Tag Archives: cats

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 šŸ™‚ 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 soĀ 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?
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Spring 2013 To Do List

Creating a seasonal to do list has become on of my favorite things. [You can see my Summer 2012, Fall 2012, and Winter 2012/2013 lists] This is going to be a SUPER busy Spring (as evidenced by the fact that I am not posting my Spring To Do list until April 1st… whoops!) so I wanted to streamline my list this season.

  1. Try two new fitness workouts –Ā I still haven’t tried barre and I have my eye on a couple places in my travels.
  2. Set a new 10K and 5K PR –Ā This is the spring of speed! I’m running a 5K this Friday night and I’ve got a good feeling šŸ™‚
  3. Hike Sugarloaf Mountain –Ā I loved hiking Bull Run Mountain last summer and Great Falls this winter. Want to keep it up!
  4. Travel to Boston –Ā One of my best friends moved up to Boston at the beginning of last summer and I haven’t made it there to visit her yet (SHAME). I am committed to making it happen this Spring.
  5. Cook seafood at home twice –Ā I wrote a post after the FIRST time I cooked fish as home. Haven’t done it much since then (except here I think). Want to try my hand at some new and more creative recipes with seafood.
  6. Do 35 unbroken full push ups –Ā I have totally caught the strength training bug and I’m loving the results I’m seeing already! Between working with my trainer and on my own, I think 35 full unbroken push ups is well within my grasp.
  7. Try two new yoga studiosYou’ve all been following along on my journey to find the perfect yoga studio (Reviews here and here so far) I want to give two more studios a try this Spring. I’m thinking Tranquil Space and one other.
  8. Buy my wedding dress –Ā I’ve not been great about keeping you guys updated on wedding stuff so far (if I was a smarter blogger I would because my page views go WAY up when I write about wedding stuff). I’m having a really hard time settling on exactly what KIND of dress I want to wear at the wedding, and I hate being so indecisive.Ā 
  9. Plan more fun adventures with MikeMike and I were on a really good streak for a while of planning monthly “date nights” (some examples here, here, and here), but we’ve fallen off the wagon a little bit. I want to be more intentional this spring about planning special outings together (just the two of us!)
  10. Read 5 books – I’ve been on a big reading kick recently (Some examples of book reviews here, here, and here). I’ve always been a big reader / book lover, but my reading definitely ebbs and flows at times. I want to keep up my current enthusiasm by reading 5 new books this spring (I just finished Crossed by Allie Condie and I’m halfway through Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Trebole and Elyse Resch!)

And this post needs a picture… so here’s some glamour shots of Fig and Little Mac at the vet (not happy kitties)

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Catching Up

Helloooo boys and girls šŸ™‚ I’m sure you’ve all been as busy as us this week preparing for the impending holidays! I have a pretty strict (READ: anal) approach to leaving for a vacation. My food purchasing / meal planning is like a science, complete with a complete refrigerator clean out the night before we leave. Today’s lunch features my classic “use it all up” salad, where I basically dump every leftover in the refrigerator on top of a bed of lettuce and call it a day. Today’s lunch includes romaine lettuce, yellow bell pepper, shredded carrot, cucumber, chopped celery, cherry tomato, chick peas, diced ham, and blue cheese… helloooo nurse. If only I had ANY sort of appetite this week šŸ˜¦ ho hum. I also have to make a meticulous packing list / take my time or else I will most definitely forget something (I one time packed for an entire weekend in NYC with no bra… not a single bra).

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We are traveling with the kitties this week too so we had to start mentally preparing them to get in the carriers. Little Mac is very intuitive, so if he senses we’re about to travel, he’ll just hide under the bed. Therefore, we have to get the carrier out days in advance and then snatch him when Ā he is least expecting it. Fig has a carrier, but I also have a leash for him. Little Mac will hide under the bed, but once you pick him up, he basically submits to going into the carrier (he cries a lot though and it’s really sad). Fig, on the other hand, will fight you until the end. I actually cannot get him in the carrier alone. The last time I tried to put him in by myself, he drew blood. By the end, he was crying in the carrier, and I was sitting on the floor of my living room crying and bleeding from my hands. I decided to give the leash a try. He doesn’t walk on the leash, but he does let me pick him up and carry him to the car. I use the leash just as a back up in case he jumps out of my arms.

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All in all… Christmas presents are wrapped, bags are packed, the refrigerator is empty of any perishable food, and Operation Trick the Kitties is well underway. Hopefully tonight goes smoothly (pray for us).

On the sickness front… the week started out abysmal and is ending on a relatively positive note! Mike was the worst I’ve seen him yet on Monday and Tuesday. It was truly heartbreaking to see someone who I love so much in so much pain. Luckily, he went to see his primary care physician on Tuesday afternoon and got a pretty aggressive course of steroids to help with his symptoms (he had such a bad sore throat / swollen tonsils and glands that the poor guy could barely eat, swallow, or sleep!) After only a couple days, he is like a different person! He’s still not 100% and is being careful to rest, hydrate, and get enough to eat. All in all… a lot of R&R at the POTR household this week.

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I was on the verge of a total meltdown earlier this week about my potentially getting sick too (you remember by very dramatic Marathon Musings). I freaked out and went to an urgent care center near my office on Monday at lunch. Luckily, I got an awesome nurse practitioner (I fully support NPs… see them ALL the time and they are amazing) who is ALSO a marathon runner. She did oblige my request to give me a mono test, which, as of Monday, was negative. However, she cautioned me that this didn’t necessarily mean I wasn’t getting mono. She urged me to just relax and try to stay as healthy as possible. I’ve had no appetite this week, and I’ve actually been a little nauseous too. I’ve still been eating relatively normally (me? not eat? surely you jest) but I’m not really enjoying it (except last night we went out for pizza… I enjoyed that very much). I’ve also been pretty tired, so I’ve been budgeting in a little extra sleep every night (I normally sleep 7 hrs per night, this week I’ve been getting more like 8 – 10) I talked to her a lot about training for the marathon and she was very reassuring. Mike read this article that suggested that if you get a mono diagnosis, you shouldn’t run for 10 weeks! This had me TOTALLY freaking out. The NP suggested that I take it easy this week, to not put too much stress on my body. I’ve run some but not as much as my schedule called for. My muscles have been VERY fatigued (on Tuesday evening, I felt like I had just run a half marathon, not a 5 mile marathon tempo run) so I’ve been doing my best to listen to my body. I’m hoping that taking a little rest this week will allow me to come back to normal next week or the week after. She reminded me that I still have PLENTY of time, and encouraged me not to freak out just yet. Sometimes you just need a professional to say these things to you šŸ™‚

Before I sign off… Mike and I exchanged Christmas presents last night! We like to do this privately before we join our families for the holidays. I got Mike this awesome plaque from the Philly Marathon with his finish line photo and his name / time, and I am making him a scrapbook with all of his race numbers. Right now we just have them piled in a drawer. I thought this would be a better way to store them / remember all of the races! Finally, I got him this SWEET camping chair with a footrest. Last year at Bonnaroo, some other people had one and we were all about it.

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Mike came up big for me this year too … because he is wonderful and thoughtful and amazing. I LOVE coffee (as I mentioned earlier this week) and I wanted a french press to make better coffee at home. Well, Mike put on his researchers hat and did me one better! He got me a hand grinder for beans (and a bag of Starbucks Christmas blend whole bean coffee) and this AWESOME Aero Coffee Press. Apparently it’s even better than a french press and makes amazing quality coffee. I cannot wait to use it. I’m tempted to bring it with me for the holidays šŸ™‚

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Gifts or no gifts… I am the luckiest girl in the world to have Mike šŸ™‚ But I LOVED this gift. It’s very me and I can’t wait to enjoy it. I’m going to bring my laptop with me on vacation, but I doubt I’ll be daily blogging. I am hoping to check in a couple times, but we’ll see how it goes šŸ™‚ I am looking forward to some serious R&R, and quality family time.

If I don’t talk to you… MERRY CHRISTMAS! Or if you don’t celebrate Christmas… it’s a great day to go skiing!

Christmas Survey!

Saw this survey on Sweet Tooth Sweet Life and thought it looked like fun šŸ™‚

I’m trying really hard to get into the holiday spirit over here! We’ve been busy and the apartment is basically like a hospital ward so it’s not SUPER festive. We did bake chocolate chip cookies this weekend AND I made a gingerbread cake roll (special post on that is happening since it takes care of one of my Winter To Do list items). I don’t know if many of our planned “Christmas” activities are happening this year (ZooLights or others) since poor Mike is so sick. Definitely not putting pressure on ourselves right now, and favoring nights at home with warm mugs of tea and the kitties šŸ™‚

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1. Favorite Christmas Album/CD/Song? I’m probably going to get stoned in the blog world for saying this because everyone like LOVES Christmas music, but I don’t get super super into it. I like traditional Christmas carols but I never really listen to pop Christmas music. The one song I specifically love though is J-i-n-g-l-e Bells by Frank Sinatra. I remember listening to this song when I was little, decorating the Christmas with my grandmother and my dad. It’s a very happy memory for me šŸ™‚

2. Run on Christmas morning or take the day off?Ā Run or exercise of some kind. I like getting a little sweat in before spending the rest of the day being blissfully unaware of the amount of butter I am consuming! Last Christmas my mom, dad, and I went on a family bike ride on Christmas morning which was really fun!

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3. What do you usually eat on Christmas morning?Ā First things first… coffee! We are a huge coffee drinking family and I remember as a little kid my brother and I would be dying to get downstairs to open our presents but we had to wait for the grown ups (my mom, my dad, and my grandmother) to get their coffee first. Then after we open our Christmas presents under the tree, we stop and cook family breakfast before heading over to open our stockings (which, for my entire life, have always been filled with personal care products like deodorant… Zimmermans are practical is nothing else!). We cook a pretty standard breakfast of bacon or sausage, scrambled eggs (with cheese… but that’s a given), and toast.

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4. Favorite holiday or Christmas tradition?Ā I used to love putting up the Christmas tree with my dad. Unfortunately, not that I don’t live at home anymore, he puts up his tree and I put up my own little tree. Right now I would say it is baking OR shopping for stocking stuffers with my dad.

5. Real tree, fake tree or no tree?Ā When I was little we used to get a real tree. I wasn’t super into picking it out (I mean they all kinda look the same to me) but I loved that every night before bed my dad would crush up an Aspirin and my brother and I would go put it in the water under the tree. See, my dad is a chemist so most of my young life was an extended chemistry lab. Apparently, when you cut a tree’s trunk, the tree will create a seal over the exposed surface. Over time, the tree will not being able to suck up water anymore and dry up. The aspirin dissolves this cap to keep the tree healthy longer! Sweet right?

But then as we got older, we got a fake tree because the dog kept drinking the tree / aspirin water. My dad loves having a Christmas tree up. If he had his druthers the tree would be up from the day after Thanksgiving until Epiphany (which is January 6th in case you weren’t aware). I got my first tree of my own in December 2010 and I was so proud of it (it was also fake). This year we have two mini trees. We originally had one out on the balcony and one in the apartment but the cats demolished the inside tree within 5 hours so that went outside too. Here is my parents’ tree and both of ours.

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6. Christmas pajamasā€¦ yay or nay?Ā I could see myself being into this but I’ve never had any. I normally don’t actually wear “pajamas”.Ā SometimesĀ I have flannel pants but its usually just tshirt and pants or shorts.

7. Where do you spend the holidays?Ā Well up until this year that was really a no brainer… with my family. I was, as we know, a single gal (well Mike and I were together last year but we weren’t at the spending the holidays together point yet). When we lived in New Jersey we always saw my mom’s brother’s family on Christmas eve and my dad’s side of the family of Christmas day. My grandmother always came and stayed with us for Christmas too, until she passed away when I was in 5th grade. Now that my parents live in North Carolina, I go there and spend Christmas with them. We skype with my Dad’s side of the family to exchange gifts though (we do a gift exchange where everyone buys a gift for one person). This year though Mike and I will be spending the holiday up through Christmas Eve with his family in Charlottesville and then driving down to North Carolina later on Christmas Eve to spend Christmas day and a few days after with my family.

8. Food that you always have during the holiday season? Favorite Christmas food/treat?Ā So we are Italian… but my mom has PTSD related to her grandmother soaking a baccala (that is Italian for a giant smelly cod fish… in case you were interested) in the bathtub next to her bedroom. So we don’t do the traditional Italian meal of the seven fishes. Which is totally fine by me. We usually eat pasta on Christmas Eve (sometimes its rigatoni with vodka sauce, recently it’s been fettucini alfredo with spicy Italian sausage), and some kind of meat on Christmas day. We used to do a turkey on Christmas but we abandoned that tradition because it’s too much work! We were eating ham for many years… but I don’t actually love ham that much. In recent years it’s been steak, potatoes, and veggie dishes supplied by moi (I like to trick my family into eating brussel sprouts hehe).

Christmas is always about baking with my Dad though. I got him a pizzelle iron a couple years ago so now we make those (with vanilla extract instead of anise because I don’t like anise!). We also make traditional chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies. The sugar cookie is heavily debated every year though. My dad insists on making the “easy no-roll option” and cooking them until they are “crispy” which is dad-speak for burnt. I always want to make the kind you roll out, punch shapes, and decorate with icing. No dice though haha. I also added snickerdoodles to the rotation a couple years ago and they’re a big hit! I personally always want to make a chocolate pecan pie for dessert… I think I’m the only one who likes it though šŸ˜€

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9. Open presents all at once or take turns?Ā Take turns! Even when I was a little kid we had to open our presents one at a time and watch when other people were opening their presents. I love that tradition. It made us savor Christmas morning so much longer. It was also nice that everyone got the attention on them when they were opening!

10. Favorite Christmas(ish) movie? A CHRISTMAS STORY! Mike and I have been discussing this a lot recently because he has… wait for it… NEVER SEEN IT. I feel like that is a complete travesty. I mean the movie is only on 12 times in a row on TBS starting at 8:00 pm on Christmas Eve. 24 hours of A Christmas Story! Mike never had cable though… so that’s probably it. His favorite Christmas movie is The Muppets Christmas Carol. My dad is a big fan of A Christmas Carol too but he likes the super old version. Every year I’d wake up on a Saturday morning to find that he had just watched it (on VHS clearly). The rest of the holiday is typically sprinkled with my dad sporadically yelling out “ARE THERE NO PRISONS??” My dad is such a hoot šŸ™‚

Does this make us weird?

Mike and I bought each other these mugs this weekend from a store in Charlottesville called “The Cat House” which boasts gifts for crazy cat ladies cat lovers… went in as somewhat of a joke. Stayed for 30 minutes, bought two mugs and a Christmas card to send to another cat loving couple.

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Ā I meannnnnn come on how awesome are these mugs??? I know I know… we’re crazy cat people. DAMN PROUD OF IT TOO!

Surf-n-Santa 10 Miler Recap is coming later today so stay tuned… it’s gonna be awesome šŸ™‚

Winter 2012 / 2013 To Do List

I’m SERIOUSLY loving having seasonal to-do lists right now. They are an awesome way to try some new experiences or make sure I make time for things I love, AND they’re a great way to set some self-improvement goals. I am flossing like a champion these days… so you know this is a good process. Take a look back at my summer and fall to do lists if you haven’t already.

Winter is an interesting season! It’s not my favorite, but it has its unique qualities that I love. First off… I was born in the winter! WOOHOO BIRTHDAY PARTAYYY. I’m turning 25 this January… quarter century! There’s also the Christmas / Holiday season which is always fun! I love snow and skiing and SOUP and hot chocolate. All those awesome things. But I don’t love the short days, cold temperatures, or lack of outdoor time. So this year I want to fill my winter with fun activities and a little dash of self-improvement.

  • Love Marathon Training – So far so good! I’m two weeks in (I owe you guys a marathon musings actually… later today) and things are going really well. I want to keep up this enthusiasm! I’m working to reframe my mind too. Last time around, I got really negative about all the training I “had to do”. This time I want to keep my eyes on the fact that I chose this goal and it’s going to be totally kick ass when I finish.Ā 
  • Strength Train at least 2 times per week – I actually really already do this but sometimes strength training falls to the back of my mind. With starting up marathon training, I need to be really intentional about strength training (or it will easily fall off my radar). I’m thinking that I want to do my entire body two times per week… but they might mean breaking it up into shorter bouts in more than two days.

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  • Read More, Watch TV Less – Straight up… I LOVE TV. I just do. But Mike doesn’t really watch TV, so it’s not really an easy activity that we can do “together”. I don’t want to stop, but sometimes I think I’m doing it just for the sake of doing it. I also find that when I watch TV less, I enjoy it more (delayed gratification). So instead of always resorting to putting the TV on, I want to increase my time doing other activities like listening to music or reading.
  • Read a classic novel I haven’t read yet – I didn’t ACTUALLY finish Anna Karenina but I read some and I saw the movie. It rocked btw… go see it. I have read a lot of the classics, but the other day I was scanning the Top 100 Books list on Amy’s blogĀ and I realized there are plenty on there I haven’t read. I love to read but don’t always chose books that really “challenge” me. So that’s my goal for the winter. Besides, what better season to spend a Sunday curled up in bed with Fig, a cup of coffee, and a good book?
  • Watch 5 “classic” movies I haven’t seen yet – There are actually a ton of really good movies I’ve never seen. My brother is a huge movie buff, and back in the day I was watching a lot of good movies with him. Recently though, I find myself lacking the ability to commit to a movie. TV is easier for me because it’s shorter. As social hibernation sets in for the winter (it’s inevitable, there are just less things to do socially in the winter than the summer), I thought this could be a good goal. I think I want to start with Dr. Strangelove and Casablanca (yes yes I know I know… I have never seen Casablanca and it’s a horrible sin)
  • Read at least three full news articles per day – I am so a product of my generation. I read news headlines on Twitter and Google Reader all day, but I rarely click through and read the entire article. I also watch / listen to morning news at the gym or when I’m getting ready for work, but that’s such a passive way to get information (especially when you consider that my morning news program of choice is about 10 minutes of current events and then 90 minutes of “who got voted off Dancing with the Stars”). I want to challenge myself to read three full articles of interest every day.
  • Go to Zoolights – I love the zoo… and I love Christmas lights. This combines both. I went two years ago, but didn’t get out to see it last year. I really want to make sure I do it this year.
  • Do at least one additional “Christmas” activity in DC – I had a similar goal in the Fall. I want to make sure I’m taking advantage of everything my wonderful city has to offer. I don’t really know what this will be yet… but I only have a couple more weeks to figure it out so I better get on it.
  • Make 2 new-to-me holiday desserts – I’m not a big baker, and really tend towards savory cooking. I’d like to start getting outside of my comfort zone and improving my baking skills. I’ve been invited to a “Christmas Cake” party this year, so I think I will try a gingerbread cake roll for that. From there… who knows šŸ™‚
  • Play with Fig and Little Mac a little bit every day – I love our cats more than pretty much anything (except Mike, he’s still my #1). I snuggle and pet them every day, but I notice that recently we haven’t been playing at much as we used to. Sure Fig will get frisky and roll on his back and we’ll have tummy-rub time, but they have a whole crate of toys we don’t use! We had a really amazing cat sitter over Thanksgiving, and she played with them every day while she was there. It really made me think… my cat sitter is being better to my pets than I am! I want to take 5 minutes every day to play with crinkle ball or the laser pointer (they LOVE the laser pointer). Playing with them is good for them, but it also makes me ridiculously happy. It’s really a no-brainer.

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  • Participate in another blog related “challenge” – I really enjoyed Pile on the Miles in November. I’d like to find another challenge (I know Courtney is doing one right now but I kind of forgot to sign up for that… whoops. Maybe I can just sign up late?)
  • Participate in at least three volunteer opportunities – I really enjoy volunteering, but right now I only do it when opportunities find me. This winter I want to get a little more active in seeking out opportunities to give my time / work with others.
  • Practice yoga three times per week (even if it’s only for a few minutes) – On my Fall list, I wanted to start a home yoga practice. I’d say that is going “OKAY”. I found a couple good spots in the apartment to practice, but I definitely don’t love guiding my own practice. I’ve been using DVDs and OnDemand videos with much more success. I just like being led through my practice. I feel that allows me to get my head out of it and just let my body move. I’m looking for some new DVDs to purchase so if you have suggestions please let me know! I’m also finally starting to get out of my “all or nothing” yoga mentality. I used to think that if I couldn’t practice for a solid hour it wasn’t worth it. Why not?? Even if it’s just 10 minutes… that’s better than 0 minutes right?
  • Tackle the “little tasks” right away (“One minute rule”) – I am currently reading The Happiness Project (it was my intention to participate in PB Fingers Book club this month but I didn’t finish the book in time. I’m still going to do a whole write up on here though because I seriously think this book might be changing my life). One of the items she discussed was the “One Minute Rule,” where she vowed not to put off any task that would take one minute or less to complete. I am such a culprit of this! I get super overwhelmed my little tasks too… in my personal life AND at work. I’ve already started implementing this rule and it makes SUCH a difference. I want to make this habit really stick.
  • Go skiing at least three times (weather permitting) – I stopped skiing when I was in high school because I was a really serious athlete and skiing wasn’t encouraged by my coaches / Dad (It just seemed like an unnecessary risk of injury). But Mike loves to ski and he took me back out on the slopes last winter for the first time in 10 years. I was literally terrified riding the ski lift up but by the end of the day I was following Mike down a Double Black Diamond (Granted this was at a ski resort in theĀ PoconosĀ .. I wouldn’t be able to do Double Blacks out west or up in VT yet!). I also remembered how much I loved it! We didn’t have a great ski season last year (too warm, couldn’t keep runs open) and could only go once. I’m really hoping for a better season this year so I can go skiing at least three times.

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  • Try three new restaurants in our neighborhood – We haven’t tried THAT many, mostly because we’ve been cooking at home. While I do prefer cooking at home (since it is healthier and cheaper), I want to get to know the area a little better. Three over a season seems like a reasonable goal.
  • Tackle a new ethnic cuisine at home – I took on homemade pasta this Fall, and now I want to get out of Italy and explore some other ethnic cuisines. I’m thinking that I might try my hand at homemade dosas. I’ve made only very basic Indian cuisine at home, but dosas require a whole different level of effort. I think I might be up for the challenge though.
  • Learn more about wine – I literally know NOTHING about wine. Some wines have given me really bad migraines so I’ve been really hesitant to try new wines / branch out. But I’m also realizing that getting wasted on any kind of wine has the ability to give me a migraine. Sipping one glass and enjoying the flavor probably will not. I recently had a glass of Pinot Noir that I loved. I don’t think I’ve drank a glass of red wine in 4 years. I’d like to read some more about different types of wines, figure out what I like, and try some different wines. I’m not going to sign up for a class or anything like that but I am an adult after all. Perhaps it’s time to stop ordering “whatever white wine is the cheapest” at a restaurant šŸ™‚
  • Spend Wisely – I’ll talk more about this when I discuss The Happiness Project, but she had an entire chapter dedicated to money that had me completely enraptured. Yes I still completely intend to look for ways to save money and live within my budget, but I want to focus on spending “wisely” instead of just spending “less”. I want to free up my wallet a bit for buying gifts or making charitable donations. This winter I want to focus on spending money on things that make me happy.
  • Practice gratitude – I want to remember every day how Ā much I have to be grateful for. I don’t want to start keeping a journal. That’s just not me. I find journals forced and insincere (for me, not necessarily for others). I also don’t want to add another task to my daily to do list, because that will just make me resent it. I decided that every day I’m going to spend a couple minutes of my metro commute making a mental list of things for which I am grateful. It will also have the added effect of making a normally not too pleasant part of my day (metro at rush hour is… trying) a source of happiness šŸ™‚

Wow this list is SUPER long… I better get to work!! Happy Tuesday!

My cat loves to sit on my computer

I opened my WordPress account to find a new draft post had been created. That’s weird… why is it titled “BBBBJJJffiiiihjhhhhhhhhhhhhhhdslffffffffffkddddddddddddd”? That my friends was Fig’s first official contribution to the blog. He is a master of words. But seriously, he LOVES to sit on my laptop. And apparently he is able to work a fair amount of magic with his little paws. I just pray he hasn’t sent any weird emails to people. This habit probably contributes to why my laptop is so horrible at this point.

I really need a new computer, but I’m having a really hard time committing to that purchase. I’m thrifty and I feel like… my computer functions. Not well… but it functions. I had a Mac from college and I love Macs, but do I really use it in a way the justifies buying another one? I kind of only use it for Internet, Pictures, Blogging, and some word processing. Mike has a really nice Mac but its a desktop, so it doesn’t afford me the same portability. It’s hard to blog whilst watching Hart of Dixie from the desktop computer. I’m slowly getting there… could be a laptop purchase in my future.

Regardless… I took a long break from blogging. I’m sure I’m the ONLY person who actually noticed or cared, but still I took a long break! I just needed it. This blog was started because I wanted a fun hobby. It’s not my job, it’s my fun. When it stops being fun… then we have a problem. I took a pause from blogging and mostly from social media too (still on the facebook but my twitter was pretty quiet). There are few things I find more rejuvenating than shutting off, keeping my phone on vibrate in my purse, and just being. I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking, reading, reflecting, and planning. I woke up this morning more energized than I have felt in about two months. I can’t wait to finish this book I’m reading right now and share some of my thoughts.

I have a lot of catch up on here but here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve been up to for the last week or so:

I ran the Philly Half Marathon… Mike ran the Marathon! My parents came (they so cute) and so did Mike’s… woohoo!

I took an ice bath. It was glorious. I also wore a hat during it.

 

I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of the most important people in my life. I ate what I have deemed to be a respectable amount (woohoo intuitive eating lives on!)

I walked on the beach and enjoyed being near the water. There are few things I find more calming than being near water. I don’t know why that is… but I’m rolling with it. I also spent most of the weekend in workout clothes and an ENORMOUS sweatshirt. I look like an angry bird in this picture šŸ™‚

And perhaps most importantly… I rested. I slept 8 – 10 hours every night. Didn’t set an alarm a single day. I got my workouts in, but I also spent time in bed with a cup of coffee, a magazine… and this little guy.

Get ready to beĀ besiegedĀ with blog posts this week šŸ™‚

Happy Halloween!!

Hello Everyone!! Hurricane Sandy has made for an interesting start to my week. First let me say thank you to everyone who reached out to see how Mike and I were doing in the storm. Luckily we had no real issues with the storm (we kept power / water the entire time and have no damage… thank God!). I am thinking about and praying for all my friends and family in the New York and New Jersey area who were not as fortunate.

The Federal Government was closed Monday and Tuesday, which means I was home with the kitties. It sounds like a lot of fun, but there are few things I hate more than being cooped up inside for too long. Yesterday, I finally ventured out to CVS at 5 pm because I hadn’t been out of the apartment building in almost 48 hours… I was going CRAZY. I bought the following items:

Never let it be said that I don’t value a balanced diet. I was able to get some amount of work done while at home but I will definitely be playing catch up this week! For the most part, the storm afforded me plenty of time to snuggle with the cats and catch up on my DVR / Netflix. I also did a ton of cooking, so expect some fun recipe posts to appear in the very near future!! My laptop / internet were both being a poopface in the storm so I haven’t been able to get them up yet. For now, here are some kitty-tastic scenes from the storm:

But now that Sandy has passed, it is back to real life! I just wanted to wish everyone a HAPPY HALLOWEEN! I hope you are all eating lots and lots of candy today and everyone is wearing a costume. You are never too old or too cool to dress up for Halloween. On Saturday night, we went to a Halloween party at a friends house where Mike and I both dressed as Olympians! (Side note: I don’t do costumes that can be described as “Sexy ____” or “Slutty (insert cliche profession here)”. Not my style. Last year I was a bunch of grapes… as evidenced below)

For your viewing pleasure I present to you our 2012 Halloween Costumes:

Two Halloween Costumes… ZERO dollars spent. We owned every single piece of this costume which made it even better. My Halloween costume today cost exactly the same amount… ZERO DOLLARS. Best Halloween ever. Can you guess what I am supposed to be??

Answer: Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

 

It’s Kinda Like Lasagna

I don’t normally do two recipe posts in one week but I’ve had this one in the bank and since I’d like to only post pictures of my awesome NEW kitchen, I thought I’d get this guy out of the way. I thought I was making eggplant parm, but when I actually started assembling it I realized I was more making a lasagna with eggplant instead of noodles. But it wasn’t exactly lasagna either… so I ended up making this cool eggplant parm / lasagna hybrid. I didn’t use a recipe for this, so I’ll provide a little more detail than usual.

Ingredients:

– One Eggplant

– One Jar Tomato Sauce (any flavor works)

– One 15 oz Container of Fat Free Ricotta Cheese

– Herbs

– SlicedĀ MozzarellaĀ Cheese

First I sliced up a whole eggplant. In retrospect, I should have maybe pre-cooked the eggplant a little in some boiling water and removed the skin. But that’s a texture preference on my end. Then I went to town with some layering. First tomato sauce, then eggplant, ricotta, and herbs. A coworker has a very active herb garden at home and was kind enough to bring in extras. I scored a big tinfoil packet of fresh rosemary and thyme.

Repeat until you’re out of everything.

Top with delicious amounts of cheese, and don’t forget to protect your herbs from the cat. My mother is going to cringe when she sees that picture (Hi Mom!).

Bake in the over for about 30 minutes at 400 degrees. That’s kind of an estimate. I just cooked it until the cheese was melted and the eggplant was soft. Served with a side of brown rice. Kitties also attack the plate when you’re done. Everyone in the family likes this meal šŸ™‚

It’s been a good run

(Note: Totally meant to post this on Friday but you know how moving is… let’s pretend it’s still Friday)

It’s moving day!!!!!!!

This feels somewhat like the end of an era in many ways. This apartment was my very first “big girl” apartment. I moved in less than 2 months after graduating from college, and I had no idea how to do basically anything. Me trying to figure out how much personal property coverage I should get from my rental insurance company was comical. I thought graduating from college and getting a job would make me an adult but no. This apartment made me an adult. It was the first place in the world that was completely mine, and it was totally my responsibility to take care of it. It was frustrating as hell some days… but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It was the perfect first apartment for a single girl living in a city (My friend Dara referred this as the”total rom-com period” of my life… though it wasn’t actually all that glamorous).

I’m going to miss this apartment. It was my home through some really major life changes! I met and fell in love with my soul mate living here. I started running, I ran my first race, my first half marathon, and then my first marathon too!

This was also the apartment where I brought Fig home from the shelter. I felt like I had built this wonderful loving home, and I just needed to share that with an animal who needed one. He is my favorite bargain buy of all time ($50 from the Washington Animal Rescue League… he was a total steal!!)

The apartment is also in an amazing location / neighborhood, had a sweet walk in closet, and was the best apartment I found that I could still afford!

But in life, all chapters must eventually come to an end, and I am so excited to see what my next chapter has in store for me!! So in the spirit of keeping things light and in perspective here’s a couple things that I will definitely NOT miss about this apartment:

1. The kitchen. Sailboats have bigger kitchens. Having me, Mike, and Fig in this bathroom gives me an anxiety attack. I also have this really little stove / oven combo and there is a small space between the edge of the stove top and the wall. It’s like a vortex for food. I have dropped more crap down in that little space (that is too small for me to get my hand in). Infuriating.

2. The bathroom. It’s so small the door actually hits the toilet when you open / close it. One of my movers was kind enough to point that out to me when moving my stuff in. Hey, thanks man. I also dropped an entire jar of microwavable hot wax in there (you think you’re saving yourself a little money and look what happens). It’s never really been the same since then.

3. The Community Laundry Room. The people who work in my building rock. The people who live in it on the other hand… do not. I once received a typed note on my dryer informing me that I was a “spoiled brat” because I accidentally left my laundry too long. Also, community laundry rooms always suck no matter how awesome people are.

Can’t wait to post pictures of the new apartment soon!! ā¤