Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Write on Wednesdays: The Fight

Write On Wednesdays


Head over to InkPaperPen to see the full prompt for this week. Today is about a personal story, 100% truthful, but not 100% of the truth. The keywords: The Fight.

When I started this blog, I promised myself I would always be honest with everything I wrote. And that has stuck. Everything I have written thus far has been purely genuine in its content. That isn't difficult for me. The difficult part is choosing the content. A few different things popped into my head when reading this week's prompt: My house fire at age 15, struggling through bad relationships and even worse break-ups, ended friendships, the fight through graduate school to get out of retail. But I decided to focus on something meaningful to me at the present, rather than the past. This is my fight.

I had always been a confident person, for as long as I can remember. I never had a problem with worrying what others may think, or checking the mirror every so often to make sure every hair was in place and every wrinkle was smoothed out. That's never been me, and I had always taken pride in that fact. I'm not saying that I never thought my appearance was unattractive, but even when I did, I usually forgot about it and moved on with my day. Besides, it's much too aggravating and time-consuming to be constantly worrying about my looks, my appearance, fiddling with make-up and the perfect outfit for the day. I've always worn what I felt like wearing, which was usually jeans and tank, ran a brush through my hair, hardly ever wore make-up, and ran out the door. And that's how I liked it.

But lately... I haven't been myself. I've gained some weight in the past year or so, and it's done a number on my self-confidence. I've never been stick-thin, but I've never been tremendously overweight, either. I've always just had pretty average weight; right in the middle. A little extra here and there, but I was happy with it, and myself. Now... that's somehow changed. Some of my clothes don't fit the same, and it makes me upset. If I put on a pair of jeans and they are too tight, I immediately call myself "fat" and rip them off, searching for something looser to wear. If a tank top or a T-shirt no longer feels right, I am immediately disgusted with myself and try to find something else that will cover up the spare tire around my waist or the muffin top peeking out over my pants. And I hate it. I hate that I feel this way about myself. Then, I become angry with myself that I do feel this way, because I never used to, and this was never me. My current fight is with myself.

That's why I started the Insanity program by Beachbody. I wanted to get back into shape, lose a little weight and a few inches, and feel confident about myself again. I wanted my self-esteem back. I wanted my cardio to improve, I wanted to feel stronger, and I wanted my clothes to fit better. I wanted to feel like myself again.

I've also been drinking Shakeology, The Healthiest Meal of the Day, and the tastiest! Replacing one meal a day, Shakeology is the healthiest and best-tasting shake you can find. After only a week, I felt improvements in my body. It feels healthier, and has even helped with my digestion. After a month of drinking it every day, my body feels amazing. I wish I could drink it for every meal! That's how excellent it is. You can't find quality like this anywhere else.

Now that my first round with Insanity is coming to a close, I feel better. My cardio has improved, and my numbers on the "Fit Test" have skyrocketed. This is my last week, and I can't wait to see the real end results. Next on my list is P90X!

Now that I feel better, I want to help others feel better and gain their confidence back as well. And that's why I became a Beachbody Coach; so I can help others achieve their health and fitness goals, too. I believe in this company and their products because I've used them, and they work. I want to end the craze of people across the country feeling the way I felt, no matter what the number on the scale reads back. I want to end the fad of people insulting themselves, putting themselves down, and calling themselves derogatory names because they think they are too fat just because their clothes don't fit the same, or they don't look like the models blazoned on every advertisement and flashed on mass broadcast across every TV screen. I want to End The Trend of obesity in this country. That's my new fight. And I love every minute of it.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Freeky Friday: Summer Lovin'

Freeky Friday
It's Freeky Friday yet again! Sadly, this is the last Freeky Friday of 2011. But, not to fear, it shall return next summer. The last question of this summer is...


What was the best thing that happened to you this summer?
I have two answers to this question. 


The first was my vacation with Danny to Myrtle Beach at the beginning of June. I wrote about this in a previous post titled Living Proof, so I won't go into great detail here. Click the link if you would like to read the full story. It was our first vacation together alone as a couple, our first road trip together, my first vacation since I went to Disney World with my family when I was 16, and we were also celebrating a few different things. We just had our one year anniversary, we both graduated from college, a Master's degree in teaching for me, and a Bachelor's degree in architecture for Danny. We also had both recently landed new jobs (see Keep On Keepin' On and Living Proof). We had a great time with all of our little events packed into the weekend, and it was an awesome start to the summer. 


The second is something that I'm very excited about. I recently started my own, new business as a Team Beachbody Coach. I just started it, but I'm already having a blast with it and I'm anxious to continue and really get it off the ground. Basically, I help people become physically and/or financially fit. I work with others to help them achieve their fitness goals, not only for the present, but forever. We work together to create a change in their lives, for the present, and the future. We create a lifestyle change, to transform their bodies and their lives into healthier and happier living. I'm loving every minute of it.


Why do I do this? Because I believe in the Beachbody company. I believe in them because I know their products work. I've used them, and they've worked for me, and so many other people all across the country. Thousands of transformation stories have been posted on the Beachbody website, to YouTube,  and in the Beachbody infomercials for P90X, Insanity, Turbo Fire, Hip Hop Abs, and more. I'm currently finishing up Insanity, and if it can work for me, it can work for anyone. I plan on doing P90X next. I also have been using an amazing product by Beachbody called Shakeology. It is called "The Healthiest Meal of the Day" for a reason; because it is. I drink it every day for breakfast to start my day off as healthy as possible. It is also my favorite meal of the day because it tastes AMAZING. I love this job, and I love helping others get fit and achieve their goals.


What's the best thing that happened to you this summer?

You can participate in three ways! Head over to Concrete Jane to see how, and how you will be entered to win some yummy homemade treats and have a donation made in your name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! This is your last chance of the year to participate! The winner will be announced next week!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Write on Wednesdays: Let's Take a Stroll

Write On Wednesdays


I have stumbled upon something in the blogosphere at Ink Paper Pen, through Writing Out Loud, called Write on Wednesdays. See Ink Paper Pen above to see the full prompt and find out what this is all about. This week is about going for a walk and writing down your thoughts and what you see. This is my first attempt at Write on Wednesdays.


I change into comfortable black sweat pants, branding my alumni status from my graduate school down the left leg in blue capital letters; "COLUMBIA." Something I can actually be proud of. I slip into my exercise sneakers, Nike, black and teal, and stylish if I do say so myself. I call to my Husky/Greyhound mixed dog, Nikki, who is enjoying her safe haven under my bed. "Nikki, wanna go out?" usually perks her right up enough to crawl out and run downstairs. This time, she doesn't want to move. I change my tactics. "Nikki, walk?" She immediately peeks her head out. I repeat the question. She sprints out of my room and down the thirteen steps to the landing.

I fasten red leashes onto both dogs, and we're off... out the garage door, down the driveway and out of our little half cul-de-sac/court/dead-end street. I worry how long of a walk Floppy can handle, as he is fifteen and has arthritis in his hips. At the end of the court, I ask the mutts which way we should go. They both start walking left, so I follow.


The air is warm, but not too warm. The sun peeks through clouds and various trees along the streets. The area is quiet, with only the sound of my sneakers pounding and the dogs' paws clicking on the pavement. Occasionally, a car or truck drives by.

My neighborhood isn't much to look at, so my mind wanders. Watching the simple life of my dogs, I start to wonder what the minds of dogs look like, and what their thoughts might be.

Sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff. What's that bush smell like? What's that tree smell like? What's that grass smell like? Sniff, sniff. Another dog's urine! Jackpot! I must steal this territory as my own!
No, that's poison ivy. You're not going anywhere near that. Sorry, pup.
Why are you pulling me away?! This is mine! 
...
What's that? Another dog barking? I must bark louder! 
He's behind a fence. You can't even see him.
Stop pulling me away! I must bark with that dog! Collar... choking... don't care... must... continue... must... bark.... with... dog...
...
How are you doing, Floppy? 
Thirsty. Water! What's that? Sniff sniff... SQUIRREL! Chase, chase! Stupid leash! Great, it went up a tree! I could have caught it if you let me go!
...
Oh, that's a cute house. I like the bench outside and the stone walkway.
Sniff, sniff. Who else has been here? What other dogs have been stealing my territory? Sniff, sniff.
...
Time to go home, guys.
Sniff, sniff, sniff.
...
Home, sweet home!
Thirsty. Water! Drink drink drink...

Friday, August 19, 2011

Freeky Friday: Shiny Happy People

Freeky Friday


It's Freeky Friday once again! This week, Freekware wants to know:
When are you most happy?
Oh, so many different answers.

I shall make this easy on myself, and copy what I wrote on Freekware's Facebook page (click the badge above!) to this question. But, I will add pictures! Yay, visuals!

I am most happy:
When I'm with my amazing boyfriend

my crazy ass family (there are way more of us, but I have no good pictures),

my friends, 

when my best friend comes home from school to visit (even though I look demonic in this picture. Miss you Roger!)

when I'm having a conversation in ASL (and I apparently have no picture of an actual conversation with it),

when I'm reading one of my thousands of books (and this MIGHT be what my bookshelf may actually look like some day, if I ever have enough room to put them somewhere other than in and on top of one tiny bookshelf, in the trunk at the foot of my bed, behind all of my DVDs, and stacked on the floor next to the original tiny bookshelf) [Source],

when I am teaching

when I'm belting out songs to myself even though I can't sing, 


when I'm watching whatever I want on Netflix, 


when I'm watching my box set DVDs of Gilmore Girls [Source],


when I try something I haven't done before and accomplish it (like cooking something!)


when I am at concerts of my favorite bands (like Disturbed!)
(and Blink 182!)


or when I'm MEETING THEM! (Chester and Phoenix from Linkin Park!),


when I am writing (hence this blog, and my contributions to Retail Hell Underground), 


when I am hanging out or playing with my dogs, (or when I'm playing with any puppy or dog) 


when I am on vacation, 

when I am helping others to achieve their fitness goals (My Beachbody Coaching Page), 
when I am drinking Shakeology (My Shakeology Page), 


when I am cuddled up having a movie night with the boy, 


when I am walking around Manhattan [Source]

when I pamper myself for once, 


and before this post becomes any longer, I'll stop it there, though I'm sure I could go on forever! =)

So, how about you?
When are you most happy?

You can participate in three ways! Head over to Concrete Jane to see how, be entered to win this month's prize of yummy Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies, and have a donation made in your name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Get on this!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Freeky Friday: Inspiration




Freeky Friday
Hey, Freeks! It's back to Freeky Friday, and today, Freekware asks...


Who inspires you?


I have multiple answers to this question. Though two of them include celebrities, I want to refrain from people in the media, as I don't actually know them as people, just as who they present themselves to be and do.


This post involves three people I personally know and love.
(Note: All pictures are mine unless otherwise stated.)


The first is my wonderful, loving mom, Phyllis. She is the strongest woman I have been blessed to know. She raised two kids alone, with virtually no help from anyone else, broke, desperate for money, and still stood her ground. She has been one of my best friends since the day she brought me into this world, and always a mom first. She always knew exactly what to do when, and exactly what to say when. She has not only been a great mom and friend, but she's so much more than that. She's also a teacher, a tutor, a coach, a chauffeur, a chef, a bank teller, a nurse (and she's a real one now!), a maid, a contractor, a gardener, a landscaper, a vet, a counselor, and anything and everything in between. She has been and continues to be everything a mom should be, and beyond her required call of duty. She is also simply a terrific person, holding within a heart of gold which she lets open only to those closest to her. I hope that if (yes, I said IF, MOM!) I become a mother one day, I can be even half as awesome as she is.


The second person who inspires me is my absolutely amazing boyfriend, Danny. I've posted about him before, because he's just that awesome. He is, without question, the best man I've ever known. He is the most honest and truly genuine person I've ever met, and I am so grateful to have him to call mine. I am not writing his name here simply because he is my boyfriend, or that he is loving, kind, and considerate toward me. He knows how to treat people, not just me. He always does the right thing, and never questions his morality. He respects everyone, unless they prove they don't deserve it, and even then he's still nice. I know that he's never once lied to me, and not just because he can't (seriously, he's the worst liar in the world; he can't hide anything), but because anyone who spends more than two seconds with him knows he can be trusted with anything. He is the most trustworthy person in my life, and I have absolutely no reason to say otherwise. You never get any kind of feeling or "vibe" with him that lets you know he's anything other than honest. He's the needle in the haystack of horrible men who lie, cheat, abuse, and do every other atrocious thing that people do in relationships. And he chose me, and I will forever be grateful for that. I wish that there were not only more men like him, but more people with his character.


The third and last, but certainly not least, person I chose who inspires me is one of my best friends, Debbie. If you live in my area or anywhere on Long Island, you may have heard her story. On February 13, 2010, while taking a shower before work, Debbie suffered a violent seizure, causing her to fall and hit the water spigot and handles. Scalding hot water continued to pour over her face, neck, shoulders, and back, as she lay unconscious in the water, with one nostril barely above water. Her dog, a black pomeranian named Gangsta, flew down the stairs (which she NEVER did; she refused to go down the stairs at all) and furiously barked outside the bathroom door, alerting Debbie's sisters and dad. They got inside, turned off the water, and tried to pull Debbie out of the tub. As they did so, her skin was literally sliding off in the their hands. When she finally woke up, she was in excruciating pain, and after the ambulance arrived, the EMTs informed them that they saved her just in time, as only a little while longer in the water and she would have died. Thanks to Gangsta, her little stubborn superhero pomeranian, Debbie survived. 
(Picture from Debbie!)
With third degree burns over much of the left side of her body, Debbie has undergone many surgeries, including skin grafting and surgery to her left eyelid. Her next is scheduled for early October 2011, when balloons will be put in under her skin to expand the scarred and burned skin, which is very tight and often painful. 
I visited Debbie in the hospital when this all first happened, which her and her family refer to as her "accident." She spent 38 straight days in the burn unit at Stony Brook hospital. With bandages around her head, face, and most of her body, she was still upbeat. She was laughing and joking with all of us, and though that may have been partly due to her pain medication (she was pretty darn funny on that stuff) and didn't exactly know what was going on half of the time, I know it was also due to her fighting personality. I've seen her covered in bandages in the hospital and finally home with only some bandages, to only a few, to only one, but still in pain. I've rubbed cocoa butter on her wounds to stop the dryness and itching, and I've held her hand in the doctor's office with her as she received agonizingly painful steroid injections to break up the keloids on her skin, and while some of these things caused tears, she has never given up. She always remains hopeful, confident, and strong. She still jokes, laughs, and isn't afraid to open up and talk about what happened and what her next step to recovery is. She gets better every day, and her body is healing at a rapid pace, and she improves every time I see her. This is not to say she is never sad or upset. She is only human. But when it comes to her health and her recovery, she is consistently flourishing with optimism. She is an unwavering, continuous pillar of strength, and I couldn't be more proud of her, her attitude, and her diligence in her road to recovery. She is a survivor in her own right.

Thank you to everyone in this post for the inspiration. I love you all!

So, how about you? 

Who inspires you?

You can participate in three ways! Head over to Concrete Jane to see how, be entered to win this month's prize of yummy Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies, and have a donation made in your name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! What are you waiting for?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Freeky Friday: Where to begin...

Freeky Friday


Freekware's Freeky Friday topic of the day is...

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?


(If this is your first time reading one of these, or just wondering what the heck this is, head over to Concrete Jane to read what this is all about and the inspirational story of how and why it started!)


My first reaction to this question was to say "Italy!" I'm half Italian, I've never been, I've always wanted to go, and it's probably my number one place I want to travel to before I die. Then I thought, "How do I make a blog-length post about one word?" Italy. I want to go to Italy. Why? I already explained that... hmm... Then I thought, "There are so many other places I want to go, would I want to go to Italy first, or save it for 'last?'"


I have this thing called My Bucket List. I'm sure almost everyone has one of these. You know, all the things you want to eventually do before you kick it. Well, as I said, going to Italy is on mine. I planned on writing about this topic in a separate post, inspired by a 15-year old girl named Alice, but it also seems fitting now. While talking about one's own mortality seems a bit gloomy, having these goals to accomplish is not. That's the positive side. And I want to complete as many of them as possible, if not all. Some of them are already done, like go jet-skiing, graduate with a Master's degree, fire a gun, sing karaoke, crowd surf, thank a soldier, and fall in love.


As I said, again... Italy is the number one place I want to travel to. I've written everything down in no particular order, but to answer today's question, instead of immediately choosing my number one place, I've decided to share all the places I want to travel on my list (I'll spare the rest, as the entire thing is currently three pages). I basically want to travel the world, but these are the key points I want to visit:
  • Italy!
  • Ireland
  • Australia
  • Scotland
  • Switzerland
  • Greece
  • England
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • Bahamas
  • Egypt
  • Hawaii
  • California
  • Alaska
And basically everywhere else. Two other ones on my list are to step foot on every (yes, every) continent and to visit all fifty states. I'm still on one continent, and only six states down... but I'll get there one day! Unfortunately, travel requires money, which I don't currently have, so that's another obstacle. 

There's my list. I would pick any one of these places at random and be happy with the outcome. So, what about you? 

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?

You can participate in three ways! Check it out at Concrete Jane to see how, be entered to win this month's prize of yummy Reverse Chocolate Chip Cookies, and have a donation made in your name to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Hop to it, Freeks!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Danny

I couldn't ask for a better person in my life. 


If I think about my past relationships, it's clear that none of them compare to my current one. And, back then, I probably would have said the same thing, but this one... is for real.


Dictionary.com defines love in fourteen different ways, just in noun form. From its first definition of "a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person," to a strong enthusiasm or liking of an object such as books, to the physical connection between two people, to using it as a term of endearment, to a religious definition of God's feelings for His people, to its meaning in a tennis match. Which one is right? Well, that depends on what you use it for. Since we're talking about (and when I say "we," I mean "I") relationships, that kicks out a simple term of endearment and my expensive bookworm habit. While I do have a deep love for books, I have no desire to go on a date with them. Clearly we are also not talking about a game of tennis, so that's out. And, while people do claim to have a relationship with God, this is simply not a religious experience. Love in terms of relationships. That eliminates the physical connection between two people, because really, if that is the only thing your "relationship" is based upon, you don't exactly have a relationship. I do believe, however, that that kind of physical affection cannot exist without love. Without love, what's the point?


So then, what's left? "A profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person." Well, it sounds good. But what does it really describe? It's all about the affection. Affection is great. It's wonderful. But that's all that love is about? Anyone who has been in love will tell you it's so much more than that. Because it is. However, ask them to describe it, or define it for you, and they probably can't. Because as stereotypical as it sounds, love is indescribable.


I may have gotten off track here. I am not trying to define love or give you my definition of it, either. However, to me, it is definitely much more than a deep affection for another person. I know that, because I feel it with Danny.


It's not that I have never had these strong feelings for another person before. I can't use the cliched, overused movie line, "I have never felt like this before!" If I did, I'd be lying. I've felt love before. However, I can say that it's never been this absolute before. Or this intense. Or this deep, profound, pronounced, heartfelt or sincere before. And it's incredible. It's awesome to feel this way about another person. But what is truly stunning, truly magnificent, is that all of these beautiful feelings are reciprocated. That is amazing. 


To have those kind of emotions and feelings come back in full force is magnificent. To have them come back the way Danny gives them, with such honesty and genuine warmth, is something that is indescribable. To finally have someone who loves me as much as I love him, and who shows it without fear at every moment possible is incredible, and something that I hope lasts forever. I finally have someone who treats me with the love, care, understanding, and full respect that I continuously give and deserve in return, and who appreciates me as much as I appreciate him. And I wish there existed a better word in the English language to describe it besides amazing, wonderful, incredible, awesome, etc... because those just don't seem to cut it.


I've never smiled so much in my life. It's now become automatic. At the mere mention of his name, I involuntarily smile. And not in the, "OhmygoshthecuteboyIlikejusttalkedtomeohmygod" *giggles and jumping* teenage kind of way. In the genuinely happy, content way. Because his name means so much more to me than just "boyfriend." No matter how sad, angry, disappointed, or upset the world has made me on a particular day, all I have to do is see his face, and I instantaneously smile. It is now a reflex that I cannot control. And it's pretty awesome.


I've never once questioned whether or not this is right. I've never once questioned whether or not this will last, or go the distance. With Danny, I just... know. I feel it. Nothing's ever been so right, or felt this good. It's not just because he's cute (which he is), or we just like being around each other and have fun together (which we do, but that can be felt with anyone or any friendship), or that he's a good kisser (which he is), or that we playfully argue over who gets to pay (which we do). All that is great, too, but it's so much deeper than that. He tells me that we are going to be 80 years old and still cuddling, holding hands, rubbing noses, and acting as in love as we do now, and I believe it. When he kisses me, I feel it. When he hugs me, I feel it. And when he looks at me and smiles, I see and know that he feels it, too.


The past year, two months, and five days have been the best, happiest, and most fortunate of my life. I'm the luckiest girl in the world. And I wouldn't change it for anything.


What should I write about today? I sometimes ask him. 
"Me!" is often his reply.
So today, I do.




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