I felt that 5x5 wasn't challenging me enough, so I've switched to doing 3 sets of 10 reps for each exercise. I found that it made a huge difference, as I could really feel my body working and the last two reps required me to pull on my willpower and determination.
chest press (60lbs)
row (60 lbs)
bicep curl (20lbs barbell)
tricep pulldown (22.5 lbs)
cardio: 45 minutes total, 542 cals burned
15 minutes stairclimber (I was panting but I finished it)
5 minutes reclining bike (just wasn't into it today)
25 minutes elliptical
20 minute brisk walk
I read this article today in a weight-training site which said that one has to commit to doing 45 minutes - 1 hour of cardio 4-5 times a week to lose weight. Any less and it'll be to maintain the weight at the current level. That's o.k., I'm ready to make that kind of committment. I was planning to cut back on my social life anyway to save money for Christmas presents & December birthday presents for 5 family members and of course, my trip :-)
Aside from work, my life will evolve around the gym, piano, knitting and salsa. It'll be kinda lonely even though I'll be surrounded by people all the time, but oh well, it's going to be so worth it looking into the mirror three months from now and seeing what I've accomplished so far.