Stacy In ONEderland!

june

Fairy tales often include magic, charms… and a heroine who overcomes obstacles…. Alice in Wonderland is no different.

“It’s no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then – Alice in Wonderland.

“Every adventure requires a first step” Cheshire Cat.

A year ago when I got off my couch from what seemed like a year of hard knocks I had to face the truth that I had “let myself go”. A trip to the bathroom scale revealed 226LBS. and I had to come to terms with the cold hard truth that, given our family history of diabetes, heart disease, kidney diseases, arthritis etc. and my personal battle with hypothyroidism, scoliosis, a bad knee etc… that this was not a healthy place for me!

I wanted to be healthy! The definition of insanity is to continue to do the same things and expect different results so I pull up my big girl panties – literally – and called a personal trainer.  My goal was to get stronger! To find the STRENGTH OVER ALL RESISTANCE (S.O.A.R) and get myself strong and fit and healthy. My first scale goal was to get under 200lbs… What a journey…. 2019 was going to be the year I do this and God knows the way my metabolism is set up, I expected it to take that long.

June – Half way through the year and I am reflecting on the past 6 months. What a work in progress my life is. I had no idea when I chose SOAR as my word of the year that the sense of humor of the most high would keep me SORE – every dang day! But the work. Oh yes the work…

Accomplished:

Visited Vermont, got my girls settled in their new home and spent time in a beautiful bookstore soaking up the energy of books.

Visited NY, spent time with family and Meditated on the rooftop of a Manhattan high-rise overlooking a the bridge at sunrise.

Crossed the border and spent an afternoon by myself in an entirely different county in a city with a different language.

Pet a pit bull – True story

Ran a 5K and did my personal best time coming in under 50 minutes.

Visited and soaked up the energy of sacred land – Shangri La

Tried Crossfit – one word:  brutal.

 

Socially, I’ve spent time with some beautiful women I love and admire, catching up. Physically,  I’ve worked harder this month on strength training and fitness than I have  ever done. Nutritionally, I have been extremely holistic in the what I’ve put in my body, no meat, no fried foods, very little processed carbs, very little processed sugar and no very little alcohol (but I did have a drink with Shellena for her birthday) Emotionally, I’ve had some extreme highs and lows. Panic, Fear, Rage, Hurt, Joy, Bliss, Oneness and lots of time spent checking myself and reevaluating.   Spiritually, I have grown more this last month than every before. I’ve reaffirmed my worth. Got to my absolutes and found my truth again.  I laugh at myself for the insignificant things I’ve let bother me, took to heart and made a big deal about. Life is too short to be small. I’m a big girl… who just reached ONEDERLAND!

onederland

Next 6 months… BRING IT ON.

 

 

 

Hidden Treasures – Aruba Adventures

So I did a thing in Aruba! And I loved it! 

full moon

So while in Aruba last weekend I found out:

  1. It was the full moon on Saturday
  2. That there was a full moon yoga class happening on a beach

Well the last time I actually did a yoga class (I do sun salutations at sunrise from my bedroom window sometimes but haven’t attended a class) was the first of the year with Francesca. Full Moon. Yoga. Beach. Aruba. I mean… the universe lined up to make this happen so of course I’m all in.

First let me say it is DARK on the beach at night, second I know NO ONE here, I can’t even see their faces but I got there and spread my towel on the sand like everyone did and sat down.  Facing the full moon with waves crashing besides me I get quiet and listen to nature and I am in awe at the great mystery of this life. Creations like the ocean besides me, the palm trees swaying in the wind, the powder white sand below me and this beautiful full moon above and I get to sit here and enjoy it all.

“Everything in life is cyclical…” the yoga instruction is leading us into a meditation about “Letting go of things that no longer serve you”, paying attention to your divine feminine energy and walking in your truth…  Moon Salutation… and repeat…its a beautiful thing

moon salutation

 

I’m proud to say that I am keeping up with what looks like professionals.  Yoga on sand is hard because its moving under your body but for the most part I am able to do the poses correctly.  I am fully in the moment. Alive. Aware.

And as we finish off the last moon salutation and is lying flat on our backs in meditation, I open my eyes to that beautiful full moon, dig my hands as far into the sand as I can reach and came up with whatever hidden treasures I could find… and this appears…..

treasures

 

As I walk away with my treasures… I’m thinking… this looks like a mortar and pestle. A mortar and pestle is a device used since ancient times to prepare ingredients or substances (for medicine) by crushing and grinding them into a fine paste or powder. As if to say…. Woman… Heal Thyself!

A permanent place in my prayer closet!

aaaa

 

 

Lesson Learned. King Leo will take care of it.

girlpower

 

Let me first admit here that I am definitely spoiled when it comes to things like manual labor, fixing cars etc. My motto for things like this is: King Leo will take care of it

I literally cannot even tell you how to open the hood of my car (yes that I’ve owned for almost a decade), change a tire or anything related (King Leo will take care of it) so when my coolant light came on yesterday I had two choices 1. Call AAA (another convenience the hubby makes available to me and the kids) or just wait the hour until he gets off and leave the car for you… King Leo will take care of it.

Because are scheduled to go out of town when he got off, we opted to leave the car in the parking lot where it was and just deal with it the next day. I knew that my part was done until the car was home safe, fixed and drive-able again.

Questioning him last night on the ride back from Tampa, I learned that what will happen is. When he gets off, him and someone else would ride out to the car, where he would fill it up with water in the area that says Coolant under the hood, just to get it home, where he can better determine if it has a leak or need more repair which he will take care of however he does (magic wand maybe?) and voila I’ll be back in the car driving again.

But I’m feeling brave and open to learning new things. Called my sister… “do you have an idea how to put water in the radiator of a car?” With a positive response we decided to go do this thing and save the guys the headache – Girl Power!

Disclaimer: I’m 47 years old, never changed a tire, opened the hood of a car, just recently learned how to pump my own gas and did a car wash on my own for the first time this year.

So we get to the car. I prided myself in at least knowing that i need distilled water and after having to call the hubby to figure out how to open the hood, we are doing this thing! Never mind I’m wearing a dress and her a beautiful white shirt!

Filled the car with water and then… oh shit.. the cap for the coolant area falls into the engine. Ok maybe it fell under the car but a look under there yielded nothing. Backed up the car to make sure…nope. Looked and felt all around the engine area…. no cap. Got an old towel and checked under to see if we can find it… nope… jumped on the bumper to get a better look… breaks the bumper.

breaks bumper.jpg

Close the hood. Locks the car. Drives away.

King Leo will take care of it.

Black Sand! Aruba Adventures

blackstone bridge

 

So I heard there was a beach in Aruba with Black Sand!

Never mind it’s not listed on any of the maps we received, never mind no one else I asked on the beach here knows what I’m talking about, never mind google maps was like “bitch please”… I am determined to find this beach with black sand.

Why can’t I be the kind of tourist that stay on this beautiful resort  and enjoy all the amenities? Why not book a Swedish massage on the beach? Try some watersports? Drink Mai Tai’s on the beach? Why not go to Renaissance Island and feed the pink flamingos out of my hands? Nah, I gotta be the chick that wants the “off the beaten path adventure” and… I am determined to find this beach with black sand.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no idea why this man follow me into my shenanigans!

So up the road and thru the middle of the island and off the beaten path which means the “roads” are now dusty dry rocky uphill paths  that NO car should travel on (not sure it could be called a road really, more like a path carved out of the mountain – several mountains) you come to a sandy road that you absolutely can’t take a car on… so  walk about 1/2 a mile in hot sand up a hill and come to a beach. Yeah… … but no black sand! This beach is actually Andicuri but at least you still see signs of life as there is one guy  out there with his dogs. ‘Black sand?” you asked and he points you to another – more rocky hill. I mean…. steeper, rockier for sure (let me take this moment to say that I am really really grateful that my body is stronger and my endurance level is better this year than it has ever been because there was no way I was making it this far without passing out) So… I am determined to find this beach with black sand.

Climbed that hill and… you’re now standing on the edge of a cliff but… no black sand!

The guy with the dogs  comes by on his ATV and let’s you know that… no…you’re still not there yet, its “up there” as he points to an even steeper set (yes I said set, not one) of hilly, rocky paths and then he said. “Jump in the back of the ATV, I’ll take you”. Here I’m thinking… “Oh, this is definitely NOT a good idea, the cell phones do not work, no one has any idea where we are and you don’t know dude from Adam… and did I mention he had dogs in there?” But… I am determined to find this beach with black sand

Now let me remind you this is an ATV… with a tiny area in the back that he expects these two fatass grownass people to jump into and did I say there were dogs on this contraption too? but I did it! Somehow I managed to climb on this man’s back wheel and haul and squeezed my fatass into this tiny space. By now you know why right? I am determined to find this beach with black sand

Now let me tell you about these roads this ATV took us up (squeezed in the back with no seatbelt… 90 degrees and all) it was ALL rocky. Big rocks, sharp rocks, just ROCKS. He takes us up a series of hills and stopped. “It’s over there”  he pointed…  and we got out and HE DROVE OFF!!! I guess that means we are Walking Back????? Can we even find our way back??? I mean… that was several hills!!!! At this point I’m thinking… “One day, hubby is just going to leave me in the middle of one of these shenanigans… or push me over this dang cliff that I am looking over – even higher – even more treacherous.

As we proceed to the edge of yet another higher, sharper cliff and look down, there below, under a series of sharp rocky slippery downhill climbs I see an area so tiny you can totally miss it… like 15 steps long… of black sand and rocks. I’m talking if you blink you would miss it. I’m saying you have to step over rocks to actually place your feet in this patch of “black sand”

blacksandals

Oh how I wanted to plant my feet in black sand but oh how I want to live!  I know that after that climb, with my anxiety and adrenaline on 10,  there is no way I’m making that descend (in sandals) no matter what it took to get here… I found black sand! I saw it with my own eyes and you’re  just gonna have to believe the pictures… this little black area is black sand y’all. There it is!

black sand

 

INFORMATION I FOUND ON BLACK STONE BEACH (the actual name)

Lined with small and shimmery black eroded stones, Black Stone Beach is the only beach in Aruba boasting “black sand”. Erosion by the water not only created black pebbles but also rather sharp and edgy rocks that both characterize this location… Black Stone Beach is actually a little bay, where the ocean reaches the beach you will notice scattered rocks everywhere… if you are looking for trees to enjoy some shade, you will be disappointed. They’re just not around.

This is actual blowholes near the site.

blow holes

 

 

 

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Making Waves

making waves

 

All my life I was the one with the straight hair. The “Indian looking one”. As one multi racial child of five my siblings and I differ vastly in body shape, skin tone, hair texture etc.  When people would ask me what I am ethnically and culturally I would tell them I’m a mutt. Born in South America, considered Caribbean  ancestors from India, China, Africa (not sure where in Africa) and Ireland.

One contention for me has always been my hair. With both parents balding and me having the thinnest stringiest hair in my family I’ve always simply maintained it by wash, condition and straighten. I sometimes went to the hair salon for highlights and trims but mostly I just wash, conditioner and straighten.

After Hurricane Irma and going through a heavy emotional time I decided to “shed some weight” “cut some ties” the first being my locks and for the first time in life I made the big chop!

Visiting a salon for a deep conditioning treatment shortly after, the stylist mentioned… “your hair is extremely curly and wavy, you should wear it like this”. Really? I feel like it does this 1/2 wavy 1/2 straight inconvenient thing that makes it hard to look good naturally… “No it’s definitely curlier than you think and the reason it’s doing that is because you straighten it so much. If you don’t you will see your hair will make those beautiful waves and curls naturally that everyone tries hard to get.

Taking her advice, I started wearing my hair more natural. Especially since I started working out. It was getting sweaty more often, washed more often and definitely didn’t want to put a hot iron to it more often so natural has become the way I wear it.

So many people have commented on how good, much fuller it looks. A lot of people ask me what I do to get it this way. My regimen is shampoo, conditioner (no preference, whatever is on sale or I can coupon) towel dry, add some Cantu coconut curling cream and go! Literally.

cantu

Who knew! My hair… at almost 50 years old, after and entire lifetime of being one of my biggest issues would be…

Making Waves

 

The Universe Speaks To Me

 

dance on water

It’s Mother’s Day. I’m heading out of town, two hours away to have brunch with my daughter. I drove pass my mothers resting place but didn’t stop like I normally do. I’d stopped there about 2 weeks ago and put some fresh flowers and I do this almost monthly so today I decided not to, since I’m almost 100 percent certain one of my other siblings will today as it’s Mothers Day!
When I’m taking long drives by myself, music is my wingman. I plugged in my phone to the car radio, pulled up my reggae/soca playlist, turn up the volume and hit the I75, it’s a beautiful morning and I’m jamming, screeching (those of you who have heard my singing voice will understand) along to my mostly slackness dancehall playlist.
I’m thinking about mother’s Day, past, present, future. What it looks like to be a mother of adults, how things change, how it remains the same, how much I miss my mommy… Fever by Vybz Kartel finished and as with YouTube, an ad is about to start. But…. it’s not an ad… it’s a full fledge country song playing in the middle of my reggae/soca playlist. Puzzled… I look down to see if my phone disconnected from the car radio and was on a country music radio station but nope, there was an actual country song… all 5:06 of it… playing… as an ad! I listened…

“I lived my life as kind as I could
I did my best I hope I was good
I’ll always wish I’d crossed a few more lines
But I always lived like there wasn’t enough time

I’ll leave footprints for you in the sand
A couple of notes only you’ll understand
I have one wish that someday you’ll see
How much your love, your love has meant to me

So when I’m gone throw me a party
You should dance as if I was there
Don’t be sad or be broken hearted
Send your voices up in the air”

screenshot
I’d forgotten I was jamming along, screeching out slackness music a few seconds ago and there is goosebumps all over my body. These would be the exact words my mom would be saying right now if she was in front of me knowing I was sad and missing her this Mother’s Day, as a matter of fact before she passed she would always say. “I don’t want a funeral with a bunch of people crying, throw me a party”

The Universe Speaks To Me! I say this jokingly often, when I get serendipity moments. This was exactly what I needed to hear at this very moment! Of course, my practical analytical business mind was saying… “Well played YouTube well played, what a great marketing strategy to have this song as an ad on Mother’s Day. I will be buying this music that I probably would have NEVER listened to in my life” but my spiritual mind was saying. “I see you mom, I got you!”
I will find you in the footprints in the sand today… .

As I’m getting ready to leave the beach… I tilted my head to the side… I could hear drums… a drum circle… on the beach… I will dance…

Its A Celebration!

The Universe Speaks To Me…

footprints in the sand

Learning The Ropes

battleropes

 

Battle Ropes – Not gonna lie, those things look intimidating! I may have mentioned in previous posts that even with a gym membership the only thing I’ve ever done before hiring a personal trainer was use a treadmill. All the machines and gadgets in the gym intimidated me and looked like torture equipment and I think for the first few months the only thing I was comfortable working with was balls and a mat, so when Alphonso Hopson suggested I started working with weights and machines I freaked out. As time went by though, I got comfortable with trying new things.

The ropes were just lying there one day from previous use and I have to say I was the one that asked about it, how it works, benefits of using it etc.   Sensing that I was fascinated by them, he persuaded me to give it a try. Let me just say… them ropes are heavy! I did a couple of wave reps and put those babies DOWN!

Intrigued though and being the analytical person I am, I started to research the battle Ropes. Turns out, the rope workouts are extremely beneficial. They are not only for upper body but the battle rope workouts work the muscles in your abs, back, and glutes, and you can incorporate movements, such as jumps, lunges, and squats, that work your legs, glutes etc. for maximum effect.

With May being our 100 squats challenge month and looking for ways to break up the monotony of the same reps over and over I’ve been alternating.. chair squats, squats with weights, squats with kickbacks and then I decided to reach for the ropes…

When I say this workout is like no other! Arms screaming, legs screaming, core screaming… but at the end of it I realize… I’m not going to be intimidated by these ropes any longer. I will find the Strength Over All Resistance (S.O.A.R.) to conquer these ropes!

I’m fighting for my health! I’m fighting for my life. it’s a battlefield and…

I’m learning the ropes!

Just a regular day in the life….

cleanup bear

 

So Saturday morning I woke up feeling lazy. It was my day to clean since I didn’t do it Friday (yes I have a designated clean day) but the hubby was home and on a very rare occasion, so was the son, who wanted to chill and talk so I decided… to heck with the cleaning… “what y’all want for breakfast?”

Since we had some left over roti in the fridge I proceeded to toast it (you’ve never had day old toasted roti with butter for breakfast? You haven’t lived!) and made coffee. We lingered… we chatted… I decided that today was going to be my “rest” and “cheat” day (not from meat, just sugar and processed carbs) and I’ll just make it up tomorrow by doubling up on my squats (did I tell y’all about the 100 squats a day May challenger yet?)

About an hour later, Lying around, reading a book, I got a text from the daughter in law… “We’re doing an impromptu bbq at my grandparents if you want to come. And of course Leo, J, and Soph if they aren’t at work tonight!” Well why not? It’s always a good day when I get to see both my kids beautiful faces in person. It’s always a good day when I get to do nothing but take a shower, get dressed and get invited to someone else’s for a home cooked meal. I’ll just clear up the house when I get home later… Let’s Go!

bbq2

Stopped at Costco to pick up some flowers for the moms at the bbq since next week is Mother’s Day and they are having their CMN fundraiser… “ here Stacy, you just gotta try the flan” OMG! My trainer is going to kill me. “No but for real…. so good!” (Proceeds to hand me a plate of flan) Ok, what the heck, I mean you had buttered roti for breakfast Stacy, flan it is!” A couple of delicious bites later I snuck it in the garbage but yup… a couple of delicious bites later.

The bbq was great! Lots of healthy options, I had grilled veggies, salmon, some corn… not bad right? Driving home hubby’s taking US41 instead of the interstate. I love the scenic routes so this is good with me, vibing to my music, watching the sunset and I suddenly realize why we are on the US41 route… we are heading to Downtown Pizza (hubby and I use to have a standard Friday night date night pizza night but haven’t in a long time) So yeah pizza.

By the time we got home my stomach is miserable. After months of eating fairly clean my stomach is giving me a “hell nah chick” attitude so I made myself a cup of detox tea, washed up and went to bed (didn’t I say I was going to clear up the house when I got home? Oh well…)

So it’s like 12:30 and I’m awake with a burning desire to get up and clean. My OCD is in high gear and in my mind – even though I thoroughly clean my house religiously every Friday and sweep and dust everyday, my house is now a filthy mess and cannot wait any longer to be cleaned – I mean, what if someone stopped by? At 1am? I literally cannot sleep so I get up and yes, started scrubbing toilets and mopping floors etc.

Let me just tell you, the resistance around cleaning up this house right now is something wicked! I mean shit is falling off the wall, all the dishwashing liquid spills, Even Beares Hammond is like… WTF… leave me alone, let me sleep (let me tell you, that bear is hard to move singlehandedly but I HAD to clean behind him). I burn my fingers trying to light a candle, stumped my toe on the stairs and in the middle of it all the detox tea kicks in… oh yes, that happened.

sleepybear

So it’s like 3am and I’m repotting and resoiling kitchen window plants, apologizing to them for the neglect, promising to do better, wiping down baseboards, sills and blinds, dishes so soapy from all the spilled dishwashing liquid it’s slipping out my hand and crashing into the sink (and yes, hubby is upstairs snoring through all this commotion) and then… around 4am… I’m finally done with this massive massive cleaning project and realized… there wasn’t even enough garbage to fill a small plastic grocery bag!

midnight repotting

So let me go take a shower now and take my ass to bed… oh look! My monthly cycle started! Yeah me!

Just a regular day in the life….

STRONG TO THE CORE

Strong_to_the_core

 

I’m fairly certain I wasn’t hearing right when our personal trainer Alphonso Hopson said “The April challenge is to do 200 crunches a day!” What? Now I know full and well he knows that 4 months ago I could not even do one freaking sit up so I have no idea why he believes that he is a magician on this day! 200 crunches a day for the entire April! I did the math, that’s 6000 crunches! Impossible, was my first thought…

Determined to S.O.A.R (find the Strength Over All Resistance) I decided the least I could do is start. I started out with ten at a time, 5 sets at a time, it took me all day the first day to get 200 crunches done and my abs were on fire! Day after day though I showed up for myself and got on the mat. Some days were hectic and got missed but I always made it up (I hated missing though as that means that the next day 400 needed to get done) Some days my sister would join me and we would do them together. I have to admit it got a little (just a tad bit) easier with time but let me tell you, the burn is FIRE!

Well at least this should help me get a flat tummy,  I thought, but when I expressed those  thoughts to said personal trainer, he proceeded to tell me that ab exercises does not mean a flat tummy, that really, it just means your core is getting stronger, that really, it’s proper nutrition that will assist in a flatter stomach! Wait! What???? All this work does not guarantee a flatter tummy? Have you ever really learned something new that makes you just want to  throw your hands up in the air and say “I quit!”?

Upon further research, in a msn.com article, health and fitness expert Jillian Michael said “”If you think you’re going to crunch away belly fat or crunch your way into a six pack, that’s a very incomplete component, because you have to burn the fat off the top of the muscle or you’re never going to see it, no matter how conditioned it is,”…. Michaels recommends eating foods high in healthy estrogens, such as flax, yams, and fermented soy to help combat stomach fat. Otherwise, she suggests getting enough sleep and trying to keep stress at a minimum. – Oh well I heard two words I like… eat and sleep!

 

Anyway… here we are at the end of April… tummy no flatter than before (maybe a little because I did listen to the proper nutrition part also) and I DID IT!!!! 6000 crunches completed and now I can finally say literally…

 

I AM STRONG TO THE CORE!!!!!

 

 

Raising The Bar

sore

 

I’ve never done strength training in my life. Never worked out with weights. Even when I hit the gym I go straight to the treadmill and only the treadmill. It’s my comfort zone! So when my trainer Alphonso Hopson suggested I work out with weights for strength training I have to admit I was petrified! I decided to give it a try – because the definition of insanity is to continue to do the same things over and over and expect different results – and I wanted different results.

I want to be toned but I made it abundantly clear to him that I was not interested in being muscular. I’m a girly girl, I like my curves, the softness of my body and also… hubby said that was in the marriage agreement (go figure).

Strength training is incredibly hard. I hate pain.. and.. its painful! I hate being sore for days (my word of the year is SOAR not SORE dammit) and you are sore for days after a good strength training. But strength training is more than physical. It takes mental strength and determination to get through it. I literally have to focus on the task at hand and only that. The resistance is incredible and I have to pray for S.O.A.R – Strength Over All Resistance.  Sometimes I have to shut everything out and focus on the W.I.N –   What’s Important Now – to get through it. What’s Important Now is to get through each set, get strong, mentally, physically, emotionally…

I’m Raising The Bar on myself…

Deep Breath… Hands UP!!!!

 

NOTE: Tank top gifted by my wonderful cousin Alicia Welcome after I posted it in a previous blog – thanks Cuz. Love You