Thursday, October 21, 2010

Remaining positive

The last couple weeks have been tough. Not gonna lie, they've been two of the hardest weeks I've been through recently. I found out that an ex-boyfriend is dating someone else, and I realized I definitely never got over him. I feel so silly for even typing that seems like such a junior high thing to be sad over. But I've been working on truly moving on, not just saying I have moved on, in my mind and I'm ready to let it go.

Another reason this week sucked is that I had won Brooks running shoes and shorts via No Meat Athlete's giveaway but then I put the award certificate postcard in my outgoing mailbox and it got ruined by rain/wind/storms!! :( Talk about an epic fail!! I contacted Matt (the author of No Meat Athlete) and I hope desperately that I'll be able to get a replacement. But I understand if I can't. Lesson learned: put the damn thing in a REAL mailbox or better yet send it freaking certified mail. Right. Got it...1 pair of running shoes and cute shorts too late! :(

Anyway, because my heart had been set on a new pair of Brooks, I decided to just suck it up and buy the pair that I had wanted. In having won them, I went to a local running store to try on the different models and see what might work the best. I am VERY hesitant to wear any running shoes other than Vibram FiveFingers, as my pair of Mizuno Wave Riders gave me a horrible shin splint/most definitely stress fracture that required me to stop running for over 4 months this summer! Annnyway, it turns out that those motion control shoes weren't the right kind for my feet. GREAT. Just my luck...the owner of the running store who had fitted me with them was confused as to why he had suggested those and 3 employees said these would be a better fit; my feet weren't rolling either way as I came off the ground in these. So, I bought them, after realizing the chances of getting the free shoes and shorts (which were cute-I would have selected these!) were essentially gone.

Here they are in all their glory. They're the Brooks Ghost 3 model.

And now it is time for me to take them out on a test run. And also try to get some happy endorphins from said test run!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sitting in traffic on a Saturday morning

Well, it's Saturday morning and I canceled two students after sitting in traffic for an hour due to a freeway closure. Oh joy...don't you wish you lived such an exciting life as mine? You were probably doing something like sleeping in and then eating homemade pancakes, or running, or shopping, or well...I guess it wouldn't have been hard to have a better Saturday morning than mine.

But, on the plus I have time to blog! :)

I am the most excited about the same breakfast that I've been eating every morning for a few weeks now! It's an egg sandwich with melted cheese (your choice--I've been eating a lot of cheddar but also mixing it up!), avocado (super important!), spinach and ketchup.

I've been trying lots of cheeses for fun. I love them all! If you really want to send me cheese, I won't turn it down. :)

And with coffee, of course. Yeah, I totally took a bit before I took the picture. Oops. And yes, that is a monster coffee cup! Kind of perfect for me. :)

As Fall approaches is here and it's getting to be ridiculously cold for this California girl, I've been eating lots of soup. This is Amy's lentil, and it's basically the least photogenic food there it. Sorry.

There's an amazing cupcake shop in town that just came out with their new Fall flavors menu. So when I saw Pumpkin Maple, it took a lot of begging and pleading from them to get me to try one I just had to try one.

It didn't disappoint. The frosting is all buttery and rich and delicious.

Lastly, I have a visitor who lives under my house!

OK, well I'm off to study Algebra and Nutrition and make some banana bread and some lemonade. But not the kind you can drink. I hope you're having a lovelier Saturday than me!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Of only two things I'm sure

I hate the confusing times in my life. I am being hit HARD by the quarter life crisis which I wanted to believe that I avoided so delicately, by being focused on my goals from the time I was little girl. I have (had?) always wanted to be a violinist. I practiced hard in high school. I practiced through rough family times. I played the violin through the worst years of my anorexia. I went to college for violin performance. And grad school, too. At the age of 21, I received my masters degree in violin performance. By that time, having worked through grad school, I had enough students and gigs to support myself with the violin.

I should have lived happily ever after.

Except that I didn't.

For about 4 years now, since about the 2nd semester of grad school, I have been BURNT OUT. Big time. Ever since graduation, I've kept hoping that that would go away eventually. That I would start to love the violin again. That I would look forward to practicing. And that hasn't happened. To clarify: I still LOVE certain aspects of playing the violin. I love teaching students who care and who practice, but that's about 4 out of roughly 30 students I see weekly. In many of the other lessons I teach, we mainly just sight read because they haven't practiced, yet again. I also still enjoy playing with the rock band I play with. Their shows are exciting and deeply fulfilling to see so many people truly enjoying themselves. Lastly, I enjoy certain weddings. I d really love being able to provide music for a glowing bride and to make the musical aspect of her wedding easier on the bride and groom.

BUT, that's it. There are so many aspects that I no longer enjoy. I don't enjoy working 7 days a week and still barely being able to pay the bills. I don't enjoy having almost totally useless, yet still luxuriously expensive private health insurance and having no prospects of ever having better health insurance for the rest of my life. Similarly, I don't really look forward to continuing to have 0 days of paid time off, for both sick and personal days combined. And a retirement account? That's a joke. I don't feel like I'm really helping anyone at all. I don't even feel a sense of personal fulfillment most of the days that I work, AND I don't really make very much money to do it. Certainly not enough money to support a family, which I would like to be able to do someday.

And therefore, I am announcing that I am returning to school to get my master's degree in nutrition and then to study and become a Registered Dietician!!!

I have already started classes, which means that I am currently taking Algebra and Introduction to Nutrition, while still working full-time in music, subbing at a school and baby-sitting. Yes, it's busy and stressful. But, I want to do this, for me. This WAS NOT a rash, impulsive decision. I have thought about returning to school for several years and finally signed up for a summer course this past summer. I am currently paying for classes privately, which of course if expensive and sometimes I wonder if it's worth it. But I believe in the depths of my heart that it is.

Ultimately, my DREAM and my PASSION is to become an RD in order to work with people suffering from eating disorders. The years of my life that I suffered from anorexia, then bulimia, then ED-NOS were truly the worst years of it. Every day was a living hell. I was in physical pain ALL THE TIME, everything from migraines and bloating to charlie horses that were so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night in tears. My hair fell out, especially during recovery. I was cold during the 100 degree days of summer. Additionally, I was tormented by thoughts of food and calories and weight. I assumed people were always looking at everything I ate, and that bothered me. I was mentally and emotionally SICK. I was extremely mean to myself, constantly putting myself down. I was also not a fun person to be around, as I would snap over every little thing, partially due to the fact that I was starving. Literally.

Through God's grace, He saved me both physically, and several years later, mentally as well. He sustained me through some dark times and now I can truly say that I've been living for several years! My decision to become an RD has nothing to do with my former obsession with food, and everything to do with wanting to help people. Men, women, young and old. Anyone whose life has ever been affected by an eating disorder. It will be a LONG ROAD, as I have virtually no science background, but it is one that I am excited to take. And I will be blogging about it. I'm not sure exactly what the future will look like; in fact, that brings me to explaining the title of this post. With all of the confusion I feel in my life, I am only sure of these two things:

1) God has been faithful to me, and will continue to lead me where I should go.

2) Nutrition, exercise and healthy living have become VERY big passions of mine, and I want to turn them into my career!

Other than that, I'm just going to have to have faith and hold on. I hope you'll come along with me for the ride. But in the meantime, I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes, which is a line from a song by the band Kutless:

"It doesn't matter what you've heard. Impossible is not a word. It's just a reason for someone not to try."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In case I have any readers left

I signed up for the 2011 Pittsburgh Marathon!

The FULL one.

What was I thinking?!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Father's Day to all dads!

What did you do with and/or for your dad today? Mine is across the country, so I'll probably just send an e-card and call home.

Here's my delicious smoothie breakfast, which I've been having almost every day first thing in the morning!

This one is:

-hemp protein powder
-fresh strawberries
-fresh grapes
-frozen blueberries
-Peanut butter

And on Friday, I went on a bike ride that accidentally turned into 3 hours! Whoops! I definitely wasn't prepared with enough food and water (two dates and 1/2 a bottle of water doesn't cut it!)

But I came home and devoured the most beautiful sight ever:

I had three quarters of it and the remaining quartet was consumed a few hours later. Gone, just like that! But I will CERTAINLY be buying it again, because it was one of the most delicious things I've eaten recently. I only wish it had a whole grain crust and that it didn't cost so much $$$. But Amy's, you are looked upon fondly and I look forward to trying your other pizzas and really, all of your other products.

I haven't run on my leg for 3 1/2 weeks now, and it still hurts quite a bit, some of the time. (For example, I feel it heavily if I take even 3 steps to run across a street!) Does anyone with experience of a stress fracture know how long I should take off? (I can't really see a doctor because my health insurance is crappier-than-crappy but I'm assuming it's a stress fracture at this point. I know my body pretty well.)

Well, I'm going to crawl into bed and read. It's only 10:30pm, but I'm ready to call it a night.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Tempermental camera

Hah! So my camera decided to give me back all my pictures today! Very funny, camera, OK? But hey, at least I have good pictures now!

So let's jump right in to some of my food over the last few days, that I wanted to show you before. A few nights ago, I made a dinner that felt fancy to me:

Sole fillet-
brussel sprouts with hummus,

chips and salsa and of course, I rocked this white wine.

(Don't mind the coffee pot in the upper left corner--my counter tops are small!)

I mixed salsa with Greek yogurt (it's REALLY good, especially for cutting the heat from more spicy salsas) and dipped multigrain Food Should Taste Good chips into it.

And my other extremely successful dinner of this week was Indian food! (Or at least, the easy but healthy and delicious kind!)

I prepped a whole pan of zucchini and mushrooms and sauteed them a bit in EVOO and garlic:

Then I dumped this Kook's Vindaloo sauce over top of them and let it simmer for a long time (~20 minutes?)

The sauce is quite spicy, but lucky for me, I like spicy! :) What's your opinion of spicy food?

Isn't it beautiful?!

Over top of brown rice I made that was a sample in my Pittsburgh Half Marathon goody bag. It came in the most adorable little single person, 4 oz bag.

I think I had 2 or three (small) platefuls of this:

'Twas delicious!!

And most of my breakfasts lately have included smoothies, as I discovered the appeal of the Green Monster. (I'm only like 3 years late, I know...!)

Full fat cheddar (I don't buy lowfat cheese any more!) on whole wheat, with a blueberry green monster and coffee! Most of my breakfasts have looked exactly like that, except for sometimes I put Peanut butter on the toast if that sounds better on any given morning.

And one slightly different breakfast (on Monday before my 40 mile bike ride) was:

Slathered in ketchup
OK, I'm off to shower and then go teach. Tomorrow I'm taking my car in to get the brake pads replaced! They are SOOO worn down and desperately need to be replaced!! Here's to hoping that I get to both teaching studios safely today! Luckily, I really don't have to drive all that far (probably a totally of 15 miles today) so I should be OK. UGH though--not fun having your car shudder as you try to stop!!

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Dying camera

Ugh, my camera is either at or near the end of its life! :( Not cool camera, not cool. I swear, I've been taking great pictures of amazing food, and it just deletes them for no reason! Grrr!!

I will try to resolve its issue soon (or just buy a new camera!) so that I can show you some delicious food! I mean, today I went on a 4 hour and 11 minute bike ride, so I obviously had to eat some good fuel. On the actual bike ride I just had a Nugo bar (a locally made protein bar that's delicious!) and 2 dates.
(sorry it's so small; it's courtesy of Google Images, and they are all small)

But for breakfast I had a lovely egg/veggie/cheese scramble, a slice of toast with white chocolate dreams PB.
Magic, right there. :)

When I came home I inhaled a leftover tupperware of brown rice with sauteed zucchini and Indian sauce of some sort (forget what it was called). Plus a bowl of puffed kamut and Optimum blueberry with skim milk and a big blob of peanut butter. Plus some more strawberries and a banana with PB. What can I say, I was hungry, and I had to immediately start teaching violin for 3 hours, so I wanted to stay nourished through it.

After teaching, I had dinner with my friend: 3 (smallish) slices of bread with EVOO and spices for dipping, a bit of fish, whole wheat pasta, corn and a small side salad. Finished off with a small bowl of frozen yogurt.

It was delicious and I feel GREAT! (It's amazing how many calories biking requires, while being much easier on my body than running!)

OK, while I'm lame and have a dying camera, you should check out this giveaway for Tanabars.
And this one, for cute workout towels.

And hopefully I'll be less lame soon!

For now, I'm one tired girl, so it's bed time. Good night!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

One more try at this blogger thing

The title says it all. I really want to give food blogging another chance. I read enough blogs and I eat good enough food that it deserves to be blogged about. So I'm back, and I apologize for the long break.

My May was crazy! But it's over and the BEST thing is that I moved to my OWN, one bedroom apartment!! I love it! And the view from my back yard isn't bad either:

Lately, I've been working out A LOT. For a couple of reasons. 1) It's my stress relief, 2) It's fun to accomplish goals and 3) I made my hobby my job, so I definitely need other hobbies.

In early May I ran the Pittsburgh Half Marathon and it went OK. It was a rough race, with a high humidity and it started raining by mile 1.5! Additionally, I started the race way hungry and felt faint by mile 3, so big problems for me. All in all, my time could have been a lot better, and it could have been MUCH worse, so I'll leave it at that. Unfortunately, my shin splints have been bothering me so much, and I'm going to give running a rest for now, while still keeping up with all other forms of working out that I can do.

I'll post more about working out in the next post, but let's just say I've been doing 1-2 hours a day FOR FUN, so obviously I've needed to increase the calories I've been eating. (Today's workout was 30 minutes of rowing, 20 minutes of abs conditioning, and 30 minutes of the stair stepper at level 10.) Here's a sampling of the deliciousness.

Breakfasts have been a lot of these:

1 egg, a couple of egg whites, cheddar cheese, sauteed mushroom and spinach and toast with jam. Epic, pretty much.

When I crave something for 3 or 4 days and the feelings won't go away, I know that it's then time to buy it...PIZZA in this case!!

I love Kashi so much, it's not even funny! This was the first time I had actually purchased any of their pizzas, and of course they did not disappoint! It was splendid and I ate 3/4 of the pizza the first night. The next day I had this lovely dinner:

Food Should Taste Good chips are MY FAVORITE chips BY FAR. Like, I barely even look at other chips on the shelves! I still haven't tired their sweet potato, olive or chocolate ones, and I MUST do so, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!

What is your favorite flavor of Food Should Taste Good chips? What do you pair them with?

Finally, two desserts I have enjoyed recently:

Green and Black's Organic Dark 85%: Some of the absolute best chocolate ever! Way rich on the tongue and full of complex flavor! It's hard to describe the flavor, except to say that when I think of pure chocolately goodness, this is what I imagine. I will definitely be buying this again!

And a free brownie:

As always, this is only a small sampling of what I eat. I'll try to post again soon. In the meantime, I'm going to go read this book:

It is very interesting and I think that in the best possible way. Quite fascinating, actually, to discuss the sacred feminine in a religion (Christianity) that has been dominated by patriarchy for SO LONG.

What good books are you currently reading?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Moving time!

I am so excited to be moving to my own house (still renting) in about 3 weeks. My current roommates are absolutely unbearable, disrespectful and some of the most obnoxious people I've ever had the misfortune of knowing. They are messy and lazy and have recently minded my teaching lessons at my house, despite KNOWING that I am a violin teacher and they told me that was OK from before the first day I moved in. I will be in my own one bedroom house and it will be amazing! :)

Also, I have signed up for two more 5Ks, one on Saturday April 17th and one on Sunday April 25th, which will be exactly 1 week before the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, which I am doing. What can I say? I just find organized races to be SO EXCITING! Way more fun than just normal running! The first 5K supports an agency that looks to end child abuse and the second 5K is just a fun family run with pizza, subs and beer offered afterward. But in both cases, one of my friends who is not a runner is signing up for them with me! I'm so excited to be able to run with my friends and introduce them to it, considering how much of a beginner I was just a couple months ago, and that I still think of myself and a novice, at best.

I've been enjoying several runs around a 5.4 mile loop on (paved) riverfront trails that are GORGEOUS, and I'm going to try and do 2 loops (10.8 and I'll add a mile in downtown hopefully) sometime this week, for my last long run before the half marathon on May 2nd.

Injury Update: I'm SO pleased to say that my shin seems to be hanging in there quite well. I assume that I am one of those people whose bodies really is NOT designed for running and therefore I can probably only run 3 days a week tops, if I want to stay even semi-injury free. (The shin is kind of always questionable but definitely not the intense shooting pain that forced me not to run for 2 months.) I bought new insoles and they seem to be helping. The gigantic blister is almost healed and I think wearing double layer socks solves that problem. So I've bought 3 pairs and they are extremely comfortable to run in.

I'll include some food pictures in the next post. And when I'm on the trail, I'll take some pictures of the most beautiful city in the world. (Pittsburgh, for anyone who's wondering. Now you know. Don't stalk me. Hehe.) But I just wanted to check in now. I've been teaching A LOT, and babysitting a lot as well. Which I'm doing tonight. But it's for an AWESOME family, so it will be good.

Have a great weekend everyone! I'm off to comment on blogs right now!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

First ever half marathon!!

I am so pleased!! I finished my first half marathon yesterday in 2:20:19 and DIDN'T HAVE TO WALK ANY OF IT!!

I was NOT even closed to prepared for it, due to having had to take A LOT of time off to heal my left shin. **Actually, I just double checked the timing on-line and my chip time was 2:18:50!** I have literally ran about 6 times since January and my longest run was maybe 5 miles. I refused to withdraw from this event, so I just kind of went and hoped for the best!

I was expecting to have to walk some of it, but it felt really good after the first 5K and then after 8.1 miles, and even up to mile 10 things were going OK. When I hit mile 10, I decided that I was not going to walk any of it, so I just buckled down and kept going. The problem was that I started feeling pain in mile 10. I have a GIGANTIC blood blister on my right foot, due to new insoles that seem to be helping my shin, but were rubbing my foot wrong. I had run in the before, but not nearly as long of distances and obviously they aren't fine. I'll need to try to heat-customize them again, as I already had done with the right foot, which is the one that was giving me problems.

Warning: GROSS picture!!

Yeah, gnarly! I know. I've gotta make those insoles work out for me a bit better! (It really DOESN'T hurt at all! Sweet!)

Anyway, the course was GREAT with two times around a 5 mile gorgeous lake that had only minor rolling hills and an extra 5K loop with one fairly big hill on it. The organization of the event was WONDERFUL and I felt like it was an excellent race as my first half marathon!

It started to get really hard for me at mile 10, but by that point I was intent on finishing strong. Unfortunately I didn't drink enough water on the course and I did finish strong, but was really dizzy and could barely walk afterward. Luckily my friend was there and I was kind of just holding on to him to not fall down.

They had water stops every 1.5 miles on the course and most of the stops had Ultima sports drink, too. And they provided E-Gels at miles 4, 8 and 11. I grabbed a gel at 4 and saved it until mile 7, and then grabbed one at 8 and saved it for mile 10. (At which point the race got a lot harder for me!)

They had lots of port-a-potties (and they were flushing units! Fancy schmancy!) So that got a big thumbs up from me.

And I met a cool guy at the start line who I ended up talking to until mile 4 when we parted ways. So, everything together made for an AMAZING first time half marathon experience!

And here's the finisher's medal:

This past August (8 months ago) I could not even run 2 blocks without being winded! If you had told me that I would complete a 13.1 miles on March 27th without walking any of it, I probably would have laughed at you. It's almost surreal for me, just remembering back to how difficult running was just a few months ago. And I know that my pace isn't extremely fast, and that many people finish a full hour or more before me, but I am REALLY FREAKIN' PROUD!

And I CANNOT wait to run my next half marathon in just over a month on May 2nd!

The funniest part is that I had a long day yesterday after the half with my students doing some recitals in the afternoon and evening, and I was DYING from sore legs (and they're VERY stiff today!) But I had to be all professional and everything, so I just sucked it up and tried my best not to limp on and off stage and around my students. :D

And I don't have any food pictures from yesterday, but I had an amazing brunch of spinach quiche, spinach cheese fontina, and waffles with chocolate chips and pecans + lite maple syrup. And for dinner, my friend and I went to a new (for us) restaurant where I ordered a snapper-like fish (forget the name) with couscous, green beans and a red pepper sauce and we split an appetizer of mac and cheese with duck confit! It was all SOO good!

For now, I'm off to get some other work done, but I hope everyone has had just as amazing of a weekend as I have had!