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Sorry, I have other plans…

Yesterday afternoon at about 4 PM, I remembered that I had signed up to help with voting for my sorority.  Yes.  I know.  I’m 11 years out of college, but still doing stuff with my sorority?  Yep.  That’s how I roll.  

Actually, I’m an advisor for a local* chapter.

* If local = 1 hour drive away, which to me, doesn’t really mean local

So I quit playing on the computer, put on my running shoes, and headed out for a quick 3 miler.  Then I hopped in the shower, made myself presentable, and made the drive into LA.  I arrived at 6:40 PM (for my shift that started at 7 PM, and was supposed to end at 10 PM).  When I left at 11:15, I asked if they were sure they didn’t need me on Sunday (why, oh, why would I have said that?!?  I did not want to make that drive again!).  I was assured that there were plenty of people coming, and I wouldn’t be needed.  I skipped out of the house, into my car, and drove…  I had a decent time.  I know that they needed my help, and I know that they appreciated it.  But still.  It was a Saturday night!

Fast forward to this morning.  I wake up (later than the hubby, since he was dead to the world when I got home last night), and make my way downstairs.  As I’m brewing coffee, I boot up good ol’ email, and see something that strikes fear into my heart:

Hi Lara,  Can you come to the house today to help with voting?  Thanks! 

And that’s when the guilt sets in.  Because I really did volunteer myself yesterday.  But of course, that was for this morning’s party, not for the voting, which is this evening.  And I do really have plans.  I promise that I do.  But I still feel guilty.

And that’s when it hits me:

I cannot feel guilty for not being available to everyone else, when I have me to take care of.  

I could have rearranged my day.  I could have left my friend’s shrimp boil party this evening, driving separately from the hubby, and made my way to the house.  I could have put off picking up my house & doing laundry (Sunday evening activities – don’t pretend that you’re not jealous of my uber-exciting life).  I could have missed another night with my hubby.

But I didn’t want to.  Prepping for the week is important to me.  Hanging with my hubby is important.  Fostering friendships is important.  And quite frankly, tallying votes for the sorority house?  Not quite as important to me today*.

* I did volunteer myself to participate as an advisor, and I really do like this volunteer opportunity.  Since there are 12+ advisors for the chapter, I’m not leaving anyone high and dry.  I just cannot do 2 days in a row of driving down there.

And I wonder how this affects my weight loss, and others’ weight loss.

Many of the women on the Biggest Loser seem to have the same problem.  They spend all their time taking care of others, to their own detriment.  They haven’t learned how to say no.  How to tell their kids to make their own sandwiches for lunch – they need to hop on the elliptical.  They haven’t learned how to tell their hubby to please take care of the kids, they need to go to the grocery store to pick out healthy choices for the family.  They haven’t learned how to say No, I can’t do that for you right now, I need to focus on me.

I’ve got 2 theories:

  1. Sometimes I know when to say when.  I know what I need to do for myself, and I know that doing anything other than those things will lead me down a pathway that I’m not going to be happy with.  This is who I was this morning when I sent back the email saying that I wasn’t able to help because I already had plans.  This is who I am when I plan my meals, using the Grid, keep to my planned exercise for the week, skip those extra bites of candy and cookies that tend to lie around this time of year, blog daily, and keep up with my chores at home to maintain my home as a reasonably tidy space.
  2. Sometimes it all comes crumbling down.  These are the days that I say screw it, forget the plan.  On these days, I order whatever I want to eat at the restaurant, I eat the fries off my hubby’s plate, I buy and eat a tray of chocolate-covered banana chips, and I don’t work out because I don’t wanna.  These are the days that I toss dirty clothes onto the floor (or the dining room chairs), the days that I eat all 3 meals outside the house, plus 2 iced coffees, and wonder why my tummy hurts (that may or may not have happened yesterday, except I only had 2 meals, plus 2 iced coffees.  Maybe).  On these days, I do things the do nothing to further my plan.  Nothing to make me a better person.  Even if I were volunteering, it wouldn’t be me doing a good thing – it would be me, doing something that I had to do.
Today I’m picking Number 1.  I’m going to read my paper, make my Grid, run around the block, head to the grocery store, visit with friends, tidy the house, launder my clothes, cuddle with my hubby, and know that I did everything right to set myself up for a big loss (weight loss, that is) this week.
What will you choose?
Do you worry that you’ll be seen as selfish if you say No?  What do you do every day or every week to ensure your weight loss (or maintenance) success?

The TresLaLa Abode

Today being cleaning day and all, I decided to invite y’all on into the TresLaLa Abode.  Won’t you stay awhile?  Can I get you a glass of wine?  Some brie and leftover saltines?  (Sorry, I don’t have real crackers, only saltines from my crab cake recipe last night…)  Forgive me?

Let’s start with the front of the house:

Moving into the office / workout room / wine cellar / crafting area / drop-zone.  Don’t judge.  This IS clean!

Up next is the living room:

Pay no attention to the crooked candles. PS: Those were our unity candle lighting candles. What does that say about us? Yep, we're usually tipsy. Ha!

Another view of the living room:

That painting on the wall? It's an elephant footprint from Zimbabwe!

Moving into the dining room, which isn’t really moving very far, because it’s open to the living room…  Ceiling is super high in here…

And, the family room – i.e., the room where we spend all of our time.  That living room, above?  Not much  living happens there.  Unless you count the dogs.  They LOVE that room!  They love the family room too, though.  Mason’s laying at my feet as I type!

And, from the other view…

Moving into where all the recipe magic is made – the kitchen!  Not pictured:  Awesome french door stainless fridge next to the pantry, complete with a door that says “Pantry”.  (If anyone wants to come over and accidentally shatter the frosted glass, I promise I won’t be mad…)

Heading up the stairs, here’s a view looking back to the first floor…

Up into the Man room, all set up for this weekend’s visit from the Pops:

And the other side — this is usually just a folded wooden futon bed…

And the guest room – reserved for my mom this weekend!  It’s a very girlie room…

When we get pregnant, hope it's a girl... that way we don't need to paint!

The spare bathroom (I didn’t get a pic of the one downstairs…  It wasn’t anything special.  Promise.):

The hallway upstairs has a bunch of storage!

I took those photos - they're my favorites from Europe about 13 years ago!

Do you see Prissilla running away from me in the pic above?  She knows that I’m making my way into the Master bedroom.  Now, you’re not allowed to judge.  It’s ugly.  But I’ve done all that I can with it, until the hubby allows me to re-paint.  It’s too much.  I know that there will be people who enjoy this kind of thing.  Like my hubby.  But I am not one of them.  So, to set the record straight:  I did not have this painted.  I would not have had this painted, and it’s become a big joke.  However, the hubby has agreed that we can have it repainted (or wall papered, whichever I decide) once we need to paint the rest of the rooms.  Which will happen after we re-do the 2 spare bathrooms.  And none of that will happen until we get pregnant – don’t ask about timing.  I don’t get it either.  Anyway…  Here are what I lovingly refer to as the “Before” pics:

Oh, and Tinkerbelle wanted in on this photo shoot…

But, here’s the reason why I agree to live with the mural that gets me seasick:

Yep, it's my closet. With an ISLAND! Woot! It used to be a bedroom, and I am so grateful to the evil genius who convinced a previous owner to do this...

On 1 side of the bedroom, we have french doors that go to this balcony, facing the front of the house:

Yes, the table needs a good cleaning. Soon...

And, finally, our bathroom.  Not super exciting after the walk-in closet with an island, but the shower has 2 shower heads…  No, I didn’t take a picture of THAT!

That’s today’s open house!  Hope you enjoyed!

What I Ate Wednesday – Take 2

Today has been a bit of a whirlwind…  I feel like a crazy person running around with my head cut off (or, err, is that a chicken?).  See crazy person, right here…

Early morning meetings, a big project sent in at the end of the day, swimming at noon, jogging after work, pup walks, dinner, AND we have to pick up the house, because tomorrow is the best day of the month!  The cleaners are coming, the cleaners are coming!  (Sung in the form of The Jerk‘s phone book, of course…)  <– Big dork.

Anyway, the house needs a good tidying, and I need to finish up a bunch of laundry before they come.  Nothing better than a house completely pulled together (and cleaned by someone else!).

But, let’s get down to business…  It’s What I Ate Wednesday!

I started my day with a cup of iced coffee on my way to work.

Breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal with strawberries, pineapple, peanut butter, and granola.  The strawbs were hidden under the oatmeal, so they got all nice and warm!

On my way to swimming, I had a Luna Protein Bar with some agua.

Lunch was leftover tilapia from last night, served with some tabouli, with a sprinkle of non-fat feta cheese.

Lunch dessert = watermelon!  Love me some lunch dessert!

The pups were interested in saying “Hi!” today!  Please disregard my hubby’s make-shift brewing area on the fire pit!

Afternoon snack was a chunk of Irish soda bread, Apple cinnamon flavor.  Do you see Mason’s tongue there?!?  He’s such a goof!

Dinner was another winner!  I am on a roll this week, friends!  Tonight I made:

Crab Cakes with Red Pepper-Basil Tartar Sauce
Adapted from Coastal Living – September 2010
Serves 4

  • 8 oz Fresh lump crabmeat, drained & picked (I used some that I found in my fish section of the grocery)
  • 1 Green onion, sliced
  •  1/2 c Crushed saltine crackers (this is 10 crackers)
  • 2 T Mayonnaise (I used vegan)
  • 1/4 tsp Fresh ground pepper
  • Dash Salt
  • 1/2 c Whole wheat Panko breadcrumbs
  • Sprinkles of Garlic Gold
  • 2 Tbsp Canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp Prepared tartar sauce
  • 5 leaves of Basil
  • 1 tsp Red pepper
  1. Stir together crabmeat, onion, crackers, mayo, pepper & salt.
  2. Shape into 4 patties.  Place breadcrumbs & Garlic gold in shallow dish & dredge both sides of patties.  Fry in hot oil (I did 2 patties at a time, using 1 Tbsp oil for each “batch”) 2 minutes each side or until golden.
  3. Drain on paper towels.
  4. To make fancy-schmancy tartar sauce, slice basil into prepared tartar sauce, and add enough red pepper to give it a kick.  (Benefit of this is you don’t need to use a lot of it!)
All that, served with some Soda Stream Diet Cola and steamed green beans (microwaved!) on the side.
I’m being summonsed to help pick up…  Cheers!

… And, I dropped!

I’m a shopper.  I really love the little rush I get when I find something that I really want at a great price.  When I was little (think 8 or so), I had a t-shirt that had this picture of a shopping dinosaur, with the definition of a Shopasaurus (n) 1. A creature who delights in browsing thru malls and other retail stores.  2. Any beast gratified by obtaining merchandise in exchange for currency, plastic cards, or personal checks.  

Source

My Mom had bought this t-shirt for me – and I wasn’t even with her…  She knew that I was a shopaholic.  Thinking back on it, I realize that this was probably her fault.  Going shopping was the ultimate treat – we went every year for my birthday.  Of course, my birthday is in August, so we were really just school clothes shopping (my brother’s birthday is in August too, but he didn’t want clothes, of course).

As a pre-schooler, I was just a tad materialistic.  Not that we had a lot of money, mind you.  But I told my mom that I would only wear shirts with an alligator, jeans with a horse, and shoes with a swoosh.  I got plain-pockets jeans from JCPenny’s.  As much as my mom fed my shopping addiction, she knew that she didn’t need to spend a lot to make me look good.  I distinctly remember looking through the jeans at Burlington Coat Factory (in Burlington, WI) for Guess! Jeans that the little triangle patch hadn’t been stolen from.

In the past*, I’ve struggled a bit with keeping to a budget.  But, I find it hard to pass up a good deal.

* Also in the present

Like yesterday, when I stopped in a Road Runner Sports during my lunch hour.  I’m a frequent visiter of RRS.  The managers know me because I used to train with them for my half marathons (Hot tip:  If you have a RRS near you, check to see if they have running training programs – they’re great, and they have fantastic raffles/giveaways!).  Even though I haven’t trained with them in over a year, they still know me by name – pretty cool for a “corporate” store.

When I stopped in yesterday, the manager, Jim, was working in the ladies’ section.  We chatted for a bit, and he mentioned that all the fall “fashion” had come in.  SCORE!  It’s still 95* in SoCal – I don’t need “fall fashion”, but I could use some more tanks and shorts.  And there they were:  3 racks full of clearance items!

I love the RRS running pants; they’re better than any other brand that I’ve tried (and I have tried a LOT of work out pants!).  Of course, the best part is that they’re big enough & don’t cut me off in the middle (not too much of a sausage casing!).  I was able to pick up 2 pair of grey capri pants on sale.  I also picked up a running skirt (surprisingly flattering on these gams!), a workout jacket that I’m convinced should not have been on the clearance rack, 2 tank tops, and 3 packs of my favorite hair bands (Nike brand thin ones, 3 per pack, with little dots of sticky on the back… I’m very picky…).

Behold some of my loot:

Gray pants with a purple t-backed tank. The tank has a little waist at the bottom, which will be great once I'm pregnant, but not telling anyone!

Bright pink tank with great ribbing with the running skirt. Sorry that there are no pics of my legs - they're way better than you'd think they'd be, based on these pictures! 🙂

Next time I post a picture of myself, I will have on make-up and do my hair.  I promise I don’t always look like I just woke up.*

* Actually, lately?  Usually I do

What I Ate Wednesday – Take 1

My first real day of What I Ate Wednesday…  But, I’m not sure that I did it correctly.

I started out this morning thinking, “What will people think if I have pizza?”  Or “What will people think if I just have a Luna bar, and no fruit?”  But, as the day wore on, I realized that I needed to make choices for myself – what worked for me.  I did think it was interesting that I was more willing to eat “well” knowing that other people are reading it, as opposed to eating well “just” for myself.  It seems to me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m eating and the choices that I’m making.  The truth is:  I know what the “better” choices are, I just don’t always make them.  Today, I made some, and I’d like to continue the trend.

I started with iced coffee with skim milk at 7:45 AM, but I think the milk had turned.  I find that organic milk turns so much quicker than “normal”.  I assume that’s because it doesn’t have the additives, but I really need to remember to smell it before pouring!

Breakfast – 9:30 AM

I was able to get another (non-tainted) cup of coffee after my first few meetings, and also picked up 4 organic hardboiled eggs (I only eat the whites) and a whole wheat English muffin with whipped cream cheese & strawberry preserves.

Lunch 1:15 PM

Went out to The Natural Cafe for lunch to take a break from the office.

Iced tea with my battery-starved Nook - so much for reading during lunch!

The "Local Favorite" with avocado, sprouts, lettuce, tomato & garlic mayo on whole wheat with blue corn tortilla chips & salsa

Afternoon Snack – 4:15 PM

On my way to an appointment, I had some water & a Lemon Zest Luna bar.  Mmmmm, lemon.

Dinner – 7:30 PM

Tonight’s dinner was a mash-up of leftovers added into a whole wheat tortilla:

  • Stir-fried chicken breast with carrots & celery
  • Jalapeño pub cheese with vegetarian chili and tomatoes
  • Zucchini, red bell pepper, and corn from the cob sautéed with a mix of spices

Hansen's Diet Root Beer on the side

Dessert – 8:30 PM

Getting great stone fruit in our bi-weekly delivery of fruits & vegetables, I’ve really gotten creative in using them.  I’ve been chopping up the plums, microwaving for 30 seconds.  I then topped them with 1/4 c of homemade granola, and about 1 t of agave nectar.  Super yum!

The lazy girl's crisp - don't hate.

Add 2 Medjool dates to the mix, and that’s What I Ate Wednesday.

Snap Out of It!

Yesterday I had myself a bit of a pity party.  Thanks for coming, by the way…

But today, it’s all Rainbows & Unicorns.  OK, that’s a bit aspirational, but I’m working on it…

You’ll never guess what made me snap out of it.  This guy!

Source

Meet my trainer, Joe, from Future Physique!  He’s got more hair there than in person (because he shaves his head, but maybe he’s losing it too?), and that smile is usually a bit of a smirk…  since he’s literally trying to work my butt off.  Love that.  

Friends, I was still caught up in my pity party yesterday when I went to see him.  I arrived, warmed up, and Joe wasn’t even there!  I feared that I missed yet another appointment with someone, but he then came in running, and apologized that he was the one who screwed up.  I was grateful for the extra 10 minutes to run it out, and he was grateful that I wasn’t pissed.  It was a win-win.  And then he got my heart rate going.

I was between 145 and 160 BPM for the whole hour, and it was awesome.  There were squats.  There were crunches.  There were leg presses. There were bench presses.  There were 1-legged lifts.  And then I did them all over again.  And it was awesome.  When I was done, I had laughed, I had vented, and I had worked.

I guess I had what others might consider a runner’s high.  I’m not sure – I’ve never had one of those.  But I was happy when I left, wiping sweat from my brow (and every other place).  Nothing does a body better than a hard workout!

What snaps you out of a bad mood?

Weekend Hangover

No, sadly, not that kind of hangover.  Not that there’s really a “good” hangover.  But, in general, I’m just out of it today.  And I’m pretty sure it’s because this weekend (well, Sunday & Monday) weren’t all they were cracked up to be.  

Honestly:  I didn’t have much fun.  

Not sure HOW I didn’t have fun while wine tasting, but I didn’t.

Friends, I’m going to vent for a while.  If you only want to read me when I’m chipper & witty, time to pack up this browser now…  

But I miss my friends.  I went wine tasting 3.5 hours away from my home for 2 days with 9 people (plus my hubby) that I would not consider friends. And it was not good.

Friends are people that I will always have some juicy tidbit of information to share with.  Friends are people who I want to share my sips of wine and my cheese plate with.  Friends are people who are not going to order a beer at a brewery if it’s 101* outside and I’m not allowed to come in.

And my friends have all moved away.

So, now I’m stuck with the “B Team”.  Yeah, I get it.  I’m their “B Team” too.  They probably have other people they’d rather hang out with than a sullen non-drinking foodie, who is more interested in whether her dogs can come into the tasting room than if the wine’s any good.  Seriously.  I’m not easy to get along with.  That’s probably why I miss my girls (and boys) so much.   (PS:  I was DD – otherwise I probably would have drank until I had fun!)

I wanted to have fun.  I really did.  When people arrived 15 minutes early on Sunday morning, before I even got a chance to open my newspaper, I wasn’t even irritated.

But, the irritation started early, and continued.  One of the guys is 6’8″, and he didn’t fit as well into my car as he would have hoped.  I drive a fairly large SUV – and I can’t help it that he’s a giant.  Seriously, stop complaining. And when my dogs were just trying to be friendly because they assume that everyone loves them, but the same guy then asks how I can make my dogs stop breathing in his ear.  (Ummm, really? You want them to stop breathing? Get out.  Now.)  And then we’re on a dirt road, and “Why did we have to pick a place so far away?”  I don’t know, but shut up about it.  You’re sitting in the back seat, sleeping, or listening to a lecture on MP3, but you’re sure as heck not driving.  And then we end up at a really crummy sandwich shop; and they forgot the veggies on my vegetarian sandwich.  Although, to be fair, they forgot the cheese on another girl’s vegetarian sandwich, so we should have combined forces.  Except hers had yellow hot-dog mustard.  Ewww.  I can go on, but I won’t.

What I’m trying to say is that Every.Little.Thing bothered me.  And I’m not sure what to do about it, because I’m not usually “that girl” who’s upset all the time.  And I’m never going to make any new friends with this puss on my face.

French Army Knife, Please!

Spent the day with a friend in Santa Monica, after missing my massage appointment.  Yes, you read that correctly.  I’m so upset!  My appointment was for 1 PM, but I was convinced that it was at 2 PM…  So I’m getting ready to leave the house at 1:40, grab my phone and check it, somewhat absent mindedly…  And lo and behold, there’s a message from my Chiropractor’s office, “Hi Lara, Just wondering if you could call us back to reschedule your appointment.”   Aaargh!  That’s the 2nd appointment for something that I’ve missed this week!  Talk about disorganized!

Left my hubby and 10 of his dearest co-workers to DESTROY my kitchen with pizza and beer, while they drafted their Fantasy Football teams.

PS: I was NOT a happy camper when I came home this evening to find my kitchen & living room & patio a mess, hubby up in bed, dogs unfed (and no water!), and spare pizza on the stove (with pizza boxes on the upholstery of the stools at the kitchen counter.  Not a happy camper, indeed.

But, I did have a fantastic time in Santa Monica today!  I picked Tash up & we headed off to the 3rd Street Promenade, where we promenaded to our hearts content, until I realized after leaving The Gap that I hadn’t eaten anything all day.  Despite having 2 iced coffees and running 3 miles.  Totally unlike me!  TOTALLY.  I do not forget to eat!

Amazing what happens when you’re 33 – there IS a first time for everything.

We decided to head over to the mall, Santa Monica Place, and try out a wine bar that she suggested, the Sonoma Wine Garden.

Loved the wooden & cork menus!

I just could not believe that we were in a mall – it was beautiful!

Isn't the chandelier beautiful? I want one!

And I loved the wall art!

Anyone know where I can find one of these? Fleur de lis & all?

We sat on the patio, with a bit of a view of the ocean.  Lovely day, lovely company, lovely wine & lovely food.  Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?

Valley of the Moon Pinot Blanc to share.

They also had wines that you could serve yourself with 1, 3, or 5 oz pours.  Stick a little card in, based on what you’ve pre-paid for, and get your tasters.  Will have to try that next time.  The only problem is that those were all the way over by the bar, and if you’re sitting, enjoying your company, etc., it might be kind of a pain.  Would be a fun place to spend happy hour though.

We shared the truffle fries, a beet & goat cheese salad, and a “Garden pizza”, which was mushrooms, garlic & arugula, with ricotta cheese.  All of it was fantastic, and the service was very good.  I never waited more than 3 minutes for my water-glass to be refilled (I drink a lot of water when out, and it’s a huge pet peeve if it’s not refilled when I need my next big gulp!)

Mixed beet, Goat Cheese & Avocado salad to share.

The last piece of pizza. The crust was so crispy!

After lunch/dinner (it was about 5 by the time we finished), we headed over to Nordstrom’s.  HUGE shoe sale!  But, they didn’t have anything that I was dying for on the sale rack, so I held back.  But, I did get some new gold Havaianas Slim flip-flops.  Hey, I live in California.  Flip flops are worn year-round!  And, I’ve been lusting after them for a while, but could never find my size (I’m a 10/11 in shoes — closer to the 11, so I never like buying shoes online because I can’t guarantee they’ll fit, and I’m not good at returning stuff when I order it).

Source.

Now that the kitchen is clean, it’s off to bed with me.  Wine tasting tomorrow!  (Won’t be blogging until Monday evening, likely…  So much for the PostADay challenge.  Although I did vacuum today, and I also found my retainer!  Winning!

Attack ’em for a Victory!

I always do better when I create a plan of attack.  And I’m pretty sure that’s what I need to do:  Attack.

(Pretend that you’re still a cheerleader with me:  A-T-T-A-C-K, Attack ’em for a Victory!)

Can you find me? No?!? Well, look for the girl that looks kind of like me, except 80 pounds lighter. She's sitting on someone's knee (!), 4th from the left. I would never purposely sit on someone anymore. Promise.

O-K.  Clap.  Now that that’s done, let’s start with September’s Goals.

Me before last year's Nautica Malibu Triathlon - I came in 6th. Top five get on the podium...

  • Stop biting fingernails:  Make appointment with hypnotherapist that I pre-paid for from a local groupon-like site, ConejoDeals
  • Exercise with a 500 calorie per day burn 6 of 7 days per week
  • Create & stick to a meal plan each week
  • Blog once a day with at least 3 pictures per post
  • Knit or crochet at least 3 times a week
  • Vacuum once a week
  • Send birthday/anniversary cards BEFORE said birthdays/anniversaries
Shoot!  Just realized that I missed my good friends’ anniversary!  See – this is why I need goals like this.

Happiest of anniversaries, Scott & Christina!

  •  FIND retainer!
  • Wash my face before bed; shower after working out (Eww, I know.  TMI?)
  • Take the dogs for a walk every day, even if we’re going to the dog park
  • Finish editing pics from Africa & upload to Facebook & Picasa

We were in Africa in February & March. It's now September, and my hubby will kill me if I don't finish editing, sorting & uploading soon...

  • Weight on September 30 = 199
  • Move my body 120 miles
  • Organize the office, including figuring out a plan for all the torn out magazine articles.
  • Limit drinks to 3 drinks per day.  Thanks for the idea Tina!
These are all reasonable, and will get me closer to who I want to be.  Please help me if you see me floundering!
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