Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I got to spend Memorial Day weekend at my favorite place in the world:

In my opinion, it really doesn't get any better than this beautiful lake.  

Time passed too quickly.  I really hope I get to go back again soon.  

Remember those seaweed snacks I picked up from Trader Joe's last week?  Yeah, probably not.  Anyways, I was excited to try some roasted seaweed snacks.

Well, they became the running joke of the weekend.  I had one on the way up to the lake and was not a fan - it tasted really fishy to me.  And I couldn't pawn them off on anyone else!  Many ideas were thrown around (seaweed pancakes anyone?) but none of them went over very well :)  That white bean and basil hummus, on the other band, is absolutely incredible!  You win some, you lose some.

On the way home, my dad and I stopped to load up on tons of fresh, local asparagus.

We've had it two nights in a row now (grilled, with a little bit of olive oil - my personal favorite, and steamed - still very tasty!).  Yum!!

The idea was to eat some of the asparagus fresh and freeze some so that we could enjoy it after the season is over, but at this rate, I'm not sure any will make it to the freezer!

Nothing else very exciting going on around here, except a little visitor this morning:

I saw something in the straw from my bedroom window this morning and wasn't sure what it was, so I went to get a closer look.

But not too close.  Hello, snapping turtle.  The reason I know this is a snapping turtle is not because I'm an expert at identifying wildlife.  (Surprising, right?)  It's because when I was younger, around 10 years old, we saw a turtle like this in our driveway and my mom made my sister and me get really close to the turtle so she could take a picture of us with it.  This was pre-digital camera for us, so it wasn't until we got the film developed (which, for our family, could take many, many months... or a year) that my dad saw the picture and asked why we were so close to a snapping turtle.  Um yeah.  It definitely could have taken my arm off.  Scary!

And true to form, my mom still cut off the top of my head in the photo.  Worth it?  Not so sure.

Hope you all enjoyed your weekend!

Song of the day:

"Tallulah" by Company of Thieves.  I like this song more and more every time I listen to it.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bad Blogger

I've been a very bad blogger.  I don't feel like I really have a lot going on, but all of my days have been absolutely packed.  I've been taking a few pictures here and there, though, so I'll use them to share what I've been up to.

First things first - I've successfully woken up in time to do 6AM workouts 3 times since I last posted.  Luckily I just stumble blearily down to the basement, so I don't have to worry about my bangs sticking up everywhere.  Although I don't love waking up that early, I am always so happy to get my workout in first thing in the morning; if I wait to exercise after work, something else almost always comes up and I don't get around to it.

I'll write more about the Physique 57 DVDs once I've done them a few more times, but so far I'm a fan!  I've done the classic 57-minute DVD twice and the 30-minute ab and arm booster DVD once.  The workouts are definitely tough and I struggled to get through a few of the exercises - mainly the ab routine!  After I did the classic DVD for the first time, I could really feel it the next day in my booty and my lower abs <-- good signs!  I particularly like incorporating the ball into the workouts - I could really feel the burn in my inner thighs, which is great since that area is typically difficult to target.  And the ball also greatly increases the effectiveness of the ab exercises, from what I can tell (as evidenced by my extreme shaking, haha).  So far so good!

Check out these beautiful flowers which greet me when I go to work:

I still need to work on improving my lunches - this is basically what I've been eating every day (apple, carrots, bell pepper, sugar snap peas, Larabar).  Tasty, but I could use some more variety and creativity.

Someone wants to share my lunch.

I've been mooching off my parents so far, but today I finally stopped at TJ's to get some food of my own.  Hopefully that'll help me to mix things up a bit.

My haul:

Brown rice cakes, seaweed snacks (excited to try these for the first time), beer for a Memorial Day party, spinach, steamed lentils, Greek yogurt (it's been too long! Can't wait to dig into this container), sunflower seed butter, raw unsalted almond butter, natural peanut butter, kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, salsa, cherry and cashew cookie Larabars, B vitamins, white bean basil hummus (sounds interesting - can't wait to try it), dry roasted unsalted pistachios (I haven't had pistachios in SO long, very excited for these), sweet potatoes, and a baguette to go with bruschetta that I'm planning to make for the Memorial Day party.  Oh and there are some medjool dates hiding somewhere in there, too.  There have been so many desserts and treats around lately and I've been over-indulging, so my plan is to snack on a medjool date to satisfy some of my cravings for sweets.

I think Barbie was out shopping while I was at TJ's.  See that bubblegum pink Mercedes convertible?

A new favorite snack of mine:

Whole wheat bread with peanut butter, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and some granola that my sister made.

I had a coffee date at my favorite local coffee shop (Angel Falls) with my BFF who was in town from DC.  I got a cortado, which is 6 oz. of milk with 2 shots of espresso.  Bzzzz.

I brought some work with me to do after my friend left.

More coffee today.  It wasn't actually 95* out, but that's what my car was reading when I first got in.  Great day for iced coffee!

Plus a chocolate cookie with walnuts (both from Panera).  About those medjool dates to satisfy my sweet tooth...

Other happenings include a day at the racetrack.

The muscle cars were my favorite.

But the semi with a jet engine was pretty cool, too :)

I got a little overzealous with my library holds.  Lots to read/ watch/ listen to!

Last but not least, did  you know that wiper blades don't come in pairs?  You have to buy two separate packages.  Mmhmm, I didn't know that.  Also, I decided which brand to get based on the packaging.  (Bosch won, clearly.)  That's logical, right?  I'm such a sucker for marketing/ good design.

And I think I'm all caught up now.  Hope you enjoyed that hodgepodge of random stuff.  Oh, one more thing - I've already worn my new maxi dress twice and have gotten compliments each time.  Success!  So if you've been hesitant to try one on, I say go for it!  It's super comfy, and looks very chic, in my opinion.  I mean, come on, doesn't a floor-length dress make you feel fancy?  I've already got plans to wear mine again this weekend, haha.

Off to tackle a million and one things on my to-do list.  See ya later!

Song of the day:

"Beekeeper's Daughter" by the All-American Rejects.  I know, I know, but I had to.  I have a soft spot for AAR (I get nostalgic every time I hear any song from their debut album - it instantly takes me back to summertime in high school, driving around with my best friends, singing along with the windows down).  I got to meet the band one time at Warped Tour (yup, I definitely thought Warped Tour was the coolest thing ever when I was in my wannabe-punk stage) - the guys had a signing tent - and I can assure you that Tyson Ritter is just as beautiful in person.

I even got a picture with Tyson <-- prized possession, haha.  

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Routine

Hello there.  It's been awhile.

I'm still adjusting to the transition from school to work.  I really like routines, and when I have to change my routine, I kind of get thrown for a loop.  So right now I'm trying to establish a new routine for myself, and I think it's finally starting to come together.  At least I hope so.

This morning I had a delicious and extremely filling breakfast, which was perfect because I didn't get to eat lunch until a little later than I'm used to.

My breakfast bowl contained 1/2 cup 1-minute oats, 1 cup boiling water, lots of cinnamon, a sliced banana, fresh blueberries, a spoonful of peanut butter, and - here's the kicker - a huge spoonful of cottage cheese.  Yup, cottage cheese in oatmeal.  I thought it sounded strange at first, but both Kath and Julie mix cottage cheese into their oatmeal on occasion, so I figured I'd give it a whirl.

The verdict:  I like it!  As long as I don't put too much in.  I don't like plain cottage cheese, but if I get the ratio right, I don't mind it in my oatmeal at all.  (One time I added too much and it was a little gaggy.)  The great thing is that the cottage cheese adds a nice burst of protein and helps to create a really filling meal.

I've been pretty good about eating healthy breakfasts, but I need to get better at packing food to take to work with me.

So far I've been packing raw fruits and veggies (apples, grapes, sugar snap peas, bell peppers, carrots), raw nuts, and a granola/ protein bar.  These are all good options and tasty, but not too exciting.  I need to put more thought and effort into my lunches instead of just grabbing things to quickly slice up as I'm getting ready to head out the door.

I got a great treat while I was working today:

A freshly made chocolate cookie!  (Thank you, Terri and Kaylynn! <-- the talented bakers.)  It was so delicious, and a great afternoon-pick-me-up.

Last night, my mom, sister and I went to our church for Girls Night Out, which is always held near Mother's Day.  I was SO excited when I found out that one of my favorite local restaurants, Aladdin's Eatery, was catering the dinner.

Normally these kinds of all-women functions have food which I don't really like, such as chicken salad, so I was especially thrilled to find out that we'd be having Mediterranean food.  I have had an ongoing craving for stuffed grape leaves lately, so I was extremely happy to see them on the buffet!  I also had a delicious salad with pita pieces in it, and a stuffed pita.  I asked for the vegetarian pita stuffed with tabbouleh, but was actually given a pita stuffed with chicken - I was looking forward to the tabbouleh, but went ahead and ate the chicken since I had already unwrapped it, and it was very good.  Small chocolate peanut butter cake for dessert.  Such a great meal!

In addition to improving my lunches, I also need to work harder to incorporate more exercise into my daily routine.  I really like to work out in the morning, but lately I haven't been getting up in time to exercise before work.  I got a great workout in at the gym tonight after dinner (elliptical, stair climber, treadmill, and some assisted pull-ups), but I find that it's much easier to come up with excuses not to work out at night than if I exercise first thing in the morning.

While I'll still go to the gym in the evenings or go on a jog, I decided to go ahead and finally buy some Physique 57 DVDs after lusting after them for awhile.

My plan is to do a workout DVD before work a few days a week, and then cardio after work a few days a week.  We'll see how that actually works out, but right now I'm excited to try these DVDs - I've heard really great things about Physique 57.  And I need all the excitement I can get to motivate myself to get out of bed and exercise before work.  I'm planning to do one tomorrow morning - I'll let you know how it goes!

I mentioned in my last post that I worked on laying down straw (which I erroneously called hay) over some newly-seeded patches in my parents' yard, and I was also given the task of watering these areas every day.  This actually takes quite awhile, about an hour, so I decided to listen to a podcast to help pass the time.

Well I guess I was engrossed in a podcast because I didn't hear my visitor until I caught him staring at me.

I was actually really startled and jumped a little when I finally realized that I had a watering buddy.  It might not seem like it from this picture, but he was pretty close to me!  He would look right at me, then eat a little, walk a little, and look at me again.  I went back to watering, and he made his way across the yard.

I was fascinated to watch him eat because sometimes he would crouch down a little...

and then rise up on his hind legs to eat some leaves!  Pretty cool, right?  At least I thought so!  I don't remember ever seeing a deer do this before.

So that's your wildlife lesson of the day.  Come back next time to learn all about the Mallard ducks who frequent our creek.  Just kidding.  This is not going to turn into a wildlife blog.

Well, I've got to go to bed so I can get up early and try out my new workout DVD.  G'night!

Song of the day:

"Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men.  I can't get enough of this song right now - it's so good, and really catchy.  And I can never resist a song with female and male vocals.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Hay is for Horses

Hey everyone!  How's your weekend going?  It felt good to slow down a bit and take things easy today.

Breakfast this morning was a classic bowl of oats - 1/2 cup 1-minute oats mixed with 1 cup boiling water, lots o' cinnamon, a sliced banana, and a spoonful of peanut butter:

Coffee with almond milk and cinnamon on the side, plus some delicious gummy vitamins.  And the 3rd book of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.  I was so excited to pick it up from the library yesterday!

You know that saying "my eyes were bigger than my stomach"?  Well I think it applies to me in terms of getting new books to read and my ability/ time to actually read them.  And I have more on my Kindle!  Summer reading time.

I had a great lunch today - a big salad with grapes on the sides.

I finished off my huge bag of spinach and added some yellow bell pepper and a leftover chicken breast with apricot sauce from my dinner at Olive Garden earlier in the week, topped with homemade Italian dressing (and some unpictured sliced almonds).

It was delicious and very filling, which was good because I needed the energy to help out with some yard work.

My dad is planting some new grass around the yard and my job was to spread hay over the seeds.  It sounded pretty simple to me, but handling a couple big bales of hay helped me work up a sweat, and left me covered in hay.

**Update:  I was informed at dinner that I was actually spreading straw, not hay.  Very different, apparently!**

I shouldn't have worn my gym clothes for that.  But I figured since I had them on, I might as well go for a jog while I was already dirty.  People probably thought I looked like an escaped farm girl or something.  It was a really nice day so I was happy to be outside instead of in the gym.  I might try to do a few bodyweight strength moves like push-ups and some ab work this evening to round out my workout, though.

As promised, here are my purchases from yesterday.  I got this navy blue shirt from Aeropostale.  I haven't been in that store forever but the girl I was baby-sitting wanted to go in, and I thought this shirt was really cute (and fortunately not obnoxiously emblazoned with the brand name), and when I saw that it was half off, I couldn't resist.  No surprise there!

And I got this maxi dress from J. Crew.  I really didn't think I could pull off a maxi dress (still not sure I can) but I do love the look, so I figured I would try this on.  The girl I was with said that the dress was pretty and convinced me to get it.  Twist my arm, why dontcha?  :)  AND it was a great deal - originally $98, I got it for $32.04 after the sale price and my student discount!  Bargain hunting is just so satisfying.

Time for dinner with my family and then I'll probably get sucked into The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  Have a great night!

Song of the day:

"East Harlem" by Beirut.

Friday, May 11, 2012


Phew, this week has been crazy, hence the lack of blogging.  Tuesday was a great first day of summer, and then things really picked up.  On Wednesday, I started my summer job in the morning, spent time at my grandparents' house in the afternoon, went to see The Hunger Games (excellent!) and to Olive Garden with my other grandma (that salad and those breadsticks never get old), and went to the gym for some cardio that night, and yesterday I had a full day of work.

Today was another busy one, but also really fun.  I baby-sat a ten year old while simultaneously doing some work and running errands.  Multitasking!

Mother's Day is approaching, so we had some arts and crafts time.

Then we had to go to a muffler shop for some work on my car.  Don't these candy machines just make you happy?  The simple things.  I gave the girl I was watching a quarter so she could get some candy - she was so patient and read her book and played on her iPod while we were waiting, and I worked on typing a document for work.

Everyone at the muffler shop was so nice and friendly!  I even managed to do some networking.  And one customer came in with his pet snake hanging out around his neck!  Check out this sweet car that one of the other customers brought in:

It's a '68 Pontiac Bonneville.  I learned to drive on a Bonneville, but I can assure you it did NOT look like that.  It was a great car, but one of my dad's friends nicknamed it "The Marshmallow" because it was white and rather large and puffy :)

After the muffler shop, we ran some more errands and then went to the mall for some lunch and shopping.  I had the best lunch - a chicken pesto crepe and a fresh juice (carrots, beets, cucumber).  So good.  I could easily eat crepes every day.

Shopping with a ten year old = lots of bright colors and sparkles.

It also means fun things like scented markers!!!  They're back and apparently better than ever - there were so many options!  Scented pens, markers, pencils, even highlighters.  I'm going to have to keep those in mind for back-to-school shopping next year...  And they weren't just in kids' stores - they were in American Greetings and Papyrus, too!

I did get some grown-up things... even though I was not planning to buy anything.  I can never resist a great deal!!  I'll post pictures soon of what I got.  The girl I was watching was a great shopping buddy.

Our errands and shopping wore us out, so we turned on a movie when we got back.  Recognize this image?

Matilda!  One of my all-time favorites.  I never get tired of it.

I ended the night spending time with family and friends at my grandparents' house.  Unfortunately mall-walking was pretty much my only exercise today, but tomorrow I should be able to get in a quality workout.

Hope you all had a good week!

Song of the day:

"Good Girl" by Carrie Underwood.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Workin' at the Car Wash

Hey everyone, how's your day going?  I've had a pretty relaxed first day of summer break.  I got up and ate breakfast while watching Live! with Kelly (breaking my rule that I can only watch it at the gym).  But that's okay, because then I did an at-home workout.  I started with a jump rope routine that I originally posted about here.

New jump rope, old school boombox.  I got that boombox in 4th grade, I think, and passed it on to my dad for his work bench in the basement (hence all the dirt/ dust).  But today I took a trip down memory lane and used it to blast some tunes while I did the jump rope workout.  Should have rustled up a Hanson CD to make it more authentic.
Then I did this 10 minute arms workout video:


I used 4 lb weights which I thought might be too light at first, but some of the moves - especially the one-minute isometric hold - were pretty tough.  Phew, I was shaking.  Then I went on a short jog, followed by stretching and foam rolling.  I did the whole workout in 4 different places, and I think switching up the location so much helped it to fly by.  Except for the jump roping parts... those were killer.

I continued my workout (kind of) by washing my car after that.

So stylish, right?  Ha.  I was actually hoping it would start raining while I was washing the car because then I wouldn't have to dry it... that's my least favorite part.  No such luck, but at least my car looks better for it.

Lunch today:

A salad and a taster plate of carrots, hummus, snap peas, and 1/2 an apple.

The salad had spinach, grape tomatoes, yellow bell pepper, sliced almonds, and homemade Italian dressing. Tasty!

This afternoon I baked a loaf of beer bread to take to my grandparents' house for dinner tonight.  It has just a few ingredients (all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, a bottle of beer - I used pumpkin ale, and butter) and it's really easy and quick because you don't have to let it rise.  Plus it's delicious.

Off to dinner with the fam.  Have a good night!

Forget-me-nots at my parents' house.  I transplanted one clump into this area  in high school and they've really spread!  Love them.

Song of the day:

"Psycho" by Imelda May.