Thursday, July 30

So Excited!

Heather had a fabulous idea for a recurring blog post that I am going to start implementing on Monday.

As anyone who reads my blog on somewhat regular basis knows, I have a passion for health and physical fitness. Recently, I have also developed a much greater interest in cooking. Since I moved into my new home (btw I made my first mortgage payment today and yikes, I am a poor lady) preparing meals is a lot easier and I am much more motivated to cook. In addition, I have been experimenting with clean eating and have seen wonderful results in the improvement of my physical and mental health. Heather then suggested that I post clean recipes. Since I truly believe that food and nutrition make an enormous difference in the health and well being of people, sharing recipes with others is a natural progression. I dont know why I didnt think of this!

I also just got done reading Julie and Julia which is about a woman who over the course of a year makes every recipe in one of Julia Childs cook books and blogs about her experiences cooking. It was quite entertaining read but the food sounded just awful. There was 3 sticks of butter in everything, lots of lambs legs and gimlet gravy's, you know how french food is. I think I gained 5 pounds just reading about these recipes. Anyway reading about cooking is not nearly as dull as I thought it would be, particularly when you fuck things up like she does in the book and which I inevitably will as well. So instead of just posting the recipe, I am going to post a clean recipe every err most weeks, write about it and take a picture of my creation. I figure if you don't like eating clean you can at least be entertained by my experiences with the evil food processor which I have a love/hate relationship with. But if even that doesn't do it for you, you will at least have a pretty picture to look at.

Heather mentioned she has some clean recipes she would like to share and it would be great if anyone else who has one would send them to me so I can try to do them justice and prepare them to share the recipe with everyone. Send any recipes you may have to and if the recipe isn't scary complicated, I will give it a shot.

Oh and if you are wondering what a clean recipe is, here are some guidelines:
-whole, unrefined and unprocessed foods in a form that’s as close as possible to how the foods appear in nature
-No processed sugars/white flour
-Limited to no saturated fat and trans fats, and instead substitute healthy, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats

You know, healthy food!

So thanks again to Miss Heather and I will embark on my first recipe this weekend and post about it next week.

Here I go again!

Yesterday I signed up for the Trail of Two Cities Half Marathon. I just plain do not want to train for a full marathon this year but I really want to be a part of it so I am just going to do the half. Official training for me starts on September 14th and it is only 9 weeks of training and no more than 40 miles a week so thats super manageable and won't effect my weight training very much. The half marathon is just a much nicer race, but I know I am going to be super jealous of all of the marathoners on race day.

My goal is to run it around 1 hour 40 minutes. Hopefully my foot holds up!

If anyone has a desire to run a half, I can be your training partner and tell you everything you need to know:)

UPDATE: Uh just kidding, I am going to be in Austin that weekend for my sisters baby shower. There is 50 bucks I won't be getting back. If anyone wants to run under my registration, let me know.
UPDATE #2: Screw it. I get home at 2:40pm on race day and even though the race will be long over I am still going to run the course. I paid for it, I will have the tshirt and I will run my own race, without the cheering crown and ice cream sundaes. I will just stop by Coldstone on the way home.

My Grandpa Was Robbed

Yesterday my 89 year old Grandpa, who is has an amputated leg and is in a wheelchair, was robbed of his medication and $400. His naivity may just have saved his life.

My Grandpa was home alone yesterday afternoon, my Grandma had gone to her Women's Club Meeting, and the door bell rang. He answered the door and two women and one man were standing there and they told him they were there to check on his roof. He got a new roof a few months ago so he said "oh, are you from Fresno Roofing?" and of course they said yes and so he let them in. As soon as they were in the man asked if he could use the restroom while one of the women said she would look around the house for leaks. The other women stayed in the kitchen and distracted him by asking him questions about what medications he took.

Whether or not my grandpa was alarmed by all of this is not clear but he never acted alarmed or showed any fear which probably prevented this from escalating to something violent. Also luckily my Grandma decided to go some errands after her club meeting otherwise she would have walked in on all of this and knowing my Grandma, she would have flipped out.

After they left my Grandpa called my Dad to ask if they had sent someone over to check the roof since my Dad had been responsible for getting the new roof for him, which of course he hadn't. So when my Grandma came home she checked the house to see if anything was missing and they called the police.

They ended up taking $400 cash and my Grandpa's perscription drugs, but it doesn't appear anything else was missing. The police told him he was really lucky that nothing more severe happened. My Grandpa is incredibly vulnerable and would have been defenseless if it had escalated so the fact that he let it all happen was probably a good thing. Times are not what they used to be, sadly. My granparents rarely even lock their doors. I think they learned their lesson though and will now be more vigilant about their safety. I hope these people feel good about taking advantage of a frail old man.

In related news I ordered pepper spray online a few days ago and at the time felt a little paranoid for having done so but now not so much. I am going to take it with me when I go running and leave it by my bed at night. This is the world we live in and I plan on living in it for quite some time, even if I had to blind someone temporarily in the process:)

Wednesday, July 29

Nutrition Focused

Over the past several years when it came to food I was focused mainly on calories when determining what was healthy. Calorie dense food was bad, calorie light food was good. Fruits and veggies were always good because they were low in calories and I was vaugely aware that there were also some nutritional benefits but as long as it wasn't high in calories, it was ok with me.

Recently though I have started to change my ideas of what I think a healthy diet is. Clean eating is sort of a buzz term in the diet/exercise industry right now but the basic concepts are this:
-Eating a mini-meal every two to three hours (5 to 6 small meals per day total) to keep blood sugar level and prevent hunger
-Combining lean proteins and complex carbs at every meal
-Avoiding all over-processed and refined foods (especially sugar, white rice, and white flour)
-Avoiding saturated and trans fat, instead consuming healthy fats
-Avoiding soda and other sugary juices and drinks
-Avoiding high-calorie, zero nutrient foods (i.e., junk food)
-Eating proper portion sizes
-Drinking at least 8 cups of water every day

Basically, you eat the least processed and freshest food possible and you don't over indulge. Clean eating is not about deprivation, avoiding food groups, counting calories or starvation, but about making healthy food choices and providing the body with the best foods possible.

There are many health benefits to eating clean, including:

-Fat loss
-Weight loss
-Increased energy
-Clearer skin
-Shinier hair
-Better sleep
-Increased mental well-being

I have been experimenting with clean eating the past month and keeping a journal of how I felt both mentally and physically. I have found it is more work to eat clean because you have to go to the grocery store more often and really plan your meals out in advance. I can't just grab something and put it in the microwave, but fresh foods taste so much better it is a small concession to make.

For breakfast I used to eat Jimmy Dean Lite Breakfast Sandwiches and for lunch I would eat Lean Cusines. These are both low in calories but they aren't fresh, nutrient rich foods. Instead I have been eating oatmeal with fruit and a hard boiled egg or protien shake for breakfast. For lunch I have been making salads and sandwiches and snacks consist a lot of yogurt and dried fruit and raw nuts. Raw almond and peanut butter are big go to foods too. I have also cut out diet sodas and have been drinking a lot of water.

The result? Physically I have had less stomach issues like gas and bloating on days that I have eaten clean which is fantastic as stomach issues have plagued me for quite some time. My energy is through the roof when I eat clean too. Yesterday I woke up at 5:45, worked all day, went to the gym for an hour and a half, came home mowed the lawn and worked in the yard for an hour and a half, did laundry, cooked dinner and I never felt lethargic or tired. I have also shown a big improvement mentally on clean eating days and tend to be more positive and upbeat. I feel a lot more depressed on days I don't eat well. Some of that has to do with feeling guilty about not eating well and also on some days I haven't eaten well I am under the influence and that definitely effects me negatively both mentally and physically.

I have been grilling a lot of meat and veggies and eating a lot of fruit so everything tastes really good. I don't crave the bad foods as much anymore either, but I still need to work on being more consistent with eating this way. I am usually good during the week but weekends are more difficult. Eating clean and learning a lot more about processed food that you can buy at the store and at restaraunts has also gone hand in hand. The more I know about all the sugar and salt they pump into foods, the less I have a desire to eat them. Convenience is a powerful decision maker when it comes to eating but if I clearly feel my best on days I eat fresh and healthy foods, is that convenience worth it? I might get to watch an extra half hour of tv a night if I decide to throw in a lean cusine instead of cutting up veggies and grilling meat but I am certainly not getting anything out of that. Having a house has made this a whole hell of a lot easier though. If I didnt have a dishwasher and a BBQ, it would be a lot more difficult, that I know. Since I am fortunate to have access to those things though and I can clearly feel a difference in myself by eating this way, it is something I suspect I will keep up for quite awhile.

This isn't some gimmicky diet either, the principles are simple and basic and do not require you to buy anything. How could you go wrong by eating fresh fruits and veggies, lean meat and whole grains? This is what our bodies are built to eat.

Want some recipes or more info? Check out these links:
Delicious Wisdom
Clean Eating Club
Eat Clean Diet

Tuesday, July 28

I can be such a moron sometimes. A couple of days ago my mom asked me how Eharmony was going...uh yeah it isn't going and I didn't even get matched up with 1 person I was remotely interested in. Most of the time I try to not think about the fact that I haven't been on a date in ages and there are no prospects in sight but then questions like this arise and I am reminded of it. So for the past few days I have been a little mopey but otherwise just fine, it is what it is.

With this fresh on my mind I was at a weak and vulnerable state so when some guy approached me at the gym and asked me out completely out of the blue-I had never even had a conversation with him and I might have seen him a couple of times before-I choked. He took me aside on my way to the drinking fountain and just started talking about how I worked out and that I was attractive, blah blah blah-I couldnt get a word in if I could come up with one in the first place. He then goes "You must have a man, right" and stupid fucking dumbass me says no. Bah! As soon as it started coming out of my mouth I wanted desperately to shove it back in but I already blew it. Then he proceeded to asked to take me to dinner. Again I am so caught off guard that I am struggling to come up with something to say and there are several people around watching and listening and I don't really want to go out with this guy because I am not attracted to him (he wasn't unattractive, short stocky black guys just arent my type)and he smells faintly of corndogs but in the back of my mind I can hear my mom telling me I don't give guys a chance and this is all happening so fast that I end up telling him to call me and we will see.

In my mind I was just giving myself more time to come up with a good reason not to go out with him that wont hurt his feelings because really, if someone turns you down immediately it is basically saying I am not attracted to you which sucks. It is hard to approach people like that and just ask them out and I appreciate his bravery so I don't want to be a bitch or anything.

Well he texted me last night and he asked when would be a good time for him to call me. Not wanting to lead him on I texted back that I had just gotten out of a relationship that ended badly and I was thinking about it and right now I really just need to be alone and not date anyone right now. That is a decent lie, right? It doesn't insult him and since I will no doubt seeing him again I couldn't say I was moving or something like that. He texted me back that he understood but thought we could still hang out and besides he could use the company. Ok so he doesn't quite get it, however I figured if when I did see him I wasn't overly friendly it would eventually take care of itself. I ended the conversation by saying thanks for understanding and good night, thinking that was that I went to bed.

At 7:30 AM this morning I get a text, from him (btw his name is Alfonso)saying he doesnt want to bother me but wanted to say good morning and he was there if I needed to talk or get a guys perspective and to have a blessed day. Ok so this one is not going to go away quietly, damn it. It also sucks that the one place that makes me the happiest and go to get away from everything will now be somewhat tainted by this guy. I will just have to be super direct with him like he was with me and tell him that I am not interested in any relationship right now and I need my space.

I am not really concerned but I need to come up with a go to line to let guys down when guys I am not interested ask me out, especially since any guy who asks me out I am inevitably not interested in and guys I am interested in don't seem to know I exist. I am so freakin retarded (and I didn't want to use that term but I assure you in this situation it is the most appropriate word)when it comes to this stuff. When does the man of my dreams come riding in on his damn white horse anyway? Oh yeah, that only happens in the bullshit fairly tales. Hmmph.

Monday, July 27

I finally got around to seing the documentary Supersize Me yesterday. Although it sounds like it would be up my ally subject wise, I never got around to watching it because in my mind everyone knows fast food is bad so there would be nothing ground breaking about it. I was mostly correct, but I did find it to be more enlightening than I had expected.

What stood out for me the most was the segments about school lunches and how unhealthy they are, some even raking up over 1,100 calories for one meal and that is not to mention the food addiditives and preservatives that are injested and the lack of food nutrients that are completely missing. Also the food choices kids make (french fries and soda are a regular meal) shows that kids don't care or don't know how to make good food choices. Understandably so since the educational system does not spend nearly enough time discussing nutrition and many schools dont even have phys ed prgrams. That along with modeling after their parents who are not making good food choices and the marketing that fast food and highly manufactured foods bombards people with, the outcome of over half the population being obese is not suprising.

Back to fast food, more specifically McDonalds, I wish they would have gone into more detail as to how the meals are made. They did a little cartoon of the chicken nuggests, which was quite gross, but it would be even more effective to show how the burgers and fries are made as well. I don't suppose they had much help from McDonalds on that though. I find it interesting that he ended up experiencing symptoms of addiction to fast food during the 1 month experiment. He found that when he ate he would be very happy and content but soon after feel like crap and be hungry again. Although I wasn't greatly suprised how his health declined from being on this diet, I was suprised it took him so long to get back to normal and 6 months later he still wasn't back to his starting weight. It goes to show how difficult it can be to lose weight.

Overall I liked this film mostly because I have a great interest in the topic. Since the film had been made, the fast food industry has made some changes and offers more healthy choices and there have been laws passed that require restaraunts to post nurtitional information, which is a step in the right direction. I also feel kids need to be better educated and schools should be required to provide school lunches and meals that are far healtheir than they are allowed to get away with now. Bottom line however is people need to be personally responsible for the choices they make. If they choose an inactive lifestyle filled with the convenience of fast food, they will have health issues. If thats how they want to live their lives then that is their choice but don't put the blame soley on the industry. Most of the blame should be placed on the individual.

Next movie up, Into the Wild, which I really look forward to seeing.

Friday, July 24

Final Cabin Plans

Ok to summarize and make sure everyone is on the same page, here is what I have:

Meet at my house @ 6:45 so we can pack up my truck and leave at 7 PM sharp. Ed, Brian and Heather will be driving up together and Adam, Carrie and Mike and will be coming with me. We will drive up the hill in a wolf pack.

The following is what I have down for what people are bringing:
Ed/Heather: tri tip, veggies, chicken breasts, soda, bagels & cream cheese
Adam: Eggs, milk, sausage, snacks
Carrie: Salad, Makers
Mike: Juice, muffins, garlic bread
Brian: Sandwich stuff
Kasey: Smore stuff, fruit salad, 7 layer bean dip

Bring your own booze and whatever else you want to eat or snack on. Let me know if I missed something, otherwise see you all at 6:45.

Thursday, July 23

Weather Forecast for Fresno over the weekend: High 106 Low 73

Weather Forecast for Shaver Lake: High 80 Low 49

Sweeeet! I don't so much mind the heat during the day but I like to have cool evenings and it will be nice to put on a sweatshirt again.

Late Night Caller

Last night I was sitting on my couch after enjoying the mango avacado black bean salsa tacos I made and watching 20/20 when the doorbell rang, at 9:15. I thought it was odd anyone would be at my door at that time of night and I certainly wasn't expecting anyone so I turned down the tv and sat and listened. Did I mention that 20/20 was about 3 women who escaped and survived when they were kidnapped, raped or stalked in their own homes? Hell no was I opening the door at that time of night, even if it was the nighborhood welcoming party with a plate of cookies.

I forgot that I had a peep hole because I am not used to having one so I waited and listened until I heard whoever it was leave. There was a rustling noise like they had left something so I tip toed to the door in my undies (yeah that was another reason I didn't answer my door), looked out the peep hole and saw a UPS truck driving away. WTF is UPS doing delivering packages at 9:15 at night?? I wish my mail carrier was this hard working, then I might have had my Netflix delivered yesterday so I wouldn't have to watch the 20/20 show on single women getting attacked in their homes and I wouldn't be so freaked out. I opened my door (yeah still in my undies, the porch was dark and the package was near the door)and found my supplements had arrived. Hooray! I can now take my caffiene supps in the morning so I can wake up without the expense of Starbucks or be forced to drink the black tar that is the coffee my dad makes at work and also get a little boost at the gym. My soy protien powder was also in the box, which is yummy and good for my muscles so when someone attacks me in my house I can fight them off and kick their mother fucking asses like the women on 20/20:)

Wednesday, July 22

Ahh Rats!

I came home from work yesterday and since it had been a week since I mowed the dirt err lawn, I decided to get a quick mow in before the gym.
Everything was going well until I made my way to the backyard. As I was making my first pass around the perimeter, an object in the grass caught my eye. There was some sort of animal lying between my two fruit trees. From a distance it looked like a gerbil because the fur looked nice and soft but the closer I got I realized it was definitely not a gerbil. Then I saw the long, hairless tail and realized it was a big dead rat.

It couldn't have been there too long because I didn't see it the day before and it was still in pretty good condition, aside from the missing eyeballs. I doubt the heat got to it so it was probably poisoned and collapsed in my yard, poor thing. I used to have pet rats and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was one of my favorite books growing up so they don't bother me. I don't want them in my house but I don't want them to die either.

So I rather unceremoniously put on a gardening glove, grabbed the rat by the tail and placed him (it was definitely a him too) into a plastic Target bag that I tied shut and put in the trash can. Of course trash pick up was that day so I have to wait an entire week in 100 plus degree temperatures with a rotting rat corpse that probably won't be smelling like daises until I can properly dispose of it.

On a possibly related or possibly unrelated note (I haven't decided yet) I also found this flyer under my door yesterday.

It reads: How Can You Survive The End of The World. Maybe Jehovah's Witnesses killed the rat to show what would happen if I wasn't prepared for the end of the world? Or maybe it was just a coincidence but I watch too much NCIS to believe in coincidences.

Oh and my lawnmower broke again yesterday, this time it wasn't my fault though. My dad and Tennesse put my lawn mower together for me and one of them apparantly didn't screw a bolt in tight enough and it got loose from the vibration, eventually falling off and disconeccting the left side of my push bar from the lawn mower. Pretty hard to make turns when that isn't attached so I mowed part of my lawn backwards when I wasn't able to turn around. I couldn't find the bolt in the lawn though so I got a replacement screw and bolt today that should work. For some reason the world does not seem to want me to mow lawns. How dare the world try to tell me what to do!

Tuesday, July 21

Cabin Trip

The cabin trip is this weekend so let's talk about it. I was thinking of leaving at around 7 on Friday and we will want to figure out car pooling since there isn't a lot of parking up there.

So food, ugh I hate figuring out food, we will need enough food for 1 dinner, 2 breakfeasts, at least 1 lunch and snacks. Suggestions?

Monday, July 20

Julie & Julia

I first found out that there was a movie coming out called Julie & Julia via Adam and I wasn't terrible excited at first. I don't really know much about Julia Child except she was some eccentric cook that had a rather shrill voice so I didn't think much about it. But then I started seeing the trailer's and commercials for it and it looked pretty good so I picked up the book this weekend and I love it. Two great characters and an interesting story line. I look forward to seeing how exactly the splice them together in the film. It is one of those perfect to whats going on with my life films/books that I can relate to all too well.

It opens August 7th, can't wait! Here is the trailer:


This probably won't be too suprising for anyone (including myself) but I am pretty sure I have been overtraining lately. Normally I do a split routine, which isolates particular areas of the body for a 4 day cycle so for example I might start with legs, then go biceps/triceps, then shoulders/traps and then chest, and on the 5th day start over with legs. Well I stepped it up last month and tried a program that was supposed to sort of shock your body. The workout was split up into two groups: legs/biceps/triceps and chest/shoulders/traps. Since you alternate days the recovery time is not as great as it used to be, which is harder on the body. This workout is only designed for a month long period because of how hard it is on the body, which I can atest to.

Unfortunately the symptoms of overtraining can be very similar to thr symptoms of PMS, so I didn't notice it right away. Some of the psychological symtpoms of overtraining include the followng:
-Depression and apathy
-Decreased self-esteem
-Decreased ability to concentrate
-Decreased self-efficacy
-Sensitive to stress
I think I really knew it was overtraining when I started crying last week and giving myself a pity party for no substantial reason. I seldom cry so this was very out of the ordinary for me. I was also fatigued throughout the day but having trouble sleeping at night and my immune system, whch normally kicks ass, was not doing its job and I was experiencing gastrointestinal issues and I was having problems getting over a head cold.

So I need to rest. Not for a long time, just take a few days off, which I started Thursday and I will also be re-tooling my workout, which I do every month anyway, to give myself a little more recovery time. I will also be even more strict on eating well and not eating empty calories or processed food, I need all the protein and nutrition I can get. I also got a massage this weekend that was super relaxing. I might have to do that more frequently.

It isn't fun to feel your body wearing down but I would rather deal with it now than have more severe problems down the road.

Thursday, July 16

Because I Could Use a Warm Fuzzy To Get Through The Day

In a story that is too freakin adorable, two red panda cubs abandoned by their mother at birth at a northern China zoo were adopted by a dog. The dog is now raising the two panda cubs like its own pups, awww.

Wednesday, July 15


When I got my new lawn mower Monday, my dad had to come over after work to help me unload it and to make sure it was working properly. We got it down and started it up and I gave it a quick whirl, but my lawn in the front is so small it only takes about 15 minutes at the most to get it done so I felt silly just mowing one strip and doing the rest later so I kept going. Well I realized about halfway through how ridiculous I must look because since I just came from work, I still had my work clothes on which consisted of a bright pink dress and a jeweled necklace. I did at least change from my heels into flip flops but my hair was down, my make up was on and I was mowing the lawn like I was the big fancy pants of the neighborhood. And I wonder why no neighbors have introduced themselves to me. I am the weird girl that mows her lawn in a dress and jewlery.

I did however get a wave the other day in my neighborhood. It was more of a fellow runner wave though because it was 6:15 in the morning and we passed each other but I will take it.
Oh Jon Stewart, you make politics funny. Check out his take on the Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearing:
Does anyone know where there are stairs that I can access and run? Schools are sometimes locked and not open to the public but I would like to run stairs every once in awhile, I just don't know where to go. Suggestions?

Tuesday, July 14

Coconut Water

I am always on the look out for good recovery drinks to have after a hard workout. I hate gatorade and powerade and those typical sports drinks. They are loaded with sugar and even though the light versions are a little better, I still don't like the way they taste and they make my teeth feel gross.

I however recently discovered Coconut Water, which is an excellent recovery liquid that provides fluid replacement and is just a generally highly beneficial drink. Coconut water is harvested from coconuts before they are ripe and create coconut milk, which is fatty and higher in calories. Coconut water is the purest liquid second only to water itself and it is full of electrolytes, calcium, potassium, magnesium; great for athletes and non athletes alike.

Other benefits include:
-it can relieve urinary problems
-it improves digestion
-it breaks up kidney stones
-it is antibacterial
-it controls vomiting

Have a hangover? Try coconut water. Drinking an 11oz Coconut Water has the same short term hydrating power as drinking one liter of water (2) and eating one banana –with less carbohydrates and fat.

**And something that I found interesting, coconut water can be used in blood transfusions. In cases of emergency coconut water has been used as an intravenous hydration fluid instead of the standard IV fluid.

I picked some up at Whole Foods and tried it last night and loved it. It isn't overly sweet, and there isn't a strong coconut flavor. Normally when I have a recovery drink after working out I don't find myself incredibly happy about drinking it and usually force it down quickly so I can have water or iced tea instead. I found myself guzzling it. I mixed in one scoop of vanilla protein powder so I could get some added protein after I lifted as well which made it sort of tropical.

I would highly reccomend you try coconut water. It is a great tasting, natural way to get essential nutrients and replace electrolytes. Screw Gatorade, this is much better.

** Note: I originally had a link up to the coconut water being used in blood tranfusions that was a new age mumbo jumbo site. I had seen the info elsewhere but grabbed that link quickly without really looking at it and Adam pointed out it was not a credible site (he cant comment again because of his computer issues). Anyway I changed the link and re-worded the info so thanks to Adam (I am very anti new age mumbo jumbo so I should have looked at the site more closely!)

Monday, July 13

Look who got herself a brand new cherry red lawn mower:

Eat your hearts out boys, she is all mine;)

And I will not be going over any stupid tree roots with it!

Weekend Round Up

I had a busy but great weekend. I have a lot of projects to do around the house and I didn't waste much time getting things done.

After my normal Saturday morning workout I had a leaf raking extravaganza since the previous weekend I broke my lawn mower by off roading it over a tree root. I have come to the conclusion that magnolia trees may look pretty but they are the devil. I would like to get rid a good deal of grass around the house and in particular the strip of grass next to the road because it is so uneven and rooty, due to the devil trees. Without use of a lawn mower the grass didn't grow all that much but the leaves the lawn mower usually sucks up littered my lawn. Since every single one of my neighbors has people to do their yard work their yards always looks pristine which makes my yard look shabby by comparison. In the future I plan on making a lot of changes to the landscape for something more drought resistant and plants that are more sculptural. I also trimmed some bushes around the windows that were starting to get a little shapeless and overgrown. It was fun to use the big hedge clippers:)

Sunday I went to my parents to get some succulent clippings, picked up some containers and supplies and had a succulent potting party. This is my favorite:

Although the fuzzy white spines on this plant feel soft to the touch, I quickly found that they are stubborn little effers that like to stick on your skin and not let go. I had to use wax to get them out and I will not make that mistake again!

I potted about 6 pots with succulents, arranging them together so almost every pot has several varities. It will be interesting to see how the combinations grow together. I will eventually plant them on my yard but the big landscape overhaul isn't going to take place until the fall.

Back inside the house I finally got around to the fireplace project. The picture is kinda crappy but basically I have glass voltives hanging down from two curtain rods that have tea light candles inside them:

I like this because they kind of look like they are floating in air and still gives that fireplace glow.

In addition to that I also finished the window in the kitchen and did some more work in the master and unpacked some more boxes. I am thinking I might want to do some artsy painting on one of my master bedroom walls but I need to do some research on that first. It could be cool or a complete disaster.

Anyway, that was what I did on my weekend (aside from going out Friday and UFC Saturday, of course). Good times.

Friday, July 10

Things That Make Me Happy

Although I haven't watched Mad Men in awhile, I am a huge fan of the fashion and style that is that show. Of course I am also a fan of Don Draper. No one combines masculinity and style the way that character does and it makes me long for the days when men dressed in suits and had style instead of today's cargo pants, flip flops and t-shirt ensembles that dominate.
Well perhaps there is now a chance that there will be more Don Draper's in the world now because Banana Republic will be selling a line that echoes the style of suits seen on that show. The more Don Drapers in the world-or at least look a likes-the better.
Sooo UFC on Saturday?

Thursday, July 9

Early Morning Runs

I haven't been sleeping as well since moving into my master bedroom. It is slightly louder (I keep my windows open) and the Magnolia tree in the front looses a lot of leaves which blow around in the wind which sounds like someone walking around which makes me sorta on edge. It has been awhile since I have been on the ground level where people can more easily access my windows. I think the main problem though is that I haven't been running my AC so even though it is not really hot, I sleep better when I can curl up under blankets.

Anyhow I have been waking up fairly early and then just going back to sleep before my alarm goes off but this morning I decided to get up at 5 and go for a run. It is actually fairly light at that time of the morning and the air was so cool and crisp it almost felt like fall. I didn't go on a strenuous run, just a nice 40 minute run around the neighborhood and it felt so good. I really am a morning person and enjoy being up when most people are sleeping. I feel like I have the world to myself. I don't have to worry about traffic or people watching me, I feel invisible, which I like. It frees my mind to think about anything and everything or just zone out and daydream.

During my run this morning I decided that I will definitely not run the Trail of Two Cities Marathon this year. It had been awhile since I went for a run and just enjoyed it. Training would suck the joy out of it and would make it feel like a chore right now. I am also really loving lifting and that definitely has to be scaled back if I am training for a marathon and I know that would make me unhappy because it did last year. It is also really time consuming and I want to use my time doing other things like working on the house right now and into the fall. I may still run the half though because I do that without a lot of training.

I will probably do the early morning run a couple of times a week now, at least until it starts getting lighter later in the morning than it does now. It really wakes me up, I don't even need coffee! It is just a pleasant way to start the day.

Wednesday, July 8

Training at Home

I am a gym rat. If you know me you know that going to the gym is a big part of my life. I love the machines, I love the dumbbells, I love being surrounded by other people working hard but mostly I love the diversity of equipment. Being able to go to one place and have so many options makes workouts less boring and I also like to see what other people are doing to get ideas on things I want to incorporate in my workouts. Even if I had the money to have a basic gym at home I would prefer to work out in a gym. Thats just me though, I know a lot of other people who would prefer to workout at home. Personally I feel like I get a better workout at the gym, but every so often I won't have time to get there or I will be out of town and will have to workout at home. I don't have a lot of equipment, but with these basics you can get a pretty good workout in the comfort of your own home:

1. Jump Rope
2. Bosu Ball
3. Yoga Mat
4. Dumbbells or resistance bands (or both!)
5. Medicine Ball

One of the best ways to condense a workout but maintain your heart rate is to do circuit training. The lovely thing about circuit training is that it is a simple formula that you can use anywhere, at the gym or at home. Basically you chose a set of 6-7 exercises that work each area of the body and do them consecutively. If you want to increase the intensity of your workouts you can also do circuits that focus on just the upper part or the lower part of your body.

A good full body at home circuit workout should start with a small warm up and a bit of loosening up. By loosening up I do arm circles and swing my leg back and forth, just to get things lose and the blood flowing. You might even want to take a 5 minute brisk walk around the neighborhood.

Start your circuit with jumping rope. Now if you haven't jumped rope since you were in elementary school you may have forgotten how hard it is. Not only do you need a little coordination but it tires you out! Towards the end of any jump rope workout I am usually tripping on the rope more times than I would like to admit and out of breath. Start out by jumping for 1-3 minutes and increase this as you get better.

Next move on to squats. Your legs are going to be a little tired but a full body squat is a great exercise that works your entire lower body and your core. As you get more advanced you can also try a body squat on the bosu ball or a dumbbell squat. Start by doing sets of 10-15 reps, after your first set move on to your next exercise, the push up.

Push ups are a great upper body and core workout. Obviously your chest gets involved but your shoulders, back and core are all utilized in this exercise as well. Standard push ups should be where you start, but there are numerous variations on pushups you can do for variety. Do 10-20 reps.

Next move on to the lunge. A good lunge will really work the booty and there are several variations as well; the reverse lunge, the curtsey lunge etc. Do 15 lunges per leg.

Next give your legs a little rest and get those abs working. You can start by doing a basic crunch on the yoga mat or if you have an exercise ball, crunches on those are even better because you use a fuller range of motion. Do 25 reps.

Now dip baby dip. Back to the upper body, get your triceps working by doing some dips. Use a chair, the couch, the side of a table or any other sturdy object in the room. Place your hands, palms down, on the surface of the object. Your fingers should point toward your heels. Your body should be facing away from the object and your arms should be supporting your body weight. Your feet are simply acting as a pivot point. Lower your body toward the floor, and then lift yourself back up using your arms. This exercise focuses on your triceps but works your shoulders as well. Aim for 10-15 reps. When this gets easy, put a weight or something with some weight on your lap like a gallon of milk for a little extra difficulty.

Back to the abs, to work the lower abs try a reverse crunch(mandana optional). Do 20-30 reps and don't rush through these, slow and focused is better for your abs and back plus you won't be able to cheat by using momentum. From here go on to more ab work. I like to do some of my ab work consecutively to build up endurance and I found that consecutive ab work also gets me better results. One quick note on abs though, if you are trying to loose weight, don't waste a lot of time on ab work. Defined abs will only be visible if you don't have a layer of fat over them and doing ab work does not help you lose fat. That comes from consistently lifting weights and especially cardio. Having a strong core however will help you stay healthy and injury free so don't completely neglect them, just don't think that if you do 500 sit ups a day you will see anything if you still have overall body fat.

That completes one circuit! Get a drink of water and wait 1-2 mnutes then start again with the jump rope. Repeat this circuit 3 times and you have a pretty decent overall workout. With all exercise, don't do the same workout over and over for an extended period of time. As you get stronger you need to challenge yourself by increasing weight, increasing reps or doing variations of the exercises (or different exercies entirely). If you don't you will plateau and stop seeing results because your body becomes too effecient at doing the exercise and no longer has to work as hard.

Don't let an inability to get to the gym or a lack of a gym membership prevent you from working out!
Functional Fitness: when the goal of working out is to prepare your body so it can perform daily activities without pain, injury or discomfort.

Example: Doing squats so that when your piece of shit printer decides it needs you to manually chose the paper size each time your print a pdf file on 11" x 17", and you have 45 files to print so you have to get up out of your chair 45 times and sit back down 45 times you can do it without pain or discomfort.

Yay functional fitness! Booo printer!

Tuesday, July 7

Some House Pics

Some of the things I have been working on...

And the vases close up(I love these guys):

Master Bedroom Before:

And after:

Outside (not sure if I posted these yet):

Still a lot left to do but it is slowly getting there.

Monday, July 6

You Sir, Are Out of Line

"Jason Whitlock brings his edgy and thought-provoking style to"

Actually what he brings is ignorance and poor writing. Just days after Serena Williams won her third Wimbledon championship and 11th major title overall, Jason Whitlock decided to write this article on how much better she could be if she had a "reduction in glut, a little less butt". The article is full of cheap shots directed towards her weight and her ass but doesn't manage to offer any evidentuary support for her being out of shape other than thats what it looks like to him.

He also believes that all the complaining about Wimbeldon putting the more attracive women on center court instead of the best players is whininng "disingenuous, politically correct bull crap". It is Serena's fault howeverthat despite she is the second ranked player in the world she doesn't always play on center court, she just doesn't try to be attractive. "Serena only has herself to blame. God gave Serena everything, including drop-dead looks. She's chosen to smother some of it in an unsightly layer of thick, muscled blubber, a byproduct of her unwillingness to commit to a training regimen and diet that would have her at the top of her game year-round."

He goes on to say that "She could break the glass ceiling for female athletes and become the transcendent superstar who connects globally." Right, so in order to break the glass ceiling she needs to be thinner and more attractive. She shouldnt be herself, she should be what fat, middle aged sports writers tell her she should be so they can lust after her "onion butt". (For the definition of onion butt, see the article)

This article infuriated me because it is honest. This is what a lot of people, particularly men, actually believe. Women are born to be judged by their looks and success only comes from being attractive. I do not know what Serena's training regime is, but looking at this:

and this:

she does not appear to be out of shape, but her body type is just bigger and stronger than most women, which I would think might be advantageous when you are trying to hit a ball hard. Her strength is one of the characteristics that make her successful and not a woman with an "unsightly layer of thick, muscled blubber". The woman has won 11 titles and is one of the most recognized female athletes in the world. And then he compares her to Paris Hilton??

It is disheartening to read this dribble and even more so when you read some of the brainless comments. You don't see male athletes, partiularly ones that are ranked #2 in the world, being crudely criticisized for eating or for having a large muscular body ays after winning a grand slam title. Jack assess like this seem to see people in a very narrow category of what is acceptable and desireable and despite the fact that Serena has been very successful, that success will always be overrided by her physical appearance and the fact that she doesn't fit into the right mold.

And people wonder why women have so many body issues.

Friday, July 3

Work Rant

It has been awhile so here is a minor thing that annoyed me today.

I am at work posting addenda and I also needed to organize the spec books into binders. I went to go get the binders and we re-use them when we are done with projects and such so I grabbed a used binder to use and found this:

So what we have here is a binder that has the clear plastic cover around it so you can slide things in. See the point of this design is so you can change out the info on the cover and spine of the binder easily and repeatidly. But when you put stickers on the outside and then tape them on it sort of DEFEATS THE PURPOSE. The stickers are completely stuck on and I can't remove them without making a mess and leaving a lot of sticker residue behind. That and she didn't even bother to take off the sticker that came with it giving the dimensions, she taped over that too.

Come on now, we can be smarter than that can't we? Aughh.

Thursday, July 2

My Other Celebrity Fitness Crush...

My first celebrity fitness crush is Jessica Biel (for obvious reasons):

But coming in at a close second is Hilary Swank:

I loved her in Million Dollar Baby, but I can't watch the end of that movie.

Although women with muscle aren't exactly the new "it" girls in the media, it is refreshing to see. If I either of those girls at the gym, I would steal their workouts. I am also incredibly jealous that despite their muscle and low body fat, they both still have breasts. Lucky them, they look great.

4th of July

Ok time to plan. I may not be working tomorrow which would mean I won't be able to get online so let's get some basic planning down for Saturday today.

First, feel free to come on over anytime after 3:00. If you need directions let me know. Bring your swimsuits and towels and Ed please bring your croquet set. Also bring your own booze.

Does anyone have any suggestions on food? I was thinking hamburgers/hot dogs or tri tip. I will bring brownies (non spicy version) or some kind of dessert thing, watermellon and salad. I will also bring my Wii but hopefully we will be outside most of the time though, it should be a nice day.

Ok that's all I have so far. Leave your input and what you are going to bring in the comments pretty please.