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Archive for August, 2021

Did you know, dear reader, that cardinals are considered visitors from heaven? Many cultures believe they can travel between the heavenly realm and the earthly realm. These beautiful backyard birds also represent a sign of hope for those who are worried or feel anxious.

Imagine my delight when spotting one perched on a squirrel feeder in my backyard yesterday morning after my slow, uncomfortable walk around my neighborhood. This morning, I should have done my third run/walk session for this week. Sadly, that did not happen because both of my knees still feel EXTREMELY achy when I run (and walk fast). And, I am not even running fast. My running is more like jogging. So, I begrudgedly walked instead for 35 minutes just to continue my walking streak.

Did I progress too much, too soon? Perhaps. Ugh! I am immensely disappointed by this setback. I really had high expectations when I started my run/walk program. I think my knees are hurting because I am still carrying too much weight, and I need to strengthen my legs with exercises other than just walking. Therefore, this upcoming week, I will repeat Week #1: Walk 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week. I will practice self-care and nurse my knees. I may attempt to ride my bike if I can do so with no discomfort. Seeing that cardinal has given me hope. Good things come to those who wait…a lesson in patience. I am not an Olympic athlete, and I have nothing riding on when I can continuously run for 30 minutes. It is a personal goal, and this setback is a just speed bump, telling me to slow down. As a result, I will eat healthy foods, strength train, cross train, and walk at least 30 minutes per day (at least three times a week). I’m starting my Clean & Lean program on 01 September (Wednesday) which should help me shed some more weight.

Now, that all sounds terrific and doable as long as my family and I are not severely impacted by Hurricane Ida which is coming directly towards Louisiana. Hurricane Ida is predicted to make landfall tonight (the 16th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina). It is also a Category 4 storm. What does that mean for my neck of the woods? Lots of rain, storm surges which contribute to flooding, winds up to 85 mph, risk of tornadoes, and loss of electricity. I am staying put in my home with my hubby, our two sons, and our four fur babies. We have food and water, as well as gasoline for the generator. We have natural gas, so we can still cook meals. Items outside have been picked up and put away, and the gutters have been cleared of leaves and debris. Our bathtubs are full of water in case we need it to flush toilets. We are ready. All we can do now is patiently wait for the impact of Hurricane Ida and pray that everyone in her path remains safe. I hope my cardinal brings us good luck.

Before I sign off, I want to share a video chat I had with Kelsi where we talk about the slasher film, Sleepaway Camp, we both watched as part of our Summer Slasher Movie Marathon in July. If you watch it, please consider hitting like, leave a comment, and subscribe to Kelsi’s YouTube channel. She also vlogs, reviews books, and talks nostalgia from the 60s through the 90s.

Despite not being able to run/walk this morning, I am truly grateful that I was able to enjoy my morning walk before it started raining. As you go about your day today, dear reader, please keep the residents of Louisiana in your thoughts and prayers. Hopefully, my next post will be filled with good news that we weathered the storm with little or no issues. Happiness!

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh

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Greetings, dear reader! On Sunday evening, I completed a second round of Fast Burn. On Monday morning, I weighed in at 152 pounds, gaining back 3.5 pounds of the 13 pounds lost in the first round. With that being said, I did lose 1″ in my chest, and 1/2″ in my hips. My measurements stayed the same for my waist, arms, and thighs. Did I meet the goals I set back in June for Round #2 of Fast Burn? Yes and no. Clearly, I did not lose an additional 10 pounds. While I did complete another nine-week round of Fast Burn, I did not follow it as closely as I did for the first round.

So, what did I do? I continued intermittent fasting; however, my TRF schedule changed week-to-week between 16:8 and 14:10; this was based on what was going on in my life during the nine weeks. I walked between 20-30 minutes every day. I started following a run/walk schedule (see sidebar for the schedule). I continued to incorporate the Burner Smoothie, the Sumptuous Strawberry Shake, as well as lots of fruits and veggies in my eating plan. I observed the rule about waiting two hours (sometimes longer based on TRF schedule) after waking to eat and stopped eating at least two hours before bedtime.

So, what didn’t I do? I did not bike very often or incorporate any strength training. I did not eat as clean as I did during the first round (incorporated some added sugar/processed foods back into my diet). I was not consistent with drinking a glass of water before meals. I picked certain weeks in the nine-week plan and followed those weeks instead of following the weekly schedules outlined in the book.

Initially, after weighing in on Monday morning, I felt I should have waited a couple of weeks before doing another round. After reflecting on it throughout the week, I now feel completing a second round right after the first round was ideal for me. Even though I did not follow the Fast Burn plan as perfectly as I did the first round, I still incorporated many of its components. And, we all know that we cannot rely on the scale to tell the whole truth when it comes to weight loss. My body measurements dropped in two areas and stayed the same in other areas. My clothes fit exactly the same as they did when I completed the first round. Additionally, I can see the difference with how I feel when I fuel my body with the wrong foods. I do not like feeling unhealthy.

What’s next?

I want to read Clean & Lean by Dr. Ian and complete the 30-day plan in the month of September. My original goal for 2021 was to try intermittent fasting for one month using the Clean & Lean book. However, when Dr. Ian published Fast Burn: The Power of Negative Energy Balance in April and created the Fast Burn Challenge Facebook group, I could not pass up that opportunity. And, I am so happy that it has worked out the way it has because the Fast Burn Challenge group is both inspirational and supportive. It also helps me with accountability. The Cleaner Get Leaner group also provides inspiration and support. Therefore, between the two groups, I’ll continue to receive inspiration and support.

Additionally, I will continue my fitness plan that will include the run/walk schedule and as many of the exercises outlined in Clean & Lean. Maybe, just maybe, it will give me the nudge I need to put strength training exercises back into my fitness regimen on a regular basis. I do not want to slip back into bad habits. I now have plenty of resources to hold me accountable and keep me on track to live my healthiest life.

Kudos to everyone trying to eat better, getting back into shape, and improving overall health and well-being. There are so many benefits to eating well and exercising daily. It makes me happier, healthier, more energetic, and more creative. Thanks for reading, dear reader. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Happiness!

“It takes time to see wholesale changes, so don’t obsess on a scale or a mirror. In fact, it’s a lot more likely that someone else will notice physical changes before you do.” ~ Ian K. Smith, M.D., Clean & Lean

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In order to get back on track and reFOCUS on my goals for the remainder of the year, I tracked my time for two weeks (week of 02 August and week of 09 August). Both of these weeks started out with 168 hours on Monday at midnight. Since school has reconvened after being on summer break for the last two months, my day job (instructional coach at a PreK2-8th school) and sleep take up the bulk of my time. However, the hours at my day job have been reduced this school year; I am currently working four days per week as opposed to five days when I tracked my time back in January. The reduction in work hours will ultimately allow me to spend more time on creating content and embarking on a new career path.

Week 1: 02 August – 08 August

During this week, I worked 32.5 hours at school and devoted 52.75 hours to sleep. This left me with 82.75 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

That being so, how did I spend those remaining 82.75 hours?

  • Morning Routine: 11.25 hours
  • Travel (to/from work; to/from other places): 4.75 hours
  • Family/Fur Babies/Friends: 9.75 hours
  • Chores: 7.25 hours
  • Exercise: 5 hours
  • Errands: 4.5 hours
  • Read: 3 hours
  • Meals: 5 hours
  • Content Creation (blog; collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube): 20.75 hours
  • Evening Routine: 3 hours

Therefore, 74.25 hours were spent with family/friends, exercising, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 8.5 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing games (Trivia Crack/Words with Friends), interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, watching television/movies/YouTube videos, or puttering around the house.

Week 2: 09 August – 15 August

During this week, I worked 33.5 hours at school and devoted 51 hours to sleep. This left me with 83.5 hours to spend in other areas of my life.

In that case, how did I spend those remaining 83.5 hours?

  • Morning Routine: 11 hours
  • Travel (to/from work; to/from other places): 6.75 hours
  • Family/Fur Babies/Friends: 8.75 hours
  • Chores: 6.5 hours
  • Exercise: 4.5 hours
  • Errands: 8 hours
  • Read: 3 hours
  • Meals: 3.5 hours
  • Content Creation (blog; collaboration with Kelsi-YouTube): 8.75 hours
  • Evening Routine: 2.25 hours

Therefore, 63 hours were spent with family/friends, exercising, creating content, fulfilling commitments/life responsibilities, and completing household tasks. My time bank still had 20.5 hours, and those additional hours were spent on other activities, such as playing games (Trivia Crack/Words with Friends), interacting on social media (FB and Instagram), texting, phone calls, checking email, time-tracking, watching television/movies/YouTube videos, or puttering around the house.


Clearly, no two weeks are exactly the same. And, all the banked hours are not entirely spent on effortless fun. Some of that extra time gets spent on small tasks that just take a minute or two, such as writing a grocery list, a message in a card, or a check for a bill. I may be purchasing an item or researching ingredients for a meal online. I might spend a few minutes clearing off the kitchen table, reshelving books that I recently finished reading, or snapping a picture for my Instagram gratitude project. With that being said, if I take the average of both weeks, I realistically have 14.5 hours that I could be using to complete courses that I have purchased, scrapbook, read more, or strength-train (fitness). It is now up to me to prioritize my time which will ultimately help me achieve my goals. Additionally, I must adhere to that scheduled time that also includes built-in wiggle room.

Why is wiggle room important? You just never know when something unexpected will require your attention, such as getting a call back for a play you auditioned for earlier in the week. Yep, I auditioned at the Columbia Theatre for The House on Haunted Hill this past Monday evening. Surprise! I got a call back for Wednesday evening. I auditioned strictly for the experience since I had a conflict the second weekend of the show. While it would have been terrific to be a part of this production, I did not get cast which is fine because Kelsi and I have oodles planned for September and October. Happiness Boost!

Thankfully, I have only one commitment after work this week, and it is to spend a wonderful evening with my fabulous book club friends to discuss Mexican Gothic. Therefore, for the remainder of today, I will schedule my upcoming week and create a to-do list of the tasks that I need to accomplish before this weekend. As for my running schedule, I’m on Week #4: Walk 10 minutes (warm up). Run 2 minutes. Walk 1 minute (repeat this 3-minute session 5 times). Walk 10 minutes (cool down). My goal for this week is to follow this routine at least three days this week. On the other days, I will walk at least 20 minutes to keep up my walking streak and try to incorporate some strength training and biking. I did not strength train or bike this past week.

Life is unpredictable, dear reader, but that is what makes it so interesting. My hubby, Andrew, and I enjoyed breakfast this morning at Cracker Barrel, and I treasured every minute we were together just being together. I’m excited to start a new week, especially one that is practically a blank slate. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon by spending your time doing something that boosts your happiness and adds value to your life. Happiness!

“When you feed your soul by spending time on things you love, that you are excited about, your enthusiasm becomes contagious.” ~ Rita Davenport

Top photo by Juan Vargas on Pexels.com

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Happy Sunday, dear reader! My hubby and I decided to have breakfast this morning at Cracker Barrel before grocery shopping at Walmart. We had wonderful service provided by Kenley and a yummy meal. I ordered the Momma’s French Toast Breakfast (French toast, two eggs cooked over easy, sausage). Barry ordered the Sunrise Sampler. Kenley also brought me a small bowl of grits. I definitely did not eat clean this morning, but it was well-worth the extra calories.

After breakfast, we briefly looked around the Cracker Barrel store which always has neat merchandise. I was specifically looking at autumn and Halloween decor. Kelsi and I have planned a few hours at the beginning of September to go shopping for Autumn/Halloween decorations. We are actually planning to vlog about our shopping adventure.

On Friday evening, I actually tried vlogging for the first time to get some practice. The hubster and I planned to enjoy a Friday the 13th thematic date night at home. As soon as Barry got home from work on Friday afternoon, we headed over to Ultimate Party Store in Hammond to purchase a Jason Voorhees mask and found some cheap shot glasses and drinking glasses for the adult beverage we had picked out for the evening. Our next stop was Walmart for our summer camp food and Jason Voorhees drink (hotdogs, hotdog buns, asparagus, mashmallows, Hershey bars, graham crackers, Vodka, Rumchatta, and blue raspberry mix). Unfortunately, Walmart did not have the blue raspberry mix. Neither did Rouses, Winn-Dixie, or Albertsons. Since we struck out on obtaining the last ingredient needed for our thematic drink, I settled on a bottle of Seagram’s Calypso Colada in honor of Camp Crystal Lake (setting for Friday the 13th). On future grocery shopping trips, we will be on the lookout for blue raspberry mix, so we can eventually make a Jason Voorhees drink for either another Friday the 13th evening or as a Halloween treat. I had a great deal of fun recording our quest for the elusive blue raspberry mix. Maybe, one day when I learn to edit a vlog, I’ll share that vlog with you, dear reader.

Once we returned home, Barry prepared the bacon-wrapped asparagus (perfect tribute to Kevin Bacon who stars in Friday the 13th), hotdogs, and chili while I set up the movie. About midway through the film, I made s’mores. Barry passed on the s’mores. The marshmallows we bought were too big. I definitely should have cut one in half. Despite not being able to make our thematic drink, everything turned out terrific, especially the bacon-wrapped asparagus. Additionally, we loved watching the movie which neither one of us had seen in a REALLY long time. Friday the 13th is an American slasher film that was released in May 1980. In my opinion, it is a classic slasher film that holds up well even today. Fun fact: Jason Voorhees as an adult wearing a hockey mask does not even appear in the first film. It had been so long since I had seen it last that I totally forgot about him not being in it. Barry and I had so much fun rewatching the first film, that in the future, we plan to watch the rest of the movies in the Friday the 13th franchise.

While on the subject of slasher films, Kelsi and I had an overall chat about our Summer Slasher Movie Marathon, and we streamed it on YouTube LIVE from her lair. It was the very first time that I have ever streamed live online. Usually, we record our chats via Zoom. We had so much fun being together again in person, and I’m proud of myself and how well our chat turned out. I put my improv skills to good use. You can check out this conversation, our other movie marathon chats, and much more of Kelsi’s awesome content on her Slime and Slashers – A Nostalgia & Horror Channel. You can also click on the link below. Collaborating and creating content with Kelsi is a definite happiness boost for me.

It’s time for me to wrap up, but before I do, let me update you on tracking my time and my running schedule.

Time Tracking

Instead of tracking my time for just one week, I chose to track my time this past week as well. This gives me two weeks to compare time sucks, scheduled commitments, and free time that can be devoted to my personal/professional goals. My time tracking officially ends at 5:00 tomorrow morning. I’ll share my findings this week. It will be interesting to see how my time tracking logs from August compare to my time tracking log from January of this year. The logs will determine how I plan to spend my extra time for the rest of the year and which goals will be completed in 2021 or roll over into 2022. I’m excited to analyze the data and get back on track.

Running Schedule

As for my running schedule, Week 2 (09 August-15 August) was a continuation of Week 1 but with picking up the pace, pumping my arms, and breaking a sweat added to the mix. I successfully met my goals for both weeks. For Week 3, I am making a slight adjustment to the times since I will be running and walking this week. Week #3: Walk 10 minutes (warm up). Run 1 minute. Walk 2 minutes (repeat this 3-minute session 5 times). Walk 10 minutes (cool down). My goal for this week is to follow this routine at least three days this week. On the other days, I will walk at least 20 minutes to keep up my walking streak and try to incorporate some strength training and biking.


School is in full swing, and I’m slowly but surely getting back into my daily day job routine. I will tell you, dear reader, having Fridays off is a huge game changer. I am extremely happy that I was given the opportunity to work only four days per week. Of course, there will be a couple of weeks sprinkled throughout the year that I may work a Friday, but I will have another day off during that week to compensate for it. Lots to look forward to in the next couple of weeks, including a final chat with Kelsi related to our Summer Slasher Movie Marathon and a Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club meeting to discuss Mexican Gothic. Meanwhile, enjoy the rest of what this Sunday has to offer, stay safe, and choose kind. Happiness!

“Live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find eternity in each moment. ~ Henry David Thoreau

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Today starts a brand new month with a blank slate to create new habits, new memories, and new content. I love the start of a new month, especially after a long break or being out of my normal routine which has definitely been the case for me the last two months. It’s time to begin anew!

Tomorrow morning, I report back to work to start another year at HGCS. I’ll remain in my position as an Instructional Coach; however, I will only be working four days a week. YEP! I’m extremely excited about having Fridays off to pursue other endeavors. I’ve been wanting to reduce my hours at my day job for quite awhile, so I am happy that it has finally become a reality. The faculty will meet for the first two days this week with time to work in our classrooms after lunch each day. Our students officially start on Wednesday which will be a half day for them.

Since I truly embraced the summer break with vim and vigor, I will track my time for a week, starting tomorrow. Tracking my time will help me to reFOCUS and get back on course with my goals which I mentioned in my “A Lesson from Impatience” post. I’ve been suffering from hayfever for about a week, so I’ve abandoned some of my good practices and been kind of lazy. It will be a good week to get back into the swing of things at work and use my afternoon/evenings for contemplation and creative work.

My new running shows arrived yesterday afternoon. You know what that means, dear reader! Tomorrow starts my running program. I have been on a walking streak since 23 March 2020 and lost 13 pounds on the first round of the Fast Burn Challenge. I’m ready to take it up a notch by adding running and strength training to my fitness regimen. My running goal is to become a 30-minute runner by the end of the year. The running program that I use is designed for 10 weeks; however, I plan to listen to my body to determine my progress. Week #1: Walk 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week.

And, I would be remiss if I did not mention that today is my sweet baby’s birthday. Andrew is officially 20 years old today. What an AWESOME reason to celebrate the first day of August! We actually celebrated the anniversary of his birth yesterday with family. He had simple requests…his dad to BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs, and I bake him a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. My gift to him, books of course, at his request.

Even though the summer season has technically not ended, my summer break is a few hours away from taking its final bow. Surprisingly, I’m ready for the next season in my life. I feel certain I can accomplish a great deal in the upcoming months and finish this year healthier and happier. I’m almost finished writing my blog post on my adventure at This Is The Place Heritage Park in Utah which I hope to publish sometime this week. Kelsi and I will also be chatting this week on the remaining films we watched for our Summer Slasher Movie Marathon. If you haven’t checked out our conversation about the Fear Street trilogy that premiered on Netflix in July, please check it out on Kelsi’s YouTube channel or click on the link below. And, finally the members of the Chills, Thrills, and Kills Book Club chose Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia as our August selection. Lots of awesome content to pass the time. In the meantime, dear reader, please stay safe, appreciate the little things, and spread lots of love. Happiness!

“Life isn’t a race, it’s a dance. Every step forward and every step back, stepping sidewards and twirling in circles, are part of the dance we call life.” ~ Matthew Kelly 

Top photo by Fauzan Fitria on Pexels.com

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