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Cleaning the Closet :)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Today is a beautiful sunny day. Our AC is back up and running for a tiny fraction of the estimate that we had received on Wednesday. We were lucky enough that DH's coworker's husband owns a commercial HVAC business. He came out on Thursday to look at our furnace, had a new part delivered Friday and was here on a Saturday to put the part in for us. It was such a blessing! We could have made due with fans, but it's been 80 to 90 degrees in the house, which has been rough on us and the three cats.

I've been trying to find the time and willpower to clean through my clothes. I have gone through briefly to snag a few items to donate, but have not gone through piece by piece in years. I don't even think I thoroughly cleaned through when we moved in. I have everything from size 8 to size 14 clothing! I decided that today was a perfect day to dig in following yesterdays events.

I'm still in the process of trying everything on and sorting through it all. My dilemma is that I really like some of the clothes and would like to be able to wear them... I've never had clothes tailored professionally and have no idea what it costs, but I doubt that it's worth it for clothes that I got off Target's clearance rack. I have no expensive, designer items. And many of the clothes would need altered significantly. My size 8 clothes all fit perfectly and some of the size 10's are still wearable even with the looser fit. Most of what I would like to have altered are size 12s. It's going to be painful to donate so much of it! But in the end, I really don't think getting expensive alterations will be worth it for me. I did make a pile of things that I am going to try my hand at altering myself. It's all simple hems and none of the difficult pieces of clothing. I have a small sewing machine that I got from DH for Christmas a couple years ago. I love it! I am only able to do basic things yet, but have been having fun learning (re-learning) to sew. (I have yet to tackle reading patterns and making something from scratch - baby steps!)

Does anyone have input on getting clothes altered and have an idea of what it costs? The biggest thing would be some nicer pairs of dress slacks I have. I will try to take in any shirts on my own or donate them. They are definitely not worth investing in professional alterations.

I'm going to look online for these answers as well. But think I know in my heart that much of what I own will be going to Goodwill.

I am however overjoyed at some of the clothes that I will be able to wear again. It is like getting a whole new wardrobe. My husband kept asking as I showed him some of the outfits, "Is that new? Did you get that yesterday?" Chuckle... it's all things I haven't had out in many years. Time to get back at it!


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MARVEEME 7/9/2011 7:49PM

    A few suggestions:

1) Alteration prices are usually available in advance and sometimes actually posted on the wall at my local dry cleaner. We also have a sewing shop that does alterations, and will quote over the phone.

2) Organize the piles of each size group, and join YAHOO'S groups : CHEAPCYCLE and FREECYCLE. Start on Cheapcycle, and place an ad, for example, "Ten ladies size 12 outfits for $10". You know what goes with what, and by creating individual groups, you may be able to make back the money you'll need to alter the stuff you want to keep.

3) If nobody buys them, then move on and place an ad on least the people will come to your house to pick it up off your front porch instead of having to lug it all somewhere. We've been using these sites for years, and it's always nice to know that items are going to people who will actually use these items locally, instead of sit on a rack somewhere for who knows how long.

4) Congratulations, and may Cheapcycle net you enough for a whole new FITTING wardrobe, AMEN!


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Awesome Day!

Saturday, July 09, 2011


DH and I went to meet up with some of his other family members in Ohio to take a trip to Rogers, Ohio. For those of you not familiar, Rogers is a HUGE kind of flea market/auction place only about an hour away from where we live in PA. It's the kind of place you can basically find anything and everything that you never knew you needed. Unfortunately, it was a rainy morning and started down-pouring as soon as we pulled into my MIL's house, dampening the plans to go to Rogers, which has a lot of outdoor vendors and is not a fun place to be in the rain.

So we decided to head to a place called 'the Village' close by. I've only ever been there once. It's pretty comparable to a Goodwill or Salvation Army thrift store. The item that takes up the majority of the place is CLOTHES. They actually have their clothing racks double- and some triple-stacked tall - organized by type, then color, then size. I have really been hurting for some new shorts and pants that don't fall off of me. I'm all for using belts, but you can only cinch so much fabric up before they get mighty uncomfortable. I think I've held out long enough for new clothes (I can't remember the last time I really bought clothes), finally got paid for some freelance work I did, and after getting a second (much better) evaluation of our furnace, felt comfortable to get a few things.

I realized walking in there that I had no idea what size I am after losing 23+ pounds! And the Village has no dressing rooms with a no-returns policy. Eek! I managed tho by holding pants up to me and trying some tops on over my T-shirt. The first time I was there, a woman literally stripped in public and was trying clothes on in the aisle. I was slightly appalled at her stripping in public... Regardless of the immodesty of some patrons and lack of fitting rooms, I was able to find six colorful tops, two pairs of shorts (one was a size 8!!), one pair of black dress pants and one brand new set of workout shorts. Ten quality items for less than $40! The majority of my old clothes are PLAIN blacks, browns and neutrals... so I refused to buy any top that wasn't bright, colorful, patterned, different material/textures and more form-fitting. I refuse to hide behind neutral colors and shapeless forms anymore!! I am finally at the point where I am ready to spread my wings and fly - and really - I no longer have "wings" because my arms are firm and toned. lol

I mentioned to my DH on the way home tonight that even though I know how much weight I've lost, I don't see it when I look in a mirror. When I got home and was finally able to try everything on properly - I felt BEAUTIFUL for the first time in a LONG time. I had a little fashion show for my husband and we got a good chuckle out of it. The one top was a tighter fit - spandex-like with pretty lace trim, lower-cut and a nice bright/pale green. When I showed my husband, he said, "Now if that top doesn't make you feel skinny, I don't know what to tell you!" He was totally right! I can't remember the last time I wore something like that green top - it would have drawn attention to every lump, bump and bulge of fat on my torso. But there were NO unsightly bumps for me to feel ashamed of and to hide under baggy things.

It was such an exhilarating thing for me to finally wear clothes that made me proud of my body and my accomplishments so far. I was finally able to look in the mirror and SEE a smaller waist, shapely arms sticking out of the fitted sleeves, powerful shoulders that show off the hours I spent letting Jillian Michaels kick my butt, and an overall strong and healthy body. Buying new clothes was my reward for getting to a healthy BMI - my first BIG goal reached. I have happy tears in my eyes as I am typing this blog.

I am certainly not done with this journey, but I now know that I GET IT. I know what I need to do to keep myself headed in the right direction. I can even say in confidence that I truly feel that I have learned what I need to MAINTAIN this forever. I just need to keep my spark and stay motivated (which hasn't been too big of an issue so far.)

Thanks to all of my SparkFriends for your support and advice. I am so inspired by your stories, accomplishments and strength. It has been a driving factor to keep me going.

If I am able to soon, I will try to get some photos of my new clothes after they get washed and ironed. The bottoms are all plain, but I found some amazing tops that I'd love to show off!


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MARVEEME 7/9/2011 9:15AM

    JOYFUL! Those tears are JOYFUL tears! I'm dancin' the happy dance for you on my Lay-Z-Boy chair, and it's a rocker/recliner, so you know that's not easy. Besides, when I do my happy dance, I look like a frog in a blender, so now you can laugh out loud!


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UNDERGRAD2013 7/9/2011 3:50AM

    That is totally AWESOME! Keep up the good work...I know that others here at SP are proud of you, too. I can't wait until I get to the point where I won't be able to wear the clothes I have now -- and NOT because I've gained weight, again!

ROCK IT, girl... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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What to do...?!?!?

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I'm a bit frustrated today and need to vent a little. (sorry!)

We bought this house two years ago and we LOVE it. It's perfect for us. It's pretty small, which means we can usually keep up with housework and don't plan on expanding the family, so one spare bedroom for guests is enough room. We knew the house had been flipped when we bought it. We expected things to go wrong, things would break and need fixed. Unfortunately, we didn't anticipate how much of a shyster the guy who flipped the house was. They were masters of slapping 'lipstick and rouge' over problems. We also didn't know I would lose my full-time job not long after getting the house... and have a much lower income with my current work situation.

So it's been one thing after another and the list keeps growing:
- They had put insulation OVER pipes instead on under, so we had to rip walls apart and fix after having constant frozen pipes.
- Sewage backs up into the basement during very heavy rains (boro issue that was not disclosed) unresolved
- Roof needs repaired now (from shotty work they did)
- We have trees that need cut down. They are leaning towards and hitting the house and obviously the trees are diseased and ready to fall over. And we will have less gutter clogs if we get rid of them = bonus.
- Kinda related to the boro's sewer issues. Rain runoff that is unable to get into the flooded drains runs down our driveway and has washed a whole corner of it away. Driveway has many numerous issues from more sub-par work the seller did.
- They cut the duct work for heat and AC to the bedroom. So we keep the door open and it is bearable, but not 'right'
- Odd electrical things we've found

I could go on and on and on... the list of issues we've run into and need to fix is getting to a staggering point. Some are just regular, routine things, but so many are suspiciously linked to work the guy who flipped the house did. That makes it an added stress - we are constantly worried about finding more 'surprises' over time.

The latest problem is a toughie! The furnace gave out... the service man pointed out that our furnace had obviously been taken from another house and retrofitted into our house, probably on it's last leg, as a patch-job. He does not recommend putting money into it to fix it - time for a new one. We are getting a second opinion, of course, but both companies are people we know and trust. It's hard NOT to blame the guy who flipped the house, when every plumber, electrician, pavement and HVAC person we've called has found and pointed out things that were wrong, patched to sell the house, and ticking time bombs.

So I'm sorry to vent. Just asking for prayers if you can. In general we are happy and healthy and extremely blessed to have this leaky roof over our head. I keep reminding myself how blessed we really are, but it's getting harder to convince myself. I'm simply feeling overwhelmed today with the bad news on the furnace. My husband's old car is about to give up the ghost, and we were already pondering how we are going to handle that hurdle. (My car is also in poor shape, but I do freelance graphic design from home right now and don't drive much - my commute is across the hall.) Going to sit down tonight and try to figure out what and how we can tackle this pile of madness. Prioritizing will be difficult. We can live without AC (my husband will disagree! lol) but will need heat before it gets too cold.

sigh. We are first-time homebuyers = SUCKERS! Home inspections can be a waste of money if the seller knows how to mask the issues.

Still smiling though!! I know we can get through this. God never throws more at you than you can handle... I wish he didn't trust us so much though... we could use a little reprieve. lol.

On a good note: So far no signs of Lyme's Disease from the tick that hitchhiked home with me from camping. They say symptoms can appear as long as 30 days later though. More waiting.

I hope everybody has a better week than we are having! :)

I should clarify: We are thankfully NOT in jeopardy of losing the house. The mortgage was calculated based on ONE salary to ensure that if one of us lost our job, we could still make payments. My reduced income just means that we haven't been able to save like we used to, fix up things we wanted to, and can't handle the onslaught of everything going kaput at once.

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MARVEEME 7/6/2011 7:31PM

    You're in my prayers, sweetie, and these things will continue to haunt you until you create your priority list and funding plans, so put it all on paper. Use a pencil, 'cause those things are going to move up and down as seasons change. Roof repairs and furnace should be at the top of the list, as should be attending your local borough/township meetings to get to know the folks you'll need to annoy to get the governmental issues addressed. Sometimes, they can point you to the right person, and a simple cleaning of their storm drains can solve the problem, but if it's not reported, it will fester, ya know?

Tree removal is best left to professionals, so make sure the contractor(s) you hire are properly insured...really....INSIST on having their insurance company mail a certificate of insurance BEFORE you allow them to work on your property. Fake documents don't pay for replacement windows once the glow of the contractor's brake lights fade down the street, ya follow?

There is TONS of information on DIY (Do It Yourself) that can teach you everything from how to check and/or rewire outlets and switches to how to patch your own roof. I'm a little too old these days to climb up there myself, but I've actually stripped and re-shingled an entire roof in my lifetime. It's a tough job best done by young and energetic folks, but if I can do it, you can too.

Prayers and Blessings!

And a BUGGA BUGGA curse on that lying flipper! Perhaps a Better Business Bureau report is in order?

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    Oh, what a nightmare! emoticonI pray everything irons out and you can keep your cozy little home! emoticon

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Camping, Updates, Yadda Yadda...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I've still been doing my best to keep up with life in general. Work has kept me on my toes and every summer we end up with more plans than we have time for, but neither is really a complaint. I am loving life and thankful for each busy day I am given. I have been able to keep up with my workouts too.

My husband and I went on our annual camping trip with his family and some of his BIL's family last weekend. It's at a private camp in PA - absolutely beautiful there. And it's MY kind of camping with modern amenities, full kitchen, 2.5 baths, ping pong table...

I knew there were going to be a lot of temptations there, but overall, there seemed to be more healthier options this year. My SIL and niece seem to be watching what they eat more which helps. Each married couple brings food for 12 people for one meal and we were chosen to do lunchmeat/rolls etc. I made sure to bring lean meats, whole wheat sandwich thins, apples, fiber bars for healthier snacks. Other people also brought some healthier foods and it didn't end up a complete failure on my part. I tracked my food in a note on my cell (no reception to use the SparkPeople site) and the first and last days of the trip were within my range except sodium. Saturday was a different story. I gave myself a free day - not as free as in the past - but I had s'mores and wine by the campfire, lasagna and a piece of garlic bread for dinner, snacked on cheese and candy. I ended up at almost 3,000 calories for the day! And I can't say it enough: in past years I would have eaten so much more without even thinking about it!! However, I didn't feel so bad about giving myself a free day after tracking my activities for the day. We woke up and hiked up the mountain and back (2.5 hours) I did some yoga after the hike to loosen my muscles, then we were fishing for probably an hour (I tracked as 45 minutes) Fishing for me this year was different - I purposely fished on the other side of the pond from where the bait was kept. Every time I lost my bait I had to walk most of the way around the pond to get more! And then I would walk around looking for worms for me and anyone who wanted one. I caught two rainbow trout and one small mouth bass (released safely back into the pond.) After tracking, the SparkPeople tracker said I burned over 1200 calories and I didn't include the ton of other activities like collecting firewood and general walking to the pond, and so on!! I'm not sure about how accurate that is, but it does explain why I was completely famished! If it is accurate, I may have only been around 100 calories over for the day. (chuckle) I know my sodium the past few days with camping and the days after has been through the roof. I am trying to get that back down to a reasonable amount. We went grocery shopping finally tonight, so my sodium will improve greatly.

Camp really is a wonderful place. I'm thankful to get to go there every year. And we always have an amazing time.

This is only part of the way up the mountain. We continued up for 45 minutes beyond this. The path at the top was lined with wild blueberries and I took the opportunity to eat a handful.

Here is a picture of me hiking up the beautiful trail. I really don't look 20 pounds less in this picture due to the really baggy clothes, ha, ha.

And on another happy note: I haven't had an official weigh-in for a long time, but I could not resist stepping on a scale at my SILs house for a quick check in. I was right around 130 pounds which is GREAT!! Unofficially, I've lost over 20 pounds, but I'll wait to track it after I weigh-in on a more reliable scale. I am only 5'1" and 129 pounds or less is 'healthy' on the BMI chart. That's my first goal - a healthy BMI and I am almost there!!! I certainly want to get to 120 or 115 if my body allows (I used to weigh 100-105 easily) I know what I am doing is working! I keep thinking about buying a scale, but we have so many problems with the house/cars, and way less income these days, so even $20 on a scale is not the best use of our dollars. Or I'd rather spend $20 on more fresh produce - grocery shopping has been expensive.

One bad thing post-camping: The day after we got back, I found a tick attached to my pantyline. It was only a tiny spec, but I'm glad I noticed and was able to pluck it safely off. Now starts the waiting to see if Lyme's disease symptoms, or other illnesses start... please say a quick prayer for it to not have been an infected tick.

Sorry for the rambling long blog. It's late, I still need to work out, I haven't blogged in soooooooo long!!!

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    I LOVE to camp, and that place just looked like heaven! emoticon

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MARVEEME 6/29/2011 8:58AM

    My prayers are with you.

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Trying to Keep Up with Life!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The past two months or so have been intensely busy. I haven't had as much time for Sparking as usual. I still pop in daily and track my food/workouts, but I've been doing OK with tracking my whole day in one sitting (and trust myself with portions and calorie knowledge more now!) I try to keep up with SparkFriend blogs too.

I didn't work out much for nearly two months! I had more freelance work than I knew what to do with for a few weeks, wasn't sleeping enough, got a very nasty chest cold from my adorable niece which lasted over two weeks, went on vacation for two weeks, then came back to all of the work I needed to finish... on and on. It felt like a downward spiral that I was having a hard time getting out of. I tried to make healthier food choices and work out when I could. I was working out way less than I wanted - I was missing it badly!! When it came down to needing to chose to workout from 2-3 in the morning or shower and go to bed... I was picking sleep, which I don't regret. The lack of sleep was really affecting me.

But even over those rough times, I still feel like I had great accomplishments.

- I ate fairly well for vacation time and while being insanely busy with work. I didn't eat the BEST I could have - I drank wine and ate other treats on vacation, but sheesh! It was VACATION and time to not take life so seriously! When I look back on how I would have eaten on vacation in the past... I did a million times better, ha, ha. I allowed myself one Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream sandwich and part of a churro... and mmmmmm.... wine.

- I didn't work out as much as I should have. I really wanted to. I need to find a way to make more hours in the day! I did workout some on vacation, RAN for around 10 minutes on the hotel treadmill, walked for 30 minutes, tried out a recumbent (?) bike and elliptical too. A lot of my time was spent walking at a fast pace around Disneyland, but that's a bit difficult to track! I'd like to add that I LOVED running on the hotel treadmill. I need to start looking on craigslist for treadmills with the motorized incline, etc. FUN!! I just can't afford one right now.

- I met one of my first goals to get out in public in a bathing suit!! It was colder in California than we expected on vacation, so I didn't go IN the pool. I had to settle for relaxing beside to pool with a book and bottled water, in my bathing suit. My bathing suit is a bit loose on me.

- I am bouncing back!! I didn't let a few rough weeks derail me. I still did the best I could with the time I had. I rebounded from some intense stress, sleep deprivation, illness, jetlag, etc... I just put one foot in front of the other and listened to my body. I knew I had to catch up on sleep first in order to proceed on to increasing workouts again. I am now getting back on track and might surpass my fitness goals this week. (fingers crossed!)

I am trying to get into a regular sleep pattern again. There have been some late nights helping my hubby with a model he is submitting for an art exhibit called 'Beauty in Decay." (
bits.html#) It looks amazing and we are delivering it tomorrow. I am proud of him! We had a wonderful time working on it together. If anyone lives in the eastern PA region, please check it out!

Glad to finally get a blog off my chest. I am happy, healthy and feeling blessed.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday weekend!


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    I am so glad things are looking up! It is such a wonderful thing when you see that you have NOT given UP! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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