Friday, August 31, 2012

One Week Down + Grocery Lists

I can't tell you how much I appreciate all your advice and words of encouragement! Terry and I are excited for some rest tonight and tomorrow morning before we head to Anaheim for the pre-race expo and stay the night there before the race itself on Sunday morning. Wish us luck!

Today marked the end of my first week teaching at my new school. I am having so much fun getting to know my new students, and it's wonderful that they kindly greet me in the halls. After work today, Terry picked me up and we headed to a new-to-us restaurant nearby. We just went in for an appetizer to let the traffic die down a bit, and their pizza was phenomenal! We ordered the M.S.G. Pizza, a funny name for a mushroom-sausage-green onion pizza, and I can't wait to go back for more. The rest of their menu looked really inventive, too!

This week was really tough for both me and Terry, and I really slacked in the kitchen and grocery shopping areas. Every time we tried to pack our lunches, we found ourselves scratching our heads, wondering how we would create a meal out of spinach and raw oats. I finally shaped up and made a seriously delicious quiche last night (I used Lisa's crust and filling recipe, and we used manchego, spinach, and tomato to make it delicious). We had leftovers for lunch and still have more for tomorrow! So we scraped by this week, but I promised Terry I would make a list and menu today so that he could shop on his day off (teamwork!).

Success! I was starving while I wrote out my menu, so you can imagine I was drooling and thinking of my favorite foods. Obviously, I wound up with comfort foods, which are sounding mighty good lately. Chili cheese fries? (I'll show you how I pump up the nutrition in that one.) Pasta pie? That one came from a recipe on Courtney's blog, and I'm excited to see how it turns out. I plan to make two pies so we can have lots of delicious leftovers throughout the week. No more scrounging for lunches around here!

As you can see, I only planned our meals up through Wednesday night. We'll likely have enough leftovers of something (pie and/or chili) to see us through the entire week of lunches, but this dinner strategy is pretty normal for me. I don't mind stopping at the store a second time during the week, and it's a great chance to stock up on more fruits or snacks as needed. Plus, honestly, I really don't know what I want to eat on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, so I'll leave it open for whatever recipes strike my fancy.

Tonight, I'm taking it very easy. I came home to an incredibly clean house, because my husband is awesome, so my weekend started on a great note. We ate pizza early, so Terry's slicing up some bread, cheese, and salami for our second dinner.

Taking a break from the vegetables, apparently

 I hope to get a bit of grading in before bed, we'll watch some Arrested Development tonight, and we head to Anaheim tomorrow!

Do you plan and shop for full weeks, or just a little at a time?

And because it's Friday:

Hope you have an amazing night! See you tomorrow for a very nervous pre-race post.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Let's Be Honest

Football season started today!!! Yeah, yeah, I know NFL football started up last week (or was it the week before?), but the REAL season started today: College Football!

Terry and I got home right as the game started, threw on our Bruin gear, and--realized the game is on a channel we don't get.

Sad Terry

Cue violins. We tried "watching" on the GameTracker thing, but it was less than exhilarating to watch the little cartoon guys run around the screen. So Terry switched to the radio while I got to work, and he yelled updates from the bedroom. (I wanted to listen, too, but the static on the radio was ridiculous, and I had plenty to keep me busy.) Hopefully future games will be broadcast on accessible channels so that we can actually see them.

Oh, and while we sorta-kinda listened to the game, look what happened:



Three days. That's all it took. And you can bet I'll be sending Terry to the store tomorrow to get more!

I have Colleen to thank for inspiring today's post. She writes over at The Lunchbox Diaries (her blog is so funny!), and her post today talked about how reaching health goals is not easy, despite the fact that people often put a super-positive spin on things.

Well, I discussed this topic with Terry on the way home today (yep, we're still carpooling!), and I think I'm actually pretty honest about most topics. I'll admit when I'm just not feelin' a workout (like the run from hell), I share my frustrations when I'm exhausted at the end of a long day, and you know I have no qualms about complaining about traffic.

But I'm not sure I've been as honest as I can about this half marathon we're doing on Sunday. Let's remedy that, shall we?

The Training
It was hard. Really, really hard. I struggled to motivate myself to want to run, and I hated the midweek "short" outings when they boosted up to 5 miles twice a week (in addition to the long runs). As for the long runs, actually, I enjoyed those more. I think I looked forward to them because I knew that, at the end, we would have completed a new PR for distance. Then again, the during part really sucked at times. The first mile was rough, the middle part was okay, then my feet would make me want to quit, and then I would push through the last mile.

After 10 miles

But at the same time, I was so proud of myself during every run. I remember (not too long ago) when running half a mile felt like certain death. Slowly--SO slowly--I built up my endurance. I didn't have to walk as much, I ran faster, and I felt stronger. Difficult, yes, but not impossible. Now, on our long runs, we hit four or five miles, and I smile to myself. I think, "Man, I remember when running that far seemed crazy, and now I'm running twice that distance!" It showed me that I really can achieve some pretty intense goals. I should have acknowledged my accomplishments along the way a little more.

My Body
If I'm being 100% honest, I shouldn't have done it. I consider myself a very fit and able-bodied young woman, but I should not be running long distances. My foot is really not up to the task. It held up alright for the "shorter" runs--6, 7, 8 miles. But the last four or five long runs really killed me. After about seven miles I would have to stop and stretch my foot because I couldn't take another step. And then I kept going, stretching when necessary. But I probably shouldn't have, and I probably won't again. I'll gladly stick to 10Ks if I feel the need to pay money and wear a bib while running with tons of other people.

In a word...OUCH. Every part of me hurt. My hips tightened up, and I had a hard time foam rolling them, but stretching helped. My Achilles tendon got sore. My IT band hates me, and foam rolling it makes me hate it right back. And then, of course, my foot.

Something I was really curious about was whether I would gain weight, lose weight, or stay the same. I've heard that some people gain 5-10 pounds while training. I'd say I've gained a few pounds (I don't weigh myself), but that could be attributed to any number of things, so I won't blame running. I'm curious to see how my body reacts when I shift back into circuits, yoga, HIIT workouts, and strength--with minimal running.

The Countdown
I. Am. Stressed. Granted, I have a lot going on right now, between starting a new job, beginning a new school year, and a few other things. Luckily, the timing worked out perfectly so that we've been tapering during the start of school, and we've only had to dedicate a few 30-minute blocks of running time here and there over the last two weeks.

But honestly, I'm incredibly nervous for Sunday. I've never done any kind of a race, and I really have no idea what to expect.

I know we're in the second-to-last corral. I imagine that's not the ideal place to start a race for someone who's claustrophobic and has panic attacks when standing in crowds of people for extended periods of time.

Based on other bloggers' post-run recaps, I'm imagining there's a solid chunk of time before you even get to the start line--how does that work? Do you walk to the start line? Run? Will I be trampled? Does the pre-start line time factor in to our overall race time? I guess I should have asked these questions awhile ago.

Any words of wisdom from race veterans out there?

Also, as I look forward to my retirement from half marathons before I've even run one, I'm thrilled to be done with long distance running for awhile.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIAW + 3 Cheers for Today

Halfway through the week! Who's stoked? I'm super excited for a couple reasons:

1. I've officially survived my first two days of teaching at my new school.
My first two days went extremely well. I was so nervous, as if it was my first day teaching. To the teachers out there: Will I always get so antsy, or is it just because it was a new school? I can't remember being quite that anxious the last two years, but I may just be forgetting. But anyway, the students were fun and kind, and I think I have some great classes. I'm excited to see such a difference among all my classes--such different personalities! It'll be so fun to learn about each student, as it always is.

I have to say, though, I'm exhausted! Both days really took it out of me, and I know I just need to get back into the swing of things. 

2, It's 7:38 pm, and we've already finished our workout AND dinner.
Yes. That's right. And actually, we finished dinner right around seven! Lately we seem to be eating at 7:45 or 8:00, and yesterday and today we went ahead and got things done much earlier.

Part of that is shorter workouts. Since we're tapering for our half marathon (COUNTDOWN: 3 DAYS), we've agreed to focus our workouts on our upper body only (I'm still doing Tina's boot camp but omitting any leg exercises), plus some very light runs. Today after work we did a quick arm/shoulder/chest workout, and my arms were shaking when I ate dinner!

But eating earlier also means we get to bed earlier, and we feel more refreshed in the mornings. It's all part of a grand scheme, because someday I want to be a morning exerciser! We've agreed to start slowly, so here's our plan:
  • Spend a week or two going to bed early and waking up a little earlier each day.
  • Start getting up at 5 am to do half-workouts (30 minutes of just cardio or just weights, for example); do the second half of the workout in the afternoon/evening.
  • Eventually, get up at 4:30 for full workouts!

3. MOST exciting: Chris and Ashley are getting married in ONE MONTH!!! I can't wait to see my big brother marry his best friend!

Alright, on to today's eats!
Check out the other WIAWs!
6:15 am - Breakfast

Cantaloupe, peaches, and whole wheat sourdough toast with butter and jelly

10:00 am - Morning Snack

1/2 cup of Trail Mix

1:15 pm - Lunch

Cream cheese, tomato, spinach, and cucumber on a whole wheat pita. 

5:00 pm - Pre-Workout Snack

New-to-me dip with crackers from TJ's...SO GOOD. And pretty much all real ingredients!

6:30 pm (!!!) - Dinner

Oh yeah. This happened. Just a teaser, though; recipe to come next week! (I need to tweak it so it's perfect!)

After I publish this post (approximately 8:30 pm) - Dessert
Frozen yogurt, here we come! I'll Instagram it--are you following me? I link my Instagram photos to Twitter, too...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Liebster Award

Exciting news! Molly from Heart, Sole & Cereal nominated me for a Liebster Award! I tried to do some research about the award, and it turns out that "liebster" means "favorite" in German; needless to say, I'm quite flattered! Thanks, Molly!

The rules are:
  • Tell 11 facts about yourself
  • Answer your nominator's 11 questions
  • Write 11 questions of your own, and nominate more people
  • Those nominated must have fewer than 200 followers
Molly's Questions for Me

1. what is your favorite season and why?
I love certain aspects of all seasons, but my favorite is summer. It's when we got married and will always celebrate our anniversary, it's ideal for little getaways, it's when I go waterskiing with my family. And since I grew up and still live in California, the weather's not humid--it's perfect!

2. who was your favorite teacher growing up and what did they do that you loved (looking for tips!)?
One of my favorite teachers was Mr. Richards, who taught tons of life lessons, like how to Empty Your Cup. I remember his lessons almost daily!

3. if you could only do one form of exercise for the rest of your life, what would it be?
If it wasn't so expensive and painful, I would dance! I danced most of my life, but after my foot surgery I really can't risk doing what I used to do. So now I would choose circuit training, which keeps me entertained and provides tons of variety.

4. do you run with music? watching tv? in silence? 
I like chatting with Terry, but at the end of a long run I turn on the tunes to get myself going.

5. if your place of business required their employees to wear a uniform, would you love it or hate it?
I think I would love it at first, because I don't think I'm very good at assembling cute outfits. But I know I'd get sick of it after just a little while--unless we got to wear scrubs. They just look SO comfy!

6. sweet breakfasts or savory? no breakfast is not an option :)
Sweet! I love sweet breakfasts, but I do prefer to balance them with some eggs or something. 

7. smoothies vs. milkshakes - which do you like better? or do you not like either? if so, are you diagnosed insane?
Milkshakes! Even though I like smoothies (with peanut butter!), you know I'll always choose sweet over tart. 

8. what is your favorite thing about blogging in the healthy living blog community?
Molly and I have talked about this before, but I love how everyone is incredibly encouraging, friendly, generous, and kind. I still consider myself a newbie, but I feel welcomed and respected. 

9. did you play sports in high school? what sport was your best?
I only danced, because it took up all of my free time, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wouldn't have been good at anything else. 

10. how much water do you drink everyday?
I drink at least 88 ounces before I get home, and then anything beyond that is a bonus. I also drink milk and tea, so I generally feel pretty hydrated. Except lately it's been CRAZY hot so I'm drinking a little more to make up for it.

11. what grammatical error irks you the most? (i'm a you're/your too/to/two type of girl) or are you the type who doesn't care about grammar?
I spot grammar errors immediately, and they all bug me, but I know that I'm just hyper aware of them because I teach English. If I had to pick one that bothers me most...I'd choose unnecessary commas and apostrophes. 

My 11 Facts About Myself
  1. When I was little, I had a toy chalkboard easel, and I would come home and teach whatever my class had learned that day.
  2. I've always been a dog person, and I still am, but Terry convinced me to get a cat a few years ago. He is the greatest little fur ball in the world. 
    Who, me?

  3. If I were to live aboard, I'd move to London. 
  4. I'm seriously good at Dr. Mario, and I'm fiercely competitive about it--but only when I play against Terry.
  5. One of my biggest food weaknesses that I actually try to avoid (unlike ice cream, which is a weakness I gladly indulge) is Cheez-Its. I don't allow them in the house.
  6. My favorite book is East of Eden by John Steinbeck; my favorite play is Othello by Shakespeare.
  7. Lake Lanier in Georgia is named after my great-great-grandfather, a famous poet and--unfortunately--confederate soldier. Once, while in Florida, I gave a woman my name and she said, "Y'all are famous down here!"
  8. I love HGTV. I feel pretty confident that I know how to buy a home, renovate it, decorate it, and resell it. All you have to do is watch 100,000 hours of HGTV, right?
  9. I grew up waterskiing and snow skiing, and I'm better at the former, but, given the choice, I'd say I prefer the latter. With snow skiing, you spend the whole day on the slopes, but with water skiing you really only ski for a few minutes out of the day.
  10. I'm claustrophobic, and I get anxious even thinking about the possibility of being in an enclosed space.
  11. In fourth grade, I played the role of Simba in a musical. This wasn't The Lion King, though; the acting teacher wrote a musical that included Simba, Mickey Mouse, and the von Trapp children. Obviously.

My Questions for My Nominees
  1. What world landmark would you most like to visit? 
  2. Which Olympic sport would you compete in (you would automatically possess the necessary skills)?
  3. What is your favorite news source? (online, print, cable, satire, etc.)
  4. What is your favorite or most effective way to relieve stress?
  5. What's your best high school memory?
  6. If you could only have access to one social media site, what would you choose?
  7. What's your favorite holiday and why?
  8. What's your dream date?
  9. How do you motivate yourself to work out after a long day?
  10. If you could have any pet, what would it be? 
  11. If you could travel back in time, when would you go and what would you do?

My Nominees
I'd love to hear your answer to a question above! And who would you nominate for a Liebster?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Dear High School Me

Dear High School Me,

First of all, don't worry so much. You're doing alright. A lot of people say high school is the best, but it's okay that you don't feel that way. Just keep having fun, and know that the best is yet to come. Chill out.

As for grades? Well, those really are as important as you think. But you also don't have to get a 6.9999 GPA. You can miss an assignment or two if it means going to sleep now and not getting sick for the next two weeks. Oh, and AP Physics? Who were you kidding with that one? Stick to English, girl.

I would tell you to stop procrastinating, but you'll still be doing that when you're 27, so forget it.

Cherish your friends, and spend time with the right people for the right reasons. These folks might not be your best friends for the rest of your life (or they might!), but how you treat people matters. Be kind. Don't spend your time worrying about who's cool (and no, you're not). Girls are mean, and you don't have Mean Girls to show you how to deal with it, but you know who the good ones are. Be friends with the people you like, the people who make you happy, the people who will teach you what friendship means. And later, when this genius college dropout starts Facebook and you reconnect with everyone from high school, you'll realize that pretty much everyone turns out alright anyway.

No, you're not going to marry that guy. Or that one. (But the guy you end up with isn't too far away, and he's beyond incredible.)

Photo by Rhee Bevere

Spend more time with your parents. You will never regret it. Appreciate the fact that they show up to your dance competitions and care about your girl drama. Stop rolling your eyes when they want to see you more. There will come a day, pretty soon, when you'll live 400 miles away, and you'll wish almost daily that you were closer to them. Then again, that turns out okay, too. They'll realize you're just being a teenager, and they'll love you anyway.

Speaking of family, appreciate those days with your brother when he drives you to school (begrudgingly, but still). In ten years, you'll still know every word to every song he forces you to listen to, and it'll be a cool party trick when you can sing "All the Small Things" by Blink 182 and "Up in Here" by DMX. Enjoy the fact that he lets you hang out with his friends, because not all big brothers do that. Oh, and don't worry, once he moves out you won't bug each other so much. In fact, you'll be super close.

Learn how to change a tire, check your oil, and drive a stick. You're not as good of a driver as you think you are, and you won't be until you master the streets of Westwood.

Keep your old notebooks. You'll actually use them again when you're a high school teacher.

All in all, you aren't going to turn out too bad. Your heart's in the right place, and you have a lot of good people around to pull you through. And later, after you've finished college, gotten a job, and are married, you'll realize that 95% of the things you stressed about and/or thought were the most important things in the world don't matter at all.

Oh, and it wouldn't kill you to eat some vegetables once in awhile. You'll like them eventually--why not try now?

Future Julie

Best of luck this year to teachers and students!

What advice would you give your high school self?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Night of Food and Song

First off, thanks so much for the kind comments and tweets about Friday's post. I am so grateful to be part of this healthy living community. I think Molly's comment said it best:

It's so true! Everyone is kind, approachable, and encouraging. I'm lucky to be part of the gang!

Last night, Terry and I met up with some of his coworkers and their significant others for a Spanish-themed food and wine pairing at Europa Village, a really lovely winery in Temecula Valley. We had never been to Temecula for wine tasting before, but we will most certainly be going back! We arrived around 6 pm, and the drive out was shorter than our usual trips to Santa Ynez Valley, even with traffic, so we're excited to have an even closer option for a little getaway.

Europa Village hosted the evening, which began on the patio with Manchego-and-date skewers. So simple, but the combination tasted incredible. Sweet and salty, the perfect pair.

We moved into a cave-like room for the three-course dinner. Only about 25 folks attended the event, so the setting felt very intimate and personal. They even had three singers perform! One female singer (a UCLA grad!) chose three Broadway tunes: "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" from Evita and "I Feel Pretty" from West Side Story. Two male singers performed a Capella songs I didn't recognize, including "Lady of Spain" and "More." The singing between courses provided a really nice touch and was quite a unique experience.

The first course was a skewered jumbo shrimp with chorizo sausage, onion, garlic, and bell pepper. It was served on a bed of arugula with olive oil and heirloom tomatoes from a local garden.

The main course included pork loin, which had been brined for six days and smoked. It was served with a garbanzo bean and garlic puree and a tomato-onion-garlic-paprika paste. Oh, and I can't forget the applewood smoked bacon! It was heavenly. I scraped my plate clean!

For dessert, we enjoyed almond cake topped with fresh cream and served with a blue-cheese-and-almond-stuffed fig and macerated black cherries. I never would have thought to combine blue cheese, fig, and almond in a dessert, but the flavors came together perfectly.

Chef Dean Thomas, the executive chef for the evening, also runs the Europa Village Inn with his wife, and he told us that his breakfast over there is even better than the dinner we enjoyed so much. Guess what I want to do?

Between each course, the sommelier, a native Italian spoke about the wine pairings and gave some more information about the winery. It seems like a fun place; they have community events that mimic those in Spain and those that have taken place for hundreds of years.

The night was a blast, and it was great to catch up with Terry's coworkers. I haven't laughed so hard in awhile, and it was fun to try something new. I already can't wait to head back to Temecula and check out the rest of the area.

Today, Terry and I really took it easy to prepare for the week ahead. We didn't set our alarms but still woke up fairly early, enjoyed church together, ran a few errands (including a stop at the farmers market), and cleaned house a bit before watching the fourth Harry Potter movie. I'm hoping to get myself off the couch soon and hit the gym for a boot camp workout, and we have a new Sunday recipe tonight! If it's yummy, I'll share it tomorrow. If not, you'll get a fun story about our kitchen disaster.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rock'n Friday

Today ROCKED! Head to toe, start to finish. When I woke up this morning, I noticed a notification on my phone that Julie from PBFingers, the blog that inspired me to write my own blog, had mentioned me on Twitter and had commented on my blog! In blogging terms, that's about as starstruck as I'll get! You'll have to check out her blog to see why she ended up mentioning me in her post. Hilarious! Apparently BLWB is a little promiscuous!

Honestly, all comments from you mean the world to me, and I get so excited when I read what you have to say. I jump up and down and run to tell Terry whenever I see a comment pop up (not that I'm Special thanks to Jessie, MollyKatie, and more for being such regular commenters. I love your blogs, too, and enjoy reading your comments and responding to you!

Today, I dropped Terry off at work (our second day carpooling! woo hoo!!) and headed over to my school to finish setting up my classroom. I plowed through some cleaning, organizing, and syllabus-writing, got copies done, and tried to make the room look presentable for the kiddos. After work, Terry came back over with me to help finish up the walls. It looks awesome! Pictures to come, when it's REALLY finished.

Sign on my door, posted by ASB, to welcome my students to my class

A little gift bag/survival kit

So cute!

Actually, though, funny story: Around 11 this morning, a woman walked into my room and started taking pictures. She explained that she's a location scout for movies! Apparently our campus is used quite frequently in movies, commercials, and photo shoots, because it has quite an iconic look. I'll let you know if I see anyone famous, Mom.

After we finished our work around 6:30 pm, Terry and I headed over to a fun little bar and grill for dinner. We even ran into one of the other new teachers! It really is a small town, and I love it so far. We each ordered a craft beer and some delicious sweet potato fries before our main course.

Pulled pork pizza for Terry

Italian chopped salad for me

Everything was delicious! We're already excited to go back to try several other enticing menu items, including but not limited to the chicken wings, Farmer's Market pizza, and ahi tuna sandwich.

We're spending the rest of the evening watching a movie, relaxing, and relishing the fact that we don't have to spend hours running this weekend! Perhaps just 30 minutes or so...ahh....

What are your weekend plans? Any fun or health-centered events?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

10 Breakfast Ideas

Before I get to some fun breakfast options, I have to say: Boot camp kicked my booty today! After my little incident with the concrete on Sunday, I had a sore shoulder that kept me out of the weight room until today. I was finally able to complete Workout A of Week 5 in Tina's Best Body Boot Camp tonight after work, and it was awesome! Tina had us all over the place, working the full body. We did drop sets (one higher weight for only a few reps, then a lower weight to exhaustion) combined with 90-second breaks to get our heart rates up. MAN. Those 90 seconds were TOUGH. From crunches to high knees, I was sweating almost as much as I do during my HIIT workouts! I even took it easy on some sets (my knee was aching, so I lightened up my weights for all the squats), and I was still dying. I love boot camp!


Okay, on to the good stuff: breakfast talk! Over the last year and a half, I've made one huge change in my life that repeatedly sets the tone for my day: I make breakfast. I used to eat cereal every single day. Maaaaybe I would eat eggs on the weekend. But the cereal was my go-to breakfast. I switched up the type of cereal from time to time; I'd switch off between Honey Bunches of Oats, Kashi Go Lean, and, as a special treat, Lucky Charms.

I always felt hungry within an hour of eating breakfast, and I realized last year, when I started reading Lisa's blog and Michael Pollan's books, that my breakfast wasn't keeping me full because it was void of its nutritional value. When we took our 10 day challenge, I had to get rid of all the processed cereal, and I got much more creative with my breakfasts. Obviously, I could have eaten the same breakfast--as always--for all 10 days, but that wouldn't have been as fun! So I tried a bunch of Lisa's recipes, loved them, and apparently decided to only eat "real" breakfasts from then on.

Now, I love coming up with different breakfasts. Honestly, we eat something different for breakfast almost every day of the week. I love getting creative, and we are MUCH more satisfied throughout the morning (I usually eat a whole piece of fruit around 10, but nothing else before lunch). Here are 10 of my very favorite breakfasts and ways to make them work in a busy schedule.

Breakfast is my favorite! Well, along with all the other meals. 
  1. Overnight Oats with banana slices mixed in
    Make it the night before in a portable container and grab it on your way out the door. Easy, filling, and packed with nutritious goodness!
  2. Banana Nut Pancakes with berries on the side
    I make the batter one day (or even one evening), then keep the container in the fridge to cook throughout the week. You can also make them all at once and freeze to reheat later. I like to start it cooking while I'm busy doing other stuff around the kitchen--making tea, packing lunch, filling water bottles for the day, slicing fruit to eat with the pancakes, feeding the cat, doing my makeup. I just check them after 5 minutes (cooking on low-medium heat), flip 'em, continue my other stuff, and then eat.
    Banana Nut Pancakes (usually one is enough for me)
  3. Scrambled Eggs
    I love eggs with just milk and cheese, in which case I'm sure to eat fruit on the side. But if I have some leftover veggies, I heat them up and scramble the eggs right in!
    With spinach and feta 
  4. Toasted Banana Bread with Cream Cheese or Peanut Butter
    Again, I add fruit on the side.
  5. Smoothie (with or without raw oats blended in)
    I freeze the bananas the night before (or, whenever I have bananas going a bit bad and don't plan to bake with them, I toss them in a container in the freezer to use later). If I'm in the mood, I add a few handfuls of spinach.
    Breakfast Smoothie
  6. Fried Eggs with Whole Wheat Toast
    A classic! Often, I top leftover veggies with the fried eggs for more nutritional value.
  7. Oatmeal with fruit on the side
    Another classic, and perfect for cozy cooler mornings. Again, I make it while I get lunch packed and fill water bottles.
  8. Peanut Butter and "Jelly" French Toast or Almond French Toast
    This one takes a bit more time and "active" cooking, but it's a lovely special treat for Friday mornings. I almost always use whole wheat bread, and I limit my use of syrup.
    Peanut Butter and "Jelly" French Toast
  9. Yogurt Bowl with Applesauce
    It's simple: Equal parts plain Greek yogurt and unsweetened applesauce (perhaps a bit less applesauce), a sprinkle of cinnamon, and a little honey to sweeten it all up. Sometimes I add peanut butter or a sliced banana. Another easy grab-and-go meal!
  10. Toast or English Muffin with Peanut Butter and Banana
    As simple as cereal, and easy to take in the car or eat as I run around the house getting ready. Sometimes I add honey or strawberries, and I usually add a glass of milk to this meal. 
So there you go! Certainly a great variety of breakfast options to get your mind and body going in the morning. I really try to mix up our meals to create a more balanced overall diet.

For even more breakfast ideas, you can check out my recipes page!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Day in the Life - Evening Edition

I was super groggy when we woke up this morning, but I also couldn't wait for breakfast. Yesterday, I made some batter for banana pancakes, and all I had to do this morning was cook 'em up while making my lunch.

I made the pancakes following Lisa's recipe, and I added walnuts and pecans. I topped it this morning with butter and a little bit of syrup, plus a few strawberries.

At school today, lunch was provided by our district, so I ate a piece of vegetarian pizza and a side salad with tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and cucumbers. The salad was surprisingly good! I also ate an apple on my way home from work.

As I thought about my post for tonight, I realized that this evening had been exactly a typical night for us. It's funny how quickly we can fall into our old routines. Today was my first day actually working at my new school (we had a technology workshop for new teachers), and I immediately settled into my school schedule.

3:30 pm - Leave work, make sarcastic comments at horrible drivers on my way to the grocery store
3:45 pm - Get super excited about the fact that it only took me 15 minutes to get to the store, grab my items, and chat with the checker at Trader Joe's
4:25 pm - Arrive home, put away the groceries, play with the kitten, eat a few homemade pita chips with hummus

(To make the pita chips a few days ago, I used Trader Joe's Whole Wheat pitas, cut them into six triangles, spread them out on a baking sheet, and sprayed them on both sides with my Misto olive oil sprayer. Then I sprinkled one side with sea salt and popped them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes, until golden brown and crunchy. I let them cool completely before stacking to avoid letting them get mushy.)

4:45 pm - Check e-mail, work on school stuff
5:45 pm - Terry arrives home and startles the cat, who is sleeping in a bag next to the door

6:00 pm - Head out for our run (today it was only four miles at an easy pace, because we are officially tapering!
7:00 pm - Arrive home, eat a spoon of peanut butter, drink a glass of milk

7:04 pm - Shower, put on comfy clothes, start dinner
7:50 pm - Sit down to eat dinner, which was fajitas (fajita salad for me)

See that giant bowl? I could only eat half. I got too excited while assembling my meal!

I sauteed onion, zucchini, and bell pepper and seasoned them with Terry's Mexican spice mix. I browned up some ground turkey, heated some black beans, and then threw it all together with Romaine lettuce, sour cream, corn, cheddar cheese, and avocado. Delicious, and very filling!

Terry made some delicious guacamole, and I had a few chips to go along with it.

8:15 pm - Watch Jeopardy, which we recorded earlier, while stretching
8:45 pm - Start writing the blog post while Terry does dishes
9:30 pm (to be fair, this part is a prediction) - Finish cleaning up and get ready for bed
9:45 pm - Relax, watch a little TV, read, and go to sleep

This, my friends, is what marriage looks like. At least our marriage. And it's awesome.

Check out the other WIAW posts!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Classroom Prep

Guess who got her teeth cleaned today?


This girl!

Fun fact: Those are not my teeth. But I did choose a photo that appears to be an awkward smile. Because that's how I smile at the dentist. Awkwardly.

Terry and I both went to the dentist this morning (we went to this new dentist together the first time, and for some reason we've continued to do so every six months), and now my teeth are feeling goooooood. Actually, they really don't feel any different. But I feel good knowing I don't have any cavities!

I'm feeling much better than yesterday, but still not well enough to lift weights, so today's workout included lots of random toning exercises in my apartment and some core work. As long as I have time to digest, I'm all for a late night workout. I think I'll be back in the weight room tomorrow, but I'll take it easy on my shoulder the rest of the week.

Today got me all jazzed for the first day of school. I spent a solid portion of the afternoon unpacking, cleaning, and organizing my new classroom! My room is quite big, and I'm grateful the previous occupant left lots of posters behind, because I don't have nearly enough stuff to cover the walls. In a few weeks I'll have student work to post, but it would have been quite drab for awhile there otherwise.

But this guy's on my desk now! Spruces it right up!

Getting my classroom ready makes me all the more aware that the first day is only one week away. I've actually had a new classroom every year (despite teaching at the same school for the last three years), so having a new classroom in a new school this year isn't all that different. First things first: I cleaned and disinfected all the surfaces, insides of cabinets, and shelves. Then I cleaned out all the items left behind, reorganized what was left, and unpacked my own boxes. I still have a few more boxes to bring in tomorrow, and then I'll be all set for my students!

While I cleaned, several folks stopped by to introduce themselves and welcome me to the school, which made me feel super positive. I'm extremely outgoing once I get to know people, but I tend to feel shy and act very reserved when I first meet large groups. I'm glad to have a few familiar faces, though I know I'll forget everyone's name.

Tomorrow is a technology workshop for the new teachers, and the day after is our orientation. Then Monday is an all-staff inservice, and Tuesday is finally the first day of school! I'm eager to get back into the swing of things. My dental hygienist asked me today if I just love having a summer break, and of course I do. But then it also makes the first day of school difficult--I feel like I have to readjust to the schedule, get back into a rhythm. But I love having that structure, and I thrive on being busy, so I look forward to next week as much as I looked forward to starting summer.

Plus, this year, Terry and I are working in the same city, and that city is only 15 minutes from our apartment! I cannot describe how thrilled I am to be so close to home!

Tonight Terry and I attended a UCLA Alumni event at El Cholo Mexican Restaurant in Santa Monica. It was called "Nachos and Networking" and turned out to be a huge group of Bruins. We love attending these events to meet fellow UCLA grads, and we had a good time chatting with quite a variety of people.

Photo at UCLA by Roxanne Neal

The kitten woke us up super early this morning, and a helicopter on the 405 kept us up after that, so we're off to bed early tonight. Did you get your workout in today? Remember: no excuses!

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Back Up Workout

Thanks for all the fun get well wishes today! The injury update: My forearm is still super tender, pretty swollen, and starting to get a nice bruise (I'll take a picture if things take a turn for the purple). But my shoulder...OUCH! I don't know how I did it, but I guess my ninja roll gave my shoulder a good twinge. It seems to be the rotater cuff; it hurts pretty badly when I raise my arm or try to lift anything (even my laptop!). I'm hoping it's just sore and will be back to normal in a few days.

Today I took the day off from working out, and Terry and I enjoyed a short walk after he got home from work. The walk was nice and leisurely, but it still got our blood pumping. Any kind of activity beats no activity, right? 

Well, that idea got me thinking about something I've integrated into my workout routine for the last year or so: 

(Oh yeah. Things are getting fancy again.)

Okay, here's what I noticed was happening to me, and I know it's happened to some other people out there (somewhere? maybe? Bueller?):

You have decided to go to the gym or work out at home or go for a run or do some yoga in the park (if you do yoga in the park, let's be friends, because that sounds cool). You've even managed to actually get up, you've changed into your workout clothes, and you've made it to the gym (or park or living room or sidewalk). There's nothing stopping you now!

Except...there's something. There's always something that can stop you. Here's my list, off the top of my head:
  • You wanted to run while watching trashy TV, and all the treadmills are taken.
  • You wanted to try out a new elliptical workout, and all the ellipticals are taken.
  • You're doing Tina's Best Body Boot Camp, and the weight room is super crowded. 
  • It took longer to get to the gym than you expected, and if you can't get in your entire workout you may as well just go home now.
  • You were all set to do yoga in your living room, but then you remembered your mom has your favorite DVD.
  • You were going to take your dog for a run, but your roommate just took him for a walk. He looks tired.
  • You had planned a hike with your friend, but it's just SO hot (or rainy or cold or...).
  • You thought a swim sounded nice, but there's an aqua aerobics class going on right now at your local YMCA, and it's taking up the entire pool.
  • Your favorite Body Pump class is canceled today. 
  • You started out on the bike, but you aren't feeling it. 10 minutes is good enough.
  • Your gym date just texted, and she isn't coming to meet you. You hate working out alone.
  • Your usual machines are taken, and you have never used any of the other ones. You aren't about to try them now and have everyone mock you when you don't do it exactly right--you just know they're all waiting to laugh at you!
See? You had the best of intentions. You weren't being lazy! You put on your shoes and everything! You drove to the gym! But, hey, it's okay. You tried. Let's go back to the couch. Mmm...remember the couch? So cozy! Gym clothes are also perfect for lounging, watching TV, napping...

NO. Wrong. Trust me, I've been there, and I have used the "eh, I tried" excuse myself. But good intentions do not make for a good workout. They don't get your heart rate up; they don't improve your bone density; they don't extend your life expectancy. So I had to get real with myself, and I made a promise to myself, which is now my motto on BLWB: No excuses

In this case, no excuses means having a back up plan. Now, if I intend to work out, I will work out. Nothing can stop me! Friend cancels? I go it alone. iPod stops working? I suck it up and power through. Treadmills are all taken? I finally gather up my courage and ask the trainer to show me how to use the Jacob's Ladder thing. 

So now, here are 5 workouts that defy any kind of excuse. No equipment necessary. You don't even have to go outside!

Print them out, tuck them in your gym bag, and dig 'em out when you get that "oops, my planned workout won't work out" feeling. Let's follow through with our good intentions and make those workouts happen.

What's your best back up plan when you just aren't feeling it? Comment or link up below!