Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Fresh Start

I needed a fresh start in the blogging world so I've created a new site, Living and Learning by Amy!  I hope you will head over there to check it out and follow me there.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Biggest Loser & Meal Planning

Good Sunday evening readers!  I hope everyone has had an enjoyable weekend and if you've experienced some rough weather lately, or will be, that you stay(ed) safe.

I have two really exciting things to tell you about; 1. The Biggest Loser competition at work 2. Meal Planning.

1.  My employer is hosting a Biggest Loser competition for the second time now.

The point of the program is to obviously be a motivator for weight loss for the employees at the company.  But it also part of the Wellness program so completion, with some success, of the competition means those on the insurance through the company earn so many wellness points towards their reduced rate (I think?).  I don't really pay attention to that part of it as I am still being insured under my mom's plan so I don't need the wellness points.

I did not participate in the competition the first time it was offered but decided to after my mom mentioned it to me Wednesday night last week.  I was pretty excited about the program because not only would it give me accountability with weekly weigh ins but it would also serve as motivation because of the great opportunity for prizes.

I'm talking weekly Target gift cards for $100!


How absolutely freaking awesome is that right?!

Well, sadly my excitement for the program dwindled when I got the rules for the program.

Thanks to my part-time employee status at work I am not eligible to win the weekly prizes or the grand prize for being The Biggest Loser.  I was pretty fired up about that when I heard the news from my mom.  I thought about emailing the director of benefits in HR (who's been organizing the competition) because it doesn't seem fair that just because I'm part-time that the weight I lose should deserve any less of a reward.  So far I haven't gone through with the email though.  I haven't even really begun to type it up, only thought about it in my head.  I doubt I will write and send one but it still makes me pretty fired up that now this program will serve as no real motivation for me, other than what I'm already motivated to do.

Moving on though...

2. Meal Planning

I forgot to mention my mom decided to sign up for The Biggest Loser through work as well.  This seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to bring up meal planning and actually measuring the servings we are going to eat.

I printed off two SparkPeople articles I thought would be helpful to us and let her read them.  Friday night we sat down and planned out what we would eat for the whole week.  Saturday we went to the grocery store and stuck to the list I had prepared the night before other than a few things for my dad and brother who are not watching what they eat as closely as my mom and I are.

So far so good!  We have the plan and today we stuck to the plan for the most part.  We ran into trouble at dinner when I found we didn't have broccoli in the freezer like we had thought and we decided to not have potatoes.  But other than that today was pretty awesome as far as sticking to the plan.

Now, the trick for tomorrow is for me to wake up when my alarm goes off (no snoozing) so I can prepare and eat my breakfast along with grabbing my lunch for at work.  My mom and I made Beef Noodle Soup today to serve as some of our lunches for the rest of the week.  I have never tried it before so I really hope I like it!

Because of the meal plan, and wanting to know how much I'm really eating, I've been pretty involved in the cooking process today which is awesome.  Definitely need to gain some skills in the kitchen so I can handle cooking completely for myself when I'm no longer in mom and dad's house and am on my own.

It makes me feel pretty darn good to finally be planning and measuring my meals!

I'm off to do some homework I have been avoiding all weekend.  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Fragile Than You Think

This evening I got a text from my friend Chelsea that read, "Someone called me unattractive at work tonight. Ik he was giving me grief but now I feel disgusting."  This girl is absolutely beautiful and doesn't need to be concerned about her weight but the fact that someone said this to her even jokingly obviously affected her negatively.  She's one tough cookie so don't think this is a girl who constantly worries about what other people think, or that she is always upset about things people say about her.
Chelsea :)
I just wanted to share this to remind everyone that even though someone may know you're joking with them saying something negative about them can affect them negatively.  It breaks my heart that someone as beautiful as she is would feel that way about herself after a comment like that.

We're all more fragile than we like to think we are so remember when you want to jokingly say something negative about someone that it may hurt them and don't do it.  This person who told Chelsea that she is unattractive tonight will probably never know that their joke made her doubt herself.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stress, Car Trouble (Again), and a Bridesmaid Dress

Hello readers!  Things have been going relatively well for me since my last post over a week ago.  While I'm not stress free my stress level has definitely lowered which is a good thing.

School is my main cause of stress.  Spring break ended and I jumped back into classes and started new 8-week hybrid courses.  Lots and lots of work to be done.  But on the bright side while I have not finalized my internship things are definitely moving in the direction they need to so that I can get things finalized.  I've been meeting with the necessary people and discovering what my options are.  Hopefully I can move things along soon so I can take my stress level down another notch because I have this finalized.

Unfortunately my car gave me more grief.  This time being more than a $20 part and fix at home deal.  I broke the left rear spring in my car.  Thankfully I didn't drive my car when I thought something was wrong because if I had I would have blown a tire.  My dad was able to come to my rescue and make my car drive-able so it could be taken to the shop.  They were able to find used parts for it and get everything all taken care of for me.  This happened Friday and today was the first day I was able to drive my own car.  You don't realize how much you miss the comfort of your own car until it's taken away from you.

I was sized for my bridesmaid's dress this last Thursday.  I wasn't looking forward to it because I know I haven't been losing the weight I should.  I ended up ordering a size 16.  Not horrible but definitely not what I would have liked.  While over spring break I slacked on working out because no one was around to hold me accountable (Chelsea was in Arizona) I easily jumped back on that wagon.  Working out seems to be the easy part to me.  It's the nutrition I need to really focus on making changes to if I want to see results.  I don't want to do any special diets.  I just want to focus on making healthier choices, and enjoying not so healthy things in moderation.  Even the healthy foods I need to watch portion sizes to make sure I'm not eating more than I should.  My mom bought a Weight Watchers food scale that will weigh food along with providing the Weight Watchers Points for items so this will be perfect for the two of us to use.  Definitely need to get to using it so I start learning what a healthy serving looks like.

I've been doing some baking  recently which I hope to be sharing the recipe(s) with you soon!  One recipe was a success and definitely received two-thumbs-up from everyone who tried it and the other recipe wasn't exactly my favorite but I was told it wasn't bad.  I may be trying that one again, we'll see.

I'm off to bed now.  I work at 8 tomorrow morning and I've been struggling to get up on time since I'm used to sleeping until 7-7:30 lately due to starting work at 9 more often so I need my beauty sleep!

How's your week been going?  If you're in college are you ready for the semester to be over like I am?

Saturday, March 24, 2012


Hello again readers!  Hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far.  Crazy how fast time flies when you're having fun (hopefully) on the weekends but it seems that time just drags by during the week.

This past week actually flew by for me though because it was my spring break.  It was a pretty stressful week for me unfortunately.  Totally not what you would like spring break to be like.

If you don't want to read a really lengthy, no picture blog post I would skip this one.  It's a doozie!

It started on Friday the 16th.  I met with my program adviser to plan out what classes I would take this summer and fall, hopefully so I can graduate in December.  Pretty exciting stuff because it worked out that I will be able to graduate in December!

I found out that a class that is absolutely required in order to graduate would not be offered again until the spring semester of the 2012-2013 school year.  Um yea, not working with my plan of graduating in December. This class is however offered as a second 8-week course starting on the 26th.  I managed to get PR (permission required) to take the course from the professor on that same day I met with my adviser.  After a stressful afternoon and evening of emailing my adviser and not getting the answers I needed, and another kinda stressful Monday where I emailed someone else who could get me the answers I needed since my adviser hadn't responded to my follow up email, I was able to be enrolled in the class.

Got that all figured out, right?  Wrong.

I need a textbook for the class and my plan was to drive to campus on Thursday or Friday (when I didn't have to work) to rent the book since it was written by the professor and cannot be found online to rent or buy.  Thankfully I had the good sense to call on Wednesday to make sure a book would be available for me to rent.  I was informed that text rental was closed for the week since it was spring break.  I would not have handled driving to campus (probably a 30-45 minute drive) to find out that text rental was closed very well after my fiasco with my car on Tuesday (even though it worked just fine Wednesday).

So, while I'm dealing with the stress of adding a last minute class to the remaining half of the semester I'm also dealing with the fact that in order to graduate as planned I need to do an internship for credit this summer.  While the internship itself isn't a problem for me, setting up an internship and realizing I need to give a ten minute presentation at the end of the semester along with some other hard work stressed me out.

I would like to have an internship with my current employer as I would like to be able to continue working there in the fall when I have to go back to a part time work schedule to accommodate school.  I figured it would be easier to do an internship with them rather than some where else if I wanted to be able to work there in fall before potentially looking for employment else where (a "big girl, real world" job) after graduation.

The good news is my manager and her boss are on board with doing what they can to help me out with setting up an internship within the company.  The other side, not necessarily bad news, is that I was caught off guard when I met with them to discuss the possibility of an internship.  I was imagining them to tell me what I could and couldn't do and they were more or less asking what I would like to do.

After talking to my mom (per the direction of my manager's boss - she has knowledge of a lot of departments at my employer since she's worked there for 20+ years now) I have come up with a plan, or at least a proposal for what I would like them to try and work out for me.  But even though I have this idea of what I would like to do now there are still so many unknowns that have me stressed (concerned? worried? not sure what feeling I would place with this) and not confident in what my summer will look like.

Oh yea, and besides the internship I also will be taking a summer course online throughout the whole summer.  I'm basically going to have a FULL year of school in order to graduate in December.  While I'm able and willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill the plan of graduation in December I'm also feeling overwhelmed and scared maybe about everything that I need to do in order to make that happen.

That's what's been going on inside my head all week right along side the never ending thought train of what I need to do with the classes that will be resuming or beginning next week.

It feels good to get all of this "stuff" out of my head.  Guess that's what I needed.  If you read all of it, thanks!  Any advice you can offer me on how to handle all of these thoughts and feelings are appreciated.

Have you dealt with a situation like this, or similar in some way, during your college days?  How did you handle it and did it work out as planned?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Now is not the time to fail me car!

Hey there readers!  Long time no see, eh?

It's finally spring break and I've been slacking on hitting the gym.  My gym buddy Chelsea is in Arizona enjoying spring break with her family while I've been stuck in Wisco working.

I managed to make it to the gym Monday after work to do the weight machines.

Tuesday I had to be to work at 8am which is an hour earlier than I am used to this semester.  Because of this I was a bit crunched for time in the morning which lead to barely enough time to find clothes to wear to work.

I planned to take Bo for a walk after work but that went out the window when my car decided it didn't want to let me drive it home.  As it was happening it seemed like a scary experience but now looking back it wasn't that bad.

As I was driving home I noticed my battery light was on.  Then I took a corner and had a heck of a time turning the wheel.  I decided I would take the back roads home where I could drive slower with little traffic to deal with.  (Keep in mind that I live in the country)

Looking at my dash I realized my temperature gauge was climbing rapidly and eventually stayed in the red.  I turned the AC off and kicked the cruise off as well.  Pushing the gas pedal down was tough.

I decided at this point I would pull off on a road that would allow my car to be towed home on the back roads if necessary because I wasn't going to drive it any further.

While I was on a straight stretch of road approaching the corner I wanted I tried calling my grandparents' house.  Their line was busy.  I started going through the list of people I could call that would be able to help me at the time since both of my parents were at work (I got done at 3:30).

As the corner approached that I needed to turn at to get off the main highway I started to worry if I was going to make the corner without power steering.  Yes, I thought that's what was going on with my steering before talking to my father later.  I know some stuff about cars.

I managed to take the corner with no problem, other than needing to use a little extra muscle to turn the wheel.

Once I was off on the side of the road and turned the car off I tried calling my grandparents again.  Still busy.  I tried my aunt's cell phone since I thought she would be there with my uncle.  No answer.  Well, maybe they're still at their house so I'll try that.  No answer.  Try grandparents again.  Still busy.  Oh my god now what?  My brother forgot his phone at a friend's house the night before and I wasn't sure if he had picked it up yet, or if it did pick it up if he would be at home so he could come help me right away.  Crap, I don't know who to call now.

Mom!  When in doubt call your mother - that's my motto.

I tried my mom on her cell phone first.  No answer.  OK, this qualifies as an emergency call her at work.  Side note: my mom recently took a new position with her current company and was moved to another location in town where she doesn't have a direct line so she told me to only call her at work in case of emergency.

She was at her desk and I of course lost it on the phone.  Thankfully because I had called her on her cell first she saw she had a text from my aunt (different than the one I called before) so she knew my aunt was on her way home.

My aunt agreed to pick me up from the side of the road.  My mom was going to pack up her stuff at work and come home but I told her not to since there was nothing more that could be done until my dad got done with work.

Turns out my aunt was on the phone with my uncle, who was at my grandparents' house.  Bad timing to have  brother-sister chat guys!

My grandpa and grandma actually drove by me and my car but didn't know that it was me so they didn't stop.

After picking up my brother from home (who hadn't picked up his phone yet) my grandpa, aunt, and I went back to my car.  About 2 seconds after popping the hood we discovered my belt had come off.  It wasn't broken or anything so my brother said my tensioner was broken.

My grandpa and brother attempted to put the belt back on but without proper tools it's very hard to do.  Eventually a nice man stopped and took one look and a wiggle before saying it's pointless to put the belt back on since the tensioner is indeed broken and it won't stay on.

Soon after that my mom appeared (it's now after 5pm) and shortly after  my dad showed up.  My dad drove my car home, with one stop on the road to cool the engine down since the fan doesn't work without the belt, and another stop in the driveway.  This time we decided to push the car to the shed so we would work on it.

Who needs a gym when you can push a car?  I was feeling the burn in my quads!

Thankfully my dad is handy with cars (and everything else) and was able to find the source of my trouble.  The tensioner pulley was bad.  We were able to run to town and pick a new one up for $20.  I was so relieved to know I wasn't going to need to shop for a new car.

My dad put the new pulley on and we got the belt on.  Now my car is good as new.  Well, almost.  It is 14 years old so it's as good as it was before the pulley went bad.

That pretty much took over the evening so when we were finally done (and test drove the car with my dad) it was time to just relax in the house for an hour before going to bed.

I made sure to leave early for work yesterday in case I would have trouble.  But I made it there and back home safe and sound.  Today I will not be driving my car as I'm actually trying to enjoy break without work.

Unfortunately, school doesn't just magically disappear while you're on a week long break and I will need to work on some things that are due next week.

Do you have a scary car story to share?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

2 Week Recap

Because it's been a while since my last post here's a quick recap of the last two weeks of my life.
  • I recovered from being sick. I took an extra rest day as a result of being sick but that was the best choice for me and my body.
  • I had a snow day in college! I also got stuck leaving my driveway that day which resulted in me running back up my driveway because my brother wasn't answering his phone since he was sleeping. I took another rest day as I didn't want to drive home in the dark, and I was able to follow my aunt (who has 4-wheel drive) home which made me much more comfortable driving my car home.
  • I was one of 3 students in my online managerial economics class to score between 90 and 95 percent (highest of the class) on our first exam of the class. I'm not always the best student so to be one of 3 students to score that well felt pretty amazing. Ok, ok I won't take all the credit for it considering Chelsea and I worked on it together and we had another friend's answers to compare ours to. But still!
  •  I lost 2 pounds since 2/16/12! I honestly was not expecting this. It renewed my motivation to keep pushing on through all of the struggles of trying to change my habits and lose weight. Also, I decided to come up with a rewards system for my weight loss journey. I will reward myself for every 5 pounds lost, and every 10 pounds will be a bigger reward while every 5 pounds is a small reward.
  • I got back on track with my workouts. Sunday I walked almost 5 miles in 83 minutes up and down the "mountain". It isn't really a mountain, just a steep hill with skiing but it's name includes mountain in it. My legs are still feeling it today!
Since seeing Brantley Gilbert in concert, as the opener for Eric Church, in January I've been obsessed with listening to his music.  Here's one of his (great!) songs.

Tomorrow is filled with work and school followed by a weights workout.  Thankfully it's also Wednesday which means we're going to be halfway through the week!