blogging, Crafting to lose weight, Having fun, photography, Writing

Welcome to the Diva Den

As promised, I’m sharing a few pics of my new craft room.  These pictures were taken before I put cute little labels on all of my supply bins, so I sort of avoided some of my, then messy, shelving while taking shots with my phone.  So far, I haven’t done a ton of crafting in my den.  My daughter and I have mostly been using it as a good place to listen to music, dance, and chit-chat.  I do have my first official craft planned and cut out.  I’m making a lighted burlap and ribbon garland for my Christmas tree. It looks similar to this one on Pinterest:

My garland will look something like this when it's done.  This photo is courtesy of Pinterest (my time thief) and it from CreateCraftLove.com
My garland will look something like this when it’s done. This photo is courtesy of Pinterest (my time thief) and it from CreateCraftLove.com

 

Speaking of the holidays,  I spent several hours in my new hideaway wrapping and tucking away Christmas gifts.  As of this very evening, I’m officially finished my Holiday shopping!  Hooray!  Enough with my boasting! Here’s the den:

My work table is situated where my daughter's bed used to be built into the wall. (Photo by me)
My work table is situated where my daughter’s bed used to be built into the wall.  The floor in this section still needs quarter round.  We’ll get to that this weekend. (Photo by me)
This is some of my shelving full of decorated and undecorated birdhouses and containers of colored glass. (Photo by me)
This is some of my shelving full of decorated and undecorated birdhouses and containers of colored glass. One day I’ll learn to use the sewing machine (Photo by me)
I created my valance from cloth napkins on sale for $7 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. (Photo by me)
I created my valance from cloth napkins on sale for $7 at Bed, Bath and Beyond. (Photo by me)

A positively fun place to hang out needs positive messages and colorful pictures.

I found this, along with two other framed quotes at Bed, Bath and Beyond for only $13.  I love a good deal! (Photo by me).
I found this, along with two other framed quotes at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It’s so true, isn’t it? (Photo by me).
These are mixed media pieces that I made years ago.  I thought the colors went nicely with the room. (Photo by me)
These are mixed media pieces that I made years ago. I thought the colors went nicely with the room. (Photo by me)

Thank you for taking the time to check out my new hang out spot. I’ll take a few other pics of my organized shelves and maybe even show you inside of the hot pink closet (where lots of Christmas gifts are hiding).  My blogging buddies are always welcome in the den, whether you’re a diva or a dude! 🙂

Have an absolutely fabulous weekend, one and all! 🙂

 

 

 

blogging, Having fun, love, marriage, nature, organic food, photography, Travel, vacations, wedding anniversary, Writing

A Wild and Wonderful Weekend

My husband an I had an anniversary weekend that equaled the awesomeness of our past 13 years of marriage.  We travelled to the picturesque Canaan Valley region of West Virginia and spent a romantic three days in a lovely log cabin. Believe it, or not, I’ve never stayed in a cabin before,  This one was super cute with a fireplace, hot tub, and all of the other amenities that I love while “camping!”  Here’s a shot of the back of the cabin.  Somehow I neglected to take pictures of the inside, but trust me, it was adorable.

This is the back view of our little cabin.  It overlooks a very active stream! (photo by me)
This is the back view of our little cabin. It overlooks a very active stream! (photo by me)

The campground couldn’t have been more gorgeous either. Right beneath our back balcony was a little stream bursting with the biggest golden and rainbow trout I’ve ever seen.  I think their size had quite a lot to do with the “trout chow” vending machines that were conveniently placed near many of the ponds and streams.  For just a quarter, you got a huge handful of trout food that created a true feeding frenzy each time a pellet hit the water.  The sheer number and activity of the fish made the water look like it was a boiling, seething mass of fins, tails and open mouths.  It was probably the best show I’ve ever gotten for a quarter!

Our view of the cliffs from the cabins balcony. The Potomac river is nestled beneath the trees at the base. (Photo by me)
Our view of the cliffs from the cabins balcony. The Potomac river is nestled beneath the trees at the base. (Photo by me)
a huge golden trout in the stream behind our cabin. (photo by me)
a huge golden trout in the stream behind our cabin. (photo by me)

 

There was also a rather skittish duck family residing in and around the banks of the stream behind our place, too.  I can’t fault their nervousness, as I can imagine that more than once some kid has accidentally pelted them with trout chow.  I did manage to get a few careful shots with my zoom.

This family was easily frightened.  It took some patience to get a picture of them. (Photo by me)
This family was easily frightened. It took some patience to get a picture of them. (Photo by me)

My absolute favorite part of the weekend was watching the muskrat couple that also shared the stream behind our cabin.  I’d never actually seen a muskrat in the wild before.  My first glimpse of them was on the bank, and I immediately mistook them for groundhogs, as their body shape and coloration are so similar.  As soon as they slipped into the water, I caught sight of their long “rat-like” tail and knew immediately what they were.  (Don’t let their name fool you, though they are of the rodent family, they’re not rats.  Their closest relatives are lemmings, mice, and voles.)  These muskrats had dug a channel of tunnels all along the banks of the stream, and it was a delight to watch their very busy antics.

Muskrat love!! (Photo by me)
Muskrat love!! (Photo by me)
They were so cute swimming through the stream!  (Photo by me)
They were so cute swimming through the stream! (Photo by me)

This wasn’t my first foray into this wilderness, but it was my healthiest. This area of the state is well-known for a plethora of outdoor activities and were determined to get in our share of swimming and hiking. The swimming part was well taken care of by the huge saltwater pool at the campground.  I got up super early each morning to get in 30 minutes of swimming to start my day.  Mornings are often chilly in the mountains and I think most of the jacketed people I passed on the trail to the pool thought I was crazy.  Luckily, the water was much warmer than the 55-60 degree air and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

On our last visit, over ten years ago, my excess weight really slowed me down.  I’d desperately wanted to hike the Seneca Rocks Mountain Trail, but only made it about a 1/4 of a mile up the steep path.  This time, I hiked the entire trail with no problem. We also visited Blackwater Falls and enjoyed the trails and views there.

The picturesque Seneca Rocks (Photo by me)
The picturesque Seneca Rocks (Photo by me)
Crossing the bridge to the trail's start.  (Photo by me)
Crossing the bridge to the trail’s start. (Photo by me)
Almost to the top! (Photo by me)
Almost to the top! (Photo by me)
I made it!!  A view from the top.  (Photo by me)
I made it!! A view from the top. (Photo by me)
The awesome view from the observation area!  (Photo be me)
The awesome view from the observation area! (Photo be me)

The only thing that was a problem in this area was finding fresh, healthy food choices. Eating out wasn’t an option since the restaurant choices were either fast food, or greasy diner fare.  Luckily, the cabin had a fairly well-equipped kitchen. However, the only grocery store choice in this area was sadly lacking.  Nutrient-weak iceberg lettuce was the only salad choice and the rest of the produce section was extremely sparse. Fortunately, I did find some nice lean chicken and a few veggies to grill up during our stay–and an awesome watermelon (my favorite fruit) for dessert.

On our last day there (our actual anniversary), we traveled to Thomas, WV to eat at the Purple Fiddle with its clean, simple, homemade, organic fare.  I had an awesome turkey and pesto hummus Panini and my husband had a jalapeño turkey wrap.  The Purple Fiddle is well-known for its live music, and we arrived just as Bob Keel was beginning his first set of original, folk, and classic covers.  Funny thing is, Bob is actually from our area, and my younger daughter, who does Contra dancing has heard him play many times.

Lunch at the Purple Fiddle.  (Photo by me)
Lunch at the Purple Fiddle. (Photo by me)
Great music from Bob Keel.  (Photo by me)
Great music from Bob Keel. (Photo by me)

Before leaving Thomas, we visited the fabulous little riverside shops where we found our usual anniversary gift to ourselves; a piece of local art from wherever we’re visiting.  This piece not only summed up our wonderful weekend, but the past 13 years of marriage that we’ve shared together!

Not the greatest photography on my part, but this is the print we got at The White Room Gallery in Thomas, WV.  For more work by this artist visit his etsy site www.theartseth.etsy.com
Not the greatest photography on my part, but this is the print we got at The White Room Gallery in Thomas, WV. For more work by this artist visit his etsy site http://www.theartseth.etsy.com
blogging, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, optifast, photography, Travel, weight loss journal, Writing

I’m on Top of the World!

Yesterday evening, I completed one of my many goals associated with my weight loss. I climbed the giant dunes at Jockey’s Ridge State Park! I write this with much excitement, because last year, climbing the steps to our rental condo was a sweat-inducing, asthma-attack-inciting adventure due to the extra weight I was carrying around.  In fact, for many years, my husband and I found other activities do (usually involving desserts) while our kids swiftly scurried up the tallest natural sand dunes in the Eastern part of the United States. My only way to enjoy this beautiful, natural landmark was through their pictures.  Happily, this is no longer the case, as I have a whole slew of pictures of my own to share.  The best part is, very little sweating and zero asthma attacks were involved in this endeavor.  The other best part is that I’m sharing a photo of me–looking kind of scruffy with no make-up and in my baggy climbing clothes!

The photo doesn't do the scale of this particular dune justice, but it's a pretty big climb! (photo by me)
The photo doesn’t do the scale of this particular dune justice, but it’s a pretty big climb! (photo by me)
Before reaching the apex of the highest dune, we had some steep, smaller dunes to climb. (photo by me)
Before reaching the apex of the highest dune, we had some steep, smaller dunes to climb. (photo by me)
The little nooks and crannies of plant life were amazing! (photo by me)
The little nooks and crannies of plant life were amazing!
Those aren't bushes in the background.  They're the trees below us! (photo by me)
Those aren’t bushes in the background. They’re the trees below us! (photo by me)
At the peak of the tallest dune, we were rewarded with a view of the Currituck Sound.  It looks much closer than it was; I used my zoom. (photo by me)
At the peak of the highest dune, we were rewarded with a view of the Currituck Sound. It looks much closer than it really is; I used my zoom. (photo by me)
As w began our decent, I managed to capture the beginnings of a beautiful sunset. (photo by me)
As w began our decent, I managed to capture the beginnings of a beautiful sunset. (photo by me)
Ever the animal lover, I was elated to find this little fellow nibbling in the grass on the trail back to our car. (photo by me)
Ever the animal lover, I was elated to find this little fellow nibbling in the grass on the trail back to our car. (photo by me)
Nothing like a celebratory shot in the bushes!  That baggy shirt I'm wearing used to just fit me! (photo by my hubby)
Nothing like a celebratory shot in the bushes! That baggy shirt I’m wearing used to just fit me! (photo by my hubby)
blogging, Exercise, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, optifast, photography, Travel, weight loss journal, Writing

Life’s a Beach when you Don’t Feel like a Whale

Greetings from the Outer Banks of North Carolina!  We’ve been here for two days and are having a blast. We’re staying in a small, second story, walk-up condo on the beach that we’ve rented for the past few years, and though everything about it is the same as usual, it feels vastly different to me.

  • In past years, the two flights of very steep steps caused me to make several rest stops on my way up.  Now, I swiftly spring right up them without breaking a sweat or panting like a puppy!
  • While cooking healthy meals for us, I’ve finally become acquainted with the very well-appointed kitchen of this place and realize that the owners did a fabulous job of it with wonderful, high-end, accoutrements.
  • The cost of one week of groceries is practically equivalent to what my husband and I would spend on a nice meal out with wine, appetizers, entrée, and dessert.  We’re saving money!
  • Reaching the beach used to be a major ordeal for me, even though it only requires climbing the steps that go over a dune in front of the condo.  Now, I’m up those steps like a shot, and I can help my husband carry our beach stuff.  Last time, I could barely carry myself!
  • My goals and priorities while here have enormously shifted.  In the past, it was all about where we would eat.  Now, it’s all about what activities we can do that will keep us physically fit.  We’ve been doing plenty of beach walking, and swimming.  My big goal is to go to Jockey’s Ridge State Park and climb the giant sand dunes.  I haven’t done this since I was a kid, and for the past decade have stayed back while the rest of my family has enjoyed it.  Tomorrow, we’re planning to conquer the dunes and I feel very excited and emotional about meeting this long-time goal.  (I’ll be taking plenty of pictures!)

I hope all of my readers have an excellently gorgeous day!

In the meantime, here are a few shots of the beach area in front of the condo:

photo 4

photo 5

photo 1

blogging, cats, enjoying family, Having fun, photography, Travel, Uncategorized, Writing

Why are Alligators so Ornery?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

We all know that  famous line from Adam Sandler’s, The Water Boy, “Mamma say alligators are ornery cause they got all them teeth but no toothbrush.”   However, I’ve spent a good bit of my day pondering their orneriness as I searched for them in the lovely, squishy ,marshy places of Hilton Head, South Carolina.

My first stop was a lovely seafood restaurant called, The Crazy Crab. Their food was amazing, as was our wonderful waiter, Rob.  I had about 2-3 ounces of crab meat, along with a very nice tossed salad, minus the dressing.  My husband had an enormous portion of shrimp and grits, along with my remaining crab legs.  My loss is proving to be his gain on this trip!

After our meal was finished, I did some gator hunting around the periphery of the eatery.

I’m pretty certain that I found Nemo in the restaurant’s entryway, but still no monstrous, sharp-toothed reptile!

Nemo?  Is that you?
Nemo? Is that you?

 

This little beggar is certainly sharp-toothed, but lacks the scales and enormity of a gator!

Grover, one of the rough and tumble kitties of The Crazy Crab! He really knows how to use the charm!

Next, I scanned the marshes for a rascally reptile.

Nice view, but still no luck!
Nice view, but still no luck!

Later, at my father-in-law’s house, I braved the heat to search the ponds around the golf course.  This is where I saw a big one yesterday.

I saw an 8 footer on the banks of this pond yesterday!
I saw an 8 footer on the banks of this pond yesterday!

He was still hiding, so I took the time to stop and enjoy the gorgeous scenery from my late mother-in-law’s back yard.

Geri certainly had an eye for landscaping!
Geri certainly had an eye for landscaping!

And so does Mother Nature!  Check out this Spanish Moss!

The older trees here are covered with this ethereal stuff!  I love it!
The older trees here are covered with this ethereal stuff! I love it!

While I’m enjoying the yard, something catches my eye!  Suddenly, there’s scurrying and the flick of a tail!  I ready my camera and capture this beast…

Yikes!!  Guard your appendages! He's fierce!
Yikes!! Guard your appendages! He’s fierce!

So, today I really did figure out why alligators are so ornery!  They refuse to leave their cool, watery marsh when you finally have your camera ready for the perfect shot!!

When have you missed the perfect shot?  What would you like to see on the other side of your camera’s lens?

**  All uncredited photos lovingly taken by me, Sherri, The Ravenously Disappearing Woman :)!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

blogging, emotional eating, enjoying family, Food Addiction, Having fun, learning, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, New York City, optifast, organic food, photography, public relations, setting goals, Travel, weight loss journal, Writing

Changes are Coming my Way!

Guess What I’ve Been Eating?

This past weekend in New York, at my doctor’s suggestion, to avoid carrying around a cooler of shakes , I ate a small amount of real food for both lunch and dinner. I actually had no difficulty finding healthy food in Manhattan, as there seem to be places serving fresh, organic fare at every turn. From our last trip to the Museum of Modern Art, I knew that the Terrace Café on the 5th floor had some great healthy choices.  For lunch, I had the Miso Salad, sans dressing, with thinly sliced, grilled beef medallions, cucumbers, avocado, tomatoes, and radishes topping a bed of fresh arugula.  We also ordered an appetizer of Lemon Hummus served with a thin, crispy flatbread.

The avocado was to die for! (Photo by me)
The avocado was to die for! (Photo by me)

Of course, with a shrunken stomach, after four months of nothing but Optifast shakes, I certainly wasn’t able to chow down on the entire salad, but I did manage two pieces of beef and avocado, as well as about a cup of the other veggies.  I also had a teaspoon of the delicious lemon hummus.

After lunch, I had a refreshing cup of Mighty Leaf Tea’s,  Marrakesh Mint for dessert. This tea isn’t available in my area, and I’d never tried it.  The funny thing is,  when I ghost blogged for the organic restaurant, I had to do an entire post on this brand.  (This is why I’m always wary of the blogs of businesses! :))

My husband chose our dinner spot based on our pickup location. Harrington’s Bar and Grill on 31st Street. My choices here were a bit more limited, but it was pouring rain and really chilly, so I was very content to be inside. After much consideration, I chose the grilled herbed salmon salad. It feature grilled, sliced salmon on a bed of romaine, with tomatoes, cucumbers and red and green peppers. I ate one of the small pieces of salmon and about a cup of vegetables.  My salmon loving husband and daughter gladly polished of the rest of the salad for me.

My Grilled Salmon Salad.  The tomatoes were delish!  That's my daughter's grilled veggie sandwich in the background. (Photo by me)
My Grilled Salmon Salad. The tomatoes were delish! That’s my daughter’s grilled veggie sandwich in the background. (Photo by me)

Weight Loss News

I lost a whopping 2.8 pounds at Wednesday’s weigh-in! After a quick high-five celebration from my doctor and nurse, my doctor said she’s ready for me to start making the transition back to food.  This week I’ll be having 4 oz. of lean protein with 1-2 cups of non-starchy vegetables for one of my meals.  I ‘ll still be drinking my shakes, but I’ll have four instead of five. Instead of doing another 9 weeks of Optifast, after this 9 weeks ends in June, I’ll be switching  to a program  called  Weight  Wise.  I’ll have 2 balanced meals and 1 snack of regular food with 2 Optifast shakes per day.  I’ll stay on this plan for two months, seeing my doctor bi-weekly, and the behavior modification specialist the other two weeks of the month.  Then, if I still have more weight to lose, I’ll do another 9 week round of Optifast. At this point, I have 33 more pounds to lose before I reach my goal weight.  By switching up my program, my body won’t become complacent with Optifast.

It’s funny how my relationship with food had changed.  Being back on it, isn’t as thrilling as I’d imagined it would be months ago. I think it has a lot to do with having so many more things in my life to look forward to other than just a meal.  My weight loss has caused me to become more involved with activities and people and those are the things I’m enjoying more. Food is lovely, but it’s just the fuel that gives me the energy I need to embrace life.

 

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend with pretty weather~ It’s actually going to be in the high 60s here!  Hooray! 🙂 Anyone have exciting weekend plans?

blogging, Having fun, New York City, photography, Travel, Writing

I Spy with my Little Eye…

This past weekend we headed off to take a quick nibble of the Big Apple.  My youngest daughter finished college in December and graduates on May 10th.  All she wanted for a graduation present was a trip to the Museum of Modern Art with my husband and I.  What a jewel she is, because her desired destination is one of my favorite places to visit, as well.

Whenever we visit Manhattan, I always hope to spy a celebrity attempting to inconspicuously traverse the busy streets. My greatest hope is to see the lovely Hugh Jackman, who has been my number one celebrity crush for quite some time.

He's so very pretty.
He’s so very pretty.

I, also, wouldn’t be too disappointed if the very tall, blond, and handsome Alexander Skarsgard crossed my path.

Let's face it, Alex, you're the only reason that I still bother with the ill-written mess that is  True Blood.
Let’s face it, Alex, you’re the only reason that I still bother with the ill-written mess that is True Blood.

Fortunately, my adorable husband doesn’t mind my celebrity foolishness.  He even took me to see Hugh Jackman’s Back on Broadway show a few years ago.

This trip, my quick little eye didn’t spy Hugh or Alex, but I did surprise my daughter and husband by seeing Justin Jedlica sitting outside with his luggage, waiting for a friend.  Justin has been a guest on many talk shows and TV specials about plastic surgery.  He is touted as the “Human Ken Doll” because of his extensive plastic surgery.  I first saw him on TLC’s My Strange Addiction series.  While he is a surgical anomaly, he is also very intelligent.  He’s designed surgical implants and works as a surgical consultant.

According to my friends and family, I have fairly large cojones, and had no problem with politely approaching him.  He was so very sweet, and willingly chatted and took pictures with us.

I was all, "Hi, Justin!  Can I take a pic of you?"  And, thankfully, he was agreeable!
I was all, “Hi, Justin! Can I take a pic of you?” And, thankfully, he was agreeable!

My less bold daughter, sweetly introduced herself and I snapped this great shot:

My pretty daughter with Justin Jedlica.
My pretty daughter with Justin Jedlica.

I found out recently that my daughter reads my blog each day on her lunch break.  She kindly gave permission for me to post this picture of her with Justin.

Though I didn’t run into my celebrity crushes, meeting Justin was a lovely experience and I certainly wish him well in his endeavors.

Do you have a celebrity crush?  Have you ever met a celebrity? Tell me about it! 🙂  Have a great day everyone!