Meeting A Goal and Moving Forward

I Did It!

That’s me jumping for joy. I’m a happy girl because after 7 months, I reached my goal weight!

54.4 pounds.


Which is a pretty big deal for a short gal like me.

And I feel so much better. I have more energy. My joints and back don’t hurt. I can breathe better at night.

(Although I will never own up to snoring. Ever. Even though Ed said he has proof. Which kinda freaks me out.)

I know that my hard work and lifestyle changes which have included making better food choice and daily exercise have gotten me to where I am now but that really, this is just the beginning. Even though I’ve reached my goal, I want this to mark the beginning of a life that is active, healthful and fun. While I still have a sweet tooth and I struggle with stress eating…I will continue to strive to eat well and enjoy treats in moderation.

But exercise is something I actually love to do now! I’m excited about making plans to do things that push me physically and keep me active. In April I want to do a 5K with my entire family and in May I plan to do a 10K mud run with my friends. I’m also thinking about a local tri-atholon and I am definitely going to run the Princess half-marathon at Disney in February 2014!

(Jennifer, you lost 55 pounds….where are you going now? DISNEY WORLD!)

Since I dropped 6 dress sizes (yikes!!) I’ve needed to add some new things to my wardrobe. While this is extremely exciting (new clothes… YAY!) and shopping for clothes now that I’m healthier is more fun, it’s also expensive. So I’ve been spacing out my spending and doing a lot of online shopping to catch great looking clothes at a good price.

Here are some things I have my eye on right now:

I love this red tankini from Spiegel. It’s been a long time since I got excited about swim suit weather and (at least in Houston), it’s just around the corner. This is such a fun and flattering suit at a great price! I’m loving the gold accents.

This copper metallic dress is so cool. I love the 50s/60s vibe and the clean look. This would be fun for a summer party and a great way to show off my arms that I’ve been working hard toning up!

This pant suit is all kinds of awesome. I always wanted to wear something like this and I’m thinking now’s the time. I love the built-in Power Mesh bodysuit that keeps everything “put” because while I may have lost weight, I still have some serious toning to do in the middle. I love that this piece is both bold but forgiving! I’m guessing I’ll have to hem the pants about 6 inches, though!!

Check out Spiegel for some good deals on swim suits, dresses and other fun pieces to build your spring wardrobe. And if you are in between sizes because you are losing weight or just need to keep things “together!” like me….check out their Shape FX line with power mesh in all the right places (like the disco-era pant suit above) so you’ll look awesome!

What clothes are on your radar right now for Spring?

How do you find good deals on line and in stores?

Disclosure: Thank you to Spiegel for sponsoring this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


Mamavation Monday – A Pledge


In my last post I talked about celebrating my weight loss successes in 2012. I’ve lost about 47 pounds since starting to eat healthfully and exercise regularly. It’s been quite a commitment and I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but I have more to loose and goals to meet in 2013.

I’ve found that if I set goals that are realistic and clearly defined, I’m more likely to meet them. But I can’t do it alone. I need tools and resources and a supportive community in order to be successful. This is especially true at this point in my journey. In the beginning, it was enough to just limit my calorie intake and eliminate things like soft drinks and fried foods from my diet. Then I started to exercise. I started walking, then running a little and adding Jazzercise classes to my weekly routine.

I’ve kind of hit a plateau recently and am struggling to continue losing weight. I’ve exhausted my expertise and need some additional help going forward. When I heard about the online Mamavation Sistahood community, I was immediately interested in joining.

The Sistahood is a community weight loss support group for moms in social media. Moms like me can learn and support one another in weight loss and fitness goals while learning to share healthy habits with their families. They have an online forum where moms can network and help each other and they sponsor challenges (I applied for the #iheartOmron Challenge and am crossing my fingers that I’m selected next month!).

I love that they accept women at all stages of the journey and encourage them to stay active by participating in weekly blog updates and a Monday night online TV chat show. It’s just the accountability I need mixed with the support I know is necessary in order to make healthy living a commitment for a lifetime.

I’ve started a list of goals for the first quarter 2013 and I hope that as a member of the Sistahood, I’ll reach them all and be motivated to continue adding to my list for the rest of the year:

  1. Participate in a 5K with my family by February 2013
  2. Take body measurements by January 7, 2013
  3. Sign up for and begin training for a 10K by March 2013
  4. Lose 10 pounds by February 15, 2013
  5. Run at least 2 times a week
  6. Take a Jazzercise class at least 3 times a week
  7. Blog weekly about my weight loss journey, my goals and tools that have helped me achieve success including healthy recipes

So I’m pledging to join the Sistahood. For me and my family. What about you? Do you have goals for 2013? Is getting healthy on your list? Join me!


Celebrating Success in 2012 – Setting Goals for 2013

It’s New Year’s Eve and after a week of eating foods I shouldn’t (oh sugar cookies with frosting, how can you be so sweet and so evil at the same time?!) and less frequent workouts, I hit the gym early this morning. I have been feeling so bad about neglecting my healthy eating habits and not working out as much as I should lately. It felt good to get back to it with an hour of Jazzercise before the first of the year.

My New Year’s Resolution, for sure, is to continue on the road to good health that I started last July. I need to lose more weight and get in better physical shape but also work on my state of mind. When I stumble, I need to get back up…not beat myself up. And I want to set realistic goals and involve my family in more healthy adventures like participating in a 5K together.

And I need to celebrate my successes along the way.

That’s hard for me because I’m afraid of getting too comfortable and not being able to continue losing weight or maintain my weight loss when I finally reach my ultimate goal. I’ve lost weight before and gained in back. I don’t want it to be temporary this time.

A good start for me has been to surround myself with people who are supportive. Friends with similar good health/weight loss goals to eat and exercise with and online groups with folks who can answer a question, give advice or just lend support have been so helpful. I continue to seek out tools and resources that can help me along the way. And I want to share things I find with you so that if you are on a similar journey, you can find inspiration and be successful as well.

I’m looking forward to what 2013 will bring and what I can accomplish. But before that, I’m going to reflect on how far I’ve come. I carry this photo of me in my wallet. It was taken about a month or two before I started my journey last summer and when I was at my heaviest.

And this is me now.

Not there yet, but stronger then before and I’m progressing…which is a big thing. Will you join me? I hope so!

Happy New Year, friends.

Be safe and be happy and set goals for 2013.

But be sure to also celebrate a success from 2012 and feel good about yourself.



Firefly 5K – We Did It!

My Couch to 5K running buddies and I got suited up and went to Reliant Stadium Saturday night for the Firefly Night 5K that we have been training for over the last eight weeks. I had a great time with my friends and accomplished my goal by running the entire race! It was a bit emotional to realize how far I’ve come along my road to good health since July.

Does this tutu make me look fast?!!

Now I’m ready for the next one!


What about you?

Have you accomplished a goal today? This week? This month?

No matter how big or how small, be sure to celebrate your success!




Remembering The Magic – Top 10 Moments During Our Disney Cruise


I was completely unplugged for over a week while my family and I took a cruise on The Disney Magic last week. While I thought it would be tough to be “off the grid” (and I certainly did miss connecting with my Facebook, Twitter and Still Living The Dream friends), it turned out to be one of the most magical weeks I have ever spent with my husband and children on vacation.

This was our first time on a cruise ship and we had a lot of questions before we boarded like what to pack, what excursions to sign up for while in the Caribbean and what to expect regarding activities on the ship. (These will all be topics that I will cover in future posts about the Disney Magic, by the way!)

But as soon as we stepped on the ship and a crew member announced over the loudspeaker, “Please help me welcome aboard The Patrick family,” we knew we were going to be in for a wonderful ride no matter what ended up in our suitcases or whether we selected a snorkeling or beach tour excursion in Cozumel.

My Top 10 Magical Moments on The Disney Magic (in no particular order!):

Running on Deck 4 in the morning and watching the sunrise. Runners can choose between looking over the water while on a treadmill in the ship’s exercise facility (which I also took advantage of several times during our trip) or running the entire length of deck four…three times around equals a mile.

Watching Jackson become more independent. Disney knows that as much as parents love their kids (and kids love their parents) sometimes grown-ups and little ones want to do different things. So they offer a nursery for infants and three different kid’s activity rooms for older kids (Oceaneer’s Lab and Lounge for Annie’s age group, The Edge for pre-teens like Jackson and The Vibe for teenagers.) My kid’s loved going there to play sports, take cooking classes, do arts and crafts and enjoy special parties with kids their own age. Jackson was able to go with his new friends to play dodge ball or play in the arcade on the top deck. He even explored the ship a bit with permission from us and Wave phone in hand (each stateroom comes with 2 “wavephones” to use while on the ship so that you can get in touch with your family when going in different directions). His confidence and self-esteem grew…and with that – so did my heart!

Seeing Annie meet the Disney Princesses for the first time. We had many opportunities to meet Mickey and the entire Disney character crew while on board. Character meetings were offered often (both spur of the moment and scheduled) and because there are a limited amount of people on the ship – lines weren’t ever that long. Each meeting was special, but the morning we had the chance to meet six princesses in the ship’s lobby really stood out. Seeing Annie’s face light up as Belle gushed about how pretty she was, Aurora spun her around and Cinderella embraced her made ME tear up. It was a beautiful moment.

Relaxing by one of three pools on Deck 9. The Mickey pool with water slide  is a favorite with kids (complete with splash pad for even the youngest cruisers), Goofy’s pool is deeper and you can watch movies on a giant screen while you swim and the adult-only pool is a quiet sanctuary complete with the comfiest lounge chairs. Beware – you may fall asleep! I had the chance to enjoy all three pools at different times during our week away.

Getting to know our wait staff while enjoying out of this world cuisine each night. Weird, right? I mean, why would getting to know staff members be a vacation highlight? Because Disney offers unique, rotational dining which meant that we had a reserved seat at one of three restaurants (Animator’s Palate, Lumiere’s and Parrot Cay) every night with a different theme (Captain’s Gala, Prince and Princesses, Pirates in the Caribbean) and menu every night. (Hello lobster and chocolate souffle – I love you.) Our servers, Nathan from London and Andrae from Jamaica, served us every night no matter where we dined. By the second night they knew that Annie would probably want milk while Jackson preferred Sprite and would have their drinks waiting for them. We got to know them so well, it was a teary good-bye our last night together.

Enjoying Nightly, Broadway-Style Shows. This is a separate post in itself. But let me just say – the shows were outstanding complete with elaborate costumes and set-design, special effects (fireworks on stage!) and extremely talented actors/singers. Our favorite was the Dreams – An Enchanted Classic and Villains Tonight.

Swimming with the dolphins in Grand Cayman. A excursion worth the splurge. I will never forget Annie’s face when Luna the dolphin pushed Annie’s feet with her nose and sent Annie sailing through the waters.

Towel animal creations in our room every night. Sometimes it’s the smallest things that make the biggest difference. Coming back to our stateroom every evening after the show, tired from a full day of activities, a towel monkey or swan would greet us on our freshly turned-down bed with chocolates and the itinerary for the next day.

Getting a massage in the Vista Spa. Disney cruises aren’t just for kids. They offer different activities for people of all different ages and interests. In fact, 20 percent of those on board our cruise didn’t even come with kids! Getting a 75-minute massage in the Vista Spa was so relaxing and the spa was so beautiful.

Seeing my family dressed up on formal night. The preparation ahead of time to find and pack dress up clothes for the four of us was so worth it. I mean, Ed and I work from home most days so it’s perpetiual casual day at our “office”! We never get gussied up anymore and seeing my family looking so beautiful made my heart happy.

**Gazing at the ocean water from our stateroom veranda. Here’s a bonus to my top ten….number 11! Breathing in the fresh air (no Houston seasonal allergies at sea!) and watching the ocean water as we glided gently through it from the privacy of my room’s balcony in my jammies was beyond relaxing. Ed enjoyed reading his book out there as well. Such a special way to start and end each day.

You can experience “The Magic”, too!

The Disney Magic will be sailing out of the Port of Galveston in Texas from now until May 2013 and they are offering a special where kids under 17 years old can sail FREE on most six and eight day cruises from January 4, 2013 until March 1, 2013!

Have you ever been on a Disney Cruise? What were your magical moments on board?

My family and I  were invited as guests of Disney on a 7-Day Caribbean Cruise aboard The Disney Magic. While most of our trip expenses were covered, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own. 




I Will Be Brave….My Journey to Good Health.

Recently I posted this picture on Facebook along with this caption.

35 pounds. Gone.

And I got an outpouring of support from people who congratulated me, complimented me and asked me how I did it.

It’s been a journey I’ve been taking since July. It’s a journey I’m still on. I have more weight to lose and then I need to work on keeping it off. But as of today, I’ve lost 35 pounds. On my short frame of 4’10”, it’s pretty significant. And so I’m celebrating that success.

Part of my success has been through making healthier food choices and limiting my calorie/fat intake. I do this through Weight Watchers and I’ll talk more about that later. The other element has been exercise. For me, what has worked has been hitting the track to run/walk and doing Jazzercise.

I’ve been getting ready for a 5K run with my friends…using the Couch to 5K program. It’s been a great way to ease my body back into exercise and running. Before July I wasn’t moving much at all and could barely walk around the track at the YMCA. Today I’m able to run around it four times.

You start off by running just a minute or so at a time, alternating between running and walking. Slowly the amount of time you run increases. Yesterday I ran two 8 minute runs with 5 minute walks in between. Tomorrow I’ll be running 20 minutes at once.

An app on your smartphone tells you when to start running and start walking.

It started with a step and I continue my journey one step at a time. The most important thing is that I make my health and exercise a priority. Which often means doing it first thing in the morning before work and other responsibilities can take over. And sometimes…I just have to push other things aside and trust that it will all be there 30 minutes to an hour when I get back because my health is too important.

But it’s hard. And sometimes I struggle. And when my friends can’t join me on a run – sometimes I listen to music that inspires me and sometimes I let the moment and feelings take over and cry. I’ve come a long way but I have a long way to go and many steps to take. And sometimes it’s really overwhelming.

But I will be brave.

I was by just posting that picture of myself above in a workout tank and pants. My curves are still there…I’m not at my goal weight. But I’m making progress.

In upcoming posts I’ll be talking about more of what I’m doing including programs I’m involved with, recipes I’ve enjoyed, how I eat well while eating out, traveling and making good food choices, etc. Unless otherwise indicated, I don’t have any official affiliation with companies and programs mentioned in my posts. I’d love to hear about what you’d like to know, so give me a shout below with questions.

Will you share the journey with me?



H-E-B Slim Down Showdown

You guys know how I’m giving it my all to get healthier. It’s on my life list and while “get healthy” is vague, I do have some very specific goals that apply to my life right now that I’m working on.

I recently finished a two-day a week boot camp for a month and now I’m getting ready to start a month of Jazzersize (thanks to a deal on Groupon!) Plus – my husband and I are making efforts to eat better and embrace an overall healthier lifestyle and I’ve got the support of friends who will help me “go the distance”.

But it’s not easy, ya’ll. To change habits you need all the help you can get. And you need support from others to cheer you on (even if you don’t know them).

That’s why when I heard that H-E-B was hosting a Slim Down Challenge for 25 competitors from across Texas, I wanted to get the word out.

H-E-B’s 16-week challenge is designed to provide contestants with the education and tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle and the chance to win a $10,000 grand prize or a $5,000 “fan favorite” prize.

Seriously, you have to watch this video.

The Showdown is part of “Healthy at H-E-B,” a comprehensive, long-term commitment to improve the health of Texans and provide them with fresh, healthy food that is affordable and easy to prepare. On there website you can find ways to eat better, move more and live well including healthful recipes and information on proper nutrition and work out plans that work for you.

I’m proud of H-E-B and the contestants for making a commitment to good health.

The competition has been going on for a couple of weeks now and you can follow the journeys of all of the participants here. I can’t wait to see who wins. But you know, really – everyone involved is a winner…EVEN YOU!


That’s right, H-E-B  knows how I love to give away free stuff to Still Living The Dream readers, so they are providing one person a $25 H-E-B gift card!

All you have to do is go to the Slim Down Showdown page and come back here and leave a comment saying which participant you are going to follow and why. This giveaway is open to US residents only. A winner will be selected at random on July 26, 2012 at 11:59 CST.

But don’t stop there, get more chances to win by leaving a separate comment for each of the following you do below!

  1. Like Still Living The Dream on facebook
  2. Follow me on twitter
  3. Follow me on pinterest
  4. Tweet the giveaway with this language: “Win a $25 HEB gift card while supporting @HEB Slimdown Showdown @jpatrickcomm”

This contest is sponsored by H-E-B. I was given a $25 H-E-B gift card for my participation, but no other compensation was received. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Boot Camp Day Two

Life List #45 – Get Healthy. 

So I got up again at 4:30 a.m. again today and went to boot camp.

Day two – check. Yay.

But I’m starting to believe that the challenge in completing this month will be less about the “getting up early” and more about “the intense workout”. Maybe it’s because it’s only five hours since I finished this morning’s 50-minute exercise and I’m having trouble walking.

And standing.

And exerting any kind of energy. It hurts to type this, for pete’s sake. And I don’t remember working out my fingertips specifically.

So I’m starting to worry a little. But I’m not giving up. I even purchased a new pair of running shoes yesterday since my previous pair were about four years old and made my arches hurt. (By the way – when did running shoes get so expensive?!) Anyways I was really happy to have them this morning when I was one of the first to fall out of the plank position and had to “run” a lap as punishment. Yes – I used quotes around “run”. Because I’m not sure you could call what I did a “run”. But I made it around a full lap. And I didn’t puke.

That was “fun”.

Day two of boot camp is also day one of summer vacation, by the way. So needless to say we haven’t had a chance to fall into our summer schedule/rhythm yet.  I’ve only had to put out three fights between my almost first-grader and almost fifth-grader.

Thankfully they don’t know that I can’t chase them yet. If they find out…I’m toast. Please don’t tell them.

How’s your summer going so far?! Moving any mountains? Making any progress towards your goals?

Day-by-day, my friends. Day-by-day.

(ouch. hand cramp)


Early Morning Boot Camp

Life List #45 – Get Healthy

There’s something about 4:30 a.m. that sounds so….early. I’m not a morning person and typically wait until the last possible second to get up – so I haven’t really seen 4:30 a.m. in many years. For the doubters out there, it does exist. I got up…on purpose …at 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning.

Wait. It gets better.

To EXERCISE. (it’s been awhile).

Ed didn’t think I could do it. So much so that he’s promised me a Vespa if I attend boot camp at 5 a.m. twice a week for a month.

Here’s how it went down.

We were at a pool party a couple days ago and my friend Patti and I had gotten a good deal on a month of unlimited boot camp attendance on Groupon. (I’m really, really out of shape and “get healthy” is on my life list. I haven’t felt good for about a year now and it’s time to do something about it. And also, I love getting a good deal on Groupon.)

So we were telling the group about our plans and Ed starting choking on his chicken.

Not because he doesn’t believe I can get in shape. I ran a marathon in 1999…it can be done! But because (and I quote) “there’s no way in hell you are going to get up that early.”

And so to sweeten the pot, one of my friends suggested I get a prize if I’m successful for a month. He said whatever I wanted. And folks, you know how bad I’ve wanted a Vespa. For like 10 years I’ve wanted a Vespa.

So I said….”how about a Vespa?”

And he said “sure, I’ll get you a Vespa.”

And I said, “you really, really don’t think I can do this, do you? (because we really, really don’t have money for a Vespa).

And he said, “no.”

And so it was done.

5 a.m. boot camp. i was there. and I sweated. and sweared.

I really want that Vespa, ya’ll.


Life List Wordle

As part of the Blogathon Challenge, I created the cool picture above.

Have you ever made a Wordle? You can enter text to create a cool, customized word design like mine.

I used words from my Life List and now have a great visual reminder of some of the things I want to accomplish.

What does your Wordle look like?