Category Archives: Fitness

Day 2 Of Official Unemployment: Taxes and Jogging Suits

Well, really, it’s been longer than that, almost 3 weeks, but I’m counting my unemployment starting when the severance and paid-unused vacation days were up, cause otherwise, I was on a paid vacation, right?  Anyway, thank you everyone for all the kind words and support from yesterday’s post.  (Although nobody actually commented on the blog post, I heard back from some of you in other means and modes.)

Today wasn’t really all that fun.  A lot of email sending to contacts I know, dealing with the Texas Unemployment website (ugh, overwhelming), and pretty much doing all of my taxes.  The taxes are done, I just haven’t hit submit yet because my audit risk is high

It’s mostly because of my Mary Kay business that I got rid of back in July.  My losses are greater than my profits.  Go figure, right?  If I was making a profit, I wouldn’t have stopped selling Mary Kay.  Anyway, I’m waiting for an epiphany or some sign to convince me that I won’t get audited.  Just kidding.  I’ll probably click on the submit button tomorrow, I just need to ponder it some more tonight.  To be honest, I’m small potatoes when it comes to the IRS, but seeing the slider bar move all the way to the deep red makes me need to process my options before I hit submit.  When it comes down to it, I’ll probably pay the extra $40 for the extra, extra audit protection just for piece of mind (but really, making that extra $40 purchase will be for nothing, since I probably won’t be audited).  Okay, enough ramblings over my stress of being audited!

In the process of doing my taxes, I itemized my charitable donation including ALL of the stuff I’ve taken to Goodwill over 2011.  So as I was entering the clothes, I saw this itemized donation option.
Women’s Jogging Suit.

When I saw this item, I thought to myself, this list is really dated.  To my, a jogging suit is something straight out of the 80’s.  You know what I’m talking about, right?  Neon colors, crinkled polyester, totally hideous.
(Source)

Granted, there are plenty of very trendy workout clothes that are matching separates.  I’m sure Lululemon is filled with them, but a jogging suit?  And this got me to thinking that I actually saw someone out running earlier this week in the exact jogging suit shown above on the guy on the left, which was also worn by a man.  Now, heck, I am one to talk about having an outdated wardrobe, but comfort, on the other hand, I don’t mind going there.  If I remember correctly, because I had my fair share of jogging suits as a kid, (in fact, it’s pretty zoomed out, but here is a picture of me in a jogging suit, although I think the jacket is on the ground, off to the side)

the elastic in the waistband rides up at the slightest movement.  And they make a terrible swoosh swoosh sound.  Are they even breathable?  Workout clothing has come a long way from this hideous jogging suits!  Dry fit, yes please!

So I take it back, maybe the charitable donation list is just fine, because really, other than that man I saw running in a hot pink jogging suit the other day, all the rest of these dreadful items are either buried deep in people’s closets, sitting there in shame or they’ve made their way with the girdles (the item directly above jogging suit) to the Goodwill themselves to be itemized on this year’s taxes.  As for my jogging suits, they’ve been long donated to find their way to another person’s closet to hide in shame.

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January 2012 Wrap-Up

It’s hard to believe that January 2012 is coming to a close today!  It started off as a really rough month with lots of bad news regarding the health on Nick’s side of the family, but we just got word last night that the scary health issues that the women on his side of the family are battling both got very good prognosis from doctors, so we are ending the month on a good note!

I just got word today from one of the jobs I interviewed for that they have a hiring freeze so I didn’t get an offer from them.  I’m still waiting to hear back from the other job I recently interviewed for.  It’s torture waiting to hear if they will offer it to me or not, but I’m trying to embrace the exciting part of the unknown of where my career will take me next.

I started 2012 with just a couple of “resolutions”.  The first of which was to do strength training three times a week.  I’ve done okay, not great, with that goal, doing strength training somewhere between two to three times a week.  Another goal I had been to prep meals ahead of time, on the weekends, to make cooking dinner a quicker process during the week.  This goal has been a TOTAL FAIL.  I have yet to do it, but I’m not that upset about it.

With February starting tomorrow, I thought I’d make a couple of goals for the month.  I recently read in a magazine that you should take your body weight, divide it by two and drink that number in ounces of water every day.  Rounding up to a nice, whole number, that would be 65 ounces of water every day!  I’m going to make that the first goal of February.  That’s a LOT of water, though.  I’m not much of a drinker by any definition of the word.  I don’t drink much alcohol, but I also don’t drink that much of anything else.  My typical choice beverages are water, milk, and wine, and maybe occasionally orange juice.  If I do a tough workout, I’ll probably consume 24 ounces of water in a day, otherwise, it’s usually closer to 16 ounces.  Wine is usually 5 ounces pretty much every night with dinner.  Milk is usually 16 ounces every few days.  So in liquid consumed on a good day, I’m looking at 45 ounces total.  But as you can see from my math, just under half of that is not water.  This goal is going to be a challenge for me, but I know it’s a healthy thing to do.

My second goal is to be able to do a real tricep-push up by the end of the month. Right now, I struggle to do them on my knees, girly-style.  I can do regular push ups on my feet (as long as I’m not in Bodypump class, where I’m so fatigued by the time we get to push ups, I end up doing them girly-style).  I have such weak triceps it’s embarrassing, but I can change that by the end of the month!

On another note, Nick asked me to track my student loans as part of our merging finances (the most progress we’ve made in planning to get married… sorry, it’s not more exciting than that right now).  Up until I did this yesterday, I did not like to look at the total amount I owe.  It’s way to big and it stresses me out.  Instead, I just deal with the monthly amount, and while that is large as well, it’s a heck of a lot smaller than the big total.  Plus, I’ve just pretty much been paying interest over the last four plus years, so the grand total doesn’t seem to change that much.  Anyway, to confront the ginormous number and tackle the debt, I thought I would really track it every month.  On here.  Scary!  I’m scared to face it myself, let alone let be out there on the world-wide web, but eventually that number will shrink to nothing and actually writing it out every month will hopefully make me feel better about it (unless it ends up depressing me)!  So to make it simple, there are four student loan entities that I pay.  There are more than four student loans.  Some of those entities have multiple loans, but for simplicity’s sake I will list the payoff amount of each loan entity along with the grand total and the amount paid towards each entity and total amount paid.  I hope that makes sense.  And I hope you all don’t judge me.  It’s a lot of student loan debt!  Deep breath.  Okay, so here we go:

Pay Off Amounts:
Loan Entity 1: $57,971.67
Loan Entity 2: $2,585.95
Loan Entity 3: $63,485.83
Loan Entity 4: $42,195.72
GRAND TOTAL: $166,239.17 (YIKES!!!)

January Monthly Payments:
Loan Entity 1: $328.46
Loan Entity 2: $44.41
Loan Entity 3: $902.98
Loan Entity 4: $321.59
TOTAL PAID 01/12: $1,597.44

Okay, honestly, I don’t know if that made me feel better or worse 😦   Ugh, I hate money, especially when it leaves my bank account!  On the upside, credit card debt = $0.

This has gotten way too long, but I hope to keep track of my February goals for you all and will report back at the end of next month with a (similar) getting-out-of-student-debt status!  Happy end of January everyone!

Pretty In Pink

For Christmas, Nick and I got $40 in gift cards to Starbucks, which is kind of funny because we aren’t coffee drinkers and probably venture to Starbucks about once every three months or so.  We decided to make a big dent in them today by not only getting beverages, but also breakfast sandwiches (turkey bacon, cheddar cheese, and egg whites on a whole wheat English muffin to be exact).  Since all the gift cards are in my possession, I took one for the team and made the Starbucks run.  As I stood in line, I noticed the woman in front of me.  She was probably about 20 years older than me, but I became very envious of how put together she looked.  She was causal, yet comfortable, and stylish with jeans, an oatmeal colored sweater, a scarf and gold flats.  I was embarrassed and felt like a total slob standing next to her in my Nike running shorts and Michigan sweatshirt.  At that moment, I decided I should make more of an effort to put myself together better on the weekends, even if I plan on just sticking around the house.

Fast forward a few hours, I had a mini meltdown about the stresses of life.  Nick comforted me and after about ten minutes of pouting, I got over it and decided to put my new-found desire to look nicer to work.  I pulled on my unlucky blue jeans (although I said I wasn’t going to wear them until I heard back from the jobs I interviewed for, it’s Saturday, so I won’t be hearing any news from either of them today anyway), a similar, yet much older and outdated wool oatmeal colored sweater, and a camel colored scarf.  On a side note, I used to accessorize all the time with scarves but after criticism from several people here in Texas about my scarf-wearing, I stopped wearing them, until today!  I took my hair out of a pony tail and felt much better, but there was one last item I needed: A new coat of nail polish on my toes!
(Don’t look too closely!  My feet are completely calloused and have a few blisters from all the running I’ve been doing!)

This particular shade is embarrassingly old.  I got it in the 7th grade when my mom treated me to my very first (and probably only) professional manicure for my birthday.  Nothing like magenta toes to lift my spirits and make me feel like I look like a civilized person!

After wearing my nice, causal weekend wear for a few hours, I peeled it off and put the gym clothes back on but this time for the use they were intended for, not going to Starbucks, but rather, going to the gym!  After a sweaty 40 minute session on the stair master, I headed home, stopping at the mailbox to find a fun present for me!
Cute personalized recipe cards!  There wasn’t a note from a friend or anything so I’m thinking the company, In-Vita Paper Studio, sent them to me directly.  I’m not quite sure how they got my address; perhaps from a form I filled out for The Knot or The Nest, perhaps somehow through my blog (although my address isn’t listed here).  Either way, they are super cute and I was very excited to find them in my mailbox!  Thanks In-Vita!
It’ll give me a good reason to make and write down my own recipes!

Tonight is guys night- a Poker and Pampers party for our friend, Drake, who is a soon to be dad, so I’m on my own this evening.  While I won’t be using my new present tonight, I’ll be using the last of our stocked-up Groupons for De Rice Thai takeout (not nearly as good as Best Thai, but it’s still comfort food) and snuggling up on the couch with Jackson to watch Netflix shows that are otherwise banned when Nick is home (Say Yes to the Dress being the least embarrassing to admit I watch).  Nothing like some quality cheesy chick show time!

Happy Saturday night everyone!

A Walk In The Park

You may remember my post about my lucky blue dress.  Well, I think I have an unlucky pair of blue jeans.
They aren’t anything particularly special.  I bought them right around New Year’s from the Gap.  I was feeling very out of date with my existing jeans selection and with all my working out lately, I finally felt comfortable about getting skinny jeans.  Well, they are actually straight leg jeans since the Gap was out of my size in the color of skinny jeans I wanted.  At any rate, they don’t flare at the bottom, something I’ve avoided for a long time because I feel like the flare balances out my seemingly thick quads.  Now that I’ve jumped on the bandwagon, I love them, however every time I’ve worn them this year, I’ve had bad luck.  A lot of bad news has come my way this month and while it might not be the fault of the jeans, I am wearing them every time bad news hits.

This weekend was a nice, sunny weekend so Nick and I decided to go to White Rock Lake for a walk.
 Thinking we weren’t going to walk more than a mile or two, I put on my new (unlucky) jeans and we headed out.   Well, after about three miles, we had to make a critical decision: keep going or turn back as we were getting close to the half-way point of four and a half miles.  At this point, I realized I should have worn my running shoes for this trek instead of my casual walking shoes, and perhaps a pair of socks, but I was feeling okay, so we decided to make the loop around the entire lake.
White Rock Lake Water Works 1

White Rock Lake Water Works 2  We made it to about the halfway point and I knew I made the wrong decision.  My feet were killing me!  But there was no turning back, cause either way we went, it was four and a half miles back to the car.
White Rock LakeNick had to listen to me complain the rest of the way around the lake.  The funny thing is, is that I wore these same shoes over the summer when we visited the flea market in Canton, TX and logged five miles that day and ran into the same experience.  You would have thought I learned my lesson, right?  After several stops, we finally made it around the lake.  I was so happy to get in the car and take my shoes off, driving barefoot all the way home.

When we got home, I walked by the mirror and saw that both of my heels were covered in blood!  I’ll spare you any pictures of the damage, but the pain equaled exactly how it looked!  (It took me about 48 hours before I could put shoes on that covered the heels of my feet, and it still hurt!)  So while the unlucky blue jeans didn’t cause the bloody blisters, had I not wore them, I wouldn’t have worn those particular shoes and I would have saved myself the pain and pints (well, not really that much) of blood lost.

Now, if you remember, last month, I posted about a few job interviews I had coming up.  Well, I should be hearing VERY soon on both of them and I’m scared to wear those damn jeans.  I don’t even want to touch them or even look at them!  No more bad luck!  I refuse to wear those jeans until I get some good luck my way!

Do you have anything that you feel brings you good or bad luck?

Hotcake Hustle to Crab Cakes Benedict

A whole slew of events happened Friday afternoon that turned the day from fine to really, really bad so I wasn’t in the mood to cook my ever so exciting recipe from moi.  Instead, we carb’ed up on pizza.  Friday’s turn of events had me so upset, that I questioned going to the Hotcake Hustle in the morning.  Nick reassured me that we didn’t have to go, but I told him that we were still going to run in the race, although I was 100% not feeling up for it.  I’ll fill you in on the catastrophic turn of events eventually, I promise, but for now, just know that I was not having a very good day at all.

The alarm went off bright and early.  7am to be exact, although I had been wide awake since 5am, processing the events from the day before.  Nick and I got layered up and headed out to Addison Circle.  Dodging through the crowd to find the bag check, we somehow managed to find Drake, an old co-worker of mine.  Well, actually, he found us.  Drake ran this race the year before and he warned us about the bridge over Midway Road.  The race course is a there-and-back kind of deal, so lucky for Nick, he only had to run over the bridge twice.  Drake and I were part of the 10K group, so that meant four times over the stinking bridge.  Going into the race, I was not too excited about the course.  I knew it wasn’t going to be scenic and only a quarter of it would be new “scenery” if you can even call it that, since I’d see it three more times in the loops.  The gun shot and we were off.  I quickly discovered that on the upside, being where it was, there was a lot of room on the road, so I got moving quickly.  Nick took off and I lost him until about a half a mile in.  Before I knew it, we were turning around and heading back.  I longed to turn off and go to the finish line but instead, I turned around once again and headed back as I waved goodbye to Nick.  I just wanted the second loop to be over.  There was no mystery left to it and I was bored, but my Nike+ GPS reported back to me a pace that I wasn’t expecting, so I kept pushing through.  The Bridge at Midway road didn’t start to bother me until crossing it for the last time.  Nick and I had climbed steeper hills and bridges for other races, so my anticipation wasn’t near as bad.  But the last crossing of the bridge drained me.  I was so over the course.  I wanted to stop and walk, but I kept telling myself if I walk, I’ll be mad at myself.  I made it over the bridge and was on the home stretch, about half a mile to go!  To my surprise, there were a bunch of walkers doing the 5K who were just ahead of me, right before the turn to the finish line.  The finish line was in sight and it was time to pick up the speed.  Irritated by the band of walkers in my way (like five or six of them), I yelled out (probably louder than I should have) “MOVE”.  I got a couple of dirty looks, but hey, don’t take up the whole road as walkers in a race, it’s a pain for those actually trying to run past you, I’m just saying.

So there was the finish line and Nick waiting to capture it all on his phone.  (And shoot, I’m trying to upload the video, but it won’t let me, so you all will have to wait to watch it.)  The last glance of the clock at the finish line said 57:15.  Woohoo, under an hour (and that’s just the unofficial time)!  We met up with Drake and his friend at the line for pancakes, but gave up about half way through the line and headed home to see the official time: 56:40!  Almost under a 9 minute mile.  The icing on the cake for the race was I came in at #13 out of 72 for my age group for the 10K.  What an awesome feeling to have done so well.  It helps that I just jumped from the 25-29 age group to the 30-34 age group, but heck, I’ll take it!

I treated Nick to one of his favorite dinners for being such a good sport and doing the race with me as well as putting up with me being so upset the day before: Stuffed Peppers Santa Cruz Style, courtesy of Recipes From a Kitchen Garden
 
And a side salad to go along with the stuffed peppers.
It made for a tasty dinner after a great race.

But wait, it doesn’t end there!  More food is in store!  Nick tried to trick me to sleep in on Sunday, but as usual, his attempts failed.  The trick usually entails closing all the blinds and curtains to make the bedroom super dark.  I have a strong internal clock, so I was awake by 7:30, my typical sleeping in time.  I try to be kind on mornings when he wants to sleep in by getting out of bed and going to the living room to read or start on some chores, but to my surprise, Nick was wide awake shortly after me.  As if Saturday night’s stuffed peppers hadn’t stuffed me to the brim, I asked him if he wanted to go out for breakfast and of course the answer was yes!

We decided on the Coffee House Cafe, a relatively new restaurant that is just down the street from us (but we still have to drive to get there).  We’ve been there once before and enjoyed it so we made another go at it.  If you live in North Dallas, I recommend you try the Coffee House Cafe.  It’s not a chain that is typical of this neck of the woods.  The breakfast menu has a lot of interesting items on it, the wait staff is very friendly (thanks for serving us, Georgio!), and the decor is well done- part rustic, part contemporary, all warm and welcoming!

Nick and I started off with drinks.  An Irish Coffee for him and a Bloody Mary for me.
Not able to decide what to get, I asked Georgio what he recommended.  I took his advice of the Crab Cakes Benedict.
Two crab cakes sat on top pieces of toast and were topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce, accompanied with a side of breakfast potatoes.  The crab cakes were loaded with fresh herbs.  Nick said that the herbs were a little too overpowering over the crab, but I thought they tasted fresh and unique.  The dish was very filling and I barely made it through the first Crab Cake Benedict, but Nick was happy to help me finish the second one.  (Oh, and in case you are curious, Nick ordered the Challah French Toast Sandwich.  That was really yummy, mixing savory and sweet flavors.)  I’ve really enjoyed the two visits to the Coffee House Cafe and hope to visit the “neighborhood” joint more often!

Do you have a favorite neighborhood breakfast spot that you frequent?  What do you love about the place?

Sweet Potatoes And Sore Knees

I had every intention to do a big workout yesterday; running and strength training, but I woke up with a sore knee from Wednesday night’s run.  My knee has been mildly bothering my since the start of the year and I am partially blaming it on going to BodyPump classes three times a week.  Too many squats, or at least that’s the excuse I’ve justified.  It’s probably time to buy a new pair of insoles, too.  I’ve put right around 300 miles on them and the manufacturer recommends replacement every six months of average wear, not necessarily half marathon training.  So with tomorrow morning’s 10K in mind, I decided that I should take the day off from the gym to rest my knee up.

I got home before Nick, a rare occurence, and fed Jackson.  I was starting to question if he still loved me since I haven’t been his primary chef lately, but sure enough, I won him over last night with a delicious bowl of cat food!

Having fed the cat, it was time to feed the fiance and myself.  On the menu last night was Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Pancetta and Broccoli Rabe, courtesy for the January issue of Food Network Magazine.  If it sounds tasty, and you want to make this dish yourself, you can find the recipe here.

I made a few adjustments.  First off, I am very lucky to have a mother who lives in Oregon and who’s husband has a hobby of hunting for mushrooms.  The result equals I get fancy and expensive mushrooms for free.  Nick is not a mushroom fan, so I don’t torture him too often with them, but this week he’s putting up with the gourmet mushrooms.  The recipe calls for shiitake mushrooms, but I have a nice stash of chanterelles that required hydration.

While those were reconstituting, I made a side salad for mixed greens, cucumber, pecans, reduced fat feta, dried cherries, and kalamata olives; all tossed with a pomegranate vinaigrette I made a while back.Back to the stuffed sweet potatoes, I put the sweet potatoes in the microwave as directed and got the pancetta going in the frying pan.At this point, the mushrooms were ready.  I pulled out enough for the stuffed sweet potatoes and saved the remaining mushrooms and the broth for tonight’s (broth) and tomorrow night’s (mushrooms) dinners.Back to the pancetta, it was crispy and ready to rest on paper towels to drain the excess oil.

My second recipe modification: I couldn’t find broccoli rabe and the grocery store (as usual) so I used broccolini instead.

And added in the chanterelle mushrooms and red pepper flakes.While that was sauteing, I mixed up the ricotta, parmesan, and nutmeg.I sliced open the sweet potatoes.And put everything together.  Voila, dinner is served!Coming in at about 35o calories for the Stuffed Sweet Potatoes and roughly 150 calories for the salad, it was a tasty and satisfying dinner!  My only criticism for the Stuffed Sweet Potatoes is that the dist was a little dry, otherwise delicious!

Nick and I curled up on the couch with our plates (or bowls, rather) for a cozy dinner and Netflix and I propped my leg up for some heat therapy!

Here’s hoping the heating pad will help my knee feel fine for tomorrow’s 10K!  Tonight’s dinner is a recipe by none other than yours truly!  (I haven’t cooked with out a published or family recipe in a while so fingers crossed that it will come out well!)  Look for the recipe and the race recap this weekend!

Selling Like Hotcakes

First off, when I left the house this morning, I discovered ice on my windshield!  I turned the wipers on and used windshield wiper fluid, but it wasn’t making the ice go away fast enough, so I got out for the car and dug in my trunk for my trusty (and rarely used in Texas) ice scraper.  By the time I got around to the front, the ice had melted and I lost all opportunity to take a picture to show it to you all.  Oh well.  The ironic part of it all is that it’s now 63 degrees out.  That’s Texas for you!

Anyway, last night I stopped at RunOn! on my way to a Michigan alumni board meeting and picked up registration packets for our first race of 2012: The Hotcake Hustle!  I signed up for the 10K and Nick grudgingly said he’s do the 5K.  I think I’ve burned him out for anything more than a 5K after completing the half marathon.  I’m sure he’d rather do the mile fun run than the 5K if he could get away with it, but unfortunately for him, we don’t have or know any kids who he could pretend to be the father of so he could run with a kid as a “father duty” of the fun run.  Alone, people might wonder who this thirty-something guy is, running a mile with a bunch of little kids.    I’m teasing.  Nick is a good sport and while running is clearly not his sport of choise, he does it to support me.

With the registration packets came the fun swag!The beautiful Hotcake Hustle 5K/10K Long Sleeve T-Shirt

Hotcake Hustle Coffee Mugs
When I was making Nick take pictures for me this morning he asked if I was selling the merchandise, hence “Selling Like Hotcakes”!

I’m actually nervous for this race.  (Those 10K’s, they make me so nervous every time!)  It’s not the distance, it’s the fact that the 10K portion of it is running the 5K twice.  I’ve done enough loops in my neighborhood to not be very excited to do a loop race.  I guess I could have signed up for the 5K in order to avoid making a second loop, but I wanted to get more mileage in for the day, so that’s the price I have to pay.  However, the reward is pancakes at the finish line!

Before I left the house, Jackson told me he wanted to say hi to you all!

Happy Wednesday!