30 December 2013

jilly does jolly old england

True story: While I was across the pond, not only did I not count a single Weight Watchers point I didn't even think about them. I ate what I wanted when I wanted without ever worrying about calories or points or any of it. Most of the time I made pretty good choices but, c'mon, it was the holiday season and I was on vacation in England. Y'know, the land of shortbread and mince pies.

So, even though we were doing a ton of walking I was still a little worried about what I would see when I finally got home to my scale. But apparently all of that walking paid off because when I weighed myself this morning I had lost 1 pound!


Like I said, we did a bunch of walking and of course I wore my handy dandy FitBit the entire trip. We left Sunday December 22nd and arrived back in Cleveland late last night. In that week I walked just over 77,500 steps and roughly 33 miles! Not too shabby, eh?

My family (minus Sissy and BIL -- long story) arrived in London Monday morning. Yay for overnight flights, seriously. We had rooms at this super sweet extended stay type hotel. Mine was basically like a studio apartment, small kitchenette included so we stocked up at the local grocery store and were all able to just make our own breakfasts each morning. The hotel was a block away from my aunt and uncle's flat and there was a Tube stop right around the corner so it was ridiculously convenient.

Monday and Tuesday were spent walking around doing some shopping at Harrods and Fortnum and Mason, two of London's most well-known shops. Both are also known for their window displays and they went all out for the holidays.

Then, as I mentioned, our Christmas started by attending a service at Westminster Abbey.


Not gonna lie, I spent the entire service staring up at the ceiling, studying the architecture just imagining what it took to build the entire thing. It really is awe-inspiring.

After doing a bit more sightseeing while in that part of the city we headed back to the hotel for a bit of downtime before we went to my aunt and uncle's for Christmas dinner.

Well, my parents did. I went on a super-secret mission.

It wasn't until this trip that I realized that pretty much all of my fandoms are British. Don't really know how that happened, but so be it. One of these is, of course, Doctor Who and I knew there were a small handful of blue police boxes still standing in the city, one of them even being on Google Maps. That would be the Earls Court Police Box and when, out of curiosity, I looked it up online I realized it was a mere half mile away from our hotel.

I'm sure you can guess what happened next.


Obviously a TARDIS selfie was required.

One little walk later, I made it back just in timey wimey to meet my parents for a lovely Christmas dinner.

Thursday was Boxing Day and while my dad, uncle and cousin attended a soccer football match, my mom, aunt and I went on one of London's famous Walking Tours. The tours are a great way to see London and learn about some of its history (when my family came ten years ago we went on a Jack the Ripper tour). You basically just show up at the appointed time, pay, and off you go. They all meet at a particular Tube stop and this one was the stop right by the Tower of London.


This was a special seasonal walk inspired by Charles Dickens, Christmas traditions and the novel Christmas Carol. One of the places we stopped was this adorable shopping arcade that was used as a filming location in the first Harry Potter film for the street Harry and Hagrid are walking down right before they enter Diagon Alley.


I may or may not have watched the movie while writing this blog post just to see if I recognized it (I did).

Now, okay. So obviously London is fabulous and up until this point I had been having a fantastic time and a great trip. But Friday was, without a doubt, my MOST FAVORITE DAY EVER. Because Friday was the day Papa G. and I took the train out to Hampton Court Palace.


I feel pretty confident saying that roughly half the pictures I took on this trip were at Hampton. Because I am a complete nerd when it comes to the Tudors and have been for nearly a decade (I mean, hello, I quoted Elizabeth I in my MOH speech at Sissy's wedding).

(Shhhh. Don't tell anyone, but for years I've contemplated getting a Tudor Rose tattooed on the back of my neck. True story.)


Just to walk those halls and see and imagine all of the history that took place within the walls. A painting of Henry VIII's family that I've seen a million times in books, just hanging out in a gallery. They also had reenactors on staff, walking around the grounds, which was pretty cool.

Saturday we had one final lunch at my aunt and uncle's before packing up and going to Heathrow. We had changed some travel plans so that instead of having a two hour layover in DC, we actually spent Saturday night there so we could visit Sissy and BIL who, again, long story, were unable to join us on the trip at the last minute. It was nice getting to see them and having that sort of "buffer" day between London and home helped get me back on schedule for the most part.

Overall I had a wonderful time, ate lots of yummy yummy food, got to see family, bought some fabulous souvenirs for myself and friends, and spent time in a gorgeous city. But for everything we did get to do there is still plenty that we didn't have time for so, gosh, looks like I'm just going to have to go back sometime soon! (I've also decided I'm going to have to marry some older rich man who owns a flat in London so I can just go back and visit whenever I want.)

Don't forget! Today is the last day to enter my giveaway to win a copy of Happy Herbivore Light & Lean so be sure to enter!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

25 December 2013

Feliz Navidad! Joyeux Noël! Frohe Weihnachten!

Happy Christmas from Merrie Olde England!

My holiday is going to include service at Westminster Abbey and I'm totally geeking out because, hi, Westminster Abbey but also because Queen Elizabeth I is buried there and if there is one thing you need to know about me it's that I am completely obsessed with the Tudors. When we started planning this trip I told my family the only thing I cared about was making sure I get to Hampton Court Palace, even if I have to go alone.


Of course, tonight is the Doctor Who Christmas special where we Matt Smith fans say goodbye to Eleven and hello to Twelve and I also may or may not be planning on stalking hanging around the Barbican Theatre this week in the hopes of magically running into David Tennant as he is here performing in Richard II.

Just sayin'.

Hope all of those of you that celebrate Christmas have a lovely holiday and enjoy the time off!

Have you entered the giveaway to win a copy of Happy Herbivore Light & Lean?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

23 December 2013

no case of the mondays here

Right. Soooooooo. By the time this gets posted I'll have been in London for several hours. Happy Monday indeed.

I know it's not even Christmas yet, but one of my goals for the new year is to attend FitBloggin '14 and finally get an opportunity to meet some of the wonderful people I've gotten to know through social media over the past year or two.

In anticipation of the conference (and because I've been wanting to do it for awhile now) I decided to take advantage of a VistaPrint Cyber Monday sale and update my old business cards with my new branding.


Aren't they just devoon? If one of your 2014 goals is to give you or your blog a new look I highly recommend hiring Meghan Murphy to design a mascot like my lil superhero there.

Since starting my blog and really getting out there on Twitter and such I've met so many amazing people from so many different fields and communities and I hate keeping all of their fabulousness to myself. So, given that I'll be out of the country for the next week and will only be able to update my Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as often as international internet access will allow, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to introduce my dear readers to some new people to follow and get to know in my absence.

So! In no particular order (okay, alphabetical) I offer some of my favorite bloggers slash awesome online personalities. Most of these fabulous people also have the usual other social media profiles like Instagram, Facebook fan pages, etc., but for the sake of simplicity I've just listed their blogs and Twitter 'cause that's how I tend to connect with them the most.

Alan from Sweating Until Happy

Alicia from Poise in Parma

Brin from The B Word

Brooke from Brooke: Not On a Diet

Dani from Weight Off My Shoulders

Emily from Fit and Free With Emily

Emmie from Authentically Emmie

Kelly from Curvy Fit Girl

Linz from Itz Linz

Maureen from Organically Mo 

Susan from {not so} Suddenly Susan

Seriously, it would have taken me a week's worth of posts to mention everyone I love following on Twitter and getting to know through their blogs and hopefully someday I'll get around to putting together a proper blog roll (I do have next week off from work as well, so who knows!).

It's also impossible to tell you why I love them and everyone else I read and follow because there really are no words for the sheer awesomeness that all of these, and others, embody. Just know that since I'm so cool than the people I follow must be even cooler than me. Haha.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

19 December 2013

Review & Giveaway: Happy Herbivore Light & Lean

With the new year right around the corner (I mean, seriously, 2014 is less than two weeks away), now is the time when people start thinking about their resolutions and plans for the coming twelve months which makes it the perfect time for a fun and healthy giveaway!


I have had previous opportunities to review Happy Herbivore books and I especially love this one because of the Light and Lean focus. Because everything is plant-based, generally speaking, all of the recipes in Lindsay's other cookbooks as well as on her Happy Herbivore webpage are already very healthy but not only does this have that as the actual focus of the cookbook and recipes but the book is organized by calorie count, too, which I think is fantastic. I don't know about you, but when looking through cookbooks trying to find something to make it's important to know what you're getting yourself into, calorie wise and that's near impossible to do without logging into a website that will allow you to build a recipe and then break it down by servings. Cutting that part of the process out makes it so much easier to pick a recipe that will fit my current needs.

Not only that, but Lindsay has also included the Weight Watchers points for her recipes as well! That was a big surprise and one I greatly appreciated as a Weight Watchers user. Also, while Lindsay's recipes are all plant-based and, therefore, don't include meat or dairy, etc., I promise any omnivore will still love her recipes. It's one reason I use her recipes as often as I do because they appeal to a wide range of diets.

One of the first recipes I tried was the cobbler and it's a little ridiculous how easy it was to make (ridiculous in a good way, of course!) I mean, I already had all the ingredients for this awesome dessert in my kitchen. That never happens to me plus it was super quick to whip together and bake. That's my kind of recipe, let me tell ya. In the book it's a blueberry cobbler but I'm fairly certain just about any kind of fruit could work and she also has a peach cobbler-in-a-mug recipe, too!

As part of this giveaway I was allowed to ask Lindsay Nixon some questions about her book and there were only two questions I was really curious about.

1) On average, how long is her trial and error process while working on a new recipe before she considers it perfect? I write recipes then send them to my big team of testers. From there it’s pass or fail.

I love that she has food testers. I wonder if there's maybe room for one more, haha.

2) I noticed you included the Weight Watchers points for each recipe -- which is awesome -- but I was curious what motivated that decision. Fans requested it.

Now it's your turn! Who doesn't want a brand new healthy cookbook as a way to start the brand new year? There are a few different ways to enter, all using Rafflecopter (so after you do any one of these things make sure you come back and log into the Rafflecopter system to make sure your task is recognized!) The giveaway will last until December 30th and I'll pick a winner after I return from my trip to Merrie Olde England.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Fine Print: Open to US and Canadian residents only. Giveaway ends Monday December 30th, 2013 at 11:59 PM EST. At the completion of the giveaway winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize. 

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

17 December 2013

2013 Race Year Review

With the end of the year comes the end of my 2013 races, so like I did last year I've put together a handy dandy quick recap! This year alone I managed to race nearly 50 miles which, granted, might not seem like a lot but for someone who has been running less than two full years I'm rather proud of myself. Plus, that's not counting all of the training miles and regular runs I put in over the course of twelve months.


Recap: Conoco Phillips Rodeo Run 10K
My 2013 racing season started with not only my first out of town race (Houston, TX) but also my first 10K! I stayed at the home of my aunt and uncle and was able to see my mom's side of the family while I was in town plus my uncle ran the race with me. It was a HUGE race with 15,000 participants for both the 10K and 5K. I wanted to finish in under 90 minutes so was very happy with my time of 1:26:13.


Recap: St. Malachi 5 Miler
Rocking my green and white striped St. Patrick's Day themed knee-high socks, I was bundled up against the Cleveland elements for what is one of the city's biggest races. I mean, this race has been around longer than I've been alive. It's always held around St. Patrick's Day which means that you never know what the weather will be like. For 2013 we had lots of fog and lots of snow and slush: by the time I got to the water station the cups all had water crystals from sitting outside for so long! But after finishing in 1:08:58 I walked away knowing that if I could race in that weather I can race in just about anything.

Recap: Cleveland Marathon 10K
This was a tough race for no other reason than the first mile was almost all up hill which always slows me down so I knew early on that I wouldn't be beating my time from the Rodeo Run and then around mile 5 I got an awful stitch in my right side, but I still finished in ninety minutes.


Recap: Running With a Mission 5K
This was a very important race for me. When I ran this race in 2012 it was my very first race ever and I ended up coming in last place. Always loving a personal challenge, I was excited to once again conquer those stupid hills at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to see how far I had come as a runner and when I once again crossed that finish line I had shaved 5 minutes off my previous time, finishing in 43:03! I was also interviewed by The City Mission about my experience for their PR video, which can be viewed here (I can be seen about two minutes in). And, oh hey, as you can see in the above photo I got my picture taken with the Cleveland Indians mascot Slider!

Recap: Bay Days 5 Miler
Honestly, all I really remember from this race was how ridiculously hot and humid it was. Well that and, because of the heat, many many Bay Village residents had their sprinklers out for us runners which was amazing and so very thoughtful. When I finished after 1:09:50 I was one big ball of sweat (seriously, it was really gross how drenched my shirt was).


Recap: Rock 'n' Roll Cleveland Half Marathon
That's right, ladies and gents: I am a half-marathoner! Believe me, never in a million gazillion google-plex years would I have ever imagined I would one day get to say that. I had an awesome cheering section throughout the course, some accidental like running into two friends who were randomly spectators, while two of my other friends knew I'd be running by their apartments so they left me fun little messages and banners. When my mom sent me photos from the race so I could put them in my racing scrapbook, she had a note saying she couldn't believe how big my smile was after just completing 13.1 miles and when I put the picture on Facebook I had another runner friend say the exact same thing. Sometimes you are just so in awe of yourself you can't help but grin like a fool. I had hoped to finish in 3 hours and 30 minutes but I was just so happy to finish that I wear my final time of 3:37:53 with pride.

Recap: Turkey Trot
After running a half marathon, something like a five mile race seems ridiculously short and easy. Of course, because it was the first running I had done since the half-marathon my legs weren't really up to snuff and I finished in 1:19:03, which I'm not crazy about, but it's my own fault for not keeping up with the running. But it's okay, because minutes after crossing the finish line I ran into a friend from high-school I hadn't seen since graduating!


Recap: A Christmas Story House 10K
This was, without a doubt, one of my absolute favorite races to run. It was the first race where I donned a costume (a pink bunny, in the spirit of the pajama set Ralphie got from his Aunt Clara) and there was just so much Cleveland pride with this race. (It also came with the best racing bib and medal I've seen. I mean, how can any other race hope to compete with running leg lamps?!) My time of 1:37:53 isn't my best but I had so much fun it's okay. The race was created as part of the film's 30th Anniversary festivities but I so, so hope they make it an annual thing.

One of my running goals for 2014 is to do more speed work. When I run or race I just kind of go out there with the goal of running the distance and not really thinking about time or pace but now that I've got this arsenal of past races I want to start focusing on PRs and upping my game. I slacked off the second half of the year and it showed in my times from my last few races. I know I can run the distances, so now my focus should shift from just completing the races to completing with a time goal.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 December 2013

5ks and 10ks and halfsies, oh my!

Yesterday, registration for the 2014 Rock n Roll Cleveland Half Marathon opened with special discount pricing and I must be out of my ever loving mind because I signed up.


When I completed the 2013 half a few months ago I did say I would be willingly to run another half and now that's obviously true as I just registered for another, but the more I think about it the more I think my two most recent races -- the Turkey Trot and A Christmas Story House Run -- have taught me that my favorite distance is the 10K and it's closely related cousin, the 5 Miler. They are long enough to be a good decent running distance but not so long that they require months of prep work. At this point, 5Ks seem ridiculously short but never know, my time may have vastly improved for no other reason than the fact that they are so short. When running one I wouldn't have to be pacing myself for the many many miles ahead. Instead, three point one and done.

Shortly after registering for the RnRCLE I was looking for other upcoming races, including the annual St. Malachi 5 Miler and even the Cleveland Marathon. I briefly considered registering for the Cleveland Half but then I thought about training in Cleveland winters and, really, I don't know if I want to run two half marathons in a year. Could I? Sure. But do I actually want to? I ran the 10K this past year and had a great time so I may register for that one again instead.

I love that I can say I'm a half-marathoner but the training was long and time-consuming and, frankly, kind of annoying so why do I want to put myself through that again if I don't actually have to? Kudos to those people who run multiple half and full marathons in a given year but right now I don't think that's for me. Running is supposed to be fun and I'm not at a place where training that much is fun for me. I like the idea of running RnRCLE again for no other reason than to try and beat my previous time but beyond that I may stick with the smaller races.

In terms of my weigh in I went up a bit this week but I totally anticipated that. Thanks to stupid PMS I ate my way through nearly all of my extra weekly points last weekend and I was doing well during the week but Wednesday night I met up with some friends to celebrate someone's divorce being finalized and between all the beer and pizza so close to my weigh-in, a gain was inevitable.

But, honestly, I had so much fun with them and this was one of those situations where there were way more important things to focus on than what I was eating. It's one day, one week, not the end of the world.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 December 2013

2013 Healthy Holiday Gift Guide

Sooooooo Christmas is two weeks away.

Say wha?!

Don't be jelly, but my family is actually going to London (as in England) for the holiday.

I know, I know. You are indeed allowed to hate me.

But with the holiday season coming up you may be looking for gifts for friends or even items to add to your own fitness wish list.


Blogger Disclosure: I'm not getting compensated to promote these items, I just really really love them. That being said, I am part of the Amazon Affiliate program so if you purchase any of these items through my Amazon Store I will receive a small advertising fee.


FitBit

My FitBit Zip is, of course, is my new favorite shiny toy and I can't believe it took me so long to buy one! I sit so much at my job and don't walk nearly as much as I should but having the Zip really does help motivate me to move more. Mine is the more basic model, tracking steps and calories, and it's just what I need. Super discrete I wear it clipped to my bra and nobody knows it's there. Truthfully, I can't wait to see how many miles I rack up while walking around Merry Olde England in a few weeks!

If you also have a FitBit, be sure to friend me!


Heart Rate Monitor

My Polar FT4 is my best friend while I'm running or, really, doing any kind of exercise. I love keeping track of my heart rate and knowing when it's okay to push myself a bit more and during races the clock feature helps me see how I'm doing pace-wise. And, of course, I love seeing how many calories I've burned during a certain activity!


Food Scale

Honestly, I don't know what I would do without my digital food scale. Measuring cups and spoons are great but to be really accurate it's best to use a food scale. Mine measure in both grams and ounces and I really appreciate the feature that allows me to put a plate or bowl on top and zero the weight out. It's also super sensitive, which is awesome so I can measure all manner of foods from stuff that's really dense to really light options like Cool Whip.


Workout DVDs

Sometimes getting to the gym to exercise is just too much work, especially when it's winter and cold outside. This is where workout DVDs are a great option to have since you can just pop it into your TV and exercise from the comfort of your home. Obviously y'all know I love my Jillian Michaels Ripped in 30 as well as her Shred It With Weights and would recommend either one.

Gift Cards

I know some people are polorized on the topic of gift cards, thinking them too impersonal. I love gift cards and at work Christmas parties they are always the first thing to get snatched up. Who doesn't love being able to buy exactly what you want? This is especially true for fitness people as we can be pretty particular about our gear and clothes. I love my New Balance shoes and Moving Comfort bra, but I wouldn't necessarily expect someone to know which style and size I would need. Plus, that shit can be expensive but something as simple as a gift card would help offset the purchase of either of those items in a way that would be greatly appreciated.

Likewise, if you know where they workout see about purchasing part of their gym membership or a set of passes to their local yoga or spinning studio (wink wink).


SPIBelt

When running, especially during the summer when I'm not wearing a jacket with pockets, I never leave home without my small personal item belt or SPIbelt. It still amazes me how much stuff I can fit in there -- keys, iPhone, identification, and during my half-marathon training even food and snacks.

What is on your fitness wish list this year?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 December 2013

recap: a christmas story house 10K

So, for those that don't know, part of the holiday classic film A Christmas Story was filmed here in Cleveland. The most recognizable icons are the house which can be found in the Tremont neighborhood of the city and downtown at what was then Higbee's department store.

The history of the house is actually pretty interesting -- back in 2004 a fan of the film bought it off of eBay at a time when it looked absolutely nothing like it did in the film. He then spent nearly twice as much as what he purchased it for making renovations to revert it back as much as he could. Only the exterior was seen in the movie -- the interior of the home was shot on a sound stage so it's not quite exact but he's done a pretty good job with it. It's tucked back in this little neighborhood off the main streets and as a longtime fan of the film it's so much fun just driving along, turning a corner, and boom, there's the house. Other homes in the nearby vicinity act as museum and gift shop.

As a city, Cleveland is very proud of our Hollywood claim to fame and at Christmas time there is no such thing as too many leg lamps. The film was released in 1983 and as part of the city wide 30th Anniversary celebrations there was the 5K & 10K race that I just had to sign up for.

Not only that, but I decided to dress up. I'm usually not one to opt for costumes but for this one I absolutely had to. Especially once I realized how much pink running gear I owned. Throw on a pair of bunny ears (thanks mom!) and I was set. Hopefully Aunt Clara would approve.



Why yes, as a matter of fact, I do own a set of mini leg lamp string lights.

As you can imagine, this race encouraged a huge variety of costumes: pink bunnies and bandits and leg lamps. I even saw one woman dressed like the mom carrying the Christmas turkey and at least two guys carried flag poles to mimic the Triple Dog Dare scene. It was absolutely beautiful.

The race route started downtown at Public Square, right in front of the very same department store windows were Ralphie first spied his beloved Red Ryder BB Gun. The space has since been turned into the Horseshoe Casino but one of the things I love best about the Horseshoe is that the designers kept much of the original interior. Growing up, I loved going to Higbees (those wooden escalators were the best) so as an adult I love walking in and still getting to see all the beautiful architecture from my childhood.



Both the 5K and 10K started at the same time and from downtown we turned onto the Lorain-Carnegie Bridge which took us into the Tremont neighborhood. Once there, the 5K ended at the actual A Christmas Story House while the 10K looped around and headed back towards the other finish line downtown.


Lemme tell ya: you don't realize how long the Lorain-Carnegie bridge is until you have to run over it. Twice.


Along the course were awesome bits of film trivia.


My overall running was...okay. I started out really strong and was on target to have a time close to my time from the Rodeo Run 10K but around the halfway mark my right ankle started to bother me and I had to walk parts and then around mile 5 had to use the restroom so that added time (all of the restrooms at Tower City had ridiculously long wait times so I didn't get a chance to go before the race. I also totally forgot to bring my ID otherwise I would have just used the restrooms in the casino.) In the end I finished at 1:37:23 which I'm not thrilled about but, c'est la vie. I haven't been running as much so my endurance is not going to be where it was at the beginning of the year.

Of course, my oh-so-awesome parents were waiting there at the finish line for me and after crossing it I picked up my bad ass racing medal.


It actually says It's a major award! Tell me that's not the coolest thing ever. I mean, seriously.

While this race was designed around the 30th Anniversary movie celebrations I do hope they make it an annual event. Despite the crowds, it was so much fun seeing everyone in costume celebrating the movie and our city.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

06 December 2013

back on the wagon again

We all know the scale doesn't define us (or at least shouldn't) and I've said many, many times that I'm very happy with where I am in terms of sense of self and who I am and all that fabulous jazz. Even so, right now I'm not happy with The Number I see on the scale and I know I've been making poor food choices that even all my exercising can't off-set. I've tried going at it alone, using MyFitnessPal but couldn't find my footing with it.

So that can mean only one thing.


I tried meetings and while my overall experience this time around was better than when I first did Weight Watchers back in college, I feel like I can safely say that meetings are just not for me. I tried, I really did, but I'm an online girl. Online works for me and so that's what I've signed up for again.

Right now I'm counting points and actually really like it. After months of doing Simply Filling, the structure that Points provides is just what I needed but of course also comes with its own level of flexibility. But because I really do like how Simply Filling works I'd like to figure out a way to balance both, either by alternating weeks or doing Points on the weekend (when I need the most structure) and doing SF during the week.

Honestly, I'm more than a little mortified to list my weight right now because of how much I've regained this past year. It's not that much more than when I started meetings back in the fall, but the overall amount is rather embarrassing. So until I get comfortable with that, I will say that my first week back on Weight Watchers I lost 4 pounds! Not a bad start if I do say so myself.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

02 December 2013

Recap: 32nd Annual Cleveland Turkey Trot

Thursday morning, before heading to Stars Hollow for Thanksgiving dinner, I bundled up against the snow and cold to race in Cleveland's Turkey Trot!

The race course started and ended downtown near Public Hall which was super convenient for me as I live downtown so I didn't have to worry about having to leave early to get to the race on time. With a 9:30 start I still was able to sleep in just a bit.


I learned two things during this race. The first is that after surviving the sleety mess that was the St. Malachi race back in March I can survive just about any weather. The second was that after completing a half marathon, a 5 mile race seems so ridiculously short. This really surprised me, for no other reason than when I first started running less than two years ago I couldn't even finish a full mile and now I'm all "Pssh. What's 5 after 13.1?"


Of course, I haven't done much running since the half-marathon two months ago and it showed in my time as I completed in 1 hour and 19 minutes, a far cry from the 1:09 I had completed before. But that's okay, as my legs have still been getting lots of work done on them thanks to all of my spinning classes. Just goes to show you can't take several weeks off and expect to be at your top performance. Truthfully this was more like a "test run" to get back out there before this Saturday's Christmas Story House 10K! Because I haven't been running I wanted to get a general idea of where I am pace-wise and while I clearly haven't been motivated enough to go out and run 5 miles on my own, give me a finish line and a t-shirt and I'm there.

Moments after crossing the finish line, I rounded the corner of the food tables and happened to look over and see my friend Kitty, who I haven't seen since we graduated from high-school thirteen years ago.

So random. So unexpected. And so the reason I love Cleveland as much as I do.

After the race I got home, took a nice loooooooong shower, then got ready and headed to my parents' house for Thanksgiving dinner! On Friday I did some Black Friday shopping at JoAnn Fabrics since I needed scrapbooking materials.


I know I look all sexy and sassy on the outside, but I'm really a big ol' nerd at heart who has to buy themed stickers for her racing scrapbook.

This Saturday is looking to be another cold one so this week I'm on the hunt for hand warmers. Once you start running the rest of your body heats up pretty quickly but I only have regular old gloves and after an hour and a half of being out in the cold my hands were practically numb. I'd rather avoid having to repeat a drive home where I have my hands pressed up against the car heaters.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

30 November 2013

i run so i'll be able to keep up with the doctor

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving! My Thursday and Friday were spent with the parents and we had a lovely time filled with lots of yummy food (I made a pear pie that was a big hit). My recap of Cleveland's Turkey Trot will be coming on Monday.

A few months ago, a co-worker informed me of a virtual run that was being held in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who. Being the big Whovian that I am, I had to sign up. I opted for the 13.1 mile option, figuring I'd kill two medals with one half-marathon. So I was super excited when I got home last night, opened my mailbox, and saw the small package inside.


This was my first Virtual Run, which are races that can be run in any location. Run on the treadmill, walk outside, participate as part of another race, etc. The registration fee generally benefits a charity and after the participation period is over you get a medal in the mail!

There are a few different organizations and websites that host Virtual Runs and now that I have my first medal from one, I see the appeal. I mean, if you're going to run the distance anyway you might as well get some bling out of it, right?

For the Doctor Who Virtual Run, today November 30th is the last day to register, so if you're a geeky run be sure to sign up. The money will benefit the Boston Marathon victims.

Have you ever done a virtual run before?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

26 November 2013

looks like i'll be turkey trotting on turkey day!

I tend to register for race's months in advance (or, in the case of my half-marathon, over a year ahead of time) so the idea of waking up on a Saturday morning and thinking "I'm going to go race in a 5K today!" boggles my mind, let alone deciding that even just a week before.

So I was rather perplexed yesterday when I found myself looking online trying to find a Turkey Trot to participate in come Thanksgiving morning. I mean, that's only a few days away and I haven't been running as much as I probably should be (though the legs are still getting a decent workout thanks to twice-weekly spinning classes at Harness Cycle). But I wanted to do something before the big meal and as the Monday packet pick up/late registration location was super close to work I just ran on over and signed up.

Funny thing is, I would have absolutely no motivation to get up and run 5 miles all on my own but give me a free shirt and a finish line and I'm your gal.

I then came home last night and registered for the 6:30 am spinning class this morning. Plus I have my regular Wednesday 6:30 am class tomorrow. Then the 5 mile run on Thursday.

Oh baby, I'm gonna be all set by the time Thanksgiving dinner rolls around.

How are you staying active before Thanksgiving?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

22 November 2013

getting ripped with jillian

With Thanksgiving next week (I know it's late this year but I'm still all how is it Thanksgiving already?!) and Christmas right around the corner, I figured now was the perfect time to get my butt into gear as we glide our way into the oh-so-tricky holiday season.

Given my extreme love and adoration for Ms. Jillian Michaels, that means that this week I loaded up my Ripped in 30 video and got to work. Her 3-2-1 program -- Three minutes of strength, two minutes of cardio and one minute of abs -- is so perfect because I like doing all of those things but I would not want to do any of them for thirty minutes straight so this way I get a full body workout in a way that keeps me from getting bored.

Ohhhhh, Jillian. It's amazing how much damage you can do in thirty minutes.


She suggests doing her Ripped in 30 workout 5-6 days a week which is easily something I can keep up with. Of course, then comes the question of which day(s) to take off.

This ended up being one of those situations where my body decided for me. I was good Monday and Tuesday with the routine. Wednesday morning I had my 6:30 am spin class and one of the things I love is that my upper body gets worked out as well, which is great, except when I got home that evening and started to do the arm circle warm up my muscles were on fire and basically telling me Oh hell no.

So. That settles that. No Jillian Michaels on days I spin.

This isn't my first time doing Ripped in 30 (although, now that I think about it I don't know if I ever actually made it to week 4 last time) but this is the first time I've taken measurements. I measured Waist, Hips, and Bust and it will be interesting to see if there are any changes by the end.

What's your game plan for staying on track during the holidays?

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

20 November 2013

trigger time (which is like hammer time but way less cool)

I think I have figured out that along with having trigger foods I have a trigger time.

See, I can do really, really, really well for the first half of the day. All of my food choices are spot on. But then the afternoon rolls around and I don't know what the hell happens but I suddenly lose all control and go a little, well, crazy.

And when I say crazy, what I mean is I typically eat lunch at about 2:00 and it doesn't matter if I have a decent sized healthy nutritious lunch. By the time that clock shows 3 pm I feel like I'm starving.

I say "feel like" because obviously I'm not. It's all in my head. I mean, hello, I just ate. Even as I'm starting to draft this post at 2:45 Tuesday afternoon, I just finished a really good salad full of veggies and multiple protein options like eggs and almonds and a Morningstar Chik'n Patty -- I should not be hungry right now yet there is some weird wiring in my brain that is misfiring and trying to convince me that I am.

Now, I will admit that because of shit that has happened over the past year I have more often not given into that tiny stupid voice telling me to eat when I'm not really hungry. It should also be assumed that when I'm giving in I'm not reaching for an apple or banana. Oh, no, I'm going straight for the chocolate which, inevitably, has a snow ball effect into making me undo all of the good choices I had made previously in the day.

Every once in awhile I convince myself that it's perfectly safe to have peanut butter in my apartment. That I can control myself around it. That I won't binge eat and attack the jar with nothing more than a spoon (or, y'know, my finger). So I buy a jar. Or two. Or three. Which, let's be honest, should be a big red flag right there but I choose to ignore it. And I'm good for maybe a day or two. Then, the next thing I know, the jar of peanut butter is gone in, like, a week. Of course I act surprised, I mean, I don't eat that much, maybe a tablespoon here or three but because I'm not actually measuring it it's all guessing and chances are I'm way underestimating.

So then I snap out of it and remember, yet again, why I can't have peanut butter in my apartment and so I throw it all away. Sometimes this includes unopened jars that I just purchased.

And then I think Great! Trigger is gone! I mean, if the food isn't in my kitchen I can't eat it.

Until a month or two later when I convince myself it's perfectly safe and can be allowed back into my apartment and the cycle begins again.

Now being really concious and aware of this, when I went grocery shopping the other week and felt my weird wiring trying to tell me that it's okay to buy regular peanut butter, I stocked up on jars of PB2. No matter how much I love me some nut butter I have never ever felt an urge to binge on PB2. It serves its purpose on my English Muffin or the powder mixed into my Overnight Oats and that's it, which is exactly what I need from it.

Likewise, instead of giving into my 3:00 faux hunger on Tuesday, I came prepared and made myself some (okay, lots of) hot tea and chewed my gum, waiting for it to pass. Because I knew it would eventually.

And it did and I managed to finish the day completely on track. Of course, one day does not success make. I mean, it does for that one day. That one day was successful but if this is like anything else in my life it's going to be a constant ongoing battle where every single afternoon I'm going to have to recommit to my goal. But as long as I keep in my head the reminder of why I want to commit to a healthy lifestyle and continually tell myself that I am stronger than my cravings I can hopefully turn a one day success into a pattern.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

18 November 2013

gladsome

A couple of weeks ago, my cousin Claudine called me to invite me to attend a women's retreat she organizes called gladsome. She felt confident I could really gain something from the retreat (I suspect the thank you card I recently sent her after attending an event at her home had something to do with it) and more than just wanting me to be there, she wanted me to lead a small little yoga/stretch Sunday morning.

This was gladsome's second year and I missed last year and I admit I felt more than a little hesitant about attending this year. Looking back I'm able to recognize the reluctance came from wanting to stay inside my comfort zone. I like my lil cocoon and feel all awkward and introverted around new people, but I decided to take a leap and go for part of the weekend (Friday was my birthday celebration with friends).

I really am so very, very glad(some) that I went. Not only did I meet an amazing group of women and allowed myself to get back in touch with some of my more underutilized creative energies, but I also loved getting to share my story and love of yoga with others.

My own personal practice has been neglected as of late but as I led about eight women through a couple Sun Salutations I was reminded that there was a time where this is something I wanted to do. More than just wanting to possibly be a yoga instructor, after my brief class Sunday morning I think I'd actually make a good yoga teacher. I think I have so much to offer other people but I think only now do I actually really see that.

gladsome is held at this amazing old house in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and as part of the decorating for the retreat, the organizers wrote out inspiring and creative quotes that they put above the fireplace mantel. Before leaving on Sunday we were allowed to take one if we felt so inclined.


I think this may need to become my mantra for my 32nd year.  I don't know if I necessarily try to do it all -- I mean, I'm a single woman raising cats so it's not like I'm particularly stretched thin -- but, instead, I see this more as a call for me to live in the present more.

I have a very, very bad habit of reflecting on the past or looking forward to the future. It's hard for me to feel grounded and in the moment as I feel constantly anxious about something but nothing that is ever happening right then and there. I'm a day-dreamer as well (big surprise I'm sure) so it's not uncommon for me to be thinking about something far off in the distance and thereby be mentally checked-out from wherever and whatever I'm doing at that moment.

Just imagine how different my life and perspective would be if I put that same level of passion and energy into whatever I'm doing in the here and now. More than that, yes, there are things about my life I would like to change but I have to approach life as it is not how I want it to be. Sure, I can always make choices and do things that set that change into motion, but I also have to make choices and decisions based on where I am in my life right now.

So from now on that means choosing to do what I can and being where I am as fabulously as possible.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

15 November 2013

set SMART goals

I spent part of yesterday working on a Scrabble-themed bulletin board that encourages the students at our college to set SMART goals and after putting the whole thing together I realized the same technique and method of thinking can be applied to healthy living, weight loss, exercise, etc., as well. So, hello blog post.


Having goals are great. Obviously. Like I'm going to stand here and tell you don't have goals.

But merely having a goal isn't always enough to follow it through to completion. You also need a plan of action to keep on track and that's where the SMART technique comes in. (This is not my invention, by the way. I'm not nearly that clever. It is, instead, a management criteria most often used for developing projects or employee evaluations and was apparently first coined in the early 1980s. There's your #themoreyouknow moment for today.)

S is for SPECIFIC

I recently gave a presentation discussing brand development where I said You can't effectively market something if you don't actually understand what it is that you're trying to market. Setting goals and objectives works the same way. You can't effectively achieve a goal if you don't understand the full scope of that goal. So when setting your goals, be specific and think in the terms of the W questions: What do you want to achieve? Why do you want to achieve it? Who can help you? When would you like to achieve it by?

Any goal can be broken down in this manner: You want to 10 lbs because it will make you feel better about yourself or give you more energy or be more active, etc. You hope to lose this weight by the end of the year and the people who can help are supportive friends or family or the team at Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or your friends on SparkPeople/MyFitnessPal.

M is for MEASURABLE

How will you know when you've achieved your goal? What is the ruler of measuring progress and success? With weight loss it's pretty easy since you have the scale, but what about other goals? Like, I would like to get stronger, especially in my upper arms. But just saying "I would like to get stronger" doesn't fit the Specific criteria mentioned above and it's so vague it would be pretty hard to measure so I could say something like I want to be able to do 10 swings with a 20 lb Kettlebell. That's a goal that can be measured as I progress in repetition or weight of the Kettlebell.


A is for ATTAINABLE

This is a tricky one because you want to challenge yourself and aim high, but you also don't want to aim too high because when it becomes apparent your goal is way outside of your reach it may leave you frustrated and wanting to just screw the whole thing. So be realistic. Like, I have a 10K coming up in a few weeks and while I would like to finish in an hour I know that's not going to happen. That would be an unrealistic goal and I'd probably risk injury in an attempt to meet it. But a realistic goal is saying I want to beat my previous 10K by, oh, five minutes. Having an attainable goal means not settling for below your abilities but also not setting yourself up for automatic failure.

R is for REWARDING

Technically speaking, in the original SMART criteria R was for Relevant but the criteria is pretty flexible and I like rewarding instead because I feel it helps keep me motivated when things are a bit of a struggle. Many of the SMART attributes cross-over with each other and this kind of goes along with the Why do you want to achieve this goal bit from being Specific. Don't just set a goal because it sounds good, set a goal that has personal meaning. Like, getting healthy will help you be around longer for your kids or you want to complete a half-marathon just for the sense of pride it will bring or you want to lose weight to fit into a fabulous wedding dress. Then, when things get rough (and they will) or you feel yourself wanting to give up (and you will), go back and remember that initial reward you are striving for.

T is for TIME

This goes a bit with the Specific part and When you would like to reach your goal because you need to have some kind of time frame of completion otherwise you can't really measure your progress. So PR-ing at your upcoming race in a month or 10 lbs by the end of the year or whatever. But also think outside the box a little and think about what you can do right now to help you achieve your future goal. Maybe your time frame is still several months away but are you making good choices at this moment that will inch you closer to that goal?

In other words, do something today that your future self will thank you for.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

13 November 2013

trente-deux

Has it really been a whole entire year since my last birthday? My, my how time has flown.

My birthday started bright and early with a 6:30 am spinning class at Harness Cycle. The class was led by the newest instructor, Meghan, and she gave us a great ride and it was a perfect start to my birthday. The fact that the studio is so close to my apartment makes those early classes feasible, since I get home at about the same time I'd be getting up anyway. On Facebook, the other 6:30 am instructor, Katie, who I absolutely adore, told me she'd help me rock the shit out of 32. I fully plan on taking her up on that offer.

On my way into work I took advantage of the free drink courtesy of my Starbucks gold card.


Yay red cups and peppermint mocha! Especially on the first day we Clevelanders are seeing snow this season. (I promise, Northeast Ohio, I did not request the white stuff. Trust me on this one.)

The rest of the day was, y'know, the rest of the day. Lots of birthday love from friends and family which is always appreciated. I was able to attend a soon-to-be monthly meet-up of Cleveland-area librarians which was fun.

I always tend to get a bit, well, nostalgic around my birthday and this year is no different.

This year, man. This fucking year.

It started out well, being thirty-one. Things seemed to be moving in a positive direction. That lasted for, oh, about eight weeks. Then there was work drama which was closely followed by boy drama. Take work drama and boy drama and combine them and they turn into weight drama.

Today, at 32 and one day, I weigh about 15 pounds more than I did on my birthday last year.

And I don't really care.

It's not just about redefining progress and my list, although of course that's part of it. It's more...like, I look back at who I was at 22 and I was a bit of a mess and making bad decisions that, luckily, I no longer make. The first time I did Weight Watchers I was in college and got down to about 220 lbs by my 22nd birthday. I weigh, oh, roughly 10 lbs less than that now. In the grand scheme of losing over 100, a mere 10 lbs is pretty negligible so, in essence, I weigh about the same as I did ten years ago.

But while the physical essence of myself is almost identical to what it was a decade ago, the mental and emotional is a complete 180. Before, I got down to 220 and still hated what I saw on the inside so I gained it all back plus some. Now, though, I look in the mirror and I see a warrior woman who has done amazing things with her life and will continue to do so.

More to the point, though, I don't have to look into the mirror to see her. I know that I am her. I move through life with a graceful, genuine confidence I've never had before. Okay, so I'm 32 and single and have been single for going on five years now (true story), but my relationship with myself is better than it's ever been and that trumps all the boy drama and weight drama and job drama.

So bring on 32, baby. Show me what you got. I guarantee I'm up to the challenge.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

11 November 2013

sunday runday

I have found that after a race my body needs time to recuperate before running again. With 5Ks and 10Ks it's usually only about a week or so but apparently after a half-marathon it's more like a month, which is how long it had been since I went for a run prior to this weekend.

With the Christmas Story House 10K just a few weeks away I knew I had to get out there and start training, but every time I went out or hopped on the dreadmill I just felt awful and not at all in the mood to run. So, I stopped trying to force myself, knowing full well that my body would let me know when it was ready.

As soon as I woke up Sunday morning I knew. The voice of my mind and body were speaking loud and clear and I fully intended to follow its heed. Bundled up, ever grateful for the long-sleeved tech shirt I got at last year's Nature's Bin 5K, and headed out.

Not only was it cold it was super windy and near impossible to run against the wind, so I kind of let it guide my course. It was short and sweet -- only about 2 miles -- but it was just nice getting back out there after so long.

After, I headed over to Beachwood Place for some shopping and my run combined with walking around a mall for about 2 hours helped me get over 12,000 steps on my FitBit! Here's hoping that walking motivation continues into this week.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

09 November 2013

thigh gaps and why chip wilson isn't wrong

This week, there were two very interesting stories in the news related to clothes and plus size shoppers.

First we start with Abercrombie, a brand (in)famous for being very vocal about not wanting plus size shoppers in their store as several months ago the CEO Mike Jeffries stated that he only wanted the cool kids wearing their label and he doesn't consider plus size women cool.

That is, not until the traditional cool kids suddenly decide they don't want to wear Abercrombie anymore. The popularity of the brand is declining among teenagers so now all of a sudden Abercrombie in what can only be described as an act of sheer desperation has suddenly realized there is an entire market of shoppers it has been ignoring.

Dear Abercromie: We are not a consolation prize. You don't get to tell us you don't want us and then change your mind when

It's like the a sorority (and I use this as an extreme example knowing most aren't like this) going after the niece of the famous actress and ignoring all of the other girls at the rush party. Then, when the sought-after niece chooses to join another sorority, turning to those other girls and saying "Oh, don't be silly! We wanted you all along!"

Yeah. No.

Then we have athletic brand lululemon whose founder Chip Wilson recently stated: "some women's bodies just actually don't work [with lululemon clothes]. It's about the rubbing through the thighs and how much pressure is there."

Wilson was referring to the debacle back in March where some of their pants were notoriously sheer. Like, bare it all in yoga class while in Down Dog sheer. At the time, lululemon stated some of the problem of the sheerness could be traced to shoppers buying sizes that were too small for their body.

Okay. Now. I'm about to make a rather controversial statement right now, but I'm going to own it:

Chip Wilson isn't exactly wrong. 

I know it's quick to jump on the soap box and get all mad at the man who is seemingly fat-shaming yoga practicing women everywhere. And perhaps his words could have been a bit more, well, diplomatic. But the fact remains that what he said is not incorrect.

And to prove my case I'm going to give you two personal examples from my own life:

If there is one thing you need to know about me it's that I have a flair for anything vintage but especially vintage fashion. In fact, just the other week I took a What Character from the Whovian Universe quiz are you and it came back a Weeping Angel, the description even mentioned "your unique, vintage-y style" so you know it has to be legit.

But I digress.

When it comes to vintage and/or retro clothes I absolutely adore and love full-skirt dresses. You know, very 1950s Betty Draper kind of things that flounce and bounce with layers of crinoline underneath.

Here's the thing: skirts like that look absolutely awful on me. They make a girl with full hips look even hippier. And I don't mean the Woodstock kind (though, well, I am a little crunchy granola but whatevs). The cut of those dresses truncates my torso and blech. I continue to try those dresses on because they are so adorable but I never come home with them. Instead I have a closet full of Joan Holloway-esque pencil skirts which look absolutely devoon on my figure.

Now. Am I going to blame the clothing companies, both vintage and contemporary, for producing a faulty dress? Am I really going to call up Ralph Lauren and bitch him out because the dress that looked absolutely fabulous on the hanger looked absolutely horrid on me? (And, seriously, that one dress really did look so cute.)

Of course not. Why?

Because, and I quote, my hips "just actually don't work" with that style of clothing.

It's not that there is something wrong with my body or that all of the full-skirt designing designers are out to get me. Same with skinny jeans: I just can't wear them because I end up with a bizarre inverted triangle look  but that doesn't mean the denim industry hates me. We're just two puzzle pieces that don't fit together.

That's my first story. For my second story I'm going to go back, way back, back to when I was in college and wearing Lane Bryant jeans. I don't know what it was about those stupid jeans, maybe it was the material or the quality or maybe it was my size 20 thighs, but I was constantly creating holes and patches in the inner thigh area. Constantly. The fabric would just get worn from the natural friction. Or, as Chip Wilson said, "It's about the rubbing through the thighs and how much pressure is there."

Ladies. Look. Let's all be honest with each other here, okay? Thighs touch. It happens. And if you have thighs that touch, and especially if you have large thighs that touch, there is probably going to be rubbing. I know it and you know it so let's just get that all out of the way. I didn't wear skirts or dresses for years because of this issue. It wasn't until I discovered the magic of Spanx and finally had an undergarment that acted as a sort of buffer that I felt comfortable.

While we would all like to believe that if you're spending $100 on yoga pants or $50 on a pair of jeans that they quality of material and construction would be enough to withstand that sort of thing, we all know that's not how the world works. The amount you pay for an article of clothing has absolutely nothing to do with the ultimate quality and you are kidding yourself if you think otherwise. Those $100 pants may very well be made with $5 quality fabric. So even though I was paying an arm and a leg for jeans coming from a clothing store that only sold to plus size women, the rubbing through the thighs was a very real issue that caused problems with the clothing regardless of who the brand marketed itself to. So, yes, businesses and brands DO have to take responsibility for using low quality material and basically extorting their customers just to turn a profit.

But in the instance of yoga pants, stretchy material can only stretch so far before the natural holes in the stitches of the fabric pull themselves apart. For instance, I am currently wearing a pair of fabulous Old Navy athletic pants that I adore. They are solid black, no sheerness.

However, if I take the leg cuff of the pant and pull it and stretch it, I can clearly see my hands and fingers underneath. These pants are solid black because I'm wearing the correct size, which in this case is an XL. But if I were to go back and pick up a L or a M, the stretchy material may allow me to get into the pants but there will be patches of sheerness. It's how it works with this type of fabric. I'm not saying that actually was what was happening with the lululemon yoga pants, I'm just saying it's possible. That the particular statement regarding women not wearing the correct size and ending up with sheer pants was not coming out of left field.

Was Chip Wilson calling women fat? Maybe. I can't speak for Chip Wilson and the rest of the lululemon brand. I don't know what the motivation or agenda was behind his comments and I can appreciate why it seems easy to accuse him of fat shaming his clientele. And I also know that he's made other very controversial comments in the past (after posting this someone alerted me to his comment about breast cancer) so he's not entirely innocent and I'm not defending every comment the man has ever made ever.

But what I am saying is that when I examine this specific comment with logic and a bit of personal perspective I can, clearly, think of multiple instances where what he has said has happened to me.

We have to pick and choose our battles and for me Chip Wilson's vague maybe he did maybe he didn't comments are not one of those battles while Abercrombie actually say we were not wanted and then trying to pretend it was some weird game of telephone miscommunication is worthy of whatever snark it has coming its way.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

04 November 2013

dear yoga

I know I've been a little distance these past few weeks. We make plans and then I flake out at the last minute. We don't really talk any more and I've been seriously neglecting our relationship.

First, I need you to know that you are amazing and awesome and there is nothing you could have done any different.

Second, I also need you to realize that it's not you, it's me.

Well, me and my new girlfriend spinning.

I realize how ridiculous it sounds but I really do feel like I'm cheating on you with spinning. You have been such a huge and instrumental part of my life for the past two years and have assisted me in so many ways and then along comes these shiny new bikes and strong beats and high-resistance climbs and you just really didn't stand a chance.

In some ways it makes me a little nostalgic. I mean, remember back when we first met and we were hanging out two or three times a week? You got me out of bed before work for ridiculously early workouts and it completely boggled my mind because I don't even like getting up to do workout videos in my own home that early, let alone getting up and getting in my car and driving somewhere.

But you made me feel so good both body and soul that I was willing to do it for you and now spinning is doing the same. Not only in terms of multiple classes in one week but really early classes, too. I've been attending the 6:30 am Friday class the past few weeks and now I'm signed up for the 6:30 am Wednesday morning class and I'm so looking forward to having that ride before heading off into work and the rest of my day.

We've been through this before, you and I, back when I was first introduced to running and we got through that and I have no doubt we'll get through this eventually, too. (Plus, if it makes you feel any better I'm kind of cheating on you and running with spinning so you're in good company.)

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

01 November 2013

i never thought I'd say this

But I'm thinking of cancelling my Weight Watchers subscription.

I still entirely plan on tracking what I eat, however, for this past week I've been counting calories instead of points and using MyFitnessPal instead of the WW app and it's been, well, liberating. I like seeing the whole picture of what I'm putting into my body and if my focus really is to be health and happiness instead of weight loss then understanding nutrition is a key component of that. For whatever reason it's worked, too. It makes me make healthier choices because they are healthier for me. I don't have those extra flexible 49 weekly points and while those always came in handy when I followed Weight Watchers, now I think in terms of just today because that's all I have.

Like, yesterday when I wanted a Reese's peanut butter cup for after lunch. Well, I have to budget for that. Before I probably would have used some of my extra points and chosen the soup I'd been eating that week for lunch. Instead, I brought in a salad. It might seem inconsequential but for me it's a big deal to think in those terms.

Also, what I pay for a monthly pass to Weight Watchers can be turned into four spinning classes at Harness Cycle. It's like when Carrie Bradshaw tells someone that when she first moved to New York she spent her money on Vogue magazine instead of food because she felt it fed her more.

So that's where I'm at. I have a couple weeks to decide before I'm charged for next month.

In other news, as of today I've been soda free FOR ONE WHOLE YEAR! (I actually had completely forgotten until Sissy sent me a text asking about it. She's about a week behind me so she knew mine was coming up.) Considering how much pop I used to drink it's crazy I don't miss it at all.

Happy belated Halloween! How did everyone do? I'm going out in costume tomorrow night and I can't wait to put the whole thing together and take pictures to share with all of you!

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus

30 October 2013

surprise: curvy women can be hot and sexy cover models, too

I would like to think that in the past decade or so since models Emme and Crystal Renn have strutted down the runways of fashion designers the world over the media would have gotten over the shock of seeing plus size models as desirable and worthy of magazine covers. (Or, well, what the fashion industry considers plus size, which is different than what the rest of the world considers plus size, but that's another story. As is the fact that Crystal Renn is no longer a plus size model.)

Seems like it would be pretty much cultural white noise at this point in our society, yet yesterday I yet again found myself reading a headline that said Plus Size Model Stuns On Edgy Cover and I seriously wanted to throw something at the computer screen.

Don't get me wrong: Tara Lynn is absolutely gorgeous. Of course, the cover is so Photoshopped they took, like, 20 pounds off her but that's not my real problem with this. My real problem is that her cover is still being treated like a novelty. Yes, yes, it's the Huffington Post and not The New York Times but the fact remains. It's as though journalists are just shocked -- shocked, I tell you! -- to discover they find themselves attracted to photos of a half-naked heavier woman.

Because, to tell you the truth, I'm fairly certain that's what's going on: they are so drunk on the Barbie Doll Complex Kool Aid that they sincerely cannot process the concept of finding such a woman desirable until it's literally staring them in the face on the cover of a magazine and they are so completely stunned by this revelation they treat it like they are a 13 year old boy who thinks he's the first person to discover masturbation.

I think this is also why they continue to use the "plus size" term: because, yet again, they are so shocked and stunned to discover they find her beautiful and sexy and hot and blah blah that they go all "Look at what I found!" with jazz hands and everything.

Guess what? Women who wear double digits -- be it size 10, 20, and beyond -- are just as sexy and beautiful as those in the single digits. More than that, I'm going to let all the skeptics in on a little secret: there are actually men out there who even find us so sexy they want to sleep with us.

It's okay, go ahead and take a moment to recover.

Let's also take a moment to consider that we aren't models. We are normal, every day, average, women and there are men and women who want to date us and sleep with us and marry us and they don't need a magazine to tell them that it's okay to find us attractive.

Love from the ashes,
Lady Lazarus
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