Thursday Treasures

HOORAY IT’S THURSDAY! The caps lock key was necessary today because it’s out of control windy in DC and it’s ridiculously loud slamming against the windows of my work building. In order for you all to hear me, I thought I might have to shout 😉 But actually, earlier I had to ask my boss to repeat himself because whatever he said was muffled by scary wind noises. What’s going on with you DC? Your weather is pure madness.

At least it give us all something to talk about with those weird people you have nothing else to talk about with. You know, those people you dread getting stuck alone with because you literally have ZERO things to say?  My guess is that the weather has been saving a lot of awkward conversations this week.

Minus the wind though- it’s absolutely gorgeous outside! So sunny and all blue skies. Ahhh the calm after yesterday’s rain storm.

Moving on- yes, it’s Thursday yet again and I am personally just so excited for another weekend to arrive. Just gotta make it through today. Starting yesterday though, I started to feel a little under the weather… my head felt cloudy, my throat hurt, I was physically exhausted. This bummed me out in a major way. Whenever I start to feel sick I immediately go into complete denial mode. No no no I’m not getting sick. Last night and this morning were rough. I am one whiny Washingtonian (just ask Will). I’m feeling slightly better at the moment but maybe that’s just the dayquil speaking… we shall see.

My day definitely started off on the right foot with a solid breakfast. It was wicked random but it was everything I wanted when I woke up. One of the things I’m working on with the R.D. is eating more of what I truly want to eat and less of what I feel like I’m supposed to eat. And you know what? This morning I wanted sweet potato wedges.

2013-01-31 06.22.12

What you have before you is some warmed and chopped up sweet potato wedges, a warmed and mashed frozen banana, a spoonful of peanut/coconut butter, a spoonful of greek yogurt, and a tbl. of raisins. Totally random, but totally good. It was sort of like a bread pudding minus the bread. Sort of.

Breakfast makes everything better. As does remembering all the good things in my life at the moment and ignoring the fact that I’m sick. Yup. Still in denial la la laaaaa.

Continue reading

Barre Yoga and Stuffed Mushrooms

It’s been a while since I’ve tried a new type of exercise. It’s also been a while since I’ve made time to go to yoga. So when I was invited last week to take a free yoga class at Epic Yoga in Dupont Circle, I jumped at the chance to try it out. Even though I’m a relative beginner to yoga and am not wicked skilled or anything, I wanted to try a class outside of the realm of just regular, good old fashioned yoga. Lucky for me, Epic Yoga offers a wide range of unique classes that put cool spins on your classic yoga class.

Screenshot 2013-01-29 at 8.34.11 PM

Intrigued by the recently trendy barre workouts I’ve been seeing all over the place, I signed up for a barre yoga class. The class description on their website reads:

Yoga-based class that incorporates ballet barre work, cardio and Pilates.

Simple description, but I decided to go for it. I’ve only been exposed to barre work by way of that one year I did ballet way back in the day and the short unit we had on it in the fitness class I took senior year at AU. All I remembered was that it didn’t feel like a workout when it was happening, but the next day I was sore sore sore.

The studio is new and it’s absolutely beautiful (and full of sweet amenities- free yoga rental, a relaxing cool down room, a room with lockers- it was too nice/pretty to call it a locker room). The design of the inside was calming, inviting, and I loved all the exposed brick in the design of the whole studio.

I was nervous to not only get back into yoga, but to try out this whole barre yoga thing. Yoga classes for me tend to get really emotional because they always bring this great awareness to how I’m feeling and the needs of my body and mind. Yeah… that sounded REALLY yogi of me… I know. But it’s true. It scares me sometimes how intense yoga classes can make me feel. Which, is part of the reason I tend to opt for workouts other than yoga when I’m going to the gym.

The other reason I’ve been dissing yoga and ignoring it a little is because honestly, sometimes I don’t want to think about all my thoughts and emotions and all that jazz. Usually I just want to leave all that at the door because I over think all day anyway and am with my own head. The strength and cardio workouts I end up doing allow me to stop thinking about everything that plagues me and just focus on pure exercise. Which is nice for me. BUT as I am forever seeking balance, I definitely recognize the benefits yoga has in my life (physically and mentally) and I really should make the effort to go. Hey- my gym isn’t called “Balance” for nothing- its name alone should remind me to swap out some of my Body Pump, Bootcamp, and Spin classes with their yoga classes.

OKAY I promise I’ll talk about the actual workout I did last night. It was definitely different and interesting. It also reminded me how badly I need to work on my actual physical balance- yikes! All the one legged action and toe pointing was a real challenge for my coordination skills. The class was pretty fast paced- faster than your standard class, and it really was a fusion of yoga poses and ballet moves. Definitely a cool way to change up yoga. At the end we even did a set of crunches and a little focused ab work.

The instructor was passionate and her music was AMAZING. While it included yogi tunes (with indecipherable words), she also had slow- acoustic versions of Pete Townshend’s Let My Love Open the Door and David Gray’s Babylon. Below isn’t the version she used I’m sure, but I had to include that song by Gray- it always touches my heart.

Overall- great experience. It won’t be a regular thing because classes are expensive and I already pay for a gym. But I definitely don’t think it will be the last time I go into this studio.

Class was followed by the greatest dinner I’ve had in a long time. Stuffed Portobello Burgers with Caramelized Onions. I altered the main recipe a bit (primarily because I was only serving myself)- but the idea remains the same: portobello mushrooms, roasted red peppers, mozzerella cheese, carmelized onions, and eggplant. Holy crap was this good. Although, caramelized onions could make anything taste like heaven (in my honest opinion).

Continue reading

When I Feel Good

Yesterday was a good day. I needed one of those after a series of rough ones. I found myself reflecting on this and thinking, why is today so different than yesterday- why was I in this black hole of anxiety and stress feeling like I would never see the sunshine again and now I’m doing just fine?

When I’m having a bad day I tend to forget that good days exist or refuse to believe that things will be better. It can be so hard to think positively and remember all those times you were happy when you’re in an awful mood.

So I’m writing this post, and started working on it yesterday, to remind myself of the elements of my good day. There are certain things I can do to feel better or to feel happy. Again, sometimes I forget these things when I’m upset. I shall revisit this post to remind myself of the ways in which I can ensure a better day all around and feel better when I’m down. Some are more serious than others- but all are important.

Continue reading

Bacon, Maple, and Brussels

Hellllllo work delay! I woke up this morning to some “nasty precipitation” (says the news people) and the federal government having a delayed/noon opening. My work follows the federal government’s status so that means I don’t have to be into work till later. Yes yes yes. I was going to go back to sleep but I already was awake by the time I realized what was going on. And I had put on all my makeup. Fail. So instead I’m writing to you all bright and early.

I’m happy to report that I relaxed and slept this weekend. I even slept in till the crazy hour of 9am yesterday. But actually it was pretty weird waking up “that late.” My body clock usually gets me out of bed by 7:30am on the weekend. I knew my body needed it so I embraced being in my bed. The 5:45am alarm this morning was brutal- if I had known about the delay while I was still in my bed, I would NAHT be writing to you right now. But alas. Here I am.

I dig the mornings so I’m enjoying seeing the sunrise from my couch and not out of the windows of my office. I’m happy to be awake and alive on this Monday morning. It’s a new week and I always like the idea of starting fresh.

This week I am starting fresh in a different way than usual- with food that has been recommended to me by my registered dietitian. Usually I just make a crazy big salad for lunch but today’s lunch is:

1/2 a tuna salad sandwich (can of tuna + greek yogurt + pepper) on piece of ezekiel bread. With it, is a arugula/spinach salad with LENTILS and cannellini beans (they’re the newbies to my world of salad) plus grape tomatoes, avocado, green peppers, onion, sliced roasted eggplant, and mushrooms. I drizzled all the veggies with lemon juice and threw in some shakes of basil and lemon pepper. Crossin’ my fingers that its a hit. I have to be at work at noon… so do I eat lunch before I go into the office or at my desk when I get in or what’s the plan here? I don’t even know.

Shout out to my girl Sara– you’re the one that inspired me to try out the cannellini beans! I trust your judgement 😉

On Sunday I set out to make those lentils having NO IDEA what I was doing. Well actually I had to start Saturday night because apparently you have to soak lentils for like 8 hours before cooking them… what? Yeah- true story. So I soaked them in some water overnight and cooked them yesterday.

P1000302

Anyone else see the number three in my soaking lentils? Weird- I know.

P1000308

I was instructed to bring the lentils to a boil in their soaking liquid and then simmer, covered for about thirty minutes. I think I cooked mine too long as they got pretty mushy.

P1000310

This is me having no idea what I’m doing with lentils.

P1000311

I jarred the lentils and I also put my cannellini beans in a mason jar for easier access. I know- my lentils look like mush. Some of them are still solid but for the most part they’re kind of a sloppy mess. We’ll see how they taste/hold up in my lunch time salad.

New food experiments are fun- but they’re also nerve wracking! I like knowing what I’m doing and am a perfectionist so it’s weird just winging things and going with whatever the food decides to do.

Continue reading

Three Amigas

Hello, weekend readers! I’m writing to you from a lazy morning Saturday. After a busy day running around yesterday and a week full of workouts and sleepless nights and stress, it’s been nice to just slowly wake up today. And now write to all of you from my couch.

Speaking of workouts, yesterday I went to bootcamp at the crack of dawn and did a workout our instructor dubbed “the three amigas.” There were nine people in the class so he broke us up into groups of three for the workout. I was working with two other lovely ladies that I see frequently at the gym and at bootcamp.

After a good warmup, we got the workout of the day (WOD to use cross-fit lingo) on. We did AMRAP (as many rounds/reps as possible) of:

  • 3 broad jumps
  • 10 sandbag throws (up and over your head- so you throw the sandbag up and over you/behind you)
  • 10 ball tosses with our partner (we stood in a wide circle with our backs facing in and tossed the ball around in the circle for ten rotations)
  • Run .3 miles on the treadmill at 3% incline OR row 700 meters on the row machine

While the ball tosses were an exercise we had to do together, the other three were more individual. BUT we had to move through the workout as a group so even if I finished running my miles on the treadmill, I had to wait for my other two group members to finish to move on to broad jumps.

Sometimes group workouts like this frustrate me (because you can’t control your own pace) but I think overall they’re a good way to practice teamwork and patience. It’s also cool to have that support system feel when you’re getting through a tough workout- it’s less lonely and more fun 🙂

As usual, I went grocery shopping yesterday. All part of my Friday routine! But this time, my grocery shopping list and meal plan for the week was upgraded. I took the initiative to ask my R.D. for her recommendations for what should be on my grocery shopping list- including things I would normally avoid.

Continue reading

Thursday Treasures

As I was writing up my list of this week’s Thursday Treasures, I realized they all had something in common… they literally all begin with the letter S! No cynical people of the world, I didn’t do it on purpose- I swear! it just happened that way.

When I realized this, my brain took a stroll down memory lane and I found myself thinking of Sesame Street because each episode was always “brought to you” by a letter and a number. This blog post is brought to you by the letter s and the number six (that’s how many treasures I am sharing with you today).

For some reason the beginning part of the letter segments always freaked me out- those transforming Aztec/Egyptian like dancers?! Talk about trippy. Also, not going to lie- Sammy the Snake is a little creepy looking now that I’m revisiting all this.

I think I just spent too much time looking at old Sesame Street videos… at least my vocabulary is improving with all the letter videos I just re-watched. But really guys, I was just mesmerized by Sesame Street for a solid half hour. What is happening. So nostalgic!

OKAY I need to break away from YouTube. Onto the treasures!

Continue reading

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

Last night’s dinner was delicious and I loved it. It did not, however, keep me full for very long, which I’ll talk about later. But first- let’s discuss this recipe because it was so so good.

I followed a recipe from Julie (author of the blog Peanut Butter Fingers) for buffalo chicken burgers. I LOVED her recipe from the get go because it only required three ingredients:

  1. Franks Buffalo Hot Sauce (while I have succumbed to a Sriracha obsession as of late, I still love Franks)
  2. Parmesan Cheese
  3. Ground Chicken

P1000266

You really just mix together your ground chicken with the parmesan cheese and hot sauce- simple as that.
P1000268

I added a slice of provolone cheese to my burger about 2 minutes before taking it off the pan so it would get all melty. I served my burger on a whole grain sandwich thin and ate it up with A LOT of green beans on the side. These were the kind that came in one of those microwavable steaming bags- helllllllo convenience. It was a pretty easy dinner overall.P1000269

I also threw a handful of spinach and chopped red onion onto the “burger bun.” Red onions are definitely one of my favorite veggies- and my favorite onion variety. So pungent. Usually my contact lenses prevent my eyes from watering when I chop onions (cool and weird I know) but I chopped the onion on Sunday before putting my contacts in for the day (no worries- I had my glasses on) and my eyes teared up LIKE CRAZY. Good thing you’re worth it, red onions.
P1000270

Mmmmm. It tasted heavenly.P1000271And while I wasn’t hungry right after eating dinner, I realized about an hour later that I was hungry still and I wasn’t satisfied. Can you guess why? I knew why. There were no healthy fats incorporated into my meal. I started beating myself up for not incorporating some sweet potato wedges roasted in olive oil or throwing some avocado onto my burger. If I had only done those things than I wouldn’t be hungry. Hello perfectionist mentality. I hate that sometimes I see “being hungry” as a bad thing. I think its one of the side effects that can grow from calorie counting. When you’re calorie counting, you’re constantly dealing with the numbers and figuring out how you can stay at your calorie limit. So being unexpectedly hungry freaks you out because you don’t want to throw off your calorie plan. Maybe that’s just me, but I’ve been told it’s not by a long shot. Either way- I know it’s not good or healthy and it’s part of the reason I’m in counseling and seeing an R.D.

Continue reading