O Pioneer!

Woman!

I’ve fallen in love.  I just discovered The Pioneer Woman. She. rocks.  I spent the better part of 4 hours reading the greatest love story of all time — the tale of Pioneer Woman and her cowboy, Marlboro Man.  Epic.  Must read.

In other news, a co-worker and I used yesterday’s lunch break as the ideal opportunity to make a break for the downtown library.  I have to tell you — I think I could live in the downtown Orlando library happily ever after (I’d miss the Hubs and Monkey terribly, however).   It was a-freaking-mazing!  Four floors, rows and rows of books, cds, dvd’s, and a cafe that caused deliciously distracting smells to waft through the old-book-smell tinged air (you know the smell…classic).  I forgot a bag, of course, and ended up hauling my books back through downtown looking like a wayward hobo who had just robbed a book-on-cd store.  What a treasure trove of books on CD! I’m stoked – I checked out five, some of the recommendation of my co-worker.  As I type this, I’m downloading the first to my iTunes so that I can upload to my iPod for my next walk/run — its Brad Meltzer’s The Millionaires. Ever read it?

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I scream, you scream, we all scream for…

Today’s physical activity: 1 1/2 miles.

According to the dorkier half of my ghetto Garmin, I walked in excess of 6200 steps today.  Not too shabby!   But, if you’re counting my mile and a half walk, not exactly stellar.  I’m trying to remind myself to take it one day at a time.  The first goal is just to MOVE everyday – I don’t have to be an Olympian yet.  Just MOVE everyday.   I have some Yogalosophy planned for tomorrow morning. 

All in all, today was one of those days that just called for ice cream.  It was on my mind all day long.  Only one thing would do: Turtle Mountain’s Purely Decadent Mocha Almond Fudge.

My lame camera is on the fritz tonight – this picture is courtesy of the folks at Turtle Mountain.

Glorious.  So rich, so creamy, so smooth – so satisfying.  The mocha flavor is perfection.  There are small chunks of almonds throughout, not too many, but enough to provide a satisfying depth and texture.  It’s become my go-to when the ice cream craving hits — you know the one.  I highly recommend any of Turtle Mountain’s products!

Tonight is hectic – please forgive the short post.  I have to crank out a bunch of writing tonight and then get my head together for work tomorrow.

Sheer Brilliance

Books on tape.

An ingenious idea.

I recently discovered the insane fantasticness that is recorded literature.  I borrowed the CD recording of The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman, from the lib to listen to on a long drive down to Fort Myers and back last week.

The Golden Compass, Deluxe 10th Anniversary Edition (His Dark Materials, Book 1)(Rough-cut)

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I was a goner.  So. darn. good.  I’m such a visual girl (gutter minds, control thyselves), I just never thought I’d enjoy listening to someone else drone on and on at speed which I could easily surpass if I were reading myself.  I know I hated it as a kid – I was the one always hanging over mom’s shoulder while she read to all the kids, reading ahead and then rolling my eyes in boredom until she finally turned the page.

Listening to the book made the drive so much more bearable that just listening to music. As a matter of fact, I got so into the book that I missed my exits not once, but three times (hm, maybe I was subconsciously trying to prolong the literary pleasure).

So yesterday I got to thinking.  I always listen to music when I’m getting my cardio on.  But I’m usually slightly bored.  What if I swapped out my music (as much as I love my Mary J. Blige – Family Affair, anyone?)

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for a book on tape.  Say…the sequel to the Golden Compass?  I may have to hit up the lib today.

What helps you get your groove on?

Ghetto Garmins and Green Monsters

Oh, what a glorious day!  I’ve just gotten back home from the most delightful walk (I have successfully moved my body today – yay me!)  After I got home from work this evening, I threw on my running clothes, strapped on my sneaks, and hit the road.  I took it relatively easy, reminding myself that my overarching goal was to move my body, not kill myself.  I walked 40 minutes through our neighboring neighborhood – the fabulous Orlando Baldwin Park.  Friends, it could NOT have been a more gorgeous evening!  The (relatively) cool air (83 degrees) brushed my skin as I strode, and occasionally trotted, along.  The comfortable breeze was laced with the perfume of the blooming magnolia trees (of which there were a surprising many – I felt like I’d landed in Mississippi somewhere).  Perf.

A recap of today’s eats:

This morning started off with one of Mama Pea’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Cookies because I was positively starving when I woke up.  It was fantastic! I’ve died and gone to vegan heaven.

My picture looks rather disgusting actually.  I blame it on the camera — as opposed to my questionable mad baking skills.

After I’d de-stinkified myself and beautified my face for work, I had the second half of breakfast:

Faux turkey sausage patty (Morningstar brand – not the biggest fan),

chopped with a handful of (fuzzy) tiny minced cheddar cheese cubes,

and topped with a lovely egg (Mm last! How the heck did I run out of eggs!? Note to self – buy more eggs).

Mid-morning snack was non-fat plain Greek yogurt topped with diced strawbs and a few unpictured almonds:

Lunch was a salad topped with cherry tomatoes, a homemade blackbean/brown rice veggie burger, a little bit of Colby, and a drizzle of basalmic vinaigrette:

Afternoon snack was an unpictured protein bar at about 2:40 – lunch didn’t hold me long today!

On the way home, I stopped off at Target (pronouced: tar-jshay)Boutique for a little treat for meself – my very own ghetto Garmin.  I’m special – mine comes in two pieces:

A fabulous $10 watch to keep track of time when I’m running/walking/biking outside

(its hard to tell, but its purple – LOVE the purple)

AND

a $5 pedometer to keep track of my steps.  I figured it was worth a few bucks to figure out how much activity I’m really getting everyday – I’m willing to bet its less than I think.  I sit on my tail in front of a computer all day, so how much walking could I really be getting in? About as much as it takes to make the rotation from my office, to the office kitchen, to the bathroom, and back.

By the time I got home, I was a starvin’ marvin’ – I was bound and determined to let nothing sidetrack me, though.  I cuddled Monkey (code for Harrison) for a few minutes, I threw back a few blue corn chips topped with a bit of homemade black bean dip, got myself together (as described so eloquently above), strapped on the various bits of my new ghetto Garmin, whom I shall dub “Betsy,” and got my moves on.

All in all, not a bad start towards accomplishing this year’s goals.

When I got back, I was craving one thing and one thing only: a Green Monster.  I pulled the blender out and got down to business.  Into that bad boy went:

1 scoop vanilla flavored whey protein powder

1 tablespoon chia seeds (love these!)

2 – 2 ½ cups baby spinach (what else?)

1 tablespoon of almond butter (ok, so maybe I stuck my finger in and licked it too)

1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

and a couple handfuls of ice

So yum.

Love in a cup.

Honest Truths

I received an amusing e-mail forward at work yesterday that gave me the giggles.  It was titled, “Honest Truths”:

1. I think part of a best friend’s job should be to immediately clear your computer history if you die.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you’re wrong.

3. I totally take back all those times I didn’t want to nap when I was younger.

4. There is great need for a sarcasm font.

5. Just how the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

7. Map Quest really needs to start their directions on #5, as I’m pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

9. Bad decisions make good stories.

10. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren’t going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

11. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after BlueRay? I don’t want to have to restart my collection…again.

12. I’m always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page research paper that I swear I did not make any changes to.

13. I hate when I just miss a call by the last ring (Hello? Hello? Damn it!), but when I immediately call back, it rings nine times and goes to voice mail. What did you do after I didn’t answer? Drop the phone and run away?

14. I hate leaving my house confident and looking really good and then not seeing anyone of importance the entire day, What a waste!

15. I keep some people’s phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

16. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

17. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Lite than with Kay.

18. I wish Google Maps had an “Avoid Ghetto” routing option.

19. Sometimes, I’ll watch a movie that I watched when I was younger and suddenly realize I had no idea what the heck was going on when I first saw it.

20. I would rather try to carry 10 grocery bags in each hand than take 2 trips to bring my groceries from the car into the house.

21. The only time I look forward to a red light is when I’m trying to finish a text, change my shoes or flirt.

22. Sometimes I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.

23. How many times do you suppose it is OK to say “What?” before you just nod and smile because you still didn’t hear, understand or you just weren’t paying attention to a word they just said?

24. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in to your lane. Stay strong, brothers and sisters!

25. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty, and you can wear them forever.

26. Is it just me or do teenagers get dumber & dumber every year?

27. There’s no worse feeling than that millisecond you’re sure you are going down after leaning your chair back just a tad too far.

28. Sometimes I’ll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

29. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket or purse, finding their cell phone, and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey – but I’d bet my ass everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, pitch black, first time, every time!

I can totally relate to numbers 10, 12, and 20.  Ok, all of them.

This list got me thinking though about my own honest truths — or lack thereof.  How often do I really just fail to own up to my own lack of effort or self-control?  It’s easy for me to lose sight of my goals and to start slacking on the things that are most important – namely, my physical and mental health!

I realized that I’m such a visual person, that if I wanted to stay on track and true to my goals, I needed a little visual inspiration.  And that’s when I recalled the Fitnessista’s inspiration board.   In Gina’s words, “an inspiration board is something you create when you want to evoke change in your life. You create a ‘vision’ what you see yourself accomplishing and use it as a daily reminder of your goals.”  Eureka! This is what I needed!

And so I set about making it happen.  First, I pulled out my sizeable box of fitness magazines and my scissors, and got to work.  I snipped out the phrases and pictures that inspired me most.  I made a list of my goals for this year.  And then, with a few mounting squares and a debatable amount of creativity, my first inspiration board was born:

I’m excited about this coming year!

What keeps you honest? What’s YOUR inspiration?

Getting My Groove Back …

These shoes were made for running, so that’s just what I’ll do…

Ok, not so much.  I would love a pair of true running shoes.  Presently, I only own a pair of New Balance cross-trainers. But, they get the job done.  Beggars can’t be choosers, right?  If that were the case, I’d love one of these bad boy too:

Garmin Forerunner 305 - Running GPS receiver - LCD - 160 x 100 - monochrome

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Just having one of those little bad boys would just inspire me to run more – I’m sure of it.

Tonight’s workout broke down like this: 1.5 miles in 21 minutes even.  I did my first mile in 13:30 – not bad after a 3 month hiatus and for really being more of a walker than a runner to begin with.  Right? Right.  In the words of my eloquent four-year old nephew: “I’m totally awesome!”

Tonight’s dinner broke down like this:

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This is Real Simple’s (Feb 2009 edition) Lemony Shrimp with White Beans and Couscous.  I made a few modifications – specifically, I cut it in half so that it was the perfect portion for two and I used leftover brown rice instead of couscous, which I tossed in at the end so that it could soak up a little of the lemony, garlicky goodness.  The hubby, who has professed an undying hatred for all things beans (with the sole exception of hummus and black bean dip) loved it! Success!  I was a huge fan myself — I had my serving on top of a bowl of baby spinach – delish!  I need to get in the habit of snapping pictures of my food.

This handsome little man was dying for a taste.

Who could possibly resist that cute little face? Not I.  Ladies, meet Harrison – he’s dark, handsome, and 4 months old.  Love.

Tonight I finished a little Fitnessista-inspired project I’ve been working on — I can’t wait to share it with you tomorrow!

The First Step

Today I make the brave leap from avid blog-stalker, to blogger-in-my-own right!

For the past six months or so, I have been religiously following some amazing ladies and simply soaking in every word they have to say about food, fitness, and loving your own body.  I’m currently in the early stages of my own weight-loss maintenance journey (see my weight loss story for more), and realized that I need a little accountability in my life.  As such, this blog has been born.  Today is my first day and I have big plans.

Having never run a step in my life, I first took up running at the end of last year.  I ran my first 5K in 30 minutes, 56 seconds in February.  I’ve had hard time getting back into working out since then.  My efforts have been…mm…sparse at best.  Today I’m easing back in – I’m going on a short run tonight!

Shortly before November of last year, I also decided to clean up my eats — the hubby and I (more me than him at first – he’ll eat whatever I put in front of him, though) decided to “eat clean,” try to eliminate all garbage from our diet, I cut out meat (I wasn’t a huge fan to begin with, ‘cept for seafood), and kicked the soda habit.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made!

Unfortunately, even eating better food, I lack portion control skills and, combined with my lack of physical activity, I’ve seen ten pounds slowly creep back on my short-statured frame in the past few months.  It’s time to kick it into gear.

And off I go…