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Posted on Aug 2, 2012 in Dear Diary | 6 comments

August Rush

Okay, let me be clear up front that I am not really going to be discussing the movie “August Rush” today, delightful though it may have been (though let’s be honest, I pretty much watched that entire movie solely for glimpses of Jonathan Rhys Meyers). No, this is more of an homage to the general feeling I have today which is along the lines of:


This year has been flying by. I know how cliche that must sound for me to say (write?) out loud, but it’s true! I cannot believe that the year is already almost 3/4 of the way done. They say time flies when you’re having fun so… way to go, 2012! August is a particularly important milestone month for me because lots of stuff tends to happen to me in August. Par example, in August of 2010 I started this blog. And last August, I started my new (day)job. The fact that yet another anniversary is about to pass for the first thing and my first anniversary is impending for the second really puts into perspective how much time has passed over this last year.

Pensive Daxter is pensive. Also, I have since trimmed his ears.

I’ve mentioned before that the fact that I can easily look back on exactly what I was doing/saying/thinking/eating (heh) a year ago is one of the things that I love most about this blog. While I may not always want to remember everything, keeping this blog is like keeping a scrapbook of my life… that anyone can see at any time. Okay, so it’s not perfect, hahaha. But what can I say? I’m a bit of an emotional exhibitionist, so sharing my formative years (er, if you consider 22 – 24+ formative) with the interwebs is really okay with me. This is why I feel like I would make a really good celebrity. I just really like it when people pay attention to me. 😛

In case you were interested, by the way, here is the post from this day last year. It includes puppy pictures (look at how TINY my sister’s dog Oreo is!) as well as sushi. So clearly, not that much has actually changed.

Originally when I started thinking about the fact that a year has already passed, and I’m about to celebrate HISTG’s second birthday, I started to get a little sad. After all, I’m still not at “goal” weight. In fact, I haven’t really lost any significant weight all year. But then I smacked myself in the face (true story) and told myself to get over it. After all, who cares if I meet some arbitrary deadline? I’m still much healthier now than I was two years ago, and my relationship with my body, my weight, and myself is still growing and evolving. I am confident that I will get to place where I am truly satisfied with my weight and appearance (I hope, at least!) so I don’t need to be apologetic for it taking a little longer for me to get there than I had originally planned, right?

I don’t want to have to apologize for doing things my way, in my own time. Two years ago, did I think that I would ever get to a point where I could run in a 200-mile relay across the state of Massachussetts? Did I think that I would be able to make regular exercise part of my routine? Absolutely not! And that is progress, my friends, as I’ve said time and time again.

I’ll reiterate, just so no doubt or confusion circulates, that I do still have goals and intentions to lose more weight. You know, to find that true “happy” weight of mine, because I still am above the threshold. I still don’t completely LOVE my body right now. I would like to tone up, flatten out, and maybe drop just one more elusive size. But just because you don’t actively see it here doesn’t mean that I’m not still making an effort (even if it’s a slightly less focused effort at present moment, admittedly). It will all come in time.

I feel like in the past, I’ve spent every self-reflective, anniversary-ish post pretending to celebrate my accomplishments but in reality, I’ve been regretting the things that I wasn’t able to accomplish. “If only I had gotten my act together sooner, I’d already have long since been at my goal weight!” “I wish I hadn’t ever done X, or gone to Y, or wasted my time with Z!” Well, no more! There is absolutely no point in regretting my past – it’s what has shaped me into the (totally awesome and modest) person that I am today. Every year has brought me something new, something to grow from, something to celebrate. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store for this next one.








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Posted on Jan 12, 2012 in Dear Diary | 42 comments


I make no secret of the fact that I love TV. Despite all of my attempts to counteract my true nature, I’m really a couch potato through and through. It is for this reason that for the better part of two years living in my house, having a TV took precedence over having a usable desk.


Here’s a closer shot (from a different, messier occasion) of that whole situation:


Er, yeah. Now, before you think that this is going to turn into some kind of resolution-y post about cutting TV out of my life, think again. I love TV. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with enjoying both quality programs and a few guilty pleasures. I am never going to be one of those people who just “doesn’t watch a lot of TV”. Pass! But I do think it’s important to make the distinction between how I view TV now, versus how Old Gretchen viewed TV.

I fully admit to being the kind of person who would actively pass up activities to watch TV. Believe me, I know how sad that sounds. I would decline going out to dinner so I could catch one of my favorite shows and nix heading out with friends on the weekend so I could clear out my DVR queue. All that sitting and TV-watching really worked up an appetite too, so I would spend hours literally resting on my laurels while I ate chips and cookies and pizza and… well, you get the general idea. Mindless eating in front of the television is something I still struggle with.


After we made the decision to cut out cable (and all live TV access) from our household, I did cut down on my hours logged in front of the boob tube. That said, I do still watch a lot of TV. Though I have kicked quite a few shows off of my list, I still vigilantly watch The Vampire Diaries (duh), Glee (not 100% sure why lately), and all the Thursday night NBC sitcoms (Community, come back!) the day after they air. I’ve really gotten into Once Upon a Time this season, and I squee with nerdy hipster delight at Zooey Deschanel in her show, New Girl. Netflix streaming has also proven to be a powerful friend.

Can’t. Handle. So. Much. Pretty. (source)

I guess the biggest difference between the old and, er, current me when it comes to this aspect of my lifestyle is that I am no longer willing to sacrifice other parts of my life for television. Except for the occasional episode of The Vampire Diaries following a particularly gasp-worthy cliffhanger from the week before (IT’S SO GOOD.), I would never pass up meeting a friend for dinner or going out to an event just so I could sit in and clock out in front of the TV. I even finally got a mount (a Christmas gift from my brother!) to put the TV on the wall and give myself a real desk like a real(ish) adult!


And to use like I’m a real writer. 🙂 Of course, let’s ignore the fact that now my TV is situated perfectly in front of my bed, and focus on the desk-clearing aspect.

In grand scheme of all the changes I’ve made in my life thus far, this one is probably pretty insignificant. Maybe if I had kicked the TV bucket completely it would seem more… monumental. But I do think it’s a nice representation of all the smaller things that get affected when you make one large change. I made my health a priority, and it hasn’t meant giving up the things that I enjoy. It just means being smarter about them. I used to use TV as an excuse to not have to interact with the rest of the world, to hole up in a private place where I could wear stretchy pants all the time and nobody would mind my stomach rolls. I love living my life now. And the lingering bits of television? Well, they’re just gravy.

What is the one TV show (or two, or six) that you just can’t seem to kick?

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Posted on Apr 13, 2011 in Dear Diary | 25 comments

What’s Your Spring Celebration Announcement? (GIVEAWAY!)


This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly as part of the Clever Girl Collective.


Birthdays always get me nostalgic. I think that turning another year older just gets those memory wheels a-turning, and I’ve found myself thinking about past birthdays a lot these past few days. I don’t have a ton of happy memories of this time last year, to be honest. I wasn’t in a particularly happy place then, so it makes sense. But it makes me a little sad now to think of what a sad state things were in then. Aside from getting Daxter around this same time last year, things weren’t really so great.

Early April 2010

A year ago, I was very overweight. I was stuck in a job that made me absolutely miserable and had little else going on in my life so I took out my anger and frustration the only way I knew how: on my body. I stuffed my stomach full of fat-laden fast foods and sugary sweets on a regular basis, channel surfed as my sole form of exercise, and was honestly pretty depressed. Things only got worse from there, too: Steve and I went through a fairly serious hiccup in our relationship over the summer, a 12-week old Daxter had a freak accident and spent 3 days in an oxygen cage at the Doggy ICU (he very nearly died), and I started withdrawing from friends and social events. Even causes for celebration, like Mothers Day and my best friend’s wedding, were not the joyous occasions they should have been. In photos I might have been smiling, but each experience was tainted by unhealthy living and my poor self-image (and frankly, poor physical image, too. I was at least 75 pounds overweight, for cryin’ out loud!)

Mother’s Day 2010

Bethany‘s Wedding, May 2010

It’s been one year since then, and it’s been even less time than that since I began this weight loss journey and took control of my health (and my life!) In this one measly little year, things have turned around completely. I feel like my life has taken a 180, and the 50 pounds I’ve dropped since then are honestly just gravy!

January 2011 – Cruise Vacation

When I try to answer the question, “What’s Your Spring Celebration Announcement?”, I realize that I can’t even identify a singular thing I’d want to announce, because there are just so many! You would all be getting about a trillion announcement cards, celebrating everything from the average third-grader I’ve lost in weight to the healthy relationships I’m in with the boyf, my family, my friends and, arguably most importantly, my self.

My 22nd birthday at Zaytina with my family last year.


Celebrating my 23rd birthday at Founding Farmers this past Monday!

I am so happy to know that in the future when I’m looking back at photos from this year’s birthday celebration, I will be able to remember being legitimately happy. Because I am, right now, really, truly happy. And while my journey isn’t quite over yet, I feel like I already have so much to celebrate!


I know it sounds super cheesy, but I honestly am so excited at the thought of being able to chronicle my journey in a photo book. My sister has made some really awesome photo books in the past with wedding photos, vacation photos, and one year she did one as a Mothers Day present for my mama. It has been my intention from the beginning to do the same thing with my weight loss journey once I get to the end.

This process, this lifestyle change I’m embracing, I don’t want to forget it. I don’t want to forget the low points because they were instrumental in bringing me to my current high point! Photo books are a fantastic, tangible way to see memories, progress, and change. And it’s not like I don’t have a plethora of photographic evidence of this journey to utilize, right? 🙂 The fun news for you is… that I want one of you amazing readers to be able to do the same!! Welcome to my very first giveaway EVARRRRRR!

Giveaway: Win a free 8×8″ hardbound photo book from Shutterfly!

Create your own personal hardbound celebration of something momentous happening in your life this Spring! Are you graduating this May? (Graduation Announcements) Or do you have a little Spring bun in the oven perhaps? (Not that I’m biased or anything, but April babies are the BEST!) (Birth Announcements) Or maybe you’re like me and you’ve simply gone through a lot of personal growth. Don’t shortchange yourself — that is most definitely a serious cause for celebration!!

There are three ways you can enter (do all 3 for more chances to win!):

1. Leave a comment telling me what you’re celebrating this Spring!
2. Tweet about this giveaway, then comment that you tweeted! Be sure to link my Twitter handle  and back to this post! Here’s an example you can to copy/paste: Check out this giveaway from @shrinkinggretch and enter for your chance to win a photo book from #shutterfly! http://tinyurl.com/3n2krat
3. If you have a blog, post about this giveaway to your readers, then comment with the URL. If you don’t have a blog, you can still have a third entry by sharing on Facebook. Be sure to comment and let me know you did!

You can do any one of these things, or all three if you like! I will be selecting a winner via random number generator on Friday, April 15th.

Are you a blogger, too? Click here to register for a chance at 50 free announcements!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Eeeee! This is so fun! 😀

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