Cozy Days


Winter comes to Florida like a roving marauder, doing his damage and moving on up the road.  He has visited us the end of this first week of the new year with temperatures cold enough to freeze the bird bath in the back of the house, but not the front.  These are the days we complain and layer, wear our boots and make a fire, and stay inside and make soup.  Cozy days!  We were planning to have our grandson this Saturday, but ended up not, and felt like a couple of prisoners set free from bondage.  We made a fire in the fireplace, curled up on the sofa, and were generally lazy.  It was fabulous!

Our coffer pickings were pretty slim, but I really wanted to make minestrone – the perfect soup for coffer raiding.  I love this soup because there is no set recipe – it’s a peasant soup traditionally made from whatever you have.  Perfect, because I didn’t have much.  I just started taking stuff out of the fridge and pantry – a can of diced tomatoes, a can of cannellini beans, a couple of onions and the rest of a bulb of garlic (about 5 cloves – hey, I like garlic, don’t judge!), 4 celery stalks, 5 carrots, a cube of vegetable bullion, some water, salt pepper, and Tuscan Sunset spice.  The meat layer in our family insisted upon the addition of a few slices of bacon, so that went in at the end,  plus a bit of romano cheese rind (just a Tbsp. or so) and a thawed container of frozen spinach.  It was just the right proportion of everything.  Hot, steamy, and just right on this cold January evening.


And then we had some Cole’s garlic bread in the freezer that we didn’t use at Christmas and added some cheese and salami for dipping deliciousness.  Heart and soul warming coziness!!


Tomorrow the temps will be back up a bit, and up in the 70’s by Wednesday.  So long for now, Mr. Winter, give me back my flip flops and tanks tops!



  1.  I would like one of these Dutch Sea Eagles.
  2. This is very helpful if you’re into essential oils.
  3. This is a great story!
  4. Italians having opinions about American food.
  5. This diet is my eating life goal.
  6. BOY do I miss these ladies and their podcastios!!  This is one of my favorites.  Mos Def!
  7. I’m making these rolls for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.
  8. I just ordered these comfy looking slippers.
  9. This planner is one of the reasons I can’t wait to get my winter FabFit Fun box.  Join me!
  10. This run is my first of the new year.  How about you?

Thanksgiving 2016

Yesterday, we were recipients of a momentous occasion – my daughter’s boyfriend called us to ask for our blessing to marry her. We were stuck in traffic in South Carolina on our way to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family when he texted and asked if he could talk. Guys know guys – Michael knew what he wanted before he started talking.
The plan is for our families to get together and meet when he asks her.


SHRED IT! Goals 2016

I’m reading this book by Robert Cheeke, Shred It! where he asks six very pointed questions to help articulate goals.  to only what the goals are, but why they are important to you and what you are going to do to achieve them in a measurable way.  I started to write my answers in January, still recovering from my accident.  It’s April now, so here are not just the questions and my answers, but how it’s going almost 4 months in:

#1. What goal do you want to achieve?  Be as specific as possible and find a deep meaning behind it.  I want to follow a vegan diet and lose most of my body fat – meaning I want to be around 10-12% body fat.  I have been trying to lose the same layer of body fat for the past 30 years.  I have run, cycled, life, and swam, eaten MOSTLY a good diet, but always add what I want to eat and never followed any diet strictly.  I make excuses for myself because compared to most people, I don’t really NEED to lose weight.  I have been under 110 lbs. all of my adult life and am tiny by most people’s standards.  But I’m still uncomfortable in my own skin most of the time.  I truly believe that a whole food plant based diet is the best for you, and will help you live the longest disease free, and I want to live that.  I also want to become a Hallelujah Health Minister, yoga instructor and aqua instructor and be a good “leader by example.”  UPDATE: I’m not doing so well with this one.  I’m on my way to becoming a Les Mills Sprint (HIIT training) instructor, but the aqua class I though was starting in January has not happened yet.  I had totally forgotten that I said I wanted to be a HA Health Minister and yoga instructor.  I’m taking those off my list, for right now, anyway, because I must not have wanted them all that bad.  

#2.  Why does it matter to you? You can’t just say something like, “to look better.”You have to address the root cause underlying your desires to “look better.” So, why does it really matter to you?

My overarching goal is to live as healthy as possible for as long as possible and to be able to be as active as I age as I am now; to continue to be able to wake up every morning and run 5-8 miles, or swim for 90 minutes, or ride for a few hours, or lift for 90 minutes.   I also just FEEL BETTER thinner and have a back problem that I believe can be alleviated and even eliminated by a cleaner/vegan whole food plant based diet.  This year has been a discouraging one for me so far.  I feel healthy most of the time but some changes in my energy this latter half of my 52nd year have made me feel  – dare it say it? – my age.   

#3. What timeline are you setting for your goal? How did you determine this timeline? How does your reasoning match up with reality, science, and your actual daily schedule?

I am setting a goal of 14 weeks.  I don’t need to lose that much weight – I need to stick to a nutritional program and continue the lifting and cycling that I’ve been doing and increase the running a bit.  It is completely realistic to lose 8 lbs. in 14 weeks, but my goal is not just weight loss – it includes muscle gain and body fat loss.  The research I’ve done says that I can lose 8 lbs. in 14 weeks in a sustainable way.  I’ve lost no weight.  My scale tells me the same numbers it did in January.   This is another reason I’m discouraged – I feel like I’m getting nowhere.

I already take the time to work out – I just need to keep it up – after my injury is better (I just crashed on my bike and broke my thumb, a rib, and have a bunch of road rash), and refine my diet.  My diet still needs refining.  I started recording on MyFitnessPal, but am not very consistent.  Man, do I want this badly enough?  

#4. What three actions will you take each day to get you closer to achieving your goal? Be specific and select actions that are truly related to helping you get closer to your dream.

a. Use Shred It! Eat This Much meal plans, the Hallelujah Diet, and FitLauraXO’s videos to keep me on track so that I know what to eat, when to eat, and to NOT eat what I don’t need.  I didn’t like/take advantage of EatThis Much or FitLauraXO.  

b. I will have a meal plan and grocery list to make sure I have what I need to eat from the plan.  Maybe I just don’t LIKE sticking to a plan.  I think that’s it, actually.  I am also thinking it’s more that I don’t like sticking to what other people are eating or telling me to eat.  

c. I will get up at 4:30 every morning to be at the gym at 5am to complete my body weight exercises, running, weight training, and yoga.  I will continue my cycling plan with my coach to get faster on the bike: LEGS & LUNGS!  Again, not so consistent.  I started out at 3-4 days a week and have seen definite gains in strength and muscle (despite my stupid scale’s assessment) but the bike and running have not been there, which is totally not like me.  I need to increase my cycling and running mileage.  

#5. How are you going to measure your accountability?

I will record my progress and journey in my blog.  I will be public about my goals.  I will tell people what I will achieve and I will be transparent with my progress through all the ups and downs.  They will see my commitment to my goals in my body change from one week to the next.    I will follow the Shred It! and Eat This Much programs, drink 3 liters of water a day, eat quality protein, carbs, and fats in each meal.  I will weigh myself daily and record my progress in my journal.  I will record the amount of reps I am able to complete in each workout.  So after 4 months, this is the first progress report – not so good.  I only told Michael – not so good.  Upper body change – okay. . . . . Here we go, sliding on the following someone else’s program, and weighing myself daily, and recording progress.  I feel like an old dog that can’t learn new tricks.  I can change, really I can!!  Do I WANT to, that is the question.  

#6. How will your life change as a result of attaining your goal?

My life will be better because I will feel better, be more healthy, stronger, and more confident.  I will prove to myself that I can achieve my goals.  So far I haven’t proven to myself anything except that I feel stuck in a rut.

 I’m trying to make changes.   Intellectually I agree that these changes are good for me, but I am inconsistent with keeping to them, when I am able to successfully pull any changes off.  My current ways are grounded in habit and culture.  AH ha!  Habit – I can change habits.   There is hope!    


  1.  Exfoliation.  I’ve been using Shower Gloves now for almost 10 years on my body and face.  Yes, my face.  Some skin care experts may say that this is too abrasive on the skin, but I have silky smooth skin as a result of this diligent exfoliation (of course avoiding the eye area!).
  2. PRODUCT!  The good stuff is worth it, ladies!  My skin responds to Le Mer and Darphin products like you wouldn’t believe!  I am a regular at Blue Mercury where they give out all kinds of samples with every purchase.   I use a multitude of these on my face every morning and night.  No method, but simply switch up the products, and use several – a serum, eye cream, whatever you have.  I received a sample of Darphin’s Stimulskin Plus and immediately noticed the difference in the texture and appearance of my skin.  While using this magical stuff a young person told me that my skin looked amazing.  WORTH IT!
  3.  Sweat.  I get a lot of exercise and try to sweat every day – I can’t say that it gets out the toxins from a medical perspective, but does allow my skin to breathe.  The sweat has to go through the skin and pores to get out, creating openness.  Only beneficial things can come from this, right!?
  4. This is a tip I read about in a magazine years ago to reduce “raised  eyebrow lines”:  Put the palms of your hands together, place the fleshy part of the hand (below the thumbs) on your forehead and move in a circular motion, pressing gently and count to 20 repeat the opposite way.  IT WORKS!!


So this injury of mine has set me back a bit.  before the crash I was up to 4 unassisted pull ups.  I still can’t do any because my thumb is not yet healed all the way.  My rib felt SO MUCH better today, but it’s really a day to day thing, so we will see about tomorrow.

Saturday I went to the gym for the first time after the crash.  mY expectations of myself were not very high – I just wanted to be there and do SOMETHING.  I started with calf raises – no big deal.  I did 4 sets – 25/60/100/120.  Next I went down the leg machine circuit:  leg extensions – @ 30 lb., 30 lb. single leg, 35 lb., 40 lb.  (10 – 15 reps); 30 leg curl, 30/30/30, and abductor/adductor, (20 reps).   Then I did my yoga practice and it felt/hurt so good!

I was vey tired the rest of the day, but got on the trainer the next morning for a 30 minute taku workout.

Rest day today, but tomorrow – IT’S ON!!


GOALS 2016


Levi once a week!  (We had him tonight!  
Pappy and Levi

Pappy and Levi

Sunday Family Dinner, or once a week on another day
Daily devotional – Bible reading and prayer time: 15 minutes
Write daily (journal/book/blog/SOMETHING!)
Blog Weekly taking blog course on WordPress
Plan and reevaluate goals every month
1. Save 10% of my gross pay

                      2. Tithe 10% of my gross pay

                      E. HOME
                      1.  See Wunderlist – I added a link to a carpet quote.  : ) 
                      F. FITNESS
                      1. Become a Certified Yoga Instructor
                      2. Become a Certified Aqua Instructor
                           There are  2 aqua classes in January!

                      3.  Lose 10% of my fat mass

                      4.  Adopt a Vegan diet and lifestyle, incorporating the Hallelujah Diet, info from Caldwell Esselstyn, T. Colin Campbell,

                           Robert Cheeke’s Shred It! and  Rich Roll.