Tuesday, August 5, 2014

I Crawled, Jumped, Dashed and Conquered

How much do YOU want it?

I did something totally unexpected this past weekend which took me completely out of my comfort zone. I faced my fears, jumped over the cliff headfirst- eyes closed-, whispered a few words of prayer and hoped for the best.

What could I have possibly done, you ask. Are you asking? Because I'm going to tell you anyway...


Warrior Roast

Yes, I did!

The Warrior Dash is the world's largest obstacle race held in various cities all across the world. The races are coordinated by Red Frog Events and they have helped raise millions of dollars for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Participants run a 3-4 mile rugged battleground course riddled with 12 extreme obstacles. The obstacles increased in level of difficulty as you progressed, ranging from a simple climbing of a 7 ft. wooden barrier, to crawling under barbed wire, muddy trenches, jumping into mud pits, crossing lakes, running up and down hills, maneuvering wet balance beams to jumping over fire pits. Obstacles vary from location to location but what you can expect to find in all however, is MUD. Lots and lots of sticky, wet gunky mud. Don't you love it already?

Mud, mud, and more mud!

After conquering the Battleground, the Dash Warriors celebrate with huge turkey legs, beer, and live music at a post-race party. Expect to see much fist bumping, chest pounding and muscle flexing as those who actually completed the race celebrated with cavemen enthusiasm. I did not hesitate to engage in some flexing myself!

Flexing is mandatory
I was a very apprehensive about doing the Dash. I kept doubting my ability to handle those obstacles and the run. Although, I've been training with my Zombie app to run a 5k, this was on a whole n'other level! I kept thinking I needed to be fully ripped, sporting a six pack to manage the obstacles. Do you want to know the last time I climbed anything? Probably monkey bars in grade school. Let's not even discuss my fear of heights- I can barely handle a ladder. I was terrified and nearly backed out of the event when I arrived at the site and saw the Goliath!

The Goliath

I don't know what I drank that morning, but I squared my shoulders and tackled each and every obstacle there with as much gusto and enthusiasm as I could scrape up. I nearly lost my sneakers more than once in nasty mud, nearly drowned in the lake, and got a nasty scrape on my knee from rocks, but I HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE.

What this experience taught me was that if we live our lives in fear, you will miss out on far too much unexpected beauty that it has to offer. It was beautiful and inspiring to watch as strangers cheered each other on and lent each other a hand. All shapes and sizes tackled these obstacles. People were there to have fun and to challenge themselves with what can only be described as a unique experience.

I had an incredible time bonding with my brother and my daughter, both of whom also participated. I'm really proud of them and I'm happy I didn't let my debilitating fear of heights get in the way. Next year I hope we do this again- but this time I'm tackling the ultimate obstacle course- The Spartan Race! Why? Because I CAN and I WILL.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


A few weeks ago, I found this strange contraption at a local discount store which piqued my interest. I can’t tell you how many times I walked past it over the course of the following weeks with longing, but hesitant to commit to yet another kitchen gadget filled with promises.
See, I come from a family that LOVES kitchen gadgets. If it promises to make my time in the kitchen easier, faster or cooks the doggone food for me, I gotta have it. Meanwhile, my cabinets are filled to bursting, and Hubster has placed a ban on my purchases for unnecessary kitchen items.
Buuuttt… Yes, there is the big “but”- I am trying to eat clean and following a low-carb diet. Which means any gadget related to health improvements should not fall under “unnecessary kitchen item.”  And that is how it ended up on my shopping bag!

I. have. no. regrets.

This so-called contraption- the 'Veggetti'- claims to turn vegetables such as zucchini, yellow squash and carrots into healthy spaghetti in seconds. You can choose whether you want thin spaghetti sized noodles or thick fettuccini size noodles.

Since I now rarely eat spaghetti due to the carbs, such a contraption would allow me to enjoy the warm comforting experience of eating spaghetti without the guilt. All the while adding additional veggies onto my plate. How fabulous is that? Pretty darn fabulous in my opinion.

I purchased the Veggetti along with zucchini and yellow squash, and set to work in my kitchen. Spiraling the veggies took a mere minute.

I then sautéed it in coconut oil, and added salt, pepper and Italian seasoning. I sautéed it long enough to heat and soften the “zoodles” without drawing  too much water. After I was satisfied, I plated it, added homemade ground turkey meat sauce on top and sprinkled it with parmesan cheese.

I declare magic was wrought within my kitchen!

The zoodles were so delicious and the entire experience truly was as if I was enjoying a hearty plate of spaghetti. I LOVED IT.

The Hubster loved it too. The kids… not so much. They shun anything that looks weird or out of the ordinary.  I’m working on them though.

In the meantime, I am going to Veggetti EVERYTHING! Watch me!

Friday, July 25, 2014

#Operation Six Pack

Photo Credit: Unknown
      Of  late, my interests have been directed wholly towards physical fitness and nutrition. I’ve recovered from my natural hair obsession (remember the epic breakdown I suffered when I cut my hair?) went to curly hair rehab, and am now fully obsessed with transforming into the most fit version of myself as I enter my late 40’s.

Over the past few years, I’ve gained an excessive amount of weight for my body type, and I am now at a point in my life where the yo-yo dieting just needs to end. Over the years, I would workout furiously to be bathing suit ready for summer. Then once I hit my goal, I would eat  my way through fall to store up a good chunk of fat to enter hibernation in the winter. I’m totally convinced I’m a resurrected squirrel. Year in and year out I performed this cycle to my detriment.  

Let’s keep it real- I was LAZY and didn’t summon up the will power to maintain my weight. I didn’t want to get up early in the morning to exercise because my bed was far more appealing. It was my siren call to sleep heaven. I also didn’t feel like denying myself all of the sweet and salty treats I love to indulge in because, hey, who likes deprivation? I sure don’t. You will never see this gal participating in anything extreme like a master cleanse, or “no solids for a month” type diet. THIS HERE BODY WAS MADE TO EAT, AND EAT I SHALL.

Unfortunately once you reach a certain age (ahem, over 35) your metabolism starts to slow down, body parts start to ache, you feel twinges you never felt before, and that slight squishy belly your lovely children bequeathed you at birth, suddenly rivals Homer Simpson’s paunch. That is not a good look. For me anyway.

 I declare I am now on a “permanent” fitness quest and my ultimate goal is to gain a six pack for the first time in my life. I want ABS for DAYS. I want my belly to be rock hard. I want to be able to kick a man’s ass if I want to! I want to survive a ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE.

Most importantly, I want to be fit and strong, not only for my heath but for my children. They need their momma. Diabetes and hypertension runs in my family and  I’ve been toying with my health. No more! I’ve lost 30 pounds since March and have a few more to lose. But the abbbbbbsssss have yet to come.

I’ll keep you posted. What journey are you on? Comment below!
(Check out my profile on Instagram for daily posts)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Sailing Away... and back again

Photo Credit
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."  Mark Twain

Hey! Surprised? It has been ages, hasn't it? I seriously missed blogging and connecting with my bloggy friends. Many times I thought about coming back, yet my fingers refused to cooperate. Next thing I knew I would be caught up in this or that, with him or them. You know to whom I refer.

What can I say about my absence other than I needed to focus on my family? Work became hectic, home became hectic, my children were growing, and my forever complaint regarding juggling motherhood and a career came to a head. Something had to give, and constantly viewing life through bloggy eyes became overwhelming.

I wanted to live my life in the present.

Why am I back then? The longing to write and blog became too strong a pull for me to deny any further. So here I am and there's much to share from these past years. But all in due time, and I shall return shortly. Promise!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Groundhogs Lie and Chicken Noodle Soup

Punxsutawney Phil claims we should be having an early spring this year but by the amount of snow, sleet and ice gathered round me, I think that hog needs a new profession. This weather has truly been atrocious and I can NOT stand it one second longer.

In addition to being extremely inconvenient for travel, the sheer number of people sneezing and coughing from cold viruses is wrecking havoc on my mental state as they all seem to want to sit near me at work and on public transportation. Have I ever mentioned that I have an extreme case of germaphobia? I have little bottles of antibacterial gels, sprays and packets of wipes stashed everywhere. At any given time if under attack, I can whip out my arsenal 'Clint Eastwood style' to defend my turf.

Sometimes more extreme measures are necessary. For example, if someone sneezes, I hold my breath until I'm blue because those insidious germs can travel at least 6 feet. I never touch handrails, I use my sleeve or a napkin to open doors, and when I go to the supermarket I'm fully aware that I'm taking my life into my hands by touching the handlebars.Therefore I navigate with my elbows. Not an easy feat.

My husband thinks I'm nuts when I chase after him with an antibacterial wipe. He's a man. They don't get it.

It may seem crazy to you but it's really simple common sense- If I get sick, the kids get sick, they stay out of school, I have to stay home, I have to take time off from work and my paycheck goes down, the home goes to crap, and who's going to cook? See what I mean? Mayhem.

Since neither I nor my family can consume inordinate amounts of vitamin C, I have taken other preventative measures by cooking meals designed to ward off winter colds. I've been making this version of soup for years, and absolutely love it above traditional chicken noodle soup recipes. Voila!

Vivianne's Version of Chicken Noodle Soup

This soup is chock filled with vitamins and antioxidants. Eat a bowl of this soup and you may see an improvement in upper respiratory tract infections, including stuffy nose, cough, and a sore throat.The veggies act as an anti- inflammatory mechanism to help control the production and spread of congestion-causing white blood cells. Isn't that what your mother always said?

In a large saucepan, saute the pre- seasoned chicken in olive oil and butter until just slightly brown.

Add onion, celery, carrots, green pepper, garlic and saute for 5 minutes.

Add flour, basil, and oregano. Stir until blended.

Gradually add broth, butternut squash and tomato sauce.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.

Return to a boil, stir in pasta, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes until pasta is tender.

Now say sayunara to those germs!

Vivianne's Version of Chicken Noodle Soup


  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and preseasoned to taste
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, sliced
  • 1/2 green pepper
  • 15 baby carrots, sliced
  • 1 cup butternut squash
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt and pepper
  • 3 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) low sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1/2 jar Ragu Chunky Garden Tomato sauce
  • 2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Yield: 9 servings (about 2 quarts).

(Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

New Year, New Look

Pssssst....how do you like my new look? Not me, my blog!

I wanted to start the new year off with something fresh, clean and simple with a bit of flair. Although I loved the colors of my other template, my family has changed and it didn't seem right to keep my husband out of the header.

Designer Blogs created my last template and they made the experience so easy despite my numerous questions and indecisiveness, there was no question I would return to them again. Lara, an assistant designer, created this particular template and I really like it. I must have sent her at least 20 emails going back and forth during the process, but she stuck with me and never made me feel as if I was a bother. Thanks Lara!

If you are in the market for a new template, I highly recommend Designer Blogs. They are fast, affordable and very, very patient. They even offer $10 templates!

Now if I could only find a design team to quick fix my hair and weight.... Anybody? Hello? No show of hands?

Oh well. Details later.


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