Extending Our Happily Ever After

"We do! Now let's live healthy and fit!"


Leave a comment

Heading to Vegas, Baby!

We got up fairly early and my cousin, Leni, came over to say goodbye to us!  We were told that her and Sondra would be heading out to California the following week and would see us at my cousin, Rick’s home the following Sunday for our “welcome-back-home-to-California” Party! Yay!  So, it was just a see-you-later to her and a hug and goodbye to Natasha and the boys!  Boy, we sure had a great time with family!  Loved our time there!
image

We headed on down to Vegas next!  RV drove VERY well!  Whew!  Also, we started to FINALLY experience those HIGH TEMPS we knew we were going to expect… The scenery was very beautiful… we drove past the Salton Sea and the Inyo Forest.  Experienced some crazy drivers heading into Vegas… Not quite sure what their hurry is… 2 lane highway, full of people, not sure how much further up they think they can get if they go around cars, but more power to them… Geez!
image
image
image
image
We got in to Vegas, at the King’s Row RV Park later in the afternoon.  We were pretty tired… heat and driving does that to ya.  Ivan just wanted to rest, so Christopher and I went to a Walmart and picked up some water and not sure what else and then rested a bit more before we headed to the Silverton Casino to meet my dear friend, Samia, for dinner.  She and I had gone to high school together about 30 years ago!  
image
We hadn’t seen each other for about 25 years!  It was soooo good to see her again!  Dinner was a Polynesian buffet and it was delicious!  We were all pretty tired, though, so we made plans to meet early the following morning to hike Red Rock Canyon and we called it a night.


Leave a comment

Twin Falls, Idaho… More than just potatoes!

We got to Twin Falls on Friday and are leaving this morning. My friend, Terrie, and her family live here. She and I met many years ago when my brother dated her. Things worked out perfectly, we say… Because her and I have become great friends from day one 🙂
When I find some old pics of us, I will edit them into the post here.
Anyway… Her family is from England. Actually her mother is. From Braintree. Which is actually where Ivan’s sister lived. Small world, isn’t it? We pulled into town, settled in to the 93 RV Park, when she can actually see from her back porch and then drove over for a full on English meal of roast beef, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and even spotted dick for dessert.

image

image

Lots of wonderful conversation… Reminiscing between Terrie and I, new friendships made with Ivan and Christopher and her family. It was a great time! We also met the new family weed-eating goat. Just brought home that morning… So cute!

image

Her daughter, Dani, reminded us that the movie Trainwreck with Amy Schumer was opening at the theatres and so since we all wanted to see it, we just headed to their nearest mall to see it. Fun!

image

image

image

The next morning, we were served a wonderful breakfast by Terrie and then shown the sites by her daughter, Sami, and herself. We went to Balanced Rock… Wow! That was fun! We all hiked to the top and crawled all over rocks, but the climb down was SCARY!!! Yet, we all survived!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Then it was off to Centennial Park… Views of their Perrine bridge and a waterfall there that you can walk behind.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Then on to Shoshone Falls! So pretty, though we were told that the local farmers have already dipped into the water supply for their fields or the water level would be way higher!

image

image

image

image

image

image

Then on to Derkey lake, then on to her mom and dad’s (Marion and Howard) for another lovely dinner! Amazing!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Afterwards, we checked out snake river and the Evil Knievel failed jump site and Perrine bridge. Ending up seeing some base jumpers jump from bridge. Free entertainment right there!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

What an amazing time we have had here! They are like family to us!
Can’t wait to see them again!

image

image

We had a bonus last night, too…
Remember our friends in Iowa? Remember Christopher’s friend Tyson… Six years old? He missed him and apparently wanted to talk to him, so last night, after dinner, Chris got a Facebook chat phone call from Tyson. How sweet was that? Making friends! Making memories! Love that!


Leave a comment

Day 17 – 100 Day Challenge

Today was pretty uneventful… back to work.

Weather is cooling down again, which is a bit depressing after the gorgeous day we had yesterday. It rained this afternoon, poured for a bit, actually… and now it’s chilly, windy and freezing rain has started. We are expecting some snow tomorrow as well! These early months in the year are always so crazy in the Northeast, one day warm and sunny, the next, overcast and snowing! It’s just nuts!

Well, I didn’t get a video uploaded today, will have to try to upload two tomorrow.

Someone recently approached me and asked about my goals regarding my future in regards to my journey with my weight loss. I’ll speak a moment to that… and some of my friends/followers here sort of know my story already through sparkpeople.com or facebook or even my website http://www.cinnamarie.com or http://www.extendingourhappilyeverafter.com .

Back in March of 2012, I weighed 378 lbs. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t my highest weight, but since this was the start of my journey and my first official weigh in, that was what I was going by. At that moment in time, I was in a bad place physically… I was in pain most of the time. I had degenerative arthritis in my lower back and right hip and three herniated discs in my back as well. I was missing work often, due to days where I’d wake up and was just unable to move. When I’d go grocery shopping, I’d often have to find places to sit down, or end our day after one trip to the store so I could get home and rest. I couldn’t stand more than 5 minutes without sitting down to rest. All this and I was only 44 years old.

I knew that my weight was out of control and that if I wanted to live a longer life with quality, I needed to do something about it. I found a diet (17 Day Diet) that I felt would be something my husband and I could follow and we started it and the weight started to come off very quickly. It truly changed how we thought about our diet. I didn’t exercise at first, but after losing over 30 lbs, then I started walking with Leslie Sansone’s Walk Away the Pounds DVD’s. I knew they were low impact and with my back/hip issues, this was the way to go for me.

It took me about 18 months to lose 150 lbs… and then the following year, I basically maintained that loss… Last winter I did gain 32 lbs back and I’ve lost 27 of those lbs… I still have about 50-60 more lbs to go on my journey but that’s basically the story of it…

Throughout my journey, I found out that I needed a hip replacement, due to all the weight I carried for decades! This was done last May and now that degenerate arthritis in my right hip is now gone. The weight I’ve lost has truly helped the arthritis in my lower back and my herniated discs as well… and I know when the rest of the weight comes off, that will also help tremendously.

I have discovered that I can’t zumba. I can’t P90X or do Insanity. I can’t run. I can’t even do pushups or many floor exercises. I can’t do a sit up because being on the hard floor is just too much for my back… however, I do have a “Bean” (remember those from the infomercials?) and I do situps on that, or with use of a stability ball.. I just need support for my lower back. I often use the term “I am working with a broken body” when I talk of how I manage my exercise… but I do exercise and I do stay fit.

Also, I managed to lose my weight with no exercise equipment here at home or through joining a gym, although I did try joining a gym last year, but I only went for less than a month and as it didn’t add to any weight loss, I won’t count that. The only real money I put into my weight loss was the purchasing of a daily multi-vitamin (purchased at WalMart, their generic brand) and 5 Leslie Sansone videos (all under $10 a piece and not purchased all at once, they were bought throughout the journey, as rewards for weight loss and when I wanted to get a new workout).

Back to the initial thought… what is it I want to do in regards to my goals with my future, considering my weight loss? Well, I’ve been mostly inspired to help others and I have helped others. There have been facebook friends who have honestly been following me from day 1 and have also lost alot of weight and they have told me that I inspired them. I have co-workers who also have lost alot of weight and contribute that to my influence on them. I have been called, emailed and texted many times over, asking for advice from friends about what they should do, or how they should start, and I always claim to not know the answers, but I end up just giving words of encouragement and just giving a voice to the voice already inside themselves and usually pep them up and spur them on to get going in their weight loss goals. However, what is near and dear to my heart, besides always being there for my family and friends and that is way up at the top of my list… is that I’d LOVE to be able to help others that were where I was.

I’d LOVE to inspire those that are VERY overweight, who can’t move much, who have mobility issues, who don’t have the money for diet things that are out there, because they really only need to have money for REAL FOOD. They don’t need money for a gym. They don’t need money for equipment, like a treadmill. I was morbidly obese for most of my life… it’s who I was for so long, that I can relate to that person. I know what they feel, because I felt it for so many years. They feel that it can’t be done, they will never lose weight and you know what? It’s SO MUCH EASIER than they think it is, and I’m living proof.

I want them to BELIEVE in their souls that it’s not hard to lose weight… it’s hard to live in a body that doesn’t lose weight. Because, I soooo remember how hard my life was. How hard it was getting up in the morning, IF I could get up out of bed! There is no way I’m believing they can tell me that they feel AWESOME! Because I KNOW they don’t!

I feel so passionate about this… but my heart breaks, because I want more than anything to help them feel awesome! I know that they can! I want that for them as much as I wanted it for myself. I want to put that pep in their step and that smile on their face like I did with myself! It will truly change their life and not only that… it will EXTEND IT!

That is my goal for my future… That is my audience, in addition to anyone else who is inspired by my story.

My parents are the top two on this list. They taught me EVERYTHING they know about food and exercise. I NOW want to teach them everything I know about food and exercise. My parents are in Southern California. I’m here in Northeast Pennsylvania. That is my dream, I hope to make it come true in a few years.

Pic of Chris and I with my parents, followed by Chris and I from last Summer

Image

Image


Leave a comment

Day 16 – 100 Day Challenge

Such a busy day! 

Took the day off for doctor appointments! I had 3 today. I like to just take a day off and schedule them all in one day, rather than taking off early from work three different days. It’s just easier. 

Today was also a GORGEOUS day! The temps climbed up to about 60 degrees! Yay! However, we are due rain after midnight and then all day tomorrow, with declining temps and yep, it’ll end in freezing rain and snow! Yep, it’s still winter and well, them’s the cold, harsh facts of it, I suppose! 

Anyway, this morning was the ol’ gyno appt for the yearly visit us women have to make… and yes, it went well, thank you very much… then it was off to the dentist for a cleaning and now that I have a new hip, I had to take antibiotics before the visit… this is a new thing for me, but I was prepared and on top of that requirement! One that I’ll have to do for the rest of my life now. Then, checked the temp from my car and it showed that it was over 40 degrees and I was near a favorite walking path of mine, so I went for a 35-40 minute walk! (yep, got my exercise in! Yay me!) While on my walk, I met a super nice family… a mother named Lisa and her two small boys, Ethan and Aiden! I definitely had a fun time talking to little Ethan who loves Airplanes and Trains! 🙂 Hope to run into them again, he helped me march a bit as we walked! 

After that, I headed out to Taco Bell (blame the movie I rented the other day with a Mariachi lead actor… I’ve been craving Mexican food ever since). However, they had this burrito called the Cantina Burrito, which is a healthier version… It was soooo good and so big that I actually couldn’t even finish it. Anyway, I had water on me, so that and water got me through and I thought, “let me see if my optometrist will let me do a walk in appointment, too”, so I drove there… He wasn’t in, but I made an appt for my son and I. Off to the hospital for my next appt. 

Now, I’ve been wanting to donate plasma… there is this local place in town where you can earn money doing it, but apparently I’m a special case and with my history of cancer and then my surgery within the past year, they needed to know if I had any blood products in the surgery, so I needed to get paperwork at the hospital to figure out that blood product question. I had a letter from my gyn about being cancer free for the past 16 years, so that part was figured out… and then I had to go to medical records to get the other bits… then it was off to my last doctor appt, the neurologist… the name sounds alot worse than it is… I see him for my back, I’m all good. It’s more of a check in after all the surgery stuff. No biggie. 

But, then I ran home to get the paperwork on my cancer free letter, then off to the plasma donor place. That was around 2 pm! Well, long story short (too late, I know)… I was there a bit over 4 hours (special case situation)… I just made the iron count, always on edge with that and had to cut out early on the full donation and nearly didn’t stop bleeding for them to let me go, but I was in a hurry to leave as Ivan needed to get to work! OMG! I couldn’t clot fast enough! I got home JUST IN TIME for him to leave and he barely made it! 

Then, I forgot all about Toastmasters, so I had to call a friend of mine to get me to the meeting and we were late to that! Uggh! It was such a crazy day… I didn’t eat til I got home, nearly 9 pm… had leftover turkey taco meat with cabbage from last night and green tea and water…. 

Eating was just not super consistent and a bit of a mess today, because of my crazy, hectic schedule… but it wasn’t horrible and I DID exercise! LOL 

Overall, I had a decent day today.. I think I’ll sleep like a baby! Look at the video today on http://www.Giveit100.com/Cinnamarie1 of where I walked… the path is GORGEOUS! 🙂 One of my favorite walking paths!


Leave a comment

Day 6 – 100 Day Challenge

Hi everyone!

I had such fun today!

We left just after 7 am, which got us in the city just after 9:30 am! I had my Amla powder and grabbed some water and a Greek yogurt for the drive… Ivan grabbed some prunes.

That’s about the extent of my healthy eating! Honestly! I wasn’t even going to think about being healthy today, though. I’ve been good and today was about having fun for us. And about enjoying the food!

We picked up my nephew and his girlfriend at the bed-n-breakfast near Times Square and then drove them down to Battery Park to see Lady Liberty (The Statue of Liberty)… Ivan (my hubby) got out with them to show them how to get around the park to where they needed to see her. I drove with my son, Christopher, around to hang out til they were done and then swing back around and pick them up. The parking garage would have been nearly $17 just for an hour! No way, we just hovered and avoided parking cops for a while! LOL

Then, we found a parking garage in Greenwich Village on 12th Street between 6th and 7th that was only $12 for the day! (There is inexpensive parking in NYC if you only look for it!) We walked to Bleecker Street (our fav!) and stopped into Murray’s Cheese Shop for breakfast. Had a Cheese Melt (basically a grilled cheese)… I gave about a 1/4 of it to my son. It was soooo good. He had a risotto ball (I didn’t try it, but he said it was fantastic!). Ivan had a cheese melt, too! Only $3.99! Then, went to Amy’s Breads and got some Baguettinis for later.

Walked up Bleecker (towards 9th Ave) and went in and out of shops, then stopped in David’s Tea. I had the Saigon Chai (very good and spicy!) for $4, Christopher had the Organic Breakfast with Darjeeling and said it was very good, as well! More shops, in and out…

Eventually, we ended up at the High Line… one of our favorite destinations in NYC! Such a beautiful park… although, at this time of year, it’s a bit desolate looking. However, it’s still a nice way to see the city. Today, honestly, was one of the nicest days in a while… It was chilly, but seriously? It could have been alot worse! It has been super bitter lately and the weather wasn’t at all bad today. The sun was out, the wind was fairly tame. It was bearable! Thank God! With the upcoming storm, who knows what tomorrow will be like or Monday… but today was actually quite nice to walk around the city!

Image

We walked from one end to the other of the High Line, then back to the top of Chelsea Market and then down to the Market itself. Once there, we just went in and out of most of the shops. Also, grabbing a few items along the way. Some candies… but just $1.63 worth of chocolates that Ivan and I shared! I think that is GOOD! Things like Bacon Toffee with Chocolate, or Coconut, Curry Cashews, etc… little bits, just to try! I mean, we had to try! Then in the grocery store there, I finally found some carrot juice, so I bought a bottle of that and Ivan and I shared it. Sweet and very good! Then in the restaurant supply store, I got an orange peeler… just like the one Tupperware sells, although I can’t find mine, so I needed another. We ended up at The Lobster Place and ordered lunch. Christopher and I got the Lobster Rolls and split an order of fries (he had more than half) and he got a nutella cookie (I didn’t). Ivan got the fish and chips. Nephew and his girlfriend split the fresh, steamed lobster and also had some sashimi. Everything was AMAZING and definitely worth the trip! Our lunch was just under $60. A splurge, for sure, but definitely a rarity for us.

Image

Then, we went into another shop and there was this yogurt place in the back (forgot name)… and he sold a probiotic lemonade. Made with whey. Well, I only had my greek yogurt in the morning, so I needed another probiotic, so I ordered it. Well, Ivan and I were ok with it, no one else liked it! LOL And, we honestly didn’t finish it, boy, was it strong!

Image

There is this shop in there that sells Olive Oils and Vinegars… there is this Cinnamon Pear Balsamic that was AMAZING… 200 ml was about $9. We didn’t get any, but we are headed back in April and maybe then… It may call to me in my dreams! Super good. There was a blurb on it that it’s Whoopie Goldberg’s favorite…. (really? Who knows?)

Some cupcake shop on the way out had a chocolate ganache cupcake (small) and I got two, cut both in half and we all tried it.. it had a vanilla buttercream center. Very good! Quick stop into Dickson’s farmstand meats for some smoked ham (for those baguettini’s)… then we were done, it’s about time, right? LOL

I was still yearning for my Crumbs cupcake and hadn’t had it yet…

We headed back to our car to grab my son’s clothes, as we were dropping him off with his dad, who was to meet us in Grand Central. He’s coming home tomorrow (hopefully before it snows)…

So, once we got his bag, we then walked to Union Square to catch the 4 train… Ivan was exhausted, and it was a bit of a hike… Once there, there is a Crumbs bakery just outside. Got my cupcake! It was a Thin Mint Girl Scout cupcake! Chris got one, too. Got Ivan a Carrot one and nephew got a Thin Mint one, too.

Image

back into Grand Central for some last photos and a few hugs. Son with his dad, nephew and his girlfriend off to their next excursion, then Ivan and I heading back to subway to then make last trek to our car. Back to Union Square and a few (literally, about 4) turns back and forth before we were finally headed in the right direction to our car.

We ended up in Tortoria for some chips and guacamole (O-M-G!) Seriously? Best guacamole I have EVER had! Sooooooo good! Literally an impromptu stop because we were looking to use a bathroom before the drive home! Delicious!

Got the car, got on the road… stopped into our favorite healthy grocery store, Fairway in Woodland Park, NJ on the way home… where I got a HUGE bottle of water 1.5 L and some more carrot juice (yay!) and Ivan got some coffee (which is a standard treat for him when we go there).

Got home around 9 pm, which wasn’t bad at all!

Note about day… had alot of fun and realized that if we hadn’t of lost the weight we had and changed our lives for the healthier, there is no way we’d have been able to enjoy a day like today. I was nearly immobile in March of 2012, when I literally could not stand more than 5 minutes! I couldn’t do a shopping trip in Walmart without having to sit down to rest and today, I didn’t need to sit down ONCE! Then with my new hip (I had a hip replacement surgery last May), it’s amazing that I’m walking like I never had a problem, ever! Today was a gift for us both… one that we gave to ourselves… so, with that said… We were grateful for today. It was a blessing! Then, to wrap up our thoughts, spending the day with my nephew and his lovely girlfriend was a treat. They were personable and we all got along so well. We truly enjoyed their company all day and can’t wait to see them again!


Leave a comment

Easter Weekend… blow out!

Well… wow! Talk about derailment.

I think I have had more carbs than I have had all year long! Probably more bread just in the past weekend than I’ve had all year long, as well! We went into NYC for the weekend… visited a few bakeries… had some cupcakes (well, 1 HUGE one and a half of one that I split with my husband).

Basically, we started our day at Crumbs bakery and each (hubby, myself and my son) had a Canoli Cupcake… where you not only get that HUGE cupcake, but a canoli sits right on top of it! That was in Times Square. We did start our day there… so that was basically breakfast! We walked from there to Macy’s, about 10 blocks? Saw the flower show going on at Macy’s Herald Square… BEAUTIFUL! Then, took subway to Chelsea Market… then walking from that point on.

Image

Walked to Bleecker Street and that was another bakery, for a roll and a sourdough twist for my son and I and two hot cross buns for my husband… then another bakery for that 1/2 a cupcake and a mini cupcake for my son. Lunch for my son was a slice of pizza and Ivan had a potato roll at an Indian restaurant and I had a veggie plate at the same restaurant (chickpea saag w/lentils and naan, didn’t eat much of the rice that came with it and left alot of the lentils… but ate ALL the saag, loved that!). Then we walked all the way to Ground Zero and saw the Freedom Tower.

Image

Walked back up to Greenwich Village later for dinner… where hubby and I split a hamburger and fries and I had water. All and all, maybe we didn’t do that bad… We did alot of walking.

I just think that the types of food we ate, when we aren’t used to eating breads and sweets, is what I’m feeling more than the quantity of what we ate, ya know? We are so used to eating alot of food, but it’s more fruits and vegetables, nothing quite so heavy.

We even got a walk in yesterday… less than 2 miles, but it was something. Had such a great weekend, though. Sun was out and so many New Yorkers were, as well… It was the first real feeling of Spring in the air. This was Saturday. Yesterday… not so much, the Sun was hidden by the clouds again and then it rained in the afternoon again. But, Spring is trying to break through! I, for one, can’t wait! (I know I’m not the only one!)


1 Comment

It’s all in how you plan your day…

Yesterday, my husband was packing up food to take to work and I was half paying attention to what he was doing… I noticed he cut up two apples and put some lemon on them to keep them from browning and put them in sandwich bags, then grabbed a hard boiled egg and then grabbed his yogurts and whatever else, then he asks me how many prunes are in a serving… and I answer “about 4 or 5” without thinking, then stop. “Why are you taking prunes? You already have your two fruit servings.” Then we get into a discussion on food… and here it goes… 

We’ve been following this diet for a year. An entire YEAR! How does he not understand that we get TWO fruit servings a day? I just don’t get that. lol He then tells me that he needs SOMETHING to keep him full. I’m like… PROTEIN! VEGETABLES! I’m not understanding what it is you aren’t understanding here. lol (we don’t really yell at each other….) It’s just that we bicker about the stupid stuff and he is like… “How is it that you take a smorgasboard to work every day and I take hardly anything with me?” and I’m like “It’s all in the planning, my love”… 

I, seriously, am like a cow… I graze ALL DAY LONG! LOL I think I eat something every hour of the day… and I’ve been losing weight all year long… I don’t have huge meals… or huge snacks… but I eat something all the time… carrot sticks, cut up chicken, a hard boiled egg, a yogurt, some prunes, drink some tea, drink some water… have two brazil nuts… whatever. I work, I eat, I drink, I get up to go to the bathroom, I repeat, I get up to fill my water bottle, oops, it’s my break time, I walk the stairs at work… then it’s time to munch again! LOL Next thing I know, it’s time to go home! LOL My days fly by! 

Ya know? I seriously try telling him, “If you’d only listen to your wife more often!” lol