Monthly Archives: January 2014

Squirrels, Snowmegeddon 2, and Wine Workouts

FOOD

I haven't left home since picking up the kitties on Tuesday. Yep – snowmageddon part 2!!!! On his way home from work Tuesday, D asked me if we needed any essentials. Seriously – wine was all I could think of. All the other meals were just what I had already on hand!

Last night I made (more) vegan tacos with cilantro rice. Totally awesome, and for some reason, everything tastes better as a taco.

Recipe is below, and while you can totally get by in life without a rice cooker, I feel like my fuzzy logic machine is one of the stars of my kitchen. It makes rice, other grains, steamed meals, soups, cooks beans, even makes cake! I use it several days a week, and it way worth the extra few bucks ($60 or so). Here's a more recent model of the one I have – but I've had mine for 4 years, and it's more than made up for itself financially.

Cilantro Rice

Ingredients

*1 cup long grain white rice (if you use brown, adjust the liquid accordingly)

*1/2 onion, diced

*1 tbsp earth balance (or olive oil)

*1.5 cups water

*2 whole garlic cloves

*1/2 cup cilantro

Directions

*saute onion in Earth Balance in the rice cooker (or stove top on medium) until soft. About 5 minutes.

*add rice, water, garlic, and cilantro.

*in rice cooker – put on white rice setting. On stove top, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes, until rice is cooked and water is absorbed.

*remove garlic cloves before serving.

Basic Pinto Bean Tacos

Ingredients

*1 can pinto beans

*1 can diced green chilies

*1 onion, diced

*4-5 garlic cloves, minced

*1 olive oil (if NOT using a non-stick pan…omit if using non-stick)

*1 tsp cumin

*1 tsp chili powder

*1 tsp oregano

*1/2 can diced tomatoes

Directions

*Saute onion and garlic over medium heat until soft.

*Add spices, and cook for 1-2 minutes

*Add beans and tomatoes. Cook until warm, and simmer until rice is done!

I served on tortillas with shredded cabbage, hot sauce, and avocado. Who said a vegan meal couldn't be quick, tasty, and cheap? Not this girl!

Dinner tonight was from Happy Herbivore Light and Lean. It's the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad. Her books are still among my favorites for healthy and easy fare.

FITNESS

Well, I mentioned that I haven't left home for a few days, right? So strange. I don't do cabin fever well!

Anyway, I have been making the most of my captivity with indoor workouts. Tuesday evening, as the snow was falling, I realized I hadn't actually met my FitBit step goal for the day – despite my hour long treadmill workout! So, I decided…after some wine…that I could walk on my treadmill…barefoot…and hit that goal. Of course AC (who was stuck at work overnight to manage the whole snowmageddon thing) completely egged me on. So I did…and 7 minutes later, my FitBit went nuts telling me how awesome I was. And I was able to feel smug that I met my goal. I love my FitBit.

Yesterday I set up my bike trainer upstairs in the gym/spare room. I couldn't bear two dreadmill days in a row, but still needed something. I dusted it off (it had been in the garage, and after a spider crawled off of it and I appropriately screamed and scared the crap out of my son), and got ready to roll! I plugged headphones into my laptop, and watched an episode of Bones on Hulu. The 45 minutes consisted of a warm up, leg work (pedaling with just one leg for 60 seconds, then switch legs), some hill work, and a cool down. It was a killer workout.

Today was treadmill and yoga and balance ball ab work. I have some new music on my iPod finally, so I was feeling pretty energized! Yoga was a restorative class on YogaGlo to open my hips back up from the runs and cycling, and before the yoga, was an ab series on both a large and small balance ball.

LIFE

Well, have I mentioned it snowed?? And that I haven't left my house since 3pm on Tuesday? And that I don't do well looking at the same rooms for days at a time??

Despite that, it's actually been a good week. I've gotten a ton done both at work and at home. Most of it in either workout clothes or pajamas. Actually – all of it in either workout clothes or jammies!

D went out and about and took some fun pics in the snow on Tuesday.

IMG_7599 (Small) IMG_7600 (Small) IMG_7601 (Small) IMG_7602 (Small) IMG_7603 (Small)

Kitties are doing great, if not a little slow moving. The pain meds make them goofy and even more lovey, if possible. Ginny still loves her puzzle box…just needed to move it where she could get to it without hurting herself!

But here's funny story….when it gets really cold or wet outside (and it's both right now), we'll occasionally get critters in the house. One poor flying squirrel realized today just how crazy our household could be today….

Around 10 am, one found its way behind my fridge. Ginny (who's still a little slow moving and slightly high) found her first. Tonks was out cold and Bumble apparently lost all of her hunting instincts in her old age. Anyway, M is upstairs (still sleeping), I just get off a conference call, and R starts yelling that there's a squirrel in the kitchen (not in a hysterical way – like her mama would do, mind you). Sammie – the nearly 12 year old Lab – helps Ginny corner the poor thing. Anyway, after 5 mintues of screaming, running, brooms, Tupperware, and towels, the poor thing was finally back outside, flying into the horizon. Sammie seemed proud, and Ginny seemed disappointed. I was hysterical (not the fun way – the crazy way), and R was laughing her head off. And M slept through the entire thing. My life….

Considering just shy of 2 inches kept us grounded for 3 days last week, imagine what 10 inches did this week! Kids have been off, and will be tomorrow too. I'm hoping to go into the office tomorrow, but that all depends on the cold and refreezing of the roads. My neighborhood hasn't been plowed, so I'm not so confident I'll be out of my confines tomorrow or not!

Without getting into too much of my liberal feminist detail, I did write my Congressman this week – twice – about HR7. Believe it or not, I was not combative, but really did try to get him to see the other side. I was quite proud actually. I know I won't change his mind – and I applaud people who stand up for what they believe it – and enjoy having a meaningful conversation with people to understand (and hopefully portray) my convictions – but I need to try since he is supposed to represent me in Washington.

Okay, on a totally fun note, D started watching Scandal (as I did recently) and now we're caught up with each other! We still have all of season 3 to catch up on together before it starts up again on Feb 27. I had to constantly text my sister (who watches the show) every episode I watched and was freaking out about one thing or another. I honestly think this is the most well written show I have come across in ages. The monologues/rants are completely epic. If you don't watch it, the first 2 seasons are on Netflix. Do it. You'll love me for it.

Speaking of TV….we've been cable-less for almost 5 months now. Totally don't miss it. Netflix is all we pay for, and Hulu on a computer is free. I don't miss out on any of my shows, and I've discovered new ones I never would have checked out before (hello, Line of Duty, Almost Human, House of Cards, and Goodwife)….I watch more TV now than I ever did before!

Now I realize I'm babbling, and I'm going to stop. A bit more work, some Scandal, then bed time!

 

Oh….Chelsea v West Ham game ended in 0-0 yesterday. Man City coming up this weekend! GO BLUES.

 

 

Snowmageddon Take 2!

FOOD

So cleanse #1 is over! I will say it was a resounding success in the sense of eating a whole foods diet. I certainly do that for the most part, but the cleanse itself focused on the lack of processed foods, so that was awesome. Photo collage awaits below! Soups, green smoothies, juices, stews, homemade soy/date milk, trail mix, and BAS’s. I made some quinoa bread (3 loaves, actually), and took D out for vegan taco fun too!

I’m currently doing a create-my-own type cleanse. Mostly recipes I enjoyed from the November Fresh Start Cleanse, but with my own green smoothie, juice, and whole food additions.

FITNESS

Well, it’s certainly been an active week! Snowmageddon 1 has forced me to slow down and be inside (not my typical week), so it’s been a good 1-3 workouts every day.

I’ve done several runs (every other day) on the treadmill at home (once I removed Tonks…who promptly came back)! I thought I was going to pull my hair out with boredom when LS told me how she gets past the dreadmill drama. Go in with a plan, focus on intervals, and it doesn’t suck so badly. That worked like a charm for me today, and 60 minutes later, my run was done!

I’ve also done several workout DVD’s and yoga. I did (since the snow melted) check out a new-to-me yoga studio in Virginia Beach on Sunday. It was a 90 minute Dharma Mittra class, and I had mixed feelings about it. For the sequence and class itself (it was a 90 min class), I loved it. I didn’t love all the hippie chanting in the beginning (though to be fair, to chant along was optional), and we spent an uncomfortably long time in shivasana (corpse pose) at the end – to the point where one guy snoring kept me from being able to relax and all I wanted to do was have it end. I would think a good yoga instructor would realize that. Alas, I liked it enough, but not worth the long drive to get there unless I was in that part of town for some other reason.

On the happy yoga news front, a new studio is opening up near me in a little over two weeks! I’m so excited….I hope it’s great so I can be a regular ๐Ÿ™‚

LIFE

Well, several days last week were completely shut down for our 1-2 inches of snow. School was closed for 2 days, power was lost, and life essentially stopped from Tuesday afternoon – Thursday night. Kids had make-up things on the weekend, so we ended up sticking around ย (despite plans to go to a party out of town).

Friday evening I took R and M out to the movies to see Jack Ryan, and that night took D out for fun in the Chelsea district (which I love that we even have a part of town called the Chelsea district, since my fav sports team is Chelsea FC in the EPL! Vegan tacos (for me), then Birch Bar were the plans, and we had a total blast.

The days we weren’t snowed in were work, errands, and the like. AC’s birthday was this weekend, and we went out last night to celebrate!

Alas, snowmageddon take 2 is hitting as we speak. While last week was just under 2 inches, tonight they are predicting up to 12 for my area. Which is totally crazy. We’d be snowed in for months, except the weather forecast for Saturday is in the 60’s! Seriously, I can’t wait to go to Florida next month….

The little fuzz buckets got spayed today. ย They did great, and are home resting (ish). ย Sadly, Bumble’s maternal instincts have not kicked in, but the 90 lb dog’s has, and she’s watching over them like a little mother hen.

OH, and lastly…since no one likely cares much…but Chelsea won the other day! It was an FA cup game (oldest football/soccer tournament in the world), and we play West Ham United tomorrow. GO BLUES.

Snowmageddon 2014 Is Here!

Okay, how the heck does 8 days pass without a stinking post?! I mean – I know I’m busy. 18+ hr days at least 3 days a week, but seriously…you’d think I could find a few minutes….sorry everyone. I promise to work on being more consistent.

FOOD

Well, I certainly can’t recall everything I ate in the past 8 days, but I do have at least a highlight or two.

Most days were smoothies and/or fruit for breakfast, salads for lunch, and more salads for dinner. Not too creative lately (blame the late days) – but by and large Nutritarian and cleanse worthy.

The most fun meal was a group tofu scramble at HF’s house on Sunday! I got to teach two wonderful ladies how to make it, and share the tofu love with a house full! HF put together a beautiful fruit plate and it was a yummy and healthy vegan brunch for everyone! And HF or her husband CF did all the prep work too, so it was nothing but fun for me!

I had Ethiopian food for the first time. I’ve wanted to try it for ages, but there aren’t any restaurants in my area. Alas – I’m sad to say I wasn’t a fan. My appetizer dish was a cold lentil dish on the traditional injera bread called Azifah Fitfit. It wasn’t bad – but it was very heavy on the mustard. And while I love (and I mean love) mustard, it overpowered every other flavor out there. For my main dish I chose Shiro Wat – billed as “Ethiopian comfort food”! I will say the red cabbage was awesome – but there was very little of it. The rest of the food on the plate was bland, and I found the injera bread to be very spongy. I hope this was just an off night (the restaurant itself was rated very highly), but I was disappointed. None of it sat well in my belly either, so I’m not so sure I’ll be hitting up another Ethiopian place any time soon.

Honestly, just found the “imported from downstairs” thing funny.
FITNESS

I have a FitBit!! D got me one for Christmas, but all the store were sold out. It finally arrived on Thursday. I love it – it tracks everything! My activity, steps, calories…even sleep. I have the FitBit Force, and if you have one, friend me at RunCrissieRun! Please note my assistant/photo bomber.

I’m just going to update my latest, which was a great run this afternoon. I was traveling from a work trip in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of VA, but made it home in time to still get a great run in near 60 degree weather.

It was today that I realized how pathetically out of date my iPod music is though. I must rectify that situation immediately!

LIFE

Okay, busy. Not a complaint, but busy. Lots of work, dinner with AC one night, local beer (yay!), and then travels to other places in VA. I went to see A at school, saw HF for brunch, and then work peeps up in the mountains.

All told, busy, but awesome. OH, the best part?? My husband shaved that forsaken beard off finally! I’m not a fan of facial hair, and after months, he finally got rid of it. My cute hubby is back – and gone is the Duck Dynasty guy.

I did a tour of a VA winery – CrossKeys. Very neat. They do all small batch wines, and I was surprisingly impressed with their offerings. I did a tasting and a tour, and all told it was a wonderful side trip in my crazy weekend.

I left my mountain office/hotel much earlier than planned today. Major snow was forcasted, and there was significant fear that I’d get stranded. While it would be nice – I just have too much to do back in my neck of the woods. My area has snow too! No kidding – the news is calling it Snowmageddon! Several school districts closed early in preparation, and we’re not sure what tomorrow will bring. As a Midwesterner, it’s funny, but I’ve been here for 10 years now (as of a little over a week ago!), and I know that any snow just brings Hampton Roads to a screeching halt. I guess we’ll see if Snowmageddon ends up being newsworthy or not!

I leave you with pictures. Morning pictures, cat pictures (because with Tonks, if she fits, she sits!), and me visiting A!

A Beastly Monday (in a good way!)

FOOD

Holy cow, where to start? The last few days have been full of green smoothies, lentil soup, creamy asparagus soup, fruit, curried chickpeas, and the best….VEGAN TACO NIGHT.

Saturday night was a girls night in of vegan tacos. I made tempeh tacos with pickled radishes and cabbage, and NS made Seitan Worshipper tacos (love the name). AC brought the drinks, and, sadly, KP was too sick to make it.

Anyway, here's photos. Despite days of meetings starting at 7am, my “fast food” was fruit and green smoothies. It was pretty awesome!

FITNESS

The temps warmed back up (hello 60 and 70 degree weather!), so running outside is a must! Today's run was just amazing. D took R to swim, and I headed out for a run before coming back to make a late dinner. I wandered through different neighborhoods and just took in my surroundings. I love runs like this one – makes me excited to go for another one!

LIFE

So last week was very stressful. I had to take a project from the “holy s***, the sky is falling”, to “heck yeah, we got this”. By the end of the week, I was feeling pretty good! We have a ton of work to do, but we will. And it'll be awesome.

Saturday A moved back to school ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I'm proud of her, and I'm sure she's very excited to be back (in fact, I know she is), but I miss her. The month she was home was really awesome. She's changed a lot – grown up, and I like who she's growing into. She spent most of her time with us, but also volunteered several days a week at the cat shelter, hung out with her little brother and sister, and spent time with friends that are local.

While D and M took A back to college, I got to take R to a swim meet! It was a big one too – the Winter Invitational. So big, they swim at the big university pool (which is very exciting for the kids). It was a 6 hour day, and since R stays with her team the entire time – I brought work with me! I got a ton done, but still got to watch the meet and see her swim.

Her team won the entire meet (which was awesome), and R shaved nearly a second off of two of her races and swam one race for the first time (longer distance than normal). Sadly, her heat forfitted the relay because one person didn't show. It was a great meet though, and she's very proud of her times and her team's standing.

Saturday night had some crazy storms and tornado watches. Good thing it was a night in! We cooked, ate yummy tacos, planned trips to New Orleans, and just hung out. Good times!

I didn't wake up until 11 on Sunday morning. This seems to be a theme with me the past few weeks – no sleep during the week (too much spinning in my head), but at least one night on the weekend where I'm out for a long time. Hey, I'll take it. It's better than no days with no sleep!

D and I ran some errands and then went to a movie. He really, really wanted to see Her. I didn't, but didn't mind going with him to see it! It's about a hyper depressed guy who buys an intelligent operating system and falls in love with his computer. All the characters are depressed and mopey, and while I know its getting a ton of accolades and will win a boat load of awards – I didn't like it. It was very well acted – but not entertaining.

Today was an awesome day. I know – it's Monday, right? How are Monday's good? Seriously – felt like a beast today. Starting with a feisty 8am meeting, I felt on top of the world today. Despite my reputation as a good planner, it's the last minute pushes to get things done that excite me. I have this sense that I can solve any problem thrown at me. So hit me with it – I'll do my best ๐Ÿ™‚

On a fun note – CAT PICTURES. Tonks will sit in anything she sees. She especially likes bowls – this is a first for a pressure cooker. She's also a climber – but was taken off guard when the drawer opened on her! Ginny will sleep on any pile of clothes she can. And Bumble is teaching the young ones how to drink running water!

And of course, a series of morning pictures! These were extra special since I was out of the house so early most days last week, that I didn't get to see them in the morning.

 

No, This Day Will Not Last Forever

FOOD

Well the past two days have been cleanse friendly! To be honest, it really isn't tough to eat the Dr. Fuhrman Nutritarian way. Think fruits, veggies, beans, seeds. All of it you want – but no added oils and salt. It takes some effort, but no more than anyone who primarily eats at home.

I do realize that's one of my problems though! When life gets busy (which is 98% of the time), it's always been our habit to go out or order in. That means even though when I cook, I know I'm eating very well – I'm also getting less than good stuff (sodium, saturated fats, etc) by way of dining out too much. Don't get me wrong – nothing makes me happier than a going out for a good meal with family and friends – but with a bit of planning, I could seriously eat in more than I do!

My only issue is how very nut-heavy he is. For our family allergy reasons (new readers – my youngest is very allergic to all peanuts and treenuts, so we're a 100% nut free family). I usually just skip them or sub a seed if I can (sunflower, pumpkin, chia, etc), but sometimes it doesn't sound like it'll turn out right, so I skip it.

Breakfast yesterday was a killer Tuscan Tofu Scramble! It made a ton, and kept me full for a really long time. Lunch was a BAS with an orange/avocado dressing (didn't love the dressing, but it wasn't bad). Dinner was a “cheesy” kale soup that was also very, very good. Snacks were fruit mostly and some veggie bites.

Today was a green smoothie for breakfast, leftover soup for lunch, and a lentil stew for dinner. More fruit for snacks!

I've had no hunger issues, so thus far, eating Nutritarian is very easy and tasty, with lots and lots of options.

FITNESS

Yay, my lungs love me again!!! I went for my first real run in WAY too long last night after work. I was nervous going for a 50 minute run (1/2 marathon training plan) considering I hadn't been too active lately and while most of me didn't feel sick anymore, the lingering cough was keeping me sidelined longer.

Anyway, I bundled up (it was chilly last nights, with the “polarvortex” coming our way and temps dropping rapidly) and headed out the door.

It was such an awesome run. Not at my normal pace, but it still felt good – and validating that I could go for nearly an hour without wanting to curl up, cry, or cough myself silly. I was totally grinning when I walked in the house.

LIFE

Both yesterday and today were very meeting heavy. With the holidays over and everyone back at the office, I think we're all playing catch up with each other! It's a bit stressful, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I thrived on all the chaos ๐Ÿ™‚

On the homefront, D is sick now. His symptoms aren't like mine, M's, and A's were though. He mentioned most of his team at work had been sick recently too, so maybe they had a different plague than I brought home. I just hope that doesn't mean we'll go for a round of new sick fun!

Because D was so sick, I took R to school today! That meant leaving earlier than I normally do (I'm always a bit delayed by making everyone breakfast and lunch every morning), but I made D do that so I could be ready to go without having to wake up an hour earlier than normal. He got to crawl back into bed, so I didn't feel too bad about that. To be fair, he didn't complain at all either. It was also nice to spend that little extra time with R this morning too.

So the weather. IT'S COLD. I know I can't possibly relate (anymore!) to my family in WI and IL, and friends throughout the midwest and New England – but really. 16 degrees in VA is nuts. So much so, that many schools were delayed today and this funny message was written on the board in the breakroom at my office….

We even got an automated voicemail from our kids school district reminding them to dress warmly in real jackets with hats, scarves, and gloves. A co-worker of mine (who lives closer to the beach) sending one reminding not to have parents let their kids go out in shorts and flip flops! I know…beach life problems, but still. Funny.

Okay, Billy update. They haven't gone yet, but I suppose that would have been wishful thinking. Yesterday during the day wasn't bad at all – only had a few on my forearm and then later on my neck. At night I had some, but they didn't last long and weren't very intense. Today during the day also wasn't bad, but this evening has had two very uncomfortable patches of them. They passed eventually, but I was annoyed.

OH, I got a spice box shipment yesterday! I was out of a few essentials, so placed an online order with The Spice House in Milwaukee! They also pack it with a personal note written on the invoice thanking you for the order. I love that little personal touch!

And finally, I can't really go a week without posting a cat picture! Tonks is VERY much R's cat. She crawls all over her, licks her face, let's R carry her around, and really just adores her. This is a cute pick of how Tonks just melts onto R's legs when they're on the ground.

So tomorrow is another day in a busy week, but I can't complain really. I feel good, have a groovy family, and a job I love. So despite our arctic nonsense and Billy drama, life is good!

 

Cleanse with Crissie in 2014 (or aka…let’s kill Billy)

FOOD

The best thing about the past 5 days is that I can actually taste food again! I'm not sick anymore (FINALLY), so food once again tastes good!

I made a marinated lentil salad during the holiday, and took it to work on Thursday as a lettuce wrap with a side of strawberries and cherry tomatoes. YUM.

I've also had less than stellar Pho, a bean and corn stew, and whole wheat penne with balsamic veggies.

I also made a totally killer Shamrock Shake-ish green smoothie! It's actually from the Dr. Fuhrman website, and it fully rocked. Coconut milk, spinach, mint, vanilla, banana….all yummy stuff.

Last night was tapas fun that culumnated in a ridiculously rich (too rich) coconut chocolate creme pie thingy.

But, if I need to stop teasing you all with my title, 2014 is going to be the year of the food cleanse. I will fully disclose here that my reasonings are actually not for vanity. They're to put an end to the hive nightmare of the past year (I hope). So…starting with tomorrow's post, the food sections of my blog will focus on the cleanse du jour.

For my first one of 2014, I'm going with Dr. Fuhrman! I've blogged about him before, and he's written a ton of really great books (Eat for Life, Eat for Health, The End of Diabetes, Super Immunity….the list goes on). Anyway, he advocates a vegan diet that is high in nutrient density, and between his books and his website, he has some prescriptive eating plans, of which I'm going to follow a 21-day version beginning tomorrow. I will track my progress as a whole, with the goal of concluding it hive-free. If I do – yay! I've found my “magic bullet”. If not….I will move onto another eating program with the goal of ending hive-free (or at the very least, hive-light!).

FITNESS

So I tried going for a run, and despite my feeling mostly human again, my lungs disagreed. I ended up doing a power-walk workout with some yoga after. Not bad, but I do hope this respiratory nonsense departs soon…..

LIFE

Well, the first week of 2014 is pretty much in the bag! All in all, it was a very good week. I went back to work on Thursday (like most of the world), the younger kids went back to school (A is still on holiday until next week), and R's swim team even ramped back up again.

Yesterday AC and JC had their annual post-Holiday party, which is always a good time. D and I went, and HF was there! She's one of my travel buddies (Vegas and Seattle), and while she doesn't live in our area, actually traveled here primarily for the party! D finally got to meet her, which made me happy too.

Today AC, HF, and I met down at the Oceanfront for a long lunch. Afterwards, it was off to do my regular weekend grocery shopping and food prep.

Okay, so to explain Billy. My chronic hives have finally been given a name! Dermographism. LC mentioned that it's not a very good name and I need to call them something else. Billy is the first thing that came to mind, so now when I talk about my hives, I call them Billy. Strange, maybe, but it's less of a mouthful than dermographism!

In 2010, a great documentary was made called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. It's about a guy named Joe from Australia who is overweight and has chronic urticaria (aka…Billy), and decides to go on a 60 day juice fast/cleanse in an attempt to rid himself of all the excess weight, hives, and the meds he has had to take to keep the hives under control (I admit…I've thus far mostly refused to do that). Anyway, that's where the concept of the year of cleanses has come in. I'm not willing to do such a long juice fast, but I am willing to do a series of whole foods based cleanses if it means killing Billy. If, by the end of the year, I haven't been successful, then I will do a juice fast (15 days or so) to see if that works. I hope it won't come to that, but I'm starting to get fairly desparate. Some days are ok (like today….not one errant wheal on my body), and some I want to cry as I lie in bed covered in ice packs trying to make them go away. It sucks that my Dr isn't sure why I have them, has no real way to treat them, and is telling me they may last the rest of my life. Like hell….I'll find a way to kick Billy out of my life one way or another!

All my babbling aside, most days are pretty good. Some are worse than others, and while I was sick, it was pretty bad. I'm assuming the compromised immune system was a beacon for Billy to come out and play, but being sick for over a week also left me with a lot of time to sit and think and read. Now I'm on a mission – hives aren't something I should just live with for no reason, and I imagine I can beat them with a good clean diet, just like I have other ailments. So stay tuned….this should be an interesting ride!!!

 

Rewind and Fast Forward

Here's a quick 2013 recap in each of my typical categories, and a look to 2014!

FOOD

I will admit, that I think I lost some of my creative mojo in the kitchen this past year. It's not for lack of desire, but more for lack of time. I had a few posted recipes, but mostly what I wrote about were great dishes I made from cookbooks, websites, or other bloggers (NOTHING wrong with that!), and restaurant meals.

I also fell back on some bad habits in 2013 – lots of dining out and more processed foods than I like to admit. 2014 will be a focus on those two areas as well!

In the new year, life won't be any less busy, but I do plan to make more time to spend in the kitchen. I do plan to prep better so we always have good food on hand, and aren't so tempted to get take out or eat crappy food. I also plan to keep ramping up the smoothies, juices, and raw foods because they make me feel the healthiest.

FITNESS

It's been a strange year on this front. I was faced with a less than pleasant diagnosis of RA, and it really got in the way of physical activity for the first big chunk of the year.

I ran a 10K in April with CT, and that was my last one for some time. I was in a lot of pain for days afterwards, and I had to give my body time to heal and then ease back into activity. There were several months where I didn't think I'd be able to run again, and was planning to focus on yoga and swimming.

I did quite a bit of yoga in 2013 and that's definitely something I plan to continue in 2014.

I did start running again in the latter part of 2013, and even did a 5K on my birthday with friends! I'm hopeful that running will still be a major part of my life, and I so far have planned 2 big races in 2014 – the Shamrock 1/2 Marathon in March, and the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in April! Hopefully my training will continue to go well, and I won't have pain like I did last year.

I also hope to try other activities too – there are certainly plenty of options around me! Stay tuned for that one!

LIFE

It's hard to summarize and entire year's life experiences! I will do my best (without writing a novel).

I had some fun travels this past year. New York and Baltimore in January, New Orleans in February/March (for work, but my sister came for part of it too!), DC in April & September, Portland in May, road trip to Wisconsin and Ohio in June, and Wisconsin again in Sept. Of course there was my birthday trip to Seattle in October, which was awesome! I also had some “local” VA travels to Charlottesville and Luray. Can't fail to mention all the Busch Gardens adventures either!

My eldest graduated from high school and started college! That's a big deal!

My husband's Crohn's in is remission and he's currently off all medications (also incredible).

We welcomed two new family members – Ginny and Tonks. They're rescue kittens, and are wonderful, silly, and funny.

I've been diagnosed and managing RA without any medications, which has me very proud. On the other side of the coin, I've suffered from horrible chronic hives for nearly a year now, and it's making me crazy. Hopefully I'll find a way to address and manage those (since physicians are stumped). That's a goal for 2014 for sure!

I've got to spend some great time with family and friends this past year. I've realized how many wonderful people are in my life, and for 2014, I want that to be a big focus as well.

Work has been very good – very busy – and isn't going to ease up in 2014 either!

So – novel complete! This new year I hope is full of family, friends, good times, good health, and low stress!

So Happy New Year to you all! I hope your 2014 is everything you want it to be ๐Ÿ™‚