The Most Nerdiest Time of the Year!

Friends, my favorite part of the year is approaching - Winter Break.  I LURVE Winter Break.  And not just because of Christmas, or seeing my family, or being home, or the unbelievable light-feeling that only comes from surviving finals (although those are all nice, don’t get me wrong), but because this is the one time of the year when I have time to READ.

I love to read.  Really, reading is my first love.  I devour books.  Books are my crack.  When I am reading a book I’m really into, there is nothing in the world but me and that book and I’m useless to everything until I’ve finished.

This year is my 3rd Annual Read-As-Much-As-I-Can-During-Winter-Break-Athon, in which I read all the books I don’t have time for during the fall in a span of about two and a half weeks.  How many books?  Last year I read 19 books in 15 days - a personal best for me.

How do I achieve this?  Copious amounts of caffeine and my own super-hero power of Speed Reading, of course.

Seriously, though, I can read really fast.

I have two rules in this enterprise.  #1, I can never have read the book before, and #2, if I’m not into the book after 100 pages or so I can put it aside and move on.  My time is precious, after all.

I am currently writing up my list of books I want to read and I was wondering if any of you out there had any suggestions.  What was the best book you read this year (or ever)?  I enjoy romance, historical, fantasy, dystopian, YA, paranormal, sci-fi, chic-lit, or any combination of the above.  Let me know your favorites!  Likewise, if you need any reading suggestions I have a lifetime of knowledge for you.  Ask (and give general literary likes/dislikes) and you will receive.  My little holiday gift to you all.

(Side Rant: To answer the inevitable question: No, I do not like the Twilight books, or as I like to call them: A Do It Yourself Guide To Abusive Relationships.  This is not me being a some sort of femi-nazi, but as someone with personal experience with a controlling, emotionally abusive boyfriend, I think it’s really dangerous to set up Pale Creepy Controlling Obsessive Jealous Possessive Withdrawn Moody Violent Stalker Guy as the romantic ideal for young girls.  This is not me saying vampire fiction is bad.  It can be great!  Read Sunshine by Robin McKinley and thank me later.  They do not have to be mediocre books that are then made into truly terrible movies.  Oh, and while I’m on this rant?  Being clumsy is NOT character building.  It’s just being clumsy.  Uggggghhhhhhh.  End of Rant)

Monthly Accountability Post #1, and Reap Some Geeky Wisdom

So November is officially leaving us, and I thought it would be a good thing to post my monthly stats to keep me on track.

At the beginning of the month I weighed in at 189lbs, and as of yesterday Naked Me clocked 182lbs.  Considering this month is the month of New York, Thanksgiving weekend, and my Epic Choice never to diet again I’m quite pleased with this.  I’m currently sitting pretty in a size 14 The Flirt! jean from Old Navy and am slowly inching my way towards a size 12.  I have stuck to my TurboFire schedule and am currently on the 4th week (not including New York week, in which I did the 5 Day Inferno plan).

All in all, I feel like this way of losing weight is more balanced and healthy.  I definitely feel a lot less desperate and obsessive about the whole thing.  Yeah!

To make up for this boring-as-a-(wooden)post post, I now invite you to enjoy some of my favorite nuggets of geeky wisdom from my favorite geeky sources.

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.” - J.R.R. Tolkein in The Hobbit.

“When you look at the dark side, careful you must be.  For the dark side looks back.” - Yoda

“Oh, loneliness and cheeseburgers are a dangerous mix!” - Comic Book Guy in The Simpsons

“Problem: attitude.” - Mr. Miyagi

“Insults are effective only where emotion is present.” - Spock

“Like being in love there must be a corresponding painful side like losing in love, it’s just a fact of life.” - Daria (if you don’t know this show you are DEAD TO ME!)

“I’ll be whatever I wanna do.” - Fry from Futurama.

Audition tonight for the spring opera!  Wish me lucks, guys!

Feeding My SuperInferiority Complex

Today I feel fat.

I know, in the logical, practical, thinking part of my brain that I am not fat (as I was) that I am, in fact, at my lowest weight ever in adulthood.  I am more physically active and able than ever and I love the exercise.  I am doing tolerably well in school and with my voice.  I am a happy person, with family and friends who (claim to) love me.  I have a dog that is so happy to see me she tackles me every time I go home (she has to live with my parents, unfortunately).  I have coffee.

But I feel fat.

Is this something that all people experience?  This awful feeling of general discontent and unworthiness?  Or just women?  Or just women who struggle with their weight?  In the past I have countered this feeling with food - and lots of it.  I know, I know, that makes tons of sense.  But that is how Gluttony Brain works.  Even now I can hear her distantly in the back of my brain, urging me to drown my sorrows in a giant bowlful of pasta with cream sauce and then follow that by eating an entire chocolate chocolate silk pie.

Not that I’ve ever done that  . . . more than a couple of time, anyways.  That I can recall.  Hey, I’m not exactly proud here.

I don’t think that this is a result of Thanksgiving - in which I overate a little, but not a lot (which is way above the curve for me) and worked out everyday, including a marathon 2 hour session of Zumba (my legs are still currently not speaking to me).

It could be the weather.  This awful, incessant Midwestern dreariness of cold rain and wind that always comes when Mother Nature has to officially change from Fall to Winter and apparently she is determined to be a bitch about it.

Or it could just be a little period of down-ness.  Everyone gets them, right?  Any suggestions on feeling better?  I could do with a pick-me-up.  Just no chocolate silk pies, please.

Give Thanks

Today I head home for Thanksgiving!!  My family is Greek, Serbian and Orthodox Christian, and if you know any of the three listed above you know that when they gather there tends to be lots (and lots and lots) of food and alcohol.  In the past I (aka “Me on Diet Brain”) have approached Thanksgiving with the strategy of hardly eating at all in the morning followed by gorging in the afternoon.  As you might have guessed this isn’t the wisest of strategies (is really makes your stomach hurt) so this year I have a few guidelines for a good, indulgent but not too much, Thanksgiving.

1. A good, protein based breakfast in the morning.

2. Healthy options (like broccoli or nuts) to much no while cooking

3. Take time while eating - chew slowly and savor everything.

4. Limit (but not prohibit) dessert and wine.

Of course I will also work out the day of.

I’m so excited to go home.  School around this time of year always wears the hell out of me.

In the spirit of the holiday, here’s a quick list of things I am grateful for:

1. My family, especially my nephews and niece.

2. NPR, especially Wait, wait don’t tell me! and the Diane Rehm Show.

3. Metropolitan Opera Simulcast Broadcasts.

4. Torani sugar-free coffee flavoring (many many thanks to andly for letting me in on this secret!)

5. Chalene Johnson for TurboJam and TurboFire - really the gifts that keep on giving.

6. The fact that I am able to do Chalene Johnson workouts!

7. Eat This, Not That! (aka Food For Idiots)

8. Jigzone.com, or Procrastination Made Easy

9. All the wonderful singing opportunities I’ve been lucky enough to get.

10. Ella Fitzgerald

11. My job.  Have I mentioned I have the greatest job in the world?  I do.  I work in a library.  A MUSIC library!

12. Juliet Marillier, Lisa Kleypas, and all the other authors I LURVE.

13. Wine.  With Friends.

14. Brahms.  Brahms is best for the soul, really.

And lastly, 15. the fact that Brennan and Booth are FINALLY together on Bones!!!! Good thing too, because I think after 6 seasons of drawn out Will They? Won’t They? nonsense I’m entitle to kill the Bones writers.  Just saying (if you haven’t guessed, I love me some Bones, its my favorite show).

Have a safe, good, guilt-free day tomorrow guys!!!

The Muppet Took Manhattan!

This weekend was great.  It was better than great.  I went up and back from New York with my friends D and E, and we had the most incredible time. 

First on the reason for my being in New York - the audition.  The prelim rounds were on Friday and E and I got invited to the callback rounds on Saturday.  Honestly that’s the part I’m most proud of (That and successfully navigating the Subway system.  New York modes of Transportation are my BITCH!) because hardly anybody got callbacks.  A bunch of us worked it out that out of I don’t even know how many who sang on Friday people they invited back 50 people in total.  I sang for Marilyn Horne (!) on Saturday and she remembered me (!) but we’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.  There really is no way to tell about these things from the auditions themselves.  We’re told the results in December, so keep your fingers crossed! 

Manhattan is amazing, guys, and I was amazed how calm and put together I felt in it.  For some reason, I thought it would be more intimidating to my Midwest-raised, college-in-the-cornfields self.  The only part of the city that E, D, and I didn’t like was Times Square.  God, that place is stressful, and we left almost as soon as we got there. 

My favorite place?  Lincoln Center, of course.  The three of us were drawn to the Metropolitan Opera House like moths to a flame.  We wanted to see about opera tickets for Saturday night.  The opera was Rodelinda, by Handel, and featured some truly superb singers like Renee Fleming, Shenyang (look him up - he’s incredible) and my own personal idol, Stephanie Blythe.  We went to the box office to see about the cheapest seats available, expecting standing room or 4th balcony or something like that - but the guy offered us orchestra seats on sale for 35 dollars!!!!

Those seats are normally 200 dollars.  That we got for 35.  12 rows from the orchestra pit.  At the Met.  I know, freak out. 

We were so giddy about it that we practically skipped out of the box office, calling everyone we know to brag about our good luck.  The opera was so amazing, friends.  Seeing such experienced, polished performers expertly practicig their craft was life changing, and firmed my resolve to go back to the Met - on the other side of the curtain. 

Did I diet this weekend?  Hells no.  I’m not saying it was wise, but I ate burgers and pie and gelato with gusto - but never more than one serving.  I figure since I worked out like a fiend to prepare for this weekend I was justified in eating what I wanted - if only for a few days.  Fear not, friends, Gluttony Brain never took over.  But I did make the decision that I will make smart choices 90 percent of the time, and New York was my 10 percent, for the most part.  But now that I have returned to Reality, its back to the 90 percent with me. 

My favorite moment of this week-end?  After the callbacks on Saturday, D, E, and I decided to walk from where we were on 68th street to 42nd down Lexington ave.  Along the way we impulsively decided to stop in Sprinkles Cupcakes and get a cupcake to go. (Could you walk away from Sprinkles Cupcakes?  I thought not.  I got a banana chocolate cupcake and it was AWESOME.)  Anyway, as we kept walking I caught a glimpse of us in the reflection of a glass shop window, all ridiculous and giggly eating our cupcakes, and I the thought came to me - this is who I want to be.  This person who is happy, tired, capable, in motion, and with friends. 

It might have been the Sprinkles Cupcake talking - but I don’t think it was. 

In which I am Bad-Ass

Part of my preparation for this week, as a mentioned before, is the Turbo Fire 5 Day Inferno plan and it is seriously kicking my ass - in a good way, but not one I’d want to keep up for any longer than 5 days.  Basically it involves 5 days of working out 65 - 85 minutes a day.  And it is a legit cardio workout.  At the end of every one I’m literally dripping sweat and gross - but I love it.  Turbo Fire is definitely one of my favorite work out programs that I’ve tried so far.

It has also worked me to another good step in my Healthy Lifestyle plan.  You know how you keep all your skinny (for you) jeans even after you’ve gained weight and can’t fit in them anymore?  Well, I am officially in my next step of skinnier jeans, a size 14 from Old Navy.  They look really good on and I’m glad to be officially out of the Fat Girl Jeans.  Hopefully for good.  Now I’ll just keep on slowly working my way down the jean totem pole.

I’m more nervous than I thought I would be about my audition this Friday in New York.  I’m nervous about being in the city, but mostly it’s the audition that’s getting my goat.  Auditions are different from Performances.  Performing is a beautiful thing - my beautiful thing, my drug, my high, my favorite feeling in the world.  Auditions are a different animal all together.  You work and work and pray for 5 - 10 minutes of incredible courage and luck in front of people who hold your future in their hands.

Dramatic, much? Maybe, but that is the way it feels when you’re about to walk into that room.

On top of which, the program I am auditioning for is called the Music Academy of the West.  Do you know who is the vocal chair of that program?  Marilyn Horne.  I know, freak out.

For those of you unaware of Marilyn Horne’s greatness, let me school you.  In the world of opera and classical music she is a bonafide living legend, a beast, a force of nature, an icon.  Her style, technique, and precision back in her heyday was flawless.  As a mezzo-soprano, she spent years at the tippy top of my prospective pyramid.  (If you remain unconvinced of her awesomeness, then check this out: Sesame Street: Marilyn Horne Sings C Is For Cookie - YouTube)

Every year she comes to my school to spend a week in residence giving lessons and master classes, and I was lucky enough to be granted an hour long lesson with her.  It was one of the most surreal, wonderful, nerve-wrecking experiences of my life.  Her wealth of knowledge and experience in the field I am studying left me awestruck.  Maybe I shouldn’t be as antsy as I am, but the prospect of auditioning for her is terrifying to me.  I hope she remembers me (favorable, of course).

If you wondering what my strategy is for getting through auditions, I’ll say that it is the same strategy I use for getting through really tough workouts.  I take a deep breath and repeat my mantra.  What is my mantra, you ask?

Here it is:  ”I am Bad-Ass.”

That’s right.  I think to myself - “I am more Bad-Ass than all those skinny-minnies in that video, more Bad-Ass than the judges, and way more Bad-Ass than this situation.”

(I should probably mention that I am not, in fact, a very Bad-Ass person.  I would love to be, though.  Wouldn’t that be cool?)

I may sound like a fool - but it works.  I tell myself that I am enough of a Bad-Ass to get through or deal with a given situation, and then I am.

Wish me luck for this week!

Banishing Diet-Brain and the week ahead.

Little recap of my weekend:  Last night my good friend came into town and we wanted to celebrate by going to get Indian Food, about which I am passionate.  We got directions from Mapquest, having faith even though Mapquest has lied to me before (Damn you, Mapquest).  However, we totally underestimated my ability to get lost going ANYWHERE.  Seriously, it’s a talent.  Cut to us driving around for an hour, at which point I hadn’t eaten in 6 hours and was starving.  Finally we gave up hope on Indian Food and got dinner at Famous Dave’s.  I ate entirely too much food.  It was delicious, but I literally stuffed myself to the point of feeling uncomfortable.  Not my proudest moment.  When I got home I felt the familiar feelings of guilt and panic set in, until I forced my mind to quiet and step back.  At which point, the two parts of my brain I shall call “Diet Brain” and “Rational Brain” had this conversation:

Diet Brain - “My God, I am the worst person ever.”

Rational Brain - “No, it was just an unexpected situation.  You’ll do better tomorrow.”

Diet Brain - “Yes! Tomorrow I won’t eat hardly anything to make up for today!”

Rational Brain - “No!  You’ll eat normally and healthy tomorrow and then you won’t want to eat like tonight again.”

Diet Brain - “Oh, what’s the point.  I should just give up.  What do I know about moderation?  I should just resolve myself to a life of plain salmon and brocolli and be grateful for it.  I don’t deserve food.”

Rational Brain - “As the Greeks say, ‘Everything in Moderation, including Moderation.’ You’re only human and allowed mistakes.  Learn from it, put it behind you, and move on.”

Gluttany Brain - “Let’s go for ice cream!”

Rational Brain - “Shut up, you.”

Or something along those lines.  In any case, I have decided to listen to my Rational Brain and learn from the situation, and as we speak there is a box of Fiberplus Bars in my car to keep me from making the same mistake again.  I am also determined not to beat myself up over it.  I am not on a Diet - therefore Diet Brain has no control over me or my life, and I prefer it that way.

Looking ahead, my week is a little busy and stressful.  On Thursday I am breaking from the regularly scheduled programming to go auditon in New York for a Very Uppity Vocal Summer Program.  This involves driving 8 hours on Thursday, being in the city Friday and Saturday, and coming back Sunday.  As I don’t know if I’ll be able exercise when I’m gone, I’ve decided to do the 5 Day Inferno Plan that’s part of Turbo Fire, starting today and ending Thursday.  As of today Naked Me weighs 185lbs, and I’ll post how much I lost, if any, at the end of the 5 days.

I also have to admit that I’m a little apprehensive about setting my new no-diet mindset loose on Manhattan, with all it’s glorious food sandbags.  Any tips about being healthy in the Big Apple? (If anyone suggests those places where they serve you wheatgrass in shotglasses and call it a meal, I will punch you through the computer screen.)  This will be a tough week, but think that I can make it through on track.

Go Team!

Breakthroughs in A Minor Mode

So today I had a minor epiphany, and I thought I’d share it with you all.

It occurred when I was doing my Turbo Fire workout today, which consisted of 20 minutes of core work and then a 40 minute “stretch” class, which is basically just Chalene Johnson’s Yoga for Dummies (you do feel really loose and relaxed after it, though).  Anyway I was wearing one of my old stand-by work out shirts, which was a ratty old Michigan State t-shirt that I stole from my older brother years ago.  I was doing one of those Yoga side-bendy poses (which I’m probably doing wrong and look hilarious attempting) when I noticed that this shirt was so baggy that it reached down past my elbows when I leaned over.  So, without thinking about it, I took the shirt off and finished the video in my sports bra.

You may be thinking, “big deal, whatever,” and while I’ll admit I didn’t exactly cure cancer here, it was a little step forward for me.  My stomach is not pretty.  No matter how much weight I loose my gut still there, stubbornly and proudly refusing to recede; a little souvenir from the days I rampantly ate what I wanted and a lot of it.  And while you couldn’t pay me enough to exercise without a shirt in public, I realized that I’m ok working out at home like that, and it is actually more comfortable for me that than my usual over-sized t-shirt attire.

So to recap and reiterate my point (though a stupid little one): I still don’t like the way my stomach looks, but that won’t stop me from working out as hard and as well as I can.  I am tougher than my stomach is flabby.

Progress.

(Oh, and sorry about the title.  I can’t resist a good musical pun.)

Inexplicable Loves, or What Coffee and Say Yes to the Dress have in common.

Friends, there are many things I am willing to sacrifice in pursuit of a balanced, healthy lifestyle and better fitting jeans.  I will give up regular fast food meals.  I will give up the hours of a college student’s lifestyle to get enough sleep, embarrassing as it is (Want to know what my nickname is?  Bedtime.  Seriously.)  I will give up that game that you play with bakery workers, you know, when you act like you’re buying half a dozen doughnuts for a group of people but really they’re all for you?  I will even choose physical activity over marathons of Say Yes to the Dress on Weekends.

(Side Rant: What is it with Say Yes to the Dress that makes it irresistible to even the most cynical of women?  I should be, as a progressive, forward thinking, independent, idealistic woman with no plans to marry, completely disinterested in this show that features women with WAY to much time and money on their hands and obviously askew-ed priorities.  I am not even a wedding dress person.  Really, if I ever do get married [no time in the near future] my hypothetical wedding will not be a Big Wedding Dress kind of wedding.  But when this show is on I must watch it, something about it fascinates me.  Maybe it’s Randy.  But I digress.)

But there is one thing, friends, that I refuse to give up: Coffee.  I love me some coffee.  I’m not as bad as I used to be, when I was a fully blown unrepentant caffeine addict and needed three cups a day, supplemented by soda and chocolate.  Now I’m down to having coffee 3-5 days a week, and only 1 medium serving a day.

Now I suppose this wouldn’t be a problem if I preferred my coffee black or with just smidgen of milk and sugar.  Alas, such is not the case.  I have many faults and weaknesses (Lord knows, and have mercy on me a sinner) but one of my greatest is this: I LOOOOOVE sweet coffee drinks.  Seriously, the worse it is for you the more I probably love it to pieces.  The day Starbucks inevitable announces their new Whipped-Banana-Chocolate-Hazelnut-Frappa-Mocha-Carmel-Swirla-Machiato-Cino I will buy a vat, strip naked, dive in head first and die a happy woman.

If I lived within walking distance of a Starbucks or Tim Hortons or something like that this wouldn’t be such a problem, because they both have those wonderful no-calorie, no-sugar flavor shots.  But my school is in SUCH THE MIDDLE OF FREAKING NOWHERE that there is no Starbucks or it’s mainstream equivalent.  My coffee house of choice is your typical small-town, semi-hipster, low-key, cat on the counter kind of place with organic coffee, vegan fruit bars, and no zero-calorie flavor shots.

So here is my question to the Peanut Gallery:  Right now I am drinking a medium coffee with a small pump of chocolate flavoring and some soy-milk.  Is having this drink 3-5 times a week completely sabotaging my efforts for a healthier me?  And do they sell those no-calorie flavor shots anywhere on the internet?  And who can legitimately spend 10,000+ dollars on a dress you’ll only wear once?

(Seriously, that show must be playing some kind of subliminal mind games on me.  Why else would I love it so much?)

Whoa. Jump Back.

So I meant to do the whole “Introduce myself to class” thing as my first post, but what happened was all the frustrated stress kind took over my brain and my fingers and yesterday’s post came out instead.  I’m kind of glad that it did, though, because I’m so touched and encouraged by the responses that I got.  So, in return, I thought I’d do what I should have done yesterday and start this thing properly. 

I am a singer, with my ambition to be a full time opera singer (yes this is very hard, no it does not pay a lot, yes you have to have the ambition, passion, and denial of an insane person to pursue this).  I attend a Very Uppity Prestigious Conservatory, and am going through the process of auditioning for Very Uppity Prestigious Grad Programs as well as Very Uppity Prestigious Summer Programs (please note that I am not a Very Uppity Prestigious Person) and all this adds up to my life being full of Very Uppity Prestigious Stress. 

I can talk and talk and talk about Operas and Classical Music (and I probably will other occasions) but for the purposes of this introduce myself post, and seeing as this is a weight loss (weight maintain) blog, I thought I’d talk a bit about my weight loss (and gain and loss and gain) history and goals. 

I was a heavier teenager in High School, but a combination of moderately physical activity (dancing in Color Guard and musicals and such) and living in my parent’s moderately healthy house meant that I was never too overweight.  After I graduated I moved out and lived by myself while putting myself through Community College and gleefully did no working out and ate whatever I wanted.  Three years of this put me at my highest weight of 249 lbs at 21 years old. 

I decided to change my habits with Weight Loss Attempt #1 when I got my Associates Degree and started attending my current school (VUPC, if you recall).  Basically it contained a complete 180 turn from my previous practice of wanton laziness and overeating.  I worked out at least an hour every day and wrote down everything I ate (which was never enough).  I kept this up for several months and was able to lose about 65 lbs, reaching my lowest weight record of 184 lbs, which is kind of incredible but totally unhealthy. 

Of coarse, I totally burned myself out doing this and a combination of stress, the holidays and my first opera role ever (the Old Lady in Bernstein’s Candide.  AWESOME!) led to me falling off the wagon in a major way.  Ever think to yourself “Is it possible to gain 30+ lbs in a semester?”  It totally is, trust me.  Really, if we lived in a world where overeating and not moving were admirable traits, I’d be like Gandhi and Mother Theresa combined. 

These habits continued through that summer and the following semester of school, until my next bitch-slap from reality.  I got my second Opera and first Leading Role (Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito.  TOTALLY AWESOME!), and the director told me, very nicely, that I should lose some weight for the production.  (He was actually very great about the whole thing.  His actual words were “I want you to be healthy, first and foremost.  There are ten weeks until production and I recommend you lose a pound a week.”) 

I lost weight more slowly and healthfully this time (about 15lbs.  If you’ve been paying attention this leaves me at about 215lbs.) mostly because the nature of learning and getting an opera on stage is really time consuming and stressful, but more on that at a later date. 

This past summer I was lucky enough to be able to participate in a Music Festival.  For those of you who don’t know, think of this kind of thing as a Music Summer Camp for Adults.  This means a lot of bad summer food and beer.  I’m proud to say that I didn’t gain too much weight, but it was not a healthy way of living.

So now we are finally at this current Fall Semester of school.  Without a current Opera Role I have been able to lose a good amount of weight (I am currently at 186lbs).  The problem is that this has been lost mostly using tactics from Weight Loss Attempt #1, which I already know is doomed to fail.  I’ve read enough blogs and articles to know this. 

So now to my goals.  Here is the main one - I AM NOT DIETING!!!!.  I will continue to (hopefully) make (mostly) healthy eating decisions and am still writing down what I eat, but for I resolve to never count calories or have “forbidden” foods again.  I want to read the Intuitive Eating book and see if this is a style that can work for me (anyone out there have thoughts on this? I’d appreciate it).  Also I need to eat something for breakfast every morning.  I’m so guilty of skipping it to keep calories low in the past. 

Goal number two is that I want to be strong, not thin.  I want to be able to do an actual sit up (not a crunch) and an actual push up (not the girly on your knees type, which is all I can manage now).  I want to run things like 5ks and half-marathons, and do strength training with 10lb weights.  I want to be more proud of what my body is capable of than what it looks like.

So here is the plan for now.  I will continue to write down what I eat and try to make mostly healthy decisions in my eating.  I will also not berate or punish myself for the occasional less than ideal decision.  I will continue to work out every day, if I am able (I just finished the Advanced Turbo Jam schedule and am currently in my second week of TurboFire.  I love it, and will write more about it later.)

My life is crazy stressful, but I really do love it and wouldn’t have it any other way (well, I’d probably like it more with a little more pocket money, but que sera). I am incredibly blessed to be able to do and study what I love and truly have passion for.  My ultimate goal is to to sing (with all the wonderful stress that comes with it) and be healthy at the same time.

And I have to believe that I can do it.  Thanks for listening, guys!

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