FRENCHIFAL's SparkPeople Blog FRENCHIFAL's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Weekend hike Yesterday, I went hiking with a couple of friends at a park I hadn't visited yet - Blue Mounds State Park. It was beautiful!! <BR> <BR> The weather was perfect, in the low 40's, but there was still a lot of snow on the ground. And we timed it to get back to the overlook tower at sunset. The view was incredible!! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="h... Mon, 9 Mar 2015 10:58:27 EST Finished... I think I've finished it...let me know what you think! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Sun, 1 Mar 2015 14:32:01 EST Need help finishing my latest painting I decided to start with this picture as a model/base: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Here's what I've got so far: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <BR> ...and how I got there... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sp... Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:22:10 EST Outdoors... It's been a great weekend so far! Yesterday, I went snow shoeing on the lake, and today I went cross-country skiing. The place we went was a lot hillier than the place I went last time, so I KNOW I got a great workout! <BR> <BR> But I'm not sure I believe the Sparkpeople trackers. I do NOT feel like I burned 800+ calories on today's trip. Still, today is the first day in weeks that I didn't suffer from food cravings and/or emotional eating urges. I actually just finished a really heal... Sat, 21 Feb 2015 20:21:11 EST Ten Pounds?! Over the years, as I have gained, and lost, and regained yet more...10 pounds kind of stopped seeming significant. After all, when your entire goal is 10 pounds it's huge! When it's a quarter, or less, of your goal, you just don't feel like it's as big of a deal. <BR> <BR> As I cried on my roomie's shoulder (metaphorically) about my weight struggles - particularly, my regain since being injured - she decided that I needed a perspective change. And she gave me a VERY EFFECTIVE perspective ... Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:48:58 EST Pause... In early January, I fell off a bouldering wall. Badly sprained my ankle... <BR> <BR> I was in a brace full-time for two weeks, then I could only take it off at home for another two weeks... <BR> <BR> It would swell up just from a long walk for the first week. Even now, it's still a little swollen and tender when I move too much... <BR> <BR> For the first three weeks, I was really positive. I mean, it sucked, but I tried to think of it as an opportunity to catch up on the stuff I usually... Sun, 15 Feb 2015 10:07:18 EST My First Painting It's been one of those really crappy weeks where I should have just stayed in bed! Actually, it started last week - when I went for my first run since hurting my ankle, and it swelled up and ached the whole next day. I iced it, babied it, and wore the brace when I went skiing last weekend. <BR> <BR> Which was SOOOO much fun!! <BR> <BR> But I fell three times, and in the process my poor ankle got banged up again. So it really shouldn't have surprised me that the physical therapist told ... Fri, 13 Feb 2015 19:50:44 EST Finally got to SKI! This weekend, I finally managed to go for my first cross-country skiing trip! <BR> <BR> I was one of several beginners on the trip - and we had a REALLY hard time staying upright once we were going downhill! At one point, the guy in front of me fell. I tried to steer around him and fell, and the guy behind me fell trying not to run us over... <BR> <BR> Don't ask me why falling on my bum was so much fun, but it was! :) <BR> <BR> Check it out! <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeopl... Mon, 9 Feb 2015 16:06:29 EST The Bathtub Antics, Continued... So, it's a fact: Miss Kitty is the cutest, sweetest, funniest, smartest, greatest cat in the whole world. You can trust me. I'm not biased! :) <BR> <BR> Her bathtub antics continue...and somehow, in spite of myself, I cannot stop taking pictures and videos. She's just too cute! Sat, 7 Feb 2015 11:05:21 EST Winter Carnival Tonight was the outdoor club's big welcome back event...and coming on the heels of this weekend's blizzard, it was a beautiful night to get out and explore! It was also my first time walking on the lake - I've been so nervous that the ice will break underneath me, but watching people ski over to Picnic Point gave me the courage to do it! <BR> <BR> What a workout! And check out how beautiful it was! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR>... Mon, 2 Feb 2015 21:22:26 EST I met a nutritionist today... Everything I've learned about healthy eating comes from what I've read - articles, recipes, books, etc. <BR> <BR> And one things I've learned is that the most dangerous thing you can do is assume that you know everything! So when I found out that students could sign up for free sessions with a certified nutritionist, I wanted to go and learn more about healthy eating...especially with the plateaus and struggles I've had in training for the half marathons, and my steady weight gain over the... Thu, 29 Jan 2015 22:12:07 EST Don't let this happen to you! Not sure I love some of the words in this cartoon...but you get the idea! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:06:00 EST Advice, please! I've been struggling a bit lately, which is - sad to say - not outside the norm for me when it gets cold. <BR> <BR> I like being outside, and I NEED to be active. Yes, need. I go stir crazy when I can't get in a walk or run pretty much every day, and I start getting twitchy when I stay inside for too long! <BR> <BR> I had thought I was set up for a better winter, even if it is colder here in Madison. I signed up for several shorter winter races, I'd been going to pool sessions and the ... Sat, 24 Jan 2015 11:18:08 EST Miss Kitty the Conqueror Since I haven't been able to play as much as usual, Miss Kitty has been improvising with my hair ties...and I've been so bored, I have WAAYYY too many new pictures and videos of her. Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:45:13 EST Prepping for a new semester... My roomie and classmates have teased me about my coffee obsession more than once...and have shared some fun jokes and pics over the last few months! <BR> <BR> So here's some caffeine addict humor! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=" Mon, 12 Jan 2015 16:40:41 EST TGIF...well, almost :) This is how I feel today! Hope it makes you laugh, too... <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 8 Jan 2015 13:07:13 EST The continuing adventures of Miss Kitty and my bathtub... I will never understand the appeal of the bathtub...but someone continues to frolic in there every chance she gets! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Tue, 6 Jan 2015 15:11:25 EST HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you're off to a healthy and happy 2015! As you think about your resolutions for the year, don't make negative resolutions. Don't phrase your goals in terms of what you'll lose, but rather, what you'll gain. <BR> <BR> Better yet, decide what you do well, what makes you shine brighter than ever, and resolve to do more of that! Resolve to keep doing what you're doing right! Resolve to keep being awesome...nay, be awesom-ER! <BR> <BR> <img src=" Thu, 1 Jan 2015 19:37:26 EST It's not you, it's me... Dear Taco Bell/chinese takeout/pizza AND pizza rolls/all of the other fatty foods that are so absolutely delicious I can't stop when I'm no longer hungry and have to eat until I'm about to bust a gut: <BR> <BR> Dear sugar and cake and cookies and ice cream...and I better stop this list before I cue the river of drool... <BR> <BR> Dear emotional eating, sugar addiction, self-doubts, body image issues, feelings of worthlessness and unlovability, and all of the other negative voices telling me... Sun, 28 Dec 2014 01:12:33 EST My healthy - and happy - Christmas My poor parents... <BR> <BR> They usually host a high-calorie Christmas dinner of glazed ham, cheesy potatoes, green bean casserole, and cheese biscuits - plus lots of cookies and cakes! <BR> <BR> This year, my parents came to visit me. So our traditions were changed a little...after all, I'm a little hard to keep up with sometimes! After yesterdays run, I finished baking quarter-recipes of 5 types of Christmas cookies - Russian teacakes, cranberry drops, peanut butter blossoms, coconut m... Thu, 25 Dec 2014 23:50:49 EST Happy Christmas! Happy holidays from me and Miss Kitty! <BR> <img src=""> Thu, 25 Dec 2014 10:37:06 EST The Semester is Finished! I finished my last final yesterday afternoon! I went out for a few drinks with my classmates last night, slept in this morning...then went to the Aveda school to get a new hairstyle! <BR> <BR> Before: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> After: <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.c... Fri, 19 Dec 2014 19:38:55 EST Lotus I love my roommate's dog, Lotus! I know I haven't posted many pictures, but today I went to the dog park with them, and I got some great pictures! Isn't she adorable?! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <... Sun, 14 Dec 2014 15:54:51 EST Sing it, Miss Kitty! My roommate and I have been enjoying messing with poor Miss Kitty...she just makes it so fun! Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:52:11 EST Santa run! I just ran the Madison Santa Run - it's an untimed 5K fun run. My goal was to run my first 30 minute 5K today. <BR> <BR> I started my stop clock on my phone when I crossed the start line, and pulled it out after I crossed the finish line... <BR> <BR> 28:03!! SO HAPPY!! <BR> <img src=""> Sat, 6 Dec 2014 15:58:51 EST Miss Kitty is NOT HAPPY! I took Miss Kitty home for Thanksgiving. I knew it would be rough, but I didn't want to leave her alone for 5 days...especially for the holidays. <BR> <BR> She did NOT appreciate my sacrifice. The only time she WASN'T hissing at my parents dog or caterwauling up and down the hallways was when she decided to hide under the furnace for half a day. <BR> <BR> I really thought my parent's dog ate her... <BR> <BR> Well, and of course when she was rolling around in their bathtub and purring lik... Tue, 2 Dec 2014 15:24:41 EST HAPPY THANKSGIVING! <em>426</em> <em>429</em> <em>465</em> <em>429</em> <em>426</em> <BR> <BR> Happy Thanksgiving, Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> I'm thankful for a year of healthy living, happy memories, and great achievements! I'm thankful for friends who understand and support me. And right now, I'm thankful for a day of indulgence...and antacids. <BR> <BR> No matter what your Thanksgiving has been like - one of these should be guaranteed to make you chuckle. <BR> <BR> Cheers! <BR> <img ... Thu, 27 Nov 2014 20:30:31 EST Your morning inspiration Now that the temperatures have dropped, I've been having trouble motivating myself to run. As I'm browsing the web, looking for motivation, I find the one thing that would make me run in sub-freezing temperatures. <BR> <BR> Zombies. <BR> <BR> Yes, it's childish, but they freak me out. I had nightmares for a week after I watched Day of the Dead. <BR> <BR> So here's what I'll picture while I'm running! I hope this inspires you to get up and move too!! <BR> <BR> <img src="http://phot... Thu, 20 Nov 2014 09:01:25 EST Finishing the 5% Challenge It's been a great month! During this challenge, I've been rock climbing, hiking, kayaking, biking, and running. I made it through my first backpacking trip, my first kayak pool session to learn to roll, and my second half marathon. <BR> <BR> It's been a GREAT month!! And I do have some results to show for it: I've lost 8 pounds total, an inch off my bust and hips, and a couple of inches off my waistline. <BR> <BR> Here were my starting measurements: <BR> Weight: 172.5 <BR> Bust: 41 <B... Sat, 15 Nov 2014 12:49:33 EST Official Race Photos! <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> Wed, 12 Nov 2014 08:45:24 EST Second Half Marathon Done! So here's my back story. I tried to talk myself out of this at least three times in the past two weeks. <BR> <BR> First, I was worried about my Monday midterm. I wanted extra time to study...and two weeks out, looking at my run schedule, I felt like I was being an irresponsible student by not prioritizing studying above everything else. Then, over last weekend, with the cold snap that moved in...well, I really thought about giving up when I saw that it would be barely above freezing. And... Sun, 9 Nov 2014 12:34:41 EST Miss Kitty: the Lurking Bathtub Monster So here's the situation: Madison is COLD right now! And I've managed to CATCH a cold...and after running at the Arboretum this afternoon and missing my bus, I was chilled to the bone by the time I got home. <BR> <BR> All I wanted was a hot bath. <BR> <BR> Sadly, the tub was taken... Thu, 6 Nov 2014 19:10:40 EST Happy Halloween! A Spooooky Backpacking Trip! A belated happy Halloween, Sparkfriends! <BR> <BR> Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. You get to pretend to be someone else for a night, and it is always so surprising to me who my friends decide to dress up as! Plus, you have apple cider and mulled wine, adorable kids in adorable costumes, carving pumpkins...I love it all! <BR> <BR> But this year, I forewent (is that a word?) the annual traditions and went backpacking instead! Check out the SPOOOKY pics I took along the way! <BR>... Sun, 2 Nov 2014 21:53:09 EST Have confidence in yourself! Haha, a friend posted this on Facebook, and I loved it! Whenever I feel my self-confidence slipping (which happens a lot!) I remind myself... <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Say it - and own it - especially on the days when you don't feel it! Self-confidence is always sexy...and far better than the alternative! But it's good practice, and hopefully will make you laugh at the same time! Sat, 25 Oct 2014 10:40:29 EST Stay strong! <img src=""> Thu, 23 Oct 2014 09:23:19 EST Fall Colors - the Hoofer Extravaganza! I got some really AMAZING pictures from this weekend's extravaganza! Sadly, I only got to hike for a couple of hours, since I took on a lot of the food prep...I made blue cheese potato salad, Italian pasta salad, and bro-cole-i slaw (with broccoli and cabbage). But here's what I got to take! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.spar... Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:57:39 EST Yesterday's Run... Yesterday, I headed to the UW Arboretum for my run. Which was FANTASTIC! I haven't done much trail running, and I'm learning that it carries its own risks. Because my knees and back feel GREAT, but my feet are more sore than usual. Disadvantages of roots and rocks... <BR> <BR> I took a 5 minute warmup (walking .25 miles), then ran about 7.75 1:30!! Not a terrible pace at all!! Then a 15-minute, .5 mile cool-down before stretching and walking out the last of the kinks. <BR>... Sat, 11 Oct 2014 11:31:25 EST My legs are black and blue! I went climbing at Devil's Lake again this weekend...and this weekend's trip was less geared to beginning climbers and much harder!! <BR> <BR> It's so funny...I had originally wanted to climb to build upper body strength. It is NOT about upper body strength! Where I was struggling was flexibility. There were several places where I wasn't flexible enough to reach holds, and that was what stopped my climb. <BR> <BR> Since I couldn't always get a foot up where I needed it, I used my calve... Mon, 6 Oct 2014 17:54:30 EST Do you ever have those days... <img src=""> Wed, 1 Oct 2014 12:10:07 EST I've got the last of my kayaking certifications! One of the things the UW outing club provides - and rightly insists upon - is that everyone who is out on the water, hiking, climbing, etc. should know what they are doing and be safe doing it! So to be able to climb, you need a basic belaying go canoeing, you need a canoeing certification...and so on. <BR> <BR> Today, I got my last BASIC kayaking rating- so while I need many more to do the toughest courses, I am certified to do lake, river, and sea kayaking on my own. I... Sun, 28 Sep 2014 17:38:26 EST Climbing at Devil's Lake One of the first things I did when I moved to Madison was join the Hoofer's Outdoor Club - which was a GREAT move! This weekend, there was a HUGE event at Devil's Lake, about an hour north. I got to do some pretty intense hiking...and learned to rock climb! <BR> <BR> Check out the scenery! <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpe... Sun, 21 Sep 2014 12:38:24 EST Welcome to the Jungle! There is always a downside and an upside of unpredictable weather! <BR> <BR> It's been COLD in Madison the last couple of days! As in, down to the 40s at night. Which has made running and biking a lot easier...I don't overheat, and so I can move faster and make it farther. <BR> <BR> The downside? I had to bring my plants in tonight. I guess it's a good thing I didn't get a community garden plot here, everything I had would probably die when it got down to freezing last night! <BR> ... Fri, 12 Sep 2014 22:57:46 EST Important Anniversary! Today is my one year anniversary...of quitting smoking! <BR> <BR> <em>236</em> <em>408</em> <em>283</em> <em>408</em> <em>236</em> <BR> <BR> Quitting sucked. It was THE hardest thing I've had to do in my life. And I regained about 20 pounds from September to December....but then, I got going on my quit project: running. <BR> <BR> In May I ran a half marathon - my first!! My goal was 2.5 hours, and I finished in 2:33:40, so I did really well! And I've already regi... Wed, 10 Sep 2014 23:25:59 EST If traditional motivational techniques aren't working... <img src=""> Sun, 7 Sep 2014 15:41:38 EST Finally starting to feel like home! It's been almost 3 weeks, and I'm finally starting to feel like I'm at home! <BR> <BR> My assistantship starts on Sept. 1 - and I'm taking one workshop before classes officially start, so I've only got a few days left before I become a student again.. Which is strange...but I'm also really looking forward to it!! <BR> <BR> I've biked to campus and back a couple of times, and run several times. I'm about a mile from the start of the bike trail system that leads to the lakeshore trail, so i... Sat, 23 Aug 2014 15:01:39 EST Miss Kitty: Afraid of Moving...But Lovin' the Boxes! Poor Miss Kitty. I did my best to prepare her for the Big Move. I bought her a kitty harness and leash...and when that didn't fit, I bought a dog harness instead. (She's gained a bit of weight...) I put a comfy blanket in her carrier, and took her out and about - to Petsmart, to the vet, even on errands and trips to the drive-thru, to get her used to being in the car. <BR> <BR> After all, for a cat that hasn't left an apartment in over 3 years, being in a U-Haul and driving 6+ hours cros... Wed, 13 Aug 2014 11:49:19 EST How did I get so much STUFF?! Let me start with the basics: the last two months have been very busy! Starting in mid-June, I worked two full-time jobs; I was still with the environmental non-profit, but I also taught English and Career Exploration classes for Upward Bound's summer semester. Which, as a first-time teacher (who also assigned several writing assignments for both classes), took A LOOOOOTTTT more time than I expected! Plus, I was only a couple of weeks into my microeconomics class, and had to complete weekl... Fri, 8 Aug 2014 10:20:23 EST It's been a rough week! The week didn't start off well for me. On Monday, my parents had to take their older dog to the vet to be put to sleep. It's been years since I lived with them, so I hadn't noticed how much she had aged...but when I went to the vets office to meet them, she was very emaciated, had no energy or interest in what was happening, her back hips were so bad she could barely stand, and her belly was distended - apparently, she had urinated blood that morning. My parents had been talking about how ... Fri, 18 Jul 2014 12:08:55 EST Declaring my own Independence! Several years ago, before I started to embrace healthier habits, I hated holidays. <BR> <BR> Holidays meant that my family would all be together...and in my mind, they were all judging me. I've been curvy since puberty hit, but after I left for college and got up to my heaviest weight...well, I felt like holidays were a tribunal, with my whole family studying me, watching every bite I put in my mouth, and judging me for each and every one of them. <BR> <BR> Silly, yes. Paranoid? Definite... Fri, 4 Jul 2014 22:14:50 EST My garden is starting to look delicious! It's been a few weeks, but my garden has already grown so much bigger!! <BR> <BR> In early May, I tilled one half of my plot and put in 6 tomato plants - and then it froze again. Luckily, 5 of the tomato plants survived! <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The last weekend in May, ... Sat, 28 Jun 2014 13:50:48 EST