Friday, September 30, 2011

Fitness Friday

For the most part this was a pretty good week in terms of exercise.  It feels like I’m slowly getting myself back into my usual routine, bouncing back from being sick and traveling a bunch.  Feels good. :)
Sat 9/24/11
15 mins abs and stretching
5 mins stationary bike *
*Due to severe side pain, I had to leave the gym after only a few minutes. Listening to your body and what it needs is extremely important.  Remember that!
Sun 9/25/11
25 mins Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred level 1 (workout DVDs really do come in handy sometimes)
Mon 9/26/11
10-15 mins abs and stretching
30 mins run with warm-up/cooldown
Tues 9/27/11
45 mins abs, legs and stretch
35-40 mins stationary bike
Wed 9/28/11
Thurs 9/29/11
15 mins abs and stretching
38 mins stationary bike
Fri 9/30/11
15 mins abs and stretching
30 mins run w/ warm-up/cooldown
**And hopefully there will be 90 mins of yoga happening after work today.  Keep word, hopefully!** 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Juice boxes & Harry Potter

I’ve always hated doctor’s offices for as long as I can remember.  I honestly have a hard time thinking of a doctor that I’ve liked and actually trusted myself with.  Because of that, I choose to not go.  As someone who promotes living a healthy lifestyle, this has always surprised me.  I know and understand the importance of getting routine checkups when nothing seems to be going wrong, but especially when things seem off.  Yet, I still choose not to go.  But when pain and discomfort follow for periods on end, so much so that I nearly (or do) take myself to the Emergency Room, I am reminded why I should go. ...especially when the ER bill delivers itself to your mailbox.
And while I have (barely) avoided the ER this time around, I am making myself go to doctor’s appointments.  I’m rearranging my schedule and spending my days off wishing I was somewhere else, doing something else, enjoying my “free” time.  But life and my body are making me stop.  And it’s not easy.
I’m trying to practice my patience, breathing and relaxation.  I’m trying to make myself go to more yoga classes (especially since I’m paying for unlimited!).  I’m trying to give myself the proper time for me without giving myself so much time I go into a panic thinking about the worst case scenario.
Tests have been done.  More tests will be done.  And countless hours and days of waiting will continue.  Answers will eventually reveal themselves but for now all I can do is ask for positive thoughts as I’m doing all that I can to find out and fix what’s going on.  And maybe someday, depending on the diagnosis, will tell my story.  But then again, maybe not.  Maybe it just becomes my story.  My story that I choose who or who not to tell.  Maybe I tell no one.  And literally no one.  But however this story plays out, I just ask for your support, your love, your positive thoughts.
And in case anyone was wondering, should you cry at your doctor’s office, they might just bring you a juice box with the box of tissues.  (I cry when I’m stressed and frustrated.  It just happens.  Sorry.)  But when the nurse left to get tissues and came back with a juice box, I couldn’t help but laugh.
I need to find a way to simplify my life again with all that’s going on and I haven’t quite figured it out yet.  I took a lot on and I’m finding it hard to focus on me somedays.  Not being in school this semester will definitely help but it stills feels like I need to do something else, not sure what though...
Things at work are going awesome and after my store leader unexpectedly pulled me out of the store as I walked in to work over the weekend, I was reminded how much I love my job there and got the reassurance that I need sometimes that I’m exceeding others expectations on a daily basis.
Also on a positive note, I finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets this evening!  Justine, book 2 is now ready for you to borrow (& book 1 if needed)!  I’m debating starting Book 3 tonight or watching the Netflix movie that arrived last week so I can get the 2nd movie asap.

bought myself flowers and read by candlelight to relax

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Foodie for a Day

While home in August, my grandpa gave permission for my sister and I to go to his house and take anything from the kitchen that we wanted or needed.  Since he doesn’t live there anymore and only has a tiny kitchenette at his new apartment, he doesn’t need the things that are still there.  So with a couple of boxes in hand, we set off.
The trip was mostly to find stuff for my sister who had nothing for a kitchen after living in Africa and France for the last 3 years but when she turned down the mini crock pot, I spoke up!
In no way am I an amazing cook.  I generally stick to a recipe (whether it’s one passed down through my family, in a cook book or found online) and my patience in the kitchen is minimal, so I generally look for recipes that are quick or with little preparation time.  A crockpot seemed like a good idea and after seeing Mama Pea’s “Slow Cooker Seitan Carnitas” recipe, I was super excited for it to arrive (my parents sent it with the Harry Potter books).

Boy was it a good idea!  Now I’m on the look out for recipes to use in my slow cooker.  Even if I can’t leave it on all day while I’m at work, I can have it making itself while I’m home and have a few nights of delicious dinners after.

With the carnitas, I swapped the seitan for crumbled tempeh - an absolute favorite of mine!  These were amazingly delicious and I just can’t get over how easy it was to make + reheat the next few days for dinner.

I rewarded myself with a pina colada after making this delicious meal!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Happy Day!

Call me crazy but I don’t mind split shifts.  At least ones that give me about 8 hours between the two shifts.
I went in early this morning to do an update and will be going back later this evening for some organizational work while the store is closed.  And in between I got to get some delicious Intelligentsia coffee (and a butterscotch blondie!) for a snack with Pradeep & Stanley, followed by some cardio + strength training at the gym.  And just in case we were wondering if there are still good people left in the world, I was reminded there are!
Over the weekend when I left the gym in quite the hurry when my body was in such severe pain, I happened to forget my iPhone arm band on the stationary bike.  I didn’t figure it out until I tried to go for a run yesterday morning and couldn’t find it and just took my phone in hand running (which in case you were wondering, is really annoying and uncomfortable).  When I went in today I asked if anyone turned one in and the lady was like “I don’t think so” but thankfully the guy behind the desk looked in the Lost and Found and handed it over.  I was so pleasantly surprised and happy!  It’s the little things, sorry! :)
The remainder of my time is being spent doing some stuff for Gigi Yogini and The Joy of YES with Gigi Yogini & Corti Cooper retreat in Nosara, Costa Rica that’s coming up in November.  I am determined to help them sell out.
I’m also working my way through Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  I’m about half-way through.  Did anyone decide to join me? I need to move the movie to #1 in my Netflx queue if it’s not already and finish watching the movie currently in my possession so that I will have the movie by the time I’m done.  I’m really having fun reading it.  Maybe it’s bringing out the kid in me? 
I have the next two days off work and I’m super excited!  Tomorrow I’m meeting a good friend from New Jersey who has joined the rest of his family out here for lunch and Thursday will probably be the boring stuff (aka back-to-back doctor appointments - at least they’re in the same building - and an oil change).
I’m off to keep enjoying my afternoon.  Happy Day! (And Happy 13th Birthday to Google!)

Happy 13th Birthday Google!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Music Monday + Great Pumpkin Cookie Recipe

I know it’s not a Wednesday but after some tweets over delicious chewy pumpkin cookie recipes going around Twitter last night, I decided I had to incorporate my favorite pumpkin recipe for fall!
When I was kid, my mom would make us these cookies every year around Halloween and we would decorate them with frosting and candy to get more sugar to look like Jack-o-lanterns.  The cookies were giant, delicious and a favorite!
But as we got older, we didn’t find the need to shape the dough to look like a pumpkin and send ourselves into a complete sugar coma so we started making them the size of normal cookies.  And of course, they were still amazing!
So I had to speak up when someone needed a recommendation and therefore, I present:
Great Pumpkin Cookies

2 cups flour
1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup Libby's Solid Pack Pumpkin (I'm sure you can use any kind of canned pumpkin.)
1 cup semi-sweet real chocolate morsels
Assorted icing or peanut butter
Assorted candies, raisins, or nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  Cream butter; gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy.  Add egg and vanilla;  mix well.  Alternate additions of dry ingredients and pumpkin, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in morsels.  For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto lightly greased cookie sheet; spread into pumpkin shape, using thin metal spatula.  Add a bit more dough to form stem.  Bake 15-20 minutes (for normal sized cookies or 20-25 mins for decorating sized), until cookies are firm and lightly browned.  Remove from cookie sheets; cool on racks.  Decorate, using icing or peanut butter to affix assorted candies, raisins, or nuts.  Variation:  Substitute 1 cup raisins for morsels. 
**I believe the recipe was pulled out of some newspaper magazine when I was kid and therefore I can not (nor can my momma) take responsibility for creating this delicious recipe.**
And per the usual Music Monday fashion, I wanted to talk to you about Bon Iver (again, I think).  For anyone who has never heard of this band, look them up!  For anyone who has but isn’t familiar with their music, fill your ears with the beautiful sounds.  And for anyone who has never seen them live, GO! GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!  
I don't care that it's blurry, gives you an idea of the lighting.  And I was sitting very high up. ;)

This was potentially one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen!  Not only was the music out of control, the lighting and stage set up just amplified what your ears were hearing.  This band knows how to build up a song to just the right point that you don’t know what’s going to happen and then BAM they climax and you’re left sitting in awe.  Truly outstanding that I wish I could find all the right words to describe it but it’s definitely something you need to witness for yourself.  I assure you, you will not be disappointed.
I went with my friends Krystle and Nathalie and the whole drive home we were all just going “oh my gosh!” and “I still can’t believe that!” and “possibly the best live show I’ve been to, at least in a really long time!”

Such an amazing band that I wold LOVE to work on their tour! LOVE to!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Take a break...sheesh!

One of the hardest things to do is to listen and trust ourselves and our bodies.  It’s difficult to not listen to your thoughts sometimes, especially when you know they’re not accurate.
I learned that one of my best ways to release stress, gain energy and free my mind was through exercise.  By constantly pushing my body through physical challenges, I was learning to overcome things that my thoughts told me I couldn’t.  It may not make sense to everyone but it’s changed my life.
But despite all that, there are days when as much as I want a good workout I have to force myself not to go.  Our bodies need a break, especially when we are sick, injured or there’s something else unexplainable going on.  That was last night.  I’m going through several tests and doctor appointments to determine the cause of a constant pain in my side that began over a month ago while I was in Philadelphia.  Until last night, the pain hadn’t hit the “stabbing” point since Philly.  I sit here now with a great desire to go for a run to release the stress imposed on me in last night’s panic.  But I know I shouldn’t and my concerned friends keep telling me I shouldn’t, so I’m not going to.  It’s a shame to have all morning for a great workout but not actually be able to use the time.
Sometimes we need the reminder to listen to our bodies and when they need a break.  I’m going to try to do a short workout video to move my body and help figure out where it’s at but I’m not going to push myself to my max today.  I know my limits.  Sometimes, we just need a reminder to put ourselves first.
And sometimes we need breakfast dates with friends on a Sunday morning to chat and relax.  Thanks to Amy for having the idea and spending her Sunday morning before work with me. :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fitness Friday

This week’s exercise hurdle was traveling to the valley on Tuesday and Thursday to take part in a market hiring event.  It wasn’t my market but I was invited to go as support, experience and growth opportunities.  While I was reminded why I love living close to my store, it was great to get outside my store (and market) to meet other people.  Either way, it meant a longer drive and therefore additional (and unknown) traffic patterns.  
All that aside, it was still a good week with lots of movement and that’s what counts - keep moving your body!

Sat 9/17/11
60 mins cleaning and vacuuming (you know that’s a good workout!)
25 min run outside w/ warm up and cool down (2.3 miles)
20-25 mins Jillian Michael’s 30 day shred
30 mins walk (round trip to the grocery store)
**can you tell my goal today was to not drive my car anywhere and just move my body?**
Sun 9/18/11
25 mins run outside w/ warm up and cool down (2.3 miles)
Mon 9/19/11
Tues 9/20/11
Wed 9/21/11
90 mins yoga w/ Gigi Yogini
15 min bike ride to grocery store
Thurs 9/22/11
15-20 mins abs and stretch
35 mins run w/ warm up and cool down (2.8 miles)
Fri 9/23/11
**unless you want to count the minute of jumping jacks I did in the kitchen while waiting for my coffee to finish brewing this morning because I felt bad I had skipped the gym...yeah, didn’t think so** ;)
Back to it tomorrow!! (After work that is.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Smashed in my car window, didn't touch the stereo"

Sometimes it’s easy to still be a bit bitter over everything that happened.  Sometimes it’s hard to not still feel a bit burned.  But all of this aside, they are amazing musicians who deserve to witness their dreams come true.
I’m talking about The Lumineers.

Whether you know the past, the history involved or not, today it doesn’t matter.  Not one bit.
The Lumineers are back on the road and when they came to LA on Monday their van was broken into outside of the La Brea Tar Pits and a good chunk of their gear was stolen.  They were one show into their tour.  The good news is despite having lost the bass guitar, cello, the acoustic guitar and some money, the band pushed forward and found gear to borrow for their show later that night.  And for their show at Hotel Cafe Tuesday night.
Despite using someone else’s instruments, the band still sounded good.  They couldn’t be kicked down, but rather inconvenienced.  I talked to them about it before the show and they were in fairly good spirits.  They were (and still are) thankful for everyone who has offered up their support, their instruments and their kind words.
Last night was the first show of theirs I’ve paid to get in (aside from a few here or there in NYC where I pretended I was just a fan to up their know you’d do it too).  And while it may have been a little slap in the face that I’m not a part of the band that I used to be, last night it was okay as I wanted to support the cause and the efforts to keep them on the road.
After the show, I hugged the boys goodbye and promised Wesley I would share their story and spread the word.  For the most part, all they lost was “stuff” but I also know there’s a bit of heartache for the stolen acoustic guitar.  It belonged to Wes’s mom and he’s written many songs on that thing.  It’s more than just “stuff” but there’s sentiment and a history.
If you haven’t, I still can’t recommend enough how you need to check out The Lumineers.  And if you want to help support the cause, buy a CD, attend a show or offer your instrument for them to borrow as they pass through your town.
Below is the band’s statement about the robbery in LA sent to their concerned fans:
"smashed in my car window, didn't touch the stereo" - lyrics from "Slow It Down" which is on our forthcoming album...
yes, i have been robbed before - that line was about Brooklyn.

yesterday, in broad daylight, The Lumineers van was broken into, this
time in LA.   most of our instruments were taken... some of the things
were worth something monetarily, some were invaluable like my mother's guitar.  wrote a lot of songs on that guitar.
but the lyrics up top are a lot less about what was stolen, and a lot more about what they can't take.  you cannot take the music.  that can't be stolen.  we proved that last night and will continue to do so.
so we'll be playing the rest of this tour with borrowed instruments - thank you to those who have lent a hand and thank you to those who have donated money to replace what was taken.  immediately following all this there has been a steady outpouring of support - and all we feel is gratitude.
thank you for helping us... because of your generosity we can press on. if you have not yet donated and wish to, you can do so here:
We will keep updating the site as more info becomes available.
Thank you so much,
Wes, Jer, Neyla and Terry
The Lumineers
“Smashed in my car window, didn’t touch the stereo” - if I could find "Slow it Down," the above referenced song on Youtube to share, I would.  So instead I'll share one of their newer songs "The Dead Sea."

**UPDATE: The band set up a fundraising account with PledgeMusic today if you'd like to donate and get a 'thank you' gift in return.  You can access that page here: **

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Foodie for a Day

My initial thought is “it’s another crazy week” but then I stop and am reminded it’s just a crazy month.  I didn’t realize how crazy September was going to be!  At least despite the madness, I’m staying motivated and positive and pushing forward with everything I have. (And fitting in sleep where possible).
I have a trip to the grocery store in a few for ingredients to make a delicious slow cooker recipe I saw on another blog last week.  But first, can we talk about how much I LOVE restaurants that make vegetarian and vegan options readily available?  And how much I really LOVE when those options are delicious?
When I was in New York, I found such a place: Pita Joe.
My friend Ida and I were wandering around looking for a place to eat and happened to stumble upon Pita Joe.  It looked pretty good, there was food I could eat, and the price wasn’t bad so we decided to go for it.
We both got the Joe’s Falafel Pita with falafel, hummus, lettuce, veggie salad and tahini with a mint lemonade to drink.


My taste buds were loving it!  It’s a “grab-and-go” kind of place with a few tables to sit and a super adorable atmosphere.  Ida and I loved catching up over delicious food!  (And she had fun helping me improve my food blogging photography least I think she did.) ;)
We had fun wandering around Urban Outfitters as well! <3 

Hey Pita Joe, can you come to LA, please?!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Music Monday

Well I have officially survived the all-store event that felt like it may never happen!  I worked lots of hours last week to pull it all together and at the end of the day, it was all worth it!  I hope everyone had a good time hanging out, eating and enjoying each others company.
This morning I want to celebrate with a current song favorite from the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album ‘I’m With You’ called “The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie.”  I keep hoping the album will show up on Spotify and unless I’m completely blind, it has yet to make an appearance and I’m getting antsy waiting and may just end up buying it.
Anyway, there’s a lot of good music swirling around that I want to share with you, but for today, enjoy this one.  I think it should be added to some running / workout playlists out there...

P.S. Bon Iver tonight!!! :)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chamber of Secrets

Thankfully my parents got the hint the other day and put my Harry Potter books in the mail.  But just knowing they were on their way made me even more anxious for their arrival so I’m sure you can imagine my excitement when they showed up yesterday afternoon (especially after my dad said to expect them on Monday). 
But the timing was perfect!  Two of my friends from work are staying with me for a couple of days starting last night and I needed something to keep me busy (and awake) until they got off work at 11.
A glass of wine, bowl of kettle corn, and four chapters into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets later, my company arrived.  A couple hours of stories, talking and lots of laughs over wine ensued.  It was a good night.
But now it’s time to continue kick off this “book club” and I sure hope you’ll join me!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Long Awaited Video...

It was quite the nice surprised when I realized (remembered) that I had the day off and while part of me would have enjoyed a fun day with friends, today was exactly the day that I needed!
I allowed myself to sleep through both of my morning alarms and rolled out of bed when my internal alarm went off (my growling stomach).  As I drank my coffee, ate my breakfast and was doing a little work, my sister texted me asking how my “chicago” video was going. 
It’s not that I forgot but rather that life was taking it’s toll on me and that video was not a priority but her text was also a good reminder that I did tell people I was making it (and made people be in it) and therefore should see it through sooner rather than later.
And that’s when I decided my day was going to be spent at home getting things done, relaxing and doing what I wanted to do.
I spent a couple hours working on the video, cleaned the kitchen and then set out on an outdoor run.  This was the most successful outdoor run this year, covering 2.3 miles.  Yes I doubled that distance at the gym a few days ago, but I’m trying to prepare my body to start running outside.  It’s also possible I could have gone further had I not decided to embark on my run at 2:30 in the afternoon.  (#fail)
When I got home all sweaty, I was still in the moving mood and started sweeping the dead, crunchy leaves from my patio (the closest to fall I think I’ll get), vacuumed the whole apartment and then sat back down to finish the video.
And finish it I did!  I’m sure there are many others out there who could make a better video but this was my first real experience playing with iMovie and I’m happy with the outcome.

A special thanks to everyone who appeared in my video and put up with my filming every.single.moment of my trip home! (You can tell by some of their faces, they thought I was crazy!)

Friday, September 16, 2011



Am I over-reacting?  Okay maybe just a bit but I just finished taking my Anatomy & Physiology final and I couldn’t be happier.  I have to take a semester off because I can’t afford to continue taking classes (sad that I’m in that place after one semester) but I’m also using it to ensure I want to keep doing this while figuring out a potentially more cost effective way to get the same outcome.
There’s a lot going on in my head that it’s sometimes overwhelming but tonight we are not thinking about that and instead I’m celebrating!

Fitness Friday

Are you all with me out there?  Even though working in retail means not having weekends off, there’s something about Friday that just feels good.  Maybe it’s because I had yesterday off and today is (hopefully) only a half day.  Or maybe it’s because I’ve gotten in some amazing workouts this week and my body and mind are feeling better than they have the last couple weeks, despite working like a crazy woman.  Either way...
Thank Goodness It’s Friday!!

Sat 9/10/11
20 mins incline speed walking
**This was a very stressful day and 20 mins was all I could give myself.  I knew I needed to go home and just relax.**
Sun 9/11/11
15 mins abs
25 mins stair master
25 mins elliptical
Mon 9/12/11
90 mins yoga
Tues 9/13/11
15 mins biking to grocery store
But really this was a rest day. :)
Wed 9/14/11
35 mins abs, arms, stretch
20 mins elliptical
Thurs 9/15/11
55 mins walk/run (4.8 miles!)
20 mins abs and stretch
Fri 9/16/11
35 mins abs, legs, stretch
15 mins stationary bike
I decided to continue my unlimited yoga at The Yoga Collective despite the summer special being over so I’m hoping there will be more yoga in my schedule (maybe even this afternoon?)  There’s also going to be some training starting soon - get.excited!