Friday, November 30, 2012

5-4-3-2-1 Treadmill Kicked Up

Happy weekend!!! After yesterday, I made it through today's work quite smoothly and eagerly embraced the idea of sleep and rest this weekend.

I knew I wanted some cardio action tonight (especially after yesterday's strength workout), so I hopped on the ol' treadmill, unsure of what I would do, and decided on one of my favorites: the 5-4-3-2-1 Treadmill Workout. And I cranked it up a notch!

Give it a try! I promise you'll be a sweaty mess at the end.

Today kicks off a lovely weekend with virtually no plans. We tried to really relax tonight, tomorrow I'll be meeting up with Jenn to work out and go to brunch (ooohh, I love brunch!), and Sunday we might get our Christmas tree.

I picked up soup from our new favorite spot to enjoy at home while watching the (awesome but devastating) UCLA game. I got two quarts: tomato-basil bisque and chicken noodle. I stuck with the former while Terry tried both, plus I made him a grilled cheese sandwich.

The only other time I spent in the kitchen today was to cut up some sourdough loaves into cubes. Tomorrow I'm cooking up a mini-turkey feast so that Terry and I can enjoy leftovers. I think Thanksgiving is such a fun meal to prepare; there are so many different layers to it all. My favorite is definitely my sourdough-and-sausage stuffing, a recipe I found in Cooking Light two years ago. Terry loves it too, so we're both pretty excited. (Why don't I make it throughout the year? These are the questions I simply can't answer.)

How 'bout I take a better picture this year?

I'll be sure to let you know what I make tomorrow and how it turns out, but brace yourself for loads of leftover photos.

Tomorrow is the first day of December! Any goals for the end of 2012? 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Make a Bad Day Good

Today started off the way the rest of this week started: hitting the snooze alarm approximately twelve times (sadly, not much of an exaggeration), stumbling around the house to get ready, spilling some of my tea on the way to the car (yep, happened more than once this week). But after a few minutes at work, I noticed how grumpy I was acting, and I decided to make this bad day good.

In college, one of my jobs was counseling incoming students (it's actually the job where Terry and I met), and I received some excellent training. One video we watched, Fish!, taught four steps for loving your job and creating a positive atmosphere at work. The fourth step is "choose your attitude"--essentially, you decide how you feel and act each day by choosing your attitude.

Today, I chose my attitude. Instead of letting a rough week and a rough morning get to me, I took a deep breath and mentally prepared for the day ahead. The result:

  • Productivity. I used every spare moment today to grade papers, enter scores, write e-mails to parents, get ahead on lesson planning. I was on fire! There's nothing like getting a lot done to make me feel good.
  • Positive energy with my students. I tried to greet all my students by name as they came into class (I have two doors in my room, so this was more challenging than you might think), I kept my patience, I kept it light. The kids responded positively, or at least I didn't let it bother me if they didn't.
  • A fun drive home. I called my dad, I listened to Christmas music, I called a friend to hear about her job interview (GOOD LUCK!!!). The familiarity and comfort of it all made me so happy.
  • A great workout. Honestly, I wasn't up for my boot camp plans (again), so I hit the gym with Terry and made up my own strength training workout. It was effective and tough, even though I wasn't exactly excited about going to the gym. Hey, when you're not in the mood to do cardio, go for some strength training instead.

If you're wondering about some of those moves:
One Leg DeadliftDumbbell Reverse FlyOne Arm Dumbbell RowChest FlySide LungesL-Raises (<--Tina's website!)
Triceps ExtensionLeg Lift and Lowers
  • A delicious meal. I tossed around the idea of eating out or ordering in, but we had some grass-fed beef calling me, so I threw together a 30-minute bolognese with beef, carrots, spinach, garlic, marinara, and red wine. So easy, so quick, so delicious!

It turned out to be a good day. Not a great one, and not the best day ever. With any luck, tomorrow will be better. But it wasn't horrible. And it could have been much worse. So I'll take it!

How do you choose your attitude?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

In a Funk for WIAW

I think I'm in a bit of a funk. I mentioned the other day that I wasn't feeling great because of last week's indulgences, but it's lasting longer than I expected. Usually just one or two days back in my healthy habits does the trick; not this time. I'm lacking motivation to work out, I'm craving sweets and other special treats, and I feel exhausted. 

But I think I just need to get through the next few days. I'm trying to increase my veggie intake (hence the spaghetti squash last night and, as you'll see below, my dinner choice tonight). I also think that little non-food and non-workout-related tools can help, like the fact that I took the time tonight to prep breakfast (overnight oats) and lunch (tuna salad) for tomorrow. I also managed to hit the gym for a 35-minute cardio workout. Hopefully I'll be back to my old self in no time!

Check out the other WIAWs!

6:30 am - Breakfast
An egg with cheese, jelly, and whole wheat bread (old picture), plus tea

10:30 am - Snack
A Pumpkin-Walnut muffin

1:00 pm - Lunch
Leftovers of last night's spaghetti squash and a delicious bosc pear

3:30 pm - Snack
Two handfuls of my trail mix

(Source - my phone wouldn't send me the one I took)
7:30 pm - Dinner
Another CPK meal for a UCLA function - I ordered the Roasted Veggie salad with the dressing on the side, and it was awesome! Artichokes, eggplant, bell peppers, corn, avocado, Romaine lettuce, and a vinaigrette. Delicious, fresh, not oily at all. I highly recommend it.

Dessert was the usual, my little layer cake thing, which is almost done.
What will we eat next for dessert?

Any suggestions for getting out of my funk? I am also thinking some yoga might help rejuvenate me...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Giant Pillow and a Run/Walk HIIT

Did anyone watch New Girl tonight? Hilarious! At one point, Winston talks about the fact that he's only gotten 13 minutes of sleep, and he says to Nick, "You're starting to look like a giant pillow to me."

That's how I felt today: Desperate to find a comfortable place to curl up for a nap. The second day back after a break always feels far more difficult and tiring than the first. I shared this phenomenon with my students, half of whom agreed and half of whom looked at me as though I was ridiculous for thinking that any school day could be better or worse than any other.

Still, I managed some solid productivity at work and even stopped at the grocery store on the way home. Then I forced myself to work out, even though I was NOT in the mood (for perhaps the first time ever) for the boot camp workout awaiting me. Instead of half-assing the stuff I didn't want to do, I went with a back up workout. I pieced together an old boot camp strength circuit with a short HIIT routine on the treadmill.

It felt so good to sweat and move! I really needed that to help me get back into my usual routine. In the kitchen I'm getting back to usual too. For dinner I made a simple spaghetti squash pasta (just garlic sauteed with spinach to wilt it, marinara, and roasted spaghetti squash). My body was thrilled to take in some vegetables.

I also roasted a second spaghetti squash to see if we could do something interesting with it another night. But then I realized: I have no other ideas! I have my spaghetti squash lasagna, which is terrific, but can anyone suggest a non-marinara dish that uses spaghetti squash?

Also, after a break (from work, working out, whatever it may be), do you find the second day back to be worse than the first?

Okay, off to find a giant pillow for a good night's rest before day three back in action!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Hey There Sports Fan!

(Anyone recognize the Friends reference?)

Terry and I attended three sporting events over the course of the last three days. The UCLA football game on Saturday was fun but didn't turn out great (though we’ll have a rematch on Friday when we face Stanford again), and the UCLA basketball game last night was a disaster, because the Bruins lost their 16-point lead. 

While yesterday didn't turn out great, we did love the chance to see the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. The stadium is truly incredible, quite worthy of UCLA’s storied history in the sport (it would be nice to return to those glory days…). 

My favorite UCLA player, Arron Afflalo (All-American 2007)

I got all choked up reading about one of the greatest love stories of all time, Nell & John Wooden.

Tonight we went to a Clippers game, courtesy of Terry’s work. Neither of us is a huge pro basketball fan (Terry likes the Lakers best, though), but we figured it would be fun to do something new and different, perhaps as part of our LA Bucket List. We carpooled to work and headed out together to downtown to get dinner before the game, and we certainly had fun despite yet another loss. (Apparently, we're just bad luck this week!)

New statue of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, another former Bruin, outside of Staples Center 

And LA Live and Nokia Plaza, the area around Staples Center, is really gorgeous, especially right now with all the twinkly lights. Also, side note, a few of the Kardashians were there. (Okay, Mom, that was my celebrity sighting for the month!)

And now we're going to take a little break from attending sporting events, since apparently we bring terrible luck. 

Tomorrow I'm aiming to wake up a little early for some pre-work yoga. Who wants to make bets on what will actually happen? 

What's your favorite sport to attend or watch? 
I absolutely love anything Bruins, obviously. And baseball, too! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

And After All That...

It was a fantastic week!

We beat $C. We went wine tasting and spent time with my parents. Thanksgiving. I baked.

Today was really nice, too, despite the Bruin loss.

Some cuddling

A great boot camp workout this morning.

A fun game, if you ignored the scoreboard.

And after all that, Terry and I both mentioned today that we just weren't feeling great. It wasn't anything specific for either of us. He has a little cold, but it wasn't that. Finally we acknowledged that it's probably just a matter of indulging a bit this week. Of course Thanksgiving was a special occasion, but it was surrounded by two football tailgates, a day of wine tasting, and two "big" dinners with my parents. We ate more meat this week than we normally would in over a month, by my estimate. We had a few more glasses of wine over the week than our typical intake. We drank less water and ate fewer fruits and vegetables. And we moved less, which I think affected me most.

I really don't think there's anything wrong with the occasional week like this one. Some indulgences can be very healthy, as I've said before (you know I love my daily dessert!). I really believe that once-in-awhile treats (including non-food treats) are good for us and important for keeping us on track.

I also think indulgences are so healthy because they remind me how good I feel when I'm staying active, hydrated, health conscious with my food choices. (And, conversely, how not-great I feel in other cases.) I haven't felt great this week, though it's been fun, and I'm eager to get back to my usual routine.

More of this!

Tomorrow we'll go for a walk in the morning, and we'll enjoy some oatmeal for breakfast. Simple things like that help me immediately feel better.

What was your favorite indulgence this week? 
Mine was definitely relaxing. I didn't let myself feel (too) guilty about not doing something every minute of the day, I watched some movies, I slept in. It was fantastic!

Friday, November 23, 2012

I Can't Lie to You

I skipped my workout on Tuesday in favor of time with my parents and prepping for my big test. On Wednesday, when I set out to the gym for my workout, I knew that Terry and I were planning on a long run for Thursday. So I combined my Best Body Boot Camp strength workout for Wednesday with the original Tuesday cardio, and I omitted the burpees because I was already doing cardio.

But as I finished everything, I had to admit to myself: I just didn't want to do the burpees. And I felt it was only right to admit it to you, also. I cheated and skipped the burpees because they are just the worst.

So glad I got that off my chest.

Anyway, yesterday, before the turkey madness, I ventured out for a five-mile run/walk to campus and back, a peaceful and challenging way to start the day. We spent the rest of the morning playing games, cleaning house, and relaxing before heading to Terry's aunt's house for dinner. The night was fun, and I managed not to stuff myself silly.

Today we dedicated the time to just enjoying ourselves. I baked up a storm (a fancy dessert just for the two of us plus two different kinds of muffins) while watching Love Actually and The Avengers. (What? Do those not make sense together?)

For the muffins, I made the following:

  • Pumpkin-Walnut Muffins (I followed Lisa's recipe, but I used 1/4 C applesauce + 1/4 C oil instead of all oil)
  • Pumpkin-Maple-Cranberry Muffins
For this second batch, I made several changes, and I thought it would be easiest to just rewrite the recipe, but it's still based on Lisa's recipe

Pumpkin-Maple-Cranberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (organic unsweetened from TJ's)
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • a little less than 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin*
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries

*Since I made two batches, and the pumpkin comes in 15-ounce cans, I just used about 7.5 ounces for each batch, a little less than 1 cup, and it was fine.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the dry ingredients together (through salt), then add the eggs, applesauce, oil, syrup, and vanilla. Stir in the pumpkin, then add the pecans and cranberries. Spoon the batter into greased (or lined) muffin pans. Bake for about 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These muffins are ridiculously moist and flavorful. I love the depth of flavor and different textures. Thanksgiving is over, but you can still bust out the pumpkin recipes!

My other big endeavor today was making Courtney's Creamy Vanilla Butterscotch Pudding Dessert, but I added a brownie layer to the bottom! I simply baked a very thin layer of brownies (TJ's Truffle Brownies--in a 13 x 9 pan instead of 8 x 8) for about 18 minutes. I let it cool completely and refrigerated it until it was just slightly stiff. Then I made the rest of the recipe as called for. We're testing it out tonight, but I assume you really can't go wrong here. Terry was the one who came up with the idea of adding the brownie layer. Because he's a genius.

Post-baking, I hit the gym for some very light incline walking before we headed over to our neighbors' house for a delicious meal. A fantastic way to end the day.

And in the spirit of not lying to you, I have to say that I meant to post last night but opted for sleep instead. If I had posted, it would have gone something like this:

I am so thankful for you, my readers! You have made me feel part of a special community, and I am so blessed to get to do something I love and interact with such fantastic people. Some of you I have never met, but I still feel a terrific bond with you, and I look forward to a time when we can hang out and eat sweet potato fries together or go for a run. To my friends and family who read regularly--I don't think I can express how much it means to me that you support me, laugh with (and at, because that's important too) me, keep up with what's going on and care enough to ask me about it when we see each other, and challenge me to continue to try to improve. 

All of you inspire me to live a better life, and I am so grateful for you. Thanks for being such a vital part of BLWB!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanks for the Little Things

Last year, I wrote a lot about all the big things I'm thankful for. While a lot has changed this year, I am still very grateful for all the same things, and I won't make you suffer through another extensive description like that. I will, however, outline a few other gifts I'm thrilled to have in my life:
  • UCLA, the place that truly helped make me who I am and helped me find my husband. And for the win against that other school, too. :-)
  • Trader Joe's.
  • Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, for making the news much more interesting.
  • My new computer mouse. I don't know how I functioned without it.
  • The fact that I have not yet heard the "Thanksgiving Song"--I tend to get those silly songs stuck in my head, and it's terrible for everyone.
  • Our apartment gym. It's tiny, and the machines randomly shut down while you're running, and if two people are in there at once all the windows fog up, but I don't have to join a gym to get my workouts done. 
  • Blogging friends (blends) who have been so supportive and fun to get to know this year.
  • Random phone calls and texts with my brother. He never fails to make me laugh.
  • My foam roller. I hate it, but I love it.
  • Pinterest, for helping me come to the realization that I will never be crafty, and I can be okay with that.
  • The fact that the election is over. I really despised those commercials.
  • The cool(er) weather lately, though it's supposed to be 80 again tomorrow.
  • Nights like tonight, rare as they are, for requiring nothing more than a meal and relaxing time with my husband.
  • Dessert. I look forward to it all day.
  • The squirrels in our backyard. They keep Scout entertained for hours, and it's pretty cute to see them watching him watching them. (Come on, you knew I had to mention Scout in here somewhere.)

Check out the other WIAWs!

6:30 am - Pre-workout snack (well, it was supposed to be...): a spoon of peanut butter
10:00 am - Morning snack: apple and tea
12:30 pm - Lunch: shared a BBQ Chicken Chopped Salad and a Veggie Pizza at CPK with Amanda
6:15 pm - Pre-dinner snack: a few of my favorite chips
7:30 pm - Quiche
After I publish this post - Dessert: TBD (we don't have much, so I'll scrounge around for something)

For the quiche, I tried something a little different: an Italian-inspired quiche! Honestly, it was the best I could do with all I had on hand. I made my usual whole wheat crust (I reduced the butter by about 2 tablespoons and it still turned out great!) and then added the following to the basic eggs and milk mixture:
  • chicken sausage (sweet Italian, pre-cooked from TJ's), sliced
  • fresh tomatoes (blotted dry a bit to prevent too much moisture)
  • pre-roasted zucchini and squash from the other night
  • mozzarella cheese
It would have also been great with bell peppers, sauteed onions, or pepperoni, but this quiche was delicious as it was! I'm glad we have leftovers.

What are you thankful for? It's really a nice thing to count our blessings. I feel like my list could have gone on forever.

And We're Back!

What a whirlwind few days it's been around here! I'll do a quick recap, and things will be back to normal with a WIAW tomorrow. I had hoped to post this last night, but Google informed me I had used up all of my photo storage space--whoops! That's been fixed now, though, don't worry.

First of all, if you missed it, Katie provided us with a fantastic guest post on Sunday night - all about flexibility. I think my friend Corey said it best when he mentioned that his dad (a physical therapist) says you can't forget about flexibility when it comes to truly being athletic. I think it's easy to ignore stretching, warming up, and cooling down, but I'm learning more and more how important it is.

On Sunday, Terry and I drove up to Santa Ynez to meet up with my parents and do a little wine tasting, and the area was gorgeous despite the rain.
We even tried a new restaurant for lunch, Succulent Cafe, which I highly recommend if you're in the area. I enjoyed the burrata and tomato sandwich -- you know I love my burrata!

(Also featured: meatloaf-cornbread sandwich and whatever Terry had--I can't remember.)

Terry and I drove back down that evening and stopped at a small taco place in Santa Barbara, Lilly's Tacos, which serves really unique tacos (tongue and eye, for example). If you're looking for authentic Mexican, this is your place, but don't expect anything other than tacos--they're purists!

Yesterday I hit the gym in the morning for the start of Week 5 of Boot Camp! Ugh, so many burpees! But we can't always do the things we love in the gym; otherwise we wouldn't be challenging ourselves and pushing our bodies to try new things. (<--That's what I kept telling myself.) The burpees sucked, but I felt proud that I made it through with minimal rest (six sets of 60 seconds is definitely my limit, though; we had the option to do more or do a different type of cardio, and I chose the latter!). And hey, after each round of burpees, the rest of the workout was a breeze!

I spent the rest of the day Monday with my parents, grabbing a few items at the UCLA Store and cooking a scrumptious steak dinner. Actually, I didn't really cook anything. The guys barbecued, Mom whipped up some leftovers, and I just chopped veggies to roast.

Yesterday we took it easy and just played some board games at home before heading to True Food Kitchen for dinner.

And then yesterday...

I'm officially a Certified Personal Trainer!

Not a bad week so far. :-)

What are your plans for tomorrow? Are you traveling? Hosting? Making something scrumptious?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Guest Post: Flexibility Training

Well, another weekend come and gone. Between the big game yesterday (I noticed today that all my nails have mysteriously been bitten off) and some wine tasting today with my parents, these two days just flew! Thankfully, I'm excited to have one more awesome guest post for you as I gear up for a full week off. (Rough life, I know.)

I had the pleasure of meeting Katie at BLEND Retreat this year, and she and I both happen to be studying for the same exam. Her post today is incredibly informative and beneficial--for me and you! Enjoy!


Hi Everyone!

My name is Katie and I blog over at Talk Less, Say More where I share my healthy living journey, fitness tips and sometimes even some good music!

 I’m a music manager turned healthy living and fitness enthusiast and like Julie, I’m in the middle of studying for my NASM Certified Personal Trainer exam.  Fingers crossed for some good news in the coming weeks... ;) <-- Good luck, Katie!!!

While Julie is busy studying away, I’m so excited to be able take over her corner of the internet for a little bit today.  You see, I too should be studying but when Julie asked if I’d be interested in guest posting for a day, I couldn’t say no.  Besides, a little writing would be a good break from having my head stuffed in a book and I figured I could find a way to also make this beneficial for both myself and Julie.  <--Thanks! 

You might be asking how?

You see Flexibility Training is an important aspect of a fitness training program and often one that can be overlooked.  And since it goes a bit deeper than sitting on the floor and stretching it out after a workout, I thought I’d take the moment to share the different kinds of flexibility training programs and what they consist of.  I hope you’re able to take something away from this (and Julie - study up! ;) )

Now don’t go yelling at me for talking nonsense (just yet), I’m going to break down the different stretching techniques which will hopefully make this easier to understand.

I hope that info-graph helped break down the various stretching techniques.  If you’re anything like me, you might be slightly intimidated but think about your workout regimen and what’s missing - chances are it’s flexibility training.  And if you’re really like me, you’re highly intimidated by foam rolling (self-myofascial release); I promise that despite it being a bit awkward at first, there’s no reason to be afraid - just do it!

And as always, remember that flexibility techniques should only be performed on muscles that have been identified as overactive or tight.

Hopefully you were all able to learn a little something about flexibility training or at least understand the importance and different techniques.  And hopefully I didn’t scare you all too much. ;)

Stop by Katie's blog for more of her awesome healthy posts!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Healthy Rivalry

Today, the Bruins played the Trojans at the Rose Bowl.

And the Bruins won. :-) (<--understated emoticon of the year!)

First of all, I must say that I am beyond thankful that my husband didn't make me get up at the crack of dawn to get to the stadium. I am so glad there are intense fans who are willing to arrive at 4 am, but I just couldn't do it. The game started at noon, so five hours of tailgating before kick off was plenty for me.

For our morning tailgate, I stuck to fruit for breakfast, perhaps because I was just so tired, but I helped myself to two slices of an Italian sub for lunch, along with some chips, a little pasta salad, and cookies. Oh, and plenty of mimosa action throughout the morning!

The game itself was fantastic!!! I can really see how our team is evolving under Coach Mora's leadership. The team is completely buying in to all of Mora's advice and accepting his philosophies. After the game, an interviewer asked a player about next week's game against Stanford; the player responded that they have a 24-hour rule--embrace the results of this game for 24 hours before moving to the next one. I love that idea!

Today's game was the first time in 51 years that the game was played in the rain. Fun fact, but it sorta sucked to be wearing glasses...

But we won!

I won't burden you with too many details of the game here, but I do have some fun facts to share about the UCLA-USC rivalry that might interest even those who don't care about these schools or football.
  • A few years ago, the teams started a tradition of both wearing home jerseys, no matter who is hosting. The gesture requires the visiting team to lose a timeout, so the home team forfeits a timeout as well to show good will. 
  • The winner of the rivalry game each year gets to take possession of the Victory Bell. Originally, UCLA was given the bell as a gift, but USC stole it. Eventually, it was agreed that the bell would temporarily belong to (and be painted in the appropriate color for) the school that wins the football game each year.
  • Each school's students camp out to protect their respective statues during the week before the game. Past pranks have included paint on the statues and cutting off Tommy Trojan's sword to stick it
  • The current score: USC 46 victories, UCLA 29, 7 ties
  • UCLA holds the longest rivalry streak at 8 wins in a row.
  • The schools are only 12 miles apart, one of the closest geographic rivalries in the country.
Okay, I did my best to keep this post more or less unbiased. Obviously I'm thrilled that UCLA won, but I tried to omit any unkind words to the other school. (I suppose you can guess where the rest of this is going...)

That said, you should know this: During the game, my husband said, "Jules, I really like the side of you that comes out every year at this game. You are so intense! It's like a whole different person." 

It's true. I really can't help it. When I became a Bruin, something sparked in me that just makes me cringe at anything crimson and gold. I'm still upset that Gryffindor's colors are red and yellow. I'm physically offended by the idea of Bruins who marry Trojans--how could you possibly love each other? (Terry and I have discussed on multiple occasions that--even though we are clearly meant for one another and perfect together--we could never have worked if one of us had attended that other school. Then again, being Bruins is so ingrained in our blood now that we couldn't even fathom that.) 

And I'm pretty pissed that the Trojan marching band stayed in our stadium to play their post game concert (seriously, how many songs did they play?!) during our alma mater. But that's all I'll say. 

For now. Oh, and...

Go Bruins!!!

Do you have a big sports rival? Share some of the history! I love that stuff!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Making New an Adult

Today was my last day at work for a full nine days! I can't lie: I need the break. I think most teachers would agree that the first two months or so are the most difficult and tiring part of the year. But once we hit Thanksgiving break, the rest of the year seems to move quickly and smoothly (er, knock on wood).

This week off has quite the agenda of fun activities planned:

  • the UCLA-U$C game (GO BRUINS!!!)

  • my parents' visit for a few days
  • Thanksgiving
  • our first UCLA basketball game at the new Pauley
Of course, there will be grading and studying thrown in there, and I hope to bake a little something here or there.

After work today, I couldn't wait to hit the gym. The English teachers spent the day in a meeting, which meant a LOT more sitting than I'm used to, and I was ready to move and sweat a bit! But I completely lost my motivation. I just wanted to get back to the apartment, make dinner, and call it a night.

Thankfully, on the way to the gym, a girl stopped me to ask me to save a treadmill for her (we only have two in our little apartment complex's gym). Once she arrived, we got to chatting about my current boot camp workout (I think I convinced her to at least check it out for the next round!), and I hopped on the other treadmill for about 30 minutes of running while we kept up the conversation.

It's so rare now that I meet someone new outside of work, and I'm honestly a little unsure of how to approach this whole "make a new friend" idea as an adult. Here's what went through my head as I navigated the interaction:
  • Does she want to be my friend? Is this happening?
  • At what point do we say our names?
  • Okay, we said our names. Do we shake hands?
  • No, no shaking hands, okay, got it.
  • Do we exchange phone numbers? 
  • No, this isn't a date.
I'm a loser. Also, it's probably really lucky that I'm not single. 

But seriously, I don't know how to make friends as an adult. I guess I assume that everyone already has the friends they want, and it's just not as natural to get to know someone outside of work and school. But it was refreshing to have a purely social conversation with someone new today. We chatted about running, races, our jobs, our significant others, our Thanksgiving plans. Hopefully we'll get a chance to run together again, because I was definitely motivated to keep up my pace as we chatted away. The time flew by!

The rest of the night was blissfully relaxing: waffles, champagne, making fun of the awfulness of Step Up 3, and a late-night run to Ralph's for a little Ben & Jerry's action.

I tried a new flavor, Chocolate Therapy, which was exactly that. I am cured of whatever may have been ailing me. Ben and Jerry really know what they're doing over there.

Tomorrow is the big game! It's an early one, but we're excited for the rivalry--GO BRUINS!!!

What's the worst movie you've seen recently? 
Um, Step Up 3 is terrible. You should watch it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Eggplant-Spaghetti Squash Lasagna and WIAW

We made it to the midway point of the week, folks! I'm only teaching one more day this week, and Friday we have a day of meetings for the English teachers at my school, so it's an especially short week for me. How exciting is that?

This exciting.

Speaking of exciting, I have a little guest post action going on over at Tina's blog. I wrote all about how to stay healthy this holiday season--let me know what you think!

Here on BLWB, I've got quite the round up of eats today.

Check out the other WIAWs!

6:30 am - Breakfast - Oatmeal with peanut butter, maple syrup, a splash of milk, plus tea
10:30 am - Snack - Carrots
1:00 pm - Lunch - (Unpictured) fajitas leftover from last night with onions, bell pepper, and chicken
4:00 pm - Snack - 2 graham crackers, one with cream cheese and jelly, one with peanut butter and banana, plus another cup of tea (I was SO tired today!)
7:00 pm - Dinner - Eggplant-spaghetti squash lasagna, which was friggin' delicious, and the recipe for which I will share with you below!
9:00 pm - Dessert - The last of this delicious dessert, which I have been too lazy to photograph over the last five days.

Okay, so about that dinner... I thought up this idea, and it came together wonderfully!

Eggplant-Spaghetti Squash Lasagna
Serves 4-6
  • 1 spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 1 eggplant
Heat your oven to 375 degress. Slice your spaghetti squash lengthwise (be careful!), then roast face down on a greased baking sheet for 40 minutes, or until the skin is fork tender. Remove to cool, and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

While the squash is cooling, slice the eggplant crosswise (about 3/4-inch slices). Sprinkle lightly with olive oil, salt, and pepper, then roast for about 10 minutes. Remove and reduce oven temperature to 350.

Meanwhile, string the spaghetti squash with a fork. Then layer your greased casserole dish (13 x 9 or 9 x 11): sauce, squash, eggplant, cheese, sauce, squash, eggplant, sauce, cheese.

Bake, covered, at 325 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then uncover and bake again for about 10 more minutes.

You're gonna love it! And I hope you love the rest of your week!

Remember to check out my guest post over at Best Body Fitness!