Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Travel Post: San Diego’s Little Italy!

Last weekend I was in the Little Italy district of San Diego for my Stepsister Janelle’s wedding!

IMG_2115Congrats to the new Mrs. Thornton! Open-mouthed smile

Anyway, we arrived Friday night, and stayed at a little hotel that was a block away from the main street. What an experience!


IMG_2064(The OCEAN!!!)

Breakfast Saturday morning was at Influx Café with my Mom and Stepdad, Gary. I had an open-faced Lox bagel with a Mexican mocha. I was impressed by this little open-air café, that felt very green with it’s recycled wood benches, cement floor and succulent plants on the tables. They catered a lot to the foot-traffic crowd, and nonetheless, a LOT of dogs passed through. Normally, dogs mixed with restaurants would bother me, but I was impressed with how they catered to the companion animals and still managed to have a full-service café. Needless to say, I came back a second time that day for a Lavender Italian soda (to DIE for!) and another Lox bagel for Kurt.

After breakfast, we were pleasantly surprised to find there was a Farmer’s Market going on the next street over.


Here’s the thing about me and Farmer’s Markets, I can NOT resist. There is something about open-air markets, cooking food and community that just makes me melt. I work within walking distance of the Covina Farmer’s market and I visit almost every week. I LOVE farmer’s markets!

Sunflowers and the back of my mom’s head. Winking smile


One of the coolest booths was definitely the live Sea Urchins. ^Chile peppers.

Apples and…
My first experience with Prickly Pears! Kurt joked that my curiosity comes from the Jungle Book.

And that was just my morning!
After retreating to our hotel room for some relaxation, I chose to venture back out for an authentic Italian lunch!
How bad did I want Gelato, but ended up with a PRETTY delicious cannoli instead!
(Not pictured was the awesome Caprese sandwich with mozzarella and basil, but I ate it too quickly, and I refuse to post pictures of half-eaten food!)
IMG_2083(yes, I’m aware it looks like beer)
Don’t even get me STARTED on the beauty of true Italian espresso! HOLY COW!
I was in HEAVEN! I usually put a whole bunch of stuff in my mistos at Starbucks, but this was some drink I could not pronounce (Caffè Shakerato), it was basically espresso, sugar and ice. I sipped it slowly as I made my second round through the Farmer’s Market on the way back to the hotel. Definitely something I will be ordering again if I get the chance!

Anyway, here’s a small collage of the rest of my journey to Little Italy (I took a LOT of pictures!)
IMG_2091 IMG_2092
Little shops and cafés.
Some cool architecture
This picture was on the side of the Art Store (that I could have LIVED in!)
”Mom, I’m going to quit my job at the hospital, move to San Diego and become an artist!”
”Okay, Holly, whatever.” LOL!

Rooftop couple-y pictures! (Eeek to my hair!)

IMG_2118IMG_2116Ha, Mom!
And at the wedding! Open-mouthed smile

Anyway, it was a beautiful weekend full of culture and surprises, and I feel very fortunate to have such an awesome family (and now extended family!). I had a BLAST!

I love San Diego!
<3 Holly Jo


Tuesday, August 21, 2012


So I made it all the way through class without stopping!
I'm having a better week! I think I'm really starting to get somewhere.
We did circut-style sets and weights, which I took the lighter weights, and then later found I didn't find myself as challenged as I wanted to time I will pick the 8's instead of the 5's.
(I still hate jumprope)

Anyway, to cool off, I took a 20-minute drive...and then THIS happened...
"Ohplease ohplease already have your running shoes on...I NEED A WALK!!!"

Poor puppy.

SO after MegaFit-Death-Class, I took my sad, pathetic dog on a 20-minute walk.

I'm so happy I'm feeling so much better!
(I might have to go in on Friday to do some treadmill work, because I'm going to be gone all weekend to my Stepsister Janelle's wedding in San Diego.)



Tuesday again...

Well, I tried a different server, Wordpress, and just came to the conclusion that it's not going to work for me for right now. I'm all about quick blogging, and, since I lay no claim to being a professional blogger, I am passing up that nonsense for simplicity.


Happy Tuesday everyone! I'm happy to announce that I've hit the 10-lb mark today!!!! *Cheers*
Since my return from Seattle back on the 16th of June, I've gone from 156.8 to 146.8. I'm ECSTATIC!
It was all hard work and eating healthy, passing on all those opportunities at work, home, etc. A.k.a. moderation (I pick and choose what I am willing to pass up and find fulfilling substitutions).
So, here are the new pictures!

I know there's not much of a difference (haha, I haven't posted the BEFORE pictures yet! Just kidding!), and please ignore the dead flowers...This is what they looked like two days ago. (Kurt is awesome!)
Even though I don't see that much of a difference, I really feel different. I have SO much more energy, and I don't feel like I need my afternoon nap anymore (shocking! I am a napper!).

So, since I've started, I wanted to show how I fit moderation into 3-4 twelve-hour shifts a week, because us nurses work LONG hours, and sometimes it's hard to stick to a diet plan when all you want to do is SNACK.
To give you an idea, our Orthopedic unit (Third Floor) is considered the "Snack Floor". Between the culturally-diverse potlucks (I mean, who can turn down pancit!), coffee runs, dounuts and bagels brought in by the ambulance companies and nursing students, breakfast burrito/sandwich mornings (I'm not kidding, this all goes on and on). And CAKE (Oh, God! Cake!). Basically, we have a never-ending supply of snack food. (I will have pictures! It doesn't end!)
It's really hard to not give in to temptation, and find a happy medium for my overwhelming sweet tooth during that 3-4PM gap. I have found substitutions, that I pre-purchase in the cafeteria before things get out of hand. In fact, I've taken to buying all of my food during breakfast, to avoid being tempted by the heavily-sauced and gravy'd meat slabs they serve downstairs.

My strategy for a typical work day:
Breakfast: Usually something light, Egg white omelette, oatmeal that I bring, a fresh fruit and coffee.

Lunch: A pre-packaged salad from the refrigerated section, fresh fruit, and a jell-o or yogurt. (Usually turns out to be too much food) OR, a pre-packaged sandwich, usually a pita or dark rye bread, turkey.

Dinner: Something quick and easy, usually a stir-fry, I almost always try to add some sort of vegetable and grains.

For this week, I've been making changes to how I purchase food, because lately, I've been getting frustrated with my lunch-card experiences. (Another story) And since I'm starting to follow Dave Ramsey's financial strategy plan, food has become an expense we are going to have to cut back on.

So here's how I've been doing this whole wholesome-living thing, on a budget!
I've been cooking a extra lately, and including my leftovers into my lunches. That way, I get a healthy, warm meal for lunch the next day. Include a few pieces of fresh fruit, and I have a complete lunch (and breakfast, if I bring a packet of oatmeal). Believe me when I say that I am the person that hates leftovers! I tend to take what is left-over from dinner, pack it neatly into a tupperware and set it delicately at the back of the refrigerator. But now, I'm actually making things that are reheatable in the first place.
Another helpful tip is that, during my chores before a workweek, I prepare my lunch then, with lots of yummy snacks and fruits.
Fresh and Easy "Eat Well" Apple Chicken bowl.
Turkey pita, with spinach and olive oil mayo, or sesame dressing, (and strawberries!)

And then I stuff it into my $6 Bento box!
 Cute, right? (99 Ranch was having a back-to-school sale)

Now, since I have a HUGE sweet tooth, I don't give up snacks altogether, but I do keep it to serving sizes and moderate! It's one of the things I've learned from French Women Don't Get Fat ( , a worthy book to check out when deciding on food trade-offs and moderation. I do not give up the things I love, I just find a way to fit them into a healthy lifestyle. If you want a cupcake, have a cupcake, but if you have a cupcake, and ice cream, and then fried chicken for dinner, and a shake on top of that, you're going to throw yourself out of balance.
So some of my favorite snacks when I just can't get past those food cravings!
Chocolate! Ice cream!!! I stick to the "serving size" on the nutrition facts. Yes, I measure out a half cup. Yes, I weigh stuff. This is where my nutrition class came in VERY handy! Learn to read your nutrition labels...
I also enjoy the 100-calorie packs, especially the Chips Ahoy, when I'm having some serious cookie cravings. Plain frozen bananas have also become a favorite treat of mine.
It's all about finding my balance and figuring out what works.

Anyway, that's my rant for today. I've been roped into attending the "MegaFit" class by your friendly neighborhood Muscle-Man (aka, my trainer's husband), and you always listen to the Muscle-man.  (Not kidding!) Note: this was the class that about killed me a couple weeks ago. IhatejumpropeIhatejumpropeIhatejumprope.



P.S. The heat in Southern California is finally breaking, but it's still torturous.

Sunday, August 19, 2012


So I got up early this morning and dragged my sorry butt to the gym...only to find that my trainer was on vacation!!! I was really bummed! So I ho-hummed on the elliptical, for, say 15 minutes and went home. It's all right, though, I'm taking my puppy to the Pacific Electric Trail tonight for a brisk walk. ^_^

Anyway, I'm in week 3 (4? I'm going to stop counting now) of my "Get Fit" goal. I'm down from 156 to 147.8 since I've returned from Seattle (about a month ago). I've been trying to keep up with a diet and exercise plan, which has helped me tremendously.
I'm finally getting used to the routine of hitting the gym. I'm noticing a fantastic boost in my mood and I love going for the social aspect, which I desperately need after a summer of working crazy hours.
Speaking of crazy hours, I have just completed my last 50-hour week for the summer, and next week I'll be heading to San Diego for my stepsister Janelle's wedding. This means a weeee bit of clothes shopping before the big weekend and DUN DUN DUN....School starting.

I thought I would post a few pictures of my ways of staying "organized", because I have a very busy and full life with lots of room for to-do lists.
 So this is my basic armory, and I carry the bottom three around in my laptop bag on a daily basis.
 I have a month/day calendar, in which I hand-write to-do lists. I was really skeptical at first of using this method, because it seemed kind of difficult to make function, but when I decided to set some time aside for it, it really helps me stay organized and remember appointments. Also, I divide the day into columns. One half is the to-do list, and the other half is a food journal, so I can know to balance meals when I have, say, and off day.
 This (sideways) picture, is my Moleskine, my life in a hardbound little journal. When I'm not blogging, or when I need some personal writing time, this is my go-to. It's really helped me manage my stress over the past years (this is my third one) and I can put down my thoughts and ideas when I don't have a computer nearby. It's also great to look back on the hard times and see how far I've come.

 I carry my bible with me wherever I go. Yes. I am that person. No, I won't apologize for it.
 Something I don't use as much now that we're back with the parents for the next 6 months, is my "Life Management" notebook. This covers anything from my personal finance papers, where I store my bills, receipts, calendars, chore lists and recipes. I will be utilizing this once again in December when we are back on our own.
Ahhh French Press, I could not live without. Not really an organizing tool, but the fuel behind the madness. As much as I am a Starbucks fan, there is nothing like home-made coffee. And I make GOOD coffee!

I think one of my biggest pieces of advice to staying organized is making time out of your day (and week) to focus on what needs to be done. My day for this is Monday, usually in the mornings. I also have about an hour and a half each day before I start work (I carpool with Kurt) in which I take the time to organize my thoughts, read, write, and plan for the day/week.
If you must know, I work twelve hour shifts, 7am-7pm, I am up at 4am every day to be in Covina by 5:30. It took a while to get used to the long hours and commutes (I have a 45-minute train ride home). But after doing it for two years, it's become a functioning part of my schedule. I actually enjoy it (once I get past the part of hating my alarm clock...)

So happy Sunday everyone, it's going to be a great action-packed week! I'll keep in touch and hopefully be able to stay organized.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Week 2-Tuesday

So this is the technical beginning of Week 2 of my workout routine, (it's technically week 3, but the actual Week 2 was vetoed by a 50-hour work week and a severe sinus infection).
I'll post about week one later, because I have it written down somewhere and before pictures to show where I started, measurements and weight.

I am going at this full-force now, because after getting home from the gym last night I was in an AWESOME mood! I think it has something to do with the class I'm taking, or the social interaction, but the Cardio Kickboxing class is definitely what I needed. I love the encouragement I get from the trainers, and there's a lot of college-age/post-college-age women in the class, so I feel right at home.
Now in addition to that, my gym does not have air conditioning. Since this is my first experience with a gym/class (I used to run track), I'm not sure if they're supposed to have air conditioning, but to be honest, the massive sweating was extremely gratifying.  I went to do push-ups and slid on the wood floor. Now some of you may think it gross, but I don't think this routine would work if I didn't sweat up a storm.

In addition to that, during my workout days, I drink about 3000-4000ml of water. I'm not sure how many cups that is, but being a nurse, I know the average intake should be at least 2400ml a day. On my work days/rest days I drink about 2400-3000ml. I know from every diet book that I've ever read (even French Women Don't Get Fat) that water is a key to weight loss. Not hydration from those 4 cups of coffee, or bottled juice or Crystal Light, (I can't bring myself to drink water with sugar added.) And don't get me wrong, I love coffee (LOVE coffee!). I work twelve-hour shifts, coffee sometimes becomes my lifeblood, but like I say, you have to know what is right for you, and be able to figure out what are the most low-fat/low-calorie options off the Starbucks menu (my drink of the summer is a Soy Misto or a Soy Latte with a half Splenda).
Another thing I noticed was I have to keep up with my protein intake. I haven't had beef in two weeks, just chicken, veggies and fish. I also made a "mean green" juice last night, which really helped me pull through my workout. But last week, I crashed because I was going off of a mostly vegetarian diet, because that was all I felt like eating that week.

Also, can I say it? I hate jump-rope. I'm no longer as coordinated as my 5-year-old self once was, and being 5'9, I feel like a total Amazonian idiot, cursing my nerdy-reclusive ways as I try to maneuver an either too-long or too-short rope over my head, only to smack my ankles in a poor attempt to hop over it. (There's a run-on for you) Last night I got it stuck in the ridges of my shoe and I tripped over my own feet(how the heck did that happen?!?!). I just shake my fist at it.

That's my update on Week Two. I am feeling in a much better mood this week, and after having a week of up-and-down water weight struggles, I think things are going to start smoothing out. I hope.

Tonight is the "Mega Fit" class. My punishment for every cookie I ate last week. I wasn't going to go (I was really going to chicken out), but my body is telling me I need to do that jumpy-sweaty thing again, because now it's actually starting to feel good.

Inspiration for today:
I love pinterest.

Monday, August 13, 2012

In the Beginning...

I just wanted to post a disclaimer here.
Even thought I am a healthcare professional, this blog is just a journal of my daily life, workout routines and struggles. In no way am I offering medical/dietary advice. If you have questions or concerns about your health, please contact your physician. I am just blogging what works for me.

That said, I forgot to post a short bio.

My name is Holly Jo, nickname Hojo, and I have started a journey to obtain physical fitness. I have been down this path before, trying diets and juicing and half-hearted attempts on the elliptical or treadmill, with some results, but not much. I've always wanted to see how well of shape I could get in, but never had the time to put forth the effort required.  I am a newly-licensed LVN, finishing college to complete my RN/BSN, so I do work in healthcare and have had the available tools to figure out a dietary regime. I also ran track in high school, and thinking that I could just pick up running again, I foolishly decided to start training for a marathon. Three months and a knee injury later, I was out of commission and frustrated with myself for not being able to lose the weight I gained during nursing school.

As of right now, I am 26-years old, 5'9 and 150 lbs. I am a size 8-10. Even though my weight is considered "Normal" on the BMI charts, I don't feel healthy, and I get sick quite often. I suffer from migraines and allergy problems, as well as a bleeding disorder that I've kept under control and monitored since I was 18. I also have situational depression and stress issues, which exercise has been a fantastic outlet for alleviating these symptoms.

The reason I'm doing this is because so many of my family members have struggled with severe health issues due to obesity. Heart problems, diabetes, cancer, anemia, hormonal issues, ADHD, you name it, someone in my family has it. I'm not doing this to lose weight, I'm doing this for prophylactic measures, and I want to change over to a healthy lifestyle. I want to feel good!
I'm hoping I can keep up with uploading pictures along the way, as well as other tidbits of my life as I see fit.

Anyway, that's my intro. I hope this blog does well (breaks a bottle of champagne against it), and I hope I can help be an inspiration to others who are going through the same struggles I am.
Wish me well!


I finally got my blog up and going!
I'm going to keep this first post short and sweet!
I'm here to just blog about my life and be able to post pictures along the way. I'm extremely outgoing, and I think this would be a positive place to post pictures of places I've been and things I've done.
I'm on a bit of a journey this year, to become debt-free and financially stable, as well as take initiative on my health, in regards to healthy eating and exercise.

Here are a few of my inspirations for this blog: Dave Ramsey is my hero! He offers such good advice regarding financial health, with stories anyone can relate to! I'm starting to follow this program in tandem with Crown Financial Ministries to maximize our budget. I'm excited to post about our progress in the upcoming months.

Peanut Butter Fingers-her blog and fashion advice has become a wonderful inspiration to start my own healthy lifestyle and blog it here. I enjoy reading about her adventures and hope to take life in such a positive way she does!

2012...My last fat year!! This is the girl that got the ball rolling on my fitness routine. I started doing the "Ab Workouts", and once I got used to them, it was off to the gym I went (where I did the ab workouts really really fast!!!)

Last but not least Undressed Skeleton- TaraLynn McNitt is an inspiration on how to eat healthy, while still making the meals tasty and fun. She has dedicated her young life to keeping fit and healthy, and gives fantastic advice to the younger generations. She's the poster-child for living the healthy lifestyle!

That's all for now! I'm hoping to have a lot of fun writing and posting on this blog!
-Holly Jo