Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mission accomplished!

Woo hoo! I did it! I just finished the Beginner 21 Day Kettlebell Challenge and I’m so excited to have finished. This was a great three weeks. I lost weight, I lost inches, I gained inches and I rekindled my love for the kettlebell. 🙂

Many  thanks to Jamie Espalin for encouraging me to take measurements and photos. I am going to save the photos for a day in the future where I think you’ll be able to see a huge change. But I will share the measurements with you. It’s pretty astounding.

Overall, I had a net loss of 13.25 inches. That includes the inches I gained. 😉

I gained a half an inch in each bicep and 1/4 inch in each of my forearms. I could fairly feel my forearms growing that 1/4 inch, too. I’m happy with gaining inches in my arms because I’ve been swinging Mick every day for three weeks and it only makes sense.

But what doesn’t make sense is the inches I have lost. Astounding is the word I come up with because I’ve never experienced anything quite like this before.

I lost two inches from my hips and an inch and a half from my waist. In three weeks. For real. But here’s a crazier thing. My natural waist is above my belly button where they say you should measure your waist so I usually measure both. At my belly button? I lost 7.75 inches. In three weeks. For real. Astounding, no? 🙂

I thought it was weird when I first took my measurements that my right thigh and calf were each an inch bigger than the left side. I was so sure I was wrong that I measured twice. (I did that with my belly button measurement, too, eventually asking David for help because I was so sure the tape measure wasn’t in the right place.)

Anyway, I lost an inch off of the right thigh and calf and now I’m symmetrical. 🙂

I’ve been eating very clean paleo throughout the challenge. The book suggests having a cheat meal of one hour once a week and I’ve done that. I like it. It gives me a chance to eat things that I don’t otherwise eat and keeps me from craving or missing them the rest of the time. Plus, I don’t end up feeling bad after eating it because I have permission.

I lost a full 10 pounds. In three weeks. For real. I’m super excited about that, too.

Over the course of the 21 days, my average swing went from 17 in each 30 second interval to 19. And the one minute rest period started seeming long.

So…starting tomorrow, I’m going to move up to the intermediate version of the challenge and do another three weeks. I’m excited and a little nervous because it looks like a real challenge but I know I can do it.

Thank you again, Jaime, for encouraging me along and thank you for teaching me how to do the swings!


Another book cover post

So it’s said that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover but that’s entirely what I would do in this instance.

I have been reading Laura Levine’s books. They are fun and crazy and cute. Here are the covers of the books I’ve read.

Don’t they look fun?

These are the books of Laura Levine’s that the Bartlesville Library has. They also had one other but it was in the Large Print section.

I went ahead and picked it up. I don’t mind reading large print and it was a cute story. But…if I had never read Laura Levine, I would never have picked this book up. Here’s the Large Print cover.

In no way does this cover depict the fun that’s held between the covers. It looks dark and scary and I don’t read dark and scary books.

Here’s the way the book cover of the regular print book looks.

Fun, yes?

I can’t understand why they would not use the same fun cover on the Large Print book as they would on the regular print book.

So, in this case you really shouldn’t judge a book by the cover if you are reading the Large Print version of Killer Blonde. It’s still a wacky, fun caper staring Jaine Austen. It just doesn’t look like it.

More than “just” a mail lady

Sandy Tharp was the best the USPS had to offer and she was my friend.

Sandy Tharp - from her facebook page

Sandy went to be with Jesus Saturday night and I was so sad to learn this news. I’m still so very sad.

We’ve had Sandy delivering our mail for as long as we’ve lived here. She was the epitome of what you’d want in an outstanding mail person. She was efficient and friendly and she cared.

We travel pretty extensively and Sandy always made sure things were right at our house. One time, when  FedEx delivered an unexpected parcel and we were gone, Sandy picked it up and held it for us until we were back in the country.

One time, she called me and said she saw someone going into our house and was that okay. We did have someone watching our house at that time and it was okay that she was there but I was touched that Sandy was paying attention and alerted me in case it wasn’t okay.

Sandy was a mom and a grandma and she loved all of those kids from old to young. She would tell me about them and what they were doing. When she learned I was going to be the grandma to a little girl, she shared with me the things she did with her granddaughters.

I know that Sandy’s family is devasted at this loss and I’m fairly sure that the people on her mail route are all feeling the same sad sense of loss that I am.

Rest in peace, my friend. I will miss you so much.


Virtual high five!

Woo hoo! I did it!

Day 11 of the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge was 20 minutes long and represents the longest workout in the program. There are two 20 minute days and this day was five minutes and four sets longer than the previous longest workout of fifteen minutes.

I was excited because I didn’t dwell on it, I ate a banana and I knew I could do it. 🙂

I slept a little later this a.m. because I woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t sleep for about an hour. I knew it was important not to go into this workout tired.

By the time we got back from walking, it was 9:00 a.m. Later AND warmer than I’m used to.

I took a whole gallon of water out with me and a towel so I could wipe my sweaty brow without ruining my grip.

After the third set, I was hot. In my one minute of active rest, I ran in the house and swapped my t shirt for a sleeveless shirt.

After set seven, my feet were hot. I remembered that one of the best things about training with Jaime is that he said it’s actually better for your grip to do the swings barefoot. How could I forget? I love that!

After set nine, I was in familiar territory as the fifteen minute day has nine sets.

It was a fabu, strong workout. I did seventeen swings in each 30 second set except for the first one where I had to start the timer, put it down and get over to the kettlebell.

This is the hump. The halfway of the 21 Day Challenge and I’m so excited to have done it so well!

Virtually high fiving you! 🙂

With arms wide open

It’s so fun to watch our son be the daddy of a little girl. We have so many boys in our family, it’s kind of a foreign concept for all of us.

Geoff is really good about sending us photos every day of Aniston since we can’t visit with her as often as we’d like.

Yesterday, he sent this photo:

with the comment, “Sleeping, arms wide open.”


Me: She’s going to have to get a double wide king sized bed to sleep that way when she’s married.

Geoff: Yeah – getting married is going to be her biggest problem.

Me: LOL!

So protective, so cute. Poor Glambaby. 😉

What a difference a banana makes

And the right frame of mind.

Today, in the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge, I had a tough 15 minute workout. This workout is the same as Day 4, a day where I thought I had surely killed myself.

I read the Day 4 workout after Day 3 when I went to set my Gymboss. I freaked out at the thought of doing a 15 minute workout with 9 sets of swings. I thought about it all day long.

When I started the work out on Day 4, the first two sets of swings were crap. Because all I could think about was how I wasn’t going to be able to do it. I didn’t want to fail. And by not wanting to so much that I couldn’t stop thinking about it, I almost did.

I finished the workout and promptly threw up.

But I didn’t feel like I deserved mad respect. I felt sick to my stomach all day long, with a blinding headache. When I went to bed that night I prayed that God would let me wake up in the morning. I never want to feel like that again.

I thought a lot about why I ended up feeling that way. We drank an extra large amount of coffee that day before we went for our walk because we got up earlier. I’m not typically an eat before you workout kind of gal so I went into the workout with all that coffee, my system further emptied out by our morning walk, and the sure thought that I would not be able to do this workout.

I think I bottomed out. My blood sugar just went through the floor.

I saw a couple of days ago that the Day 4 workout was going to repeat today. I told David, “I am not going to think about this and let it get into my head”.  And I didn’t.

Because of how badly I felt after Day 4, I wanted to be sure to eat something before I trained today. An early morning google search of just what I should eat turned up a lot of fruit related suggestions. I have been trying to stay away from fruit and focus more on veggies, meat, and nuts so many of the options we didn’t have in the house. But over and over again, I saw the banana as a suggestion. We have bananas.

When David isn’t being

He’s being

I grabbed four Brazil nuts before our walk and, when I got home, I had a banana while I was grabbing my Gymboss, water and kettlebell.

Wow! What a difference a banana makes. My workout was AWESOME! I felt so happy to feel so good.

When I passed the halfway mark, still feeling strong, I thought, “This is why I’m doing this challenge. This is what it’s all about.”

So I’m super excited that I don’t have to pray to stay alive today. I’m thrilled to have had a great workout and to get past Day 8 of the Challenge! 🙂


So I’m doing the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge. And it’s going great! It’s really intense but so far, so good. 🙂

I have been setting my Gymboss each day after that day’s workout for the following day. This way, I can come back from our walk, all warmed up, grab the Gymboss and kettlebell and get started.

Yesterday, I get to Day 6 and I see plank alternating with swings. Huh?

I scroll down until I find this:

with a description of proper form. Apparently, in this program (and maybe in general) the plank is a precursor exercise for push-ups. The Beginner level, which I am doing, has planks while the more advanced levels have push-ups.

Okay. So there are 30 seconds of swings followed by a minute rest then 30 second plank followed by a minute rest. Two sets of each. Sounds easy.

But then I start to think about it. 30 seconds can seem super fast when you are on, say the fourth set of 30 second swings followed by 30 seconds of rest. You barely have time to catch your breath before the beep that signals the next set.

Or, 30 seconds can seem incredibly long when you’re on the ninth set of 30 second swings followed by a minute of rest.

So what will it be? Will I be able to do it? I’m sure going to try.

The first set of swings was beautiful. The minute rest seemed like a long time.

Plank time. I focused on proper form. Keeping my body in a straight line, sucking in my abs, neutral neck, don’t let hips drop, don’t let back arch.

Whew! By the time I did all that, 30 seconds was up. Woo hoo! I did it!

David was fixing his breakfast and I shouted my excitement to him through the open kitchen window.

The second set of planks was a little bit more difficult. I was a little more tired, my abs were starting to tremble and my arms were pleading with me to just let go. And I made it!

I know it was only two planks for 30 seconds each but I’m just beyond excited that I was able to complete them!

You have to start somewhere, right? 🙂


Inspiring a dream

You may say I’m a dreamer. It says so right on the front of my website. 😉 And I am a dreamer. The bigger the dream, the better.

It was the dream of doing something big that led me to direct pageants. I had always wanted to compete but my mom didn’t like the idea. Eventually, at the age of 37, I competed for the first time. It was great and I was bitten by the pageant “bug”.

All of us pageant people know the bug. 😉

I competed for a total of three years before venturing into directing. I knew that I would be a good director. I like people and I like a project.  I think I really excelled at all of the technical aspects of pageant directing.

What I didn’t count on was the complete and total satisfaction I would get from working with the women that I would direct. After several years, I viewed myself as more of a mentor of women than a pageant director.

A lot of women enter pageants because they have something, some cause, they need to bring attention to. Over and over again, I saw how placing a crown and a banner on a woman would open doors to her that might have otherwise remained closed.

One such woman is Debbie Bunch. Debbie came to our 2009 pageant after emailing me to ask about how she would go about the process of competing the following year. She made her mind up that she was going to compete at that pageant but she didn’t introduce herself even though she said she almost ran into me coming out of the ladies room. She knew who I was but I had never seen her.

Me with Debbie at the Tulsa Women's Living Expo

She then came to the send-off party for our 2009 titleholders. This was where I first met this wonderful, sweet, amazing woman who would become one of my lifelong, forever friends.

Debbie, at the time I met her, had lost a lot of weight but she was still not your typical pageant contestant. I didn’t care. I never told my judges that they had to pick a queen of a certain size. To me, the total package, was the more important thing and Debbie had so much going for her.

What Debbie wanted to do with her title was to bring attention to a very serious and, sadly, common issue: sexual child abuse. Debbie is, herself, a survivor.

Crowned as Mrs. Canadian County 2010, Debbie went right to work. She was determined even though she was a little hesitant. I felt like my encouragement allowed her to go after her dream of making a difference in her community against child abuse.

Debbie didn’t win the 2010 Mrs. Oklahoma crown but she finished just out of the top 5 in 6th place. Pretty great for a girl who told one of our judges that she didn’t deserve to be Mrs. Oklahoma more than any of the other girls. She also won the Pageantry Spirit Award because she completely exemplifies what that award is about.

Since then, Debbie has done amazing things. And, like I said above, I’d like to believe that my encouragement helped her to live her dream because she is doing it!

She has been named the National Spokesperson for Dreamcatchers for Abused Children and works hard in her efforts to help them with their mission.

She recently held a candlelight vigil during child abuse awareness month. In a weekend full of the most incredibly awful weather that pulled attention away from her event, it was still well attended and called a resounding success by Debbie and others who were involved.

After the vigil, she began working on a bill that would require all sex offenders to wear ankle tracking bracelets. I know this motivated woman will make sure this bill is passed and made a law.

Debbie has even begun her own national pageant called Mrs. Community Service where she encourages others to live their dreams via community service. Her pageant benefits her charity Dreamcatchers for Abused Children.

I am so blessed to know Debbie and look forward to watching all of the great things she’s going to do in her life. If I had even a small part in helping her dream become a reality, then it’s more than enough for me.

You can do incredible things if you dare to dream and then actually put your dream into action as you can see by Debbie’s story above. I’d like to recommend a book to help you unleash your dreams.

Whitney Johnson has a new book out entitled  Dare, Dream, Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream, which is available at bookstores nationwide, as well as on all major online retailers, including Amazon, B&N, Indiebound and others.” Maybe this is the book you need to give you the encouragement to live your dream.

Whatever your dream is, don’t just think about it. Get out and do it. I can’t wait to hear about it! 🙂

21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge – Day 1

I’m so excited to have finally been able to start the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge. If you remember, back in August, I went to DSD in Tulsa to learn proper kettlebell swing form. I had read that it’s the very best full body exercise. As I was planning to move to Saudi at the time, I wasn’t sure what the gym situation was going to be when we arrived and I knew, if I brought a kettlebell, I could still work out no matter where I was.

Jaime taught me the swing and other things important to being strong. I love being strong! I knew it was important to get the form down correctly because I’m sure it would be pretty easy to really hurt yourself if you did the swings wrong.

I found the 21 Day Kettlebell Swing Challenge and then, after reading through it, I realized I needed the Gymboss which Jaime had recommended that I get. The Gymboss measures intervals and also has a stopwatch function that is handy.

I finally got the Gymboss in the mail the day before I left for Texas for a week to watch Lauri and Laurence. I’m now home and rested and just finished day one of the 21 day challenge.

The first order of business was to figure out how to set the Gymboss. I’m hopeless with reading instructions. I’m more of a hands-on kinda gal. The video they have on their website is terrifically helpful!

My Gymboss is pink. 🙂

Now I was ready to start. I got my middle sized kettlebell. She is 12 kgs or around 26 1/2 pounds. 26.4554715 pounds to be exact. This is the kettlebell I use most often at this point.

I have a smaller and a larger one, too.

The intervals were 30 seconds swinging with proper form followed by 60 seconds of active rest. Jaime told me that I need to keep moving on the rest intervals so I don’t freak my heart out and cause it to stop. (He was more technical than that but that’s the general idea.)

I did the workout fully! And it was a good one. I focused on really squeezing my glutes and thrusting my hips at the top. This makes the swinging easier since all of the power comes from your hips.

I averaged around 18 swings per 30 seconds.

I parked her badly after the fifth set.

Big dumb mistake: I didn’t bring water out with me. I guess I thought that since the workout was only 10 minutes long I wouldn’t need it but it sure would have been nice to have it at the rest break after the second set and probably every one after that.

Ahhhh live and learn.

Anyway, I’m super excited about this workout challenge and look forward to seeing how it goes! 🙂

Pampered to Death – book review

Pampered to Death (A Jaine Austen Mystery, #10)Pampered to Death by Laura Levine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As all of Laura Levine’s other books, I loved this book. Jaine Austen is a great character and the story is fun and intriguing. Now to read the rest of them! 🙂

View all my reviews