Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Working hard, or Hardly working?

Have you recovered yet from your long weekend?  My wonderful students apparently have not, seeing as how I'm sitting here writing my blog instead of teaching.  None of my kids showed up for class today.  It's not like they have a state exam in a week or anything.  I know you're thinking that it's impossible that not a single kid showed up, but I was only supposed to have 3 anyway.  I teach in an alternative program (read:  all of the badass kids who have been kicked out of the high school attended by everyone else in the town).  There are only 7 of them in the program right now, but they can't all be in a room together at the same time, so we split them in half. (Read:  I wasn't kidding when I called them badass, and I didn't mean it in the "whoa that truck makes him look so badass" way).  And today the three who are supposed to be with me right now just didn't come to school.  So here I am. 

First of all, because it was just Memorial Day, and because I'm technically wearing my hat of English teacher right now, I am feeling the need to recommend a book to you.  You may have read it already, but just in case you haven't, you should.  It claims to be a work of fiction, "except for a few details from the author's life", yet it was written by a Vietnam War veteran and is so detailed and believeable that you are left to wonder exactly which parts were made up. It is raw, gritty, touching, gut-wrenching, and all of those other strong adjectives that you would expect to come with a book that was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.  It's about love, relationships, coming-of-age, and war.  Now go order it.  You will not regret reading this book. 

You didn't know that in my other life I'm a book
critic, did you?  Haha. I'm so not. 
But I have read a few good books in my day.
This is one of them.

Ok. Moving on.  On the health front, things are going fairly well.  I'm loving the new supplements.  Remember how I told you about my sleeping problem.  (As in, I wasn't sleeping at all because I was just never tired?)  Well, two weeks in to the new pills I'm popping, things seem to be changing for the better.  I've been starting to get tired at the very appropriate time of 10:30ish, and have been waking up around 6:30, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  Thank you, Supplements!  Sleeping at normal times is kinda fun!

Additionally, the move away from dairy is proving to be a good one, too.  My nutritional muscle test a couple of weeks ago showed that I have an issue with my stomach.  But I've never had noticeable symptoms, so we didn't spend much time talking about it.  Well, I'll tell you something:  now that I've been away from dairy (well, mostly...) my stomach feels all kinds of new.  It's hard to describe, but I really do feel noticeably better.  Which is so weird, because I never thought I had problems before.  So anyway, I'm doing a pretty bad job here, so let's just leave it at this:  I have been cooking with and drinking either almond or coconut milk, have stayed away from all yogurt, have not really eaten a ton of cheese, and have avoided most other dairy.  And I feel healthier! 

Giving up dairy = good for me
Mozzarella cheese = impossible to give up

Moral of the story:  one little change can make a big difference.  TRY IT!!!! 

Here's a question for you:  (to which I'm asking begging for responses.  Don't let me down.)

What little change have you made that has made a big difference?
(Working out once in a while;  going meatless once a week; drinking more water; using sunscreen???? C'mon.. tell me!!)

Have a healthy day,


Friday, May 25, 2012

Random Thoughts on a Thursday

 Happy Thursday.  Weirdly, there's not that much going on around here today.  So lucky for you, here is a window into my head.  Feel special. 

Did anyone see Jennifer Lopez on American Idol Wednesday night?   (Here she is just in case you missed her).  Whether you love her, hate her, or are totally sick of her, you must admit that she has a smokin' hot bod.  I am jealous in a major way of those freaking abs.  Not only does she have two kids, but she gave birth to them at the same time!  And those abs STILL look like that.  No fair.  Well, I mean, I guess it is fair if you have a trainer, a chef, and access to unlimited babysitting and gym time.  But still, Wahhhh.  Can I please look like that? 

It's like, 90 degrees out today. I love the summer, and am ecstatic that it came early this year. I like being outside and not wearing a coat.  I enjoy sleeping with the windows open.  But 90 is too hot.  I had to turn on the Central Air today, much to the husband's dismay.  He claims that I complain when it's hot and I complain when it's cold.  He's right.  I hate being uncomfortable.  Is there any place on earth where it is 75 and breezy every day?  I wanna move there. 

It's currently 3 in the afternoon and my children are still upstairs talking to themselves.  As in, not taking naps.  They've been up there for an hour and are supposed to be taking a trip to Dream Land right about now.  But they're not.  And... oh wait.... I take that back.  It no longer sounds like they are talking.  I actually think it's rapping.  I love days when naps don't happen. 
OMG. Go to sleep!

I know what you're thinking... sheesh, so much negativity.  Let me back in to that brain NEVER.  Chill out. There's good stuff happening in the old noggin' too. 

Like my workouts this week- I ran twice (even this morning before it was 90 out!) and felt so good both times.  Hmmm... maybe I'll do another 5K. I did Power Body, I did Zumba, and I walked while pushing the gigantic double stroller. Oh and I did free weights.  I enjoy working out.

A kid at school rated one of my lessons a 6 on a scale from 1-5.  This may sound stupid, but my kids are emotionally draining most of the time. They refuse to admit that they even kind of enjoy anything, and I have been contemplating whether or not I even have it in me to put in another year with them.  But one kid liked something, and I'm gonna hang on to that. I enjoy making connections, and I enjoy validation.

It's a three day weekend.  And it's going to be beautiful out.  The pool is almost swimmable. I am going to enjoy my family.

I enjoy my life.  

Have a healthy day, (and do something this weekend that you enjoy!)


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Love a Fattening Festival

And truthfully, if you live around me, you do too.  There are a million festivals around here every summer, one of which was just in town this past week.  Of course the boys and I went.

We are really good at taking pictures of ourselves.
 What, may you ask, do people do at daytime week-long festivals?  Well, it's held at a really nice park that is filled with lilacs. (The same park I got engaged in, by the way. Yep, in the back near the reservoir.  Ah, I digress...)  Ideally, people get something to eat, listen to some live music, and then walk around and admire the flowers.  However, this year, all of the lilacs were already dead by the time the Lilac Festival rolled around, so people pretty much just ate.  And exactly what do they eat, you ask? Well, here we go.  People around this city have been called lots of things, but I'm pretty sure "healthy" isn't one of them.  With no further ado, here's just a small sampling of the average festival fare:

I have a secret: This is my favorite offering. I may or may not have eaten one with my sister last year. I controlled myself this year.  Either (A) I am so healthy or (B) my sister wasn't with me this time.  You decide.       

Yes, this is exactly what you think it is:  fried pieces of fatty meat surrounded by fried pieces of sugared dough, with or without cheese and bacon.  Yum.  How about a side of Heart Attack with that?   
...Because apparently cheesecake on a plate isn't good enough. And isn't this just what you're looking for on a crazy hot crowded day- a nice thick hunk of chocolate dipped sugary cream cheese?  Sign me up!
Only $3.00 for an order of obesity and clogged arteries??!?!  BARGAIN!   
As tempting as it all was, the boys and I stuck to the old reliable strawberry smoothie.  And then we played some games.

And we won stuff! 
Are you sick of pictures of my kids yet?  Too bad.  Here's one more. 
Meet the newest member of our household.  His name is (appropriately) ShinyOrangeFish.  Do not call him Shiny for short.  I have miraculously kept him alive for 5 whole days now.  I think he likes us.
Ok, I'm done now.  Do you like festivals?  What do you eat while you're there? 

Have a healthy day,


PS- I didn't work out at all today.  I apparently waited too long to make an appointment to bring the boys, and the daycare was booked.  Boo.  Double session day tomorrow for sure. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Food Lovin' Friday- Rainbow Pasta Salad

What's your favorite summer food?  Barbecue chicken?  Corn on the Cob?  I love pretty much every single thing about summer, especially the food selection.  My all-time favorite summer food that I could eat every day at every meal is a fresh pasta salad.  I have been working on mine for a few summers now, and the other night I think I did it.  I made the PERFECT pasta salad.  And now you can too! 

Here's what you'll need:

Cooked pasta (I chose Rainbow Rotini)
Broccoli Crowns
Red Onion
Fresh Mozzarella
A bell pepper (I had an orange one on hand, but any color will get the job done)
Whatever other veggies you'd like to use (I had some corn, so I threw that in)
Italian Dressing (I actually used Parmesan Italian)

Chop it all up:

I love taking blurry pictures.  But get past that,
and admire the colors. Your salad is
going to look DIVINE.

Fact:  I am trying to stay away from dairy.
Fact:  I LOVE fresh mozzarella.
Add the cheese last.

In fact, I love it so much that I needed to take two pictures.

Throw it all in a big bowl, mix it all together and top it off with the dressing.  Do yourself two favors here. One- don't drown those gorgeous fresh vegetables, and two- don't use fat-free or reduced fat dressing.  It has a lot of chemicals that are just weird.

Almost done...
TA-DA!  How good does that look?!?!
Have you ever eaten something and immediately started looking forward to the next meal so you could eat it again?  Um, yeah.  That's the effect this pasta salad has on me. I kind of couldn't stop thinking about it.

I served it with some Italian Sausage (another summer favorite).  Mine was spicy turkey. 
The grill wasn't loaded up with new propane yet, so I had to make do with the ol' stove top.  It worked out.

So this picture totally reminded me of how I don't want to look in my bathing suit this summer.  And then I was reminded that I needed to hit the gym. 

This is what happened:

Friday- nothing.  I ate 12 pounds of pasta salad and my clothes began to resemble sausage casing.

Saturday- 2 miles on the treadmill and free weights.  A majorly needed sweat session. 

Sunday- Nothing.  Wow, I'm lazy.  Well, in my defense, the hubs was golfing so I couldn't go to the gym. The boys and I took a walk that probably burned about 12 calories. 

Monday- Power Body night!!  Awesome!! 

I'm really looking forward to a great week, and I hope you are too.  I've got some good posts planned, too, so make sure you check back in with me.  And hey- I'd really love it if you left a comment once in a while. Cuz at this point, I have pretty much no idea if anyone even reads this thing...

Have a healthy day,


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What I Love About Today

Dear Wednesday, how do I love thee?  Let me count the ways:
1.  On my way to work today I rocked out to Garth Brooks' "Friends in Low Places". I knew that nothing could go wrong from that point forward.

2. It was almost 70 degrees and sunny by about 9 AM today. I drove to work with my window open.  Being in a bad mood while that was happening was impossible.
3. My baby boy is "pretend 5" today. He turns Real 5 in a few weeks, but since tomorrow is his last day of school, they celebrated it today.  Of course, I remembered at about 6:00 yesterday that I needed to make a birthday treat for him. Since I had dinner plans, I didn't to start baking until about 9:30.  But he's totally worth it.  So Wednesday, I love you because you are giving me a reason to eat a cupcake. And I love cupcakes. Especially ones that look like ice cream cones.
They looked even cuter with a little
gummy life saver on top.
But I have a 3-year-old.
Those gummies are long gone.

4. My pretend 5-year-old is one of the most amazing people I have ever met.  He is funny, kind, thoughtful, and friendly. His name means "wise", and that couldn't be more fitting.  He is wise beyond his years, and impresses me every day. Happy pretend birthday, Buddy.
June 6, 2007. The day my life changed forever. (Yes, that's a tiny IV in his hand.  He was a pretty sick guy.)
September 2011.  Look at how handsome he is.

5.  Zumba.  I love Wednesday because of Zumba.  Tonight is the best class of the week. I'm excited to go get my sweat on.

6. I started my new supplements today.  I'm loving how much I'm learning lately about nutrition and holistic wellness.  I'm putting a lot of trust in my holistic practitioner.  I'm now taking fish oil, calcium, and something to help regulate my sleep cycles and help my food enzymes break down easier. I'll report back in a month to let you know whether or not I feel like a brand new version of myself.  Cheers to reaching optimal health!

That's a lot of good stuff for one day, right?  I hope you're having a day full of good stuff too.  And even if you're not, there's still time to turn it around.  Just turn your car radio to the country station and start jammin out.  Works every time.

Have a healthy day,


Monday, May 14, 2012


It happened!  I woke up on Sunday morning and was so nervous, and anxious, and excited, and totally ready to go.  I just kept imagining the sense of accomplishment I was about to experience, and it happened.  I ran 3.1 miles without stopping.  And it felt amazing. 

The race I did was an annual event to raise money for The Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester.  I love that all of the money raised (which the news said was over 20 thousand dollars!) stays right here at home.  I went to pick my registration stuff up on Saturday. The cancer Supporters got a light pink bandana, and the Survivors got a dark pink one.  I was totally psyched to put my stuff on bright and early on Sunday morning, but my friend told me that I absolutely COULD NOT wear my race shirt to the race.  She told me I'd look like such a rookie.  (Duh, who would want that??)

So instead, I wore this:
That lovely guy I'm married to bought me a brand new running outfit for Mother's Day.  I felt so legit. He used to actually be a real runner who broke records and stuff, so his support was awesome.  I've never in my life owned real running clothes, and now I do.  And yes, I posed for pictures instead of, oh, I don't know, stretching or something silly.

Of course, the first thing I had to do as soon as I got out of the car was go to the bathroom.  Unfortunately, so did everyone else.  This is just a tiny portion of one ridiculously long line. There were about 6 lines of the same crazy length.  I decided I didn't really have to go that badly after all.

So finally it was time to line up.  I might be somewhere in that crowd.  

Or maybe I'm in this one.

Wow, look at all those rookies.  (And do you see that one lone GUY?  Yeah, he must have missed the memo that this was a women's only race.   Seriously though, that sea of pink was so energizing, motivating, and inspiring. 

I hope my feet don't fail me now...

That thing on my shoe was my time chip.  Cool, right?

And then we were off.  And it was exactly at this time that I realized I had made perhaps my most fatal ROOKIE mistake. When it was time to line up, there were little markers down the path with numbers on them.  You were supposed to line up according to how fast you were going to run. Since I was planning on finishing in just about 30 minutes, I stood with the 10-minute crowd. 

People kept telling me to just plan on going slowly at first since I'd have to weave in and out of a lot of people.  Once the crowd thinned out, they'd said, I'd be able to get in my zone and just go.  Well, the crowd was literally so thick that not only could I not weave anywhere, I also couldn't get in my zone.  There were about 4 thousand runners there, and I'm pretty sure that 3500 of them were also planning on finishing in 30 minutes.  I WAS SO ANNOYED!!!!  The clock was ticking away and I was seriously stuck for about a half a mile in a painfully slow moving crowd. So note to self: next time, stand with the 7-8 minute group. Wear your legit clothes again and act like you belong. They'll never know the difference.

So I finished (with my friend Jessica, who I found at the turn!) with an official time of 32:34. That totally should have been 28 or 29 something, but that brutality at the beginning completely messed me all up.  But the most important thing here is that I FINISHED!  And I didn't walk at all, and I didn't die at the end. 

(My mom ended up running it, too.  I wish I had remembered to get a picture of us after we finished, since it was Mother's Day and all. But I'm kindof an idiot sometimes).

And then it was time to go eat!  My brother, sister and I made lunch for our mama.  This was one of my contributions to the table:
oooohhh, I'm so crafty.  Too bad it tipped
upside down on the way over there.
Husband told me it was due to my
crazy driving.  I told him he wasn't holding it well enough.
We love each other.

And in case you're wondering what else we made her:

Missing from this picture is my brother's contribution
of pizza logs and Doritos.

And cupcakes.  We ate cupcakes.  How delicious do these look?!
They were from an all-natural bakery.  I could have eaten at least 5.
Oh, one last thing.  I'm pretty sure I received better gifts than any other mother on this planet.  I mean, seriously. 

A beaded necklace, a bird with pink sequins (it's a pin!) AND hand painted flower pots??!?  Wow, I must be really loved.  I hope your day was as wonderful as mine was.

Have a healthy day,


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Monday Night in Bed

Right around dinner time last night, it started raining.  No big deal, right?  I thought pretty much nothing of it, and got in the car ready to head to the gym. Monday nights are my Power Body nights, and I was ready to give my ladies a nice sweaty workout.  About half way there, I got the weirdest pain behind my right eye.  It was like an all-of-a-sudden headache on only half of my head.  Figuring that either the weather was messing with me, or that I was dehydrated; I got to the gym and chugged some water. 

Class started and my headache held on for dear life.  I was so annoyed, but kept pushing through it.  I was able to do most of it along with the members. By the time it ended, the right side of my head was still pounding, but not quite as badly.  Now I never get headaches, so this was kindof starting to freak me out. 

By the time I got home I felt so lousy that I seriously took a super hot shower and went straight to bed.  I was lying in the dark watching The Voice at 8:40. My head was killing me. 

Hello, people I'll never meet.  Can you please start dating?
 You'd be really cute together.
I really don't like taking medication for anything, and I just figured that I could fall asleep and it would be all better. The pain was SO bad that it woke me up out of a sound sleep at 11. I  was convinced at this point that I had a gigantic tumor growing on the right side of my head and could barely even pick my head off the pillow. Thank GOD it had subsided substancially by the time my alarm went off this morning.  I downed some super-strength vitamin C, popped some pills (ok, a Zicam and 2 Tylenol) and skipped happily off to work. 

So do you care about my life-altering headache?  Please?  More importantly, do you care that I might be getting a cold?  I DO.  I have a 5K to run in 5 days and anything out of the norm will really cramp my style.  (A headache, a cough, a hunger pain, a hang nail...) This is serious, people. 

On a totally different note, I went to a holistic practitioner yesterday and got a nutrition assessement done.  I'll write more about that tomorrow, but after all was said and done, she said that I am displaying a sensitivity to sugar, eggs, oats, and soy.  What??  This was totally crazy to me.  I have literally NEVER had any food issues!  Sugar is my go-to stress food, eggs are my go-to breakfast food, and soy is my new go-to choice instead of dairy. 

This doesn't mean that I'm allergic to any of these things, just that my body will respond better and I'll be closer to my optimal level of health if I stay away.  Boo. What am I gonna eat?!?!?

So that's is on my end.  I was thinking of grocery shopping later today, but since my head was exploding this morning, I didn't run. So instead of buying food for my family, I will be hitting the gym. 

Have a healthy day,


Monday, May 7, 2012

Food Lovin' Friday- Chop Salad For The Win

(Yes, I know, it's a couple of days late.  But it's here, and it's better than ever.)

 There's a little restaurant down the street from where I work, and I've recently become slightly obsessed.  How I only visited the place for the first time a couple of weeks ago is beyond me.  I'm so happy that it's now a part of my life.  It's a wonderful little salad haven.  You stand in line and can order LITERALLY any kind of salad imaginable.  There are about 5 kinds of lettuce to choose from and a million different toppings.  And then comes the most beautiful part- they dump all of your fresh healthiness out on to the counter, put the dressing right on top,  and use a giant rounded knife thing with two handles to chop it all up togther.  The result is A-MAZING. 
Go here for lunch.  You won't be sad.

So me, being the cheap financially intelligent person I am, have since become addicted to making my own versions of these delectable delights at home.  Of course, they are never *quite* the same (why is that?), but they are still good, fresh, and healthy.  Here is my version of the chop salad:

Step 1:  Chop up as many vegetables as you'd like, as small as you possibly can.  Make sure you start with lettuce.  I cut it in to thin strips, then cut those in half or thirds.  Basically, I just go crazy with the knife for a while... imagining I'm hosting my own show on the Food Network, obviously. 

Step 2:  Load it all in to a big bowl.  Add some smaller, non-chopable things on top for some added nutrients.  Think: black beans, chick peas, corn, etc. Oh wait, corn has no nutritional value.  That's ok, you can still add it in if you'd like.  It acts as a very nice splash of color.  And you want your salad to double as a fashion statement, right?

Step 3:  Add some of your favorite dressing, and WAKE up those tastebuds!  And there you have it... a gorgeous chop salad.  Bon Appetit! 

Have a healthy day,


PS- Hey salad lovers: leave me a comment and tell me what you put in your salads.  Not only am I  always looking for new combo ideas, but it is Farmer's Market season, and I would love some inspiration! 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Running at Night

Imagine this, at night.  Not cool, Creepy Guy.

When I was in college, I used to make really good decisions. (Didn't we all?)  One such decision was to binge drink at my friend's apartment and then walk by ourselves to the nearest bar.  We're not exactly talking a couple of college-town blocks.  Instead, we're actually talking a few long blocks of city streets that were poorly lit.  I was so smart. 

One night, my girlfriend and I were walking as usual, (inappropriately dressed for the weather no doubt) when all of a sudden a total creeper JUMPED out of a hedge of bushes at us.  No, this was not a fellow college kid trying to be funny. This was an old man who was trying to scare the crap out of a couple of drunk girls. I'm actually not sure if he was old or not because I'm not actually sure that I truly looked at him.  I am pretty sure my friend told me he tried to grab her boob before he ran away.  Again, I'm not positive of this, and I may be making it up to make the story better; I honestly can't remember.  (Erin, do you remember this?????)

We were so cool in college. 

The other night, I got the boys to bed on time for once, and it was still pretty light out.  Since I had been lazy it had been raining that morning, I decided to lace up the sneaks and head out.  By the time I got just about a mile away from home, it started to get dark.  (No need for concern- my old age has taught me how to stay on either main roads or ones with superb street lighting). Just as I turned the corner to head on to a side street, I realized that the first house I had to pass had an entire (huge) yard lined with neatly trimmed bushes.  Instantly, the previous story jumped in to my head. And that is so weird because I literally haven't though about that story since it happened- 10 years ago!

Someone was obviously about to jump out and grab me, so I ran faster.  And then I decided I just really wanted to be home watching reality TV. So I kept my new pace.  By the time I could no longer breathe and sweat was soaking through all three shirts I was wearing, my driveway was in sight.  Not only had I made it, but I PR'd it! 

The moral of the story:  If you want to run your fastest, put yourself in a potentially unsafe situation and then visualize the scariest thing EVER happening to you.  You'll be done in no time. 

Have a healthy day,


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Getting Started (A Guest Post)

My intention is to start a blog to help motivate myself and hold myself accountable.  In order to do so, I feel that I owe my readers an explanation. Here it is…

Long story short, I was an extremely active teenager (playing soccer 24/7) with terrible eating habits who turned into a moderately active adult with terrible eating habits and a slowing metabolism… HELLO!

I slowly and steadily put on weight. I eventually crept up to 212 pounds!  As side note, I always vowed I wouldn’t tell anyone that, and here I am posting it up on the Internet… Crazy, but I hope that I can help motivate others, because you never know if there is another moderately active 5’5” adult weighing 212lbs who is looking to make a positive change. 

My real journey started about two years ago. I saw this picture of myself:

I was almost unrecognizable. Immediately my eyes filled with tears and I thought: who is this person?! Initially, after the sting of the photo dissipated, I went into denial, it must have been a bad photo, and I couldn’t possibly look like the stay puff marshmallow man had interjected fluff into my face could I?

Then another photo surfaced, and I knew something had to change.

Soon after I decided it was time to shed some weight, I was diagnosed by OBGYN with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). This is a syndrome that affects women to varying degrees in ways of weight gain/inability to lose weight, acne, and infertility. Sounds like a trifecta right! So I had a tough road ahead of me.

I worked out on an off since I graduated high school with one of my best friends. Katie and I always support each other and she has been a big part of my journey (as have all my other family, friends and of course my Hubby!). So when it came time to pick a new gym I was eager to start at the GOLDS GYM of Webster with her. Working out was the easy part, I had always been an athlete and my muscle memory was good. Dieting had been the hardest part, but I forced myself to put down the Mountain Dew and pick up the water.

The weight came off painfully slow at first, but I persisted. I had lost 6-8lbs my first 3 months. Eventually I joined weight watchers, and that helped a lot. Working out made me feel so good.  So I never gave up and here I stand 2 years later and more than 40lbs lighter. I saw 169 for the first time since I was 21. I am proud of myself but I want to push myself further. I am challenging myself to forever change my eating habits.

I downloaded Tosca Reno’s Eating Clean Diet Recharged to my kindle and I am intrigued. I am going to give it a try for 6 weeks while also watching my carb intake. I am not going to cut them out completely because I do need them for mental clarity and energy. Bikini body here I come!

Here is a picture of me from St. Patty’s day this year (2012)!

Be sure to check out Jessica's brand new blog, What Do You Mean Low Carb??  Thanks for the post, Jess!