OY. It has been a long time since I have written here.

First: YES. I am still alive.

Second: THANK YOU for your comments and emails and homing pigeons, checking in on me and telling me that you miss this little blog. I appreciate that more than you know.

And Third: It’s moving day!

Moving where…? To my new blog, of course! (You didn’t honestly think I was leaving California, did you?)

Now, I know what you’re thinking…
”Really, Melissa? REALLY? What is wrong with this blog? You’ve worked so hard/this is a perfectly fine blog/life is always going to be a journey/I DON’T WANT TO UPDATE MY GOOGLE READER WITH YOUR NEW BLOG ADDRESS…”

I’m sorry guys. I promise, it will be awesome.

Truth of the matter is, this blog will always be my first love but like 99.9% of first loves, I’ve grown out of it. I started to feel stuck in the confines of writing about weight loss, healthy eating and how much I was (not) working out. I felt like I had to keep apologizing every week I didn’t lose a few pounds, even when there were so many other awesome things in life to tell you about. I found that I was sort of done talking about the journey to lose weight…and I was ready, after a couple of years and around 75-ish pounds lost, give or take…I am ready to just write about the awesome life that I am living right now.

And THAT, in my opinion, deserves a brand new shiny blog.

DRUMROLL PLEASE….and update your Google Readers to….


So this, my friends, will be the last update on Journey To Marvelous. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for reading. It has been a great run!

I hope that you will appreciate that I kept a little part of my old blog identity mixed in with my new blog name. A little tribute to where I started, perhaps, with eyes on the future.

NOW: Please follow me to my new blog home…there is lots I can’t wait to share with you guys!



Weigh In, Week 102

Hello there friends! It’s that time again…

Starting weight: 283.0 pounds
Week 101 weight: 218.3 pounds
Today’s weight: 216.9 pounds
Loss this week of: 1.4 pounds
Total weight loss to date: 66.1 pounds

I’m happy to be recording a loss after my first week back on track! It’s not a big loss, sadly, but it’s still a loss. I am confident that using spin bikes and rowing machine regularly I will be able to get fit in no time.

I was good about eating my home cooked healthy meals this week for the most part, with a couple of splurges here and there. I wasn’t so great about getting out for exercise this week—I went on a  bike ride and a walk or two but that was it. Now, I’m not making excuses, but the reason I’ve not been concentrating 100% on my healthy living goals this week is because I have a couple of fun projects coming up!

More on that this week.

As far as my healthy living goals, I’m going to keep on keepin’ on this week….trying to eat healthy meals at home and get some activity in. I need to get through this week and then I’ll be able to regroup and move my goals back to the top of the priority list.

For now, they’re a very close second!

Happy Monday!

Bike Ride

Early morning bike ride for the win!

Last week I pulled my bike out of winter storage and got ready for a summer of riding. Tires aired up, brakes checked, odometer reset, new gel bike shorts at the ready…I’m on my way!

Well…sort of. My first ride of the season taught me one very valuable lesson. I am OUT! of! shape!! Like, major. You see, I can go ride the bike at the gym for 15 miles in an hour no problem. But hauling my own tush around town? Much harder! Isn’t it weird how two seemingly comparable activities are really so different?

This week I took a couple of really nice rides from my apartment downtown to a park across town, around the small lake there and back—about 10.5 miles roundtrip in about an hour. It is a great ride with a couple of little hills…easy for a fit rider but a little bit of a (welcome) challenge for me. At least for now…but now I know what I need to do to kick start my fitness for the summer…I’ll be riding my bike everywhere I can!


Weigh In, Week 101

Brace yourselves, people!

Starting weight: 283.0 pounds
Week 91 weight: 205.9 pounds
Today’s weight: 218.3 pounds
Gain this week of: 12.4 pounds
Total weight loss to date: 64.7 pounds

Whew! My first weigh in in 10 weeks…it was a real act of bravery to get on the scale this morning after such a long time away. I knew I was going to have a significant gain because I’ve been WAY off track. That being said, 12+ pounds is actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be! I know that sounds ridiculous, but I had teetered up to 221-222 a week or two ago. I was able to rein things in a little bit before I finally came crawling back to my blog and I’m happy to be sub-220 as I get back on the straight and narrow.

Yesterday I spent a big chunk of the day preparing food for the week. When I get off track, I do far more eating out than I do cooking at home so my fridge was pretty bare. I went grocery shopping and stocked up on lots of veggies and some chicken breasts, eggs and healthy carbs like quinoa and sweet potatoes. I washed a couple of heads of lettuce and got them all ready for big yummy salads. I washed and steamed several broccoli crowns, a few zucchini, carrots and mushrooms and put them all in Tupperware so I always have fast and easy vegetables for lunches and dinners this week. Finally, I rinsed grapes and berries for my breakfasts, grilled some chicken breasts on my handy-dandy George Foreman and hardboiled some fresh eggs from Farmer John. I am all set for a week of healthy eating to kickstart my weight loss again!

I’ve all but fallen off the gym wagon over the last 6 weeks or so. I’ve still been working out weekly with Trainer, and I’ve been taking morning walks once or twice a week with friends, but my early morning sweat sessions at the gym have been non-existent. However–I do have something new to report. Last week I pulled my bike out of winter storage and after airing up the tires, I went on my first bike ride of the summer. WHEW, am I out of shape! It’s amazing to me how different riding an actual bike on the street is from riding a stationary bike at the gym. I’m definitely planning on getting outside for rides regularly this summer and I’m looking forward to feeling the changes in my stamina and strength. Coupled with some gym time, my sessions with Trainer, and my walks, I should be able to get back on track with my exercise too.

Happy Monday!

She’s Back!

Holy break from blogging! It’s been over five weeks since I last blogged…in one sense, it feels like just a couple of days has gone by. At the same time, it feels like a hundred years ago since I last sat down and wrote something.

I think I just needed a break to work on some other projects, catch up on real-life things, and…okay. Real talk, here: I’ve had a super negative attitude lately, and I’ve just not been inspired to write AT ALL.

What have I been so negative about? I think I’ve just been burnt out in general! Too busy, a to-do list that only gets longer, time and energy totally zapped by work and no time leftover to work on things that I want to. Feeling overwhelmed and being underprepared leads me straight back into old habits…old BAD habits like eating junk and skipping workouts.

Every time I eat junk or skip a workout, I beat myself up about it.

Every time I beat myself up, I lick my wounds and then get some fro-yo to make myself feel better.

Sense the vicious cycle that’s been happening over here for the last five weeks? And then I can’t help but think, “If I’d only just stayed on track from the beginning, I could have been at my goal weight a year ago, instead of still fumbling around with 40ish pounds still to lose, two years later.” Ouch, right?

I already know that my negative attitude has reflected in my weigh ins, which I’ve been doing periodically over the last few weeks—just not blogging about them, of course. Even worse, every week that I’ve been seeing a slightly higher number on the scale has not jolted me back into action…it’s jolted me into a more negative attitude that just perpetuates my backslide. Finally, I had a “Come to Jesus” talk with myself, and came up with only one answer: Cut the crap, stop making excuses and just DO IT. And start blogging again. Obviously.

I’ve missed you guys and I hope that you’ll forgive my absence and come back and read along. Thank you those of you who sent messages letting me know what I’m missed and wondering if everything is okay—I appreciate them and YOU! I’ll be back tomorrow morning with a “get back on track” weigh in. (Womp womp womp.)

See you tomorrow!

Go-To Lunches

Good morning everyone!

I want to share a couple of my new favorite go-to lunches with you. I tend to get in a real lunchtime rut, especially when I’m eating healthfully…I’m not all that creative with my regular meals and sometimes I need to make an effort to change it up!

So, you can imagine my excitement when I recently created a super yummy wrap that is delicious and also totally filling! Here is what I did…

First, I bought a tub of Philadelphia whipped cream cheese. Buying the whipped is important because it’s light and fluffy and also lighter in calories than a regular block of cream cheese. It’s also easier to mix seasonings into because it’s light and fluffy…I mixed in half a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix to make a yummy ranch cream cheese.

I spread 2 tbsp of the ranch cream cheese onto a low-carb whole wheat tortilla.

For an extra punch of protein, I added 1 ounce of sliced smoked turkey. You could use chicken, or anything else you have on hand. Then I added lots of lettuce…about 3 handfuls! The more you can fit into your tortilla and still wrap it up, the better.

Then I added a couple of crisp pickle slices and some sliced black olives.

Wrap it up and you’re good to go!

I put a toothpick in the wrap to hold it together for the picture, but really I eat it like a big lettuce taco. The ranch cream cheese gives it a huge punch of flavor, which I love…and if you’re filling the tortilla with fresh veggies, you can totally splurge on ~150 calories or so of cream cheese!

You can also totally switch up what you fill the tortilla with…some thick slices of heirloom tomato and some avocado slices would be delicious! Use whatever you have on hand for a super filling and yummy wrap.

My other very favorite go-to lunch is a monster salad! This was my lunch yesterday…

About 5 handfuls of greens (a mix of lettuces and spinach)…some grilled chicken, a couple cups of strawberries, some pecan halves, a few blue cheese crumbles, a sprinkling of dried cranberries and a drizzle of raspberry vinaigrette dressing. I DIE. So delicious!

Salads don’t have to be boring, or calorie bombs! Sure, I added nuts AND blue cheese crumbles AND salad dressing to this salad…but the whole thing was still less than 500 calories, which is right on track for a healthy filling lunch. Plus, if you’re going to eat healthy, you have to enjoy it!

Is it lunch yet?


No Complaining…

…about things you’re not willing to change! That’s right!

I owe you guys an update on the healthy living front…and unfortunately I don’t have much to report. The last couple of weeks, healthy living has not been my focus. I had a great birthday, and a fun Easter holiday, but then I got really sick and so the last ten days or so I’ve just been in recovery mode. Luckily, the antibiotics kicked in and I am feeling better.

I haven’t been to the gym since before my birthday two weeks ago…major fail! My bff Alex and I have also been really slacking on our early morning walks. It’s been a combination of being really busy/tired, then sick, now back to really busy/tired…my brother is visiting for a few days from southern California. I’ve had a jam-packed couple of days catching up at work and then brother visiting/family stuff going on. I won’t make it to the gym today, but starting tomorrow I am definitely back on the stick! I know I have gained a few pounds back…maybe more than just a few…but I’m not weighing myself until the weekend. I’m going to give myself a few days of healthy eating and working out to shed a little bit of water retention and then I’ll see where I really stand. I have a fridge full of fruit and veggies ready to eat, so that is a good start!

How about you? Are you on track this week?

Tonsils As Big As the World

I am going to admit to this right up front: I am not a good sick person. I can handle a cold alright. I’m not happy about it, and I might get kind of whiny, but I’ll handle it. The flu? A whole other story. I literally get emotionally upset when I have the flu. I hate it that much. And tonsillitis? Well, let me tell you—right up there towards the top of things that make me totally miserable. I have been a very cranky girl all week long. Tired, and in pain, and CRAN-KY.

Err…what I meant to say was, “What’s not to love about tonsillitis? The sensation that you’re choking on your own throat? You can’t swallow and it hurts to talk, and it radiates to your ear and makes you feel like you have an ear infection too. It’s awesome.”


So I went to the doctor on Monday, hoping that it was strep throat so that they would give me some antibiotics and we could be done with it. No dice…my strep test was negative and I was sent home to wait it out. All week long, it’s been getting worse and not better.

Can’t quite picture what I’m getting at here? Well, let me give you a visual—and because I have already posted some unflattering pictures of my face this week, and no one needs me to point my camera down my throat a click a few photos for display on the internet…I decided to break out the art supplies and do a little illustrating for you guys! Get ready to be wowed.

What? Every girl should have a pack of Crayola markers. Obviously.

Okay. Here is an illustration of healthy, pink tonsils. That little dangly thing in the back of your throat? That’s called the uvula, in case you weren’t aware. And that’s a nice pink tongue sticking out at you, because I know you’re laughing at my drawing.

But I don’t care.

Now, here is a drawing of *my* tonsils. One tonsil, still nice and pink and normal. The other one? Not so much.

I actually don’t think that I drew it big enough. I do think that I got the angry factor across, however.

So now what? Well, I called the doctor again last night and told them that my illness is getting worse and not better. I was casually asking how much Advil I could really take safely in one day, and the doctor finally agreed to call in a little prescription help! Woohoo! One hour and one drive to the pharmacy later, and I am the proud owner of a bottle of antibiotics that will hopefully clear this mess up.

And none too soon…because given the pain situation and also the trouble swallowing, I had a chocolate milkshake for lunch yesterday. And THAT cannot keep happening. Please send your “feel better” vibes my way guys! It’s always mucho appreciated.

Happy Thursday!

Oil: Not Just For Cooking Anymore!

Alright ladies, listen up—I’m about to speak some truth.

Ready? Here it is.

We live in an oil-centric world.

There, I said it. Can we all just agree on this simple fact? I mean, this blog isn’t about gas prices or politics or billionaire oil tycoons or conflict in the middle east, so we don’t even need get into those things…but I think we can all agree that from our cars to our cooking,  we are totally digging the oil. (HA! No pun intended—slash—pun totally intended!) Agreed? Awesome.

NOW…One thing that I do NOT depend on oil for?

Washing my face.

Until now.

But first, here is some more real talk: I have problem skin. Always have, and I’m afraid I always will. I’m never without a “blemish”… and around that super-fun time of the month, it can get downright 13-year-old-girlish around here. I’ve tried different skincare lines, different scrubs, different spot treatments…I’ve gotten facials, I’ve upped my water intake, I wash my pillowcases often, I’ve switched my makeup, I’ve bought the Clarisonic…I’ve prayed, I’ve meditated, I’ve screamed, I’ve cried…well, you get the picture.

Acne is one of life’s totally-not-fun things. Here is what my skincare arsenal looked like last week.

But what if it looked like this……?

Crazy, yes?

I was listening to the Simple Mom podcast on Homefries last week, and in one of the episodes Tsh and her guest Megan from SortaCrunchy talked about how they both are WASHING THEIR FACES WITH OIL. This necessitates the all caps and bold type because, as you can imagine, I was like, “There is NO WAY that ANYONE washes their face with OIL. NO. WAY.”

My years of acne warfare has taught me that oil is the enemy. Your face is oily, the oil clogs your pores, you get huge zits. That is the way of the world. You must get rid of the oil with gritty cleansers and benzoyl peroxide and harsh astringents. And then you must soothe your dry, flaky, raw skin with lotion that has more benzoyl peroxide and nasty chemicals in it. And then pray whilst standing at the ready with your salicylic acid spot treatment, just in case it becomes necessary to burn your face off with acid. That is just the way it goes.

But…this washing your face with oil idea? I was intrigued. Very intrigued. My insatiable curiosity, combined with my total aversion to actually work when I’m at work, meant that I had to learn more. I read Megan’s post about washing her face with oil, and I googled more.

Turns out, it sorta makes sense…!!

Harsh cleansers strip your face of all of it’s natural oils—the ones that keep your skin moisturized and protected. When you strip those oils, your skin goes into oil production overdrive trying to replace them. Your skin gets greasy and your pores get clogged. You wash your face again. Your skin in freaking out. Vicious cycle ensues.

BUT. Basic chemistry tells us that “like dissolves like”. I drew doodles on my binder in chemistry class all those years ago and forgot this basic concept, but it sounds vaguely familiar. Anyway, the concept of “The Oil Cleansing Method”, or OCM, is that you use a combination of oils with cleansing and moisturizing properties to cleanse your skin. The oils dissolve the excess oil on your face and in your pores, wash away dirt and take off your makeup. Then you rinse your face with a steamy hot washcloth—i.e., plain old water—and you’re good to go.

Worth a try? I debated for several days. I read and re-read articles. Then I decided. WHY THE HECK NOT? My zillion-dollars-worth of Proactiv isn’t helping me much. Why not try something totally out of the box?

There is a long list of possible oil combinations—everything from avocado to sunflower to grapeseed oils. After some research and a trip to Whole Foods and my own pantry, here is what I ended up with:

1. Castor Oil: Your main cleansing oil. Cold expeller-pressed.

2. Sweet Almond Oil: Also expeller-pressed. A light and really moisturizing oil.

3. Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Another good moisturizing oil, and a little cheaper than the other two oils.

4. Tea Tree Essential Oil: Good for acne—add a drop or two each time you wash your face.

I found an empty travel-size plastic bottle in my bathroom cabinet and I made some hash marks on it for mixing my oils. I decided to go with a 1/3 castor, 1/3 almond, 1/3 olive oil mix.

The castor oil went in first. The almond went on top of that—it’s less dense than the castor oil and floated on top. The olive oil went in last—much richer in color and also dense like the castor oil. A good shake and a good labeling—and you’re set.

Now, you know that if I’m really going to try this crazy idea, I’m going to have to document it. Documenting it properly requires “before” pictures. Putting “before” pictures of your broken-out face with no makeup on the internet is vaguely terrifying. But, since I’m big on the real talk today, here you go:

Cropping the pictures made them look slightly less awkward. (And only very slightly less terrifying. Now I know why they put those big black bars over people’s faces in embarrassing pictures.) You can see that I really break out around the corners of my mouth, also I have this big blemish right on the edge of my lip and several large blemishes on my cheeks and my temples. Other than that, I just have a lot of uneven skin tone from past breakouts, large and plugged up pores, some dry flaky skin, and a lot of hope that the oil cleansing method will work it’s magic on my poor little face. I’ve read a lot of rave reviews, so I’m ready for it to completely revolutionize the way I care for my skin.

Clarisonic, stand down!

I might not need you for a while.

How about you? Have you ever heard of the Oil Cleansing Method? Ever tried it? I’d love to hear your experience…and stay tuned for updates on my oil cleansing method adventure!