Monday, November 29, 2010

Mamavation Monday

Over the past few weeks, I've honestly completely lost track of my weight loss/progress. Between a visit to Indiana to see an old friend and Thanksgiving, things just haven't been spectacular in the eating department.

Time for a clean slate. My weight is 247.6 lbs as of this morning.

A lot of times (meaning every year) I tend to assume Thanksgiving-Christmas is just a time for bad eating. This is absurd. There are FOUR weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas. There is no need to eat unhealthy that entire time, and frankly I think it's ridiculous that people use the holidays as an excuse. Yes, we may over-indulge on these days...but they're just that: DAYS. Not weeks. Not months. I enjoyed myself on Thanksgiving, and I plan on enjoying myself on Christmas as far as food goes...but my goal this year is to not slip into bad habits during those in-between weeks.

Thanksgiving is behind me, left-overs are gone, and the kitchen is once again bare. I say good riddance. NO. MORE. TURKEY. It's time for me to go to the store and stock up on healthy, yummy stuff and get back on track with my weight loss.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Why Pastured Eggs Are Better



(source)


I've never been a huge egg fan.

They were ok, but I didn't wake up in the morning craving some fried eggs. Occasionally, I would enjoy some eggs over-easy but ONLY if there was toast for me to dip into the yolk. Scrambled eggs were ok too, but again...not the biggest fan in the world.

In fact, I was never a big breakfast eater. I could never bring myself to eat as soon as I woke up and refused (REFUSED!) to wake up early enough to allow myself the amount of time to eat breakfast. Sleep > Food.

On the off chance that I did eat breakfast, it was usually cinnamon rolls on Sundays before Sunday School, or some non-breakfast item. I distinctly remember eating Spaghetti-O's for breakfast one morning when I was 6 or 7 and then throwing them up on the bus on the way to school. Nice.

I know breakfast is good for you. I know it prevents you from binging the rest of the day (I was always STARVING by lunch) and boosts your metabolism, so I recently made a distinct effort to start eating breakfast. I decided on a protein-rich breakfast because I just generally enjoy savory foods more than sweet ones, and the only easy sweet breakfast that's fast and easy are smoothies. I don't think the rest of my household would appreciate our exceptionally noisy blender before everyone else is awake.

So I logically came to start buying eggs. Again, I thought they were just "ok"...I didn't wake up craving my breakfast, but in general didn't mind eating it either. I then started to do some research on food and decided to start buying free-range eggs. They tasted about the same, but I was confident I was getting more nutrients and felt good that those chickens were being treated better.

Then I started to do MORE research. As it turns out, "free-range" chickens don't generally roam around outside in pastures, they simply have to have access to it. I thought to myself, "wouldn't they logically WANT to go in the pasture sometimes?" But it was obvious (after research) that they really didn't venture outside much. First of all, most of these free-range cartons also boasted that the chickens were fed an all vegetarian diet. Sure their corn and soy might not be genetically modified, but soy isn't the best thing for you regardless, and chickens are DESIGNED to eat worms and bugs. Just like I don't think vegetarianism is the wisest choice for humans (since we were created to be omnivores), I feel the same about chickens.

So I bought some local, pastured eggs. I saw the eggs at my local Whole Foods and decided to give them a try. I e-mailed the farm owners (who are about 30 miles from where I live) and asked them how they raised their chickens. They're put on rotating pastures and allowed to eat pretty much whatever they want to from the field, including bugs and worms.

The first time I cracked open one of these eggs, I noticed an IMMEDIATE difference. Instead of the muted-yellow yolks I saw in both "conventional" eggs and the free-range ones, these yolks were bright orange. A more vibrant color is an immediate indication of more nutrients. The eggs also seemed larger (despite the chickens not being given hormones). As soon as I took the first bite, the taste was also incredibly different. I would describe them as "creamier" or "denser." They were divine. For the first time in my life, I can't wait to eat breakfast tomorrow morning so I can have some more.

Not only do pastured eggs simply taste better, but research indicates they're better for you. They can have up to 40% more omega-3 fatty acids, 10% less fat in general, and up to 35% less cholesterol than conventional eggs OR organic, free-range eggs that aren't pastured. They're also higher in Vitamin A, D, and E due to the chicken's being in the sunshine. For every pastured egg you eat, you'd have to consumer 3-5 conventional eggs for the same number of vitamins.

So, if you can, I highly recommend finding a local farmer (or a store that sells eggs from local farms) that you can buy PASTURED eggs from. The taste will pull you in, but the nutrition will give you peace of mind. They're also cheaper than those organic, free-range ones from hundreds of miles away. JACKPOT!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Embrace the Bacon

For the past few weeks, I've been pouring over blogs such as Keeper of the Home, The Nourishing Gourmet, and Cheese Slave. I'm a little bit obsessed with FOOD PORN.

I used to watch the Food Network all the time and drool over Paula Deen's cream and butter soaked everything. I also had some very vivid dreams about Sandra Lee style "table-scapes". I realize I'm a nerd.

Then I realized I was unhealthy. Not just fat...because that was pretty obvious, but I realized although I'm young and still in pretty good health at the moment, my life would not remain so unless something changed. Enter: weight loss.

For the past several months that's what I've been concentrating on. At first, like any other "normal" dieter everything I bought was fat free, sugar free, boneless, skinless, and flavorless. I was not a happy camper. Gradually, I started doing more and more research and what I found was extremely obvious, yet surprising.

You see, over the past 60 or 70 years, our scientists have made gigantic discoveries about the human body. We only need x amount of calories and there are different types of cholesterol, and this type of food can do this and this other type of food will do that and so on. Enter the world of diet food. Low-fat, low-calorie everything. So logically with all of these new discoveries and creations people started eating healthier, maintaining healthy weights, and living full, active lives. The End.

Only except that's not what happened.

We, as a society, have gradually been becoming more unhealthy, in the midst of all this diet food hype. HOW CAN THAT BE?! Clearly something else has come into play. Processed food-like substances.

Yes, back in the day my grandmother cooked with lard (gasp!), drank whole milk, and probably didn't waste a whole lot of her time worrying about dark meat and light meat and trimming fat. People often say they didn't know any better back then...but look how much healthier they were. My grandmother is nowhere near obese, and meanwhile I'm sitting at 243 pounds and have probably shoved more "diet food" in my mouth in my lifetime than she could ever imagine.

That's why I'm embarking on a new journey to health. I hope I'll lose weight on the way. The more I research, the more I believe that processed foods of any kind not only damage our health (obviously), but actually prohibit weight loss.

Of course I'm not going to go out and stuff my face full of bacon and eggs, everything needs to be in moderation. But eggs are one of the most nutrition-packed foods out there. And bacon? When it comes from a healthy pig can be nutritious too. Some fats are essential for mineral and vitamin absorption and digestion!

So, (moderately) bring on the bacon! Bring on baking from scratch! I'm not afraid!

Here are some of my "food goals." I'll probably be introducing one or two a week. Something I consider "big" will be my only focus for one week (like baking without refined sugar) or I might do a few small ones in the same week (like making my own mayo and dressing).

-Eat more fish
-Pastured, organic eggs
-Grass-fed beef
-Organic chicken
-Organic milk/dairy products (cultured when appropriate)
-Fermented vegetables
-Soaked/sprouted grains
-Plant-based diet
-Local foods when available
-Bake my own bread
-Make my own yogurt and kefir
-Make my own mayonnaise
-Make my own salad dressing
-Remove refined sugar from my diet except on special occassions
-Make broth
-Fermented vegetables
-Make my own pasta
-Drink non-homogenized, pasteurized at low temps, whole milk

Check back to see my progress!

Mamavation Monday 11/8




I lost 2.0 lbs this week! w00t!


The funk I was in last week seems to have dissipated this week. I'm adjusting to the winter weather and I've (mostly) gotten over my illness.

I'm still struggling with my schedule issue. Since I'm currently not working outside the home, I tend to slip into a feeling of laziness that is detrimental to my whole day. Lame!

My focus this week will be eating as clean as I can for as cheap as I can. It's a fine balance between saving money and eating a diet full of whole, clean foods. On one end, you don't want to drop a ridiculous amount of money on fresh produce (in November) and high quality meat, but on the other you don't want to reduce yourself to eating everything out of a can. I'll let you know how this goes!

Lastly, and completely unrelated to anything that has to do with Mamavation, I got a hair cut yesterday! Before, my hair stopped right at my elbows and now it's just above my shoulders. I donated what was cut off to Locks of Love, thus the haircut was free! w00t! Frugality at it's best!

Here's a before and after for your viewing pleasure (you're welcome)





PS - I just noticed the difference in weight in my face! Am I just seeing things?


Hope everyone has a great week!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mamavation Monday


Honestly, I really didn't feel like writing this post today (which is why it's late).

I wasn't avoiding it because I gained 2 lbs (grrrr!), but I've just been feeling lazy. It's "that time" and the weather just turned cold here, so the two things mixed together make for a rather zonked-out feeling CJ!

I had a pretty decent week with eating, it's not like I binged on a box of donuts or anything, I'm just feeling a little blahhhhhhhhh

I've also had some chest congestion starting a little earlier today, so I'm praying that goes away soon and doesn't develop into anything else.

Honestly, these past few weeks have been a little difficult for me. This new schedule (or lack thereof) while I'm looking for a job has just utterly demotivated me from doing anything. Totally lame.

On a lighter note, I've been reading a lot from the blog Keeper of the Home recently. If you haven't checked out Stephanie's site, I highly recommend it!

Topics covered include:
Homeopathic Remedies
Baking with soaked/sprouted grains
Cooking from scratch
How NOT to eat organic (as in, prepackaged and processed food is still expensive and just unnecessary even if it's USDA Certified Organic)
Baking with honey
The raw milk debate

I will tell you, her blog convinced me to give Kefir a go. Several months ago I would have NEVER IMAGINED anyone could convince me to drink it. I've only had one class so far, and it was a little sour for my liking. I added some raw honey to it and that helped tremendously. I don't think I'll be drinking a tall glass of this with dinner, but from what I've researched on it, the benefits are definitely worth a small glass every day or two.

Also, her grocery budget is low. I'm talking crazy low, and she lives in Canada...from what I know, food there tends to cost more than it does here in Kentucky. It makes me embarrassed to admit how much I spend on groceries a month (so I won't). She has some great posts and Q&A's about how to lower your food costs while still buying whole, natural, organic, REAL ingredients (Hint: make from scratch).

I'm going to try and get my act together a little bit more this week. A very small, additional goal I'm setting in place for myself is to get up and put actual clothes on first thing in the morning. Pajama pants just naturally make you want to lounge around, am I right?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Mamavation Monday 10/25

This post is going to be short and sweet.

This week was pretty good for me. My eating was pretty good except for dinner yesterday (we were celebrating my dad's birthday).

I'm not going to get bent out of shape over one less than perfectly healthy meal. One dinner isn't going to make me or break me :)

I've been considering joining a CSA this upcoming year and found one here where I can get produce, eggs, beef, and chicken for a little over $800 (for April-October). That comes out to about $30 a week. We definitely spend more than that on those items at the store every week. Right now I'm thinking "why would anyone NOT do this?"

If you've joined a CSA in the past, what did you like/dislike about it?

Here's my scale pic for the week:



I lost 2 lbs
! w00t!!

Thanks once again to Subway for sponsoring Mamavation this week! They're giving away a $50 gift card from Lulu Lemon, a green Gaiam gym bag and yoga mat

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear Random Parent

Dear Random Parent:

When I'm out walking my dog at 11:00 at night waiting for her to take a crap, the last thing I expect is to see a 3 or 4 year old wandering around ALONE.

Logically, I asked the child if he knew where his house was BECAUSE I WANTED HIM TO RETURN SAFELY.

I would appreciate it if the next time I find your toddler wandering around at night since he "does it all the time" your redneck ass doesn't accuse me of suspicious activity. Asking your son where he lives is in no way an attempt to break into your house. I was trying to return him.

Also, please don't get in my face about how my dog licked your kid. Unlike you, I'm a responsible adult and am aware that my dog has never and would never bite anyone. She's the friendliest dog I know. PS - your kid was laughing and having fun with her.

Lastly, I do not recommend you let your child who isn't even old enough to be in kindergarten roam around ALONE, AT NIGHT. That's just stupid.

I sincerely hope you get your act together for the sake of your child. If I ever see him roaming around alone at night again, I WILL call CPS.

-CJ

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is This How Lindsay Lohan Feels Everytime She's In the Tabloids?

To my Mamavation Sistas-

Thank you SO MUCH for the continued support throughout the past few days. Yall mean more to me than you'll ever know.

As for the twitter idiot: they apparently weren't the brightest crayon in the box and a few of their tweets pretty much confirmed my suspicions as to who they are.

They are NOT a member of the Mamavation Sistahood (as if any of you would ever say those things!).

Unfortunately, when I was campaigning to be the next Mamavation Mom, this let pretty much everyone I know "in real life" what I was doing. Although 99.9999% of those people were supportive, ONE was not. It's really a shame how one person makes everyone else look bad.

This person was not a current friend, although we do have many mutual acquaintances.

I deeply apologize that my campaigning brought all of this unnecessary drama to the mamavation hashtag on Twitter. Again, thank you ALL for your love and support.

I'd like to say that I didn't let this person get the better of me, but lots of what they said (whether true or false) stirred up the same feelings I've had since I was a little girl. Nothing like someone preying on your weak spots to make you feel a little insecure.

Hopefully in a few days, I'll be prepared to show that person how WRONG they are. For now I'm just trying to wrap my head around why someone would say such terrible things.

If you have any concerns regarding anything this person tweeted out, please let me know.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mamavation Monday 10/17/2010

Hello ladies!

So, this week has been a little bananas. I've been busy with getting things straightened out for school, tests, and TRYING not to stress over this Mamavation campaign on top of the usual stuff.

I took a little time to relax and enjoy the beautiful weather this weekend and it was FABULOUS!

Here's this week's scale pic:


I've lost 2 lbs since last week!
w00t!

This is also my official starting weight for the Move It & Lose It Challenge (if I'm not selected as a Mamavation Mom)

I also must take the time out to apologize to my mother since she was mortified that her daughter posted pictures last week without taking that toe nail polish off. Sorry again, Mom.

Here are my before pics:














Any my measurements:

Bust: 42"
Waist: 41"
Hips: 50"
Rt Arm: 19.5"
Lt Arm: 19.25"
Rt Thigh: 30"
Lt Thigh: 31"

Sexy

Honestly, seeing the rather horrifying pictures of me (and posting them for the world to see) reminds me of WHY I started Mamavation in the first place. I saw pictures of me at my sister's wedding and was so upset not only out how BIG I was, but by the fact that these are my sister's wedding pictures that will be around forever.

I felt like a giant sore thumb that just stuck out and ruined all of her wedding pictures. It might seem trivial to some, but it was devastating to me.

I'm going to try to not let this get me down, and just use it as a motivating factor for what I'm here to do: GET HEALTHY!

I did my EA Sports Active workout on Saturday and it was a LOT harder than I was anticipating. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but it kicked my butt! I also did 150 jumping jacks every day which definitely got my heart racing and did 150 mountain climbers 3 days this week. On top of that, I bit the bullet and started Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred again. That woman is going to kill me!

Good luck to all the other finalists! Can't wait to see who's chosen to be the next Mamavation Mom! Don't forget to join us at the Twitter party Monday night from 8pm-10pm EST. You can RSVP here

PS - Polls close for voting for the next Mamavation Mom on Monday at 9pm EST. If I inspire you, motivate you, make you giggle, or even if I make you cringe, please take the time to go VOTE FOR ME HERE. <3

Monday, October 11, 2010

$50 VISA Gift Card Giveaway


Enter to win a $50.00 (USD) Visa gift card!

All you have to do is VOTE for me (@CJinKY) over at Mamavation.com to be the next Mamavation Mom.

From Mamavation.com:

As a healthy living bootcamp, Mamavation™ is an opportunity for two moms (Mamavation™ Moms) to change their lives together by entering into a 7 week healthy living boot camp created to give them the tools they need to succeed. The will receive a professional nutritional plan created by Cynthia Pasquella @CPasquella and a fitness program created by Tracey Mallett. They will also receive Earth Footwear, an EA SPORTS Active, Tracey Mallett and Tae Bo DVDs. The program was created and is managed by @bookieboo, with the goal of teaching moms how to live life better. The Mamavation™ campaign plans to give them the tools they need to succeed, in hopes that they will create a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their families.




Then tweet out the following message:

"Vote for @CJinKY to be the next #Mamavation Mom and enter to win a $50 Visa Gift Card #Giveaway http://bit.ly/az9CWc Pls RT"

Then come back here, let me know you voted, and link your tweet. That's it! You can vote once from your computer and once from your phone, so if you do both that's a maximum of two entries.

Note: This Giveaway *is* available to those outside of the US, but the $50 is in USD and Visa will charge a 3% international transaction fee.

*offer only valid if I'm selected

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Mamavation Monday 10/11/10

So let's start off with the scale picture:



Please disregard the chipped nail polish.

So, I can't say for sure what's up with this weight. I figured I gained weight over the past few weeks...but some of the weight being registered may or may not have to do with the fact that I had to buy a new scale because my old one was destroyed when my apartment flooded.

Sigh

This new scale is actually pretty crappy and I may or may not return it and get another. I haven't decided yet.

The Good:


I actually ran this week. TWICE! I really am not a fan of cardio unless it involves dancing around like a crazy person (see my post on this here) because I can't seem to get my breathing under control. I have to stop and catch my breath WAY before my muscles tire. Is this normal?

Regardless, I powered through two runs that were approximately a mile. The distance isn't fabulous, but it's a push for me and that's all that matters.

The Bad:


This past week was better with what I ate, but still not spectacular. I didn't gorge on fast food or anything, but my choices could have been better. This will be my focus this week.

The Ugly:


This morning, I tried mixing some greek yogurt, cottage cheese, peaches, and pumpkin pie spice for breakfast. It tasted great, but I could NOT get over the texture of the cottage cheese (I don't think I had ever tried cottage cheese before today). I tried eating it slowly, fastly, in big bites, etc. I just couldn't get past it. I think I'll have nightmares about those chewy, lumpy curds in my teeth. Someone suggested I use an immersion blender to blend it into a smoother texture, so I may try that once I get over my PTSD from the incident this morning. More than likely I'll just skip the cottage cheese and use greek yogurt only.

Other News:

Subway is this week's blogging carnival sponsor for Mamavation. They're giving away an iPod which would be FABULOUS since mine just bit the dust.

As of right now, the finalists for the Mamavation campaign haven't been announced. Good luck to everyone else who applied! If you haven't yet, please take a few minutes to view my application video here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cardio the Fun Way (aka How To Make an Ass Out of Yourself)

Ok...so some people think standard cardio workouts are fun. Running, ellipticals, cycling, etc. I am not one of those people.

Don't get me wrong, I love the feeling I have after a cardio session. In fact, in my state of semi-unconscious, out-of-breath delirium, I think to myself, "I should totally do that again!"



However, I do not consider cardio to be fun. I think it's great (and by great, I mean that I'm insanely jealous and envious) that some people do...but I just can't become a crazy fanatic. Taking out years of pent up aggression and beating the crap out of something (aka kickboxing) is more my thing. After years of doing kick-lines Rockettes style in my dance classes, I best be putting all that money spent on lessons to good use!

Anyway, I have discovered a way that cardio CAN be fun.

(Note: I am not a personal trainer by any means. I don't even look like one. I look more like I ate one. Please do NOT consider this to be professional work-out advice. This is simply something I do because I enjoy it.)

Last Christmas, my friend Amanda and I were putting up a tree and listening to some ultra-awesome Christmas music. At one point in between randomly tossing tinsel around and trying not to break any of the hot pink bulbs, the planets aligned, clouds parted, angels started to sing, and Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas" came on.

So what can two ladies do during such a heavenly moment? That's right my friends...

CHRISTMAS CARDIO DANCE PARTY!


Amanda and I danced and danced and danced until we were both sweating, red in the face, and completely out of breath. It then struck me what a fantastic work-out this could be. Ever since then, when I'm just not in the mood to do anything serious (which is always) I'll load my iTunes, select an upbeat playlist, grab my 3 lb weights, and proceed to make a complete jackass out of myself.

Jumping on the couch, shaking what my mama gave me, and pumping my arms with the weights until I just can't do it anymore.

It's fabulous.

(Another note: If you DO decide to do this, please be careful. Although I'm overweight and you wouldn't know it by my moves, I have had professional dance training and am fully aware of how much I can stretch and fling my limbs in a ridiculous manor before hurting myself. Also...much like Wii controls...beware to NOT throw the weights through any expensive items. DO NOT BE THAT PERSON.)

I'm also about 107% positive that my neighbors are now terrified of me. I consider that an added bonus.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mamavation Application Video

Hello ladies!

Here is my video application to become the next Mamavation Mom




So, basically I want to be the next Mamavation Mom because I am SICK AND TIRED of being overweight. I've been overweight my whole life, and have finally decided it's time to turn my life around. I've lost about 20 pounds since May, but I still have about 100 more pounds.

100 MORE POUNDS!

I seriously need help getting this weight loss kicked into high gear. Please show your support for me by tweeting this out:

Hey @bookieboo! I want @CJinKY to be the next #Mamavation Mom. She has my support! http://bit.ly/zqUxa

Monday, October 4, 2010

Mamavation Monday 10/4

Hello ladies!

So, I have been decidedly absent from my blog and twitter for about a week and a half now. On September 23, my beautiful nephew was born...so I've been spending a lot of time soaking up his love.



Also, last Tuesday...my apartment flooded due to some piece of plumbing rusting through and falling off. I had just finished taking my state SRNA exam (which went well) when I checked my voicemail and found out about the water. For the time being, we're staying with my parents until they get the carpets dry, cleaned, and checked for mold and mildew.

Luckily nothing that important and expensive was destroyed, but my scale wasn't so fortunate so I'm not sure what I weigh. I'm getting a new scale at some point this week (probably soon), so I'll probably weigh myself on it...post that weight...and do any weight losses in the future from that point.

I'm honestly not that upset about the scale because 1. It was cheap...not some fancy, expensive kind. 2. I know I've gained weight

Between eating whatever was served in the cafeteria in the hospital while my sister was being induced and in labor (two and a half days total) and then coming to stay with my parents (home cooked southern food) and a schedule flipped upside down there's no way I DIDN'T gain. Perhaps the scale made an all-loving self sacrifice so I wouldn't have to stand on it and know the horror this week. That's the story I'm sticking too.

Hope you all have a great week! Thanks to Subway for once again sponsoring Mamavation this week.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Mamavation Monday

Hello ladies!

Let's start off with the weight situation. This week I maintained...didn't lose or gain one single ounce. I'm glad I didn't gain...but I thought I did really well with my food choices this week, so a big WHATEVER (talk to the hand) to you, Mr. Scale.

Also, over the past two days I've come down with some sort of allergy attack/cold disaster. I tried a neti pot for the first time and held my head upside down instead of tilted to the side. That's why using neti pots is now known as "medicinal water boarding" as far as I'm concerned. I also purchased some elderberry extract which tastes like it came straight from the seventh circle of hell. So...between the two, hopefully I'll feel better soon.

Our sponsor this week is Subway which as most of us know, is one of the best options for healthy food on the go. I'm not sure if I'll make it to Mamavation TV this week, since my sister is being induced Monday night (SQUEE!). We'll see how quickly she progresses and whether she wants to lovingly hold my hand and use my beautiful face as a focal point during contractions, or if she grows three heads and starts throwing things and roaring.

Hope you all have a fabulous week! This time next week, I'll officially be "Aunt CJ"...so look out for incredible words of wisdom and thought-provoking insight.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mamavation Monday 9/13

So this week, I seem to be a little more in the groove of things.

I lost 3 lbs, bringing my weight to 235.8. That puts me at a net weight loss of 20.2 lbs.

Even though I lost 3 lbs, which I'm very happy about, I still could have done much better. I didn't work out, and my eating could have been MUCH better. I was in the hospital a lot visiting a family member (no worries-they're ok!), which means I either ate hospital food (eww) or ordered something. I'm not going to stress too much about this because I was there supporting a family member and there wasn't a whole lot I could do about the food situation.

The next few weeks are probably still going to be bananas, because I'll be taking my state nursing assistant exam, *hopefully* getting a job, and I'm expecting a brand new nephew! This will be my sister's first child, and my first niece or nephew, so we're all pretty excited/nervous/terrified! My dear sister has entrusted me (or conned me) to help her make healthy and nutritious food for her and her family after Baby Alex is born, so this is definitely a motivator to find new yummy-yet-good-for-you foods.

Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Loss of Innocence

When I was in eighth grade, I had absolutely nothing to complain about. I mean sure...I complained (hello, I was a middle schooler), but really I had NOTHING legitimate to whine about. I had two fabulous, still married parents that loved me and pretty much gave me whatever I wanted within reason. I had a sister who, despite daily fights about who borrowed who's clothes without asking, looked after me and treated me more like a friend than an annoying little sis. I was growing up in a small, quiet town with virtually no crime rate. I could run around my farm all day and all night long without a worry. I was innocent, naive, and carefree - everything a 13 year old girl should be.

Then one day, 9 years ago today, I walked into my social studies class to find an image similar to this on the TV



I walked in right as a plane was hitting the second tower. I seriously thought there was an action movie playing in the background - until I heard the commentary of a news anchor. Some very horrified, unscripted commentary.

In an instant, my world was shattered. I didn't know anyone who might have been in danger...not by a long shot, but I did know I didn't feel safe. I mean, this was America. All of our fighting was done overseas. No one would ever bomb or attack us all the way over here. In my (barely) teenaged mind, things like this just did NOT happen in the United States. I don't know if I even recognized that things like this happened in other parts of the world. In my head, vicious attacks like this ended with World War II (like I said, I was naive..about a lot of things).

Suddenly, people were throwing around words that I'd never heard before - words like "terrorist" and "al-Qaeda". I couldn't seem to wrap my head around the fact that a COUNTRY wasn't responsible for this. In history, I'd always heard things like "X Country attacked Y Country" not "X terrorist group attacked the civilians of Y nation".

There's a time when everyone grasps the concept that the world is much bigger than they realize. It may not come when until they're 90 years old, or it may come when they're a 13 year old middle schooler. The day I realized that the world expanded beyond my small town in the country was September 11, 2001.

Where were you on that day? How did it effect you?


PS - Thanks to Lauren at Mommy is Rock n Roll for her post that inspired me to write this.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blogger's Block

Ah...blogger's block. I think we've all experienced it at some point. You know it's been a few days since you've posted, but you're just STUCK.

And in those time's, we tend to blog about how we don't know what to blog about...but just feel the need to write something and connect with people (ex: now).

Now, no one asked for my advice on blogger's block. My blog is still a newborn baby and people don't really seek me out for advice on internet writing. I'm going to give it anyway, in case someone just happens to stumble by here and read it.

It's been my (limited) experience that blogger's block is best cured by reading the blogs of others. I'm not saying if your fav blogger wrote something about her dog being neutered you should write that too, but if you think bigger picture (like "surgery" or "pet") I'm sure you will have your own unique story you might be excited to blog about.

My point is, when all else fails...read other blogs. Not only am I absolutely CONVINCED that reading is the best way to become a better writer, but it helps you connect with others.

Does a particular post pull at your heart strings and remind you of the time something happened to someone you know? Consider blogging about it. After all, our writing should (in my opinion) evoke emotion and connect with an audience. Use that to your advantage, fellow bloggers.

"He who trains his tongue to quote the learned sages, will be known far and wide as a smart ass." -- Howard Kandel

Quotes - I heart them.

A friend of mine once told me that he thought quotations are the uneducated's version of reading. But now I've gone and quoted him hating on quotes.

I do love reading...don't get me wrong, but I believe he is horribly incorrect when it comes to quotes. I have deep-seeded love for quotations - whether they be famous, funny, insightful, or witty.

" It is a good thing for an educated man to read books of quotations. " - Winston Churchill


Why yes, Mr. Churchill - I agree.

You see, quotes in no way replace a thought-provoking novel full of imagery and metaphors and themes. However, they do in fact let you know that you aren't alone. No matter how I'm feeling, I can always find a quote that perfectly describes it. Even when words fail me, I can trust that they haven't failed someone else. This does not make me feel unoriginal and it doesn't take anything away from the feelings I might have. Quotes that exactly describe how sad I feel do not make me happier. Quotes that describe how excited I feel do not take away from my joy. Quotes, for me, are a sort of haven. They give me solace because I know even if people I know can't relate to how I'm feeling, someone at some point in time can.

Our brains tend to generalize things to fit into certain schemas...so yes, I'm sure I have taken many quotes way out of context. I do not recommend taking my advice about quotations and putting them in a scholarly essay, because I do believe a lot of quotes are completely taken out of context. But who cares? Use quotes for your own peace of mind. Even if the situation of the author was different, the emotions were the same.

So the next time you find your feelings to be simply indescribable, look up a good quotation resource and feel at ease that someone "gets you" or "knows where you're coming from."

Monday, September 6, 2010

Tasty Tuesday - Roasted Potatoes and Frozen Veggies

Ok people...for the past few weeks I've been harboring a deep fear of winter. Not because of snow or ice or freezing miserable-ness, but because of food. See, I started this weight loss journey in late April...right when fresh fruits and vegetables were becoming bountiful. Now that fall and winter are approaching, I just don't know what I'm going to do without fresh fruits and veggies at my fingertips.

Life is hard.

So today, I embarked on a frozen/canned adventure. I'm really not a fan of canned ANYTHING. When I was younger, pretty much everything I ate came out of a can. Vegetables, ravioli, spaghettio-os, etc. That's probably part of the reason I ended up being over 200 lbs. Canned goods can harbor all sorts of nastyness, but I'm a broke-ass 22 year old with limited options. Here's how I made the best out of a non-ideal sitation, in preparation for winter cooking:

Roasted Potatoes and Frozen Veggies

Ingredients:

-1 can whole new potatoes (find a kind with very little or no added salt)
-Frozen Veggies (I used a California medley: broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots...but you can use whatever the hell you want to)
-Onion
-Garlic powder
-Creole/Cajun Seasoning
-Parsley
-Salt and Pepper
-Olive Oil

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Drain and rinse a whole can of potatoes. Cut up any larger potatoes to whatever size you like...I ended up halving most of mine. Add in desired amount of frozen vegetables. I ended up using about 1 cup...you can add less for fewer servings or add more for more nutritious and numerous servings. Honestly, I just used what was left in the bag. Chop about 1/4 cup of onion. Put these ingredients in a mixing bowl and toss with about 2 tbsp of olive oil.

Spread mixture out on a tin foil lined cookie sheet. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley, and cajun seasoning as desired. Really, you can season these however you want. I love cajun seasoning because it always brings something unique to the table. And I'm obsessed with New Orleans.

Roast in oven for 7-10 minutes. Flip veggies and re-season as necessary (note: I used enough seasoning the first time around so I didn't have to add any more). Roast anther 5 minutes or so until tender.

In my opinion, this is a quick and easy side dish you can make year-round. If you're making this in the summer, I highly recommend using all fresh ingredients. Adjust the cooking time accordingly - it will take longer since your potatoes aren't already cooked.

I also considered adding shredded cheese to the top of this in the last minute or two of cooking, but had already had enough dairy for the day and really didn't need the extra calories. I bet it would be delicious though!

Mamavation Monday 9/6

Hello ladies!

The past few weeks have been a little bananas for me, with me quitting my job and being in class all day for two weeks straight. That said, since August 23rd I've gained 3.8 lbs. Totally lame.

The first week of class I did great with packing my lunch...the second week, not so much. I got to know my classmates better and went to get lunch with them instead. I could have made way better choices, but didn't. I was also studying like crazy and fell victim to late night snacking...another bad choice.

Pretty much the only good thing I did last week was drink lots of water. I was constantly sipping it through class.

Hopefully I'll get a job as an SRNA soon, so I'll be able to establish a routine again. Looking forward to that day!

My goals this week are to try to avoid eating out, particularly fast food. I think that's what really killed me last week. I'm convinced a homecooked meal, no matter what it is, is better than most fast food options. Since I'm not working, I'm going to try to work out more as well. School has taken a priority these past few weeks, but my nursing assistant class is over now, so my days aren't as busy until I start working again.

Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Mamavation Monday 8/23





Hello ladies

This week was pretty good for me. I lost 1.6lbs which brings me down to 235.0. I definitely paid more attention to what I was eating this week, but didn't work out. I also didn't get on Twitter and follow the Mamavation hashtag as much as I should have.

However, I DID quit my job at the bank this week...and committed to a total and complete career change. I was having some anxiety about it this weekend, as far as how the money situation was going to work out for the next few weeks and if I'm really going to like this whole nursing thing. Everyone I've talked to about seems to think I'll make a good CNA (and eventually nurse)...because I'm so caring or something, so I suppose that's reassuring. I guess there are just always nerves when facing the unknown. Read more about the whole situation HERE.

School started for me on Thursday, and since I'll be going to CNA classes as well for the next 2 weeks from 8-4, I've been trying to get a head start on things. My teachers seem like genuinely good educators, so I'm pretty excited about that.

With this new CNA class, a tight money situation, and college classes all starting, it's really important that I meal plan and strategize this week. I'm not usually one for meal planning for an entire week...but I at least need to get a few days head start so I don't end up going through a drive-thru, spending money I don't need to spend, and consuming thousands of empty calories. At my old job, I had the luxury of coming home on my lunch break, but I'll have to pack a lunch ahead of time now. That makes waking up even earlier. I'm not so good at that waking up thing.

Anyway, despite how busy I'll be this week, I'm going to try and hop on Twitter more and hopefully make it to Mamavation TV Monday night to congratulate Jenny and Lisa on a well-done campaign! I can't believe it's almost over. Where did the summer go?

Lastly, Earth Footwear is sponsoring this week's blogging carnival. Since I'll be on my feet all day (or night) working in a hospital (hopefully) soon, I would LOVE a pair of these! @MMScarlett let me try on hers a few weeks ago, and was I got over the balance thing I was in love. And totally jealous.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'd Rather Wipe Asses Than Kiss Asses

So...I currently work in a bank. A bank that just so happened to be going under due to bad mortgages while our CEO kept assuring us we were fine and in the last quarter raised all these millions of dollars in capital but really we were sinking so fast the government refused to give us any bailout money and flat out told our misleading CEO (who had told all of us lowly branch employees to assure all of our faithful customers we were fine) we were pretty much EFFED. So this glorious bank was then bought by an even MORE glorious bank that charges fees for EVERYTHING (even lost debit cards) and never refunds any of these fees, and actually punishes employees who do give customers back their $7.50 because their wallet was stolen and has mysterious initials that don't quite have an explanation.

Shady.

So how did the free-spirited, beautiful, smart, talented CJ come to work for this bank?

It all started in the fall of 2006...

I was a freshman at a gigantic university. We're talking the number of students was triple the number of people in my home town. But I was ready. I was smart. I was prepared to show this university that I'd breeze through it, just like I had with all of my other academic endeavors. They should have been honored that I was a student there...and they were. They showed this by giving me a full tuition scholarship. I mean hell, if I hadn't chose to live in the dorms (and thus pay for student housing) THEY would have practically been paying ME to go there. That's how awesome I am.

But, things aren't always as perfect as they seem. Turns out I had a pretty horrific underlying and untapped social anxiety issue (or as I like to call it, "I Want My Mommy syndrome). Living in approximately 3 square feet with a stranger, sitting in a classroom with 250 other students, and not knowing a single soul wasn't really my thing. And by not really my thing, I mean I would have crying, sobbing, the world is ending panic attacks multiple times a day. In my dorm? Walking to class? The library? Inside a lecture hall? Yep. Had them in all of those places.

So I eventually just stopped going to class. I'd escape to hang out with my sister, go home to my parent's, or just drive around the city...anything to get off that damn campus. I powered through two semesters like this. Barely going to class, but still managing to do enough studying on my own to keep my GPA up.

After my first year, I just couldn't do it anymore. I was lying to my parents about my slipping grades and horrendous attendance and everything in my life seemed to be falling apart. I mean HELLO! I'm a smart kid...I do NOT drop out of college. Except I did.

So I took a part-time job at a bank, fully planning on taking ONE semester off and then getting right back to it. That didn't happen. A full-time spot opened, so I did that instead...because the bank wasn't so bad at the time. Then the newness of it all wore off, and all I could think about was going back to school. So I signed up to take two online business classes, with the intent of working in banking for the rest of my life. All was calm again.

And then I failed those two classes. Because I never studied or turned anything in. I failed out of college AGAIN. There were no social anxiety excuses this time around...I just simply didn't like the classes. You see, it wasn't business and finance in general that I liked about the bank. I liked my co-workers. I liked working and interacting with people. I did NOT like the monotony or the corporate BS. I especially didn't like the need to constantly be kissing someone's ass to keep the higher-ups happy. I signed up for ANOTHER business class online, and made it through with a good grade. Mostly because I absolutely had to prove to my parents that I could do it before they gave up on me completely and washed their hands of the entire situation.

So, here I am now. Signed up for one class this semester with a new major in mind: nursing. Now, nursing majors are required to be certified nurse's assistants. What's a CNA? That person you see cleaning up poop, or who pops in for a split second to take blood pressure, or who is changing sheets on a hospital bed is a CNA. Now...nursing programs do not require that you actually have this job at some point, just that you're certified. Most people will tell you that all CNAs do is wipe asses all day long. How chic.

But I've thought a lot about this...and my parents are being ultra-supportive based on my ONE online class I powered through last semester and my constant complaining and crying about how much I ABSOLUTELY HATE WORKING AT A BANK (oh mom and dad, how I love you so). So they've kindly encouraged me to take one nursing pre-requisition and a CNA certification class. They've also informed me to save what money I can and they'll consider helping me out so I can take a two week fast-course CNA class and get a job doing that instead.

After a lot of thought, I can only come to one conclusion.

I'd rather wipe asses than kiss asses.

Off the Wagon




I fell off the wagon. Not only did I fall off the wagon, but I rolled down a hill and landed in a ditch full of fast food. And it was glorious.

Until it wasn't anymore. I've actually been sleeping MORE (bedtime, 10:30...haven't done that in a while) but have been feeling exhausted, irritated, lethargic, and just all around bad. I blame you, McDonalds. I also blame my job...because I loathe it and like to blame everything on it.

The earthquake in Haiti? Violence in the Middle East? AIDS? All my job's fault. Assholes.

The fact that I haven't been to the grocery store in two weeks might also have something to do with this fast food clusterfuck. Oops.

But here I am, feeling like death and doing my Mamavation post a day late. Atleast it's here. I am ready to climb back on the wagon...and I know I have all my Mamavation Sistas there to reach out a hand and help pull me back up.

So what's been going on in CJ's life for the past two weeks? Well, I've pretty much ( say "pretty much" because I'm a commitment-phobic) decided on a complete career change. More to come on that later.

So this week...I pledge to go to the grocery store. And not buy boxed mac and cheese. I will buy whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and deoderant. I'm keeping this goal fairly simple because I'm coming out of a processed food tornado. And I'm starting classes for the fall semester. I need to ease myself back in.

On a lighter note, sometime between July 25th and yesterday morning, I managed to lose 0.8 lbs...so all hope is not lost.

If you see me around on Twitter this week (@CJinKY) please give me a shout out to make sure I really am back on the wagon, and not lying in the road several miles back.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Blog Hop '10



So...as all (or see it seems) of my Blogging and Twitter friends are at BlogHer, I've decided to join Blog Hop '10. w00t! I'm excited, as this is my FIRST blog hop.

My blog is pretty much brand spanking new (tiny, infant, baby blog) and has so far consisted of weight loss goals and weekly challenges. I also might have done a post about my dog (priorities...I have them). The hope for this blog in the future is to not only report weight loss, but also share recipes, healthy living tips, and some of my snarky sassyness. Get excited!

Edit: After further thought, I remembered that I also blogged about the BP oil spill and whether organic farms are really organic. All that important stuff and I remembered the dog post. Like I said....priorities, people.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Mamavation Monday

Hello ladies!

This is going to be a quick post as I had a busy, fun-filled weekend and it's late.

This week I lost 1.4 lbs bringing me down to 236. I now have a net weight loss of 20.4 lbs and a total weight loss of 23.4 lbs.

I'm really happy with this not only because it's a great loss, but also I now know that I can still lose weight even with all of my birthday celebrations this weekend. It just goes to show that one "bad" food day doesn't ruin everything.

If you read my last post, you saw that I met my goal of losing 22 pounds by my 22nd birthday. My mom asked me what my next goal would be and well...I'm not really sure yet. I'll think about that and let everyone know. Anyone have any ideas?

Gruve Solution
is sponsoring Mamavation this week. If you don't know what they're about, I seriously recommend checking them out. This looks AWESOME!

Update: Here's my very first vlog!

video

Sunday, July 25, 2010

First Goal Reached!




Hello ladies!

I'd like to start off by saying I reached my FIRST mini goal this week. I told myself I wanted to lose 22 lbs by my 22nd birthday and I did. Several days early I might add :)

I lost 3.6 lbs this week, for a total loss of 22 lbs and a net loss of 19 lbs.

I've never lost more than 5-10 lbs at a time in my life. Ever. My diets have usually ended after a week or two because they're just too strict. Through Mamavation, I haven't gone on a "diet"...I've completely changed the way I eat for good. What I eat now will still be what I eat after I reach my final goal weight. It's yummy, has gotten me in touch with my inner Rachel Ray, and is so good for me.

Every other time I've dieted, I haven't wanted to tell anyone...because of my imminent failure. Reaching this first girl has made me realize that even though some weeks I might gain weight or maintain, I can still get right back into the swing of things. I want to shout from the rooftops about my success and my changes in a very dramatic fashion. I want my life to be a musical about weight loss. Someone call the Disney channel.

Another high for me this week: You know how some people (family, close friends) will tell you that you look skinnier out of the goodness of their hearts? Like you really might not look skinnier, but they want you to keep going and to help motivate you so they tell you anyway? This has made me doubt every positive comment from the people closest to me. Do I REALLY look skinnier, or are they just saying that? Well...a co-worker of mine that had been on leave for several weeks (actually, she went on leave right about the same time I started Mamavation, and just came back this week) came up to me, grabbed all the loose fabric on my pants (someone call HR) and told me I looked like I'd lost a lot of weight. Angels from the heavens started to sing. I can trust that I look smaller...because this person didn't even know I was attempting to. She even went so far as to ask me how I was doing it, what I was eating, what I did for exercise, etc. I used to be embarrassed when people asked if I'd lost weight because that would be admitting that I was fat and needed to lose weight. Not this time. I was PROUD and EXCITED to share my success with her.

Moving right along...congrat to Rita Ann on SOTW! She's always hopping about Twitter encouraging others and sharing her own ups and downs. She totally deserves this!

Also, Katy Bowman from Aligned and Well is sponsoring this week's blogging carnival. I'm so glad to see that someone has created DVDs specifically designed to help with areas that might causes us pain or discomfort. I'm really interested in the Knees and Hips DVD, since I've already had two knee surgeries.

I hope all the women who went to BOB this weekend had a blast, and I'm still totally jealous that I couldn't go because New Orleans is only my favorite city ever.

Until next week!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Mamavation Monday 7/19





Sigh.

I really didn't want to write this post this week. It's the first time I've gained since starting Mamavation, and it totally sucks. Ok, it doesn't TOTALLY suck, because it's not like I worked out and ate great and gained anyway. Sure, I ate well a few times, but I ate not so well a few times too. I also didn't work out. Not once. I was totally lazy this past week and really just didn't feel like doing anything. I wasn't even on Twitter that often. My Google Reader has gone into hibernation. The only thing that was active this week was my scale - 3.5 lbs worth of active in the upward direction. Doesn't my scale know I'd rather be lied to?! Geez, scale. We. Are. Done.

So, after a long list of things I DIDN'T do this week, let's move on to things I did do. I took a mental vacation. I relaxed with my friends and family, and even reconnected with some people whom I love dearly, but hadn't seen in a while. I tried to not stress about too many things, which was great. Unfortunately my diet and physical activity level relaxed a little too much as well.

I'm not going to get too down about this, because like I said - at least I know what caused my gain. At least I'm not moving backwards for no good reason. That would be very tragic and disheartening. I didn't slip because I was in some sort of depressed/anxious state like I've dealt with in the past. I slipped because I was RELAXING and HAVING FUN. I'm not ok with the gain, but I can be happy that at least I had a good time and I wasn't glued to the couch eating my emotions.

So what I really need to start doing this week is everything. Eating well. Exercising. Tweeting. Blog reading. Tweeting and blog reading especially...because some days y'all are the only thing that keeps me going.

So since I haven't contributed anything else to the Sistahood this week, here's a nice Cajun recipe for all the ladies going to BOB (jealous)! This is a GREAT spin on a traditional burger that I came up with on the spot.

Eat this burger with a Chiquita Banana on the side, because they're awesome and sponsor the Mamavation Sistahood.


Cajun Turkey Burger


Ingredients:
4 oz Ground Turkey
0.5 oz Shredded Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 Medium-sized Green Pepper
3 or 4 Slices Vidalia Onion
Creole Seasoning

Mix the ground turkey, mozzarella, 1/4 of the green pepper (chopped into small pieces), 1/2 of the amount of onion (also chopped into small pieces), and creole seasoning to taste in a bowl. Form a turkey-burger patty. Place on pre-warmed grill (I used my George Foreman), close lid, and let cook for 4-5 minutes. If you're using an outdoor grill, flip halfway through.

Take the rest of the onion and green pepper, left in strips, and sautee in a pan with some non-stick cooking spray until caramelized (it took mine about the same time as the burger did to cook - convenient!). You can also sprinkle some creole seasoning on these if you want to.

Serve on a whole wheat sandwich thin (I toasted mine for just a bit on the George Foreman) with any "burger toppings" you like, along with the caramelized onions and peppers. Mine was deliciously simple with just some baby spinach leaves and mayonnaise. Disclaimer: If you're a lover of ketchup on your burger, it's been my experience that ketchup and cajun food do NOT mix well. Seriously, don't do it. It'll end up over-salted and just gross. Also, remember you don't have to add cheese, since cheese was already mixed in with the turkey meat.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mamavation Monday 7/12





Hello ladies!

This week's post will be a short one. I had an interesting weekend in which some personal things were dealt with, and didn't have much time for twitter, blogging, weighing in, or worrying about what went into my mouth. Everything's fine now (I hope)...so I'm ready to start a new week!

I maintained my weight this week, which I'm totally fine with considering I didn't weigh last week until Wednesday night...so it's only been about 4 since I last weighed. I'm still holding strong at 237. If you didn't see my tweets - that means I officially have less than 100 lbs to lose to reach me goal weight! Yay me!

Also, I'm hosting a Seventh Generation Giveaway on this blog. Please check it out and enter to win a boat load of Seventh Generation products!

Make sure you join us tomorrow night for the Twitter party announcing the two new Mamavation Moms! Good luck to all the finalists!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Seventh Generation Review + GIVEAWAY!


Hello my lovely blog readers! I'm proud to (finally) bring you my Seventh Generation review and GIVEAWAY!

First of all, I'd like to apologize for how long it has taken me to post this, but Seventh Generation sent me SO MANY goodies (and I was so far behind on cleaning...) that it took me a while to use all of them.

I contacted Seventh Generation with a prayer that they would be willing to sponsor a review for me to post. Honestly, I was expecting to wait a while for a response, and then MAYBE a small, travel-sized bottle of something. I would have been perfectly happy with that. Instead, this is what I got:


Disinfecting Multi-Surface
Disinfecting Bathroom
Disinfecting Wipes - 35 ct.
Laundry Detergent – F&C 32 oz
Liquid Fabric Softener – F&C 40 oz
Dish liquid
All- Purpose Cleaner
Auto-Dish Pacs
Glass Cleaner
Natural Paper Towels
Seventh Gen Recycled Bag

Ummm...HOLLA!

Another unexpected (yet fabulous) addition: @The_Megster got back to me the very next day. Call me old-fashioned, but I think that is a wonderful demonstration of customer service, and it proves how much Seventh Generation really cares about their customers. I would buy their products for that reason alone.

Except I have oh so many other reasons.

First of all (as most of you probably know) their products are totally environmentally friendly. Taken directly from their website (since they say it much more elegantly than I ever could):

"The company derives its name from the Great Law of the Iroquois that states, "In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations." Every time you use a Seventh Generation product you are making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing pollution, keeping toxic chemicals out of the environment and making the world a safer place for this and the next seven generations."

Sweetness. I love having products in my house that probably won't send my dog to the Puppy ER...ummm, because she likes to chew. It's also nice to be able to wipe down the kitchen counter without being weary of setting food on it again.

Other than the fabulosity that Seventh Generation does for the environment, their products work well. I'm talking really, really well. Just as good (better, in some cases) as all of those toxic cleaners.

Better, you wonder? Yes. Better. I used to use a name brand kitchen spray cleaner religiously. Then I used Seventh Generation's Disinfecting Multi-Surface cleaner. I'm telling you, this stuff cleaned off things you would think would take hours to scrub off in seconds. Homemade dough caked to the counter? No problem. Spaghetti sauce splattered onto the stove? Just a spray and two or three scrubs with a sponge, and it was spotless. I also think their Dish Liquid works better than the name brand stuff. If you've ever tried to scrub dried cheese off of a ceramic plate, you know what I'm talking about. It also doesn't have some obnoxious, synthetic lemon scent that mixes with three day old taco remnants that sends your gagging impulse into overdrive. Not that any of this has ever happened to me or anything. Because I wash all of my dishes immediately after use. And my kitchen counters are always 100% spotless. I don't even spill things when I cook....ahem.

Their paper towels are amazingness too; not only because they're made from 100% recycled materials, but because they're DURABLE. I swear, you could probably rinse, ring-out, and reuse those things many, many times.

I like the reusable bag too. Is it different from the other bags I own? Only if those aren't made from recycled materials. I really enjoy the fact that it doesn't have a store name branded across it (just Seventh Generation's), so I can walk into any store guilt-free and not feeling like some undercover spy...only not so much undercover.

Overall, I'm pretty astonished at how well these products clean. I can't say they ALL work better than toxic competitors, but a lot of them do. The rest work JUST AS WELL. And they don't release fumes that send you spiraling into some fainting/vomiting/light headed death-fest. Their products are definitely worth any extra money they cost...plus their are always coupons on their website.

So here's the GIVEAWAY (w00t w00t!!):

Receive the same package Seventh Generation sent me, which includes:

Disinfecting Multi-Surface
Disinfecting Bathroom
Disinfecting Wipes - 35 ct.
Laundry Detergent – F&C 32 oz
Liquid Fabric Softener – F&C 40 oz
Dish liquid
All- Purpose Cleaner
Auto-Dish Pacs
Glass Cleaner
Natural Paper Towels
Seventh Gen Recycled Bag

To enter: Go to Seventh Generation's website website, and come back here and let me know what product you would love to try the most. If you already use their products, which one do you like best?

Extra Entries:
1. Follow @SeventhGen on Twitter (1 Entry)
2. Follow me @CJinKY on Twitter (1 Entry)
3. Sign up for Seventh Generation's newsletter on their website (1 Entry)
4. Publicly follow my blog via Google Friend Connect (2 Entries)
5. Subscribe to my blog via RSS feed (2 Entries)
6. Tweet this out: "GIVEAWAY by @SeventhGen and @CJinKY!! Win a Seventh Generation Starter Kit. Ends 7/17 http://bit.ly/9z08Xx" (Unlimited Entries!)

Remember to come back and comment for EACH ENTRY. Comment multiple times for multiple entries (2 extra entries=2 comments). Winner will be chosen by random.org on 7/17/2010 at 9pm EST

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Mamavation Monday...errr, Wednesday


Hello ladies! Sorry my post is late this week. I was super busy with family activities this past weekend. I know, while you were pining for me I was off swimming and setting off fireworks. I regret nothing.

Except, I do regret what I ate. In hindsight, it wasn't THAT bad. It could have definitely been better.

Anyway, I did finally weight in today...so after 9 days, I've lost 4.5 lbs! See...a little indulgence never hurt anyone (seriosuly, I mean a LITTLE).

If you're keeping track, that puts me at 237.5 with a total loss of 18.5 lbs in 8 (and a half?) weeks. YES!! I'm pretty on track for my 22lbs by my 22nd birthday (July 30) challenge.

I think that although I indulged a little this weekend, kicking up my workouts definitely helped. And so did the heat, probably. I swear I sweated that entire 4.5 lbs out during my run on Tuesday. I also had to wrestle with my 60 lb dog while bathing her...because this dog LOVES any type of water except bath water. Of course. I'm not kidding about the wrestling either. My dad and I had to tag team holding/bathing her. If it had been another person instead of a blog, well...it probably wouldn't be appropriate to post it on my blog.

Also, congrats to the Top 6 chosen as Mamavation finalists! You ALL deserve this! Remember to go and vote every 24 hours!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mamavation Monday 6/28

Hello ladies!


This week, I maintained my weight. No gain, no loss. I weigh the exact same, right down to the ounce (come on, Mr. Scale...not even one measly ounce?! Not ONE?!). I have a goal in my head of losing 22 pounds by my 22nd birthday (July 30). Why? Because it sounds cool. And is a totally fun, yet doable goal. This week didn't exactly help, but at least I didn't gain!

June 22nd was one of my bestie's birthday, so there was the general tomfoolery that goes along with people in their 20s celebrating birthdays (because birthdays are still fun until you're 30). Since there was cake and flip clup...I'm actually pretty happy I didn't gain any weight this week. I'm not that upset I didn't lose any either, because a girl needs to let loose and have some fun *once in a while*.

The good thing about this whole weight loss thing is I'm starting to love cooking! Ok, I've loved cooking for a while...but now I'm actually starting to get good at it. Learning to take pleasure in this makes avoiding eating out or not pulling some processed frozen meal out of the freezer so much easier.

In other news, I'm having loads of fun getting to know some new (to me) mamavation sistas! I feel like this application process is bringing everyone closer together, which is great (I mean...I might cry)! Keep it up, girls!

This week, Lingerie.com is sponsoring Mamavation. They have a fabulous Plus Size section and WHOA...your hubby won't be able to keep his hands off you! If skanktastic (I mean that in a good way) ensembles aren't your thing, they also have some "normal" not-so-lacy-or-revealing items. Underwear, robes, that sort of thing.

Good luck this week to all the moms applying for the new Mamavation campaign, and hope everyone has a good week!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Unconditional Love: Not Just for Humans

My dog is out to kill me. She stresses me out. Every time her front paws touch my mattress and I hear that throaty cry, instant irritation sets in. And when I sit down to type, and her gigantic, thick-skulled head rests on my arm and drool coats my hands and keyboard, I resent the day I adopted her. I know that sounds mean, but seriously...this dog has chewed through countless small items PLUS a cell phone AND laptop. Despite these blatantly unforgivable short comings of hers, I still love the bitch.


Note the missing keys. Sorry for the poor quality.

A few months after I adopted her, I set off to buy her a new toy at the pet store (because she didn't have enough) with this grudge-filled love in mind. As soon as I walked in, I knew I had made a grave mistake. Standing in the entry way like a deer in headlights, my fight or flight sense kicked in to high gear. Annoyed that I’d driven 2 miles (TWO. WHOLE. MILES.) to this store, I ultimately decided to at least take a look around. Mistake number 2. The first aisle was nothing but an assortment of conveniently small pet goodies – specifically designed to be stuffed in a Christmas stocking decorated with paw prints. As if the idea of a stocking stuffed fuller than my own hanging above a high tech electric fire place wasn’t repulsive enough, I now knew that the pet toy making companies targeted this strange niche in the Christmas market. I blamed the dog for exploiting me and I needed a cigarette.

But did I turn around and leave? Nope. I kept browsing...mostly because I was bored. Then the visions started. Visions of my sweet puppy girl lazily chewing on a bone that had a beautiful red ribbon tied around it while laying under a Christmas tree. Visions of sneaking her bits of ham underneath the dining room table (because dogs deserve Christmas dinner too). Visions of her sitting ever so still wearing a Santa hat while I easily and gracefully snap a picture.

Those visions cost me approximately $50 that day. Yes, I bought my dog a stocking. Yes, it was stuffed to maximum capacity. Yes, the dog and I opened it together on Christmas (although she decided chewing on the tree was more fun than chewing on her brand new gigantic bone, wrapped in edible doggy wrapping paper {yes they really make that}). Once again, the dog had irritated me by using her cuteness to force me into wasting money.

A few months after that, I was taking her on a walk at night to her favorite tinkle bush. She spotted a squirrel, bolted through a field, slipped out of her collar, and was gone. That panic-y feeling I had in the pet store came back to me...but instead of being shot with a BB gun it was like having a nuclear bomb dropped on me. I ran back to the house to put on some shoes better suited for running (I was wearing flip flops) so I could hopefully catch her before she was lost forever. I also needed to call my dad (even though I was crying so hard that my speech had been reduced to babbles and gasps for air)...because every girl still needs her dad to comfort her sometimes. By the time I was done hysterically trying to explain to my dad what happened and got my sneakers on, I realized just how much this damn, cheweverythinginsight, drooloncashmere, whimperatfourinthemorning dog meant to me. I loved her like she was my own child. That dog comforted me when I was scared, lonely, and sad. She was always willing and eager to cover me in her sloppy licks. When I went through the darkest time in my life (another post...soon), she was the only thing I had to come home to.

When I eventually opened the door after slipping on my second shoe, my dog was prancing up the stairs to where I was standing, tongue lolling out of her mouth.

I could have killed her.

And now? Well...she still slobbers on everything. She still whines sometimes (though mostly when I won't let her on the bed with me...and how can you be mad about the cutest dog ever wanting to cuddle right beside you?). And if I ever need to cry at the drop of a hat (for my fabulous, non-existent acting career I never want) all I have to do is think about if that dog hadn't wandered back up those steps on her own that night.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Mental Safari

It's that time of year again. No...not Christmas (don't panic). Time for my period. I say that time of "year" because I have PCOS and skip a lot of periods.

I have this theory that because I only get a few a year, my PMS symptoms are quadrupled. No, I don't really get bitchy or weepy...just hungry. And I eat for 4. It's really upsetting that WEEKS of hard work feel like they've been erased. GAH!

On a better note: my weeks of hard work have NOT in fact been erased. I weighed in at 242 this week, which is still a 2 lb loss! That makes for a total of 14 lbs in 6 weeks. Honestly, I'm baffled that I lost weight this week, but I'll take it!

So what did I do today? I laid around in bed for a while, listened to some Lady GaGa (I'll blame this as a PMS symptom as well) and ate some oreos. I'm not going to lie...it was pretty awesome when I was doing it. But now? Well now I feel like a rhinoceros. Big and fat and angry. Angry at myself for gorging on oreos and not getting up to run like a planned on. I also have a breakout that looks similar to a rhino horn. Just saying.

The good news is I finally got my Seventh Generation box! They sent me all sorts of goodies to review. I'll be hosting a giveaway as soon as I decide to end my mental African safari and start cleaning with them.

Also, one of my oldest and best friends has decided to join Twitter and the blogging world. Check her out at @LAbleedsBlue and Piece of the Pie. She's starting a weight loss journey like many of us and could use all the support and accountability she can find! She's also pretty damn rad.

One final note, Subway is sponsoring Mamavation once again this week. What a great company! They never seem to be short on gift cards for us Mamavation Sistas, and you can never go wrong with a turkey on wheat loaded with veggies when you simply don't have time or don't feel like cooking. McDonalds is not the only option!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Mamavation Monday 6/14

Ok ladies...lets start this post out with something good. I'm down 3 lbs this week! If you aren't keeping track, that's a total of 12 lbs in 5 weeks! Yay me!!! I now weigh 244, which is pretty far away from my target, but amazing progress for the amount of time I've been trying to lose weight.

This week, I've been continuing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. I'm still doing "girl" push ups with the video, because I'm just not ready to take it up a notch. However, I can feel my muscles getting stronger! I can't wait until I can do a "men's" push-up. That's something I seriously NEVER remember being able to do. Not one in my entire life. I've always had very weak upper body strength. Stay tuned because I know it's coming soon!

I've also started running this week. Leah (aka @bookieboo ) is training to do a half marathon in December, which is completely crazy, but it totally got me on this running kick. I'm now planning on running the "Midsummer Night's Run" in downtown Lexington on August 14. It's a 5k and my goal is to RUN the entire thing. Which means I had to start now, because I royally suck at running.

I've done really well with eating this week too. I'm broke, so eating out isn't even an option, but my sister OFFERED to buy me a blizzard at Dairy Queen and I refused. Yes the Oreo Cheesequake was calling to me. Yes I had an extremely hard time declining. But I did it. And you know what? I don't feel like I missed out at all. I'm actually pretty proud of myself. I've been eating non-processed food pretty much all week, and I'm starting to center my meals around vegetables instead of meat or pasta. I actually look forward to the new fresh veggies I cook up every night.

This week I was also chosen as Sister of the Week, which was fab! I totally wasn't expecting it since I'm so new to Mamavation, but I'm delighted about it nonetheless! Thanks to everyone who had a hand in voting for me! A big thanks to Scarlett Black (@MMScarlett) too, since she's the one who got my butt in gear and told me about this whole Mamavation thing to start with. She's the best!

One last note, Flatout Bread is sponsoring Mamavation this week. I've never tried there products, but I went to their site and found at that they sell at all of the major grocery stores around me, which is pretty cool. I love making sandwich wraps for lunch, and I'm glad I don't have to go to some specialty store to find a wrap to use for them.

Hope you all have a fabulous week!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Mamavation Monday 6/7

This week was so not good for me. I was feeling pretty depressed and anxious, and gave in to some emotional eating. Where did we all seem to learn this "emotional eating" behavior? It needs to stop, so I'll be focusing on channeling any negative energy into something more productive this week.

My sleeping schedule (and thus eating schedule) has been a little out of whack this week too. My anxiety caused me to stay up late one night, which caused a nap the next day, and then another late night, etc. This week I'm definitely getting back on a normal schedule, because I'll probably lose my mind if I don't.

Also, I'd really like to follow more Mamavation Sistas on Twitter...I'll take all the support I can get! If I don't follow you, I'd really appreciate it if you could leave your twitter ID as a comment on here.

Also, EASports Active is this weeks Mamavation sponsor. I've never used this in my life, but I do have a Wii and it's definitely on my "rewards" list for me weight loss. I've heard great things about this!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

To BP or Not to BP...

...cheesy title, eh? I was actually pretty astonished with my play on words there.

I've received multiple snippets of information in regards to boycotting BP. By "snippets of information" I mean I've seen lots of Facebook statuses about it and the topic keeps popping up on my Twitter feed.

I'm slightly wishy-washy when it comes to boycotts. I feel like my small participation won't make a difference...but shouldn't I lead by example and refuse to take my business to certain places? After all, the only person I have control over is myself. Sometimes.

Now, I certainly have not been keeping on top of the latest news with the oil spill. BP's pipe burst, oil is leaking into the gulf, and it really sucks. Thinking about it makes me sad. Do I want to boycott BP? Maybe. But after all, couldn't this have happened to any company involved in off-shore drilling? Maybe not, it might have been BP's stupid mistake (like I said, I'm not 100% up to date on the situation). I feel like the real threat here is off-shore drilling, not BP. Also, most BP stations are locally owned (at least around here), and I really hate to advertise taking business away from people like that because it won't effect corporate BP at all.

But seriously, is BP handling everything with transparency and consideration for the public and environment? I highly doubt it, and I am NOT ok with that. Yes, accidents happen, but as Britain's largest company, and one of the largest in the world, they should be able to handle something like this with a little more grace. So maybe I should boycott them.

Please tell me what your thoughts are on this!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Homemade Shampoo Challenge

I've decided to challenge myself for the next few weeks: use homemade & organic shampoo and conditioner.

I read a blog post (for the life of me I can't remember where) several weeks ago about someone going the "no 'poo" route and using baking soda, water, and lemon juice to wash their hair. I am not that hardcore. My hair is extremely thick, dry, and curly...so I'm afraid baking soda and lemon juice just wouldn't cut it for me. This lead me to look for other alternatives for eco-friendly shampoo.


Why the sudden decision to switch shampoos? I watched Toxic Town, USA on CNN. Which lead me to look up a list of chemicals to avoid. The shampoo I was using has ingredients in it linked to extreme skin, eye, and respiratory irritating and cancer. Not the "a few lab rats got it in preliminary trials" cancer, the "it's actually been proven as the cause of cancer in humans" type of cancer. And I was using a milder, not so chemical-y shampoo. Yeah.

So I set out to Whole Foods to find a natural, organic shampoo. Yes I was able to find some. Yes they were expensive. No I didn't buy them. Instead...I researched a way to make my own shampoo. Here's the recipe:

1:1 ratio of Castile Soap to water, with a smidge of some light vegetable oil (I used grapeseed, but most recipes I found called for Jojoba...which I couldn't find). I used 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 cup Whole Foods branch Organic Almond Castile Soap, and1 tsp of grapeseed oil. For a conditioner I mixed 1 cup of warm water with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar. I'll be using these mixtures for the next two weeks on a trial basis.

"Before" Hair:

-light brown
-curly
-dry
-thick
-tendency to fall out in the shower (not enough to leave bald spots...but way more than a strand or two)
-frizzy (sigh)

Day 1:

Ok, I have to admit I panicked a little after shampooing, but before conditioning. My hair just felt so STRANGE. I had visions of sporting a pretty intense 'fro. Or losing my hair all together. But then I conditioned it with the apple cider vinegar and water. Ah...instant relief. But my hair still felt a little odd. My guess would be from the lack of chemicals leaving a slick film on my hair.

I still lost a strand or two of hair, but not nearly as much as I normally do. My hair also didn't break and pull out while I was combing it. Is this a miracle shampoo? Too early to tell. I'll report back.

Now that it's dry, it pretty much feels like it always did. No better, no worse.


I've also started "making" my own toothpaste. By making...I mean putting a drop of peppermint oil on my tooth brush, wetting it, and dipping it in baking soda. I'm a 100% fan so far. My teeth have only felt this clean after a trip to the dentist before...and there's no foamy mess left in your sink or on your towels. The best part? No triclosan, which may cause the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, may create chloroform gas when mixed with chlorine in tap water, and is listed by the EPA as a probable carcinogen. It's safety is currently under review by the FDA. I will say, baking soda and peppermint oil only is EXTREMELY cheap compared to toothpaste bought in the store. I've also found recipes for homemade toothpaste that include glycerin, if you absolutely need to have that "squeezable paste" consistency. Overall, baking soda only probably isn't a good idea for people with sensitive gums, as it can be a little abrasive.

Sorry this post was so long! I just had a lot to say! I'll be back soon with more updates on how these homemade toiletries are working out for me.

Followers