Wednesday, February 29, 2012

100 Book Challenge

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Let me clarify :  I am a bit of a nerd.  I have always loved my solitary time reading and writing.  I enjoy the news.  I like to learn.  Aka - nerd status.

I used to read for pleasure all the time.  I even had to read to fall asleep when I was younger.  But once college started, I read maybe a handful of books through the school years.  I'd pick up again during the summers (there is NOTHING like a good summer read) but I had so many text books and assignments that reading for pleasure didn't really sound pleasurable at all.  Of course, there were other distractions in college besides just textbooks and assignments, I'm not that nerdly ;)

Anyways, post-grad I realized how deeply I missed reading.  I missed poring over book lists, trips to the library, persusing Amazon and Borders.  I am a big reading-advocate.  I think not enough younger people appreciate the true joy of a good read and I think there is nothing more attractive than being well-read.  Smart is sexy, people!  Anyways, thus began my 100 book challenge.  I haven't put a time frame on it, I just want to read 100 new-to-me books.  Read more, learn more, change the globe as Mr. Nas would say. ;)

If anyone would like to get in on this with me (challenge yourself people!!!) or make me some reading suggestions, I would LOVE it.  A little blog-world book club sounds fantastical to me.  Thus, I will share my current and past readings here from time to time.  Cheers fellow bookworms :)

Currently reading: Chasing Harry Winston; Lauren Weisberger

                        Past Reads in my 100 book foray:

Eat, Pray, Love   /  Gilbert, Elizabeth
Then came you : a novel /          Weiner, Jennifer.
The guy not taken : stories / Weiner, Jennifer
Chasing Harry Winston / Weisberger, Lauren
Prodigal summer : a novel / Kingsolver, Barbara
The year of magical thinking / Didion, Joan
The history of love / Krauss, Nicole
Under the tuscan sun : at home in Italy Mayes, Frances
Into thin air : a personal account of the Mount Everest disaster Krakauer, Jon
Baby proof / Giffin, Emily
Chelsea Chelsea bang bang / Handler, Chelsea
Stern men / Gilbert, Elizabeth
Love the one you're with / Giffin, Emily
The kitchen boy / Alexander, Robert
Dreaming in Hindi : coming awake in another language / Rich, Katherine Russell
Freedom / Franzen, Jonathan
Are you there vodka? It's me Chelsea / Handler, Chelsea
The longest trip home : a memoir / Grogan, John
Committed : a skeptic makes peace with marriage / Gilbert, Elizabeth
Marley & me : life and love with the world's worst dog / Grogan, John
The power of now : a guide to spiritual enlightenment / Tolle, Eckhart
The Hunger Games / Collins, Suzanne
No cover image availableSkinny bitch : a no-nonsense, tough-love guide for savvy girls who want to stop eating crap and start looking fabulous! / Freedman, Rory
No cover image availableHave a little faith : a true story / Albom, Mitch
The happiness project or, why I spent a year trying to sing in the morning, clean my closets, fight right, read Aristotle, and generally have more fun / Rubin, Gretchen Craft
No cover image availableThe whistling season / Doig, Ivan.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Landmarks

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I will be the first to admit that I have struggled with food, body, and health issues in the not so distant past.  I don't make it a large part of this blog for several reasons: a) its not my favorite subject, b) theres MANY things I would rather talk and think about, c) I have read some blogs myself where the author is/was struggling with an ED and find that when not written tactfully, it can be triggering, and d) the subject does not define me and so I do not want it to define my blog. 

Blah, blah, blah, ANYWAYS that all being said, I have met some tremendous landmarks in my healing process, come a long way, and these accomplishments are a part of what defines me.

- I no longer deal with hunger pangs or headaches.  These simply are not part of my day-to-day life any more.

- My body no longers aches or feels overwhelmingly tired on a daily basis.  I feel strong instead.

- My body and I are communicating again.  I don't have to eat certain amounts at certain times.  When I'm hungry, I am.  When I'm not, I'm not.  I also don't eat to a point of being too full now.  Early on in the healing stages, I tended to overeat.  Probably because my body had literally been starving and now faced with nutrients, it went a little overboard to stock up.  But usually, I ended up uncomfortably full.

-I feel happier.  I am not a fraction as moody, tired, or withdrawn; I am me again.
                                       


                                  (yes, this is first image that comes to mind when talking about feeling happy...)

I can call these landmarks because I have met them and sustained them for quite some time now.  I am a work in progress still, but aren't we all?  And if we aren't... maybe we should be.  Change is good for the soul and you should never stop seeking your best self.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Back on the Grind

Oh, Monday.  You are not my favorite BUT theres no point in being a negative nancy so I'll embrace you anyways and share what makes it a-ok that today is Monday ;)

Positives: 
-Had a nice, long weekend at home complete with family meals, relaxing, laundry, wine with mama, meetings with the grad school, baking, and seeing some dear friends.
bfffffs



-Got some new springy tops from the gap from my always thoughtful boy :)



-Got several errand/chores done pre-week, phew!

-Get to work another shift at the Ronald McDonald House this week

-ITSALMOSTMARCH


-Made a delicious dinner on the fly.  I'll share it though its more along the lines of slop-delicious and not gourmet delicious ;)

   - 1/2 cup brown rice (i usually go to quinoa, but brown rice was essential here, soft and yummyyy)
   - 1/4 green pepper, sliced thin
   - 1/4 red pepper, sliced thin
   - 1/2 cup corn
   - two carrots, chopped
   - reduced sodium soy sauce
   -2 TBS garlic hummus
   - pinch red pepper flakes or chili powder
  
Saute peppers & carrots with minced garlic, red pepper/chili powder, and a little olive oil.  Then, simply add to your cooked brown rice and top with cooked corn, a splash of soy sauce, salmon, and hummus.  Feel free to experiment here (I plan to!)  This would be great with lots of other veggies (mushrooms, spinach, kale) and you could add black beans or another protein as well - though this bowl is protein-packed! ps. I was nervous about the hummus & added it at the last second... then added more.  It made the whole thing creamy and garlic-y.  Perfect!

Monday, February 20, 2012

well HELLO deliciousness

I was at a friends house today...

And I spotted something in her  pantry that was eye-popping



Cocoa Roast???  Dark chocolate almonds???  I think I made a new best friend today

A Healthy Dose of Reality

Life’s Little (or not so little) Sacrifices:

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We’ve all made them – sacrifices in life that require giving something up, something that may on the surface seem impossible, overwhelming, not quite worth the hardship.  In the end, sacrifices can bring us to a point we could never have reached otherwise, prove very worth the hardship.  Yet, when presented with the choices involved in making sacrifices, it often seems difficult to know what is best.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that often what we must give up we have grown used to, hold a certain familiarity and comfort with.

I was offered an incredible opportunity last week.  After months of trying to decide where I would go to grad school, how I could possibly afford it, when I could attend, etc. I was accepted and offered a Teaching Assistantship – fully covered tuition, 13,000/yr stipend, an office, health insurance, - aka, a chance to be a big girl AND not have to worry about the cost of school.  I accepted, of course, and am beyond grateful, thanking my lucky stars that I have been given this generous offer.

Of course, like all things in life that bring with them the tides of change, this does not come without sacrifice.  And unfortunately, the sacrifices will have to come in one of the biggest and most important aspects of my life.

Eight years ago, I met a blonde haired blue eyed boy with a smile that has since never ceased to warm my heart.  We tumbled through years of friendship smattered with some romance and intimacy that crossed lines dividing true friendship from something else entirely.  Two years and a few months ago, we finally committed to one another and admitted that we were (and had likely always been) in love with one another.  What followed moved rapidly – there was no “getting to know one another” phase because we had been there, done that.  We made big promises and lots of forever plans.  Eight months ago, we moved in together.  We gave it no second thoughts (and hardly any first thoughts) -  we were both done college,  both of our leases were up anyway, we wanted to be together.  We didn’t discuss logistics, finances, various assimilations that come with combining two lives into one – we just did it.  As it was the first such step for either of us, problems were guaranteed to arise, and arise they did.  We spiraled through unemployment (for both of us, at different times), financial insecurity, moving, and various other big life changes that inevitably occur when college spits you out on the streets of an economically unstable world and asks that you rise to the occasion of adulthood.

Needless to say, the past eight months have been enormously difficult on both of us, as individuals and as a couple.  The past eight months have threatened to tear us apart in a way that eight years before it never did.  Questions we never thought we’d be asking have come up and forever seems to stand a little less stable than before. 

Graduate study will mean moving once more (we already have three times in the last 8 mos).  It will mean that we will no longer live together.  It will mean I will be devoting a huge portion of my time, energy, and passion to my studies and my work.  It will mean he will have to once again try to find work, a home, stability, connections.  And it will most assuredly test our relationship further.  I am terrified of such change, wondering what I will sacrifice to move one more step forward in the world.

But it is change I want.  It is an opportunity I am blessed to have.  It is a solidification of one of my biggest life goals – a Master’s degree leading in to a (hopefully) successful and sustaining career.  Will I lose things along the way?  Perhaps.  But I would like to think not the most important things.  Adjustments will be made.  Learning and adapting will be required.  I will have to put forth an effort to keep my relationship.  But the effort is inexplicably and unwaveringly worth it.

To be honest, there have been points in the last 8 mos where breaking up would have actually been easier.  Where it might even have made sense.  Where I wanted to turn and run.  Where I (still) feel incredibly vulnerable and intrepid.  But such is life and especially such is love. 

My semester begins in fall 2012.  Clearly, the two of us still have time to keep working out the kinks and hopefully to find the path that will most easily carry us into my two year commitment to the master’s program.  Exactly what will happen has yet to be determined, of course.  But I have true faith in the fact that two years from now, when I come out on the other end, I will be armed with far more knowledge, experience, and confidence not just from my schooling but form the life lessons I will learn along the way.  And I am most certainly ready to embrace those lessons and ride through the changes.

Cheers.




Friday, February 17, 2012

Hey Punkins!

Hey all ya'll little bloggies!


Ah, another TGIF moment - what a long week!



This morning, I was up & at em. I did the following workout:


Tricep extensions – 10 reps

Plank to upper back arch – 20

Side plank – 20

Roll from toes to heels – 20

plie squats – 12 reps

Do circuit twice.
10 jumping jacks; 10 push-ups

Upper-body circuit: Using 5-pound weights, perform 10 one-arm rows; 10 lateral side raises; 10 front raises; 10 biceps curls to an overhead press

5 push-ups; 5 burpees

30 seconds of alternating jump lunges

Run up and down a flight of stairs; repeat twice.


.... Followed by 10 mins of abs & a few minutes of stretching. I don't know if its just me but I have the hardest time focusing enough to stretch at the end of a workout... oops!

Breakfast was a smooothie with kale, tomato, naner, berries, ice, chia seed, protein powda, and a sprinkle of cinnamon. I also had some canned punkin with oats (like pie in the morning ;))

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While I was getting ready, I also whipped up some of Ms. chocolate covered katie's pajama banana bread. I followed it exactly, except I used PUNKIN instead of naner. On a slightly post-fall pumpkin kick over here. I didn't fully get my fix in autumn, apparently. Plus its way cheap at the local Wal-Mart! (always interesting finds there...I found BIG boxes of Uncle Sam's for 2.88... the small boxes are 4.29 at my local grocery store - wtf?)

                                

Lunch today was a TJs whole wheat wrap with tofurkey & black beans (hot sauce, mustard, black pepper, and lettuce too of course) along with a grapefruit and carrots.

                                             
After which I have snacked upon an apple, an orange, a CLIF Mojo bar, and some prunes. Yes, I like prunes. Yes, this is quite gross of me (but don't knock 'em if you haven't tried 'em!).
                               



Me madre is swinging by tonight, she had a conference in the area so we'll be munching on some THAI FOOD. One of my personal faves. Then probably just a relaxing movie night with the boyfrand. We're going to the aquarium tomorrow :) The penguins, sea turtles, and SHARKS are my fave :)


Any fun weekend plans out there?  Anyone else like any 'gross' foods, a la prunes?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

XO!

You got the self love mantra already from me (I'm big on that one ;)) so I figured I'd just showcase a few of the things I love the most of this mooshy gooshy day:

My moms (as well as my whole huge fam)


The  boy


Ze Kitten
     
     
 

Coffee
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All things fluffy & warm
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Reading
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Writing

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Baking
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Gettin' strong

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentines Day

"you yourself, as much as anyone else in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection"

- Buddha

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Hope ya'll have a lovely v-day!  I'll be celebrating with my two loves:


the boy


(mine is maroon, duhh)

and the kittenface




ps - shout out to all my single ladies (or gents!) : as an all-out holiday lover, it has always bothered me when people get all anti-valentine day because they don't have a 'significant other'.  WHO CARES!  Go ahead and celebrate loooveeee people (its the bestest thing), I know you love someBUNNY out there!!  Champagne, your fave dinner/dessert/mushy movie marathon - or if you'd rather go it alone on v-day celebrate how much you love YOURSELF a la the Buddha quote.  Treat yourself to your fave movie, snackys, a stack of magz, give yourself a mani/pedi, lounge in your all-time fave comfy clothes - whatever!!!  Just don't get all negative nancy on me and do the "ommgggg valentines day is soo lammeeee".  I (as most who are in relationships currently) have been the fab single lady on V-day and guess what... I loved it just as much as I love Valentines Day now!

xo
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Friday, February 10, 2012

A Million Dollar Discovery

I do not know how this slipped my mind...

I meant to post this million dollar discovery immediately upon it entering my mouth...

$$$$$

While watching the superbowl, Moms whipped up piles of luscious treats.  Among them, homemade hummus (obviously yumz).  Except it had a bright orange hue... "What is this mumz?" I asked as I bit in.  It was instantly clear....

CURRIED HUMMUS

                                                                     

Yes, my mother brought these two glorious flavors together.  And yes, it WAS glorious.
Now, I am taking the lazy-mans route here but I HIGHLY suggest you stir 1/2 tsp per 2TBS  (more if you like strong curry flavors but at least start with the 1/2 tsp!) into your (premade) hummus.  And if you're interested in the actualy homemade version recipe, I'll hook ya up.  Truly though ladies & gents.  Check this out bloggies, hummus & curry lovers unite!!

oh happyyy dayyy!

Happy FRIDAY ladies & gents – so looking forward to the weekend!

Much to do today!  This morn I have a meeting at the Ronald McDonald House nearest to my home.  I used to volunteer here when I was younger with my dad and I always really enjoyed the organization.  I finally got my butt in gear and set up a time to meet with the woman who runs the one in my city and I’m looking forward to volunteering at a RMH once more!

Then, it’s off to work – YUCK – but it is Friday, after all.

Next on ze agenda will be a quick stop over to the grocery store, I am in desperate need of:

Kitty food for my poor starving kittay (come on, he's totally adorable)


ALMONDS/walnuts/cashews (fully outta nuts and this is unnacceptable for snacking purposes)
                                  


Carrots (for a dish I’m making tomorrow)
                               

Everything else I am fully stocked on, & I realize this is the MOST boring list I have ever compiled, but sometimes ya just gotta do it to it with the grocery store trips (if it weren't for Mr. Kitty I would likely skip it, though...hehe)

Then!  Baking for my little brothers who I get to visit tomorrow (yay!)  It’s almost Valentines Day as ya’ll know and I’m making heart shaped red velvet whoopie pies for the hungry boys ;)  More on that later – I’ll post the recipe and the finished product.
                                            


What do ya’ll have on your agenda for Friday?  How about for the WEEKEND (whoop whoop!)?  I’m headed 2 hours north to go home & visit my fam-damily.  I don’t get to very often, so I’m absolutely looking forward to it J