books & reading memes & carnivals

My Nightstand: February

It’s time for the February installment of What’s On Your Nightstand, a book meme hosted by the lovely ladies at 5 Minutes For Books.

Last night I finished devouring Revenge of the Spellmans the latest Spellman installment by Lisa Lutz. I think it’s safe to say I completely utterly adored it. I have some pretty incredible series in my rotation right now and this one is no different. It’s described as Harriet the Spy meets Stephanie Plum meets Dirty Harry. All I can say is it’s awesome. Terrific writing, intriguing plots, lovable characters. There is one small completely unsatisfying kiss in this book (if you follow the series, you will know who I’m talking about) that actually brought tears to my eyes and that’s all I will say about that. Loved it.

I’m still needling my way through Walk Away the Pounds by Leslie Sansone. I am enjoying it (you know the tiny bit I’ve read) but I’m terrible at reading nonfiction and haven’t made the least bit of progress with it. Ho hum. The best I can say for myself here is that I’m doing better with her DVDs than her book – that’s something, right? And again it’s no reflection on the book – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every page I’ve read. I’m just strange.

So the books slated to be read next area:

And two others on their way from Amazon…

books & reading memes & carnivals

Teaser Tuesday: Walk Away The Pounds


TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

My Teaser:

“You may not be able to master underwater sumo wrestling, advanced yoga for invertebrates, or whatever the latest fitness craze is, but that “one foot in front of the other” thing is a no-brainer. And studies show that walking is the perfect exercise to get your heart in that midlevel aerobic range, where you burn fat most efficiently.”

from page 13 of Walk Away The Pounds by Leslie Sansone

contests & giveaways dieting & exercise

Giveaway Alert @ Momma’s Review: Walk At Home with Leslie Sansone

We’re giving away two of Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home exercise DVDs @ Momma’s Review. For a rundown on what’s up for grabs and how to enter, be sure to check out Momma’s Review today!

dieting & exercise

Looking Fine by 2009: The End

Well 2009 is days away and this Monday was the final check in day for the Looking Fine by 2009 challenge hosted by Jen @ Daily Mish Mash. When I started this challenge I was 223 pounds and really had no idea what I was doing, how I was going to lose weight, or how long it would take me – all I really knew was that I was tired of this – tired of looking like this and doing absolutely nothing about it. I knew I wanted something to change.

It was a long road, and I can’t say that I’ve lost a ton of weight and look incredible – this morning I weighed in at 216, up half a pound from last week actually – but at 7 pounds lighter, I can say that the journey has been worth it, because I do have a plan now – I do know what I’m doing more or less and I can see the future in sight. There will be stumbles, I’m sure, especially because at the tail end of November I found out I was pregnant (hurray!) and a couple weeks ago I was advised by my doctor to start taking in an extra 300 calories.

The name of my game for losing weight has become calorie counting and I was eating 1750 calories a day and for a few weeks I was losing weight easily and it was awesome and I was pumped. But I really did need the extra calories to keep me going so I can’t complain. Apart from this past week I still continued to lose weight – and really this past weekend I kind of briefly threw in the towel to enjoy the holidays and relax – so only gaining half a pound is pretty impressive I think. Now Christmas is over and I’m getting back on track and while I don’t think I’ll do better than losing half a pound a week, I can accept that because, dude, I’m having a baby.

Just before my first trimester symptoms really started to sink in I even found a work out that I really love – Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away The Pounds DVD proved to be incredible in my eyes – which is really saying something because I tried and hated a lot of dvds before finding this one. Now the fatigue has set in and the slightly brisk pace of Sansone’s system is really a bit much for me – but I know that when this fatigue lets up that I’ll be eagerly looking forward to getting back to walking at home when the weather is too frightful to walk outside – and thanks to my bestie Ange @ Red Knows How – I can do that ASAP because she bought me one of the DVDs for my birthday! Thanks bestie!

Come 2009 I may not be looking as fine as I’d hoped, but I will be feeling fine because I have a plan and I have the patience to wait for it while I wait for my baby also. I will be seven pounds lighter and my conscience will be lighter because I know I’m trying to make a change – and really that’s all that matters. 2009 isn’t the end of this journey for me – if anything, it is only the beginning and I’m looking forward to that journey with all my heart.

So I’d like to thank Jen @ Daily Mish Mash for inspiring me with this challenge. I’d like to thank my bestie Ange @ Red Knows How for turning me onto the Walk Away The Pounds exercise DVDs. I’d like to thank my husband for encouraging me on this diet and for talking me into trying this calorie counting thing – sometimes it’s a pain in the butt – but it’s undeniably worth it. Lastly, I’d like to thank you – all my readers who have been cheering me on from the beginning, even when I maybe didn’t deserve it yet – this community is an inspiring way of finding the motivation to be the persons we want to be and I’m not sure I could have done it without you. Thank you.

family fun

Christmas 2008: Wrap Up

I only took pictures of Christmas morning, making the executive decision to enjoy the rest of the day without lugging around the D40. So here are some shots of the morning and a few of the presents he got first thing, but there was much, much more later as we went from our apartment that morning to four other locations, and didn’t get home until about 10pm – which doesn’t sound late except that MM’s bedtime is way closer to 7pm. He did soooo good – I think his poor prego momma was more tired and cranky about being up late than he was! Anyway, enough blabbering, here are some pictures, first of the tree, stockings, etc. before they were ripped into – the calm before the storm…

And now, the loot…

Okay and now for some more blabbering on. He got the puzzle set (with a storage box) and the train set from my parents. The Mr. Potato Head came from dh’s aunt and MM has been infatuated with it ever since, when he’s not busy building train tracks or taking all the puzzles apart, Mr. P is pretty much the best thing ever. Dh’s parents also got him a bunch of cool kitcheny gadgets like a toy microwave, blender, lots of toy foods – and also a washing machine. His granny got MM a little toy loaf pan, rolling pin & a spring form pan which is kind of a family joke, and I was a little jealous that my two year old son got one and I didn’t (but being a toy, I’m not going to take the chance and find out if it’s safe to actually cook with – I’ll just keep dreaming.

Matchbox monster trucks, new pajamas and a new outfit, a barrel of monkeys, some new movies and books – wooden blocks with ABCs – and a new BED came the next day – a big twin bed since the crib mattress will be needed this summer – we figured we’d get him used to the new bed before the baby comes and steals his old one right out from under him. Which means new sheets and blankets which are all really cute – I need to remember to take pictures of that, huh? And I’m sure he got more but that’s all I can remember right now.

We got some gift cards which we used to get some new Wii video games (Call of Duty for dh, Animal Crossing for me), a couple new books, the electronic World Edition of Monopoly, and Across the Universe on DVD. My sister-in-law made me an awesome winter hat that I’m smitten with and wearing everywhere. We bought ourselves loads of chocolate and a box of clementines (can I call that a Christmas present or was that really just grocery shopping?). My in-laws got me a Christmas Memories scrap book which looks fun, but I haven’t had a chance to dig into it yet. DH got the new Trans Siberian Orchestra CD. Um and I’m a terrible Christmas present receiver and can’t think of anything else right now except that my bestie bought me the Leslie Sansone Walk Away The Pounds DVD that comes with the nifty stretchy band which I am oh so excited about!

We almost bought the Wii Fit but like morons we didn’t – big purchases scare me and we’re trying to save up moolah for the baby (not to mention the hospital stay to have the baby). I found the perfect point and shoot camera for me (I think) which I’m hoping to get for Christmas next year – I also played with a Canon Rebel in the store and was drooling over it and making a lot of ooohing and ahhhing sounds, but kept coming back to the fact that we have a Nikon D40 and don’t really need a Rebel also – what we really need is a good, sturdy little point and shoot that can fit in our pocket and be brought with us anywhere – so I’ll take more pictures at family functions because my old Canon is just starting to feel too slow and the picture quality leaves something to be desired (possibly more so with the D40 constantly showing it up) – what we need (or okay, what I want) is this Canon Powershot SD1100IS which is tiny and perfect and pretty and should be mine (hopefully by next Christmas if baby stuff goes well – and dh can save up for his laptop by then because I promised him he’d get his new laptop before I got my camera, blah blah blah stupid promises).

So, all in all, I’d say it was the perfect small Christmas – we got just enough, especially since we hadn’t gone into it wanting much. We enjoyed the season but were more than happy to take down the tree last night and get back to life as usual – until New Years Eve anyway. MM is happy as a clam and officially totally digging this Christmas thing – I know we’ll both be looking forward to Christmas 2009. And next Christmas I will finally have one good thing worth asking for!


Review: Leslie Sansone’s: Walk Away The Pounds Express

Grade: A++ infinity

I’ve been meaning to try this DVD for weeks since reading about it on my bestie’s blog @ Red Knows How – while she is admittedly better at these workout DVDs than I am, she has been raving about Leslie Sansone – singing her praises and shouting “Hallelujah!” or something. But more importantly I kept thinking, “Walk at home? Isn’t that an oxymoron or something? How do you walk at home? Do you just walk from one side of the room to the other? And how will a DVD help?” I was truly confused but she LOVED it – I had to be missing something.

And oh was I ever – I had Netflix send me the Walk Away the Pounds Express: Easy Walk / Brisk Walk disc and – oh my, this DVD was amazing – I absolutely love it – like added it to my Amazon wishlist loved it. Yes, you are walking in place, but I had no idea how much of a workout walking in place could be – I was fatigued – of course, I’m pregnant so that’s pretty easy for me like a permanent state of being, but even in spite of that I walked one mile in about 10-15 minutes and felt so pumped and proud of myself because it was always just a little challenging but not so much that I quit.

Sansone implements four different basic types of steps – basic walking in place, stepping side to side, small kicks and knee lifts – yes it’s aerobics but I’m just accepting that all of these workout DVDs will be some form of aerobics or another – this one however managed to be simple enough for me to do without feeling like a moron, but challenging enough that I could “feel the burn.” There were other things I liked, too – if you are a regular here then you know how much I [don’t] like workout DVDs – you know that especially when the DVD is kicking my butt that I get all kinds of snarky and find anything and everything to hate about it – usually the people on the screen and their wardrobes and their ability to move in ways that I cannot. This didn’t happen – I could do everything they were doing – I just maybe breathed a bit harder and didn’t look *quite* as cheery about it. I loved that all like eight of them wore basically the same outfit and that it didn’t look cheesy on any of them – basic black workout pants and a blue tank top that managed to seem flattering on all of their different bodies. I also loved that they were all of varying ages but all seemed to have mastered this – from 27 to 72 they had all found success with Walk Away the Pounds – one woman in her 50’s said she lost 60 pounds with this program!

Leslie Sansone seemed very hyped about this program, but especially about walking in general – and I think we all know that walking is one of the best exercises out there – I’d walk all the time if I could – if weather permitted and I was never tired – in fact as a teenager I DID walk all the time for hours and it was awesome. But times change. And the cold weather is not as forgiving as it used to be – with this DVD I was able to walk at home – to walk one mile without leaving my home – I know I was making fun of this concept like two days ago but wow – I love it. Really, if any of you want to buy it for me that’d be cool.

So – Leslie Sansone – you are my first all and out A++ for a workout DVD I think – you are by far the best I’ve ever tried and I would really truly recommend it to ANYBODY – she has a lot of DVDs aimed for any level – if one mile seems puny to you  then I hate you but there are 5 mile work outs too – she’s got it all covered folks. Give one a whirl and I really think you’ll love it.

dieting & exercise

Looking Fine 2009: 2 Weeks To Go!

January 2009 is only two weeks away. This morning I weighed in at 216 which is 10 pounds less than roughly where I started and about 2 pounds less than last week. Now that I’m all pregnant I’ve been working harder to keep full between meals and eat HEALTHY – this isn’t just for the snacks anymore, I’ve got a baby to take care of. So I’ve bought some yummy granola bars and slightly healthier and more filling lunches (if only because they aren’t peanut butter and jelly which my silly stomach has rejected – I have to eat something!). The real struggle for me came this weekend when we lost internet access and I had no way to log my calories. I was able to keep an estimate written down for the most part, but when we went to my husband’s office party on Saturday I was up some creek without a paddle. I had to use common sense. CRAZY.

But I seem to have made out okay. The Wii workout is getting harder for me to remain enthusiastic about – I’m BONE TIRED which means my energy levels are crashing quickly and frequently. I took a long walk yesterday with dh and MM and it felt so good to move my legs and really exercise in a non-Wii way. They say walking is like one of the best forms of excericse and I wish we did it more. Yesterday was insanely mild compared to previous days, weeks, etc. and I’m hoping to get another walk in before the weather drops again.

So I’ve lost another 2 pounds, I took a great walk and I finally got this DVD in the mail to try also. I think it’s possible I can make it to 210 by January which is I guess acceptable. I don’t want to lose too drastically when I’m pregnant, it doesn’t seem healthy. And at some point I’m going to have to accept that I’ll be gaining some weight, but hopefully it will be a sensible amount this time!

How are your diets going? Anybody else going to be looking fine by 2009?

dieting & exercise

Looking Fine by 2009: FOUR Weeks To Go!

This past week was probably my biggest struggle since starting to really take this dietish thing seriously (by trying not to call it a diet). Thanksgiving and Game Night in one weekend. I did well Monday through Wednesday but I guarantee you I overate the rest of the week – I didn’t even really count all the calories, I knew the bad news. But I did manage to workout with Wii sports EVERY day – that’s seven days – easily winning me another Gold Medal:

So you may be wondering how badly I did – how much of a difference this whole Wii thing or calorie counting thing made this week – well I lost one pound. I think that’s pretty impressive for Turkey Day & Game Night Weekend. I was able to indulge a bit (but not too much actually, I tried very hard to be sensible) but paired with three good eating days, seven days of Wii (we played for HOURS on game night) and I lost a pound instead of gaining like I probably would have otherwise.

So here is my goal for the next week, now that things are slowing down a wee bit…

  • Continue to do the Wii workout daily but try to add one or two non-Wii workouts also, so as not to get dependent on this technological beauty. I’m thinking at least one real walk and I’m also going to try the Leslie Sansone walk at home video that my bestie Ange keeps talking about – there is even a video on line that I can watch at her website apparently!
  • I really want to stick to my diet ALL week and try to eat healthy and avoid hunger pains. That has been a tiny issue in the past weeks that I’d stick to my caloric intake but be starving all day, probably not getting enough protein and fat. So I may have to sacrifice a couple snacks at night in order to do this, but I think it’s important.
  • Really that’s it – I think I’ve got a good thing going I just need to STICK WITH IT. I’ve tried counting calories in the past and it’s a pain but I think where we eat fairly consistent foods it should only get easier. And the fact that I was able to fall off the wagon a bit this weekend but not completely fail really has me motivated. I like it.

How are your diets going? Anybody else still pumped to be looking fine by 2009?