Halloween Party Mix

Not only is it Friday, it also just so happens to be one of my favorite holidays. IT’S HALLOWEEN!

“…This is Halloween, Halloween, Halloween…” (The Nightmare Before Christmas, 1993)

Halloween, for me, has so many fond memories. We would have family parties where would be contests of which family had the best costumes. The creativity really flowed. We would try to come up with the biggest and best costumes because that was totally awesome. I mean, if you didn’t have a great costume then you weren’t really celebrating Halloween properly. Continue reading “Halloween Party Mix”

Week 9: Volcanic Eruption

Today, I forgot to weigh myself. So that will be tomorrow’s task I am afraid. I woke up later than I wanted to this morning. I am out of coffee that isn’t Maxwell House or Folders. Lately, when I have been making coffee using the low quality quick fix, I just haven’t been drinking it. It is wasteful.


Tomorrow I will weigh myself first thing. I will see where I am at then. How do I feel at this very moment? Tired. Exhausted mentally speaking. Emotionally, I am wiped clean. My mind is a total blurry abyss where only momentary thoughts bounce wall to wall as though one was playing Atari. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce-Bounce. Continue reading “Week 9: Volcanic Eruption”

Week 8: Discipline Yourself, My Child

This week I indulged in pasta.  I stayed a few days with my grandmother and we always have a good time.  It started with a little wine on Saturday, then progressed to a little homemade mashed potatoes and chicken noodle soup on Sunday, followed up by a very delicious dinner made by Casa –a local favorite.

Half of a plate; portion control practice

Last night before weigh-in, I tried another wonderful Italian dish from Oley’s Pizza.  It was a Chicago style deep dish pizza.  It was not as good as Giordano’s, but it was the better option here in town.

In my mind…I just kept thinking as if on repeat…discipline yourself, my child.

Here are some things I have observed this week:

1.  Eating out can be lethal if you don’t exercise portion control and proper logic.  Hold the extra sauce.  Hold the extra cheese.    With each and every one of those meals aforementioned, I was utilizing portion control with every single sitting.

2. Exercising makes a huge difference.  I can tell when I need to just go on a walk or when I need to burn off some added energy.  This week I made a valid effort to walk, even though my decent workouts cease to exist.

3. Cleaning, lifting objects, and walking away from the desk are wonderful ways to keep your strength muscle wise.  It wasn’t ideal workouts, but it was better than plopping at my desk sedimentary all day long.

4. Never under-estimate your will power.  I am a lover of food.  I love cooking, eating, creating…food is wonderful.  It took everything in my body to cut my portions and restrain from over-eating.  I know this part is a problem and although this week was far from perfect, I was proud of myself for the effort I was able to put forth despite its wonky nature.  Yes, I said wonky.  And yes that is a technical word…

5. Blessings come in all forms, keep your eyes open and the opportunities will present themselves.  I stepped out of the salon and despite my situation still was presented with a class and a day long event.  Perfect timing.  I went on an impromptu walk with my sister.  It was lovely.  I spent some much-needed quiet time with my grandmother.  Our talks were precious.

Check out my surprising results for week 8!  This week fed my body and soul.  I am so grateful as this week I found peace among this challenge which has not been easy.

Week 8: height 4’8″; weight 100.0 lbs.

Week 7: Oh for the Love of Coffee!

This week emotionally was incredibly rough.  Don’t worry, it is OK.  In life you will have weeks like this.  It is through these weeks that you can say, “Catie-girl, this week will come and go and what is most important is that you survived!”  This week is the last week I will be at the salon.  I have chosen to step away from something that I love very much.  I was too stressed trying to balance everything.

So in the course of the last month here is what all has occurred:  I had a break-up with a friend I started dating, I broke-up with Starbucks, I stepped away from the salon and I still feel blah.  My current full-time job is what is allowing my bills to be paid, insurance to be covered, and I do like what I am doing.  I just recognized the stress inevitably was going to cause burn out.  I cannot afford to be burnt out at this point in the game.

I gained back 1/2 the weight I have lost at this point in time.  I have been stress eating and indulging without care or flagrant regard to the damage it was doing on my body.  I didn’t work out ONCE this week.  I did walk a lot more which is great but no run or hard workouts to relieve my stress.  Just a simple glass of Cabernet to soothe the edge….

Week 7
Week 7: height 4’8″, weight: 102.0 lbs

I have never in my life ever, EVER, been an anxious person.  I usually have the blood pressure of a dead person.  I can tell you that in the last month my blood pressure and anxiety has been completely elevated!  What is that all about?!  Time to adjust and balance….time to chalk this week up for a learning curve and back on track I go!  “MARCH Catie-girl….MARCH!”

One important thing I should note, caffeine addiction is a very real thing.  It is a problem.  Caffeine makes the morning run smoothly.  It brings clarity to my mind.  It is my spark plugs to my dead battery.  Caffeine is a necessity item and contribution toward Catie Manning having a decent day.  Truly…..

Here are some humorous recaps of what has occurred this week:

While in Chicago Saturday-Tuesday this week at NCDC:
–Caribou and I walked everywhere.  Caribou is my 8 month old niece.  She is alert and loves to be around people.  We were in Chicago so we walked up and down Michigan Ave. as well as in our hotel lobby.  She made a ton of friends.  One sure-fire way to get free stuff is to have a baby with you.  PS: She loved Chicago…

–I went on an adventure in the city.  I walked to Millennium Park for coffee.  What should have been a 1/2 mile excursion ended up being a 2.5 mile excursion!  Oh for the love of coffee!  I Yelped coffee shops near me….and Intellegensia popped up with raving reviews.  It was a matter of seconds once I arrived and ordered before my phone died…let the adventure continue!

–I was able to see places that I never had before such as the Chicago Theatre and the Goodman Theatre.  Stellar!  I also walked past the Chicago House of Blues.  I had been there before to see Lucky Boys Confusion…different statues, gardens, and sanctuaries it was all so beautiful!

–My brother-in-law needed to purchase an extra pair of pants so we went shopping at TJ Maxx.  He found a few pairs in his size and purchased one of them.  They were $80 pants.  My sister didn’t even care because they fit!  Little did we know that we were in the designer section…come to find out they are Versace!  We died laughing because none of us are Versace people especially not my athletic brother-in-law! “Versace, Versace…” (thank you Drake)

…when I got home….

–I accidentally froze my coffee rock solid.  I have been drinking black coffee over ice and I will place it in the freezer for a few minutes (A.D.D. kicked in and it ended up being close to an hour) Microwave 15 seconds (repeat 4 times) and throw over ice anyways!

–Emily D. and I met up for drinks on Wednesday and we ended up getting these delightful flaming donuts.  No kidding, they were set on fire!   Em ordered them…she said I could blame her for the weight gain.  I cannot blame her for all of it, but darn those donuts were delicious.  We had a good belly laugh over that comment.  It was wonderful too.


–I went to a benefit dinner on Thursday where I launched a shrimp tail at my friend…it landed in her sauce and sprayed her face.  That sucker slipped right on out of my hand!  We laughed about that one for a while too. All I hear is my dad…“And THIS is why we can’t have nice things!”

Although this week has been stressful and not ideal, I am still looking on the bright side.  Over all things are OK.  Things will be OK.  A lot of adjustments taking place but it is all positive.  I am still standing and for that I am forever thankful!

Week 6: Halfway there…

I would be lying to you if I told you this challenge hasn’t been hard.  I have relapsed into my caffeine addiction.  I am eating a Vanilla Drumstick currently.  Why? Because I can, dang it!  Yes, I do know it isn’t even 10AM.

This week I was able to get some exercise in which helped keep me motivated, but the weather has shifted and so has my mood.  It is getting chillier and my allergies are starting to be weird.  It isn’t so ideal to being cheerful and willing to get my bazooka in gear!  It really becomes quite the opposite.

I have still been mindful of food options choosing (most of the time) the healthier option.  I have been exercising self-control more frequently.  There was a container of candy sitting on the table that I just didn’t touch.  I chose to get just the chicken sandwich not the whole meal.  Good bye french fries…sigh.  Please know I say that with a heavy heart.

I am struggling to find the motivation to keep going with this challenge, but I am already 1/2 way there!  I just have to keep going…I must.  It is like a mini marathon, get to mile 10 and you will be fine.

Week 6 Progress…

Week 6: height 4,8″; 101.0lbs.

Week 5: Still Alive…

This week was a little better although I still am tweaking my schedule.  Trying to find time to juggle, balance, and maintaining sanity is simply where I am at right now.  Each day is a new day.  Each day I must take as it is and not try to get too far ahead of myself.

For those of you who don’t know, my coffee love runs incredibly deep.  I have chosen to give up Starbucks for morals and health purposes.  Not that I don’t love their mugs, coffee flavors, or the perks of being a Gold Card Member since 2011, I just know it would be best if I didn’t have a reason to over indulge.

In addition to my break-up with Starbucks, I have tried to cut down on my caffeine in-take as a whole.  I am choosing healthier options like water infused with lemon or lime, hot tea, or every once in a while an iced black coffee.  Due to this change, however I have sorely crashed.  I get home and sit….and then I am just done.  DONE!  Is this a sign of getting old?

I have been doing more research on healthy food items that I can pack for lunch.  I am looking for better ingredients and over all better food for my body to process.  I found a new soup that I like by the brand Pacific Organic Rosemary Potato Chowder.  It was a really nice little lunch.  I poured half of the container and saved half for later.  I also found these chips that were really good too.  A new find, Lundberg Redwood Smoky BBQ Multigrain chips, were a tasty inclusion to my lunch.  Even though this still isn’t the best for my body to process, it was still better than other choices. They had a different taste to them, but over all they left me satisfied.

Motivation at this point in time is just simply staggering.  My girl Rachel and I walked two different paths to which we did really well. In just over an hour walked close to 4 miles.  We pushed ourselves and that part made me feel really good.  Personally, I did continue to meet two goals this week.  One goal was to run over a mile consecutively.  I ran for a total of 1.21miles.  I also wanted to have another day of over 10,000 steps on my pedometer.  I was over 13,000 steps!  I was really happy about that.

Last night, of all nights, I came home with the intention of running.  I came home with the intention of taking a brief nap and then getting my bum up to go workout.  Well that brief nap was 2-1/2 hours long. Needless to say, I needed to nourish myself with dinner and finish a few projects at the house.  I did go with my mom to the grocery store to get some exercise.  It was more than I would have gotten sitting at home!

I still slept like a rock and went to bed before my usual time.  I am emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted, and really trying.  This effort was not wasted, I assure you.  Check out my weigh-in!

Week 5: height 4'8"; weight 101.5lbs
Week 5: height 4’8″; weight 101.5lbs


Week 4: And this is what stress does…

I have been stressed out.  Stressed from what, you might add?  Well stress comes in all forms.  This week I totally fell off the bandwagon of portion control and eating well.

Let me recap this week for you:

1. Had some emotional stress with a friend.  So in a feeble attempt to keep myself cool, calm and collected I ate some breakfast Sunday morning and went on a run.

2. On this run, my phone (which was my music source) died shortly after I stepped in animal feces.  I did however meet a goal of extending my run time to .92 mile even though I literally almost died. Huffing, puffing, and trying to encourage myself to “keep going!” (Yes, I did yell at myself while on the run…probably looked like I was crazy…) Oh yes, don’t recommend eating so close in time frame before you decide to run a hard run.  It doesn’t end well.

3. I was social this week.  While giving myself a facial, I ate a few bites of Gelato which ended up being an inch down in the container!  No, bueno.  I ate pasta shamelessly 2 days in a row for 3 different meals.  I drank a regular pop (gasp!).  Don’t judge, I could barely stay awake and it was 2pm.  I also ate wings with a friend last night. They were fried and I only ate 6. I knew every ounce on that scale was going to reflect it too…

4. Aunt Flow is right around the corner and whenever she comes to visit, I crave chocolate.  I couldn’t do it!  I couldn’t resist…yep I ate a Milky Way Fun Size and Lindt (1 square) chocolate piece back to back.  Hello saturated fat!

5. Work has been stressful. I get home in the evening and I sit.  It is a death wish to any sort of physical movement you may or may not want to do.  Productivity becomes zero.

6. I haven’t made time for good workout’s this week.  I have been doing calf raises, lunges and strengthening activities intermittently through my  day.  I have been trying to strengthen instead of sit idle.

7. I have been trying to find more time for prayer, meditation, and peace.  I think I am doing an OK job at that even though I could always use more.

8. I got wonderful notes of encouragement from a few girlfriends this week!  That was so wonderful.

This made me smile :-)
This made me smile 🙂

All in all, this week my focus was elsewhere.  This is much how life goes.  Life  will pull and tug us in our many directions and it is so important to remain in control.  It too is important to prioritize our issues, get our feelings in check, and maintain a sense of dignity and control over our being.  Praying has helped me get back to a level of which is normal stress.  It has given me much-needed peace about a lot of the stress I just recognize I cannot control.  What I can control however is myself, how I react, and how I choose to conduct myself.  I know this to be absolutely true. I am convinced that next week will be better…

Week 4: Height 4'8"; weight 102.5 lbs
Week 4: Height 4’8″; weight 102.5 lbs.

Week 3: Weigh in and Don’t forget the Cheese Puffs!!!

This week I challenged myself to eating healthier and providing myself with the healthy snacks to make this happen.  Also known as grocery shopping.  Because I had a coupon, I chose to shop at Earth Fare.  It is close to home and if I spent $35, I would get $5 off.  Seemed as though that would be about right.

I went into it with an idea of what I needed to get and just kind of winged the rest of it.  Bell peppers, humus, avocados, yogurt, crispy snack of some sort, apples, gelato, and a protein/meat if price allowed.  I branched out and did quite well.  I am trying two new flavors of gelato: Southern Butter Pecan and Pistachio.  I am branching out a bit.

This week was a hard one as I had an Expo for work to which we were at liberty of the facility catering for the day and in the evening we had a business meeting/dinner.  I was surrounded by candy, cookies, and all sorts of NO-NO’s.  I must confess, I didn’t log this day and I waited to dang long to have eaten.  I allowed myself to hit hangry; yes that is a word…in the dictionary.

Hangry (adjective) : hungry and angry

I ate a Turkey sandwich with no condiments.  I drank water the majority of the day.  I did have a few cocktails in the evening as well as a glass of red wine.  We had dinner at a restaurant in Rosemont IL. called Carlucci.  Their brazen Lamb was delicious.  I had never had lamb before (…again branching out) and I would order it again.  If you are in the northwest Chicago suburbs, you should definitely check them out!

I decided to go on a run outside yesterday.   The Pufferbelly Trail has been one that I enjoyed attempting to run.  Running is a mental game for me.  I was able to meet 2 goals last night and being the dork I am, I rejoiced out loud!  ‘WHOOOO HOOOOO!’  I ran .88 miles straight at a good pace without stopping and by the end of the day I hit my 10,000 steps.  I was so happy.  You see, it is the little victories!

My week has been a blur.  Correction, what day is it?  Is it Friday?  Yes, I have been oblivious to what day of the week it was.  I have been forgetful and in an effort to me not forgetting, I have “my handy dandy notebook!”  (Thank you, Blue’s Clues for forever placing that phrase in my head…ugh) The list this morning?  Weigh in and don’t forget the cheese puffs!!!  And yes, exclamations were there.  I have to satisfy this inner fat kid don’t you know!

Week 3: height 4'8"; weight 101.5lbs
Week 3: height 4’8″; weight 101.5lbs


Week 2: Working on my Fitness

This past weekend was Labor Day.  I was able to work on Saturday and take a day trip Sunday to Indianapolis.  It was really a good mini-vacation.  Sunday morning, my bags were packed and then I met up with a good girl friend of mine.  We went on a walk.  Upon finishing our walk, she helped me finish a project of encouragement for a friend of mine.  She provided perspective and great company.   I must confess “Week 2” has been full of awesome discoveries!

Observations/discoveries of this week:
1. Earth Fare soups are excellent!  I tried the Chicken Chili and my girl friend bought the Kale soup.  The price was decent and I felt satisfied afterwards.

2. I branched out and tried a new smoothie.  Evolution Fresh Apple Berry is delicious.  I have seen this at the grocery stores.  It was a healthier snack than others I could have chosen.  Definitely recommend trying one.

3. I am starting to make smarter food choices.  This morning I was out getting some projects done before heading to work.  I knew I needed to eat breakfast, but simply had no time to make something.  Duncan Donuts was on my way to work so I stopped by and for $1.18 I bought a Egg White Flatbread.  It was a healthy option which gave my body necessary fuel.  I knew I would have crashed, if I didn’t fuel my body.

4.  I am working out with more intention.  It makes so much of a difference working out with specific goals in mind.  My mom and I both have been trying to get in the habit of eating better and working out.  While on Pinterest the other day, I was able to find a leg work out.  The first day upon completing this rigorous list, my legs were hurting!  This week I successfully completed the cycle once and I felt great!

5. I set and met my goals!  I set a goal to be able to run without stopping to a certain point on a usual route.  I have had trouble and have been making excuses for myself along the way and I finally said enough!  I finally did it!  I ran 0.7 miles and walked back.  I felt decent without over extending myself.

6.  I found water in a box!  Check this out:


On my way back home, I stopped and ate dinner with my cousins.  Both of them attend Ball State.  We decided to eat at their Atrium food court.  I found this little gem and thought it was worth a try.

All in all, I am satisfied with my progress.  I am finding a balance between strengthening my body, working on endurance and keeping my heart strong, and eating a more balanced diet.  I hope into this next week, I can maintain this steady momentum.


Week 2: height 4'8"; weight 102.5
Week 2: height 4’8″; weight 102.5

1. Don’t let your head get in the way of your goals.  Stop being a mental case and remember “YOU CAN DO IT!”

2. Working out, eating lunch and being in community with supportive friends helps tremendously in a persons over all health and well-being.

3. Chin up!  Don’t get discouraged if you have an off day.  Keep on pushing little engine!

Stay tuned….more discoveries to come I am sure…

Week 1: Fitness Challenge Progress

First and foremost, I found this article yesterday and I laughed so hard.  This is so me: http://nutrition.answers.com/diets/10-things-skinny-fat-people-do.  I used to be the girl in college that would go work out then beg my roommate to go to McDonald’s for dinner.  Healthy I know….those days are no more!

On Monday, four other stylists and myself went on a quick paced walk for an hour.  It was nice and made the walk more manageable with friends with whom to share.  I had to keep up.  Little legs go…GO!

On Wednesday, my mom and I did a leg work out.  I found a really all-inclusive one and completed the cycle once.  It is my goal by the end of this fitness challenge is to complete it two times.  And holy cannoli I am still sore!

Yesterday, I went on a run/walk.  I ran 3/4 to 1/2 way before my lungs just said ‘NO’.  I chose to quickly walk the rest of it.  I want to be able to get to the 1/2 way mark running the whole way in the next 2 weeks.  That is a new goal.

I am setting calorie goals as well as workout goals.  I am finding a rhythm of strengthening my core, arms, legs and stretching.  I am slowly adding in more cardio workouts.  Slowly but surely.

Some different things I have discovered this week:

1.  Recipe: Baked Zucchini Chips
Ingredients: 1 zucchini, olive oil (1 teaspoon), 1/4 cup parmesan cheese,  1/4 unseasoned plain bread crumbs, salt and pepper.

Prep: Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.  Spray baking sheet lightly with a non-stick spray like Pam.  Slice up your zucchini very finely.  The thinner they are, the more chip like they will turn out.

Directions: Mix parmesan cheese and bread crumbs.  Sprinkle salt and pepper into the mix.  Stir the mix.  Take the olive oil and pour it on the sliced zucchini making sure they are all lightly covered.  Dip the slices of zucchini into your breaded mix covering both sides and lay them out on your baking pan.  Once all zucchini is covered and placed on pan, bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

My first batch!

2. Chick-fil-a Cobb Salad is delicious!  
This was a healthy alternative for lunch.  I used 1/3 the package of Avocado Lime Ranch salad dressing.  It was one of the most satisfying healthy lunches I have had in a very long time.   I found this out as I had forgotten my packed lunch at home.

3. Three bites of Talenti Gelato are so satisfying.
It is healthier than true ice cream and contains less fat.  I take three bites and I can walk away!  IT IS A MIRACLE!  Curb that sweet tooth in little to no calorie intake…brilliant.

This weeks progress (despite my undocumented ball park hot dog and beer dinner…because if it isn’t documented, it never happened right?):

Height: 4’8″; Weight: 103.5lb (-.5)

OK, I documented it.  I was amazed that I went over by 244 calories! I have to be held accountable for an off day too.  Clearly, that can’t happen all the time, but a day here or there will be OK.

This next week, I want to strive to integrate more protein into my diet and eat healthier.  This is my goal.  Will it be accomplished….dun dun dun!  Stay tuned…

Have a great Labor Day weekend!!

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