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15 August 2014

Weigh-in: 104.6 lb lost so far: 10.0 lb still to go: 2.6 lb Diet followed reasonably well
   add comment on diet The Blue Box Diet   losing 5.6 lb a week

14 August 2014

Weigh-in: 105.4 lb lost so far: 9.2 lb still to go: 3.4 lb Diet followed reasonably well
   add comment on diet The Blue Box Diet   losing 1.6 lb a week

07 August 2014

WOW! It has been awhile since I journaled! To make up for it here is an EXTRA long one about my birthday weekend. :)

Thursday - Pre Birthday Celebration - 07/24/14
Thursday was the first of many Birthday freebie redemptions. I received a free Chicken Souvlaki pita for lunch at Pita Pit & my middle name was a name of the day at a local cupcake shop, so I chose a cookie dough cupcake, which was amazing! Then my fiancé told me what items to pack for our weekend quest. He also gave me a pair of hot pink running socks and told me to wear them tomorrow.

Friday - Birthday Celebration Part 1 - 07/25/14
While at work I acquired birthday wishes from most people, but birthday presents from only two people - the best co-workers in the universe! The first co-worker gave me a tie dyed mylar balloon, lip balm, lotion, yummy caramels, a bracelet, Dr. Who mug and Dr. Who bookmark, and the sweetest birthday card ever! The second - and equally awesome - co-worker gave me 2012 Beau California White Zinfandel Wine, mango-aloe drinks, pineapple-coconut sparkling water, mint essence water, loose leaf Teavana tea, and a beautiful bracelet. I was very thankful for the birthday wishes, but extra grateful for the presents. They didn't have to get my me anything, but they knew me so well that they got the *perfect* gifts! ^_^

I was extremely anxious and excited for the duration of my workday, because I had no idea what my fiancé had in store for me.

After work the Birthday freebie redemptions began a new. A Chicken Fiesta Sandwich at Schlotzsky's Deli for lunch and a Rita's Cookie Dough Italian Ice for dessert.

Then we drove home and my fiancé packed a couple more items into our Accord and we (my fiancé, dog, and I) began a 3 hour road trip. Along the way I redeemed another birthday reward, this time for a much needed Dunkin Donuts Iced Cookie Dough Coffee. Then we stopped at a local Target to grab some food supplies.

When the road trip concluded I found myself in Pickens, SC at a beautiful cabin.

I completed my first quest with ease. My fiancé told me I would not be able to enter our home base of fun until I found the key. So with a flick of my wrist I lifted up the entryway rug and the key revealed itself to me. When he opened the door and ushered me in, I could feel my heart begin to race. The glass windows filled the 1900 sq ft house with majestic wilderness. I could see nothing but foliage and mountains in the distance. It was a 2 story, 4 bed, 3 bath cabin in the woods furnished with a fully equipped kitchen, not to mention a sunroom and a recreation room that housed foozball tables, board games and movies on video tape and blu ray. It was all the amenities of home in a much larger dwelling, without the neighbors. I was euphoric.

After my fiancé unpacked the Accord, he fired up the grill that was housed on the rear deck overlooking the mountainside foliage. We were to feast on turkey dogs and I was given my second quest titled: Frozen Veggie Fun Time. I plated the Tuscan Seasoned Broccoli, popped them in the microwave and completed my quest in under 8 minutes.

Our magnificent meal was accompanied by a glass of wine (courtesy of aforementioned co-worker) and my fiancé informed me we were 20 minutes from NC, TN, & GA, but not to worry about where we were going, because he had everything planned. I was elated as the wine started to warm my cheeks. He decided that it was too late in the evening to give me my first boss battle, so we stayed inside and played Twister - which I schooled him in - and Disney's Scene It, where he totally cheated to win and all the answers seemed to be Toy Story II...

Our dog made it very apparent that she needed to relieve herself, so my fiancé and I donned our flashlights and shoes and ventured out on to the steep paved roads. We walked towards a dead end and heard - what my fiancé identified as - a waterfall. Wanting to see this view up close we traversed into the forest at dusk... where I had my first random encounter. As I walked closer towards the sound of the rushing water I found a stream trickling over some very smooth rocks. As I called for my fiancé to come and take in this sight with me, he warned me that the habitat I was describing was home to snakes, namely copperheads. As he drew nearer his flashlight caught a glimpse of a brown figure slithering away and announced, "like that one." His playful tone masked the fear that was rising up in me as I called for my dog and turned tail to flee. How close was I to that snake, more importantly, how close was my 12 pound dog? If she was bit, I don't know what I would have done. Was the snake harmless, was it a fearsome copperhead? Either way it was gone and I walked away from my first random encounter unscathed.

The loser of Disney's Scene It (IE: me) scooped ice cream, Blue Bell Happy Tracks to be exact, while the winner chose a movie. The cabin we inhabited had a limited selection, but my fiancé pulled out Shrek 4, which we had never seen. But before the movie began I was presented with loot for a successful random encounter. My fiancé handed me my birthday present and I was overjoyed! I was bestowed 2 pairs of nice, REALLY NICE, running socks and 3 boxes of Luna Bars: chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, and s'mores. Mmmm...

After hugs and thanks were given the movie began. However, as the night went on I grew weary and we paused the movie to get some much needed rest for the challenges to come.

Saturday - Birthday Celebration Part 2 - 07/26/14

The day began with a hearty granola cereal breakfast and a stunning sunrise. I watched the local news as my fiancé packed my bag with all the necessities I would need for the upcoming boss battle. HP recovery items consisted of Krave Sweet Chipotle jerky, Orange Flavored Jelly Belly Sports Beans, Dole Cherry Fruit Cup and a strawberry fruit flavored twist. He also included 48 oz of water to boost stamina.

My battle equipment consisted of socks that had individual slots for my toes, boots, jeans, a long sleeve shirt and, of course, my Fitbit Zip.

Once he was done packing, we got everything settled to leave our home base of fun. We drove 10 minutes away to Table Rock State Park. Upon locking our car he gave me my boss battle. We had to defeat the Table Rock Mountain Summit, elevation 3124 feet.

Cherokee Indian Legend states that a Cherokee Chieftain named the Table Rock Watershed “Sah-ka-na-ga”. When he finished hunting, he would stop here and use the Table Rock Mountain as his dining table while sitting on Stool Mountain to dine on his venison.

We had to hiking to his dining table and dine where the Cherokee Chieftain had dinned. My fiancé assured me we would hike to the top and defeat this boss battle, come back down for lunch and he would give me another boss battle to defeat. But when do things ever go as planned?

At 8:00am the long and arduous journey began. Our pace was slow and pleasant as we played at the base of a waterfall. My dog tried to play with me as I jumped across the smooth rocks. She was nimble and agile as she followed my path.

There were tales of other adventures seeing wood nymhs along the trail. Although I never viewed them, they must have been watching us and playing tricks on us. The first of many tricks was play on my dog. For some reason, when we were playing at the base of the waterfall she decided to try and walk on the water. Perhaps she was testing the depth of the water and fell in, but to me it looked like she thought the water was a solid and stepped right into it. Perhaps this was a good thing, since she did not take any damage from heat stroke during our boss battle.

I did not keep track of time, but near the start of the battle I was compelled to stop and rest and when I looked at the tree next to me there were our initials clearly carved into the side of the tree. K + J was carved vertically down the thin tree trunk and SP was carved horizontally below it.

I saw it as a sign and kissed my fiancé as a token of appreciation and gratitude for planning all of this for my birthday.

Our hiking path took us from the Nature Elevation Center, through Pinnacle Mountain Trail to Mill Creek Falls where we were going to try and reach Bald Rock Overlook, however, a mudslide earlier in the week prevented us from going any further. It must have been the wood nymphs trying to prevent us from defeating the peak of the mountain.

While we were at the falls we asked a traveler to take a picture of us, and as we were situating ourselves on the wooden bridge in front of the waterfall, the camera bag's zipper came undone and the camera charger and battery fell into the rapids! After the picture was taken my fiancé valiantly crossed the wet, slippery, rocky terrain to retrieve the fallen items. It must have been another trick by the wood nymphs.

Nevertheless, we were not deterred. We took Mill Creek Pass towards Panther Gap and reached Governor's Rock where we sat, ate and took in the grand views. Some hawks decided to fly near us as we recovered some HP. That Dole Cherry Fruit Cup tasted like the fruit of the gods with how thirsty and hungry I was.

It must have been around 2:00pm when we reached the top of Table Rock Mountain. Another adventurer happened upon us taking in the view from the side of the mountain and informed us that just 5 more minutes of hiking would give us an even better view. We took his advice and hiked a bit further. This grand view overlooked Pinnacle Lake. We took in the view for a couple minutes more before beginning our grueling decent down the mountainside via Table Rock Trail. I was exhausted and supplies were running low. Those last 3 miles were the hardest 3 miles I have ever walked in my life. Regardless of how drained my stamina was or how weak my legs felt I knew that I had to defeat the Mountainside Boss.

When we finished the tortuous decent the clock read 5:30am and my Fitbit read 14.96 miles. My fiancé, dog, and I hiked nearly 15 miles in one day. BOSS DEFEATED. This had to be the hardest workout of my life. When we reached our car we decided that if we were ever going to hike that far again we would need to pack at least triple the amount of water and double the amount of snacks.

When I got home, my fiancé heated up a hot dog and we devoured it. Afterwards, I slipped into the bathroom and took a much deserved shower. The only damage sustained was a blister on my left pinky toe. The new socks he had bought me worked wonders. As I bathed, my fiancé prepared steaks on the grill. The meal was complemented with roasted potatoes and green beans and washed down with pineapple-coconut sparkling water. As the steaks were cooling we played a game of foozball that I won by the skin of my teeth. We fed our dog and she slowly ate her food, then promptly hopped onto the couch and fell fast asleep.

We finished watching Shrek 4 as we ate dinner. Then at 7:30pm we decided to explore the town a bit more, but everything was closing up. In one direction we drove, we saw a local produce man packing up his wares and a local general store owner locking up his shop. So we drove in the opposite direction and saw a cute little ice cream shop that was still open, but on the verge of closing. My fiancé and I hurried into the shop and grabbed a homemade peanut butter and chocolate whoopie pie.

When we got home we enjoyed wine, the whoppie pie, ice cream, popcorn, and the Planes, Trains and Automobiles movie - not necessarily in that order. We stayed up until 11:00pm before calling it a night.

Sunday - Birthday Celebration Conclusion - 07/27/14

Today was the day. My birthday. My weekend had been so fun I did not want it to end.

After breakfast we drove up a windy road to try and reach Sassafras Mountain, but the road was blocked so we turned around and drove up to Caesars Head State Park, minding all the turns.

We walked around for a bit and headed back down the mountain. We stopped at an overlook place where graffiti littered the view, but it was surprisingly beautiful. There was another K+J symbol, so we kissed again. :)

Then we drove down the mountain and back to the general store in the hopes of finding fudge, but they did not have their bakery open.

Sadly, we drove back to the home base of fun and packed as we reminisced about the time we had spent together, which was all to brief. I did not want to go back to my normal 9-5. I wanted to stay up in the mountains forever.

Things went down hill as we drove back home. The oil change light came on, we couldn't fill a prescription, we tried going to Cold Stone, but there was a line out the door. Upon returning 2 hours later I tired to order Cake Batter Batter Batter and I was informed that ran out of cookie dough... I had to settle for Birthday Cake Remix...

Get me back on the mountains already! :D

07 August 2014

Weigh-in: 107.0 lb lost so far: 7.6 lb still to go: 5.0 lb Diet followed reasonably well
   add comment on diet The Blue Box Diet   gaining 0.7 lb a week

24 July 2014

Weigh-in: 105.6 lb lost so far: 9.0 lb still to go: 3.6 lb Diet followed reasonably well
   (12 comments) on diet The Blue Box Diet   gaining 1.4 lb a week

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