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Showing posts from December, 2009

Goals and Aspirations

I know that many people are spending the day reflecting on the past year. One blogger buddy (Allie), however, got me thinking about a time long long ago. In a recent post When I was a Youngin', she divulged that when she was a child she wanted to be a grocery store cashier as a child. It reminded me of higher aspirations I once had.

When I was about four, my godmother bought me a pair of certified Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader pom-poms. They were as big as me, fluffy, and snow white. I spent hours cheering my little heart out. My mother had been a cheerleader in high school, and I loved loved loved to parade around in her old uniforms (cinched up) with those giant pom-poms. When asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would cheerfully respond, "A cheeleader." (Yes, the "r" was left off on purpose.) I did manage to attain that goal (though not as a profession). I was a cheerleader in junior high then on the dance team in high school.

Then, when I was in the 1st …

Working Out My Workouts

Today was my first day back to work after a straight 6 days off. Man it's hard to get back into the swing of things! I had planned on upper body and spin today, by the end of the day, however, I was starting to think it'd be a rest day for me. I did manage to get into my workout clothes and tried Shock Cardio Hiit 40/20. It says it's 29 minutes, but it's really more like 24 minutes of cardio. Awesome calorie burn for the time though. My heart rate was in the 170's at some points. If you're looking for a short, super intense workout, this one is it. I imagine the other two workouts on the DVD are just as intense. Feeling more energized, I did another round of pyramids f or total upper body.

I must admit that I feel like I have been all over the place with my weights lately. In an attempt to combat boredom and to shake things up, I have been doing weights sans DVDs. I feel like my workouts have been more productive, however, I feel that I have no real schedule ro…

C'est la Vie and It's Good

Ok, today was sort of sad for me knowing that my time off is coming to an end. I was, however, giddy to try out one of my new Shock Cardio workouts. I chose The Cardio Core Circuit workout. It says 50 minutes, but it's really more like 42 minutes of cardio. I was hoping for a little longer workout with higher calorie burn, but for 42 minutes, I burned 376 calories. This is definitely not one for the beginners! It was a fun, fast-paced workout. There were a few moves that require diligence in terms of proper form. In other words, you could hurt yourself if you got sloppy. I can't wait to try to out the others. I think the next one on the list will be the HiiT workouts. I'm a sucker for punishment.

I managed to not get one thing one my to-do list done over my break. Good or bad, c'est la vie right?! I did, however, enjoy my time off. I enjoyed time with my family and with my husband. That's far more important than any nit-picky list. I did do the usual chores like lau…

Decompressing and Shock Cardio

Jason and I both took today (and tomorrow) off to continue to decompress from the holidays. We went to a noon spin class. It was short and intense. I also did abs after class for good measure. After the gym we made a much-needed stop by his office so I could pick up a very important package. I've been waiting for this package since around March - Shock Cardio! It was due to arrive Christmas Eve (of course), and Jason's office was closed (of course). So I have had to learn some patience, a virtue I am lacking. I am so excited to have the new cardio options that I don't even know where to begin. I think it's safe to say that I'll be trying out one of these babies tomorrow. I'm thinking Cardio Core Circuit.



The rest of the day was mostly about piddling and just enjoying having the day off together. After getting cleaned up post-gym, we went and ate lunch. Nothing fancy, just a little spot we enjoy. They offer a few vegetarian options, which sure beats most restaur…

One More "Christmas" Meal

Christmas celebrations were still in swing for us today. We still had not had Christmas with my dad and my sister's kiddos, so that was today.

Before heading to his house, I did get in a workout. I did Step Blast and a full upper body workout using a pyramid style rep pattern of light weights at 12 reps, medium weights at 10 reps, heavy weight at 8 reps, then back down. Each muscle group was worked in a superset (e.g., chest flys into chest presses).

Next on the agenda, another meal. Dad makes manicotti for Christmas lunch. Jason and I brought sauteed green beans with red onion, red bell peppers, and slivered almonds and homemade French bread rolls (I substitute some of the all-purpose flour with wheat flour and add ground flax seeds). My sister put together a very yummy, healthy salad. I'm happy to report that my niece (she's 5) likes my rolls so much she requested that I make some just for her to keep at her house. Melted my heart of course. You know that means I'll be…

Day After Over-Indulgences = Exercise and Shopping

So I feel like a total slug after the past two days of over-eating and, yes, over-drinking. I got up this morning and had no desire to cook anything. Breakfast was Kashi Island Vanilla. After breakfast, I made my way to the mall. It was totally over hyped (I hyped it up myself of course). I found a few things at The Limited, but other than that, wasted gas. I was not to be deterred, so I made my way to Barnes & Noble to pick up the January issue of Oxygen Magazine. Then it was on to Michael's Crafts to find holiday decorations for next year. My kitchen is a deep blue with toile accents. So next year I believe the color scheme will be silver and blue (Jason actually requested this; he's a decorator at heart). So I scouted out some blue and silver bulbs, blue lights, and hurricane vases with silver bottoms. Can't wait to put it all together next year. In fact, it was all I could do not to pull it all out to give it a test run!

After Michael's, I thought I might strike…

More Food - Christmas Dinner

After brunch I was thinking I may never want to eat again. Stuffed! I had to put on my Christmas PJs the minute my mom and sister walked out the door. If you can recall the Friends episode where Joey wore maternity pants for Thanksgiving and called them his Thanksgiving Pants, well that's how I was feeling about the PJs. I'll definitely be hitting the gym hard tomorrow!

Of course the stuffed-to-the-gills feeling finally passed...after many hours of course. It was time to figure out exactly what to do for our special Christmas Dinner. I had originally wanted to do a cranberry chipotle sauce/gravy for the Quorn Turk'y Roast. However, Jason ate the cranberries in his cottage cheese yesterday as a snack. Oops. So I had to go to a Plan B. This is why we always keep a very well-stocked pantry!

I had originally planned to start with salad of spinach, leaf lettuce, mandarine oranges, and toasted walnuts with a balsamic vinaigrette. We were still entirely too full for a starter. So …

Christmas Breakfast and Brunch

Thankfully it finally stopped raining here. Now it's just really cold - but sunny at least. I had really hoped to sleep in this morning as a Christmas gift to myself. I suppose 7:50 is better than 7 am.

While hubby snoozed, I made Pumpkin Oatmeal for the both of us for breakfast. I used steel cut oats, stirred in pumpkin, cinnamon, vanilla protein powder, and topped with toasted walnuts. I topped mine with just a drizzle of agave nectar while Jason stirred in brown sugar into his.


After breakfast it was time to open our goodies to each other. I am now a proud new owner of a high step, new weight gloves, 6' resistance bands, plus jewelry (2 necklaces, bracelet, earrings), and gift cards to DSW (oh he knows me so well), Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon.

My mom and sister showed up around noon for our Christmas Brunch. I was very excited to have them over again this year. I wanted it to be special so I made sure the table would match the food. I found the place mats, napkins, and…

Beautiful Blogger Award - 7 Random Things

Anna at Newlywed, Newly Veg kindly honored me with the Beautiful Blogger Award. My duty is to name/list seven random things about myself, and then pass the award on to seven other beautiful bloggers.
I've never had red velvet cake (Gonna have to try it thanks to Allie) I love rap and hip hopI marched in the 1993 inaugural parade for ClintonMy first concert was Def LeppardMy favorite flower is the roseI have a tattoo of a ring of roses (and I do want more tattoos, sorry mom)I've danced on a table top more than onceNow that I have admitted random tidbits, it's time to pass on the award and learn about some of the other beautiful bloggers out there!
JessicaJoleneAlysonAliciaAllieStephanieKelly

A Soggy Christmas Eve

Another rainy day here. I decided that I actually had time to make a real breakfast. I usually just eat oatmeal with blueberries and protein powder at my office. I decided to make Blueberry Protein Pancakes for Jason and myself. It's a super easy recipe, but I apparently need to practice flipping pancakes. Got a little messy here and there.

Blueberry Protein Pancakes
1/4 cup low or no fat cottage cheese1/4 cup rolled oats1/4 cup egg whites1 scoop vanilla protein powderhandful of blueberries (or other fruit of choice)Mix all ingredients in blender and voila, pancake batter.



After breakfast, we made a soggy trip to Whole Foods for some last minute food items for tomorrow's meals. Then we went up to the gym for a noon spin class. It was short and sweet. It was done in a tabata style, and we also got off the bikes and did kettle bells. Intense, but the time flew by!

Still raining...I was in my Christmas PJs by 3:30. While hubby wrapped presents, I tried a new recipe: Cherry-Almond Br…

Time Off - Plotting and Planning

I am so excited to be starting a mini-vacation. I am off work until the 30th! Hopefully I can get caught up on so many of my projects that I have let fall to the wayside. If not those, I'm sure I'll manage to come up with some more. I'm also thinking that I may feel more like myself when it comes to exercise because I won't be exhausted from working all day, then trying to force myself into a workout. I am hoping I'll be much more relaxed all the way around. I'm sure my husband is hoping for the same!

I'll have plenty of chores to catch up on, but will actually have time to get them done for a change. I am really hoping to get to visit with a dear friend of mine as well. We so rarely get time to catch up, and I miss her dearly.

I am also hoping to get the chance to try several new recipes. I have so many that I have been wanting to make and try but not the time. Speaking of recipes, after perusing an issue of Food and Wine, I think I have decided that the s…

Christmas Day Menu Planning

It's so hard to believe that Christmas is really almost here. I'm sure I say that every year. How do I let it sneak up on me though? I mean, aren't the reminders there as early as June? We can't even get to Halloween before seeing Christmas decorations.

I didn't try to decorate the house all in one day. It's been a slow process where my husband and I do a little here, add a little there, another strand of lights, oh, more garland please. The only problem is that we don't realize just how much we've pulled out until we have to put it all away in a few weeks. Oh, and the house is a disaster. But it's sparkly and festive.

This year my sister and mother are going to come up on Christmas Day for a noon brunch. I'm very excited about this. We'll be doing Christmas dinner with my father the day after so no Christmas Day travel for us. Last year was the first year we had company to our house for a holiday. It was the first time we were able to show o…

Pre- and Post-Workout Ramblings

Thoughts Pre-Workout
I'm not sure what's going on with me, but my motivation level is waning in a major way. Like today, I want to go do spin, and I also really want to get biceps, triceps, back done. But, I'm sitting here thinking I'd much prefer to do absolutely nothing. Not even mess with turning on the TV. My great grandmother called days like this her "Blue Day." I've been having a few more Blue Days here lately. Shouldn't I be really happy this time of year? I have a great deal to be thankful for. I have a wonderful husband, great job, fabulous boss, loving family, roof over my head, my health, and so much more. I keep blogging about being grateful, finding motivation, etc. Apparently my body and mind are not connecting very well. I'm a total hypocrite.

I just keep thinking that I really have no valid reason to not go workout. I know I'll feel better, or that's usually what happens I should say. It's not even that I'm super s…

Trying to Get it all Done

Today was another long day for me. Trying to get it all done. Christmas is sneaking up fast! I spent most of the day trying to play catch up on chores. I also finished wrapping presents, made and jarred spaghetti sauce (family recipe I make and give as gifts), baked bread, and of course manged to squeeze in a workout.

The Workout
Today I stuck with the no DVD weight work. I did choose exercises, rep numbers, and rep patterns from Slow and Heavy for chest and shoulders. You do each exercise 3 times with a slow 8 count speed. It's hard to be disciplined enough to not speed up and rush through. Of course, it's the slow tempo that makes this workout so effective. So, I will say that with this one, it's a major perk having the DVD to keep you on track. Here's how it went:
Bench press flat bench - 6 up, 2 downChest fly flat bench - 6 down, 2 upBench press incline bench - 6 up, 2 downChest fly incline bench - 6 down, 2 upFront raise - 6 up, 2 downLateral raise - 6 up, 2 downPos…

Cookies and Friends

Today my sister and I got together for our annual cookie baking day. We used to make the dough and bake the cookies all in one day, one very long and tiring day. We've gotten wiser over the years and pre-make dough now. So we just get together to bake everything off. It's much more enjoyable to bake cookies with your best friend!

This year we made:
White Chocolate Cherry (I use Cranberries) ChunkiesYummy Peanut Butter Cookies with chocolate/peanut butter swirled chipsChocolate Mint Chip CookiesSpicy Oatmeal CookiesRussian Teacakes (my mom's favorite)Dipped Pretzels



I brought over a salad for lunch: leaf lettuce, spinach, roasted red bell peppers, artichokes, sundried tomatoes, sauteed portobello mushrooms, cannellini beans, and balsamic vinaigrette.


After baking with my sister, we went over to a friends' house for another annual tradition. A very dear friend was killed in 1996. I am still very close to her parents though. So her parents, two other girlfriends (and their f…

All Dressed Up

My husband and I don't typically get a chance to get all decked out - cocktail dress, sparkly shoes, suit and tie. So it's fun when we do get invited to an event that requires such attire. One such event is called Mistletoe Madness. It's a fairly hoity toity (black tie optional) affair at a country club. A group of couples (some singles) get together each year and host the event. Each couple is allowed a certain number of guests to invite. There is live music, food, and a cash bar - and lots of quality people-watching entertainment.

Now, my husband and I are by no means rich. We work hard and live a decent lifestyle, but both of our vehicles are more than 8 years old. We finally actually purchased a TV for the first time in our 14 years together this year. Our first TV was a 13" I got as a 16th birthday present. The 2nd was a TV I received for my college graduation back in 1998 (and went kaput about a month ago). Oh, and we only own the one new TV. So we really are o…

Legs and Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Well, my shoulders and biceps are sore from my gym workout yesterday. Guess I pushed myself harder than I had thought. My quads were a little sore from spin, but they loosened up over the course of the morning. I was still debating about whether or not I was going to take my leg workout to the gym or just do it at home (or take a rest day). Well, we have a fancy schmancy party to attend tomorrow night, so Jason had to get his hair cut at lunch (of course he put it off until the last minute). But, I took the opportunity to go home and do my leg workout before I talked myself out of it entirely.

I did the weighted leg exercises from Pyramid Lower Body, but I did not rely on the DVD even though I was home. I honestly felt like I was able to better concentrate on the moves since I wasn't focusing my attention on Cathe. I brought a mirror into the room - it's a spare room that was just cleared out for my weights. I feel like I was able to really work on my form as well. I am defin…

Baby Steps to Change

I have gotten into a huge rut lately with my workouts. When the weather was nicer, my husband would go run with me outdoors. Otherwise, I just did Cathe's step DVDs. Running on the treadmill is just so incredibly boring. But, the weather isn't going to improve until spring, so I have been reluctantly going tot he gym to get in short runs. If I'm only going to run, then I'll do a HIIT workout or possibly tempo drills. It's the only way I can stay distracted from watching the time. But you shouldn't do those every day, so I finally decided to take my husband's advice and try a spin class.

We went together, so it was motivation for the both of us to go. I ended up enjoying it enough to start going consistently. So for the past month we have been taking the spin classes on Mondays and Wednesdays. It really has helped to remotivate me in the cardio area. However, on days when I don't have spin and on the weekends, I'm back to my Cathe DVDs. As much as I …

Why is Change so Hard?

Ok, so I'm beginning to feel like a hypocrite. I'm having a really hard time following through with my little goals like being grateful for annoyances and accepting deviations from the norm . I am such a schedule freak that any little blip throws me out of whack. I am really trying to work on this because it produces so much unnecessary (unhealthy) stress.

I thought I was doing pretty well after this weekend. I made myself do my workout on Thursday because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do anything Friday. With my sister staying with me, I knew I couldn’t get up and do the weight and cardio workouts I had scheduled. But, spending time with her really was top priority. She used to rush back home, so it was almost like she was never here with me. Now she is able to stay longer and just enjoy the time together. No rushing, no time schedules, no hard and set agenda. Ok, so that is throwing me off a bit too. In the past she would have left so early that I could have just gone…

Something to Look Forward To - 2 Beach Vacations

This is definitely the time of year when I start to dream about a warm beach vacation. Summer feels like a distant memory. You begin to forget what being warm felt like.

To help ourselves mentally, we typically book our condo some time during January. This gives us something to look forward to and also ensures the time slot we want. Christmas came a bit early for me this year though. It looks like 2010 may include not one, but two beach trips for us!

Some good friends have decided to get married just after Christmas next year. Even better, it’s a beach wedding in Progreso, Mexico. Now, granted I hate to fly, but I think it’ll be worth it. It’s been three years since my last flight, so I think I have sufficiently recovered. The last trip that required flying was the catalyst that got me to go to the doctor and talk about optional medication to help me manage. I will never fly without taking something now. In fact, my husband probably will not allow me to fly without taking something!

So, …

Going with the Flow

Saturday was a day of going with the flow and trying to enjoy every part of the day. So, for dinner I decided to make pizza. I hadn't had my weekly pizza fix yet. I have a bread machine whole wheat dough recipe that I like to use. I add a teaspoon of ground flax seed to it as well. I like a Greek style pizza, so my half was topped with artichokes, sundried tomatoes, spinach, banana pepper rings, roasted red bell pepper, Morningstar Farms Chik'n Strips Meal Starters, and feta cheese (2nd picture). My husband likes to do a buffalo wing style pizza. His half was the meal starters, sauteed green and red bell peppers and onions, hot sauce, barbecue sauce, and blue cheese (3rd picture). I top the whole thing with mozzarella (1st picture).






I was inspired by Newlywed, Newly Veg's post "Pizza Date Night." Typically my husband and I eat on TV trays while catching up on DVR'd shows or watching a movie. With so much going on, I thought it would be a really good change for…

Earth Still Turning

So, as I had promised myself, I was going to try to do better about rolling with the punches so to speak. Not freaking out if and when my rigid schedule goes off track. Some things are more important than sticking to a timeline that is pretty much meaningless to anyone but me.

My sister is going through a really tough time right now. She was able to come stay with me last night so I got in my workout on Thursday and took Friday as a rest day to spend time with her. We had a great time as predicted. I hate it that we don't live closer. Anyway, Saturdays are typically cardio and weights days for me. I get up and get in my workout done, have my egg white omelet and move along with the rest of the day. But, with my sister up, I had to do some revision. And you know what, it was fine. The world as I know it did not split in half. Again, spending time with her was much more important. So I just relaxed and enjoyed the time with her. We did the girly shopping thing of course. Hit the mall…

Plyo Legs and Pumpkin Soup

While we haven’t had snow here, it’s been cold nonetheless. Although, if it’s going to be this cold, some snow might be nice. Anyway, I was very glad that my workout was an at-home workout this evening. I made it through STS Disc 35, Plyo Legs. It consisted of alternating between weighted exercise like squats or static lunges and plyo exercises like lateral jumps over a step or plyo jacks. Legs are sufficiently fried thank you Cathe.

After the workout, I really didn’t want anything too heavy or too labor intensive. And with it being cold, I’ve wanted cold-weather dinners like soup and chili. I had some leftover roasted butternut squash from my Butternut Squash and Black Bean Quesadillas. I also had a can of pumpkin puree. So, what do you get? A pumpkin soup of course.

Here’s how it went:

Pumpkin Soup


Ingredients:
Olive oil (just enough to sauté onions2-3 carrots, chopped 
1/2 white onion diced1 cup roasted butternut squash (cubed)Minced garlic to taste1 can pumpkin puree1 can cannellini…

Being Grateful - Even for Annoyances

Why does it seem like the time of year that is meant for giving, sharing, friendship, thanking, etc. is the most hectic? It’s easy to become a Scrooge if you aren’t careful. There are trees and mantels to decorate, cookies to bake, parties to attend, potlucks to cook for, family to visit, places to go, and oh the shopping that must get done.

Lately I have found myself pretty stressed and a bit snappy because I feel like there simply isn’t enough time in the day to get even half of it all done. Tuesday I thought that if I just didn’t workout, then that would free up some time. But I refuse to succumb to that thinking. If I do it once, I’ll do it again. I try to view my workouts like my job in a way. It’s part of the routine, just like waking up on time or going to bed on time. Holiday parties, potlucks, shopping for gifts are not (well, maybe the shopping part is).

I’ve mentioned before that I have two very dear friends affected by cancer right now. As my husband and I were dragging ou…