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.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

I am...

I am... a very big dreamer.
I want... an adventure around the world.
I have... a husband that I adore. 
I wish... I had taken more risks when I was younger.
I hate... sitting in traffic for more than 30 minutes.
I fear... that I'll never take a leap of faith.
I hear... myself argue in my head about every tiny decision.
I search... for a sign of what I'm supposed to be doing in life.
I wonder... if I'll get to be old and gray.
I regret... not having been a little more daring and reckless when I was younger.
I love... my little family that I get to come home to every day.
I ache... when I've truly given it my all in a race.
I always... try to understand both points of view.
I usually... am a healthy eater. Usually, but not always. 
I am not... going to be satisfied until I've explored the world.
I dance... any chance I can.
I sing... horribly on purpose in the car to make my husband laugh.
I never...want want to wake up as an old woman never having had an adventure.
I sometimes... think about how nice it would be to settle down and start a family.
I cry... when I'm overwhelmed by stress.
I am not always... walking my talk.  
I lose...myself in planning when I have an idea.
I am confused... whenever my husband tries to talk to me about programming languages.
I need... to stop worrying.
I should... spend more time with my family.

 *thanks to Shine or Set for the post inspiration :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Behold, the power of running

Before workout, for 90 minutes while stuck in traffic:
Very realistic dramatic reenactment
Five minutes into workout:
More often than not, I actually do a mental "weeeeeee!" shortly after I start a run and I've warmed up. Even hours later when I'm in the office and dealing with the stresses of the day, the things that might normally ruin my day are only minor annoyances.

If anyone were to ask me why I run, my answer wouldn't be for my physical health or looking good. True, staying in shape is a big plus, but the real reason is that it helps me deal with my day. When my commute eats up 90 minutes of my morning, or I have so many to-dos that I'm going a mile a minute, or last minute changes have me scrambling to fix something - running helps me take things in stride so that I can come home and enjoy a relaxing night with my husband.

I believe that runner's high is a real thing, and that everyone can benefit from a daily run. Or jog. Or cycle. Or power walk. Doesn't matter what it is, as long as it gets you moving and gives you those happy feelings.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Happy Monday

I have an obsession.

The happiest place on earth.

About a week ago, a version of this bad boy opened up next door to my work. Not only that, it's a combination of a fro-yo bar AND cookie shop. As soon as they started construction, the thought crossed my mind that now is probably the time when I throw in the towel on being a healthy, fit person.

Maybe it's that I haven't given up on my New Years resolutions yet, or that the teeny tiny fit person that lives inside me is still kicking, but I've managed to end up at the shop three times in one week and consume less than half the amount of fro-yo that old me would down in one visit. 

For the record, the reason I ended up at the shop three times in one week was due to very, very, very strong peer pressure from a co-worker. 

During today's visit #3, I accompanied my friend as she filled up her cup with frozen deliciousness and candy toppings. And for the first time ever, I walked out of the place with nothing

I don't think you understand how much I LOVE these places. Love. 

So being able to resist my favorite unhealthy thing in favor of a healthy cup of tea was an awesome feeling. And once I was out of there, I didn't regret not getting any. I know it's not going anywhere.

Learn to say no to the things that are bad for you. You know what they are.

Make room in your life to say yes to the things that are good.

After work, I made my way next door - this time to sign up for a gym membership. Go me.

Happy Monday! Make good choices!

Internet Diet

I'm one of those smug people who don't have cable and can go off on a tangent at the drop of a hat about how having a TV in the bedroom is soooo bad for you. My husband and I just aren't huge TV people. We will binge watch a beloved series on occasion or a movie we meant to catch in theaters, but for the most part, the one TV in hour house is usually off.

*Pats self of the back for only having one TV in the house vs. the American average of three.*

Just don't ask me about the internet.

Ok then, if I'm going to be honest with myself about my bad digital habits, then yes, I have an unhealthy relationship with the internet.

We may only have one TV, but we do have two laptops, a desktop, and iPad and two iPhones. Am I guilty of browsing Facebook on my iPhone while scrolling through Pinterest on my laptop? Yes.

I haven't crafted, purchased, or cooked 90% of the things I've pinned, or implemented more than one or two of the life hacking articles skimmed. I don't watch any of the reality shows that the gossip sites scrutinize, the news I read is of little personal interest to me and forgotten within minutes, and the life updates I scroll through from "friends" on Facebook are composed of updates from people I rarely or never see in real life. The internet is the new TV, for me anyway, and now that I've recognized that I'm not as digitally healthy as I should be, I know I need to find ways to stop using the net to avoid and postpone real life.

I'm going try a little something this week that I think will have a positive effect on my productivity. It's called "don't spend so much damn time on the internet."

I do need to be online for work and creating this blog, so I'm not going to ban myself entirely. The idea is to be mindful of avoiding the places that have me avoiding my to-do list, or even just the moment because I'm so busy checking in on other peoples' moments.

Aroundabouts this time next week, I'll be back with an update! Time to break out a real live book and enjoy me breakfast.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I should go more often


Basic spins class today (aka pole dancing class).

Don't be impressed, I'm fairly awful at it.

But something about the combination of leg warmers, super dim lighting, zero mirrors and intense music has me ok with braving teeny spandex shorts and booty rolls in front of ten other woman I don't know.

I think that's something.

Priorities man

via Poorly Drawn Lines
Get rid of the beard and that's basically me. Some days, swap out the cheese for peanut butter, and it still works.

Dairy is not my friend. But sometimes often I'll eat it knowing that in 30 minutes or less, I'm gonna feel like crap. Same goes for chocolate. Soda. Large volumes of food. Basically all the enjoyable parts of eating.

When I go through period of being "good", like avoiding dairy for example, I feel awesome. My skin looks great. Life is good. Yet time and time again, I return to the cheese. Or the chocolate.

Or the general life things that have made me sick or break out or feel bad or feel bad about myself.

I haven't come up with a perfect solution to stay on track, other than some sort of shock collar. Although in reflecting on myself in the last year, I suppose I'm making progress. I haven't purchased milk in ages, though I do sneak a string cheese or skinny latte a couple times a week. I haven't hit a drive thru in forever, but that doesn't mean I'll turn my nose up at a cheeseburger if it happens to be in front of my face.

Better than before.

Still a work in progress.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Purpose and present

It's been quote-heavy around here lately, but I need to share one more. My husbands sends mountain biking videos to me almost daily. Riding in the woods is his one true love, except maybe me. 

The first minute of this one is it. Just. It.

And then we agreed to a plan.

And now I'm looking forward to the future, and have purpose to start living in the present. In being present.

More to come my friends..

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An exercise in looking on the bright side

I had a bad day. I don't want to talk about it.

I'm going to try something else instead..

1. Work - my team is awesome, I'm treated very well, and I've never had so much fun at a job. Ever. I love working with people who CARE!

2. Training - I've exercised 14 out of 15 days since the new year.

3. Husband - we've never been closer and on the same page as we are now. I'm feeling super supported by him, and he's the reason why I'm writing now, as opposed to avoiding life or accepting sadness.

4. Nutrition - I've done more healthy meal prep in the last 3 weeks than I have IN MY WHOLE LIFE.

5. Family - it's awesome to have married into a family that hugs and says things like "I love you." It's still totally weird to me, but in a good way. I'm learning how to hug.

6. Pets - my dog is getting snuggier by the day as he hits doggie middle age. He's becoming a fluffy, blobby little old man and I love him.

7. Finances - making leaps and bounds toward financial freedom (aka major life choice flexibility) every year. I see the light.

That totally worked. Mission accomplished. Night everyone. Tomorrow is a new day.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Midweek reset

I've let a fairly major life event that occurred last week be my excuse for getting a little lazy in the days since. Particularly in terms of eating well and putting real effort into my workouts.

In my defense, I did come home to pizza and apple pie tonight. 

But that's a terrible excuse, when a large part of why I'm focusing on treating my body and mind well is so that I can handle the crazy days in a healthy way. It's only Tuesday, and old me probably would have said "Eh well f*** it, I'll just enjoy the week and start with two hour daily workouts on Monday. So until then, bring on the pie."

Unfortunately I'm getting smarter when it comes to that sort of thing, and I have a hard time believing that I'd stick to that perfect eating and workout plan for longer than a day. 

That's why I'm striving for a little bit each day and learning to accept that sometime I may break the chain. New me is learning to say "ok, tomorrow is it's own day. Just keep going."

So tomorrow I'm going to hit the reset and will specifically focus on three things. Easy!

1. Drink a ton of water and tea
2. Eat super clean - no dairy, bread or sugar 
3. Put in a solid workout

I'm not a cleanse person, so this is more of a mini break from the processed junk that I know makes me feel super meh by early afternoon. I think if I'm a bit more conscious of what I need to work on tomorrow, I can go into the days following feeling back in the swing of healthy, happy things.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Happy Monday Memory

I'm having a bit of writer's block tonight. That and I decided to shirk my to-do's in favor of a movie night with my husband. No, I didn't work out today. Or clean. But that's ok. I'll just get right back to it tomorrow.

But I do want to want to squeeze my Monday post in. It was a good Monday. For real this time. 

That picture above was from this past May. Travel makes me happy in a serious way, and looking back at pictures brings me to my happy place. 

Sometimes that's all I need to turn a day around.

And maybe this too :)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Getting over the impostor effect

I just spent the last few hours editing pictures from a photo shoot I did last week. I'm not a photographer. I just happen to have a nice camera and sometimes shoot boudoir for friends, because the only thing worse then posing in your underpants for a stranger is paying $500 to pose in your underpants for a stranger.

Every time I do shoot, I worry that my "clients" will discover that I'm actually terrible at this. I felt that way last week when taking pictures for a friend. "Oh God, just act like you know what you're doing. Maybe something will turn out ok. Thank goodness I'm doing this for free, otherwise she would demand that I pay her for wasting her time."

I didn't look at the pictures all week. I dreaded the editing process, convinced that my lack of talent would be extremely obvious.

But it wasn't.

They looked great.

A little crop here, a tiny adjustment to the highlights there, and suddenly three hours had passed. I could have kept editing for another three hours, as I had ended up with so many shots that I'd be proud to share.

I suffer from impostor syndrome. I was convinced that the good shots from my first four photo shoots had been flukes, and eventually I'd end up doing a shoot with nothing to show but apologies. Now, after my fifth session behind the camera, I'm recognizing that I have a style, a good eye for lines and posing, and the ability to ease my friends' nerves while in a vulnerable position (literally). I'm pretty good at post-production too.

I still wouldn't call myself a photographer. Not yet anyway.

But I'm getting pretty good at this.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Super Orange

I HAVE to have something sweet after dinner. It's just a weird thing about me - I don't feel "done" unless I've had my treat. Preferably something in the ice cream or pastry family. 

The husband and I had baked cookies today; something that we very rarely do. And though we had enough extra dough to make for another batch that would satisfy my treat craving, that little healthy person inside me that's trying to break out reminded me that I'd already had three, and another three more probably undue my hard work on the treadmill earlier in the day.

What is something sweet and easy and healthy?....


I wanted something more dessert-ey than my usual green stuff. We had grapefruit on hand, which I wasn't entirely sure about.

Sam is not entirely sure about the grapefruit
Super Orange: Grapefruit, Carrot & Apple Juice
  • 1 grapefruit (peeled obviously)
  • 2 apples
  • 4 carrots
  • Smidge of ginger
Wash it. Peel it. Juice it. Bam.

This juice was orange. Like really orange. I wasn't sure it was love at first sip. The grapefruit gave it a bite that makes you go "hmmm," but by sip #2, I was really digging it. It was sweet and refreshing and totally satisfied my need for a treat. 

I could also see this as a unique base for a mimosa. Or with vanilla ice cream. 

But for now I'll just stick with the healthy version.

Friday, January 10, 2014

So far so good

Ok folks, we are 10 days in to 2014! Let's see how we're doing with those resolutions we were so excited about just a short time ago..
  • Move every day - so far so good! Most days I do a real workout for an hour, other days do the bare minimum 15 minutes, like tonight after a long day at the office and 2 Downton Abbeys. Obviously I'd love it if I trained hard every day, but I'm happy to say that I've done something every day. My handy app has been super helpful in keeping me motivated.
  • Read at least 10 minutes a day - also on target. I love unplugging every day, even if it's just for 10 minutes.
  • Post to the blog at least 3 times a week - bonus points here, I'm blogging every day! I'm participating in BlogHer's NaBloPoMo, which means that I'm blogging every day in January. 
  • Eat in and bring lunch to work more often - we've eaten at home every night this week, thanks in huge part to the meal prepping I did over a week ago. I'm planning another batch of freezer meals this weekend. Eating out while at work hasn't been so great, as in I usually spend money every day. Sometimes I just need to get out of the office! This one needs a bit of work.
  • Work on my marriage - we had a good week :)
  • Spend 10 minutes a day on cleaning and chores - doing well here too. Some nights I just do a quick pickup in a room or around the house, but my bathroom has never stayed this tidy this many days in a row!
  • Respond to personal messages timely - meh. I'm doing.. ok. I don't know why but this is one I just have the hardest time with. I don't like responding to personal messages when I'm at work, but then when I'm not at work it feels like responding to my backlog of messages is work, and I don't want to do it. I've found some success with the whole "do something x minutes every day" thing, so I may set up a new habit to spend 5 or 10 minutes on responding to things daily.
  • Eat clean - doing ok, could be better. I work in one of those super cool offices with basically a free minimart for a kitchen, and toward the end of the week when I start losing my "eat clean yay!" oomph, I'm reaching for the fake healthy stuff like chocolate Clif bars and wheat thins. I've managed to stay diet soda-free all week, and have successfully made the switch to plain fizzy water. Next week I'd like to refocus on swapping out the processed stuff for whole foods. And MORE JUICING!
  • Stress less about work - ups and downs here. I started the week with a ton of anxiety for whatever reason, and ended the week feeling pretty happy with what I accomplished. 
  • Spend less money - the jar system (I swear I'll explain one of these days) is doing it's job and keeping me conscious of what I'm spending every day. 
So, I'm not a completely different person than I was on December 31st, but I do feel like I'm taking little steps forward every day toward being that happy, fit, healthy, optimistic, responsible and financially sound woman I aspire to be. I don't expect to change overnight, but I'm getting there. Baby steps!

How are YOU doing with your resolutions? Making progress?

Thursday, January 9, 2014