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You may or may not remember me mentioning that I was going to take a belly dancing class in the fall.  My friend JJ saw a Groupon that could be used to take 6 belly dancing classes, so we signed up.  (P.S. – If you aren’t a Groupon user, you need to get on board stat – that Website is amazing and has led to me try new things I may have never even considered in the past).   We were sort of slack about getting our act together and actually deciding on a class and signing up.  Low and behold, December had arrived and we hadn’t signed up and our Groupon looked like it might expire.  Luckily it was extended through January, so we finally signed up.  I am so glad we did because it’s so much fun!

We are taking beginner classes at Nazeem Allayl (to my Atlanta readers – if you are interested in belly dancing, go here!), and I feel like I am learning so much!  I can actually do the moves pretty well once we learn them, if I do say so myself.  With continued practice, I could actually look pretty slick!

The funny thing about taking the class is that I didn’t think the moves would come to me so easily since I had no experience with belly dancing in the past.  Sure I could hip shimmy (your hips/butt look like they are vibrating because you move your legs so fast), but I was clueless about the rest of the moves.  Yeah, from time to time they are hard, and I often leave class super sore, but it’s so much fun.  And it’s a great workout because you are constantly moving and doing moves for whole songs at a time, so it’s a total win-win!

Every move you do starts from belly dance stance, which is you standing with your knees bent (like you are about to sit in a chair), chest out, pelvis rolled in, and your arms out in a soft W-shape.  After a while, your thighs and arms start to burn like crazy, but at least you know you are working something.  So far we have learned a lot of different hip lifts, drops, and shimmies.  Next week we’ll learn the maneuvers that use only your stomach and abs.  I’m really wondering how hard this is going to be…

I have three classes left and am seriously considering continuing with another six classes after these are done.  You work a lot of different muscles (ones that I don’t use on a normal basis), get your heart rate up, and you laugh and have a great time while learning cool dance moves.  If you are looking for something fun or different to add to your workout routine, I totally recommend trying belly dancing.

Besides, who doesn’t like to wear a pretty, jingly hip sash?  🙂

My next adventure will be a Zumba class with JD.  Thanks again Groupon!

Can you believe that summer is officially over?  I don’t know about the rest of you, but this summer was hot, hot, hot.  In August and September alone, Atlanta reached 90+ degrees for 38 out of  59 days. That is just ridiculous.  I don’t even know what the numbers in June and July was.   Don’t get me wrong, I love hot summers, but I am really digging this crisp fall weather that has arrived apparently out of nowhere.  Cool mornings turn into warm afternoons and chilly evenings.  We can sleep with the windows open and turn off the AC.  It’s awesome!

As I say goodbye to summer until 2011, I’ve begun reflecting on some of the cool things I’ve done this summer that I’ve never tried before.

Flying High

The first really cool thing I did was participate in an aerial silks class.  If you’re not sure what that is, it’s basically the cool acrobatic stuff you see in Cirque du Soleil where the girls are wrapped in bright-colored silks and flip and twirl through the air.

CGN, JD and I all signed up for this really cool introductory class in Atlanta at Sky Gym. The class was small and we broke into three teams of three or four, and we all learned the basic moves that eventually are woven into the advanced tricks and routines.  Watching the instructor made everything look so simple and elegant, when in reality it took some serious core and upper body strength to master the moves.  CGN was the best out of the three of us.  Apparently JD and I need to work on our core strength just a little.  If you do pilates or yoga and have ever done dance, you will love it.  Even if you haven’t, like me, it was still a lot of fun!

Dirt in the Skirt

Growing up, we always played softball.  I only played one year on an organized team, but constantly played with the neighborhood kids or Little S.  This summer, we joined a co-ed adult rec league, and I had so much fun!

I played second base (which scared me at first) and could actually still hit – during one game I actually got 4 RBIs, making me the MVP of the game! 🙂 It’s fun to run around at night playing a game from your childhood with friends, followed by drinks with friends.  We weren’t the best, but we enjoyed it so much that we are playing again in the fall.  Tonight is our third game, and hopefully we will win!

The best part about playing is coming up with a team name.  Ours is pretty ridiculous – Avoid the Clap – which comes from a quote from one of Little S’s and my favorite movies.  Do you know what it is?

Floating On

Late in the summer, a group of us decided to rent some floats and spend the afternoon floating down Atlanta’s Chattahoochee River.   It’s really chill and so much fun, even though the water is freezing.  It’s probably only in the low 60s, even in the summer.

Everyone rents some floats for themselves and their coolers, you string yourself up, and hit the water for a few hours.  The first time we went, there were only 6 of us, so we floated in a flower-like formation with our cooler being the center.  We drank beers and cider,  snacked on chips and grapes, and had an amazing afternoon floating for two hours.

Since it was so much fun the first time around, we decided to go again on Labor Day.  That time we had 18 people and probably about 22 floats (including the ones for the coolers), and we opted for the four-hour trip.  Since we had so many people, we were able to get a shuttle to take us to and from Little S’s place, so no one had to worry about driving, which was a really good thing because we were all a little tipsy from drinking in the sun all afternoon.  I wish we could have taken a picture of our giant formation because I’m sure it was pretty impressive!

Rough Rafting

Sticking to my theme of new water adventures, a group of us went whitewater rafting in early September. Thanks to Groupon (I love that site) we were able to get a really sweet deal on rafting tickets, so a bunch of us decided to buy them.  Since the rafting place was in Tennessee, we opted to make a weekend out of it and rent a cabin.  We ended up finding the most amazing cabin in Blue Ridge, GA, about an hour from the rafting spot, and 10 of us headed north for the weekend.  It was a random amalgamation of kids (we’re in our 20s and early 30s) and grown ups (the 45+ crowd), but we had a great time.

Our cabin had an amazing view of the mountains, numerous patios (and we all know how much I LOVE patios),  and a hot tub.  What more could you want?

The morning of the trip, I was pretty nervous.  I was convinced that I would fly out of the raft and be washed down the river in the class three and four rapids never to be seen again.   Luckily, I stayed in the boat, and I managed to have a ton of fun.  It was a little scary because we started and dove right into class four rapids, but after getting rid of the initial nerves and fear, it was such a blast.  If you’ve never been before, I totally recommend it.  And, the water was a lot warmer than the Hooch!

Smiling while the rapids aren’t too rough

It got a little crazier

The view from our awesome cabin

So, did you go out there and try anything new this summer?  Are you planning on getting into something cool in the fall?

My next adventure…belly dancing lessons!

Our weekend trip to Tennessee was fun, except for the fact that the Dawgs  got stomped.  We are doing awful this year!

The cute “red” dress I ordered to wear to the game ended up being more orangey than red, so that meant I couldn’t wear it on Saturday since UT’s color is orange.  Oh well, I wore it Sunday and it was still cute!

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This weekend we are going on a work retreat to our mountain client.  It’s going to be a lot of fun, but it is going to be freezing up there.  The highs are in the upper 40’s and the lows in the 30’s…brrr.  Hello fall!

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I went to Old Navy after work the other day and stocked up on the cutest fall sweaters and dresses.  I spent a lot more money than I intended.  Check out the dresses!

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I also bought these really cute textured tights, but they snagged up after wearing them once.  I’m going to have to return them because it’s not cool that $10 tights unravel after the first wear.

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JD and I are hosting our annual Spooktacular Halloween party on Halloween this year.  I can’t wait!

T and I are going to be Bill and Sookie from True Blood.  I am making my costume, I hope it turns out cute! Do you have your Halloween costume picked out?

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Next week, Little S and I are starting Women’s Health’s Belly Off Club workout.  I have been a lazy slob this year, and I really need to lose some weight.  I know this is going to be good for me but I’m sure it’s going to kick my butt.  Especially rule #5 – No Alcohol for a month!  Eek!

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People around me have been sick for weeks.  I have managed to avoid getting anything for a while, except now I think I may be coming down with a cold.  I’m coughing like crazy (which at first I thought was due to inhaling couscous last night, but I don’t think that’s the case) and my head hurts.  FML

So, what’s been making you smile or frown lately?

It’s that time again, where you share a little bit too much about yourself with thousands of strangers.  To read about everyone else’s horror stories, go to LiLu’s TMI Thursday page.

I am not much of a gym nut.  Going to the gym is usually pure torture.  I’d much rather go walking with a friend or do a workout DVD at home just because I hate dealing with all the people at the gym and waiting for equipment to open up.

One day, JD and I decided to go for a nice long walk.  About 5 minutes in, it began to rain.  This meant we had to cut our workout short.  Once we got back to her house, she remembered that she had gotten this free pilates DVD with a pack of chicken she bought (weird, I know), so we decided we should try it out.

I am not one who does yoga or pilates very often because I can’t control myself.  I either can’t do the positions right and then tip over, or I am too busy laughing at how awkward I must look in some of the crazy positions to really focus on what I need to be doing.

We put in the DVD and waited anxiously for our pilates session to begin.  I think we got a pretty good workout in and both of us were maintaining our focus really well.  And then we got to the ab section.  We were doing some kind of reverse crunch  move when all of a sudden the silence was shattered by two loud TTTTTHHHHUUURRPs!

JD and I looked at each other and nearly died.  Whatever crazy move we were doing was causing to make farting noises…not out of our butts but  out of our va-jay-jays.  Yeah, it was special.

We continued doing the exercises, which resulted in an extra unique chorus of queefs.  By the end of the workout, we were laughing so hard we could barely breathe.  We were both gasping for breath and joking about how glad we were that we were in her living room and not a class.  That would have been super embarrassing.

After that little episode, I am seriously leery about ever doing yoga or pilates in public.  How are you supposed to control that?  Or maybe everyone’s queefing, so it really isn’t that noticeable?

I really hate it when people get snarky at you for no reason, especially in the workplace.  It is just so uncalled for.  I’m sorry if I’ve contacted someone multiple times to ask a question, and they don’t get back to me.  There is nothing I can do about it so there is no need to get bitchy.  And I really don’t have time to sit there calling or e-mailing that person over and over again.  I do have other things I need to work on.  Plus I don’t want to be a nuisance – no one likes to be pestered.

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I got a sub today from Publix (grocery store for all of you non-Southerners).  It was a Cuban and was totally amazing.  I heart Cubans.  What I hate when eating sandwiches is when the top part of the bread ends up being smaller than the lower part and the filling.  How does that happen?  I don’t understand.  Also, when the meat starts sliding out the back, that is so not cool.

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I am loving these bright and sunny days we are having, but the nights are not so great.  It keeps dropping into the 40s.  I want to sleep with the window open or wear flip flops, but at night it’s still too chilly.  The hotness will be here soon enough, then I will be complaining about that too.

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I am trying to be more physically fit, but it is just so hard.  I’ve worked out with Little S a few times, but that results in me getting home after 8 p.m., which is not cool when you still have to cook dinner.  I suck at waking up, even at 7:30 a.m., so there is no way I will be able to go before work.  Maybe I can try to do the 30 Day Shred in the morning, since it’s so short.  How do you manage to balance working out with work?  By the end of the day, I’m usually so shot.

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Stomachaches.  At work.  With a one-seater bathroom.  A meeting going on in the conference room, right next to the bathroom.  Enough said.

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Cleaning out the guest bedroom.  It is a catch all for everything.  It is so cluttered.  We will be cleaning it and the rest of the house all day tomorrow.  I am so NOT looking forward to that.

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On another note, I am so happy that it is Friday and not raining (for the millionth time this spring!).  We are going to some friends’ house tonight for a cook out, which should be a lot of fun.  If it gets too chilly, I’m sure the fire pit will make an appearance. 🙂

Happy weekend!

Hi lovelies!  Sorry for the brief absence.  I haven’t been all that busy, but I just haven’t felt like I had the time to sit and write.  I’m sure you know how that is.

Yesterday was mine and T’s 7-month married people anniversary.  It kind of blows my mind.  Seven months ago the 2 of us were getting ready to walk down the aisle and exchange vows.  Craziness! Last year at this time, I was in full on wedding planning mode, and we were getting ready to take our engagement pictures!

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This weekend we had lovely weather again, so a group of us made another excursion to Piedmont Park (no celeb sightings this time around) to lounge in the sun and enjoy a lazy Sunday.  A couple of friends brought their doggies, which made me really want to get a dog.  But T and I have decided that we have to wait until we have a real house with a yard.  There is no reason we need to cram 2 people, 2 cats and a dog into a condo.   Speaking of real houses, I think I’m rubbing off on T a little because he has also started doing some house research.  I guess we just have to see where that all goes.

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Last night I went to the gym with Little S as I am trying desperately to stop being such a lazy ass.  My sacrifice for Lent is not going quite so well.  I’ve only worked out a few times, but I guess it’s better than nothing, right?  We did triceps, shoulders, back and abs.  Today, I’m hurting…a lot.  But I’m hoping things will get easier, especially if I mix in 30 Day Shred (the killer of all work out tapes).  Keep your fingers crossed that I’m nice and buff by bikini season! 🙂

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I need to work on updating my blogroll, it’s been a minute since it’s been refreshed.  If you read my blog and want me to check out yours, let me know!  Or if there is a super cool blog out there that you think I should read, tell me about it.

Sorry for all of the randomness! I promise I won’t disappear for so long again for a while. 🙂

As you all may recall, neither T nor I are very religious.  In fact, we are total Catholic flunkies.  Which is part of the reason we chose to be married by the Reformed Catholic Church.  Any way, this means we really don’t participate in many overly religious traditions.  Except for this year.

I have to say, it’s gotten pretty bad.  I am a lazy mofo.  I cannot even tell you the last time I actually hit the gym.  Realistically it was probably before the wedding.  Sad, I know.

I am tired of feeling like I am packing on the pounds, which is exactly what I am doing.  Since the wedding, I have put on about 7-10 pounds.  I’m not sure of the exact amount because my weight it pretty fluctuatey (totally just made that word up), but I know it’s gone up.

Some of my pants are a little more snug than they used to be.  Some of my tighter shirts are starting to accentuate my ab flab, which is so not cute.  I am dreading putting on a bathing suit in a few months.

Plus, I know I’m not being as healthy as I could be.  Sometimes it’s just hard to break the cycle.  Growing up, I was always slender and could eat what I want.  Now that I’m older and have my ass parked at a desk for 9 hours a day, I have to realize that I can’t eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  I also need to lay off the non-light beer.  Definitely don’t need to keep drinking away my calories.

I don’t want to do anything drastic.  I will try to make healthier food decisions, which means eating out less.  Or if I do eat out, I will make sure not to eat the entire portion.  What I really need to do is get active.  There is no excuse for me being such a bum.  I’m 26.  I should be able to be in shape, be healthy, and have killer abs.

So, for Lent this year I am giving up being lazy.  I will make myself work out at least 3-4 times a week.  I will actually use my gym membership that I pay for and never reap the rewards of.  I am tired of  feeling pudgy.

I am going to track my progress on my blog.  And I want you to hold me responsible.  If you think I sound like I’m slacking off, please encourage me to get off my lazy ass!  I need some serious motivation to get this going.

Are you giving up anything for Lent?  If so, what?

Ugh, why is the weekend never long enough!?!? I always feel like the week drags on forever, and the weekends are over in the blink of an eye. It sucks!

Saturday T and I had a long-awaited date night. It’s hard to set time aside for just us when he’s only here 2 days a week and has to study. Damn you CPA for keeping me from my fiance! (In other CPA-related news, T got an 83 on the second part. Only 2 parts left. Keep your fingers crossed that he passes. He has to take both in July).

A few months ago (maybe it was longer) Geisha House opened in Atlanta. I’ve heard great things about it from friends who had eaten there, so we decided to try it for date night. It was pretty cool. Everything was red and black and super modern. We had a table near the bar, which was neat because we could watch the bartenders make drinks. We decided on sushi and edamame for dinner. The bowl of edamame was HUGE and we barely ate any of it before our food came. We ordered 4 rolls, and we were impressed at how quick it all came out. I think my favorite roll of the evening was the unconventional Cowboy Roll. It was made out of a filet of steak, asparagus, scallions and cream cheese. T and I were a little weirded out at first by the sushi that contained no fish, but it was awesome! I’d totally go back there again. Except we may have to try Dolce first! 🙂

Sunday, T dragged my lazy ass to the gym. I did 35 minutes on the elliptical, some crunches, arms, calves and legs. I guess I went a little overboard! I did the machine that works your hip/butt area and makes you look super slutty because you have to push the weights open, which means you have to spread your legs. Since I was in shorts, I was semi-paranoid. CMc and her friends call it the “yes/no machine,” which made me crack up. That’s exactly what it makes you think of! Anyway, today my ass is a bit sore. Stupid yes/no machine!

After the gym, my mom stopped by, and we went shopping for her wedding outfit. After hitting Bloomies, Nordstrom and Dillards, we couldn’t find anything that she loved or wasn’t $500. We decided to hit Macy’s and got her a dress, awesome matching shoes, and cute earrings and bracelet. We also looked for some wedding shoes for me. And let me tell you, that was quite an adventure. Since I’m 5’10 (and T is 5’11) I don’t want super tall shoes because: A) I don’t want to tower over him. B) They’ll make my dress too short. C) I don’t want my feet to fall off. We seriously went to like 5 stores. Most of the cute shoes were at least 3 inches or more.

Finally we stopped at Nine West, and I was less than hopeful since the rest of my day had not been successful. But all of that changed when I saw these super cute peep toe silver shoes. They were the perfect height and were comfy. And they were on sale. Nine West – I HEART you this much! (Imagine me standing with my super long arms stuck out to each side). I know you are dying to know what they look like. So here they are!

So awesome! 🙂

I don’t know what’s the matter with me, but I have been so tired the past few days. I’m blaming it on my period, but seriously it’s like day 4.  I shouldn’t feel this out of it.  If random letters start popping up, it means I’ve passed out on my keyboard…

My car has been making this God awful noise for about 9 months.  It’s due to a problem with the power steering pump or something.  When my car turns, especially on sharp turns, it sounds like a seal crawled inside of the car and is dying.  It’s terrible and slightly embarrassing.  I had it checked out in January when I got new tires, and was told that it had some problems but I could drive it as is as long as the pump’s motor didn’t burn out.  Well, after receiving the almost $2,000 estimate about all of the car’s problems, I said f’ck it and decided to keep driving it as is.

I finally decided to have it looked at after JD’s car drama last week since I didn’t want to suffer the same fate.  My friend ASP’s boyfriend is a mechanic and offered to work on it for me so I could save some money.  Yesterday I got the call from ASP regarding my estimate, and it was more than a grand (cue minor heart attack).  I’m trying to save money for the honeymoon and our wedding bands, plus life keeps getting more expensive while my measly salary stays the same.   I haven’t gotten a raise since I worked at McHell – I made a lateral move for this job.  I tried to tell myself that $1,000 wasn’t that bad since he isn’t charging me for the work, even though I will totally give him some money and beer in return.  About 20 minutes after our original chat, ASP calls me back and gives me marvelous news.  He guy can fix the car for half of what he originally thought.  By ordering some non name brand parts, I can get my steering pump, rack and pin (no clue what that is), and front brake pads fixed along with an oil change and emissions test for around $400!  How amazing is that?!?!  I heart her guy!

My sister started her very first post-college job yesterday and is staying with T and me until she can find a place to buy (she’s an ambitious little one). I am super-thrilled about this because A) T is out of town during the week through the end of June leaving me home alone.  B) When he’s back, he’ll be studying for the third part of the evil CPA.  Little S can entertain me, cook dinner with me, and motivate drag my ass to the gym!

Yesterday we dabbled in all 3 fun activities.  I received this really yummy recipe from Self.com for a Summertime Risotto, and we decided to make it last night.  It was so tasty!  It took a little longer to make than we thought, but it was well worth it.  The risotto was made with white wine, chicken stock, zucchini puree, a little butter and parmesan cheese.  Then it was topped with oven-roasted grape tomatoes (we couldn’t find cherry ones), parsley and seared scallops.   I seriously recommend trying it.  It was worth the hard work.

After dinner, we hung around and watched baseball.  We flipped between the Atlanta Braves and the Dawgs (our college team) beating ass at the college world series.  2-0 baby!  Woot!   While we were watching the games, we did some arm and ab exercises.  See?  She’s already a good influence on me.

Now if only I could be less tired and wake up at 6 a.m. for the gym tomorrow, I’d be golden.

For all of you hungry kids out there, here is the recipe from Self:

Summertime Risotto

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp minced garlic
1 small onion, diced
2 cups diced zucchini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice*
1 lb arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 cups nonfat chicken broth
2 tbsp light butter
6 tbsp grated Parmesan
18 sea scallops
1 bunch parsley, chopped (optional

PREPARATION

Tomatoes Heat oven to 250°. Gently toss tomatoes in 2 tsp oil with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bake on a nonstick baking sheet 1 hour.

Zucchini Heat 1 tsp oil on medium heat in a medium pan. Cook garlic and half the onion until translucent; add zucchini and cook 5 minutes. Puree zucchini mixture in a blender with lemon juice and 1 tbsp oil. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Risotto Heat 1 tbsp oil in a medium pot on medium heat and sauté remaining onion until translucent. Add rice and cook 2 minutes. Gradually pour in wine, stirring until rice absorbs wine. Add broth 1 cup at a time until absorbed, stirring continually for 20 minutes or until rice is tender (add more broth if necessary). Once rice is cooked, stir in zucchini puree, butter and cheese. Set aside.

Scallops Heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan. Salt and pepper scallops and cook both sides until lightly browned. Add tomatoes and sauté 5 minutes. Spoon risotto on plate and top with scallops, tomatoes and parsley.

*I’d cut the amount of lemon juice in half unless you want it to be really tangy.

Do you ever have those moments where you sit and dream up all of these personal goals that you want to complete to better yourself?  I think I do it quite regularly, except I don’t have the motivation to go through with it.  Isn’t it sad to not go after your goals?  It’s not that I don’t believe in myself, it’s that I get bored with it. Or am way too lazy to start. Sometimes I suck at life a little…

My big goal for 2008 was to give up smoking. To stop wasting all of my money on buying little rolls of paper stuffed with dried plants that could eventually kill me. The stupid thing is, I know how bad and unhealthy it is for me. But does that stop me? No! I am a great justifier. When I say to myself, “Bing, you should really stop smoking,” my wonderful brain comes up with a justification – “No you don’t. You really don’t smoke that much. Usually only when you drink.” And due to my lack of motivation (maybe it’s will-power), I light up again. Take a long drag and exhale a gray cloud of chemicals into the air around me.

I’ve also tried to stray further and further away from the weekday partying. Not so much going out and drinking until all hours of the night, but holing up on my porch with JD, some beers and our trusty ciggies. My TiVo is overflowing with shows because I am to busy porching it, soaking up the hot, often sticky Georgia night air. I love my porch, summers, drinking beers and great conversations with friends. But then it always ends up lasting a little too long. We say one more beer. One more smoke. And all of a sudden it’s after midnight, and we have decent buzzes going on. On those nights, I fall right into bed and into sleep. But it’s never a refreshing sleep. It’s only Wednesday, but I’ve already had a little too much porch fun this week. But does that stop me? No. I can’t say no because I have no will-power. Where will I end up tonight? At trivia with T and our friends. Hopefully I actually get to bed before 12:30 tonight.

My biggest failure in relation to my goals is working out.  I go every once in a while, but that’s not enough.  JD and I walk, but only a few times a week. I planned to shape up and loose the “eating out all the time” pounds before the wedding, but I haven’t done shit.  I drive my gym bag around in my car, eat a little snack before I leave work so I am energized for a work out.  But do I actually do it?  Um, NO.  Once again my wonderful brain convinces me to go home instead, there are other things to get done or that are more fun.

It’s really funny.  Sometimes I feel like am fighting myself.  I have an addictive personality, I like to be around people.  My brain knows this.  And instead of helping me get to the gym, it dreams up other more fun things to do instead.  And I am weak, and go.

So, I am putting the gym off for another day and will go join my friends to answer random questions, share some pitchers of beer, and blaze through a pack of Camel Lights.

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