Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I Was Made to Dance

Just because it's beautiful.

Salsa.  Tango.  Cha Cha.  Meringue.


I'm having a serious love affair with my Zumba DVD's.  A workout that makes me ... smile?  How on Earth is that possible?

I danced for 8 years when I was little, from the ages of 4 through 12.  My mom says I saw dancers on Sesame Street and wanted to do what they did.  When I was 12, we went to Disney World and I decided I want to be a Disney Dancer.  It's safe to say I not only love dancing, but also watching dancers.

I took classes: tap, ballet, tap, jazz, modern, tap.  I really loved tap.  My shoes made noise.  In the last year or two that I danced, my feet were big enough to wear adult-sized shoes.  I somehow convinced my mom to let me get tap shoes with heels.  

Because these are so much cuter. 
And I ♥ heels, even at age 12.

Actually, these are pretty cute, too. 
I never had a pair with a bows.

I quit dancing when I was 12.  After several years, I joined cheerleading so I could dance again.  Then I took dance classes at the gym.  Then I discovered Zumba.  It seems no matter where I go in life, what turns I take, what moves I make in my career, how much weight I gain or lose, the love of dance - all styles of dance - is so deeply ingrained within the core of my being.  

My schedule isn't really conducive to taking regularly scheduled classes at the moment.  So, for now, I let myself be moved by the Latin beats in my Zumba DVDs.  Maybe one day soon I'll get to go back to tap classes.  Or take ballroom classes.  Learning to Tango would be super sexy.

The other workout that makes me smile?  Rollerblading on a clear, sunny day at Sandy Hook.  Best.Feeling.Ever.

What activities make you smile?  Is there anything you've loved forever?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Let's Get Passionate

About getting healthy!

Seriously, it's time.  Here's a brief history:

I think I always had a skewed body image.  I distinctly remember making my mother buy me my first copy of Seventeen magazine because there was a cover article about a great diet to try.  Then I made my mother help me follow the diet.  It was one of those "eat exactly what we've got listed" type diets.  Or at least that's how I remember it.  I also remember there being a beautiful set of triplets with clear skin, bright blue eyes, and perfect blond hair on the cover.  I may have thought the diet would have made me as beautiful as they as were.  I was 10. 

I also remember quite clearly thinking that all girls got a little pudgy at sometime between the ages of 9 and 13, but by the time they reached 16 they'd be perfectly proportioned a la Barbie or Kelly Kapowski.  Seriously, I thought that. 

Happy Sweet Sixteen!  Time to wear makeup, date, and have a perfect body!

So, I turned 16, and all those weird insecurities I had developed so early on were still there.  Though, in hindsight, I was probably pretty fit at 16.  Fast forward some years, and I'm in college.  And I gained weight.  Freshman 15?  I don't know, maybe.  All I know is by the end of my second year, I was 35 pounds heavier  than I was when I was in high school.  And I wanted it OFF!  I joined Weight Watchers Online that summer, and by the following winter, I had lost all 35 pounds.  I felt fantastic!  I was proud of my efforts.  I was proud of my body.  I was proud of my new, super healthy eating habits.  And I was going to keep it off forrrreverrrrr!

Me at my goal weight in 2007.

That picture was taken 2 years after I hit my goal weight.  I had managed to maintain it (+/- 5lbs) for all that time.  It was also 1 month before I met my current boyfriend.  I'm not going to blame him for gaining the weight back.  But you know when you first start a new relationship?  And you're going out to eat all the time?  And you're socializing with each other's friends and drinking a lot?  So, a few pounds definitely came from that.  Maybe 5 or 10.  Another 25 or 30 came back by the end of the year (so, another 7-8 months) from a seriously stressful work situations.  And the steady availability of super delicious cakes and Cuban food at that seriously stressful job.  So, since 2008, I've been bouncing between 155 and 165, vowing every year to get back down to the 130-135 range.  And it hasn't happened.

This year, something finally happened.  I lost a little weight.  And then I gained it back.  And I gained some more.  And then I gained even more.  I've made various "commitments" to lose the weight.  But my head just has not been in the game.  So with a renewed commitment, passion, and zest for getting back my old body, I am leaving the past in the past and moving forward in a new Weight Loss Journey.

Weight Watchers, I'm back.  For real.

Zumba and other fitness DVDs, let's do this.

Kitchen, prepare for serious use.

Today is Friday, September 23, 2011.  I weigh 186.2 lbs.
Today I am the heaviest I have ever been, and the heaviest I will ever be.

And I am finally serious about losing a solid 50lbs.  And if I can do it by my birthday (April 12th), even better!

Happy 28th Birthday!  Here's your perfect body back.  Treat it right this time, will ya?  You know, forever.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Beautiful Day

Today was a beautiful day.

                   It looked quite like this.

Perfect blue skies, puffy white cotton ball clouds, beaming sun exposing itself and proud to shower drops of delight on anyone lucky enough to be spending the afternoon in the Long Island Wine Country.

This was my first trip to the LI vineyards and LiV distillery.  This is what I learned: I want to buy a farm, grow grapes and potatoes, make luscious wines and creamy vodka (I also learned today that vodka can be creamy), rescue horses from slaughter, have a petting zoo, and take beautiful pictures of it all.

Hm.  That's quite a tall order.  Let's break it down a little.  The whole farm/vineyard/vodka distillery/horse rescue thing is probably something to which I don't want to commit at the moment.  However, I do have a love for wine, and a long burning desire to capture beauty in every day life through the lens of a camera.

A couple of years ago, I discovered The Traveling Vineyard.  I wanted to treat my best friend to a wine tasting for her bachelorette party and I knew there had to be someone out there that would bring the wine to us.  My love for drinking wine met my love for business and making money, and soon enough they had a quickie marriage and I was a TTV consultant.  My foray into direct sales of wine only last a few months, but I completely enjoyed the experience of learning about wine.  However, I haven't learned nearly enough.  Luckily, I recently found a Groupon deal for a wine class at American Bartenders School.  I am really looking forward to continuing my wine education.  Perhaps one day I will be running a vineyard and tasting house.  Or maybe I'll just visit various vineyards and tasting houses and report back on them.

The other thing that I recalled today was just how much I love to take photographs.  

I love to take scenic pictures
I miss today already.

and showcase the true beauty of every day things. 
I'm not so sure I did that with this picture, what with my shadow in the lower right corner and all.  But I do believe I can develop this skill.  First step, by a real camera.  The Samsung point and shoot that my boyfriend bought me for my birthday two years ago recently fell off a counter top and is now broken.  (Side note: My Motorola Droid 2 Global did a pretty awesome job as a fill-in today.) While I think I'd still like to get a point and shoot for the convenience factor, I would really love to get a DSLR to make my photos even more awesome.  Oh, and I'd love to take a class to teach me a) how to use the DSLR and b) how to make my photos awesome.  Maybe it'll be a hobby.  Maybe I'll one day be published.  Who knows?  But step 1: Buy a camera!

Do you dabble in either of these hobbies?  How did you get started?  What do you love most about it?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Finding Passion

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a writer.

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a chef and restauranteur.

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a doctor, a dancer, a stock broker, a CFO, an entrepreneur, a boss, a healthy, fit, slender woman.

Seriously, I wanted to be all of those things.  I was even very passionate about some of them.  And some of them have even been realized.  Others fell by the wayside of childhood dreams.  (Specifically, the doctor and the stock broker.  What can I say?  I was a… mature kid.) 

Recently, I’ve decided I want more.  But every time I figure out what I think “more” means, I lose interest.  Why?  Probably because whatever the more du jour is, it isn’t something about which I’m passionate.  So the question is: What are my passions?  What do I really, really, really enjoy doing?  And so this blog was born.  To discover new passions, and rediscover old ones, and maybe, just maybe help someone else figure out her own passion.