All About Balance

FOOD

So I didn’t do an additional 3 days of all smoothies, but it has still been a gentle eats week for the most part.  Morning smoothies and fresh juices (they never get old), fruits, salads, and whole foods in general.

keeping the fresh green juice flowing!
keeping the fresh green juice flowing!
today's minty watermelon citrus frosty
today’s minty watermelon citrus frosty
enjoying said frosty poolside with studies
enjoying said frosty poolside with studies
vanilla/orange smoothie
vanilla/orange smoothie
BAS
BAS
poolside with some lemon water, fresh fruit, and studies.
poolside with some lemon water, fresh fruit, and studies.
BAS with fresh raw corn and a lemon-tahini dressing.
BAS with fresh raw corn and a lemon-tahini dressing.
quick-pickled some cucs, onions, and carrots.  I love just munching on these as a snack.
quick-pickled some cucs, onions, and carrots. I love just munching on these as a snack.
Pho!!  All veggies and rice noodles (no tofu in this one since it's usually fried and I wasn't feeling fried foods)
Pho!! All veggies and rice noodles (no tofu in this one since it’s usually fried and I wasn’t feeling fried foods)
picked a whole TON of fresh basil from the garden, dehydrated it  - and only got 4 ounces!  Still - smells amazing and I can't wait to use it (or gift it).
picked a whole TON of fresh basil from the garden, dehydrated it – and only got 4 ounces! Still – smells amazing and I can’t wait to use it (or gift it).
tonight's dinner - which was really awesome - brown rice with chunky mushroom gravy, green beans, and a garlicky-lemon white beans w/steamed kale
tonight’s dinner – which was really awesome – brown rice with chunky mushroom gravy, green beans, and a garlicky-lemon white beans w/steamed kale
up in C'ville at Brazos Tacos!  SO good (as was the watermelon margarita - not pictured)
up in C’ville at Brazos Tacos! SO good (as was the watermelon margarita – not pictured)

FITNESS

Honestly, the heat has been BRUTAL the past weeks.  >100 degrees most days, so I’ve been walking, yoga-ing, and treading in the pool.

LIFE

This was a fun week because I got to go out of town!  After the week I had last week, it was a welcomed trip because I got to do one of the best parts of my job, see wonderful people and friends, and go to bed STUPID early since it was just me and my hotel room!  I had meetings at one of our hospitals that just happens to be in the same town where my grad school university is!  So – I got to have a few meetings on campus as well as the meetings at the hospital.  Plus seeing classmates that live there is always a bonus.  All in all, this week very much balanced me.

in the PepsiCo forum on grounds meeting my professor.  Love the "firstcoffee tradition
in the Pepsi Co forum on grounds meeting my professor. Love the #firstcoffee tradition

To explain a bit about my program – there are 29 of us in my cohort, and while we have classes 3x per week, it’s virtual via Adobe Connect.  We meet in person in various global locations for 2-week residencies (US, Brazil, and China so far – Europe, India, and another US to come).  So my classmates are literally all over the world – it’s pretty freaking amazing.  We also meet virtually to study several times per week, so we’re all always in contact and often very close, even though we don’t see each other often.  So – when I do get to see any between residencies, it’s always extra special.

I was back late Thursday for budget meetings and then regular stuff on Friday.  Best of all, a friend (and classmate) had her baby yesterday (mom and baby doing great!) and I can’t wait to meet and spoil the heck out of him!

Always – fun pics!

Bumble - living a rough life lounging on the back deck under the ceiling fan on a hot day.
Bumble – living a rough life lounging on the back deck under the ceiling fan on a hot day.
because I think this is funny (and true!)
because I think this is funny (and true!)

Winter, Mammos, and Tofu. My Week So Far.

FOOD

I’ve been very happy to be home when it comes to food!  I’m still doing the FitOrbit meals for the most part (which have been quick and easy!).  Yellow dal with cucumber sauce, green smoothies (my fav!), kidney bean curry, veggie chili, and of course plenty of fruits and veggies.

The only sub meal I did was my spicy tofu soup.  It’s a high nutrient, low fat meal, and always makes me happy on cold days.  We were snowed in again for a couple days, so I wanted to use what I had on hand.  Tofu is always on hand!

spicy tofu soup baby!  my own personal comfort food.
spicy tofu soup baby! my own personal comfort food.

FITNESS

I am again grateful I have a treadmill.  This is the first year in a LONG time that I’ve said that out loud!

We were hit with snow again on Monday, and school was yet again canceled for two days!  I don’t think our warm state will handle it well when it comes to the school districts.  One has already instituted monthly Saturday classes for kids, and I’m guessing ours will follow suit or extend the school year.

LIFE

Well, I’m going to start off giving a hive update!  If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you’ll learn I’ve been mysteriously plagued by chronic hives for about 15 months now.  They’d wax and wane, but from Sept – Dec they got so regular and horrible, that I became desperate to try anything!

I did a cleanse in January, and to be honest – no changes in the hives.  February was a focus on gluten, and my hives lessened significantly.  The entire week last week in Florida, I only had one small outbreak, and have otherwise been good.

I honestly don’t think my diet has had much difference, though I will say I have found correlation with gluten.  I’m not gluten-free, but I’m definitely gluten-lite.

I’m starting to think my friends are right.  It’s been stress mostly causing them.  I don’t like to think I feel stressed, but this past year has been pretty intense from from just about every angle.  My oldest went away to college, lots going on at work, late nights, early mornings, and not enough time to workout – which is my major stress reliever.

The past 6 weeks or so have been better on consistent runs and yoga, work – while nuts – is going well, and A seems to be handling the whole college thing just fine…and so maybe it really is stress.  I guess we’ll see!

Life otherwise, has been inside the last few days.  Snow, ice storms, and general mayhem.  Seems to be the theme this winter!

my "helper" Ginny on Monday.
my “helper” Ginny on Monday.
R and her Tonks, visiting me between meetings on Tuesday!
R and her Tonks, visiting me between meetings on Tuesday!

I did have my very first mammogram this morning!  I was nervous, but it honestly wasn’t that bad at all.  Mild discomfort, but I was in and out pretty quickly.

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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 🙂

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  (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.  They did great, and are home resting (ish).  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 😦 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 🙂

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.