My Public Display of Dieting – Week 4

RESULTS: Lost 2 pounds for a total of 7 pounds!

j0202196This past week has been good, but more difficult than the first three weeks. The biggest issue for me was feeling hungry more often. I think part of the problem was that I’m juggling several tight deadlines and I spent more time at my desk and less time preparing healthy food, especially vegetables (really filling and very low calorie).

For instance, if I were to only count calories and not consider where those calories came from, I might eat 14 dark chocolate covered almonds for 200 calories while working at my desk. (And 14 is not a lot when you’re hungry!) Compare that to a medium-sized baked potato (about 150 calories) with 2 tablespoons of sour cream (60 calories). For the same number of calories, one is satisfying for a little while, and one is a filling meal. One takes no time but I end up hungrier later; one takes a few minutes to prepare but I don’t want to leave my desk.

I think that’s why I was hungry more this week. But by Friday I’d figured it out and started adding more veggies back into my daily consumption. Since I really don’t like feeling hungry and I really do like meeting my 1-pound-per-week weight loss goal (yay!), I’m going to take a few more work breaks and eat better. (Hint: If I bake 2 or 3 potatoes at a time, I only have to microwave them for the next couple days – even less prep time!)

Also, I think the reason I am “only” losing a pound a week is because I keep overeating on Saturdays. Saturday night we generally relax in front of the TV together. And eat. And get up and look in the cupboard during commercials. It’s quite enjoyable honestly – haha! But then most Sundays I try to be really careful so that my Monday morning weigh-in shows good results.

And the fact is – while I could lose more if I were even more disciplined, I AM meeting my weekly goal! And it’s WAY BETTER than my eating habits of the last couple years that caused me to GAIN weight every year. So while I feel competitive about this, I have to remind myself I’m doing great. :)  (And when I wrote this post a couple days ago, I was sure I’d only barely lose a pound this week, so I’m shocked and excited to lose two! And I’m more motivated again!)

I wanted to point out, as well, that it was my friends on Facebook and My Fitness Pal who helped me realized my lack of veggies was part of my problem. So find a friend or three to share your health journey with. My Fitness Pal has a great blog and last January they posted this encouraging article about how people lose the most weight when they do it with friends. I guess weight loss goals should come with a warning – “Don’t try this alone!” – Hahaha!!

Last month, MFP also had this great article about 21 tips to jump-start your weight loss. I particularly like the tips to make breakfast protein-rich, and to slow down and enjoy your food with all your senses. And of course, what’s working for me with a pound-a-week weight loss goal – set small, reasonable goals!

I think my only other change this week was that Thursday I left my 2-pound hand weights at home and brought my 3-pound weights on my walks. I did a bunch of arm exercises during my walks, and finally remembered to add sit-ups and squats after the walks. (One of my first thoughts upon waking this morning was, “Ow.”) Hopefully I’ll keep remembering all of that. Though some days I feel like, “Man, I don’t want to do this extra work because then I’ll be too tired to work at my desk!” So far I’m overcoming that voice. But I do have sore arms now when I’m back at my computer typing. Haha!

That’s been my week – how was yours? I hope you got one step further down the road to your best health yet! See you next week! 😀

Too Embarrassing or Too Funny? You Decide

My friend Elena Dillon and I do a lot of career planning together. We talk about what’s working for us in terms of writing faster and better, what marketing techniques seem to work for us and what doesn’t seem to help, and we discuss new things we’ve learned – much of which came via podcasts.

Laughing and pointing emoticon

In fact, we’ve talked a few times about doing our own podcast. I really wanted to, but it’s a lot of work to make it really professional. Then Elena had an idea to do a weekly Blab – kind of like a podcast, but live so there’s no editing. I said “YES!” pretty darn quick! LOL! (You may remember me saying this in the past – John thinks I love being the center of attention. I refuse to confirm or deny on the grounds that it might incriminate me.)

So starting this Wednesday, February 3, we will host a weekly Blab from 7pm to 8pm Pacific interviewing authors. The weekly show is called Elena and Kitty Blabbing About Books and it will have a kind of “Inside the Actor’s Studio” feel. We’ll have funny questions like “What is your favorite word?” and “What sound or noise do you hate?” and “What profession would you never want to be in?” as well as questions about the author’s books and characters. The people watching can ask more questions in the chat box during a live Q&A at the end!

To make sure we were ready for our first guest (the very fun Tracy Reed), we did a test run yesterday. We hit the record button when we were ready so we could be sure we knew how to do every single bit of the process, but we said beforehand we probably wouldn’t use it because it would probably be “junk.”

BUT…it was hilarious! I was the show announcer and Elena was the interviewer, but she needed someone to ask the questions of, so she interviewed me. Oh my gosh, we laughed so much! I decided – embarrassing or not – it was too much fun not to share, so I’ve posted it here for you. I hope you laugh out loud at our silliness. 😀

If you’d like to watch our weekly show, go to my Blab profile, then look for and click on the Follow button. You might have to create your own account first to follow. But if you don’t want to do that, you should be able to go to my profile page every Wednesday at 7pm Pacific and find the live Blab that is happening right then.

Elena and I are super excited – we have over a dozen authors lined up already! We hope to see you on Wednesday!

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 3

RESULTS: Lost 1 pound for a total of 5 pounds!

I’ve been at this for three weeks today – and thank goodness I’ve been able to see progress every week because it’s starting to get a bit…tiring. 😉

This weekend I had an all-day party on Saturday so I tried really hard to be good all week so I could overeat a little at the party. :) I stayed well under my calorie count Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesday, I ate 280 calories over the limit – I think because I had ramen noodles for lunch and thought that only the calories mattered. But I think it was the high-carbs/no-protein that caused me to crave sweets and have the munchies the rest of the day!

Eating at the party was fun and delicious and I mostly ate what I wanted, including a peach ale. But I decided I’d log everything, no matter how much I ate. I guess the two weeks of being careful was already becoming a habit because I only went 336 over (as compared to the 1200 or so calories over the day before my diet started). Not much more than on Wednesday. But did some of that junk food affect me on Sunday? Because I had the munchies Sunday, too. (I ate right up to my calorie limit and still thought I felt hungry.)

But with five “under” days, and not being horribly bad on the two “over” days, I still lost one pound. Granted, I’d gotten used to losing two pounds, so I have to admit I was a little disappointed. But my goal is to lose one pound a week and I did that this week! I’ve also learned the difference in how some foods affect me versus other foods with the same calorie count. So that’s helpful information going forward. With good healthy food and exercise, I can do this! 😀

Hand weights

Which brings me to the other habit I’ve been trying to improve this year – exercise. I’m so pleased with myself that I’ve exercised five out of seven days this week – four days with a 40-minute walk, and one day with a 50-minute walk.

My friend Doug gave me this awesome hand weight set for Christmas, so I’ve been trying to remember to bring the 2-pound weights with me on my walks. I only remembered on two of the five walks this week, but I did bicep and tricep curls as well as straightening my arms up and down over my head on and off during those walks.  (On the longer walk, I went to the grocery store and carried home about ten pounds of groceries.)

I’m guessing it will take a while for me to notice a difference in how my arms look, but I’m going to keep going with it and keep adding weight. And I guess that’s the point, right? To keep going.  :)  Plus, I want to add more strength exercises as time goes by as well as yoga stretches. Being super busy with work has kept me from that so far.

The only two things I’ve noticed in just three short weeks is that my jeans fit significantly better with only a 4-pound weight loss and, because my goal is to lose 50 pounds and not 5 or 10, I’ve already noticed a little difference visually (i.e., because I have so much to lose, it’s easier to notice a few pounds lost when I’m in the shower). That’s pretty cool in less than a month – and yet more motivation to keep it up for another 47 weeks!

If you’re wondering what has helped me the most to stick with this diet so far, it’s still the fear of humiliation. 😀 I posted a picture of myself at the end of Week One (no, I’m not linking to it; if you want to see my chubby self, you’ll have to go find the post yourself!), and the only way I can live with that is to post a picture of myself 50 pounds lighter later this year! Haha!

If you’re working on getting healthier this year, Keep Going! We’re both going to think all the work is worth it!

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 2

RESULTS: Lost 2 pounds for a total of 4 pounds!

Bathroom scale

I have to admit, losing a couple pounds the first week definitely makes you want to keep going. Having it happen again in week 2 is even more invigorating!

I did want to tell you that the scale I’m using is not a digital scale, so I’m rounding to what appears to be the nearest pound. Also, these scales always make you wonder about their accuracy because you might step on with the needle at 0 exactly, but when you step off, the needle is at 2 or so. It makes you wonder – do you subtract 2 from the number it originally gave you? Or what? Haha!

I’ve decided that for this challenge, it doesn’t matter. If I really do lose 1 pound a week – I mean WHEN I lose a pound a week – the scale will show a decrease in weight over time regardless of how precisely accurate it is or isn’t in general. Using the same scale on the same place on the floor at the same time of day is widely regarded as being an accurate way to measure, and that’s how I’ll be doing it.

This week I didn’t do too bad, but not as great as I wanted either. I missed a couple days of exercise in the middle of the week just from being busy with work and not prioritizing my walks. I haven’t done as much strength training as I wanted, but I figure if I keep add in new things a little at a time it won’t be overwhelming and I’ll keep up with it. So I’m not going to beat myself up about it yet.

Screenshot 2016-01-15 08.46.07The biggest help so far is the MyFitnessPal app. I used it to stay under my daily calorie goal almost every day. Wednesday night, John and I enjoyed a couple glasses of moscato (one of our favorite wines) along with a huge spread of cheeses, chocolates, and other goodies leftover from Christmas (while we watched Iron Man again, fun!). John’s brother and sister-in-law sent us a basket of Michigan treats – cherries, chocolate-cherry covered pretzels, chocolate-covered cherries, and more. YUM! So I was over by 786 calories that day. (It was so worth it! Haha!)

If you are looking for an easy way to track your calories, try this free app (and/or use their website if you don’t have or want to use a smart phone). I think the only foods I have trouble entering is homemade food. Everything I’ve ever eaten at a restaurant is in the app, and everything I’ve ever bought at a grocery store is in the app.

When I make something at home, like a cheese pasta casserole we all like, I go to the Recipes tab and enter all the ingredients: 1 16 oz box of Barilla rotini pasta, 1 24 oz jar of Classico pasta sauce, 16oz mozzarella cheese, then tell the app how many servings that made, and it tells you the calories per serving. Awesome! And if you make it the same way every time, it will now always be saved in your Recipes.

Hope that was helpful to you! Keep at it – we can do this together! 😀



Book Marks: Truthseers Trilogy – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

Truthseers Trilogy by Debra MullinsProdigal Son, Heart of Stone, and Warrior of Fate by Debra Mullins

A few months ago, Kitty introduced me to a friend of hers who also happens to be an author!  That friend was Debra Mullins :)  This is the book review I posted on my own blog not long after.

Debra asked me if I would like to read her Truthseers Trilogy and review them on my blog!  The first two books are award winning books and the third book, Warrior of Fate, isn’t available yet but will be on October 20th.  Of course, I said yes!  She sent them right out to me and I got started reading :)  Let’s start with letting you know a little about each book…

Goodreads Summaries

Prodigal Son
Bounty hunter Rafe Montana is a Seer, descended from the fabled Atlanteans. He uses his inherited power to “see” criminals across the globe and track them down, and he’s just started on a new case. Danny Cangialosi is accused of disappearing with a stolen car…but for the first time in his life, when Rafe goes looking, he is unable to “see” him. Instead, his search leads him to Danny’s stubborn, meddling, and very cute stepsister, Cara McGaffigan.

Cara is looking for Danny, too, but not to turn him in. He is her brother, after all, and she’s convinced he has a good heart. If she can just find him before the cops do, she’ll figure out a way to get him out of this. But Cara didn’t count on a scorching-hot bounty hunter getting in her way.

Heart of Stone
Darius Montana is a Seer. With his gift of empathy, he can see into the hearts of others, both human and Atlantean. When his family comes into possession of one of the legendary power stones of Atlantis, Darius is sent to find the Stone Singer.

Faith Karaluros is the last Stone Singer. Manipulated all her life for her rare ability, she is widowed after her husband tried to steal her power for the Mendukati, an extremist group that hunts Seers. Faith wants nothing more than to stay out of this war when Darius comes to find her—just in time to rescue her from being kidnapped.

Warrior of Fate
Warrior Adrian Gray has dedicated his life in service to his people, and has never doubted his calling… until now. Three mystical Atlantean power stones were assumed lost for centuries, but one by one the Seers of Atlantis have tracked them down in a tireless race against the extremist Mendukati. Adrian’s mission? To ensure that the stones are acquired and protected by the right people—his people.

My Thoughts on the Books

I don’t typically read this genre but, I do have to say, I enjoyed the story lines a lot!  I liked the mystery and excitement that each book brought.  I liked how each book focused on a different set of characters while still including the past characters.  In Prodigal Son, you read the story back and forth from Rafe’s perspective and from Cara’s perspective.  In Heart of Stone, it was Darius and Faith, and then in Warrior of Fate it was Adrian and Tessa.

Now, I do have to add that these are adult romances.  I do not usually read adult romances which makes this review a little harder to write.  Like I said, the story lines were wonderful!  But, I personally couldn’t give them 5 stars because of the “romance” sections.  If you are like me and don’t read adult romances but like fantasy types books, you can always skim past those parts!

I feel so honored to have been asked to read and review these books for her. I love that I have made a new friend as well!  If you like Adult fantasy/paranormal romances then pick these up!  If you like fantasy/paranormal books but not typically adult romances then these may or may not be for you (again, you can skim past those parts if you want to!).

*Note: I received these books from Author Debra Mullins in exchange for an honest review

Carrie Kurtz


Carrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

My Public Display of Dieting – Week 1

Emoticon with big toothy smile

RESULTS: Lost 2 pounds!

So the first week of actually trying to lower my calorie count was successful! Yay!

I started out the week at the end of a cold, so I didn’t go for a walk the first day. Since my goal is reasonable – lose one pound per week – I wanted to move slowly into the whole process of exercising more and eating less so that I wouldn’t burn out the first week as I have in the past.

I went for a 20-minute walk Tuesday but I was still coughing, so I skipped Wednesday. (It was also raining last week and I didn’t want my cold to return.) Thursday, Friday, and Sunday I walked for 45-50 minutes each day, about 2.5 miles or so. (I had an all-day meeting Saturday.) I did almost no other exercise, but I’m going to add that in this week.

Monday I ate way too close to how I normally ate until now, Tuesday and Wednesday were better except I was still finishing up holiday desserts (razzleberry pie and cookies). Thursday I felt like I was finally eating how I need to in order to start losing weight, and I came in under my calorie goal on Thursday and Friday.

Saturday…I don’t know what makes my brain decide to just forget it all and do what I want. I had a big but mostly healthy breakfast before I went to my meeting, and a moderate lunch. But I had a Lindt chocolate truffle at the meeting, and then two. Our evening plans changed and it seemed John and I just ate and drank the night away while watching TV.

I felt really bad about losing control in my usual way, but when I entered everything in My Fitness Pal I saw that if I had done only two things differently, it would have been an on-target day. I was 965 calories over for the day – my margarita was about 436, and all the little bites of chocolate and chocolate-covered almonds that I ate throughout the day came to 560 calories. If I’d not eaten either of those…

So Sunday was my make-up day. I had 24 hours to undo the damage before weighing myself this morning. I had my usual protein shake for breakfast and a high-protein, low-sugar bar for lunch. I was absolutely starving by dinner. :) Between the walk Sunday morning and the broccoli and chicken for dinner Sunday night, I came out 732 calories under goal – even with two cookies!

When I got on the scale this morning, all I could think was, “Whew!” Haha!!

This week I plan to walk more (I’m trying to get back into running shape, which I lost after two weeks of cold and cough), and I’m adding calisthenics and some light weight training. I also have a lot of chicken and vegetables here now, and very few leftover holiday sweets. I should be able to hit my goal of losing one more pound this week. :)

2016-01-10 11.21.43I wasn’t sure if I was going to post this picture John took yesterday, but sometimes the threat of a little humiliation can go a long way. 😉

The only good thing about showing you what I look like now is being able to compare it to what I hope to look like 49 weeks from now. That picture will then have a lot more power behind it, and it will not only motivate you in your journey, but it will remind me what can be accomplished in other areas of my life when I put together a plan, gather a little willpower, and work the plan with friends cheering me on! :)

My Public Display of Dieting – The Beginning

Writing SmileyOkay, so I’m writing this post late on Wednesday, January 6, 2016, because I’m afraid I’ll lose my nerve if I don’t commit. (Ack!)

Starting Monday, I am going to write a weekly blog about how I attempt to lose a pound a week for 50 weeks while also improving my strength and cardio.

(Ack again!)

Right now, at the beginning of January, I’m feeling pretty good about the plan and my success.

Yet I kept putting off writing this blog post.

Because, you know, if you don’t tell anyone, you won’t be as embarrassed if and when you quit.

But now I’ve told you! So…here I go!

The back story is that I’ve been steadily gaining weight since our life started spinning out of control in October 2011. I went for an annual (which has been more “random” than “annual”) physical last month and my blood came back with “slightly elevated cholesterol.” My doctor suggested I go on a low cholesterol diet for six months.

Since the last time I had blood work done I had perfect blood, I decided this was the authoritative push I’d been waiting for to make some long-needed changes. So I decided to start eating all of the Christmas goodies that were given to us as gifts to get ready to start a healthy diet and exercise plan by January 4 (the first work day of the New Year). Makes sense to get all of that sugary goodness out of the cupboard, right?

When I weighed myself on Monday of this week, I was (not surprisingly) five pounds heavier than before the holiday bingeing. I’ve been sick with a cold and bad cough for the last two weeks, so I’ve done zero exercise since a couple days before Christmas. In every way, I’m in nearly the worst shape I’ve been in my life.

This could be a great dietary rags to riches story if it all works out! 😛

When I say “nearly” the worst shape, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quickly my body can bounce back into running shape when I start up again. I was doing pretty good before I caught this awful cough. So while I’ll be starting from a worse beginning weight and shape, I feel confident that I will make progress relatively quickly.

I’ll weigh myself every Monday morning and write a blog post every Monday from January 11 through December 26, 2016. Part of me does not want to keep going through the next holiday season, and part of me wants to make it a 45-pound challenge instead of a 50-pound challenge.

But the very fact that this scares me makes me think it’s the kind of goal that will really push me without being too much to believe I can accomplish. With any luck, I’ll lose 50+ pounds by Thanksgiving, and then I’ll only have to not gain any weight through Christmas rather than having to lose another 4 pounds. 😀

So there it is. I committed to dieting in public. This is terrifying. And exhilarating! I guess I better get to bed so I can get up early and start exercising. See you Monday!

FREE Book – Generational Curse by Tracy Reed

Generational Curse CoverTo celebrate the one year anniversary of my first book, GENERATIONAL CURSE, it will be available as a free download at Amazon, December 28th – January 1st.  Help me celebrate my book, while you celebrate the New Year!

Kyla James is a beautiful, confident woman.  She has two vices, champagne and sex with married men.  Being tied down and answering to a man has never appealed to her until, her friend Sean Prescott presents her with a proposal.  They’ve been friends and business colleagues for several years, but if she accepts his proposal, they could discover something better than friendship.

Is it possible for a celibate Christian man to be involved with a woman who has only been the plaything of married men?  Or will she make him the next notch on her belt?

Book Marks: A Season to Wed – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

A Season to Wed book coverA Season to Wed by Rachel Hauck, Cindy Kirk, and Cheryl Wyatt

Goodreads Summary

They’ve helped orchestrate the perfect day for countless couples. Now twelve new couples will find themselves in the wedding spotlight in the second Year of Weddings novella collection.

Love at Mistletoe Inn by Cindy Kirk
Sometimes the road to happiness is paved with youthful mistakes.

Ten years after what she thought was her almost-wedding, Hope Prentiss discovers that the ceremony counted—and, as fate would have it, the jilted John Burke has just ridden back into town. After spending some time with John and helping plan a Christmas wedding for a mystery couple, Hope begins to wonder if she really wants a divorce . . . or a real wedding of her own.

A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck
Revealing the beauty in other women might be Ginger Winters’s specialty—but it will take an unexpected kind of love to help Ginger see the beauty in herself.

Ginger Winters will be the “beauty-maker” for the Alabama society wedding of the decade.

But when high-school crush Tom Wells shows up looking for a haircut, Ginger’s thinly veiled insecurities threaten to keep her from love once again . . . despite Tom’s best efforts.

Serving Up a Sweetheart by Cheryl Wyatt
Meadow knows how to serve delicious food to match any wedding theme. But can she accept love when it’s served up on a silver platter?

Meadow Larson is having the mother of all Mondays when her roof caves in during a blizzard, right before the most important wedding contract of her career.

Renovation contractor Colin McGrath offers to fix Meadow’s roof, even though he knows he is the last person she would accept help from.

But the more Meadow gets to know the new Colin, the more she realizes God may have something more permanent in store than a new catering kitchen.

My Thoughts

Sometimes I just get in the mood to read novellas. To have a fun, enjoyable book that doesn’t take forever to read. And what is better than a good novella? Three novellas!!! A Season to Wed is a collection of three Winter love stories and they were all good!

I’m not sure which one I enjoyed most because they were all pretty good. Christmas/Winter/Holiday stories are my favorites! I’m thinking that I enjoyed Love at Mistletoe Inn a little more than the others but I may change my mind later J

I’m so happy to be able to write another positive review! I hate having to write negative reiews so this book totally made me happy! I will definitely be recommending A Season to Wed to my friends and fellow book lovers!

*Note: I received a copy of this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Carrie Kurtz


Carrie Kurtz is a full-time mom and wife who can’t help but make time to explore new worlds in between carpooling and laundry loads. She’s trying to encourage a similar obsession with reading in her two children, and she’s grateful her husband supports her habit. She can be found at Carrie K’s Book Reviews.

Book Marks: If I Fall, If I Die – Book Review by Carrie Kurtz

If I Fall If I DieIf I Fall, If I Die by Michael Christie

Goodreads Summary

A heartfelt and wondrous debut about family, fear, and skateboarding, that Karen Russell calls “A bruiser of a tale… a death-defying coming-of-age story.”

Will has never been outside, at least not since he can remember.  And he has certainly never gotten to know anyone other than his mother, a fiercely loving yet wildly eccentric agoraphobe who panics at the thought of opening the front door.  Their world is rich and fun loving – full of art, science experiments, and music – and all confined to their small house.

But Will’s thirst for adventure can’t be contained.  Clad in a protective helmet and unsure of how to talk to other kids, he finally ventures outside.  At his new school he meets Jonah, an artsy loner who introduces Will to the high-flying freedoms of skateboarding.  Together, they search for a missing local boy, help a bedraggled vagabond, and evade a dangerous bootlegger.  The adventure is more than Will ever expected, pulling him far from the confines of his closed-off world and into the throes of early adulthood, and all the risks that everyday life offers.

In buoyant, kinetic prose, Michael Christie has written an emotionally resonant and keenly observed novel about mothers and sons, fears and uncertainties, and the lengths we’ll go for those we love.

My Thoughts

There were things I liked about this book and things I didn’t like as well.  I was very interested in reading this book when I read the summary but it didn’t seem to hold my interest.  Reading felt more like a chore than fun pastime, which makes me sad, so it took me quite a while to read this one.

The beginning of the book was super slow, the middle got pretty good, but then the end seemed rushed and anticlimactic.  There were too many story lines mixed in and I just couldn’t keep up!  And then it just ended…as if the author was told to wrap it up.

If I Fall, If I Die certainly wasn’t the worst book I have ever read but it wasn’t my kind of book at all. I probably will not be recommending this book to many people but I wouldn’t mind trying another book by Michael Christie if he writes one.  His writing style was good; I just didn’t enjoy this story.

*Note: I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.