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.


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


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!


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.

My First Yelp Event!

Hey pals & gals!

Wondering what I’ve been up to all these long days that I haven’t been blogging? Well, you’re about to find out! I had my very first Yelp Elite Event last week, and it went smashingly enough for me to want to brag about it! I actually started writing this post the day after my event, cause I was so excited to share it, but the week got away from me with other things (like making sure I’ve got all my ducks in a row before Sean and I leave for IRELAND ON FRIDAY! EEEEEEE!!)

So as I mentioned in my big job announcement post, part of my new position as the Northern Virginia Community Manager for Yelp is planning events for my awesome Elite Squad. This means partnering with awesome local businesses to showcase some of what they have to offer in a fun, unique, hopefully themed (YAY!) event every 4 – 6 weeks. I planned my first event with the amazing Carlyle Club in Alexandria, and I honestly don’t think it could have gone better. Welcome to Yelp’s Roaring into the Twenties!

It was a Jazz Age affair that I think even Gatsby himself would have been proud of. The Carlyle Club served us a smorgasbord of appetizers, as well as an awesome pasta bar (which, sadly, I only got to sample from off of Sean’s plate, but the tortellini was awesome!) and hooked us up with some nice drink specials, too. I actually had first learned of the Carlyle Club from a Style Me Pretty blog post (are you really that surprised I follow a wedding blog?) and it really is as spectacular as it seemed in the wedding photos. It’s got this art deco, old-school vintage nightclub/lounge kinda feel, with black booths and a really cool bar that lets you watch the stage.

Of course, speaking of the stage, the real highlight of the event was Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palmettos, a period jazz ensemble that I got for the event. Best. Decision. EVER. Doc Scantlin is a real big band ringleader straight outta the 20s/30s, and his wife Chou Chou is like Betty Boop reincarnate. She was so much fun, interacting with the crowd, and even pulled some of the guys onto the stage to help her with a number!

A few people even ended up cutting a rug during the event, which was awesome to see.

Yep, my parents included, hehe. I was very proud of them for showing up in their 20s-inspired gladrags, hehe.

Truth be told, I was amazed and SO happy that a LOT of the attendees came in costume! It made everything that much more fun — I knew all that practice I put into forcing people to dress up for my themed birthday parties would pay off! 😉

Actually, it was a bit of a family event (aren’t they always with me? Haha) since as you can probably tell from the watermark, my brother Ben was there doing his thing as amazing photog too! He and Taylor set up a photobooth that people had a good ol’ time in, and where those that didn’t dress up got a chance to don their feathers and pearls, hehe.

So yes! The event was a success — so far I’ve got 25 reviews for the event on Yelp (yep, I get JUDGED on our event skills as part of my job, oyyyy!) with a solid 5-star average, which is awesome! Since it was my very first event out of the gate, I definitely learned a lot about what to focus on, change, and manage better for next time, too. I’m really fortunate to have the support of my fellow Community Managers in DC and the Maryland ‘Burbs, too. It’s really nice having two CMs so close by (usually it’s a lot more spread out), so we can all help out during each other’s events, bounce ideas off each other, and the like.

Together, we form the Yelp DMV Triforce of Courage! It’s a good thing. 🙂

And, of course, Sean was also faithfully there, helping me throughout the entire thing. He deserves an Unpaid Intern of the Year award for all the help he (somewhat begrudgingly) gives me with this new job, hahaha.


So! I deem Yelp’s Roaring into the Twenties a success, and can’t wait for my next one! Of course, before the next event comes, I’m off to Ireland for an epic vacation, and then off to Oregon a week after I come back for an epic family reunion. SO GOES THE SUMMER OF EPICNESS! Here’s hoping I can crank out about 20 chapters of my book on the plane rides, since I’m not sure when I’ll have time to write otherwise! Gulp.