Saturday, October 29, 2011


I love Halloween!  I love the costumes and decorations and excited kids and - who am I kidding? - the CANDY.  We live in a condo right now so I miss having kids come trick-or-treating but we'll be in a house soon enough and we'll be able to indulge in that.

But every year, I always want to dress up and every year I spend so much time thinking about what to be - and this year was no exception.  I have a couple of rule when it comes to my costume: 1. Nothing sexy.  2.  Must be recognizable.

Still, I have trouble every year coming up with something good.  This year, I had my heart set on being Bellatrix Lestrange, as portrayed by Helena Bonham-Carter in the Harry Potter movies:

I'm a huge Harry Potter fan and I've never dressed up as any character, despite loving the books and movies for over 10 years now.  So I was all ready to go looking for Bellatrix supplied when my fervor started to wane.  It just didn't feel right.  The last Potter movie came out in July and the excitement behind it all seems to be dwindling.  I guess I missed my Potter costume window 10 years ago.

So this led me to having no idea what I would be, until a Google search for "notable women" led me to a Wikipedia page listing important women in history and, under actors, I saw Julie Andrews.  Which led me to this:

MARY FREAKING POPPINS!  OH YEAH!  Only my favourite movie as a child, this seemed like a no-brainer (and I don't know why I didn't think of this before).  And it's pretty easy to be Mary Poppins - except for the hat.  That damned hat.  Oddly enough, October is not the time of year to look for a hat such a Mary's.  If you want a beret or toque or even fedora, you can take your pick, but the flat-topped bowler-like possibly-straw hat?  No dice.  But - BUT - I did manage to find a black felt hat at Goodwill that, with a little manipulation, worked out perfectly.  Et voila:

You can't really see the hat detail here, but it is adorned with flowers, just like Mary's, and is perched nicely on my head.  Oh, and the hat was lovingly crafted by the Beau!  I've been fighting a cold all week and wasn't sure I'd be able to make the party last night but decided yesterday I was good to go.  However, being at work until 8pm meant no time to make a hat - so the Beau was good enough to construct it for me.  He is a man of many talents!

Costume complete, we headed out to the party and had a great time.  I'm so glad I felt good enough to go out because I think I did all right as "practically perfect in every way" Mary Poppins!

I also had the perfect way to get home:

Friday, October 28, 2011

Student loan update

It's been awhile since I've checked in on my student loans so I took some time today to do so.

My main priority right now is to pay off the last loan I have with CIBC, as it's the lowest balance of the remaining two and because I really don't want to have to deal with CIBC anymore.  (We just never got along.)

The current balance of my CIBC loan: $2,409.76

I made a payment two days ago (and I don't know if it's been applied yet) and another automatic payment will go through on Monday; these payments will either lower my total owing by $60 or $160.  I'm kind of hoping it's the latter, as that will help that much more. 

The $100 I put on the loan was in response to me wanting to buy two new shirts - but instead of buying the shirts I took that money and put it toward my loans as I said I'd do.  I've been doing my best to be diligent and only buy what I need, which is why it's taken me so long to make a payment like this.  But I'm proud of myself for living up to my own standard! 

Another reason it's so important to me to pay down this loan is because I'm charged interest daily.  Yup, daily.  But my interest rate is 5.5%, so my actual charge is lower as my balance gets lower.  Back in August, with a balance of $3,981.35 I was paying $0.60/day in interest.  Today, with my balance at $2,409.76 I'm paying $0.36/day in interest - and that's a big difference. 

But it's not just the CIBC loan I'm paying down.  I'm also working away at my second (and last) National Student Loan Service Centre loan. 

Current balance with NSLSC: $5,561.22
Current interest rate: $0.80/day

THAT is some steep interest to be paying - almost a dollar a day!  I'm currently only paying the minimum payment on this loan until I finish with CIBC; then all extra monies get rolled together to pay this baby down! 

And to meet my goal of only having $5,000 of loan left by the end of 2011, I need to pay off another $2,970.98 by the end of this year.  I will say right now that this is starting to feel a little daunting but I've got some overtime moolah coming my way and that will go nicely on the loan.  But I have to be careful because Christmas is also coming up and I love Christmas!  It's so hard for me to not spoil everyone I love with gobs of presents. 

But as long as I'm careful and frugal and pay attention to what I'm spending I can do this!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #31

You know how I was dreading getting on the scale this morning?  Part of me wanted to skip it, to just say I'm sick and didn't feel like it, but that's too much of a cop-out.

So I got on the scale, all nervous - and the results:

Last week: 192.4 lb
This week: 192.0 lb

Down 0.4 lb!  Despite all that awful food I ate, I still lost almost half a pound.  So I'm still going down but I realized something this morning: I've only got two months left to hit my goal weight of 170 lb and losing half a pound a week won't get me there.

This led me to ask myself, do I reset my year-end target weight or do I go hardcore to drop the 22 lb?  It's tempting to try some lose-weight-fast solution to get down to my goal but I know I won't be able to sustain any kind of plan like that and it's not worth hitting 170 lb only to gain a bunch of weight back.  But I also don't want to short-change myself by changing my goal weight, because that's where I want to be and even if I don't get there by December 31 I still want to get there.

So I'm going to stand pat with my target and just keep working.

I've been toying with the idea of joining Weight Watchers online for awhile now; I know some women who have used/are using this program to great success and I have no doubt it would work for me.  The thing is, I feel guilty spending money on this when I still have debts to pay off.  My current weight isn't causing me any health-related problems, nor is it keeping me from doing anything I want to do (I'm still running!), so losing weight is for me, not for any other reason.  I was planning to join Weight Watchers once my debt was gone, but maybe I should look at the numbers again.

And with all the overtime I put in last week, I'll have a nice paycheque soon and that will help the debt.  Surely I can find the money for Weight Watchers?

I'll let you know what I work out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


That's all I've got - ugh.

Started feeling icky last night and woke up this morning with a scratchy throat and stuffy head.  I didn't have to work today because of all my hours last week, but I can think of better ways to spend a day off.  Plus, my ear is sore and when combined with a scratchy throat it makes me fearful of strep throat.  I haven't had strep in awhile but it pretty much always starts like this.  Le sigh.  Hopefully I'm better by tomorrow.

Also, not looking forward to the scale tomorrow as I've eaten like awful this past week.  Pizza, lasagna, red wine, chocolate croissant, bacon dip with chips - so good at the time but so bad come Wednesday morning. 

And because I'm sick I'm whiny so right now everything is all kinds of ugh. 


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Stair climb complete!

I did it!  This morning I successfully climbed the stairs of the CN Tower, clocking a very respectable time of 27 minutes, 12 seconds.  Let me just say, it was exhausting.  I'm still pretty tired, 3 1/2 hours after completing the climb, but I feel so good.  I'm proud of myself for doing it and my goal is to make this a yearly event and to work on lowering my time.

But the most important thing about the climb was all the money that was raised for United Way.  It felt so good to contribute to that and to see so many other climbers out today, contributing their energy and fundraising efforts. 

What a great day!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #30

I weighed myself yesterday, I really did.  I then went to work and worked for 14 hours and had no time to blog and was too exhausted when I got home to think of anything other than sleep - and that is why you're getting my weight update (updeight?) now.

Last week: 192.4 lb
This week: 192.4 lb

I think this is the first time ever there has been no change in my weight.  This is good because it didn't go up but I'd still prefer if it went down.  C'est la vie.

I've read in countless places that stress contributes to weight gain, as stress triggers the production of cortisol, which encourages the body to store fat.  And as I posted earlier, I'm a great big stress ball.  I worry about stuff I said and did in high school.  HIGH SCHOOL.  I know I'm insane and I know I need to work on it but I just don't have the time or - apparently - the willingness to seek any kind of help. 

I know that exercise helps relieve stress and it does help me, but I can't go off for a run every time something stressful pops up - and that can be very often in my life (mostly because I make stress mountains out of stress molehills).  Eating right and sleeping right also help, and I do my best with this, but it doesn't always work.  Though I recently came across an article in Chatelaine, extolling the virtues of Relora to help relieve stress and reduce cortisol levels.  Since seeing this I've wanted to pick some up and see if it helps - but I haven't gotten my lazy butt around to it yet.

Finding Relora is going to be my next goal.  That and cutting back on my fibre.  I've been eating Bran Flakes all week and I've been all bloated and gassy and gross.  Blech.  Guess I'll have to stick to fruit and veg - it's such a hard life!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Tell me why I don't like Mondays

We're entering a really busy time at work and the first busy season I've experienced since starting my new job and I'm terrified.  By this time next Friday, we will have put out about 200 pages of editorial material and over 300 magazine pages in two issues.  It's a lot of  volume and I've got to know what's happening with each edit page each step of the way and make sure they all get done on time.

And I'm freaking out.

I've spent all weekend stressing about it.  I worked 13 hours on Friday and I'm looking at at least that pretty much every day this coming week.  I'm not complaining about the hours (I used to waitress so long hours are old hat to me) but I'm so worried about getting it all done and not screwing something up.  I'm so worried about getting in trouble from my manager for not doing the right thing.  I'm so worried about not knowing the right answer when asked.

Even as I'm sitting here typing this I'm fighting a panic attack.  I'm actually thinking I'd rather be outrunning zombies in The Walking Dead, which the Beau is currently watching.
I'd rather face this than next week at work.

I've even been thinking about looking for a new job.  I haven't even been in my current role for a year and I already want out.  Want to know why?  Because I'm scared and I don't always know what I'm doing and I hate that.  I want to be an expert and I want to be an expert now.  I know I have lots to learn and I know I'm in a tough job but I want to feel like I'm in control and that I know how to do it and I don't feel that way.

But since I need to work I'll swallow my fear and get up each day and go in and do the best I can and keep hoping that it all works out in the end.  And maybe after this next week, when things are over and have worked out, I'll feel a bit better about myself.

Just five more days.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #29 - better late than never!

Remember last week how annoyed I was with my stupid weight gain?  Well...

Last week: 193.6
This week: 192.4

I'm down 1.2 lb!  Honestly, not too shabby for a post-Thanksgiving weigh-in.  I'm still working at eating well but I haven't been at the gym as much as I'd like - work has suddenly decided to be crazy, stupid, 16-hour-day, can't-leave-my-desk busy.  But I have to go tomorrow; my back is killing me.  If I don't lift weights regularly my back can't deal and gets all achy.  I blame my bosoms.

But even with the weight creeping down, I'm not doing any better with the Goal:Pants:

Hello, muffin top.
Or my Goal:Dress:

Again, I blame my bosoms.

But you can't win them all - as long as I keep losing weight all will be good!

Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 Goal Update #2

It's that time again - to see how I'm doing on my 2011 goals.  And I'm so late on doing this update.  So late.  I wanted to do this sooner; I even started writing this post last week. But then my life got supercalifragilisticexpiali-busy and, well, here we are, updating super late.  Such is life.  Anyhoo, here's the latest rundown:

Goal:Plank - I did not do a single plank in September.  This is because I quickly realized how much I hate doing planks.  HATE.  In all honesty, I don't see me continuing on with this, but I'll give it October before I admit defeat.

Goal:Run - I was having a tough go of it for a bit in September while running: I wasn't able to get anywhere near the distance I needed to meet my goals and I was tiring easily.  But I was able to rebound and I've hit my 4km goal!  Again, it's not four consecutive kilometres, but I'm running four of them all the same.  My current run workout is to walk 0.25 km then run 1 km, for a total distance of 5 km.  This is working out well so far and I'm hoping to slowly turn those walking sections into running sections as I aim for 4.5 km by the end of October.  Still on track!

Goal:Food - Also something I stopped doing was logging my food.  I've signed up for no less than four online food journals and ALL OF THEM are pains in the ass.  The problem with the online journals is that they depend on users to enter foods and the nutritional values.  If a food item isn't entered, you can create it but you need to know the nutritional info for it and that's not the easiest thing, especially if you're eating non-packaged food.  So I'm going back to my pen and paper journal and just writing everything down.  I want to see a nutritionist this month so I'll have something to show for that appointment without spending hours on the computer to log three meals.

Goal:Weight - My goal is to be at 170 lb and on my last update, I was 22.4 lb away from that (and needed to lose 5.6 lb/month).  Today, I'm at 190.2 lb which is 20.2 lb away from my goal.  The good news is that I'm moving in the right direction.  The less-than-good news is that I didn't lose 5.6 lb last month, so now I have to lose 6.7 lb/month to hit my final goal.  While this is still doable, it's at the high end of steady weight loss.  But I'm not going to let that get me down - I'm going to keep trying!

Goal:Pants - I'll provide photo evidence next week.  I simply have not had time to try them on in the past week.  I'm so lame.

Goal:Dress - Please see Goal:Pants.  Blargh.

Goal:Debt - I currently owe $9,162.21, which is $672.88 less than last month's total owing.  I'm also (of course) waiting on more money to be applied to the loan, which will bring it down by another $400 - and bring it under $9,000!  That will mean only $3,762.21 left to pay off this year.  I'm feeling a little less confident right now about hitting my goals, but I should also be racking up some overtime this fall so hopefully that will give me the boost I need.

Overall, the numbers that I want to go down (my weight and my debt) are going down and the number that I want to go up (my running distance) is going up. As for my clothes, check in with me on Wednesday, 'kay?  I promise I'll have something by then!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Up-Down Challenge Weigh-in #28

I was dreading getting on the scale today.  After my near success last week at cracking 190 lb, I was a little anxious to see what I'd weigh in at this week.  So...

Last week: 190.1 lb
This week: 193.6 lb

EFF.  How did I manage to gain 3.5 lb in a week?!?!  I didn't eat all that badly.  I mean, I had a huge brownie with chocolate ganache and ice cream; short ribs poutine; a turkey burger and sweet potato fries from Hero Burger; about four servings worth of pasta; a plateful of Chinese food; a plateful of Indian food; and maybe an apple fritter. 

Oh.  That may have done it. 

My self-sabotaging strikes again!  I'm pretty disappointed with myself but it's a much-needed wake-up call.  I can't take even a 0.1 lb loss for granted; I need to stick with this and keep going and be positive and make the right choices. 

And I just need to make sure I lose 4 lb this week, right?  Right!  (Yeesh.)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Keep your eyes on the size

I was flipping through the November issue of Flare at work tonight and came across an article about vanity sizing, by Hannah Sung.  I found this really interesting:
"I went shopping for roomier pants.  The pair that fit were marked size 27, smaller than my pre-baby size of 28 or 29.  I dug out a measuring tape...My size 27 jeans? They actually measure 34 inches."
While I'm pretty sure I should also measure my pants, I really don't want to.   With all the size anxiety I have I don't need to add to it.  But still, this is crazy.

The magazine is on newsstands October 10 if you want to pick it up - or check out the website around that time to see if it's posted there.

Not so fast

I have a big problem with fasts.  I know there are many people who swear by them and if they feel comfortable fasting, I'm not going to stop them.  But I really think they're more harmful than helpful.

To be honest, in the past I've thought about doing a fast or a cleanse and been all starry-eyed at the promise of fast and safe weight loss and all the other wonderful things that apparently happen to your body when you fast or cleanse.  But there are a few things that have always stopped me:

- if a cleanse promises to get rid of all the toxins in my body, how does it know what's good and bad?  I mean, lemon water with cayenne pepper coursing through my body isn't going to stop to check if bacteria is good or bad; it's just going to flush it all out. 

- my body already does a good job of getting rid of the things I don't need.  After all, that's why I poop.

- any weight lost will be put right back on as soon as I start eating normal amounts of calories so why put myself through the weight yo-yo-ing?

- by only consuming certain foods or liquids, what am I depriving my body of?  What nutrients am I not getting? 

I've been reading some blog posts by someone doing a juice fast and she's writing about her entire body hurting for the past two days.  How is this a good thing?  Why would you want to continue on something that makes your body hurt?  Is losing 5 pounds really worth it? 

Again, this is just my opinion and if you feel differently, I respect that.  Personally, I don't think they're worth it.