Runner With a Cause: The Charity Miles App

One thing I’ve found over the years is that I love being involved in charitable and philanthropic efforts. It leaves me feeling all warm and fuzzy, and I love knowing that I’ve contributed, even if in a totally miniscule way, to making the world a little bit better.

Commit to making a difference
Image source: weheartit.com

However, there’s one caveat on that: I’m picky about how I contribute. I know this makes me a horrible person, but here goes: soup kitchens creep me out (there’s something about me that attracts homeless alcoholic men like moths to a flame). Retirement homes give me the heebie-jeebies. I want to like them, but much like fish — which I also should like and want to like — I just really, spectacularly, viscerally dislike them. (See? Like I said, I’m a horrible person.)

In other charitable realms, I don’t have the reliable schedule needed for something like Big Brothers/Big Sisters or after-school tutoring. So, although I did a lot of volunteer tutoring in high school and loved every minute of it, my unpredictable schedule that rules out that option.

For a long time, I only knew what I don’t want to do and what I can’t do due to circumstance. Although the field had narrowed, I still struggled  to find a way to make a difference in ways that are meaningful and genuinely in line with my personality and my interests.

Image Source: http://www.beautifully-invisible.com

Although it took me a while to figure out what causes I’m most passionate about (and I mainly felt really bad about the overwhelming urge to run screaming from anything involving soup kitchens or retirement homes), I gradually started to realize that my passion lies in women’s empowerment and human rights, especially in developing countries.

This has a bajillion different angles to it: securing education for young girls, creating economic opportunities for women, and ensuring adequate pre-natal and obstetric care for pregnant women are the most critical issues, but this plays out in other ways as well.

Small things make a difference

I started to look for was to get involved, and my first step was to become a Half the Sky Community Ambassador. (Side note: If you haven’t read Half the Sky or seen the documentary on PBS, it’s worth every moment and every cent. I can’t recommend them highly enough.)

I then found other ways to get involved — and one of the best things I’ve found is the Charity Miles app. The app tracks how long you run, bike, or walk, and then makes a donation to a sponsored organization. Check out the short video below for a full run-down (pun intended) of how it all works:

After discovering the app, I saw that there are phenomenal organizations that serve as sponsors. The one that most intrigued me was Every Mother Counts, a non-profit started by Christy Turlington that aims to end the hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths caused by pregnancy and childbirth each year.

Fast fact: pregnancy is the number one cause of death for women ages 15-19 in the developing world.

For these young women, pregnancy and childbirth kill with even more ruthless frequency than the huge host of infectious diseases prevalent in the developing world. More than the endemic violence that so often sweeps through various corners of the globe. The act of having a baby — which should be a beautiful, joyful process — is often the cause of a violent, painful death for these women.

Image Source: http://www.who.int

Every Mother Counts works to prevent those deaths, and I knew I wanted to put my workouts to work, so to speak, in order to help support them any way I can. I downloaded the Charity Miles app, laced up my shoes, and hit the road. I loved knowing that each mile was in honor of the many women who don’t have access to good prenatal care or emergency obstetric services — to say the least, it’s a powerful motivator.

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So, if you’re looking for a way to combine your love of running, walking, or biking and a desire to do good for people in need, check out Charity Miles. Getting your sweat on while getting your philanthropy on is the best possible way to do two awesomely rewarding things at once.

WAIW + Gluten-Free Turkey and Veggie Taco Chili

I’m over winter.

I’ve had quite enough of freezing temperatures interspersed with miserably cold and rainy days. I’m ready for spring! I’m craving longer and warmer days, the feeling of sunshine on my face (with sunscreen, of course), the riot of color from all the blooming trees and flowers…basically, everything but the pollen. And at this point, I’m even willing to contend with the pollen, just so winter can be over.

However, I’m pretty stoked by the fact that it’s Wednesday. And not just any Wednesday, but the last Wednesday in February. March — and, therefore, spring — is around the corner, people! And so is the weekend! REJOYCE!

The fact that it’s Wednesday also means that it’s time for What I ate Wednesday (WIAW), hosted by the lovely Jenn over at Peas & Crayons. Aaaaaand, check out her big news – mazal tov, Jenn! This week’s WIAW offerings feature a heavy dose of produce, because daaaaaay-um, I do love me some fruits and veggies.

Peas and Crayons

Per the usual, I had coffee and a piece of toast before hitting the gym.

dsc00679Breakfast, also per the usual, was a kale, banana, strawberry, and mango smoothie made with Chobani Greek yogurt and Truvia.

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Lunch + snacks? Leftover Thai food (chicken with brown rice, broccoli, and peanut sauce), an apple, cocoa-roasted almonds, low-fat string cheese, blueberries with GF granola, and some cantaloupe (I forgot to take out of the fridge for the photoshoot – doh!).

DSC00717Dinner featured turkey-veggie taco chili — it was the perfect thing for a cold and rainy Tuesday night. The recipe is below, so if inspiration strikes, feel free to get cookin’!

dsc00675Turkey & Veggie Taco Chili

1 pound ground turkey, cooked (if you’d prefer a vegetarian chili, leave the turkey out and use a second can of black beans instead)
2 green peppers, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 onion, diced
1 small sweet potato, diced
1 can Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cans Bush’s Chili Beans (I used one can mild and one medium)
2 packages McCormick taco seasoning mix
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
Cilantro and guacamole for garnish

The process for this is absurdly easy: basically, you throw everything — except the guac and cilantro — into the crock pot and cook ‘er up. I let it cook while we were both at work; since it was going to be simmering for 9 hours, I set it on low heat. When you’re ready to serve it, garnish with shredded cheese, cilantro, avocado, guacamole…whatever strikes your fancy, really.

dsc00676Enjoy, and stay warm!

Gettin’ My Read On: A Review of Sarah Jio’s The Bungalow

I’ve always loved reading. I remember being unspeakably excited about starting Kindergarten, because I knew I’d learn how to read — and I’d been desperate to learn since I was about three years old.

Not surprisingly, I became a voracious reader as soon as I cracked the literacy code. Whenever we drove through Denver, I’d insist on going to the Tattered Cover — it’s since been broken up into different branches, but when I was growing up, the Tattered Cover was one gargantuan, four-story bookstore in downtown Denver — and would proceed to beg my parents for at least ten books when I knew darn well they’d be willing to buy three at the most. (Hey, a kid can dream.)

Image Source: tatteredcover.com

Since I finished grad school in 2008, I’ve found that one of the most thrilling things about being done with school — aside from earning a steady paycheck, which, after a year of grad research and two years of grad school, is kind of a big deal — is having time to read for fun again. As soon as I turned in my master’s thesis, I went straight to Target and bought myself some fiction novels.

As soon as I landed in DC, one of my first tasks was to get an account set up with the local public library. I had two books on hold at the library this weekend, and I felt all conflicted about picking them up: I’m slowly working my way through two other books, but they’re pretty dense. I enjoy reading them, but I have to do it in small increments because there are so many characters to keep straight and so much information to digest.

So, before heading out to the library, I sat on the couch feeling guilty for picking up two more books and adding them to the pile of half-read tomes on my nightstand. “You really should finish the other two before you pick up any more,” I thought to myself. “It’s ridiculous for you to be reading so many books at once. You should finish what you started before starting anything else!”

But then I had a little epiphany: this is my entertainment. I’m doing this reading for fun. It doesn’t have to be disciplined, and I don’t have to be task-oriented about it. “Screw it!” I said as I laced up my shoes, “I’m gettin’ me some books!”

The first one I dove into was The Bungalow by Sarah Jio. In short, I absolutely loved it. It combines all the genres I love most: historical fiction, mystery, art, and romance.

Image source: Goodreads.com

Among the many things I loved about this book was the fact that she writes about bygone eras with just enough detail to paint a vivid picture of that particular moment in time, but without venturing into the levels of detail that have your eyes glazing over. Anne, the novel’s protagonist, is superbly likable, and you find yourself rooting for her at every step of the story.

Another great thing about the book is the fact that Jio’s writing style is totally accessible. This was an incredibly enjoyable read — not to mention a riveting one — and I didn’t want to put it down. Truth be told, I read it in one night. No joke. Granted, I paid for that the next morning when I couldn’t get enough caffeine to get me through the day, but it was totally worth it.

So, if you’re looking for an awesome book, pick up The Bungalow — you’ll be glad you did.

MIMM: Weekend Round-Up

Aaaah, Monday: we meet again. Thankfully, this unfortunate fact is made much easier to bear thanks to Marvelous in My Monday — many thanks to Katie at Healthy Diva Eats for hosting!

We had a pretty low-key weekend: I wasn’t feeling well, so I stayed home and read while Brandon went to a retirement party for one of his mentors from work. And oh, read I did: I read The Bungalow by Sarah Jio in one sitting. (Stay tuned tomorrow for a more detailed review of its awesomeness!)

Yesterday after getting some errands done, Brandon and I wanted to catch a movie, so we decided to see what all the fuss with Silver Linings Playbook was all about — and let me tell you, the buzz is totally legit. It’s an awesome movie, and I laughed like crazy at the scene where Bradley Cooper loses it over the Hemingway book.

I feel ya, Bradley. Hemingway pissed me off to no end when I had to read his various works for in high school. I distinctly remember reading Old Man and the Sea and thinking, “For the love of God, dude, it’s a f***ing fish. LET IT GO! THIS IS POINTLESS AND A WASTE OF YOUR FICTIONAL TIME! THEREFORE IT’S A WASTE OF MY REAL TIME! LET THE DAMN FISH GO!”

By the time I was done reading the book, I had pretty much the same reaction as Bradley Cooper’s character — I mean, minus throwing it out the window and waking up my parents in the middle of the night. But I did swear a lot, throw the book down on the floor in disgust, and go vent to my parents about how much I hated Hemingway. (Happily, my Mom — she was an English major — could totally relate to my sentiments on ol’ Ernest.)

Even without that scene, though, Silver Linings Playbook was fantastic, and it was the perfect way to end the weekend.

This morning, to my surprise, has gone quite well so far: despite my early morning wake-up, I had a great time writing my Oscars Redux post while having the grown-up equivalent of a power hour with some delicious java.

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Then, when I got to work I found out that I got a small raise. *Does happy dance* It’s not massive and it was expected, but still — woohoo! A pay bump is a pay bump, and I’ll gladly take it.

Knowing this, I decided to use the gift certificates I’ve been hoarding and finally buy a pair of super cute ballet flats that I’ve been coveting for the last month. As one of my friends said when I posted on Facebook about my dilemma of whether or not to go for it and pony up the $35 to buy these, “My mom calls this a YOITY present: You Owe It To Yourself. It’s good to treat yourself now and then.” I totally agree with this idea. So, behold my YOITY purchase:

Image source: DSW.com

Hope everyone’s day is going well, despite the general heinousness of Mondays. If you find that you have a case of the Mondays…wear some flair?

Image source: http://www.8tracks.com

Post-Oscar Redux

Ok, so: can we please talk about the Oscars?!

I couldn’t stay up to watch the last half of the ceremony — my body enters shut-down mode around 10 p.m. — but when I looked at the news this morning, I was thrilled to see who the big winners are. There have been some years when the winners leave me scratching my head and saying “Bwwweeeeeh?”, but this isn’t one of them.

Anne Hathaway? Awesome. Daniel Day-Lewis? Amazing. Jennifer Lawrence? Incredible. Argo? Best movie I’ve seen in a long time.

To that end, if you haven’t seen Argo, I highly recommend it. When I was in grad school, the story Argo is based on was assigned reading for one of my favorite classes — and it had me riveted. It was rare for grad school reading to have me totally, completely engrossed like that, but I couldn’t put this one down. At more than one point, I found that I had a white-knuckle grip on my highlighter, and I found myself muttering “please let it work, please let it work” over and over. So, my dear readers, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Go see it! Go see it now! 🙂

And the fashion? Omigod, the dresses.

There are always a few hot messes during big awards ceremonies — I thank Joan Rivers and company at Fashion Police for pulling a few of these from the tons of photos and showing us that, sometimes, money doesn’t guarantee style — but overall, I thought a ton of people looked fantastic.

My best-dressed list goes a little sumthin’ like this: Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Octavia Spencer, Amanda Seyfried, and Jenna Dewan-Tatum.

Charlize Theron: She’s an incredible actress with impeccable fashion sense. I love everything about this two-piece dress: the cut, the color, and the way she makes glamor look totally effortless.

Image source: Glamour.com

Kerry Washington: Here’s another incredibly talented woman who also happens to look amazing. I feel like she’s so naturally gorgeous that she could wear a muumuu and still look fantastic, but she knocks it out of the ballpark with this dress. Everything about it is gorgeous: the red bodice with the intricately beaded top, the way it’s form-fitting without being totally ridiculous (Angelina Jolie and her “look at me!” right leg, I’m looking at y’all), the train…it all adds up to an incredible look.

Image Source: Elle.com

Octavia Spencer: I love, love, love how she dresses for her body type and refuses to be put into some horrid looking tent-dress. One of the major problems with Hollywood fashion is that anything larger than a size zero is considered a grounds for draping a woman in some unholy combination of a tarp, poncho, or circus tent. (Side note: I LMAO-ed for a solid 10 minutes when I read the portion of Mindy Kaling’s book where she makes them rip open the back of a size 2 dress that she wants to wear for a photoshoot. Atta girl, Mindy!) Octavia, though, has consistently shown that this doesn’t have to be the case. She looked fabulous last year, and she looks amazing again this year. I love the asymmetrical shoulder, the contrast between the bodice and the gown, the soft off-white color — everything about it flatters her, and she looks stunning.

Image Source: HuffingtonPost.com

Amanda Seyfried: The cut of this dress is spectacular. The halter neck, the keyhole  top, the fabric (granted, my first reaction with anything like this is something to the effect of “OOH, SPARKLES!”), and the way it’s form fitting without being over the top (cough cough — Angelina Jolie — cough cough) all join forces to create a fantastic look for her.

Image Source: Hollywire.com

Jenna Dewan-Tatum: Ok, so someday when I’m pregnant, I fully anticipate that I’ll continue wearing my usual get-up of yoga pants, a t-shirt, and flip-flops. Getting glammed up probably won’t even be on the radar for me, since it’s barely on the radar for me now. But holy heaven, Jenna Dewan-Tatum look amazing. The black lace dress is gorgeous in every way: the fabric, the cut, the fit, and the way she wears it are all fantastic.

Image Source: usmagazine.com

What were your thoughts on the Oscars? Did you like who won the big awards?

Easily Amused: Five Random (Yet Mundane) Things That Make Me Giddy

I have a long history of being easily amused, and I have a reeeeeaaaallly low threshold for getting ridiculously excited about seemingly mundane stuff.

For example, a new bottle of body wash in the shower has, on more than one occasion, had me bounding out of bed in the morning. Monday, the most loathsome day of the week, can get an instant upgrade thanks to a new eyeshadow color.

As you can see, it’s a pattern.

I’ve decided not to worry about whether or not this is weird (ok, it’s totally weird — but whatever, so am I), and just embrace the fact that my low threshold for amusement means it doesn’t take much to make me happy. And that’s not exactly a bad thing, amirite?

That pattern has continued lately, and I’ve found that there’s a wide range of things I get inordinately happy about. I’m all about seeing the beauty and value in simple pleasures — and since Saturday is my favorite day of the week, today seemed like an apropos moment to showcase my love of all things random. So, with that in mind, here are five totally mundane things that have been making me all kinds of giddy:

1) Spaghetti squash. This stuff is the bomb diggity. It’s not as dense as regular pasta, it’s loaded with fiber and nutrients, and I’ve been having a fabulous time loading it up with meat, marinara, and veggies. I get excited whenever pasta dishes go on our weekly menu, because it means I get to have spaghetti squash. And then I do a happy dance in the kitchen.

DSC007072) Birchbox. Ok, so I just hopped on the Birchbox bandwagon this month, but I’m already totally enamored by it. My first one arrived this week, and it’s as if the good folks in product selection read my mind. (Yes, I know, they have you answer questions so they can put together your product samples accordingly, but HOLY GAWD, it was scarily accurate.) They even included a piece of my favorite type of candy: chocolate with caramel. It lasted exactly 16 hours, during which time I tried really hard not to think about its presence in my lunch bag, before I polished it off in nearly one bite.

DSC007083) Heating up clothes in the dryer before putting them on. Frigid mornings make it hard to leave the warm, cozy nest of my bed when the alarm goes off — but more than anything, I hate putting on cold clothes on cold mornings. Pants and sweaters, no matter how dry, still get cold when hanging in a cold closet, and this has led to me getting really agitated and swearing a blue streak each morning.

The other day when I was, once again, launching into a tirade of decidedly not family-friendly language, it occurred to me: when I was really little, my mom used to warm up my clothes in the dryer on cold mornings. I used to love it. So, why not do the same now that I’m an adult? I threw my work pants and sweater into the dryer for five minutes — and lo and behold, it’s awesome. I even started doing it with my big parka before going outside, so now I walk into the freezing wind wrapped in a magic cocoon of warmth and happiness.

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4) Trader Joe’s FroGreYo. That’s my shorthand for frozen Greek yogurt, which I discovered last weekend and am now certifiably obsessed with. Blueberries and FroGreYo for dessert each night? Sign me up.DSC00712

5) Vaseline Healthy Hand & Nail Lotion. I have the most thrashed, dry, flaky, weak, and generally jacked-up nails on the planet. For no readily apparent reason, my hands usually look like I was an extra in Saving Private Ryan. I’d finally had enough of this, so I hopped on the Interwebz to do some research for how I could improve the health and quality of the ol’ fingernails.

The Vaseline lotion came up as the highest-rated product on Amazon — as well as on Target’s and Walmart’s respective websites — so that struck me as being a nearly unanimous vote in its favor. Then I saw the price tag: it’s, like, $3 for a tube. A girl can’t even get a cup of coffee for $3, let alone a well-reviewed bottle of hand lotion — but there it was, with its superfantastic reviews and its fabulously low price tag, basking in the glow of such awesomeness.

Image source: walgreens.com

Because I like to live dangerously, I bought two.

That stuff does its job like woah: my hands no longer look like I moonlight as a dock worker, and my nails have gone from thrashed to strong over the course of a week. WIN!

So there you have it: proof that it doesn’t take much to make me do a happy dance. Because of my easily-amused ways, I’m sure there’ll be more posts like this — so, consider yourselves forewarned.

A Wee Expansion

Friday, Friday, everybody’s glad it’s Friday…I woke up with Rebecca Black’s “Friday” stuck in my head, and it’s driving me slowly insane. Ack. Anyways, because it’s Friday and we’re all probably more than ready for the weekend, I’m going to keep this post short and sweet. This way, we can all go about our merry ways — and I can go to the gym while singing that blasted Rebecca Black song. *Headdesk*

From the time I was a teenager, I’ve harbored a secret desire to be a writer. I love writing, but I always thought that “being a writer,” as it were, would involve inconsistent income, occasional starvation, and embarrassed family members who’d sit around at family reunions while discussing my perpetual waitressing gig and my ill-fated attempts to write the Great American Novel.

Because of this, I didn’t let the phrase “I want to be a writer” slip from my lips for a very, very long time. I pursued my more level-headed goals and dreams. I pushed writing to the back of my mind and hoped it would eventually be replaced by other things.

DSC00040A few years ago I realized that despite my best attempts, the compulsion to write definitely hadn’t been replaced. At my core, I still wanted — desperately wanted — to write. But even then, I didn’t let myself pursue it. The specter of that family reunion scenario was just too daunting.

Recently, though, I realized that I’d had enough of sitting around and wishing I could write more. I decided that I want to actually get out there and write.

I have a steady day job, so pursuing my love of writing won’t involve waiting tables or occasional forays into a PB&J-only diet. I also have no desire to write a novel, because that’s just not the way my brain works. Since I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that novel writing is best left to people whose brains actually do work that way (side note: I’m in awe of these folks, because that shiz is hard), that takes care of the “let’s talk about her disastrous attempts to be a novelist” family reunion scenario.

awesome writing quote
Image source: Pinterest

At first I was worried that my lack of both a journalism degree and freelance experience would make this next to impossible. But, because sometimes life works in awesomely serendipitous ways, a couple of unpaid writing gigs have opened up — and that’s exactly what I need.

I’m working to expand my portfolio of articles, and I’d like to keep them all in one place as I build my collection. So, with that in mind, I’ve created a new page here: check out the Articles (Or, Shameless Self-Promotion) page to, hopefully, watch my little word garden grow.

Write, write, write.

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words: Besties

I decided to use the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” to inspire a random post every once in a while — basically, the objective is to find pictures that sum up whatever topic I feel like writing about, and then try to use those thousand words to describe what is so quickly summed up in an image.

BFFs: life is a haaaaaiiiul of a lot less exciting and happy without them.

I’m the type of gal who has a lot of friendly acquaintances but only a handful of close friends — all of whom I adore. This is largely because I am, in short, a total weirdo. The sarcastic, wisecracking nerd-athlete-goofball motif kind of requires a niche market, y’know?

After years of trying to make myself generically likable, I finally shook off that ridiculous idea and embraced my weirdo self.

Me? Act like a fool in public? PERISH THE THOUGHT.
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Case in point: I ditched the whole “composed, gracious bride” bit and instead had a grand old time shamelessly busting out bad dance moves.

Not surprisingly, once I started to seek out people who appreciate me for who I am and find my goofy, smartass, nerdy tendencies to be endearing (or at least tolerable), my friendships became a lot more meaningful, satisfying, and enjoyable.

In short, I found — and in some cases, reconnected with — my people. And now? I really effing love my friends.

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Lurve.

This week has featured four nuggets of awesomeness from my friends…and because I work in DC, I can’t help but to make a numeric list of these major doses of awesome:

1) a brief but wonderful reunion on Monday (over delicious Thai food, no less) with one of my dearest friends who was driving through DC with her husband,

2) an email from my junior high BFF, who I haven’t seen in years but whom I talk with all the time, saying that she’ll be visiting DC in two weeks,

3) another email from one of my dearest grad school friends — she now lives in Europe — saying that she’ll be visiting DC in April,

4) my best friend’s birthday (she and I have been best friends since the first week of first grade, so she’s more like a sister at this point).

Since some of my close friends live far away — my maid of honor and all but one of my bridesmaids live in places ranging from Pennsylvania to Georgia to Seattle — these visits are a really big deal.

While a good number of my friends live in DC, the key commonality with all these people is what happens when I hang out with them: we laugh so much that our stomachs hurt. We all share alarmingly similar senses of humor, and the silliness that goes down when we get together is truly epic.

A case in point: I’m pretty sure that our antics ruined the restaurant’s ambiance on Monday night during our brief dinner reunion, but I was having such fun and laughing so hard that this didn’t even occur to me until the next day. To any patrons whose dinners were disrupted from the riotous laughter, my apologies.

With all my close friends, whenever we get together we practically pull abdominal muscles from all the guffawing, and frankly, I’m shocked I haven’t given myself a hernia yet. In this case, what we all look like really can be best summed up in an image:

Image

‘Nuff said. 🙂

What I Ate Wednesday

I have a theory regarding the climate in DC: if I’m going to live somewhere with blazing, oppressively hot summers, I want to at least be granted a pass with mild winters. I’d like to not routinely feel like my face is going to freeze off. I’d like to run outside without getting windburn or feeling like my lungs have just had a close encounter with some dry ice. Take, for example, a place like San Antonio (where Brandon is from):

Image source: http://www.planetware.com

Alternatively, if I’m going to live somewhere with frigid, bitterly cold winters, I at least want it to involve buckets of snow on a semi-regular basis. Take, for example, a place like Colorado (where I’m from):

Image source: http://www.123rf.com

But nooooo, DC has to go and have the worst of both worlds (except for last winter, which was gloriously mild). Blast furnace-esque summers combined with meat-locker-meets-wind-tunnel winters doth not a happy habitat make. This makes me extra, super-duper happy that I can now take the bus instead of having to rely on on Metro (which often lacks climate control) and thus schlep a half mile to and from work.

Memo to the bus: you complete me. (Ok, I also told my other great love, guacamole, that it completes me, but it totally doesn’t have to know that you’re competing for my affection. This can be our little secret.)

Today, of course, is a frigid day — so as you’ll see from this week’s What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn from Peas & Crayons, I’m relying heavily on warm, soul-soothing foods to get me through until the next heat wave.

Peas and Crayons

Before hitting the gym, I had my customary coffee, banana (it was gobbled up while the toast was toasting and the coffee was brewing, so it didn’t make the photoshoot), and toast:

DSC00679I took my breakfast to work, which means I wolfed down my GF oatmeal with ground flax seed, blueberries, and almond milk. My beloved snacks were comprised of cantaloupe, celery with hummus, Greek yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, and string cheese.DSC00684

Lunch consisted of lentil soup and an apple…and enough tea to park on a barge.DSC00621

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Dinner, because I was feeling a tad lazy, was rotisserie chicken from Costco (Costco: you also complete me! Shhh, don’t tell the bus or the guacamole) and salad with yogurt-based French dressing. Sometimes I just have to ask somebody else to do the cooking for me, know what I mean?

DSC00550Now that it’s Wednesday, I’m looking forward to the upcoming weekend (of course) — but in the meantime, I hope everyone stays warm and well-fed. Happy WIAW!

Tuesdays > Mondays

I love long weekends. (Who doesn’t? Really, the only people who don’t love long weekends are probably members of al-Qaeda, or the League of Recreational Puppy Kickers, or something equally heinous. But I digress.)

Image Source: http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2011/05/02/weekend-at-bin-ladens
Image Source: http://www.madmagazine.com/blog/2011/05/02/weekend-at-bin-ladens

After an insanely busy week, this long weekend was very, very much needed. Granted, I’ve spent huge portions of that long weekend either running errands or hanging out with friends, so it hasn’t involved much in the way of downtime — but the beauty of the long weekend is that it gives me time to see my friends, do what I need to do to prepare for the week ahead, and actually catch some rest.

This means that by the time I go back to work, life is a lot more manageable. In addition to the happily shorter workweek, I feel like my ducks are actually in a row — and considering that I spend a lot of time feeling like my ducks are not only decidedly not in a row, but that they were all eaten by a pack of feral cats that I’m now trying to herd, this is a big deal.

I feel all warm and fuzzy inside knowing that there are pre-chopped veggies for dinner in the fridge, clean clothes in my closet, and that I know where my keys are.

Yup. I totally watch Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Love. It.
Yup, I totally watch Gene Simmons Family Jewels. Love. It.

That said, though, the amount of time it takes just to get my act together is an element of Life in the Real World 2.0 that I still find kind of bewildering. When I was living and working in DC after college (AKA: Life in the Real World 1.0), I lived in a group house where we were able to divide and conquer on chores and household maintenance. I cooked pre-made meals from Trader Joe’s. It took an hour, maybe 90 minutes at the most, for me to get my shiz together for the week.

Now? I need to allocate the better part of a day to getting my life organized. (Adulthood is weird, guys. It involves a lot of paperwork.) Hence my love of the long weekend: I have time to do everything, hang out with my homies, and still get some down time. It’s like scheduling sorcery!

So, I actually feel pretty good about going back to work today. Here’s to Tuesdays, people.