Friday, May 1, 2015

Deep Cleaning: Part 2

Subject: THE OVEN
Products: Baking Soda, Soap, Vinegar
Method: Mix paste. Apply. Let sit for 8 hours. Scrub. Rinse. Done.

I have never cleaned an oven in my life and I had my work cut out for me when I started cleaning this beast. Just look:
See how black the oven light is!

There's wording on there but you can't read it.


Applying the paste was a little tricky. It was like spreading paint, when it's 100 degrees and it's dripping everywhere. I started with the top and I'm glad I did because a majority of it dripped to the bottom anyway. I used my hands to spread the mixture, which is probably a no-no but I didn't have a brush as suggested. I'll definitely be investing in one for next time. 

I applied the paste around 11:30am and came back at 9:00pm to do a quick clean and be done. There was nothing quick about it. The oven door became a major obstacle in being able to scrub the oven properly. Finally, I decided to say the heck with it and just rinse out all the paste. 

With each wipe of the oven, I only created more bubbles and soapiness. I soon realized that it was going to take me all night to rinse it out. I didn't have that kind of time. So I did the only thing I could think of. I grabbed a bucket, filled it with water and literally threw the water into the oven. Terrible, I know. But I had no idea how I was going to get the paste out without wasting a ton of water and using fifty washcloths in the process.

My little "trick" worked but unfortunately, yes, it did get water all over the floor. So I grabbed some towels to soak it up. I pulled the oven away from the wall to ensure I got all of the water off the floor. My oven does not sit flush with the counter so this is a simple task. But it's what I found when I pulled the oven away that made this story even better. 

Sitting behind my oven was a packaged black mass and the label read "French Bread". I'm sure, at one time, it resembled that but "bread" had long since expired. I've lived in this house for eight months now and I've never bought french bread. I repeat, this is not my bread! Not only that, the house was vacant for quite some time before I moved in. Who knows how long that bread has been there? Eww. 

The following day, my parents stopped by on my lunch break and I was telling them my tale. My dad walked over to the oven and opened the door. He then proceeded to pull the oven door off with ease. We started cracking up laughing. I hadn't even thought to see if the door came off. The biggest obstacle in cleaning my oven didn't have to be an obstacle at all! I felt so silly. 

Since I hadn't been able to clean the oven the best, I decided to wash it out a little better later that evening. This time I took the door off and holy cow, it was so much easier! The finished product still needs a lot of work but this will have to do until I have the chance to clean it better.

Look, the light's not black anymore!

Now you can actually read what the door says. Very useful information!


Products: Soap, Dryer Sheets
Method: Put oven racks in tub full of water with soap and dryer sheets. Let sit 8 hours. Scrub. Rinse. Done.

After the oven debacle, I still had to scrub my oven racks, which I had put in the shower with some dryer sheets and soap. Odd combination, I know, but it totally works.

I was too exhausted at this point to do any more decent scrubbing but I tried my best and wow, I used the dryer sheets and they took the gunk right off! Had it not been 10:30 at night, I would have scrubbed harder and I'm sure they'd be sparkling. 

 Didn't take before and afters of the racks but here you go.

After the success of cleaning the sink and oven burners, cleaning the oven itself was a bit of a let down. There is still a lot of work to be done on it but I know it looks way better. The process was tiring and trying but I definitely learned a lot from my day of deep cleaning. Next time, I'll be a pro. ;o)

Deep Cleaning: Part 1

This weekend I went on a deep cleaning frenzy in my home. Okay...maybe not a frenzy but given my track record, deep cleaning even one thing in my home is worth bragging about. It was quite the experience and I learned some lessons in the art of scrubbing.

Link: How to Clean a Porcelain Sink
Products: Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide, Bar Keeper's Friend Soft Cleanser
Method: First, half an hour of dishes due to pile up. I'm only human. Second, scrub with baking soda. Scrub some more with peroxide. Rinse. Scrub with cleanser. Rinse. Done.

My sink takes a beating washing dishes since I don't have a dishwasher. Here's the before pictures:

Baking soda is a phenominal scrubber. I've tried to use soap to clean this sink many times. It removed the basic spots, but the sink still looked gross and it was NOT clean. Baking soda worked it's magic and scrubbed off what regular soap couldn't, which was pretty much everything. It erased the black marks that were so generously spread throughout my porcelain sink. I didn't think those marks would ever come off. Boy, was I wrong!

The combination of baking soda and peroxide took care of the black marks but there were some stubborn marks in the corners of the sink and the bottom was still yellow. A few drops of the cleanser later and kiss them goodbye! This stuff is amazing. If you don't already have it, you need to get some. Now.

Products: Baking Soda, Hydrogen Peroxide
Method: Mix paste. Apply to burners. Let sit. Scrub. Rinse. Done.

Next, I took on the stove top. In the link, it doesn't tell you to let the paste sit but I did for good measure. I had let the peroxide sit for 15 minutes in the sink. Figured it couldn't hurt to do the same here. Again, baking soda wielded it's magic powers and my burners are now significantly less disgusting to look at.

The bottom right one was the most disgusting. Out of the four, it gets the most use. Sure, it's not perfect but it looks way better! I tried the cleanser on these as well after the mixture but didn't notice much of a difference. I'd stick with just the baking soda and peroxide for this job.

And now for part 2: Deep Cleaning: Part 2

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Girl Who's Pants Are Falling Off

Today marks six months into the longest weight loss journey I've ever been on. In that time, I've lost 46 pounds. I didn't do any special diet or weight loss program. I didn't spend any extra money. I simply started something and didn't quit. I'm not a fan of diet and exercise. I'm a fan of staying in pajamas as long as possible and eating Oreos like they are being discontinued but somehow I found something that works for me and I wanted to share with you what I've learned along the way.

1. I don't beat myself up over eating too much or not working out.

To be honest, my diet hasn't changed very much. I still eat chocolate and french fries from time to time. I don't eat those things a lot but they remain on the menu. Also, if I'm hungry, I eat. I don't starve myself because that only makes me prone to overeating. If I miss a day of working out, I don't dwell on it. I used to start exercising and as soon as I missed a day, I quit working out entirely. This time around, I stopped feeling guilty about missing a workout. Life happens and some days I can't fit fitness into my schedule so I move on and exercise the next day.  

2. Gaining weight when you are trying to lose it is not the end of the world.

I don't obsess over the scale and weigh myself only once a week. There have been times when I step on and my number goes up but I don't let those weeks get to me. I let them teach me to be more conscious of my choices the next week. Some of those increases weren't due to fat but muscle and a majority of those gains would be followed by a week when I lost twice as much weight. I would gain a pound and a half one week and lose three the next. It can be discouraging to see the scale go up but I think it's better to have set backs because it reminds you that it's not going to be easy and you have to work hard for every pound you lose.

3. Losing weight slowly is better for the body long term.

During my weight loss journey, I've averaged about 1.2 pounds lost per week, which is considered slow weight loss. However, we live in a quick-fix society, which convinces us to seek rapid weight loss and immediate results. The problem with this thinking is that it doesn't last. What good is losing 10 pounds in two weeks if you'll only gain twenty in the next couple of months? I lost 30 pounds back in high school, gained it all back and another 50 throughout college. I got tired of spending money on programs that only produced temporary changes. Quick-fix diets don't teach you how to maintain healthy choices for life. Being healthy is not something you do for three months on and nine months off. It's continuous and never-ending. Slow weight loss allows you to make gradual changes to your diet and fitness regimens. If you adjust slowly, you are more likely to stick with these changes long-term. A great article on explains another great advantage to losing weight slowly:
     "As the weight is coming off, the body can repair damages that were caused with all that additional weight without having to deal with everything all at once if weight is lost slowly and steadily.  In addition to this, the skin will have a chance to shrink as the body does.  All that extra skin that is seen in people who lose weight really quickly is virtually non-existent on a person who allows the skin to adjust slowly.  The body is incredibly adaptive if given enough time to figure out what is going on, and it is more likely to assist a person during the weight loss journey and beyond if the extra pounds come off slowly enough."

4. Not every day is a good day.

I still feel the effects of being overweight. I am becoming healthier but I still have a long way to go. It's not an overnight miracle. When I'm in the middle of my workout and I'm struggling to make it through, I think back to six months ago and what it felt like to not be able to catch my breath or do simple tasks like tying my shoes. I know I don't ever want to feel like that again and instantly, I find all the motivation I need to finish my workout. You will have set backs but you decide whether they stop you or motivate you.  

5. I'm not making excuses anymore. 

I used to come up with many reasons why I didn't have the time or resources to be healthy. Now, instead of making excuses, I make the time. I'll be brutely honest with anybody who wants to lose weight. Either you make it a priority in your life or you don't. Simple as that. Guess what? We're all busy but there are 24 hours in a day and we all get the same amount. It doesn't fluctuate. What you do with those 24 hours is up to you. 

6. I enjoy cooking now.

I'm not switching my career to chef anytime soon but I've discovered that cooking a meal actually feels and tastes very satisfying. Cooking used to seem like a chore to me but now it's soothing. I'm learning it's not that difficult to make a healthy meal. Plus, you have better energy to workout when you eat good food.

7. Sweating feels good.

I will walk up a flight of stairs and start sweating or barely move at work and it's dripping down my face but I've stopped caring about it. I read something online once that said the healthier your body becomes, the more you sweat because your body is working more efficiently. Fit people start to sweat a lot sooner when exercising as well. I've definitely grown to appreciate sweating because as my workout video instructor says, "it means that my body got the movement it needed".

8. It becomes a habit.

I get mad when I don't work out. I enjoy how I feel after exercising so much that I don't want to skip. It's as much a part of my day as eating or sleeping. I don't have to force myself to do it and I actually look forward to it because it's relaxing and energizing. Once, I had a bad headache. I started my workout and struggled through the first 20 minutes or so but by the time I was done, my headache was gone. This is powerful magic we're dealing with. I'm one of the laziest people on planet earth and I'm addicted to exercising. What is happening to me? 

9. Buying workout clothes can make you want to work out and it's okay.

I discovered Fabletics, which is co-founded by Kate Hudson, around the time I started working out. I was amazed to find they carried anything bigger than a large. Usually any clothing created by models or actresses never carries anything in my size but I found something and decided to order. The outfit I purchased was super cute and I tried it on right away when it arrived. It was depressing to find out that it didn't fit. I could pull it on but it was extremely uncomfortable. There was no way I could work out in it so I put it on a hanger and hung it in my bedroom where I could see it and made it my goal to fit into it. I'm proud to say that I now fit in and work out in it just fine. I started buying more outfits and it motivated me to keep exercising so I could fit into them. You can give me crap for buying workout clothes to motivate me but I enjoy wearing Fabletics and if it encourages me to work out and actually use the clothing for it's intended purpose, then why not? Haven't heard of them? Check them out here: Fabletics

10. Posting gym selfies doesn't make you fit.

I've been very personal about this journey from the very beginning. It took awhile for me to even tell my close friends and family and they are the only ones I talk to about it. I like to work out alone and I don't feel the need to share it because it's about me doing something for myself, not for other people. I'm a firm believer that you should spend less time taking pictures of you working out and more time actually working out. I'm only sharing this story now because it might help motivate someone else. I know what it's like to be unhealthy and I know that if I can do this, anybody can.

Lace up those shoes and get started but more importantly, keep going. Soon you will be six months down the road, feeling pretty darn good about yourself.

That Girl Who's Pants Are Falling Off