First Blog Award!

by Christine on June 18th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

I’m so excited Sarah, from Simple, Sassy Sarah (LINK) gave me my first blog award! I’m honored, thank you Sarah!

beautiful blogger award

Now I have to tell you all 7 things about myself I haven’t already and then pass the award along to 7 other bloggers.

  1. I’ve had the opportunity to putter all over the world — by myself!! — starting at age 16!  My first overseas trip was when I was 16, when I wandered off to Japan to stay with a friend. (I still can’t believe my parents went along with that plan.)  When I was in college, I spent a semester in London and a semester in Paris. During that time I traveled all over Europe (Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Wales, Scottland, Ireland), usually by myself. I hitchhiked for the first time during a 2-week backpack trip (alone) in Ireland. I had a really strange experience on the “Sound of Music” tour in Austria (also went alone). I even took up a job in southern France where I taught about 70 school-aged kids to play “American Baseball.”  Insert a second trip to Japan (read about my trek up Mount Fuji here), an impromptu trip to The Netherlands (and Belgium/Luxemburg), then a bunch of cruises to the Caribbean, etc. I haven’t been oversees in a while but I’m definitely jonesing to! One of these days I’m just going to hop on an airplane and go to wherever the next departure takes me!
  2. Reminiscing about that trip reminds me of something else: I once sat next to J.K. Rowling on a plane all the way from London to NYC. She was writing one of the Harry Potter book (Book 5, I think) right next to me! I spent the whole time covertly reading over her shoulder, but I didn’t say anything to her to indicate that I knew who she was. I figured she could use the privacy. All this despite the fact that I collect autographs and never got hers!!! SHOOT! (Read more about my autographs here)  This story is actually much longer and hilarious, and involves buying some pink fuzzy handcuffs in the red light district in Amsterdam, getting caught by airport security, etc etc. My speech won several Toastmasters awards.
  3. My parents live in Illinois, and I live in New York. But I’ve only missed one Christmas with them — last year. Even when I was jetting around the world, I always made it home for Christmas. Last year my mom canceled Christmas. I didn’t know what to do with myself!
  4. When I was younger, I was an amazing softball player. When I was about 13, I hit a home run (normal for me) that went SO FAR — across the length of my playing field, across the length of a second playing field, and ended up breaking the 2nd story window of the school building!  I hit the scoreboard more times than I could count. I was powerful and impressive, but very inconsistent.  When I tried out for the team in high school, I knew all the girls trying out (I had played ball with them all growing up) and I was much, much better than them. But I didn’t make the team because I was overweight and didn’t look good in the tight pants. I never played softball again!  What a waste.
  5. My husband and I are prolific readers. We have a library in our house. My dream is to someday buy an old farmhouse that has a barn on the property. I want to restore the barn and convert it into a library with built-in shelves and floor-to-ceiling racks of books. And a fireplace.  See photos below of my little at-home library, fondly called the “Woman Cave.”

Our Library I love my new desk!

  1. Related to the above post: I love woodworking. I’ve built a bunch of furniture, including the bench and entertainment center in the two photos below.  The bench is for our indoor hot tub room. (We got a massive 80-somethinginch tv for xmas, so I had to retrofit the entertainment center to fit the new tv. I can’t find a pic of that though! So that entertainment center pic is old.)

Entertainment center

  1. I don’t want kids. Ever. Most people seem to think I’m a freak for making that decision.

Now I have to pass the Beautiful Blogger award on to seven other bloggers! Hmm, this is hard. Somehow I feel confident that some of my favorite blogs receive awards all the time, so I’ll try to do a combination of oldies-but-goodies and newbies-but-freaking-awesome!

  1. Stephen from Who Ate My Blog
  2. Not Just Celery
  3. Jenny from The Hungry Girl’s Diary
  4. Shelly from The World According to Eggface
  5. Rebecca from The Eagle’s Aerie (Okay, so she’s a personal friend of mine but a brilliant writer!)
  6. Sean from The Daily Diary of a Winning Loser
  7. Life According to Candice

Thanks again for the award, Sarah!!

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142 pounds (83 pounds lost) Beatles Tribute

by Christine on June 17th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

Me and my hubby at the Beatles ShowI had a great time at the Beatles tribute concert last night! I sang along to all the songs like a total sillyhead, and my hubby and I danced to “Twist and Shout” at our seats! I think we got odd looks from those around us! LOL!  All in all it was a fun night!

Today I awoke to great news on the scale: 142 pounds! I’m so excited! The scale finally dipped down, AND I’m super close to the 130s! I’m tingling with anticipation!

Here are some more fun photos of our evening, plus one photo of me modeling my new hat for the bridal shower this weekend!

Rain, a Tribute to the Beatles

Modeling a floppy hat!

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(144 pounds – 81 pounds lost) Eight Days a Week

by Christine on June 16th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

WTFGood morning Revolutionists!  Today I have several fragmented thoughts to share with you:

Autograph Giveaway
Perhaps it’s because I only have like one and a half regular blog followers, but I think I only got one “yay” response to an autograph giveaway contest. Is anyone else interested? Let me know by leaving a comment. This is one autograph that is free as a bird for you! Yes it is!

Clothing Giveaway
I’ve gone through fourteen sizes of clothes since starting this weight loss journey. Damn, that’s expensive! I’d love to help! others defray the cost of their own weight loss journey. I would be happy to give some of my clothes away. I haven’t been able to mentally let them all go, but I can certainly let sizes 16-22 go. If you’d be interested in a box of clothes in any sizes from 16-22, let me know. I’ll try to post pictures of some clothing items at some point. A special package from me to you!

Statistics
I’m working on putting some food journals up on the website. I thought that would be helpful if someone could see, “Hey, she lost 2 pound that week…let me see what she ate” and have the ability to open up a spreadsheet of my food.  It’ll be a snapshot — a day in the life of Christine. I dunno, it was a thought.  So in my effort to put these food journal spreadsheets together, I also took my most recent stats. They are very exciting and helps to remind me how far I’ve come on this journey so far! (Note to self: I’m not a walrus!)

Prior to surgery
Weight: 225 pounds
Size: 22
Neck: 13.75 inches
Arm: 13.75
Chest: 43.50
Waist: 37.50
Hip: 49.0
Thigh: 29.0

Today
Weight: 144
Size: 8 << 14 clothes size lost
Neck: 13.0 << 0.75 inches lost
Arm: 11.50 << 2.25 inches lost
Chest: 35.75 << 7.75 inches lost
Waist: 30.75 << 6.75 inches lost
Hip: 38.50 << 10.5 inches lost
Thigh: 23.50 << 5.5 inches lost

Total weight loss: 81 pounds
Total inches lost: 36.75

Bad Day
Yesterday I had a really bad day at work. A real hard day’s night. It reminds me that there’s no such thing as a perfect job (not that I thought that this one was…I should have known better), but the issue yesterday was such that it’s going to happen again, and the issue is most likely to escalate. My boss even asked me to spend a few hours wasting time putting together all the emails and drafts of this technical report that had gone back and forth in order for me to protect myself and back myself up.  That’s just bad news, and it’s going to do nothing except create a he said/she said situation, cause animosity between co-workers, and just be nasty plain and simple. Misery. Someday I’ll get my dream job and be a full-time paperback writer and let all this be behind me!

To make myself feel better, I went shopping after work! Nothing like retail therapy to make a woman feel better! However, that meant that I avoided the gym. But hey, I have a cute hat and a squeaky clean car now….that’s worth something, right?

Beatles!
Ten bonus points for any reader that has made a connection with the red words on the page today….they are all names of Beatles songs! I’m a huge Beatles fan, and tonight I get to go to a Beatles tribute band concert.  My hubby gave me tickets for Christmas, and we just now get to go!  I can’t wait!


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The Mediterranean Diet

by Christine on June 15th, 2010

filed under Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

Red WineI have been scouring medical journals and recent medical reports in the last few days (yay for PubMed!) and I consistently see references to the “Mediterranean Diet” and the benefits this diet has on the average human body.

So I can figure that this diet plan probably involves lots of fish, limited red meat, ample wine and healthy fats…but the details are a little fuzzy for me. I thought I would delve into this diet in today’s edition of The Phoenix Revolution Blog News!

Who lauds the Mediterranean Diet?

Mayo Clinic

WebMD

What are the benefits?

  • A 2007 study showed that the Mediterranean diet leads to a decrease risk of heart disease and cancer
  • The Mediterranean Diet has been associated with lower LDL cholesterol (“bad” cholesterol)
  • High life expectancy, up to a six percent reduction in mortality according to the Mediterranean Diet Foundation
  • A high-fat diet like this can help keep you “regular” on the potty.
  • This diet keeps blood circulation healthy and prevents blood clots from forming (mostly from the red wine)
  • A 12 year study showed that those following this diet have significantly lower body weights, low blood pressure, blood fats, blood sugar, and insulin levels.
  • A four-year study from Columbia University medical Center showed that those following this diet had up to 40% less risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
  • A new study from the Institute of Epidemiology at Ulm University in Germany suggests that the Mediterranean diet may cut risk for respiratory disease.

How is it different from other diets?

  • Drink red wine, in moderation (5 oz per day for women, 10 oz per day for men)
  • Limit consumption of red meat
  • Eat fish or shellfish twice a week
  • Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt
  • Consume healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil
  • Consume nuts, in moderation
  • Eat in small portions, especially because many of the foods on this diet are high in calories
  • Partake in beans and peas, especially white beans, lentils, chick peas, and capers
  • Eating whole grains is okay, such as couscous, polenta, rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes.
  • Consumption of cheese and milk is okay, in moderation. Yogurt is an especially good choice.
  • Choosing eggs is allowed!

Of course, like other diets, the Mediterranean Diet requires lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.  For example, residents of Greece eat very little red meat and an average of nine servings a day of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables. (Many people in the Mediterranean area have fruit for dessert.) However, it is the consumption of healthy fats that makes this diet unique.  The goal is to choose monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, and polyunsaturated fats, which contain linolenic acid (a type of omega-3 fatty acid). These can be found in canola oil, walnuts, and fish.  Avoid bad fats that can be found in butter and heavy sauces as well as bacon and fatty meats.

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Autographs (completely unrelated weight loss post)

by Christine on June 14th, 2010

filed under Christine's Life Updates, General Information

This month's autographsAs a hobby, I collect autographs. The hobby started when I was in college. I would go to my mailbox, and I wouldn’t find anything — no bills, no letters from home, no care packages, nothing!  I devised a way of putting mail in my mailbox: write to celebrities and ask them to send me an autograph or something cool. I tried it out, and lo and behold, it worked! I’ve been collecting autographs “through the mail” for more than 10 years now, and I have literally thousands of autographs!

I always get asked, “What is your favorite autograph?” It’s hard to pick just one, especially since I have so many. However the ones that stand out include:

  • A personal letter from Miep Gies (the woman whose family hid Anne Frank). My grandparents are concentration camp survivors, and Ms. Gies wrote me the most amazing letter that really touched my heart.
  • John Williams (composer)
  • My Star Wars collection. I have a TON of Star Wars autographs, and I have a really neat collage in my living room of them.
  • My collection of autographs from famous architects. Many of them drew me photos of their famous buildings, too!
  • My collection of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League. (Think, “A League of their own.”)  The ladies have been amazing in telling me all about their experiences playing baseball back in an era where women sports-playing was quite taboo!
  • I want to be a writer, and I have many author autographs and signed books. I have a great deal of Pulitzer Prize winners, as well as Caldecott and Newberry Award Winner children’s authors/illustrators.

Coldplay!I get autographs in the mail at least once a week, sometimes more. Today I got a great one in the mail — COLDPLAY!!  Signed by the whole band!

Tonight I spent a great deal of time logging in the autographs that I’ve received in the last two months. I try to log these every month, but I’m a little behind.  When I’m done, I price them out. (Theoretically for insurance purposes, but I have yet to actually call the insurance company.)  The total for the last two months comes to over $1000!  That puts my whole collection at over $27,000! Woohoo!

I don’t know what I’m going to do with these someday. I’ve got so many of them, and they are taking up valuable space in my study.  Would anyone out here reading my blog be interested in an AUTOGRAPH GIVEAWAY sometime??

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