I Feel Great…Sore, But Great!!!

Ok, so I got on the scale last week to a horrible discovery…I am the heaviest I have ever weighed. I mean, I know I haven’t felt the greatest lately and I have been consuming quite a lot of junk, but I had no idea. I was sad, angry and determined all at the same time.

You might recall that at the beginning of the year Neil and I did an 8-week challenge. We ate clean and I was “exercising”. Let’s just say I didn’t work to my fullest potential. If I felt one twinge in my knee or any other slight ache or pain, I was done. So, I felt the pain, but didn’t stick around long enough to see the gain.

I spoke with Neil about it, and he decided to train with me in the gym in our condo building. He hasn’t been to his gym in a while due to health reasons, so this is a perfect way to get him back into the swing of things. Neil has been lifting weights and studying about nutrition since before high school, he is always up on the latest things and can tell you what will work and what won’t. I have decided to put myself in his hands.

First up, I had to tell him how much I actually weigh…can you say mortifying? After that was out of the way, we came up with a calorie consumption plan based on what I do want to weigh and made plans to hit the gym Monday afternoon. I went to sleep with images of a buff Tracie dancing in my head.

Day 1 he put me through an all-around program that hit all body parts using the multi station gym machine. I did all exercises at 15 pounds (the lightest weight) to get the proper form down and really, because I can barely use 10 lb. dumbbells and I didn’t want to look like an idiot. With the support of the machine, it felt really easy. I know I was doing the work, but the stabilizing of the machine helped a lot.

We worked out 4 days this week and yesterday I had 25 lbs. on the machine for most exercises!! Neil keeps saying I have been holding out on him, but I can still only do 8-10 lbs. with the dumbbells. I am sore, but I feel great. It’s in a I did a full day’s work, and I can be proud of my accomplishment kind of sore.

I have been keeping my food in check with a calorie counter. I am not obsessive about it. I use it to keep my portions in check, because that is a major problem for me. And I have found out that I can be satisfied with a proper portion for most things. Instead of heaping my plate full, I do one portion. If I am still actually hungry, not just eating to eat, I will take another half portion. It’s easier than I thought it would be.

This whole week has been easier than I thought it would be. I think that is because I was honest with Neil and finally handed over to him the one thing I was embarrassed about. It was my hang up, not his. I really think I am going to get into this lifting weights thing. I have no intention of looking like a dude, but there are a lot of females out there pulling heavy weight and looking great…watch out ladies, here I come.

***Question for the comments…Do you work out? What is your favorite type of exercise to do? One of my favorites is still a good old Billy Blanks Tae Bo workout.

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Are You a Fashion Fiend?

Do you pay attention to the trends of the season? Are you always on the lookout for the next new thing? Or do you not care at all about what is considered fashionable?

I was on the phone with my sister the other day…what else is new, right…lol. And we started talking about clothes and handbags. This led to a marathon session of looking at clothing websites and scrolling through the trends together.

It started off in Ann Taylor which led to Bergdorf Goodman which led to who knows what else. Just scrolling and laughing and occasionally finding something that we would wear. We got to Fashionphile and my head nearly exploded over all the wonderful designer handbags. You know I am a sucker for a good bag.

I used to do this all the time. I was always up on the latest things. I had subscriptions to Vogue, InStyle, and Vanity Fair. I couldn’t afford all the high-end designer clothes, but I would look to see what colors were trending and what was in and then I would go to places like Old Navy and Ross and pick a few items that would work for the season. I guess you would have called me a low-budget fashionista.

It was the same with makeup and nail polish. I would go with the trends that suited me and not worry about things that didn’t. I never could get the winged eyeliner thing down. Hair, I never looked at because mine was always short. But things have changed.

Since moving to the islands, I really don’t know what is going on in the land of fashion. I am usually running around in shorts and tee shirts, and I can’t tell you the last time I had on a pair of actual shoes. I live my life in slippahs (flip flops). But I have to tell you something…I miss it.

I miss shopping the way I used to. Looking for the right jacket or shirt that would look good with jeans. LOL, I haven’t worn jeans in 10 years!!! Nowadays, I just throw on anything and call it a day. I hardly ever wear makeup anymore. And ever since my hairdresser moved back to the mainland last year, I have let my hair grow long and natural. All this sums up to one thing, I am bored with myself and my look.

I am over the just throw on anything who cares look. Which means it is time for a change. This does not mean that I am going to walk around looking like I just got off the catwalk during Fashion Week. But it’s time to get back to MY basics. Looking to see what’s in and then translating it into my casual island look. Yes, it can be done. I just have to start looking again.

Maybe I am feeling restless because it is Fall. This is the season I love, and I am always up for change this time of year. And this time, the change is my look. First thing to go is my hair. I never feel right with it long, it messes with who I am. It sounds stupid, but it is true. I have a previous post about my love/hate relationship with my hair that explains it better. Then it’s off to the fashion files to see how I can turn my laid-back look into more of a polished beach look instead of just a sloppy look. Be on the lookout, because when I get my look back, you may just see me strut up the street and do a little spin like I am on the catwalk.

***Question for the comments…Do you like fashion? Do you pay attention to trends, or do you not care at all about what is in?

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Dahl, Wonka and Gobstoppers…a Threesome

I was tooling around the internet last month looking for topics for September and I came upon something cool. Yesterday was Roald Dahl Day and today is Gobstopper Day…coincidence? I think not and it’s a perfect topic for today.

I LOVE the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It has kids in it, it has a weird, magical man and it has chocolate. What more could a kid want in a story? I don’t remember when I first read this book, but I can tell you I definitely saw “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” first.

Just like “The Wizard of Oz” and “The Sound of Music”, it was a movie we watched every year when it came on television. Back before the days of streaming and DVD’s, even before the VCR, we had to wait for its yearly showing on network TV. It was always a big production with popcorn and my mom would watch with us.

I couldn’t believe how bad the kids were and their parents let them get away with it. All it took was one look of death from my mother to know I better knock it off or I was going to get it. Every time a kid was sent away for being bad, I was glad. They deserved it. I thought Wonka was right in how he handled those brats.

I loved Willie Wonka himself. Gene Wilder was a genius. Everything from his timing to the looks on his face was priceless. As a kid, I just liked his wild hair, purple coat and top hat. As an adult…I love the sarcasm and humor. The way he interacts with the adults is hysterical, which is why my mother watched it with us.

I laughed out loud in a college English class when the professor quoted Ogden Nash’s “Candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker” line. She asked me what was so funny, and I just said, “Wonka”. It took a minute, but she finally got what I meant, the rest of the class burst into laughter too. The movie came out in 1971, so it kinda belongs to my generation, LOL, but we will share it with others.

Roald Dahl was not thrilled with the movie at all, because it strayed from the story. He totally disowned the movie. As an adult, I tend to think the same thing about books and their movie adaptations, but as far as Wonka goes…I will pick the movie every time.

I know they made another movie in 2005 with Johnny Depp and it is based on the book and more to Dahl’s vision, but I have not seen it. As much as I love Johnny Depp, and I have ever since 21 Jump Street, I can’t bring myself to watch it. He just looks too creepy to me, even by Tim Burton standards. To me, Gene Wilder is the one and only Willie Wonka.

So, how will I celebrate these two “holidays”? I will sit down and watch “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”, of course. Before I do, I have to go to the store and pick up some gobstoppers and other Nestle candy. (Nestle Candy Shop was originally known as The Willie Wonka Candy Shop.)

Then I will come home, turn on the television and be in a world of pure imagination…

***Question for the comments…Do you like “Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”? Do you have a favorite Roald Dahl book? Have you seen “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?

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Are You a Hat Person?

I love hats, do you?

I am obsessed with hats. I have been collecting hats ever since I can remember. I don’t know when it first started, but wherever I go, if I see a cute hat, I am buying it.

Most people go to concerts and pick up a tee shirt to remember the occasion, the first thing I look for is a hat. A few years ago, Neil and I went to see Def Leppard. We went right to the merchandise area. He bought a really nice hoodie and asked if I wanted a shirt. I took a quick scan of all the things, shook my head and just pointed. He looked to where my finger was leading and just laughed…he should have known.

My hat of choice is usually a baseball hat, normally worn backwards. (You know I am a bit of a tomboy) But in recent years I have tried bucket hats and beanies and I like them too. Beanies don’t work really well in Hawaii, in my opinion, because it never really gets cold, but I have worn one if I go out for a few hours and it works with my outfit.

Thinking back, I think I first noticed hats in a big way when I watched Prince Charles and Lady Diana get married. It was 1981 and I was 11. People were streaming into the church and all I saw were these big, beautiful hats. All shapes and colors, some very pretty and some that looked totally ridiculous, I was mesmerized. I looked at the hats more than I did the dresses. I love that about the Royals, I still look at their hats today.

If I want to go farther back, it might have been because of the nuns at school. I loved to see them in full habit, including the wimple and veil. In fact, there was a time when I thought about becoming a nun. Although thinking about it now…I just wanted to wear the uniform. While other little girls were putting pillowcases on their heads pretending to be brides, I was running around pretending to be Sister Tracie. LOL! Even today, I will show more respect for a nun in a habit than the ones who run around in just a skirt and blouse.

One type of hat I cannot wear is a big, floppy sunhat. They are nice, but they annoy me to wear. I have a friend who wears one whenever we have a beach day, and it totally works on her. She looks fabulous in it. Some people can pull it off; I am not one of them. I feel like I should be sitting on the veranda in “Gone with the Wind” sipping sweet tea and hardly being able to breathe because my corset is too tight. I’ll just stick to my baseball and bucket hats.

Do you wear hats? I think you either are a hat person or you’re not. I think some people want to wear them, but they feel like people will laugh or think they are silly. I get it, nobody wants to feel embarrassed. Let me leave you with a quote I found on Pinterest…

“Don’t second guess every decision you make…You’ll go crazy…IF YOU LIKE THE HAT, WEAR IT.” -zen2zany

***Question for the comments…Do you like hats? If you do, what is your favorite style to wear?

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Friends Forever…No Matter What..

Do you have that one friend, that no matter how long it’s been since you have seen them, the moment you get together, it’s like no time has passed?

This happened yesterday for us. We haven’t seen our friend Kaleo in about 6 years. He moved to the Philippines, got married, had a kid and we have hardly spoken. Not because of hurt feelings or bad vibes, but because of the poor internet reception they have sometimes. It’s fine, we know he is okay because we see the pictures he posts and every few months get a line via FB Messenger.

We got one of those lines 2 weeks ago letting us know he was coming to Hawaii for a month. He needed to take care of some things here and wanted to make sure we got together while he was in town…Duh, Kaleo, of course we are going to hang out.

After being in town for a week, we got our chance yesterday. We picked him up at his old stomping grounds, Surf the Nations, and went out to breakfast. The minute we saw him it started. All the teasing, the bad “dad” jokes, the same old stories came flooding back. It was like we saw him last week instead of years ago. It was like he never left Hawaii and it felt great. We will probably hang out every weekend until he leaves. Who knows how long it will be before we see him again, but when we do, it will be like no time has gone by at all.

Do you have anybody like that in your life? I hope so.

Some people might think I would count my sister in that category, and I do to a point. I talk to my sister almost every day for at least an hour a day, but usually more. We might not be in the same room physically and we haven’t been in 10 years, but we have never missed a beat in the conversation. It’s like I am down the block not 5000 miles away.

I have old friends that I follow on social media and we like and comment on each other’s posts, but I don’t know if we could just pick up like no time had gone by…except maybe one. Susan and I have been friends forever. We were youth group leaders together; we would go listen to bands play on the weekends and we dressed up like nuns and went bar hopping in Fell’s Point in Baltimore one Halloween.

But things happen and your time gets taken up by other things. But check this out…we actually got on the phone last year and chatted forever. I got caught up on all the local gossip, we reconnected beyond the thumbs up of social land. Just hearing each other’s voices and walking down memory lane live not via the keyboard, even for a half hour was enough.

If you have a friend like that, I urge you to stay connected. Even if it is by social media only. Friendships are important, they are what make the world go round. Some people will say that about family and that is totally true, but your family won’t be able to make you laugh as you talk about the time you got lost in the RFK parking lot in Washington D.C. because you couldn’t find your car after the U2 concert, or the time people really thought you were nuns when you were only wearing a pillowcase and a skirt on your head…only your partner in crime can do that with you. Reconnect with an old friend today.

***Question for the comments…Do you have a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while but no matter how much time has gone by, you are still friends? Tell me one crazy memory in the comments.

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Did You Make It?

What did you want to be when you were a kid? Did you do that, or did you wind up doing something totally different?

I was having a conversation with Neil the other night about his college days. He went to college on a music scholarship for trumpet. He only lasted a year because being young, he didn’t want to take any more Math and English classes. He only wanted to play trumpet in an orchestra somewhere. He doesn’t regret his decision. He says if he ended up doing what he went to college for he wouldn’t have ended up with the friends he has…or me, of course, lol.

I wanted to be either a lawyer or a writer when I was young. I fooled around in high school too much, so I ended up going to community college. Not a bad place to start, especially if you don’t have the grades or money is a little tight. I did alright. I had good grades in my writing and pre-law classes, but my parents were going through a divorce and the money just wasn’t there.

I worked various jobs, including being a law clerk, but ended up spending most of my life in the hospitality industry. I would write here and there, but never took any steps to make a career out of it, until now. Last year I decided to take the leap and say I am a writer.

I started this blog and have been really happy with it. It got the creative juices flowing again. I also write on another platform called Medium. I am really liking how that platform works and really looking forward to seeing growth in my writing. I am also working on self-publishing a work of fiction.

Along the way I discovered I also wanted to be a life coach and I am working towards getting that business started. I am meeting with my first client today. All my life people have been seeking my advice and asking for help in figuring things out, it seems like a natural choice for me.

How about you? Did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up and did you accomplish that? Did you find something more suited to you than that initial career choice? Let me know in the comments.

And remember, it’s not too late to try something new. I have read stories of people becoming doctors and lawyers in their later years. Anything is possible if you believe it.

***Question for the comments…What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you doing that or did your path change?

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Is Fast and Convenient Always Better?

As you know, we went grocery shopping on Monday, just a quick shop to pick up odds and ends, not a big haul. We came to the frozen food aisle to grab some pizza, trust me when I say go grab a Walmart brand self-rising supreme pizza. It is surprisingly good. I stopped and looked around at all the microwave meals and tv dinners amazed at all the brands and choices and sizes. We really have become the land of convenience.

I remember having tv dinners on trays in the living room watching television when I was younger. It was not an every week sort of thing, but it did happen from time to time. We were always so excited, because it was a treat. Not only was it cool to look at, forgive me, I was very young, but it always came with a dessert compartment. It was a full meal all in one little tray that you could throw out after and not worry about dishes. Sounds like a big plus to me.

Through the years they got a little bit more creative with the food in the meals. No longer was it just Salisbury Steak and potatoes. It was nice veggies with a creamy sauce on top and maybe a rice pilaf with a lemon chicken. Of course, you still had to wait for the oven to warm up and then the actual cooking time of the dinner. And just when we couldn’t stand the wait anymore…here comes the microwave.

The microwave made our lives easier than ever before. Just a quick zap and boom, something could be on the table. We no longer had to deal with pulling out the popcorn maker or waiting for the Jiffy Pop to do its thing on the stove. In just 2 and half minutes you could have a nice hot bag of popcorn ready to go. All done in the time before the next show came on. Anything you are want can be done quickly in the microwave. Craving Japanese style noodles? Cup of Noodles in a minute. Did you get distracted, and your coffee is now cold? In 30 seconds, it can be nice and steaming again. Leftovers from your favorite restaurant? It will be reheated in just a few minutes.

We are all on the go so much. Families eating at different times because of sports schedules and parents working late. Couples eating at different times and wanting 2 different meals. It’s no wonder the prepackaged frozen meal became a staple and a life saver. If you were to open my freezer at any time in my adult life you would find a frozen dinner there.

But is faster always better? Sometimes the answer is yes. These things were made for a reason, there was a market for it because of our lifestyles. We didn’t change our lifestyle because we saw we could get more things accomplished now that the tv dinner was made. It was made because companies saw a need and fulfilled it.

The world will continue to be fast paced and microwave meals and tv dinners will always be in demand. I personally am waiting for the day when I have a June Jetson kitchen. With a push of a button out comes a whole roast dinner and all I had to do was push that button. I won’t care how it’s made or how the groceries got to the house to begin with. OOOOO…maybe we will all have Rosie the Robots…that would be sweet.

***Question for the comments…Do you have frozen dinners from time to time? What do you use your microwave for the most?

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How Do You Grocery Shop?

We are getting ready to go have a little breakfast and then go grocery shopping and it got me wondering about how everyone else shops. There is no right, or wrong way and I have changed up my routine through the years. So let me ask you, how to you shop for groceries?

Do you make a list? Do you go down each aisle, row after row, in order? Do you coupon? (For my sister, who hates using nouns as verbs, let me rephrase…Do you use coupons?) How do you get through the daunting task that is going to the grocery store?

Nowadays, Neil and I will have an idea of what we want, so we just go to the store and look around. We pick up what we know we want or need and then troll the aisles to see if anything else grabs our attention. You would think that would lead to overspending, but it hasn’t so far.

When I first moved out on my own, many years ago, I took grocery shopping very seriously. I would look through all the Sunday ads and clip coupons and make a list of what I wanted to buy. This is a normal method of shopping, and it worked out pretty well. I did this for years, but when all the grocery stores started with their own discount cards, I pretty much stopped clipping coupons. I still like to look at the ads.

When I started working in restaurants, the days of weekly shopping went out the window. I stopped cooking, because after looking at food all day, every day, the last thing I wanted to do was shop and make a healthy meal. So, I turned to the comforts of take out and convenience store pickups. Well, you can guess what happened…I gained a bunch of weight and I have yet to take it off. I am a fast food/junk food junkie. It is time to get off the merry go round and get back to making nice, simple meals at home.

That means meal planning and grocery lists. It’s time to really start thinking about what I want to cook throughout the week and make it happen. If you have been with me for a while, you know the thoughts of cooking on a regular basis kinda intimidates me. But I can read and follow directions. I just sike myself out.

Maybe I will even start to use coupons again. When I used them before, I used to have a small organizer for them. I used a very simple method; I pulled them together by date. For a single girl shopping alone, it worked great. But, man, some of these organizers and binders are insane. I see people in the store with a binder as big as the grocery cart. How do they even know what’s in there? But they do. They can pull a coupon out from anywhere in a second. It is fascinating and scary at the same time. I have watched “Extreme Couponing”, I know what they do.

Today is not a big shop for us, just a few items here and there, to get us through the week. But I am going to take the week and come up with a meal game plan for next week. The small free local paper comes out tomorrow and there are ads and coupons in there…I may have to snag one from the lobby of our building and pull out a notebook to make my lists and an envelope for my coupons. Am I turning into June Cleaver? LOL…no, you will never see me in pearls vacuuming the house and I hate high heels, so I’m good, no worries.

***Question for the comments…How do you grocery shop? List or no list? Coupons? A lot of stores or just one?

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Back to School…Last Summer Weekend

I can’t believe most kids are already back to school. Every time I see parents talking about it on social media, I feel bad for the kids. Here in Hawaii, the kids get out of school the end of May and they go back the beginning of August. That’s only 2 months for summer, but they do have longer breaks throughout the year.

We got out of school the second week of June and always went back the day after Labor Day. So, this was it, the last weekend before heading back to tests and school lunches and book reports. And in my family, we always had a Labor Day tradition.

Today is Saturday and this was the day my mom would double check to make sure we had all the things we needed for first day. We never got these huge lists sent to us before school started. That came the first day of school and back then we did not need to help supply the classroom with tissues and paper towels, etc. Those things were supplied by the school itself, not the poor teachers who then have to ask for help from the families. (But that is a whole other conversation, although I will say this…we need to pay our teachers more and the school board needs to supply more things in the classrooms of America. O.K., I’ll get off my soap box now.)

My mom knew what to get for the basics, because even though we moved around a lot and I was in a lot of different schools, they were all Catholic and the requirements never change, only the colors of the jumpers do. She double checked everything and then put it all in my backpack. Then she moved on to make sure my uniforms were hemmed and ironed and ready for Tuesday.

We would sit around and watch The Jerry Lewis Telethon every year. Do you remember it? It was a big, televised show that ran all weekend and raised money for Muscular Dystrophy. It ran from 1966 to 2014. It stayed on all weekend long, no breaks. They had music acts and big stars. They talked to the families of the kids they were helping. It was a very big deal when I was growing up. I would sit and watch all 3 days of the telethon. I would be sitting there with my backpack, rearranging it to how I liked it packed. I always had an obsession with school supplies…I still do. I am always buying pens and notebooks, especially the marble composition books, they will always be a favorite.

A couple of weeks before Labor Day, my mother would try to get me to start going to bed earlier, so I could get back on some kind of routine. I didn’t want to, but I did. Here’s the thing, I had a small portable television on top of my dresser. After I went to bed, I would turn it on very low and stand in front of it very close so I could hear it. I would put a towel at the bottom of my door so nobody could see the glare of the screen. I never got caught and that’s probably why I need glasses today.

This is a time of year I consider for new beginnings, even more than New Years. I don’t know why, but the school year has always been a better calendar for me. As an adult, I sit down and make a list of some things I would like to do. It’s the time of year to get back on track after a full summer of taking it a little easy and having more fun. That reminds me…I have to get to the store and get some more composition books while they are still on sale!!!

***Question for the comments…Did you have any end of summer traditions? How did you feel about going back to school? What is your favorite supply for school?

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Is Letter Writing a Dead Art Form?

When was the last time you got a letter in the mail? Not a bill or a piece of junk mail, but an actual letter? Something handwritten, maybe on pretty stationary, that someone sat down and wrote with you in mind? For most of us that has was a long, long time ago. I have to ask…what happened to the fine art of letter writing?

In the digital age we are more inclined to shoot off a quick text, email or even a short voice message. We like to get to the point and move on. There are people who like to spend more time letting people know what’s going on in their lives, but nowadays you are more likely to find a yearly newsletter in your inbox than a piece of mail with a stamp on it.

I love getting letters in the mail (cards fall into that category too). The thrill of opening the mailbox and finding an envelope with my name handwritten on it among all the bills is a treat. It is even better than finding my monthly Ulta catalog, although I get really jazzed about that too. Why did letter writing stop being a thing?

Is it too time consuming? Is it the money one has to spend on stamps and paper? I am not sure, but it makes me sad. I am a romantic at heart, spiced with a little cynicism for sure, and when I think of letters, I think to days gone by when people would spend years writing back and forth. That was their friendship or maybe even a little love affair, all through paper and pen. Some of the best books I have read have been about someone’s letters. One of my favorites is “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”.

I have recently seen a little bit of rebellion among the younger crowd. They are giving up their cable and streaming services and going back to an actual television antenna. Maybe it’s to save money, but maybe they are tired of all the noise that is thrown at them every time they open their phones. Are we starting to see a flip back to simpler times? If that is the case, maybe it’s time to bring letter writing back as well. All it would take would be for everyone to write just one letter to a friend to start a “revolution”.

Today is World Letter Writing Day and I have a challenge for you. Take the time this week to send a letter or a card to a friend. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out, just a little message to let them know you are thinking of them. Sign it, seal it, put a stamp on it and drop it in the mail. Let’s make letter writing a thing again.

***Question for the comments…Do you like to get letters? Do you like to write them? When was the last time you got an actual letter in the mail?

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