About Me

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Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Friday, August 31, 2012

First Day On a Raw Diet!

Today was a big success.

I suffered terribly from caffeine withdrawal yesterday and wound up with my head on the pillow by 6pm.  Luckily, I woke up feeling incredibly refreshed, and though I'm not 100% better, I am feeling wonderful in comparison to the way I felt yesterday.  Actually, I did 60 minutes of cardio at the gym this morning, which is my personal best.  In the past 5 days I've done 250 minutes and had resistance training 3 times.  Tonight, my head is still a little funky, but I hope to be back to myself by tomorrow.

I was shocked when I woke up this morning and ALREADY felt as though I had a few cups of coffee.  I just felt... awake.  Right away.  I didn't need an hour to a few minutes to wake up.  Is this what I've been missing for all these years?

I wanted to show a sample to my diet for the day, since I know that going raw can be a little bit scary and people often think of raw food as just salad.

My breakfast for the past few days has been a raw foods shake that my friend Amber gave me.

It's totally delicious and contains awesome stuff like hemp seed, gojiberry and flaxseed.  It's sweetened with Stevia.

I mix it with water instead of almond milk to keep the calories down.  One scoop has 90 calories, which is just about what I consumed in coffee each morning... so it evens out.

I had to eat lunch on the go, in the car.  Today was a huge errand day for us, so there wasn't time to make a proper lunch at home.

While doing our Whole Foods shopping, I picked up a banana, an apple and this raw pecan butter, which was more delicious than I can possibly explain in human words.

The pecan butter is really filling and it turned a mid-day snack into a satisfying meal that kept me happy until about 3pm, when I ate another banana.
For my dinner, I got creative.

I've been studying different raw foods recipes for the past few weeks and I think that I've got a few tricks up my sleeve.

Tonight I made a macadamia nut pesto using macadamia nuts, basil, garlic, EVOO, lemon juice, raw tahini and sea salt.

I tossed this pesto into raw kelp noodles, spinach leaves, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes and served a side of raw, unmarinated, spicy sauerkraut.

This dinner was pretty good and very filling.  I thought that I might have a few grapes for dessert, but didn't have room for them.

Hunger was my main concern while starting this cleanse, but I really am not hungry at all.  The nuts and seeds that I added to my diet made it easy to get the fat, calories and protein that I needed to have a healthy day and they really filled me up!

I wasn't sure how this would go... but I think I'm going to be able to make it through two weeks.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Bucket List

You know, I've never made a bucket list.

I'm the type of person who thinks of loads of awesome things that I'd like to do, and then forgets shortly thereafter.  Maybe I'm just easily distracted and a little ADD.

Today, I'm going to pen a bucket list that I can defer to when I'm looking for an adventure or making a plan!

It includes things that I want to do and stuff like I'd like to have!  This is just a beginning...

1 Decide what I want to be when I grow up
2 Own a bakery
3 Learn to play the guitar
4 Buy a yellow house
5 Have an infinity pool
6 Live internationally with my family
7 Reach my goal weight and stay there forever
8 Get enough sleep most nights
9 Be addiction free
10 Spend time in India with my children
11 Write a cookbook
12 Learn to drive stick
13 and then buy an old VW Bus
14 Take my kids across the country in an RV
15 See all 50 states
16 See the Northern Lights
17 Make a good friend everywhere I live
18 Camp at Lake Tahoe
19 Work hard to nurture and preserve the close relationship that my children have
20 Get a spiraler for vegetables
21 Cover my bathroom in wallpaper that has little toilets on it
22 Like what I look like
23 Live on a commune
24 Be on a reality tv show
25 Find a religion
26 Make a crayon painting
27 Mosaic a wall in my yellow house
28 Teach my children charity
29 Get 200 minutes of exercise each week
30 Make it through a raw foods cleanse
31 Own a sail boat
32 Drive down the Florida Keys
33 Go back to St. Thomas for a week
34 See Hawaii
35 Own the things that we never buy but I always want- vacuum cleaner, iron, food processor etc..
36 Make every Paula Deen recipe
37 Handmake one Christmas gift for everyone I know
38 Have financial security and freedom
39 Go to my 20 year high school reunion
40 Foster a child
41 Learn to make really good almond milk
42 Grow my own food
43 Own chickens
44 Learn to make wine
45 Take  a bus trip up to Napa
46 Be able to take my parents on a vacation
47 Save enough money for my children to go to any college that they want to and never need a loan
48 Start sending Christmas cards and yearly updates
49 Find a pottery studio and go there often
50 Have a family portrait taken each year

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I had such a nice birthday yesterday.  Believe it or not, I still haven't opened my presents yet.  The kids had school and Jay had to work last night, so we haven't all been together for me to open them.  They are all sitting on my kitchen table, taunting me.  I'll open them tonight after the girls finish their homework.  

Yesterday I woke up and enjoyed my last cup of caffeinated coffee EVER.  As of today, I am a woman who lives free of addiction (and who is also going through a groggy, tired faced withdrawal from caffeine.)   After bringing the girls to school I picked Jay up from the train and brought him home, and then I headed over to my gym and gave my workout 100% of me.  I knew that there would be cake and alcohol involved in my day, so I needed to kill a lot of calories before I put anything in my mouth.  

Soon after returning from the gym, Jay and I headed out to my favorite restaurant.  It's called The Moss Beach Distillery and is about an hour and a half away in Half Moon Bay.  The restaurant sits on a cliff above the ocean.  The food is excellent and the atmosphere is so serene.   Also, they make a mean Bloody Mary!  This is the first day date that Jay and I have had in ages.  While eating, we dreamed of living in Half Moon Bay someday.  It's south of San Francisco, on the peninsula and is just so beautiful.  There's something about the town that reminds me a bit of Cape Cod.  Half Moon Bay just feels like home to me.  Jay also loves it and so do the girls.  I think that we'll make it our final settling place in California.  I don't know when we'll settle down here because it looks like we may have a few huge, pending changes on the horizon... but when we are ready to buy a house and settle into life, Half Moon Bay is where I'd like to be. 

After driving home I took Jay to the train and went over to a friend's house for a birthday dinner.  She had picked the girls up from school and made me a vegan lasagna, salad, garlic bread and picked up vegan cupcakes.  It was the best time.  We chit chatted for hours while the kids played and dinner was just delicious.

As I get older, I find that it's more and more difficult to make good friends.  People without children often don't want to befriend people who have children and it's difficult to find other parents who you can get along with well.   I love California so much and have started to feel like I fit in here.  Despite my horrible social anxiety, I've made a couple really great friends.  And I know from experience, a couple really great friends is far more valuable than a hundred superficial friendships.  I'll take it any day!  

Yesterday I was overcome with optimism for the year to come.  I feel like things are getting better and better.  When I think about my life last year on my birthday- where I lived and how I managed my time and health, I am overcome by pride in how much happier I am now.  I guess that I have Twitter to thank for that.  Really, I guess that I have my husband to thank for that.  When we moved to California, everything else fell into place.  I can not even believe the changes that have happened in the past year.  It's amazing!  

2 more days till I start my raw food cleanse!  I am so excited!  I've been reading how to make pasta dishes out of spiraled raw zucchini!  

I didn't take many pictures yesterday.  But here are the few that I did take.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Feeling Good

I am feeling pretty good!

 It's been about a month since I started working out in a gym regularly. In this month, I've only lost 5 lbs, but I'm feeling much stronger than I had been. I am also beginning to see a significant difference in my body and my overall perspective on health- both emotional and physical health.

 When I began working out a month ago, I was only doing 20 minutes of cardio and then maybe 10-15 minutes of weight training. Now, I am doing workouts that are generally 40-45 minutes of cardio and 20-30 minutes of weight training. All in all, I aim for at least 150 minutes of cardio per week and weight training at least 3 days a week. On a great week, I do 200 minutes of cardio and am on weights 5 days. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen.

For instance, today I dropped the girls at school, picked Jay up from the train, dropped him off at home and only had time for 40 minutes at the gym. I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the elliptical machine and then managed to squeeze in some ab work before scrambling home, showering and having to run to the school to celebrate Lila's birthday with her classmates.

 I've noticed that when I work out I am much hungrier than I am when I do not. I have been trying to keep my calories at about 1500, but on days when I work out they often go up to 1700 (and sometimes beyond). I'm really excited to start my raw vegan cleanse on 9/1. I hear that I'll have a lot more energy and much better workouts. I'll be sure to let you now how it goes.

 Here's a picture that I took this morning before heading to the gym. I am really starting to see some results!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Since I'm a fan of airing all of my dirty laundry in my blog, I have a confession. Until recently I've been able to hide the fact that I work out while listening to Pink's Greatest Hits album and it really keeps me focused and going.  Now I share an rdio account with Jay Holler and each week he posts the music that we listen to the most on Twitter.  As I work out more and more... Pink shows up with pretty embarrassing consistency. 

Here's the song that I listen to on repeat.  I imagine that most people in the gym are being motivated by techno beat, while I am losing myself to this...

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Death Cookbook

I've been thinking a lot about the meals that I make for my family- what they ask for repeatedly and what they'll remember me for someday.  

Everyone has those childhood foods that smell like  poetic wafts of comfort and nostalgia.  For me, it's my Dad's spaghetti and meatballs, which he promptly stopped making after he became friends with real Italian people.  So many things bring me back: the smell of a holiday turkey at 8 am, eggs and meat sizzling away for brunch on a snow day.  Blueberry muffins at Christmas.  Roast beef and popovers.  Huge batches of homemade soup.  Entenmann's Rasberry coffee cake.  Port wine cheese and crackers.  Food was such an important part of life growing up.  I come from a family that LOVES to eat (though my mom would probably promise you that she does not love to eat).  My dad is a pretty creative cook and was constantly trying out new ideas.  I'm pretty certain that he never uses a recipe, so most of our meals growing up were of his own creation.  Just like me! 

I started wishing that my dad had written a cookbook and wondered if my kids would feel the same way someday.

So, I asked Bunny and Lila if there are things that I make that they'd like to make for their own families someday.  At first they couldn't wrap their heads around the fact that the day will come that they do not live in the same house as me and may have to cook for themselves.  But then my children seemed to simultaneously remember that someday I'm going to die.  And they might need my recipes after I'm dead if they ever want to eat these things again.  And, by George, a miraculous outpouring of ideas came out of my children's mouths.  By my pending death, they were inspired to write the table of contents for my very own cookbook!

And so, together we formed a concept for "The Death Cookbook."  

I'm never going to publish this cookbook.  As a matter of fact, when I was taking note of everything I'll include in it, I was surprised by how many appetizers and sides my kids love, and how little "actual food" they requested.  

Here's what I'm thinking!  I've built a table of contents and have started to type out all of my recipes.  When all was said and done, I ended up with 50 family loved recipes.  My idea is that I'd like to get a huge drawing tablet and I'd like to take my time and hand write the recipes inside.  Instead of taking photographs, I'd like to illustrate it myself with colored pencil.  

Then, when I'm done (in like, 10 years) I'm going to have it laminated.  

Let's hope that my kids don't end up feuding someday, because I'm not making two of these!

Here's what I'm going to put in it! 

1. Methods of thickening soups, sauces and gravies
2 The universal appetizer tray- to please every pallet
3 Cheesy garlic bread
4 Pie crust
5 Pizza crust
6 Cinnamon bread
7 focaccia bread
8 Tortilla chips
9 Cranberry Sauce
10 Marinade for outdoor grilling
11 Hash browns
12 Taco dip
13 Butternut Squash
14 Scampi sauce for chicken, shrimp or veggies
15 Artichoke dip
16 Mashed potatoes
17 Sweet honey gravy for citrus stuffed chicken
18 Nacho cheese sauce
19 Asian grilled wings
20 A  perfect salad
21 Pasta salad

22 Cabbage soup
23 Butternut squash soup
24 Tomato soup
25 Chicken soup
26 Beef stew

27 Mac and cheese casserole
28 Citrus stuffed chicken
29 chicken parmesan
30 chicken pot pie
31 tomato sauce
32 meatballs
33 pot roast
34 roast beef
35 holiday turkey
36 Quiche 
37 French Toast
38 BBQ ribs
39 Chicken fingers
40 Lemon chicken
41 Apple pie
42 Blueberry pie
43 Caramel
44 Cheesecake
45 Chocolate dipped macaroons
46 Rice crispy treats
47 Kettle Corn
48 Fudge
49 Apple Crisp

50 Peach Cobbler

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Awesome Post On Foodie Site

I am not really a joiner of online communities.  

I've activated and deactivated my Facebook account enough times to feel embarrassed by it (and to leave it deactivated). And I only have 1 toe in Twitter.  Truthfully, my toes would all be free and clear of Twitter if the company didn't keep the electricity pulsing through the veins of my house and if I wasn't sort of obsessed with Emily Maynard and Jef Holm's relationship- but anyway...

14 weeks ago, to the day, I joined an online community called Calorie Count.  At the time I wasn't losing weight, despite my low carb efforts, and I felt aware of not having a good grasp on my nutrition. Since that day, I have logged every bite of food that has gone into my body.  The site has taught me about being honest, feeling strong, working out, healthy portions and has ended my food guilt.  It has taught me how to stop dieting and stop allowing food to control me and it has really taught me how to eat in a way that makes me happy and healthy.  I have had many days when I said, "You know, I'm not going to care about how many calories I eat today.  I'm going to drink some beer and eat a burger..." but I still logged them.  I can not emphasize to you enough how logging the "poor food choices" that I've made has destroyed all of the shame I had around food.  And for me, that is a HUGE accomplishment and a battle won.  

There are a lot of aspects of Calorie Count that I didn't get involved in.  Each food that you log is given a nutrition grade and at the end of the day you are given a final grade.  You then have the option of publishing your food log publicly and writing a little something about your day.  At first, I'd always keep mine private.  I read through the experiences of the other members, but I never commented on their day, struggle or accomplishments.  As time went on and I felt more and more inspired by the community members, I decided to publish my own journals and food diaries.  

All I can say is that people are so amazing and I feel incredibly supported by the community there.  No one is ever hurtful.  People rally around the members who have had an off day or are riding a terrible plateau or a are struggling to eat enough or are struggling to maintain their weight.  People post inspiring things and Calorie Count has become my go-to when I want to read something that makes me feel good about myself.

Today, a member posted this and it has been resonating with me:

Here's to us. Here's to ordering a salad when you really want a burger. To making an ass out of ourselves in combat cardio class. To drinking more water than seems possible. To going 5 minutes more on the elliptical. To working out twice as much as your skinny roommate. To saying "Screw You to the old you. To falling in love with the you that you really are, the you that you want to become. To looking in the mirror and not seeing any change, throwing on your running shoes, and hitting the gym anyway. Here's to carrots, and shin splints, and sweat shirts, and perseverance, and sore muscles, and stinky socks, and 6am conditioning class, and falling down, and getting back up. And here?s to getting up tomorrow and doing it all again.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Raw Food Cleanse

I am going to do something crazy.

From September 1st through September 15th I'm going on a raw food cleanse.

I've always been interested in eating raw, but I've never given it a shot.  I hear that people feel great when they do it.  I would like to give my body a break from caffeine, alcohol, processed food and animal products.  I do not see this as being a diet that would be something I'd commit to as a way of life, but I am interested in seeing how I feel on it.

One thing that has always prevented me from becoming totally raw is my addiction to coffee.  I am gripped by a nearly disabling anxiety when I think of going without my morning coffee.  Caffeine certainly has me by the ovaries, that's for sure.  So, today I cut back to just one cup of coffee and I'll continue to have one cup per day until August 29th.  On August 29th I'll give it up completely and on September 1st I'll go raw for two weeks.

Most people commit to a one month cleanse, but Jay and I are going into San Francisco to see his buddy play with Sondre Lerche and I'd like to be able to toss a few back that night.   Also, I think that two weeks will be enough time for me to feel the difference.

The last time I did a vegan 28 day challenge I ended up feeling pretty craptastic.  I was just sluggish and exhausted and struggled to feel full.  This time I'm going to incorporate more nuts and I was thrilled to read that pesto is A-OK on a raw foods diet.  I'll be eating way more than carrot sticks and celery.  And though I'm not going to go so crazy as to invest in a dehydrator, I might just grab a nice blender to make a smoothie to start my day!

I found this really great article that talks about the benefits of doing the type of cleanse that I'm planning to do.  I have a good feeling that this is really going to help me!

Etsy Shop

Hey ya'll, if you're looking for a beautifully crafted, homemade gift, you may want to check out my friend Erika's Etsy shop.  She's having a big sale right now, and you know, the holidays are just around the corner!!!!

Also, these purchases are heart healthy, as the proceeds from Erika's sales will all go directly toward saving her house which is in danger of going into foreclosure.  

Here's the message on her Etsy page:
I'm having a bit of a "Save My House" sale on Etsy right now- hoping to keep our house from going into foreclosure, as my hubby's over time hours were cut early this summer and we don't want to lose the house! We have 10 days to become completely current on our mortgage and the clock is ticking. Thanks for looking!

I have bought a few things from Erika over the years, including her kit for making the cutest felt valentines ever and a gorgeous painting that we hung in Bunny's bedroom.

Here are a few of my favorites that she has up now!

Erika is wildly talented and takes custom orders.

I'm fairly certain that if you can think it, she can make it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

First Day of 2nd and 3rd Grade

First things first.  I am having the worst day ever and I'm the crabbiest mo'fo to walk the earth.  I, heart of hearts, wish that I could unzip my body and crawl out of it.

Today was the first day of school, sort of.  It was strange.  Monday is always mass day at school.  It starts at 8:30.  School usually begins at 8 AM and then the kids go over to the church.  Today the parents brought the kids directly to mass.  Then we sat through it (always awkward for the non-catholics who have no clue what is happening) and finally the kids were called to their classrooms for an hour.  The parents hopped over to the Hall for a breakfast and a meet and greet held by the PTO.

Before I go on, I have to tell you that I was completely overcome by emotion when they called Lila to the second grade class and to my horror... I began to cry.  Like, weep.

I guess that even though I spend every day with the girls, at that moment I had the realization (I am slow, apparently) that Lila has grown up too quickly.  Somehow, her baby and toddler and small child time has slipped through my fingers and I missed it.  I have always heard people say that they blinked and their children were all grown up... Doesn't that just sound like such a load of crap?  Parents are overworked and under-appreciated and those toddler years can drrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaggggggggggggg.  I certainly do not envy anyone with small children because it feels to me like dues that I have paid.  And yet, here I am, mourning the loss of those little girls who used to cling to me for dear life on the first day of school.  I feel like I'm losing them in slow motion and it sucks.

In other bad day events, I had to attend the breakfast for the parents.  If you don't know me in real life (or if you are someone who loves me very much) it might surprise you to learn that I am a huge asshole.      I have THE WORST social anxiety on the planet.  Groups of people stress me out and make my mind race.  I am incapable of making it through a conversation with someone who I am uncomfortable with (all people who I don't know) without saying something horribly offensive. There are only two people at the school who I am comfortable with.  When I am uncomfortable, I become helpless to the terrible things that come out of my mouth.  I am the most offensive person in the world.  For instance, I complimented someone on her new haircut and she told me that she was due for a trim and I told her that it looked like she had wings.  OOOOOOOOORRRRRRR how about the fact that I told another mom who had just moved to the area for her crazily-awesome job that my children are adjusting well to moving because I'm a stay at home mom and at least I'm at home with them.   Just so you know, I don't think that and it's about the worst thing that I could have said.  Yep.  I also made fun of this poor woman's job repeatedly in the conversation.

I am a train wreck and everyone hates me.

And that is how I am doing today.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese

I am always trying to create alternatives to casein laden foods so that Bunny can enjoy some creamy, cheesy, delicious eats.  A few years back my friend Mathew taught me to make a mac and cheese casserole and today I modified his basic recipe in an effort to make it Bunny-friendly.  

It was so incredibly delicious that I wanted to share it.  Everyone LOVED it.  I topped it with a sprinkle of the focaccia breadcrumbs that I made yesterday.  The breadcrumbs just gave this casserole a little bit of crunch that was texturally nice!  My girls devoured it.  I have actually never seen Bunny eat so much.  I think that this would be really great with asparagus mixed in, but Bunny and Lila weren't feeling it tonight.

Here's what you need:

1 box elbow pasta- cooked el dente 

1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp earth's balance

4 cups veggie stock (I like better than bouillon veg base but you can use whatever you want)
1 cup almond milk
1 container  of vegan cream cheese
1/2 bag daiya cheddar cheese
salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup corn starch whisked with water (add if you need to thicken the cheese sauce).

Seasoned breadcrumbs 

Here's what you do:

Make a roux by whisking the flour and the earth's balance.

Add veggie stock and milk and mix over medium/high heat, whisking constantly.

Add cream cheese and daiya cheese, whisk until mixed fully

Add Salt and Pepper

If your cheese mixture is a little bit runny, add a bit of cornstarch that has been dissolved in cold water and whisk it on high heat until you've achieved the desired thickness.

Use a glass casserole dish and pour the cheese sauce over the macaroni noodles.  Top with seasoned breadcrumbs.  

Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes!  

My girls were crazy for this!!!!!!  

Cooking for Dogs

I cook for everyone else in my family, why not add Groovy-James and Sidney Holler?

The dogs have been eating Fresh Pet Select dog food on top of a bit of natural kibble.  I like that their food seems "real" and not like a bunch of byproducts and fillers.  So, why not take it to the next level and start making them their food?

I've been reading up on it and as it turns out, Groovy-James and Sidney can have a similar diet to mine.  Other than not being able to tolerate spices and having to keep it bland, they'll be able to stay strong and healthy when eating plain white rice, peas, carrots and unseasoned, baked chicken.  So, that's what I have made them.  I will keep reading and accumulating recipes in an effort to change things up for them from time to time.

And they love it!

I think that I'll still add the kibble to their food to give it a little bit of crunch!  But they seem very happy with their homemade dog food!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

I heart jars

I started my day with about a million ripe tomatoes.  Now, I love tomatoes, but I can only eat so many.  I've been reading all about canning and picked up a bunch of jars at the grocery store.  After jarring my tomatoes I felt positively inspired.  Yesterday I made my family a loaf of focaccia bread to go with their dinner.  I decided to use the leftover bread to make breadcrumbs.  We are having friends over for dinner on Friday night and I'm looking forward to using my focaccia bread crumbs then!  Also, I have been reading a lot about infusing olive oil with other flavors, specifically lavender.  So, I used one of my new jars to make a batch of lavender EVOO.  I can't wait to drizzle it over roasted red potatoes with a bit of fresh rosemary.  YUM!

Check it out!  I feel so proud.  And just think, in only a few short weeks pie season will begin.

Why I Joined A Gym

I am absolutely not the type of person who goes to a gym.  I loathe that person.  She's vapid and smug.  I am the type of person who reads books and doesn't stress about eating french fries (yeh, right) I am the type of person who works in her garden instead of working out on an elliptical machine.  People like me don't internally mingle with people like her.

I do not have beautiful training clothes, I have sweats.

I do not have a trainer to push me because I don't really want to find out what my limit is.  Comfort is sort of  my thing, actually.

And the sneakers I wear are for fashion and were designed to be worn sockless and are cute.  They are not sturdy and I can barely balance on one foot when I wear them.  They are only a tiny bit more functional than the platform, backless sneakers I wore back in 1998 (Really.  It was a terrible time in my life for fashion).

So, what in the world possessed me to walk into the new gym that just opened in my town and sign myself up for a year?

On April 12th I started a weight loss journey.  When I left for our spring break I was mortified to learn that none of my clothes from the previous summer fit me any longer... and they were mostly size 14.  After moving to California, I had taken to wearing lots of leggings, dresses and over sized shirts.  I didn't really know what size I was and I went away on my vacation with very little to wear.  During my vacation I knew that I needed to make some sort of change.  I enjoyed my vacation, ate whatever I felt like, drank as much as I wanted... but mentally prepared for the fact that I was going to change my life when I went back home.

And by "change my life," I only meant "lose some weight."

When I got home and hopped up on the scale I was mortified to see how much I had gained.  Since my fertility treatments last year I had put on about 45 lbs.

Chew on that.

I wanted to blame my thyroid, but I knew that the problem was really just food.  I ate my way through infertility.  I ate my way through one stressful move.  I ate my way through the next stressful move.  And then a few months later I ate my way through the following stressful move.  At this point, I wasn't thinking much about the problem.  Because the problem was not the weight that I had gained.  The weight was just a symptom of my actual problem.

When I came home I started the Atkins diet, which has worked miracles for me in the past.  I honestly believe that sugar and flour are poison for my body, and kicking them to the curb is one of the healthiest things that I've ever done.  So, I started low-carbing it and stopped gaining weight, but I wasn't losing either.  I was just staying the same and it was frustrating.  That's when I found a calorie counting sight that has pretty much saved my life and has taken me on an amazing journey.

The pounds began to come off.  I've been journaling it somewhat consistently here. I eat a diet that is roughly 70% raw, though not as a rule.  I very rarely will eat anything made with flour, but from time to time I do.  I actually don't have any hard rules about things that I can and can not eat.  I just eat what is nutritionally rich and what makes my body feel good... and on days when I eat unhealthy things, I don't' sweat it.

The pounds that were coming off became way less important than something else that started to happen.  I began to notice my nutrition and to really care about it.  And as I lost weight I became less hungry for weight loss and more interested in how my body felt.  All at once, food became nearly insignificant to me, while simultaneously being the most important thing.  What I mean by that is that I stopped caring about how the foods I ate made me look and started caring about how the foods I ate made me feel.

Here's something else that happened.  I stopped feeling guilty about food.

And then, I stopped eating to soothe my emotions and I learned that eating to celebrate is a great part of life.  By painstakingly and somewhat obsessively focusing on this part of my life... this compulsive, unhealthy relationship that I had with food... I was able to unwind a lifetime of emotional issue that were all tied up in food.

And the 45 lbs that I've lost since April 12th are so petty in comparison to the important change that has happened within me.

My biggest problems has been that I eat and overeat and compulsively eat to deal with emotion.  When I was young I smoked.  Then I drank.  Then I ate.  I have always needed to do something physical to work through my emotions.  When I ate, I smothered them.

And I learned that when I get on a treadmill, and I lose myself in my thoughts, I push through my feelings.  I can put things in perspective.  I push and I sweat and I think about things that I haven't dealt with in years.  It's uncomfortable and satisfying and relieving.  It helps me. I am going to go so far as to say that I love it.

So, I didn't join a gym to be healthy.  I didn't join to tone up.  I didn't join to lose weight.

I joined because it's my goal to use working out as a tool to deal with stress.

I am 11 lbs away from my goal weight now, and I don't care when I get there.  I actually don't care if I ever lose another lb.  I feel happy.  I have a peace of mind because I know that the weight I lost is never coming back.

Quite dramatically, I am free.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Vacation Photo of the Day #14

The last time that we had a babysitter Bunny took on a lot of responsibility.  As a reward I told her that I'd buy her a little treat while we were on vacation.  Instead of going shopping, Bunny asked to just have a day with me at the beach.  I rarely get one on one time with either of my kids and every so often it's nice to get out with only one of them.

We had a good time.  We packed a picnic and took sand toys and bubbles to the beach!  Then we came home and played a mean game of scrabble.  We play by our own rules (and even trade letters sometimes).

As you can tell from Bunny's expression, it got quite serious.  She is so competitive.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Vacation Photo #13

I got up and worked out hard.  I can't wait to get back to the gym tomorrow!!!!

Then, my mom, the girls and I headed out to the Golisano Children's Museum.  They had a "kids only" room for kids who are ages 8 to 14 and Bunny disappeared into it for an hour.  She reappeared with a purse that she designed and hand sewed.  So awesome!  Unfortunately, Lila was not allowed inside.  Luckily, she grabbed a crafty souvenier (courtesy of my mom) on her way out!

Here are a few pictures from our day!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Vacation Photo of the Day #12

What a nice day.

My mom's trainer came over and my dad made a huge lunch/dinner.

But first I went to the gym and did a 20 minute run on the treadmill using an incline of 4.0 and pushing it up to 6.0 for my last few minutes.  Then I got onto the elliptical.  I skipped weights because I was just spent at the end of my cardio.   I'm going to join a 24 Hour Fitness when I go back to California.  There's one that is pretty close to my house and it doesn't seem too pricey.  I'm going to pop in and see if they have any good membership deals going on.

Here are a few pictures from the day!

screenshot from the treadmill

 Me!  Very gross and sweaty after working out.  It's satisfying to me to see myself so red in the face.

And now for the food!
 Peppers stuffed with onion and yellow squash
 Homemade Calamari

Friday, August 10, 2012

Vacation Photo Update #11

Today has been a strange day.

Two years ago my dad went in for a simple, fifteen minute cataract surgery on his eye.  During the surgery the machine broke.  Since, my father has gone through several retina reattachment surgeries and cornea transplants, but is still (and will always be) blind in that eye.  Because he still has such pain, it is likely that the eye will need to be removed.

Finally, my parents are going forward legally.  For a long time they just wanted him to get better, but he isn't going to get better and they've accepted that.

Today, a videographer (is that a real word?) came to interview us all about my father's quality of life before the experience and how this has changed his life.

It was very emotional.

But afterwards, when I would usually eat a piece of peanut butter pie or drink two glasses of wine, I went to the gym and sweat like I have never sweat before and came back feeling MUCH better.

So, today, rather than giving you a picture from my day...

this seems more appropriate!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Vacation Photo of the Day Update #10

What an excellent day.

I was really dreading meeting with my mom's trainer today but it ended up being a great experience.  I went into the gym at 11 and worked out with the weights for a half an hour.  Then, I met with the trainer for another hour and a half and she helped me correct a few of the things that I've been doing.

I am considering joining a gym when I go home.  I've just really been enjoying going each day.  A couple of days ago I knew that I had to go and I didn't really want to.  I was just feeling emotional and the girls were being wild and I felt frazzled.  I just didn't feel that I had the energy.  I pushed myself to go and ended up having a great work out and feeling so much better mentally and emotionally when I left.

Recently, my friend Laura said that she wishes she'd be a stress-work-outer instead of a stress-eater.  I have to wonder if a person can turn into this.  When I'm at the gym I do feel as though I am doing something that is all mine.  It's one little chunk of the day that I have and am devoting to myself.  Oddly, when I was a smoker I used to feel similarly about cigarettes.  What a strange comparison.

Tonight my Dad took the girls out for shopping, manicures and dinner at P.F Chengs.  My mom and I ended up at a restaurant in Naples for a girls night.  It's called Sea Salt and we had such a great dinner.  For our appetizer we had a cold plate of raw oysters, shrimp and lump crab meat.  Then we split a beet, hazelnut, arugula and goat cheese salad.  I had ahi tuna with seaweed salad as my main course and it was DELICIOUS.

Check out this ahi tuna.

Also, as a side note, though I appear particularly orange in that picture with my mom, I'd like to state for the record that no artificial tanners or tanning bed lights have touched my body.  The pumpkinesque nature of my appearance remains a mystery.