Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Becoming Real



"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

-from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams


Isn't it beautiful how some of the world's most profound wisdom can be encountered in the simple, straightforward words of children's books?

Like The Velveteen Rabbit, I have spent a lifetime "becoming real." I have spent innumerable dollars, therapy hours, study hours and calories trying to become the person I was meant to be. In short--trying to learn to love myself.

My journey wasn't easy. I didn't always love myself--hell, I didn't even LIKE myself some days. Over time, I've come to accept myself and my body, for what it can do, and NOT for what it looks like.

I've been feeling a little insecure and down-trodden this week (a self-esteem slump maybe?), so it's good to have a reminder to keep my spirits up, stay true to myself and to not be hardened by stress or circumstance. This passage from The Velveteen Rabbit always reminds me that life is all about becoming, learning, growing, and loving. We must weather the self-esteem lows in order to grow as individuals.

In terms of self-esteem and insecurities, I think Lady Gaga said it best:
"When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. Then I say, ‘B***h, you’re Lady Gaga, you get up and walk the walk today.'"
--July, 2010, Rolling Stone Magazine




You got it so right, Gaga--thanks for the self-esteem reminder. Readers, tell yourself, "I will walk the walk today," hold your head high and feel proud to be your own, unique, YOU :)


Q.O.D. (Question of the Day): What quote or saying inspires your when you hit a self-esteem slump? What's your favorite children's book?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Priorities, Goals and a Reality Check

Where have I been for the last week?

That's a goooood question. To be honest, I've been insanely busy...or just going insane...

-Teaching/Grading/Preparing lesson plans for my college students.
-Doing group fitness statistics for the large gym I work for now.
-Teaching/subbing fitness classes.
-Attending an Illinois Speech and Theatre Teachers' Conference.
-Hanging things on our as of yet, still semi-bare walls in our new house.
-Throwing a b-day party for Wes.

What a nerd--rocking out to us singing "Happy Birthday" to him :)


-And doing other random "fall" things.

We were in the "fall spirit" so we went "apple-picking," though, we found out that we were too LATE for apples and too EARLY for pumpkins...but JUST the right time for squashes and mini-pumpkins!

This apple farm sold "Apple Cider Donuts." SALIVATE.

Well, we didn't get any fresh apples, but I did get some apple cider donuts (for later), some apple cider and an apple turnover :)

More mini-pumpkins. So cute!

Along with "Apples" and "Pumpkins" this farm had some "Country Critters" you could feed! This donkey was so shy, but so adorbs.

A mini-horse too! I totally wanted to take it home and make it my own real-life My Little Pony!

On the plus side to this craziness, I've gotten A LOT of shyte done. On the negative side, my other priorities trumped blogging. I'm still struggling to find a balance during this hectic time, but I'm working more efficiently than I have in a LONG time. This week it was apparent that I needed to re-asses my priorities. Here's the list I came up with...

1. Myself (Selfish? Maybe, but you should always be the #1 priority in your life!)
2. My Family (Including Wes and my dogs)
3. My University teaching
4. My part-time group fitness assistant position
5. My part-time group fitness instructor position
6. My social life
7. My personal fitness goals
8. My fitness blog


Isn't it sad that my social life comes AFTER work? Hopefully, this can shift up a bit as I get used to my new jobs, but for now it is what it is. I've been fortunate to get in some quality social time lately (with friends probably thought I fell of the planet or something), so I hope that trend continues!

Unfortunately, working four jobs and almost 80 hours a week is slowly killing my soul. So, after re-assessing my priorities, I had to strike something from my full plate of work. Call it a reality check--I gave my two-weeks' notice to the YWCA I had been teaching for almost 2 years. I love teaching there--I love the other instructors and the fitness manager, but I just need those four hours a week for my other priorities and my own personal fitness goals.

I've never "left" a gym before and I'll really miss that place, but it's time to move on I suppose. Just not enough time in the day for everything.



As I encourage all my participants to do, I sat down and make a quick list of my own personal fitness goals, which have been put on the back burner for the time being. Over the next month, as I gain more free time, I plan to:

1. Incorporate at least 2 days of cardio into my workouts (I've been teaching 2 Pilates/Yoga and 3 Strength classes a week, so it's time for some cardio!).

2. Take a new fitness class every week (I'd like to try different things to get ideas and spark the ol' metabolism).

3. Eat more fruits and veggies! (I haven't been grocery shopping for almost two weeks, so we have pretty much NOTHING in our fridge).

4. Cut back on the booze (Booze = superfluous calories).

5. Blog at least 2-3x per week (I NEED this blog. I WANT to blog. I like sharing information and getting my thoughts out. It's definitely therapeutic--so if you're considering starting a blog--do it!).



If you're thinking of writing out your own fitness goals, I recommend these tips:

-Are your goals realistic? (Losing 30 pounds in a month, for example, is akin to playing the lottery--just wishful thinking).

-How will you know when you've accomplished this goal? (How will you measure your "success"?).

-Are your goals too broad? (Keep it simple, keep it specific. "Getting healthy" is too broad of a goal. Besides, how do you define "healthy" anyway?).

-Reassess your goals every month and alter them to suit your needs.

-Reward yourself if you meet your goals (I buy myself something new every time I meet a goal).

-Don't get discouraged if you don't meet your goals. Just ask yourself why, acknowledge why and get back on the horse.




In other, more POSITIVE news...

Remember my CSN giveaway? Well, I didn't forget! A winner was chosen and I emailed them to notify them. Congrats to...



#6 Kristie! Buy something fabulous, chica, and let us know what ya got! :) I want to do another giveaway soon--one that is NOT sponsored by a company. It's gonna be a good one, so keep checking back throughout October!


In addition to the giveaway, I've signed up to get Zumba certified next month! I'm NO dancer--that's for SURE--but I love TO dance. I'm really excited to add this to my group fitness "repertoire" and to teach something new. It's been awhile since I've taught something completely different, so I'm really excited to be inspired by Zumba!

I'm also going on a blogger meet-up/run this Friday, so I'll be sure to take lots of pics! Like dancing, running is not my forte, but it will be fun to meet some of the other fitness bloggers in the area!

Please come back and visit me again! I promise NOT to let a week slip by without so much as an update! :)


Q.O.D. (Questions of the Day): What are some of your personal fitness goals recently? What are your top 3 life priorities? Are you in the "Fall spirit" yet? :)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fun Friday: Mental Candy Edition

It's FUN FRIDAY here at B Foxy Fitness!!! If you haven't entered my SUPA SUH-WEEEET giveaway, click here and enter! You have until Sunday, September 19th at 5pm, so don't wait--do it now! :)

Here's your "mental candy" for the day (mental candy is 100% fat-free, but oh-so-good for your mental health! Too much can rot your brain, but in moderation it can make your day sparkle!)

Gotta love the fall-esque candy corn!


First up on this fine, fun, Friday, I have a SWEET new smoothie/shake recipe to share. I came up with this one through pure experimentation. I found that putting plain oats/oatmeal in protein shakes not only makes them more filling, but also gives them a "cakey" taste. Thus, the birth of the Shortcake Shake!


Strawberry Shortcake Shake
1/2 cup frozen peaches and strawberries
1 cup vanilla yogurt
1 heaping scoop vanilla whey protein
1 cup Soy (or Dairy or Almond) milk
1/4 cup plain oats (quick or slow kind)

Blend all ingredients well (until the oats are well-ground).


I also have a SWEET n' spicy Thai dish to share! Thai peanut sauce is my absolute fav--pair that with cayenne and coconut milk and we have a winning combo!

The funny story behind this recipe is that Wes actually made it for me. Now, my boyfriend is no serious chef or anything, but he tries. So, I left this recipe sitting out and he decided to be thoughtful and take a stab at making it for me one night. Bless his heart--he doesn't read directions well (typical guy?). So, instead of 1/4 tsp. cayenne, he put a WHOLE teaspoon! Needless to say, the dish was a dragon! Despite the fact that it was on fire, it tasted amazing and it will definitely become a staple in our house.

We didn't have any fresh basil or green onions, but dried basil worked just fine. I also threw in some diced potatoes that we had leftover. An excellent add, if I do say myself. Also, we opted to leave the chicken out, but it can always be added for meat-eaters :)


Spicy Coconut (Chicken Optional) Chili
From Better Homes and Gardens

Ingredients:
12 oz. skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, chopped (OPTIONAL)
1 large onion, chopped
1-1/2 tsp. chili powder
1-1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 14-oz. can unsweetened coconut milk
1 Tbsp. peanut butter
1 15- to 19-oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 medium carrots, shredded
1 stalk celery, sliced
1 medium green onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
Hot cooked jasmine rice
Fresh basil and sliced jalapeños (optional)


Directions:
1. In large saucepan cook chicken, onion, chili powder, ginger, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the cayenne pepper in hot oil over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute more. Stir in coconut milk, peanut butter, and 1 cup water. Bring to boiling, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in beans, carrots, celery, green onion, garlic, and chopped basil. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes. Serve with rice. Top with basil leaves and sliced jalapeños. Makes 4 (1-3/4-cup) servings.


Now that the "food part" is out of the way...

For giggles, I found this hilarious video on FunnyOrDie.com. It reminds me of Mr. Bill (OH NOoooo!!!). Watch as this poor little clay-mation man "loses weight." Warning--definitely not for the weak-of-stomach, but remember--it's just clay! :)





Finally, I leave you with some SWEET and DELICIOUS tunes that I've been devouring lately. Enjoy!

1. Put You In a Song -- Keith Urban
(Keith Urban is perhaps the sexiest man in country music. Divine-looking man and a divine sounding song.)

2. Alice in Wonderland -- Wynter Gordon
(This song is on my weights-class CD. It's pure pop goodness. Sugar to my ears.)

3. Worry About You -- 2AM Club
(I recently heard this on XM driving to work and I immediately though it was Maroon 5. Nope, just a sound alike band--but freakin' awesome song!)

4. From Above -- Ben Folds and Nicky Hornby
(Also heard this one on XM. The lyrics are so sad, but so sweet. It's about soul mates and missed connections.)

5. Cameras -- Matt and Kim
(FRESH track from Matt and Kim. I dare you not to dance these beats.)


Have a fit n' fabulous weekend and don't forget to enter the giveaway!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Super SWEET CSN Stores Giveaway!

MY FIRST GIVEAWAY! *Applause*


I've seen them on other blogs, but it's kind of rad that I finally get to do one on my blog :) The grand prize? A $35 gift certificate to CSN Stores.com!

After our move, we're in the process of finding some furniture to fill our empty house, and the CSN sister-store, Dining Rooms Direct, has some fabulous bistro sets and other furniture.

CSNstores, and it's 200+ sister websites (cookware.com, allmodern.com, and luxebycsn.com to name a few), carry pretty much ANYTHING and EVERYTHING under the sun--including some awesome health and fitness gear.

While you're thinking about entering this giveaway, I went to the CSN Stores main website and found a few things I would TOTALLY buy with an extra $35! Please join me on my magical mystery cyber-window shopping tour...



This Zebra Rockland Tote ($13.99) is the PERFECT size for a gym bag! Seriously, I dream of owning this duffel bag. I heart Zebra print (wink, wink) ;)



Feet get sweaty during a yoga sesh? Try these Gaiam Yoga Socks ($7.98)! I hear they're fantastic for slippery feet.




Remember my post on meditation? This Gaiam Meditation for Beginners DVD ($11.98) looks like an awesome intro to guided meditation. Packed with a 15-minute yoga session and TWO 20-minute guided meditation exercises, this DVD promises to "teach you to rejuvenate from within." Two words: Stress. Relief.




In the midst of moving and all the other craziness in my life, my yoga mat was tortured, ripped and destroyed. If I was going to replace it, I'd get this J Fit Premium Yoga Mat ($17.99), which is no-slip and PINK! If pink ain't your thang--no worries--there's all kinds of colors available!




Obnoxious family and reality show aside, Kim Kardashian has a bangin' body! I'm a little skeptical of her "fitness instructor capabilities" and I haven't worked out to this Kim Kardashian Amazing Abs and Body DVD ($15.99) yet, but I've seen good reviews for it. If it can give me that Kim K. a**, I'll try anything once.




Wall decals rock for three reasons: 1. They're temporary. When you get tired of them, you change them out. 2. They're bold and modern. 3. They're easy to apply and remove. These ferm LIVING Flora Wall Stickers ($59.95) are packed with colors that are just right for fall decor.




This Tervis Girl Skull and Crossbones 16oz Tumbler ($20.70) is the perfect alternative to the ubiquitous aluminum water bottle. Tervis tumblers keep hot drinks hotter and cold drinks colder. They're safe for the microwave, dishwasher and freezer and you can even buy a lid so you can take your tumbler on the go.




Alright, now let's get down to the nitty gritty--How do you enter this giveaway?

Unlike some other blog giveaways I've encountered, I'm not going to make you hopscotch backwards for an hour, friend and follow me on every single social networking site, find Where's Waldo, then publicly dedicate your undying allegiance to this blog.

Nope.

All you have to do is check out the CSN Stores website and tell me in a comment what you would buy with a $35 gift card (It doesn't have to be fitness-related!). A winner will be chosen via a random number generator on Sunday, September 19th at 5pm. So ENTER RIGHT NOW!!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fall-ing In Love and Feeling Autumn-ish

Hey Peeps!!!

Life is still going strong on the crazy for me, but I'm slowly settling into a routine, which is NICE!

This weekend, the "Autumn" really started to sink in. The air was crisp and leaves, they are a-changing.

Growing up in the Southeast, we only had two seasons--hot and hotter. "Fall" is usually just a week filled with torrential downpour, and then it gets a little cool and stays just "cool" until December when winter kicks in. It's not unusual in South Carolina to have a 80-degree day in the middle of October. The weather is just whack.

When I moved to Illinois, I fell head over heels for Autumn. Here, there are four DISTINCT seasons. The WINTER--that I could do without, but fall is just. so. gorgeous. The crunchy, browns, oranges, reds, and greens on the leaves; pumpkin pie; fall on the local farms; fall festivals; dry, cool breezes; and corn mazes. Each year, Fall never ceases to catch my breath and pull me into it's embrace.

During the weekend, in the spirit of Fall, we went for a brisk walk around the neighborhood pond (it's one-mile around)...

It's that "sunflower" time of year! We have a TON of them growing in a field behind our house. I'd cut some, but it's so lovely to see the butterflies flit around them.

Canadian Invasion! haha--these geese have dominated our neighborhood recently.

Elegant creatures, but don't let appearances fool you! These Canadian geese are some BA birds. They can get MEAN!

I swear my dog was a duck in another life. She LURVES the water, which is weird, considering she's your typical "small dog" bichon/shih tzu mix.

Bay Bay's a convincing actress too, Beaufort, my water-fearing dog, was like "OKAY, I'm coming in too!" As soon as he got out in the water and realized where he was, he like, "DO NOT WANT!!!" :)

My little duckling.

Canadian Trail Crossing :)

We also have these three fabulous white geese at our neighborhood pond. They are such snobs! You rarely see them fraternize with the other ducks and canadian geese.

Pond water swim = BATH TIME. Now, Bay Bay is thinking "DO NOT WANT!"

Beaufort's face says it all.

I also took some time to decorate for fall.

I'll tell you a secret--I got all these fall decorations from the Dollar Tree. When sprayed with gold floral glitter--anything from the Dollar Tree looks fab!

Lately (maybe because onset of fall weather?), I've been into soups and stews. So today, I have not one, but TWO very easy lentil vegetarian stew recipes.

Why lentils?

Well, random "health tidbit": Did you know that lentils, a small but nutritionally mighty member of the legume family, are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Not only do lentils help lower cholesterol, they are of special benefit in managing blood-sugar disorders since their high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising rapidly after a meal. Lentils also provide good to excellent amounts of six important minerals, two B-vitamins, and protein-all with virtually no fat. The calorie cost of all this nutrition? Just 230 calories for a whole cup of cooked lentils. This tiny nutritional giant fills you up--not out (Source: WHFoods).



Easy Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Stew
From Betty Crocker's Vegetarian Cooking cookbook--amazingly easy veg. recipes in this one!

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. margarine or butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 Tbsp curry powder
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 14.5 oz. can of vegetable broth
3/4 cup dried lentils, sorted and rinsed
1/2 tsp. salt and pepper
1 cup apple juice
3 cups, peeled, finely diced sweet potatoes
1 cup frozen green beans
Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt, if desired
Chutney, if desired

Directions:
1. Melt margarine in 3-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion and curry powder in margarine 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in flour. Gradually add in broth, stirring constantly, until thickened.

3. Stir in lentils and salt and pepper; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4. Stir in apple juice, sweet potatoes and green beans. Heat to boiling, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer an additional 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender. Top each serving with yogurt, sour cream or chutney if desired.


I didn't have any yogurt or sour cream, so I opted for sharp cheddar. My motto is, everything tastes better with a sprinkle of cheddar!

Fall stew recipe #2--a big batch o' veggie chili!


Big-B Vegetarian Lentil Chili
Adapted from this Better Homes and Gardens recipe

Ingredients
4 14.5-oz. cans diced tomatoes
1 15-oz. can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 15-oz. can chili beans in sauce
1 jalapeño, seeded and diced
1 medium chopped onion
2 cups dry red lentils, rinsed and drained
1 packet chili seasoning mix
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (8 oz.) (optional)
Tortilla chips (optional)

Directions
1. In 8-quart Dutch oven combine undrained tomatoes, rinsed and drained beans, chili beans, 3 cups water, jalapeños, onions, dry lentils, chili mix. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Stir in garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste; heat through. Serve with shredded cheese and tortilla chips. Store leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Or divide among 1-quart freezer containers and freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 6 (about 1-1/2-cup) servings + leftovers.

Freezing Directions: To Freeze: Cool mixture. Pour mixture into 1-quart freezer containers. Seal, label and freeze.
To Serve: Transfer a portion to a large saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

MMmmmm...easy, cheesy, lentil goodness.

I HEART the Fall and Fall foods, so be on the look out for lots of "heart-healthy" fall recipes to come (maybe some not-so-healthy ones too--wink, wink). Also, if you have an awesome Fall recipe to share--send it my way. If you're a blogger, send me a link!


Q.O.D. (question of the day): What's your favorite "fall food?" (I love soups and stews, but I have to be honest and say my favorite fall food is pumpkin-anything!)What's your favorite season and why?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

September Playlist: NEW! FRESH! EXCITING!

Thank you all for all the kind words about my narrative yesterday. It took me a really long time to become comfortable telling that story out loud and I'm proud that I've reached a point in my life where I'm comfortable enough with myself to discuss it with others.

For me, yesterday was just one of THOSE days. You know, the kind, where you need one of these at the end of it:



It started off awesomely--I got up early, practiced Piyo, walked the dogs, made myself a most excellent breakfast smoothie...


This is BayBay's "Momeeeeezzz canz we plz go for walk now" look.

Beaufort is thinking, "Let's freaking go already Momeeeez!"

All I have to say is "Go for a W?" and they freak out and run to the door :)


THEN I WENT TO TEACH SCHOOL. The day took a nose-dive.

As, with every job, you have your good days and bad days. This was one of those "I give up--you guys are slowly killing my soul" kind of days. The kind of day where no one is paying attention. The kind of day where a student gets a cell phone call DURING class, picks it up, proceeds to talk while everyone is staring at him and I'm giving him the stink-eye, he gets ordered out of the room and continues to talk on his way out the door.

Yep, that happened. First time for everything I guess. That was just one of three or four incidents I wish didn't go down yesterday. On my 40 minute drive home, cruising in my Hyundai Sonata, I BLASTED the gangsta rap and tried to remind myself that headaches come with the job. Little known fact about me--I LOVE gangsta rap. Rap just says all the angry things we're all too decent or literate to say out loud :)

THEN I WENT TO TEACH FITNESS. Instant turnaround!

Teaching group fitness always turns my frown upside down! I went to teach my very first "Strong" class at the new gym where I work and I brought candy. Everyone needs a little sugar at 6:40pm!

Hey, Starbursts are fat-free!


Right before my class, something very freakin' awesome happened--I met another local blogger! Lindsay from Learning to Cook and Eat and Enjoy Delicious Food came up to me and introduced herself! I have to admit, it was the first time since I started blogging in May that I've met another blogger in person! Lindsay is super sweet and incredibly down to earth, so it just brightened my day :) Hopefully, we can get a local blogger meetup going--so all you Blo-No/Central Illinois health and fitness bloggers REPRESENT!

Also, while I'm still on the topic of the gym, check out my new kicks! Because I wear out the soles of my shoes so quickly, I try to get a new pair every 5-7 months. I highly suggest this if you work out more than 4 days a week. When the treads on the bottom start to disappear, it's time for a new pair!

Just got these swank-monsters the other day :)

Since yesterday was a day for firsts (first day of the school year I wanted to cry out of frustration, first time I met another blogger in person, first class at a new gym) and since this month is one of new beginnings (two new jobs, new lease, new car, new shoes!), this monthly playlist is inspired by the concept of new beginnings, fresh starts, and the feeling of being free.

Lemme know what you think! This one is a hodge-podge of music genres and eras. Click the links and you can hear the songs on YouTube.


1. Fresh -- Kool & The Gang
("She's FRESH FRESH, EXCITING!" That's how I feel about life right now. Trippy music video too!)

2. New -- No Doubt
("Don't let it go away, this feeling has got to stay." ND is my favorite band. Definitely a good running song!)

3. Universal Mind Control -- Common
("This is that new sh**" Love the beat in this one!)

4. Ready to Start -- The Arcade Fire
(A song about new beginnings. Very chill.)

5. Step by Step -- New Kids on the Block
(NEW Kids on the Block, yo! STEP!!! Lol. It never gets old.)

6. Eyes Without a Face -- Billy Idol
(NEW wave Billy Idol--I heard this song on XM yesterday and was like, "WOW, I LOVE THIS 80'S XM STATION!")

7. Up Up & Away -- Kid Cudi
(Upbeat and hopeful jam. I dare you to not tap your feet to this one.)

8. Free -- Zac Brown Band
(A chill and beautiful country song.)

9. Possibility -- Lykke Li
(From the NEW Moon soundtrack. A powerful ballad for chillin' out.)

10. New Theory -- Washed Out
(This artist hails from my home state of South Cakalacki :) This is a good one for yoga/pilates. Always evokes memories of living on the coast for me!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

"Ms. B" Assigns the Narrative Speech

This week, my college students are giving their first speech--the "narrative speech."

The assignment:
"A personal narrative is rooted in everyday experience. It talks about you, the significant events that have occurred in your life and how you have been affected by those events. It should not be a series of jokes. It can be a funny story, an adventure, a brush with the law, a tragic event, a happy moment, a lesson learned, or a family tradition. Give a literal account of the event or provide key points to develop your story. Choose a moment or event from your life or share something that has happened to a family member that changed your life or the way you think about something. You may use a series of stories IF they are related. Keep your “life-changing” moment APPROPRIATE and ETHICAL."

This is the first time I've ever assigned a narrative speech, but I'm impressed with the stories that my students have told so far! Some of my students have such compelling life experiences! It's really bringing some diversity into the classroom.

Another thing I hope to accomplish with this assignment is to get the students to see how similar and different they are. Hopefully, by the end of these speeches, it will have brought our class a little closer together.

While listening to their experiences, I couldn't help but feel inspired to write my own "narrative speech" on a life-changing moment. I've had A LOT of epiphanies in my time, but as I began to write, this one was just the most obvious and vivid one in my memory. It just kind of flowed out of my finger tips organically. I hope it inspires you to write about/ponder your own "life-changing" moments. Or, at the very least, it gives you a better idea of who I am and my fitness journey :) Enjoy!


Broken Bricks, Silence Intact
On a cool October day in Charleston, I passed an old friend on the sidewalk. I don’t mean a “Hey what’s happenin’? Let’s get lunch sometime!” kind of friend, but rather, a “Holy *$%#, is it too late to cross the street and dive into that bush?!” kind of friend.

I felt my jaw hit the brickway as she passed. I’d recognize her anywhere—swathed in her trademark stylish baggy clothes to obscure her protruding china-boned frame. Her fine hair, though well maintained, is noticeably thinning, and is coiffed into a stringy fluff or simply pulled into a ponytail. Sunken eyes tell of nightmares riddled with insecurities. Although it looks like she’s undergoing live-saving chemo, I know this girl is not being saved. She is killing herself.

I tried to keep myself from staring but I was transfixed on her sad eyes. I wanted to say something, but my mouth remained paralyzed shut. As she passed, I could only cast my eyes down to the tiny brown fall leaves fluttering on the sidewalk. I imagined her fluttering away. My ex-friend, Ana, short for anorexia.

I don’t specifically know how we fell in league with each other. Growing up, I was always the chubby girl. So I hid my insecurities in my academics. Books substituted for looks. If I couldn’t be a perfect ten aesthetically, then I would be a perfect-A student.

In seventh grade, my English teacher pronounced to the class that I would “someday be a great beauty.” By eleventh grade, I was wondering if she was a nut job or if the “great beauty” mechanism had just not kicked in for me yet. Meanwhile, as pressure to take SATs, make good grades, and get into a respectable college mounted, so did the issues in my personal life. My boyfriend of two years left for the army. Oh, and he meant to tell me that he didn’t love me anymore.

That’s when my friendship with Anorexia started. I had always heard of her—how she was a fabulous friend and a perilous foe. Ana didn’t reject me. She took me in her arms and transformed me. She enabled me become the emptiness that I felt.

We didn’t lunch. Instead, we pretended to nosh on dry cereal then say we were “sick” or had to go do some work in the library. We had the best excuses. Every night we would compare notes. One, two, three, four visual ribs today! And only 300 calories eaten! Ana introduced me to a new friend, Mia, short for Bulimia. Our trio was unstoppable. We were told how fabulous we looked and how we should be models. No one dared tell us we looked sick. No one said anything.

However, there was a dark side of our friendship. I was always ravenous. Some days at around 4 P.M. my body would just shut down for want of food. I would sit on the couch paralyzed with hunger waiting for dinner to roll around at six. I had monstrous irritability. One evening I started an epic battle with my little sister over borrowing a pair of shoes. I had a mental breakdown over a damn pair of shoes. I had no un-imaginary friends and no life.

I realized my self-destruction one June afternoon when the beach vacation pictures were picked up from the drugstore. I expected to find a picture of me looking slim and foxy on the beach—instead, I saw death camp survivor—no, a death camp resident. I didn’t even recognize myself. At 115 pounds on a 5’10 frame, I was no great beauty. I was death warmed over. I was going to die if it didn’t stop.
It’s easy to gain weight when you don’t want to. It’s a lot harder when you have to. It took three doctors and almost three years to fully recover from my break-up with Anorexia and Bulimia.

No, I did not really know the girl passing me on the street that day. As far as I’m concerned she was just another soul lost to the disease, disabled from reality. I can pick them out a crowd blindfolded and backward. What struck me the most was my silence. Inside, I wanted to scream “Don’t you know what you are doing to your body?!”


My battle with anorexia and bulimia has left my metabolism in disarray. I have also developed hyperglycemia, persistent anemia, and stressed bones. These days, I have no problems talking about my disordered past and lamenting the long-term effects. But, no matter how much you warn someone, they will still get third-degree burns to find out the fire is hot.

October 20th, 2010 is National “Love Your Body Day.” It takes a hell of a lot longer than a day to love your body, but it only takes seconds to tell someone you love to get help for theirs. Look for the signs and don’t let that person silently starve.

To the estimated eight million people out there struggling with an eating disorder: You can hide this disease from those around you, but you cannot hide it from those of us who have been there. Help is there when you’re ready.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Nothing Says "Labor Day" Like Make-up, Football and Wine!

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

For me, today was just any other day because...I HAD TO WORK! At TWO JOBS no less! YAY!

I'm just being silly, not really complaining. In actuality, I feel incredibly grateful that I have more jobs than I can handle right now. There are many people out there who are spending Labor Day unemployed (and not by choice). I should rejoice in the fact that I had a lot of work to do today :)

Because I had to work today, this weekend was my "Labor Day" weekend. Here's how it was spent...

Saturday morning started off with an All Shook Up PBB smoothie.

I decided to do my annual "make-up purge." My heart sank when I tossed all this stuff in the trash. Trust me, none of this was salvageable and most of it was way past its prime. It feels good to shed all that unnecessary stuff--like a cleansing of the face! Still, I just love make-up that damn much :)

It's also the start of college football season! I NEVER watched football. My college, The College of Charleston, didn't even have a football team. Then, I started dating Wes--now I'm hooked! I used to play a lot of sports when I was younger, but football wasn't one of them. I like learning the rules, strategies, and tricks of a new sport, so I secretly don't mind it being on our TV on Saturdays.

We may live in Illinois now, but Wes still roots for the Clemson Tigers. Every year about this time he pulls out all his orange shirts. It doesn't even matter to him if no one here knows the eff the Tigers are. He still rocks that orange paw. AND THAT'S why I love him!

Right after my make-up purge and football break, I looked on my front porch and Mr/Ms. UPS left me a lovely Sephora package. YESSSssssss...

Philosophy = best lip gloss EVER. Hands down. Smells good, tastes sweet, and has HIGH VOLTAGE gloss! As Lil Mama says--This lip gloss is POPPIN'! :)

Saturday night, we decided to celebrate Labor Day in full force (since I could NOT be hungover on Monday for work! lol). Nothing says good-bye summer like a glass of wine with frozen raspberries, sipped on the porch :(

To use up the last of fresh berries, I just freeze them and throw them in (ahem-boozy-ahem) drinks. *Sigh* I'll just have to wait until next year for more fresh raspberries.

I LOVE happy hour and wholly believe that apps are an adequate substitute for dinner :) For this Labor Day celebration, I decided to make some crostini topped with bruschetta/mozzarella and spinach/artichoke dip.

Okay, so I cheated a little! You got me! :) This stuff was DAMN GOOD. You can find it (or similar brands) at the grocery store in the canned pasta sauce isle. I just toasted the French bread at 350 for 6 minutes, topped it with spread, and toasted it for another 6-7 minutes.

The end result. Hits the appetizer spot!

Well, I'm off to practice my new Piyo (pilates/yoga) routine that debuts in my class on Wednesday. I LOVE NEW FITNESS ROUTINES! Changing up the moves provides a muscle challenge and revs that metabolism. It sounds a little sadistic, but I like that "new routine" soreness feeling!

A preview of my Piyo playlist:

Tomorrow, I'm teaching my very FIRST fitness class at a new gym! I'm a little nervous (you know--the standard "Will they like me?" "Will I choke?" "What do I wear?") . I'm teaching a pre-choreographed strength routine, so it shouldn't be so bad once I get past my nervousness! Wish me luck!

Q.O.D. (Question of the day): How did you spend your Labor Day? Do you have an annual "purge" of anything (make-up, dust, clutter)? What's your favorite appetizer (I'm always looking for new recipes!)? Do you watch football?