Xander and Rory... and Lucy too!

Lucy and Matty

I took Lucy and Matty out this morning and captured these pictures of them.  I think that they are pretty darned cute myself.


Terri and I went out to the Bonneville Salt Flats this last weekend.  It was a perfect day and these pictures turned out great!


Emily was kind enough to go down to Southern Utah with me for the day a couple of weeks ago.  I think that these turned out pretty beautifully and it helps to have such a gorgeous subject to work with both Emily and the awesome state we live in.

Expanding the Lens

I have been taking pictures of food for my blog for a couple of years now, and have dabbled here and there with taking pictures of my kids etc. Well, recently I decided that I wanted to expand my love of photo taking.  So, I got some new equipment, found some subjects, locations and the rest, as they say, is history now documented.

Thanks to the wonderful families that decided to bare with me through this.  I am pleased as punch and hope you are too!

Happy Birthday, Matty!

My little guy turned one last week and we had a party in his honor.  With cake and ice cream abounding, we lit the candle and had Lu blow it out.

Happy Birthday, Big Guy!

Running, always running

I started running about a week and a half ago.  I've gone 5 days out of the last10, so I guess thats a good start.  I haven't ever really liked running before now.  I always liked the idea of it, but the execution just seemed too daunting.  So, I liked to talk a good game, but didn't really ever do it.  There are a few things though, that I was lacking at the time of my lip service towards running, like:

  1. Running shoes: I used to wear these Sketchers that I got forever ago to run in.  They were cross trainers and were great to wear to the gym when I was lifting or something, but frankly sucked A** when it came to running in them.  My feet would fall asleep every. single. time. I ran.  no lie.  So, this time I got myself some running shoes to wear for this adventure of mine.  They aren't super duper fancy, but they are "running shoes", intended for running and they make all the difference in the world.
  2. Jogger Stroller: I also used to think that a jogger stroller was a jogger stroller and that they are all the same, so why waste money on a higher end stroller if I can get the same thing for a lot less.  Boy, oh, Boy was I wrong on that account.  A jogger stroller that is made well for jogging makes so much more sense to me now.  The stroller that I use now I can push with my finger.  My first jogger stroller felt like I was hauling 40 extra pounds with me and I only had one kind then, now I have two and I hardly even notice the weight they both carry.
  3. Eating right: I've been studying a lot about runners and their techniques for gearing up to run.  I read about Bobby Flay who, in case you don't know... is a chef on Food Network.  I love Bobby Flay.  Bobby also happens to be a runner.  He was interviewed and said that the reason he runs is because he loves to eat.  I don't know why in all my years of cooking I never thought that... until Bobby.  I too love to eat and cook and bake and, and, and... so, of course I should run because of it.  Now with this new epiphany I am trying to make more wholesome things to eat.  I don't succeed all of the time, but I'm learning and experimenting and trying to find new things to make and enjoy that will help me in my new running adventures.  With a few cookies along the way.
  4. Drinking water: I have always had a love/hate relationship with water.  When I'm all fueled to try a new diet or something I am on the water thing like crazy... and then I get totally burned out with water and don't drink any. at. all.  So, I am trying to take water in moderation.  I try to drink a quart at least an hour before I go out for a run and another quart when I get home.  I still am not great at the water thing, but am seriously making efforts to improve myself in this regard. 
 Right now I am turning my efforts towards the Race for the Cure on May 8th.  It's a 5K and I think that its a great start for me, because I've never participated in any sort of race.  So, I'm wanting to just have fun and enjoy running for the time that I have to myself, thoughts, music, nature... all of the above.

HCG Log Day 10

It is official that I am cycling off of HCG.  I screwed myself and still haven't lost any more weight.  So, for those of you that are thinking about doing this diet, I will say a few things about it.  If you do it right (and I know this because I've done it before and I lost 28 pounds) you can be successful.  If you do it wrong, you are screwed.  So, do it right and you won't fail.  I really don't know what I was thinking about when I started and gave myself too much of the HCG.  All I can figure is that I was a bit retarded at the time, but am better now. 

I may try it again towards the end of the summer, but am not sure.  I have to be off of it for 6 weeks because my body has become immune to the HCG and isn't doing what it should be doing now.  And 6 weeks form now doesn't give me enough time to be on it again for 4 weeks before I go on my anniversary trip.  So, its back to the drawing board for me.  Actually I got these awesome running shoes a few weeks ago and have been wanting to start running.  I haven't been able to being on HCG.  Consuming only 500 calories a day doesn't provide the body with nearly enough calories to exercise... in fact if you do exercise while on HCG you will probably gain weight. 

So, I'm kind of excited to start the running.  Its getting warmer and the sun is out and I have running shoes and a jogger stroller... whats holding me back?  Oh, that's right... HCG.  So, this will be my last log on my failed attempt to be on HCG.  I guess I should have done this log when I was on it the first time, but I think I was a little too embarrassed that I was doing it in the first place.  I will be on the 500 calorie diet for another 3 days before the HCG is completely out of my system.  Then should transition to a low-carb diet for 3 weeks before adding more calories and finding where my caloric intake should be, or my BMR.  Anyway, I guess it made for a good couple weeks worth of blogging, if nothing else.

HCG Log - Days 8 and 9

Well, I've had a bit of a setback.  I realized the night before last that I've been giving myself far too much HCG in my injections.  So, I had a choice to do one of two things...

  1. Cycle off and wait 6 weeks to start again.
  2. Lower my dosage and see if in a week, I start losing again.
I decided to go with number 2 and just lower my dosage to see if I start losing again within a week.  I am still where I was 2 days ago, but am hopeful that I will see some change tomorrow.  Fingers crossed.  The thing that I discovered is that if you have too high a dose of HCG in your system it actually does the opposite effect from the lower dose.  So, you gain weight.  I gained 0.3 pounds on Tuesday and thought that was kind of weird and then realized that I was a moron and had been giving myself the wrong dose of HCG.  So, this is a word to the wise... Make sure that you know exactly which dosage you are supposed to have before you start... otherwise you might end up in my shoes.  and let me tell you ... they aren't fun ones to be in right now.  

Other than the setback I've been really good with the diet.  I even made Snickerdoodles yesterday for my hubby and daughter and didn't cheat.  Yay me!  But I will say this... With the higher dose of HCG I was a heck of a lot more hungry than I am with the lower dose.  I know that sounds super strange, but its super true.  The lower dose makes me less hungry.  Strange.

HCG Log - Day 7

So, I forgot to give myself my injection/shot yesterday.  I didn't remember that I'd forgot until about 6pm and by then it was waaay past the "buffer" period to have it.  So, I stepped on the scale today and I'd gained 0.3 pounds.  Kinda sucks, but its really my own fault for forgetting to have the shot.  Otherwise the day went splendidly.  I was super hungry yesterday and when I realized that I hadn't had the shot it made all the sense in the world as to why I was hungry.  You see, the HCG acts as an appetite suppressant along with everything else that it does. So, I am writing on my mirror... DON'T FORGET YOUR SHOT!  Then when I wake up in the morning I can give myself the shot and not forget again.

Day 6

I'm still going strong as of this morning.  I lost another 2 pounds last night so, I'm down 5 pounds total, so far.  I'm sure that the majority of the weight lost so far is water weight, but I don't really care... its five pounds! 

I've discovered the importance of variety in this diet and so, for lunch today I made a soup.  Here is the recipe:

4 oz. chicken breast
2 cups water
1 clove garlic, minced
1 chicken bouillon cube
celery serving for this meal
fresh ground pepper
fresh herbs of your choice, finely chopped

Boil chicken in water.  When chicken is almost finished cooking, add bouillon, garlic, celery, and pepper.  Cut up chicken into bite size pieces while in the pan.  Stir in fresh herbs and serve.

Yield: 1 serving

Super easy and super yummy and filling too! 

I was thinking about a few things that might help somebody that hasn't ever attempted this diet before and came up with a list.

  1. Drink, drink, drink as much water or tea as you can.  The more fluid you intake the more weight you lose.
  2. Get enough sleep at night.  The HCG isn't going to do its job if you aren't getting at least 6 hours of sleep.  The more the better.
  3. Break up your meals throughout the day.  I don't have breakfast, but have tea instead.  I eat lunch, a snack, dinner and another snack.  It helps with the "I'm starved" feeling if you eat a little bit all throughout the day.
  4. And this one I think is most important... find something to do with your time so you aren't thinking about how you are only eating 500 calories a day and all you really want is that brownie instead... REMEMBER 1 brownie = 3 POUNDS and three days to lose it again.

Day 4 and 5

So, I didn't even turn on my computer yesterday.  I figure that I'm on it enough monday through Saturday, so it can take a break from me and me from it, for one day.  The last two days have been good.  I hit my 500 calories yesterday and when I woke up this morning and stepped on the scale I was down 3 pounds, you heard it right THREE POUNDS!!!  YAY!  It's working! 

I discovered something that I wish I would have clued into the last time I did HCG and that is, tea.  I have been having tea a couple/few times a day and it is just enough to break up that water intake nicely.  It's almost like dessert water, if I add enough Truvia, which bytheway is the best sweetener out there.  It is awesome. 

I thought about posting what my start weight was and what the end weight will be, but then I thought... I'm posting up practically my blow by blow of this diet, they don't need to know what my start weight is... I hardly want to know what my start weight is.  All I want to know is how much of that start weight is gone by the end of this 23 injection adventure.  The End.

HCG Log -- Day 3

Today is off to a pretty good start.  Last night I was just about done with consuming too many calories and was thankful that I could go to sleep and stop eating.  Today so far all I've had is water.  From this point on I take in 500 calories per day until the end of the 23 injections that I will have.  The HCG helps as an appetite suppressant and in conjunction with the suppressing of the appetite, burns off the fat in your body.  So you don't lose any muscle mass like you would on say, a low carb diet, where the weight you lose is overall weight and not just fat.  On HCG its all fat... you gotta love that!   

Anyway, the diet today will be as follows:

Water until noon
Lunch:  4 oz. chicken, 1 melba toast, 1/2 cucumber
Snack: apple
Dinner: 4 oz. chicken, 1 melba toast, 6 asparagus spears
Snack: 1 cup strawberries

And of course water all day long.  I will try to take in at least 2 liters of water per day, but if I take in more, that is great!  The more water you take in, the more weight you lose.  So, bring on the water!

HCG Log Stardate; Umm... Day 2

I guess that I should stop the Star Trek log.  I figured it would start to confuse people, especially me.  Anyway, it's day two and I am cruising along.  I consumed 4340 calories yesterday and am currently up to 2019 with 3 more bowls of fettuccine waiting for me before the day is through.  Now, I tried to get the excel spreadsheet on here, but I can't upload those kinds of files, just pictures... so that's a bummer.  But know this; it is a fantastic spreadsheet that I created.  It encompasses everything that I need to keep track of while on this diet.

Day I'm currently on in the diet
Morning Weight
Meal                   Food                Fluid            Calories
                                  Daily Total of Calories =

And its nicely formatted to give me the proper calculations.  Can I just say that, I love excel!

HCG Log; stardate 3182010

DAY: 1

It's officially the beginning.  I had my first injection this morning and promptly made the most fattening waffles in the history of the world.  I literally had to gag down the last few bites.  Here's a little list of the ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 Tablespoon baking soda
1/2 cup butter, melted
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup milk

Mix all ingredients together and cook on a waffle iron until done, serve with syrup.

Yield: 4 Waffles (I ate 3)

Holy Moly!  These were so buttery and yolky and I wouldn't ever make them again, unless I was on this diet and in this gorge phase.  I think that they will do the trick just fine, though.

I still need to figure out the calorie count and once I do that I'll post it.  I know that its a lot though, so I'm good for now.  Also, I'm working on a spreadsheet that I can input all my information and numbers into, aka; food intake, weight, calories, etc..  Once I get that so I'm happy with it, I'll post that as well.

So, here's to the first day!  We're off to the races!

HCG Log, stardate 3152010

This is the first official HCG post that I am writing to the internets about my journey to conquer this diet.  I have the HCG in hand, well not exactly in my hand, its in the fridge.  But, the point is that I am going to be starting this journey probably the day after tomorrow.  I still need to get a few things before I'm going to feel completely confident about starting.  So, the first phase of the diet is to binge eat for two days.  I will take the HCG or more accurately, inject the HCG, and will also engage in binge eating of the most fattening foods I can find (or make).  This sounds like it would be easy to do, but its not as easy as you might think it is.  You need to eat until you are so full you think you just might throw up, and then eat some more.  The point of this is to help the HCG locate the right kind of fat in your body to burn.  The more fattening the food the more likely you will not be one of the following while on the diet...

  1. hungry; I know that this sounds weird, but its really true, the more you binge the first two days the less hungry you will feel the duration of the diet.
  2. starving, oh wait, that's the same as hungry
I can't remember the other thing that I was going to say, so just take my word for it on the binging.  Binge, binge, binge on brownies and fettucini alfredo and doughnuts and butter, butter, butter... mmm, butter.  You want to hate butter when the two days are up.

I'm excited to start and will let you know how I'm doing once I start oinking out for that first two days.

HCG, here I come.

It has been way too long wince I wrote and voiced my thoughts, actions, deeds, whatnot to the internets.  It's about time I got to it again.  I've been kinda busy with my cooking blog and in case you've missed it, I have a cooking blog that is called Zula's Cafe.  It's named after my Nanny, who, in her own right was a fabulous southern cook.  Now, I have only put southern recipes up there every once in a while.  Come to think of it, I should really put more Southern recipes on my southern recipe blog, but for now... its just things that I like and make.  Mostly lately its been things that I've never made before.  I like it a lot.  Its a complete and total creative release for me.  I get to cook, write, and take pictures.  The three things that I enjoy most nowadays... besides raising my kids and being a girlfriend to my husband. 

Now... the real reason for this post is to put out there my confession.  I am going to venture down the HCG road.  Now, I know that many of you will poo-poo the idea of doing a drastic thing like HCG, but I have to tell you; I am going to NY with my husband for our 10 year anniversary in May/June and I don't want to be self conscience while we're there.  So, I'm taking drastic measures.  I am going to start this diet next week and it will last for a minimun of 30 days.  I am going to be documenting my progress/frustrations/fears/successes all of the above on HERE!  So, keep checking back, because it just might either inspire or instill fear in those of you that are looking into a diet like this one.