Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween / Music Monday

Happy Halloween Everyone!

If you’re choosing to go out tonight, I hope you all stay safe and have some awesome costumes!  Halloween has never been one of my favorite holidays.  In fact, I’ve never really cared about it since the days of being a little kid and dressing up to go trick-or-treating with my friends.  But I will dress up and hang out with friends if there’s something going on, so it’s still a fun holiday.
I didn’t/am not doing anything for it this year.  I worked all weekend and while I have today off, I’m looking forward to spending the night in reading and relaxing.  Yes, I’m lame sometimes.  But I started my day with some pumpkin spice pancakes so at least I’m still kind of festive. ;)
If I look back at the years of costumes, I have a hard time pointing out a favorite but as a kid, my mom and grandma used to make our costumes so if you want to talk about who had the best Belle, Little Mermaid or Cinderella costumes, surely it was my sister and I!  And in middle school, my friends and I decided to dress up as The Pink Ladies (from Grease) which was pretty awesome.  I was on crutches that Halloween so we got me a wheelchair and dressed it up as our car so I wouldn’t have to walk around all night.
Anyway, allowing my ears to open up to the new James Morrison album, The Awakening, means that’s all I’ll be listening to for the next week or so.

I remember when one of my coworkers introduced me to James Morrison back in college and I wondered how I had lived my whole life without hearing this voice.  It is seriously soulful and gorgeous - almost scary good! (Bad Halloween pun, huh?)  I can’t help but swoon and wish to find a man with this kind of voice to sing me to sleep every night.

What?! A girl can dream can’t she...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Keys to a good run

I have this problem that when I start a new Harry Potter book, I don’t really want to do anything but read.  While this is great for the relaxation aspect and my mom is problem silently cheering that her daughter who hated reading for awhile when she was younger, is thoroughly enjoying herself but I have things to do!  I’m excited to be on book 5 and I know I’m in the stages where everything slows down because the books get larger but I’m still excited to keep moving forward.
I’m working a spit today so after I finished shift #1, I headed to the gym to make up for what should have been yesterday’s run (cancelled by a migraine).  When I got there, I found I wasn’t feeling super inspired so I started with some abs and lifting before heading to the treadmill.
My legs  and lungs felt pretty good so my desire to stop wasn’t because any part of my body was too tired or in pain to keep going, it was because I was mentally having trouble focusing.  I pushed and pushed and tried my best to focus on my run while losing myself in my music.  I kept telling myself “just another mile - that’s like 3 songs” and sometimes it worked.  I would also remind myself that my legs, joints, and lungs felt strong so there really wasn’t a good reason to stop.  I used as many tactics as I could to overcome the mental hurdle in my run.
And 35 minutes later, I had completed a 3.5 mile run.  Keeping me on track with my 10k training program.
Over the years since I’ve started running and as I’ve worked to increase my mileage, here are a few things I’ve noted make my runs better:
-Being hydrated - I don’t have the desire to drink while running if I’m properly hydrated - at least for my 2-3 mile runs
-Stretch and Warm-up/Cooldown - 5 minute walk before and after run + stretching
-The less clothing the better!  HA! Don’t go there - shorts, tank top + headband (to soak up some of the sweat)

Post run glow (the crop yoga pants today were too much - missed my shorts - WHAT?)

There are many other things that I find help my runs but they aren’t as consistent as the above points which are almost necessary for a good run.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Fitness Friday

This was another one of those weeks where my fitness regimen didn’t play out the way I had hoped / originally planned.  But at the end of the day week, I’m still happy with what I have accomplished.

Sat 10.22.11
30 mins / 3 mile run (40 min with warm up & cool down)
30 mins arms, abs and stretching
Sun 10.23.11
Mon 10.24.11
25 min / 2.5 mile run (35 min with warm up & cool down)
10-15 mins abs and stretching
Tues 10.25.11
Wed 10.26.11
20 min run / 2 mile run (30 min with warm up & cool down)
Thurs 10.27.11
30 mins yoga
Fri 10.28.11
30 min yoga
10 min abs & stretching
So I’ll be honest, my exercise for today has yet to happen but as soon as I hit publish, I’m rolling out my mat and going!  My plans for today just kept changing and while a big part of me wants to crawl into bed with my Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix book, I also really want to get in at least a bit of exercise.  It was one of those days where time was going by quicker that I wanted/needed it to for everything I had to accomplish.  I watched my plan to hit the gym after work disappear when 4pm came and went.  I switched the plan to a yoga class down the street at 6:15pm and when 6pm came and went, I knew my best bet was just to go home, eat dinner and listen to a yoga podcast.  Tomorrow though, I’m back to the grind!

How was your week of fitness?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Just an update

I’m going to make this quick tonight because I’m tired and in pretty severe pain but I thought I should give you an update:
-Yesterday was my core bro Blayne’s birthday - Happy Birthday!  We went to the Culver Hotel to celebrate.
-I love my job and I’m not one of those people who needs Saturday and Sundays off (everyone else does so they’re just in my way when doing errands) so that aspect of retail doesn’t really get to me.  What does make things difficult is that whole holidays thing.  It just adds another layer of complication, but I’m trying to figure it out.
-I’m very much in the mood to purchase a bunch of pumpkins, gourds and different kinds of squash at the Farmer’s Market.  I’m intimidated by cooking pumpkin and squash, but just thinking about it makes me hungry.  At least for now I’m stocking up on cans of pumpkin and stirring it into anything that seems remotely like a good idea (yogurt, smoothie, oatmeal, overnight oats, pancakes...I could keep going).
-I finished Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire a few nights ago.  Tonight I watched the movie.  I like the book much better.
-I checked out Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix at the library a couple days ago.  I have yet to start it, but rest assured, it’s on the agenda.
-I’ve been rather productive and I’m looking forward to what’s to come on a few different things.
-When you have a bad day, do whatever you have to do to make it better.  After a long, hard day a couple days ago, I chose buying myself a new kind of tea and a bouquet of flowers.
Have I mentioned how much I love the camera on my new phone?  (There was no editing or filter, just a flash!)

That’s all.  I like my sleep.  And since I’m a happier, more productive and overall better person when I’m rested, I’m off to bed.  G’night folks!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Foodie for a Day

First let me note how excited I am that Blogger FINALLY released an app that I can use to blog on the go. It will make blogging on busy days that much easier. (hopefully the posts still format pretty...**update: it would let me write it but couldn't post so I still had to come to my computer to publish. and yes, fix the formatting. but we're headed in the right direction*)

Anyway, it's a Wednesday which means I have to give you some insight into what I've been eating lately. And can I tell you that I'm so glad I'm willing to give things another try? Like sunflower butter or in this specific case, overnight oats.

Confused? What are overnight oats?

Well they are a healthy living blogger phenomenon that are exactly as they sound. Oats that "cook" overnight. Only catch is that there's no cooking. First time I tried them, I wasn't really a fan. But with my busy schedule lady week and not knowing how breaks or food may end up happening for me, I decided to give them another shot and I am do happy that I did!

I like them so much, I chose to make them again the other night for my mornings breakfast. (I actually was such an over achiever that night, I made my breakfast and lunch for the next day, all while making that nights dinner-booya!)

Overnight oats are super easy to make:
-1 part oats
-1 part milk
-1 part yogurt

That's all that's "required" to make em! I like to add cinnamon, 1/2 banana, and a small splash of vanilla. You let it sit overnight and you're done! In the morning it's always fun to add toppings like additional fresh fruit, nuts, peanut butter or eat it as it is.

The first time I made it I kept it simple: peanut butter. The second time I still kept it simple but amped it up: sunflower butter and pumpkin butter.

(And of course don't forget the coffee - part of a complete breakfast!) :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

There's a Birthday on the Home Front

And no, it’s not mine.
It’s the pretty lady in yellow in the below family photo...

I hope you have a relaxing, beautiful and fun day.  I hope Dad either makes or takes you out for dinner.  I hope there’s some delicious birthday cake involved.  And I hope you like your gifts. :)
And while we’re talking about family and the above picture is from the St. Louis Cardinals vs Milwaukee Brewer’s game we took my dad to as a late Father’s Day gift this summer, can we all just admit we are cheering on the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series in honor of my Dad?  Go Cardinals!! Whoohoo!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Music Monday - Coldplay

I was all ready with today’s post after I found a new album released by one of my favorite artist’s in college but then I remembered Coldplay’s new album Mylo Xyloto came out today and I quickly had a change of plans.  I’m sorry, but you’ll just have to wait on the other amazing album.
Mylo Xyloto is too good to not share with you today.  It’s been awhile since I put my money into purchasing a new album (thank you to Spotify, even though I have yet to upgrade my account) but this morning I let my iTunes account do the work and my ears have yet to complain.  Pure bliss.
The singles from the album so far are “Every Tear Drop Is a Waterfall” and “Paradise” but my ears have also been wrapped around “Hurts Like Heaven.”  Seriously people, get this album.  

And help me buy tickets to see them play live - who wants to join me? (They don’t seem to have released any dates yet but when they do, I want to go!)
Oh my ears are happy this morning. Music moves me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

You Are Beautiful

Beauty: a combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form that please the aesthetic sense, especially the sight; a combination of qualities that please the intellect or moral sense.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
And at the end of the day, we all just want to feel beautiful - on the inside and out.

As I was at the gym the other day, I went to put my purse in a locker and this sticker inside the locker caught my eye.  While I know this sticker is old, I love the whole idea of Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty and their consistent work to improve self esteem in young girls.  But even as we get older we need just as much of a reminder that we are beautiful as we are, as we needed when we were younger.  Sometimes, I feel like I need that reminder more now.
When I’m good about what I eat, getting adequate sleep and exercise, and don’t completely overwork myself, those tend to be the weeks when I feel the most beautiful.  In fact earlier this week I even tweeted how I felt pretty.  And quite honestly, I had a few days this week where I could have repeated that tweet.  Do you know how good that feels?

I know I won’t feel this way every day of every week, but I’m going to hold onto this feeling for as long as I can and I hope you do the same.  Go to bed a bit earlier tonight. Wash the makeup off your face.  Buy a new shirt or pair of shoes.  Whatever will make you feel beautiful in your already beautiful skin.  Because y’know what?  
You are beautiful.

What makes you feel beautiful?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Productivity at its Finest

When I came home from work last night in pretty severe pain, I knew I’d be spending my evening taking it easy either on the couch or in bed.  Knowing I had a fairly long to-do list I’ve been avoiding, I figured I’d be able to tackle it then.
I did nothing.  I took meds and read Harry Potter.  And when I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer (even though it was only 8PM), I decided to go to bed.  I knew it was probably best anyway.
With having today off from work, I knew I needed to make up for being so busy and then wanting to be lazy when I have those few free minutes.  And productive I was.  And boy did it feel good.  While I’ve been on the internet (as some of my to-do list is revolved around internet related tasks), I tried to cut myself off from the world (no chats, few texts, few updates) and just get my work done.

Can I tell you how good it feels?  I love productive days.
One of the things on my list today was to move the furniture in my room just slightly.  I generally don’t like to have my desk against the wall but I didn’t have a place to comfortably do yoga in my room and that wasn’t working so well for me.  Hopefully this slight change will help my focus when I’m at my desk and have things to do.

There’s still so much I want to do but I’m happy with what I was able to accomplish and looking forward to picking up where I left off on Monday.
Hope you’re all having a great weekend!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fitness Friday

Today was not supposed to be a “rest” day (especially per my 10k training) but as the day progressed, I realized that a workout was not on the agenda.  Between a migraine, ear pain and my chronic pain being more severe today, I knew it was best to just come home after work and rest.  Sadly, the Aleve I took earlier can’t keep up with all of the pain and I have friends on call should I decide to take the strong stuff.  (I’ve never taken it before so obviously I am a bit on the apprehensive side).
Anyway, I’m okay and using tonight to tackle my to-do list (at least what I can do without moving my butt from my bed/couch).  Here’s what my week of exercise looked like:
Sat 10.15
30 mins abs, arms and stretching
30 mins stationary bike
Sun 10.16
30 mins strength and stretching (Jillian Michael’s 20 min workout - level 2 + additional stretching)
Mon 10.17
45 min run w/ warmup & cool down (2.5+ mi run, 3 mi total)
15 mins abs & stretching
Tues 10.18
15 mins abs and stretching
35 mins stationary bike
Wed 10.19
Thurs 10.20
25-30 mins run w/ warm up & cool down (2 mi run)
10 mins abs and stretching
Fri 10.21
This was my first week following my training and I definitely didn’t do nearly as well as I would have liked.  I followed the training aside from yesterday (should have also had strength) and today (should have been cross training) but I don’t think the Jillian Michael’s is suitable as my only strength training, especially on weeks when I don’t get to yoga and end up having to miss my second planned strength session.
Overall it was a good week but I’m looking forward to pushing forward with next week.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

time to work on my game plan

We’ve always seen Steve Jobs as a visionary and a man who made a strong, powerful and positive impact on the world.  And you don’t have to be a Steve Jobs or Apple “fan” to see that.  
My whole life, I’ve thought about how I wanted to make an impact but it’s always about finding the way that works for you, that allows you to follow your passion.  It allows the work you do on a daily basis, to not feel like work. 
Since Steve’s passing, I’ve been reminded even more of my desire to leave behind a strong footprint.  It doesn’t have to be on such a global level as Steve, but I do want to leave behind a positive impact.
After a really amazing and inspiring day yesterday and time with friends to refuel, I went to sleep with this thought: 
i have a strong desire to make a positive imprint on the world. time to work on my game plan.
I posted it on Facebook and Twitter and I’ve been getting an amazing response.  Quite honestly, I think it’s something most people want out of their lives.  We want to be remembered for the good and amazing things we’ve done in our lifetimes, however long or short.
As I was finishing my breakfast and coffee this morning, I pulled up my horoscope on Yahoo Shine and while fitting, this one really seemed perfect:
I don’t care whether you believe strongly in Astrology, follow it for fun or think it’s just a load of crazy talk, but I personally love to see the way these sorts of things align with what’s going on in my life.  And this morning, this was screaming at me that this is my go time.  It’s time to take the lead and put my plans to paper and figure out just what I want to happen and the best path to get there.
I have the drive, determination and perseverance to make whatever I want happen!
I have the knowledge and resources to overcome obstacles as they present themselves.

I have supporting friends and family (and readers) to see me through the inevitable rough days.
I have the passion, inspiration and strength to put myself out there and come out on top, no matter what anyone else says.


Remember, I am strong!

I want to be a veela

I’ve been zooming my way through the Harry Potter books, feeling like a little bit of a nerd (and a late one at that) but I also haven’t cared.  I’m enjoying reading these books right now and really that’s all that matters in my opinion.  (And I’m sure my reading teacher mother would agree.)
Anyway, I’m working my way through Book 4 (The Goblet of Fire) and while it feels like it’s taking me awhile, I’m also reminding myself that this book is at least 2x as long as the others so I’m really right on pace.  But I sitting around the other day reading and found myself thinking “it might be fun to be a veela for a day.”  ...what?!  That thought process quickly changed to “you need a little less time with these books and a little more time with your friends.”
Thankfully that happened and I spent my whole day yesterday with two of my good friends.  After hanging out with Amy all afternoon, chatting over tea, I had a quick dinner and went with Justine to Yogurtland for some froyo and catch-up.  Despite the fact that Justine lives 5 mins away, it had been nearly a month since we’d seen each other.  I lent her the 2nd and 3rd HP books to enjoy.  But I also mentioned my rather nerdy veela thought and her response was “have you seen the Harvard Quidditch team?” “”  She directed me to youtube Harvard Quidditch and sure enough, it exists.  And apparently, it’s not a joke.  Have you all seen this?

I’m not trying to hate but I am a bit confused.  And maybe also slightly concerned.
P.S. You’re Harvard, I’d also like to think you can find a better way to “recreate” Quidditch... ;)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Foodie for a Day

As part of my trying to save money / use what I have in my fridge and pantry vs. going and buying new food at the grocery store while never touching what I have (this is a bit of an overstatement of what actually happens, but it describes it well), I decided to go scrounging the internet the other day in hopes of finding a delicious sounding veggie burger recipe.  I was also in the mood for a veggie burger and sweet potato fries so it seemed like the perfect night to put my plan into action.
I ran across a few different options and ending up deciding to mostly follow Emily’s Vegan Bean Burgers.  I didn’t have a few things but the changes were easy:
-Instead of carrots, I used what remained in a bag of frozen veggies - warmed up and drained in the microwave
-Instead of pepitas, I used pine nuts
-The onion powder was replaced by garlic powder
-Cayenne pepper was replaced with a few sprinkles of red chile pepper
-When it seemed a little mushy, I added an extra sprinkle of oats
Can I tell you how delicious these were?  The first few nights, I had a burger on whole wheat toast or english muffin, topped with ketchup and served alongside sweet potato fries.  
And can we take a moment to note how much clearer this picture is - taken on my new iPhone 4S!

But then I decided I was going to take one for lunch.  Knowing the burgers were getting drier, I feared the ketchup would seep into the burger and not actually be a topper like I wanted.  So I decided to try something different - strawberry jam + spinach (just like my favorite tempeh sandwich).  It was delicious!  So delicious that I ate the last burger for dinner the same way.
Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or just looking for a good veggie burger - I can’t recommend this enough.  This was my first homemade veggie burger experience and I was definitely nervous but I couldn’t have been more pleasantly surprised by how easy and delicious these turned out!  YUM!
Now I’m off to get Yogurtland with Justine... :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Boiling Pot

I don’t enjoy confrontation.  I mean who actually does?  But it’s one of those things that I find myself reminded how much I don’t enjoy it.  
Like when I let my roommate’s boyfriend walk out of my apartment with my jar of sunflower seed butter as I sit on the couch telling myself I’m imagining it and that it must have fallen out of the trash (even though it looked just like the jar I opened in the fridge the day prior).  Or when I can’t find the words to tell a guy he’s coming across as only interested in one thing and that won’t fly with me.  So instead I give the benefit of the doubt, meanwhile brewing like a little tea pot ready to boil over at any moment.
Does this have to do with my dislike for confrontation?  Or does this go back to the fact that I’m rather reserved and quiet?  Or maybe it’s just a combination of the two?  Let’s be honest, it’s probably a mix.
And what is this thing where people seem to think I don’t smile?  Or at least seem to think I don’t smile in pictures?  I mean, I know I don’t smile in pictures that often - I like to make silly faces or try to take artsy pictures but seriously?!  Several people made note about how I was smiling in a picture I posted on Instagram this morning about how long my hair was.  Does this actually seem out of the ordinary?
All I notice is that my hair is SUPER long and that I clearly need more coffee for my sleepy eyes.
There’s a lot of thoughts going on in my head and this is just the beginning.

How do you deal with confrontation?  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Music Monday - Ryan Adams

Can we take this moment to celebrate new Ryan Adams? I mean seriously people!  The new album, Ashes and Fire, just came out last week and while I only placed my ears on it last night while eating dinner, I’m already in love.
Some of my favorite music is quiet, relaxing, yet soulful.  There’s a place for all kinds of music, especially depending on our moods but this is a favorite.  I can already tell this album is going to be on repeat for awhile.
For now, let your ears sink into one of my favorites (and the first single) from the album called “Lucky Now.”

And it’s an amazingly beautiful music video too!