Friday, April 29, 2011

Fitness Face-off Friday!!!

Sweat Hard

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you the first of many Fitness Face-off Fridays!!! 

I had thought for a while about having a weekly fitness-related challenge on the blog, to keep me accountable and help motivate others. 

At first I wanted to do Wednesday Workout _______, but gave me nothing good for "challenge" that started with a "w."  Jerks.

What is a Face-off?

A challenge I set for myself on a Friday, and have to complete by EOD the following Thursday (yes, I work in the corporate world and use phrases like EOD).

A chance for you to keep me accountable by making me post photos and blog about how I met the challenge.

A competition to motivate any of my fearless readers to try to complete the challenge faster/heavier/longer/better than I!!!

This Week...Something Old

Challenge - Weight Lifting

As you may know, I am currently getting ready for my first half marathon.  (May 8th.  AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!)  Running has been awesome for my lungs and my heart...but the amount of time required for the training has gradually siphoned away almost all my sessions in the weight room.  I used to pump iron 3-4 times a week...and now I'm lucky to squeeze in 10 minutes of body weight exercises. 

Well, folks, it ends now.


I will weight-train at least three times this week.

Each session must last, at minimum, for 20 minutes.

Sessions can be solo, class, gym, home, whatever.  They can be 3 full body sessions or work different specific muscle groups.

I must post at least one photo from each workout, with a description of what I did.


If I complete the challenge by the specified time according to the rules (including having posted evidence in the proper time frame) I will:

Buy myself flowers at the Farmer's Market on Saturday!

 (I REALLY wanted to last time I was there but didn't have a good enough excuse.)


If I complete FOUR sessions instead of just three, I will carve out time to let myself do a post about my summer in Italy a few years ago.

Me and my pal Sophie


If I do NOT fully and completely meet this week's challenge, I will not let myself post for 3 days in a row.  Instead, I will do chores and more chores. 

Now, who's with me?!?!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

To Market, To Market, To Buy a Fat Pig

Eat Well

Fitness magazine's got a great list of spring recipes, which inspired me to post about my recent trip to the Issaquah Farmer's Market!

My mom and I (after an awesome Jazzercise workout during which we decided we could never do yoga together since you aren't supposed to talk) were going to run some simple errands when we heard about the first day of the farmer's market!

We are not exactly farmer's market gals.  We are not super green, super organic, or super natural.  But we like hanging out.  We like yummy food.  And folks, in the PNW, we like all the sun we could get.

Plus, at the market there really was a fat pig:

We strolled around and talked and tried balsamic vinegars and amazing jams.  And then I started buying.  I bought a baby baguette, some organic kale, big juicy radishes, some apples (which unfortunately were not so hot), and some uber amazing chipotle lime whole wheat pasta.

Obviously, Jared and I had to make an amazing dinner with some of the spoils.

Jared combined the kale with canadian bacon or ham of some sort and leftover gruyere cheese from our burger making madness:

I cut up the baguette and brie snagged at a killer price from Costco.

I won't tell you how we boiled water to cook the pasta.  There are websites for hard stuff like that.  Once the pasta was magically ready, we added the kale and friends directly to it.

Set the table and we're ready to roll...complete with silverware and vitamins.  Cool beans.

I guess what I am trying to say with all this is...

Go check out your local farmer's market.

You'll be supporting local business, getting fresher food, and be well-rewarded for your efforts:
Seriously.  YUM.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Final Countdown

Sweat Hard

Hello, ladies and gentlemen.  There are five, I repeat, FIVE training runs left on my plan before my big race on the 8th


In honor of this auspicious day, I'd like to give one of those weepy acceptance speeches to all the little people who made this possible...but since there is no live video feed, you would miss the full effect of my fancy dress and big hair and Kleenex.

Instead, I will have to settle for a re-cap on my progress/my general thoughts on racing:

First, everyone needs motivation to sign up.  Mine was my hubby.

He did a I can do a half, right?

Second, everyone needs a strategy to get started.  Mine was the February edition of Fitness magazine.

Third, everyone needs a change of pace to keep things interesting.  Mine included treadmill runs, commuter runs, friend runs, and solo runs.

Running in the rain...awesome!

Fourth, everyone has needs really crappy runs in their training.  Like, really crappy.  Mine taught me loads and helped me better prepare for an early morning race.

Fifth, everyone needs a way to mark their progress.  I checked mine with a 10k race around week 7 of my training!

I finished in 1:00:47, with a pace of 9:48...for me, this is super fast!  I felt great and ran home afterwards (worked the race into part of my 2 hour run for the day).  Very encouraging, since my goal time for the half is 2:15.

Can't wait till next week (esp. my final training run...a grand total of 15 minutes long). 


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Root, Root, Root (for the home team)

Think Sharp

After 1.5 years of marriage, I have learned that one way to be a great wife is to be a supportive wife.  This means, if you are the girl who grew up uncoordinated, stayed uncoordinated, dropped softball for singing, and gave a speech in high school on why sports are stupid...BE WARNED.

You may well marry the boy who quit Shakespeare for spring baseball, excelled at soccer, and got begged to join the track and tennis teams but couldn't fit them in with his other athletic schedules.

And you will have to change your tune. 

So, here I am - excited for spring baseball!  Weird, I know.  I confess, I'm a little relieved flag football is almost me it is an hour of people running around in rain and confusion:

My man, in the purple pants. 
Fellow blogger Lica (from L to C) to his left!

I come...I cheer...sometimes I do my training runs in laps around the field.  But I'm pretty dang clueless.

Baseball is more fun.  I am starting to pick up on funky rules and the fact that there is a top and a bottom to each inning (crazy technical stuff, right?) and that I will need to wear a good 5 or 6 layers to stay warm for the whole thing. 

But I love watching Jared make a great play, or hit a double, or strike someone out.

Just before he hits a double in the first game of the season!

I love chatting with other game watchers, listening to the umpires banter with each other or the players, and bringing awesomely cool snacks:

Extra protein chocolate milk
Sweet mini peppers
Honest Tea

But most of all, I love the look on Jared's face when he finishes playing.  Something about getting to just focus on the game and not worry about anything stressful at work or in life...he's so happy to be out, rain or shine, doing what he loves.

My favorite song as a three year old was "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."  Maybe we are soul mates, after all...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Food Face-Off

Eat Well

Fun comparisons of "real" food with pre-packaged options from Women's Health Magazine.

Happy Monday!

(Good) Friday - technical difficulties...

This would have been posted on Friday...but the hubby came down with the flu, so I figured I should focus on taking care of him. 

Think Sharp

This year, Earth Day and Good Friday fell on the same day.  Since I am a Jesus Freak who believes in good stewardship, here are my thoughts:

  • God values the earth:
    • In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1)
  •  As humans, we are to take good care of the earth He put us on:
    • 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
          29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so. (Gen. 1:28-30)
  • God values those on the earth more than the earth itself:
    • For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in Him would not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16);
    • Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)
  • Recycling is great, but rebirth is even better:  
    • 4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” ... 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?...14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g] (from John 3)
Hope everyone had a great Easter weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Swimsuit Season Approacheth

Dress Cute

Eventually I'll post some sort of workout plan once I figure out what I'm doing to get in shape for the beach.

In the meantime, check out Women's Health mag's guide to swimsuit shopping

Fitness magazine also had a REALLY cute section on swimsuits in this month's edition (the one with Colbie Callait on the cover).  I'd definitely recommend picking up a copy.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Burgers and Beer

Eat Well

Yes, sooner or later I will post about clothes or what I'm thinking about or a cool workout.  But after the grocery store post, you've gotta give me one more about dinner!

As I may have mentioned about 87 times before, the man I married is a phenomenal cook.  He improvises like a genius and always improves upon recipes he finds.  One of my all time favorites is his chocolate bread pudding with candied rose petals.  (Yes, this is why I gained like 10 pounds in our first year of marriage.) 

Two things he loves which I am less than crazy about?  Burgers and beer.

But a month ago or so, he found this crazy burger recipe in Men's Health magazine.  You take most of the "normal" elements in a burger, and restructure them.  Bacon and gruyere cheese are mixed directly into the patty itself before cooking...

Mustard is a part of the egg/onion/caper sauce to top the patty... 

And you grill a slice of granny smith apple...which to me has nothing to do with burgers, but boy does it taste awesome...

Cook up some veggies (in our case, broccolini), and voila!  The best burger you've ever had in your life.  And I have to admit, it goes pretty well with beer.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Happiest Place on Earth

Eat Well

No, not Disneyland...THE GROCERY STORE!!!

Very excited, as you can tell...
I love grocery shopping.  To me, it is better than clothes shopping, particularly because there's so much opportunity to justify what you want to buy! 

We are usually great about buying healthy food...but we are not so great about staying on budget.  One thing I've started doing is using the tiny carts for my big weekly trip.  And I save fruits and veggies for last.  That way, when I'm going through the store and I see something that wasn't on the list, I ask myself: "If I put this in the cart, will I still have room for all the fruits and veggies at the end?"  And usually, the answer is no. 

Happy shopping!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Eat Well

You can get the frozen fish for this recipe at QFC.  And the recipe is on the package of the frozen fish.  ("So is she really just doing a whole post to tell us to go to QFC?"  Yes, I am.)

This time we got fresh snapper instead of frozen fish.
  1. If you are using fresh or frozen fish, you start the same way...the frozen recipe does not require thawing.  Get out canola oil (healthier for cooking than olive oil - who knew?), lime juice (or if you want to squeeze fresh limes, so much the better), salt & pepper, and I think chili powder.  Also if you want to cook while drinking something delicious, we would highly encourage it.

2.  Combine the aforementioned items and coat the fish in them.
3.  Cook the fish.

4.  Get an orange, an avocado, lots of cilantro, and an onion.  (The recipe calls for scallions, but we had a red onion in the fridge.  Flexibility is the spice of life.  Or something like that.)

5.  Cut them all up and mix them together for "salsa."  I put salsa in quotes because there are no tomatoes in this salsa...which makes it seem like a poser salsa to me.  But it's really go figure.

6.  Pull apart the fish so it's ready to be taco-fied.
7.  Set the table.  (Obviously margarita placemats and heart shaped cheese bowls are optional...but if you can, why not?)

8.  Load up a whole wheat tortilla with fish, "salsa," and cheese.  Enjoy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

30 for 30 Leftovers...While Running

Dress Cute

Found a few more photos from my 30 for 30...or more accurately, 30ish for 28-or-so...but these ones I like especially,

Skirt - Alice Temperly for Target;
tunic - Romy's; shoes - Target

I've had this skirt for years.  Love the high waist, the buttons, and the swing-y-ness of it.  This was towards the end of my 30 for 30, and I realized I always wear the tunic top with leggings - I'd never ever thought of putting it with a skirt!  So there you have it.  Genius in action.

Dress - F21; sweater - BR; leggings - Target;
scarf - H&M Italy; belt - Romy's; shoes - Nike
I've also had this dress for years.  Like 6 or 8.  A very long time.  It's SUPER comfy and it's kind of a greyish brown, which I love since I can't usually pull off anything brown.  It's sleeveless, so I usually put it with a little black zip-up and black leggings in the winter...but once again, at the end of the 30 for 30, I was short on ideas and decided to change up the colors and do grey instead of black.

For some people this may not sound that complicated, but anyone who knows me understands that about 60-75% of my winter wardrobe is black.  So anytime I swap black out for a different color, I feel proud. 

I'm also proud of my hair on this outfit, since this was one of those gee-i-really-don't-want-to-wake-up-extra-early-to-wash-my-hair days.  I french-braided an inch or so across the front, back-combed the top a little, and threw it into a half-pony.  And rather than getting lectured on how having a real job and being a grown-up means you have to wash your hair, I got like 3 compliments. 

This has led me to the logical conclusion that I should never wash my hair again.

Sweat Hard

As I enter the last 3 weeks before my first half marathon (the first 7 have really flown...wish I could say the same for my short legs), I thought I'd share the following:

TEST YOURSELF on what you know about injury prevention, courtesy of Fitness magazine
GET MOTIVATED to start running yourself, courtesy of Women's Health magazine

Happy running, and don't hurt yourself!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Today in history...

Think Sharp

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the first shots of the American Civil War.  I realize the Civil War has very little to do with working out or dressing cute (well, the Southern belles had some awesome gowns), is my favorite period of history, so I'm classing it with the think system.  Take a look! 

What people often forget in today's more nationally inclined culture, state rights were huge in the was less than 100 years since the American revolution.  Still somewhat in vogue was the idea of seceding from the mother country if compromises/reconciliation could not be reached.  Fascinating stuff!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gym Hair

Sweat Hard - Dress Cute

Tired of the same old ponytail?  No time to wash your hair?  Afraid that stupid bump from the elastic will ruin your do?

Check out Fitness magazine for cute ways to get your hair out of your face! 

They say women are way more motivated to workout if they know they can look cute doing it.  Shallow of us?  I say not. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Antioxidants = Antigrumpypants

Eat Well

Do you ever have those days at work when you feel like you need a little pick me up?  You aren't really hungry, so you don't need a snack, and you aren't craving anything in particular (with me, it's usually uber-dark chocolate or something salty).  But the afternoon (or morning, even) is starting to drag.

What can you do?  You can't go for a run...unless your job title has something to do with the word "athlete."  You don't want to pay five bucks for fancy coffee...because you are trying desperately to stick to a budget.  You want something healthy, but water just won't cut it.

My vote?  A hot cup of green tea.

Green tea is can buy a cheap or a fancy version at your local grocery store, and you'll get the same benefits either way.  One particular benefit is that green tea contains some caffeine, but not nearly as much as the same amount of joe.  This allows you to enjoy the feeling of more energy without worrying if you'll pay for it later trying for hours to fall asleep.

Plus, if you slice up some fresh lemon and maybe drizzle in a bit of honey, it tastes pretty darn delicious.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


 Eat Well

So...before my sweet husband and I got married, we made sort of a deal.  The deal was that he would cook, and I would do the dishes.  This seemed like a wise plan since he is an extraordinary chef, and I consider making toast without the fire alarm going off to be a culinary achievement. life has gotten busier and I have gotten more excited about food, things have shifted a bit.  And now sometimes I get to make dinner!!!

Here's something I made a month or two ago: shrimp with green bell peppers and pineapple.  This is an awesome, easy dinner and can be very cheap.  In my case, shrimp was on sale, and I got canned pineapple rings (in 100% juice, obviously)...and as we all know, supply and demand drives down the price of the green bell peppers as all sane people prefer yellow, orange or red.

Here's what you do:
  1. Cut off the shrimp tails.
  2. Chop up the pineapple rings into thirds.
  3. Chop up the bell peppers.
  4. Put them all into a few little tupperware containers (this is cool because if you don't want to eat it all at once, prep work is already done).
  5. Add olive oil, lemon juice, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon slices and those little Italian pepperoncini.
  6. Let it marinate for...a while.  (See?  I'm getting good at this cooking lingo stuff!)
  7. Use those cool wooden dowel-y things to skewer the marinated items.  No, you don't have to do it in a precise order unless you are slightly OCD.  Which, if you ask me, is the only way to live, but I won't come to your house to make sure you do it right.
  8. Pour the remaining marinade out of the tupperware and over the skewers.
  9. Put the skewers on the grill, or fake it in your oven if you have no grill.
  10. Eat them.  (Best part.  For sure.)

We got this pan at IKEA.  You can, too!

Yay healthy and easy and yummy!!!  Triple threat.

 Happy eating!

Monday, April 4, 2011

At Home Workout - No Equipment Needed

Sweat Hard

Courtesy of Women's Health Magazine: the at-home workout!

Pushups are absolutely one of the best moves in the world for developing strength and using your entire body.  Start with good form on girl-pushups and slowly change one or two of your reps into the real deal.

Good luck!

Post-Yoga Post

Sweat Hard - Think Sharp

Yoga Friday morning was absolutely delightful.  As my knowledge of yoga is limited, I will not be able to fully describe what we did in class...lots of vinyasa type yoga (going from one pose into another and then either back to the first or through a whole series of poses), as well as the good old BalanceHereInThisContortedWayUntilYouStartToWobbleLikeATop type yoga. 

Perhaps the most fun part of the class is watching other people who are serious yoga-doers.  It is unbelievable how flexible and coordinated people can be.  It's also incredibly relaxing mentally to be in a class where you just follow the instructor as best you can, rather than trying to come up with stretches yourself at home.

If you haven't tried yoga yet...I highly encourage you to do so.  Yes, there is some level of "reach inside your soul to find your inner sea cucumber," but it varies based on the instructor, and it is not hard to find a more fitness-oriented class.  

A lot of yoga studios have very cheap classes/packages for beginners, since they are trying to get you hooked.  If you are a member at a gym or fitness center, check to see whether they offer free or cheap yoga classes as part of your membership.  You can also try looking for a lululemon store near you.  Most offer weekly or bi-weekly free yoga classes directly in the store.

You will get an unbeatable combination of strength-training, core work, and stretching/balance practice. 

Happy stretching, and happy Monday!