked to my Mom for over an hour.  She was driving home and so I entertained her.  We talked about politics, Olympics, philosophy, family, my life, her life, everything.  When my Mom and I talk like that it’s our way of saying we love each other.  She’s been under a lot of stress lately and I think it helps to just talk with someone.  So many people are unwilling or awkward about talking about politics but it’s been something my Mom and I have always shared.  I love it.

IMG_20140219_163230
little worried about my strabismus in this picture but oh well!

So then I ended the night by making a very special dinner.  I’ve been carefully buying all the ingredients for the ultimate BLT-  sourdough bread, mayo, thick cut applewood smoked bacon (roasted in oven), romaine and vine ripe tomatoes.   Perfect!

That’s my weekend!  How are you doing?  I hope you are happy like me.  Happy Weekend!

IMG_20140218_195826

Christmas Fun

So I have had a great start of the Christmas season!  It’s only the 7th but I have done so many fun things.  It all started yesterday with the singles 31+ dance at the Utah State capitol building.  I kind of hate dances but the idea of dressing up sounded fun so I went with some friends from my ward and we had a great time.  I asked someone to dance so I did my duty!

Capitol dance is so pretty!
Capitol dance is so pretty!
My friends and I from my ward looking cute from the dance!
My friends and I from my ward looking cute from the dance!
My earrings are super pretty
My earrings are super pretty
I got this belt from Faleblla Bridal on etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/FalabellaBridal
I got this belt from Faleblla Bridal on etsy https://www.etsy.com/shop/FalabellaBridal

dance 5

I never got to go to prom so the idea of dressing up for the dance sounded fun
I never got to go to prom so the idea of dressing up for the dance sounded fun

After the dance we all went Village Inn and the girls were very bubbly.  I was definitely the grown up of the group despite being the youngest.  They even flirted with the waiter.  It was pretty hilarious.

Finally I got home and at about 3 am I got to sleep.  Then today I met up with my parents and we braved the snow to go to the Christmas choral concert at BYU.  It was wonderful. Here is one of the songs as recorded on my phone.  It was the grand finale with all the choirs surrounding you and the orchestra.

My Mom, Anna and I at the BYU Christmas concert.  Great!
My Mom, Anna and I at the BYU Christmas concert. Great!

Before I went to the concert my Christmas tree was finally delivered. I had ordered it through a company called Five Star Christmas Trees and the experience was a disaster.  They had promised me they would deliver it yesterday between 10:15 and 2.  It didn’t come until today at 11:30.  I tried to get through on the phone and they were not helpful or very apologetic.

Then when I did get the tree today it was smaller than what I had ordered, the delivery man had no idea about the install that I paid for and I didn’t get the recycle bag I ordered.  Buyer beware!

Anyway, I got the tree decorated tonight and I think it turned out very beautifully.  I love it.  I put on 900 twinkle lights and my memory ornaments and framed photo ornaments.

My tree!
My tree!

I hope you are all enjoying your Christmas festivities!  Merry Christmas!

Both of my Christmas Trees
Both of my Christmas Trees

Happy Halloween 2013

For some reason October has historically been a tough month for me.  I think with the end of summer and cold weather my psyche rebels and is unusually sensitive to everything around me.  Sometimes I just feel sadness and it won’t go away, like a pit deep in my stomach trying to drag me down.

I don’t always have a good reason but it just seems to happen that way.  Do you have periods of the year that you are more susceptible than others to the blues?  March is also a tough month because it feels like winter is never going to end.

At least there is Halloween to look forward to in October.  Growing up my Mom made costumes for us every other year and we gathered quite box of dress-ups to play with throughout the year.  I was everything from Raggedy Anne, to Sleeping Beauty to Pocahontas.   Then during my college years Halloween kind of died out and I stopped dressing up (you think that would be prime dressing up time but not for me).

I went on a mission and one Halloween we were angels with little halos and another we wore fairy wings to the ward party.  When I got home I lived in Orem and then moved to American Fork with Megan and Camille.  During our 2 years as roommates we threw some great Halloween parties and I started dressing up again  I was Tracy Turnblat from Hairspray, a Geisha, and Dorothy.

We kept the tradition of the Halloween party going for a while but as is usually the case people moved, things changed and last year I found myself not doing much for Halloween.  Luckily I invited my friend Rachel McGary over and we had soup in pumpkins and chatted.  I also went to a church dance where I dressed up as superwoman.

This year came and October was particularly grueling what with date-gate and the great church meltdown I was hoping to do something for Halloween but nothing was coming up so I didn’t get a costume.  Then my ward announced a party on the 30th and my friend Melissa invited me to her Halloween party.

So, I began the happy task of finding a costume!  It was a welcome distraction believe me. I am not a sewer so that leaves me with either assembled costumes or purchasing a costume.  I usually go for the latter but it can be difficult as I am out of the sizes of some costumes and I don’t want anything with the word ‘sexy’ before it (it’s so strange how many things they are able to make sexy for Halloween!).

Eventually I settled on a witch and I am thrilled with how my costume turned out.  I think it looks like Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter.  What do you think?  I love it!

What are all of you doing for Halloween?  Whatever it is, I hope it is very happy and full of a lot more treats than tricks.  Sure love ya!

mcgonagall halloween2

Exercise and Weight Loss Success

Many of you know I believe in a healthy lifestyle or the Health at Every Size Movement http://www.haescommunity.org/. 

How do you determine the success of a health regiment or diet? I would wager that 90% of you would answer “weight loss”  or if you didn’t you probably would be thinking ‘weight loss’ in your head but saying something more socially acceptable.

Here’s the thing- THAT IS WRONG!!

Every day there seems to be more evidence that the link between weight, even obesity, and actual health is not as strong as we once thought.  This defies the logic of the ‘war on obesity’, Michele Obama, scores of trainers/dieticians but that doesn’t mean it is not true.

Read this book.  It will BLOW YOUR MIND

health at every sizeThink it is just one woman’s crazy enabling antics?  No.  The book has 7 pages of detailed recommendations from doctors, leaders, scientists etc.  (see articles for more back up

US News World Report 

New York Times, and New York Times

The Today Show

To start the book Dr Bacon (I know ironic last name) shares her testimonial.  Here it is directly from the book:

health at every size 2This quote might lead you to believe the book is merely anecdotal but its not.  There is real science to back up what she says about eating healthy, being happy and not worrying about weight.  She leaves no stone unturned answering questions about diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, bone density, and even has the most brilliant defense against gastric bypass I’ve ever read. I’m telling you it will change the way anyone, not just the obese, look at eating, health and exercise. Here is my favorite (this is also quoted in Amy Farrell’s brilliant book Fat Stigma):

UC Davis.

“In this study, a group of fat women was divided into 2 groups, one receiving coaching in restrictive eating (diet) and exercise, the other being encouraged to eat a healthy diet, listen to their bodies cues, to foster ways to engage in fun exercise and take part in a fat acceptance discussion group.

Significantly group 1- the traditional diet/exercise group- initially lost weight, but by the end half had dropped out; most had regained weight; blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had not improved and self-esteem levels had dropped.

In contrast, group 2 hadn’t lost any weight, but most stayed with the 2 year program; their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had improved dramatically; their self-esteem levels increased substantially; and they exercised regularly.  Encouraged to pay attention to their bodies, to stop restricting calories, to fight the discrimination they experienced as fat people, and to enjoy their bodies through physical movement and eating well- the non-dieters showed significant health improvements.  But, and this is the key point, they never became thin.”

Doesn’t that blow your mind?

One of Dr.  Bacon’s patients describes her battle and realization of her own worth so beautifully:

health at every size 3

I recently have become aware of the activist Jeanette DePatie, otherwise known as The Fat Chick.  She gets it.  I wish someone had explained this to me when I started exercising (instead I went into it expecting to lose 100 lbs in the first year. Sigh…)

I am happy most of the time. I love  my life most of the time.  I have times when I’m more fit than others but I’ve basically looked the same since I was 17 years old and I was always ashamed by that, like it was this big failure I could never overcome.  Now I just make sure I have clothes that fit me in lots of sizes and work out at least 3 times a week.  Would I like to be skinny?  Yes, but I’m finally not convinced I’d be any happier if I was (or healthier).  The guilt is for the most part gone.

I hope this encourages all of you.  I started my journey saying I was the Only Happy Fat Woman in America and I had friends who fought me on it.  They thought I was just being patronizing or disingenuous but it was true then and today it is still true (I really had someone argue with me saying I was basically full of crap.  Not true).  TV will make you believe you have to be miserable if you are fat (biggest loser sorry)  but its a lie! Be healthy, be happy, be human, have bad days, eat cake and then work out for an hour the next day, find stuff you love, therapies that work and live the best life you can.

Every time Tanya and I swim together people look and have a surprised expression.  I know they think ‘I’ve never seen a girl that looks like do what they are doing’ and that makes me so happy.  It may be my greatest legacy of all.

So thats what I have to say on that.  Get active.  Be happy.  Love life and Follow God.

And just keep at it.
And just keep at it.
Do something you never thought you could do.  I love MMA (kick boxing) and I'm not too bad at it!
Do something you never thought you could do. I love MMA (kick boxing) and I’m not too bad at it!
Do a fashion show when you find a cute pair of jeans.  Who cares!
Do a fashion show when you find a cute pair of jeans. Who cares!
Find something you love.  Even after all the swims I've done it still makes me smile
Find something you love. Even after all the swims I’ve done it still makes me smile
My trainer who has stood by me for 4 years. She is why I go to treehouse and she is one of my rocks.  I really love her.
My trainer who has stood by me for 4 years. She is why I go to treehouse and she is one of my rocks. I really love her.

I would also just add that my times in the water when I’m at my thinnest and best trained is about 3 minutes faster than when I’m not.  My recovery is much better but my time really isn’t.  Funny. It just goes to show what your definition of success makes such a difference in achieving it.  If I was only focused on times I’d never be successful.

DNF is Not a 4 Letter Word

For those of you who do not follow me on facebook you might not be aware of the recent drama in my life.  It started in the summer when my new friend Tanya and I started training together.  She was new to open water.  New to swimming in fact.  She is a student of my friend Kate who is a fabulous swim instructor for adults.  She’s introduced so many people to swimming and open water over the years and has helped me tons with my own stroke.

In July Tania mentioned to me that she wanted to prepare for a race but didn’t feel she would be ready for Deer Creek in August.  The next obvious choice was to take the trip out to Slam the Dam in Las Vegas at the beginning of October.  I have done this race in 2011 and it was a lot of fun.  I figured why not?  (I had signed up last year but various dramas kept me from attending).

So the training began and we got to blackridge pond as often as we could and we both saw improvement.  More importantly we had fun and became dear friends.

Tania and me.
Tanya and me.

Tanya is honestly good for my ego because she thinks I’m such a good swimmer.  I love to swim but pretty much always know I’m the slowest girl in the room and I’m ok with that.  I get the job done and that’s all that matters to me.  I’ve told Tanya repeatedly over these weeks ‘this is a hobby.  If it isn’t fun you are doing something wrong’.

That said, I’ve had nagging doubts about my abilities all along.  With my back and other chronic pain I haven’t been able to train as hard as last year, it was frustrating for me to feel like I wasn’t the swimmer I was just a few months ago.  These anxieties were made worse by the realization of a strict time limit at Slam the Dam.  For some unknown reason the park service would only give them until 11 am and then everyone has to be done.

This only gives the 1.2 mile swimmers 1 hour to swim.  The organizers have told me it is ‘plenty of time for a swim’ but they don’t understand or aren’t interested in nurturing new/nontraditional athletes.  My best time on a 1 mile swim is 53 minutes. At Deer Creek my time was 1 hr 2 minutes for 1 mile.

To make matters worse they sent out an email last week saying “If you are not adequately prepared mentally and/or physically, do not race”  What does that even mean?  I’m not mentally prepared for life let alone a race.  I mean who feels adequately prepared for something so monumental?  I bet if you asked Michael Phelps he’d tell you things he wished he’d done or worked harder on.  To me this was baffling and kind of mean-spirited. (and I begged for some kind of an accommodation but no go)

They have also made it clear that you will be pulled from the water if you go over time, which I’m ok with but I just wish the time limit didn’t exist.  It honestly makes me sick inside.  Sick for my friend.  Sick for me.  Sick for all the other new swimmers who will be discouraged from participating.  A side of me wants to throw in the towel and not make the effort to drive out there and be humiliated…

But where’s the victory in that? I’d say there is about a 50/50 chance depending on weather, current, course, strength, stroke etc that I finish the race.  My GSL time after all was 1 hr 24 minutes so not even close to the cut off time because of the strong current. (Thank you Utah races for not having a time limit or at least a strictly enforced one).

50/50…so I either succeed and have a triumphant moment or I get a DNF (Did Not Finish).  Even now there is a side of me that shudders when I say those words.  It is so outside of my nature to not finish, and yet isn’t it always a possibility in any endeavor?  At least anything worth doing can be a success or failure?

The funny thing is  the ingredients are nearly the same for a finish and a DNF- both have training, goal setting, driving, racing, happy friends and lots of people who say to me ‘I could never do that’.  The only difference is me and my pride.  Kind of silly…

I love what JK Rowling says about failure. ” It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default”

I don’t want to fail by default.  For me a DNF will be a DNQ (Did Not Quit)

swimmingHow do you guys deal with DNF’s and potential failures in your goals?  Its especially hard when it is so outside of your control.  What are your strategies?

I can definitely promise you this- I will not be swimming Slam the Dam again anytime soon.  If they only want athletes with a specific set of skills than they have got it.  This will be the last year myself or my blog are involved.  Too bad really…

I’ve gotten some great encouragement on facebook from the swim forums.  Thanks everyone!

Gwynnie Bee

Hi guys! I wanted to tell you about a cool new service for plus size fashion.  Readers of this blog may remember my feelings on plus size fashion as featured on this blog http://smilingldsgirl.com/2010/10/16/a-note-on-plus-size-fashion/ 

However, bad fashion aside one of the problems bigger girls like me has is that our sizes can fluctuate greatly depending on a ton of different factors.   I’ve changed sizes in as quick as a month both on the upswing and downswing.  This can be extremely discouraging and expensive.  Most of the time it leaves us girls wearing frumpy clothes that are too lose or tight (both depressing).  You don’t feel pretty but you don’t want to invest in new clothing that you may only wear for a couple of months.  So you end up buying something cheap that is hardly flattering.  Basically you settle.

Well, someone has finally figured out a solution to this problem.  Its called Gwynnie Bee.  It is basically the netflix of clothes.  You log on to the site and then build up your ‘closet’ full of shirts, skirts, dresses and blazers (no pants for some reason?) and all of them are size 10 to 30 and designer names.  You can then pick a plan ranging from $35 for one piece of clothing, $59 for 2, $79 for 3.  For basically the price of a pair of jeans you can look fresh and new.

It only takes 2 days to send you your clothes and it includes a usps bag to seal up the garments when you are finished.  Then in 2-4 days you get the next items on your list.  Here’s an overview

Don’t you think that is a clever idea?  My only concern is that I need pretty modest clothes because of my religion and they have too many short dresses (I am also 5 ‘8 so what is short to me may be just right for some).  Right now you can try for free for 30 days.

http://goo.gl/pSDOfQ

What do you guys think?

2 of the looks I got in my gwnnie bee.  What do you think?
2 of the looks I got in my gwnnie bee. What do you think?