Well I Never.....

I have never plucked or waxed my brows.  There is already enough body part grooming going on.  I actually like my eyebrows the way they are so I leave well enough alone. 

I have never paid more then $150 plus tax for any single item of clothing, shoe, purse or accessory.  I've paid about that amount for tall leather boots and designer jeans.  Lucky for me I haven't wanted anything more expensive then that and Lucky for me anything that I own that is more expensive then that was purchased by Le husband.

I have never run a half or a full marathon.  Nor will I ever.  I know they are all the rage but I just don't have the knees for it.  Nor the desire.  Running that long and that far sounds like torture.  I can run a 5k with no training but anything more then that which would require training would not be possible for me.  My body just couldn't take it.  I will run on a treadmill.  And I have done runs around my neighborhood here and there but any more then that is not happening.

I have never been skiing, spent more then 5 minutes in the snow or driven a car in it for that matter. I'm a So Cal girl born and raised. I get cold when it's in the 60's and when it's in the 50's I think I'm going to get frostbite.  Mj keeps telling me that somehow it wouldn't be as cold as I think I would be in the snow but I absolutely do not believe him.

I have never been black out falling down drunk. I've been falling out of chair drunk but never to the point where I blacked out or lost consciousness. 
Photo Credit:  Mj!  He took the pic in our backyard.  I was too scared
I've never been stung by a bee.  I could be allergic and I don't even know it but I certainly don't want to find out.  I run when I see them coming.... or any other kind of bug.

I've never had a cavity.  I brush my teeth twice a day and I'm really bad about flossing.  And I love candy.  They say it's good enamel.  I do really need to start flossing because I know I can't skate by on my good enamel forever.

I have never eaten a banana. I just don't like 'em. I don't even like the smell...or it's slimy mushy texture. I'm not very adventurous when it comes to food so it's just one of many things on my list of things I don't like to eat.  Pineapples used to be on that list too but I started eating them within the last few years.

I have never loved a sport more then I love gymnastics. There is just something so amazing about what these athletes can do. I just don't think it's normal that a person can do a full twisting back tuck on a 4 inch wide beam. It defies the laws of gravity and it's down right scary! It's not normal...and yet they make it look so effortless.  As a former gymnast I know how hard it is and I was no where near Elite.  To know me is to know that I love gymnastics and I could go on and on about how inspiring gymnasts are to me but I'll stop.  I will take this moment mention all the Fierce Five (except Aly Raisman who did Dancing With the Stars) from London are back in the gym.  Kyla Ross and McKayla Maroney (of not impressed and vaulting fame) were the only two that competed in USA Nationals a few weeks ago but they all seem more serious then anybody expected them to be about continuing onto Rio.  World Championships are coming up.  Oh, and Gabby Douglas switched gyms.  She left Chow's in Iowa with no explanation and moved to LA.  Story about it here.

Watch this video.  It gave me the chills!

I Watch Too Much TV

I admit it.  I watch a hell of a lot of TV.  Or do I really?  It sure looks that way based on this looooong list of shows that I've been watching or plan to watch.  Is it any surprise that most of the TV watching I do is made up of non scripted shows?  And don't you just love this whole scripted vs non scripted distinction?  It's funny to think that there is a generation of children who don't know a day before reality TV and Reality TV "stars" existed.  I'm really picky about adding any new shows to my lineup because it's already so full.  Reality TV has taken over and I let it happen.  Oh goodness.  What am I doing with my life?

Naked and Afraid
This show is nuts! Somehow I came across it on the Discovery Channel.  The title alone piqued my curiosity.  I tried to convince myself that I wasn't really watching it by not scheduling it to record in my DVR.  I recorded it episode by episode on my Direct TV app.  But who was I kidding?  I was hooked.  And I watched every single episode.  They take two people; a man and a woman with specialized survivalist skills and drop them into the middle of nowhere totally naked with only one survival item each for 21 days.  The camera crew is not to intervene unless there is a medical emergency. These people are hard core to even think about doing this if you asked me.  The swamps of the Bayou and the jungles of Panama are just two dreadful examples of places these people have been dumped.  There are snakes, alligators and leeches among other horrible creatures lurking all around them.  The couple in the Bayou were basically living in a swamp. Every person on the show has lost at least 18 lbs from near starvation and dehydration.  Talk about a crazy crash diet.  I would die! I'm afraid of any and all bugs.  I'm even afraid of fish.  I would not last a minute. They are casting for the next season if anyone is crazy enough or has a death wish.

Breaking Amish: LA
I watched Breaking Amish: Brave New World when they went to NYC too.  That title.  How dramatic can you get?  Well the shenanigans on that show definitely lived up to it.  There was so much ridiculous drama that I'm convinced it has to be fake.  It's like they were purposefully acting like jerks just so they would have stuff to fight about.  The only person I could tolerate by the end of the season was Kate; and they all seemed to gang up on her just for kicks.  LA is more of the same.  They get on a plane, experience electricity and running water for the first time.  Then they wear "English" clothes for the first time.  Once they step out of those farm clothes the madness begins.  This season is even worse.  There is already a bonafide witch and a lesbian sex scandal.  

Dance Mom's
Yep.  Still watching.  Abby is so critical.  She plays favorites and intentionally tries to pit the girls against each other.  She would adopt Maddie if Melissa would let her and she makes no secret of her distaste for Chloe, Brooke and Paige.  All the mom's do is yell and argue.  They basically seem to hate each other.  They  introduce new mom's into the mix just hoping for a fight and it usually happens.  Some of the mom's are so immature it's ridiculous.  They cuss, call each other names and get up in each others faces.  It's really bad!  The most refreshing thing about this show is how much the girls genuinely seem care about one another even when Abby is obviously trying to play one against the other.  The hugs and the kisses and words of encouragement that they give each other takes a backseat to all the drama but I can tell these girls are close in spite of all the drama.  I love watching them dance.  They are so talented.  Mj and I usually watch this together but it's really "my" show so he'll just have to miss out or catch up.  Which he won't, so I'll just tell him what happened.

Breaking Pointe
This is a Summer show and is only about 6 weeks long.  It came on last Summer and I deleted it from my DVR because I didn't think it would ever come on again.  I'm so glad I didn't miss it.  This is a behind the scenes drama filled look at Ballet West out of Salt Lake City, UT.  I'm totally intrigued my the concept of being a professional ballerina and I love Ballet so even though I really wish there was more ballet and more about ballet life then just drama I really enjoy watching the show.

America's Next Top Model
This show has been around for 10 years!! And I kid you not.  I have watched every single episode.  Every one!!! Even before I had DVR.  I love watching the girls compete and I love watching someone's dream come true at the end.  And it really does.  You don't even have to win the show to end up being a working model.  If you aren't a die hard fan of the show you may not notice it but I spot ANTM discoveries all over the place.  They fired all the original judges last season with I wasn't too thrilled about.  This season they are changing it up again by allowing Men to compete for the first time ever.  I wasn't too thrilled about that at all.  I just wasn't interested in  watching men model but a few episodes in and it turns out it's not so bad.  The men cry just like the girls when they get eliminated. 

So You Think You Can Dance
So you'd think I'd be watching this show since I love Dance but it turns out that I just couldn't do it.  I watched the first part of the season where they were still doing auditions and trying to make it to the audience vote portion.  I really liked watching the stories behind each dancer.  I even watched the first top 20 elimination show and then I remembered why I can't watch.  It's too damn long!!  I know I'm a TV junkie and all but even with the fast forwarding I cannot commit to watching a show that is 2 hours long every single week.  It's ridiculous.  Every week people get cut and yet the show is still 2 hours long! The dancers are positively amazing and talented.  I am so impressed with the beautiful things they can do with their bodies but I see it as a big time commitment and I just can't do it.  

Cheer Perfection
I wasn't so sure if this would be back for another season either.  The mom's on this show; one in particular are outrageous.  I used to be a cheerleader so I have to watch it.  Really, I have no choice.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Teen Mom 3
Time for some fresh meat.  I wasn't sure that this show would be back again but the stars have been chosen and even though I kinda don't want to I will be watching.  Why are the girls always from the South or the Midwest?  I'm pretty sure there are teen mom's on the West Coast too.  I'm thinking it might be the last group of Teen Mom's.

Abby's Ultimate Dance Competition
I watched the first season and I'm so glad it's coming back.  They compete each week and one girl wins a dance scholarship to a prestigious ballet company and lots of money.  There will be tons of cat fights and drama of course.  And I love watching the girls dance.  This year the girls look a bit older.

As far as "scripted' shows go we both watch Breaking Bad and have just started getting into Orange is the New Black.  I have this weird prison fascination so that show is perfect for me.  I'm being a good wife and not watching either one until Mj gets back.  If anyone spoils the Breaking Bad season finale for me I'm going to be pissed! We also watch Modern Family which starts up again next month.  House Hunters and Property Virgins seems to be on hiatus at the moment but I'm still watching those too.  We also watch Son's of Anarchy.  A season that we missed is currently piling up in our DVR.  I can't believe I only watch 4 non reality TV shows.  And notice how none of them are shows that I watch all on my own?

They Will Be Missed

Spending the weekend with my parents makes me feel like a kid again. Being an adult with all of the work and responsibilities that go along with it kind of sucks sometimes.  When I spending the night in the home I grew up in I am their child again.  My dad is loud and annoying.  My mom is running around getting things done and planning our next meal.  They mean business when it comes to food.  Dad insists on cooking breakfast every morning and there are always snacks and sweets in the pantry.  Just being in that house makes me want to eat and by the time I leave I usually feel like a stuffed pig.

This last weekend was extra special.  Not only did my adorable nephew DJ hit the big 3 but it was also our last weekend with them.  My big sis flew back to N. Carolina on Monday where they will live for the next three years.  It's been wonderful having her nearby.  I've been able to get to know my nephew and watch him grow.  My sister has lived in Riverside and La Quinta for the last three years which is kind of far.  My  parents only live about 45 minutes away though.  My sister was there about every two weeks so my parents could get their DJ fix.  It was the perfect place for us to all get together.

I have to think of their time here as a gift so that I don't feel cheated now that they are gone.  And it really was a gift.  When she moved to North Carolina 7 years ago it seemed too good to be true that the military would bring her back to California.  I couldn't believe it.  She moved back just in time for my wedding in July 2010.  DJ was still in her belly.

I soaked up our time together.  My family can be crazy but I love them.  My dad yelled at the people who came to pick up my sister's car.  We went shopping and both spent money we shouldn't have.  My dad went out and brought home Chinese food for dinner.  We watched a movie.  My dad didn't like it so he snuck off to his room.  My mom and I stayed up late watching TV while my exhausted sister took her baby to bed.  I got to give my sweet nephew lots of kisses.  He is the cutest thing ever.  The only thing missing was little sister who lives in San Francisco.

DJ's birthday was on Sunday.  It was a totally un pinterest worthy non party family gathering but I assure you the kid didn't care one way or the other. He was just happy to be playing with the balloons. He cried the minute we started to sing Happy Birthday and didn't stop until we finished.  He did the same thing last year.  He didn't like his hat either.  He only ate the frosting off of his cake and my dad refused to eat the frosting at all.  My mom ate two pieces.  I only had one but made up for it with all the snacking on Chex Mix and Tortilla Chips.  The weather was perfect so we drank our wine in the backyard on the patio.  After having biscuits for breakfast and too many snacks the only one still hungry for dinner was mom.  Of course.  My sister hated every second but she got up and made the sloppy Joe's and steak fries like she said she would and then my mom happily ate that too.  DJ isn't really into eating all that much so he was fine with Milk in his sippy cup and the Vanilla Wafers my dad constantly puts into his little hands.

I stayed as long as I could on Sunday night.  I can't be a kid forever.  Duty calls and eventually it was time to go home.  I didn't see my sister every day that she was here but I got to see her a lot.  It was nice to know that she was close and that I could.  My nephew doesn't understand what's going on.  He doesn't know how much we will all miss that sweet little face.  I will miss them both.  Why do people you love have to move away?  My parents are already planning their visit for January.  I guess I better start thinking about planning mine too.

I was really excited to find out that my blog post about popularity and blogging is featured on the BlogHer home page as an editor pick. You can check it out here at BlogHer.com.  My Blogher member page with all of my posts is here.

Making Friends is Hard

On Friday I got a group of girls together for dinner.  I planned it well in advance and it took some texting to nail down a date.  Everyone is so busy.  It had been so long since I had some girl time that I wanted us all to hang out and catch up.   It's a really big deal for me that this dinner was put together by me.  All of these girls have met before and the one common thread they have is me.

It's a big deal because I never was one to have a lot of friends.  And by friends I don't necessarily mean people who you actually see or even talk to all the time.  I mean the kind of friend where no matter how much time has passed when you meet again you pick up where you left off.  The kind of friends that you feel a connection to stay in touch with even if sporadically.  Facebook only doesn't count.

I always had this idyllic notion of having a group of best girl friends that I met either in high school or college.  It didn't have to be a lot.  Just a group of 4 or 5.  Or even less.  I value quality over quantity.  We'd be like sisters.  The kind of close that you can only build with time and shared experiences.  We wouldn't have to have an activity planned to get together.  We'd hang out at each others houses.  We'd go on girls trips together and then be bridesmaids in each others weddings.  You know, the kind of close knit friends that you see on TV where everyone knows each other.

Let's just say that didn't exactly happen for me.  Most of my high school friends disappeared when we were no longer scheduled to be together every day.  The whole gang of lifelong college friends thing didn't work out either.  My college was known for academics not parties.  To save money I lived in the on campus apartments and not the more social dorms for Freshman and Sophomore years.  After that I lived at home and commuted.  I didn't join a sorority.  I wasn't an athlete.  I joined a club towards the end of my Sophomore year but I was a day late and a dollar short.  Everyone already had friends and I was out of the loop.  I did a semester exchange in Atlanta my Junior year.  I finally got that dorm experience but everyone was from somewhere else and we didn't stay in touch.  

Between high school and college I made exactly two friends.  That's a grand total of 2 friends in eight years.  Then that thing called life happened and they ran off to other states.  My high school friend  now lives in Alaska.  My College friend moved to Georgia after graduation.  For a while my only friend was my big sister and then she moved too.  Not having friends made me feel like a looser; and lonely.  I was born, raised and still live in the same area.  What's my excuse?  Why doesn't anyone like me?  Being single didn't help.  If I wanted to go out to dinner for my Birthday I didn't have anyone to invite.  There was no one to call if I felt like going out for a drink.  Making friends as an adult is hard.  Work is hit or miss.  It can be hard to relate to people who are in different life stages. You meet people just here and there but it's not always someone you can really see yourself hanging out with.

My husband is my best friend.  That's what I'm calling him anyways even if he doesn't feel the same way about me.  Our relationship is great but it's very different from the kind of relationship that I have with girlfriends.  I need that outlet.  I need someone else with estrogen to chat with out life, love and shopping.  I made two more friends at my first job out of college.  Then another at the job where I work now.  It's taken time but along the way I've picked up a few more.  I'm kind of a homebody so I'm not looking to pack my social calendar.  I don't need a ton of friends; just a few good ones.  

That night we went to Lei Lounge.  I'm so glad my sister was able to come before she moved. It's this really cool restaurant that's partially outdoors.  There are vines on the wall, it lights up at night and they mix their drinks nice and strong.  I usually stick to wine but I went for the cocktails instead.  While we were at the bar battling for drinks before happy hour shut down I said to my sister;  I can't believe it.  I actually have friends.  It's kind of a new feeling for someone who is used to being friendless.  

I have so much fun when I hang out with girls.  It was kind of like a wedding reunion because all but one of them were there.  One of them was a bridesmaid.  I haven't known all of them since I was in diapers.  We are at different life phases.  We don't see each other all the time.  We don't talk all the time.  But they are people who have been placed in my life for a reason.  I like them.  They like me.  And I'm thrilled to be able to call them friends.  

Blind as a Bat

People who were born with good eyes are so lucky. Mine are so bad my retina detached.  For a while I was scared that I was going to actually go blind. 

Going to the eye doctor is probably one of my least favorite doctor visits. When I go to the dentist I'm usually a star. They compliment me on my no fillings molars and perfect enamel.  I've heard that my teeth are sooo white more then a few times and even though I don't floss they grudgingly admit that I am getting away with it but that I won't forever.  Paps are no fun of course but I'm over it.  I do it and it's done.  Blah.

The eye doctor is a totally different story altogether.  We do the initial exam without glasses and it's like taking a test that I can't study for and am designed to fail.  What's the smallest line you can read? Uh, I can't read any of them.  Which is better, one or two?  I don't know I can't see either one.  Then driving home with my eyes dilated is comical.  I can only do it because I live so close.  They give me black shades that basically look like cheap plastic sunglasses with no arms.  I stick them inside my glasses to keep the sunlight out and I drive with my chest in the wheel like an old lady.  I avoid looking left or right for fear of seeing someone laughing at me. 

If I want new glasses which I usually don't because I typically only wear them at home and generally hate every pair that I get then it's expensive.  High index lenses don't come cheap and unless I want my glasses to look like coke bottles I have to pay the extra money to get them.  It's usually about $300 or so and even with the high index it's still a pretty thick lens. And it's not the lens itself that bothers me.  My eyes don't look tiny or too big.  It's just that blurred area where the sides of my face look mashed in because you are looking at it through the lens.  So embarrassing.  My husband is always sweet enough to tell me that I look cute in my glasses even if I feel not so cute wearing them (post about that here).  He says that he's never ever dated a girl that didn't wear glasses so it's nothing new for him.  If I don't get glasses then I put all my insurance money towards the contacts and it's not so bad.  I'm a pretty decent contact wearer but you gotta take 'em out and put 'em in and sometimes they get dry and irritated. I've learned to tolerate a lot of discomfort in my eyes.

When I went in the other day to try on my trial contact lenses for my doctor he asked the front desk lady to help me.  I followed her to the sink area and she took the contact lenses out and placed them on the counter next to the sink and waited.  She stood there hovering even as I washed my hands.  I've been wearing contacts since high school; I think I can do this on my own I thought to myself.  I took out the first contact lens and then I remembered why she was waiting there watching me.  I can't see.  She took one look at my prescription and knew that placing the lenses on the counter and walking away would not be enough.   I would need someone there to physically put it in my hand so I could find it.  And then hand me the next one.

As blind as I am I can be corrected to almost 20/20.  Unassisted I am blind as a bat.  Except bats can actually see so I wonder where that saying comes from.  I can barely count the fingers on my own hand in front of my face and everything around me blends into a gelatinous mash of blurred shapes and colors.  I know my house pretty well but if I'm in a different environment or outside I have to feel my way around slowly.  When I look at my cell phone without my glasses it's 1 inch from my face.  I look ridiculous until Mj snatches my phone and tells me to put on my glasses.  If it weren't for contacts and glasses I might have had to go to blind school like Mary on Little House on The Prairie.  Is anyone reading this old enough to remember that show?

You might be thinking that you are blind too and that I'm probably not as blind as I think I am but chances are you will be wrong.  I've been wearing glasses since 4th grade and by now they are bad.  Like -10 bad.  I haven't met a single person who has a higher prescription then yours truly.  There probably are some folks in their 60's or 70's that do.  The retina in my right eye detached when I was in college.  Normally it takes a blow to the eye to do that but mine just happened spontaneously.  I had to have surgery to repair it.  They put a band around the back of my eye so it's shaped more like a fat hot dog then a circle.  I had to have some laser in the left to fix a few holes.  With such a high prescription at such a young age I figured it would just get worse until I couldn't see anymore.  I finally asked my doctor.  Am I going blind?  He assured me that I wasn't.  What a relief.

So yeah.  Going to the eye doctor sucks because it's a reminder of how visually impaired I am.  I know some people with bad teeth.  I got bad eyes.  My husband got perfect eyes AND teeth.  Life is simply not fair.

Working for the Weekend

My alarm went off at 6:22am like it always does on a work day. You might be wondering why not a round number like 6:15 or 6:25. I honestly can't tell you. Somehow it ended up at 6:22am and I just left it that way.  And through a tired haze I thought to myself.  Can I really do this every day for the next 20 years?  At what point do you snap?  I hit snooze.  I scrolled through my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook feeds.  It helps me wake up so I can get out of bed when snooze time runs out.  There it goes again.  Sigh.  Check the weather app.  Drag myself out of bed.  Get dressed, grab snacks, drive to work and stay there for 9 hours.  Summer is particularly brutal.  A lot of people are taking time off.  The empty office makes it feel like nobody is working but me.  Summer vacation ceased to exist a long time ago but every now and then I can't help but wish I could get it back.  Work, work, work.  Come home, work out, eat dinner, watch a few TV shows and relax for the next 2-3 hours left of my night.  Lather, rinse, repeat for five days until Friday rolls around and I have two days; 48 whole hours to myself in which to fit in fun and anything else that needs to get done.

It's kind of weird concept to think that the very roof over my head, the clothes on my back and the food that I eat depends on me going to a building every day where I sit at a desk and do various tasks.  If I don't go, they don't pay me and if they don't pay me I have nothing.  The very thing that prevents me from doing so many things that I would much rather do is also the same thing that allows me to do and have anything at all.

But that's life and they don't call it work for nothing.  I am one of millions and millions of people working for the weekend every day.  Hell, some don't even get the weekend and some don't even have jobs and desperately want them so I should consider myself lucky.  And I do.  Even though my tone is grim I do realize how lucky I am to have this place I can go to every day in exchange for a paycheck and the health benefits that go along with it.  I'm lucky to have the health and well being to get up and go.  And thank goodness for all of the wonderful things in my life that I love that help break up the monotony of the 9-5.  I really enjoy my weekends off spending time with friends and family or doing not much of anything at all.  We always try to have some kind of travel plans on the horizon to look forward to.

So, the question remains.  Can I get up every day and do this for the next 20 years?  And as depressing as it sounds the answer is yes.  There really isn't any other choice in the matter.  If doing this every day keep our bills paid, helps get us the things that we need and allows us to do things we want then that's what I'll have to do.  I will not always love it.  Who am I kidding.  Most of the time I won't.  Counting the hours until I can go home is more like it.  I don't hate my job.  I'm just not all that thrilled that I HAVE to go there every day.  There will be many times when I'm jealous as hell of other people that don't have to do this.  I will have more day dreams then I can keep track of about a life that doesn't include the daily grind.  Fantasies about striking it rich.  Early retirement. About turning my passion into my career or becoming a full time world traveler.  I don't know what the future holds.  Who knows.  It could happen.  In the meantime I'm tired and I gotta get to bed so I can get up and go to work tomorrow.  One day down, four to go.....

Blog Power and Human Barbie Dolls

Here are a few stories that caught my eye from the June and July issues of Marie Claire magazine.  Click the links for the full story.

The Blogger vs The Dictator 
This just goes to show you the potential power of blogs.  Yoani Sanchez started her blog Generation Y in 2004 and has been writing about the oppressive life in communist Cuba ever since.  Apparently, the government didn't shut down her blog because they didn't see her online activity as a threat.  This woman is not concerned about being popular.  She's too busy trying to change the world and yet she is so well known that she's interviewed Barack Obama on her blog.  How many bloggers can say that?  I find it refreshing because sometimes I do get a little bit caught up in the whole mania of being liked and popular.  This is just another example and an excellent reminder of how little that really matters.  Blog with a purpose, whatever that purpose is.  Whether it be lifestyle, fashion, cooking or politics.  Forget about the rest. 

Jessica Buchanan was kidnapped by Pirates while she was doing work in Afghanistan for a non governmental organization.  She an her co worker were carjacked, had AK-47's pointed at them and were held captive.  I have no clue how I would handle such a terrifying situation.  Every now and then I'll here a bump in the night while I'm at home causing my mind to wander.  What if it's an intruder?  What if a stranger came into my home with a gun?   Sometimes when I'm at the ATM I think, what would I do if someone tried to rob me?  How would I react?  When I get really scared my body freezes up so I have a bad feeling I'd be totally helpless to defend myself and might even pass out.  Luckily, I've never had to find out.  Jessica and her co worker were rescued by Navy Seals after 93 days on orders from Barrack Obama.  We all know about the Navy Seal mission to capture Osama Bin Laden but reading this story made me think about all the other missions that they are probably doing around the world right now that nobody ever hears about.  This stuff is happening like a scene from an action movie but it's not. It's real people sacrificing their real live everyday.

All Dolled Up
I'm very concerned about the mental health of these women.  I admit that I have body image issues and may have obsessed over a Barbie or two in my lifetime but to see the lengths that these women have gone to BE Barbie is quite disturbing.  The first real life Barbie was Valeria Lukyanova.  She claims to be from another planet placed on Earth to spread her message of spirituality.  The next two living Barbies from Ukraine were Olga Oleynik and Nastasiya Shpagina.  They're calling it the Barbie Flu and apparently it's spreading.  There are a few others popping up in other parts of the world.  Valeria is the only one that claims to be otherworldly and I'm not sure which is worse.  To truly believe that you are a Barbie from Venus or to just really really want to look exactly like one.  Valeria claims she's had no plastic surgery but I found this video on You Tube suggesting otherwise.  She was a very pretty girl before she went Barbie and now she just looks like a weird plastic person.  When I saw those pictures in Marie Claire I couldn't believe that they were actual people.  Look at how vacant and creepy their eyes look.  Scary.  I think there has to be something wrong for these women to strive for this standard of beauty.  I couldn't be Barbie if I tried and I'm glad I don't want to.

Skin For Sale
Young women in Tokyo have been enlisted to advertise on their thighs.  Yes, you read that right! And it even rhymes. I've heard about people being paid to advertise on their cars but never on their actual body.  The company isn't interested in having men do it.  Only women.  It's obviously another case of objectification of women.  I really don't like the the message that targeting females to advertise products on their skin sends but if I were a poor college student I might actually consider doing it.  It beats working retail or fast food, it takes up less time leaving more time for studies and probably pays better.  It's an easy way to make good money legally and quick without having to take off your clothes.  My only issue is that I'm always cold so having to wear a skirt short enough to bare my thighs would be a big problem.

30 Day Shred in 40 Days

I throw in some toning videos now and then but my primary work out for the last 2 1/2 years has been cardio.  Mostly the elliptical.  Mj kept telling me I need to diversify my work outs and I finally listened.
I've never been on any kind of work out program.  I don't typically like to commit to a particular work out but The 30 Day Shred seemed very doable for me.  It's an effective total body work out that includes toning AND cardio. The best thing about it is that it's all packed into 22-25 minutes.  You really can't beat that.  There are 3 levels and you do 10 days of every level.  Each work out has 3 circuits that include 3 minutes of strength, 2 minutes of cardio and 1 minutes of abs.  I used mostly 2 1/2 lb weights but also had 5 lbs available for certain exercises that felt too easy to make it more challenging.  I didn't specify how many days a week I would do it.  The only rule I set for myself was that I couldn't let more then 2 days pass between work outs.  The most days I did it in a row was 8 and it took me a span of 40 calendar days to complete the 30 work outs.  According to my handy dandy Polar FT4 Heart Rate Monitor that I got for my Birthday I burned between 140 and 220 calories each time. I've been working on my splits so I did my own stretching at the end of every work out and went a little bit longer then she did so I spent a full 30 minutes from warm up to cool down.

Level 1 wasn't that difficult for me.  I didn't even get sore right away.  By the 3rd work out I started to feel it mostly in my upper body but not nearly as bad as I expected it to be.  It wasn't total body soreness.  It started with just my chest, then spread to my arms and then my calves by day four.  I was kind of excited that maybe I wasn't in as bad a shape as I thought I was.  The push ups were the hardest.  Being a former gymnast I have always done "man" push ups.  We weren't allowed to do it any other way so I could do them but I found that I had to modify towards the end when I got tired.  I was so proud to be able to do them all by the end of level 1.  

Level 2 was definitely more challenging.  I was enjoying the workouts but by the 14th one  I started to get really tired of the whole thing.  I was barely half way through level 2, it was harder and it just felt like forever until I'd be done.

Level 3 was even more challenging.  My upper inner thighs got a little sore after Day 1.  I can't do the jump lunges because of my bad knees so I did the modified version on that.  The level 3 work out always seemed to go by really fast for me.  I think it's because it was harder to tell the difference between the strength, cardio and toning.  They all seemed to blend together so before I know what I'm doing the work out is over.  I was so ready to be done that I woke up early on a Wednesday morning to get a work out in because I knew I couldn't do it after work.  Turns out it's a pretty nice before work video.  It's so short and without a commute to the gym I didn't have to wake up that much earlier but still got my work out over with for the day.

Each level builds upon the next so well that by the 8th work out on every level I really started to feel like I was mastering it.  I didn't need any stops or modifications and I felt ready to move onto the next one.  I loved it that even though it's short I didn't feel like I was wasting my time.  She packs a lot in and my body feels really fatigued afterwards even if it's not making me sore.  I think it made me work even harder to know that it was ONLY 20 minutes and I just had to keep pushing myself for that short amount of time.  Some people said that Jillian's commentary got on their nerves but it didn't bother me.  She kept saying that if you want to work out for 20 minutes you have to earn it.  Sometimes it was the extra kick in the pants I needed to keep pushing.  

I was so glad when my 30 work outs were done.  Not because I didn't like it.  I just wanted it to be over so I could get on with whatever else I wanted to do and not feel tied down.

My before and after results are not very dramatic.  I hesitated to even post them at all but hey, my body is what it is.  I'm really critical of myself and sadly I will probably never be completely satisfied, but I'm proud of finishing the video and what I accomplished. The pictures may not show it but I can definitely see more definition in my abs, arms and thighs.  The best part is that I FEEL stronger.  My husband loves the results too.  It makes me feel really good when he tells me that he can see a difference and that I look good.  The only downside (for him anyway) is that he can't manhandle me any more like he used to and he knows it.  He better watch out!!

If you couldn't figure it out already, I highly recommend Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred.  I sent it to my little sister to try.  I like it so much that I'm still doing it.  I went back and did level 2 and I could feel the difference.  I'm much stronger now then I was when I started. It's going to be a go to work out for me especially during the work week when time is limited, but I'll be mixing it in with other videos and trips to the gym.

Weekend Ramblings

A shameless selfie is one of the few pics from the weekend I have to share.  It just wasn't that kind of weekend. Which is fine by me.  Mj and I did a pairs selfie (a groupie?)but I didn't like the way it turned out.  I feel bad for the poor guy with all the pictures he has to take and be in so I didn't want to ask to do it again.  
Friday was dinner and a movie date night
I really hate it when a new scary movie comes out and the trailer looks awesomely spooky but then when I go and see it I walk away totally disappointed.  I'm happy to report that The Conjuring is not that movie.  We wanted to see it at Cineopolis but it wasn't playing there so this was actually my first time being back in a "non luxury" theater in a while and it was fine.  I might be an HD snob but I have not turned into a luxury cinema snob yet.  The movie was creepy and kept me jumping in my seat which is how I like it.  Walking away from that movie you kind of get the impression that demonic possession could happen to anyone so I'm thinking about converting to Catholicism.  The Vatican is in charge of all the exorcisms so I think it would give me an advantage should I ever become afflicted.  
Cinnamon Toast Sticks from Hooley's Irish Pub & Grill
I've had egg whites, greens and tofu coming out of my ears lately so I took the liberty to indulge over the weekend.  You can only eat salads for so long before you eventually break.  Friday before the movies at dinner I ordered Grilled Chicken Mac and Cheese.  I LOVE Mac and Cheese but I rarely ever order it.  It was soooo good!  For dessert we had Cinnamon Toast sticks with Vanilla ice cream.  Delicious! Totally worth it.  On Sunday we went to breakfast and instead of ordering the boring Veggie Omelet I went for French Toast which is my favorite breakfast.  I dug in too fast to even get a picture.  I've been there so many times and didn't even realize they have the best French Toast I've ever had in San Diego because I was too busy trying to be "good" and order egg white Omelet's.  I don't feel an ounce of guilt over any of it.  Today I'll be eating a big ass Italian Sub for dinner from Capriotti's because Mj has a Groupon we need to use.

We had a total breakdown in communication on Saturday.  Don't you love it when that happens? It's like you are from two different planets.  Venus and Mars of course. 
Mj:  We're leaving in 20 minutes
Me: What? Where are we going?
Mj:  Mike's party.  I told you about it.
Me:  What party?
Mj:  His Birthday party.  Remember?
Me: No!  I am wearing pajamas.  I took my contacts out.  I was planning on folding laundry and watching Breaking Bad.  Do I have to go?
Mj:  Yes.
Me: F!!! (Since I don't like to actually say the F word but sometimes I really feel it).  Well where is it?  Are we going out to dinner?   See, if you had really told me about this I would know already.
Mj:  At his house.
Me: Lots of stomping around and groaning as I start getting dressed and trying to make myself presentable.

Anyways.  We usually do pretty well but this one totally slipped through the cracks.  We had plans for Cineopolis that night originally so Mike's party was up in the air.  I didn't know if it was a guys thing or if I was even invited when he initially mentioned it and all thoughts of it disappeared from my mind because we had conflicting plans anyways.  Mj never brought it up again.  He says he did but I certainly don't recall.  I got ready really fast, we went to the party and fun was had by all.

Breaking Bad Season 5 is available on Netflix now. It's funny how one minute you can be totally obsessed with a show and the next you can't even remember why so and so is acting all crazy.  I have a really bad memory and we watched season 4 a long time ago.  I was forgetting all of these important details and couldn't remember what was going on so I had to brush up on Wikipedia.  Memory refreshed; I now remember why I HATE Walter so much!   We're going to try to get in as many episodes in as we can before Mj leaves.

Coming back to work on Monday I almost feel like I've been on vacation.  Not because we did all that much but just because it felt really nice and long and it was a nice mix of everything.  I got my oil changed, cleaned house, did laundry, ran errands, shopped, ate a lot, relaxed and went out and had some fun.  It was Mj's last weekend before he jets off to Germany.  I'm glad we were able to get some in some quality time together.

Enter my Shabby Apple Giveaway here.