JILLYBEAN25   26,227
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JILLYBEAN25's Recent Blog Entries

PhotoShop Assignment Example

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I thought ya'll would like to see what I have been learning in PhotoShop. I borrowed the quote from Be My Anti-Valentine, but I 'shopped it all by myself!

I didn't finish it in time to post on Valentine's, otherwise, that's when you'd be seeing this.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAINYFRIDAY 2/21/2013 8:56AM

    Nice job! Are you loving this class?

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 2/20/2013 5:20PM

    Look at talented you!!!
I know nuttin about this "stuff"!
Hope you are having a good week!
Love you!
Mary emoticon

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Today I Did It... Finally

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Today I figured out how to get in a good workout without having a gym, having to go outside, or resorting to drastic measures (like getting rid of my bed to make room for a treadmill that would double as my bed emoticon ). Sunday I finally lit a fire under myself and my brother, and finished organizing and cleaning my room. I stuck in my all-purpose book shelves that will hold my linens and a few misc items that have no "home" (like my first aid kit and tool kit). That cleared my desk and desk chair to actually be used for their intended purpose, but more importantly, cleared a lot of floor space. Now, I actually have a piece of floor real estate to do some working out. Granted it's not a big space... maybe about 6ft by 4ft (or about 7ft x 5ft at its widest points, which isn't all that helpful). Think you can't work out in that amount of space? THINK AGAIN!!!

Today I did my favorite thing: got on YouTube. I have a bunch of the SparkPeople videos by Coach Nicole jammed into a playlist, so I always know where to find them. I did a 10 minute cardio vid, an upper body vid, and a lower body vid. All are part of the bootcamp series- New You, Swimsuit, 28 Day... They don't require much equipment and best of all, they don't require much space. You basically do all the moves in one place! Luckily I have a thick, cushy yoga mat (for the lower body vid) and several free weights (1.5lb, 3lb, 5lb, and 10lb) for the upper body. Cardio didn't require anything. Got hot, sweaty, and winded, and I know I got a pretty decent workout for just 30 mins of my time in the tiny space I have.

BOTTOM LINE: If I can do it, you can do it!

Just get 'er done!

Best of all, I can do this any time during the year in my nice air conditioned home. Which will be really good come summer time when the temps soar into the 110s+. Death weather.

So, cleaning up my room was my Sunday. On Friday I lit another fire under myself, my bro, and my sis-in-law to clean up the kitchen. I believe I've mentioned previously that my family is not known for their housekeeping skills. So, the kitchen was quite the project. Luckily with 3 people working on it, it went pretty quickly. We got pretty much everything cleaned, counters cleared, and a few things organized. Things are put away, but our cupboards and extra storage spaces could be better organized. Alas, that is a big project for another weekend. In the meantime, there is clean, uncluttered counter space in which to prepare healthy foods. That's good enough for me (for now). And I was able to photograph a new meal for my blog. I just need to edit photos and write. Which brings me to...

The saga of PhotoShop 6. The PS class I'm taking is using the latest Adobe products... which is 6. On my computer, I have version 2. WAY WAY WAY outdated, let me tell you. Unfortunately, the only computers at school that have CS6/PS6 are the ones in the classroom in which my class is taught. Which is the classroom that every computer class is taught. So, I can't just go in and use a computer any time to get my homework done (and this week, I have a lot of it!). Unfortunately, most Adobe/PS products aren't compatible with each other. So, even if I had PS4, I wouldn't be able to go back and forth with PS6 with it. Confusing isn't it? Well, PS5 is compatible enough, so now I have several folks working on getting me a copy of PS5 to use on my home computer. Basically cross your fingers and/or pray that I get SOMETHING so I can do my homework before it's due.

P.S. EDIT: I should mention that a student discounted rate for getting PS5 or 6 on Adobe's website is $350. So not affordable!

My stats class... oh, stats. How I loathe you. Math in general, really. That test I was worried about failing? I failed it. Well, I "university standards" failed it, which is to say I got a D. 69%, even. If I had just answered 1 question right I would have had a C. Seriously, and I knew what I had done wrong when I got my test back. Stupid mistake, too! Of course. That's how it always happens. My teacher is really cool, though. He spoke to me after class about it (he even approached ME!) and said he thinks I'm still capable of doing well in the class. I told him I would try harder and study more. I also told him that when it comes to math, I don't test well. I freak out and get nervous. So, he said we'd work on that. It's the first of 4 tests this semester. I do have a chance of doing well, but I really do need to apply myself. I think I really can do better.

A few weekends ago I went to the Carrot Festival in tiny little Holtville, Ca. Carrot capitol of the state or country or world... I dunno. I grew up there, sorta. Moved away in the 5th grade. The majority of my family still lives there. The day started with an adorable parade down the main thoroughfare and ended with a little festival in the park. Lots of food booths, merchants, and a small carnival. I spent the day with my mom, cousins, grandma, and aunt. We had so much fun! I had delish fish tacos from one of the church's booths (these are usually fundraisers for local orgs) and homemade ice cream. There is an entry in the parade that is usually decorated with produce from the Holtville FFA (I think). This year it had a merry-go-round made of different colored cauliflower. Anyway, its covered in all kinds of veggies, and at the end of the parade, you pay $5 and they give you a standard sized plastic grocery bag (I know, I know, so not eco-friendly) and you can fill up the bag with however much you can fit in (and it HAS to fit in, no overhanging food!). Luckily, I'm a master at this, so I came home with a metric f***ton of produce! 2 napa cabbages, 1 bok choy, 1 purple cauliflower, 2 broccoli, a bunch of carrots, and something else I think I'm missing... :-S Anyway, here's a photo:

Courtesy of my cousin Olivia.

We're still working our way through all those veggies! The cauliflower was awesome and I used a napa cabbage in my latest blog meal, which I promise to get around to posting. I was able to get my container garden going yesterday. The bro, sis-in-law, and I tackled part of the backyard that has been looooong neglected. We cleared the patio, cut down some branches on our big mesquite tree, and just did some general maintenance. I was able to set up a few of my pots and fill them with soil and fertilizer. Then, I ran out of time and daylight. We set up the BBQ so we could cook some dinner. I wasn't able to sow any seeds yesterday, but was able to this morning. It was really super windy, though, which made it difficult. But, I wasn't planting much- a few beets, carrots, radishes, and spaghetti squash. We'll see how any of it does... with sweltering heat, I'm not sure. I may have to shade my thangs. Growing in the desert is hard due to heat and the dreaded white fly. Those lil' b@st@rds eat EVERYTHING. Literally.

Well, that's it in a nutshell. Today the wind has not only blown me and my seeds, but my allergies into a tizzy as well. I can't breathe through my nose. I've been through ridiculous amounts of kleenex since about 2am last night. I woke up unable to breathe and had to take a Benedryl. So. Lame. And despite my inability to use my sinuses properly, I STILL WORKED OUT FOR 30 MINUTES! WOO!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ERINBELLOWS1978 2/28/2013 2:44PM

    So proud of you my dear! It's been a hard few weeks for you. I'm so glad you were able to "de-clutter" and Jillify most everything to get yourself some space for healthy living. This will improve your overall mood and attitude about being back home. I told you things would look up. You just have to keep doing what you're doing and life will fall into place!! Love ya girlie! Keep up the good work!

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MILLER*TIME 2/21/2013 10:58AM

    Love this blog!! You are being SOOO productive!!! Lots of cleaning sounds like! That's awesome. I love those types of weekends-- exhausting but accomplished. Great job!

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CANNIE50 2/20/2013 6:12PM

    Nice work on the exercising and on the organizing. When I get things in order, my appetite for mindless eating goes down - there is definitely a correlation. Keep up the good work, Miss JillyBean! emoticon

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FIT_DAISHA 2/20/2013 12:38PM

    emoticon I also use Youtube! emoticon videos, but I also love FitnessBlender videos! They have a huge selection at different levels! emoticon

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AURORAMILLET 2/20/2013 12:30PM

    TOTALLY AWESOME about your workouts!! I think I want to do the same!


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NEWSGIRL2177 2/20/2013 12:05PM

    Way to go on creating a usable space for you, in both your room and the kitchen. I know what you mean about storage space not being used wisely. Organization is always a challenge for me.

Power through those classes, Jilly! I know you can do it.

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 2/20/2013 12:00PM

    I'm so happy you found a space to work out! Woo-hoo! 6x4 was about the space that I had in our last apartment, I was crammed in between 2 walls, our bed, and our bureau but I logged many, many hours there sweating my butt off!

Sounds like things are looking up in other areas, too! Go Jill!!

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SMILINGTREE 2/20/2013 8:59AM

    I LOVE reading posts like this. Nothing was easy, but everything was done - great feeling, isn't it? Congratulations on having enough space to do a workout. It sounds like things are settling down for you. You may not be exactly where you'd like to be, but that's all right - you are on your way :)

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RAINYFRIDAY 2/20/2013 8:56AM

    Jill! Super motivated, nice job! I'm sorry that the stats class is giving you such a tough time, I know you'll get through it. Looking forward to the new blog post!

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SLIMMERJESSE 2/20/2013 8:06AM

    Good for you! This is terrific and pic is so lovely. Big hug.

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JSALERNO 2/20/2013 6:47AM


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FRENCHTOSD 2/20/2013 12:45AM

    Good for you, Jill. Try WATP videos too. They take no floor space and I know you can find them on you tube. I just posted a foot stretching video. I hope you like it. Sharon

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ARUNNINGKAT 2/20/2013 12:09AM

    I am so excited for you! I know how frustrated you have been with your exercise challenge and I so glad you found a creative year-round solution! You are an inspiration to all of us! emoticon

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 2/19/2013 9:06PM

    Wow, Jilly...you just rock!
Look at all you did! Amazing! Your work out sounds great...and more from gardening and cleaning!
You will do better in your class, ESP with a teacher who is available!
Hang in there...
Love & Hugs,
P.S. Thank you for prayers and support!

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February Beginnings

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Well, one month of 2013 has come and gone. That month was interesting, to say the least. I am curious to see what February will bring.

First of all, thank you to all who voted to make my 5 year look-back blog a featured post! I am not sure I ever said out loud anywhere, but secretly I've always wanted a blog to be featured... I wanted to have something be inspiring to others. It was a great way to celebrate my 5 year milestone. I didn't expect it at all, honestly. And I couldn't believe I'd ever be inspirational to someone (or many someones!) else considering my journey has been more of the "slow and [sorta] steady" variety. 45lbs in 5 years doesn't seem like much to celebrate, but then I have to remind myself (because you wonderful SparkFriends remind me!) that everyone's journey is different. And it's true. I wish my journey would have seen more success in a shorter time, but that was not the way it was meant to be. And that's perfectly okay. When it seems like the journey is taking too long, remember what the destination will ultimately be. And I discovered a long time ago that my journey was less about weight loss and more about good health. I want to be healthy and happy... weight loss is just a bonus side-effect.

I noticed since moving away from San Diego that my blogs have more or less a "negative" tone to them. Yes, I am struggling to find my place here and I'm struggling to feel okay about this move. I hate it in my hometown and I really didn't want to ever have to move back in with my parents (especially right as I turned 30!). It's also natural and okay to be feeling those feelings. But, I can't let them take control. I'm working on being more positive. That saying "fake it 'til you make it" apparently has some merit... I've read if you don't feel happy to just smile anyway. Eventually that smile will be genuine and lift you out of your mood. That's kinda the approach I'll be taking. If I need to get something off my chest, I will, but otherwise, I'm really going to try to focus on the positives that are happening in my life.

Starting with school. Miraculously I was able to get into the statistics class I was crashing. Not that I want to be in that class since I'm terrible at and really hate math, but I need it to apply to a grad school, so I'll do it for the greater good. And at least its something to occupy my time. :-) I'm also in a Photoshop class, and so far I'm enjoying it. I've learned quite a bit already! Not anything of professional caliber, but that might come as the semester wears on. So far I can change eye color, lip color, add a window where there wasn't one, and change the background of an image. I'm hoping it'll help make my photos for my other blog better... speaking of which...


Feast your eyes and bellies on this! (I should mention I didn't Photoshop this photo, so don't judge too harshly...)

Also, this:

That one I did do a little bit of the ol' 'shoppin'... Just a touch, though. Like I said, I've learned a lot, but not enough to have pro-caliber photos.

Secondly, I have a tentative workout plan. I have to say this because it involves working out outdoors, which as I've mentioned before, won't fly come March or April when the temps go above 90*F. Daily. Even more so when they go above 110*F. DAILY. I'm going to check to see if my school's weight room/gym thingy has open gym hours. I'm not going to hold my breath, but it won't hurt to ask. My grandmother has offered me the use of her treadmill, but I have no way to get it to my house and no where to put it if I did get it here. Maybe I don't need to sleep on a bed... A pillow and some blankets could make the TREADMILL comfy to sleep on, right? HA! I kid. In the meantime, on Tuesdays and Thursdays when my brother goes to class, I can go walk on the track next to the school. Its one of those ones that has the lanes nicely painted and it's all squishy 'cuz it's made out of chopped up rubber tires or something. Anyway, I walked 2 miles on it on Thursday and had no problems with shin splints! However, it turns out 2 miles was a little much considering I haven't worked out in a REALLY, REALLY long time. I stretched after walking and even did a short warm up beforehand, but maybe a 16 minute mile walk was WAY too much for me. I should have started small and begun working my way back up to that level, but I figured time was of the essence. Also, it's not like I'm not active. Today, though... DOMS for the lose! As the day wore on, I became less and less able to function normally. Then I was unable to walk for more than a few steps at a time. So, I had to give myself the day off. Not like I had a plan anyway... no one was heading out to the school so I could walk the track. I need to figure out something else... and quick.

Well, I hope ya'll will consider following my other blog. I'm trying to reach more people so I can get more feedback on it. I'm going to be posting something small weekly, something big monthly (I hope), and photos for a little challenge I'm doing daily. All in an effort to keep positive.

Hmmm... I can't have a blog without a photo in it...

Some terribly unhealthy, but sinfully delicious, peanut butter cookies with a couple of melting chocolate chips on them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAIMESIZED 2/6/2013 4:19PM

    I've been writing for many years for the sole purpose of it being the only hobby I'm capable of being good at. With that said, may I say that it didn't take me long to realize that you are a wonderful writer. I really enjoyed reading this blog.

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ARCHIMEDESII 2/6/2013 11:57AM

    What a great idea ! I never thought about adding avocado to egg salad. What a country ! Although, when I was in Italy, I had a sandwich (pannini) that was egg salad layered with marinated artichoke hearts. MAN that was yummy ! I do love a good egg salad sandwich.

You know, when I took statistics (a million years ago), I used a great supplemental book called How to Lie with Statistics. Fantastic book that really does make statistics fun ! check your school library. they have to have it.

And I know it's tough to be 30 and back home with the parents. It's happening to a lot of people. It's not you. It's the economy. Don't think of this as a step back. Think of this time back home as a stepping stone to something better !!

Yum, two of my other favorite things... peanut butter cookies and chocolate !

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ARUNNINGKAT 2/4/2013 12:32PM

    I am so glad you got into your class!!! I am excited for you even though it doesn't sounds like the most exciting class in the world. emoticon It sounds like you are headed in the right direction and staying focused even under less than ideal circumstances sometimes. emoticon

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 2/4/2013 11:07AM

    "Fake it till you make it" is a good plan! It sounds like things are starting to turn around and definitely enjoy the outside workouts while you have the chance!!

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RAINYFRIDAY 2/3/2013 5:50PM

    Jill- so glad you got into that statistics class! You're getting it out of the way and it won't be hanging over your head once your done. Yay! I hope being back home stops feeling like such a heavy weight for you soon. :( Keep your chin up and keep that food blog going strong...I need a kitchen guru to follow, I don't have food network anymore! ;)

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LODESTONE 2/3/2013 3:50PM

    Cookies look divine! I took photoshop quite a few years ago and unfortunately, since I didn't use it often, I lost most of what I learned. Not to mention, that I now have a Mac and the software probably wouldn't reload! Smile, smile, smile. Let everyone wonder what you are up to! Going to dash and check out the other blog and the pics. Take care!

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SMILINGTREE 2/3/2013 3:47PM

    I'm right there with you on the whole trying to be more positive thing. We will cheer each other along, eh? YAY for photoshop! And a more subdued...yay for getting statistics out of the way.

I love your other blog, though admit to sometimes forgetting to check it. I wish I could get into the habit of using my RSS feed.

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SLIMMERJESSE 2/2/2013 9:53AM

    I understand this so well - hating the place you're at. I've found that I have to work hard to accept the things I cannot change. At least
for now.

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    Good Morning Dear Friend!
You are an inspiration and I am proud of you and all you have done!
You are a great example of slow and steady and how just deciding to take on health can make such a positive change over five years!
I keep you in my thoughts and prayers that a positive outcome will emerge from this difficult move!
Have a great weekend and hugs to you & Meow Meow (M&M)!

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

5 Years on Spark

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I can't believe I hit my 5 year SparkVersary! Like, wow. emoticon

There are so many things that Spark has helped me with in the last 5 years, I can't wait to see what the next 5 Spark years bring!

emoticon SparkPeople helped me [slowly] lose 45lbs. Thanks to the holidays, I'm sure I've gained some of that back, and I certainly put on weight from my starting weight before I began losing, but overall, I'm happy with what I've achieved with Spark.

emoticon SparkPeople helped me realize one of my passions is helping people through better nutrition. I've been studying nutrition at community college and am looking into graduate programs to become a Registered Dietitian.

emoticon With that realization came confidence to actually pursue it. I mean, in my mind, once I got my Bachelor's Degree in Theatre, that was it for me... That's what my life was going to be about. Even before I had finished that part of my schooling, I was having some doubts about how viable that was going to be. But, knowing I could be healthier and utilize tools and resources left me believing I can change the course my career was to take.

emoticon I made wonderful friends who are health-minded like I am. Sure, we may have different goals, body types, fitness levels, starting weights, goals weights, diet needs, etc. But, having the support and friendship of people who are as conscious about their health as I am is a key to my success! And I'm especially glad I got to meet a lot of these wonderful people in person... and I hope to meet more in the future!

emoticon Spark has kept me accountable for every bite, whether I've tracked it, admitted out loud I consumed it... or none of the above. Thanks to Spark, I know that the slice of cheesecake I'm eating is MY choice and I will also have the choice about what to do about it. Am I going to be self-loathing and ashamed? Am I going to get on the treadmill for an extra 15 or 30 minutes to work it off? Am I going to adjust the rest of my intake for the day? Each bite means something and I am aware of it going in. But, I'm not obsessing over it either.

emoticon I have a healthier outlook regarding diet and exercise. I don't feel shame/secretive/etc for indulging once in a while. That's not healthy to believe you've blown it and allow yourself to screw up more. Nor is it healthy to think that cupcake won't do a little bit of damage, either. Knowing there's a yin and yang to this whole journey is important for me.

emoticon I know what works for my body and what doesn't when it comes to exercise. My body burns fat really efficiently from doing a lot of cardio- usually in sessions lasting around 60 minutes. I don't strength train often enough to know if it burns fat, but I do notice my strength and definition improving when I do it fairly consistently. That's fabulous for me!

emoticon Thanks to Spark I'm exposed to all sorts of different exercises and ideas for exercises. I'm not sure I would have ever tried kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, hiking... All these activities that I absolutely love to do! Without this site, I think I'd still be on the treadmill, trudging away day in and day out. It also gave me the confidence to do these things, knowing there are other people at my level that have tried them too and lived to tell about it!

So, that's my 5 year look back... there are so many things I feel like I'm missing. Like this is so short for 5 years. But, the bottom line is Spark has truly, really, honestly changed my life for the better. I can't imagine what life would be like without this site, and most of all without all the wonderful people that are part of this community with me. I have the most amazing SparkFriends a girl could ask for! Seriously! They always lift me up when I am down. I can only hope they feel like I do the same for them! So, I am looking forward to what life with this site will bring me. With any luck, another 30lb loss, stellar health, and an M.S. in Nutrition/Food Science!

It might not be too much difference, but it certainly is from my highest (around 2010-ish):

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNHUNT 2/18/2013 1:24PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TERRIJ7 2/15/2013 2:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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EFFRAYECHILDE 2/13/2013 12:15PM


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PCASEY7 2/8/2013 6:59PM

    Wow, 5 years and tremendous changes made. Best of luck with the degree and what the next 5 years will bring!

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NUFLIGHER 2/7/2013 10:57AM

    Keep up the great work! emoticon

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MISSLISA1973 2/5/2013 12:36AM

    It's fantastic! More important than the pictures are the confidence and the new lifestyle you are enjoying. Congratulations to you! Happy Sparkversary! emoticon

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ADVENTURE-GIRL 2/4/2013 1:54AM

    Five years is awesome! Congrats on all your success. Looking good :)

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PLUMERIA50 2/3/2013 6:57PM


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AURORAMILLET 2/1/2013 3:29PM

    This is GREAT!!!

Keep going!!!

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WOLFKITTY 1/31/2013 11:58PM


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FIRECOM 1/31/2013 12:18PM

    Hmmm. I knew this is a good post because I had to scroll down a very long way but it was worth it.

5 years is a great milestone. I hope to achieve this as well.

Thanks for the blog.

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FITMOMINNJ 1/31/2013 6:06AM


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HAPPY_TRAVELS 1/31/2013 12:40AM

    Happy Anniversary. Keep up the great work. emoticon

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MOTIVACTION2 1/30/2013 11:37PM

    Happy anniversary!

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MARYHENNIG 1/30/2013 11:22PM

  Happy Anniversary! The pictures show that you truly have something to celebrate! Great progress.

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CM_GARDNER78 1/30/2013 11:17PM

    That is AWESOME!!!!!!!! Way to go and CONGRATULATIONS!!! :-) You look fantastic!!!

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SMARTBLONDE8302 1/30/2013 8:08PM

    Congrats! 5 years is such an accomplishment!

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PINK-SOLDIER 1/30/2013 9:37AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KWEEKWEK 1/30/2013 9:26AM


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LIFETIMER54 1/30/2013 8:55AM

  I'm speechless and so vvvvvery happy for you!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FATHINSN 1/30/2013 12:32AM

    Happy 5th Anniversary!
Wow, you have learned a lots, gained knowledge and skills in half decade with SP and I'm sure most of us here also experience same things :D

I most agree about accountability and it's not just about nutrition and exercises, it's also other aspects in my life, I think even when my life spirals out of control, I know that I can still get back to track and I also learn not to give up :D

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AARMANI 1/29/2013 9:36PM

    What an inspiration!!! Congratulations :)


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KAKA40 1/29/2013 4:29PM


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KRISTINE99 1/29/2013 3:48PM

    Wow! 5 year Sparkversary! That's an incredible achievement. Keep up the good work :)

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MYRTLE811 1/29/2013 3:47PM

  What an achievement in more ways than just weight loss. I applaud your sticking with Spark and monitoring your food intake no matter how torturous it was for you.
You faced what you ate and dealt with it every day. How nice to also find another way of looking for your purpose in life; wow, what a revelation for you and how helpful this will be for all the people you will meet as you finish your goal. They will be so grateful for your help.

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ARCHIMEDESII 1/29/2013 3:42PM


Happy 5th Sparkaversary !! To quote an old advertisement,"You've come a long way, baby!" Congratulations on achieving so much in these last five years. Time flies !!

Here's to your next five !!


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SMILINGTREE 1/29/2013 3:35PM

    When you think about everything together, it's amazing. I mean, losing weight is good and fine, but making a life decision like what career you want to pursue? That's HUGE. At least as important as a few pounds.

Then there's the whole idea of influence - the fact that your spark friends influence your choices and even the way you think about those choices, and the fact that (knowingly or not) you influence those around you.

You are a wonderful spark friend, and I'm so glad to have "met" you!

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ARUNNINGKAT 1/29/2013 2:19PM

    I didn't see this blog the other day...somehow I missed it. Happy 5 year anniversary! It is amazing what a fabulous tool Spark is to all of us! I can't imagine my life without it! And yes, you are a wonderful Sparkfriend!! I hope to meet you some day in person. Until then, we will continue our journey via the internet. emoticon

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BEFIT_WITHGUSTO 1/29/2013 2:01PM

    Happy 5 years!! I missed this when you posted it the other day. Spark has given us all so much and it's awesome to read all you have gained from this site and community! Congrats on the featured blog post...you've made it to the big time!

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LUCYLU22 1/29/2013 12:25PM

    Fabulous journey! Happy Sparkversary!!

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NKOUAMI26 1/29/2013 12:11PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 1/29/2013 12:04PM

You look fab-u-lous!!!
Love & Hugs!

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FARIS71 1/29/2013 9:41AM

    What an awesome journey you are on! Congrats!

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 1/28/2013 11:24PM

    Great job! Congrats on your anniversary!

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KIMPAINTS 1/28/2013 10:35PM


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EMILYDOODLE 1/28/2013 9:58PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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4KWALK 1/28/2013 6:38PM

    This is so inspiring for me. I am losing weight so slowly I wonder if it is worth it to continue but after reading your blog I believe it is. My first Sparkversary will be here in less than 2 months and now I know that I will be continuing on.

Thank you for posting this blog emoticon

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KAZFROMOZ 1/28/2013 5:34PM

  It's always lovely to see someone succeed - very best congrats! AND very inspiring. emoticon

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KWOOD1955 1/28/2013 1:19PM

    Way to go!!

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AKATHLEEN54 1/28/2013 12:15PM

    Congratulations!! great blog. You look great and as a new Sparkey your blog is very inspiring to me. I keep saying that I have never been so motivated to be successful since I joined this site. As you said there is so much support and comraderie out there that you feel like you have a whole bunch of friends doing this with you. ( you do actually you just don't really know them) but there is strength in that and that is what I find so empowering. I hope I achieve the same success that you have. Thanks for the great blog emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWTINK 1/28/2013 11:49AM

    emoticon emoticon

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GODSBEST 1/28/2013 11:19AM

    Happy Sparkaversary, you look great. Keep up the great work.

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JUDYAASH 1/28/2013 11:02AM

    You look great . I think this was a wonderful blog because it helped identify all those bonuses we get from spark, not just weight loss. emoticon emoticon

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CEEMAY 1/28/2013 10:24AM

    emoticon Congrats!!!

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LIFETIMER54 1/28/2013 6:19AM

  emoticon emoticon

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MSKIZ69 1/28/2013 6:04AM

    Fabulous job!!!! So happy for you--can't wait for my 5th!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AMANDACOETZER 1/28/2013 5:50AM


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BLUEJEAN99 1/28/2013 1:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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PROVERBS31JULIA 1/28/2013 1:26AM

    Oooooh yea!!!

Happy 5th Sparkaversary!!


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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Man, I think I have a few things going on with my body at the mo'. I've been on my irritating and uncontrollable sleep cycle where I get stuck on REM and dream vividly all night, and fail to cycle through the rest of the sleep steps needed for quality, restful sleep. So. Awful. It's been almost a month at my estimation and finally I am to the point where I'm always sleepy. But, if I try napping during the day, the same thing happens. Stuck on REM. No real benefit.

Also, about a week ago... or maybe 5 or 6 days ago... I ended up hitting the back of my calf on a heavy object and it hurt. So I figured it would leave a bruise. Boy, did it ever! I looked at it today (back of my calf, so not readily visible!) and it is UGLY. Purple, black, yellow... hideous! I'm surprised it still looks the way it does and is still the size it is after all this time. Which leads to me believe...

...I may have a bit of an iron deficiency right now. It could also explain my total lack of energy and strength (ya know, aside from the lame "sleep"). I don't eat very much red meat, liver, shellfish, or vegetables that are full of iron. Not that it matters. Your body only absorbs less than 12% of non-heme (vegetable sources) iron at a given time. Heme sources (animals/meats) get absorbed better at about 20%. Eating iron with vitamin C ensures your body absorbs that iron. So, what I need is a big thing of beef liver covered in strawberries. Yum. emoticon

Tomorrow is the last day (I think?) that I can find out whether or not I've gotten into that stats class. I really need to get it. For one, I am terrible at math and having a fun class (photoshop) and a hard class will make this semester bearable. Secondly, all the classes I have to take are going to be hard, so I don't wanna take a million hard classes each semester. This would help to lighten my load. Third, if I drop below half-time status I have to start paying back my loans. With what money? Yeah. Exactly. Not a good situation. Since I enrolled at the college so late, there weren't many classes that were open, so I've literally signed up for all that I could that was still available. There were many, many empty seats in my class on Thursday, I'm now #3 on the waitlist, and if there are still empty seats Tuesday night, I get to be in the class. I'm hoping that's how it goes. Keep those fingers and toes crossed!

I have some disappointing things already going on. Thanks to these classes, I won't be able to sing this semester. Before I moved to SD, the choir I sang with met on Sunday nights at my old high school. Sometime between then and now, they changed that. They now sing on Monday nights at the community college. Unfortunately, at the exact same time as my photoshop class. Then, my old theatre teacher sings with the other group, which is smaller, more "elite" so to speak, with more advanced singers. This group very often sings with the choir at concerts and whatnot, as they both used to be under the direction of one person. The group used to meet at the community college on Thursday nights. Now, it meets at my old high school! Unfortunately, at the same time as the stats class. I really wanted to get back into singing since its been about 5 years. It was something I enjoyed doing as a hobby and wanted to get back into while I'm here. So, boo on that.

I haven't heard about a job. I've sent my resume off to a few places, but without a car, I'm really limited to where I can apply. Especially when the summer hits and the temps soar to 110+ degrees outside. Not really a walkable temp. People die in that kind of heat. Also, there isn't much out here. This area has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the state. I don't know much Spanish, which already puts me at a huge disadvantage. This is the sort of place that you need to know people to get your foot in the door. It's been so long for me, I don't know anyone anymore. I'm still going to try, not giving up... its just discouraging, as it has been so far. Also, I found out I have to go to my previous school IN PERSON to apply for and pick up (when it's ready) my DSS certificate. Really?!?! REALLY?! That is going to constitute taking a trip, on a weekday sometime, and coordinating a ride or a car rental... So seriously disappointed to hear that.

In the meantime, this tiredness and weakness has prevented me from starting on some things I've been wanting to start on, namely finishing up my room organization and such and getting the kitchen up to my standards. Also, figuring out a fitness routine. So, either I gotta get a steak and some oranges, figure out this chemical imbalance effecting my sleep, or I gotta suck it up and prepare to fall on my face to get ish done. Word.

Here's some cat feet. She's still not adjusting well here.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 1/23/2013 5:59PM

    So, are you feeling better yet, dear lovely Jill? I stopped by to thank you for all your comments on my blogs - thank you!! I think you are onto something with the iron deficiency. A few years ago, my daughter was tested for anemia and one doctor said she was "just a little low" but when she did not get better, we got a second opinion and the doctor said her iron stores were dangerously low and the previous doctor did not see that because they only ran the standard hematocrit test. Anyway, I hope you are better and sleeping more restfully. Everything is harder when we are tired! Sweet dreams (and MORE REM!). emoticon

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NEWSGIRL2177 1/23/2013 10:49AM

    Sounds like you're having a stressful transition, chickadee. I'm glad you got into that class and I hope it helps propel you forward. I have trouble sleeping, too, and it's this vicious cycle of stressing out and not sleeping and being more stressed because you're not sleeping....ugh! I hope things start to level off for you soon. And kitty!
I try to be optimistic in times like this, even when it's really difficult and almost feels fake or forced. I *know* things will get better for you. Hang in there!

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ERINBELLOWS1978 1/22/2013 12:59PM

    My darling Jill. You know things have to get worse before they get better. I think you've reached the worse my friend! Things have to start getting better. They will. Here's my advice on the iron. I get extremely anemic when I'm preggo and they always try and give me iron, which of course I cant take because I get seriously backed up emoticon
So my doc said to eat a bowl of total every morning with an orange, and guess what. I was regular and my iron levels came back up. It's not bad actually. I know it's not the best breakfast, but it works when trying to boost those vitamins!

Honey you just keep plugging away, send out your beautiful vibe into the world and something will come back to you. You only get what you put out my dear. You have so much to offer this life, I'm sure something wonderful will happen for you!

Sending you positive thoughts and keeping my fingers(and toes) crossed!
Love ya kiddo!


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SMILINGTREE 1/22/2013 12:05PM

    It must be the moon or the stars or something. It sounds like you are doing as much waiting as I am: waiting to hear back about jobs, waiting to find out about stats class, waiting to feel better...

Here's what I hope happens: you find some kind of low-stress, easy part-time job that puts a little money in your pocket, you get into stats class and no longer have that set of worries, and you sing alone in preparation for next semester when you can work the choir into your schedule. Oh, and while all that is happening, you start sleeping better. (I'm not including the liver and strawberries, because you have a good enough handle on nutrition to fix that easily.)

There. Now good things will happen. I command them so! ;)

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ARCHIMEDESII 1/22/2013 11:57AM

    I hear ya on that job hunt. I have similar issues. I don't own a car so I need to find something that's at least accessible via the subway system. If you don't hear back, it's not you. The problem is that there are too many highly qualified people fighting for too few jobs. Never take a rejection personally. it's not you. it's the economy.

One thing I've learned is how necessary it is to have multiple types of resumes. These days, a person needs to tailor their resume to whatever job they are applying for. So, if you have a single resume, that may be holding you back. Even if you don't have specific job experience, play up all the experience you do have that does relate to that job.

And once again, never take anything personally.

Now, I'm not a doctor, but it strikes me that some of your sleep issues may be stress related. You're worried about a lot of different things and that sort of anxiety can really mess with our sleep. I know when I'm under stress, I tend to have vivid nightmares too. I find a long walk helps me reduce stress and sleep a bit better. Do you have a nearby park ? I find a walk around a park or resevoir relaxing.

Even though you can't join your choir this semester, how about during the summer or once your classes are finished ? Just because you can't join right now doesn't mean you can't join later.

Things will get better !

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RAINYFRIDAY 1/22/2013 11:37AM

    I hope, hope, hope you get into this class! Keep your chin up and remember it takes a while to adjust and you'll get there, just give it time!

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JSALERNO 1/22/2013 8:17AM


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SLIMMERJESSE 1/22/2013 2:12AM

    Maybe some iron supplements for awhile? When I went to college, I changed my entire program from BS to BA so that I wouldn't have
to take statistics. Hate math. Sorry to
hear your kitty is not adapting well; they
are such creatures of habit who get used to
their environments staying the same.

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