Friday, 22 May 2015

30 Day Dress Challenge

I realized that I never put up a picture of my gallery wall. I spent so much time thinking about what do with it. Eventually I just threw some nails in the wall and went for it. I am really happy with the result. I'm also relieved that my apartment can now go back to normal. I lived way too long with a carpet covered in frames as I tried to figure out the right arrangement.


I really wanted to go away last weekend, as it was a long weekend in Canada. Unfortunately that didn't work out. It was nice to have a relaxing weekend at home. Plus I was finally able to give my apartment a really good cleaning.

As I was cleaning I came to the realization that I own way too many dresses. I am pretty good about wearing them, but I tend to cycle through just a few. I decided that I needed to fix this. So I challenged myself to wear a dress everyday for the next 30 days.

I don't know if I have enough dresses to cover every day, but my hope is that I will be able to find situations for all of my dresses. And if I can't, then it's buh-bye. Skirts also count. I never wear skirts, but I should because I have some really cute ones.

If I don't have enough outfits to get through the entire month, at that point recycling dresses will be okay. BUT, if I still have dresses/skirts left at the end of the month, then I am going to continue until I run out.

Hopefully I can weed out my wardrobe a bit by figuring out which dresses I love and which are just meh.

This dress was a hand me down from my mother. I chose to wear this dress on day one because I have NEVER worn it ever. I've tried it on multiple times, but it always ends up on the floor before I head out the door. It was actually this dress the lead me to the dress challenge. I knew that I needed to find a way to wear it or get rid of it. The problem with it is that it's too fancy for every day wear, but not blingey enough for when I want to be fancy. It's just a simple black dress with sparkly embellishments at the top and bottom. It would be perfect for an evening work event. Unfortunately, I don't have that type of job... yet. I tried to dress it down a bit for a Mexican dinner with friends last Saturday. I'm just so happy that I was able to wear it at least once.

This dress was a recent purchase. I bought it a couple of days before I went to Mexico from Bootlegger. I actually wore it on the plane. It was a really good travel dress. I was able to look cute, but still be very comfortable. I tried it on at one location, but the price was a little high for me. But then I remembered that the other location was closing, so I hightailed it across town and found it there in my size for 40% off. 

I thought I had donated this dress, so I was pleasantly surprised that it was hidden in the back of my closet. I found this zebra dress at H&M a couple of years ago. It has always been a favourite, but it is starting to get a little worn out.

I have long been obsessed with bows. It was a little extreme at one point. I knew I had to have this dress the second I saw it. Seriously, I can't turn down bows. Plus it has a peter pan collar. Oh em gee! I actually that this same dress in another pattern, so I already knew I would love it. I always feel a bit liked Wednesday Addams when I wear it though. Probably because I associate with my grandmother's funeral. But it's cute, so I should break it out more.

I found this dress at a cute little boutique store in Penticton called Something Pretty. My friend and I were both obsessed with it, so we both ended up buying it. No regrets. Except those sunglasses. Please throw away those sunglasses. I look like an alien-bug hybrid.

Finally, on day 6 I wore this little number. I found this dress at my local grocery store. They actually have a nice fashion line called Joe Fresh. Although, Joe can sometimes be hit or miss. When it first came out it was good clothes for great prices. The quality isn't always great, but the prices have sky rocketed. Sometimes I can find something great, like this vintage style dress with a sailboat pattern. It's so comfy and easy to wear. Perfect for throwing on over a bathing suit in the summer. 

Bright on a Budget
Happy Friday!

Friday, 15 May 2015

Yoga Blues

I have been slacking on taking full advantage of my yoga pass. I don't have the same motivation that I had a couple of months ago when I first joined this studio. Back then, I was going everyday. Sometimes twice a day. And I loved every moment of it.

I took a few weeks off from that studio and have struggled to get in the same groove now that I have returned. 

One of the reasons is because the schedule has changed. At first I was excited about the new additions. Evening Barre classes! My dream come true. I was so happy when they finally added Barre classes that worked with my schedule. However, it came at a cost. Two of my favourite classes were cancelled to make room for it. No more Yang and Yin at all. There are still plenty of Flow classes, but I really like flying down the hill after work on a Friday to get my weekend started with a good flow.

I have yet to take advantage of these new Barre classes. I've signed up twice, but cancelled both times. One week I had to cancel because it was the only time that I could make it out to visit my grandfather in the hospital before I went away.

I cancelled another class because I was anticipating a sickness coming on. I thought I had the same thing as everyone else in my family, but in the end it turned out to be just a slight cold. It was still probably a good idea to cancel, but if I am being honest with myself, I was relieved.

My first experience at the barre was fun and invigorating, but I felt like a fish out of water. Most of the girls in the class looked like ex-ballerinas. I'm used to being the largest person in class. It doesn't really phase me anymore. But in this class, there was no middle ground. Nobody above a size small. At the time I didn't really care. However, since then I have constantly been psyching myself out about returning.

Another reason for my lack of enthusiasm is the fact that the classes that work best with my schedule are all taught by the worst waitress I have ever had in my life.

I first met her a couple of years ago when she knocked on my parents door looking for her iPhone. She had been at the house the night before, partying with my brother, and she misplaced her phone. I spent an hour with her tearing the house apart, but we couldn't find the phone.

The next week I met a bunch of friends at a pub for a bite to eat. My friend and I had our regular class that evening, but we weren't in a huge rush since we didn't have to leave for an hour and a half. The pub was quiet except for a large group in the back who had just ordered. She explained that it might be a bit of wait. It wasn't a problem, but I let her know that my friend and I would have to leave before the rest of the group.

Forty minutes later the first meal arrived. And slowly, all of the men at our table started to get their meals. And then eventually some of the women started to get their food.

I politely reminded her that I had to leave, so I would really appreciate it if she pushed my order ahead. All I got was a bit of sass about how it wasn't her fault and she was doing the best she could. However, a male friend who also had to leave early was the first person to be served. I questioned her on this and she told me it was really important that he was able to leave early.

At this point I was still quite understanding. It was an annoying situation, but I figured that she was doing the best she could. My friend Amy graciously passed me her meal since we had ordered the same thing. The waitress stopped what she was doing and come over and took away the food and gave it back to Amy. "That's not yours" she scolded me. Eventually I got it back, but the waitress was pissed. Clearly she had something against me. I was lucky that I was able to get something to eat, but my dancing partner was still waiting on her food.

Over an hour after the first person at our table got their food, our food finally arrived. Almost two hours after we had first ordered it. My friend had to take hers to go, and she ate it in the car as we drove to our dance class.

There was no apology. Only countless rounds of "it's not my fault," finished up with "you have messed everything up and I don't know who this meal belongs to (referring to the meal that was supposed to be mine)."

I have two theories as to why she acted the way she did.
A) She is sexist. Men give better tips, so why waste your time trying to give women good service?
B) She thinks for some asinine reason that I had something to do with her missing phone.

It's probably a combination of A and B.

I have been forced to go back to that pub on multiple occasions since that incident; however, I have refused to give them any money. They don't deserve my business.

And now this waitress is my yoga instructor.

I doubt that she would remember that night in any detail, but I do think that she harbours some hostility towards me. I think that I had horrible service from her was because of that hostility. My friends who were there that night at the other end of the table had an excellent time and were completely unaware of the situation. The friends who were at my end of the table also felt that it was really only me that was on the receiving end of any negativity from her.

So far she has pretended not to know me, as I have done with her. The other day I when I was signing in, she didn't ask for my name and when I double checked that I was signed in, she told me I was signed in, but pretended not to know my name. Clearly lying about one thing or the other. I try to avoid taking classes with her, but I have ended up having to take one of her classes more often than not lately.

It's hard to be on a yoga journey with an instructor who probably has ill feelings towards me. I have noticed that she refuses to correct any of my stances. Not that I would particularly want her to, but it's hard not to take offence when she goes helps every single other person.

I'm not going to let our negative history hold me back from enjoying my regular schedule. I am ready to move on from this situation and forget what happened. There is always the possibility that she wasn't acting out of a vendetta at all and was having a bad day due to something unrelated to me. Whatever the reason, I am going to try my best to forget it.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Shots! Shots! Shots!

I am a squeamish person. I don't do needles very well. So I wasn't exactly looking forward to having to take blood for my Life Insurance physical last week.

As luck would have it, the technician sent out to my house failed to draw my blood. I wasn't surprised at all. I haven't had a lot of blood taken in my life. The only other time that I can really remember was an almost identical situation when a technician came to my home and failed to draw blood. Last time I had to go to a clinic to relive the experience, as was the case this time around as well.

This morning I woke up early to headed down to my neighbourhood lab. It was open quite early, so I had hopes of being able to finish the process before work started. No such luck. An hour later they had only gone through four people and my number was still twenty away.

There was a sweet, well-meaning, yet possibly volatile woman in the waiting room who kept messing up the system. She had complained about how high her number was, so when another patient decided to stop sticking it out, he kindly handed his number over to the woman.

The woman decided to pay it forward, a concept that I whole heartedly approve of in almost any other situation. She passed her lower number on to someone with a higher number. As more and more people started leaving, the woman would take their numbers and swap them with the people who were waiting.

I started to get quite frustrated. People who had arrived before me kept leaving, but my place in line hadn't changed because this woman was filling those spots with people who she felt were deserving.

Eventually a technician caught wind of what she was doing and put a stop to it. Thankfully she was able to stop the madness before I reached my breaking point. I was very close to putting a stop to it myself, but I was worried how it would come across. Everyone else was much older than I am and most of them were there for legitimate health concerns. But at the same time, I had a job to get to and responsibilities to keep.

The woman didn't take it very well that she was told to stop her number meddling. She had no grasp that she was messing up the system. She honestly thought she was helping people. Which, she was, but at the expense of other people who had been waiting.

In the end, she didn't even benefit form her number swapping system. While she gained quicker entry into the lab, she still had to wait afterwards because her husband still had his original number. Karma!

Eventually I was called... two hours later.

My lab technician was a really sweet woman, but she didn't understand the instructions from the insurance company. It wasn't her fault, the instructions weren't very clear. Plus she had the unfortunate task of trying to find a vein in my arm. She tried a lot of different tricks to try and draw my vein out. She finally found success with running hot water over my arm for five minutes.

I am thankful that this experience is over and done with.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Friday Five Faves

Happy Friday!

What a happy Friday it is indeed! In less than 24 hours I will be on a plane to Mexico to soak up the sun and enjoy unlimited margaritas. I can't wait.

5. Kobo Aura H20
Most of my reading is done by water. My favourite thing in the world is to read a book while floating on a lake. That's how my last Kobo met its unfortunate end. Thankfully, Kobo introduced a waterproof version right after my last one died. Now I don't have to worry when my best friend knocks my e-reader off of my dock while he is trying to blow up his floatie.

4. Barely Famous
Have you guys seen this show? I love it. I have always been a fan of Erin Foster. I think she is hilarious and I love that she loves to make fun of herself. It's my kind of reality show (read: not a reality show). I chose Erin Foster's twitter profile as the picture for this because it was taken in my neighbourhood. I literally pass this place every day.

3. New Hair
Got my hair did yesterday. My hairdresser (who also happens to be one my best friends) put some barely there pink in it. I want more, but I'm happy with the baby steps.

2. Kimonos
It's an obsession. Right now I have four kimonos and a shall sitting in my suitcase. I probably shouldn't bring them all, but I can't help myself. That's all I want to wear (with something underneath of course).

1. Mexico
Sunday can't come soon enough. Of course I will be at the resort tomorrow, but I won't be able to fully take advantage of the pool and ocean until Sunday. My e-reader is full, my iPod is loaded, and I've got plenty of sunscreen. I am ready for the countless hours spent lounging by the pool with a drink in hand.

Linking up with Meet at the Barre, September Farm, and The Farmer's Wife, and

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Yoga Challenge Update

I really enjoyed doing the Whole 30 challenge a couple of months ago. While I didn't quite make it to then end, I got pretty close. I'm considering doing it again when I get back from Mexico next week. Once I had finished the challenge, I was craving another one. Not necessarily a food challenge, but something to focus on and commit myself to for the next 30 days.

As it happened, my friends and I purchased a groupon for a local yoga studio. A month of yoga for $50. I'm sure that sounds high to some of you, but it's a really good price where I live. The month pass at the same studio is $130, and that's a pretty average price for the area.

I had always been in awe of the yogis who committed themselves to come to their practice every day. There were always 30 day challenges happening at the various studios that I've attended. 30 days of yoga always sounded like a special kind of hell to me. When I first started doing yoga, I didn't really enjoy it.

Just like sushi, yoga is an acquired taste.

When I used a groupon for a different studio six months ago, that was the first time that I ever felt like a 30 day yoga challenge was doable. I tried to go as much as possible, but life got in the way. I ended up averaging 4 times a week during that set.

On the first day of yoga at the new studio, I decided that I was going to get my money's worth and do as much yoga over the next month as I possibly could. It was my own personal 30 day yoga challenge.

I even broke out of my comfort zone and attended every single class that the studio offered: Deep stretch; Flow; Yang and Yin; Burning Butt; Fast and Furious Fusion; Core; and Barre.

I faltered after the first 21 days. It was an accident. I showed up at the wrong time. I felt like a failure, but in those 21 days I had gone to 28 exercise classes (4 of which were aqua fit, so I wasn't counting them towards my yoga challenge). And then Easter happened. I had failed to take into consideration that the studio would be closed, thereby making it impossible to complete my yoga every day challenge anyway.

In the past 38 days I have completed 41 workouts. Even after my 30 days were up, I kept going. I have only taken two days off (on purpose) in that period. The first time was because it was a good friend's birthday and I knew I would want to sleep off any potential hangover. The second time was because the only classes that worked with my schedule were with a yoga teacher that I loathe (a story for another post).

I am so proud of myself for sticking to it. This time I haven't given up when things haven't gone my way (again, Whole 30). I am seriously falling in love with yoga. So much so that I have signed up for six month unlimited that will start when I get back from Mexico. I honestly can't wait.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Weekly Weigh In

Pretty Strong Medicine

I have spent the better part of 2015 trying to lose weight so that I will feel comfortable on my Mexican vacation. Unfortunately I didn't lose as much weight as I wanted. I did lose some and then gained it back. And then lost some more and gained it back. I wound up somewhere in the middle of my 2015 highest weight and my 2015 lowest weight.

Here is a graph of my weight loss over the past 90 days. I did really well for awhile, and then I faltered. Then I did really well for a while again until I wasn't anymore.
Side note: Anyone else hate the way My Fitness Pal graphs progress? No, I did not gain 4.3 lbs in one day. It was a much slower climb.
As of today I am at 224.5 lbs. That 5.5 lbs down from January. Even though it's 5 lbs up from my lowest weight this year, I'm still calling it a win.
I'm going to have a great time in Mexico no matter what the scale says.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Going down!

I having been kicking ass in the work out department. Heck, I've been kicking ass in the eating department too. I have 6.2 less pounds than last week to show for it.

Yea, that's a lot. But I also gained A LOT in a short time too. I'm back to where I was when I "finished" Whole 30 three weeks ago. I'm pretty excited about it.

I have been working really hard to get to this place. Working out every day hard.

I challenged myself to get the most of the month pass I bought at my yoga studio. Yoga every damn day! I've always seen those 30 day yoga challenges going on and scoffed at the idea of completing one. When I bought my first month pass (about six months ago), I considered doing it every day, but life got in the way. I did end up doing yoga more that month than I had ever done before. Suddenly, yoga every day became an actual possibility.

I'm on day 9 of yoga every day. I have also been mixing up the classes. I'm not just taking the easy way out and indulging in deep stretch every day. I have been taking some hard core classes. It helps that I have friends to go with. Let's be real: if I were on my own, I wouldn't have had the guts to try some of these classes.

My goal is to complete 40 classes in 30 days. Not just yoga. I've been throwing in some aqua fit too. When I first came up with this goal, I honestly didn't think it was possible. I just wanted something to work towards. But now that I am 12 workouts in in 9 days, it seems more than possible.

I was considering doing another Whole 30 before my Mexican vacation, but I just haven't been willing or able to give up my dairy again. I'm thinking that I will start another Whole 30 when I get back from my vacation though. It will be a good time for it. Especially since I will need to detox after staying in an all-inclusive resort for seven days with my party hard family.