Don’t settle

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Yesterday was a good day.

On all fronts …work, working out, friends.

And it felt great. Not that I’d been unhappy by any means, but I just hadn’t been as happy as I could be. And today it’s like I have a whole new outlook on life. I can’t stop smiling. I love it.

Hopefully one day I can go into more details but for now I just wanted to leave you with this quote from Steve Jobs. It’s a good one.

Don’t settle. You’re worth it.

Technology problems & Strawberry salads

It has taken me all night to download photos off my camera.  I’m annoyed, frustrated and exhausted.  I now have lion on my mac instead of whatever was there before and somehow the Cannon software I’ve always used to import my photos isn’t compatible.  And no matter how much google research I do, I can’t find the link to the software update that Cannon apparently has released.  So I finally figured out how to upload my photos via iphoto but if I want to edit them in Photoshop it’s not easy.  Or I can’t figure it out.  I know a lot of people like iphoto, I do not.  I just want to download my photos onto my pictures folder and open them up in photoshop.  Just like I used to. And I work in a world where this should be easy for me to figure out and that drives me even more crazy.

Anyone else have this issue?  Do you use a Mac with Lion and a Cannon Rebel T3i?  Can you help me?

And because it’s taken me 1 million years to download and edit my photos you will get 3 smaller than normal, nearly identical but slightly different views of the same salad.

Help me.

Take a good look at that salad because it’s probably the last time you’re going to see it.  At least until next summer.  Fall is right around the corner and pretty soon we’ll be trading in dinners on the grill for dinners in the crockpot.

Also, side note, I overheard someone saying that pumpkin spice latte’s are back at Starbucks on Friday.  I can neither confirm or deny this rumor, all I can say is that it feels too soon.  Welcoming Fall before celebrating Labor Day just feels wrong.

Another random story – somehow I got a blackberry seed stuck in my gumline a few days ago and not sure if it’s because I kept picking at it or what but I’m pretty sure I have a gum infection.  My mouth hurts.  I don’t want to have to go to the dentist because I’m not sure what else he could do for me besides give me antibiotics and I’m not a big fan of those so I’ve spent the evening rinsing my mouth with salt water and baking soda.  Hopefully I wake up feeling better tomorrow of I’m going to have to go in.

What else do I have to say to round out this random post…? My workout was all about the cardio today.  I took a 30 minute spin class and then went on a 2 mile walk with a couple of friends.  I also got another 20-30 minute walk in after work with Chance.  Grabbing that vitamin D while I can :)  Tomorrow is pilates and maybe an attempt at running.  I think I may have overdone it this weekend with the 3 Jillian’s in a row.  My knees and IT band have been screaming at me lately.  No good.  Lesson learned.

If you’re still reading, thank you!  I’m all over the board today.  Cross your fingers I’ll be a little more focused (and able to download photos and chew on the right side of my mouth) tomorrow.

The anti Hood to Coast weekend

So this weekend I was supposed to run Hood To Coast but if you recall from here, I decided to listen to my body, particularly my knees, and sit this year out.  And guess what?  It sucked.   No matter how much I tried to tell myself that it was for the best, that I got to have a nice relaxing weekend at home, that I didn’t have to share stinky port-o-potties with thousands of strangers, that I got to sleep in my own bed instead of the hard ground in Mist, it didn’t matter.  I didn’t feel better for staying home. I felt sad. Every time I opened up Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, there it was.  My husband and my friends…out there running 197 miles from Mt. Hood to downtown Portland to St. Helen’s, to Mist, to Astoria, to Seaside.

That girl on the left, that was my spot.  And when they all stopped over at the house Friday night after their first leg to shower I pretended I was ok.  Told everyone I was loving having a nice night in.  That I wasn’t envious of their next leg because your second leg was always the worst.  Lies.  I so desperately wanted to be out there because no matter how much that middle of the night run sucked, the 3rd leg made up for it.  That last leg that you run on autopilot and fumes because you know when you’re done with it, it’s over.  You did it.  And that incredible sense of accomplishment and teamwork at the end, at the beach, more than make up for whatever pain/stress/lack of sleep/stomach ailments and blisters that preceded it.

I missed Hood to Coast.

But instead, this is what I did:

Made jam.

Came up with a new smoothie recipe.

White Chocolate Peanut Butter Blackberry Banana Smoothie

  • 1/4 frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons white chocolate peanut butter
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 & 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Tried a new breakfast.

Spicy eggs & veggies

  • 2 eggs + 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup chopped red, orange & yellow peppers

Microwave for 3 minutes.  Top with Frank’s Hot Sauce

Read books.

Watched my favorite movie.

And worked out.

  • Saturday: levels 3, 2, & 1 of Jillian’s Ripped in 30
  • Sunday: 45 minute slow jog on the treadmill

All in all, certainly not a bad weekend.  And if it was on any other weekend I would have been stoked.  Almost 2 full days all to myself.  To do absolutely nothing.  But the fact that it had to happen on a weekend where I really wanted to be doing something else somewhere else was tough.

Chris and I talked about it when he got home and he suggested I try running it one more time next year.  That I take leg 4 (which is the only leg I think I could do because it has the longest run 1st), that I listen to my body and that I fully decide at the end of next year if I really am done for good. But it’s not even that I need to try one more time to see if I can do it. I know I could do it.  It’s me, having to decide if one year from now it will really be worth it to have to start all over. Again.  To have to go back to physical therapy, to quit running for months, be in pain when I walk up and down stairs. To spend every “cardio” day on the bike.  Instead of where I am this year.  Where I will actually be able to enjoy a couple runs in the fall.  To only have to go to acupuncture once a month instead of once a week.  To be able to do lunges.

Who am I kidding.  Watching the leaves change color while you run is overrated.  The bike’s not that bad.  And side leg series in pilates tones your butt just as good as any lunge could.  Now that I know what it’s like not running Hood To Coast, you can be sure that if we get a team for 2013 I’ll be on it :)

Pilates arms

Um, can we just talk about arms for a second? Look at these. I feel like they’re kind of ridiculous. Ps taking pictures of yourself in a bathroom is awkward.
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I walked into the bathroom and felt like my arms were super toned. You know, sometimes you get that feeling like after a workout all the blood is flowing to those muscles making them look extra lean? Well, that’s how I felt today. After my 3rd day in a row of pilates. I never go 3 days in a row, always every other day, usually 2 times a week.

Anyway, what I’m saying is that Pilates on the reformer is awesome. And it works. Besides the few Jillian workouts last weeks I haven’t done any arm weights in who knows when. My mom was even talking this weekend about how good they look. And I’m not trying to talk about this to be braggy, I’m talking about this because I think having toned arms is super important. You do not want to be that old lady with the turkey gobble for a tricep. Consider this your public service announcement. Go try a Pilates reformer class. I know they’re expensive but you won’t regret it. I promise.

In other news, my lunch was delicious because I used leftover blackberry chipotle sauce poured over some grilled sweet potatoes and goat cheese (hard boiled eggs for protein). It was much more tasty than this picture makes it seem. Honest.

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And then after work I went to acupuncture. One of my favorite things. It has been awesome in helping my tight IT band and all the inflammation in my knees. I swear I could have needles poked in me for hours.

And after that I was suppose to make shrimp tacos but I was tired so I stopped at the Planet. Bubba in a bowl for me, Holy Moly in a burrito for Chris. Each of us saved half for lunch tomorrow as I didn’t eat any chips with it. Gold star.

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And I’m out. Off to probably fall asleep in the couch. Me=tired, old lady.

What about you? Has anyone tried acupuncture? Do you love it?

Blackberry chipotle chicken

Can I just give you a little rundown of my day?

  • 5:20: Wake up/brush teeth/wash face/put on gym clothes
  • 5:40: Make & eat breakfast, make lunch, make coffee, make Chris’ smoothie
  • 6:00: leave the house
  • 6:30 – 7: cardio intervals on the bike with Mandee. (30 sec fast/1 min recover)
  • 7-8: Pilates reformer with a sub who was amazing!  If you live in the Portland area you have to check her out.
  • 8:30-6: Work.  Mostly meetings, including a 2 hour working lunch where I brought my own and avoided the cookie.  Go me.
  • 6-7: Honestly I’m not sure where this time went.  If you account for traffic, a stop at Rite Aid, a PB & jelly rice cake snack and a random look at some property with Chris I think that makes up just about an hour.
  • 7-8: Make dinner.  It was delicious but relatively time-consuming.
  • 8-8:30: Eat dinner
  • 8:30-9: Clean up from dinner
  • 9: Finally sitting down on the couch to relax.

It was a good day but it just feels like a lot.  I love getting up and working out in the morning but I usually just do it at my house.  Rachel the awesome pilates sub is also teaching a class Thursday and I’d love to go but it means Chris has to also come in early and I’m not sure if that will work.  I’m toying with going to the 6am pilates class and then coming home, getting Chris and going back to work.  We shall see.

What about you?  What’s your favorite time to workout?  Does getting taught by a certain teacher make you want to go to an out of your ordinary routine class? 

Oh and because blogs are always better with pictures, here are a few visual.

Egg + pepper pouf for breakfast

Salad for lunch

My new favorite snack (1 ate 3! Whoops)

And now for dinner.  It was amazing!

Blackberry Chipotle Chicken with Sweet Potato Fries

For the chicken – sprinkle organic/boneless/skinless chicken breast with Italian seasoning.  Grill. This takes about 15 minutes.

For the sweet potato fries – scrub and chop up 2 sweet potatoes into skinny “fry” shapes.  Spray with olive oil and sprinkle with cayenne, sea salt, garlic and paprika.  Bake in a 450 degree oven for about 45 minutes.  This time I baked them on top of a wire rack inside a cookie shake and that seemed to make them crisper than if I didn’t use the rack.

For the oh so delicious sauce – mix 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce, 1/2 blackberry jam (if you want it a little sweeter add a little more jam or a drizzle of honey), 1/4 balsamic vinegar, 1 teaspoon garlic and the sauce of 1 can of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce.  Bring to boil and then turn heat to low, stirring until it thickens.

Then you pour the sauce (which is also good for fry dipping) over the chicken and enjoy.

And there you go.  Another must-try recipe.  It’s going to become a staple here, I hope it becomes one in your house.

Night :)

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday + Grilled sweet potatoes

Now that Monday’s pretty much over is it bad that I’m already counting down to Friday? I honestly have no big plans but I think the fact that summer is almost over makes me appreciate it more.  I realized I can’t remember the last time I actually sat outside in my Adirondack chair drinking coffee on a Saturday morning so I fully plan on taking advantage of that before I can’t.  I also feel like baking.  Maybe because fall is in the air or something but I have this crazy craving for something pumpkin-y.  I also really want to clean out my closet and dresser and then re-evaluate my wardrobe.  Kind of like back to school shopping except I’m not going back to school…Wow, I just realized the above paragraph makes me sound old.  Eh, oh well. I’m still jazzed.

You know what else I’m jazzed about?  Tonight’s dinner.  It was so good.  I had initially planned on making BBQ chicken with corn on the cob and Annie’s but Chris has Hood to Coast this weekend so he gets to dictate most of the meals this week and this one sounded good to him (side note, anytime my husband wants quinoa instead of pasta is a good day).

And because I’m trying to cut back on carbs I subbed in sweet potatoes for the traditional quinoa (and yes I know that sweet potatoes are a carb).

They were so easy to make, just scrub a sweet potato, slice into rounds, spray with olive oil, and sprinkle with cayenne pepper and garlic (these are the same ingredients I used on the corn).  Wrap in foil and grill for 15-20 minutes.

And for dessert I had some watermelon.

And now I’m off to relax.  I actually feel like I could fall asleep at the computer right now which isn’t good since it’s not even 9 – maybe my workout wore me out?  I went for a 30 minute slow jog on the treadmill and then hit up my favorite lunchtime pilates reformer class.  Tomorrow I’m actually getting up at 5 so that I can get in some cardio before another reformer class.  My gym offers classes at 6 and 7 AM on Tuesday/Thursday’s but I don’t love the teacher so I usually skip it but tomorrow this sub is coming in and I really want to try her class.  I’ve heard she’s hard.  Can’t wait.

Also, wanted to pass along this post from One Fit Foodie.  Great stuff about how people (particularly “healthy living bloggers”) should make sure they’re eating real, whole food to fuel their bodies and not fake chemicals and giant bowls of veggies with no protein.  I totally agree with her.  It drives me crazy to read these blogs (that I’m sure young, unaware women are reading) and see them filled with recipes that while low in calories are super high in processed foods or consist only of a huge plate of broccoli.  Yikes, don’t get me started on this.  Kind of hit a nerve.  Anyway, go check out her post and her site.

Thoughts from the peanut gallery?  For some reason I can’t think of any engaging question to ask so I’ll turn things around.  Anyone have anything they want to ask me?  About anything? 

Ooh or tell me what your favorite fall baked good is.

Picking berrries & making jam

This is how I spent the bulk of my weekend.  And it was awesome.  My mom came down to visit and wanted to get some use out of the big water bath canning pot she got me for my birthday so we set to work.  We drove out Smith’s Berry Barn which is the cutest place ever!  Not only do they have berries and produce to pick they also have a store on site where you can get just-picked fruits and veggies along with the most amazing gift shop ever.  I wanted everything! But I settled for a $30 bottle of lotion (side note, I know that is ridiculous but I HAD to have it).

Here are some snaps from the picking:

Bonus points for being run by Cougs :)

My mom :)

Amanda & me

So after we picked the berries (which we did in about 2 hours in the rain) we turned them into jam.  This was the 1st time I’ve made jam by myself.  Good thing my mom was around to help Amanda and I out or who knows what would have happened without her.

While my mom opted for a traditional recipe and used sugar, Amanda and I were determined to make “healthy” jam so we used honey and agave nectar.  Here’s the recipe we followed.  If I were to do it again, I’d cut way back on lemon juice and add a little more berries.  I wanted 3 solid pints and the original recipe got me 2.5.  I’d do something more like this:

Blackberry Honey Jam

  • 1 box no sugar pectin
  • 6 cups mashed  berries
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup honey or agave (we used a mix of both)

First, remove all the debris from your berries (my mom is an expert at this and does it in the field.  I learned the hard way and had to do it at home), lightly rinse with water and then mash them.

Definitely a little confusing to know how mashed is mashed enough.

And then measure out the cups.

Add the lemon juice and then bring to a boil on the stove.

Once your berries are on the stove, mix your honey/agave and pectin together and add to your berries once they start to boil.  Make sure you’re stirring this whole time and keep stirring (without reducing heat) until they set.  This was a little vague in the recipe we used and it turned out to be about 10 minutes.  You can test for “setness” but putting a little spoonful of berries in the freezer for about a minute.  You can easily tell when things have jelled.  Just keep cooking until set.

Then pour into jars.

Wipe off the rims, add the lids (make sure you get a tight seal) and add the rings.  Then put them in a water bath.

Make sure there is about 2 inches of water above the jars and bring to boil.  Put the lid on and boil for 20 minutes.  Remove the jars, check to make sure they sealed (the lid should be flat not popped) and store in a cool, dry place.

And there you go.  Jam.  If they don’t set you can pop them back into a water bath for another 20 minutes (2 had two jars that needed a 2nd round).

I also froze one flat for smoothies.  Lay all the berries out on a cookie sheet to freeze individually and then transfer to a freezer bag later.

I ended up with 7 jars of jam (a few from my mom’s berries) and an additional 2.5 gallon bags of frozen berries for smoothies.  It seems like a lot but I’m sure they’ll go fast.  Especially the frozen berries.  I’m actually considering going back next weekend for a few more and to check on their peppers and tomatoes which are supposed to be ready.  Now that I’ve tackled jam I’m ready to move onto tomatoes and tomato sauce.  Too bad my mom can’t come over every weekend.

Who out there has made jam?  Any favorite recipes?  Has anyone canned tomatoes and can tell me what I need to do for that?

 

 

 

 

Cutting back on carbs

Not sure if my body has finally adjusted or what but this morning I got up at 5am to work out and I don’t feel like a tired zombie yet…Technically the night is still early so who knows, I may wind up in bed by 9… we shall see.  Let’s just hope my body’s not too used to early AM alarms because I’m really looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow.  At least until 8:30 or so.

Instead of going to the gym like I planned, I opted for 45 minutes of my friend Jillian :)  I did levels 1 and 2 of 30 Day Shred and felt great.  So great that I decided to add in yet another double day and went to Zumba this afternoon.  Someone will be feeling sore tomorrow.

On the food front, also a good day – breakfast was a tasty little number I whipped up involving watermelon and bananas.  I swear, frozen watermelon is so good in smoothies.

Watermelon Banana Protein Smoothie:

  • 1/2 cup frozen watermelon
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/4 cup protein plus peanut flour
  • 1 scoop vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Lunch involved a Larabar after the gym plus leftover chicken from last night’s fajitas mixed with some goat cheese.  Not my best effort but it got the job done.  Dinner however, was fantastic.  A random little salad beast with my new favorite dressing.

Turkey Spinach Salad

  • 1 giant bowl of spinach
  • 1 chopped organic tomato
  • Goat cheese crumbles
  • 4 slices of deli turkey meat torn into pieces
  • Honey balsamic vinaigrette (1/2 c olive oil, 1/4 c honey, 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar)

That dressing makes for more than just one salad FYI.

And then washed that down with a little popcorn – air popped with a tablespoon of melted butter, cheese sprinkles and nutritional yeast.

Pretty nice little Friday I tell ya.

But let’s be honest, all that stuff above was nice but I’m sure you really want to know why the title of this post is cutting back on carbs, right?  So I had my annual physical today – not like my lady physical – I share my life but some stuff doesn’t need sharing.  This was just my physical where they do your blood work and test all your cholesterol and such.  Technically my dr said I only need to come in every couple of years but my insurance covers a full work-up every year so of course I’m going to take them up on it.

Excluding your lady physical, how many of you go in for regular, yearly physicals?  How many of you actually know what your cholesterol is?

Everything came back awesome.  The first thing my doctor asked me before he even told me my results was if I exercised :)  He said my labs were fantastic and it was very evident that I’m in shape and physically active.  Yes!  Apparently my good, bad and combined ratio of cholesterol is phenomenal.  My iron levels are good, my liver functions are good, lipids are good… basically if this was a test in school I would have gotten an A+.  Except when it came to my glucose.

I should mention that I have a family history of diabetes.  Not like my mom or dad, more like on my mom’s dad’s side (which is a side I don’t know so I can’t ask them for more details)  so my doctor has always watched my glucose numbers because unfortunately a family history of diabetes can kick your butt even if you are super healthy and follow an amazing diet.  Now, my glucose levels are not out of the “normal” range, but they did happen to fall on the absolute highest level of normal…basically I’m 10 points (?) away from being pre-diabetic.  That is no good.

And again, he was not overly concerned with this but brought it up as something to watch.  Especially because at some point Chris and I would like kids and having a family history of diabetes can sometimes make a woman more susceptible to gestational diabetes which while temporary in some women, could push my levels over the edge and turn me diabetic which is really, really scary.

So we chatted and his best advice was to “stay slim.”  He said that’s actually a “prescription” they give to patients who become pre-diabetic.  He said the best thing I could do was to keep exercising and cut back on carbs – bread, pasta, rice.  And I admit, while I’m not a big bread eater we do eat a lot of pasta in this house.  A lot.  I would say that 75% of our weekly dinners involve some type of noodle.  It’s actually super interesting to me that this is the first time my levels have been this high and this past year I’ve been eating pasta a lot more than I had in the past.  Coincidence?  I’ve been trying to cut back on the noods anyway so it’s kind of nice to have a medical reason to take it easy.  Might make it easier to actually follow through.

Wow, ok this post is super long.  I need to get out of here before I write a novel.  Hope everyone has a great Friday and has some fun weekend stuff planned.  Tomorrow my mom and I are going berry picking and then we’re going to can things.  Can’t wait.

This heat is too much…too much

Look closely at this picture.  Notice anything strange?

Ooooh, right.  Portland is never supposed to be 108 degrees.  Ever.  Now granted my car was sitting directly in the sun so it wasn’t quite that hot but when I get into the car and can’t touch anything – the seats, the steering wheel, my sunglasses…I kind of reach my limit.  Not to mention I didn’t have time to workout during the day and planned on riding the spin bike at home…hahahahah.  I’m all for a good workout but riding my bike in the Sahara is just plain crazy talk.

Instead I’ve kind of been lying around on the couch in my non air-conditioned house, melting, and feeling generally unsettled.  Chris made chicken fajitas (but it was too hot to get my camera out) and then he met his friend for a drink and I’ve managed to waste multiple hours on the internet pinning things, reading celebrity gossip and randomly grabbing handfuls of chips from the pantry every time I walk in to get water..someone has boredom hunger.

And now I’m giving myself 7 more minutes of my “it’s too hot out” pity party before I have to be productive.  Priority #1 being to pack my gym bag for yet another early morning workout.  I’m aiming to get to the gym by 7 to do some weights before my 8am meeting and then hoping to get back at lunchtime for Zumba.  We shall see.

Ok and now I’m down to 4 minutes…better get a move on.  But before I go, here are a few pics from last night.  A last-minute birthday celebration for Dan.  Dinner and drinks at Rouge (where we barely missed the Real World Portland cast and then later went and stalked their house) and then back to the village to cap off the night at Journey’s.  Excellent.

Is anyone else experiencing a heat wave right now?  Or what about the people who deal with this kind of weather all the time.  Does it ever just kick your butt?  Do I sound like a total baby right now hahah?

Be Inspiring

Apologies for the lo-res image quality and the fact that I can’t figure out the original source but I had to share this. Jillian Michaels shared this on her Facebook wall yesterday and I fell in love with it. Such a great message!!

This has been going through my head all day. I think my favorite part is that it’s not just saying be a good example, be a leader etc. It’s saying to inspire. That’s huge! I mean, I hope that through my actions people are inspired. It’s why I have this blog…why I put my life out there. I want to help inspire people to get fit and healthy. But I guess sometimes I forget that my ability to inspire can go beyond just telling people what my workout was for the day. I mean, in my day-to-day life, am I inspiring? When I’m in a meeting, at the grocery store, talking to people – am I always being the best example I can be? Would people be influenced by what I do? I don’t know if I have the answer. I hope I am but it’s just a good thing to think about…

What about you, does this resonate?

In other news, I’m exhausted. I’ve had yet another week of full-day meetings which makes gym-time super tricky. And in order to fit in my pilates and cardio I’ve been cranking up the double days. Here’s how things break down:

  • Monday: 60 minute run on the treadmill in the AM + lunchtime pilates reformer
  • Tuesday: Levels 2 & 3 of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred in the AM + 30 minutes elliptical/15 minutes rowing machine at lunch
  • Wednesday (today): 45 minute run on the treadmill (at 5AM! thank you 8am meeting) + lunchtime pilates reformer.

I don’t have crazy meetings tomorrow so I’m super excited to be back into my normal lunchtime routine. I might try to do spin & sculpt or group power…we’ll see.

And tonight I was looking forward to lying around and relaxing but we got home and found out it’s our friend Dan’s birthday so we’re heading down to Rouge to get him is birthday beer :)