The end of an era.

I have been dreading today for a very long time.

My girl is moving on to bigger and better things (although girlfriend really can't go much higher from where she already is...)

Yes, that's right...

Today is the finale of Oprah. The SERIES finale.

Unless you've been hiding under a rock, you're well aware that Oprah is signing off, after 25 years. The show is as old as me-- since it's an epic year to end, this is slightly scary and gives me an old-feeling. I have to be honest-- the show ending makes me sad. I know there are many anti-Oprah people out there. If you are one of them, ta ta for now. I just heart her so much. Obviously I don't personally know the woman, but I think that Oprah is one of the most wonderful people and that she has done so much good in the world for so many people. She has paved the way for people, both directly and indirectly, through her work and her words and her wisdom, and she has changed lives for the better.

Growing up, I was the ultimate latchkey kid. I would come home on the bus after school, microwave a snack (hey hey taquitos!) and settle down with my babysitter, Oprah Winfrey. There were certainly show topics I didn't understand (the heavy stuff), topics that made me excited and happy (Oprah's Favorite Things, obviously!), topics that made me cry without even being completely positive why I was crying (this has not really changed, except now I get where the tears come from). When her anniversary boxed set of top moments came out a few years ago, it was the singular item on my Christmas list. After unwrapping it on Christmas morning, it was all I could do to finish opening gifts before popping in the DVD. I sat with my mom on our couch and we laughed until we cried, and then our hearts broke over her touching stories and we cried more.
Sidenote: Does anyone else cry as much as I obviously do while watching Oprah? Because I'm prepped for the finale right now with a boatload of tissues...

When we went to Chicago earlier this spring, making a trip to Harpo studios was the one "must do" on my list... and so we did it.

Can I just say that if I ever meet Miss O that we will just be besties forever? I mean-- how photogenic are these two together?!

I never made it to a taping of Oprah, although I am gosh darned bound and determined to meet her someday, somewhere. Seriously. It's my blog and I'll dream and wish if I want to. All in all, I'm sad that this little chapter in my life is closing. I grew up with Oprah-- she followed me through high school after dance practice, served as my breather in between classes in college, she comforted me and reminded me of home when I moved to Boston and felt so completely alone, and she has been there for me as I started the new chapter in my life-- living with The Boy and needing to seek refuge in something All Woman. I will miss the familiarity that Oprah has brought to so many televisions around the world. We may not have known her, but we were right there with her, driving cross-country with Gayle, losing and gaining weight, dealing with difficult times as a country... Oprah was there.

I'm really just procrastinating. My screen is paused and I'm dreading pressing "play." Once I do, and this show is completed, that will be it. I'm not good with goodbyes. When Friends ended, I sobbed. ER? I was a goner. Dawson's Creek? I think my eyes are still swollen. So I'm prepared for the tears. I'm propped in bed with a glass of wine and my Puffs Plus with Lotion, ready to bid farewell to a lovely lady. All good things come to an end, yada yada yada... I'll still miss the comfort that watching Oprah brings to me. I don't know what I'll do at 4pm anymore!

As creepy as this post is potentially coming across, here's a funny: I was at the gym tonight and I had my earbuds plugged into the speakerbox on my machine. I wasn't paying attention to the TV screen and heard the show host mention Oprah's last show, looked up, saw O holding back tears on the stage, and YANKED the cord out of the speakerbox. I might have almost fallen off of my machine. I've avoided news websites and entertainment TV shows all day to prevent any kind of spoilers, and I wasn't about to let the TV at the gym spoil my good cry for the night. Psh to that.

And with that, I'm off to get my cry on.

And for you Oprah, cheers to years and years more of happiness and success. I mean, like I said... you can't go up much further from where you are now, but still, enjoy and appreciate it all. I personally shall never forget my way to Harpo :)

The Jiggly Battle and Things I'm Loving Thursday!!

Weight Loss Challenge

My how the time flies when you're avoiding blogging.

Maybe not avoiding it, per se, rather than just having absolutely nothing exciting to blog about. We've been in a routine lately, and I've been exhausted. Allergies have been my worst enemy, so I pretty much wake-up, pop a Claritin, get ready, head to work, sneezesneezeitchnosesneeze, pop a Benadryl, fight Benadryl-induced sleepiness, search out coffee to keep me awake, eat non-creative lunch, then head home, where I want to do nothing other than take a hot shower (because I swear it feels like if I get all of my makeup off asap, my face/nose will stop itching. It doesn't.) and put on my pajamas, cook supper, and climb into bed for the remainder of the evening.

It is Groundhog Day in our world- the same thing over and over and over again. It's made the whole Lose the Jiggle goals very frustrating though. I can go home and do laundry and clean up and run errands if necessary while feeling so groggy, but when it comes time to head to the gym, the thought of running on the treadmill is beyond daunting. I've never had allergies this bad before in my life, so I assume that the tiredness is stemming from this. Regardless, nothing is as aggravating as having the desire inside to get out and run while knowing that the workout will basically be semi-pointless. I know any exercise is good exercise, but by nature I'm the kind of girl who wants to either go big or go home at the gym-- I can't just walk on a treadmill, I have to walk at an incline; I can't just climb the Stairmaster, I have to go up a level higher than the person next to me; I can't just do an easy jog, I have to try and beat my previous time.

I shall never change, but thanks in advance for any "Wow, girlfriend is a bat-shit crazy. Note to self: never workout next to/near/in the same room as Katie!" thoughts! I iz who I iz.

Since my eating has finally gotten in check (alleluia), I knew it was time to work back in the exercise. As I previously mentioned, Jillian's Ripped in 30 had me intrigued. I knew of several bloggers who had started the program, as well as a fab co-worker, so with the reality that I'll be in a strapless bridesmaid gown in one month, I submitted my order. The Amazon stork delivered Rin30 last Friday... and this sister might have been a little over excited to get the darn thing out of the package.

I snapped the DVD in half.

After I threw the package and flung myself to the floor (yep, you can picture it... and cringe), I resolved to do a barre workout on FitTV that doesn't burn many calories but hurts like a sonofagun afterwards. After a bit of haggling with Amazon, a new Jillian was delivered on Monday, and I endured the first day of Week 1 with a sense of vigor and determination I'd never felt before. It was exciting and encouraging and invigorating all at once.

And then Tuesday morning came. And I waddled to the shower. And I used the cabinets and door handles to raise and lower myself when necessary. It wasn't pretty, my friends. Yesterday morning I thought a run would loosen things up, so I did my 3 miles at the track IN THE DRIZZLE AND FOG (I know- I'm a rebel) and when I bent down to tie my shoe right at the end, I didn't think I would be able to stand back up. Every leg muscle in my body officially seized. I spent the remainder of the day contemplating taking the elevator between the two floors that I coordinate at work (cough11and12cough) and pounding water in hopes of hydrating my poor aching body.

And so today I limp with encouragement at the fact that I have, at least, begun the trek back to fitness. As hard as it is, I've so missed it. It felt amazing to run yesterday morning, knowing that this time last year I was barely able to get out a full 2 miles without stopping, and now I'm cruising through 3 miles no problem. Good thing, because I have my big 5k next weekend-- whoop whoop! Needless to say, I am technically withdrawing from the Jiggle Challenge, mainly out of the principle that I haven't challenged myself nearly enough! It's been so encouraging to read about all of the other journeys (hm, to think it's not "journies," says the English major...). I love that blog challenges like this introduce you to so many other bloggers! It's just a big, jiggly, bloggy lovefest and I heart it all!

And now, on to more important/exciting things. My list of things that I'm currently loving. Enjoy.

Naughty Betty makes me laugh out loud and pretend-add everything I see to my shopping cart. Love!

There are to-die-for cards...

And my personal fav-- the memo pads. I use this for anything I have to do in public, because I'm so head-over-heels for the saying:
Amen, y'all.

Vera is having a sale on their Weekender bag today-- $59 from $92!! Loooove it. I have a hard time buying things for myself, but I figured that this was such a big discount and something I'll use frequently, with all of the traveling we tend to do, so I made the purchase this afternoon and I'm giddy!
It will match the small duffel that I currently use as my gym bag. The Mediterranean White prints is one of my favs-- so bright and cheery!

I'm sure everyone is all over it by now, but the Calypso line at Target is lookin' pretty fabulous! This skirt looks like it would be ideal with a basic white top and the shoes I found below!

I'm also eyeing these lovelies, just in case the sun ever decides to shine again in Boston. I think they'd be just perfect for summer fun in Texas (and obviously go with the skirt above!)!

As much as I enjoy browsing, I'm in desperate need of fun, springy clothes that are work-appropriate... and this is where my bloggin' friends come in. Like lots of ladies, I'm not a fan of spending money on dowdy work clothes that can't also be worn after hours and on the weekends, so I try to buy versatile stuff that can be worn any and everywhere! Cost is always a top concern, so kindly don't direct me towards Nordy's and Neiman's, where I'd proceed to drag my jaw at the prices. Dresses, skirts, pants, tops, shoes... I need it all. Any suggestions y'all might have would be lovely and so very much appreciated!!

'Til later, my lovelies!!

The Jiggle and I... we battle.

Weight Loss Challenge

I have been a lyin' fool recently.

Now take a breath-- I have been 100% truthful to my family, The Boy, my friends, etc... they're all covered, so don't assume I have some terrible, deep, dark secrets going on over here. The best way to challenge something is to face it though, and so I am here in all honesty to bring myself back to reality.

Despite my food-conscience, I have been under the impression for the last, ohh... 5 months, that calories are EMPTY! Empty, I tell you! That cookie you're gazing at? It's free! A small french fry order from McD's? Psh, they'll burn off just walking into your building. Half a bottle of wine on a casual Saturday night? Like water, baby.

As much as I would appreciate these lies in fact being true... they're not. I've been really, really struggling with getting back on track, not with a diet or an eating plan, but just at making healthy, conscious food and exercise decisions. I don't know about you, but I'm always super motivated when I try something new, which for me was re-starting Weight Watchers in January of 2010. Not a bite or sip entered my mouth that wasn't pointed/weighed/measured/scrutinized until I basically lost my joy and excitement in food and eating in general. I did indeed lose 40 pounds in the process, and I FOR SURE gained a better perspective on healthy eating and choices. Exercise also became extremely important to me as I fell in love with running and really saw the physical results from my hard work, which was SO rewarding.

However, once the holidays hit, although I stayed focused and maintained my weight, my weight LOSS plateaued. I'd go up then plummet down, then stay the same, then go down, then go WAAAY back up... and it was torture. Truth be told (my theme for the day apparently), I haven't followed WW since right before Christmas. Sporadic tracking does not a good Weight Watcher make, and the results of sporadic tracking have become painfully obvious to me.

Recipes became more careless, with things like enchiladas and the Pioneer Woman's Macaroni and Cheese sprinkled in for Sunday dinners, then I wouldn't have snacks planned for the evenings so I'd come home and rummage/dive-in to anything crunchy/salty. What's hard to admit is that I was AWARE of this the entire time I was doing it.

"Mm, pretzels... Hm. Are they stale? Perhaps I'll sample just a few more to find out..."
"I don't NEED a piece of toast but I spent $5 on this Ezekiel bread and will be darned if it's gonna go to waste..."
"Afternoon cocktails are not a wise choice, no... but yes please, I'll have another."

It was as if I'd stepped over to the dark side of fun eating and cooking and although my devilish bad angel food conscience was saying "Don't go to the light, Katie! It's so fab over here!" the annoying/pesky/intelligent good angel food conscience was saying "It may be nice in the dark, but wait til you step back into the light and see what that blind-eating turned you into." What woke me up was a) this realization, and b) the fact that eating "on the darkside" is what got me to the point of joining WW in the first place.

And so, my friends, I'm back with renewed determination. While I joined the "I Jiggle, But Not As Much As I Used To" Weight Loss Challenge with the best of intentions, I had a big ole list of weekly challenges for myself, including shredding every single day and making it to the gym at 5:30 every single day.


With my renewed determination, I'm also renewing my goals... because it's my blog and I do what I want.

*Track Les Points
I vow to track my WW Points until I regain control over my daily eating habits. I don't want to follow WW forever, but I know that I personally need the kind of guidance that the program gives in order to be successful at making the best choices for myself. Even if it's a day where I lost it and went outta control and ate six cookies and had a BLT for dinner (*coughyesterdaycough*), I will write it allllll down. Just because it's not written on the paper doesn't mean the devouring didn't occur (this was my BIG mantra when I started. If you know me and hear me chanting "Must write food down," don't be alarmed). On the bright side, I have three days of perfect tracking under my belt-- whoop to that one!

*Burn Les Calories
I vow to get my butt back to the gym. As much as I enjoy exercising at this point in my life, I've gotten LAZY. I shall not sugarcoat things. When you opt to skip the gym in order to go home, take a shower, cook dinner, and proceed to lie in bed while watching Bethenny Ever After all night... it is time for a reality check. Those buns of steel will not mold themselves! The Carrie legs do not just appear! The Jillian abs... well, they're non-human, but I'd settle for anything close to flat and firm.

I'm starting to run again, and as agonizing as it currently is, nothing beats the way I feel after a great run. My first 5k of the summer is Memorial Day weekend, and it's the same race that I ran last summer WHICH WAS MY FIRST 5K EV-ER! I'm excited and am aiming to beat my time from last summer, which was 29:17. My mornings are about to become all about the 5am runs again, and for the first time in a loooong time... I'm looking forward to it.

Due to an upcoming wedding/summer/bathing suit season/cute sleeveless tops, I am also making weight training a priority again. Boyfriend found me Jillian Michaels' Ripped in 30, so while I'll likely be unable to walk properly or raise my arms above my head for the next month, my arms and legs shall be more toned... I hope. While I cannot vow to Shred everyday for the rest of my life, I can commit to 30 days. I've said this before but I'm repeating it now (I did just type "re-saying"... just sayin'): I'll be taking pictures each week and am having Brian take my measurements, so we shall see what kind of results I have with this mixed in with all of the running!
SIDE-QUESTION: Anyone have any encouraging news or reviews about this little nugget of joy? Is JM any less awkward in this video than she is in The Shred? Will my hard work pay off in one month for some sort of results?

*Enjoy the Good Stuff
I vow to balance the indulgences with my everyday good choices. I will no longer agonize over wanting something but not allowing myself to eat it, nor will I throw all resistance to the wind and dive into bags of tortilla chips (my salt-a-holic weakness) or gnosh through the eats of a dark chocolate bunny. Self-control is necessary when trying to lose weight. This is something I have to face, rather than getting straight-up pissed when I tell myself I really don't need that Oreo or that chicken nugget or a starch to go with my dinner.

Mantra #2: Want, don't need.

Again, do not be afraid if you come across me mid-chant while rocking in front of the leftover Wednesday cookies.

Or curled up in front of the stove, insisting that you cannot have tacos for Cinco de Mayo without beans AND RICE (heads up to boyfriend).

*Keep My Eyes on the Prize
The prizes come in the form of cute things boyfriend has promised to buy me, not only when I reach pre-set goals, but when I maintain them for AT LEAST TWO WEEKS. He's a sneaky son-of-a-gun, I tell you what.

My biggest prize?

Surprisingly, I just decided I in fact do NOT want that snack bag of reduced fat Cheez-its in the desk behind me. My motivation is working like a charm!

You will know when I've succeeded in reaching my goal weight and body fabulousness because pictures of me wearing this suit will be plastered all over my blog. I shall never achieve this tan, or, let's be real with each other, this body, but I can sure as heck work my butt off to achieve the body that's most perfect for myself!

That's it for now. I'm not getting on the scale until Saturday morning (i.e. boyfriend hid it from me, per my instruction, after an unnecessary freak out this morning after getting on the scale... after a salt-ridden dinner last night), so I'll check-in next week with my numbers.

'Til later, my lovelies!!