Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 Survey!

Album of the year. What’s rocking your world? One Republic – Waking Up.
What’s the best change you made to the place you live? Painting!
When did you get your best rush of the year? When my niece was born!
Best packaging. Did your headphones come in a sweet case? See a bottle of tea in another country that stood off the shelves? My Bose earbuds came in a pretty sweet case!
Tea of the year. I can taste my favorite tea right now. What’s yours? I don’t drink tea – makes me want to vomit!
Project. What did you start this year that you’re proud of? My weight loss journey
What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Tried a bunch of new foods
Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I have no idea what they were! I’m sure I’ll make more that I will have no memory of in late 2010!
Did anyone close to you give birth? My sister
Did anyone close to you die? You know…not that I can think of.
What countries did you visit? Unfortunately the US only L
What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? Cash…cash $$!
What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? October 23rd - my niece was born!
What was your biggest achievement of the year? Getting a promotion
What was your biggest failure? Not finishing up my masters
Did you suffer illness or injury? Thank goodness no!
What was the best thing you bought? My iPhone
Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Depressed – no one’s behavior depresses me!  Appalled – well there have been a few “friends” who have appalled me, but I just had to shake it off…kinda like Mariah!
Where did most of your money go? Bills, bills, bills...oh and shopping!
What did you get really, really, really excited about? Hmm…I was excited about quite a few things!
What song will always remind you of 2009? Bad Romance!
Compared to this time last year, you are: 
i. happier or sadder? Happier
Thinner or fatter? thinner
Richer or poorer? Bout the same
What do you wish you’d done more of? Running!
What do you wish you’d done less of? Drinking lol
 How will you be spending Christmas / Hanukkah? I’ve already spent it!
What was the most embarrassing thing that happened to you in 2009? I don’t get embarrassed!
Did you fall in love in 2009? Nah!
How many one-night stands? HA! I’ll never tell
What was your favorite TV program? The Good Wife & GLEE!
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? Nah, I don’t hate anyone at all
What was the best book you read? Suze Orman's - The Money Book For The Young, Broke & Fabulous
What was your greatest musical discovery? Leona Lewis
What did you want and get? Lots of job interviews
What did you want and not get? More money!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Temporary Absence Is Over...Kinda

I totally failed at Nablopomo this month!  I knew something would throw me off track - that something, was something pretty important...you know the thing that pays the bills - work. I traveled the week of the 14th, my working hours were ridiculously insane, plus there was a ton of partying since we were completing the final stages of the project & bringing our last few days of the year together to a close.  So....no blogging the week of the 14th - well not much blogging at least!

Anyways! Today I must vent....and it may be a long vent, but this needs to come out!  I went to dinner with a friend of mine tonight - he's such a lifesaver! He always listens to my craziness & I think now he understands why I get so pissed with people.  A few days ago, my aunt, who is 50+ years old, not disabled by any means, called me to ask if I had some money to pay their electric bill, cause it was going to get cut off the next day.  I wanted to hang up the phone when she called because the thought of her having to call her niece and ask for money is just ridiculous - I'm 26, she's 50+ something is just wrong about that! I told her that I didn't have the money (I did, but she damn sure wasn't getting it) and I would have to call her back later because she called during work. 

When I hung up the phone, I called my mom & said look, your sister in law just called asking for money to pay their electric bill because it's going to get cut off tomorrow.  She said I hope you said no.  I said you're damn right I said no, I'm not paying their bills - I don't even live there.

Let me tell you why I said no.....and here goes my rant (you must excuse the vulgarities):

I am 26 years old & while I may have some high paying what everyone thinks is a glorious job, I have BILLS. Right, I have a mortgage payment, car payment, car insurance, cable bill, electric bill, water bill, cell phone bill, student loans, credit cards...I HAVE BILLS! I don't get paid and get to blow all of my money on ridiculous shit, like paying YOUR electric bill.  Hell I have my own electric bill!

You KNEW your electric bill was going to be cut off MORE than a day before, so why the hell are you just calling now? You are a able bodied adult, why don't you get off of your lazy ass and find a job? I work, so why the hell can't you - the world doesn't owe you shit! And to top that off, you must not be hurting too damn bad, you sent me an email so that tells me your internet is on.  When I talked to you on the phone (you know - when you were asking for money) you said you were watching tv, which means your cable hasn't been shut off, and you picked up the damn phone to give me some sad sob crying ass story about how you needed money to pay the electric bill, so your phone wasn't cut off. 

There are these things called PRIORITIES and these things called NECESSITIES! Let's talk about how you need to get your priorities together, stop living beyond your means & have only the shit you need to get by! 

Maybe I should explained to you what exactly a necessity is.....Webster says necessity is "the condition of being essential or indispensable."

LIGHTS, WATER, FOOD, and TISSUE - those are necessities.  If you don't have shit else, you better have those 4 things!


If your ass ain't working & doesn't have a steady source of income, I suggest you take a look at your expenses and cut the fuck back......maybe then you won't need to call me & ask to borrow money.  Or how about you just get off your ass and get a job....that wouldn't be so bad huh?

And my vent is totally over with...I think I'm going to bed early because this same aunt that I'm bitchin about in my post has asked me to come pick her & my cousin up tomorrow because they don't want to spend Christmas alone & they don't have the means to get to my parents house.  I'm only doing this for my cousin - I don't believe that any child should be forced to spend Christmas without their family.  I know how happy my parents made my (many) Christmases as a kid, I want her to have the same happy family memories.  I'm a softy for kids - can't you tell?

Monday, December 14, 2009

14. I'm Stuck In The Airport - Why Not Blog

Yours truly - blogging from Washington Dulles Airport! Yep! Working/blogging from IAD because I missed my connection to my "final destination." ;)  We had some crap weather in Atlanta this morning - extremely foggy, so loads of flights were delayed and/or canceled.  Typical Monday!

And Monday it is - MUUUUUUUUUUSIC Monday!  I figure I'll share with you what I'm listening to & I suggest you go get it or at least download it!

 There are 14 tracks on Alicia Key's new cd & every single one of them is good! There isn't one that I would skip!  Yes, listen for yourself! I promise, it's good.

See...I'm all about sharing! Sharing is caring! ;)

Have a happy Monday lovelies!  Now back to work for me....people are counting on me & I have tons of meetings this week, bla!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

13. Google Waaaaaaaaaaave! I'm Am In....Are You?

Do you have a Google Wave account? I do & I have several invites (7 as of now)….so send me your email address to msebonyjewel@gmail.com & I’ll send you a Google Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave invite! And if you already have a google wave account – add me with msebonyjewel@googlewave.com

What is google wave you ask?
It’s a personal communication & collaborating tool introduced by Google. It’s kinda a way to merge email, IM, and social networking into 1 area.

So here’s what I think of it……
Have you ever wanted to ask a question to 1 or more people? Yeah we can do that on our blog, but we can’t collaborate in real time. So let’s say I wanted to know if a blog topic was a good idea, or I wanted to know how everyone felt about a career change, an outfit, just an idea in general…well Google wave will let all of us collaborate & answer each other’s questions. And that means 5 or 6 people can comment on one subject/topic/quote/picture at one time & see each other’s comments. Just seems like a super cool way to collaborate if you ask me!

Come get your google wave invites – here here! LOL

Really though, email me and I’ll send you an invite! :) Happpppppppy waaaaaaaaaaaaving!

Saturday, December 12, 2009



I know I’ve talked about work & I know I’ve talked about being satisfied with my job (sometimes) & I love networking, I’m totally outgoing, crazy, fun, I like to make money, I like career progression.

Something weird has happened….I’m not sure what the hell to make of it & I’m not even sure what to do – your advice is greatly appreciated!

I applied at several companies months ago when I felt like my career with my current employer was going nowhere. At times I still feel the exact same about my career at times I don’t. After talking to those in upper management – I was offered to transition into the sales force (which I blogged about here).

Now my dilemma – one of the companies that I applied at was Accenture. Accenture is one of the “big 4” consulting companies & in a way I’m dying to work for them. Having the name Accenture on my resume would be a huge plus for me, hopefully a great way to progress my career and working for Accenture would have HUGE travel opportunities seeing as it is an international company. I love consulting; I love working on projects & learning the ins & outs of businesses. My specialty is insurance – property & casualty, w/c, disability, etc, but I’d LOVE to learn something new & I think Accenture would offer that opportunity. I'm torn though because someone who has had a lot of faith in me & been my biggest supporter at my current company has made it possible for me to transition into sales as I've been wanting to do forever.

I have a phone interview scheduled with them for next week; I’m going to go through the interview process just to see how strenuous it is, plus I love interviews & networking with people.

I hope this all works out for the best, I hope that somehow there’s a sign that will tell me the right thing to do!

Friday, December 11, 2009

11. I suck

I was totally supposed to post something else, something meaningful, but I just can't today! Today was a looooooooooooong crazy semi productive day & I'm beyond drained. Back on track tomorrow!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Tiffany over at Dreams Do Come True gave me a super fab blog award!!  Had it not been for 20SB, I never would have lucked up on Tiffany's awesome blog & I'm so thankful that I did!! Make sure to add her to your google reader! Love her blog!

Here's the award:

Here's what I gotta do to accept the award: list 10 things that make me happy, try to do at least one of them today, and tag 10 bloggers that brighten my day.  For those 10 bloggers, you must also link back to my post!

Soooooo....without further ado! 10 things that make me happy:
  1. Waking up - Knowing that God gave me the opportunity take another breath, the make a difference, to annoy some innocent person - that makes me happy! LOL
  2. Babysitting my niece - She's the BEST form of birth control ever! Yes, I want kids, but at 26 years old I know for sure I'm not ready! 
  3. Seeing my family - They may be totally silly, but I lurve them!
  4. Text messaging - What did we do before text messaging? I seriously can't live without it lol!
  5. My house - It's mine...well mine and Bank of America's.
  6. Security - Knowing that I don't have to wonder about where my next meal will come from, how I'm going to bathe myself, or where I'm going to sleep.
  7. My job - As much as I sometimes complain about my annoying coworkers, they're absolutely hilarious.  They talked to me this morning as my niece threw a temper tantrum throughout our entire conference call.
  8. My bloggy friends - Lately my bloggy friends have been emailing me & I LOVE LOVE LOVE that!  It makes me feel like I'm really not worlds away from people my age!
  9. My IRL friends - Tried & true yes they are! I love my IRL friends & hope that one day some of my bloggy friends will become my IRL friends! :)
  10. Blogging - Blogging has become my release! I can let it out here & I'm rarely criticized. 
Now 10 bloggers that brighten my day (in no particular order):
Now take it away folks!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

9. I’m Traveling Next Week – How I ‘Work It” On The Road

Next week will be my last week of air travel for 2009! I’m super excited about that!  I try to pack as little as possible when I travel.  I have 1 carry-on bag & a laptop bag (either my Coach laptop bag or my Swiss laptop bag).  Unless you’re traveling internationally; a domestic checked bag is a LOST bag & I can’t risk someone losing my bag with my goodies in it! I’d be pissed!!

So next week – because it’s my last week of travel, I’m being a total minimalist! And here’s how I plan to accomplish it:

  • Decide on a color for the week & work around that “color scheme.” Next week’s color scheme will be black (so that means I need only 1 pair of high heels & that’s a black pair of pumps).  When I leave for the airport on Monday, I’ll be wearing a pair of Jessica Simpson flats that I got from Macy's – ultra comfy, ultra cute, and compactable if I have to throw them in my suitcase! I also pack my gym shoes inside of my purse which is also packed in my small carry-on.
  • Two pair of pants for the week (I travel Mon – Thurs); so a black pair worn Monday & Wednesday then a gray pair worn on Tuesday & Thursday.  I’ll pack 3 shirts/blouses & a scarf or two to dress up the outfits. 
  • I have a very small jewelry organizer that holds interchangeable jewelry for the week.
  • I ROLL ALL OF MY CLOTHES! A trick that I learned early on in the game! Rolling your clothes makes life a ton easier & you can always buy the Downy Wrinkle Releaser travel bottles to de-wrinkle your clothes if you don’t have time to iron!
  • I also pack an outfit to workout in, an outfit to sleep in, socks, long johns (cause it’s gonna be cold), panties, & an extra bra.
  • I put all of my 3 oz or less liquids into my  1 qt plastic bag!  Check out this website for tons of travel sized goodies: http://www.minimus.biz/default.aspx  I get extremely pissed when people attempt to go through security & argue because they don’t want to throw away their liquids! Check your bag & shut up, or throw that mess away! There are people in line behind you! LOL
I’m totally a minimalist when it comes to travel; I don’t have time to be lugging a whole bunch of stuff around the airport, especially when I have 30 minutes or less between connections.  I need my bags to be light so I can run through the airport like a crazy ass! If I run you down, I apologize, but I’ve got places to go and people to see!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

8. Install In Progress

I'm blogging from my work laptop today because I'm currently installing Windows 7 on my personal laptop!  Gonna make this short and sweet tonight!  Today I did something really good for my sister, her no good sperm donor boyfriend, and my cutie pie niece! 

My sister's boyfriend called me in a panic tonight because their 6 week old baby (my adorable little niece) wouldn't stop crying.  My sister had gone out with a friend of hers, he was at home by himself with the baby.  So when he called he said hey do you have the thermometer at your house?  I said huh, no, why is the baby crying & he said I don't know, she feels warm and has been crying for the last 30 minutes, your sister is gone with her friend & doesn't have her cell phone! I immediately dropped everything & rushed to the rescue!  My niece is the cutest thing ever (so I think)!  By the time I got there she wasn't screaming like she had been on the phone, but she was still a little fussy.  I notice that she was fussy this morning too when I kept her.  I called my mom to tell her that the baby was okay & that I was going to bring her over to see her.  So I took the little munchkin over to my parents house so she could see her grandma and paw paw (we're so country LOL)! 

I was forced to be the meany and take her temperature.  My parents, although they took our temperature rectally when we were kids, refuse to take her temperature with a rectal thermometer.  She didn't have a temp, she was just fussy.  I think she has a bit of gas, but that's all!  I'm such a good aunt! LOL 

Monday, December 7, 2009

7. Windows 7: To install or not to install

That is the question!

I purchased a new laptop several months ago & the laptop purchase came with a free Windows 7 upgrade.  I received the upgrade disc in the mail last week, but have not installed Windows 7 yet.  I'm currently using Window's Vista which I hate, but I'm scared that I may completely screw up my PC by installing Windows 7.  Are you, any of my fellow bloggers, using Windows 7? Do you love it? Hate it? Did you install it yourself and was it hard or easy?  I have yet to decide what I'm going to do, but I think I should go for you....what do you think?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

6. My Productive Sunday

Well it started off productive! I took some of Suze Orman’s tips & organized my credit cards into a spreadsheet by highest interest rate because obviously that is the card I need to pay off first. I looked at balance transfer options too & decided that I will be transferring the card with the highest interest rate to a card that I have that only carries a 6% interest rate.

Then I organized my Christmas presents, just to be sure that I have everyone covered! I don’t! So I still have a bit more shopping to do for “the kids,” not my kids, but the kids in the family! THEN! The big thing that I did today was painted the trim in my kitchen & hallway. I’ve got a bit to go, but at least I got started!

Now I’m sitting on my butt watching tv & thinking I still need to clean up this mess I made in the living room! Might oughtta do that now because I’m going to be gone tonight!

Hope everyone had a super productive Sunday…kinda like I did!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

5. My Dilemma - Solved By Suze Orman

I must thank my bloggy friend Becca again for this suggestion!!  I decided to pick up Suze Orman's - The Money Book For The Young, Broke & Fabulous.  I'm not totally broke, but who couldn't use some tips/tricks on finances & navigating the credit/financial/career world. 

Let me just say I'm only on chapter 2 & I think that every 20 something broke or note should read this book.  I have been struggling with a dilemma for quite some time now & I hope that Suze Orman's advice is right; I hope she knows what she's talking about because if so - she's just solved a big problem for me! 

In this post I talk about receiving an offer of employment from one of my current employers competitors.  I also mentioned that my current employer offered to move me to the position that I've been wanting for a while in sales/marketing.  When I was advised of the promotion to sales/marketing, we talked a bit about compensation and the compensation structure when new deals were won, but no numbers were set in stone; I suspect that may be up for discussion come January. 

Well Chapter 2 - Career Moves in Suze Orman's book has the following problem:

Problem: I'm being given more responsibility but not more money. (I don't know yet if that's really my case, I don't believe it will be, but we'll see)
Her solution: That's actually a very good thing, if you know how to play it right. 

What she says in this section is that if you're doing what you're passionate about, you put in extra hours, you show that you're willing to go above & beyond the call of duty, then you will be recognized and rewarded for all of your hard work.  She says take in as much information & take on as many responsibilities as you can, even if that means longer hours in the office because the only person who benefits from this in the end is you!

I think there's some truth in that!  When I first came to my company, I was a work-a-holic, literally spending 14 - 16 hours working because I knew that I was at a disadvantage; there were other consultants in the company that knew the products & I didn't because I was new.  When I went to work overseas with our internal team, I got the competitive edge that I needed, I was on the leading edge team & the only consultant from the US that got to work side by side with our internal team for 8+ months.  I established the right relationships so that I can now call on the people I need when I need to & they have yet to fail me & me yet to fail them.  For that, I was rewarded.  When I returned home from overseas, I was seen internally & externally as the only product expert in the US for our company.  Although there was no monetary compensation, I gained job security knowing that I had a skill/knowledge/expertise that many of our other consultants lacked. 

So Suze Orman - I'm going to trust that what you're saying is right! I'll be sure to keep yall posted on my promotion & how it goes!  I'm so ready for this new season in my life it's ridiculous!  Anyone else looking forward to a change?

Friday, December 4, 2009

4. Let's Talk About Home Ownership!

Today's post is inspired by a blogger friend of mine, Becca Christensen, who will soon be a homeowner - just like myself!

Did you know that more single women are buying home than ever before? Yep!  Record numbers of single women are buying homes. 

Here are some stats:
  • More than 1 in 5 home buyers is a single woman.
  • Twice as many unmarried women are buying homes than single men.
  • Single women make up more than 1/3 of the growth in real estate ownership since '94.
So why am I blogging about home ownership today?  Well it's quite simple - I'm a homeowner! I purchased my first home (a condo) in 2004 at the ripe old age of 22.   My condo was built in 1996, it is a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom condo & while it may only be a little over 1000 sq feet, I am happy to call it mine! 

Here's how I made it happen.....

I was working at an insurance company in a pretty sweet job, I made good money, and had saved quite a bit of cash "for a rainy day," but didn't know when that rainy day was really coming.  I was living in an apartment with my boyfriend (at the time) & my lease was coming up for renewal.  There was a letter on my door that showed that my rent was going to be increased by approximately $100 a month when I renewed my lease.  I thought WHAT?! $100 extra a month - I'm not getting any more space, I'm not getting a nicer apartment, I'm getting this same apartment for $100 more...how about no - there's absolutely no benefit in me renewing my lease.  So I started talking around, talking to the girls that I worked with who, BTW, were all homeowners & they suggested just looking around at homes on the market.  Initially I thought OMG, I can't imagine buying a house, surely I can't even afford a house!  Little did I know, I could, and the whole process was totally easy. 

I had 3 months left in my lease, so I started looking around.  I knew my criteria - I wanted a condo with at least 2 bedrooms, 1 bathroom.  I didn't want anything that I was going to have to initially throw money into, I wanted a place with a small yard & a place that had been well maintained.  I wanted a place that was 1000 - 1500 sq feet, in a nice neighborhood in the middle of our "city."  I knew exactly what I wanted - I wanted a nice property that was going to be low maintenance.  My parents and I looked around for about 2 weeks before we lucked up on the condo that I now own.  We called the realtor, who also happened to be the owner, and she pointed me in the absolute right direction.  She first showed me the house, told me that if I truly intended to buy it, she would cover everything because she was so proud that a young woman like myself was going to take such a huge step & make such a responsible purchase.  I remember walking into my condo, laying in the middle of the living room & saying this is it, this is mine!  People always says if you speak it, it will come true.  From then on things seemed to move so fast!  The realtor set me up with a local mortgage lender, who pre-qualified me for a loan of waaaay more than I felt I could afford - some ridiculous amount of like $290K.  The qualification was done the same day that I looked at the condo.  That next week I had a home inspection - ALWAYS HAVE A HOME INSPECTION PRIOR TO PURCHASE EVEN IF THE HOME IS NEW! The home passed the inspection with flying colors!  Then came closing - seriously, this whole process took about 10 days.  At my closing I was hit with a bit of a surprise and a very good surprise.  The owner of the condo, also the realtor, had placed a warranty on the condo for 2 years - so if anything went wrong in 2 years the home warranty would cover it.  She also gave me a $2500 Lowe's gift card.  Closing took all of 20 minutes - I was expecting much much longer - but I walked in, talked with the lawyers about the paperwork, signed my name on several papers that said if you don't pay us we're going to come get you lol.  After my hand was about to fall off from signing my name, I was handed my house keys & sent on my merry way! 

How can you do it?  The same way I did!!
  • Save yourself some $$ - even if it's $5K, $5K is better than $0!
  • Pay down/off your debt
  • Get pre-qualified for a loan & make sure you explore all of your options.  If you're a first time home buyer, make sure to ask about special loan programs for first time home owners.  Sometimes if you can show that you have enough money in savings a lot of lenders will waive PMI, finance you at 100%, or offer other incentives.
  • DO NOT overextend yourself in debt - be realistic about the mortgage payment you can afford.  There is no purposes in purchasing a home that has a payment so big you can barely afford to furnish it, or barely afford to pay for the utilities.
  • When you start looking for a home & when you find one you like look at it during the day & at night.  My mom has always said a neighborhood may look great in the day time, it make look safe during the day time, but ride by on a Friday or Saturday night; you can tell a lot about the area on a Friday or Saturday night.  
  • Don't be afraid to make the purchase - home ownership is a great thing, any home, unless you totally trash it, will increase in value over the years.  The more work you put into it, the more $$ you will get out of it if you intend to sell it years down the road!

Now...go out and buy yourself a house dangit! ;)

Thursday, December 3, 2009

3. Tonight I Must Say Thank You

Last night I walked into my hotel room after a long, kind of frustrating, yet productive day at work to find this

laying on my bed along with a thank you note from the hotel management & concierge staff. 

I ♥ the hotel that we stay at during the week, I love the hotel manager, she's an absolute doll!  I love that when I arrive on Monday evenings, everyone and I seriously mean everyone welcomes me back to my home away from home with a smile.  I love that when I leave on Thursday mornings everyone says have a good weekend, we'll see you next week.  I love that once a few weeks ago I called room service to see if they had any cheesecake & was told no, cheesecake wasn't on their dessert menu, yet 20 minutes later a piece of Cheesecake Factory cheesecake was delivered to my room.  I love that I can walk into the hotel bar, sit down to chat with my coworkers, and minutes later have a chocolate martini in hand because all of the bar tenders know that's my drink of choice & that 1 perfectly prepared chocolate martini is enough to make me happy. I love that the hotel staff has dealt with me on my good days & bad days, but continue to treat me like I'm the most important guest they have. 

I text the picture above to some friends of mine & got a reply that said you're excited about that? You've literally stayed there every week this year & you're excited because you got a pillow with a monogrammed pillow case?

I'm excited because it made me feel special, important, like I am the only guest who matters.  It's totally the thought that counts & tonight I want to say thank you to all of the Marriott staff!!  I know that the NaBloPoMo theme "mitzvah" encourages us to do something nice for others, but I could not resist telling the world about the nice thing that was done for me!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2. Trying New Things

I WAS worlds pickiest eater. Really, I swear...ask my parents, they totally enabled me to be that way all of my life!!

When I was younger my mom would make a separate meal for me if she made something for the family that I didn't like. I got used to not being forced to try new foods - veggies excluded, always had to eat veggies, like it or not!

In my "older age" really after I took the consulting job, I realized that the world was a place full of new, exciting things and people who had tried these new, exciting things. I also realized that my sheltered eating habits hindered my desire to try new foods, new ethnicities of food, and trying foods that I would typically claim to "not like" having never tastes it.

My coworkers often made fun of the "Princess" as they call me because I was so picky! I used to stick by a list of things that I REFUSE to eat/drink like cheese, scrambeled eggs, milk, collard greens, ahi tuna, sushi, lamb, and hot dogs - just to name a few. (The list could probably go on) HOWEVER, in the 2 1/2 years that I've been in the consulting industry I've tried & enjoyed tons of foods that I once said I would never eat like ahi tuna, sushi, lamb, collard greens, crab cakes, fried calamari, just to name a few.  The saying never say never is sooooooooooo true! I'm living proof!

Last night 2 of my coworkers wanted to eat at a Somolian restaurant. Initially, I wasn't really enthused...my mindset was going back to I don't like that (even tho I've never tried it) but I went anyway! I didn't want to be the 1 person who ruined the chance to try a new food for everyone. I had chicken kalankal and it was freakin yum!! I was not disappointed & I was (again) very proud of myself. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1. High Blood Pressure!!!??? Weight Loss? Workout? WHAAAT?

You may be wondering why I have the number 1 outside of my post & guess what if you’re not – I’m going to tell you anyway! 

I am participating in NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month.  I must write at least 1 post a day for the entire month of December.  Now we all know that I’m a busy ass person, but I’m gonna try this out & see how it works.

The NaBloPoMo theme for this month is Mitzvah.  Mitzvah means to express an act of human kindness. 

My bloggie friend Soph! asked me how I started running & if I had any tips/tricks to this workout/diet thing.  So today’s post is just for Soph! – sharing my experience so she (and others) can benefit is my act of human kindness for today! :)

So here goes….I’m going to lay it all on the line…well on the blog! ;)   

How I started:
I went to the OB/GYM to talk with him about my birth control pills & the problems I was having with spotting.  At my visit he told me that he would switch my pills, but also was a bit concerned that my blood pressure had been consistently high in my last 3 visits, not alarmingly high at like stroke level or anything, but high for a fairly healthy 26 year old.  He told me a nice, doctor-ish, round about way that from the blood workup that he’d done in a previous visit, he didn’t see any factors that were contributing to my elevated blood pressure other than my weight, which then turned into a conversation about the foods that I ate.  Love my OB/GYN BTW, he’s the best!  I told him that I had a family history of high BP & diabetes & asked what I could do to decrease my weight & ensure that my BP was at a normal level.  He first suggested that I limit my daily caloric intake to 1500 calories a day, get at least 30 minutes of cardio a day, and STOP DRINKING SODA.   He also gave me an appetite suppressant to help with the first part (daily caloric intake) cause I probably would have eaten myself out of house & home if I didn’t take the diet pills.

Let me just say before I go into details about my “numbers” & my “plan” – I travel for a living, so finding something healthy to eat on the road EVERYDAY is a bit hard (hence the reason why I gained so much weight). ANYWAY!!

My starting numbers (5/09):
I’m totally not ashamed of my starting numbers so I’ll share them with you..
  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5 feet 11 inches
  • Weight: 180 pounds
  • MY Goal Weight: 150
  • Doctors Goal Weight: 157-160

My meal plan:
  • No more soda, no diet soda, no X-zero (you name it sprite, coke, etc) soda…NO SODA!
  • Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
  • Eat a healthy breakfast.  My usual breakfast consists of a cantaloupe bowl from Publix, Yoplait yogurt, and 1/4 cup of bear naked granola & a bottle of water with Crystal Light strawberry & lemonade mix ins.
  • Subway for lunch – usually a 6 inch ham on honey oat, no cheese, toasted, with onions, regular mustard, light oil & light vinegar, a bag of baked lays chips, and a bottle of water with crystal light strawberry & lemonade mix ins.
  • Snacks – 100 calorie cookies, chips, trail mix, etc – you get the picture!
  • Dinner – I eat whatever I want, but I don’t go overboard!

My Workout Plan:
So this is the part that people really want to know about – how did you go from not working out to running like a maniac?!  I armed myself with a few handy gadgets. 
  • I already had an iPhone 3GS so I could mark that off of the list. 
  • I ordered myself some NikeID shoes that were also Nike+ compatible.  (FYI there is no need to order any NikeID shoes – they’re too damn expensive so skip that step, just buy some shoes that are Nike+ compatible)
  • Purchased the Nike+ sensor to put in my shoes
  • Registered at the NikeRunning website & joined several challenges that they have on their website – nothing like motivation of other members on your “virtual” team.
  • Purchased a handy dandy sports case for my iPhone from the apple store…Marware Sportshell Convertible for iPhone 3GS
  • Turned on the Nike+ iPod application on my iPhone & performed the calibration for both running & walking.
  • I made a playlist of songs to listen to (If you want the list let me know and I’ll hook you up) & I told myself the following: “I will run to the chorus of each song & walk through the verses.”

I went on for about 2 months of running to the chorus only & walking through the verses, each session my workout time was getting better & better – totally proven by the workout history on my Nike+ iPod app!  I ran more on days that I was super stressed out because somehow running became an effective way for me to get in my 30 minutes of cardio, but a way for me to release the stress of life & work. 

Each run I pushed myself to run a little longer than the chorus, to see if I could make it through the chorus & the verse, then walk & try it over again & that’s how I made it to 3 miles in about 35 minutes. 

I also downloaded an app from the iTunes app store called C25K – Couch to 5K which helps you train for a 5K run.  The app is pretty sweet & can be found in the iTunes app store. 

My best mile to date is 10 minutes 12 seconds & my best 5K is 31 minutes 53 seconds.  My longest distance is 5.30 miles which I did in 1 hour 1 minute & 34 seconds. 

My current numbers (12/09):
  • Age: 26
  • Height: 5 feet 11 inches
  • Weight: 152 pounds

Some days my scale says I weigh 154 pounds – some days I say my scale is a POS and can’t make up it’s f*cking mind how much I weigh! ;)

Yesterday I got back on track – I ran 4.21 miles in 45 minutes 58 seconds with a pace of 10 minutes 54 seconds per mile.  Not too bad considering I had just finished eating dinner & was running on a full stomach.

I’m well on my way to being a much happier & healthier me!  When I go back to my OB/GYN for my annual visit, I’m sure he’ll be happy to see that I’ve lost the weight and am keeping it off.