Monday, August 31, 2009

Don't be skirt.

My 7 mi long run on Saturday went super well. I drove out and hid my water bottle at mi 3 so I didn't have to carry it, and I also was going to run back past that area, and it totally worked! I realized I didn't need to drink nearly as much water as I do when I'm on the treadmill. The first 3 miles were rough, but the last 4 went so well and I felt good and not tired and had a great pace! Interesting things about that run:

1. Amazing weather. We may still have highs in the 90s but the lows are in the 70s/80s and it makes for great morning runs!
2. Ran into a standoff situation in a neighborhood. Not really sure what was going on, but SWAT was there. What a way to start the weekend.
3. This American Life will now be part of my long runs. I listened to an epi and laughed while I ran. I probably looked insane. Still, it helped keep my mind occupied and this will be a great way to keep up with TAL since I'm not making as many long drives these days. (BTW, I listened to "The Cruelty of Children," David Sedaris was killing me as always. Love him.)

So, I do love other things besides running, and things that I am much better at. Like shopping! I visited TJ Max for the first time this weekend and fell in love! The shoes, the clothes--all brands I love! I saw some amazing J.Simpson suede peep toe stacked heels that I will be coveting. Also a cute Nine West top. The only thing I walked out with though was....

A running skirt. I have said aloud that I think they are dumb, but I saw it in the store and had to try it on. For $12.99 I thought, what the heck, and I tested it out tonight. It has tiny built in spandex shorts, and they tend to ride up on me so I felt like I was running in boyshorts underwear and a short skirt. It was sort of liberating. No, it was fine, though I'm interested to know what it looks like as I'm running. Is it keeping everything covered???
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The other item I purchased was an adorable button down shirt dress. Now, I have been to three stores looking for my size. I found a size bigger and a size smaller, and I couldn't decide which one looked better since they didn't have the size I needed. Don't worry, I bought both. I'm still torn, so I will not post a picture until a final decision has been made. I'm also going to one last store tomorrow to see if they have my size :) Persistance. It's my shopping mantra.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

20 Questions

While searching for “getting to know you questions" on Google I came across a page titled, “Getting to Know You Questions” on the Oprah website. I mean, it doesn’t get more legit than Oprah. Feel free to answer any or all of these questions on your blog, or even leave the answers to a favorite question here in the comments section. I want to know about you too!

Getting to Know You Questions
Use these questions to spark conversations at the dinner table with your friends and family. You can even put them on little paper cards and have people pick them out of a basket—so it's completely random!

· Who was your favorite celebrity as a child?
Joey McIntyre. I was such a huge New Kids on the Block fan and just thought he was perfect. I would dream about how we would one day casually meet and I would be super cool and fun, not at all a crazed fan, and he would fall in love with me. He’d go on tour, but we’d talk every day. Yes, I was 6-10 years old having this fantasy.

· What type of pets do you have?
I love a miniature daschund named Comet that is technically my brother’s. He is the absolute best cuddle buddy ever, and I sing him a song that goes, “He’s the sleepiest daschundddddddddd in all. the. world.”

· What is your favorite color?
I really don’t have one, but I love anything that sparkles or shines.

· What is most memorable about your high school years?
Never, ever having in gas in my car and scrounging up spare change to get at least a dollars worth of gas to get wherever I was going!

· What word describes you best?
Effervescent. A professor told me this one and I was taken aback, but it is the absolute best compliment I’ve ever received. Who says stuff like that? I hope I come across that way to others.

· What is your greatest accomplishment?
Finding a good balance between health & fitness and indulgence. I’m still getting there...

· What drives you every day?
The opportunity to learn or experience something I hadn’t known the day before.

· What is your favorite food?
California rolls with super hot wasabi in my soy! I could eat it every day!

· Where do you want to retire?
Maybe I’ll finally want to live out in the countryside on a decent amount of land. Some place to take long walks, garden, see stars.

· What is your business goal this year?
Get my teaching certification!

· Where do you like to vacation?
Any place with good site seeing, that’s historic, that has a unique activity to experience. I’m all about having some downtime during vacays, but I also hate feeling like I didn’t get to really experience or come to know that particular community.

· Who do you admire?
My mother. She was young mom, but was able to finish college. She took Girl Scout cookies with her to school to help me be the top seller in my troop (418 boxes!). She’s incredibly giving, instilled in me a desire to help others, knows a song for everything, and is an incredibly hard worker.

· What is your mission?
Love God, embrace beauty, and live life to the fullest.

· If you were invisible, where would you go?
I think I’d spend the day peaking in on people. Complete strangers. Get a glimpse of their lives for 30 mins. or so and then move on to the next person of interest.

· What traits in others are you attracted to?
Warm and kind, confident, passionate about one particular thing (at least), generous, sense of humor, always the gentleman—to both me and others. I just realized I interpreted "others" as men. Clearly I am on the prowl.

· What is the kindest thing anyone has done for you?
My friend’s mother sent me money specifically to buy a pair of glasses with. I was a bit overwhelmed by her generosity and the fact that it came with such explicit instructions to be proactive about my poor vision. I love my glasses and I always think of her kindness and intentionality each time I put them on and see things more clearly.

· How do you want to be remembered?
I come from a family of good storytellers...I’d like to leave behind a few tales for folks to share with others.

· What would you do with a million dollars?
Pay off all debt, pay off immediate family’s debt, buy a modest house in my dream neighborhood, indulge in some exquisite chocolate truffles, and travel, travel, travel!

· If you were on an island, who would you want to be with? Why?
Oh, who’s that guy on that show Man vs. Wild? Bear Grylls! Yes please! I’ve only seen that show once but I have no doubt that hunter/gather could keep us safe, fed, and housed…and he’s not too shabby on the eyes either!

· You have a 10 minute speech to give at a high school, what is it about?
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” e. e. cummings. If you’re not happy with something in your life, know that you have the power to change it. Set goals and do something every day to get a step closer to accomplishing them. Never doubt for a minute how fully capable you are.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Those summer nights

So I took the new handheld water bottle out for a bridge run and I can officially say I hate it. By the end I was alternating holding hands every 5 seconds. It was killing me. Did I love having water while I was running? Yes, but clearly this is not the hydration system for me. So, I'm going back on the hunt for a water belt.

Also, I've decided that I'm addicted to 24SET, the step/weights class. I went twice this week with two different instructors and I'm enjoying the challenge. It's definitely still hard and I'm trying to figure out the correct weight to use on different moves, and I did take away one step which has helped a lot with my knees. But I think this is the perfect way for me to get in my strength training since I'm so incredibly intimidated by the machines, and I feel like I get a complete workout in 45 mins. I think next week I'll try to add the step back.

The weather has cooled a bit, and the warm summer nights are becoming more enjoyable and less oppressive. Though my fashion magazines are featuring the fall trends of sweaters, tights, layers, and new coats, I'm going to search for a few light and flowy dresses to enjoy our extended summer season.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bookish

Since I'm no longer forced to read for class, and watching mindless television seems a bit wrong*, I decided to pick out some books to read. Now, usually when I get into bookworm mode I have the urge to go out and buy a new book. I don't know about you, but my bookshelf has at least a dozen books I have bought and never read, or books that I know I need to reread.

And so, while browsing my own library I settled on The Great Gatsby. Yes, we all read it in high school, but after reading the first few pages I was already blown away at the literary style, and really, by the first few lines:

.....In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since.
...."Whenever you feel like criticizing any one," he told me, "just remember that all people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had."
.....He didn't say any more, but we've always been unusually communicative in a reserved way, and I understood that he meant a great deal more than that.

And so I'm revisiting the Roaring Twenties, and I'm picturing those shapeless shift dresses women wore that still managed to make them look either glamorous or elegant, but always exquisitely feminine. And their dapper men with their hair slicked to the side, and how a time of prohibition really brought out the exhibitionist in everyone.

And I happened to find this article as I was looking for pictures. A possibly remake? I've actually never seen the Robert Redford version. I'll need to rent it once I'm finished.



*Mindless television does not include the new seasons of Project Runway, Top Chef, or the Rachel Zoe Project. Clearly those fall into the category of educational television.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chopped.

Gina: Well "Sinead O'Rebellion." Shock me, shock me, shock me with that deviant behavior.
Debra: God, that is so clever. I swear you get smarter the shorter your skirt gets.
Gina: And you get smarter the shorter your hair gets, so it's probably a good thing you went with that. It's a wonderful look for you darling.
-Empire Records

I love that movie! Well I didn't go as short as Deb, but I did chop off my hair! I have been wanting to grow out my hair and donate it for a long time. I have tried growing it out before, but always got fed up with how unkempt it looked or how limp and stringy it can be. In March '07 I evened out my hair into bob and started growing it out. Nearly 2 1/2 years later I finally had enough to donate! I really did love having long hair: the long ponies, the big long curls--but really these past two months it has looked so terrible, and the Houston humidity did not help. What really sealed the deal was when I was running last week. My hair is usually drenched in sweat after I run, but it was swinging from side to side and slinging sweat, like, towards other people! I finally had had it.

So I made an appointment and took in a collage of Nicole Richie's famous bob (Jessica's pic was what i did not want):

I also brought a back up page just in case I chickened out:

But in the end, it was time for it to come off, and I love it!
It may not look like it, but I'm donating a little over 9", and the stylist actually cut off at least another inch, if not more. I love my new short hair, and I'm already thinking about what my next short hair cut will be! It is long enough right now that I can pull it back in a short perky ponytail for runs :)

I donated to Beautiful Lengths because the minimum required length was 8" (Locks of Love's min. is 10"). Beautiful Lengths also makes wigs that will be given to women, while Locks of Love gives wigs to children. Obviously there is a need for both, so both organizations are great. This is a goal I had a set a long time ago, and I'm happy that I finally accomplished it!
And I forgot how a fresh new look makes you feel like you have a fresh start too. I like that, I'm ready what's next.

Step by Step (ooh, baby!)

I’ve mentioned that I listen to music while I run. I’m still addicted to the treadmill these days, though I’m anxiously awaiting hitting the asphalt and trails once the temperature drops and the cool air moves in. That will be in November. Anyway, I realized today that I happen to always schedule a run at the gym when Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is on. Now, I don’t always go to the gym at the same time, and I don’t even know when that show comes on, but apparently there is a channel out there that airs it a lot! All that to say, I find myself reading the captions and following the program, and I swear! Even on the treadmill—sweating to death—that show makes me tear up! Too much!

Today after my run I quickly changed, switched my running shoes for sandals, and ran across the gym toting my purple yoga mat to get to pilates. The ladies in there did not look like they were about to do pilates, and so I knew right away I had gotten the times mixed up again. I asked what the class was and they said 24SET. I remembered from the website that it had something to do with lifting weights, and since I have been telling myself I need to do more strength training I decided to stay. Everyone had steps out, and I didn’t think this was a big deal since you usually use the step to lay on and work your chest and triceps. I got all the equipment everyone else had, and even opted to use some lighter weights since I knew I hadn’t done a sculpting class in months. So I’m ready to pump some iron.

Tell me why we were working our biceps with handheld weights while doing step aerobics? Laura Borrego does not do step classes! 1. I am soooooo uncoordinated. I do not know how to dance, and when I do I’m usually in one place and just throw my hands in the air and sometimes shimmy down to the floor and right back up. If I’m really feeling the song maybe I’ll turn around in a circle. But that is it! So all this step up with one foot, but then jump around, back up, and then step down with the other foot—no, I do not know what you are doing.

2. Step classes kill my knees. I know running is really bad for my knees too, but I try to rest between runs. I had just ran a fast 4 miles and already felt my knee throbbing, so I knew I was in trouble (hello, that’s why I was going to pilates!) I looked like I mess trying to figure out how to get on and off that step and trying to stay on beat, and when I finally got it they were already working on something else. I was super behind. And then my arms were throbbing on top on that. Lady, why are you so happy and perky and able to give clear instructions as you’re doing this?

This is what I can say. That class is killer. I loved the instructor and I loved the weights part. I may even go again but I won’t do any of the step stuff. I have a feeling I am going to be super sore tomorrow, but at least I’ll know that the strength training has officially begun.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Devil in a Blue Dress

Gotta love summer sales. I recently snagged this BCBGeneration dress at Dillards. Now, I could only find a pic in black, but it's actually a dark, dusty blue. Was I tempted to buy it in black? Obvs, but I went with the blue because 1. I'm intentionally trying to steer away from black right now, and 2. I felt that the blue lent itself to being worn more places. It's my little blue dress :)


Now I'm trying to figure out how to style it. Blue with gold accessories or silver? Gold makes me feel a little anchors away, but silver makes me think prom: "A Night to Remember."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Power Tracks

I mentioned that I found a podcast that puts together music mixes to run to. I have say again how much I love Indie Soup Runner. It’s the only thing I listen to when I run. There are quite a few mixes available to download and I try my best to upload a different mix to my iPod Shuffle every week or so. However, there is one mix that I particularly love.

In the middle of the Fartlek Psychedeli-Disco Mix are three songs in a row that I have dubbed my “power tracks.” The first few songs are good, but I’m still focusing on my pace or stride—still very aware that I am running, you know what I mean? Like you are fully aware every step, every minute, every tenth of a mile. But at about minute 23 of this mix I hear “Volver,” a song sung in Español , and I just start bopping my head to the beat. I let my mind wander, envisioning car racing montages from 80s movies. Up next is Ida Maria’s “Oh My God” which evokes the same emotion as Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.” You know what I’m talking about. I start singing the song while I’m running. Not only that, but this track gets me running faster. I have to bump up the speed on the treadmill. So it ends and you think, OK, now it’s time to slow down, but no! "Hold The Line (DJ Edit)" by Major Lazer comes on and this makes you keep the same pace and lengthen your stride. By the time this song comes on I feel like I look like a runner. And it’s a little bit awesome and I bop my head to this song too. If I could run and drop it like it’s hot at the same time this would be the track I would do it to. Don’t worry, the people in the gym can tell I’m grooving when this track comes on. I purse my lips as I move my head from side to side.

Anyway, these are my power tracks, what are yours?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Banana Bread

I recently came across this blog, STRESSCAKE, and saw a yummy recipe for banana bread. I had all of the ingredients on hand, including three ripe bananas. I had to threaten the household to refrain from eating the bananas so I could make this bread, but they made me promise to share. Fine.

As soon as I started mashing and mixing everything I realized we were out of flour! Luckily there was a bit of wheat flour left that I had brought with me from Waco. I knew it would probably be a little more dense, but it actually complimented the bread. Banana bread is dense and hearty and comforting, and the wheat flour added just a bit more texture. My father usually frowns upon my wheat flour, but he devoured the cake and said it was good!

Now, the recipe calls to brown the butter. I did, but I'm not sure how much of a difference it made. I'll definitely make this again, but I think I'll just use unsweetened applesauce instead.


Brown Butter Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf or 12 muffins

3 large, very ripe bananas
¾ cup sugar
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon dark rum (optional) (I used vanilla extract)
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1. With cooking spray, lightly grease a loaf pan or muffin tin (or use muffin papers.) I usually line loaf pans with a bit of parchment paper too just to make it easier to remove from the pan. Set aside.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
3. In a small saucepan over medium-low melt the butter and then let slowly cook until the milk solids begin to brown and the mixture smells nutty. Let it go until the milk solids become a very dark brown. Take off the heat, strain into a bowl to remove the darkened milk solids and set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, mash the bananas.
5. Add the sugar, egg, browned butter and rum (if using) to the bananas and mix to combine.
6. Add the flour; sift in the salt, baking powder, baking soda (just to eliminate any lumps), nutmeg and nuts.
7. Stir to combine.
8. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan or fill muffin cups ¾ full.
9. Bake: 20-25 minutes for muffins or 40-45 minutes for a loaf. Test for doneness – a toothpick or skewer inserted just off center should come out clean with no traces or wet batter and the top(s) are golden brown.
10. Banana bread will keep, tightly wrapped, for a few days or freeze for up to 1 month.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Funny People


Tonight we went and saw Adam Sandler's new movie Funny People. I really enjoy Adam Sandler's more serious movie roles (Punch Drunk Love, Reign Over Me) and I think he delivers in this one again. I never warmed up to Seth Rogen...he seemed uncomfortable and awkward, which his character is supposed to be, but it almost came across like he was in over his head acting next to Sandler. However, the rest of the cast is amazing. I love Leslie Mann (from Knocked Up) and beautiful Eric Bana is in this movie too. Jason Schwartzman is ridiculous as always...ridiculously cute! And while I don't know much about Jonah Hill, I liked him in Superbad and Knocked Up, and I like him in this too.
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A lot of the critics are giving it good ratings and saying it's surprisingly a "real" movie, which I guess means it's not just stupid jokes about male genitalia. But don't worry, there's plenty of jokes about that too. Why do guys think that's funny? They're so weird.
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We also decided to see the film at Star Cinema Grill in Clear Lake. We had never been there before, and it was really good. We all loved our food (I had a turkey burger with Texas toothpicks), though I realized it's difficult for me to eat a meal and watch a movie. I'm horrible at multi-tasking. Next time I may just get something like a fun drink or even indulge in a yummy dessert!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bridge Run

Last night I finally got brave and ran out on the Kemah bridge with a friend. I have 5 weeks until the Toughest 10K in Houston, and you have to run the bridge 4 times. I was able to go across 4 times last night, and even though it was hard at least I know it can be done. I'm going to try and run the bridge once a week until the race. I'm all about muscle memory, and once I know how far I can go I usually am able to push myself just a tad further.
Now, the bridge's incline is pretty gradual, not at all as drastic as I thought it would be. I found it equally uncomfortable to run up it than to walk up it. When I ran my biceps throbbed--major sign that I need to get my arms in check with some strength training--and when I walked my glutes were killing me. I made sure to stretch really well after and soaked in a hot bath last night and today I'm feeling good!

I'm currently hunting for MP3s of cycling/spinning tracks with instructors in the background. Anyone know of any? Gold's Gym's RPM classes are amazing--all of their classes are--and unfortch my current gym falls way short with their spin class. I thought that if I could find some MP3s I could go in and ride on my own. I would LOVE it if Gold's released a series of tracks...hint, hint!

I was unable to find the Fuel Belt I wanted, so I ordered this Nathan handheld water bottle:
I'm a little nervous about using it because I like to run with my hands free, but I'm willing to give this a go and hey! It's pink! If this is a bust then I'll be forced to just buy the Fuel Belt.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I found you, Ms. New Booty

Tonight I tried a 20 min. glute workout I found on Fitness.com. I burned about 155 cals when set on 3.5 speed (I'm 5'3" and my short legs were working to keep up on the higher inclines!) The first 10 mins or so are not too difficult, but you end up jumping between the 12 and 10 incline for about 7 mins and really get your heart going! The 20 mins goes by very quickly, especially since you're constantly changing the incline every minute or two, so I took a 5 min cool down and did it once more. I was definitely tired after! Each session is a little over a mile.


When set at a speed of 3.5-5 you are definitely getting a cardio workout, but I think this would be just effective set on a much slower speed too!

I just wrote down the mins and inclines on a little sheet of paper and placed it on the treadmill. Easy shmeazy.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Training starts...NOW!

Today was the first day of training for my first fall race. I have a few races lined up all leading to the Houston half and hopefully the Austin half in February. That means lots of running from now until February! I'm excited because I have been such a slacker this summer--it's been too hot! I had to join the gym just to get in a few runs on the treadmill. I have six weeks until The Toughest 10K in Houston. I ran an easy 5 miles tonight at the gym. When I was on vacation I ran in their gym and did a pretty decent 3 miles. I have to attribute some of this to the fact that their treadmill had a personal fan! I have never run on a treadmill with a fan, I loved it. Tonight I ran a bit slower and faced a few humps, but those miles got done. Oh, so I was at 4.89 miles and had been bumping up my speed for the last half mile. I was running full out when all of a sudden the machine stopped! It just turned off. It was over it. I almost catapulted off the thing! I rebooted it and jogged a bit more to finish, but that was crazy.

Ok, so I find it very interesting when people at the gym come in looking perfect...and then leave looking perfect. I'm like, what just went on? I look like a hot mess when I leave, and when I'm running I look even worse. Straight up pouring down sweat, ugly face, breathing through my mouth in weird patterns and clearing my throat. Does that happen to you? I get like phlegm or something and have to clear my throat, I sound like an 80 year old man.

Then there are the people who are wearing regular clothing...like, cargo shorts or khaki pants? Tonight a girl was in super short shorts that had a camouflage pattern. They weren't gym shorts though, they were regular shorts, or however regular tiny camouflage shorts are.

Also, today there was a season 2 marathon of Mad Men! I was behind so I DVRd all of them and am making my way through it. Season 3 starts in a few weeks. I love this show, it's just so interesting. The 60s weren't that long ago, my parents were born in the early 60s. But these people are driving around without a seatbelt on and are eating red meat and Jello molds at every meal and washing it down with whole milk--all while holding a ciggy in their hand!

My favorite part is the fashion. The women just always look so glamorous and put together. They always have their hair done...how did they do that? I can only Chi my hair. The curves of their bodies are amazing, and you get to see all of the body shapers they wore everyday to help them squeeze into those form fitting dresses! Clearly a little shift dress should be a staple in every girl’s closet.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

"Gaze with awe upon the Seedlander"

So the Nike duffel I ordered came in and is NOT what it looked like online. it's a very pale grey paired with nuclear reactive slime green! I thought about just keeping it, but no. It's getting shipped back. I still don't have a gym bag. Sad.

Last night was a very unsuccessful shopping trip. Even though the dress I had been eyeing for a while was officially on sale at an amazing price I thought it through and I really didn't have any place to wear it, and I had just bought a dress the week before. I left sad. Then I went to Sports Authority to buy my Fuel Belt, but they don't carry it or any good hydration gear, and I left sad. So then we went to HEB to get something for dinner. Of course by this point I'm sad and starving, and you know you're not supposed to go to the grocery store in that condition. I definitely needed a snack, and I was at the point of getting something gross in the checkout lane when I found this:

These little crackers were perfect! Doctor Kracker is certified organic and made in Dallas, TX! At first I thought they wouldn't be very filling, but they totally were. They are very thick little crackers, full of yummy seeds, and the "uber crunch" they boast about is no joke! You really have to bite down on these bad boys, but that's good because it took longer than eating, say, a bag of potato chips. I'll definitely be on the lookout for more of their products!

Seedlander Snack Chips
Cal: 120
Fat: 4.5
Carbs: 15
Fiber: 3
Protein: 5

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Comfort Food

I love soup. Always have. I can eat soup every single day and not get tired of it. I was always a little hesitant of tomato soup though. I'm not exactly sure why, perhaps it's because it's not something I grew up, and somewhere along the way developed some misconceived ideas about what it really tasted like. In my head: watery and bland.

Over a year ago I came across Pacific Natural Foods Creamy Soups. I was most excited to try the Butternut Squash, but to be honest that ended up being my least favorite. My #1 is the Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato followed closely by... Creamy Tomato! These soups are so tasty and--despite being pureed smoother than silk--really fill you up.



Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato (serving size 1 cup)
Cal: 110
Fat: 2
Carbs: 16
Protein: 5
Organic Tomato (serving size 1 cup)
Cal: 100
Fat: 2
Carbs: 16
Fiber: 1
Protein: 5
PS: I generally always eat 2 cups of soup as my meal. The only time I ration and eat 1 cup is when I'm pairing it with a little salad or maybe a half sandwich.

Sunday, August 2, 2009