Tuesday, February 9, 2016

158.6

...the number I saw staring back at me on the scale yesterday morning.  Higher than anything I saw in 2015.  My gym attendance has been spotty, so it's safe to say it's definitely not muscle haha.  And the fact that I'm avoiding half my wardrobe right now confirms that too.

How did I get here.... again?

Well let's see, for the majority of January I have been eating every single thing my heart has desired and more.  And guess what.  That really just does not work for me.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, believes that people fall into two categories: abstainers or moderators and that if you are an abstainer, moderation does not work and it is actually much easier to simply abstain completely.  "If abstainers try to be moderate, they spend a lot of time justifying why they should go ahead and indulge."  I think this describes me to a T.  It verifies why I am so good at a strict diet, but so terrible at trying to ride my own bicycle.

So here I am again.  Starting over.  Frustrated, but I will never give up!

Hello February Whole30!


 Things I know this Whole30 will produce for me:
  • Energy, especially after lunch when I'm usually dragging
  • Clearer skin, my skin definitely reflects my crappy diet right now
  • Freedom from binge eating
  • Eliminate post meal tummy aches and gas
  • Ability to fit into more of my clothing
  • Rising body confidence and self esteem
  • Motivation to go to the gym more often
  • Less money spent on meals out & bar tabs

My fridge is full, my meals have been planned, I am so ready for this change.  And I'm so excited to have so many friends participating with me!  The facebook support group is growing every day.  Support is key!  Please let me know if you're thinking of joining and I will add you to the group :)

Today is Fat Tuesday and I'm definitely embracing it.  But tomorrow is a fresh start!

Do you want to experience Tiger Blood with us?!

 

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Our Trip to Italy Part 1: Arriving in Florence

When Dave and I were planning our honeymoon, we pictured ourselves flying across the ocean and soaking up the sun on the coast of the Mediterranean.  And then we priced the flights.  We quickly adjusted our plans and stashed away the idea of a Euro trip for another time, you know... when we weren't planning a wedding.  At some point over the winter, the idea resurfaced and we agreed that we would explore Italy in the fall!  Soon enough our flights were booked.  Next I stalked TripAdvisor for unique hotels and B&Bs, must-see tours, and hidden gem restaurants.  I booked everything myself and I loved every minute of it!

The days ticked by and before we knew it, the big trip was here!  Coincidentally, the pope was coming into Philly the day after we were leaving.  We were concerned about the traffic interfering with our drive to the airport, but apparently everyone stayed home that Friday and the roads were empty.  We arrived at the airport nice and early and started our vacation off with some cocktails.


It was my first flight overseas and I was really dreading it.  I just kept thinking how in the world am I going to sit in one spot for almost 8 hours?  But it actually wasn't that bad.  We flew with Lufthansa and it was really nice.  The seats were plenty big, we had our pick of new movies (we watched Pitch Perfect 2 and Dope), and the food was surprisingly decent.  After dinner I did my best to sleep and soon enough we were landing in Frankfurt, Germany.

We had a 4 hour layover, so we did a little exploring in the airport before we committed to a breakfast spot.  I was on a mission to have some Germany sausage, but we kept striking out in our terminal (nobody told me that the little stands that were everywhere were the place to go).  We finally settled on a place and started our breakfast off with some delicious beers.


When we returned to our terminal, I tried to sleep a little more and our plane was delayed about an hour.  I was feeling pretty rough at this point.

The second flight was fairly quick and then we were landing in Florence!  The airport was small and it was super easy to find the taxi stand.  I showed the taxi driver the address to our hotel and we were on our way!  When we got into the center of the city, things got crazy.  There were pedestrians everywhere and they seemed to rule the street.  We were weaving in and out of mobs of people when finally our cab driver pulled over and informed us he couldn't go any further.  We dragged our luggage a short walk down the block and found Hotel Alessandra!


I didn't realize there was an elevator, so we dragged our luggage up quite a few flights of stairs in a dark concrete hallway.  We got to the top huffing and puffing, but soon all our cares washed away when we met Monti, the amazing concierge at the front desk!  He was over the top friendly and just so happy to show us our home for the next two nights.  When he showed us our room, I was overwhelmed!  It was huge and had so much character and when he threw open the huge shutters to a view of the Arno River and the bustling sounds of the street below, I knew TripAdvisor had not steered me wrong!





We took a minute to settle in but we were ready to explore Florence.  I'm so glad we decided to begin our trip in Florence.  It's a small city and it was easy to learn the layout.  Our hotel was in the perfect location, directly in the middle of everything, but on a small quiet street with a few shops and no traffic.  We immediately started wandering, hitting the Piazza della Signoria first.  The large square is the heart of the city and it was just breathtaking.






After taking it all in for a few minutes, we decided to get our first coffee and taste of gelato.  Everything still felt surreal, we couldn't believe we were actually there!



The gelato was excellent!  Next we headed into the Piazza della Repubblica, another beautiful square.



While we walked to our next destination we ran into a random parade!  They were literally selling wine off a cart at the end of it.





Next we wandered into the Piazza del Duomo and spent a good bit of time just staring up at all the intricate details of the church.




Our next stop was the San Lorenzo Market, where dozens of men were all telling me how fabulous I'd look with their purses on my arm.  It was slightly overwhelming, but I got used to being pretty firm with the word no.  Halfway through, a gorgeous burgundy bag caught my eye since it was the only one that color in the whole market.  I kept walking and got seriously close to purchasing another bag, but the original one was still in my mind.  We did a second loop (Dave was thrilled, obviously) and I spotted the bag and had to have it!

After, I had planned on checking out the Mercato Centrale, a huge market with tons of vendors and cafes, but when we poked our heads inside it seemed like it was closing and honestly it looked kind of sketchy.  I wanted to skip it all together, but Dave dragged me in.  We were there, we might as well take a look!  We found a place that was still open and had quite a few people gathered around it.  Dave gave his best Italian a go and we left with some amazing salami and fresh mozzarella.  Seriously it was the best mozzarella I've ever had!  We grabbed a bottle a wine and headed back to our hotel to relax a little before the picnic I had planned.


The really cool art installation on our street!

After a little relaxing, we packed up our picnic and headed across the river on the Ponte Vecchio (the oldest bridge in Florence, the only one the Nazis didn't bomb when they were leaving the city).  We weaved through the streets on the other side of the river, constantly wondering if we were on the right track, but the little signs kept popping up telling us we were.  The journey ended with an epic climb!  We climbed and climbed until I was sure I had never worked out a day in my life.  Those stairs were punishing!  But it was worth it.




I had read that the Piazza Michelangelo had the best views of the city and that it was a perfect spot for a picnic at sunset... and boy was it ever!


We sipped wine, enjoyed our meat & cheese, and just felt giddy in the moment!  We were here, in Italy, with the most amazing views, with our whole trip in front of us.


  
 



It just kept getting more beautiful.  When it started to get dark we headed down the hill to freshen up before our dinner reservations.





We were all ready for dinner and found ourselves with a little time to kill so we headed out to a bar near the restaurant.  When we went in, we were surprised to find that the bartender spoke English as a first language!  He was from the UK and we had a nice time hanging out with him and trying the local drink (an aperol spritz, which we both actually hated).



When I found Vini e Vecchi Sapori, I knew we weren't going to be able to eat there unless I made a reservation ahead of time.  It's a small but very popular restaurant and they're closed on Sundays, the only other night we were in town.  So I emailed our restaurant to make us a reservation before we arrived in Italy.  When we got there, we were sat immediately.  The restaurant was very homey, with tons of fun decorations and the staff preparing the food in the middle of the room.  The tables were very close together and we actually ended up chatting throughout the meal with a young Italian couple sitting next to us.



The food did not disappoint!  I think we both agreed that this was the best ravioli of the whole trip!






When the meal was over, we were beyond ready for bed.  We hit the hay right after dinner knowing that we needed to rest up for our only full day in Florence!

To be continued...

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hello 2016!

Well January is here!  I can't believe it's 2016 and that it was 12 degrees, real feel -6 this morning.  We rang in the new year at the most gorgeous wedding, followed by an outrageous day at the Mummers parade!  It was the best New Year's celebration ever.


 





Apparently I made a few NY's resolutions for 2015, which I pretty much completely forgot about until now.  Let's see how I did:
  • Commit to clean eating and don't let indulgences here and there take me completely off track!
    • This was my number one goal of 2015 and I'm not sure how to evaluate myself.  I would say overall, I ate well throughout the year but there was definitely still other times when I just let myself eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted *cough* the past 2 weeks *cough*.  This is an ongoing goal that will really never be finished... let's call it a B-.
  • CrossFit 3 times per week, push towards 4
    • A-, overall I was pretty consistent with this goal +/- how my back was feeling.
  • Add some running back into my routine, some slow jogging or sprints, whatever moves me, with no pressure on adding distance
    • D, there was nothing routine about my running in 2015, but I did do a little bit.  I ran a 5K in March and another in November.  I also like to add small chunks of running into my dog walks.  I would still like to do more sprinting.
  • Commit to yoga, additional stretching and mobility work, and foam rolling to prevent injury and speed up recovery
    • C+, I could've done better, but I think finally taking the step to go see a physical therapist was one of the best things I did for myself in 2015.
  • Keep up with my visits to the chiropractor and go before I am in pain
    • B-, this goal is sort of tied to the last one.  I went to the chiropractor a lot throughout the year, but I sort of stopped going once I attended physical therapy.
  • Read one book per month
    • D-, I read a few books throughout the year, but no where near 12.  I knew this was a lofty goal when I made it.
  • Pay off at least half of my remaining school loans
    • C-, I did not put nearly as much money to my loans as I wanted to.  I did pay off a few of my loans, but this is definitely something I need to get more serious about in the new year.
  • Give the blog a make over!
    • F, whoops!
  • Post more frequently
    • B-, this evaluation definitely depends on what month you look at, but I posted 18 more times in 2015 than I did in 2014.
And now we're on to 2016... my goals are pretty much the same as last year to be honest.  I guess I do have a few new things in mind:
  • Keep my back pain-free by doing lots of push aways, strengthening my hips, and being smart at the gym
  • String together 5-10 pull ups
  • Organize and clean my basement and sell/donate/trash as much stuff as possible
  • Floss every day (ok realistically, how about 3x per week)
  • Create a budget and actually follow it
  • Finish my Italy recaps on the blog before our next big trip ;) 

Some other 2016 happenings:

100 miles in 100 days - I'm participating in a challenge my friend is hosting on FB.  The goal is to hit 100 miles within 100 days by walking, running, biking, rowing, or swimming.  You're required to workout at least 3 days per week and you can never miss a Monday.  I thought this was a great idea to keep me motivated to get out and do my mile with the dogs even when it's freezing out.  So far I'm at 12 miles in 5 days.

Another Whole30 - A bunch of my friends are all doing a January Whole30 and I'm have a serious case of fear of missing out.  I'm sad that I'm not riding the wave of motivation with them but I just couldn't commit to one right now.  I'm planning on starting my own either at the end of this month or in the beginning of February.  If you've ever considered doing one, start mentally preparing now...

How are you kicking off the new year?  Did you make any resolutions for 2016?


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