Summer 2014

I know, I know… The updates are few and far between these days. But here's a sampling of what I've been up to this summer!

In May: Malvina's baby shower -

Look at all that delicious flavor! Or, it would be that now I see the cheese ball is missing. Huh. Anyway, the food seemed to go over well with the guests. I was worried that there wouldn't be any parking, but it was literally the only day this entire year (that I've noticed) that the visitor parking across the street from my house was totally free. Go figure.

We had a mini high school reunion -

And then the baby was born about six weeks later!

In June:

I (and my dad) repainted my living room. We removed the valances above the curtains (see above pic – aren't they awful??) and it was a lot of work and a big construction disaster for about a week. I learned I can't live without curtains; it creeps me out.

Yes, I didn't take down my Christmas tree. From 2009. ;)

I think this is the first time I've posted the china cabinet on here. I refinished it in the fall of 2012 – that was a big job too. I still should paint the handles. Ah well, eventually. One of my coworkers saw these pictures and said… "You have a lot of stuff." I just laughed.

In July: birthday and box game at the A's.

Met up with Felicia on the 4th (my birthday weekend) for breakfast, and Sarah and Bill for dinner on the 5th. Had a great birthday dinner with the family on the 4th – my mom parents got me a Fitbit! And Abby got me Season 1 of Game of Thrones… it makes so much more sense after watching 4 seasons, haha.

And now it's August. I'm actually knitting a sweater, so I think I might document that later. Unless I get eaten by alligators next week… stay tuned!

Why I’m Irritated at the HIMYM Series Finale

Yes, it took the ending of a beloved television show to get me to post again.

But seriously guys, the series of How I Met Your Mother has really annoyed me.

It didn’t send me into rage spirals like the LOST finale (STILL MAD ABOUT THAT ONE, even though it’s been over for like 4 years already), it didn’t perplex me with its sheer wtf-ery like the Dexter finale (random lumberjacks!) and it didn’t pull the “Oh wait, what – it got canceled six months ago and I didn’t know about it?” crap that the poor The Glades got last year (and the last episode was a cliffhanger! Phooey!).

SPOILERS AHOY

So what the HIMYM finale did was negate an entire series with the last five minutes of the finale. How I Met Your Mother was not, in fact, about meeting the mother. It was about how Ted fell in love with Robin, never got over her, met the mother and had kids, then eventually got back together with Robin after the mother died. This whole time, Ted wasn’t telling stories to the kids about how he met their mom, he was telling them about his life so that he could justify getting back together with Robin several years after losing his wife.

Now generally speaking, had the show not gone on for so long, this could have been perfectly acceptable. It works in books and isn’t uncommon in real life. But the show went on for nine years and the entire last season took place over Robin and Barney’s wedding weekend. Then, in the final episode, they had Robin and Barney get divorced and Barney go back to his philandering ways – which the show had spent YEARS developing Barney into a better person. And the show had spent YEARS developing the idea that Robin and Ted were wrong for each other and that the mother was the love of Ted’s life.

Had the events that took place in the finale took place over the entire final season, I think that would have been much better. HIMYM has proven over the years that while generally a comedy, they can have tough stories lines and go about them in a serious way (Marshall’s dad dying and Robin’s infertility issues) – I actually think they could have done that whole final episode over the final season and those fans who expected Ted to wind up with the mother wouldn’t be so PISSED that they got cheated out of what they thought was the ultimate end game for the series.

Because ultimately that how I feel – cheated out of what I thought the show was about. While I can appreciate the creator’s artistic vision (the plan all along was to kill off the mother), the title was a misdirect – it wasn’t “How I Met Your Mother”, it was “How I Hard Time Dating, Met Your Mother, She Died, and Got Back Together With Robin.” And as someone who never thought Ted & Robin actually worked as a couple, I thought that was lame. I liked Robin & Barney together.

So, points I guess for taking a storytelling risk (the finale has been almost universally panned by fans/critics from what I can tell). I didn’t care for it, am disappointed by it, but wish that if that’s what they wanted to do, that it had been executed better.

Still, I did love the early years of this show. Lily & Marshall are probably one of the best TV couples ever, and it brought us the glory of NPH. I liked the flashback/flash forward structure which was unique to sitcoms. And I don’t feel like I wasted a bunch of time watching it like I do LOST, so there’s that!

2013 RECAP

End of year meme for my recollection and edification.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?

Rode the CalTrain, tailgated, attended a box game at the SF Giants’ stadium. (I had previously attended box games at A’s games… I’m spoiled, haha)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year??

I made ZERO new year’s resolutions as usual but I do have one for 2014, and that is DRAW MORE (or at all, really). I find that trying to make THIS YEAR YOUR YEAR can only lead to failure, but having a mindset that you’re not getting any younger and you may as well start today with whatever it is you want to do is far more beneficial. Hence my current 23.4 lb weight loss (as of 12/30/13!) which I never would have done without just doing it and going for on September 2.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth??

Nope! This is year has been one of the first baby-free years in awhile! Though one of my co-workers had a baby and he is pretty much the cutest baby I have ever laid eyes on, for reals.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My cousin R died in February and that was a bummer. He was really instrumental in helping me learn more digital art skills by getting me Bryce 3D years and years ago. I really appreciate that.

5. What countries did you visit?

The United States of America!

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?

Money, time, more friends, pants. Evaluating the friends thing… I have managed to make a couple of new friends this year and that’s been really nice. I have felt rather isolated with my closest friends being far away so to have some local friends finally… it means a lot.

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

July 5th- my birthday, had a fun time at Havana in WC and September 2nd, the day I started hardcore on my health stuff. It happened to be the first day I used MyFitnessPal and the first day of Level 2 of the 30 Day Shred, which is hard. The last Saturday in July when we went to the baseball game in the Tony Bennett Suite at AT&T park, was pretty fun! I’ve become spoiled with some of our work perks, and box games is one of those things! Hopefully we have some more opportunities this upcoming summer. :)DSC04663

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

- LOSING TWENTY-THREE POUNDS IN 4 MONTHS
- Shaving about 4-6 minutes off our time at the Lafayette Reservoir
- Adding a number of healthy options to my cooking repetoire
- Saying “YES” to more things.
- Having two new legit friends.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Well, that whole “dating” thing. And I do still have tendencies to overreact hysterically when presented with too much information all at once.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Yes, I was sick A LOT this year – for almost two months total if you count the 32 days I had the flu in January/February, my bout with food poisoning in Reno, and two more weeks of a cold in October and then two MORE weeks of congestion in December. It has been unpleasant in that department.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My tablet and my running shoes. Actually I got myself both of those for my birthday, and they have really served me well since.

12. Where did most of your money go?

Bills bills bills, nail polish. My Disneyland trip was a wee bit more expensive than planned, lol.

13. What did you get really excited about?

My birthday, LA/Disney trip in October. Tailgating at one of the Battle of the Bay games in May (A’s vs. Giants, our homegrown teams! Was really fun!)

14. What song will always remind you of 2013?

Daft Punk’s Get Lucky. There was an incident that involved dancing at a bar.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:?

– happier or sadder? Happier, I think! So so stressed out, but happier.
– thinner or fatter? THINNER!! FOR ONCE IN MY LIIIIIFE
– richer or poorer? RICHER (woooooo!!)

Hmmmm… this year was better to me than recent previous years, I think.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of??

Traveling, for sure, but I just didn’t have the time/money/energy. I’m over Disney for now so at least I can focus on other potential trips in the next 18 months – Texas, Florida, Germany maybe.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of??

Being anti-social. But I try to go to most of the work functions and try to go to most things I’m invited to. Had to bail on two recent things because I was too tired/sick and that was a bummer because they sounded like they were fun (though one did end up with someone puking in the backseat of a car…)

18. How did you spend Christmas?

At my house for Christmas Eve with my mom’s side of the family. At my parents’ house in the morning for Christmas Day with just us and then my uncle’s house for the afternoon with my dad’s side of the family.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Orphan Black – probably the best acted and tightly plotted show of the year.
Game of Thrones – I finally fell for Game of Thrones after something like 14 episodes (had to justify my HBO subscription, you know), and season 3 was killer… literally… heh (Red Wedding!). Now that I like the show and actually know which character is which, I’d like to go back and watch from the beginning, I think I would like it a lot more.
Nashville – what can I say, I love a good nighttime soap, and Nashville is extremely soapy.
Supernatural - always and forever in my heart, Winchester Bros.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews (online serial)
Silver Shark by Ilona Andrews
Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams
Bittersweet by Noelle Adams

I… really like Ilona Andrews – they’re my current favorite author. And I recently discovered Noelle Adams and have been reading through her backlist on my Kindle App. This was a light year for reading for me, aside from blogs and online stuff. Sorry brain, I didn’t really stimulate you much. :/

21. What was your favorite music from this year??

I don’t think I bought a single album this year. Or downloaded any music (I never do, though). I did listen to a lot of radio and enjoyed Imagine Dragons, AWOLNation, Lumineers. Fell hard for Mumford & Sons. Last year’s favorite Of Monsters and Men became way overplayed and if I hear Dirty Paws one more time I’m going to scream.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

The movies I saw in the theater were:

Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Pacific Rim
Oblivion
Oz: the Great & Powerful
Star Trek: Into Darkness

I loved Pacific Rim – it met all my expectations of robots vs. monsters plus the epic bonus of robot wailing on a monster with an aircraft carrier. BONUS: IDRIS ELBA. I could listen to that man talk all day long.

However, the movie that I liked the most and has stayed with me the most is Cloud Atlas. I actually think it may be one of the greatest movies I’ve ever seen. It came on HBO or something a couple months ago and I was like, ehh, I guess I’ll watch this, and oh man, it turned out I really wish I’d seen it in the theater last year. I’m not even sure what exactly struck me, the intricate story telling, the excellent performances… I may even try to tackle the book it was based on.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

33 – mojitos at Havana, then we hung out at my house and played Cards Against Humanity. It was a good birthday!

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Not getting sick every time I turned around, that would have been nice. More $$$. I know, I know, money doesn’t solve your problems, but having more of it would solve some of my $$$ problems, heh.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?

Right now it’s “Nothing fits.” And, “Hey, that kind of fits, let’s wear it.” And, “Ooh, maybe I have some pants in the giveaway pile that fit, sorry charity!” I did, and they do.

26. What kept you sane?

Hahaha. I am coming off a pretty stressful month and need to sleep for like days. Honestly, a lot of my really harder workouts were a blessing as they really cleared my mind and made me feel better about life. And did I mention I’ve lost 23 lbs?! ;)

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013?

Two things:

1. If you want to lose weight, what matters is diet and exercise. Damnit. They weren’t kidding. Eat at a calorie deficit and be more active. I’ve had total success with this and while I have a long ways to go still (I’m about a third done, and when I reach my goal I will evaluate if I want to lose more – I suspect it will take me most of 2014 to reach goal, but I’m hoping that a year after I started I’ll be there)

and

2. Being open to people, to feelings, to experiences. Be less afraid to express yourself; your feelings matter.

***

It’s been a year. Hopefully 2014 will be a good one.

FITNESS FRIDAY, the 22-lb Edition!

Yes that’s right folks, my hoped-for goal to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year HAS BEEN MET. AND EXCEEDED.

SUCK IT NONBELIEVERS! (and by that I mean the me of four months ago.)

There are two things I really would like to talk about regarding this whole thing:

1. Support Systems
2. How you have to do it.

1. Support Systems
To my surprise, my biggest support for all of this has come from my coworkers. I get encouragement and understanding from these people that I didn’t know they were capable of. There are a couple in particular, but in general basically everyone in the office that I’m friends with has noticed the results and has been very encouraging. It’s really been an added bonus and motivation to keep this up. I do spend most of my time with these people, so I’d just like to acknowledge how awesome they’ve been. It’s a little annoying in that my success has become encouragement to other people, which means that as an unexpected role model, I can’t slack off! Phooey! (LOL!)

It’s really nice that people have been noticing my hard work though! I like that.

2. The Process – How you have to do it
It’s pretty annoying to learn that in order for this to work, the old standby call of “diet and exercise!” is actually how it works, and how you will keep it off. And I don’t mean diet in terms of weird crash diet or extreme calorie deficits or cleanses or whatever. I mean it in its actual meaning:

di·et1
noun
  1. 1.
    the kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.
    “a vegetarian diet”

Because for me, this is a very huge lifestyle change. I’ve gone from someone who would eat out a couple times a week for lunch and have a lot of convenience foods at home, to someone who brings lunch everyday and pretty much cooks from scratch every meal for the most part (though not spaghetti sauce!).

I have to admit that one of the harder things I’ve had to do is cut out a lot of the “fun” eating – meaning, I didn’t have that much crazy food at home or anything, but I definitely have had to cut out eating out A LOT, and I think that is a tough thing to have to decide to do, especially when so many relationships revolve around going out to eat, or meeting up for drinks, or whatever. I’ve even cut out most of my Starbucks consumption (which I had earlier anyway because $$$) and so I’m not even that fun to go grab coffee with anymore! I just have to make different choices and I choose not to eat out so much, and to not have white chocolate mochas. <insert SAD FACE>

I still drink a lot of coffee but I make it at home and add creamer. I like the Safeway/Lucerne brand Italian Sweet Cream and International Delight Salted Caramel Mocha (which is, sadly, limited edition for the holidays). Actually the Lucerne brand makes a lot of really tasty creamers; I also like the Cinnamon Vanilla one.

I measure out my portions and make sure everything is accurate, and more or less obsess about everything I put in my mouth. I have to decide if I really want something. And for the most part, I do really want things, and I don’t feel like I’ve had to give things up. For the nights out that I did go out, I tried to make sure that I had a pretty good idea of where I was going so I could decide in advance what to get. Like when we went for mojitos, I knew I wanted two mojitos and knowing the people I was out with, the revelry would probably devolve into shots, so I would most likely have one – and I was able to stick with it. Another time that was a challenge was the Brazilian steakhouse for my dad’s birthday and then the Italian place the office always goes to for a Christmas lunch. I had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to get and I was able to stick with my plan for the most part. I think it’s totally possible to go out and have fun and not blow 4,000 calories on your day out, but at the same time, I’ve had to distance myself from these kinds of things.

And I lost 5 pounds in December – despite Brazilian steakhouses, office parties, and Italian restaurants because of it. As of right now, I’m down 22 lbs since September 2.

I’m pretty proud of myself.

2014 GOALS

For the new year, nothing’s going to change. I’m going to keep tracking everything in MyFitnessPal, try to eat well, and try to finish Ripped in 30 (I got sick last week and haven’t had any energy to do the videos, though I’ve still been walking every day). I completed Week 3 and now have to start Week 4 (aka “The Mother of All Workouts”. I also have the Jillian Michael’s Six Week Six Pack, and for Christmas I got her Yoga Inferno AND the Body Revolution set! I’m excited about that – and considering how long these videos take me to do, I’m set on workouts for probably anywhere from 6-8 months. Then I’ll start over with the 30 Day Shred and see how far I’ve come! I bet it will be pretty easy so I’ll up my weights.

I also plan on trying out new recipes – I have two new Weight Watchers recipe books, the Chicken one and the 50th Anniversary one. My goal is to try at least one new recipe a month. I think that’s reasonable. Usually if I like something it gets added to my ongoing repertoire. This year I didn’t do too much from cookbooks but I did figure out some lighter recipes and I crockpot chicken once a week now, in addition to turkey burrito filling and I made applesauce, which was fun.

I’ve switched to whole grains for almost everything except tortillas (whole wheat/grain tortillas are disgusting, I don’t care what anybody says) (As a Mexican I’m offended by whole grain tortillas being disgusting) and I’ve even added ground flax to other stuff. I plan to expand my healthy grain horizons and figure out more ways to eat quinoa.

So that’s about what I expect from 2014 – more of the same and also just MORE. I just want to be more hardcore, and hopefully WAY LESS SICK next year – as I’m currently fighting off yet another cold, and for those counting, I’ve actually spent two full months sick in 2013, which has been unpleasant, to say the least. Here’s to not only fitness in 2014, but actual health! Where I’m not coughing! Ack!

UPDATION STATION, or, how I completely failed to update this blog in November 2013, oops

What, pray tell, have I been up to lately?

Work, work out, track calories, sleep, read the internet, nail polish, wash rinse repeat.

So I’m trying to remember what I was doing all month besides the above… (Twitter has failed me, aside from documenting how much I love almond milk on like 3 separate occasions, *sigh*.) One weekend we went to the Bay Area Bead Extravaganza at the Oakland Marriott – this is the best bead show of the year in the area, in my opinion. There are two very good ones, this one and the NorCal Bead Expo in the first half of the year. There are others throughout the year but those two are the best and I always look forward to the November one the most. I missed the NorCal show as I was in Reno (Gem Faire was that weekend too – a lot of stuff going on while I was busy having food poisoning in Nevada! LOL) and in fact BABE was the only show I made it to this year! Alas!

That same weekend the 4th bore of the Caldecott Tunnel opened. For those of us in the Bay Area, this was pretty exciting! Historically there have just been three tunnels (at least in my lifetime) and the middle tunnel was reversed back and forth (east/west) depending on the time of day/flow of traffic. So the fact that both directions of 24 now have two tunnels?? EXCITING! I’ve been stuck in terrible traffic on the way to Oakland during the lane switch way too many times to count, and now that should be alleviated.  Anyway, it is a delightful tunnel, and I’m still pretty stoked that it’s open!

Thanksgiving was a very nice, low-key weekend. We had the main event at my parents’ house and my aunt and grandmother attended in addition to my sister and parents. I brought my famous “Corn Pudding Thing” and we had a delicious feast. My aunt brought her salami and cream cheese roll ups that we all spaz about because they’re so good, and let me tell you, I’ve been eating so healthy/clean lately that when I put one of those in my mouth, it was as if angels were singing a glorious tune. I have never had a more delicious salami roll up in my life.

I didn’t leave the house on Black Friday but I did order some nail polishes off the internets! Saturday I headed into the dark abyss of THE MALL because I wanted to look for jeans – all my current ones are too big (a problem that is the opposite of my usual! haha) but I struck out. I only had the energy to look at two or three stores though – jeans shopping really takes it out on you! So then I stopped at the Nail Polish Guy’s store and they were running a 3-for-$20 sale and I picked up a couple of blingy Morgan Taylors and an Essie I’d had my eye on. Since I’m a regular at the store (I try to stop in every six weeks or so) I’ve gotten to know the people who work there, and NPG’s wife totally hooked me up with some great free samples of hair care! Since it’s a beauty supply store, they have other stuff besides nail products. They have also started carrying Kerastase and I’m super stoked about that, because I had to order my last bottle since I can’t find it locally. Yay! On Sunday my dad and I went to the reservoir and then later in the afternoon we went over to my uncle’s house for a small birthday celebration for the December birthdays (my dad, uncle, and grandma). My uncle had grown a mustache for Movember and hadn’t shaved it off yet.

Abby and I went to see Catching Fire and it was pretty good. I haven’t read the Hunger Games books, but from what I know about them, the movies seem like they’re pretty close to the source material.

So far in December I have just been really busy at work, as the “communications liaison” for a manager who is out on leave, and we have been having a lot of parties and events. It’s been a weird mix of stress and fun! We had our big Christmas party the first week of December, where we shut down one of the restaurants in downtown WC and partay for hours. They had really good sliders (Angus beef patties with cheese on Hawaiian rolls) and the clam chowder there is TDF. I didn’t really waste my time with anything else and I totally had three sliders, not gonna lie! LOL

Last week we had a couple lunches brought in and then Friday night we had happy hour with one of our vendors at Havana, which is where I went for my birthday (because we go here with the vendor every year and it’s good!) and I had two mojitos and managed to get my paws on 1.5 crab cakes – they are SO GOOD here, I really just need to come down and order a mojito and a plate of crab cakes just for myself some time.

This weekend my plans for Saturday fell through since my cousin was sick, and I wound up not even leaving the house! Which was nice. I didn’t even get stir-crazy which does happen now and then. I will confess I spent a considerable amount of time downloading free books onto my Kindle app.

Sunday was the reservoir with my dad like usual. We’ve shaved off about three minutes from the walk thanks in part to my extensive working out and are able to walk it under 55 minutes now – previously we were doing anything from 58-62 minutes. Anyway, so that’s pretty cool!

Later in the evening my parents and I joined my grandma and aunt at my grandma’s church for an evening of Christmas music. It was very nice but I would have enjoyed myself more if I hadn’t spent the entire time worrying about whether or not I had turned the stove off (…I had. Sigh.). This church has several different choirs and they are pretty accomplished for “just” being church choirs. There’s the little kid choir, the high school choir, and the adult choir. I found it impressive that the little kids had memorized all their songs and were well behaved! Also adorable.

The adult choir performed “Carol of the Bells” which is one of my all-time favorites. Back when I was in concert choir, lo those twenty (!!!) years ago, we sang it, and to this day, I still only know the alto part.

This church also has a handbell choir, which is very fun to listen to, too!

Next weekend I will probably go to my mom’s church for the last Sunday of Advent, and that will be a grand total of four (4) times I set foot in church this year (I also went at Easter and went with my Grandma to another music concert at her church) and I didn’t get hit by lightning once.

HOBBIT UPDATE: I finally saw the first Hobbit movie and it was boring.

All Hallow’s Eve

Hocus-Pocus-halloween

For the first time in forevvvvver, I dressed up today! We had a festive time at the office with a costume contest and a potluck (I made a layered bean dip – let it never be said I can’t rock an appetizer, as that seems to be my forte, hmmm).

I dressed up as Aphrodite, Goddess of Looooove, but only because I A) couldn’t find a Medusa costume and B) one of my co-workers was already Athena, haha. I rocked a gold crown of leaves, huge gold chandelier earrings, etc. Most of my coworkers dressed up too! Since I have this costume now, next year I might dye it a green color and turn it into a Medusa costume if I can figure out a snake hat/wig. That would be rad.

(I had to ask one of my coworkers: “Are you a witch or a wench?” She laughed. She was a wench of the pirate variety.)

I even bought candy to hand out to the three trick or treaters that may or may not come to my door… some years I’ve had zero.

The above picture is from Hocus Pocus, my all time favorite Halloween movie. (My other favorites include the Disney Channel Halloweentown movies.)

Gosh, October was full of a lot of stuff. I was sick for two weeks with a head cold (I had a sore throat for like ten days straight, it sucked). I went on vacation to LA and visited with friends – we also went to Disneyland and ate at Carthay Circle and Steakhouse 55.

CARTHAY CIRCLE: The Story

So, Carthay Circle is a fancy restaurant in California Disney that is apparently a replica of the original Carthay Circle in Hollywood where Snow White and the Seven Dwarves premiered. It’s quite nice; the attention to detail is impressive. So, we got seated and were waiting for our food when the following thing happened:

Picture, if you will, the golden interior of the restaurant, a luxe forties theme with beautiful wood and painted ceilings. Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a quiet ambiance.

The ambiance was broken by a woman rushing by our table with a young blond girl who was about eight. I saw it, as if in slow motion, the vomit spewing forth from the child’s mouth. Spewing all along the carpet next to our table. The woman and child turned the corner towards the exit of the restaurant, presumably to the bathrooms.

A pause. I caught S’s eye. “Did I just see what I think I saw?” I asked, hoping that I had not just witnessed VOMIT, but knowing that the truth was hidden on the other side of the table where, thankfully, I could not view it in its chunky glory. He glanced over at the floor, briefly. “Yes,” he replied.

And then the waiters started walking past our table, not seeing the vomit. S flagged one down to let them know so they would stop TRACKING IT ALL OVER THE RESTAURANT. And so, Miss Julie Ann stood by our table to direct traffic. She stood there for a good twenty minutes, guarding the napkin covered vomit. Our food arrived, vomit still on the floor.

The hazmat team (a guy in a white jumpsuit with a bucket) arrived and finally cleaned and disinfected the rug.

There is no telling what happened to the mom and her kid.

It was pretty funny.

All in all, our experience at Carthay Circle was one for the books! I would give the food a solid B. The pumpkin soup was delicious, as was the apple cake with apple sorbet for dessert. My Angus steak was just okay; I’ve had better (actually the filet the following evening at Steakhouse 55 inside the DL Hotel was pretty awesome). I don’t know that I would go back but it was fun to go once. I would like to work through trying out the other restaurants in the parks.

Anyway, we had a good time and now I’ve gotten Disneyland out of my system for the next few years.

So! Goodbye October, you were real. Hello November, with gravy anticipation and colder temps. One of my favorite months!

Fitness Friday: Progress So Far

So, MyFitnessPal tells me I’ve logged in for 30 days straight. In that time, in addition to working on the 30-Day Shred, I’ve lost 9 pounds. WHOOP WHOOP!!

I actually haven’t been at this weight in several years, and while 9 lbs doesn’t seem a lot, it’s the most I’ve ever managed to lose. And I did it in one month. I’m looking forward to future progress!

I got sick last week with kind of a brutal head cold and have had a sore throat for like ten days, it sucks! Not gonna lie, I think was exacerbated by visiting friends who have a short hair cat. I am still allergic to cats, so that was sad. I went into the office Monday morning with no voice to merge a spreadsheet into labels and then was like, “I’m out!” and went home and pretty much slept all day. I’ve spent the rest of the week in zombie mode.

Today I managed to put some makeup on so I guess I’m feeling a little better. I have a work event tomorrow where I have to get up at the crack of dawn and be “on” all day on a Saturday, so here’s hoping there’s copious coffee! There is definitely copious overtime, so that’s cool. The event should be fun and we put a lot of work into it so I hope it goes well!

This week since I feel like roadkill I haven’t kept up with The Shred. I’m disappointed about this, as I only have 6 days to go before I complete it! Hopefully I’ll feel more up to it soon because I want to finish it before I head off on vacation on the 13th. For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed this workout and will definitely be repeating it in the future. But this week is definitely a wash as I feel more like lying down and sleeping. I don’t want to overdo it and be sick for 32 days again like I was in January.

Not that I was counting. :/

I really need a nap.

Fitness Friday, Or: The 30 Day Shred Challenge

A few weeks ago I ran with a whim to complete the Jillian Michael’s 30-Day Shred workout video.

It’s circuit training and it’s tough! There are three different levels and you’re supposed to do 10 days at each level, moving up to the next level when you feel ready. Level 1 I thought was pretty challenging but definitely saw improvement in my ability to do the moves by the time I was done with my ten days.

Now I’m on Level 2 and there is planking and it makes me sad. Or rather, it makes my shoulders sad. I couldn’t even barely do the planking moves on Day 2 (I kind of stood there and watched and LOLed), my shoulders were so sore from the first day. Now though, not only can I plank but I can do the advanced moves. Plank twists are still really hard though.

I actually like Jillian Michaels, I like her no-nonsense approach to working out. When I finish the Shred, I’ve got her Ripped in 30 video waiting, and when I’m done with that, I’ll do the Shred again, possibly with heavier weights, depending on how RI30 goes. That should take me into the end of the year, and we’ll see how my body changes, which is actually (finally?) of interest to me. I may ask for her Body Revolution video series for Christmas as it’s kind of expensive.

At the beginning of September, I signed up for My Fitness Pal (MFP) which is an app/website that helps you track your calories and exercise. I’m finding it interesting. They have you log your starting weight and how much you want to lose per week (I picked 1 lb per week) and calculate what your daily calorie allotment should be in order to lose that weight. You get additional calories for however much exercise you do, which for me has ranged from 110-350 extra. I know that that can be an overestimation so I probably won’t eat back all those. But I shoot for eating around half or so.

I didn’t know that you were supposed to eat back the calories you burned from exercising, but it makes sense. So I’m starting to think that I probably wasn’t eating enough. Which seems sort of counter productive but I’m going to roll with it. I’ve been tracking my food and exercise since Labor Day and have lost four pounds so far! I think I also reached the point of the Shred where I had built up muscle and finally am losing weight, also it was helping to know how much I should be eating.

I find it much more sensible than Weight Watchers, though it’s pretty much the same thing. I just never really got into the groove with Points Plus, but I feel like I could stick with MFP. It’s really easy, which I appreciate. With Points Plus I just had a hell of a time making the right sorts of food decisions because you got hardly any points. Just frustrating. I like with MFP it tracks all your nutrition and you can track yourself. I don’t know why this is working for me, but it is, so I’m happy.

Anyway, so that’s what I’ve been up to lately: smoothies, Jillian Michaels, MFP.

I’m pretty much having an identity crisis, lol. My friend said to me today how different I’ve been lately, since I’m not so scheduled with everything I do and I’m much more adventurous / spontaneous, etc. For someone who has seen me every day for the last five years, I bet it does seem like I’m making a lot of changes, and I think I have been all this year, starting with the stepping. I’m just now upping my game and it’s happening all at once, kind of. First it was the smoothies at the beginning of August, then it was the Shred, and now it’s tracking my food.

I’m really serious about this now, you guys. So I don’t think I’ll be much fun to go out to restaurants with for the next few months. Because I’m not going to do it. I have a couple of fun places to look forward to (my LA vacation will definitely have some eating out) but for the most part, I’m in it to win it.

I set MFP to help me lose 75 pounds. Only 71 to go. :O

Smoothie Obsessed

I missed Fitness Friday last week because I was busy taking part in a pool tournament with the office. I’m terrible at pool but this time I managed to actually get a ball in a pocket! A correct ball that belonged to my team! It was the best game of pool I’ve ever played. People who have skillz at pool would laugh at my attempts, but I managed to hit the the cue ball each time and all in all wasn’t totally terrible. I was, it shall be confessed, fairly, erm, inebriated. (*ahem*)

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about getting a smoothie maker. One of my coworkers has the Nutribullet (as seen on TV!) and loves it. I looked at the reviews and it seemed okay… just kind of expensive. But I figured with a coupon to Bed Bath & Beyond it would be around $85 which is doable.

Except that I was at Walmart on Saturday buying an extraordinary amount of boring-yet-necessary things (toothpaste, toilet paper, kitchen trash bags, etc.) and I thought I’d look and see if they had Nutribullets since another coworker mentioned they had them there. I wasn’t going to get it because of the whole use-a-coupon-at-BBB thing but I wanted to look at them.

Anyway, I didn’t see it, but that’s only because I was distracted by the same sort of machine (single serve smoothie maker) that was only $20, the Farberware 17-piece Rocket Blendersmoothieblender

It comes with five big cups and one little one, plus lids and lip guards, two different blades, etc. It’s only one speed but I have to tell you, I’ve made a couple of different smoothies using different ingredients that came out nice and smooth! My biggest concern, since I’m sensitive to food textures, was that it blend everything up so it’s not chunky. This worked great.

It didn’t take me very long to make one this morning before work, so that’s nice. It helps that I have everything ready to go and I stopped at the farmer’s market yesterday and picked up some spinach, nectarines and blackberries (and a cheese zombie). I also picked up some frozen mixed berries and strawberries. I actually dislike strawberries and berries in their berry form due to their texture, but I like jam and other berry-by-products, so I figured I wouldn’t mind them blended out. And – it’s true. I made a smoothie with blackberries this morning and it was really good.

Here’s the recipes I’ve done so far. None of these contain banana, as I hate banana (in every iteration):

Spinach/Nectarine/Grape/Yogurt Smoothie

Handful of spinach (probably about a cup)
Half a bunch of red grapes
1 yellow nectarine
1 vanilla Yoplait
Little bit of water

Cut up the nectarine into smaller pieces. Blend, enjoy.

Spinach/Nectarine/Blackberry/Yogurt Smoothie

Handful of spinach (probably about a cup)
1 white nectarine
Blackberries (I dunno, probably about 20)
1 blueberry Yoplait
Little bit of water

Cut up the nectarine into smaller pieces. Blend, enjoy
This one I had kind of a lot of stuff to blend so I put the spinach, blackberries, and part of the cut-up nectarine into the cup and blended that first, then added the rest of the stuff (including the yogurt) after, making sure it didn’t exceed the max-fill line.

Tonight I plan on making a tropical smoothie – I got some fresh pineapple, oranges, and coconut milk! I also got some almond milk to use for liquid in berry based smoothies… I’ve never tried it so I hope I like it. :/

So far I’ve just been making spinach based smoothies so I get some good healthy stuff in me. Eventually I’ll probably branch out to kale and other greens, but for now, spinach it is. I’m also interested in berry-only drinks and mixing up the ingredients. I don’t have any peaches right now, but peaches, pears, and raspberries are on my list of fruits to squish. I’m not really interested in apples.

The yogurt really helps add to the consistency of the smoothies. Right now I only have Yoplaits because that’s my yogurt of choice, but I will eventually branch out to Greek yogurt, which I also like for the most part. It’s nice and thick, though I’m not sure if it comes in a big tub, which I would prefer, and I’ll have to look for. I’ll probably branch out to Safeway brand yogurt, which I know comes in a tub and tastes okay. I hate Trader Joe’s yogurt, but they’re good for fresh and frozen fruit, not to mention spinach, etc.

And thus begins the smoothie adventure!

Related Posts with Thumbnails