A New Look + Some Updates

This weekend was busier than I’d anticipated, so I didn’t get a chance to do much in the way of writing. I did, however, update the template for the site — it’s a bit cleaner than the old one, and it’s cheaper to boot. A win-win, in my book.

So! Since I spent more time managing the aesthetics of the blog than I did with a writing exercise or even just dumping my random thoughts into WordPress, here’s a compilation of things happening lately.

I made these amazing Thai sweet potato veggie burgers from Oh She Glows. They’re gluten-free when made with GF oat flour, and they’re incredible. I amended the recipe a bit, so they don’t hold together as well as hers — but that’s ok in my book, actually, because I wound up combining them with sauteed kale and mixing it all up into a bowl full of steaming deliciousness. Sweet fancy Moses, they’re amazing.  By way of further endorsement, every time I warmed them up for my lunch at work, random people would walk by my office and go “Ohhhhhh my God, that smells amazing. What is that?!” If you’re looking for something to keep you warm and full, I highly recommend them.

Also, this almost happened last week. I was thwarted by some logistics (namely that I can’t bring dogs past the security guards outside my building, and there was no enclosed park to play in), but for a brief, shining moment in time, I was crawling out of my skin with excitement over the mere idea of seeing a pack of puppies. Since it didn’t, I’m back to being a total creeper around other peoples’ dogs. This is how I look every time I’m in the elevator with a random person’s dog:

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Over the weekend we had one glorious day of warm weather and sunshine before winter came roaring back. It was 65 and sunny on Sunday, so I abandoned all my other plans in favor of a lumber in the great outdoors. You guys, I *so* want to be able to run outdoors all the time. Weather in DC isn’t conducive to it at all, since it’s God-awful hot in the summer, equally God-awful cold and rainy in the winter. Clearly I need to move to SoCal, or someplace where the weather is equally magical. Anyways, I loooooooved my 3 1/2 10-minute miles. (Side note: when I got back, Brandon noted that I had, in the words of Magic Johnson’s basketball commentary, “worked up a good lather.” Despite doing just over a 5K at a pace nowhere near race-worthy, I  still managed to schvitz like a wildebeest.)

I also just discovered a website that I already adore: Trying to be Good, which is hysterically funny, poignant, and an awesome dose of real talk. Anyone who feels feelings and appreciates humor should read it.

Anyways, that’s a brief update — I’ll be back later this week with real writing!

Slow Running For the Win

I have been vindicated, you guys.

Ok, let me back up a bit, so as to explain that vindication: I’m a slow runner. Painfully — no, embarrassingly — slow. For years, I’ve been both appalled and slightly ashamed of the fact that I routinely average a 10:30 mile. I manage to do 11:00 if I’m tired. 9:30 if I’m feeling awesome. 8:30 if I’m in the best shape of my life and had a cup of coffee the size of a Winnebago.

After the Great Health Implosion of 2013 and the ensuing 14 months of bloat-inducing medication, my mile time slowed to such a plodding pace that I stopped referring to these forays into outdoor exercise as running and instead called them by a more appropriate name: lumbering.

As in, I’m going lumbering and will be back in 35 minutes or so. When I got tired, I’d start singing Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On” in my head — but I’d change the lyrics to say Lumber on/Now’s the time/The time is now…

Meanwhile, when I read about all these amazing runners who can roll out of bed and bust out multiple 8 minute miles, I feel like the athletic equivalent of a manatee.

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BUT NO LONGER!

This afternoon I saw a column in the Times health section which said that slow runners have greater longevity than either sedentary people or fast runners. To quote the article:

Plodding joggers tended to live longer than those who were faster. And in fact, the people who jogged the most frequently and at the fastest pace — who were, in effect, runners rather than joggers — did not enjoy much benefit in terms of mortality. In fact, their lifespans tended to be about the same as among people who did not exercise at all.

The results suggest that the “optimal dose of jogging is light, and strenuous joggers and sedentary non-joggers have similar mortality rates,” said Jacob Louis Marott, a researcher for the Copenhagen City Heart Study and co-author of the study.

YOU GUYS. Today, I am vindicated. Today, I stand before you a newly-proud slow runner.

The timing of the article was perfect, too: the weather here has been too cold and miserable to run outside, so I’ve been either bonding with the treadmill or the elliptical lately. Today, though, presented the one shining reprieve in our weather pattern.

All week I’ve been planning to take advantage of today’s nice weather, so I went for a lumber. I lumbered on for 3 ¼ miles, plodding along with my 10:30 pace – but when other people sped past (and even when one dude passed me twice), my competitive side, which gets obnoxiously vocal when I’m doing anything sports-related, was quickly silenced. Instead, it was replaced by me imagining myself standing on a park bench and yelling, like a super-creepy self-proclaimed prophet who tries to preach to the masses without being fully coherent, “Yes, you guys are all way faster than me – but I MIGHT NOT HAVE ANYTHING TO BE ASHAMED ABOUT AFTER ALL! BECAUSE SCIENCE! SLOW RUNNING 4 LIIIIIIIIIFEEEEE!”

So, to any other joggers who enjoy running but are totally cool with their non-competitive pace, I say this: slow runners unite!

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Solidarity, my fellow non-competitive slow runners. We shall inherit the earth, possibly, if the results of that study are legit.

Snow and WIAW

Happy Wednesday, friends!

This week has been fairly glorious so far: we had a snow delay on Monday, and then got all of Tuesday off due to a snowstorm that was forecasted to totally paralyze the DC area. (Of course, the reality was that it snowed but didn’t stick — but the call to shut things down had already been made, so we got a full day off. I know I should be all up in arms about lost taxpayer money and whatnot, but…nope. I’m not even a teeny bit outraged. #SorryI’mNotSorry.)

Today is supposed to be sunny but cold — so, IMHO, it’s the perfect weather for an afternoon run around DC during my “lunch” break. (On days like that, I eat lunch at my desk and then take the mandatory 45 minute break to go run outside. It’s fabulous, and it makes the day go a bajillion times faster.)

I love how relatively empty all the monuments are during the winter, so the running conditions are amazeballs. During the summer, hot as hell and crowded as all get-out, so I wind up having to dodge packs of sweaty middle-school students and tourist groups who walk painfully slowly. As you can imagine, it gets old fast. In the winter, though, it’s a) not 80 million degrees out with 2000% humidity, and b) noticeably lacking in tourists. There are a few here and there, but most of the people are other runners. It’s blissful.

 

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Aaaaaanyways, with that out of the way, it’s  time for What I Ate Wednesday, hosted by the lovely Jenn from Peas & Crayons! Jenn is both hilarious and a fantastic source of foodie inspiration, so I highly recommend checking out her blog.

Peas and Crayons

Per the usual lately, I’ve been a slacker in terms of taking pictures of my food — there’s so much going on in the evenings that I often totally forget to pause for some photography. Blogger fail! Sooo, these descriptions will be short and sweet.

Breakfasts and snacks: If I hit the gym in the morning, I usually crave a green smoothie afterwards (something cold and packed with spinach sounds delicious after a hard workout — which my husband, parents, and pretty much all my nearest and dearest have taken as proof of my abject insanity). However, if I run in the afternoon instead, I tend to want oatmeal (and lots of it — I love the stuff). Lately I’ve been really diggin’ GF oatmeal with hemp seeds, blackstrap molasses, and almond milk; it’s deliciously Christmas-y, and it’s packed with iron. Win.

As for snacks, I usually default to fruit, or bell peppers (look, they’re so seasonally colorful!) with hummus. Oh, and as I might’ve mentioned last week, pickles with hummus. Confession: while normal people stocked up on bread, milk, etc. before the predicted snowstorm, I stocked up on pickles and hummus. I’m not even kidding. I walked out of the store with a party-sized (read: Lillian-sized) tub of hummus and four jars of pickles. The cashier at Whole Foods probably thought I’d taken leave of my senses, but whatever — I can’t be left with a dwindling supply of my favorite snack!

 

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Lunches: I have exactly zero pictures of my lunches, y’all. I can tell you, though, that I’ve been chowing down on soup: either Curried Pumpkin from Whole Foods (with added lentils for protein) or Dr. McDougall’s Black Bean and Rice (with added spinach for veggie power).

Dinners: We’ve had a wide range of foodstuffs for dinner lately, including spinach-feta turkey burgers, turkey-veggie chili, and Thai lemongrass stir-fry with brown rice, chicken, and veggies galore.

 

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…And that’s all, folks! Hope your Wednesdays are all off to a good start!

What’s your favorite thing to have for breakfast?

Do you have a favorite (or least favorite) meal of the day?

Do you mix things up with your dinner menu, or are you pretty consistent?

TGIF, Holiday Gift Guides, and Other Fun Things

Good morning, and happy Friday!

It’s a rainy morning outside, but I’m excited because it’s about to get chilly up in here. Yesterday it got up to a whopping 66 degrees — which, while enjoyable for a day or so, feels kind of strange for December. I did, however, take advantage of it as much as possible with a walk to Whole Foods and a 4 mile run around the National Mall. It’s always wonderful to get outside and get some fresh air!

Speaking of Whole Foods, I picked up this grocery bag there, and I’m convinced it’s the cutest grocery bag ever. We have a ridiculous surplus of reusable bags, but I couldn’t resist this little guy. I mean, it’s a baby stegosaurus om nom noming an apple! (The tag says he’s a generic monster, but I beg to differ. He’s clearly a stegosaurus.)

 

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Anyways, today I’m sheltering myself from the rain by working from home. I don’t often get to do this, but I was given a project that has some flexibility — so, for the first time in the five years since I moved back to DC, I’m chillin’ in my home office. I had one other day of working from home a few weeks ago, and OMG. It was sublime.

I expect today to be similarly fabulous: I’ve got a warm cup of tea, and I fully intend to spend the day looking like a total schlub in my yoga pants and sweatshirt. (Yoga pants > work pants. In fact, yoga pants > work pants by a power of 10,000. Also, can we talk about how work shoes/heels are actually instruments of torture? Every single pair is giving me horrible blisters now. Even my old faithfuls have started tearing up my skin when I wear them for more than 10 minutes. And, because I have super narrow feet and struggle to find shoes that fit, I reeeaaaaalllly don’t want to have to go shoe shopping. Blergh.)

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And, on a wholly separate topic (or, as the Monty Python boys say, “An now for something completely different!), when I had some downtime the other day I started scouring various holiday gift guides for some shopping inspiration.

I don’t know about you guys, but holiday shopping makes me want to crawl into a hole and hide. I haaaaate large crowds, and I especially hate large crowds filled with frantic holiday shoppers. This is made even worse by the fact that I often don’t know what to buy for people (why is everyone I love so hard to shop for?!), which means I’m forced to browse among the aforementioned awful crowds of frantic holiday shoppers.

 

 

Like I said, it makes me want to crawl into a hole and hide. Happily, though, I’ve been doing most of my holiday shopping online for the last few years (Amazon: you complete me), so that’s made things better.

However, coming up with gift ideas is still a challenge. Because I can’t deal with that whole hot mess of guesswork anymore, this year I sent my parents and brother an email saying that they were forbidden – absolutely, totally, unequivocally banned – from saying things like “Oh, I don’t know what I want” or “Oh, just get me something you think I’d like.” I told them that I need definitive ideas, or at least a list of places they’d like gift cards to, because I’m not taking shots in the dark on this anymore.

If that’s not the embodiment of holiday cheer, I don’t know what is.

Anyways, for those of us who aren’t heartless enough to give their nearest and dearest holiday ultimatums, a lot of awesome healthy living websites have been compiling some great holiday gift guides. If there’s a foodie, athlete, or health junkie in your life (or, possibly, someone in need of healing), these lists could help with gift-giving inspiration.

For foodies: Greatist has an awesome list of kitchen gadgets, edible goodies, and books that will light up the eyes of any foodie or kitchenista (yeah… I totally just made that word up) in your life.

For athletes: Girls Gone Sporty, one of my favorite online health and fitness resources, has a fantastic gift-finder. You can search gifts for men, women, and teens – and you can sort the options by price, gift type (relaxation, athletic tools, etc.), so it’s super user-friendly. FitSugar also has a list of Practical Stocking Stuffers for Fitness Fans, and it’s chock-full of great ideas.

For eco-mavens: Well + Good features a lovely list of five gifts for a healthy, stylish home.

For those who love healthy living or are looking to get healthier: Meghan Telpner, author of UnDiet and nutritionista extraordinaire, compiled a fantabulous gift list for just about anyone who’s interested in health and wellness. Truth be told, I’d gladly accept every single thing on her list. Especially the meal delivery. Sweet fancy Moses, the meal delivery. If I had a week off from cooking dinner, I’d be so excited I’d probably faint.

 

Anyways, with allllll that being said, happy Friday! And now, I want to hear from you…

Do you ever get to work from home?

Do you like cold weather around the holidays?

Do you love or loathe holiday shopping?

What’s the best gift you ever bought/made for someone?

What’s the best gift you ever received?

 

A Slow Start

I’m back again! Things have calmed down a bit after a busy few weeks, and I’m happy as a clam to have time to write again. I missed you guys!

I do, however, think that the whole “busy as a bee on amphetamines” motif is catching up with me in the form of very, veeeerrrry slllllooooooooowww starts to, um, pretty much everything I do. Ever have one of those days/weeks/months/decades when everything you do — getting up, doing work, running, etc. — feels like the engine on a rusty old car in the cold weather, struggling to turn over and get going? That’s me these days. 

We had a wonderful holiday weekend, but upon waking up on Monday morning, my first thought was “Noooooooooooooo. NO WORK. I don’t wanna go. Noooooooooo.” I’m very good at fighting reality by whining about it — it’s one of my hidden talents. Reality always wins, though, in spite of my prodigious whining/goaning/kvetching. (Damn you, reality! Why must you be stronger than my complaints?!) I grouchily dragged myself out of bed and groggily got ready for the day, but I think my eyes were still half-closed when I left the apartment, and I’m pretty sure I looked like an extra on The Walking Dead as I made my way to the bus stop. I might’ve even made the weird labored breathing/gurgling noises the walkers make, but I can’t be sure. (I wasn’t awake enough.)

Once I got to work, my motivation — much like Elvis — had left the building. People, I was feeling unspeakably lazy. Left to my own devices, I probably would’ve sat there and drooled on myself while staring blankly at my computer screen. But alas, that wasn’t in the cards. Real work beckoned, and, being that one has to actually do work to get paid (again I say: damn you, reality!), I bucked up and slogged through my profound lack of motivation. (Someday when I’m a benevolent overlord, I’ll make the Monday after Thanksgiving a mandatory “ease back into work” day. This will involve being in the office, but only doing fun things like chatting with colleagues over eggnog or watching movies.) 
 
The big highlight of my day, though, was my afternoon run. My late afternoon runs along the National Mall have become one of my favorite things, and they’re usually the best part of my day. (Well, that and lunch. Meals and running make me happy.) Much like the rest of my day, I started out slow. At first I was tired and achy — but once I got in the groove, I felt awesome. I was listening to a fantastic podcast, I was going strong, and I felt so great that I decided to tack an extra mile on the end. By the time I was finished, I was one happy camper! 
 
The awesome feeling lasted the rest of the evening, but this morning saw me doing the same “Nooooooooooo, I don’t wanna get uuuuuuuuuuuup, I don’t wanna go to wooooorrrrrrrrrk, noooooooooooo” motif. I think there’s just something about winter that makes me want to channel my inner grizzly bear and hibernate — because each and every winter I wind up feeling like I could easily keep sleeping well after the appointed 7-8 hours of shut-eye have passed. The fact that it’s dark so much just makes my body want to zonk out for an extra four hours each night. (That’s the other thing I’ll do someday when I’m a benevolent overlord: amend winter business hours to accommodate the need for extra sleep. Y’all, I need to figure out how to become a benevolent overlord.) 
 
 
On a separate note, how was everyone’s Thanksgiving? Hopefully it involved quality time with family and friends — and, of course, good food. On our end, the good folks at Williams-Sonoma came through for us in a big way. Did you know they sell both gluten-free stuffing and a GF pumpkin bread mix?! Holy moly, y’all, I was in heaven. In years past, I’d dried out many a loaf of GF bread in order to dry out and make stuffing — but this year, Williams-Sonoma did it for me. I just added sauteed mushrooms, celery, and chicken stock, et voila! It was delicious, and absurdly easy. It also goes without saying that the GF pumpkin bread was freaking amazing. It didn’t even seem like it was GF, which was a huge accomplishment. Williams-Sonoma FTW! Seriously, whoever created their line of GF goods deserves a Medal of Honor.
 
Anyways, I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday and a great weekend. I’ll be back to blogging more regularly now that things are calming down a tad, so I’ll be seeing more of you wonderful, lovely people soon. Here’s hoping your week is off to a good start!

A Day Redeemed + Coffee Conflicts

Ok, y’all: yesterday was, quite simply, weird.

It started out badly: I hadn’t slept well, I was way behind on stuff around the house, and then things started going strangely awry in really annoying ways. For example, our shower curtain had reached its limits in terms of keeping water, y’know, in the shower — so in an unexpected twist to my morning, I was greeted by water all over the bathroom floor.

It’s a good thing I was way behind on laundry so I could use dirty towels to mop up the floor. Ew.

Then, since I was running late as a result of said unfortunate shower curtain incident, I was frantically applying facial moisturizer — at which point I somehow managed to slice my nose open with my fingernail. Try to put on makeup while stemming a bloody nose if you’re up for a morning challenge! Maneuver around the Kleenex! Apply pressure to the cut while applying concealer to the bags under your eyes!

However, after all that weirdness, my day quickly redeemed itself. We had cool, crisp weather here in DC yesterday, which I looooved — this is the time of year when we get a lot of cool, clear, and gloriously sunny days. And they’re amazeballs.

I decided to take advantage of it and go running in the afternoon, which wound up being the highlight of my day. I ran 3.5 miles (I know this is, like, a warm-up for most of you — but hey, we can’t all be distance runners :)) around the National Mall, and it was as perfect as a perfect run can be. This is the time of year when most of the tourists have gone home, so the path was wonderfully open. I took a few walking breaks since recent medical tests have kept me from consistently exercising, but I wound up feeling better than I thought I would. Between that and the perfect weather, it was an awesome run!

To say the least I’m glad I didn’t give in to the temptation to just give up and go back to bed after the way my morning started. Which I, um, might have seriously contemplated.

Anyways, on to the main news! What is that news, you ask?  I’m feeling conflicted about coffee (hence the title for this post). Given the name of this blog, it doesn’t take much to realize that I’m a big fan of coffee. Seize the Latte = this chick loves her some java. It’s not rocket surgery, amirite?

I didn’t like coffee when I was younger (I thought it smelled amazeballs when my dad brewed it each morning, but the taste made me get all cross-eyed), but that all changed when I went to college.

I was especially overextended and sleep deprived my sophomore year, and that was that bleary-eyed autumn when I went from chugging chai lattes and Diet Coke to hitting the hard stuff — better known as espresso.

 

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An accurate representation of my life in the BC (that’s Before Coffee) days

 

I still remember my first foray into coffee: in a haze of exhaustion, I went to the Starbucks on campus. “I need your help,” I said to the barista through a jaw-breaking yawn. “I don’t like coffee, but I need coffee. Can you make me something strong – something that’ll wake me up – but that doesn’t actually taste like coffee?”

Thirty seconds later, I was sipping a skim latte with almond syrup. Ten minutes after that, the most glorious caffeine buzz in the history of mankind kicked in. The rest is history.

Since then, I’ve become known for my love of – and, let’s be honest here, my dependence on – coffee. For example,  every roommate I’ve ever had has known that I only became a full-fledged human being once I’ve had my morning latte. Furthermore, my friends here in DC have decided that this little guy is my spirit animal.

 

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In recent years, though, I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not coffee and I are really BFFs. Sometimes coffee makes me feel energetic, upbeat, and optimistic. I want to run! I want to write a book! I can accomplish anything! I BELIEVE I CAN FLY! Other times, though, it makes me anxious, mopey, and jittery. My hands shake, I schvitz like I just went running in Saudi Arabia in July, and I’m a weepy, nervous wreck. I BELIEVE IN IMMINENT DOOM.

Adding to coffee’s propensity to mess with my mood, I have a long and illustrious history of tummy troubles – all of which are definitely aggravated by the acidity in coffee.

So, from time to time, I’ve tried to make the switch to just drinking green tea. Every time I do this, I feel better – less mopey, less anxious, not in a desperate search for more TUMS – and yet, I always go back to coffee. It’s like a bad relationship: it keeps sucking me back in, ploying me with promises that it’ll be different this time. “I love you, baby,” it says. “I promise I’ve changed. Things won’t be like they were before. Just give me another chance!”

And I listen. Every. Single. Time.

 

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A few years ago, I listened because I love it so much and simply didn’t want to give it up. When I tried to make the switch then, I was so irritable that, upon seeing some unsuspecting college student walk by with a Starbucks cup, I actually imagined stealing the coffee right out of her hands and running away while screaming like a banshee. (I obviously didn’t do this, and I was wigged out that it had even crossed my mind.)

In other cases, it’s been because I think that I’ve found a magical solution that will prevent the negative side effects I often experience. I’ll be fine! No tummy issues or anxiety for me, because I’ve figured out a work-around! It’ll be great! (Fact: this is never true, and apparently I’m delusional.)

Sometimes it’s because I have too much to do and not enough time to do it in, and then I wind up desperately tired and sleep-deprived. Not getting enough sleep turns me into a heinous, cranky, exhausted, and borderline psychotic beast. Coffee keeps me from becoming that beast. It’s best that I save myself and everyone around me from that fate. (See? Coffee drinking is in service to humanity.)

Most recently, though, I did it because I needed that extra jolt of energy in order to get through my morning workout. Green tea wasn’t cutting it, and I was draaaaaagggiiiiiiinnnnnng myself to the gym each morning. With the coffee, however, I was raring to go. I was amped! I was motivated! BRING THE PAIN!

 

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Last week, however, three separate articles crossed my path in one afternoon — all of which discuss coffee’s role in insulin resistance, depression, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances. Not one, not two, but <i>three</i> articles landing in front of me within one day? This seemed too coincidental to ignore. (You can read the articles, two of which are from Mind Body Green and one of which is from Dr. Mark Hyman’s website, here, here, and here.)

As I read, I realized that all this stuff really, truly, and undeniably is a problem for me.

Anxiety? Check.

Feeling “Wired and tired”? Check.

Inflammation? Check.

An unhappy GI tract? Check.

Hormone imbalances? Check, check, check, and more check.

And so, I decided to try — for, like, the 8 billionth time — to kick my coffee habit in favor of green tea. I’m exactly five days in, and I admit that I mightily miss my cup of java in the morning. I miss the smell, I miss the taste, and I really miss the caffeine buzz.

However, I keep reminding myself that my body needs this. My brain needs it, my stomach needs it, and my endocrine system needs it. The only thing keeping me from successfully making the switch is myself.

So, I’m going to do everything I can to get out of my own way with this. The allure of the hazelnut coffee (both in my freezer at home and in the cafeteria at work) is strong, but I must. Remain. Stronger.

With that in mind, tell me:

Have you ever tried to kick the coffee habit? Has anyone succeeded in letting go of caffeine entirely (and, um, if you did this, did you hate everything)? What have your experiences been with this? Do you have any suggestions on how to ease the transition?

Weekend Recap

Aaaaand just like that, the weekend is over. Blergh. I don’t know about you guys, but this is how I feel each and every week:

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No dice on that one, I’m afraid — but at the very least, I can revel in the fact that I had a lovely weekend. I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, and I decided to take advantage of this and get some errands done before the hordes of people descended.

A quick side note about DC: it takes freaking forever to get anything done around here. Between traffic, finding parking, dealing with the crowds in the store, and then waiting to check out, two errands — like hitting up Walgreen’s and Trader Joe’s — can take hours under normal circumstances. There have been times when our entire afternoon is consumed by just going out to lunch and hitting up Whole Foods on the way home, so I decided to circumvent that whole mess and hit the road at 7:45.

Happily, it wound up being awesome. I was one of the only people at Walgreen’s, and TJ’s was blissfully lacking in huge crowds. I was out and done in record time, which was a huge win! I also picked up epic loot at TJ’s; I didn’t get a picture before putting everything away, but let’s just say I could’ve used a barge to transport it home.

 

After the grocery run, I met one of my dear friends for coffee — which, I must say, was awesome. Once we had caffeinated ourselves and talked for aaaaaaages (it’s a time-honored tradition with us), I came back to find Brandon watching The Conjuring. Now, Brandon and I have divergent views on horror movies: Brandon really likes them, but I hate — nay, abhor with every fiber of my being — anything even remotely scary.

I have a wildly over-active imagination, which means the slightest hint of something scary will send me over the edge. I’m 32, and I totally close my eyes during previews for horror movies. When I finally got up the nerve to watch Scream in 1998 — a movie that most of my friends thought was funny because it was just so campy and ridiculous — I could barely answer the phone for a week.

So, I created a rule that Brandon can only watch horror movies when I’m not home. Since I was at coffee for a few hours, he understandably seized the opportunity to watch the horror movie he was most interested in. It wound up working out well: when I got home from Starbucks, I knew I needed to hit the gym — but my motivation was flagging. Knowing that The Conjuring was playing in my living room? MOTIVATION RECOVERED. I grabbed a magazine and my headphones and then booked it towards the door. I. Was. Outta there.

 

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This is an alarmingly accurate depiction of what I look like after merely *hearing* the previews for horror movies.

 

After 50 minutes of cardio, I was pleased to find that the movie was long since over once I got back. Biggest sigh of relief ever, y’all.

After a busy Saturday, I spent most of Sunday getting caught up on stuff around the apartment. Sundays tend to be my big chore days — when I clean, do laundry, and chop veggies/act as my own sous chef — and this week was no different.  I get all kinds of discombobulated and flustered when things aren’t in order for the week ahead, so Sundays are when I prepare, organize, and try to come up with ways to save time during the week. (Outer order equals inner peace, folks.) I had a truly ludicrous pile of laundry to deal with and an equally ludicrous pile of veggies to chop up, so one could say that I had my work cut out for me.

 

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Yup, a Mt. Everest-sized pile of laundry seems about right.

 

I did, however, take a break from all this in order to hit the gym. I’d intended to go for a run, since the weather we’ve been having lately — cool, crisp, and sunny — feels sublime after an oppressively hot and humid DC summer, but my running route was blocked off as part of the Marine Corps Marathon.

As I headed to the gym as my Plan B, I thought about all the people running the marathon and promptly realized that I have a confession to make: when it comes to running, I max out at 4 miles. I can eke out five miles if I’m really, really feeling awesome and ambitious.

But a marathon? Nope. I mean, I know marathons are all the rage these days. Marathons are one of the trendiest trends ever right now, and it seems like everybody who’s anybody is doing them. Those people all deserve major credit for doing something so challenging, because holy crap — that’s an impressive undertaking.

That said, though, I’m actually pretty sure I’m the only health/fitness-ish blogger alive who isn’t in marathon or half marathon training — which probably totally negates my credibility as someone interested in health and fitness — but I can’t even express how much my knees start screaming in protest when I even contemplate running a marathon.

 

This course is about 21 miles too long for me and my creaky knees.

 

So, that’s my big “I’m a lame health blogger” confession: I have no desire to run a marathon. Do I love running in 5Ks? Heck yeah. Do I love solitary four milers? Absolutely. But marathons are so, so not in my future. Forgive me, running gods, for I have sinned!

That being said (please don’t turn me into the health blogging police!), I also took a break from my mountain of chores to watch my beloved Broncos take on the Redskins. As a displaced Coloradan who only gets to see her boys when they play on national TV (as opposed to every Sunday back in the Motherland, le sigh), this was a big deal. I like to get decked out for game day in all my Broncos paraphernalia, which probably looks ridiculous — but whatevs, anything in the name of team spirit! (Is it overkill to wear a Broncos sweatshirt while drinking out of a Broncos glass? I think not.)

Anyways, now that another work week is upon us, I hope you’re all getting your day off to a good start!

And, with that, tell me: what was the highlight of your weekend?

Weekly Article Round-Up: May 26 – June 1

Good morning, everyone, and welcome to June! (I’m, um, still stunned by how fast this year is flying by. Please pardon me while I look at my calendar in total bewilderment.)

I must say, there are a ton of things I’m looking forward to this month: new movies to see (namely Now You See Me and Man of Steel), new recipes to try…the list goes on!

For now, though, I hope y’all hare having a lovely weekend so far. This week’s article round-up is below — enjoy, and happy reading!

 

Fitness & Health

NYT: “Fat Talk” Compels, But Carries a Cost

NYT: The New Rules for Sunscreen

Greatist: Sitting is Making Us Fat and Achy

NYT: Is It Better to Walk or Run?

Greatist: The 30-Minute Bodyweight Glute-Building Workout

 

Relaxation, Stress Relief, & Life Management

Huff Po: How to be an Optimist: 10 Habits That’ll Help You Look on the Bright Side

Regret-Free Life: So Many Options, So Little Time

Mind, Body, Green: Radical Self-Care: 5 Easy Steps You Can Take Today

MSN: Serenity Now! 10 Stress-Busters

The Daily Love: You’ve Already Arrived, Darling!

 

Gender Issues

Huff Po: TV vs. Movies: Which Does Better by Women?

XOJane: Successful, Female, and a Little Scary? Let Me Translate That for You: “Crazy.”

Slate: Watch the Men of Fox News Freak Out Over Women Breadwinners

Atlantic: The Real Problem With the “Babies Are a Focus-Killer” Theory: Bad for Business

 

Humor and Warm Fuzzies

CNN: She Donates Kidney, He Proposes

Buzzfeed: The Cutest Gifs in the History of the Internet

Buzzfeed: 27 Reasons Why Parents Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Text

Huff Po: Sir Patrick Stewart Helps Fan Move on from Her Abusive Past

Happy Place: “Prancercize” Is Ridiculously Funny

TGIF: A Veritable Hootenanny of Random Awesomeness

Happy Friday, y’all! (And, um, did you like the use of “hootenanny” in the title? I wanted to use something more entertaining than “compilation,” and that’s what popped into my head. I’m nothing if not weird, folks.)

I apologize for being late with this morning’s post — I’m taking a sick day due to, ahem, some rather hardcore lady-troubles. (Sorry for the TMI.) I decided that instead of trying to force myself to be productive at work (and probably doing a really sorry job of it), it’d be better to ride out the pain by lying on the couch and communing with my heat pack and a bottle of Tylenol. Sooooooo, here I am.

But anyways, on to happier topics! Yesterday at work I started an email chain wherein we all wrote in haiku format, which might have been the best work-related email thread ever. (It also goes down in the Annals of My Greatest Accomplishments, which include such acts as quoting Team America: World Police in an international law paper that I wrote in grad school.) With that in mind, here’s a haiku summing up how I feel about the upcoming 3-day weekend:

Thank God it’s Friday
Times ten for the long weekend
I need this like woah

Obviously, I have a lucrative career as a farcical haiku author ahead of me.

Seriously, though, I’m desperately in need of a 3-day weekend. I reeeeeaaaallly hope that the aforementioned lady-troubles abate so that I can, y’know, actually enjoy the holiday.

In the meantime, though, and in the spirit of celebrating the long weekend, here’s a random compilation of awesome things that happened this week:

1) On Tuesday afternoon I went for an awesome run around the National Mall with the help of my beloved and trusty Charity Miles app. I donated my miles to Every Mother Counts, and listened to Florence + The Machine’s Shake It Out on repeat while I ran. There’s something strangely spiritual about these runs on the Mall — the trees and the monuments all make it feel like sacred space to me. While running by the World War II Memorial, I decided to get a picture of the portion memorializing my beloved home state. Not that I’m counting down or anything, but in two months I’ll be here:

 

WWII Memorial Colorado

 

2) While walking home from the bus stop the other day, I suddenly got a whiff of honeysuckle and immediately felt giddy. I love this stuff — it smells so effing good — and the first time I encountered honeysuckle as a child is one of my more vivid childhood memories. My dad and I were coming home after a bike ride (and by “bike ride,” I mean that I sat strapped into a seat in the back while he did all the hard work) when we passed a bunch of honeysuckle.  I asked what smelled so good, and he stopped the bike so I could basically bury my face in it. To say the least, I get really happy when I encounter this stuff, and I haven’t seen much of in the concrete jungle of the DC Metro area. So, as you can imagine, this was an awesome surprise!

 

Honeysuckle

 

3) After all the Crock Pot flops, we had a serious winner of a meal last night: chicken saltimbocca. This stuff is divine, y’all. Chicken breasts wrapped in Prosciutto and sage leaves, then sauteed in lemon juice and olive oil? Freakin’ awesome. The dish lived up to all my hopes, and I was seriously happy about it. I know the picture doesn’t look too appetizing (gravy/sauce has a way of doing that), but I promise: it was gooooo-oood.

 

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Anyways, I hope everyone has a fabulous long weekend!

Do you have any big plans for the holiday?

What’s your favorite place to go running?

Do you have any happy childhood memories that pop up whenever you see/smell something?

Friday Fun Times: Five Things I’m Diggin’ This Week

Good morning, and TGIF! (*Does Friday-induced happy dance*)

In celebration of the fact that it’s Friday, I figured I’d do another post to highlight all the things I’ve been loving on/excited about this week.

1) Although the tote I bought from Target a few weeks ago managed to break and thus meet its demise shortly after I bought it (booooo), I was able to return it without any problems. I then picked up this bag as a replacement, and I also replaced my old wallet, which was starting to fall apart a bit. To say the least, I looooooove both the new bag and the new wallet — the blue and turquoise are so pretty, and they seem so seasonally appropriate! I may or may not get a bit giddy every time I look at them.

 

Bag and wallet

 

2) The Firestarter Sessions is blowing my mind, people. This book is seriously awesome. I also recommend checking out Danielle LaPorte’s website (she’s the author of this wondrous tome); as Taryn put it (quite perfectly, I might add), it’s like reading a conversation with your best friend.

Apparently Danielle LaPorte is launching a magazine in September and is accepting writing submissions — and as you might have guessed, I’m itchin’ to submit something for their consideration. (*Starts wiggling in desk chair out of sheer excitement*) It’s scary, and the “Oh God, I can’t possibly be good enough – there’s no way I’ll get anything but rejected” voice of fear is acting up like nobody’s business — but I’m just going to channel my inner Kanye and tell that voice that “Imma let you finish, but I can write the best submission of all time!” Ok, it won’t be the best submission of all time — but it will be from the heart, and that’s the best kind of writing I can possibly do.

3) Fitness updates: I ran 2.5 miles on Wednesday afternoon and donated my Charity Miles to Every Mother Counts (an organization I greatly admire). In my quest to do something meaningful with my life and to feel like I’m making a contribution — albeit a small one — to making the world a better place, Charity Miles has become one of my favorite go-to sources of action and inspiration. Being able to get my sweat on while helping to raise money for causes I believe in has, for me at least, been seriously awesome.

 

 

I also did more FitnessBlender and Yoga Downloads workouts this week. I did Yoga Download’s Yoga Sculpt class last night, and then I busted out Fitness Blender’s cardio kickboxing this morning. I loved them both!

I’ve also recently decided to embrace a standard of fitness that has more flexibility than I’ve allowed myself to have before. I was kicking myself for not having enough time to cook meals, work out for 45 minutes a day, and blog in my spare time — but all that scheduling insanity started really wearing on me. In light of that, I came to the conclusion that it’s ok to keep my workouts around 30 minutes each.

The fact is, blogging makes me incredibly happy, and writing brings me more joy than any job ever has — so I want to make time to do it. If it comes at the expense of those last 15 minutes of exercise, then so be it.

 

 

4) ELF cosmetics: While I was at Target, I was doing some reconnaissance in their cosmetics section as part of my hunt for new eyeliner and new eye shadow. (My collection has been rapidly diminishing, but I hate spending moolah on obnoxiously overpriced cosmetics, even at my beloved Target.) Lo and behold, I saw that ELF products are between — get this — $1-$2. I’m not kidding. I just about had to scrape my jaw up off the floor. I got two eyeshadow sets and one eyeliner pencil for $5 total, which felt like the cosmetics coup to end all cosmetics coups. It was astonishing.

 

ELF

 

5) A mailbox full of goodies: This month’s InStyle and Birchbox arrived on the same day. If that isn’t worthy of a whoop of excitement, I don’t know what is. A certain someone — whose name may or may not be Lillian — might have also picked up a bottle of rosé at Costco yesterday (because this person is super classy like that, and she obviously has really high-brow taste in wine). This person might be really excited to read InStyle while drinking a glass of vino after work, possibly while deep-conditioning her hair with one of the Birchbox samples. #SorryI’mNotSorry.

 

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I hope y’all have an awesome day — and of course, I’ve got questions for you lovely people:

What’s your favorite way to unwind on a Friday night?

Do you have any big or exciting weekend plans?

{Obviously, this is the really important question} Do you like cheap wine from Costco or Three Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s? (Please tell me yes and that I’m not the only one around here who’s the total opposite of a wine connoisseur?)