August Recap and Coffee Share

What’s Up With Us

This month has been all about preparing for our upcoming trip to Italy to celebrate our daughter’s wedding. Considering that she has done all the planning herself, we didn’t have much to do except lose a few pounds and assemble a wardrobe for the five-day event. The second task translated to lots of shopping, both online and in actual department stores, and lots of returns. Weather for early September in Italy is hard to predict and I have changed my mind a few times as to what clothes to take.

Unlike Deb from Deb’s World, I am not going to pack everything in a carry-on bag and will be nervously awaiting the delivery of my very large case containing about fifteen outfits and lots of shoes. After all, I will only be Mother-of-the-Bride once!

We will arrive in Florence, spend one night and one day there, then we are off to the Tuscan countryside for the elopement festivities and the remainder of our one-week stay in Italy. I can’t wait to share all the details in my September recap. Until then, you can watch for a few updates on my Instagram feed here.

Health and Fitness

I mentioned in this post that Malcolm and I were cutting calories in anticipation of our special event. After two weeks of ‘no indulgences,’ we dug deeper and went into full-on calorie deficit mode. The sacrifice paid off and we both achieved our weight loss goals. He lost a total of fourteen pounds while I lost eight. We did it by adhering to a very lean 1,000 calories per day for me and 1,200 calories per day for him consisting of fish, chicken, beef, eggs, fruits, veggies, and protein supplements. Yes, there were cheats and splurges along the way and we couldn’t have done it without building those into the plan. I would not recommend this diet to anyone looking for long-term habit changes. It will not accomplish that, but it did yield a weight reduction fairly quickly for both of us. It was clearly all about motivation!

Exercising at our regular pace was curtailed significantly due to the calorie deficit diet, but I did manage a few walks and some light gym workouts. My weekly tennis dates were a struggle in the heat so I shortened those to less than two hours in duration. Malcolm shortened his daily walks but made sure to move every day.

Add one more vegetable, another serving of fruit, an egg, or a scoop of cottage cheese to this group and you will have an idea of what 1000 calories looks like. Water, coffee, tea, and too many diet sodas (yes, I am an addict) kept me hydrated.

Friends and Family

In spite of our diet, we had a very satisfying month catching up with friends and family. On one of our ‘splurge days,’ we invited a couple for dinner. It was the first time we have cooked for anyone other than family in the new place so we kept it simple. Two people in the kitchen is still a challenge. We had Malcolm’s mom over for a ‘diet-friendly’ meal and game night and we orchestrated a meet-up by the pool for wine and conversation with some new friends.

Even though I still go back to the old neighborhood once a week to play Mahjong, I have set up a ‘teaching session’ once per week at the new place. It is a satisfying use of my time, and in the end, I benefit the most by having a new group of friends to play with.

Watching

This past month I took myself on a solo date to the movies twice. I hadn’t been inside a theater since long before Covid, and it felt a little strange, but I wore a mask and hoped that no one would sit close. Everyone else seemed to feel the same way and kept a safe distance. ‘Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris‘ and Mack and Rita were my $5 Tuesday movie choices. The first was a very enjoyable ‘feel good’ movie which happened to showcase some beautiful 1950’s Dior clothes, while the second was simply terrible. I think the plot was well-intended, but it was over the top with absurdities.

Malcolm and I binge-watched ‘Only Murders in the Building’ (on Hulu) over a three-day period, and caught up to its production release for the second season. Check it out if you haven’t already found it.

I also learned a little about the geography of Australia by watching ‘Instant Hotel’ on Netflix. The premise of the show is that five contestants compete against each other to successfully convert their properties to attract a rental market. If you like reality programs that showcase beautiful locations and unique homes this is one to watch.

Reading

I haven’t been in much of a book-reading mood lately, but I did borrow one from Jo’s Book Shelf this month that I thoroughly enjoyed. The Woman in the Library, by Sulari Gentill, is a solid mystery/romance that casts suspicion on every main character in the book and leaves you wondering, ‘is someone sleeping with a murderer?’ The story within the story is a bonus that intrigues but doesn’t distract from the main story.

The summer heat seems to have curtailed my focus to only short bursts, which is perfect for blog reading. Below are a few stand-out reads from August, including Deb’s packing advice. I’m sure you will appreciate them all as much as I did.

Also, if you look on my right sidebar, you will notice a few blogs that are new to me within the last few months. Most are photography related, and if you love beautiful photos and photo challenges, these might be of interest. Thank you guys for keeping me informed and entertained.

The Hungry Travelers – an excellent series of travel posts – California and Mexico

Retirement Transitions – Pat talks about retirement myths

The River Blogger – discusses our favorite subject – decluttering!

The Spectacled Bean – Ally analyses her readers’ blogs

Hugh’s Views and News – 79 Ways to Kill Your Blog (how many are you guilty of?)

Deb’s World – Deb shares her packing tips for a 30-day trip with just a carryon bag

Exploring

This local park has become a fast favorite since moving to the apartment. It is about ten minutes from home and has a beautiful river view from almost any park bench. We visit in the late afternoon when the trees provide shade and the wind picks up, making it a peaceful place to just be still.

Cell phone pic – color edit
And of course, the beach is always calling….

Arrivederci

That’s my wrap-up for August, and now I am off to pour another cup of coffee and join you at Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Share . I hope you have had a wonderful August. See you in September with the Wedding Edition!

47 thoughts on “August Recap and Coffee Share

  1. Hi Suzanne – well done on the “instant” weight loss and on being ready and raring to go for the wedding. I can’t wait to see all the photos. Our daughter had a destination wedding in Bali and I took a good sized suitcase – I didn’t want to squash my MOB dress or shoes. She took her dress as carry on (+ a suitcase in the luggage section) and we brought the dress home in a smaller bag (it didn’t need to be uncreased on its return trip!) Have fun and enjoy every moment of the wedding and holiday.

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    1. Hi Leanne, Malcolm and I are going to carry on our wedding clothes and I packed a second carry-on with a few things for both of us just in case it doesn’t go well with the luggage. Fingers crossed. Wow, Bali. I always thought my daughter would choose a beach destination too, but she has had a thing for Italy since going there as a young girl. Have a great week.

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  2. Thanks for including me in your August round-up. I appreciate it.

    As for your weight loss plan, congrats for doing what you set out to do. The photo/explanation of 1,000 calories is fascinating. It looks healthy, of course– but could I do it? I dunno. I want to see Only Murders in the Building but we have held off on getting Hulu. Maybe this will be the nudge we need to sign up.

    Happy Wedding! I look forward to reading about the event and seeing all the great photos you’ll take. Enjoy

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  3. I admire your discipline it sticking (mostly) to that diet – I’m glad it paid off 🙂 And how exciting to be off to Italy for the wedding soon!
    I’ve recently started solo cinema trips as there were films I wanted to see but my husband didn’t (Where the Crawdads Sing was the most recent). I rather enjoy the indulgence of it! No mask wearing in cinemas here, apart from perhaps one or two people.

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  4. What an exciting trip ahead and really looking forward to your upcoming photos! Tuscany is stunning! You will have to indulge in some wine for sure! I will have to check out ‘The Woman in the Library’ I am always on the lookout for a good read. Latest movies for me are ‘Where the Crawdad Sings’ and ‘Elvis” both seen with my BFF. I wasn’t an Elvis fan until after his death (he was just a little before my time), but I really did enjoy both of these movies. Safe travels and savor these most precious days ahead!

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  5. Wow – what a whirlwind you’ve been on.
    Last year, in the midst of covid, we married off our oldest son and welcomed a wonderful gal into our family as a DIL. Then 3 weeks ago, we relocated our daughter 3 time zones away into medical school. Our youngest son has moved out and has one hard to get class to finish for his BS, but he was not likely to move back due to enjoying his adult transition and now he has a wonderful girl-friend we’re hoping works out to be a bride someday. But, this all leaves our nest empty and this last week, returning from a trip to see the oldest and DIL – now leaves us to face the reality of our new state of life.
    Wish us well – we miss our kids.

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    1. Hi Gary, I just read your post about your two road trips. Congratulations to your daughter for getting into medical school, and to you guys for becoming empty-nesters. It was a bittersweet time in our lives when that happened. Fortunately, our daughter, an only child, went two hours away for college and grad school. After law school, she got a good job and stayed put, so we see her often. We feel very fortunate to have her close. Now, she is getting married and we love our new SIL – life is good! Our retirement story continues to evolve. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. Suzanne, Thanks so much for the shout-out! And congrats on the weight loss. I really do not think I could do that low calorie diet for even one week! I had The Woman in the Library on my book list (from Jo’s recco), so it’s nice to hear another positive review on it. I might try and get my book club to read it.

    Wishing you luggage-arrival and glorious weather for your trip! Best wishes to your daughter!

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    1. Hi Pat, the book is a quick read and might be good for a book club discussion. There will certainly be varying opinions as to the writer’s style and the book within the book aspect. The who-done-it part will keep you guessing.

      The diet wasn’t so bad and I would do it again if I needed a ‘dress size’ reduction! We lost the weight over a six-week period, with two strict weeks followed by a reasonable splurge, (small dessert, a glass of wine, etc) which made it tolerable.

      You are welcome for the shoutout. New retirees are coming to this arena all the time and being able to access material like your post is so helpful.

      Thanks for your good wishes – from your lips to God’s ears!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Looking forward to seeing some photos from Italy, I agree that trip does not sound like a one carry-on bag adventure. You do need all the shoes! Instant Hotel was a hoot. Safe travels!

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    1. Judy, having 15 outfits is overkill, but I want to have options. I certainly hope all goes well. Airline travel is crazy right now, so luggage is my constant worry. Well, that and weather and my daughter’s plans being carried out properly, and, and, …..lots of moving parts. Thank you for your good wishes.

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  8. Suzanne,
    The beach in your picture is one to treasure. Congrats on the diet success. I’m on a diet also, but I love my exercise class so much that I couldn’t function on less than 1500 calories. The upcoming trip sounds amazing. Please treat yourself to good food and fun…then tell us all about it! Travel safely! Joe

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  9. Joe, I took that beach photo just a couple of days ago. The ocean has been unusually quiet and sparkling clean this summer. Apparently, we are closing in on a record for most consecutive days during hurricane season without a named disturbance. I hope conditions hold steady and the sea stays this calm for a while.

    When we considered the diet, I paid attention to the cautions about overextending. We both had moments of light-headedness on a couple of days and upped the calorie count to get past it. The heat definitely played a role too.

    We will most definitely be treating ourselves in Italy and 1000 calories will seem like a snack!

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  10. Great wrap up and I’m all admiration at your willpower – but you do have a pretty strong motivation. Now I can’t wait to see the photos! Happy travels & hope all goes brilliantly with the wedding.

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  11. 1000 calories does not leave room for my gin and tonic, LOL. You two are SO motivated! I’m looking forward to seeing your fifteen outfits. I hope you’ll post a photo collage. And Italy…what a glorious place for a wedding. Your daughter obviously has very good taste. I love your last photo—that beach is stunning!

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    1. Laurel, I actually had a gin and tonic a few days ago and it felt like a completely indulgent reward for my sacrifice. Yes, that beach is stunning and has been our respite for many years. It has so many moods and faces – all of them unique. You guys should put South Florida on your itinerary sometime in the future. Take care and thanks for stopping by.

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  12. Hi Suzanne, Thank you for your weekend coffee share. Congratulations on meeting your weight goal! Your itinerary sounds fabulous. I look forward to the pictures and all the details in your September recap. Safe travels and have tons of fun!

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  13. This post packs a punch, Suzanne. You’ve been busy even though it might not feel that way. It does, when you compile all these events!

    Congrats on losing so much weight. I find this a very hard thing to do, especially as I get older – and allow myself the occasional splurge. Mark and I eat a plant-based diet with the occasional chicken and fish, so pretty similar to your recent diet (and we walk a bunch every day), but I’m not losing anything. Maybe I need a wedding as an excuse to go the extra mile, I mean, pound. 🙂 Or, I could eat less.

    I feel the same when going indoors for extended periods of time these days. Or when I was on the plane and public transport lately – I wear a mask and hope others stay away, even though masks are not required anymore.

    I swear my blog post from Hugh had a few more ways to kill a blog. 🙂

    Have fun in September. I can’t wait for your no-doubt exciting Italy report and photos.

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    1. Liesbet, I must have been so overwhelmed by the time I got to 68 I ignored the rest!! Love your subtle way of pointing out my error. The thing about losing weight quickly is that it also comes back quickly. Better to do it over the long haul by reducing carbs and fats. Yes, there will be a full report on Italy.

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  14. Thank you so much for linking to my recent blog post, Suzanne. I hope you don’t mind me pointing out that it’s ’79 Ways To Kill Your Blog’ rather than ’68’, which you have in this post. I’ve had many visitors from your blog to the post, so a big thank you for including it in your August recap.

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  15. Hi Suzanne, Exceptionally exciting about your daughter’s wedding. One of our daughters had a destination wedding and we actually took her wedding dress with us on the plane. I am happy I am following your daughter on Instagram the past couple of years. I am curious about what you use for ‘protein supplements.’ I occasionally make shakes with additional protein, although this can upset my stomach? My husband and I also enjoyed “Murders in the Building.”You are always an inspirational photographer Suzanne. Thank you for sharing all. 💕

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  16. Hi Erica, I like a couple of products made by Atkins. I’ve tried others, but the vanilla shake is still my favorite. They also make a caramel nut bar that I like. I have never been much for breakfast anyway, so just one shake and a piece of toast gets me going. The trick to this diet is to spread your food out so that you are literally eating something about every three hours. The snack bar in the afternoon with a cup of coffee feels like a treat. By the third day, you don’t feel hungry, but the lack of variety is the thing that eventually makes me crave a plate of pasta.

    I am sure both Morgan and I will be posting updates on Instagram. I tend to do less because I don’t want to share all the photos before I get a chance to write a post about the experience. Seeing them collectively is so much more satisfying.

    Even though you are not blogging right now, I am glad that you are maintaining a presence in the blogosphere through comments. I also watch your Insta for updates and am anticipating an eventual return to blogging. All the best to you.

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  17. Min Write of the Middle

    Hi Suzanne – that is so exciting that your daughter’s wedding is coming up in Italy. How wonderful! Also – well done to you and your husband for shedding some weight. I know how much discipline that takes! Love the photo of the beach and am wondering where that is? All the best with you planning, packing, travelling and of course the wedding!

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    1. Hi Min, thanks for visiting Picture Retirement. Yes, it did require a lot of discipline to lose the weight, but we had very good motivation. Now, the hard part will be to keep it off! The beach photo is on Hutchinson Island, in Florida, about twenty minutes from our home. It is our favorite place to sit and relax in the evening.

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  18. I’m always so grateful for book and movie/TV recommendations. I just added The Woman in the Library to my library borrowing list.

    I am looking forward to your recap and photos from the wedding. Ours was a destination wedding too… a few houses down the block in our neighbor’s backyard 🙂 Congrats on the weight loss. I know it isn’t easy. As I mentioned on an earlier post, I’m doing an intermittent fast to lose my Covid weight and it has worked well. I think it gets harder at our age, but it is doable.

    Enjoy Italy and the whole wonderful experience!

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  19. Janis, I read about intermittent fasting but didn’t think I could stick with it. I am glad it is working for you. I actually lost weight during Covid but gained much of it back post-Covid, (when restaurants started opening). Trying to get back to a ‘balanced’ diet has been challenging; yes, aging makes it even harder to keep our weight in check.

    A backyard wedding would be just fine with me, but the heart wants what the heart wants. I always knew hers would not be a ‘traditional’ wedding, but I hadn’t considered Italy.

    Let me know what you think of Woman In the Library.

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