30 Days of Self-Love and more learning’s from Operation Beautiful

In yesterday’s post, I got so wrapped up in sharing all of the great things I’ve learned from reading Operation Beautiful that I forgot to mention the 30 Days of Self-Love movement going on over at Faith, Fitness, and Fun. Of course, I joined the cause as soon as I read about it and hope you will, too. Read all about it here and if you’re a blogger like me, add the button to your blog to join the cause. It all starts on September 1 – let’s give it up for some positive vibes coming at ya in the fall!

“Does this shirt make my butt look faster?”

Back to Operation Beautiful…and some thoughts on how to make fitness an integral part of your life but not one that focuses on numbers but one that focuses on working out to feel strong and healthy, not to be “skinny.” The Post-it note phrase above is one that I am obsessed with because it ties so closely to a goal of mine for this fall, as you all know all too well by now…the Wicked Half which is inching up closer and closer by the day (hmm…this could be a contender for my race day tank mantra…). This was a phrase from one of the stories in Operation Beautiful that focused on a first-time marathoner. She posted this phrase on her race-day shirt and it engendered such a sense of community amongst the other marathoners that day. In fact, many of her fellow marathoners loved it so much that they wrote the same phrase on their race day shirts in magic marker.

THIS is what fitness is about:

Community-building, developing your own sense of self, and being proud and strong of you who are, just the way you are, no matter what shape or size you are.

We are strong. We are athletes. We are beautiful.

Focusing on that, and not on the scale, the number of calories you expended during your last workout, or the size pants you wear or want to wear. Embrace you who are, right where you, right now.

On that note…how are those lists coming along??

“Siamo tutti bella. Non dimenticatelo.”

While I was in Maine this past week on vacation, I had plenty of time to plow through Operation Beautiful, thanks in large part to the rainy forecast for the start of the week. Normally, I’d be totally bummed at the lack of lakeside reading, water sports, and sunnage, but somehow this is exactly what I’ve needed after the past few weeks that have felt very stressful and overwhelming at times.

Since I didn’t have Internet access here at the lake, I decided to write a couple of blogs to post over the weekend when I get back to the land of the connected later in the week. Perfectly suited for the mini-series? What Operation Beautiful has taught or reinforced for me, a purveyor of all things balanced and beautiful.

To kick off the mini-series, I thought the first Post-It Note that screamed out at me was the perfect back-drop for today’s post:

“Siamo tutti bella. Non dimenticatelo”

“We are all beautiful. Never forget it.”

So simple, yet so true – and somehow, so easy to forget. We’ve all been caught in that never-ending cycle of self-doubt, negative self-talk and body image issues. I find it so sad that we’ve all been there…life is so short as it is, we’ve been given this one life to live, and yet, we become our own worst enemies. Sad.

I was talking this over with one of my favorites (some of you may read her stuff over at Life by the Day) who visited us in Maine this weekend. She – and my sis, Jo – agreed that we need to stop treating ourselves so poorly. We would never, ever dream of telling our dearest friends that they “look fat”, or “are ugly”, or “how on earth could they be caught in public wearing that shirt, you look awful in it?” Yet, we are more than comfortable treating ourselves like a piece of garbage off the street. We need to stop. Right now. Embrace our beauty as more than just skin-deep. Flaws and all. Those are the things that make us unique – it is these unique traits that make us perfect, not imperfect. Just like no two fingerprints are alike. No two smiles are alike. No two hands or feet are alike. We are imperfectly perfect just the way we are.

We are beautiful just the way we are.

Wow, I have loads more to say on the topic but I’ll stop here for now…until tomorrow’s post, that is!

For today, though, I’d like to leave you all with an exercise to try at home (report back here in the comments section too, if you want!).

Make a list of your positive qualities – both inside and out –and tape that list where you’ll see it everyday. Do not be ashamed to celebrate your amazing qualities. Yes – I know this is hard to do ladies – I’ll post a few here to get you started, and to prove that you can celebrate inner/outer beauty without fear of being called vain, I promise.

Things I love about myself:

  • I’m a committed and dedicated friend
  • I like to think of myself as pretty funny, albeit dorky funny, but funny nonetheless
  • I have strong legs that are going to carry me through that Wicked Half finish line
  • I don’t have six-pack abs, but I do have strong yet womanly curvy abs that I’m proud to call my own
  • I have a crooked nose – it’s one of the unique traits I do not share with either of my sisters, I like to say it gives me character 😉
  • I try to be thoughtful in my actions – towards my friends, my sisters, my husband – to show them I care

There’s a start – now it’s your turn!

Basil, tomato, and fresh mozzarella…

…a match made in heaven.

I’m in foodie heaven and had to share it with ya’ll on this fabulous Sunday (and a great way to close out an incredible vacation week, I might add).

After visiting a local farm in our area, we picked up…

…basil.

…fresh tomatoes.

…and the most amazing scallions I’ve ever seen.

When combined with mozzarella, freshly made, no less, you get this:

Yes, this is foodie heaven, people!!

I highly recommend it. Delicious. And now that we’ve been to this particular farm, we’re making it a weekly ritual. It was an incredible experience. Amazing local vegetables, fruits, cheeses galore. I told you – foodie heaven.

And now, I must return to my beloved tomato, basil, mozzarella salad…before Scott eats it all on me. 😉 Just couldn’t resist sharing it with ya’ll mid-bite (literally).

Happy Sunday!!

Look at me, I’m a running rebel

Yup, you read that right, I’m a running rebel.

Why?

Because I ran without a specific route in mind.

And not by choice…at first.

Scott thought it’d be fun to run a new route, do a little exploring in our neighborhood to find a good alternate to our usual go-to running routes.

Of course my first thought (being the nut that I am!) was this: “how will I know how far we ran if we go a new way???”

Scott overruled me on that one.

And I’m glad he did (for the record babe, you were right – see? I even put it in writing for all to see!).

The route we wound up on was gorgeous. A good mix of city running and more neighborhood area running, and including a run across a bridge near us that crosses over the ocean. Breathtaking – and what an awesome sea breeze, too!

It was just rolling enough that it didn’t feel entirely flat but wasn’t entirely hilly either (a welcome change to our regular running routes which are filled with hills!) and Scott pushed me to run faster than mormal today too. He’s a fantastic pacer, I must say. Hmm…maybe I’ll have him guest blog for me on the topic sometime in the not-too-distant future. 😉

Anyway, I highly recommend letting the “running rebel” in you come out to play once in awhile. You might be pleasantly surprised. 🙂 And – for the record, I *think* our route was somewhere in the range of 5.5-6 miles, perfect considering tomorrow is our long-run day. Weather is supposed to be perfect, again, for running so I’m looking forward to it more than usual.

On that note, I’m off to enjoy the rest of the day with Scott, on our deck, with pizza, maybe some chianti or prosecco too. 😉 Cheers!

PS. I plowed through Operation Beautiful while in Maine this past week. I have a whole series of blogs ready to post next week based on what I learned from reading it. Watch for it. 🙂

An improvised vaca-style workout – who knew a deck of cards could be so deadly?

Alright folks, this is my first attempt at blogging from WordPress for Blackberry so bear with me. 😉

Just dropping in to say hi from rainy New England and to share a pretty damn intense workout to try next time you’re in a pinch for a workout and find yourself equipment-less. Grab a deck of cards. Yup, that’s all you need (props to Scott for suggesting it!).

We did two rounds.

Round 1: lunges and squats.
For every black card, we did lunges (working both legs). For every red card, squats. The clincher? For every face card, its 10 reps, for the ace, its 15 reps. Damn, those lunges add up quickly at that pace, especially since we hit black back-to-back a bunch of times. Whoa.

Round 2: pushups and sit-ups. Same rules apply. For these, I mixed up the ab work, including planks, v-sit, crunches, bicycles, etc. Again, those pushups add up wayyyy too fast!!

Of course, this was after Jo and I did three rounds of five sets of band work, working our upper body, primarily. All in all, a damn good improv workout considering any outdoor activity is off-limits today thanks to the rain!

So anyway, next time you’re looking for a new challenge, give this one a whirl, but beware, it might sting a little. 😉

5 weeks and counting…

…the Wicked Half.

Yup, it just dawned on me today that, um, yeah, I have a mere FIVE weeks until the half is upon me.

And guess what?

I AM SO EXCITED!

Not afraid.

Not nervous.

Just damn excited.

I am feeling so good about our progress – yes, we still have a way’s to go – but we’re chugging along just fine.

For the most part (had to throw that caveat in there for those days when I can’t even fathom throwing my jogging shorts on and heading out for a run), I’ve really enjoyed our training runs. Partly because many of them have been early-AM runs with Scott before I head to work and it’s quite honestly one of the best parts of my day. It sets the right cadence for the day ahead, and even when that day doesn’t go as I envision it going in my head as I pound the pavement, at least I started out with the best of intentions, right? 😉

The other reason I’ve enjoyed them? The running we’ve been doing together – the “wicked half” crew as I like to call us, for lack of a better term. Along with Scott, Jo and fellow kicker Steph, we’ve done a few group training runs – those have been our lonnnng runs but it’s been such fun to accomplish those distances together. Quite the bonding experience, which I’ve loved and I know they have too. I feel so freakin’ lucky to have such a great group of friends and family that share the same passion as me, it makes such a difference. And I love it.

What I’ve learned so far in all of this? That I am, without a shadow of a doubt…

…a runner.

And I wear that label proudly. Because it does not and will never come easily to me. But that’s ok. It’s what makes me the runner that I am. I’m feeling more and more “ready” for that starting line as I hoped I would be when I first started my training. And, I’m totally envisioning crossing that finish line feeling pretty confident that I will burst into tears at the end. That much you can guarantee.

So anyway, that’s where I am and I’m psyched. The one piece we still have to figure out? What we want our tank tops to say on race day. So, I’m leaving that in your capable hands while I take some time off to head to lake again (yes, I *do* bank my vaca time to take advantage of that lake all summer!). So please don’t fail me now – send me your ideas for mantras or slogans or even team names. I’m all ears. 🙂

See ya’ll on the flip side! Don’t forget about me!

Indulging and…balance?

Yes, indulging and balance do belong in the same sentence.

Sometimes.

And within moderation, of course.

But yes, it can be done. Tina‘s post today inspired this quickie little post tonight.

Why? Because she admitted that *gasp* she gave into her craving for McD’s (hey, baby’s gotta eat right??) and yes, that still does make her a healthy living, healthy eating blogger.

Just because her lunch didn’t include flaxseed or grapeseed oil, doesn’t mean she no longer “qualifies” as a healthy blogger. It’s about a balanced, healthy lifestyle. Not a deprived one.

Same goes for me.

My big indulgent reveal?

An A-mazing flourless chocolate cake topped with homemade fresh whipped creme – all made by not me, but my fanfrickinastic husband (aka “Tony Miceli” heh).

He whipped it up as part of a midweek “date night” dinner  last night which ended up being one of the most memorable dates we’ve had in awhile.

It included prosecco. *Maybe* also some cabernet (ok, who am I kidding, it definitely did) and this incredibly decadent, dense, chocolate paradise.

I took a picture but am not posting it. It doesn’t begin to do it justice.

It was that good.

And worth every. single. dense. calorie-filled. bite.

So THERE! I’m still a healthy living/fitness fanatic blogger. But my secret is out! I eat! A lot! 🙂

Autograph, anyone?

Warning – I’m about to go into full-on workout geek-out mode so beware. 😉

Buuuuut Cathe just posted the video they took during the freakin’ awesome “workout weekend” festivities from a few weeks back.

In it, you’ll see quite a few shots of us, including…

  • Jo and I “teaching” with Cathe during the Friday evening kickboxing class (greatest moment in my life, I swear)
  • Me sweating my butt off during the spinning class on Saturday (the second spin class I took that weekend,  ha)
  • The entire “I heart Cathe” crew (Heather included) on Cathe’s filming set in our super-cute matching tanks
  • And our entire table saying “hi” to Cathe during one of the social events.

So yeah, we’re signing autographs for anyone interested. 😉

But seriously – this about made my day for many, many reasons. Most of all, it snapped me out of yet another funk and reminded me just how much I freakin’ love a good sweat just thinking about that workout weekend. A-mazing.

And PS. Isn’t Cathe incredible? She’s about the nicest, most inspiring yet most approachable person I’ve ever met. I aspire to be like her whenever I get to teach a class again, which btw I’m totally starting to miss. Must investigate alternative options ASAP.

“Laugh everyday…it’s like inner jogging”

“Laugh everyday…it’s like inner jogging.”

This post brought to you by none other than Dove chocolates.

Yes, this is a blog about fitness and healthy eats…but most of all, it’s about balance. Hence, a delicious piece of chocolate after dinner last night. Which was equally delicious thanks to the hubs who whipped up a very tasty dinner of grilled, dry-rubbed pork chops, yellow beans and steamed broccoli. All eaten on the deck under the glow of the twinkly lights circling the banister on our deck and the setting sun. Exactly what this girl needed. Like whoa.

But I digress. This quote from my Dove chocolate treat totally made me giggle. For two reasons:

1 – Um hello, I’m inspired by a quote from a Dove chocolate wrapper??

2 – It’s so freakin’ true. We all DO need to laugh more, and hell – if that also equates to “inner jogging,” well y’know how I feel about running, so I’m totally down for anything related to that, especially if it improves the spirit. 🙂

So – please do three things for me and I’ll be a happy blogger.

1 – Eat more chocolate, especially Dove – it’s yummy.

2- Laugh more.

3 – Repeat #1 and #2

Desperately seeking…

…focus.

…more hours in the day.

…inspiration.

…Me.

Yup, you guessed it – based on my lack of posts with regular consistency as well as my lack of commenting to all of your fantastic bloggy thoughts, I’m struggling.

My sister alluded to a portion of what’s got me in such a funk on her blog last night – it so very closely ties to a lot of things that have me scattered, and I’ll leave it at that.

My sister is also responsible for trying to drag me out of this funk by re-forwarding to me a Joel Osteen daily inspirational I forwarded to HER a few weeks ago when she was looking for that inspiration. Of course, it struck me, as it normally does:

In the same way, God doesn’t give us grace for a year at a time or even a month at a time. No, every 24 hours God has a fresh, new supply of grace, favor, wisdom and forgiveness. How are you going to make it through the seasons of your life? One day at a time. Look for His grace today. Look for His provision today. Look for His hand of favor and blessing today because He promises to supply everything you need for today.

One day at a time, or in my case today, one hour at a time. <exhale>

In addition to these words of inspiration (much-needed!), I also got to thinking this morning mid-workout, yet another reason to add to my ever-growing list of reasons for why AM workouts are the way to go, at least for me (as if I needed more ammo for that argument, right??):

I was laying in bed this morning contemplating skipping my workout when my mind automatically went into hyperdrive, thinking about everything on  my to-do list today, tomorrow, the next day, and so on.  Resisting the urge for more zzzs, I forced myself up and into my gym upstairs to get a weight workout in before heading to the office, and even though I was still scattered, brain going a mile a minute, somehow the lifting and lowering of the weights had a calming effect. Helped me to zone in and out as need be, the cadence of those weights still lingering in my mind as I type this.  Amidst the sweat, the struggle (at times) of lifting those weights this morning, it set me straight for the day. Even though I still can’t shake the “un-ME” feeling, I’m at least a wee bit more focused than if I’d stayed under the covers this AM.

So – the upside in all of the chaos that has been surrounding me of late? At least my workouts aren’t suffering. 😉 It’s the little things…