Wednesday, August 28, 2013

the Best Me I Can Be

Today may be day #9576 of my life, but it's only the beginning to The New Me! 21 days ago on Thursday, August 8th, I started to modify my eating habits, physical activities and mind set. I want this to be a permanent Lifestyle Change kind of thing, not just an "I want to look better next time we go to the beach" kind of thing. So far I have made myself very proud. I feel strong, healthier, more positive and productive, confident, and always ready to move.

I told Michael that next week or when he has time, I want to do a hiking/ work out photo shoot. The only other pictures I have of myself now are of me in a dressing room at Target, trying on different swim suits, but it's nothing I'd want to post on here.

Yesterday we met our actor friend, Jason, at Porto's Bakery then he took us to a new trail in Burbank at Wildwood Canyon that I really liked. It has great views since the first part was really steep, but it has been really hot lately (it was 100 yesterday) so we only made one short loop- it probably took us 15 or 20 minutes. Jason and I probably could have pushed ourselves to do three loops! But Michael said he wasn't really in a hiking mood anyway. A few people were filming a little project on the trail. I felt so bad for the main actor- he had on a full cowboy outfit. Only his face was not covered. We went to IKEA after that, then Michael and I drove to the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch and I got 2 new pairs of Danskin brand work out shorts (for only $7 each!). I only had one pair before- the coral ones from Forever 21 that I love, love, love!! Maybe I can get a blue pair of those too? ;)

I feel that they are a great reward for doing so well and keep me even more motivated. It's better to reward yourself with stuff, I think. One of my favorite sayings I've read was "Don't reward yourself with food. You're not a dog." Recently I also read, "If you're tired of starting over, stop giving up!" Whoa. I discovered that you can type any song into YouTube then add "Zumba" at the end and a 3-4 minute dance video pops up. I haven't tried those yet, but it's on my list!

I have eaten a salad almost every day, mixing and matching different ingredients, so every salad is different. I have used low fat ranch, shredded carrots, mushrooms, corn, edamame, a bean trio.. I have added sunflower seeds and dried cranberries too, but sparingly! (Just to "get rid" of them.) I got super excited when I went to Ralph's last week and they had the Manager's Special stickers on the containers- 89 cents each! And I got three salads out of each. Here is a yummy one I made with a scrambled egg, ham and chickpeas on the morning of Day 14.
Still, I'm surprised I haven't gotten bored with those. I guess I eat enough of the other foods. And I'm not restricting myself from anything, even when I started, I knew I didn't want to waste what food we already had, so I was still eating pizza rolls and bagel bites, I just followed the serving sizes and added the salads and baked chicken and fruits.

I started off doing the 30 Day Shred. That lasted 10 days. I know that if I am going to keep this up, I have to stay interested. For a few days I began walking laps around the elementary school (that's when the bright photo above was taken- August 24th). I calculated via Google Maps that one loop was 0.4 miles and on the first day I did 10 laps! It was tiring, but I'm glad I did it. The next few days after that, there were two different guys who talked to me and a hobo looking guy on a bike, so now I have to stay inside. I can't wait to move to a "safe place". I started a 30 Day Ab Challenge, but add different exercises I found online and jumping jacks are the quickest and easiest for me, so I do a lot of those now. Today I tried the Plank-To-Push Up back and forth! Ha, those were killer.

Here is a little collage I put together and came up with the caption of ~ "I know it's not good to compare myself to other people (even celebs who are my height- Ashley Tisdale, Lea Michele) because they may have different body types & I can't afford a personal trainer. So I have to be my own inspiration!! I have done it a few times before, so I know I can do it again." 
Those times above were all during our time at Full Sail, so saying "I have a crazy schedule" is not a valid excuse. And I wasn't even exercising (aside from walking to school) just eating better. Like how people are supposed to eat- 5 small meals a day, instead of complaining about how fat they feel after eating half of a large pizza! Or saying "I really need to lose weight," with a doughnut in their mouth and another in their hand.. Yeah. The best part is probably that I don't even have to suffer through or push any bad cravings. Even thinking about those foods grosses me out most of the time. Instead, my mouth waters when I look at all the healthy meals on Pinterest. 

Time for 100 jumping jacks then my daily salad!

Sasha's Presents

Michael has been busy lately with the Chupacabra puppet for a web series all of last week and is now buying materials for the goat feature film in October, so we didn't get a small window of time together until today to open Sasha's presents. As most presents turn out for birthdays and Christmas, she was very excited. And seems bored again now, ha!
But she did get 3 tennis balls, a tug of war rope (since the one I got her last year got all dirty when we moved here) and an orange bath towel. My mom also sent her a cute card and a paw print charm. Here are a couple family GIFs. (I was having trouble again with the settings after switching from camera to video and back to camera. Whatever, they're still good!)
** Michael reminded me that I'm not allowed to post any behind the scenes pictures of his work until it has been made public, so depending on how long it takes to be edited and put online, it might be a while before I can show you.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Sasha's Party.. III

I want to make this post short and easy, so I will post the "decor" pictures that I took with everything being set up for Sasha's birthday party yesterday, then follow it up on my next post with some "behind the scenes" pictures of what we did on Monday night in preparation.
** This post is sponsored by Dollar Tree and the 99 Cent Store.. I WISH, since that's where I got all of the items and ingredients- not counting the hot dogs and buns. Michael doesn't want to risk getting meat from a dollar store, but I would have tried it! We went to Smart & Final so Michael could stock up on his Nestea powder. I think that store is a rip off half of the time, unless you buy in bulk.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

What is this Magic?

When I was driving home from work yesterday morning, I saw the most amazing thing in the sky-- CLOUDS!! To be honest, I hadn't even paid attention to the lack of clouds in California until Michael mentioned it one day while we were hiking.. Mmm, hiking sounds wonderful right now! I don't recall ever looking up in the sky while in Florida and not seeing clouds, but now being in California, it's so rare and kind of makes me sad. Clouds are very pretty, especially the white fluffy ones. I'd even take storm clouds right now. Another thing Michael and I miss is the rain and the thunderstorms.. and fair priced rent, ha. If our plan remains full speed ahead, it's only 95 days until we move again! ;)
During my lovely six minute drive from work back to the house, the sun was right behind this big cloud formation, so the sun rays were beaming out of the top and bottom. It was so pretty. But by the time I got home, the clouds had moved and the sun was so bright, so I couldn't get that picture. Better luck Thursday morning, right? =)

Sasha's Party.. II

Since I was using the tripod for the pictures I wanted to take with Sasha, I had to do some tests with lighting. Here are a couple- although one is very over exposed and the other is under exposed. I still like them enough to show you. It's hard to get a proper exposure when half of the yard is in the sun and half is in the shade and the meter moves all over the place, but it's not a big deal.
 & It has been quite a while since I made GIFs and since Michael was preoccupied with a project (I have a few pictures of that to post too!), I did some dancing with Sasha in the front yard. It was more of me spinning her around, but she was really good about running back to me when I called to her each time for more pictures. The rest of the time she spent by the fence, growling at Ruth's cats. I did forget to do a couple good huggy pictures though. I love her hugs!!
I think even just watching the streamers blow in the wind is cool.
Then I wanted to take a couple mini Polaroid pictures.
Obviously Sasha didn't enjoy the second one as much with the kissing, haha. But the little film pieces still turned out really great!! I always say that the good pictures make the bad pictures totally worth the "waste" of a dollar. I absolutely love the Polaroid (below) on the left. Maybe from my great smile or all of the sunshine.
Or because my shirt is cute (which I got on clearance from Forever 21 in January, but hadn't worn before) or just how sweet and wonderful Sasha is. Or that I just know that these pictures were taken on a fun day. In the right Polaroid I like you can see how I did three twists in my hair.

**Again, I used the free website to easily put together the GIFs.

Sasha's Party.. I

This may become extensive, but I have put a lot of work (or perhaps the normal amount of work for the average 20-something girl) into Sasha's little party over the past few days. This is just a small bit and I will include more pictures and details in the following posts.

Sasha's sixth birthday is on Saturday, but since I have Mondays & Tuesdays off, I knew I could get a lot more done. We originally invited our friends, Gaby and Rene and Gaby's dog, Thor, to the little gathering, but Michael started a big project that he has to finish by Thursday, so in that time crunch, the get together was pushed back. When we meet with them later on, it will be more of a dinner thing and we'll eat inside so there aren't flies buzzing around and landing on our food. I don't know how all the moms who have their blogs sponsored have parties outside. And it's so hot too!

But Sasha and I had a nice morning. Here are some pictures of her with a bit of decor. I think this small bit is cute as well, but kind of went all out for this "project". I did feel like this was one of those where I'm in the zone and if I don't do it today, when will I? And now I have left over party materials for Michael's birthday! ;)
^^ As a reference, all the items in THIS picture cost me a total of $13. ^^
If you add the streamers (two different colors), party hats, and banner. The total becomes $17.
I was taking a lot of these pictures around the time that the elementary kids were getting picked up from school and a few little boys walked by and seemed fascinated, "That dog is wearing a hat!" Another boy exclaimed, "Ooh, it's her birthday!" Haha. Since Michael was busy working today, we didn't open Sasha's presents. I'm hoping we can do that as a family on her actual birthday.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Portraits ~ Jessica Marie

I took these pictures of my beautiful cousin/ Godsister when my mom and I stayed with her for a week back in October. I'm not sure what took me so long to post them, but I do like how I edited them last night. Although she is five months younger than me, I have always looked up to her. She was cooler than me when we were teenagers and had a much stronger fashion sense. I guess I felt more comfortable in cotton shorts and over sized kitty T-shirts (which have ironically come back in style, according to Forever 21). I love her so much and have always admired her bubbly personality and the way she is able to laugh at herself.
When I was 17, Jessica helped me experience what it is was like to have my first "boyfriend", by introducing me to her then-boyfriend's best friend. Now that Jessica and I are both in our mid 20's and she has been a wife and mom for a handful of years, I look up to her in different ways. I'm not as envious at this point in my own life because I have been told to enjoy all the sleep I am able to get now and remember the time I have alone with Michael because it's a whole different ball game once kids come in to play. But Jessica has remained a magnificent role model for me and I take mental notes of how she raises her kids and how I handle situations when we visit. I like to help give 2-year-old James a bath or make sure Jordyn (now 5 years old) washes her hands and brushes her teeth before bed. I like seeing how involved she is with activities and how she bakes muffins at night for breakfast the next morning, she is starting a new Girl Scout troop, but still has time to get chores done, run errands, do fun crafts, send me cards in the mail and stay in shape. And she's growing her hair out for Pantene's Beautiful Lengths!! From recent pictures, I'm estimating that it's grown another five inches in the past ten months.
I actually started doing the 30 Day Shred workout video this past Thursday morning because of how healthy and toned Jessica looked at the lake house in Indiana during the fourth of July. As of this morning, I'm five days in and I'm proud of how I have pushed myself so far. Michael agreed that if I get through the whole program, we can go to Venice Beach and take modely pictures. I may have to bring in a change of bathing suits, gold necklaces, and a leather jacket.
I enjoyed all the trips we took to see Jessica and Lindsey (her younger sister by two years) while we were growing up.  A lot of times that was our main vacation in the summer and winters at their house, and not unusual for us to be there at least a full week. When Michael put together our wedding slideshow, I liked that Jessica was in almost half of my pictures. The whole side of my mom's family is really close and I miss them so much being all the way in California right now. My brother and I already talk about how his future wife and I need to "plan" to have kids around the same time, to ensure they remain close cousins who see each other often enough that they feel like siblings and we will take beach trips every year like we used to. By that time Jordyn may be old enough to babysit our kids!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Polaroid Pages

We didn't take many digital pictures together at the beach, but I knew I wanted to have Polaroids too. I love me some Polaroids and the ones from Gulf Shores last summer turned out so nicely. I'm also including the wide Polaroids from the past few eventful times when I felt like the bigger Fujifilm camera was necessary.
^^ You might have to right click and zoom in to see a tiny me standing next to the tower in the left page! ^^
^^ When Ryan and Ben were here a month ago. Gooooood tiiiiimes! ^^
^^ & when my parents visited us in the middle of April. =)
Early Wednesday morning, I got out of bed around 4:30am because Sasha was making a lot of noise by the front door, indicating that she wanted to go outside. I assumed it was cats again since we have found them sitting on the welcome mat at the front door. Since we got the grass in June, its been a habit to only let Sasha out the back. I set my alarm for 15 minutes, but luckily Michael called her inside after only five minutes because it wasn't cats she was barking at- it was four raccoons! These are the pictures Michael was able to get:

Well, Michael is substituting as a grip on a project today. I definitely don't ask enough questions, or all of the short projects he tells me about just blur together, so as of now, that's all I know. Time for me to take my favorite pup into the bedroom and sleep the rest of the sunlight away. I had plans to go hiking with Michael until he he reminded me last night of this gig. So I thought I would put away my laundry that has been sitting in the dryer all week, then vacuum and such, but.. naaah!
That's what procrastination is for, right?

Thousand Steps Beach

On Tuesday our second stop in Laguna was another beach called Thousand Steps Beach. It's only about 225 steps, according to Yelp reviews written by dedicated yet disappointed runners, but they are a bit higher than a regular step and at an angle it seemed like. The road was even steeper than the first place we parked and I felt like if the incline had been any steeper, Michael's car would have flipped backwards! But when we parked, a nice lady drove by and warned us that even though there wasn't a sign, lots of cars get ticketed in that area. We turned back onto the main road, but after only passing six cars, there was an open spot to parallel park. Hooray! I was very excited about this one too because in the reviews, some people wrote about how you could go in the caves and one girl posted a picture of herself holding a starfish. But when we walked over to the only cave we saw, there was a warning sign saying people were not allowed on the rocks. So we sat down at another area for a few minutes before walking the other direction. I liked that area better and we took pictures there, even though it also did not have a cave.
That sign hanging from the balcony said "Danger- Keep Out: Warning, Falling Rock" and it looks like the house was never finished being built. I assumed that cave didn't count as part of the cave. I checked Yelp again last night and the caves looks very big and open with sand at the bottom, so I don't know if all the people climbed over the rocks like they were not supposed to. They had life guards at this beach and when we were leaving, I heard a guy over the walkie-talkie ask, "Can we do a check at the cave for teenage alcohol drinkers?" I should have followed him or at least asked if there was a way to get to the caves. I did not read any reviews explaining exactly how to get there, it only said they were to the left of the stairs, which is where we went first.. And now for Cruise Ship Rock, below this cliff picture!!
I liked Victoria Beach better and everyone was huffing and puffing on their way back up the 225 stairs. Michael pointed out some cool roller coaster ramps along the residential area, attached to some of the houses so they could roll down to the beach a Donkey Kong cart, instead of taking so many stairs. One of the cart doors had the medical lifeguard symbol (a white plus sign over a red square). I had originally also planned for us to go to Crescent Bay, another beach area 10 minutes towards the center of town, as well as Newport Beach, an extra 15 minutes further up the coast, to watch the sun set. Newport Beach was where the first Christy Miller books took place and she and her boyfriend, Todd, frequently went back there and ate breakfast with the seagulls during the later books. But our beach time, especially at this one, just involved a lot of waiting around, feeling like we needed to stay in the sand for a certain amount of time since we drove all that way. However, we were both tired and ready to go home by 7pm after hiking. I didn't realize until I was editing these pictures that we did not take any digital photos together here. Probably because I was bummed about not finding the caves.