The Gift Of Impact

Me. 35 years ago. :)

Me. 35 years ago. 🙂

I turn 35 tomorrow. 

Crazy, I know. 🙂

Anyway, I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I’d “like for my birthday.” And while I appreciate the gesture, and I’m touched that people are thinking of getting me anything at all, I also REALLY LIKE SURPRISES. Honestly, I prefer getting gifts I have no use for but that are surprises to gifts of stuff I need but that I ask for. Surprises are gifts in and of themselves! Even if I never wear the ugly sweater. 😉 But usually, people are better gift-givers than they think. Chances are, if you know me at all, whatever you get me will be something I enjoy.

Then again, I never expect anything for my birthday. Times are tough financially, and not everyone has the time to make something. I know there are several people I care about very much that I haven’t been able to give a birthday gift in a long time, because money, because time, because I live so far away…so, I don’t generally expect anything. Usually what matters most to me around my birthday is spending time with close friends or family…and getting to be entirely lazy and self-indulgent for a day (or a weekend).

After all, it’s the only time when it’s legitimately OK to totally celebrate ME! 🙂 So that means only fun things that I want to do, or quality lazy time.

That said, I know there might still be some of you who want to do something to help me celebrate the occasion. For that, I am grateful. If any of you would like to help me commemorate my 35th year on the planet, I would love it if you could send a donation to any of the following organizations: 

National Alzheimer’s Association
American Diabetes Association:
National Autism Association:

If you choose to give to one of the national organizations, look up your state’s (or city’s) local chapter and give to them! Your donation will have more direct impact if it doesn’t have to trickle down through the national organization.And here’s the Birthday Present Part: When you’ve made your donation, email me a copy of your receipt at! I’d love to take screencaps of them to make a gallery that’ll show how much of an impact I’ve had on the organizations I care about! 🙂 (I’ll likely be posting pictures and shouting you out on Twitter – #TeresaBday) Please email them to me by this Sunday, July 13th at 11:59PM. 🙂

That’s it! That’s all I really want for my birthday. I mean, I certainly won’t turn down a thoughtfully picked-out gift. 🙂 But if you’re struggling to think of something, or if you were looking for an excuse to make a donation to a worthwhile cause, here you go!

POUND BY POUND: Back In the Saddle

Me - Thanksgiving 2013

Me – Thanksgiving 2013

I’ve gained 21.6 lbs since July, when I last weighed myself.
I know.
I took my Birthday Weekend in July “off,” and thought I would be OK after that, if I stopped being so structured, if I stopped getting support from the groups where I was getting support. I was wrong.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about why I’ve fallen back on bad habits, and I’ve realized that the way I eat has a lot to do with other problems in my life; the way I take care of my body being a reflection of the way I handle other stuff, blah-blah…
I won’t bore you with that right now. 🙂
The point is, I can’t do this alone. I need the people I was going to before. I need OA. I need Weight Watchers. And I need to communicate with all of you. Whenever I pull away from people, that’s when I get into trouble, and I know that I pull away, because after a while, I inevitably feel like I “should” have things under control and I stop feeling like I can share my struggle with people. But what I’ve learned from this setback is that isolation is the enemy. So, you’ll be hearing a lot more from me. 🙂
So, where does this leave the Pound By Pound Pledge Drive?
Well, we’re starting from scratch as far as people’s pledges. I’ve weighed and measured myself on December 5th, and you can see the results on my Progress Report. Starting in January (through April), you’ll once again start seeing the monthly progress reports on the 5th of the month that used to happen regularly.
As for me, I have started doing the following:
1) Last week, I restarted the Couch to 5K program. Last time, I stopped at Week 5 of the 9-week program. This time, I’m going to go all the way! So, three days a week, I run. And I also do a brief workout on those mornings, too.
2) I’m going back to my weekly hikes, starting this Saturday with a friend!
3) I’m going to seek out new and different ways to exercise in L.A. and write about them on my blog the way I was doing at Ms. In the Biz.
Better Eating Habits
4) I’ve started going back to weekly OA meetings for support. I’m in the process of finding a sponsor that I’ll be able to call for personal support, and to help me work through the program. This is more for emotional/spiritual support.
5) Next week, I’ll be starting Weight Watchers again. The weekly weigh-ins and the different vibe of the meetings help. This is more for an actual meal plan.
6) I’m in the process of starting to see a therapist recommended by a friend – because I know that my eating isn’t really about the food. It’s about other stuff I need to deal with and haven’t.
I’m doing all this to make the most of the time between now and April and hopefully raise some money for the American Diabetes Association like I said I would. 🙂 Thank you all so much for being there, and for continuing to accompany me on this journey.
Here’s to getting back on the horse!


No, really! I swam laps at the Y!

No, really! I swam laps at the Y!

My most recent Pound by Pound post is up over at Ms. In the Biz. In it, I extol the virtues of exercise at the YMCA (while also keeping it real about dudes who may or may not be masturbating in the hot tub…). Check it out!


I never thought that my fitness journey would lead me to being naked in a sauna with four other women talking about mail-order grooms.

Let me back up. First, you should know that I hate gyms. Like, hate them. Or, rather, I hate the routine of Going To The Gym. I’m supposed to sign away a year of my life to one organization for a butt-load of money and just…go to that one place? Like, several times a week? Indefinitely? Eff that.

When I decided to get serious about weight loss for the Pound By Pound Pledge Drive, I knew that variety was the name of the game. Exercise you’re never going to do is useless, and I know myself well enough to know that I will never exercise if I’m doing the same thing for weeks. And so, I’ve decided to seek out different exercise options all over L.A! Not just exercise classes and gyms, but stuff like dancing, hiking, biking, and stuff that’s a little off the beaten path!

For the whole article, or to make a comment, CLICK HERE!


Celebrating Mother’s Day (and My Mom)!

On days like this, I miss my own mother, who passed away seven years ago.

My mom in the mid-90s. Wasn't she purdy? :)

My mom in the mid-90s. Wasn’t she purdy? 🙂

In honor of my mother, Mariana Jusino, and all our mothers (both with us and not), please consider pledging to the Pound By Pound Pledge Drive. Or if not that, choose a charity/cause that means something to you and your mom. Celebrate the woman who raised you and taught you values by showing her what a great job she did in turning you into the kind of person who cares about the world around them!

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

MS. IN THE BIZ POST: Pound By Pound – The Journey Begins

Mom, Dad, and Baby Me. This is the thinnest I've ever been. 1979.

Mom, Dad, and Baby Me. This is the thinnest I’ve ever been. 1979.

My first Ms. In the Biz post is up today! It’s the first of my weekly posts about the Pound By Pound Pledge Drive, and I’m actually really proud of this one.


Being a writer isn’t exactly conducive to engaging in any kind of fitness.  Your job pretty much consists of sitting on your ass and thinking. At most, you might type so much you develop carpal tunnel syndrome.

Thing is, I can’t blame my weight on my job. While I’ve been writing stories from the time I was three, I’ve only been a professional writer for three years. I’ve been fat forever. Blame it on the enormous servings of rice and beans with which I grew up. Blame it on using food to escape family troubles when I was a kid. Blame it on the self-sustaining cycle of being made fun of for being fat, which made me sad, which made me eat, which made me fat, which got me made fun of, which made me sad, which made me eat, which made me fat…

Point is, my being fat isn’t new. What is new is how I feel about myself and how much I, as a woman in her early thirties, think I’m worth. (Answer:  a lot) This has a lot to do with my mother.

To read the complete post, and to post a comment, CLICK HERE! Please don’t comment here! 🙂 Get on over to Ms. In the Biz!



I did a pretty decent job of keeping up with my fitness goals of this past week. I floundered a bit, however, because of life stuff. I didn’t do anything on Wednesday, because I’d decided to save my exercise for later in the day, then had to race to the ER where The Boy’d been admitted (he’s fine, don’t worry!). However, I did my morning mini-workout on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and went to the YMCA using my 7-Day free guest pass Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.

I worked out on Friday, too, when I went to visit my friend, make-up artist extraordinaire, Kristen and we ended up doing this…

Me and The Pussycat Dolls

Yes, that would be the Pussycat Dolls Dancer’s Body Workout DVD. 🙂 It was SO FUN, and I now know choreography for “When I Grow Up.” Whenever Kristen and I see each other from here on out, that routine is gonna be our Secret Handshake!

So, no YMCA on Friday, but I shook my ass like a Pussycat Doll. You know, whatever gets you in shape, right?

THIS WEEK, I’m going to be embarking on a new, slightly frightening fitness endeavor. My motto always used to be, “I don’t run unless I’m being chased.” However, inspired by my sister (who’s done this TWICE), my friend Patty, several friends of mine who are avid runners, and the impending apocalypse as described in just about every book I read and film I watch, I’ve decided to devote the next 9 weeks (or so) to the Couch to 5K Program. If you’ve never heard of it, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a program designed to help you get your ass off your couch and running 5K over the course of 9 weeks. You can, however, repeat weeks. You’re supposed to go at your own pace, which is the best part about it. It allows you to push yourself, but only when you’re ready, and if you finish this, there’s a 5K to 10K Program you can do after that…

But, one thing at a time. 🙂

As you’re supposed to run three days a week, I’ve decided to do my running on the days I work my day job. So, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings, I’m going to get my running in after work. The other two days this week, I’m gonna do that mini-workout. And I also have my third Teresa’s Hike & Brunch on Saturday, the 4th. If you’re in L.A. and you’d like to join in on that, like my Facebook page and send me a message – I’ll add you to the Facebook invite!

I even got new running shoes to use specifically for my Couch to 5K endeavor as well as for hiking!

My new Nike Pegasus running shoes, purchased on sale at Lady Foot Locker

My new Nike Pegasus running shoes, purchased on sale at Lady Foot Locker

So, wish me luck with this running business! I’m actually rather nervous about it, and I don’t know why that is. I don’t know why running makes me nervous in a way that gym machines and hiking don’t. But here I go anyway, because it’s Week Three, and it’s time to step things up a notch!

And keep your eyes on this blog NEXT Sunday, May 5th, because it’ll be time for my FIRST WEIGH-IN! Until then, keep your POUND BY POUND Pledge Drive pledges and donations coming HERE.

Thank you all SO MUCH for your support of me and of the American Diabetes Association!

POUND BY POUND: UPDATE #2 (Or, Thank You Bear-y Much!)


We are now in Week Two of the Pound By Pound Pledge Drive to benefit the American Diabetes Association, and there are SO MANY THINGS that have happened, or that are coming up because of it! Last week, I had seven fabulous people to thank for extreme generosity. They put me at $1,650 in pledges. So, where do we stand this week….?

$1,825 FOR THE ADA!

Thanks to another generous pledge, and a flat donation, I’m getting ever closer to my new $2,000 goal! So this week, I’d like to thank:

  1. HELENNA S-L on behalf of MS. IN THE BIZ (pledge)
  2. RACHEL H. (flat donation)

So, while there are still free copies of my chapbook, On the Ground Floor, left to be had, all the red ADA bracelets have been snatched up!


The next THREE pledges of $1.00/pound or more (or flat donations of $100 or more) will receive:

Gift for the next THREE pledges!

Gift for the next THREE pledges!

That’s right! The next three of you who pledge/donate will get this cute little guy sent to you bearing a slim volume of my writing! It’s my way of thanking you for your support in me efforts. So get on over to my pledge page and pledge/donate however you can! And if you can’t do that, then spread the word far and wide!

Onward and upward! (or, in the case of my weight, downward!) 🙂