Wednesday, January 18, 2012

GUEST BLOG entry: Kristin Hodnett!

It's January, the time of year when my normally empty gym has a wait for every treadmill and my small Weight Watchers group has turned in to Grand Central Station. Somehow, the new year has convinced those who had only weeks ago committed to holiday gluttony with mind, body and soul that they can turn it around and get in shape.

I've said before that I don't like the word resolution. It usually brings a negative image to mind, a vision of this grand plan that we start so filled with hope, only to come crashing down a few short weeks, or even days later. Listen, I'm not here to discourage you. Change is good, weight loss is better, and I encourage you take inspiration and motivation wherever you can find it. Weight loss is a tough journey and you'll need it. What I want to do is share some things you need to know to make weight loss a lasting resolution you won't find yourself making again next January.

Know Your Mind
I've worked with nutritionists, personal trainers and wellness coaches who swear that the majority of weight loss is whatever their expertise is, be it diet or exercise. Both are important, but I've found that the true key to weight loss is making a mental shift. Before you can put the chocolate cake down and pick the hand weights up, you have to first change your mindset. It's easy to make temporary changes with sheer willpower, but as Jillian Michaels has often said, "willpower is nothing more than a fleeting moment of bravado." If you want your weight loss to be more than fleeting, it has to start in your head. You have to be able to make the tough decision between your goals and your cravings or to drag your butt off the couch when you would rather curl up in your Snuggie. Work your biggest muscle first (that's your brain) to see lasting changes.

Know Your Why
I'll be the first to admit that I've set many a shallow weight loss goal, even some not quite as shallow ones like to be a skinny bride. However, once I bought the dress and it fit, there really was no reason to try lose anymore, right? Then I would just have to have it altered and that would be a with ten months left before my wedding I had already found the perfect excuse to give up. That's why you need to dig deep to find the real reasons you want to lose weight. Are they yours? They better be, because someone else's are not going to motivate you for long, even if they have your best interests at heart. While there's nothing wrong with wanting to look good in your bikini at the beach you may find that playing with grandchildren, participating in your favorite activities or kicking diabetes and insulin to the curb will really keep you going when the going gets tough.

Know Yourself
If you're reading this, you've probably dieted in the past, and you've probably lost and gained the same 25 pounds more times than you can count. Although it may be painful, look back at why those attempts didn't work. Did you eliminate carbs when pasta is your favorite food or commit to run a marathon with bad knees? This is about you, and it has to be for you. Your goals and plans have to draw from your strengths, eliminate your weaknesses and fit into your lifestyle. Like clothes, weight loss is never one size fits all, so don't just go with what worked for your mom or your BFF. Take time to develop a lifestyle and habits that work for you.

Know Your Plan
You don't assume projects at work will run themselves or that your kids will finish their science project without guidance, so why would you assume weight loss would be any different? We all know the saying - if you fail to plan, plan to fail. It's a popular saying for a reason. Set a long term goal and chunk it down to bite size pieces. Use this as your guide to weekly action items to keep you going in the right direction. Write them on a dry erase board, your blog, or your Google calendar. I hate to use another cliche, but goals not written down are just wishes.

Know Your Limitations
Think ahead about what your biggest obstacles will be. You don't have to gaze into your crystal ball and predict the future; this isn't your first rodeo. You know what your limitations are, and being honest about them is the best thing you can do to minimize them. Are you time crunched and on the go or a klutz in the kitchen? Research ways to work around it by preparing multiple meals at once or taking a cooking class. If that box of graham crackers calls out to you like a siren's song from the pantry, don't keep them there to tempt you. Make your environment one to support and motivate you. There will be obstacles, so have a plan in place before they hit.

Know Your Successes
There will be both good days and bad days, and the important thing is to celebrate the good days. I spent so long beating myself up because I didn't like the number on the scale that morning or because I used sugar and cream in my coffee instead of skim milk and Splenda, and it was miserable, not motivating. I never spent as much time celebrating the right decisions I was making as I did regretting the not so good ones. While you can learn from your mistakes, that's not what most of us tend to do with them. Reward yourself when you meet your goals, even the small ones. Learn to accept compliments; you deserve them. Don't discount the little things like taking the stairs or eating more vegetables. Every single step you take in the right direction is one step closer to where you want to be. Remember to cut yourself slack. You're no less worthy of it then everyone else around you. It all goes back to the mindset I talked about earlier. If you have a mindset of self-love, you will believe that you're worth it.

So call it a goal, an intention, or a resolution if you want, as long as you know that weight loss is not a day-long, month-long or year-long commitment, but a lifelong journey to health and wellness. Good luck in the year ahead, I know you can do it!

Kristin Hodnett is a reformed yo-yo dieter and blogger born and raised in Virginia where she now resides with her husband, Shih-Tzu and mother. When not at her day job as an executive assistant, she enjoys yoga, has a thing for designer handbags and a weakness for Sprinkles cupcakes. Follow her path to thinner peace at 30-Something and Fabulous.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ventura Harbor

The days have been beautiful here in Southern California for the last 2 weeks and we decided that we better get the best of these days before winter does decide to set in.  We went to our neighbor town of Ventura to the Ventura Harbor!  Sandie is a native here.  She loves the huge grass area where they sometimes bring special event set ups.  Nothing is there right now so she had the whole run of the huge area!  

This harbor is thriving!  The fishing boats are in great condition and we really caught a nice picture of them!  Usually we will go for some ice cream but today we decided to check out some of the newer shops/restaurants to the harbor.

This place has changed hands a number of times.  We just wanted to get a picture with the pirate but I cut his head off to be sure that Sandie was in the picture, lol!

Ahoy Sandie!  The sun got into the picture some but this is an adorable picture of Sandie!  She's the octopus!

Fisherman Memorial was a place to stop and take a picture of John and Sandie.  Cute subjects for pictures!

Then we finished our day by having dinner at the infamous "ANDRIA'S."  Thankfully it wasn't crowded at 3pm and we were able to get some favorites.  John had the fish and chips and I had the crab cakes and chips!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Did you make New Year's Resolutions for 2012?

How are you doing with those New Year's Resolutions?  Every year I "resolve to not make any New Year's Resolutions" but this year I did.  I said that I wanted to read more and blog more.  Well so far I'm doing much better than I did last year but I need to read more in my books and less on the Internet about books.  I also read a number of Christian blogs and am so amazed at the wonderful writing!  I love to read Christian articles too and today I read one that I'm going to share.

Today I came across one that is called, "Be It Resolved."   He starts out with "What are your feelings about New Year's Resolutions? For that matter, what is your feeling about the concept of a "New Year"? The New Year celebration was, after all, celebrated at the vernal equinox (March 20 in 2012) until the Middle Ages. That actually makes some sense to me, since the vernal equinox is the first day of spring! Ah, but history isn't the point here.  The point is resolutions. Do you make resolutions for whatever you mark as New Year's Day? Have they been so vexing for you in the past that you have given up on them? Life occasionally requires resolutions — nothing more nor less than a plan to change something — to accommodate our proneness to err! Even if not as change but as renewed promises, what about these for 2012? "  

And then he lists a number of RESOLVEDS.  They are tremendous! 

I'm still resolving to read more and blog more.  How much more I'll read in a day and how much more I'll blog is not known yet.  But I've got my eye on a group of bloggers called, Faithful Blogging.  I joined the newsletter for the group but haven't made that commitment yet to blog daily.  So that's what I'll be working on and towards.  Being a faithful blogger in the New Year!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

100 entries and I'm still eclectic!

Today I celebrate having written 100 blog entries since I started this blog last year.with having no idea of where I wanted to go with it on my first entry, Amazon Kindle for PC: Install Instructions.
I started out being calling myself eclectic then and I still call myself eclectic now!

I started this on a whim because my very good friend, Diane R., had one and it looked interesting and I wanted in.  I had no idea of all the blogs that existed out there.  All I knew was that she had a very nice one and I wanted to join in the fun with her.  We went back and forth on what to call it because hers is so kewl with her D-D  Diane's Digressions.    Diane was reading.  Uh oh.  That was a very sore topic with me.  Because for the year of 2010 - 2011,  I spent my time watching tv.  If that could be called a hobby, that was mine.  And I'm eclectic in the shows that I watch!

We talked about what I wanted to do with my blog and I couldn't keep it down to one topic so she came up with, "Conversations with Carolyn."  So I tell Diane that I own no books at this current time that I haven't read and there's nothing out there in particular that I know that I want to read.  And she precedes to tell me of the MANY books that she's reading at one time.   She sounds like my husband with his many books only he reads one at a time.  So I took her advice and I downloaded my Amazon Kindle for PC. (by the way, I just received the Kindle 3G with keyboard for Christmas!)  And what would I write about?  Why not include the instructions?!   Oh wow, how boring can I be?  Ok that was just the link I put there in case anyone else wanted to do the same!  Just so you know, I never read Aesop's Fables.

So time has marched on since that day in May, 2011 and I have conversed about many topics and into 2012  I plan to continue in this way!  I thought it was funny today to read a blog by someone who calls themself  a Mid Life Mama.  I guess I could call myself that as well.  But my step-sons are grown adults, single and living in Texas.  So I don't so much feel like a "Mama."   And to tell you the truth, the whole generation of "mommy bloggers" has invaded the blogging world and I'd rather stay away from the words, Mom or Mother or Mommy or Mama.  I am Carolyn.  I don't need to be labeled, I don't need to fit in, I just need to be me!

For those of you wondering why I chose that photo at the top of the page.  This is where I live.  I live at the beach in Southern California and this is the beautiful sight that I get to see every day!

Welcome Sharon Williams!

What’s your hobby? What do you do for fun? When I ask my friends what they do for fun, I often get a blank look and a little laugh. Fun? What's that? Life is too busy and my budget doesn't allow for any splurges.

I think that hobbies are one of the things that help define us as individuals. God created us with unique features, specialties and gifts that we often bury under the dirty laundry, kids juice packs and family caregiving responsibilities.

I think that each of us should have something that we do that just makes us smile and feel that special feeling, adrenalin rush or flash of excitement….. and no, we don’t have to break our budget to pursue those hobbies.

I love to work in my flower gardens, spend time with my kids, blog and read! I am always looking for ways to save money on my hobbies or find a way to pinch a penny so I can afford to spend that penny on something to make my life more fulfilling.

Here's a few ideas to get you started:

If you are a reader, then enter some book giveaways and win a free book or become a regular at your local library.

If you love to craft, but don’t have money for specialized supplies, just take a look around you and use what you have. One friend of mine had little money but a whole stack of old blue jeans. She turned that into some amazing crafts!

If you find yourself in a ‘waiting’ season of life where you are often spending time in doctors offices or waiting rooms, then why not learn to knit or work with yarn and create some treasurers for your family? This can be a frugal craft when you know where to look for your yarn and tools.

No matter what your hobby, there are ways to enjoy it without spending too much money or time.

Do you have a hobby that you love? Have you found ways to be frugal and still pursue your passion? I’d love to have you share your ideas!

Sharon Williams is a wife and mom of 3 who blogs about how to pursue your hobbies without breaking your budget.

New Year! New highlights! Excited about the changes!

Rather than go through a list of the changes and additions I will just roll them out as they come.  One of the first items of additions is SPECIAL GUESTS!  And today I start with my first guest, Sharon Williams!  She's a blogger and great reader of books.  I am delighted to introduce her and many new people to you beginning today!  WELCOME!
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