Progressive Dinners

Last night we participated in our first, but hopefully not our last, neighborhood progressive dinner. There were four couples, four houses and four courses. Justin and I are fairly new to the neighborhood, but we were graciously invited to participate with some progressive dinner veterans.

How do progressive dinners work? Each house/couple is responsible for one of the courses. The first house has appetizers, the second has salads, the third has the main course and the final house serves dessert. Typically you spend about an hour or so at each house.

Ideally, everyone should live within walking distance. This allows for everyone to enjoy a few drinks without having to drive any where. One of the couples in our group used to live in the neighborhood but moved away before Justin and I moved in. We started at their house for appetizers and they enlisted their high school senior to be sober cab to pick them up later.

The other three houses are very close together. (I can’t wait until we have progressive patio dinners this summer!) Some how Justin and I ended up with the main course. We were shocked given it was our first rodeo! We were up to the task though and made some yummy enchiladas that everyone seemed to enjoy. We also had salsa, guacamole, margaritas and some Mexican beer on hand for everyone to enjoy.

As the night went on we all discussed how fun it would be if we had a theme for the evening. Everyone could makes something Italian, or we could pick a specific ingredient that everyone has to incorporate into their course. We scheduled our next progressive dinner for a couple of months from now. We decided we’d all make appetizers and maybe get more creative when the weather gets nicer.

Overall, it was a great experience, and I highly recommend you try this out with some of your neighbors. It is a great way to get to know the people who live around you and hopefully watch your house while you’re out and about.

The Bees Knees

According to saying I’m the bees knees is basically like saying I’m fantastic. I am not sure how accurate that is since my current boss, who is British, has never said such a thing. Then again him referring to himself as a winged insect doesn’t really seem like his cup of tea.

No matter how it is said, I am indeed feeling pretty fantastic. This past week has been a whirl wind. Wait, the past two months have been! In the beginning of November I applied on a whim for a month long study abroad in London. In the middle of November I was accepted. A the end of December I put down my deposit. Last Thursday I informed my boss of my pending adventure. Yesterday I told HR and the three doctors I work the closest with. I started my final semester of my undergrad last evening, and today I announced to the company, where I have worked for almost nine years, that I will not be returning when my plane brings me back to the wonderful USofA.
Needless to say- I. Am. Exhausted.
I received many well wishes at work today after I informed my colleagues of my summer plans. Most of the people I work with watched me blossom into a young woman after I first joined the family as a 17 year old nearing high school graduation who really had no idea what she wanted to do with her life. Most were patient and accepting as I continued to find my place in this world. As I wrote the email to send out to the company I was experiencing mixed emotions. I fought back tears multiple times this past week, but my ear-to-ear grin reminded me of all the excitement and uncertainty life can bring. It certainly makes you feel alive!
The trip abroad is a four week program called, Public Relations in the United Kingdom. I will live and study in London at Regent College. Pictured below is Regent Park. Photo courtesy of my friend Jenny who recently move to London.
As I filled people in there were two questions that seemed to be asked the most…
1. What does this mean for Justin?
2. Are you really going to leave Selby?
What this means for Justin is really what does this mean for me? This means that I have one of the most supportive husbands in the world. When I asked him what he thought of me applying to the program his immediate response was, “Go for it Babe!” I have expressed to Justin on numerous occasions that my biggest regret of not being a traditional college student was not having the opportunity to study aboard. As a married woman, and now a mom to Selby, I can’t just hop on a plane and return a semester later. A four week program seemed perfect.
He has agreed to living on a budget to help me fulfill a dream, and has told me that no matter what we will make it work. At first I wondered what the catch was. Why was he so willingly letting me leave for four weeks? Then I remembered that there is no catch when it comes to a supportive and loving marriage. Our commitment is all about helping each other live the lives we were meant to live to the fullest.
It will be hard to leave Selby since I typically miss her every time I go to bed at night and she is in her house (crate). But we’ve talked and she understands. It will also be hard to leave Justin, but we’ve managed a 12 month deployment. Four weeks is nothing. At the conclusion of my program Justin will drop Selby off at my parents to hang out with their dog Bailey for a week, and Justin will fly out to meet me in London and we will rendezvous through Europe together! Really it’s a win for everyone. Well maybe not for my parents.
In the mean time…I plan on working through the end of May to help my department train and support them through the transition. I also need to secure a job or paid internship in the field of public relations to start when I return mid July. (The latter sure will make my supportive husband happy!) And of course, I must save money like CRAZY!
Wish us luck and stay tuned as we start this new chapter!

3-Day Cleanse: The Results

I wanted to share with everyone the results of the 3-Day Cleanse I did. It was a long three days, but I think it was worth it. It reminded me that I can be disciplined when I want to be, and I do indeed have some willpower.

The morning after the final day I had lost four pounds. At first I was slightly disappointed. I guess I expected more. Then my Mom reminded me that it was four pounds in three days. That’s pretty good. I stopped being disappointed in that moment and decided to be proud of my success.
Since the cleanse I have been focusing on getting a workout in everyday (which I have) and clean eating. The clean eating is going to be an on-going process that will require more than just a 3-Day Cleanse to change my eating habits. However, I do believe it was the best way to get it kick started.
I have done pretty well since the cleanse with one exception on date night. Two beers and broasted chicken wings with waffle fries probably wasn’t the best idea. However, the hubs and I shared the fries and a friend reminded me that if I do something like that only once a week it really isn’t that bad. Especially if I start the day off with a workout and make extra room for extra calories!
I was also asked if I would ever do the cleanse again. It was surprising how good I felt, despite the hunger, and how much energy I had eating less but eating better. Even though there were good benefits from the cleanse I don’t think cleansing is really my thing. However, if I really lose sight of my goals in the future I think the cleanse is the best way to get me back on track. Hopefully I won’t ever be that far off track again though.
I continue to have a positive outlook for my health and wellness in 2012. I realize I am not perfect and will definitely have my slip-ups. (I still can’t give up Doritos entirely!) But when I do, I just need to remember to get back on the horse and ride on.
“I have learned, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.”
Henry David Thoreau

3-Day Cleanse: Final Day!

I half expected to wake up a size four this morning. After all of the turmoil I went through yesterday, see previous blog post, you would think that would be enough to do it. However, I knew I wasn’t doing this cleanse for a quick fix. I want more than that. It isn’t going to be easy, and the road doesn’t end today. I am looking for a lifestyle change. This is just my beginning.

I rolled out of bed an hour after my super productive husband left. He was doing the cleanse with me but encountered not one, but two road blocks today. He was working with his new boss today. They first met for coffee (not part of the program) and then went out to lunch. I understand why he didn’t want to tell the guy, “Sorry, no coffee for me, but I’d love a Venti Green Tea.” And by the time lunch came to say, “Hold on. I forgot my shaker cup in the car.” That’d be weird. I get it.
I spent the day with my new coworker Lisa. Also a cleanser. She is on Day 2. I felt bad for her. Day 3 is much easier than Day 2. I still complained, because that is my way, but enjoyed different fruits throughout our lessons and a shake for lunch. Then Christy, another cleanser, told me lots of fruit can cause yeast infections. SAY WHAT?! I did not sign up to be hungry all day and uncomfortable down there. I spent a few minutes on the Google and it appears I am not at a huge risk. Phew.
By the time I got home I was pretty hungry, what’s new? Justin had a shake for dinner since he didn’t at lunch. I enjoyed his portion of chicken on my chicken salad. It was awesome. Since I had extra calories I thought, why not workout harder? Well, I did 25 minutes of a 45 minute video. Good enough for me! Especially since I was sweaty and tired. I want to continue to be successful so why over due it?
Final shake of my 3-Day Cleanse is in my belly, and I am feeling good. I look forward to report my overall weight loss when I step on the scale tomorrow morning. I will also share my overall assessment of the cleanse. For now, enjoy this lovely commercial. It is basically me-just a few months from now and as a red head.

3-Day Cleanse: Day 2

Day 2: January 3, 2012

It is the end of day two. I am drinking the final shake for the day. And I have brain freeze.

I tried really hard to set myself up for success today. I packed a bag full of fruit for work, made my lunch shake so it was all ready to go when it was time, and grabbed my favorite Life Factory water bottle to keep me hydrated. How hard could the day be right?

First day back from a long weekend is always a little rough, but I arrived to work bright eyed. My coworker Lisa was set to begin her cleanse today and was probably relieved to see I wasn’t a huge grump. It happens. Trust.

The morning hours were tough as I felt extra hungry after my morning shake. I had a banana for my morning snack and a tums. Maybe my stomach was just extra acidic from all the fruit? By the time lunch rolled around I welcomed my pre-blended shake.

In the later afternoon hours I knew things were taking a turn for the worst. Lisa called from her desk, “What would you do if I ate your apple?” My immediate response, “I’d punch you.” There was no hesitation what-so-ever. We all had a good chuckle, but I am afraid it was true. I was hungry. So I immediately went and retrieved my Honey Crisp from the fridge and enjoyed my sweet, sweet apple. She will understand tomorrow when she is on dreaded day 2.

By the time I got home I was really looking forward to dinner. I let out Selby and gave her fresh water and made her dinner- all before I made my salad. Impressive I know, but it isn’t her fault I decided to do a cleanse! I washed and split up the fresh salad for Justin and I and took out the veggies. Apart of me thought, “He isn’t home yet. I could take more of the lettuce and finish it before he gets home. He’ll never know.” I flicked the chubby little devil on my shoulder and listened to the skinny pretty angel and evened it out. It was the best chicken salad I have ever had. Even better than last night’s.

Justin came home about 10 minutes after I finished my salad. Good thing he came home when he did because the chubby little devil almost made me eat his. I wish I was kidding. I tried to pass the time with the best known time sucker ever…Pinterest. I ended up just pinning on my board entitled, “Yumm…” Luckily, a fellow cleanser and friend was able to talk me out of a big ol’ steak. Thanks Christy! I hopped on the treadmill, after yelling at Justin, “I am about to order a pizza.” I did my 5k training for 20 minutes and then did a 10 minute ab video. Then it was finally final shake time.

As I reflect on my day I am glad I wasn’t defeated, but saddened by my inability to not be consumed by thinking about what I can’t eat. Thank goodness for my husband who yelled, “Good job hun” from the living room as I was running on the treadmill, for Christy telling me we are 2/3rds of the way done and GET ON THE TREAD, and for Lisa for reminding me all day that we can do this! We can do this.

One. More. Day.

3-Day Cleanse

Every year I say that this is the year that I am going to lose weight and get fit! Every year I seem to just gain weight and become less fit instead. 2012 feels a bit different for the Bradshaws though. We are both committed to get back to what Justin refers to as our, “fighting weight.”

Although my weight loss journey isn’t to become a professional boxer- I wouldn’t mind being tough enough to take someone out if I absolutely had too. (not in a super violent way, more of a self-defense kinda way) Therefore, my goal is to become stronger and more fit overall. Along with this goal I also want to focus on food being fuel for my body instead of a reward or a way to make myself feel better after a long, hard day. With that said, Justin, two others from work (Christy and Lisa) and myself decided to partake in a 3-Day Shakeology Cleanse. We hoped it would kick start 2012 as being our year to have more energy, more mental clarity, and more willpower to achieve all of our goals.

I will chronicle my three days starting with today, Day One. The plan we decided to follow is below.
Day One: January 2, 2012
Clinic was closed today due to the holiday so I was able to sleep in. I felt slightly lethargic from all the food I indulged in last night. Justin and I decided to go out for our last dinner before the cleanse. We shared salmon, BBQ ribs, and we each had two drinks. Then we went home for some ice cream. It seemed like a good idea until I popped on the scale this morning. I am surprised I didn’t break the thing considering it read the highest number I have ever seen while I was standing on it!!! Needless to say it gave me a good push towards my blender to make my first shake of the day.

I enjoyed one scoop of chocolate Shakeology- a Beachbody Product. (The most popular Beachbody product you have probably heard of is P90X.) I blended the scoop of Shakeology with 8 0z. of water, one tablespoon of peanut flour for extra protein and good flavor, and a handful of ice. Yum. (about 205 cals)

Justin replaced his coffee with the suggested Green Tea. Since I am not very tolerant of caffeine I opted for decaf Green Tea. It still made me feel a little funny, so I only had one cup. Justin had quite a few of the caffeinated version.

A couple of hours later Justin and I took a break from painting our basement. I decided a snack was in order since my stomach was starting to growl. I ate one organic banana. (about 100 cals)

By the time lunch rolled around I was looking forward to another shake. I blended the same amount of everything that I had for breakfast. (another 205 cals)

Justin and I continued to do house projects which was a great distraction from thinking about food. I felt that since I knew I wasn’t going to be eating like normal I ended up thinking more about it. An hour or two after lunch I ate one clementine. (40 cals)

As dinner started to approach Justin and I got really excited. A salad topped with chicken was on the menu. The only thing I was missing was low-fat or lite salad dressing. I had forgotten it on my last trip to the grocery store. Drat! Who wants to go to a grocery store the first day of a cleanse? Not me. However, I successfully made it out of there with only two bottles of salad dressing and nothing more!

Dinner turned out to be quite yummy. I made up all of the chicken that we would need for the rest of the cleanse and put each cut up chicken breast in individual Zip Loc baggies. I also chopped up baby carrots, red peppers and cucumbers to top the organic lettuce I just washed. Justin tossed his salad with Lite Italian Dressing, and I went with Lite Honey Mustard. (about 320 calories)
After dinner we let our salads settle and both did a lower intensity workout. We didn’t want to over do it after all. Plus, I was afraid I would wake up EXTRA hungry tomorrow if I burned too many calories. Justin did two 10 Minute Trainer videos (another Beachbody product), and I did my first day of 5k training which was 20 minutes total on the treadmill. My after workout snack was another clementine. (40 cals)

Before bed we made our final shake of the day and sipped it down while folding laundry. (about 205 cals) As I go to bed now I do feel a bit hungry, or is that me just thinking I should need to eat? I am not sure. I do plan to add an apple into the mix of things tomorrow, especially if I plan on working out again. An extra 100 calories will be good fuel to burn!

Both Justin and I were very productive all day and had plenty of energy! I think both of our bodies need to adjust to what it is like to eat suggested portion sizes and to not eat hundreds of calories over what our bodies really need. As long as we are consuming foods that will fuel our body we should be well on our way to meeting our healthy goals in 2012.

*Justin and I also drank plenty of water throughout the day. I think I had over 70 oz.