Monday, February 18, 2013

A Shiny New Home

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This was a wee bit buried in my last post, so I wanted to toss it up front here: in keeping with our recent move into a new (and much nicer) home, my blog has decided to follow suit and move to its own shiny, new, and much nicer home. (Because obviously it's a sentient being with the ability to do stuff like that.)

I'll now be writing at Seize the Latté- feel free to stop by!

Marvelous in My Monday: Big News!

Guess what: I'm not dead! Despite an extended absence from the blogosphere, I'm very much alive and kicking. It was an incredibly busy week, which means this long weekend is very, very welcome in my life.

With thanks to the lovely Katie over at Healthy Diva Eats for hosting Marvelous in My Monday, I gotta say: the most marvelous thing about today is that I don't have to be in the office. Days off are the best thing ever.

The other marvelous thing -- and the big news alluded to in the title -- is that I've decided to move my blog to a legit website! I also decided to change the title and URL; I'd originally started this blog to be exclusively a health and wellness blog, but it's evolved into something muuuuuch bigger and more complex than that. I want to write about all the bajillion things I'm interested in, so I decided to change the title to something a bit more general.

Sooooo...I'm excited to introduce my new baby blog, Seize the Latté!

Feel free to stop on by the new site for my random ramblings on food, international intrigue, fitness, women's empowerment/human rights, life as a thirty-something, interviews, and, hopefully a dash or two of inspiration.

Oh, and caffeine. Lots and lots of caffeine.

Monday, February 11, 2013

More Rest For This Cowgirl

Normally I'd be all about it being Monday night -- after all, once you clear the hurdle of the Monday 9-5 grind, it all gets better from there -- but I woke up this morning with a huuuuuuuuuuge migraine. Like, we're talking icepick-to-my-skull territory. 'Twas bad, people.
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I wound up staying home from work in an effort to soothe the Trotsky headache (history geek moment: Leon Trotsky, Joseph Stalin's rival, was killed by an icepick to the head -- so I've started referring to my migraines as Trotsky headaches). Happily, it seems to have worked: after spending all day with this beast, the headache is mostly gone now, and I suspect I'll be in good condition tomorrow.

That means my Marvelous in My Monday contribution consists of two things: rest and the headache trifecta cure (Tylenol, some coffee, and a couple of ice packs). It ain't fancy, but these things are what made my day bearable!

Truth be told, I'm not all that surprised that I wound up feeling so punky this morning: the weekend was uber-busy, and it involved lots of time spent cleaning the old apartment (which, for the record, is definitely not fun), shuttling stuff back and forth between the old place and our happy new home, and more errands than we normally cram into a month. So, I'm not horribly surprised that my brain decided to ambush me with a Trotsky headache of epic proportions.

After spending today on the couch with the ice packs and painkiller, I'm hopeful that I'll be back in the gym tomorrow morning with the remainder of last week's rom-com.

Tonight, however, Imma do some yoga before turning early in hopes that I'll be able to give the ol' bod the rest it needs. I'll be back tomorrow with a much more lively post, I promise! :)

Friday, February 8, 2013

It's Time for a Rest Day

When I woke up this morning, I had only one discernible thought: "uuuuuuuuugh."

I find that by the time Friday rolls around, I'm desperate for rest of all kinds: rest from the gym, rest from doing my hair (I have a ton of hair, so the process of trying to make it look normal is the cosmetic equivalent of the Bataan Death March), rest from cooking dinner...basically, I want nothing to do with my normal weekday routine. For me, a perfect Friday involves as low-maintenance of a day as humanly possible. If I could do absolutely nothing, that'd be even better.

Alas, I still have to go to work and earn my salary, so doing nothing isn't in the cards for me. But a rest day totally is.

So, instead of sweating it out at the gym right now, I'm giving my body a break and reading celeb gossip and perusing Facebook. Instead of my post-workout green smoothie, I'm having an egg white sandwich with my coffee. And I absolutely refuse to do much of anything to my hair.

Oh, and I sincerely hope that tonight can involve Thai food delivery.


This weekend is going to be jam-packed: we have to clean out the old apartment, which could quite possibly be an epic task. When we're not scrubbing baseboards in our old place, we've got dinner plans, movie plans, brunch did it come to pass that my weekends are so busy?! I think this is one of the things about adult life generally -- but the "real world" of 9-5 jobs specifically -- that really throws me for a loop.

Back in grad school, I could walk down the block at any time of day or night in order to spend time with my friends. The same was true when I was in Israel (one of my closest friends lived three doors down the hall in the grad student dorm), and even when I was working at a real-world 9-5 job in DC after college, I had a gaggle of friends at work (and a gaggle of roommates, some of whom are my close friends). Basically, friends were almost always available for hanging out, movie night, coffee breaks, or, when the weather got summery, margaritas on the porch.

Now, however, it takes a lot of planning and strategizing -- sometimes even weeks in advance -- before I'm able to see my friends. It's insane, and it kind of bums me out. Other elements of adult life don't bug me *nearly* as much as this does.

I do think, though, that this is one of the reasons I enjoyed our wedding as much as I did. A huuuuuuge portion of our friends made the trip out to Colorado, and as soon as the reception got underway, it was basically a big party with some of our favorite people. Brandon and I have said, on more than one occasion, that we wish we could have a repeat of our wedding reception just so we could have all our friends in one place again.

Failing that, though, I'll gladly take a busy weekend and weeks of advance planning so I can see these wonderful people. Hopefully I can get some extra R&R tonight so I'm back at it and ready to roll tomorrow. White noise app, I'm lookin' at you.

In the meantime, happy Friday -- I hope everyone has a fabulous day!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Jealous of Boston

As a Colorado gal, I have to say: I love me a good snowstorm.

It's been ages since DC had anything in the way of accumulating snow (officially, we've had a total of exactly 1.5 inches this year...this makes me sad), I find myself looking back on Snowmageddon with what basically amounts to overwhelming nostalgia.

Brandon and I had only been dating for a few months, but we were more or less living together at that point. Knowing that the snowstorm was going to pretty much cripple DC, we hunkered down in his apartment, grilled ribs and steak on the deck amidst blizzard conditions, and I think I read at least two books in short order.

Oh, and I played in the snow like a little kid. Because, as I may have mentioned before, I'm basically a four-year-old trapped in an adult's body.

Sigh. I miss it.

This, of course, makes me immensely jealous of Boston, which is supposed to get slammed with an epic snowstorm tomorrow. If there are any Bostonians out there reading this, please go frolic through a snowdrift for me!

Anyways, I might not be on the business end of an historic blizzard, but I've still had an awesome week. This week has featured a handful of things that have either improved my quality of life by, like, a bajillion orders of magnitude, or have just generally made me really happy.

And, since it's Thursday, it's time for...Thankful Thursday! Thanks, as always, to Jessie over at Jessie Loves to Run for hosting.


...The white noise app I discovered on my phone. As you may recall from last week, I was having a really hard time sleeping through the night -- random noises kept waking me up, and it was driving me slowly insane. Then I found the white noise app, and I've been sleeping like the dead ever since I put it to use. Epic win.

...The bus. I've relied on the Metro during my daily commute for the past four years, and it was infuriating. This week I finally got out of the house (and the office) early enough to take a bus, and...HOLY MOTHER OF GOD. The bus is amazing, people. My commuting time has been cut in half, I don't have to walk a half mile on crowded, narrow sidewalks filled with chain smokers (so. Effing. Gross.), I usually get a seat, I'm not crammed into a small space with a ton of angry people, and I can actually see the sun instead of being stuck underground while breathing noxious fumes that smell like burning electrical equipment and are probably loaded with carcinogenic junk. I've gone from hating my commute to loving it -- and as anyone who reads my Facebook feed can tell you, this is a really, really big deal.

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...The idea to watch movies on my Kindle while I'm at the gym. I no longer feel like I'm slogging through my cardio, *and* I get to watch all the crappy rom-coms that I've been wanting to see for ages. It's such a win-win! After finishing Pitch Perfect, I realized there are some free rentals available since I'm a member of Amazon Prime, so I've moved on to No Strings Attached. Natalie Portman + Ashton Kutcher = good times.

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...Libraries. I'm a voracious reader, and now that I'm done with my IIN schoolwork, I once again have time to do lots of leisure reading. Of course, the list of books that I want to read is as long as your average cruise ship: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, The Bungalow by Sarah Jio, Mindset by Carol Dweck, Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller, In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson...the list goes on. And on. And on and on and on. I don't want to buy all these books, though -- we're trying to save money, and a book-buying binge won't help us on that front. Between the Kindle lending library and the public library, though, I'm all set. I can get most of them on my Kindle, and those that I can't read electronically I'll gladly read in hard cover. The only downside is that there's a good chance I won't come up for air for the next six months.

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Lastly, the biggest and most exciting thing I'm thankful for this week (!!) is...drum roll please...the fact that my first article for Girls Gone Sporty has been published! (*Does happy dance*) You can check it out here, and feel free to distribute far and wide. This aspiring writer is practically verklempt with happiness!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

Ok, so I have to say: my rom-com and cardio plan is going swimmingly thus far.

After growing reeeeeeeaaaaallly tired of my workout playlist, deciding to rent a shamelessly girly movie that Brandon would never, ever, ever watch has proven to be a brilliant plan. I've always loved working out, and the fact that I was starting to dread the monotony of the elliptical was freaking me out more than a little bit -- but now I'm all excited to watch the next segment of my chick flick.

Workout win!

Today I did 30 minutes on the elliptical while finishing Pitch Perfect (which is fabulous) and then did a quick circuit training routine (repeated a second time for maximum muscle-y benefit):

10 push-ups
15 squats (+10 pounds total)
50 reverse crunches
15 chest press (+10 pounds each side)
10 forward lunges
10 backward lunges
10 tricep extensions (+ 8 pounds each side)
50 crunches

Now that my daily sweat session is in the bag, it's time for What I Ate Wednesday - many thanks to Jenn over at Peas & Crayons for hosting!

I started off with a pre-workout cawffee to help me power through the early-morning gym session:

After getting my sweat on, I had an egg white sammich on gluten-free toast (one of my absolute faves -- and I have to say, Rudi's GF Multigrain Bread is some of the best GF bread I've ever had) as well as a green smoothie made with kale, banana, frozen strawberries, and frozen mango:

Snacks du jour included an apple, a banana, cantaloupe, celery with peanut butter, and non-fat Greek yogurt with berries and GF granola:

Lunch was a particular point of excitement for me: I made sweet potato, apple, and lentil soup after being inspired by a faaaaaaaaabulous soup served at a restaurant this past weekend. I did lots of research in order to hunt down what I thought could be a good recipe, combined elements of the two recipes I liked the most, and...voila! A delicious, warming lunch creation:

By the time Brandon and I both got home, we were both zonked out. We reserve one night a week for what we refer to as "F*ck it" night: a night when we don't want to cook and would rather say "F*ck it, let's go out for dinner" so other people can cook and do dishes. On nights like that, we just don't have to do any work. And since it's only one night a week, it keeps expenditures to a minimum. Brandon had cheeseburgers on the brain, so we went to Fuddruckers -- and they just happen to have a lovely salad (Napa Valley Salad, sans blue cheese and toast) that I really enjoy.

For dessert, I basically inhaled some chocolate frozen yogurt -- that stuff is amazing. Benjamin Franklin once famously said that "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," but I think he got that wrong: the proof isn't beer, it's chocolate fro yo. :)

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Wednesday!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

An Ode to Old Running Shoes

I don't know about you guys, but some of my best thinking is done while running. I’ve organized countless research papers, analyzed countless boy problems (all pre-Brandon, obvi), and had countless epiphanies – all while hitting the pavement.  On more than one occasion, I’ve been struck by some key realization or insight that helped me nurse a broken heart back to health or make an important decision about my future.

As a result of all this, I don’t see old pairs of running shoes as products that have served their purpose and been worn out. Instead, I see what those shoes represent. 

For example, my 2004 Mizunos propelled me through my first real job in DC (it was a "pay your dues" kind of gig, and it wound up being a particularly rough experience), cushioned my feetsies during long runs that helped me feel better after a bad breakup (the kind wherein, out of the blue, the guy you've been dating for two years says he doesn't love you anymore), and pushed me through a critical period when I was torn between going to grad school or moving overseas (I chose to go overseas, which I never would've done had the aforementioned boy not dropped the aforementioned "I don't love you anymore" bomb - so I'm actually really grateful that he did). 

My 2005 Adidas trail shoes were broken in on the red clay trails in my beloved Colorado, and they traveled with me throughout the Middle East. I wore them on the runs that helped me survive hours of language immersion (Hebrew and Arabic are effing hard, people), and really, these shoes deserve their own passport: I wore them as I hiked to the monastery in Petra, hiked though the Golan Heights, and trekked though Egypt. 

You can't see them, but those shoes were awesome for climbing large rocks in Jordan.
Once I was back Stateside, I wore them when I made a spur-of-the-moment decision to hike up a fourteener with some grad school friends, which in and of itself was a huge accomplishment.

Chillin', and being chilled, at the summit of Mt. Bierstadt. Note the kicks.
I stopped running in grad school due to the arthritis in my feet, but I started again when I found shoes that make my feet and knees happy - so my pair of 2010 Brooks Adrenalines were with me as I dipped my toes back into running and eventually ran my first 5K since 2002.

I realized the other day that because of what they represent, my running shoes feel like old friends. They’re familiar, comfortable, and broken-in – for example, with each pair, there’s a hole on the top of right shoe where my big toe has pushed through the fabric. (I apparently flex the hell out of my big toe when I run.)   

My logical side says I should throw out a pair or two to make room for my work shoes. However, the very idea of throwing out any of these ratty old things sparks a visceral response, and I have to fight the urge to say “Absolutely not!” out loud. It would be like throwing out a friend because he or she got old. 

These shoes, albeit old and dirty and falling apart, are part of who I am. They’re far too important to toss out with a week’s worth of banana peels. So, instead, I’ve decided that some day when I have the money and the living space I’ll bronze them and use them as book ends. 

That said, if any of you lovely people have ideas for how to re-purpose ratty old running shoes, I'd gladly take suggestions/ideas!