New Year’s Introspection & Resolutions

2015 In Review

2015 Bests
2015 Bests

How did I do on my resolutions to rehabilitate myself post-surgery?

  • Achieve a BMI of 20: NOPE. Not even close. This year’s low was a BMI of 24. I got it out of the overweight range and lost 20 lbs, though.  This is real and measurable progress, so partial win.
  • Run a 10-minute mile: Actually, according to my Band, my best split (mile) was 9:30 but I think that might have been a glitch. However, in Oct I clocked a 10:04 mile and a 10:05 mile so it’s possible!
  • Run the Santa Claus Shuffle 5k in less than 39:52 (that was my best time in 2012): This year’s time was officially 37:18, so WIN!

2016 Resolutions

I kind of liked having just one resolution last year with a few measurable outcomes.  I sort of kept that for this year.  This year, I resolved to work on my lifestyle: how I want my life to look and feel.  Part of this developed from the unreasonable stress I had at the end of this last semester and the fact that it’s simply untenable, so I need to work on better balance (doesn’t everyone?!).  So how do I organize those thoughts and make them measurable and attainable?


  • BMI of 22.5 is measurable. I’m enrolled in another DietBet Transformer. I should achieve this by the end of June. If I am happy, great; otherwise, progress to BMI of 20.
  • Yoga: I can start with Yoga Camp. This builds on the 30 Days of Yoga I did last year. Later, when $ permits, I can take a class. This is for mental health as well as flexibility.
  • Strength: there are plenty of options out there for free. For January, I’m going to do the Fit Girls Guide workouts (just not the meal plan, because I hate meal plans).       This year, I want to COMPLETE 10/12 monthly workout plans from whatever system(s) I choose or try!
  • Cardio: This year, I’m aiming for a 5k time of 36:00 or less. Jog 3x/week as training.
  • Continue the daily 10,000 steps or 5k/day (whichever comes last) for general fitness.
  • Do not skip two days in a row!


  • Complete the Apartment Therapy January Home Cure (again)
  • Continue the weekly/monthly/quarterly schedule.       It works!
  • Finish the Fall/Winter Closet Cure and do the Spring/Summer Cure. Stick to the one-in, one-out rule (if I buy something, some equivalent item must be donated or trashed).
  • Cooking: ENJOY my food this year! Attempt ZERO eating plans (seriously).
  • Personal care: create a beauty and lifestyle routine that works for me. This will require some experimentation.


Leave work at work. Maintain as close to a 9-5 as possible given the teaching schedule needs. Grading, planning, etc. all need to be accomplished at work. Do NOT add anything to your pile this year!

Social & Financial:

Redacted.  I have goals in these areas, but they’re not for public consumption.

I won my DietBet!

DB2015-BeforeAfterThis was one of the most difficult things I’ve undertaken–second only to quitting smoking. I don’t like sharing photos of myself really any time, but I’m choosing to share my before and after pictures this time because I’m proud of the progress I made. Real, measurable progress.

In this bet, I’ve learned a few things about what it takes for my body to lose weight, how fast, what’s acceptable, and what undoes my progress the worst. I learned that I do stress eat more than I thought. Or, at least, I tend to make significantly less healthy food choices. I learned that I still love cooking and I will never be able to follow a “meal plan” because it’s not me. If someone invents the “foodie’s diet” please let me know. I’m happy to save calories on breakfast and lunch in exchange for a delicious dinner (and maybe dessert).

I also made my 5k bet! My final time on my Santa Claus Shuffle was 37:18, which is WAYYY below the goal of beating 39:51 from 3 years ago. I can honestly say I’m in the best shape of my life.

One of the most important learnings wasn’t mine, this time. My boyfriend finally, FINALLY, has learned to become supportive. Instead of suggesting pizza, he bought me whole-wheat pita pockets. Instead of making fun of me and offering me a cracker for dinner, he came with me to my 5k races this year. That means so much to me. It might actually mean more to me than my own weight loss. I haven’t quite sorted out my feelings on any of this.

Right now, my feeling is seriously in the realm of WHERE DA FOOD?! It’s Christmas Day and I WON!

A Month of Projects

Sometimes, I undertake too many things at once. I have this feeling that December is going to be a typical month of that for me. I currently find myself working on several simultaneous projects, so here’s the short list:

Adobe Generation Pro: Digital Imaging

Yes, I enrolled in another MOOC to improve my digital imaging skills.  This class is different from Digital Creativity, and it’s going to force me to learn more about Lightroom and Photoshop.  Mostly, I’m hoping this helps me make better pictures for my blog!  We’re currently in Week 3/5, so this class should wrap up this month, but the final deadline for submitting course materials is in January 2016.  Right now, I’m trying to figure out how to paint a butterfly with light and put it on my kitten’s nose (I think that’s my Week 2 assignment).

30-Day Blogging Challenge

This one began today and this is my first official post.  I keep planning and intending to write more; this gives me something to do after classes wrap up for the term and a way to help me find my blogging voice!  I have NO idea what I’m going to write about every day for 30 days.  Content will vary.  I found this group thanks to a friend online (shoutout to my friend HodgePodgePam from, who is also participating in this challenge) and anyone can join through the Facebook page.

Healthy Moments December Challenge

Speaking of my friend Pam, I’m also participating in her month-long Healthy Moments challenge!  Although this is a closed group on Facebook, one of the participants actually suggested that I blog about my challenge experience, which sounds like it might be an interesting way to go.


I’ve only got a bit less than a month left to meet some of my Resolution goals for 2015.  I have yet to win my race and beat my time; I haven’t yet run a 10-minute mile (though I’m practicing), and I’m having to adjust my goal weight.  I’m close to winning the DietBet I’m participating in, and I have to stay on track through the holidays.  Okay, in all honesty, I have to get back ON track, (slight Thanksgiving derailment) and then stay on the track.  This came across my Instagram feed a few times and I sort of jumped in blind and joined at  I hate meal plans and my body aches.  Today is day 2/28.

Actually, many of the “challenges” that I’ve undertaken this year have been partial successes, and most have resulted in at least some changes for the better.  It’s with this introspection and reflection on my goals for the year that I continue to try to push myself toward achieving my goals.  However, I learned one very important thing in my Digital Video Production course and it also shows up in the FitGirlGuide challenge:

Progress, not Perfection.

That’s essentially going to be my mantra this month,


From Here to Eternity (5k race)

The sign that started it all...
The sign that started it all…

Earlier this year (in the summer), I realized that my running shoes were getting seriously worn out.  I finally decided to go get new ones.  Ironically, that same day, I saw signs for a 5k race event that was absolutely perfect for me: a 5k run through the Elmwood Cemetery, at twilight, a week before Halloween.  I signed up that night.

Shortly after, I started practicing for that 5k. I know the technical term is training, but I’m not an athlete and “training” seems too serious for a non-runner (me).  Finally, on October 24, 2015, it was race day.  I did opt to run in Steampunk costume. Laughably, nobody thought to get a picture of me BEFORE I was all race-sweaty, so you’ll have to wait to see my Halloween pictures (coming soon).

The run through the Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, VA (Oct 24, 2015). Image route from my Microsoft Band; blue = slowest, red = fastest.
The run through the Elmwood Cemetery in Norfolk, VA (Oct 24, 2015). Image route from my Microsoft Band; blue = slowest, red = fastest.

Honestly, it was harder going than I expected, partly due to the clothing and partly due to the irregular surface (gravel path and grass).  Despite that, I set a reasonably good pace, but I did end up walking some to catch my breath.

However, my boyfriend and my Mom were there to cheer me on (thanks!) and my boyfriend got video of me crossing the finish line:

My final official finishing time was 39:56.  That was 20th in my age group (30-39), right about in the middle.  I was 5 seconds short of setting a personal record! Although that’s immensely frustrating, I have another race coming up in December to fulfill my New Year’s Resolution goal.  On the plus side, it’s my first race medal!

Finisher's medal and race bib
Finisher’s medal and race bib

Happy New Year!

I’ve spent some time reflecting on the past year.  It had a few highlights and some definite lowlights; overall, it is not a year I’d care to repeat.  However, 2014 is now the past, and can safely stay there.

Resolutions and Goals

This year, I have one resolution.  That’s all.  Just one.  I resolve to rehabilitate my body following the gallbladder surgery.  I’m still recovering some, and I can’t quite jog comfortably.  I lost a lot of fitness ground during those months of pain and initial recovery from surgery.  Recovery/rehabilitation is not a quantifiable goal, however; how will I know I have accomplished this?  I am setting myself some specific and measurable outcomes to achieve this:

  • Achieve a BMI of 20.
  • Run a 10-minute mile.
  • Run the Santa Claus Shuffle 5k in less than 39:52 (that was my best time in 2012).

Aside from that, I have additional goals for this year.  These aren’t resolutions, since they may not always happen, but they are things I want to work on this next year:

  • I want to blog more.  Specifically, I want to write about more Science and achieve a better balance in my blog for the three main topics.  To this end, I am planning to have Science Fridays, Culinary Sundays, and Beautiful Wednesdays.  This should help me space things out a bit in the week.
  • I actually want to write more book reviews.  I may continue with the Birchbox Book Club for a bit, but I also plan to join the SciFri Book Club for more challenging reading!  I don’t know what these books are yet, so my immediate goal is to finish The Improbability Principle: Why Coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day by David J. Hand.
  • I want to build some savings.  I’m not going to post my financial details here, but I saw a challenge where each week you save $1 more than the week before, so this week is $1, next week is $2, the week after is $3, etc.  It’s stupidly simple, so I should be able to do this.
  • I plan to take more online courses.  First up is an Adobe Educator course:  Adobe Generation Professional: Digital Creativity that should keep me going for the first two months of the year!

Anticipated Events

I’m not good at the long-range planning in general and I don’t look forward to a whole lot.  However, this year I look forward to getting in some more research, including (hopefully) a collaborative effort with Chemistry.  I am really looking forward to the American Association of Immunology Conference in May (in New Orleans!  My first trip there!).  I am NOT looking forward to my friend moving away, but I am thrilled that new opportunities mean positive changes for her this next year!



Keeping Resolutions: February in Review

So here goes:

  1. Financial.  I pulled my $100 cash out for Feb and at the moment I have … <stops and counts> like 42 cents left.  Fine.  In all honesty and fairness, I did actually end up overbudget this month too–a couple of restaurant trips–but closer than last month. I need to get that under control.  BUT, the last lawsuit payment is scheduled for next month… so progress!!!!  I have not overdrafted, I have a (small) buffer in my checking account, and my savings are… well, near zip, but that’s more due to bank fees–I haven’t touched it.  I darned near forgot I had a savings account.  I’d like to start stashing some more in there.
  2. Physical: I kept up my workout goals.  I had 2 days where I think I only got 30 minutes in, but that was my minimum.  There were also 4 days where I was sick. If I have a fever, I shouldn’t be working out.  I do NOT count those days against my goal.  I did acquire workout gloves.  I got my January reward-massage and it was wonderful!  Officially, at this point, I’m down 10 lbs from the start of the year.  Most of me jiggles significantly less.  My interval training has progressed to being able to run at 6 mph for ~1 min without exceeding my target heart rate (which is about to change because I get older this week).  I never did figure out what to do as a Feb reward for making my workout goals… and I met my calorie target goal (1500) for 20/29 days, which earned me a mani-pedi.  Looking forward to that sometime in March.  Maybe Friday?  Also, I went to the dentist for a routine cleaning/x-rays/etc. and my teeth and gums are largely fantastically healthy! YAY!  I love going to the dentist! 😀
  3. Beauty: except for sick days, I continued to do my hair & makeup.  I got a haircut (wow) that was NOT an allowance item (thank goodness), but was worth it.  My haircut rocks. I lost about 3″, which was a major shock for me–it’s shorter than I wanted, but that was the fried portion of my hair.   Whatever she did to my hair transformed it into sleek straightness for a few days.  I did learn that I will need to invest in a new hairdryer and flat iron… sigh.  More $$$$.  Oooh, I did get that one nail polish and makeup brushes.  So that part of the resolutions went quite well.
  4. Be nicer to my cat: overall, I guess I was.  Hard to figure.  I made her a photo-of-the-week because she is just sooo tormented.  You may judge for yourselves.
  5. What was 5???? Oh, yeah.  Photo-of-the-week.  Yup, check.  That is, after I post this week’s picture.

So, I’ve done well this year so far.  It has been more difficult this month, but I managed; I’m sure it’s not going to get easier, either.  I’m not entirely sure what my goals for this next month are… mostly, I guess, to keep on as I have been doing!

One more *VERY* important accomplishment: I am no longer clinically overweight!!! Thanks, Mom!!! 😀 😀 😀

Beauty Resolutions, Continued…

I’ve continued to do my hair and makeup. I’ve made progress in both arenas–
And, pursuant to my goals, I acquired makeup brushes. And more hairstyling products that may actually help.
Meanwhile, it’s a cold, wet, dreary day out. Usually, I love those days, and today isn’t much of an exception. I’m quite jealous that my parents are getting SNOW and I’m not.

I also picked up groceries for the week. I’ve been making a concerted effort to change my diet and exercise, and it’s paying off! Today I was wondering what on earth I would do for dinner. I opted to roast a chicken and some brussels sprouts (these are my LEAST favourite vegetables in the whole wide world, but I had some that I loved that were roasted, so I figured I would try it), and baking some potatoes. If it goes well I will post pics (AFTER THE JUMP)
Meanwhile, you may vicariously enjoy my shopping trip…

Roasted Chicken

Yummy Dinner


Keeping Resolutions: January in Review

  1. Financial: I set myself a $100 allowance.  FAIL.  I may have been 2.5X that.  In fairness, some of those expenditures were for a stockpile of makeup that will probably last the rest of my life, and while that’s an investment, it still exceeded my budget.  However, I have paid bills, and I’m NOT BROKE.  It’s a nice feeling.  I’m just scared I won’t be able to pay rent at the beginning of NEXT month, so I’m hoarding a LOT.  This is still WAY under what I normally seem to blow through.  I need to decide if goal-rewards come out of this allowance. I know they should, but part of the idea was to have some $ to actually work TOWARDS those goals, too–like being able to try a new makeup item, or buy a skirt, or get a coffee or dinner & a movie.  And $100 doesn’t go that far in today’s world… one massage will use up $70 including tip.  My grocery costs have NOT been counting against this allowance… there’s no way I’d make it 2 weeks.  Eating healthy costs a lot more.  Bonus, though, I’m not wasting my produce!  It gets eaten!
  2. Physical: I set a goal of going to the gym a minimum of 5 days a week.  HOLY CRAP I succeeded!  I went 5 or 6 days a week EVERY week.  I’m seeing progress–I’ve increased the weights I’m lifting (twice, in some cases) and the cardio machines have to work me a LOT harder to keep my heart rate in the target zone (now I have a lot more incline/resistance/speed than I started with) PLUS I’ve started doing interval jogs–2 min walk, 1 min jog.  I met my 1500-calorie goal 82% of the time (14/17 days from when I started seriously tracking it). I’ve lost maybe 5 lbs, and I’m bitterly disappointed by that, but I have to pull up my pants a lot more!  As a reward, I was mentally promising myself a massage if I did it.  I earned my reward… but I have to wait for enough $ to get the massage.  I will, though!  I also need some weight-lifting gloves.  I’m getting calluses.  I have eaten more veggies, beans, etc. and a LOT less fast food (Ok, I got a salad at McDonald’s yesterday).  Although I’m not exactly happy with the scale, I must call this part of my resolutions TOTAL SUCCESS so far.  I think my body is remodelling… it jiggles less… but even the measurements haven’t changed much (I think I have consistency issues there).
  3. Beauty: I did my hair and makeup every single workday of the month.  See video below.  EVERY single day.  Was it worth it? I don’t know.  I acquired a lifetime supply of my favourite makeup (thanks, Mom!), and I’ve gotten better at some aspects of application.  Plus, the foundation primer finally got replaced with something that’s not dribbly! (The original formulation of Laura Mercier’s stuff is MUCH better).  On tap for this month in terms of things to try or get: one nail polish to acquire, and I could use some makeup brushes.  I’ve thought about keratin for my hair, but the at-home stuff seems risky.  I want to try to find a perfume that I like (that isn’t Chanel No.5).
  4. Be nicer to my cat: check.  Yeah, yeah… she’s adorable.  And oddly not in my way at the moment!
  5. Photo-of-the-week project: Yup!  See relevant posts.
Overall, 4/5 isn’t bad, especially for a start.

NOTE: That’s every day since JANUARY 2nd!  Oops.

Another New Year

I suppose I really should review last year’s Resolutions Post  before I start on this year’s.  Well.  Now I should take my own advice.#160; HA!  If only it were that easy, eh?

I have three main goals/resolutions for this year.  Some are more complex than others.

  1. Financial: At the end of this year, I would like to have only student loans and my car payment.  I’m not yet sure if that’s feasible, but it is something to work towards.
  2. Physical: Improve my health by losing weight (I have a goal of 45 pounds) and becoming more fit (I want to be able to run a mile).  I have a gym membership, I have knowledge.  I need implementation.
  3. Beauty: I resolve to take more pride in my appearance.  I usually roll out of bed, shower, and throw on some foundation and maybe lipstick.  Last week I actually put on MORE makeup for New Year’s, and I got LOTS of compliments and comments at work.  It was strange.  Maybe I’m not trying hard enough.
  4. Be nicer to my cat.  Hey, I promised!  She’s very (VERY) vocal and demanding sometimes, and usually tries to interfere when I’m at the computer.  I do NOT mistreat her, but I ignore her a little more than I ought to (at least, she thinks so).
  5. I want to do a project for me.  I’ve always wanted to kind of do a snapshot-of-the-day project, but I’m also pretty darned sure I can’t keep up with that.  So I’ll start smaller—snapshot of the week!

As progressing towards some of those goals, I went and used that gym membership today.  I’m glad my keyboard is at the height it is, because it was upper-body day, and most of my muscles in that region protesteth loudly.