30 June 2012

This Week in Photos

'Twas my first week back after work after having last week off for my stacation, which meant I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get myself back on schedule. It was not an easy task for being off for such a relatively short time. 

 I've also been playing around with the Hipstamatic D-Series app on my iPhone. Unfortunately, I don't really have any photos to share using that particular as I have three separate "cameras" started which equals a lot of photos I still have to take before I can see the final results. Even though the waiting part has been driving me NUTS it's still be fun running around and snapping photos with it. Hopefully I have some of those photos so share next week!


Berries at the lake//  Pre-run smiles// Purple flower in the garden// Breakfast of Champions!// Surprise reads from Vickie// Mint chocolate chip AND chocolate ice cream=heaven// Chick-un Salad for dinner

Running with the Devil

Now that summer is officially here and brought with it heat and humidity, I'm finding it more than a little difficult to find any motivation to get out there and run. The draw of a nice air conditioned bedroom is enough to make me stay curled up in bed.

Despite what my Nike+ app says on my phone or my Nike+ Dashboard, I really did get out there for 3 runs this week. One had to be eliminated from the record though: apparently I was running like The Flash and clocked a 4 minute mile......yeah, total app failure. Whoops!

Even with the technology fail, I did fairly well this week. Still managed to get in 2 miles during each run and kept a pretty steady (a.k.a. my average) pace. I do think though I that I need to take a step back and start with week 4 of the C25K program. Until I can get over this huge mental barrier I have set up around the idea of running without not walking, I just don't see myself being able to push through. I know that sounds a little pessimistic, but I just don't want to set myself up for failure and giving myself a little extra time to work through the funk in my head will help me in the long run. 

29 June 2012

Vegan Chick-un Salad

On Tuesday, over on Vegan Housewives they posted a recipe for Vegan Chick-un Salad.

Seriously you guys. I was thinking about this for dinner ALL AFTERNOON.

Who cares that I had never made it before! I looked like it was just the recipe to fill a void that has been missing since ditching meat.....I feel like there's a "that's what she said" joke in there somewhere. Keep it clean, kids!

This recipe was really easy to put together. I did modify it a bit from the original mainly because despite having a list with me I still forgot one of the items. Regardless, it turned out amazingly good. This is definitely a recipe that will be used in heavy rotation. 

Vegan Chick-un Salad

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 can sweet peas, drained
  • 2 tablespoons Vegenaise
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

In a medium mixing bowl, I used my emulsion blender to smash the chickpeas. Mix in vegenaise, celery and sweet peas. Add salt and pepper to taste.

That's it! So simply yet so delicious! 

For dinner, I had mine spread on sourdough crisp bread with a couple of extra celery stalks on the side. 

Things I Pondered When I Should Have Been Doing Other Stuff

  • I try to stay away from discussing politics on and offline, but I totally let out a little "whoop! whoop!" after the announcement from the Supreme Court came out regarding the healthcare law. 
  • I take my Draw Something drawings very seriously, even if they only looking amazing in my own mind. 
  • Gingersnaps are my new obsession. Gosh darnit I love those little cookies. 
  • I'm a little late to the party, but this weekend I am going to work on a little garden by my front porch. I'm thinking lots of colorful pots filled with my favorite flowers. 
  • I also have a craft project to finish with my photos from PostalPix that I need to finish up and books to read and maybe even some quality time at the lake. This is shaping up to be a fun little weekend!

27 June 2012

Weekly Reads

Having last week off was brilliant and gave me quite a bit of time to get some reading done. I loved every darn minute of it! Now if I could just find a job where I could get paid simply for reading books, that would be fantastic!

Last week I read.....

Eat & Run: My Unlikely Journey Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek. Confession: I'm a bit biased when it comes to this book as I have a ridiculous rockstar crush on him. Seriously though-I really enjoyed his book. His writing was open, honest and very approachable. As a new runner, it was really encouraging to read his story, about his training/races and his advice on running. Not once did I feel like he was talking down to his readers or making it sound like running ultramarathons (or any distance for that matter) was reserved for a select few. The vegan recipes at the end of each chapter were a nice bonus, too. There are definitely a few that I can't wait to try out for myself. 

Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James: I just.....I can't....every time I try to think of how to explain how much I hated this book, words fail me. I just don't understand the fascination with this series. A friend told me that I "have to enjoy the porn part of it and not the plot". That doesn't make me feel any better about the book---it was dull, repetitive, and and just downright annoying.  Between Christian's constant need for control, Ana's inability to formulate a sentence and and the predictability of every scene, is was enough to make me want to toss my Kindle. I know diaglog can be tough--I struggle with it when I write, but the characters never really talked to one another, they murmured--277 times. Nearly every time they actually did have a conversation where they "were getting to know one another" (not in the physical manner) the author just skipped over it. And the one time when I thought we were actually getting somewhere, going to learn about Christians deepest darkest secret that was going to make Ana run for the hills, it was a total let down and I'm not sure there could have been a more obvious reason. This book just didn't deliver for me on any level except total annoyance. I think my friends will be happy to hear that I am not going to read book 3. I just simply can't put myself through that.

South of Bixby Bridge by Ryan Winfield: This book randomly showed up as a suggested reading title from Amazon. Talk about intense. I think I spent the last 70 pages or so in tears. The story is told by Trevor, who has just completed rehab and his quick rise and even swifter fall back into society. Parts of the book were quite hard to read because of what Trevor experiences and what he learns about himself (and his past along the way) but it was definitely worth it. Winfield did a wonderful job telling Trevor's story. I definitely felt more like reading Trevor's journal instead of a book about Trevor which made it easier to connect with his character. Despite all of his faults and how frustratingly self-absorbed he could be at time, I found my self rooting for him, hoping he would figure it out and find peace from the demons of his past. I am really looking forward to reading more books by this author.

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One for the Money by Janet Evanovich: I don't know why it took me so damn long to start reading this series. I LOVED this book. If you follow me on Twitter, then you've already had the unfortunate pleasure of listening to me complain about a lack of strong female characters in the books I have been reading. Stephanie Plum has filled that void. While she isn't perfect and some of the situations she gets herself into are a little hard to believe, but that is what adds to the fun of it all. The relationship between Plum and Joe Morelli was fun to watch as it played out as was the relationship between Plum and Ranger. I'm hoping Ranger will play a bigger role in the books to come. And let's all be honest, I'm quite certain I would have sold my canolli to Morelli in high school, too.

Queen of California

I am such a sucker for fun, clever YouTube videos and this one pretty much of tops them all right now. 

25 June 2012

Music Monday: Michael Kiwanuka

There aren't many things I love more than discovering a new (to me) artist. And I don't care how I hear about them: suggestion from one of my favorite artists, another blog, Twitter, friend recommendation. It just matters that I found the music, or in fact the music found me.

Case in point: Michael Kiwanuka.

The first mention of his name came from Mayer (twice in fact) and then from Rolling Stone.

Give him a listen.....the music speaks for itself.

24 June 2012

This Week In Photos

Today is my last day before I must return to work. I absolutely enjoyed having last week off to it's fullest. Read quite a lot. Managed to get the front room of the house sorted out. Annoyed Sadie. And just generally relaxed. It was a good week indeed.

Sunday: Hulk Smash! //Monday: Lunch//Tuesday: Garden//Wednesday: Owls//Thursday: Turtles//Friday: Globe//Saturday: Dinner

23 June 2012

Vegan Stuffed Shells

From the title it sounds like I stuffed an actual vegan into a shell, which some of my friends might find to be quite funny. But I promise, no vegans were harmed in the making of this meal. 

I have decided that I must have been an Italian grandmother in my previous life. It's the only reason I can come up with for why I am on a (somewhat obsessive) quest to make vegan versions of my favorite dishes.

This afternoon I tackled stuffed shells.

Random note.....I never made stuffed shells before I started following a vegetarian diet, so really this was my first time making them. Ever. Vegetarian or not.

I'm not going to lie, I fancy myself to be a pretty good cook to begin with, but I really out did myself this time! Seriously. I could have eaten the whole pan! I'm really looking forward to enjoying the leftovers this weekend and who knows, if they're lucky, maybe I'll take a dish to my parents.

Vegan Stuffed Shells


  • 20 jumbo shells (it took me three stores and having to buy these darn shells in bulk before I could make this dish) 
  • 1 package extra firm tofu 
  • 1 package spinach 
  • 28oz jar marinara sauce 
  • 2 tablespoons dried onion
  • 2 tablespoons dried garlic 
  • 1/2 cup Nutritional Yeast 
  • 2 tablespoons basil 
  • 2 tablespoons oregano
Time for another confession before I begin: I don't exactly know much onion, garlic, nutritional year, basil or oregano I used. The amounts given above are my best estimates. I know. I know. Ultimate fail when trying to share a recipe. I blame this on years of cooking with family members who use a "dollop of this" and "glop of that". Sounds appetizing, doesn't it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a mixing bowl mash tofu with fork (I like to break it up with my hands). Add spinach, nutritional yeast, onion, garlic, basil and oregano. Mix with a fork to combine. Set aside.  

In a large pot boil the shells as directed on the package. Drain and rinse the shells under cold water. 

Place enough spaghetti sauce on the bottom of an 8 X 12 baking dish just to cover. Stuff the shells with the tofu ricotta mixture, and place them in the baking dish. 

Pour the remaining sauce over the shells. 

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes and enjoy!

Running with the Devil

First things first.

There are some amazing ladies out there (you know who you are)  and I'd like each and every one of you to give yourself a hug! After my posts on Wednesday and Thursdays, all the kind comments and encouragements I received were pretty overwhelming. So from the bottom of my heart......THANK YOU!

And now to the running.....
No matter how much I had been looking forward to being able to get out there and running again, this week was HARD. Part of it was definitely the heat---in the two weeks that I had taken off to heal my foot summer decided to show up with a vengeance! I don't like the heat and humidity to begin with but running in it, no thank you!

But at least I got out there!

I have, however, modified my running schedule. I am not too proud to say that I am sure my foot issues were from doing too much it too quickly, so I'm starting back slow. Three days a week--no more. I'm going to keep myself to a set running schedule, no matter how much I want to add days (for a few weeks at least). On the days that I don't run, I'll swim (as long as family is not at the cottage--not sure they'd appreciate a 6am wake up call from me).

When you take out all the emotional junk, all three runs were pretty good. Mondays run was cut a bit short as I was trying to beat a thunderstorm home--if I hadn't been running away from it, it would have been the perfect storm for me to try and photograph! Wednesday and Friday I ran from the house, which included the dreaded hills. I am happy to say I conquered them all!! They were tough and at a much slower pace than what I would have liked, but there was no walking. It felt great.

Monday I'll be jumping back into the C25k program. I'm going to start back with Week 5, rather than try and start on Week 6 which is where I left off. Even though this does put me slightly behind the goal I set for my "end date" and my first 5k race, I am more than o.k. with that. I'll race when I'm ready, whether that be this summer or I have to wait until the fall.

22 June 2012

Things I Pondered This Week When I Should Have Been Doing Other Stuff

This little vacation of mine has gone way too quickly. I'd like another week off from work, please and thank you!

  • After posting that she won a book, I copied Micah (as I like to do) and entered some of the book giveaways on Goodreads and won! I'm looking forward to receiving and reading True Believers
  • I finished reading Fifty Shades Darker this week. I am so glad to be done with it. I'm not reading book 3. 
  • I'm not quite sure what it says about me when my friend tell me the Fifty Shades series is the raunchiest thing they've ever read. With the exception of a scene or two, I was thinking it was pretty tame. PG even on the scale of risque books. 
  • Tickets for the fall season of the National Writers Series events went on sale this week. I bought tickets for the Michael Connelly and Benjamin Busch events. I can't wait!
  • I keep saying that I want to do it, but starting with the next book I finish reading, I'm going to do a little review for each book I read. 
  • Anyone else ever look at the book titles on their eReaders and wonder "Why the heck did I buy that one?!" I have a lot of those kind of books on mine. 

21 June 2012

Don't Stop Believing

Did you know that trying to karate chop a mosquito doesn't really work? It just makes you look like a really bad dancer trying to do the robot while moving to the tunes in your own head. Truth.

This is a two for one post...... Double your pleasure, double your fun!

A link up with Rachele over at The Nearsighted Owl for her I Am Proud of My Size link up.

And a pledge to myself.

Amy over at Vanagon Champion is hosting a week of posts dedicated to a Summer of Self Love which is a series that couldn't have come at a better time. 

I had meant to write about this earlier in the week, but then chores around the house, random errands and a good book kept me away from putting together a post. But then yesterdays random meltdown happened, which I have thought about and thought about and thought about. And then I thought about it some more. 

And then I tried to write about what I thought about. Didn't go so well. 

Why? Because there are days like yesterday when I feel like a broken record. I've been to this place before (that awesomely annoying town of self-doubt) and I've written about it before and I've made the promise to myself that this it, I am done with the negative thinking and worrying about what other people think and yadda yadda yadda. 

And then I came to the following conclusion:

It's all o.k. 

I am a work in progress. I am going to stumble along the way. I'm going to have days when I don't believe any of it. There are going to be days when I look in the mirror and roll my eyes at the woman standing in front of me. I will always be working to silence the voices from my past telling what bits of myself I need to change. I will always be correcting people when they assume I started running because I want to "get skinny" or to reach some phantom weight loss goal. I will always be working towards loving every last (lumpy) bit of myself. But as long as keep working towards it, then I'm making progress. 

And this summer I will continue to make progress as I'm making the following pledge to myself:

I swear to have the best summer of my life filled with the most radical body confidence I've ever known. I pledge to: 
  • Tune out pressure to fit into a certain body shape and size. Accept my body wholly and unconditionally as it looks now. 
  • Wear whatever I want to wear this summer and not think twice. 
  • Say yes to summer activities, like swimming and the beach, even if I don't feel great in my bathing suit. I DESERVE TO HAVE FUN, and I will change my way of thinking about my body. 
  • Stop any negative body talk I hear around me, including in my own head. 
  • Most of all, I pledge to live in the present, do what makes me happy, and live it up with the one body I have.

                          Dress: Old Navy                                                                      The "I Hate Mosquitoes Dance"
                          Cardigan: Gift from my mom

20 June 2012

Old Habits Die Hard

"I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought." - Arthur Blank

Remember a couple of weeks ago, when I wrote about breaking down into tears during/after my runs? Well, it happened again this morning. Twenty minutes in and I was a sobbing mess having an intense conversation (out loud) with my pretend running coach. This is why I run at 6am when there is no one else around--I'd like to at least keep some sense of dignity for myself.

I've been working really hard to get to a place where I not only accept those things I can't change, like, etc. but also to a place where I love the life I have, but more importantly loving myself (flaws and all) because quite frankly I'm pretty rad.

But then came along summer. As much as I hate winter (and oh how I do), my hatred for this season far surpasses anything else. It's hot. It's sticky. There are bugs. The constant threat of sunburn. And shorts, tank tops and baiting suits. And all those crappy feelings of not being enough of anything.

That's what I struggled with again today on my run. It was hot. I was tired. I just wanted to be back in my bedroom with the air conditioner on high reading my book. I didn't want to be out there sweating my ass off, dodging bugs, cars and a dead raccoon while trying to accomplish some undefined goal.

On my way home, while running down a steady (not terribly steep) incline, my faux-running coach kept telling me to use gravity to help pull me down the hill, which would then in theory help me go faster (can you tell I've been reading books about running) and I just kept thinking/saying "I can't!" over and over and over. The whole time feeling like if I did, if I tried harder, I'd fall but more importantly I'd fail. 

That's when the tears came. Leaving me standing on the side of the road, double over sobbing, trying to get myself back together. Trying to figure out where it all went wrong. Where I lost my ability to shut out the crap in my head. All the voices from those who have told me I'm not enough. All the voices who have told me I will fail if I try and if by some odd change I do succeed, I could have, should have done better.

I keep saying it over and over, trying desperately to remind myself that it doesn't matter. None of what anyone else says should matter, but the trick is actually being it.

And that is what is so damn frustrating about it all right now. How do I actually get to a place where truly believe it?

19 June 2012

For the Love of Avocado

We can blame this whole thing on my boss.


Is it a fruit? Is it a vegetable? I don't know. What I do know is that it's never been an item I've particularly enjoyed. I've purchased them in the past. Taken their pictures. Stared at them while they sat on the counter. And cursed their existence while fighting to remove the pit or tossing them into the compost because I waited to long to try and eat them.

Avocados and I have never been friends. Until now.

Now, I'd like us to become besties and skip through fields of daisies together.

So.....Friday, my boss treated us in the office to a sandwich bar with all the fixings.

Fresh from the bakery rolls. Turkey. Swiss and Provolone cheeses. Tomatoes. Pickles. Avocado.

As the resident vegetarian (soon to be vegan but we'll set aside tackling that goal for another time) in the office I do appreciate the lengths my coworkers go to when trying to make things that I too can (will) eat. I'm sure it can't be easy. At her suggestion, I tried some avocado on my sandwich (I would have been totally content with a simple lettuce and tomato sandwich) and I'm totally hooked. Who knew they could be so good?!

Ok.....I suppose everyone else out there who likes avocado, but I digress.

That one little sandwich has now brought forth a love affair to last the ages. Too dramatic?

While out and about running errands yesterday morning, I picked up a couple of avocados of my own to see what I could do with them.

First up, it was a simple sandwich for lunch. Sourdough bread. Sliced tomato and avocado with sea salt and fresh ground pepper. And just a touch of Vegenaise. Heavenly.

And for dinner, a super simple avocado & corn salad (chopped onion, red pepper, corn avocado with salt & pepper to taste), perfect for a hot summer night.

What are some of your favorite avocado recipes? Anyone have a good one for guacamole?


18 June 2012

Music Monday: Teitur

Every few months or so I go through a phase where I listen to Teitur's music all the time. And by all the time, I mean on heavy repeat day after day after day. His music can be a little heavy but sometimes I need to have a little weight behind what I am listening to. It helps to anchor me, if that makes any sense at all.

Here are some of my favorites. Most of them love songs (and from in album Poetry & Aeroplanes which is hands down my favorite of his albume) sung in a way that only Teitur can sing them. 

You Get Me 

I Was Just Thinking

One and Only

Don't Let Me Fall in Love with You

17 June 2012

 Sunday: InstaProject //Monday: Cotton ball Skies //Tuesday: New running shoes arrived from Merrell!//Wednesday: Peacock ring//Thursday: Sadie //Friday: Afternoon Snack //Saturday: Stormy sky

Happy Father's Day!

Image courtesy of Able & Game

Happy Father's Day to my dad, who is quite frankly the coolest guy I know. 

It's not surprising that some of my favorite memories with my dad have to do with music. Just the two of us, hanging out at concerts taking in the sounds of our (o.k.....o.k....mostly mine) favorite musicians. He gave me an appreciation for how a well played guitar can set the stage for a well placed lyric.

Together we've seen...
*The Ramone: Scary yet awesome
*John Mayer: No matter how many times he tells me he doesn't, I know my dad secretly likes him--the first words out of his mouth when we saw him for the first time were "Damn, that kid can play!". You can't fool me, dad!
*Simon & Garfunkel: No words.
*B. B. King
*Joe Bonamassa
*Arlo Guthrie and the list goes on and on!

But he's also always been there for my brother and I. Listening when we need to talk. Giving advice when we ask for it. He's a been the rock that helped keep our family strong. I love you dad!

Thanks for reading!

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