Spasiba 2014!

In honor of #tbt I took a look back on 2014 and laughed and smiled at all the things I have done.  I have met new friends, strengthened others and completed some goals!  Here are just some of my main squeezes…

friends

2014 started out pretty amazing as I celebrated my 35th birthday with important friends and family.  For those of you who closed down the bar with us, the party didn’t stop there (Neptune ballet)…  Who knew I would meet a new friend there and would have many memories throughout the year (ahem, Bar A in AC, Irish car bombs, etc etc)

liz knipper friends

The Spring brought on awesome outings with new said friends as well as a great trips with my Mom.  The first was up to the city to visit my bro on St. Patrick’s Day.  My first time at the parade and at The Tonight Show.  If you have an opportunity to do these things – do it!  You won’t regret it!

st patricks day

We also traveled to Miami to visit my family.  I had an awesome visit with my cousin who gave me a tour of the upper Keys via boat bar hopping – the best method!

keys

Memorial Day Weekend was also a start to a big goal of mine; to complete the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix (running five specific races over the summer).  During this time I completed two 5-milers and three 5Ks.  My favorite was the Spring Lake 5.  The crowd was awesome and the weather was perfect.

spring lake 5 finish line

As the summer came to a close my family and I were off to the beautiful state of Colorado to celebrate my cousin’s wedding at 11k+ feet on Keystone Mountain.  It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen and to celebrate two people who make each other very happy was the icing on the cake.  The Rocky Mountains were crazy cool – GO!

pat staceyrocky mountains 2014
The cold weather started to close in which meant it was time to get out of Jersey.  My travel buddy and I took an amazing trip to Punta Cana where we had the time of our lives.  We met great new friends from Latvia, Newark and Pittsburgh!  I wonder what we’ll do next year!

saona island 1pc 1

 

Lastly, and most importantly, we celebrated my Grandmother’s 94th birthday.  How lucky are we that my Grandmother is not only still with us to celebrate the holidays but she’s sharp, funny and is still able to live on her own.  We had a great day with all the grandkids to celebrate how much we love her!  Nine grandkids and four greats – amazing!

gma 94

 

Looking back on all of these amazing memories makes me wonder if 2015 will top it.  Who knows what goals I will create but as long as I have these good people around me I say YES!  Wishing you all the best in 2015 – hope to see you out there! Nostrovia!

Another Year Without You Here

    spring lake park

Another year has passed without Sean.  19 years ago today, the age he was when he passed.  It seems like a long time ago but time has passed too quickly.  Some days I think of him a lot and others I feel guilt for not thinking of him more.  Wishing he were here to celebrate the good times, the holidays and to help me get through those tough moments.  In the last year he has missed birthdays, getting to meet my brother’s girlfriend, an amazing family trip to our cousin’s wedding in Colorado, Connor’s first birthday, grandma’s 94th surprise brunch and countless other family events.

To be honest, this is the most difficult blog of the year.  Usually it takes me maybe 30 minutes to write a blog but with this I started it last Thursday, revisited it Sunday and finally finished today.  In the last few years I have found great comfort and a sense of purpose by working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Participating in their local walks to raise awareness and support has proven to me that I’m not alone.

Keeping in touch with Sean’s friends is also cathartic.  The messages I receive with their memories of him make me laugh because he was funny and make me cry because I miss him.  If I can help raise money to bring awareness and support so no one else has to experience this makes me happy.  Please consider donating to this great organization by clicking here.

beach kevin

christmas familybradley beach

christmas gma mary

 

Conjoined Twins: Insert Foot in Mouth Syndrome

There have been countless moments in my life where I had the “insert foot in mouth” moments and today’s was probably the best of the best!

I was telling a co-worker about Marnie the Dog seen below.  If you aren’t familiar, she is a shih-tzu that has a muscle problem in her neck which results in a cocked neck and tongue hanging 24/7.  Instagram her: @marniethedog

marnie the dog

 

And the conversation continues:

Co-worker:  There was a girl I played basketball with who had that problem.  Her neck was always cocked to the side.

Me:  Maybe she was a conjoined twin.  Did she have a nubbin on her other shoulder where a head used to be (ie American Horror Story)

Co-worker:  No but my mom was a conjoined twin.  Her sister passed away during the surgery to separate them as babies.

Luckily my co-worker didn’t take any offense to it however, conjoined twins are super rare and what are the chances of me making a joke!!!!!!!!  What are you most memorable foot in mouth moments?

#tbt: Chalupas and Chicken & Waffles

liz tbt

Another #tbt is upon us and what better way to celebrate than show updates on my progress.  The pic of the left was taken about a year and a half ago getting friendly with a Japanese status at a sushi restaurant and to the right is this morning.

Even though the physicial change is awesome the most important thing to me is how I feel.  When I started my little journey I was so tired of feeling crappy and the contstant guilt in my head about what I ate or saying that I’ll change tomorrow just wasn’t working.  I finally did something about it and I couldn’t be happier.

I have learned so much about food and what is good for me to get through my day and what isn’t.  By no means am I perfect because I’ve recently eaten a Chalupa and enjoyed my first chicken & waffles (and yes I was totally sober), but moderation is key as is movement!

No matter what you do just keep moving.  I’ve tried so many cool things in the last 18 months to find out what works for me and that’s part of discovering who you are.  I’ve tried boot camp, TRX, spin, yoga, swimming, paddle boarding and running.  They were all awesome but what will keep you interest to keep going?  That’s what will work for you.

If you’re looking for a gym buddy or someone to bounce something off of, let me know because I’m happy to help!  And, thanks for being part of my journey!

Do Unto Others…

ferris

A few weeks ago I lost a beloved member of our family, my uncle Jack.  He was a strong, funny and loving guy who always made me feel special.  His laugh was contagious and he seemed to touch everyone’s life in a positive way.  Every time I saw him he told me I was beautiful.  Since I always felt less than that, those words really boosted my confidence in a profound way.

My uncle was a cop in Newark for 30+ years ending this career as Lieutenant and experienced the race riots of the 60’s alongside my grandfather who was Chief at the time.  Luckily for me I come from a long line of strong, courageous and good people!  During the services my uncle son, Kevin, spoke about his courage.  Not only did he have incredible courage on the streets of Newark but he faced tremendous adversity at home; two of his sons had gone through major medical challenges and he lost his wife four years ago.

When I lose a loved one it forces me to think about life.  What have I done on this Earth to make my mark?  What will people remember me for?  Perhaps I’m a freak who thinks too much and cares too much about what people think but what do we learn from people who have gone before us?

I may not be a famous actress or a Nobel Prize winner but in my own corner of the world I hope to have left these things behind:

  • To inspire people to feel good about themselves.  Through my blog or even just through conversation I want people to know they aren’t alone because we all struggle with body image, confidence, relationships, family, money, work, friends etc.
  • Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Just like my uncle told me that I’m beautiful, what can you say to your loved ones to make them feel good?
  • Happiness.  No matter what makes you happy in life, go for it.  Do what makes you happy because in the words of Ferris, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around every once in a while you could miss it”.  What are we doing here if we aren’t happy?

Maybe I sound like a peace loving hippie but let the love shine in bitches!  Namaste.

How Do I Begin Again?

competition

I am so excited about this year’s Biggest Loser because it features former athletes who had given up on their healthy regiments and fighting back to get in shape again.  I recently find myself in the same position.  I had started a weight loss journey and have admittedly gotten off track.

I am not back where I started but I had worked so hard that I needed a reminder that it doesn’t just stop and I have to keep going!  I ask myself, what is holding you back from moving forward?  It’s mostly fear!  It’s funny because I have written about fear being a wall blocking us from what we want and here I am, in fear.

I have a big fear of failing.  What if I fail at getting back on track?  What if I start up boot camp again and everyone I had worked out with is so far ahead of me now?  I am a naturally competitive person but need to remind myself that my only competition is me!

So, here I am reminding myself and you not to be afraid and the only person who can make a change is you.  Who wants to get back on track with me?  I’ll be your workout buddy near or far.  Let’s do this!

I Did It!

In the beginning of the summer I set a goal for myself of completing the Jersey Shore Golden Grand Prix.  It was a fairly lofty goal since I had never done any five mile races and had to complete two!  The races to complete were the Spring Lake 5, George Sheehan Classic, Belmar 5, Asbury Park 5K and the Pier House 5K and I did it!

I had moments that I shed a tear because it was so hot and didn’t think I could do it but I am most thankful for my mom being there at each one.  Having the support of a loved one is so important and I couldn’t have done it without her.

Thanks Mom!!

mom liz