Physical Education: my weight loss journey…

imageIt’s hard to look at these pictures, but it’s important to look at where we have been in order to continue moving forward. The picture on the left was taken in September 2006 and the picture on the right was taken in September 2008, after a 115 pound weight loss. Six years and three knee surgeries later, I am within 7 pounds of my goal weight. I learned a lot through through my journey. Here is what I know…

1) You can’t lose weight for anyone but yourself. If you are not ready, it won’t work! Figure out why you want to lose weight or why you keep eating when you’re full. You need those answers in order to be ready.

2) You can’t out exercise a bad diet… believe me, I have tried! I think it’s 80% food and 20% exercise. Working out helps, but it really comes down to what you eat. Oh, and you can’t eat like a runner if you are not running 😦

3) Track what you eat. It holds you accountable and makes you think about what you are eating. I will never forget the day I found out that my favorite Del Taco chicken burrito was more Weight Watcher points than I was allowed in a day. My Fitness Pal or Weight Watchers online have both worked for me.

4) Find a program/group that works for you. I’ve found success with Weight Watchers, I have worked with a nutritionist, I have joined Biggest Loser type competitions, and have competed in challenges. I’m currently in a Facebook motivation group. I lost my first sixty pounds on Weight Watchers and recently rejoined and dropped some post surgery pounds. Sometimes you need to mix things up to keep things interesting! Right now, I’m drinking a Shakeology shake everyday. I love that I don’t have to think about one meal a day. The shake keeps me full and I enjoy it.

5) Surround yourself with good people who motivate you. I am very particular about the gyms/studios where I belong. I need qualified trainers and fun people to workout with to stay motivated. Right now, I spin at Full Psycle in Costa Mesa five times a week. I don’t know if the owners fully understand what a special place they have created. There are so many wonderful people who flock there for the competition and the friendships. My Full Psycle group of friends keep me coming back each week. I attend boot camp classes three times a week at Fitness Evolution in Laguna Hills. I train with a mother/son team, Angel and Michael Cipolla. They make the workouts fun and always change things up so you are never bored. My third gym is called the Cross Training Club in Laguna Niguel. Rod, the owner/trainer, is super funny and entertaining and always kicks things up for me so I feel challenged. My gym buddies, Kathy, Patti, Vicky, and Louise make CTC even better! Staying fit and healthy is so important!

Wherever you are on your journey, find what motivates you and make it happen!

Homework: What motivates you to exercise and make healthy food choices?

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Dress Code: Leather Tuscadero lives on!

imageDuring the Nordstrom summer sale, I bought an amazing Michael Kors black pencil skirt with side leather panels. I went to put it on recently, and it no longer fits, which means I’m getting close to my goal. I took it to my tailor, and it was going to cost more than it was worth to to bring it down to my new size. So it was a good thing when I recently stopped by Anthropology to peruse the sale rack and found this leather skirt for $50. The front is leather and the back is jersey. I needed a day-to-evening outfit since I was headed directly to the Teacher of the Year awards right after school. With the leather skirt as the base, I added a Kelly green tank top from The Gap and topped it with another outlet purchase, a black and white striped jersey blazer from Banana Republic. My friend Lisa and I both bought this blazer because it was such a good deal and so versatile. When I can add a statement necklace, I do! I picked this one up at the Ann Taylor factory store in Primm for $10. I love all the colors. My trusty Coach wedges completed the look. One of my teachers called me Leather Tuscadero and we had to do the Leather Tuscadeo and Pinky Tuscaerdo handshakes!

Homework: How do you incorporate leather into your daily wardrobe?

Passing Notes: Do you Birchbox?

imageOne of my new favorite discoveries this year is Birchbox…

Birchbox helps you find products that you’ll love. Try our monthly subscription service, explore our personalized shop, or start with our editor tips and tricks.

Here is how it works… You sign up at Birchbox for $10 a month. You fill out a survey to let the folks at Birchbox know what you like. Once a month you get a box of samples to try. I love getting my Birchbox samples in the mail. It’s so fun to try out new products! I have what I like to call “mini kits” in all my gym bags, in my desk, and in my car. Each kit has a mascara, lip gloss, powder, sunscreen, and concealer for quick fixes. My Birchbox samples come in handy when I travel or have to get ready on the go! I highly recommend signing up for Birchbox.
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Birchbox sells full size products of each sample, and you earn points for each purchase, including the $10 monthly subscription. I’m super excited for my May Birchbox. I had the option to add a Kate Spade mirror necklace to my box for only $20. I couldn’t resist!

Homework: How would you use these samples?

Lesson Planning: Spring Cleaning for Cash

imageMy closet needed an extreme makeover! I recently lost 20 pounds and I owned a few too many things that no longer fit. I had a trip to Vegas planned for spring break and I knew we were going to be stopping at the outlet malls along the way. Could I clean out my closet and make a few extra dollars to spend at the outlets in Barstow and Primm? It turns out, that it is possible. I found a store in Costa Mesa called Crossroads Trading Co. that buys your clothes for cash or store credit. You can earn 35% of the retail price in cash or 50% in store credit.   The Crossroads website had a great tutorial for first time sellers and I found it to be really helpful.  The store only buys in-season clothing, in good condition.  I made three trips to the store and ended up making about $150.  It was a win/win situation!  My closet is cleaner and my wallet is fuller!

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Homework: What can you take out of your closet and sell?

Dress Code: Floral Friday!

imageSometimes I have to put myself on shopping probation! I recently cleaned out my closet and then I hit the outlets on the way to Vegas. I restocked my closet and needed to lock down my spending for a while. When I was organizing my new purchases, I found this cute floral dress from H&M that I bought for $20 last year and never wore. I tried it on and knew it would be perfect with my favorite pink C. Wonder flats. I spent the previous 14 hour day in heels and I needed a day in comfortable flat shoes. I added some fun pearls and I was ready for floral Friday! Dresses are the best! One quick and easy piece and you are good to go!

Homework: How many dresses do you own?

The Beauty Locker: L’oreal Paris Miracle Blur

imageDuring my spring break, I spent a few days in Las Vegas with Lisa, one of my college sorority sisters. It was fun to catch up, shop the outlets and relax by the pool. When we were getting ready to head out for the night, Lisa shared that she swears by L’oreal’s Miracle Blur, instant skin smoother. I tried it and I was hooked! It makes your skin feel fabulous and I’m sure I look at least 10 years younger! I bought mine at WalMart for $19.99… It works better than any other product I have tried and the price is great!

Here’s the description from L’oreal’s website: What Is Miracle Blur? It’s NOT a moisturizer, NOT a foundation, MORE than a primer; it’s the first of-its-kind Instant Skin Smoother. What Does It Do? Miracle Blur instantly erases the look of lines, wrinkles, and pores. Skin instantly looks and feels smooth, leaving a velvet soft matte finish that lasts all day. When Should I Use It? Apply after moisturizer and blend evenly into skin. Wear alone or under foundation. Use all over face, or squeeze a smaller amount for targeted application. Ideal for all skin types. Suggested Skincare Regimen: STEP 1: TREAT *Suggested products: Triple Power Concentrated Serum, Triple Power Eye Treatment STEP 2: MOISTURIZE *Suggested products: Triple Power Deep-Acting Moisturizer STEP 3: FINISH Miracle Blur

Homework: What is your favorite anti-aging product?

Dress Code: On Wednesday’s we wear highlighter pink with stripes and dots!

imageToday I wore my favorite hot pink cardigan from J.Crew and was told by one of my teacher’s that I looked like a highlighter! It is really PINK, and I love it! I kept the rest of the outfit pretty simple. I added an ivory and black polka dot t-shirt from Banana Republic with an ivory and black striped skirt from Ann Taylor. I couldn’t resist including some bling, so I threw on one of my favorite statement necklaces that I found on sale at Banana Republic. I piled on my usual bracelets, my Kate Spade flower ring, a black headband, and my Coach wedges. It was a fun and playful outfit, and also really comfortable. I’m still experimenting with mixing patterns, and one way to baby step with mixing is to stay in the same color family.

Homework: what is your favorite neon color to wear?

Dress Code: David Yurman Party

imageIt is fun to have friends with work perks. My bestie, Stephanie, always gets invited to the best events, and as her unofficial “assistant,” sometimes, I get to tag along. This time it was a party at the David Yurman store at South Coast Plaza. It was really great event! I picked out a pair of $86,000 hot pink drop earrings for when I win the lottery. image I wore a black and white polka dot skirt that I bought at the Ann Taylor factory store outlet in Primm. I topped it with a black tank top and grey leopard cardigan from Ann Taylor. I added my black Ivanka Trump pumps and a black and white polka dot cross body bag from Banana Republic. My C. Wonder pearls, worn as a double strand, with my Ann Taylor Loft bow pearl necklace, really took the outfit to the next level. I love using leopard as a neutral and finding patterns to mix with it.

Homework: How many pieces of leopard do you own?

Home Economics: Easter Treats

Today was a lovely day. Happy Easter, everyone!   It was a busy day for me. I started the day at my favorite spin studio, Full Psycle, in Costa Mesa at 7:30 am with my wonderful die-hard spin buddies. Full Psycle is open 365 days a year and I really appreciate being able to get a workout in before holiday festivities begin. After spin class, I headed to my parent’s house to get ready for church. Our Lady of Fatima was super crowded, but it was a beautiful mass and I enjoyed spending time with my parents.
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The Easter bunny left me two presents at my parent’s house. He knows me well! I love to sip a Starbuck’s ice tea while perusing the rounders at the Nordstrom Rack.

After a quick lunch with my mom, I headed to my friend Vicky’s house for her annual Easter party. Since I would be arriving a little late, I volunteered to bring desserts. I made an awesome Easter bark and carrot cake whoopie pies. I found both recipes on Pinterest and they were really easy to make.

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I made the Easter Bark last year, and it was a hit, so I decided it repeat it. Click here for the recipe. I didn’t follow it exactly, I sort of eyeballed everything. You can’t really go wrong with this recipe. I bought 2 packages of the vanilla bark chocolate, a bag of pretzels, a family sized package of Oreo’s, a bag of peanut M&M’s, and pastel sprinkles. If this recipe is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

What I love about this bark recipe is that it is so easy to customize to each holiday. For Halloween, use candy corn. For Christmas or Valentine’s Day, use holiday M&M’s.

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My mom bought me a whoopie pie pan for my birthday and I have been looking for a good recipe to try. This recipe was easy because it used a cake mix as a base. I just had to add eggs, oil, water, shredded carrots, and vanilla pudding mix. Click here for the recipe. I did follow this recipe, except I didn’t add the nuts. They were so good!

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Vicky’s party is always super fun. She makes custom name tags for our drink glasses and sends everyone home with a personalized flower arrangement. So thoughtful!

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I have been saving my pink pants from Banana Republic for this holiday. I wore them with an ivory tunic from Forever 21 and my Coach black patent leather wedges. I wore some new Kate Spade hoop earrings and bracelet. The pink pants made me smile! Pink is my signature color!

Homework: What is your favorite Easter treat?

Dress Code: Can you make camouflage pants work appropriate?

imageMy camo khakis from The Gap are amazing AND only $10. I had to figure out a way to wear them to work. I needed something a little fancy to counter the camo, so I selected a white ruffled tank top from The Loft and a black quilted cardigan from Nordstrom. My black patent leather Coach wedges completed the look. Of course I add to add pink and bling to make the outfit really stand out so I added all my favorite Kate Spade bracelets and a fun ring from Charming Charlie’s.  This outfit looked great for work and easily transitioned to happy hour by switching out the cardigan for my stand-by Ellen Tracy black blazer that is a million years old. Homework: How would you wear camo to work?