Thursday, January 29, 2009


I have just returned from a night at the symphony! Snow White's high school hosted the Richmond Symphony Orchestra through a grant from the local Arts in Education program. Students from the choral, band, and art departments were featured in tonight's program. What a talented group of young people!

The night was a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. There was a "Lincoln Portrait", which was narrated by the school division's Performing Arts Lead Teacher Specialist. There was also "Prayer for Peace", and a musical tribute to the Civil War era.

What really struck me tonight was how these children have matured. The music that once made my ears bleed (think middle school performances), was now well executed and soothing. When did they all grow up???

I was humbled by one young man who had no arms. He somehow played the cello with his feet - matching the professionals bow stroke for bow stroke. It made me realize that there are no obstacles that these children cannot overcome. It also made me realize that my petty complaints are SO insignificant.

If you have the opportunity, go out and support your local school's art/performing arts programs. It's a great investment! These are our future singers, musicians, and artists. Budget cuts are reducing the funding available for these programs, but these students continue to pursue their dreams.

What a fabulous evening!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Snow Day!

The wintry mix began to fall early this morning....

It's all over now, but it sure was fun while it lasted!

Monday, January 26, 2009

South Beach - Week 4

I'm sitting at my desk eating this:

It's still amazing to me that I have not felt hungry or deprived while on this diet! However, I DO need to get a bit more motivated in the exercise department:(

Hopefully, the beginning of week four of the Blogger Butt Smackdown finds each of you a little closer to your weight-loss goals. I'd like to recognize THE BIGGEST LOSER Marlene - she has lost SIXTEEN POUNDS!!!!! Way to go Marlene! Keep up the good work!

As I mentioned last week, we have been invited to attend a Superbowl party on Sunday. (BTW - It's being hosted by Mom x 2! YAY!!) It's imperative that I come up with diet-friendly snacks, because one year I gained six pounds over Superbowl weekend. True story. A veggie tray is always a good choice, but sometimes you just want something a bit more substantial. Click here for some healthy recipe ideas!

Cool Breeze and I were busy cleaning out the garage all day Friday, and most of the day Saturday. (I'm confident THAT counts as exercise!) We're still not quite finished, and the zero hour is quickly approaching:/ Once we get that task completed, I will be able to return to my gym routine.......until then, I have no way to weigh myself. Never fear, I will post my weight as soon as possible. (It's probably best that I don't have a scale at home - I just KNOW I'd weigh myself five times per day.) There is a Zumba class scheduled for Wednesday night, and I don't want to miss it!

A big THANK YOU to my blogger buddies who are always kind and supportive! It sure makes this diet thing a lot easier:) Keep fighting the fat:)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What's In Your Freezer?

My BFF Grandma J has invited me to play a little game called, "WHAT'S IN YOUR FREEZER?" In an effort to avoid temptation while dieting, she purged her freezer of all that is delicious and evil. There wasn't much left in there, but I guarantee she could survive for three years if ever there was a coffee shortage!

Please note that I DID NOT change a thing before taking this lovely shot. NoSireeBob, it's au naturale....

I want to point out that the yummy green veggies have overtaken the greasy hot dogs, li'l smokies, and Cool-Whip; however, the Bacardi mixers are holding their line. Fortunately, those little soldiers hold no charm for me in the winter:)

OK. I showed you mine, now you show me yours:) Take the picture as-is.....NO CHEATING!!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Birthday BBQ

Mental P Mama is celebrating her birthday today! I'm taking her out for a virtual BBQ lunch. She prefers homemade barbecue, but this is the best I can do considering she lives five states away. Would you like to join us? I know that all of you are busy, but it will only take an hour or so.....then I'll have to hurry back to work:) Bon appetit!

If you'd like to continue the celebration, head over to Noe Noe Girl's place. That chick really knows how to throw a birthday bash!

Happy Birthday MPM!!! I hope it's the best one EVER!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

4X4 Meme

I was tagged for this meme by my friend Ann over at Life At Ann's Place. Go check her out - she has some REALLY pretty stuff to show you:) You should also check out her'll be glad you did!

Here are the rules:

1. Choose the 4th folder where you store your pictures on your computer.

2. Select the 4th picture in the folder.

3. Explain the picture.

4. Tag 4 people to do the same.

The photo above features none other than Snow White (second from the right, dressed as Brother Bear). These "characters" were preparing to ride on a float in the Ukrop's Richmond Christmas Parade a couple of years ago. They brought smiles to the faces of hundreds of children that day. It was a beautiful, crisp morning in Central Virginia, and the parade definitely got us into the holiday spirit!

I am tagging the following people:

1. Noe-Noe Girl

2. Mom x 2

3. The Incredible Woody

4. Busy Bee Suz

Happy Tuesday:)

Monday, January 19, 2009

South Beach - Week Three

As we enter Week Three of the Blogger Butt Smackdown, I hope that all of you are beginning to reap the benefits of your effort. Do you have a bit more energy? Are your clothes starting to fit better? Do you FEEL like you look better?? Personally, I am pleased to answer a resounding "Yes!" to all three! Yay!

The first week was the most difficult for me. It wasn't because I was hungry, but because I was still trying to figure out how to follow my specific diet plan. Week two was easier - I didn't have to concentrate on it nearly as much. It's exciting to note that I will be able to add small amounts of fruit and whole grains to my diet this week. It's SO important that your food DOES NOT become boring. Mix it up! Add some spice:)

Speaking of spice, I'd like to share a recipe with you. Superbowl is fast approaching, and it's important to take diet-friendly food to those parties - you wouldn't want to UNDO all of your hard work. Would you?

The following dish has become a favorite in my home over the past two weeks. I usually double the batch, and prepare it a day ahead of time for optimal flavor.


1 T. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. lean ground beef

2 1/2 t. chili powder

1 t. ground cumin

1 sm. onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves

1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

Garnish: chopped scallions, reduced-fat sour cream, or grated low-fat cheddar cheese

Heat oil in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over med-high heat. Add beef, 1 t. of the chili powder, and cumin; saute until browned. Transfer beef to a bowl using a slotted spoon.

Add onion, garlic and remaining chili powder to the same saucepan; cook over med. heat, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add tomatoes with juice and beans; cover and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Uncover, add cooked beef, and cook an additional 5 minutes, until liquid thickens slightly. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add garnish.

Next week I will post Superbowl Snack ideas that will help you keep the calories down. I'd also like to hear your ideas for "sticking with it" in a party environment.

I don't have an accurate weight loss count for you today....I will weigh at the gym this evening and report back. Last week was a big DUD for me in the exercise department. Due to NIGHTLY obligations, I did not make it to the gym even once:/ I'm sure my weight will reflect that....

Keep on fighting that Blogger Butt!!

UPDATE: I finally made it back to the gym tonight. YAY!!! Weight loss for Week 2...1.5 pounds. Total weight loss...4.5 pounds:) I'm tickled to DEATH with these results!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Plans are underway for the Small Town, USA Class of '84 reunion. Call me a freak of nature, but I have always enjoyed attending my high school reunions. With a graduating class of just over 50, we were a very tight knit group. For the most part.

I have not been good about keeping in touch with my fellow classmates. Of course, they have been busy with work and kids, just like I have. Time gets away from you, and before you realize it, ten more years have passed.

After setting up my Facebook account earlier in the week, I sat back and waited to see what would happen. I was on foreign soil. Much to my surprise, within two hours I had reconnected with 26 of my friends from high school! Thanks to the efforts of "A", we have had a reunion every five years, and NO ONE seems to tire of them!

There will be a bit of a dark cloud over the reunion this year. Since our last gathering, we have lost one of our classmates to cancer. He will truly be missed. The committee is trying to come up with a way to honor him while we are all together.

I would like to know about your class reunion experiences. Good, bad or indifferent...bring them on. You can even post about it - just let me know you are doing it so I can check it out! Tell me if you were involved in the planning process, what you liked most/least, and perhaps what you did to honor those who had passed on.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Just the mention of "portion control" is likely to strike fear into even the most seasoned dieter. How many of us were trained as small children to visualize 3 oz. or 2 cups? How many of us have the time, or the inclination, to weigh every morsel we shove into our gullets?

Our distorted perception of a "serving" has been perpetuated by our affinity for dining out. A single restaurant serving equates to about three times the amount of food we should be consuming at one sitting. ( "Would you like to Biggie Size that?" Just reading those words added five pounds to my Blogger Butt!!!)

One of the suggested ways to avoid overeating is to use a smaller plate. There is a product on the market that takes this guideline one step further....Slimware plates. Currently, there are four designs available. Each design incorporates "graphically-designated food placement areas as a guide to recommended food portions". There is a specific place on each plate for entrees, veggies, and starches/side dishes. Using Slimware is a great way to inject a bit of whimsy into the drudgery of dieting! It will also help take the guesswork out of appropriate portion size.

I'm going to order a set of the Urban Safari Print plates. They're my favorite:) Go check out the other fabulous patterns - I'm sure you will find one that you love!

Disclaimer: This post constitutes a shameless plug for a product that was designed by my third-cousin-twice-removed-by-marriage. (Lash, please verify this with your mother.) I drank the Facebook Kool-Aid yesterday, and came across his site....which is where I discovered Slimware. It's no coincidence that this product came to my attention during the Blogger Butt Smackdown. In fact, I believe I was destined to discover this product in order to be able to spread joy among cranky dieters. It's not chocolate, but it won't add pounds to your posterier.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

South Beach - Week Two

It's hard to believe that Week Two of the Blogger Butt Smackdown is underway! The response to this challenge has been overwhelming, and I am still working on a sidebar to track our collective progress. In the meantime, be sure to check out the sites of the other participants who leave comments. I KNOW they would love to hear from you:) We need all of the support we can get!

I have enjoyed reading about what each person is doing to combat the fat. I believe that our group covers the full spectrum of weight loss options. Some are exercising, others are just focusing on eating healthy foods. Some are following a specific diet plan, others are trying to eat smaller portions and make better choices. We even have some skinny people (don't hate) who couldn't care less about dieting, but are leaving supportive comments. You guys ROCK!

As you know, I chose the South Beach Diet Plan. I am still in Phase One, and have had a few slip-ups. I have discovered that the single most important thing for me is having "legal" food in my refrigerator at all times. That leaves me NO REASON to eat something that isn't on the plan. I enjoy the food, and have felt neither hungry nor deprived. Being held accountable to YOU has also helped me stay on track, for the most part!

One thing that I discovered years ago is that I cannot lose weight without exercising. I've committed to going to the gym every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday - OR, at least three times per week. Last week, I exercised for 30 minutes each time, and plan to increase that to 45 minutes this week. The next step will be to start attending classes again. (I LOVE Pilates!)

My total weight loss for the week is THREE POUNDS! I couldn't be happier:) Despite my weekend transgressions, I. Lost. Weight. YAY!

It appears that EVERYONE has made progress this week. THAT is good news! Keep up the good work - We'll all be back in our skinny clothes before you know it!!!!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Breaking News

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programing to bring you breaking news. Cool Breeze is celebrating a birthday today!!!!!

It's no fun when your birthday falls on Monday, so go over and leave him TONS of bloggy birthday wishes!!!!!
Happy Birthday, Honey!!! I love you:)
For those of you who tuned in to catch Week 2 of the Blogger Butt Smackdown, it will be broadcast tomorrow in its' entirety. The network apologizes for any inconvenience.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


January 10, 2009

Dear Blogger Butt Smackdown Participants:

It is with a heavy heart that I must inform you that I may not be able to continue to serve as your mentor. I am no longer worthy of your trust, for I have cheated. Yes, you read that correctly. I. Cheated. On. My. Diet. While all of you were at home munching on celery sticks and broccoli florets, I was enjoying eighteen hours of utter debauchery.

Last night, Cool Breeze and I were waiting for the teenagers to arrive home for dinner. We had some down time, and I succumbed to the evil wiles of the wine bottle that had been screaming my name for FIVE DAYS. I chastised myself as I poured that nectar of the gods into my favorite wine glass. I was confident that it wouldn't taste as good as I thought it would. I was wrong! It. Was. Wonderful. Fortunately, only a single serving remained in the bottle. It could have been MUCH worse!

Unfortunately, that's not all.

Snow White had an audition early this morning, after which we went to iHop for breakfast. I enjoyed a wonderful spinach and mushroom omelet that fit nicely into my South Beach Diet Plan. (I didn't eat the hollandaise sauce) BUT, I also enjoyed 1/2 of one of the pancakes that accompanied said omelet. The sugar-free syrup did little to alleviate my guilt.

As you can plainly see, the South Beach struggle continues at Casa de Envy. I'm attempting to crawl back onto the diet wagon and take control of the reigns. Until I regain my footing, you may want to turn to Mental P Mama for guidance. She may have eaten 327 olives, but she never sipped a single drop of that martini. If I am impeached, I nominate her as your new leader. You'll have to organize your own special election. That would be much too painful for me to handle.

In closing, I would like to encourage all of you to take it one day at a time. Don't beat yourself up if you slip, just get back on track and keep moving forward. I have run out of cliches for this paragraph, so feel free to add your own here____________________.


Blogger Butt Smackdown Moderator with a Past

Friday, January 9, 2009

Roses For A Friend

Happy Birthday Chesapeake Bay Woman. I hope it's the best one yet!!

We've only known each other since last fall, but I feel as if I have known her my whole life. She is SO much fun to hang out with, and I look forward to many more "meetings" where we drink wine and pretend to plan for the Blogapalooza!

Please take a moment to go over and wish her a Happy Birthday:)

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I hadn't planned to post today, but my lunch was just screaming to have its' picture taken!

This feast included tunafish, romaine salad with roasted red peppers, feta cheese, and Greek vinaigrette dressing, & a sugar-free Jello cup.

And for dessert......a little eye candy.

Zero Fat.

Zero Calories.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


This is a photo of my sisters and me - circa 1987. (Top to Bottom: Middle Sis, BHE & Little Sis) We were vacationing on the Eastern Shore of Virginia during the week of Pony Penning. Our adventures could never compare to those of the Chesapeake Bay Family, but we certainly had a good time!

Cool Breeze and I have been discussing what we would like to do for vacation this year. There are SO many places that we enjoy visiting, but there is never enough time to see and do it all.

Our first trip will be to take Snow White "school shopping" over her Spring Break. She provided me with a list of potential colleges, and most of them are in, get this, NEW YORK CITY! I am terrified to send my child off to the big city, but she will never be a famous opera singer if she doesn't have an opportunity to submerge herself in the proper environment. After all, I'm hoping that she will be takin' care of Mama one day:) (All I've asked for is a driver. I have everything else I need.)

Other options include The Outer Banks, Nassau, Hershey, Atlantic City, Mathews...who knows where we will end up! Wherever it is, I know it will be relaxing, AND, there will be wine!

Where will you be vacationing this year?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

One Of Those Days

Points to ponder:

The last one pretty much sums it up! I'm off to eat some broccoli. Have a great Tuesday:)

Monday, January 5, 2009

South Beach - Week One

I've eaten, um, tossed all of the bad stuff...

And stocked up on all of the good stuff...

Lunches and snacks are prepared for the day. My gym bag is packed, and waiting in the car.

Are YOU ready to get thin again??

Don't forget to leave me some information about your weight loss goals, exercise goals, tips, etc. I'll be building a sidebar around today's comment section. Be creative!!!

If you are not joining in the diet challenge, please leave a word of encouragement for those who are:)

I will post on this topic every Monday.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Getting Ready

My primary resolution this year is to lose 20 pounds. In an effort to keep myself motivated AND accountable, I have decided to host the first South Beach Blogger Butt Smackdown!! If you'd like to participate, bring it on! If not, I hope you will stop by and leave an occasional encouraging word. We'll need it:)

My friend Geri over at New Wrinkles...for old souls has posted the pros and cons for some of the most popular diets available today. She has given an overview of each, and has included helpful links. I have chosen South Beach because it has worked for me in the past. You, however, should choose the diet that best suits YOUR lifestyle.

I have set up an account on the South Beach site. It's easy to create an account, and it's free for the first seven days. After the first week, it costs $5.00 per week to continue. You can cancel at any time if you are not satisfied. The benefits of signing up are too numerous to list. Some highlights include: a daily newsletter, optional weekly menu plans which include a shopping list (YEAH!), progress tracking, and "Beach Buddies"! My user name is Big Hair Envy, so be sure to look me up if you sign on for their program. I plan to work on my user profile today:)

Our first "meeting" will be Monday, January 5. Stop by and let me know which diet you have chosen, what your goals are, and what you hope to get out of our weekly "meetings". You can also share menu and exercise tips if you'd like. There really are NO RULES. I hope to just serve as the is YOUR forum:) For now, we'll just plan to "meet" each Monday, unless anyone has a better idea. I am open to suggestions.

I'm going to attempt to create a sidebar area dedicated to the SBBBSD. What do you think we should include there? Obviously, we will want to track our progress as a group, but it might be nice to also have a "tip of the day", or maybe a helpful website. Your thoughts?

Today I will be working on my meal plans for next week, and eating myself into a bad-food-coma! There may even be wine involved...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

A toast to 2009...
Happy New Year!