Category Archives: Lifestyle

I’ve Missed You Too

I’ve had a pretty prolonged and unexpected absence from the blog. Sometimes, that just happens with me. But other times, such as this, there is an explanation. And this time, I think it’s kind of fun and exciting!

After much consideration over the past year, many late night deliberations with Mike, and weepy phone calls with my mother and best friend, I have decided to take my career in a new direction. I went into the field of health and health care partly because it interested me but most because I really wanted to help people. I have learned a ton in the last three years working in the policy arena, but I was ready to explore a career that brought me in closer contact with actual people. After researching, soul-searching, and finally taking a big leap of faith, I put in applications to get my Masters in Social Work… and wouldn’t you know it, I got in.

So this was my big, long-winded lead into a big announcement… I am going back to school! Starting full-time in August, and for the next two years, I will be pursuing my MSW at Catholic University here in DC. I’m so excited about this I can’t even tell you. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner! The program at Catholic is the perfect fit for my interests while still allowing me to continue my life here in DC with Mike and the kitties.

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I would be remiss not to mention how unbelievably supportive Mike has been through this whole process. I am one lucky gal to have a partner / future husband who supports my dreams and ambitions.

So basically, the last couple weeks have been CRAZY with making decisions, gathering paperwork, finishing out other commitments. And then… I took a break. We went to my parents’ house in North Carolina for Memorial Day Weekend (where I understand we were possibly the only people on the Eastern Sea Board with decent MDW weather) and now I blogging to you from Sunny California! (If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram – which you totally should – you already know this is where I am because I can’t stop taking pictures).

I had some days off and Mike had to take a business trip to the LA area. I bought a plane ticket and tagged along. I have never been to California before so I thought I couldn’t pass up this chance! It’s been amazeballs so far.

Anyways, I’m gonna log off now and get ready to head down to Newport Beach for dinner with Mike and a college friend of mine who lives in the area. Just wanted to pop in, say hello, tell you my news, and let you know that I missed you!! I promise to resume regular blogging again starting… RIGHT NOW 🙂

Questions for you guys:

  • What did you do for MDW? Anything else fun you did that I missed??
  • Any social workers or MSW students out there?? Show yourselves!
  • Favorite place in California? 
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WIAW – a little lighter

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Sometimes after a really indulgent weekend, I can’t wait to have a day packed full of veggies, water, and slightly on the lighter side. Life is about balance, and this mother’s day weekend was wonderfully indulgent 🙂 Monday morning started bright at early with a 5 mile run in the brisk morning air. I’m really over 40 degree mornings here.. what the hell? Well actually, Monday started by chasing Little Mac around the apartment (have I mentioned how much Little Mac HATES to be picked up and he gets very suspicious if you try to touch him too much), trapping / swaddling him in a bath towel, and using a pair of scissors to cut a giant clump of cat poop out of his fluffy tail. All while Little Mac is howling and crying like we’re murdering him, and Fig is hiding under the bed crying because he loves Little Mac so much. These are the joys are pet ownership my friends. But I finally got out the door for my run! Upon arriving home, I made my standard glass of iced coffee with 1% chocolate milk. Delicious.

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I took my coffee into the bedroom, turned on the news, and stretched out. Fig is always really snuggly but for some reason when I get back from working out in the morning he is especially so. This is how we stretch…

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Breakfast was my favorite smoothie… frozen bananas (2), chocolate protein powder, scoop of peanut butter, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and a TON of fresh spinach.

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I enjoyed it at my desk as usual with my vitamins and some water.

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Lunch today was a lightened up pasta salad I made on Sunday night. Included were multicolor pasta, a ton of zucchini, red bell pepper, tofu cubes, seasoning, and some Trader Joe’s Goddess salad dressing. It was DELICIOUS.

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I went with a couple smaller snacks throughout the afternoon including a really ripe banana (I love them when they’re this ripeness… the best) and a cup of decaf coffee. I’m trying to be mindful of my caffeine intake. I noticed that other day that I had a really ridiculous amount so I’m trying to decide when I feel like I actually want caffeine, or when I just want a warm cup of coffee.

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Also a mango flavored Trader Joe’s greek yogurt before I left work. I’m a fan of the very end of the day snack… that way I’m not cranky on the metro or starving when I walk in the door.

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I took the metro out to my brother’s apartment and met up with my mom for my FINAL wedding dress appointment. This has been kind of a crazy nightmare getting this one additional style into the store for me to try on. But finally… after three months of shopping and trying on legitimately over 30 wedding dresses… WE GOT THE DRESS!! Woo woo! Super exciting. To celebrate we went to the Cheesecake Factory for a glass of wine and some dinner. Unfortunately, it was like pitch black in the restaurant and I wasn’t about to be that girl taking flash photos of her dinner in a dark restaurant. I had a glass of Reisling and the “SkinnyLicious” Mexican Tortilla Salad. I can’t even bring myself to actually say the word “Skinnylicious” out loud because it is so embarrassing. I appreciate the lightened up menu but that name is ridiculous. I found this picture online so I’m borrowing it. I don’t know if I honestly believe the nutrition stats on this salad because it was way too delicious (and had way too many delicious things in it) to be 540 calories. But whatever, it’s what I wanted to eat so I ate it… no big deal.

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That was all from me on Monday!

Questions for you guys:

  • Do you like restaurants that have a “healthy section” of the menu?
  • How many wedding dresses did you try on total?
  • Any hilarious pet stories to share?

Wedding Updates – April

Woohooo only 11 months to go until I get to marry this sexy piece of man candy. Bahaha this is easily my favorite pictures from our engagement shoot. In fact, all my favorites are the ones of us being silly and laughing… because that’s just really us. We only have one where we’re making a kind of serious face and it kind of makes me giggle.

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Ok let’s do some updates from the month of April. I feel really good about where we are in the wedding planning process. We’ve got like all the big stuff taken care of and it has been ZERO stress. Let’s recap what we know so far:

We got all the photos from our engagement shoot! We are SO pleased with them. Anyone in the New Jersey / Pennsylvania / New York / Delaware area looking for an excellent photographer consider using Kevin Isabelle Photography

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We booked our ceremony location! Mike and I are thrilled that we will be married at Dumbarton United Methodist Church in Georgetown. We are both very committed to the issue of Marriage Equality and I am thrilled that we were able to locate a beautiful historic church that shares our values on this issue. We will also be able to have our family friend co-officiate the wedding, which is perfect. We can also use their musicians during the ceremony… another item ticked off the list!

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We got our wedding photographer! Rachel Pearlman photography will be doing our wedding and I could not be happier. Rachel has done my cousin’s wedding and numerous family parties / baby shoots. Her work is impeccable (in fact, she won Best of the Knot for Philadelphia in 2012 and Bride’s Choice on Wedding Wire).

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We picked our wedding colors! I had a hard time here because I’m not particularly artistic or creative. March is also an interesting time. It’s not winter but it’s also not time yet for traditional spring colors. Ultimately, we’ve settled on black, gold, and dark green. I’m really happy with the choice and I think my bridesmaids are really excited to wear black (also… so easy to pick dresses now!)

One minor snag that has come up… I’m having a small trouble with the salon where I am shopping for my wedding dress. I am pretty sure it is resolved now after a long, honest conversation with the store manager the other day. I have asked them to order 3 additional styles I would like to try on that were not in the store. I was not anticipating that to be an issue, but it has been harder than I expected! Luckily, I have confirmed that those three dresses are currently IN STORE, in my size, and waiting for me to try on next Wednesday night when my mom is in town. Phew OK!

Next Steps?

  • Now that I have our engagement photos I am ALMOST done with our wedding website!! Woop woop!
  • We also need to design our Save the Dates. I found some cute free templates online. I’m having fun playing around with them.
  • Still finalizing a contract with our DJ but we’re almost there!
  • Meet with our wedding coordinator at the Key Bridge Marriott. We’re going to meet her next week and schedule out our tastings / planning meetings. I personally CANNOT WAIT for the tastings… BEST part of wedding planning.
  • Get this dress business figured out. The dress is the only part that I’ve been indecisive about. I hate indecision and I normally do not struggle with that. For some reason, it’s been really easy to be indecisive about the dress. I just want to try on these three additional styles and make a choice.

As always… everyone PLEASE feel free to chime in with info / advice. I welcome your sage wisdom 🙂

The Liebster Award

I’m super stoked that Sara from Magia e Pasta nominated me for a Liebster Award. If you haven’t checked out her blog… get over there and take a look! She rocks 🙂 Liebster Awards are a way to show love to other people’s blogs. Woohoo!

Here is how it works:

  1. I list 11 Random Facts about myself.
  2. I answer 11 questions that Sara wrote for me.
  3. I nominate 11 bloggers.
  4. I create 11 questions for my nominees.
  5. I display the Liebster award.

11 Random Facts about Me:

  1. I played competitive softball from the time I was 8 until I was 18, year round, on multiple teams including travel, Varsity, and district teams. It was kiiiiinnnnddddd of my life. I didn’t pick up a softball for 5 years after that. I was totally burnt out. I finally started playing again on a slow pitch team (I wrote a post about it here) and I love them so much. Makes me remember why I loved that game so much. 
  2. My brother and I may have accidentally killed our hamster when we were little. The exterminator came to spray the house and we took Frankie (our teddy bear hamster) out to play when he left. Frankie ran behind a piece of furniture where the exterminator had sprayed and well, he died like a day later. It’s a very traumatic childhood scar. I’m pretty sure my mom stopped having our house exterminated after that. I’m really careful with animals and babies now.
  3. I still have my baby blanket… DO NOT JUDGE ME. I’m hoping that I can hold on to it for my own kids some day.
  4. Despite being really active and loving to be outdoors, I’m a closet TV junkie. I keep up with a shocking number of shows (including some super embarrassing ones like The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Also pretty sure my best friend and I are the last people in the world still watching Grey’s Anatomy). No reality though… not my thing!
  5. One of my favorite rainy day activities to going to see independent movies at E Street Cinema in DC. They have the best concession stand in the history of movie theaters (their popcorn is… life changing). I recently went to see Paradise: Hope (a German film, part of the DC Film Festival) and 56 Up.
  6. I hate cantaloupe. I like every fruit except cantaloupe. This is a huge issue for me with fruit salad… it’s ALWAYS in there. Bleh I just don’t like the flavor and usually eat around it. I always remember places that serve fruit salad with no cantaloupe though… it’s like they get me.
  7. I own a road bike but haven’t ridden it in 3 years. I get really stressed out riding a bike in the city so I just walk everywhere. I consider anything within 2 miles to be easy walking distance.
  8. I volunteer at an animal shelter most weekends. I firmly believe in adopting rescue pets so now I give my time at the Washington Animal Rescue League, the same shelter where I adopted Fig.
  9. I am currently reading three books: Intuitive Eating, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and If I Stay. Sometimes I get very dedicated to one book and others I prefer to jump around. I’m currently feeling the latter.
  10. I always eat eggs at brunch. Often, sweet items like pancakes and waffles tempt me but I can never commit. Brunch doesn’t feel right without eggs. Go to item is an omelette (with cheese) with toast and potatoes.
  11. I have an unnatural obsession with shoes. I easily own 100 pairs of shoes and I wear heels on pretty much every occasion. I will not apologize, they are my favorite thing in the world! If I’m feeling down, nothing picks me up like exercising, shopping for shoes, or shopping for books 🙂

Questions from Sara:

  1. If you could describe yourself in one word, what would it be and why? – I think it would be… friendly. Which might sound lame, but I consider a very useful quality.
  2. You can choose any time period (other than today) to live in. Which would it be? – I think the 1920s because it looks downright fabulous.
  3. Cool-Ranch or Nacho Cheese? – Cool Ranch all the way
  4. Someone hands you an airplane ticket with a blank destination. Where do you fly? – South America. It’s the next continent I want to explore. I’m hoping to get there on our honeymoon 🙂
  5. You have an all-expenses-paid trip to the grocery store: which grocery store do you go to and what would be the highlights of your basket? – I’d go to Whole Foods if someone else was paying (I definitely do not shop there because I cannot afford it) and I would buy fresh seafood, specialty cooking oils, and TONS of fresh organic produce (especially fruit, which I could eat by the bucketful)
  6. If you could have dinner with any three people (living or dead), who would they be and what would you eat? – I’d want to eat healthy food with Michelle Obama, high tea with Princess Diana, and hot dogs & beer with Jenny Finch.
  7. Feasibility and salary aside, what is your dream job? – Ideally, I’d teach fitness classes and be a personal trainer. I love fitness and imagine it would be really fun to share it with others for a living.
  8. You can have one meal, one dessert, and one beverage for the rest of your life, what would they be? – Pasta with Meatballs and Red Sauce, Ice Cream Sundae, and Reisling
  9. What is one book you can read over and over again? – The Giver by Lois Lowry. I have loved dystopian novels from a very young age.
  10. If you could speak any language, what would you speak? – Italian, just because I think it’s beautiful.
  11. How do you describe your blog to friends/family/anyone who asks? – I usually say its mostly about running, fitness, and food with some occasional other stuff sprinkled in 🙂

My 11 Nominees:

  1.  Minutes Per Mile
  2. A Better Year to a Better Life
  3. Bring It Om
  4. Passion and Laughter
  5. Sneaker Therapy
  6. Lavender Parking
  7. Wicked Healthy Washingtonian
  8. Health, Happiness, Humour
  9. Transparent with Myself
  10. Peanut Butter and Adrenaline
  11. District Sweats

My Questions for Them:

  1. Favorite Pizza Topping(s)?
  2. What was the last book you read?
  3. What is your favorite race distance? You can say 0 if you’re not a runner!
  4. What’s your favorite brand of sneaker?
  5. Biggest guilty pleasure?
  6. Why did you start a blog?
  7. Do you have a go to workout buddy? Who?
  8. When you go to the movies, what do you get for a snack?
  9. Cats or dogs? Or hamsters?
  10. Favorite color of nail polish for fingers? Toes?
  11. What’s one thing you’re really excited to do this summer?

WIAW – An all around intuitive day

Thank you all so much for your kind words yesterday! You really are the best!

For right now, I’m kind of enjoying the idea of What I Ate Wednesday, so I decided to do it again and actually link up with Peas and Crayons.

This week I decided to cover my Monday eats! I really did not have my normal appetite on Monday. I don’t know if it was because I knew my parents were about to put Bernie down, gloomy crappy weather, or the fact that I didn’t work out first thing in the morning but I just was NOT hungry. Since I’ve been working on intuitive eating, I decided to just go with it! I didn’t end up eating breakfast until about 10:15 am but when I was finally hungry I ate a pomegranate greek yogurt with sliced almonds, chopped pecans, and flax seeds. Accompanied of course by a cup of coffee and my vitamins. I take a daily women’s multi-vitamin, Calcium, fish oil, and Biotin (for skin, nails, and hair – it’s awesome I love it!)

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I intended to work out on my lunch hour but I realized I forgot a towel to shower after… womp womp. Oh well, I just worked through the day and broke for lunch around 2 pm. I made a healthy version of shepherds pie over the weekend and brought leftovers to work. This recipe features tons of veggies (one bag of frozen mixed veggies, one bag of shaved brussels sprouts, and one half a yellow onion), ground turkey, and mashed garlic sweet potatoes on top. It doesn’t hold it’s shape well when traveling so it kind of turned into a mashed up pile but it was delicious.

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I’m normally a very committed afternoon snacker but didn’t get hungry until 5 pm for my normal snack. I decided to just listen to my body and eat if and when I got hungry. I finally broke into my afternoon snack which was (predictably) an apple, scoop of peanut butter, and a mini vanilla yogurt. Normally if I have yogurt for breakfast I bring something else for a snack, simply for variety. We were really low on groceries though, so I didn’t have a lot of options… a second yogurt it was! It was delicious though 🙂

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I stayed at work until 6 pm and then talked to my mom on the phone (about poor Bernie) until 7 pm. By the time I got home, I was really not in the mood to go work out. But Mike was heading up to the apartment building gym for a quick run and I decided I would feel better if I just moved my body in SOME way. I decided to practice “intuitive exercise” and see what appealed to me when I got up there. I normally follow a pretty strict training / workout schedule, so it was nice to give myself a little break to do whatever I felt like. I hopped on an elliptical, turned on Jeopardy (my favorite show to watch while exercising), and did a 35 minute hill climbing workout. I worked up a nice little sweat, did a good long stretch, and called it a night. Dancing with the Stars came on while I was cooling down so I watched the first dance. I can’t get into that show though… it’s too much of a time commitment!

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After our workout I was FINALLY hungry but we really needed to go to the grocery store for the week. I knew I couldn’t shop super hungry so I threw together a really quick whole wheat wrap with horseradish hummus, a slice of cheese, and a ton of spinach. It totally hit the spot!

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After a quick trip to the grocery store, I unloaded our items and poured myself a little glass of sweet white wine. Got this bottle at CVS for $3.95. I am turning into QUITE the connoisseur of cheap wine…

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I was in the mood 🙂 I was kind of hungry again but didn’t want to start making a whole big dinner. Instead, I heated up some leftover brown basmati rice and black beans and topped them with one egg over easy. It was the perfect combination of protein and carbs to top off my hunger.

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And right before I brushed my teeth and got in bed to read I had two squares of a Ritter Sport we bought at Trader Joe’s. DELICIOUS. Most days should end on a slightly sweet note 🙂

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Broken Hearted

Today’s going to be a short one and it’s all dedicated to the memory of a wonderful pet, Bernie. We got Bernie in November 1997, when I was 9 years old. He was just a six month old mutt puppy born in a shelter and painfully shy. His mellow demeanor is totally what drew us to him and I was SO excited to finally have a dog. On April 29, 2013, just weeks shy of his 16th birthday and after 15 1/2 years with our family, my parents made the humane decision to put Bernie to sleep. He had a very long, active, and healthy life. He started getting weak and sick on Saturday. By Monday, it was time. This is the way I always hoped that Bernie would go… quickly and peacefully. But it doesn’t hurt any less.

So Rest in Peace Bernie… you were loved unconditionally and I sincerely hope that the dog park in the sky kicks ass.

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WIAW – Just a normal day

I’m intrigued by the concept of “What I Ate Wednesday” so I decided to give it a shot. Now I’m wondering though… should I have taken pictures of everything I ate on Tuesday to post on Wednesday? I took pictures of what I ate on Wednesday to post of Thursday. There are so many things in this life that confuse me. But I digress. This has been a crazy week at work so I’ve been chained to my desk all day long. Hence… almost all of these photos were taken at my desk.

I got up 5:30 to hit the 6 am boot camp class at the gym. 45 minutes of sweaty strength and cardio intervals, I finished up with 15 minutes of speed work on the treadmill and called it a day. I drank coffee at home (no picture… it’s not exciting trust me) and brought a smoothie to work for breakfast. I drank it all before I remembered to take a picture so it looks kind of gross but it was delicious. Here what was in the mix: frozen banana, frozen mango, frozen pineapple, chocolate protein powder, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and fresh spinach.

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I worked through the morning and wasn’t super hungry for a snack so I decided to just wait for lunch. I made salsa chicken in the crockpot for Tuesday night so I brought leftovers (with a little cheese duhh) with green pepper and onions and a whole wheat tortilla. I ended up tearing up the tortilla and making a couple bite sized burritos. It was messy but delicious.

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Mid-afternoon I snacked on an apple with a spoonful of sunflower butter. I am obsessed with sunflower butter but Mike hates its. I secretly love that though because he plows through peanut butter. It’s nice to have it all to myself 🙂

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Before the end of the workday, I snacked again on a mini vanilla yogurt to tide me over. I went with a group of coworkers to play volleyball, so I knew dinner would be late. I love these little yogurts for snacks!

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After a couple hours of volleyball and getting home, I was more than ready for dinner. Mike was out running and I did not want to spend a lot of time cooking so I threw together two big veggie-ful salads (I simultaneously made 2 additional salads for lunch today… multitasking FOR THE WIN!) I have been craving veggies and healthy foods hardcore this week. Happy to oblige my body there 🙂 In the mix is some arugula, tuscan kale, grape tomato, celery, cucumber, red bell pepper, and (of course) shredded cheese.

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On the side was a Vegetable Masala Burger from Trader Joe’s topped with a slice of melted muenster cheese. God I do love cheese.

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After dinner, Mike and I settled in to watch Sunday’s episode of Mad Men (anyone else not loving Joan’s attitude this season? bleh) and I snacked on a bowl of Trader Joe’s kettle corn. I LOVE popcorn. My best friend and I have been known to go to the movies just to eat popcorn… and eat lots of it. I don’t always want kettle corn, but it was a great sweet / salty post-dinner treat. I may have (READ: definitely did) refilled the bowl.

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And finally, I ended the night (before brushing my teeth) with a couple Trader Joe’s dark chocolate Tahitian vanilla caramels. I can never resist these in the check out line because they are SO good.

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So that’s my day! I couldn’t imagine documenting everything I ate every single day (props to your bloggers who do that) but it was fun to do it for just one day. Maybe I’ll do it again on here 🙂 Feel free to let me know what you think about WIAW – love it or hate it?

Questions for you guys:

  • Thoughts on popcorn? Kettle corn?
  • Do you play on any recreational sports teams? This summer I’m playing sand volleyball AND softball… woot woot!
  • Thoughts on sunflower butter?

Water Fails

I think probably one of the most resoundingly solid pieces of advice about health and nutrition EVER is to DRINK WATER. Drink PLAIN water. Read more here, here, or here.

I’m a big water drinker and have consistently consumed at least 64 ounces a day (with some exceptions here and there because I am human) since high school. I really do believe in its relationship to my health and athletic performance. Plus I get horrible migraines and hydration is a key factor in prevention. I wrote this post a while back about how I hydrate in case you’re interested.

However, in the last couple weeks I’ve kind of been sucking on the drinking water front. What’s happened? I have no idea! All of a sudden I just realized that my water drinking had dropped out of my daily habit. I guess I thought since it was a habit, I didn’t have to pay attention to it. I guessed wrong. I have barely been drinking 30 ounces of water a day for weeks, which is very unusual for me! I’ve also been more fatigued, headachy, and generally cranky sooo yeah.

I suppose this just goes to show me that I just have to remain vigilant about drinking water. In an attempt at course correction, I’m back on the water drinking bandwagon. I’m about 20 ounces in for the day right now… still a ways to go! I thought today I’d put together a post about the strategies I use to make sure I drink enough water and stay hydrated every day. Here’s my list:

  • Start the day strong. I am a devoted coffee drinker, but I try to start each morning with a mug of warm water with lemon. I still get the warm beverage that coaxes me out of bed, but it a solid 8 ounces of water to start the day before I hit the gym. Plus the lemon mixed with warm water has a number of health benefits.
  • Make it a routine. When I arrive at the office in the morning, I have a mini routine. Put down my bags, start up my computer, grab my coffee mug and water jug, and head to the kitchen to stash my lunch in the refrigerator. Here I make a cup of coffee (because I LOVE COFFEE) and fill up my water jug (I use the word jug very intentionally because it is massive… see below). This starts my work day off with a fresh, COLD water supply. I don’t really enjoy room temperature water as much.

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  • Get supplies that work for you. I get made fun of A LOT at the office for the size of my water bottle. I bought it at Walmart probably 8 years ago, but I think it is amazing. It holds 64 ounces of water, which is the baseline amount I shoot for every day. This means that I can fill it up first thing in the morning and not have to fill it again for the rest of the day. I also make sure that I leave it empty every night when I pack up to leave work. This works FOR ME as a way to regulate / visualize my consumption. The water bottle is way too big to actually drink out of, so I use a cup for easy consumption. Do whatever works for you… get a water bottle with a straw if you’re more likely to sip while working!
  • Drink water with meals. I love a glass of wine or a beer as much as the next person. But interestingly enough, I don’t often like to drink alcohol with meals. I like to have a drink before a meal or after but during, I prefer to drink water (or occasionally diet soda as a treat because I’m sorry I WON’T GIVE IT UP!) I find this allows me to enjoy my food while eating, my alcohol when drinking, and sneak in some extra water. Triple win!
  • Do a midday check in. Sometimes my mornings get crazy at work and I forget to start hydrating. I like to schedule a “mental check in” with myself around midday to see if I’ve drank enough water. This is a tactic I actually learned from Intuitive Eating (you are encouraged to stop midway through a meal for a mental check in and I find it works very well for me).
  • Spice it up when you get bored. I am a big proponent of drinking plain water and I don’t like adding anything with artificial sweeteners (at that point… I’d rather have a Diet Dr. Pepper because it takes delicious). However, I love to add slices of citrus fruits (lemons, limes, oranges, etc.) or cucumbers to my water to give it a little flavor if I’m feeling uninspired. The lobby of my building always has a huge jug of cold cucumber water set out and I totally dig it.

Share with us:

  • What are your “hydration strategies”?
  • How much water do you drink every day? 
  • Can you tell when you’re not drinking enough?

Wedding Updates – February / March

I kind of can’t believe we’ve been engaged for over two months. But then at the same time, it feels so natural / right for us to be “engaged” that I kind of forget what it was like to NOT be. (Except I definitely need to stop wearing my ring to the gym. My trainer had me doing deadlifts the other morning and my ring was basically tearing up my hand…ew) Let’s recap what we’ve talked about so far:

I do have some updates for you guys!!

We set the date.

Mike and I will be saying “I Do” on March 22, 2014. Initially, we were completely set on March 8th. We even told all the venues we were considering this was our first choice. But then, a late season snow storm (ok it was more like a rainstorm but people totally freaked out) hit DC on March 6th and Mama POTR (my mother) didn’t sleep for 3 nights. She also started watching way too much weather channel and was spouting a lot of very bizarre statistics about the occurrence of late season snow storms. We all agreed that if we could get the same prices, it was safer to go for March 22nd (I won’t even begin to discuss the snow storm that occurred on March 24th in DC because we’re not changing the date again). Keep your fingers crossed for an early spring 🙂

We booked the venue.

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We will be hosting our wedding at the Key Bridge Marriott in Rosslyn, VA. I knew I wanted a hotel venue because it just seemed a LOT easier and a lot of stuff already comes with the package. Plus, since the majority of our guests will need to travel to the wedding, it is easier to have the reception at the same place where people are sleeping. The Zimmermans do not condone drinking and driving. But we strongly encourage you to drink! Initially, I really wanted to have the wedding at a venue in DC but we couldn’t find many options (that were in our price range) that could accommodate our numbers. While Mike and I are very committed to not having a crazy over-the-top wedding, we cannot commit to having a small wedding. We just have large families and large extended networks of friends who we want to be included in our day. I am committed to keeping the final number under 200 but it’s creeping up. Arlington venues had bigger rooms but still offered proximity to DC. Even better, the Key Bridge Marriott’s ballroom is on the top floor with gorgeous views of the Potomac River, the Kennedy Center, and my alma matter, Georgetown. SCORE.

We took our engagement photos.

A wonderful family friend is a very talented photographer and he came down to DC last Saturday to take our engagement photos. We were hoping for Cherry Blossoms but no cigar. However, we happened to pick the day of the Kite Festival which was actually really cute. Waiting for the pictures and I’m nervous / excited. I’m worried I made weird faces lol. We will likely use one of these photos for our save the date and the others on our wedding website (which is still VERY MUCH under construction). Here’s a couple that my mom snapped on her phone during the shoot. Can’t wait for the real images!

photo 1 (5) photo 4 (2)

We have confirmed our wedding party. 

We are having a small wedding party, which I think is the ideal match for our personalities. I will be having my best friend as my maid of honor and two bridesmaids (one friend and one cousin). Mike will be having his brother as his best man and two groomsmen (my brother and his friend). We are currently working out how we want to include other special people in the day including readings, ushers, musical performances, etc.

We also have several things in the works that aren’t 100% confirmed yet  but looking good. They include:

  • A church for the ceremony – it was important to us to find a ceremony location where we felt comfortable. I would like a family friend (who is a minister) to perform the ceremony and want a church that looks beautiful but also aligns on some of my social values. 
  • A photographer – I am in talks with someone who I know / have seen her work etc.
  • A DJ – I am in talks with someone recommended by one of my bridesmaids. I know him / have seen him work as well.
  • The dress – We are VERY close to the final one. I went shopping again with my mom this past weekend and I think we might have found the one. No details though … have to leave some things until the big day!

So what’s next??

  • Confirm all of the above. Most importantly the church.
  • REGISTER
  • Finish the wedding website

I welcome ALL advice from former and prospective brides out there (or non-brides who have opinions… this is an inclusive environment!)

Intuitive Eating 21 Day Challenge – Final Thoughts

I spent the month of March focusing on Intuitive Eating. I participated in the Studio Eats 21 Day Intuitive Eating Challenge, had three one-on-one calls with Jamie, attended one group conference call, and read most of the book. (My initial thoughts on the challenge can be found here). It’s April and it’s time to reflect.

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How did the month go? In a word (ok two)… life changing. I really don’t want to turn into the “anti-diet” crusader or anything… but this approach to eating and living works for me. I am a chronic, life-long devotee to dieting and I needed something serious to make a change in my life. Deep down, I’ve always felt that there was something wrong with my body and the way I look. I was heavy as a kid… it’s not completely shocking that I felt this way. I used dieting and restricting to feel control. The best part about my IE journey is that I feel more in control now than I ever have, and I’m not dieting for pretty much the first time ever.

Right now I am eating and drinking what I want, when I want. I have found that by giving myself complete free reign over my eating and exercising, I am eating less, feeling more satisfied, not binge eating, and finding much more pleasure in my workouts. The ultimate moment of truth came last week though. I decided to not weigh myself for the entire month of March, which terrified me. I have this irrational fear that if I’m not dieting and monitoring myself, I’m going to balloon up and gain a ton of weight. I was feeling nervous, I mean I had been eating EVERYTHING I wanted for a whole month. I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale. And it hadn’t changed even an ounce. I weighed exactly the same, and I had enjoyed my life so much more in that month. That’s when I knew this was for me.

What was the hardest part? Learning to trust myself again. I have accepted responsibility for being overweight throughout my life. So I thought I was flawed. There was something about me that wasn’t programmed correctly. When left to my own devices, I would get fat again. The hardest part about this journey was to stop fighting myself. I told Jamie during one of our calls that I had a really hard time realizing what “hungry” felt like, because I only ever allowed myself to eat when I was “ravenous”. She pointed on that this is common in chronic dieters. I had this perception that I only deserved to eat a certain amount, at certain times, and only when I was absolutely starving. Throughout this month, I have worked really hard to trust my body to tell me when it needs fuel and what it is craving. Totally wild.

What am I focusing on now? I want to continue to honor my hungry, feel my fullness, and throw out my food rules. I am also working on challenging the external food police. The past weekend I was at a restaurant and ordered a salad and an entree. Our waiter made a completely harmless comment like “Are you sure you want all of that?” (apparently my entree was comically large… half of it is currently sitting in my refrigerator). In the past, such a comment would have sent me into a tailspin. But now that I’m challenging the “food police,” I simply laughed and told him I was sure I could handle it.

I am also working on the issue of body acceptance. That’s going to be a big one for me, because deep down I wish I looked fundamentally different than I do. But I never will. I will always have the same basic shape / frame and it’s due time I got “good” with that. Every day, I stand in front of the mirror and make myself say something positive about my body. When I’m exercising in front of a mirror, I do the same thing. I force myself to say positive things like “You look so strong”. It might seem very narcissistic, but don’t worry I only say it in my head 🙂 Jamie and I discussed this issue on our last call and I know I have the power to change how I view myself. It’s all mental!

Questions for you guys:

  • How do you express “body acceptance”?
  • What lifestyle works for you? We’re all different after all!