Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Night Circus

Hi everyone! I'm hoping there will be some visitors here participating in Julie Fagan's PB Fingers book review link up, so thanks for stopping by! I'm excited to read all the other reviews, too!

My friend Jesse recommended this book to me, and, as always, he was right on target. Here's a little history of Jesse's recommendations:
  • "Julie, you would love Harry Potter. Just read the books." "No, I'm not into fantasy stuff." Fast forward to a few months later, when I had read all the books, seen all the movies, and had a huge crush on Ronald Weasley. 
  • "Julie, you should check out How I Met Your Mother. It's hilarious." "I don't know, I already love so many shows." Now we own all the seasons, quote the show daily - at least - and used the theme song in our wedding.
  • "Hey Julie, you and Terry would make a totally cute couple." "Yeah, right, I'm not really interested in dating anyone right now." Fast forward to about a week later, when Terry and I fell head over heels. Five years later, Jesse was a groomsman in our wedding.
Terry and Jesse at our wedding. Look at those stud muffins!
So when Jesse suggested The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, I didn't argue or give an excuse. He knows me too well. And when Julie posted a book review link up opportunity (Julie's blog, Peanut Butter Fingers, hosts a virtual book club every month!), I figured it must be fate. And so I downloaded the novel and got to it.

The Night Circus is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I cannot compliment the writing style enough. The author's descriptions of the circus pulled me in and made me feel as though I was in the tents, experiencing the magic with the other circus-goers. 

The characters in the novel, while fascinating and (for the most part) extremely likable, got me a bit confused for the first half of the book. I kept mixing up their names, but the descriptions often set me straight. I found the characters, especially Poppet and Bailey, to be normal people that perhaps I might befriend. The others intrigued me, each in their own way, but I have to say that my favorite was Herr Thiessen because of his passion for clock-making and for the circus.  

The other aspect of the book that I found confusing was the timing. Each chapter always stated the date, but I still managed to lose track, which I think was the point. In the circus, people lost track of time and of what is reality and what isn't, so the fact that I was lost in the pages simply mirrored the circus experience. The idea of time, either slowing or slipping away, struck me as one of the most prominent motifs in the book; all the clocks certainly called my attention to the time of day or the year.

Questions for those who read The Night Circus:
Feel free to leave your comments below or e-mail me! I'd love to hear your thoughts on any or all of the questions!
  1. We see trees throughout the novel - Bailey's tree from his childhood, Marco's notebook drawings, the Wishing Tree, the story of the wizard. What significance do trees hold, and why do you think they were they chosen as such a prominent symbol?
  2. The colors - or lack of colors - in the novel provide an important backdrop for the circus and the story. What color did you find most significant, and why?
  3. I noticed a lot of references to paper, ink, books, and notes throughout the novel. Why do you think the author chose to use these instruments, and how are they crucial to the different characters in different ways?
  4. I mentioned above that I felt time (the passage of time, aging, clocks ticking, etc.) was especially significant. What did you notice about time, and what did you think of Bailey's contact information at the end?
  5. What did you think of Celia and Marco's fate? What would you have done in their position? [If you read The Hunger Games, did you draw some parallels to Peeta and Katniss?]
  6. Who was your favorite character and why?
I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did. I hope to read it again to catch all the little nuances I missed the first time around. I highly recommend it and hope to find more works by Erin Morgenstern. Special thanks to Julie for the book club idea (you can check other reviews on her site!), and to Jesse for the original recommendation!

Monday, January 30, 2012

FitFluential Ambassador

Do I ever have some exciting news to share with you today! A few weeks ago, I applied to become a FitFluential Ambassador, and I found out this weekend that I got it!!!

FitFluential is a network of fitness experts and amateurs who can connect with each other and with national brands to spread the word about fitness and fitness-related companies. As an Ambassador, I'll have opportunities to partner with brands and potentially influence other fitness enthusiasts (like yourself!). I'm thrilled to be joining this community and can't wait to see what this partnership has in store. Meanwhile, thanks to you for reading and helping me stay inspired to focus on fitness, food, and fun in my blog!

And now for some honesty on the other side of the spectrum: what I do when I'm not feeling so "FitFluential" and am feeling "FitForFlabsville" instead.

Let's get one thing straight: I know I am not overweight. But weight, size, and numbers on a scale (I don't own a scale, actually, and never intend to) are not factors at all in my definition of health. I define health as:

  • Feeling good about myself, from my thoughts to my actions to my perception of my body
  • Eating real foods with moderation and variety
  • Pushing my body to levels of physical fitness that respect my limitations and continuously improve my abilities
  • Reducing or eliminating stress as much as possible, including destructive patterns or relationships
This definition is one that will likely evolve over time as I continue to explore what health means to me, and I encourage you to come up with your own working definition, because just thinking about it inspires me to try harder tomorrow tonight to be a healthier person.

So what happens when I'm not feeling good about myself, or when I let the non-real foods slip onto my plate, or when I'm super stressed? Everyone experiences these moments; maybe from a friend's perspective you haven't really changed (in physical appearance or otherwise), but you notice it. Something is just off. You're more tired than usual, or you feel stressed or frustrated. You're out of it.

That's how I've felt the past week or so. While I've been fairly consistent about my workouts, I haven't pushed myself as hard as usual. My dinners haven't been as veggie-focused as they were the first few weeks of the year. As a result, I've noticed my jeans are a little more snug than is comfortable, and I thought it's only fair that I share with you what I do when I get that inevitable feeling of ugh-ness.
  1. Figure out what's changed in my own habits. Don't look at the cause of these changes. It doesn't matter. No excuses, remember? Plus, whatever it is will likely still be there, because I can't control everything around me; I'll need to work around it or within it. So I simply ignore whatever is going on outside of me - work, friends, family, time crunch - and I focus on what I'm doing differently. Maybe I've cut back on my workouts in number or intensity or variety. Maybe I've slacked on the vegetables and eaten a few too many desserts. Maybe I've started to stress over something at work. Whatever it is, I've changed something, and I need to understand it in order to reverse it.
  2. Decide the steps I need to take to kick the bad habits and pump up the good ones. Generally, those fall into these categories:
    • Change eating habits. My big rule here is not to reduce the amount of food I'm eating (unless my portions of late have been out of control). Instead, I replace the types of foods. I know I can't deprive myself of eating dessert, but I can change the dessert I eat - fruit and a small piece of chocolate instead of a half pint of Ben & Jerry's. Tea and popcorn instead of brownies.
    • Change exercise habits. Get back to 5-6 days per week, minimum of 30 minutes per day. Include a variety of cardio, and tackle different workouts so my body doesn't get used to anything. For me, feeling toned and strong makes me feel healthy, and strength training is a huge part of toning.
    • Plan ahead. I usually write out a weekly menu to prepare for our weeknight meals, but it really helps me feel more in control if I have a written plan to get me back on track, including meals and times I'll work out. I also incorporate down time so that I can reduce whatever stressors are building up that week.
Sample plan for tomorrow

3. Acknowledge that some weeks are just this way. And it's fine. Not being a supermodel really has its benefits, because I only have to answer to me (well, and my readers :-). If I'm having an off week, I can get over it, as long as I know how to get back on track. As my cheerleaders once told me, "It's okay if you get fat; your husband still has to love you." Yes, he would love me, but I do what I do because I want to be healthy, not because I feel the need to fit a specific size.

95% of the time, the lifestyle I lead makes me feel good inside and out, but I know there's always room for improvement. I love the challenges of pushing myself to eat better, work out harder, grow in my relationship with God, honor my family and friends, teach more effectively, and become a better person. As I said about my definition of health, it's all a work in progress.

What do you do on those ugh days?

How do you define health?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Road Runner Shoes

What a wonderful Sunday! After church, Terry and I headed up to Road Runner in Thousand Oaks to buy our new half-marathon training shoes. We chose Road Runner because they analyze your foot and your running style in order to help you choose the best shoes. I'm sure there are other stores that perform similar assessments if you're interested, but we had a great experience at this particular store!

Terry learned he has very high arches.

I learned that my feet are completely different from each other, likely due to my surgery.

They create custom insoles for your new shoes to provide ideal arch support.

Our new running gear!

I ended up with Asics stabilizers, running socks, and a water bottle belt.

Terry also got Asics, running socks, and a water bottle with a hand strap.
The whole experience made me feel really comfortable with the shoes I purchased, and I loved learning more about my run. I knew a lot about my foot structure because of my bunions, but this analysis provided a lot more running-specific information. I want to ensure that I'm being smart about the right gear as we start to increase our mileage, and now I know that we are! While the total cost was quite hefty, I feel it's worth preventing injury and knowing we have the right shoes for our feet.

After the big purchase, we met our friends Katie and Corey for lunch at a delicious Mexican restaurant in Thousand Oaks, 3 Amigos. I had enchiladas, and I swear I took a picture, but it disappeared on my phone. It was delicious! Everyone loved their food, and it was awesome catching up with our buddies. It's funny how living just 40 minutes away from each other means you have to really plan for a get together.
Back at home, we spent a good chunk of our afternoon reading - The Night Circus for me and Sacre Bleu for Terry. So far, we both highly recommend our books! I'll actually be participating in a book review link up with Julie's PBF Book Club, where I'll share my thoughts on the book and post a few questions for those who have read it or plan to read it. Get excited for that post on Wednesday!
iPad reading + tea makes for a terrific Sunday afternoon
 Of course, by 5:00, I was aching to try out my new shoes, but I wasn't up for a run. I completed the following:
*With your ankles on a stability ball and your hands/arms in plank position,
pull your knees into your chest, then extend your legs back out to plank
position. Repeat.
Afterward, I completed 15 minutes on the elliptical and ran one 8-minute mile on the treadmill. The strength workout was much harder than I expected, and I'm already sore! But it went by quickly and challenged my muscles, so I loved it.

Other highlights from the night:

Scout passed out on my lap

Leftover meatloaf sandwiches from last night

Dinner: leftover meatloaf sandwiches, sliced pear, carrots, and spinach salad.
A walk to Diddy Riese for ice cream to finish the evening.
Hope you enjoyed a great weekend! The three of us are curled up in bed and getting ready for a busy week. I have some exciting (for me) news to share with you tomorrow!

Scout Alarm Clock

I really love mornings when the cat wakes us up instead of an alarm. At least when it isn't 4:30 a.m. Today he woke us up at 8:17, and since I wrote a late post last night, I appreciated the extra sleep. Then we were up and out for a tough three-mile run. Halfway through, when we were collecting ourselves for the second 1.5 miles, I pointed out to Terry that our half marathon will require us to complete this workout...times 4...plus 1 more mile. Yikes.

The rest of the day consisted of banana-walnut pancakes, cleaning and organizing the house, a mishmash of leftovers for lunch, and completing a few projects we've been meaning to finish.
Banana-walnut pancakes and hot tea

World's most delicious chocolate macaroons from a local Italian deli

Better than any coconut cookie I've ever eaten

Tonight we had two of our good friends over for dinner, and I made meatloaf for dinner for the first time. Can you believe I've never made meatloaf? (Well, maybe you can believe it; what do I know what you think I've made?) Oddly, I've never cared for meatloaf (no offense, Mom!), so I found it odd that people generally find this meal to be one that they enjoy. As luck would have it, I've recently acquired two meatloaf recipes from different people - my dad and my coworker. Both claim theirs is the best they've ever had, so I simply had to compare.

The first, which I made tonight, is from my dad via Cuisine at Home.

Meatloaf with Barbecue Glaze (adapted from Cuisine at Home)
Serves 2 (we doubled it)
Moist and mouthwatering meatloaf

  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons purchased barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard*
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 5 ounces ground beef
  • 5 ounces ground turkey
For the glaze, combine the following:
  • 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard*
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
*I tasted a lot of mustard in the end result, so I would reduce the mustard next time.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking pan with foil; top the foil with a rack (I used a cooling rack). In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk, and breadcrumbs. Whisk in the barbecue sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and salt and pepper. Set aside. Mince (or use the food processor) the onion, garlic, carrot, and parsley. 

In a large bowl, combine the egg/sauce mixture, onion mixture, and meats. Divide the mixture into two mini loaves and place on the rack atop the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, then brush on the maple syrup glaze. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the loaves reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. Allow to sit for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

This meatloaf kicked butt! Everyone loved it and asked for seconds. The meatloaf was extremely moist, and the tangy flavor gave a nice complement to the meat. We have one loaf leftover and intend to use it for sandwiches tomorrow night. I'm already excited!

We enjoyed the meatloaf with sweet potato fries and a spinach-pecan-pear-poppyseed salad.
Sweet potato fries, family style

Spinach-pear-pecan-poppyseed salad
For dessert, Devon and Peter brought Eton Mess (an English dessert of creme and strawberries) and a three-berry pie. Perfect way to end the meal!
Pie and Eton Mess - yum!
We had a great time catching up with Peter and Devon. Peter is originally from the UK, so we got to chat a lot about all of our different experiences in London. Embarrassingly, Terry and I are now obsessed with London, which our apartment decor doesn't hide very well. From our "God Save the Queen" Union Jack pillow to the teddy bear dressed as a bobby to a giant picture frame in the shape of an English phone booth, we certainly seem like Anglophiles. We're just too awesome.

It was a great Saturday! Too bad weekends fly by so quickly; I wish we could have another day of a Scout alarm clock and awesome dinner guests. But tomorrow looks nice, too: Road Runner and lunch with friends!

What recipe have you never made but want to try? 

Are you a meatloaf fan?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Story of My Surgery Part I

Happy Friday! I had a pretty good (albeit long) day at work, but it seriously lacked in the health and fitness departments. Luckily, this weekend has a lot of down time on the agenda, so I'm looking forward to a few great workouts and some new recipes.

One plan for the weekend is hitting up Road Runner, a store that assesses your running style and helps you choose an ideal running shoe. Since we're planning to run a half-marathon this year, I told Terry that I really want to get some kick ass running shoes. I mentioned that I have no intention of going through another surgery, and then Terry pointed out that I haven't discussed my surgery on the blog yet.

Well, here we go!

My crazy feet
My Bunion History
I've had bunions on both of my feet since I can remember. Essentially, bunions are foot deformities that create large, hard bumps on the side of your foot and cause your toes to point inward. For some people, as in my case, the issue causes minor to extreme pain. Throughout high school and with my intense dance schedule (ballet, jazz, and hip hop), the pain grew worse. I eventually began seeing a chiropractor, who wrapped my feet with tape in an attempt to straighten them out (it worked a little but didn't alleviate the pain) and a massage therapist, who focused on back and hip issues to help my feet. My dance teacher, who also had bunions, warned me that the surgery wouldn't be worth it, so I heeded her advice and pushed through it.

Sometimes, just sitting in class or driving, the pain would shoot through my foot (mostly my right foot, but occasionally both); I learned a lot about breathing through it (thanks, Pilates!). At night, after dance classes, I would dunk my feet in ice water in hopes of calming the pain. Almost nothing worked.

At UCLA, I joined the dance team and started dancing regularly again, but the pain didn't bother me as much as it did in high school. I remember some incidents of that in-class throbbing, but I think the fact that I was dancing in tennis shoes instead of ballet shoes made a big difference. It was after college that I experienced the truly debilitating pain. Even going for a walk often got cut short because of the throbbing.

That's when I decided I needed to get serious about my options. Obviously, I had seen doctors about the pain before, but I didn't really have a reason or the time to go through surgery. My research told me it would take at least six weeks to recover, and who has six weeks to just recover? But we had just gotten engaged in August of 2009, and I knew I wanted to get rid of the pain before our wedding. Plus, as fate would have it, I had just started teaching and knew that I would have a summer available for sitting on the couch and recuperating.

The Surgery
My primary care doctor took one look at my foot, said, "Yep, you're a candidate for surgery," and handed me a referral to a local (UCLA!) podiatrist. A quick meeting with him explained the following about surgery:

  • I would be on crutches and not allowed to put any pressure on my right foot for at least six weeks.
  • I would be having a more intense type of surgery that required three incisions (one to correct the big bunion, one to correct a smaller alignment problem on the outside of my foot, and one to fuse my ligaments together to ensure the bunion won't return).
  • I would not be allowed to drive. (Perhaps this should have been obvious from the first restriction, but can you imagine not driving for six weeks?)
  • After the crutches, I would be facing at least a year of recovery time, including physical therapy and limited mobility.
Armed with my new knowledge, I set the date for surgery and tried my best to mentally prepare. Terry would be my main caretaker, but my dad would come down for the surgery and subsequent few days to help babysit me in the first 72 hours. All systems go.
At Mel's Diner the night before - SO nervous.
On the way to the surgery center - last photo of the right bunion.
The surgery was uneventful, which, as in a flight across the country, is the best kind. 
Right before surgery.
The first few post-surgery days consisted of sitting on the couch, eating a delicious homemade lasagna that my incredible husband made for us, and learning to walk up and down stairs on my crutches with Coach Dad. Oh, and there was that first shower when Terry had to help me jump over the tub on one foot and I panicked, accidentally setting down my poor right foot. And then I cried. 

Dad and Terry coaching me through surgery and recovery.
Why I Decided to Go For It

  • I couldn't handle the pain, and the doctors assured me that the surgery would stop the pain.
  • I wanted to be active without worrying about how my foot would feel.
  • I had the time to recover. No kids, plenty of people to help us out, and no classes to teach.
  • I wanted to wear any shoes my heart desired for our wedding.
  • I knew if I didn't do it then, I would never do it.
My Concerns Before Surgery
  • Would the pain really stop?
  • What would my exercise options be after surgery - short term and long term?
  • How would we survive six weeks (which turned out to be seven) with me on crutches?
  • What would I do to avoid completely losing my physical fitness during that time?
  • How would I be a cheer coach (summer is a pretty busy season prepping for football)?
Part II: How to recover from major surgery, plus the answers to all those questions.

Have you ever had a major medical procedure? What made you do it (or was it not optional?)? What were your hesitations? How did you get through it?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

New Look for BLWB

Are you loving the new blog layout? BLWB's VP of Technological Affairs (my husband) is designing some awesome icons, banners, and backgrounds for me. He created the banner at the top of the page, updated my around the web icons (upper right corner), and made a new background for my Twitter page! What an incredible guy!

Today was a "get through it" day. Something about my stomach felt off since this morning, and I powered through my classes, meetings, and cheer practice, plus an hour of traffic on the ride home. I was still a little iffy by 5:00, but I knew I would regret an unplanned day off from working out, so I lightened things up and completed the following:
  • Elliptical (20 minutes, while reading my new book The Night Circus)
  • 2 x 25 walking lunges
  • 2 x 25 ball crunches
  • 2 x 25 planks (1 minute for the first, 30 seconds with feet on the stability ball for the second)
  • 2 x 50 calf raises
It felt good to get something in, and I didn't push my tummy too hard (low impact days are great when I'm feeling less than stellar). 

After my shower, I got started on a delicious dinner of turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, and spinach salad. I promise I'll share all those yummy recipes soon, but not tonight.

Tonight is all about our upcoming half marathon. One of my 2012 goals is to run my first half marathon. For those new to the running/racing world, like myself, here are some fun facts about half marathons:
  • 13.1 miles or 21 kilometers
  • Participation has grown recently
  • It's half as difficult as a marathon and about three times more difficult than anything I've ever asked my body to do (I'm sure this statement will change if I ever get to give birth)
Okay, that was fun. So how are we going to tackle this bad boy? (I say "we" because you, as a reader, are now invested in my journey. Get excited.)

First priority: Get a new picture for these kinds of posts.

Step One: Choose a race. Which one is best? I found a site online for the 7 Best Races for First-Timers, and they all sound amazing. I've heard great things about the Disney Half, but that's not until September, and I think I want to do something in May or June. I found one I'd LOVE to do: Boston's Run to Remember in honor of fallen police officers. But the timing for this year's race doesn't really work, so hopefully next year. My dad was a police officer, and my mom was a police dispatcher, so I feel the cause is incredible!

Step Two: Choose a training plan. As fate would have it, one of my favorite blogs, Gina's Fitnessista, posted about her half marathon experience today! Crazy, right? So I read through her information and believe I have decided to use the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Half Marathon training schedule. 

Step Three: Get excited/anxious. I feel motivated and excited, of course, but that training schedule looks intense! I hope I don't get burnt out. I'm really glad the program includes cross training so that I can incorporate my yoga and some swimming.

Step Four: Get going! We start training on Monday, despite not actually knowing the date of our half. I promise I'll let you know what we choose ASAP!

  • Have you ever run a half marathon? Any tips for a first-timer like myself? Any recommended races?
  • Are you planning to run a race this year? What's your training plan?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

"Twist and Shout"

We saw a stunning sunset on our little walk this evening. Sometimes LA's beauty surprises me.
You have to ignore the traffic at the bottom.
And now...congrats to Heidi for guessing the impossible exercise correctly - and for totally showing us up!
In case you missed it, yesterday I challenged Terry and myself to complete a 25 x 25 workout. And then I asked you to guess which of the exercises we didn't complete. Most of you guessed we skipped the burpees (I wish we had - those bad boys are TOUGH!), but there was no way we were doing a 2.5 minute plank. Stabilization exercises are much harder for me than cardio or other strength moves. But we did finish about 90 seconds before giving up; I guess I'll be working on my planks!

Today we kept the exercise to a minimum with a 30-minute walk around our neighborhood (we have some gorgeous weather here in LA) and 3 sets of 20 of the following: bicep curls, hammer curls, bent-over rows, and military press. Plus my 10 minutes of stretching! Reasons I love light workout nights:

  • It makes me feel pumped for a more intense workout the next day.
  • It gives me a chance to rest and recover, always important for avoiding injury.
  • Light workouts with Terry give us a chance to chat
  • Sometimes I'm just not up for something crazy, but I know I want to do something.

And then dinner. I was so hungry! I did not pack enough food for school today, so I was really ready for some meat and bread for dinner. We used leftover short ribs from last night to create an easy sandwich alongside oranges.
Seriously delicious!

Scout was jealous that his food came out of a can.
And now for some exciting news! This week, I signed up for my first blogger retreat! I'll be in Boulder, Colorado, for the first weekend in May to meet other healthy living bloggers, gain a better perspective of how this whole blogging world works, and learn a lot I'm sure. If you're interested, it's Blend Retreat, and I can't wait!

Off to grab some frozen yogurt from our favorite shop - Twist! (Yes, I do almost always sing "Twist and Shout"...and not just when we go get frozen yogurt. Poor Terry. And poor Scout.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Guessing Game

I have a little guessing game for you today! Take a look at the workout Terry and I completed this evening. I made it up earlier; the idea is to complete 25 reps of 25 exercises, focusing on legs, glutes, and abs. Terry thought I was crazy, but it wasn't that horrible, except one. Can you guess which exercise we didn't complete? (Seriously, comment below and tell me what you think! I'm super curious to know which one looks most difficult - or just which one you think we wimped out on!)
Approximately 60 minutes, including cardio.
Notes about this workout:
  • For the cardio, we did a 2.5 mile jog, but you can do a walk, incline walking, elliptical, bike, etc.
  • You can complete it in any order; I'm pretty sure I didn't do it in the order above. But basically I tried to do a high-intensity, then low-intensity, then abs, repeat.
  • The dark purple boxes are leg/glutes, the light purple boxes are abs, and the white ones are full-body.
  • Listen to your body; I took a few breaks after the toughest ones to make sure I would keep proper form for the next.
  • All in all, it was totally doable, and I think I'll be doing it again! 
After our hardcore workout and some time on Twitter with the healthy living bloggers community, I started on a wonderfully easy dinner, thanks to my mom.
Can you spot Scout?

There he is!
Last week, while my mom was here, she made a surprise meal for me to freeze and enjoy with the Ter-meister: Short ribs. I remember this meal from when I was a kid, and when I ate my first bite, I said to Terry, "This is what my childhood tastes like." Except this time we enjoyed it with a bottle of 2006 Jordan Cabernet, and my childhood had very little wine - well, at least for me.

We enjoyed mom's short ribs with whole wheat garlic bread, brown rice, and a salad. 

Guess which plate was Terry's?
A few other little tidbits from today, which turned out to be an all-around awesome Tuesday:
It was super foggy this morning, which reminded me of home.
One of my students made me the world's sweetest sign and card.
My lunch was seriously delicious: spinach, shredded leftover chicken,
pecans, and leftover poppyseed dressing from a restaurant lunch last week.
Hope your Tuesday was awesome! Time for some Ben & Jerry's and more catching up on TV. Don't forget to guess which exercise was most difficult for us!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hubby's Home! And a Live Informercial

Terry is back! After almost two months of flying back and forth from Florida, working 12-16 hour days, and almost never getting a chance to talk to me, my husband has made his return to not-so-sunny LA. And boy, did I have some awesome plans in store for this rainy Monday.

Since today is a grading day at our school, we squeezed in a workout (20 minutes on the elliptical plus some bicep curls and lat pull downs), and I convinced Terry to try an egg, cheese, and jelly biscuit sandwich.
He was skeptical at first, but...

It was a winner!
Terry joined me in my classroom today while I graded and he read Game of Thrones (which, by the way, he recommends to Tolkien fans, fantasy readers, or people who like the HBO show). Afterward, I asked to stop at Bed, Bath & Beyond for some new food storage containers.
Terry helped me calculate the best combination for our money.

I love OXO containers!!! (Too much? Perhaps.)

It was really a gorgeous day whenever it stopped raining.

San Marino - one of my favorite So Cal cities, because Father of the Bride
was filmed there and the neighborhoods are just awesome.
 Then we met up with Terry's parents for dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant in Pasadena.
Edamame appetizer

Spider roll
 On our way home, I suggested some ice cream, and we wound up picking up a couple pints of Ben & Jerry's for dessert. Boy, does Terry regret this decision. Ralph's announced a free gift for shoppers, so of course I had to check it out. One infomercial-style presentation later, I scored a knife set for an extra-special price with one-time-only free gifts! Can you believe that?! (Terry says I need to confess that I have a serious love of infomercials. Getting to see one live may have been one of the greatest things I've ever experienced in a grocery store.)

Plus we got a strange little juicer/apple corer that I'm stoked to try!
Not bad for a Monday, right? I'm so thrilled to have my husband home and must leave you now to get back to catching up on our TV shows and cuddle time.