Thursday, October 31, 2013

Love List

1. Flats are on trend and my feet are happy. I love the modern colors on these classic wingtips. Price too steep? Go for a fun DIY option like these.

2. This bracelet/ring combo caught my eye because its Halloween but I love it enough to wear it year round. Spiders and their webs have never been so chic.

3. I use essential oils all the time. My favorites during the winter months are eucalyptus and peppermint. Peppermint keeps you alert and eucalyptus helps with decongestion. My office and my car smell like a spa. When I came across this post on Apartment Therapy on essential oils that improve productivity, it made me want to go shopping.

4. Karen Kimmel inspires youth and their families to create art in whatever medium they desire. These bolos can be used as keychains and handbag charms. They're bright and beautiful enough on their own but with the good cause behind them, who can resist.

5. These coasters make me want to DIY my own set using a fallen tree in the back yard but (a) I don't have any fallen trees in my backyard and (b) its easier and no doubt, more affordable ($15 for the set of 4) to pick these up from West Elm.

6. I've been in New York long enough to realize that most people in the city are transients. These cute tees by The Home. T. are a great way to remind yourself of home while declaring to the outside world you're still holding on to some hometown pride.

7. This is not my ode to stick figures. It's an actual Halloween costume. I love the originality behind this idea and you have to see him move. To see this little LED stick figure in action, click here.

8.It is no secret that I have lupus and PAH. This vase might seem morbid to some but I love it. Seeing flowers bursting from the chambers of an anatomically correct heart somehow speaks to healing and joy for me.  It would also make for a great conversation piece. You can buy it here

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Money Matters: Budgeting for the Holiday Season

Yesterday a colleague mentioned how crazy it is to see aisles and aisles of Christmas decorations in stores just feet away from Halloween candy and costumes. I’ve accepted the HalloGivingMas mashup going on in the stores and told her it no longer surprises me. Stores are aiming to get consumers spending as early as possible to positively impact their bottom line. As she walked away, she nonchalantly said “Well, I guess it is only two months until Christmas” and I was like “True” but my brain was like OH MY GOODNESS! WHAT AM I GOING TO GET EVERYONE FOR CHRISTMAS? WHEN WILL I FIND TIME TO CURATE GIFT GUIDE 2013?? WHERE DID THE YEAR GO??? WHAT ABOUT THANKSGIVING??

Then I calmed down and started thinking of more practical concerns like how much I can budget for the holidays (including gifts, travel and entertaining) while keeping my monthly savings plan in tact. My solution was to create a plan that will keep my spending in check and alleviate the stress of the post-holiday bills. Here are some of my money saving plans for the holidays. 

First things first. Push off the pressure. If you can’t afford to buy everyone (or anyone) a gift, don’t. At the end of the day, the holidays aren’t about gifts. They are about spending time with people you love and being thankful for what and who you have in your life. Don’t beat yourself up about not getting people gifts. If they love you, they’ll understand. p/s I know it’s harder to explain that to kids when every classroom, commercial and store display is geared towards getting new stuff to replace your old stuff that couldn’t possibly still be good enough stuff. There are resources for parents who don’t want their kids to be left out. Check out Toys for Tots in your city.

Do a gift exchange pool (think Secret Santa) with your family so you have responsibility for one big gift or a few small ones. Set a cap on spending so one cousin isn’t unwrapping a bag of discount socks from the corner while her sister is dancing for joy over her coveted navy blue Tory Burch riding boots (not that the holidays should be about who got the better gift). In my family, we do a 15 and 15 gift exchange. You can read about it here

Budget and don’t Budge It. Decide how much money you can spend and don’t go over your limit. How much will it cost to host family and friends for a holiday meal? How much do you have to spend on gifts? Do you have to buy holiday party attire? Do you have to travel? Factor all of that in.

Have lots of gifts to buy? Shop early so there isn’t one month where you take a big hit financially. Pay attention to sales. Sign up for e-mails from your favorite stores to gift from. You’ll get alerts when there are specials. If you work for a big company, look for deals at stores that offer your company a discount. Check out shopping network sites. Usually they allow payment in installments. This might help you avoid blowing your monthly budget.

Traveling? Look for ways to save. Shop for a plane or train ticket early. Avoid traveling on a peak travel day (like the day before Thanksgiving) if possible. If your travel dates aren’t flexible, sign up for alerts with sites like Orbitz, Kayak, and Travelocity so you can monitor prices as they go up and down in the weeks leading up to your travel. You can also bid on tickets through certain travel sites (like Priceline). If you’re renting a car, do it early. They go fast and prices go up the closer you get to the holidays. Also, look for deals and discounts you can get through your job, AAA, etc.

Potluck! Excited to host your huge family for a holiday meal but a little scared of the grocery bill? Ask everyone to bring a side dish, dessert or a bottle of wine. You supply the main dish. Send around a sign up sheet a couple of weeks before so you know everything is covered. You give up a little control over your meal but you save some money.

DIY. In my opinion, homemade gifts make the best gifts because of the time and thought you put into them. You can bake, paint, sew, write…whatever suits your talents. Lacking inspiration? Hop on Pinterest. Just be careful not to go crazy and spend more money on supplies for your DIY project than you would on buying a gift.

Donate. Suspend gift giving within the family for the year and put what you would have spent towards donations in the names of your friends/family members.  There are so many people who don’t have what they need to get through the holidays. If you are able, sponsor a family. Invite a lonely neighbor over for dinner. Buy toys for underprivileged children. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Do what you can for those who can’t afford to do for themselves. It sounds corny (and cliché) but your kindness and your time are really the best gifts you can give…and the way you feel after is the best gift you could ever get.

Have your own tips for saving during the holidays? Leave them in the comments below!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: See Jane Run!

Well people, HoBOOken came and went. It's time for the full report on the race that started this weekly feature. If you were here, you'd hear me (Nicole) sighing...heavily. 


Well, this week was the big one – the big HoBOOken 5K.  AND WE DID IT.  As far as I am concerned, we are winners!!!  I actually really enjoyed the race. 

I want to keep up with the running challenge and, as you may know, am trying to convince Nicole to sign up for a 10K this spring.  With the cold weather upon us, why not use the time to get into the best shape we have ever been in….

Race day was great.  I woke up, had some warm oatmeal, and was off.  Outside:  chilly – but sunny, dry.  I was able to do some running and walking.  And because I said I would do this during the race…all caps and bold…here we go….I CAN NOT BELIEVE NICOLE DID NOT EAT BREAKFAST ON RACE DAY. HOW CAN YOU RUN OR WALK 3.2 MILES WITH NO FOOD IN YOUR SYSTEM. SILLY GIRL.   OK… Enough about that.

I also lost .6 pounds this week for a total loss of 4 pounds.  Since I seem to cheat every week, I am actually now down 5 pounds.  That is a good number for me.  And that also accounts for the yummy wrap and fries I had after the race.  I was hoping for a few more pounds before my big trip this coming Saturday, but I will take the 5 pounds.  I still can’t fit into my capris too well (they are a bit snug), but I will manage. 

I am hoping my trip to Australia will help with the weight loss.  Although I plan to eat some delicious food (I’ll skip the kangaroo and alligator which will be served at my authentic Australian Barbie), and enjoy some white Australian wine, I will be hiking, swimming and – yes, climbing Harbor Bridge in Sydney (a 3.5 hour trek).  I will send Nicole some pics and hopefully she can post them online.

As for the recipe of the week:  Baked Eggplant Parm.  Taken from Weight Watchers.  I love eggplant and I love this recipe.  By baking the eggplant, you save a lot of points. 


Ok, ok. I know I have some explaining to do. You saw in Robyn’s post that I didn’t eat before the race. Let me say this, I usually don’t eat before a workout. I eat during the day (breakfast and lunch) but in the hours before my workout, I don’t have anything but water (unless there’s some sort of birthday/retirement/baby shower at work that involves cake). That said, I usually workout for 30 minutes and there is SOMETHING in my system. I also take a bottle of water with me and guzzle it when I feel weak during a workout. I didn’t think about that on race day. I gulped down some Gatorade, threw on my costume and headed to Hoboken for the run. Here I am in my Candy Crush (runner friendly) finery. 

Big mistake. Somewhere between mile 1 and 2, I felt like I might pass out so I slowed down, cut out running all together and decided to walk the rest of the way, slowing down as needed. As I walked, and people passed me, I got a little annoyed because I’d trained to at least be able to run half of the race. It was almost like I did nothing to prepare…like, literally I’d rolled off the couch and tried to run a 5K out of the blue. My body responded with “Whoa, chick. What is this all about? I don’t run.” It was embarrassing. It didn’t help when one of the police blocking traffic for the race got on his loud speaker and bellowed “THIS IS A RACE. WHY ARE YOU WALKING? YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE RUNNING!” Then between miles 2 and 3, one of the volunteers said “I’d tell you to run but it doesn’t matter. You’re already in last place.” I know he was kidding but it stung a little. In the last half mile, my knee did something weird and started hurting really badly. I still didn’t quit. I limped the rest of the way and as it turns out, I was NOT last (take that, Mr. Volunteer). I crossed the finish line before 3 other people (one who was younger than me and two that were in my mom’s age group). But at that point, it wasn’t about stats for me. It was about finishing. And that, I did. Robyn even came back to walk the last leg with me.

Robyn, Asher, Ashley and the volunteers along the race route gave me every “You can do it!” and “Yay! Woo! Almost there!” they had. That really helped.

It also made me realize that even though I couldn’t run the race, walking it was a major feat. So, I am proud of myself. I am going to continue the training over the next two weeks and try to do another 5K (my own private one around an indoor track given how cold it is here in the winter). I’m calling it my 5K 2.0 or 5K: The Remix. Then, when Robyn comes back from Australia all glowy and refreshed, I’ll be easily talked into trying a 10K. This time, I will eat breakfast—a hearty one—and I will NOT skip my workouts for 2 ½ weeks and expect to jog like it’s second nature. Here’s to second chances.

As for stats, I didn’t gain or lose weight this week but I will take it considering the amount of food I consumed during my sister’s surprise visit to NY (she came up to run the 5K with me). Veggie wraps, guacamole, veggie enchiladas, french fries, margherita flatbread, froyo with Reese’s peanut butter cups…the list goes on and I will stop because frankly, it’s making me a little hungry.  AND, none of that yummy goodness is part of my recipe for the week so I will stop throwing it in your face. I had my free weekend and now I am back on the healthy train. Today’s recipe is for your sweet tooth and it’s waistline friendly. Also, for good measure, here’s a good article on when it’s okay to skip out on weigh-in because let’s face it, we all need a break from the scale sometimes.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Quotable

Photo was taken by my sister on race day at the 1 mile point. 
The HoBOOken 5K is over. I will write more about it in tomorrow’s Weekly Weigh In but I have to share a little today. Today’s quote sums up how I feel about the experience. I didn’t do nearly as well as I thought I would but, I finished. It was really tough. I’d walked a 5K the week before and ran at full speed from zombies the week before that. I think I did myself a disservice in slacking on exercise in the 3 weeks leading up to the race but I thought I’d get in more running on race day than I did. 

As I sat in bed watching TV the afternoon following the race (icing my right knee and hip which started aching between mile 2 and 3, I will admit, I was being pretty hard on myself. Then, I realized that I should count the finishing of the race as a victory. Last year at this time, I was sleeping with oxygen. I could barely walk a city block without getting winded. This month, I’ve done two 5Ks and an adrenaline fueled obstacle course. I don’t think that’s too shabby. So, this year, the HoBOOken 5K kicked my butt a little (ok, a lot). Next year, I’ll be right back at the starting line ready to try again. Maybe I’ll even let Robyn talk me into that Spring 10K she's been talking about.

And one other thing…aside from mental toughness and spirit, I also finished this race because of love and support. My family has been encouraging me through this process since I decided to sign up for HoBOOken. On race day, Robyn, Ashley (my sister who surprised me by flying in just to run the race with me) and Asher were there every step of the way. They’d all trained but they took turns slowing down to walk with and encourage me. Without all of this support, I may not have finished. Hugs and kisses to each of them. 

Next stop: St. Jude Give Thanks Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge on November 23. Interested? Sign up or donate here

Image from via Google Images

Friday, October 25, 2013

Friday Playlist

I mentioned in yesterday's Love List post that today's playlist would be a tribute to TLC. Here's the delivery on the promise. I've loved TLC since my early teenage years and am happy to see them coming together to work on new music. Enjoy!! Happy Friday!

p/s Make sure to check out today's Friday Happy Hour post!

p/p/s There will be a Halloween Playlist next week but if your party is this weekend, check out this playlist from Apartment Therapy.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

1. My dog always makes me giggle with her shimmies and shakes but I've never thought of documenting them in a flipbook. Carli Davidson did a whole photo series based the doggie shakes. You can buy it here.

2. As you know, I am running in HoBOOken this weekend. I haven't dressed up for Halloween in a couple of years and am pretty much at a loss for something costume-y enough that I can run in. When I came across this idea for a Candy Crush costume (Rent the Runway), I decided to make it my own with colorful running gear rather than a dress and pumps. Should be interesting.

3. Found Cheap Clean Eats on Blogilates' YouTube this week after seeing one of the her videos on healthier homemade donuts. I've been craving pizza lately so I'm going to try her flourless pizza this weekend.

4. I aspire to be this type of person one day. Right now, the only thing going on in my house before 8:00 a.m. is my finger pressing snooze.

5. Did you watch the TLC biopic on VH1 this week? I loved TLC when I was younger so I felt compelled to watch. I have to say, it was pretty good and I loved singing along to some of my favorite songs. Buzzfeed compiled a list of great, spot on moments from the movie here. Stay tuned for tomorrow's playlist. It will feature them.

6. I saw this cool "toy" on AHALife this week. The Yike Bike looks so fun! The price is too steep for my pockets but I can see them being rented at resorts in the near future. Scoot over, Segway

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

What's Your Excuse (Read: The Maria Kang Fallout)

Maria Kang’s name is everywhere this week so I’m sure you’ve heard of her. If not, she is causing a stir around the web for this picture:

Everyone is at her throat for fat shaming and I have to confess that I don’t understand why. This is nothing new. She is not the only one running to the beat of the no excuses drummer. There are entire boards on Pinterest…hell, there are entire industries dedicated to that finger pointing “I work out, what do you do?” mentality. Seen a Cross Fit ad lately? Why isn’t anyone all over that? What about similar ads featuring men? Why isn’t anyone jumping down the throats of the super fit men doing Insanity, P90X, etc., etc.  all while telling other men to get their pot bellied asses off the couch to flip some giant truck tires to build their biceps? 

Women are held to an impossible standard of beauty but it’s nothing new. We’re groomed to be the prettiest overachievers in the world. We are to get through our task list with time to spare then cook, clean and raise kids to boot. Not all of us can do that – arguably none of us can do it all and feel peaceful and balanced at the end of any given day. Yet, the commercials play on. If you love who you are and can ignore the images in the commercials as photoshopped, special effect driven bull, why can’t you ignore a super fit woman essentially saying she works out harder than you even with 3 young kids? Why is she a woman hating, fat shaming, internet villain rather than just another exercise junkie spreading her fitness message to the world?
Is it because she brings you into it by asking for your excuse? Does she seem to be taunting you in that on the playground “nanny, nanny boo-boo” kind of way? Look a little deeper. Is it because she hit a nerve? For me the answer is yes because I know better.

At the end of the day, I feel like no one can shame me for things that don’t bother me. For instance, if someone said “I can’t believe you can drink four glasses of wine in one night” I would tell them to kick rocks. If on the other hand, someone said I can’t believe you’ve gained almost 30 pounds since your wedding, I would feel bad because (i) I am ashamed; and (ii) I know I got there on the backs of various excuses.

You only live once!

You gotta live!

My show starts in 5 minutes.

I’ll work out extra hard tomorrow.

I have a meeting after work.

I’m tired.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. Not one among them is adequate enough to justify living at an unhealthy weight and letting my heart get lazy from lack of cardio. That doesn’t mean I don’t use them anyway. As you know, I missed the last two weeks of workouts all because of excuses, which is precisely why something like Maria Kang’s photo struck a nerve. It’s the same nerve struck by EVERY fitness message meant to kick my butt into gear.

Now, before you cut my head off and point to more serious excuses/reasons people may have (particularly health related ones), let me say this: I have Pulmonary Hypertension (PAH) and Lupus SLE.  Both cause fatigue and one causes shortness of breath and rapid heart rate (and that is the biggest understatement of the issues caused by my illnesses I’ve EVER made but I digress). I could fall back on my conditions and use them as excuses not to get fit and be well within my right to sit on the couch and relax. Trust me. I have done it. I get it. Sometimes, you just can’t work out. I don’t feel like Maria Kang’s message is targeted at those with debilitating conditions. The same can be said for those who love their bodies no matter the size. Again, I don’t feel that’s the targeted audience for her message.

The message (IMHO) is meant for those who can do it and want the results but make a million excuses  and lament their self-perceived physical shortcomings every New Year’s Eve, Weigh-In Day, Class Reunion, Family Gathering, etc. I don't think the message was meant to say "You need to look like me" to be worth something. I think it was meant to say you can be the best you if you let go of the standard set of excuses. She's speaking from experience. After all, she wasn't born looking the way she does in the controversial photo. Check out her before and after photos here

I have friends with 4 kids who manage to get up every day, do cross fit, take their kids to school, attend every kid’s sporting events and have meals together at night. They also find time to go to parties, motivate friends, go on vacation, and train for marathons. They do not have a live in nanny or clones. They make health a priority and they get it done. I aspire to get there and I know if I asked them how they keep it going, “NO EXCUSES” would be somewhere in the answer. One thing is clear. If I want to get to my fitness goal, excuses won’t get me there and people like Maria Kang will continue to strike a nerve. Not willing to let that happen. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: See Jane Move to Fatland


If there were such places as Fat Land, Discouraged Land, or I Feel Like Throwing a Friggin’ Tantrum Land, I would live there today. I am sitting here typing this while my legs are aching from the 5 miles I walked on Saturday and the workout I did last night. Despite that, my weight is up another pound this week. I am quickly undoing all of the progress I’ve made while training for this weekend’s 5K. The worst part? I don’t understand why. I will admit that I haven’t worked out like I should have over the past couple of weeks but I’ve been tracking my food and keeping within my allotted calorie/fat/fiber range. I thought that would at least help me maintain the weight loss I’d achieved over the past couple of months. My body disagrees. Apparently, I have to go hard or go home to Fat Land.  

Photo created by me with background from Imagenes y graficos and pizza from Fotolia.
Things were going along swimmingly until my volunteer activities picked back up. After a long day of work followed by a 2 hour meeting, it’s hard to muster the energy to go to the gym. As it is, I’m eating dinner at 9:00 p.m. Ash suggested getting up to work out in the morning. Good idea but impractical given that I usually go to sleep around 2:00 a.m.  It makes for tough mornings. 

I guess what I am saying is I have a crapload of excuses, which while legitimate, are giving me NO RESULTS. So, I suppose I need to reorganize my life in some major way. Sleep by 11:00 p.m. Dinner on the go for nights when I have a meeting. Gym in the morning….and maybe, just maybe, I need to do another juice cleanse. Something’s got to give. Clearly, throwing a tantrum isn't going to work (though it may burn a few calories). 

Photo from
This week’s recipe is Carrot Soup with Lemon, Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas (from Smitten Kitchen). I’ve been on a soup kick lately (that always happens to me when the weather cools down) and anything carrot based usually works for me. I usually go for carrot, ginger and cashew soup but this soup offers a nice change with some flavors (cumin, tahini (sesame seeds), and garlic) I can’t resist. Enjoy. 


So I have a feeling that this is not the week to be posting here, but here goes it….I exercised ONCE this week.  I came down with a cold that kept me in bed all weekend.  Now, I am just trying to rest to get over this before my big trip.  That said, I was down 1.4 this week – but remember, I was up 1.8 last week.  All in, I am only down 3.4 pounds. Truly  unsuccessful overall if you ask me. I was really trying to lose 10 pounds before my trip.  Now, the trip is only a week and a half away so I will not meet my goal.  Aside from that, I got a terrible haircut this weekend.  Maybe my hairdresser realized how disappointed I was with my weight loss and decided to cut off all of my hair in the hopes my haircut would equal a 9 pound loss….As if….Instead, I weigh the same and have a terrible haircut but I digress.

Photo from Thrifty Fun
It seems Nicole and I have walked – or run – into a major stumbling block.  How do you deal with this? Is whining the way to go?  Or should I just enjoy an actual sandwich (rather than boring salad or soup) for lunch?  How does one stay focused when so much hard work does not seem to pay off??  And let’s not even discuss Halloween…..HELP! As an aside, how does one style hair they HATE when you are expected to be in vacation photos?  LOL.

Today’s recipe is one I have enjoyed during the so-called weight loss/exercise journey.  It is taken from my favorite website for recipes these days – Gina's Skinny Recipes.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Quotable

If money was no object, what would you do with your life? Most of us, including me, wouldn’t do what we are doing now.  We’d dare greatly (to borrow a phrase from Theodore Roosevelt via Brené Brown) and follow our passions. 

Our nephew was with us this weekend. He is struggling because all of his friends know exactly what they want to be when they grow up. He’s still undecided and is feeling the pressure to jump into one of the career boxes acceptable to his peers so he can be part of the “I have a plan” crew.  I asked him what he likes to do and pointed to several of his talents to make suggestions. His response to most of what I suggested was “I can’t make money doing that.”

After talking to him about passion being more important than money, his first question to me was whether my work was my passion. You know that moment when a kid makes your hypocrisy clear? Yeah. That happened. I dialed back a bit and told him that I have the job title I wanted when I was a kid declaring what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Then, I was honest and explained that it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I wanted to be Claire Huxtable or Perry Mason. Making arguments in court and saving the world one case at a time. On top of that, I wanted to be the perfect wife and mother. Solve cases, kiss boo-boos, tuck kids in and relax in bed after a foot rub from my husband. I assure you, that isn’t what happened.

Of course, the next question was why do you stay? Why not find something else to do. Truth? Income and insurance. I mean, I like my job a lot but is it my dream job? Not even close. I’ve grappled over whether I made the right career choice many times. I explained that to him and he gave me a shoulder shrug and a “So, it’s not really about dreams. It’s about money.” Touché kiddo.

I hate that this is the gloss that will cover all of his decisions about what career to get into. I’m hoping it will change. He’s got several years before he needs to worry about what job to go after. I just hope he goes with his heart. There are many times when I wish I had. Then maybe I wouldn’t be afraid to do improbable, impractical heart-filling things with my life—even if they’re not so fiscally stable. One day… 

*Photo is of the autumn leaves as I sped by them on my drive to work. Love the orange and red leaves. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Friday Playlist

Two is better than one. Two times the fun. It takes two baby! Two for the price of one! Umm...ok, I'm all out of idioms about the number two. Before this turns into an episode of Sesame Street, I'll get to the point. I like the mellow sound of the artists on today's playlist but in going through songs to feature, I couldn't choose just one from each artist. So, I chose two and if you don't know these artists, you'll get to know them this week, 2 songs at a time. Happy Friday!! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

1. I love to eat and lately, I've been sticking to fruits and vegetables in an effort to get my health on track. It's nice that some of my favorite foods pack a punch on the beauty front too. Read more here.

2. These bright, sheer polishes make me wish for warmer days. They make it easy to hold on to a little bit of summer.

3. I'm always in the market for new barware. These stainless steel martini glasses are right up my alley.

4. So, Banksy art has been everywhere lately. I admittedly do a lot of shopping online. That's how I found this print. Love the sarcasm and the comment on consumerism.

5. I thought this article on what your cocktail choice says about you was pretty funny.

6. Vinegar and olive oil or art? I love these hand blown cruets for their function and for their decorative appeal.

7. I take enough pictures to justify purchasing this phone case. It comes in a variety of colors.

8. Loved this little breakdown of types of Facebook posts/personalities.

9. Anything that improves upon already delicious french fries is a win in my book. Try these 3 dipping sauces as an alternative to ketchup or mayo.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: See Jane Fall Into a Slump


Well, this past week was an utter failure. As mentioned in my previous post, I hosted an Italian food bonanza last weekend..and the scale showed it. I was up 1.8 pounds after all was said and done.  I also managed to do some damage by spending a night out drinking with a friend.  Oh -- and I did not exercise at all for over a week.  This past Saturday, I did force my sneakers back on and did Couch to 5k, week 5, day 1.  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  I am glad to report that since then (and since I cheat and weigh myself everyday), I am down 1.3 of the 1.8 pounds.  So that is progress.  However, I’m no where near my goal weight for my upcoming trip.

Tonight, I am going to try Couch to 5K, week 5, day 2.  It looks near impossible to me. Guess a 36 minute walk is better than nothing though.

As for this week's recipe -- I am just passing along a tip.  Check it out here.


I mentioned before that I use Sparkpeople as a food and weight tracking system to hold myself accountable. As part of the service, they send e-mails blasts every day that include an exercise of the day and motivational tips. As I was sorting through e-mails last week, I came across “7 Times It's OK to Skip a Workout” I got excited and started searching for a reason that would allow me to skip a workout without a guilty conscience. The list started with “You’re pregnant” moved to “You had surgery (or the doctor told you to lay off exercise)” and ended with “You’re actually too busy.” No where on the list was “You’re feeling like lying in the bed is such a better option than going for a run.” Damn!

Let me say this:  I had every intention of working out last week I’d be all geared up planning the kind of workout I was going to do. I would even watch clips of workout videos to hype myself up. Then, I would get home after a long day at work and despite the guilt, I would go straight to the kitchen for dinner and then right to bed. I just couldn’t muster the energy to run. So, I was a lazy lump for much of the week.

I paid for that laziness on Saturday. As you know, Ash and I ran the Walking Dead Escape obstacle that day. Running (and climbing and crawling) is HARD in general but when you’ve been sitting on your ass for the week leading up to it, it’s almost impossible. I felt like I hadn’t done any training at all! As I sprinted through crowds of zombies partially hidden by smoke machine fog, I was scared and all I could think was “when is it over?” Well, that and “where’s the water station?”

Thirty-five minutes after I started, I was stumbling towards the exit after climbing 6 flights of stairs, crawling through tunnels and creepy school buses, climbing up and over large platforms and running over a mile. Needless to say, I was totally wiped out. And the next day? My legs were in full revolt. Walking down the stairs (yes, down) felt like someone was stabbing my thighs…stabbing and twisting… with hot pokers.

It sounds dramatic but I was in really bad shape. It scared me for the 5Ks to come in the next couple of weeks (Lupus Walk on 10/19 andHoBooKen on 10/26). Strangely, it also gave me a healthy dose of incentive to get back on track with Couch to 5K. Why? I think I would have been in a lot less pain the day after the run. With these two 5Ks coming up, I can’t afford to brush off another day.

p/s I also paid for my laziness this morning at weigh in. I’m up 1.8. Argh!

p/p/s Today’s recipe is my breakfast of choice these days. Check out the Morning Power Boost here.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Monday Quotable

The need to have faith is one of those things that is instilled in most of us--regardless of what higher power(s) that faith is instilled in--from a young age. It soon becomes a platitude used when someone is going through a trying time: "You have to keep the faith!" "You have to have faith." "Faith will get you through." I certainly use those expressions a lot but I often take for granted the meaning underneath.

A family member has been going through a lot lately and in consoling him, Ash and I have used those same phrases. But this weekend, after another issue fell on the pile and, gets to a point where you feel like just telling someone to keep the faith isn't good enough. Yet, it's really the best thing to do. A faith-fueled outlook gives hope for the future--the basis for thinking things will get better. It helps shine the right light on the bad things that happen. They are often not the end of the world. They are usually just a test that strengthens you for things that will come up later in life.

I've been through a lot in my brief (if 35 is considered brief) life and some of it has knocked the wind out of me. But, I've always gotten up because I believed (and still believe) there are better things ahead. I may not have believed it could get better in low moments but, it always was in the end. It's not neat and tied up in a pretty bow-covered package but there has always been a gift at the end of a tough time--even if it's just a realization that I am stronger than I think. So, I try to keep growing into a state of undying faith and grasping on to the faith I've already gained through experience...and I'll keep responding with that when someone I love is struggling.

What do you do to keep the faith in tough times? What do you tell your friends who are struggling?

*Photo is at sunset after a day filled with tornado warnings and severe wind and raid. The colors were so vibrant and amazing, I had to get a shot. Unfortunately, because of the hour (it was after work), I had to race to the top of the parking garage and even then, I could only get the last blaze of the sun before it disappeared behind the trees. Still, the colors in the sky were too beautiful to waste. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday Playlist

This Friday's playlist is a group of songs that I've heard through the last couple of weeks and loved. It's a whatever tickled my fancy sort of playlist. Outside of these, I'm still obsessed with Lorde but I thought I'd vary it a bit and not just put all of her songs (EP and album) on a playlist--though she definitely made the list. Hope you enjoy it and HAPPY FRIDAY!!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

You know those days when you can’t get your self together long enough to form a coherent sentence? Well, today is one of those days so I am giving you interesting, life changing things to look at instead. 

I was late to Brene Brown's viral TED talks but I am hooked on her work now and am following along with her Lifeclass series on OWN. So, like a teacher who shows a movie on a rainy (read: lazy) day at school, I'm turning this post over to a movie...or a couple of TED Talks. Enjoy! Friday's almost here! 



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Love List for HalloGivingMas

People are just staring to purchase Halloween costumes yet, I am hearing sleigh bells jinglin' (ring ting tinglin') and they are not in my head. In what has now become the norm, Santa Claus is chilling next to the Zombie costumes at your local big box store. 'Tis the Season of HalloGivingMas. Let's get on board this crazy little train, shall we?

The Neiman Marcus Christmas book is out. For me, the excitement of the catalog has always been in the Fantasy Gifts section. I mean, who doesn't need to live in Philip Johnson's glass house for a night (for $30,000)? Seriously, though, I do enjoy dreaming my way through the pages of the Fantasy Gifts and then browsing the rest of the book for holiday gift ideas. The prices range from $12 (coffee mug) to $2,640,000 (outdoor entertainment package). In lieu of this week's traditional Love List, here are some of my favorites (in reality and in my dreams).

1. B Brian Atwood Matte Black Crocodile Boot $695

2. Neiman Marcus 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante $344,500

3. Brevity 22-karat gold-plated customized signature nameplate $295

4. T Tahari Little Black Dress $158.

5. Berek Leather Lace Noir Jacket $548-$598 (depending on size)

6. Eddie Borgo Accessories: (a) Set of Five Rings $500 (b) Alternating Cone Bracelet $480 (c) Large Cone Bracelet $1,000 (d) Small Pave Pyramid Bracelet $375 (e) Link Bracelet $1,200 (f) Small Cone Bracelet $675 (g) Large Pyramid Bracelet $800 

7. Bagatelle Leather Moto Jacket with Knit Collar $395

8. Frye Leather “Dorado” Riding Boots $478 (for either color)

9. Elie Tahari Dual Texture Coat $595

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekly Weigh In: See Jane Socialize


Well, I really do not have much to report this week.  Last week, I did manage to weigh in - and I was down 1.6 pounds.  I was very happy with that result.  Of course, that was prior to my Saturday night festivities (do we see a trend here???).  Saturday night, I hosted 15 wonderful, near and dear friends at my apartment for a dinner party.  Of course, the dinner party turned into a buffet because, well, my place is just not big enough to have 15 seated friends at a table.  Let's just say the night consisted of lots of cheese, wine, more wine, more cheese, and...well..munchkins.

Once again, I have stepped on the scale mid-week and I am up about half a pound.  I am trying to refocus and get back on track this week. Hopefully, Saturday will see another success.

As for the running - complete failure.  I have not been outside to run in over a week. I did manage to force myself to go to the gym once this past week.  Again, time to refocus on that.

What will next week bring??? We shall see.

Today's recipe is my homemade whipped cream.  Its not diet friendly -- but it was a hit at the party and it could not be any easier (and cheaper and tastier than Redi-Whip or Cool Whip).


Confession: I haven’t run in a week. I have worked out (once) but I have not gone running.  HoBOOken is in 18 days. What am I thinking?!?!? Well, for starters, I am exhausted. I did some boxing drills with Ash last week and some light weight training but the thought of running just makes me want to hide under the covers (and take a nap while I’m there).  So what did I do to pull myself away from my desire to nap?


This time, losing my mind means I signed up for the Walking Dead Escape (which made the Love List a couple of weeks ago) because nothing addresses my need to rest like crawling and climbing through an obstacle course while being chased by zombies. I also signed up for a 5K walk sponsored by the Alliance for Lupus Research. By the time HoBOOken rolls around, I will either be ready to run or I will magically transform into a volunteer at the first water station.

As for weight, today marks a milestone of sorts. As of this morning, I am down a total of 10 pounds. Some of that (about 2 pounds) is pre-Couch to 5K (remember the mini challenge from June?). Most of the weight loss is from the 3-day juice cleanse I did in September. I did gain a couple of pounds after the cleanse but it came back off pretty easily.

I clearly can’t attribute this week’s weight loss to running. I actually think it’s the boxing, which burns a surprising amount of calories (and clears every ounce of frustration). I’ve also been really strict with my eating habits—except on Friday and Saturday nights when I open the gate to my stomach for wine and whatever seems yummy. Sometimes, it’s pizza. Sometimes, it’s chips and guacamole. Sometimes, it’s any and every thing in between. I don’t restrict myself and obsess over how many calories I’m inhaling. I go for whatever I’m in the mood for.  I’m not saying that’s a healthy way to go but it works for me. It’s those “cheat day” meals that keep me from buying bags of Halloween candy during a grocery trip that started as a fresh veggie run. 

For the rest of the week, I stick to simple, clean foods most of the time. Breakfast is usually fruit or a fresh made green juice of some sort. For lunch and dinner, there are LOTS of salads loaded with veggies, a good amount of grains (lately, I’m defaulting to farro), a little bit of dairy and virtually no bread (I do eat the light rye Wasa crackers and will use a wrap, pita or flatbread when eating a sandwich). Sounds exciting right? Well, it is NOT a giant cheesecake (my personal fave) but I’m full at the end of the day and I’m doing what I set out to do: get healthy and lose weight. I also feel like it’s sustainable because I like what I’m eating.

Finally, if I could give any advice this week, it would be to avoid the scale like the plague after a cheat day(s). Unfortunately, I have to weigh myself every day (Yes. EVERY. DAY.) because of the risk of water retention with PAH. The morning after that awesome dinner party Robyn mentioned, I was up 3 pounds!!! 3.1 to be exact. Despite the wine, cheese, and munchkins (AND the lasagna rolls, baked ziti, spinach and kale bites, stuffed mushrooms, chocolate pie topped with homemade whipped cream and dessert martini I had) I watched my portions so I knew I didn’t eat 3 pounds worth of calories (approx. 10,500 calories). Yet, it still freaked me out. Luckily by weigh-in (today), I was down 2.3 pounds from last week’s weigh in...despite having sliders (today’s recipe) last night.