Monday, April 28, 2014

Happy start again Monday

It's been dark over here for awhile, and for good reason. I wasn't in a great place in the early part of the year, and it took some semi-major changes to start feeling like a person again. I won't go into details quite yet, so I'll just say that I'm feeling 500x better than I have in about a year.

Part of what brings me happiness (and happy hormones) is working out. I'm not in any kind of killer shape at the moment, and when I do work out, I haven't been pushing myself as hard as I know I should. I tend to perform the best when my training is planned to the minute, vs. just hopping on a treadmill and hoping for the best. So today I tried this:
via fitsugar
I was able to eek out an extra half mile in the same amount of time compared to last week when I was freestyling my run. The time also seemed to go by waaaaay faster because I was focused on reaching the next interval only a minute or two away, instead of thinking "29 minutes left... 28 minutes left.." and so on.

I wrapped up with some light upper body strength training, again courtesy of a 10 minute video vs. a Morgan freestyle. A healthy breakfast and coffee later (AND back to the blog!!) and I feel like I'm off to a good start for the week.

Goal tonight: do another mini-sweat session, and then mediate. More on that later ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Take the money and run

I don't like knowing that if we sell our house, cars, and stuff, we could easily run away to Thailand or be nomads for a long time. Every day seems to be an exercise in "just hang in there" lately. I know that the longer we wait and save and plan, the better it will be while we're gone, but five years (current timeline) seems like an eternity.

Until then, I desperately need to start taking my own advice. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Happy to spring forward Monday

A summer walk in the PNW
I love, love, love that time of year when the clocks jump ahead, and all of a sudden my days get a whole lot brighter. It's been tough adjusting to the schedule at my new(ish) job, especially during the winter. I'm usually in the office until at least 6 PM every day, which usually means spending nearly the whole week without daylight. 

The last couple weeks have been STRESSFUL (hence my absence!), but I have to say, walking out after a long, hard day to sunshine is amazing. What's even better is the walk around the neighborhood my husband and I had a chance to take with our dogs who are just as wound up as we are. 

It's only March, so we have a long way to go before the good stuff (HEAT!!) comes in the summer, but the timing of this daylight savings time business was just about perfect to keep me moving.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Decision time

I need to get a trip on the books. We've hit that dreary time of year where it's still dark and cold, and summer is still so, so far away. Especially up here in the PNW.

"Beach. Sun. Heat. Beach. Sun. Heat," says my brain. Over and over and over.

My short-list:
  • Thailand - I'd have to wait until the end of the year until my vacation builds up and husband can join. Not sure I'll make it!
  • Belize - beaches and jungles. 
  • Costa Rica - surfing and yoga?
  • Southwest US - possibly with a girlfriend, which could be fun. 
Husband just started a new job, so I may be looking at another solo trip. I've (sort-of) traveled solo before, and it's really nice to be able to have real "ME" time, whether it's sit on a beach for hours, explore a new town, or read by a pool. If I'm going to jet off by myself, I might spring for one of those rah rah girl-time yoga and surf camps in Central America. I've always wanted to be great at both, and what better way to learn than with (hopefully new!) friends some place new and beautiful. 

This weekend's goal is to have a place picked! Stay tuned!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Choose to be happy Monday

I'm happy today because I'm one day closer to all of the great things I'm looking forward to and working towards. Today may not amount to much by itself, but what I accomplish day and tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that means that my progress bars are moving.

Have a good day, and think big picture, kids.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Listen to your eating disorder..

..and then do the opposite.
It's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. This blog plays a small part in my personal recovery, and as someone who been pulled in and out of the destructive mental mind game that is bulimia for the past five years, I can say with certainty that the general public's perception of eating disorders is.. disordered. 

For those of you who know someone close to you with an eating disorder- take some time to educate yourself about the best ways to help. 

I'm in a better place at the moment, but I wouldn't say that I'm recovered. I'm not the best person say that if you do X, Y, Z you'll get past it like I did. Because I haven't yet. 

But I'm getting there.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Why am I so awkward?


Is a platonic girlfriend finder for girls a thing? If yes, then..

1. That is SUCH a sad thing
2. How do I sign up?

It's been just about three years since I walked away from a really fun group of girlfriends that was unfortunately split by some unfortunate drama. I was basically just a bystander during that tumultuous time, but the experience was exhausting and things were never the same. I made up a reason to take a break and haven't been back since. I still have a few girlfriends, but our lives all seem to be so very different now, we are physically far away from each other, and I see us growing farther apart as time goes on. 

I've finally learned to say no to the things that always felt like "no choice," because everything is a choice and few things are actually obligations. I'm a lifelong introvert and savor the abundance of me-time when I'm not at work. Lately though, I miss have more choices and things to say yes to, particularly when it comes to relationships with other people. 

Maybe it's not just me. Seattle has a reputation apparently..

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Adapting to change

It's crazy how just one day of clean eating can make a difference in how you feel the next morning.
So the good news this week is that my husband started his new job, which just so happens to be about 10 minutes away from office. This means that I have my carpool buddy back, and my time and rage on the road has been dramatically reduced.

The bad news is that I'm not sure how to stay motivated to get to the gym. I had signed up in January with the gym across the street from my office, and was driving down at 6am almost daily to beat traffic and work out. The mornings were tough, but once I was there, my only two choices were to work out or start working. Easy.

Fortunately the membership is valid at other location, and there happens to be another location about 10 minutes from. That means that I could get to the gym at 6am, work out until 7am, then be home in time to have breakfast and enjoy a bit of my morning. Or I could just stay home that entire time in my comfy house. See how that works? I know myself very well by now.. oh well. I'll keep thinking that through.

In the meantime, this morning I did get in a short run on the treadmill, and then tried out a short bodyweight workout via the PopSugar Fitness App on my iPad. I always feel like such a dork when I do videos, but this one was actually really good, and the app has a pretty decent sized library of workouts I'm looking forward to trying. It's definitely no Crossfit class (which I miss dearly), but I think this will be a great way to keep up a bit of strength training during this gym limbo.

Happy Wednesday friends!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

I've fallen

Time to get up.
First the good. Marathon training has been (pretty) good and consistent. Work has also been good. I'm finally feeling settled more often than not, which is huge for me.

Now the bad. Remember those resolutions came up with at the start of the new year? Yeah.. me neither apparently. I haven't cracked open a book in weeks, that whole "eating clean" thing isn't really a thing as of late, and I find myself falling into the internet hole at home as a way of postponing whatever more important task I should be doing.

Time for a little reset.

I've re-enabled my "bad" site blockers, and installed the application on my second "cheat" browser. I'm going to go back to blogging every day, like I was doing in January. I find I need that daily outlet, which also works to help keep me accountable with my other daily goals.

More water. More vegetables. Less bread and pasta and sweets. Much less.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pining for summer

I don't do "throwback Thursdays" but I suppose this is sort of that. I'm missing summer in a serious way. That photo above was taken last June or so, when I was forced to learn how to mow a lawn for the first time after my husband broke his arm.

Turns out I love it. I'm not a big gardener, but pushing our little mower in the warm sun for an hour was became my favorite chore, and I got instant gratification in seeing the backyard become neat and tidy. 

The best part was lounging in the hammock to survey my work, warm and relaxed and happy.

I'm a hot weather beach girl by nature, and I start counting down to summer the second I'm forced into a sweater. It's a wonder I'm still here in the PNW.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Choose to be Happy Monday.. err, Tuesday

I know, I know, I'm late. But I've been too busy having a happy Friday, weekend, Monday, and Tuesday.

Not a whole lot has physically changed from my "having a meltdown" days, other than just remembering that the things that frustrate me are little in the long run, and shouldn't be overshadowed by the good in my life. 

These are my latest favorite ways to flip on my happy light:
  • Email my husband at work, just to say hello and to tell him something that will brighten his day (and mine)
  • Go for a run. My mood following a workout is at least twice as happy 100% of the time. 
  • Listen to Stuff You Should Know podcasts during my long commute
  • Play World of Warcraft with my husband. Or by myself. Because I'm getting really into it again. I know you guys. I know. But something about running around a cartoony world killing bad guys and completing quests is satisfying and relaxing right now. Plus, it's cheap and something that hubs and I can do together.
  • Blog. Can't say enough how much writing things down and taking an active role in being a happy person has made a difference in my daily and long-term outlook. I feel less like I'm in a bubble. So thanks readers. All one or two of you..

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Just run

This is my I-finished-my-ten-mile-run-despite-it-being-freezing-ass-cold-and-my-phone/GPS/music-player-dying-two-miles-in-face:
You get this since I couldn't take any run pictures
It was cold today. Balmy compared to most parts of the country, but it was mid-30s and I'm a baby and I just wasn't having it. I knew I had this run to do, my first real "long run" in my marathon training, and by about 1PM I had run out of ways to procrastinate. So I put on my shorts, trudged to my treadmill, started to plod, and within two minutes asked myself WTF I was doing on a treadmill when it there was daylight and the roads were dry. I have a hate-hate relationship with the treadmill in my house, and I knew I'd maybe get three miles in, max, before calling it a day. On went my running tights, long-sleeves, and gloves, and out the door I went. 

Feeling good, rocking out to Pandora, RunKeeper app politely letting me know my distance and pace every five minutes, and then... nothing. My phone is also a baby about the cold, and decided to feign illness and shut down. You guys, I actually thought about going home. I was already feeling naked without my GPS watch and heart rate monitor, and to have no idea how fast I was going, when I was supposed to turn around, and no Ellie Goulding to distract me, was not motivating.

But for some reason I kept going - I figured I'd just turn around when I got bored and hopefully I'd make it to six or seven miles. I'd run the route probably 100 times before, so I vaguely knew the distance from my house to certain checkpoints. 

Surprisingly though (for me) I just kept running. I listened to the pat-pat-pat of my shoes on the pavement, the wind rustling through the trees, I noted how my body was feeling, how my pace changed when I shortened my stride. I raced against oblivious joggers and challenged myself to run to random objects in the distance. 

Once I felt like I had made it at least four miles, I turned around and ran home, listening, looking, racing, thinking, mentally singing my latest favorite Ellie-song in my head. 

Got home, chugged some water and stretched my hips, then plotted my route in GoogleMaps to check the distance. I turned around right at 5.2 miles, putting my total at 10.4! 

So, lesson for me and for you, is that sometimes you just need to run, and you don't actually *need* much to do it. I had become so dependent on music and monitors and trackers over the years that I had forgot to just enjoy running and the places it takes me. I'm not saying that I'll chuck the music and GPS on every run from now on, but I will make a point to just run every once in a while. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Stop making excuses

This. This. This. This This. This.

I originally read that quote as motivation to stick to my workouts, and to eat healthy, but it's a great reminder to STOP WAITING to start working on something. 

If I could go back in time and talk to me a year ago, I would tell her to work out at least 15 minutes a day starting now, to cut the diet soda chemical crap she chugs starting now, to spend less money and live frugally starting now, to write her thoughts starting now.

Me a year later sure would appreciate it. 

I'm just gonna go ahead an pat myself on the back right now for the last month of sticking with all of these great lifestyle changes, but it sure would be nice if I'd have stuck with it starting last year.

As time passes, I realize that life isn't going to get any more "ideal" to start working on my goals. I'm only going to get older, and I don't want to wait until I'm old to accomplish the things on my list.

I haven't had a perfect day at all in the last month, but it sure is a hell of a lot better than having a day where I did nothing.

And scene.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Choose to be Happy Monday

When did Monday become a four letter word? The last place I worked had me in constant contact with quite a few "Happy Monday!!" people, and my response was always "uugghhghhhh..."

Now I want to be one of them.

I had a pretty good Monday actually. Got up nice and early, went for a six-mile run and thought about how just maybe I'll survive that marathon in June, ate mostly clean, checked things off my list at work and spent some quality time with the husband in my cozy house. 

I'm still counting down the days until the Saturday, as usual, but at the very least, Monday still gives me one more day to work towards my goals. After today, I'm that much more trained for my race, I have another day of money-making and money-saving, and I'm one day closer to my next adventure. 

And next Monday I'll be EVEN closer!

I'm not sure exactly what I'm counting down to yet, but every day that I'm here and working and sticking the plan means that I'm moving forward. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Weekend Wrap-Up


I started using MyFitnessPal last week to help myself be more mindful about the foods that I put in my body and the training that I do to reach my fitness goals. It hasn't been a perfect week. In fact, I could have done WITHOUT a lot less and WITH a lot more working out.

What I can say however, is that logging everything that I eat and drink does have me thinking harder about the food choices that I make. Logging all of the bad things that I ate just a couple hours ago while rooting the Seahawks on during the Super Bowl was painful, but seeing everything on the screen has kept me from heading back in the kitchen to polish off those peanut M&Ms.

For me, it isn't just enough to log everything for the day and start fresh tomorrow. A practice that I've started after I'm "done" for the day is to look back and make a few notes about what I should have done differently. Today, I could have done without that second bottle of beer and the peanut M&Ms during the game, and I wouldn't have felt at all deprived.

My goal for February is to log my meals every day and reflect on my choices in this way daily, to establish the good habits that someday won't depend on tracking and checking things off on my smartphone.

By this time next month, I expect to be feeling, looking, and running better.

Friday, January 31, 2014

One for every day

bloggin' time!
You guys, it's friday night and I'm feeling good and happy in this fab chair that my husband brought home while I was at work. I hate sitting upright in a desk, so I'm looking forward to posting more from this comfy spot soon!

And speaking of posting, this marks the end of January's NaBloPoMo... and I did it! This time last month I decided to kick off this blog by posting ever day in January. I'm proud of myself for sticking to this goal. Writing regularly, even if it's something silly, has been hugely helpful in getting myself out of my head and that is often swarming with worry and stress. Not all days are perfect, but I'm learning to recognize the good in each day, and plan for the adventures I want to have before I'm old.

Thanks for reading friends. Though I can now check off January's daily blogging goal, I definitely plan to be back here often.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Think happy today

I have a feeling that today is just going to be one of those stay-positive-and-get-through-it days. 

Yesterday's post (and many before it) centered around centered around dreams for the not too distant future. While I believe that having defined and lofty goals is essential for finding happiness, that vivid and opposite picture of where I could be right now makes the things that I don't like about present life that much more apparent.

That is not a good thing.

For me and for you, remember to recognize the positive things about today, so that when you finally get to where you're going, you can look back with fondness instead of regret.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Your stuff is stopping you

Balian Beach house
You can probably tell from my previous posts that I'm particularly wanderlusty at the moment. I've dreamed of spending time away for years, and have never managed to sneak in much longer than two weeks away from home.

I get tend to get dreamy about travel when major life elements are in a state of unknown, as they are right now with my husband between jobs. I'm not terribly worried about making the mortgage payment - we've prepared for this - so he has the ability to be a little more selective about his next job.

Lately he's gotten a couple leads from places that would allow him to work remotely. It would likely be less that he could be making in a traditional office setting, but nothing to shake a stick at.

And in someplace like Thailand, or Bali, we could be pretty comfortable on just his income.

For years and years, the thought of running away to explore has always been at the front of my mind, but nothing that we'd ever actually do. We have a lot of "stuff" keeping us here - house, stuff in house, dogs, cats, animals, family that we help support.. but lately we've both been talking more seriously about what we can do to release ourself for this stuff. If we didn't have these tying us down, we'd be gone yesterday.

That beach house in the picture above was from one of my favorite stops in Bali - that hammock was the living room, the bathroom was off to the side and constructed out of old green beer bottles, and I slept in the room up top that I couldn't quite stand up straight in while the couple that I was traveling with stayed in the main bedroom below. The house sat in the middle of a rice field, and the beach was just a small stroll away. The guy that we rented the house from did his best to teach us how to surf. When we were hungry we'd walk to an outdoor warung and have breakfast or lunch or dinner and say hello to the owner's pet monkey. I don't think we spent more than $10 a person per day on the house and food. We only spent a few days in Balian, and it was the most rustic stop along the way, but it's probably one of the first places I'd re-visit if we do make a break for it.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Food is not a reward

Just 'cause Sam worked out doesn't mean he needs that pancake piece
Yesterday (second day using MyFitnessPal app):

"Oh sweet, I burned like 850 calories on my run. I'm gonna have some ice cream! Yeah!"


"Why is MyFitnessPal saying I burned 300 less calories on today's run even though I ran FASTER during the same amount of time?"


10 mph and 10 minute miles are not the same thing. Right.. fixing entry now and.. yes, yes, I should not have had the ice cream.

Lesson learned:

Don't use working out as an excuse to eat food that you know isn't good for you (even if you never overestimate the calories you burn while working out). I obviously need to overcome this food = reward mentality too. If I hadn't made that entry error, I would have just skipped the ice cream, which means that I didn't actually need it. 

No one ever needs ice cream. 

For the record, I hate calorie counting, but I do believe that what gets measured gets done. I try not to pay attention to the exact numbers, but I do log my food, exercise, and weight to keep motivated to make healthy choices and get to the gym. My 10 mph vs. 10 minute mile snafu was a great reminder of how not to use trackers to justify a different poor behavior to fill my imaginary poor behavior quota for the day. 

Next time I'm faced with a calorie deficit that just happens to equal a hot fudge sundae, I'm going to make a point to remember WHY I'm working out and tracking my progress and eating clean. The point is to be a super healthy person. The point is not to toe the line to unhealthy.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Choose to be happy Monday

My husband always says that you are the sum of the three people you spend the most time with.

For better or for worse.

Fortunately he's one of them. He might even be two-thirds of them, which isn't a bad thing.

This does remind me to spend more time with a couple of girlfriends - I could use a little more of their strengths in my life.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sausage & Kale Soup

I just made this and had to share - it is so yummy, I could have eaten the whole whole pot myself.

Sausage & Kale Soup*
2 tablespoons of olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
5 cloves of garlic, minced
4 cups of chicken stock
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of basic
1 tablespoon of oregano
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon of salt
A few healthy grinds on the pepper mill
A 13.5 oz can of coconut milk
2 cups of chopped kale
2 cups of italian sausage

*I eyeball all of my measurements- these don't need to be exact

Brown the italian sausage in a skillet and drain the fat. Heat the olive oil on medium in a large pot and add the carrots, red onion and celery. Saute for about 5 minutes, then add the garlic and saute for another couple minutes.

Add the chicken stock and that long list of spices, plus the can of coconut milk. Bring the concoction to a simmer and then lower the heat. Add the cooked sausage and kale, stir, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
kale time
While you're waiting for the soup to finish cooking and before you clean up, break out your juicer and throw in some of that kale, a couple carrots, and celery, and toss in an apple and some ginger.
About the time you wrap up your healthy green juice, your soup should be ready for the bowl! Did I mention I loved this soup? Loved it. Husband too. That recipe will feed a family for a night or two folks like us for a couple of days.

As much as I enjoyed this dish, I'm thinking about ways I can lighten it up a bit. The coconut milk and sausage aren't exactly lean, so I may swap in turkey sausage and replace half the can of coconut milk with more chicken stock. And maybe even MORE kale!

I <3 kale. 

Home love

I think Seattle knows how much I've been wanting to run away abroad lately, and it's taunting me with beautiful sunny days like this in January. Life will keep me here a couple years longer at least, and my plan is to get as much quality time in with this place as possible. 

Don't worry, city, you'll always be my one, true love.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Healthy-ish Ramen

I was a walking zombie when I finally got home last night after work and Zumba at 9. A starving, walking zombie. I had zero energy to spend more than a few minutes preparing a dinner, and chips and salsa and a spoonful of PB wasn't going to cut it.

I tried something new instead.

Healthy-ish Ramen

  • Package of stovetop ramen (I used the "Oriental" flavor)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2-3 mushrooms, sliced
  • garlic chili paste
  • cilantro
  • 4 cups of water
Put the egg (in the shell!) and 2 cups of water in a small pot over high heat. When the water comes to a boil, throw your ramen noodles in there too. 

After 3 mins of boiling, use a slotted spoon to take the egg out and rinse it under cold water. Pour out the water in the pot (to get rid of some of the starch and fat in the noodles) and replace it with 2 fresh cups of water. Put it back on the stove with the heat on medium until the water is hot again.

When the noodles look just about done, stir in HALF of the seasoning packet, the spinach, mushrooms, and green onions and turn the heat off. Peel the soft-boiled egg while all that goodness is hanging out. 

Pour the contents of the pot into your soup bowl and top with the soft-boiled egg, about a teaspoon of the garlic chili paste, and a bit of fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

This ended up being waaaaaay yummier than than the plain old ramen I had as a broke college student. Next time I might try adding some thinly sliced pork or beef to make it heartier. And I probably could have gotten away with using even less of the seasoning packet - this is the unhealthiest part of stovetop ramen because it's full sodium. The additions to the soup make up more than enough in terms of flavor.

I still wouldn't call this a health food, or something I would eat every day, but in a pinch, it's better than a run through a drive-thru.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Tried something new


So this one time I used to be a belly dancer. Like a PRO-fessional.

Remember that?

No, me either apparently.

Somehow got coerced into my first Zumba class. I was awful. Ok, maybe for a beginner, I was ok. But awful in the grand scheme of things. I avoided the mirror as much as possible.

But I was sweating buckets, so it must be challenging me in some why that running doesn't.

So even though what I was doing was definitely not dancing, or Zumba-ing, I suppose I'll be back next week.