Friday, January 29, 2016

Friday Thoughts

It's been a while since I did a Friday "rambling" type post, and I feel like it's long overdue.

  • A friend of mine has challenged me to limit myself to 1 "treat" per day for a week. Yesterday was the first day, and I succeeded! I planned to get a frozen coffee drink from CC's Coffee (I love theirs more than Starbucks!) before heading to RCIA class, and that's just what I did. Day 1 conquered, on to Day 2!
  • I found a new favorite dressing - OPA (by Litehouse Foods) Greek Yogurt Ranch Dressing. You guys, this is the best ranch dressing I've ever had (even better than the Bolthouse Farms yogurt ranch!). I've also tried the Jalapeno Ranch by OPA--it's pretty amazing too. You won't find this dressing in the regular salad dressing aisle; it's refrigerated, usually found in the produce section.
  • I went to the doctor a few days ago because I'd been having issues with my empty lap band; basically even though there's nothing in it, I still have problems eating food. I told him I didn't have reflux, but then he was pressing on my stomach and I felt pain in my chest. When I told him this, he was like, "Christina, that's reflux." I said, "Oh. I guess I don't know what reflux feels like after all!" Right now, he's thinking that the reflux is causing inflammation in my esophagus, thus making it harder for food to pass through the empty band. He put me on THREE reflux meds for the the next 3 weeks, and then we'll re-evaluate. If nothing else, I've started a paper trail that maybe will one day lead to insurance paying for the removal. 
  • Cancer sucks. Marc's best friend from high school and college was recently diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer, and a good friend of mine from high school's 4-yr-old son has been diagnosed with Stage 3 neuroblastoma (his little body is riddled with tumors). I'm just tired of hearing about so many people who've been diagnosed. Good vibes and prayers are much appreciated.
  • Marc's parents are in town this weekend. Today is Grandparents Day at the kids' school, so they came to do that. We always have such a good time when they visit; I'm truly blessed in the in-law department! Speaking of the weekend, the weather for the next few days is going to be fantastic! 
  • I've increased my Girls on the Run fundraising goal for the Crescent City Classic to $1000! I'm so grateful to everyone who's already donated. Your donations will help Girls on the Run do so much for the girls in New Orleans, from buying snacks and t-shirts for practices, to providing running shoes for girls who need them and paying program fees for those who cannot pay. Girls on the Run does not turn anyone away based on their inability to pay! Here's the direct link to my fundraising page, and I also added a widget on my sidebar that you can click on.
What do you have planned for this weekend?

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie {Sponsored}

One of my go-to healthy breakfasts or post-workout snacks is a delicious, nutritious smoothie. To be honest, I haven't been having these smoothies as often as I used to, but they are definitely coming back into the repertoire!

When I first started seeing a nutritionist for my binge eating, she asked me about my typical breakfast. At the time, it included a smoothie that was more focused on lower fat/calories; she helped me modify it to make it more filling and nutritious, and the result was a very satisfying smoothie that not only kept me full for several hours, but also kept the cravings at bay!

This is a very versatile recipe; you can experiment with different fruits (always frozen!), yogurt flavors, add-ins, etc. (One of my favorite alternatives is to use frozen cherries instead of the peanut butter for an amazing chocolate cherry smoothie.) It includes my favorite base, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk-Coconutmilk Blend. I actually prefer the Vanilla Unsweetened variety, but I haven't been able to find it lately so I've been using the regular Unsweetened--it's still delicious!

The smoothie also contains oats for fiber, real peanut butter for fat and protein, Greek yogurt for protein, spinach because it's good for you, and half a frozen banana for fruit and because I prefer using frozen fruit in place of actual ice--it doesn't get watered down as it melts. The other flavors are strong enough that you don't even taste the spinach or oats; just chocolatey, peanut buttery goodness.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Smoothie (makes 1 12oz serving)
Calories: 327, Fat: 17.6, Sat Fat: 3.6, Carbs: 44.4, Fiber: 10.6, Sugar: 12, Protein: 16.3; SmartPoints: 11

1/4 cup oats (any kind will do); pulse a few seconds to turn them more into a flour
3/4 cup Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Almondmilk-Coconutmilk Blend (or your favorite variety)
1/4 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon powdered peanut butter (like PB2)
1 handful of spinach
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 packet stevia
1/2 frozen banana

1. Be sure to add the oats to your blender first and pulse a few times before adding anything else.
2. Add remaining ingredients to blender.
3. Blend until smooth. Pour into your favorite cup and enjoy!

This post is sponsored by Almond Breeze Almondmilk. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

10K Training Tuesday - Week 2

Well, I hate to say it, but my first week of 10K training definitely did not go as planned. Here's the breakdown:

Monday: Nothing
Tuesday: 20 minutes speed work
Wednesday: 20 minute run with 1:1 intervals
Thursday: Nothing
Friday: Nada
Saturday: Zip
Sunday: Zilch

Would you like to hear my completely justified reasons excuses? Yes? Great!

So I woke up too late on Monday to get my walk in; "No big deal," I thought, "I'll just do it at lunch!" My coworker ended up going out to do some stuff at lunch so I had to stay behind to answer the phones. Granted, I could have marched in place for 30 minutes, but alas... I did not.

Tuesday and Wednesday were right on schedule! I did my speed work on Tuesday instead of Wednesday last week because our regular Wednesday staff meeting was switched to Tuesday. It was my first time doing speed work, and it wasn't terrible. I went pretty easy on myself since it was my first time, but I'll tweak it as I go along. I basically just ran fast for 20ish seconds, followed by a 1-minute rest (walk). This week I think I might try to jog sloooowly instead of walking during the rest period.

Thursday through Sunday, I suffered from the great Mom Cold of 2016. That's all there is to say about that! I did nothing but lay in bed, which I'm pretty sure does not count toward my training.

I'm still not feeling exactly 100%, but I did manage to do my run this morning (spitting out tons of green stuff every block or so, you're welcome).

I'm looking forward to this week of training!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weigh In (1/23) + Uncharted Territory

You guys... you know how the internet always jokes about "man colds"? Well, I'm pretty sure I got slammed with a "mom cold" last Thursday. I woke up on Thursday feeling not quite right... sore throat, runny nose, body aches... and ended up leaving work at lunch time to go home, where I proceeded to lay on the couch and do absolutely nothing except watch Blue Bloods the rest of the day.

Speaking of Blue Bloods, do you watch it? It's really good! My boss told me about it--Tom Selleck is a police commissioner, and his dad was PC too, and Tom's 4 children are in law enforcement as well (3 cops, 1 ADA). It's great because they're a tight-knit family, they come together every week for Sunday dinner, and so far everyone's on the up-and-up; no one's cheating on anyone, no one's involved in any dirty dealings. It's refreshing! The first 5 seasons are on Netflix :)

Friday I woke up feeling even crappier and stayed home from work and watched more Blue Bloods all day. Saturday and Sunday involved more laying around and Blue Bloods. I did manage to go to my Weight Watchers meeting on Saturday, and Sunday we took the kids to the mall (they love the Disney Store) and caught the end of a parade afterward. After we got home on Sunday, I was wiped out and did some more laying around.

Since I've been sick, I've not been doing any exercise whatsoever; I'm not worried about the 10K training though because everything I had down for the first week was basically what I'd already been doing. Hopefully I'll be back on track this week; I actually made it to work today, so things are looking up!

Okay, so, back to the weigh in part of this post:

Y'all, I lost FOUR POUNDS last week, and I'm now in the 220's! I just kept staring at the sticker because it's just such a foreign number to me. I'm getting extremely close to "uncharted territory"--I don't remember being below 223 since probably 2006! (Actually, I got to 219 when I lost weight between having Karinne and getting pregnant with Ryan; however, I only saw it that low once before I started gaining pregnancy weight, so I don't think it really counts!) It kind of freaks me out a little, my weight getting this low. I'm realizing that I might actually see Onederland (weight in the 100's)--maybe even reach my goal weight!--this year, and that scares me. Just typing that out, I felt my heart rate increase and anxiety kick in.  I've identified as being fat and unhealthy for so long, what happens when those words don't describe me anymore?

With that, am reminding myself of my mantra, "just for today." I'm taking this one day at a time, one pound at a time. Losing weight slowly helps my mind adjust to my body. Worrying about will happen tomorrow or next week or next month does nothing good for me now; just focus on where I am today, right now.

I'll be completely honest... I have not been tracking my SmartPoints. I love Weight Watchers, and I really love the meeting--I still just can't wrap my head around SmartPoints. I'm still tracking in My Fitness Pal though, and I've been staying within my calories. I will say that even though I'm not actually tracking my SP, it still has made me more aware of my sugary choices. I'll probably give it another go this week and see how it goes.

Despite the slight anxiety, I'm really pleased with my weight loss this month; I've lost 10 pounds since Christmas! I think Marc's getting a little nervous; I've always weighed more than him (inevitable since I'm taller than him), but now I'm only about 12 pounds more than he is. Time to step it up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

10K Training Tuesday - Week 1

I've mentioned this before, but in case you missed it--I'm running my first 10K on March 26, the Crescent City Classic, and I'm a charity runner for Girls on the Run. I'm pretty excited about this, as it's *the* race that it seems everyone who even thinks about running, runs (in New Orleans, at least).

I've looked at what seems like a hundred different training plans, and I've finally come up with something that's sort of a hybrid of everything I read. I needed something that can be done in 10 weeks, that will challenge me (but not too much!), and includes run/walk intervals. I also wanted to include speed training once per week.

So here is what I came up with... on the "30 min walk" days, that can be any sort of cross-training and strength training. On the run days, the "1:1" is the run:walk interval, in minutes. As of right now, for speed training I plan to basically run faster than normal for 20 seconds, then walk for a minute or 2 and do it again. I'll see how it goes and tweak it as needed. If any of you more experience runners have any suggestions for me, I'd love to hear them!

I'd like to share the ups and downs of my training with you, and hopefully having a dedicated day will keep me on track and accountable :)

Oh! One more thing--as a charity runner, my initial goal was to raise $300. Well, I've already surpassed that, so since there are still 2 months til the race, I raised my goal to $500. Visit my fundraising page to donate if you so desire--Girls on the Run of New Orleans receives 100% of the donations!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Weigh In (1/16)

How the heck are we already halfway through January?!? Honestly, I'm perfectly happy to see January zoom right on by; it's the anniversary of my mom's death and the whole latter half the month just makes me a little wonky. January 20, 2008, was the last day I heard her voice, she died on January 31st, and we buried her February 4th. It gets a little easier to deal with each year that passes, but every day in the back of my mind, I can't help but note what I remember from each day during that time period... "this was the last time I heard her voice," "this is the day I couldn't hold it together any more," "this is the day I knew she wasn't coming back..." I'm sure I'll be writing more about her in the coming days.

I was up .2 at Saturday's weigh in. Can you even really call that a gain? Basically, I maintained. I had two decent losses in a row, so I'm not surprised. I was prepared for more of a gain, so it's good!

We had a good weekend--Saturday was warm, but the temperature dropped and was much cooler on Sunday. OH! I also finally decided that will definitely be coaching with Girls on the Run again for the spring season, and I'll be sticking with the middle school program (Heart & Sole). I had coach training on Saturday, and I ended up volunteering to be a head coach! They have a community site (for girls whose schools don't have GOTR, or are homeschooled) that meets on Thursday and Saturday and they still needed a head coach, so I'm doing it! The difference between the Head Coach and the Assistant Coaches is that the Head Coach is required to be at every practice, and has to do all the administrative stuff (making sure girls are registered, evaluations, calls with the head office, etc.). The Head Coach also leads the practices. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to it!

Last but not least, my weekly goals! I didn't forget this time :)

Reviewing last week's goals...

Reach my goal of 5000 steps every day. DONE

Be in bed by 10:30.  Yeah, this didn't really happen. Does it count if I fell asleep on the couch?

Track, track, track! DONE (ish...)

This weeks goals... 

Reach my goal of 5000 steps every day. If I manage to do this one, I'll raise next week's goal.

Be in bed by 10:30 4 days. I put 4 days to reduce the expectation a bit; I should be able to do this, and it's good for me.

Drink 64oz of water every day. My water intake has been terrible lately!

What goals are you working on this week?

Friday, January 15, 2016

Coming off the high

Remember when I mentioned that I've been in a funk lately? 

I think I've pinpointed the cause... and it's that there is no cause

Groundbreaking, eh?

I had a light bulb moment earlier today and it dawned on me that this "funk" is just a low point in the depressive cycle. It goes up and down, like a wave, but when you've been riding the high for a while, you can forget that eventually, you'll come down

As someone who deals with depression, who's been actively making changes and working to overcome such things, you'd think I would have figured it out sooner. Ah well. 

I don't take any medication, so it's possible I feel these highs and lows more strongly than someone who does take medication...though really, I have no idea. I just know that I'm sick and tired of it, and now that I've recognized the source, I know I need to work harder than ever to dig out of this slump.

Instead of waiting to just magically come out of the slump, I have to take action and do it myself. Basically, it's time to bring out the big guns! 

I also would like to take a moment to acknowledge that I realize my posts have been somewhat lacking lately. Hoping to improve that now that I've figured out the problem! 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I hope to see you bright and chipper on Monday (or as bright and chipper as one can be on a Monday...)!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Weekly Goals and Living for the Weekend

Yeah, so, remember last week when I said I was going to start making weekly goals? TOTALLY failed at doing that this week. I mean, I just completely forgot, which just reinforces the idea that I really need my goals in front of me all the time to keep them at the forefront of my mind.

I did good with my tracking and breakfasts, but failed at the step goal; in fact, I've now lowered my step goal even more, to 5000 steps. Once I start hitting that goal fairly consistently, I'll raise it again.

My goals for this week (or what left of it)...

Reach my goal of 5000 steps every day. Totally doable... totally.

Be in bed by 10:30. Not asleep, just in bed. I discovered the show "Blindspot" this week, and watched all 10 available episodes in 2 days (starting around 8pm each of those days!). Yeah, I was up super late, meaning I had no desire to wake up early the next morning!

Track, track, track! I think this one's pretty self-explanatory.

*Phew* Now that's done! On to other things...

I've kind of been in a funk lately... I guess since Christmas, really. It's been really hard to find the motivation to actually do anything that I want to accomplish. I have lots of ideas, but zero energy to actually do any of it. Maybe it's just post-holiday blues. I think I need to channel some positive energy, and force myself to accomplish just one thing each day, no matter how small.

I feel so much better on the weekends, when I can get out and enjoy life and be active on my schedule. Last Saturday, it was absolutely beautiful outside and we took full advantage of it! We put the kids in the bike trailer and rode all over our part of town, stopping at 2 different parks along the way. On Sunday, it was much colder, but I still got out for a run and enjoyed it immensely! Even though it was cold, it was daylight and that made it so much easier for me to get up and go.

I think I'm realizing something that I've known for a while... that I want a job that allows me the freedom and flexibility to enjoy life more than just on the weekends. I hate being gone 5 days/week from 7:30-5:30, and I hate being cooped up in a cubicle for 9 of those 10 hours. There are aspects of my job that are wonderful and I would hate to leave, but at the same time, I'm not sure it's worth it anymore. I know there's a perfect job out there for me, somewhere... I just hope I find it before I'm 60.

I took a walk to the library while the kids were napping (Marc was home)

Karinne and her bike

All ready to go!

It's not easy to take a picture while riding a bike

Karinne dressed herself; we were headed out for a Starbucks date!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weigh In (1/9) + What I've Learned (so far)

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you already know my weigh in results...

I am officially 50 pounds down! *cue Hallelujah chorus*

I was literally holding my breath as I stepped on the scale at my WW meeting on Saturday (then released it when I realized it might cause me to be a few ounces heavier). Our receptionists have really excellent poker faces, so I really had no idea what to expect; in my head, I was screaming, "Come on, woman! I NEED to know the results!" However, on the outside, I was maintaining perfect composure, though I may have been staring at her a bit harder than usual. Finally, she said, "I think you'll be pleased with this," and I all but shouted, "Did I hit 50 pounds?????!?!??!?!??" It took her a minute to get to the screen I guess, and after what felt like an eternity, she said YES!

Whenever we hit a milestone, we're asked to share what we've learned on our journey so far. I was almost in shock, because I couldn't believe that I was finally doing this; I was holding back tears, but successfully managed to regain my composure enough to speak.

I've learned that this is my journey. No two weight loss journeys are alike; we talk about it all the time in our meetings (and in blog land), how Weight Watchers provides the framework but it's up to each of us to make it our own (and that goes for all weight loss methods, not just WW!). I have lost 50 pounds, and I haven't been forced to give up a single thing. I also almost always use all the points given to me, which has been a huge part of my not giving anything up. If I want something, I can fit it into my plan. When there's a will, there's a way, amiright?

I've learned that healthier foods truly do make me feel better. When go out to eat, I no longer automatically choose the unhealthy foods simply because we're eating out. More often than not, I choose a soup and/or salad, and then eat less than half of my entree (or share with Marc). A while back, I got the thin fried catfish platter with french fries that I always LOVED at a local restaurant, and you know what? I felt so nauseous afterward, so yucky, that I really have no desire to get a whole meal like that again. The next time we went, I got a cup of gumbo, and then ate maybe half a piece of fish off of Marc's plate, with a few fries (they're tossed in garlic butter--so delicious) and I was completely satisfied.

But it's okay to indulge in not-so-healthy choices too! I have no problem enjoying something that's less than healthy, as long as it's something I truly want. For example, I'd been craving nachos for a while, and finally satisfied that craving on Saturday at Felipe's Taqueria--tortilla chips slathered in cheese, beans, al pastor, guacamole and pico de gallo. I'm not ashamed to say I finished off nearly the entire plate! Balance is important--I figure that as long as I'm making more healthy choices than unhealthy choices, I'm on the right track.

It's going to take as long as it takes. This is probably the single most game-changing thing I've learned on this leg of my journey. It's taken longer than I initially would have liked to get to this point in my journey (20 months, to be exact), but I know, without a doubt, that this weight is never coming back.* I'm losing the weight in way that's sustainable for the long term; I've changed my lifestyle, slowly, and I haven't given up a single thing. There's nothing that I've eliminated from my diet that I'll want to add back later on. It's not a comparison game; shoot, if I was comparing my weight loss rate to others (1 woman in my meeting has lost 92 pounds since May!), I would have given up a long time ago! I've changed my eating habits, my activity habits, and I've changed my entire way of thinking. I'm more or less at the halfway point of my journey, and I'm looking forward to finding out what the second half has in store for me.


*Don't worry, I'm not so naive to think that I'll never regain any weight. I read enough blogs to realize that it's certainly a possibility! However, I'm confident that if/when it does happen, I'll be able to nip it in the bud before it gets too out of control.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Girls on the Run: What's next for me?

The next session of Girls on the Run is starting next month, and I still haven't decided whether I'm going to coach again. I had such a fantastic time at the 5K, and that alone made the entire coaching experience worth it.

Honestly, the only thing holding me back is selfishness. It's a commitment to show up every week for 10 weeks, and I'm usually exhausted because I go straight from work. Also, while the 5K was amazing, the actual coaching was tough. In our coach training, they made it seem like the girls are all totally into it and it's just a blast all the time, but that wasn't my experience at all. I'm sure it's partly due to the specific school I was at, and it was also middle school (the middle school GOTR program is actually called Heart & Sole, and last season was the New Orleans' chapter's first season with it so they've got some kinks to work out). I'm leaning toward definitely coaching though.

That being said, I've also registered for the Crescent City Classic 10K as a charity runner for Girls on the Run! That means that in lieu of paying a registration fee, I agree to raise $200 for GOTR. If you would like to help me reach that goal, visit my fundraising page here to donate. All proceeds go to Girls on the Run of New Orleans!

Since this ended up being a rather short post, I'll leave you with these awesome photos from the 5K that you've probably already seen! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

January Goal(s)

I already posted my goals for 2016, but I think it's important to post smaller goals throughout the year as well. Now, I typically create general monthly goals, but Jessica from A Little More Each Day had this novel idea of creating weekly goals instead. Like her, I tend to lose track of my monthly goals over time--I create them at the beginning of the month, but don't think about them too much beyond the second week. Now, I'm going to try making smaller, weekly goals that will help me achieve my larger goals.

It's like the idea that when you have a lot of weight to lose, you should focus on smaller weight goals (5, 10 pounds) at a time rather than the BIG number to keep from getting overwhelmed.

Overall, this month I'd really like to focus on eating within my daily/weekly SmartPoints. I went in and changed my WW settings so it will also swap my FitPoints, but I'd rather not use them if I don't have to. I kind of feel like a broken record, in terms of "I need to eat within my Points" and "I really need to cut down on the sugar." But it's all still true. Sooooo, I think I've come up with a few things I can do each week to help achieve those goals.

For the rest of this week, here's the plan:

Track, no matter what. I've gotten a little lazy with my tracking the last couple of weeks. It's so hard to track the things that put you over your calories/points! However, it's not doing me any favors to "overlook" those things.

Reach my step goal of 7000 steps each day. This has proven to be extremely difficult with my sedentary job. On days I don't exercise, I'm lucky if I reach 5000 steps! When we were in Texas, I was getting 10,000+ steps each day, easy peasy. I don't think I've gotten that many since we've been back! It's been cold and I haven't wanted to get up in the mornings; that's got to change. It's going to change.

Have a healthy breakfast each day. My trusty Kind bars are now 6 SmartPoints (instead of 3), and therefore no longer worth it. Little known fact: Lap bands are almost always "tight" in the mornings, making it difficult to eat actual food first thing in the AM. Even though mine is unfilled, I still have this issue, so I typically will drink a protein shake or WW smoothie just to get me going, then have something more substantial after I get to work (the band has usually loosened up by then). The Kind bars were convenient for this reason, but I suppose now I'll have to give it some actual thought. Maybe just fruit and Greek yogurt, or some eggs with veggies; I'll have to see what I can make that's easily portable!

What are your goals for this week / month?

Don't forget to check out this post for your chance to win a Fitbit Flex!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Weigh In (1/2) + Let's do this!

First weigh in of 2016 is in the books...

I'm quite pleased with this weigh in, though I'm not entirely sure how it happened since I most definitely ate a lot of junk last week. I wasn't horribly off the rails, but I certainly wasn't watching my food intake like I should have been. Either way, I'll take it!

I did not make my goal of 50 pounds lost by this weigh in (though of course I'm now thinking, "If only I'd been more on plan with my eating I probably would have made it!), but I'm damn close! Just .6 away from it... I did my best (mostly), and I'm happy with this outcome.

Let's revisit my goals for December, shall we?

End December weighing less than I started it! DONE! I was 235.4 at my weigh in on 12/4. Sweet!

Make a plan for "problem" days and stick to it. DONE! 

Track, track, track! DONE! I consistently tracked in My Fitness Pal (add me! I'm steeners), and tracked semi-consistently in WW. 

Enjoy the holiday season and don't stress; remember why we celebrate. DONE DONE DONE!

I think these goals have been some of my favorites, by far. Yes, I actually met them all, but more than that, they were challenging yet easily attainable. There was no "do this every day" expectation, therefore, no sense of failure if I missed a day. I haven't given much thought yet to my goals for January, but I'm planning to have them up by tomorrow or Wednesday.

In other news, Marc and I used our Christmas money (gifts + bonuses + gift cards) to purchase new bikes for ourselves! I'd been searching for a while for the perfect bike--I wanted cruiser-style, but with multiple speeds and handle brakes. Oh, and "reasonably priced". I finally found what I was looking for at Target:
I LOVE IT! Marc got the men's version, which is black with brown accents (and doesn't have a basket on the front--plus it was on clearance for $125!) My only complaint so far is the seat; it's pretty uncomfortable, especially for my voluptuous derriere. Most cruisers have a nice wide, padded seat; this one is very narrow and not cushioned at all. Not a huge deal though, as it can be replaced. 

We also purchased a bike rack, helmets, and other random items. Oh, and we got a bike trailer for the kids! They got bicycles for Christmas, but we still wanted a trailer so we could go on longer rides as a family. We took them on their first ride on Saturday, and they loved it!

It's finally winter here (high temps are in the 50's!), so we snuggled them in with a blanket. The trailer also as a netted cover (to keep bugs/debris out) and a rain cover that zip on. We ended up using the rain cover because it started raining while we were eating dinner (which also made the temperature drop quite a bit!).  We rode to Parkway Bakery for po' boys and gumbo (yum!) and parked under the covered patio to keep our gear out of the rain.

The first few days of 2016 have been pretty great. I'm looking forward to finding out what the rest of this year has in store!