Ommmmm (Nom Nom)

To all those who think that my job pretty much just means I eat all the time (and, to be fair, I do eat a LOT for this job), I want to set the record straight. Not errrrvery single event that I throw as the Yelp Northern Virginia Community Manager is totally food-centric. I mean, sure, a lot are (and I love ’em!) but yesterday I actually got to do my job AND get some fitness in at the same time, thanks to the yoga-tastic event that went down!

Yelp’s Mind + Body Bender took place at Mind Your Body Oasis in Crystal City, a wellness center and yoga studio that gave Yelp Elites the chance to try out many different kinds of massage therapies (Thai! Mysokeletal! Full-body! Chair! Reiki!) as well as participating in yoga and bellydancing classes!



It was a full event with lots to see and do, and I even got a chance to be thrown around by MYBO’s Thai massage specialist for a few minutes. I’ll, a-hem, go ahead and let those photos speak for themselves…





LOLOLOLOLOLOL.

Being of the no pain, no gain persuasion when it comes to massage, I actually loved it, and it was over far too quickly for me! I guess I’ll just have to go back and get pretzel-fied again. 🙂

In other news, you should be happy to hear that I totally cheated on my weigh-in once a week rule and checked myself out on the scale yesterday. I can happily report that I am blessedly — amazingly! — back to my pre-San Francisco weigh-in weight. So those 2.5 gained libbies are officially gone! I’ll wait until Friday to officially report in, but I just wanted you all to know that I am most definitely working it!

You’re Invited to: Yelp’s Passport to Mosaic!

Local friends, get excited.

Non-local friends, you can totally get excited too, if you want, but this will be decidedly less applicable to your lives unless you’re planning on visiting the DC area between 3/30 and 4/5.

And why’s that?

Well, I’ve got some VERY AWESOME AND FUN THINGS happening in just a little while, and, best of all, they’re open to ERRRRRVERYONE!

Introducing: Yelp’s Passport to Mosaic!

Yelp's Passport to Mosaic

I’ve put together a FULL WEEK of awesome events, special deals, and general good times at Mosaic District, the hottest new area in Northern VA! Kicking off on Sunday, 3/30 with an Elite-only CLASSIC MOVIE-themed event, and moving on through the week with things like tasting dinners, shopping parties, craft nights, and wine tastings, this promotion is sure to kill me dead be one heckuva good time!

I don’t know if I’ve referenced Mosaic District enough times on the blog for you guys to immediately know what I’m talking about, but it’s, like, totally awesome.

mosaicdistrict

It’s essentially a town center/shopping district full of hot new restaurants (Matchbox’s first VA location, Red Apron Butcher, awesome local standards like Cava Mezze Grille and sweetgreen, etc!) and fantastic boutique-style shopping (Anthro, Lou Lou, Langford Market, South Moon Under, etc.) PLUS they have a baller movie theatre (the Angelika, which is like a movie theatre FOR GROWN UPS), they do lots of events, have a giant screen on the outside of the movie theatre (they call her “Lucy”), an enormous outdoor chess set, a public piano that they bring outside on nice days… oh man, the list goes on!

It’s also got pretty much the nicest Target on this side of the beltway, and new things are CONSTANTLY opening since it’s all still so new and shiny. As you can tell, I’m a huge, huge fan of this area — and I have been since it opened! So putting this promo together was a natural step for yours truly, and I can’t believe it’s actually finally here!

AAAANYWAY, the exciting news here is that all the events happening are open to ANYBODY with a Yelp account, and they’re FREE. (PS: It’s free to sign up for a Yelp account too, so it’s REALLYREALLY free.)

There are currently 8 events happening, with the potential for more, so head on over and RSVP now if you’d like to get a taste of what this whole Yelp thing Gretchen’s always talking about is like.

And then say a quick prayer for me because these next couple of weeks might very well kill me! Wheeeeeee!!

YBL 2014 Final Weigh-In

Well, my complete and total lack of posting this week is indicative of the fact that I very nearly went totally insane from how busy I’ve been. I leave for San Francisco on Sunday for CM Week — the annual Community Manager summit over at Yelp HQ. And while I couldn’t be more excited to get to spend an entire week with some of my Yelpy cohorts who I thus far have only known online (and most of you should know how much I love turning online friends into real life friends by now!) getting things tied up in a semi-respectable bow before I leave has been a little bit stressful.

However, not so stressful that I was unable to remember to tally up for my final Yelp’s Biggest Loser weigh-in! That particular challenge ends today (though obviously I still have many personal challenges and goals still to come!), so let’s get on that, shall we?

(Re)Starting Weight: 236.6 lbs
Last Weigh-in: 226.2
This Weigh-in: 225.1 lbs
Difference: -1.1 lbs

Heyyyyy, I’ll take it! I’m the first one to admit that my eats this week were NOT exactly on point (there may have been an evening spent at Red Lobster somewhere in there…) so I’m actually kind of shocked I was able to lose anything at all. I consider that a definite win.

So this brings my YBL Challenge totals to 11.5 pounds lost and a 4.9% change. Which almost definitely means I didn’t win any kind of prize as the grand poobah of weight loss (we have a guy who’s lost like 9%!) but I still consider it a valient effort that I’m certainly proud of. After all, hey! I’m 11.4 pounds lighter than I was when I started.

And now? Well, you know! Onward and downward and all that good stuff… after a probable bit of relapse given that I’m headed to San Francisco, the land of the Sushiritto.

Aerial Yoga

Alas, I fear I must now face the stark reality that I will never, ever be a Cirque du Soleil-style aerialist.

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My coworker Kimberly and I went on a fitness adventure by trying out Aerial Yoga at Spark Yoga in Arlington.

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As you can see, aerial yoga is yoga that utilizes aerial silks in all of the moves. The description on the website reads:

Ready to fly? Decompress your spine and your mind by practicing yoga from a hammock suspended above the ground. Classes may include inversions, upper body exercises, and adventurous tricks using aerial hammocks.

Now, I’m no yoga pro, but I’ve been to enough classes and done enough at-home DVDs to know my way around a sun salutation or two, and my understanding was that this “beginner’s” level aerial yoga class would actually make things a little easier because the silk helps to support your weight and whatnot.

Plus, hello! It just looked fun!

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Weeeeell, as it turns out, my assumptions were both true and not true. But mostly not true. Sure, certain stretches were made simpler (and deeper!) by utilizing the silk. It was cool to do things like put your foot into the fabric while sitting on the ground (so it was kind of like up in a sling) and stretch, or putting the silk under your arms and falling leaning forward into a cobra pose. Plus, doing child’s pose while sitting in the “bucket” felt pretty fab.

But all the other stuff we were expected to do? Nottttt so much. As it turns out, putting a strip of fabric underneath your pelvic bone and downward-dogging on top of it actually kind of hurts. Not to mention the part where the instructor told us to then lift our legs off of the ground, so ALL OF OUR BODY WEIGHT was being balanced on our pelvic bone. And since I obviously have quite a bit of weight on me still, I couldn’t really do that (it REALLY hurt!), so then I started feeling pretty bad about myself when I saw all the other girls in the class suspended over the ground with ease.

I think the biggest problem with the class as a whole was that the instructor is so advanced in her aerial abilities (she was — is? — a professional aerialist and pole dancer) that I don’t think she considered giving out any modification suggestions. I mean, even when I did CrossFit and P90X and all that ridiculousness, there were always modifications for folks who weren’t as strong or as fit, and I didn’t get any of that at aerial yoga. And, hey, maybe it’s just that there aren’t really modifications possible with aerial yoga, but if that’s the case they should probably advertise that the class is for those who are already a little more advanced in yoga to begin with, right? I mean, throughout a large percentage of the class, I just kind of sat/dangled there not really knowing what to do (and feeling worse and worse about myself) while all the other girls got their Cirque du Soleil on. Womp womp.

Thankfully, the last 10 minutes of the class were somewhat redeeming. You end with savasana, but you do it inside the silk, so it’s basically like lying in a hammock/being wrapped up in a little cocoon. The instructor comes by and swings you gently back and forth, and you get to just lay there. Unfortunately, while I think the goal of savasana is to clear your mind and get into a good mental space, all I could do was fixate on how crappily I performed throughout the entire class. It was still nice and comfy though.

Anyway, as you can tell, aerial yoga really didn’t end up being for me, but I think a seasoned yogi or just folks who are lighter and more flexible might have a more enjoyable experience. And I guess for now, I’ll just stick to regular on-the-mat yoga whenever I need a fix. Blessedly, while I was whining to Kimberly after the class, she reassured me that she faced a lot of similar problems, so it does help to know that I wasn’t alone in my misery, haha.

Have you ever tried aerial yoga?

Yelp’s Biggest Loser & New Beginnings

Wellps, Happy 2014, friendos!

I hope that your new years are starting off with a bang. Mine has already gotten off to a pretty stellar start, with a few minor (read: not really minor) exceptions. I’ll spare you the photo details for 2014’s first traumatic event, but it entailed my little pup Daxter getting into a dog fight with a much, much bigger dog and having to go to the emergency vet (for, yes, the 5th time in his not-even-4-year-old life). Thankfully, he’s okay, but since those of you who have been around for a while now know how much I looooove my dogs, you can imagine that it was not really a fun time for anybody involved.

The second big happening of the new year is a totally different kind of traumatic, but it does come with photos, so there’s that. See, you wise readers probably haven’t been ignorant of the fact that I’ve basically been ignoring the topic of my weight for the past, oh, I don’t know, year. Which, granted, is pretty sucky of me because this blog is LITERALLY about weight loss. (Okay, sure, it’s also about food and life and dogs and photos and stuff, but the title of the blog has the word “shrunk” in it, so let’s just face facts.)

I’ve been skirting the issue for the better part of a year, so I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you that I have re-gained a lot of the weight I had formerly lost. Almost all of it, in fact. And, honestly, finally admitting that out loud makes me want to crawl into a hole forever and ever and ever. I mean, sure, chalk it up to the new job, or being in a happy relationship, or just the fact that, despite all I’ve done to try and change my mindset, I still just love food too damn much — whatever the reasons, here I am again. And, whether it was because I was in denial, or I was too busy, or I just plain didn’t care, I haven’t done a thing about it. Until now.

happy relationship gut

I used to say that there was no “Aha!” moment that motivated me for my weight loss the first time around. There was no snide comment, no bad photo, nothing specific that finally pushed me into being able to turn my super unhealthy life around, things just finally got to be too much. Well, that’s not really how it happened this time. No, this time, it was more like the entire universe was screaming at me to get going again… while I was sticking my fingers in my ears and going “Lalalalalalalala,” hoping that it would all just go away.

But you can’t fight the universe, bro.

And so when my wonderful Yelp coworker Kimberly informed me that she would be participating in the 2014 Yelp’s Biggest Loser challenge, AND I got asked to participate in an upcoming Cupid 5K run, AND after leafing through all the photos of myself from recent Yelp events, I couldn’t find a single one that didn’t make me want to cry, I finally pulled my fingers out of my ears and my head out of my ass.

hohohorrible before photo

(Sidenote: I don’t really consider it a benefit of the job that I am professionally photographed at least once a month — NOBODY is attractive when they are caught mid-sentence whilst giving a speech. I just want to put that out there.)

Bottom line: Yes, I regained a lot of weight. Yes, it blows. But it’s a brand new year, right? And with the Biggest Loser challenge, the upcoming 5K, my new gym membership (thanks mom & dad!), and the support that I know I can count on from you on… I mean, hey, if I can do it once…

then and then

So, in the end, this long, wordy, loooong overdue post is basically here to say:

I hope you’ll stick around for the ride. Again.