Thursday, March 26, 2015

Looking towards Easter with hope

Anyone who knows me, in real life or in the blogosphere, is sick and tired of hearing me whine and complain.  Hell, I’m sick and tired of hearing me whine and complain.  It’s been a frustrating almost-two-months now, and I know I sound like a broken record.  Truth is, that’s why I’ve been so sporadic with my blog posts lately.  I feel like I have nothing else to talk about other than this one subject that is making me want to PULL.MY.HAIR.OUT.

So, I’ve been trying to turn my focus to things that bring joy to my heart.  One of those things – now looming in the very near future – is Easter.  Yesterday, I noticed a bunch of my blog pals playing along with Easter-and-Hope-related Wednesday Hodgepodge questions.  How fitting.  I decided to join that party a day late….

1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child? 

I love Easter.  Almost as much as I love Christmas.  And yes, I do celebrate with my family.  As a child, of course my favourite tradition was the Easter Egg Hunt.  We did ours indoors, as often there’s still snow on the ground here for Easter.  Also hidden around the house would be an Easter basket of treats and goodies for each of us.  Now, I still enjoy the treats that come with Easter – Reeses PB Eggs, Lindor Eggs, jelly beans, Cadbury Creme Eggs, chocolate bunnies -  but I also love our tradition of going to church, going for brunch to one of our favourite local restaurants afterwards,  and then gathering for a big family dinner later in the day.


2. George Weinberg is quoted as saying, 'Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.' Agree or disagree? Share your own thoughts on the word hope.

I do agree.  Although, since I’ve been wallowing in self-pity and anxiety lately, I can understand how one can be driven to abandon hope.  I’ve always tried to maintain a positive outlook, and to always carry hope with me.  Some days, that easier said than done, I’ll admit it.  I do think it’s important to have a hopeful heart… perhaps a nice reminder to me right now!

3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. A solid milk chocolate bunny? Cadbury Creme Eggs? Peeps? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Jellybeans? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket?

Oh, how I love Easter sweets!!  I’m a big YAY for most of them – I love a solid white chocolate bunny, a Creme Egg or two, the Reese PB eggs are a heavy favourite, jelly beans are a MUST!  Coconut cream eggs, though?  They sound delicious, but I’ve never heard of them.  Peeps – or any kind of marshmallow candy – has never really been tops on my list.  Ooooh and I also love Mini Eggs and the malted milk eggs, too.  Mmmm… Easter candy…


4. When did you last feel 'like a kid in a candy store'?

I’m sure there have been times since that I’m just not remembering, but the first thing that comes to mind was shopping for Easter candy last year.  Because I’d given up sugar and artificial sweeteners for Lent, I anticipated the Easter treats more than usual.  When I went to Walmart a few weeks before Easter, I bought pretty much every candy and chocolate in sight.  By the time Easter weekend rolled around, I’d been almost driven mad with anticipation.  I remember setting all of the candy out before I went to bed on the Saturday night, saving one Reese PB egg to put on my bedside table, so that I could eat it while still in bed Easter morning.  I was deliriously excited for it all.

Easter candy

5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people? 

Hmmm…can’t really think of anything, to be honest.  Maybe the way I’m choosing to live my life right now, in my early 30’s?  Choosing to be single and childless, at least for the time being?  I know it probably makes people wonder why I’ve stalled in that department, but for me, it’s just the way I like it right now.  Free to do what I want, when I want… some might think I’m being selfish, but for me, it just keeps me calm and sane (ha! like that’s even possible!!)  Doesn’t really bother me much – at least, not anymore - but I think it baffles others sometimes.

6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three mentioned, which sunny spot would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?

I don’t know much about any of these places, but since I haven’t been ANYwhere in a loooong time, I’d probably jump at the chance to visit any one of them!!!  Palm Beach would probably be my first choice, just because the word “beach” is in there.  (It’s been a long winter.)  I haven’t visited any of them previously.


7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why.

I don’t imagine why anyone would want to shorten the day.  There are never enough hours in the day, am I right?!  There have definitely been days when I’d like to add a few hours, that’s for sure…

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

You guys don’t want to hear my random thoughts these days, trust me.  Refer back to the start of this post.  ;)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

And then, the frustration sets in…

I’ve had plenty to feel frustrated about over the past month or so, and I’ve grumbled about it steady for the past few weeks on the blog.

Before I go on with another angst-riddled post, I must confess that overall, I’m feeling much better these days.  Maybe it was partly the winter blues that were dragging me down.  I know that I worry and stress over things that are out of my control, which has definitely been another big part of it.  But over the past week, despite all of this, I’ve noticed my spirit is definitely lighter and I’m feeling much happier.

But there is still frustration.  And today, it’s over this stupid weight loss mission I’m on.

I’m nearing the end of my first round of the 21 Day Fix.  I’m on Day 17.  I’ve really been enjoying the workouts – this is definitely my new favourite program, and I’m already looking forward to starting the next round.  I’ve ordered my own copy, so that I will be able to put the nutrition side of things into action with the meal plan and container system they use.

That being said, aside from what I consider to be a few relatively small slip-ups, I’ve been eating pretty healthy regardless.  Last week I took part in another 7-Day Clean Eating Challenge, and only had one day where I faltered (at the Irish Tea on Saturday). I’ve been feeling more “on track” than I have since November.  I’ve been feeling really, really good.

So it frustrates me to NO END that I’m not seeing results.

21 Day Fix trainer Autumn Calabrese vows that you can lose up to 15 lbs. in 3 weeks doing this program.  I had hoped to lose at least 10.  My Lenten promise was to drop 15 lbs, and I figured if I got down 10 lbs during these three weeks, my goal of another 5 lbs before Easter would be easy-peasy.  In the past, if I took a serious notion to drop 10 or 20 lbs, I’ve always been able to achieve it.  Once I put my mind to it, it was as good as done.

This time, it’s not working.  It’s like I’m at a standstill.  The first week of the Fix, I lost 5 lbs, which I was thrilled about - but since then, I keep going up and down the same 2 or 3 lbs. daily.  I’m not even close to fitting into my “skinny” clothes yet, and I don’t know what else I have to do to make it happen.

I’m doing the 21 Day Fix workout every day.  I’m going for walks on my lunch break.  I’m drinking Shakeology without fail.  I’m eating a balanced, healthy diet.

The fact that the number on the scales either doesn’t change or actually goes up, and the fact that I’m not seeing much difference in the way my clothes are fitting… Well, it’s making me want to pull my hair out, quite frankly.

What am I doing wrong?  Why isn’t it working? What the hell else do I have to do?!

I’m trying to be patient, and I’m trying to stay positive, but at this rate, I’m not even going to be close to reaching my goal of losing 15 lbs. by Easter Sunday.  And my dreams of being that much closer to fitting into last summer’s wardrobe are fading by the minute.

Despite my down feelings, though, I’m not giving up hope.  I have signed up for a Spring Tune-Up Challenge which will run for 30 days starting the end of March, so hopefully that will keep me moving forward on the right path.  I might not get to my goal by Easter, but if I stick with it, I still have hopes that I can get back to my goal weight before summertime.

I hate that this battle is never over for me.  But it’s a battle I’m not willing to give up on just yet.

Onwards & upwards…

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Welcome back to my life, Ryan Phillippe

When I was a teen, I had many celeb crushes.  Probably the biggest was Chris O’Donnell – he was my main man for a long, long time – but another biggie was the super-cute golden haired Ryan Phillippe.  Between his roles in White Squall, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Cruel Intentions, he was the IT boy for a lot of teen girls in the ‘90s… and I was definitely one of them.



I was also smitten with the idea of Ryan and Reese Witherspoon being a couple.  I thought they were a match made in heaven, and loved their “story”.  But I admit, I kinda lost track of the guy after he and Reese split in 2007.


Fast-forward to Winter 2015, and suddenly I start seeing commercials on TV advertising a new mid-season show starting March 1st called “Secrets and Lies”.  And what do ya know, that leading role was being played by …drum roll please!… Ryan Phillippe.

secrets and lies

I set the PVR and for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been watching.  I’m skeptical of the show, only 3 episodes in.  I’ve been enjoying it, but I’m not sure what kind of future it has.  The story begins with Ryan’s character, Ben Crawford, discovering the body of a young boy in the woods while out for a jog, and before he knows it, he is a prime suspect in the child’s murder.  I doubt the show will win any awards, and like I said, not sure how it could survive more than one season – once this murder mystery is solved, where will it go from there? – but I keep tuning in.

For – you guessed it – Ryan Phillippe.

ryan phillippe

You see, Ryan has aged well.  Very well, in fact.  If anything, I think he’s even hotter than the baby-faced pucker-lipped young actor I was drawn to in the ‘90’s.  He’s pretty studly.  Well-muscled.  Filled out more. 

ryan phillippe 2

Yeah.  The crush is back on, y’all.

I’m also a sucker for a good love story, and I’m hoping for one on this show.  I think Ryan has real chemistry with his co-star KaDee Strickland, who plays his wife, Christy.  They have a troubled past, and seem to be on the verge of separation, as Ben sleeps on the couch, and past infidelities are re-hashed over and over.  Yet, Christy appears prepared to weather this storm with Ben, standing by him for the sake of their children.  They have moments on screen where sparks fly, and I’m hoping their relationship is given more time and a chance to mend, although with being at the centre of a murder investigation, and Ben acting more and more suspicious all the time, I doubt that’s likely.

secrets and lies 2

In any case, I’m cautiously excited about this show.  If for no other reason than I’m enjoying having Ryan Phillippe back in my life.

Who were your teen celeb crushes?  Do you still follow their careers now?  Anybody else out there been watching Secrets and Lies?

And yes.  For the record, this post was a total excuse to look up pics of Ryan Phillippe.  I ain’t ashamed.  Dude is sexy.

ryan phillippe 3

Wonder what I gotta to do get Jimmy to get him on his show…

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I Survived.

Last Thursday, I told you guys all about how I was looking at the weekend as a challenge.  A chance to test my willpower, my resolve… This past weekend represented a vow I’d made to not let all my progress through the first 7 days of the 21 Day Fix go to waste.  Weekends are usually very hard for me food-wise, and I had promised myself to make a concentrated effort to be better.

And I did it.  I was good.  Really good, in fact.

The biggest test of all, as I had anticipated, was Friday, when I took the kids to the movies and out to Boston Pizza for supper.  I ended up getting a bag of Nibs instead of popcorn at the theatre, and sharing them with the kids, while Caden let me have some of his popcorn to satisfy that craving – only a few little handfuls though.  (Also, he got very protective over it and wasn’t really into sharing, which was kind of funny since that’s how I am with popcorn usually).  It wasn’t perfect, but it was a planned treat and I managed to stay on track.  Heck, the fact that I didn’t throw caution to the wind and order a large popcorn with extra butter was worthy of a celebration dance.  This trip to the movies was a big WIN for me.


Then, on to Boston Pizza.  As I had mentioned, I had researched on-line in advance, and stayed true to my promise to order something from their healthy alternative selections, going with the Szechuan Chicken Pizza & a glass of water.  No appetizer, no dessert.  I was even more successful in that I was  unable to finish my meal after witnessing a child at a table nearby being sick – a scarring incident for me, since I don’t handle seeing people getting sick very well, and who knows when I might be able to enter a Boston Pizza without thinking of that again – but perhaps a small blessing in disguise, because WHEN does JILL ever push her plate away unfinished?!  (I had only a small piece left, so it wasn’t like I was going home starving, trust me.)

The rest of the weekend posed no great threats to my success – I stuck with the plan. 

So you can imagine my anger and frustration when I stepped on the scales Sunday morning to discover I had somehow gained weight instead of losing.  I was ready to scream!!!

I know one of the biggest weight loss tips out there is to stay away from the scale.  Don’t get on it every day.  Once a week, max.  But the scale has always been my friend in the past.  It has been a reminder to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Went up a pound today?  Work harder tomorrow!  And always, when I put forth a concentrated effort, that number has gone down.

Until now.

The logical part of my brain knew there were probably sensible reasons for the number going up.  The 21 Day Fix uses more weights in its exercises than I have used in months, and muscle weighs more than fat, so perhaps the muscle was building back up and wreaking havoc with the number on the scales.  Also, I was eating towards the lower end of my calorie goal range all week, so there’s a good chance my body was clinging on to that fat, as bodies that are going through weight adjustments are apt to do.  Furthermore, I haven’t been following the nutrition plan and container system that comes with the program, as I’m just borrowing the workout DVD’s, so that could be a contributing factor as to why the pounds weren’t melting away as quickly as Autumn’s been promising me.


I shouldn’t be worrying so much about the number on the scales.  I should be appreciating the “good” soreness in my muscles as I push my body harder again.  I should be enjoying the strong, empowered feeling that comes with eating healthy and working out.  I should be comforted by how my clothes aren’t feeling so tight anymore.

But that’s very hard to do when the number on the scales goes UP instead of down.  grrrrrr….

Thankfully, this morning that number started heading in the right direction again.   There’s nothing worse than giving a healthy lifestyle your all, and not seeing the results you hoped for.  I deserved to see a little credit.

Now, to just keep chugging along…

Thursday, March 05, 2015

The Weekend Challenge

Ladies and gentlemen, here I am on Day 4 of the 21 Day Fix, and thus far, things are going very well.

I have stuck to a meal plan all week long, and haven’t been sucked in by any “treats”.  I’ve been trying to eat clean as much as possible (except for the pea soup, of course), watching portions… I’ve even given up my beloved steaming mugs of hot chocolate.  And I’ve been OK.  Watching the number on the scale dip a little lower each day is the reward, and it’s a reward that feels good.

The 21 Day Fix workouts have been wonderful.  It’s been quite some time since I’ve been excited about a workout.  I love that they are only 30 minutes long.  I love that sometimes I use weights, sometimes I don’t.  I love that each exercise lasts 60 seconds followed by a short rest, because when Autumn tells me, “Anyone can do anything for 60 seconds,” I really believe her, and I push myself to finish it.  When the half hour is up, I can’t believe how fast it went, and how sweaty I am.  I’m certain this is the next program I will be purchasing from Beachbody, because I’m quite interested in seeing how it works if I follow the nutritional side of things and using the container system that they offer with the program.


But here’s the problem I’ve been battling lately:  Weekends.  For whatever reason, no matter how well I do during the week, I always seem to kill it on the weekend.  Any progress I make Monday through Thursday gets destroyed by the time Friday evening rolls around.  I’ve fallen victim to that age-old prank the mind plays, when I talk myself into, “It’s OK to have the bacon cheeseburger and spicy fries, because you did SO WELL all week long!  Treat yourself, Jilly!”


Yes, treats are allowed.  There will always be bacon cheeseburgers and spicy fries in my life.  But since Christmas, the treats have been happening at a regular frequency, and they keep knocking me off track.  I need to space them out more.  I can’t put in 4 good days, and then go overboard on a weekend of treats.  Just doesn’t work that way.

Originally, I thought this would be a perfect weekend to stare down the treats, because I really had no plans – at least, none that revolved around food.  That is, until I realized my niece & nephew are on March Break this week and decided it would be fun to take them to the movies on my day off tomorrow.

Dun dun dun…  Movie theatre popcorn… Peanut M&M’s… Boston Pizza just a short piece away…

This weekend, I have presented myself with the Movie Challenge.  And I am DETERMINED that I’m going to survive it.  But it’s going to be tricky.

You see, I always get the kids each a Kid Combo at the movies – a little colourful box of popcorn with a side of candy and a slushy drink.  Then I get myself a large popcorn with extra butter, Peanut M&M’s, and a big ass Diet Coke – because, you know, I need to share with the little people.  These kids are children of my own heart, and love popcorn as much as I do, so they always end up running out and I refill them from my big bag of p-corns.


Oh, and yes, I may eat 90% of it myself.   It doesn’t take very much of my giant popcorn to fill their little boxes.  I don’t even tell them I have the Peanut M&M’s stashed in my purse, I just sneak them out and eat them myself when it gets dark and they are wrapped up in the movie and don’t notice.

Then there’s the possible stop at Boston Pizza afterwards.  I always promise myself that I’ll order something light, but then I fall down the rabbit hole of Cactus Cut Potatoes and delicious cheesey pizzas - “I’ll take a Small… the Individual size looks too tiny” – and, of course, the notorious dessert menu that twists my arm every damn time.

boston pizza

When I was discussing these movie/dinner plans with my sister this morning via text message, she said, “I think you’re trying to eat healthy this week, so maybe we won’t do supper.”  And I said, “No, no, I can eat healthy at Boston Pizza… it’s the popcorn I’m worried about.”  But really, it’s all just one big booby-trap, isn’t it?

So here’s the mission:  Small popcorns for the kids at the movies, and a small for Jill too – when it runs out, it runs out.  Sorry kids.  And no hidden Peanut M&M’s in the purse.  I’ve also done my Boston Pizza research on their website, and have decided I will be getting an Individual sized Tropical Chicken or Szechuan Chicken pizza, depending how the spirit moves me (and on a regular thin crust, not multigrain as I usually do to be “healthy”, because, as it turns out, multigrain is a trick – it’s more calories than the regular thin crust) – they are two of the lightest options on the menu, ringing in at 500 cals or less, and are the smartest choices I could find.  No appetizer.  No dessert.


This is the mission, and I DO  choose to accept it.  I want to stay well behaved this weekend so that I can commence week 2 of the 21 Day Fix ahead of the game.  No more one step forward, two steps back.

Say a prayer, people.  I’ll hopefully be back to report success next week.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, March 04, 2015

Wednesday Loves

Jill’s Crankfest 2015 continues. I’m outta sorts.  In a funk.  I’m constantly stressing about things I have no control over.  I feel like I’m in a perpetual state of limbo.  And I hate it.

We all know that one of the things I do to pull myself out of a bad mood is to remind myself of things that I love.  Because even on the worst days, there are little bright spots.

(Also, please note that I’m being a tad melodramatic.  These days of crankiness are far from the worst days of my life.  Don’t feel too sorry for me, dudes.)

Here’s a list of my loves this Wednesday:

  • Habitant Pea Soup with Smoked Ham.  I’ve been attempting to eat much healthier of late, as you all know, and I suppose canned soup doesn’t rank very high on lists of health food, but it’s been this little bowl of comfort each evening this week that I’ve been looking forward to the most.

Pea Soup 2

  • Jared Leto cut his hair.  I really haven’t been a fan of Jared’s Jesus look the past few years.  It delighted me immensely when I heard yesterday that he lopped off his long locks and shaved.  Apparently I’m in a minority, though – what’s up with the ladies liking that look?  ick.  Give me Mr. Clean-Shaven Leto any day.

Jared Leto

  • The 21 Day Fix.  While I may feel like I’ve been in a rut in many ways lately, I feel like I’ve busted out of one on the exercise front.  My Beachbody coach offered to let me try out his copy of The 21 Day Fix workout DVD’s, and they have been a breath of fresh air to my exercise schedule.  While he was unable to loan me the nutrition guides and containers that also come with the program, I’ve vowed to eat extremely healthy for these 21 days and see what kind of results I can get.  I know, I’m only on my third day, but it feels good to be doing something different.  So far, I’m a big fan.


  • Jimmy Fallon singing a medley of duets with Kelly Clarkson on Monday night.  Apparently Kelly has been having a hard time lately finding people to collaborate with, so I thought it was really cute of Jimmy to say, “Hell, I’ll sing with you, Kelly!”

  • Speaking of Jimmy… he had Ryan Reynolds on his show as well, and it reminded me of how much I love Ryan Reynolds.


  • The Hamburgler.  aka, Andrew Hammond, the Sens’ rookie goaltender who stepped in between the pipes when both our goalies went down, and has been playing AWESOME!!  Last night was his first loss, but it was in a shoot-out, so it hardly counts.  He has me excited about watching the Senators again.

andrew hammond

  • Adam Levine.  The Voice is back, and I so enjoy my Adam time every Monday and Tuesday evening.


  • News that Mike Fisher and Carrie Underwood welcomed their son, Isaiah Michael, last Friday.  I’ll never forgive Carrie for stealing Mike away from me and my hockey team, but I’m so happy for him.  Mike was always one of the nicest, most humble guys, and I have no doubt he will be thrilled in his new role as daddy.
  • Knowing that I’m going to be an auntie again in a month or so… My brother and his wife are expecting, and the time is drawing near!  I got a little baby fix on Sunday, getting to meet and snuggle with my cousin’s new baby girl, and it made me itch to meet the newest member of our family.  Coming soon… very soon!!

Well, that’s about it for today, folks.  I hope you’re all having a good week!!