Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend of Debauchery

We had a whirlwind of a weekend! I will attempt to recap, mostly in pictures* because I am tired...and really, they say it all.

On Saturday morning, after my running club meeting (sneak preview: I loved it!) we hopped in the car (ok, I showered first) and drove 3 1/2 hours north to pick up our boys, and then drove another 4 hours east. Destination? Shreveport, Louisiana - home of casinos. Our youngest son, Max, turned 21 last weekend, and Jeff has been itching to take the boys gambling. Since Las Vegas was not only a little (read: a lot) out of our budget, but also too far away considering that the boys have school on Monday, Shreveport was our destination.

First things first - our traditional stop at the Starbucks in Waco. I fueled up with a grande black coffee and a black cherry parfait, which was the perfect lunch, at only 310 calories. Yum.
Love me some Starbucks coffee!

Now, whenever I go on a road trip, I think of food...this goes back to the days when Jeff and I traveled from our home in southern California to visit my parents in northern was a huge distraction on that seven hour drive...mostly strawberry milkshakes from Jack in the Box and candy bought at the gas stations. As I knew I would get into that mindset, I preempted my potential horrible choices with some not-so-awful-yet-still-indulgent-snacks like a bag of pretzel sticks, a jar of dry-roasted peanuts, some beef jerky, Twizzlers, some raspberry gummy candy - oh, and some Mentos. I shared, of was fun and bad and good - and as I never do things like this anymore, I really didn't feel too guilty about it.

We drove and drove and, no matter which direction you go, it just takes a long time to get out of Texas! Finally we made it to Louisiana - the bilingual state!
Yes, we were the dorks who pulled over to pose under the sign!
Dorks, take two!

We quickly checked into our hotel room (free, thanks to Jeff's frequent traveler status at La Quinta) and hit the Horseshoe casino. It was interesting - they ID you as you enter the casino. Fine - I got in line. Then the bouncer-guy waved me through...sigh. Guess I don't look as young as I feel, lol!

We tried the nickel slots first, where I quickly won my first jackpot!
Looks impressive, no? I think the payout was something like $4, haha!

Then Max discovered that they will bring you drinks FOR FREE - he ordered a beer.
Corrupting my newly-legal son with gambling and alcohol!

As we didn't really bring very much money to blow, we were pretty conservative - just had fun mostly with the nickel and quarter slots, although Sam tried his luck at the dollar slots and won a $40 jackpot!

After a while, we left the casino in hunt for a late dinner - it was dark, we didn't know our way around and ended up at Posados in Bossier City, which advertised itself with a huge neon sign that said "Fine Mexican Food." It was not. I hate putting sub-par food into my mouth, but it was late and we were hungry. Oh well.

Back to the casinos for a couple more hours, where I have to note that blergh, being around all of that second-hand smoke was gross.

Max and Jeff went off to play some video blackjack, while Sam and I stayed with the slot machines. We were getting pretty tired, and I had seven dollars left of my gambling money, so I decided to play it on the dollar slots - and I chose the Tabasco machine, thinking of my friend Biz. I played my first pull - won $5. Then played again and again...lost, lost, lost. Really, I was just playing that money down to zero so we could go find Max and Jeff and go back to the hotel. I was back down to $7 when that pull hit something and the numbers started adding up...and kept adding. It got to $100 and Sam and I kept saying holy sh*t, holy sh*t...and still, it kept adding!!! Sam texted "OMG OMG OMG to Jeff and Max and they came are not going to believe what I won:

I still can't figure out how that combination added up to $500, but you KNOW I'm not complaining!!!

The funny thing is that all night long, every time someone would win big, I kept saying "You're going to buy me a netbook with those winnings, right?" - well guess what? I am finally going to get myself a netbook!!! Wow. I have never, ever, ever won anything remotely like that...what a thrilling end to the evening!

The next morning, we hit up the Starbucks in Bossier City for breakfast before hitting the road.
My boys (Sam on the left, Max on the right) with their carmel mocha fraps - as Max said, a "pinky-out" type of frou-frou drink!Sam doing what we all did for most of this trip - laughing! We have a good time when we all get together!

One of the best parts of this trip was being able to spend so much time with the boys. I hadn't seen them since May, and recently realized that they started back to school on Thursday with absolutely no help from me. No buying of school supplies or clothes, no nagging asking about classes registered, no reminding about ordering books...nothing. And you know what? They did just fine. Sniff. They are independent adults, which I know as a parent, this is what we all strive for, but still...between them not coming home at all during the summer, and now this - it was a bit of a shock how suddenly I was done with that part of parenting. So this was a nice bonding trip - yes, I think we spent most of our time together in the car, but it was great fun. And now I need a nap. And to wash my stinky cigarette-smelling clothes. Oh, and to order my netbook - woohoo!

*I did not know this at the time, but apparently it is a no-no to take pictures in the casino. Obviously I never got caught...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Mishmash

Thanks for all of the support regarding my decision to stop my workouts - it was not an easy one to make and I certainly agonized over it for quite a while. Based on how freakin' sore I was on Thursday and still today, I'm doubly certain that I have made the right choice...I couldn't have run yesterday or today very well, and that is not good for someone who is supposed to be training for a half marathon!


Am I the only one who forgets about certain foods? Back when my kids were younger, I used to keep a list of meals on hand so I'd remember to cook them...otherwise, it might be years before I'd think about making something. The other day I had some zucchini in the fridge and remembered about the zucchini "pasta" that Biz makes - boy this is good! Zucchini peeled with my julienne peeler, steamed for about a minute, and tossed with salt, pepper and some Parmesan cheese - yum!
This entire bowl probably has 50 calories total, and most of it comes from the cheese!


It's official - I have completely lost my mind when it comes to the latest round of songs that I downloaded from iTunes. I blame Sirius radio - mostly the 70's station. While driving around, I keep hearing songs that I used to love, and if I can remember what they were long enough, when I get home I hit up iTunes. Funny thing - I am still working off of gift cards that my boys gave me about two years ago...those 99 cent downloads take quite a while to use up! I've made a new running playlist that really gets me going:
  1. Bandstand Boogie - Barry Manilow
  2. That Thing You Do! - from the movie
  3. Sin Wagon - Dixie Chicks (ok, not from the '70s but fast)
  4. Buddy Holly - Weezer
  5. My Life Would Suck Without You - Glee cast
  6. Say Hey (I Love You) - Michael Franti
  7. White Trash Wedding - Dixie Chicks (can you tell I uploaded my Dixie Chicks CD's?)
  8. Hair - The Cowsills
  9. Wedding Bell Blues - The Fifth Dimension
  10. Please Mr. Postman - The Carpenters
  11. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do - Neil Sedaka
  12. Laughter in the Rain - Neil Sedaka
  13. Smile - Uncle Kracker
  14. Long Time Gone - Dixie Chicks
What gets you moving? Any older songs that I'm missing?


Pretty and pink!

I been eating a lot of watermelon lately, and at the suggestion of Laurie, I tried freezing some pieces and then blending them with water to make a homemade Jamba Juice-type drink. OK, first try was in my little pseudo-Magic Bullet blender (that I got free from my bank for opening a checking account - how funny, they've replaced the toaster with a smoothie maker!). The chunks of watermelon jammed the blade, so I opened it up and dumped everything into my big blender and set it to blend. And almost immediately noticed blue bits being blended with the fruit - oops! I realized that the blue rubber ring that helps to seal my little blender had fallen into the big blender and was being chopped (quite nicely, I might add) to pieces. I fished out what I could find with my now frozen fingers, and then poured my drink. It was good, but I'll probably stick to just eating the watermelon fresh and leave the smoothie making to Jamba Juice. FYI, three more little blue ring bits came up through the straw...apparently I should not be allowed near certain kitchen appliances!


And in a bit of caveat interviewer, I'm in another issue of Woman's World. But I'm not as thrilled this time, as I only said the last sentence...everything else that looks like it came from me did not.
For the record, I have high arches, and wouldn't promote a shoe based on its performance for flat feet - how would I know anything about that? I realize that there is always a bit of a trust issue when it comes to being interviewed, but in this case it was via email, so it's pretty clear what I said. In case you're curious, this is what I wrote:
"The best sneakers for stability are Brooks Addictions - when I first started running, I had my feet measured and analyzed at a running store and these shoes were chosen for me. I now have several hundred miles on them, and have never had so much as a blister or any kind of foot pain while wearing my wonderful Brooks!"
I was just going to file this one under "live and learn" - really, there was no harm done and I'm sure the reporter's intent was good, but in an act that is extremely foreign to me, I actually emailed the reporter with my concerns. And get this - she was contrite and apologized...I was so surprised, simply because I never very rarely confront anyone when something is bothering me. But I only fretted about it for a day before sending the email, which, if you knew me, shows real growth. So huh. I really did "live and learn" - wow!


Fashion Friday - and I have to say that I loved my outfit! From the shoes (LOVE) to the Merona Fit skirt (LOVE) to the Ann Taylor Loft shirt (LOVE LOVE LOVE), I was very happy with every aspect of it! I especially love how long my legs look when I wear these platform wedge shoes - as a vertically-challenged person, it just amazes me how a bit of a heel can change the look of my legs so much!
Feeling good in this outfit!Close up of the neckline on the shirt...and the belt that worked as a great "diet" reminder all day - by being tight on my waist, I kept thinking I had eaten too much and wasn't tempted to snack, lol!
True confession time: I succumbed to advertising and tried Almay's "anti-aging" makeup - it's their Smart Shade line, which changes from white to your skin tone when you put it on. I have to say that I really like it and notice a difference - my skin looks a lot smoother. The wrinkles are still there, but hey, this is what 47 looks like. I also bought their Smart Shade blush, and their eye shadow trio for blue eyes. Thanks to Ulta's $3.50 coupon and a "buy two, get one free" I didn't blow a lot of money to entertain myself...I'm definitely having fun being a girly girl!

Alright everybody, hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update

Breaking news! We interrupt this edition of Wednesday Workout Update with the news that Shelley ran IN THE DARK! Scary shadows and all! Proof of said run is below:
See? It's STILL dark!

Two miles at 5:45 am - and pretty quick miles at that - 11:28 and 11:21! This is what happens when you wake up at 4:00 am and can't go back to sleep...might as well try running before the crack of dawn!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled update...

Sunday: I went for an easy two mile run - the weather was actually pretty nice - only 78 degrees! Of course, this was at 6:30 am, but still - I'll take it. I know my mileage has dropped quite a bit lately, but I will be ramping it back up beginning on Saturday, which is when I will start my half marathon training. More on that later.

Monday: Ugh. Deck of cards workout in cardio...that lasted for 45 minutes. Deck of cards is where each suit is assigned an exercise, like hearts = burpees, spades = mountain climbers, clubs = push ups and diamonds = jump squats. So if you pull a 10 of hearts, you do 10 burpees. It's a fast moving, killer workout that seemed to go on forever. Eventually we talked Cameron (who was filling in for Brad and Linda - they were both busy getting their kids to class for the first day of school) into letting us move on to the machines. He gave me boxing gloves and had me practice my rhythm with my punches, since I had just informed him that I had no sense of rhythm. Guess he likes a was fun and I like punching the bag, but fifteen minutes of that left my arms like limp noodles.

Tuesday: Life is getting back to normal - Jenny and I ran together once again!!! We are starting to kick up our half marathon training...November 20th will be here before we know it. We ran for two miles and then spent about a third of a mile doing sprints from light post to light post. Dang, those sprints really take it out of you! But it felt good to get out there...and beginning next week, we are going to run together twice a week. I'm excited to see our progression!

Wednesday: Filthy Fifty "lite" in the gym (Brad thinks it's a light workout when we don't have burpees, haha). Somehow the only time recorded was Jenny's from almost a year ago - don't know what happened to mine...probably it was so bad that Brad took pity on me and didn't write it down. So, Jenny improved her time by nearly 10 minutes - go Jenny! Ashley improved on Jenny's time by five or six minutes. Me? I improved on her time by a Then for our cardio (which believe me, I had already gotten my heart rate up during the gym time), Linda had us outside doing a circuit of box jumps (step ups for me, as it was the 18" box), jump rope (which I am happy to report that I did really well, finally!), tricep dips, push ups, kettlebell swings and tire flips. I will tell you that when I drove up and saw the tire and the box jump outside, I very nearly put my car in reverse and drove away! I just was not wanting to work that hard today. So you may understand what I'm about to write...

Galveston Seawall Half Marathon training update: Beginning next week, I'm going to change things up quite a bit with my exercise. I need to get serious about my half marathon training. I've joined a running club and I am really excited about that. We will meet on Saturday mornings for a long run, and have a schedule to follow for shorter runs during the week. This coming Saturday is our first meeting - apparently we will run three miles to determine our pace groups. I can't tell you how happy I am to have this opportunity to run with people - I always do better when I run with someone, proving that for me, running is as much of a mental process as it is physical.

And after a lot of thought, discussion, emails (several of you have given me your advice and I really appreciate it), I'm going to stop going to my workout group for a while. There are several reasons:
  1. I need to put my energy toward running right now;
  2. Working out as hard as we do leaves me with very little reserves left for doing anything else, such as running;
  3. Although I've loved my trainers, my group and how my body has changed, I'm a little burnt out. It's been nearly two years of really intense workouts and I'm ready for a break.
When I realized that I was dreading going more often than not, that's when I knew it was time to make a change. So, I'll taper off during the next week or so, and come up with some routine that I can do at home to hopefully keep my arms and upper body in shape. Not worried about my legs as I know the running will take care of that. Right now my plan is to go back in January. I'll miss my workout peeps and all the fun we have, and of course Brad and Linda, but I know I'll still see them at races this Fall and Linda and I can still meet up for frozen yogurt once she's done with Brad's 40-Day No Sugar Challenge (lol, we all know I could NOT do this one - no Red Mango for 40 days?!? Not possible.). So that's it - changes are a brewin' and I'm excited to see what this next phase of my journey (to fit!) will bring.

Monday, August 23, 2010

When Nothing Else Fits, Buy Earrings...

Just a small sampling of what I own...

As I was getting dressed the other day, I realized that it had been a while since I've bought new earrings. Now, that might not be strange for you, but for me? That was a revelation. You see, when you go shopping with somebody else and there is nothing in the store that will fit your ample-sized body, earrings always do. I know some people go for shoes, but not every store carries shoes along with clothing. Accessories, yes. And as we all know, even necklaces can be too small. But earrings? They always fit. And me, being a jewelry fiend from childhood, embraced the earring idea - I loved (and still do) coordinating earrings to my outfits. Now, could it be that I've stopped buying them because I have so many? Perhaps, but that's never stopped me before. Maybe it's because I can actually buy clothes alongside my friends and family now. Maybe I have different things to buy now - like clothes! And workout gear! And running socks! So strange how my focus has changed...or rather, expanded. Yes, I like that. It's expanded from a couple of racks of earrings in a store to the entire store now. And that's pretty cool.

Now, this wouldn't be a true Shelley post without letting you delve into the way my mind works and the train of thought that took me here. So hang on - it's a crazy ride inside my brain!

Scene 1: I'm in my closet, picking out what I'll wear for the day - including jewelry. No true outfit of mine is complete without earrings, a necklace, my standard three silver cuff bracelets, and a couple of rings. occurs to me that I haven't bought any new earrings in a long time - and I even came home from California without a new pair, which never happens! Go to take shower (which is where all my best writing ideas come - ironic, since it's pretty hard to write anything down there) and I remember how long I had to wait to get my ears pierced...

I wasn't allowed to pierce my ears until I was 18. Reasons given? A) Bad girls pierced their ears; and B) in a fight, girls would try and rip the earrings from your ears, tearing your earlobes and permanently disfiguring you. Which made sense because I was ALWAYS getting into fights when I was in school. Yep, you just thought I was a nice person. Seriously??? The only person I ever fought was Rita and that was when we were kids and she tried to steal my Barbie clothes...NO BODY messes with my Barbies, yo. But I digress.
Two hours later: OK, I really digressed (or is that regressed?) because I went and dug my Barbies out of their box in the closet, dressed them, and posed them for this picture. Left to right: Skipper, who has that awesome wired hair so you can curl it; poor Barbie that I tried to give a Dorothy Hamill haircut to; Francie (my favorite - I always thought she was the prettiest); and Malibu Barbie, who apparently I gave a haircut to as well - I just couldn't not mess with these girls! If you look close, you will see everyone except for Skipper (because she was under 18, duh!) sporting earrings. Not just any earrings, mind you, but my homemade, invented earrings - I took matching colors of my mother's sewing pins, clipped them short with the nail clippers (um, sorry dad, for permanently indenting them) and bingo bango, at least my Barbies had pierced ears! I have to note that missing in action is Talking PJ, who suffered an unfortunate broken leg as a result of her acrobatic stunt off of next-door-neighbor Peggy's swingset. Poor PJ.

Scene 2: I had an adopted grandma, Arbu (full name: Arbutus Marguerite Green - don't you just love that?!? They don't name 'em like that anymore). Anyway, I met Arbu when I was young and we used to visit her (me, my mom and my grandmother - she was a lifelong friend of my grandmother). Her house was full of interesting things that I loved to look at, and Arbu was always willing to tell me the stories behind them. For example, see this? It's a hair holder. That's right, back in the olden days, after you brushed your hair, you were supposed to remove the hair from the brush and deposit it through the little hole into the container. I guess they didn't have a plethora of trash cans like we do now? Anyway, she had a hair holder and also another container, both with her initials imprinted on them. And obviously I have them now - Arbu was very generous in giving me her treasures (I also wore her cameo necklace on my wedding day).

Scene 2A: Once when my cousin Jill was visiting, she asked "when are we going to see Yourbu?" - her literal interpretation of Arbu's name still makes me giggle to this day. Jill is five years younger than me, so to be fair, she was pretty little when she said that.

Scene 3: Shortly after I turned 18, Arbu was visiting and slipped me a twenty-dollar bill with the instructions to "go get your ears pierced" - no need to tell me twice! I picked up Barbara and we were off to the mall, where I soon had two new holes in my head!

Scene 3A: A year later, my family and our sailing club went to Hawaii. We took Arbu with us, and, as the drinking age there was 18 (as opposed to 21 in California), she slipped this 19-year-old a ten-spot to go buy her some beer...Miller High Life, as I recall. That was fun, drinking a (legal) beer with Arbu - she was a hoot!
Arbu - Hawaii 1982

Scene 4: A couple of years later, I came home from college to find my mother had pierced her ears! And so did my grandmother! I started a trend, lol.

Now wait...where was I going with this post? Oh yeah. Things other than earrings for $100, Alex. Oh man, here I go again...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Mishmash

I want to thank those of you who left comments on Monday's post - it's so interesting for me to see how differently, and yet, really, how similar we all are when it comes to the way we look at food. I know I will be going back to read these again and again for reassurance. If you haven't had a chance to read the comments, please do - a treasure trove of great thoughts awaits!


Lately we have been buying a watermelon every weekend. Guess what we discovered? Somebody loves watermelon as much as we do...
C'mon, dad...cut me a piece!Waiting patiently...although you should see Paco when the watermelon is sitting, uncut, on the counter - he keeps standing up and sniffing it, and then tries to herd us into the kitchen to give him his share!


I was looking at some old pictures the other day and noticed something in this one - you may have to click on it to really see, but look at the area on my arm where the red circle you see it??? A tricep muscle! Dang - I had muscles way back when! And it only took me 35 years to get them back, lol!
Me, my brother (facing camera) and two boys whose names I can't remember. Judging by the fact that I am hanging out with my little brother and his friends, and the mast and other boat parts are still on the grass, we had probably just arrived at Vasona and obviously Matt's family hadn't gotten there yet. You know I would have ditched the little kids as soon as my sailing club buddy arrived!


Now for a new, sometimes-recurring feature on the Friday Mishmash - I give you Things That Are Just Wrong.

First up: Dogs with human teeth. No. I can barely stand to look at this picture. And yet I can't not look.

Next up: baby corn. Not only is it wrong, it just ain't right.
Creeps me out, big time!


This week's Fashion Friday begins with what I wore last Friday to work - it had been an incredibly hot week, and the A/C in our building wasn't freezing me out like it normally does. Hence the easy, breezy dress. As soon as I realized that my toes matched the dress, I went with that and did a tri-color extravaganza of blue, white and silver (some days I entertain myself waaay too much in choosing what I wear!).
My bargain $6 dress from Kohls was paired with a white cami, last year's bargain $7 white and silver sandals from Steinmart, and for jewelry, an old beaded necklace that belonged to my Grandmother - I just twisted it and doubled it up for a shorter length. Earrings were a cute pair of silver and blue dangles that I got years ago at Avenue for $2 - proving that you don't have to spend a lot to look decent. I *do* loves me a good bargain!
Close up of necklace, earrings and long hair (ooh, foreshadowing!).

Next we have one of my standard outfits - Bermuda shorts and patterned t-shirt (better to hide the belly with, m'dear!). I'm including this one for comparison...I think there is a big difference in how my legs look with this length of shorts vs. the capris I wore in the next set of pictures.
Note my matchy-matchy silver sandals that go with the silver foiling on the shirt, and of course the silver jewelry!

Finally, me in capris. I think my legs look rather dumpy in this length, and I'll try harder next year to add more colors of Bermudas to my wardrobe. (You'd think that since it is August and so!freaking!hot! here in Texas I could buy more shorts, but you'd be mistaken. Sad but true.)
What IS cool about this outfit is that I can easily button the jacket - I bought it last year and while it fit I got it on, it fits much better now. Paired with black capris and my cute pink ruffled tank from Loft.Jacket open, which is how I really wore it. But it was fun to button it for the picture! Didja notice I got a hair cut? Half an inch was taken off. LOL. I love my hairdresser, but this was way more than half an inch. She doesn't like my hair being longer than my face now that that it's "so thin" (her words) so she tends cut it shorter to balance everything out. Makes it hard to put in a pony tail for running, but oh well, it grows fast.

Have a great weekend, everybody!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update

Sunday: I virtually ran with Helen this morning - that was fun, knowing that she was out there suffering running at the same time as I was! Actually, my run wasn't bad - I think I'm getting used to the heat (80 degrees at 6:48 am) and humidity (82%). I successfully ran 2.68 miles (ok Lori, Syl and Fran - I got the message and have taken the F(ailure) word out of my vocabulary).

The funny thing about my run today? It was like I was in Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom! First, just as I was approaching the area where I saw the two deer last week, a pretty big deer (doe? doh!) ran out of the field just ahead of me, spotted me, and ran back into the field! Then when I was on the other, more wooded side of the park, a jackrabbit came blasting across my path - I nearly tripped over him! I glanced in the direction he was running from to see a young coyote, who obviously had been chasing him - the coyote saw me and turned back toward the trees. So you're welcome, Mr. Jackrabbit - I have a feeling that the coyote would have kept after you had it not been for me. Just call me Shelley Perkins - and yes, you'll have to be pretty old to get these references!

Monday: Fight Gone Bad in the gym - one minute each of circus ring pull ups, burpees (ptooey!), crunches, Beyonces (glute work using the Swiss ball) and 95 lb. deadlifts. We kept adding to our count, so at the end of round one I was at 98; round two, 103; round three, 105. I think that is a first for me, that I kept on improving my count - usually by round three I'm back down to where I started. Linda was out of town, so Brad had us for cardio as well - we did the exercise version of the Wave (yes, that thing you see during sporting events) - on machines. One person would start going ninety-to-nothing for thirty seconds, then the person on the next machine would take over, and so on. If you weren't "on" you were going about half speed. I did the Wave on both the spinner bike and the elliptical. It was tougher than it sounds - especially on the elliptical!

Tuesday: Jenny and I had our first run since before I left for my vacation all planned out - a nice, leisurely run where we could finally chat and catch up on everything, ending up at Smoothie King. Unfortunately, some jerks decided to break into her vehicle overnight by smashing a window, which she discovered as she went to her car to meet me for our run. I swear, between this incident and the thieves that stole Lori's bikes while she and her husband were on vacation, I have had it with criminals. Jerks!!! So obviously our run was off, as she had to deal with calling the police, etc. Not a fun way to start your morning, and I'm so sorry this happened, Jenny.

Since I was all ready to run, I just went out in my neighborhood. Got about a quarter mile into it and realized that I didn't have my music - which is fine when I run with someone, but by myself? I need the distraction. So I ran back home, strapped up the iTouch in my arm band and set off again. Two sweaty miles later I was done. I tried to take a picture of the new fashion style my sweat manages to create on my shirts - a horizontal dark stripe across the middle (but not the top, as my sports bra absorbs the sweat there), but it didn't show up all that well. What can I say, it's the little things that entertain me!
Red faced and sweaty with a stripe across my belly - yes I am *quite* the fashion plate after a run!

Wednesday: I really, really enjoyed my workout today. Which is surprising because I have not had the greatest attitude toward them lately and have been seriously considering making some changes. But today was really good. Linda had Ashley and I doing all sorts of things on the spinner bikes (mudding, up up down downs, speed, etc.) while Jenny rocked out 1200 strides on the elliptical. Then Ashley and I tag-teamed the elliptical for 2400 strides - one of us was on the rower while the other was on the elliptical. I have to say that I am finally getting the cadence of the elliptical down - it sure took me long enough, but coordination has never been a strong suit for me, lol!

In the gym, Brad let us "pick our poison" - an either/or for each set of muscles that was targeted. I ended up choosing barbell squats with 105 lbs., skull crushers, chest press, tube curls and 100 crunches on the wobble ball...and boy did that thing make me engage every part of my abdomen! It was hard but I really enjoyed it and felt very strong and accomplished when I was done. Funny how one good workout can really change my attitude - of course, this puts me into even more of a quandary as to what to do regarding my workouts and training for my upcoming half marathon...sigh. Why can't life ever be simple?!?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Food is Food...or IS it?

Alternate title: Are All Foods Created Equal?

My answer to both questions is of course not. But an email exchange I had with Janell (POD) over something I wrote in Friday's Mishmash got me thinking.

Janell commented with "Why is this statement below considered "going off the deep end?"

"Oikos Chocolate yogurt AND a couple of Dove dark chocolate Promises every evening? It's less than 200 calories total,..."

The only "going off the deep end " I see is your judging what you are eating because it's chocolate (less than 200 calories?) What makes the pecans, chicken, & gorgonzola not a deep end?

I thought about that and emailed her back with "You make a good point about the chocolate vs. other food. I guess I have been a little lax in eating too many calories, total, for the day - I think I need to go back to being a little more careful about everything I put into my mouth."

And she responded with "I couldn't understand why you were so down on yourself for the yogurt and small chocolates when all that other food was going into your gullet too. Why do we beat up on ourselves for chocolate when that's such a pleasure? I would have loved to see you beating yourself up over eating the lettuce in the salad. (makes about as much sense)"

As I navigate this strange place I'm in - mostly maintenance, although every once in a while I manage to lose a pound or two, I'm still trying to figure out what is "normal" for me to be eating. I have most definitely let go on how regimented I was with my diet, and I think that was a necessary, good thing. I do believe that I can have tastes and treats every once in a while, but I don't want to start that five or ten pound swing that a lot of losers (and of course I say that with total affection, being one of them) get on. (Of course, to really know that I would need to weigh myself on a more regular basis, and I've let go of that as well, as I was getting a little *too* focused on the number on the scale, which is NOT a good thing for me).

So what's the deal? What do YOU, my wise readers, think? Is there a point where you let go on certain foods, or are you equally stringent when it comes to everything you eat?

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday Mishmash - and Scape Winner!

The winner of the Scape sunscreen and lip balm is:

Congratulations! Email me your mailing address and I'll get your package in the mail next week!


As I mentioned in my WWU, I'm working all week - filling in for my co-worker who is on vacation who filled in for me when I was on vacation. Whew, that was quite the sentence...haha, get it? I crack myself up sometimes. Anyway, I'm not used to this. And I've resorted to bribery to keep me happy, as evidenced by where I took myself for lunch on Wednesday:

Red Mango! I sat outside in the shade, and even though it was about a gazillion degrees, the heat felt good combined with the coolness of the frozen yogurt. Now, I know I shouldn't be bribing myself with food, but sometimes it's still necessary. And at least it wasn't Cold Stone - baby steps, right?


Speaking of food, nothing made me happier last weekend than to open my (working, hurray!) fridge to see all of this:

Tons of fresh fruit, veggies all sliced and ready for big salad dinners (two nights), all the healthy fixin's to keep me on the right track. It's a little work to get everything (especially the watermelon) cut and put into plastic containers, but being able to just reach in and grab some fruit or veggies when hunger strikes is totally worth it.

That said, I have been doing some stress eating this week - not horrible, calorie-wise - but do I really need to have an Oikos Chocolate yogurt AND a couple of Dove dark chocolate Promises every evening? It's less than 200 calories total, but just the fact that I'm going a bit off the deep end makes me realize that I'm not cured of my food issues. Need to get a grip, and soon!


Hey, did you know that my picture is on the box of Special K cereal? Well, at least it's on one box, anyway...

I woke to find this in my friend Matt had replaced fitness expert Jessica Smith with me - I love it!


As Jeff has been in town this week, we had return of the big salads for dinner - I will admit to getting pretty lazy about getting my veggies in when I'm just cooking for me (I usually end up having cereal and fruit or yogurt and fruit for dinner). This one was a beauty:

Romaine, cucumber, radishes, mushrooms, avocado, toasted pecans, Gorgonzola, raspberries and sliced chicken breast, topped with Newman's Own Lite Balsamic Vinaigrette. Really tasty, although the raspberries got a little lost - I guess they were too delicate for the rest of the strong flavors.

Another easy and oh-so-good dinner I made was my *gourmet* scrambled eggs - I fancied them up with sauteed mushrooms, fresh baby spinach, feta cheese and a liberal sprinkling of Frank's Hot Sauce. Hmmm, I just realized that I eat a lot of breakfast foods for dinner. Is that weird?
Served with a beautiful (and actually tasty) Roma tomato and a Thomas multi-grain English muffin. Deeeelicious!


Look at these flowers that were growing in front of a restaurant in Capitola (yes I am still getting mileage from my vacation, lol) - I pay good money (well, not very often, but I HAVE bought them) to get these from my local florist Sam's Club, and there they were, just growing right where I could have picked them!

Alstroemeria - gorgeous!

Also, check out the cool thunderheads that formed Wednesday evening - I snapped this picture when I got home from work:

Unfortunately, we only got a little bit of rain, but it did bring the temperatures down to the mid 80's - woohoo!


And now it's time for Fashion Friday - and boy are you in for a treat, as I have several outfits since I worked all week (have I mentioned that already? are you feeling as sorry for me as I am? LOL). Ok, enough complaining...on with the show:

Monday: This picture cracks me up because I had no idea Paco snuck in the shot...and he even was looking at the camera! I'm wearing capris that I took from Barbara's "too big" pile of clothes - what's funny is that she bought them last summer when she was visiting me, and was all excited because they were size 6. Now they are too big for her, but I'm all "ooh, a size 6!" My top is from TJ Ross (either TJ Maxx or Ross, can't remember) and the shoes are these cute black with silver accent cork flip flops - a little uncomfortable by the end of the day, but oh well. My hair - geez, I should have looked at these pictures earlier in the week - I just pulled it back in a clip after I washed it. Really looks pretty bad now that I see it like this. May have to rethink the whole "hippie hair" style.Trying a pensive pose - think I just look goofy instead.
Tuesday: Wearing my new white denim jacket! I LOVE this jacket so much! Unfortunately, it was over 100 degrees, so it didn't stay on for long.I officially have my high school neck back - this coral necklace finally fits again! And yes, I have had it since I was in high school - real coral - I wore it a lot. So glad I can wear it now.
Wednesday: Ha! Paco the sneaky dog strikes again! Wearing my denim capris and my size small favorite shirt. Was having a really good hair day but you can't tell from the picture...but once I saw Paco in it, I knew this was the one to post.
Thursday: Flowy top that I wore a while ago with dark pants. Not sure it looks as good with Bermudas - plus I can't shake the fat feeling I have while wearing it. Breezy and comfortable, though. Once again, Paco snuck into the picture! Oh, and eagle eyes might notice that I wore the same style sandals three days in a row, although a different color on Tuesday. What can I say - I fall into fashion ruts pretty easily!

Alright, that's it for this week's mishmash...have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wednesday Workout Update

Sunday: In order to stop feeling like a failure when I don't reach five miles, I set out to only run three this morning. Guess who was a semi-failure on that? Gah. It's just so hot...I ran around the soccer fields first, before the sun had risen above the trees, and then spent the rest of the time running on the side of the park that is mostly covered by trees and therefore, shady. It was still hard - it was 79 degrees with 82% humidity, and that is tough to slog through. By myself. I tried to conjure up several running buddies in my head, but they were all sleeping, apparently (slackers!). I also have been running way too fast - my first mile was 11:16, which is not a pace I can maintain for long in this heat. Sure enough, I took about a 30 second break at 1.5 miles, finished mile two at 11:31 pace, took another break at 2.35 miles, and finally finished mile three at 12:53. It is really hard to slow myself down unless I'm talking out loud to someone - then I have to or else I will run out of air completely. How do runners maintain a slow pace on their own? Is there some trick I haven't discovered? If so, please enlighten me!

Monday: It was the Fantastic Four - Jenny, Kathleen, Ashley and myself - I like it when it's just us in our group because we all work so well together. As usual, Brad outdid himself in coming up with our gym workout. Team Jelly had to do five minute sets of wall sits, scissor lunges and these crazy box jumps where we had to jump onto the shorter box, jump off, then jump onto the higher box (in my case step up because I can't jump that high), jump/step off, and reverse. We could tag each other out when we fatigued, although it wasn't easy going from a wall sit to a box jump and vice-versa. Then we did some more sets, although these were sets of 100 total - everything targeted the legs. After that, cardio with Linda - we did a countdown workout, where we started having to hit 100 calories on a machine (I had treadmill), then do 100 squats, then 75 calories (elliptical), then 75 butterfly sit ups (since I'm not doing those due to my still sore tailbone I got to do 150 regular Swiss ball crunches). Our time was up by then, so we never made it down to 25...but I bet I know what we're doing on Wednesday!

Tuesday: I'd like to say that I got up and ran, but I cannot tell a lie. I'm working full-time this week, Monday through Saturday (well, Saturday is only four hours). What can I say - vacation payback is a b*tch! As you can probably tell by my lack of comments on y'all's blogs, I haven't had time for anything, so I chose to read some blogs instead of doing a short run before work today. Next week I will be back to a more normal schedule, and Jenny and I will be running for sure!

Wednesday: Back.on.Friday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

SCAPE Sunscreen Review and Giveaway!

Recently, Scape sent me a sample pack of Athlete's sunscreen and lip balm to try know I, a late-bloomer with a serious case of Adult-Onset Athletics, loved this!

Scape is formulated to not run into your eyes when you sweat, so seeing as I sweat like a fiend, I felt pretty qualified to test it out. I have to say, it delivered - no stinging eyes as a result of the sunscreen pouring into them during my hot Texas runs! And even though I run early in the morning, the sun is out and believe me, I can get a sunburn as early as 8:00 am - by then, it's in the mid-eighties, people! So in an effort to take better care of myself, I'm trying to do the right thing and apply sunscreen on a more regular basis. I liked Scape - it's a little thicker than the Coppertone Sport that I was using, but it sure seems to have some staying power. I guess that's because it's not sliding down my face or arms, lol. The sunscreen has a very light scent that I only noticed for a minute (I'm pretty sensitive to scented cosmetics on my face and always choose unscented if I can). The lip balm has a light lemon scent. I will admit that I still like my Burt's Bees lip balm better, but the Scape has sunscreen in it (SPF 50!) so I try and remember to use it when I'm out in the sun.

The good news is that the fine folks at Scape also sent me an extra sample pack for one lucky reader! One of you will receive a tube of Scape SPF 30 sunscreen and an SPF 50 lip balm!!! To enter, just leave me a comment telling me what you ate for breakfast this morning. (What, you were expecting something sunscreen related??) That's it - easy as pie (mmm, pie). I'll draw a winner after 10:00 pm CST Thursday night and announce it on the Friday Mishmash, interwebs-willing. U.S. addresses only - sorry to my international peeps. Good luck, and don't forget to apply your sunscreen!

FCC alert: Scape sent me two sets of sunscreen and lipbalm for free - one to try and one to give away. Opinions expressed in this review are all mine.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Let's Talk About Sports Bras...

That title should have scared all the men away, lol. OK, so this is a little embarrassing to talk about, because as you might have noticed, I tend to stay away from subjects of the more intimate nature. But, I always appreciate it when someone mentions a great find (or warns of a not-so-great item), so I thought I'd go ahead and mention the unmentionables.

Being of the more-endowed-than-I'd-like person for most ALL of my adult life, I've had to deal with the discomfort that comes with um...the bounce factor when I exercise. And most traditional sports bras just have not worked for me - for the longest time, I resorted to wearing two - the Moving Comfort Fiona, with a Champion 360 Max layered over it. That worked ok - not perfect, but it was the best I could come up with. Of course, it was not fun to try and wrestle out of them after a sweaty workout, but ya do what ya gotta do...ya know? Sweet Fran even sent me a Dutch sports bra, which worked in my layering system, but everything has become too big.
Enell Sports Bra

So I read some reviews from other bloggers, and several months ago finally took Shauna's advice and invested in the oh-so-ugly-yet-it-works-Enell...the Mother Superior of all sports bras - this is one stern,unyielding mofo. I like it well enough, but some mornings, getting all of the gazillion hooks hooked correctly is a challenge to my sleepy brain, and I'm sure that my "son of a b*tch" cursing when I get to the top of the hooks and find I'm off isn't exactly conducive to a stress-free start to my workout. Plus it's expensive - about $60. And, as I've discovered this summer, it's H-O-T hot, and not in a sexy way (I think we established that with the nun reference) - this bra covers your entire upper back, which makes for a lot of sweaty discomfort. And also it gives the wearer a lovely case of uniboob - not a pretty sight.
Kalyx Uplift Max

Still searching for the perfect sports bra, I began looking at the Kalyx models - I like this company because it was started by a woman who was frustrated in the lack of attractive, comfortable and supportive sports bras in the market. And I was thrilled when I won a bra of my choice in a giveaway that Happy Runner sponsored - I chose one - the DD Diva, and soon I was happily tearing into the package that arrived in my mailbox. Unfortunately, it didn't work for me - the bounce factor was off the charts. So I emailed Kalyx, and their rep worked with me to exchange it for a different bra, which I thought was really nice considering that this was a freebie in the first place. She suggested the Uplift Max, so I went with that. Sigh. I really, really wanted it to work, but no. Again, the fabric was just too soft and allowed way too much, erm, movement. It is a really good-looking sports bra, I will say that. But it just wasn't THE one for me.
Moving Comfort Maia

In the meantime, Barbara had mentioned to me that she found a great sports bra at her local running store, so I was looking forward to checking it out with her during our "whenever we are together" traditional bra shop expedition. And I was not disappointed - this is IT, ladies - to me, it's the perfect sports bra. The Moving Comfort Maia. It's kind of two bras in one - a traditional bra on the inside (with molded cups and underwire) and a pullover layer on the top. Y'all - there was no bounce with this bra. I was shocked and so, so happy! It hooks in the back but doesn't cover your entire back like the Enell; it's easy to get on and off; and hello - no uniboob! (Compare Wharf to Wharf race pictures for the difference from my other races in the Enell if you're so inclined...not that I'm encouraging you to look closely at my rack or anything, lol). It's also priced a little easier on the wallet - $46. I bought one and wore it for the Wharf to Wharf race and I have to tell you, it felt great. I've worn in since coming home to work out in and also on several runs and have had no complaints - it really works great at controlling the bounce and I feel like I look better in it, too. Win-win!

One thing that I discovered while getting measured for new bras was that I had dropped another size in the band width - but in doing so, I went up in cup size. Since I didn't believe the saleswoman that this would work, I tried on bras in what she recommended (32DD) and what I thought would fit me (34D) and you know what? She was right. So there's something to think about - I never knew that cup size could change based on band size. It was this way for both normal and the sports bras. You'd think that by age 47 I would have this whole bra thing figured out, but apparently not.

OK, I made it through this post. I was a little uncomfortable writing it, and had to stop several times and go do something else for a while until I could bring myself to come back to it. Hopefully my embarrassment was worth it and those of you who fall into the more-endowed category can find something useful from this.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Mishmash - Plus Protein Brownie Review!

I'll start today's mishmash with a review of some protein brownies that I was recently sent to try (FCC alert - I was given these for free! Opinions expressed, however, are totally mine). Being the chocolate-lover that I am, I was intrigued by the idea of protein brownies - sounds like the best of both worlds, right? I have to say that Lenny & Larry's Muscle Brownies did deliver on taste for sure - the triple chocolate flavor was great! However, I made a rookie mistake with these. I saw "20g protein" listed on the front of the package, flipped it over to quickly check the calories - 170, not bad, and proceeded to eat the entire brownie for a snack/treat. A couple of hours later I decided to read the rest of the nutritional stats on the package...and got that sinking feeling when I read "protein: 10 grams" - yep, you guessed it - there were TWO servings in that package. Really??? I hate it when companies do this - I was so mad - first at myself for not being more careful in checking the data, and then at the company for trying to pull one over on the consumer. Come on - this size looks like a single-serving, it's individually-wrapped...very easy assumption for someone to make. And I would not choose to have a 340 calorie snack on a whim - while these are good, you need to know that unless you take the time to cut the brownie in half (AND set one half aside), you will be consuming a fair amount of calories.

That said, I did like the brownies. Their Complete Cookie, however, was a bust - it looked good, and maybe I was expecting something like the homemade cookies you can get at our local deli cafes, but this was really dry and tasteless. Would not recommend...oh, and the cookie clocks in at 400 calories! I'd rather have some Greek yogurt for protein and a real cookie or two for that amount. So caveat eator when it comes to Lenny & Larry's Muscle Brownies. They are available all over - click here for a list of retailers who carry them.


What's this? Twin shirts? Actually, it's my favorite shirt - and the one on the left is not only getting to be too big, but it's also pretty worn and pilly-looking. It was my first medium that I fit can see it in the June '09 bike picture on the right sidebar. The day has been quickly approaching where I shouldn't wear it out in public anymore - let's just say that the *girls* are a little TOO on display, if you catch my drift.
So you can only imagine my delight when I made a run through Ross the other day and found the twin! In a size small...woohoo, the love affair can continue!!! I swear, the craziest things can just make my day!

And now, some food pictures...
What do you eat when you're on the run in California? Why, these delicious avocado rolls, of course! Actually, Theresa wanted sushi, so we ran in to Nob Hill while we were out and about and got her the sushi while Barbara and I split this. Avocado, cucumber, carrots and lettuce, all wrapped up in rice paper - SO GOOD!!! Three years ago we would have hit Carls Jr. - I love how much better we are eating now (and believe me, Barbara and I have *quite* the history of making not-so-stellar food choices when we are together)!
My breakfast the first day in California - blueberries, strawberries and a nectarine fresh from the tree growing in Barbara's backyard, on Fage, with Fiber One. The nectarine was so good that for the rest of my time there, that's all I had in my yogurt. YUM!Barbara made me try those tofu shirataki noodles (this is her bowl - I just had a few separately). I have to say that they weren't smelly or rubbery like I've heard - in fact, I might just have to buy a package or two. Doesn't her version of pasta primavera look great?!?
Finally, here's my latest version of orzo with veggies - this time I used asparagus, fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes - I just throw the chopped up asparagus and spinach leaves into the boiling pasta for the last minute or so, drain, add the tomatoes, toss with a little olive oil and the juice of two freshly-squeezed lemons and sprinkle a little Parmesan on top - love it!

You might have noticed that the last three pictures are all in the same Fiestaware gusto bowls - love how versatile they are. I need to get that cool lime green color next for my little collection. Nothing like pretty dishes to spice up your food!


Alllll righty, boys and girls, it's time for another exciting installment of Fashion Friday! The top and sweater are from Ann Taylor Loft - I love that store! Cute clothes, and very affordable when they are on sale, which of course these were. I rarely pay full-price for anything...I'm cheap frugal that way!
I finally got a tripod so I could move out of my closet! Unfortunately, I cut off the top of my head with this shot...Better camera angle. Tops paired with my Liz Claiborne navy Bermuda shorts and my silver BOC Born sandals. I love the silver (and have the same pair in bronze - I am nothing if not original, lol) and keep finding new things to wear them with. Nice change from my usual black sandal, which is what I would have worn otherwise.
Close up of the pink zebra sweater and ruffled top - have I mentioned how much I LOVE this combo?Unflattering picture to show you all of the ruffles, and also to show how some things work so much better in layers than by themselves. I think I look rather dumpy around the middle with just the ruffled top on, but when the sweater is added, I felt much thinner.


I can't end this post with that awful picture, so I'll show you what the Safeway in Santa Cruz (yes, I am still milking that trip!) considers natural foods:
Hamburger Helper, anyone?

Have a good weekend!