Saturday, November 30, 2013

Austin's Minecraft Cake

There was so much involved in making Austin's cake that it has to be its own post.  It took a while to do but he enjoyed it!


  • 2 Boxes Cake Mix (Any flavor, just two different colors for the blocks)
  • 1 Package Blue Jello
  • 1 Package Red Jello
  • 1 Container White Icing
  • 1 Package Sweetened Coconut
  • Few Drops Green Food Coloring

  1. Prepare both Jello packages according to the directions and refrigerate.
  2. Prepare both cake mixes according to the directions in two square pans each.
  3. While the cakes are baking, mix a couple of drops of green food coloring in with the coconut until well coated.  Add additional drops if you want the grass to be darker.
  4. To the coconut mixture add the icing and mix until well coated.  Set aside.
  5. After the cakes have cooled, place one upside down on a cutting board.  Set a ruler next to the cake and eyeball cuts every 2 inches.  Set the smaller pieces to the side.
  6. Repeat step 5 for the other 3 pans.
  7. Line a cookie sheet (not flat but one that's at least 1/2 inch deep) with aluminum foil.
  8. Stack the 2 inch pieces of cake in a pattern of your choosing on the cookie sheet, alternating or randomly placing the two different cakes.  Leave empty spaces for the jello.
  9. Spread the icing mixture on the topmost layer, dripping some down the sides.
  10. By this time the Jello should be gelled (is that even a word?) enough.  Scoop out each Jello and place it in the spaces you left.
  11. Add candles or any other decorations.
  12. Enjoy!
I ate the little leftover pieces plain ;)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge - Week 3

I was up .4 lbs but it's all good.  As promised here's me in the Body Gospel shirt.  Both sides have the same logo so I didn't bother with a rear photo.  Benny and I couldn't get the picture right.  I don't know if it was the lighting, my pooch, my jeans, or something else that made it look weird to us.

My double headaches returned this week and are still going on.  Medicine will squelch the aches for a few hours but it always comes back.  I didn't let the headaches stop me from working out.

Along with my headaches, Saturday my HRM was spazzy.  First, it wouldn't even pick up my heart rate.  Then, during the warmup it jumped from 90-something to 180!

One challenger has lost 4 lbs two weeks in a row!  Fingers and toes crossed that she'll have another great loss to mark the halfway point.

I've made some progress on the Famous in Five Challenge, although not exactly in the way they intended.  I've answered Carli's interview questions and have picked out two of the three pictures to use - a couple of pictures put together from 2011 & 2012 for my before shot and one of my workout pictures (like above).  What should I do for the third one?

This week, not only do I have Thanksgiving dinner to prep but it's Austin's 12th birthday.  I asked him what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday.  He said that he wanted a Minecraft themed cake with all the fun blocks...something like this -
Photo Credit: turoczy via Compfight cc

So Saturday, we went to Kroger and I let him pick out the ingredients.

  • German Chocolate & Chocolate Fudge cake (he says there's enough of a color difference to make the blocks)
  • Strawberry jello for the lava
  • Berry Blue Jell-O for the water
  • Coconut, icing, and green food coloring for the grass
I've NEVER done anything like this before so it'll be interesting to see how it turns out.  My cakes are normally just the plain kind, sometimes with writing (spelling errors included).

I think I'm going to try to do the cake in the roaster oven while the turkey bakes in the regular oven.  I picked up some square pans at Dollar Tree to make the cutting more even/easier (I hope).  I could put two in the roaster to bake, remove them to cool and put the next pair in.  I should be able to cut the cake into squares during this time also.  The leftover pieces of cake and jello (not used for the design) I'll be taking into work to share with coworkers.

Have you made a "mixed media" cake before?  How did it turn out?

Pretty Strong Medicine

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge - Week 2

I was down another 2.4 lbs this week!  My HRM showed that my calorie burn was dropping with Start It Up! so that meant it was getting too easy for me.  What's a girl gonna do about that then?  Wednesday and Friday I did the Cardio Core Express bonus workout.  Thursday I did the Thin Thighs Guaranteed bonus workout.  As you can see those workouts did me good! Saturday I wanted to take it easy so I did another Start It Up!

The challengers were quiet this week but I think they all lost a few more pounds.

Glad to see the positive feedback on the Famous in Five Challenge!  I have to kick myself into gear and actually write those pitch letters.  All I really have is "Dear so-and-so" and then my mind wonders off onto something else.  UGH!  I need to focus focus focus...

FedEx delivered my Body Gospel shirt Saturday.  I was so excited that I wore it that same day and didn't have anyone take my picture.  I'll have to save that for the next post.

Benny took my measurements tonight.  This past month I've lost:

  • 1.5 inches off my waist
  • 3.5 inches off my hips
  • 1 inch off my chest
  • .5 inches off my right arm (left arm stayed the same)
  • 1 inch off my right thigh
  • 2.5 inches off my left thigh

Weird discrepancy with the size of my thighs.  Benny measured several times and said he could actually see a difference between the size of my thighs so we're assuming everything's correct LOL.  As of tonight my left thigh is measuring 3 inches smaller than my right thigh.  I've always carried things on my left side so I guess it sort of makes sense that I've worked my left thigh more than the right.

Pretty Strong Medicine

Monday, November 11, 2013

Famous in Five Challenge Day 5

Friday's Famous in Five Challenge assignment was to pitch guest posts while Monday's was to pitch interviews.  Both use the bullet points from Day 3 to address the responsible parties of the blogs and podcasts.  Again the information is to be recorded in the spreadsheet provided

The Devil's in the Details
  • Write out the specific details of the audience involved in the other blog/podcast.
  • Decide on a specific aspect of your business that really interests said audience (the topic you're pitching).
  • Select 3+ bullet points that relate to that topic, showing your authority.
  • The same format can be used for both types of pitch emails; the interview one just doesn't involve a title suggestion.
  • In the spreadsheet record the date the emails are sent as well as when you receive a response.
They give a couple of samples so you know what the pitch emails should look like.  Yes, I know I'm being too hard on myself, but I just can't see my information looking that fancy!  I definitely don't have as much to say as the examples.

Better? Blogs

Below are blogs with a better Alexa rating than mine.  They are the ones to which I'd like to pitch my first guest posts and interview.
  • Cranky Fitness:  This blog says they rarely have guest posts so it would be better to pitch an interview.  Current Global Alexa rating is 300,078.
  • Real Into:  Carli's a fellow SITStah and Sverver so it was kind of embarrassing to not think of her LOL.  Current Global Alexa rating is 251,552.
  • CalmHealthySexy:  I just found this blog today and it looks appealing.  Current Global Alexa rating is 416,769.
I had another one but she's switched it over from Blogger to WordPress so that crashed her rating.  I've saved all the blogs on Alexa's site comparisons section on the Dashboard so I can periodically monitor to see when ratings improve.

Now it's on to figure out what topic I'm going to pitch to each.  I'm so nervous about this challenge!  Please feel free to leave any tips you have about pitching guest posts or interviews.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Slim in 6 for the Holidays Challenge - Week 1

I lost 2.2 lbs this week - 55.2 lbs lost so far!  I was definitely able to feel the difference in using the resistance band vs weights as I'd used last time with Slim in 6.  I felt it in my back and sides.  The challengers are reporting in great losses this first week!

I went from this look on my selfie

To this look

I don't know why I struggle so much smiling on a selfie.  I like to say that I'm too busy concentrating on getting the shot LOL

Saturday was our 5 year anniversary.  As promised in his vows, Benny gives me one rose for each year.  Every year I'm always surprised he remembers the day let alone to do the roses LOL.  (Don't ask me what the vows were.  I had found them online or in a book somewhere but that information was on my computer that was stolen several years ago!)  This year he said that the flower shop he'd go to pick up the roses closed down so he had to search elsewhere for them.

Pretty Strong Medicine

Friday, November 8, 2013

Famous in Five Challenge - Day 4

The concept of today's assignment is simple really - pitch a guest post to three blogs found in your research.  It's just difficult for me to come up with what I'd write about.  Sometimes I can barely think of what to say on my own weekly updates!  Writing more is one of my 2014 Goals but still...that's something that I need to ease into, just like everything else on this journey.

The Blogs

I have found a couple of blogs and was referred to another but their Alexa rankings are nowhere near mine.  So where do I go from here?
  • Weightingfor50's Blog:  This is written by a 40-something lady that's trying to be fit and healthy by the time she hits 50.  Today's Global Alexa ranking is 2,381,833.
  • My Journey to Fit:  This is written by a 50 year old lady who started the blog with her last diet in 2008.  She's reached her goal weight and is working on maintaining it.  Today's Global Alexa ranking is 1,467,634.
  • Go Goggy Go:  This is written by a 50-something lady on her own journey.  Today's Global Alexa ranking is 3,160,821.
  • 40 Something Fitness:  This is written by a 40-something couple that are both former military.  They want to help others be the best they can be.  They have no Global Alexa ranking; it's like they fell off the radar on August 27.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Famous in Five Challenge Day 3

Today's assignment is to take what I wrote on Day 1 and separate the information into two lists - "What's Special about My Story" and "Details of My Expertise."  This one should be relatively easy then right?  No worksheet or anything else to guide this assignment.

What's Special about The Long and Winding Road to Wellness' Story
  • We take the slow and steady path to improve the well-being of others, primarily using the Weight Watchers lifestyle and Beachbody workouts.
  • I want to share my experience with others and help them enjoy a healthier life.
  • Since I have Austin on the weekends, whatever I do then would need to involve him.
  • I try to keep everything casual and laid back, not wanting to rush anything.
  • I've always enjoyed doing crafts.
  • Gardening is a new found hobby of mine.
  • Since starting The Long and Winding Road to Wellness I've started reading personal development books.
  • I want to have local events but I need to find a location for that,
  • I'd also like to have some coaches on my team that are more extroverted so they can handle most of the public speaking.

Details of My Expertise
  • I sold Avon for a few years but I was my biggest customer.
  • I'm not a salesperson and never have been.
  • For six years I worked for H&R Block preparing taxes.
  • I've been purchasing aircraft hardware for 7.5 years now.
  • Like many others who've joined the Beachbody family I have no formal training or education in this business.
  • I don't think that I could consider myself an expert at anything.
  • I don't think there's been any major failures or flops in my business.

Did I get everything under the appropriate list?  Do I have all the highlights here?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Famous in Five Challenge Day 2

Today's assignment is to become a Googling master.  We're supposed to uncover the difference between pitching to the perfect blog with my target audience and pitching to an industry publication that only peers read.  We're provided with a worksheet to answer questions and a spreadsheet to record information we find.


The people who'd actually spend money with The Long and Winding Road to Wellness are those that want to purchase the Beachbody workouts, either for their own use or as Christmas gifts (HINT HINT).  They come to us in search for help and motivation to begin or continue their own journeys to improve their health and wellness. They ask for recommendations on how to work on certain areas, how to get off their plateaus, and whatever other help they need to get them moving in the right direction.  When Googling solutions they're not looking for the programs that help you lose weight fast because they know these quick fixes don't work for them long term.  They want realistic solutions that they can work into their daily lives.

Here are some questions and phrases customers would plug into Google:
  • Weight loss success stories
  • Weight loss journey
  • How do I start losing weight?
  • What workouts are good for someone who has never exercised before?
  • Safe weekly weight loss

Here are some interesting sites I found using those questions and phrases above:

We're supposed to look at the blogs we recorded in the spreadsheet and note the six that have a better ranking than The Long and Winding Road to Wellness.  However, I'm struggling to find those that are geared towards people 40+.  I've found a couple but their ranks weren't so good compared to mine.  So I need your help with this part.

If your health/fitness/wellness/weight loss blog or podcast has an audience aged 40+ or you know of others that are at this age group please let me know. Thanks!

Next Steps

For those six sites I'm to record their contact information and estimated average post/podcast length.  Then I'm to brainstorm topics I'm to pitch for them, recording this in the spreadsheet.  Actually contacting them comes later.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Famous in Five Challenge Day 1

I signed up for Creating Fame's Famous in Five Challenge.  This challenge is supposed to help you get "business famous" over a five day period, going from an unknown to being featured everywhere.  Have any of you participated in this program before?  I'm always skeptical of things like this.  We'll see what this challenge does for me.

Today's assignment is to talk about me.  What's special about me?  Where do I do my work?  What do I do in my spare time?  What is my story?  To help write about all this they provided a 14 question worksheet to hash out all the details.

Who/What is The Long and Winding Road to Wellness?

We (not yet more than me but hopefully soon) are a team of individuals on our own journey to improve our health and wellness.  We're here as a support system for others on their journeys, offering motivation, nutrition tips, fitness tips, and more through Facebook and via phone when needed.  Our ideal customer would be someone aged 40+ who is relatively new to or hesitant about dieting and exercise (as I was).  We take the slow and steady path to improve the well-being of others, primarily using the Weight Watchers lifestyle and Beachbody workouts.

How, When, & Why

Eating healthier (not going to call it dieting) and exercising were nowhere on the radar before.  Once I started my journey everything just started clicking and making sense to me.  Now I can't see myself going back to the way I was.  I started The Long and Winding Road to Wellness after completing my first exercise program because I want to share my experience with others and help them enjoy a healthier life.

Previous Self-Employment

I sold Avon for a few years but I was my biggest customer.  I wasn't achieving anything but discounted merchandise and that wasn't the goal of the business.  I'm not a salesperson and never have been.  So I just cancelled everything and never looked back.  I bought for a little bit afterwards from another rep but that stopped too.  It's been at least 7 years since I bought anything Avon.

Other Employment

For six years I worked for H&R Block preparing taxes.  I enjoyed helping others take care of the mundane task of completing tax returns but it never took hold of my heart.  I always felt like something was missing and it wasn't where I belonged.  But I stayed because I knew nothing else.  Once I started The Long and Winding Road to Wellness I decided not to return to H&R Block.

My Full Time Job

I've been purchasing aircraft hardware for 7.5 years now.  I didn't know anything about what I was buying before.  I've learned some over the years but still have no clue about a lot of things, or at least they just don't make sense to me.

Outside my 40-hour workweek I have the evenings and weekends to dedicate to The Long and Winding Road to Wellness.  I'm not sure what percentage of my week that would be.  Since I have Austin on the weekends, whatever I do then would need to involve him.

Formal Training/Education

Like many others who've joined the Beachbody family I have no formal training or education in this business.  I just enjoy helping others and this journey has been relatively easy for me so far.  Perhaps I'll get some sort of life or health coach certification down the road.

Expertise or Lack Thereof?

There are things that I may know more than others but there's always someone who knows more than me.  I don't think that I could consider myself an expert at anything.  Have any of you seen anything here that you think I should classify myself as an expert?

Me vs. Competition

This is another area I struggle at defining.  What sets me apart from other coaches, trainers, etc.?  Maybe I could say that I try to keep everything casual and laid back, not wanting to rush anything.  That's why I used the word LONG in the name.


I've always enjoyed doing crafts although I haven't really felt creative for several years.  I need to find those creative juices again so I can tap into them.

Gardening is a new found hobby of mine.  I really enjoyed working on my garden this year.  It was the first time I was able to get anything to grow.  Everything kept dying or just not doing much at the old house.  So I don't know if it was more of a change in area or a change in me that made the difference.

Business Milestones

We're in the second day of my first challenge running solo.  I just need to figure out how to get the challengers to more actively post in the group.  My aunt is my first paying customer.

Failure is not an Option (Questions 11 & 12)

I don't think there's been any major failures or flops in my business.  The Long and Winding Road to Wellness is still in it's infancy.

Changing Life?

Since starting The Long and Winding Road to Wellness I've started reading personal development books.  Our team has a recommended reading list but I've been struggling to get through those.  If I read too much non-fiction it tends to bore me so I'm trying to find my own reading list.  That's how I got into the overcoming shyness and glossophobia topics.

Plans for the Future

I want to have local events but I need to find a location for that yet.  I can't afford to pay most facility rental fees as some are more than my mortgage.  Perhaps I'll find something working with the Indiana Healthy Weight Initiative.  I'd also like to have some coaches on my team that are more extroverted so they can handle most of the public speaking.  Then we can have a booth at various events around town with workout demonstrations or whatever.

How do you think I did here?  Did I tell my story well?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Halloween 2013

I was up .4 lbs which isn't bad for the cold and TOM combination.  This was another week of Body Gospel for me; I did a different workout each day.

Because of the storms Thursday we went trick-or-treating Friday instead.  Austin didn't get as much candy as years past but he wasn't disappointed in the least!  Benny stayed in the car and drove slowly next to us, which freaked out this group of girls we came across LOL.

One kid asked what I was but I had no answer for him.  What would you call my costume?  The corset was still tight around my stomach but had loosened up much at my chest.  Benny tried to pull it tighter but it made no difference.  I had pulled out my old boots and the pleather (as I don't know what the material is) was crumbling off!  Boy, I could've used some knee-high boots for the costume!  Now I want to get a pair and maybe start wearing skirts/dresses again LOL.  Ultimately I'd love to have a pair of thigh high boots but don't know when my thighs will be small enough for that to work.

My hair didn't want to cooperate as usual so I couldn't really get the look that I wanted.  It was weird, I had to straighten my hair before curling it in order to even attempt to get anything to stay put.

As expected not many calories were burned while I walked Austin around but it was interesting to see the numbers anyway.

Maybe it was from walking so slow but my leg and back were stiff and sore by the time we got home.  I woke up Saturday morning with my neck and shoulders being extra stiff too.  Instead of a normal workout I found a couple of stretching videos on YouTube (~30 minutes total) that pretty much took care of my leg and back.  My neck and shoulders eventually meandered back to their normal stiffness.

What did you do for Halloween?

Pretty Strong Medicine