Thursday, July 30, 2009

Desperate times call for desperate measures

Temperatures in Seattle soared to a record-breaking 103 degrees yesterday. I realize this is nothing to those who dwell in areas of the country that regularly see temps over 100 all summer long, but here in the Pacific Northwest we are just not equipped to deal with this type of weather.

After a sweltering bus ride home yesterday (only about 30% of Metro buses have air conditioning), I arrived home to find that my boyfriend had taken matters into his own hands. He was hauling a huge piece of cardboard into the living room. “I’m hooking up the air conditioner!” he proclaimed.

Let me explain. Stewart bought a fairly expensive air conditioning unit last year for his 350 square foot, fifth floor studio apartment to alleviate the feeling of living/sleeping inside an oven three months out of the year. It was amazing… no wonder I rarely saw my own bed that summer. However, when we moved into our condo we quickly realized that the glorious air conditioner did not work with our new windows. We didn’t think a lot about it at the time (it was October), packed the A/C up, and put it into storage.

Enter Seattle Heat Wave 2009. For the past few days we’ve been telling ourselves it’s not that bad. But people, it’s BAD. Even at night, it’s stayed at least 80+ degrees in our condo, making sleep (or any other entertaining bedroom activities...) virtually impossible. And when the mercury hit 103 yesterday, Stew decided he’d had enough.

We tossed aside snowboards and snowshoes in our storage unit to reveal the miraculous air conditioner, which we dragged upstairs. Then we went to work cutting cardboard into various shapes and sizes to block off a narrow strip on the side of the sliding glass door leading to our patio. For a brief second, I was embarrassed about the totally white trash version of air conditioning that we had created… then we were hit by a blast of cool air that made me weak at the knees. Sigh.

I even got enough sleep last night to get up at 5:30am this morning and jog around Green Lake before work. Previously, exercise had seemed like a total impossibility until the world returned to normal.

So yeah, it’s kind of trashy. But sitting here breathing deliciously cool 74 degree air makes it all worth it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Heat Wave...

I bet some kid in Seattle tried to fry an egg on the sidewalk yesterday, and it probably worked. Seattle is absolutely baking in a heat wave. Don’t get me wrong: I absolutely love hot weather, but this is a bit much. And temperatures aren’t expected to drop until the weekend (mid-80s by Friday). I’m definitely a sun worshipper and am always willing to spend entire weekends on a lake, next to a pool, or floating down a river. And I hate to complain about the beautiful sunshine, but it’s freaking HOT.

Having to go about my day to day life in this sweltering heat is already getting pretty old. After a stuffy morning commute on the bus, I spent the entire day yesterday at my office shivering, fingers turning blue, because the dang AC was turned up so high. I had to go sit in the sun at lunch just to bring up my core body temperature! I need to remember to bring a jacket to work in the summer. In the afternoon, I made plans with my sister to walk around Green Lake after work. Toward the end of the day she sent me a text message: “It’s too hot to exercise.” I told her to suck it up and that I’d call her when I left the office. 20 minutes later, as I entered the oven that is downtown Seattle, I sent her a text back: “It is WAY too hot to exercise!!”

Washington does not have that lovely, dry, desert heat. We have humid, thick, sweltering heat that leaves your skin sticky from the moment you step out of the shower. Commuting on the bus is the worst. No AC and evening commuters packed to the gills onto the express routes. I literally could barely breathe for the entire ride home yesterday, and had to concentrate to fight off a steadily rising panic attack.

Yes, it’s hot. But it’s really not the end of the world, and I suppose beggars can’t be choosers. Seattleites complain all winter about the rain, and now we’re whining about the heat. Our condo is absolutely sweltering (Stew’s air conditioner does not fit in our new windows), so it actually sounded appealing to head to the gym yesterday for a workout… at least I could sweat in AC. I regretted this decision immediately when I stepped back outside, sweaty from a workout, into 90 degree heat. It was 8pm. This morning I planned ahead and finished my workout by 7am. It was still 75 degrees by the time I left the park.

Today I’m trying a new tactic to keep our house cool. We opened every window and door overnight and turned on multiple fans to air things out. Then this morning I shut every window and closed all the blinds, hoping it might stay at a slightly lower temperature than outside. Tonight after work I have my first LSAT prep course, which is held in a historic building in the University District – no AC is my guess. 6pm to 10pm is going to be brutal. I’m drinking tons of water, eating popsicles, and avoiding being outside as much as I can. But until the weekend comes and I can spend 12 hours a day on a boat, I think I’m going to be whining quite a bit.

Do you have any tips and tricks to stay cool during a heat wave?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Just call me Pollyanna

I spent the weekend traipsing across the state doing good deeds. It definitely wasn’t as much fun as bumming around Seattle going to festivals, barbeques and bars would have been, but I still came home Sunday night feeling like the weekend had been a success. Just call me Pollyanna.

On Saturday I went down south to my grandparents house in Olympia. They’ve recently been doing a lot of work to their property and have felt stressed about a lot of backlogged projects. In addition, my grandma has spent some time in the hospital lately in addition to dealing with chronic illnesses, and my grandpa suffers from Parkinson’s disease. And since I’ve been so swamped with work and school for the past year, I haven’t really spent as much time with them as I should. So a few weeks ago I set aside 7/25/09 on my calendar as “Grandparents Day.”

I had a wonderful time just helping out around the house all day. My grandma and I picked buckets of blueberries from the bushes in their yard. We had lunch and chitchatted. In the afternoon I spent hours helping her go through stacks of old photographs that needed to be categorized, filed, and put into albums. I know that project had been bothering her for years, so I was glad I was able to help out. And I stumbled across this lovely gem of my parents in 1979, shortly after their honeymoon. They are only 19!

We thought about attempting to weed the flower gardens, but it was just too dang hot to be outside by that point. Grandpa and Grandma seemed so appreciative and happy to have me there… I really should do this more often.

On Sunday Stewart and I headed north to Bellingham, home of our alma mater, WWU. Stew’s stepbrother is college shopping, so we agreed to give him a tour of Western’s campus and the rest of B’Ham. I hadn’t been back up there in quite a few years and – wow – the memories really came rushing back! My mind was flooded with all the experiences I had throughout those four years of college. We even visited my freshman year dorm room: Ridgeway Beta, Stack 9, Third Floor. I have vivid memories of my parents dropping me off there in their minivan almost 10 years ago. I was such a scared little baby, desperate to fit in but with no idea who I was or wanted to be. Those four years of college really shaped me.

Here’s a pic of me and Stewart in Red Square. I don’t know how many thousands of times I walked by this fountain on my way to class or the library.
I’m so excited for the kids who are preparing to experience college for the first time. Sometimes I would give anything to go back and do it again. But then I blink, come back to reality, and thank god I’m done with that phase of my life.

Did anyone do anything a bit more exciting this weekend?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

My Tummy Hurts

I almost always have a tummy ache. Always. I constantly carry Imodium and Pepto Bismol in my purse. I thought this was normal. But apparently, the average person does not always double over with cramping stomach pains after every other meal. I feel like I’ve tried everything… blood tests to detect wheat and gluten allergies came back negative. I am not lactose intolerant and cutting out red meat hasn’t made a difference. I’ve tracked my eating habits for weeks in an attempt to identify the culprit… nothing.

My mom says I’ve been like this since I was a kid. I’ve just always had a weak stomach. And I’m so used to the war raging in my belly that it almost seems normal. But last weekend I was talking to a girl who said she had similar problems, but had begun going to a nutritionist and it absolutely changed her life. So I did some research, selected a nutritionist I liked, and made a consultation appointment.

This is the first time I’ve ever explored an option like this, and I’m curious about what results I will see. I always thought seeing a nutritionist would be expensive, but it’s completely covered by insurance with a referral from my regular doctor. The certified nutritionist I am seeing is also a registered mental health counselor, so she also specializes in behavioral change and lifestyle integration, chronic stress, fatigue and anxiety. I definitely won’t say no to a little help in those areas, as well!

Sure, it all seems just a little bit hippie, but I’m willing to try anything at this point. So far I am already on three supplements: peppermint capsules, fish oil, and probiotics. These are just to start, and then others will be added in (I currently don’t take any type of vitamins so I'm hoping for positive changes). I am determined to somehow become a healthy person! And if fish oil is what it takes, so be it. Burp.

Monday, July 20, 2009

I’m Just A Girl

When you live with your boyfriend, I think it becomes fairly easy to get stuck in the routine of spending every waking moment with that person, thereby neglecting one’s same-sex friendships. Luckily my boyfriend is a firefighter, so he works shifts, which means I get every third night all to myself. I’m not at all saying I don’t miss him when he’s not around… but I think sometimes missing someone reminds you to appreciate them more.

I try to take advantage of these solo moments in life to spend time with my girlfriends. And whether it’s dressing up for a night on the town or dressing down to attend a rad outdoor concert, the result is always the same: Girls Night Out = Fabulous.

Since Stewart was working Sunday night and one of my favorite old school bands was in town, some of my friends and I snagged tickets to the No Doubt featuring Paramore concert at the White River Amphitheater near Enumclaw, WA. Conveniently, this just happens to be my friend’s home town, so we had a place to spend the afternoon before heading to the concert.

I had never been to Enumclaw before, but it is the country, my friend. We spent the afternoon lounging in the sun at my friend’s childhood casa, drinking wine, eating snacks and listening to the sounds of farm animals while breathing in the fresh air and trying not to gag on the stench of poo. Honestly though, it was super relaxing, and I never realize quite how loud the city is until I go someplace so darn quiet. Oh, except for the cow that was giving birth.

We even spent some time hanging out in my friend’s childhood bedroom, which has been completely preserved with pink rose wallpaper and high school dance photos plastering the walls. Of course this prompted an incredibly high school girly conversation regarding sex and how our lives have changed from then to now. Too funny.

The concert was amazing. I’ve heard that Paramore is incredible live and I definitely was not disappointed. And of course No Doubt was freaking fantastic. I’ve loved this band since I first heard the “I’m Just A Girl” single back in middle school. I wasn’t surprised to find out that I still knew every single word to most of the songs. And we didn’t feel silly at all bouncing up and down with the neon-clad high school girls who surrounded us.

I just love me a night out with the girls.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I’m a very responsible person when it comes to money, but paying tuition for the past year without taking out any loans has really taken a toll on my financial situation. I feel like I’m constantly behind, always playing catch up. I received a paycheck today, and after taking care of a few necessary bills I realized I’ve really dug myself into a hole. Even with careful planning, it could take me six months to crawl out of it.

However, upon a further careful review of my bank statement, it turns out that maybe I haven’t been being so responsible after all. Since I finished school a few weeks ago it seems like my life has been even crazier than before… but in a good way. I’ve been able to spend time with friends and family and take a ton weekend trips. But as my social life soared, my bank account plunged.

When you’re busy every weekend and in the evenings after work, it’s hard to find time to grocery shop and cook. You meet friends for happy hour and dinner, so you don’t have any leftovers. Which means you buy lunch at work. And after a close examination, I realized that in the past month I’ve donated more than $150 to the restaurant and bar industry. And now, with the fresh taste of high APRs in my mouth, none of it seems worth it.

I’ve simply got to get back on track. I’ve already turned down several lunch and coffee outing offers this week, and I can hear the cha-ching of those dollars dropping into my savings account. And for the first time in far too long, I spent quality time at the grocery store, taking the time to plan out full healthy meals instead of grab and go stuff. On Sunday, I spent an hour chopping up vegetables to mix up and eat with whole grain wraps for lunch this week. Delish.
I think with a little self control, I can definitely nip this in the bud. But yeesh, the world sure is expensive! I recently attended the “complimentary training session” offered to new members at my gym. I got in a decent 15 minute workout with the trainer and was really feeling excited… until she dropped the bomb on me. Personal training at my gym costs $70 a session. That’s $140 an hour! Um… do doctors even get paid that much money?! I resisted the urge to laugh in the trainer’s face and walked away to check the complimentary class schedule.

The nice thing about being on an exercise kick is that it leaves me much less time to be tempted by happy hours and other money sucking social activities. And hey, working out can be done with a buddy, too! So, note to self: Whenever someone presents you with an activity that involves spending unnecessary bucks, throw them a curve ball and offer up a walk around the lake or a Cardio Jam class, followed by a BBQ of yummy food at your place. Cha-ching!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Results Show

I know some of you have been curious to know how Boot Camp ended up, so I thought I should probably come clean with the results.

First off, I have to say that it was an absolutely amazing experience. For the first time in my life, there were instances where I actually found myself looking forward to exercising. After the first week, I was exhausted and sore, but extremely optimistic. I even started to think about continuing and signing up for the next Boot Camp. However, by the third week, it started to get really rough. I felt frustrated and unmotivated because things didn’t seem to be getting any easier.

But by the last week, I was back on point. I pushed myself harder than I ever have before, and I could finally start to feel myself getting stronger and faster. And on Friday morning, we had our final timed assessments. One of my main goals had been to drastically improve my timed mile. So as we headed to the starting line, I felt completely mentally and physically prepared to push myself to the absolute limits. I definitely did just that – by the end, I felt like I was having a full-blown asthma attack, but I managed to improve my mile time by 1:49! My trainer, who had said a 30 second improvement would be more than acceptable, was very impressed. In addition, I almost doubled the amount of pushups I can do in a minute, and drastically improved my plank hold time. Yesssssssssssssssss.

The most shocking part of the morning came at the end of our final class, when the trainer announced that I was “Boot Camper of the Week.” I was completely baffled, but apparently she had really noticed how much I had improved, even out of the 50 other women in the class. I was also one of only five people who completed Boot Camp with perfect attendance. Go big or go home.

On Saturday morning, I headed to the gym to have my final measurements taken. To sum up, I lost inches in my: triceps, hips, thighs, arms, shoulders, chest, waist and thighs. However, my weight stayed exactly the same, which I found very interesting. But most importantly, my body composition percentage went down by 2.03%! My trainer says this is absolutely unheard of. When she works with someone one-on-one for four weeks, she generally only expects a 1% decrease, but I was able to more than double that number in a group fitness situation. For me, this was a major accomplishment, and it explained why I did not lose any weight – I converted fat into muscle!

At the bottom of my evaluation sheet from our first meeting, it says that my goals for Boot Camp were “tone, increase endurance, and motivation.” Without a doubt, I think I have reached those goals, so I would call Boot Camp and incredible success. I’m still nowhere near an athlete, but I’m improving, slowly but surely. And I think I have the motivation to continue on my own.

On Monday I did a leg and cardio workout at my gym, all by myself. Tuesday, my sister and I met at Discovery Park at 6am to run the loop trail. And this morning, I attended my first 5:45am Spin class. I’ve found that I’m completely addicted to the feeling of having my workout over and done with for the day. Early morning is the way to go, and my body seems to have acclimated to getting up at the crack of dawn. We’ll see how long I can keep it up. Tonight I’m attending a Boot Camp class at my gym, and tomorrow morning I have an early morning Green Lake jog scheduled with my sister. We’ll see if I make it to Spin class on Saturday morning… I’m already feeling pretty sore!

So there you have it. Maybe all the pain was just weakness leaving my body after all...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wedding Guest

When it comes to weddings, sometimes it’s great to be nothing more than a guest. Stewart’s childhood buddy got married to his college sweetheart this weekend, and I was lucky enough to be invited to all of the festivities. We started out with a beautiful rooftop rehearsal dinner on Thursday evening, followed by a night out at the bars. Friday night featured a Mariner’s game with the whole crew that ended sometime after 2am at a karaoke joint… nice. Let’s just say that by the time the actual wedding rolled around on Saturday at 5pm, I was feeling a little under the weather.

But once I arrived at the Seattle Yacht Club for the big event, it was easy to forget about everything except the fabulous couple and their new marriage. The outdoor ceremony was short and sweet, and followed immediately by cocktail hour on the lawn. Dinner was served promptly and after a couple quick speeches everyone was moved inside to get the party started. I like their style.

You really can’t beat great food and drinks (open bar!) followed by music and dancing. It was one of those weddings where almost every single guest immediately hit the dance floor and stayed there (except for quick trips to the bar, of course). The past couple days had given me the chance to meet and form friendships with a bunch of great new people, and by the end of the night I felt like they were all my new BFFs.
Also, unlike bridesmaids, groomsmen have very little responsibilities when it comes to weddings. So for Stew and I it was basically just an excuse to get dressed up and go out dancing. We stayed until the bitter end, begging the DJ for “just one more song” several times before moving the party to our place.

Wow. I haven’t had this many days of nonstop excitement for a long time. My only hope is that my friends and family will have this much fun when my wedding day finally rolls around. But don’t hold your breath… for now I am definitely content to simply be a guest!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

And the winner is…

In case you haven’t already heard, I was recently given two blogger awards!

“Thank you! Oh, thank you! I can hardly believe it! I feel so honored! Even in my wildest dreams, I never would have imagined that this could ever happen to me. There are so many people to thank! Of course I want to thank the Academy, who looked deep within their Google readers before giving me this fantastic award! Also, I want to thank my friends and family, because without their constant drama and antics, this blog would not be nearly as entertaining. And finally, to all of the fans… it wouldn’t be possible without you! Thank you America, and good night!”

I was originally nominated for the Honest Scrap blog award back in April by MiSS RAmbLEs. This particular award is for discouraging plagiarism and promoting honest blogging. Unfortunately, I had the flu at the time, so I wasn’t able to comply with the rules that accompany the award: First, you have to tell your readers ten things about you they may not know, but that are true. Second, you have to tag ten people with the award.
In addition, this week I was nominated for the MeMe award by Chère. This award calls for seven things about me and then passing the award on to seven other bloggers. So I’ve decided to combine the two awards by sharing 7 fun facts about me and tagging 10 of my current fave bloggers.

I bet you didn’t know…

  • I have an unexplainable phobia of the telephone. I screen my personal calls and feel intense anxiety when the phone rings. Sometimes I don’t answer for any particular reason except I don’t feel like talking.
  • Even though I know I shouldn’t, I sleep in my makeup every single night. I still have pretty decent skin.
  • I am not an organ donor. The concept of organ donation makes my skin crawl. My loved ones have all been informed that if I am ever in a serious accident, I wish to adamantly refuse any organ or tissue donations, even if it could potentially save my life.
  • Every single day, I feel guilty about what I ate and how much exercise I got. I gained 40 pounds in college and haven’t felt good about my self image ever since.
  • I dislike children in general and am terrified that this won’t change when I have my own.
  • I can’t put down a book without finishing it, even if it’s horrible. I still have to force my way through it before starting the next one.
  • I am obsessed with “the end of the world” and think the possibility of the end coming in 2012 is very real. This makes me equally obsessed with analyzing my life and wondering if I am spending my “final days” in the right way…
    1. And in random order, the nominees are…
      Amber (Girl with the red hair)
      The New Black
      Tudor City Girl
      Working Girl
      Seattle Swift

      (If you decide to do it, make sure you link back here so I can see what you wrote!)

      Wednesday, July 08, 2009

      Review: la Carta de Oaxaca

      Since moving to Ballard, Stew and I have done a really poor job of attempting to sample all the delicious new restaurants within walking distance of our house. However, la Carta de Oaxaca was been at the top of my dining to-do list for more than a year now, and last night I finally got a taste. This traditional Mexican restaurant has gotten a ton of hype since it opened, so I’ve been super curious to try the cuisine for myself. Unfortunately the place is always a madhouse, with people lined up down the street to get in, and the couple times I’ve tried to dine there I’ve gotten fed up and went down the street to The Matador.

      Last night, the place was packed as usual, but we were determined to wait it out. We arrived a little after 7pm but unfortunately two of our friends were running late. They don’t take reservations and won’t seat you until your entire party arrives, but if you happen to get there at the right moment with everyone present, you might be able to snag a table right away. 45 minutes later, a table cleared for the five of us and we entered the restaurant, which has a simple modern white interior and is decorated with beautiful framed photography.

      Seating is family style with long tables you have to share with other parties. Halfway through our meal we were asked by our server to shift seats and move down to accommodate another group, which left one of my friends sitting across from a stranger… awkward! We started out with hot tortilla chips and freshly made guacamole, and sampled from the salsa bar’s five different salsas. Everything was delicious but they were a bit stingy on the chip refills. I’m not a fan of tequila, but did taste a friend’s margaritas and it was STRONG – a obvious plus!

      The prices are definitely equal to the portions. Looking around at other tables, we could tell the plates were pretty small. So if you’re hungry, the bill can add up quickly. We ended up ordering seven items for five people. The food came quickly and looked delicious, but overall everyone agreed that it was pretty bland and flavorless. I ordered halibut tacos on fresh homemade corn tortillas, which was light and simple but a little too fishy. Stewart got enchiladas and molotes (potatoes and beef sausage wrapped in fried homemade tortillas with hot sauce and cheese). We also tried the fried cheese quesadillas covered with guacamole, beans, salsa, Oaxaqueno cheese and crema Mexicana.
      Unlike your run of the mill restaurant chains (i.e. Azteca), la Carta de Oaxaca did not provide overwhelmingly huge plates of fried foods covered with dripping cheese next to giant sides of rice and beans. And although it was nice not to waddle out with the typical food baby Mexican dining gives me, I did leave feeling mildly unsatisfied. But you can never go wrong with a night out with friends, so overall I’d say the experience was a success. But would I go back? All signs point to no.

      Monday, July 06, 2009

      Celebrating Independence... With Beaches & Beer

      I always just seem to go with the flow for 4th of July celebrations. I’ve never really had any traditions, and most of my childhood memories consist of lighting off little fireworks in the driveway, usually in the rain. And for a few years the holiday fell on a weekday, so there wasn’t time to implement any major trips or plans.

      But this year, July 4th fell on a Saturday, which made for a glorious three-day weekend! Not only that, but for once in my lifetime the forecast in Seattle was clear and sunny. Bonus. After carefully weighing our options, Stew and I decided to head to Ocean Shores with some friends to camp on their family property and spend the day at the beach. It turned out to be an excellent choice.

      Although the weather was somewhat overcast and about ten degrees cooler on the coast, there’s nothing I like better than a weekend of camping with friends. And it had been years since I went to the ocean, so I was pretty excited to kick off my shoes and take a walk in the sand.

      This is the same family that organizes an Adult Prom every year, so I was not at all surprised that they had organized a beach Field Day to celebrate our country’s independence. Imagine 20 adults participating in events like the Water Balloon Toss, Egg Carry, Three-Legged Race, Shoe Kick and a Spelling Bee! It was absolutely the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

      Lining Up...

      Other than Field Day activities, we spent the entire afternoon watching the boys dig a giant fire pit and gather enormous logs to burn in it… of course while sipping brewskies and chitchatting away.

      Once it got dark, the fireworks began. Although there was no professional show, I would have thought we were watching one if no one had told me otherwise. Up and down the beach, as far as the eye could see, people were lighting off the biggest fireworks I have ever seen. I don’t even know where you can buy this stuff! I lit of a few sparklers myself, but we mainly left the pyrotechnics to the men folk.
      I hope everyone else had a wonderful Independence Day as well! Happy Fourth!

      Water Balloon Toss! Josh diving for the win!
      Woo hoo!! Preparing for the next event...
      Brett hustling to the finish line in the Egg Carry relay. Shoe Kick! Three-Legged Race.

      Thursday, July 02, 2009

      Pain is just weakness leaving your body

      Boot Camp has really been rough this week. I feel like I’ve hit a plateau and I don’t know what to do about it. The first two weeks were GREAT! Last Friday, I was telling my friend in the class that I was actually thinking about signing up for the next Boot Camp, because I’ve felt so fantastic, energized and guilt-free recently. But this week things took a turn for the worst.

      After going from basically no exercise to an intense one-hour workout five days a week, I am really feeling the effects. I don’t feel particularly sleep deprived, but my entire body is exhausted. Every morning this week my muscles have been too sore to really allow me to give 100% each morning, which in turn leaves me frustrated and annoyed with myself. Also, I have yet to see any physical results, except I think my calves are getting bigger (yuck) and I’ve actually gained a pound. Yes, many people have already given me the “muscle weighs more than fat” speech, but seeing the numbers on the scale go up still leaves me feeling extremely depressed.

      In hindsight, maybe I should have chosen the three days a week option. Maybe my body would be doing better if I gave it a day to rest between workouts. But it’s too late, and I am not a quitter. Somehow I just need to mentally check myself, because feeling frustrated is giving me a poor attitude, which in turn affects how much effort I put in each morning.

      On Monday morning our trainer assured us that “pain is just weakness leaving your body.” That kind of cheesy talk doesn’t really work on me, but my sister has actually been my best motivator.

      “The fact that you are getting up 5 days a week at 5am and busting your ass on a workout is WORTH IT even if it doesn't seem like it in the moment,” she emailed me earlier this week. “We are getting healthier and stronger and most of all we are sticking with it! Just remember that it's YOUR HOUR and as long as you are working your absolute hardest, which I know you are, then it's worth it!! You should be proud of yourself.”

      Little encouraging notes like that are just enough to help me drag myself out of bed each morning. And I still have a week left. I am determined to finish Boot Camp and get the most that I can out of it. Go big or go home.