We all have something that motivates us to do something crazy, like doing 100 push-ups. For me, the desire to do this insane achievement came the day that I tried on my wedding dress for the first time. It was about a month before the nuptials, and I noticed immediately that I was dissatisfied with the under-armpit skin hanging over my strapless dress. I had been doing a lot of strength training up to that day, and I didn't understand why my body didn't look perfect in my perfect dress to me. My mom said that she didn't notice anything, but I ignored her while I pouted in the car and thought about how that skin would ruin all of my wedding pictures. Yes, I was a little crazy.
I decided that next day that I could only lose that unwanted excess skin under my arms if I did 100 push-ups and 100 triceps dips every day. Up until that point, I could do something like 30 push-ups. I was that lazy kid once-upon-a-time who did .5 of them in gym class before I got too tired to do any more, but that changed as I got older. I worked at it, and soon I could do 5 on my toes. Then, I made it up to 10. Then 20. When I did P90X
last year, I could do up to 30 push-ups without stopping. That was a gigantic accomplishment for me.
The day after I decided to do my 100 push-ups, I did 100 of them. I did 20 push-ups, and then I flipped over and did 20 triceps dips. Then, I flipped back over and did 20 push-ups. I got tired quickly, but I took breaks and did them. I stuck with my goal, and I did this every day for a few weeks. Soon enough, I could divide my push-ups into 4 sets of 25. I did this all on my toes. I never dropped down to my knees.
When I put on my dress for the final time before my wedding (I had three dress fittings), that unwanted skin was gone. It vanished. My arms looked more toned to me than they ever did before, and I was so proud of my hard work.
Dancing with my dad at my wedding
No loose skin!
Since I was so happy with the results for the wedding, I've been continuing with the push-ups. I don't do the triceps dips anymore (although I do do assorted triceps exercises 3 times per week), but I work on my push-ups 2-3 times per week. I made it up to 50 push-ups without stopping, and I did 60 today for the first time. What an accomplishment! I never thought I'd be able to do even 20 of them on my toes.
I don't consider myself to be an athletic person, but I am a good example of the fact that a little work goes a long way. Even if you can barely do a full push-up right now, I am living proof that you can do 100. Just take baby steps, and you will do it!
Hi friends! I was trying very hard to blog yesterday, but I couldn't get my host site to work. Every other site was working on my computer except for Weebly, and I eventually just had to give up.
I've been having lots of fun since recovering from my gum surgery
(I got the rest of my stitches out on Friday and can now eat whatever I want) thanks to the arrival of my friend Irene and family birthdays. Irene is going to graduate school in Boston, and she's on a break this week. She got into Chicago at 7 pm and was dropped off straight at our friend Andi's apartment to hang out with us. That's how much she loves us.
We boogied down at Old Town Social
. Cold weather
+ no standing in line
= happy me!
Andi, me, Kate, Irene
Our friend JJ from high school and college also met us there. I thought that he was living in New York, but he moved back to Chicago a few months ago for law school. I was so surprised and happy to see him. Here's a fun fact: we "dated" for a few weeks in sixth grade. I think he met me once (we went to separate junior highs) and then asked me to be his girlfriend in an e-mail. We went on two dates that involved his dad picking me up and dropping us off at the movie theater. He bought me popcorn, and I apparently hogged it all. It wasn't really working out, so one of us "dumped" the other. I honestly can't remember who did it.
Andi and JJ
Shelly made Irene laugh very hard
I drove back to the suburbs yesterday morning so that I could get lots of homework done before going to dinner for the March Birthday Club. I call it the March Birthday Club, because my mom, dad and grandma almost have the same exact birthdays. Funnily enough, the same situation exists in Alastair's family. I talked about here
We went to Wildfire, which is always good without fail. We started with bread rolls and butter (not pictured), and then we all got chopped salads. Their signature salad comes with chicken, avocado, tomatoes, blue cheese, scallions, corn, tortilla strips and lime vinaigrette already mixed into the salad. I always request my dressing on the side, but this salad was very lightly dressed. It was perfect.
I haven't been to Wildfire in years, but I used to always order the Cedar Planked Salmon with brown sugar glaze. I knew I would enjoy it this time too, so I ordered that. At our table, it was pretty much all salmon and steaks.
You can choose whatever side you want with your main dish, so I went all out with the cheddar double stuffed potato. I think it was four times the size of a regular baked potato.
Since we had three birthdays at the table, we also had a lot of dessert! I had a few bites of the chocolate cake with the ice cream.
My meal also was a wonderful lunch today. I wasn't willing to throw away more than half of my potato last night!
My Friday Leg Routine
Last night's meal is indeed not the best way to get toned legs. With a combination of moves from P90X and other exercises that I know from experience, I made my favorite leg workout yet. This is what I do on Fridays:
Normal squats (toes pointed forward) with weights
Sumo squats (wider stance, toes pointed out) with weights
Alternating curtsy squats
60-second wall sit
Balance lunge with foot on chair
Walking lunges with weights
Side lunges with weights
Back lunges with weights
Calf raises with weights (feet facing out/forward/in)
Side leg lift on floor
90-degree leg lift on floor
The crab (lie on side, bend knees at 90 degrees, keep toes together and lift knee to work inner thighs)
Leg circles on side
Get on hands and knees, straighten one leg and pulse up using glutes
Same routine as above, but bend knee so that the heel is facing the ceiling. You will feel it in your glutes.
Let me know if you need better explanations of these. If I was really good, I'd be posting pictures of myself doing them (but I'm not always that good!).
I don't want to rub it in, but it's very nice in Australia right now. I'm prancing around in a sundresses and thongs (....or flip-flops), and the sun is out until 9 pm. I have zero complaints here.
I've been working hard to keep in shape over the past couple of months with my P90X
workouts, and I don't want to lose my fitness abilities while I'm overseas for more than three weeks. Like many people, I have the tendency to get into "vacation mode" and stuff my face silly. Unfortunately, you gain just as much weight with "vacation food" as you do with "normal food". I've only been here for a few days, but here are some things I'm trying to do in order to avoid extra holiday pounds:1. Eat smart at the airport/on the airplanes (especially when you're traveling for 24+ hours)
Call me lucky or cursed, but airplane food makes me physically ill.
As a result, I really try to limit what I eat while I'm in the air. When you're on an airplane for more than half of a day, one of the last things that you want is an upset stomach. In order to keep myself happy, I avoid any food that could trigger any sort of sickness (such as the mystery meat and creamy foods). I don't always clear my plate, but I'd rather get off the plane feeling slightly hungry than gravely ill. Plus, when you're not moving much for that many hours, you don't want to to be eating too much.
Flying is also another excuse to avoid any fried or heavy food several hours before getting on a plane. If I need to get something from the airport, I need to eat light and healthy foods and avoid beer. I want everything to sit well in my stomach.
I got a light snack at the Brisbane airport: three samples of cheese with crackers!
2. If you have a kitchen at your accommodation, use it.
Alastair hardly has any food at his apartment. Luckily, I packed some Annie's macaroni and cheese
just for that reason. I stopped at the grocery store for frozen green beans and milk, and I made myself a delicious and healthy meal that lasted two lunches. It was cheaper than going out for lunch, and I'm sure that it was healthier.
I know that we're going to eat a lot of our meals in restaurants, but we'll make sure to use the kitchen as well. Cooking healthy meals in the kitchen is a guaranteed way to avoid weight gain on your holidays!
Despite having a gaping blister on my right foot and a broken sandal (already!), I can say without hesitation that I love walking around Melbourne. Walking, of course, is one of the best ways to fit in exercise while away from home.
Alastair works in the city, and his apartment is about a 45-minute walk from there. A few days ago, I walked into town so that I could meet him after work. I got great views of the skyline for most of the way.
Along the river, I passed the sporting complex.
Melbourne has a lot of Christmas spirit!
They have Christmas windows, just like Chicago (and plenty of other cities!).
We went to TGI Fridays that night, although that really doesn't have anything to do with anything here. I was just surprised that their food tasted better than any TGI Friday's I've been to in the States. That's all.
Yesterday, we walked from Al's apartment to St Kilda, which is one of my favorite spots in Melbourne. There were so many people at the beach.
Walking is the best way to explore a new city. Unless the weather is terrible, your shoes are uncomfortable, or you have too much to carry, you have no excuse to NOT do some strolling. Your body will thank you, too.
4. Exercise. A little.
It's so easy for me to throw my exercise routine out the window when I travel. However, I don't want to lose my ability to do 25+ push-ups on my toes at once and do many crazy yoga poses that I was never able to do before I started P90X. While I'm not going to follow the program exactly, I'm still doing exercises as much as I can. Here is what I have done so far:
- Tuesday: 30-min interval workout on the treadmill in Al's building. I did a 5-minute warm-up, followed by 25 minutes of running. I'd run at a reasonable pace for one minute, and then I'd sprint for one minute. After that, I found a power yoga routine online. I'd post it...but I can't find it.
- Wednesday: I found this crazy workout on Pinterest:
Do it at your own risk.
Yesterday and today, I completed workouts from my P90X DVD booklet. I did Cardio X yesterday, and I did Legs and Back today. Instead of using my power chords to "mock" chin-ups, I used that time during the video to do push-ups and triceps dips.
I actually bought a travel toga mat from Amazon.com. I highly recommend this one.
It weighs one pound, it folds up easily in my suitcase, and it works very well as a yoga mat. I also brought my resistance bands.
I go to Adelaide tomorrow, and I'm not expecting to do any workout videos while I'm there. I do plan on running outside, doing my push-ups, and using my resistance bands.
If I don't see you before Christmas, then have a great holiday! Also, happy Hannukah to my Jewish friends!
Happy Monday, friends! I hope everybody had a wonderful weekend. I had a great one myself, and my dad's dinner from Sunday night was one of the reasons I liked it so much.
On the menu:
Oven roasted grouper with chopped apples and onions
Multigrain Pilaf (with a few extra additions)
Steamed broccoli with melted cheese
When I move out of the house, one of the things that I will miss the most is my dad's healthy cooking. Interestingly, my mom also started cooking once a week. She hasn't cooked a meal for us since I was a wee little girl. My dad enjoyed taking responsibility for the cooking, and my mom liked baking. I wasn't a deprived child. Anyway, my mom's cooking has been a great success! She made bread from scratch twice, and I always think it's very impressive when people do that. She even kneaded the dough by herself, since we don't have a bread maker.
New Gym Equipment: Goodies or Baddies?
Since I started P90X
, I've been using a resistance band (roped around our elliptical machine) to "mock" my pull ups/chin up, etc. If you don't have a pull up bar, they show you how to work the same muscles with a band. It's not as big of a challenge, but it still works. I never really considered trying a pull up bar until my mom came home from the store with one from Iron Gym
Being my impulsive little self, I immediately ripped it out of the box and assembled it. After looking around the basement, my mom and I realized that the only place we could use it in our basement was over the door of our utility room.
It doesn't look welcoming at all (I am actually scared of utility rooms and still somewhat believe that monsters live in there), but I figured that it should be fine. If I disappeared in the basement for more than a few hours, hopefully my parents would figure out by then that a monster probably grabbed me and gobbled me up in the crawl space. Then, they would have wished that they believed me about mythical creatures down there.
My mom also bought a Body Fit mat to cushion my joints. I've wanted one of these for a while, because I worry about jumping up and down
on our concrete basement floor. I used it to run in place during my warm up tonight, and I didn't feel any pain in my shins at all. This mat is a keeper. I'm looking forward to using it for plyometrics tomorrow.
As for the other purchase, I'm not sure if we're going to keep it. I did a few rounds of chin ups/pull ups during my workout today (assisted by a chair), and then it slid off the ledge while I was dangling on it. Then, it happened again. I'm lucky that I didn't get hurt. I'm thinking that it's not on there correctly, so I'll play around with it this week. I'd really like to use it to improve my strength, but I also don't want to break any of my bones.
I also don't (really) believe that monsters live in my utility room. I am, however, afraid of pipes. That might be a story for another time.
It's nearly winter, which of course means that it's Soup Season! We had Cedar Lane
Chopped Vegetable and Barley Soup in our fridge, so I heated it up and tried it. It's wonderful! The soup is so thick and full of veggies, which I love. It was actually so thick that I added some vegetable broth to it. I also sprinkled on parmesan cheese and devoured the bowl. If you live near a Costco and have a membership, you should take this home with you!
Sweet dreams, friends!
My dog Mickey is a hoot. Our yard is surrounded by prairie, and Mickey runs into it when he's not wearing his electric collar since the plants are past the boundaries of our property. We always know when he went too far, because his long and thick fur always attracts burrs and seeds and other native flora. This time, he came back with a stick stuck in his tail.
I was one baaaad boy!
He's so cute, that I can only laugh when he comes back covered in plants. How can you not snicker when your dog is trying to act innocent but has a branch attached to him?
Another amusement is that my dad bought me gnocchi (since he knows how to make me happy) and didn't even know that the food expires on my wedding day. Out of all of the days it could expire, who would have thunk that it would be then?
Naturally, I expected this to be magical gnocchi.
Don't confuse me with February 8!
I made a batch last night and mixed in salmon from Sunday night's dinner. The salmon was good, but the overall meal was very unimpressive.
For lunch today, I combined the plain leftover gnocchi with broccoli, pasta sauce and parmesan cheese. It may be the only way that I ever make it, but it's ALWAYS good!
I also have to share that it's eggnog season. If your tummy doesn't agree with regular eggnog, you can buy soy eggnog. I'm sure this is nothing new, but I've been out of the country for a few years. Cut me some slack.
I woke up early this morning and did my Plyo X workout, which is my norm for Tuesdays since I started P90X
. Plyo X is about 60 minutes (including warming up and cooling down) of nonstop movement. I was initially very scared of attempting this, because plyometrics can be very hard on your body. Too much jumping up and down could add stress on the knees and back. I experienced this when I did Zumba at my last gym. My knees were okay, but I always woke up the next morning with a sore back and leg (my right thigh that usually aches).
One of the things that I really like about Plyo X is that you can modify everything. If they do an exercise such as a jumping squat, you don't have to do the high-impact version. You can do the squat without a jump. Usually, somebody will show you how to do the modified move. Tony Horton, the P90X instructor, also explains how to lessen your chance of injury while doing a high-impact move (land like a cat!
) and stresses good shoes and a shock-absorbing mat. Once I learned that there wasn't a 100% chance of injuring myself, my attitude towards Plyo X changed.
I started running two times per week at the same time that I started the program, but I soon realized that I was putting too much stress on my body. I wasn't a consistent runner, so my body wasn't used to that impact either. I may have been able to put up with it, but my right shin began to hurt when I walked. I stopped the running, and I used two yoga mats(one of top of the other) for extra coverage under my feet. Our basement floor is carpeted, but it's a very thin layer on top of a concrete floor. I'm sure that was one of the reasons that my shin ached.
Since I "padded up", I've had a great time with Plyo X. I am huffing and puffing more than I am in any of the other workouts, because it's all cardio. We do a ton of different squats and lunges, so it's also very good for the lower body. I only need my mats and a towel (and WATER) for this, so it doesn't require as much equipment as some of the other DVDs.
This morning, I was so exhausted towards the end of it that I literally wanted to curl up on the basement floor and go to sleep. I've never been that tired from this. I guzzled all of my water and then went upstairs for a recovery smoothie.
- one handful of frozen berries (blackberries, raspberries, cherries)
- one splash of tart cherry juice
- one scoop chocolate whey protein powder
- one cup vanilla soy milk
- One tbsp instant coffee (I needed that coffee!)
I drank it while I got ready for class. Do you like my thumb nail, by the way? It's a Sally Hansen Nail Polish Strip.
They come in all sorts of crazy patterns. You just buy the strips, which are real nail polish, and put them on your nail like a sticker. You press them down on your nail and then use a nail filer that they give you to file off the excess part of the strip that hangs over your nail. Mine are starting to chip, so my flower child pattern is coming off soon.
Bye bye for now!Editor's note: The workout is called "Plyometrics X". I'm not really sure why I've been abbreviating it!
Hi friends! I'm now on my sixth week of P90X
. I think it's about time to talk about it!
As I mentioned before, I was getting bored with my workout routine a few months ago and wanted to do something more challenging for my body. I found The Butt Bible
on Exercise TV
. I followed the workout religiously for six weeks, and I was very pleased with the results. I went from only being able to do about four push ups to fourteen
on the toes (which was a huge deal for me), and my whole body felt tighter. Once I finished the program, I decided that I wanted to do something more ambitious.
I started P90X the next week (I got the program at half price on Amazon.com!
), and I haven't regretted it for a second. Here's what I can tell you about it: you cannot NOT get into better shape (double negative= SUPER positive=you WILL get into better shape). The program comes with a variety of workouts, each on its own DVD. Each workout is approximately an hour (some are longer), and you do six workouts per week. You must have the flexibility in your schedule to accommodate them, because you are not supposed to skip them. If you have to wake up 90 minutes earlier than usual (I often do), so be it.
P90X takes 90 days to complete if you stick to the schedule and don't skip days. You never have to do the same routine two days in a row, and you rarely repeat a routine in a given week. As a result, you don't get bored, and your muscles don't get bored.
Here's what an average week looks like:
Day 1: Chest and Back (with Ab Ripper X, which is a 15-minute ab workout)
Day 2: Plyometrics X
Day 3: Shoulders and Arms (with Ab Ripper X)
Day 4: Yoga X
Day 5: Legs and Back (with Ab Ripper X)
Day 6: Kenpo X
Day 7: Rest or Stretch X
Other than Ab Ripper X, you never have to repeat in the same week! That's nice, right? You follow this schedule for three weeks, and then you change it.
Five weeks into P90X, I can do more than 20 push ups at once (I do WAY more than that throughout the duration of one workout). I see definition in my stomach and arms that I have never seen before in my life. I don't look like a crazy muscle woman, but I can't help but notice that I'm getting more toned. I look healthier. I love it. I'm pushing my body to incredible heights, and I'm going to keep at it! ANYBODY can look better from this.
I'll talk more about specific workouts as I blog. I'd overwhelm you if I went into detail about each and every one.
Enjoy the rest of your Monday!
What a grand Sunday. I don't have to go anywhere, my leg doesn't hurt, and I've finished whatever homework I need to do. I also haven't mentioned this all week for obvious reasons, but my parents have been out of town since Tuesday and get home tonight. I've been by myself all week watching the pups, and we've had a wonderful time. They are so considerate and let me sleep as late as I want. I make sure to return the favor by rubbing their bellies, feeding them, giving them yummy treats, walking them, and scratching their butt. Dogs totally dig that.
I got a small pang of hunger in between meals yesterday, so I made up a very amusing snack. Lately, I've been taking Triscuits
and dipping them in cottage cheese. I like them both, and putting them together works well for me.
I was feeling more innovative yesterday, so I filled the surface of small plate with the crackers and then broke apart a couple of baby spinach leaves and placed a piece on each cracker. I put a small spoonful of cottage cheese on top of that, and then topped it with either cheddar or mozzarella shredded cheese.
I melted it in the microwave for 30 seconds. It came out looking like a complete cheesy mess (I laughed out loud when I saw it), but it didn't do anything bad for the taste. I liked it so much that I made it again today.
Dinner and Blackhawks
Last night, I went to my friend Kate and her boyfriend Dan's new apartment. Kate cooked dinner, Dan taught me everything I needed to know about watching a Chicago Blackhawks game, and I brought the beer. Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale
and some regular Bud Lite.
Kate grilled burgers, chicken and potato slices. She also made a great salad.
Dessert: A chocolate meringue cake from Trader Joe's
and chopped pineapple and mangoes.
I never really ate mangoes until I met Kate. Now, they are one of my favorite fruits. There is nothing to not like about them, except for burning acid holes in your mouth from eating too many of them. I guess I can blame Kate for that.
The game (see the creepy witch troll watching the game on the couch?)
My first time wearing a Blackhawks jersey. Thanks for showing me how to hold the hockey stick, Dan! Apparently, I was holding it the same way that I would sweep the floor before he corrected me.
Probably the wrong way to hold it....
I had another almost-rotten banana sitting around, so I made it into another smoothie this morning. My smoothie contained:
- one very ripe banana
- one handful of washed baby spinach
- one scoop of chocolate whey protein powder
- 1/2 cup uncooked oats
- 1/2 cup soy milk
I used to be so disgusted when I first read about food bloggers putting spinach in their smoothies. Here's the honest truth about it: you can't taste it at all! I put a whole handful in there, and look at my smoothie. Do you see anything green floating around in there? Heck no!
It's such a great way to sneak greenery into your food. You'll never know it's there, but you're still getting the nutrients. My only regret was the oats. They made my drink too chewy. Next time, I'll add cooked oats or omit them all together.
The Butt Bible
I feel like I've been sneaking around on you guys for discovering such a great workout and not telling you about it! I realized several weeks ago (we're talking about right after I finished summer school) that I needed to find a better way to work my lower body. I wasn't challenging myself enough, and I wanted to tone up down there. I found "The Butt Bible" on Xfinity (on demand TV workouts for people who have Comcast) and did the Lower Body Level 1 workout a few times. Then I went to San Francisco and had my exercise-free time while Alastair was in town. When he left, I decided to seriously commit to this workout.
The Butt Bible
is six "badass" workouts created by Pauline Nordin that work the entire body. There are three levels of intensity, and each level has an upper body and a lower body workout. Each workout ranges from 20 minutes (level I) to about 40 minutes (level III). If you decide to do the whole thing, then you finish all of them over six weeks. You do one level for two weeks, and then you move to the next one. Xfinity pulled the majority of the workouts when I was on week six
(they do that from time to time), so I'm so lucky that I was able to do the whole series for no additional charge. Since it's no longer there in its entirety, though, you can download her workout or buy it online.
I was shocked at how well my body responded to the Butt Bible. On most weeks, I did the lower body workouts twice a week and the upper body three times a week. I started seeing results almost instantly, especially in my lower body. While the workouts aren't very long, Pauline had me working my ass off (no pun intended) the whole time. The lower body workouts ranged from normal squats and lunges to using chairs to floor exercises. For upper body, we used both weights and body weight. I could only do about 5-ish push ups on my toes before I started the program, and now I can do 20. I'd say that's a big improvement. She also incorporates abdominal work into the upper body workouts.
Not only did The Butt Bible tone my body, but Pauline Nordin is great entertainment. I laughed so much throughout the program because of her. She has a very silly sense of humor, and she uses that to make the time pass faster. I wish that there were either more workouts of hers or that I could recruit her as my friend. I like her that
The other good thing is that you barely need any equipment. You'll probably need two sets of weights (I used five pounds, eight pounds and sometimes ten pounds) and a chair. If you want a new workout program, then I highly, highly recommend getting your hands on this! I was in a rut before this and really dreaded exercising for a while. When I did this program, I was always excited to get down to the basement and do it.
I just started P90X
(I'm one week in), so I'll be sure to give it a starting review in the next couple of days.
Oh, what a shame to rise from bed at 5 am. Have I mentioned that I am only doing this four times a week?Workout
My workout this morning looked something like this:
3 sets of 15 alternating chest press and fly on bench (12 pounds)
3 sets of 15 standing row (12 pounds)
120 tricep dips (20 at a time in between sets, using body weight)
3 sets of 15 military shoulder presses (10 pounds)
3 sets of 15 bicep curls (8 pounds)
I don't switch up my bicep and shoulder exercises very much.
For the lower body, I did:
2 sets of 10 single-legged squats, holding onto a chair for balance
20 alternating walking lunges
20 regular squats
20 sumo squats
20 side lifts on floor on each leg
I didn't use weight on any of these lower body exercises, and I didn't want to work my legs too hard. Just as I was getting ready for bed last night, the pain set into my right leg from running. I didn't feel discomfort while running or after, which makes this whole situation even more frustrating. I'm not in a lot of pain, but it's still uncomfortable to do things like put on a pair of jeans or walk down stairs. The real no-no is lifting my knee up to my chest. My muscle fires up every time that I do it. It could be sore from the long run yesterday, but I know well enough that my leg still isn't healed.
The exercises I did today, like the single-legged squats and the forward lunges, are exercises that my mom's personal trainer told me to do in order to strengthen my sartorius muscle. When I did them this morning, it felt amazing. I felt like I was stretching the muscles and not irritating them. I also just started doing a new stretch that she told me to do a few months ago (but I of course ignored her advice). I'm also rolling on the Grid
two times a day on my outer and inner thigh. I'll start stretching twice a day as well as using heating at night and before long runs and ice after exercise. I just want this stupid leg to get better. Is that too much to ask?
For now, I am still running the half marathon. I'll probably see my mom's personal trainer a few times during my training. If she tells me not to run it, then I won't. She did fix my mom's bad IT band and hamstring while she was training for the Chicago Marathon, though, so I'm hoping she can help me.
Getting Ready for School
During my biology lecture last Friday, I was falling asleep. I find my class to be fascinating, and my teacher (who is an M.D.) is one of those smart people you can listen to for hours. I wasn't tired because I was bored; I was tired since I was up at 5 am. This morning, I had some extra time to make tea. I figured I could make a double black tea, and I would be wide awake during my lecture.
WRONG. I still almost nodded off. I tried to find coffee during my break, but no luck. I'm going to have to start brewing coffee every morning and bringing it in a big mug. I haven't done that in so long.
Now, going back to earlier this morning, making tea in my house is something that always makes me laugh. For one thing, we have never owned a kettle. I didn't understand the importance of one of those until I had roommates in college who loved tea. As a result of not having a kettle, I use the microwave to heat up my water. In addition to having to microwave our tea water, we don't drink tap water in our house. Most suburbs of Chicago have lake water, meaning that they have purified tap water from Lake Michigan running through their pipes. In my home growing up, I always drank straight from the taps. Then, we moved to a new suburb that uses well water. We have to use water softener, which removes the calcium and magnesium (which could clog the pipes and also may prevent soap from lathering with mixed with the water) through reverse osmosis. While the water is perfectly drinkable, it has a bitter taste to it. Therefore, we only drink bottled water. I hope you enjoyed that explanation :)
To make my tea, I open up a cold bottle of water, pour it into a mug and heat it for one minute in the microwave.
It's not any more work than using a kettle to boil water, but it's still funny that my process for making tea is so different.
I ate another wholegrain bagel with regular cream cheese while drinking my tea. If there is one thing I have learned over the years, it is that bagels don't do anything to fill you up. I was hungry about an hour later.
I also found Mickey hanging out in his typical spot in the laundry room. I wasn't surprised to find him there, but I was surprised to see that he was hoarding biscuits. He's such a funny dog. Unlike the other ones in the house, he doesn't like those biscuits that you see below. When any of us give him one, he'll take it in his mouth but not eat it. He walks away with it and keeps it near him so that none of the other dogs can take it. I'm not sure if he ends up eating them or not. I'm also not sure how he ended up with five of them this morning!
Lunch and Dinner
I love being able to come home for lunch, because I can whip up whatever I want. I also don't have to pack anything to take with me. For lunch today, I ate a Trader Joe's Southwest Salad. I love making my own salads, but pre-made salads can be a lot of fun.
This salad came with shredded cheddar cheese, onions, red peppers, cabbage, a corn salsa (with black beans) and some yummy dressing on the side.
I always prefer to dip my salad in dressing on the side rather than pour it on. As a result, I always lose things in my dressing! The salad didn't blow my socks off, but I really enjoyed the barbecue ranch dressing. It's hard to not enjoy it!
I still wanted to much on something before my second class, so I chopped up a Pink Lady apple. I discovered this kind of apple in Australia, and it's now my favorite. I was so happy when I found out that we have them here!
I made the sliced apple even more exciting with some almond butter. I've actually never had it before, and I am now shocked that I've been alive this long and never experienced it. It's amazing! It's so much better than peanut butter. I would have licked the whole jar clean, but then I remembered that it's smart to eat this stuff in moderation.
After a rather stressful day in chemistry, I came home to make myself even more stressed. I have quizzes in both of my classes tomorrow. I planned on studying over the weekend, but then I didn't do it. The stuff is pretty easy, but I'm still worried that I don't know the material well enough. I still have more homework due tomorrow, and I have to study for the quizzes. AND it's 10 pm! I'm supposed to be up in 7 hours. Strong coffee tomorrow morning, yes? So if I post something tomorrow night that seems completely incoherent, you will know why!
Dinner, like lunch, had a Southwestern theme. We made black bean quesadillas, which we make all the time in our house. My dad makes the filling by heating and mixing corn, tomatoes and black beans in a pan. We then make our own quesadillas.
I added shredded cheddar cheese and Greek yogurt. I've never added the Greek yogurt before, but I certainly will in the future. The quesadilla was delicious, despite the fact that it looks very boring on my plate.
Ok, well I am going to get ready for bed and then study until I cry or pass out. We'll have to see. Biology should be fine, but chemistry doesn't come very easily to me. I'll have to work extra hard if I want to get a good grade!
I already can't wait for my coffee tomorrow. Have a great night!
There are lots of announcements today. For one thing, I am very sad that it's Sunday. I enjoy sleeping later than 5 am. For another, I am so close to picking my wedding dress. My mom and I took my dad to Volle's Bridal
yesterday so that he could see my two favorite dresses. As it turns out, the one that I thought was THE ONE may not be the one after all. One of them makes me look very elegant (my first choice), and the other makes me look like a princess. When our consultant asked me how I imagined myself as a bride when I was younger, I said that I always wanted to look like a princess. That pretty much made up my mind for me. I may have to try them on one more time just to be sure.
For breakfast on Saturday, I ate a Panera whole wheat bagel with cream cheese. We were in a hurry to get to Volle's, so I had to eat it in the car. I took the plate to minimize crumbs.
I also did a workout before Volle's. It was something like this:
20 minute warm up on the elliptical
4 sets of 10 pushups (body weight, 20 on my toes, 20 on my knees)
3 sets of 15 alternating dumbbell rows (12 pounds)
30 tricep dips (body weight)
30 tricep dips (body weight plus 8-pound weight balanced on my hips)
3 sets of 15 military shoulder press (10 pounds)
3 sets of 15 bicep curls (8 pounds)
30 squats with 8-pound weights
30 plie squats with 8-pound weights
10 back lunges on each side
10 single leg squats on each side
10 single leg deadlifts on each side (8 pounds)
20 lying-down side leg raises on each side
5 minutes of abdominal work and stretching
I try not to do too many lunges, because they really irritate my right leg. Boo.
After Volle's, I went to Costco with my parents. Since it was a Saturday, I had my lunch there. There are samples everywhere you turn, so I had a blast.
I still wanted a snack later on, so I ate Chobani
Greek yogurt in the pomegranate flavor.
I think Chobani packaging is so pretty.
I was expecting a lot from it, but I honestly didn't like it as much as I like the other flavors. The yogurt tasted fine, but the pieces of pomegranate arils just didn't seem right on the taste buds. They seemed a bit stale. Who knows, it could have just been my batch.
My parents met friends for dinner, and I stayed home with the pups. Have I mentioned that I am nerd when it comes to studying? I'd go out up to five days a week when I was in college. When I started graduate school a few months after graduation, I didn't go out for months. That was certainly part of the reason that I was so unhappy in my psychology program. I was confined to my room all the time.
I'm very busy with this summer program, but at least I'll be able to get out more. I'll try to keep one night per weekend to study. I think it's equally important that I go out and see my friends. I seriously ran the risk of losing my friends the last time, and I don't want to do that again!
For dinner last night, I put leftover pizza from the night before in the toaster oven. I put it on top of foil so that I wouldn't have the same cheesy mess
that I had the last time I did this.
It was a big-ass piece of leftover pizza. My dad does make great pizza, though. This one had eggplant, grilled onions, tomatoes, mushrooms and some other goodies. I'm not sure what kind of cheese he used.
Today has been very eventful. Another reason I stayed home instead of being a social butterfly in the city was because I wanted to see my mom finish the North Shore Half Marathon
. My mom can run 13.1 miles on any good day, so it wasn't like I was worried about her finishing. I just wanted to see her do it.
I woke up at 8:36 am, got ready, fed the dogs and ate breakfast. Our pantry is full of Kashi cereal right now, because I can't stop requesting it. It's so, so good. I was eating this Go Lean Crunch by the handful yesterday.
I took the two young and sprightly dogs, Mickey and Cody, with me. They were so happy to experience a change of scenery with new smells.
Cody could not wait to see Mom finish the half marathon.
Mickey tried to lift his leg and pee on everything.
My dogs made friends with that dog below.
I've never even seen a long race before in the flesh, so I had a great time watching people go over the finish line.
It fueled my desire even more to run a half marathon.
After standing there for about an hour with the pups, I got a call from my mom's cell phone. I was confused. Why would she call me while running? As it turned out, she was home already! My parents were looking so hard for me that they split up and started looking for me, the dogs or my car. I guess there was a terrible miscommunication when we talked about what time I should get there. She finished right before I even arrived. I was livid when I found out, but I was calm by the time that I got home. It wasn't anybody's fault. In the end, I just felt bad. She was so excited to see me and the dogs, and it didn't happen.
I still had a lot of fun there. I got emotional watching people finish. I cry at everything these days, so it doesn't surprise me. In marathons (and half marathons), there are so many people who run for causes. One of the biggest fundraisers, for example, is the American Cancer Society. You may want to run on their team if you lost a loved one to cancer and if you or someone you know survived it. It's those things especially that make me emotional. Then, I saw so many children greet their parents to walk over the finish line with them. Obviously, everybody put in a lot of effort to be able to to finish the face. You can see it on their faces when they cross the line. It just makes me tear up. I can't help it.
When I got home, I didn't eat a real lunch. I just snacked. I melted a piece of Finlandia Chipotle Jack Cheese onto a corn tortilla, for instance. My mom also made a smoothie, and I had some of that.
Later on, my dad made grilled corn on the cob, grilled turkey breast with mushroom sauce (thickened with black beans instead of flour) and a green bean salad with turkey sausage and porcini mushrooms. What a great summer meal!
Rock N Roll Chicago Half Marathon
A lot happened between lunch and dinner today. When I was eating the gigantic smoothie with my mom (I say "eating", because it was thick), we talked about the possibility of me running the Chicago Half Marathon
in August. My mom, my dad and my brother Jon are all signed up. My mom has been asking me for a while if I want to do it, but I keep telling her that I need more time to train. Also, I am very worried about my leg.
Well, something interesting happened. I went outside after lunch, and I ran at least 6 miles. I've been saying for months that I can't run more than 3, but I was somehow able to do this. A few hours later, I signed up for the race. If I do one long run per week for the next 8 weeks, I should be ready to run it. There is just one problem: the sartorius muscle on my right leg.
This muscle has been giving me hell for a year now. The pain comes mainly from running and lunges. I've rested it for up to six weeks at a time, but it still won't heal completely. I could even feel it flaring up today during my run, but it made such a difference when I turned my foot inward (I naturally run with my feet turned out, and that may be part of the reason that I get the inflammation).
The good news is that when I am on top of my stretching, icing and foam rolling, it makes a significant reduction to the discomfort. For the next two months, I will have to be extremely vigilant with that. Otherwise, I won't be able to run the 13.1 miles.
Of course, if my leg gets so bad that I can't walk, I won't run it. I'll have to rehab it until I am able to run another one. I've wanted to run a half marathon for so long, though. We'll just have to see how everything goes. Please feel free to send advice my way if you have had similar experiences or know about the issue.
P.S.- Flights are grounded
in Australia and New Zealand from the volcano eruption in Chile! I'm pretty sure that fights can't fly to/from Melbourne, Tasmania and New Zealand. That sucks! These tectonic plates have been getting very temperamental lately.
Okay, bed time at 9 pm! I'll tell you more about my training schedule later. Not much is going to change except for adding one day of interval training and one long run. Be good to me, leg!
Can you believe that I woke up at 5 am to exercise? I'm going to try to stick to this morning routine for the next 7.5 weeks. It's so much better to have the evening to focus on my studies. To make the whole process easier, I started by sleeping in my exercise clothes. It sounds strange, but it was one less thing to worry about when my alarm went off (plus I have great chest support just in case there is an earthquake). I only had to put on socks and shoes, brush my teeth, put in my contacts and go to the basement.
I also picked out my outfit the night before (although I still ended up changing my clothes at least two times before I left the house) and packed my backpack. I even made my breakfast. If you frequently read healthy living blogs, then you may understand what I mean when I say that I made overnight oats.
I took one cup of uncooked rolled oats (I made way too much) and combined it with vanilla soy milk as well as a handful of golden raisins and pistachios. I then put it in the fridge to chill overnight. When I took it out this morning, the oats absorbed all of the milk and had a fantastic vanilla flavor. I added some Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal and blueberries. I ate it while I was getting ready (the bowl in the photo is on the office chair in my bedroom).
I had to be out of the house by 6:45 at the absolute latest to make it to my class on time, so I knew that I had to be finishing my workout by 6. I realize that I won't be able to do super long workouts in the morning, so I have to try to make the best of my time. Today was all about strength. Here is what I did:
1 min jumping jacks (warm up)
Chest Presses (3 sets/15 reps/12 pounds)
Chest Flies (3 sets/15 reps/12 pounds)
Triceps Extensions (3 sets/15 reps/12 pounds)
Standing military shoulder press (3 sets/15 reps/10 pounds)
Alternating front/side raises (2 sets/5 reps each side/5 pounds)
Standing row (3 sets/15 reps/10 pounds)
bicep curls (3 sets/15 reps/8 pounds)
Circuit of three sets of 15 of: squats/side leg raises (both sides)/back leg raises (both sides)/sumo squats
Finished with 3-5 minutes of assorted ab work
I also went on the elliptical for five minutes since I had some extra time.
I then drove to my Chicago school, which took me a good hour and ten minutes (it took me a lot less time to get home). In Chicago, the traffic begins early. I had trouble pulling out of my subdivision at 6:45 am!
The good news is that I love biology. It is so easy for me to understand, and I actually enjoy it! I can't say the same thing about chemistry. I know for a fact that I'm going to struggle with it. I just have to work hard and make good use of my teacher's office hours. For my harder chem classes in the future (organic chem...), I will probably need a tutor. Well, we'll just have to see. I have a few doctors in my family, so I may get tutoring for free!
After my bio class, I drove home and made lunch. I made a mug of much-needed vanilla caramel tea (I had two during lunchtime) and assembled a fun lunch plate.
I ate grapes, mini peppers, some sliced turkey breast, hummus and chipotle jack cheese!
I certainly would have been happy eating just cheese for lunch.
Chemistry came and went, and then it was time for dinner. I had more leftover ravioli (I think the portion is bottomless, because there is still more in the fridge) topped with asiago cheese and baby spinach on the side. I devoured the whole thing in a matter of minutes. I guess chemistry makes me hungry.
The Pupperz Got Their Fur Did
The above sentence makes me think that I should go back to school to relearn grammar. Anyway, the pups went to the groomers today. They came back smelling like flowers and wearing cute bandanas. Of course, I have to share them with you.
The only issue is that they weren't in the mood to pose for the camera. There is Buffy. She is wearing the Spring Florals collection.
Cody was really feelin the polka dots.
Mickey wanted to channel his inner cowboy. See how he turns away from me?
When I take photos of Mickey, he either turns away from me, runs away from me or glares at me.
I am going to take your camera and pee on it when you're not looking!
Rigley couldn't decide between pink and animal prints, so she was doggone thrilled when she found a combination of both.
They sure do look pretty, but the pups are exhausted from the groomers!
It's Cody, the Polka Dot Bandit!!!!
I just love my doggies.
Time to curl up with my biology book....