Sunday, September 30, 2012

(Somewhat) Full-Disclosure Sunday

Whew! The past few days have been a whirlwind! Life is definitely different this semester with three classes right in a row -- bam, bam, bam. Having Thursday through Sunday available has made life... interesting. Well, let's see...
Thursday, I headed to RIC around lunchtime to spend some QT with Mom. Dad was at a series of meetings at my alma mater, Longwood University. Mom and I got to pal around, make a healthy dinner together, sit outside and enjoy the wannabe-fall temps, and watch too much television -- starting with a new episode of The Office and ending with a few old Twilight Zone episodes, maybe including Parks and Rec in between. My mom isn't much of a TV-watcher; she often says that if there wasn't a TV in the house, she wouldn't notice. Still, it was great to bum around the house just us girls. She even let me test out her new Sleep Number!
Friday was Ian's M1-D1 semi-formal (i.e. the first-year med school nerds and the first-year dental students mixin' it up at the beautiful, newly renovated historic Hotel John Marshall). He picked me up after lunch at the Casa de Lew, and we hung around his apartment for a few hours before trying out a new recipe: whole-wheat thin spaghetti with fresh minced garlic and Prego Light Smart plus sauteed squash and zucchini with a splash of soy. Then it was time to play dress-up! Hey, I like an occasional excuse to put on something fancy and attend a swanky event on my man's arm ;) However... between the "pre-game" Ian's good friend hosted and the three drinks included with the cost of each ticket, I was feeling, shall we say, not myself when we finally hopped in a cab. A great time was had by all! ...until Saturday morning.
Give me a cold any day. Throw me allergies or a sinus infection. You know what, I'll even take bronchitis again. But don't expect me to function when I'm hungover. Every time this happens, I tell Ian, "I'm almost 24 years old! Shouldn't I know my limit by now?!"
His response?
"You like to have a good time!"
That I do. But I still wanted to enjoy the University of Richmond tailgate and football game we were planning to attend yesterday afternoon. My dad is an alum and a brother of Phi Kappa Sigma, and he and his frat bros all have season tickets. My sister has been to several tailgates before, but I hadn't seen my dad's brothers in ages. I needed to make a good impression, but I also desperately wanted to feel better. Luckily for me (and my poor sense of good judgment), Ian is a fantastic boyfriend who really looks out for me. He bought Chobani for me, cooked me some incredible scrambled eggs, sliced up fresh fruit, and even packed up my stuff for me as I moaned and groaned about feeling sick. Somehow, we got out the door on time.
I guess the boy has magical powers--or magical fruit--because somewhere between Miseryville and some pear slices, I felt almost like myself again.
The tailgate food was to die for, and the game was really exciting! Bear in mind, this is coming from a girl who doesn't have a clue what "first and ten" means, and who frankly doesn't care a bit about football. I guess live football is okay, and the rivalry between ODU and UR inspired a ton of enthusiasm. Unfortunately, the Monarchs defeated the Spiders 45-37.
Afterward, the fam and Ian and I headed to The Tavern for a late dinner. Since I began eating meat in January, I think I've had steak twice. Three times now, as The Tavern's steak fajitas were ahh-may-zingg. Of course, there was an obligatory Sweet Frog trip to follow, and the night concluded with the hilarity of Mel Brooks's Blazing Saddles. A first for me...
My weekend wrapped up with church this morning, a lazy lunch, and good-byes all around as Ian and Caroline headed back to their respective schools. Not having class until 4:30 on Mondays means one more night at home :) I'm off to enjoy the late afternoon sun in the swing with Mom. Ta ta!
P.S. What did you get into this weekend? Anything super exciting??
P.P.S. I swear I think about taking pictures for the blog -- I'm just bad about actually doing it!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What I Wish I'd Known When I Started Running

When I really kicked things into high gear a year ago, my primary goals were healthy gradual weight loss, and getting fit. I didn't start blogging until a few months later, and the only blog I was reading was Colleen's -- insightful, humorous, and brutally honest.
Here are some of the running factoids I'm sharing with my past self that I wish someone had shared with me before I started running:
(1) There will be chafing, and it will be uncomfortable. Hell, anywhere skin touches skin or clothing (or anything, for that matter) lends itself to the possibility of chafing. My thighs touch, and they probably always will. BFD. Well, except when they're bleeding... Finally buying a pair of sliders was the best thing that ever happened to me.
(2) The right shoes are key. Something that supports your ankles, as well as something light that provides a landing spring to absorb impact. The longer you try to stick it out in those holey, cheap POS "tennis shoes" from Ross, the longer you'll be unaware of why your feet are crying.
(3) Running as a sport is not easy. Nike can promote "just do it" out the wazoo, but running requires patience, mindful effort, challenging oneself, and perseverance. At some point, I think I truly believed that I would become A Runner after just a few weeks of skipping merrily around. Almost a year later, the furthest distance I've ever run is 4 miles. Don't get me wrong -- I'm proud as hell of those miles.
(4) Some days it feels as though dragging yourself to the gym will be the end of you in itself, much less clamoring aboard the treadmill with a pounding head, clogged nasal passages, aching muscles, and zero inclination to run. That's okay. Every single day that you decide to run won't necessarily feel like it's a sunshine-and-butterflies type of day.
(5) It is absolutely vital to listen to the signals your body sends you. If a little light is blinking in the dark recesses of your brain, saying, Don't make me go to the gym today, pleeease! then don't force yourself to go. Some resistance may be helpful in preventing serious injury, but it's when you decide to be heroic and conquer that little blinking light that you can wind up in bad shape. I'll admit, 99.9% of the time that I force myself to go when I truly do not want to, I feel great afterward. But sometimes, it's really okay to let ye olde body take a bit of a rest.
(6) You're not doing yourself any favors by attempting to run every single day. Since running doesn't come easily for you and it probably never will, it's perfectly acceptable -- and probably encouraged -- to switch up your exercise routine. Mix in some weight training, the elliptical, an outdoor powerwalk, spinning, walking on the treadmill at different inclines... whatever crosses your mind. Get movin'!
(7) Driving yourself 0.4 miles to the gym is frankly kind of embarrassing. But, if it helps you stay motivated to work out, the cost of gas and the sympathetic looks you get from people are well worth it.
(8) Never, ever, ever stop trying. Just because running doesn't come as naturally to you as talking on the phone or craving ice cream, doesn't mean you can't be successful. Sure, some days will be better than others, and there will be days here and there when it would be simplest to just lie down and give up the game. Just don't forget the incredible feeling you experienced when you crossed the finish line in an all-out sprint at your first race, or how exhilarated you were when you realized you unintentionally accomplished a 5k on the treadmill weeks before you were supposed to have reached your goal. You can do this.
And with that, I'm off to run! Happy Hump Day, blends.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dinner with Sister(s)

For the most part, I'm perfectly content living alone. I don't have to mark whose milk is whose, whose leftovers are whose, or whose bananas are whose (my undergrad roommates and I used to actually mark our initials on the banana peels). I don't have to ask permission before Ian visits, or inform anyone that I need a little peace and quiet for a nap or some "me time." I can watch Breaking Amish or Jersey Shore: Season 6 (guilty pleasure) without worrying that someone somewhere is huffing about not getting to watch her show that's on at the same time. I have all the personal space and the freedom in the world! But, I digress.
I have several very close friends in my graduate program, but it's not the same as having the constant companionship or physical closeness as a roommate. One of my closest friends, Kristin, lives with her boyfriend, Travis, just a mile or so down the road. Another close friend, Jennifer, has a roommate of her own. It's super convenient being able to visit with my girls who live so close.
Now, I have even more exciting visits to plan. One of my sorority sisters, Rachel, is now in the same program as I at the same college!

We set up a date earlier in the week to go out to dinner Friday night or to have a few beers on someone's porch to soak up this gorgeous weather. We left things pretty loose, so I was thrilled when she texted Friday morning, asking whether I'd be interested in having dinner in at her place with another of our ADPi sisters, Ashley. I was like, duhh! Mini ADPi reunion! As it turned out, Ashley got off work later than she planned and wasn't able to make it, but I rejoiced that she'll be living with Rachel come February.
I was also overly excited because I volunteered to bring the salad, which gave me an opportunity to use the wooden salad bowl set my mom got me last Christmas!
Home decor and kitchenware really shouldn't be as thrilling as they are to me, but hey, I own it. [Secretly, I think Ian also owns my love for "cute" kitchen and home furnishing items because it's less he'll need to worry about when we someday share a home.]

Being the scatterbrain that I am, I forgot the salad dressings I had promised to bring, and Rachel didn't have any. Sooo, we were saladless. No matter; she prepared a delicious on-the-spot sauteed garlic chicken dish and stir-fried garden veggies for us! I even told her how pleasantly surprised I was that we had agreed on a health-conscious dinner choice.
One of my favorite things about the seasons changing is the extended time I can spend on the porch or meandering outside, admiring the leaves changing and absorbing the cooler temps. So that's exactly what we did... for five hours. It's so funny to me how no matter where the conversation takes us, we always end up back at sorority stuff or Longwood. Hey, home is home.

P.S. What were you up to this weekend? I spent Saturday cheering on the Hampden-Sydney Tigers, who unfortunately lost in the last 4 minutes, 21-24, to the Huntingdon Hawks of Alabama. We'll get 'em next time!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Little Bit Like Forrest

In sixth grade, I was required to Run The Mile for the first time in my life. I remember being absolutely flabbergasted when Mr. Cifarelli announced that I had completed those four GD laps in 8:08. It had felt like an eternity, and yet I don't remember the run being particularly difficult. Just wait, A.K. It gets worse.
At my high school, gym class was only required through 10th grade in order to incorporate Driver's Ed., as well as one last attempt at Family Life. I took Advanced P.E. in 11th and 12th grades for a bit of "exercise." I'm going to use that term loosely, because it was mostly my mouth that got exercise. Even then, we were still required to Run The Mile.
During the spring of my junior year, my friend Tiffany and I were positively dreading the mile. She smoked like a chimney, and I wasn't in any kind of shape for "distance" running. We agreed to run the straights and walk the curves of the gravel track outlining the football field. We began at the same pace, but Tiffany took off and I was left in her dust. I think I finished in under 15 minutes, but there were only 2 people finishing behind me. My classmates had been standing around for some time, wondering what was next on the agenda. Big whoop, Troy. I pretty much decided then and there that running was NOT for me.
At Longwood, undergrads are required to take one Physical Education course. I picked one my first semester (to get it out of the way) called Basic Activities or some crap. We dabbled in tennis, dodgeball, military drills... whatever whimsical notion crossed my teacher's warped mind. We didn't do much running, so I was off the hook again.
When I moved into an apartment for my junior and senior years, I decided--after a few months of prodding encouragement by one of my roommates and a gnawing sense of guilt--to check out the fitness facility the complex offered.
Small is definitely not an understatement, but it basically suited my purposes. I could crank up Saved By the Bell, crank out a few miles power-walking, and examine the weight machines without feeling scrutinized. I did what I thought was running, but I found out how ill-prepared I was for my sorority's annual Miles 4 Smiles 5k event that my dad "ran" with me during the spring of my senior year. I doubt I even jogged half of the damn thing. I was also foolishly allowing my brain to believe that my body was losing weight and that I was taking care of myself... between bites of thin-crust pineapple and onion Papa John's and sips of PBR.
Finally, when I moved into my current apartment 13 months ago, I decided to make permanent changes in my fitness, my diet, and my lifestyle. Things have only gone uphill since! I celebrated every new distance milestone and every new pound lifted. I recorded everything meticulously, and I continually set new goals and challenges for myself. I don't know when one can consider herself "A Runner," but I do know that running is a sport that provides me freedom, pride, health, challenge, and spirit.
Maybe that's what a runner's high truly is -- "I just felt like runnin'." Everyone says I'll know it when I experience it, so maybe I'm looking for it too hard. Maybe I'll find my true runner's high when I least expect it.
Until then... have an excellent Thursday, blends!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday Ramblings

There's a lot going through my head right now. There are two ways I usually organize my thoughts and coordinate inside my head: calling my mom and/or blogging. Today, I chose the latter.
I'm reading a 208-page book on how to deal with children who have experienced a traumatic death (it's for my Grief, Loss and Trauma class). It's an excellent book, and it's written mostly in layman's terms -- thank goodness -- so it's easy to follow. One of my best friends, Kristin,
really enjoys studying and researching grief and loss. This book is right up her alley. I can't decide whether it's weird that I'm really enjoying this class and the catharsis it provides. Coincidentally, we're a class of all women with a female professor, so the sharing is abundant and I'm learning a lot of rich information about my classmates. It makes studying tough, emotional material a bit more bearable.
I'm over the moon that we've passed mid-September and fall is just around the corner!
When the leaves start changing, everything everywhere is flavored with pumpkin and cinnamon, and there is a crisp breeze in the morning, I'm in my element. It doesn't hurt that some stores are already displaying pumpkins ;)
I'm more motivated than ever to hit the gym. My weight loss has peaked, but I feel healthy, strong, energized, and all-around well. My fitness log looks good, too, which is always a bonus in my book.
Also, I befriended a somewhat older gentleman who also frequents the apartment complex gym. He and his wife walk on the treadmill or use some of the weight machines. He's full of stories about the "good old days" when he was a Green Beret. He's also full of tales about his bad knees, his "six-pack-turned-keg," and his multiple back surgeries... Nevertheless, he's very sweet and very encouraging. He says things like, I suppose you're gonna run on that thing, aren't ya? in reference to the treadmill. Or, my favorite, Do you ever leave this place?! I've definitely portrayed myself pretty darn accurately as a crotchety gym-goer who wants to be left alone, but admittedly, it's nice to have someone to talk to for a few minutes.
Ian and I have really found our stride with the long-distance, professional-school relationship. We'll be celebrating our third(!!) anniversary in November, 
and things feel stronger than ever. I admit, I had my reservations about the stress, the travel, the constant pre-planning... but I guess The Big Man Upstairs planned for me once again better than I planned for myself.
Well, I guess I'm about all rambled out. I hope your Wednesday-slash-National Talk Like a Pirate Day is marvelous :) Ta ta!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

2011 Me

Dear 2011 A.K.,
You have only just begun your fitness journey. You have so much yet to learn and so many rookie mistakes to make. In 2012, you will still be young and naive, but you will have learned tremendously. For example...
There are myriad substitutes for mayonnaise. Don't assume that just because a recipe calls for it, you're obligated to eat lard. Do your research!
Blogging will rapidly become one of your best learning tools. Check fellow bloggers' sites daily and comment as often as possible. Remember, blogging is for you, not for your readers. You started a blog to document your healthy living journey, not to develop a posse.
You will lose 30 pounds fairly rapidly, and you will want to take a lot of "selfies" from different angles. This is a no-no. These pictures do not need to be displayed for the world to see. Leave the weight-loss fluctuations to Kirstie Alley.
If you drink three-quarters of your bottle of water before your run, you will cramp like a bitch and you will invariably look like you have ants in your pants trying not to fall off the treadmill. Save some H2O for when you really need it!
You do not have to get stuck in a fitness rut. So you've discovered that you like running. There's this whole other world called Outside that beckons as you drive 0.5 miles past it to the gym.
If you feel like you're about to faint, Stop. Running. You don't have to kill yourself to prove a point. You will accomplish distances that will be sources of great pride for you. Remember also that you do not need others' social praise in order to feel proud of what you have done, though it's always nice to receive. Every new increment is meaningful in and of itself!
Hypoglycemia is no joke. Be sure to stash healthy snacks and drinks (that also have a sugar boost) in your car in case of emergency. Or so that you don't hit that "hangry" stage that co-occurs with the "raging bitch" stage. Also, apologize to your mom if you hang up on her in a moment of hanger...
Giving up soda was one of the best decisions you ever made. Between V8 juice, skim milk, tea, coffee, and most importantly, good ole water, you don't need soda! (We'll agree to let the summer slide.)
You don't need a crazy fad diet to lose weight. Between consciously reading labels, conducting research on nutrition, and experimenting, you've learned more than some silly app ever could have taught you. Plus, you've become self-reliant and confident in your ability to make nutrition fun and tasty.
At some point, if you want to lift weights, you just have to dive in and figure out how the machines work. They're not as complicated as they look, the weights will not fall on your toe, and it's not as humiliating as you assume to read the label or follow the picture instructions. I promise, everyone is much more focused on themselves than they are on you fumbling with the multi-press.
Don't try to do too much too fast. Getting fit is all about progression. You won't sprout a six-pack or pronounced biceps overnight, but you will begin to notice differences with time.
This is probably the most important thing from 2012 that I can share with you--
Stop comparing yourself to others. You may think that some girls emerged from the womb with abs and perfectly straightened hair, but you never know if there may be someone out there admiring you.
Do you, girl. You're doing great :)
Love, 2012 Me

Monday, September 17, 2012

Training with Dad

My dad is the only person who will train for races with me. I say "races," though the only race I've ever run was the Susan G. Komen 5k back in May.
We have a 5k next month at Smith Mountain Lake, though! I also say "train with me," though we're working separately toward the same goal: finishing in 35 minutes. Initially when Dad suggested this, I thought, uhhh... But honestly, it's the coolest thing ever that he's training for a race that I wanted to run. We were supposed to compete in Color Me Rad, but that's a whole 'nother story. This race is to make up for not being able to compete in that race due to procrastination and full registration.
Dad texted me yesterday: Doing a little work for the 5k. Power walk and x-country run. I replied, I ran 2.5 miles today! Look at us training :)
I usually finish a 5k run around 39:00 on the dreadmill. Dad had told me that the excitement of the race and my adrenaline would leave me feeling as though 3.1 miles had passed in no time flat, and that I would likely finish under 39:00. He was exactly right! At our 5k in May, I was pleasantly surprised to finish at around 37:00.
If it weren't for his enthusiasm and his spirit about staying fit, I doubt I would have enough inspiration within myself to set a lofty goal of finishing in 35:00. Nevertheless, 35 minutes is the goal, and I'm stickin' to it!

This one goes out to you, Dad -- thanks for being my training partner, my race buddy, my cheering section, my supporter and encourager, and my source of excitement about exercise!
Now, I just need to muster up the enthusiasm to hit the gym this morning...
P.S. What type of goal do you set before you compete? My goal for the Susan Komen race was simply to run the entire distance. Truly, it was one of my proudest accomplishments.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quin-whoa! Stuffed Peppers

A couple days ago, The Boy texted me asking whether quinoa-stuffed peppers were something I'd be interested in. He said he'd had a random craving for awhile and wanted to know whether I'd be willing to make/eat them when he visited this weekend. No matter the idea, I always get excited about cooking with Ian when he proposes a new idea. I can't say this was one of our healthier meals made together, but a lot of fresh veggies went into the process.
I wish I had pictures of every step of the process -- much to your delight, I'm sure -- but we were in a bit of a hurry because he was heading back to Richmond right after dinner. We kind of needed to just get on with the show, even though I would have loved to post the results of the new food processor my mom got me!
We're also not especially great about following recipes... For example, we missed the part about the peppers needing to bake for an hour after we stuffed them. We also began chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing before we read the complete instructions, which resulted in a bit of panic and a few corners cut. You live and you learn, right?
Happy Sunday, blends.
P.S. He found the recipe via Vegetarian Times if you're interested! Even though I'm not a vegetarian anymore, I still buy foods and work from recipes that are almost strictly lacto-ovo-pescetarian because it's what I know. Working on expanding my horizons!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wanna Know What Scares Me?

This morning, I met with the Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who will be overseeing my Practicum experience as I earn 100 hours next semester toward my M.Ed. That right there scares the living shit out of me. I will be counseling people. Me!!

I felt so good about my interview afterward that I treated myself to a Chicken Strips Salad, waffle fries, a fruit cup, and a Diet Lemonade at Chick-Fil-A. And I'm not even going to apologize for it.
I also may or may not have taken up a pump at Sheetz for 25 minutes talking to Ian and my parents... oops.

Wanna know what else scares me?

Walking in heels. I just know that one day, I'm going to take the trip of a lifetime and break myself. Oh, wait... So that's what these babies are for:
I have an impressive array of flats, kitten heels, dressy sandals, and other low-to-the-ground professional footwear.

Interviews. I start babbling when I'm nervous and I end up revealing uselessly personal things about myself that the interviewer is probably mentally recording for my VIP Nut House pass.

Finding new places. I was a ball of nerves yesterday, so my Garmin (Jillian) and I took a little road trip to the site of the interview. It took me just over 10 minutes to find and it was super easy to locate, even after a few wrong turns (okay, I might've ignored Jillian's instructions in my overzealous haste).

Bad breath. I was chewing a piece of Dentyne in the car on the way to the interview, and I completely forgot to spit it out before I spoke with the receptionist. I'm sure she heard the *gulp* as it went down the hatch moments before my interviewer greeted me.

Being late. There is very little that stresses me out more than being late somewhere. Especially to an interview or another professional event. I was asked to meet my interviewer at 12, but I hopped in my car with my planner, post-interview shoes, and resume at 11:20. Normally, I'm a mild-to-moderate Road Rager, but this morning I was hoping for red lights and delays. I ended up sitting in the parking lot of the site, repeatedly applying lip gloss and pretending to locate things in my suitcase-sized purse. Finally I decided that 11:46 wasn't too early to head inside.

Feeling unprepared. Having been through a number of interviews, I know that most interviewers want to know about you as opposed to what you know about them. Nevertheless, I would have been mortified if I'd been asked what I knew about the institution and I'd just sat there with my mouth open. I'm one of those people who shamelessly rehearses things like presentations aloud to feel more at ease. Sometimes I even read heinously boring textbook chapters with a British accent to keep myself from falling asleep. Too much...?

Well, now that you know way too much about me, what's one thing that scares you?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Remembrance

I'm not big on writing posts that are directed toward any particular person or group of people (except anyone who might be reading this). I didn't have the blog last September, so I thought it only fitting that I write a brief post about September 11th and how it has affected my life.
I was sitting in seventh-period 7th grade Social Studies pretending to copy notes from Mrs. Mulherin's overheard projector slides when she received a memo that we were permitted to stop the lecture and watch the news. It was exceedingly rare in my middle school that the TVs strapped to rolling carts were turned on, and I don't remember a single other occasion when we watched live television. I don't remember much except the kids in my class saying, "Whoooa!" and "Cool!" You can always count on middle-school boys to find any sort of danger, explosion, or smoking apparatus cool. The words terrorists and World Trade Center and Twin Towers were floating around, but it didn't mean much to me. I didn't have a concept of what terrorists were or the kind of damage they could inflict upon millions of Americans. I didn't understand the ripple effect that September 11, 2001, would have on this country or on my life personally.
I'm also not big on engaging in disputes with people about the pros and cons, if you will, of war, or the merits of joining a particular branch of service versus another. I don't feel politically educated enough to weigh in on disputes of which presidents sent us into battle and shouldn't have, or which war was most costly for the U.S., or why certain presidents have served this country "better" in times of crisis than others. I can't quote stats about how many troops are overseas at a given time, and I'll be the first to admit that the names of commonly known terrorist organizations start to run together. I may not know enough to make judgment calls about military actions, but I do know that nobody tells me what I should eat, how I should dress, where I should live or attend school, or what religion I should practice. I respect this country's troops and its government for all that they have given us in terms of freedom and privilege. For that, I am eternally grateful.
I have a favorite quote that I carry with me in my day-to-day to remind me of my privileged status as an American:
If you can't stand behind our troops, feel free to stand in front of them.
September 11, 2001. United we stand. We will never forget.

Monday, September 10, 2012

UG Dining Hall Challenge

I swear, I will turn anything into a challenge. My latest? Eat well while eating like an undergrad for the weekend.

This weekend, I spent time with my sister and her friends at their college. Thus, it was back to dining hall meals. The dining hall isn't the worst thing ever... but I still shudder when I think of how many of my undergraduate meals consisted of bagels slathered with cream cheese, Reese's Puffs, the worst pizza that ever existed, and "salads" I barely touched that were disguised under hearty helpings of bleu cheese. Last year, when Ian was still at Hampden-Sydney, I used to enjoy challenging myself to experiment with wholesome, healthy food options in his dining hall. Granted, we usually counteracted such meals with trips to BWW or a Farmville favorite, Macado's, but I was still proud of myself for electing to eat egg white omelettes, fresh blueberries and strawberries, and raisin-sprinkled granola with skim. It's all about balance ;)

For breakfast on Saturday morning, I sampled scrambled eggs, a slice of real bacon (yum!), low-fat blueberry yogurt with granola, a cup (or two) of whipped coffee, a smattering of 'tater tots, and a much-needed bowl of Kashi Go Lean! Crunch. The breakfast of champions. Well... the breakfast of people trying to avoid a trip to Starbuck's and/or the beautifully displayed doughnuts and desserts.

Sunday morning looked much the same: a scoop of scrambled eggs, a bowl of low-fat vanilla yogurt with pineapple chunks and granola, a couple small seasoned potato cakes, a cup of whipped coffee and a cup of premade coffee with milk, and a bowl of Go Lean! Crunch mixed with Honey Nut Cheerios. I must say, I've been pretty impressed with the school's dining hall options. I left around 2:00 yesterday, but steaks and hot fudge sundaes were on the dinner menu!

Normally, I'm perfectly happy being that girl who snaps photos of her meals in public. I thought I'd avoid embarrassing Caroline and her sorority sisters, particularly as a 23-year-old trying to blend in with UGs... Overall, I felt pretty good about my dining hall choices. My weekend diet definitely could have contained more vegetables. I also simultaneously celebrated and lamented the fact that not once did we order pizza. My mouth waters just thinking about thin-crust cheesy pizza with pineapple and onions... But, my sister and I snacked on Vitamin Water and 100-calorie packets of almonds instead.

As I know from my lack of personal experience, eating well while relying on the dining hall can be done, it just requires effort, creativity, and openness. It's all about that balance.

I hope your weekend was excellent! I'm counting down the days until Friday!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fun Facts Friday

Maybe not so much fun as they are random and overly honest.
(-) I haven't had a hair trim in more than 18 months. My hair literally
looks like a rat's nest. I'm pretty sure it's mostly due to the 'do my mom dubbed my Samurai bun.
Guys, my split ends have split ends. I swear it's not some sort of personal hygiene-rebellion type thing. My adorable stylist charges $60 for a shampoo, cut, and blowdry, and she seems to have forgotten what "trim" means. She always wants to try some new experimental style of "trimming," and I usually wind up with a bob, if not albeit a buzz cut! Okay, I'm done.
(-) I'm unnaturally excited to visit my little sister at college this weekend, meet her Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority sisters, spend the weekend in their sorority house, and revisit the deliciousness of private school dining hall selections. Seee yaaa, ARAMARK!
(-) Ian and I have found our eBay sales to be lucrative enough to contribute significantly to the cost of our cruise. For realsies. Who knew selling A&F tees from freshman year could rake in so much dough??
(-) I don't want to wait one more second to decorate for fall... so I'm not! I broke out my hoarder's stash of mini fall-themed hand sanitizers,
my fall-scented bathroom anti-bac soaps, my fall-scented candles, and every scary movie I own. Most of which are on VHS -- Urban Legend, Panic Room, I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (which, for the record, should be titled I Still Know What You Did Two Summers Ago), Insomnia, Carrie... you get the idea. I've always felt like fall was the perfect season for scary movies. I guess because of Halloween.
(-) *Drum roll, please* For Halloween this year, I have decided to be... *symbol crash*... a loofah! I don't know how I'm going to pull it off or where I'll get to wear my costume, but I promise there will be photographic evidence if it happens.
(-) I've drunk more water this week than I think I drank all summer. In other news, I've discovered that I have a kitten bladder... but I feel so cleansed and refreshed. Don't stand next to me too long or you'll have to hear about my precious Brita.
That pretty much sums it up. Happy Friday, blends!
P.S. Have you ever sold stuff on eBay? If so, I'd love to pick your brain.
P.P.S. What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Unexpected Inspiration

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you may or may not have seen my tweet, questioning whether watching Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team 6 for hours should be a publicly admitted statement:
Well, as I was indulging in my guilty pleasure Monday evening, I was nutritionally inspired. That seems as though it should be an oxymoron, but it's true.
Jay Johnson, the cheerleaders' nutrition "expert" -- forgive me as I use that term loosely -- analyzes their "diets" during each season of the show. (I don't watch religiously, but I tune into an episode now and again.)
Jay always critiques the girls most harshly who think they're doing their bodies good but are actually potentially causing them harm. Obviously, the cheerleaders who select cinnamon buns and Apple Jacks for two meals a day are granted a well-deserved eye roll and a WTF from Jay. It's the girls who fall into the "health halo" of working out 3-4 hours a day and subsequently eating 3-4 times the amount of carbs necessary to fuel their bodies who receive the harshest reviews. It's also the girls who don't have a clue and are thus stuffing their (very trim) pie holes with random "healthy" foods that give Jay the most trouble.
Jay strongly encouraged the girls to consume all or the vast majority of their carbs before 3 p.m. I've been gradually decreasing my carb intake anyway, but I was excited to hear a coinciding opinion. Upon closer investigation, as well as consultation with some of my more nutrition-savvy friends, I found that a lot of foodies and fitnessistas abide by said sage advice. He also suggested a high-protein breakfast, such as salmon accompanied by blueberries, oatmeal, and milk. I never was one of those people who could down a lox bagel in the a.m., but I'm giving my breakfast an intensive review. Lastly, one of Jay's resounding comments was water, water water! Not just for hydration's sake, but because water is nature's cleanser and detoxifier.
Since I invested in a Brita, I've been drinking more water on a daily basis than I drank during some weeks this summer. Embarrassing, but true. All told, I'm always happy when my personal decisions are backed by someone with more expertise. Please believe: I'm not putting total stock in everything this meathead spouts off. Rather, I'm doing my research and time-testing personal experiments to see what works best for me.
P.S. How much stock do you put into diets or recommendations that celebrity fitness "experts" endorse? How much research do you conduct before you shake things up?
P.P.S. Any recommendations on how to get enthused about salmon before noon...?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Swing of Things

Maybe it's just me... but is anybody else having trouble getting back into "school mode"?
Whether you're a teacher, an undergrad, a graduate student, or an adult out in the work world, there's something about the beginning of September that signals newness and a fresh academic year. Maybe for school supplies-o-holics like myself, it's the displays of No. 2 pencils, packs of index cards, and rainbow-colored highlighters that gets me excited. For type-A over-organizers (also like myself), maybe it's Staples's and Office Max's relentless advertising of planners that makes me develop a twitch. Maybe it's simply readjusting to my school routine that takes some getting used to.
After the busiest summer of my life -- between two week-long trips, two summer classes, and 7 weeks of intensive work at the Faison School -- I feel as if I never stopped moving long enough to breathe or sit down. Laugh if you must, but this summer was a whirlwind of excitement and chaos. I will admit wholeheartedly that being back in this little city and managing my apartment, as well as diving back into clean eating and running, is thrilling. But for the life of me, I can't seem to wrap my head around my textbooks or my assignments.
It's not that I'm not doing them; it's that my heart and soul aren't in school right now. They're either on a balmy beach somewhere enjoying a make-your-own 6-pack from Kroger, or they're not-so-secretly wishing it was already fall so all three of us could break out our seasonal decorations and threads. Sigh. Being as anal and rule-abiding as I am, I know that everything will get done in a timely manner and an orderly fashion. I just don't want to, damnit!
Well, this has been another one of my more vapid posts of late, but it offers the only explanation I have for the dry spell of posts and pictures. Well, that, and my eBay addiction... Thanks for stickin' around :)