Thursday, October 29

Snacks, They Can be Good For You!

I was making some blueberry green tea this morning (which is really good if you like tea btw) at work and looked around and saw that in our little office of 5 people there were doughnuts, danish, brownies and oatmeal cookies (not to mention the halloween candy and M&M's). That is just ridiculous considering the only healthy food in the office belongs to me which means that anything anyone else eats in the office today is loaded with sugar, fat and calories. Now don't get me wrong, baked items are a good sometimes food but this is generally the case here all.the.time. The sometimes foods in this office are healthy. This is not just bad for the waistline though. Eating sugary foods do not help keep your energy up throughout the day and they do not help you focus.

It is my understanding that this is pretty common in offices and even more so for the big offices that celebrate birthdays and just have more people to bring in the leftover sweets from the night before that they bring in so they don't eat it all themselves. I have said this over and over but I advocate snacks throughout the day and don't think you should go more than 4 hours without eating something. Of course I advocate healthy snacking though and not just throwing some chips or cookies in your mouth. If you don't know what to bring try some of these:

- low fat string cheese and a handful of almonds
- low fat string cheese and a small apple
- a small apple and a handful of almonds
- low sugar hot chocolate (if you have a sweet tooth)
- hummus and veggies
- edamame
- cottage cheese and fruit
- pears with low fat yogurt and low fat granola
- celery with peanut butter (low sugar or natural) and raisins
- rice cakes with peanut butter (low sugar or natural) and slices banana
- rice with cottage cheese and low sugar jam
- hard bolied egg
- raw nuts and dried fruit
- whole wheat crackers with canned chicken or tuna (add a little bit of low fat mayo if you wish)

Eating a snack between breakfast and lunch and again between lunch and dinner can prevent you from over eating at meal times and keeps your energy going throughout the day. If you have access to a fridge at your work, even better. You can stock up on Monday and you won't have to worry about thinking about what to bring every morning when you are rushing to work.

Remember, if you are trying to lose weight don't forget to eat!

Some Patio Pics

Although my back patio is not completely done yet, there is a redwood gate and bench still left to install and planting to do, my backyard has seen quite a transformation. To remind you what it looked like before, take a look at these:

And now, it looks like this:

In this picture you can also see the grass has filled in pretty well:

So that's it. Like I said there are still finishing touches left to go and planting to do but you get the general idea. I am looking at drought resistatnt plants right now but I haven't decided on anything. I really love it though and it looks a lot cleaner.

Monday, October 26

Before and After: Kitchen and Bathroom Renovations

After a lot of hard work, here are the results:

Kitchen Before #1:

After #1:

Before #2:

After #2:

Before 3:

After 3:

I haven't decorated the dinning room yet, but it was painted khaki for a nice clean look that can be spiced up with lots of color.
So that's my minty green happy kitchen, now on to the guest bathroom.

Bathroom Before:

Bathroom After:

I am happy with the way the bathroom came together, I wasn't sure if it would or not.

Next up, my golden girls bathroom! I love the golden girls, hate that bathroom:)

Stay Tuned.

Thursday, October 22

Busy Week!

I have been stressed, busy and busy for the past few weeks but it is all shortly coming to an end. A few months ago I told my sister I wanted to host her baby shower in my new house. At the time I was thinking I had plenty of time to make some updates and get it looking nice by the October 24th deadline. I am a procrastinator though and no matter how good my intentions are I always find a way to put things off, which is what I so predictibly did in this case. What made it worse was that home improvements of any kind generally take a lot longer than you expect, which goes double for me since I have absolutely no experience in such things.

In the span of two weeks I sanded, primed and painted all of my kitchen cabinets which took WAY more time than I thought it would. Getting all of those nooks and crannies is quite the time consuming job. I also removed all the wall paper and painted the walls in the kitchen and dining room. Before this experience I thought painting was just throwing a coat or two on a wall, no biggie. When you involve wallpaper though you step it up a notch. There is removing the multiple layers, scraping off the remaining stubborn pieces of paper, wiping off the wallpaper remover, spackling over holes and indentions (of which there were A LOT), sanding that down, priming and finally painting. There are many steps, all of which take time, including dry time. I was really lucky too because I didn't run into any problems and it still took me what felt like forever.

Then there was the bathroom. I was really unsure how this would turn out because once I got into removing the wallpaper to the drywall, I found some odd things. The surface was completely uneven, there was no consistency whatsover in texture or color. I had to do a lot of spackling and one section of the drywall had to be completely removed and patched because of termite damage. Apparantly it is rare for termites to go through the drywall but my termites were quite the over achievers. For the paint I chose a shade called "Bamboo" to go on the walls which looked a lot like a shade of dog poop when they have the runs. After the second coat though it is more of an avacado and I like it. I also got some accessories so it no longer feels like you are on a dilapidated cruise ship when you go into the bathroom but a nice calm spa-like atmosphere.

On the exterior I got my pavers put in this week and they look beautiful! It makes such a big deifference back there and I love the result. It is isn't completely done though, a redwood bench and gate need to be installed and planting needs to be done but that won't happen before the shower.

Although all of the work is done as of last night at 11 PM, the house still looks like a construction site and is a complete mess so I haven't taken pictures yet. This weekend I will though and get them posted next week. I am incredibly pleased with the results though and for the first time since I moved in, the house feels like it is mine. It is a happy, colorful home that I have fallen in love with again. I still have plans for my bathroom and the two spare bedrooms but for now I am taking a rest from home rennovations. This will come as a great relief to Mike who has generously been with me, paint brush in hand, every step of the way. He very unselfishly helped with everything and never complained. Let's be honest, if I were him I would have at least whined about it a few times;)

My sister flys in tonight and I cant wait to see her and her belly. It will really hit home that she is going to be giving birth in a few months when I see that:)

**Note: I had no time to proof read so if there are a lot of typos, oops!

Tuesday, October 20

Mennonite in a LBD

I have not read this book so I don't know if it is any good but I came across is on Jezebel and I thought I would give a little nod to a Fresno author. Rhoda Janzen (any relation to Dennis Janzen the volleyball coach at FPU I wonder?) was born and raised in Fresno as a Mennonite and due to life circumstances had to move back in with her parents when she was 43 and subsequently wrote the book Mennonite in a Little Black Dress.

In an interview Janzen states:
"I had remembered the Mennonites of my youth as congenial folks, so it wasn't a surprise that I loved them as an adult. What was a surprise was that I loved what they stood for - I loved the faith itself, and the way they consistently demonstrated what they believed. For instance, when my mom learned that an elderly woman from her church was recuperating from a surgery, it wasn't a question of if she would visit. It was a question of whether to bring homemade zwiebach or a tray of platz. It was the genuine human warmth of this community that set me thinking about faith in new ways."

It looks like it would be an interesting read and I know some of you who read my blog are quite familiar with the religion so I thought you might mind it interesting as well.

Monday, October 19

Hello, my name is Kasey and I am a Refusnik

Well I guess I am not the only one not on a social networking site but does a blog count? What's funny is that the people who bug me about getting on Facebook are the same ones that never read my blog and the ones who read my blog never bug me about getting on Facebook. I don't even have a functioning computer at home or internet access and I like it that way. I don't miss it at all.
Check back later. Literally spent the entire weekend peeling wallpaper, painting and getting the house ready for my sisters visit and baby shower and it is taking 5 times as long as I anticipated. Pretty exhausted right now but the kitchen and dining room look great. When I have things back in order I will take pictures.

Tuesday, October 13

Scaredy Cat

For your veiwing pleasure, a cute little video of a scaredy kitty named Conan. To find out what Conan is afraid of, watch the video:

Monday, October 12

What I Learned From Watching House of 1000 Corpses

With Halloween quickly approaching I was in the mood to watch a scary movie this weekend so upon Mike's suggestion Netflixed Night of 1000 Corpses, directed by Rob Zombie.
This is definitely more of gore movie with an extra dose of creepy than really scary but overall I enjoyed it and along the way learned the following:

1. Never ever trust a clown, particularly one that looks like this:

It seems self explanatory but you would be suprised how trusting people can be.

2. Never stop at a truck stop in the middle of the night that has a mechanical clown out front waving and laughing.

3. Safety in numbers is a myth when people with bats, knifes, guns and other objects that can cause massive pain and damage are being used by insane people who like to kill.

4. Never pick up a hitchhiker, no matter how sexy they might be...
...cause she'll scalp you alive. For real.

5. If you find yourself in the middle of the night with a flat tire and go to said hitchhikers house to get a tow truck, as soon as you see the dolls with the heads cut off and nailed to the wall just fucking run, nothing good will come of this.

6. If for some reason you are still dumb enough to go in and wait for the tow truck and the even crazier mother asks you to stay for dinner, when the 7 foot tall man walks in with a mask on once again fucking run, nothing good will come of this.

7. If you decide to stay, do not call the hot crazy chick a bitch and a whore and push her to the ground no matter how up in your boyfriends business she is. Seriously it is Dwight from the Office, how jealous can you be? And never piss off the crazy bitch.

8. If you have ignored all advice so far and find yourself trapped in a house of crazy murders and wake up to see your boyfriend is dead and has had his arms and legs chopped off and is being displayed like a fish for your enjoyment chances are you are not going to fare so well either and you should just kill yourself when you get a chance otherwise you run the risk of ending up like this:

9. Finally it bears repeating, never ever trust a clown.

C'mon seriously, what were you thinking??

Kitchen Renovations

This weekend with the help of Mike (uh a lot of help from him actually) I started renovating the kitchen! Naturally, as these things tend to go, it took more than twice as long as we thought it would and we aren't nearly finished but we made a lot of progress.

Cabinets are deceptive in their surface area. Sure they don't look very large but there is a lot of tops and bottoms and shelves, yada yada, and it takes awhile. We sanded and primed them all and got one painted in a lovely shade of minty green that I had decided on and the kitchen already looks brighter. It is just a really happy color that makes the kitchen look a lot more fresh and clean so I am really happy with the results so far. I can't wait to see how it turns out in its entirety and once that is done I will post some pics. The one problem is that there were two layers of contact paper in the cabinets. The first layer came off pretty easily but the next layer was stuck so we are just painting over them and laying down the contact paper you don't glue down. Hopefully in the next few years a full kitchen rennovation will be done anyway.

Oh and I also finished getting the guest room set up. The curtains haven't come down yet though because those curtains are a friggin nightmere and I would have to patch the huge holes removing them will make and then paint the room, which I don't have time for right now. I managed to match everything to the pink and blue curtains though which is a damn miracle in itself and for now it will just have to do.

Also on the books, my dad is sending some guys over on Thursday and Friday to get the patio done and get a dry wall patch done in the bathroom. Then this weekend I should get the bathroom painted as well and by the baby shower next week it will feel like a whole new house!

Phew, fun and exciting but exhausting!

Friday, October 9

Rugby has been accepted by the International Olympic Committee as one of the two new sports for inclusion into the Olympic Games from 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. I admit that I have only seen one live rugby game and only a handful of games on tv (including a travel channel show featuring the sport) but this is a sport I can totally get behind and I am excited to watch more of.

If these clips of rugby tackles is any indication, this is a rough sport that makes the NFL look pretty tame in comparision (note the lack of pads):

I have about 3 years to learn the rules of the game:)

Oh Lord

Great Barack Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize and now I have to hear how screwed up the world is all freakin day. And how dare he be late to give a speech about it! Thank god he said he doesnt think he deserves it, she isn't quite as pissed off anymore, at least at him. (Please don't out on Rush Limbaugh!Please don't out on Rush Limbaugh!)

Yesterday, the big misjustice was the Hungry Man Platters we ordered from a BBQ place down the street. The description said your choice of 3 meats, 2 sides and 1 roll. To me the 1 roll indicates that it is meant for one person, a hungry person yes, but one person. Well we ordered 2 for 7 people and when I picked it up it was in your standard carry out styrafoam containers that has the divided tray and I immediately thought there was probably not enough food. I brought it back and both her and my dad thought that the description was very misleading and there should be more food for the price we paid for it (12 bucks a pop).

Well it turns out there was enough food for everyone and we even had some left over. Then I hear my dad say that we should call and complain. Susan and I looked at each other a bit puzzled and asked why and my mom chimes in about how if it says "platter" it should come on a platter. I clarify that there was indeed enough food and that the food was good (I actually didnt eat any because there were only some scrapes of meat left and I dont eat the other stuff) which was confirmed by her. I then ask "so the problem you have is with the presentation, you want to complain about the containers the food came in?".

Yeah, this is what I deal with on a regular basis. If it isn't one thing, it is another. But if I get frustrtaed with a copier that continually jams, blame it on MY bad attitude. FOR THE LOVE!

Tuesday, October 6

LA Marathon 2010

I have convinced Mike to run a marathon with me so on March 21st we will be running the LA Marathon! This is my favorite race I have ever run and I look forward to running it again, particularly because they have changed the course and it looks pretty fantastic. The start is at Dodger standium and ending at the Santa Monica Pier, and a ton of landmarks on the way. Check out the video below, I am super excited!

This will be the first time I have ever had a training partner which I think will be a good thing for me. It will be Mike's first marathon and since running a marathon can truly be transformative I look forward to seeing him experiencing that. I have no doubt he is going to do great and really appreciate the experience for what it is, a challenge that shows you can do anything if you just put in the time and effort.

Training starts in December!

Lat Pulldown

One of the best exercises for your back is the lat pulldown. It is also fairly popular for both men and women. In general, people aren't too afraid to perform this exercise (like they are with something like the T-Bar row), however that means a lot of people do this without the proper form. On a daily basis at the gym I see someone perform this exercise incorrectly, which means they run the risk of injuring themselves, specifically their lower backs.

The first way this is done incorrectly is by putting on too much weight and jerking your entire body to pull the weight down. If you need to use your entire body to get the weight down you have too much weight on the machine. This is not a full body exercise but targets the back so thats where you need to focus. A smooth, controlled motion is what will be most effective and will be less likely to cause injury.

The second way this is performed incorrectly is when the bar is brought down to the waist, instead of stopping at the chest. This again puts the lower back at risk of injury and prevents the lats from developing properly.

This is where the lats are and the area of devlopment the lat pulldown is meant to hit:

By pulling the bar down slow and controlled and really squeezing your back muscles you will get the best results. A strong back is also not just for asthetics, the lats are the largest muscles of the back and are used in many lifting exercises as well as daily activities like lifting things off of high shelves etc. The function of the Latissimus Dorsi is to pull the arm down towards the pelvis. When the arm is fixed (e.g. during a chin-up), the lats serve to bring the body up towards the arm. It is the same basic movement but with the directions reversed. The Lats also function to stabilize the torso during many movements, including the flat bench press. So, they are an important muscle group!

If you are a visual learner like me though, here us what it should look like:

This is a great exercise, just make sure you are doing it correctly and in a slow, controlled motion.

Happy fitness!

Friday, October 2

Product Review: Pecan Pie Larabar

I was reading an Eat This, Not That article that listed the Pecan Pie Larabar as the best snack bar so I decided to give it a try. If you ever had a Larabar they are very natural, unprocessed and raw which can take some getting used to. The bar seems a little small too but it is quite dense. The only ingredients are dates, pecans and almonds so it is gluten free, dairy free, soy free, has no added sugar, sodium free, vegan and kosher, pretty much your perfect health food. Even for me this is a little healthy though so I was a little apprehensive about how it might taste.

Since the line at Starbucks went out the door I couldnt stop this morning for coffee and my turkey bacon sandwich I decided to try this instead and it was pretty darn good. It tasted like a glorified Fig Newton and since it contained pieces of nuts it felt like I was eating something a little more substantial. Usually when I have bars for breakfast I end up feeling like I haven't eaten enough and need more but I felt satisfied after eating this. I am a huge nut and dried fruit girl too and usually eat both every day so this really appealed to my palate.

It is now about 2 hours later though and I am getting hungry so a better snack than a meal, great before a workout. I will definitely eat this again. Here is the nutritional breakdown:

Calories: 200 (snacks should usually be no more than 200 calories for most people and these calories are coming from completely natural food so I am good with this)
Protein: 3 grams (kinda low so this might make a better pre workout snack than post)
Carbs: 22 grams (see comment above, definitely pre workout, especially if you are doing a heavy cardio workout)

Thursday, October 1

The Perfect Stocking Stuffer?

I don't know if this an actual problem for men, perhaps if you live in someplace cold like Minnesota you might find this helpful if not absolutely neccessary, but in any case I give you the willy warmer:

No word on whether or not this helps in the case of blue balls.

And if you perfer something more colorful and less realstic, try these.