What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

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Soul Cycle, 2nd Coming…

So if you follow me on Instagram (ToiTimeblog) then you know that I have increased my healthy living incentive.  I have been working hard and thus far I have lost over 20 pounds since I began over 6 months ago.  How I started was simple.  At my job they push fitness and health.  I was weighed by a health professional and to my surprise I had hit a little over 190.  I was embarrassed, hurt, and blindsided.  Clothes can lie, but numbers don’t.  After picking up my pride, I was determined to be better.  I didn’t set out to be perfect but better.  Trust me, numbers can make you either slow slide into a woe is me or it can make you get up and do something about it. I choose to do the latter.

A few months ago, I was introduced to Soul Cycle which is an intense cycling class.   I had said for months even years how I wanted to take this class.  I had seen other classes like it and immediately wanted to participate.  You can read up on my 1st adventure, Soul Cycle Survivor.  This time around I still didn’t feel as if I was a pro.  I felt like my stamina had increased.  I was able to have my butt hit the sit instead of sitting in the seat.  I’ve said it before, that class is intense.  I was however able to get my shoes off the bike without help.  The first class I took with Ryan and this time I took it with Alexis Rose.  Both were very energetic, fun, and gave a hell of a workout.  Alexis’ ability to speak positivity was super refreshing.  The ability to be able to remind everyone that not only for the class but after that the biggest battle isn’t physical but mental.  That is the message I will take with me during the week and beyond.

Some of the things that I have done well in regards to my health journey is drinking more water.  I have spoken many times about my love/hate relationship with water.  I think that with working out more has helped me get over the water issue fast.  There is no way to lose weight without drinking water and staying hydrated.  Another plus during this journey is my newest planner.   It has helped me to keep focus.  It has been a life saver.  It allows me to be clear about goals, as well as allows me to use my need for visualization and organization in one beautiful place.

As I continue this journey I will highlight more for you.  My hope is that others will join me.  I hope that others can see regular people taking their health important.  I want to shed the “baby weight.”  By baby weight since my almost 3-year-old is no longer a baby, is my “girl, you need to do better” weight.  This isn’t a perfect journey.  This is a human, make mistakes, love yourself, get mad at yourself, but keep on going journey.  So until I reach my newest goal of going down one more clothing size by my 36th birthday, here’s to more healthy options, an active lifestyle, and being happy in my skin.

 

You having a boy?

Ladies, ladies, ladies, this is one of those questions that if you are expecting a bundle of joy you semi welcome.  Not when you step on the scale at the doctors and they tell you lost a total of 12 pounds and you been working hard to get it right is that question ever okay.

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For me unless it’s a woman who I know for sure is pregnant I don’t ask.  I consider it to be rude.  I don’t know what the struggle of that woman may be going through.  She could have gained weight and is struggling to conceive.  She could not want kids at all.  Another woman’s uterus is not my concern.  So today I am grabbing a few snacks and that is the question I am faced with.  IF you ever been around me you know my face speaks before my mouth does and I am sure that I gave the questioning woman the grizzly.  I said I have a son he’s 5.  She attempted to look off.  I said my youngest is 2 and I am working hard to get to my pre-pregnancy weight.  She looked off because she and I both know she looks dumb as hell right now. My issue with her is she sees me daily.  Did I get pregnant overnight? You just saw me and said I looked trim yesterday in my outfit but today I am pregnant?

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I ain’t even gonna front, I was humiliated and hurt.  Like WTF?!  Yeah I said it and I am sure you ladies who have been on the receiving end of that said it too.  Like wait I will have to wait until I am Instagram model ready to be considered snatched.  I am doing this on my own with the help of my gym and doctor.  I have no personal chef but have switched up my eating habits and choices.  I have no personal trainer either but I don’t let up and make sure I am consistent.  Even now typing I feel like I have to justify my size when actuality I have climbed out from where I was to where I am now.  I am more confident but even with confidence dripping off of me I wanted to crawl into a hole at the moment she wanted to know if I was having a boy.  Do you get what she was asking me.  Not only am I pregnant but I look pregnant enough for someone to guess the sex of this imaginary baby?! Oh Sweet Jesus what in the world?  I haven’t been a size 2 since my days at Penn State.  I have 3 kids all from c-section and no multiple births.  I am a healthy size 10 and I am okay with that.

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I really need some people to think before you speak.  Pushing things on folks that do not exist can really set them back.  Let’s be clear we all have our things we need to work on so let’s be more gentle with others around us.

Work Outs in the Fall. Getting my McFluffy Tight….

There is something amazing that happens in the Fall, that’s good crisp air.  Although it doesn’t work in favor of my kids with their asthma it does wonders for me.  That morning air is a good time to get out of bed and get a good work out in.

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Now my job is doing a step challenge and I am on a team of 3 other individuals.  We have increased our walking.  We don’t take elevators and we take walk breaks.  I also have been hitting the gym strong almost daily.  My rest day is Friday.  I am more motivated to make moves than ever before and instead of saying I want to do, I am simply doing.  I am making better food choices.  I sort of have to so I can indulge every now and again in some of Fall’s comfort food.

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I would say because a lot of people are more focused in this month with back to school and other projects, it would be a good time to form a group.  You need a group or even just a partner to hold you accountable for your workouts.  It always helps to have someone else along the journey with you.  If you can’t that’s understandable but start making small changes. Trust me I became more aware of what I was eating when I wrote it down.  I am not on a diet.  I have never dieted a day in my life.  I don’t knock others for it but it’s just not my thing.  I am making better snack choices, increase water, etc.  I just can’t do the whole count calorie thing.  I will look at one snack and compare for my consumption but often times I elect for some form of veggie or fruit substitution.

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Keep in mind with the Fall that means again that you have approximately 3 months to complete those goals of fitness that you made almost 9 months ago.  The year is almost done.  You have to get it together and especially now because as more and more times past, we are getting ready to go into Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and then wham right into the New Year.  I don’t know about you but that’s candy, potato salad, ham, turkey and a lot of cakes that are about to be made and ate.  With that in mind I have to literally step my game up.  I do not want to be extra fluffy come holiday picture time.  I refuse to be.  Now I may still have a few places that still won’t be in formation but I definitely will be a sleeker version than I was last year during the holidays.  So no mcfluffy this year, I got to be mchealthy.

So step it up and get on team healthy!!

Soul Cycle Survivor

Yes I said Soul Cycle survivor.  Even as my adrenaline has calmed down, I’m writing this blog on two very sore booty cheeks.  When I say sore everything  I really mean it.  Not a part of my body has been left untouched. I think they mean Soul Cycle to really mean they taking you to the ground and bringing it back.  Who knows, right?

When I walked in at the Ardmore location, I was immediately impressed and a bit intimidated.  There were people buzzing around getting signed in.  What I liked was the girls registering us was so used to it and spotted the unregistered and helped me along.  She explained what I was to expect and everything she said was true.

I went and found me a locker, grabbed my water, and put on my cycle shoes provided to me.  I felt great at this point.  Let me say the Ardmore location is beautiful.  Okay as I entered the room that was getting dark, one of the workers helped me right to my assigned seat.  The last time I was in an assigned seat was in elementary school.  The Soul worker helped me click my shoe into place.  You ever watch a prison movie when the doors slam and you hear that click? Yes that was me.  Take a second and visualize that with me.  The sound made me want to roll but to be honest if I wanted to I couldn’t figure out how to get them shoes off even after it was over.  There was no point of return, I was stuck.

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So if you ever seen a cycle class online when you see the cyclers in formation getting it? Well it’s just like that but what makes you get your life right in those moments is the energy of the instructor.  Shout out to Ryan as he came with his A game.  The music was another level today.  At the time when Jayz came on it felt like I too had channeled all that Hova had to get me to the next part of the workout.  Then I don’t know if it was because Beyonce is going to be in concert here in Philly or not but we went right into Bootylicious and it was on.

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That workout isn’t for punks but even if you we’re a newbie like me you don’t have to fret.  The bike was your archenemy for about 45 minutes of an  intense gut punching workout.  So I couldn’t ignore it even if I wanted to.  Now let me give you a few tips so you won’t be too much like a fish out of water like I was.

1. Arrive early.  Don’t do like me and arrive all fashionably late.  By the way I wasn’t trying to be late but that’s just how it worked out.  Also if you’re not on time they are starting with or without you but would prefer for you to be time.  Plus anxiety will set in.

2. Stretch before you come.  It helps to get your muscles ready.

3. Hydration is key.  The amount of sweat that you expel is enough to clean a little baby in a tub.  No joke.  Ryan had all kinds of sweat under his bike like the rest of us.  Hydrate almost a good solid 24 hours before class if you don’t you will regret it.  Had I not, someone would be picking me up off the floor after they wrangled me out my shoes.

4. Enjoy it.  Yes I wanted to throw up the deuces but we were all there together and working it out.  I didn’t know many in the room but by the end I felt like I had gotten everyone’s social security number, we we’re a family.  Family sticks together and we had fought little Ray-Ray a few times around the block today.

5. Try it at least once.  I know we as people don’t like to try new things but this is a must.  Its fun and if you are looking for a real workout, this is the one to be at.

6. There is a waiver.  Duh.  They don’t want you coming back talking about they responsible for your arm and legs actually failing off.

7. Know your limitations.  I kept moving even when I had to sit and just move my legs.  I had my left shoulder dislocated a few years back.  I’m aware of what will cause pain or further injury but I didn’t let it stop me.  If I could have found a way to use that same arm to detach my foot from that bike, I may have.  Shout out to Jon the brother of Alanda Cocoamommy blog she arranged this opportunity and he kept me grounded.

8. Go with at least one person you know.  I didn’t know Jon before but I knew he was good people and he pushed me when he saw me slacking.  It was even more fun because when I yelled out yes God he understood. I told you the workout was intense so I may have called out to a few angels to come and get me a few times. Judge me but do it after you take a class.

9. You will not be cute during the class. So leave the make up and tie down your natural, weaves, or frontals.  Yes I know you trying to scoop a cutie on bike 4, but you walking out worst than you came in.  Get cute after.  No one and I mean no one is looking at you when Ryan starts counting down.  Trust and believe.

10. Wear the right clothes. Ladies no your Vicky bra ain’t ready for spin class.  Let me repeat that Vicky needs to stay home.  Get you a good sports bra.  You should be working out with a good sports bra anyway.  So unless you got the new sports bra from Vicky, leave the lace and frills at home.  Dress like you came to work out not you came to take selfies.  You won’t have time to grab your water bottle barely let alone become the next Instagram model.  Trust me.

Overall I really enjoyed the class.  I definitely can cross this off of my list of workouts to try. I’ve been eyeing Soul
Cycle for quite some time.  Again I want to shout out Soul Cycle, their happy, pleasant staff, Alanda for setting this opportunity up, Jon for pushing me, and my little 45 minute villagers for taking the 1145 class today.

If you are interested in seeing what all of my hoopla was about come to

Soul Cycle
2 Coulter Ave
Ardmore, PA 19003

Oh and one more thing about the actual building.  It sits inside of the Ardmore shopping complex.  Parking is across the street and it’s free.  If you want to shower or clean yourself up like I did the facility is clean and very eye-catching.  You ever go to your girlfriend’s house and forget a few items? Soul Cycle is like being at your friend’s house.  In the shower area they had towels, face wash, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner in every shower area.  They also have recycled take home bags to put your wet soaked clothes in for a good wash when you get home.  I know there are plenty who get frazzled at showering at public places but trust me this was more like showering at a high-end hotel. I was more than pleasantly surprised with my germaphobic self.

Here is the link to their website: http://www.soul-cycle.com

You can select a class, and reserve a bicycle of your choice.

If and when you take one then let me know.  Until then Epsom salt, yogurt with granola, a wheel chair and some relaxation and down time are in my immediate future.