Thursday, December 31, 2009

You Say You Want a Re(s)olution

My last post of 2009!  Of course I had to make a few resolutions.  There are vices I'm working on that are not listed, and personal goals/numbers that will be kept in my head for now.  I like my resolutions to be equally fun and motivating without being burdensome.  I won't beat myslef up if they aren't all kept, but I think these are a few ways that I can make 2010 memorable!

1. Run an out of town race
2. Run an out of state race
3. Get Michelle Obama arms
4. Run the Toughest 10K again!
5. Invest in a Vera Bradley Large Duffle
6. Try new ethnic cuisine
7. Visit new wineries/breweries
8. Visit museums in Houston
9. Go to concerts/shows
10. Invest in a paper calendar and write everything down that happens this year (so that next year when I reflect on the year I’ll know exactly what went down!)

I need to run a quick 5 mi before I finish packing for tonight.  I can't wait to share pictures with you tomorrow of my NYE festivities.  Wishing you a fun & safe evening!  I leave you with my favorite commercial right now, and encourage you to go ahead and put Yellow Cab in your cell phone before you head out!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Year in Review

We started 2009 with a low-key yet festive get together.

I spent a weekend in San Antonio enjoying culture and food.

I went to Turkey, acquiring my first stamps in my passport (and my passport picture is so fun!)

My family came to Waco during the Easter weekend, the same weekend the bluebonnets showed up.

Participated in Race for the Cure – Central Texas, and in doing so started running again…

And later that month ran the Astros Race for the Pennant 5K with my friends from Houston.

Floated the river for the first time(and can you believe it was freezing and raining)…

And reunion #1 of the year with Sirena!

Visited Mecca, I mean, the Shiner Brewery…

And saw the Terra Cotta Warriors.

Went a family vacay to Disney. You’re never too old to visit Mickey…

And donated my hair 9+ inches!

Participated in my first 10K!

Added another fabulous handmade costume to my collection, all made by Nana…

Ran Race for the Cure – Houston…

And saw U2.

Had a fabulous birthday dinner with friends to welcome me to 28….

Had reunion #2 with Sirena and our 8th grade slumber party…

And received much needed affirmation that I do indeed love teaching.

Played in the snow…

And celebrated the holidays with friends and family!

There were so many more good moments, and this year was very equally strange and freeing at the same time.  I'm OK with where I am, because I know it's a much better place than I was a year ago.  And I have such a clear sense of direction that I felt I have been lacking (or running away from) for so long.  I'm thankful for 2009, and excited for 2010!

2000-2009 in a glance.

So I saw this idea over on Vikki Smalls blog and loved it. However, I have a horrible/selective memory and the task of remembering the past 10 years proved a bit hard. What I can say is that 10 years flies by, and it’s been spent solidifying friendships started long before 2000 and meeting people along the way that have truly changed my life. I can’t imagine not knowing the people I’ve met in college, grad school, and through the many summers I worked at a youth camp. Love them all.

What I'll remember...

2000: Graduating HS. Going to Hawaii by myself. Starting Baylor. Making friends there who would be my besties 10 years later. Bridesmaid #1
2001: Worked as a resident advisor
2002: First summer as a camp counselor in Daytona, FL
2003: Spring Break in NYC, summer in North Carolina., Pledge Trainer for our sorority with my other friend Laura
2004: Graduating BU. Singletons 211 apt. NYC for Easter.
2005: Started running in the cold, early mornings of January. Moved to Dallas.
2006: Moved back to HOU. Bridesmaid #2/3. Christmas lights in NYC. NOLA clean up. Spring of the horrible racer back tan lines. Horrible job with crazy lady and the realization that that may be her life but it didn’t have to be mine.
2007: Started my MTS at Truett. Bridesmaid #4. Boston. San Francisco.
2008: Discovered spin class and boot camp. Voted in my first election. Married my friends. Bridesmaid #5. Miami. Participated in my first protest
2009: Grew out/donated my hair. Began running again. Signed up for lots of races. Got the first stamps in my passport. My first year to maintain my weight, yet that wasn’t as encouraging than losing. Finally finding my way...

I know in theory and in numbers 10 years is a very long time, but it really isn't at all.  And since I now know how quickly it can pass, and how things can/cannot change, I hope to take advantage of these next 10 years.  Enjoying every moment of every day, or actively initiating any necessary change.

Here's to the next 10 years!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mexican Hot Chocolate

It's rainy and cold tonight in Houston, and therefore time for some hot chocolate.

A little milk...

And a square of chocolate for each mug...

Secret Ingredient: a cinnamon stick

Simmer and stir...

Dunzo! (That's español for "done")

How would you spend $25?

I received a $25 MasterCard gift card.  I've said this before, but when I have "free" money it takes me forever to decide how to spend it.  Not this time.

$8.75 - ticket to see The Blind Side
$4.50 - Vitamin Water at the movie theater (robbery)
$4.29 - facial cleansing towellets for the morning after NYE
$1.99 - gold nail polish for NYE
$3.99 - People Style Watch mag...Beyonce is on the cover!
$0.82 - tax
$24.34 ($0.66 leftover)

A fabulous Christmas gift!

Movie Review: The Blind Side

Last night I went to the movies with some of my girfriends to watch The Blind Side.  I had intentionally avoided this film when I saw the previews because as much as I love Sandra Bullock--because she lives and loves here in Texas--I hate watching movies with people speaking in a southern drawl.  I mean, I'm sure people up north think it sounds legit, but it sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me.  I feel like people who live in England or Australia feel the same way when they hear an unauthentic accent. 

However, everyone kept talking about how good this movie was.  Ok...that's not going to get me in the theater, but it got me interested.  Then I heard it was a true story.  Ok, now I'm very interested.  I love True Hollywood Story(s).  So I did a bit of research ala Wikipedia and decided, yes, I will go watch this movie.

First, let's talk about how on a Monday night the theater was packed!  We had to sit on the last row of the floor seats, like not on the stadium seating, and there were people in the seats in front of us.  I think it's because tonight on 20/20 they are going to do a story on the Michael Oher and his adopted family.

Let's also talk about how they do not mention in the movie what I feel like is the most important thing.  Michael Oher could have gone pro while he was in college.  Like, leave college and head towards the money.  He entered the NFL draft in 2008, but withdrew so he could finished college.  He graduated with a degree in criminal justice this past May and was picked up in the first round of the 2009 draft!  So this is his very first year playing pro ball!

You don't know how many of my students say they want to be professional athletes.  It's a dream of all kids.  But so many of them don't think they need to go to college.  I love Michael Oher's story for so many reasons.  He was not the best student.  He needed a lot of support that just wasn't available to him growing up.  However, he found that support and with a lot of determination was able to graduate high school and graduate from college!  To me, that is the best part of his story.

Becoming a professional football player and making millions and millions of dollars is just the golden cherry on top.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Useful Use!

For Christmas I received a new cookbook and a mini food processor!  The Moosewood recipes are usually pretty simple to make and super delicious. AND all of these recipes are low fat.  The whole reason I wanted a food processor was so I could make my own hummus in batches and batches.  As I was looking through Moosewood I came across a recipe for Indian Chickpea Spread, which was essentially jazzed up hummus.

I made a few changes to the recipe, and the recipe below reflects said changes.  If you want the Moosewood recipe you'll have to buy the book!

1 can of chickpeas, liquid reserved
1 tsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup diced tomato (I used Rotel)
1 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
juice of 1/2 a lime
1-2 tbsp chopped cilantro
salt to taste

Sauté onion until softened. Add garlic, garam masala, cumin, red pepper flakes and cook for a min. Add tomato ; cover and simmer for 5 mins.

In a food processor blend chickpeas until smooth, using the reserved liquid to help thin out the spread.

Add chickpeas to the tomatoes; cook until heated through.

Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lime.

Season with salt to taste.  I dipped baby carrots. YUM!

This was so easy and good!  It can be served warm or cold.  I would have loved to have some pita or naan bread to dip into it, and guess what?  There's a recipe for naan in my book and it looks simple! 

Gifts for Runners

One thing I love about running: running accessories.  I ventured out on the day after Christmas to exchange a few things and think I fared pretty well.  I left with a new fleece lined white running jacket, a pink and grey fleece Nike headband, and a much coveted Nike Sami Large Club Bag (gym bag).

I've wanted a white jacket 4-eva, and the headband is a must to keep my ears warm

So ready to run many, many miles tomorrow...

Love my new bag!  It actually has a small rubber band that can secure my yoga mat to the top of it.

I was able to get in and out of the store without waiting in lines.  In fact, people were waiting on me since the headband had no tag and the gym bag registered at the wrong price.  Yes, the day after Christmas is all about ensuring you get the correct, lowest price and being willing to wait until it happens.  Patience is a virtue, and a shopping a mantra.

The only thing I'm *needing* is a pair of running gloves.  I saw some Nike gloves that fit really well and cost about $20 at Sports Authority.  I also found a pair of fleece gloves for $2 at Old Navy.  Old Navy is a hot mess right now but I think I'll go back during the week to search for some gloves.  I think a cheapy little pair will suffice.

Tomorrow begins my last week of vacation.  I need to make sure the week is both productive and intentionally restfull so that I'm "ready" to go back to work.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-Christmas Dilemma

I have to eat this....

So I can eat all of this...!

Kidding.  Sort of.  I did manage to build up my chocolate arsenal over the holidays, and I'm sure I'll make my way through it over this next year, but I also need to fit into my NYE dress!  Maybe I'm one of those people that will try on all the clothes in their closet just because.  You can only imagine when I'm saving an outfit for a special occasion (wedding, holiday, event, birthday) how many times I try it on--every day!  I have this fear of something not fitting, so I'm constantly keeping myself in check.

New Year's Eve may be my most favorite holiday, and as of today all plans are in place to ring in 2010!  How do you say that? Twenty-ten? Two thousand-ten?  The  1900s were much more catchier--party like it's 1999 and all.  I miss that century.

Holiday Salad:
Sping Mix greens
Chopped pecans
Crumbled feta
Orange segments
Fat free raspberry vinaigrette

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Greetings

Wishing you love and peace this holiday season and the brighest New Year!

love, Laura

Christmas Morning...

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas!

This morning Santa came and visited! Thank you Santa for my new Steve Madden boots! I also go to open my stocking:

And now we're eating breakfast before visiting more family. When I was in Austin I ordered some breakast tacos at Magnolia Cafe that were delish and had no egg (eggs can make me sick sometimes). Spinach, potato, pico/salsa, and a sprinkle of cheese. Just right! I recreated them this morning:

Hope you all have a wonderful day with your loved ones!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

"Houston" was the first word said on the moon...true story.

Maybe it's because I've been away so long, or maybe it's because it really is a great place to live if you take advantage of all it has to offer, but I love Houston.

Annnnd I'm back!

I mean, where have I been? I knew the last two weeks of school would be insane in the membrane, and they were, and that there would be no updates. I’m officially on winter break and in the first four days off have managed to go to the hair cuttery, Austin, Belton, had mini Christmas #1, did all of my Christmas shopping AND watch The Hangover. I’ve felt pretty productive.

I was pretty much running on fumes this weekend, and by the time I made it to Austin on Monday, with the help of an emergency cup of coffee purchased at an HEB, I was dunzo. I ended up falling asleep that night around 8:30 pm. Hello, I’m a grandma.

I’ll talk more about my trip to ATX later once I get some pictures from Sirena (I so hope Santa brings me a new digi camera).

Here are a few pictures I’ve snapped with the BB over the past few days…

Snapped outside my classroom window on the day it snowed in Houston, Texas

I went and had lunch by myself during my break in my alternative certification program.  I believe this place was a Korean restaurant and I simply said I wanted vegetable soup.  This is what was given to me.  Yes, that white oval is an entire green onion omlet.  I wasn't sure what was going on and I was a little out of my element since I don't eat Korean food often (ever?).  It was pretty tasty, very overwhelming, and way too much food.  I pretty much left it all there.

I don't get it? He also had a Palin 2012 sticker on his truck.  I'm not sure if they go together or not.

A fun surprise from Sirena! Maybe I thought it was a bracelet and tried to put it on.  She was not impressed.  You know you love me, S...XOXO

More blogging soon!