Thursday, September 29, 2011

So it begins...

Well, my friends, Tuesday it finally happened. The day I most look forward to from July 4th to Halloween. The day we should all get off of work and school but we don't. That's was List Day. For all of you who don't know, that is the day when my mother asks all of the girls in the family to turn in their list. The list is the combining of birthday and Christmas wish lists into a single master list that hides somewhere on her computer until the end of January. This is the day that marks the end of freedom for those who enjoy wandering the spaciousness that is Mom and Dad's closet. This is the day when it is officially okay to start THINKING about Christmas, beyond what you want to ask for. This is the day that I start to go crazy. See last year's posts, if you don't believe me.
Why so early, you ask? Particularly when you know how strictly we Connollys follow the "not til Thanksgiving is done" rule. Well, that doesn't count for Christmas shopping. And in case you didn't know, we Connolly women like our holiday seasons. I mean we REALLY DO. So much so that we were all born around there. It starts with my sister in law Erin in October, then Mom and Sarah in November, then me in December, then CHRISTMAS, and then Jen in January. The only immediate female family member that doesn't have a holiday birthday is Carly, and she's so fabulous, we make an exception. Besides, she gets presents all year round anyway.
So you see, we HAVE to start thinking and shopping now. Or at least, Mom does. So list day is very important. Granted, things get thrown on last minute, and as birthdays come, things get crossed off, so Christmas shopping becomes that much easier! Well, except for Jenny. Since her birthday is after Christmas, we all have to check with each other to make sure our Christmas presents don't mess up any birthday presents, and vice versa.
List day was so much fun when we were kids. We would pull out the catalogs and magazines and carefully cut out pictures, or sometimes just circle what we wanted in different colors. Now, letters to Santa obviously did not happen until later, but we still had List Day. So fun.
Last night I went out with my mom to do some shopping, since we had a really good coupon somewhere, and we actually got some things for Christmas! It was awesome! I tried to talk her into not talking me out of buying a ginormous mug with a snowman on it, but she succeeded. Alas, the adorable snowman mug of massive proportions is still on that shelf with the other winter/Christmas looking mugs. I won't say who got the presents, but we were pretty excited about them. And I got a few things for myself as well! Good stuff.
Side note: I am doing the Special K challenge, but the Becky version. Basically, the original just didn't have enough calories in it and I was starving and grouchy just trying to do it. So it's been modified, which will exclude me from the sweepstakes if it works, but still. I'd rather not starve and be happy and lose inches more slowly rather than starve and be irritable and lose it rapidly. And if I want to have a cookie every now and again, I'm gonna do it, darn it! I mean, really, when they are warm and gooey and still on the pan and Mom says she doesn't need them all, why shouldn't I have one??? Food for the soul, people. Those calories don't really count..... And it's probably thinking like that that caused me to need to shed some weight at all. Vicious cycle.
Okay, I think I'm done. October is coming, so I'll post on that when it does, and hopefully we can get me out of my Christmas crazies before I burn out [HA! Not likely.] before Halloween.

* For those concerned, List Day is NOT an actual Connolly holiday. I call it that, but no one else does. I'm cool like that.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Hi guys. Guess what.
I know, you were hoping for something so much more exciting, like a decision on grad schools or a book contract or [gasp!] an engagement. Well, the grad school thing is slowly but surely working itself out and in the next few weeks I will officially apply to the top choices. The book contract is on that list of "Would Be Great, But Will Probably Never Ever Happen" things. If I ever have free time again, I will work on book #3 seriously. Right now it is on the backburner behind grad schools and RS lessons and, oh, work. And as for an engagement........well, I'm farily certain my sisters would have called CNN if that had happened, so you'd all know by now anyway.
BUT. The glorious news that the low-carb diet is over should be very happy for all of you! If you ever want to appreciate how good apple pie is, go low carb for 4 weeks. But you know what? I'm really proud of myself. I didn't know if I could do this, and I did! If I had to do it over again, I would have been better about my workouts. I didn't always push myself as hard as I could have, and that might have made a bigger difference. But still. YAY for me! And I'm a little afraid of taking things to a carb-coma level of extreme, so I am being really careful about easing my way back in. Except for apple pie. Gimme a break.
In other news, any Castle fans out there? The season premiere was last night and OH MY GAWSH, it was good. Not as funny as your regular episode, but SO deep and rich and emotional and UGH. Amazing. Simply amazing. And it really showed certain people's acting chops. Who knew that funny man Nathan Fillion could pull of something so heart-wrenching and haunting and poignant? And Stana Katic! Not only is she pretty much the most beautiful woman ever, but the turmoil and tension and pain she brought to Beckett was AWESOME. And that ending??? HOLY CRAP. This is going to be a FABULOUS season, I can feel it! If you are not a Castle fan, YOU SHOULD BE! If you are one of those people who like to start a show at the beginning, have no fear. I have all three seasons and regularly DVR current episodes for future watching.'s kinda like that.
Tonight are the premieres of NCIS and NCIS:LA. These are two shows that my parents and I are very invested in. As in I may or may not own all 8 seasons of NCIS and all 2 seasons of NCIS::LA. I can neither confirm nor deny that statement. ANYWHO: We just refreshed our memories with the finales last week, so we are ready and raring to go! Anyody else see those finales? Talk about DRAMA. I just love this stuff. Why I did not major in something to do with film or media, I will never know.
But in my work as an athletic trainer lately, I have been BUSY. And it is so rewarding, in its own way. So rarely do trainers get any recognition for the hours they put in and the work they do, but every time you can help someone or put some parents at ease, a small sense of accomplishment forms. And every now and then, you get a thank you from someone. A coach, an athlete, a doesn't matter. It all feels good. Well. This week, I got 2 different people telling  me that I am a good trainer, that I do a good job, and they were impressed. That stunned me. I don't do what I do to impress people. Quite the contrary, I've always been a bit of a background person. I just do what I do and get on with it. Not gonna lie, though. I felt really pleased that somebody noticed and went a step further to tell me they thought I was good. Little pokes in the shoulder from Heaven, reassuring me that I CAN do this.
Ummm....what else.....oh! I'm trying the Special K Challenge next week. No, it's NOT another diet.....well, okay, it probably counts as one, but I just want to see if it works. If you follow what they say with food and workout and such, you're supposed to be able to drop a jean size in two weeks. That. Would. Be. AWESOME. I dunno about the rest of you ladies, but from age 19 on, my donughts go straight to the jean coverage area. It would be simply lovely to, ah, TWEAK that general vicinity.
Still hacking away at my RS lesson for Sunday. It's on the talk "Remember This: Kindness Begins With Me". The title comes from a Primary song. Pretty sure I have never heard it. But that's neither here nor there. So I'm trying to figure out how to get a 30-35 minute lesson out of the talk, how to apply it to a single's ward RS, and how to make it enjoyable. Luckily, I have parents who are well versed in the Gospel AND in teaching it, so they're helping me a lot. But it all boils down to what the Spirit tells me to do, and the trick right now is figuring that out.
So that's me right now. Just in case you were wondering. ;-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 27 + stuff

Sigh. I'm tired of low-carb, guys. I appreciate the benefits of it, I appreciate the creativity that it has brought me and my food options, and I REALLY appreciate carbs more now. I have made some goals for when I get off of this diet trip on Sunday.
1) No more cheap white bread. I haven't done that for a while, but I need to be more nit-picky with my bread choices. It needs to be good for me and not just taste good.
2) Limited processed food. And by processed, I mostly mean pre-packaged. More whole foods, less easy and fake foods. I'll still eat my Luna bars on occasion, because those are a [mostly] natural source of many vitamins and minerals and there are some I like. And I may still have Oatmeal-To-Go-Bars. I love those.
3) Limit treats. I know, I know, that seems basic. But [and here's a big secret] I have a problem with treats. When someone asks me my favorite food, I usually say dessert. But I will still have them. Mark my words, I WILL  be eating cookie dough the next time it is there.
4) Continue working out at least 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes. Working out is good for you. The nice thing is that eating carbs again will give me regular energy for working out. The protein diet makes working out hard, as my body is trying to take energy from something that is harder to get it from, and working out freaking HURTS more. Plus I should be able to not be so sleepy.
I think that's all for now.... I really miss cereal, kids. A lot.
Something else I'll be dealing with: I've recently started a new, slightly drastic process from my dermatologist. See, I'm 25 and still dealing with acne and skin trouble. I've tried just about every birth control and medication and face wash and regimen treatment and nothing sticks. So every day I take a pill. Next month I will start taking 2. I will do this for 5 months, then it's over. But during those 5 months I also have to be on birth control and take monthly blood tests to make sure that I'm not pregnant [no worries here, but they have to] because this medication can cause birth defects. I have to use the gentlest face wash and an intense moisturizer, as my face will become very dry. I have to take extra Vitamin E every day. I have to carry chapstick with me all the time, since my lips will get chapped and dry. I have to take a test every month before I can get my monthly pills. I have to see the dermatologist every month and report any pre-discussed symptoms. This all sounds crazy, right? I know. But it works. And quite frankly, it's the only avenue that I have left other than just dealing with it. I don't want to deal anymore.
Okay, on to happier thoughts: CASTLE PREMIERE IS MONDAY! Any other Castle groupies out there? Season 3 finale was CRAZAY. I can't wait to see what they've cooked up for this season. And then NCIS and NCIS:LA starts Tuesday [HUZZAH!] and both of those had rather explosive finales last season, so I'm jazzed!
But the best news of all? I'll be off my diet by then so I can have popcorn. Blessed day.
Oh, and my RS lesson on the 25th is about the attribute of benevolence. Anybody have any thoughts?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 22

Okay, confession time: I may have taken a day off of my very strict diet. But it was really only a half day! And it wasn't my fault. My brother and sister-in-law and niece showed up for Labor Day weekend and surprised us all and when family is in town, you eat right. So Sunday night we grilled and had all of the right trimmings. Now, I didn't have a bun with my two hot dogs, but I did have potato salad and chips. And a cookie. And three s'mores. Can you blame me? Really. I'm only human.
To make up for my slight, but totally understandable, indiscretion, I have added two days to my 4 week challenge. I'm still working out at least 3 times a week and being very careful every other time, and I can see AND feel a difference in myself. I have not lost the poundage that I was hoping for, but that's okay. I'll take feeling better and looking better over a number on a scale any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
In other news, I'm gonna be an aunt again! My brother and his wife are expecting their second baby sometime towards the end of March! YAY!!! We all know how much I adore my niece, and I hope I don't sound arrogant in saying this, but I'm pretty sure my niece is pretty dang fond of me. I plan on having a TON of fun with TWO munchkins running around! WOOHOO! And also, how adorable is this picture?
Seriously, it's just not fair how cute she is.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Day 15 -- I'm getting there!

I've made it two whole weeks on this diet! YAY! And aside from the low-calorie Jamba Juice I had while in South Bend last weekend, I have not cheated or had a treat even once! And since the Jamba Juice was low calorie and strictly berries, I'm not even sure that counts as cheating! WOOHOO!!!!! I'm finally getting out of the sluggish, no-carbs for energy slump and getting used to the general blah-ness of the foods I eat. I am not quite sure how many carrots I'll be eating when all of this is over. Or eggs. But bless my mother and her creativity. Last night we had taco salad and it might have been the best thing I have eaten in a looooong time.
I have also been working out at least 3 times a week, like I wanted. The yoga has not kicked in yet, I'm just too busy. But I'm trying to make up for it with my workouts.
See, we have this old treadmill in the basement. And when I say old, I mean OLD. It was my grandma's and she decided she didn't want it, so my parents took it. I can't even tell you when Grandma got this because I don't remember. But the thing is basically broken. It works really well up to about 3.1 mph, and then the tread skips, so you actually endanger your life going any faster than that. Not quite the workout you were looking for, right? Well, since I have an aversion to thick sweaty smelly CROWDED gyms in the evenings [mornings are lovely, but I'm having a hard time waking up early right now], I came up with a solution: go longer on the dinosaur treadmill. Longer time = longer distance, and even at a walking speed, this = better workout. So the last two nights I have done 90 minutes on the treadmille. INSANE, you cry. SHE'S NUTS, you yell. Yeah, I probably am, but it's just walking. Do I get bored? Not really. See, there's also a TV and DVD player down there. I have spent the 90 minutes watching 2 episodes of Castle each night. It's been awesome! And I actually work up a pretty decent sweat doing it! Not as much as I would on an elliptical or jogging, but still pretty good!
Besides, I remembered when I was in London a few years ago and we just walked everywhere, [ie I never ran] and I lost a ton of weight and was in great shape by the time I came home. So maybe I just need to do this diet to kick start thigns and walk through it and then when I can eat normally again, I'll rev up the exercise too! I dunno, just a thought.
In other news, HAPPY SEPTEMBER! I always feel kinda bad for September, since people only like it because football starts and so does fall, but everybody who likes fall likes October better. Poor September. Oh well. At least we all get Monday off for Labor Day, right? Thanks, September!