Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #6: Rewards

Occasionally, you deserve a gold star.

They say that losing weight it its own reward, and I can see where the thought comes from.  When I started my journey I couldn’t remember a time when I woke up without my feet and knees hurting within ten minutes of being out of bed.  A few pounds down and once my body started to forgive me for the new daily torture, my feet and knees started to feel better. It was a nice reward and an incentive to keep going.

I’m not saying that losing weight isn’t a reward in itself.  But most of the time, this applies to those who only need to lose maybe 10-20 lbs or are trying to fit into a specific dress for a wedding or something of that nature. My goal going into this was to lose about half of my body weight.

That’s right, half of my weight.

It’s an entirely different beast to tame than losing only a few pounds. Not that some of the same challenges don’t apply, but it is very different.

While the aches and pains of starting to move do fade, sadly you don’t always see a lot of change, especially in the beginning.  When you are 246 lbs, you can drop five pounds yet remain the same clothing size and see no real outward change.  Which means even if the scale is changing, you may not see the change in yourself. You just see the sweat and feel the new aches and notice the time taken out of your day to participate in what seems like a pie in the sky dream.

Losing a lot of weight is a long hard slog.

There is no real way around that fact.

And to be honest, other people can often be more of a detriment than a help.

I know no one wants to hear that.  I know a lot of people work out with a buddy and love it. And if you have a friend in the same head space as you and losing weight at about the same rate, this can be wonderful. It is less wonderful when they appear to do the same work as you and drop weight faster (or you notice it more on them than yourself because you are far more critical of yourself than you are of anyone else).

Family encouragement is often a mixed bag as well.  Don’t get me wrong, my family is good. They are well meaning in their encouragement. However a couple of them got the perky overly optimistic cheerleading gene I missed. Personally being told I look great when I know the scale hasn’t moved since the last time I talked to you really just means I made good clothing choices that day.  And constantly asking me how much weight I’ve lost every time I see you just makes me feel like I’m failing.

And like I want to avoid you.

I would rather just get on with it and talk about something else.

But that could just be me. 

As my weight went up, my more anti-social tendencies took over and I found the regard of others to be a bit overwhelming.  I am starting to change that, but I am still not all that comfortable being the center of attention.  Plus after focusing on workouts and calories, sometimes I really just want to have a conversation that relates to something else. 

Anything else really.

So the big trick with a long slog like this is keeping myself motivated throughout the journey. So along the way, I have built in a series of rewards for myself.  Yes, essentially I am bribing myself. There are two different kind of rewards involved in my system. One, both or neither could work for you.

The first kind of reward is the milestone reward. This is earned at certain markers.  I’ve set mine at 10 lbs. Now, this is trickier than is sounds.  At ten lbs you aren’t fitting in a goal dress. Clothing shopping for the new you is kind of a long way off. With a lot of clothing off the table, finding a lot of these rewards is tough work. There are a couple of rules I follow for my rewards.  You can use or discard any of them as suits your needs.

My first rule is that the reward cannot be food related.

I know that sounds like an obvious one, but when I started thinking about giving myself a reward, I had to really think about it.  I thought about what I wanted on my walks. I thought about it at the gym. I thought about it when fixing a large salad for supper.

Let me tell you, it took a lot of effort to think past rewarding myself by making brie en crute.  Oh yeah,  a round of triple cream brie covered with fig jam wrapped in prosciutto, then wrapped in buttery brioche dough and baked until it was warm and oozy. That seemed like the best reward.

The urge was strong, but I moved past it.

My second rule was that I didn’t want my rewards to cost a lot.  I didn’t want to set my reward at an expensive item and then when I got close to the goal re think it because I needed to get new tires or something else that was more of a necessity. I set my plan at around $20 or less per reward.

My third rule was that my reward should be a help rather than a hindrance to my weight loss journey. The best way to explain this is with my first (10 lb) reward. My first reward was my Scentbox subscription.  Now I know this bends my $20 rule as it is $14.95 / month and the months add up to more than $20, but first I promised myself if I went off the rails I’d have to cancel and two this has proven a very beneficial reward.

While I have always liked scent, I realized I hadn’t been wearing perfume in a while.  In fact many of the perfumes on my dressing table no longer even remotely smelled the same as when I purchased them and were just hanging around because I liked the bottle (and spent enough on them that I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away). 

The reason they sat around so long is that not wearing them was part of my drawing in.  I didn’t want people to notice me.  In my head I didn’t want someone thinking, ‘Wow, that fat girl smells nice.’ I stopped wearing perfume because I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.  I also stopped wearing most of my makeup, reducing it to basic lip gloss and I only glanced in the mirror to make sure I didn’t have toothpaste spatter on my face or my hair sticking up at crazy angles.  I stopped looking at me and I wanted everyone else to do the same.

Choosing the perfume subscription gave me something I liked as a reward AND it helped start to crack through that don’t notice me barricade. In addition, it also gave me a sort of daily reward. I tend to work out in the mornings, mostly as a get it over and done with before life takes over and the day runs out of time measure. 

So in the mornings I just use a light moisturizer and sunscreen if I am going out for a walk. Then once I have sweat for the day, I shower and get ready.  The final touch is a spritz at the wrists, cause I’m certainly not wearing perfume to the gym. The nice scent applied after I’ve completed my sweating is kind of my prize for the day. ‘See you worked hard, now you get to smell nice instead of like stinky sweat.’

It works for me.  It’s an individual journey though, so find what works for you.

The second part of my reward system involves smaller bits of personal encouragement.

Did you manage to drag yourself to the gym this morning even though it was raining and you were awakened at three in the morning by the neighbor’s cat? Then this afternoon give yourself twenty minutes of relaxation by using a sheet mask.  You can get them for relatively little money at the drug store and  twenty minutes of down time in your day wouldn’t completely kill your schedule. It might even give you a chance to think through a thorny issue before shooting off an ill-advised e-mail.

Did you finally manage to touch your toes for the first time in god only knows how long? Celebrate those newly touched tootsies by swiping a layer of glitter polish across the toe nails. 

My particular polish of choice for this came from the dollar tree.  It tends to flake off after a day or two, but that’s really not the point. It is a momentary celebration. Whether it is remaining on track for a week’s worth of workouts, or managing to successfully avoid going into your favorite fast food place because you foolishly forgot to eat lunch before running your errands, celebrate the small victories as well as the large ones.

The rules for this set of rewards are simple.  Again, no food as reward and keep it appropriate to the victory. Making it to your workout instead of letting inertia take you may earn you a cheap bottle of glittery nail polish, it doesn’t earn a $60 handbag. Keep things in perspective. Use the rewards to keep you motivated and to reinforce the fact that even though you haven’t dropped another dress size yet you are doing a good thing. It may be a long haul, but it doesn’t have to be a miserable one. Remember, even thorns can occasionally come with roses.

Scent Box July 2019 Review

July 2019

This is one of my favorite subscriptions.  First of all it is $14.95/ month for one month long sample of perfume (0.27 oz) and each comes in a travel case. My sample usually lasts a bit longer than a month. The subscription bills on the 30th and is shipped by the 7th of the month.  This month it shipped early and I received my subscription on the 6th.  While they do have a recommended scent of the month, you can also chose the scent you want based on your preferences.

I’d like to say I have a system, but to be honest, I tend to load my queue with things I might have smelled once in a magazine or sound interesting from the description. Some months my randomness pays off and I get a good sample I really like other months I end up with a complete dud.

While this is sort of a hit or miss process, it has saved me a boatload of money. Having a month’s supply of a scent really lets me know if I am going to like it for more than a few days or if it was just nice for the moment and not worth investing in the purchase of a bottle. As we all know, perfume isn’t cheap.

In addition, if there is something really wrong with the scent you can return it if there as long as you haven’t used a lot of the sample. Last month I had to do this and the return was easy peasy with no hiccups, earning Scent Box bonus points in my book. (If you want details of the exchange I walked through it in my June 2019 ScentBox review).

One more nice detail. Each month your subscription earns you scent bucks which you can put towards the purchase of an actual bottle of perfume on the site. So even if you don’t like the current month’s selection enough to purchase it, you have accrued points and can save them up, making a bottle you really like, a little less expensive in the future.

This month my selection was Armani Code Pour Femme. The description on the site it as follows:

Armani Code Pour Femme perfume by Giorgio Armani is a seductive new fragrance for women, Armani Code Pour Femme is a fresh, sexy, feminine blend of zesty blood orange, ginger, and pear sorbet softened with hints of sambac jasmine, orange blossom, and lavender honey, warmed with precious woods and vanilla. A woman’s mysterious code of seduction revealed.

Categories: Gourmand, sexy, winter, evening

Characteristics: Honey, Jasmine, Orange, orange blossom and Vanilla

For purchase a one time buy of 0.27 oz (the same size as the subscription box): $16.95, for a 1.7 oz bottle t: $70 and for a full 2.3 oz bottle:$85.

While the scent is nice, I alas will not be purchasing it. I might wear it for the month, but a bottle will not be earning space on my dressing table. In fact, I might pass it on to my mother. I think she might appreciate it more.

The scent is a little on the strong side, with the jasmine a little over powering. It pretty much obliterates the ginger and orange I was hoping for.  I’m guessing the sweetness is down to the honey, but it really just smells like flowers in the hot sun. It also smells more mature than sexy.  And to be honest it reminds me of an older woman who used to sit near us in church when I was a kid. She used to glare at me when I fidgeted. I know that’s really not the perfume’s fault, but still.

Not really an association I want in my perfume. 

So my points will accrue, saved for the purchase of a bottle of something else down the line.  And one more of my might be nice samples is checked off the list.

If you are interested in this subscription box, I’ve pasted my referral code down below.  Using it gets both you and me a free scent sample. If you don’t want to use it, no problems just go to the regular ScentBox site.

Referral Code: http://www.scentbox.com/ref/90433/a

Jersey Shore Cosmetics Bag July 2019 Review

July 2019

Last month I went for the one lip balm as I was unfamiliar with their products and wasn’t sure I’d like it.  I did and June’s Lemonade balm spent the month living on my desk, fighting my urge to snack and keeping my lips from being dried out in the sun.

The balm certainly got a workout.

We got enough rain here that pulling weeds in the garden was more or less a daily chore and tying up the tomatoes to keep them out of the reach of roving rabbits required constant vigilance as they seemed to grow a few inches every time my back was turned. (the tomatoes not the rabbits)

The rabbits of course multiplied and were out in force. After losing the majority of my lettuce to them defeating the Bunny Patrol has become a minor summer obsession. Don’t worry, there will be no Elmer Fudd like blasting, and certainly no chemical warfare.

I will admit to turning the hose on full blast and aiming it into the bushes where I knew they were hiding and then chasing them with the water as they scattered for safety. But I only did that the one time and I just found my eggplants gnawed to nubs so I felt justified. A little crazy, but justified.

It was my attempt to inspire fear.

As they came back in the night and took the lettuce, I would have to say it failed miserably so I’ve stopped wasting water. I mean I stopped scaring the poor little darlings.

Who are plotting evil behind their fluffy little faces.

Evil.

In addition my love decided there were so many new flavors of chips out there that he had to bring the more interesting ones home to try.  So I used the lip balm to resist the salty temptation sitting in the kitchen while I worked.

All this means that my one lip balm was worn to a nub by the time the new ones arrived.  So, since I like the product and will use it, I upped my subscription to two lip balms a month. That subscription is $5/ month, but with shipping it comes to an even $8. As each of their lip balms are usually $10 a piece, I am okay paying $8 for two.

For those interested, one lip balm is $2.50 (adding shipping brings it to $5.50), two lip balms are $5 (Adding shipping brings it to $8) and four lip balms are $10 (I haven’t ordered this one, but I would guess that shipping would be about the same and bring it to $13). The subscription bag information I was unable to find on the regular Jersey Shore Cosmetics website, but I did find it through Cratejoy. I’ve posted both links below for anyone interested.

Now, on to this month’s selections.  The first one I pulled out of the bag was the Arabica mineral lip tint. At first I was a bit concerned because it looks so dark, but the tint goes on fairly light and just slightly deepens the lip color.  Which is great for me, since I tend to put the lip balm on at the desk without the aid of a mirror and didn’t want it smearing everywhere. If I try keeping a saturated color on the desk I look like a drunken clown post bar fight by the end of the work day. Not my best look. If you are looking for more saturated color though, this is probably not for you.  Personally, I like it.

Tinted Balm

Which is a good thing, as it turns out.

The second balm in my bag was the Peppermint moisture rich hydrating balm. It is stark white and smells like peppermint.  I got to try it once and it is a good formula.  I’m sure I would have used it just like I did the Lemonade from last month.

Yup, would have.

My potato chip loving baby has been working outside for the last month as they try to complete a project, which is probably why he is craving salt.  His lips are dry and his winter only, no scent extra strength, manly, no frills, medicinal because the doctor gave it to me on my last checkup, lip balm is nowhere to be found so he absconded with my peppermint lip balm.  His review when I asked was ‘not as waxy’.

Yeah, I’m not actually sure if he meant that as a positive or negative to be honest.

To give you a gauge, he has no sisters only brothers and no close female cousins. His mother wears no makeup so his only experience with make up was his grandmother who only wore a 1940s-50s red. Which means really red lipstick is referred to as ‘lipstick colored’ and every other color is ‘that weird color’. It it is one of my favorites (I favore dark berry tones) then it is ‘that weird color you like’.

So yeah, I’m not really sure if ‘not as waxy’ is a positive or negative.

As his doctor will no doubt give him another lip balm in the fall (they are imprinted with his name and number and he gives them out like a dentist gives out toothbrushes), I suspect I won’t know how they compare until then. I probably won’t know even then as questioning will probably just get me an answer of, ‘it’s lip balm’ since like red lipstick, it is the standard.

Not all that enlightening, I know.  But at least I know it will be used, just not by me.  So I will be using the tinted lip balm to stave of snack cravings and dry lips for the month of July. All in all, I’m glad I switched to the two pack.  Maybe next month, I’ll get to use them both.

If interested in the brand or the subscription bag, check out the links below.

Jersey Shore Cosmetics

Jersey Shore Cosmetics Subscription bag at CrateJoy

Weekly Weight: 216.2

The Scale: July 5th, 2019

Social eating is a minefield. Especially potluck. No one wants to offend the neighbors simply because you don’t want to eat ambrosia salad. Now don’t get me wrong, I actually love southern ambrosia salad. In fact I deliberately never asked anyone how to make it because I really don’t want to know what is actually in it. The pastel green color alone should tell you that there is a good chance the ingredients shouldn’t be consumed by humans. Pastels are usually not good in food. Or anything really. I’m sort of a bold jewel tone kind of girl.

But with food, pastels are super creepy.

And yeah, I even include baby showers in that designation. You don’t get a pass because it’s baby themed.

No pastel food.

It it wrong.

No one wants to eat it.

Except for the ambrosia salad. And then only at potluck when your neighbor who is in the early throes of alzheimer’s brings it and insists on telling you gossip about your neighbors. Sure the stories relate to people who no longer live in the neighborhood but they are still fun stories, contain more sexual innuendos than most soap operas, and the ambrosia salad is yummy.

Although I’m pretty sure once you put marshmallows in something you should really stop using the term salad to describe it.

So on the fourth of July there was potluck. I’m pretty sure the theme of the meal was how much butter can one neighborhood use in a single day. But I survived. Although there was some morning trepidation when I got on the scale. However, I hit my goal so I’m happy.

So now that I’ve rambled, here are the stats.

Starting weight: 246 lbs

Last week’s weight: 217.8 lbs

This week’s weight: 216.2 lbs

Total weight lost: 29.8 lbs

So close to 30 lbs gone I can see it. I still haven’t figured out my reward for 30 lbs though so I need to get thinking about it. And 1.6 lbs is gone from my body. Woot!

Oh how I long for the day when my weight starts with a 1 instead of a 2. Soon…Soooooon. I just need to keep chipping away at it. And stay away from Agnes and her ambrosia salad.

I also need to remember that my neighbor James is a high school English teacher and not in witness protection. And that he doesn’t have a string of floozies hidden away anywhere. Although I really like the word floozies and think it should come back into use. Probably not for James though who is perfectly respectable and married to a lovely accountant named Mike. But still Floozies is a very underutilized word these days. For those reading this, that is your word of the day. Try to use it in a conversation.

TONYMOLY Panda’s Dream White Sleeping Pack Review

TONY MOLY Panda Sleep Mask

Okay, I’ll admit it.

I got it for the panda.

I was going to start with how I love sleeping masks.  Which,  I do.  Especially in the summer.

During the Summer I tend to go light on my daily moisturizer (mixing a little sunscreen in) and then use more moisturizer at night.  A couple of times a week, I use a sleeping mask (more if I know I’m spending a chunk of the day outside) to help adjust my skin’s moisture levels. It’s an odd system that gets tweaked depending on my day, but it works for me.

During the winter I don’t use the sleeping masks as much.  I’ll use them if I’ve spent the day outside in the wind or the cold or if I’m staying over at someone’s place where the central heat has dried out the air (we tend to keep our house kind of cool in the winter and just wear wool socks and cardigans).

But it is Summer now, so the winter regime is packed away with the wool socks and sweaters (not literally, I actually ran out of product around Easter and won’t repurchase until the fall, just saying.)

And I realized I was running low on my sleeping mask. 

I went poking around on line and came across Beauty Net Korea.  It appeared they were having a sale, but then every time I’ve been to their site it looks like they are having a sale. So I poked around a bit.  I came across a whole section of TonyMoly stuff, which a friend of mine raves about. (She is also really into anime so I thought her review might be packaging related.)

Now, I’ll admit, one of the reasons I didn’t purchase their stuff before was that it looks really cute.  I know, not the way packaging is supposed to work, but in the back of my brain I thought, ‘Sure, for a lip gloss cute is fine, but we are talking actual skin care product here.’

Yup, I judged a book by its cover.

Shame upon me.

But I was still doubtful.  However, the site was offering the oh so cute sleep mask for $4.27.  I decided, to try it.  Even with the tax and the shipping it came to $8.68. As the price is offered at Ulta for $16 and Macy’s for $14.50, I decided even with shipping it would be okay.  I also somehow suspected it was going to be a sample size. 

It was not.  It was full size.

I also suspected it would take forever to reach me. Like months forever.  It took a week and a half.

Since every other expectation was shattered, I began to have hope for the product.

So to the description.  First a warning, while Beauty net Korea has great prices, they do not have great descriptions. They do have sheet masks for twelve cents though so if you are experimenting with products, it is a good place to look into. The description below came from elsewhere (the TONY MOLY site to be exact)

So…Panda’s Dream White Sleeping Pack

While you’re dreaming away, Panda’s Dream sleeping mask works hard to brighten up your skin tone, so you can wake up to healthy and luminous skin! Visibly smoother and softer skin is just a good night’s rest away with our lightweight, brightening mask. This lightweight yet hydrating formula easily absorbs to infuse your skin with lavender, rosemary, bamboo shoot extract and berry extracts to brighten dark spots and help even out your skin tone.

Okay, now we know what to expect. Admittedly, I have to say, I always distrust exclamation marks in product descriptions. It makes me think they are trying too hard. (I know, I am a mass of biases aren’t I?)

First, the cream does come in a really cure plastic panda container. Usually I like glass because it is more easily recyclable, but as it is really sturdy plastic and  I am fairly certain once it is empty it will be turned into a paperclip holder or something else around the house (either mine or a younger family member’s) rather than going to the dump, I am okay with the plastic. And I will admit, I kind of smile when I see the chubby little panda sitting with the more adult looking creams on my bathroom counter.

It’s like a snuggly invasion.

But while packaging is nice, product is king.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you will know that scent is a big thing for me, so once I twisted open the panda and pried up the plastic top, I lifted the jar to my nose. I know it claims lavender, rosemary, bamboo and berry in the description, but I didn’t smell any of that quite honestly.

You know what it smells like?

It smells exactly like the unscented night cream my mother used when I was a kid.

It is face cream scented …face cream.

Yeah, I don’t know how else to word that.

I admit, it has a certain nostalgia to it.  It reminds me of having my wet hair combed out before bed, being tucked in and kissed good night. So, I’m not mad at the smell, I just don’t know what else to call it. And combined with the panda packaging, I feel like I’ve shaved several decades from my age even before I use the product.

Which isn’t a bad thing either.

I can’t say the product does much in the way of whitening. I have a couple of dark spots along my hairline and they don’t appear to have changed. (But then nothing else has changed them either). 

As far as moisturizing goes, this product works really well.  It soaks in well (just give it a few minutes 3-5 between putting it on and going to bed or your pillow case will need changing in the morning) and my skin felt soft and smooth in the morning.  It isn’t a miracle product, but it is a good sleeping mask.  And if I can continue to get it at a lower price, I will certainly add it to my re-purchase list.

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #5: Menu Plans

planning in action

A little planning goes a long way. Previously I would go to the grocery store without a list and just pick up the same things I always picked up, occasionally adding something because it looked yummy and I forgot to eat before shopping or because it was on sale. I can’t resist a sale.  It’s shameful, I know, but a good deal always gets me tingly inside.

Once I started keeping track of things, I realized that this method usually ended with me adding something along the lines of red velvet cake flavored Oreos to my cart. 

You know, just to try.

Incidentally, really good with milk.

It also led to me standing in the kitchen in the evenings staring into the pantry or fridge wondering what I could throw together that might actually look sort of healthy and like an actual meal.

Clearly not a plan that was in my best interest. 

Hence, the meal plan.  Since I generally go shopping on Sundays (sneaking in while all the good folks are still at church to avoid the crowds also known as Mimsy’s Crowd Avoidance Plan #238), I generally do my menu planning Friday afternoons. The first reason is that’s when I generally have some free time.  The second is that I do my weekly weigh ins on Friday morning so the result of my weekly choices is fresh in my memory.  So are the conversations with the mirror, both bad and good. 

(‘Well, you did decide that you couldn’t let the last slice of cake go to waste didn’t you? Did you think because it had green icing the scale would be tricked into thinking it was salad?’ Or more positively, ‘Woo hoo, another pound bites the dust, oh yeah another pound bites the dust.’  In the spirit of transparency I should admit that one ended up with a happy dance and a doorknob shaped bruise, but I digress…)

So…Menu plans yeah…

On Friday, either success or defeat fresh in my mind, I plan out my menu.  Then I make my grocery list. Typically I just jot the meals on my calendar and use a blank piece of paper torn from a notebook for this. If you want something more organized there are a lot of templates out there. (one free one I’ve found that is easily downloadable can be found HERE.) This lets me know what to buy, helping me use up things in the cabinet and not go off on crazy sprees in the store.

(I’m sure I need to go down the candy aisle for some completely logical reason that I can’t at the moment remember…)

It also helps with my calorie counting and lets me work in little treats without feeling like I’m negating all of my exercise.  It also helps me deal with cravings.

If I find I’m craving warm bread straight from the oven, I might add Onion, Sage and Walnut Pinwheels to my menu for the week.  And knowing when on my weekly menu I put them, I can adjust my work out and plan a salad based lunch to offset the bread and butter involved in said pinwheels.

As a final bonus, I also find I spend less.  Since I cook almost every meal at home (eating out being a once a month or so treat) I can stock the staples keeping the basics ready to go in the pantry or plan to use leftover ingredients, making a purchase bought for one meal cover two and not go to waste in the back of my fridge.

While there are some days, I really don’t feel like eating what I planned that night, I have found having the plan helps with calories, time and money.  And if I’m really not feeling it, since most of my meals are generally in the same caloric range, I can swap the days around until I come up with something that I really feel like eating that night.  The actual planning took a little while to get used to, but after about a month, it became habit, and this is one habit I plan to keep for a while.

Ear Fleek Unboxing June 2019

EarFleek June 2019

I know, it’s July. But despite being one of my favorite subscriptions, Ear Fleek is one of my occasionally overlooked ones as well. Partially because it is just $3.49 a month making the cost easy to forget (Although they have started a premier track for $9.93 a month now. I think the earrings are higher quality since it looks like you still only get one pair a month. Personally I’ve never had a problem with my subscription or the product quality).

Partially it gets overlooked because the package is small enough to get shuffled into the other mail. My package this month was buried under a couple of catalogs. Once I realized it was missing I went on the hunt and located it. The account is charged on the 15th of each month and depending on the day of the week, the earrings are either sent out that day or the next business day.

A better photo of the earrings

While I tried taking a picture of the package above, it is really hard to see the earrings so here is another picture. This month was the minimalist sliver bars for me. I have to say I really like them. (Just ignore my chipped nail polish)

There are different categories. I think this is part of the Minimalist but Groovy category although I am in the I Don’t Give a Hoot subscription.) The categories are Silly & Fun, Minimalist but Groovy, BoHo Babe, and I Don’t Give a Hoot. All of the earrings are nickle free. Since that is generally what makes my ears itch from cheap earrings, I appreciate that fact.

The pair I got this month are ones I think I will wear on a regular basis. They are simple enough not to feel out of place when conducting business, but with a little bit of swing which always makes me feel happy.

If anyone is interested, I’ve pasted my referral code below. I think I get points if you use it, but don’t feel like you have to. You can always just go to EarFleek.com.

Referral Code, just click HERE

Weekly Weight: 217.8

The Scale on June 28, 2019

Yeah I know its an increase from last week. Also I knocked over a jar and the scale took some inadvertent splatter, it will be washed off before next week (actually since it is bugging me it will be washed off as soon as I finish typing this).

So gaining weight was not the direction I want to go, but I am not disheartened. This slight weight gain is not a cause for alarm. While daily fluctuations are normal and to be expected, this one is also no mystery. Its the mysterious weight gains that always throw me for a loop, where you are doing all you can and the scale still won’t move. Faced down that, this is not that.

You see all week, I was pretty good. I got my workouts in and my calories were on point. I was doing good. Yesterday, however was my birthday. And you know what I really, really wanted for my birthday?

To not sweat.

Or at least not sweat any more than the 90 + degree summer temperatures caused. See, I understand that to lose the weight I need to sweat. I need to work out. But lets face it, I am not one of nature’s exercise enthusiasts. I am not a gym rat. I am not overly fond of athleticism. And I really don’t like to sweat.

I know some people think its cathartic. Others feel good when they sweat. I see it as a sign that at this moment I am doing what I need to be doing. Then I go home and strip off the sweaty gym clothes, fight my way out of the soaked sports bra and get in the shower. Then I put on something comfortable with undergarments that were chosen for more aesthetically pleasing reasons than their ability to take a beating in the gym.

I should also confess, I don’t like the gym.

When I started everyone kept telling me that once I started I would grow to love the gym and I would really start to enjoy it. My interpretation was that once my muscles stopped threatening to revolt at the unfamiliar movements and I didn’t want to curl up in a ball of spaghetti like limbs in a throbbing heap of pain filled despair, I would not despise the gym so much. And that is true. I don’t hate or dread going to the gym.

It is just not my happy place.

It has become habit, I will admit that. But it is a habit like making the bed each morning or taking vitamins. I don’t wake up and say woo hoo, now I get to make the bed, awesome! I likewise am not thrilled by my regular gym visits. In fact my main goal is to get to a point where I can maintain a healthy weight just by going on a daily walk. You know, participating in normal human exercise instead of dealing with machines that isolate muscle groups and target areas.

My end of the dieting path leads me to two things, a nice dress I can pick off the rack without an form of X (as in XL, XXL or the dreaded 3X) on the tag, and canceling my gym membership.

I know there are some gasps from those who have developed a deep and abiding love. More power to you. Just know, that once I have completed my mission, I will leave you be (possibly with a skip and giggle of joy as I head out the door) and there will be one less person waiting to use the machines.

So that was a long winded way of saying that for my birthday present to myself, I skipped my scheduled workout.

And it was good.

I woke up and I got dressed. Once. That’s right, my day did not require multiple outfits. One set of clothes and one set of pretty undies the whole day through. I can’t lie. It was glorious. It also reinvigorated me so I am once again looking forward to that time again.

Also because it was my birthday, there was cake, and eating out so I didn’t have to cook on my birthday and if we are being honest, celebratory drinks. Several in fact.

So that was last night.

And to be honest, I was surprised the scale wasn’t scarier this morning. I got on and surveyed the digital numbers with a great deal of trepidation. But the end result is that my day of celebration only added a little less than half a pound. Which means two things. One, working extra hard this week because I knew I was taking my birthday off did some good (trust me, I know what I consumed), and two, this weight will not be sticking around.

Did I meet my weight loss goal this week?

No.

Do I regret it?

Not at all.

While weight loss is, at this point in time, a large focus of my time and energy, it is not my entire life. Nor do I believe it should be. Reaching for any sort of goal requires some sort of sacrifice and I understand the ones I have to make to reach my goals. But that doesn’t mean a blinding focus. I am not training to be an olympian. I do not have a strict deadline where the weight must come off or else. My weight loss journey is incorporated into my life. It is not my life. Sometimes, that gets hard to remember. But for me at least, I think that it is important that I do.

Now that I’ve had my philosophical moment… the official record.

Starting Weight: 246 lbs

Last week’s Weight: 217.4 lbs

This week’s weight: 217.8 lbs

Total weight loss to date: 28.2 lbs

Left to lose: 98.8 lbs

Let the journey continue.

Weight loss Regime Survival Tip #4: Hard Candy

desk drawer candy stash

Already I can hear some of you cringe, the words ‘refined sugar’ echoing through your brains in a way that sounds the death toll for dieters everywhere.  Let me explain.

I am not a huge sweets person.  My Achilles heel tends to lead in the savory direction. Seriously give me a triple cream brie and a baguette and I am a happy camper.  At least until I step on the scale the next morning. Which is why I didn’t see the sweet tooth lurking. Perhaps it was wearing an overcoat with a beret pulled low and hiding behind the baguette, I don’t know. All I know is once I tamed the brie beast with portion control, he stepped out of the shadows like man selling fake Rolex watches in the park.

“Wanna satisfy your cravings with empty calories? We have a deal going, special price…”

Because that is the problem there is always a special deal going. I’ll decide I need just a little something sweet and pop to the grocery store (because I deliberately left candy off my grocery list) and find a two for one sale on candy bars.  I’ll think, well I can always stash the other one for later and then a few days or weeks from now when a craving strikes I can just eat it then. So it seems like good sense to buy them both.  Then I get home.

And eat them both.

And as each has about 250 calories, I’ve just added 500 extra calories to my day. So not what I was planning.

So, I now keep a bag of hard candy in my desk drawer.  I know what you are thinking, aren’t you just risking eating the whole bag? No, but there are rules.

First, make sure the candy is individually wrapped. I am a huge fan of Skittles and tried this with a large bag of skittles.  It did not work.  I was dismayed at how fast a two pound bag can disappear.  Even though you may feel wasteful with the little wrappers, get them individually wrapped.  Eating each piece of candy needs to be a deliberate act. Plus, you don’t want to trick yourself into thinking that the candy might go stale now that it is open, because you are only opening one piece at a time.

Second, since you are smacking your sweet tooth over the head, go with something sweet.  I keep carrots in the fridge and tried tricking myself with the healthy snack ‘Carrots are sort of sweet, right?’ It may work for you, it did not work for me. I just resented the carrots and ate a bunch of them, then went and bought the candy bar.

Third, make sure you choose a bag with the nutritional label on it so you can see how many calories are in each piece.  Some of them are way more caloric than others.  This specific candy (LifeSavers Butter Rum) has a serving size of four pieces and is set at 60 calories per serving.  That means each individual piece is 15 calories.  To be honest, I rarely eat more than one piece at a time.  While I like the flavor, it is sweet, buttery and rich enough tasting that one piece feels decadent.  So I can take one little plastic wrapped piece out, put the bag back in the drawer and feel as if I have had a treat.

Fourth, when you take out the piece of candy, don’t eat it immediately. Take your piece out of the bag, set it on the desk and put the bag away.  Then complete a task with the candy in plain sight.  It doesn’t have to be a huge task.  Write an e-mail that you have been dragging your feet about.  Edit an article, make a phone call, whatever it is, make sure to complete it before you eat the candy, but with the one piece of candy in plain sight on your desk (or wherever you work).

For me at least this not only makes me feel that I’ve earned the candy so I am not just saying to myself “I want candy”, but I find the separation from seeing the bag helps me only eat the piece or pieces I set out. I sort of forget that there is a bag full of candies in the drawer and focus only on the one candy I get to eat when my task is complete.

And finally five, shake things up.  I like the butter rum hard candy, but when this bag runs out, I may be lured in by something fruity or even lip puckering sour. Or I could want more butter rum.  It is candy, not broccoli, we all know there is no real ‘healthy’ option. So choose what you are craving.  Just follow the basic guidelines and flavor is up to you.

Just remember, sometimes a little sin is a good thing.

Sunday Riley Review: Two Weeks Later

The product in question: Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream

In the June 2019 Ipsy Glam Bag plus subscription box, I received a full sized jar of the Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream. While I gave my first impressions when I did my review of the subscription box after opening it and trying the product for the first time (smells like a yummy creamsicle and felt good against the skin, comes in a pretty glass jar), one or even two applications of a skin care product rarely gives you any real information about it.  Because of this I used this product as my sole moisturizer for two weeks to gauge its effects.

The product description said it could be used both in the morning and in the evening and this is what I did for the two week test.  I did use less in the morning than I did at night.  Partially because I naturally use less moisturizer in the morning and because I am used to using a sleeping mask a couple of times during the week.  These two weeks I left off the sleeping mask.  Also I have combination skin and with my increased exercise level and subsequent sweat, anything that clogs the pores tends to leave me with break outs.

One final bit of information, I am currently living in Tennessee. I know that is a somewhat strange thing to add for a skin care review, but I have moved around a lot in my life.  I have found that what works on my skin in New York did not work on my skin in Texas and that my Wyoming skin care regime was different enough from the one I followed in Louisiana that It could have been for an entirely different person.  So me and my skin are currently slogging through Summertime in Tennessee which is not only hot but with the frequent rains and subsequent evaporation,  the air is thick enough that a deep breath with a wide open mouth should actually count as drinking a full glass of water.

Before

So to the pictures. 

One  (labeled Before) was taken before I used this particular product.  The one (labeled Two Weeks Later) was taken of me after using the Sunday Riley Moisturizer for two weeks. I am freshly scrubbed in both photos and the only thing I did to my face was to pat it dry with a towel to remove the excess water from washing. The photos were both taken in the same place (and clearly with the same smirk, sorry about that, I just can’t help myself, when facing a camera I either looks smirky or like I’m plotting evil, sometimes both oddly enough).

Okay, now with the sans makeup photos before you, we will start with the list of claims this product makes. From the product description on the Dermastore Website:

Two Weeks Later

Key Benefits:

Now some of those claims I have no way of actually evaluating or mean little to nothing to me.  I do not know if it fights pollution or how one even tests for that. And to be honest I find the fact that someone puts gluten free on a topical cream a little on the ridiculous side. Unless the cream is being eaten by the spoonful or pressed into open cuts, I don’t think gluten can be absorbed topically, although I could be wrong. I’m going off the info from the National Celiac Association’s Ask the Dietitian section of the website for this one (https://nationalceliac.org/celiac-disease-questions/using-gluten-free-skin-body-products-someone-celiac-disease/).

I would also think that if you are eating your moisturizer and/or slathering it on cuts, you might have other issues. But if this is an issue for you (the gluten, not the eating of moisturizer) then apparently the cream is gluten free, so bonus.

I can tell you that what I look for in a moisturizer is that it is not overly greasy, absorbs quickly into the skin so I can get on with my morning routine at a regular pace, doesn’t break me out and keeps my skin from drying out. If it does some good on the emerging crow’s feet I see fanning out from my eyes, then even better.

I have to say, on all of the items on my above list, it performed well.  In addition, my skin feels soft and smooth and even though it might be wishful thinking, I think it is a little brighter.

So now for the big bugaboo I didn’t mention: Price.

The retail price for a jar of the Sunday Riley C.E.O. Vitamin C Rich Hydration Cream is $65. So it is a bit on the pricey side, but not as bad as some of the creams I’ve seen out there. I did notice that after two weeks, there was still a substantial amount of cream left in the jar. So I did some math.  Don’t worry, this will be quick and relatively painless math.  I promise, there will be no quiz.

So when I got the jar, I weighed it before using any of the product. The jar with contents weighed in at exactly 8 ounces. There are 1.7 ounces of product in the jar. (I did not scoop it out and weigh the cream separately, so I’ll just have to trust the company for that number. ) So the jar weighs 6.3 ounces. Now as I use the product, the weight of the jar itself stays the same. Makes sense so far right?

This morning as my two weeks came to a close, I weighed the jar again. This time it weighed 7.3 ounces. So 7.3 minus the weight of the jar (6.3) leaves exactly one ounce of cream left. So in two weeks I used 0.7 oz of product from the 1.7 listed volume, or 0.35 ounces per week. 0.35 goes into 1.7  a little more than 4.8 times, so used at this rate, the product will last for just under five weeks. Since in my normal routine I replace my night time moisturizer with a sleeping mask 1-2 times a week I am going to round up and say this will last about five weeks.

Okay deep breath, the math is done.

The final cost is $65 for five weeks’ worth of product. (or $13 per week)

So is this worth the price? Well, it isn’t a miracle time eraser, but that is really too much to ask from any face cream. (Admittedly, I have my fingers crossed that one day one daaaay…I will find such a magic unguent).  It is a good product though and on my personal rating scale I would rate it a nine. It worked well with my skin in the environment where I am currently living, it performed more or less as expected and didn’t cause problems.  I have a few darker spots on my skin near the hairline I was hoping it would fade more, but otherwise I can’t fault this product.  I will use it until the product is gone.  As for purchasing it again, I have to say it is going on my list of possible purchases for when I run out.