Mothers, Jeans and Self-Esteem

Welcome to another week, folks, and a new theme. Always a pleasure to be here and share with you! Thanks so much for stopping in 🙂

mothers day flowers 2014   Mother’s Day Flowers from all my men–I’m too short to get a good image if vase is on table, lol.

Joanna n baby boys  I’m thinking my boys were one and three (?) in this image. Now the big one is the little one, and the little one is the big one. Where did the time go?

Joanna n Niconus 05-11-2014  Older son and his ma on Mother’s Day–the other guy goes camera shy. 

joanna n hubby Mothers Day 2014   Hubby and me on  Mother’s Day :). Now why didn’t I insist on a photo with both my boys????

So last week I shared about jeans, finding that elusive, “perfect-fitting” pair (I’m sure I’ll look for a loooong time, lol) and some encouraging news on that topic via Charlotte Hilton Anderson’s blog, The Great Fitness Experiment. (Among the reasons I’ve always liked Jennifer Lopez too. In many ways, she put those of us whose back ends like to uh…hang out more than others on the map. She also very kindly helped designed a line of  jeans made to fit said folks. Thanks, J-Lo! )

Rather than drag y’all through a longer-winded post than usual last time, I figured I’d pick up with a related topic today. (I promise, people, I’m working on keeping these shorter. )

Much as I love jeans, I hate shopping for them. (I’m to the point where I’m NEVER in the mood to shop for anything—eh, maybe shoes every once in a while. I always seem to gravitate toward the same colors and styles anyway. Seriously, how many red jackets or purses can one person have?)

A couple of years ago, I was killing some time on a Saturday morning. Strolled into the local TJ Maxx and wandered over to the jeans rack. I wound up trying a tan pair of skinnies just for the heck of it, in a brand that tends to fit me better than others.

Danged pair actually fit okay, even in the trouble spots. Long story short, I didn’t like them enough to buy them. I did, however, feel encouraged b/c a pair of “skinnies” almost fit well enough to be a choice.

Met up with my mom later that day. Feeling good, I told her about the jeans. Her automatic (paraphrased) response? The jeans fit because they weren’t cut right and/or had stretched.

No way on the planet—in her brain—I could have lost a pound or two, or have walked and exercised my way into that cut.  Then I wonder why shopping for clothing is more distasteful than it should be, lol.

So go figure, a few weeks ago, Mama actually complimented me in a pair of skinny jeans. I believe she phrased it something like, “I don’t know if you lost weight or it’s the pants, but those look good.”

Whaaaat???????

Mama almost knocked me out. (Feel free to go a little LL Cool J here.  What can I say? My latest TV addiction is NCIS Los Angeles.)

Joanna n mom Mothers Day 2014   Okay. We’ll let Mamma have a spot on the blog b/c she said I looked nice in my jeans. 

So, my blogger-friends, shall we go there? Shall we talk about how our self-esteem relative to clothing all comes back to Mom, lol? If that’s the case, what helped you get past it? (For me, a single book changed a lifetime of perspective. This related blog post tells that story.)

Here’s the link to the post that got me started on this blogging jag. (It’s over at Charlotte’s blog.) I also came across this assortment of seemingly simple exercises  Charlotte authored for Shape magazine. I hope to have checked them out more closely by the time this post airs.

Have a great week, everyone!

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rockin’ Jeans and The Great Fitness Experiment

Welcome to the second full week of May, folks. Hope all of you are well.

Poor hubby should be in recovery by now. The anniversary/wife’s birthday/Mother’s Day annual event is over again. Every year the poor guy gets slammed.

Back to business: I subscribe to more blogs than I can keep up with, but I do try to hit on each every now and again. This one absolutely made my day. It proved I’m not out of my mind—okay, maybe just a touch less than I thought.

I always enjoy posts by Charlotte Hilton Anderson, author of The Great Fitness Experiment (book and blog that go by the same name). I’m sure she is far fitter and way more fitness-savvy than I’ll ever be, but she also tends to be very real. A post she aired about two weeks ago caught my attention big time.

She talked about jeans, about how hard it is for those who work really hard at building and sculpting their thighs to buy jeans that fit them well and comfortably. Believe it or not, those with “musciliscious” thighs (which I’ll never have), experience problems with jeans very similar to those of us blessed with “ample” body parts and the so-called-healthy pear shape. Gapping waistline, “sausage legs” when fabric hugs thighs too tightly—those of us who love jeans know how elusive that perfect-fitting pair is to find.

She also mentioned a company named Barbell Apparel that is getting ready to launch a line of jeans that fit well-muscled folks. I figure, said company can only benefit the well-endowed crowd. (Here’s a Washington Post article that shares a tad more detailed, for those who are as excited about this as I am.)

Getting back to my questionable sanity, Charlotte helped me feel a lot better. I’ve recently gotten into some barre workouts. (Some related posts, including a link to my favorite video of same, are listed below.)

In the past month, since I added the barre workout(s), I’ve been feeling really good physically. As I commented on Charlotte’s post, however, I’ve also been noticing that my never-will-be-musciliscious-thighs seem to be growing despite the exercise efforts I’m putting in.

Perhaps they are, for once, maybe for the right reasons. Who knows for sure?

My weight has held now for about five years. Yes, it’s more than I want but still a good 25 pounds better than when I started making lifestyle changes.  The evening before I wrote this post, I nervously put on a pair of pants that had been sitting in a bag for two years—one of those pairs I had hoped to “get into” after losing 5-10 pounds.

I’ll be danged if I didn’t do just that–with my weight still where it was when I bought them, I’m pretty sure.

Joanna--04-26-2014 (Of course real estate between the waist and the knees is undercover–it’s all about illusion, right? 😉 )

Anyway, this is a big thanks to Charlotte for helping me realize that I’m not totally crazy—and for inspiring me to try on those pants. BTW, a pair of black jeans that fit awesome were in that bag too. Those just got hemmed at the tailors! Yay for jeans that fit well!

Rather than drag this one out, next week I’ll talk about Italian mothers and how they influence one’s self-esteem so well, lol.

So, where do you stand on this topic? Do you like jeans? Does fitness make you feel good or frustrate you? Did you ever consider that fitness had drawbacks?

Here are the links I mentioned above:

Sometimes It’s About the Littlest Things

Can One Book Change Your Life?

Healthy Snacks? I’m Thinking Not–Part 1

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result In Inspiration!

Newsflash: Blog-Hopping Can Result in Inspiration! (Part 2)

My (current) favorite ballet barre workout 🙂

Have a great week folks! Please don’t hesitate to SHARE should you like the content or feel moved to do so in any way!

Until next time,

Joanna

 

 

Sometimes, It’s About the Littlest Things

Hi all,

I’m running a little late with posting, this week. That’s what happens when school is closed for spring break. I start cleaning and lose sight of almost everything else. (This coming from the girl who always gave her mother grief for using vacation time to clean. Help! Does this mean I’m becoming my mother???)

Here’s the latest I tried from Jessica Smith TV. What I’m liking about her routines—and the ballet barre workout I referred to in my last post—is feeling supercharged when I’m done, with a willingness to keep going. The energy seems to have translated to the tennis court, too! I ran down so many shots and didn’t feel tired at all after 90 minutes out there—double what I could do last fall.  (Oh, the hours I spent on the courts in my mid-late 20s. Still feeling that kind of joy when I’m swinging a racquet.)

A couple of days ago, online friend and fellow blogger Carrie Rubin brought up an interesting question about twinges of regret about life choices we might have made. Read her post here. (Psst! Carrie’s posts are always worth the read.)

Anyway, she got me thinking. Of course, my thoughts meandered in other directions—and I didn’t want to be a copy-cat. I landed on seemingly little things that wind up being life-changing.

Now, I’m not talking insanely dramatic life situations. For me, a YouTube video and a piece of tape wound up impacting the day-to-day.

This connects to the fitness videos I mentioned these past two posts. Around this time last year, I decided to give zumba a whirl. I’d taken a class; wasn’t thrilled with the instructor. Being someone who has a hard time following steps, I figured I could start and pause a video as needed and work at my own pace.

Long story short, I felt something not move correctly in my left hip. No pain. At least not until a month or so later, when I couldn’t tell which came first, the pain in the hip or that in the knee. I was also an avid user of rocker-bottom sneakers (i.e., Shape-Ups)—they never, ever bothered me prior. (I’ve given them up but still miss them. It’s okay.)

By June last year, I had enough of a problem to interfere with my lifestyle. That included walking. (I was afraid to attempt tennis.) Sitting certain ways and getting up off the floor after working with my school kids had become a major issue. I broke down and went to see an orthopedist. He offered a knee brace, ibuprofen and physical therapy.

Immediately called a former co-worker. She’s not only the most amazing physical therapist I know, she’s become my “sister-from-another-mother.” She told me the brace  would align my patella (a.k.a kneecap) exactly the way athletic taping would, minus the bulk. Went to her house that same night. Came home taped and taught how to do it myself. She also showed me a few key exercises, but I’d be lying if I told you those were the magic.

A piece of athletic tape applied once or twice a week since then has altered my day-to-day for the best. Within a week, most of the pain subsided. (I’d say I was 95% improved, and with minimal medicine too.) I even took my chances on the tennis court right around then, and came back happier than I’d been in months. The barre workout appears to have handled the rest of the discomfort. My hip is feeling 99% improved since TWO days after starting that. Go figure.

So, reader-friends, I turn over the blog-mike to you. What seemingly little choice or change did you make that significantly impacted your day-to-day, or your life on the bigger scale, if that’s appropriate?

Best wishes for a Happy Passover and Happy Easter to all those who celebrate!

And special thanks to Carrie for inspiring me this week.  🙂

Cheers,

Joanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wilson, Our Real-Life Neighbor

Hi all,

Hope you all enjoyed a less rainy and gloomy weekend than those of us on the east coast did, but in the end, it’s all good, right?

Just a little shout-out here for a couple of YouTube workouts I’ve been thoroughly enjoying as of two weeks ago. Have a friend who swears by her ballet barre workouts. Being a non-gym kind of girl, and in definite need of a shake-up to my exercise and walking routine, I looked barre workouts up.

Came across two I really liked:

Jessica Smith’s Ballet Barre Workout (no barre really necessary, unless balance is a major issue) and BarreConcept’s Ultimate 20 Minute Barre Exercise Workout. (The latter instructor has an English accent and a voice that takes a bit of getting used to, but she’s in my head now, lol. Plus, the workout is short and even a bit addictive. Besides, the second woman from the left is me, right?) I am most pleased with having been able to do most of both workouts the first time, and that none of the moves are overly complex. Yep. Even I can follow them.  PLEASE NOTE: Don’t forget to consult your physician prior to beginning any workouts, especially if you have health concerns of any kind.

Other than that—and having nothing in particular to share this week—figured I’d tell you about our family’s real-life Wilson. (This would be the friend that dramatically called across the lawn when hubby had me believing he’d bought that Harley. That story posted two weeks ago. If you like, read it here.)

Wilson’s legal name is so not Wilson. Long story short, he and his family moved in next door when I was pregnant with my younger son. We had a pool then, and a wooden stockade privacy fence.

Yep, every day, our new neighbor peeked over the fence, much like Tim-the-Tool-Man’s neighbor Wilson did in the TV family-comedy series, Home Improvement. I started calling him Wilson. The name also served us all well, as it created a distinction between hubby and the guy next door, who just happen to share the same name.

Wilson and his family moved at least ten years ago. He and hubby remain close buds.

The name stuck. Most people who meet (or have met) Wilson through us have no idea that is NOT his first or last name, lol. And my boys? To this day, they call him Mr. Wilson (not to be confused, however, with the Mr. Wilson of Dennis the Menace fame).

So y’all confused enough? Have you ever named someone in your life after a TV character? If you were to do so, who would you pick?

Okay, we be done for today. Please share if you feel inclined to do so. Anybody try his/her hand at the cookie bar recipe I posted last week? If so, how did they turn out?

Be well and have a wonderful week,

Joanna

 

Today is my birthday!

Happy Friday, Happy weekend and Happy Mother’s Day to all to whom this applies!

Since the “techie” blog I wanted to post is no where near done, I had to do something. (IDK, virtual cakes just don’t cut it for me. I’m thinking about something from Friendly’s though. Bet you can’t guess. ;))

friendlys -27

Anyway, thought I’d do a quick share of some awesome music by an up and coming star! As life and a small world would have it, I went to school with his dad (who, I am VERY sad to say, passed about three years ago).

Tam’s dad was also very into his music. If memory serves me well, he loved his drums. What I remember most though, was a question he posed: if I had to lose one, would I give up my sight or my hearing?

Tam’s dad would rather not see than never be able to hear music again.

With that, I present to you Tam Justin Garcia. Take a few moments and listen to Liquid Universe. (You’ll be very glad you did!)  Then, if you would be so kind, visit his Facebook and Twitter pages and share about him some more? Thank you!

On a tennis note, Rafa Nadal topped David Ferrer in the quarterfinals at the Mutua Madrid Open! (Just cause it’s my b-day—of course! Last night my older son caught me watching another match and asked if it’s “tennis season” again. With the tennis channel, this is now a very welcome and fun year-round thing! Which also means, you may be constantly in-the-know about tennis whether you share the passion–or not! :D)

Have a great day all!

Joanna

Diane Lang on Starting Off the School Year!

As much as I don’t look forward to summer’s unofficial end, it is what it is. (At least it’s US Open Tennis time–no Rafa this year but I’m sure the tournament will be exciting just the same and I’ll be every bit as addicted to it as usual! :D)

So back-to-school takes on so many connotations, but it usually means more for parents (and kids) to do in the morning. From her outbox to my inbox (and shared with the author’s permission), here are some ideas from positive living expert Diane Lang for the day-to-day of the upcoming school year, applicable to moms, dads and anyone in the get-the-kids-off-to-school role. 

     

It’s back to school time again and as a working mom, it’s always a struggle to get myself and my kids ready for school. Here are some tips to start the school year off right – once you have momentum it makes the school year routine easy!

1.  Start the day off right with a healthy breakfast : The morning time is very busy in most     households. Trying to get the kids ready at the same time you need to get ready for work can seem almost impossible on some mornings. But if you can get through one thing in the morning it should be a healthy breakfast for both you and your family.

Breakfast is so important: It helps the kids focus and concentrate. Here are some easy, quick breakfast suggestions:

–  Cereal and fruit – My daughter loves cheerios with blueberries and strawberries on top.

–  Multi-Grain or whole wheat toast with peanut butter or

–  Apple and/or Banana with peanut butter – the peanut butter will help them remain full for the
morning.

–  Make a fruit salad on Sunday evening and in the morning give a bowl of fruit salad with a yogurt
on the side. Some kids love taking the yogurt and mixing the fruit in.

–  The non-traditional breakfast – any leftovers in your fridge? Have any leftover with a glass of fruit
juice. It’s not the norm but we do know that any breakfast is better then NO breakfast!! (I’m liking this one–makes for great lunches too.) 

2.  Contact – Stay in contact with your teacher. The quick, easy way is through e-mail. Most teachers  check e-mail every day and respond quickly. I have my daughter’s teacher’s e-mail in my address book and the school website as one of my favorites. The school website always posts all the news, events and weather issues. It’s a good way to stay involved and  connected. Involved parents mean a successful child.

3.  Sleep – A week or so before school starts, get your kids back on schedule. If kids don’t get enough sleep their academic careers will suffer. Mom’s we need sleep too – we should all try for 8-10 hours. The norm for most adults is 5-6 hours, that is not good enough and we will pay the price by being fatigued, irritable and eating unhealthy. So, moms, get back on routine with your children by going to sleep early. Try to go to sleep around the same time every night and waking up around the same time every morning to keep your body on a good sleep schedule. Make sleep  and a nutritious breakfast “A Must” for the whole family. If you keep a healthy lifestyle as a mom you will be a great role model for your kids!

4.  Physical Activity – This is so necessary for children. They need to burn fuel during the day to help keep them healthy. Obesity has become a HUGE problem for teens. Kids do not get enough physical activity at school; as moms, we must do more. As adults we tend to live a sedentary life especially if we have a job where we sit all day. So, set up family activities that involve exercise. In the warm weather – biking, swimming , hiking, walking, etc.

– As the months get colder try apple and pumpkin picking.

– Join your local gym, College or YMCA for the inside pool. Sign up your children for an after school activity or sport. It’s a good way for the kids to socialize, have fun, meet new friends and get healthy!

5.  Set up a Homework schedule. Make it the same time everyday. My daughter does her homework for 30-45 minutes a day right before dinner at the kitchen table. I cook while she does her homework. If she has any questions, I’m right there to help her and keep an eye on her.

6.  Good Habits – I have made reading a nightly habit. About 15-20 minutes before bed – we read together. It’s a good way to relax before bed, spend quality time and keep up with her reading skills. I’m starting the reading habit early (Pre-school) so when she is older she will continue to read before bed. Reading is a great end to the day – it helps with creativity, imagination, language skills, problem solving, memory, focus, and attention. If you start young, you will start a bedtime ritual that could go on for many years to come.

For more information visit Diane’s website: www.dlcounseling.com

Counseling Educator
www.dlcounseling.com

So there you have it, friends! A wonderful compilation of ideas to make the start of the school year a little less stressful and keep it so as it progresses! Check in Friday for a simple, wholesome breakfast recipe that’s right along those healthy lines Diane talked about. And please, if you’d kindly take a moment to SHARE I’d so appreciate it.

Thanks and have a great day,

Joanna

Healthy Snack–I’m Thinking Not–Part 2 (Makeovers)

Good day, everyone. Looking forward to a great day and weekend filled with tennis. The French Open is seriously sidetracking me from other things I should be doing, lol. Coverage for this tournament has seriously improved. (Thanks, ESPN, NBC and Tennis Channel. You’re all making one girl quite happy! : Maybe I’ll even get all that junk mail sitting on my enclosed front porch separated and ready for the mobile shredder–one can hope and set those lofty goals, right?))

For fellow blogger Janet S: See how the middle of the zucch blossom looks as if there are multiple stamens in there? That’s the bloom you DON’T pick! 😉

Back to business: Last time I went into a mini-rant about the hidden hazards of foods deemed “healthy” by one internet article I read. I also promised a few of my fixes for the problem. Please keep in my mind I AM NOT A HEALTH OR NUTRITION EXPERT. These are simply some tweaks that have worked for me. Check with your physician if you have any questions, and especially if you have any health concerns.

Having shared that disclaimer, here are some ways I “healthy up” a snack:

Flavored yogurts: unless they’re sugar-free (and usually sweetened with aspartame or sucralose), I’m looking at 26 gramsof sugar per 6-8-oz serving or the equivalent of 6.5 added measured teaspoons. On one container from the fridge (hubby likes them), sugar was the second ingredient listed; corn syrup the fourth.

Are you kidding me???? See what I mean about hidden diet dangers? I’ve learned to substitute a fat-free plain yogurt (Greek-strained is awesome), flavor it with natural daniva (i.e., vanilla, as my son used to say), sugar substitute or even some sugar-free coffee creamer.

I know, I know. Honey and fresh or frozen fruits (i.e., strawberries, blueberries, peaches, etc) would be better sweetener choices.  Remind me to work on that. 😉

Cookies: no matter WHAT you choose you’re looking at starch. Starch—good or not—is bound to expand bellies, butts and thighs. I believe no food group should be eliminated, so how about oatmeal cookies or graham crackers? Both made from better grains than most store-bought chocolate chips or shortbread. (Ever do natural peanut butter and jelly on either of my preferred two? Guaranteed awesome snack, dessert or even breakfast. Sprinkle on some plain—preferably not instant—oatmeal for added fiber. (BTW, if you’re into baking, cookies made with whole wheat white flour—especially oatmeal-raisin—usually bake up really similar to their white-flour counterparts.)

Cereals: what a bummer this was for someone who probably made her career weight-gain chomping down on bowl after bowl as a kid watching soaps during summer vacation from school. If you’re under10 gramsof sugar for any box of pre-sweetened cereals, consider that one of your better choices. “Healthy” options (i.e., raisin brans, etc) are usually 15 grams/serving or more.

What’s a weight-conscious person to do?

My super-easy fix: measure half a serving of your favorite mixed with an unsweetened “filler.” Example: I love Honey-Nut Cheerios. I’ll buy a box of that and one of regular Cheerios (which really do have an awesome taste all their own with1 gramof sugar/serving). Mix equal parts of each, or even bump up the unsweetened counterpart—as long as I taste the sweeter one, I’m good! Another ready alternative: have that traditional oatmeal on hand and mix it with your favorite sweet cereal using the ratios I just listed. Takes a bit of getting used because of its chewiness, but easy to love in the long run.

Pre-packed oatmeal is another major trap (unless it’s plain) and easy to healthy-up with little to no effort. So much cheaper too! I stir milk, vanilla and sugar substitute into a serving of old-fashioned oats (the canister kind) and heat for one minute on high in the microwave. Breakfast is served. (Doing the cereal-mix here too, especially with plain Cheerios or shredded wheat makes for a seriously hearty whole/multi-grain breakfast. Add cinnamon, raisins, dried cranberries, bananas—whatever excites you—and you’re talking serious yum to start your day.

So how do you stay clear of pitfalls that look good enough to eat? Please share if you dare and maybe click a SHARE button before you go, too. As always, I thank you!

Here’s to a wonderful day to all,

Joanna