Friday 5~ Favorite Blog(ger)s

I almost forgot that today is Friday (probably because its my Monday)! I’ve been planning this blog for a while, because I want to share my favorite blogs that I read with all of you!

1. Becoming the Odd Duck. This was my very first blog. I “met” Laura on Sparkpeople several years ago and followed her to other online platforms. While I had played with the idea of starting a blog before and made a few half-hearted attempts, it was this blog that inspired me to start this blog. Laura also introduced me to the Healthy Living Blog community as well!

2. ‘Sota is Sexy. I found this blog when Katrina posted a guest post on another blog that I read (and I honestly can’t remember which one). I absolutely love her personality and sense of humor! Her blogs are less food and fitness focused (though these do make an appearance) and more just about life and her quirky take on it. It is a rare occasion that one of her blogs doesn’t make me laugh out loud!

3. The Lean Green Bean. Lindsey is a food and fitness blogger, and probably one of the best. She also heads up the Foodie Pen Pal program. She posts amazing recipes and great workout ideas. I find her to be incredibly inspirational when my motivation is running low.

4. Carrots ‘N’ Cake. Tina is the type of blogger that I aspire to be. Her blog is completely amazing! She is a food and fitness blogger and travels all over to different sponsored events, sharing her experiences through the blog. She is amazingly fit, but finds a way to incorporate the good things in life into her healthy lifestyle. She inspires me not only as a blogger, but also in the fitness and lifestyle choices.

5. I couldn’t pick just 5, so here are a few more blogs that I follow everyday (this is by no means the complete list):
Brownies and Zucchini
Then Heather Said
Fitting it All In
Peanut Butter Fingers
The Athlete’s Plate
A Better Life with Burgers
A Healthy Slice of Life

As I stated, this is not a complete list of the blogs I read on a regular basis, just a small selection of my favorites. If I were to list them all, I would be here all night adding the hyper-links!!

What are some of your favorite blogs?

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Friday 5~ Favorite Places: San Diego Edition

I’ve talked a lot about home and the things that I miss here on the blog, including some of my favorite places that I’ll be mentioning here. To celebrate my trip home (in about 6 weeks!), I would share my 5 favorite places in San Diego. I’ll also be sharing my 5 favorite places in Seattle in a later blog.

1. The San Diego Zoo(s). Without a doubt, the zoos in San Diego are some of the best in the world. The Zoo itself has always been one of my favorite places to spend the day. I used to head to the zoo on my day off and wander the park early in the day before it got too crowded, then would grab some lunch and head home before traffic hit. Then there’s the Wild Animal Park (now named Safari Park) which is utterly amazing in its sheer size. I didn’t frequent the Park as often since it was further from my house and generally entailed a full day to truly absorb it all, but I love it just the same. And every time I went to either the Zoo or the Park, I always had to get a soft serve ice cream… it was a tradition I upheld even on rainy days.

2. Balboa Park. Right next door to the San Diego Zoo (literally) is Balboa Park, where the World’s Fair was held in San Diego and now home to numerous museums (and hiking trails). I have always loved wandering through the streets (some closed to cars, others not) enjoying the architecture and fountains. I have picnic-ed sitting on the steps of the Organ Pavilion, strolled through the Botanical Gardens and yes, wandered through the museums countless times. My favorite museums are the Museum of Man and the International Cottages (separate cottages for different countries). Also part of Balboa Park are the Golden Globe theater and the Starlight Bowl amphitheater, I have seen several shows including Chess and Jesus Christ Superstar at the Starlight Bowl.

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3. Mission Beach. I love the water and could spend the entire day just sitting and watching the waves. As a matter of fact, I’ve done just that in December when the crowds are gone. I also used to drive out in the mornings to walk along the boardwalk before the heat of the day (and the crowds) set in. As a kid, we used to spend a lot of time at Mission Beach (or Mission Bay or La Jolla Shores), and I have so many great memories. Plus there’s a wooden roller coaster that’s a lot of fun too. (As well as a few bars and clubs and countless ice cream stands).

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4. The Hotel del Coronado. As a kid, the Del was a dream place. We didn’t go over to Coronado very often, but I always thought the hotel was so magical. Then I went to work there! I worked for a year and a half in the gifts shops owned by the Hotel. While some of the magic was lost by my behind the scenes time at the hotel, I still think it is utterly beautiful. And I couldn’t help but get caught up in the legendary ghost story attached to the hotel… especially since I had a few encounters with the ghost (Kate) myself!

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5. There are a lot of different places I could select for my final favorite place (Pt Loma Lighthouse, Seaport Village, Petco Park, etc.), but the last entry on the list has to be my parents’ house. Not the house itself (and really its an apartment), because I’ve never even lived there with them, and they’ve moved several times, but it’s really my parents themselves. Wherever they live, wherever they are will always be one of my favorite places… just because they’re there.

Have you ever been to San Diego? What are your favorite places?

Friday 5~ Fears

This week I want to get a little serious for my Friday Five and talk about the things that scare me…

1. I think the first one is pretty obvious and that’s the fear of losing someone that I love. I think pretty much all of us have this fear. For me it became bigger after I moved to Washington because there is the added element of never seeing the people I love again because most of them live so far away from me.

2. Another really big fear for me is going back to my old lifestyle. It’s especially hard for me now with this injury, because I don’t want to revert to my sedentary, couch potato life before I became really active. This also means not reverting to the hermit I used to be as well. I am enjoying my life now, much more active and social and so much happier and healthier overall, but there is a lingering fear that the old, lazier me will resurface and take back over.

3. Another fear I have is of dying alone. As I get older, I reflect on the choices that I have made, and sometimes I worry that by never marrying, I have set myself up to be alone when I’m older. While there is still definitely a possibility that I will marry or at least end up in a lasting relationship, I worry that when I am old, I will have no one. Right now I have my parents and my brother as well as some good friends, but what if I never find someone to share my life with?

4. This one is a fear that anyone who knows me will already know… I am terrified of any and all reptiles… yes this includes lizards and geckos and iguanas. I freak out when I see them, especially snakes! I don’t even like to look at pictures of snakes! My fear is completely irrational and is actually what keeps me from hiking more often (and camping). I love that the weather is generally too cold in the PNW for snakes to thrive, though sadly I have seen a few since moving to Washington (not since I moved to Seattle though, knock wood!).

5. Finally, I am afraid that I am not good enough… not as a blogger, as a friend, as a future personal trainer/ weight loss coach, as a sales associate, as a person in general. I feel a lot of the time that I let people down, or that they give so much more than I am able to. I guess its more a fear of disappointing people. I want to be the best person I can be, and I try to be that person, but a lot of the time I just don’t think its enough, and I am afraid that people are going to see this and just leave.

Friday Five~ International Travel

So we’ve covered the places in the US that I would like to travel to, now on to the places outside the US…

1. Ireland. I am part Irish on my mother’s side of the family and I have always wanted to travel to Ireland, specifically Dublin and Shannon.

2. Italy. I am in love with Italian food and the history and romance that is Italy. Specifically, I would like to see Rome for the history and Tuscany for the romance.

3. Paris. The pastries and museums alone make this a dream place to travel to, plus Euro Disney!

4.  Australia. Specifically Sydney… though I would like to be brave enough to embrace the Outback as well, but at this point, I am not that brave.

5. A tie between Hong Kong or Tokyo… basically for the Disney theme parks there!

Where would you travel if you could go anywhere?

Friday 5~ Fitness Bucket List

It’s Friday!!! (Of course it’s also my Monday this week ) Time for another edition of Friday 5! This week I’m taking on my Fitness Bucket List, so without further ado, here we go!

1. Climb a rock wall. I don’t think I’m brave enough to try actual rock climbing out in the open (not fear of falling, fear of reptiles!), but I really want to climb a rock wall! I need to continue working on my upper body strength for this one. I might make it a reward, maybe when I hit a healthy BMI…

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2. Run a race at Disney. Any race! Eventually I would like to run at both Disneyland and WDW, but Disneyland is my primary goal since that was my home away from home when I lived in California. I was originally supposed to run my 1st 5k there a few years ago, but I wasn’t able to. (Of course I still haven’t run my 1st 5k yet, so it’s still a possibility).

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3. Complete a Color Run. Because it just looks like so much fun!

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4. Complete a Warrior Dash/ Mud Run. Again this looks like a lot of fun and will also force me to confront some fears in a manner that I would be able to conquer them!

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5. Run the boardwalk from the jetty to the pier at Mission Beach in San Diego. This was one of my favorite walking locations back home and I would love to be able to run the entire distance (5 miles round trip or 2.5 one-way). I want to try to do at least the one-way distance when I am home in October.

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It’s a good thing my new running shoes are on their way since so many of my goals involve running! I’m going to talk about my choices for running plans on Tuesday and will be kicking off my new running program as soon as my shoes arrive (estimated delivery date is next Friday, but could be here sooner).

Friday Five~ Travel (Domestic)

In honor of the fact that I will be traveling fairly soon (okay, not until the end of October) and because I just booked my flight home, I decided to center today’s five around the destinations that I would like to visit. I am starting with some of the places in the US for now, but will also to an international 5 in a later blog. I originally thought about doing my 5 favorite places that I’ve visited, but I haven’t really traveled a lot of places yet, so there aren’t enough to make a 5 list!

Before I begin, I would like to note that I have a goal to visit all 50 states (so far I’ve only hit a few- California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona & Florida. I have technically been in Texas & New Mexico, but I was only 5 so I don’t remember and am not counting them).

So here are the top 5 US locations that I would like to visit:

1. Hawaii~ beautiful beaches, waterfalls, sun… and a new Disney resort, what’s not to love? Plus my parents lived there for a couple of years while my dad was in the army and my brother was born there.

2. New York City- Broadway, museums, Rockefeller Center, enough said!

3. Alaska- Glaciers, wilderness, rugged beauty…

4. The Grand Canyon- Awe inspiring beauty and I would love to hike it! (of course I will either need to get over my fear of reptiles of bring someone along to make sure they are nowhere to be seen).

5. Nashville- the heart of Country Music.

I could continue this list with lots more places to see, but then it really wouldn’t be a Friday Five!

Where in the US would you like to visit?

Friday 5~ Smiles

I am feeling pretty good right now, so I decided to focus my Friday 5 this week on the things that are making me smile…

1. The weather! Summer has finally arrived in Seattle and we have been having some beautiful weather. There are still the occasional days of rain and some cloudy skies in the morning, but the weather has been warm and sunny most days lately. This certainly helps to cheer me up!! Coming from Southern California, I am used to a lot more sunshine than I usually see up here, so I try to soak in the days we have sun!! Of course the milder temperatures are nice too, 80 degree weather beats 100 degree weather any day!

2. My fitness focus! I had kind of drifted away from focusing on my fitness and even after several false starts still hadn’t recaptured my momentum through June and July. But now that we are in August, I am focused and doing well with my strength routines and am working on reinvigorating my cardio as well. I am still walking to and from work every day, but really don’t count this as cardio any more since my body has adapted to it, so I am adding additional cardio into my days most of the week.

3.  Books, books and more books! Life got in the way back in June and I really didn’t read all that much, but since the start of July I have been back on track and reading like crazy. I have always been a bookworm and I LOVE books, not just reading, but the books themselves. There is something about holding a book in my hands that just makes me feel so at peace. As you have gathered from my other posts, I have wide and varied taste in books. While there are topics or plots that really don’t hold my interest, I still love all books, just for the sake that they are books. Needless to say I do not have a nook or kindle or other eReader and do all of my reading the old-fashioned way!

4. Stabilizing finances! While I am still making quite a bit less than in my last position (and even slightly less than I did while unemployed), my finances are starting to improve and things are smoothing out in such a way that I am able to afford some extras in my life again (and ensure that I eat all month rather than having 2 weeks where a dinner of popcorn was a strong possibility). Already I have been able to get a new belt and shoes for work, as well as some smaller pants. I have budgeted new walking and running shoes plus my study materials for my ACE Personal Trainer Certification into this month’s budget (in addition to the awesomeness that is reason #5 for smiling). And it feels really good to finally be in a place where I can breathe and not worry about coming up with enough money to cover the rent each month.

5. And my biggest reason to smile right now: I’m going home!!! I mentioned this briefly before, but this is a 100% reality now! I will be purchasing my plane tickets next week and will be going home in 81 days!! I will be in San Diego for about a week and will be staying with my parents and spending time with them. Plus I will be spending the weekend that I am down there with my boys… in Las Vegas! Strangely a trip to Vegas for the weekend is actually cheaper than visiting Disneyland, which was the other option. But I know that its going to be amazing, just because I get to spend time with the four people I have been missing the most for the last year and a half!! (I’ve missed my brother a lot too, but I’ve gotten to see him a few times). So now I am counting down the days and making plans (aside from Vegas, that is 100% in Jeremy’s hands a first for me because I am an obessive planner!).

What makes you smile?

Friday 5~ Goals

Its time for another Friday 5! This week I decided to share 5 goals that I have for the remainder of 2012…

1. Prepare for my ACE Personal Trainer certification (which I hope to complete in early 2013). I should be ordering my study materials in mid to late August and am very excited! Once I receive my materials, I will share more about the program and my prep for the exam!

http://www.acefitness.org/getcertified/default.aspx

2. Go home. I have some plans in the works for a trip home and I cannot wait! At this point nothing is finalized yet, but I should have more details very soon!

 

3. Run a 5k. Yes, I was supposed to have already completed this goal earlier in the year, but things didn’t exactly go as planned, but its time to get my running program back on track!

4. Re-shape my body. I will be putting a lot of focus on strength training for the balance of 2012 and am hoping to make some progress in reshaping my body. Now that I have taken off a significant amount of weight (46 lbs), I want to start to work on some serious muscle definition.

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5. Transition and grow my blog. I mentioned before that I want to transition to a self-hosted blog, this is definitely still a goal, as well as becoming a better blogger and growing my readership. I know I have a lot of room for improvement at this point!

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What are your goals for the 2nd half of 2012?

Friday 5 Returns

My blog has been a bit out of whack since the craziness of June, but I am trying to get things back into a groove this week and moving forward. One of my favorite things on the blog has been my Friday 5s and I definitely want to get back to doing these every week. I invite all of you to suggest topics that you would like me center these posts around.

Today’s 5 is a list of things that I have purchased this week:

1. A mirror for my bedroom. The only mirror in my room before was the one over the sink in the bathroom, and with the configuration of the shelf and mirror, I could only see myself from the neck up. While this is fine for washing my face or putting on makeup, it makes it difficult to see how a complete outfit looks or to snap pictures of myself for progress. So today I picked up a mirror that will show much more of me!

2. A pair of size 12 pants. I mentioned that I had accidentally picked up a pair of size 10 pants that didn’t quite fit yet. I decided today to go ahead and get the size 12 pair as well… and they do fit! SO I am officially in a size 12, a size I can’t remember wearing since high school!

3. Coconut Manna. This is basically a coconut oil, but its a little more coconut and a little less oil. It works really great in smoothies, so I picked it up to add to my protein shake. smoothies that I’m enjoying for breakfast a few times a week. This will give me some heart healthy fats as well as a little more substance in the mornings

4. A new weekly planner. First of all, I should note that I LOVE office supplies and go crazy when the back to school sales start showing up at Target. I always used this as an excuse to stock up on everything from pens to rubberbands to composition books… not to mention the entire rainbow of Sharpie markers. I managed to contain myself to 2 packages of index cards and the planner. I intend to use the planner to monitor my 42nd Year Project… and since it runs from August 2012 to July 2013, its perfect for that purpose!

5. Miniature Candy Bars. I love chocolate and feel that it can have a place in daily life when taken in moderation. I find that when I have chocolate on hand at home, I don’t crave it and am content (for the most part) to have one miniature candy bar a day as a treat. Since they are miniature, I keep the calorie impact low, but am still able to satisfy my sweet tooth. Today I picked up 2 favorites… York Peppermint Patties and Peanut Butter Snickers.

I also bought other things like supplements that I was running low on, snacks and lunches for the next week and a new work shirt, but these were the highlights… at least in my opinion!

What fun things have you purchased lately?

What topics would you like me to feature on future Friday 5s?

Friday 5~ Birthday Wishes

Its been a while since I’ve posted a Friday 5, so I want to definitely get back to that this week. A friend asked me yesterday what I wanted for my birthday and I kind of laughed and said nothing really, but in truth if money were no object and I could dream big, there are a few things that I would love for my birthday. Of course I don’t expect any of these things, I’m just wishing out loud (or in print as it were).

1. A trip home to San Diego. I would give just about anything for this one! I know that I’ve mentioned it several times, but really this is the top of my wish list right now. I would love to see my parents and my boys (seeing my boys is a pipe dream in itself, but that’s for another blog), go to the zoo, walk the boardwalk at Mission Beach, eat really great Mexican food, etc.

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2. The textbooks and study materials for the ACE Personal Trainer Certification. I really want to start preparing for this certification and the only thing holding me back right now is the expense. Even with my promotion (more on this later), there is no way I could afford the full program and even just the study manuals are $200, so some serious saving is necessary for this one.

 

3. New clothes. Mostly because nothing really fits any more! I don’t really want to invest in an entirely new wardrobe right now because I am still losing, but I only have one pair of pants that fit well though they are starting to get too loose now as well. Plus I really need some new work shirts now that I am working more often. Also none of my summer clothes fit any more… even the shorts that were too tight before are baggy on me now and all of my capris are falling down.

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4. Running Shoes. Really good ones, plus I also need a new pair of walking shoes because mine are starting to wear down (they do have a lot of miles on them) and some new shoes for work… maybe even more than one pair so I could alternate them.

5. Pampering. The whole works, mani/pedi, massage, hair cut/ color and facial. I haven’t had anything done remotely pampering in over a year. Its been a while since I’ve even given myself a pedicure, let alone had a professional one… and it would be really nice to just feel super girly.

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I feel kind of bad writing this list, it makes me feel a little selfish even though I am not asking anyone to actually give me any of this stuff, just articulating some of the things that I wish for most right now. I am totally grateful and appreciative of all of the amazing things that I do have in my life.

If you could have one thing you wish for right now, what would it be?