You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there. ~ Author Unknown

I have absolutely no idea what we did (or didn’t) do on Friday night. 

Saturday we got up early and went to the Peddler Show in Rosenberg.  Having never been before I wasn’t really sure what to expect but all in all I’d say it met my expectations.  We got some super cute Christmas stuff for very reasonable prices and we purchased some really interesting pasta that I can’t wait to try.  They’re pastas that are made already flavored.  All you have to do is cook them, add some olive oil and maybe a little parmesan cheese, and eat.  Should be an experience if nothing else.  I’m not sure I’d go every year or anything but it’s something fun to do on a Saturday morning every few years or so.  Afterwards, we went back to Sugar Land and had lunch at Café Adobe.  When the hubs said he wanted Mexican food I was a little surprised at first since he rarely ever wants to eat Mexican.  I was also a little concerned because I’ve been trying to eat healthier and the first thought that popped in my head when he said Mexican food was NACHOS!  … definitely not a healthy food item.  So when we arrived at the restaurant and I started looking through the menu I checked the soup and salad section.  I love tortilla soup but I only like it when there’s no chicken in it.  Very few places actually serve it that way.  Unfortunately, Café Adobe is one of those places that only offers it with chicken.  Fortunately, they have another soup on the menu though that sounded delicious.  It’s called Roasted Poblano Corn Chowder.  I had thought I was going to order chicken fajitas until I read that.  Since the hubs didn’t want to share fajitas with me, that was just going to be too much food.  So, I decided to get their soup & salad combo.  You get your choice of soup, a salad, and one “Mexican item” (i.e. a taco or enchilada).  I decided on a cup of the corn chowder, the house salad with dressing on the side, and a ground beef taco.  It was delicious, AND waaaay healthier than the nachos which originally called my name.  I got some protein, carbs, and vegis – and all in about equal portions.  I know it sounds strange but I’m actually proud of myself for this choice.  It’s a sign that I’m headed in the right direction.  Afterwards we went to Texas Running Company to get me new shoes for the Couch to 5k that starts this week.  Actually I bought my last pair of workout shoes there and was so happy with the process that I will probably buy my workout shoes from them until they go out of business or we move.  I have back problems and a totally effed up right knee.  Having the right shoes makes all the difference in the world.  The first time I went in they had me walk and do a light jog on a treadmill while they videotaped my feet.  Then, they played it back in super slow-mo to see how I rotated my feet.  They determine if you’re a pronator (rotate your feet inward), supernator (rotate your feet outward) or neutral.  I’m what’s called an overpronator which occurs when there is too much roll on the inside of the foot, consequently distributing the weight and shock of impact more heavily on the inside of the foot rather than evenly throughout the foot (per their website).  Having shoes that correct this problem has significantly reduced the amount of pain I get in my back and knee when I work out.  However, the shoes I originally purchased were starting to rub blisters which means that they’re officially stretched out and it’s time for new ones.  So, I now have new shoes and a workout watch which I went and bought at Target.  Afterwards we went to Kroger to do our grocery shopping for the week and then headed home to unload all of our loot.  We spent Sunday hanging around the house reading for the first part of the day and then I finally got my lazy behind in gear and went out to start the first day of the 5k program.  Technically we’re supposed to walk Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and one weekend day this week.  However, due to scheduling problems G and I are only going to be able to walk together Monday and Wednesday this week and I likely won’t have a chance to get in a workout this coming weekend.  So, I decided to get a jump on the program and start my workout session a day early.  I took the pup with me and we set off from the house.  It’s about a 5 minute walk or thereabouts from my house to the neighborhood park and since the first 5 minutes are supposed to be spent doing a walking warm-up we used the walk for that purpose.  We walked at a natural pace for 5 minutes, jogged for 30 seconds and then walked at a fast pace for 5 minutes.  That was our entire warm-up.  For our workout we fast walked for 15 minutes and then did a slow 5 minute walk back to the house.  Once home, I stretched for about 5 minutes and that was that.  It was the first workout I’ve done alone in the last few months.  Every other time, I’ve been with my friend G.  I honestly couldn’t tell you if I kept the same pace that G and I usually keep on our walks but it was definitely harder to work out alone.  I find this funny because usually I’m all about working out alone.  Actually, I thought I preferred it that way.  But, when I look back on my past workout history I realize that I’m competitive enough that when there’s someone next to me I push just a little harder so that I can outdo them.  I remember doing this when I’d be at high school swim practice at some God forsaken hour of the morning.  Someone in the lane next to be would be swimming just a touch faster than I was and that would irritate me and I’d speed up.  So, perhaps I really do like working out with someone more than I thought I did.  I definitely work out harder that way.  Once home, I cooked dinner.  We had Lemon Roasted Chicken with Potatoes (thanks Martha Stewart) with Orzo Salad with White Beans.  I also made Macaroni Bean Soup for lunches for the week.  I’ve made the lemon chicken recipe before and it’s delicious.  The orzo salad turned out pretty good too, especially considering that I’m not much of a cold pasta salad person.  However, I did only use half of the dressing it called for which may have been the clencher since I’m not much of a dressing person.  I didn’t try the soup yet but it smelled amazing.  It’s full of protein rich kidney beans and yummy vegis like carrots and squash.  I didn’t have the macaroni it called for but I bought a bunch of pasta on close-out sale a few weeks ago so I subbed whole-wheat shells instead.  Definitely worth a try!  I love cooking soup on the weekends and freezing it for healthy lunches during the week.  Yum! 

I do feel as though my body is slowly starting to change physically.  Perhaps it’s all wishful thinking though.  The changes are minor but I really do think they’re there.  My legs from my knees down (basically my calves and ankles) are getting more toned.  Actually my husband is sort of teasing me about this because I already have really toned calves.  They’re super muscular from walking in heels all the freaking time.  And, I don’t have what I call ‘fat-people feet.’  Basically what this means is that my feet are skinny and bony (not fat or bloated).  There hasn’t been any change in my feet but I swear my ankles are smaller.  It may just feel that way since my calves are more toned though.  And, my boobs are shrinking.  Now normally this wouldn’t be a good thing but I always lose weight in my boobs first.  The funny thing about losing weight when you have a lot of weight to lose is that you lose it in stages.  Generally, you don’t lose it slowly all over.  Instead, you lose nearly all of it in one area first.  This means that I’ll likely lose the excess weight in my boobs first, then in my rib cage area, then in my thighs/butt, and lastly, in my tummy.  I will be really disproportionate for a while.  I’m so glad that the ends justify the means.  I’m also glad that I’m starting to see small changes already.  I’m avoiding the scale because it just generally depresses me but also because I don’t have some magic number that I’m aiming for.  I’m aiming for a look, not a weight.  I’m not even aiming for a pants size.  One of the prettiest girls I know told me the other day that she’s a size 10.  I was shocked!  She’s so tiny!  She looks healthy though and that’s the main thing.  She’s toned and doesn’t have any noticeable fat on her at all.  I could get to a size 10 and not look nearly as healthy as she does.  It’s not about pant size.  And again, it’s not about some magic weight.  150lbs could be the perfect weight for me and could be 50lbs overweight for another girl my height.  It’s a look I’m going for.  I want to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see there, not look away as quickly as humanly possible.  I could definitely use some self-esteem pick-me-ups this week because I’m lagging in that department significantly but I think that’s just part of the process.  I have a long way to go though so it’s too early to be feeling this way. 

 

If you’re interested in looking up the Couch to 5k program for yourself the website is: http://www.beginnertriathlete.com/Programs/conservative_program.htm

The recipe for the Lemon Roasted Chicken with Potatoes can be found here: http://www.marthastewart.com/312943/lemon-roasted-chicken-with-potatoes

The recipe for the Macaroni Bean Soup can be found here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Macaroni-Bean-Soup

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“I’m tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. What do you want? An adorable pancreas?” — Jean Kerr

The other day I got to thinking about all of the things I should be doing on a daily basis that I’m not.  I’m not talking about doing a load of laundry each day or something like that, I’m talking about the things I should be doing to take care of myself such as moisturizing.  Actually, I have my friend A to thank for this because the other day we were all together talking about girl stuff and she mentioned that she moisturizes all the time.  I don’t mind lotion on my body but I can’t stand the feel of it on my face or my hands.  It makes me feel dirty.  So, I don’t moisturize very often.  Luckily, I have naturally supple skin so I’m not suffering too much but the truth of the matter is, I SHOULD moisturize more.  This got me thinking and asking myself what else I should be doing every day.  So, I did some research and here is what I found… the list is amazingly long.

  1. Go to sleep and wake up at approximately the same time each day (making sure to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night). 
  2. Brush your teeth (using fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush) at least twice a day, or ideally after every meal.  A good thorough brushing should take two minutes and should include your tongue, the roof of your mouth (if you can stand it) and your lips (to exfoliate them).  Floss daily, ideally before bed and rinse with an antimicrobial mouth rinse (i.e. Listerine).  See the dentist a minimum of once a year (every 6 months is ideal).
  3. Use a body brush on dry skin prior to showering.  It should be used for a minimum of five minutes to stimulate lymphatic drainage and exfoliate skin.
  4. Shower – wash your bad self with a body wash suited to your skin type (oily, dry, etc).  Exfoliate your entire body once a week.
  5. Shave – under arms, legs, girly parts, etc.  Shaving is generally most effective on freshly exfoliated skin.  Always moisturize after shaving.
  6. Give your feet a good scrub with a sponge, pumice stone or foot scrubber. 
  7. Shampoo and condition your hair (daily or every other day).  Use a deep conditioning treatment every two weeks.
  8. Clean your ears!  Use a Q-tip after showering to gently remove any inner ear debris (don’t go too deep!).  Use a tissue or other thin cloth to wipe the exterior portion of the ear removing any wax/product (think hairspray) buildup.  Once a week pour a little rubbing alcohol in your ear and let sit for 30 seconds, then drain and clean with a Q-tip – this will prevent a wax buildup.
  9. Moisturize your body.
  10. Get your face ready for the day:  cleanse your face, dry your face, use a toner, and use a moisturizer with SPF.  Once a week use a Biore strip as well as a face mask suited to your skin type and needs.
  11. Apply sunscreen (minimum 15 SPF) to any areas that may see the sun.
  12. During the day if you’re not wearing lipstick make sure to apply lip gloss/balm/chapstick with SPF.
  13. Eat a healthy breakfast.  The ideal breakfast is high in protein, fiber and carbohydrates. 
  14. Sweat every day (a sauna doesn’t count).  Your body responds best to workouts done outside so get out of the gym from time to time.  Make sure to stretch after working out (not before) for at least ten minutes.  Experts recommend that you get in a minimum of 10,000 steps each day.  Invest in a pedometer and strap it on in the morning once you’re dressed.  Before you settle in at night make sure you’ve taken all 10,000 steps.  Note: taking 10,000 steps a day doesn’t count as breaking a sweat unless you actually break a sweat.
  15. Drink water!  You should drink approximately half an ounce of water per pound of body weight or 30 ounces of water for every 1000 calories ingested.  Since most people don’t really know how many calories they ingest every day, I suggest going with the water/weight ratio.
  16. Foods you should eat every day: yogurt (3/4 cup a day), red tomatoes (Substitutes: Watermelon, pink grapefruit, papaya, guava), walnuts (Substitutes: Almonds, peanuts, macadamia nuts – 1 oz per day), spinach (Substitutes: Kale, bok choy, romaine lettuce – 1 cup a day), oats (Substitutes: Flaxseed, quinoa, wild rice – aim for 10 grams of fiber a day), carrots (Substitutes: Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, mango), blueberries, black beans (SUBSTITUTES: Peas, lentils, and pinto, kidney, fava, and lima beans – 3/4 cup a day), garlic (at least 1 clove a day), olive oil (1 tablespoon a day), broccoli (half cup a day), flaxseeds (1-2 tablespoons a day – they should be ground/milled and not whole), cinnamon (1/4 to 1/2 a teaspoon per day), hot tea (2-5 cups a day), onions, oranges, chili peppers.
  17. Give yourself a compliment – I’m a good singer, I have cute feet, whatever works for you.
  18. Get your face ready for bed: NEVER GO TO BED WITH YOUR MAKEUP ON! – clean your face (eye makeup remover prior to a full face wash, if necessary), dry your face, use a toner, exfoliate (1-3 times weekly), use a moisturizer (start with serums first, then basic all-over moisturizers; use antioxidant-rich products) & firming eye cream
  19. Give yourself a mini facial workout to delay the aging process: raise your eyebrows as high as possible and simultaneously open your eyes as wide as you can.  Slowly lower your eyebrows and relax.  Repeat this five times.
  20. Stretch your muscles by making big circles with your feet, clockwise and counterclockwise, four or five times each.
  21. Before bed slather on a thick layer of moisturizing lip balm or Vaseline.
  22. Moisturize your body.
  23. At night use a heavy moisturizer or Vaseline on your hands and feet, then put on cotton socks and gloves (specialty ones can be found in the nail isle at your local store) and sleep with them on.  Once a week, use a moisturizing face mask on your hands and feet.
  24. Take your vitamins (women should take at a bare minimum: calcium 800-1200 milligrams a day; vitamin D; folic acid; magnesium 310-320 milligrams per day).  To determine if your vitamins are of good quality do a vitamin quality test:  soak each vitamin in 1 cup of water.  Leave for one hour.  If you come back and the vitamin is not completely dissolved, try another brand.
  25. Before bed, spend some quiet time with yourself (10 mins minimum) whether praying, meditating, taking a bubble bath, etc.

The weekly/bi-weekly/monthly things you should be doing:

  1. Give yourself (or get) a manicure & pedicure every three weeks – This requires soaking your hands in warm water for ten minutes, massaging of hands, thorough cleaning and shaping of nails.
  2. Get a facial done monthly by a professional.
  3. Have a professional massage every 1-2 weeks (or monthly at a minimum).
  4. If you have it done – get waxed on a regular basis.
  5. Eyebrow maintenance – I personally suggest seeing an eyebrow shaper (this is NOT the same as the person at the nail salon who offers to wax your eyebrows).  I recommend the Benefit Brow Bar at Ulta.
  6. Get a haircut/trim every 6 to 8 weeks.
  7. Every so often, do a 2-day detox:  eat only fruits and vegetables and drink only water.  Do not use butter or salt to season anything, instead use the following: basil, coriander, mint, parsley, tarragon, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, French mustard, anchovies, black olives, and capers.  The best fruits and vegetables to try are: grapes, pineapples, papaya, avocados, cruciferous vegetables (Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower), onions, garlic, watercress, tomatoes, carrots, apples, asparagus, bok choy, and beetroot.  In addition, taking a bath in Epsom salts will pull toxins from the body.

So where do I stand in all of this?  I have to go one by one.

  1. I have to leave my house at 7:30am Monday-Friday for work.  It takes me approximately an hour and a half to shower, get ready and cook a sensible breakfast therefore, I must be up by 6:00am.  I LOVE my sleep and really like 9-10 hours a night but can do with a minimum of 8.  If I’m going to get up at 6:00am I have to be in bed between 9:00pm and 10:00pm.  I’m pretty good at this during the week but on the weekends, not so much.  I really want to sleep in on weekends but I’m getting better.  I’ve found the key for me is having something to do in the morning like a trip to the farmers market, dog park, or pedicure appointment.  Then I have to get out of bed.
  2. I’m blessed with really hard teeth.  I’ve never had a cavity and I seriously hope I never do.  I had braces for five or six years so I’m used to dental hygienists poking and prodding around in there.  Unlike some people, I can sleep during a dental cleaning.  I go every six months like clockwork.  I’m good at brushing morning and night, but not so great at remembering to floss.  If I’m not fall-on-my-face exhausted I usually remember.  I rarely remember to swish with mouth wash (perhaps because it lives in the linen closet).  So, I’ve got some daily work to do there.
  3. I’ve been hearing all the raves and recommendations about body brushing for a few years now.  It’s not some fad, or at least it’s not going away if it is.  I haven’t gotten into this and frankly since I’m a morning shower person I find the idea of losing another 5 minutes sleep in the morning a really unpleasant thought.  However, on the nights when I work out I could probably do some body brushing before my second shower.  I’ll have to pick one up in the next few days.
  4. So this is a weird and I’m sure slightly awkward admission for some people to read but it’s true… I don’t use soap on my body.  Years and years ago (think 10+) I found that no matter what I used, it aggravated my sensitive skin in one way or another.  I found that just using a fresh wash cloth every day and warm water with a little bit of leftover shampoo from washing my hair does the trick just fine.  And no, I don’t smell.  In fact, my husband says my skin smells sweet all the time.  He says I smell like baby skin (since I generally avoid small children for fear of breaking them I’m not entirely sure what that means, but apparently it’s a compliment).  I do use something called BenzEFoam on my arms for a condition I have called Keratosis pilaris.  I do try to exfoliate weekly (I like the apricot scrub for sensitive skin).
  5. I hate shaving, in fact, I’m pretty sure that everyone hates shaving.  I hear my husband complain about it too so I don’t think this is a gender-specific thing either.  That being said, I shave daily.  Bah-humbug.
  6. Like most women I wear a lot of heels.  In fact, I wear heels at least five days a week, all freaking day long.  So, my feet generally look dry and calloused.  I keep a foot scrubber in the shower and I go to town on my feet with it at least once a week.  I also get regular (every three weeks) pedicures.  What is the saving grace for my feet is my wonderful husband… every night before bed he rubs lotion on them (so I don’t have to get it on my hands which would then require me to get up, walk to the bathroom, wash my hands, walk back, and end up with no lotion on my feet after all the walking).
  7. I shampoo and condition every day.  I love Redken All Soft.  If you haven’t tried it, you should!  I don’t deep condition but I need to.  Anyone have any recommendations for deep conditioning/shine treatments for incredibly fine hair?
  8. I’m completely OCD about cleaning my ears.  No joke, I clean them once before I shower, once after I shower, and once before bed. 
  9. As I mentioned in the beginning, I’m not that great about moisturizing.  I have to get better.  I will, I will, I will.  Oh, FYI, apparently cocoa butter (pure) is the best body moisturizer around.
  10. I have finally found some face products that I love.  I use Noble Formula 2% Pyrithione Zinc Bar Soap on my face each morning.  Currently I’m using Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector on a couple of spots on my face.  I don’t put anything else on my face in the mornings, including foundation/concealer/powder (which I’ve never really worn and only wear for special occasions).  When I DO wear face makeup, I use BareMinerals.  At night, I wash my face with Kiss My Face Clean For a Day Creamy Face Cleanser, wash my eyelids with Ocusoft Foaming Eyelid Cleanser because of a special skin condition I have on my eyelids, then I use Kiss My Face Balancing Act Facial Toner all over (except on eyes).  Then I dab on a bit more Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector.  The part I’m missing?  Moisturizer.  Everything I’ve tried makes my skin oily or makes me break out.  I have crazy sensitive combination skin.  I’m on the search for a moisturizer that works but so far, no luck.  Each week, I exfoliate my face with the same apricot scrub I mentioned earlier.  I’m currently not doing any face masks/treatments.  Biore strips rock by the way.
  11. I’m pale and have very sunburn prone skin.  My problem is that just like moisturizers, I hate applying sunscreen.  It feels so gross!  I’m so happy with the invention of spray on sunscreen.  However, I have found that I’m much happier being pale and wearing long sleeves rather than putting on sunscreen.  So, if I’m going to be out I usually don a baseball cap or “diva hat” and a wrap of some kind.  I’ll put it on if I have to because I seriously don’t want to burn, but I’d rather be covered up and unfashionable if given a choice.
  12. I wear lipgloss/lipstick/something all the time.  I love Burts Bees Lip Shimmer.
  13. I fluctuate on eating a healthy breakfast and eating an unhealthy breakfast but I always always always eat breakfast.  They say that something is better than nothing regardless of what it is, I can only hope they’re right.  If you read my blog from the other day you’ll see the healthy breakfast I had (and have stuck with for three days now).  Go me.
  14. I don’t sweat every day, but I’m working on it.  As I mentioned in a previous post, my work friend G and I are starting the Couch to 5k plan in November.  That requires us to walk 4 days or 3 days a week depending on the week.  The other days, I’ll have to do something else.  I’d love to get into yoga if possible but I’m concerned about being laughed out of the class.  In the meantime, I have some workout dvds at home and there’s a ton of yard work I could be doing.   As for the 10,000 steps a day thing, I’m going to see what happens when we start walking more next week.  I’m definitely not getting anything near that now.
  15. I drink an insane amount of water.  I didn’t really drink a lot of cokes growing up and I’m not a coffee or fruit juice drinker.  In fact, all I really drink is water, iced tea, and milk.  Every day I drink at least 6-10 glasses of water, most of those at work.  On the weekends, especially when we’re out running around, I tend to drink a bit less.  Either way, I’m definitely not lacking in this department.
  16. Let’s face it, this list is long and it’s not realistic to eat ALL of these foods every day.  For one, it’s too much food, for two, you’d never be able to eat anything else. 
    1. That being said, I am getting in the yogurt, flaxseed, and blueberries in every day with my morning smoothie. 
    2. I’m also getting in garlic, olive oil and onions with my morning English muffin. 
    3. I take a cinnamon vitamin each night so I’m getting that too. 
    4. I’m really not a fruit person so I don’t eat much other than what goes in my morning smoothie.  If I’m running seriously late and don’t have time for the smoothie, I’ll grab a banana. 
    5. I love tomatoes and can eat the small red and yellow grape or cherry tomatoes right out of the container.  I love to put a few drops of vinaigrette dressing on them and then chill them and eat them for lunch.  Yum yum.  I also will throw them into my version of a Greek salad. 
    6. I don’t really care for peanuts or nuts of any other kind for that matter.  The only real exception to this is pistachios.  Those things are crack in a shell.  I really should eat walnuts since they’re so high in omegas and I don’t care for salmon (the other high omega food).  I’d say I’ll work on it but some things are just too hard.  I’ve got to find a way to incorporate chopped walnuts into something I’m already eating.  The first thing that comes to mind is muffins, but I don’t really eat muffins or cookies or things of that sort.  Any ideas? 
    7. I grew up eating salad every night at dinner (thanks mom!) so I loooove me some salad.  We try to have salad at least every other night with dinner and we generally use a mix of spinach, romaine, and cabbage as our base.  I also love fresh spinach on pizza. 
    8. I don’t get whole oats regularly – I don’t like oatmeal (the texture is just disgusting).  Quinoa is sort of weird, I’ve had it a time or two and can’t really get used to the crunch.  I think it’s just a matter of familiarity though.  I do love wild rice and need to get better as serving that as a side with some of our meats and vegis. 
    9. I loooove carrots whether they’re raw or cooked.  Either way, I’m a fan.  Funnily enough, the dog loves carrots too.  If we’re eating baby carrots she’ll sit and beg for them.  It’s cute.  We go through a lot of carrots in our house.  Between salads, lunch snacks, and recipes that contain them we probably kill a bag of carrots a week. 
    10. We love black beans in our house and I try to incorporate them regularly.  It’s hard though because most black bean dishes are Mexican food-related and we really try to only eat that once a week.   
    11. Broccoli is another staple in our house.  We use broccoli cole slaw in our salads (if you’ve never put it in your salad, you should try it).  We also steam it either by itself or with other vegis (like squash, zucchini, carrots, or cauliflower) and throw some lemon juice, garlic, or parmesan cheese on it.  Delish! 
    12. As previously mentioned, I’m a huge water drinker.  It’s really all I drink.  Also, I’m extremely hot natured so the idea of drinking hot tea when it’s 100 degrees outside isn’t particularly appealing.  In the winter though, the hubs and I will usually make one cup each night. 
    13. Compliment myself huh?  We were just talking about this last night actually.  Have you ever had an “ugly day?”  You know, you wake up, look in the mirror, feel ugly, and it lasts all day?  If you haven’t, you’re one of few.  I think everyone has days like this.  I also think they’re much more frequent if you’re an overweight person.  Still, most of us need to learn to love ourselves more.  There’s always room for improvement, even if you look like Giselle, but you should still take a moment each day to admire something about yourself.  Even on your ugly days, take the time to tell yourself how great you did on that last work project, how bitchin’ you sounded at karaoke on Friday night, or whatever works for you.
    14. I can’t go to bed with makeup on.  It just feels wrong.  So, I’m good at this, sans moisturizer as mentioned earlier.
    15. I actually forget about the facial work out thing usually.  So, I’m doing right now as I’m writing this blog. 
    16. I need to start stretching my ankles and foot muscles more now that I’m walking after work. 
    17. I go to bed with a thick layer of lip balm every night.  I wake up with soft lips each day.  Yay.
    18. Man back to this freaking moisturize thing.  Considering the frequency with which this comes up I’ve really got to get better at it. 
    19. My feet get moisturized every night thanks to my wonderful, loving husband.  I love you baby!
    20. I take lots and lots of vitamins.  Probably more than is really necessary.  Off the top of my head I can remember that I’m taking the following: a women’s multi vitamin, cinnamon, niacin, Echinacea, calcium, magnesium, zinc, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, flax seed oil, glucosamine & chondroitin, and fish oil.
    21. I seriously need to get better about having some quiet “me time” before bed.  Usually I go to bed still spinning from my day and I lie in bed and wait for hours sometimes for the gerbil in my head to stop running. 

Wow, ok, so that’s got to be the longest post EVER.  I’m at nearly 3,700 words already!  If you actually read all of it then good for you.  If not, I can’t honestly say I blame you.  I hope this helped some of you remember things that you need to do for yourself all day or learn some new things that you’d never thought of/heard of before.

Some days you’re the bug, some days you’re the windshield.

It’s been a really crazy ten days or so. 

One of my besties got married on the 14th and it was an incredible wedding.  She’s the last of my three besties to get married in the last four months.  Although it’s been a crazy wedding season, I’m super happy for all my girls.  They’ve each married a great guy who is perfectly suited to them.  I couldn’t be any more ecstatic. 

The hubs and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary on the 17th.  Well, we actually celebrated on the 16th but you get the point.  We went out for breakfast, then went to see Killer Elite (not the greatest movie I’ve ever seen), went to Sam’s for some shopping and general time killing, then went to a late lunch/early dinner.  It was a relaxing day.  We also shared anniversary presents… I got the hubs a Kindle which he is now thoroughly obsessed with, and he got me Claude.  I have a thing for owls, mainly the cute cartoony type… and Claude is the name of an adorable little blue owl on Zazzle.  I am now the proud owner of personalized stationary, envelopes and stickers with the cute little blue-feathered guy on them.  They’re adorable.  The hubs and I agreed several months back that we were going to set a limit on money… specifically one $100 bill per year of marriage.  So this year, since we’ve been married one year, we each get to spend $100 on each other.  Next year it’ll be $200 and so forth and so on.  I’m sure at some point we’ll have to cap this but for now, it works.  We also agreed to adhere to either the traditional or modern “rules” of anniversary gifts.  The traditional gift for a first anniversary is paper and the modern is clocks.  As you can see, the hubs took a literal take on the rules.  I, on the other hand, took a more abstract take on it.  A Kindle is an e-reader for books which are usually made of paper.  But, for those of you who are sticklers for the rules and can’t see outside of the box, I wrapped it in paper, the box it came in was made of cardboard, he got a card, and the warranty information is all on paper.   Then the day of mom offered to pick up dinner because she said I shouldn’t have to cook on my anniversary (she rocks btw) so we had Italian food from Corelli’s.  We also popped a bottle of champagne from the wedding and ate some of the top layer of our wedding cake (which was surprisingly yummy and fresh tasting considering it was in my freezer for a year).  All in all, it was a very relaxing and nice way to spend my anniversary. 

I don’t remember much of what else happened during the rest of the week.  That’s usually a sign that either 1, nothing exciting or out of the ordinary happened or 2, so much happened that it’s all a blur.

I do remember, however, feeling sick on Friday.  It started about noon and all of a sudden out of nowhere I was nauseous, had a major migraine, and my neck and shoulders were incredibly stiff.  I went home and laid down and spent the rest of the night in bed snuggled with the hubs. 

Fortunately, I woke up Saturday feeling fine so we took the truck in for an inspection, went to Soliz for breakfast tacos, picked the truck up and then took the pup with us to the new farmers market that’s going on in Sugar Land.  The market wasn’t nearly as big or exciting as I’d hoped for but we did get a ton of green beans, squash, zucchini, and cucumbers for a seriously low price.  There were several hundred people there and we saw several with dogs.  We saw 3 Boxers, 2 Boston Terriers, 1 Akita, 1 small curly-haired Poodle-ish mix, 1 dog who looked like a black Irish Setter, and several others.  Our pup thoroughly enjoyed herself and her day out socializing.  Afterwards the hubs and I went grocery shopping which is always fun.  I vaguely remember us grocery shopping when we first started dating and I think he hated it, now he looks forward to it.  It’s kinda cute.

Yesterday I spent the entire day in the kitchen.  I made a new soup called Spring Vegetable and Chickpea soup and stored it in the freezer.  I brought some today for lunch but haven’t tried it yet so I cant tell you if it’s any good or not.  I made Please Cheese Me which is a healthy version of macaroni and cheese (8 oz whole wheat noodles, 1 large family-size package of frozen cauliflower and cheese sauce, 3 Laughing Cow wedges – heat the cauliflower per package instructions and then put it and the cheese in a food processor or blender – blend/process and then mix with the cooked noodles – salt and pepper as desired – YUM).  It doesn’t taste like mac-n-cheese out of a box or anything but it’s yummy and satisfies my cravings for pasta and cheese.  It’s also a great way to get in some vegetables if you have someone in your house who doesn’t like them.  I made pesto green beans (recipe at the bottom) which are a house favorite, I prepped dinner for tonight because I won’t have much time to cook it after getting home from walking tonight, and I attempted to make Almond Sandwich Cookies which were a giant fail.  The cookie part didn’t work out so we turned them into bars and left out the filling… either way it’s not a recipe worth sharing.  We had hamburgers on whole wheat buns and Sautéed Summer Squash with Basil and Tomatoes (another house favorite – recipe at the bottom) for dinner.  All in all, lots and lots of cooking. 

Then this morning, I wake up and I guess I must have gotten out of bed too fast or something because the whole world tilted on its axis.  I was swept up in a major episode of vertigo.  So, that was four hours ago and I’m still spinning.  It comes in waves and with no warning… I’ll be fine and then suddenly WHOOSH!… and along with the dizzie lizzies it’s making me queasy.  I absolutely detest being nauseous.  I’d much rather just puke and be done with it.  I’m seriously hoping this doesn’t last all day.  Oh, and on top of that, the server is down at work so we can’t access much of anything which is just fabulous considering that Mondays are my crazy busy report-running days AND I have to go to a company-wide two and a half hour long meeting this afternoon.  Whoo hoo!  Not.  Happy Monday to me!

One good thing has happened this morning though… I ate a super healthy breakfast.  J  I took approximately one cup of frozen bell peppers and onions and sautéed them with approximately one tablespoon of prepared refrigerated pesto.  Then, I took one double fiber whole wheat English muffin, split it and topped each half with one slice of Monterrey jack cheese, and three slices of hickory smoked lunch meat turkey.  I broiled that in the toaster oven for about 5-10 minutes and then topped it with the sautéed peppers.  On the side I had a small smoothie which consisted of one cup of frozen blueberries, one banana, one carton of Chobani Greek yogurt, a few ice cubes and a splash of Just Tart Cherry Juice.  YUM!  High in fiber, high in protein, and high in antioxidants. 

Maybe it’s because we’re headed into the holiday season and my calendar is already booked, maybe it’s because a year ago today I was still on my honeymoon in the Dominican Republic, or maybe it’s because it’s just been a crazy busy couple of weeks but I am seriously ready for a vacation.  The hubs and I are taking off for a few days next month to go to Louisiana but I’d much rather be at a resort on a tropical island somewhere.  Perhaps that’ll be our next vacation!  Here’s hoping!

Happy Monday everybody!!!

 

 

Pesto Green Beans

Makes 8 servings

Prep: 20 mins, Cook: 10 mins

 2 lbs fresh green beans, trimmed

¼ cup butter or margarine

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1 teaspoon dried pesto seasoning (or sub ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp dried parsley and ¼ tsp parmesan)

½ teaspoon salt

 Arrange green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 6 minutes or until crisp-tender.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium‐low heat. Stir in garlic, pesto seasoning, and salt; sauté about

1 minute. Add green beans and sauté 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve immediately.

 

Sautéed Summer Squash with Basil and Tomatoes

PREP: 5 minutes  COOK: 13 minutes

 2 teaspoons olive oil

2 small zucchini , cut into ¼” thick slices

1 large yellow squash, cut into ¼” thick slices

½ cup chopped sweet onion

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup grape tomatoes

 ¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup (I ounce) shredded Asiago cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

 1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add zucchini, squash, and onion: Sauté 6 minutes.  Add garlic; sauté 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

2. Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper to pan;  sauté 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Stir in cheese and basil

YIELD: 6 servings

“Fitness – if it came in a bottle, everybody would have a great body.” ~Cher

On Saturday I got together with some girlfriends to celebrate my friend E’s upcoming wedding – that’s right… we had ourselves a bachelorette party!   We checked in to this beautiful hotel around 3pm, hung out and chit-chatted for a while, got dressed, went to RA Sushi for some great food (even good food for those non-sushi eaters like myself), went to the MonnaLisa bar and listened to a really good band and then went back up to the room for more chit-chat.  It was a great time and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. 

I am very lucky to have wonderful girlfriends in my life.  My three besties, E, J, and G are just amazing women inside and out.  However, have you ever heard the prayer “God, if you can’t make me skinny then please make my girlfriends fat?”  Well, not that I would ever actually wish for that, but it definitely didn’t happen in my life.  All three of these incredible women are skinny and beautiful.  Now, once I get over the jealousy, I realize that it’s a good thing… it inspires me to make healthier decisions when I look at them. 

Unfortunately, I find that sometimes my inspiration follows after the overwhelming feelings of disgust.  For example, while getting ready on Saturday for the bachelorette party I’m looking in the mirror at my friends E and A who are getting ready with me and finding myself depressed.  They’re both skinny, tiny, beautiful women, and I feel like a blob next to them.  Now, I know I’m being harder on myself than I deserve but still, that’s how I felt in the moment.  I feel the need to point out that my friends have never, not once, said anything to me to make me feel this way.  I don’t have toxic friendships.  Somedays, I’m toxic enough for myself.  Anyways, I found myself texting my husband during dinner saying “tell me you love me!” just because I needed some reassurance.  I hate feeling that way.  So, I have yet again reached a point where I’m frustrated with myself and ready to do something about it. 

The first good decision I made was lunch yesterday.  I didn’t have time to pack my lunch Sunday (mainly due to sheer exhaustion) so I decided to order from Jason’s Deli.  Now, I absolutely love broccoli cheese soup and usually when I order from there I get their ¼ turkey muffaletta with a cup of broccoli cheese soup.  Jason’s Deli is the only place I’ve ever found that makes a good turkey muffaletta (at least when I’m not in New Orleans).  Let’s just be clear about this though… the ¼ turkey muffaletta alone is 740 calories, the cup of broccoli cheese soup is 226 calories, and it comes with chips which are 240 calories.  That’s 1,206 calories in one meal!  No wonder I’m overweight!  So, in an effort to change my ways I decided that as yummy as those things are, I was going to do better.  Instead, I ordered the Mediterranean Wrap (320 calories) which comes with a serving of fruit (89 calories) and I had a bowl of Campbells Chunky Savory Vegetable Soup (220 calories) later in the day.  That comes to 629 calories instead (a “savings” of 577 calories) AND I wasn’t even hungry after my three mile walk (normally I’m starving).  I got in way more nutrients and a lot less carbs too.  It’s a very small change, but I’m still really proud of it.  Now I just have to keep it up.

In addition to small eating changes, my friend G (different G than the G mentioned earlier btw) and I have been walking after work one day a week.  I’ve blogged about this before so if you haven’t kept up, go back and read the previous blogs.  We’re still at 3-miles per hour.  Yesterday it really felt like we were walking a lot faster than usual but our time was still the same.  I was a bit disappointed with that.  I am definitely wishing I had an app/internet capable phone so that I could track our walks and see if our times really are getting better or staying the same.  We’ve been talking about when we’re going to “up” our walking to more than one day a week and if I’m being honest, I’ve been putting up some resistance.  Partly, it’s because the walking makes me tired and when I get home, I’m useless.  I just want to shower and go to sleep.  However, it’s also because I’ve gotten comfortable with being lazy.  Shame on me.  However, after making the healthy lunch decision I got to thinking about how much weight we could possibly lose by walking one day a week.  If you’ll remember back when this whole walking thing started I said that I have no illusions that we’ll get skinny walking one day a week.  I still believe this is true so I decided to do the math.  We should burn approximately 500 calories at the rate we’re going (3-miles per hour) which means that in a year, we’ll burn 26,000 calories.  That might sound like a lot but it’s not, it’s 7 pounds.  That sort of bummed me out to be completely honest.  So, we’ve decided we’re really going to push ourselves.  Starting in November we’re going to begin the “Couch to 5k” program.  Over the course of the next 32 weeks we’ll be training for this goal.  I’m sure to those of you out there who are in shape it might seem ridiculous that we need 32 weeks to be able to run 5 miles but considering that I have a seriously bad knee and G and I are way out of shape, I think it’s best that we take things slowly.  Hopefully this will prevent injuries as well as burn-out.  It’s going to be a huge change considering we’re at one day a week now and we’re about to up it to four days a week for the first four weeks and then go down to three days a week for six weeks and then back up to four and five days a week for the remaining month or so.  That’s a lot of working out.  Hopefully, it’ll be second nature by then.  I can only hope.

“Art VS craft – eye candy VS hand and eye candy with purpose.” ~ Wayne MacKensie

On Sunday I met my friend G from work at a place in Katy called Archivers to take the 10 Little Tags class that they were offering.  For $20, we learned how to create ten small tags (like you’d put on a Christmas present) using various techniques such as dry and wet embossing, die cuts, rolling stylus, Stickles, rubber stamps, and much much more.  The very first tag we made was by far the most difficult.  It required the making of a 3-D pine cone from a flat piece of brown paper.  Nearly an hour later, I had a pine cone.  I’m not going to lie and say I wasn’t frustrated with that process because I definitely was.  There were about a dozen women in the class and our table had the only three ladies (of which G and I made two) who had never done anything like these tags or paper crafts in general before.  We were behind everyone, at some points even 2-3 tags behind everyone.  I don’t like being slow or finishing last and I found myself very frustrated at the fact that I was both.  Once I got over that though, I started to really enjoy myself.  I learned a lot and honestly, I made some really pretty stuff.  I did royally screw up one tag though so I only ended up with 9 tags in all.  When I came home even my mom and husband were really impressed with what I made.  It was genuine too, not the fake ooh-ing and ahh-ing that a parent would do for a young child.  It made me feel really good about myself.  It’s nifty to know that I could definitely make these again all by myself if I wanted to.  I will definitely be taking another class from them at some point in the future. 
 
Tags 1, 2 and 3

Tags 1, 2 and 3

The candy cane was super easy.  Almost too easy.  I wasn’t impressed much by that one.  I love the gingerbread man.  You can’t really tell by the picture but the tag itself is made of canvas.  We stamped the snowflakes directly onto the canvas.  The gingerbread mad is made of corrugated cardboard and the black buttons are little shiny pom-poms.  The music notes on the left is one of my favorites and I really don’t know why.  It wasn’t particularly difficult to make.  I like the rouched ribbon detailing at the bottom that we did.  We even made the snowflake charm.
 
Tags 4, 5, and 6

Tags 4, 5, and 6

The Joy tag is really simple and really cute.  We used the die-cut machine to essentially punch the design out of some glittered paper.  The one in the middle is my pine cone nemesis.  The whole thing, including the leaves, is 3D.  The blotches on the paper are actually raised leaf-looking areas (dry embossing) that have been shaded with green.  It’s really very pretty close up.  The Christmas tree on the right is also dry embossed.  The letters and design are raised and shaded with white. 
 
Tags 7, 8 and 9

Tags 7, 8 and 9

The stocking card is the only actual card we made and I just love it.  It’s whimsical which is what I like my Christmas stuff to be.  You can’t tell from the picture but the white part is dry embossed with Christmas words like “joy, peace, merry” and such.  The scroll-work christmas tree is actually a wood piece that we adhered to the green paper.  We then painted it and added the jewels.  The green card on the left is a bit hard to see but I think it is so simple and so pretty.  The backing is burlap and the green is cardstock that has been sanded to give an aged look.  We dry embossed the trees and then painted over them with some subtle glitter.  Then we stamped the “merry merry merry.” 

He who limps is still walking. ~Stanislaw J. Lec

I found this quote and just had to giggle because it’s so accurate.  Yesterday was walking day with my friend G from work.  As I mentioned in a previous post we’re trying to walk once a week right now.  We did another three miles and it took us about an hour.  We weren’t nearly as tired as we were last week although I think that has more to do with the 15 degree drop in temperature (it was over 100 degrees last week).  I was actually really proud of us yesterday because we managed to keep relatively the same speed even though I was nursing a very sore blister on my left foot.  At first, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to walk yesterday at all.  Then, I decided if worse came to worse I’d just lose the left shoe and walk in my socks instead.  As chance would have it, I didn’t have to.  I managed to get enough bandaid padding on the blister that it didn’t hurt too badly to walk with my shoes on.  I do remember telling G at some point that I had some weird twinges in my right leg due to the fact that I was favoring my left.  Today, my right knee is sore (it’s my bad knee anyways) and it wasn’t sore last week so I can only assume it’s from hobbling during our walk yesterday.  Nonetheless, I’m proud of us.  We made it, blisters and limps and all!

Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once. ~Lillian Dickson

Last night I had another girls night out with my friend G from work.  We went to the Holiday Card Showcase at Archivers (it’s the scrapbooking place I mentioned a few posts ago).  While really interesting, it was a bit overwhelming for a card-making virgin like myself.  There were lots of talks about tools and materials and brands and designers… very few of which I’d ever heard of.  We saw lots of different cards and “learned” (in a seriously rough sense) how to make them or at least what was used to make them.  I left feeling a little confused but I still thoroughly enjoyed my time.  I actually managed to keep myself from buying anything even though they were having a great sale.  I told myself I couldn’t buy any more scrapbooking materials until I actually scrapbook some pages!  So there! 

The biggest change/improvement/step forward that happened yesterday isn’t mine, but I’m going to share it with you anyways.  Yesterday was my mom’s last full-time day of work.  Today, she begins her partial retirement (she’s going to start working part time).  She had wanted to completely retire in December but when she told her boss they told her no.  Both her boss and the owner/CEO of the company told my mom that she couldn’t leave them.  They had to have her there.  How cool is that?  So, she’s slowly taking more and more time off until December when she will go down to working three days a week.  Her boss and the CEO are fine with this, as long as she stays.  I think that’s amazing.  I’m so proud of my mom for 1, sticking it out all these years (she’s been working since she was 15 or thereabouts) and 2, for being such an amazing employee that her supervisors are begging her to stay.  What a role model.  Congratulations mom, you deserve it!