September 30, 2012

shapelygirl fitness: initial thoughts

If you've been reading this blog very long, you know I review a lot of products, mostly books. You also know I struggle with my weight. (Well, let's be honest: sometimes it's a struggle, and other times it's more like whatever, who cares, I give up!) I was recently offered the opportunity to combine my love of reviewing with my quest to lose weight by being a part of the ShapelyGirl Fitness review crew through Christian Women Affiliate.

ShapelyGirl Fitness founder Debra Mazda believes that every woman, no matter her size, can improve her life and health by getting off the couch and moving! Here's a little bit about Debra's philosophy (provided by ShapelyGirl Fitness):
Fitness Comes In Many Sizes. You’d never know this by looking at most fitness DVD’s or at the women in your average health club workout classes, because the majority of fitness products are targeted to thin women. As a result, larger women can be intimated by traditional health clubs and workout tapes. They are often encouraged to focus first on dieting … and we all know how well diets work. Enter Debra Mazda, the founder of ShapelyGirl Fitness™ – a still “shapely” 165-pound fitness trainer, who transformed her life through exercise. Mazda began her transformation 25 years ago, tipping the scale at 310 pounds and in the habit of enjoying a rack of ribs for breakfast. Mazda learned firsthand that getting moving is the first step to better health and self-esteem. Through her ShapelyGirl Fitness™ program, Mazda puts the focus directly on other ShapelyGirls, encouraging plus size women to “get off the couch.”
Debra's philosophy is what convinced me to apply for this review crew—well, that and the fact that she used to work with Richard Simmons! I loved his videos when I was in high school. (That makes me sound really uncool, doesn't it?) His videos and Debra's are the only workout videos I've seen that use actual plus size people in them.

This opportunity couldn't have come at a better time. My goals for 2012 included exercising four times per week and losing 30 pounds. At the time, I couldn't have foreseen my May gallbladder surgery, which made me feel better but totally knocked me off my exercise regimen. And once I stopped exercising, I never really started again. I don't weigh as much as I did at the beginning of the year, but I'm in much worse shape. So I am committing to getting off the couch and moving!

I can't believe I'm about to post this, but here's a picture of me now. I generally avoid full body shots, and I always, always do the suck in the gut, stick out the neck, turn slightly to the side photo slimming tricks. Hopefully my "after" shot won't be so cringe-worthy!

Currently, I weigh 196 pounds (did I really just say that?) and wear a size 14 pant and 18 top (one of my high school friends nicknamed me "Top Heavy" for a reason!). I'll also be tracking inches lost, as I'm fully aware that as my muscles tone up, my clothes will fit differently, but I may not see much of a change on the scale.

Each week, I'll post an update on my progress (including pounds and inches lost), as well as my thoughts on the dvd and any breakthroughs or challenges I'm experiencing.

I have agreed to use the ShapelyGirl Fitness dvd of my choice three times per week during the month of October. (I chose Walking Fit & Fabulous—you can see all the dvd options here.) I received the dvd earlier this week, and I couldn't wait until October 1 to use it! A full review of the dvd will come at the end of the month, but for now, I want you to know that the workouts are easy to follow and fun!

One of my favorite aspects of this review is that I have the support of 26 other women who are in the same boat as me—women who are committing to regular exercise and healthier living. Heather at Marine Corps Nomads is hosting a voluntary blog link-up for those of us on the Crew, and I've decided to participate. You can follow the other Crew members' journeys by clinking on the links below.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free copy of this product to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” I am part of the 
CWA Review Crew.

September 16, 2012

a revelation journey

I'll be honest: I've never liked the Book of Revelation very much. When I was a kid, it terrified me (as did those A Thief in the Night movies). As I got older, I just ignored it. Then last year, my Bible study group started listening to a series of sermons by Pastor Bob Thune from Coram Deo in Omaha. It was a take on Revelation I'd never heard before—rather than focusing on future events, he talked about how to apply the teaching in Revelation to our lives now. I was intrigued and challenged.

When my church announced its fall women's Bible study series, I knew I needed to be involved: it's Beth Moore's Revelation study, Here and Now ... There and Then. I'm excited for this study not only because it's about Revelation, but also because I have benefited from her teaching in the past (such as when God used her to reveal the bitterness in my heart).

We began the study last week. The first video was phenomenal! I'm very excited to continue learning.

Beth Moore studies are notorious for having lots of daily homework, but this study only has one homework assignment per week. (This should help me stay caught up!) Since I stayed home from church this morning, thanks to the "school cold" that smacked me in the face yesterday, I decided to do my homework with a nice cup of tea. It was really, really good—sent me to Scripture and didn't ask any of the inane questions present in most Bible study curriculums that drive me batty. It also took me only about 30 minutes to complete.

I'm very much looking forward to learning whatever God has for me through this study of Revelation!

P.S.: You can't see it, since the picture didn't turn out great, but I was listening to Travis Cottrell's When The Stars Burn Down as I studied. Not only is the title track completely fitting for a study of Revelation, but the whole album is so worshipful. Amazon tells me I bought it exactly a year ago, and in that time, I've listened to it countless times. You should really check it out!

September 5, 2012

myspace, frustration, and love

This afternoon, we were reminiscing at work. A few years ago, we had a principal (who also served as student council adviser, a role I've had for the past three years) who decided that each spirit day during Homecoming Week should have a spiritual application. Blendy was a student then, and hopefully she'll chime in with her thoughts in the comments.

Anyway, we were remembering how this guy was super serious and conservative (like when it came to assigning spirit days), but every once in a while, he'd let his guard down. That made me think of the time I "confessed" my love for him. I knew I'd blogged about it, so I decided to find the post when I got home. Easier said than done!

I soon discovered that I'd written the post while I was still blogging on Myspace. Here's what happened when I went to log in (this is how I put it on Facebook):
So I'm trying to log into Myspace for the first time in well over a year, and I can't remember my password. I try to reset it, but the reset information goes to an email address I haven't used in three years. I can't remember my password there, either, and the password recovery email goes to an account that no longer exists. Then I see this nifty "log in with facebook" button on the Myspace home page. I click it, and suddenly I have a brand new Myspace account! That wasn't the result I was looking for. I just wanted to access one of my old blog posts, but I protected them so that only my friends had access ... sometimes technology can be so frustrating!
A couple of my friends offered to log into their own Myspace accounts to help me out, and Melissa found the post I was looking for! Here it is, from October 20, 2006, for your reading pleasure:

embarrassment at the office

Current mood:embarrassed
Fact 1: I love listening to music in the office. We have probably 25 cds to choose from (most are mine)--most of them are instrumental or contemporary Christian.

Fact 2: We have a new principal at NC this year. He's 26, single, and very conservative. Things between us have been awkward at best, and most of our conversations consist of : "You have a call on line three."

This morning, we were listening to a cd of 90's-ish pop hits played by an orchestra when Robert (aka the principal) asked me to help him find something in the files. Suddenly he stopped looking through the files, looked at me, and said, "I don't know what song this is."

I, of course, did, so without thinking, I said, "It's 'Have I . . .'" And then it hit me: Oh, crap! Now I have to say the rest of it! "'. . . told you lately that I love you?'"

He smiled (or maybe smirked) and said, "No, actually, you haven't."

My face turned five shades of red, and I wanted to sink through the floor. Fortunately, my mom walked back in from lunch at that moment, and we were able to move on.

The more I think about it, though, the more I think that he knew exactly what the song was, and I just walked right into his trap.

Think, Becky, Think Before You Speak!!!

A few thoughts: 1) I'd totally forgotten that Myspace let you pick a mood for each post. 2) Six years ago? Really? I can't believe I've been blogging that long! 3) It's fun to remember the good times ... 'cause goodness knows, most of my memories involving this man don't make me smile like this one does!

September 3, 2012

crafting with blendy & becky: bath bombs

Finally Blendy and I did a craft together again! I'm woefully late in posting, as we did this craft in July ...

Who doesn't love a nice bath? (Okay, so I know a lot of people who don't ... but I sure do!) These bath bombs are easy to make and fun to use. I found the recipe on Pinterest (of course). I'd been wanting to make these bath bombs with Blendy for months—Pinterest tells me I pinned it 28 weeks ago—but we just never got around to it until the Olympics started.

I adapted this recipe from the one found on Pinterest to work with the ingredients I bought.

Step 1: Gather your materials—one 16 ounce box baking soda, 7 ounces of citric acid (I found mine on Amazon), 4 tsp scented massage oil (or 4 tsp olive or unscented massage oil and 10-20 drops essential oil), water in a spray bottle (I used a rinsed out spray gel bottle), mold (I used a 1/3 cup measure), large bowl, whisk, baking sheet.

Step 2: Dump baking soda and citric acid into bowl and whisk to combine.

Step 3: Gradually add oil(s) and mix in. (Essential oil is very strong, so start with just a few drops and then add more until you reach the desired potency.)

Step 4: Spray a little water onto the mixture and whisk in. The amount of water you need will depend on humidity—I only needed two sprays, but in the middle of winter, I'd probably need much more. The mixture is perfect when it will hold together when you squeeze it.
When your mixture looks like this, it's just right.
Step 5: Pack into your mold and gently unmold it onto a cookie sheet.

Step 6: Allow to dry overnight. (Seriously. You'll be tempted to touch the bombs, but you need to leave them be for at least 24 hours. I learned this the hard way!)

Step 7: Store in an airtight container or package individually to give as gifts. Enjoy!

My recipe made eight bath bombs. Each one will fizz for about 45 seconds. It's so much fun to use these—just look at Blendy's delight as we were cleaning up!

If you're looking for a fun, easy project, try out these bath bombs!

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