Thirty-One Gifts

Hi! I'm now a consultant for Thirty-One Gifts! I use it to supplement my writing income.

Follow this link for more info:

Friday, May 31, 2013


Can I lose 170 pounds?  It seems impossible.  Like impossible, if you didn't get that the first time.  I wasn't always heavy.  I actually grew up underweight, and they were always stuffing food in me to gain weight.  "Eat all that's on your plate.  There's starving children everywhere."  I was even teased for being too skinny as a child.

Then puberty hit.

I've been fighting it since I was 15.  I always fluctuated, but I still stayed thin throughout my teens.  I'll post pics later, but I was little.  I remember that feeling, and it was great.  I want that back.  When I got married, I was pregnant in the first year, and I never recovered.  I ate more than I needed, and I hardly ever exercised.  However, I was put on some terrible weight-gaining medication at age 30, so that didn't help either.

It's a lot to lose.  I have more to lose if I don't get it off.  UGH.  

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Best Steak Salad

I was writing, and my hubby brought me this delicious salad.  Made with 3-4 ounces of London Broil (bought from the local butcher), spring greens, blackberries, blueberries, a shake of salad toppings, a sprinkle of parmesean cheese, and balsamic vineagar dressing.  It was SO good.  Thought I would share some of what I eat, as people are asking!  So, this is one dinner, with 498 calories.  It's worth every bite.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Weigh Day!

I lost 3 pounds this week, bringing my total to 20.  I gained 6 pounds over Mother's Day weekend, and it's taken me two weeks to get off what 3 days (and a little lack of exercise) has done to me.  It wasn't worth it.  I should have saved all my calories for the day with my daughter, because that was the most important day.  I will next year!

My scale today said 300.  That's the truth of it.  It's ugly and dangerous.  It will kill me - if I let it.

This is what I want my scale to say to me in a year.  It will take longer, but this is a good goal.
Tomorrow: Back to the gym and smoothies.  That was working!

Exercise, Weight, and Moods

I know for sure that exercise really takes the weight off.  The first 6 weeks I was doing my new plan, the weight melted off to 20 pounds, but now, well, I haven't exercised like I did for a week, and I really feel a difference.  I feel it in my body, as I get cramps and stiffness in my joints, and I feel it in my moods as well.

I'm happier when I exercise.  The endorphins do their work.  They make that serotonin pop out, and it's feel good day!  I have to push hard on some days to exercise.  Even if it's fun, like basketball or a walk at the Farmer's Market, I have to make myself do it.  It's not always fun, but it gets results.  Unfortunately, I have discovered that, thought about it, and decided that I simply have to do it.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Much Lower Calorie Count

We just had our dinner to honor veterans everywhere, including many I know, and the calorie count was much lower than my "original" plan from yesterday.  What we ate:

Sauteed Tilapia in Olive oil with Old Bay
Sauteed Yellow Squash with one small sliced sausage (flavor), cauliflower, and carrots.
Watermelon and Strawberry Salsa (recipe below) for the fish

The stats for this meal are as follows:
Calories: 508
Fat:  23  (all in grams)
Protein: 18
Sugar: 23
Carbs: 60
Sodium: 583
Fiber: 7.6

This came out much better than traditional 3-day weekend fare.  And guess what?  My husband ate every bite and thought it was delicious.  He's not one to tell me he likes something if he doesn't.  He would totally tell me if it sucked.  That's love. :)

My Watermelon Salsa:

2 cups of watermelon in bite-size chunks or smaller
1/4 cup minced red onion
cilantro to taste
5 sliced strawberries
black pepper
salt (just a tad)
1 Tbsp honey  

Mix all gently, and then pour over the top of the fish.  Serves 2.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day Food

Okay.  I did some pre-planning.  For a typical Memorial Day lunch or dinner - or even all day festivities, here's what I might have eaten:

Hamburger with bun, mayo and ketchup
Potato Salad
Hot Dog with bun
Baked beans
2 deviled eggs
Chocolate cake
Ice cream

That used to be typical fair in my house, along with appetizers and alcohol.  Now, for the numbers.  For the meal above, the total calories are: 2,542.  For one meal!!  That does not include a beverage.  The number of fat grams? 114.  Almost triple the recommended daily allotment for me.  The sodium is 4,242 mg, more than twice the daily dose.  The protein is 77 grams, carbs are 456 grams, and the sugars were just over 100 grams. 

BTW, I used Live Strong to come up with my numbers, and the portions were not too small and not too large.

Let's just say that fish with watermelon mango salsa seems a good choice for Monday. :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Death and 100

At my age, I've been to more than my fair share of funerals.  Starting at age 15, when my father died, through a great-grandfather, two uncles, both grandparents, my mother, stepfather, aunt, and a very close friend.  That doesn't include acquaintances.  I gave eulogies at seven of them.  I'm actually pretty good at holding composure and thought about doing it for a living, but I guess most people do their own family - more personal.

Anyway, I'm tired of people dying, losing family, and sick people.  But, there's nothing I can do about that now.  In the words of Scarlett O'Hara, "I'll think about that tomorrow."

What I can think about is how not to die before my time, and I want my time to be long.  My weight and genetics are against me right now, rather obstacles to overcome, but I want another 40 or 50 years.  I'd love to see 100.  Wow.

What would the world be like then?

My grandmother said she was too tired to live to 100, as her father had made it to 99, but I wouldn't mind.  As long as I could be healthy.  That's the trick, and it has been my own personal odyssey.

The weight.

However, it's coming off, and although Mother's Day Weekend killed me in a small setback, I'm back on it.  Wonder what I'd do every day at 100?  Maybe I'll save learning the piano or painting for then. :)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Non-Food Rewards for Weight Loss

You can't eat a big piece of chocolate cake for losing 2 pounds.  Please.  I used to play that game all the time, and that's just an example.  It doesn't work; it just makes you bigger.  You should reward yourself for weight loss and working out.  Here's the best idea I've ever heard:
As a suggestion, make it a dollar, but use your own budget to decide on the amount.  Put one dollar in a  jar every time you work out or lose one pound.  Before you know it, you'll have enough to go to a movie, get a new outfit, lotions, even jewelry!  I'm putting mine in for today - $4.50 - for my weight loss yesterday and my exercise today.  Nothing motivates like money, so get out there and decide what you really want, (Mine is a pottery class), and start saving!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Losing Weight!

So 3 1/2 pounds are gone from the Mother's Day gain.  I'm so glad that it was a bit of water in there, too, because it wasn't that hard to get the weight off this week.  I exercised a little, but I didn't overdo it by far.  This week is new, and it's time to get serious again.  I'm going to ignore that this weekend is another holiday weekend, so I'll eat normally.

Why?  It's a good choice, but my anniversary is in just a month, and I'd like a reason to get a new pair of shorts or two. :)  I've been running around in all sorts of sizes, and I now need to go through my closet and get rid of a few of my larger clothes, and find out just what fits!

A good job for a Thursday.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Days Off

I always take Mondays off from the world.  I do a lot on the weekends: gardening, working out, errands, seeing family, and general housekeeping.  My hubby works out in the yard on his stuff, and I work on mine.  When Monday comes, I am exhausted.  I am physically tired, and it's actually like it's my Saturday.  During the week, I stay busy writing and now - working out.

But, today is Monday.  Everyone needs a break, and I try to use Mondays to recharge and work hard for the rest of the week.  Writing is not hard work, but working out is!  It's getting to be more fun than before, and I am starting to see results.  I had a long walk the other night, and my daughter said, "Oh, Mom, we should have gotten a cane for you," and I said an expletive, something to the tune of, "I don't need a #%&&* cane!"  She laughed; I laughed, but I wondered, is that what she thinks of my health?

That means that I should work out harder, although I made the walk just fine.  I mean, I did a 5K a couple of weeks ago.  Geez.  She was probably thinking of my bum ankle.  I should straighten this out!

Funny thing is, I got feedback from my editor, so I ended up working today, anyway.  See?  A writer can never leave her work... it's always in our heads.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Eating out again...

Well, it is graduation time.  Since I had a gain last week, because of three Mother's Day events, and my lack of self-control, I wanted to be careful last night.  My sister ordered surf and turf.  My daughter ordered a fried seafood sampler, others ordered crab legs, scallops, and a huge hamburger.  I wanted it all...

What I did was pre-plan.  I ate a huge bowl of fruit before leaving for the graduation of my nephew, Jordan, and I was surprised that the event did not take very long.  I had a cereal bar if I needed it.  At dinner after the graduation, I ordered a shrimp cocktail and a drink.  That's it.  BUT, they were really large prawns, so it was enough.  I sat there thinking of the scale on Wednesday.  It's really a deterrent.

When I got home, I had some trail mix and water, and it was enough.

Congratulations to my nephew, Jordan Komorny, and I wish my new man good luck as he enters the Air Force.  Pictured below, with his amazing mom, Jennifer.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mood Altering Drug

Exercise!  It is mood-altering.  I've been low all week, and not exercising as much as I should, so hubby finally got tired of that, and took me to the park after work.  We only played basketball for 15-20 minutes, but it was enough to get sweaty and feel a bit better.  I was so lethargic, that I didn't play as long as usual, but it was enough for today.  It may me feel like writing again, and that's a positive mood-changer as well.

Do something you are passionate about.

Along with exercise, I write.  However, I didn't realize what a drug it is until just a few months ago.  I finished the April A to Z blog challenge, while finishing my book for publication, and I was so "up" every day.  Fulfilling your passion, even working on it, can boost your mood as no drug can.  It's better than Prozac, without the terrible side effects...  So, exercise and do something you've always wanted to do.  Mine is pottery, next.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Gaining Weight

Six pounds last week!  Well, so maybe the brunch and two dinners out weren't such a good idea.  Or that Whopper.  Yeah, I fell off the wagon.  I got over-confident.  I said, "I got this."

I didn't have a tight grip.

I have it back now, and can feel the salt leaving my body, as my fingers aren't the sausages they were this morning.  Is it all sodium?  No, but I can see where it would be a lot.  I still logged my food into Live Strong, so maybe I'll show you what a bad day is like... once I get up the nerve!  Ha!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's Day and Food

I did SO well on Friday and Saturday, but Sunday I ate a little too much.  Not really too much, but the wrong things.  I'm giving myself a break for that one day - particularly after two months of logging in my food.  I mean, I'm not perfect - if I was, my name wouldn't be Veronica!

It was good to talk to some of my "mothers."  My mother passed a few years ago, so I was able to talk to the other women in my life that fill that role.  My grandmother being one of those, and in particular, I call her on Mother's Day since my father passed 30 years ago - well, she said she was proud of me.  Now, at 45, that shouldn't seem like a big deal, but it changed my whole mood and day, in general.  Heck, it changed my outlook on myself.  Everyone should have someone tell them they're proud.  It does wonders for your self-confidence.  Even at this age...

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Best Exercise

Gardening.  It is through my mom, (stepmother) Darlene, that I have learned and remembered, how much I love to garden.  I used to raise roses in England, over twenty years ago, but have not done much since.  Hubby bought me a rose bush, and I'm all over it.  We have about 25 rose bushes on property, and last weekend I went out to prune them.  They were in terrible shape.  They're much better now, and my house is filled with color and the perfume of petals.

I sweat like a guy when I garden.

It's hard work.  It's a lot of bending, lifting, and general labor.  It's in the sun, so the heat makes you sweat. (I live in Florida)  The sun is good for you: vitamin D goes a long way in changing a bad mood. You feel accomplished, because you can see and enjoy all the hard work, and it feels good to play in the dirt.  I like romping around in the dirt.

I used to make mud pies when I was little.

Thanks, Darlene, for giving me something else to focus my attention on in a good way, improving my mood, and being a role model.  I just imagine her in the garden through her stories, and I wanted to be out there, too.

There are over 100 plants, grasses and bushes in the back yard, just waiting for me to plant them all over the property.  :)

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weigh Day

... And three more pounds are gone.  I didn't exercise as much this week, so I was really surprised.  However, I have been diligent about logging in my food for the day on Live Strong's site.  The best thing is, I am not starving, only making better choices.  I do have choice.  I can decide whether to eat it or not, cook it this way or that, and what I buy.

It is a choice to be fat. (For me)

I understand that now.  For so long, I've felt that my body betrayed me - why can others be thin and not me?  However, as I've now lost 20 pounds, I realize that I am doing it.  I can eat ice cream or fruit.  I can have smaller portions or stuff my face.  On a daily basis, I have nothing but choices.

Holidays:  Mother's day is coming up, and I have a big weekend planned, as a lot of you do.  I plan to try to stick to my plan as much as possible.  That means pre-planning by looking up the restaurant menu online, logging in my food, and getting enough exercise.


Liebster Blog Award

I have been given a Liebster Award for bloggers with less than 200 followers.  You have been nominated by me for one.  Congratulations!  Because you won, tell 11 random facts about yourself, answer the 11 questions at the bottom, and then choose 11 bloggers that you think should be highlighted in this way.  Put them on your blog with their links, as well as mine.
Thank you, Allison Bruning!
Allison Bruning - Her Blog
Her books:

11 Random Facts About Me

1.  I lived in England for four years.
2.  I was hit in the face by a flying duck at Disney World.
3.  I have been to 38 states and 12 countries.
4.  In my writing zone, I will write for hours without acknowledging anyone!
5.  I love walking barefoot in the rain with my daughter.
6.  I play basketball every week with my husband.
7.  I married my high school sweetheart – 30 years after we first met.
8.  I have infinite patience for kids, the elderly, and animals.
9.  Dublin is my favorite city.
10. I can take apart an M-16 and have shot a grenade launcher.  (But, I detest guns.)

1.  What fictional character would you love to be for a day? 

Scout, from To Kill A Mockingbird. 

2.  What is the hardest aspect of writing for you?

Consistency and discipline: I wish I could write in long stints every day, but my mind bounces around and I get bored.

3.  What three historical figures would you love to share a cup of coffee and conversation with?

Coffee with Maya Angelou
Tea with Emily Dickinson
And a beer with Ernest Hemingway

4. If you weren't an author, what else would you be doing?

Something artistic, such as a potter.  I will be taking classes, so it may come true, too!

5. On you're deathbed, far into the future, how do you want to be remembered?

As a good mother, writer, and wife.

6. Do you believe in an afterlife?

I am spiritual, but I don’t know what lies ahead.

7. What is your favorite book, movie, and album?

Book – Jane Eyre
Movie – Gone With The Wind
Album – The Beatles Anthology and Anything Eminem

8. Name the worst aspect of humanity.

Rudeness.  The arrogance required to be rude leads to a myriad of problems.

9. Name the best aspect of humanity.

Our ability to be compassionate.

10. If an alien landed on Earth and asked you to go with him or her, but that you'd never be able to return home, would you go?  Why or why not?

No.  I’m an earth girl, and I have too many adventures left on this planet.

11. Do you believe intelligent life exists beyond this planet? Why or why not?

Yes.  Nothing has been disproved to me.

I nominate...

Here are your questions:

1.  What is your favorite book and why?
2.  Are you making a living at writing?
3.  What’s your favorite childhood book?
4.  What would you do if you didn’t write?
5.  Where’s the best place you’ve ever been?
6.  What is your genre specialty in writing?
7.  What is your biggest personal dream, and have you realized it?
8.  Who is your favorite contemporary author?
9.  What movie, book, and TV show would you recommend?
10.  What is the meaning of life?
11.  What makes you laugh?

Here's my links:
She's So Bipolar - Non-fiction book

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Favorite Smoothies - Homemade!

Apple Pie Smoothie from Pinterest

1 banana                                                
1 apple (prefer Granny Smith)
1/2 cup Greek plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp Honey
1 tsp cinnamon
6 almonds
ice for chilling

Throw all in the blender until smooth.

Berry Smoothie

1 cup Strawberries
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup Greek plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1 Tbsp Honey
ice to chill

Blend all till smooth.

Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie

1 Tbsp Peanut butter
1 large banana
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup milk
One pkg of Stevia
ice to chill

Blend until smooth!

Berries and Banana Smoothie

1 cup Strawberries
1 banana
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup of milk
ice to chill


These are my favorite for breakfast.  I'm not a morning person, and I hate to eat till later, but I will drink a smoothie.  They include dairy, fruit, protein, and natural sugar for a good carb burst in the morning.  Making them myself saves a ton of fat, sugar, and calories.  It doesn't take long, and if you work, it's quick and easy to take in the car.  These can also be for dessert.  That's when my husband likes them.  he begs me to make the berry one.  It's his favorite.  We're playing around with pineapple and orange tonight.  Yum!

P.S.  I'm working on one with nutella as a dessert option...

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My New Book: She's So Bipolar

Sorry to take you away from my regularly scheduled programming of health and weight loss, but I've just come out with a new book called, She's So Bipolar.  You can find the link for the trailer to the left of this post and on You Tube.  Here it is now... making its blog debut: 

The book is a 100 page look at bipolar disorder: the good, the bad, and the ugly.  All pictures, except where noted, are by me - taken over a year's time, while I was working on my Master's degree.  My hope for this book is to inform people what it is like to have the disorder, and how to handle some of the toughest situations.  With chapter titles like, "Telling Your Children," and "I'm Manic Now: An Experiment in Writing," I tried to cover as much as possible in a simple, palatable way.  

You can find the book on Amazon and Create Space's e-store.  It will be on Kindle very soon.  I'll let you know... :)

Food in a Day

Every day is different, but I thought I would show you a sample day on Live Strong.  I make my own menu.  My breakfast was a smoothie, my lunch was chicken salad on crackers with frozen grapes (my new love), on the side.  Although I went over for the day in fiber and protein, that's okay - The doctor said I needed to have more protein when I exercise more, and I need more fiber than most.  

The ones I worry about are carbs, sodium, fat, calories, and cholesterol.  I am usually much lower in sodium, but where I went wrong was using canned chicken for lunch WITH crackers.  Should have had real chicken and whole grain crackers or bread.  I went a little over calories for the day, but I had over 400 exercise calories that helped make up the difference.  

So that's me in a day - not starving and losing weight.


Greek Yogurt - Plain
Breakfast Totals


Canned Chicken
Miracle Whip
Club Crackers
Red Grapes
Lunch Totals


Broiled Barbecue Pork Chops
Sweet Potatoes, Baked In Skin
Dinner Totals
Hide empty meal times
Click Totals to View Charts

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