Monday Musings: Mental Block

I've had this post open for weeks. Just a blank piece of the web staring back at me. That damn cursor blinking back at me. So much in my head wanting to escape, but the words just wouldn't pour out of my brain.

There were a couple of topics I wanted to touch on. But with so many bloggers out there someone already wrote about it ... and about 1,000 times better than I could. So I say to myself: why bother?

It's like for the past few weeks I have diminished my right - no need - to blog. I started Weight Off My Shoulders to give myself a place to release the demons from my mind, share the ups and downs in the life and to impart on folks the lessons I have learned along the way.

So why tell myself I am not worthy to do that?


Because I am feeling off track and that impacts all other areas of my life.

Sleep? Not happening and really frustrating since some of that is not out of my control.

Balanced eating? Not happening to what I expect from myself.

Fitness? Not happening to the standard I want.

So what do I do next?


No matter what I am feeling or what the topic is. I am going to work blog each and every day this week. It should open up the creative juices and help me break through this mental block.

Training Plan.

I am also meeting up with my best friend on Saturday to spend the day together and part of the day will be writing up a new training plan for me. I need to have a game plan to keep my fitness level to the point where I want it to be.

I have 9 races left on my calendar for 2014 and I want to finish strong!

Set A Bedtime.

Starting today my goal is to be in bed with lights off and maybe music playing at 9:30 and asleep by 10. This should offer a semblance of a routine back into my sleep pattern. I hope.


Get ready folks Weight Off My Shoulders is coming at ya this week! :)


REMINDER: I am hosting my first Instagram giveaway with Sparkly Soul and it ends Friday. You can enter once a day on IG by sharing #HowISparkle. This doesn't mean you have to be wearing a Sparkly Soul headband - I know some folks are trying to win their first - so show me how you sparkle: volunteering, playing with friends, inspiring others, etc...


Have you ever experienced writer's block? How did you push through?

Dani Dishes 11-4-13

On this episode of Dani Dishes, I'm giving a little overall life update: health, weight loss perspective, blogging, upcoming Weight Watchers photo shoot/trip to NYC and more!! :)

The Mundane Day-by-Day

Why write a blog? I get asked this question on an almost daily basis.

Why did I decide to start this small slice of the internet back in May of 2011?

Why share aspects of my life with complete strangers?

Because otherwise I may not be here today.

I let so much weigh down on me over the years. I buried it deep below. I was hurting myself both on the inside and out.

So I decided to release.

Now this blog has evolved over the years as I have.

I don't share every single weigh in. I don't share what I eat each day.

Because life has changed. Also I was tired of getting criticized for what I eat.

But I was sitting back searching through twitter the other day and hearing more and more people complain about many blogs today - all they do is push product or host giveaways.

Yes when I read these comments I immediately think people are talking about me ... about my baby blog.

Cuhlearly not everyone is talking about me, but I take it personally.

I share on my blog what I want. I love talking about the races I have participated in and the new products that may help people improve their own training.

I thought about trying to be one of the bloggers that can write everyday, but it is too much for me.

Plus, I am boring. ;)

My day-to-day life is pretty boring: workout of some sort, lead some Weight Watchers meetings and watch some Netflix.

Woo! Now THAT is one exciting life. Right?

I realized it's okay to share the mundane occasionally ... if that is what I want to write about.

In the end, what I share on this space is up to me. If people want to read it great. If not that's okay too.

I will not please everyone, but the most important person to think about is myself.


The Perfect Bubble ... Aka Fitbloggin

Close your eyes and imagine a place ... WAIT! Strike that! If you close your eyes you can't read the picture I am painting! Oops!

Okay so partially close your eyes, but enough so that you can read the scene I am about to create.

Got it?

Okay. Let's start over.


Partially close your eyes and imagine a place. A place filled with friends. Friends you may have never actually met in person before. But you feel surrounded by love and peace. You walk through the hallways of this joyous place and every few steps you are engulfed in a loving embrace. An embrace where the positive energy from one person fuses with the positive energy of the other and forms a bond that nothing could break.

Oh you want a place to sleep? Well, you better find some roommates. Yes four people + 2 beds = a room. You get introduced to a couple people online that need a roommate and you wearily agree. But as soon as you walk into the room, the bond is formed. This is the place you are meant to sleep. These are the people are you meant to stay up chatting with in bed until 4am. You may even arrive in the room at 1:30am, meet a new roomie and immediately climb into bed with them without any second thoughts. Why? Because the love is already evolving. 

You look down at what you are wearing and realize that absolutely nothing matches. You literally have every color of the rainbow on your body and instead of feeling a thousand judgmental eyes starting at you glaring "What is that girl wearing?" You look up and see people applauding your ability to leap out of the box and not care what other people think of your outfit.

Rather than slinking into an unfamiliar terrain you BOUND into a room. Instead of slumping in a seat in the back of the room - you plop yourself in the front. Why the front? Because rather than hiding against the wall trying to remain invisible - you are front and center at this party! YOU are leading the discussion rather than watching from the outside wishing you could get the courage to be included.

When you scan the list of fitness classes being offered in this magical place, you don't flinch. You don't hear the little voice inside your head telling you "You are too out of shape to try that," "You really think you are strong enough for that," or "You think you have enough rhythm?" But rather, you hear "You are awesome," "You deserve to try this class" and "You will kick some <> ass!" Why the different inner voices? Because you are in a complete judgment-free zone. You walk into that Zumba class OWNING your lack of rhythm, but you have one of the best times of your life. Why? Because you were inhibition free. You had NO FEAR.

You get an email asking if you would participate in a Fashion Show during lunch one day. As you hit Respond to the email, your mind says "NO NO NO NO NO," but your heart says and your hands type "YES YES YES!" That's right YOU are going to get up on a stage in front of all the attendees and model fitness wear on a catwalk. Yes on a raised catwalk. You go last, you step on stage and the cheers start erupting. The fear goes away and the smile gets wider. You even strike a couple yoga poses since hey are you modeling yoga pants.

One evening the magical place even offers a reception, where there will be dancing. Eek! As already noted, you can't dance. You have total white girl syndrome. But you don't fall back into old habits of sitting at a table in the back, watching everyone else dance and wishing you were out there too. Instead, you join your friends out there. You do some of the worst dancing out there, but is anyone even looking at you? Yeah they are. But, because you have the biggest smile on your face and a big constant infectious laugh flying out of your mouth. You are having the time of your life and not thinking about the cameras snapping your picture doing the lawn mover or the sprinkler. You are in the moment of having a BLAST with friends and having your abs hurt from laughing.

It is a place where smiles are large, the laughs are all-encompassing, the tweets are flying, the love is growing and the friendships are blossoming.

It is a place where ALL are worthy of being there.


Now open your eyes back up fully.


Isn't this place amazing? Don't you want to stay in the warm glow of the awesomeness forever?

Would you believe me if I told you this place truly exists? It is around for just 3-4 days a year, but it fills you with enough love for the whole year.

What is this place called.


I've had the honor to attend Fitbloggin for the last two years: September 2012 in Baltimore, MD and this past weekend in Portland, OR.

So what is Fitbloggin? Creator Roni puts it best on the website:

The FitBloggin’ Conference is for anyone who blogs about fitness, wellness, good food and a healthy lifestyle–regardless of where they are in their journey. Our attendees are a melting pot of fit-minded people. Some of us are on a mission to lose weight. Others are training for triathlons. We have gym rats and folks learning to run. We welcome vegetarians, vegans, and convenience food junkies alike. We may all be in different stage of fitness, but we all share one passion: To live a happy, healthy balanced life.

More than just another blogging conference, FitBloggin’ is all about the desire to use technology, blogging and social media to motivate, inspire and foster a culture of health and wellness. We strive to bring together bloggers from all walks of life to create a tightly connected group of men and women who care deeply about and are committed to spreading this passion for fitness.

But, as I described earlier it is so much more. It is truly the first place in my life that I have felt 100% accepted and judgement free. Over time I will talk more specifically about my experience at Fitbloggin, especially about co-leading a discussion and participating in the Fashion Show.

For now, I leave you with this dreamland. This safe place where I can be me ... and get a hundred hugs for it!


Will I see you at Urban RAID Boston?

Do you reside in the Boston area? Do you want to take part in a wicked cool obstacle course?

Do you want to challenge your comfort zone?

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, YOU should join me for the RAID Series Urban obstacle race in Boston on July 27th!

ONE MONTH FROM TODAY I will be tackling my 3rd obstacle course race. In September 2012, I completed my first Warrior Dash and in June 2013 I had a blast at Ruckus Boston.

According to their website:

Introducing a new, cutting-edge race series designed for a new breed of cross training athlete – The RAID. Come experience the next generation of obstacle racing; one that features varied terrain, large-scale customized infrastructure, and extraordinary venues that range from picturesque beaches, to energized downtown metros, to breath-taking mountain sides. The RAID offers you the chance to choose one or conquer all three races in distinct environments – a unique challenge that no other series can provide. For just under five miles in distance at each race course, you’ll be challenged to run, crawl, jump, climb, and scramble on sand, city streets and steep slopes. Our immense constructed obstacles are designed to test your strength, agility and fortitude, while keeping you safe and injury free. We want you to cross that finish line exhausted and ecstatic, with your friends and family cheering you on. And we want you to celebrate your accomplishment by joining your fellow athletes and fans at the post-race party, complete with recovery stations, sponsor booths, music, food, and beer!

They have a beach raid, a mountain raid and an urban raid ... so what will Boston's URBAN RAID entail?

Anyone who has run on busy city streets knows that it’s a challenge in itself. Urban RAID takes it to the next level by capturing the best of city landscapes and urban elements and incorporating them into an innovative and challenging course. The city is your course in Urban RAID.

Boston's URBAN RAID will take place at City Hall Plaza in downtown Boston on July 27 at 9am. The course is 3.1 miles (5k) with what looks like nine obstacles.

Now, this race is GEARED to people of ALL fitness levels and anyone over the age of 16! So if you are worried about participating in your first obstacle course race ... this seems to be on for you!!

If you are nervous about being able to participate in an obstacle, don't worry there are volunteers on hand to help!

Racers are required to complete all obstacles before continuing on in the race. Staff will be stationed at each obstacle to ensure no racers are skipping obstacles and are able to complete it. In the event that racer cannot complete, they will be assessed a penalty in the form of an alternate obstacle or 10 burpees.

Now this is the first time they are hold a Urban Raid race in downtown Boston, so there aren't actual photos of the obstacles yet ... but here are some drawings.


How cool would it be to cargo net up towards City Hall?


How exciting would it be to do some Marine Hurdles with the historic Faneuil Hall in the background?


Seems pretty cool right? A new way to check out downtown Boston.

If you want to join my team and I at Urban RAID Boston then head over to their site and register!

REGULAR ($65): JUNE 12 – JULY 25 ON-SITE ($75): JULY 26 – JULY 27

Oh yeah that's right - you can sign up as a team. How fun would it be to jump our of your comfort zone with some of your closest friends???

Your friends aren't "racing" type people? Okay, tell them there is an after-party!! :) That's right. RAID will be hosting a post-race party at a local bar, which will be revealed closer to race day.

So if you are looking for a new adventure and you love downtown Boston then this race is for you!

So again ... will I see you there with me on July 27?

Dani Dishes 6-24-13

On this episode of Dani Dishes, I thank social media for the friends that have come into my life, joining Suzi Storm on her special wedding day and heading to Fitbloggin this week! Product Of The Week Jolly Time Popcorn --

My 30s Freakin' Rock So Far...

We are just 3 months into my 30s and I already have a Top Ten list of moments that have happened! Whhaa??

Am I serious?

Hell yeah.

Since my 30th Birthday weekend in September, I have had some freakin' awesome experiences.

So I decided to share the Top 10 so here goes:

10) Climbing 2,000 stairs in honor of this blog's Facebook page hitting 2,000 likes

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I still can't believe that happened and I am still so thankful for each Facebook like my little blog has!


9) Completing my first Warrior Dash the day before my 30th Birthday

(Yes, I am including anything that happened in my 30th birthday weekend as fair game ... my poetic license! ;))


On that day, I faced many fears, but the biggest one my fear of heights - by climbing up the Big Wall on a rope and climbing down the Big Wall via a ladder. At first I didn't trust my arm strength - or lack thereof - to get over the wall, but then as soon as I got to the top - it happened. The cape on my Batman socks got stuck and for a moment, I panicked and thought I would have to live atop the wall for the rest of my life.

8) Earning enough votes to join Got Chocolate's Milk Team REFUEL

I filmed a video at Fitbloggin' in September 2012 and begged, pleaded and went to social media to try and earn enough votes to make the team and on October 26 it was announced that I was in! YAY!

I couldn't thank everyone that voted for me enough.

I am honored to make the team and can't wait to see what comes next...

7) Being selected to run The 2013 Boston Marathon with Tedy's Team in honor of the American Stroke Association

I am running in honor of my Stroke Heroes - my grandparents - and am so thankful to be able to spread the risks/warning signs/tips about Strokes to the masses. As well as, raising $5,000 for the American Stroke Association.

So far I have raised just over $1,500... if you are interested in donating, you can do so here.

6) Attending Fitbloggin' and meeting some of my Social Media Icons in person

When I got home from Fitbloggin' I really didn't think I had deserved to be at a conference with such amazing bloggers, but since climbing out of my pit o' insecurity I realized I really did belong there. I was meant to go there, get out of my comfort zone, meet some of the most incredible people I know IN REAL LIFE and have my world changed forever.

Plus, it didn't hurt that I got to have one amazing road trip with Tara and Meegan, get amazing hugs from Alan and room with the phenomenal Sue, Steve & Kia (my bedmate)!

To pick a favorite moment from that weekend isn't possible - there are too many to list and just thinking about that time puts a big ass smile on my face!

Now is it time for Fitbloggin' 2013 yet? ;)

5) Appearing on Fox 25 News with Dr. Sherry Pagoto To Talk Weight Loss & Twitter

If you missed the segment, here's the video.

I never thought I would be in front of the camera. While working in PR, I was great at putting other people in front of the camera so it was a tad shock to be on the other side of the situation. But, boy was it fun!

I couldn't believe how quickly the 4-minutes segment went. It was over before I knew it.

I owe a huge thank you to Dr. Pagoto for suggesting me to be a part of the segment in the first place.


4) Something I NEVER EVER EVER thought would happen ... I tried on a bikini and shared the picture with the world

This definitely happened before my birthday, but it was tied in to the milestone of hitting 30 that I conquered the fear and finally walked in to Sports Authority and tried on a bikini.

The whole experience is documented here.


I still don't know if the bikini will see the light of day. But at Spin the other night my friend Linds said something that gave me a moment that maybe it may some day.

Linds: "I'm going to keep Spinning for every Pina Colada I will have in Aruba."

Dani: "Well I don't have a vacation coming up. So what am I pushing for?"

Linds: "To make sure you wear that bikini next summer."

Dani: "Hmmm..."

Anything's possible, right? ;)

3) On December 12, I hit the lowest weight since probably Junior High


I weighed in 0.4 lbs lower than the day I hit Goal (which was my previous low) on January 10, 2012 (153.8). Wow, I was so excited I started crying - not to the point of an ugly cry - but pretty close!

Hard work + Believing in yourself + Weight Watchers = Impossibilities become Possibilities

2) Savannah Marathon

2 feats: for beating my previous marathon time by more than 2 hours and for finishing in under 4 hours


Again - things I never thought possible actually happened. With each mile that passed in the race, every time I saw my dad cheering me on along the course, I got a little push that I could do it. That it just might happen.

And it did.

And after catching my breath (that took a lot longer than usual), I wept and wept - big happy tears. I had done it.


It comes down to this! The number one event since turning the Big 3-0 is...

Drum Roll Please


1) Hosting my own charity 5k for my 30th Birthday

Is anyone really shocked at this choice?

I didn't think so!


That day was one of the best of my life. I still can't get over that it really happened.

Feel free to relive it now - here.


And the great news is????

I'll be doing it AGAIN in 2013!



Wow, just reading this list again makes me so excited for what is still in store. I mean this was just the first 90 or so days of being 30 ... I have a lot more to go!

Are you 30? Have you had a decade or age you feared turning, but then it happened to be amazing?