Sunday, June 17, 2018

Week(s)-In-Review - June 17, 2018

Hi everyone,

Time, it's all relative, right? I mean, I can stretch it and fill my plate up with more than I can handle, tackling one challenge after problem! 
Take this blog, for instance, didn't I say there would be weekly updates? What was I thinking? In any event, here I am with some highlights from the last...SEVEN...weeks!

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I am going to start where I left off.  The cat!

It was an interesting journey to find just the right one for our family. Vesper truly was irreplaceable and we never thought we could get a cat as gentle, loving and dog patient as her. Turns out Scott was having the hardest time deciding whether he would want another cat based on this slim chance a new cat could be just as wonderful as Vesper was.

I cannot name all the shelters I went to, not to mention pet stores and other online adoption sites. Once Scott said "yes", I pretty much made it my business to find just the right cat for us. We had a few bumps along the way, some false advertising where a supposedly friendly kitty turned out to be the reincarnation of Damien (from the Omen), and a lot of scratches later, we were ready to call it quits until Ms. Pat (Ms. Pat's Cats) gave me a buzz regarding a Tabby named George. We were to meet at the adoption event in West Orange, NJ.

Sure enough, I arrived only to find George was a Garfield on steroids. I was on my way out the door when I spotted a grey tuxedo staring at me, and I mean, she was staring at ME, through the crowd. What the heck, I said, it must be what I am wearing! Well, Ms. Pat did not have much information about this one other than she went by the name of Cuddles and her owners moved to Florida, leaving her behind. So right here and there, my heart broke into a thousands tiny pieces because, really, what kind of **&( &^%$ moves and leaves their pet behind. Sure enough, I checked her out and the rest is history.

I let Scott name her Fiona, after the James Bond villain Fiona Volpe. I was going for Solitaire but since I have been naming all the pets we have had over the years, I owed it to him.
Here is Fiona:

William had wanted another cat for so long! He is the designated feeder.

And I found me a quilting companion!

Would you look at those eyes!

A few fun facts about her:

She does not care for the dogs and will only come on the first floor if they are crated. She is not very brave in that sense, can't say I blame her, Elektra and Le Chiffre are like two bulls in a china store. It's a miracle I do not have more breakage in the home.
She has this thing where she will wait for Scott and I to go to bed, at which point she will spend about 10 minutes staring at the staircase to the bedroom, guarding the way until she is certain no one else is coming. She then climbs onto the bed, gets on top of Scott and kneads there for a while then comes over my way and lays down on top of me to sleep until I just can't take her weight anymore. I can't say she is heavy but after 30 minutes she might as well weigh a ton. 

She has escaped a few times, bolting through the front door, but each time was easily carried back inside. We are just not comfortable with letting her out, just yet. The last time she did, William went into a full blown panic! Poor kid. 

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That same weekend, we went to Kean University for Edward's yearly Music Gala. His Concert Band made it to #1 in Northern NJ. It's a nice campus.

Serenity Memorial Garden at Kean University

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And there was a fantastic Quilt Show in Edison, NJ too. I have learned a lot from just looking at all the wonderful quilts on display. I just wish they had more demonstrations but then again I could have signed up for a class. I must admit I am still too needle shy for that. I look at my work and think I am not good enough, improving, but not good enough.

Here is a video of the show if you are interested:

Speaking of quilting, do I have a story for you!
So, I am following the Quilt Along With Pat Sloan - In the Summer Time quilt along. (20 weeks, 20 blocks). I had a lot of fat quarters I had purchased on sale at a local machine repair shop. Sure enough, I ended up with not enough of the background fabric. 
I went on to every quilt page one can find on facebook, the manufacturer and the internet...nothing. So weeks went on (3 to be exact) and I only had one lead, a store in Australia which never responded to my repeated emails. 
There I was, convinced I would not be able to finish my sister's quilt when one Nadine T. from Michigan contacted me and let me know she would send me a yard! 
Faith in humanity restored!
The quilting community is quite something else, you know, (well aside from the fabric snobs). I have met such wonderful, compassionate and supportive people since resuming this hobby. No regrets. Time consuming, expensive, back breaking, sure. But the reward, the pride and the folks you meet and converse with, wow, just priceless.

Here are my progress thus far on my sister's quilt. 3 more blocks to go.

We are all making the same quilt and Pat Sloan issues a new block every Wednesday (I am 2 blocks behind). The goal is to learn new techniques and sharpen our skills.
If you head over to Pat Sloan's facebook page, you will get to see other examples of the same quilt design. Everyone chooses their own colors.

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I try to find the time to quilt but let's be honest here, the days are just not long enough. Granted all my Saturdays are blocked with school (one more to go and I am free again) but still, so much time is spent being pulled away into a new direction, day after day, after day.
I give you a for instance. 
We were pretty much settling back into a routine after my in-laws visited when Boom! The HHR crapped out on us and I had to buy a new car. 

Then before you know it, we had to get new dryer and washer and bust out the staircase (you all heard about that story).

Add some gardening in between and I feel like the two of us have been on a treadmill for the past 4 weeks. 
But here is something you don't know: Scott is no longer working in NYC. He is now working remotely, from home!
You know what that means? I have been permanently booted out of the office as he now has 5 computer screens running on the entire length of the counter! And best of all, he took one of their office chairs back home and his ugly chair is GONE!

Yep, that used to be my space!

With Scott working from home, I now enjoy a bit of a break in the evening. I am no longer rushing back to the house to get one kid to band, another to karate while making dinner and editing a video all at the same time, I officially have a backup!

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In other news:

👩🏻‍🔧 I finally bought a new pair of sneakers! I picked the Asics Gel-Excite in Indigo. Comfy, light, great color and well, purple soles. Great pair of sneakers, you will probably watch me wear them to death for the next two years.

👩🏻‍🔧 I sold the two windows that were in the garage for $75 (both). The lady who bought them said she was going to make headboards with them! I am just glad I was able to make a few bucks, after all, I have had those parked in the garage since October 2014!

👩🏻‍🔧 Mom 's putting me on a long distance diet. If you have ever heard of it, it basically consists of your being lectured about your weight via weekly telephone calls. Coach mom has already sent a series of books from this French diet guru named Jean Michel Cohen. Here is his book in English , if you are interested in  living sugar free (or almost) for the rest of your soon to be miserable life! 

You can click on the amazon link (below) as I am shamefully including it in this blog. It's not just because it is an affiliate link, let's be real, I really don't want to be suffering alone!     


So, when am I starting this "revolutionary" diet (using coach mom's language here)? Well, I have to read the book, don't I? Am I going to do a video series on this? Probably not. Why not? Because I have failed every attempt at losing weight in the past 5 years on YouTube, so why documenting that, again! LOL! 
Plus, If I lose weight, you'll see it anyway. If I don't, business as usual!

Ok, let's put the sarcasm to rest here for a minute and engage in some armchair psychology, shall we?

This is the part where Sophia opens up about her weight, so pay attention because it does not happen often.

Fact: I am miserable.
Fact: I don't recognize myself.
Fact: I am scared to go on a diet because I have failed every single one of them for the past 33 years of my life. ( I was told by my dance teacher I would be kicked out of the solos if I was not losing the weight, I was 15, I was the best he had, I could do 4 pirouettes on pointes and not bat an eye, he broke my heart, I ate more). 
Fact: I am not the wife Scott married and that really, really, really hurts. (How do you like the spilling of the beans so far?)
Fact: I just went to kohls and bought a pair of jeans size 14 and I am freaking out. I was in tears on the way back home. So what did I do? I stopped by Dunkin Donuts and ate a croissant. I felt better. True story.

I am like everybody else, I struggle with the same struggles, I go through life buying time and procrastinating the most important aspects of my life and I justify it by being busy. And busy I am, that's no lie. I get up at 6am and don't retire until 1130PM. The entire day I am on the move being occupied with one thing or another. I am not making excuses, it's the facts of life. This weekend, I went to school all day Saturday, came home, cleaned and went shopping at Khohl's. Next thing you know it's movie night at BBF's house (it was Edward's turn, we watched John Wick 2, I fell asleep). Today (Sunday) I had plans to make at least three videos (how grandiose), turned out Scott and I went to Home Depot and returned home only to busy around the yard. Weed hacked this, sprayed that, pulled this, moved that. 
On a side note, for those of you who were worried about Termites. We were serviced this week, so no bug will survive here.
Anyway, next thing you know, it's Father's Day, so we went to the Anthiopian Orthodox festival for a dose of cultural competency. That was fun!

Scott picked the Falafel Platter

Folklore Dancers, at some point they threw money on the ground, no idea what that meant, but William thought that was awesome!

Edward had a Cheesesteak Sandwich

St. George, Orthodox Church in Little Falls, NJ

William, plain burger.

I had the Gyro platter

Happy Father's Day, Scott!

So anyway, back to the weight issue. 

I truly believe that most of us can lose the weight if we really want to. Aside from the few with medical conditions, it really is a matter of will and might. Or as good old Winston Churchill used to say, blood, sweat, tears and toil. 
The problem is really not the losing part of it, it's the maintaining afterwards. Having given a shot at every diet in the universe, I can attest to this one bit of a fact, none of them teach you how to or truly transform your way of life for the long run. They claim they do but they really don't. 
They are all fantastic motivators, they use the results as the leitmotiv to continue. But once you reach your goal, you're pretty much on your own. 
Most will have a maintenance plan, but I bet you my left arm that over 80 percent of folks don't stick to it, if they even read it. The maintenance plan is the afterthought. 
Because what we want is the results. We are not worried about what's going to happen 15 years from now, we want the weight loss NOW, we can figure out the rest when we get there. 
And that's how diets fail. You starve, you eat the unthinkable (cue to Quinoa and tofu), but it's for the greater good, that little pride you get the following day when you step on that scale and the number went down. Go Tofu! Go!
And then you reach your goal weight. In that moment, that number is a bigger satisfaction than the Apgar score of your first born (both the boys were 9.9 by the way). The flow of compliments pours in and overnight you become an expert on all matters of tofu and quinoa. 

Two weeks, three weeks go by and the pounds return. They creep back on you like the dust bunnies under the bedroom dresser. At first you don't see them and one day, you're back to square one with the shame and the guilt and the hiding under loose clothing because muffin top is back with a vengeance and you feel like a bum, again.

Let's be honest here, we revert to the only coping skill that never failed us, the Dunkin Donuts croissant. It's not even a good croissant, half the time it's stale and disappointing like the latest M. Night Shyamalan movie. It's all we know though. Food is like heroin, it does what it's supposed to do. It's short lived, but it rarely disappoints, you know exactly what to expect. Instant gratification, comfort, safety, whatever, to each his or her own. But it truly is an addiction and I know a thing or two about that. 
So here I am being audited by the State of New Jersey and providing the finest example of Motivational Interviewing and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in the field. The lady says she wants to return to counseling after watching me in the field. How nice! Victory...Croissant. 
Bill comes in the mail, forgot about that stupid medical bill, darn it, how did I forget that one?...Croissant. Edward and I have an argument over the true validity of this stupid National Society of Scholars thing he got in the mail....Croissant, well actually that was bread and Nutella. 
What I am supposed to do? Break his heart and tell him it's nothing like the National Honor Society?

So there I am, keeping my mouth shut by stuffing it with the good old and ever rewarding carbs and sugar combo! Because it works, it lifts your mood in an instant. It's like the mommy kiss on a minor boo boo, all the hurt goes away, just like that!

You get the idea, sometimes food is all I have. And I get it, Coach mom! It's got to change.

So I did not film anything this weekend, I am going to bed early tonight and I am going to crack open that book mom sent me and hope for the best!

Until next time!

Thank you all for your continued support of my YouTube channel, I have reached 41k subscribers this week. No regret!


  1. I just want to say you are so inspiring. I appreciate your honesty that you are a real woman who I can relate to with real challenges and struggles. You are not alone. Don't be too hard on yourself. We are here with you cheering you on. I myself am working on portion control and cutting back on sugar. I am also working on being the best wife I can be to my husband. These past couple years have been a doosey for many and Im trying to remind myself to focus on one day at a time. You slay any challenge that comes your way and I know you will overcome this one too.

  2. Hello Fiona! You're a beautiful kitty, and I hope you love your new home. Your mother, though I'm sure she means well, needs to lay off of you and worry about her own weight. She should state her concerns one time then buzz off. You're going 100 mph 7 days a week. Living on salads when you have so little time to cook is no life at all. Now, if she's that worried about your weight she should move next door and cook for you every day. Now THAT would be good help. Badgering never fixed anything. Just my 2 cents.

  3. I just love the real person that you are, what you are "Us" all of us. Remember you are a wonderful parent, a great partner and friend to many. That all comes through so brilliantly. I have been following you for a couple of years and you have been a great motivator for me (and so many)...give yourself a big break and a lot of love you are human and that is wonderful. p.s. I am on the same diet-go-round and it is a continual struggle. That's Life I guess. Love Fiona. Love seeing your wonderful family pics. Carry on, Sophia. Life is good.

  4. Thanks for sharing, you are truly an inspiration for me and many others. I wish you well with this new book, but don't stress too much. I'd love to be a 14, but that's me. Good luck Sophia, keep on keeping on. Love to you and the family. I love your videos and get excited when you post.

  5. Sophia, I know your struggle with weight and emotional eating. I also don't recognize myself and have guilt over the fact that I'm not now who my husband married. My story has lots of baggage. I pray that you find the encouragement you need! If you don't yet find something that works for you, I strongly recommend Trim Healthy Mama. It's not a fad diet, but a way of eating, and effortless to switch to maintenance mode after weight loss. There are support groups and pages, podcasts, and a menu-building website. Its for the whole family, no special meals everyday just for mom. The women who created it are ordinary women who tried everything and failed, so they did a ton of research and came up with Trim Healthy Mama.It worked for me after I regained weight with a pregnancy, and I'm back at it after gaining while nursing another baby. It's given me hope when I was despairing, and I still get to eat like a normal person. Whatever you do, don't give up hope. We can do it!

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  7. I totally understand...I see my YouTube only 5months ago and I was 20pounds lighter.. everyday when I get dress in the morning.the shorts that are stretch for , bit my shirt is so tight and I always have to try 2to 3 ones....Make me sick...but I think I know what up with my body Everytime I start to meno pause I gain. I have stages where it go away for 6 or 7months and then I drop weight...but when it comes back I gain 20like I got me today
    Estrogen weight mangament to see it works I been struggling with meno pause for past 6years....good luck with the French diet....Bum Bea

  8. I understand where you're coming from Sophia, I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling with this :( and that it's getting you down. I have struggled with my weight for years and have yo yo dieting on and off for a large portion of my adult life. I won't profess to have a solution but I did eventually come to a realisation that 'dieting' was not the answer. If it was then I would have been successful at least one of those times that I 'lost the weight' and then gained it back again. I had to come to a place of wanting 'health' NOT weight loss. I know in our minds we see them as the same thing because doctors put us into risk categories based on our BMI etc. BUT the difference is the mindset. If your goal is to treat your body right and isn't about the cosmetic aspect or the number on the scale it becomes a long game, not a short one. We're not getting any younger, our bodies have taken us this far and we want to keep living a lifestyle where we can be active and not have our bodies decide what we can and can't do for us. I know it sounds a bit, meh....but once I started choosing foods that I knew my body needed and assessing everything I ate not so that I 'wouldn't get fat' but from a, 'that is a whole food that will give me fibre and vitamin A and I know that's excellent for my immune system and eyesight...and will help me poop too!'. Yeah just writing that sounds a bit naff...sorry. But whole foods were a blessing to me. It took years to have a long term effect but I really do find that if I eat nutritious food (regardless of sugar, fat, calories, net carbs etc.) for a long period of time (so no quick fix) then I don't feel like that donut any more. Also staying 'full' on whole foods avoids those binges too. For the first few years I had to avoid ever getting hungry at all costs. Now I'm able to make good decisions most of the time regardless of hunger but for those first few years I just made sure I was always full of real whole foods when I left the house. Beating ourselves up over stuff doesn't work and trying to follow diets religiously doesn't work. Stress makes us gain weight (eek!) and NO ONE can live permanently on a diet. I have however met people that don't really care so much for food (their vices are something different) and they're the ones we compare ourselves to thinking we're failures and they're winners. It's just not true, they just have other demons they're dealing with. Food wise I just aim for whole foods and avoid stuff with any ingredient I can't pronounce or imagine in its natural state. But I had to have a 'why' for that connection in my brain to work. The 'why' is important to's health I want so I can have a good quality of life and have more energy to be with my husband and kids.

    Definitely try and be kinder to yourself Sophia, think of all the hard work you put into everything you do. You're a very successful lady!! You deserve health and good quality foods, your body deserves it and you deserve it. Not for looks or to be the woman your husband married but because you are worth nourishing food that makes you feel good for longer than the 5 minutes when you're eating it before the crash.

  9. Thank you for sewing along with me and sharing my project with your community! I LOVE your Summer Time quilt and I'm so happy someone had the fabric for you!

  10. I with you on the weight...............frustrated!!!!! I am 25lbs heavier than when I started my YouTube channel 3 years ago. Not happy!

  11. I don't have any advice for you regarding weight issues except for this: I was approaching diabetes level and my doctor advised limiting carbs and I went full steam ahead because I was worried. Really limiting (not deleting) carbs helped me drop weight quickly. That worked for me; knowing that if I wanted a cookie or two, that I couldn't have pasta or bread that day. May not work for you, of course. Mostly I just want to tell you that I have confidence in your ability to tackle this. You tackle EVERYTHING and I have such admiration for you. You've inspired me to tackle my own home projects, de-cluttering, making interesting meals, you have given me decorating ideas and a way of looking at life with optimism. I turn to your videos when I need comfort and cheering up. I hate that you feel so bad about yourself over this one area of your life that you struggle with, when you have so many wonderful things in your life, all down to your own making. Take it slowly, and pay attention to your body and see how it responds with various foods... it knows what it needs. Sending you a huge hug and much love from the wet, humid, hot swamp that is Houston at the moment. Take care of yourself.

  12. I really enjoyed reading this blog post! It's like reading a book vs watching the movie - book is better ;). You were just as genuine and honest (even more so) than in your videos! I love your YT videos because you are so YOU!! Thank you for sharing with us! Congrats on finishing up school. That must be a relief for you. Fiona is adorable! Shame you got booted out of the office but you have your sidekick home!!! Makes it so worth it having him there. Your hard work purging, cleaning, building in the office has sure paid off! and YAY for that ugly chair out of there-hahaha. Looking forward to your next video and future blog posts :)

  13. I was just in NY City and saw the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island! I thought of your video showing us these things when you were driving! Loved walking on the streets of New York for the first time in my life! We are from a very small town (pop. 400) in South Dakota. I started a low carb diet these past weeks but totally blew it while being in New York. So I am starting over. Had not lost anything but my stomach was getting flatter. I am at it again. Your blog is timely for me!

  14. I struggle with my weight. I have gained an lost so many pounds over the years. Now I am turning 60 in July and my decision is one day at a time, eat as healthy as you can that day. If you fail on a particular day, forgive yourself and move on. I have alot of weight to lose and this may not make any sense to anyone but me. I am not being sarcastic I am someone who is on the same journey.

  15. I'm 57 and about the sane size as you Sophia. I'm off to a liver scan next week as I think the rubbish diet I've developed since having colon, then cervical cancer, has given me fatty liver �� I've just started reading Dr Phil's book on waitloss- I'm hoping a more psychological approach might help ��

  16. omg me crying when trying on clothes at khols leaving frustrated and hurt by what i saw. Btw I just discovered your vids and now i am here. nice to meet you. I do not post as openly because bf reads my blog :-/

  17. oh, and I love your kitty and that you got her from a shelter, she chose you <3!


I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

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