Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy 2010!

Happy 2010, everyone!

I know I'm quite a bit late in posting and wishing you all a fantastic and blessed new year, but I figured I should get a post up later, rather than never, right? I REALLY do enjoy food blogging, so much, and I want to be better about doing it!

I had a busy December, but I'm back! I spent the week of Christmas in with my sister, which was lovely because she lives 400 miles away (yes, I drove) and it's always good to see her! I played gigs on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve! I really can't complain, because they are good money and give me something to do when I wouldn't otherwise be working (teaching) and none of my friends are in town. And there's something very nice about sharing the gift of music on a holiday!

I've also been running quite a bit.


OK, sorry, I'm done. Can you tell I'm a little bit excited?! Yesterday I ran 12 miles!! I almost feel like I cheated because I did it in 4 + 8 mile segments. (Before and after work.) But it feels like such an accomplishment!! It was my longest total time running ever and I feel pretty good today, except for my right ankle which is incredibly stiff. (Maybe from an old gymnastics injury?!?) My knees barely even hurt! (I am thankful for excellent cartilage in them! I never even had pain as a gymnast!) Coming from someone who could barely run 1/4 of a mile in August 2009 (only 5 months ago!!) this is pretty remarkable! And I get even more excited just looking forward to what I'll be able to do. This just goes to show that with hard work and determination YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU SET YOUR MIND TO!

EDIT: Speaking of post-run pain, check out Emily's awesome giveaway! I REALLY want to win this!

And while I'm at it, here's another awesome giveaway from the Voracious Vegan. (I just started reading her blog and I ADORE it, due to the fact that she lives in Saudi Arabia and has traveled extensively, both of which I find fascinating!)

OK, now what have I been eating to fuel these runs? Well a lot, but here are a few catch up pictures. (These are from a while ago but I promise the next post will have more current ones!)

My usual breakfast: oat bran, cottage cheese, cashews, frozen berries, and almond butter!

And here's another almost identical one:

A very common meal: veggie omelet (broccoli, zucchini, onion in EVOO) with some Sun Chips equivalents on the side!

I snacked on the last of my samples from Larabar! This is my personal favorite flavor (tied with Cashew Cookie!), despite it seeming to have gotten mixed reviews from the blog world.

I was hungry before a workout so I fished this out from the bottom of my purse:

It's OK. A little too chemically for me, but better than nothing.

Lastly, VERY importantly, I bought some bottles of liquor to make winter drinks!

-on the left, a bottle of 101 proof Peppermint Schnapps (I.e VERY strong!)
-on the right, chocolate cream liquor

I mixed them in with sugar free hot chocolate for a great drink:

I just finished this book which was really good. Florence Nightingale is one of my personal heroes and I loved reading what she had to say!

Best quote came at the very end (added emphasis is my own):

I would earnestly ask my sisters to keep clear of both the jargons now current every where (for they are equally jargons); of the jargon, namely, about the "rights" of women, which urges women to do all that men do, including the medical and other professions, merely because men do it, and without regard to whether this is the best that women can do; and of the jargon which urges women to do nothing that men do, merely because they are women, and should be "recalled to a sense of their duty as women," and "because this is women's work" and "that is men's," and "these are things which women should not do," which is all assertion, and nothing more. Surely woman should bring the best she has, whatever that is, to the work of God's world, without attending to either of these cries. (My favorite line!) For what are they, both of them, the one just as much as the other, but listening to the "what people will say" to opinion, to the "voices from without?" And as a wise man has said, no one has ever done anything great of useful by listening to the voices from without. You do not want the effect of your good things to be, "How wonderful for a woman!" nor would you be deterred from good things by hearing it said, "Yes but she ought not to have done this, because it is not suitable for a woman." But you want to do the thing that is good, whether it is "suitable for a woman" or not. It does not make a thing good, that is is remarkable that a woman should have been able to do it. Neither does it make a thing bad, which would have been good had a man done it, that it has been done by a woman. Oh, leave these jargons, and go your way straight to God's work, in simplicity and singleness of heart."

Keep in mind that she was writing (and working!) in the 1840s and '50s!!!

OK, I'm off to go do some work!

Monday, December 14, 2009

I ran 11 miles!


Remember all of my posts about how I struggled with running? Well, I've been working really hard at it, trying to get about 15-20 miles in a week, and I bought an excellent new pair of shoes: (Mizuno Wave Alchemy.) I am so excited about the shoes because my left shin pain has greatly diminished and I have really noticed a difference during and after running!

Yesterday I made an excellent play list and I noticed the weather today was going to be in the upper 40s (high for here!) and NOT raining or snowing! So I took advantage of the day and plotted out a 10.7 mile course on I started running and things just felt really good! I was at a slow-ish pace because I was more excited to see how long I could keep it up for!

About 6 miles into the run, I decided to extend it by a little bit, hoping to push the run to a full 11 miles and when I mapped out this change at home afterwards it came to: 11.16 miles!!!!

My official time was 1:59:52 which only included 3 one minute walking breaks! (Plus about 5 minutes to use the restroom at Starbucks, but I stopped my watch!) said I averaged a 10:40 minute mile or averaged running at 5.6 mph, which I realize is far slower than most of the women in the blogging world, but I'm still pretty freaking proud of it! I also realized that I thrive on accomplishing goals, and I think improving at running has made me exceptionally happy lately! (After I finished college, then grad school, I didn't really have any huge goals--as I had always worked so hard towards those ones!) But my next BIG goal: a half marathon in May 2010!! It is much less scary to think about after having gone 11 miles today!

And I also hope that I can be an encouragement to other beginning runners because 5 months ago in August I could not even run 1/4 of a mile without being completely miserable and out of breath. But I kept at it, and even though I'm not the world's best runner, the fact that I was able to make such an obvious improvement in my ability shows that anyone can, if you're just persistent and stay positive mentally!

I also got to try my first GU gel today! I had purchased 3 when I bought my running shoes because I knew I was planning on running longer distances! So I brought the Espresso Love flavor and I ate it around mile 8 (when I stopped at Starbucks!). Honestly, I didn't love the flavor, but it did an EXCELLENT job of giving me some calories that DIDN'T cause my stomach to cramp up, which is amazing, because almost any food does! I also purchased the Mint Chocolate flavor and the Vanilla Gingerbread Seasonal flavors, as well as a CarbBOOM Watermelon flavor and I look forward to trying all of these on other runs! Now I wish it wasn't getting so cold here, now that I'm really starting to enjoy running outside! If and when I make it back to Los Angeles (my parents live there!) I will be definitely doing a one or two long runs!

OK, I am SOOO sorry for slacking so much on posting! I want to get back to it! And I do plan on posting, so if I still have any readers would you be nice enough to leave me a comment? Thanks!

But now, time to ice my legs! By the way, I played racquetball for 1 hour this evening, just 5 hours after the run! I'm pretty sure that I would die happy if I could just exercise, eat good food, play good music, read good books, teach only the students who practice, and be surrounded by friends and wonderful people my entire life!

I PROMISE, I'll be back with a catch up food post soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rakin' in those 15 hour days!

Hi everyone,

I'm sorry for the lack of posting (and commenting!) Please don't hate me! ;-)

I am trying to read as many blogs as I can, but for the past few days that has just been a very few at breakfast and that's it. I've baby-sat an extremely adorable and precious little girl from 8am-12:30pm the past two days, then today I taught from 2-8pm tonight and rehearsed for a show tomorrow from 8:45-10:30pm. I've also gotten ~5 hours of sleep for the past two nights and am surprisingly not too tired (although, I am doing the highly scientific study to figure out just how much caffeine one human body can ingest....oops). I also got to the gym on Monday and Tuesday (not today) and I'm proud of me for that!

My day tomorrow looks like:

-Coffee/breakfast with a friend 9-10am
-Practice for a show
-Teach 3-4pm
-Drive to teach again from 6-7pm
-Drive to sound check and play an extremely cool show at a local college, 8-11pm (?)

And that's a pretty light day this week! Wheeee! I've been having an EXCELLENT week, even if it's a little busy.

I have another gig on Friday night, then teach all day on Saturday and go to a house concert, then church, baby-sit and an early Thanksgiving dinner with my church on Sunday. So yay for staying busy!

What about you? What's the most exciting thing you have done this week and/or are going to do?

For me, I'd say tomorrow's show is right up there. Because it's rock music that is truly exhilarating to play and I get extremely excited before and during the performance!

I hope you are all having an awesome week! :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Home from a great conference!

I'm home and I had a very exciting past four days at a music conference! It was an incredible time of networking with other musicians, booking agents, record labels, concert presenters, and so on. I really enjoy meeting new people, and talking to like-minded musicians so it was a lot of fun for me! I passed out our CD and business cards when people asked for them. There was a great exhibition hall that many companies and musicians had tables at to promote themselves, and there was literally music happening all day, every day! There were musicians all around the hotel (lobby, rooms, etc) who would gather randomly and make music with people who they had just met! I got to play with some guitarists and mandolinists and it was a great experience! Each night musicians would perform for each other in their rooms until 3 or 4am, sometimes later. There were also afternoon panel sessions with topics ranging from songwriting, to public relations, to humor in music and a lot of other things! Very educational! In general, the entire conference was so inspiring of my desire to continue doing music and to make a successful living while doing so! It was such a joy to be there!

I don't have a lot of of food pictures from it, but the hotel we were staying at served AMAZING meals buffet-style, with several options for main courses (on Friday night I remember: chicken masala, trout with baby shrimp, beef something, noodles with Bulgar wheat, and a macaroni dish; on Saturday night I remember: eggplant Parmesan, Italian sausage, ziti, and some chicken, beef and fish dish--I don't remember all very well!), a reasonably well-stocked salad bar with rolls, and MASSIVE amounts of dessert tables, ranging from chocolate cake, to cookies, to pastries, to apple crisp! Additionally, every night we would inundate all of the hotel rooms with live music, and each one offered beer, wine, liquor, CHOCOLATE, cookies, and candy that anyone could snack on.

We also had a great cocktail hour on Friday afternoon, where I snagged about four of these plates (in my defense, I was starving because we had stayed in a friend's room on Thursday night, but we weren't officially checked in to the hotel, so we didn't get dinner on Thursday night or breakfast on Friday morning; I had survived on some almonds and protein bars I packed!)

(Plus random bites of egg rolls, quesadillas, quiche, and pigs-in-a-blanket that servers were bringing around!)

And don't forget the free drink ticket vouchers. Because 3pm is definitely NOT too early for a cosmopolitan:

I might or might not have also had a Bay Breeze, after this drink, because I had another free drink ticket and I didn't want it to go to waste! *That would be tragic!*

I also may have been tipsy after them.... ;-)

Of course, being the foodie that I am, I HAD to try almost all of everything and I exercised VERY POOR judgment in portion control! Hah! I'm pretty sure I'm about 5 pounds heavier than when I left, but there's no way that can all be "real" weight, so I think I should be fine if I watch my sugar for a while, and exercise this week. (And just for the record, I don't regret anything! Yes, next time I might have tried to stop eating when I was full, instead of packing more and more chocolate into me--my stomach hurt MANY times this weekend--but my taste buds are incredibly happy with me!)

I did have a FANTASTIC workout on Friday morning; I went for an hour long jog/walk ("wog") through the golf course that was in back of the hotel. It was breathtakingly beautiful, and I wish I had taken pictures for the blog! I also did a legs workout, with a lot of jumping lunges, which is the most intense leg workout I know, and left my legs throbbing (in a good way!) for about 3 days afterward! (They are still quite sore, on Sunday night!)

Anyway, here are two delicious breakfasts that I had before I left:

-oat bran
-cottage cheese
-cashews (love the super saltiness they add!)
-1 chopped fig
-carob chips
-almond butter

-oat bran
-ground flax
-cottage cheese
-freeze-dried bananas
-carob chips

My goal this week is to do less mindless eating, but here are some of the mindless snacks I munched on in the past week or so:

I ate some string cheese while baby-sitting one morning. Protein + calcium = yum!

On the way to teaching last Tuesday (I know! Sorry, travel throws off blog posting!) I made an EXCELLENT omelet sandwich with sauteed spinach and melted some cheese, added seasonings of curry powder and cumin and then through the omelet in between two slices of bread to take in the car. I also added some organic ketchup and it was reeeally delicious!

And another Amazing Green bar on my way home from a rehearsal late on evening.

I LOVED this flavor! It even has a chocolatey coating! Woohoo!

Speaking of Amazing Grass, the winner of my contest never contacted me, so I'll be doing another random drawing tomorrow. (I'm pretty tired, and trying to get into bed early tonight to recover from the trip!)

In continuing the week-long chocolate binge (OK, not a binge--a poorly judged eating experience!) that was this week, I had a couple bites of this bar:

And this:

(However, I think my period may be showing up--I'm not really sure, thanks to being HIGHLY irregular--yet another great benefit of anorexia **did you catch that sarcasm?!?!** But I do think that that has something to do with the immense cravings, and the unexplained weight gain. Whatever.)

I tried to get back on the healthy eating track today with an omelet that I made with:

-1 egg, 1 egg white (with cumin and curry powder)
-mozzarella cheese

And earlier I had a bunch of Kashi crackers--my absolute favorite cracker, EVER, hands down!! Specifically this flavor with the nutty sesame seeds and the crispness to it! If you haven't tried these crackers, I highly encourage you to do so, because you will love life a bit more!

(I ate a lot more than one serving. Oops. Portion control is not my forte.)

And some bread with hummus and cheese as a quick afternoon snack. Nothing like a little carb-loading, even though there won't be any race tomorrow. ;-)

OK, I'm sorry this post is so long and random! I'm off to read in bed and try to get a good nine hours of sleep in tonight! My latest book is the brilliant and hilarious "Bridget Jones' Diary." I have found it incredibly entertaining so far, and I highly recommend it!

I promise to catch up on blog reading and commenting tomorrow! I hope you're all doing super well! Good night!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting ready for a conference!

I'm getting ready to go out of town from Thursday to Sunday for a fairly large folk conference. It's about a 7 hour drive away from where I live, and you can bet that I'll be spreading Operation Beautiful love while I'm there! :) So I'll try to post tomorrow but I make no promises because I have to:

-baby-sit 9:30am-2pm
-teach quite a few lessons (2:30-3, 4-6,)
-play a gig from 7-8pm
-pack (luckily I'm pretty quick at this!)
-scan and e-mail contracts for an upcoming museum gallery opening gig

And now for some food for the past few days. The most exciting part is that I went grocery shopping! Halle-LUH-jah! Some good buys:

Notice the carrots...
And now notice the hummus...

...Let's just say that the two of them make an INCREDIBLE snack combination and I might or might not have eaten 1.5lbs of carrots in 2 days. And my skin may even be orange. Ahem, oops and thanks for not mentioning it again.

But now, to more groceries:

(I haven't tried this bread yet--it's in the freezer, waiting for me to get home from my trip!)

I was Hangry on my way home, and tore into these in the car. I ended up eating most of the bag, before I even took the picture. Oops. :)

Once home, I made a DELICIOUS meal of the Indian entree I bought.

I bulked it up by sauteeing some onions, two small zucchinis and some spinach:

And got this:

(I added extra chopped cashews and white rice leftover from Chinese takeout that obviously didn't make it onto the blog!)

And it was SOOO good that I had the leftovers the next day:

For dessert I made a bowl of Greek yogurt (=love!) with crumbled whole grain chocolate chip cookies from TJs (addictive!) and Fiber One cereal and almond butter!

Before mixing:

Much better:

There might or might not have been a second bowl of this. ;-)
At some point I immensely enjoyed this Larabar sample! I liked the Cashew Cookie a bit more, but this was pretty amazing too and I'd probably buy it again.

Another picture (and another snack-ish meal!) in my car:

Peanut butter sandwich. This was before the aforementioned grocery shopping trip, and was just about the only quick and portable thing in my house! (Actually, there were several of these this week, for precisely that same reason! They were all still delicious though!)

Finally, a simple but yummy breakfast: oat bran, Chobani and PB:

Add coffee, always.

It's a little before 1am, I have to be up at 8am, and before I sleep, I need to attend to the extremely exciting, fulfilling and plain, old, fun chore of folding my laundry! Please excuse me, and hopefully you have something more fun to do like getting a root canal....