Archive for March, 2010

28
Mar
10

bikini season

It’s coming.  It’s coming very, very quickly.  Need proof?

Look at those beautiful blooms on the trees leading into our neighborhood.  It makes me smile on my way to work and not much can make me do that!  Soon enough, the petals will be gone, the leaves will return and summer will be here. 

In preparation, my Fitness Rx magazine Bikini Body workout continues.  I had to take a couple of days off this week thanks to a head cold, but I returned full force yesterday with an insane step workout and shoulder/back workout.  Today I did the lower-body circuit listed in the magazine.  I do not have high hopes for my muscles tomorrow.  They will likely be screaming!

I made a stop at the Organic Food Depot after the gym to pick up a few things, including this new find:

Light, crunch, airy and totally yummy!  I slathered one with a little bit of PB2 (chocolate variety, of course) and found dessert heaven!

My post-workout thirst overcame me by the time I checked out, so I picked up something that these other bloggers have raved about – Kombucha. 

 Not gonna lie.. I was disgusted as soon as I opened the bottle.  The smell was so off-putting, but I took a swig anyway.  I had to hold the gag back!  It reminded me of overly-fermented apple juice mixed with truly rotten beer.  It probably doesn’t help that I’ve had a bad apple juice experience as a child which resulted in food poisoning.  It may be healthy and it may be supported by many bloggers.  I am not, and probably never will be, one of them.  Maybe I started with the wrong variety.  Any suggestions from those that have found a Kombucha variety that doesn’t taste anything like my description?

I received an awesome package in the mail on Friday that brightened my day!  I won my first giveaway from Gina over at Simply Life and look what showed up in my mailbox ready for a plethora of applications –

This is actually the very first all-natural nut butter that I will be trying (I don’t count Smuckers variety) so I am super excited.  You’re the best, Gina!!  Thank you so much!  I think some good, old-fashioned PB toast tomorrow will be the first taste!  I’d love some suggestions on baking recipes that include PB & Chocolate!

My tummy is a-rumbling so it’s lunchtime!  On today’s menu: Tofu Shirataki noodles + spinach + Morningstar Meal Starter Crumbles.  A fave!

Time to dig in!!

On a side note, it might not be conducive to prepping for bikini season, but I bet it’s so yummy – Lori is giving away some authentic maple syrup (non of those icky chemicals/preservatives involved!).  Go check it out and enter to win!

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25
Mar
10

Dear body,

I think that, recently, I have spent too much time judging you and obsessing over your weaknesses and the things that make you different from those individuals whose bodies I admire.  How unfair I have been!  I too often have forgotten the times that you have helped me, have sheltered me and have given me motivation to keep pushing forward and making you healthy.

Thank you for being stronger this past year when I needed you the most – through the loss of so many loved ones.  Your legs carried me, your emotions helped me to be there for my family and, though your heart may have been broken, you were consistently “there.”

Thank you for allowing me to meet and surpass the fitness goals that I have set for myself.  You have grown stronger than I could have imagined and you have shown more endurance than I would have thought possible.  You have shown me that moments of pain and discomfort will always result in success and will eventually benefit my health.  I apologize for the times that, when you were trying to tell me to slow down, I pushed you too hard.  Thank you for making that very clear to me.  I promise to allow you more rest when you need it.

Thank you for allowing me to change my mind; to crave this

and these

instead of these

even when a kind gym member brings them in to us as a “thank you” gift.  Thank you for allowing me the will-power to create new cravings that will sustain you, that will help you grow and that will keep you healthy. 

I spent over 10 years treating you unkindly by subjecting your skin to UV rays that you could not handle.  I am paying the consequences for your mistreatment and will be more thoughtful  and considerate of your needs.  Thank you for presenting the cancer so soon that it could be contained quickly and treated early.  I promise to take better care of you so that you will remain healthy for the rest of my life.

There have been so many days that I have hated you, been disgusted by you and hurt you in response to those feelings.  Despite all that I have put you through, you have survived and come out stronger.  Your support and tenacity amazes me.  Thank you for all that you have done and will continue to do to push me through life.  I love you.

22
Mar
10

stirring up sunday

Why must the weekends end so soon after beginning?  It just is not fair!  I would love to petition for 4-day work weeks and 3-day weekends.  Who’s with me?!

At least a good weekend ended on a high note – stir fry!  I always feel so good and healthified after eating a dinner of (mostly) veggies and lean protein.  Tonight, I threw in some Tofu Shirataki noodles – spot on!  They taste and feel absolutely nothing like traditional pasta (so don’t be surprised by this if you give them a whirl) and are packaged in water, but they satisfy my need for something pasta/rice-like to go with all those veggies and chicken.  I have found that cooking them in the stir fry rather than just throwing the mix on top makes them taste a bit better, plus it takes away some of the extra water that 20 minutes of draining just can’t do.  It will be the new cooking method of choice for these noodles.

Here’s tonight’s stirred-up concoction:

Chicken breast + broccoli + bell pepper + onion + baby corn + straw mushrooms + shirataki noodles.  All seasoned with a bit of low sodium soy sauce, garlic powder and chicken broth.  Healthy = Tasty! 

We noshed while we watched the new series, Life, on Discover HD.  If you have time, watch this or DVR it.  It’s spectacular to admire God’s handiwork at such unique angles!

As I said, this really was the perfect end to a wonderful weekend.  Yesterday, we were blessed with blue skies and 70-degree temps, so the hubby and I visited the Virginia Aquarium for a few hours.  The layout of the Aquarium is really nice.  It’s actually in 2 separate buildings with a wooded trail between them.  A few highlights –

 

 

 

Yes, the croc is very real (he looked faked) and the river otters were enough to entertain us for a very long time.  It was an unbelievably wonderful day.  The best part?  I succeeded in completing a MARCH GOAL – new activities with my love.  I feel so accomplished.

We finished the day by going to see Green Zone with Matt Damon.  It was quite a compelling movie.  We both loved it and I certainly admire Matt’s acting abilities.  He can go from geeky and quirky (ie Ocean’s Eleven and The Informant) to inspirational and thought-provoking (ie Invictus and The Rainmaker).  That boy has skills! Just looking at his resume, I think there is only one big ticket movie that he was in that I have not seen and that was Stuck on You.  If memory serves me correctly, that one flopped anyway.

Yesterday was not quite as exciting (except for that awesome dinner).   I spent most of it working 2 first-round NCAA women’s basketball games.  Sadly, UConn humiliated Southern and JMU couldn’t quite hold their own against Temple.  Except for ODU, I always root for the underdogs and they both lost yesterday.  I was only slightly saddened at JMU’s loss, since they went to the dance while my Lady Monarchs did not.  The men were impressive – they made it through the first round by defeating the 6th seeded Notre Dame, but lost to 3rd seed Baylor in round 2.  They played well after the first few minutes and I’m a proud alumna!

On to more exciting things – workouts.  I’m still working on Muscle & Fitness Hers Bikini Body Shape Up and did the upper body weight circuit again today.  It’s a toughie – my shoulders always burn, but I feel incredibly invigorated by the end of my session.  You can see the full workout here.   I added small amounts of weight to each exercise, warmed up with 20 minutes of elliptical at an average HR of 150 and cooled down with another 20 minutes of elliptical with an average HR of 140.  Total time = 1 hr. 30 mins.  Total cals = 911 and 50% fat. 

I was famished for this when I got home:

It was so exciting to use FRESH strawberries today instead of frozen.  You know summer is getting closer when the fresh berries hit the sale racks at the store.  Farewell citrus.  Hello happy berries!

I feel as if, after that bowl, I now have a brick in my belly.  Is it bad to want a nap at 9:30 am?!  I am going to beg the energy gods for some of their blessings and can get through some errands and tonight’s work shift.  Until later!

19
Mar
10

fresh eats

I’m a Subway fan, don’t get me wrong.  Something about the smell of that bread wafting through the air just makes me a bit happier. The funny thing about that is that I NEVER end up getting a sub.  I always have the chicken and spinach salad and I always order it the same way.  Unfortunately, 1 item in my order (yes, we order by drive-thru) always gets left out while hubby’s sandwich is always made perfectly.  How do such tragedies occur?  Tonight, my salad lacked tomatoes.  That may be a good thing, though, since tomatoes are not yet in season.

Tomatoes or not, it was a wonderfully fresh conclusion to a day full of sunshine and singing birds.  Spring has arrived a day early!  It permitted me to do a little tidying up on the deck and sitting on the porch with a cup of hot tea and my new Everyday Food magazine.  When those tomatoes finally do come into season, I can’t wait to try out a roasted plum tomato recipe.  It’s for an 8-lb. batch of tomatoes to use for multiple recipes.

I enjoyed a day off today and it was SO needed after 2 full days of training in Fredericksburg.  My brain – stuffed to the brim with info – needed to decompress.  I ran a few errands with the windows down and the car heater in the off position.  Yay!  I had purchased some new kicks up in F’burg because silly me remembered all of my gym attire except shoes!  I used them twice for approximately 1 hour each time and promptly returned them today as I have no need for new shoes.  Am I going to hell for this?  Probably.  I also returned an Adidas bag that I had purchased at TJ Maxx (aka Shopper’s Paradise), but this product went unused. 

Post-returns, I ventured on to find a store that I recently found on the internet – The Organic Food Depot.  I could not believe all of the amazing products they have in such a small store!

It was far too easy to lighten my wallet in this store, but I exercised pretty good self-control and did most of the shopping with my eyeballs.  My one bag contained –

I was able to pick up a couple of items that I have seen on other blogs including a bottle of Steaz, a jar of Crofter’s North American Superfruit and a Vita Coco.  I also snatched up some McCabe’s Granola on sale and some freeze-dried Yogavive apple chips in various flavors.  First up?  The Yogavive chips in peach flavor crumbled and mixed with Oikos and a couple of drops of Stevia.  The result?  Sheer genius (but not like the awful hair-cutting show). It had just a subtle peach flavor.  I’m still baffled at how they can get one whole apple to be only 35 calories!

Tonight’s trial?  The Steaz.  Check out the cap! 

Yes, dear Steaz, I am happy to be guzzling you down with my delicious popcorn.  You are the perfect raspberry thirst-quencher and you give me all the benefits from your green tea.

Up next?  I’ll be indulging in Vita Coco before my morning work out, then I’m planning on adding a bit of the Crofter’s to my custard oats OR McCabe’s to my morning Oikos.  The nutritionals are impressive –

Pretty low sugar for granola, no?  I’m bound and determined to find some of that Galaxy Granola, though.  It’s popped up a few times, but I have yet to find it here.  No worries, though.  That granola will be mine!  Mwahahaha!!

Alright, enough, I know.   That Vita Coco won’t be drank (or is it “drunk”?) if I have no energy to even get to the gym.  Good Friday night, all and good luck to my buddies running this weekend’s Shamrock Half or Marathon!  I’m sending you happy running vibes!

17
Mar
10

Life in a hotel room

I think I’ve got some pretty nice digs up here in the F’burg!  There’s a lot to be said about sleeping on a king-sized bed.  There’s plenty of room to sprawl and not worry about waking up someone next to me.  I’m sure my adoring hubby likes not having a tossing/turning/cover-throwing wife next to him for a few nights as well!

Ahh the bed…

The next best thing about my room?  It not only has a coffee pot, but a microwave and fridge too!

You better believe that I went to the store and stocked it with good eats.  Maybe “stocked” isn’t the word, but after seeing the continental breakfast, I was glad about my choices!

I even managed to make some custard oats for breakfast today.  I was pretty proud of my hotel room skills.  I definitely needed a hardcore breakfast for today’s training – 4 hours of class on top secret stuff followed by 3 hours of top secret driving drills.  Whew.. I was beat!  I managed to make it into the (puny) hotel gym to get 40 minutes of cardio in.  Half of the stuff down there doesn’t work, but they have an awkward elliptical, treadmill and bike that function as well as a universal weight machine.  I did 5 minutes of fast walking, a 5-minute job, 5 more minutes of fast walking, 15 minutes of crazy hard biking and 10 minutes on the weird elliptical.  Total time = 40 minutes; Total calories = 410.  Max HR was 167 and the average was a (higher-than-usual) 148. 

My belly needs food and the bed is a prime spot for catching up on the mags I brought with me –

 

Off to store up energy for another 8 hours of driving drills tomorrow.  Oy!

15
Mar
10

Spring has returned!

We have had some amazing weather over the past few days, so I have been trying to avoid my computer and embrace it as much as possible recently.  After some odd snow days and unbearable cold temperatures, we earned the sunshine!  Unfortunately, the avoidance of the computer was more due to the full schedules over the past few days as opposed to the weather.  Sad, huh?

Friday was a very long work day, but it was preceded by a great cardio session, some fabulous meals and a sweet shopping trip.  When I hit the gym in the am, I did 25 minutes on the elliptical, ran 2 miles on the treadmill and finished with another 15 minutes on the crosstraining elliptical.  My legs spent the rest of the weekend yelling at me for this workout! 

Check out the good eats (although, they don’t look so purty..)

 

1/2 C rolled oats, 4 egg whites, 5 drops of stevia and some defrosted Trader Joe’s strawberries.  Heaven!

Lunch was also yummy, but far less photogenic.

2/3 C of Morningstar Sausage Style Crumbles + 4 egg whites + 1/2 C frozen spinach.  It looks like the remnants of a meal, but it was so tasty!

That shopping trip resulted in new goodies for my pantry –

A new blender bottle was desperately needed.  I finally found some Nutritional Yeast (aka “nooch” – stay tuned for fabulous recipes to result).  And I splurged on the liquid Stevia.  Let’s face it – I’m sick of opening individual packets and find the amount of paper that I throw away from them to be wasteful.  The liquid is so easy to mix into ANYTHING.  Sometimes, when I use the powdered form in oatmeal, it forms incredibly sweet, icky clumps. They are not fun to bite into!

I started Saturday with a very long class and ended with a CPR and AED certification. Sweet!  I don’t think the man that I rescued will be able to tell you how awesome my skills were, but trust me, I rocked it and am now certified for 2 years!

I was hoping that when we attached the AED and it provided the shock, he might do a little dance, but no luck.  Perhaps the rubber body..

When I returned Saturday, my new furniture had arrived and Steve was very hard at work assembling the tables.  He did a great job and we are both so happy with how cozy our living room is now!

It would have been so much better if we had it for the super cold winter and the times when our heater was broken, but I’ll take it now!  It warms up the wood floors.  Next upgrade?  Tall plants and a throw rug! Hubby & I soaked up some time on the new couches and headed to dinner at our fave Mexican joint, Plaza Azteca.  I had a yummy Azteca salad – lettuce, sauteed mushrooms and onions, chicken and shrimp.  I had just a couple of chips and their delicious salsa.

Sunday was an incredibly full day that started with an early call time at work and another morning full of cheerleaders and their moms.  After work, we relocated our old furniture to it’s new storage place at Omah’s garage and I hit the gym for an AMAZING upper body circuit that kicked my butt.  I had picked up the new Muscle and Fitness Hers mag and it had a bikini body, 4-week workout plan. 

I got through 3 circuits after a 15-minute elliptical warmup.  Each exercise was performed for 15-20 reps with no rest until after the 5-minute cardio.

  1. Barbell Chest Press (30# + bar)
  2. Dumbbell Overhead Press (15# DB’s)
  3. Bent-over Dumbbell Row (20# DB’s)
  4. Dumbbell Bicep Curl (10# DB’s)
  5. Lying Tricep Extension (12# DB’s)
  6. Exercise Ball Crunch (to failure)
  7. Reverse Crunch on Bench (to failure)
  8. Exercise Ball Bridge (to failure
  9. 5 minutes of treadmill running

3 rounds of this and I was pooped.  It was a very easy circuit to complete in one area of the gym, so I could keep my rest time minimal between exercises.  I plan to keep up with the 4-week routine and see where it goes.

Sunday night was GIRL’S NIGHT with a few of my favorite girls from dance.  We hit up Cheesecake Factory – a restaurant notorious for huge meals and insane calorie counts.  I ordered the Weight Management (yes, they actually call it that..) Asian Chicken Salad with no crunchy noodles or nuts.  I was so engaged in chatting that I forgot to take a pic, but it looked a bit like this:

(source)  I absolutely loved it!  After dinner, we walked to a gelato shop called Melt and indulged our sweet tooth.  We were not about to eat one of those ridiculous cheesecakes!  As soon as I walked into Melt, I was in love.  It’s a very open space that looks really great for having some ice cream or a coffee and catching up with old friends.  (It was a bit too nice outside so we walked).  The trays of different gelatos were stunning!  Most had delicious toppings like chopped up PB cups, lady fingers (Tiramisu), coconut shreds, chocolate chips and fresh fruits.  I was feeling like playing safe so I got a mix of raspberry and mango sorbetto.  The raspberry was a bit tart so the sweetness of the mango balanced it perfectly.  Their menu also boasts paninis, coffee concoctions and both sweet and savory crepes.  I will definitely be returning!  I haven’t tried a savory crepe so I am intrigued.  My sorbetto mix was halfway gone before I remembered my camera!

 

This certainly made for a perfectly sweet end to an amazing weekend.  I’m hyped up for the week – I leave tomorrow for a 2-day orientation for a NEW JOB in Fredericksburg.  I’d share more details, but its top secret.  No, seriously.. it’s a Department of Defense position that will require travel, but I am so eager to dive in!  Both of my parents are retired civil service employees and my mom worked for the DoD, so I am excited to start working for an organization that treated them both so well. 

Tomorrow’s agenda includes much packing and grocery shopping for healthy, hotel room eats!  Luckily, the hotel has a 24-hour gym and free Wi-Fi!  Can’t wait.  See you in a few days!

PS:  Got a granola craving?  Heather over at Hangry Pants might help you solve it with her granola bar giveaway!  Not only that, but there’s also an awesome PB giveaway over at Simply Life.  To top things off, Lara is celebrating 2 happy blogging years and having an Amazing Grass giveaway .  Go get in the game!

11
Mar
10

bloggers on tv

It was quite strange – 2 of my beloved shows introduced bloggers/blogging this week in completely different formats, but with similar stereotyping.

The first show that I happened to catch (all of my shows go straight to DVR for later viewing) was House. In the most recent episode, a woman falls ill and becomes a patient of Dr. House.  This woman blogs many times a day on EVERY aspect of her life including fights with her significant other (who is deeply upset by this).  She seeks guidance from her readers on some incredibly important, life-altering decisions.  While her blogging habits eventually assist the doctors in finding what ails her, it is still frowned upon and considered an invasion of privacy by her husband/boyfriend/whatever.

Later this week, on an episode of No Reservations entitled “Obsessed”, Anthony Bourdain dines with some popular food bloggers, including Steve Plotnick of Opinionated About Dining and Steven Shaw of eGullet.  During the episode, Bourdain finds amusement in their food picture-taking and the fact that they often become angry with each other based solely on differing opinions of food. 

I watched both episodes with my husband who was agreed with both Bourdain and the significant other in House.  He frequently finds humor in my photo-taking habits and would probably have my head if I were to ever share the intimate details of our arguments and his life.  On this aspect, I agree with him.  I simply do not feel comfortable seeking advice from people who I know solely from the internet.  The patient’s argument in House, however, was that her readers knew her better because of her ability to be so open with them; more so than she was in real life.  In the episode, she even noted that she wished her significant other had a blog so that she could know what he was thinking.

On this side of the tv, I thought “Just ask him.”   Would that not make more sense? 

The 2 episodes definitely had me thinking, but I feel comfortable in my blog habits.  I like to share my experience with new foods and recipes to use them in and I like having a log of eats and workouts.  I would NEVER share anything  that might embarrass or hurt someone who I love.  I might engage readers in dialogue regarding tough choices or personal topics, but the opinions of my family and friends would always rank higher than those of a readers.

So how do you feel about your blogging?  Do you think that you might be too open about your relationships and life or do you enjoy the feedback?  Do you ever feel like a geek for taking food photos and constantly analyzing what food you eat? Has another blogger ever angered you because he or she did not like something that you loved?




Hi Ya’ll!

Hiya! I'm Heidi, a 28-year-old "retired" student living in Virginia. I am a newlywed and currently on the hunt for a full-time job that will use either my Biology or Secondary Education degree. In the meantime, I work in retail and at an event venue part-time. When I'm not working, I love to kill hours at the gym, scrapbook, and act as a domesticated diva to keep my hubby happy!