Rock On

When I attended FitBloggin’ in March, we were totally hooked up with products.  I have failed to mention all of the things that we were given in our “swag bags”.  If you wanna crack a joke about how women like me still think we can get our swagger on, go ahead- But I get to differ… We were quite cool- especially when we sported our new New Balance workout shorts and running shoes.:)

This week, the FedEx man made a stop at my door… and I always get excited when that happens.  So, he’s not my old UPS man that I admit I was totally crushin’ on, but the fact that he brings me fun stuff makes up for it!  When I opened the package, my kids were bummed out that it wasn’t for them, but I was super stoked to find a new pair of shoes from New Balance. 

Let me introduce you to the new line of shoes that New Balance has out- the Rock & Tone shoes.  And for the record, they have a great marketing team, because if you check out these shoes on their website it says:

rock & tone:  a walking shoe that helps you look good even after you take it off

What if what you wear on Monday makes you look good on a Saturday night?  The rock & tone’s rounded sole increases muscle activation up to 27% and increases calorie burn up to 8% with each step.  So you can tone every day.  And on Saturday, you can just strut.

Now how well does that appeal to women?  Pretty good, eh? 

After trying them on, I will have to say that at first I thought I was looking like I had an old-school pair of Airwalks on… but they grew on me.  And they come in even cuter colors.  I wouldn’t personally buy the black pair, but if you are a waitress, they would be perfect… And I’ve done my share of waiting tables in my day (Shout out to Emilio’s inserted here).  In my opinion they are much cuter than the Reebok toning shoes and blow the ugly pair Sketchers makes out of the water. 

These shoes are soooooo comfortable.  At first, I totally dissed them.  I thought there was no way that these things could “tone” me- but the next day when I was sore, I ate my words.  I have come to the conclusion that no part- and I do mean no part about me will ever be described as tight again in this lifetime.  Those days are long gone. But I’ll wear these shoes happily… and if my legs can be described as toned, I’ll take it.  And if not, just let me believe it. Maybe it will inspire me to walk a little more, and being sore isn’t a bad thing.:)  Maybe, just maybe I am tighter than I think.:)

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Dare to Bare

I pulled a fast one a few months ago. I pulled the old “it’ll be covered by flexible spending dollars” and made a visit to the dermatologist. A few face products, one Obagi eye cream, and $400 dollars later, you would have thought that I would have glowing, flawless skin, right? Wrong. Let’s just say that certain “beauty” products get denied when sent for flexible spending redemption. And let’s just say if you happened to leave those products a month later in the shower at the gym, you don’t have the nerve to tell your hubby that you need new skin care items four weeks after your big purchase. At least not my hubby. Hello Olay Regenerist.:)

So, a few months have passed since that incident and I’m ready to go in for the kill and ask the hubs for new face stuff. But what products should I go for? I’m clearly aging way too fast. Eventhough I am religious about applying SPF, I’m a sun worshipper and I’m not going to wear a hat. I have a history of horrible skin. Horrible- as in acne sooo bad that I still can cry at the drop of a hat when I see a teenager suffering from zits. Thank GOD for Accutane. Make-up is my vice. I love it and feel naked without it. I know that I go a little buck wild with it and that I should settle down on the white eye shadow, but I still love it. And yes, I line my lips like it’s 1989.:)

Any suggestions on face products for an aging, sun-loving, make-up obsessive middle aged woman? I need input, and I’m in dire need of a skin care routine! Preferably one that works like botox without a needle and with the price tag of a Wally World Equate product? I know, wishful thinking… and make sure you tell that to my hubby.:)

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“I changed four times tonight trying to figure out what to wear. My husband thought I was crazy, but I said that Shelley always looks so cute.”

LOL. Boy, do I have Ang fooled! And let me tell ya, that was THE BEST compliment I have heard in ages. This comment came at Bunco from one of those girls that “has it all together.” You know, she’s super cute, is a great mom, weighs all of 105, and is never in a foul mood. She’s one of those moms’s that I try to be, but I just feel like I fall short.

I’m the mom that tries with all of my might to be that mom. I plan activities, try to exercise and battle my weight, love to host get togethers, and try as I may I try to be trendy a few days out of every month. And Bunco is one of those days.

What people don’t know is that I am always setting the bar too high and letting myself down. For example, the day I was dressed cute and freshly coiffed for Bunco, I was running out the door, dropping my kids off at my parents, and telling the lifesaving grandparents that their grandchildren still needed dinner… at seven at night. Or if you see me at swim team or the gym in the morning, I usually have everything packed and laid out ready for my plan of action. Kid’s outfits, check. Sunscreen, check. Towels and pool toys, check. Snacks, check. It’s all done… except for me. I’m a hot mess- usually unshowered and a good day is when my teeth get brushed before the gym. That’s just me. It’s how I roll.

I can show up at LA Boxing looking horrible and take Mark’s class, or take my trash out and see my neighbor in my pajamas and not care. But they are men. I’ve got my man and he’s more than enough for me… Ha! But when it comes to being around women, I’m intimidated. I care what I look like. I want other women to think I have it together. I want them to like me. When did all of this come about? I know, I’ve got problems.

When I was getting ready for my high school reunion, I didn’t even think twice about what the guys thought of me. O.K… maybe one or two.:) But I did spend hours on the phone going over my accessories with my best friend and fretting over what color my hair should be hi-lited. And the other night when I went to an ice cream party in our new hood, I showered and tried to make the best impression… on the other ladies. Maybe I’m old. Unless a guy is super hot- like GQ magazine worthiness, I don’t make a double take. (And no, I don’t question my sexuality.:))But I sure do people watch other moms to see their interactions with their children. And when I’m at the beach, I watch other women walking on the beach and wonder how they found that cute suit when I am sporting a $19.99 Costco tankini.

So, what’s my point? I felt like I had company the other night. And Angie, thanks for letting me know, it’s not just me- and even that moms that appear to have it all together drop the ball once in a while.:)

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Walk Before You Run

We’re moving. Again. This will make the tenth major move in ten years, and we’re hoping this is it. After months of stalking the real estate market, I came across a house in one of the neighborhoods that we love with Sherriff papers on its door. I was a sucker and joined… and to make a long story short, we’re getting our dream house. After years of moving around for my hubby’s job- going from lease to lease to lease, state to state to state, and then finally moving back to the area and being priced out of the housing market and having to buy in Wild, Wonderful West Virginia, and after selling three homes, we’ve done it. We’ve found a house that we’re in awe with and that for the first time I won’t be thinking about listing it the moment we go to closing. So tell me, why doesn’t this week feel like a dream come true?

First and foremost, I want to get across that we feel extremely blessed. After living in everything from a 700 square foot apartment to a “luxury” loft apartment in the old Milton Bradley factory building that eventually had yellow police “crime scene” tape outside my window, I am so thankful for where we are in life. But at the same time, I feel the need to stay true to my roots and blab how I feel, even if I do sound a little shallow. Remember, they are just thoughts, and writing things out makes me feel better.

Sounding straight out of Forest Gump, My mama always said, “that you have to walk before you run.” But try telling that to a lady that is wondering how many years it’s going to take to get decent window treatments in all of her windows. Not only that, when am I gonna get furniture for the empty room at the front of my house? And is my hubby going to finally give in to a painter tonight? Walk before you run, Shell.

And how in the world am I going to get my house unpacked and pictures hung before our family vacation? I can feel my OCD coming out. And I know that my number one priority should be to transfer my son’s kindergarten registration to his new home school, but between closing, swim team, the fourth of July, meeting the carpet cleaners, packing, and my long laundry list of other things, when is that going to happen? Just walk before you run, Shell.

Oh, and when I’m living between two houses, cleaning both of them, how in the heck am I going to fit in workouts? Let alone turn down the easiness of grabbing carryout dinners in this time of chaos? Ya gotta walk before you run, Shell.

Moving to a new hood brings out all of my insecurities. How horrible is it that one of my main thoughts going through my head is if I’m going to be the heaviest mom in the neighborhood. Afterall, it is swimsuit season. Ya gotta walk before you run. Huh… that is good advice. Don’t mind if I do. Let me put on my walking shoes and start walking… build to a run, and start training for a race. Stress relief- that makes perfect sense. Now why can’t my mom’s advice make sense when it comes to new furniture?

P.S… Unfortunately, for the next three weeks I may be MIA a bit from this blog… but trust me, please keep reading- Bigger and Better things are to come. I promise. Ya gotta walk before you run, right? And I’m ready to run.:)

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To the Test

Today was the first day that I watched some of the World Cup… USA, USA, USA!!! As much as I wanted to hoop and holler, I was quiet and felt a little lost. Growing up, soccer was my life. I played all the time and my weekends were spent with my travel team that was like a family to me. But now, I don’t want to be near a soccer ball-because it just “gets” to me. I would love to play on a women’s team, but I know that I haven’t kicked the ball in over ten years and that I would be pathetic. I mean, I don’t even know the “lingo” anymore!

As a mother, I’m realizing more and more that high school athletes are a dime a dozen. So many of us can reminisce about the good old days when we were athletes. But does that really even matter anymore? What really matters is the present. I used to have that killer instinct. I would think nothing of yanking another player’s pony tail and pulling her to the ground if she got past me. On the field, I had no fear… and I miss it. Somewhere along the line, I got old. In class when I hear “kick your opponents knee cap” or “crack them” I get grossed out.

I’m halfway through my “to the test” experiment with LA Boxing… and they want an update. To be honest, my hubby’s schedule has made it harder than ever for me to make it to LA Boxing. But with that being said, I crave it more than ever. When I make a class, I’m in a better mood and I feel stronger. I do things I could never picture myself doing. This week alone, I learned a move called the corkscrew… the name alone scared me. But amazingly enough, I did it. I also worked out in the ring. Yes, you read that right. I’ve always wanted to spar and fight- I feel like I’m getting decent on the bag. When there were only four of us in class on Tuesday, the instructor decided to have class in the ring and we even donned head gear. It was so fun- eventhough I’m still sore and I now know I’m not anywhere close to being ready to spar! But I enjoy getting my ass kicked. I enjoy getting stinky. And most of all, for that one hour, I enjoy feeling how I want to feel- like an athlete.

Nowadays, I admire the lady I see in workout attire after a run in the grocery store. I am envious of my high school friends that were never athletes and now compete in triathlons. I look at other ladies’ fit bodies in the gym and want to be them. So many of us lose our own identity when we become mothers. Life is all about our children and we put ourselves on the back burner…

I have gone from being a starting player to riding the bench. Slowly, but surely, I’m getting my groove back. It feels good to have a hobby again, to break a sweat, and to have something that is actually for me and not all about the kids. I crave working out and I no longer want my kids to hear from my mom that, “Your mom was a good athlete.” I want them to see it and to know it. I no longer want to be known as the athlete I once was, but as the fit and healthy woman that I am.

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Big Daddy Mike

Meet my Dad:

Everyone knows a guy like my father. He’s a jack-of-all trades, he’s never met a stranger, he’ll go out of his way to help someone, and he’s that all around person that just makes people smile. Nothing phases him and he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what other’s think of him- Oh how I wish I had gotten that trait! This man just is who he is. He’s always been there for me even when I was so mean and hurtful- You know- those high school years when I would yell, “You will never see your grandchildren, EVER!” Funny how things change. I pray all the time that he’s forgiven me for my down right mean behavior back then, but the truth is, I know that my dad forgave me the second it happened. That’s just how my dad is. He’s our coach, our friend, our disciplinarian, and most of all, our Dad.

Even if you aren’t lucky enough to know my dad, I’m sure you know someone like him. My dad is overweight, has high blood pressure, is stressed due to his job, and is knocking on heaven’s door. My dad lost his father way too early to a heart attack at the age of 49, so I guess I should count my lucky stars that I have my dad today. But ya know what? I want him around much longer, and if we don’t get him to change his habits, he won’t be.

The great people at POM sent me a care package this week- a case of POM Wonderful 100% pomegranate juice. Companies like this amaze me. They send out free products to your average people in the hopes that we blog about them (as I’m doing now). But the truth is, they actually give bloggers like me a voice. In all reality, I could totally bash their product if I wanted to- we do live in America and I have the freedom of speech. But this is one company I won’t bash…

POM just so happened to open the dialogue up between my dad and me. I know that he’s on blood pressure medicine, and I also learned that he takes a baby aspirin every day. So, he is doing some good. Now, if we can get his diet and exercise on track, hopefully he can start feeling better and live longer. He tried a bottle of POM and downed the whole thing. When asked how it was, he replied, “Great… but I can’t taste a damn thing.” He lost his taste a long time ago… so that makes me wonder whey he keeps eating fried foods instead of fruit.:)

And just to add a shout out to POM… over 45 studies have shown that POM products are proven to help heart, prostate, erectile function, and many other conditions. Did ya hear that daddio?:) And did you know that many scholars now suggest that it was the pomegranate, not an apple, depicted in the biblical Garden of Eden? Interesting stuff, I tell ya.:)

If you have someone that struggles with weight or health issues, I strongly encourage you to step in and say something before it’s too late. I hope my dad realizes that we love him so… and that he truly is our Father… who we DON’T want in heaven… YET!

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Summertime… Sweet Summertime

I was minding my own yesterday on my little Precor machine at the gym when I accidentally busted a move and got a huge smile on my face. It was fine until I realized the man fixing the machine in front of me looked at little scared.

I just couldn’t help myself… I was listening to a Justin Bieber song- I admit I’ve caught the Bieber Fever, and the video showed scenes from summertime. At one point, it showed a roller coaster and it just made me laugh at how much my life has changed. I started reminiscing about crazy summers over the years.

Gone are the days where we would count down the days until our youth group trip to Kings Dominion. Sometimes I think “youth group” was a big ole’ code word for hookin’ up fun. But it’s all good. Looking back, we really did have awesome counselors that don’t know how much of an effect they had on our lives.

I remember riding the Rebel Yell five times in a row and then secretly plotting with my best friend about how to make sure I could sit beside Aaron Hall on the Haunted Mansion. Afterall, it was dark for all of thirty seconds. Too bad he could have cared less.

We used to think we were hot stuff when we could stay out until the street lights came on or when we went pool hopping and didn’t get caught. My friends and I actually looked forward to swimsuit shopping and showing off our bikinis at the pool. People probably thought we were homeless because we would walk around the neighborhood looking like a posse just looking for something to do.

Flash forward to now… I can’t wait to visit an amusement park and my only thoughts are if I have enough sunscreen and that I can’t wait to watch my children’s faces when they see a character for the first time. A good night is when I make it into bed before the lights come on, and I detest looking for a bathing suit. I’d rather spend my time looking for a cute cover-up that doesn’t scream, “I’m wearing a cover-up because I hate the way I look in a swimsuit!” And to top things off, I curse those teens that are loitering at Harris Teeter. Really? I mean- Get a life.

Summertime is officially here. There’s something about summer that puts a spring in my step and a smile on my face. My life may not be the crazy roller coaster that it once was, but I’m getting a bigger thrill from the little things.

Now, if I can just get the roller coaster on the scale to come to a halt things would be great. And $5 goes to any young guy that catcalls me. Come on, make me feel like I still have it. I beg you.:)

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The Power is in YOU!

I can sit around watching Martha Stewart all day long, but unless I take the time to fold my towels like she instructs, I’ll still have a mess in my linen closet. I can tune into Rachel Ray and drool over her creations, but unless I take the time to make a mouth-watering meal, I might as well plan on a TV dinner. I can watch Jerry Springer… O.K., O.K., I admit I have a soft spot for this show just because when I’m having a downer of a day, it always makes me feel so much better about my life.:) Sad, but true. Oh, and I can’t deny that I have a spot for Steve Wilkos- What can I say- Somehow that tall, bald guy just does it for me.:)

The other day, I was at the gym and I was getting in a workout on the elliptical. I take that back. I was chatting with a friend on the elliptical and enjoying a break from my kids. I’m not gonna lie. My friend is super in shape… and when I look around the gym, I’m still one of the larger chicks at the gym surrounded by fit Ashburn women. I’ll stop there, I’m not going to name call. Anyways… My in shape friend was doing the elliptical on level 15 at a 10 minute pace. I guess I didn’t hold a candle to her going at a 17 minute pace on level 6. It was in that moment that I realized that I can go to the gym every day, but if I don’t up the ante, I’m not going to see any results.

Yesterday I was able to fit in an LA Boxing class. When I first looked around the room, I saw that there were a bunch of newbies in the class- and for the first time ever, I was worried that I wasn’t going to get a good work out in. I mean, I was a newbie once, and I needed sooooo much help and extra attention! After the class was over, I realized that even with the instructor helping out the new members, EVERYONE in the class was able to get a killer workout.

And yes, at that moment, I turned into psycho creeper girl and asked if I could get pictures… LOL!

This guy is one of the standouts in class. He’s what I call “advanced” and knows what he’s doing… In one hour, was he able to get a workout in? I think the picture speaks for itself.:) (Yes, I had to get enough nerve to get his picture, and yes, I followed him out to his car.)

Um, yes, that’s me. I sweat. A lot. I like to say I’m an “intermediate” member. I know what I’m supposed to be doing… but I don’t always look like it.:) As you can tell, I got a good workout…. Loved it!

Last but not least… here’s a poor girl on her first day of class. I bet she wasn’t expecting to have some crazy lady corner her to get a picture of her glistening self. Poor thing. But thanks for being cool… and I guess you can tell, she burnt some calories.:)

I think this just goes to show that in one hour at LA Boxing, you CAN get results. As our instructor said, “It’s up to us to give you the motivation, but it’s up to YOU to put in the work!” Well, it looks like the motivation paid off.:) Now, Martha and Rachel Ray- feel free to intimidate me. It works.

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Dare I Say It?

I love to write. Most of the time I write rambled, babbling thoughts that should probably remain just that- thoughts. I usually write and click “post” before it’s too late to give a darn. And to tell you the truth, it’s been refreshing.

I’m that girl that cares too much. I care way too much about what other’s think of me- and I happen to hate that quality about myself. I’m that girl that in real life is too shy to ever voice an opinion- and later I regret being nice when I really wanted to chew someone out or stick up for my children. I always have great comebacks after the fact and wish I had been able to go apeshit in the moment. I’m that girl that knows who my close friends are and cherish them with all of my heart… and am too quiet and timid around new people. I wish I could just break it down with one of my booty-shakin, off-rhythm dances and let them see the real me- but I don’t.

On this blog, I don’t care. It’s kind of like my alter-ego, my way to vent, and my make believe rapper persona. And it’s fun. I’m learning so much about myself- and so many doors are opening from this blog- so I really can’t thank you enough if you read it. This week, I Am Modern asked me to write for their magazine… as in actually go on an assignment and dare I say it???- Be a real life writer!

Little do they know that they are allowing a girl that failed English 102 in college write for their magazine. If it makes them feel better, it was really because I had tested out of English 101 due to my high school classwork. I was completely weirded out by my college English teacher and since I was at Virginia Tech- a large school where many say you are just a number, I thought I could outsmart the teacher and just turn in my assignments all semester and skip class (No, Mom, it really wasn’t because it was an 8:00 and I was hungover…). Too bad I not only failed the class with flying colors, but I then had to go back and take English 101 and retake 102. Oops…

I guess they may have caught on by reading my horrible grammar and sentences that start with and all the time. And ya know what, they took a chance on me.:)

I set out this week to interview a guy for the upcoming issue of I Am Modern and you would have thought I had landed a leading role in a major movie or something. My parents were my biggest fans and made me pose on the front porch for a picture like it was the first day of school all over again. I thought my mama was going to make me continue the tradition and wear plaid. After staying at home for over five years, I spent the whole day trying to pull together a professional outfit and worried about my appearance… because believe it or not, in real life, that’s what I do- worry. I stole one of my dad’s leather binders since he does work for The Washington Post… I bet you think I have connections in the writing world… but really, he might just be your delivery man:), and I tried my best to play the part. I drove around the tavern we were meeting at trying to calm myself down as my southern best friend blurted out reminders… as in always work from the outside in with your silverware. She beefed up my ego by reminding me that I was the editorial editor of my high school newspaper… over ten years ago. Ha! I finally got the courage to walk in and interview the nicest man ever.

I came home to pen my first article. Yeah, so, truth be told, today I had to do a total rewrite because my article sucked, but that’s o.k.. It’s a learning experience, right? The kids and I walked over to Redbox and I let them pick a movie so I could have an hour to work on take two. Thanks so much to my mentor, Ms. Cavalheri,- You are a lifesaver.:) But at the end of the day, I might just get a by-line.:)

It was kind of like the story of my life- I spent so much time building up to something, worrying about it, and wanting to do a good job. And then when I just decided to be myself, I was able to meet an extraordinary person and enjoy my time with him. Maybe that’s why I’m being offered this gig- because these people at I Am Modern see this blog and just see me- being me. Maybe one day, I’ll realize that it’s o.k. to do the same.:)

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